Saturday, December 19, 2009

Super Secret Family Recipe...Shhhh. Brun Kager

For many years my husband has waxed poetic about these cookies his mom makes.

I asked for the recipe several times, and always got the 'oh yeah, I'll have to write it down...' But the recipe never materialized.

Well, a couple of weeks ago, I was visiting with her and she HAD THE RECIPE! I grabbed a pen and a receipt out of my purse and scrawled the recipe down. It was pretty cryptic. So, I had to make a few batches before I got them right. Or, as my husband says, ALMOST like his mom's. Ha. Ha ha.

I think they're pretty darn good. A great cookie with a cup of coffee or tea.

By the way, I've found many other recipes for Brun Kager online, none like this one. Most I've found are more like a spice cookie. So imagine all the failed attempts I had before I got the actual recipe from my MIL. Gah.

Brun Kager (Brown Cookie)


1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 Tbs Lyles Golden Syrup (would be by the Karo Syrup, if the store has it. I found mine at Cost Plus World Market)
2 cups plus 2 Tbs flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder (usually located next to the vanilla extract - not all stores have it)

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream butter, sugar and golden syrup.

Sift flour baking soda and vanilla powder together. Add to wet ingredients. Mix well. This dough is SUPER DRY. Think biscuit dough.

Once the dough is combined, form into four equal balls. Roll each ball out into a hot dog-esque shape, about 3/4 - 1" in diameter (the recipe I was given said wieners - I am totally five years old - I laughed every time I looked at it). This is what it will look like:

I'm showing an example because this is where I was hung up. For some reason I thought I had to cut them into little disks from the wiener. WIENER.

No. The wieners go into the oven WHOLE.

Bake for 15 minutes. The dough will spread out. Cut on the diagonal while still warm. Let cool a bit, and devour.

I would post a photo of the finished cookies, but I forgot to take a shot before they were all gone. What can I say? We're cookie monsters.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Got Apples?

This post is dedicated to Jenny, who is going to kill me if I don't post something on this here blog. Which, yes, has been dreadfully neglected! I will work on that! I promise! I honestly haven't been cooking much these days unless you count Instant Breakfast shakes, grilled cheese and Ensure - but now that I am no longer a caregiver, I get to cook the stuff I like again (the person I was caring for has completed cancer treatment and is back at her home).

That said, I AM watching what I eat, so I'm not making this right now. Why? Because it is so good I could sit and eat the entire pan with a spoon.

Oh yeah, I love the name of this dish too. I'm not sure where this recipe is from (I got it from a luncheon), but I would wager either a garden club or church cookbook.

Apple Impromptu

4 cups sliced apples
¼ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup butter
1 large egg
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
¾ cup flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange apple slices in a 9-inch greased pan or pie plate. Sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. While apples are baking, cream together ¾ cup sugar and butter. Add egg and vanilla and beat well. Stir in flour and baking powder. When apples have baked for 20 minutes, remove from oven and spread topping mixture over all. Return to oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. You can garnish with whipped cream, if you like.

Makes six respectable servings or one embarrssing/comfort eating sized serving.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Grilled Thai Beef Salad

Of all the Ellie Krieger recipes I've tried so far, this one is HANDS DOWN my favorite. Dare I say it? The perfect summer meal.

I modified the recipe a bit (as usual) - I added more veggies, used scallions instead of shallots, put a little sesame oil and rice vinegar in the marinade/dressing, and threw some rice noodles in to give it a bit more heft so it would be more of an entree type dish.

The original recipe is here.

And this is what I did:

Thai Beef Salad (adapted from Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger)

1 pound top-round London broil or flank steak, about 1 to 1 1/2-inches thick
3 tablespoons lime juice, divided
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 1/4 teaspoons red curry paste
1/2 head green leaf lettuce (about 6 cups)
1/2 red bell pepper, julienned
1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, rinsed and dried
1 cup basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
1 cup rice noodles

Make it:

Rinse and pat the meat dry. Place in a sealable plastic bag or small glass dish. In a medium bowl combine 1 tablespoon of the lime juice, soy sauce, canola oil, sesame oil, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and red curry paste. Pour half the mixture into the bag with the meat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice to the bag. Seal tightly, and marinate meat in refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight, turning occasionally. Reserve the rest of the mixture refrigerated, to dress the salad.

Spray grill or grill pan with cooking spray and preheat. Grill steak until medium-rare, about 5 minutes per side, depending on desired doneness. Let rest until room temperature then slice thinly against the grain.

Soak rice noodles in boiling water till softened, about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water to halt cooking and bring noodle temperature down.

Combine lettuce, scallions, red pepper, carrots, rice noodles, cilantro, basil and beef in a salad bowl, reserving a few scallions for garnish. Add the reserved dressing and toss to coat. Divide salad among 4 plates and garnish with reserved sliced shallots.

A few notes:
- As always, USE FRESH GINGER. Store what you don't use in the freezer in an airtight container.
- Next time I make this, I may go a little lighter on the basil. It was a little overpowering for my taste.
- Cucumber would be lovely in this salad.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Not Fried Zuchinni Fries

Does anybody else have zucchini coming out of their ears?

I guess it's that time of year. I hate to let it go to waste, but if I bake and eat another loaf of chocolate zucchini bread...well, let's just say it won't be good.

I remember a long time ago I used to get fried zucchini at Red Robin. They were basically like tempura spears of zucchini served with marinara. YUM.

But, I don't deep fry - for two reasons - I don't like my house smelling like a fast food joint and, though delicious, deep fried foods aren't good for you... I know. No one ever told me that either. HA HA.

I found a couple of baked zucchini fry recipes and tinkered around. I decided to make mine in rounds, rather than spears.

Why? Cause I'm lazy, that's why.


2 zucchini
1 egg white
1/4 cup nonfat milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 tsp dried Italian herbs
jarred marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 425°. Cut 2 zucchini into 1/2 inch rounds. Whisk egg white in a small bowl, and add 1⁄4 cup milk. Combine 1⁄2 cup shredded Parmesan and 1⁄2 cup breadcrumbs and the herbs in a separate bowl. Dip zucchini sticks into egg mixture, and then roll in breadcrumb mixture. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray, and place zucchini on sheet. Bake for 25–30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with marinara for dipping. Makes about 32 fries.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Broccoli Cranberry Salad

Yes, I will admit that broccoli salad is very church potluck-y. Kind of like green bean casserole and ambrosia salad.

But come on. It's really good.

No, really. The dressing is so tangy, the broccoli is crunchy, and there's bacon. BACON. Do I need to say anything else? Bacon.

I made this the other day for a family get together and came home with no leftovers. So I would say that's a good sign.

Also, it couldn't be easier.


1 lb broccoli florets (do yourself a favor and buy the bagged kind - I won't tell)
1/2 cup chopped red (or purple) onion
6 slices bacon, crumbled (turkey or regular)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup regular or light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
salt and freshly ground pepper

In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.
Add the broccoli, onion, bacon and cranberries. Toss gently. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

CEiMB: Cobb Salad

I am a Cobb salad connoisseur. Big time. Obsessively.

Yet, for some reason, I've never made one at home. I attribute that to the long list of ingredients. But I know that if I did keep everything on hand, I would probably eat a Cobb salad daily.

Needless to say, I was pretty excited to try this recipe. Plus, it hot as an oven here right now (101 degrees yesterday, a virtual inferno for us tender Pacific Northwesterners), so a salad was a perfect dish to 'cook' (or not cook).

Though I did have to boil some eggs. That was rough.

I made a few substitutions. First of all, I do not like ham. I simply need BACON on my Cobb salad. Sorry. It's true and it's an abomination to leave out the bacon. End of story.

And, I used lettuce from my garden, which is butter, I believe, and used spinach in lieu of watercress to up the nutrition factor.

Here is the original recipe.

Here's my version:

For the Dressing:

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 small clove garlic, microplaned
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:

5 strips bacon, crumbled
2 hard-boiled eggs
6 cups butter lettuce (about 6 ounces) torn into bite sized pieces
2 cups baby spinach
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 2 cups)
1/2 avocado, diced (about 3/4 cup)
1 cup cooked diced chicken breast 1 (6-ounce) breast
1/2 cup crumbled Roquefort or Blue cheese (about 2 ounces)

Directions In a small bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients and set aside.

Remove and discard the yolk from 1 of the hard boiled eggs. Chop the remaining egg white and whole egg and set aside.

In a large bowl toss the lettuce and spinach with 2/3 of the dressing. Put the dressed greens onto a large serving dish. Place the tomatoes on top forming a row down the middle. In strips on either side of the tomatoes place the avocado, chicken, cheese, diced egg, and the bacon on top of the greens. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and serve.

So, I have to admit I'm not crazy about the dressing. I like a blue cheese dressing with my Cobb. I think what threw me off was the Worcestershire - I usually love it, but it was a little too strong in the dressing.

That said, overall, very good salad. A good staple recipe to pull out on hot days.

A few notes:

- I did my bacon on the grill - 300 degrees, flipping every 5 minutes. This got rid of a ton of fat, the bacon was super crispy, and my house didn't smell like a Denney's.

- Use a rotisserie chicken! I was so glad I picked one up, there was no way I wanted to cook chicken in this heat!

P.S. Excuse my picture. I was ravenous and couldn't be bothered to take a proper, in focus photo!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

CEiMB: Aromatic Noodles with Lime Peanut Sauce

I love love love Asian food. And my husband doesn't.

Which was FINE BY ME this week, because I got to eat the AMAZING dish all by myself. It took me three days to eat through the entire thing, and it was better each day (it is good cold and hot).

Last Sunday I had an afternoon to myself. My lovely husband watched the kiddo and I was able to go shopping child free.

I took the opportunity to hit an Asian market near our home I'd never tried, but had heard the produce was incredible.

And, wow. Just wow. Super fresh, beautifully displayed and CHEAP. Heaven. Hunks of ginger the size of my forearm. Every chili known to mankind. Gorgeous fresh herbs.

Let's just say I'm NEVER buying produce at my regular grocer again.

So, armed with this recipe, I set out and was able to find all my ingredients.

For the noodles, I found fresh spinach noodles in the refrigerated section. I also mixed the veggies and the noodles together, rather than topping the noodles with the veg. I'd like to say that was a stylistic thing, but honestly I'm kind of ADD and didn't read the recipe thoroughly. Oops.

Other than that, I really made no substitutions in this recipe. I had read some reviews saying this was too peanutty, so I cut the nuttiness with extra lime juice in the dressing, and also doubled the red pepper flake - cause I like it SPICY.

(I wouldn't particularly call this toddler friendly, what with nuts and spice. For my little man, I just cooked a larger amount of noodles and vegetables, and tossed the extra with a little sesame oil and soy sauce. He gobbled it right up.)

So, without further ado, I present Aromatic Noodles with Lime Peanut Sauce (original recipe is here). You really need to make this. I'm not even joking.


3/4 pound spinach linguine or whole-wheat spaghetti
2 cups (about 9 ounces) broccoli florets
2 cups (about 6 ounces) snow peas, trimmed
2 cups (about 6 ounces) sugar snap peas, trimmed
1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 scallion, cut into pieces
3/4 inch fresh ginger, finely grated
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped

Cook the pasta in a large pot of water according to the directions on the package. Drain and rinse with cold water.

While the pasta is cooking put the broccoli in a steamer basket over a large pot of boiling water and steam it for 3 minutes. Add the snow peas and sugar snap peas and steam for 2 minutes more.

Make the sauce by pureeing the peanut butter, soy sauce, water, vinegar, lime juice, scallion, ginger, sugar and red pepper flakes in a food processor or blender until smooth.

Right before serving, toss the pasta and vegetables with the peanut sauce. Divide into 6 serving bowls. Coarsely chop the peanuts, sprinkle them on top and serve.


Use fresh ginger for this. If I ever catch you using ginger powder in lieu of fresh I will beat you with the spice jar. Fresh ginger is CHEAP and keeps in the freezer forever. Rant over.

Did I mention this is the greenest dish I have ever made? I think throwing in some chopped cilantro would make it even better, and even greener. And maybe serve with lime wedges for a little extra citrus kick.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Pesto Chicken Breast Over Greek Salad

I had a ton of basil sitting in the fridge yesterday, on the verge of going bad.

Which was great, because that means PESTO!!

I didn't have pine nuts on hand (if you are one of those people who does - wow - I am impressed), but I did have blanched, slivered almonds.



2 cups fresh basil leave
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup almonds (without skin)
3 medium sized garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste

Throw everything except the olive oil in the food processor. Pulse it a few times, then turn it on and slowly drizzle the olive oil into the mixture as it blends. DONE.

So, dinner rolls around and I've got this pesto. And it's WAY too hot out for pasta. And I really want to grill.

I had chicken breast in the fridge - and thought I'd give the pesto a try as a marinade.


Four boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup almond pesto
olive oil for grill

Combine the chicken and pesto in a ziploc bag. Squish it around a bit to cover all the chicken. Allow to marinate for at least one hour, up to overnight.

Heat the grill to medium high heat. Brush the grill grates with olive oil. Place the chicken breasts onto the grill. Try to leave as much of the pesto coating on as possible, the almonds make a nice crust.

Don't overcook! Dry chicken is gross. But don't undercook, salmonella is grosser.

This chicken would be lovely with rice, or some nice roasted potatoes.

But I wanted a salad. I had fresh lettuce from the garden.

(2 meal sized servings, 4 side servings)

2 cups lettuce, torn - I like a softer lettuce for this, like green leaf or butter
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 english cucumber, chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes - I leave them whole - you could slice in half
1/2 cup crumbled feta
10 pitted kalamata olives
Olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon, salt & pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Dress with the olive oil, red wine vinegar, and fresh squeezed lemon. Season with salt and pepper to taste - remember, you'll get quite a lot of salt from the feta.

Top with the warm pesto chicken breast.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

CEiMB: Breakfast Cookies

Cookies for breakfast? Yes please!

I've always been a breakfast cookie fan. Erin Baker's Breakfast Cookies are from the town where I grew up. In fact, I was a personal assistant for a short time and would almost weekly drive to their little production kitchen (when they were still a small company) and pick up 4 dozen for my boss. Yes, he ate that many.

Of course, Baker's Breakfast Cookies are all over the place these days (even Costco!). I've always wanted to try my hand at making breakfast cookies - because seriously, who wants to drop $1.50 per cookie? Not me.

I have to say, I am SO happy with how these cookies turned out. I was a little skeptical, as I always am with anything perceived to be a 'healthy' baked good. But really, these are REALLY good.

I did make a couple of substitutions - I used chocolate chunks and dried cranberries in lieu of raisins and walnuts. My son hasn't tried nuts yet and I wanted him to be able to have a cookie or two without the worry of sending him into anaphylactic shock. Plus, HELLO? Chocolate. Always necessary in most cookies involving oatmeal.

I also used some baby puree from the freezer leftover from when G was still eating strained foods. There were a few varieties to choose from - yams were tempting - but I settled on a pear and carrot mix.

The original recipe is here. And the recipe with my substitutions is below:


3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup carrot and pear puree (you could used jarred baby food)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup bran cereal flakes (I used Wheaties, I had them in the house)
1/3 cup chocolate chunks
1/3 cup dried cranberries (I bet dried cherries would be FANTASTIC!)

Place rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together flours, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Combine butter, oil and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on high speed, scraping down sides if necessary, until sugars have dissolved and mixture is light in color, about 1 minute. Add egg, carrot puree and vanilla and beat an additional 30 seconds. Add flour mixture and beat an additional 30 seconds. Add oats, flakes, raisins and walnuts and mix over low speed just until incorporated. Dough will be slightly sticky and less cohesive than traditional cookie dough. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using between 3 to 4 tablespoons of batter, form a ball and place on cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining batter, leaving about 3 inches between cookies. Wet hands and use palm of hand to flatten cookies until about 1/4-inch thick. Bake for 12 minutes, until cookies are fragrant but still soft. Let cookies cool slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

A few notes:

- Double the recipe and freeze the cookies for a quick and healthy breakfast
- Please try the freshly grated nutmeg. It is SO much better than the pre-ground stuff, and whole nutmeg keeps FOREVER in you cupboard. Just sayin.
- These are good enough to pass for a real cookie - not just for breakfast!

Head on over to Craving Ellie in My Belly for more reviews and recipes.

Monday, June 29, 2009

I Won!

Okay, today is a good day.

I won the Cedar Plank kit from Food Blogga.

I can't tell you how excited I am to try it. Coming from a commercial fishing family, it's a complete embarrassment I've never used planks for grilling. Just straight on the barbecue or broiled.

So, hopefully next week, I'll be outside grilling with the planks and trying out this recipe!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pea Salad

I bring this salad to almost every potluck/cookout. Everyone always asks for the recipe, and I'm almost embarrassed at how simple it is.

But then again, food does not always need to be complicated to be great.

So, without further ado, my Pea Salad.


2 small bags frozen peas
1 can water chestnuts, chopped
3 stalks green onion, diced
1 stalks celery, diced
1 green pepper...wait for it...diced
1/2-3/4 cup mayonnaise, depending on how mayonnaise-ey you like it
1/3 cup salted, dry roasted peanuts

Combine everything except the peanuts in a large bowl. You'll want to use the peas in their frozen state as it is much easier to mix everything together this way. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate. I usually make this the night before to let all the flavors combine and the peas thaw. But if you need to make it the day of, pull the salad out an hour before serving to make sure you're not serving frozen peas.

Mix the peanuts into the salad directly before serving.

The Return of Saturday Roundup

Hey there. It's been a while.

I missed you. Really, I did.

Between Father's Day and our house guests last week, I've been ever so neglectful.

Let's talk about some great grub, shall we?

White Bean, Chicken and Poblano Chili from Zolo Grill in Boulder via Everyday With Rachael Ray. This has become a family favorite. My mom even served it on Christmas Eve last year.

Asian Pear Mojito. So refreshing. Very dangerous. This is a copycat of the original from P.F. Changs.

Crockpot Mongolian Beef
from A Year of Slow Cooking. Though I love the idea of crockpots, I'm highly wary of most crockpot recipes. But this was seriously good. Seriously.

Have you tried anything noteworthy recently? Do tell!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

CEiMB Review: Jambalaya with Shrimp and Ham

I'll put it out there. I'm not a ham fan. I have never liked it. My brother doesn't either - but my mother has a block on that fact and still serves it up every single Easter. And then is surprised EVERY SINGLE YEAR when we don't eat it.

So, right off the bat, I decided to substitute something for the ham in this recipe. I saw that someone had used andouille sausage instead - and that sounded SO MUCH BETTER.
I picked up some chicken andouille at Trader Joe's. I also added some poblano into the mix to heat things up a bit. I like my jambalaya SPICY! The only other substitution I made is with the shrimp. I thought I had a bag of frozen shrimp in my freezer - turns out all I had was a mix of shrimp, calamari, and scallops. They worked beautifully.

Let me tell you, this was delicious! My picky husband ate it (well, he picked out the veggies) and my 17 month old kept on asking for 'bite? bite?'. I was worried it might be too spicy for him, but he loved it, and had a whole bowlful for lunch yesterday.

Did I mention that this is even better the next day?

Below you'll find the recipe with my modifications. The original recipe is here.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 poblano pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more, to taste (I used A LOT more)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more, to taste
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
6 ounces diced chicken andouille sausage (this works out to 2 Trader Joe's sausages)
2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can no-salt added diced tomatoes
1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
1 pound mixed seafood (calamari, shrimp and scallops)
Hot pepper sauce

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over a medium heat. Add the onion, peppers and garlic and saute until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Mix in the next 11 ingredients, salt through the diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Stir in the rice, cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until rice is done and most of the liquid is absorbed. Add the shrimp and cook, covered, for 5 minutes more, or until shrimp is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve with hot pepper sauce.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Saturday Roundup

I haven't been cooking much these last few weeks - I've been caring for an extra child so by the time evening rolls around, I'm a zombie. We've had a few hot dog or pizza night of late.

I did manage to try out a few new things:

General Tsao's Chicken a la Weight Watchers. Surprisingly good!

Did you know Gywneth Paltrow has a food newsletter? Anyhow, scroll halfway down the page... check out Katie Lee Joel's (yes - married to the great Billy Joel) Dark Chocolate Chunk and Dried Cherry Cookies. Yum!

Marinated Greek Chicken Kabobs. I added a few cloves of chopped garlic to the marinade.

Jessica Seinfeld's Sweet Potato Pancakes. If you have a pancake obsession like I do, you'll love these. They're a great way to sneak some veggies into your kids (or husband's) breakfast as well.

Have you tried anything lately you loved? Comment below and tell me about it!

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Review: Double Chocolate Pudding Pie

So I've joined this group called Craving Ellie in My Belly. Every week, we try out an Ellie Krieger recipe and share our results.

This weeks recipe is Double Chocolate Pudding Pie. I volunteered to bring dessert to a dinner at a friend's house this week - so I had the perfect opportunity to try it out. Plus, it's been pretty warm around here, so a nice cool pudding pie sounded like just the ticket.

Overall, I thought it was pretty good. It needed a little more crust, and the pie filling itself was a little too gelatinous for my liking. And I've never worked with plain gelatin before - that stuff smells nasty. Like a horse. But I digress.

I will probably make it again, but next time I might use less gelatin and more cornstarch. But for a low fat, healthy dessert, not bad.

And I did try to photograph the pie, but it kept on coming out looking, well, jello-y and shiny. So here's a photo of my son after enjoying a few bites.

He liked it! Really!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Lime in the Coconut Pops

Good god almighty, these are good.

No photo, cause they're a bore to look at, but to eat? OHMYGOODNESS.


1 can light coconut milk
16 ounces yogurt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup water
zest of one lime (if you're feelin' fancy)

In a saucepan, bring the sugar, water and lime juice to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in lime zest.

In a large bowl, or blender, combine the coconut, yogurt and lime/sugar/water mixture. Mix well. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.

I haven't tried it yet, but I'm thinking rum might be a good addition to these frozen treats. But then, isn't rum ALWAYS a good add?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Mango Orange Yogurtsicles

We are having unseasonally warm weather these last few weeks. And by warm, I mean over 60.
And if feels amazing. It's the only way I can stand to live in the Pacific Northwest - the handful of truly gorgeous weeks we are granted yearly.

Warm weather like this calls for cool treats! I ordered up these popsicle molds a few weeks back and just had to give them a try.

This is a recipe close to one my mom used to make for us as children. Except she didn't use the mango - just orange juice concentrate and yogurt (also very yummy).


16 ounces plain yogurt
2 cups frozen mango chunks (you could use fresh, but I had frozen handy - from Trader Joe's)
1/2 cup orange juice concentrate

Throw all the ingredients in the blender. Blend till smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.

EAT. Outside on a lounge chair, preferably.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saturday Roundup

Here we are with another Saturday Roundup. We're looking at a weekend in the upper 70's - woop woop! - so I'm considering leaving the stove and oven untouched for the weekend.

Yes, the grill will do just fine!

Here are a few 'no cook' recipes that I dig. Enjoy!

Hot and Cold Sesame Noodles from Rachael Ray. I don't care that the uber-foodies don't like her. She's my kind of gal. And this salad is so good, and you can eat off of it for days.

Mesclun, Cherry and Goat Cheese Salad from Food Blogga. This looks so good I'm ready to lick the screen. Mmmmm.

Summer Barbecue Menu
from The Kitchen Sink Recipes. Blue Cheese Coleslaw? Chipotle Turkey Burgers? Sweet Corn with Paprika Butter? Wowsa. Must go to the grocery store RIGHT NOW.

Curried Egg Salad from 101 Cookbooks. As a non-egg eater, it says a lot that this is fabulous.

Happy Saturday!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tilapia Tacos with Avocado Cream

So, tacos don't seem to photograph well.

But these are REALLY delicious. I'm pretty sure you could put the avocado cream sauce on a shoe and it would be delectable.

I just discovered tilapia recently... it's a nice, mild white fish. A good fish for those who are fish beginners. And did I mention it is inexpensive? Double bonus.


For the fish:
frozen tilapia fillets - 1 for each person
1 lime, thinly sliced
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
ground cumin

For the Avocado Cream:
1 large ripe avocado
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup sour cream
1 large clove garlic, grated on microplane
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder

corn tortillas, 2 for each person
cabbage or lettuce, chopped (I prefer cabbage - it's more traditional for fish tacos)
shredded sharp cheddar cheese
diced tomatoes
fresh cilantro
avocado slices
chunky salsa
lime slices for squeezing

Preheat the oven to 400. Arrange the frozen tilapia in a pan, dot with butter, sprinkle with salt, pepper and cumin, and lay lime slices over each fillet.

Place the tilapia in the oven, it will bake about 30 minutes.

While the fish is working, make your avocado cream sauce. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender (or you can use an immersion blender) and whiz till smooth and creamy. Check for seasonings - add more to your taste.

Prep the accouterments. I sometimes fry the corn tortillas in a little bit of vegetable oil, or sometimes I just warm them in the microwave. The frying tastes better (what doesn't taste better fried?) but isn't as healthy. The choice is yours. I fry mine in a deep, heavy saucepan with about an inch of oil over medium high heat. I only fry them for about 20-30 seconds - you want the tortilla to still be pliable - and then drain over paper towels.

When the fish is ready (flaky and opaque), remove from the oven. Break the fish into chunks, and assemble the tacos.

And yes, you'll need napkins. Lots of napkins...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Saturday Roundup: What I'm Loving This Week.

Lazy Saturday. Well, blog lazy, that is.

House is hideous, so I'll be spending a lot of time cleaning (boo!) , and the rest outside (hurrah!).

Just a quick post with some links for food I'm loving this week.

Rhubarb Squares from Jonquils and Ladybugs: Made these last night, amazing!

Chocolate Cake in a Mug from Life of Elle: Awesome for a quick chocolate fix.

Rhubarb Soda from Culinate: Yes, I love rhubarb. Why do you ask?

Shoyu Chicken Thighs from Beanplate: These are amazing!

Happy Saturday everyone! I'm thinking it's grilling type of day.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sour Cream & Yogurt Blueberry Mini Muffins

A few months back I purchased a mini muffin tin and I can't tell you why, but I'm obsessed. Probably because a) mini things are cute and b) I don't feel so bad eating several when they're MINI.

I love these muffins because they're not too sweet. I've never been a fan of store bought muffins - which are basically unfrosted cupcakes. You can adjust the sugar in these muffins to your taste, and I've also made them with Splenda, and they turned out surprisingly well. This recipe also can be made with nonfat dairy products over full fat, if you're concerned about the fat content.

This recipe makes about 12 full sized muffins or 36 mini.


Wet Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Dry Ingredients:

1 egg
3 1/2 Tablespoons warm melted unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
3 Tablespoons milk

3/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Spray your muffin tin lightly with nonstick spray (you can use any size muffin tin you like).

In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients. In another bowl, mix the wet ingredients. Add the dry to the wet and mix together with a few light strokes - do not over mix. The batter will resemble biscuit dough. Gently fold in blueberries.

Spoon batter into muffin tin, filling 3/4 full. Bake for about 10-11 minutes for mini muffins, 13-14 for standard size - check with a toothpick - if it comes out clean, they're done.

Let rest in muffin tin for 2 to 3 minutes.

These freeze beautifully and are great for little hands. Though the blueberries may cause a bit of a mess!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cheesy Creamy Acini Di Pepe with Veg

You may be saying - what the heck is Acini di Pepi? Well, it's pasta. Tiny, tiny pasta. When cooked, it looks kind of like tapioca. You may have had it in one of it's more hideous preparations, Frogs Eye Salad - kind of like ambrosia with little pasta mixed in.


I like this incarnation much better. It's warm and comforting and just the right amount of chewy.

This recipe will feed two adults well, with enough leftover for a little one. This would serve several as a side dish.


2 T flour
2 T unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup Acini Di Pepe (you could also substitute orzo)
1 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
1 cup frozen veggies - I used mixed carrots, corn and peas
sea salt to taste

Cook Acini di Pepe according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium high heat. Whisk in the flour. Keep whisking flour and butter for a few minutes, until it is golden and the flour-y taste has cooked out. Slowly whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, still whisking, and reduce heat. The sauce should start to thicken up at this point. Add the cheese, keep whisking until it melts. Add salt to taste.

In the last minute of cooking the pasta, add the vegetables. Drain and mix with the cheese sauce. Serve hot. Unless it's for a little kid. Then let it cool a bit. Duh!

And one more thing ... double the cheese sauce recipe and freeze the remainder in a small freezer bag. Then you won't have to make the cheese sauce, just the pasta, next time you make the this recipe. Or, eat it on broccoli. Yum!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mama's Ribs

I will never profess to be the greatest cook in the world, but I think that I've got a few failproof recipes up my sleeve. This is one of them. My husband would probably eat these every night given the chance.

To modify this for children, I'd cut back on the chili flake a bit. Oh yeah, make sure they're wearing a bib. And don't worry about the beer. It'll help them sleep. JUST KIDDING. It cooks out. Dude, chill!


2 lbs country style pork ribs (either bone-in or boneless)
1 medium sweet onion roughly chopped.
1 T red pepper flake (more or less to your taste)
1 bottle of beer (I find a domestic macro works better than microbrews)
1 cup bbq sauce of your preference
olive oil

Turn the oven on to 300F. On the stovetop, heat to med/high heat a large dutch oven and go round a few times with the olive oil. Saute the onion and the red pepper flake in the oil till onion is translucent, push to the sides of the dutch oven. Add a bit more oil and lay down the ribs (which you've already seasoned with salt & pepper). Sear on all sides. Pour the beer into the dutch oven and use a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits from the bottom (the fancy term for this is deglazing).

Put the lid on the dutch oven and place in the oven. Set the timer for about two hours. At two hours, pull the dutch oven out and get rid of all of the cooking liquid except for about an inch on the bottom. Add the bbq sauce and mix well. Cover the dutch oven and place back in the oven till the bbq sauce is sticky - ususally about another 1/2 hour.

Serve as pieces of meat or shred it up for pulled pork.

I won't even give any kind of nutrition information because you probably don't even want to know (I know I don't).

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bowties With Ricotta Tomato Sauce

Tonight I made this for the second time for the kiddo - and for the second time, he scarfed it down like a little wolverine.

I think we have a winner.

I liken this to a deconstructed lasagna - but without the meat or the hassle.

Serves two hungry adults, or several munchkins.


1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, grated or microplaned
6 campari or plum tomatoes, diced (you could also use 2 large beefsteak or about 2 cups grape)
1 tsp dried Italian herbs
8 oz part skim ricotta
8 oz dried farafalle (bow tie) pasta
1/4 cup shredded parmesan, plus extra for serving

Prepare pasta according to the box. While the pasta is boiling ...

Heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Saute the onion and garlic until soft. Add the tomatoes - make sure to include any juice that had escaped during the chopping. Also add the herbs at this time. Keep stirring, reduce heat to medium. Add a pinch or two of sea salt. Keep stirring. When the tomatoes are nice and broken down, add the ricotta and reduce heat to low. Mix the ricotta into the tomatoes, smashing out any lumps as you go. When the ricotta is nicely incorporated, stir in the parmesan.

Drain the pasta, leaving it a bit wet with the cooking water. Toss the pasta with the sauce.
Serve with shredded parmesan.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cooking with Mama

I love food. I love blogging. I have lots of recipes in my back pocket that I haven't posted because I don't see my personal blog as a 'food blog'.

So here we are.

Never will I profess to be a trained chef. I am not. But I am dedicated to feeding my family wholesome, interesting food as much as possible.

Yes, I admit, the occasional chicken nugget and fluorescent mac and cheese finds it's way to our plates ... and I did make the mistake of introducing my husband to the fish stick sandwich. Yes, it is that disgusting (and delicious)!

I am on a mission to bring up my son with an adventurous palate and perhaps, fingers crossed, get my husband to try a few new things! Join me. It could get interesting!