Thursday, November 20, 2014

Crockpot Caramel Apple Oatmeal

My sister-in-law shared this recipe with me. She has four little munchkins who all love this! Best of all it's healthy. This can also easily be cut in half.

Crockpot Caramel Apple Oatmeal
2 c. Steel Cut Oats
6-8 Cups Water
1 t. Cinnamon
1 t. vanilla
2 apples peeled, diced
1 c. rasins
1/4 c. brown sugar
Combine and slow cook over night (8hrs). Add sliced bananas and walnuts if desired - or dress up however you would other hot cereal.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Don't Buy Pita at the Store

A while ago I was looking for a good whole wheat pita bread recipe. I'm not one to typically stick to the recipe 100%, but this is a really good one. I got it from King Arthur Flour. It's really not as difficult as you'd think, and it's AMAZING when it's warm out of the oven. 

Here is your picture:

Here is your recipe:

1 1/2 c. White whole wheat flour + more if needed
1 1/2 c. Unbleached bread flour
1 1/2 1. salt (I prefer sea salt for this)
1 1/2 T Instant Yeast *
1 1/8 c. Lukewarm water
2 T. Orange juice
2 T. Olive oil

You may also want some olive oil infused with herbs/spices for finished product. Herbs and spices can include: cumin, cardamom, turmeric, caraway, anise, ginger, crushed red pepper; and fresh sage, marjoram, or oregano. If you are using whole seeds, crack/smoosh them with the broad side of your knife. This is good to make while the dough is rising.

1. Combine all ingredients* (except infused olive oil), and mix until ball-ish dough forms. Continue to kneed until soft dough forms. If dough seems too sticky, add up to 1/2 c. more flour  1 T. at a time. 

2. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl (can be the one you used to mix, but wash it out a bit first), cover with a damp yet clean dish towel, and let it rise for 60-90 minutes until double in size. If it's not the middle of the summer, I like to turn on my oven during this time and place my bowl on the oven. This really gives the dough a good opportunity to rise. If you would rather not do that, turn the oven to 450°F towards the end of the 60 or so minutes. If you have a pizza stone, now is the time to put it in the oven on the bottom rack. Remove the other rack from your oven or put it on the top shelf.

3. Divide the dough into 8 balls, being careful not to deflate the dough too much. Cover with the damp towel and let them rise for 10 minutes. 

4. Roll two of the balls into roughly 7" circles/ovals - they'll shrink a bit. I prefer them longer if you're planning on folding them to use as food holders. If you don't have a pizza stone, place a baking sheet on the bottom rack while preparing the circles. 

5. Working quickly to keep from losing heat, flop the dough onto the pizza stone and close the door. Bake for about 4 minutes and watch them get awesome and puffy (not so puffy if it's on a baking sheet). 

6. Using tongs, flip the pitas and bake for 1 minute more. 

7.  Quickly remove from oven and brush with your amazing infused olive oil. Cover with a cotton towel to keep them soft. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough. 

*If you don't have instant yeast, proof the yeast first, then add it once all the other ingredients are combined. Instant yeast it is definitely worth looking in to. I am absolutely terrible at getting water the correct temperature to get the yeast to rise normally - I usually have to try it 2-3 times. With instant yeast, just throw everything into a bowl and mix away. So much easier. 

You're welcome.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Veggie-Full Rue (with a GF option)

There are tons of dishes out there that call for your every day cream sauce or cheese sauce. I think it's boring and can be difficult. Considering it's the kind of thing one typically combines with pasta (and consequently feeds to their children), it's a very unhealthy thing. But I have discovered a secret, and I would like to thank my sister-in-law for the idea: Canned butternut squash and canned pumpkin. These are excellent thickening agents. 

If I am making my own mac n' cheese or rice dish, I use:
About a half a can (about 2/3c) of the pureed veggie
A can of cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup*
Milk (start with 1/2c)
About a cup of grated or cubed cheese
Curry Powder (optional - I like it in everything)

Stir it all together over medium heat until you get a gloopy-delicious veggie rue/sauce - it should be the consistency of the stuff in the picture below.

If you are making pasta, throw in some broccoli in with the pasta for the last few minutes of boiling. Who doesn't like broccoli covered in cheesy goodness?

*For all my gluten-free friends out there: Just omit the cream of chicken soup and add the whole can of puree.

My mom makes really good Alfredo sauce. I have never been able to; mine would always turn out lumpy and more soupy, less creamy. But then I found the veggie trick.

Start with sauteeing a large clove of minced garlic in about 3T of butter. Then add a cup of 2% or whole milk - bring to a boil and let simmer (stirring occasionally) for a minute or two to reduce a bit. Add your 1/4c grated Parmesan cheese, fresh basil, S&P, then about 1/8c - 1/4c of pumpkin puree to finish the thickening job. If you have my luck with Alfredo sauce, you'd better work quickly or you'll get chunky Alfredo sauce. 

Once it's done, you will have fooled everyone into thinking that you make fancy pumpkin pasta sauce. Look at you.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Best Creamy Pasta Salad Ever

It has been above 100 the past few days. Needless to say, I was NOT in the mood to use the oven, yet I was hungry. I visited my friend Martha's website, and combined a few recipes for pasta salad. This salad is a winner.

Recipe Time:

2 Hard boiled eggs*
1 c. Mayo or 1/4 c. Mayo and 3/4 c. Plain yogurt
Lemon juice from 1/2 a lemon
Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
Any or all of the following herbs: basil, chives, dill - preferably fresh.
1/2 c. Cherry tomatoes, halved
3 c. Pasta shells or macaroni
A cup-ish of cheese - any kind you have on hand will work (cheddar cubes, ricotta, etc.) but I used feta and LOVED it.

Chop the eggs, and mix with mayo, lemon juice, S&P, garlic powder. Chop and mix in herbs, tomatoes and pasta. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Now, this seems like your every day creamy pasta/potato recipe, but the lemon juice and basil, I think, is what really makes this pasta super extra delicious.

*Hard boiling eggs was confusing to me for the longest time. It seems so simple, but there are so many conflicting ways to boil an egg, and I felt like they never turned out okay. But I have now found an idiot proof way to boil eggs: put the eggs in a pot and fill it with cold water. Put it on the stove over high heat. When the water starts boiling (big bubbles), start the timer for 9 minutes. When the 9 minutes is up, run cold water in the pot and after a few minutes, the eggs will be cool enough to peel. Voilá!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dessert Chips and Salsa

Who knew wonton wrappers were so versatile? Well, Martha Stewart did. She knows everything - or at least those who work for her do. I am not very good at making up recipes from nothing. I have tried that a few times in the past few months, and things always turn out yucky (which is why I haven't posted in a while).

Luckily, I am very good at finding good recipes, and perhaps tweaking them slightly, as necessary. Apparently, this is a skill that not a lot of people have, and this is where I can help my friends.

I found a recipe for this next dish on a random blog, wrote down the ingredients (sans measurements or directions) and then made this super excellent party dish. Back to Martha, while looking for this recipe again, I went on to and found all the things she has done with wonton wrappers. Check them out if you have some left over.

Here is the recipe:

Wonton Chips
As many wonton wrappers as you can cook (these are seriously so good)
2 T Sugar
1 t cinnamon
1 Egg + 1 egg yolk
3 T heavy cream
Sliced almonds

Cut wontons into triangles. Mix eggs and heavy cream. Brush wrappers with egg mixture and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, then the almonds. Bake about 8 minutes until browning and crispy.

Fruit Salsa
Mix together:
Equal parts strawberry and cantaloupe (use a whole cantaloupe), chopped into small pieces
1/2 Jalapeno, seeded, chopped (optional)
1-2 T Agave Nectar (or honey)
Juice from one lime
2 T fresh Basil
1 T fresh Mint

 If you want, you could put other things on the wontons - sesame seeds, add some vanilla to the egg mixture, lime juice and cumin, poppy seeds, sea salt - and use them with whatever kind of salsa you want. The sky's the limit.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Cucumber Salsa

This is an interesting little recipe that I stumbled upon. My little helper has volunteered to show you which ingredients you will need:

1 Cucumber
1-2 Avocados
1 Lemon
1/2 Green bell pepper
2T. Fresh mint leaves, chopped
2-3 Scallions or green onions
6 oz. feta cheese (but goat cheese would be tasty, too)
Garlic Chives (see previous post), or minced garlic
1t. each: Salt, Pepper, Cumin
Your favorite hot sauce, to taste
Cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)
Fresh corn (optional)

Chop it all up and mix it together. Stick it in the fridge for about an hour to give the flavors a chance to blend.

This makes a really good summer salsa for chips or tacos, but you can also just eat it as a salad (maybe add another cucumber if you're doing a salad). The thing I like about making salsas is that you can adjust the recipes to make it however you like it. If you like more avocado, add more avocado. If you don't like bell peppers or would rather have a red one, make the change. So feel free to go crazy with this recipe.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Garlic Chives?

So you know how you have the whole garlic bulb, but you don't use the whole thing before the middle cloves get those green sprouts that pop out? Well I do. And I typically end up throwing those away. That's not going to happen any more. Here's what you can now do with the unwanted, overgrown garlic cloves:

1. Dig a little hole in the ground that's about 1 inch deep.
2. Put the clove in the ground and cover it with dirt.
3. Water every day or so and wait for little sprouts to pop up.

Voilà! You have your self some tasty garlic plants that you can use like you would use chives. Put them in a salad, or mashed potatoes, sauteé them with some broccoli and lemon then top it with some freshly grated Parmesan. Or use them in the salsa/salad I will be posting about later. So many options, so tasty.

One thing to remember: These won't continuously sprout, so you'll have to replace them every so often. But seeing as how my garlic clove problem is recurring, this is no problem for me, and hopefully not a problem for you either.