Tag Archives: recipes

What to do with apples

25 Oct

We had a full bushel of apples when we came home from apple picking. Besides eating as many delicious apples as we could (plain and with peanut butter, which Walter declared was worth his taste buds), we scoured our canning books and the internet and came up with some good recipes.

Dave made apple jelly and “Mom’s Apple Pie in a Jar”, which is something you’re supposed to put on top of ice cream and other desserts. Some are going out for Christmas presents while others are waiting to be opened and consumed during the cold, hard months of winter. And we still have lots of apple cider leftover to use elsewhere.

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Walter and I made apple pie, apple muffins, and applesauce muffins.

img_20161018_171937The best of our three attempts at pie crust was Walter’s version. I had made some modifications of Julia Child’s recipe after one failed version and one medium success (we used less water and had to figure out the flour ratio since we had pastry flour instead of cake flour), but still. He worked that dough all by himself, and it was great.

img_20161019_163639769Only had to cut up 1 million golden delicious apples.

img_20161019_174019511We made these for an early family Thanksgiving lunch in a couple weeks, but we just had to try one slice before it went in the freezer. And it was délicieux.

Whole Wheat Apple Muffins by Smitten Kitchen

Because of this recipe I’ve started substituting whole wheat flour in other muffins and wow. My banana bread muffins have never tasted so good. Just replace 1 cup all-purpose with 3/4 cup whole wheat flour.

Apple Pie by Crafty Creative Gal

We used the pie crust recipe directly out of a Julia Child cookbook, but the filling and everything else from this recipe. And YUM.

Applesauce

For the applesauce muffins, I just did my banana bread recipe but replaced three bananas with homemade applesauce from three apples. Boy, a kitchen never smells as good as when apples have been simmering in cinnamon and sugar all day long. I did the slow cooker version, which turned the apples a lot darker than the picture, but as it was going in to muffins, I didn’t care.

Most of the muffins are sitting in our freezer waiting for midnight snacking sessions after nursing #2. I can’t wait for those all-night cuddle sessions. Just 2 1/2 more months to go!

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One month in to anti-inflammatory heaven, and we’re still kicking

7 Feb

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“I’m so confused about what to eat I had bean soup for breakfast today.” -David

A little over a month in to the diet, and I’m still alive. I’ve been pining over my sugar, and seemingly always hungry, but I think I’m doing well. It’s been incredibly helpful to have David doing this with me. We even inspired my mother-in-law to go vegan for a month! It’s good to cleanse your body in your own way when you haven’t been eating as healthy as you should be.

I’ve been feeling really good, despite the (mostly mild) cravings. I feel good about changing the way I think about food and forcing myself to branch out and not go for the quick fix. For instance, this week we’ve managed to eat an entire head of cabbage in various meals. I usually only like cabbage leaves with my nam sod — thank God Asian food is mostly meat, veggies, and delicious spices!

We went to a friend’s pizza night last weekend, which I was worried about, but they had so many people there with various dietary restrictions (who have been doing this a lot longer than we have) that instead of a torturous night watching other people eat homemade pizza, I think there were more alternative crusts and “cheeses” than regular! Gluten free crusts, one even made with cauliflower, and cashew cheese… covered in various toppings… yum. We did allow ourselves a half slice of typical pizza, and our friends laughed at how happy we looked eating it. I could literally feel my brain filling with happy neurotransmitters!

There are so many varieties of anti-inflammatory diets out there, that I kind of have to put together my own idea of what I want to do. Is it gluten-free only, or do I avoid white things – regardless of gluten – like bleached flour, potatoes, and white rice? Is honey OK or are all sugars off the table? Fruit is a good sugar, but are all fruits made equal? I wouldn’t have been able to get by this month without apples and peanut butter as a snack.

Recently I’ve realized that the Paleo craze is basically an anti-inflammatory diet, which makes it easy to search for recipes. And I ate a Paleo brownie from our local coffee shop because it was gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free, and let’s be honest, I needed something that reminded me life was worth living for (joke). It didn’t give me a headache like other cheat foods do, so I feel like I can relax a little bit about all that.

Tonight we made a really yummy and very easy ground beef/cabbage skillet meal:

1lb ground beef
1 sweet onion chopped
1/4 head cabbage chopped
garlic
10oz tomato sauce (salt free)
15oz diced tomatoes (salt free)
salt
pepper
crushed red pepper
oregano
thyme
parsley

After you saute the onions and garlic and brown the beef, you add the rest of the ingredients and let simmer for 25 minutes or until the cabbage is soft. We then served it over brown rice.

Enjoy!

The best fish tacos you’ve ever had

18 Apr

If you like fish tacos or you don’t like fish tacos, these are still the tacos for you (you could probably substitute fried chicken strips for the fish and it would be just as delicious). It is another recipe taken from my mother, and I was actually able to make it just as good as her original dish!

Ingredients:

fish (tilapia, cod, or grouper works well. We did three pieces of tilapia for the two of us and had a little to spare ~ .8lbs)
bread crumbs
salt
vegetable oil
tortillas (corn or flour, your preference)
1/2 head of cabbage, cored
1/2 lb carrots
can of chipotle peppers (they come in adobo sauce – find in the international food aisle in your local grocery store, along with the salsa)
2 heaping spoonfuls of lite mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
chipotle salsa

Directions:

First, prepare your coleslaw. I don’t normally like coleslaw, but this one is amazing. Either use your food processor or hand chop your cabbage and carrots. My mom hand chopped but I like to use the food processor. So easy. Transfer to a large bowl and mix in 3-4 chopped and de-seeded chipotle peppers (4 was fairly hot) and as much of the sauce from the can as you want. Add your sour cream and mayo, mix well, and you’re done. This amount of coleslaw probably serves four people if you’re generous with your helpings.

Next, fry your fish. Cut it into strips and bread it (my mom suggested Panko breadcrumbs but the ones I had from the farmer’s market worked just as well); add salt to your breadcrumbs and no need to use egg to adhere the crumbs to the fish. Fry in vegetable oil until golden brown.

Finally, load your tortilla. Fish, salsa, coleslaw – I put a lot on there. Eat. Enjoy.

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Eating raw almonds reminds me of when I was a child eating raw almonds

6 Mar

I never used to like nuts. My memory of eating nuts as a child is limited to the few times I would use the nutcracker to open an almond from a bowl that always sat out in our den and fish out the few pieces of nuts and eat them. I think my main purpose was to use the nutcracker. It wasn’t the soldier doll with the giant mouth but a silver pronged cracker that sat on the edge of the almond bowl.

A few months ago my mother brought a roasted, salted nut array over and I ended up devouring them. Which was weird because of my hatred of nuts. Solo, in dishes, in desserts and baked goods… you name it, I didn’t like it. Except pecan pie. I love pecan pie. But every other nut I could do without.

It just goes to show that if you eat anything long enough you will probably develop a taste for it. The same thing happened with beans when I was a vegetarian for 7 months and onions when I was friends with someone who really liked onions. Now I put onions in everything. I used to pick my onions out of a Philly Cheese steak from Mad Italian. When asked why I didn’t order it without the onions, my reasoning was I liked the flavor but not the consistency.

I recently bought an unroasted, unsalted bag of nuts from the farmer’s market, and apparently I like those too. And the almonds remind me of what childhood tasted like. When I was a child I used to “cook” which meant I boiled some pasta and opened a can of hot Rotel tomatoes and mixed them together — inedible. Sad thing was I know I tried that dish more than once with the same disappointing results. Since then I’ve been working on my repertoire and consider myself an above average cook. But recently the cooking muses have really befriended me. Dave and I have made several dishes in the last week that I’ve never made before. Maybe the muses decided to shine all their cooking glory on me since my pot roast triumph two weeks ago.

Last week: flank steak that was cooked perfectly pink on the inside and marinated with a delicious flavor. Dave almost ate the whole thing in one sitting.

Friday: we stayed up late making chicken pot pie (recipe from Cooking for Engineers), but only because it took a lot longer to make chicken pot pie than we had thought it would and we started after the baby went to bed kinda late. But I’m glad we did it because it was delicious. Not difficult to do, but time consuming. Perfect food for the chilly weekend we spent sitting in front of the fire.

Sunday: Okra stew (fast gumbo) that I tweaked heavily. When I asked Dave what he thought about my changes before I did them, the only thing he would tell me is, “If you’re not going to do what the recipe says, I don’t know if it will taste the same.” Luckily for both of us it was good. The guy who writes Cooking for Engineers is very cool. Everything we’ve ever made from his website has been worth it.

Monday: my parents came home from visiting my brother and his family in Miami, and my mom’s dog stayed with us over the weekend. Our house is on the way home from the airport and they stopped by just at dinnertime. I asked them earlier in the day if they wanted to have dinner with us, and proceeded to make my first lasagna. I did the most basic recipe I could find and it was pretty good. And strangely enough I had it heated up right on time too, which as everyone who came to Christmas dinner knows I’m not known for my timely meals. I’m looking forward to trying Pioneer Woman’s recipe. Her recipes look yummy and I like that she’s a famous housewife that lives on a ranch. If I had more time I would go through her website/blog.

I’m glad I’m slowly becoming more and more of a better cook. My mother is an inspirational and amazing chef, but she always makes up recipes as she goes so you can never ask her “how did you do that?” Actually, you can, and she’ll say “I don’t know” so it doesn’t help. Or she’ll tell you something and when you cook it it turns out nothing like what you wanted. I like playing with my recipes too, which of course doesn’t always work out for the young chef, but as I age I’m apparently getting better at it. And I like following new recipes. It’s like putting together a jigsaw puzzle that you get to eat when you’re done. I collect my recipes in a notebook I call “The Mixed Up Recipes from Kat’s Kitchen and Dave’s Diner” which always reminds me of a book I read when I was younger.

I don’t know what’s changed in my kitchen lately, but I like it. I hope the muses keep smiling down upon me and my wooden spoon.

The Muses. They look like they’ve just eaten a good meal, don’t they?

Now time for a glass of wine, bed, and continuing to worry about the incredible wind that keeps shaking the house.