Friday, December 31, 2010

Gingerbread Waffles


I was looking for something fun and easy for Christmas morning and came across this recipe. Unfortuately, I didn't have enough time to make it Christmas morning (had breakfast casserole at my parents house so no worries), so I made it earlier this week.

Here are my trusty helpers:

I had a lot of the ingredients on hand because I had wanted to make gingerbread men. Also, did not happen. This recipe not only had ginger and molasses, but also some canned pumpkin. Hey, anything to get Andy to eat fruits or vegtables!


The waffles turned out ok. Honestly, the biggest issue was that they didn't come out of the waffle maker crisp on the outside. They were kind of chewy. Eating them wasn't so bad though.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sausage Balls

My mom and I always make these at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I think my mom follows the recipe very closely as listed on the sausage package, but I do not. Below is how I usually make them:

1lb sausage (type doesn't matter, I usually use the sage version)
16oz block of cheese, shredded (I usually use sharp cheddar but you can use whatever)
Bisquick mix (I never measure how much I use)

Combine sausage and shredded cheese in bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit our until room temp (about 30 min). This makes it easier to mix. Add bisquick (about 1/3 cup at a time) and mix together by hand. I add bisquick until it starts to look crumbly and gets hard to mix in. Shape into balls (I use a cookie scoop to make them all roughly the same size). Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Sausage balls can also be frozen uncooked. I put wax paper between layers in the pan, to keep them from sticking together. Cook frozen sausage balls the same, except cooking time might be longer.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Overnight French Toast Casserole

Our family go-to holiday dish has to be Overnight French Toast.  This has been a family favorite for well over ten years.  While I may make minor alterations as to seasonings or amount of caramel on the bottom (I have problems sticking to a recipe!) the basic recipe remains the same.
I do not have the source for this recipe.... I'm not taking credit for it myself.  If you know the source, please let me know and I will document it!

Overnight French Toast Casserole

1tablespoons corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 loaf  French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups milk
6 eggs
4 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

 In medium sauce pan combine ingredients for bottom layer and bring to a slight boil for 3 minutes.  Remove from stove and pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish.
Whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and salt. Place bread cubes in a  In a large bowl,  Pour egg mixture over bread. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over the top.
Cover and bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Turn pan over onto a foil lined baking sheet (otherwise the caramel can harden in the dish making serving difficult). Serve with maple syrup if desired.  The recipe says it will serve 12, but not if your family eats large servings! It feeds my family of six without leftovers.

Christmas Carrot Cake (?)

I asked my daughter what she wanted for Christmas morning breakfast, expecting her to answer waffles, and she said, rather matter of factly, 'Carrot Cake.' So, carrot cake it was. I used this Cooking Light recipe that I've made several times before (it was actually my girl's first birthday cake). I added half whole white wheat flour since it would be our breakfast and all, but followed everything else.
The cake is better chilled, so I made it the night before while doing my Mrs Clause duties of helping Santa set up a train track.

I can't eat that much sweet for breakfast and still have good energy for the rest of the day, so I had a bowl of miso soup after a few bites of cake.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Whole-wheat pancakes


My other new thing besides being vegan is this idea of "real food". Found another blog where they have challenged themselves to eat only real food. Real food is defined as no processed food and includes no white flour and no white sugar. Seems pretty strict to me. At any rate, on saturday mornings, I usually make pancakes or waffles and this past saturday, I made this recipe. It was suppose to be banana pancake, but I hate banannas. I just left them out.

This recipe uses white whole wheat flour. I think that is kind of cheating, but I believe you can't use straight whole wheat flour because it won't work. Not enough gluten, I think. But the white whole wheat flour worked well, so I could probably use it again.

The kids always help me make breakfast. Here it is, not even 7:30 and darth james has already showed up.


I use a cast iron griddle I put on the stove top. It always seems to make the pancakes a little burnt, but Mark really likes it that way.


If I remember, I make an "J" and an "A" for my kids. I don't always remember, so I get in trouble.


These were ok. Definately not as delicious as those made with white sugar and white flour, but the same texture as Trader Joe's whole wheat pancake mix. I ate mine with maple syrup and that helped. I forgot to take a picture before I started eating them!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Baked Oatmeal Squares

I used to eat oatmeal every single day. Then one day I got sick of it. However, I am always on the lookout for new oatmeal recipes. I decided to check out the blog the person I blog stalk, blog stalks and found this recipe for baked oatmeal squares. This recipe appealled to me for two reasons. One, it says you can also use it as chewy granola bars and two, it is vegan and we are thinking about going vegan. (are you shocked? You tell people this and they are just shocked. It will probably just be a 10 day challenge, but people don't listen. They are too shocked)

I made it just as the recipe stated, except did not use organic brown sugar. And took pictures as they are on that blog. You can tell my camera is not as good. Oh well.

First your combine dry ingredients:

Blend your wet ingredients until smooth:

Mix the two together:

I made mine the night before and let it sit in the fridge:

Baked it:

Then ate it. I topped mine with unsweetened almond milk (what is the deal with sweetened almond milk? I will have to figure that out before I go vegan)

This was really good and I liked it. Unfortuately, could not use it as granola bars, but still a good recipe.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Random - Breakfast Soup

This is totally weird, I 'll be the first to admit.

I've been eating Miso Soup for breakfast for the last couple of weeks. With the cooler weather and all, I'm just not feeling a cold smoothie first thing in the morning. I'm also craving something savory. So, I'm going with the cravings and making a big pot of soup on Mondays and then re-heating it each day and stirring in miso into my bowl before serving.

This version of the soup has the following vegetables:
  • Daikon Radish
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Celery
  • Onions
  • Ginger
My kids, however, are eating oatmeal. I usually make steel-cut oats that I soak the night before. It both shortens the cooking time and may even make them more digestible (see this link). I top their bowls with almond milk and cinnamon.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A little pathetic

I told you I am a blog stalker, right?

I started making some smoothies to try to get Andy to eat fruits and vegtables. He doesn't, we tried it, didn't really work. But these smoothies are quite delicious, so I started making some for me. For breakfast. I made Orange-Carrot Smoothie one day:



And avacado-orange smoothie another:


Very healthy, not very filling. Good for breakfast before running with Jenny when we are just going to go to the bagel places afterwards. Maybe I should make them bigger? Not sure...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


5 to 6 cups flour
1/2 C sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp grated lemon peel
2 pkg active dry yeast
1 C milk
2/3 C water
1/4 C butter
2 eggs

In a large bowl thoroughly mix 1 1/2 cup flour, sugar, salt, lemon peel, and yeast.
Combine mile, water, butter in a saucepan. Heat until liquids are very warm. Gradually add to dry mixture and beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Add eggs and 1/2 C flour. Beat at high speed for 2 min. Add addition flour until dough is stiff. Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 min. Cover with plastic wrap and towel and let rest for 20 min.
To make large braid, divide into 4 equal pieces. Roll 3 pieces into ropes 14 in long and braid together on greased baking sheet. Tuck ends under to seal and divide remaining pieces into 3 equal pieces to roll into 9 in ropes to braid. Place small braid onto large braid, tuck ends under to seal.

Cover loosely with wax paper brushed with oil and top with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 2 to 24 hours. When ready to bake, remove and let stand for 10 minutes. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes for large braid and 25 minuted for small braids.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Breakfast Challenge

I really feel breakfast is a waste of time. I either eat something that is not really filling, but healthy, or something that is filling but is so unhealthy I feel sick for hours. Either way, lunch is more my speed. At any rate, what are your favorite breakfasts? I am especially interested in your extra special Christmas morning breakfasts!

I take it back, I do like coffee!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Spaghetti Squash with Jalapeno Cream

I wanted to do something a little different.

The other things I have made were really tradition and typical squash recipes. I wanted to try something new. I have made spagetti squash before and thought it was ok, but lets face it, it isn't real spagetti. I saw this thread on my cooking light message board and wanted to try it, but it took awhile to work of the courage to actually make it.


I served it with oatmeal crusted chicken tenders from the freezer and had to make it in a disposable dish because all my real pans were still full of Thanksgiving leftovers. Mark was really excited when he first saw it, then he realized what it was. He got really mad. Apparently, he REALLY did not like the acorn squash from before. He made lots of comments. Then he tried it. All he said that it wasn't as bad as the acorn squash.


As for me, I thought this was pretty good. I used 2 of my last serrano peppers from my pepper plant and this gave it definately a pepper flavor, but really no heat. I made both kids take a bite and they did not gag on it in horror. I don't know if I would make it again, but I am looking forward to the leftovers.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pumpkin Pie from Scratch

Seeing as how this was my challenge, I know I should be far more creative than using pumpkin for my squash entry, but this is the first time I ever made a pumpkin pie from scratch.
     I bought several sugar pumpkins last month and had to get them in the freezer. Right away I knew I would put aside some of the pumpkin to make a pie for Thanksgiving. There are several methods of storing sugar pumpkins but I prefer to steam them and then freeze. While I'm sure there are some raw methods out there, most of the pumpkin recipes I have ask for cooked pumpkin so its easier for me to store them this way. Now I have used the good old jack O’lantern pumpkins before and used the same method of storing but I heard that sugar pumpkins were the way to go so jumped on them when I finally saw some in our store. Sugar pumpkins are much smaller and the flavor is more intense than what you would get from the typical Halloween jack O'lanterns (big pumpkins!) I've never had a problem using the big pumpkins in cooking before but I suggest you read up on the two differences before you make your own decision.
First you need to cut them and remove the seeds and pulp. I then just put the pieces (flesh still on) into a glass baking pan, add a bit of water and cover with Saran Wrap. Into the microwave it goes to steam for about ten minutes. I take the pan out and let the pumpkin cool. Now its easy to pull away from the flesh (no peeling needed!). I do a bit of pureeing and place into ziplock bags putting in 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree into each bag.

When using fresh pumpkin, you must drain the puree through some cheese cloth to eliminate the liquid. All you want to have is the meat of the pumpkin. I find it easier to drain over a bowl and refrigerate over night.
Use your favorite pastry for a 9-inch pie. My mom swears by the Betty Crocker pastry and so we’ve used that recipe for years.

Crust for 9-inch pie
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon shortening
                                2 to 3 tablespoons cold water
Directions: Mix flour and salt in medium bowl. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost leaves side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary).

Gather pastry into a ball. Shape into flattened round on lightly floured surface. Wrap flattened round of pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate about 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable. This allows the shortening to become slightly firm, which helps make the baked pastry more flaky. If refrigerated longer, let pastry soften slightly before rolling.

Roll pastry, using floured rolling pin, into circle 2 inches larger than upside-down 9-inch glass pie plate, or 3 inches larger than 10- or 11-inch tart pan. Fold pastry into fourths; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side and being careful not to stretch pastry, which will cause it to shrink when baked.

Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1 inch from rim of pie plate. Fold and roll pastry under, even with plate; flute as desired. Continue with directions in pie recipe.

Pumpkin Filling for 9-inch pie
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix) or use 1 1/2 cups prepared pumpkin
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
Directions: Heat oven to 425°F. In large bowl, beat eggs slightly with wire whisk or hand beater. Beat in 1/2 cup sugar, the cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, ginger, cloves, pumpkin and milk. Carefully pour pumpkin filling into pie plate. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake about 45 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Place pie on cooling rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours.

Now all things considered, what should turn out is an amazing pumpkin pie. Without a doubt ours did… however, the pie pan was placed on a stove top burner to cool. We honestly thought the burner was off… really, we did. My stove is possessed- really, it is possessed! There is no other explanation as to why it is so evil. The next morning we awoke to this…. Pumpkin jerky…. nasty. Don’t recommend it to any one! LOL!!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Spaghetti Squash

"That was my first Spaghetti Squash experience", said my husband. And it was mine as well, but I think I like it. It really is pasta-ish and neutral. The kids kinda went with it, but didn't eat very much.

First, you have to bake it in the oven for 30-40 minutes drizzled with oil and salt and pepper.

Then you kinda shred the flesh and it comes out like spaghetti...It's hot:)
I just topped the kids with regular spaghetti sauce, like THIS recipe and served it with deer sausage(which they ate all of).

For ours, I modified THIS recipe. I like it, but everyone else was hesitant...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I don't get it


I made a similar acorn squash recipe to the one that was already posted on this blog, but I just didn't get it. My husband called it a fall baked potato, because I just went ahead and mixed it all up for serving. Not sure if that is what I was suppose to do.

The recipe was a little odd. Cut open squash, scoop out seeds. Bake cut side down for 30 minutes at 350. Turn over, and put 1 T butter and 1 T brown sugar in one half. Put other half on top and bake for another 30 minutes (I just put butter and brown sugar in both and baked it cut side up).


We didn't really like this. Well, it was ok. Maybe we didn't cook it long enough, maybe we just didn't like the texture of the squash, who knows. I served it with pecan crusted chicken.

But it was easy!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup

I also made a Butternut squash soup. Mine turned out pretty well. My camera wasn't working so I took this with B's phone. The recipe was so simple...just squash, butter, stock, onions, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

I also used my immersion blender and added a little sour cream to make it creamier:) This is a picture of B's bowl. We thought it tasted just like potato soup, so he added some cheese. AM LOVED it!!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Baked Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar and Butter

I have never made an acorn squash before...I have never bought one before. They sure are cute!! I just search for a well reviewed recipe and make THIS one from Paula Dean.

In true Paula Dean form, I spread the butter, sugar and syrup mixture all over the squash.

Then, I cooked for about an hour. EVEN my son C like it!!! It's kinda like candied yams I suppose.

Butternut Squash Soup


I do like butternut squash, but a wierd things happens when I made it. My hand that touchs the squash gets all dry and tight, probably some sort of allergic reaction. I can't find anyone else who has the same problem. It is wierd. The same thing happened when carving my Halloween pumpkin, so that is how I know pumpkin is a squash! At any rate, I was excited to try a soup like this, because I am trying to get my younger son to eat more vegtables. He likes soup, so I thought this would be an easy way to do that.

I used this recipe. It was funny, when looking for a recipe to try. I found a very simple out that was just the squash, an onion, and broth, but all the reviews said thet added potatoes, carrots, etc, and then the one I used said to use all those extra veggies, and all the reviews said they only used an onion and broth. Funny, right?

My soup turned out really thick. I think my squash was pretty big. I used my immersian blender. It you don't have one, get one! It is ridiculous to put it in a blender.


I served it with homemade wheat bread. The kids also got "butterflies" from the freezer. I thought they could dip it in the soup.


That was a no-go. The only way I got both of my kids to try it was the promise of Halloween candy!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Vegan 'Cheesy' Spaghetti Squash Bake

I tried to like this, I really did. It was edible and I ate it for a couple of meals, but it's not something I'll make again unless I become a vegan and have to let this meet my cheese cravings.

The kids and the husband wouldn't touch it.

I kind of married these two recipes. I used a combination of cashews and tofu for the base and then used all the ingredients in the first recipe. The lemon juice was a bit too high, so I'd tone that down if I made it again.