Apple-Cinnamon Oatmeal

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I was in the process of making my morning oatmeal when it dawned on me. We were out of brown sugar. Oh no! I knew we ran out yesterday. Just did not go to the store to replace it yet. That was not a way to start off my morning.

But I was not bothered for too long. A thought came to me of how to save my morning oatmeal. I was already making fried apples with cinnamon. Why not top the oatmeal with these instead!

So, I finished the apples which I was sauteeing in butter with a sprinkling of cinnamon and then decided to add a teaspoon of regular granulated sugar to give it just a bit of sweetness. I usually do not add sugar to the apples, however, since sugar is added to apple pie filling, I thought I would give it a go. I plated the apples and then topped it with my old fashioned oatmeal. Not bad, but I am adding brown sugar to my shopping list.

As always, Happy Cooking!

My Take on…Dinner Chez Moi

Book Reviews, Cooking

After having read both of Elizabeth Bard’s memoirs, I decided to give her cookbook a try. Mixed in with the recipes are little paragraphs of tips or “secrets” as the author calls them. I found those fun to read and read them straight away, as I was skimming the recipes. I decided to make a full meal including desert from Dinner Chez Moi.

I enlisted my daughter to help me prepare the meal. We made the Lentil and Sausage Stew (Lentilles aux saucisses fumees), even though it is summer here in California and rather warm. The author assured us that, ” This is a favorite dish in our house year-round-warm and comforting as a big bear hug. Friends and family request it each time they visit, even if it’s 100 degrees in the shade!”. Well, ok. If it is recommened in any temperature then let’s go for it! And go for it we did. Next on the menu were the Ham and Rosemary Cheese Puffs (Gougeres au fromage, romarin, et jambon cru). To top off the meal, we made the Butter Cookies with Orange-Flower Essence (Sables aux fleur d-oranger).

We made the butter cookies first. They take an hour in the fridge to chill and then fifteen minutes to bake. They were light and very flavorful. The orange rind and orange-flower water gave the perfect amount of flavor. Sometimes, flavors are not so distinct. Also, I found this to be a nice treat with very few carbohydrates per cookie. The sugar was a mere 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon. Nice!

Next, we made the stew. I have a go-to lentil soup recipe, however, this one might have surpassed it. It was easy to make and loaded with fresh vegetables. It took an hour to simmer, which is normal for recipes with lentils. I really liked the added touch of wine and sausage. Yum!

While the stew was simmering, we made the Cheese Puffs. I did not find the ham at the store, so we left it out. I figured since there was already sausage in the stew we did not really need more meat with the meal anyway. I used fresh rosemary from our garden. They smelled delicious. Again, this was an easy recipe to whip together. I found that they did not need the full time in cooking. As with all new recipes, be sure to watch the bake time so as not to over bake these puffs. As with the cookies, I found this recipe low in carbohydrates. Nice!

My take on Dinner Chez Moi by Elizabeth Bard is that I think it is a keeper. Three out of three recipes tried were winners. The bonus “50 French Secrets” are interesting and worth the read. The only question is, “What will I make next?”. As always, Happy Cooking!

Homemade Granola

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Granola can be a difficult item to shop for if needing to avoid nut allergies. It can also be on the expensive side and sometimes the flavors are not exactly what one prefers. Why not make it yourself!

Granola is not hard to make. Having said that, one does need to be careful not to over-bake the granola. It can over-cook and burn easily, so attention is needed.

The great advantage to making granola is that it tastes fresher and almost anything can be added to it. It lasts a long time on the counter in a sealed container, so it does not have to be made all that often. Granola can be eaten on it’s own, sprinkled on top of yogurt, ice cream, oatmeal, fruit, etc…

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (A baking sheet with edges is prefered.)

Step 2: Get the ingredients together…

1/4 cup olive oil (or oil of preference)

1 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp honey

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 c brown sugar

2 1/4 c old fashioned oats

3/4 – 1 c dark chocolate chopped into small pieces

Dark chocolate squares
Chopped

1/4 – 1/2 c unsweetened coconut flakes

If chocolate and coconut are not desired, dried fruits could be added instead.

Step 3: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Step 4: In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients EXCEPT oats, chocolate, and coconut.

Step 5: Turn the burner to medium-low and stir ingredients until butter melts and mixture is smooth. Take off heat.

Step 6: Add oats to pan and stir together.

Step 7: Dump the mixture unto the baking sheet and spread out evenly.

Step 8: Pop in oven and set the timer for 30 minutes.

Step 9: Take the granola out of oven and stir the granola every 10 minutes. At 30 minutes, remove granola from oven. The granola will harden and become crisp after it leaves the oven so do not bake it until it is hard. It should still be golden in color not darkened or it will taste burnt.

Step 10: Slide the parchment paper with granola onto a wire rack to cool.

Step 11: If coconut is desired…place a new sheet of parchment paper on baking sheet and spread the coconut out onto the sheet. Pop in the oven (same temperature) for about 5 minutes. Watch this like a hawk! Coconut can cook quite fast as well. I like to stir this half-way through cook time. It should turn pale golden but not dark in color or it will be burnt.

Step 12: Remove the coconut from oven and slide the parchment paper with coconut directly onto a wire rack to cool.

Step 13: Once all are cool, mix together in a bowl and store in an air-tight container. Note: The granola will need to be broken up when removing from parchment. Just break into pieces with hands.

Ready to eat

I hope I did not scare anyone with 13 steps! It really is not hard. I just stretched the instructions out. If anyone makes this recipe let me know how it was.

As always Happy Baking!

Cornmeal Waffles with Chili

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As I had a few ‘meal coupons’ from my son, I decided to have him make a new dish, Cornbread Waffles with Chili. The chili is super simple to make and he already knew how to make waffles so it was an easy meal for him to make. The combo, while questionable to some, was delicious.

To make this recipe for Cornmeal Waffles with Chili, head back over to barefeetinthekitchen.com. This is the same sight I got the recipe for Hawaiian Oatmeal from. A new fav recipe sight for me.

https://barefeetinthekitchen.com/cornbread-waffles-recipe/

https://barefeetinthekitchen.com/easy-chili-recipe/

My son made the waffle recipe as it reads. The chili recipe was tweaked a bit. Here are the changes:

The Easiest Chili Recipe Ever…

First off, cut the recipe in half. Next, cut the white beans and fire-roasted tomatoes from the recipe.

Here is the ingredient list that was used:

  • 1 pd Italian Sausage
  • 1 14-oz can pinto beans (drained and washed)
  • 1 14-oz can black beans (drained and washed)
  • 1 8-oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 4-oz can mild chopped green chiles
  • 1 7-oz can yellow corn (drained)
  • 1 TBSP Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Toppings: Shredded mexican or cheddar cheese

The chili was made using the stove-top directions. Basically cook the meat, dump everything in a pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 15 minutes. While the chili is simmering make the waffles. When the waffles are finished top with a cup of chili and sprinkle with cheese.

This recipe was the perfect amount to cover the 7 waffles with 1 cup of chili each.

A big THANKS to my son for a wonderful meal! It was yummy and something I will have him make again! (hee hee)

So, kick off your shoes and head on over to barefeetinthekitchen.com for the recipe (And a big Thanks to barefeetinthekitchen.com as well!). As always, Happy cooking!

Hawaiian Oatmeal Review

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I was searching recipes and I came across a tropical delight. Hawaiian Oatmeal found at: https://barefeetinthekitchen.com/hawaiian-oatmeal-recipe/ Sounds tropical…I was hooked on the word Hawaiian.

I have made this recipe three times already. It is a keeper. A nice twist from plain outmeal. A bit of crunch, flavor in every bite, and the fruit is a sweet and nutritional bonus packing in an extra food group.

The only thing I changed on this recipe was the quantity. I cut the recipe down to one serving size which is a half cup of oats. This recipe is for four servings and since I was not making breakfast for all I just cooked enough for me.

Since our orange tree is loaded with oranges right now, I decided to give the recipe another go around with oranges instead of pineapple. This version was also very good and as we have oranges in the back yard, very practical as well. I’ll name this version Californian Oatmeal.

Californian Oatmeal

Ok, so I’m really hooked on oatmeal… Here is another of my creations. I call it Going Bananas! Oatmeal. I used the same recipe idea but used bananas instead. I did not add any bananas to the pot when cooking the oatmeal. I just topped it with half of a banana cut into slices. Sprinkled with the brown sugar, chopped almonds, and coconut as with the other recipes. I liked this version. Which did I like best… depends on my mood.

Going Bananas! Oatmeal

Oh, I couldn’t help myself….introducing Mad About Mangoes Oatmeal.

Mad About Mangoes Oatmeal

So kick-off your shoes, go to barefeetinthekitchen.com and give this recipe a try. The website also has a ton of other yummy looking dishes that are now on my to try list. As always, Happy Cooking!

Gluten-Free Carrot Zucchini Muffins

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Another gluten-free recipe review. This recipe for Carrot Zucchini muffins from flippindelicious.com was a keeper. I like this recipe because it was very moist (not dry or crumbly) and did not need to be washed down with a beverage like some gluten-free recipes I have tried. The zucchini is obviously the source of moisture in this muffin. They also had a good flavor.

Getting started
Mixing together ingredients.
Ready to eat.

I followed this recipe per the ingredients. However, since these are muffins, I did not use the whipped cream chesse on top. In my opinion, they did not need a topping, so I just left it off. Do be careful of the cook time. The recipe calls for 30-35 minutes. This (at least for my oven) would be too long. I would check these muffins at 20 minutes.

To find the recipe, visit: https://flippindelicious.com/wp-json/mv-create/v1/creations/57/print?ajax=true

Chickpea Whipped Cream

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I was scheduled to make a chocolate cream pie for my son as a reward for his straight A report card, but I forgot to buy the whipped cream to go on top. What to do? Substitute of course!

In the past, I have tried to use coconut cream as a base to make whipped cream. This method is hit or miss for me. It is very tricky to get it to work right and is not guaranteed to make it to the table.

When I informed my family that I was making whipped cream using the liquid from canned chickpeas (some may call them garbanzo beans…same thing), skepticism was in the air. However, all tried it and I must say it was a success. I was thrilled at how easy it came together and overjoyed by the outcome. The plus side to using the chickpea liquid was that it is dairy-free and costs next to nothing to make. Also, there is a great bonus in that I am not wasting anything from the can of chickpeas as I eat those on salads or as a side dish.

The recipe I found was at https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-chickpea-whipped-cream-236591

I followed the recipe except for two things… I opened the can of chickpeas the previous day and saved the liquid in the refrigerator. So my chickpea liquid was cold, making for cold whipped cream. The temperature may also affect the way it whips. The second difference was that I turned the electric mixer to high and not the medium that the recipe suggested.

I found this super easy and fast to make. It did not take the 10 to 15 minutes that the recipe said it would. It was very quick. I took the liquid from the fridge and in the same bowl added the 1/8 tsp cream of tartar and the 1 tsp of vanilla. I beat that on high with an electric hand mixer until no liquid remained and it was getting stiff. I then slowly added the 2 Tbsp of sugar while continuing to beat at high speed. The “whipped cream” came out perfect. It made a lot of whipped cream. Plenty for a whole pie and then some. Since the whipped cream settles a bit in the fridge, it needs to be re-whipped for a minute with the electric mixer on high. I re-whipped the cream the next day for the other half of the pie. The following morning, I again re-whipped the cream for a topping to my pancakes. There is still some left. That little bit of liquid made a lot of whipped cream.

Chocolate Pie Smothered in Chickpea Whipped Cream – Yum
Pancakes with Chickpea Whipped Cream (re-whipped)

As always, Happy Baking!

Food as a Souvenir (Pasties)

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Making a recipe from a place visited makes for a great souvenir. Every bite brings back memories of the times spent there and the flavors savored. So if one can’t get back to the spot, bring the spot home to the table.

Many years ago when the children were small we took a family trip to the gold country in Northern California. While there we set out to have Pasties which were common for the miners to eat way back when. The kids loved them so much that we even ordered the apple filled dessert version as well.

Upon returning home, I decided to make a recipe for Pasties. It is still one of my son’s favorites and requested by him often. Every time I make them, memories of our trip come to mind.

Pasties

Crust:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup Crisco solid vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup cold water

Put flour into mixing bowl with salt. Add shortening and cut in with pastry blender until texture of flour is like cornmeal. Add water and mix with spoon. Turn out onto floured board. Knead dough with hands for a few seconds until well blended. Form into 4 balls. Cover each ball with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Fillling:

  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups diced potatoes
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley or 2 Tablespoons dried parsley
  • Milk to brush pastries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix ground chuck, onions, potatoes, salt, pepper, and parsley together in a bowl. Take dough out of fridge and roll out each ball into a 8 inch circle with rolling pin on a floured surface. Brush edges of pastry with milk using a pastry brush. Place one cup of filling on one half of each circle and fold the other half over it. Seal the edges by pressing with a fork. Transfer to cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Cut a 1/2 inch slit on top of each pasty to let out steam. Brush with milk. Bake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes or until golden.

A Sticky Situation

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As Charlie Brown would say, “Aaugh!” I did it again. You would think I would have learned by now, however, that never seems to be the case.

I decided to make dinner rolls. Yum! However, I did not really want all sixteen rolls that the recipe would yield. Easy enough. I proceeded to cut the recipe in half.

Everything was going great and then I added the flour. “Why is this dough so gooey?” I wondered. Then it dawned on me. While I cut all the ingredients in the list portion of the recipe in half, I did not cut the water (which was listed in the instructions) in half. Rats!

So in I throw in the rest of the ingredients to make it a full recipe. Now I am hoping I have not ruined everything as the ingredients are mixed in all out of order. We will be having those sixteen rolls, good or bad, after all.

Well, I have done this sort of thing before. I will be sailing along just fine and then I mess up on one of the ingredients. Some times it is not a big deal. Other times, it is a huge problem. Am I the only one who ever does this?

Learning from my mistakes, I would like to offer home cooks a bit of advice. Write down the altered ingredient amounts on a sticky note and place over the top of the original amounts on the recipe. In this way, the old noggin does not have to think to hard. If a distraction occurs one will not forget to cut the ingredients.

Speaking of sticky notes, I also like to use the sticky note page flags to mark my spot in recipe books. When I am going through a book and making out my shopping list, I stick a flag on the page so that when I am ready to make the recipe that week I do not have to search for it again. The flags can be reused many times before they lose their stick.

By the way, in case anyone was wondering, the sixteen rolls turned out beautifully. A bit more than we needed but they are almost gone.

Making Homemade Pasta…Worth the Time

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Years ago, I took a hands-on pasta making class at a local cooking school. I did so because making pasta seemed overwhelming to me and I was not sure I could do it on my own. However, pasta making is actually very simple and fun to make.

While making pasta from scratch does take longer than opening a box of dried noodles, it is well worth it. It tastes fresh and takes less time to cook than the dried pasta you get at the store. Plus, flavors can be added to the dough to give it a unique taste. Tomato paste, spinach, herbs, etc., can be added to give the pasta color, texture, and flavor. The pasta will be so tasty that heavy sauces will not be required. Fresh tomatoes or a butter sauce compliment the pasta quite nicely.

How does one go about making homemade pasta noodles? First, a pasta machine is required. The hand cranking kind works fine. Mine is an Atlas brand from Italy. Most kitchens will have everything else that is needed. Ingredients are also probably something most people will have as kitchen staples.

The dough can be made in a large mixing bowl. Dry ingredients are put in and a well is made in the center to hold the liquids. Liquids are gently mixed in the well until all dry ingredients are incorporated with the wet. This is then kneaded until smooth and let to rest for ten minutes. The dough is now ready to run through the pasta machine. It’s that simple!

Here is the recipe I use:

Homemade Pasta

  • 1 1/4 c flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 8 tsp water
  • 1 tsp olive oil

In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour and salt. Make a well in the center of the mixture. In a small bowl stir together egg, water, and oil. Pour into well and mix with flour mixture.

Sprinkle kneading surface with flour. Turn dough out onto floured surface. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic- about 8-10 minutes. Cover; let rest for 10 minutes.

Divide the dough in half. Roll dough flat enough to fit in setting #1 in pasta machine. Pass dough through setting #1 four times, folding the dough after each pass and sprinkling with flour. Then roll dough once through settings 2 through 6 sprinkling with flour after each pass. (Do not fold dough on settings 2 through 6.) Repeat with other half of dough.

The dough is now ready to make into noodles. Add the noodle cutting attachment to the pasta maker and pass dough through to cut into noodles. Additionally, if you desire ravioli or lasagna noodles, they could be cut at this stage instead.

Cook pasta in boiling water for about 6 minutes, until floating and done to your liking. (Homemade pasta should not be overcooked. ) Top with your favorite sauce.

Recipe serves approximately 4 persons. Recipe can be doubled.