Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

No-Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

What a mouthful.

My Brother {the one that's stationed in Okinawa} asked for a No-Bake PB Choco-Oatmeal cookie.  No-Bake because he doesn't have access to an oven.  So I "binged" what he wanted and found this recipe; I adapted it only in the heating/melting process.

I halved the recipe because I really don't need the extra treats around {especially since I want other kinds of treats as well} and I got 10 cookies out of it...which is just fine to me.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

 Add the butter, milk, sugar, and cocoa to a microwave-safe bowl.  I nuked it for 30 seconds; then stirred it around and decided to nuke it again for another 30 seconds.
 Nice and melted
 Add your Vanilla and Peanut Butter
 The Peanut Butter melted right in {I didn't have to nuke it again}
 Add the Oats
 Stir everything together
 Drop spoonfuls onto wax paper {so they don't stick}, and stick the pan in the fridge {or freezer} until the cookies set.
 oooh, Yummy!
 Again....nothing better than Peanut Butter & Chocolate!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Baking Tips

So... As I was searching for some new recipes, I came across these two baking articles.

Cut The Fat In Baking:

I'm always looking for ways to make my baking just a little bit more healthy {cause then I don't feel so guilty about eating it}.  My usual go-to has been replacing the oil w/ applesauce, and switching out some of the white flour with wheat flour.  This article had some more tips.
  • For cookies, replace half the butter with applesauce, egg whites or plain yogurt.  I've never thought about replacing the butter before {I've always done the oil}; I'll have to give this a try the next time I make cookies.
  • Replace regular butter with equal amounts for healthier buttery spreads.  I don't bake with butter so......
  • Trade half the butter with pureed fruit such as mashed bananas, apple butter or prunes {prunes working best with chocolate recipes}.  I would think that at least the bananas would add their banana-ee flavor to whatever you're making.
  • Replace half the oil with applesauce.  I always replace all of it, and my baked goods turn out just fine.
  • Replace each whole egg with two egg whites or 1/4 cup egg substitute.  I always feel bad not using the whole egg; if I'm going to pay for it, I might as well use it.
  • Replace cream with equal parts of evaporated skim milk.  I've heard about this, but have never used it before.
  • Replace half the cream cheese with equal parts of reduced-fat cottage cheese, or part-skim ricotta cheese.
  • Replace each 1/2 cup shortening with 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil.
  • Replace equal parts sour cream with plain or Greek style yogurt.
  • Replace Whole Milk with 1% or 2% milk.  Yep, do this all the time when I make bechamel sauces or quiches, or anything in that manner.  I don't keep whole milk in the house.  I use what I got, and you know what, it comes out just fine.
{you can find the original article here.}

Tips For Baking with Whole-Grain Flour:

If you look at any of my baking recipes, you'll notice that I substitute out most of my white flour for wheat flour.  I try to keep it healthy in this household.  Here's another article that I found with some good tips:
  • Whole-grain flours have more complex taste and create a heartier texture than refined white flours because they include the bran and germ.  There is a difference in your baked goods when you use wheat flour; it's something that I've come accustomed too.  They still taste good, but there is a difference.
  • Buy wholegrain flours from a store that has a high turnover rate. Be sure to check the expiration date and buy the freshest available. Opt for stone-ground flours, when available, as they have the highest nutritional value.  I'm lucky to be able to get flour straight from a flour mill.
  • Because they contain the oil-rich germ, to prevent rancidity, whole-grain flours must be stored in the refrigerator or freezer in a tightly sealed container. Use them within three months.  I use up my flour in a good amount of time, and I've never thought to keep it in the fridge or freezer.  I do however keep my flour in our cold food storage food.
  • Try grinding your own fresh flour from flakes. For example, purchase spelt flakes or oatmeal and use a coffee grinder to process small batches into flour as needed. Small grains without tough bran coatings, like quinoa and buckwheat, may also be ground this way.  If you have wheat in your food storage {along with a grinder}, this would be great in rotation efforts.  My parents ground their own wheat flour for years as I was growing up.
  • Start off by substituting half of the all-purpose flour in your favorite recipe with spelt or white whole-wheat flour. Occasionally you will need to add slightly more liquid.  If you've never had wheat flour, you should definitely want to go small at worst {helps with the digestion}.  When you're baking, always make sure to add enough flour till you get the right consistency.
  • When using all whole-grain flour in quick breads, select whole-wheat pastry, whole white wheat, spelt or kamut flours. Use 1 teaspoon baking soda for each cup of flour. To improve texture and crumb, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to the dry ingredients and use buttermilk for the liquid.  This I will have to try.
  • To ensure even cooking, bake quick breads in small containers like muffin cups or mini-loaf pans. Rotate the pans halfway through.
  • When baking breads, substitute up to 30 percent whole-wheat or other whole-grain flour in your favorite recipe.  I usually go 50/50.
{you can see the original article here.}

Hope these tips are useful; and if you've got any, pass them along :)


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Turkey & Rice

We've got turkey.  Wonderful, moist turkey.  We were gone over the weekend, so this is the first night of using up the leftovers.

The original recipe is Chicken & Rice, and is quite a regular guest over at my parent's house.  My family loves it, and it's been around for years.  This is a great meal in terms of using food storage.  Basically, all the ingredients are items that you probably already have sitting around.  This casserole is also easy to make, but it does take awhile to cook-but it is well worth it.

So here you go:

Turkey & Rice or Chicken & Rice

4 Cups of diced cooked Turkey or Chicken
1 Stick of butter
1 Cup of Rice
1 Packet of Lipton Onion Soup
3 Cups of Chicken Broth
1 Can of Cream of Chicken Soup
French's Fried Onions

In a 350 degree oven, stick the butter in a 9 x 13 pan & melt the butter

 When the butter is melted, pour the rice in
 And the turkey {or chicken}
 Sprinkle half of the Onion Soup packet over the turkey {or chicken} & rice

In a measuring cup, measure out 1 cup of broth.  Add the cream of chicken soup & the remaining soup mix.  Mix everything together. 

 Pour the mixture over the turkey-rice.
 With the remaining 2 cups of broth, pour over everything.
 You don't have to mix anything together-just dump & go.  Place some foil on top.  Cook for an hour.  After the hour, take off the foil and let it cook for another 20 minutes
 This is how it should look when you take it out of the oven:
 And then when you mix it up.  It should be moist, but not liquid-like.  If there's still alot of liquid, stick it back into the oven.
When you serve it up, sprinkle some fried onions on top {I forgot to buy some at the grocery store}. This will serve about 6 people. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

I Heart Faces Photo Challenge: Scenic B&W

This weeks photo challenge over at I Heart Faces is scenic B&W.  I started to go through my pictures & I found this:

I am always amazed when I stand on a beach and look out over the ocean.  The blue waters are so vast.  This shot is of my husband & son; it being my oldest son's first time playing in the pacific ocean's water.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cranberry-Apple Streusel Pie

I created my own pie.

Well...not exactly, but I didn't have a recipe so I winged it.  I was shopping at Sam's Club the other week, and of course, my kids & I had to stop by the sample carts.  That day, they were giving away samples of pies.  Yummy.  So much so, I decided to make my own.  And it turned out delicious.

Good thing there's another holiday coming up, I might be making another one.

Cranberry-Apple Streusel Pie:

3 Apples-peeled & diced {I used Gala, because that is what I had in the fridge}
1 12 oz bag of fresh Cranberries
1 Cup of Sugar
1/2 Cup of Cranberry Juice
2 T Cornstarch
1 Pie Crust {Unbaked}
1 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Sugar
6 T Butter

 Peel & dice the Apples & throw them in a pot.  The great thing about this part is that I snacked on the apple peels and didn't feel guilty at all {you know, since they're healthy & all}.
 Add the cranberries, juice & cornstarch.  Stir it around and put it on the stove, cooking over medium heat.  It'll take awhile for it to come up to a boil and thicken up.  Just make sure to stir it around every once in awhile.
 In the meantime, in a food processor, add your flour, sugar & butter.  This is going to make your streusel topping.
 Pulse it around until it looks like this.....like cornmeal....well, sort of.
 Look at that yummy pie filling :)
 Pour it into your pie crust.

 Add your streusel topping
 And because I was going to baking it for awhile, I tented my pie with foil {I didn't want the top to burn}.  Cook in the oven @ 375 degrees for 30 minutes.  Take the foil off and let it cook for another 10 minutes.  Also {I learned}, it would be smart to put it on a baking sheet; because if the filling bubbles up and pours over, it'll be on the cookie sheet and not the oven.
 When it's done
It'll look yummy and delicious like this...I was very tempted to eat it right then....but I resisted.

I like it ;)

Try it.  Enjoy!


Friday, November 26, 2010

Watergate Salad

I *HEART* this jello salad.

It's one of those dishes that is made for family get togethers.  It's a recipe that has been in my family for awhile.  It's super simple.

There is something about pistachios.  They are just yummy.

So if you need to add an easy, food storage worthy, jello salad to your arsenal, I highly recommend this.

Watergate Salad:

1 Can of Crushed Pineapple or Chunks {just chop the chunks}-make sure to keep the juice
1 box of Instant Pistachio Jello Pudding
Half a bag of mini-marshmallows
1/2 C of chopped Walnuts
1/2 Tub of Cool Whip

 In a bowl, pour the juice from a can of pineapple.
 Add the box of pudding
 Wisk them together
 Add the pineapple
 And the walnuts
 And then the marshmallows
 And lastly the Cool Whip
Mix everything together, making sure you get the pudding mixed with the other ingredients {you want an even color of green}.  Refridgerate {you can make this salad the day before & it'll be good} or Eat.


I'm linking up here:
Mouthwatering Mondays