Thursday, August 30, 2012

Lemon Lavender Squares

Lemon Lavender Squares
Just the thing to do on a rainy dreary Sunday afternoon.  Basically these are lemon squares with a hint of the exotic, lavender.  I have had the culinary lavender in my pantry for a few years and am always up for trying it in a new recipe.  Truly, a little bit of lavender goes a long long way.  It has gotten me thinking though....lemon basil squares sound pretty darn good also.  And lemon rosemary.  Stay tuned for those.


  •  CRUST:
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons dried lavender flowers
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 c confectioners' sugar
  • 2 T or so lemon juice
  • In a small bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar. Add the flour, almonds, lavender and lemon peel; beat until crumbly. Pat into an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
  • Meanwhile, in a another small bowl, combine the sugar, flour, baking soda, eggs and lemon juice; beat until frothy. Pour over hot crust. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.  
  • Mix icing ingredients and top lemon squares. 
  • Refrigerate leftovers.

Print Page

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Orzo with Zucchini, Dill, and Feta

Orzo with Zucchini, Dill, and Feta
I used the panini press to grill some zucchini on the weekend.  After grilling it, I chopped it and held it in the refrigerator for quick salad making on a weeknight.
I made this just like the recipe in the link and had it for lunches last week.  It does seem to be a good plan to have a designated lunch item in case there aren't leftovers.


  • 3 tablespoon(s) olive oil
  • 3 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound(s) orzo
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons (about 1 tablespoon zest and 1/2 cup juice)
  • 2 tablespoon(s) chopped fresh dill
  • 1/3 pound(s) feta cheese, crumbled
  1. Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium. Grill until tender with golden-brown marks, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer zucchini to a cutting board and slice into 1/2-inch pieces. Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with shallot. Cover and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook orzo following package instructions. Drain and add to reserved zucchini. Add olive oil, lemon zest and juice, and dill; toss to combine. Top with feta and gently toss. Season with salt and pepper.
BTW:  This is the 600th post!!!

Print Page

Monday, August 27, 2012


Last week we were co-hosts of a high school swim team spaghetti dinner.  Co-hosts means that another family generously volunteered their house and then a few families contributed to the meal.  We had decided at our organizational meeting that we would have lasagne in addition to spaghetti and garlic bread and salad and desserts.  Hmm...the thought of the lasagne made me really hungry for lasagne so I made this for us even though  I ended up purchasing a lasagne for the dinner due to some time constraints.  Yep, I purchased a lasagne for the dinner.  Kinda like cheating, but it was what worked that week.  

1# bulk Italian sausage
1 1/2 c chopped onion
1/2 c green pepper
1 t dried oregano
1/4 t rosemary
1 clove garlic, minced
16 oz can tomatoes, diced
8 oz can tomato sauce
2-6oz cans tomato paste
2 t dried basil
9 lasagne noodles
2 eggs
2 1/2 c ricotta
3/4 c Parmesan
2 T dried parsley flakes
1/2-1 lb mozzarella, sliced or grated

Cook sausage (should be bulk, not links) along with onion and green pepper.  Drain. Stir in the undrained tomatoes, rosemary, oregano, basil, tomato sauce, and tomato paste.  Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often.  Cook lasagne noodles until tender.  Drain, rinse.  Beat eggs; add ricotta, 1/2 c Parmesan and parsley, salt, and pepper.
Ladle some of the sauce in 13 by 9 baking dish.  Layer half noodles and spread with half ricotta filling, half the mozzarella and half the meat sauce.  Repeat layers sprinkling parmesan on top.
Bake 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

I did not boil the noodles this time since that can be a time saver (as well as a pot saver); however, I do have to say that I prefer the taste and texture of noodles that are boiled before the lasagne assembly.  It does work to put the uncooked noodles in the layers though.

Print Page

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cucumber Salad

A violin camp recipe.  I didn't have this since I had left for the week; however, Eleanor requested the recipe. She said that the kids devoured this in the communal food that takes place at ASI; guess that was a big score for the family with all the cucumbers in their garden!  She was raving about this and asked me to get the recipe from our Madison friends.  I have just made it the one time and didn't really get measurements.

I do have some fresh mint growing in my yard.  I would like to say garden; however, it really is in my yard...just a couple plants but that's all I need!

Cucumber Salad
2 cucumbers, chopped
fresh dill, chopped
fresh mint, chopped
rice vinegar
sprinkling of sea salt

Print Page

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Apple Cider Donuts

Apple Cider Donuts
There is a hint of fall in the air most mornings now.  And it's dark when Paul heads out for his early morning bicycle ride.  Like, really dark!  I love this weather for sleeping and am a huge fan of cool nights and blue skied days.  Guess that means it's (almost) time for school....and apple recipes and pumpkin recipes and maple syrup recipes.

And thinking about maple syrup....ummm...who thinks that sugared pancake syrup-y stuff is a good idea?  As my dad says, "maple syrup is one of the true pleasures in life".  It's true...and there is no substitute.  I was noting the ingredient list on a bottle of the imitation version  and wondering who thinks it's a good idea to eat that stuff.  And, don't even get me started on the low/non sugar version of the stuff.  Ugh!

Eleanor's been on a waffle kick since we got the new waffle iron.  She's doing high school swim team doubles each day too, so that makes for a hungry highschooler.  For a bit of variety I made these for her the other morning having gotten the recipe from Eating Well , one of the first cooking magazines I ever purchased. Somehow that subscription got slashed from my budget years and years ago; however, I may have to reconsider after browsing their website.

It will come as no surprise to anyone who has read through my recipes will know, that I made a few adaptations; my version is below.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup apple cider, cider
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 t lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil


  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup


  1. To make doughnuts: Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat molds of a mini-Bundt pan with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl; set aside. Whisk together egg, brown sugar, apple butter,  maple syrup, cider, milk, lemon juice and oil in another bowl. Add dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Divide half the batter among the prepared molds, spooning about  batter into each mold.
  3. Bake until the tops spring back when touched lightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Loosen edges and turn the cakes out onto a rack to cool.
  4. To make maple glaze: Combine confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in a bowl. Gradually whisk in enough maple syrup to make a coating consistency. Dip the shaped side (underside) of the “doughnuts” in the glaze to coat. Then set them, glazed-side up on a rack over wax paper for a few minutes until the glaze has set.
Print Page

Friday, August 24, 2012

Amazing White Chocolate Scones

Amazing White Chocolate Scones
Gee, these must be good since "Amazing" is in the title!  Right?  Right?  Wrong!!!!
While at violin camp I had a bit of time to cruise the web looking for some new recipes.  Some worked out well....and then there's this one.  I was skeptical when I saw that these are scones without butter...but I thought I would try it.....ugh...flavorless.

Print Page

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Chicken Burgers with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Chicken Burgers with Spicy Peanut Sauce

I like the blog where I got this recipe,  It's a usual stopping point for me when I am looking for a bit of inspiration.  Being a midwestern suburban's fun to cruise recipes outside my usual swim mom box....and this fits the bill.  I wouldn't say that the authors are that far away from me in terms of what they are making....just a different lifestyle in having a tiny bit more free time to play around with a few more deluxe recipes.  Maybe a bit more like the time I had in a previous life:)

Anyway, I found this one on their blog and thought it seemed like a fun thing to try.  I was a fan; however, it seems like it won't be making a frequent appearance at our house...there are just too many recipes to try to repeat this one.  But no complaints....and the 4th burger made a nice lunch for me at work the next day.  A tiny bit or Srircha Sauce topped the burger.

Print Page

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Peanut Butter Bomb Smoothie

Peanut Butter Bomb Smoothie
Cruising the internet I came across this recipe.  Always happy to have some additional smoothie recipes/ideas since it's one of my favorite ways to start the day; it just seems like a good way to get some additional nutrients into the body before the day really begins.  We're not huge banana fans at this house even though we know that there is good nutritional value to them.  So...we try to eat them in smoothies...disguised a bit we seem to do a little better.  And....put peanut butter into the mix (literally) and they seem pretty good.  They do work well frozen and blended.

Just wanted to make sure that Eleanor had a bit of extra energy on Day 2 of the lifeguard training class.'s a long day times repeated.

The mornings are getting cooler and fall is in the air, so I don't know how many more smoothie mornings we will have.  I am guessing that we will be switching to latte mornings.....probably pumpkin latte mornings fairly soon.  I'll have to start thinking about how to replicate some of those delicious lattes offered at Zest in Stevens Point.

I made this just like the linked recipe.  Really.  My only variation was soy milk instead of almond milk:)

Let me just say....the peanut butter crunch bombs are a really fun idea for some extra nourishment and crunch.

Print Page

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ravioli with Apples, Bacon and Arugula

Ravioli with Apples and Bacon and Spinach

16 oz frozen cheese ravioli
6 slices bacon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 crisp red apple, chopped
16 oz arugula

  1. Cook ravioli, drain
  2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate; break into pieces when cool.
  3. Wipe out the skillet; heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the apple; cook, tossing, for 1 minute.
  4. Add the arugula,  pepper; cook, tossing, until beginning to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes. Fold in the bacon. Serve over the ravioli
Quick.  Quick and delicious. It was a winner at this house for a one dish meal that everyone likes.  The original is linked variations were few...mostly it was a substitute of arugula for the spinach.  
Print Page

Monday, August 20, 2012

Hummus...and getting ready for the week ahead

Getting organized for the week....yikes.  It seems as though fall has started since my full time position has started....swim practice at the high school has started.....a bit more structure than we have had the past couple months.  I think I will need to have a more regular schedule such as crockpot night, pizza night, soup night, pasta night, etc  And I may just have to think of planning Monday through Thursday dinners...and then re-group a bit.  I suspect I will be changing it a bit depending on what is going on.

On our return from violin camp I decided to get ready for the week by:
a) meal planning
b) grocery shopping for planned meals
c) strategic lunch shopping
d) prepping meals
e) making a plan for the next couple weeks for meals

So I made hummus, I hard boiled eggs, I mixed up pizza dough, I measured dry ingredients for breakfast, I prepped some smoothie items, I made Sportea, I made pumpkin butter.  Yep, a couple hours well spent.  I do hope to take an hour or so each weekend to pull things together a bit before starting the week, but we'll see how that goes.  It's all in the re-evaluating and adjusting.

I don't think I have ever really made hummus the same way twice...and I suspect it is a bit like chili with everyone having their own version.
can chick peas, drained (sometimes I cook my own...but not this time)
3 cloves garlic
1/3 c or so tahini
lemon juice
Put in the food processor and whir until the texture is smooth-ish.  Sometimes I add a tablespoon or so of milk or soy milk.
hummus and cucumber and basil wrap

Print Page

Sunday, August 19, 2012

General Tso's Slow Cooker Pork

General Tso's Slow Cooker Pork
Ah....the crockpot.  We came back from violin camp...and I really wanted to grill something...but I knew that wasn't going to work (see below):
state swim meet+violin camp+lifeguarding class=Eleanor tired
Bangkok to home=Paul tired
sleeping in a dorm bed+starting full time work+ driving to camp and home from violin camp (X2)=Karen tired

Yep, the grilling thing wasn't going to happen...and I knew that early in the day, so I put this together in the crockpot in the morning.  Turns out it was a great idea because we all need a grab and be done kind of dinner.  I"m glad that I threw it in and had this for a Saturday night dinner since that gave me one more weekend day to get to enjoy the summer evening and grill. I was hungry while Paul was busy catching up on some home projects and Eleanor was crockpot worked well.  I was a bit worried that it would be too salty, but it was fine.  Better than fine really...nice combination of vinegar, and cilantro and sweetness, and saltiness.

2 cupsChicken Broth
1(9 Oz.) Bottle Hoisin Sauce
⅓ cupWhite Vinegar
1 TReduced-sodium Soy Sauce
¼ cupGranulated Sugar
¼ cupCornstarch
5Garlic Cloves, minced
3 TbspMinced Fresh Ginger
1 tspCrushed Red Pepper Flakes
1½ lbPork Shoulder
⅔ cupWhite Vinegar
⅓ cupOlive Oil
½ cupChopped Fresh Cilantro
1 lb Package cabbage slaw
Soft Tortillas
Whisk together broth, hoisin sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, garlic, ginger, and red pepper in a slow cooker until well combined.
Add pork to slow cooker and spoon some sauce over top.  Cook on low heat setting for 6-8 hours. Remove pork from slow cooker and shred with 2 forks. Place pork in serving dish and coat with desired amount of sauce from slow cooker.
Meanwhile, as pork is cooking, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, and cilantro in large bowl. Stir in slaw. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
To serve, top tortillas with pulled pork and slaw.

Print Page

Friday, August 17, 2012

Lemon Waffles

Lemon Waffles
Yay...finally got a new waffle maker with my Kohl's coupon.  It's just such a nice breakfast option and we were really missing waffles.  I got the Hamilton-Beach basic ie. cheap model and paid $20 (after my coupon).  Kind of wild when you think that would be the price of just a couple breakfasts at a restaurant.

Anyway, this is what I made the morning after our late night drive home from violin camp.  It was a bit fussy for morning; however, the batter makes a lot of waffles.  I made them similar to the recipe linked above.  I didn't really think they tasted very lemon-y, so I may just make regular waffles next time and make lemon curd to have that flavor.

3 cups all-purpose flour
3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking soda
4 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1⁄4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons lemon zest, finely chopped
6 T unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly
2 cups plain yogurt
Place flour, sugar,and baking soda in mixing bowl and stir to combine. In a second bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla until blended. Stir into dry ingredients. Stir in lemon juice and zest. Fold in melted butter and then vanilla yogurt with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Let batter rest a few minutes before using. Preheat your waffle iron. When preheated, green indicator light will illuminate. Pour 1 cups of batter onto the center of the lower grid. Allow batter to spread toward edges for 5 seconds. Close lid of waffle iron – green indicator light will turn off. When green indicator light turns on again, waffles are ready. Open lid and carefully remove baked waffles. Repeat with remaining batter. For best results, serve immediately. 

Print Page

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Blueberry Basil Smoothie

Blueberry and Lemon and Basil Smoothie
I found this online searching a recipe of this nature.  I figured I could make something up with these ingredients, but I wanted to see what was already out there in cyberspace.  Eleanor had been wanting to try a smoothie with these ingredients after having one at violin camp after I left.  I found this one, but it didn't seem like it was even close to what she had.  But, maybe I'll try this one in the future.

On the walk from the dorm to the classroom at ASI (American Suzuki Institute) at UWSP (University of Wisconsin Stevens Point) there is an awesome little coffee shop and bakery, Zest. It's just the place I want to own...a few sandwiches, a few beverages all in a funky little place.  I don't have a link the their website since I couldn't locate a website.  That's one complaint I have about this place.  The other one is that they don't open early enough to accommodate my early rising.  Both are very very tiny complaints that are far exceeded by my love of this place.  They do feature some local items on their menu as well as stocking some gift items made by local people as well as a selection of games and slippers.  It's rare that I purchase a book, being the library user that I am; however, I did purchase a book that appealed to me at this store.  The book is Whipped, Not Beaten published by the UWSP press.  It was the perfect read for my few days in the dorm.

Anyway, in addition to sandwiches and flatbreads...nothing too different there (but delicious) there are some more unusual latte beverages.  Berry and basil latte.  Jasmine and white chocolate latte.  And some fun smoothies like lemon and blueberry and basil smoothie.  There weren't enough beverage opportunities in the day for me to try them all, so I had to try the blueberry, lemon, basil smoothie at home.

There have been a few interesting coffee things happening in the area of campus over the 10 years we have gone to this camp (that's right....10 years of violin camp)!  It's just the place that you don't want to leave...this world as Shinichi Suzuki envisioned it.  It's a happy place overall...and for me I am now leaving with tears in my eyes knowing there are just a couple more in my future.  I'm hoping to convince my young niece to take violin so I can go there another 12 years or so!  It must be a happy place that I am willing to take my precious vacation days to stay in a dorm room! Air conditioning and fitted bottom sheets arrived on the scene recently; however, there are still challenges of staying in the dorm.

There's a kitchen down the hall, and some families make coffee there.  I, on the other hand, have always used the week to get coffee from somewhere...something I do rarely when I am home.  As if fitted bottom sheets weren't enough fun, I can add a funky coffee shop to the mix!  The first year I attended there was one little local gourmet coffee place. A couple years later it went out of business about the time Starbuck's moved in (we were assured that didn't cause it...there probably was enough business for both; however, the owners of the indie coffee shop have another one and felt that there business needed to be in one location only).  We had a couple years with Starbucks being the only option...and voila....Zest appeared a couple years ago.  The food is a nice addition as well.  And, I'm really glad to see the place hopping, at least during music camp.

Blueberry, Basil, and Lemon Smoothie
1 1/2 c blueberries
juice of one lemon
1/2 c basil
1/2 c+ soy milk
2 T plain yogurt
1 T ground flax seed
Blend everything together.  Pour into a glass.  Enjoy:)

Print Page

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Turkey and Brie Panini

Turkey and Brie Panini
The above link was the inspiration for my panini....liking the sandwich thing for a quick dinner.  That's pretty much it for the ingredients....just made into a panini at our house.

Lots to do the night I made this in addition to grocery shopping after work.  I was hungry, hungry, HUNGRY.  This worked for a quick dinner....I think I'm going to try to make sandwiches at least once a week over the school year.  One of my errands was to use my coupon before it expired to get a new waffle maker, so look for some fun waffle ideas in the next few weeks.

Print Page

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

These popped up on preventionrd's blog a few days ago and came in handy the other day when Eleanor was in the mood for something a tiny bit sweet...but she was on a sugar taper.  For the uninitiated, it is a decreased consumption of sugar as part of readying yourself for a swim meet.  It isn't too different from an athletic taper....where the base is built for an event and then there is a decrease to give the body a rest prior to a big race.  The sugar taper is just a decrease in the consumption.  It's probably a bit more mental than physical, but that's OK.

Anyway, we were both craving ice cream on a hot day.  Since that would be a bit too sugar-laden we made these instead.  Ah....slightly sweet.  Two of these seemed to fill our cold sugar craving without being too sweet.

I did not have coconut oil so I did a hybrid of canola and melted butter for the oil.  Also, I do use stevia to sweeten hot tea; however, I substituted sugar by using 1 T sugar for the packet of stevia.  That's a bit less sweet than conversion charts would recommend but was perfect for us.

Healthy-Enough-For-Breakfast Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups(Adapted slightly from Lisa’s recipe for Double Peanut Butter Chocolate Cups on Thrive Style and adapted by preventionrd and adapted by me!)
Yields 12 chocolate peanut butter cups
Bottom Layer:
2 T canola oil and melted butter (1 T each)
1/4 c smooth peanut butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 T sugar 
Line a mini muffin tray with paper liners.  Stir all ingredients together until smooth and divide between the mini muffin wells (each should be about half full).  (Try not to dribble on the sides since it will give your candy a streaked look.)  Put the tray in the freezer on a flat surface and freeze until solid (about 15 minutes, give or take a little while depending how cold your freezer is).
Top Layer:
2 T melted butter and canola oil to equal total
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla 
1 T sugar

Stir all ingredients together until smooth and divide on top of the set chocolate mixture.  Transfer back to the freezer and freeze until partially solid (about 5 minutes),   Return to the freezer and freeze until solid.
Store the treats in the fridge in an air-tight container between layers of wax paper.

Print Page

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Raspberry Lemon Rolls

Joy the Baker Lemon and Raspberry Rolls

Ahh....summer Sunday morning.  It's hard to beat the start of a quieter day.  It sure is nice to have a leisurely breakfast and sit outside.  Well, I sit outside nearly every morning....but the leisurely part is a plus.  It's a nice summer morning with some good earthy smells in the air along with a cool breeze.  Just the day to have a decadent breakfast:)

These have been on my "to make" list for a a few weeks; however, I needed a non-crazy morning to muster up the energy to make them; however, once started it didn't seem like too much work.  Joy the Baker, on her blog, illustrates each step beautifully, and my photos don't even come close to her artistic photos.  But, that doesn't mean mine weren't tasty...'cause they were yummy!

I decreased the sugar, as I usually do. I decreased the amount of sugar in the filling to 1/4 c.  That's all.  The rest I made like the original, so check out the link to that blog!
Print Page

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Carrot Mini-Bundt Cakes

The other night Eleanor mentioned that she would like a bundt pan.  Or rather she would like me to have a bundt pan.  Hmmm.....guess it has been a long time since I made mini-bundt cakes since she has no memory of ever having these before.  She was quite impressed when I directed her to the back of the cabinet, and she found the pans for these.

We quickly found a recipe for mini-carrot cakes.  And since carrots were plentiful in the CSA this week it was no problem to mix up a batch of these.  The recipe was perfect since it made 4 little cakes; I really didn't want to end up with having to do two batches. The surprise dessert ended up doubling as a prepared breakfast item for the next early morning swim practice...hooray!  And there was a tiny bit of cream cheese in the refrigerator just waiting to be turned into frosting.

Recipe very slightly adapted from
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup grated carrots
1/3 cup raisins
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.   Spray non stick spray onto mini bundt pan molds and
dust with flour.
1. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves together in a
medium bowl.
2. In another bowl, mix the oil, eggs, sugar, and vanilla together until they are well
3. Add the carrots, raisins and walnuts and mix until blended.
4. Spoon the batter evenly into molds. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick
comes out clean when inserted into the center of a cake. Cool before removing from pan (that's why the batch makes 4 but the picture shows 3.  Oops.  That last one was a mess but tasted great).

Print Page

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pesto..the taste of summer

We like pesto!  It's my favorite summer easy to pick some basil and throw it in the food processor with some garlic, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese.  I have substituted walnuts for the pine nuts in a pre-Eleanor life, but have found that no nuts are needed.  It's still wonderful with even fewer ingredients.

I don't measure, and it never turns out quite the same way twice.
2 c basil
2 garlic cloves
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 Parmesan cheese
Couldn't be easier!  Throw everything in the mini food processor and whir until the desired consistency.

For a bit of variety in the next few days, I am planning on topping pizza with pesto and roasted vegetables.

Print Page

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Crustless Zucchini Pie

Zucchini Pie
Zucchini must grow well in a drought.  It seems like it would be a survivor.  And, if the CSA box is any indication, that's a true statement.  Eleanor is not a huge zucchini fan; she'll eat it...but she far prefers winter squash.  I read the blog fairly frequently and figured the timing was right to make this since I found the recipe the same day I was trying to figure out what to do with that last summer squash in the refrigerator.

For the mozzarella cheese, I diced some string cheese to use up our door prize cheese.  Yes, only in America's Dairyland can you win string cheese after participating in a fun run!  Eleanor and I were both lucky cheese winners, so we have a well stocked string cheese drawer in our refrigerator right now.  My mom won the Packers tote bag, hat, and water bottle at the same run.  It may sound like we're lucky winners; however, it was more along the lines of more door prizes than runners.

That's my favorite kind of fun run.  A small local event going to a good cause.  Lately we have participated in a few of the large corporate-type fitness events...Danskin, Trek, Color Run, Dirty Girl.  And while I like those too, I mean it does get people out doing an active and fun thing together, there is something a bit special about a small event.  I like that the door prizes were plentiful and very local.  No big trip for two to Disneyland at this run!

Zucchini Pie Recipe:
1 zucchini,shredded, all liquid squeezed out 
2 kohlrabi, shredded
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup part skim mozzarella
2 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour 
1 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup fat free milk
1 tsp olive oil
2 large eggs, beaten
cooking spray 


Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly spray a pie dish with cooking spray or your misto.Combine zucchini, kohlrabi, red onion,, and mozzarella cheese in a bowl.

Sift flour and baking powder in a medium bowl. Add remaining ingredients to the bowl and blend well. Combine with zucchini mixture and pour it into the pie dish.

Bake 20 minutes or so...until firm. 
Print Page

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Quinoa Salad

1 c quinoa, cooked in chicken broth
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 c diced cucumber
can garbanzo beans, drained
4 oz feta, crumbled
Place all above ingredients in a bowl.

1/4 c lemon juice
1/2 olive oil
1 t dried oregano
few grinds black pepper
Mix together and stir over salad ingredients.

Guess we can't get enough quinoa this summer.  We're keeping meals fairly simple due to the heat; and quinoa salad has been a favorite around here.  I'm still looking for black quinoa......

Print Page

Monday, August 6, 2012

Big Changes and Meal Planning

Big changes around here for the fall.  I am starting work full time, Eleanor is going to be driving, and an exchange student is moving in with us.  We're ready for all these, but it does remind me that being organized is so important.  There's no wiggle room anymore with Wednesdays off work for catching up on meal planning and grocery shopping.

What's a gal to do?

Fall always brings a different layer of chaos with the structure it brings.  Now I have been through the high school much easier on time than club swimming.....I know a bit more on how that will work with timing although there may be a hybrid of training.  Seems like a good way to ease into this work schedule before the club swimming re-starts.  And with a driver it's going to be a different thing. 

Controlling the meal planning is probably the best bet.  The key word is controlling.  Yep, I can do that.  It seems as though fall is a good time for that planning since the harvest guides me.  There's also the opportunity for things to get out of control with produce, so staying on top of the CSA box is the first step.  My agenda is to meal plan on the weekend since that's what I usually do considering the arrival of Thursday produce.   The trick may be a mid-week grocery pick up, so my hope is to plan the week without that Sendiks stop.  Yep, I think I can do that.

While digging through recipes I will likely pull out about 25-30 ideas at a time and rotate them through the weeks as I have done that in the past and it helps to maximize more esoteric ingredients.  The cilantro can be used for a couple recipes during the week instead of just one, etc.  The crockpot will be in use this fall.  And, we are going to have another person in the house with likes and dislikes, so some will depend on her.

One of the reasons I went to part time work years ago was meal planning.  We just weren't ready to eat junk...and there are only so many hours in a day.  I'm optimistic that I can juggle it all now that Eleanor is a bit older; however, I suspect there will be a few more nights of plain pasta and of take out dinner. Just hope to minimize that since the monetary and health trade off may not be worth it for our family.  For sure we're not giving up our fitness levels and workout times, so it will be a squeeze to manage it all. Meals would be the 2nd thing to go...after (yet again) lowering my cleaning standards.

I have always been a bit envious of Elizabeth's more rigid rotation of Monday being soup night...always.  So, I may start doing and end of the week soup night. As with anything though, the key will be to adapt as necessary.  Stay along for the ride.......

Print Page

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Jalapeno Grilled Cheese

Jalapeno Popper Sandwiches
from SimplyScratch
What a good idea!  Spicy. Smokey. Creamy.  All on toasted bread.
I made one sandwich and omitted the onion step.

jalapeno pepper, charred over my gas burner and set to steam in a bowl with plastic wrap on the top.  Pepper was seeded, split, and placed on the bread on top of the cheddar slice
cream cheese, room temperature, spread on the bread
cheddar slice placed on the cream cheese

All pressed on a panini maker.
Ummmmm...can you say,"repeat"?  This will be made again!

Print Page

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Cucumber Strawberry Smoothie

Joy the Baker had this inspiration for this smoothie.
I used 1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries
1/2 cucumber
1 1/2 c coconut milk
2 T agave nectar

Put it in the blender and out came this refreshing beverage.

Print Page

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Grilled Cheese and Avocado Panini

Guacamole Grilled Cheese was the inspiration for this dinner with a couple changes.  Fontina cheese and sliced avocado were all that was put on the panini for dinner at this house. Maybe next time a slice of bacon for a bit of crunch....
Simple and delicious.

Print Page

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bleu Cheese Arugula Pasta

Bleu Cheese Arugula Pasta

Umm....ugh.  This recipe gets a thumbs down.  Way to use up awesome ingredients in a not very tasty combination.  I'm not sure what went wrong; however, this sure wasn't as good as I anticipated.

One of my standard dinners years ago was to melt bleu cheese, add a bit of milk, and toss in defrosted and squeezed dry spinach.  With a touch of nutmeg and served over pasta it was a quick and easy meal.  Yea, that was better than this.  When I found this recipe it seemed like an upgrade of my spinach version.  Not so much.

Perhaps my problem was that I didn't mix my sauce in with the noodles enough.  Eleanor isn't a huge bleu cheese fan, so I was keeping the pots separate...but I'm not going to find out if that was the problem.  I have loftier ambitions for my arugula and blue cheese in the future.

<3 a="a" all="all" and="and" arugula="arugula" bleu="bleu" br="br" cheese="cheese" different="different" in="in" ingredients="ingredients" just="just" need="need" pasta.="pasta." those="those" to="to" use="use" way.="way.">

Print Page