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Monday, February 28, 2011

Pound Cake with Boiled Icing

Pound Cake w/ Boiled Icing
Have your cake and eat it too! My friend and I wrapped up our baking streak with a delicious almond extract pound cake and made boiled icing for the first time! This pound cake recipe is amazing for wedding cakes and perfect for any fondant creation. It's a nice dense cake for any occasion! Here's the recipe for this Pound Cake:
1 lb butter

3 Cups of Sugar
6 Eggs
4 cups of flour
1 cup of milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla
¼ teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
(Add some almond extract for a hint of almond!)

1. Take 1lb of butter and 3 cups of sugar and mix together until well
blended. Add 1 egg at a time to this mixture. Mix well between each egg.

2. Mix your flour and salt and baking powder together.

3. Mix your milk and vanilla together.

Combine number 2 and 3 with number 1 alternating a bit at a time until well
mixed together.

Bake in a large tube pan for 1 hour and 20 minutes at 300 to 325 degrees.
Check after 1 hour and 15 minutes because everyone oven is different. It
can take a little bit longer or shorter depending on you oven.



I found this great Boiled Icing recipe on www.allrecipes.com :
1 cup white sugar

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar


Directions

  1. Combine sugar, water, corn syrup, and salt in a saucepan; stir until well blended. Boil slowly without stirring until mixture will spin a long thread when a little is dropped from a spoon (hold the spoon high above saucepan), or reaches 238 - 242 degrees F (114 - 117 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, beat egg whites with a mixer until they are stiff, but still moist. Pour hot syrup slowly over egg whites while beating. Continue until mixture is very fluffy, and will hold its shape. Add vanilla, and beat until blended. If icing does not seem stiff enough, beat in 2 or 3 tablespoons confectioners sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until stiff enough to hold its shape. Spread on cake.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Baked Oatmeal

Baked Oatmeal
The Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog has so many great 'homecooking type' recipes! The only problem with some of their recipes is that they are geared for a really big crowd. This morning I tried their Baked Oatmeal but had to half the recipe so I could fit it into an 8" pan. I also used brown sugar, skim milk, and added a 1tsp of vanilla and a tsp of cinnamon, and some dried cranberries to the mix. Here is the recipe broken down:

1/4 oil
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup of sugar
1 1/2 oats
1/4 salt
1 cup of milk

Mix all ingredients and add to a greased 8" pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees for 20 mins. Let it sit for another 15 mins to settle and cool before cutting. This is comfort food at it's best! Perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner! 




Friday, February 25, 2011

Pistachio Pudding


St. Patrick's Day is approaching and why not try some green Pistachio Pudding! These little desserts are topped off with some chocolate frozen yogurt and whip cream with a dark mint 3 Musketeers chocolate bar on the side.

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
 My best friend is visiting me and the family for a few days and we wanted to party it up in the kitchen! We made Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies which were to die for. There are all kinds of different combinations you could make like putting a Reece Peanut Butter Cup into a peanut butter cookie. Oh, the possibilities! These would be great cookies to bring to a party and watch the excitement as people bite into these cookies and find a special surprise! 


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Homemade Mac & Cheese




The smallest thing tends to inspire me. Wondering what to 'throw together' for our lunch I spotted a box of Catelli Bistro tri-colored vegetable pasta (rainbows) and thought it would be nice to make a homemade mac and cheese out of it. This is something I know my little guy would just 'eat up.'
So I checked out a few different recipes and basically decided to do my own version with a few guidelines. I got my pasta boiling (about a cup and a half) and in a smaller pot I added 2 tablespoons of margarine and a tablespoon of whole wheat flour to create a rue (a thickening agent). Once that was stirred and melted together I added a cup of skim milk, a half cup of cheese whiz, and a cup of shredded cheese along with some onion powder, dried oregano, thyme, and parsley. I found it wasn't thickening up enough to my liking so I added about a 1/2 tablespoon of corn starch which helped a lot. Keep stirring this so that it won't stick to the bottom of your pot and when it's ready just put it to the side and drain your pasta then put the pasta back in the pot and pour over the cheese mixture. From there I put it all in a pie glass baking dish and on the top I sprinkled some more shredded cheese, some Parmesan cheese, and Italian bread crumbs. I put it in the oven at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes. For what seemed to be a lot of trouble to go through just to make some mac and cheese I was happy to have tried it out own my own because I knew exactly what ingredients that were being used. It turned out really well, therefore, worth sharing! Leeland especially loved it and wanted seconds which always makes me happy!

Healthy Pumpkin Brownies

Pumpkin Brownies
I still had half a can of pumpkin leftover from the Pumpkin Whoopie Pies recipe and did a google search on what to do with it. The first recipe that came up for Pumpkin Brownies and it looked good so I tried it out! I didn't use any oil instead I did 2 tablespoons of applesauce, used whole wheat flour, and also chopped up half of a 70% dark organic chocolate bar. You could put a cream cheese frosting on these or some whip cream for a little sugar boost or just keep it simple and healthy. These brownies are super moist, high in fiber and a great healthy snack to go with a coffee!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Caramelized Pear Pancakes


Pancakes work great for any meal of the day. Today we enjoyed some caramelized pear pancakes for lunch. Take one ripe pear and slice it up. Add it to some butter/margarine, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla to a frying pan on medium heat. You can use different substitutes instead of brown sugar like maple syrup. I added some dried cranberries and pecans to the mix and drizzled caramel sauce all around. This was a great treat for hubby and I as we have been battling colds the past couple of days. Both of the boys have been sick the past couple of weeks and after lots of cuddles, sneezes and shared runny noses it was bound to catch up with us! We're on the mend now... come on Spring! 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Dragon Fruit & Pad Thai

Spinach, mushroom, cheese omelette & Dragon Fruit
I've been on the hunt to try new fruit out recently and saw that Dragon fruit was on special so thought it was the perfect opportunity to give it a try! The texture and look of it inside is like a kiwi and taste like a pear. It's watery and great to make smoothies out of too. Try a new fruit out next time you're in the produce section!

Veggie Pad Thai
For supper, I enjoyed a meatless meal of Pad Thai VH sauce veggies on top of brown rice. This sauce was a combination of sweet and spicy with a hint of lemon. I've got quite the selection of VH sauces now open in my fridge and it's great to have such variety to choose from!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies!

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
 Whoooopie! These are childhood favorites of mine that my mom used to make but she did chocolate ones. I wanted to find a recipe that used my can of pure pumpkin and I was aiming for pumpkin muffins but came across these beauties on allrecipes.com. I did a bit of substituting as I read the reviews: used 1/2 the oil, added 1/2 cup of applesauce and used whole wheat flour. Here are some great health benefits of pumpkin to check out. These cookies turned out fluffy and moist inside. Here is the recipe for them! http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/Pumpkin-Whoopie-Pies/Detail.aspx

Salmon Potato Patties


I thought of a different way to use my leftover pieces of salmon by making fish cakes. I boiled up a couple of potatoes, mashed them, then put them in the fridge to cool. After they cooled, I added the salmon, some onion powder, parsley flakes, salt, and pepper then formed them into patties. Then I used some Italian bread crumbs to coat them and fried them up with some olive oil in a frying pan. The one thing I forgot to add was an egg to the potato mixture as the binding agent, but it all stayed in patty form so that was good. The sour cream mixed with some dill was the 'cherry on top' and made these cakes a hit.

I used this recipe as a bit of a guideline: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Funcos-Salmon-Fish-Cakes/Detail.aspx

Friday, February 18, 2011

Try some Quinoa on the side!

Lemon, garlic, dill salmon w/ quinoa & roasted asparagus
Salmon is always a hit but our favorite way to enjoy it is with some lemon juice, garlic, and sprinkled dill on top of it baked in the oven. Asparagus was only enjoyed by me tonight so I decided to roast it in the oven. All you need to do is bend off the ends, spread them on a baking sheet, drizzle some olive oil, salt, pepper, and some Parmesan cheese and put it in the oven at 375 degrees for about 10-15 minutes (depending on the thickness of the asparagus... mine were thin). I baked the asparagus at the same time as I did the salmon about 15-20 minutes in total.

I love to try new things and I've been visiting the organic section in the grocery store a lot more now since the prices have come down. In fact, probably 45% of my groceries the other night were all organic just because they were either cheaper or a few cents difference to non-organic. I'm certainly not opposed to non-organic foods but it's fun to be able to buy some of it especially when it's cheaper and obviously better for you in the end. Anyways, I came across some quinoa but I had already had some couscous in my cart which I put back and grabbed the organic quinoa to try out. It was actually really great and happy to have tried it!

(Quinoa (play /ˈknwɑː/ or /kɪˈn.ə/Spanishquinua, from Quechuakinwa), a species of goosefoot (Chenopodium), is a grain-like cropgrown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, or grain, as it is not a member of the grass family. As achenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beetsspinach, and tumbleweeds. Its leaves are also eaten as a leaf vegetable, much like amaranth, but the commercial availability of quinoa greens is currently limited.) - Wikipedia

For dessert I whipped up some sugar-free chocolate pudding and topped it off with some whip cream, caramel sauce, and some mini butterscotch chips. Super easy and super delicious was tonight's meal. 

Chocolate Pudding

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mini Butterscotch Chip Cookies & Spinach Taco Salad


Butterscotch Chip Cookies
I really enjoy surprising my hubby with his 'cookie of the week' for him to take in his lunches. Today I made Butterscotch Chip cookies by using this recipe for Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies and used my PC brand mini butterscotch chips. Nothing healthy about these cookies but I'm sure they'll be a hit with the guys at his work since I am sending along a big bag of them!

Spinach Taco Salad
Chili seasoned hamburger tops this great spinach salad with blue corn tortilla chips. These are one of my favorite salads to make at home! 







Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Toddler Oatmeal Raisin Cookies


I noticed today that my little guy was running low on his snacks so I thought it would be fun to make his very own cookies! I did a search on some toddler type of snacks and found one for Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and I had all the ingredients to boot. They're super healthy and a great snack for us both to share! They're high in fiber with no bad sugars. It always puts a smile on my face to see how excited Leeland gets when I'm baking and taking something out of the oven, especially cookies. Great snack for everyone! 

Leeland enjoying his cookie

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 Tbsp low-sodium baking powder (or 3/4 Tbsp regular baking powder)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup apple juice concentrate
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 egg whites or 1 whole egg
  • 3/4 cup raisins

Directions

Preheat oven at 375F. Coat cookie sheet(s) with vegetable cooking spray. Mix the flour, wheat germ, oats, baking powder, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Combine the juice concentrate, oil, egg, and raisins in a blender. Blend at medium speed until the raisins are chopped. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and stir together. Drop the batter by heaping teaspoons onto the prepared sheets, about 1 inch apart. Flatten each mound with the back of a fork. Bake, being careful not to let the cookies brown and become crispy, about 8 to 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool slightly on the sheets before removing to a plastic bag. (This will prevent the cookies from becoming hard). Wait until cookies are completely cool before closing the plastic bag.
2 or 3 cookie serving: 1+Whole Grain; 3/4 Other Fruit; 1/2 Protein; some Iron.
Marika's Note: I only got 27 small cookies out of this batch. I wonder how they come up with 3 or 4 dozen cookies?!? Did not have to flatten cookies with fork either cause the dough was fairly soft. My son loved the cookies but hated the blender (cried his head off). Recipe found in "What to Expect the First Year" book page 625.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Heart Shaped Pizza & Dessert

Well, we ended off our Valentine's weekend on a great note with some homemade pizza and chocolate cupcakes!


I've never made pizza dough from scratch but thought it would be fun to shape them into hearts. I used this dough recipe  to try out. I did 2 cups of white flour and 1 cup of whole wheat. They turned out well for the first time but next time I may omit the whole wheat flour just so the texture will hold together better. We had some tasty toppings too: bacon, sliced ham, Frank's Sweet and Spicy bbq sauce covered pieces of chicken, and pineapple. Sweet and spicy always go great together!


For dessert I made up some Chocolate cupcakes and topped them off with chocolate ganache which were simply divine with a hot mug of coffee. The perfect way to unwind the evening away.


My hubby made me a light tent and we're both excited to use it for some great food photos. It still has to be tweaked a bit but we had fun trying it out today. More great future foodie photos to come from the tent soon!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pink Valentine Crepes


After a rough couple a days of my little guy feeling under the weather with a throat infection, it was nice to enjoy some family breakfast time this morning. We were up really early but I wanted to make it special so we had some pink crepes (added some red food coloring) with chocolate hazelnut spread, bananas, fresh strawberry sauce, and a drizzle of chocolate sauce. Crepes are just as easy as making pancakes so try them out for something different and add any fillings you want! 



Another great VH sauce we tried : Garlic Hoisin sauce on chicken on top of rice noodles. It was really tasty!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Be My Valentine, Cupcake!


Valentine's Day might be next Monday, but in my family we are celebrating it all weekend long! I love special days like this and will definitely be spoiling my family with some good grub. I've got all kinds of neat ideas up my sleeve.


I'm going to start by showing off these wonderful cupcakes which I had a blast decorating at midnight the other night! One of my favorite shows right now is Cupcake Wars. I'm thankful that we only live one hour from the state of Maine and we're able to cross the border and find some neat things that we can't find here at home. Even Wal-mart in the states is different! I picked up a strawberry pink cake mix, cupcake spiral holder, cupcake papers, sprinkles, and had a blast with a fun icing decorator!


 I didn't make anything from scratch like they do on the show, but had just as much fun putting it all together and capturing the greatness that is: a cupcake! What special things are you doing for your Valentine this weekend?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Fabulous Five


Thought this was interesting: aphrodisiacs. Yes, Valentine's Day is coming up and you either love the day or hate the day. But aphrodisiac type foods are good every day of the week all year long, and I don't mean that in a 'sensual' way because these foods are actually very healthy for you! If you are interested in planning a nice Valentine's Day menu at home, be sure to check out All Recipes.com Valentine's Day menu for lots of great ideas!

Here are the 'Five Fabulous Aphrodisiacs' from All Recipes.com :
1) Almonds
2) Asparagus
3) Avocados
4) Chocolate (especially dark chocolate)
5) Strawberries and Raspberries

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hubby's Spaghetti & Oatmeal Cookies

I probably don't give my husband enough credit or praise sometimes but I can sure make up for it on here! He worked a 12 hour day and while we were both putting the kids in bed he wanted to know if he could make supper. I had hamburger unthawed so I knew he was going to be making his spaghetti which is always awesome. He used regular pasta sauce and added dried oregano, cracked pepper, red chili flakes, dried thyme, Montreal steak spice, and onion powder as his flavor boosters. It was really good and nice to have a break in the kitchen.


So in return as a thank you, I told him I'd bake him some cookies for his lunches this week! I saw this great recipe for Oatmeal Cookies from the Joy of Baking website which also had an instruction video with it. I used whole wheat flour and added dried cranberries and cut up a dark chocolate bar with almonds in it to add to the mix for a healthy boost. They are delicious cookies just as they said they'd be. They're crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. Just perfect.


My hubby and I are all about teamwork not only in the kitchen at times but also with taking care of our boys.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Dinner for 2

  
Hubby and I enjoyed a lemon garlic roasted chicken for supper with potatoes, carrots, and corn. We had a little 'dinner for 2' since we ate after putting the babes in bed. It's great to have family meals but once in awhile it's nice for the 2 of us to sit back and relax over a nice meal. I stuffed the chicken with lemon wedges and whole garlic and even put some garlic in between the skin and breast which gave a nice garlic flavor. After it was placed in the roasting pan I drizzled some olive oil, lemon juice, and sprinkled dried rosemary, salt and pepper on the top. Popped it in the oven for an hour and a half on 350 degrees then took the lid off when it was almost done and turned up the heat to 375 degrees to get a crisp top! This was a great way to end the weekend, hubby's vacation, and a snow day.





Chocolate Pancakes


So today is my hubby's last day off of his vacation so we're making the best of it even though we're snowed in at the moment! The snow is coming down fast and the winds seem to be picking up. I wanted to make some pancakes for breakfast but wasn't sure what to add for flavor. When I looked in my fridge I saw a carton of Organic Chocolate Soy milk staring at me and thought... chocolate pancakes! So I just added that instead of regular milk which my pancake mix calls for (I use PC Organic pancake mix). I also added about a tablespoon of cocoa just to give it a little more chocolate taste and drizzled in some chocolate sauce into the mixture. They tasted great! Needless to say, my big 19 month old as of today loved them.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Spicy Fries


Simple, easy, and oh so good! Make your own french fries and add whatever seasonings you want! We had chili seasoning on our homemade fries. Cut your potatoes up into finger size or thicker, depending on your own preference, then add some olive oil and seasonings. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and bake for 25 minutes turning them over half way through. You could use any kind of potato (even sweet potato). We dipped ours in Franks Red Hot sauce for a little extra kick. So good!

Szechwan Salmon

We love salmon in our house! I should rephrase that: We love 'Atlantic' salmon in our house! I did a little research on the differences between Atlantic and Pacific salmon. Here's a bit of what I found to what is the taste difference between the two:

"The answer is subjective; it depends upon your taste buds. However, Atlantic wild salmon usually isn't sold since it's mostly caught by sports fishermen and not commercial fishermen. Farmed raised salmon is consistently fresh and flavorful because it's shipped as soon as it's killed and gutted. Pacific wild salmon, which is readily available in West coast fish stores, is leaner than Atlantic salmon although its taste varies depending upon where it was caught. Pacific wild salmon varies in taste depending upon where it was caught and this adds to its interesting flavors." http://www.suite101.com/content/almost-everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-salmon-a327016


Salmon trimmings are great to use because they cost less and are already cut up and perfect for stirfrys. You do have to make sure there are no bones. 



Tonight we enjoyed some salmon trimmings baked in the oven (for about 15 minutes) with some VH Szechwan sauce, whole grain brown rice, and veggies.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Carrot Muffins

Carrot Muffins
I got quite the chuckle after my friend made a batch of carrot muffins from her Mennonite cookbook she had and told me the recipe 'could feed an army.' She was kind enough to half the recipe for me so that it made 12 muffins instead of 24. I love carrot muffins so I had to try out her recipe! I used applesauce in place of the oil.

 Here it is in order to made 12:
1cup brown sugar
3/4c whole wheat flour
3/4c white flour
1tsp baking soda
1tsp baking powder
1tsp cinnamon
1tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup chopped raisins
1cup grated carrots
Pinch salt
2 eggs

Bake 375 for 15 min



Thanks Somer, they are delicious! 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Teriyaki Potroast

Teriyaki Potroast
One of the best things about being stuck inside during a snowstorm is turning on the slowcooker. I had a nice roast sitting in the crock pot and instead of adding my traditional beef broth and minced garlic, I grabbed a bottle of VH Teriyaki cooking sauce and added enough just to cover the top of the roast. Talk about a risky move! I don't know if it's Chinese New Year rubbing off on me but I've been all about the Asian flavors lately. Also added some cubed up potatoes and baby carrots to the mix and let it cook for 4 hours. As it was warming, I wok fried some broccoli and mushrooms. It actually turned out pretty good and there was lots of juices in the pot from the sauce and roast to put over the meat and veggies. It was fun to take such a traditional meal and add a bit of mixed flavor to it! Think of a staple meal you cook in your home and try to jazz it up... you might just surprise yourself and your family!

Banana-Strawberry Muffins

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Mimis-Giant-Whole-Wheat-Banana-Strawberry-Muffins/Detail.aspx
 What do you do when you have frozen strawberries in your freezer and three ripe bananas to use up? Make muffins! Here is a fantastic healthy muffin recipe! The only thing I changed was the type of applesauce used. I had Mott's unsweetened Apple Pomegranate individual cups which is exactly a half cup as needed. I also chopped up the frozen strawberries into smaller pieces as suggested in the reviews and added a whole frozen strawberry to the top for decoration. Try these out, you won't be disappointed!