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Archive for the ‘cooking’ Category

There are few things better than the occasional breakfast/brunch menu for dinner. Especially when it’s  relatively late night dinner… say 2030 for those of us that go to bed around 2130 or so. It’s pretty quick to put this meal together and if you’re so inclined, you can cook up some bacon to accompany these flavors. I’m sure it would be amazing.

One of my new favorite cookbooks is New Vegetarian Cuisine by Linda Rosensweig and the food editors of Prevention magazine. I have several recipes tabbed to try sometime this year. By several… I mean over 40. Now, if you have this cookbook and want to look up the original recipes for these two tasty dishes, they are on page 243 and 248 respectively. You’ll notice, though, that I changed damned near everything in those recipes either because I didn’t like how it turned out the first time or simply because I didn’t have the right ingredients in my kitchen. Oops…

Either way, they are so tasty and SO good together. I’m giving you my adapted versions. I highly recommend the cookbook they came from, however. It’s a great resource for anyone that’s new to vegetarianism and wants to learn the proper ways to eat healthy without eating animals. The introduction does get a little preachy about the lifestyle, but that seems to be a common thread with most books on vegetarianism.

Green Pepper Frittata:

Serves about 4 people normally

Olive oil (about 2 teaspoons or so to saute with)
half of a green pepper, chopped
half of a white onion, chopped
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, minced or run through a press*
8 or 9 egg whites (I had 9 eggs and thought it silly to just leave one egg in the carton, so I used 9)
herbs, fresh preferably, but dried is fine too. I used thyme and oregano
pepper
Asiago cheese, grated (enough to cover the top)

In a medium to large frying pan with a lid, saute onion, garlic and green pepper in olive oil until onion is tender and translucent. In a separate bowl, whisk together  egg whites and herbs. Pour egg mixture over sauteed vegetables and cover. Let cook over medium heat without stirring until egg whites are set and edges are browned.

If your frying pan is oven safe, you can simply top the frittata with asiago cheese and pop it directly into a 425º oven to melt the cheese. I don’t have an oven safe frying pan, so I have to transfer the frittata to a round cake pan that’s about the size of the frying pan I was using. This is tough… chances of your frittata breaking and falling apart are pretty high. If you choose this method, use two big pancake turners. It will help reduce the amount of breakage you will ultimately have.

Either way… with your frittata covered in the cheese, put in the oven and bake until the cheese is all melty and delicious. Sometimes this takes me 15 minutes, sometimes it takes 20-25… I don’t really have a good estimate for this. 15 is a good starting place though.

Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes. Cut into triangles and serve.

Rosemary Hashbrowns

4-5 baking potatoes, washed and diced
half of a white onion, chopped
whole garlic cloves* (as many as you’d like)
fresh herbs including rosemary and thyme (fresh herbs are the KEY to this… you can use dried but the flavor won’t be the same)
salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

Place diced potatoes, onion, garlic and herbs into a roasting pan. Cover lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix together to that all potatoes, onion and garlic are covered in olive oil.

Roast in 425º oven from about 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. The stirring is important, if you don’t stir (or just shake the pan) frequently… the potatoes will burn and your hashbrowns will be ruined!

The hashbrowns are done when the potatoes are soft in the middle and slightly browned and crisp on the outside.

Remove from oven and serve. For an extra little kick – add a dash of chili pepper to roasted hashbrowns.

 

*We REALLY like garlic in this house. I always go overboard with it. Feel free to cut this back as needed. But remember… garlic is good for your heart!

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Oh, Valentine’s Day. I kind of have a love/hate relationship with this holiday. I’ve always thought it was a made up holiday and that if you were truly in a committed and adult relationship, you should show that person every day that they are loved. Now, I’m not going to lie, when TC is gone and it’s just the pups and I for Valentine’s Day? I wallow in my own self pity for a good day because I am alone on Valentine’s Day. I’m lucky enough this year to have him home and I’m refusing to celebrate, at least publicly. I imagine we’ll spend that night together and I’ll cook. Maybe we’ll even have a candlelit dinner with some wine. But overall, it will be very low key, simple and very much us.

So when I saw these cookies on the Pioneer Woman’s website this week, I was a little shocked that I had such an urge to make them! They looked amazing, the decorations seemed really simple and I had all the ingredients hanging out in my kitchen cabinets. So I made them. Can I gush for a minute about how amazingly awesome these little guys are? They are heaven. Magnificent. Fantastic. Melt in your mouth. Basically – they are really good.

Ok, now… since I know you all are avid followers of the Pioneer Woman and you obviously went to her website to read her post about these cookies, you know there is a point in the post where she says to not eat all of the dough, or you won’t have any cookies. I laughed at this, but WOW… just wow. The dough tastes like chocolate fudge and it’s irresistible. I had to leave my kitchen in order to stop eating it. Once my stomach ache went away, I could finish putting the dough away. Just remember: DON’T EAT ALL OF THE DOUGH. This is important.

Normally I adapt recipes for one reason or another but this one is perfect just the way it is. I wouldn’t change a thing. Ok – I did change a couple of things. I didn’t have heart cookie cutters so I used the flower ones I bought several years ago that still had the price tag on them (oops…), and I didn’t have alphabet stencils so I cut a circle out of some cardstock we have around here and made them look like little daisies. Overall – I say those aren’t big changes. Let’s call it – creative expressiveness.

 

The recipe says that it makes 12 – 18 cookies, but I ended up with around 12 of the big flowers and 16 or so of the small ones. My friends will be getting lots of cookies very very soon.

  • 2-¼ cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • ½ teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ cups Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2 sticks (1 Cup) Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 1 cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 whole Large Egg
  • 1-½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Powdered Sugar, For Sifting
  • Stencils

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and cocoa powder in a bowl. Whisk together and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Add flour/cocoa mixture in two or three batches, mixing well after each addition.

Place dough into a large Ziploc bag and flatten slightly with your hand. Seal bag and refrigerate for two hours.

To make to cookies, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove dough from bag and place on a floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes. Roll out to 1/4-inch thickness and cut with a cookie cutter. You’ll need to consolidate and re-roll the dough as you go.

Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking mat. Bake for 12 minutes, or until set (but not browning at all.) Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

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I intended to give you guys a healthy, homemade granola recipe…

but for some reason it was a complete and total FAIL. Awful. Simply awful.

 

I’m making another go at it this afternoon – along with some cake balls. MMM…. cake balls 🙂

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Snickerdoodles

I’m not a big holiday person. I hate to say it… but I’m just not. My level of excitement varies from year to year with Christmas and this year… I’m just not feeling it. I’m trying to be in the spirit, but it’s not working. In my attempt to be… holiday-ish… I made a traditional holiday cookie in our family: Snickerdoodles. A few things about this cookie.

  1. They will crack. They’re Snickerdoodles, it’s what they do.
  2. I had to increase the time they baked to about 12 minutes. I think it is because of my Mom’s 20+ year old oven. They’ll start to get crisp on the edges. They’re covered in cinnamon and sugar so you can’t tell when they start to brown.
  3. The dough is super, super yummy. Try not to eat it all before you get the cookies into the oven. Good luck.
  4. They are just as addictive when they come out of the oven. Beware. Your hips might hate you.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400º F (205º C).
  2. Mix the shortening , sugar, and eggs until creamy. Mix the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt in another bowl. Blend the wet with the dry ingredients using a wooden spoon until well-blended.
  3. Roll the dough into the size of small walnuts. (As you can see… mine are slightly bigger, oops…)
  4. Prepare the cinnamon and sugar mixture by mixing the cinnamon and sugar.
  5. Roll the cookie dough into the cinnamon and sugar mixture until coated and place onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake 6-10 minutes. They should be very lightly brown and still soft looking on top. When they cool, they will crack a little on top.

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I love TC. He’s pretty amazing. But we have differing opinions about certain things. One of those things is the ripeness of fruit.

I like most of my fruit over ripe, especially bananas. TC likes them just on the verge of ripeness. This has the tendency to lead to fruit that never gets eaten in this house…sadly. This happened with the 10 bananas TC bought last week. I like bananas, but to eat all of them, we’d both have to eat two a day. That didn’t happen, so we’re going to eat Banana Bread for the next week or so. 😉 TC is also not allowed to go grocery shopping again. Maybe he planned it this way. Hmmm…

Banana Bread
My grandmother’s recipe, adapted from the original Better Homes and Garden’s cookbook
makes one loaf
preheat oven to 350°

1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 large bananas, mashed

Mix all ingredients until smooth. Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan. Bake at 350° for 50 – 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Simple… simple… simple.  Try it with your left over bananas today!!

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Confession time:

I have a confession to make:

Three rooms in our house are not unpacked. We’ve been here for three weeks. It’s not that big of a deal, they are the three other bedrooms in the house and the boxes stored there currently contain the stuff that will go into those rooms. Needless to say, I’m not rushing in to unpack them.

But… that might have to change. Why? My label maker is in one of the boxes in the room that is to be my office. I’m a list person. I’m a label person. My label maker is an important part of my life. And I have NO IDEA what box it is in. This might have to lead to the unpacking of this room soon…

Why do I need a label maker? I’m finally  getting around to organizing my recipe binder. I purchased this binder from Hallmark a few years ago when I started cooking something other than spaghetti and grilled cheese. It worked pretty well, but the tabs that came with the binder just don’t match what I cook. For example, there’s a tab for meat/poultry but no tab for pasta!?! How can there be no tab for pasta?! But it’s cute, it matches the colors that are in my kitchen (turquoise and brown) and it came with some really cute matching recipe cards. Yes. I did immediately purchase approximately 500 more of these little cards. I can go overboard sometimes.

So this is my project for this evening while I’m NOT watching 30 Rock and The Office. Organizing my recipe binder and rewriting/inserting new recipes that have been highlighted and dog eared in more than one of my cookbooks. By not having cable, my productivity level has gone through the roof…

But I’m still not ready to tackle those bedrooms just yet 😉

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TC and I had to be up early this morning and out the door by 0715 so I whipped up a coffee cake to get us going. It’s super simple and I highly recommend it to anyone that who needs to feed 3-4 people and is in a hurry, to mix this up. It took me about 40  minutes from start to finish. I picked up this recipe from a Brunch cookbook by Georganne Brennan my Mother-in-law gave to me last year for Christmas. I heart that book long time.

Cake:

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup whole milk
4 Tbsp melted unsalted butter
1 apple, cored and chopped

Topping:

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup flour
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold

Preheat oven to 400° F.

For the cake, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In a medium bowl mix egg, sour cream and melted butter. Add this to the dry mixture and stir until well combined. Fold in apple . Pour batter in an 8×8 inch greased pan.

For the topping, mix brown sugar, flour and butter with fingers until it forms a crumbly mixture. Spread over batter.

Bake at 400° F for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve with coffee or tea and good company.

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