Category Archives: Recipes

Overnight Oatmeal

This could also be called ‘cold oatmeal’ or ‘refrigerator oatmeal’.  I’m including this in the Reddit 52 week challenge under dairy, because it is in fact, over half dairy. Or in my case, non-dairy. Here’s the thing about me, I’m not a strictly non-dairy person. I’m more of a limited-dairy person. I’m not entirely intolerant, but more like ‘moderately bothered’ by dairy. That’s why you’ll see me posting recipes that use coconut milk instead of milk, but still will include butter. Sometimes I just dairy it up like crazy, guts be damned. Enough about my guts. I very loosely based this recipe from one I found here, but modified it like crazy, so now it’s MINE, all MINE! Muahahaha!

Raspberries and whatnot!

Raspberries and whatnot!

This is my very informal recipe:

2 Cups Old-Fashioned (non-instant) Oats
1 can coconut milk (I used low-fat but you could use whatever. You could also use regular milk or goat milk or soy milk or almond milk or emu milk or whatever milk you kids are drinking these days)
1 glug of maple syrup (If I had to wager how much that was exactly, I’d say 2.5 Tablespoons)
1 shakea shakea of vanilla extract (maybe a teaspoon?)
1 sprinkle of cinnamon

Dump everything into a bowl, mix it, cover it, put it in the fridge overnight. This was a BIT too liquidy for me, but I like my oatmeal kind of dry. The kids said it was perfect, though.

You can eat this cold, or you can heat it up in the microwave or stove top for a minute or so. Top it with whatever you want. I used frozen raspberries and toasted coconut. My kids lobbied pretty hard for some whipped cream on top, so of course I let them have some. That makes it even more dairy-tastic.

If you want to be a super hipster, you can put this in a jar and take it to work. Enjoy!

Non-Diet Diet Meal.

This year, for the first time in at least a decade, I did not include ‘lose 20lbs’ on my list of yearly goals. I do plan on eating healthily and getting lots of exercise this year, but with overall health and happiness as my main objective.  So, of course this year for the first challenge of the 2015 Reddit 52 Weeks of Cooking was Diet Foods. After reading the description, you can see it’s meant to be pretty tongue in cheek, in that with all the diets out there, you could make pretty much anything and have it fit into the category.

I was a little behind on the challenge this week and made my food on the 8th (deadline, 7th) but y’all know that’s how I roll. What did I make for ‘Diet Food’? Well, I had a wisdom tooth out and had to have a ‘diet’ of mushy food for at least 24 hours. Did you think I’d eat t jello and chicken broth? Oh, hell no. I made myself some high-quality mushy food.

First I made this:

Doesn't this look delicious?

Doesn’t this look delicious?

I know, flesh-colored pudding doesn’t exactly make you say, “I want to eat that!” But listen to me, this is one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. It’s Butterscotch Pudding from Smitten Kitchen. No, it doesn’t taste like that horrible brown Jello Pudding Mix. It’s creamy and sweet and a little salty. I modified it a bit and used full-fat coconut milk, but I did use butter, so it’s not entirely dairy-free. Seriously, make this. It’s delicious.

For dinner I made this:

This looks a bit yummier, right?

This looks a bit yummier, right?

The Perfect Potato Soup by Pioneer Woman.  This has been on my ‘to make’ list since it came out 2 years ago. I used butter instead of bacon because I couldn’t eat bacon due to my tooth extraction, and I have to suffer, everyone has to suffer! I stirred the cheese in until it melted. I also skipped the heavy cream. As I blog more recipes that I try, you will realize that I almost NEVER follow them. I can’t help it. I mean I CAN help it, I just don’t want to. Anyhow, this soup is extremely delicious – Oh! And another thing I did was I pureed all of it, she leaves chunks. But I felt it was a very nourishing and hearty meal, and I ate two bowls of it.

Don’t these look kind of…gross? I”m sorry! I’m a horrible food photographer. Go check out the links to the recipes, the authors are much better photographers than I am. You know who else sucks at food photography? Martha Stewart. At least I’m in good company.

 

 

The Horribly Mangled Remains of A Julia Child Recipe.

I love Julia Child. A lot. I have an autographed photo of her that I bought off e-bay sitting next to my desk. She is the keeper of all things good and wonderful about cooking and food. My child loves watching The French Chef on DVD, there’s nothing like exposing a 5 year old to making your own sausage, complete with explanation of various casings, to ensure she knows EXACTLY where food comes from.  I am not sure if Julia would be proud of what I did to one of her amazing recipes or if she would smack me with a wooden spoon.  I mean on the one hand, she encourages using what you have, on the other hand, I made broth out of Worcestershire sauce. Yeah.

Yesterday was one of those wait until 4:00 and then start to freak out about what I want to make for dinner days. So basically, just like any other day. I know, I know,  I might give off a vibe that I’m one of those extremely organized know what I’m going to make for dinner all the time because I’m such a great cook and huge food snob types, but no. I’m not. I mean, I’m not organized, all the other stuff is true.  I happened to be putzing around on-line and checked out some recipes I’d bookmarked from the site Smitten Kitchen. SK happens to be one of my favorite food blogs, ever. That’s saying a lot because I subscribe to probably two dozen. Anyhow, she had a great post on a baked spinach recipe from Julia Child. . Coincidentally, I own the Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but I’m lazy, and it’s so much easier to have someone from the internet tell me what to make as opposed to looking it up myself.  Per usual I did not have most of the ingredients in the recipe, so I really took some liberties with it.  Here’s what I did:

Serves 6
Yeah, good luck with that. This stuff is tasty. I’d say serves 4.

3 pounds fresh spinach
One Bag Frozen Spinach

3 1/2 to 4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Salt and pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons flour

1 cup beef stock
This is where it gets really funky, I made a “broth” out of Worcestershire sauce and water. I don’t have the exact ratio of Worcestershire to water, because it was immediately after devising this evil concoction I realized I should be documenting and blogging. Anyhow, I like it pretty strong, so I’d say it was at least 2Tbspns sauce and the rest water.

3/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
One cup of leftover sliced Provolone, diced.

2 tablespoons fine, dry breadcrumbs
How about a 1/2 cup of Panko instead?

Preheat Oven to 375.

Nuke the spinach about 5 minutes with a little bit of water, per instructions on package. If you don’t have a nuker, cook according to pkg directions. Put it in a colander and strain it, squeeze out as much of the excess water as you can with your hands.

Melt half your butter in a pan over low heat, and then add spinach. Cook until most of the water is gone. Use your judgement here, you don’t want it to be super juicy, but you don’t want to burn it either.

Sprinkle flour over spinach to coat, and stir it. Then add your broth a bit at a time,  I used all of mine, but the recipe says to just add 2/3 of a cup, and then again, use your judgement regarding the remaining 1/3.  Bring to a simmer and stir frequently. Add salt and pepper.

Remove from heat and stir in about 1/2 the cheese.  Put it in a smallish, greased  casserole dish. Top with the rest of the cheese, and the panko. Melt the remaining butter and drizzle on top.

Cook about 30 mins @ 375 until lightly browned and bubbly.

Surprisingly good, considering the amount of bastardization.

I was a bit worried about how this would taste, considering the complete re-working of the recipe, but it was amazing. I really like my Worcestershire broth, and plan to use it again.  Next time I make this, and I will, I’m going to add a couple of drops of Sriracha and maybe some Truffle Salt. We’ll see, I might kill it entirely if I add too much.

This picture does not do my meal justice. I am not a very good photographer or food stylist. I'm working on it!

I served it with some ham, and am planning on reheating some right now for breakfast. I’ll probably also have a poached egg. Stop drooling, you’re disgusting.

The Easy Bake Trials….The Mix is Poo

In order to get Kid to get rid of a small, plastic kitchen that she no longer uses anymore, I bribed her with an Easy Bake Oven. It should be known, that I have wanted an Easy Bake Oven for MONTHS. At Christmas I checked them out, but it said they were for kids 8 and up. Sometimes, believe it or not, I follow the rules. I figured there must be some reason that even though USE WITH ADULT SUPERVISION ONLY was plastered all over the box, there must be some reason why it would be unsafe for my 5 year old. Then I read Fadra’s blog, and she bought her 4 year old son one. I was all, “Holla! If she’s gonna, I’m gonna!”

At first, when I suggested the Easy Bake Oven, Kid was leery. Then I should her the commercial for it .

Kid: “You mean I can bake my own things by myself?”

Me: “With Adult Supervision!”

Kid”?”

Me: “Mommy and Daddy have to help you.”

Kid: “Will you go get me one right now?”

Me: “YEEEESSSSSS!!!!!”

Yup, the Easy Bake is just as you remembered. A plastic box with a 100W lightbulb  that cooks horrible packaged cake mix in tiny little pans. (Apparently a lot of countries are banning incandescent lightbulbs. Haven’t they even thought about what that’s going to do to the Easy Bake Oven industry? In related news, I have started hoarding 100W bulbs.)

OOOOH! What wonders will emerge from the magic box?

Kid immediately whipped up a cake using the packaged cake mix and frosting that came with the box. She was really,really proud. The cake was really,really horrible – by no fault of my darling daughter! Here’s the ingredient list of Easy Bake Oven Cake Mix: Ok, I couldn’t find it anywhere on-line, let me know if you can find the official list. I will tell you that it contains: Hydrogenated Oil, Artificial Color, and Artificial Flavoring, which is a lot to pack into 1/4 of a cup of cake. I mean I know I’m a food snob, but honestly this shit gave me chemical burns when I tasted it. Also? It costs about $6.00 for a 3 pack of this junk. Keep in mind each pkg contains 1/4 of a cup of mix. So….$6.00 for 3/4 of a cup of dog shit. Sign me up!

I fled to the internet, looked up recipes and found a number of good sites with make your own Easy Bake Oven mix recipes. So, long story way too long – You have got to make your own mix, yo. It’s way better for your family AND it’s going to save you about 9 million dollars. Also, you pretty much will never run out, since you have all the ingredients in your own pantry.

Sugar Flour Etc

Easy Bake would probably charge you $300 for these ingredients.

In about 10 minutes I made 10 servings of biscuit mix and 10 of white cake mix. I can’t tell you how much it cost, but I can tell you it was a hell of a lot less  than $6.00 per 3/4 cup.

White Cake Mix. Modified from Budget 101.(Who has a TON of Easy Bake Recipes)

1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon-flavored unsweetened Kool-Aid No! The point is no crap!
1/3 cup vegetable shortening – I use Spectrum Organics Vegetable Shortening, because through some process of dark magics (I assume) they have created a Crisco like substance that is not hydrogenated. I suppose I could look it up and tell you how they do it, but let’s just pretend it’s wizardry. Anyhow, I love it.

I skipped the Kool-Aid, if you want a lemony cake, just substitue a Tsp. of lemon juice for a Tsp. of water when you make your cake. Theoretically. I haven’t tried this. But I’m guessing it would work. I’ll try it and get back to you.

Yeah, so you mix everything up in a bowl. Make sure the shortening is incorporated well. You don’t want clumps. It should look like pancake mix, in that it’s just a little bit crummier than flour. I hope you’ve made pancakes and have a clue what I’m talking about.

See how that's a little bigger crumb than flour? Both the cake and biscuit mix should look like this. Also,I don't remember which one this is.

The instructions say to put the mixes into individual packages but, really? I don’t have time to measure out 20 1/4 bags of mix. I just put them in ziplocs and wrote the instructions on the front:

Bag of Biscuit Mix

Savings? About $1M. If you factor in doctor fees from chemical burns to the tongue.

We used the biscuit mix the other day for a danish (more on that later) and it was gooood! I am all about getting kids in the kitchen, teaching them about food and cooking, it hits on all the major points. An Easy Bake Oven is a fantastic way to do this, IF you also teach them that good food doesn’t come from a mix. Kid was delighted that we can “make our own mix, any way we want.” The sense of pride and accomplishment she had after cooking that tiny cake in a box with a light bulb made me cry a single tear and write a haiku about love. Ok, no. But it was pretty goddamned awesome.

Get an Easy Bake, make some stuff. It’s fun. Oh, and this is going to be a regular feature. Next up: Sort of gross pizza!

Cupcakes and Zombie Brain Substitute

I love to cook, but am terrible at following recipes. Usually because I do not plan ahead AT ALL. For awhile I was really really good at making a menu, then a shopping list based on what was on the menu. And by awhile, I mean like a month. Having all the ingredients I need is just way too easy. I’m a Mainer for christsakes, if I’m not improvising something at least once a day, I feel incomplete. Messing around with nearly every recipe I encounter has resulted in some epic wins, and some epic fails. The other weekend I made cupcakes with Kid, and they were both an epic win AND an epic fail, but then turned into an epic win again. We also learned some important life lessons about following/not following directions. As in, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but either way you usually end up at the goddamned grocery store.

Kid got this really cute kid’s cooking set for Xmas, complete with wisk, tiny cupcake pan and apron. Too cute. How could I deny her early morning cupcakes? I was all, “Yes! Let’s Do It!” and looked up Martha Stewart’s recipe for chocolate cupcakes. *I fucking love Martha Stewart*, with total disregard to protocol i.e. checking to see if I have all the ingredients I need before I start cooking, we dove right in. Then I realized I did not have enough cocoa powder. Like, I had 1/3 of a cup and it called for 1 cup. That’s not just a slight oversight. Since I mess around with recipes constantly, I immediately decided to substitute the cocoa powder with melted chocolate chips. Knowing that doing so I will have to adjust the amount of fat and sugar in the recipe, that just so happened to call for 3 sticks of butter, which I thought was a bit excessive anyway, so I cut out a stick, and scaled back on sugar. Without further adieu, here’s my new and improved cupcake recipe – the bastard child of Martha’s Chocolate Cupcakes from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook.

Kate’s Use What You’ve Got Cupcakes:

2 Cups cake flour
1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder
1 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp. salt
1 Cup (2 sticks) butter – Room temp or nuked for 10-15 seconds.
1 Cup of Sugar
5 eggs
2 Tsps. vanilla extract
1 Cup Buttermilk
1 Cup Melted Choc. Chips and cooled down but still spreadable. Basically you don’t want them to cook your eggs. Use your judgement. I trust you.

1. Preheat Oven to 350. Get your cupcake pans ready. Now, I used a little tiny kid pan that yield: 6 cupcakes PLUS one big tiny cupcake pan (does that make sense?) yield 24 and one big pan Yield 12. I used liners in most of them, I totally ran out of little ones and didn’t have any big ones. If you don’t have any liners, just spray the hell out of the pan with Pam.

Paper Liners in Mini Cake Pan

Awww. Tiny Cupcakes!

2. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, and salt. Kids love this part.

3. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. You should be using a mixer for this btw. After mixed well add melted chips.

Mixing

"A mixa mixa mixa" If you don't watch Blue's Clue's you'll have no idea what that's all about...

4. Now, add 1 cup flour mixture and blend on low. Then add 1/2 your buttermilk, then add the rest in this order: Flour, buttermilk, flour. You have to do it this way. I’ve tried to skip it, and it just fails. So, just do it.

Filled Cupcake Tins

MMMMM! Keep your fingers outta there!

5. Fill muffin tins about 2/3 way to the top. Bake about 25-30 mins. If you are using small pans I’d check them after 10 minutes or so. Insert toothpick, if it comes out clean, they’re done. If you start to smell a burning smell, you have failed. Don’t wait till you get that far.

Let me tell you, these cupcakes didn’t puff up much, probably because I made my own buttermilk (milk+lemon juice = buttermilk) but, they were out of this world. More like little brownie bite things. Just fantastic if I do say so myself.

Next we needed to make frosting, right? Kid wanted “Strawberry Pink.” No problem! I’m on a fucking roll! Last year I successfully made pink cream cheese frosting by using just a bit of nuked frozen raspberries. I’m not a super big fan of food coloring. Anyhow, I got a bit cocky and did the following:

1 Cup mashed strawberries
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
1/2 Stick Butter

If you cook at all you know that this is going to fail. The mess that resulted looked EXACTLY what comes out of exploding Zombie heads.

Frosting or Brains?

Zombie Brains, or failed frosting?

Seriously, I included the recipe for the soul purpose of people using it for their zombie killing theme parties and home movies. What? You know you’re going to. Anyhow, good for special effects = bad for frosting. I ended up going to the store and getting cream cheese and doing this:

1 C. Cream Cheese
2 C Powdered Sugar
1/2 Cup strawberries mashed and (this is key- DRAINED)

Though it was a bit runnier than my usual frosting, it was AMAZING. What we ended up with were brownie like cupcakes frosted with what tasted like melted strawberry ice cream.

Kate's Use What You've Got Cupcakes

Not super pretty, but super yummy. They're pretty on the inside. Inside my belly, that is.

Out of this world. Give them a try! If you do, let me know how they worked out, I totally could have fucked up the measurements, I cobbled this post together with photos and some old string.

Summer Squash Bars

Sheesh! You say one little thing about making bars with summer squash and everyone’s all, “I want it now!” Well you should, because they are delicious. The general idea originates from Allrecipes and was a Zuke recipe, but I hacked the shit out of it and made it my own, because that’s how I roll.

Here we go:

MMMMM…Cakey….

Summer Squash-Coconut – Chocolate Chip-Cookie Bars

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup flaked coconut
  • 3/4 cup chopped pitted dates
    3/4 chocolate chips
  • 2 cups grated summer squash

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9×9 inch baking pan. (You could also put this in a 9X13 pan if you wanted more bars that were thinner. I like big huge thick bars)
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar. Mix in eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla until fluffy. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder; stir into the creamed mixture. Stir in the coconut, dates, chocolate chips, and zucchini. Spread batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes. 

These are super awesome. Definitely will be making again. Also that picture up there, that is my first picture for the 365 challenge. Woohoo! 

Be a Cool Mom

     It’s been a really, really hot summer here in Maine. I’ll be honest with you, I hate heat, which is why I live in Maine. 75F is about my maximum level of heat tolerance. In my ideal world I’d live somewhere with an average temperature of 65 year round with about 7 days of snow so that I could go XC skiing. I digress. Here’s the thing, when it’s in the 90s with crazy humidity every day, I do not want to cook, and my kid usually does not want to eat. Correction, my kid doesn’t want to eat anything good for her. What she wants to eat is ice cream, and frankly I don’t blame her. She also loves popsicles, so I devised a scheme in which she thinks she is eating treats for breakfast, but is actually eating an extremely healthy meal. What I do is make a batch of smoothies and then freeze them in popsicle molds. Maggie also really likes helping me cook, so it keeps her entertained for awhile too. 

Before I get started showing you what went into it, 2 things – I’m using a Cuisinart because that’s what I have. It’s an enormous pain in the ass, if you have a blender use it. 2. This recipe is never the same, I usually just throw what I have on hand in there. That said, I tried to sneak some silken tofu into a batch the other day and it was an epic fail. Maggie hated them. 
OK, Here we go: 
First up, peel and slice a frozen banana. I have a million frozen bananas in my fridge, we never eat them fast enough, so I chuck them in the freezer so they don’t rot. Plus, frozen bananas are awesome in smoothies.Be really, really careful peeling frozen bananas. They are slippery little bastards.

Chuck the banana in the Cuisinart or whatever you using (blender jealousy). Next add a cup of whatever fresh or frozen fruit you have on hand. We used: 
A cup of Blackberries
A cup of Blueberries

A cup of Mangoes
A cup of Peaches

Blend the fruit until there are no chunks. I have recently seen popsicle recipes in food magazines where they mush everything through a sieve to get the seeds out, but I’m not that kind of girl. Next, add a cup of yogurt.
And 2 Tbsp of Maple Syrup.

Blend everything up until it’s smooth and looks like this: 

Get your lovely assistant to help you fill the popsicle molds and put them in the freezer: 

See my fancy new popsicle molds from Target? I lurve them.
This recipe yields 8 popsicles like the ones in the above picture and 2 popsicles of the rocket pop variety:


I hate these kind of popsicle molds. They aren’t “real” popsicles.

Let them freeze up and then eat them. Duh. Your kids will love them, and think they are getting away with something by eating pops for breakfast. I even played it up:

Maggie:Hey Mom, can I have popsicles for breakfast?
Me: Oh I don’t know, that’s pretty wild.

Maggie: PLEEAAASSEEEEE
Me: OK, I guess, because your such a good girl!
I’m a terrible, I know.