Quinoa and Carrot Greens Tabbouleh

Quinoa Carrot Green Tabbouleh

You will be seeing several recipes for Carrot Greens. The carrots in my garden had TONS of greens.

Carrots and greens 1

From this bunch, I cut off the carrots and placed in a baggie to go in the fridge. The greens were divided into three bunches- a bunch went into a gallon baggie into the freezer, a bunch went into a paper bag to dry to be used like dried parsley, and a third went into a baggie into the fridge.

Carrots and greens 2

Then, I picked more carrots with even more greens. I am literally drowning in carrot greens! So I am trying all kinds of different carrot green recipes.

For dinner this evening, we had Carrot Greens Soup (recipe here  Carrot Greens Soup), and a Quinoa and Carrot Greens Tabbouleh. Tabbouleh is a Middle Eastern dish traditionally made with Bulgar and parsley. Since carrot greens have been compared to parsley, I thought that would be a natural substitution. I also didn’t have any Bulgar. I found a recipe for Quinoa Tabbouleh, and then modified. It was very well received! My daughter said she officially approved of the dinner. That’s saying something!

Quinoa and Carrot Greens Tabbouleh

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup chopped carrot greens
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • pint cherry tomatoes (I used black cherry tomatoes from my garden)
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • juice of half a lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Directions

quinoa

  1. Cook the quinoa per package directions. When done, let cool. Spread on cookie sheet to dry.
  2. Make dressing:
    1. Smash garlic in mortar and pestal, sprinkle in salt to absorb garlic juice.
    2. Squeeze juice of lemon into bowl. Add garlic and olive oil.
    3. Whisk together
  3. Mix quinoa with half of the dressing.
  4. Add all other vegetables.
  5. Mix in the rest of the dressing and serve.

Quinoa Carrot Green Tabbouleh

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Carrot Greens Soup

Carrot Greens Soup 2

I planted carrots in my garden. I think root vegetables are my favorite to grow, because you never really know what you get until you dig it up, and it’s SO exciting!

I planted the tiny seeds for multi-colored carrots. They grew and grew. Eventually, I looked at the bottom of the greens, and I could see carrots trying to poke out of the ground, so I picked them. Yay, carrots!

Here’s the thing, though. The greens were 4x the volume of the actual carrots. Now what? A little Google check, and I find out that although there is some myth out there that carrot greens are poisonous, they really aren’t. The problem is that wild carrot greens look a lot like poisonous hemlock. But these were carrot greens- I know because I planted them, and I picked them, and I cut them off of actual carrots!

I would hate to just compost these beautiful, lush greens. So, I tried roasting them. Like I do with kale, I tossed in olive oil and kosher salt, and baked at 400 degrees. In about 15 minutes, they were done. And DELICIOUS! It tasted like roasted kale, but had a little carrot flavor. I will post this as an actual post once I remember to take pictures!

But today, I’m going to share a culinary experiment. I found a recipe for Carrot Greens Soup. As I started making it, I was questioning my decision. I don’t really like cooked carrots. I swear I ruined a Thanksgiving turkey by adding carrots to the pot, because I could taste them in the turkey, and I did not like it at all. And now I was making soup made predominantly out of carrots? Then, as it cooked, I looked at it and thought, “No one will eat this.” My family can be a little picky when things don’t look “normal”. And little green floaty things makes it not look normal. But it turned out really well! I was pleasantly surprised by how good it tasted! It was like a vegetable rice soup. And the carrot tops really made the soup have a deep, earthy flavor. Maybe carrot tops are another, otherwise unknown, source of umami! (That’s considered another flavor: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami- the depth of flavor). My husband’s only comment was that he would have preferred the greens to have been larger- not chopped so much. I could definitely do that next time!

Here’s my recipe for Carrot Greens Soup:

Ingredients

  • At least 6 small-medium carrots, diced
  • Carrot Greens- should be be pulled off the stem and should have about 2 1/2 cups
  • onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp butter or margarine
  • 6 Tbsp rice
  • 2 sprigs thyme or lemon thyme (or healthy shake of dry thyme)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp chopped dill, or healthy shake of dry thyme
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (see my recipe for veggie broth here: Vegetable Broth)

Directions

Carrot Greens Soup 1

  1. Wash carrot greens and spin dry. Roughly chop.
  2. Melt butter or margarine in a soup pot.
  3. Add carrots, greens, and onions to the pot. Stir several times.
  4. Add rice and fresh herbs (if using). Stir several times.
  5. Add broth, salt, pepper, and any dry herbs.
  6. Bring to a boil, then turn to low and simmer for 20 minutes, or until rice is soft.

Carrot Greens Soup 2

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Vegetable Broth

Veggie Broth 1

Yes, I know. I haven’t posted forever. I apologize… especially to my friend, Joann!

I have been feeling uninspired this summer. However- now that my garden is giving me food, I am ready to share some excitement.

First, I want to share a simple recipe for Vegetable Broth. I have read in some social media venue, about the value of saving kitchen scraps that would have otherwise been composted. It is brilliant, actually! Every time you cut up the usual suspects: onions, carrots, celery, peppers, garlic and you cut off the ends to throw away- DON’T! Put them in a gallon-sized plastic freezer baggie and freeze. The greens, the seeds, the stems, the skins- all of it!

Then, when your bag is full, dump it into a large stock pot, fill with water. Bring to boiling, simmer an hour. Season GENEROUSLY with salt and pepper. Add other spices, like basil and thyme. Remove large floaty bits with slotted spoons (I would still put in a colander sitting in another large pot, to catch any liquid). Then strain the rest of the liquid.

The result? Great tasting vegetable broth, and no need to waste perfectly good vegetables! There are enough scraps to equal several whole vegetables, and your otherwise good vegetables can then be used for other tasty treats!

I really don’t need to write this recipe style because it’s so easy, but in case you read it better in list form (as I really do), here goes:

Ingredients:

  • Gallon baggie filled with variety of kitchen scraps (onions, celery, carrots, peppers, garlic. Do NOT use cauliflower and broccoli- I have read that these will make your broth bitter.)
  • Stock pot full of water
  • Copious amounts of salt (to taste, but it needs a lot more than you think it will!)
  • Pepper (freshly ground, if possible!)
  • Other herbs (basil, thyme, oregano could all be good

Directions

  1. Empty baggie-o’-veggies to a stock pot or other large pot. Fill with water. Veggie Broth 1
  2. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer with lid on.
  3. Season with lots of salt, pepper, and other herbs, as desired.
  4. Remove big pieces of vegetables with a slotted spoon, placing into a colander over another large pot. Stir to remove extra liquid. Remove those veggies and use the colander to strain the rest of the broth.
  5. Will have enough to make a ton of soup. I chose to can mine, and I ended up with 6 cups that I was to use that day, 4 quarts, and 10 pints! Veggie Broth 4

***If you are not into canning, what else could you do with so much broth? Well, you could eat gallons of soup for the next few days, OR you could fill sandwich baggies with broth- I think store-bought cans are usually around 16 oz, so fill each with 2 cups of broth, let the air out as best you can and freeze. I would try and lay them as flat as you can, like in a baking pan or something, otherwise the baggies get stuck together wherever creases might be. Once frozen, you can stack them any way you like. Then, defrost in the microwave or on the stove when ready to use!

 

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White Veggie Lasagna

IMG_1474

So. Hubby decides a couple of weeks ago, that in an effort to eat better and lose weight, he wants to “shake up his diet” a bit and go vegetarian. <insert mad face here>

I have nothing against vegetarians, or the idea of vegetarianism. Actually, the thought of the actual origins of meat should make us all vegetarian! The problem with this grand scheme of his is this: I live in a fairly picky household. The family doesn’t not tend to like new things. Hubby, for instance, does not like eggs, squash of any kind, or mushrooms. No one else will eat beans (or mushrooms… or squash of any kind!) And don’t even try and mention tofu! It makes the pickin’s for vegetarian food a little slimmer. And it will take much more creativity on my part to make dinner, which already takes a fair amount of creativity!

I remember being at a continuing education conference about a millennium ago at a hotel, where they offered both a meat and a vegetarian lasagna for lunch. I had some of the white vegetarian lasagna and was so surprised by how much I liked it! It was WAY better than the red meaty stuff!

So, when challenged with making vegetarian meals, I recalled this glorious concoction, and set out to find a recipe for it. I found several online, each being mostly different from the other ones! Some had ricotta still, others did not. Not being a huge ricotta fan myself, and thinking that was the cause of Hubby’s general dislike of lasagna (did I mention picky?), I wanted to use a ricotta-less recipe. I ended up combining a couple of different recipes, adding a couple of changes of my own.

It was delicious! Worth the hour of prep time. Better that it was done the night before and could be popped in the oven the next day. Even better when children could get it in the oven before you get home from work!

Here’s a trick I want to share: one recipe was pretty clear about making sure the lasagna noodles were dry after cooking. I came up with what I thought was a stroke of genius to hang the noodles to dry. Unfortunately, as I was hanging them on the cookie cooling rack, I realized my genius only went so far, and I hadn’t actually planned on where to hang the cooling rack that was now filled with noodles! I improvised in a haphazard, crooked, kind of way. A little embarrassing, really. Good idea. Not so well executed. Hopefully, you could do better!

IMG_1468

White Veggie Lasagna

  • 1 package lasagna noodles
  • 4 cups of veggies, finely diced. (I used 3 C broccoli and 1 C cauliflower. Zucchini and yellow squash could also be used. Onions and garlic could also be delicious!)
  • 3 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick), plus 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup All-Purpose flour
  • 4 cups skim milk
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 chicken or vegetable bouillon cube
  • nutmeg (whole, for grating, if possible!)
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
  1. Fill large pot with water and bring to a boil. Whenever it is boiling, add lasagna and cook per package directions. Rinse in cold water and lay between towels or on fancy cooling/drying rack set-up to dry.
  2. Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a large pan. Add diced vegetables and saute until almost soft. You could add more butter or olive oil if seeming too dry. Add spinach to pan, and stir until wilted. You may have to do this in two batches to not have spinach falling out of the pan.
  3. To make sauce: In a large saucepan, melt the stick of butter. Get milk ready, but do not add. Add 1/2 cup of flour, stirring constantly until it becomes mixed and thickened. Do not allow it to become too pasty. Add milk slowly at first, whisking constantly. Add bouillon cube, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Keep stirring to try and break down the bouillon. When it is thick, add Parmesan cheese and stir. Remove from heat, and let cool a bit.                                                   IMG_1469
  4.  To assemble the lasagna: Spray bottom of 9×13 pan with cooking spray. Ladle a small amount of sauce on the bottom of the pan. Lay lasagna noodles in the pan, then cover with more sauce. Spread half of the vegetable mixture on top of the sauce, then sprinkle a fair amount of Mozzarrella cheese to cover the veggies. Repeat with a layer of noodles, sauce, vegetables and cheese. Finish with a layer of noodles, a little sauce, and the rest of the cheese.
  5. At this point, you could cover and put in the refrigerator to be cooked later, or you can cook it now. Heat oven to 350. Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil for half of the cooking time. If cooking immediately, 40 minutes should be long enough. If coming from the refrigerator, then add 15-20 minutes. If you like your cheese browned, you could finish by broiling it for a few minutes. IMG_1474

(Hubby figured out the calories for this treat: if you can cut it into 15 pieces, each piece is only 266 calories! That means you can have seconds!)

 

 

 

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Roasted Garlic and Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower Soup

This one is for my friend, Joann. This is a vegan soup… unless you substitute 2 % milk for coconut milk, and make dumplings with flour and eggs the way Grandma always used to…. But since I’m not vegan, I only feel a little guilty deviating from the recipe!

Here’s the best part: if you can call this “Dumpling Soup,” then no one has to know that it is made out of cauliflower! Really- my family NEVER would have eaten it if they knew that’s what it was! But everyone ate it, and everyone liked it! Shhh- it may be out in the blogosphere, but it is our little secret!

I got the original recipe from here: http://www.rickiheller.com/2015/01/roasted-garlic-and-cauliflower-soup-with-herbed-dumplings/ but as I said, I doctored it up a little. The soup was almost exactly the same, except for the milk-for-coconut milk substitution I already mentioned. The original recipe included directions for making vegan herbed dumplings, but there were ingredients I hadn’t even heard of  before! I didn’t know chickpeas came in flour form, for example, and what the heck is a psyllium husk??? If you know, and want to make vegan dumplings that also included almond butter (I just can’t imagine how that would be)… you can help yourself. I recommend the link above.  The soup would be fine without dumplings, but I have always been a huge fan of Chicken and Dumpling Soup- because of the dumplings. This is a vegetarian way to have my soup and dumplings too! And did I mention that my family didn’t have a clue…?

Ingredients

  • 1 head garlic, skin intact
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into smallish florets
  • 5 C vegetable broth
  • 1 cup milk or full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Dumplings (non-vegan)

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp salt
  • water

Directions

  1. Cut top off of garlic head, sprinkle with a tsp of olive oil. Wrap in aluminum foil and place in a 375 degree oven for 30-40 minutes.
  2. Saute onion in the rest of the olive oil in a large soup pot until soft, 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add cauliflower, stirring to coat. Add broth, milk, and thyme. Increase heat to high until boiling. Turn to low, and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the cauliflower is soft.
  4. While cooking, work on dumpling batter. Mix ingredients together, adding a little bit of water in at a time, making a wet, sticky batter.
  5. Remove garlic from oven and let sit until cool enough to touch. Squeeze the soft cloves into the cauliflower soup. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  6. In batches, add soup mixture into a blender. My NutriBullet did a great job of creaming the soup, but your blender should work just fine. Return to your pot.
  7. With the soup on medium heat, add dumpling batter by small 1/2 teaspoons. Let them cook for 5-10 minutes.
  8. Adjust salt and pepper, and more thyme, if needed.

Enjoy!

Cauliflower Soup

 

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Marshmallows

Marshmallows Done

Hello again, my favorite readers! It has been a long time, I know. Unfortunately, summer ended, work started again, and though I have still been cooking, there was no time or motivation (sorry!) to write.

But now that it’s officially Winter Break…, I have a recipe for you! And, of course a story…!

Who knew you could make marshmallows! What the heck are they made out of anyway? These are things I am sure you have never pondered, but maybe should have!

I came upon this recipe many years ago in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine. I remember thinking, “Wow! Marshmallows! Who knew you could even make them? And what the heck are they made out of anyway?” I put the recipe in my recipe box, and then forgot about it, or ignored it, for the next several years.

Then it happened that I started making ridiculous amounts of Christmas cookies every year. I would give them away as presents- to my daughter’s teachers, the bus driver, friends, and family, including my grandmother. My grandmother had been diagnosed as having Celiac disease- which is the actual disease where your body can not process gluten.This was before “gluten-free” was cool, and before there were any gluten-free products were on the market. Homemade cookies would be the perfect thing… except cookies contain flour, which is gluten. This makes Christmas cookie-giving a little less easy.

So,  I would always make sure I made meringue cookies and macaroons to give to her (no flour). My husband’s tradition is to make buckeyes, so I gave her some of those too. Then I rediscovered the marshmallow recipe. What a good reason to make them! I was really excited, because this is something no one makes. It is special! I could do this! I told my mother, who told her mother, and my grandmother’s response…? “Why would she do that? Doesn’t she know she can buy them at the grocery store for $1.49?”

Humph. Guess who did not feel like sharing marshmallows with her grandmother…?

She got some anyway. I was really happy that I made them. You can roll them in powdered sugar, or chocolate, but I like to roll them in red and green crystal sugar for the holidays. They taste like super-fresh Peeps. They are delicious! Since they taste like Peeps, you could totally make these for Easter as well, and just use different pastel colors of sugar. I’m telling you, once you go fresh-made, you’ll never go back!

First, the secret: the ingredients are corn syrup, sugar, and gelatin. NOT a good choice for diabetics, I’d say, though perfectly fine for celiacs!

Second: they are REALLY sticky and kind of hard to work with. Pam spray oil is your friend. I will describe how it helps you in the directions.

Third: When it says to cover them, USE ALUMINUM FOIL! If you use a towel, it may fall into the marshmallows, get stuck, and worse, leave little towel fuzzies in your marshmallows. If you then go for plastic wrap, it, too, may fall into the marshmallow while it sets, and it gets almost- permanently stuck. It will take pulling and breaking, and leaving pock marks all over the top of your marshmallows, and it will make you very grumpy. Not that I know this from experience, of course…! It will still roll in sugar, and no one will know but you. But it’s aggravating. Aluminum foil. It’s the way to go.

So, here it is- the recipe you didn’t know you needed!

Marshmallows

  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup cold water, divided
  • 3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 1 tsp CLEAR vanilla
  • butter for greasing pan
  • colored sugar crystals
  1. In a large pan, add light corn syrup, sugar, and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil. Use a candy thermometer to know when it reads 240 degrees, or soft ball stage.                                                                     Marshmallow Boiling
  2. While it is boiling, in your mixing bowl, sprinkle gelatin on the other 1/2 cup cold water. Let stand.                                           Marshmallow gelatin
  3. Also, while it is boiling, prepare your pan. Line a 9×13 cake pan with aluminum foil. Rub butter over the bottom foil and on the sides along the bottom.
  4. When sugar mixture reaches the soft ball stage, remove it from heat, and slowly add it to the gelatin. Turn mixer on low until all sugar mixture is added. Then turn to high and beat for 10-15 minutes until the mixture has doubled in size.                                            Marshmallow Whipping
  5. Add vanilla and beat another minute or two until the mixture starts pulling away from the side.                                                 Marshmallow Whipping Ready
  6. Pour into the buttered pan. Cover with ALUMINUM FOIL and let stand 6 hours or overnight.
  7. When you are ready to cut, spray a large cutting board with Pam or other spray oil. Turn the solid marshmallow onto the greased board. Marshmallow Solid                                                                                           Spray a pizza cutter with Pam on both sides. Cut marshmallow into long strips. Re-spray your pizza cutter and cut across the the columns.                                                                                         Marshmallow Cutting
  8. Roll each little square marshmallow in colored sugar crystals.               Marshmallows Done

 

Ok, so not healthy. But still freshly-made!

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Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joe

Shhhh… Don’t tell my family, but the Sloppy Joes we had last night… were HOMEMADE!!!

It wasn’t supposed to be a secret. But it is nice to know that I can serve a homemade meal, and not have anyone taste the difference! Sadly, these sandwiches were not served on homemade buns. I did not have time to make them, and we had leftover buns from a large BBQ party I hosted last weekend. I also cheated on that day, because I had 20 people over, and I already spent 8 1/2 solid hours cooking and preparing all the other food I needed!

Here’s a nice thing about being comfortable making food from scratch- you usually don’t need to do any emergency runs to the store for key ingredients… like Sloppy Joe sauce! Often, you already have all the ingredients you need, as long as you restock your cabinets as you go.

The one thing I wasn’t sure I had was tomato sauce. I really would have preferred to have homemade tomato sauce, but due to a terrible summer (way too much rain throughout the entire month of June, to drying completely out in July and August), and the fact that I am not an excellent gardener (i.e. forget to water when it completely dries out!), my home-grown tomato situation is extremely sad. I had big plans to can tomatoes this year too, with my new canner. I will be hitting up friends and neighbors, and maybe some farmers markets to try my hand at canning. I want to have lots of jars of diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. I use them all year!

Anyway, the Sloppy Joe sauce was ridiculously easy to make, and no cooking required, except to add to the meat (which obviously has to be cooked!) There were even easier recipes out there, ones that said they only require three ingredients, but I like to stay away from those. They can’t have much depth of flavor with only three ingredients! I think they were ketchup, mustard and brown sugar. This recipe adds some umami, which is the depth of flavor that you only realize when it is missing, with Worchestershire sauce, garlic and onion powder. It really was quite tasty!

Sloppy Joe Sauce

Sloppy Joe Sauce

(recipe for 1- 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef)

  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder

Mix together well. A whisk is helpful to break up any bits of brown sugar that stuck together. Add to cooked and drained ground beef. Heat until sauce is warm. Serve on hamburger buns.

Sloppy Joe

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Granola Bars

granola bars finished

This was my third attempt making granola bars. The other two I made, I tried to be super healthy and use things like quinoa. If you haven’t tried quinoa, or don’t exactly have a huge affection for it, it made the granola bars… interesting. They weren’t bad, but I was the only one who ate them. My family is not a huge quinoa fan. On the whole, I am not a huge quinoa fan. They need to be cooked in something to make them delicious. That is not how granola bar recipes go, however. That recipe used dates as the glue to hold the bars together. The next, quinoa-less recipe, used bananas. Those were ok too, but not a favorite. And still I had to eat them all.

Before I shared with you all, I wanted to find a recipe that worked for everyone. I think I found one that worked. I got a thumbs-up from two teen-aged boys… who are picky about the kind of fruit snacks they eat. So, their thumbs-up means that much more!

Other recipes I have tried included sweet along with the salty of nuts and seeds. Raisins and dried cranberries have been the go-to’s. I broke down a little, and made these with chocolate chips. I’m sorry. But that is what makes granola bars so good!

The good thing about this recipe is that it is fairly quick to make, and it does not require baking. My reference recipe reported that they tried baking them, and they lost flavor and only were a little better at holding together. Not a good enough reason to warrant more time toward this recipe.

My summer is officially over, so I am worried that I won’t be able to make as much stuff from scratch. For example, tonight I realized at almost 5:00, that it was much too late to start making my hamburger bun recipe. So dinner plans had to change. But sometimes, there is time. Like this morning. I put my pork in the crock pot to cook all day. I ran the kids up to school. I came home. I had 20 minutes to kill before I had to go to work (right next door to where I dropped the kids off, by the way, but 20 minutes is 20 minutes!), so I made these granola bars. Now, I will say, I was almost late for work! 20 minutes is doable, but chopping the nuts and the chocolate chips took a little extra time. I would allow a 30-minute window so you can clean up. I almost never do this, but I had to leave dishes in the sink and shelf-stable ingredients out until I got home after work. I just didn’t have time. You could accuse me of being just like the kids, but the difference is that I actually cleaned it up after I got home!

I am happy to have these granola bars. I have been eating packaged protein-packed store-bought granola bars at work in the mornings. A glance at the package makes me cringe- chemical-y names, preservatives, sugar, as well as high fructose corn syrup. I’m glad I found the 20 minutes to squeeze this project in.

Granola Bars

  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 1/3 cup chopped nuts (I used pistachios and walnuts because that’s what I had)
  • 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips, or chopped regular-sized chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup nut butter (I used peanut butter, but almond butter would also work)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Instructions:

  1. Mix together dry ingredients (oats, nuts, chocolate chips, cinnamon) in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl or cup, mix together the nut butter, honey and vanilla until smooth and combined.
  3. Pour nut butter mixture into dry mixture and mix well. It will be sticky, but you might want to use your hands to thoroughly mix the ingredients.
  4. On a small cookie sheet, covered with wax paper, pour the mixture on and flatten with your hand or the back of a cup to smooth it out. Make sure it doesn’t get too thin, or it won’t hold together as well.
  5. Refrigerate for at least an hour (or until you get home from work!)granola bars whole
  6. Cut in half length-wise, and then cut into thin granola bar-sized pieces. granola bars cut
  7. Taste!

Now comes the tricky part- how to save. My earlier attempts at granola bars were kept in an airtight container in the fridge, but they weren’t as soft and sticky-ish as these. I hate wasting plastic baggies. I decided to waste wax paper instead. I pulled off a piece of wax paper that was a couple inches longer than the granola bar. I then cut the paper up the middle so I could have two pieces that were a couple of inches longer than the granola bars. I wrapped them up lengthwise, and then twisted the long ends of the wa paper, kind of like a candy. Once wrapped, they look like a less colorful Sugar Daddy candy!

granola bars finished

Now I will have a fresh-made alternative for breakfast!

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Italian Dressing Seasoning/ Italian Dressing

Italian Dressing Seasoning Italian Dressing

I was looking for this recipe today. I had made the spice mixture before, and had it stored in an old, recycled spice container (it may have previously contained store-bought Italian seasoning!) I have been using the mixture on many different chicken dishes. I finally decided to make it into Italian Dressing, which was its original purpose!

I went to Pintrest, where I usually store all of my recipes, including the ones I re-pin from this blog! It wasn’t there. Not even the original recipe I had followed. Why hadn’t I pinned it? So then I looked in the Search bar of this blog. Apparently, I hadn’t shared it here either!

It is time to remedy this whole situation! The seasoning was touted as being a Good Seasons knock-off (I found it on eatingonadime.com). I have really enjoyed the seasoning in various dishes I have used. I have enjoyed it so much, that I didn’t have enough to make the actual dressing, which I needed to put on my Cucumber and Tomato salad, made from veggies from my garden. So, I had to make more spice mix.

It is very easy to make, and my guess is that if you have spices at your house, you will likely have all of the ones needed. It’s whether you have enough that might be the issue! The first time I made it, I mixed it all in a bowl and then attempted to pour it in the small spice container. This time, I poured them straight into the container. It was pretty full. I closed the lid and shook it and  turned it and shook it and turned it and turned it upside down. I removed a tablespoon of it for the dressing, and shook it some more! It worked well.

The dressing was delicious, and my mother-in-law couldn’t stop talking about the salad, which really just had garden tomatoes (some small Romas and one small yellow), garden cucumbers, and some leftover chopped red pepper that I had in the fridge. That was tossed with this Italian dressing. She had three helpings of this salad!

Italian Dressing Seasoning

Italian Dressing Seasoning

  •  1 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 2 Tbsp oregano
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp parsley flakes
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground thyme
  • 1/4 tsp celery salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Mix all ingredients well. Store in airtight container.

Italian Dressing

Italian Dressing

I used the carafe that comes with some Good Seasons packages. On it, there are lines for vinegar, water, and oil. Add 2 Tbsps of Italian Dressing Seasoning. Shake well.

If you don’t have a carafe with the magical lines imprinted on it, use the following measurments:

  • 2 Tbsp Italian Dressing Seasoning
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2/3 cup oil (salad or olive)

Add all ingredients into a bottle and shake well.

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Chicken Paprikash

Chicken paprikash

My Fresh-Made Life was intended to be a blog about cooking fresh, homemade foods, using as few pre-packaged items as possible. It has been mostly a journal of me trying to make new foods, things I didn’t realize didn’t have to come out of a package! (Taco seasoning, butter, etc.)

But as my step-daughter moves into a house off campus, and she is facing having to actually cook for herself, she asked for some recipes. Since we now live in the digital age, boring old recipe cards will not be as useful to her. They don’t even have pictures on them!

I have plenty of cookbooks, and two recipe card boxes, but any more, I am relying on Pintrest as my cookbook of choice. Pictures make it easy to find the recipe I’m looking for, and you can organize your recipes in any way you want. I have recently re-organized them to include boards on Sauces, etc., and Seasonings, since I have several recipes for each. The other benefit of Pintrest, is I can send my recipes to people, such as my step-daughter.

In an effort to make the Pins to send, I will also share some of our family’s favorite recipes with you. I will make a separate page on my blog for Family Favorites, where you will find these recipes. Surprisingly enough, they are still freshly made!

This Chicken Paprikash recipe is one I have had for over 15 years. A friend had given it to me as part of a Recipes From Around The World bridal shower. It took me several years to even try it, and when I did, it was an immediate hit. I have modified the recipe a little, using diced chicken breast and my grandmother’s Slovenian dumpling recipe. As paprikash is a Hungarian dish, I hope I do not offend any Hungarians with my adaptations. And the dumplings are made by mixing a bunch of flour, salt, a few eggs and water. I have never actually had a recipe for it, I just learned by watching my mother, who watched her mother make them. The measurements I give here are approximations. You can tweak it if you feel you need to.

Chicken Paprikash

Approx 2 pounds chicken breast, diced

3 Tbsp butter

1 onion, diced

1 Tbsp paprika

1 Tbsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 1/2 cups water

8 oz. sour cream

About 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour for thickening

Dumplings

4 cups all-purpose flour

3 eggs

1 1/2 tsp salt

Water

  1. If you haven’t already, dice the chicken. It should be ready to go before starting to cook. Mostly-thawed chicken is easier to cut than fresh chicken, but fresh is always best!
  2. Fill a pot with water- about 3/4 full. Pot should be the size that would cook pasta.
  3. Melt the butter on med-high heat in a large pan. Add the onions and saute until soft and translucent. Add the paprika, salt and pepper to the onions and stir to combine.
  4. Add the chicken, stirring to coat all pieces with the red onion mixture. Brown chicken. (Will look more red than brown due to the paprika, but make sure all sides are cooked) Chicken paprikash- browned
  5. Add water. Bring to a boil, then turn to low, cover and simmer about 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked all the way through.
  6. While chicken is cooking, make dumplings.
    1. Mix flour, salt and eggs together in a large bowl. Add water until it becomes evenly moist- like a wet dough, should be firm but easy to spoon out
        • Dumpling dough
        • Drop by rounded teaspoon into boiling water.
        • Dumpling drop
        • Cook for 5-10 minutes, or until dumplings float. I have kept them in the boiling water for longer with no change in flavor or texture.
        • Dump into colander to strain out water.
  7. When chicken is cooked (you will be able to cut it with your wooden spoon), add sour cream, whisking it in.
  8. Chicken paprikash- sour cream
  9. Sprinkle in flour and continue whisking. Increase heat to medium-high to thicken the sauce.
  10. Chicken paprikash- whisk (The darker red in the top left indicates more whisking needs to be done!)
  11. This is what it should look like, with the sauce thickened:Chicken paprikash- sauce
  12. Mix dumplings in to the sauce, or if you prefer (as my family does), serve over dumplings.

Chicken paprikash

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