Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cranberry Walnut Bread

Just because it's been more than a month since we've posted on here, and I've been meaning to make this for more than a month now-- I love fresh cranberries in baked goods...


Cranberry walnut bread (I doubled this recipe to make two loaves)

2 to 2 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 c. chopped walnuts
1 c. whole raw cranberries
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
Hot water
1 tbsp. grated fresh orange peel
1/2 c. orange juice
1 lg. egg, slightly beaten

Heat oven to 325°F. Grease 9"x5"x3" loaf pan.

Sift flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and soda in large bowl. Combine walnuts with cranberries in a small bowl; take 1/2 cup of the flour mixture and toss is with cranberries and walnuts. Put oil in a measuring cup; fill with hot water to measure 3/4 cup. Mix oil, water with orange peel and juice. Stir into flour mixture with egg. Mix just enough to moisten the dry ingredients. If batter seems too thin, your flour may have been stored under humid conditions; use the larger flour measurement.

Gently stir in the cranberry-walnut mixture. Put in pan. Bake 1 hour or until done.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Black Bean Cakes

As our kitchens become more crowded our postings are become fewer and fewer! But, here my latest freezer-friendly recipe that I adapted for my meal exchange group:

1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained.
1 egg, beaten
1 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cxup shredded Mexican cheese blend
2 TBSP chili powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tspt ground cumin
2 TBSP olive oil

In a small bowl, mash beans. Add the egg, carrots, bread crumbs, cheese, chili powder, salt, baking powder, and cumin. Mix well. Shape into six patties; brush both sides with oil. Place on a baking sheet.

Broil 3-4 in. from the heat for 3-4 minutes on each side. Serve with fresh salsa. Yum!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

toasted pumpkin seeds

I usually toast the pumpkin seeds from our carved Jack-o-lanterns, but this year, I tried this recipe, which calls for boiling the seeds in salt before toasting. Added a nice lightly-salted flavor. I love the smell of the whole process- so fall.

Monday, October 26, 2009

pumpkin cheesecake

Made this pumpkin cheesecake last night (I got the link from Simply Serina- thanks!). I cheated and made up my own directions for part of it mostly because I don't yet own a springform pan, and started making it too late in the evening to acquire one. But it still turned out delicious. And since the pan I used was considerably smaller than a 9-inch springform, we have a bunch of the filling left over in the fridge-- enough to make a second small one in the next couple of days.
I didn't used to care for cheesecake, but now it's one of my favorite desserts- as well as anything with pumpkin. And it's much easier to make than I anticipated, so I'll be buying a springform pan or two to make them the proper way in the future.
This stevia sweetened pumpkin pudding is next on my bake list.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

eating for fall

Autumn is probably my favorite for in-season recipes. We've been out-of town for a while and have just been negligent of both blogs lately, but I have a slew of fall-foods on our calendar. Last night, we enjoyed our first pumpkin soup of the season- one of my favorites- served with Parmesan cous-cous and broccoli with cheese sauce- and apple crisp for dessert. Tonight, we had gingered kale and tofu over brown rice and green salad with pears (both recipes from Simply in Season). That was one delicious meal.
I'm glad we don't live closer to Whole Foods. The kids and I went there today after the Toy Lending Library- also in shadyside, and that place is hard to get out of. We ended up going through the line twice. My list was only a quarter crossed off though, because they're so pricey on most things. I'm looking forward to a bigger garden next year.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Greek Kale Salad

From my CSA listserve... Many thanks to Tana Comer of Eaton's Creek Organics in Joelton, TN forsending us the following recipe. We love kale, but had never tried itlike this, and had a hard time imagining how it would taste. It'sgood! This would be a good recipe for people who haven't yet fallen inlove with kale. The strong flavors of the feta and olives, combinedwith the acid of the lemon juice, set the kale's flavor to thebackground. We recommend dressing this salad immediately before serving, as wefound the flavors to dull considerably after a few hours. *

2 bunches of kale, large stems discarded*
2 whole-wheat pita breads*
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1/4 t. crushed red pepper
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, cut lengthwise into silvers
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (2/3 cup)

1. Preheat oven to 400. In a large pot of boiling water, cook kale leaves until just tender; 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under coldwater to cool. Transfer the kale to a clean kitchen towel and squeezedry. Fluff up the leaves, coarsely chop them and transfer to a largebowl. 2. Brush both sides of the pita breads with olive oil and bake forabout 8 minutes, or until crisp. Cut the pita into wedges. 3. In a small bowl, combine the 1/4 cup of olive oil with the lemonjuice and crushed red pepper and season with salt and pepper. Add the grape tomatoes, olives and crumbled feta to the kale and toss. Add thedressing and toss to coat. Serve the kale salad with the toasted pitawedges.

(Disclaimer--I haven't tried this yet myself, but I'm always looking for new ways to use kale. And I'm a sucker for anything involving olives!)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Curried tofu with pineapples

Jack ate all of his, with minor protest, and Abigail kept asking for "Mo'"- of everything. Not bad.

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 (15-ounce) package reduced-fat firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 (15 1/4-ounce) can pineapple chunks in juice, drained
1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu, and sprinkle with salt. Cook 8 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove from pan; keep warm.

Add coconut milk and curry powder to pan, and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add crushed red pepper, pineapple, and bell pepper; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in tofu. Sprinkle with basil.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Exchanging Meals

Two things I have found common in Grand Rapids kitchens: "freezer meals" and "meal exchange meals". It seems very popular here to cook in larger batches and freeze the meals for later. Saves on the prep and clean up time as well as fewer groceries to buy at one time and potentially cheaper if you buy in bulk. I had no idea there were so many cookbooks on the subjet! (FYI, uncooked potatoes do not freeze well but almost everything else does!). I also recently joined a meal exchange group (mainly made-up of moms from my MOPS group) that incorporates freezer meals. Here's how it works:

On the first Tuesday of every month, the seven of us meet to review recipies, decide on next month's menus and swap frozen meals. We take notes on how our families received the most recent meals and whether or not we should bring back certain recipies. Each person then brings two or three recipe suggestions and we choose one for that person to make 7 batches of for the next meeting. We all bring our coolers to both hand out our meals from the last month and receive everyone else's.

Sometime that month, each of us independetly cooks 7 batches of our chosen recipie (one for each member), planning for approximately 4 servings in each batch. If meat is involved, we plan about 1 lb. per batch. We also include labels, thawing and serving instructions on each package. We freeze each batch in freezer bags before the meeting.

We then have seven good-sized meals to choose from during the month, and especially with toddler-appetites we usually have leftovers. This greatly reduces the time needed during the busy (and chaotic) before-dinner hour.

Potential drawbacks: not everyone likes the same food, obviously. The nature of the group does expect that people will be open to trying new things. But we do have some general guidelines including no seafood, beans, or certain vegetables. Thankfully, no one involved has allergies. Also, I think we tend to eat healthier than many of the families involved--but that's where the recipe choice discussion at the meeting comes in. I'm learning to politely steer others away from choosing recipies with processed foods, but I'm one of the newest members so I'm also still learning the groove of the group. So we're still trying things out to see if this will be a long-term option for our family. Now does anyone have any good freezer meal suggestions?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Breads from the past

I'm cleaning out my other blog-- here was a recipe post I found, and I thought it belonged here instead of there, for when I'm searching them out in the future.

We've been in a bread-making craze lately. Here are three really yummy recipes we made in the bread machine in the past two days (all for 1 1/2 lb loaves on basic white cycle).

Ginger Pumpkin Bread

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg
2 TBSP margerine or butter, cut up
3 cups bread flour
1 TBSP brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp active dry yeast
2 TBSP fnely chopped crystallized ginger

Oatmeal Applesauce Bread

3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice (we used cider)
1/2 cup applesauce
1 TBSP margerine or butter
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup regular or quick cooking rolled oats
1 TBSP brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp apple pie spice (we just used some cinnamon and nutmeg)
1 tsp active dry yeast

Poppy Seed Tea Bread (I realized at 10pm, while I was adding ingredients that we were out of poppy seeds, but it was still very good without)

2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup dairy sour cream
1 egg
3 cups bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 TBSP poppy seed
1 TBSP finely shredded lemon peel
3/4 tsp salt1 tsp active dry yeast

Monday, August 24, 2009

(Yellow) Bruschetta

We now have handfuls of tomatoes turning ripe every day, and seeing as I am the only one in this house who can appreciate the savory fruit, I've been making lots of bruschetta. I LOVE it. This year's gardening (my first attempt) was very half-hearted, disorganized and in a lot of cases last-minute, but I don't like reading how-tos on gardening. I've learned a lot just by seeing a doing (or not doing), and next year's garden will be bigger and more well-thought out.
Back to this year's: I was surprised to find that ALL of my tomatoes are yellow. I remember planting some yellow ones (for any real gardeners out there, I have not a clue what the name of them is-- they looked good), but I also remember planting some cherries and some other red varieties. Some of the tomato plants withered, due to a number of reasons, before I could transplant them outside, and I had moved them around so many times with such a disorganized (non-existant?) method of labeling, that I really had no clue what would show up. Surprise! They all appear to be the same variety of yellow, and they're all extrememly delicious. So, yes. My bruschetta is yellow.

I never measure, but here's an approximation:

4 ripe medium sized yellow tomatoes, diced
1+ tablespoons minced garlic
1/4-1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
1 loaf Italian bread or french baguette

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic, basil, oil and vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste, set aside.

Slice the bread in 1/4" thick slices, and place on a baking sheet. Toast the bread on each side until golden brown. Top with the tomato mixture. Or serve family style with the tomatoes in one bowl and the bread in another and everyone can just help themselves (I'll be the only one helping myself in this family).

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Spaghetti Pie

While I was stalking Suzy Homemaker, I also found a recipe for Spaghetti Pie that looked promising, with this group of "fagetti" lovers. I gave it a whirl tonight, and the reviews were good. This was an easy dish to sneak in some extra veggies too.

1 pkg. (12 oz.) vermicelli
3 tbsp. butter
1/3 c. Parmesan
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. low-fat sour cream
1 c. mozzarella cheese (split in half)
1 1/2 lb. ground meat
1/2 c. onion, chopped
1/4 c. bell pepper, chopped
1 can (12 oz.) stewed tomato
1 (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic salt

**Cook vermicelli according to directions. Stir butter and Parmesan into hot vermicelli. Add eggs and stir well. Spoon into casserole dish which has been sprayed.

**Brown beef with onion and bell pepper. Drain. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste and seasonings.

**Spread sour cream evenly over pie shell. Sprinkle with half of the Mozzarella cheese.

**Spread on Beef mixture. Top with any veggies you may want such as mushrooms, olives.

**Sprinkle with remaining Mozzarella Cheese.

**Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes.

Serves 8 or more.

Classic banana cake

I sniped this recipe directly from My Suzy Homemaker. I skipped the caramel topping with nuts- it's sweet enough (though adding nuts to the cake itself would have been a good idea, had I thought of it at the time). Super moist and yummy!

Classic Banana Cake
Adapted from a recipe by Ellen Einstein in "Baking From My Home to Yours"
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 stick (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cup sugar (I used half brown sugar)
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large egg, at room temperature
4 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt

**Preheat oven to 350 degrees

**Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.

**Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy.

**Add the sugar and beat at medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, then the egg, beating for about 1 minute. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the bananas.

** Finally, mix in half the dry ingredients (don't be disturbed if the batter curdles), all the sour cream and then the rest of the flour mixture.

** Using a spatula scrap into a generously buttered 9- to 10-inch (12-cup) Bundt pan, and bake the cake for 65 to 75 minutes, checking it at the 30-minute mark and covering it loosely with a foil tent if it's browning too quickly. Let the cake cool on a rack for 10 minutes before unmolding.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Love in a 9 x 13 inch pan

At least I have a valid excuse for not posting to this blog in a while...I'm now officially responsible for feeding a family of five! Carrigan Grace joined us in the world outside of the womb on July 21, and I've been basically nursing and changing diapers ever since then. Thankfully, we have been overwhelmingly blessed by generous family and friends providing us meals during this time. We have sampled sweet-potato burritos, spicy black bean burgers, grilled chicken, Mexican lasagna, and ham-cheese quiche, just to name a few. One notable difference than other arrivals--since we are not in Pittsburgh anymore, no one has brought us ham barbecue. That's deli-style shaved ham cooked in barbeque sauce and served on buns for anyone who has not yet been exposed.

We have all been struck by how helpful these meals have been and are so very appreciative. We're vowing to remember that in the future and grace others with a casserole, quick bread, and/or pie to celebrate or grieve with them. Food usually seems to do those things just perfectly.

And when I have another few minutes with two free hands I'll post about my experiences with my new meal exchange group.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Makin pie? YES, Blueberry pie!

Two of my very generous neighbors were up with Mike and I half the night helping to fix various issues on both of our cars. That's not completely true, but they may as well have. Mike and I went out to jumper the van, since I left the lights on (those tunnels get me EVERY time (not really)), and once that took the better part of an hour (while the neighbors insisted on keeping us company, holding flash lights and jumper cables and such) and it finally caught, Mike drove her around for a half-hour or so. And during that time, those same lovely neighbors helped me changed the tire that blew- with a loud and mighty sound- as I was pulling the Hyundai out of the spot where we jumpered the van right after Mike had left.

After all of that, I told the two men they should open their own car shop and decided I wanted to make them each apple pies. Not my very first pie though. That came tonight-- a test run, if you will. Well, I'm kind of wishing I had given one of them that pie because it turned out maybe as good as my mom's best pies (minus the eyesore crust). And my mom's pies are the best, if I'm any kind of judge. Tomorrow, I'll make another-- just hope it turns out as well as this one. That pie was so good. I ate the whole thing.
The rest of it is in the microwave.

bean and spinach enchiladas

For the past couple of nights, we've had the most delicious green beans from our garden-- cooked in olive oil and a little salt-- I could eat lots of those things.

That aside, I'm finally back and cooking after almost three weeks of vacation.
The enchiladas I made tonight were so simple (as I think most enchiladas are) and they were a big hit by everyone.

I just added things I thought would be tasty--

In large pan, saute (1 med.) onion and (1/2) yellow pepper til tender. Add (1/2 cup?) frozen spinach, (1 can) northern beans, (~1 cup) salsa. Mix it all up and heat through. Add some grated mozzarella cheese and some light sour cream. Dip flour tortillas in mixture, then fill with about a 1/2 cup or so and roll up, seams down. Cover with remaining sauce mixture and cheese.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Orange Pine Nut Chicken

Orange Pine Nut Chicken

4 boneless chicken breasts
1/4 cup oj
1/4 cup white cooking wine
1 T olive oil
1 T fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1 tsp. grated orange peel
1 tsp. dreid thyme
1 T honey
1/3 cup pine nut

Mix all ingredients except chicken, honey and pine nuts together in bowl. Place chicken in freezer bag and pour marinade over chicken. Turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Remove chicken from freezer bag, reserving marinade. Grill chicken over med. heat, until chicken is tender and no longer pink. While chicken is grilling, toast pine nuts on a cookie sheet in 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned. In small saucepan, combine reserved marinade and honey. Bring to full boil and continue boiling for two minutes. Place grilled chicken on a serving platter and pour sauce over chicken breasts. Top with toasted pine nuts and serve.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Baptism Cookies

Our family friend, Deb, is quite possibly the best baker I know. Her sour-cream coffee cake is to-die-for and her cut-out cookies always turn out perfectly. We use that recipe and cut them out to cross shapes for our kids' baptism parties. We're hoping to have another one of those within a few weeks here so I thought I would post that recipe. Although these can't quite be considered healthy, at least they have all "real ingredients" rather than margarine or shortening. I have had luck using whole-wheat flour in these as well.

2 1/4 c. flour
1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBSP milk
1 tsp vanilla

Cream together the sugar, butter, vanilla, eggs, and milk. Mix together the dry ingredients and add to the butter mixture. Refrigerate overnight.

Divide dough into thirds working with 1/3 at a time. Dough will be sticky--use lots of flour on rolling pin and surface and cut with a cookie cutter. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes on ungreased cookie sheet. Decorate with your favorite frosting.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Alaska Burgers!

Tonight, Mike told me this may make it to one of his favorite dinners EVER, but what do you expect when it's hamburgers and french fries? We had these tasty Alaska Burgers (In honor of Heather and Rob, who've been living in Alaska for the past few weeks) with homestyle fries, grilled squash and cantaloupe. Here's how you can too--

(recipe from Rachel Ray's 30-Minute Meals)

1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 Spanish onion, minced or processed (I just finely chopped it)
4 shakes Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp allspice (1 good pinch)
1/2 tsp ground cumin (2 good pinches)
cracked black pepper
1/3 lb (minimum) brick of smoked cheddar cheese, cut into 1/2" slices.

4 fresh, crusty onion rolls (we stuck with our $0.89 buns)
thick sliced tomato and lettuce to top

Mix first 6 ingredients in bowl. Take 1/4 of mixture and form around a slice of cheese (patty should not be more than 3/4" thick. repeat with remaining mixture for four patties.

Heat nonstick pan or griddle to med. high. Cook burgers 5-6 min. on each side until cooked through and cheese melted. Top with tomato and lettuce.

For the squash, I just cut in half, scored, topped with pepper, garlic salt and some garlic, and broiled in the toaster oven for 20 minutes.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Monteray jack stuffed chicken

I tried a new recipe from More Dinner's in the Freezer tonight (I've made several things out of here so far, and all of them have been fabulous)-- Monteray jack stuffed chicken, which we had with roma tomatoes, avocado slices, sour cream, mango salsa, chips and bing cherries (99 cents a lb until tomorrow at Giant Eagle!)

Monteray Jack Stuffed Chicken

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 T butter
10 oz (I used less than half that amount) Monteray Jack cheese with jalapenos (not shredded)
4 eggs, beaten (I think 2 would have been plenty)
1/4 cup bottled salsa (not chunky) or taco sauce (mild or med.)
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups panko bread crumbs (I used a little more than half that)
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
sliced avacodo, cherry or roma tomatoes, sour cream and salsa

Cut cheese into 6 equal pieces. Slice horizontal slit or pocket in each chicken breast-- don't cut all the way through! Place one piece of cheese in each pocket. Use 2-3 wooden toothpicks if needed.
Place butter in 9x13 baking dish and put in oven while it preheats to 375. As soon as the butter is melted, remove the pan from the oven.
In shallow pan or pie plate, mix together eggs, salsa and salt. In separate pan, combine breadcrumbs, chili powder cumin, garlic salt and oregano. Dip each chicken breast in the egg mixture to coat, then dip the breast in the panko crumb mixture.
Place chicken in dish with the butter (I drizzed some of the remaining egg mixture over the chicken and then sprinkled the remaining bread crumbs on that). Bake uncovered about 35-40 minutes, or just until done. Serve immediately with a side of sour cream, salsa, avocado slices, and tomatoes.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Michigan Strawberries!

No, we didn't actually pick them ourselves and haven't even tried any recipies with them yet. But we are loving our flat of fresh berries from the farmer's market and are excited that our freezer is beginning to be stocked with summer produce.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy Fourth!

I saw a picture in a magazine of a similar Fourth dessert, but it called for "meringue nests," whatever that is, and some sugary goop for the white, but I decided to improvise and make up my own- based on ingredients from the dessert we made for Jack's first birthday.
Very simple.

Make the Jello as instructed on packet and divide desired amount between dessert bowls. After about a half hour of refrigeration, add cut-up strawberries. In a bowl, mix together one regular-sized container of lite Cool-whip, a container of light lemon yogurt and a little bit of sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Divide on tops of Jello. Top with bluebs. Festive and fun to make with kids. Though my strawberries and blueberries kept disappearing.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Super Stuffed Tortillas

Mike made a delicious dinner last night of apricot glazed tilapia, baked potatoes and edamame. I think Jack had more fish than both of us combined.

After a week of eating a lot more fast food than can be good for anyone, as sometimes happens when traveling, I at least have been craving a lot more wholesome foods in my diet- a lot more vegetables. I did myself a favor and made these Super Stuffed Tortillas from Simply in Season, and they hit the spot. They were stuffed with lots of onion, green peppers, corn, zucchini, black beans and some tomatoes, cheddar cheese, among other goodies. Mike loved it, and Jack, once we coaxed him to take one bite claimed, "It's not so bad, after all," and proceeded to clean his plate. Gail spat it out after downing three or four bites. You can't please everyone.

I'm making Marinated Tofu and Vegetables out of the same cookbook for tomorrow's dinner. Yum!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

CSA 2009

We are on our third week of our new Community-Supported Agriculture share from Fat Blossom Farm in Allegan, MI. It works in the same way our Pittsburgh one did in that we paid ahead for a weekly "share" of produce and then we pick up that share at an appointed time and place during the week. Our cost was about $15/week for 10 weeks and the pick-up stop is convenient to our house. Some farms offer discounts if you work a set number of hours at the farm, but there was no way that was an option for us this year. So far, we've sampled salad mixes, snap peas (the girls LOVED them!) mint, radishes, cooking greens, and Chinese cabbage. The weekly newsletter gave us a heads up that summer squash and new potatoes are in store for this week. This is by far the easiest way I've found to enjoy and support local produce--even less effort than taking two kids to a local farmer's market. And we can't say enough good about the quality of fruits and veggies both from Fat Blossom and Penn's Corner in Pittsburgh. For more information, check out Local Harvest.

Monday, June 8, 2009

What does Daddy do on the days that I sleep in?

Amalia was helping me prepare breakfast the other morning. She peered into the refrigerator and asked, "Mommy, would you like a beer?" As it was 7:00 on a Sunday morning, and I am 7 1/2 months pregnant, I opted for orange juice instead.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Ginger glazed tilapia and south of the border chicken enchiladas

Ginger glazed tilapia

4 tilapia fillets
3 T brown sugar
2 T honey
3 T soy sauce
3 T balsamic vinegar
3/4 tsp freshly grated ginger root (or 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 clove garlic
2 tsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 T olive oil

In a mixing bowl, stir together all ingredients except for fish and 1 T olive oil. Place fish in marinade and refrigerate for at least an hour. Fry fish in olive oil over med high heat for 3-4 minutes before adding the rest of the marinade. Bring to boil and allow to reduce to glaze consistency. Fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork. Spoon glaze over fish and rice.

We had ours with mixed veggies and peaches-- very flavorful.


Our friends, the Mehaffeys, joined us for dinner last night, and we had these enchiladas.

South of the border chicken enchiladas

4 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
2 T butter
1/2 cup onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1-16 oz. can of tomatoes, undrained
1-8 oz. can tomato sauce
1-4 oz can diced green chiles, drained (we skipped this step because of the kids)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
10-12 corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups lite sour cream
4 cups montery jack cheese

grease 9x13 baking dish. preheat oven to 350.

Enchilada sauce: melt butter in med. saucepan, then saute onion and garlic in butter until tender. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, green chiles, sugar, cumin, salt, oregano and basil. Simmer on stovetop for ~20 min., until heated through and seasonings are well-blended.

To assemble enchiladas, soften tortillas in warm skillet, then dip each side in tortilla sauce. Fill enchiladas with 1/3 cup chicken and sprinkle with 2 T cheese, then roll up and place seam side down in baking dish. Blend sour cream into remaining sauce. Pour sauce over enchiladas and sprinle with remaining cheese. Bake uncovered 35-45 minutes until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melted.

We served with refried beans, strawberries, cantaloupe, corn on the cob, ships and salsa (and lime jello with pineapple)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

All-seasons sesame chicken

All-seasons Sesame Chicken

1 lb boneless chicken breast, cut into strips or bit-sized pieces
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 T ginger, grated
1 T dry mustard
1 tsp pepper
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup onion, chopped
3 T sesame seeds

Mix all ingredients besides chicken in a large bowl. Add the chicken and let marinade in fridge for at least an hour. Preheat oven to 350. Add everything to a large pan and cook for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Drizzle juices over rice.

We had it with snow peas and watermelon. Everyone (even the almost-one-year-old) was a fan.

bread machine bread

I've been making lots of bread in the bread machine. So easy. I'd love to make it completely by hand, but why? And when am I going to do this? I'll leave you with some bread machine recipes that we've been making the past couple of weeks (all for 1 1/2 lb. loaves).

simple Whole Wheat Bread

1 cup milk
3 T water
4 tsps honey
1 T margarine or butter
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups bread flour
3/4 tsps salt
1 tsp active dry yeast

oatmeal bread

1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup water
1 T margarine or butter
2 1/2 cups bread flour
3 T packed brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp active dry yeast

Banana Walnut Bread

1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana
1 egg
2 T margarine or butter
3 cups bread flour
3 T sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (opt.)
1 tsp active dry yeast
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Greens in Peanut Sauce

If you are at all interested in healthful, seasonal eating the one cookbook you need is "Simply in Season: A World Community Cookbook", by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert. My thanks go out to my friend Becky every time I use it, which is at least weekly. It is such a resource as well as a great read.

This week we tried Greens in Peanut Sauce which we served, as suggested, over baked polenta. Possibly my favorite attempt at veganism so far.

1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic minced

In a large soup pot saute in 1 TBSP oil

1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/8 tsp ground cloves

Add, cook, and stir 2 minutes.

1 lb. kale or collard greens (I used turnip greens--about 8 cups.
1/2 cup water

Add and steam until greens are soft but not mushy. Avoid overcooking. Stir occasionally to coat greens with the spices.

2-3 TBSP chunky peanut butter
1-2 tsp hot water
Combine and add to greens at cooking time.

***I also added a can of red kidney beans at the end just to up the protein factor.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

weekly meal plan 5/18-5/24

Monday-- tacos with lean ground beef, taco sauce, romaine and spinach, onions, cheddar cheese and light sour cream, blue corn chips with bean salsa, rice, grapes

Tuesday-- whole wheat pancakes, scrambled eggs, home fries, the last of the facon, grapes

Wednesday-- tuna buns, tomato soup, oranges

Thursday-- homemade pizza with onions and red and green peppers, salad, carrots and watermelon

Friday-- Some recipe with tilapia, green beans, roasted potatoes, cranberries, whole wheat rolls

Saturday-- Chicken artichoke pasta, salad, garlic bread, watermelon

Sunday-- Grilled cheese sandwiches, homemade minestrone, fried apples

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mississippi Caviar

Made some of this yummy chip-dipper this past weekend.

2 16 oz. cans black eyes peas, drained
1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped red pepper
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup drained, shopped pimento
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt- to taste
tabasco sauce, to taste

Combine peas, bell peppers, onion, pimento and garlic. In separate bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil and mustard and pour over the bean mixture; mix well.
Season to taste with salt and Tabasco sauce. With a wooden spoon or potato masher, mash the bean mixture slightly. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Drain well and serve with tortilla chips. I ate the last 2/3 right out of the bowl with a spoon. What?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Veganism--Week One

We've been attempting veganism for just about one week and here are our initial observations. But first, a review of our ground rules:

1) We're doing this as a two-week experimenting simply in order attempt another method of healthy living and to see if the claims of "more energy through vegan diet" are true. In general, we're comfortable with our own "flexitarian" diet, but are intrigued by other possibilities.

2) Since this is an experiment, rather than a staunch cause we're following, we are keeping the kids' diets fairly similiar. They eat the vegan entrees we make, but eat meat and dairy sides, (i.e. cow's milk to our rice milk, etc.).

3) We haven't been eating at restaurants during this time, but when we are at other people's homes, we eat what is served in order to be gracious guests.

4) Yes, we are carefully monitoring our protein and calcium intake. Not to mention considering the baby growing inside of me.

So how's it going?

Overall, well! We've sampled some yummy new vegan dishes. My wonderful husband whipped up some fantastic Indian chickpea appetizers. We've substituted soy products for sandwich options and eaten lots of peanut butter in various forms. Lentils seem to go well with anything, including a new recipe for rice bread in the bread machine.

Believe it or not, cost can actually be be prohibitive. We both have good (okay, huge) appetities and have needed to be re-fueled regularly. While beans, rice, and lentils are super-cheap, products like rice milk and veggie burgers aren't. We also have found that we need to keep up a good stock of fresh fruit and vegetables, peanut butter, and healthy granola bars as snacks.

Dairy might just be the hardest to give up. I haven't found a good substitue for eggs while baking and yogurt is generally a staple in our diets. We use plain yogurt regularly as a topping in place of sour cream and also for dessert smoothies. And I do miss cheese. Of course, there are soy versions that can replace those products, but until I do more research, I'm not comfortable in using soy for every part of our diet (i.e. soy burgers with soy cheese, soy yogurt, soy milk--doesn't seem "balanced" enough).

Filling up nutritous, whole foods definitely makes a difference in feeling healthy. I've noticed a lack of junk-food cravings because my body's needs are taken care of. We both feel energized, even with the normal demands of toddlers and life in general.

We're on to the next week, although our schedules won't let us eat completely vegan over Memorial Day weekend. Still, I'm excited to continue as such the next few days and learn what we can incorporate from this in the future. Suggestions welcomed!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Experimenting=(sometimes) yummy

I keep trying to experiment with different recipes-- though it usually happens on its own because I don't have all of the ingredients to certain recipes, and I'm not a fan of measuring. Anyway, I made this fish the other night (substituted for what I was planning on making Friday night), and it was delicious. Of course, it was pretty simple, so I couldn't go too terribly wrong.

In a large bowl, I mixed some soy sauce (about 3 TBSP), some Tabasco sauce (about the same) and a dash of white cooking wine all together. I put the fish fillets (4 in all) one at a time into the mix, coating them well. Meanwhile, I heated some olive oil over med. high in a skillet then added the fish, cooking about 3-4 minutes on each side. I set the fish aside and added some onions to the skillet (though I maybe should have added them with the fish). Once they were translucent, I added a can of diced tomatoes, some garlic powder, salt and pepper and let everything cook a little longer. Serve the sauce over the fish. Voila.

Served with baked sweet potatoes, green beans and whole wheat rolls.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Weekly meal plan- 5/4- 5/10

Monday-- dinner- Pad Thai with Asian Vegetables

Tuesday-- lunch- leftover hotdogs, hamburgers and fried apples
dinner- (made up of stuff we needed to get rid of!) baked potatoes with cheese and light sour cream, green beans, garlic bread, blueberry raspberry salad (Mike's mom's recipe)

Wednedsay-- lunch- pbj on whole wheat, apples and pears, chips and corn and blackbean salsa, carrots
dinner-- Taco salad with lean ground turkey, black bean soup, oranges

Thursday-- lunch- Cheese and onion quesadillas, apples with peanut butter
dinner- pasta with marinara vegetable sauce, salads, garlic bread

Friday-- Baked citrus tilapia, brown rice, sweet potatoes, broccoli

Saturday-- lunch- Chicken salad sandwiches with grapes, tomato soup
dinner- we have our monthly Teams meeting to go to

Sunday-- dinner- Caramalized garlic chicken, brown rice, spinach salads, watermelon

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Flourless Chocolate Cake.

Our menu this week is less than impressive--new job, new trimester in the pregnancy, and the usual kiddos are all to blame for that. But my mom asked for one of my favorite recipes the other day so I thought I would use this chance to pass it on. My favorite cake recipe ever; rich, but worth it. This would make a delicious celebratory dessert--maybe for a marathon well-run? That means you, my co-blogger, Kellie! Make sure you indulge after this weekend. We're cheering you on from here!

Chocolate Mousse Cake
Makes 10 servings

1 Tbsp ground almonds, plus additional to dust pan
10 1/2 ounces dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
5 large eggs
Confectioner's sugar (optional)
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray an 8 or 9 inch springform pan with cooking spray, then dust with ground almonds, shaking off any excess. Set aside.

In a double broiler set at a low simmer, melt the chocolate, butter, and sugar, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and ground almonds. Fold the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture and stir until thickened, several minutes. Pour the batter in the pan, smooth the top, and bake 45 minute or until the top is set and begins to crack.
Remove the side of the pan and let the cake cool completely. Dust with confectioners sugar, if desired.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Weekly Menu- 4/27-5/03- Marathon week!

This is the week leading up to my marathon. I have some heavy-duty carbs in store. Not really, but I stuck in extra fruits and veggies and replaced some proteins with carbs later in the week. On Sunday, I juiced a bunch of carrots, celery, tomatoes and apples for the week. I've done some research on what's best to eat the week before the run. I hope this plan passes muster come Sunday.

Monday-- Breakfast- Shredded wheat with skim milk, Cantaloupe
Lunch- Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on homemade oatmeal bread, blackberries, baked sweet potatoes

Dinner-- Grilled-out hamburgers, hotdogs and veggie burgers (I had the latter two), cantloupe, corn on the cob, grapes

Bedtime snack-- a big strawberry, banana, peach, mango, pineapple, blackberry orange juice smoothie-- it may not sound like all of those things would go together, but trust me. SOOOOO good.

Tuesday-- breakfast- oatmeal with raisins, OJ
dinner- tuna casserole, green beans, cornbread, cranberries

Wednesday-- dinner- homemade pizzas with veggies, fruit

Thursday-- dinner- spaghetti, sauce with veggies, garlic bread, baked apples

Friday- Sunday-- we'll be in Maryland

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Family Bible Study Party Menu

We hosted our Family Bible Study group at last weekend and followed the traditional format of appetizers, desserts, and drinks pot-luck style. Yum, yum, yum! Not only is it a blessing to share faith and friendship with this group--they are super-talented cooks! And our spread always turns out with the right balance of foods. Jonathan said we've come a long way since college when everyone brings chips and jarred salsa.

Here's what we supplied:
Shrimp cocktail (Jonathan's go-to appetizer for anything festive)
Rice salad (recipe below)
Honeybun cake (courtesy of a Betty Crocker mix with a few add-ins)
Butterscotch cookies
Lemonade with mint leaves
Sangria with rum, red wine, orange juice, lemon juice, club soda, sugar, and sliced fruit.

Here's what the others' brought:
Chips with fresh fruit salad
Pasta salad with ham and Swiss cubes
Strawberry-stuffed pastries
Whole-wheat crackers topped with cream cheese and sliced fruit
Rhubarb Cake
Beer, wine, and flavored water

The rice salad recipe I used was tweaked from a Quick Cooking Cookbook and could easily be used as a main dish recipe too. Here are the details:

3 cups cooked brown rice, cooled
2 cups garbanzo beans (the original recipe called for chopped cooked chicken breast)
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped dried fruit (I used dates--yum!)
1/2 cup peanuts
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 tsp minced fresh mint
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper.

In a large bowl, combine the beans, peas, celery, fruit, and peanuts. In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the oil, vinegar, lime juice, salt and pepper; shake well. Stir rice into bean mixture; drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. Chill at least 1 hour before serving. Serve often as an attempt to eat vegan and welcome in summer weather.

Monday, April 20, 2009

weekly menu- 4/20-4/26

Monday-- lunch- leftover pizza, bananas and apples
dinner- Roasted chicken oregatano, baked cinnamon apples, whole wheat bread, spinach salads with cucumbers and carrots

Roasted chicken oregatano--

6 chicken breasts, cut-up
four medium russet potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 large onion, chopped
4 roma tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Preheat over to 450. Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl, coating evenly. Put in roasting pan, with chicken on top of vegetables. Roast 1-1/2 hours until juices run clear.

Tuesday-- lunch- peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, blackberries, cheese or yogurt (Mike-- Honey dijon glazed chicken and brown rice leftovers from Saturday night's Teams meeting)
dinner- out for our anniversary, since we won't be able to go out on Wednesday- I've had an Olive Garden gift card in my wallet for a couple of months we've been wanting to use. :)

Wednesday-- lunch- cheese quesadillas, apples, sweet potatoes
The kids and I will be gone from Wednesday afternoon to Saturday, so I'll be leaving Mike with some meals that we've frozen (Honey glazed ham with pineapple and ground turkey loaf- and brown rice)

Sunday-- Pork tenderloin, corn bread, baked sweet potatoes/russet potatoes, salad

Thursday, April 16, 2009

What we're having-- every day of the week

lOne thing I've wanted to do is start writing out weekly meal plans. I jot out makeshift plans on the white board on our fridge, but there are usually a lot of arrows or erasures. I'll give it a whirl here.

Monday-- Easter leftovers and cantaloupe

Tuesday-- Chicken vegetable casserole dish that I combined from several different sources (you can easily go vegetarian by not adding chicken and then vegan by not adding cheese. In a crock pot (on low for 4-6 hours), I cooked a little bit of chicken I needed to use up, 1 12 oz. can garbanzo beans, 1 12 oz can cannellini beans (both washed and drained), 1 chopped onion, 4 cloves minced garlic and 2 or so tsps of Italian seasoning. Then I added some fresh spinach, tomatoes and cheese.

For lunches we've been having the crock pot chicken and Easter leftovers plus fruit.

Wednesday-- "Fagetti" with marinara and whole wheat garlic bread and salad with veggies.

Thursday-- Tuna buns (to use up old buns and dyed Easter eggs), tomato soup, grapes

Friday-- Baked lemon pepper tilapia, brown rice, broccoli and cauliflower, blackberries

Saturday-- We're hosting our 13-person teams meeting at our house, so we make the main dish, and other couples bring salad, bread, dessert and drinks. I am planning on making an Italian chicken and tomato dish that my mom used to make-- over brown rice or spaghetti (I'm making both, as I think it's better over spaghetti, but there are diet restrictions- including no flour)

Sunday-- I think we may go out to celebrate. Someone's having a birthday ;)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How to get kids to eat fruits and veggies

Disguise it in candy containers, and they'll be freakishly happy.

Actually, grapes are not something I need to convince Jack to eat, but he loved eating them out of the Cadbury Creme Egg container (he found the container, and asked to put something in the egg holes).

Monday, April 13, 2009

A break from our regularly-scheduled healthy living posts


Hershey Coconut Creme Kisses may be the best Easter candy ever. Even rivaling Cadbury eggs. If you haven't tried one yet, go do so NOW before supplies run out.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter goodies

I made an entire 12 lb ham for the four of us (one of us wasn't partaking in any ham), but at $0.76 a lb for a whole one, it cost about as much a the halves, and I figured it would last many meals. We'll freeze all but a little to have later this week. I made a honey glaze with brown sugar, dijon mustard and honey and cooked it in pineapples with the juices.

We also tried out a new yummy recipe that the secretary at Mike's work emailed to everyone--
Strawberry spinach salad (I halved the recipe and cut back on the sugar).

2 TBSP sesame seeds
1 TBSP poppy seeds
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup distilled balsamic
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 TBSp minced onion
10 ounces fresh spinach, rinsed, drained
1 quart fresh strawberries, cleaned, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup slivered almonds

In a large bowl, combine spinach, strawberries and almonds. Pour dressing (mix all other ingredients) over salad and toss. Refrigerate 10-15 minutes before serving.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Chocolate easter egg nests

4 ounces milk chocolate
3 ounces dark chocolate
1/2 stick unsalted butter (I used 2-3 TBSP of Light Smart Balance)
3 TBSP light corn syrup (we didn't have any of this, so I used a tiny bit of Canola oil, and they still turned out great-consistency and all)
5 shredded wheat biscuits
Candy coated mini eggs

Break the chocolates into pieces and put into saucepan together with butter and corn syrup and melt over low heat. Crush the shredded wheat in a bowl. Line two baking sheets with waxed paper. Stir the shredded wheat into the chocolate mixture and spoon 8 mounds onto the baking sheets, shaping the rounds with dips in the ccenters.

Chill in the fridge for about an hour to set, then peel off the nests carefully and fill with mini eggs.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Soup Swap Supper

I'm not claiming it to be a totally unique idea, but I thought I would share what we did for dinner last night. Our Bible Study group has talked about doing a soup swap for a few months so we tried out a modified version. We hosted two other families at our place, and we each made a big pot of soup. We ended up with bean-tomato, broccoli cheese, and chicken noodle. I supplied bread, one family brought fruit, and another brought salad. After a yummy dinner together (most of us trying each kind of soup) we divided the good supply of leftovers between all of us. So simple but so enjoyable. And now I'm set for dinner for the rest of the week! We plan to do this again regularly.

Anyone out there involved in a food co-op or reuglar potlucks?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Slowly coming back

We've been sick...for like, three months. Literally. And we still ate pretty well.
Some of the highlights--
Italian Chicken in the crock pot (potatoes, baby carrots, chicken, 2 TBSP Italian seasoning and a 1/2 cup of Italian dressing all in the crock pot for 6-8 hours.)

Spicy honey glazed chicken (Mix together half cup of frozen OJ concentrate, half cup of honey, 2 garlic cloves and some pepper. Cook chicken in some olive olive oil, adding mixture after two minutes-- coat chicken well.)

Garlic and pepper tilapia, rosemary bread, rice and beans (garbanzo beans, short grain brown rice, garlic powder, parsley, salt to taste)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Up for a Vegan Challenge?

We enjoy use of the word "flexitarian" in the Ward family. That is, we eat everything. Sometimes meat dishes, other time vegetarian. Jonathan was raised quasi-vegetarian so we still incorporate many of those eating habits, but not based in any one ideology. So why are we intrigued at the idea of trying out vegan-ism?

Energy. Who wouldn't want more of it? We currently have a few significant energy-zappers we're dealing with--namely Amalia and Brinnly but also job stress, lack of sunshine, and pregnancy. The right balance of healthful eating/good sleep/exercise does wonders, but is there more to be had? We just read this article in Newsweek touting the effects of a vegan diet and it basically restates the same things we've heard from other vegans.

We have NO desire to be anything other than flexitarians long-term. Dishes like fillet Mignon or brie with fruit are just too good to pass up. And I'm not convinced of the health benefits. More importantly, I want to be able to be a good guest and host and eat whatever is served without unnecessary restrictions.

So here's our idea. Jonathan and I are going to try veganism for a week sometime soon--provided my midwife approves, of course. I'll make vegan entrees that the girls can supplement with milk and/or meat if needed. (We're not ready to "try" anything out on them yet either). To prepare, I'll read up on some vegan cookbooks and try out a few recipies ahead of time.

Any suggestions? Warnings? Look for updates from us soon

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Italian night with a side of baby names

Based on last night's dinner, Amalia has a new front-runner for our baby's name: Lasagna. Or possibly Sprinkles Lasagna Ward. (That's Sprinkles from Blue's Clues--not from any sugary treats she desires to have). Brinnly would have joined in the conversation if she wasn't making the most of the messy dish. All over every part of her and her chair, table, tray, etc. She was completely obvious to the spinach and cabbage slipped in there. The cabbage (straight from the bag of shredded coleslaw) was surprisingly easy to disguise.

But seriously, is there any better comfort food than lasagna on a much-too-cold March evening? Is that and Sloppy Joes every husband's favorites?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Good eatin'

Sunday's dinner-- Artichoke Chicken pasta with salad-- this was my post-14-mile meal, so I just wanted to drop my jaw and shovel in the carbohydrates. And it was gooood.

Monday's dinner-- BBQ tofu (made my own sugar-free sauce) sandwiches, homemade french fries, grape, and salad with yellow bell peppers and carrots. Even Mike went back for another bbq sandwich.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

French Toast Casserole

My mom made this French toast casserole for Christmas morning, and it was scrumptrulescent. We had our's with fresh strawberries and blueberries and Mornigstar Farms sausage patties (they tasted a little more like meat than the bacon variety).

French Toast Casserole

4 TBSP (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted (we used Smart Balance sprea)
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 loaf brioche or challah, sliced (about 1 1/2 lbs) (we just used 12 slices of regular multi-grain)
8 large eggs, lightly beaten (we used Egg Beaters)
1 cup whole milk
1 TBSP pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Confectioners' sugar, for accompaniment
Sorghum, cane, or maple syrup, for accompaniment (In doing without sugar, it was plenty sweet without any syrup)

Combine melted butter and brown sugar in baking dish. Arrange bread slices in the dish. Whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, connamon, giner and salt in bowl. Pour over the bread, letting it soak in. Top with pecans. Cover with plastic wrap abd refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 12 hours.
Preheat oven to 350°. Let the chilled casserole stand at room tempurature for 20 minutes.
Bake until browned and set, 30 to 45 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool slightly. Sift over confectioners' sugar. Serve hot or warm with sorghum, cane or maple syrup.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I got a bad tempeh!

We decided that eating soy beans with soy beans would be a nice full-circle moment. Behold...

Hot sauce-glazed tempeh (from Veganomicon), edamame, sweet potatoes and pineapple.

Friday's dinner-- Parmesan fish, long grain brown rice (why can I not find short grain anywhere?), sweet corn and salad.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Goat Cheese and Roasted Corn Quesadillas

Have you ever had a recipe that sounds really basic until you actually try all of the ingredients together and then it's really impressive? That's how this one from the March issue of Cooking Light one is. Browning the corn caramelizes the sugars and really adds depth. Even Jonathan raved about it and corn is nowhere near his list of favorite foods. We'll be using this often when we need a light dinner.

1 cup fresh corn kernels (I used frozen)
2/3 cup (5 oz) goat cheese, softened
8 corn tortillas
salsa verde

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add corn; saute 2 minutes or until browned. Place corn n small bowl. Add goat cheese to corn; stir until well blended. Divide corn mixture and spread evenly among 4 tortillas. Drizzle each with 1 1/2 tsp salsa, top with remaining tortillas.

Heat pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Place 2 quesadillas in pan; cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove from pan, and keep warm. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Cut into wedges and serve with a side of black beans and plain yogurt.

Monday, March 2, 2009


For Lent, I decided to give up sugar, which means I've had to get my fix elsewhere. My new (refined) sugarless loves are apples with natural peanut butter and fruit smoothies (complements of Mike, who makes one of these chock-full of fruit dreams just about every night). Yesterday (Sunday), I was allowed to splurge, but I didn't really want to, after how good I was feeling physically due to the lack of the refined staple. I made some honeyed walnut bread and have the second loaf in the bread machine now.

Saturday's dinner-- simulated Boston Market (love this place), only healthier. Rice macaroni from Trader Joe's, French beans, plain ol' mashed potatoes and a rotisserie from Sam's ($4.97-- thing was huge!), grapes

Sunday's dinner-- pesto pizza with lowfat cheese, onion, chicken sausage and spinach, salad with red bell peppers, carrots, cucs and field greens, strawberries and blueberries.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


We can't manage to kick this (these?) bug(s). I've had little energy for cooking meals, but the biggest thing hindering my meal preps has been the fact that I lack a third and a fourth arm. Gail has always demanded to be held between many the hours of whenever she awakes from her nap to whenever she goes to sleep at night, but since Jack has been sick, he has also, quite pathetically, requested for me to "Hold youuu. Mama hooold youuuuuuu." So, both of my arms are occupied at the time when I normally make dinner. So we've had simple fare the past few nights, weeks.

Sunday's dinner-- ham and swiss sandwiches, baked sweet potatoes, salad and grapes.

Monday's dinner-- chicken and veggies stir fry, brown rice, cantaloupe and strawberries.

Tonight's dinner-- Chicken and Spinach (with potatoes, onion and thyme) (from Saving Dinner), carrots and slawbuddies.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Daily supplement

A couple of months ago, I started taking SuperMom Vitamins. Actually, mine are NOW Special Two Vitamins, but if you compare the nutrient labels, they're exactly the same-- only much cheaper. Prior to these, I was taking a basic prenatal vitamin daily, but I won't be going back.

As a mom of two under two, it's easy to slack and lack in the nutrient department. Though thes daily supplements won't make you grow a third arm, they contain spirulina and green superfoods, which are great for restoring the energy that you lost waking several times and keeping your the immune system in prime condition (Mine's been down these past couple of days... should have remembered to take my vitamins). The days I am remiss in taking them, I do feel more sluggish. Whether that's just happenstance, I don't know, but I have had a lot more energy since beginning to take them.

Do yourself a favor and take a daily supplement if you don't already. Make sure it's a whole foods one that your body can ingest naturally.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


While we were in Maryland for a couple of days, I got a Champion juicer from one of my sister's friends. My brother brought us back tonight, and did we had a little too much fun with it, juicing anything we thought would make a tasty concoction.

I'll let you know if we come up with any recipes worth letting you know about. The one we tried tonight was an experiment, at best-- nothing I would really recommend trying. The blackberry juice got backed up, so when we made another juice consisting of tangerines, apples, carrots and a banana (don't juice a banana), we were bitter in the mouth. Next time I go shopping, I'll have to pick up some ingredients that will go well together.

For dinner, we had some enchiladas with some things I wanted to get rid of from the fridge-- a bag of flour tortillas, sour cream, salsa, cheddar cheese, green pepper, onion, some Chicken-less Strips and some refried beans (with some on the side), some salad and tortilla chips.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Sweets

A modified recipie from "Simple and Delicious" magazine:

3 cups of a combination chocolate/butterscotch chips
3/4 c. mini marshmallows
3/4 c. peanuts
3/4 c. crushed potato chips (I used Crispix cereal)
2 Tbsp coconut
1/4 cups M & M's

On waked papers, draw a 10-in heart and place on cookie sheet. Melt chips and stir until smooth. Stir in marshmallows, peanuts, and potato chips. Immediatealy spread on prepared pan into heart shape. SPrinke with coconut and top with M & M's.

Refrigerate unto firm, about 1 1/2 hours. Let stand for 10 minutes at room temperate before cutting.