Can you believe these peacocks? Combined with the view and the gardens, the afternoon was breathtaking.
Honestly, I have no idea what's going on this week. And I just have one child! There's evening meetings for work, evening meetings for church, birthdays x3; and at the end of the week, my aunt and uncle are coming in. So truthfully, I have no idea how many meals we're actually eating at home. Good thing we always have ingredients for burritos or cereal!
I made this for a lunch with friends last week, and since one of them called for the recipe yesterday, I thought I'd better make up the recipe and show the picture. The beauty of salads sometimes is that you can through anything into it and make it work. Moreover, it's very forgiving provided you have a great dressing. Also, I've loved having banana peppers on my patio because I can just cut the hot ones and add them to the salad instead of using crushed red pepper, which feels so "coarse" in what is mostly a soft and simple salad.
Recipe for Cucumber Couscous Salad
1 cup cooked whole wheat couscous
1 small-to-medium cucumber, thinly sliced (like on a mandolin)
2 banana peppers, sliced
1/4 cup sweet onion, diced (Green onions may work well, too.)
1 tomato diced
2 tablespoons dehydrated parsley
1 tablespoon fresh mint (or about 10 large leaves)
1/2 teaspoon herbed salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Drizzle olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder, optional
Combine ingredients in serving bowl. Stir carefully. Serve immediately or chill to marinate flavors
OK, after breakfast being the most important part of your eating in Italy comes Gelato. Truly, you only need to survive on gelato in Italy. There's nothing like it anywhere else in the world. It's ice cream, only better. There's a variety of flavors that you aren't likely to find even at Baskin Robbins.
Ah! It's summer! OK, it's felt like summer long before this in Florida. But we've had a fabulous weekend so far, including but not limited to: swimming in the pool while clouds created shade, watching Nora eat corn-on-the-cob successfully, spending a few extra moments together while we aren't focused on work (Well, I did get up and grade this morning. Didn't want to have to do it all tomorrow.), and enjoying a couple of shorter bike rides on our new-er tandem bike. We're quite the parade with the trailer hitched on the back.
When I was working full time, we'd spend $5 a week at Costco for the Rosemary Olive Oil Bread. I'd have all kinds of sandwiches with it. Well, I don't have the slightest idea why I didn't figure it out before, but last week when Paul trimmed up the rosemary bush, I decided to try my hand at a rosemary bread recipe.
This week ends with a big holiday weekend. We love holidays even if summer is way ahead in Florida. That being said, we are in the heart of corn season and loving it. Much of this week will revolve around yummy corn.
Also, we'll be spending time with my grandmother. And some of my meals will have to be significantly softer for her to munch on. I enjoyed reading through a few cookbooks on Friday looking for inspiration. I hope my list won't disappoint any of us.
In my research and from the recipes I've tried, I've come to the conclusion that graham crackers seem to have a wide definition. I really don't see why you can't call these graham crackers. But if it bothers you, just call it honey-sesame crackers.
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. I recommend using a mixer or food processor to evenly distribute the honey and oil. Then, gradually add water and mix or hand kneed until dough forms a ball.
On lightly floured parchment paper or on a Roul-pat (or between two Silpats), roll the dough out. Mine became roughly 9 x 13 in size. Cut into shapes. Place on lined baking sheet close together, but not touching. Bake at 350 degrees for 13-15 minutes per tray. (The original recipe says to do 15-20 and rotate the trays throughout the processes. It's easier on me as I chase Nora to just do one tray at a time.)
Ever since my nutrition class (that happened longer ago than I care to think about) told me how important sesame seeds were to the vegetarian diet because they are high in iron, I've liked them. Not that I didn't love sesame hamburger buns before. But I really had interest in them after that. Which is why this very recent recipe from the New York Times food blog got my attention.
I have to say it's very advised to find a hotel when you travel that includes breakfast, especially in foreign countries that don't often concentrate on breakfast as a meal. My parents skipped the hotel breakfast one day to go out with some friends. It cost €24 (about $36) for four Danish and two coffees.
Last week, we returned from a wonderful family vacation with not just one set, but both sets of Nora's grandparents, plus some friends and a second cousin. While I won't bore you with the details of a diary like I did in Paris, I would like to blog a good deal on the foods. Because Italy can be very inspirational! In fact, I'm even thinking of tweaking my garden in the very near future thanks to my observations of the Italian ways.
Well, I've sure missed menu planning. Starting tomorrow, I'll tell you where we've been vacationing. Meanwhile, has your area enjoyed a great bounty of fabulously fresh produce like ours? It's on sale, and it tastes great! Nora has, with little help from us, eaten two cantaloupes in two days. Somewhat in her defense, they had larger centers than I expected. But they still tasted really good, and she still ate them. In addition, we have some great harvesting from our garden that keeps us happy.
Disclaimer: The bread in the photos has rye and flax seed in it. It makes two smaller loaves instead of the one big loaf discussed below. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of the big basic loaf. And since I have no idea what my mother-in-law paid for the rye and flax seed, I'm waiting until I go to the store again to calculate that total.So, the story goes that we bought my mother a Cuisinart bread machine for Christmas a number of years back. She never used it. She couldn't get it to work like her old Dak, which they don't make any more.
Wheat Bread Recipe
This recipe has been passed down and around. Unfortunately, I don't know the original source. Please feel free to tell me if you know.
Put ingredients in bread machine in order. Put salt in one corner and yeast in opposite corner. Turn machine on mix only setting (My machine goes through the first rise.) or on full bake, but I've learned with this recipe the crust gets too hard in the machine. When first rise is finished, remove dough onto floured surface. Need dough for about 30 seconds. Roll into oval shape with ends under the loaf and pinched together. Place dough in pan. Cover and keep in warm place for 45 minutes-1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 about 20-30 minutes before rising is completed to ensure it is the correct temperature. Bake 35-40 minutes. Bread should be a nice brown color and should give a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom of the loaf. Remove to cooling rack, cooling loaf on its side.
You can see a picture of the adorable rabbit-cut crackers I made. They were so cute, but they took so long. I figured I would save such energies until Nora really cares about the shape of her food. Meanwhile, I'll just make cheese sticks. And I've updated the recipe slightly, which has made a huge difference to me. Feel free to say otherwise.My big move was to add 1/2 a teaspoon paprika for nice color.
Adjusted Dilled Havarti Cracker Recipe
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons and 2 teaspoonsunsalted butter
6 oz. (3/4 block from Aldi or 1 1/2 cups coursly grated) Havarti cheese, grated
1 Tablespoon dried dill
1/4 teaspoon herbed salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
I learned the last time that I don't have to pre-shred the cheese. I just throw it in the processor with the butter. Just cut them into a few cubes. Because I just have a mini food processor, I don't wait for the dough to form a ball, I just get two halves of the batch well mixed and then mold them together myself. I've learned that they cook far better when spread apart instead of in a full sheet like I originally made them.
Um, yeah, minor problem here. Can't exactly remember the recipe for the curried cauliflower. I kinda threw it together in a hurry and on my own cause I didn't like what my cookbooks said. What I remember was my complete shock when of all the meals my dad ate with us while my mom was out of town, this was the only one he deemed "good". . .or at least the only one he commented on. And when given the choice of leftovers for lunch, he chose this one.
Recipe for Curried Cauliflower with Quinoa
1 large tomato, diced
3 tablespoons cilantro, more or less to taste
1 cup uncooked quinoa
3/4 head cauliflower
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/4 cup onion, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons water
1/2 salt (more at table)
Raisins to taste (and if you're Paul, that's a lot!)
Cook Quinoa according to package directions. (Better yet, cook enough for the entire week at one time and just pull some out of the fridge for this recipe.)
In a large pan with a lid, saute onions in a touch of olive oil on medium heat until they become translucent. Add the cauliflower and stir. Season with salt and curry powder, add water and cover to steam the cauliflower so it softens a bit, about 5-7 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep vegetables from sticking. Add quinoa to rewarm if necessary; stir. Serve topped with fresh tomatoes, cilantro, and/or raisins--especially golden ones!
I love the potato quinoa pancake recipe from Vegetarian Ireland. And I wondered if I couldn't add lots more food value to them and make them great toddler finger food if I added some spinach that I stocked up on when it was on sale at Aldi. So I did.
Spinach Potato Quinoa Pancakes
1 cup onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups mashed potatoes
4 cups tight-packed spinach (Cut the pile in half if it's not baby spinach.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup cottage cheese (optional)
2 cups quinoa
2 eggs, beaten
Saute onions in a touch of olive oil until translucent. Add garlic and other seasonings, Add spinach and cook down. Stir in potatoes and quinoa, lastly cottage cheese and eggs.
Heat a griddle to 350 degrees. Use two soup spoons or whatever devices you prefer to spoon mixture onto griddle and shape into patties. Mine were about two inches in diameter.
I'm sorry to say I read another vegetarian blogger's negative Twitter comment about Extreme Couponing. And it made me think it was time I share my views, especially as a health-conscious newly-on-one-income family that's learning to feed a third stomach. I'd also like to point out that I have not actually seen the TV show because we don't have a TV. (That's a whole story all its own.) But I assure you I've heard many stories from people that do watch it.
Simple and quick, I loved this mint pesto recipe from The Thin Chef. I can imagine a few ways to use it. Even the original concept, on pizza, sounds quite yummy and unusual. But the busy day I served this, a good coat of pesto on orzo-shaped pasta made the most sense. Nora was just learning to grasp slippery pasta. Next time, I'd love to try this on whole wheat pasta because it isn't as delicate as a tomato sauce. It can handle the extra grain of the heavy pasta.
1 box Duncan Hines Devil's Food Cake Mix with necessary ingredients to bake
1 cup Kraft Cooking Cream, Original Flavor
2 cups Powdered Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Flavoring
Bake the cake according to package directions for two 8 or 9 inch round pans. Meanwhile, with mixer on lowest setting, blend together cooking cream and powdered sugar, adding sugar slowly. Add vanilla and mix completely. Keep glaze chilled until ready to assemble cake.
When cake is done and completely cooled, place bottom layer of cake on serving dish. Spread about 2 tablespoons of glaze gently over the top as the glue for the second layer of cake. Place the top layer over the glaze. Gently spread glaze over top of layer of cake. Keep cool in fridge until serving. Garnish just before serving.
1/8 cup red onions, diced just large enough to appreciate the color
1.5 teaspoons cumin
.5 1 teaspoon herbed salt
3 T Olive Oil
1 T lemon juice
Parsley or cilantro garnish
Slice carrots equal size and put in microwave safe bowl. Add the cube of frozen celery instead of additional water. Microwave on high 4-5 minutes until carrots are easily pierced with a fork. Remove bowl from microwave, add half the cumin and all the garlic. Stir. In serving bowl, put quinoa, add carrots scraping liquid and flavors out, too. Add olives, onions, and peppers. Stir. Drizzle olive oil, lemon, and sprinkled and remaining cumin salt over top. Stir. Serve room temp to warm. Garnish if desired.