I’ve been on an oatmeal kick lately. It could be that I discovered making it in the microwave. Three minutes and BAM! Done. It could also have something to do with the fact that I didn’t realize I had oatmeal and bought more, now I have lots of oatmeal.
This idea hit me while I was wondering what to do with the juice leftover from Not My Mom’s Fruit Salad. Why not replace the water with juice when I make my oatmeal?
Worked like a charm. I usually put more sugar than I like to admit in my oatmeal and I didn’t put any in when I used juice. The sweetness might have come from the dried pineapple as well. Topped with some lightly salted nuts it was totally yummy! Yep, salted nuts, they’ll help open the taste receptors in your mouth. They probably added to the seeming sweetness of this oatmeal.
I didn’t have a whole cup of juice, more like ¾, so I added water until I had a full cup. If you like cooked nuts, add them before cooking. I don’t, so I add them after. I used tropical juice, dried pineapple, and cashews, but I don’t see why any combination wouldn’t work. Continue reading →
Every Easter we were inundated by boiled eggs when I was growing up. There were three of us kids and there needed to be enough eggs to hide that we could all find some. Back then very few people bought the plastic eggs as that meant you had to buy stuff to put in them and boiled eggs were far cheaper as you could eat them afterwards. But then you ended up with a couple dozen eggs to eat up. “Mom, I’m hungry!” was met by, “Eat a boiled egg!” followed by, “Noooo, I’m tired of eggs!” The fridge would smell like boiled eggs for what seemed like an eternity.
If you find yourself in this situation, you might check out my recipe for pickled eggs as they’ll keep quite a bit longer than fresh ones. You could even use pickled eggs in Scotch Eggs; it would give them extra flavor. Scotch Eggs are a tasty way to use up your boiled eggs.
I was introduced to Scotch Eggs through Scottish festivals and games. I took to calling them heart attack balls for quite a while. There is nothing healthy or politically correct about them (well, okay, I used pastured organic eggs and bought the sausage from a local store). Quite simply, a Scotch Egg is pork sausage molded around a boiled egg, breaded and deep fried. These tasty, filling orbs were often packed into lunches or snacks for tea (working people’s tea, not fancy tea). You can eat them hot out of the oven but they are meant to be served cold or at room temperature and really are better that way. They’re best eaten by hand so no utensils needed. They’re even better with beer. Continue reading →
As a kid you don’t really question the names of things, but as we grow older we may notice the inconsistencies of our language. Salad is one such inconsistency. As a child I never once pondered why a fruit dish heaped in whipped cream would be called salad and served with the main meal. Even as I learned to make whipped cream for said fruit dish, I never once questioned why it was called salad. It was what it was and I did not question it (I’m sure there is some existential story in here if I really dug for it). Perhaps it’s because my family didn’t eat many salads made from greens, they were too expensive. But at some point I asked, why do we call this salad?
This question grew when I first started visiting buffets and was baffled to find mousse and whipped cream at the salad bar. Aren’t they supposed to be on the dessert bar? Why do we call it chicken salad? Why do we call it egg salad? While you can argue the token celery and green onion in chicken salad, there were no vegetables in our egg salad.
The fruit salad my mom made was a monument to the 60s and 70s. The ingredients were easy: canned fruit salad (canned grapes are really, really sad), an apple, a banana, and as many maraschino cherries as you thought you could afford to include dressed with whipped cream. As whipped topping came down in price the whipped cream was replaced with whipped topping. Fruit salad was served at holiday dinners as part of the meal, not to be confused with the pie that we would have for dessert. By the next day it was a sad dish as the cream would have started to separate, the bananas turn brown and mushy, and you could see the poor canned grapes. All the maraschino cherries would have been dug out by then of course.
So this is not my mom’s fruit salad. I’m sure her original recipe would have called for coconut; however, since she did not like coconut ours never had it. Tropical fruit would have cost way too much when I was growing up and nobody but health nuts eat yogurt. This salad will last a couple days in the fridge without separating looking sad. I kept the maraschino cherries though, but you might want to wear gloves when you cut them in half. They can stain your nails. Continue reading →
Mornings have never been my thing…ever. Even after a full night’s sleep, or several full night’s sleep, I am still bleary eyed and nonfunctioning in the morning. Nope, caffeine doesn’t really help. I like coffee but it doesn’t help my functioning unless I’m suffering from lack of sleep or working graveyard and it has no immediate effect on my alertness. Once I drag myself from bed, I get out the door in the morning based on adrenaline and preplanning. I make my lunch the night before, I generally lay my clothes out the night before (or at least make sure acceptable options are clean), anything that has to go out the door with me is by the door (or better yet, in the car). I’m not that organized, really, it’s a survival plan based on years of experience of running out the door late and forgetting everything but my clothes. If I don’t do these things then I have no lunch and I forgot whatever it was I was supposed to take with me.
Given my aversion to mornings (aka, any time of day after I wake up), you can imagine that breakfast isn’t really my thing. I’m not usually hungry until I’ve been awake a couple of hours, and then all of a sudden I’m starving. My body still doesn’t really like much to eat even at that point. Skipping breakfast completely is not an option, I can get cranky and my blood sugar may do weird things if I don’t eat. It’s not pleasant, it really isn’t.
Smoothies have become my savior. They’re tasty, healthy, easy, and filling. I put my smoothies together the night before. You just combine all the ingredients in the blender and set it in the fridge, a couple of minutes of blending the next morning and voilà! Breakfast is ready. Continue reading →
This salad is so very versatile, easy, and good for you. It’s good to eat on its own, as a side dish, or throw the leftovers in a quesadilla, taco, or burrito. You can also serve it with chips as an appetizer Heck, throw it in some scrambled eggs for breakfast!
Unbelievably I still have some red peppers holding out in the garden, so I didn’t even have to settle for some sad out of season pepper from the store. You could also use roasted red peppers from a jar. Make it a few hours or a day ahead of when you want to serve it for the best flavor. Continue reading →
Election Day seems like a good time to roll out this recipe. I’m not much on politics. I pretty much find both sides rolling in the pork and cheesy. I try to maintain a positive attitude most of the time, or at least not slip into bitterness or heavy sarcasm, but I just don’t have faith in politics at the national or maybe even the state level. I try to avoid discussing politics, your welcome to your opinion, but I still believe in the power of the people and that change will come about by our daily and local actions as much as and more so than grand gestures on the world’s stage.
And this bread is just the thing to power change! Well, power something; they’re over the top. I’m not sure I could have found more calorie laden ingredients to stuff into the recipe. I expected to come back with some from the first time I took them to work. A coworker who doesn’t enjoy sweets (what is WRONG with some people!) was leaving and instead of a going away cake I made these. Since so many people are vegetarian I figured I’d be taking quite a bit home with me. I was wrong; they were gone in a cholesterol filled heartbeat. Something about mixing heavy cream and bacon brought out the carnivore in all those vegetarians.
So, right wing or left, democrat or republican, let us bond over Cheesy Bacon Cornbread. The only thing left to decide is muffins or bread because it’s good either way. Continue reading →
Some things come out of nowhere and lay you flat. My mom passed away a month ago. Many people have asked if she had been ill or otherwise wanted to know if it was expected or unexpected. After losing a few people I can say, you never expect it. Not even when you know they are not well, not even if the doctors have given you a short prognosis, as they did with my father, even if you think you have prepared your self for the eventuality, even if your on pretty good terms with death, you never really expect them to die. It’s an abstract thought, until it isn’t. When the death is somewhat unexpected, she was ill but was recovering and had been released from the hospital, it is even harder.
I had not heard of this dish until last summer. I worked with several people that were familiar with it and it came up in conversation several times. I knew just from the sound of it, that it would be something my family would love. Mom loved potatoes. I’m pretty sure there were very few days of her adult life that did not contain potatoes. Just about any combination of dairy product and potato made them even better in her book.
There seem to be as many incarnations of this recipe as there are families that make it but the base seems to be diced or shredded potatoes, a thick cream sauce, and cheese. I decided to add sautéed onions and garlic because most entrees should have onions and garlic, two more of Mom’s favorites. And just to shove it completely over the top, I added bacon. The bacon is an excellent touch, it infused the whole dish and gave it that smoky, bacony something extra.
The name completely throws people. I took this to a gathering a few days after the funeral and people really hesitated when I told them what it was called. So, you might want to refer to it as simply a Potato Casserole or even a Cheesy Bacon Potato Casserole. But it serves its function well under the original name for it is a carb heavy, fatty comfort food, something you desperately need when things have fallen down around you.
The leftovers were excellent with an over-medium fried egg, ‘cause that’s the way Mom liked her fried eggs, for breakfast. Don’t forget to add some fruit so you can pretend you’re eating a well-rounded meal.
So, because Mom would have loved them… Continue reading →
Frittatas are a great way to use up ingredients, eggs or vegetables. This time of year those of you with chickens are looking for a way to use up eggs, it’s the season of plenty. I discovered frittatas many years ago, but quickly lost my taste for them. I had found five dozen eggs on sale and bought some, about a week later I found them on sale again and bought some more. Ten dozen eggs for two people, not my greatest moment. The menu was frittata heavy for several weeks and I quickly lost my taste for egg heavy dishes. BTW, did you know you can freeze eggs? Beat an egg, pour it into a lightly greased small container (you can use a ramekin for one egg or a muffin pan for multiples) and pop it into the freezer until hard. Remove the egg from the dish and store in the freezer in a bag or container. When your chickens aren’t laying in December you can use the eggs from the freezer. Sure wish I had known that when I had 10 dozen eggs I was trying to use up.
Firing up the oven is not exactlythe first thing that crosses my mind this time of year, but you can work around the heat. In my case I was up early canning anyway. The kitchen was already hot, so I might as well use the oven. Frittatas reheat so well that it’s easy to make them in advance and then just reheat in the microwave. You miss the pretty pan presentation, and this recipe is very pretty in the pan, but that’s okay with me if I get to avoid heat stroke in the kitchen. They also freeze very nicely. You can have home-made, frozen lunches or dinners that were fast and easy to make. Continue reading →
Asparagus is one of those things that make me wonder about myself. I hated it as a kid. As in the groaning, whiney, gagging, pushing your parents to the edge of their patience, not like it. But something happened along the way to adulthood. One day asparagus became edible, not only edible but delicious. Maybe I chanced upon it as a perfectly cooked side dish, maybe enough taste buds had died off (they say they change or die every 7 years), who knows. Once it was part of my personality to hate asparagus and now I love the stuff and look forward to its arrival. People are weird. Continue reading →
Deep in the depths of winter there’s nothing quite like popping the lid on berries preserved from the summer. Strawberry season is my favorite time to make jams and syrups. The weather isn’t too hot yet so working over a hot stove isn’t too bad yet and they’re the first berry of the summer so you’re not burned out from all the other products you’ve put up. Continue reading →