Monday, March 17, 2014

Where You'll Find Me

This blog has been rather quiet of late. I'm still cooking, but I've been posting new recipes at a new website:  Cook and Count. The new site features the same family-friendly recipes you're used to finding here, with the addition of carbohydrate information per serving.

That's because my youngest child was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes this past November. Fortunately I haven't had to learn a new way to cook, but I have had to pay attention to how many carbs are in the food my son eats.

The recipes at Cook and Count are for anyone--not just diabetics. And yes, there will still be cookies. Little Brother can still have cookies, as long as he knows how many carbs are in them so he can use insulin accordingly. He is learning to enjoy two cookies instead of scarfing down five or six. (And that's a good thing.)

This site isn't going anyplace, but new posts will be happening at the new site.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I've Given Up Ice Cream

I like ice cream.

A lot.

That's the problem. Ice cream is yummy, but it's also very easy to eat way too much of it.

Since I also like fitting into my clothing, I tried cutting down on the size of my ice-cream bowl. That didn't work too well.

What did work was substituting gelato for ice cream.

Talenti Gelato is rich and delicious, and a little goes a long way. A small dish of Talenti Gelato is just as satisfying as a big dish of ice cream, and a lot easier on the waistline.

Because I enjoy frozen desserts almost as much in winter as I do in summer, I tried some of Talenti's seasonal flavors this winter. My favorite seasonal flavor was Peppermint Bark, which takes plain old chocolate-chip-mint to a fabulous new level. I hope they'll bring this flavor back next winter--I'll buy it by the case if they do.

If you like your desserts a little nutty, try the Sicilian Pistachio, which is loaded with chunks of pistachio as well as plenty of flavorful pistachio butter.

Want something smoother? You can't miss with Sea Salt Caramel. You'll find caramel truffles in there--a winning combination.

Take a look at all their current flavors! On my list to try:
Argentine Caramel
Coffee Chocolate Chip
Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip
Southern Butter Pecan


FYI:  Talenti's one-pint plastic containers are great for storage once dessert is done. Fill them up with rice, pasta, cookies, whatever.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sunshine Citrus Salsa with Fish

In the middle of winter, you need all the sunshine you can get, and with citrus fruit at its peak of flavor (and lowest price), it's a great time to add the taste of sunshine to any meal.

I was inspired by a feature on recipes using citrus in the January issue of Cooking Light magazine; the result is this light fish dish with a citrus salsa.

As the fish cooks quickly, start the salsa first. You can even make the salsa earlier in the day.

Note that the fruit was weighed with the peel on. Carb counts based on information from Calorie King. The weights of the fruit are given for information purposes only, in case you need to count the carbs.

Before cutting or juicing the citrus fruit, reserve 1 TBL zest from the grapefruit, orange and lime. (Extra zest can be frozen in small containers or zipper bags).

SUNSHINE CITRUS SALSA
(4 servings, 22 carbs each)

1 grapefruit (red or pink), 16 ounces, sectioned
1 tangerine, sectioned
1 navel orange, 16 ounces, sectioned
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp freshly-ground pepper
1 shallot, cut in thin slivers
1/8 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Combine in a bowl, tossing gently. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

LIGHT CITRUS FISH

4 portions of white fish fillet (whiting, swai, flounder, tilapia, sole)
olive oil for the pan
3 TBL citrus zest
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp freshly-ground pepper
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Brush pan with olive oil. Place fish in pan and sprinkle with citrus zest and seasonings. Bake 15 minutes at 425.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Maple-Walnut Cupcakes

Excuse the slightly-lumpy icing--I should have poured
the sugar more carefully.
I'm not much of a cake baker, and most of the cakes I've baked have been from the boxed-mix variety. But these cupcakes are just about as easy to make as opening a box--and way more delicious. Plus there's nothing artificial here.

MAPLE-WALNUT CUPCAKES
Makes 18 cupcakes

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
3 tbl butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Combine flour and baking soda. Set aside.
Cream together butter and sugars in mixing bowl. Add eggs, beating in one at a time. 
Measure milk and syrup into a measuring cup.
Alternate adding milk mixture and flour mixture to batter with mixer on low speed. When batter is beaten well, stir in the chopped walnuts.
Pour batter into prepared cupcake pan.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until cupcakes pass the "toothpick test."

MAPLE-BROWN SUGAR ICING
2 tbl butter
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tbl milk
1 TBL maple syrup
½ cup + 1/3 cup powdered sugar


Melt butter in small saucepan.  Add brown sugar and stir until bubbly.  Remove from heat.  Add milk and syrup and stir until smooth.  Add powdered sugar and beat until frosting is ready to spread.  Use IMMEDIATELY.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mom's Penicillin

It's a Sick Day for my daughter today, so I've got a pot of homemade chicken-noodle soup simmering on the stove. Chicken soup really does make you feel better--and this is the good stuff right here; nothing artificial added! Chicken soup is also a frugal dish; you can use leftovers to make the stock (it's really easy) and this is a great way to use up those odds and ends of baby carrots and that last bit of the box of pasta.

CHICKEN-NOODLE SOUP

For the soup:
6 cups chicken stock
2 cups carrots, chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
parsley (fresh, if you have it--a generous handful)
freshly-ground black pepper
1/4 tsp rosemary

Add-ins:
1 1/2 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken
1 1/2 cups fettuccine, broken into fourths (less than 1/4 pound)*

Start the soup at least 1 1/2 hours before serving. Simmer, covered. About 1/2 hour before serving, add chicken and pasta and cook uncovered until pasta is done.

*If you prefer to use a smaller noodle such as dilatini, pastina or orzo, 1 cup will be plenty.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Breakfast Delight: Maple Oatmeal Bread

A friend of ours gave us a bottle of "the good stuff":  real maple syrup from Coombs Family Farms.
I had to act quickly if I was going to get a chance to bake anything with this, as the pancake eaters in the house were making short work of this delicious syrup.

(Coombs, you've completely spoiled my family regarding maple syrup. They've enjoyed the real thing. There's no going back.)

I managed to reserve enough of this maple syrup to add to an oatmeal bread that's great for toasting and has a hint of sweetness--but doesn't go overboard.

MAPLE OATMEAL BREAD
(makes 1 loaf)


1 cup warm water
1 TBL butter
2 TBL pure maple syrup
1 tsp salt
2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup rolled (old-fashioned) oats
1 tsp active dry yeast

Place ingredients in bread machine pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Use dough cycle. When dough is complete, turn out onto a floured board and shape into a loaf. Place in oiled loaf pan and allow to rise 1 hour. Heat oven to 375 and bake 35 minutes. Turn out onto wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

The fine print:  recipe and opinions are all mine. I was given no compensation by Coombs Family Farms or any other entity for this post.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Spicy Corn Chowder in the Slow Cooker

This soup got started as the Corn Chowder recipe from 365 Slow Cooker Suppers. That chowder needed something, so I decided it spice it up with some Ro-Tel (and omitted the potatoes). You can make this chowder as chunky or smooth as you would like, as there's a blender step in the instructions. The more soup you reserve before blending, the chunkier the chowder will be. This freezes well.

SPICY CORN CHOWDER
serves 6 to 8

1 16-oz package frozen corn (no need to thaw)
4 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
4 garlic cloves, minced (or more to taste)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
1 can Ro-Tel
1 cup half & half
1 to 2 cups more frozen corn, thawed (optional)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup Cheddar or Cheddar-Jack cheese, shredded
tortilla chips

In slow cooker, place frozen corn, broth, garlic, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 hours. Remove up to half of the soup and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Return soup to slow cooker and stir in Ro-Tel, half & half, and additional corn (if desired.)
Cook 30 minutes. Serve with a sprinkle of cheese and cilantro on top of each bowl and tortilla chips on the side. We like Utz Dipping Tortillas with this soup--you won't even need a spoon!

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