Category Archives: Food Blogs

For the record

Chocolate chip cookies made with part butter, part peanut butter are, in a word, fantastic.

Like, really, really good.

Mike said he doesn’t like them that much more than regular chocolate chip cookies, but I’m a big peanut butter fan, so for me, they were awesome. I will make them again. And again.

Here’s my recipe, in case you’re hunting for a good one. The best trick I know is to NOT overbake these. Pull them out when they are just barely brown on the bottom. They will actually be just undercooked inside, but not to the point of being doughy.

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies (or, if you like, Perfect Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies)

3/4 cup softened butter (or for the peanut butter variety, use 1/2 cup butter and 1/4 cup peanut butter)

1/4 cup white sugar, 1 cup brown sugar

Blend butter and sugars with hand mixer until fluffy.

Add 1 egg and 2 tsp vanilla extract. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix 2 cups flour (I use unbleached all purpose), 2 tsp cornstarch, 1 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt (if you used salted butter or peanut butter, use 1/4 tsp salt). Mix dry ingredients into wet.

Fold in chocolate chips. I never measure them, but just make sure there is a decent amount mixed through the dough. I’ve also used peanut butter chips and they turn out double-yummy. Did I mention that I like peanut butter?

Round on spoon and drop onto cookie sheets. Bake for eight minutes (that’s how long they take in my oven, hey may take longer in yours). Allow cookies to sit on pan for one minute before removing to wire rack to cool.

I have adapted this recipe from one a dear friend gave me years ago. Thanks, Marcy!

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Crackers

Dear Roasted Gorgonzola Crackers,

I was instantly attracted to you when I saw you at Trader Joe’s. I couldn’t resist plucking you off of the shelf and throwing you into my cart (sorry if I was a little bit rough).

Trouble is, I’m having mixed feelings about you. Maybe that’s just the way it is with gorgonzola? I know that’s how I feel about bleu cheese…do I trust it or not?

Anyway, just thought I’d let you know.

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Food for Thought

Wow, am I clever or what? “Food” for Thought? Yeah, I’m going to talk about food. I have got to be the first person to do this, right? 😀

For the last few days, I’ve been thinking about this post. The one about kids and food. About what we feed our children, what we assume they will like, how we pass our food likes and dislikes on to them without even meaning to. It was going to just be a Facebook status, but then I thought about all the (inevitable) negative feedback I’d get. So I’ll keep it here and expound on it. If there’ s negative feedback..well, I can delete it if I feel like it, can’t I? (More on that subject later)

Anyway, here’s a piece of advice: do not assume that your kids won’t like something. Just because you don’t like it, or your spouse doesn’t like it, or other kids don’t like it, does not mean your own children won’t enjoy eating it. I don’t care what it is. Do not make this assumption.

I hear all the time how picky kids are, how they won’t eat anything but macaroni and cheese or chicken nuggets. Guess what? My kids like that stuff, too. But they also happen to like broccoli, edamame, couscous and tofu. They love pancakes and bacon for breakfast (or more often, for supper), but they also happily devour unsweetened steel cut oats nearly every morning.

No, I’m not bragging. I’m not trying to say, “Hey, look at what my kids will do that yours won’t do and never will because I’m a better parent than you are.” Definitely not. The point I’m trying to make is mostly for new parents, soon to be parents, or parents with kids who are incredibly flexible in scheduling, food, etc. Test your kids. Have fun with food. Make things that you assume they won’t eat, feed it to them, and be surprised. No, my kids won’t eat everything. There are certain foods that they all turn their noses up at, but I make a point to get them to try something not just once, but twice.

Jenny had a black olive at one point, and then declared that she didn’t like them. We let her go on like this for a long time, and then one night I explained to her how I used to hate broccoli. Like, seriously, gag me. Then I decided I didn’t want to hate broccoli. I wanted to love it. So I slowly started eating it again, first with lots of seasoning or cheese sauce, later with nothing more than a bit of salt or butter. And guess what? Broccoli is easily one of my favourite vegetables now. So Jenny agreed to try an olive again. You guessed it – she loves them now.

I’m not telling you to change the way you eat. If you eat nothing more than macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets, your kids will eat them, too. But every so often, pick a fruit or vegetable up from the grocery store that you haven’t had before. Buy something from the Asian, Mexican or Natural foods section. Try it with your kids. If you’re not a picky eater and you’ll eat everything under the sun, then by all means, feed it to your kids, too.

I love hanging out with my parents, who will both eat just about anything. We ate a lot of typical kid foods when we were young, but as teenagers, they gave us variety, and took us out to restaurants other than McDonald’s or Taco Bell. We ate Thai food, real Mexican food made by Mexicans (the most authentic we could get without leaving town) and meals made entirely without meat (yes, they exist!!). I believe that the way my kids eat now is largely thanks to my parents and how they fed me.

There are things that Mike loves that I’d rather not touch (meat, for example, but I’m also not crazy about brussels sprouts). There are things that I love that Mike won’t eat (cilantro, salmon), but we feed all of the above to the kids, whether we both like it or not.

My kids are not perfect, but the fact that they will eat – or at least try – anything set in front of them, is pretty cool. I’m proud of them for it, but I know that a lot of this has to do with what I choose to put in front of them. I don’t make them their own meals, separate from ours. They eat what I feel like making. Sometimes they like it, sometimes they don’t.

Anyway, that’s all on that subject for now.

Two other things. One is a confession of sorts. I (gulp) edit comments. I do not change what you have said, but if there are typos or spelling/grammar mistakes, I often fix them. I have this brain that won’t let me leave it alone. So while I leave the content the same, I might fix it for you. I hope you don’t mind. If you do, well, don’t comment. 😀

Second thing is this: I bought Pampers because they were cheaper with a coupon than the regular price Wal Mart diapers. I am not a diaper snob. I will buy whatever is cheap because I have no reason to buy anything else. I know some people feel that their kids get less rashes in name brand, or that name brand diapers don’t leak as much, but in the case of my family, it doesn’t seem to make a difference. So I buy cheap. That’s who I am. Anyway, I bought these diapers and I have one thing to say about them. They stink. As in, they are scented! Ew. The potentially calming baby powder/baby oil scent is quickly made completely disgusting when mixed with the potent stench of baby poo. I’d rather just smell baby poo, thank you very much. 

The end.

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Day 4: Psalm 18:1

For a reminder of what I am doing this month, read this post.

Psalm 18:1

I love you, Lord; you are my strength.

For some reason, VOTD has not posted a new verse of the day for today, so I searched “March 31, 2009 verse of the day” and this one came up, from www.air1.com.  Not where I would have searched for a verse of the day, but it will do. 

This is simplicity in a verse.  I do love my Saviour, and He is my strength.  The key here is acknowledging day in, day out, that He is my strength and He alone.  Without Him I am nothing, and I can accomplish nothing.  I have tried this path in the past, and it leads to destruction and disappointment.  If I hold onto my love for Him, and continue to get to know Him each day, this strength can truly be felt in my life.  It is similar (although far greater) to my relationship with Mike.  I love him, and he is a great help to me.  He can help lift me up when I fall down and is always a shoulder I can cry on.  When I work towards better knowing and understanding my husband, I love him more and am more accepting of the strength he offers to me.  Take this earthly relationship and multiply it by thousands upon thousands, and this is what God offers us – unconditional love, a constant listening ear, forgiveness from all our sins, eternal life with Him.

Today, I felt God’s strength in tangible ways – patience with my children (not at each moment, but better than most days), motivation to work in my home.  I made caramelized onions and vegetable soup, using all the produce I spent so much money on to make nourishing and tasty things for my family to eat.  The vegetable soup is my effort to feed the kids veggies without them balking at the plate.  I pureed it and they haven’t had it like that yet, so we’ll see if it works.  Erik did have some that I put through the hand mill and he seemed to enjoy it.

Tomorrow I have the day off, or mostly, from my oldest children.  I’m running errands in the morning while they all stay with my friend, and then I’ll have lunch with them and take Erik home with me to get some house work done.  I’m trying to do some work now so that I can get more accomplished tomorrow, but it’s hard to know where to start.  At the very least, I need to get laundry done today, even if I have to do it after Mike gets home.

Anyway, I know that all this will get done and it will be easier to do if I don’t think of it as too trivial to ask God to help me.  He cares about my home life and my family and can help me even in this thing that I hate doing – cleaning. 🙂

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Best free thing this year

The book...it is MINE!!
The book…it is MINE!!

I went to the library on Saturday on an simple mission – return books, pay fines, possibly get a few new movies and books.  I turned in my books on CD, picked out two books and four movies and paid my eight dollars in fines (oops..four movies two days late adds up really fast).  As I was leaving, I looked at the area near the door where they have free books – either donated books that can’t be put on the shelf or withdrawn books that are somewhat damaged.  The first thing that caught my eye was this book.  I grabbed it on a whim, thinking that at the very least, it would give me a few good bread recipes in one place, rather than using the Internet or looking in three different cook books that I already own.  When I got into the van and started looking at it (don’t worry, I wasn’t driving), I was blown away.  This is seriously an awesome cook book!  Not only are there basic white and whole wheat bread recipes, but a whole section on sourdough starter and its uses – bread – obviously – but also pancakes, coffee cake, rolls, biscuits, muffins and English muffins.  And then it got even better – pretzel, bagel and donut recipes.  And not just one recipe for each, but many variations.  There is also a whole section on quick breads – coffee cakes, sweet rolls, muffins, biscuits, corn bread, pancakes, waffles, popovers….it’s an aspiring bakers dream book!  Anyway, I thought I would share my find with you.  It is an older book – published in 1979 – but not so old that it has outdated recipes with lots of lard or other weird ingredients (or perhaps more importantly, ingredients that are unfriendly to vegetarians).  And it is readily available on amazon: here – and not even expensive, but the point is, I didn’t know about it before and I got it for FREE.  Free is good. 

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What could have been…

This is going to become an exercise in free writing, because while I had something very witty to write earlier today, I have forgotten it entirely.  However, I will start out with a point.  This is what I’ve been up to:

I have learned, in the last few weeks, that listening to books on CD helps me to get laundry and housework done without realizing that I’m working.  Really, I can do an hour of work and at the end of it, I only really remember the story line on the book.  I have done something like this in the past, but it has never been quite this successful.  I was using the strategy of listening to music and sometimes talk radio on my MP3 player while doing laundry and other things, but I really do think this works better.  Also, I think my library has eBooks that can be downloaded for free, so I may try this and then I can put on some headphones and work all over the house rather than being stuck in one place.  Because of this strategy, I have been keeping up on my laundry and on Friday, I managed to clean out one whole corner of my living room – this is progress, even if it seems like only a small step.

I spent nearly a week thinking I was pregnant – being more or less convinced that I was – until I took a test and it was negative.  Don’t tell Mike that, though.  He requested that if I take a test and it comes back negative, I not tell him, because he just cannot bear the thought of wasting money on negative pregnancy tests.  I have a history of negative results at various times, and we had previously agreed that I wouldn’t take a test until I talked to him about it, but I decided that I might like to surprise him next time and I had to find out if that was okay.  He said he didn’t mind if I didn’t tell him I was taking a test, but to please not tell him if it was negative.  He blames it on being Mennonite, my Grandpa would say it’s because he’s Scottish.  It has one explanation unrelated to ethnicity – he’s cheap.  It’s okay – he knows this.  It’s not offensive to him to be accused of thrift.  For the record, I bought the cheapest test at Wal Mart.  It was five dollars.  My mom said that my peace of mind is worth five bucks, and I agree.

There is more, but now I’ll talk about what’s going on right now.

I gave the kids a choice tonight.  Once Erik was in bed, they could either keep watching their movie or they could go to bed.  Elias picked bed (seriously! what a great kid!) and Jenny is finishing the movie.  It is past her bedtime, but this just means that she may sleep in later than eight o’clock tomorrow morning.  Please, oh please. 

And as usual when I write, I have been interuppted.  Jenny is in bed now, but I imagine I’ll have to go in there at least once before they actually go to sleep.  It’s usually something amazingly important that they need – Jenny tosses her blankets off and needs “covered up”, as she puts it; Elias needs a kiss – we don’t mind this one so much, it is awfully cute; Jenny needs to blow her nose and has misplaced the handkerchief that is usually under her pillow.  It is usually found the next day under her pillow, but I guess in the dark she just can’t figure that out.

Mike is playing two back to back hockey games tonight.  In different towns.  Ah, the life of a hockey wife.  His first game was at 8:20, which means that it’s over by now and he’s probably gathering his things, taking off half of his equipment and driving ten minutes to get to his next game, which starts at 9:45.  I am so glad I stayed at home.  Not that I wouldn’t love to watch his games – I just really don’t want to do it with three kids tagging along.

Tomorrow is our English Corner potluck.  With any luck (haha), there will be lots of Asian food carefully made by all those wonderful Asian students we have in English Corner right now.  And if I did my job right, I will have convinced Vivianna, our Colombian student, to bring something authentically Colombian.  I was all prepared to make Vietnamese salad rolls – a time consuming venture, but well worth it – but when I went grocery shopping, I couldn’t find any mint.  If I had more time, this would not have been a real problem – I would have just gone to another grocery store – but I had one shot at getting my ingredients and that was tonight, before Mike had to go to his game.  So, after some hemming and hawing, I decided on potato soup.  Not exotic, but incredibly delicious and very fattening (the way I make it anyway..it’s not something we eat often).  I also bought two boxes of couscous and two bags of Edamame, thinking I may make a few side dishes to bring along as well.  The invitations say to bring a main dish, appetizer or dessert, but I generally bring one or more of each.  After all, I make the invitations, and I am also aware that many of those attending are poor college students and, strapped for time, will just pick something up from Price Smart on the way to the potluck.  So I try to make enough to feed a good deal of them in case there isn’t much to choose from.  It doesn’t hurt that I LOVE to cook.

Oh, yeah, here’s another thing I’ve learned recently.  If I keep in mind that I will always be able to go out to eat on Sundays after church, it makes it easy to skip going out during the week.  We nearly got pizza twice this week, but me being Scottish and all (heehee), I held on and made supper at home.  And then, lo and behold, Mike’s parents bought our lunch today so we didn’t spend any money on going out the whole week!  Wow!  This is amazing!  But seriously, it is a step in the right direction as we were eating out more than is healthy for our bodies or our bank account.  I decided one Sunday afternoon, after a shared meal at A&W with the whole family, that I enjoyed eating out after church, even felt that it was something of a tradition I wanted to keep – for now, anyway, and that it was worth skipping meals out the rest of the week for that one treat on Sundays. 

Well, I’m starting to get dizzy watching the words appear on the screen (I know – I could never do this for a living :)).  I think I’d better stop while I’m ahead, or I might stop making any sense at all and just start talking about how strange it is that I get dizzy when I write and feel as though my hands are miles away from my body….oops, there I go.

Time to go do something productive.  Like build houses on the Sims. 😉

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Ridiculously wonderful

I came home hungry tonight and against my better judgement began preparing something to eat.  We stopped for chili at Wendy’s for Mike on the way home, so I thought it was only fair that my poor belly get something as well.  My first thought was toad in the hole (fried piece of bread + egg in the middle with slightly runny yoke + lots of butter), but then I realized that the avacado on my counter really needed to be eaten today if I wanted to avoid brown spots and mushiness.  So I decided to have an avacado sandwich on fried bread.  Buttered both sides of two pieces of bread, fried until crisp, slapped on the avacado, added a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some sea salt and dug in.  It’s good, but suddenly a better idea popped into my head – something I vow to make sometime in the near future (or at least when I happen to have avacado in my house).  I have a love of biscuits and gravy.  Well, homemade by me, anyway, since I’m a vegetarian.  I just use a veggie sausage and make a basic white gravy and season it well.  I also love fried eggs.  So, here’s the plan.  Two pieces of fried bread, one avacado, one fried egg over medium, one good helping of vegetarian sausage gravy poured over the top of it all.  Oh, artery clogging goodness, how I wish you were mine right now.

I’ll let you know when I get around to making this one.

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Let’s be more specific

Okay, I’ve thought it over and I think it’s a very good idea to take a break from blog reading.  So, for one month (yipes!), I won’t read craft or food blogs.  Taking a whole month off from the internet is a bit extreme for me (after all, I wouldn’t be able to blog if I did that), but I can at least use the time I’ve been spending reading blogs to finish some projects and do some cleaning and organizing.  I’ll try to keep you up to date on my progress.  My other goal is to finish at least some of the on the go projects before I start new ones.  I broke that rule last night when I started knitting something, but I needed something to do with my hands that didn’t require much attention because we were watching a movie.  Also, I have a plan for this knitting and it’s not a huge project.

 

Oh, another update – friend three didn’t make it to Monday’s secret Mom’s Meeting, so I can’t investigate what they’re doing yet.  😦  Maybe next week.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, that post is here.

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Super duper muffin recipe

This is actually a borrowed recipe from allrecipes.com that I tweaked enough to call it my own (that’s my opinion anyway).

This is a basic muffin, so you can do berries, chocolate chips, raisins, etc. for the filling and you’ll turn out a good batch of muffins (as long as you don’t do anything silly, like over-mixing or over-baking).

 

1 cup whole wheat flour (I used bread flour)                           1 egg

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour                                         1/2 cup milk

3 teaspoons baking powder                                                    1/2 cup yogurt (plain or flavoured)

1/2 teaspoon salt                                                                    1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

3/4 cup white sugar                                                                

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).

Stir together flours, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center of the dry mix.  In a small bowl, beat egg and stir in milk, yogurt and applesauce.  Pour wet ingredients into well in dry mixture and mix quickly with a fork until moistened – do not beat and do not overmix – the batter will still be lumpy.  Fold in filling of your choice – 1 to 1 1/2 cup berries, chocolate chips, raisins, nuts, etc. and pour into paper lined muffin pan.  For small muffins, fill halfway, for larger, fill two-thirds.

For an added bit of sweetness, sprinkle topping over muffins:

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tablespoons cold butter

Mix brown sugar and cinnamon, cut in butter with pastry cutter or fork and knife until crumbly.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden (my oven actually did them just right in 18 minutes, but every oven is different, so my advice is to keep an eye on them until they are dry in the center and golden on the edges).

 

Try these and enjoy!!

 

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Update

One project is officially half finished.  I am daring to say that even though I know that a good deal of the work I just did may be undone soon enough.  Jenny helped me clean her room today.  Jenny helped, Elias did the opposite and I tried to give directions that made sense to them.  Giving Jenny a specific task seemed to help – first I had her bring me all the books.  This saved me from walking around bent over for five minutes gathering them up.  It took her about ten to do it, but I got to sit in one place and keep Elias from tearing them off the bookcase.  Then I had her bring me other small toys and all the blocks…just one thing at a time until it was cleaned up.  I put a lot of the small things up too high for them to reach because it gets ridiculous with those things floating around the house.  I kept a small number of stuffed animals in a container on the floor, but otherwise, all of those are up or packed away.  Blocks, little people and other toy sets I left where they can get to them. 

I still have actual cleaning to do – sweeping up and such – and the closet and top of the bunk bed to finish, but those things can’t be done while I’m alone with the kids (unless I put them both in the playpen and tried to do it while they were still happy).  I’m now going to try to talk Mike into taking them somewhere in the next few weeks – just a few hours away so that I can take care of a few things before exhaustion sets in.  It seems that by the time they go down for their nap, I’m too tired to do much of anything.  I am getting pretty pregnant, I guess, so at least I have a good excuse.

As for the food obsession…nothing has gotten any better there.  I’m not surprised.  I think it’s in my blood.

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