Tag Archive | recipe

Tastes Like More

Cinnamon and Sugar.

Apples.

Vanilla Ice Cream.

Oh, what to make of this.

Apple Crisp.

All it takes are some apples, cored and sliced. A pinch of salt, some flour, sugar and some butter. And, time to bake. Simple.

One of the first desserts I made when I was a kid. One my Mom encouraged me to try making.

Now, it is one of my husband, Jeff’s favorite – especially if there is vanilla ice cream in the freezer or he can make a quick trip to the grocery store to get some.

Me… I like the simplicity. The smell of cinnamon as it bakes. The steam coming up from a serving spooned into a bowl and the melting of that delicious vanilla ice cream as it hugs the apples while it melts.

And, Oh, the taste…. as my Mom would say, “Tastes like more.” Jeff agrees.

Apple Crisp, fresh out of the oven.

Apple Crisp, fresh out of the oven.

Warm Apple Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream

Warm Apple Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream

A healthy, yet cheesy idea.

The other day while shopping for groceries, I had the idea to bake some vegetables with some cheese, similar to a casserole yet sans noodles. I knew what characters I’d cast, just not the exact script for this dish.

I googled broccoli casserole. Among several recipes, I found one that matched my idea of what I had in mind to do – put me on the right path. Broccoli Cheese Casserole from ‘add a pinch.com’, I simply used this recipe as a guide. I made it for our lunch today. Warm, cheesy goodness and healthy too.

In addition to the broccoli, I chopped and sauteed onion, celery, carrots and near the end added some chopped kale. I seasoned the veggies to our taste – a small amount of red chili flakes, salt and pepper. I let the saute rest on low heat while I made the cheese sauce according to the recipe (yummy). Then I spooned a layer of veggies in my pan, then a a layer of shredded cheese and the rest of the veggies. Now, for the cheese sauce. I topped it off with another layer of shredded cheese and some crushed buttery crackers.

I baked the casserole at 350 for 40 minutes. Makes a great side dish or a light meal.
And…. I just thought about another ingredient…. BACON… yes, this would be good with bacon. 🙂

sauteed veggies: broccoli, onions, carrots and celery. kale was added just before

sauteed veggies: broccoli, onions, carrots and celery. kale was added just before layering the casserole

making the cheese sauce

making the cheese sauce

ready to chop the fresh kale and add to the other veggies

ready to chop the fresh kale and add to the other veggies

first layer of veggies and cheese

first layer of veggies and cheese

behold... the cheese sauce

behold… the cheese sauce

top with more shredded cheese

top with more shredded cheese

cracker crumbs for a crunchy top

cracker crumbs for a crunchy top

turned out better than I had imagined... look at the bubbly cheesy goodness surrounding the healthy veggies

turned out better than I had imagined… look at the bubbly cheesy goodness surrounding the healthy veggies

Soup’s On

A cloudy, pre-Fall Saturday.

First soup of the season…..

Made with acorn squash (baked and pureed), chopped sweet onions, chopped celery.
Some heat (red chili flakes, a few dashes of ancho chili and some cayenne).
Herbs (basil and sage)
Sweet spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice)

All in an orange juice base with a bit of black pepper, some brown sugar, some butter to smooth is out and milk to thin it a bit near the end of cooking. YES… I forgot to add any granulated garlic and ginger… but it tastes great without it. YUM..

Won’t do any good to ask for a recipe… I just started cooking and tossed in things I thought would make it taste good.

I learned this cooking method from Mom. It worked well for her and usually does for me.

Replacing chicken stock with orange juice made for an interesting flavor, not to mention far less sodium. I just added ingredients, stirred and let the scent of the mixture guide the next step. Of course, I taste tested along the way.

Yes… another made up recipe.

I was taught to cook this way by the BEST…  My Mom.

I can hear her saying, “Soup’s On.”

Breakfast Experiment

My husband considers himself lucky…. some may consider him tortured.
To be subjected to my cooking experiments…. poor man.

I ‘dreamed up’ another recipe that I thought I’d try. I bet there are recipes like this somewhere out there on the internet, in some great cook’s blog; after all… that is how I learned of Baked Oatmeal. Here I had thought I had ‘dreamed it up’ and yet I found it later that morning in a blog.

This recipe is a cross between baked oatmeal and apple pie… sans sugar.
I don’t have a name for it just yet, may never. But here goes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place purchased pie shell on counter to warm up, to become flexible.
OR… make your own pie shell from your favorite recipe.
Place all ingredients as they come in a medium-sized mixing bowl – keep in mind, I made this up as I went.
2 medium apples – peeled, cored, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts – toasted and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup whole grain old fashioned oats
1 egg – beaten
1/2 cup milk – or cream or soy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pinch sea salt – freshly ground
Stir well — let set for five minutes while you prep pie shell in your favorite pie pan
Add
1/2 cup blueberries – fresh or frozen
1/4 cup oat flour
Stir gently to combine
Place one half of the mixture in prepared pie shell
Dot with 1/2 tablespoon butter – not margarine – butter
Place the other half of the mixture on top
Dot with another 1/2 tablespoon of butter.

Fold up and in the sides of the pie shell for that rustic look.
Brush folds with milk and sprinkle on a mixture of cinnamon and sugar, amount to your liking. 
Keep in mind there is NO sugar in this recipe, merely the natural sugars of the apple and blueberries and the sweet spices.

Granted I have been trying to cut down on sugar, but truth be told, I actually FORGOT to add any. We’ll see how it turns out.

Bake. 40 minutes in a 400 degree oven.
Crust will be golden brown when done and you’ll hear bubbling coming from the filling. Apples will still have structure and not be mushed. (in other words… apples could be done a little more… depends on what you like)

This was an experiment and I may need to adjust it for another Sunday breakfast… but for now, We Eat!

two apples chopped

two apples chopped

toasted walnuts chopped

toasted walnuts chopped

add sweet spices

add sweet spices

add whole oats

add whole oats

add beaten egg and milk

add beaten egg and milk

stir to combine

stir to combine

add oat flour

add oat flour

place mixture in shell, dot with butter

place mixture in shell, dot with butter

fold in crust and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar

fold in crust and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar

bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes

bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes

cool

cool

get ready to enjoy

get ready to enjoy

Okay… we ate it… and lived…. Yes, it would have been better with a little bit of sugar… maybe even a bit more moisture… but it was pretty good and it looked great. Was good enough for Jeff to have seconds…. yet, he could have merely been starving. Hold the phone… he just admitted he had thirds… that’s what I get for blogging while he does the dishes.  🙂

I tried to create something healthy. It is somewhat healthy without the added sugar, the fiber of the apples and blueberries, the nuts and the oats – the omega3s of the walnuts and the benefits of the cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger are added bonuses. Next time, I may simply add more blueberries as they added the sweetness we wanted. I had also previously thought about cubing up some cheese to bake in it…. maybe we can add some cheese to it as we warm it up… but next time for sure (unless I forget).

a slice for Jeff

a slice for Jeff

the results

the results

a slice for me

a slice for me

Today, January 26

My mom, Helen. The compass of our family, a great influence on my life and the lives of so many others. I am happy to be her daughter.

Today, I had taken a day off from work.

Today, out of the blue, I had decided to make some bread. I got out my favorite recipe for bread dough, along with all the equipment and ingredients.

Today, I’d take the time to make a treat for my Dad and my husband. One pan of dinner rolls and a pan of cinnamon rolls (with orange zest, dried cranberries and walnuts).

Today, I’d spoil my family.

Today, again, I’d honor my wonderful memories of Mom, Helen.

Today, I’d do something she loved to do.

She was a good cook and quite a baker. More than that, she loved doing things for her family. She really loved her family. She guided us through or over or around many of life’s obstacles, shared in our joy of accomplishment and always helped us to succeed. She was the compass of our family, a great influence on my life and the lives of so many others. I am happy to be her daughter.

After being diagnosed in 2001, she battled leukemia with all her might, all the while keeping our spirits up and showing us how this battle was to be. She passed away on January 26, 2003… (just before the Super Bowl… We have always joked that she went to get a great seat… Mom, you see, was quite the football fan. Her team won that day.).

Each January 26th since then, I have done something creative to honor her memory and to take back the day, the best I can.  I usually do graphics or some art work all day. It reminds me of the times I’d be coloring in a coloring book (or on the wall) when I was a little girl and Mom was nearby. Always nearby. By doing graphics, working with my own photos I feel that Mom is nearby.

Today, besides the graphics projects I do on this day, I made bread.

Today, I made bread for my Dad and my husband… something she would have loved to do.

Today, my home was scented as if my Mom was in my kitchen baking.

Today, I channeled my Mom… you see, I’ve never made really good bread, let alone cinnamon rolls.

Today, Mom and I made some damn good rolls.