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Posts tagged ‘Food’

Passionate about Pumpkin

I love pumpkin.  When Thanksgiving gets close, the grocery stores stock up on canned pumkin.  They don’t carry much of it the rest of the year, so I go nuts and buy a couple of cans every time I shop.  It doesn’t go bad, right?  So I end up with LOTS of cans of pumkin over-running my pantry.  I’ve been experimenting with different ways to use it up.

What’s wrong with experimental cooking?

As long as nobody gets hurt, right?  My husband is a champ.  He will try everything I invent, even if he doesn’t like all of it.  He doesn’t care much for pumpkin, but he’s learned to trust me.  I disclosed up front that yesterday’s oatmeal had pumpkin in it, and he at it, anyway.  His philosophy is that if you put enough brown sugar in a dish, it will be all right.

Pumpkin Oatmeal & Barley Hot Cereal

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup rolled barleypumpkinoatmeal
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 2 tsp kosher flake salt or 1 tsp table salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mace (gives that nice pumpkin pie flavor but not as sharp as nutmeg, and hubby hates nutmeg)
  • 1 cup Libby’s pumpkin puree
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1/2 cup nuts (pecan or walnuts), coarsely chopped, optional
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 1 cup eggnog

Bring the water to a boil in a 3-5 quart saucepan.  Add the oatmeal and spices.  Stir, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook until the water is absorbed (about 15 minutes).  Stir in the pumpkin, apple, nuts and sugar.  Simmer another 10 minutes until the apple is soft.  Stir in the eggnog and serve hot.

Pumpkin Curry Eggnog Soup

Yes, I created a holiday soup.  Actually, I got a little heavy-handed with the spices and needed a way to cool it down.  Plus, I had more eggnog in the ‘fridge than I could drink, because Hubby doesn’t like it.  Problem solved.  Did you know that pumpkin and eggnog go together really nicely?

  • 4 cups chicken or turkey stock
  • 1 can Libby’s pumkin puree (NOT pie filling!!)
  • 1 T Madras yellow curry powder (if you can, visit an Asian market and get a Thai curry)
  • pumpkinsoup1 t Paprika
  • 1 t black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • salt to taste
  • Eggnog.

Add all ingredients to a saucepan and simmer for 30 minute

s.  Taste it, and adjust the seasonings to suit.  It should be very spicy, but don’t panic.  This is where the eggnog comes in.   Stir eggnog into each serving to:  cool the soup to a perfect temperature for sipping; drop that spiciness; cream up the soup;  and, add the perfect complimentary sweetness to all that pumpkiny flavor.  I tossed in a handful of my sister’s crunchy cheese straws and had the perfect winter warmer.

Pumpkin Chocolate Bars

No all-pumpkin feast would be complete without dessert, right?  Reprised from an earlier post, here are the pumpkin chocolate bars.

pumpkin chocolate bars

http://wp.me/p1LNpx-3W

 

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New Years Eve Traditions for Fuddy-Duddies

 Do you stay at home on December 31?

Hubby and I will celebrate 14 years of marriage next week.  This is the 2nd trip down the matrimonial road for both of us, so we’re not young ‘uns.  In our years together we’ve gone out on New Year’s eve maybe twice?  They were nice times.  We enjoyed dressing up, eating great food and listening to music.  The public kiss at midnight was pretty great, too.  Most years, however, we’ve stayed at home.  We don’t have to dress up, or even watch the dumb stuff on TV.  The firecrackers in the neighborhood let us know when it’s time to kiss…or whatever.  Unfortunately, the older we get, the less lively the “whatever” has been…

  • We hate crowds
  • We fear drunk drivers
  • He doesn’t drink
  • Staying awake past midnight is hard
  • It’s cheaper to stay home
  • The best New Year’s tradition happens at midnight in bed (ahem)

What are your traditions?

Reuben Tarts

reubentarts

Many Anglo homes believe good luck comes in the new year if you consume cabbage on New Year’s day.  The Irish New Year meal is corned beef and cabbage.  In the South, it’s blackeyed peas, often with rice and ham in a dish called Hoppin John.  I found a tasty diversion on the Reuben sandwich at a party about 20 years ago.  It is a simple pie made from corned beef and sauerkraut.

If you host or go to a New Year’s event, these are a great and impressive treat.  You can make them ahead of time, freeze them and pop them in the oven for 15 minutes to thaw and brown.  Don’t skimp on the ingredients if you can afford it. You can make these with canned corned beef, canned sauerkraut and pre-shredded, store brand swiss cheese, but come on, this is for New Year’s eve.  If you buy top shelf, it will cost about  $30.

16 frozen tart shells (My grocery carries the Dutch Ann brand in the freezer section, 8 to a box)
1 lb really good quality deli corned beef, chopped fine
1 cup 1000 Island salad dressing
1 T caraway seeds
1 lb Boars Head (or similar good quality) sauerkraut, drained
1 lb Jarlsberg Swiss cheese, grated

Set the tart shells out on a cookie sheet.  I use a jelly roll pan (you do have a set of these, don’t you?).  Preheat the oven to 380 F.

Mix the chopped corn beef, salad dressing and caraway seeds (the seeds give the tart that rye bread flavor).  If you have a set of measuring cups that includes an 1/8 cup, use that to fill each tart.  Otherwise, use a soup spoon and divide evenly.   Place 1 tablespoon of sauerkraut on top of the corned beef mixture.  Sprinkle grated cheese on top, evenly distributing among the tarts.

Bake at 380 for 25 minutes, or until the crusts are brown and the cheese has melted.  Serve in the tins.

Goetta Pie

goettapie

New Years Breakfast needs to be substantial.  My best friend Clairee turned me onto Goetta years ago.  She’s from Cincinnati, so she grew up on this odd combination of steel cut oats and sausage.  It’s the kind of subsistence food a practical German culture would invent to stretch the meat through the winter.  It’s kind of meatloaf-meets-porridge.  You either love it or not.  We adore it, and every time we’re in Northern Kentucky, we load up the cooler.

We usually just slice the Goetta (pronounced “guh-duh”) and fry it slowly on the electric griddle, smashing it flat, until it’s brown and crispy on both sides.  It takes about 30 minutes.  We’ll eat it solo, or put it in a sandwich with a fried egg and cheese on a whole grain sandwich thin.  It’s very high in fiber, although the fat content is also high.

Today called for something rib-sticking and special, so I made up a pie.  This is so simple it practically doesn’t require a recipe, so pay attention.

Goetta on the bottom.  Scrambled eggs in the middle.  Cheese on top.

Okay, so I jazzed it up just a bit.

  1. Cook Glier’s Goetta (accept no substitutes) slices very crispy.  Place the HOT slices in the bottom of a pie pan.
  2. Crack 6 lovely brown or high omega 3 eggs (like Eggland’s Best) or farm fresh (if you’re lucky enough to have a source) and add 1/2 tsp Penzey’s Mural of Flavor.  If you don’t have a big jar of “MOF”, get some. I put it on veggies, in eggs, on fish, in soups….it’s my go-to seasoning.
  3. Melt 2 T butter in a non-stick pan and lightly scramble the eggs.  Don’t murder the eggs by over-stirring them.  Just pull the cooked part away from the bottom of the pan a couple of times.  Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes until the eggs are about half cooked.
  4. Put the half-cooked scrambled eggs on top of the Goetta in the pie pan.
  5. Cut a dozen grape tomatoes in half and place them, cut side up, on top of the eggs.  You can substitute plum or salad tomatoes.
  6. Cover with shredded cheese.  I used what I had on hand, which happened to be Gouda and a bit of Mexican blend.  Cheddar or Swiss would work.
  7. Put something crunchy on top, like cereal flakes, crushed potato chips or bread crumbs.  I used a couple of handfuls of crushed sweet potato chips.
  8. Bake at 380 F for 25 to 30 minutes until the cheese is melted and the chips are browned.
  9. Let it stand for 5  minutes to set, then serve like pie.

Afterthought:  I think it could have used some gravy in there, like under the eggs.

It’s a Hurricane, so I cook

The good thing about modern weather observation satellite technology and around-the-clock weathercasting is non-stop information about big storms.  That’s also the bad thing.  Hurricane Sandy has become the disasteur de juer for every 2-bit with a bad sports coat and a microphone and a dozen wannabe Weather Channel meteorologists in windbreakers.  I couldn’t take it any more.  Hubby took a nap.

I thawed out some chick and pulled out one of my mother’s best slow cooker recipes.

Chicken Rosemary

Rosemary Chicken with Quinoa

This is essentially a slow-cooker recipe.  I wanted to make “a big mess”, so I needed to use the oven and adapted the recipe accordingly.   I’ll give you the modified and original versions.

Oven Version

  • Family pack chicken leg quarters (6 leg quarters)
  • 1 cup fresh rosemary needles (about 2 feet of sprigs, needles stripped from the stems)
  • 3 small cans of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 -750 ml bottle of dry white wine (I used a California Pinot Grigio because that’s what I had)

Spray a large roasting pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Lay the leg quarters in the bottom of the pan.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and the rosemary needles.  Open the mushroom cans and pour the juice from the mushrooms into the pan, being careful not to rinse off the seasonings from the chicken.  Pour the wine into the pan the same way.  Did I mention LARGE pan?

Cover the pan with heavy aluminum foil so that it’s steam-tight, and the top is sunk down…you want the vapors to condense back onto the chicken.  Put the pan into the oven and turn it on to 275 F.  Roast for 5 hours.

Remove from the oven.  Take out the chicken and set it aside to cool just enough to handle for deboning.  Discard the skin and bones.  Strain the stock and separate off the fat.  Set aside 2 cups.  Thicken the remainder with 1/2 cup flour.   Return the chicken and mushrooms to the thickened stock.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook rice or quinoa in the 2 cups stock to serve with the chicken.

Man, that is good.

Crockpot variation:

Use 1 whole cut-up chicken.  Cut the amount of wine in half and use only one can of mushrooms.

Cook on low for 10 hours or high for 6 hours.

NOTE:

The original, 1970s version of this recipe called for Sauterne cooking wine, which is salted.  If you use this, just eliminate the salt from the recipe and use a whole bottle of Sauterne.

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Diet….Schmiet

Welcome to Type II Diabetes, Right?

The first thing you hear after you pick your large butt off the floor when you get that diagnosis is “girl, you gotta lose weight.”

As IF I haven’t been trying to do precisely that my entire life.  I have lost and gained back the rough equivalent of an Olympics gymnastics squad over the last 30 years.  I’ve done Weight Watchers (have a nice, brass life member card for that one), Sugar Busters, South Beach, the Cookie Diet, medically-supervised Atkins, and a bunch of others.

Enter the 21st century and the computer, the internet and the smartphone.  I finally understand what it all comes down to.  Modern science is catching up to it as well.  Are you ready?  Take notes and feel free to share.

Angela’s Big Weight Loss Miracle Secret

  1. Eat fewer calories than you burn.
  2. Get some kind of physical activity in a few times a week, and the more fun it is for you, the more likely you are to do it.  If you call it fun, it ain’t exercise.  For me, gardening, loading or unloading and setting up or taking down the camper burn as many calories as running or working out at the gym.  So does building a cabinet, or pushing a lawn mower, or hauling a bunch of laundry baskets up and down the basement stairs.    Want to know how many calories you burn in your favorite activity?
    http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/cbc
  3. If you are, like me, into the menopausal years and can’t handle the carbs, then eat fewer of them, shift to high fiber, whole grains (go South Beach/Sugar Busters) and eat more lean protein instead.
  4. Weigh, measure and record everything you eat.  Sigh.  Yes, in that Weight Watchers had it right.  It’s easier now, though.  We have this wonderful, miracle, modern technological miracle called MyFitnessPal! It is a free member website and has companion apps for every breed or brand of smartphone or tablet on the market.  I use it every single day on my Android phone.  The database of foods is over 10,000 and growing exponentially every day as members use their smartphone cameras to scan the barcodes of new products, or create new recipies.  If you create a recipe, MFP adds up the nutrition of all the ingredients from the database and calculates the nutrition information for you.  There are great support boards, and you can sign up buddies to encourage you along the way. 

Blueberry Tendabake Pancakes

1 cup Tenda-Bake 7 Grain Pancake and Waffle Mix

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 cup water

Mix together and cook on a hot (350 deg. F) until browned.  Don’t turn the first side until it’s bubbly, and take it off about 3 minutes later.  Top with a good-tasting omega-3 margarine (I like Fleischmann’s olive oil spread) and sugar-free syrup (try Hungry Jack).    I dollop of Ready Whip won’t kill you.

Who says dieting has to be boring, or unenjoyable?

Be a Pinhead–You’ll Love It!

Pinhead Oat Scones

2 cups Tenda-Bake 7 Grain Pancake Mix
1 cup pinhead or steel cut oats
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup oat bran
4 tsp Just Whites dry egg whites
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp mace
1/4 tsp ginger
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white flour

 

Soak the pinhead oats in 1 cup of boiling water for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients. After the oats have soaked, stir in the oats and olive oil. Turn into quarters with a knife.

Bake 350 F for 30 minutes, until lightly browned on top. Cool 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 scones.  Per Scone:  284 Calories, 47 g carbohydrates, 7 g fat, 10 g protein, 7 g fiber, 337 mg sodium.

Recipe_9539363_76142

Got the Fiber Smoothie Blues

Blueberry Yogurt Fiber Smoothie

1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup 1 % milk
1 cup Greek nonfat plain yogurt
8 packets Splenda
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups crushed ice

Blend all ingredients for about 5 to 7 minutes on medium speed until it is WELL BLENDED. Stop the blender.

Add 2 cups crushed ice. Blend on high speed for 2 minutes. You’re just trying to cool the smoothie down, not make a frappe.

Serves 2:  174 calories per serving.  27 g carbohydrate, 2 g fat, 17 g protein, 2 g fiber, 113 mg sodium.

Got the fiber blues?

It’s easy being Green

I made Green Soup yesterday.

It was really easy.  I’d had a wonderful pea and mint gazpacho at a Washington, DC restaurant the other day and set myself to find out how to make it at home.    The Internet is a wonderful source of information.  I found a close enough recipe, tweaked it abit to suit my dietary needs and the ingredients on hand, and the results were astonishingly delicious.  Even Chad liked it enough to eat some (but not enough to finish his bowl).    I did have to endure a few rounds of “Waiter, my soup is COLD!”

Pea, Spinach and Mint Gazpacho

  • 6 cups vegetable stock (or use water and 3 cubes of Knorr vegetable bouillon)
  • Salt to taste if you don’t use bouillon
  • 2 cups frozen English peas
  • ½ a bag of fresh baby spinach (about 4 cups loosely packed)
  • 2 stalks of dark green celery, de-ribbed and cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 tsp Penzey’s Mural of Flavor (or herbs to your taste)
  • 15 mint leaves

  • 2 cups half n half
  • Sour cream or yogurt for garnish (optional)

 Bring the stock to a boil.  Add the vegetables and seasonings, bring back to a full boil and cook for 5 minutes, or until the peas are tender but not mushy.  Turn off the heat and puree with an immersion blender.   Transfer to a glass bowl or other shallow container to transfer heat better.  Add a quart bag of ice cubes to the bowl to chill the soup quickly and absolutely stop it from cooking any more.  If you plan on serving it within the hour, keep changing out the ice bag to speed the cooling.

To serve, check to make sure no solids are in the soup, and puree again or strain if needed.  Stir in the half n half.  Garnish with mint leaves and a dollop of sour cream.

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