Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Egg Cream

Egg cream....a holdover from the soda fountain days.  I have been intrigued with these since I first read about these when reading Harriet the Spy having read  it countless times.  I started a number of notebooks and really wanted to BE Harriet.

We made these after a workout and thought they were lightly chocolate-y and refreshing.
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Monday, July 30, 2012

Danish Dough Whisk

Danish Dough Whisk
Artisan Bread Folks rave about this tool!

Eleanor said she wasn't able to find this for me when she was looking before Christmas; however, as often happens, she found it when she wasn't looking for it.  It was a fun surprise for me to receive a gift in the middle of July from her!  She found it at a store, The Garden Room, within a tearoom where she had lunch the other week.

A friend of ours took Eleanor to this tearoom a couple years ago for a fun grown up friend/young woman outing.  And then this week some of Eleanor's school friends were riding their bikes to have lunch at the Anaba Tea Room.  Two of the girls had gone before and gotten the "tea for two" special...and now the circle expanded to four girls.  They are reporting that the servings were quite generous and getting the special for two and splitting it four ways is the way to go.  So, while I don't have personal experience at this place, it sounds delightful.  And I'm happy when places are kind to teenagers....and it sounds like they were.

So, sometimes things are found in the most unusual places.  The Danish dough whisk in the tearoom store.  It works great for mixing the artisan dough!

So, no recipe for today....just a kitchen tool recommendation.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Italian Lemon Cookie Drops

Italian Cookie Drops
Eleanor and I were craving some lemon-y dessert the other day but couldn't make lemon squares due to the number of eggs in our refrigerator (that's another story...one involving someone taking OUR CSA eggs).  And besides, it's almost time to head to violin camp where the lemon squares are assigned to someone else:)

We found this recipe which fulfilled our summer lemon craving.

I"m not a huge fan of making cookies since I get a bit tired of making them before the process is done.  I'm enthusiastic about mixing the dough and putting in the first batch....and then I get pretty tired of the whole thing.  More pans is a helpful process...but that's more pans to wash...and I'm tired of cookies at that point.  For those reasons, that's why these were the best.  They made one large baking pan of cookies and were done.

My version has some lemon and lime zest sprinkled on the top; but otherwise mine were close to the original.  I decreased the butter by 2 TBSP or so....only because that's all I had.

Hmmm....no eggs.....no butter....guess who will be headed to the store today?

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Summer Squash and Chicken Pasta

Often I don't plan a menu for the night the CSA box arrives.  I have found that works well....just creating something (usually over pasta or over rice) out of some of the new vegetable arrivals.
Red onions, zucchini, yellow summer squash, and green beans combined with leftover lemon basil chicken made a nice dinner. I used a bit of my free Penzey's spice, Ruth Ann's Muskego seasoning.

This came together quickly and tasted nice and fresh!
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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Beef Satay Skewers

Grilled potatoes with Bangkok seasoning +
Grilled sweet potatoes +
Tomatoes from the Farmer's market +
Beef from Paul's friend of a friend "Kobe" beef farm +
Peanut Satay Sauce +
= a great Sunday night grilled dinner

Ever since I had sweet potato fries at Cafe Hollander with peanut satay sauce, it has been a flavor combination I love (with the exception of the pumpkin sweet potato peanut butter soup I made a few years ago...clearly an anomaly).
Satay Sauce (this is the blobblish thing in the middle of the plate above)
adapted from Weber's Big Book of Grilling
5 chives, chopped
1/3 c ketchup
1/4 c soy sauce
2 T brown sugar
lime juice freshly squeezed from 3 key limes (about 3 T)
1 t fresh ginger, minced
1 t garlic, minced
1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
Mix all of the above together and heat on stove until blended.  Remove from heat and add:
1/4 c creamy peanut butter
Paul sprinkled the Bangkok seasoning on the meat before skewering and grilling it.  I did the same to the par-boiled potatoes before grilling.  Ah...sweet potatoes...no seasoning...just par-boiled and grilled. And nothing beats a locally grown tomato in the summer!
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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Quinoa Salad...another one

I made a large batch of red quinoa in the rice cooker the other day since it isn't twice as much work to make a double batch using low sodium chicken broth instead of water for a flavor boost.   I haven't tried freezing cooked quinoa...yet.  Anyway, I made a slightly spicy Thai version of salad and a blander....more Eleanor friendly version.  I think I have converted to being a red quiona fan over the plainish quinoa since, after rinsing both, the red is even less bitter(and yes, I have rinsed and rinsed both colors of quinoa before cooking)..  I have never had black quinoa, but after having it at a friend's house, Eleanor gives it rave reviews.  That's next on the quinoa taste test list!

2 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 c golden rasins
cucumber, diced
3 stalks celery
1/4 c raspberry vinegar
1/3 c olive oil
Place salad ingredients in a bowl.  In a separate bowl place the raspberry vinegar.  Whisk in olive oil and pour dressing on salad ingredients.
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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Broccoli Orzo

  • From skinnytaste:
  • 6 oz uncooked orzo pasta
  • 2 cups of fresh broccoli florets only 
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste

Trim stems off broccoli, cut into small pieces and season with salt. Steam covered with a little water until cooked, careful not to overcook. When broccoli is cooked,remove from pan and chop into smaller pieces.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in medium pot of salted water as directed for al dente.Reserve about 1/2 cup liquid before draining. Drain orzo in a colander and add the oil to the pot. Saute garlic a few minutes until golden, add broccoli mix well. Add orzo and stir to combine all. Add a little reserved liquid as needed so pasta isn't dry. 

I made this pretty close to the original.  The link above takes you to the website where I found this recipe....and my version is listed above.  We didn't use any salt...and just a few grinds of pepper.  

Tasted great with the lemon chicken posted a few days ago!
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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Paul's Bangkok Grilled Kabobs

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Nice and spicy Thai grilled steak kabobs.  Had to create a grill similar to the street food carts in Thailand (and probably other parts of southern Asia). You can read about it in the Bangkok Chicken Wing post  When making the fire I use lump charcoal augmented by a little mesquite wood chunks.  The gutter grill allows the coal to smolder slowly.  Figure about 30 to 45 minutes for the kabobs to cook.  I always use an instant read thermometer to verify the meat temperature in each wing is at or slightly above 145F (rare).

Prep time about 15 minutes before grilling.  At all the street food carts in Bangkok the "chefs" give a small plastic bag of sauce the it THE spicy flavor of Thailand.  The sauce is called Jaew. I brushed the kabobs on both sides with Jaew about 15 minutes prior to grilling and then while grilling again brushed several times after each wing flip.  Reserve some of the Jaew without contamination for drizzle or dip the kabobs into while eating.  Nice and salty spicy HOT.

Jaew Sauce:

1/2 cup chopped fine Scallions
1/2 cup Cilantro chopped fine
1 tsp Ginger Powder
2/3 cup Fish Sauce (the real Thai stuff)
2 Limes - juiced with a good squeezer (at least 1/4 cup)
4 tsp dark brown sugar
2 Tablespoons Thai Red Chili Powder (course ground Thai Red Chili)

Mix all together to use as marinade and dipping sauce.

2 pounds Hanger Steaks cubed
1 pound beef rib meat cutting out the bones and cubed best you can
Alternate the Hanger Steak and Rib Meat on the skewers.  The Rib meat is needed for flavor (fat) and driving tenderness into the Hanger Steaks.
Next time the Hanger Steaks will be cubed smaller.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Lemon Chicken

Lemon Thyme Chicken was the inspiration for this one.

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts. pounded flat for even grilling
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
Marinate for about an hour.  Then grill.
Served with broccoli orzo it was a great summer dinner. 

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Spanish Chickpeas and Chorizo

Spanish Chickpeas and Chorizo
Appetizer?  Main Dish?  Yep, something like that.  The thought of a lazy slow dinner or appetizer of this...with a glass of wine...sitting on the patio for hours and hours is appealing.  And, maybe in some other life I can do that.  However, this is a main dish at this house in the present time.  It comes together quickly after a late swim practice following a day of work, which is just what we need at this point in life.

I bought the chorizo at TheFreshMarket, so it was not budget friendly; however, I only had a tiny window of grocery shopping at there were some other items on sale there that I wanted to purchase.  Yikes.....their sausages are $1.99 each!  I stick by my best plan for shopping there....go somewhere else before...or after...shopping there to grab the basics and save it for a few specialty items.  I'm glad it's nearby (and I'm glad I only needed 2 links), but I just have to be reminded of it every so often.

Paul and I had a fun Saturday morning there after dropping Eleanor off at weight training and swim practice.  We had enough time to go to the dog park, TheFreshMarket, a local farmer's market, a walk for coffee, and a tiny bit of cleaning.  A glimpse of the future when she becomes a driver, I guess.  Maybe I will have a leisurely dinner on the patio after all!

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Red Quinoa Salad

Black Quinoa Salad is the more original of this recipe, so refer to that blog for detailed information.  I adpated this a tiny bit since I didn't find black quinoa at TheFreshMarket.  Quinoa is quite expensive there(as are many things), but I needed to do one stop so I got red quinoa there while I picked up my sale items and some Biscoff spread.  And it was on the way home from the Y and the dog park, so it worked!

  • 1 cup red quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 mango, stoned, scooped and diced
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup mint, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce, or soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha or to taste
  • 2 key limes, juice and zest

  1. Place the quinoa and broth in the rice cooker and cook until done. 
  2. Turn off rice cooker and let sit.
  3. Mix the quinoa, red pepper, yellow mango, green onions, cilantro, mint and chili in a large bowl.
  4. Mix the fish sauce, sugar, sriracha, lime juice and zest in a small bowl.
  5. Toss the salad in the dressing and serve.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Caprese on a Stick

Awesome idea from the www.thesweetslife.com!
It goes in the category, "now, why didn't I think of that?"
Caprese Salad on a Stick
We were heading to a party...similar story to bloggers where I got this idea...and needed to take something that didn't take too long to make and would be a bit fun. Typically I will make a dessert to take since that guarantees that it's nut-free; however, I just didn't have the time to pull together a pot luck kind of dessert on the Saturday this was needed.

Favorite flavor combinations...on a stick.....if I deep fried it maybe it could be a creation for state fairs?

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sweet Potato Kale Bites

Sweet Potato Kale Bites

Greens are growing well in our dry sunny summer.  That is, if the CSA box is any indication of growing conditions in the midwest this summer.  I do try to use what comes in the box during the week instead of trying to preserve it.  I'm guessing if greens are so good this week there will be more so I can stock the freezer a bit more later this summer.  I like having some of the things in the freezer for the winter; however, I like challenging myself to see if I can use them the week I receive them too.  Typically there are enough vegetables for both current menu and winter eating!

I made Sarah's quinoa salad with some of the kale.  I made Rick Bayless' chard potato tacos.  And then I tried this recipe.

One of our favorite summer places to eat is Northpoint Custard Stand on Lake Michigan.  It's got great burgers and is right on the lakefront.  Sometimes we ride our bicycles there to try to offset the burger and fries and custard calories....and we have gone to beachfront yoga before indulging.  We were trying to be extra healthy eaters before heading there for burgers the other week, so the greens came in handy.  And then we had this recipe the night following the burgers, so I think we're all good with food karma now.

I like the idea of making these little bites in a muffin pan.  The original recipe calls for a mini muffin pan while I used a regular muffin pan since I didn't want to do so many batches.  And, bonus...I didn't have to wash the muffin tin after making popovers....just made these the same day!

My sister cooks a number of things in mini-muffin pans to try to entice her daughter to eat bite size vegetable servings...mini quiches with spinach, for example.  She inexplicably ended up with an anti-veg daughter.  Funny how that works.  Guess those babies/toddlers/teenagers like to remind us who is really in charge.

Sweet Potato Kale Bites from www.thesweetslife.com
-4 whole medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
-2 tbsp milk
-1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1/4 whole red onion, chopped
-1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
-4 cups kale, chopped
-1 pinch salt & pepper, to taste
-1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
-3 pinches ground flax seed, for topping

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add potatoes and boil for 15 minutes, or until soft. Drain potatoes and mash them in a large bowl with the milk.
2. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, garlic, onion, and red pepper flakes. Saute for about 1 minute before adding kale and cooking until wilted.
3. Add kale mixture to the sweet potatoes and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Fold in black beans and mix to combine well.
4. Heat oven to 450F. Grease a muffin pan. Evenly spoon potato mixture into the muffin pan, filling each to the top . Sprinkle tops with ground flax seed. Bake for 20-25 minutes before broiling on high for a few minutes until the tops are golden and crunchy.
5. Allow tray to cool for 10 minutes before removing carefully with a spoon or fork.

A bit of salsa on each of these tasted great!
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Monday, July 16, 2012

Watermelon Margaritas

I told you this was coming.  The hot summer has really gotten me creative about cooling beverages...both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.  Eleanor did have this with the watermelon juice and lime juice and that tasted great too.  My version with the alcohol was quite yummy.

Watermelon Margarita
1 c watermelon juice
3 limes, juiced thoroughly
4 oz sauza tequila
1 oz cointreau

Pour all the above over ice and garnish with a lime slice.
The watermelon juice is made by putting all the watermelon in the blender and put it in a strainer.
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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Paul's Gutter Grill Bangkok Chicken Wings

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Nice and spicy Thai grilled chicken wings.  Had to create a grill similar to the street food carts in Thailand (and probably other parts of southern Asia).  I found an old 2 foot section of steel gutter in the rafters of our garage and stopped by Home Depot to grab a sheet of expanded metal grating. Total investment $6 and an hour of time.  When making the fire I use lump charcoal augmented by a little mesquite wood chunks.  Mangrove charcoal would be more authentic but impossible to find in Wisconsin.  The gutter grill allows the coal to smolder slowly.  Figure about 30 minutes for wings to cook.  I always use an instant read thermometer to verify the meat temperature in each wing is at or slightly above 165F.

Prep time about 15 minutes before grilling.  At all the street food carts in Bangkok the "chefs" give a small plastic bag of sauce the it THE spicy flavor of Thailand.  The sauce is called Jaew. I brushed the wings on both sides with Jaew about 15 minutes prior to grilling and then while grilling again brushed several times after each wing flip.  Reserve some of the Jaew without raw chicken contamination for drizzle or dip the wings into while eating.  Nice and salty spicy HOT.

Jaew Sauce:

1/2 cup chopped fine Scallions
1/2 cup Cilantro chopped fine
1 tsp Ginger Powder
2/3 cup Fish Sauce (the real Thai stuff)
2 Limes - juiced with a good squeezer (at least 1/4 cup)
4 tsp dark brown sugar
2 Tablespoons Thai Red Chili Powder (course ground Thai Red Chili)

Mix all together to use as marinade and dipping sauce.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pumpkin Blondies

Pumpkin Blondies
Yum.  I had to do something with the pumpkin left over from the enchiladas with pumpkin sauce!  So, I used the pumpkin for a healthy entree....and the rest for a decadent dessert.  This seemed a bit more like pumpkin cake than any sort of blondie or brownie to me.

Eleanor was actually the baker on these and she decreased the butter a bit to about 10 tablespoons.  They still were a bit oil heavy, so I wouldn't use the amount called for in the link above.  They were very sweet, so I would decrease the sugar a bit on the next round as well.  I may use 3/4 c each of the chips (white and butterscotch) next time as well.  They weren't as pumpkin-y as I like either.  So....overall....I'm not sure if they will make it to another round...but they weren't bad...

Pumpkin Blondies

-2 cups flour
-1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
-1 tsp baking soda
-3/4 tsp salt
-10 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
-1 1/4 cups granulated/brown sugar
-1 large egg
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-1 cup pumpkin puree
-1 cup white chocolate chips
-1 cup butterscotch chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 pan.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt. Stir together and set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined. Mix in the pumpkin puree.
5. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
6. Fold in the white chocolate and butterscotch chips.
7. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to pull away from teh sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs (35-40 minutes).
8. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool completely before cutting.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Brie and Tomato and Basil Panini

Simple meals are awesome.  This one was ciabata bread with brie, tomatoes, and basil.
That's it:)
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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Corn Chowder Salad

Corn Chowder Salad

While paging through People magazine, I discovered this recipe.  Yes, I read People magazine proudly and really enjoy it!  It was a gift for Eleanor for Christmas last year...and I have to say it's a great gift for a teenager.  A friend of mine had cancer and said a subscription to People was the best gift she got!  She said forget about dinners and candles and lotion and scarves....People magazine rocked!

No surprise to anyone who reads this blog, but I adapted the recipe linked above into the one listed below.  It cut out some of the fat and we liked my version.

3 slices bacon (about 2 ounces), cut crosswise into 1/2 inch pieces
1 potato, preferably Yukon gold, about 8 ounces,  cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 poblano pepper, ribs and seeds discarded, cut into 1/2 inch dice
Coarse salt
3 cups corn
1 small red onion, diced
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Salt and pepper

In a large skillet, add the bacon and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel to drain. Measure the fat remaining in the skillet: You need 1 tablespoons.

Add potato to the skillet and cook, tossing occasionally until it is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper, season with salt and cook, tossing occasionally until the pepper and potato are tender, about 5 minutes longer.

Add the corn and cook until piping hot, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add the onion, vinegar, season with salt and red pepper and stir to combine. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Frozen Fruit Pops

We aren't Popsicle fans in this house...too sweet...too sticky....ugh.  Eleanor never was a popsicle( I know that it isn't the correct word since Popsicle is a specific brand...but c'mon, that's how we know these) kid probably watching me watching other kids eat them turned her off a bit.  But, we do like a sweet and cooling dessert, so we make our own frozen confections.  We decided to be a bit more adventurous this year after just putting juice in the molds...and infrequently at that.

One of the recipes we found was on www.skinnytaste.com.  I do love this site for some good recipes/ideas; however, it is a bit more weight watcher-y than I am.  I'm not a huge fan of low fat products and sugar substitute.instead I prefer to use a bit less of the real thing.  I just prefer food in its purer form, I guess.  That being said, I love skinnytaste's blog...great ideas.  The fruit puree is a good idea for making frozen treats and the addition of the simple syrup to the fruit gave it just the right note of sweetness.  I did not use any additional sugar.  

We decided to copy the flavors listed in in Gina's website.  She's the skinnytaste author and an incredible photographer.

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Watermelon Martini

Yum....great idea for a hot summer night.  We had a lot of those in the midwest this summer...and this was a good drink for an evening on the patio.

I'm not much of a martini gal, but I thought a really cold drink would be refreshing in the heat we have been having.  Eleanor downed her virgin drink quickly!

Blend watermelon in a food processor and strain. I had about 2 cups watermelon juice.  Add juice 2 limes and 1 T sugar. In shaker 4 oz vodka and 4 oz watermelon mixture shaken with ice.

Next time we're going to try to double the lime juice and substitute tequila to make watermelon margaritas.

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Swiss Chard and Goat Cheese Pasta

The CSA box is back!  It's been dry here...and I think that greens have been growing well.  The box this week had lettuce, chard and kale (in addition to some other things), so we will be getting our nutrients from greens in the next few days.  That's good because we have been getting a lot of grilled meat in our bodies this summer (along with lots of fresh fruit...but still....quite a few burgers...).

I have seen similar recipes in the past, so this seemed like just the thing to make with the CSA ingredients.
1/2 lb pasta
1 T olive oil
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
large bunch of Swiss chard with large stems removed, cut into slivers
goat cheese
golden raisins
pumpkin seeds
salt and pepper
Cook pasta according to package directions saving 1/2 c or so of the cooking water.

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until softened.  Add the chard and cook until it reduces.
Stir chard mixture with pasta adding some of the drained pasta liquid to make it a smooth consistency.  I think I used 1/4 c or so.
Add crumbled goat cheese, raisins, pumpkin seeds and salt and pepper to taste.

Hoping that this was a good pre-race meal for Eleanor...swimming...and more swimming on the schedule.  Along with some bicycle rides for Paul and a couple runs for me.  We're dividing ourselves and doing a tri, I guess!
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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Kale and Bean Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce

Kale and Bean Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce 
adapted from Veggie by Season by the sweetslife and then by me:)

for the enchiladas-
-2 cloves garlic
-1 small yellow onion, chopped
-1 tbsp olive oil
-1/2 jalapeno, finely diced
-1 tsp ground cumin
-1 red pepper, chopped
-1 bunch spinach, roughly chopped
-1 can  red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
-2/3 cup fresh cilantro, minced

for the sauce-
-1 can pumpkin
-2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
-2 garlic cloves, peeled
-1 jalapeno pepper, diced
-1 tsp chili powder
-2 tbsp tomato paste or umm...frozen leftover pizza sauce

to assemble-
-corn tortillas (I made 14 enchiladas)
-approximately 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. In a skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil, garlic, onions, jalapeno, zucchini, cumin, salt, and pepper. Cook for approximately 5 minutes.
2. Add spinach and stir, cooking until soft (approximately 5 additional minutes).
3. To make the pumpkin sauce, add all sauce ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth.
4. Add a few tablespoons of the sauce to the skillet mixture along with a few shakes of black pepper, the beans, and the cilantro.
5. To assemble and cook:  Preheat oven to 400F. Pour 1-1 1/2 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a baking dish (I split mine up into two dishes--an 8x8 dish and another small casserole dish, with 1 cup of sauce on the bottom of each). Spoon bean mixture into tortillas. Roll tortillas and place, seam-side down, in the baking pan. Repeat until pan is full & the filling is gone.
6. Top tortillas with sauce and shredded cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.

This was a great alternative to the grilled meat we have been having the last few weeks.  I really needed a different type of dinner, and this fit the bill.  The pumpkin sauce...great idea, and it will be done again for other recipes since Eleanor is anti-tomato!

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Friday, July 6, 2012

Steel Cut Oats

Looking through some past blogs and being a bit surprised that I haven't blogged about steel cut oats before.  This has been our standard before and after morning swim practice breakfast for years and years.    I guess it has not made a blog appearance since it is something I make right before we leave the house...and morning swim practice starts at 5:30, so it's likely that I'm not thinking about getting out the camera at that time.  More like I'm thinking about packing lunches and work clothes and spin shoes and school backpack and violin and and and!

Steel cut oats...I first heard about them years ago when reading that Frank Lloyd Wright ate them every morning.  Since he lived into his 90s they must be good for a body, right!?!  I'm not thinking we want to emulate all his traits; however, his creativity and longevity would be a couple that would be good to have.

The issue with this breakfast is the time.  These oats take a long time cook although there are a couple methods to decrease that.  Also, they do freeze well, so if I ever get even more organized, I just may have a few tiny containers of this in my freezer to be ready for the week.  There's the presoak overnight method and the crockpot method.  I tend to cook them in the morning since I am typically up about an hour before we leave anyway to get ready for the day.

McCann's is the big name and those oats come in a fancy tin.  Trader Joe's is the place I usually buy mine....much less expensive (no souvenir tin) and it's a TJ's product without a nut warning on the label....hooray!  I cook them with water and then put the oatmeal accoutrements on top.
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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sport Tea

OK...I know that this blog is usually a recipe repository; however, I don't have anything else for today so I thought I would mention one of my favorite products, SPORTea.  This stuff is good!  It is a bit pricey but it is refreshing....and without caffeine (well, very little) or sugar or anything processed.

I first heard about it from a friend who lived in Boulder.  At that time it was a bit difficult to find; however, now it is in grocery stores here.  And, if you want it already prepared, it is sold at our local Alterra coffee shops.

It's a favorite at this house.
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Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Muesli!  If you want to read about some strong food opinions, just do a quick internet search of this.  There are some strong opinions about the liquid that should be used as well as the time the oats need to mix with the liquid.  Yikes....seems to me like there's room for a number of different versions.

In the past we have combined the liquid (milk) with the rolled oats and left it in the refrigerator overnight.  Now, some people may not like that I use milk...and probably even worse....gasp...soy milk!  This summer I have been combining the rolled oats and soy milk when I get up in the morning...around 5am; then Eleanor tops it with fruit when she gets up...around 6am.  That's working well for this summer.  We're taking a tiny break from hot breakfasts due to the heat and the early morning swim practice times.  I make museli with equal parts liquid and oats...for the serving above it is one cup each and then a sprinkle of cinnamon.  Along with the fruit topping a tiny bit of sweet is good to me...either honey, maple syrup, or agave.

No excuse not to have a good breakfast with something this easy and tasty!
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Monday, July 2, 2012

Lemon Pasta

The original version of this was on Iwasborntocook so check that out if you're looking for the more original version.  As usual, I adapted this to my ingredients and taste!

There were a few warm days last week, and this seemed like just the thing.  It would have been nice not to turn on the oven or the stove, but I was craving this after reading the recipe...and I had some CSA mushrooms needing to be used.  We had this along with CSA sugar snap peas....perfect combination!

Baked Lemon Pasta
slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks by the blog mentioned above and then adapted by me to the following:

1 pound spaghetti

1 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 large lemon, juiced and zested
2 cups plain yogurt (I used my home-made!)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
grated Parmesan
extra lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cook spaghetti until al dente.  Drain and set aside.

Melt butter and oil in a skillet over low heat.  Add garlic and mushrooms and cook until most of mushroom liquid has evaporated, thenadd lemon juice.  Turn heat off, then add yogurt  and stir to combine.  Add lemon zest and salt, and taste to adjust salt if necessary.  Pour mixture over pasta and stir, then transfer to an oven safe dish if needed.

Cover and bake for 10 minutes.  Remove cover and bake for another 8-10 minutes, making sure not to dry out pasta.  Remove from oven and add extra lemon juice, cheese and parsley.

Serves 8.

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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Margherita Pizza

There are a few foods that shout "SUMMER".  Gazpaucho.  Kohlrabi.  And margherita pizza.  Margherita pizza, for those who don't know, has nothing to do with the beverage margarita, which coincidentally also shouts "summer".  It's best with tomatoes and basil from the garden but store bought will do, if necessary.  It's simple ingredients.

A few summers ago we had an exchange student from France (we're going to have a student from Germany live with us next year...but that's another story) and she went out for pizza with an American teenager.  She told me that she had said she was going to order a margherita.  The American teen told her that she could not have a margarita because it is not allowed here.   Apparently they went back and forth in an Abbot and Costello type way for quite a bit to be able to understand what the other one was saying.  That's what I think of every time I say the name of this pizza.  BTW,  we are not having margaritas with our margheritas.

I think to be most authentic type pizza sauced tomatoes are used.  Due to Eleanor's aversion to tomatoes, a chopped/sliced one usually tops our pizza.  Along with some garlic, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil.  James Lahey's pizza dough is a great thing to have ready to go....check out my post from 3/17/12.

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