Monday 5 August 2013

Black bean chili (lunch) and bacon & lentil burritos (supper)

For lunch today, we had Festive Black Bean Chili from the Moosewood Low-Fat Cookbook.

Supper was Chef Michael Smith's Bacon and Lentil Burritos.

Both dishes were thoroughly enjoyed by my Man, the Big Kid and I.  There were other factors at play that discouraged the three wees to eat either meals, so it's hard to say if they would have liked them.

Sunday 7 July 2013

Update on #5 and eating for healing

#5 (another for the pink team) was born on Monday, June 17th at 8:39am weighing 7lbs 9ozs.  She has dark hair which is very different from the other four blonds I gave birth to.  She is, of course, beautiful and I'm so in love!  In fact, everyone here is totally in love with her too.  They always want to know where she is, how she is, if they can hold her, kiss her, pet her, even tap her!  So much love in our house right now.  I'm just astounded!

I healed very well for a few days in the hospital but then that changed and I've been on bedrest though am not right now, just taking it easy.  My Man is fabulous at juggling the kids and meals so I really do have to remember to take care of me.  I have to get better as soon as possible to be more useful sooner for the family.

I still continue to be amazed by how much our bodies can take a beating and still bounce back.  Also continue to be amazed with the fact that if you give your body the proper tools, it can repair a whole lotta damage.  I wish I'd done more research into the nutrients I'd need more of to heal from a caesarean well before the surgery and "stocked up" both by eating optimally beforehand and having the information at the ready if things weren't went downhill, which they did.

A blood test found I was slightly anemic so was started on iron right then and there and told I should continue to take it for three months to replenish my stock.  A bit of research has singled a few other vitamins and minerals that, along with a diet full of the usual fruits and vegetables, will optimize healing.  I am now eating very well despite a decrease in my appetite, every bite counts.

I prepared my first meal for the family last night and it was chock full of onions, garlic and turmeric - three things specified to aid in healing.  I made chickpea curry and we ate it with rice.

Complete proteins, iron, vitamin C, zinc, and vitamin A were stand-outs in my research.

Wish I'd known sooner.  Gad I know now and it's not too late.  I will heal and I will be fine.

Wednesday 5 June 2013

Gravy with no drippings (chicken or beef)

Baked Bree has a great recipe for making gravy without pan drippings that I have made often.  Pan drippings are the juices and fat left over in the pan after making a roast of some kind, be it roasting a chicken, a roast beef or even pork.

Tonight we used some leftover beef to make hot beef sandwiches.  I lightly browned an onion in a big frying pan, added the leftover beef, some chopped up (also leftover) baked potatoes, some frozen corn and peas then smothered it with this gravy and seasoned with salt and pepper.  I served it to the big people in the house on buttered toast.  The Wees got it straight on their plate with a healthy dose of ketchup on the side. 

Gravy with no pan drippings
from Baked Bree
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
3 cups stock (beef or chicken or veggie) *see note
salt and ground pepper
1 Tbsp fresh thyme (parlsey is great also)
- melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the flour, whisk together and cook for a minute over medium heat until it is smooth.
- whisk in the stock. Let the mixture come to a bubble. The roux will not thicken until it comes to a bubble. Cook for another minute or so after it comes to a bubble.
- add the thyme, season well with salt and pepper.
- put this in a container and keep in the fridge. When you are ready to serve it, simmer it in a saucepan until it is heated through.

* NOTE: I used three cups of water and 2 Tbsp beef bouillon concentrate as stock.  You can use chicken or vegetable bouillon for similar results.

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Loaded Potato Soup

Simple, satisfying and you can change it up however you like it and depending on what's on-hand.

Ready to serve!
This recipe came from The Pioneer Woman.  She cooks for a crowd (her big, ranching family and often a few "extras") and loves it, it shows.

Bacon has been rendered, onions, celery, carrots and potatoes thrown in. 
Smells great.

This soup is great eaten the same day and better the next day.  I topped mine with cheddar cheese, bacon bits and green onion tonight.  Mmmmmm  This soup could also use a handful of corn kernels thrown in as well.

Loaded Potato Soup
from The Pioneer Woman
 1/4 lb bacon, cut very small (for bacon bits)
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
6 small russet potatoes, peeled and diced
6-8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 c milk
1/2 c cream (I used 'arf 'n 'arf, aka 10%, aka half and half, aka cereal cream, depending on where you live)
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
grated cheese of your choice
green onion
sour cream

- crisp bacon in a soup pot, remove bacon and set aside.  Pour off most of the grease but not all.
- return pot to medium-high and add onions, carrots and celery.  Stir and cook for 2 minutes or so, then add the diced potatoes.  Cook for 5 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper.
- pour in the broth and bring it to a gentle boil. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are starting to get tender.
- whisk together the flour and the milk, then pour into the soup and allow the soup to cook for another 5 minutes.
- remove 1/2 to 2/3 the soup and blend in a blender/food process until completely smooth. Pour it back into the soup pot and stir to combine. Let it heat back up as you taste for seasonings, adding more of what it needs. Stir in cream.
- serve in bowls garnished with green onion, grated cheese, crisp bacon pieces and sour cream.

Posted by on January 2 2013

Tuesday 21 May 2013

Caesar salad from my childhood

Oh, how I have been searching for this recipe for years and it turns out it has been under my nose all this time!  I have fond memories of my Mum rubbing down the big wooden salad bowl with a clove of raw garlic in preparation for this salad.  The dressing ingredients go into the bowl, get mixed up a bit, then tossed with lettuce and croutons and eaten immediately.  The lemon juice was usually squeezed out of a lemon itself on a deep beige-coloured Tupperware citrus juicer much like this one, but definitely beige.

This Caesar salad was often a side for a spaghetti supper.  Sometimes there was luscious garlic bread to go along with it.  Boy, those were good times.

I made this tonight to accompany a meal of lasagna.  I also made a bit of elbow macaroni to be served with spaghetti sauce for those who did not want an assembled lasagna.  We invited a small family over to join us for supper and I made the salad with someone else, what fun!  We used garlic from a local farm that we visit now and then to feed the goats and collect the hens' eggs.  Mmmmm.

I found the recipe in my Betty Crocker's Cookbook (1975) inscribed with "Menard" inside the front cover.  Thank you, Mrs Menard.  And thank you, Mum, for finding this cookbook for me many moons ago.  I will cherish it for many more.

Caesar Salad
from Betty Crocker
6 servings

1 clove garlic, halved (I minced about 3 cloves of pungent, oily garlic)
1/4 cup olive oil (you can use as little as 3 Tbsp and increase the lemon to 1/4 c with 2 Tbsp water)
8 anchovy fillets, cut up (or 2 tsp anchovy paste)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dry mustard
     freshly ground pepper
1 large or 2 small bunches romaine (about 10 cups)
1 lemon juice (3 Tbsp)
   garlic croutons (recipe below)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
 - just before serving, rub large salad bowl with cut clove of garlic.  If desired, allow a few small pieces of garlic to remain in bowl.  Add oil, anchovies, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and mustard; mix thoroughly.
- into salad bowl, tear romaine into bite-size pieces.  Toss until leaves glisten; squeeze juice from lemon over romaine.  Toss until leaves are well coated.  Sprinkle croutons and cheese over salad; toss.

Garlic Croutons
- heat oven to 400F.  Trim crusts from 4 slices white bread.  Generously butter both sides of bread slices; sprinkle with 1/4 tsp garlic powder.  Cut into 1/2" cubes; place in baking pan.  Bake 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crisp.  (I used a stale plain bagel.)

 No picture of the salad, I didn't thing to snap one up then the salad was just so good that I wish I had.  When I make it again (I think that's going to be very soon!) I'll get a picture and post it here.

In parting, I'll leave you with a little blurb Betty Crocker provided at the beginning of this particular recipe as food for thought: "Make a show of this one!  Arrange pre-measured ingredients on a tray and ask the man-of-you-house to toss the salad at the table."

Monday 20 May 2013

Coconut ice cream cake with fruit and a "brownie" bottom

I made ice cream today with no special machine.  I had help from Thing 2 (the girl twin), she was so proud to serve it to her family tonight!

I copied the recipe exactly from this rawsome vegan life.  I dare say it is to be considered a healthy dessert.  You can serve it for breakfast, any snack and dessert.  It's chock full of good things and just a touch of sweet.

Mine even turned out pretty!  THAT's quite an accomplishment for me.  SEE:


 So, I lined the smallest glass mixing bowl I have with plastic wrap and had Thing 2 dump in some various frozen fruit we had in the freezer (sweet cherries, mango, sliced strawberries, whole raspberries and blueberries) then poured the ice cream mixture we made on top of the berries, let freeze, press on a "brownie" crust and invert onto a big plate to serve!  So easy and nutritious.

Before serving, let it thaw in the fridge a bit, maybe about 30 minutes to soften but not melt.  A plastic bowl would have made it a bit easier to unmold.  The bowl should be able to hold about six cups.

Here's the recipe!

Coconut ice cream cake with fruit and a "brownie" bottom
from this rawsome vegan life
Ice cream:
1 can of store-bought raw coconut milk 
1/4 cup raw cane sugar or preferred sweetener, to taste (I used granulated sugar, maple syrup would be fabulous)
1 banana
Brownie crust:
1/3 cup walnuts
1/3 cup raw oats
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
2/3 cup dates (or more)
Whatever fresh or frozen you have or like, about 2 cups
Prepare the cake vessel: find a bowl that can hold about 6 cups, or use a small dome cake pan and line it with plastic wrap, tin foil or whatever. I used a dome shaped colander and plastic wrap, it worked fine. Alternatively, you can just make this using a normal cake pan.  Line the sides of the pan or bowl with your chosen fruit. 
To make the ice cream: blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour into your pan or bowl and put in the freezer until solid, about 3 or 4 hours. 
To make the brownie crust: put the walnuts, oats and cacao in your food processor and pulse until they become a flour. Add the dates and process until it starts to stick together. Press onto the "top" of your ice cream cake (it will become the bottom when you flip it later). Put in the fridge for about an hour to let everything set. Then carefully flip your cake onto a plate and take off your lining - voilà! Decorate as you wish and let thaw before eating. 
So pretty, it's a party waiting to happen!
I think I'll be making this again and again this summer, the kids all liked it so much!  I think I'll use the ice cream recipe with fruit in popsicle molds or tiny plastic cups with a stick in it.  The brownie base could be made into an energy ball-type thing.

Thursday 25 April 2013

Fettuccine alfredo

Given how much my Big Kid loves his "pasta with white sauce", I'm pretty surprised that I have yet to post about it.  I have one reference to a vegan version here where I get all fancy-pants on you and use a garlic confit (which I'd quite completely forgotten about and am now reminded of how much I loved to have it in my fridge and cook with it and will be making more in a few days) and tofu.  It's delicious but different from this one.

Linquine alfredo with shrimp.
This one is creamy and dreamy.

Quick and delightful.

And easy-peasy.

Miam, miam

I based it on a recipe I found in my handed-down edition of Janet and Greta Podleski's Looneyspoons cookbook.  The cover is falling off and the pages have been splattered but I refer to it often.  This version is not quite as low-fat as theirs but that's what I do.

Linguine Alfredo
based on a recipe from Looneyspoons
1 lb linguine, fettuccine, penne rigate or any pasta that will cup the sauce nicely
2 strips bacon, cut into tiny pieces
1-2 cloves garlic, minced (I love my microplane)
1 1/2 c 2% milk
1 1/2 Tbsp flour
1/3 c cheddar cheese, medium, grated
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
1 lb cooked shrimp, tails removed, thawed
1/4 c sour cream
3/4 c green peas, thawed or canned

- cook pasta, drain and return to pot with sauce
- while pasta is cooking, prepare sauce.
- cook bacon to very crisp but not burnt, add garlic and sauté 1 minute.
- mix milk and flour together to smooth.  Add to garlic.  Increase heat to med-high, cook and stir until thick and bubbly 4-5 minutes.
- reduce heat to low, add cheese, basil, S&P, cook 1 more minute to melt cheese.  Add shrimp, sour cream and peas.  Heat through.
- add pasta to the sauce and toss to coat.
- best served immediately, but leftovers are good too.

Variations: you can add a can or two of tuna, skinless salmon or chopped chicken.