Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sally Lunn

This was apparently named for a bread-seller in the 18th century, which just goes to show you how very nice the bread is, I think.

One important thing to note is that while this bread is pretty much effortless, it takes a LONG time to make (although you'll only be fussing with it in small spurts). If you want to have it with supper tonight, start making it right after lunch. Okay? Okay.

1 cup milk or cream or evaporated milk or a mix of any of the three
8 tbsp butter, cubed
1 package active dry yeast
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs
3 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

In a small saucepan, add the milk and the butter. Stir over low heat until the butter is melted, and then pour into a large bowl. Let it cool until it's lukewarm and add the yeast, sugar and salt - stir and then leave it be for five minutes. The yeast should be all dissolved.

Add the eggs, one by one, stirring briskly after each. Add the flour - a cup at a time - and stir briskly again until the batter is lovely and very smooth. Cover the bowl and leave your dough alone someplace warm for about three hours - it should double in size.

Now you have a decision to make - do you want to make an impressive loaf of bread or smaller, muffin-sized buns? Butter a tube pan (a 10" one) or 24 muffin cups. Beat the dough again to deflate it, then pour it into the tube pan or spoon into the muffin cups (about half full). Butter your hands and smooth the dough down evenly and smoothly. Cover loosely with a towel and let rise for another hour.

Preheat your oven to 375.

If you're using the tube pan, you should bake your bread for about 50 minutes. If you're making the small buns, you should bake your bread for about 20 minutes, turning your pan mid-way. When they're baked, let them cool on a rack.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Butternut Squash Soup

This is a slow-cooker recipe, which makes it doubly lovely.
Brown one chopped onion in some butter.
Into your slow cooker, add:
- the browned onion
1 butternut squash (a 2 pounder, about), peeled and cubed and good luck with that part.
2 cups chicken broth. Or vegetable broth. Your call.
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp ground red pepper

Cover and cook on the low setting for 6 to 8 hours.
About 40 minutes before serving, puree 1/3 of the soup in your blender until it's smooth and goopy and return it to the slow cooker. BE CAREFUL DOING THIS PART - you don't want to get hit in the face by wet squash whipping around in a blender. Not that I've done that.
Now add a cubed 8 oz. package of cream cheese.
Let it cook for another 25-30 minutes until the cheese is melted and stir it with a wire whisk until it's smooth.
(and I am throwing in a chopped peeled apple and a sprinkle of ground ginger, but this is the basic recipe.)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

.... or "What To Do With Those Brown Bananas."

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour. You can also be sneaky and make 1/2 cup of that whole wheat flour, if you like.
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (that's two big ones or three small ones, and mashing bananas is a swell job for an energetic three year old)
1 large egg
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup light sour cream (don't use fat free sour cream - it doesn't bake well)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 350. Line your mini muffin pans with wee adorable muffin papers, or grease the cups.
In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix together.
In ANOTHER mixing bowl, combine the mashed bananas, egg, melted butter, sour cream, vanilla, and milk. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Now turn the speed to looooooow and stir in the flour ingredients until JUST BLENDED. (mixing muffins too much makes them tough.) Stir in the chocolate chips with a wooden spoon. (Why wood? I do not know.)
Fill each muffin cup with a tablespoon of batter, and bake for 20 minutes or until they're golden and a toothpick comes out with no crumbs. Transfer to a rack to cool, and this should make about 36 mini muffins.

Coughing from All the Dust

This week's menu.
Sunday And My Birthday:
Breakfast - Zeppelin Pancakes and berries
Lunch - out for lunch with a friend
Supper - Southwestern Backyard Burgers, potato salad, tortellini salad, red pepper dip with corn chips AND a chocolate sour cream cake, all of which will be cooked by my husband. hahahaah.

Monday And My Husband Is Home, Hence The Nice Breakfast:
Breakfast - A really tasty cream-filled yeast raised bun with an inexplicably lewd-sounding name or maybe it's just me ("Dewey Buns"), Fruit Salad
Lunch - Brown Rice Lentil Salad
Supper - Shredded Pork Tacos, Avocado Salad and coleslaw

Tuesday And The Kids Are Back To School Tomorrow:
Breakfast - Oatmeal with Berries
Lunch - Leftover Tacos
Supper, Which Will Be A Picnic - Veggie Chicken Wraps, Raw Veggie Sticks, Pasta Salad with a vinaigrette dressing, and an ice cream sundae party at home.

Wednesday and The First Day of School!
Breakfast - Plain Pancakes with Syrup and butter, as requested
First Nutrition Break (ah, the poets of the Ontario school boards!) - Homemade hummus with raw veggies, juice
Second Nutrition Break - Zucchini Bread with Cream Cheese, Pasta Salad (which I made last night), Orange Wedges, 2 Oreos and milk
Supper - Pasta with Sausage and Peppers, Festive Tossed Salad, Birthday cake - likely - because it's my youngest brother's birthday.

Thursday:
Breakfast - Oatmeal with bananas and honey
1st Nutrition Break - Zucchini Bread with Cream Cheese, Juice
2nd Nutrition Break - Hummus and Veggie Wrap, Oreos, Orange Wedges (guess what was on sale this week?), milk
Supper - Slow Cooker Rosemary Chicken with White Beans, Coleslaw

Friday:
Breakfast - Carrot-Pineapple Muffins, applesauce
1st Nutrition Break - Cucumber Chains, Juice, Mini Muffins
2nd Nutrition Break - Little wholewheat lady bug pizzas, Oreos, milk
Supper - Butternut Squash Soup with Apples and Ginger, Honey-Oat Casserole Bread

Monday, June 30, 2008

Sour Cream Pancakes

2 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (should you not have buttermilk in the fridge - although if you like to bake at all, you really should - you can sour some regular milk with a Tbsp of vinegar.)
1/2 cup sour cream. We've also used plain yogurt in a pinch, and it worked fine.
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

In a large bowl, mix together the yolks, milk and sour cream until well blended. Add the butter and just stir until it's combined.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add it to the yolk/milk mixture and beat until smooth.
Beat the egg whites until they're stiff but still moist. Gently fold the yolks into the batter.

Get your griddle moderately hot and give it a light coating of non-stick spray. We make our pancakes rather small, but you can make them however big you like. Flip them over when little bubbles appear on the top, and when the bottom is a nice golden brown. It will only need to cook briefly on the other side.

Now go get your maple syrup and eat some pancakes.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Vaguely Chinese Veggies

These are great - they're flavourful, but not in a child-repelling sort of way. And you get to use a wok (if you have one), which is always fun.

Heat up - on high heat - 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wok or a big skillet.
Add:
1 bunch of broccoli, all chopped up. (do you eat the stems? Just peel the stems a bit and chop them - my kids actually like the stems raw, cut into long sticks!)
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon minced ginger root
Stir-fry for a minute.
Now add:
3 baby bok choy, or 2 stems of the bigger kind, chopped up.
4 ounces snow peas
3 celery stalks, sliced really thin
5 green onions, all chopped up
And pour
3/4 cup chicken stock on it. You could use vegetable broth, if you'd rather.
Toss vegetables until everything is coated. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the vegetables are slightly tender but still crisp.

Serves about six.

Broccoli Salad

I sort of feel like the bacon - which is totally optional - and the mayonnaise - which is totally mandatory - negate any health-giving properties this salad may possibly have. But it's handy because most kids - and big sucky adults - will eat it, and then later on you can say "but you ate the broccoli SALAD" when you want them to eat just plain ol' broccoli. Also, it is good.

You will need:
1 bunch broccoli, just the florets, chopped up attractively.

And some of the following things:
- 1 cup raisins or craisins - this is totally optional, especially if you have kids who are going to shriek "EWWWW! SHE PUT RAISINS IN THE SAAAALAD!". Not to name any names, GIRL.
- 1 cup sunflower seeds. Again, optional. The raisins are there for sweet and the sunflower seeds are there for crunch, but neither of these are going to make or break the salad.
- some crispy, crumbled bacon strips. My recipe calls for ten. TEN! We generally use about two. You don't need to use any.
- cubed (or grated) cheddar cheese. I'm going to guess and say 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup, but however much looks good for you. Again, skip it if you wanna.
- 1/4 cup diced red onion. Totally skippable.

Here's the dressing, once you have your salad bowl brimming over or not:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar. So healthy!
Mix the salad dressing together in a bowl, then toss all the ingredients together. You're going to want the salad to sit in the fridge for at LEAST two hours before you eat it.
Serves six, more or less.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Slightly Fancy Asparagus

Steam your asparagus (about enough for four people). Now drain it.
Toss the drained asparagus with two tablespoons of vinegar - balsamic, apple cider (hi, mom!), or whatever you want. Throw in a tablespoon of butter, a bit of salt and pepper and a clove of minced garlic. Serve with modest pride.

Roasted Asparagus

Preheat your oven to 450.
Get your asparagus ready - trim the ends, peel if they're fat - and lay them on a roasting pan. Drizzle them with some extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle a bit of salt on top. Now roast them for 10 to 15 minutes.
Serve with lemon wedges.

Steamed Asparagus

Take your asparagus and trim the gnarly ends off (not the tip!). If your asparagus is thick, they'll be better if you peel the stalks, too. Find a frying pan that can hold the amount of asparagus that you want to cook without crushing them together. Cover them with water and add a pinch of salt. Now cook them on high until they're JUST fork tender - you don't want them mushy and you don't want them crispy.

Now drain them and toss them with some butter and eat.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

This week's recipes

Sunday -
Texas Chicken Salad
Veggie Tray
Sweet Cherry Pie

Monday
Honey Soy Grilled Pork Chops
Japanese Noodle Salad
Snow Peas

Tuesday
Chipolte Chicken Fajitas

Wedneday
Tunsian Vegetable Stew
Sharp Cheddar Biscuits

Thursday
Tuna Cheese Melts
Coleslaw

Friday
Spinach Feta Pizza

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tunsian Vegetable Stew

Sherri Edman sent this to me, with this note:
This is on heavy rotation at our house. We had it tonight, as a matter of fact. If you have to go out and buy the spices, it isn't cheap anymore, but if you have them all on hand, it's great on the budget. It is - and this is me talking - from Moosewood Cooks At Home, which is one of the all-time best home cookbooks I know of, even if you're not a vegetarian!

1 1/2 c. thinly sliced onion
2 T. olive oil
3 c. thinly sliced cabbage
dash salt
1 large green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
2 t. ground coriander
1/2 t. turmeric
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. cayenne (or to taste)
3 c. undrained tomatoes, chopped (28 oz. can)
1 1/2 c. drained cooked chickpeas (16 oz. can)
1/3 c. currants or raisins (optional, says the recipe, but I can't imagine the dish without them)
1 T. lemon juice
salt to taste

In a large skillet, saute the onions in the oil for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the cabbage, sprinkle with salt, and continue to saute for at least 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bell pepper, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon and cayenne to the skillet and saute for another minute or so. Stir in the tomatoes, chickpeas, and optional currants or raisins, and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes, until the vegetables are just tender. Add the lemon juice and salt to taste. Serve over couscous or the grain of your choice.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Really easy peanut butter cookies

These are, obviously, REALLY easy. They're not sturdy and they don't keep - being what my children call "eating cookies" - and yet they have many, many things in their favour. We always, always have all of the ingredients, for one, and they're also gluten-free. You can also really dress them up - put a mini peanut butter cup in the center of each, or a few Smarties or M&Ms - and any half-way alert child can make them pretty much on their own.

one cup of peanut butter
1/2 cup of sugar (some recipes call for as much as one cup of sugar here, which I find painfully sweet. However, your taste buds may be different than mine, so I thought I'd mention it.)
one egg

Preheat the oven to 350. Mix together the sugar and egg and then mix in the peanut butter. You can either roll the dough in tablespoon-sized amounts into balls or just drop it by the tbsp on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake them for 6 to 9 minutes - you'll want to keep a close eye on them.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Buttercream Frosting For Lazy Cheaters

... like me, of course.
You'll need:
- one 7 1/2 ounce jar of Marshmallow Fluff, and I realize that I've posted a lot of recipes using it, which is embarrassing, in a way.
- one cup softened butter.
- one cup of icing sugar. So obviously we're talking about a VERY HEALTHY recipe, right?
- some vanilla - about 1/2 tsp. - and food colouring, if you don't want ivory icing.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until it's fluffy and creamy and then add the whole jar of Marshmallow Fluff, which will be a sticky pain in the butt. Reduce speed and add the icing sugar, vanilla and food colouring and mix it all together. Now turn your mixer back up (and why do you do it this way? So you don't send icing sugar flying all over your kitchen. Learn from my mistakes.) and beat everything briskly until it's fluffy and gorgeous. There you go.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Carrot Cake recipe...

.... is right here. Remember that icing sugar in Ontario is not gluten-free - my icing was made from regular white sugar, vanilla and cream cheese and it was GOOD.
I have a few more gluten-free recipes up here.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

This Week's Menu Plan

Apparently this blog has just turned into a place where I keep my menu plans for the week. So be it, I guess - I have some big plans for posting recipes soon, having recently come out of a prolonged time where I was unenthusiastic about everything I was cooking, winter and its stodgy foods lasting for just a bit too long. Now, however, the sandhill cranes are back and the snow is melting and I feel like cooking again, spring's foods lasting for just a moment.

(so if you HAVE been asking me for recipes and I haven't been posting them, you can expect them this week. Likely.)

Saturday - It's always hard to strike the right note on Saturday nights, since we've generally a) eaten junk food for lunch and b) are exhausted from running errands all day.
Supper - Tex-Mex Turkey Wraps. This recipe came from a VERY frequently used book - Better Food For Kids. I've had it for years and still refer to it all the time, since it's such a handy collection of kid-friendly, healthy recipes.

Sunday - I like making a special breakfast on Sunday morning, but we also go to church before lunchtime, so it's a bit of a rush as I get up early to make breakfast AND gussy up. And then I like to make a nice, Grandma+Grandpa style dinner for Sunday night, which means that I spend Sunday cooking. But that's okay - I like cooking.

Breakfast - Brown Sugar French Toast. I'll be putting this together tonight and then throwing it into the oven as I head off to do my eye makeup, probably. And a fruit salad made of grapes (because I have grapes that need using up), banana and orange wedges. "Don't think that you need to have a different kinds (of fruit) in one salad, either," wrote Peg Bracken. "This isn't the Waldorf-Astoria. Three is quite all right." I've wanted to use that quote for AGES and NOW I HAVE.

Lunch - Tuscan Bean Soup, from the same Better Food For Kids book that I mentioned earlier. My kids, for the record, cheerfully eat all sorts of things that apparently other people's children refuse, even though I think of my kids as being monstrously picky. They've eaten lentils and beans from the time they were wee babies shoving handfuls of glop into their mouths, and so they just aren't weird to them. Don't ask me about mushrooms, though.

Supper - Oven Barbecued Chicken and Roasted Potatoes with Bacon and Cheese - both recipes from that free magazine that Kraft puts out, and a very handy magazine it is, too.
Deluxe Coleslaw and Glazed Carrot Coins, from that Better Food cookbook AGAIN. Handy!
A Chocolate Meringue Pie from April's copy of Everyday Food magazine, which I go through phases of really enjoying.

Monday.
Breakfast - Mango Slices, Scrambled Eggs and Bacon and some toast and then off to school with most of my kids.

Snack - My kids have that annoying, divided-in-half school day, which means that I have to pack two small meals instead of one jumbo lunch. Gosh, that's fun. Thank you SO MUCH, school board. And their snack will be, thrillingly enough, red grapes, Mini Oreos (since they have demanded them for weeks, poor bubs, and The Girl finally thought to write them down on the shopping list.) and cheese strings.

Lunch - Chicken Wraps - using last night's chicken - and coleslaw.

Supper - Ratatouille, homemade French bread, fruit salad and a Glazed Lemon Cake. These recipes come from the Silver Palate cookbook.

Tuesday.
Breakfast - Individual Baked Custards, Orange Slices.
Let me put in a good word for baked custards, a largely - and unfairly - forgotten breakfast food. They're very easy and nutritionally dense, which makes them nice for scrawny children or people recovering from an illness, and they're nicely gentle to eat. My recipe comes from The Breakfast Book, which I LOVE.

Snack - Glazed Lemon Cake, Apple Slices (dipped in lemon so they don't brown)

Lunch - Ratatouille Calzones, using last night's leftover ratatouille and packaged pizza dough.

Supper - Honey-Garlic Baked Salmon (the Better Food cookbook AGAIN!), Brown Rice and Chinese Vegetables.

Wednesday.
Breakfast - Baked Apples and Toast.

Snack - Baby Carrots and Green Beans with Ranch Dip, and a banana.

Lunch - Pizza from the pizza people. I will probably throw in a few mini Oreos, too.

Supper - Pasta Primavera Gregory - a nice, spring-y sounding recipe from the Silver Palate cookbook - and a Minty Cucumber Salad. I'm making Lemon Squares from the new Martha Stewart Cookie book, too. Mmm, lemon squares.

Thursday.
Breakfast - Muesli, which just requires me remembering to put it together before bed on Wednesday night.

Snack - A Lemon Square and a sliced kiwi. They're FULL of vitamin C!

Lunch -Rice and Lentil Salad, which I'll assemble on Tuesday night, a cheese string, and some whole grain crackers.

Supper - Tangy Pork Ribs in the crockpot - from the February/March issue of Taste of Home - mashed potatoes, oven-roasted asparagus, a spinach-strawberry salad with homemade poppyseed dressing, and a jello dessert that The Girl wants to make.

Friday.
Breakfast - Boxed Cereal. We have it on hand, but it's a bedtime snack most days. I'll throw some frozen blueberries in it to assuage my guilt.

Snack/Lunch - Green Sliced Veggie Salad, Refried Bean and Salsa Roll-Up, and Chocolate pudding with sliced banana.

And Friday night's supper can take care of itself.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Weekly Menu Plan

This is more for internal management then anything else, but if you're interested in anything let me know and I'll email you the recipe or post it.

Saturday

Supper - Sausages with Peppers and Onions in my new pressure cooker, which I'll be writing about on Monday.

Sunday
Breakfast - Berry Buttermilk Pancakes
Lunch - Turkey BBQ Sandwiches, Veggie Tray with Dip
Supper - Lemon Rosemary Roast Chicken, Roast Asparagus, Mashed Potatoes, Candied Carrots, Broccoli Salad, Surprise Cookies - one of our VERY favorites. (from the new Martha Cookie book!)

Monday
Breakfast - Cheese Omelettes, Fruit Smoothies
Snack - Orange Wedges, Surprise Cookies
Lunch - Leftover Roast Chicken, Polenta Squares (The Baby LOVES these!), Carrot Sticks
Supper - Spinach Salad with Marinated Mushrooms and Ricotta Fritters (with gf Macaroni and Cheese for the kids as well)

Tuesday - APRIL FOOL'S DAY!
Breakfast - Oatmeal, which isn't very silly.
Snack - Half Bagel with Cream Cheese, Mock Sushi, Red Grapes
Lunch - At School.
Supper - Fauxberry Pie, Blueberry Fool

Wednesday
Breakfast - Whole Wheat Banana Waffles
Snack - Red Grapes, Whole Grain Crackers and Hummus
Lunch - At School - Pizza
Supper - Salmon Cakes, Baked Potato Skins, Green Salad, Purple Cauliflower, Baked Nectarines

Thursday
Breakfast - Poached Eggs and Toast, Fruit Smoothies
Snack - Applesauce, Pineapple/Carrot Muffins
Lunch - Hummus/Veggie Wraps, Grapes
Supper - Pasta with Rainbow Veggies

Friday
Breakfast - Cereal and Toast
Snack - Carrot Oatmeal Muffins
Lunch - Egg Salad Sandwiches, Starwberries, Baby Carrots with Ranch Dressing

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Carrot Cake For My Baby

2 cups gluten-free flour blend (one cup rice flour, 3/4 cup teff flour, 1/4 cup potato starch)
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp cinnamon (doesn't that sound like a TON of cinnamon? It really wasn't over-powering, though.)
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup drained crushed pineapple (the kind without any added sugar)
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups grated carrots

Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly oil a 9x13 pan and set it aside.
Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices into a bowl. Set it aside.
In a food processor, combine the pineapple, raisins, and 1/4 of the white sugar. Pulse for a little while - you don't want the ingredients pureed, but just sort of mushed together a bit. Set that aside, too.
With an electric mixer, combine the remaining white sugar, the eggs, brown sugar, vegetable oil, applesauce, vanilla and the pineapple-raisin glop. Beat until everything is well combined. Lower the speed and add the flour mixture, then add the carrots and beat just until everything is combined. Spread into the prepared pan.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a butter knife comes out clean. Let cool and frost with a cream cheese icing (I used four ounces of softened cream cheese with 3 tbsp soft butter and 1/2 cup white sugar, well-blended.).

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Califlower Soup

My kids are really very cheerful about eating vegetables, it must be said. There was no magic trick that we performed, aside from a) serving them a wide variety of vegetables all through their lives and b) eating a wide variety of vegetables ourselves. So all three of my kids were very enthusiastic about this soup, while your kids might not be. It's a VERY yummy soup - flavourful and creamy and good - so perhaps your munchkins will love it, too.

Heat up some olive oil in a largish saucepan. Chop up an onion and cook until soft in the oil. Add:
1 head of chopped cauliflower
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups milk (I used a bit of cream as well that I had in the fridge and it was very nice)

And that's it! Let it simmer until it's tender, which should take about 15 minutes. Now you're going to pureer it in batches in your blender or with an immersion blender. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve. You can grate some Cheddar on top if you like.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

This week's menu...

.... a study in over-reach. Lunches are easier when the kids are home and I tend to become verrrry relaxed about breakfasts, too. They're lucky there's still fifteen feet of snow on the ground and I can't send them outside to forage.

Tonight:
Three homemade pizzas (and a mini gluten-free one, too)- right now, I'm thinking one with Sweet Thai Chili Sauce (we eat too much of that stuff), goat cheese, chicken and broccoli, one vegetarian with feta, and one VERY STANDARD PIZZA with turkey pepperoni and green peppers. Guess who eats that one. Anyhow, those pizzas are likely going to be mentioned in this week's Kitchen Party post, complete with lovely pictures, so stay tuned.
And then we're making homemade Twinkies, which I'll write about later this week.

Sunday
Breakfast - These mini maple cinnamon rolls. Lordy. I'll have to get up at 6 to get them ready before church, which is sort of sad. Oh, and some fruit salad, so we don't get scurvy.
Lunch - A big Greek salad.
Supper - Cabbage Rolls, scalloped potatoes, peas.... and some pink fluffy mini cupcakes because it's Barbie's birthday and we're celebrating.

Monday
Breakfast - A bowl of cereal. I like making hot breakfasts for the kids when they're off to school and I don't get to see how much else they eat during the day, but it's March Break and I'm probably going to have a headache AND a certain cereal company has watches in its cereal right now, which my kids have decided they need more than ANYTHING. So cereal it is!
Lunch - Open-faced egg salad sandwiches with goofy vegetable faces.
Supper - Vegetarian 3 Bean Chili and a Yeast Corn Bread Loaf

Tuesday
Breakfast -Poached Eggs on Toast and some orange slices. My kids love poached eggs, which is kind of odd, since poached eggs are the grossest member of the egg family.
Lunch - Quesadillas and some sliced mango
Supper - Pork Tenderloin with Garlic-Orange Vinaigrette and Sauteed Spinach, Brown Rice, and Roasted Tomatoes

Wednesday
Breakfast - Cereal again! Or oatmeal.
Lunch - Spinach Pasta Salad with Feta, The Girl's specific request. When I'm doing menu planning for the week, she sits right alongside me making her own list of things I should cook. Very helpful.
Supper - Black Bean Burritos, since it's a busy night.

Thursday
Breakfast - Oh, guess. I might make french toast if anyone balks at cereal.
Lunch - Almond Butter and honey sandwiches, carrot sticks and baked apples.
Supper - Chicken Spinach Manicotti, Tomato, Zucchini and Red Onion Salad

Friday and Celebrating Saint Patrick's Day.
No, it's not actually St. Patrick's Day, but the actual day falls within Holy Week NEXT week and so we're celebrating early.
Breakfast - Lucky Charms, the official cereal of St. Patrick's Day at OUR house. And green smoothies.
Lunch - I haven't thought of anything amusingly theme-y yet. Ideas? (I'm thinking I might just make potato soup.)
Supper - Glazed Corned Beef Dinner (from the slow cooker, my dear friend), something cabbage-y, Irish Soda Bread and I THINK this country rhubarb cake.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Really standard brownies

These aren't decadent, over-the-top brownies, but do we need to have those all the time? These are sweet and tasty and moderate, all nice things.

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 300. Butter an 8" square pan.
In a saucepan over very, very low heat, melt together the butter and chocolate. Remove from the heat and stir in other ingredients. Spread in the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A springish menu plan for this week


(the lunch plans are for my kids' school lunches. I normally have either leftovers or I make some soup.)

Tonight's supper: Chicken Sandwiches, Steamed Broccoli, Oven Fries

Tuesday
Breakfast - Steel-cut oatmeal with maple syrup and bananas
Lunch - They don't need to pack a lunch that day. I'm probably just going to send them in grapes and some cheese and whole grain crackers.
Supper - Chicken Marbella, Jasmine Rice (save extra for Thursday's lunch), Carrots in a honey glaze, spinach salad with red onions and a poppy seed dressing.

Wednesday
Breakfast - Fruit Smoothies, French Toast
Lunch - Homemade Wholewheat Mini-Pizzas, Orange Wedges, Cookie
Supper - Breaded Fish Fingers with Sweet Potato Oven Fries, Raw Veggie Tray with Dip. Homemade gingerbread with lemon sauce for dessert.

Thursday
Breakfast -Poached Eggs on Toast, Orange Wedges
Lunch - Gingerbread with Lemon Sauce, Rice and Veggie Salad, Apple Slices
Supper -Enchilada Stuffed Shells, Mixed Pepper Salad. Make Triple-Chocolate Cookies with The Girl.

Friday
Breakfast - Buckwheat crepes with strawberries
Lunch- Salmon Sandwiches on English Muffins, Cucumber Chain, Corn Chips and Salsa, Red Grapes, Triple Chocolate Cookie
Supper - Homemade Pizzas (what, again? Apparently.) - one Tex-Mex, one Jerk Chicken.

Saturday
Breakfast - Yeast-raised waffles with fruit salad

Monday, February 11, 2008

Hamburger Vegetable Soup

A friend who was from Down South (aka Toronto) was over one time and another friend brought over some hamburger soup for lunch - and my southern friend had NEVER had any! Hamburger soup, apparently, is a rare thing down there. I don't know why - it's pretty yummy AND it's cheap.

Brown a package of ground beef in a Dutch oven and drain off all of the goop.
Add 28 ounces of beef broth (two cans), 2 cups of water, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 3 chopped celery ribs, 2 large peeled and chopped carrots, 2 sliced onions, one peeled and cubed potato, 2 tsp. dried tarragon, 1 tbsp garlic powder, and 1/8 tsp pepper. If you want to add a sprinkle of salt, you can.

Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat, cover and simmer for half an hour or until the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Cook 3/4 cup of mararoni until tender, strain, and stir into the soup, heating for a few minutes.
Makes 8 servings.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

Valentine's Day is coming up and you probably need a good sugar cookie recipe to make heart-shaped cookies, right? Here's a dandy one.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening (the butter is for flavour; the shortening helps the cookies hold their shape)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
3 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream butter, shortening and sugar. Add eggs and beat well.
In another bowl, mix sour cream and baking soda together and add to egg mixture. Add the flour and salt and make sure everything is well combined.
Put the dough in the fridge for a few hours. This helps the cookies become stiff enough to roll out - and when you're baking with little kids, it makes it into two easy sessions.
Preheat your oven to 325.
Roll out the dough. Cut into shapes with your cookie cutters. If you need to reroll the dough, it's a good idea to refridgerate the dough again. Bake the cookies for 5-7 minutes (this will depend on how thick they are.).

Hot Fudge Cake Pudding Thing

I have no idea what this should be called. I've heard it called "Chocolate Cobbler", but that makes me think of a guy who makes shoes, made inexplicably out of chocolate. My kids call it "Chocolate Stuff" and we make it A LOT. This is probably are most-served dessert, and The Girl can make it entirely on her own, with an adult handling the oven stuff. She IS only 8, after all.

Anyway. This is one of those desserts that magically forms two layers while it's baking - one semi-solid cake layer and a sauce to serve with it. It's yummy, too, and it's not a tremendous splurge calorie-wise. You should probably start making this frequently at YOUR house, too.

Preheat your oven to 350. Find a 9" square baking pan. Don't grease it.

In a bowl, mix together:
1 cup flour
3/4 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Stir in
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla.
Spread in the ungreased baking pan.

In a small bowl, combine
1 cup PACKED brown sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa powder.
Sprinkle this on top of your cakey stuff in the pan. DO NOT STIR IT IN.

Carefully pour 1 3/4 cup VERY hot water over everything. DO NOT STIR!
Put it in the oven and let it bake for 35-40 minutes. Serve warm, and if you're feeling generous, with big scoops of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Makes 9 servings.

(later on, when you want to mix it up a bit, you can add 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips to the cake-y batter. That's pretty nice, too)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes

These are so good that it's a bit ridiculous. They are deeeeelicious. I am thinking - yearningly - of the one lone cupcake left in the kitchen, the one intended for my son. Bad mama.

They're also really easy, unlike convincing your son that he should let you eat his last cupcake. If you don't bake much, this is a nice recipe to try. Just read through the recipe first and make sure you have everything you need before you get started.

Preheat your oven to 375.
Line 2 cupcake trays - so 24 cupcakes altogether - with paper cupcake liners.
Get out a big (reasonably big. Don't go crazy looking for a giant vat) bowl and your electric mixer. If you have a stand mixer, you can use that. If you don't have either, you can just stir everything together with a spoon.
Mix together:
1/2 cup softened butter
and
1 1/2 cups sugar.
Add:
2 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
Now mix in - in THIS ORDER:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk.

Stir it together first so flour doesn't fly everywhere, and then mix it all together. Fill the paper-lined muffin cups until they're 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 15-20 minutes. (you can tell they're cooked when you can stick a toothpick into one of the center cupcakes and it comes out clean, not covered in batter.) Let them cool down and decorate.

Spanish Lentil and Sausage Soup

This recipe came from Sacramental Magic in a Small-Town Cafe by Peter Reinhart, who is best known for his breadmaking books. It's out of print now, but there are lots of copies for sale on Amazon. It came out in the early 1990s and was responsible for me learning how to make certain now-essential recipes in my repetoire - my black bean chili AND my carnivore's chili, my tabbouleh, my chicken salad recipe AND my favorite brownies all came from this cookbook. But like many things that were very important to us when we were younger, this cookbook doesn't see the light of day much now.

There are lots of notes attached to my copy of this recipe - I always use one drained can of lentils, but you certainly could add lentils that you cooked yourself. 2 cups of cooked lentils should be just about perfect.

And if you're wanting a vegetarian version of the soup, that's easy too - just add paprika, cayenne, black pepper and a little bit of vinegar to get the right spice balance.

2 pounds spicy sausage - not the pre-cooked kind - cut up into small pieces.
2 onions, diced
8 cloves of garlic, minced
8 cups packed fresh spinach or 2 of those little boxes of frozen chopped spinach
1 can diced tomatoes (the 28 oz size)
1 can lentils or 2 cups cooked lentils
cilantro for garnish, if you like.

In a heavy soup pot, saute the sausage until brown. Take out the sausage and add the onions and garlic - cook those until the onion is transclucent. Stir the sausages back in and add the spinach , lentils and tomatoes and let the soup simmer for ten minutes or so. Garnish each serving with cilantro, if you like.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Some useful advice and a recipe from the Girl

This is the Girl's very own advice for sneaking some higher food value baby spinach into your kid's sandwich - hide the spinach between the lettuce. Of course, all three of my children adore spinach, but that's just because they're weird little mites.

Here's The Girl's Sub recipe that she wanted me to share:
- one whole wheat hamburger or hot dog bun
- one slice of pickle
- a few slices of cucumber
- baby spinach leaves
- a few circles of red onion
- some sub sauce or Italian dressing.

Her favorite!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Sour Cream Silver Dollar Pancakes

This is from my Kitchen Party post. I really must emphasize again how GOOD these are and how enchantingly weightless - I really urge you to try them.

Sour Cream Silver Dollar Pancakes
4 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup cake flour (you CAN use the regular sort of flour, but your pancakes won't be as ethereally weightless. They'll still be GOOD, though.)
2 cups sour cream
3 tablespoons sugar
Stir the eggs in a mixing bowl until they're light and fluffy. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well - and if you'd rather, you can even do this in a blender, for even FLUFFIER results.
Heat a frying pan or griddle until it's hot, and add a light layer of vegetable oil. Drop a tablespoon of batter on the griddle, enough to make pancakes about as long as your thumb (unless you have freaky long thumbs. If so, aim for a bit smaller.). When there are a few bubbles on top of your mini pancakes, gently flip them over and cook briefly.
This makes about a zillion tiny little pancakes. Enjoy.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Chocolate Oat Squares.

Isn't that a thrilling name? If they were just "oat squares", I'd never even look twice at them. But they're really yummy - delicious, buttery oat squares, filled with a creamy chocolate goop.

1 cup + 2 tbsp butter, divided
2 cups brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
4 tsp vanilla extract, divided
3 cups quick cooking oats (THIS DOES NOT MEAN INSTANT OATS. YOU CANNOT COOK WITH THOSE.)
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
1 tsp baking soda
1 can sweetened condensed milk (the 14 oz size can, in case you live on the moon or something and they come in other sizes)
2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips

Grease a 15x10 inch baking pan. Upon looking at that instruction, I realize that I have never actually seen a pan that size, so I use my regular rectangular pan. Ahem.

In a mixing bowl, cream one cup of butter and the brown sugar. Beat in the eggs and two teaspoons of vanilla. In another bowl, mix together the oats, flour, 1 tsp salt and baking soda and then mix into the creamed mixture.

Press two thirds of the oat mixture into your prepared pan. In a saucepan, combine the milk, chocolate chips, the 1/2 tsp of salt and the 2 tbsp of butter. Cook and stir over LOW heat until the chocolate chips are melted. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla. Spread over the crust, gently.

Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until nicely browned. Cool adn cut into squares. This makes about 4 dozen tasty little squares, which is handy if you're going to a potluck or something and WAY too much if you're not. I've been known to halve this recipe and make it in an 8" square pan. Your call.

Black Beans and Rice Burgers

I generally liven these up by throwing some diced jalapenos and a few drops of hot sauce in 'em. They're a big hit, even with my spoiled, spoiled children.

1 can of black beans, drained and mashed beyond recognition
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 small onion, really finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp + 1 cup salsa, divided
1/4 cup sour cream (low fat is fine)

In a large bowl, mix your mashed beans, rice, onion, and the 2 tbsp of salsa. Mix it together and rop by 1/2 cups onto a well-greased skillet. Flatten each burger until they're 1/2" thick. Cook over medium heat for 4 or 5 minutes per side or until it looks cooked.
In a bowl, mix together the rest of the sour cream and the salsa. Serve the burgers on buns with the sour-cream/salsa stuff, some lettuce and a slice of cheese, if you like.
Makes 4 burgers.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are very, very good - I can cheerfully serve them to unsuspecting guests, for example, and they even taste good after they've cooled, which is frequently a problem with traditional chcoolate chip cookies.
That is not to say that they are without problems. They're fragile, for one, and wouldn't travel well in a lunchbox - but they have a lovely taste and would really cheer up a recently diagnosed kid. Or adult.

1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 egg
3/4 cup white or brown rice flour
1/4 cup potato flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 oz. package of chocolate chips

Cream the butter in a large mixing bowl until very soft.
Add the sugars, salt and vanilla and mix well. Add the egg and mix well.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Mix in the dry ingredients.
Stir in the chocolate chips.
Drop by SMALL teaspoons on lightly greased cookie sheets and bake 8 - 10 minutes (watch carefully). Cool on pan briefly and carefully remove to a cooling rack.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Cheesey Meatloaf

3 pounds lean ground beef
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
8 ounces Swiss cheese or extra-sharp cheddar, grated
1/4 cup milk or beef broth
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 tablespoons ketchup

Preheat the oven to 350.
Line a 9x13 baking dish with a couple of thicknesses of foil.
Mush all of the ingredients except the ketchup together in a large bowl until well mixed. Mold the meat loaf mixture into a large flattish mound in the center of the prepared pan. Squirt a bunch of ketchup on top. This is a very gourmet food.
Bake the meat loaf for 1 1/2 hours or until it is browned and cooked through.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Barb's Jalapeno Garlic Tilapia
The Pioneer Woman's Favorite Sandwich and now Mine, Too.
Butterscotch Apple Crisp that you make in the slow cooker. I've made this dozens of times and it makes your house smell AMAZING.
Susanne's Taco Meatloaf. This is darn tasty, and it is gwooten-fwee and good for babies, as The Baby would tell you.
Suzanne's beautiful Hearth Bread
Megan's delicious San Francisco Salad