Saturday, February 26, 2011


I know that crepes aren't only for breakfast, but that's the way we eat them at our house most of the time. I'm always looking for my ideas for hot breakfasts, and this is one that I will make frequently. It is a bit labor intensive, so I usually make them on a day that I don't need to get myself ready for work too. The secret (for me anyway) is to get the pan hot enough before starting. I make them in my small non-stick skillet and have found them easy to flip.

It's best if I get a headstart on these because Eleanor can usually eat the entire batch quickly.

This recipe comes from the Ovens of Brittany cookbook.....a restaurant that will probably stir fond memories for anyone living in Madison in the 80s. It was the restaurant that you would like to have your parents take you when they came to town. Their morning buns and a cup of tea were delicious. The restaurants were the midwest's answer to Moosewood Cafe or Swallow Restaurant...bringing a local food movement in to Madison in the 70s. I have the cookbook, apron, and coffee mug with the logo. I just wish I could have one of the morning buns!!!!

My book is well worn and has been taped. Every recipe I have made from this book and taken somewhere does get rave reviews. The recipes tend to be a bit heavy on the butter (hey, we're in the land of dairy), but have all worked well when I have decreased the butter a bit as well.

6 eggs
couple grates of nutmeg
1/3 c flour
1/4 c whole wheat flour (or you can use all white flour as well)
2 T veg oil
1 c water
The original recipe had 1/2t salt in it as well.

I whisk everything together while the pan is heating. I put 2-3T of batter in the pan and swirl it around. If there are holes in the crepe, then I patch them with a bit of batter. When the edges start to curl a bit, flip the crepe over and cook a couple seconds more. Flip the completed crepe onto a plate. If the batter seems a bit thick (or if you save remaining batter in the fridge for another day), just add a tiny bit of water and whisk it in. Stir the batter often before making the next crepe.

Guess what? When we had a French exchange student she was really happy when I made these!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pumpkin....Pudding and Muffins

Canned pumpkin is a pantry staple at this house. Eleanor is CRAZY about pumpkin! Her birthday treat for many years has been pumpkin muffins with cream cheese frosting. I like to make pumpkin pudding for her too. Pumpkin pudding is the pie filling baked in a pan without the pie crust. It's a healthier option (and less labor intensive).

I don't have a picture of the muffins. But, they look like...muffins.
I have adapted a sweet potato recipe over the years into what you'll see below:
1 1/2 c flour
2 t bkg powder
1 t grd cinnamon
1/2 t bkg soda
1/2 t allspice
1/3 c brown sugar
1 c canned pumpkin
3/4 c plain yogurt
1/4 c vegetable oil
1 egg

I usually make a double batch so I can use the entire can of pumpkin with one recipe.
The original recipe was a bit more labor intensive as far as mixing the wet ingredients and dry ingredients separately. I dump everything in one bowl and stir until still a tiny bit lumpy. I bake them at 425 degrees until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

The pumpkin pudding is the filling recipe on the side of the Libby's Pumpkin can or Shurfine pumpkin can or Aldi's pumpkin can.

Here's a picture of pumpkin pudding before Eleanor knows it's ready to be eaten.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Once Around the Kitchen Pasta

Help! I have no plans for dinner and no onions and no garlic....what to make?
I had enough things I could throw together to make some sort of pasta bar.
  • chicken apple sausage from Trader Joe's
  • sun dried tomatoes in Italian herbs and olive oil
  • frozen artichokes
  • frozen peas
  • bleu cheese
It worked!
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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Granola Bars

Having successfully created granola addicts with Garrett's Granola, the next step was to figure out how to make Granola Bars...After reading many recipes, I came up with this version which is a winner.


Garrett's Granola Dry Ingredients

4 cups old-fashioned oats
4 ounces whole, raw almonds
4 ounces pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder
2 tablespoons flax seeds
4 ounces dried apricots, chopped
4 ounces dried cranberries

Other Ingredients to glue the granola together

1 1/3 c brown sugar
1 c honey
8 T butter
4 t vanilla extract

Mix together the dry ingredients for Garrett's Granola omitting the dried fruit. Toast in 300°F oven until lightly toasted, about 30 minutes. Stir in the fruit. Melt the butter, brown sugar and honey together in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Add to the dry ingredients and mix. Line a pan approximately 9"x12" with lightly greased waxed paper(greasing is important). Pour granola into pan and press into the pan with another sheet of greased waxed paper. Allow to cool and cut into bars...should make 15-18 bars.

These are very rich! Enjoy!

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Bacon and Vegetable Soup

This creation came about from my recent cleanse/detox week.

Chop 3 slices bacon and saute. Add:
4 leeks, chopped
1/4 bunch celery, chopped
handful peppers from freezer
2 carrots, chopped
4 potatoes, chopped
handful frozen cauliflower and frozen par-boiled turnips
2 thyme sprigs
2 cans chicken broth

Cook all until vegetables are very tender. Blend with immersion blender until slightly smooth. I left some chunks in the soup.

This recipe seemed to cleverly disguise the turnips and cauliflower (Paul is not a turnip fan and Eleanor is not a cauliflower fan....although both will eat these vegetables).

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pantry Purge Pizza

As part of my anti-grocery shopping week pizza seemed like a good option for dinner. I can usually throw ingredients on a pizza crust and it seems like it isn't about leftovers anymore.

I made thin crust dough, since that is so quick to throw together. Eleanor had her own pizza and Paul and I split one. Hers was simple: crust, fresh mozzarella, olive oil and Parmesan. Ours a bit more complex with the ingredients on hers and also roasted garlic, fresh tomatoes and chopped sun dried tomatoes.

A salad completed the meal.
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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Freezer and Pantry Detox

It's time for a kitchen cleanse!

I'm pretty good about eating food before it goes bad...and pretty good about eating the meals put away in the freezer...but sometimes I just need to get to the bottom of the freezer and the back of the pantry. The best way for me to do this is to figure out a week where I am not going to do any grocery shopping at all. I do try to make sure that I have enough fresh fruit to get us through the week...but the rest needs to be created from items we have already.

Pantry staples are generally a good thing because I can to figure out a quick meal or two, but sometimes I do like to get to the back of the shelves and make sure I'm using things before they expire.

Summer vegetables have happily multiplied in the freezer. I start the week with a version of Elizabeth's potato soup which is great because I have a package of bacon as well. I'm going to try to put some of the frozen cauliflower and par boiled turnip in my soup also. Watch for an upcoming post on what went into this soup.

I have edamame in the pods, so I boiled that and am letting it cool to put in small bags for lunches this week. And, I think that I'll have enough peppers and chicken for fajitas this week...and enough lentils and bell peppers and leeks for lentil chili.

I have some green curry paste and coconut milk in the pantry that looks like that will make a nice creation with chicken.

Maybe a pizza with various toppings?

Stay tuned...I'll keep you posted. Get it? I'll keep you POSTED as the week progresses. There just may be some fun surprises as I get toward the bottom of this.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Red Beans and Rice

I have made many versions of this over the years, but I found a version that is my favorite on my friend's blog. Nora is a fellow blogger...and blogged way before I even thought about it. Her blog does have some recipes...and I think this recipe is on her blog along with her gorgeous knitting and thoughts about various check it out using the link above.

I had some celery I knew I needed to use or freeze so I chopped it (her recipe says dice, but I chopped it...all the time I had that day) and froze it. I bought the turkey kielbasa and froze one link to use another time and diced the other link and added it to the ziploc bag in my freezer with the celery. In the interest of being efficient sometime in the future, I also diced and onion and put it in the bag as well. This comes together very quickly if things are diced/chopped and ready to be combined when getting home, if they are in the refrigerator or freezer.

1 medium onion, diced
1 t diced garlic
2 stalks celery, diced
1 1/2 c turkey kielbasa, diced
1 T cajun seasoning
1 t tabasco
2 cans kidney beans
1 can chicken broth

Saute the onion, celery, and garlic in olive oil (since I had the turkey kielbasa already in the bag with the onion and celery I added that right away too). Add kielbasa and cajun seasoning. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer (covered).

Serve with rice.

It works so well to have everything diced (or chopped) in the freezer and ready to go for a very quick post swimming meal. It is nice to know that I have a couple ready to assemble items in the freezer for the days that I just don't pull anything else together. It would still be quick even if the items weren't prepared ahead of time.

The picture is a bit blurry, but the food is gone so it will have to do.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Belgian Waffles

OK, I admit it. This recipe came with the waffle maker. We do make these for breakfast frequently (it's that hot breakfast thing).

In microwave:
1/4 c butter
1 3/4 c milk
1/4 c water
Heat until butter is nearly melted. Stir it around a bit until all the butter is melted.
When it isn't too hot add:
2 2/3 c flour
1 T flax seed (optional, my addition)
2 T sugar
2 1/4 t dry yeast
3 eggs
Mix all together and put in refrigerator overnight or let sit at room temperature an hour or two.
Use 1/2 c batter or so in the waffle grid.

Thanks to Eleanor for being the food stylist!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Stir Fry

And sometimes you just need a big plate of vegetables........

After so much eating, it just seems like a big bowl of stir fry is just what the body needs. It's helpful when the refrigerator is full to just reduce the entire drawer of veggies and get them into out bodies. This is a much delayed post...the dinner was made after the last CSA box of the season. Stir fry is different every time at our house. This is how it was made this time.

heat oil in wok and add:
sliced onions
minced garlic
minced ginger
sliced peppers from freezer
sliced bok choy

I added a few sprinkles of soy sauce and sesame seeds before serving. Topped with a bit of srirachua (aka rooster sauce) it was just the nutritious thing my body was craving!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Chicken Fajita Pasta

I got this recipe from my mom years ago. We like it for a quick and good weeknight meal.

1 T. chili powder
1 t each ground cumin and oregano
2 T lime juice
2-3 boneless chicken breasts cut into pieces or strips
Coat the chicken in the mixture listed above and let sit. I often will do this step in the morning, so when we get home the meal gets thrown together quickly.

Get water boiling for pasta and then get the other items ready:
Cook chicken in 1 T olive oil and remove from pan.
Add a drizzle of olive oil (if needed) and cook:

2 c. pepper strips (red, green and/or yellow). I usually have some of these in the freezer from when they are in season.1 med onion, either diced or in strips
Add cooked chicken, cooked peppers and onions and 1 c salsa to 8 oz. hot cooked pasta. Top with 6 oz or so of crumbled feta.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Swimming and Brownies and Green Bay Packers

It's the weekend....and this one is full. It's the weekend of a swim meet...and it's our meet(and a big one) so we're busy with volunteering and cooking. With a friend, Kelly, I worked on coordinating a taco bar for meet officials and coaches for Saturday early dinner. Since we coordinated it, we took the items that were left to make on the sign up sheet, and I ended up with two items, rice and dessert. Rice...OK...that's an easy one. Dessert, I decided to make brownies since they are easily transportable.

The brownie recipe I used is in The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook; it's pretty basic and is as follows:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 by 13" pan
In large saucepan melt:
1 c butter
4 squares unsweetened chocolate
Remove from heat and add:
2 c sugar
Allow mixture to cool and then add:
4 eggs
1 c flour
1 t vanilla
Pour into the pan and bake 30-35 minutes.

I almost always end up making brownies for school parties since Eleanor knows that she will be able to have my nut-free dessert. A couple years ago she told me that I needed to "jazz them up a bit" to be a bit more appealing for others. Here's my attempt with some chocolate chips and leftover white chocolate from dirty snowballs in December.

It's quite the weekend here in Wisconsin with the Green Bay Packers in the Superbowl. Wow...for those of us growing up Wisconsin in the 70s and 80s years of sports' drought, this feels great. Both Badgers and Packers had great years in the 90s but it wasn't in the same year. During the 70s I wouldn't have thought Superbowl and RoseBowl were possible on separate years...but the same year...WOW! If only it were the year for winter Olympics, then my spectator sports would be complete.

We'll be sitting in our lucky spots after the meet today to help the Packers win. I'm so glad that Eleanor isn't swimming the 1650, so we'll be home in time for the kickoff.

These pretty cookies are from Regina's Bay Bakery. Often these type cookies are pretty but don't taste very good...these do.

Harvest Chicken Soup

I have already used this blog to rave about Cafe Latte in St. Paul, so I won't do that again. Here's a recipe I have on a card from long ago where I noted it was a Cafe Latte recipe. I did do an online search and found the link from the title that attributes the recipe to the same place I am.

I usually make 1/2 this recipe for our small family. I did do a number of substitutions/additions this round. I also added 2 chopped parsnips...just because I like them. I substituted spinach for the watercress because I had it already.

It's good...and I do like eating a bowl full of vegetables!
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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Rice Pudding


Paul is not a rice pudding fan, so I try to make it when he's traveling for work. I think it's because he's had too much conji in Asia, but he claims that it has to do with glorified rice being popular in his youth. Either way, the result is the same.....he's not eating any! You can check out the link above if you are interested in a recipe for conji in the crockpot. I have enclosed the link to wikipedia for glorified rice and did notice that there are some recipes for it online. It's a Minnesota thing, I think.

Back to rice pudding. This is a recipe that Eleanor got in 3rd grade when her class put together a cookbook with family recipes and stories about family heritage. Each child submitted a recipe and a family history, and this was her classmate Colleen's addition to the book.

It's our favorite rice pudding recipe and I am working on adapting it to the crockpot. The original recipe calls for whole milk, and I have gotten some to make this; however, usually I use skim. It's a great recipe to make when I have a surplus of milk and our milkman, Larry, is going to come with the delivery from lwdairy. Check out my link to the dairy delivery we use since we are fortunate to get local milk delivered to our door in a milk box on our front porch.

In a colander rinse 3/4 c rice in cold water
Add: 2 quarts milk...the original recipe called for whole milk
3 T butter
3/4 c sugar
3/4 t cinnamon (our addition to Colleen's recipe)
grates of nutmeg
2 T vanilla
Mix all ingredients together and bake at 350 degrees for a couple hours stirring several times during baking. The original recipe says to cool and refrigerate it before eating, but Eleanor and I like it hot as well as cold.

Serve with diced apples, raisins, etc.

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