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Archive for May, 2009

Pig Crossing1. I have a passion for Cheez-its. There, I’ve said it. Not only are they salty, cheesy, and crunchy but they contain a whopping dose of  trans-fats (ie; shortening). I buy a box about once every six months and we proceed to eat the entire box in a short period of time. Last time we tried the off-brand. Don’t do it. And don’t over do it on the Cheez-its. They really are junk food and in large quantities not good for the old waistline, or complexion, or blood pressure, or heart. Need I say more.

2. It’s really hot here in my part of the world today. I’ve noticed over the past few months how my produce purchases have turned springlike: asparagus, strawberries, greens, arugula. I’ve said goodbye to clementines and grapefruit at least until next winter. We’re also enjoying more lemonade, ice cream cones, and other warm-weather treats.

3. Twice in the past two weeks, a neighbor or friend has stopped by the house with an armload of fresh greens for me to cook. It’s awful when people know you know how to cook and when they share the love of garden-fresh anything. First, Jan from down the street, who belongs to a local C.S.A. program, stopped by with a variety of salad greens and another bag full of green garlic, kale, broccoli de rabe, and beet greens. Yesterday, Gail knocked on the back door with a load of fresh arugula from the garden at the Montessori preschool where she teaches and where my kids spent 8 blissful years. I can’t tell you how happy I was to have the greens – all of ’em. And to have friends who like to share greens. And to have friends who share their love for greens with me. Thanks Jan and Gail. Not sure how garden-fresh greens and Cheez-its fit together in the same kitchen or the same blog post, but that’s what you’ll find here. Honest cooking and an honest kitchen.

4. I have some news to share and I’m just about to bust at the seams. Stay tuned for an exciting announcement hopefully within the next month or so. Yes, it’s food related, and proverbial bun-in-the-oven so to speak. I said proverbial, not actual.

5. We lit the grill several times over the Memorial Day weekend – hamburgers, chicken, pork tenderloin – all good and I can’t think of a much better place to be over a hot holiday weekend. Hanging out on the patio (although Monday we had rain) tending the smoke box. We also followed up Mint Juleps with our summertime favorite way to use fresh mint – Mojitos. I’ll share a recipe soon. They’re good, fizzy, refreshing, and full of Kentucky’s favorite herb – MINT.

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Salmon ChowderMonday – Salmon Chowder, Asparagus Quiche

Tuesday – Red Beans and Rice, Sliced Peaches

Wednesday – Out to Cincinnati Reds baseball game

Thursday – Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Steamed Asparagus Spears with Spicy Honey Vinaigrette, Linguine Alfredo, Fresh Strawberries, Lemon Loaf Cake

Friday – Grilled Burgers, Mixed Greens with Spicy Honey Vinaigrette, Baked Beans

Saturday – Barbecued Chicken Sandwiches, Baked Beans, Apple Slices

Sunday – dinner at birthday party/picnic

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Oatmeal Walnut Cookies

Oatmeal Walnut Cookies
Makes about 24 cookies

Any cookie I can mix in one bowl is a quick and easy favorite. The dough is stiff, but the cookies are not-too-sweet delicious and they don’t spread much on the cookie sheet. I also think there’s a good argument these cookies are appropriate for breakfast – they’re not loaded with sugar, you can’t beat the nuts, oat, fruit, and fiber.

1/2 cup canola oil
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, stir together the oil, sugar, egg and vanilla. In another bowl whisk together the oats, flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir the oat and flour mixture into the oil mixture. Add the raisins or dried cranberries, and chopped walnuts. Using a tablespoon portion out the dough onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until lightly browned on the bottom. If desired, you can flatten the cookies when they come out of the oven by gently pressing on the top of the cookies with your fingertips or the bottom of a small glass.

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DSCF8217For those who are new to my blog: welcome! Each week I recap What We Ate {for dinner} Last Week.  I hope to provide inspiration to get in your kitchen and cook meals at home. If I have posted the recipe on my blog I link to the recipe. Because I cook almost everyday, when we eat out or order pizza I make sure to let you know. So here goes:

Monday – Vegetable Tortellini Soup, Bread and Butter, Applesauce

Tuesday – Baked Flounder, Macaroni and Cheese, Green Beans, Mixed Green Salad with Tomatoes

Wednesday – Spaghetti and Meatballs, Buttered Corn, Whole-grain Baguette

Friday – ordered pizza (what happened to homemade pizza night?)

Saturday – Flat Iron Steak with Brown Sugar Rub, Roasted Potatoes, Mixed Green Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Sunday – Grilled Patty Melts (lean ground beef burgers, sauteed onion, swiss cheese on wheat toast), Sauteed Greens, Bowtie Pasta Alfredo

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DSCF8262Monday – Pasta Fagioli, Bread

Tuesday – Sloppy Joes, Baked Beans, Green Beans (the best male cook I know cooked dinner.)

Wednesday – Black-eyed Peas with Greens (kale) Soup, Cornbread

Thursday – Lemon Tarragon Roasted Chicken, Fresh Steamed Asparagus, Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes

Friday – ordered pizza

Saturday – Mother’s Day family picnic. I took One Pan Blondies and Kroeger Brothers sausages.

Sunday – Grilled Chicken Thighs with Lemon Herb Oil, Roasted Potato Salad, Fresh Green Beans, Sliced Strawberries with Whipped Cream

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hummus1Blog stats reveal many of you ate up the recipe for Guacamole – Plain and Simple. Who doesn’t like plain and simple anything, afterall. For example, I love M & M’s, plain and simple, but I digress.

Guacamole and hummus, to me anyway, are just about the best dips or spreads I can make in my kitchen. Serve them plain and simple, and they’re delicious. Doctor either of these spreads up with basil, tomatoes, red onion, green onion, or roasted red pepper and they’re even more tasty. Last time I made hummus I was out of tahini so I substituted walnuts for the tahini. It was so good, and perhaps I even liked it a little better than with tahini – plus I reaped the benefits of the omega-3 fatty acids and the MUFA’s in the walnuts. MUFA’s (or monounsaturated fatty acids) are good for your heart, your brain, and despite the fact that they are “fat”, MUFA’s don’t contribute to “belly” fat or, as I like to say, a “muffin top” (if you know what I mean.)

Makes about 1  3/4 cups

One (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained (about 1  1/2 cups)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste) or 1/2 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons water
Juice of one lemon
1 or 2 cloves garlic, depending on your GT*
1 teaspoon salt
Cayenne pepper or paprika for garnish
More olive oil for drizzling on top

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processsor fitted with a metal blade. Process until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the work bowl and continue processing until even smoother. To serve in a more attractive way, spread the hummus in a shallow dish or pie pan. Sprinkle lightly with cayenne pepper or paprika. Drizzle with olive oil. Serve with pita chips, fresh sliced vegetables, or small pretzel rods.  

GT = garlic tolerance. The best male cook I know and I have a different garlic tolerance. You know how much you can stand, or can’t stand, so add the quantity of garlic which best suits your taste.

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Monday – Flat Iron Steak with Brown Sugar Rub, Spinach and Avocado Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing, Green Beans

Tuesday – Italian Sausage Subs, Green Peppers and Onions, Buttered Corn

Wednesday – Spaghetti and Quick Italian Meat Sauce, Braised Carrots, Bread

Thursday – Smoky Black Beans and Brown Rice, Spinach Salad

Friday – Dinner out

Saturday – Attended  a Derby Party. We took Mary’s Bluegrass Pie

Sunday – Sesame-Mustard Barbecued Chicken, Green Peas, Mixed Greens Salad, Bread

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