Monday, December 31, 2007

i promise. it's not your food.

The other night I made Southwest Chicken Soup from Real Simple magazine. It was really good, not a whole lot different from the White Chili recipe from Simply Recipes. It seriously just took a few minutes to make. I highly recommend this recipe.


Anyway, HF sat down to eat and ate a bowl of this soup and an orange and just when he took his last bite of orange, he gagged, leaned over the bowl and threw up in his bowl. Immediately, he looks up at me and Daisy, who are staring on in shock, and says, "I promise it's not your food. It's me." Then he proceeded to continue to gag and dry heave and/or vomit into his bowl at the dinner table. It was totally weird. Finally, I said, "Could you finish doing this in the bathroom?" Once I got over being really weirded out/worried, I thought it was hilarious. He has quite a history of vomiting/gagging. I've chronicled many of those stories here before. The best was when we were at someone's house. They aren't the cleanest people. HF was having a hard time eating with ease and when he began sipping water out of his glass, he saw what appeared to be dirt at the bottom of the glass. He set the glass down, excused himself to the bathroom in a hurry, and dry heaved in the bathroom for a few minutes and then came back out as though nothing had happened at all.

What's wrong with my poor husband?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Saturday, December 22, 2007

if I were santa. . .

i would want:

Peppermint Bark Chocolate Cookies from Simply Recipes. In this recipe is a link to make the peppermint bark. I would have to agree with using high quality white chocolate (Wilton's melting discs or chips or other nice white chocolate) . The cheapo almond bark, or whatever that plasticy packaged stuff at Walmart was, not good at all.

What are you leaving out for Santa?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

smilebox

I've been wanting to compile recipes that my kids love or ones that I would want them to have into a kid-friendly family cookbook. I saw in October 2007's Family Fun Magazine an idea at smilebox.com. You can put your recipes onto their recipe format and add a picture and print them out at whatever size you want. I thought they were pretty cute. Then you can slide them into a sheet protector and put them in a binder and the kids can look through their family recipes, choose what they want by seeing the pictures, etc. There's a lot you can do with it. So, that's one of my little experiments in the previous post. There's some annoying music that accompanies your design, but you can turn it off. Does anyone else know of a cool way to compile recipes like this for kids? Any ideas? Any websites you know of? Do you like this idea?

more christmas candy making

Click to play fudge
Create your own postcard - Powered by Smilebox
Make a postcard!

Friday, November 30, 2007

caramel pecan logs

I didn't purposefully have Mary from the Nativity set up like that. HF thought I was being sacrilegious. Anyway, this lovely candy pictured above is what we call a Caramel Pecan Log. We make them every Christmas and give them to people. They are seriously so delicious and addicting. I have also noticed that if we give them to people that might be expecting lavish gifts from us, one of these usually does the trick and they don't remember that we didn't spend all kinds of money on them for Christmas, but gave them this really unique and utterly delcious treat that they will always remember. So basically, it gets us out of the dog house with HF's family at Christmastime.

I'm calling it a family recipe. I know that my mom and her side of the family have been making these. It seems like many people haven't heard of them. Maybe it's a western thing. I don't know, but our family has always made these it seems. The white inside is a fondant. A creamy, smooth, buttery, sugary fondant. Wrapped around the fondant is homemade caramel sprinkled with pecans. I don't like pecans, or nuts in general, but I will eat them in this without hesitation. I'm telling you, if you make this for people, it will impress them and they will ask for more or for the recipe. You won't hear the end of it. These are awesome. They make great gifts for co-workers, bosses, teachers, friends, enemies, anyone. My mom made them for our school teachers every year. I was totally teacher's pet. These can be a bit tricky to make, but totally worth the effort.

caramel pecan logs

make caramel:
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup Karo syrup
2 sticks butter
1 can Eagle brand milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cook caramel to firm ball stage. You can test this with candy thermometer, or the water method. Pour onto large cookie sheet covered with chopped pecans. When cool, cut into rectangles that will fit over fondant when rolled.

make fondant:
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 stick butter
1 1/2 teaspoon Karo syrup
1 cup cream
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine all ingredients except vanilla in heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil. DO NOT STIR. Cook to between soft and firm ball. Remove and let cool until able to handle (110°). Beat until changes color and becomes fudge-like (loses its gloss). Add vanilla. Knead until smooth on buttered board. Mold into 6 log shapes (6-8 inches long, or whatever your preference is). Refrigerate fondant logs until chilled/firm. Place in the center of a caramel rectangle and roll and shape caramel completely around fondant until covered. Then wrap in wax paper and gift with additional wrapping paper wrapped around wax paper. May keep refrigerated. To serve, just unwrap, and slice into wheels.

Thanks mom, for helping me make these this year after Thanksgiving. She did most of the work. I had to keep leaving and throwing up. I don't really know why, but seems to happen on Thanksgiving every year, before even eating. I think it's the handling of the raw Turkey.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

lemon blossoms

image: bella-note.com

A few weeks ago, some single guys that live a few doors down from us, brought us over some tasty little treats. One of them said they were called "Lemon Blossoms". I tried to convince HF to go over and ask them for the recipe, but he would not do it. I now see how un-manly that would be, but I didn't want to do it. Finally, I called them and asked for the recipe, and one guy, Chris, told it to me from memory. I had to ask him if he really made them himself, or if someone else, like some girlfriends, did it for them, but he was pretty proud of himself and his accomplishment-as he should be. He told me exactly how to make them, what he does differently from the recipe, and that they are better the second day. I must say I was pretty impressed. Maybe because I've never met any men that know how to cook anything other than hot dogs. Anyway, these lemon blossoms are so good! And so easy to make! I did find out that it's actually a Paula Deen recipe and not Chris's, my bachelor neighbor's original, as I think he wanted me to believe.


Make these babies, they are so good. And I did like my neighbor said for the glaze: 3 cups powdered sugar instead of 4, and a tad bit more water. It was more glaze-like, which is better than frosting-like. I think he also left out the lemon zest, but I wouldn't do that. And you have to make them as mini cupcakes. I tried mini loafs and it just didn't work. I think they were really meant to be miniature.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

worst meal EVER

I love to cook. I love trying new things all the time. When HF and I were dating, I was made aware that he was not accustomed to homemade foods so much. He ate a lot of boxed foods and processed foods growing up, so I was excited to introduce him to an exciting new world of real food. And I thought it couldn't hurt to further dazzle him with some more of my mad skillz.


Using the ingredients I had on hand, I decided to make him some kind of a crustless quiche. This is the first meal ever I made for him other than a sandwich. I'd never made this before, or any time since then. I followed the instructions precisely, poured everything into a cheap metal-like baking dish and stuck it in the oven. When it was ready, I served HF a nice giant slice of this quiche, and waited for his reaction. He didn't swoon or make any pleased sounds like Bob on What About Bob. In fact, I couldn't read his expression at all. He was expressionless. After he ate the entire serving, and helped himself to another, I asked him to be honest and tell me what he thought. He was quiet for a while then he said, hesitantly, "It was really, really bad." I was shocked. So I tried some. And you know what it tasted like? METAL. I don't know what kind of flimsy metal pan this was, or if it was even metal at all, but it's like the cheap metal coating had baked into the eggs. It was like eating pure metal . It was so bad I gagged and spit it out and somehow he had managed to eat his hefty portion of it just to please me. I told him never to do that and to always tell me what he thinks. It was so gross, but it further proved to me how kind and considerate he was.

I can only think of a couple other times where he was pretty grossed out by my food. I made cream of caulifower soup. He has issues with cauliflower not remaining in its original form. If I hadn't told him it was cauliflower he would've gladly eaten it, thinking it was potato or something. The other was a roast. I don't know what his deal is. He's like the only guy that doesn't like roasts.

I have a friend who made french toast for her husband. This was the first time he tried some of her cooking. Instead of sprinkling cinnamon on it, she unknowingly sprinkled cayenne pepper. He thought it was some kind of a joke, but he ate ever single last bite and didn't mention it to her for a long time. She had no idea that it wasn't cinnamon.

What's the first thing you ever made for your spouse? How did it go? If it went over well, have you made anything that was disgusting?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

halloween menu ideas

Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana in bread bowls shaped and colored like pumpkins. Or maybe Papa Murphy's jack-o-lantern pizza. I've tried a lot of different zuppa toscana recipes and this one was the best.

Double Layer Pumpkin Pie

Maybe churros with hot chocolate after trick or treating?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

creepy things

I've never really been into Halloween decorating or celebrating, but Daisy LOVES all things creepy and scary and has talked about Halloween for the last year. Seriously nonstop, so it's been a blast finding things that we can make or do. The images are mostly from Woman's Day special interest magazine, "Halloween Celebrations" or from assorted Martha Stewart Halloween magazines I have. If you have any fun Halloween ideas or traditions, I'd love to hear about them. I thought these were the funniest werewolf cupcakes. I've seen some really scary ones, but these just looks so goofy and hairy and adorable. Who could resiste a werewolf cupcake like this? Have you seen Martha Stewart's amazing creepcakes? I think they first debuted in 2004 or 2005. They are amazing. She does all kinds. Aliens, spiders, brains, mummies, skeletons. Maybe next year. . .

hag bags from woman's day

Daisy calls these "gross" bags, but she loves them anyway. All you do is buy those cheapish stretchy gloves in whatever colors you want and decorate them with painted press-on nails. With strong fabric glue, attach some wide black grosgrain ribbon for the handle, and a strip of marabou or feather boa for the cuff. The fingers and hands are lumpy from being filled with candy. Fun little craft for little people.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

food finds

snackie cakes at Chow. Their link to Pimp that Snack is kind of funny.

Chicken Chile Verde also found at Chow.

Make your own grape juice at Simply Recipes. I've always wanted to do this!

Mom's (Not my mom's) Peanut Butter Cookies from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody. I made these. They stay soft. They are really good!

Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cupcakes also at Culinary Concoctions. Have I mentioned that I LOVE peanut butter? I think Ganache looks fun to frost with.

Eggs Benedict at Pioneer Woman Cooks. I've never had eggs benedict, but I know Jake would love me more if I made this. I can't do raw egg. And I didn't know that Holondaise sauce had raw egg. I think I could change it to more of an egg mcmuffin with cooked white sauce on it for the rest of us? I don't know.

Also at the Pioneer Woman Cooks, a glorified grilled cheese on rye. Looks pretty good to me. I love the pictures she takes for her food blog and her regular blog. Farm pictures. I want a farm but I don't want to clean up the poo.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

mystery of the day

I kind of have a weird hobby that no one knows about. I like to go to old used bookstores and get really old recipe books from long ago, or from church organizations, family cookbooks, you name it. I don't really know why. Anyway, this recipe is from a book I got called Recipes With A History from the Mason Street School in San Diego.

Elephant Stew

1 medium elephant
2 rabbits
Flour
salt and pepper
water

Cut elephant meat into bite-size pieces (this will take 2 months). Flour the pieces; salt and pepper to taste and water to make brown gravy. Cook over kerosene fire for about 4 weeks, 450°. This serves 3,812 persons. If more expected, add the rabbits (only if necessary, however, as most people don't like to find hare in their stew).

????

After I got over my initial confusion, the first thing I thought was that some nerd cook included this recipe for a "chuckle". They could've at least put it in a "food humor" section of the cookbook so people like me wouldn't be so weirded out and confused. Does anyone think this is funny? Maybe I'll start putting it in to a group recipe compilation every time I have the opportunity.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

tuesday treats

photo: muginohousa.com

If you live anywhere near a beard papa's (Los Angeles), go and see what it's all about then tell me. If you can't get to a beard papa's, make your own.
angel cloud cream puffs at land o' lakes
cream puffs with pastry cream at cream puffs in venice
Other tasty treat finds:
key lime pie cupcakes at culinary concoctions by peabody. I want these right now.

Friday, September 7, 2007

ice cream

[photo]: recipes.howstuffworks.com
I can't find our ice cream machine. And there's never a better time than summer time to make homemade ice cream. One of the best presents I got for our wedding was an ice cream maker and the recipe for peppermint ice cream. So good.

My mom only made a citrus one that had pineapple chunks and various juices in it and I remember gagging whenever I tried it. So I am excited to find ones that I do love.

Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream from Simply Recipes. I LOVE the fact that she uses mint leaves to flavor the ice cream and not the artificial flavoring. Makes such a difference in the taste. She also has a link at the end of the recipe to make ice cream without using a machine. Tips from a chocolate/dessert pro, David Lebovitz. He also has some amazing dessert recipes on his site as well like Salted Butter Caramel ice cream. Pretty cool stuff.

Ice cream in a bag at Kaboose. Fun for kids to make.

Fresh Strawberry ice cream at the food network. I like that this uses a vanilla bean. Another taste difference that I appreciate.

Vanilla Bean ice cream and Chocolate ice cream from the food network.

And from my husband cooks, Blackberry ice cream and Uneven Pavement ice cream.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

num nums

You know what I've been wanting for a while now? Chocolate Zuchini Bread or cake from Simply Recipes.

Other tasty-looking chocolate zuchini bread or cake recipes:

Also from Simply Recipes Cranberry Limeade. This looks so good. I love cranberry juice or pretty much anything else with cranberry. I'll be making this this weekend I think.

One of my very favorite treats to eat are churros. i love these crunchy cinnamony things. I always get one when i'm at Costco. A couple of years ago I got an excellent churro recipe from martha stewart, but I can't find it right now. So here's a few recipes that looks pretty good.

churros con chocolate- this one's from Spain

Does anyone remember ever drinking Original New York Seltzer (ONYS)? i loved this stuff when I was little and I found a case at Big Lots the other day. There's no sugar, 5 calories, and it's mostly salt. HaHa.

Has anyone tried the Elvis version of the Recess Peanut Butter and Banana butter cups? We got some yesterday and I still can't decide if I like them or not. The banana part reminds me of banana laffy taffy.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

eat

Simply Lemonade: the best lemonade ever (next to homemade)
Have you tried it? It's so good! We've been pouring it over shaved ice. I tell ya, the shaved ice maker is like the best purchase we ever made.






Make your own fruit leather from martha stewart. In September's issue of Martha Stewart Living, she has a recipe for Cranberry-Apple fruit leather. You purée together apples, cranberries, apple juice, lemon juice, and a little honey and sugar. I like this idea because you can do it yourself and you don't have to have any special equipment, it's a mostly healthy snack, and it can be cut, wrapped and refrigerated for a month. We get our kids the Stretch Island fruit leather at costco, but I like that I can do it myself and who knows if 100% fruit really means 100% fruit. I'm sick of things that say 100% natural with "other natural flavors". What are the "other natural flavors"?



Make your own Tamales. Traditionally they are made for holidays and special ocassions, but they're good anytime! There are so many different ways to make these. I've made sweet tamales before with pineapple and I don't like them nearly as much as the savory ones filled with chicken or pork. Here are some links to some good recipes. my hot tamale, tamara's tamales, all recipes, simply recipes, delicious days.



Laptop Lunchboxes. I need to get some of these. HF said he would use one for work and I know it would be great for the kids. The website shows all the different products and has some good links. This is a great little product. I wonder if they are cheaper on ebay. I love bento boxes and this is one that HF wouldn't be embarrased to use.

I'm not vegan, but I have family members who are and at first they used to make stuff that would make you gag. My sister-in-law that used to feed us alphalpha, has gotten really good at making some tasty vegan meals, so we're not so opposed to trying things out anymore. I remember one of my brothers, without much tact saying, "Isn't this what horses eat?! You're feeding us horse food!" You can find a lot of recipes online. You can even make some awesome vegan desserts. One vegan blog that I look at sometimes are the recipes from the Vegan Lunch Box, Shmooed Food. She made vegan twinkies. Not that the real twinkies are all that great, but if you want one, here's a healthier alternative. Some other good vegan recipes can be found at Dreena's vegan recipes.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

preheat to 350°

Maybe I'm an idiot, but did you know that you can make the degree symbol (°) by holding down Alt and typing 0176? I've always wondered how they do that. Now I know! I found a site that tells you how to do that and also how to do other things. I guess it's all cooking related, but I still thought it was pretty cool.

biscuits 'n gravy

I'm not really a fan of biscuits and gravy, but my family makes a version of this recipe that I make every now and then. Maybe it's an acquired taste, but so far everyone who's had it likes it. It consists of baking powder biscuits, a white sauce and hard-cooked eggs. It is totally unlike the traditional recipe that has sausage in the gravy. My great grandparents that were from Arkansas were making this, so I guess it's southern in a sense. For the biscuits, you can use any kind; buttermilk, baking powder, store-bought. I like to keep things simple. There's a super easy recipe for basic biscuits at cooking for engineers. It uses butter instead of shortening. Before cutting the butter into the flour, a good trick is to freeze your butter then grate it into the flour muxture using a cheese grater. You can also do this when making pie crust. This recipe is also very good on toast.

biscuits 'n gravy

1. prepare and bake your favorite biscuit recipe
2. make hard-cooked eggs (from BH&G New Cookbook):
  • 4 eggs
  • cold water

Place eggs in a single layer in a medium saucepan. Add enough cold water to come 1 inch above the eggs. Bring to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat so water is just below simmering. Cover and cook for 15 minutes; drain.

Run cold water over the eggs or place them in ice water till cool enough to handle; drain.

To peel eggs, gently tap each egg on the countertop. Roll the egg between the palms of your hands. Peel off eggshell, starting at the large end.

3. Prepare white sauce (also from BH&G New Cookbook):

  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Dash pepper
  • ¾ cup milk

In a snall saucepan melt butter. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. (use a heavy saucepan and a wooden spoon. Cook and stir flour and seasonings into melted butter over low heat until evenly combined, making a roux). After the butter and four mixture are combined with no lumps, stir in milk all at once. Cook and stir constantly over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir one minute more. Makes ¾ cup. You may want to double this recipe.

4. To serve, slice hard-cooked eggs into white sauce and gently stir until eggs are covered/combined with white sauce. Cut biscuits open length-wise in half and place side by side on a plate. Pour egg and sauce mixture over biscuits halves. Serve immediately. Best while hot and fresh.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

cinnamon rolls

image taken from wikipedia
My mom has a really good cinnamon roll recipe, but it's such a pain to make. So, I've got Lea's fool-proof and easy cinnamon roll recipe right here. They are so easy and fantastic!

Lea's Cinnamon Rolls

mix and let sit for 10 minutes:
1 ¾ cup warm water
3/8 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons yeast

add to mixture in order given:
½ Tablespoon salt (I like Kosher)
2 beaten eggs
2 ½ cups flour
½ cup oil
2 ¾ cup more flour

You will also need:
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
cinnamon
1-1 ½ sticks of softened butter
1 package white chocolate chips (optional)
1 package chocolate chips (optional)

* i'm just a sugar, cinnamon, and butter kind of gal. I've never done the chips.

Mix and knead dough for 5 minutes. Divide in half and roll out one of the halves using flour into a rectangle shape. Spread on softened butter, being somewhat generous. Sprinkle on cinnamon as desired. Add brown and white sugars mixed together over the entire surface. Spread out chocolate chips evenly over surface, if desired, as much as you want. Roll up tightly, making 1 roll and pinch dough together to close off top portion. Cut with sawing motion into pieces about 1½ - 2” wide. Place on cookie sheet. After 10-15 minutes place into oven preheated to 375°. Bake for 10-20 minutes or until light brown. Repeat process with other half of dough.

frosting:
8 oz. softened cream cheese
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 Tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 ½ cups powdered sugar

Friday, July 13, 2007

friday food finds

Carrot Cake Cookie Sandwiches from Milk and Cookies.

Also from Milk and Cookies, Asparagus and Parmesan Cigars.

I've never been able to make good chocolate chip cookies. I've tried so many recipes but have never found "the one". I have learned that I prefer them thick, soft, and more cake-like as opposed to flat and chewy. I was happy to find yesterday in the August issue of Martha Stewart Living, a recipe for Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies. This recipe calls for sour cream to make them soft. AND finally a recipe that doesn't call for walnuts! I can't stand walnuts or pecans in recipes. Not even pecan pie. Am I the only person that hates Pecan Pie?!

SOFT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
PREP TIME: 20 MIN. TOTAL TIME: 35 MIN.
MAKES ABOUT 2 DOZEN

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon coarse salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons sour cream
¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips
¾ cup milk-chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. Beat butter and sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add four mixture in 2 batches, alternating with sour cream, and beat until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips by hand. Cover, freeze for 10 minutes.
2. Using a 1 ½-inch ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment, spacing about 2 inches apart. Flatten slightly. Bake until centers are set and cookies are a pale golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes.


Friday, July 6, 2007

cookies

Have you ever watched Dinner & a Movie on TBS? One time they showed Troop Beverly Hills and made 9021 Oatmeal Cookies. We are making these tonight, but we probably won't watch Troop Beverly Hills. I love the name of these cookies. And I love using steel-cut oats.

Heath Bar Cookies from Simply Recipes. Yum.

World Peace Cookies and Sables from cupcakes and carpools. These look really good.

Sugar Cookies from Tangled and True. I like soft sugar cookies with or without the frosting. The secret to soft sugar cookies is. . . sour cream.

Café Rio recipes

Sweet Pork
3 lb. picnic pork roast
1 cup Salsa (any kind you want)
1 ¼ cup brown sugar

Cook in crockpot on low for 8 hours then add another ½ cup brown sugar and 1 tsp chili powder to pork. Shred the pork and cook for another hour. The pulled pork will soak up a lot of the juice, but you still want some juice to keep the pork moist. You can turn the crock pot on high for the last hour and it will cook a little faster. You will probably only need to cook it for another 30- 45 mins if you turn it on high. I use less sugar than this.

Lime Cilantro Rice
1 cup uncooked rice
1 tsp butter or margarine
2 gloves of garlic
1 tsp lime zest
1 can chicken broth
¼ cup of water

Cook rice with above ingredients. You can add all these ingredients to a rice cooker and it will cook great. If you are cooking on the stove, boil and then cover and cook for 20 mins on medium heat. Once the rice is done, add the below ingredients:
2 TBS lime juice
2 TBS sugar
3 TBS chopped cilantro

Black Beans
2 cloves of garlic (you can use minced garlic as well)
1 tsp cumin
2 TBS olive oil
1 can of black beans
1/3 cup tomato juice
½ tsp salt
2 TBS chopped fresh cilantro (add this right before serving)

Cook all the above ingredients together until beans are warm. Add the cilantro right before serving.

Tomatillo Dressing
Juice from 2 limes
1 cup sour cream
½ envelope of fiesta ranch dressing mix
1 envelope regular ranch dressing mix
1 glove garlic (or minced garlic)
6 tomatillos, husked and cut in half
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Husk tomatillos and rinse in cold water cut in half. Put the first 6 ingredients in a blender, in order. Blend until smooth then add the cilantro and blend. If you would like the dressing thicker you can add some cream cheese. Here's another variation I found for the dressing: 1 1/3 cups sour cream, 3/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 bunch of cilantro, 1 package ranch dressing mix, 4 tbsp. salsa verde (green salsa), 2 cloves of garlic, 1/8 tsp. Tabasco sauce, juice of one lime. Mix together in the blender... and that's it!

Corn Tortilla Strips
Corn tortillas
Olive oil spray

Cut tortillas into thin strips, just like Café Rio. Lightly spray with olive oil and then place on an un-greased cookie sheet. Broil on Hi turning the tortillas strips every couple of minutes. Cook until golden brown. I think it takes about 10 minutes.

Fresh Tortillas
I buy the fresh tortillas at Costco and cook them. I sprinkle grated cheese on them while they are still hot. You can also roll this up in a burrito style. If Costco doesn’t have the tortillas you can buy fresh tortillas at most any Mexican restaurant. Or you could always make your own.

Serve this all together as a salad, or rolled up as a burrito, or in tacos. This feeds a large group, so you can adjust quantities, or freeze leftover meat.

peabody's culinary concoctions

A food blog that I check periodicaly is Culinary Concoctions by Peabody. And yes, her name is actually Peabody. I was happy to see today that she has a few things that I would love to try. #1 being her Real Honest Purist’s Bagels. I've never made my own bagels before, and these look just as good as Einsteins, don't you think? I also like that you can use malt syrup and honey in place of the sugar in the recipe. I'm all about finding natural substitutions whenever possible.

Flaky Apple Turnovers would've been a really cool Independence Day dessert, but since we were hanging out with a certain family that doesn't eat anything not derived straight from the earth, we were out of luck with having dessert during the festivities. I think Peabody went to French pastry school, so the stuff she makes is totally beautiful. What's so cool about this recipe is she gives you the recipe to make your own puff pastry.

Gateau Basque. I'm not one for fruit in my dessert other than apple pie, but this is something I would totally eat. For this recipe, you can leave the rum out, obviously, or the substitution for light rum is to use pineapple juice flavored with almond extract. Check out this list of alcohol substitutions.

I have been looking for years it seems for a good chicken salad recipe. I like the one at Costco that has celery in it. I don't mind grapes, but I don't like much of anything else in it like nuts (cashews are okay), or cranberries, or pineapple bits. Does anyone have a good recipe for that? All the ones I seem to make end up tasting like Dookie. I've also had a good one with rice and almonds in it before. Possible winners?: Chicken salad at allrecipes.com. Maybe this could be a basic salad that you can add all the other stuff to like grapes? green onions?

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

fly-off-the-plate pancakes

photo: consumerist.com

You know what the secret ingredient is to great pancakes? It's sour cream. These pancakes are a family recipe that everyone loves.

Fly-Off-The-Plate Pancakes
1 cup flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
2 1/2 Tbsp. sour cream (we like Daisy. It's close to natural)
2 Tbsp. butter, melted

Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Mix rest of ingredients with a wire whisk until frothy; add to dry mixture, stirring just until smooth. Lightly grease griddle. For each pancake, pour 1/4 cup batter onto hot (375 deg.) surface. Cook pancakes until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked; turn. Serve with butter and syrup or honey, or your favorite jam if desired. Makes about 1 dozen.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

homemade salsa

I don't like to eat my vegetables. I can eat the vegie tray-type vegetables with ease, but when it comes to things like salsa with the chunks of peppers, onions, and tomatoes, it kind of makes me want to gag. Recently I had this epiphany. I only want to gag when I eat vegetables from a jar of salsa like Pace or what have you. But I can clean a bowl of blended, less chunky salsa made fresh at a restaurant for example. So I went to one of my favorite food sites, Simply Recipes to find a salsa recipe that I thought looked good. I found Fresh Tomato Salsa. What I did differently is I added everything to a food processor and pulsed it so it was mostly blended smooth, but not runny and pasty. I added the cilantro last and then pulsed it a couple of times so that it was blended nicely with the rest of the salsa. I added a little bit of garlic and left out the optional cumin or oregano, although the oregano would probably be pretty good. If you don't want it to be so hot, you can leave the serrano pepper out and just add another jalapeno pepper or even a green pepper. I think I also added an extra tomato or two. If your is too pasty, try adding a little bit of water, but the lime juice should be plenty.

It turned out really good! Eat with tortilla chips, or serve with your meals. It's good with almost anything. Really. If you have any good homemade salsa recipes, let me know. I think it would be cool to can my own. I'm not sure if it's vinegar or what, that makes it last on the shelf.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

sweet 'n spicy cream cheese spread


Peachy Cream Cheese Jalapeño Spread
1/4 cup peach or apricot preserves
1/2 red jalapeño chile, seeded, finely chopped
1/2 green jalapeño chile, seeded, finely chopped
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, cut in half
Assorted crackers (we like Breton or other similar type)

1. In a small bowl, mix preserves and chiles. On small serving plate, place blocks of cream cheese. Spoon preserves mixture over cheese.
2. Serve with crackers or cocktail bread.

notes:

when dicing the peppers, it's a good idea to use food handler gloves to keep the juice and seeds off your skin. It will inevitably end up in your eyes or on your mouth, burning for days. Seriously. I'm Speaking from experience.

You can use one whole red or one whole green chile, but the combination is real perty.

The remaining chiles will keep for several days in the fridge.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

ideas for chicken

3 from simply recipes:
Chipotle Grilled Chicken with Avocado Sandwich (we were in a hurry and we used a rotisserie chicken with little seasoning and it was still great. We also used french hamburger buns and toasted them in the toaster. The whole sandwich was ready in 5 minutes or less.)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

summertime eats


It's very exciting to me to have summertime here. I like to pretend that I'm living in California again and if I concentrate really hard, sometimes I think I even smell the ocean. So we are taking advantage of the summer like never before. Lots of picnics, grilling, playing outside, swimming, and pretty much anything that has to do with the outdoors. HF even has poison oak right now! Poor guy is itchy and blistery and is now taking some kind of a steroid. Poison Oak is a not-so-good thing about Summertime, but this is my new favorite time of the year for sure. I could definitely do without snow. On today's menu.

Nacho Libre-style corn at Chow.com. I never thought about using the husk as a handle. Pretty smart. Rolling it in the Cotija cheese isn't absolutely necessary, but a good 'n tasty idea.
*(note added later: I would only use 1/4 tsp. of cayenne, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. of the salt, and half the garlic it calls for. It was pretty over-powering. Otherwise it was totally delicious)

Elote is the official name for the nacho libre-style corn. Here's a recipe from allrecipes.com
Sirloin Tip steak with yummy marinade that I posted previously. Tasty stuff.

Mini sweet peppers from Costco pictured above. I'd like more recipes to make with these, so if you know of any, please let me know. For now, we are eating them raw with ranch dip.

Fresh, ripe cantoloupe. Choosing, and storing melon at HGTV.

Thinking about making Strawberry Freezer Jam. I've never done anything like that before but I would like to. I've never even made homemade bread. (everytime my mom hear's me say that, she practically kills over, doesn't think she raised me right). I want to fill cute mini jars and containers, maybe give them as gifts. On the hunt for a healthy recipe. Every recipe I find has SO MUCH sugar. Suggestions and recipes welcome! One idea: Freezer Jam for Frances at Familyfun.com

Saturday, May 19, 2007

food for thought

*photo: neo-enchiladas suizas from Chow.com

Neo-Enchiladas Suizas from Chow. These look so good and I love the idea of it being kind of like a burrito and an enchilada. I guess it would be like a smothered burrito.

Can you tell I like Mexican food? Gosh-darned Chicken Quesadillas from my husband cooks. Pretty much anything with avocado in it is worth trying I think.

Strawberry Milk from simply recipes.

Lemon Pound Cake from a cheeky blog. This looks really delicious and so easy to make.

Kid-Friendly wraps from Simply Recipes. There are so many variations to these recipes. I think we've all had the wagonwheels or pinwheels at a relief society function, but for kids, all you need are a couple of items rolled up inside and they are happy. Sometimes we do a thin layer of cream cheese with turkey and thinly-sliced cucumber. Do you have any other wrap ideas for kids?

Have you ever had the black and white cookie? It's the much beloved east-coast cookie. Well I haven't, but I'd like to. HF grew up eating them, and his mom raves about them. What's the big fuss? I'm curious. HF is supposed to bring me back some black and white cookies from his trip, but if he doesn't, I may be tempted to have them delivered from a New York City bakery, even if it costs $49.00!? Maybe I will have to make my own from a recipe found at epicurious. Then HF can tell me if it's identical or not to his precious New York cookie.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

meat marinade

I don't remember where I got this, but it is a fabulous marinade for steak or other meat. We use it for steaks or kabobs. It's simple and quick to throw together. We grilled for our very first time on Saturday. We feel pretty cool. Since this is a new venture for us and we plan on doing it often, I picked up How To Grill Everything by Steven Raichlen. I've watched his cooking show a few times and am amazed at what he can do with a grill. Basically, you can grill anything and everything. The big debate was choosing if we wanted to get a charcoal or a gas grill. We both decided on charcoal because of the supposed taste, and we both have a fear of blowing ourselves up with the propane tank. (And don't forget about HF's fear of jump-starting a car in the rain.) It took us a million years to figure out how to use it and then to cook our food, but we did it! Anyway, here's the marinade recipe. We call it Yummy Marinade.

2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger, or 1 tsp. ground
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. hot red pepper flakes.

Mix all ingredients together then place in gallon zip-lock bag. Add meat and let marinate for desired amount of time, turning over once halfway through time to allow marinade to coat all sides of meat.

Happy grilling!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

room for dessert?

This chocolate eclair dessert from allrecipes.com was pretty tasty, surprisingly. Everyone loved it and wanted more. We found that the longer you let it refrigerate, the better it tastes. The graham crackers get soft and it actually tastes more eclaire-like. Also, you could make this with chocolate pudding or chocolate graham crackers. If you're like me and think that frosting is yucky, you can leave it off. Kids can help make it as well. Daisy had fun helping me.

I also made my sister's turkey and green chile enchiladas (posted below). They were fabulous! I used chicken in place of turkey. HF took one pan to work with him and it was a hit, so if you are interested, my sister would love more feedback.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

another recipe roundup

Asparagus Parmesan from allrecipes.com.

Cranberry Orange Cookies from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody.

Croque Monsieur Ham and Cheese Sandwich (or a "Mister Crunchy") from simply recipes.

Cream Cheese Mints from Sunshine Creations.

And if you are feeling very adventurous, my sister is submitting an original recipe to a magazine, and needs people to test it. I'm going to do it this week, I just haven't been in the mood for it. You are more than welcome to try it and give feedback if you'd like. I'm going to be using chicken in place of the turkey, I think.

GREEN CHILE TURKEY ENCHILADAS
Ingredients
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1- 4 ounce can Ortega fire roasted, diced green chiles
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 cups diced, cooked turkey
1- 8 ounce package Kraft 1/3 less fat cream cheese (room temperature)
1- 28 ounce can Las Palmas Green Chile Enchilada Sauce
24 corn tortillas
1 cup grated pepper jack cheese
1 ½ cups Kraft 2% milk shredded cheese (cheddar)

Makes 2- 9x13 pans, 12 enchiladas in each pan
Serves 12 – 2 enchiladas per person

In a large skillet, on medium/high heat, sauté chopped onions in the 2 Tbsp. olive oil. When onions are soft and begin to brown, add the can of green chiles, and the tsp. of cumin. Stir together and reduce heat to low. Add diced turkey, and stir. Continue to heat, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, ⅓ cup of the enchilada sauce, and the onion/meat mixture. Mix well.

Prepare 9x13 pans by coating each pan with ⅓ cup of the enchilada sauce.

Heat tortillas in a skillet on medium heat, turning often, until warm and softened. Fill each tortilla with 2 even Tbsp. filling, roll and place seam down in pan, 12 enchiladas to a pan. Top each pan of enchiladas with 1 ¼ cup sauce, spreading to cover the tops of all the enchiladas. Top each pan with ½ cup pepper jack and ¾ cup Kraft cheese.

Bake at 350° for 20 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted. Serve with sour cream and green salad.

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Monday, April 9, 2007

meat, Easter, See's, and orange rolls

My parents showed up most unexpectedly on Easter and brought with them a 10 pound pork roast. They expected me to know what to do with it. I didn't know what to do with it. And I didn't want anything to do with it. I have an aversion to meat, maybe you remember my Thanksgiving turkey experience, so the sight of it (raw) pretty much makes me weak in the knees or queasy in the tummy. I think it mostly started when I was pregnant with Luke. I was outside of a teacher resource store on State Street. Just as I was parking, a dirty pickup truck pulled up in front of me, the driver got out and opened up his tail gate and the shell of the back of his truck. Inside were the bodies and dismembered heads of pigs. They were dirty and there were lots of flies swarming about. I hobbled unevenly to the store I was going in, trying to forget what I had just seen. I also assumed, since they were most likely delivering them to the little restaurant/market next door, that the truck would be unloaded and gone by the time I left the store which was about an hour later. Nope. The truck was still there along with the contents.

Anyway, back to Easter. We tried multiple pots, finally borrowing a giant crockpot from the neighbors to cook our meat. Daisy was hopped up on jelly beans, I found an Easter craft about the resurrection for DaisyI like from a homeschool website lovetolearn.net and we had a nice, semi-chaotic dinner a few hours later. (Thanks for all the comments/ideas on the Easter traditions by the way. Lots to think about) My mom got me one of those giant See's Easter eggs I was talking about filled with See's marshmallow and walnuts. I have to say, I ate the whole thing today, and I'm feeling a bit foggy now as the sugar high is letting down. But I'd do it again. So coming up, we've got our anniversary, Mother's Day, what else. These are days I can use as an excuse to get more See's chocolates. I love that stuff. And I love that only old ladies work there and they wear vintage retail outfits. It's kind of a weird place. It's like hospital meets old-time malt/candy shoppe.

Here's an easy and tasty recipe for orange rolls we made on Sunday. It's from the Essential Mormon Celebrations cookbook by Julie Badger Jensen. That's right, you heard me correctly. Essential Mormon Celebrations cookbook.

ORANGE ROLLS
½ cup butter, melted
½ cup sugar
1 orange peel, grated
18 Rhodes frozen dinner rolls
1 recipe Orange Glaze

Combine melted butter, sugar, and grated orange peel in a bowl. Dip rolls in mixture and place in greased muffin tins. Allow to rise for 4 hours. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Frost with Orange Glaze while still warm. Makes 18 rolls.

ORANGE GLAZE
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons orange juice

Thursday, April 5, 2007

coconut cravings

I feel like we have to bake things with coconut in them at Easter time.

We made chewy coconut cookies from allrecipes.com. They were really good I thought, but would be even better if we had dipped them halfway in some melted chocolate. So after trying these, I thought they weren't coconutty enough for my current craving, so I think we will try these next from epicurious.com.

Other coconutty options:

bills coconut bread from the baking sheet

coconut cheesecake from my husband cooks. This looks awesome! And they used girl scout cookie crust.

Also from my husband cooks, just because they look so good, blueberry and meyer lemon cupcakes

Anyone have any good recipes using coconut? I'm going to need them.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

it tickles the cockles in me heart. . .

I was once at a church where an Irish lady got up and said tearfully, "It tickles the cockles in me 'eart to have me family here." We've been saying "it tickles the cockles in me heart" ever since.

In honor of St. Patty's day, this is our menu for that day:

From Simply Recipes, Corned Beef and Cabbage (or New England Boiled Dinner as the site says) which may or may not have Irish roots.

Irish Soda Bread from Food Network. Simply Recipes also has a good recipe, except I think we will leave any currants out of ours.

Strawberry and Apple Crumble from Food Network or I may just go with something more kid-like, like a shamrock shaped somethin'-or-other.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

things to try

Check this out from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody. I'll be adding this thing to my "things to eat that taste like snickers" list.

Also, from Simply Recipes, Seville Orangeade. This looks so good, especially with the warm weather finally making its way here.

Wanting avocado egg rolls. This is a copy cat recipe from The Cheesecake Factory. I haven't tried those. What I really want is California Pizza Kitchen's Avocado Club egg rolls. Those are to die for. But there isn't a recipe for them anywhere. I do know what's inside them, so I may be attempting to make them this week. It's avocado, chicken, bacon, monterey jack cheese, tomatoes, and that's about it. We'll see how it goes. I need a deep fryer. We don't fry stuff very often, but when we do, I'm always thinking how convenient that would be.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

some cool finds

wrist pin chushions at My Little Mochi. I'm not a crafter, and I don't even know how to sew on a button really, but I want to and I try! These don't look hard to make. Maybe I'll give it a try sometime. I'm not not really a save the world earth girl type either, but I get excited about finding uses for trash and other things.

swatch portraits from the purl bee. I just bought a couple of items from this online store for a gift and they have some cool stuff once again if you are a person who sews, which I would like to be! (i need to get a sewing machine. i think jake actually wants one more than i do however). I like the idea of doing something like this for either a craft room or a child's room. This is what Soule Mama's turned out like (you'll have to scroll down a bit).

I want to make a space boy and robot from wee wonderfuls. She sells the patterns/tutorials. I'm wondering if this takes some advanced sewing skills. Like maybe i need to start with learning to sew on a button and work my way up. Aren't those cool stuffed toys though?!

souffles at culinary concoctions by peabody. I would probably prefer a sweet souffle. This one has an interesting ingredient list and is a savory souffle, but it turned out beautiful and looks very tasty just as well. And holy cow, look at what she made with girl scout cookies. I would like to eat that right now.

People do some cool things.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Indian food


We seem to go in waves of wanting and making Indian food all the time to wanting nothing to do with it at all. I guess we get our fix and then we are good for quite a while. When I was 12, my parents bought a house that was previously owned by an Indian family. I remember when we were unpacking the kitchen, there was this odor that made me want to gag. We had no idea what it was. We would try to pinpoint it. "It's like honey mixed with soy sauce and spices". It was a distinct smell. In the last several years as my tastebuds have changed, I discovered the joys of cooking my own Indian food. We have a tasty Indian restaurant here called Bombay House. Anyway, I went to an International market to get Indian ingredients and I smelled this scent from this house we had lived in so long ago. I was sniffing like a dog on all the packaging until I found it. It was fenugreek seeds. They have quite an odor, except this time, I found it sweet, exotic and it was cool to experience the whole "the smell took me back in time to another place". That house will probably always smell of fenugreek seeds and other Indian spices no matter who lives there. Amazing stuff.

We tried Chicken in a Cashew Nut Sauce with some friends before they moved away to Arizona. I think we were all quite pleased. This recipe is from one of those Barnes and Noble or Borders $5.00 cookbooks. They are actually really good books. We have Indian, Healthy Indian Cooking, and Best-Ever Curry Cookbook.

Chicken in a Cashew Nut Sauce
2 medium onions
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/3 cup cashew nuts
1½ tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. garlic pulp
1 tsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
¼ tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. natural (plain) low-fat yogurt
2 Tbsp. corn oil
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
1 Tbsp. sultanas (golden raisins)
3¼ cups chicken, skinned, boned and cubed
2½ cups button mushrooms (we leave these out)
1¼ cups water
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)

Cut onions into quarters and place in a blender or food processor. Process for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste, nuts, garam masala, garlic, chili powder, lemon juice, turmeric, salt and yogurt to the processed onions. Process all the ingredients for a further 1-1½ minutes. In a saucepan, heat the oil, lower the heat to medium and pour in the spice mixture from the food processor. Fry for about 2 minutes, lowering the heat if necessary. Add the fresh cilantro, raisins, and chicken and continue to stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, pour in the water and bring to a simmer. Cover the saucepan and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes. After this time, check to see that the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thick. Cook for a little longer if necessary. Serve garnished with chopped fresh cilantro.

We tried this recipe once with the mushrooms and once without. We definitely like it without. I like mushrooms, but for some reason, the mushrooms just tasted really bad to us in this recipe.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

revolting recipes

much to our delight, we found these three cookbooks at the library a couple of days ago. Daisy can't stop looking through them. The first thing she wants to make is Strawberry-Flavored Chocolate-Coated Fudge from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In the description it says, "Makes enough for 10 greedy children". She adores Roald Dahl stories just like her mother.


Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook. Includes recipes such as Yots in Pots, Schlottz's Knots, Who-Roast-Beast, Moose Juice and Goose Juice and much much more.

Roald Dahl's Revolting Recipes. This book features recipes based on the names given food from many of his books such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr. Fox, the BFG and many others. For example, from James and the Giant Peach, he included the recipe for Crispy Wasp Stings on a Piece of Buttered Toast, which is basically carmelized shredded coconut piled on top of buttered cinnamon-sprinkled toast.

Roald Dahl's Even More Revolting Recipes. Pretty much disgusting. I love Quentin Blake's illustrations. Quentin Blake authored a few cute books himself. My favorite is Zagazoo. It's out of print now. We have it at our library, otherwise you have to buy it of Amazon or something. Which I might do.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

scrambled dogs and guckempuckie


I love cookbooks. Especially the family cookbooks or church cookbooks. One Christmas I received the above pictured family cookbook from my mom's side of the family. The title is enough to make anyone's stomach churn. Scrambled Dogs, Guckempuckie & Other Gourmet Favorites. I don't care who you are, or how boring cookbooks are to you, with a title like that you've got to be curious. Unfortunately, scrambled dogs is nothing more than chopped hot dogs topped with mustard, ketchup, pickles, oyster crackers, and chili piled on top of an open hot dog bun. That's still a scary thing to eat, but nothing like the name suggests. This would be a recipe from my great-grandmother's collection. In her notes it said "for a busy day". I'm thinking that's still doing too much work for a busy day. Why not mac and chesse, or baked potatoes?

Now Guckempuckie is a name my grandfather gave to a meal he made up as a young, single man. It consists of hamburger, onions, pork & beans and ketchup. Not that exotic as the name suggests, but still not something you should eat really.

I guess I love family cookbooks because it tells a story of where I came from and what I have to pass on. Tasty or not, these recipes show personalities. My grandpa's sense of humor with the guckempuckie, "that one cousin" that only submits awful recipes because she is a bad cook and everyone knows it, the food we've been eating at family get-togethers since before I can remember, and the pictures old and recent. I adore this book.

Now church cookbooks are another story. These crack me up because there are always a few ladies that submit recipes that make you scratch your head. This has been a question long on my mind and I have to ask. Why do some people insist on passing on to future generations of women things like, frog eye salad, jello with vegetables in it, spiced tang, almond punch, pineapple drop cookies, and other mysterious atrocities. Not to sound snobby, but I don't know people that eat or make these things. And I'm not sure if the women submitting these recipes have themselves either. They just pass them on because at some point frog eye salad became "churchy" or something. I can't imagine whipping up some frog eye salad for someone who is new in the neighborhood or not feeling well. "Made ya some frog-eye salad. Hope ya like it." This person might get the idea that you wish they never moved in down the street at all and you have every intention of letting it be known. I have no idea, but I thoroughly enjoy seeing what turns up in these books.

Every now and then I get curious about these undesirable recipes or we are given some of this food by people and I think, "Maybe. Just maybe these nasty ingredients combined will create an amazing taste combination. . . " Nope. Never. And this is coming from someone who was fed jello at least once a week with "something" inside it. My mom laughs about it now, but she has this jello cookbook from the 60's that she used in college and every now and then she would put something in jello for us that didn't belong. We never liked it unless it was bananas. This book is the only thing I want my mom to leave to me when she passes away. Oh, and the grand piano too. My friend Atalie's grandma brings green jello with shredded carrots in it to Easter dinner every year. Sometimes this green jello has been known to have hot dog slices in it instead of carrots. Not a substitution I would think of, but hey, if you are going to put carrots in jello, you're probably capable of anything.

Monday, February 26, 2007

zuppa toscana

We made The Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana this last week. It was super delicious. Daisy calls it Dinosaur soup. I think that's what we'll call it from here on out. It was really easy to make. There are so many variations of this recipe online. Here is the one we followed. It makes a lot. We had leftovers for a couple of days. I would probably half the recipe next time. We didn't use garlic or bacon this time, but I probably would when I make it again.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

treats to try

Cranberry Bliss Bars at My Little Mochi.

Also at My Little Mochi, before winter is up, these snowmen cookies.

In other finds, Amber at myaimistrue.com put together some awesome LOST party food for the re-beginning of the season. Such a cool idea. You'll have to scroll down a bit to see it, but my favorite are the LOST cakes. I want to know where she got the little airplanes and trees.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

a recipe

Fruited Irish Oatmeal

steel-cut oats cooked in a crockpot with apple juice, maple syrup, cinnamon, and dried fruit
serves 8

5 cups water
2 cups Irish steel-cut oats
1 cup apple juice
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup dried apricots, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt

In a 3 1/2 quart or bigger crockpot, combine all the ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours. Serve with milk, brown sugar, honey, nuts, or whatever else you prefer on your oatmeal. You can use any dried fruit combination, and you can also leave the fruit out. Delicious stuff.

This recipe is from a crockpot (allstars?) magazine from 2003, I think. I got it from my sister.
I've got it cooking right now so I can eat it right before bed. I can't wait. I wish it would hurry up already.

Monday, January 22, 2007

ain't nothin' like the real thing, baby


This is one of my favorite scenes from Groundhog Day where Phil is repeating the same day over and over and he stops caring about everything and even tries to kill himself many times. Rita meets him at this diner where he is stuffing himself with just about everything possible-pancakes, pastries, milkshakes, donuts, coffee, etc.

RITA: Don't you worry about Cholesterol, Lung cancer, love handles?
PHIL: I don't worry about anything anymore.
RITA: What makes you so special? Everyone worries.
PHIL: That's exactly what makes me so special. I don't even have to floss.

After trying various sugar substitutes, I've decided that you can't really replace the real thing. With years of sugar-tasting experience under my belt, I can't pretend to be satistfied with "just as good as the real thing and better for you" gimmicks. Sometimes honey does a pretty good job, but not in cookies. We haven't cooked with sugar for a couple weeks now, and I'm finding myself wanting to eat the brown sugar straight out of the bag. So I would say sugar is definitely an addiction, what do you think?

Monday, January 15, 2007

junk food we're eating

Muddy Buddies CHEX mix. Good stuff, but if you eat too much of it, your tongue will hurt a bit.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

What we've been eating

Steel-cut oats (from Posie gets Cozy) for breakfast one morning. Except we did ours in the crockpot overnight and added all kinds of dried fruits like cherries, assorted raisins, cranberries, etc. and added honey and rice milk instead of sugar and milk. Really delicious.

White Chili from Simply Recipes . This was really excellent. We put green onions, guacamole, sour cream and crushed tortilla chips on top. I could eat this everyday for the rest of my life and be happy. Also from Simply Recipes, Perfect Guacamole.


This is how our chili looked when we were finished. Buenisimo! We've made it twice in less than a week.


Tuesday, January 9, 2007

frog eye salad


Another creation that baffles me. We received some of the leftovers from a party last night. Honestly, it's not that bad, but I really want to know who comes up with these things! Although it's at just about every church gathering, I don't think it originates here. I would like to think so, but it doesn't. So if anyone knows the origins of this salad and of the gift of the magi bread, I would love to know. This "salad" includes marshmallows, cool whip, coconut, pineapple, mandarin oranges, optional maraschino cherries, and pasta called "acine de pepe". A lot of people believe that it's tapioca pudding and not this pasta that give this dish its famous tecture. This pasta, mixed with the other ingredients gives the appearance of frog eyes. I remember being told as a child, "Eat this salad. It's got frog eyes in it. You see?" My mom meant it to be fun, but my older siblings and father had me believing for years that it was really indeed frog eyes. So maybe that has something to do with my distate of this salad, or maybe it's the fact that all these ingredients really don't belong together in my opinion. Whatever the reason, it goes into my "bizarre recipes" collection. There are more to come, you can be sure of it. Or maybe I should do a piece on maraschino cherries and the places they don't belong. Hmm. Oh, and don't think you were leaving empty handed. I've got the recipe right here.