Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thanksgiving Vegetables

6 large cloves garlic, mashed and minced
2 tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. heavy cream
1/4 c. milk
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 tsp. cornstarch
3 cans of green beans, drained
Nature Seasons

Heat the butter in a skillet. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add the cream, milk, and the bouillon cube.

Mix the corn starch and enough water to take a thin paste. Add to the sauce in the pan. taste and season with Mortons Nature seasons. Add the green beans and heat through.

1 lb carrots. cut into 1 inch chunks and quartered
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp. granulated garlic
1 tsp. dried rosemary, chopped
2 chicken bouillon cubes, crushed
3 Tbsp freshly grated peccorino cheese
black pepper

Toss carrots with olive oil. Toss with remaining ingredients, except cheese, making sure to mix well. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes until starting to get tender. Toss again and drain any liquid on the bottom. Sprinkle with cheese and toss to coat. Turn heat to 400 and bake 30 minutes more until carrots are tender and starting to brown on the edges.

Caramelize onions (yes I love them and use them a lot)
Add several cans of corn towards the end and let them caramelize too. Season to taste with nature seasons.

Epilepsy Awareness

Dye your hair, paint your nails, whatever you want.

Go purple in November for Epilepsy Awareness

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Kids Halloween Costumes

The lovely Silvermist


Web slinging through Paris

With the Kingpin

She wanted to pose like her sister

And a couple more I took of myself before I figured out how to take the ones with the webcam

The skirt was the hang up, I wasn't sure what I was going to do with 3 hours and 500 other things to do. It a huge t-shirt. The weird bunches at the sides are the sleeves. But it was the right color and it all worked out in the end.

Happy Halloween

Spider Girl and Rita Skeeter

She wanted the spider on her face in the picture

Just cause I wanted to show the design of the sleeves. I didn't actually get the jacket for the costume, it just happened to be the right color as I was in Wal-mart three hours before our ward party and I got the idea.

I promise to post all the other pictures of the entire family tomorrow when I can bluetooth them to my lappy

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Favorite Pie

Red Bartlet pears are the best for this pie, though any very ripe pear will work.

I usually freeze my butter for about 10 minutes and use a cheese grater to grate it in when making my own pastry crust.

Look! Someone else made it too, see what they have to say...

4 c. peeled, diced ripe pears
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp. flour
1 c. sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
dash salt
1 unbaked 9-inch pastry shell

Crumb topping
1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. flour
1/4 c. butter

Combine sugar, egg, flour, sour cream, vanilla, and salt. Fold in pears. Spoon into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Combine all of the topping ingredients until well mixed. Sprinkle on top of pie; return to oven for 30 more minutes.

High altitude bake at 385

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin Biscuits

4 c. flour, plus more for kneading
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
dusting of nutmeg
dash cloves
2 sticks cold butter
1 (29 oz.) can pure pumpkin

Unwrap the sticks of butter and put in the freezer for about 4 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 425

Combine the flour, baking powder, brown sugar, and spices in a bowl. Take the butter out of the freezer and using the large side of a cheese grater, grate the butter into the flour mixture. Make sure you work really quickly with the butter or it will start to melt in your hand.

Stir in the pumpkin.

At this point the dough should still be quite sticky. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of flour over the top and dump out onto your kneading surface. Knead just enough to knead in the flour and make a dough that is just barely not sticky.

Beak the dough in half and flatten into 3/4 inch thickness. I used my hands for this but you can use a rolling pin. Cut the biscuits into whatever size circles you want and place on a wax paper lined baking sheet.

Bake for 10 - 12 until starting to turn golden on top.


Rosie said it looked like a twelve eyed monster with tons of legs

I cut them out really small, thats why they look almost round

4 c. flour, plus more for kneading
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
dusting of nutmeg
dash cloves
2 sticks cold butter
1 (29 oz.) can pure pumpkin

Unwrap the sticks of butter and put in the freezer for about 4 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 425

Combine the flour, baking powder, brown sugar, and spices in a bowl. Take the butter out of the freezer and using the large side of a cheese grater, grate the butter into the flour mixture. Make sure you work really quickly with the butter to it will start to melt in your hand.

Stir in the pumpkin.

At this point the dough should still be quite sticky. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of flour over the top and dump out onto your kneading surface. Knead just enough to knead in the flour and make a dough that is just barely not sticky.

Beak the dough in half and flatten into 3/4 inch thickness. I used my hands for this but you can use a rolling pin. Cut the biscuits into whatever size circles you want and place on a wax paper lined baking sheet.

Bake for 15 - 20 minutes until they are lighter in color and have risen a bit

Monday, October 25, 2010

Harira (Moroccan Lentil Stew)

Harira is a Moroccan stew traditionally made with lentils, garbanzo beans, and tomatoes. What else you add to it differs from family to family. Orzo is most commonly used, I just prefer the brown rice. Lamb is also traditional, but not very economical.

This is a great food storage/pantry staple recipe. Its mostly dried or canned ingredients. Dehydrated onions and celery work great in here.

The lemon juice (which I always keep a bottle of in my fridge) and the cilantro are the only exceptions. Cilantro is usually cheapest at Wal-mart. They sell it loose in the produce section for $0.88 a bundle. This is the one thing where fresh is important.

Dates are also usually added, a handful of chopped raisins work to, I usually leave them out though.

This is also one of Johns favorite meals

My camera phone doesn't do it justice. The stew is a rich golden red color.

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 can garbanzo beans
8 cups water
3 Knorr Vegetarian Vegetable bouillon cubes (chicken bouillon is really tasty here too)
1 tsp. Garlic powder
1/2 large bunch chopped fresh cilantro
Salt to taste
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 can tomatoes, undrained
2 Tbsp tomato paste
3/4 cup lentils
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp. each sweet paprika, turmeric, ground ginger, ground coriander
1/4 tsp. each ground nutmeg, black pepper
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
¾ cup brown rice

Heat the oil in a large pot until hot and add the onions and cook until tender.

Add all the remaining ingredients to the pot.

Simmer, stirring occasionally, 40 minutes, or until lentils and rice are both tender.

When tender remove from heat and serve.

It's a one pot meal (the best kind!)
Bit I still like to serve canned fruit with it.
Tonight's was frozen watermelon cubes.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Canned Green Beans

This is how I dress up canned green beans.

Really Good + Super Simple = My kinda recipe

I start the onions when I start dinner and they mostly just cook on their own while I take care of whatever else I am making that night.

Tonight was pork roast and gravy over spaetzle with these green beans but they also go great alongside beans and rice

They are also really tasty with crumbled bacon on top (what isn't?)

2 cans green beans, drained
1 medium onion, quartered and cut into large slices
3 Tbsp. butter
large pinch sugar
Mortons Nature Seasons

Saute the onions in the butter over medium heat until translucent. add the sugar and continue to cook, stirring, until onions are a deep golden color, stirring occasionally to keep from getting too dark in spots.

Add the green beans, and turn the heat up to high to cook off any liquid. Sprinkle with mortons seasoning and stir a few times to combine the onions, green beans, and seasoning. Cook an additional 5 minutes over medium heat to heat through.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pumpkin and Lots of Other Stuff Muffins

Apples are great in this, as is the chocolate, I just don't like the two flavors together so I do one or the other. Raisins, coconut or nuts would also be great in the batter.

I really recommend the almond milk for these, it really makes a difference, but if you dont want to use it milk subs great. Because the milk I originally made these with was sweetend vanilla almond milk if you don't use it add 1/3 cup white sugar or 2 Tbsp agave and a tsp of vanilla extract.

Don't chop the chocolate too fine, large chucks are great in these muffins

Pumpkin and Stuff Muffins

2 c. flour
1 c. packed brown sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp salt (scant)
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 egg, lightly beaten
1 can pumpkin
1/2 c. sweetened vanilla almond milk (regular works fine too just add an additional 1/3 c. white sugar)
1/2 c. canola oil
1 c. old-fashioned oats
1 large carrot, grated
6 oz. dark chocolate, chopped OR 1 apple peeled and grated

In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Combine the egg, pumpkin, milk and oil; add to the dry ingredients just until moistened. Stir in oats and carrots. Stir in chocolate.

Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Purple Hair

In support of Epilepsy Awareness Month in November

The color is a lot more vibrant than it appears in the picture, its not silvery, its very purple. There are streaks all through it too, you just can't see them in the picture.

Pumpkin Day

Last night the girls went and picked out their pumpkins and today we carved them.

Miriams Cat Pumpkin

Lily's Ghosts

Rosie just wanted a Big Smile

Then we roasted the pumpkin seeds

To roast your own rinse pumpkin seeds under cold water and pick out the pulp and strings. (This is easiest just after you've removed the seeds from the pumpkin, before the pulp has dried.)

Drain in a colander to remove excess water. Toss with just enough oil to coat and lightly salt. Roast at 450 about 25 minutes, stirring half way through, until light golden brown in spots. Remove from the over and stir again. Allow to cool and enjoy.

If you let them cook too long and they turn dark they will taste like burnt kale chips. Not tasty.

And ended with pumpkin soup for dinner

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
One can pure pumpkin puree (15 ounces)
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Salt to taste
4 Beef bouillon cubes
6 cups water
2 cans black beans (15 ounces), undrained (I sometimes use pinto)
1 can corn, drained, or 1 c. frozen
1/4 c. uncooked grain (rice, barley, quinoa, whatever)
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. Taco Bell Taco Sauce (Or about 4 packets

Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream

Heat olive oil. Add onion and cook until onion is translucent. Add apple and cook slowly over medium heat until starting to brown a bit and is looking tender all the way through. Add the garlic and cook JUST until fragrant and then immediately add liquid. Water and then bouillon cubes.

Add the cumin, cinnamon, black pepper, corn, beans, pumpkin, and grain.

Simmer until grain is tender. Stir in taco sauce and lemon juice. This is also really good if you reduce the liquid (and beef cubes) to 1 cup and serve it as a sauce over rice.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Perfect French Country Cooking

A friend loaned me a neat looking cook book yesterday . First off I have to say I love the way DK publishing not only has a picture of every recipe, they also have step-by-step pictures as well.

That being said, there where three recipes that stood out the most to me.

Pork Chops with Mustard Sauce

Zucchini Tian

Snow Eggs

The first is pretty descriptive, Pork Chops in a Dijon sauce. The recipe also includes bacon and bouquet garni so those flavors are there too.

The Tian is basically pan seared zucchini baked with cooked rice, eggs, parmesan cheese.

And last but not least the snow eggs. Eggs whites and sugar whipped into a meringue, poached, and served with a tasty sauce. The French Cookbook poaches them in water and then serves them with vanilla custard and caramel sauce. Martha Stewart poaches them in milk and serves them with raspberry sauce.

There where lots more interesting recipe, those are just the ones that I plan on making soon, the mustard pork chops for John especially.

And in other news (and other country) I went with a friend to the Greek Festival in Savannah today. It was pretty small, with only a few vendors, though TONS of people. The food was amazingly good. We got pastitsio, spanakopita, gyros with tzatziki, loukoumades, Koulourakia, and of course Baklava.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Thanksgiving Balls

I saw a recipe a long time ago that looked pretty good, I think on TV, though at this point I can't actually remember where, for Thanksgiving Meatballs. It was a combination of stuffing, poultry seasoning and, and ground turkey. I just removed the meat from the equation. While my version was not vegetarian they are certainly very adaptable with very minor substitutions.

The stove top brand stuffing isn't vegetarian so make sure whatever brand you buy is if you don't consume meat.

1 large carrot, chopped pretty fine but not as small as grating it
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
4 Tbsp. butter
1 box. Stovetop Savory Herb Stuffing
2 chicken bouillon cubes (Or imitation)
1/3 c. red lentils
1 can garbanzo beans
splash milk
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
dash black pepper

Combine lentils, 1 chicken bouillon cube and 2 cups water. Simmer until lentils are very tender. Drain any excess liquid.

Melt butter in a large skillet. Add the carrots and saute over medium high heat until the are starting to brown a little. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring until the onion is tender making sure not to let the onion burn. Add 1 1/4 cup water and 1 chicken bouillon cube. Bring to a boil, add the stuffing mix, cover and remove from heat. Let sit 5 minutes.

Drain the garbanzo beans, Remove 1/4 of the can and puree with a splash of milk. Lightly mas the remaining beans to break up into smaller pieces but not made a paste.

Combine the cooked lentils, stuffing, pureed beans, mashed beans, eggs, and seasoning. Form into meatball sized balls and bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 2o minutes, turn over and bake an additional 10 minutes. Serve with Gravy

Onion Gravy
4 Tbsp butter
1 large onion, sliced
1/4 c. flour
2 c. chicken broth (OR imitation vegetarian bouillon cubes dissolved in boiling water first)
dash black pepper
3 Tbsp. heavy cream

Saute onions in butter until translucent. Turn heat to medium and continue cooking 20 minutes more, stirring occasionally until golden brown. Add the flour and cook 2 minutes more. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and black pepper and cook and stirring until combine and thick. Whisk in the cream and and heat through

Blueberry Cresent Rolls

As adapted from Kraft Magazine

2 pkg. (8 oz.) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 (8-oz. pkg.) Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 c. sugar
splash vanilla extract
1 c. blueberries, divided

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Unroll dough into eight rectangles (four per package); firmly press perforations together to seal.
Combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla; spread onto dough rectangles to within 1/2 inch of edges. Top evenly with blueberries. Bring opposite corners of rectangles together; press together to seal. Place on ungreased baking sheet.
Bake 11 to 13 min. or until golden brown.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Eggplant Parmesan

I went to Savannah for the day to run a few errands. One of which took me into the Fresh Market, A kinda upscale specialty grocery store. On a side note, they have a fairly decent bakery section too, thought their cakes are as bad as every other grocery store with the lard frosting to match. They do make a nice strawberry rhubarb pie, John and I's favorite. Anyway, I saw a box of eggplant cutlets in the freezer section that just seemed to be begging me to take them home and make them my dinner. So I did. I was not disappointed in the slightest.

They. Where. GOOD!

I made myself a very tasty plate of Eggplant Parmesan. The sauce went perfectly with them, great tomato taste and not too many herb to overpower the taste of the eggplant (a whole lot of garlic though!)

I found I needed to bake them longer than the box called for but other than that just make according to package directions and serve over pasta with tomato sauce and a dusting of freshly grated Pecorino Romano.

My box contained 7 large pieces

My Sauce recipe:
1 can diced tomatoes
Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
1 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 beef bouillon cube

Drain tomatoes and squeeze out the excess liquid. Puree and combine with remaining ingredients. Simmer while the eggplant is cooking, about 20 minutes.

This is so fast to put together, two pots, on to simmer the sauce (which requires very little prep work) and another to cook the pasta in. Then just bake the eggplant (it doesn't leave a mess on the pan that is hard to get off either) and then PRESTO (PASTA NIGHT) you have dinner!

Thanks Helen of Fuss Free Flavors for hosting!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Chickenless Chickenish Stew

A tasty version that is cheaper, faster, and easier than regular stew. I used bacon drippings instead of olive oil when I made it the second time. It was quite tasty and very hearty.

Any type of bean really would work in here, the garbanzo are just a better color for chicken. Try adding beef broth and using kidney beans for beefy stew, just skip the cream soup and use Steak Seasoning in place of the chicken.

1/2 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, sliced
2 carrots, cut into coins
olive oil
1 can garbanzo beans, drained (White beans work too but have more of a bean taste)
1 can corn, drained
1 c. frozen peas
1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted (Or other cream soup that's vegetarian)
5 c. water
3 chicken bouillon cubes (Vegetarian imitation works just fine, still has the taste)
3 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/2 tsp. McCormick Rotisserie style chicken seasoning
Large dash black pepper
1/4 c. flour

Saute onion and celery in oil until starting to get tender. Add carrots and saute 4 or 5 minutes more. Add water, chicken cubes, soup, corn, peas, beans, potatoes, and seasonings. Simmer until potatoes are tender. Mix flour and enough cold water together to form a thin paste. Stir that into the hot stew and cook, stirring, until thickened. 

Update - You can replace the cream soup with 1/2 c. milk with equally, if not more so, delicious results. 

The two different pictures are from different batches of stew on different nights. You can see I make it quite often.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mint Cream Pie

We used to spend most holidays at my maternal grandparents house in Maryland. And my Grandpa always made Rum Creme Pie. I don't drink rum, or even like how it tastes (except Fannie May Egg Nog creams), so I changed the pie up a bit.

First I made it with maple. I made a crust out of the maple leaf shaped maple cream filled cookies you get at the dollar store. BTW I love those cookies. Then I used real maple extract and I think maybe some vanilla in the filling. It was really tasty.

Then I made the cream filling with just vanilla as the flavor and folded in fresh strawberries, and raspberries.

That was so good I made the filling lemon and folded in blueberries.

You get the idea. It's very versatile. So be creative. But wait, I have one more. I think it's the best one yet. It even won the Pioneer Day Pie Bake Off in my ward. Though in all fairness this year I made three out of the four pies being judged.

Mint Cream Pie

6 egg yolks
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 (.25 ounce) packages unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups heavy cream
2 drops Peppermint oil
peppermint extract to taste
green food coloring (optional)
1 c. crushed mint chocolates (York pieces, Mint M&M's, andes mints, mini chocolate chip)

Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until they are light and fluffy and kinda a pale yellow color.

In a saucepan, soak the gelatin in water until the gelatin is no longer opaque. Bring to a boil.

Slowly beat the hot gelatin into the egg mixture. Set aside

Whip the cream until still peaks form, add peppermint oil and the peppermint mint extract to taste and food coloring to desired shade.

Fold the mint flavored whipped cream into the egg mixture. I found a hand whisk was the best for that. Don't use an electric mixture, it will break down the whipped cream and leave you with a runny mess.

Fold in chocolate candy. Chill mixture until it is firm enough to keep a bit of shape. Spoon filling into pie shells. Serve after chilling for several hours.

This is good in a baked chocolate oreo crust or a regular pastry crust with a chocolate layer spread in the bottom. When the pastry comes out of the oven I just sprinkle it with chocolate chips and let it sit for a while. When they are melted I spread them out.

It makes either two flat pies or one really heaped up pie. I use the latter. The pie pictured above is only half of the filling. I used the other half in individual mini tarts with the same oreo crust. It made about 8.

You can eat it like it is or if you wanna get fancy and garnish it I would use whipped cream or Swiss buttercream pipes and more crushed chocolate candies, crushed or mini oreos, chocolate curls or a dusting of cocoa powder.

Some other ideas I though up that look good are

Coconut - add a dash of coconut and vanilla extract in and fold in flaked coconut

Egg nog - Fold nutmeg and vanilla into the egg filling

I love caramel, though I am not sure what I would add to it to make it that flavor. Maybe Italian soda syrup as the flavoring? And then fold in some caramel ice cream topping just enough so that it swirls in but not mixes in fully? Maybe with some honey roasted cashews too...

Anyway, experiment, have fun, and let me know what you come up with