Friday, March 30, 2007

Nature Valley Granola Cereal


I recently had the chance to check out the new Nature Valley Oats 'N Honey 100 Percent Natural Cereal. This is some seriously good cereal. It's crunchy beyond belief and the flavor is just plain yummy. I love the little pieces of granola bar tucked in with the two types of flakes they have going on; in fact, it was really hard not to dig them out just to munch on. One type of flake is full of rice crunchies and the other tastes corn based. The box states rice, wheat, corn and oat, but I couldn't tell beyond the rice and corn what was what.

At any rate, it is definitely 100 percent natural which is a plus, but there's quite a bit of sugar in there too. The cost isn't economical, but I would buy it again for special mornings or to pack with us for a trip since it's such a sturdy cereal. You can pour milk on this baby, forget about it for 15 minutes, and still have crunchy cereal. It's definitely anti-mush.

Check it out if you get the chance to!

NOTE: Nature Valley Oats ‘N Honey Cereal provided by Charlie Kondek of
Hass MS&L .
This is NOT a paid product endorsement.

BoBs are ON!

Alrighty then...the Best of Blogs award categories are now up for voting. Click on over and vote for your favorites!

The 2006 Best of Blogs Awards

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Veggie Wednesday






Vegetable Strudel

I made this last week and it was so delicious. I don't really have a recipe so I'll just try to lay it out for you.

I had one sheet of puff pastry left from my Salmon Napoleons and, since it was thawed, needed to be used. I chopped up tri-color peppers, a medium zucchini and a small onion into a small dice. I sauteed these in some olive oil. I added a bit of veggie broth and about a tablespoon of Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb. I let it cook down until everything was soft and all the liquid was gone. I then cooled the whole thing and spooned it in a strip down the center of the puff pastry. I closed up the sides and baked in until it was golden brown.

I think mushrooms would be fabulous in this and I wish I'd had some!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

What's In My Refrigerator?

Deborah Dowd over at Play with Food tagged me with this meme and contrary to what she might think, I only have one refrigerator and a small one at that. We had a much larger one that was mega huge, but it died and this one was here, and completely usable, when we moved in.

So, what does 'lobster-taste' on a 'tuna-budget' get you? You'll be sorry you asked.


This is the front. The bottom half isn't covered in artwork since the 2 year old would just whisk it away to an unknown location and do his own artwork to it. The top is a conglomeration of magnets and pictures and notes the kids have put up. Look closely and you can see a red stripe of crayon across the bottom half.


Next is the freezer.
At the present time there are such things as IQF chicken breasts, ground beef, fresh herbs (now frozen, haha), a bag of potato puffs, half a bag of sausage patties, leftover Italian Wedding Soup, a pound of frozen peas, flour tortillas, boneless pork ribs, half of a Happy Indulgence Decadent Dips Chocolate Covered Banana that nobody liked but was so expensive that I couldn't throw away, half a gallon of PB cup ice cream, shredded cheddar cheese, gram flour, onions and celery, hot peppers, leftover bread, hamburger rolls and ice cream sandwiches.


Lastly is the main section of the refrigerator. It's a wreck. I do the shopping and the bringing in of the bags and spend the next week trying to sort out where my older girls stored everything when the put the groceries away..

In the drawers there is bagged salad mixes, oranges, carrots, cheddar cheese, American cheese and pepperoni.
On the shelves we have 2 1/2 gallons of milk, margarine, fresh broccoli, lettuce, tomatoes, 2 1/2 Gatorade (EW-hubby drinks those), 3 cans of Guinness (again, hubby-YUCK), 2 jars of salsa, Parmesan/Romano cheese mix, a bunch of fresh dill, leftover veggie chili, leftover creamed spinach, 2 dozen eggs, 2 containers of sour cream (I picked one up, forgot I did and then asked my daughter to go back and get one; every shopping trip is an adventure), apple juice and a full bottle of ginger ale unopened-got that for tummy sickies and didn't drink it.

In the door is Condiment Central; the standard mayo, mustard (several types), ketchup and relish; anchovy paste, capers, balsamic vinegar, Kikkoman soy sauce, jar of applesauce, cocktail sauce, pickles, olives (2 jars of green), maraschino cherries, 2 kinds of jam/jelly, Ranch dressing, lemon juice, heads of garlic, and lavender seeds (necessary for germinating).

Not very exciting this week, sorry folks. The cupboards are packed out with stuff that I don't even want to get into!

I didn't tag anyone and probably won't~if this looks fun to you, go with it!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Chocolate Almond Biscotti



I love biscotti-made these two days ago and they're gone. Obviously, the kids like it too.

I'm cheating here; this is not the recipe I used, but close enough. I don't have time to type it out today so copy-and-paste was in order. It's definitely my lousy photo, though!

Chocolate Almond Biscotti
From Sean Paajanen About.com


1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp almond extract
2 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup chocolate chips
1 tbsp shortening


Preheat oven to 350F. In a mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar until smoothly blended. Add eggs and almond extract, beat again until smooth. In another bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.

Blend into butter mixture until smooth. Stir almonds into dough. Divide dough in half and shape into 2 logs, about 11 inches long. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for about 10 minutes. Use a serrated knife to make 1/2 inch slices. Place slices back on sheet, and bake for another 6 minutes. Flip slices over and bake for 6 minutes more. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.

Make chocolate glaze: Mix chocolate chips and shortening in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 1 minutes on high in the microwave. Stir until mixed and smooth. Drizzle glaze over biscotti.
Makes 36 biscotti

Thursday, March 22, 2007

R,S,C #32

Nary a recipe to be found. Not to worry, I don't have one either. I am busy lately with several things, one being some new blogging at Family.com. Not one to give up easily, I have decided to carry on Ready, Set, Cook! nonetheless, but have once again modified the rules.

R,S,C will now be a monthly game with a full week to come up with and post recipes.
Here are the rules as modified:

The first Tuesday of every month we play Ready, Set, Cook! based on the TV show that once aired on The Food Network.

We play our own non-competitive version (at the moment!) and here are the basic rules:

1) Three ingredients are given and each player must come up with a recipe that uses all three ingredients without "losing" any of them in the dish. In other words, while they must not be prominent they must be noticeable in the dish.

2) Your "virtual" pantry is fully stocked with whatever you wish. This is not a REAL game, although I have some players that like to purchase the ingredients and actually come up with a recipe, I don't expect anyone to do that. Basically this is a "virtual" game only. The ingredients will not have amounts listed to allow for greater creativity on the player's part.

3) Once you have decided what you would create with the ingredients, post it to your own blog by the second Tuesday of the month and send me the permalink to your post so I can post it for others to see. Likewise, link back to my blog so your readers can see other submissions. Mail your permalink to me at:

irishones7 (at) juno (dot) com.

Feel free to comment that you will or won't be playing!

If you would like to submit three ingredients for play let me know and you will be credited with that.

~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~


So, stop by my newest blog venture and check out the entire site while you're there. I really like it and find it to be a great resource!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Veggie Wednesday

Way back in 2000 a bunch of us from AOL Food Chat got together at the home of my friends Nancy and Len (aka mom and dad) on Long Island to meet and EAT. We had a blast meeting each other, most of us for the first time. I'm not on AOL any longer and I miss my friends dearly!

Katie's hubby, Ivan, brought this dip~it was awesome.

Ivan's Guacamole

2 ripe avocado's scooped out and mashed
1/2 red pepper chopped fine
1/2 green pepper chopped fine
1 medium onion chopped fine
5 stalk of scallion w/green part chopped fine
2 cloves of garlic chopped fine
1 jalapeno pepper chopped extra fine-seeded
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 1 lime or three tablespoons
salt and pepper to taste
a pinch of sugar

Add all veggies together including garlic, jalapeno and
cilantro. Add avocado LAST to prevent browning.
Add the lime juice and season with salt, pepper & sugar.
Decorate with sliced lime rounds and cilantro.
@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

*NOTE: How could I forget?? Today is the first day of spring! This isn't a "veggie recipe", but I posted a really FAB recipe for Spring Chicken over at Family.com~check it out!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Ready, Set, Cook! #32



OK boys and girls, before you take a look at today's ingredients, PLEASE click the link above for the NEW rules of play. They were changed just last week and it's important that you check them out.

Today's three are from my third child. She called them; we'll play them.

sausage
eggs
green pepper

Easy, no? I'll be "seeing" you Thursday with links to submissions!

*Note: If you want to play but don't want to post your recipe to your own blog for whatever reason, let me know and I will post it here for you.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Salmon Napoleons


I got around to making the Napoleons I mentioned in the Ready, Set, Cook! recipes this week. There is a little difference in these; there was NO WAY I was going to pay $6.50 for 4 oz of smoked salmon (that's $26 a pound!). Not this week at least.

So, using canned (I know-wet noodle lashing coming up) I went ahead and made them. They turned out well and tasted great. I would still recommend using smoked salmon if you can afford it; the flavor is just better against the subdued flavor of the cream cheese.

I didn't write out a full recipe, but this is what I did;

Using one sheet of puff pastry, separate into thirds on folds. Cut each third into three squares. Bake as directed on package. Separate into halves when they are done and cool completely.

Cream 4 oz neufchatel cheese with a mixer. Turn speed up to high and add 1/2 cup of heavy cream in a thin stream until fluffy. Fold in 1 T each fresh dill and sliced green onion. Fold in 1 clove minced garlic.

Spread a tablespoon of cream cheese mixture on the bottom half of each puff pastry square. Top with salmon-smoked or otherwise, enough to cover the cream cheese. Top with the remaining pastry squares. Serve at room temp for best flavor.


The one in the photo was the first one-I was assembling it in the classic Napoleon style. Three layers of pastry was too much, though so the rest were done with a single top and bottom.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Thursday, March 15, 2007

R,S,C #31 Recipe Links

Here are links for this week's game of Ready, Set, Cook!

The first is from Krista at Going Gluten-Free,
Salmon Newburg Cups

The second is from Cassi at Finding My Inner Cook,
Salmon Wellington

My own idea was to make Salmon Napoleons, but I actually wanted to make them, not just post a recipe. I have 5 out of the 7 kids sick with fevers and didn't get that done. I'll do it sometime this weekend and post it then.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Veggie Wednesday

While it's warming up in many areas right now, where I live is still a bit chilly. So, while we're looking forward to our gardens, but still eating warmer foods, this soup seemed to be appropriate. I think the terms used are fun, the book it is from was published in 1915.

Spring Soup

2 carrots
1 turnip
1/2 head celery
10 small spring onions
1 tea-cup of cauliflower cut into little branches
heart of small white cabbage lettuce
small handful of sorrel
1 leaf each of chervil and of tarragon
1/4 pint of peas
1/4 pint asparagus points
1/4 pint croutons
1 quart of water

Cut the carrots and turnip into small rounds, or to shape;
add them with the chopped-up celery, whole
onions, and cauliflower, to a quart of water, and bring to
the boil; simmer for 1/2 an hour.
Stamp the sorrel and lettuce into small round
pieces, and add them with the leaf of chervil and tarragon

to the soup, together with 1 teaspoonful of sugar.
When all is quite tender add the peas and

asparagus points, freshly cooked; serve with croutons.

The Allinson Vegetarian Cookery Book,
by Thomas R. Allinson

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Ready, Set, Cook! #31 The rules, they are a changin'.



Before we get to it, PLEASE click on the button above, even if you have played before, for full NEW rules of play.

Today's three ingredients are:

puff pastry
smoked salmon
heavy cream


Bit of a challenge, but I have no fear that you all are not equal to the task.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Sunday Dinner

Number one son is sick today so chicken soup is on the menu.

*After I got the soup together I had to come back and update with a photo. There may be no one else who feels this way, but I think this is beautiful.


Chicken Soup
Cheese Scones
Nana's Apple Cake

Chicken Soup

1 whole chicken-2 to 3 lbs or more
1 large onion-cut in eighths
3 large carrots-cut in chunks
4 large celery stalks-cut in chunks
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
5-6 whole garlic cloves-peeled
1 tsp dried dill

Place all in a large pot-add cold water to cover. Bring
to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for several
hours until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are
soft. Strain all and chop veggies and chicken to add
back to the pot. Add noodles or rice and simmer until
done.

Best part about this recipe is this-you can use almost
any version of the above ingredients that you want and
still get almost the same results. You can use dried or
fresh herbs-dried or fresh onion-a whole roasting chicken
or a whole frying chicken or even just parts as long
as the bones are attached. You can add turnip in small
amounts or even parsnips. Chicken soup is incredibly
versatile and almost everyone has their own favorite
version.

Cheese Scones

2 c flour
3/4 c grated Parmesan
2 t baking powder
1 t dried Oregano-crumbled
1/4 t salt
4 T butter-chilled-cut into small pieces
1/2 c milk
2 eggs-lightly beaten
1 t Tabasco
3/4 c finely chopped onion

Preheat the oven to 400F. In a large bowl mix the flour,
cheese, baking powder, oregano and salt.
Cut in the butter until the mixture
resembles coarse crumbs.

In a small bowl, stir together the milk, eggs and
Tabasco sauce. Make a well in the center of the dry
ingredients and add the milk mixture, stirring to
combine. Mix in the onion. The dough will be sticky.

Lightly butter a baking sheet. With lightly floured
hands, pat the dough into a 9 inch circle in the
center of the baking sheet.
Cut the circle into 8 wedges.
Bake the scones for 20 to 25 minutes, or
until lightly browned.

Nana's Apple Cake

5-6 apples peeled,cored,sliced on bottom of 9x9 baking pan.
Mix together 1c. flour
1/2c. sugar
1t. baking powder
1 egg
1/3c. margarine or shortening

Press over apples and top with cinnamon
and sugar.
Bake 375 for 30 minutes

From Emma Keyes, my ex- husbands late grandma

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Banana Pear Bread


I liked this more than I thought I would. I had bananas on hand and some canned pears that were going nowhere and wanted to see if they would play well together.

Banana Pear Bread

2 overripe bananas
4 canned pear halves, drained
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350.
Mash bananas and pears together and add sugars, oil, eggs and vanilla.
Mix well.
Add dry ingredients and blend well.
Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan.
Bake for about 1 1/2 hours until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

R,S,C #30 Recipes

I guess that title should read "Recipe". This is what I came up with for those three seemingly incompatible ingredients:


I don't really have a recipe for this. I basically used my favorite meatball recipe spiked with a couple tablespoons of soy sauce (the brewed kind really does taste different) and tucked a chunk of pineapple inside each one. I added sliced black olives to a standard marinara and put everything on top of penne. It turned out well and 5 of us had it for dinner last night (some kids just couldn't get past the pineapple part) and even had seconds.

*On a side note~I'm looking into revamping the way R,S,C is done weekly since I have some other obligations that are taking up my time. Keep your eyes open for an update.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Ready, Set, Cook! #30


Click on the button above for complete rules of play.

Free reign on types and amounts with today's three:

ground beef
black olives
pineapple

"See" you Thursday with the recipes!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Sunday Dinner

Sesame Pork with Garlic Cream Sauce
Buttered Noodles
Roast Cauliflower with Garlic and ShallotsMario Batali's Tiramisu


Sesame Pork with Garlic Cream Sauce

1 1/2 lb pork tenderloin
2 T sesame oil
1/4 c sesame seeds

Heat oven to 450F.
Brush tenderloin with oil and roll in seeds to coat.
Place tenderloin on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.
Roast pork 10 minutes; turn and roast 10-15 minutes more until meat thermometer registers 155F when inserted in center.
Make sauce while pork is roasting.

Garlic Cream Sauce

1 T butter
2 cloves garlic-finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 T chopped fresh chives
1/2 tsp freshly cracked pepper

Melt butter in small saucepan. Cook garlic in butter about
2 minutes, stirring occasionally-do not burn.
Reduce heat to low. Add cream.
Cook, stirring constantly, until reduced slightly, about 10 minutes.
Do not let cream boil. Stir in chives, salt and pepper.
Serve with pork tenderloin.


Roast Cauliflower with Garlic and Shallots

2 bunches of cauliflower, cut into florets
4-6 cloves garlic
6 medium shallots-cleaned and cut in half
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
sea salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Toss cauliflower, garlic and shallots with olive oil, and salt in a large bowl.
Place in a large roasting pan and roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until shallots and garlic are caramelized and cauliflower is tender.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

How’s your fiber intake?

Am I getting too personal? Come on, you can tell me.

Good, bad, not sure? If you need a little help, I have just the thing; General Mills’ Fiber One oats & chocolate bars.


The bars are chewy without being mushy, sweet without being too sweet and there’s no way anyone can tell that fiber is added.

My husband and oldest daughters love them and had them several mornings for breakfast, making them a perfect grab-and-go food for a busy morning. If you buy chewy granola bars already, go a step further and get these. They provide 35 percent of your daily value of fiber and no trans fats. The bars are definitely not a candy bar and they also aren’t a replacement for a balanced meal; but in a pinch with a glass of milk (these are also a good source of calcium) or juice they fill in nicely when you don’t have time for something else.

NOTE: Fiber One Bars provided by Charlie Kondek of Hass MS&L . This is NOT a paid product endorsement.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

R,S,C #29 Recipes

Yummy-today's submissions look great!

From Ian at
The Gallumphing Gourmand

Chicken with Spicy Corn Stuffing – Two Ways

Ingredients:
1 whole chicken – 3-4 lbs.
butter

Stuffing:
1 C flour
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/2 C milk
2 tbsp melted butter
3/4 C frozen, thawed or fresh whole kernel corn
1/2 C condensed tomato soup
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp garlic powder

onions, carrots, mushrooms – roughly chopped
1/2 C chicken broth or red wine

First, prepare the stuffing.
Sift flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
Combine eggs, milk and the 2 tbsp of melted butter.
Fold in dry ingredients and add the corn last.
Drop by tablespoons into hot vegetable oil and deep fry

about 5 minutes or until golden brown.
Place all of the fritters into a bowl and break up with a

wooden spoon. Add the tomato soup, the pepper flakes
and the garlic, and stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Now, we take apart the chicken.
Start by cutting off the ends of the wings, leaving the

drumettes attached to the breasts.
Remove the legs by cutting the connecting skin, t

hen popping the leg joint from the body and cutting around it.
Now, score along the top of the bird, and run the knife down

along the ribcage, separating the breasts, and remembering
to keep the drumettes attached. Keep the carcass for stock
or soup. Leave the skin on the parts. It will be removed
before serving, but it will add flavour while cooking.
Take each chicken breast and chop the knobby end off

the drumette bone, then push the chicken meat down
slightly, exposing the bone. Take a sharp knife, and slit the
side of each breast, creating a pocket big enough to hold
about 2-3 tbsp of stuffing.
Carefully de-bone the chicken legs, and pound flat by

placing a piece of cling wrap on your cutting board,
then the chicken, then another piece of cling wrap.
Use the flat side of the meat mallet, working from the inside
to the outside of the piece of chicken.

Chicken breasts (Chicken Supreme):
Spoon 2-3 tbsp of stuffing into each breast and place

in a large lightly greased baking dish.

Chicken legs (Chicken Ballantine):
Fold a piece of aluminum foil in half lengthwise a couple of

times so that it is about 12” x 1½”. Spread some butter on
one side of the foil. Place a small handful of the stuffing
into the centre of each leg cutlet.
Wrap the chicken around it, forming a round ball.
Placing the open side down, wrap the foil around the

sides of each package, securing it with twine.
Place the packages into the baking dish with the breasts.

Cut up some onions, carrots, mushrooms, whatever,

and place them around the chicken pieces.
Pour the broth or wine over the top.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the Ballantines

have started to firm up. Remove the foil, and continue
to bake another 20-25 minutes until the
chicken is cooked through.

If you like, you can remove the skin before serving.
@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@

From Krista at
Going Gluten-Free:

Chicken Enchilada Stew

1 Whole Chicken (3-4 lbs)
1 can cream of tomato soup (condensed)
1 can's worth fresh chicken broth
1 large onion, sliced
2 large carrots, sliced
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 4 oz cans green chiles (or jalapenos if you want hotter)
2 cups crushed tortilla chips
1 16 oz bag frozen corn, thawed and drained.
2 Tbs chili Powder
1 tsp cumin Powder
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried cilantro
dash red pepper
Salt to taste

The Day BEFORE:

Cut chicken into quarters. Place in a LARGE stock pot.

Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil.
Allow to simmer for 2 hours. Remove Chicken and cool,
refrigerate. Allow stock to continue simmering,
uncovered so that it reduces by half.
(this step can be eliminated if you use a store bought

rotisserie chicken and can of broth to replace the
chicken and the fresh broth. This step IS worth it, though).

To prepare the stew:

Pick chicken off the bone and chop to bite sized pieces.

Set aside.

In a large pot, combine the rest of the ingredients and

bring to a boil. Add chicken. Reduce heat and simmer
for 30 minutes on very low heat, covered if you can.

This can also be made in a crock pot and set on low

to cook for 8-10 hours.

Remember to remove bay leaves before serving! ENJOY!!!
@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@

Mine:

Barbecued Chicken Sandwiches on Corn Fritters

Cook chicken in water to cover with bay leaf, garlic, onion, peppercorns and salt. When tender, cool and shred all available meat. Add shredded chicken to Barbecue Sauce and keep warm.

Barbecue Sauce

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed tomato soup
2 Tbsp vinegar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 Tbsp prepared bbq sauce

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes.

Corn Fritters
(this recipe was doubled to use up the 1 lb bag of corn)

1c. flour
1 egg
1t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. Worcestershire
dash hot sauce
milk as needed (usually 1/4 to 1/2 c.)

Mix all ingredients well until you have a batter the consistency of a thick pancake batter.

Fold in: 1 1/2 c. vegetable-cooked and drained
3/4 c. shredded cheese (Monterey Jack goes well with the corn)

Heat a large pan on medium-high heat. Coat with cooking spray or oil, it's your choice. Add the batter by 1/4 cup and spread to a 3-4" size. Turn when bubbly on top and cook until well done in the center (about 5 minutes total).

Serve with the Barbecued Chicken between two fritters. Add sour cream and green onion. My kids liked this with the chicken separate and with salsa on their fritters.