Zucchini Bread

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Picture coming soon!

I made this zucchini bread on Sunday night. Today is Tuesday and the kids finished off the second loaf this afternoon. Yes, the kids liked zucchini bread! I'm heading back to the farmers market tomorrow to get more zucchini so I can make more bread. Probably a few loaves to put in the freezer too.

Zucchini Bread


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1/2 cup organic coconut oil
1/2 applesauce (I used homemade from the freezer)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar (I use raw organic)
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups grated zucchini


Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

Sift flours, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.

Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugars together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in the zucchini until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

Adapted from Mom's Zucchini Bread on AllRecipes.com

Glazed Pork Chops

I made these for supper tonight and what a hit!  My 13 year old son was asking if there would be leftovers to take to school before he even finished eating.  These will certainly be back on the menu again.  Added bonus is that they were super easy to make! Hope you enjoy!

Glazed Pork Chops


5 pork chops
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper


Preheat oven to 350 F. In a bowl combine the brown sugar and spices.

Rub the brown sugar/spice mix all over both sides of the pork chops. Use all of the spice mix.

Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium/high heat. When the oil is nice and hot, add the pork chops. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side or until they are nicely browned.

If you are using an oven safe skillet, place the skillet in the oven for an additional 5 minutes to make sure they are cooked through. Otherwise, transfer the chops to a baking sheet lined with foil then place in the oven.

Remove the chops from the oven and drag each side around in the thick glaze that has formed around the chops.

Adapted from Budget Bytes

Chocolate Strawberry & Oat Energy Bars

I love these bars. A friend introduced them to me awhile ago and I have been making them nearly every other week since then. Now that school is back in session I cut one bar in half and send each of the kids a little square once in awhile in their lunch. I feel a lot better about them eating these oat bars then I would store bought granola bars.  I don't worry about all the preservatives and I know these are realatively healthy.  And they are far more filling too! {sorry for the poor picture quality}

Chocolate Strawberry & Oat Energy Bars
Makes 16 or more bars depending on how you cut them {16 bars @ 172 calories each}


1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk {I used almond mylk}
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups organic rolled oats
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup carob chips
1/4 cup strawberry jam, melted
1/4 cup carob chips, melted


Pre-heat oven to 350F. Line a 7 X 11 X 2 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Grease lightly.

In a large bowl, combine the oil, brown sugar, vanilla/white granulated sugar, egg, milk, vanilla and salt. Beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until the sugars have dissolved.
In a separate bowl, combine oats, all flours, baking soda and chocolate chips. Stir until combined. Add to liquid mixture and mix well. Transfer to the prepared tin and spread uniformly.

You can bake as is at this point, or spread a 1/4 cup of melted preserves on top with an offset spatula/butter knife and then bake.

Bake 20-30 minutes until golden.Remove from oven and spread the melted chocolate over it and allow to cool until firm.

Once cool, chill for about an hour for the chocolate to set. Cut into bars/ squares and store tightly covered. Refrigerate if the weather is warm because the chocolate will melt. These bars keep well in an airtight box in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.

Adapted from Passionate About Baking

Healthy Basic Granola

I love this granola! It smells so good while it's cooking.  It's tangy and sweet, but not too sweet. And it's completely customizable - take out what you don't like and throw in whatever you do like. Mix it up, be creative. :)

Healthy Basic Granola
Makes 25, 1/4 cup servings (142 calories)


4 cups organic rolled oats
3/4 cup chopped or slivered almonds
2 tbsp flax seeds
3/4 cup shredded coconut
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup organic coconut oil
1/3 cup local honey
1/3 cup unsweetened apple juice or apple cider
1 cup dried cranberries, or favorite dried chopped fruit


Heat oven to 350º. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oats, nuts, flax seeds, coconut, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Whisk the oil, honey, and apple juice in measuring cup.

Pour the liquid mixture over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated. Spread onto a large sheet pan. Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even golden brown, around 30-50 minutes, depending on oven.

Remove granola from the oven and allow to cool completely, stirring occasionally. Add cranberries. Store cooled granola in an airtight container.


Asian Baked Pork Chops

Monday, August 23, 2010

Let me start off by saying not everyone in my family is a fan of pork chops. These pork chops will be made again! Everyone (including daddy) loved them! I looked up and they had cleared their plates. These were so incredibly easy to make. If you are looking for something a little different to do with your pork chops, I highly recommend this recipe.

Baked Asian Pork Chops
Originally found on Cully's Kitchen

2-5 boneless pork chops
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/8 cup honey
1/8 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 garlic clove, minced

  1. Brown the pork chops on both sides.
  2. Place in a greased casserole dish. (or use cooking spray)
  3. Combine all the ingredients and pour over the pork chops.
  4. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. Turn the chops over after about 30 minutes into the cooking cycle.


Butter and Garlic Potatoes

This is a really good and easy side dish. One of the ways everyone in our house will eat potatoes too.  You can use any kind of potato that you like. Tonight I used new potatoes because they are in season and so good.

Garlic and Butter Potatoes 

5 or 6 medium potatoes, boiled
Garlic powder

  1. Drain the boiled potatoes and place in a serving bowl. Using a knife cut them into bite sized pieces. 
  2. In a small bowl add butter (about 1/4 cup is what I use) a little bit of garlic powder, parsley and salt. Melt in microwave for about 1 minute, or until butter is melted. Stir well and pour over potatoes
  3. Mix the potatoes gently with a large spoon, taking care not to break them.

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Peanut Butter Cookies

Today I took the kids for some back to school shopping.  We bought 1 backpack and 2 lunch bags...$75.00! When did going back to school become so expensive? I'm dreading going to buy the sneakers and clothes. Hold me? lol   Since the kids can't take peanut butter to their schools, I generally don't do much cooking with peanut butter during the school year. Today it was cool so I figured if I was going to bake peanut butter cookies it was a great day to do it.  Here is the recipe I used and they are delicious! Very reminiscent of the recipe I used to love about 15 years ago and lost.

Peanut Butter Cookies
Makes 4 dozen

½ cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt


  1. Combine butter, peanut butter, sugar vanilla and egg, beating until light and fluffy. Stir together dry ingredients and add to butter mixture, blending thoroughly.
  2. Shape into 1 inch balls and place about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Flatten with fork tines in a criss cross pattern.
  3. Bake at 350 °F. for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.


Drop Sugar Cookie

Monday, May 3, 2010

Last night I was trying to think of a quick cookie I could make to send in lunches for the kids today. I decided to go with these, it only took me about an hour total to make them (cleaned up the kitchen while they baked), so not too bad at all. It made 4 dozen cookies using my cookie dough scoop.  One other note about these cookies you want to pull them out of the oven before they are golden brown. Last night I cooked them around 8 minutes. They didn't look really done, but let them cool for a couple minutes on the cookie sheet then transfer to a wire rack.  They will melt in your mouth. If they get golden brown they are still good but very crunchy.

Drop Sugar Cookies
makes 4 dozen

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 tsp salt

  1. Cream butter, sugar, egg, canola oil, vanilla & almond extracts.
  2. Mix the flour, baking soda & salt. Add to creamed mixture & mix thoroughly.
  3. Roll into small balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Press with fork & top with sprinkles (if desired).
  4. Bake at 350 F for 8-10 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes then transfer to wire rack.
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Pizza Roll-Up

Today was the first time I've made the kids a bento box styled lunch.  For their main dish today I made pizza roll-ups.  These were very easy to make this morning and both kids said they liked them.

Pizza Roll-Up
makes 1 roll up

1 8-inch whole-wheat flour tortilla
2 tablespoon prepared pizza sauce
6-12 leaves baby spinach
5-6 slices of turkey pepperoni
3 tablespoon shredded part-skim mozzarella


Place tortilla on a plate and spread pizza sauce over it. Top with an even layer of spinach, pepperoni and sprinkle cheese on top. Microwave on High until the cheese is just melted, about 45 seconds. Carefully roll the tortilla up. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing into pieces, if desired.

Spinach, Mushroom & Feta Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Sunday, May 2, 2010

I made these two weeks ago and the kids have been bugging me to make them again, so tonight's the night.  They are really good - I mean if kids are going to ask for potatoes that contain spinach they must be good right?


6 baking potatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
approx 8 cups baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
8 ounces goat feta cheese, crumbled
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Bake the potatoes until cooked through, about 50 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet; add the spinach and cook until wilted. Stir in the vinegar and cook for 1 minute. Add the spinach to the mushrooms; add the feta and stir until mostly melted. Stir in the pine nuts and dill; season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cut each potato in half, scoop out potato, and add to the spinach, mushroom & feta mixture.  Mix throughly and scoop back into potato skins. 


Giant M&M Oatmeal Cookies

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Last fall I wrote this post about a cookie recipe I lost and tried to recreate. Well, I found the recipe! And I made them...and they were just as good as I remembered. Now I want to share the recipe with you. The recipe as I'm going to give it makes huge cookies - like bakery style huge. You can certainly make them like normal cookies but I would watch the cook time since it won't need to be as long.

Giant M&M Oatmeal Cookies

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 2/3 cup all purpose flour (I used 1 cup all purpose & 2/3 cup whole wheat)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 salt
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups mini candy-coated chocolate pieces
1 cup raisins


  1. Heat oven to 325F. In a large bowl, combine sugar, brown sugar and margarine; beat until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs; blend well.
  2. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. Add flour, baking soda and salt; mix well. Stir in oats, chocolate pieces, and raisins; mix well. Drop by 1/4 cupfuls about 3 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake at 325F for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets


Cabbage Vegetable Soup

I made this soup yesterday for lunch, it makes a huge pot so I'll have lots for lunches for quite a few days or I can freeze it when I'm tired of eating it.  It turned out really good, so I thought I would share the recipe with all of you. :)

Cabbage Vegetable Soup

1/4 cup olive oil
3 medium onions, diced
1 large carrot, quartered and sliced
2 stalk of celery, diced
1 large green pepper, diced
2-3 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups of vegetable cocktail
7 cups of vegetable stock
1 (28oz) can whole tomatoes (broken up)
1/2 a medium white cabbage, cored and sliced (about 4 cups)
2 cups cooked white navy beans(drained)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. cracked black pepper
1 TB. Italian Seasoning
2 zucchinis, halved lengthwise then sliced
salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large pot, add your olive oil over medium-high heat. Add your onions, carrots celery, green peppers, bay leaves and saute for 7-10 minutes to soften.
  2. Add your vegetable cocktail juice, stock, tomatoes, cabbage, beans, garlic, pepper, and Italian seasoning and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer for 40-45 minutes.
  3. Add your zucchini and simmer for 5 minutes to cook. Serve hot. Season with salt & pepper to taste.


Crock Pot Hungarian Goulash

Friday, April 9, 2010

I love my crock pot! It's great on busy days or days I just want to get supper prep over and done with early.  This is one of our new favorite recipes to use with stew meat. It's easy, smells great cooking and tastes even better.  And it's a kid pleaser. :)  Steam a big bowl of veggies or add a big tossed salad to this and you've got a great meal.

Crock Pot Hungarian Goulash

2 lbs beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 large onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup water
1/4 cup flour

  1. Place meat in crockpot and cover with sliced onion.
  2. Combine garlic, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, salt, paprika and mustard Stir in water, mix well, and pour over meat. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. 
  3. Turn control to high. Dissolve flour in a small amount of cold water and stir into meat mixture.
  4. Cook on high for 10 to 15 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  5. Serve over noodles or rice.
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Slow Oven BBQ Ribs

I've only started making bbq ribs in the last 3 years.  I tried before that but I could never get them to turn out good. They would always come out of the oven tough and chewy - yuck!  Then my parents came to visit us here in Nova Scotia and my dad made oven bbq ribs.  I wasn't expecting much but I was certainly surprised when they turned out so good. Now my kids are always asking can we have bbq ribs this week? I don't make them every week but sometimes enjoying some good bbq ribs is a real treat.  Here's how I make mine:

Slow Oven BBQ Ribs

1 bottle of BBQ sauce or equivalent homemade version
1 rack of ribs - beef or pork

  1. Season ribs with your favorite seasoning. Place ribs  meat side down in a foil lined roasting pan. Add approximately 1.5 cups of water and cover.
  2. Bake at 300F for 2.5 hours. Turn ribs over carefully and spread bbq sauce over meat. Continue baking for 30 minutes. 

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Mexican Rice

For years I've been making the instant Mexican rice in a bag to serve on the nights we do taco bar.  Lately I've stopped buying it though. It's not cheap to buy the flavored rice like that and have you ever looked at the sodium content in one serving of those packaged rice deals? Wowza - they have a lot of salt. I decided I could do better for my family.  It took a couple of tries but I think I've come up with a recipe that is amazing. Hubby and the kids think it's even better than the packaged rice I used to buy and I know it's much healthier.  I get to pick what goes in it - I can even buy organic ingredients so I know that this is much healthier.

Mexican Rice

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1 1/2 teaspoon taco seasoning
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 cups chicken broth (use vegetable broth to make vegetarian)


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add rice. Cook, stirring constantly, until puffed and golden. While rice is cooking, sprinkle with taco seasoning.
  2. Stir in onions and cook until tender. Stir in tomato sauce and chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

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Frijoles Refritos - Refried Beans

Frijoles Refritos

Recently I had my first attempt at making refried beans.  I've had them from the can before and while that is nice and simple, I worry about the BPA that is present in canned foods.  So I decided it was time to learn to make these from scratch with dried beans.  I love beans of any form and I am thinking I'm soon going to start making some up and freezing them to use rather than canned beans.  Anyhow that's another post for another day, let's get back to the refried beans.  These turned out really good and I have lots in the freezer now.  I usually use them on a tortilla - just spread some out, top with chopped veggies and roll up. Makes a great healthy and quick lunch. You could even spread them on a leafy green of your choice and have a great vegan meal. :)

Refried Beans

2 1/2 cups of dry pinto beans
3 quarts of water
1/2 cup chopped onion (optional)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup water
Salt to taste

  1. Sort and rinse the beans. Soak overnight or do a quick soak
  2. Put beans into a pot and cover beans with at least 3 inches of water. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to simmer, covered, for about 2 1/2 hours. Strain the beans from the cooking water.
  3. Add the onions and oil to a wide, sturdy frying pan on medium high heat. Cook onions until translucent. Add the strained beans and about a 1/4 cup of water to the pan. Using a potato masher, mash the beans in the pan, while you are cooking them, until they are a rough purée. Add more water if necessary to keep the fried beans from getting too dried out. Add salt to taste.
*Note* When I made my refried beans I put 1/2 the batch of cooked, cooled beans in the blender and puréed a bit. Then once I put them all in the pan, I mashed the rest a bit with the potato masher.

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Hot Pink Smoothie

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A friend of mine first introduced me to the idea of the hot pink smoothie - she was making them all the time and telling me how good they were.  I found this video of the Green Smoothie Girl making her Hot Pink Smoothie and I've based my recipe on that.

Hot Pink Smoothie

1.5 cups pure water
5-6 baby carrots (or 1 whole carrot)
1/2 a medium beet
1/4 cup cashews
1 Medjool date
12 whole frozen strawberries

Place all ingredients except strawberries in blender and blend for 90 seconds. Add strawberries and blend on high until smooth (helps to use the chop ice function to start). Pour in glass and enjoy!

Pizza! Pizza!

Monday, March 22, 2010

This is a staple at our house. I really hate buying frozen pizzas - one, they never have very much toppings on them and two, they are so expensive!  With this recipe you can make 4 frozen pizzas that are healthy and delicious!

I usually make the dough for the pizzas in the morning and pre-bake the dough at 500 F for 5 minutes.

Then I set things up assembly line style and start putting on the sauce and toppings.

Put these in the freezer for a couple hours then take them out, wrap up and back in the freezer until you're ready for pizza night!

Homemade Frozen Pizzas

2 batches of pizza dough
3 cups pizza sauce
32 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
1 pound Italian Sausage, browned
1 pound ground beef, browned
8 ounces pepperoni slices
8 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
salt & pepper to taste
any chopped veggies or other pizza toppings you love


Preheat oven to 500°F

Prepare pizza dough and pizza sauce as directed. Sprinkle corn meal over 4 round pizza pans (I use the disposable aluminum ones so I can put them in the freezer and not be without my pans later).  Divide pizza dough into 4 and gently stretch pizza dough to fit pan, forming a raised edge at lip. Let sit for about 10-20 minutes. Take a fork and poke holes over bottom of crust. Bake in oven for 5 minutes. Let cool then lightly brush crust with olive oil to seal crust.

Cover each crust with 3/4 cup pizza sauce (more or less depending on your tastes), top with 1 cup Mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup Italian sausage, 1/2 cup ground beef, 2 ounces of pepperoni, handful of chopped veggies that you like, 2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese and sprinkle of salt and pepper.

At this point I put the pans in the freezer to flash freeze.  After a couple of hours I take the pizzas out of the freezer and wrap in a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil.  I've had a pizza in there for as long as 2 months (that's the longest I can keep them around) wrapped this way and there was no freezer burn or anything.

To bake, place frozen pizza on a pizza pan on the middle rack in a cold oven and set oven at 400°F. Check at 20-25 minutes and remove when crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly. Cool on a wire rack for 2-3 minutes before cutting into wedges and serving.


Homemade Pizza Dough

Monday, March 15, 2010

This has been my go-to recipe for homemade pizza dough for about the last 5 or 6 years at least.  You can easily make this dough in your bread machine (just follow manufacturers instructions) or you can make it the old fashioned way.  It's very easy and I think it's the perfect pizza crust.  I hope you'll give it a try next time you make pizza for your family.

Homemade Pizza Dough

1 1/2 cups warm water
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 TB olive oil
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (or you can use 3 cups all-purpose flour)
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp Italian seasoning
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

Place ingredients in your bread machine in the order listed.  Set machine for dough setting and press start. When dough cycle is complete, take dough out of machine and place on a well floured counter.  Roll or pat dough out and place on a well greased pan. Add toppings of your choice and place in a 425 F, until cheese and crust are golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.

Pasta Pi Pie

In honor of Pi Day (3.14) I decided it was only fitting to make Pasta Pie.

This recipe of course comes from the genius of Martha. Yes, that Martha.  Really it isn't that difficult to make and I'm sure if you wanted to be creative you could adapt it many ways - thinking chicken and an Alfredo sauce maybe?  The presentation is definitely a wow factor - I know my kids thought it was pretty neat.

Pasta Pie
Adapted from Martha Stewart

1 pound rigatoni
2 TB olive oil, divided
1 pound ground beef (I used ground sirloin)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 jar spaghetti sauce (+ 2 TB salted water from boiling pasta)
Butter, for pan
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
8 ounces coarsely grated mozzarella

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until slightly underdone (approx 12 minutes) When done, rinse in cold water and drain again. Toss pasta with 1 Tablespoon olive oil to coat. Set aside.

Heat remaining 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef. Cook, stirring occasionally until browned. Add garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook 2 minutes more. Add spaghetti sauce and heat through.

Toss pasta with Parmesan cheese. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Tightly pack pasta into pan, standing each piece on end. Spread meat sauce on top of pasta. Push the meat sauce into the pasta holes filling each one up.  (I did this in steps - spread some sauce over, push meat into pasta, then I tapped the pan on the counter a couple times and repeated the process until I had used up all the meat sauce.)

Place in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top and bake another 10-15 minutes until cheese is golden. Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge to loosen and then unmold. Cut into wedges and serve.

Check out Noble Pig's pictorial step by step version of this recipe.

Vegetarian Chili

Sunday, February 21, 2010

This morning I decided to attempt to make a vegetarian chili. I've never made one without some sort of meat before so I searched the net for a recipe.  Well, all the recipes I found had listed ingredients I didn't have on hand. So I just decided to wing it and here is what I cam up with...

Vegetarian Chili

Olive oil
1 large red onion, diced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
4 red peppers, seeded and chopped (could use 2 red and 2 green)
1 can kidney beans, drained & rinsed (540 ml)
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed (540 ml)
2 cans chili-style diced tomatoes (540 ml)
1 can diced tomatoes (796 ml /28 fl oz)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 Tb Italian seasoning (would have just used oregano if I had that)
2 tsp ground cumin
good sized pinch of cayenne pepper (would have used about 3 tsp chili powder if I had it)
2 TB white vinegar


1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions; cook and stir until they start to become soft. Add the red peppers and garlic; cook and stir until vegetables are lightly browned and tender.

2. Add the beans and the tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne, Italian seasoning, vinegar and water (as much or as little as you like, I don't like chili soupy but not super thick either). Stir gently and heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 20-30 minutes.

Classic Banana Bread

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Yesterday I started craving banana bread. Mostly the smell of it baking but also kept thinking about having a slice with a hot cuppa Chai Tea.  Yeah, -24 weather with do that to ya. I thought about making my usual banana bread - the one I've made for hmm 5 or 6 years easy, but decided to surf around some other bakers blogs and see what they baking with bananas.  I found Recipe Girl's Best Banana Bread and decided that this would be the one I would try.  Well, after I decided that I looked a little closer at the recipe and decided I would have to make 2.5 modifications. Even with those modifications this bread turned out fantastic! They are absolutely the most beautiful loaves of banana bread I have made to date. And they taste just as good as they look.  So if you have bananas ready for baking I definitely recommend this recipe.

Classic Banana Bread
Adapted from Recipe Girl's Best Banana Bread

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 cups mashed bananas
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs milk
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9×5″ loaf pans.
Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter. Beat eggs slightly, and mix into the creamed mixture with the bananas. Mix in sifted ingredients until just combined. Stir in milk and vanilla.
Spread batter into prepared loaf pans, and bake for 75 minutes.

yum yum - go make some! 


Garlicky Lemon Chicken

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

This is a nice variation to my Classic Roast Chicken, but it is just as easy to make.  There is a marinade time for this but tonight I didn't have time to let it set for an hour (poor planning on my part). I just put it together and put it in the oven. You could still taste the garlic and lemon just fine. So if you decide to make the chicken this way at the last minute it will still be very good.

Garlicky Lemon Chicken

1 whole cut up chicken
1 tsp chicken bouillon
Juice of 2 lemons
3 cloves of garlic
2 bay leaves
olive oil

Place chicken in a baking dish. Sprinkle bouillon over chicken pieces. Thinly slice garlic cloves and place over chicken. Pour lemon juice over & add in the bay leaves. Drizzle with olive oil & add some butter cut into small pieces on top of the chicken. Cover and let marinde for an hour or so. Bake in a 350 F oven for 1 hour, baste chicken once or twice during baking time.

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American Goulash My Way

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Growing up this was one of my mom's stand by meals. She made it a little different than I do, I've had to adjust for a couple of picky eaters. This is a good, frugal meal that covers all your bases depending on how you make it.  The way I make it I feel like I need to add in some veggies to round out the meal so I usually serve it with a salad.

Last night when I made this I used 2 cans of tomato soup (Campbell's only, I don't like any other brands). Growing up my mom would use diced tomatoes or whole tomatoes that they canned, and broke them up a bit.  My husband and Bub don't like anything with chunks of tomatoes.  The last time I made this, I ran the tomatoes through the blender and they ate it that way! That tastes more traditional to me.  My mom also used to add chopped onions to this (you could add green pepper too if you like it);  my boys don't like chopped onion either so I use onion powder in this recipe.

American Goulash

1 lb lean ground beef
1 box elbow macaroni
2 cans tomato soup + 1 can water (or use diced tomatoes, whatever your family likes)
salt & pepper
Onion powder (or chopped onion)
Garlic or garlic powder
1 cup cheddar cheese

Brown ground beef (with onion and pepper if using). Season with garlic salt & pepper. Add soup and water (or tomatoes if using). Simmer 10 minutes while macaroni is cooking.
Boil macaroni al dente, drain, rinse. Return macaroni to pot, add beef mixture.
Serve in bowls with shredded cheese. Even better left over and reheated (add a little tomato juice when reheating, if too dry).

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Goulash on Foodista


Au Gratin Potatoes

This is pure comfort food!  If you've never had homemade Au Gratin potatoes you are missing out! If you've tried other recipes and they are just never great - you'll want to try this recipe.  I've tried quite a few recipes for Au Gratin potatoes and this one is the recipe. Absolutely perfect, I think.  I added some ham slices to the pan when I baked it. You can leave that out or put in bacon, whatever you want really.  It'll be good if you add anything or not!

Au Gratin Potatoes

3 lbs potatoes
5 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour (I used whole wheat flour)
4 cups milk
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons salt
1 dash cayenne pepper
2 cups cheddar cheese
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350°F. Boil potatoes until just tender, 20-25 minutes; drain. When cool enough to handle, peel and dice into 1/2 inch pieces.
In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour; stir while cooking, 1-2 minutes. Whisk in milk and add garlic. Season with salt and cayenne pepper. Stir in cheddar cheese and all but 2 tbs parmesan cheese. Add potatoes to sauce and stir to mix evenly.
Pour into 3 qt round casserole or rectangular baking dish. Sprinkle remaining parmesan cheese over top.
Bake casserole 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender and dish is bubbling and lightly brown on top. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

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Crock Pot French Dip Roast Beef

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

This recipe is so good and so easy! I put the roast in this morning around 9am and by 2pm the kids were asking how much longer before they could eat it. Once everyone was eating I don't think I heard any talking, just a lot of "mmm" and the occasional "this is so good mom!".  I made the sandwiches on homemade French Baguettes and it was delicious. If you have time, I recommend trying it that way, if not just purchase a really good quality roll to serve these on.  Hope you'll enjoy!

Crock Pot French Dip
Original recipe can be found here

3 1/2-4 lbs boneless chuck roast
1/2 cup soy sauce {I used tamari sauce}
1 beef bouillon cube
1 bay leaf
3-4 peppercorns
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
water {I used almost 4 cups}

Place roast in a 5-quart slow cooker. Combine soy sauce and next 6 ingredients. Pour over roast.
Add water to slow cooker until roast is almost covered. Cook, covered, on low for 7 hours or until very tender. Remove roast, reserving broth. Shred roast with a fork and serve on sandwich rolls with the broth on the side for dipping.

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French Baguettes

French Baguettes. Sounds really hard to make doesn't it? I thought they would be when I first decided to try making them. Maybe mine were easy because it's not a traditional recipe? I've no idea. I know the recipe I use makes an awesome bread and that's the main thing right?

In the original recipe it calls for brushing the loaves with an egg yolk wash before baking and putting water in the bottom of the stove to create steam. Apparently this makes for a very good crust.  Usually I do the egg yolk wash, but I have never bothered with the steam.  Just brushing the yolk on the bread seems to give it a nice crusty crust.  However this time I didn't even bother with doing that.  I just rubbed a bit of flour over the loaves, let rise and bake.  I really liked the texture for the sandwiches we used the bread for.  I think if I was going to use the bread for bruschetta or on French Onion Soup I would definitely at least use the egg yolk on the bread before baking.

I did view 2 really helpful videos when it came to pre-shaping and shaping the bread.  I'll share both of those videos with you here.

Here is the recipe that I used to make my baguettes. This recipe uses the bread machine but if you don't have a bread machine just follow the traditional way to make bread (proof yeast in water & sugar, mix in flour and salt, knead ect.).

French Baguettes
Original recipe can be found here

1 cup water
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water

Place 1 cup water, bread flour, sugar, salt and yeast into bread machine pan in the order recommended by manufacturer. Select Dough cycle, and press Start.

When the cycle has completed, place dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover, and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes, or until doubled in bulk. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched. Punch down dough and let rest for 5-10 minutes.

Cut dough in half. Shape each half (gently)into a square fold in thirds and tighten (watch video 1 for detailed instructions). Set aside and let rest for 10-15 minutes.

Watch video 2 for shaping the baguette.

Place 3 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Make deep diagonal slashes across loaves every 2 inches, or make one lengthwise slash on each loaf. Cover, and let rise in a warm place for 30 to 40 minutes, or until doubled in bulk.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Mix egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water; brush over tops of loaves.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

Creamy Coleslaw

This is the only coleslaw I can get my kids to eat. I've tried store bought coleslaw, I've tried store bought coleslaw dressing and there is no way I can get the kids to eat it.  A friend of mine would make coleslaw and my kids would eat it - every time. Finally asked her how to make it and she said she didn't really have a recipe but she told me the ingredients. So I tried and tried until finally I got the right ratio of ingredients and now my kids will eat my coleslaw! :)  Here's the recipe so you can make it for your family too.

Creamy Coleslaw

1 package of shredded cabbage & carrots (coleslaw mix - you can do this yourself if you have a food processor. I don't so I buy a local brand of coleslaw mix.)
1 cup of salad dressing (Miracle Whip or other like brand)
2 TB vinegar
2 TB sugar

Rinse coleslaw mix under cold water & drain. Place in large bowl. Mix together salad dressing, vinegar, and sugar. Pour over coleslaw mix and stir til evenly coated.

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Blueberry Blues Green Smoothie

This right here is one of my most favorite smoothies.  There is something about the blueberries and swiss chard that has a calming effect on me. Maybe it's just me but I'm sure my family would love if I drank this smoothie all the time. ;)   I would have taken a before blending photo but I had to blend the greens first in order to get everything to fit. And since I want you to try this, I thought I would spare you that picture. :) After it was all blended, my blender jar is full of this glorious smoothie. I hope you'll try it!

Blueberry Blues Green Smoothie

4 bananas
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
½ cup or more water
5 leaves of red chard, stalk removed (I used green chard since it was on sale)

Put ingredients in the blender, and blend until smooth.

Crock Pot Lasagna

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tonight for supper I made crock pot lasagna.  I think it was a year or two ago that I discovered that lasagna could be made in the crock pot; ever since then this is the way I have made it. It is so easy and I think just as good as the traditional way but without all the hassle.  Let me tell you how you too can make this easy lasagna.

Crock Pot Lasagna
Original recipe can be found here

1 lb lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 (28 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tsp dried oregano
12 ounces cottage cheese (I use 1%)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese or asiago cheese
12 ounces lasagna noodles, uncooked
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Brown ground beef, onion and garlic in pan. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, salt and oregano. Cook long enough to get it warm (You can also just use jarred sauce, which is what I did tonight). Spoon a layer of meat sauce onto the bottom of the slow cooker. Add a double layer of uncooked lasagna noodles (break to fit) and top with cheeses. Repeat with sauce, noodles and cheeses until all are used up. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours.

*Serve with salad and garlic cheese rolls*

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Amish White Bread

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Yesterday while chatting with @gutimom on twitter, I happened to surf over to her blog, My Kinda Rain. While browsing around there I saw her recipe for Amish White Bread.  Thinking it was the Amish Friendship Bread that required a starter (the one you have to make a member of your family and feed for 10 days) and mentioned how I'd have to attempt that some day.  Then I actually read the recipe. Imagine my surprise when I could make the bread the same day as I mix the flour with other ingredients. :) So today I set out to play with my Kitchen Aid stand mixer and make her recipe for Amish White Bread.

This is the first time I have ever made bread without using my bread machine. I was a little nervous but it turned out fantastic.  This recipe makes 2 loaves of bread.  You could make 2 plain loaves and freeze one for later or you can do what I did.  I made one loaf plain and the second loaf I made into a cinnamon swirl bread.  Ok, so my swirl part needs a little work, but it tastes really good.  Once I flattened the loaf I covered it in a bit of soft butter, sprinkled with some brown sugar and cinnamon.  I didn't measure this - just put what I thought looked good.

Since I have never made bread without the help of my bread machine I didn't know how to shape a loaf for the pan. I found this site that gives a picture tutorial.  It's very easy.  While my loaves turned out great, I really like the rustic look to @gutimom's bread (How did you do that???).

This is my plain white loaf

This is the cinnamon (sorta) swirl loaf

Amish White Bread
Original recipe can be found here

2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 cups bread flour

In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam. Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth (I let the kitchen aid knead the dough for about 11 minutes). Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well oiled 9×5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.

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*****Edited 01/20 To Add******
I made this recipe again yesterday but this time I used 1/2 white flour and 1/2 whole wheat flour. This change was far superior.  We are used to eating whole wheat bread so we really enjoyed this adaptation much better.  The bread didn't rise as much on the second rise (that could have been my error, I wasn't able to get to the dough after the 1 hour rise time and it ended up being close to 2 hours). Regardless of that I'll be making it with half whole wheat flour from now on.

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