Foodie Friday: Smoothie

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I love making smoothies for my son Wyatt. He loves them and since he isn’t that great at eating fresh fruits and vegetables this is a good way to sneak many of them into his diet. I am also able to sneak a few more good things into my picky husband’s diet too ūüėČ

Smoothie’s in my house greatly depend on what we have around the house but generally this is what we have and what I use.

Recipe:

Follow this order and the blender tends to blend things appropriately.

6-8 large ice cubes
1 banana (I won’t eat bananas except in smoothies)
Large handful of spinach leaves (I buy Popeye’s bagged spinach)
Medium handful of blue berries (I have frozen bag in the freezer at all times)
2-3 halves of frozen peaches (I skinned and pitted and froze peaches last summer)
4 Cuties/Clementines or 2 regular oranges
Then I pour in whole milk because they’re mostly for Wyatt but you could add 1%,
I probably pour in a cup. If the blender won’t blend I add more milk.

Can you imagine all the vitamins you’re getting in this??!!

I just bought frozen strawberries that I plan to add next time. This summer I’m going to try to freeze more of my own fruit, maybe blackberries and raspberries?

When I think about this, Wyatt drinks over 1/3 of this recipe so he gets 1/3 banana, 1/3 cup of spinach, 1 half of a peach, 1/4 cup of blueberries, over 1 Cutie. That definitely hits the fruit mark and helps get us closer to the vegetable one.

Sometimes I make banana and spinach smoothies. They are green and actually really tasty too. Ice and milk is all you add to those.

Travel Tip: cooking classes

The last couple times I have gone on an international trip, I have taken a cooking class while there and it has been the best decision and one of my favorite memories/souvenirs of the trip.

In Thailand, the cooking class included a trip to the open air market (which included a lot of meat on ice with flies circling & landing and amazing fruits & veggies) to review what we would be cooking with. Did you know that eggplants come in tons of shapes and sizes? My favorite eggplant variety is the size of a cherry and pops in your mouth. In the states, Asian markets/grocery stores¬†have a couple eggplant varieties, grab some for your next stir fry adventure! At the class, we made curry, pad thai, papaya salad¬†and a handful of other things that are leaving me in a pile of drool at my computer now. When I got back home and was excited to try to recreate these recipes,¬†I have had a really hard time finding the local veggies, noodles and spices even at the Asian markets.¬†Even if I have had a hard time recreating these dishes at home, there’s something that feels really authentic about taking¬†a cooking class while abroad, people’s kitchens allow you to understand culture and tradition in a really special way.

I went to Cabo with Tom’s family about¬†a year ago and Aunt Janet recommended a cooking class mentioned in her blog post and you can sign up or bookmark here for your trip. Note: While writing this, I haven’t actually read her post yet- I assumed based on the title, saw the pictures and am hoping to capture our different¬†perspectives blindly.¬†Cabo had been hit pretty hard with a hurricane the month before our arrival and businesses were either repairing from the storm, or elated to have tourists- because of this, my mother in law and I got to have a private class with Donna! She brought us to a tortillarilla- which is actually very rare and she impresses upon us what an honor it was to have one in their community. The women who ran the shop were very kind, their children were in the back of the shop and you could tell that this is a community gathering spot. We also had some amazing tostadas¬†(pictured below), these were filled with corn and mushrooms that grow on corn (illegal in the US because they can carry diseases- but delicious none the less). We went back to her home and learned about the different between northern and southern Mexican cuisine and¬†different cheeses (thankfully- I have been able to find most at the regular grocery store). We made salsa, huevos rancheros, meatballs, potato cakes and a fantastic soup. I have been able to recreate all the things we made at home and am constantly making Donna’s guacamole recipe. The salsa we made is just so fantastic- I’ll post the recipe in another post someday if Aunt Janet didn’t go into detail. Even though Donna is American, I really felt the sense of authentic Mexican culture and tradition since she has lived in Mexico for quite some time. Thanks for the recommendation on this one Aunt Janet!

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Guacamole Recipe

Dice up some garlic, throw some salt onto the cutting board with the garlic and press both into each other with  your knife.

Mash an avocado into a bowl with a fork and combine with the garlic/salt mixture, then squeeze a little bit of lime (I usually don’t have fresh lime in my kitchen and skip this part). Enjoy.

Yule Kage

 

breadMy mother Roberta Brandt and her mother, Mabel Brugler made this and for all I know her mother, Johanna Johnson, who came from Sweden probably did too.

I have made it for my family every year since I got married in 1960, 55 years ago.

Our family tradition has always been to eat a dinner of potato soup and Yule Kage and then open gifts.

Cecilia, Mommy, Granny

 

Family bread recipe

¬Ĺ cup Crisco (3 3/8 oz) and¬†1 ¬Ĺ cup milk —¬†Heat until Crisco is melted ***¬†Note – I weigh things on a wax paper covered scale so I don‚Äôt have to clean out the measuring cups

2 pkg yeast or 1 ¬Ĺ Tablespoon (3/8 oz) and¬†¬Ĺ cup warm water,¬†Pinch of granulated sugar

3 eggs (room temperature) and¬†2/3 cup granulated sugar,¬†¬Ĺ T salt

6-7 cup flour (put in as little as you can)

I make the dough, put out on floured table(little bit of flour on table) knead the dough for about 10 -15 minutes, put in a greased bowl, cover with a cloth, put in a warm place to raise which takes ¬†1 1/2 ¬†to 2 hours.¬† After raising put out on little floured table, shape into two loaf’s, put in loaf pan, cover, put back in place to raise for about ¬†l 1/2 to 2 hours, preheat oven.¬† Bake 30 minutes. ¬†let rest in pan few minutes, take out of pan turn right side up let cool.Bake in a loaf pan 350 for 25 minutes

To make this Yule Kage you add

1 teaspoon ground cardamom to the eggs

¬ĺ cup golden raisins (3 5/8 oz) and¬†¬Ĺ cup currants (2 oz)

The real recipe has all those candied fruit and my mother eliminated those and just used currants / raisins so it’s really not the authentic Swedish recipe, but it is our family’s version of the recipe.

 

Perfect Oatmeal

Serves 3 to 4

To double the recipe, use a 12-inch skillet to toast the oats and increase the cooking time to 10 to 15 minutes once the salt has been added.

If desired, serve with maple syrup or brown sugar, fruit, Nutella or one of your favorite toppings for oatmeal.

3 cups water

1 c up whole milk

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 cup steel-cut oats

1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Bring water and milk to simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Meanwhile, melt butter in 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add oats and toast, stirring constantly, until golden and fragrant with butterscotch-like aroma, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

2. Stir toasted oats into simmering liquid, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer gently, until mixture thickens and resembles gravy, about

20 minutes. Add salt and stir lightly with spoon handle. Continue simmering, stirring occasionally with wooden spoon handle, until oats absorb almost all liquid and oatmeal is thick and creamy, with a pudding-like consistency, 7 to 10 minutes. Off heat, let sit uncovered for 5 minutes, then serve.

 

Gougeres

These are incredible. I enjoy really rich and bold flavors which is accomplished with the gruyer cheese, but the cheddar cheese is more economical and still tastes really incredible. I think these are a perfect brunch pastry for entertaining, especially if served with a breakfast meat or vegetables (think English breakfast). If you have nobody to impress but your Snapchat followers, this is a perfect standalone breakfast item.

Ingredients!

1 1/4 c water
1 1/4 c milk
14 Tbs butter
2 1/4 c flour
1/4 tsp table salt
2 c gruyere shredded (cheddar works well too)
7 eggs
1 T course (or finishing) salt

Directions!

  1. In s medium sized pot bring the water, milk, butter & table salt to a boil, once boiling, start stirring with a wooden spoon, bring the heat to medium and add the flour (this is a type of b√©chamel sauce, similar to that made in the Cauliflower Gratin¬†recipe) whisk until dissolved then stir with the wooden spoon. Stir vigorously until you have a ball (a couple minutes). Bring the heat down to low-med to make sure you don’t burn it.
  2. Remove from heat, start mixing with an stand mixer or electronic mixer with a paddle attachment until the steam subsides (5ish min)
  3. Add the eggs one by one while mixing, then add the cheese.
  4. Spoon the mixture onto pan. Each football shaped dough ball should be able 2 Tbs, you will probably need a second spoon to scrape the dough off the first spoon.
  5. Cook at 400 F for 5 min, reduce to 375 until complete (about 15-20 min)

Yields about 24 biscuits

Meatloaf

I just wanted to share a favorite dinner around here. It is very quick if the meat is thawed and it gives me an hour to do whatever I want (or actually whatever Wyatt wants) while it cooks.

Ingredients: (all of these measurements are approximate I really don’t measure anything)

1lb. ground turkey
1 lb. Italian pork sausage (raw ground)
2 eggs
1/4 cup of ketchup
1/4 cup of BBQ sauce
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1-2 slices of bread
just enough milk to make it moist but not soupy

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Mix it with your hands, the gross part ūüėČ Then put it in a loaf pan.

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Cover with a layer of BBQ Sauce.

 

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Cook at 350 degrees for about 60 minutes.

I put slices on paper towel and then plate them. If you use instant mash potatoes, this is the quickest meal ever!

Enjoy!

Stir Frying

Weekday dinners¬†are all too often chicken nuggets, avocado toast or hummus & chips in my household. While that’s not the worst, its not the best. We try to east as many fresh veggies as possible and this guide has been really helpful and inspirational during the middle of the week when I’m tiered and would rather do anything else than make dinner.

Based on availability in my fridge, I usually use an onion, a couple bell peppers, frozen peas & zucchini (or any other veggie in the fridge flirting with expiration), as long as you have soy sauce, corn starch, rice wine vinegar you are in good shape. All the sauces are really good-Enjoy!

Cincinnati Chili

Thought about naming this post “the best thing i ate this week” but I think that’ll be a new series on the blog :) So, for this week I’m sharing the best thing I MADE this week. I love spaghetti. It’s not Mike’s favorite. He’s all about meat and not so much tomato sauce. I was looking for recipes I could make, reheat for left overs and share with Mitch & Molly who are still on the newlywed learning curve making dinner every night. Enter… Cincinnati Chili. Think comfort food ala Zippy Beef Casserole… nothing fancy here just good tasty food.

Cincinnati Chili – from Cook’s Country (serves 6-8)
Ingredients
1 T vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped fine
1 clove garlic minced
2 T tomato paste
2 T chili powder ** i use a dark brown one from whole food bulk section
1 T dried oregano
1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
Salt
3/4 t ground black pepper
1/4 t allspice
2 cup low – sodium chicken broth
2 cups tomato sauce
2 T cider vinegar
2 t dark brown sugar
1 1/2lb 85% lean ground beef

Instructions
(tip) Toast dry spices before you add them to a recipe to deepen their flavor.
I generally measure them all out put them in a sauce pan and heat them on low heat until they smell good.
(tip) buy good ingredients – we got 3 dinners and a lunch out of this so it was worth buying good quality ground beef, tomato sauce & paste, chili powder etc. Next time i’ll probably sub the ground beef with ground turkey.

1. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook onions until soft and browned around edges, around 8 minutes. Add garlic, tomato paste, chili powder, oregano, cinnamon, 1 t. salt, pepper, and allspice and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

2. Add beef and stir to break up meat. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium, low, and simmer until the chili is deep brown and slightly thickened, 15-20 minutes. Season with salt and serve.
** note – i have never liked breaking up the brick of beef with the wooden spoon in the pan so i broke it up by hand as i added it, this gave me perfect size pieces.

(Can be refrigerated in airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months)

Serving suggestion: “2 way” over spaghetti noodles
3 way: topped with cheddar cheese
4 way: topped with diced onions and cheddar
5 way: topped with onions, beans and cheddar

I think i’m going to top mac and cheese with it next time…

 

** originally created this draft in September and was going to add a pic.  Never mind the pic Рjust make it :)

Marshmallows

Ever since I had my first homemade marshmallow at the very trendy and hipster caf√©, Cured in Boulder, Colorado I have had my sights set on making my own. I was really intimidated¬†because it¬†seems like¬†it would be really difficult and complex.¬†I was really surprised to find that¬†it was way way way easier than I had originally thought! Although this recipe isn’t quite as good as Cured’s, it was pretty good! I used this recipe from Alton Brown.

Ingredients!

3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 c ice water, divided
12 oz sugar
1 c light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 c powdered sugar
1 c cornstarch
Nonstick spray

Directions!

  1. Combine the gelatin with 1/2 c water
  2. In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 c water with the salt, corn syrup & sugar & over medium heat, mix in to dissolve, cover & cook for 3-4 minutes (if you have a candy thermometer, take the cover off once it reaches 240F), uncover and cook for 7-8 minutes then immediately remove from heat.
  3. Slowly pour the mixture from the stove into the gelatin mixture while whisking on low and increase the speed to high for a 15 minutes, the mixture will double+ in size. In the last minute add the vanilla
  4. Combine the powdered sugar & corn starch
  5. Prepare a 9×13″ pan, sprinkle the sugar/starch combo on the bottom and sides of the pan to coat, the pour the mixture into the pan and let sit 4 hrs + (I did overnight).
  6. Turn the marshmallows onto a cutting board, dust with sugar/starch combo & use a pizza wheel to cut into smaller squares. Toss the squares into the sugar/starch combo &  roll until coated. Alton says you need to consume within 3 weeks if packed in an airtight container, but I found the sugar/starch combo is soaked up by the mallows within 4 days.

 

 

 

Winter Hearty Risotto

I just spent a fantastic New Years weekend in Olympia with a house full of family and could not be more refreshed! Each meal was assigned to different family members and I made this delicious Winter Hearty Risotto that was served during our Murder Mystery Dinner! The food prep is a bit intense from the stirring perspective, but it comes out really nicely and easy to serve the masses! I somehow didn’t take a picture of the food, but if anyone did- could you send it to me?

 

Ingredients!

Serves 4:
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 onion
2 c dry Arborio rice
20 oz broth
1c peas, frozen
1c corn, frozen
1c steamed asparagus¬†& cut into 1″ parts
2 lbs butternut squash, cubed
1 c parmesan, shredded
salt
olive oil
Serves 45:
6 garlic cloves, diced
6 onions
84 oz dry Arborio rice
250 oz broth
5lbs peas, frozen
5lbs corn, frozen
5lbs steamed asparagus¬†& cut into 1″ parts
10 lbs butternut squash, cubed
64oz+ parmesan, shredded
salt
olive oil

Most of the ingredients are set in quantities that Costco sells (except for the Arborio rice, that can be harder to find at a decent price).

Directions!

  1. Set the oven to 350F, put your butternut squash on baking sheets, coat with olive oil, sprinkle with salt & cook for 50 minutes.
  2. In a large pot coated with olive oil, over medium heat cook the garlic & onions until onions are almost transparent.
  3. In a separate pot over medium heat, warm the broth.
  4. Add the Arborio rice and mix until it is all coated with olive oil.
  5. Slowly ladle the broth into the large pot, this is where it gets technical. From now until you are serving the risotto, you will not stop stirring. Pour one ladle of broth into the pot and stir until the risotto has absorbed the broth, pour one ladle of broth into the pot and stir until the risotto has absorbed the broth, continue like this until the risotto is no longer crunchy, the color will also be more consistent.
  6. Add peas & corn slowly (as you continue stirring), you don’t want the temperature to drop suddenly.
  7. Once the peas & corn warm and no longer frozen, stir the asparagus, butternut squash & parmesan.
  8. Enjoy!