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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Wild Perch and Broccoli Cheese Ramekins

While browsing at our local Lucky's Market, I checked out the fish counter. I want to ONLY eat Wild fish as the "Farm" fish are dangerously high in Mercury and full of health warnings. The only WILD fish they had that day was Perch. I have never made Perch but I figured, why not? I can probably find an easy recipe on the internet.  And I did!

Pan Fried Perch Recipe.

Fried Wild Perch

Cookbook as recommened by author of 100 Days of Real Food

I started out making "Bakery-Worthy Mini Broccoli and Cheese Crustless Quiches" (page 31)
I figured this is something that Lily would like as she loves cheese, broccoli and eggs.
I altered the recipe a bit as it calls for Bragg's Liquid Aminos  and wheat germ and I don't have those two ingredients.

Broccoli and onion cooking

First, Preheat the oven to 350 and butter jumbo ramekins or jumbo muffin cups. (I used ramekins)
In sauce pan add butter, and onion and sautee till brown. I added ground Flax seed instead of the wheat germ and added salt and pepper.  This cooked till the broccoli was softened. Remove from heat.

Egg, cheese, and milk mixture
Next mix 6 eggs, 1/4 cup of milk, and 3/4 cup of shredded cheese. Stir broccoli mixture into the egg mixture. Portion into ramekin or muffin cups and bake for 35 minutes or till browned on top.

Yummy broccoli goodness!

So yummy! As these were baking I started on the Perch.
Here is the recipe again.

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Instead of regular flour as the recipe calls for, I used Corn Flour and Whole Wheat Pastry Flour.

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Frying the Wild caught Perch

Fry perch for 4 minutes each side.

Mix some mayonaisse and sweet relish for a simple and tasty Tarter Sauce

Overall best lunch I have had in a loooooong time! And the munchkin loved her own little egg/broccoli ramekin but wouldn't try the fish. Oh well! I will try again another day, another way!

Pumpkin Pie Muffins

While at the library, I spotted this cookbook. I like to find books that have recipes that Lily might enjoy helping me make AND like to eat.  I found a Pumpkin Pie Recipe and was excited because it calls for Whole Wheat Pastry flour.  If you saw yesterday's post Mac and Cheese with Quinoa Noodles You remember that I had been looking for this flour and wanting to find recipes that call for it.
So! To find a recipe that needs whole wheat flour and the can of pumpkin puree I had in my pantry made me go for it!! has the book for purchase. I found this copy at the library. I may have to buy it..

First up, mix the dry ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup raisins.

Combine wet ingredients:
2 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/3 cup canola oil (I used vegetable oil)
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds. (I didn't have any so I skipped this ingredient)

Add pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just blended. Spoon into muffin cups. I use an ice cream scoop for the easiest distribution.

Bake 20 mintues at 350. Muffins are done with a toothpick comes out clean. 
(Our oven is woefully slow….my muffins took 30 minutes)

The recipe made 19 muffins. On the second batch, add some water to the empty cups. This will help the muffins bake more evenly.

Lily Belle just had to hold the pedestal

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mac and Cheese with Quinoa Noodles!

My friend posted a comment on Facebook the other day about making pesto for her son. She mentioned how she put this pesto over Quinoa Pasta. Quinoa Pasta??? I never knew there was such a thing! I love Quinoa and I have been looking for a healthier version of pasta. (my waist line....don't get me started....) so I thought I would like to try this out. I found some at Lucky's and cooked it right up. Quinoa Pasta

It LOOKED good! I liked how the noodles were larger than regular elbow macaroni. Now what to do with it? Should I make a Spinach Pesto? I swear I saw a recipe for that somewhere but couldn't for the life of me remember in which cookbook I saw it. I thought the last time I tried homemade Mac and Cheese I didn't use enough cheese and I wanted to try it again. ALSO, I had just bought Whole Wheat Pastry Flour. I knew you had to add flour to make it so I wondered, "Can I use Whole Wheat Pastry Flour? Would this further my desire to eat less flour and gluten?" Heck! Let's give it a try. I didn't have time to look up a recipe and my daughter was watching cartoons on the computer so I decided to wing it!! Here's what I did….

To make the pasta, I followed the directions on the box but used 1/2 water, and 1/2 chicken broth. (for more flavor) To make the cheese I threw a handful of shredded Mozarella (maybe 1/2 a cup), 1/2 cup of milk and then shredded maybe 1/4 cup of Muester cheese on top. As the cheese melted, I added in two tablespoons of the Whole Wheat Pastry Flour.

After everything was melted, I tossed in the pasta and stirred till all the noodles were covered. As a YUMMY last mintue touch I decided to cook up some Uncured Natural Bacon as garnish on top.

Now the real test! Give it to the 3 year old! Would she like the Quino Noodles? Would she like the cheese sauce? Would she eat it? The answer is YES! YES! and YES!

Lily liked it so much she ate it right up. She wouldn't even look at me for the picture. At one point she put her arm protectively around her bowl lest I try and take it from her.

The amazing news is, my stepson, Calvin came home from school. He was looking at my portion that I had set aside to take to work. I saw that he was curious. I asked if he wanted some? He said, "Yes." So, I got out my pots and started all over again. :)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cooking on Cold Medicine.......What could go wrong???

I have had a cold that has lasted almost two weeks now. I even lost my voice for a few days!  I feel okay day to day if I take a DayQuil in the morning. I don't know which is worse-the runny nose or being completely scatterbrained and not being able to do anything to completion. I have felt in a fog for about two weeks.
I THOUGHT I felt better and so I decided to bake.
I wanted to make a Zucchini Pie and decided while I was at it I would also make a loaf of Zucchini Bread.

Right away I messed up. I only needed about 4 cups of shredded Zucchini…..instead I have about 7. I guess I wasn't paying attention to marks on the food processor OR the amount of zucchinis I was zipping through.  Now what to do with the extra?

Next up, I started to make the crust of the Zucchini Pie. I mixed the dough, cut in the butter and then added two CUPS of water. I couldn't figure out why it was so much WETTER than usual….. Then I looked at the recipe and realized it was supposed to be two TABLESPOONS.  crap. This I had to throw out and start over. Trying to figure out how much flour I would have to add to save this and how many extra crusts that would make and then WHAT to do with all of these extra crusts or dough was beyond me. So I started over...

Oops! WAY too much water!

THIS is how the crust is supposed to look.

Next up, I went to wash the Food processor. You can guess what I did when I pulled the blade off…. 

What a MESS. I can't even think!
Then I started trying to make the Zucchini bread. I noticed half way through it makes TWO loaves. So…..great I could only find one pan.  Now what?? I tried to roll with it and eyeball 1/2 of the batter (which by the way that extra zucchini ended up working out for me on this recipe!)

Guess I didn't eyeball "HALF" very well……..

After it was all done I discovered that I hadn't greased the pan….so we had Zucchini bread "Crumbles"
Though I must say once I got everything done (which was a challenge because I could honestly not formulate an organized plan…) everything tasted good. Even the "overflow" part of the Zucchini bread was good! It had a crunchiness to it that was quite tasty.  I guess at the end of the day even if it's not "pretty" if it tastes pretty good you have done okay. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Easiest Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Momma needed chocolate! I have had a pretty bad cold. I even lost my voice and had to miss two days of work. When you are feeling down, one needs some pep. Momma needed sugar and chocolate combined into a warm, delicious cookie and Mommy needs it to be EASY!

Hence, the "Easy Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake" recipe that I like to convert to cookies when I don't feel like greasing a cake pan.

The recipe calls for a stick of butter at room temperature. It has the potential to get messy in a kitchen as  SMALL as mine but I try and leave a stick out if case the urge to cook something hits me. Nothing worse than wanting cookies and having to stare at a stick of butter thinking "Is it room temperature now? Now? Surely it is now?"

The recipe is super easy. You can literally have it on the cookie sheet in less than 7 minutes. I try to always keep my kitche stocked with:  Chocolate Chips, flour, Vanilla, Brown Sugar, Baking Soda, butter and eggs. If you have these things (the exact ingredients, by the way)  :)  then you are good to go any time the chocolate cravings hit you.

Cookie Dough is so hard to resist!

Delicious sweetness straight from the oven!

Miss Lily Belle could not resist

After I had photographed the cookies, Lily Belle swiped one. I found her in her room doing a magic trick…..making a cookie disappear!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread!!!

 How to Improve Banana Bread?
Why just add chocolate, of course!!!

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
I like to keep bananas around. Lily enjoys eating them, I like to slice them in oatmeal or they are good in pancake batter. (though I must admit I need a LOT of practice with making pancakes. I make yummy batter but then make the pancakes too big or burn them or they stick. Much practice is needed here!)
Anyway! I hate to see bananas go to waste so if they start getting overripe I make Banana Bread. 

Here's the recipe:
Banana Bread Recipe

Chocolate chip goodness sprinkled in JUST enough to be a yummy treat.

Today I remembered I had some chocolate chips so I decided to toss them into the batter.  I didn't add too much (maybe 1/4 of a cup) so I sprinkled some on top. The bread turned out so yummy! The sweet, occasional chip is a happy reward.
What else could one do to alter Banana Bread? Nuts? Raisins? 
What is your favorite Banana bread recipe? Share a recipe or link in the comments section.

Kids Baking Cookbook-Buy at Amazon

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Doc McStuffin Birthday party

I made a card for the Sprout channel. It was chosen and shown on air!
Here is the video! Interesting note-my cousin is married to Kelly's best friend. (this host!)  I sent her a personal note along with the card and I swear she shares a special look right at the camera just for us!

At two years old, Lily didn't quite understand that is HER card on TV but someday she will know how hard Mommy worked for her 2nd birthday!

My sister works at Children's Hospital and got us Patient bands. Everyone had their name on theirs.

My sister used her Cricut machine to make these ADORABLE Doctor bags for treats. She used a different pattern and just changed the colors and added a bandaid to make Doc McStuffins doctor bags!

I found some tin cans at the thrift store and painted them white. I added the red cross and bought some bandaids, tongue depressors and cotton balls.  Kids love bandaids!!

This video walks you through all the favors, decorations and more. I forgot to take a picture of the "Big Book of Boo Boos" I made for each kid. 

My sister, Debbie came through once again and made "Thermometer" chocolate pretzels. These went quickly and were a big hit!!

I came up with this idea all on my own. Chocolate shots!!  I went to our local grocery store and asked for some syringes (needle free, of course!)  They sold me all of these for $2.00   Next I squirted frosting inside.  This is a shot everyone can love!

My Mom has an overhead projector. I borrowed it and made a large Chilly so the kids could play "Pin the nose on Chilly."  They turned out to be a bit young and didn't quite get the hang of it but they sure did have fun trying. :)

Lily's "Doctor" cake

Lily had a lovely time. I enjoy now showing her the party because she doesn't really remember it. Someday, she can look back and see how much work her Mommy did for her birthday. You may wonder why I do so much?  All I can say is I LOVE planning parties!!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Turning cleaning out the fridge into Spaghetti Sauce!

Today I wanted to clean out my refidgerator. There were some random vegetables that I did not want to go to waste. I also had leffover Turkey Meatballs and spaghetti but not enough sauce. So! I decided to make my own sauce.

I chopped up some onion, carrots and zucchini. I was careful to chop them as small as I could. It doesn't make a huge difference because I planned to puree them later but smaller chunks would make it easier.
I looked in my pantry to see what I might have for the sauce base. A friend had given me some tomato juice that her mother in law canned and I had one little jar of canned tomatoes that I put up last summer. Awesome! I was ready to go.
This is after the sauce had cooked down for about 45 minutes.