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My easy eater has suddenly turned the dreaded picky. Yes, picky. Which makes dinner time not only a pain, but a chore with creating something the little guy will eat. Fortunately, big brother will still eat most things even if he is very specific on what those things are. ” no butter mommy. I don’t like mayo mommy” ( who on earth doesn’t like mayo??!!)
In a pinch, I threw together this quick and simple pasta dish as a quick, before baseball dinner. Mommy win! Nutritious, delicious and pleased everyone in one simple pan.

Sausage Bow tie pasta

2 bratwurst or Italian sausage links sliced into coins
1/2 green pepper, sliced
1/2 bunch asparagus, sliced on diagonal
1 clove minced garlic
Handful of crimini mushrooms, sliced
Half lb of bow tie pasta
Parmesan cheese
Dried oregano
Crushed red chili flakes (on side )

Cook pasta as directed on package, drain but save some cooking liquid for sauce
In olive oil, sautée mushrooms and sausage till almost cooked through. Add peppers, thick part of asparagus and garlic and sautée till tender. Add in pasta, asparagus tips and just enough of the cooking water to give the sauce a little body. Season to taste, add in some Parmesan and serve up with red chili flakes for the adults.
Yum!

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Cooking is a passion for me as well as a profession – it feeds my soul while keeping my boys happy. When I decided to leave my job and be a stay at home mom to these crazy kids I never realized how much my culinary training would come in handy in helping feed, nourish and teach these guys. Luckily for me, the kitchen is where all the action in in our little home, where my boys gravitate to first thing in the morning and where my days end (except on those exhausted days where I end up in my nook with yarn in hands).

It’s been a while since I’ve baked or created anything in the kitchen with my big guy, G. As he’s gotten older and matured a bit I’m finding he really enjoys and learns a ton from baking with mom in the kitchen. He takes pride in cooking with me and I can get him to try new foods if he helps prepare them. Also, with our love of gardening I feel it closes the loop on where and how our food grows and how much work is necessary to make our meals.
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Yesterday afternoon was a rare treat of sorts. Lately our schedule has been busy and crazy, with far too many activities and not enough home time. This afternoon, why Little Guy O and Daddy were napping and it found Big Guy G and myself alone to pass the time. So into the kitchen we ventured to try a new recipe that had been hanging out for a while – Chocolate Granola. Based off My New Roots recipe, but adapted for our ingredients and life.

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Not only was this healthy and incredibly taste treat easy to make it was delicious!!! It tastes a bit like Cocoa Pebbles without all the junk that store bought cereals tend to include. My Big Guy loved it and had a good time learning about measurements and increments as we measured out the grains and nuts.

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Here is a new recipe for you all to try and enjoy – we surely are loving it with almond milk and sliced bananas (the milk turns into Chocolate Milk!! Yum!!)

Chocolate Granola

3 cups rolled Oats
1 cup buckwheat
1 1/2 cup coconut flakes
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp vanila
1/2 cup cocoa powder or chocolate chips

Mix the oats, buckwheat, coconut flakes and nuts and seeds together. In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil and chocolate chips together, adding in honey and vanilla when melted. Whisk till smooth. Pour over dry ingredients and gently fold to coat. Press into a rimmed baking sheet and pat down with a spoon to press to compact. Bake 15-20 minutes at 350, flip in large chunks and bake another 10 minutes till fragrant. Let fully cool and enjoy!!!

Weekend Baking

July 27, 2011


Weekend breakfast is often a cause for excitement around this house. After an afternoon of jam making we felt ready for a good, warm cinnamon roll morning.

Making things from scratch is a joy in our small kitchen. Both Rudie and I enjoy the whole process, measuring, spooning, weighing, mixing, proofing and forming. We both enjoy getting dirty and trying to get it perfect. This recipe was no different.

Sometimes when I am most tired and done with my day getting my hands around a ball of dough gives new energy. The feeling of a smooth, round, yeasty dough become a shape under my hands just gives a reason for revival – a new life being formed.

 

March 28, 2011


I have to confess that I love beans. I love the taste and texture, smell and nutrition of beans. Black beans are often a favorite in this house, with spicy soup, dips and just plain ole frijoles making their way into our weekly menu.

This week I wanted something a little more interesting, a little different. I had seen others make black bean burgers but had never tried them myself. So, why not!

I prefer to use dried beans in all my cooking simply because it is less expensive and tastier. The canned varieties tend to lose flavor and texture, no to mention the nutritional loss when pressure canned into aluminum.

I wish I had a better photo of these wonderfully tasty patties, the patties that my carnivore of a husband proclaimed would eat any night of the week. We made, cook and devoured the patties so quickly that the camera was forgotten until it was time to freeze the leftovers! SO I apologize for the unappealing photo, it was the best I could do!

Black Bean Burgers

3 cups cooked black beans

1/2 finely diced onion

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp red chili flake

1 cup dried bread crumbs

1 egg

salt and pepper to taste

Place cooked beans into food processor and puree. Move to bowl and add minced onion, oregano, basil, red chili flakes,1/3 cup  bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Mix well and taste. If seasoned to your liking add egg and mix thoroughly. Form into balls and press into patties. Roll in breadcrumbs and place on tray. Refrigerate for 20 minutes till firm. Heat 2 tbsp veggie oil in a skillet and fry until golden brown.

Yum!

Heavenly Cookie

March 21, 2011


I might have found the perfect cookie. While I am well aware that this is a lofty statement, I promise you that I this is no lie. It is an addictive combination of peanut butter, oatmeal and chocolate – and I can’t seem to stop eating them.

The craving for peanut butter cookies hit early last week and after four days of contemplating the “need” of peanut butter cookies the craving won out.

This is an amazing cookie with rich salty peanut butter, grainy oats and smooth mini chocolate chips. The original cookie recipe called for walnuts and dried cranberries (which I am sure would be fantastic!) but for my family we prefer no nuts in our cookies.

My only regret is that I just ate my last one. Hrmm, another batch might be in order on Sunday!!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

(adapted from Better Homes & Gardens 75th Anniversary Edition)
(Makes 4 dozen)
3/4 cup Butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup Peanut Butter (I used Natural)
1/2 cup Sugar
1 cup packed Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 + 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups Rolled Oats
2/3 cup dried Cranberries,* chopped (I omitted these!)
2/3 cup Walnuts,* chopped (I omitted these too!!)
2/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Beat together butter and peanut butter until well combined. Add sugars, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Beat until combined.
3. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Beat in flour. Stir in oats, cranberries and nuts.
4. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until light brown around edges.

Holy Pancake Batman!

January 23, 2011


Sunday mornings are rather special to me.  You wake up and usually there is a day just for family, cooking, baking and hanging around. Most Sundays at our house are lazy to start, with lots of playtime, books read, football to watch and something wonderful for breakfast. This is usually where I come in ~ I love breakfast. Something crunchy, creamy, warm and hopefully quick to throw together that everyone loves.

This morning I woke up with a hankering for a Baked Pancake. If you are anything like me, you are probably wondering what on earth is a Baked Pancake! I mean, how can you bake a Pancake? I know, this is also what I thought until I went to an old coworkers house for brunch one weekend and he served me this amazing, crunchy, butter flying saucer that looked and tasted like heaven. I was smitten and asked for the recipe immediately!

So here you go, one of my favorites that is so fast to throw together and will impress anyone when set on the table.

Baked Pancake

serves 2

1/2 stick of butter (I use 1/4)

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup milk

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Place butter in a pie dish and place in cold oven. Turn oven on to preheat at 400 with pie dish inside.

In a medium bowl, whisk milk and flour together until lump free. Add eggs, vanilla and nutmeg and mix. When oven is ready, pull out rack with pie pan on it and using a rubber spatula pour batter right into hot pie pan. Put back in oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Serve with powdered sugar, maple syrup or (my favorite!) fresh fruit and unsweetened whipped cream.

YUM!

A much needed knead

January 10, 2011


Sometimes when life really gets to me and there is too much going on I find the best thing to restore my calm and bring me back to normal is kneading dough. Whether it is pie, bread, cookie, tart, pita, brioche or any other type of dough just the action of kneading the dough brings my attention to what I am doing and the silliness of the situation, whatever the situation may be.

When I was at Culinary School at the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago I took a bread making class that not only taught me a new skill but taught me a life long lesson: when life is hellish and bringing you to your knees you can always find comfort in dough. There is a steadfastness in flour, water and yeast making something so solid yet pliable, something so fragrant and yet bland. For me standing at my bread board with floured hands and my fingers gently smooshing into the mass makes me leave my worries behind and for the fifteen minutes of kneading nothing else matters.

Yes, I love my KitchenAid and it is a lovely and very practical thing. We use our KitchenAid very, very often in our home but there are days when all I want to do is knead. I guess I occasionally have a need to knead.  Ha!

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