Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Product recommendation

I have 2 product recommendations. They both stem from the fact that I have to hand wash all our dishes, since we have no dishwasher. It is usually a 20 minute task everyday, which may not sound like much, but to find the time to stay in one place for 20 minutes with 3 kids running around is usually a miracle. So, anything that lessens that task is welcome in my house.

The first thing I recommend, and it may sound silly, is parchment paper. Seriously, this stuff is my new best friend. Nothing, and I mean, nothing sticks to it. I line every backing sheet I have with it and never have to wash them. I have made cookies, roasted potatoes, and now pumpkins seeds on it.

Second, recommendation is silicon bakeware. It took me forever to finally break down and buy it, since I already had the regular stuff and saw it as an "extra" I couldn't justify. Well, it seriously is wonderful! I have small silicon loaf pans, and have made bread and meatloaf in them and NOTHING sticks. And all you have to do, like if you are making bread, is turn the things inside out, and pop, out it comes.

So, there you have it, my humble opinion on two, must haves for any kitchen. Basic things maybe, but they will save you a lot of time and frustration.

Recipe of the Day

As I mention before, Timm is doing this detox program, and because of that is on a strict diet. So, i have been trying to adjust recipes to make interesting dinners for us. Last night I made this vegetarian pasta and it turned out pretty good. I came up with it on my own, so amounts are a bit shady. I would make it to your own taste.

"Almost" Spaghetti:


1 package (8oz) Rice pasta
2 cans organic tomato sauce
1/2 cup lentils
3/4 cup water
1-2 cups diced zucchini (mine was straight out of the freezer so it was already soft, if yours is fresh you might want to saute it first to soften it.)
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
Italian seasining
garlic powder
red pepper flakes


In a pot, combine tomato sauce, zucchini, and herbs and spices (to taste). Begin to cook over med-low heat. In a seperate pan saute onion and garlic in a little olive oil until softened. Add onion/garlic, lentils, and water to tomato sauce. Bring all to a boil then put the lid on and simmer on low for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, cook pasta to package directions. As the sauce cooks, continue to taste it and adjust seasonings to taste, there is no absolute science to this, just do what you like. When all is done, serve sauce over pasta and enjoy. For being all organic (veggies were out of our garden) and vegetarian, and gluten free! It was very yummy.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A New Gastronomic Adventure

Well, My wonderful husband has decided he is going to do a 28 day detox program recommended by his chiropractor. It involves taking some supplements and a special diet. Basically he can not have any dairy, soy, eggs, gluten, coffee, peanuts, alcohol, soda, or any condiments (ketchup, salsa, mustard...). This first week he can have any veggies except corn, any fruit, oatmeal, chicken, turkey, fish, beans, rice products (milk, cereal, etc...), herbal tea, and a handful of other health food products (tahini, Quinoa, etc...). So last night I spent a few hours making some things for him to take to lunch, a veggie chili and a black bean salad. Today I am making him a minestrone soup and a bean/quinoa salad. I figure I will just make whatever he can eat for dinner, so I am going to be on the look out for spice rubs for chicken and new ways to cook salmon. Next week though will be a different story, it is the "fast" week so he can't have any meat or starches, it will be all rabbit food for him!. I will post about how it goes for him over the next few weeks, and maybe share some of the better recipes. :-)

Recipe Of the Day 10/27

I first had this in Upstate New York back in August when we took the kids up there for a week to visit Timm's family. Apparently it is a "thing" up there, and I have never heard of it anywheres else. It was so good I can home and looked up this version. It is very rich, but oh so tasty!

Chicken Riggies


4 tbls olive oil
1/4 cup butter
5 cloves garlic
10 tbls minced shallot (I just used one whole shallot)
2lbs skinless, boneless chicken breast meat, cubed
1 (40z) jar sweet red peppers, drained and julienned (I just cut it into smaller pieces, I ain't no darn chef!! LOL)
1/2 cup tomato sauce (it calls for "fresh", but whole the hell has fresh tomato sauce lying around, just use the canned variety)
1/4 cup dry sherry (I hate sherry, I am not going to buy an expensive bottle of liquor if I ain't gonna drink the rest. I just used a cheap white wine).
1 pint heavy cream (yes it does need to be heavy cream, forget the diet and live a little!! LOL)
1 8oz package rigatoni pasta (cooked according to package directions)


In a large saucepan, heat oil and melt butter over medium heat (the oil prevents the butter from burning when cooked at high temperatures , thanks Food Network! :-) ). Add garlic and shallot and saute until soft, then add chicken, season with salt and pepper to taste and saute for 8-10 minutes, or until HALFWAY cooked. Add peppers and stir in tomato sauce, reduce heat to low and simmer about 10 minutes. Add sherry (or white wine) and simmer for another 10 minutes, then stir in cream and simmer for 10 minutes more. Finally toss in hot, cooked pasta.

I like to serve it with some shredded Parmesan cheese on top.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Recipe of the Day

I made these yummy muffins for a party I went to yesterday and everyone loved them and were asking for the recipe. So here it is as the first installment of my "recipe of the day". Enjoy!

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins


2 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1 tbls pumpkin pie spice (I did not have this so I used 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2tsp ground ginger, 1/2tsp ground nutmeg, and 1/4 tsp ground clove)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup veggie oil
2 cups peeled, cored, and chopped apple

for streusel:

2 tbls all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tsp butter


Preheat oven to 350, lightly grease 18 muffin cups (or use paper liners). In a large bowl sift together (yeah, I had no time for "sifting" so I just dumped it all together and mixed it real well, it was fine. :-) ) flour, white sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt. In a seperate bowl, mix together eggs, pumpkin, and oil. Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until combined. (Don't worry, when you start to mix it together it will look like it is falling apart and there isn't enough moisure, but just keep mixing, it will come together but will be VERY thick). Fold in apples, then spoon batter batter into prepared muffin cups. Then in a small bowl mix together the streusel: flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in the butter until mixture is crumbly. (Make sure the butter is very cold when you start, and it also helps to pre cut the butter into smaller pieces). Sprinkle streusel over muffin batter. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a tooth pick comes out clean.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Adventures in Food

Well, this blog has been an idea for a while, and now I have finally decided to give it a go. In short, I love food. And when I say love, I mean LOVE. And best of all I love my own cooking. But it hasn't always been that way. What began as half-cooked, burnt, flavorless chicken recipes, and "dinner from a box" has, over the last 5 years (and really over the last year), turned into a love of cooking, baking, and finding new recipes. There is something deeply satisfying about making a wonderful meal, or a wonderful dessert, that prompts my family to clean their plates (and usually promts me to get seconds, LOL). Here I want to post some of the great recipes I find, and muse over the joy of cooking and baking. It may be boring for some, but for me cooking and baking has become an important part of who I am. In another life maybe I was a chef, or maybe in a future one. I don't think this life holds cooking as a profession for me, but I still can revel in my love of feeding my family (and my spirit). Enjoy!