I remember the first time I saw Alton Brown holding a fire extinguisher in his hand and telling me his television audience something about “the only unitasker allowed in my kitchen”. This stuck with me. Why buy an item if it has been developed in such a way that it is now severely limited? Makes sense, and with this knowledge I have refrained from purchasing several small appliances. One such appliance is a rice cooker. Who needs that? I have a pot. Although, there is a small part of me that yearns for the luxury. That small part of me did cartwheels when I came across this! The Fagor 3-in-1 Electric Multicooker. This little beauty is 6 quarts of lovely. It’s a pressure cooker AND a slow cooker, AND, wait for it….a rice cooker. It also has a brown and warm function. Oh and rainbows and ponies. Well, I might be exaggerating a bit about the ponies. But I swear I saw a rainbow! It’s a shiny stainless steel with LED lights. It is available from a couple sites on the web, each one at about $120. I think this will be a nice addition to my kitchen, and I would venture to guess that even Mr. Brown would approve.
Kiddo loves peanut butter. Well, honestly, who doesn't? So, we buy the organic, all natural stuff. And I hate having to use it. One day while I was ruining a piece of bread (again), tearing it up with the impossible to spread stuff, I thought, there has to be a better way. The way it separates! There is an oily part, followed by a thick, impossible lump. In desperation I tried to mix the stuff. After about 30 minutes my hand cramped beyond use. Frustrated and nearly defeated by a jar of peanut butter, I had an idea. I threw the stuff into the blender. It mixed up quickly and easily. It was a bit messy to put back in the jar, but I didn't care. I had won! I made the sandwiches I needed and placed the jar into the refrigerator. The next time I needed peanut butter, I reluctantly reached for the jar. I didn't want to have to use a blender every time and the mess was too much to handle daily. What did I find out? It stayed mixed. YES! Smooth and perfect, just like the peanut butter that is full of all the extra stuff. Now, every time I open up a jar, I put it into the blender and we have smooth all natural peanut butter. Sometimes me being stubborn pays off.
So I did it! I actually planned out an entire week's worth of recipes. 5 meals, plus a left over night and a dinning out night. It's a vegetarian menu, with the exception of Thursday, which has Tilapia along side of a stuffed pepper recipe. Either of those recipes can stand alone, so I can feed the Kiddo fish AND keep my vegetarian Boy happy. I'm linking this up to Menu Plan Monday over at Orgjunkie.com.
This is hands down one of my favorite recipes. Not only is it super easy, but Kiddo gets to help. And it's tasty. I came up with it on my own after eating pizza with broccoli on it and realizing that I love baked broccoli. I'm sure other people have done it before, but this is how we do it.
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Take whatever amount of broccoli you would like to have and chop it into small pieces. Kiddo like to do this with our chopper. Put onto a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over. Sprinkle on powdered garlic to taste. Mix up a bit and then spread it out evenly. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, but keep an eye on it. As soon as it gets cooked looking with the cheese melted, barely brown, pull it out. It's super gross if burned, trust me.
I know, why make your own? It's cheap to just buy it. But! Everything is better homemade right? And you can tweak this to EXACTLY how you would like it. I know I'm going to scope out some fresno chiles. I'll post results once I give it a try. (Once I convince My Boy that we neeeeed a food processor).
1/2 pound red fresno chiles, coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons palm sugar (light brown works too)
Take everything but the sugar and put it into a glass bowl, loosely cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit overnight. The next day put the mix and the sugar in small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature. Throw it all into a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Put through a fine mesh strainer. If it is too thick add a tablespoon of water. If needed, add any salt or sugar to taste.
Isn’t that cool? I don’t have the talent patience to make such things. I love the creativity. It gets my brain churning too. I wonder if someone makes a silicone mold for those of us with less talent patience? I wonder what other food could be used to create fun meals? Kiddo is really into dinosaurs, so I might have to figure out a way… Clicky below for the site.
I have something to admit. When I first met My Boy and found out that he is a vegetarian, I was a little intimidated. Combining the 2 ways of eating into one household might be easy for a meal or two, but over the long term… So when faced with this challenge, I did what I always do, RESEARCH! We went to the library and schlepped home a very large, very heavy pile of books. I spent hours (and still do) looking online for recipes that would work for us. One of the things I look for are meals that are vegetarian on purpose. By that, I mean it’s not full of fake meat substitutes or just a recipe that has had meat removed from it. One such recipe is Moros y Cristianos or Christians and Moors. Such a lovely, delicious dish, full of flavor AND it uses many ingredients that I always have on hand. And to top it all off, it’s a crock pot recipe! I read that traditionally it is served with an egg or some fried plantains. I know that the egg works very well with it, but we haven’t tried the plantains yet.
Christians and Moors
1 roasted bell pepper, finely chopped
2 finely chopped onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
2tsp oregano leaves
2tsp crushed cumin seeds
1 peeled, chopped tomato
14-19oz beans (or 1cup dried/cooked)
1/2 cup vegetable stock
2 cups long grain rice
1 green bell pepper
2tbsp lemon or lime juice
4 green onions, white part only
Heat oil in skillet, add onion and cook until soft.
Add garlic, spices, stir 1 minute.
Add beans, tomato and stock, bring to boil.
Transfer to slow cooker. Cook low 8-10 or high 4-5.
Add peppers to slow cooker and cook about 30 minutes.
Stir rice into slow cooker, add remaining ingredients.
Sometimes I find the neatest stuff on the interwebs, sometimes...not so much. However the clicky below brings you to the former. I think the "Make Cupcakes not War" pins are going to be handed out for Christmas!
Kiddo and I were a little bored this evening. So we decided to make dessert. I wasn’t feeling up to a whole bunch of measuring so I went with super simple. Crescent roll wraps. I had blogged about them before, but my house has been full of other goodies. Well, until yesterday, when I devoured we finished off the cake. We settled on putting strawberries in them since that makes them healthy right? Ha. Who am I kidding? We sliced them up and sugared the strawberries and I added a very small dab of butter to the inside of the roll AND sprinkled a bit of raw sugar on top because I thought it looked pretty. Kiddo had a lot of fun. You can see his handy work below, he got to slice strawberries with a real “grown up” knife. He then put the strawberries in a plastic bowl. After I had added the sugar and placed the lid on top, he shook them all together. We put 1 scoop of the berries on top of the rolls and then I did my best to sorta roll them all up. They actually came out decent looking, which really didn’t matter because they were devoured. Every last one. FYI these little babies are tasty with a scoop of ice cream (err we use Dryer’s Frozen Yogurt, but it’s really the same thing).
Planning my weekly menu is one of the things I loathe doing. I put it off. I know that having one makes my life easier and I spend less and I waste less and we eat less fast food and and and. Still, I wait until an hour before we HAVE to go get groceries and I reluctantly pull out the pen and pad. My boy tries to be helpful. The kiddo does too. Every week I comment about how I should just keep record of my menus. Then after compiling several, I can tweak and reuse the existing ones. But I don’t. The grocery lists are scribbled on scraps of paper, with the “menu” being a list of 4 or 5 dinners for the week. Since I have a habit of figuring out what bothers me and then rushing straight into it, I have decided that I am going to figure this menu thing out. AND I am going to post it for my many few readers will see this and then, through the power of internet peer pressure, hold me to it. I am going to start posting my menu, with grocery list and any pertinent recipes EVERY WEEK. Do you hear that internet? And after some time I will have accrued a database from which my lazy butt can finally be free of this monkey menu on my back. So feel free to post any suggestions, tips, resources that YOU use to plan your menu. And I want to know, are you a weekly or monthly or *gasp* yearly planner?
I finished up the french toast this morning. It came out wonderfully. I tried to flip the french toast halfway through, but I was only able to flip one. Next time I won't be trying that. When I went to serve them once they were done, they stuck to the bottom of the pan. So I have 2 options. Either I will grease the pan better before I place the pieces in to soak overnight. Or, I will pan fry them before baking. The picture below is what they looked like when I pulled them out of the fridge this morning. I could have easily thrown them into a pan to sear them a bit, to help with the sticking. Beyond the aesthetics of the toast, the flavor was YUM. It had a bit of bread pudding taste to it. Perfect! I sliced strawberries and placed them on top, and they really complimented the toast. Kiddo had Nutella spread on his and he thought it was tasty. I know I will be making these again, maybe next Sunday.
Late night post! Busy day today, but we made time to hit up the Farmer’s Market. While I was there I picked up another loaf of cinnamon bread so we can have French toast again. I’m going to try the overnight and then baked recipe. There are a lot of different versions out there, so I’m going to use a few ideas from several of them.
6 slices of bread about 2 inches thick
1 ½ cups of half and half
2 tsp vanilla
Mix all the wet ingredients in a dish. Soak each slice of bread in the mixture for 30 seconds on each side. Place in a 13x9, greased pan. Pour the remaining liquid over the slices. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook 40 minutes, turning halfway through.
I will post a review tomorrow and let you know how it turns out. Hopefully pictures will be included, which means I will have to remember to snap a pic BEFORE we devour it.
We love us some smoothies around this house. Kiddo asks for one daily, and since I love them too, I usually comply. I like to use a nice mix of some fresh fruit and some frozen fruit because I think that the frozen fruit makes the smoothie have a better consistency. I usually have a good supply of frozen fruit because whenever our fruit looks like it’s going to turn I freeze it. Bananas get chopped up and placed on a cookie sheet until frozen, then I throw them into a freezer baggie. Strawberries, I clean, hull and place on a cookie sheet until frozen and they get thrown into a baggie too. See the trend here? I just always recommend freezing the fruit on a cookie sheet first, so they are easier to use later. I learned this the hard way. I had a huge can of diced pineapple that was way more than I actually needed. I decided to be frugal and freeze it. Let’s just say I had a HUGE lump of frozen pineapple blob that I chiseled away at for weeks. We like to add a couple tablespoons of flax, just for the nutrition it adds, and I add it to anything that I think I can get away with. Usually there is a whole banana thrown in, because we always have bananas in the house. Also, we use almond milk because that’s what we keep in the house and frozen yogurt for the same reason. Sometimes I will even throw in a bit of pineorangebanana juice concentrate if I think it could use some orangey goodness. There is no real recipe here, just some general guidelines.
Place in blender:
2 cups fruit
3 tablespoons flax
½ cup almond milk (or whatever milk you use)
3 large scoops of frozen yogurt
Blend until completely smooth. Pour into glasses and enjoy! Yields about 3 servings.
I like coasters. I like that they keep the condensation off of my desk. Who likes desk puddles? No one. I like that they can add some color or a bit of art on a mostly utilitarian space. They are usually cheap. And there are a lot of fun ones out there. The last set I bought were from Target, but tonight, as I was browsing Etsy (as I so often do) and I came across those beauties that I posted above. Super neato! Something inside of me makes a happy noise whenever I find something I am looking for that has just a splash (or a dallop) or geek. $16 will getcha a set of 4. And then you, ruler of the geeks, will have a place for your chalice. Or your iced coffee. Either or….
My house smells delicious right now! I came home from work determined to make a chocolate cake. I have made 1 cake from scratch before in my life. I was maybe 10, and it came out horribly. I was left with the impression that I could not make cake, let alone a chocolate, delicious cake. Well, I decided to turn that around today. I enlisted the boy to help me and we conquered the cake! We even made the frosting. Mess rating 2 bowls, mixer and the various measuring cups and spoons. The boys say the cake is good and the frosting is perfect. Final verdict, although it was a good cake, I probably won’t make it again. I want to find a better chocolate cake recipe. The frosting is a keeper! And a little tip, I put the bowl we were mixing in the sink and let my boy use the hand mixer. The sink did a great job of containing the mess and was a breeze to clean once we were done. I was also a lot more relaxed about him using the mixer on his own. The recipe for the frosting is below. And yes, the cake was way too warm when I frosted it, but I never professed to being a patient lady.
1/2 c butter
2/3 c cocoa
3 c powdered sugar
1/3 c milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Melt butter. Mix in cocoa. Add powdered sugar and milk, alternating between the two. Beat to spreading consistency. Add a little extra milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. Yields 2 cups frosting.
All you have to add is me and a knife! I have wanted to try this recipe ever since I happened across the recipe. I picked up a few plums, peaches and a basket of grapes at the farmer’s market this weekend. After I chopped them up, I diced up red onion, Serrano pepper, and cilantro. I mixed all the produce up with a dash of salt. The end result is a slightly sweet, fresh salsa. Super yum!
New recipe time! I picked up a yummy loaf of cinnamon bread at the farmer’s market yesterday. I got up this morning and took a knife to it. I used part of it for the recipe that follows, and the rest was used to make perfect French toast. My kitchen was full of yum today. The recipe is pretty easy to follow. Mess rating: 4 bowls, spoons, a muffin pan and a few measuring utensils. The boys say: the topping is perfect but the muffin itself is not quite sweet enough. Final Verdict: Will make again (probably the next time I make French toast since it worked out so well today) and I will tweak the muffin a bit. I’m considering substituting vanilla extract for the maple and adding some sugar to the muffin mix. Also, as you can see from my pic, I didn't trim the crusts from the bread. Not on purpose, I just didn't realize I was supposed to until now.
* 1 cup milk
* 1/2 cup butter, melted
* 1 egg, slightly beaten
* 1 teaspoon maple extract
* 2 cups flour
* 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 cup maple syrup
* 2 tablespoons sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Heat oven to 375°F
2. Combine all French toast topping ingredients in medium bowl; set aside,.
3. Combine 1 cup milk, melted butter, 1 egg and maple flavoring in another medium bowl. Combine all remaining muffin ingredients in large bowl. Stir milk mixture into flour mixture just until mixed.
4. Spoon batter into greased 12-cup muffin pan. Spoon French toast topping evenly over batter; press down slightly. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
5. Immediately brush muffins with maple-flavored syrup. Combine sugar and cinnamon in small bowl. Sprinkle over glazed muffins. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pan. Serve warm.
this site? I think it's super useful. You can input all the ingredients that you have on hand and the site gives you a list of recipes that you can make. There are a few subcategories, desserts, and entrees. Perfect for those, what can I even make with what I have on hand moments!
Grab a small paper bag and add 1/4 cup popcorn. Fold the top over twice to keep close and place in the microwave. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until there is about 5 seconds between pops. Remove and add whatever flavoring you prefer, i.e. butter, evoo, sugar, pepper. Super easy and cheap!
Have you seen these reusable sandwich bags? Kiddo has a reusable lunch box, stainless steel water “bottle”, stainless steel soup bowl thing and lots of containers in various sizes for his food. I am not happy with what we use for his sandwiches. After seeing these on Etsy, I became even less happy with what we have. These bags have velcro for a closure which I'm a little unsure about. It might get too messy with the food. But I’m like a little bug attracted to all the nifty colors that are available. Oh and the novelty of it too. *SIGH* Now my clicky finger is twitching to buy a few. Have any of you ever used anything like this?
Let's file this under, DRL, or don't read label. They are not good for you! They are, of course, delicious, as every terrible for you thing is want to be. And versatile. You can add a variety of different things to these and create all sorts of fun snacks. An added bonus is this is something you can make with the kiddos!
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Unroll the rolls. Now add you ingredients. Roll up and bake for 10-13 minutes. Let sit for a few minutes, ENJOY!
Here are some ideas for the filling:
Layer thinly sliced apple, ham and provolone.
Sprinkle in coconut, chocolate chips and pecans.
Spread peanut butter on the roll and sprinkle with chocolate chips.
Place leftover taco meat and cheese.
Spread butter on the roll and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
Layer in ham and cheddar cheese.
I’m sure there are a million combinations of other yummy things to add to the list. Feel free to add some in the comments below.
Crème Brûlée. Do you think of the creamy custard? Do you remember the crunchy top shell? Or perhaps of the smell of burned sugar because you were a little heavy handed with the culinary torch? Many people have never attempted to create this dessert, perhaps due to the fact that it requires a miniature blow torch. Recently I attended a party and *happy dance* there was Crème Brûlée. The Brûlées were served individually, in soup spoons. You know the ones they have at Chinese food restaurants? While licking the last bits from my fifth third one, I thought, maybe I could create this deliciousness in my kitchen. Visions of little spoons lining my countertops, the sweet smell in my kitchen, me expertly caramelizing sugar with a TORCH! Why the sudden loss of intimidation? For some reason this seemed like a less daunting way to create the dish. If you ruin one, you haven’t ruined them all. The ingredient list is short, eggs, vanilla, sugar, cream, and of course, fire. If you have a favorite recipe tucked away, or one you haven’t had a chance to use, now is the time to break it out. The only extra step with the spoons would be to let your mixture firm up before you place it into the spoons. There are many variations on the traditional recipe. A fun idea would be to serve your guests an assortment of Brûlées, perhaps using different colored spoons. Mango, chocolate, chili…what flavors could you use? And are you ready to become a torch wielding cook?
Happy Labor Day! In the spirit of pretending summer isn’t over, I bring you PINA COLADAS! I discovered this creamy pina colada recipe a few years ago. Yummy deliciousness ensued. I have made it so many times that I have it memorized. It’s my go to recipe for any celebration. Try it, you’ll like it. (or LUB it)
1/2 bottle rum
1 can cream of coconut
1 pint half and half
1 quart of pineapple juice
1 can pineapple chunks
4 tsp honey
Blend all ingredients in a blender. OR leave out ice and serve over ice. ENJOY!
As always, adding whip cream, little umbrella, wedge of pineapple, cherry, shredded coconut or other garnishment is recommended.
A little Sunday morning awesomeness…Ninjabread men cookie cutters! They aren’t available yet, but the site says sometime in September. I plan on buying a set. I have visions of epic sugar cookies battles around Christmas time. Ninja versus Snowman. 2 cookie enter, 1 cookie get eaten leave. Clicky below for product site.
So, I know that putting something on a stick is a lot like adding bacon or chocolate (or both). It makes people smile. However, I came across these and did not smile. First I did a double take and then I realized, yes, these are Baked Alaska…on a stick. Now, I have not had the pleasure of eating Baked Alaska. However, I know enough about food to know that this would be baked ice cream. On a stick. Because baking ice cream is not crazy enough. I am going to go out on a limb and predict that all things Alaskan are going to be tainted with the crazy that seeps from Palin. Perhaps that’s the underlying issue. Add to all the prep work the fact that you would have to take each one and torch it and hand them out right then. You might look cool with the whole fire thing, but honestly, it’s not really worth it. Ditch the stupid stick and allow the fact that you are baking ice cream to be enough.
Here I am internet! I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a blog for some time now. I read enough blogs and I have those opinion things, so why not? Really, I just wanted a place to post all the things I have found interesting during my internet adventures. The plan of this mouse is to do a foodie type blog. But, the best laid plans and all…