Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Homemade Freezer Corn Instructions

If you've got corn coming out of your "ear", and you're getting tired of this... (which takes a lot for me- one of my favorite things!)
You can always do this...
Here is a link to some great step-by-step instructions that I followed:
(Don't forget the step of having your kids do the husking- that keeps my kids busy for a long time!)
Don't you love harvest time!!! Thank goodness for good neighbors who share produce with the less-fortunate apartment people. :) I'm looking forward to having a good garden someday!
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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dukan Diet Oat Bran Pancakes

My sweet momma introduced me to these yummy filling pancakes. They are hearty- they "stick to your ribs" so you're full all morning. They are also really easy to make- and quite scrumptious with a bit of cream, peaches, and a sprinkle of sugar. Sweet or savory, this is a good one.

Oat Bran Pancakes (from the Dukan Diet)

(*This recipemakes one large pancake.)
1 Egg
2 tablespoons Fromage Frais (Plain yogurt or low fat cream cheese works great.)
2 tablespoon Oat bran (I found a good deal on oat bran at our local COOP.)
1 tablespoon Wheat bran (I didn't have wheat bran, so I did another tablespoon of oat bran.)

1. Mix the ingredients together in a bowl. If the mixture is too stiff, add a couple of teaspoons of skim milk.
2. Add a couple of drops of light oil to a frying pan. Wipe off the oil with a sheet of paper kitchen towel.
3. Spread the mixture in the pan.
4. Cook on a medium heat until the underside is golden and the upper side starts to dry.
5. Flip the pancake and cook the other side.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Frosted Banana Bars

Remember that friendly little "cake" competition my hubby and I recently had. Well, this was the prize-winning recipe according to our kids, the judges... and myself. As good as my Buttermilk Pudding Cake was, I'll concede that it was pretty incredible, and he is so careful with measurements and following the recipe, that I'm sure it turned out much better then I could have made it. Well done, Doug! You've gotta try this one! Use us all those brown bananas... or just 2 medium ripe ones. :)

Frosted Banana Bars (Taste of Home)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)

1 package (8 ounces) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese (softened or cubed), softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3-3/4 to 4 cups confectioners' sugar

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in bananas.
Spread into a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (do not overbake). Cool.
For frosting, in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy. Gradually beat in enough confectioners' sugar to achieve desired consistency. Frost bars. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 3-4 dozen.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (1 each) equals 148 calories, 7 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 28 mg cholesterol, 96 mg sodium, 21 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 1 g protein.
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Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Cracker Stack Snack

I'm sure this is nothing new, but this is one of our favorite snacks. I like to give my daughter the assignment of making them for us... and she happily obliges. :) This is a great one for kids... like the WAY overpriced Lunchables with a kick... and much more affordable... and healthy... and fresh... and less processed. I would know, because I just had one yesterday- I was in a hurry and snagged one for me and the kids to curb the hunger, and I just want to know why I BEGGED my mom for those when I was little. I wanted them SO BAD. Some seriously impressive advertising I guess. :)

A Cracker Stack Snack (By Lyd and Miss A.)
whole wheat crackers
garden vegetable cream cheese
cheese slices
lunch meat (pepper turkey in this case)
spinkle of basil

Spread, layer, and devour.
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Monday, September 12, 2011

One-Pan Taco Beef and Noodle Skillet

CONFESSION: I have always had a hard time making mac and cheese. No, I'm not saying health-wise, I'm saying process-wise. Embarassing, I know. I used to beg my room-mates to make it for me... they made fun of me... and well they should, I suppose. The bottom line is, I wasn't ever patient enough for the special step-by-step instructions, and I felt very strongly that it should be an easy, fast meal that should definitely only dirty one pot... which meant I strained it with a spoon. I lost alot of noodles that way. I also had some stubborn water that hung out in the bottom of the pot still. And why dirty the measuring cup- I can eye-ball 1/4 of a cup of milk pretty well. And what was the order? Butter, milk, noodles, packet? I don't know, and my noodles are already in there. Hmmmm... so I kind of threw it all together. Do you see where I'm going with this? You wouldn't think you could bots this, but I don't think I've ever made a proper batch. So here I am, to this day, doctoring it up... and dong a darn good job of it, I might add. This meal would have made my room-mates proud (as long as they just saw the end result :) I like how this one breaks away from the traditional instructions. That helped me for some reason. So for the mac fans who can or cannot make it... here is a happy compromise.

One-Pan Taco Beef and Noodle Skillet

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 pkg. (1-1/4 oz.) Taco Seasoning Mix
2 cups water
1 pkg. (7-1/4 oz.) Macaroni & Cheese Dinner
1/3 cup Sour Cream
1 large tomato, chopped
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 cup tortilla chips, broken up

Make It

BROWN meat in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat; drain. Add seasoning mix, water and Macaroni; mix lightly. Bring to boil; cover. Simmer on medium-low heat 7 min. or until noodles are tender and liquid is almost completely absorbed.

STIR in sour cream and Cheese Sauce Mix until well blended.

TOP with tomatoes, lettuce and tortilla chips.

Kraft Kitchens Tips

Healthy Living
Trim 40 calories and 7 grams of fat per serving by preparing with extra-lean ground beef, BREAKSTONE'S Reduced Fat or KNUDSEN Light Sour Cream and baked tortilla chips.
Special Extra
For spicier flavor, stir in desired amount of hot sauce or ground red pepper along with the sour cream and Cheese Sauce Mix.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Somber Thoughts on 9/11

"True faith is trusting the sovereign God even when we don't understand."
-Hank Haanegraff

Just thinking about what happened ten years ago today. I remember sitting in art class during my senior year in high school and being stunned at the images and clips that kept replaying on the classroom TV. It was a sad day in our history, but I am grateful that through trials and devastating times, we can turn our hearts to our God, and that as we do, he always blesses us. I pray today that the Lord continue to bless and comfort those whose lives were changed and those who lost loved ones.

Buttermilk Pudding Cakes with Sugared Raspberries

Doug and I had a little competition "of sorts". We each made a cake and the kids did the judging. This was my entry, and although Doug won (his amazing Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is coming soon) this was amazingly delicious. I would say that I at least provided very stiff competition. :) You have to include the raspberries! (I want to know who came up with the spelling on that word. They should be horse-whipped.) I found my recipe on

Buttermilk Pudding Cakes with Sugared Raspberries

Adapted from The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern Knockout Dishes with Down-home Flavor
Makes 8 cakes

Buttermilk Pudding Cakes:
3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

Sugared Raspberries:
8 ounces (2 cups) raspberries
1/4 cup sugar
Whipped cream (optional)

1)Heat the oven to 425 degrees with the rack positioned in the upper third of the oven. If you don’t have a nonstick muffin pan, grease the cups with butter and dust with flour. Set pan aside.
2) Sift the flour with the baking powder into a medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until they’re creamy and yellow. Then whisk in the buttermilk, vanilla, sugar and butter. Batter will look curdled – this is ok. Add the flour mixture and whisk until the batter is combined and smooth.
3) Divide the batter among 8 standard-size muffin-pan cups, filling them two-thirds full. Bake for 9 minutes (We needed to bake for 11.5 minutes). Check the cakes by inserting a knife between the rim of the cake and the muffin cup so you expose the side of the cake. If the side of the cake appears evenly browned, the cakes will hold together when inverted and are done baking. If not, bake for another minute and check again. Invert onto individual small plates.
4)While the cakes bake, place the raspberries in a bowl. Sprinkle them with the 1/4 cup sugar and gently toss them with your hands so that all the berries are lightly dusted in sugar.
5)Top each cake with whipped cream (if using) and berries. Serve.
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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pesto and Cherry Tomato Pizza

We have a garden! :) A very small garden. I think I might harvest 7 tomatoes from 3 plants in a styrofoam bin- my husband said it looks "ghetto", and I'm trying to do the math and figure out if that would pay for the soil, not to mention the plants... but hey- I did it. :) (My son made sure the lettuce and chard didn't survive by pulling them out by the roots early on.) However, I am totally amazed with the world of difference in flavor from a fresh tomato- that alone made the experience worth it. I just finished reading "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" and I could really identify with her description of the tomato: "We can’t even wait for the right time to eat tomatoes, but instead consume tasteless ones all winter to satisfy a craving for everything now." I also love the way even just barely touching the vines give my hand the strong tomato smell. Oh- the good earth, even from my little apartment! Here is a yummy recipe for your fresh tomatoes. Pile them on! One of my favorite things on the planet. My mother-in-law appropriately calls them "bites of sunshine." (By the way- this is my favorite pizza dough recipe. I've tried MANY and this is the one I've had the most consistent success with.)

Vary the pizza topping by using cured meats such as salami or pepperoni. Or, substitute other quick-cooking, freshly cut vegetables, like bell peppers or mushrooms.

Pesto and Cherry Tomato Pizza (William-Sanoma)

  • 1 Tbs. coarse cornmeal
  • 1 yeast dough ball (see related recipe at left), at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup pesto
  • 1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the yeast dough:

  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp. (1 packet) instant yeast
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 Tbs. salt
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups warm water (110°F)
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for bowl
Make the dough
In a food processor, combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt and pulse to blend. Add the warm water and the 2 Tbs. olive oil and pulse until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 1 to 2 minutes to form a smooth ball. In an oiled large bowl, place the dough, turn to coat it with oil and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk and very spongy, about 1 1/2 hours.

Divide the dough
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, punch down and knead into a smooth cylinder. Divide into 2 equal pieces and knead again to form 2 smooth balls, dusting with flour if needed. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 10 minutes. Store 1 ball for future use (see note above).

Shape the dough
Sprinkle the cornmeal evenly over an 11-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet. Place the dough on the prepared pan. Very firmly press down on the center and, working from the center outward, push and stretch the dough to the edges of the pan to achieve an even thickness. (If the dough is difficult to handle, set it aside, covered, for 10 minutes.) Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for at least 15 minutes.

Assemble and bake the pizza
Place a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 450°F.

Spread the dough evenly with the pesto, leaving a 1/4-inch border uncovered. Arrange the mozzarella and tomatoes evenly over the pesto. Season with salt and pepper. Bake until the edges are golden brown and the cheese is bubbling, 15 to 18 minutes.

Cut the pizza into serving pieces and serve warm. Makes about 8 pieces.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Small Plates, by Brigit L. Binns (Oxmoor House, 2007).
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Simple Fruit Toss

"Ripe strawberries, Ripe..." Who will buy this wonderful morning? (from the musical: Oliver) Wonderful because Doug cut up this fresh fruit for us. Mmmm! A fresh and simple snack.

Simple Fruit Toss (Doug Stew)
sliced strawberries
sliced peaches
sprinkle with sugar and toss/stir together
Serve cold.
(Any fruit combo will do.)
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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

Here's a little bit of heaven in a loaf pan!!! The glaze is literally "the icing on the cake" knocking an already delicious loaf up a notch and out of the park. My friend Erin brought this by and I pretty much thought I had died and gone to cinnamon heaven! SO GOOD!

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread (Taste of Home)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 cup canola oil
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons milk

In a large bowl, combine the flour, 1 cup sugar, baking soda and salt. Combine buttermilk, egg and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. In a small bowl, combine cinnamon and remaining sugar.
Grease the bottom only of a 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pan. Pour half of the batter into pan; sprinkle with half of the cinnamon-sugar. Carefully spread with remaining batter and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon-sugar; cut through batter with a knife to swirl.
Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Combine confectioners' sugar and enough milk to reach desired consistency; drizzle over loaf. Yield: 1 loaf.
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