Sunday, November 29, 2009

Monkey Bread (Bread Machine)

Inspired by my IRL df GfG, I decided to make Monkey Bread for Thanksgiving breakfast.

Again, I fished around to combine several recipes to suit my needs (read: whims). I started here (where GfG got the idea), looked here, and here, as well. Oh, did I mention that I wanted to do the dough in the bread machine? (Well, I guess I did. In the title. But anyway . . .) No whackable cans of dough to be found here. No biggie. I let me trusty bread machine do the work, and it was just about as simple as whacking the can on the counter, if not quite as satisfying.

When all was said and done, it was a hit. Houston, we have a tradition.

• 1 C wheat flour
• 2 C white flour
• 1/4 C powdered milk
• 1/4 C sugar
• 1 C water
• 1 egg
• 1 T butter, softened
• 1 t salt
• 1 t cinnamon
• 2 1/2 t yeast

• 1 C sugar
• 2-3 t cinnamon

• 1 C butter (2 sticks)
• 1/2 C brown sugar

1. Place first group of ingredients in bread machine.
2. Set for dough cycle.
3. Stir together sugar and cinnamon.
4. Place in ziplock bag.
5. Divide finished dough into 20 pieces.
6. Drop into ziplock bag.
7. Shake to coat.
8. Place in bundt pan or deep dish baker.
9. Melt butter and brown sugar together.
10. Pour over dough pieces.
11. Bake at 375* for 25-35 mins or refrigerate and bake in the morning.
12. Allow to cool for 15 mins. before inverting onto plate.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Crustless Quiche

Even though I can now make pie crusts, I still like this simple way to throw together a quiche without worrying about a crust.

from Karen M

• 1 C veggies
o sliced mushrooms
o spinach, torn or chopped
o green onions, chopped
o okra, sliced
o carrot, grated
o cauliflower, chopped
o zucchini, sliced
o tomato, chopped

• 1 C protein
o hot dogs, sliced
o tuna, flaked
o sardines, flaked after removing spine and scales
o chicken, shredded
o ground beef or turkey, browned

• 1 C cheese
o mozzarella
o Monterey jack
o cheddar
o Parmesan

• 4-5 eggs
• 2 C light cream or milk
• 1/2 t salt
• 1/4 t pepper
• 1/3 C flour
• 1 T oil

1. Layer veggies and protein in greased pie plate.
2. Top with cheese.
3. Beat eggs with remaining ingredients.
4. Pour over ingredients in pie plate.
5. Bake at 375* F for 40-45 minutes, until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
6. Cool 5 minutes before serving.

Easy Oil Pie Crust

I have a deep, dark secret: I have not ever successfully made a rolled pie crust. There, I said it. I feel better.

A while back, a friend and I made a deal: I make the cheesecakes, she makes the pies. She moved. I'm up a creek.

Oh, and often my mom comes for Thanksgiving and makes the pies. She doesn't really enjoy making pies, though (she's adopted Mrs. Smith as a member of the family, so she can claim "old family recipe").

At one point, I got desperate and tried the oil pie crust recipe in Better Homes & Gardens. It flopped.

This year, though, I got desperater (yeah, I know). I looked at the BH&G recipe again. And I went to my source of all sources (well, for recipes:, as well. As I am wont to do, I took a little from each, and I love the result.

Woo hoo! I can make pies! :-P

• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1T sugar
• pinch salt
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 2 T milk

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2. Place all ingredients in 9 inch pie pan.
a. Or place in medium bowl.
3. Stir together with fork.
4. Pat mixture into bottom and up the sides of the pan.
5. Poke holes in bottom and side of crust.
6. If your recipe calls for a pre-baked crust, bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until light brown.
7. Use as directed in favorite pie recipe.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Banana Bread (GFCF, eggless, soaked, bread machine)

My friend's banana bread recipe adapted for whole wheat, soaked grains and GFCF & eggless. Pretty sure that counts as a new recipe. :-P

The fun part is that I ground 90% of the flours in my coffee grinder. I've been wanting a grain grinder "someday" for a long time but had contented myself to the white wheat flour that we can get here for the time being, since I don't have access (that I know of) to wheat berries, anyway.

Many GFCF flours, though, are made from things I actually do have access to, like brown rice, chick peas and coconut. I started thinking more seriously about getting a grinder when I realized that. Then, I started wondering whether my extra coffee grinder that I use for things like flax seed and powdering sugar would work to grind those things. I reasoned that they really weren't that much "harder" than coffee beans.

Sure enough, I was able to grind an entire bag of brown rice, plenty of coconut and some chickpeas. The chick peas are the most difficult of the bunch. They make a *ton* of noise bouncing around in the grinder before they start breaking down. I was concerned that they would break the plastic in the process (I've something similar happen with ice in a glass blender), and, sure enough, there's a tiny crack that I think may have been made by the chick peas. So, this is probably not a long-term solution, since the grains were not exactly as fine as I'd like them to be, and my coffee grinder might not hold up, but it's really nice to be able to save some money and have GFCF flours available more readily in the meantime.

I've got my eye on a Vita-Mix as my "someday" grinder/blender. We'll see when that someday comes.

• 1/2 C brown rice flour
• 1/2 C tapioca flour/powder/starch
• 1/2 C coconut flour (ground coconut)
• 1/2 C chickpea flour
• 1 t baking powder
• 1/2 t baking soda
• 1/2 C white sugar
• 3 T vegetable oil
• 2 T flax seed, ground + 6T water, whisked
• 1 T apple cider vinegar
• 2 bananas, peeled and halved lengthwise
o or 3 small bananas, peeled and halved

1. Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine.
2. Select the Dough setting, and press Start.
3. Mix the bread for 3 to 5 minutes until the bananas are mashed and all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
4. If necessary, use a spatula to push the dough from the sides of pan and scrape bottom of pan to ensure all flour is incorporated..
5. When 3 to 5 minutes have passed on the clock display, press Stop, turn off or unplug machine.
6. Smooth out the top of the loaf with the rubber spatula.
7. Select the Bake setting, set timer for an additional 7 hours and press Start. (The Bake cycle time may vary with machines, but should be about 50 minutes.)
8. To test the bread for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center top. If the bread is done, the toothpick will come out clean. If not, reset the machine on Bake and continue to bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
9. Remove the pan from the machine, but allow the bread to remain in the pan for 10 minutes.
10. Remove the bread to cool completely on a wire rack.

Soaked Whole Wheat Pancakes

When I originally posted my version of NoSpendMonth's pancake recipe (back in January), I promised that I'd play around with soaking the grains and replacing some of the fat with applesauce. So it took me a while. :-P

Here it is, though. We had these this morning for breakfast, and they were really good. Lighter than usual and more of a buttermilk taste, which I liked (not sour, just rich). I've got a stock of applesauce in the freezer, which made that modification simple (need to post my applesauce "recipe" soon; it's more of a "process" than a "recipe," but it's so simple that I want to share it).

• 4 C wheat flour
• 1 C oats
• 5 C milk
• 5 T vinegar
• 1 C butter, melted (2 sticks)
o or 1/2 C butter, melted + 1/2 C applesauce

• 3 T baking powder
• 3 t salt
• 3 eggs

1. The night/7-10 hours before the meal, in a medium bowl, whisk together milk and vinegar. Leave to sit for 5 min.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together flour and oats.
3. Mix butter (and applesauce, if using) into milk mixture.
4. Stir milk mixture into dry mixture.
5. Cover and leave out 7-10 hours.
6. Stir baking powder and salt into flour mixture.
7. Whisk eggs in separate bowl and stir into flour mixture.
8. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat (if non-stick, oil is not necessary).
9. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake.
10. Brown on both sides and serve hot

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Banana Bread (bread machine)

I know part of the point of using the bread machine is to let it do the kneading for you, but you have to admit, having a quick bread mix and bake in the same (highly non-stick) pan, leaving no mixing bowls to wash, is certainly a plus. A friend sent me this recipe when I first got my machine, and we've really enjoyed having it. I adapted it to whole wheat flour and to soaking the grains.

• 2 C flour
• 1 t baking powder
• 1/2 t baking soda
• 1/2 C white sugar
• 3 T vegetable oil
• 2 T flax seed, ground + 6T water, whisked
• 1 T apple cider vinegar
• 2 bananas, peeled and halved lengthwise
o or 3 small bananas, peeled and halved

1. Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine.
2. Select the Dough setting, and press Start.
3. Mix the bread for 3 to 5 minutes until the bananas are mashed and all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
4. If necessary, use a spatula to push the dough from the sides of pan and scrape bottom of pan to ensure all flour is incorporated..
5. When 3 to 5 minutes have passed on the clock display, press Stop, turn off or unplug machine.
6. Smooth out the top of the loaf with the rubber spatula.
7. Select the Bake setting, set timer for an additional 7 hours and press Start. (The Bake cycle time may vary with machines, but should be about 50 minutes.)
8. To test the bread for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center top. If the bread is done, the toothpick will come out clean. If not, reset the machine on Bake and continue to bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
9. Remove the pan from the machine, but allow the bread to remain in the pan for 10 minutes.
10. Remove the bread to cool completely on a wire rack.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lisa's 3-Bean Salad

The ex-pats in our town have a tradition of providing meals for several days when a family returns from the US. It is such a blessing as you're re-stocking your fridge and pantry to not have to scramble to feed your family, as well. Having lived life together with several of these families for 5+ years, we've developed "favorites." Dishes of each other's that we like the best. One of mine is a friend's 3-Bean Salad. Makes me want to fly out just so I can return to some of her cooking (seriously, I get the recipe for everything she makes for us).

• 1 can chick peas (drained)
• 1 can green beans (drained)
• 1 can kidney beans (drained)
• onion, minced (optional)
• green pepper, minced (optional)
• 1/2 cup vinegar
• 1/2 oil (not olive oil)
• 2 TBL sugar
• dash oregano
• dash salt
• dash pepper

1. Mix all ingredients
2. Refrigerate overnight

Saturday, October 24, 2009

English Muffin Bread

For our first anniversary, ML gave me a bread machine. Wait, before you groan, it was probably the best gift he could have chosen. I loved it. It think it may have actually given rise to the use of the phrase "completely domesticated." If not, the phrase was certainly used.

I used that machine several times a week. Until we moved overseas.

Bread machines have heating elements (kinda part and parcel with the concept). Heating elements require a lot of wattage. Wattage that would have to be converted from 110 to 220, were I to take my beloved bread machine overseas. Bread machines also rely on timers. Timers don't play well with converters.

So, the bread machine went to live with my mother. My mother bemoaned the counter space it would take up, but accepted it reluctantly. My mother has used the bread machine even more than I did. Go figure.

Ten years I have wanted a 220 bread machine. Ten years we have lived in locations where 220 bread machines were either unavailable or ridiculously expensive. Until now.

I received an e-mail from a friend here while we were in the States saying that she'd spotted a 220 bread machine for a reasonable price. We then had an offer of money for the purchase of a bread machine after we received ZL's diagnosis. Sweet (new) friends who wanted to make our lives less difficult with all of the added stress.

Three months later, we purchased a bread machine. It took a little while, because we didn't want a non-discounted floor model (grungy and tinkered with), but we finally found a bread machine. And I am lovin' life. This thing even has a specific gluten-free cycle with which I have baked two loaves now of bread that ZL actually likes!

To come: several great bread machine recipes.

For now: one of the first things I did when I got moving with the bread machine was e-mail my mom for my favorite recipe from the recipe booklet that came with my original bread machine, English Muffin Bread. Seriously, the inside of this is just like the inside of an English Muffin. Really yummy stuff. Incredible as a sandwich bread for PB&J or PB & honey, because the jelly/honey soaks into the bread. Had to share.

• 1 1/2 C water
• 1 T sugar
• 1 t salt
• 1/2 t baking soda
• 3 1/2 C flour
• 1/4 C powdered milk
• 2 t yeast

1. Place the ingredients in the bread pan in the order listed.
2. Set machine for regular cycle, 2 lb. loaf, light crust.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Chloe's Virus-Killing Chicken Soup

Yeah, it started here. And it was posted here. And again here. And those are just the ones I know about. But this is my version. :-P

Seriously, this soup is amazing. It tastes incredible, and the anti-biotic and anti-bacterial properties of the garlic, the nasal-clearing properties of the peppers, and the general immune-boosting properties of the vitamins from the veggies can't help but improve/maintain your health.

I was re-formatting it into my standard recipe format, which makes it easier for me to read, anyway, so I thought I'd share it here.

We're trying to avoid another round of the stomach virus that's been circulating and avoid getting the flu at all, so we're having this for dinner tonight.

• one whole chicken
• water to cover + 4 bullion cubes or 4 t bullion powder
o or 2 boxes/cans chicken stock + water to cover
• 15-30 cloves garlic, minced or crushed (1 1/2-2 bulbs)
• 1 T salt
• 3-4 fresh thyme sprigs
o or 1 1/2 t dried thyme
• fresh rosemary
o or oregano sprigs
• cayenne pepper, about 1 tsp.
o or 1/2 t cayenne + 1/2 t curry powder + 1/2-1 t crushed red peppers
• ground black pepper

• 1 large onion (coarsely chopped or sliced)
• 1 fennel bulb (sliced thin)
o or 1 t dried ground fennel
• 1 leek (sliced thin)
• 4-6 stalks of celery (coarse chopped)
• 1-3 large red and/or yellow bell peppers (coarse chopped)
• 1/2 lb. carrots (coarse chopped)
o or 1-2 lbs. carrots, if missing several of the above veggies
• any other stout veggies preferred by your family
• 2 tbs olive oil
• 1/2 C white wine, optional
• salt and pepper

• Frozen green beans
• Frozen peas
• zucchini
• flat leaf parsley (chopped)
• 1-2 cans chopped tomatoes with juice
• any other quick-cooking veggies preferred by your family
• salt and pepper to taste

• leafy green veggies

1. Place chicken, garlic, salt, thyme, rosemary, and peppers in a soup pot.
2. Cover with water/bullion or chicken broth.
3. Simmer on stove top until chicken starts to fall apart (1-2 hours, depending on attitude of bird and altitude of home).
4. Remove from heat.
5. Remove chicken and set aside to cool.
6. Using slotted spoon or strainer, remove larger herb pieces (i.e. stems).
7. Place oil in bottom of large pot and heat.
8. Add first group of veggies and sauté until onion is just transparent.
9. Add wine and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
10. Cover the vegetables with chicken broth from chicken--add more broth from can or box if you don't have enough broth from chicken.
11. Or skip steps 7-10 and just add the sliced veggies to the broth.
12. Simmer veggies until beginning to become tender.
13. Meanwhile, de-bone chicken.
14. Add quick-cooking veggies (2nd group) and de-boned chicken meat and continue to simmer until veggies are tender.
15. Add any greens, such as spinach, simmering a minute or two to wilt.
16. Serve or cool and freeze.

Serving options:
• Tortilla Soup: top with monterey jack or mozzarella cheese, slices of avocado and tortilla or tortilla chip pieces.
• Chicken Noodle Soup: Add egg noodles and simmer until cooked.
• Freezer Soup: Freeze, either in meal- or individual-sized portions to be served to sick members of the household as needed.
o For example, freeze in a standard-sized mug, remove from mug and store in freezer ziplock bag. Thaw and heat in original mug.

• Garlic: anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties
• Peppers: opens sinuses
• Veggies: vitamins and minerals
o i.e. carrots are packed with Vitamin A and bell peppers with Vitamin C


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Stretching a Boxed Muffin Mix

The only possible application I can think of for this particular recipe is living overseas and only having access to blueberries in a boxed blueberry muffin mix (or lemon poppyseed, for that matter). If you were in the States and willing to mix up a batch of muffins, you'd just buy your own blueberries. If you wanted the convenience of a boxed muffin mix, you'd just make the mix.

So, for all my friends who live overseas...

Stretching a Boxed Muffin Mix

• 2 C flour
• 3/4 C sugar
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1/4 tsp cinnamon

• 1 C milk
• 1/4 C vegetable oil
• 1 egg
• 1 tsp grated lemon rind
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 2 T lemon juice, optional

• ingredients called for by the muffin mix

• 1 boxed muffin mix

1. Combine 1st group of ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Add the powdered mix from the box to the large bowl and stir.
3. Combine 2nd group of ingredients in a medium bowl.
4. Add the ingredients called for by the muffin mix to the medium bowl and mix.
5. Add the mixture from the medium bowl to the large bowl and stir.
6. Stir in any “mix-ins” included in the boxed mix (i.e. blueberries).
7. Pour into muffin tins and bake according to box directions.

• This will increase the number of muffins by 12.

*I use local "whole wheat," which is basically a white wheat flour, so it has the added benefit of increasing the healthfulness of the muffins, too.

Monday, August 24, 2009

White Chocolate Macchiato Cheesecake

We hosted a guys' get-together tonight to celebrate ML's birthday, which was yesterday. My original plan was to just make our traditional Washington Cheesecake and maybe pop some kettle corn. Then, I saw this recipe (linked on a SL thread, of course), and the rest was history. I was now out to make a White Chocolate Macchiato Cheesecake (white chocolate, because I didn't have caramel sauce, and I didn't have dark baking chocolate). We're not that fond no-bake cheesecakes, and I didn't have plain gelatin, anyway, so I just modified our standard cheesecake recipe to incorporate the coffee and the white chocolate and, of course, the Oreo, excuse me "chocolate sandwich cookie," crust. I was a little concerned, because the liquid I was replacing from the original recipe (the milk and the vanilla) was a good deal less than the amount of coffee I was substituting. No need to be concerned. The result was delicious. So, without further ado, I will share.

White Chocolate Macchiato Cheesecake

• 18 chocolate sandwich cookies (aka Oreos)
• 4 T butter (1 stick), melted

• 1/4 C white chocolate chips (or chopped baking white chocolate)
• 1/4 C instant coffee granules
• 1/2 C boiling water

• 3 8oz. pkgs cream cheese, softened
o or 41 Laughing Cow cheese triangles
o or 33 Kiri cheese squares
• 3/4 C sugar
• 2 T flour

• 3 eggs

• 1/4 C white chocolate chips (or chopped baking white chocolate), melted

1. Pulse cookies in food processor until finely ground.
2. Add butter; process to blend.
3. Press over bottom of 8in. spring-form pan.
4. Bake 10 mins at 325*.
5. Place in freezer until needed.

6. Meanwhile, stir boiling water into coffee granules and white chocolate chips in small bowl or glass measuring cup.
7. Let sit 1 minute & stir again.

8. Combine softened cream cheese, sugar and flour at medium speed until well blended.
9. Add eggs, one at a time, until blended.
10. Blend in coffee mixture.

11. Pour over crust.
12. Bake at 350* for 30-40 mins. or until cake is set except for a 1-2 in. circle in middle.
13. Loosen cake from edge of pan (with table knife) and allow to cool.

14. Drizzle with melted white chocolate.

Oh, and we skipped the kettle corn. I don't think anyone could have tolerated more sweetness. Besides, I was busy putting the kids down.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cinnamon Raisin Muffins (GFCF, eggless)

***Edited to reflect some recent changes I've made.

Yes, it's been quite a while. I had a very low-energy first trimester, a trip to the States, a life-impacting diagnosis for my 3yo, a new house, and a baby. I've been a little busy.

When life hands you a PDD-NOS diagnosis, you go gluten-free, casein-free, so without further ado, my first GFCF recipe posting, which you may recognize as closely related to the dried fruit muffin recipe I posted previously. It's my first from-scratch adaptation, and it actually turned out! Hopefully, there will be more to come...

Cinnamon Raisin Muffins (GFCF, eggless)

- 3/4 C brown rice flour
- 3/4 C tapioca flour/starch/powder
- 1/2 C coconut flour (ground coconut)
- 3/4 C sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 C rice/coconut milk, apple juice or coconut milk yogurt
- 1/4 C oil
- 1 T (heaping) flax seed
o grind & add 3 T water
o whisk together
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- (3/4 C) 100 g raisins

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Spray muffin tin cups well with a non stick cooking spray.
3. In a large mixing bowl combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
4. In a small mixing bowl whisk ground flax seed with water and then add and stir together the milk/juice, oil, and vanilla extract.
5. Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and stir until mixed.
6. Stir in the raisins.
7. Scoop batter (making sure to include raisins from the bottom of the bowl) into the muffin cups filling each 3/4 full.
8. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Nut Butters

I hate to call this a "recipe," because it's incredibly simple, so we'll say these are "instructions."

I didn't want to not share it, though, because I sure wish I'd known a long time ago how simple it was to make. So far, I've made almond butter, cashew butter, peanut butter and sun-nut butter (sunflower seed butter). The sun-nut butter didn't turn out well, but I think that's either due to the fact that the sunflower seeds were old or that I tried to add honey. I've learned that honey messes with the texture. It make my peanut butter funky once, too. I'm planning to try sun-nut butter again when we get to the US, and I have access to less expensive bulk seeds (without shells; sorry, just not doing the shell route).

• 4 C nuts/seeds
• 1-4 T oil*

*I’ve used sunflower and olive successfully. I now use olive (fresh, local EVOO, not to brag, though). I’d like to try coconut, too.

1. Put nuts in food processor. (Can use blender with a strong motor.)
2. Process until the blade has pushed all of the “nut flour” to the edges/it sounds like it needs help (i.e. the motor is struggling).
3. Add oil 1/2 T at a time until processing well.
4. Continue processing until creamy (several minutes). This will not be as creamy as industrial peanut butter, but will get like the "natural" kind you can buy.
5. Store in fridge, and it will not separate, so it doesn’t have to be stirred.
6. Have house help clean food processor. (Oh, wait, I just gave away one of the secrets as to why I think it's so easy. :-P) Food processor supposedly also gets clean well in these “dishwasher” things I’ve heard rumors of.

Peanut Butter Granola

After my success with the baked Honey Granola recipe that I'd remembered, I decided I wanted to try Pioneer Woman's Peanut Butter Granola version. I had finally remembered to ask for peanuts to make peanut butter (mental note: post recipe/instructions), so I was set to go. We definitely enjoyed it and will be making it again soon.

The only bummer was that I only had 1 can of oats, so I had to make a 1/2 batch. In case you haven't picked up on this by now, I hate baking/cooking breakfast that yields only one breakfast-worth. Oh well, at least it tasted good. And I snuck the measly leftovers for myself. :-)

• 1 stick butter (1/2 C)
• 2/3 C natural peanut butter
• 2/3 C honey
• 1 t vanilla
• 1/2 t salt
• 6 C rolled oats (10 C quick-cooking)
• 1 C raisins (optional)

1. Melt the butter and peanut butter together in a medium saucepan/pot.
2. Add the honey, vanilla and salt.
3. Stir the mixture until smooth and hot throughout. (It doesn’t need to boil.)
4. Add the oats.
5. Stir until the oats are completely coated with peanut butter mixture.
6. Turn the mixture into an ungreased cookie sheet, or a large 9 by 13-inch pan.
7. Spread the granola out evenly and bake it at 375° for 10-12 minutes. It will be brown and crispy.
8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan.
9. Break into pieces after cooled.
10. Add raisins, if using, when granola is cool.

For the 1/2 batch, I used my Pampered Chef deep dish baker. I could have packed it in more and used it and the mini deep dish baker for a whole batch.

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

I had ML get koosa* the other day, because I wanted to make a different kind of muffin. We've been rotating between making orange apricot muffins and cinnamon raisin ones from Michelle's recipe, and it was time for a change.

I remembered a Chocolate Zucchini recipe I'd gotten off of AllRecipes at some point, so I pulled that one up. Doubled it. Tweaked it a bit (would you believe the sugar below is halved? =-o). And it's a new staple. I love the fact that I can shred 1 kilo of koosa, use 1/2 of it, and freeze the other half for a batch later on (which I baked this morning).

This recipe makes enough batter for 24 large-sized muffins (i.e. with the cups full, rather than 2/3; you know, the way they tell you not to do when you're learning about portion control? what can I say? we like muffin tops...on muffins :-/) and 24 mini muffins. I feed my family breakfast and have enough to put up two bags for later breakfasts (or send to neighbors, as I did this morning), plus the mini muffins for hosting a social visit. This last option is wonderful. I love having something already baked to pull out of the freezer when I'm busy preparing the house. The other part (having family breakfasts made ahead) isn't too shabby, either.

*What? You don't know all of the vegetables in Arabic? Fine. I'll tell you. Koosa is squash. Or zucchini. Well, more like sqacchini. It's somewhere in between the two. I use it for squash in recipes that call for squash and zucchini in recipes that call for that. It's less moist than US squash, and more moist than American zucchini. Consider yourself educamacated for the day.

Makes 4 dozen

• 6 eggs
• 2 cups white sugar
• 2 cup vegetable oil
• 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 4 cups grated zucchini (1 lb. or 1/2 k)

• 6 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 2 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
• In an extra-large bowl beat the eggs.
• Beat in the sugar and oil.
• Add the cocoa, vanilla, zucchini and stir well.
• In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
• Mix into dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just moist.
• Pour batter into prepared muffin tins.
• Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 to 25 minutes (10-13 minutes for mini muffins).

Today, I made this with olive oil, because, well, we didn't have any vegetable oil, and I'm trying to limp along without it, so I don't leave any to go bad while we're in the US. They turned out fine. I could taste the olive oil in the batter (when I was "cleaning" the bowl) but not in the finished product.

Stay tuned for the Applesauce Muffins I'm making soon. That should get us through breakfasts until we leave for the States. :-)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

This recipe was requested after I listed "My mom's cream cheese pound cake fresh from the oven" as one of my favorite smells. It is actually my grandmother's recipe and inspire the cute-little-boy quote, "Mrs. Mattingly, could you make this where it is all the outside?" (the "crust" is really yummy; of course, the inside is, too). I went on to intersect with that "little boy" at several different points in my life, and he actually did the interior decorating for both our home church and many James Avery locations.

I haven't made it in a really long time, so I don't have any tips. My mom makes it often to take to get-togethers and to give to families with a meal.

• 3 sticks butter
• 1 8 oz. pkg cream cheese (or 7 Laughing Cow triangles)
• 3 C sugar
• 6 lg. Eggs
• 1 t vanilla
• dash of salt
• 3 C flour

1. All ingredients must be at room temperature.
2. Cream butter and cream cheese.
3. Add sugar gradually.
4. Add eggs one at a time and beat.
5. Add vanilla and salt.
6. Add flour gradually.
7. Bake in greased and floured tube pan.
8. Bake at 300* (starting with a cold oven) for 2 hours.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Overnight Coffee Cake

A friend texted me yesterday at about 5:00 asking if I wanted to do a cake to have at the gathering at my house this morning for our friend who's birthday was today or whether I wanted her to do one. A) The texting friend generally makes the cakes in our ex-pat group, and, although I know she likes blessing people this way, I wanted to take that task from her this time. B) I wanted to bless the friend who's birthday it was (we'd had a celebration for her this past weekend, but you gotta have something on your birthday, right?). So, I said I'd make a coffee cake.

At about 10:00 last night when I was completely wiped out from my day and the kids still weren't asleep, I seriously questioned my decision. A little late to call or text and say, "Actually, I'd rather you make something." :-l Plus, I still wanted to be a blessing to everyone.

I'd already made the decision that I wanted to serve something make-ahead. Me and baked breakfast on a timetable don't mix. That's why it's so important to me to have baked goods in the freezer from mornings when I do have time to make them. Otherwise, we'd be eating cereal every morning (never mind that we did this morning, anyway).

So, I went to the Breakfast>>Make Ahead/Overnight file on my computer (geeky, I know, but it works for me), and opened two recipes: Overnight Coffee Cake and Baked Oatmeal. I'd served baked oatmeal at a gathering at my house not too long ago, plus, I didn't have any raisins (although I'd like to try it with chocolate chips, so I will be making it soon, anyway), so I decided on the Overnight Coffee Cake.

Problem: it calls for shortening, and A) I'm trying to cut hydrogenated fats out of our diet and B) the shortening I have is bad, anyway (don't know why I haven't just thrown it away). A quick google tells me I can substitute butter, so we're back on track.

The original recipe just has the ingredients listed in a random order and says "mix them together." I can't do that! That's not proper baking etiquette! So I "fixed" the recipe and made it as listed below (I'd done that when I'd made it previously, but I hadn't noted it in the recipe).

Fortunately, it went together more quickly, probably, than it's taken to write about it (or even read about it), and I covered it with foil and stuck it in the refrigerator. Took it out about 7:00 this morning and put it in the oven about 7:45. Other than my funky oven baking it lopsided due to a variance in temperature, it came out perfectly, everyone was blessed, and I even have enough left over to send downstairs to a neighbor who's dishes I need to return.

So...I guess it was worth it after all. :-P

• 1 C butter
• 1 C sugar
• 1/2 C brown sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1 C buttermilk (or 1 C milk+1/2 t lemon juice or vinegar)

• 2 C flour
• 1/2 C oats
• 1/2 t salt
• 1 t cinnamon
• 1 t baking powder
• 1 t baking soda

• 1/2 C brown sugar
• 1 t cinnamon

1. Cream butter and sugars.
2. Add eggs and mix.
3. Add milk and mix
4. Stir together dry ingredients.
5. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture. Mix until combined.
6. Spread into greased 9 x 13 pan.
7. Stir together additional brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over top of batter.
8. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
9. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

This is, of course, from a SL thread way back when. Like, way back before I started copying the usernames to go with recipes so I could credit them. I did a search, and I can't find it, so it must have been from before they switched to the new system, and I never can remember how to search the archives, so my apologies to the original poster. If you happen to see this and want to claim it, please do. :-)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Chunky Potato Soup

Okay, finally the review of BETHANY's CHUNKY POTATO SOUP that I promised a few days ago.

Well, when she says "my crockpot cooks fast," you shouldn't necessarily assume that your crockpot is going to cook fast, therefore, not making it the best meal to plan for dinner when you've slept in late due to your 3yo having a really rough night and are fixing this to go into the crockpot at the same time as you're fixing "breakfast" that actually should count as lunch, given the time you're serving it.

It does, however, taste great the next day.

The potatoes, while cooked, were not at the "mushy" consistency typical of chowders (this would make a great option for kids with texture issues). This was perfect for serving to ZL without the liquid, because it was basically finger food (who am I kidding? what is *not* finger food with this kid?). However, next time, I might give it a couple of jabs with a stick blender to for a more chowder-esque taste/texture, because I like those kind of soups.

Oh, and if you forget how small the cans of condensed milk are in your country and only ask your husband to pick up two, thinking that will be enough, only it isn't, you can always use the tried-and-true powdered milk-with-half-the-water for the condensed milk (which is what I always do, but I was going for convenience this time; oh well). Heck, if you're going to use a stick blender, skip the water, and just put some powdered milk in (maybe 1/3-1/2 C?). That's what I usually do in my cream soups, anyway.

6 c. cubed, peeled potatoes
5 c. water
2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. thinly sliced carrots
1/4 c. butter
4 t. chicken bouillon
2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
12 oz. can evaporated milk (2 1/2 160 ml cans)
3 T. chopped parsley
snipped chives (optional)

In a large crockpot, combine the first nine ingredients. Cover and cook on high 7-8 hours or until the veggies are tender. Add milk and parsley; mix well. Cover and cook 30-60 minutes or until heated through. Garnish with chives, if desired.

BETHANY's Notes: My crockpot cooks fast, so we eat this 5 hours after it starts cooking. We only let it sit about 5 minutes after putting the milk and parsley in as it really doesn't take long for the milk to heat up.

Final notes:

We rarely have celery here and didn't this time, so I just put in more carrots.

If you do not have parsley, don't use rosemary. Use something savory. The soup was still good, but I would have preferred it with a different spice.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Good Old-Fashioned Pancakes

I tried a new pancake recipe today. It was raved about in a thread on SL, either one about hot breakfasts or one about not spending and making things from scratch. I can't remember. Both have been popular lately, given the economy (hot breakfasts being more economical than cold cereal, not to mention more filling :-).

Either way, the recipe is from Michelle over at No Spend Month. Yep, the same one I got the Blueberry Muffin recipe from. Stay tuned for her pizza dough recipe. :-P

We liked the pancakes. I'd like to get on the ball enough to soak the grains the night before, use applesauce for 1/2 of the fat, etc. That will come. And if I wasn't trying to make BETHANY's Chunky Potato Soup at the same time, we'd have liked them even better. I kind of let most of the pancakes get too dark. Oops. (I'll post the soup recipe after we have it tonight.)

Of course, I couldn't leave the pancake recipe alone (in case I haven't mentioned, I rarely do), as rave as the reviews may have been. Mainly I just tripled it. But I also added oats, just for a more multi-grain effect.

• 4 C flour
• 1 C oats
• 3 T baking powder
• 3 t salt
• 3 T sugar
• 4 C milk + 2 t vinegar
• 3 eggs
• 1 C butter, melted (2 sticks)

1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
2. Whisk milk, egg & melted butter in separate bowl.
3. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the liquid mixture; mix until smooth.
4. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat (if non-stick, oil is not necessary).
5. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake.
6. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Chicken and Dumplings that weren't (CP)

So, I followed the Crockpot Lady's recipe to make Chicken and Dumplings...and I got Chicken Pot Pie. Don't know what chicken and dumplings were like in her family growing up, but they were not like this in mine.

Nothing wrong with the taste of the recipe at all. It was actually delicious. It was just Chicken Pot Pie, rather than Chicken and Dumplings. So, we will repeat it, just calling it the right thing. :-P

I'm still searching for a good chicken and dumplings recipe, but a friend e-mailed me one today, so I'm going to try that. It's not crockpot, but I'm hoping to adapt it.

For a great crockpot Chicken Pot Pie recipe, though...

• 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken
• 1 yellow onion, chopped
• 1 C mushrooms, chopped
• 16 ounces frozen vegetables

• 2 cans cream-of-something soup, or combine in a saucepan:
• 4 T butter
• 6 T flour
• 1 C milk
• 1 C chicken broth
• 1/2 t salt
• 1/4 t black pepper
• 1 t poultry seasoning

• 1 can refrigerated biscuits, or one batch drop biscuits.

1. Put the chicken and vegetables into the bottom of the crockpot (anything 4 quarts and up will work).
2. Add the cream-of soups, or your homemade substitute.
3. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4-5.
4. An hour before serving, shred chicken with two large forks, and drop in the biscuit dough.
5. Cover and cook on high for another hour.
6. The biscuits are done when you can insert a knife and it comes out clean. They will be spongy and will brown a bit on the sides and top.
7. Serve in bowls, with a biscuit or two per person.

Honey Granola

I've been meaning to make crockpot granola for, oh, a couple of weeks now. I was either using my crockpot for something else, had used the oats to make oatmeal, or just plain forgot to put it all in the night before (or didn't feel like it).

As I was falling asleep last night wondering what we were going to have for breakfast this morning, since we were out of flour, and I'd forgotten to ask ML to get any, and I didn't want to dig into the breakfast stash in the freezer on a morning where I had the time to actually make something, I remembered that my crockpot granola recipe was based on an oven-baked recipe that I actually preferred. Duh.

So, for breakfast this morning, we had granola. And there are leftovers for a quick breakfast another day. Hurray!

Oh, and today I added coconut and sunflower seeds as the add-ins. Meant to put in raisins after it baked, but I forgot. I'll probably put them in the rest when I store it.

• 6 C dry oatmeal (or 10 C quick-cooking oats)
• 1 C butter (2 sticks)
• 1 C honey
• 1 t cinnamon
• 1 t vanilla
• 1/2 t salt
• 1 C each nuts and dried fruit (optional)

1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
2. Add the honey, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. (Honey is easiest to measure in a well-oiled measuring cup, or just use a mini spatula to scrape out the measuring cup afterwards.)
3. Heat briefly with and then add the oatmeal. Stir.
4. Turn the mixture onto an ungreased cookie sheet, the kind with shallow sides; a large 9 by 13-inch pan works well, too.
5. Spread the granola out evenly and bake it at 320° for 20-25 minutes. It should be a toasty brown.
6. Now remove it from the oven and allow it to cool and crisp up right there in the pan.
7. Store it in a clean coffee can or sealed canister.
8. Add the nuts and dried fruit, if you are using them, when the granola is cool.

I use two stoneware dishes that I have, one deep dish baker and one miniature deep dish baker. A 9x12 stoneware or stoneware bar pan would probably be best.

I have found that the granola bakes best in stoneware, second best in metal and burns easily in Pyrex.

I don’t stir the granola while it is baking, and I actually pack it down into whatever I’m cooking it in. I find that it stays in “clumps” better that way, and that is how I like my granola.

Cream of Tomato Soup

Sunday nights after church (and often committee meetings) growing up when we lived in Dallas=canned soup (quick and easy, since we had school the next day and needed to get to bed), usually Campbell's Tomato Soup made with milk so that it was cream of tomato soup, served with cheese toast. Aaah, comfort food.

Living overseas, I missed cream of tomato soup. I attempted an approximation with fresh tomatoes. Just didn't cut it. Not to mention how much of a pain it is to do the whole dip 'em in boiling water, then ice water thing to get the skins off.

When we moved to our current location, I was thrilled to find Campbell's in some of the import groceries in the capital. They weren't cheap, so they were an occasional treat.

Then, someone posted the following recipe on the SL boards*, and dinner was saved! Okay, so maybe that's an exaggeration, but we sure have enjoyed it.

And the other night, I even added some leftover rice I'd made with up with a bag of frozen vegetables (originally served with fish; we ate all the fish). Even yummier and added bulk to the meal (although not all of the kids appreciated the adaptation; we'll probably alternate with and without rice; at least I got the little leftover serving).

And, of course, we had cheese toast with our soup. So it was mozzarella cheese on sub bread, rather than cheddar on whole wheat loaf bread, but still...

• 4T butter
• 4T flour
• 2 c. milk
• 1 qt. tomato juice
• salt and pepper to taste
• 1 tsp. Italian seasonings

1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan.
2. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper.
3. Cook and stir for a min. or two.
4. Whisk in milk.
5. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly.
6. Whisk in tomato juice and Italian seasonings.

*And I've searched and searched and even posted the recipe for someone to claim, but no one has, so I can't even credit them.

A scarf and a shawl (or a sharf gone wrong)

When my mom came for a visit in October, she brought yarn and knitting needles for me to teach her how to knit. She'd learned to crochet somewhere along the way but never to knit.

Two slight problems with this plan: 1) She got sick. :-( She was able to hang with the kids and do a few fun things with us, but we didn't have nearly as much down time/visiting time as we normally do. And knitting was the least part of that that we missed. 2) She brought this really fun fuzzy yarn in two different colors. Those who know fun fuzzy yarn and have ever learned to knit know that it's not at all good for learning on. No big deal, because I had plenty of other yarn for her to learn with, but there was no way she was starting, much less completing, those projects (she wanted scarfs) while she was here.

So, I took up the projects for her.

I worked the blue yarn first (I'd link you to the type, but I kind of didn't pay attention to that, so I don't remember), intending to make her a sharf. This is a concept I'd stumbled on accidentally when I was first knitting what was supposed to be a scarf for a friend. It ended up too wide, but made the perfect convertible scarf/shawl. So I repeated that concept several times, including one which I gave my mom while she was here. And I thought I'd repeat it again with this yarn.

I still have a bit of a problem gauging how wide something's going to be, though, by my row of casting on, so it, too, ended up too wide. So I made a shawl. But I ran out of yarn, so I used some leftover from my nephew's blanket to finish out the ends.

I can't decide whether it's stylish-funky or just funky.

I was able to send packages back with a friend's parents to be mailed, and my mom got these yesterday (this was the last of the projects I'd been waiting to post until the items had been received). I assured her that, if she wants, we can buy more of the original yarn and I'll remove the ends and just knit more of the fun, fuzzy yarn. I haven't heard back yet as to her response to my offer. :-P

So, with the brown yarn she bought, I decided to play it safer. Just a scarf, thank you.

Well, I did play with some patterns, but once I discovered that the yarn was too fuzzy for the patterns to show up, I took that part out and just knit. And it still turned out fun and fuzzy. With fringe, too!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Mocah Fudge Sauce

What to do with a failed mocha fudge recipe? Serve it over ice cream and make sure you have it written down to enjoy over and over and over again in the future.

• 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
• 1 (12 oz) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
• 5 T instant coffee dissolved in 2 T warm water
• 1 t vanilla

1. Heat sweetened condensed milk and chocolate over medium heat (or in the microwave) until chocolate is melted.
2. Stir in coffee mixture and vanilla.
3. Serve warm over ice cream, brownies, or just eat with a spoon.

Mom's Fudge

And by "Mom's Fudge," I mean the fudge that Mom's always made. Yes I'm aware that the recipe's straight off of the jar of marshmallow creme (or "marshmallow fluff," as I was reminded it's branded when I google'd it).

However, my mother shares my philosophy of cooking/baking. In case you haven't figure it out by now via my recipes it's "make good-tasting things that don't take too, too much time/preparation." If it's worth an extra step, I'll do it. If I can find an alternative that's just as yummy, you can bet I'm going to make that instead (i.e. my mother is the one who has adopted Mrs. Smith, so she can claim her pies as an old family recipe*).

So, this is our old family recipe for fudge (and, by the fact that it's been used by three, if not four, generations, I think it actually qualifies, even without adopting Mr. Fluff).

• 3 C sugar
• 3/4 C butter
• 2/3 C evaporated milk (170g/159ml)
• 1 12 oz. pkg chocolate chips
• 1 7 oz . jar marshmallow crème
• 1 t vanilla
• 1 C nuts, optional

1. Combine sugar, butter, and milk in 2 1/1 qt. saucepan.
2. Bring to full rolling boil, stirring constantly.
3. Continue boiling 5 mins. over med. heat, still stirring.
4. Remove from heat.
5. Stir in chocolate chips until melted.
6. Add marshmallow cream, vanilla and nuts, if desired.
7. Beat until well blended.
8. Pour into greased 9x13 pan.
9. Cool at room temperature.

*Just to clarify, my mom's a great cook. I love eating at their house and making her recipes. She just isn't enamored with extra steps that aren't necessary. And I whole-heartedly agree.

Blueberry (or other dried fruit) Muffins

Michelle over at No Spend Month posted a recipe on her menu thread on SL for Lemon Blueberry Muffins. I had dried blueberries, cranberries, and cherries thanks to a wonderful e-maginary friend who'd mailed me a care package (shout out to MelanieinWA!), so I chose to use Michelle's recipe as the base. We ended up not liking the "lemon" aspect, and I made a couple of other changes. Here's what I ended up with.

Blueberry Muffins

4 C all purpose flour
1 C quick-cooking oats
1 C sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 C skim milk (from powder is fine)
1/2 C canola oil
2 egg whites
2 tsp vanilla extract
8 oz dried blueberries or cherries or other dried fruit
or 2 2/3 C frozen blueberries, unthawed
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spray muffin tin cups well with a non stick cooking spray.

In a small mixing bowl stir together the milk, canola oil, egg white, and vanilla extract.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just moist.
Fold in the blueberries. Pour batter into the muffin cups filling each 3/4 full.
Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown.

I'm actually feeling well enough these days to re-stock my freezer with breakfast foods like this, so we can have them on busy/lazy/ill mornings!

PSA: if you're going to get unexpectedly pregnant and there's any possibility you'll have morning sickness/lack of energy, make sure not to do so when your freezer is not stocked (as it normally is) with cooked meat and pre-baked breakfast options. :-/

Edited to Add: I made these this morning as cranberry-orange muffins, and they were yummy. I used the last package of dried fruit a friend had sent me, :-( and I substituted 2 C of orange juice for the milk. Tomorrow, I think I'm going to make cinnamon raisin muffins by using raisins (I know; surprised, aren't you?) and doubling the cinnamon.