Saturday, November 23, 2013

Disney Vacation

I know, I have kind of been MIA. I have been away for over a week.  We have been enjoying Disney world.  I never dreamed I would go there.  We had a wonderful opportunity and seized the day.  So many pictures.  I took a 1000- literally.  I love looking at all of them.  I relive the magic while looking at those smiling faces. 

While we were there we had some awesome food.  I wanted to share with you what we had because after all this is a food blog.  I do have a few other pictures to share.
 Not a great pic- the wonderful
 Strawberries and cream tart
 School bread- a must make!
These are the chefs you want to cook with, hysterical and fun.  THey put on a great show.
 Nicoise salad
An amazingly light and airy cream puff filled with passion fruit deliciousness.
From Disney Food Blog
 All so very brief because I am up to my Minnie Mouse ears in laundry!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Creamy Mushroom Pasta

Love mushrooms.  Do you?  Do you know how good they are for you?  I remember a time when professional health care people thought there was no benefit to mushrooms.  Nothing really to speak of nutritionally in mushrooms.  Ah, but they just didn't even know yet.  The one great thing about mushrooms is that they can serve as highlighters for cancer cells.  They kind of tag cancer cells so that the body can identify the cancer cells and attack them.  They say one mushroom a day is enough to do this task.  Pretty efficient, huh?  And it doesn't matter whether you eat them fresh, dried or cooked.  Awesome.  So get a little mushroom in your diet.

This certainly is one delicious way to do it. This mushroom cream over pasta.  We loved it.  Even my picky girl said she would eat.  She said of course she would have to pick out the little bits of mushroom in there.  Goodness, gracious.

Creamy Mushroom Pasta

6 ounces mushrooms
3/4 cup onion, minced fine
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
4 ounces of light beer
1 cup milk, your preference, I used a combination of 2% and half and half
1/2 cup pecorino Romano or Parmesan
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper
1 pound cooked pasta

In a large deep frying pan, saute onions and mushroom in butter until tender.  Add chopped garlic, cook one minute more.  Add in beer and then cream.  Sprinkle flour over mixture and then stir in until absorbed. Toss in cooked pasta.

I like to time it so my pasta finishes about the same time. I ladle (with a slotted spoon) the pasta right into the frying pan. No matter if some of the water gets in there. A little bit anyhow. Once completely tossed, pour into serving bowl and sprinkle with parmesan and  parsley .

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Granola Bars Make Ahead

Premix stuff is awesome.  It's fast food from scratch.  I don't know about you but half the time it takes to make something is getting everything out. If it is something you make all the time, premix it.  You can just add the wet ingredients and your done.

This is my favorite granola bar recipe that I make pretty often during the school year.  It is great for a fast breakfast, lunches and snacks.

Layer it as follows, flour and salt on the bottom, cinnamon on top of that wheat germ and oats on top of that followed by the brown sugar.  Seal up in the jar.  When ready to mix, stir in oil, honey, vanilla and egg.  Done!


2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup wheat germ
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup raisins (optional)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9 x 13.

In a large bowl mix all dry ingredients. Make a well and add wet ingredients. Mix well, I use a fork to mix. Using the back of a rubber spatula flatten granola into pan and smooth. Bake for 30-35 minutes until bars turn golden at the edges. Cool 5 minutes and cut into bars or squares. Do not allow them to dry completely as they will be very difficult to cut.

If you want more crunch , patiently smooth out in a baking sheet. I also have added another half batch and smoothed it out in a jelly roll pan.

You can add all kinds of mix in, cranberries, almonds, marshmallows (minis), chocolate chips, the list goes on!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Cranberry Ketchup

Yes, I am a bit cranberry crazy.  Since I bought so many, I have been trying lots of things to do with cranberries.  It's like a study in cranberries.  Cranberry 101.

This stuff is amazing.  I really liked it- lots of flavor and tang!

Cranberry Ketchup
Adapted from Ocean Spray

½ cup chopped red onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup Ocean Spray® Fresh or Frozen Cranberries
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon chipotle flavored hot sauce
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 cup brown sugar

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook until all the cranberries have popped and and the mixture is thick.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Fall Spices

When it is this time of year, these spices get used constantly in my house.  I make my own since I have lots of spices.  They make great hostess gifts to friends at the Holidays too. Easy and you can adjust to suit your taste.

Pumpkin Pie Spice

2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of mace

Mix altogether and store in a glass jar.

Chai Mix

1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon cardamom
1½ nutmeg
1½ cloves
1½ ginger
pinch of black pepper (I like a little)

Combine all ingredients and store in a glass container.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Posole Verde

What could be better than soup this time of year?  I love posole and this one is one of my favorites.  I think the thing that totally gets me about this soup is the fresh vegetables.  I know it might seem foreign to some people to put radishes in soup but in many countries radishes are cooked in lots of dishes.  This radish here is not cooked but its addition to the soup is amazing.  It's one vegetable I totally have to have in my posole. 

Green Posole Verde 

6 tomatillos, papery layers and stems discarded, roughly chopped
1 large red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1-tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt
5 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
1 28-ounce cans hominy, drained and rinsed
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup or one can of Pablano or Anaheim chilies
1 teaspoon cumin
shredded chicken (totally optional)

green onion
lime wedges

In a 400F oven roast the tomatillos and onion, until tender.  Remove from oven and when cool enough to handle, puree in a blender.  Combine with broth, hominy, roasted chilies, cumin and garlic in a soup pot. Bring to a boil and gently simmer for about 20 minutes.  Ladel into bowls and add the trimmings you like with a little twist of lime. If you are like me, a big twist of lime.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Spaghetti Squash Alfredo

Whenever I see Alfredo sauce in a recipe I tend to shy away because it has lots of calories and is difficult to figure on portion calories. 
So easy to make, especially if you buy the Alfredo.  I did buy some not too long ago as one of those, quick meal things that I keep in my back pocket.  Yes, I know, its not home made per my usual.  But that is just it,  I do make home made, from scratch most of the time but sometimes, I want a quick meal.
So delicious.  So creamy.  So easy.  So full of fiber.  So, only 150 calories.  Wow!

Spaghetti Squash Alfredo

parmesan cheese
spaghetti squash
Alfredo sauce

Turn oven on to 350F.

First, cut squashes in half lengthwise. Remove seed from center cavity , scraping on the sides of little to work it off.  This is going to be the hardest part of the recipe.  Place on baking sheet open side down. Bake until they are soft.  Take a pot holder and push on the top of the skin.  If it depresses easily then it is ready.

Remove from oven (leave oven on because you are going to be putting stuff back into the oven) and once it cools a little to handle, take a fork and scrape the fleshy insides in a motion from the skin to the center cavity.  You will notice it breaks off in strings.  Place the stringy squash into greased ramekins.  Pint sized.  Or you can do one large ones.  I liked the little protions because then I could figure my calorie consumption more easily.

Once in the ramekin, spoon Alfredo sauce in measured portions.  Mix into the squash.  Sprinkle Parmesan over top. Place back in 350F oven, uncovered for about 20 minutes.
I had a few bad spots on this one so that is why this is a smaller chunk of squash.