Aug 8, 2008

A New Blog

For some time now I have been feeling led to start a new blog. Not "another blog" per say, but something new, different and one that I would dedicate myself to exclusively. Although I have a passion for blogging and have 4 blogs at this time, my time is no longer allowing me to maintain them all. God really has been leading me to start an "all-in-one" sort of blog relating to my life as a Christian wife, mom, homeschool teacher and all the other things that go on in our home. So, from now on if you would like to visit with me, please stop by my new Blog Ripening On The Vine. It is a work in progress, so please stop by often! That is the only place I will be blogging now. I'll be covering lots of different topics and there will surely be a new recipe now and then as well. Feel free to stay here a while too if you would like, I have plenty of recipes, tips and ideas in the archives that you will enjoy! Thanks for stopping by, and to my long time readers, I hope you will join me on my new blogging adventure!

Mar 19, 2008

Oatmeal Breakfast Clafoutis

I'll be quite honest, before searching the web for a breakfast bar recipe yesterday I had never heard of a Clafoutis. But after trying it this morning, I can see why such a simple sounding preparation would have such a fancy sounding name. It was absolutely delicious! We ate ours drizzled with pure maple syrup but I think yogurt and honey would be a great topping as well... maybe some fresh sliced strawberries and fresh whipped cream... or even a nice thin layer of peanut butter. However you choose to top it, this is a must try recipe!

Oatmeal Breakfast Clafoutis

an original Quaker Oatmeal Recipe found on Chocolate and Zucchini and modified by me :0)

2-1/4 c. old fashioned oats, uncooked
1/3 c. brown sugar
2/4 C raisins
1/4 c. dried figs, coarsely chopped
1 apple, peeled and sliced
1/3 c. chopped macadamia nuts
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground mace
1/2 tsp salt
3-1/3 c. milk
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

Serves 8

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, sugar, raisins, figs, chopped nuts, cinnamon and salt. Mix well. In a medium bowl, combine the milk, eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Add this to the dry ingredients, and mix until well blended.

Pour the mixture into the baking dish, and use a wooden spoon to make sure the solids are more or less evenly spread out. Arrange the apple slices over the surface. They will sink somewhat but that's okay, they'll float right back up when the oatmeal cooks.

Put in the oven to bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until the center is set and firm to the touch. Let cool slightly : it should be eaten a bit warm but not scalding hot.

Cut in 8 servings, and serve with yogurt and fruit if desired ; it is also nice with a thin spread of jam or peanut butter. Store the leftovers in the refrigerator, tightly covered, or wrap each serving individually and put in the freezer. You can then take a serving out the night before and leave it to thaw until the morning, when a 30-second stay in the microwave will bring it to the perfect temperature.

Feb 27, 2008

Peanut Butterscotch Chews

I finally got a chance to break in my new copy of the King Arthur Whole Grain Baking Cookbook today. It took me quite a while to decide which recipe to try first. They all sound so great but a lot of them call for flours I don't keep on hand such as spelt, oat or barley flour. So, while I take my time stocking up on new ingredients I decided to try a recipe that would use things I have on hand. I adapted t his recipe by adding the butterscotch chips but feel free to leave them out. Or substitute chocolate chips. Either way, these are amazing! They are dense yet moist, rich, chewy and oh so peanutty good! I would highly suggest baking two batches because I can tell that they are not going to last long around here!

Peanut Butterscotch Chews

(adapted from King Arthur Whole Grain Baking Cookbook)

1 c. smooth peanut butter
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar (I used organic evaporated cane juice sugar)
1 large egg
1/4 c. water
2 Tbsp. dark corn syrup or honey (I used raw honey)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. lightly salted dry roasted peanuts, finely ground in the food processor (I used nuts from a small can of "nut topping" meant to top ice cream which I processed in my mini food chopper)
1/2 pkg. (about 6 oz.) butterscotch chips

Cream together first 8 ingredients. If you have a stand mixer, use that because this batter is quite heavy. Add flour and nuts until well combined. Gently mix in chips. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Press with a fork to make a criss-cross pattern. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Cool for about 5 minutes on baking sheets then transfer with a spatula to wire racks to continue cooling. Makes about 28 cookies.

Jan 22, 2008

New Cookbooks!

Over the past few months I have been adding slowly to my cookbook collection. I recently purchased Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook after borrowing it from our church library and falling in love with it. I used to always use the "Fix It And Forget It" books quite a bit when I was seeking a great slow cooker recipe but this is now my "go-to" book for all things crock pot. This book is great because it uses a lot of really nutritious ingredients and there are not a lot of processed foods used. I also bought the King Arthur Whole Grain Baking Cookbook. This one is awesome if you are trying to incorporate more whole grains into your diet. There are plenty of recipes for things you would normally make like pancakes, oatmeal, breads and pizza crust. The only difference is these recipes use whole grains and they taste great! You can check all the new additions to my collection over on the right sidebar ... just scroll down a bit to see them all.

Jan 19, 2008

Chicken With Tomato Rice Pilaf

I recently got a few new cookbooks that contain some really amazing recipes. I'm hoping to try several over the next few weeks and will post the recipes here.

Tonight I made a dish called Chicken With Tomato Rice Pilaf from Claudia Roden's Arabesque. This cookbook contains recipes from Morocco, Lebanon and Turkey. There are many beautiful photographs throughout the book as well. It would make a beautiful coffee table book because the cover is so pretty. I really enjoyed reading this book because not only is it a cook book, it also contains a wealth of information about the countries from which the recipes hail. This is the first recipe I have tried from this book and it is wonderful! We had it with buttered peas, homemade pitas and hummus.

Chicken With Tomato Rice Pilaf
(Adapted from Arabesque by Cladia Roden)

(for the rice)
1 1/2 c. long grain rice
1 (15 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 tsp. chicken bullion powder
2 tsp. sugar
salt and pepper
1/2 stick butter, diced

(for the chicken)
4 boneless, skinless chicken pieces
1 Tbsp. light olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp ground coriander
salt and pepper
dried parsley

Start by making the rice. Blend tomatoes in blender then add enough water to make 2 2/3 cups. Pour the tomato puree into a pot along with the bullion, sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and let cook for 20 minutes or until rice is fluffy. Add more water if needed towards the end of cooking and simmer a few more minutes. Stir in butter and set aside. For the chicken, cut chicken into bite sized pieces. Heat oil and butter in a skillet then add chicken and cook 6 - 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Turn pieces over once during cooking. Serve chicken over the rice sprinkled with parsley.

Jan 18, 2008

Creamy Potato Corn Chowder and Spicy Cheddar Muffins

Winter is always the time that I begin to crave nice warm bowls of soup. Thick, creamy soups are always a favorite around here. My girls have been sick with colds and my oldest requested chowder yesterday. This recipe really hit the spot for her and helped her sore throat feel much better! This is the recipe I came up with based on several I found on-line and from friends. It came out wonderful and will certainly be a staple for us. To go along with them I made Spicy Cheddar Muffins which were form a recipe I found at King Arthur Flour. I did cut down the cayenne quite, cut the pepper in half and added a little Smoked Paprika for extra flavor. They were wonderful!

Creamy Potato and Corn Chowder

2 1/2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
1 bag frozen corn
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 Qt. chicken broth
4 Tbsp. butter, divided
1/2 c. whole milk
2 Tbsp. corn starch
1/2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp. dill weed
1/2 block cream cheese
Season salt and pepper to taste
bacon bits and sliced scallions for serving

In a large stock pot, melt 2 Tbsp. of the butter. Add onions and celery and cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until veggies are soft. Add broth and potatoes. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for about 30 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Mash a few of the potatoes right in the pot to release the starch as a thickener. Stir the corn starch into the milk then slowly pour into the pot while stirring. Stir in cheddar cheese until it melts. Cut cream cheese in small pieces ans stir in until it melts. Stir in dill. Season with seasoned salt and pepper to your taste. Finish bu stirring in the last two Tbsp. of butter until melted. Serve garnished with bacon bits and sliced scallions.

Spicy Cheddar Muffins

(from King Arthur Flour)

2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour*
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) extra-sharp grated cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) butter
1 cup (8 ounces) milk
1 large egg

*To add fiber to your diet in delicious fashion, substitute 1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour + 1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) King Arthur All Natural White Whole Wheat Flour (or 100% Organic White Whole Wheat Flour All-Purpose Flour) for the 2 cups all-purpose flour.

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease the wells of a 12-cup muffin pan, or grease muffin papers and place them in the wells.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, peppers, and 1 cup of the grated cheese. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat together the butter and milk, stirring until the butter melts. Cool to comfortably warm (e.g., it doesn’t burn your finger when you test it), whisk in the egg, and pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir just till everything is thoroughly moistened. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling them nearly full. Sprinkle with the reserved cheese, then very lightly with paprika, if desired, for added color.

Bake the muffins for 16 to 18 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Remove them from the oven, cool them in the pan for 5 minutes, then serve and enjoy warm; or transfer from the pan to a rack to cool completely. Store muffins wrapped, at room temperature. They’re best enjoyed warm, so when you’re ready to serve, reheat briefly in the microwave (15 seconds or less), or in a preheated 350°F oven, lightly wrapped in foil, for about 10 minutes.
Yield: 12 muffins.

©2007 The King Arthur Flour Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Dec 27, 2007

Buttermilk Pancakes

Can you imagine how surprised I was last week when the UPS man came to my door to deliver this beautiful Kitchenaid Mixer?

VERY surprised to say the least! My amazingly sweet husband ordered this for me for Christmas. It is such a wonderful machine! I had the chance to use is for the first time yesterday and so far I have made pie crusts, corn bread and THE best buttermilk pancakes, all with terrific results! Not to mention I was able to make double batches of all of these without worrying about overfilling the bowl!

This mixer is a Kitchenaid Professional 5 Plus. If you are considering buying one I would highly suggest this model. It has a 5 quart bowl which can mix up to 12 cups of flour (yes, you read that right, TWELVE cups!) The motor is 450 watts and it comes with the spiral dough hook as opposed to the 'C' hook that most of the Kitchenaids come with. The spiral hook is much better at mixing large quantities of heavy dough such as bread dough.

Here's the recipe for the buttermilk pancakes, they are SO GOOD! I made a double batch so we now have breakfast in that freezer that will last a couple of weeks :0)

Buttermilk Pancakes

(adapted from The Joy of Cooking)

3 c. all-purpose flour
6 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
3 c. buttermilk
6 Tbsp. butter, melted
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine all dry ingredients and mix well. Add buttermilk and eggs. Mix well. Slowly add butter and blend in well. Stir in vanilla. Heat griddle or skillet to medium-high and pour pancakes by the 1/3 cup full. Allow to cook until bubbles form and edges look dry. Flip then cook until the center springs back when pressed down. Serve hot with your favorite pancake toppings. Makes about 18 pancakes.