Monday, March 31, 2008

Party material
--Herb-Cheese Dip

Herb-Cheese Dip
501 Delicious Diabetic Recipes Copyright 2000

1 (8-ounce) package Neufch√Ętel cheese, softened
2/3 cup 1% low-fat cottage cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1 ½ teaspoons skim milk
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon ground savory

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl; beat at medium speed of an electric mixture until smooth (I used my stick blender). Cover and chill thoroughly.

Yield ½ cups.

Per tablespoon: 27 calories, .5g carbs, 1.6g protein, 2.1g fat, 7mg chol, 0 fiber, 60mg sodium

I have to admit that I was only expecting this to be passable. I can't eat raw vegetables plain so I wanted something to help them go down and I thought this might help. I didn't think it would actually be that good but it was. I would serve this at a party. Maybe I would add a touch of salt but I didn't for my own personal use since I'm trying to watch my sodium too. Be careful with the raw garlic - it's potent!

So far I sampled it on a triscuit and I enjoyed it with cucumber too. I'm sure I'll be making this again in the future.

Well the good news is that I just barely failed my glucose test which is better than having off-the-chart numbers but it's still very nerve-wracking to have to watch your numbers so closely. I wonder how much healthier most of us would be if we had our blood sugar measured daily. Well, we'd either be healthier or stressed and miserable.

I do get quite a few carbs so it's pretty much just like being on a diet except I'm still supposed to be gaining weight, albeit just 1/2 pound a week but right now that actually seems daunting as I'm eating so much less than I was and I haven't gained a lot of weight this pregnancy (compared to my last at least).

Blast From The Past: Buttery Herbed Chicken from December 2005. My Weight Watchers cookbooks will probably come in handy now.

Question of the Day: What kind of dip do you like with raw vegetables? Or do you eat them plain?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Very satisfying

Best Recipes From The Backs of Boxes, Bottles, Cans and Jars Copyright 1979, 1981, 1982

1 lb. ground beef
1 16-ounce can tomatoes
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
½ cup water
½ cup chopped onion
1 Tbs. chili powder I also added some homemade taco seasoning
1¼ tsps. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
1 8-ounce package tortillas
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese I used 50% Light cheddar

Brown meat; drain. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, water, onion and seasonings; simmer 10 minutes. Fry tortillas in hot oil until softened; drain. (I softened them in a pan sprayed with spray oil.) Place rounded tablespoonful of meat sauce and cheese on each tortilla; roll up tightly. Place seam side down in 11 ¾ x 7 ½-inch baking dish; top with remaining sauce and cheese. Cover with aluminum foil; bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

I don't meet with the dietician until this morning so I was still on my own for dinner. They suggested an appointment next week??? I couldn't wait that long. I want to know what I can eat now. Well, I can look that up myself but I want my glucometer training so I know just how bad it is.

I would usually make rice with enchiladas but we just had them with salad and it was plenty. I only ate two enchiladas but I could have eaten more. They really hit the spot. Of course, I was starving since I wasn't sure what I could eat all day. The meat mixture was sort of bland so I added some taco seasoning. You could jazz it up however you like. I liked the thicker sauce. I don't think these were very authentic but oh well, they were good. I just wish corn tortillas could be be rolled right up. It would be so much easier if you didn't have to heat them up first but I've tried that - it doesn't work!

Oh well, I'm off to the dietician!

Blast From The Past: Ham and Egg Enchiladas from October 2005. Those were a favorite before my son started eating dinner with us. We haven't done an egg challenge for him yet. He doesn't have any problem with things cooked with egg but I still don't feed him anything really egg-y.

Question of the Day: What type of enchilada filling do you prefer?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The party's over
--Sweet 'n' Smoky Oven-Barbecued Chicken

Sweet 'n' Smoky Oven-Barbecued Chicken
Best Recipes From The Backs of Boxes, Bottles, Cans and Jars Copyright 1979, 1981, 1982

1 (3 to 3 1/2 lb.) fryer, cut up
1/2 c. water
1 lg. onion, sliced
1 tsp. hickory smoked salt I used smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. pepper

Barbecue Sauce:
1/2 c. catsup
2 tbsp. prepared mustard
1/2 c. Mazola oil
1/4 c. vinegar
1/2 c. maple syrup

Combine the catsup, mustard, oil, vinegar, maple syrup. Stir.

Wash and clean chicken and pat dry. Cut into serving pieces. Place pieces skin side up in small roaster or baking pan. Pour 1/2 cup water in bottom pan. Peel and slice 1large onion and tuck around chicken pieces. Sprinkle with hickory smoked salt and pepper.Place in 375 degree oven uncovered. Bake 30 minutes. Remove from oven and pour barbecue sauce over top. Return to oven and bake 30 minutes longer, basting 2 or 3 times.

I failed my 3-hour glucose test. That means I have gestational diabetes, which does not surprise me at all. I've been feeling great but I just had a feeling. I've been thirstier than usual. My sister had it with one of her pregnancies, my mother has type II now, I was a big baby. I have other risk factors. I knew it was coming.

So things are going to change around here. I'd like to add 'until this passes', as gestational diabetes was once thought of as a transient condition that disappeared when the pregnancy ended, but women with GD are usually destined for Type II diabetes later in life. So while hopefully I won't be counting every carb after the baby comes, I will still need to wise up and eat healthier.

The funny thing is that I've been eating much better and have gained much less weight this pregnancy but I started out heavier. And older.

Obviously today's recipe was prepared before I got the diagnosis. It probably makes my diagnosis less surprising. Anyone who reads here regularly knows I like things a bit sweet. I always thought that was a nice compromise - if my meal was a tad sweet, I didn't crave dessert afterwards. I really don't eat a lot of sweet, dessert type stuff outright. Not on a daily basis. Most cookies and cakes only gets partially eaten around my house before we have to toss them. We rarely finish a container of ice cream. I use high fiber pastas whenever I can. I work out five days a week. Eating too much in general and genetics were my downfall. Argh!

Okay, back to the recipe. Way too much oil. I knew that but I didn't go with my instincts. Most of it went down the drain - the extra sauce was too oily to enjoy. I loved the onion and the nice caramelization on the chicken. I'm not sure it was the best use of my pricey maple syrup but it was enjoyable enough. I think without the oil or maybe with just a tablespoon or two, this would be much, much better. It was a recipe contest winner so I didn't want to mess with it but live and learn.

I may miss a few days until I get on track. I haven't received my dietary instructions yet but I generally know what to expect. One of my son's teachers is a month ahead of me and she also has GD and goes to the same Ob/Gyn practice so she's been filling me in. I was able to pick out several low-carb recipes for next week so I should be okay. One nice 'side effect' is that I can get some healthier recipes and foods past my husband since I told him that he's going to have to eat differently too (he has an even stronger family history of diabetes).

And maybe this will be a good excuse to get more cookbooks with diabetic recipes!

Blast From The Past: Peach Crumble Tart from January 2006. That recipe is from a diabetic cookbook but I don't think it will fit into my new diet with 35 carbs a slice.

Question of the Day: Anyone in your family with diabetes? Anyone who had gestational diabetes?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A winner!
--Braised Ginger Pork

Braised Ginger Pork
Best Recipes From the Backs of Boxes, Bottles, Cans and Jars Copyright 1979, 1981, 1982

2 pounds lean 1-inch pork cubes
3 tablespoons oil
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup soy sauce I used low-sodium
2 tablespoon sherry
¼ cup chopped onion, green or white I used green
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ginger, ground
1 dash pepper
Rice, cooked

Dredge meat in flour. Heat oil in large skillet. Add half of meat and brown quickly. Remove meat and set aside. Pour off excess oil from pan. Combine chicken broth, soy sauce and sherry. Add onion, garlic, sugar, ginger and pepper. Place in a pan along with meat. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until meat is tender. Serve over rice.

I'm constantly drawn to teriyaki-like recipes like this but they don't always hit the right balance. This one did! I really loved this. It was simple to throw together and didn't need a lot of cooking time. It had just the right blend of flavors. There was a decent amount of sauce too, although that isn't very clear from the picture. This is definitely going on my short list of simple recipes to make after the baby comes. I'll even freeze some pork already cubed to make things even easier.

My son loved it too. He asked for seconds on the pork. Another plus. I don't know about my husband since pork isn't his favorite but I always make (frozen) egg rolls with something like this so that keeps him happy.

Just about every recipe I'm making this week comes from the cookbook. It's one of my favorites right now.

Blast From The Past: Black and White Cupcakes from January 2008. Maybe I can make those for the bake sale. I still haven't committed to anything and I need to make a decision. Someone signed up for banana cake. Darn! I forgot all about banana cake. I make excellent banana cake.

Question of the Day: If you were on your way to a bake sale right now, what would you hope to see there?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Not in the mood
--Linguine with Sausage and Arugula

Linguine with Sausage and Arugula
The Spaghetti Sauce Gourmet Copyright 2006

8 ounces loose-pack Italian sausage
12 ounces linguine or spaghetti
6 cups baby arugula
1 cup refrigerated or jarred vodka tomato sauce with cream
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, optional I omitted this

Scatter chunks of sausage in a large cold skillet set over medium heat. Add about 2 tablespoons water to the pan. Cook, flipping occasionally with a spatula, until browned about 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions.

Add the arugula to the sausage in the pan. Cook, stirring, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the sauce and keep warm at a low simmer.

Drain the linguine. Add to the skillet and toss to coat with sauce. Garnish with basil, if using.

I should have mentioned that I was taking yesterday off. I didn't do any cooking over the weekend and yesterday I had to take the lovely 3-hour glucose test in the morning. Since I couldn't eat all morning, I had a big lunch and by dinnertime my appetite was on the low side.

I enjoyed this but nothing was going to thrill me last night. My husband wanted to know what the 'green stuff' was. To be honest, I enjoyed it despite the arugula - I'm not a big fan of cooked greens myself. I made this recipe because I had vodka sauce left over from the pierogi and I had sausage in the freezer.

I just don't feel like cooking this week. When you start the week by not getting enough sleep and then getting a massive dose of sugar, it's hard to pick yourself back up.

Blast From The Past: Apple Oat Bran Muffins from February 2006. That was a pre-blog favorite muffin that I may make again soon.

Question of the Day: Do you like cooked greens?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Love at first bite
--Pierogi in Tomato Vodka, Horseradish, and Dill Sauce

Pierogi in Tomato Vodka, Horseradish, and Dill Sauce
The Spaghetti Sauce Gourmet Copyright 2006

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup prechopped onion
1 ½ cups refrigerated or jarred tomato sauce with vodka
¼ cup minced fresh dill I used some dried dill
2 tablespoons jarred prepared horseradish
2 pounds fresh or frozen cheese-and-potato pierogi
Ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the onion. Cook, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the sauce, dill and horseradish. Set aside over low heat.

Meanwhile, cook the pierogi according to package directions. Drain and transfer to the skillet. Stir to coat evenly. Season to taste with pepper.

I was very hesitant about making this recipe. I seriously considered abandoning the plan and making something else. I think it was the meat-free aspect of the recipe that was scaring me. I wasn't sure if it would be hardy enough for my husband. I couldn't come up with an alternative so I went ahead and made this.

Why I was eating this a little song kept playing in my head. It went something like this:

"Yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum"

Okay the lyrics weren't great but it had a nice melody. I really enjoyed this recipe. Maybe it was the vodka sauce that made it so good? I know it's supposed to be good stuff but I've never used it straight. It was Newman's Own and I've enjoyed other sauces from that brand. I don't know what my husband thought but he didn't leave me any leftovers, which is rare.

This made for a relatively inexpensive dish. Nothing is cheap anymore but the pierogi were on sale and so was the sauce. This was a nice dish to make with frozen pierogi. As good as it was it might be sacrilege to use homemade pierogi in this recipe.

Blast From The Past: Gooey Butter Cakes from May 2006. I was thinking about making these for the bake sale. The sign up sheet is up already. So far people have signed up for brownies, cupcakes, chocolate cake, mini cheesecakes and lemon squares.

Question of the Day: Do you like pierogi?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Satisfying but not worth repeating
--Tex-Mex Turkey

Tex-Mex Turkey
Favorite Brand Name Slow Cooker, Casseroles and More Copyright 2002

1 can (10-3/4 ounces) reduced-fat condensed tomato soup
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup diced green chilies
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup sliced ripe olives (optional) I left these out
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 pound turkey tenderloins, cut into thin strips I used chicken
1/2 teaspoon salt
Hot cooked rice (optional)

1.Combine soup and sour cream in small bowl; mix well. Set aside. Spray large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Add onions, chilies, corn, bell pepper, olives, if desired, garlic and chili powder; cook and stir over medium-high heat until onions and pepper are tender.
2.Add turkey to skillet; brown evenly. Add soup mixture and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 5 minutes. Serve with rice, if desired.

Well Blogger just lost my entire post (although mysteriously not the last change I made which was to the title???)

I don't have time to recreate my post. This recipe was good, just not special enough to repeat. That's about it today! Sorry. Blame Blogger!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I had my egg salad on ...
--Cottage Dill Bread

Cottage Dill Bread
Electric Bread Copyright 1996

½ cup water
2 cups white bread flour
1 tbsp. dry milk
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. butter
¼ cup cottage cheese
½ tbsp. dry onion
½ tbsp. dill seed
½ tbsp. dill weed
1 tsp. fast rise yeast or 2 tsp. active dry yeast

Prepare per your bread machine’s instructions. You may need to add more water depending on how wet your cottage cheese is.

Makes 1 1-lb loaf.

When I decided to make the egg salad filling, I thought, what will I eat it on? I immediately thought of this recipe that I had on my 'to make' list. I picked up this great bread machine cookbook at a church picnic last year. It's loaded with delicious sounding recipes but this is the first one I've tried. It won't be the last, that's for sure. This bread had fantastic texture and flavor.

Often before I transcribe a recipe, I look for it online already (so I can cut and paste). It's usually already out there somewhere (and most often not attributed for those who wonder if it's right for me to be posting recipes from cookbooks - at least I give my source!). This recipe appears numerous times but calling for 1 1/4 cups of cottage cheese instead of 1/4 cup but I double checked the book and it's only 1/4 cup. I did need to add more water but not a huge amount. They recipe for the larger recipe calls for 3/4 cup and it's often posted online right next to this smaller recipe so the 1 1/4 cups definitely seems wrong but it's posted that way almost everywhere on the internet so that might work too, who knows?

Blast From The Past: Ruth Wakefield’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars from June 2007. I have a bake sale to bake for soon and this is one of the recipe contenders.

Question of the Day: Any good bakesale ideas? I think we're just selling individually-sized goodies (no whole cakes or pies, etc).

Monday, March 17, 2008

Satisfying another craving
--Egg Salad Filling

Egg Salad Filling
Best Recipes From the Backs of Boxes, Bottles, Cans and Jars Copyright 1979, 1981, 1982

4 hard-cooked eggs, finely chopped
½ cup finely chopped celery
1 Tbs. French’s Prepared Mustard
2 Tbs. mayonnaise
1 Tbs. parsley flakes
¼ tsp. celery salt
1 tsp. sugar

Combine ingredients and mix thoroughly.

I had been thinking a lot about making egg salad but I usually tend to use a lot of mayonnaise and that isn't healthy. This recipe caught my eye because it doesn't use a lot of mayonnaise. I liked it. It had a very fresh taste with the celery and the parsley. I didn't feel guilty while eating it either.

Hey, I guess I did eat something green on St. Patrick's Day after all.

Tomorrow I'll show you what I ate this egg salad on.

Blast From The Past: Sour Cream-Bran Muffins from June 2006. I remember that those smelled really good. I have to make those again soon.

Question of the Day: Do you like egg salad?

Yummy sweet muffins
--Banana-Oatmeal Muffins

Banana-Oatmeal Muffins
Church Potluck Carry-Ins and Casseroles Copyright 2006

1 cup flour
1 ¼ cups oats
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup oil
½ cup sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 bananas mashed

1. In a bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon, mixing well.
2. In another bowl, combine oil, sugars, eggs, and bananas, mixing well.
3. Combine mixtures and pour into greased muffin tins.
4. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Makes 1 dozen.

I had some bananas that I needed to use up and muffins have been on mind. These turned out a bit flat-topped but those flat-tops were tasty - chewy and sweet like oatmeal cookies. The rest of the muffin was moist and delicious. Overall these are a very sweet muffin so you might want to decrease the sugar if that's how you roll.

I wanted to go to the farmer's market Friday but the weather didn't hold up. I did finally hit the local organic store on Saturday and I was a bit disappointed. They had a less of a selection of organic merchandise than most grocery stores these days and definitely no more than the small local grocery store that has a special organic section (I think they might be partnered with this store). I questioned the freshness of the merchandise too. That's a problem overall with organic food since in this area, not just this store, since it doesn't seem to be selling like hotcakes, not when it demands a much higher price.

They did have a nice sized, very fresh looking selection of both organic beef and natural beef. The local grocery stores carry some natural meats but not organic. Don't ask me what the difference is but the organic meat is much more expensive than the natural meat. The produce selection was sad but I'll give them a break due to the time of year.

The store would be another resource for anyone devoted to organic living and probably helpful to those dealing with wheat and dairy allergies since they have some dairy-free and wheat-free products that may not be in the other local stores but overall, I wasn't impressed for my current needs. I set my sights too high. Was I expecting something like a Whole Foods nestled between a bunch of farms on a country road way north of the closest city? I am grateful that it's there in case I need it. I picked up a few things while I was there and I'm sure I'll go back every once and a while. I want to try the eggs but I didn't need any this week.

It's the same store where Jon & Kate plus 8 bought a load of meat on one episode. I think that's how the store make most of their money - bulk meat sales.

I never got around to making anything Irish this weekend but Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Skipping Blast From the Past since I'm in a hurry.

Question of the Day: Are you enjoying any Irish foods today?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I try, I really do
--Italian Venison Sausages

Italian Venison Sausages
301 Venison Recipes The Ultimate Deer Hunter’s Cookbook Copyright 1992

2 pounds venison, ground
1 pound ground pork
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons pepper
½ teaspoon oregano leaves
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 ½ cups white wine
4 ounces sausage casings
I added fennel seed and red pepper flakes too

Mix the ingredients and blend well. Stuff venison sausage into casings and twist into 6-inch long links. Sausage should be about 1-inch thick, it will expand when cooking. Sausage can also be used in patties. I made patties.

I've been ignoring the venison is the basement freezer but I had to face the music eventually. Venison is not bad but I just don't like it. I can't seem to train my tastebuds to enjoy it for what it is. They keep expecting one of the meats they're used to - beef or pork. Even lamb is a big question mark for me. I've sampled lamb on buffets in the islands and I even sampled it in Costco and enjoyed it but I'm still not going to go out and pay for it since I don't know how much of it I could handle.

I really thought I was going to like this but after a few bites I gave up. Honestly, the sausage didn't taste bad, it just wasn't the taste I expected and I couldn't get past that. My husband ate it. I'm not so sure that he's crazy about venison either but he'd never admit it if he wasn't.

Blast From The Past: Salisbury Steak Deluxe from June 2007. I think this is what I might end up making with ground beef next week.

Question of the Day: Do you like any game meats? How about lamb?

Too salty
--Baked Beef Stew

Baked Beef Stew
Church Potluck Carry-Ins and Casseroles Copyright 2006

3 pounds lean stew beef
1 2-ounce package onion soup mix
1 10.75 ounce cans golden mushroom soup
½ cup Sauterne wine

1. Combine all ingredients and place in 9”x13” greased baking dish.
2. Cover with foil.
3. Bake at 300 degrees for 3 hours.

Serves 8 to 10

I was craving something like this. Initially I was looking at 'cream of soup' recipes but I decided that this one might be a little bit lighter. Of course, it had loads of salt. Loads and loads of salt.

I made this the day before we ate it. It smelled so good while it was cooking! When I reheated it the next day, I added water which diluted the saltiness somewhat but it was still too salty. I halved the recipe and only used 1 packet of onion soup but I used one whole can of mushroom soup. Maybe it wouldn't have been too salty with more beef. I would not use two packets of soup no matter what!

Baking is definitely the way to go with stews though. In the crockpot or on the stovetop you just don't get the same result.

Blast From The Past: Hamburger and Onion Stuffed Bread from January 2007. I'm thinking of making another stuffed bread variation next week. I'm stumped for something to do with ground beef.

Question of the Day: Any ground beef ideas for me?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Oops! I did it again
--Caramel Frosting

Caramel Frosting
The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion Copyright 2003

8 Tb (1 stick) butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners' sugar

Melt the butter in a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Stir in the salt and brown sugar and heat the mixture to boiling, stirring constantly. Cook over low heat for 2minutes, until the sugar is totally dissolved. Stir in the milk and return to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and cool to lukewarm. Stir in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the powdered sugar. Adjust consistency with a little more milk, if necessary.

Two of my coworkers were having a birthday this week so I made a cake which I planned on blogging about but, well after I made it I realized that I had already blogged about it. It was the Devil's Food Cake from King Arthur which I wasn't thrilled with the first time I made it but I overbaked it. This time it turned out quite nice so I'm glad I gave it another chance.

I was so sick of buttercream frosting that I decided to try this caramel frosting. It wasn't bad, although it was quite sweet and a bit stiff. The crew didn't have any complaints.

Blast From the Past: Creamy Frosting from October 2005. That was my favorite frosting for so long but I got burned out on it. I may have to go back to it next time.

Question of the Day: What's your favorite frosting?

Better breaed
--100% Wheat Bread

100% Wheat Bread
Great Bread Machine Recipes Copyright 1992

2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons honey
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¼ cup wheat gluten
1 cup warm water

Prepare per your bread machine instruction manual. Makes 1-1lb loaf.

I was curious how adding wheat gluten to a bread recipe would affect the result. This definitely had a chewier texture than other whole wheat breads I've made so I definitely think it made an improvement.

A better blogger would have done a side-by-side comparison but what can I say, you don't pay me enough. No one pays me at all LOL so I only made the one loaf of bread that I needed.

This is my contribution to Sweetnick's ARF/5-A-Day Tuesdays which isn't just about fruits and veggies anymore, it's about any healthy eating and this bread is healthy.

Blast From The Past: Whole Wheat Bread from May 2006. I thought that bread was crumbly and it was a very similar recipe without using the gluten.

Question of the Day: If you bake bread, have you ever added gluten or other additives (like a dough enhancer)?

For the guys
--Famous Oatmeal Cookies

Famous Oatmeal Cookies
Best Recipes From the Backs of Bottles, Cans, and Jars Copyright 1979, 1981, 1982

¾ cup shortening, soft I used butter-flavored shortening
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
¼ cup water
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
3 cups uncooked Quaker Oats
I added some milk chocolate chips.

Beat together shortening, sugars, egg, water and vanilla until creamy. Sift together flour, salt and soda; add to creamed mixture; blend. Stir in oats. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Makes 5 dozen cookies. I made mine bigger and got 3 dozen. I baked them on parchment.

I don't know what got into me yesterday. I made a baked stew for tonight (I can't wait), a batch of venison sausage patties for later in the week (and for the freezer), a loaf of bread in the bread machine, a birthday cake for two co-workers, waffles for my husband's breakfast this week and these cookies. That was all done in the second part of the day.

Phew! I was exhausted. I had no trouble falling asleep even with the time change but getting up and getting going this morning was a different story. My son was definitely confused but try explaining Daylight Saving Time to a 4-year-old. Heck, someone please explain it to me. I don't get it. It's just painful.

I had to make the cookies because the guys were disappointed that the cake wasn't for them and they were expecting something. These were easy to mix up and quite delicious too. I would definitely make this recipe again.

Blast From The Past: Wholesome Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from October 2005. They used to be my favorite oatmeal cookies but I think they've just been replaced.

Question of the Day: Do you live in an area that observes Daylight Saving Time? Do you find it helpful?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

I suggest leaving off the barbecue sauce
--Artichoke Chicken

Artichoke Chicken
Taste of Home Grandma’s Favorites Copyright 2006

8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons butter
2 jars (6 ounces each) marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1 jar (4 ½ ounces) whole mushrooms, drained
½ cup chopped onion
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons dried rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 cups chicken broth or 1 cup chicken broth, 1 cup white wine (I used mostly broth with some wine)
Hot cooked noodles
Chopped fresh parsley

In a skillet, brown chicken in butter. Remove chicken to an ungreased 13- n. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish; do not drain pan juices. Cut the artichokes into quarters. Arrange artichokes and mushrooms on top of chicken; set aside. Saute onion in pan juices; blend in flour, rosemary, salt and pepper. Add chicken broth; cook until thickened and bubbly. Remove from the heat and spoon over chicken. Cover and bake at 350 deg. for 50-60 minutes or until chicken is tender. My chicken breasts were thin and I only cooked it about 20 minutes in the oven. Place noodles on serving platter; top with chicken and sauce. Sprinkle with parsley.
Yield: 8 servings

I thought this was a tasty recipe but my husband brought out the barbecue sauce. I wouldn't read too much into that since he'll put barbecue sauce on just about anything.

In the recipe's defense, I only made half the sauce since I wasn't using 8 chicken breasts although I did end up with 6 pieces of chicken so it wasn't particularly saucy. I bought the smaller sized bag of breasts from Costco and those breasts were huge! I had to cut them in half. Those in the larger bag I usually buy are extremely thin and I still had two of those left so I needed them all to be the same thickness. I wonder if they've changed them all now. All their frozen chicken breasts are from Purdue. I actually like the thin ones since they cook up so quickly.

I was pleased with my grocery shopping last night. I thought my total was going to be high since I needed a lot of basics (like dishwasher detergent, rinse aid, shampoo, etc) and I threw a lot of extra stuff in my cart but it wasn't expensive stuff so my total was palatable. I got two huge bags of mostly colored peppers for 50 cents/pound which is great for even green peppers in the grocery store. The colored ones are usually around $3.99/lb. They had turkey smoked sausage for $2/package so I grabbed a couple of those.

Blast From The Past: Smoked Sausage Skillet from July 2007. I might use some of that turkey smoked sausage to make that again.

Question of the Day: Do you like artichokes?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Satisfying a craving
--Cinnamon and Raisin Spread

Cinnamon and Raisin Spread
The Ugly Binder, from

1 cup fat free cream cheese I used low-fat
1 cup cottage cheese I used low-fat
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons white sugar I added a bit more
1/2 cup raisins

Place fat free cream cheese, cottage cheese, cinnamon and white sugar in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in raisins. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until serving.

Years ago, during the early 90s, I worked across the street from a Skolnick's bagel shop. I loved their cinnamon raisin spread. I found myself craving it the other day but the bagel shop near work has walnuts in their version. So I had to make it myself.

Was it as good as I remembered? Not quite since I used low-fat products and I'm sure Skolnick's didn't but it satisfied my craving and now I've moved on. Well, not really. I'm all out of sorts, appetite-wise again. I'm not craving anything which is frustrating if that makes sense. Nothing I eat is very satisfying. It's grocery night and I'll probably be tossing things in the cart willy-nilly and that's not good. I'm trying to keep things relatively healthy but even the 'bad stuff' doesn't appeal to me right now.

Blast From The Past: Slow-Cooker Pot Roast with Caramelized Onion Gravy from March 2006. That may have been the best pot roast I've ever made.

Question of the Day: Do you like bagels? What kind? What do you like on them?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Rich but yummy
--Brookville Coleslaw

Brookville Coleslaw
High Plains Country Cooking Copyright 1993

1 ½ lbs. cabbage, shredded
1 cup cream, whipped (it doesn't need to be whipped)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon salt

Place shredded cabbage in the refrigerator for several hours. Combine remaining ingredients and mix with cabbage about 30 minutes before serving.

Coleslaw is something that I can freestyle but it's very hit or miss. I have tried several very good coleslaw recipes but I still find myself drawn to try even more coleslaw recipes.

This recipe was a bit confusing. Why whip the cream? Is that one cup whipped or one whipped cup? I actually found a copy of this recipe on the internet which did not mention whipping the cream so I didn't. I think they just meant to use whipping cream.

I thought it sounded like a lot of liquid but I tried to get away with only making half of the 'sauce' but it wasn't enough. This is a very rich recipe but most of the liquid (fat) gets left behind and this is the type of coleslaw you'll probably just eat a small amount of, not a huge bowl full. I really liked it. I would add some grated onion for bite and some grated carrot for color in the future but as it was, it was a good basic recipe.

I just realized that with Daylight Savings coming up, I might start making the trek to auction on Friday nights again since it won't get dark as early. I'd just like to see what kind of produce they have this time of year and maybe my cookbook guy is still there (although I have no more room for cookbooks!)

Blast From The Past: Sweet-Sour Meatballs from November 2005, from this same cookbook. I found the coleslaw recipe when I was pulling out this meatball recipe for this week (tonight). Of course, now I'm reading that I doubled the sauce recipe when I made it and I don't think I have that much ketchup (or cider vinegar) at home. Argh!

Question of the Day: Do you like coleslaw?

Monday, March 03, 2008

An old favorite
--Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce

Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce
Big Kitchen Instruction Book Copyright 1998

1 head cauliflower
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk I used 1% milk
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (3 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese I used Cabot's 50% Cheddar

Separate cauliflower into florets. Then make cheese sauce: Melt butter in a medium saucepan and whisk in flour. Cooke and stir over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, and slowly add milk. Cook and stir until thickened. Add salt and cheese. Reduce heat and stir until cheese is melted. While cheese is melting, steam cauliflower for 5-7 minutes, or until tender. Place cauliflower in a serving dish and spoon sauce over it.

This is something we had quite often when I was growing up but my mom would just put cheese on the cauliflower. I can remember making it with a white sauce when I started getting into cooking. I must have seen it on a PBS cooking show because that was my only source of cooking information besides a few cookbooks around the house. It's still a favorite of mine so I don't know why I don't make it more often.

I garnished this with a sprinkling of paprika. Paprika was the only garnish my mother used. It was only a garnish. I don't recall it being used to actually flavor a dish, well besides roast chicken. But it was sprinkled on top of baked potatoes topped with a slice of cheese, potato salad and anything else that needed a splash of color. I don't remember if she used it on this cauliflower but it seemed like a good idea.

I almost forgot that this is perfect for Sweetnick's ARF/5-A-Day Tuesdays. Cauliflower is as healthy as it ever was, very high in Vitamin C of all things.

Blast From The Past: Memphis-Style Pork Chops from November 2006. I had to change my plan to make Baked Pork Chops since I didn't have time last night. I had to use ketchup instead of chili sauce in to make the sauce but it still turned out well.

Question of the Day: Is anybody there??? I didn't get a one comment yesterday which is unusual.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Chocolate chip cookies with a small twist
--Chocolate Malted Cookies

Chocolate Malted Cookies
Taste of Home Grandma’s Favorites Copyright 2006

1 cup butter-flavored shortening
1 ¼ cups packed brown sugar
½ cup malted milk powder
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chunks I used semi-sweet chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips

In a mixing bowl, combine first five ingredients; beat for 2 minutes. Add egg. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture, mixing well after each addition. Stir in chocolate chunks and chips.

Shape into 2-in. balls; place 3 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-14 minutes or until golden bown. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

Yield, about 1 ½ dozen. I made about 3 dozen.

In the lead-in to this recipe, the contributer calls these the best cookies she's ever tasted (a woman with 6 kids who has made lots of cookies). That was just too tempting to resist (and, I had some malted milk powder to use up). Were they that good? Well, they were really good - sort of a chocolate chip cookie plus. The malt flavor was not that strong in the final result but between the malted milk and the small amount of chocolate, there was a hint of added flavor.

I debated using real butter but the cookies in the picture looked somewhat flat and butter would make even flatter cookies. With the shortening, these cookies did come out quite flat. I used Crisco with no trans fat. Is that a new formula? Maybe it gives a different result than the version with trans fat? Usually cookies made with shortening don't spread very much. These were a bit chewy in the centers at first but by the next day they were crispy - not hard but crispy in a good way.

Blast From The Past: Chocolate Orange Dreams from December 2005. Those cookies were made with the old version of butter-flavored Crisco and as you can see, they didn't spread very much.

Question of the Day: Do you like the taste of malted milk?

P.S. Colors and Fonts seem to be mixed up today. I didn't change anything and it's probably just Blogger. If you can't see any of the text, trying to highlight it might help.