Saturday, January 31, 2009

Menu Week: February 2

Well - this week I'm not going to tell you when I'm going to cook things because this week none of those dates may actually happen. But, I will tell you what I am going to cook. Can't wait...
White Chicken Chili
Shrimp Deviled Eggs
Chicken Salad
Caprese Chicken Ravioli
Whole Grain Bread
Roasted Vegetable and Mozzerrella Salad
3 Lean Cuisines - I'm housesitting this week so I need things that are quick and easy
Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies for CG this week - in honor of Tony's bday (because we didn't have CG this week due to the ice storm.
So - I'll be looking forward to cooking, and sharing food with people, and enjoying housesitting, and enjoying the Getty's this week! :)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Basic Pizza Dough

Pizza is really good - its the all-american food - is it not? You can get it however you want it - usually whenever you want it. The only thing I don't like about getting pizza in a restaurant - it is usually very greasy.
Fast food pizza - Papa Johns takes the cake with their sliced roma tomatoes!
Restaurant pizza - CPK - any of their pizzas are great - I love the mushroom one.
Far away pizza places - John's in NYC - they have an old train station as their pizza place. how cool is that - and the pizza is amazing.
Homemade. Best homemade pizza I've had is at the Beeler's house in Orange City. E makes the best pizza dough. Now, she grinds her own wheat, but I didn't have time to do that (nor do I have the equipment).
Yesterday, snow day #3, I got in the mood for pizza and only had one pack of yeast left. Well, it went ok - probably could have risen a bit more, but it was good. Tasted great! Thx E!

1 c bread flour
2 c flour
1 tsp salt
1 T sugar
1 pkg rapid rise yeast
1 cup warm water
yellow cornmeal

Mix water and yeast - let foam for 5 minutes. Mix dry in mixer. Mix in yeast and water and let go for about 5 minutes till elastic and smooth. Oil bowl and oil outside of dough. Let sit in a warm place covered till doubled - about 45 minutes - punch down. Let rise again.
Bake at 450 topped with your favorite topping! Enjoy. And you don't have to pay a delivery fee!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rachael Ray's Chick Pea Salad

I am not a huge fan of Rachael Ray. But, some of her recipes are good. I find most of her recipes basically the same with just one or two slight differences, and some of her "sayings" I find annoying. But, some people love her. I was watching her show the other day and saw this recipe - sounded healthy and fresh, so I thought I would give it a shot! I've changed it a little bit after reading the reviews, but basically have kept it the same.

Chick Pea Salad (I'll be eating this tonight with baby spinach)

2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 large red onion, chopped
1/2 large red pepper, seeded and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 tsp rosemary
large pinch of red pepper flakers
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 T red wine vinegar
1 T balsamic
3 T evoo

Mix all together. Watch the salt at the end so it doesn't get too salty. Let chill. This would be good with fish, chicken, pork, or on top of greens for a vegetarian dinner. Chick peas have proteins - and you are getting so many vegetables! Tangy enough, but not as tangy as a three bean salad like my mom loves. I think she would like this!

Vanilla Walnut Granola

I've become a huge fan of granola. But, I think it is so expensive to make - and you can't control what you put in it. If you make it yourself you can determine your likes and dislikes and how much of something you want - and it is cheaper. Which is very good at this point in our country's ecomony.
I found this recipe at a new blog I'm checking out: Cookie Baker Lynn. But, since it is a snow day and I didn't have some things but wanted to make it - I've made a few changes. I'm sure her's is great as is, but mine is tasty as well. And I like it because it makes a smaller batch.

Vanilla Walnut Granola

2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup flax seeds (I knew these would come in handy again)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (because I didn't have any almonds)
1/2 cup shaved coconut (because I like coconut in my granola)
1 1/2 T sugar (I didn't have any vanilla sugar)
2 T canola oil
2 T natural honey
2 T maple syrup
1 1/2 T pure vanilla extract
1 cup dried fruit.

Mix dry. Stir together wet and pour over. Spread out on lightly sprayed rimmed cookie sheet. Bake at 300 for 30-35 minutes, stirring after every ten minutes. Add in the dried fruit. Let cool and harden then store in air tight container.
I like granola as a snack at work, on yogurt, over fruit and cool whip for a nice crunch. It is healthy too - flax seeds make it extra heart healthy (along with the walnuts and canola oil).
Now that it is done: here are reviews. Definitely watch how long you cook it. I would cook it even less time. And you definitely want to add fruit - otherwise there isn't a whole lot too it! :) I like different chunks of stuff in my granola. Play with it - make it yours.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Favorite Cookbooks

People have started to ask me what my favorite cookbooks are. Well, I have 62 and counting (adding one this week - more on that later). Also, my mom has tons at home - maybe double what I have - so I have a lot to choose from.
These are it right now - and have been for a while. Their menus are fresh, simple ingredients (not cheap and boring however), simple dishes, favorite flavors, seasonal ingredients, and from the beginning of the meal to the end of it.
Favorite cookbook hands down:
Sara Foster's Fresh Every Day. This cookbook has great pictures, simple recipes, seasonal ingredients (and ways to mix up same recipes with seasonal ingredients. I have definitely cooked many things out of there. Some of my fave would be: chicken cacciatore (saw Sara herself demonstrate this at the W-S store I worked at in Durham where her cafes are), Foster's homemade granola, pumpkin white chocolate chip cookies. Some recipes that I have yet to try but need a reason to (any takers?): roasted mushrooms, green peas, and tomatoes (since I've started roasting everything else), roasted corn salsa (will wait for summer when I get corn at Hubers), roasted red bell pepper salsa, black-eyed pea salad with roasted b-nut squash and goat cheese. How yummy do all those things sound - and healthy!
New addition mentioned earlier: I just ordered The Foster's Market Cookbook which came out in 2002 with over 200 recipes they use at the market in Durham/Chapel Hill. I am anticipating great things from it. I also am anticipating going there in May when I am in the area. I loved going there when I lived there - it was just down the street. And, I liked the one in Durham better than the one in Chapel Hill.
Second favorite cookbook: Tyler's Ultimate (Tyler Florence from Food Network). I started watching Tyler back in the day he was doing Food911 and How to Boil Water. I love watching his Ultimate show. He has so much fun and also takes everything up a notch - and makes a whole meal.
Today was a snow day so I took some time to look through this one again. Here is what I have made: Hunter's Minestrone (the only one I've made so far, but that doesn't stop it from being in the top two). I also judge a cookbook on how many dog-ears one has when I have first looked through it. This one has TONS - definitely 2/3 of the book has been marked - to cook. So, again - do I have any takers for a dinner sometime? Here are some on the immediate cook time frame: roasted cauliflower soup, white bean and roasted shrimp salad with cherry tomato vinaigrette, baked rigatoni with eggplant and pork sausage (and I'm not a huge eggplant fan), tagliatelle with mushrooms, cipolline onions and bacon. Those all sound amazing and "comfort food".
So - what are your favorite cookbooks? I'm always looking for new ones. Any suggestions - and why?

Pineapple Raisin Bran Muffins (2009.4)

I knew I would have some recipes like this. Where they are ok - but nothing spectacular. Ones I normally wouldn't put on the food blog, but this is part of my new year's resolution. So, whether they are spectacular or not - they go on the blog.
This is from the Plant City Primitive Baptist Cookbook (the church I grew up in) #2: Seasoned with Love. I definitely think the best recipes (for the most part) got in the first one. These muffins were submitted by Flo Ziglar. I remember some things about Flo: she was tall and lean with short peppery hair. She was really nice and always came to Ladies Circle.
These weren't bad, but they weren't great either. I guess they were fine as far as bran muffins go. They weren't as dark as normal bran muffins. The pineapple and raisins definitely helped these muffins make it into the ok category. i will put these in my freezer - they aren't "throw in the garbage" worthy.

Pineapple Raisin Bran Muffins
1 1/4 cup all bran cereal
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 t baking powder
2/3 cup raisins
8 oz crushed pineapple with juice (don't drain).

Let bran and milk sit for about 5 minutes - soaking together. Mix dry ingredients together. Egg butter and egg to cereal. Mix with dry. Fold in pineapple and raisins. Spoon into greased muffins tins. 400 for 16-19 minutes.
Let's hope next week's recipe turns out better than this one.

Snow Day Whole Grain Bread

I love snow days. We of course never got them in FL (and hurricane days during the school year were few and far between). I don't like to get out and play in it because I don't like being cold and wet - unless I'm skiing. But, I do like the random day in the middle of the week where I am earning money but staying at home! :)
Today, I have invited 2 friends over (one whose husband is on a mission trip, and the other just because i haven't seen her in forever) for lunch of homemade chicken noodle vegetable soup and whole grain bread. This is the reward for having a well-stocked pantry - fresh homemade bread that is going to smell amazing in 2 hours!

Whole Grain Bread (2 lb loaf in bread machine)

1 1/2 cup skim milk
2 T butter
2 T molasses (or honey)
2 1/3 cup bread flour
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup kashi grain flake cereal (I found this on sale for 2.50 at Walmart the other day)
1 t salt
1 1/2 tsp yeast
1/3 cup chopped pecans (or sunflower seeds)

Layer all in in that order. Turn machine on. I used the basic med crust cycle just because I didn't have time for the whole wheat cycle. Enjoy with anything on top - this is a great basic bread. But today I am dragging out some new homemade (by family and friends): pear preserves, strawberry preserves, and apple butter - and honey and butter.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Taste of Chinese Louisville: Great Wall

I love hole in the wall Asain places. My two favorite are Chen's in Franklinton, NC (just north of Wake Forest, a 10 minute drive from the seminary) and a fmr place called Charlie's in Chapel Hill down the store front from the gym I worked out. Both places were friendly, cheap, a lot of food, and both had amazing General Tso's chicken and Charlie's had phenomenal Corn Egg Drop soup.
There is a little grocery front place on Brownsboro in the Clifton area called Great Wall. That is where Brandi and I ate lunch today - well, actually we brought it back to the office. I think the place only has 4 tables so I assume most of their business is pick up/delivery.
I had the chicken and mixed vegetables. They gave me a ton of chicken - but actually I just ate all the veggies (and maybe a piece or two of the chicken before I decided I really just wanted the veggies). I ate about 1/2 cup of the plain rice (why don't more Chinese places serve brown rice?). I took one bite of the tasteless egg roll and decided that definitely wasn't worth it. So, I opted for one of Brandi's Crab Ragoons - those were SO good! :) Put a tad of duck sauce on the top and it was yummy.
So...good, not outstanding, but cheap (4.65 for an entree, rice, egg roll or soda). Not bed. And you could definitely get 2-3 meals out of it. so, really - 2.50 for lunch if you split it with someone is darn cheap! And I like darn cheap!
Now to drink a ton of water today to flush out all the sodium from my system!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Menu Week: January 26

I've been doing a lot of thinking (not much research) about the foods that go in my body, what I cook with, what I have in my refrigerator. But, not to go crazy and out there, but to eat balanced, healthy, etc. So, hopefully this week will reflect some of those thoughts:
Monday - Chinese (I'm doing chicken with mixed veggies) with Brandi from Great Wall on Brownsboro. Haven't figured out dinner yet - either leftover chinese or some roasted veggies (whatever I feel like after training and pilates while watching the Bachelor).
Tuesday - over the weekend I made some mini tortellini chicken vegetable soup so that is what leftovers this week will be. Grilled fish (either salmon or tilapia - whatever I'm in the mood for), sauteed spinach (inspired by the Gossetts).
Wednesday - soup and then roasted veggies and a salad for dinner. Making some chocolate and peanut butter desserts for CG in honor of Tony's bday.
Thursday - soup and Rachel Ray's chick pea salad for dinner with a grilled pork chop
Friday - soup (see a theme for leftover lunches) and egg white omelette and yogurt and fruit for dinner.
Saturday - Calistoga Cafe for breakfast (I think I'll get steel cut oatmeal and fruit) and then something fun for dinner - don't know what it will be yet. For my cookbook recipe this week I am making a muffin recipe out of the 2nd Plant City Primitive Baptist Cookbook - it is a pineapple bran muffin. I like to make muffins and take them to people, but then freeze some so I can sometimes mix up my normal breakfast.
And if you are wondering where the grains and fats are coming from - because I think we all need those in our diets. My normal breakfast is whole grain wheat and all natural peanut butter and fruit. I love all natural peanut butter.

Taste of Louisville: Calistoga Cafe

Louisville has a new chain restaurant. Calistoga Cafe opened recently on Dutchmans in the heart of St. Matthews. Nearby restaurants are Moe's, Wild Eggs, Panera, Red Lobster, Texas, Ernesto's, Bazo's, Skyline Chili, Denny's - just to name a few. Definitely a popular location for food.
I was enticed by the menu and photo of atmosphere of this place, so I thought I would try it out today. Here is what I thought:
the staff - at least the ones I had. One of the bussers who worked the area near me had to deal with 4 uppity women who wanted things their way and weren't too grateful for her assistance. I was glad to get an opportunity to be gracious with my words to her.
fountain drinks - I love fountain drinks! :)
the coupon - with my meal today I got a coupon (good for 30 days) for a BOGO Free breakfast. Hopefully I will get to use this next Saturday.
Taste of half wrap: I got the veggie hummus wrap - I liked the marinade they put on it and the taste (although slight) of the hummus.
Not so great:
the price - you choose two and a fountain drink and small tip (10%) was 11.40. Too much for lunch.
I got the French Onion soup (least amount of calories I would think) - it was only warm and they seemed to have slapped some croutons then a slice of mozz cheese on top. At least it wasn't too salty. I just ate the broth and onions. The sandwich was piled in too much (wrap) so it started to fall apart. It was soggy from the vinaigrette they had put on it. The feta wasn't small cubes - but large blocks (3/4 in cubes) - that's too big for a sandwich.
Too loud: My Dad would definitely have not liked this place. I was trying to do some Bible reading and menu planning. I went after 1pm hoping to miss some of the crowd. But even by the time I left at 240 it was still so loud in there. Don't know if it is the acoustics or just the number of people, but I really think Panera is quieter.

So, will I go back? I'll give it one more shot - with the coupon and breakfast. But, I don't think I'll be making this place a regular! :(

Morning Glory Muffins (2009.3)

New cookbook this fall - Whole Grain Baking by King Arthur Flour. This is week 3 of baking out of cookbooks - so far so good! :) This is the premier cookbook by anyone who likes to bake with whole grains. If its a grain - it is probably in here.
I have made similar muffins to these, but these used whole wheat flour. They turned out darker than the others I have made - but have so much goodness in them. I liked them warm out of the oven. We'll see how others like them today.
I kept the recipe mostly the same, but used both sugars, used wheat germ instead of sunflower seeds (the option) and used blood orange juice for the oj.
So, the question - are these healthy? Well, the question would have to be answered in how you define healthy? They have a ton of fruit and fiber in them. But - they also have 350 calories, 20 whole grains, 18 fat, 7 protein, 19 sugars, 26 complex carbs. So - while not WW point friendly, they are a good filling source of fruits and complex carbs!

Morning Glory Muffins (make 12-18 muffins) -

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup each light and dark brown sugar
2 tsp soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp EACH salt and ginger
5 large carrots, peeled and grated
1 large granny smith apple, peeled and grated
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup wheat germ
3 eggs
2/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup fresh oj (I used blood orange juice because I had those lying around)
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup raisins (soaked in hot water, drained)

Preheat oven to 375. Mix dry ingredients together, add fruit. Mix wet ingredients, fold into dry. Fold in raisins.
Line muffin pan, lightly spray, pour till the tins are full. Bake for 24 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Serve

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Roasting Vegetables

If you are sick of the same vegetables - try roasting them. I have done this 2 times this week (or last) and have loved the results. Roasting usually sweetens the taste of what you roast - so easy too!

Roasted Broccoli with Red Peppers

1 bunch broccoli (3 heads)
1/2 large red pepper
olive oil

Cut heads in florets. Chop peppers into strips, then halve. Place out on a baking sheet and drizzle with evoo. S/p. Then bake at 450 for about 18 minutes. You want the broccoli to be slightly browned.

Roasted Green Beans and Mushroom with Balsamic

1 lb fresh green beans, cleaned (left long)
1 8 oz pkg sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 T evoo
1 T balsamic vinegar
Parmesan cheese

Trim green beans, but I left mine long. Toss with mushrooms. Put in a big gallon baggie. Mix evoo and balsamic, toss together - squish over veggies. Place out on pan. 450 for 25-30 minutes or until most of the moisture is gone from the mushrooms - not burnt though. Remove from oven, s/p, and sprinkle parm cheese on top. Yumm-y!

Roasted Root Vegetables

3 small sweet potatoes
3 parsnips
4 carrots

Peel, cube or slice about the same size. evoo, s/p, pan 450 till done (by tasting, some pieces may be done before others). I did this because I wanted to use up some veggies instead of throwing them in the garbage.

Menu Week: Jan 19

I am housesitting this week, so I have purposefully not added much to my fridge because I want things to be easy, portable, quick, and healthy. I have all of that in my fridge now. Only have to get some fruit and items to make breakfast for our Crossing Essentials class on Saturday.
Monday - chicken salad wrap (leftover chicken from soup), vegetable tagine
Tuesday - chicken salad over greens, spinach lasagna
Wednesday - chicken, mushroom, and rice soup, vegetable tagine
Thursday - spinach lasagna, minestrone soup
Friday - chikfila for Orientation lunch, yogurt, egg white omelettes
Saturday - Brunch for CE: banana muffins, morning glory muffins (out of King Arthur Flour Whole Wheat Baking cookbook, my recipe for week 3), cream cheese danish, egg cuties. Then I'm heading to Fazolis to use my bday dessert coupon before the month runs out.
Sunday - minestrone soup, cereal (random bowls are good for you)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Winter Progressive Dinner Part 2

Tuesday night was our WPD.2. This time it was enjoyed with the Dawkinses and Myerses. I'm am sending you here to look at pictures and get Laura's take on the evening. The salad was good and easy - I like that. Laura's chili was warm and yummy with all the fixings - so good on a cold evening. Bonnie's cheesecake was great with a sour cream top layer - yummy! And I love cheesecake.
The salad I made was romaine, mandarin oranges, avocado, and smokehouse almonds. The dressing was oj, orange zest, red wine vinegar, s/p, and olive oil.
Here are some random things from the evening:
1. All the meals had a creamy layer to them: avocado on the salad, sour cream for the chili, cheesecake for dessert.
2. David taught us about beating the potato to make the skin open up easier to eat.
3. I just sat my little potato down in the big bowl of chili - makes the skin better (since there is vitamins in the skin of the potato).
4. I learn table decor from Laura every time I go over there.
5. We prayed for the guys' trip coming up and the people in Central Asia. That was a great way to end the evening.

I love these couples. They are a great example for me of cooking and marriage and friendship and selfLESSness and having a mission-heart. I am very thankful God put them in my life here at Southern. Bonnie, Laura, and I all work here in the admin offices, and Justin and David work here at the seminary as well. They go to church together at Immanuel - a great church dtown Ville. Bonnie and I take pilates most days together. I see Justin when I head to the student store and mail room.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Pear and Apple Crumble Pie (2009.2)

I don't know what it is about warm brown sugar - it can make probably even spam taste yummy. This is week two of the new year and that means week 2 of new recipes. I was a little skeptical about this one because I've had mixed results (ok, but not great) from the recipes I've made out of Get Togethers from Gooseberry Patch. But, when the crumble topping goes on - and its warm right out of the oven - every forkfull is yummy. This is fall and winter combined. It is for Community Group. I like it.

Pear and Apple Crumble Pie
1 deep dish frozen pie crust (set out when starting filling)
4 cups sliced apples (I used 2 cameo, 2 granny smith)
4 cups sliced pears (I used 4 bartlett I think)
1/2 cup white sugar
juice of one medium lemon
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
3 T flour

Combine all and put into pie shell. Preheat oven to 400 and bake on cookie sheet for 35 minutes.

3/4 cup flour
1/2 packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
5 T unsalted chilled butter, diced

Put all in food processor and pulse till it resembles course crumbs. Take out and chill. Put on top of pie. Take oven down to 375 for another 30 minutes.

Serve warm with ice cream or cool whip.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Spinach Lasagna

I love this recipe. Almost like my baked ziti - this is a go to recipe, make ahead, that I know will turn out great and is somewhat healthy (only 4 WW points for 1/12th of the pan).
As I told my friend Kevin and Jamie Bowers tonight - Martha Shinn gave me this recipe. My junior year of college at Flagler in St. Augustine, Martha (the Youth Ministries director, boss, and friend) had all the single girls over for a V-day dinner. So sweet. This is the main dish she made. I've been making it since. I love it. And it is so easy and you have to make it ahead - so you aren't scrambling around right before you have dinner guests.

Spinach Lasagna

32 oz spaghetti sauce
1 cup water

2 egg whites
1 pkg frozen spinach, thawed and squeeze all the water out
1/3 cup romano grated cheese
16 oz low fat small curd cottage cheese

10 oz lasagna noodles

1 1/2 pkg of mozz cheese or mixed italian grated cheese

Mix sauce and water. Mix filling. Layer sauce, noodles, filling, sauce, noodles filling, sauce noodles, sauce. Cover and chill over night.
Preheat oven to 375. Top with cheese. Cover and bake for an hour. Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Menu Week: January 12

This week has a lot of cooking and fun stuff. Makes me happy!
Monday - Dinner with K and J Bowers. Making Spinach Lasagna, salad with a poppyseed dressing from BGC, roasted broccoli with red peppers. They are bringing the dessert.
Tuesday - Winter Progressive Dinner Part 2. I am making a grapefruit avocado salad with tex mex dressing and pomegranite seeds. Laura has chili and Bonnie will make a yummy dessert.
Wednesday - Leftovers and then baking for CG: My cookbook this week (2009.2) is Get Togethers with Gooseberry Patch. There is one for an apple-pear crumble pie. Don't know how it can go wrong - we shall see. If not, there is always a boxed brownie mix! :)
Thursday - No cooking today - all leftovers. Need the break.
Friday - I am making an easy dessert to share for Bloom - Crossing's Women's event.
Saturday - I'm thinking leftovers sound pretty good today
Sunday - more leftovers and getting ready for the housesitting week next week.

Crockpot Minestone

I love the crockpot. They are very helpful. I love healthy crockpot recipes. This is one of them. I made this as one of the two soups for a girls movie party I had over here yesterday. It was pretty good - full of many vegetables and completely vegetarian.

Crockpot Minstrone (Cooking Light Slow Cooker, slightly varied...)

1 box and 1 can vegetable broth (or chicken if you don't need it vegetarian)
2 cans diced tomatos with juice
1 can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 box frozen spinach, thawed
2 medium onions, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 zucchini, quartered, sliced
2 swigs of evoo
oregano, garlic, celery seed, rosemary, pepper
1 cup water

Cook on low for about 5 hours. Put in 1/2 cup dry pasta with 30 minutes left. I actually had 2 cups of cooked spirals left from some mac and cheese and just threw that in, and turned it off. Top with some grated parm cheese - yummy. It makes a ton, so I have healthy leftovers!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Food and the Body

I'm a very visual eater. Not only does food need to taste good - it also needs to look good. My friend, Allison, posted this today to her blog. Thought you might want to see the precision of my Creator.

Thanks Allison!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Taste of Birthday Louisville - Cafe Lou Lou

For my actual birthday day lunch - Lilly and I went to Cafe Lou Lou after church. This is definitely one of the "Louisville" places as you can see by the Mardi Gras sign (and its not even February yet!). I was grateful for the new food and company on my bday!
We had a Greek salad - the sun-dried tomato vinaigrette definitely made the salad. So good, just tangy enough!
We split a veggie calzone for our main course. The dough was a bit soggy but the filling was great: fresh tomatoes, spinach, green peppers, and cheese, and other veggies too - my brain isn't remembering the others though.
The dessert "took the cake" - no pun intended. It was one of their specials for the day - and we got the last piece. It was realy popular. It was a Bananas Foster Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce. Wow! Is all I can say! It wasn't too sweet, it was amazing. I wish I could make bread puddings like that.
Thank you Lilly for a great lunch and splitting dessert! :)

Monday, January 05, 2009

Vegetable Tagine - 2009.1

This is my start of the new year resolution. Cooking a new recipe out of each of my cookbooks this year.
Got a healthy start out of the Great Cooking Every Day by Weight Watchers. I've never cooked a tagine before (and don't have the "right" pot, but a dutch oven works very well).
Tagine - a type of dish found in the North African cuisines of Morocco, which is named after the special pot in which it is cooked. The traditional tajine pot is formed entirely of a heavy clay which is sometimes painted or glazed. It consists of two parts; a base unit which is flat and circular with low sides, and a large cone or dome-shaped cover that rests inside the base during cooking. The cover is so designed to promote the return of all condensation to the bottom. With the cover removed, the base can be taken to the table for serving. (According to Wikipedia, a "trusted" source - ha)
Anyway - this used some leftover chickpeas, other things I had - but I used parsnips and other root veggies in here.
It was good - and supposed to be a huge serving, but I'll probably eat 1 1/2 cups each time. It is great on this cold night!

olive oil
1 big onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely diced or grated
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp cumin
ground pepper
1 cup water
1 can diced tomatoes with juice
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 butternut squash, cubed and peeled
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
3 carrots, sliced
3 parsnips, sliced

Cook onion, add garlic, then seasonings and water. Add the rest - I just diced them right into the pot as it was going. Cover and let simmer for about 50 minutes. Very easy, healthy, and great flavor. A little sweet from the cinnamon, and savory from the cumin! Better than I thought it was going to be!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Menu Week: Jan 5

Well, the fun begins of trying new recipes and one from every cookbook. The cookbooks I am cooking from this week are Great Cooking Every Day (WW) and Taste of Home Baking.
Monday - Moes with a free bday coupon with Brandi, leftovers of the soup I made on New Years.
Tuesday - Vegetable and Chickpea Tagine (WW), soup for lunch
Wednesday - Meal for friends who had a baby right before Christmas (Mac and cheese, mixed veggies, and snickerdoodles). Also, a spiced pear cake with walnut praline glaze for small group.
Thursday - Leftovers - tagine and soup
Friday - leftovers - see Thursday
Saturday - Chicken Mushroom Wild Rice soup and a winter minestrone (haven't finalized that recipe yet) for the watching of Pride and Prejudice with some friends.
Sunday - I'm thinking leftovers!

Friday, January 02, 2009

New Years Brunch - a day late

I was holding out on my New Year's Brunch this year till today. I had friends coming in town and wanted to share it with them.
There were a couple of things on the menu that were outstanding: the greens (recipe later), the cinnamon rolls (recipe-sorta later), and the citrus salad (cut up pink grapefruit, oranges, kiwi, and pineapple).
We all enjoyed ourselves. Ham, grits (stone ground much better than quick cooking), eggs (I overcooked them - I hadn't done them in muffin pans before, so I couldn't quite tell they when they were done).

1 32 oz pkg of fresh turnip greens
1 lb pork sausage
1 onion
1 pkg mushrooms (8 oz)
olive oil
I started by cooking the greens in water for about 10 minutes. Then emptied out that water to get rid of the bitterness from the greens. Put them back on for about 45 minutes or until done.
In a pan, saute onions and sausage, till the sausage is almost done - add mushrooms, saute on low till you think they are done. Add them with the greens when ready to serve - so so good! I put them over the grits - great combination!

Cinnamon Rolls
1 pkg reduced fat crescent rolls
brown sugar, white sugar, and cinnamon
10x sugar, milk, vanilla
Roll out the crescent rolls. Take apart in 4 rectangles, pinching closed the perforated seams. Sprinkle in sugars and cinnamon to your liking. Roll up tight. Cut into 5 pieces each roll. Do all of them. Put in 9 in cake pan well greased. Bake for about 12 minutes at 350 or until done. When done, mix up the sugar, vanilla, and milk into a paste and pour over. yummy! These were all gone! And they are bite size.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Oreo Truffles

For a new years party I went to - I made a great recipe by Christina Middleton. They've been all over cooking blog world the past year, but Chris made these back in the day at the Summit for a summer girls Bible study one night. They were really great and really easy - when you have a food processor and mixer! Ah, equipment in the kitchen! I also made hummus - which also made the food processor come in handy!
Oreo Truffles
1 pkg oreos - minus 7 cookies (or I've used the whole pkg of double stuff before too, depends on what taste you want), crushed fine.
1 block 1/3 less fat cream cheese - or full fat, take your pick
dipping chocolate

Soften cream cheese, crush oreos, mix together. Chill dough. Form into balls, freeze balls of oreo mixture for about 25 minutes. Roll in chocolate, lay on wax paper. Drizzle with opposite color chocolate.