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Archive for the ‘Good To Eat’ Category

Delighted

One of the things I miss most during winter is fresh fruit.  I get tired of eating oranges and last season’s apples (always seem a little bland and mushy.) Last week though we bought some apples that turned out to be really good – crisp and tart but still sweet enough.  We also had a nice pear and plump, sweet blueberries – what a delight this simple, little fruit salad was for all of us!

Was there anything that delighted you this week?

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I was going to write this really deep, thoughtful post about making it through the dreary days of winter, but two things happened.

1.  It was really, really sunny out today . . . and I just can’t seem to muster the winter blahs.

2.  I am realizing that as this post will be published (I’m writing this on Sunday to publish in Monday morning), I will be on the treadmill sweating.  I haven’t worked out in a long time, and it IS going to be a harsh reality.  But I probably need a little (or a lot) of harsh reality given the fact that I have eaten everything bad for me over the last two weeks!  And, girlfriend, I am not going to lie to you; I loved every calorie-laden bite of it!

So today (and today only, because tomorrow morning I’m going to hate them) I am thankful for

280.  red velvet cake cheesecake (I kid you not, I’m eating a piece right now!)

281.  gooey butter cookies

282.  homemade snickerdoodles

283.  the new way that my mom found to make Rolos into a “turtle”

284.  birthday Jell-o cake with Cool Whip icing

285.  seven layer salad (I know it says salad, but it probably shouldn’t rightfully be called salad considering the amount of dressing and bacon and cheese involved.  There’s lettuce in there, but it’s really just for show.)

286.  homemade cheeseball

287.  with tortilla chips (or anything with tortilla chips, really)

288.  cheese  (Can I write this down three times and count it three times?  I really love cheese!)

289.  white pasta (Oh, so bad . . . and oh, so good!)

290.  my grandma’s sugar cookies

291.  and her icing too (best cookie icing ever)

292.  twice baked potatoes (love that I can make them ahead, love that they have cheese)

293.  longoshi (a homemade bread, passed down for generations of my mom’s family – to die for, maybe literally considering the amount of butter and cheese and white flour involved)

294.  homemade french toast (I didn’t actually eat this – eggs, ew – but I made it as a treat for my children, and it was so much fun to hear them talk about how good it was!)

294.  fruit salad (not actually bad for you – just really, really good!)

296.  cranberry-pomegranate juice + ginger ale = love in a cup (thanks friends for sharing your holiday fun drink!)

297.  homemade crescent rolls  (my mom makes them the best!)

298.  popcorn popped on the stove with real butter and popcorn salt

299.  clementines

So can we just call this a confession of gluttony and move on in thanksgiving for the treadmill?  Which I guess means:

300.  my treadmill

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Winter Breakfasts: Oatmeal

Not sure where I got this recipe more than ten years ago.  I do remember that I was looking for a good-tasting recipe that didn’t use refined sugar as the main sweetener.  We’ve used this basic recipe since, though it rarely looks like this anymore.

The back of the recipe card reads:

Combine liquids and cranberries in a medium sauce pan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Lower heat, cover, and cook until cranberries pop (not for dried).  Add remaining ingredients.  Continue to cook uncovered 5-6 minutes.

This morning it looks more like this.

1/2 cup water
2 cups apple juice
1/2 cup dried tart cherries
1/3 cup walnut pieces
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 granny smith apple, chopped (not peeled)
1 cup old-fashioned oats
Place water, juice, and cherries into medium size sauce pan; bring to a boil over medium heat.  Turn heat down just a bit, add the rest of the ingredients, and stir intermittently until done, about 5-6 minutes.  Serve with non-fat French vanilla yogurt.  [For reference sake:  This fed four hungry children and one adult.]

What is your favorite thing to add to oatmeal?

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This school year has afforded us the neatest opportunity:  Every Thursday, after Bible Study, my friend and her four children come to eat lunch at my house.  The ten of us overwhelm the kitchen, make it cozy, and chow down.  (Shortly after, a bunch of the kids pile into the basement while I teach writing while my friend keeps the littles upstairs for some really fun activities . . . but that’s for a different post!)  Anyway, today, as I sat down with my bowl of white chili, my friend commented that it looked so good.

And I said, “It IS!  It’s my husband’s favorite!”  If I had been a better hostess, I would have offered her my bowl, but alas, it was the last in the fridge, and I had already put my germy spoon in it, so that disqualifies me from offering it . . . right?

White Chili

2 or 3 chicken breasts (This chicken works well, or you can cook it as directed below.)
3 cans great northern beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 chopped medium onion
4 minced garlic cloves
1 can chopped green chilis
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I usually use less or omit.)
2 cans chicken broth (or the equivalent of homemade)
3 cups Monterey jack cheese, divided
8 oz. low fat sour cream for garnish
tortilla chips
Cook chicken in a heavy pan with cold water, simmer 15 minutes.  Drain and cool, cut into cubes.  Heat oil in the same pot on medium high, add onions and cook until onions are soft.  Stir in garlic, chilies, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper.  Saute for a couple minutes until the garlic is a bit soft.  Add beans with broth and bring to a full boil.  Reduce heat, add chicken and 1 cup of cheese, simmer for 45 minutes or until all cheese is melted.  (Here I should insert that I never, ever let it simmer for 45 whole minutes.  As soon as it’s all warm, we usually dive in!)
Serve with the remaining cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips.

I hope your weekend is warm and wonderful!

(Hey, friend, tell your kids I used alliteration in my title and thought of them!)

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My new favorite meal (yes, again, a new favorite).  You’ll have to pardon the fact that there are no measurements; it was a salad – I made it up as I went along!

cooked chicken (mine was leftover from this recipe)
corn (mine was frozen, but fresh, cut off the cob would be awesome!)

Warm chicken and corn in small pan with lid on (so the chicken doesn’t dry out).

3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
juice from 1/2 of a lime
1/2 jalapeno, diced very finely
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
drizzle of honey
freshly ground black pepper
pinch cumin
pinch salt
a few sprigs of cilantro, finely chopped

To make dressing*, mix all of these ingredients in jar that can be tightly sealed and shaken.

lettuce, torn
tomato, cut into bite-sized pieces
shredded co-jack cheese
avocado, cut into small pieces
carrots (I could have done without, but the husband cut some up and threw them in – who am I to complain about dinner help!)
sour cream

Place all of these ingredients** into your bowl.  Add the warm chicken and corn.  Shake dressing well and pour a bit over your salad.  Mix well . . . or don’t.  Enjoy!

*The dressing recipe morphed from this recipe.  I liked our not-put-in-the-blender version, but perhaps someday I’ll try the blender option . . . who am I kidding?  I hate dirty dishes.  I won’t ever try it.  You can though!

**Handsome added a spoonful of fresh salsa to his salad.  Next time I intend to cut up some red onion and bell pepper to add to the mix.  Some beans, maybe too?

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My New Cooking Trick

Thanks to my friend, Ellen, I now use no-fat or low-fat yogurt instead of cream in several recipes . . . and it works GREAT!

When I want to use this substitution in something sweet, like scones, I use vanilla yogurt.  (I tried a couple scone recipes.  The “cream scone” recipe that mostly just involved cream – or in this case yogurt – and flour was not nearly as good as the more traditional recipe that called for a bit of butter and an egg.)

When I want to make the substitution in something savory, like quesadilla pie, I use plain yogurt.

Use the same amount of yogurt as the recipe calls for cream.

I won’t be trying it in anything like fettuccine alfredo any time soon; baked goods and casseroles are probably the limit of this substitution . . . but I was thrilled to make scones for the first time in years!

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I just read a great post by Mary Ostyn of Owlhaven.  It was all about getting kids to like lots of different foods . . . and about how that can backfire!  I was cheering along with the entire post . . . and weeping for her loss (and the familiarity of it all) at the end.

I started to comment there, then I decided I would just do a mini-post on my take on things.  We do almost everything that the Owlhavens do, and we too have four children who eat a huge variety of foods.  It has been a wonderful blessing to us as parents that our children are able to tactfully try new things when we are a guest in someone’s home or when we are on vacation or when we are trying out a new restaraunt.

First go there and read her ideas, then come back here.  Here are a couple things that we have done to help our children enjoy food:

We do not ask our children to eat a certain number of bites of any given food, but we do ask our kids to try everything . . . every time we serve it.  We have a wide variety of likes, so kids keep seeing foods over and over and over and eventually just decide to like them.

We also have a garden.  Two of our children didn’t like tomatoes for years.  When we started growing them, those kids were hooked.  I remember that joyful summer; we couldn’t keep our kitchen stocked with tomatoes, a great problem to have!  At first those children would only eat “Daddy-tomatoes,” but now they’ll eat just about any tomato that I would eat.

We allow the kids to pick out one thing during a meal with a lot of “weird” foods or a variety of vegetables.  For instance one kid might pick the lima beans out of the pot pie – oh, that might be me; and another might pick out the red peppers.

We also tell the kids that it’s okay not to like certain things.  There are things that I don’t like; as a matter of fact, I probably have more food issues than my kids.  (Deep-seeded issues – don’t ask!)  So while I’ll eat spinach and all manner of veggies, I can’t eat a hot dog (or most any kind of sausage) to save my life.  So as long as the kids are reasonable about their choices, I’m okay with them not liking a few things.

We let the kids see us try (and take time to get used to) new things.  Like I said, I have food issues; it takes me a while to warm up to stuff.  When I first tried Ethiopian food, I was horribly disappointed that I didn’t love it.  I kept going back and trying new things.  Now there are quite a few things that I like, and there’s even a dish on the menu that is new to me that I can’t wait to try next time.  Kids are the same way, and I think it helps them to develop their tastes to know that adults don’t always love everything either.

And finally, as my friend Ellen says, “You don’t have to like it, you just have to eat it.”  Our kids know that there are occasions that they just have to eat what is in front of them.  It is rare, but it might just happen that when you are served a burger by your friend’s mom that she might just have put ketchup on it.  It is not the end of the world.  You are not allergic to ketchup, and it’s not worth making a big deal out of it.  We will wipe it off and move on, and by the end of it all you might just like ketchup.  While I know that that sound horribly mean, there are times when it is good for kids to be able to take a deep breath and just eat the food already.

Cheers!

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