Sunday, December 28, 2014

Double Chocolate Biscotti



A bit more of the biscotti for you.  I think this one is one of my top two favorites.  I just love it.  So chocolatey and not too sweet.

I am off to play nurse maid to my little one who finds herself pretty sick today.  Poor thing.  Some tea with honey and lemon is in order.

Double Chocolate Biscotti

2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cream butter with sugar, mix five minutes.  Add in eggs one at a time and then vanilla.  In a separate bowl mix together flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda.  Add to creamed butter.  Add in the chocolate chips and the walnuts.

Shape dough into logs and place on parchment paper or a nonstick pan. Bake for 35 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool for about ten minutes.  Remove from pan.  With a serrated knife, slice into 1/2 inch to 1 inch thick slices.  Place on cookie sheet again bake for 10 minutes.


Friday, December 26, 2014

Scolipasta Soup



That's what it was called in our house growing up.  What it literally means in Italian is strainer soup.  What does that mean?  Well, it is whatever is leftover in your fridge that you feel like using up and making soup with.  Obviously, I can't really tell you how to make it because that would mean I was at your house, looking in your fridge and saying, oh, this and this and this would be good.

Instead, I will tell you my formula for making it.  I start with a broth.  It could be store bought or homemade.  For the soup above I used my vegetable broth.

Next, I almost always add onion and garlic.  They are major flavor boosters.

Then some vegetables or meat or both.  Whatever is in my fridge that I feel like adding. Sometimes I feel like adding a starch sometimes not (rice, potatoes...).

Then some seasoning.  Now, this is the part where your soup will really come alive.  For instance, if you are making a soup and decide to go the dill seasoning type route, you could use pickle juice.  Or if you were making a Mexican style soup maybe add some jalapeno juice.

For example, I will give you an idea of where my head usually goes with soup.

Italian:

Italian seasonings : oregano, basil, garlic, little bit thyme and/or rosemary.  Then I might use some hard cheeses like peccorino romano or parmesan.

I made through in some pesto at the end to brighten the soup.

Mexican:

Mexican seasonings: oregano, cumin, garlic, chili powder... Then I would add some heat (because I like it- not that it is necessarily Mexican).  If I wanted to thicken the soup I might add masa.  I might add corn chips at the end.  My absolute favorite thing to add in to Mexican type soups is fresh veggies such as cabbage, radishes, avocadoes...  

To brighten up the soup I might add lime or lemon juice.

I don't know if that helps anyone.  It really is about learning what goes with what and tailoring things to your and family's taste buds.  Or as my youngest daughter calls them, taste bugs.  You also have to experiment and have a little confidence.  Its not rocket science.

For this soup I will tell you what I did. I had some vegetable broth in the fridge and I had some spinach that was starting to wilt.  I heated up the broth, added in the spinach and let that cook a little until I had a  moment on another day to finish it.  Today I added the rest of the ingredients.  I did add some leftover coconut milk.  Really it was not a lot but it needed to be used up.  So it kind of looks like dish water.  I was very tempted to add more coconut milk but the last thing I need right now is another opened can of something.

Yellow Lentil Soup

1 1/2 quarts vegetable broth
1/4 cup coconut milk (more if you have it)
1 cup yellow lentils
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon sriracha salt (my new favorite "spice")
4 cups fresh spinach
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper

Cook lentils in about 3 cups water with salt, cumin, sriracha salt, garlic, onion and salt and pepper. Cook until the yellow lentils become tender.  Add in the remainder of ingredients; spinach, vegetable broth and coconut milk.  Cook for twenty more minutes.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas



May your days be merry and bright.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Almond Joy Cookies


Almond Joy Cookies.  This cookie had me at the name.  I found it on Pinterest. Totally drool worthy.  I checked out a few recipes and I tweaked it a little and then found when I baked them that I had to tweak it a little more.

Almond Joy Cookies

4 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 cup butter
3 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
2 cups mini chocolate chips
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
2 cups slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix flour, baking soda and salt together in a bowl and set aside.  Cream butter and add in sugar, beat for five minutes.  Add in vanilla then eggs one at a time.  Finally, stir in dry ingredients.  Lastly fold in the coconut, almonds, and chocolate chips.

Spoon onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes.





Monday, December 22, 2014

Basic Biscotti

Cherry Pistachio
Many years ago.  Like 12.  Wow, time flies.  I was really into biscotti.  I made a lot of it.  All different flavors.  I met my husband, he shared them with his friends, they loved them.  Everybody loved them.  I collected tons of recipes.  My husband and I dreamed of owning a biscotti shops.  We wanted to call it Bellagio's.  We would start small, delivering to businesses and such.  We went to the Better Business Bureau.  We planned, we schemed.  Until the moment came when we realized that we could not do it out of our home.  Sigh. In NY Sate you need a whole separate kitchen for a business.  The cost was just too great and our desire dwindled upon hearing it.  Sadly Bellagio's was not meant to be.

Biscotti does live on in our family.  My Mom likes to make them and since she makes so many, I figure, I will let her then I can make other things.  So this is her thing now.  These are her biscotti's.

This is her favorite recipe because you can mix things up. She doubles it whenever she makes it and adds different mix ins.
Caramel Pecan
Basic Biscotti
Recipe easily doubled.

1 stick butter (4 ounces), softened
3/4 sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix Ins (if you so desire):
1 cup nuts
1 cup dried fruit or chips

Preheat oven to 325F.

Cream butter with sugar, mix five minutes.  Add in eggs one at a time and then vanilla.  In a separate bowl mix together flour, salt and baking powder.  Add to creamed butter.  Work in the mix ins.

Shape dough into logs and place on parchment paper or a nonstick pan. Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool for about ten minutes.  Remove from pan.  With a serrated knife, slice into 1/2 inch to 1 inch thick slices.  Place on cookie sheet again bake for 15 minutes.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Pfeffernusse

I think you could call these Chai cookies.  They have pretty much everything a cup of chai would have.  The cookies are very warming and comforting, bursting with flavor. I highly recommend them.

Pfeffernusse

1/2 cup molasses
1/4 honey
1/2 butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 cups flour
2 teaspoon anise
1 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup powdered sugar (for dusting)

Melt molasses, honey and butter together in a saucepan over medium heat.  Cook and stir until creamy.  Allow the mixture to cool and then add in eggs, sugar and anise.

In a separate bowl combine flour, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, baking soda and pepper.  Add the molasses mixture to this and mix until combined.  Chill for 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Form dough into small balls and place on cookie sheet.  Bake 10 to 15 minutes.  Cool completely before dusting with powdered sugar.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Edamame Toasts

I had a little Craft Day here at my house a couple weeks ago and invited some friends over. We made a few things then had some lunch.  I made a few appetizer type things so people could get picky.  This here appetizer was one of the offerings.  I liked it but I would have omitted the lemon rind.  I find that in most savory things (especially the uncooked variety) I don't like lemon rind.  In baked goods its a totally different story.  Other than that I thought these were pretty good. 

Edamame Toasts

3/4 cup edamame (partially crushed)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 of a lemon rind
s and p to taste
1/2 cup parmesan
2 tablespoons basil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Cut baguette into slices and toast in the oven for about 5 to 7 minutes at 350F.

Mix all other ingredients together and spoon over toasts.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Cream of Vegetable Soup, No cream necessary

I usually have my shopping done by October.  Ah, not this year.  Just started today.  But hey I am not going to be shopping on Christmas Eve that is for sure.

Matter of fact I need to go shopping now... gotta run.


Cream of Vegetable Soup

3 cups of chopped celery root
1 potato, diced
2 carrots, chopped
1 1/2 cups celery, chopped
1 cup onion, diced
3 big cloves of garlic, chopped
1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
10 cups vegetable broth

Saute onion and celery in a soup pot.  Add in the remainder of the ingredients and let simmer until everything is falling apart.  Blend and return to pot.  Add a little cream if you like but honestly it is creamy all on its own.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Penzeys and Spices

While I was away a few weeks back we went to the Palisades Mall in Nyack, New York.  I was so excited to discover the Penzey's Store there.  I bought a few spices and then the sales lady redeemed some coupons I had.  I left the store one happy customer with lots of spices!
I have ordered from Penzey's before.  I love their catalog and I love their products.  (Why did I forget some epazote while I was there?)
Since I have been home I already used the Rosemary, Ginger, Taco Seasoning and the barbecue 3001.  All insanely delicious.  I usually make my own Taco Seasoning mix but this one I would buy.  Its just that good.

Disclaimer: I was not reimbursed in any way to say any of this.  This is all  of my own accord.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Brussels Sprouts with Grapes and Almonds

This is something our family usually has on Thanksgiving.  My mother either saw a recipe or made it up, can't remember.  I do know we have been making it for a long time now and it has come to be somewhat of a tradition.  However, when we have a lot of guests over who don't like brussels sprouts, it usually gets opted out for green beans.

Most of the cooking for this dish could actually be done the day before.  Then you just throw it all in the pan for the final mix and heat.

Brussels Sprouts with Grapes and Almonds

6 cups brussels sprout, end cut off, large ones cut in half
2 cups green grapes, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons butter

Bring brussels sprouts to a boil in a sauce pan with about 2 cups water and a teaspoon of salt. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender.  Remove from heat and drain. Set aside.  At this point you could put them in the refrigerator if you are doing them a day in advance.

In a large skillet melt butter and add in cooked brussels sprouts.  Make sure brussels sprouts are heated through.  Add in grapes and heat until grapes are warm.  Season with salt and pepper as desired.  Sprinkle almonds over top and serve.



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Apple Coffee Cake


We have been away from home for two weeks.  Crazy, right?  I feel like I have been gone forever.  I am a homebody for the most part so this was kind of a big deal for me.  Where did we go?  On a cruise.  Oh, swoon, on a cruise.  Strangely enough I just realized I did not take one picture of the food we ate.  Which, if you been on a cruise ship, you know, is pretty amazing. Beef Bourguignon, London Broil, Steak, Crab Cakes, Gnocchi, all kinds of shrimp dishes.  The desserts, pretty amazing too. There were a lot of good ones.  Linzer Torte, Fruit Tarts, Chocolate Crepes, Soufflés... One of my favorites was a beet root chocolate cake.  If you are not a fan of beets, you would never know.  It was a really rich chocolate cake. 

How much did I gain?  Yes, this was a concern before I went.  But miracle of miracles, I stayed the same.  Must have been my time in the fitness center that balanced out the desserts.
While the food was very good, it was actually refreshing to have home cooked meals.  Fanciness aside, my meals are pretty good.  I am not trying to be boastful.  But one thing I found lacking was vegetables.  Would have like to see more vegetables with all these amazing dishes they serve. 

On the stove when we returned home was a pot of soup and an Apple Coffee Cake, compliments of my Mother.  Thank you Mom!

Here it is in all its glory.  Very delicious.

APPLE COFFEE CAKE

 Beat 1/2 cup shortening until light and fluffy.

Add in:  1 cup sugar
              2 large eggs
              1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat until throughly combined.

In a separate bowl combine

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     1/4 teaspoon salt

Add flour mixture to batter along with  8 ounces sour cream.
Stir in:   1 1/2 cups chopped apple

Pour into greased 9 x 13. Sprinkle topping over batter.

Topping:
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Bake at 350F for 35 minutes.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Cranberry Port Gelee


I am not use to cooking with juniper berries.  Though I am sure use to drinking them in my day.  I use to love to have a gin and tonic when I was out with friends.  It was one of my favorite drinks.  Gin, if you don't know, is made from juniper berries.  Juniper comes from a type of pine tree called, Juniperus communis.  All juniper bushes grow juniper berries, however most are too bitter to eat.

I saw a recipe similar to this on Food 52, which is quite a stellar site.  Lots of great recipes from various sources.  I had a bit more cranberries than it called for and I had some Lingonberry Preserves that was not getting eaten. 


Cranberry Port Gelee
The jumping point for this recipe.

1 cup port
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 jar of Lingonberry Preserves
6 cups cranberries (fresh)
1 tablespoon juniper berries
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

Mix all except sugar together in a saucepan.  Cook until heated through.  Add sugar and cook until berries are popping. Mash with a potato masher and strain pushing some of solids through.  Pour and refrigerate.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving Collection

Thanksgiving in the USA is quickly approaching.  You ready?  Much to get ready if you are preparing this massive dinner.   So many things can be done ahead and the internet is rich with how to's and ideas for making life easier on yourself.  Do your research, it will make it so much easier.

I just want to share a few things I have done for Thanksgiving in the past.

One of my all time favorite ways to prepare a turkey is Alton Brown's, brined turkey.  Some people swear by brining and some thing dry brining is sufficient.  Some don't know what it is and others are sold on other ways of preparing turkey such as deep frying or in a bag.  I personally like the brine method best.  It always gives me a moist turkey.  Of course one year, we had a lot of company and I used the dry brined method.  Really bad idea.  It just want as moist.

A nice appetizer recipe that we have nearly every year is cranberry salsa.

A nice side- sweet potato casserole.
 
As far as pumpkin pies go- my two favorites are the recipe on the can of Libby's Pumpkin and this one from Food Network.
 
In case you want to learn more about Thanksgiving, click here to go to The History Channels collection of videos about various aspects of Thanksgiving.  Its pretty interesting.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bean Burger Collection


One of the best bean burgers I ever made was this one.  A definite keeper.  Its made with barley.  A poor lonesome grain that really needs your attention.  It is very good for you.  Helps lower cholesterol in the same way as oatmeal.

Here are a few others that we enjoyed.  

While this one is not a bean burger- it does have lots of protein and surprisingly, it is made with beets.  But even more of a surprise is just how good it tastes.  My husband hates beets and truly loves this burger.

This not a stellar photo either.  Why do I also make these kind of burgers when there is not a lot of daylight to photograph?  It is a good one.  My daughter, the picky one, did like these as well.

Another seriously bad photo.  But a good burger.  It was green so the picky daughter did not eat these.  She has an aversion to all things green, yah know.

This is another favorite but beluga lentils are sometimes hard to find.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Pumpkin Ravioli


A little labor intensive but well worth it.  And, yeah, my ravioli is not going to win any beauty contests.  My stomach was none the wiser though.

Just some interesting facts about pumpkin for yah!

*49 calories per cup- whoa! nice!
*low glycemic index
*high in Vitamin A

"Vitamin A is important to vision and the growth of the bones. Night vision is extremely dependent on vitamin A. This vitamin helps form pigments that allow our eyes to adjust to changes in light. Vitamin A plays an important role in immune system by making white blood cells, which fight off viruses and bacteria." My Food Diary

*good source of potassium.


Pumpkin Ravioli
Adapted from this recipe at taste of Home

dough
2-1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
5 eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil


filling
1 small pie pumpkin (about 2-1/4 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 teaspoons chopped shallot
1/3 cup butter, cubed
2 teaspoons minced fresh sage
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 small bay leaf
1 egg, lightly beaten


Place 2-1/2 cups flour in a large bowl; make a well in the center. Beat eggs and oil; pour into well. Stir together, forming a ball. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes, adding remaining flour if necessary to keep dough from sticking. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, sauté pumpkin and shallot in butter until tender. Add the sage, salt and pepper. Transfer to a food processor; cover and process until blended. Return to the pan; stir in cream and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until thickened. Discard bay leaf.

Divide pasta dough into fourths; roll one portion to 1/16-in. thickness. (Keep remaining dough covered until ready to use.) Working quickly, place rounded teaspoonfuls of filling 1 in. apart over half of pasta sheet. Brush around filling with egg. Fold sheet over; press down to seal. Cut into squares with a pastry wheel. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

Bring a stock pot of salted water to a boil. Add ravioli. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer; cook for 1-2 minutes or until ravioli float to the top and are tender. Drain and keep warm.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

MUNG BUNG BEAN BURGERS

Really bad picture, really good flavored bean burger.  Don't let its appearance fool you.

I had to make the name fun so my kids would think it was equally fun  to eat it.  They did.  They not only thought it was fun, they also thought it was delicious.  The kids both had two burgers and my husband had 3, leaving me with one to eat, since the recipe made 8.  I didn't mind.  The temptation for more calories was taken away.  Better in their bellies than on mine.

Secretly, while they were munching away I was thinking about how much nutrition they were getting.  I especially felt that way because my older daughter thought she would like to become a vegetarian about a month ago.  Getting protein into the girl has been a bit of a challenge.  Man can not live by cheese alone, or can he?  Cheese is pretty important to our family.  We do not buy deli meats as a general rule.  We eat a lot of vegetarian meals just because a couple years ago we decided it was more economical and better for the planet if we ate less meat.  So, bean burgers are no surprise in this family.

Inside these beauties and seriously it was one of the best bean burgers I have made, is quinoa, mung beans and eggs.  I definitely hit a high protein mark!

Yes, I know the name is silly but that is how I roll.  You can be all serious and call them Mung and Quinoa burgers if you like- but see if your kids get excited to eat them.

Mung Bung Bean Burgers

2 cups cooked green mung beans
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup panko crumbs
3 eggs
1 small onion, minced
4 ounces smoked cheddar cheese (this gives the burgers their big flavor-don't substitute)
1 generous teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 packet Goya Sazon (you can skip this but it gives the burgers some nice umami)

Once your quinoa is cooked and your mung beans are cooked you are good to go.  I had cooked the beans a few days before making it.  It is helpful to season the mung beans as they are cooking- a little bit of salt and garlic if you like.

Mix all the ingredients together and let it sit while you get out your pan, etc.  Its up to you if you want to fry these in oil.  I did- but you don't need a lot of oil to do it.

Form the bean mixture into patties.  Fry on a moderate heat, turning once they are browned.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Speculoos Cookie Butter



Traders Joe's. I love you.  I really do.  Fell in love with you in the 90's when I lived in Arizona.  When it comes to cookie butter, though, I had to go my own way.  Not that I don't love your freaking amazing cookie butter and so do my children.  I just could not part with that much money for a small jar of cookie butter.  Maybe cashew butter or something like that, but not for sugar products.  I have to draw the line somewhere.

I bought a package of Speculoos cookies from Aldi's and whirled it in my food processor, then I added enough oil to bring it together.  I also spooned in a couple round tablespoons of confectioners sugar.  Yes, very good.  Yes, very flavorful.  The one drawback, however, was that it was a bit grainy.  But no one complained - that is for sure. Gone!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Roasted Butternut Squash with Bacon

This pic taken without natural light but so creamy looking because it just made- piping hot!
My friend at the Farmers Market gave me this recipe.  It is from My Recipes.  It is very creamy and tastes like it is all butter and cream.  It is rich and delicious.  On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give it a 7.  I say a 7 because I am not that crazy big into sweeter dishes with butternut squash or even red bell peppper.  These vegetables are so sweet that they make whatever dish a little too sweet for me.  I need to balance it out with something acidy or salty.  Here, the bacon helps a lot and I think the rosemary does too.  But I think a little tomato in there would be a better taste for me.

My husband gave it a 10 though.  Apparently, he is okay with that.  And my daughter, who would not usually touch butternut squash with a ten foot pole- ate it and liked it!  Wow! Thats cause to make it in and of itself.


ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH BACON


Karen Levin, March 2004.  Original recipe found here at My Recipes.

3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
Cooking spray
6 sweet hickory-smoked bacon cooked and drained
1 cup chopped onion
8 ounces uncooked orechette
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded sharp provolone cheese
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350°. Bake bacon, turning after it has browned a little.  Place on paper towels and let drain.

Increase oven temp to 425°. Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, rosemary, and pepper. Place squash and onion on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with salt mixture. Bake at 425° for 45 minutes or until tender and lightly browned.


Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain well.

Combine flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly with a whisk; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add provolone, stirring until cheese melts. Add pasta to cheese mixture, tossing well to combine.

Spoon pasta mixture into an 9 x 12 inch baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray; top with squash mixture. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown.


Calories: 469
Calories from fat: 28%
Fat: 14.4g
Saturated fat: 7.3g
Monounsaturated fat: 4.4g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.9g
Protein: 22.1g
Carbohydrate: 66.6g
Fiber: 6.8g
Cholesterol: 40mg
Iron: 3.5mg
Sodium: 849mg
Calcium: 443mg
Next day- reheated- still good but better fresh.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Pumpkin and Coconut Curry

Love this time of year with all the butternut squash, pumpkin, and all the other varieties of squash that are out there.  One of my favorites is the buttercup.

Today is the first day that we kinda had snow.  I say kinda because it was mixed with rain.  Not totally frozen.  Out at the store and running errands everyone was pooh-poohing the slush falling from the sky.  I know I am not the only one but I like snow.  I like winter.  I don't mind gray skies.  I know crazy me but honestly I have met a few kindred souls that don't mind it.  Years ago I wouldn't have said this.  I moved to Arizona.  Lived there for three years and that totally killed the need to have heat in my life all the time. 

Hutchinson Farm
It is a very nutty squash.

Pumpkin Coconut Curry
From Sunset October 2011

3 pounds of buttercup, butternut or pumpkin, skinned and chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 -2 green serrano chili
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vegetable or other unflavored oil
1 onion, chopped
1 cinnamon stick
20 curry leaves
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 can coconut milk
1 cup salted and raosted cashews

On parchment paper, place chopped squash.  Roast in the oven at 400F until golden.  This will take about 25 minutes. 

In a large, dry, frying pan toast the cumin seeds and curry leaves. Remove from pan and set aside.  Sauté onion in a tablespoon of oil.  Add the spices back and add coconut milk, cinnamon stick, chile and roasted squash.  Cook for about ten minutes.  Add cashews and lemon juice.  Serve over rice.
 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

School Lunch Idea

School lunch idea!

I am always looking for ideas for school lunches.  Don't my kids get sick of the same old thing all the time!

This one is easy.  In a bowl blend some cream cheese with green onions or chives.  Spread thinly on a piece of Krakow ham or Wegman's fat free ham, sliced a little thicker than their standard cut.  Roll it up, then slice into rounds.  Delicious!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Cowboy Cookies

Anything with a little coconut in it has a nice chew, with oatmeal- even better.  They are real delicious, lots of wonderful flavor.  You could add in nuts too but my one daughter is not so fond of nuts, so I left them out. 

I try to make things like this for my kids.  While it is a sweet, it also has some good qualities as well.  This way it is a bit of a step up from junk from the store.


COWBOY COOKIES

I used a cookie scoop and ended up with 70 cookies.

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup ground flaxseed meal
2 sticks (8 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large eggs
1 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut


Whisk together flour, flaxseed meal, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Place butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed, until butter and sugars are blended, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Add flour mixture to the bowl, and blend on low speed until the flour is just incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Gradually add oats, chocolate and coconut and mix on low speed until evenly combined. (Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, and then use your hands to turn and gently massage dough, to ensure all flour and added ingredients are absorbed.) Chill dough for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days.  

Preheat to 350°F.  

Using a cookie scoop, plunk them down in rounds on the cookie sheet.  If you like slightly flatten each cookie.

Bake cookies for about 12 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through cooking time, until they are lightly browned on the edges. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 3 to 4 minutes, and then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.



94 calories per cookie

Friday, October 31, 2014

Pumpkin Mochi Ice Cream

Hope you had a fun Halloween!

I saw these on the Trader Joe website.  I figured I would buy them since I was going there anyway.  I love mochi.  I love pumpkin.  Right up my alley.

These little morsels, I mean pretty little, are only 100 calories.  They are a little larger than a golf ball.  Soft and powdery outside with a bit of confectioners sugar.  Chewy around the outside with a ball of ice cream in the middle.  They are a pretty color of orange.

There is nothing overpowering about these little mochi balls,  Perfectly flavored, they are delicious.  Taking small bites and savoring their yummy goodness.  I really like them.  I also like the fact that I did not need to eat anymore.  Totally satisfied me.  Unlike ice cream sandwiches that I inevitably eat two.  Thats why I just don't keep those around.

I would totally buy them again for a treat!

Disclaimer:  I was not asked to review these nor was I paid anything for this review.  Totally unsolicited- just wanted to share with you.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Swedish School Bread




I would never have know about this recipe if it weren't for the Norway Pavillion in Epcot Center.  There it was looking all beautiful with its come hither look.  But my belly was full and I just couldn't see eating one more thing.  I WISH so much that I had come back the next day with an empty belly so I could have tried it.  No matter, I wrote it down and promised to look for the recipe when I returned home.  I did find it right away after the trip (The Disney Food Blog) and am actually just getting around to make it nearly one year later.  I hate making custard.  That has what put it off for me.  I am not really a fan of custard.

I made the recipe today and shiver me timbers it is totally wrong!  I am so glad I have some experience with bread.  Enough experience that I knew something was wrong with the picture.  First of all, 3 ounces of yeast is A LOT of yeast.  No bread calls for that much unless you have a TON of flour.  But this is a family sized recipe.  So, I tweaked it to .3 ounces- roughly a tablespoon.

The next part that was wrong was the water.  WAY too much.  2 pints is equal to a quart.  With 2 pounds of flour, that is way too much water.  Drown- the- yeast- and- the- flour- kinda- too much!  It's more like 2 cups (16 ounces) or one pint.  Everything else seemed right.

The custard from allears is also incorrect. Not enough corn starch.  I have included a way better custard recipe.

This reminds me of a sweet roll that you would have with dinner.  It is not a super sweet kind of affair.  Its is a great bread for after school to be sure.  It is a great bread with a cup of tea or coffee.  A fabulous bread!



Swedish School Bread also known as Skolbread

2 pounds flour
1 tablespoon yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cardamom
2 cups water, warm (not hot)
2 ounces or half a stick of butter

In a mixer or a bowl, combine flour, cardamom, sugar, yeast.  Melt butter and add it to the warm water.  Mix in the egg.  Pour liquid mixture into mixer or bowl and combine until fully incorporated.  Knead for five minutes.  Place in a clean bowl with a little oil in it.  Let rise for 45 minutes.  Cut dough into five ounce balls and fold in thirds a few times and pinch seam at bottom.  This will give you a round.  Let rise 30 minutes.

Bake at 375F for 10 to 15 minutes until golden.  Spoon glaze over and apread while warm.  Sprinkle on coconut if you like.  This is not authentic to skolbread but it is the way Disney does it.  Once that part is done you can stick a spoon into the bread and pipe the custard into the bun.

Glaze

1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1- 2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix until throughly combined and fairly thick.

Vanilla Pastry Cream
adapted from, The Sono Baking Company Cookbook
by John Barricelli

4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 vanilla bean pod and seeds (pods scraped and put aside)
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, half of the sugar, the cornstarch and 1/2 cup of the milk.  Set aside.

In a saucepan, combine the remaining sugar, the remaining milk, vanilla bean pod and the salt.  Bring to a boil.  Ladle the hot mixture very slowly into the egg mixture, whisking constantly so you don't cook the egg. Once you have mixed about two ladles full, you can pour the remaining mixture into the bowl, whisk to combine.  Pour back into sauce pan and return to the heat.  Bring to a boil, making sure the pastry filling thickens.  It may look clumpy.  If large clumps begin to form take off the heat and whisk briskly.  The mixture will smooth out.

Add the three tablespoons of butter to the pastry cream, whisking until fully incorporated.  Stir in the vanilla seeds.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Pumpkin Turkey Chili


I loved this dish.  Didn't even need cheese.  Super delicious.  Super satisfying.  I would say super light but that would imply to some people that it wasn't as good.  It really was.  I would so make it again.

One thing I do with my beans for soups and chilis is to mash them up.  Both m kids will pick the beans out. Even though in a spoonfull of chili you would not necessarily taste the bean...  I usually mash up two thirds of the beans.  A few in for looks and the mashed up ones to make sure I deliver some nutrition. Its not a sneaky thing, its just what I do.  Besides that mashed up beans makes the broth more gravy like and thick.  I always do it with minestrone and pasta fagioli.

Pumpkin Chili

3 cups roasted pumpkin (can totally use butternut squash or anyother kind of squash)
2 pounds ground turkey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, minced
1 can cannelloni beans
2 generous tablespoons chili
1 generous tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 roasted pablano chili (I freeze them in the summer but you could use the canned chilis)
1 tablespoon garlic
2 cups oven roasted tomatoes (so worth every moment of your time)
1 -12 ounce bottle of pumpkin ale (totally optional- it is good with and without)
water- as needed, will be thicker depending on what ingredients you use or dont use

Sauté onion in olive oil.  When the onions are translucent add the turkey. Break the turkey up as it goes. Let the turkey meat brown a little then add all of your other ingredients. Bring to a boil.  Cover and let simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes.  Flavors will be even better the next day.  Quite honestly, I make most of my chili's and soups the day before so everything has time to marry.




Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Peanut Butter Cookies; The No Flour Version


I found some motivational videos on You Tube this morning.  I love them.  I think I need to listen to them every morning.  A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.  How to get your butt going?  Maybe I should put it as my alarm setting.  A great video/message to wake up to! I included my two favorites to share with you.

The one far below is for women! The right below is for men and women alike.  Not necessarily for people who are going to be Olympic athletes or for the world changers, but even for the small goals in your life that you have not yet achieved.  For passing a math test, for getting a degree.  These videos are filled with a lot of physical things, but our goals are sometimes things we can not easily see.  What is your goal?



Peanut Butter Cookies

2 cups peanut butter
2 cups white sugar
2 egg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
In a medium bowl, stir peanut butter and sugar together until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the baking soda, salt, and vanilla. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place them 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. Press a criss-cross into the top using the back of a fork.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pumpkin Pie Bars

I was never a crust fan.  Never liked pie because of the crust.  I usually scrape my pumpkin pie off my crust as I eat.  I prefer it that way. 

My husband and I just love pumpkin pie. He wanted to bake something the other day.  Wait!  What did you say?  Yes, the man wanted to bake something.  Shiver me timbers I was all happy and excited, cheering him on.  He was going to put the mix in a casserole dish (I have definitely done that before).  But for some reason, it is not the same.  It comes out kind of funky textured.  I suggested the 9 x 13 with a cookie crust. I crushed them in a food processor and added a stick of butter, swirled it in and prebaked it for 10 minutes.  He did the rest.

I have to say we loved it, save for one thing.  He cut the sugar WAY back in the recipe.  I think he put like a 1/3 of a cup.  It was okay but it really could have done with a little more sugar to bring out the flavor.  I compensated with the whipped cream.
 
Pumpkin Pie Bars
Pie part of the recipe from Libby's - see there orginal pie recipe here.  I use their recipe every year for Thanksgiving!

Speculoos cookies (12 ounces) crushed
1 stick (4 ounces) butter, melted

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 can (12 fl. oz.) evaporated milk


Combine sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. In a separate, large bowl beat eggs. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk until combined.

Pour into prebaked crust in 9 x 13.

BAKE in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours.  Top with whipped cream before serving.And if you like, a little sprinkling of cinnamon sugar- especially if your husband put in WAY less sugar.

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