Sunday, October 23, 2011

Vegan Buttercream Frosting

Here's my go to frosting right now. Note, if you refrigerate the left over frosting, be sure to leave time for it to warm up before you need to use it. It hardens significantly after refrigeration, but will warm enough to use again. It tastes great.

1 c Palm oil shortening
3 c Powdered sugar
1 1/2 t Vanilla extract
1/4 c Almond Milk
1/2 t Cinnamon (optional) of 2 T Cocoa Powder (optional)

Blend all ingredients together until light and creamy. Works well for cake frosting (pipping bag or spatula), on crackers, with fruit, stuffed french toast, or straight from the bowl.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Cinnamon French Toast

If I could keep cinnamon bread around the house, I could easily make cinnamon french toast. But cinnamon bread is a luxury that rarely finds its way into my pantry. Since that's the case, I make due with my own concoction.

4 eggs
1/4 c milk (cow, rice, nut)
1 t vanilla
1/2 - 1 t cinnamon (to your taste)
8 pieces of bread (regular, french bread, gluten-free, etc)

Whisk all ingredients together in a shallow dish. Dip bread in egg mixture to coat and place on a hot, well greased griddle. When the first side moves easily it is lightly golden, flip and fry until golden on the second side. Top with maple syrup, fruit, whipping cream, or your favorite toppings.

These freeze well. Simply pop into the toaster to re-crisp the toast. My kids like them cut into strips so they can dip them into the syrup.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

"Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This...

...there'd be days like this my mama said..."
Some days are just kind of like this.

Not every cooking adventures is a good one.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Caramelized Banana Sundaes

Oh this little piece of heaven. Please forgive the rotten picture, but I was so excited to eat this little treat tonight that I didn't have the patience to get a decent picture of this sundae. I only use this less than stellar picture so that you can see the caramel on the bananas. This is similar to a Bananas Foster but without the liquor and expensive price tag in a restaurant.

1 T butter or coconut oil
2 T brown sugar
1/4 t vanilla or vanilla powder (optional)

In a non-stick skillet heat ingredients until smooth and bubbly. Add in 2 bananas split lengthwise (I also cut mine in half), cut side down and do not move them so that the sugar can caramelize to the banana (1-2 minutes). Remove and serve immediately with ice cream. Pour any remaining caramel in the pan over top.

I may regret trying one out. So much for a healthy banana.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Applesauce Time

One thing I love about North Dakota, lots of people have their own apple trees and are more than willing to share them. Unfortunately most of my favorite varieties of apples do not tolerant the winter temps this far north. So I'm left with a tart apple called a Haralson (or varieties there of). I've processed probably about 2 bushels so far.

So a new apple variety has made my saucing a bit different this year. I haven't added sugar to my applesauce in years. I typically use a combination of gala, golden delicious, jonagolds, or other sweeter apples. Using those, I've had a sweet sauce requiring nothing but a touch of cinnamon, but that's just my taste. My boys and I aren't a fan of tart, so in goes the sugar. A trade off for free apples I guess.

While in Michigan I had the luxury of a wonderful friend Martha who taught me how to make and can applesauce. We always did it together and I used her equipment. Boy did I miss that when I moved to the northern plains. I've been using my apple-peeler-corer-slicer to prep my apples, then cook them down and mash them with a potato masher. It has worked effectively, but it's quite a bit of work. I do however love the chunkier texture of the applesauce.

So I gave in and got one of these beauties part way through this canning season.
Photo Credit
My Norpro Sauce Master a new friend. I'm inspired to try all sorts of new things with it... Tomato sauce is coming next, followed by mashed potatoes, pureed pumpkin, and all sort of veggie purees for enhancing recipes (like my loaded tomato sauce). The only issue is running out of freezer space and canning jars. It's a great problem to have.

I've gotten quite a few questions about canning lately.  I wish I was an expert on this. What I know is hot food, hot jars, hot lids, and a hot water bath. Keep everything hot to avoid bacteria. I use this website for most of my canning questions. I'm hoping to learn more about using a pressure cooker for canning so that I can put up my own meat sauces (marinara, alfredo, etc) and soups. Most of that is going to have to wait for winter for time to experiment.

For now I have all the goods from our CSA share to enjoy. The corn was amazing. I have 120+ ear of corn cooked and cut off the cob, 10 gallons of green beans, and 5 gallons of broccoli waiting in the freezer. The apples are sauced. Now to get a few more to make apple pie filling to can and some great desserts just to enjoy. Then bring on tomatoes, potatoes, and pumpkin.

We are going to eat well and healthy this winter!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Catching Up

It's been a while since I've posted here, mostly because there has been nothing new to share. I've joined the sports mom world and work full-time. That means we eat a lot of very quick foods on the fly. I get why so many people down massive amounts of fast food in their trek around town due to the time crunch.

I too have fallen pray to quick meals out a few times, but we've mostly managed to avoid that. However I've had my fill of sandwiches, spaghetti, leftovers, etc. The good news is football wraps up this week and that only leaves one evening every week on the fly.

To be honest, I've kind of lost my love of cooking for a while. I've been tired, busy, and had no imagination left for cooking. I find this happens to me about 2-3 times a year and it lasts a few weeks to a month each time. Then somehow inspiration returns. I think somehow it comes with the change of seasons. This time it came in the form of surgery. I've had my sinuses rearranged (deviated septum fixed and turbinate reduction) leaving me with a week of recovery to read food magazines, watch the food network, and think of how good food will taste once I can smell again!

Fall is here and so is inspiration. Fall really encompasses many of my favorite flavors. So I'm glad to get my kitchen mojo back. So here is to a whole bunch of great new soups, chowders, slow cooker meals, and apple concoctions coming soon. Glad to be back.