Tag Archive | something creative

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

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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.”

Won’t give up.

After a week of coping with what is going on with my brother’s battle with stage 4c papillary thyroid cancer and coming to grips with what my Dad said last night, I simply needed an evening alone…. a simple evening at home.  Alone.  An evening to create.

My brother needs surgery. A difficult, complicated surgery. Life saving surgery.

My Dad is dealing with chronic kidney disease and told me that he’d refuse kidney dialysis if his kidney disease got that bad. We had a short, unhappy conversation about that. It ended abruptly.

My coping skills were less than stellar today. I needed a distraction when I got home from work.

I am making a quilt. I wanted, no, needed to work on it. I love fabric. I love color. I love creating something, basically from next to nothing. Creating something from an idea. Creating…. soothes my soul.

While I was working on my project – a baby quilt for my great-niece to be, such a life affirming project – I was listening to Sirius radio through my satellite television connection. One of my favorite music groups came on.

Train.

With one of my favorite songs.

“Calling All Angels”, just what I needed to hear.

The song mirrored my need for my Mom to help my family.
To help me cope with all this.
To help my family cope with all this.
To help me, help them.

“I need a sign, to let me know you’re here
All of these lines are being crossed over the atmosphere
I need to know, that things are gonna look up
‘Cause I feel us drowning in a sea spilled from a cup”

“When there is no place safe and no safe place to put my head
When you can feel the world shake from the words that are said”

“And I’m, calling all Angels  (—me— calling my Angel)
And I’m, calling all you Angels”

“And I won’t give up, if you don’t give up
I won’t give up, if you don’t give up
I won’t give up, if you don’t give up
I won’t give up, if you don’t give up”

“I need a sign to let me know you’re here
‘Cause my TV set just keeps it all from being clear
I want a reason for the way things have to be
I need a hand to help build up some kind of hope inside of me”

“And I’m, calling all Angels  (—me— calling my Angel)
And I’m, calling all you Angels”

Read more: Train – Calling All Angels Lyrics | MetroLyrics

So…. I am calling on my Angel….

I am channeling Mom, more each day.

And, since I know she won’t give up.

I won’t give up.

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

Lemon Pepper Pancakes and Marrionberries

Mom made good pancakes.

Basic pancakes that we ALL enjoyed. Sometimes she’d add a side of bacon and eggs to these good pancakes. Sometimes just pancakes with butter and syrup or sugar. A childhood memory of mine is when she’d add things into the pancake batter as they were on the griddle. Bacon, ham, berries – you get the idea. Good pancakes.

Mom also made GREAT pancakes.

YEAST pancakes or SOURDOUGH pancakes. As you might envision… these were the next best thing to HOT FRESH HOMEMADE BREAD…. ultra yummy.

Again, sometimes with just butter and syrup or sugar (and cinnamon). Other times, a side of bacon and eggs. GREAT pancakes.

While I do like pancakes, I don’t care for boring, average or less than average pancakes. Mom spoiled me that way. For that I am thankful.

When I make pancakes they are NEVER ordinary. I always put extras in the batter, add to the recipe in some form….. or, I don’t make pancakes at all.

I always add something…. chopped nuts, oatmeal, berries… something.

And I do not use white flour as the only flour ingredient. Many of times I don’t use white flour at all. I usually use a combination of oat flour and whole wheat along with the other additives.

Last Friday I had planned to make banana pancakes for Sunday breakfast. Thanks to a couple of spotted bananas that I won’t eat unless they would be cooked in something (and not too often then). Yet, my husband had other ideas for those bananas. He ate one with his breakfast on Saturday and one for a snack later in the evening. OOPS… there went my new experimental pancake idea. Yes, I would have simply made up the concoction based on an average pancake recipe.

Mom always knew how to ‘adjust’ so I took a page from her book. “What type of flavor will complement the Marrionberries?” Jeff had not eaten the frozen Marrionberries…. he knows better… he can have ALL the spotted bananas he wants, but don’t eat all the Marrionberries!!!  🙂

Earlier last week I had spied some recipes putting lemon and blueberries together. That sounded like a GREAT idea. Yet, a couple of weeks ago I had made blueberry pancakes. Besides I had my taste buds set on Marrionberries. I had thought of the lemon flavor…. then it hit me. Recently I had made some Lemon Pepper Cookies. So off I went.

Basic pancake recipe – omit white flour, substitute half oat flour and half whole wheat flour and add a tablespoon of yellow cornmeal. Add 1-2 teaspoons of Lemon Extract and some Fresh Cracked Black Pepper. Griddle ’em up. Assemble. Enjoy!!!

Lemon Pepper Pancakes

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Our Shoes

My shoes.

My Reception shoes.

Let me rephrase that….. OUR Reception shoes.

OUR Chuck Taylor Specially Designed Wedding Reception Shoes

OUR ‘Converse All-Star Chuck Taylor Specially Designed’ Wedding Reception Shoes.

During our wedding we would wear borrowed and rented shoes. The elegant and the dapper shoes.

Yet, we wanted something different for our wedding reception. So, an idea came to me, “Let’s wear some high-tops!!!” “Hey, Chuck Taylors!!!” “OMG, Look, we can DESIGN OUR OWN!!!”

So, we did. We went to the Converse.com site and designed our own shoes, OUR ‘Converse All-Star Chuck Taylor Specially Designed’ Wedding Reception Shoes online. We designed them, placed the order and then waited for them to arrive.

Jeff and I saved “OUR ‘Converse All-Star Chuck Taylor Specially Designed’ Wedding Reception Shoes,” for a special reveal at our reception.

Our Shoes

Our guests saw the fun we had wearing and showing off OUR wedding shoes.

We had a great time thinking up the concept, thinking ahead to the day we’d wear them. My soon-t0-be husband and I had a great time designing the shoes online, thinking of our wedding reception and the reaction of our guests when they would see our shoes.

Mom would have loved the entire escapade. It was such a fun idea – and let me tell you – she would have encouraged the fun and creativity. She would have loved our shoes.