Monday, April 30, 2007

Happy...

Birthday to my oldest brother, Bob!
Have a great day, guy.
Just think ... one year closer to AARP!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Fruity Cheerios...yummmm


My husband and my two-year-old were home today when the Fed-Ex guy brought me a package from Hass MS&L. Like the kids they are, they crowded around to see what my next great review was for.

They weren't disappointed at all when I pulled out a box of
Fruity Cheerios. The brightly colored box and trademark word printed across the front told them all they needed to know; it's something yummy.

My husband's first words after crunching a handful of the cereal were, "Wow. This is awesome...way better than (the other guys)." I do NOT like fruity flavored cereal. Apple is fine, lightly flavored banana is good, but that (other stuff) --ew. I have to agree with dear hubby on this one, though; this stuff is awesome. Little man said, "It's alicious!" while downing handful after handful.

This cereal is not anything like (the other guys), they still taste like the Cheerios you know and love, but with a terrific fruity flavor that is anything but overly sweet. I really enjoyed the lighter sweetness factor without losing the great fruit flavor.

Right now Modern Mom is hosting a contest for
Fruity Cheerios lovers. The Modern Mom Fruity Cheerios Family Fun Contest is running from now until May 18Th. If you can show how Fruity Cheerios adds to your family fun with either a photo or video, then hop on over and submit your entry. The Grand Prize winner will receive a case of Fruity Cheerios and $500 cash.

These Cheerios are as good as any other Cheerios we've ever bought and I've always trusted their brand. I'm positive this will be a new and permanent addition to our shopping list, and shopping day is tomorrow! Hey, half a box isn't going to last once the other kids get home from school.


*Note: This is NOT a paid product endorsement. Fruity Cheerios was provided by Charlie Kondek of
Hass MS&L.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Veggie Wednesday

I'm linking you again today. I made a kick-butt (yes, I used the word butt) eggplant dish last week and posted it to my Disney blog, Cookies to Caviar.
Check out my Eggplant Mozzarella. Yum.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Joke No More

You must visit Becks & Posh for one of the best posts I have ever read.
Finally proof, YES-proof, that English food is not a joke. If you doubt my word, just give a little click and find out for yourself!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Foods I Wouldn't Be Without

My first husband was an ironworker and was laid-off at least once a year. We were somehow never prepared for this even though we knew it was inevitable. At any rate, coming out of a two-week slump in the food arena, I found myself re-learning some things. There are a few foodstuffs that I always have on-hand that proved invaluable and I wanted to pass the info along.

Fresh food was at a minimum and most meals were from our pantry either entirely or a large part. Some people do the pantry thing on purpose, just to see how far they can get without going to the store. Let me just say, having the option to go to the store somehow makes it easier.

The things I found that helped the most were these:

Jarred spaghetti sauce. This is extremely versatile for everything from spaghetti to chili to a great addition to soups and stews. I love it for my own Crock pot Sausage and Rice Dinner. Simmer chicken breasts in it and top with mozzarella or Parmesan (see below) for am easy Chicken Parmesan.

Canned tuna. Yep, mercury is a problem, but if you're not eating a can a day per person, you're pretty good to go. This was great for plain old tuna salad sandwiches, a dinner of Tuna and Crackers and is awesome for Tuna Pasta Puttanesca. You can also make an unusual Tuna Pate with it.

Pasta. This is a 'Cooking for Dummies' type thing. I consider pasta to be the most versatile prepared food on the planet. There is an endless array of shapes and types. If you type 'pasta recipes' into a search engine, you get a plethora of possibilities (424,000 on Blingo and 6,090,000 on Google, and that's just links!).

Rice. Another no-brainer. Brown, white, instant...the uses are endless. Type 'rice' into Google and you get 187,000,000 links!

Parmesan cheese. I make a mean Alfredo without cream; top pizza, cook up frittata, make salads and dressings, and add a little kick to almost anything savory with this.

Bouillon cubes. I added these to soup and stews and whipped up a make-do cheap gravy.

Mrs. Dash. I'm not sure what I don't add this to! I'm crazy about the Garlic and Herb flavor.

Olives. I served these as-is, added to pasta sauce, made tapenade, topped pizza and tacos...the list goes on.

Soy sauce. I only buy the good brewed stuff-it really is better. I add this to every packet of Ramen I make, use it to make lo mein(linguine, sesame oil, garlic and soy are all you need for that!), and it's a necessity for fried rice-which is best with leftover rice anyway, so it's cheap.

Tomato paste. This adds a kick of flavor to many things; soup, stew, pasta sauce, Stroganoff.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Veggie Wednesday

In lieu of a recipe today I am giving you a link for a terrific Vegan spot.
Vegan Treats is exactly that; an awesome Vegan bakery.
Yep, everything there is Vegan-friendly and yummy, too!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Mmmmore Biscotti


Blueberry Biscotti

I made this yesterday and this stuff is a HIT! Wow. I was intrigued by the recipe title, but thought...nah, too much work. Then I took a look at the ingredients and gave it a second chance. This biscotti is made from a blueberry muffin mix and is lightly crunchy and not as heavy as other biscotti I've made. This is perfect for someone on their first time out making biscotti.

Click on the title below for the original recipe at Nestle.


Blueberry-White Morsels Biscotti

1 pkg. (18.25 to 18.9 oz.) blueberry muffin mix with can of blueberries
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Premier White Morsels, divided

PREHEAT oven to 350º F. Grease 2 baking sheets. Drain blueberries; set aside.

COMBINE muffin mix, flour, butter and eggs just until combined in large bowl. Fold in 1 1/2 cups morsels and drained blueberries with floured hands. Shape half of the dough into a 12-inch-long roll (dough may be sticky). Place on a prepared cookie sheet; flatten slightly until about 2 inches wide. Repeat with remaining dough.

BAKE for about 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the centers comes out clean. Cool on baking sheets on wire rack for 1 hour.

CUT each roll diagonally into 3/4-inch slices with serrated knife. Place slices, cut sides down, on ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 10 minutes. Turn slices over and bake 6 to 8 minutes more or until light brown (do not overbake). Transfer to wire racks and let cool.

PLACE remaining morsels in small, heavy-duty plastic bag. Microwave on HIGH (100%) power for 20 seconds, knead bag to mix. Microwave at additional 10- second intervals, kneading until smooth. Cut a small hole in corner of bag; squeeze to drizzle biscotti. Let stand until drizzle is set. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 24 hours or freeze up to 3 months for longer storage.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sunday Dinner

Mom Foster's Meatloaf
Mashed Potatoes & Gravy
Broccoli Gremolata
Betty's Carrot Cake

Gremolata is a wonderful blend of parsley, garlic and lemon commonly used on classic Osso Bucco. The fresh flavor lends itself well to many other dishes.

Broccoli Gremolata
Printable Recipe


1 large head broccoli, cleaned and cut into spears
3 T. fresh flat-leaf parsley-chopped fine
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 t. finely grated fresh fresh lemon zest

Steam broccoli until crisp tender. Combine parsley, garlic and zest. Sprinkle over broccoli while still hot. Serve immediately.


Betty's Carrot Cake
Printable Recipe


2 c all purpose flour
2 c sugar
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
3 c finely grated carrots
1 c vegetable or corn oil
4 eggs
1/2 c chopped walnuts and or raisins

Mix all ingredients thoroughly.
Bake in 2 greased and floured 9 inch baking pans.
Cool thoroughly before frosting.

Frosting

2 -3 oz pkgs. cream cheese
1/2 c softened margarine or butter
2 t vanilla
4 1/2 to 5 c confectioners sugar

In a mixer combine butter vanilla and cream cheese until
smooth. Add sugar gradually until consistency you
desire.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

BoB Winners

The winners of the Best of Blogs Awards for 2006 are up today! Go and take a look.

The Best of Blogs

Congratulations to all the winners~I know how great it feels to be there!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Veggie Wednesday

I saw this in the new issue of Country Living and had to post it. There's a photo and the original recipe linked to the recipe title~it looks fabulous. I know I would make this the first time as-is and then most likely add roasted red peppers on my second time out. Maybe some black olives too...

Tortilla Española
12 servings

3/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cups sliced yellow onions
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 whole eggs
1 teaspoon pimentón (
smoked paprika)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Heat the oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, add the potatoes, and cook, turning frequently, for 10 minutes. Stir in the onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Continue to cook for 25 more minutes until vegetables are tender. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the oil and transfer the vegetables into a bowl. Wipe the skillet clean. Beat the eggs, pimentón, and remaining salt and pepper together and stir in the vegetables. Heat 1 tablespoon reserved oil in the skillet over medium-low heat. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet. Cook until just set - 5 to 7 minutes. Loosen the sides with a spatula, place a heat-proof plate facedown over the skillet, and invert the tortilla. Heat remaining oil in the skillet over low heat. Slide in tortilla, cooked side up. Cook for 3 more minutes. Slide tortilla onto a plate. Cool slightly before serving.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

R,S,C #33 Recipe

I'm cheating and just posting this one here today.

Please go and visit Dalene's blog,
From the Mixed-Up Files of a Middle-Aged Mind.
Her recipe looks delicious!

Scallops and Sugar Snap Peas in Lemon Butter Sauce

1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup whole milk
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp minced shallots

1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp flour

(3 sticks) unsalted butter

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon peel

Reduce the first four ingredients by half in a small saucepan.

In a separate saucepan, melt one tablespoon of butter in the saucepan.
Stir in the flour with a metal whisk until well mixed (but not
browned).

Slowly add the reduced mixture to the roux, stirring quickly.

Lower the heat to low. Slowly whisk in the butter, 2 tablespoons at a
time. Add lemon juice, salt, and white pepper. Add some more broth if
the sauce is too thick.

While the sauce is thickening prepare the scallops however one does
scallops. Steam generous amount of sugar snap peas.

Toss the peas and the scallops with the lemon sauce. Serve with rice
or pasta along a side of nice fresh greens salad.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Ready, Set, Cook! and Peeps

What do those have in common? NOTHING! I just had a couple things to say at the same time :O)

Firstly,
this month's Ready, Set, Cook! entries and hyperlinks will be posted tomorrow, so get them in to me today-my email is at the bottom of the page or on the rules page---button over there--->

Now,
CookieJill shared this link showcasing Peep dioramas that are so funny you may hurt yourself laughing. Check it out:

Washington Post: Peep Dioramas

Saturday, April 07, 2007

What's in Yours?

Deborah recently asked what was in my refrigerator and I shamed myself by letting everyone know. Last night while looking at the Penzeys catalog, I decided I would do one better and play show-and-tell with my spice cabinet.

Here it is:


I have herbs and spices ranging from too expensive to 99 cents. I'm not ultra picky about where they've come from, as long as they're fresh. So, in my cabinet there is:

paprika
apple pie spice
ground nutmeg
ground cinnamon
salt & peppercorn mix Penzeys
star anise
Accent
chili powder
whole nutmeg
ground allspice
ground ginger
Cajun seasoning
bay leaves
juniper berries Penzeys
Old Bay seasoning
garlic powder
onion powder
cream of tartar
dried whole ginger
whole cinnamon sticks
beef bouillon
chicken bouillon
parsley
ground sage
Curry Simba Mbili from Nairobi, Kenya
thyme leaves
dill weed
pepper course and fine grind
French oregano
seafood seasoning
marjoram
Greek oregano
basil
rosemary
Tarragon
Mrs Dash Garlic
whole coriander
box of Stevia packets
file powder
packet of taco seasoning
4 packets of Kool-Aid
cupcake liners--mammoth, regular and mini
number candles 7, 5 and 2
1/4 bottle of gin that belongs to hubby-(I would use it for Choucroute Garni if I didn't have juniper berries)
colored flexible straws
Winnie the Pooh cups that my friend
Carole sent over
box of "strike anywhere" matches

While I was looking at that catalog I noticed their replacement box...you know, what you would need if you somehow lost all your spices. Their box wouldn't cut it for me at all which got me thinking. What ten herbs and spices do you need to have on hand at all times (salt and pepper excluded)?

Mine would be:

basil
oregano
bay leaf
thyme
Mrs Dash garlic and herb
whole nutmeg
ground cinnamon
ground ginger
cayenne pepper (which I'm out of at the moment!)
dill



Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Veggie Wednesday

Lebanese Zucchini
From The Frugal Gourmet
Jeff Smith

Serves 8

4 medium zucchini
1 cup long-grain rice
1 yellow onion, peeled, chopped, and browned
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon dried dill
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups tomato sauce, canned

Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
Cook the rice. Mix the rice with the yellow onion, salt, pepper,
lemon juice, allspice, cinnamon, and dill.
Use to stuff the zucchini shells. Lay them, face up,
in a baking dish, and add tomato sauce to the bottom of the pan.
Do not cover the squash with the sauce.
Cover, and bake in a 350° F oven until tender but firm, about 1 hour.
Serve with a little of the tomato sauce on top.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Ready, Set, Cook! #33



Please click the link above to read rules of play BEFORE submitting a recipe.

Our three for today are:

1 lemon
1 lb sea scallops
sugar snap peas (any amount)


Have fun~see you next week!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Capers

Well, as I said I would do last week (comments on my refrigerator post), this is for K who needed some extra ideas for capers...don't we all?

First, let's get to exactly what a caper is. Wikipedia does the job very well, so I'll
link you there and you can check out all the particulars for yourself. There's even a photo of the flower that the caper bud results in if left to grow!

The thing I always have capers on-hand for is Salade Nicoise and
Tapenade, mais oui. Love it -- can't say enough about it. The other use I'm partial to is the classic Chicken Piccata. There are so many dishes in so many different cuisines that the caper is used in that you really can't pin it down to a single geographic area excepting where it's grown.

For your perusal -- a few recipes that make great use of the little grey-green caper.

Tunisian Potato Breiks with Olives and Capers
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Pasta Ala Puttanesca

The Silver Palate Cookbook

4 servings

1 lb Spaghetti, linguine, or other pasta of your choice
2 cans Peeled Italian tomatoes
1/4 c Olive oil
1 t Oregano
1/8 t Dried red pepper flakes
1/2 c Tiny black Nicoise olives
1/4 c Drained capers
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
8 Anchovy filets, chopped
1/2 c Chopped parsley
2 T Salt

Bring 4 quarts water to a boil; add salt and stir in
spaghetti. Cook until tender but still firm. Drain, and
transfer to heated plates.

While spaghetti is cooking, drain the tomatoes, cut
them cross- wise into halves, and squeeze out as much
liquid as possible. Combine tomatoes and olive oil in a
skillet and bring to a boil. Keep the
sauce at a full boil and add remaining ingredients
except pasta, one at a time, stirring frequently.

Reduce heat and continue to cook for a few minutes,
or until sauce has thickened to your liking. Serve
immediately over hot pasta and garnish with additional
parsley.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Fricassee of Chicken with White Wine, Capers, and Olives
Patricia Wells, The Provence Cookbook

"For me," Wells observes, "this is comfort food personified. I love the entire process of browning the pieces of chicken, then surrounding them in a big copper pot with all manner of delights, especially my favored trio of tomatoes, olives, and capers. This dish is even better the next day, once the flavors have been allowed to blend. Nothing makes me happy like the leftovers!"

Equipment:
A deep 12-inch skillet with a lid

1 fresh farm chicken (3 to 4 pounds) cut into 8 serving pieces, at room temperature
Sea salt
Freshly ground white pepper to taste
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 onions, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
2 cups white wine
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled cored, seeded, and chopped
1 cup Picholine green olives, pitted (or substitute pimiento-stuffed olives)
1/4 cup capers in vinegar, drained

Liberally season the chicken on all sides with salt and pepper.

In the skillet, heat the oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Add the chicken pieces and brown until the poultry turns an even golden color, about 5 minutes. Turn the pieces and brown them on the other side, 5 minutes more. Carefully regulate the heat to avoid scorching the skin. This may have to be done in batches. When all the pieces are browned, use tongs (to avoid piercing the meat) to transfer them to a platter.

Reduce the heat to low and add the onions and sweat-cook, covered, over low heat until soft but not browned-for about 3 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan. Add the wine, tomatoes, olives, and capers. Cover and simmer over low heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 1 hour. Taste for seasoning. Serve with rice or fresh pasta.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Eggplant Stuffed L'italienne
From Perla Meyers,
The Seasonal Kitchen: A Return to Fresh Foods

1/2 c olive oil
1 tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 c bread crumbs, home made or prepared
1 can (7oz) tuna fish -- optional
6 anchovy filets finely chopped
2 T capers; minced
parsley and basil (optional)
1/2 c olives, finely minced
5 eggplants, very small

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise and take out the flesh, being
careful not to damage the skin. Mince the pulp well and place in
colander after sprinkling with coarse (sea or kosher) salt for 30
minutes. Do the same with the eggplant shells and put them on a paper
towel to drain.
Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the well drained
eggplant pulp and cook until lightly browned.
Add the tomatoes and cook the mixture over high heat
until the liquid is evaporated.
Add the other ingredients (Note: I do not use the tuna fish or the
olives if I'm making this as a side dish;but they would be necessary
if this is to be a main dish entree.)
Cook the mixture for 2 more minutes. Season with care as the
anchovies and capers are quite strongly flavored.
Fill the eggplant halves with the mixture. there will probably be leftover
ingredients to be placed in a baking dish. Drizzle the leftover olive
oil on top and bake for 1 hour.