Thursday, July 29, 2010

Apple Bars

It's almost apple season, and here is a sweet treat to help make the most of the upcoming apple season. This was a major contender for a Holiday Hints
treat, but was a bit much work for mass production. I don't remember the source of the recipe, but I do remember how good they tasted.

3/4 c butter, softened
1/4 c Sugar
1 Egg
1 t Vanilla
2 1/2 c Flour
1/4 t Salt

Blend with mixer on low until mixture starts to hold together. Press into a greased 10 X 15 inch pan.

5 c Apples, sliced thin
2 T Lemon juice
1/2 c Sugar
3 T Flour
1/2 t Cinnamon
1/4 t Salt

Mix together and pour over crust.

1 c Flour
1/2 c Brown sugar
6 T Butter

Mix flour and brown sugar together. Cut in the butter and mix until the mixture becomes crumbly. Sprinkle over the filling. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes. Cool completely before cutting and serving.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Apple Juice Oatmeal

Ever wanted to eat apple pie for breakfast. Okay, confession, I have eaten pie for breakfast a few times. So here's my solution for enjoying those flavors without the guilt or having to hide in the closet with last night's dessert leftovers to avoid being seen by your kiddos.

You want to use old fashioned oats rather than quick oats. The thicker texture makes it so much better.Instead of cooking the oats in water, use apple juice and 1 t of cinnamon to cook the oatmeal according to package instructions. Bob's Red Mill has g-free oats that I used to makes this. A-MAZ-ING.

Living on the wild side? Top with a dollop of whipped cream and call it a bit of dairy for your breakfast.

Maple Syrup
Whipped cream
Diced Apples
Chopped Nuts: Almonds/Peanuts/Walnuts/Pecans

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Roasted Chicken

For some reason, the idea of roasting a whole chicken sounded intimidating to me. I'm not sure what that I was. I could roast a whole turkey and chicken pieces, but a whole chicken. Hadn't gone there.

About a year ago, I found this recipe at and I've changed my mind. I no longer am dependent on grocery store rotisserie chicken. My father-in-law couldn't stop eating it. It was incredibly moist with hints of the flavors it was stuffed with. **I tweaked it a little my tastes.

1 (3-4 pound) whole chicken, rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
1 sm onion, quartered
1/4 c chopped fresh rosemary (I just threw in a few sprigs)
**I also added 1 small chopped apple

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Stuff with the onion and rosemary. Place chicken in a 9x13 inch baking dish or roasting dish.

Roast in the preheated oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear. Cooking time will vary a bit depending on the size of the bird.

The Frugal part of this is that whole chickens go on awesome sales and can hang out in the freezer until you need them. Great with mashed potatoes and veggies.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Famous Dave's Coleslaw Copycat

I'm not a big fan of coleslaw, but after eating at Famous Dave's restaurant I knew I had to try to recreate it at home. I found several recipes online and tweaked it to what I had on hand. It's not exactly the same, but still tastes pretty good, and I don't have to splurge on Famous Dave's to get it. Great for a party/picnic dish.

10 c Cabbage, chopped (finely diced rather than shredded)
1/3 c Carrot, grated
2 c Mayo (or veganaisse)
1/2 c Sugar
1 T Mustard
1/2 t Pepper
1/2 t Salt
1/4 t Garlic powder
1/4 t Celery seed
2 t Horseradish (optional)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Apple Cake with Caramel Glaze

A friend shared this recipe from a spot on Good Morning America. I tried it this spring for our small group and it went over really well. Can't wait to try it again this fall in peak apple season.

1 c Light brown sugar, packed
1 c Granulated sugar
1 1/2 c Canola oil
3 Eggs
3 c Unbleached all-purpose flour
1 t Baking soda
2 1/2 t Cinnamon
1/2 t Nutmeg
1/2 t Salt
7 apples, diced into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 c Pecans, coarsely chopped (optional)
2 1/2 t Vanilla

6 T unsalted butter
1/3 c Granulated sugar
1/3 c Light brown sugar
Pinch salt
1/2 c Heavy cream

To prepare the cake:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour an 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
In a mixing bowl, beat sugars, oil and vanilla until well-blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and
salt and gradually add to the sugar and eggs, mixing just until well-blended. Fold in apples and nuts and pour into prepared pan. Bake 1 hour until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan.

To prepare the glaze:
In a medium pan, melt butter and add sugar and slat and cream. Stir over medium heat for 2 minutes. Increase heat to boil for 2 additional minutes (large bubbles will form on the top). Remove and cool slightly. The glaze should thicken upon standing. Pour over the top of the cake.

Eat, enjoy, repeat.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Buckwheat Waffles

Another success in gluten-free, egg free, dairy free cooking for me!! I made waffles that everyone liked. These came out really crisp and pretty lightweight. Make them g-free or with standard ingredients. Either way they are going to be good and really filling.

1/2 c oat flour flour*
1/2 c buckwheat flour**
1 c Flour (GF mix)
2 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t xanthan gum (only for GF mix)
1/4 c raw or brown sugar
2 eggs (EF, use use replacer)
2 c milk (cow, rice, nut, hemp)
1/4 c Oil (I used sunflower)

Combine all dry ingredients together with a whisk. In a separate bowl, slightly warm milk (not hot) and whisk together with oil & egg yolks (skip for egg free), then add to dry mix. Separately, whisk egg whites (or replacer) unto fluffy. Fold egg (replacer) into other ingredients. Heat and oil your waffle maker and cook until crisp

* Don't bother buying oat flour, it's expensive and easy to make. Stick a bunch of oats into the blender, food processor, or coffee grinder (cleaned) and powderize it. For GF, grind up Bob's Red Mill gluten-free oats.

** Don't let the name fool you, Buckwheat contains no wheat and is actually gluten-free. Thanks to the pediatric nutritionist for filling me in on that.

TOP THEM: with maple syrup, jam, fresh berries, pie filling, compote, whipped cream, or whatever you like.

Feel free to freeze the leftovers. Pop them into the toaster for a quick breakfast.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Apron Giveaway Winner

Congrats to Shirley who was randomly selected to win an apron. Thanks to all who entered. This was fun, I'll have to come up with another one.

Last Chance To Enter

... for the great apron giveaway HERE. Entries are accepted until this afternoon, Wednesday, July 14th at 5 PM (central).

Remember these are just a few samples. You get to pick color/pattern if you win.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pancakes

1 1/4 c GF Flour Mix (I used 1/2 c millet, 1/2 c potato starch, and 1/4 c oat flour)
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t Xanthan gum
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
2 T raw or brown sugar
7 T pumpkin puree (about 1/2 can of pumpkin)
2 T oil
1 c milk (cow, rice, nut)
1 egg (or replacer)

Stir dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, wisk the wet ingredients. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Heat your a griddle and oil it with coconut or canola oil. Pour about 1/3 c of batter and cook until bubbles start to burst and the better stiffens. Flip and cook the other side for another minute or two.

These will have a slightly moist consistency to them but the flavor is great. My allergy son, who hasn't seemed to like much of anything I've made gluten free, loved these. Yeah for one small success. Oh, my husband and non-allergy son liked them too.

** Sorry no picture, they were eaten too fast and I was just overjoyed they were being eaten. I'll get a picture next time.

Monday, July 12, 2010

What My Kids See

After months of taking pictures of what we were eating, my boys have decided that their food needs to be photographed as well. Every time the camera comes out "Can I take a picture of my food too?" So here is a salute to my budding photogs.

My 6-year-old's view at lunch. The kid loves his carrots. These were extra special ones from the farmer's market that still had the green tops on them.

So this isn't actually on their plates, but what we were growing to go on their plates. (notice the sand that made it from the sandbox to the plants. Love my little helpers. We ate the lettuce out of these and now beans and peppers are growing in their place.

My three-year-old almost did in the camera lens when he fell taking this picture. Camera just about ended up "milked" to death.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Steak Salads

We made a great London Broil the other night and had lots left over. We had a meal of leftovers and I still had two lunches out of it. Not bad for $7 piece of meat I found in the "use quickly" clearance section.

Here are a couple steak salad options that work great for leftovers and would be even better with fresh steak. A great way to stretch a small cut of steak for a family.

OPTION #1 - Spinach Steak Salad with Feta

OPTION #2 - American Steak Salad

OPTION #1 - Spinach Steak Salad with Feta
Toss together: (amounts to your liking)
Baby Spinach
Chopped Carrots
Chopped Tomatoes

In a skillet -
Heat 1 T of Olive Oil - Add peppers (about 1/2 c) and saute
Add leftover steak (1/4 c per person) to peppers until heated through

Drizzle with Balsamic Vinaigrette

OPTION #2 - American Steak Salad

Toss together: (amounts to your liking)
Chopped lettuce - romaine, iceberg, or mix together
Chopped Carrots
Chopped Tomatoes
Corn (cut off leftovers from corn on the cob)
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Reheat steak, add to salad, and drizzle with Ranch Dressing

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Don't Forget To Sign Up...

... for the great apron giveaway HERE.

Feta Corn Salad

Another great salad offering for the week.

My international friend Debby introduced me to the tasty combination of corn and feta in salads. I do admit that I stared at her salad for a bit before trying it, but fell in love at first taste. So here's my version of that combination.

Baby Spinach
Fresh Corn (left over corn on the cob)
Feta Crumbles
Balsamic Vinaigrette
Diced Tomato (optional - wish I had some that night)

Toss and eat.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Raspberry Spinach Salad

I love salads in the summer and here is a lovely fruit based salad that I savored every bite of. Raspberries are a special treat for me because they are so expensive. I found these berries on sale for $1.50 for the pack, so I jumped at the deal. I savored them in everything from salad, topping ice cream, and straight from the box. My mouth is watering at the memory. The good news is a little bit of these berries go a long way.

Someday I'll have my own to pick straight from my yard... someday.

Fresh Raspberries
Baby Spinach
Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
Sesame Seeds (sprinkle just a few on)
Balsamic Vinaigrette

This is tough one to make - toss it together and eat. This would be nice with a bit of grilled chicken for a meal.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My First Giveaway

Part of the reason I enjoy cooking and baking is the creative outlet it gives me. With all the work I do with the organized/logical side of my brain, the creative side needs an outlet.

I've been in a creative mood lately and thought I'd share a little bit with you as well. I made a whole batch of children's aprons for Christmas gifts. I was getting ready to make myself one and thought I'd make one for you too.

So, here's the deal. You have until July 14th at 5 PM (central) to leave me a note here with whether you would like a child or adult apron and color preference. I'll randomly pick a winner and make arrangement to produce and ship you one of these lovelies.

Here's a couple of samples (you are not limited to these options):

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Leftover Lasagna Salad

Often when making lasagna or lasagna rolls, I'll have a noodle or two left over. If my husband doesn't eat them first, here's another leftover salad. If you haven't noticed by now, one of my favorite use of leftovers is to make a salad out of them.

2 Lasagna noodles, cut up**
1 c Asparagus, chopped
1/2 c Tomato, diced
1 lg Carrot, shredded
2 T Sesame seeds
2 T Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a large pan, heat olive oil. Saute the asparagus until tender crisp. Add noodle pieces, carrots, and sesame seed to the pan and stir frequently until heated through. Stir in tomato and season to taste. Serve warm.

** To make the noodles workable, I took a pizza cutter and cut them in half length-wise and then in the other direction into small pieces.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mexican Pork Salad

I love when I can take a bunch of leftover bits of nothing and turn them into something wonderful. This one was so good, I may have to conjure up a bunch of leftovers, just so I can make it again.

1/2 lb Pork, cooked & shredded (left over Herbed Pork Roast)
1/2 c Water
2 c White rice, cooked and cooled (left over from stir fry)
1/2 c Bell Peppers, chopped & grilled (left over from kabobs)
1/4 c Tomato, diced
2 c Lettuce, chopped
1/2 c Salsa
1/2 c Sour Cream (or tofu sour cream)
2 T + 1 tsp Taco seasoning, divided

In a saute pan, add pork, water and 2 T of taco seasoning. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally until most of the water has evaporated. Stir in rice and peppers and heat thoroughly.

In a small bowl, wisk together salsa, sour cream, and 1 tsp of seasoning. Toss together all ingredients and serve. It makes for a great zesty salad.

Monday, July 5, 2010

For The Love of Pineapple

So, mention pineapple and you are bound to get mixed reviews. Usually people either love or hate it. I love a good pineapple. After having fresh ones in Hawaii, the store bought kind are just not the same, let alone canned. However, years later the memory of great pineapple has faded and I've learned to enjoy what's available on the mainland.

By far, my favorite way to eat pineapple is to grill it. I like to cut a fresh pineapple into long wedges and put them on skewers on the grill. It's an entirely different taste. The heat helps caramelize the sugars and yum. I've never tried to fry it, but I can imagine it would have similar results if you can leave it alone to brown slightly.

Skewer chunks of pineapple with chicken, pork, or shrimp and the juices help keep the meat moist. The grilled pineapple paired with grilled peppers, chicken, and mushrooms (which I don't usually like, but grilled with pineapple it was awesome) last night's cook out at our friends - was fabulous.

They had canned pineapple rings that they drained and threw on the grill and it was great as well. Sounds like a great summer treat to pull out mid-winter to me. Best of all, it's inexpensive. So happy fruit grilling to you.

NOTE: let it cool down before eating. Hot pineapple is not nearly as enjoyable.