Tuesday, November 27, 2012

S'more Gorp

Say it out loud. SAY IT! It's fun to say.
It seems like a no-brainer now, but when I thought of it ten minutes ago, I felt like a genius. So in order to spice it up, I'm posting the recipe only in pictures.
You are welcome.  

Saturday, September 8, 2012

My Chili

I've started a new spice combination that works really well with chili.  I didn't tell Tom what was in it until he confirmed that he likes it, too.

Basically, dump this all in and simmer on the stove or go for the crockpot.  I prefer it in the crockpot.

2 jars home canned tomatoes or 1 can of tomato sauce and 2 cans of diced tomatoes.  If you use the home canned tomatoes, run a stick blender in there to break it up to whatever chunkiness your family prefers.
1/2 green pepper chopped
1/2 lb to 1 lb ground hamburger cooked with 1/2 yellow onion chopped
1-2 cups sweet corn
2 cans of beans (I like black and red kidney.  Today we are just using kidney because that's what I have)

approx 2 tablespoons cocoa and 2 tablespoons ground chipotle pepper
mild chili powder to taste

Really, the cocoa and chipotle pepper combination is SO good. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mom's Peach Spice Jam

Jessica and I put this together, and I'm not gonna lie, we nailed it.  It tastes exactly like we remember. 

4 cups mashed peaches
2 TBsp Lemon juice
1/2 tsp butter or margarine
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 box of sure-jell pectin
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
5 1/2 cups sugar

Measure sugar and dry spices into a bowl, set aside (close to the stove).
Put your jar lids in water to boil.
Put mashed peaches in pot with lemon juice, vanilla, butter, and sure-jell into a big pot.  Turn heat to high and stir until it comes to a rolling boil (boiling without stopping even when you are stirring)
As soon as it is boiling, pour your sugar/spice mix in and continue stirring. 
Bring it back to a rolling boil.
As soon as it is boiling again (rolling) time ONE MINUTE and stir constantly.
After the one minute, remove it from the heat, pour it into the jars, put the boiled (and still hot) lids on the jars, (make sure you wipe the rims first) put the rings on and flip the jars over. 

We used a half pint jar size and they sealed up perfectly within an hour. This recipe filled 8 jars (so 4 pints total). 

It turned out so yummy that we made two batches.  And I think I'll make a few more if I can find more equally awesome peaches. Awesome.

PS.  I should note: the 1/2 tsp of butter is supposedly to help reduce foaming.  I remember loving the foam.  So I debated whether I should put it in.  I don't think that mom actually used the butter, so consider it optional.  

Monday, July 9, 2012

The BEST peanut butter cookies 

"These peanut butter cookies are the best ones i've ever had"
                                                     quote from Stefany Pratt
 I made 96 of these, but here is the original recipe of 48 cookies.

  • 2 cups unsalted butter
  • 2 cups crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda

The Directions

  1. Cream together butter, peanut butter and sugars. Beat in eggs.
  2. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir into batter. Put batter in refrigerator for 1 hour.
  3. Roll into 1 inch balls and put on baking sheets. Flatten each ball with a fork, making a criss-cross pattern. Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F oven for about 10 minutes or until cookies begin to brown. Do not over-bake.

These are best with milk. They are Really good. When I made them, they needed no adjustment from the recipe.

contributed by: William Pratt

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Italian Sandwich

I can't believe I haven't posted this yet.  This is our go-to meal now.  I love it (and so do Brody and Lainee.  Charlotte will at least eat the turkey part).

8 hoagies/ larger sandwich rolls
1/2 jar of pesto sauce
1 lb deli turkey
1/2 provolone cheese

So you cut the rolls in half (like you're making a sandwich, people).
Spread about a tablespoon of pesto on one side of each roll.
Add a couple pieces of turkey.
Add a piece of cheese.

Wrap in foil and bake on 450 for about 10 minutes.  We sometimes skip the foil and broil for 2-3 minutes.

Serve hot.  We add nacho doritos and apple slices to the side.  This works great as a picnic item.  You can wrap them in foil and throw them on a grill, or heat them before hand and stick in a cooler (which, in this case, isn't so much a cooler as it is a keep-warmer).  If you use the cooler, please note that it will not keep cold things cold and hot things hot if you put cold things and hot things in the cooler at the same time.  (thanks Sven and Ole for that life lesson.  Some things are best learned through other's experiences and not your own).

These work well as leftovers too.

Aaron's Honey Oat Bread the Real Way

Anyone who ever follows someone else's bread recipe eventually finds that the person who wrote it gave you absolutes instead of telling you all the places where it might vary day to day. Oh, and that they left out a few ingredients. Here is Aaron's recipe the way he actually makes it (now that I have failed at it twice and now went through the whole process with him).

Dump some honey in the bowl. It took about four seconds for the right amount to come out of the bottle.
Put just under 3 cups of your hottest tap water in there with the honey.
Put two heaping quarter cups of both bread flour and wheat flour in with it. Stir it up with bread hook. Add 2 not flattened teaspoons of yeast and mix it a tiny bit. Let it rest for 10 minutes.

It should get bubbly. Add half bread flour and half wheat flour a heaping quarter cup at a time (mixing once in a while) until it is no longer liquidy but does not stand up. Then let it rest 10-20 minutes. If the yeast did not seem very active at the beginning of this step, use more bread flour than wheat to compensate.

After this, add half and half wheat and bread flour in heaping quarter cupfuls while mixing until the dough is formed to the right bread dough consistency. If you do not know what this is, find a friend who knows and have them show you. It really cannot be described properly. If you really want me to try, I will say it is soft and pliable but not sticky. Do not put too much in or it will bra brick after you bake it, but if you do not put enough in you will not get it out of the bowl and into your greased bowl easily and it will be too sticky to pan properly later. Read Aaron's recipe for my notes on how to finish this.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


8 oz cream cheese
1 avocado
juice from one lime
salsa to taste

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add avocado and blend until combined. Add lime juice and salsa. Repeatedly test to make sure it's right, even if that means consuming half of the bowl before it gets to the table.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Nancy's Pizza

I invented a recipe. It was sort of a Pinterest-inspired amalgam of all my favorite things. Well, all my favorite non-dessert things. Minus potatoes. You get the picture. Speaking of pictures: I took one. Because I made it once and it was so good that I made it again just so I could take a picture (and then eat it again).

Pizza Crust
Philadelphia Cream cheese cooking cream (italian herbs)
Asparagus spears
Salt and Pepper
Parmesan cheese

OK, for the pizza crust, I just used the jiffy mix that costs 58 cents a box. You could use a real recipe if you want. Or the wal-mart mix costs 50 cents and is pretty much the same as the jiffy, so you are saving 8 cents.

I like the "just add water"-ness of the jiff/walmart mix. But I am morally opposed to walmart, so I feel ok about spending 8 cents more on the jiffy.

Make it up according to the box directions. Bake your pizza crust (whether jiffy or walmart or overly ambitious) for 5-6 minutes, then pull it out to top it.

Spread a couple of spoonfuls of the cooking cream on top. This works as your pizza sauce. You could totally use one of the other flavors of cooking cream if you want, they are all really good. But the italian herbs version reminds me of one of my favorite french cheeses called Boursin.

Slice tomatoes and asparagus. The first time, I didn't feel as though I had enough tomatoes on it. But then, I really love tomatoes. You can either trim up the asparagus so it is thin enough to chew and swallow, OR you can shred it onto the pizza using a potato peeler. I thought it tasted fine both ways. The potato peeler method makes it easier to deal with if you have children, but the slicing method makes it look prettier. (see picture above)

Lightly salt and pepper. (This does make a big difference. I generally don't advocate using pepper, but in this case, it really gives it a nice flavor)

Sprinkle the parmesan accross the top. Now here's a confession. I used the gross fake processed can of parmesan powder that mysteriously exists in my fridge due to the cheese transgression of a past roommate. I did it because I wanted a white cheese like substance to sort of seal in some moisture and it seemed sort of appropriate. I did it the first time because I knew I would be refining the recipe if I ever chose to post it. I did it the second time because I didn't totally hate it the first time, in fact, I might have sort of liked it.

So there.

Don't tell any French or Italian people you know if you choose this step. In fact, don't tell any French or Italian people you know that I did it. I already feel as though I should go to confession over this.

SO now tht your pizza is topped, you can bake it for 15-20 minutes, until the crust is golden-y. (If you used the fake powder parmesan, don't rely on it "melting". It won't)


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Fruit Moose, or is that Mousse?

Yet another recipe from Our Best Bites. It is becoming a mild obsession around here. (And, by "around here," I mean all of the Waseca Branch and any missionaries who pass through it.)

I made this for the Easter Egg Hunt, but due to an abundance of candy and other desserts that were more familiar to the kids, not a lot got eaten. So, we brought it to Tom's family the next day.

It was supposed to be for dessert. But, a good portion of it was missing before dinner was over. At dessert time, it went quick. Even my own kids, who had snubbed it the day before, devored it. (And then declared how cruel it was that we never made it at home.)

Here's the very complicated recipe:

1 large package or two small ones of jello
2 cups of boiling water

Throw those in a blender together. (The blender really does work best.)

Add 1 8 oz brick of cream cheese. Blend until smooth. Fold in 8 oz of cool-whip. (According to the OBB site, cool whip is really ideal here. Don't decide to be fancy and make your own whipped cream on this one.)

That's it. Pour it in something and let it sit for 3 hours. I did this a few times to make layers. You can do individual servings cups, layers, etc.

I topped mine with the remaining cool-whip. You can get fancier than that, but I liked it that way.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Aaron’s Honey-Oatmeal-Wheat Bread

Super simple:

½ Cup Honey
2 Cups Hot Water
½ Cup Bread Flour
1 Tsp Instant Yeast.
Mix lightly, then allow to rest 10 Minutes.

1-1/2 Cups Cooked Oatmeal
2 Cups Wheat Flour
2 Cups Bread Flour
Mix completely, then allow it to rest 10 Minutes.

Knead in an additional 1-1/2 Cups each of Wheat and Bread Flour.

Rise to double - 1-2 hours typically.
Punch Down, Pan (greased), rise again 1 hour.

Bake at 475 Degrees for 10 minutes, then 375 for 30-35 Minutes.

Monday, February 6, 2012

2012 February-november challenge

Make A recipe with these Ingredients.or as many as you can. 1 point for most ingredients, but there are more for some.

cheese 1 point

bacon 2 points

salsa 4 points

chicken 1 point

chocolate 5 points

beef/steak 2 points

deli meat 1 point

onion 1 point

candy 2 points

chips 1 point

picture of you eating it 5 points

I don't care what it is, but if you win you get...um...I dunno...a recipe for what I enjoy having for lunch when I can......................................

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Aaron's Sourdough Rye

490 Grams Flour
13 Grams Salt
262 Grams starter
290 Grams Warm Water

1.       Combine/mix.  Cover with plastic wrap (coated with spray oil). Let rest 10 MINUTES.
Knead for 6-7 minutes, working in a little more Bread Flour or White Flour as necessary to keep your hands from sticking.  Form in to a ball. Place in to a resting pan (such as a pie plate) coated with spray oil. Cover with plastic wrap (coated with spray oil). Let rest 2 TO 6 HOURS.  It will spread and rise, but probably not double in size.

3.       Deflate back in to a ball (pack down) without tearing or kneading. Place on the baking stone or in stoneware that has been dusted with corn meal or lined with parchment paper. Let rest 1 TO 3 HOURS.
4.       Make 3-4 slits in the top of the loaf with a wet knife.  Heat oven to 500 degrees. Bake 45 MINUTES.
5.       Feed starter with 131 Grams of water and 131 Grams of flour.
I use about 80% Bread Flour and 20% Rye.  Wheat flour could also be added to the mix.


Friday, February 3, 2012

Mom's Cornbread, or at least close to it

I used to love it when Mom made cornbread with chili. I tried to make it, too, but it never turned out the same. I remembered Jiffy cornbread mixes in her cupboard, but those were dry and crumbling, and not like Mom's. I tried various homemade recipes that said they were moist, but they weren't like Mom's.

Then, one day, while talking with Amy on the phone, she said, "you know how mom uses yellow cake mix in her cornbread?" What??? I had no idea that was the secret ingredient.

Sure enough, cornbread is now a hit at our house:

2 packages Jiffy cornbread mix
1 package Jiffy yellow cake mix
3 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup water

Really, just make them according to the directions on the package. This fits nicely in a 13x9 pan.

I baked it at 350. One box says 350, one says 400. It did fine at 350. I have no idea how long, because I rarely use timers.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Garbage Cookies

Enticing, right?

Well this is as seen on one of those Food Network shows where the celebirty chef personality goes around to local shops and talks about how great they are. One of the shops made what they called "garbage cookies". They took their extra cookie doughs and added them to a basic cookie recipe along with all of the leftover fixin's from their kitchen. They were throwing everything from licorice chunks to potato chips into that giant industrial sized mixer. It looked glorious.

And then this morning I was thinking about how I needed to used up the peanut butter cookie dough in my fridge and I wanted to get rid of the coconut that is starting to go stale and I remembered the show and decided to give it a shot.

I started with my own cookie dough base. Its a little like the recipe on the chocolate chip bag, only with my own twists and turns. If you don't have your own cookie recipe, start with the nestle toll house recipe. To make it softer, shift to a little less brown sugar and a little more white. (Only if you trust yourself though. Brown sugar adds a lot of flavor, and since you are going to dump all sorts of extras in there, you might want a little more bland base.)

Ok, when your base is ready, go to town. Clean out your cupboard. I threw in the end of the oatmeal container, the rest of the peanut butter cookie dough from the fridge, the rest of the coconut leftover from the holidays, two half-bags of chocolate chips (one milk chocolate, one semi-sweet) and several handfuls of pretzels that I crunched just a little as I threw them in. Oh. And a couple of chopped up fun sized candy bars.



I might make pretzels in the chocolate chip cookies my rule from now on.

And all I was doing was cleaning out my cupboards.

Here's the deal. How many times do you want to make cookies but there are no chocolate chips in the house? I know it happens to me more often than I like to admit. (Tangent: I don't know what I'm more ashamed of, the frequency with which I like to make cookies, or the fact that I don't have chocolate chips in my cupboard.)

I don't know why this never occured to me before. We all have stashes of some sort of junk food or another, and its likely there for use in "emergencies" because we don't ever really feel like eating that particular thing. Seriously. Try throwing it in the cookie dough!

That is all the wisdom I have to expound for the day. I need to refill my mug of milk.