Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Enchilada Salad

This is similar to taco salad, but because it contains cooked corn tortillas, I thought I should call it Enchilada Salad- sure, why not?  This was something I came up with just because when I eat lunch I make it my job to use up whatever needs to get eaten in the fridge!  Yes, someone's gotta do it.  I was pleased enough with this lunch to recreate it several times.  I think it's both satisfying & frugal (since it's meatless- but you could add meat for more flavor and fun).

Enchilada Salad
portions are for serving 1 person
2 Tablespoons broth (or water)
1/4 cup cooked beans (pinto, black)
1/4 cup cooked rice
1/4 cup salsa (or more)
shredded cheese (as much as you like)
1 corn tortilla
mixed salad greens
Ranch style dressing
optional: cumin, cilantro, cooked meat, sour cream, olives, tomatoes, avocado, etc!

Pour broth into small pot and add beans, rice, salsa, shredded cheese.  (Add in meat also if you want.)  Tear tortilla into 1 inch pieces & mix into pot.  If using cilantro and cumin, add a dash of these and stir.  Warm on the stove over medium heat stirring occasionally until mixture is hot, cheese is melted, and tortillas are soft.

Arrange salad greens on plate and drizzle with dressing.  Drop spoonfuls of the warm enchilada mixture evenly over the greens.  Top with any optional ingredients you want, or just dig in!


These posts have been written ahead of time as my family and I are working with a team at an orphanage in Ensenda, Mexico this week.  Please feel free to comment but I will not be able to approve or reply to comments until after July 1st.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Power Bars

This recipe originally came from the Nourishing Protein Bars over at Passionate Homemaking.  When I tried the recipe for some reason my bars were "missing" something (it was like eating a mouthful of peanut butter) so I let it get soft again (sat the pan inside the recently used toaster oven & it softened right up).  Then I mixed in a bunch more "stuff" and thought I'd share with you.  These are a great in-between meals snack: satisfying & easy to grab one on the go.

Power Bars
2 cups almonds
1/4 cup flax seeds, chia seeds, or pumpkin seeds *gound in a coffee grinder* I forgot that step & will tell you whole flax seeds are not fun to chew! 
1/2 cup dates
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup peanut butter or almond butter
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
4 Tbsp. maple syrup or honey
3 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup raisins or diced figs (I used figs)
2/3 cup cashew pieces
1 cup chocolate chips/chunks (use this recipe for healthy chocolate)

Place almonds, ground seeds, dates, coconut, peanut butter and salt in food processor. 
Pulse for about 10 seconds.  Stir sweeteners & vanilla into melted coconut oil.
Add to food processor & pulse until it forms a coarse paste.
Pour mixture into an 8x8 pan.  Stir in the raisins or figs, cashews, and chocolate chips.  Press into pan.  Chill for 1 hour, until mixture hardens.  Make 4 cuts vertically & horizontally in your pan so you have 16 bars.  Cover & store in refrigerator or freeze for another time.

Please feel free to comment this week, but our family is with a team working at an orphanage in Ensenada, Mexico, so I will not be able to approve or reply to comments until after July 1st.  This week's posts were written & publishing scheduled ahead of time- just for you!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Roasted Cauliflower & Chickpeas

Recently I had a head of cauliflower & I pulled some chickpeas from the freezer because I love cauliflower dipped in hummus!  But then I saw a blog post about roasting cauliflower & I was intrigued.  I also remembered seeing a few posts about roasting chick peas, which I was also curious about.  Come to find out they both cook at the same temperature for the same amount of time, so why not roast them both at the same time?  This would be good for when you want a salty snack...

Roasted Cauliflower (and/or) Chickpeas
1 head cauliflower, stem removed
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans) or 1 can, drained
4 Tbsp. olive oil
salt, garlic, pepper - to taste

Preheat oven to 450.  Chop cauliflower into small pieces (but not tiny).  Pat chickpeas dry with paper towels.
Combine chickpeas, cauliflower, oil and a generous sprinkling of salt, garlic, and pepper in a large bowl.  Stir to combine.  Spread out in a single layer on a cookie sheet (I lined mine with parchment paper). 
Since my cookie sheet doesn't have edges I used the cauliflower to keep the chickpeas corralled & from rolling off the edges.
Place in oven and bake for about 30 minutes.  Cauliflower will have a "toasted" look when ready.  Do not over bake or the chickpeas will get too dry.
Some of my cauliflower pieces were too big- the smaller ones were better.

I'm going to have some of these roasted chickpeas and cauliflower on top of my salad today too.


P.S. Did you see Wardeh's post about the USDA food pyramid?  So well put!

Please feel free to comment this week, but our family is with a team working at an orphanage in Ensenada, Mexico, so I will not be able to approve or reply to comments until after July 1st.  These posts were written & publishing scheduled ahead of time- just for you! 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Carrot Cake

My all time favorite cake is carrot cake (or cheesecake- if that counts as cake then it's a tie)!  Since it was my birthday I decided I would make myself a healthy birthday cake- that way we can really enjoy it.  I wanted my cake to also have the benefits of "soaking" to make it even healthier.  I searched & searched real food blogs, but no soaked carrot cake was to be found.  The closest I could find was this recipe for Election Cake (which I had never heard of- and I had also never heard of using yeast in a cake).  Later I googled it & found this information about it's history.

Even though there was no picture of the cake, it had molasses, spices, and dried fruit.  I figured I could sub out the dried fruit for carrots and give it a try.  Pretty brave of me I think!  I ended up adding quite a few things, and I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but we've decided it's pretty good.  Here's what I ended up with:

Carrot Cake
4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups buttermilk

12 to 24 hours ahead of time combine flour & buttermilk, cover, and allow to sit at room temperature.  Mixture will be a little dry.

8 oz. can crushed pineapple, undrained
2 packets yeast
1/2 lb. butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sucanat or turbinado sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 eggs
1 T. cinnamon
pinch of cloves
pinch of nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. shredded carrots (about 3)
1 c. shredded coconut
1 c. chopped pecans
1 c. raisins

The morning after you've soaked the flour: drain pineapple juice into (glass) measuring cup & add enough water to equal 2/3 cup.  Warm gently to about 110 degrees (do not boil- you can place the measuring cup in a pot of water on the stove to warm it).  Remove from heat, stir in yeast & allow to sit for several minutes.

Meanwhile, cream the butter and sugar together at high speed until creamy.  Add molasses and eggs and continue to beat.
Mix the flour mixture into the egg & butter mixture one cup at a time.  Then add the yeast mixture, spices, and salt and mix thoroughly until a thick-cake like batter forms.  Stir in drained pineapple, carrots, coconut, pecans and raisins.
Pour batter into pans (one 9x13 or 2 round cake pans) that have been oiled & floured or lined with parchment paper (that's what I did).  Make sure you account for the fact that this cake is going to rise!  Leave in a warm place for several hours or until doubled in bulk (it sure did)!  Wow- that's a lot of cake!
Pre-heat oven to 375 & bake for approximately 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean (mine baked for closer to an hour & it was over cooked).  Check half way through bake time- if top is browning too fast then cover with foil.  Allow to cool for 5 to 10 minues in pan, then transfer to cooling rack. 

This may be more dense than your cake usually is (more like the density of a fruitcake), but it is still tasty.  I found it paired perfectly with Wardeh's vanilla coconut cream frosting.  Right now Tropical Traditions has their coconut cream on sale: buy one, get one free!  If you're thinking about buying some (use some for frosting and some for fudge) and it's your first time, you can use my referral number 5997607 to get a free book about coconut oil.  I've been reading it & it's full of amazing testimonials. 


This post is a part of Real Food Wednesdays.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tuesday Twister: Highs & Lows

I tried several different recipes this week.  Some were hits, and some were misses!  I tried a recipe for buckwheat flour pancakes.  Most buckwheat pancake recipes I have seen use a mixture of buckwheat and wheat flours, but this was all buckwheat.  Have you seen buckwheat flour before?  When it was in the soaking stage it looked like refried black beans.  Buckwheat has a very strong flavor, somewhat "earthy" I guess you could say.  It was way too strong for us.  I even tried adding syrup and vanilla to the batter, but this was definitely not for us. 

I also made a homemade syrup to stretch our real maple syrup, using this recipe here.  I adjusted the recipe a little- I only used 1 cup of (turbinado) sugar to 1 cup of water, plus 1/4 cup of honey, and a tablespoon of maple extract.  I ended up with about 1 1/2 cups of a nice syrup that I mixed with a slightly larger amount of maple syrup.  100% pure maple syrup is still the better choice health wise, but this is a budget-friendlier compromise.
Another first for me was making homemade chocolate chips.  My son was begging for chocolate chip cookies. However, I learned that homemade chocolate chips (chunks) can not be used in chocolate chip cookies!  Keep in mind that the homemade chocolate chunks were made only of cocoa, sugar, and butter/coconut oil.  I used the soaked oatmeal cookie recipe, here they are before going in the oven:
And, this is what they looked like coming out of the oven- my son wouldn't even try them.  Poor guy!  All that oil from the chocolate just melted like crazy & made these a crumbly mess.  Better keep the homemade chocolate for things like no-bake granola bars.
So let's finish with some good news, because that's how I always like it!  Friday was my birthday and my daughter (age 11) knows that my favorite breakfast is cream cheese stuffed french toast.  I helped her out by setting some yogurt to drain the night before so she had yogurt "cream cheese" to work with in the morning.  Daddy made us some french toast and then she sandwiched mine with some cream cheese and blueberries, top it off with maple syrup & it was a great birthday breakfast!

I have more recipes to share with you this week.   Next I'll share my birthday cake: a "soaked" carrot yeast cake adventure!

This post is a part of Tuesday Twister at GNOWFGLINS.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Layered Salad

I made a layered salad for a family function this week & thought I should share my recipe with you.  I guess it's salad week here!  I first brought a layered salad to a family get-together several years ago, and ever since that first time it has become the dish I'm asked to bring.  Everyone loves a layered salad- I think because it's like getting a salad bar in a bowl!  Layered salad works best with a large glass bowl.  Don't have one?  You can be creative- what about a punch bowl?  Or how about the top from a cake platter, turned upside down (nested in a bowl of ice)?

When I make layered salad I plan it with two things in mind: one, keeping green layers (lettuce, cucumbers, peas, green onion, etc.) separated by non-green layers (red peppers, carrots, beets, mushrooms, cheese).  This helps each layer stand out (I place some things sideways against the side of bowl so they're more visible), and adds a lot to the visual appeal.  The second thing I think about is keeping moist items (cucumbers, frozen peas) away from dry items (cheese, mushrooms, boiled egg, croutons).

I always put the dressing on the side- if you haven't yet you might want to try my recipe for Ranch Salad Dressing.  I'm going to give you my basic outline for this salad, but it does flex & change depending on what's on hand for produce (use more or less of the ingredients listed, depending on your preference).  Try it out for your next family get together or neighborhood potluck- as long as you don't mind everyone insisting you bring it everytime!
 No picture of my salad- I didn't get a chance to before it was served & then there was nothing left!   So, here is my salad bowl & the salad serving "hands" I have from Alaska.

Layered Salad 
Several hours to a day ahead of time: hard boil 2 to 3 eggs & chill, remove peas from freezer to thaw

4 cups torn salad greens (I usually use green leaf or romaine, but a mix of green & red leaf would look nice)
2 to 3 carrots, sliced extremely thin or shredded
1 to 2 cups frozen peas, thawed, or fresh
3 large tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 cucumber, sliced & quartered
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 cup sliced beets
1 to 2 cups sliced mushrooms
4 green onions, sliced
4 to 8 ounces cooked turkey, chicken, or ham, sliced into thin strips
2 or 3 hard cooked eggs, chopped
1 to 2 cups shredded cheese
1 cup seasoned croutons

In a large glass bowl, layer ingredients (in order listed is suggested).


P.S.  If you forget to thaw the peas ahead of time place them in a colander and run warm water over them.

This post is a part of Real Food Wednesdays and Fight Back Fridays.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tuesday Twister Taco Salad

This post is a part of Tuesday Twister at GNOWFGLINS.
Today I am going to share with you a quick and easy dinner.  Salad meals are great for light summer dinners and a great way of getting everyone to eat more greens.  It's also very frugal when you use greens as the base &  the meat as a "garnish" (stretched even farther by using beans too).  For this recipe I used up some leftover meats: chicken pulled from the bones after making bone broth, and meat pulled from a couple of ribs left from dinner the other night.  I combined them with the salsa 24 hours ahead of time to really get the flavor in there.
For tortillas I'm trying out Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Tortillas (since I'm not making tortillas anymore)!  They worked good for this recipe at least!

Taco Salad
2 tortillas (for 4 people)
olive oil
mixed salad greens, spinach, snow peas, etc.
shredded cheese
1 c. meat
1 c. beans (pinto)
1/2  c. salsa
green onions
salad dressing
optional: tomatoes (we don't eat them), avocado, olives, etc.

Pre-heat oven (or toaster oven) to 425 (or broil).  Coat tortillas lightly with olive oil & sprinkle with salt.  Cut or tear into strips & place on cookie sheet.  Bake for about 10 minutes (less if broiling)- check & pull out once they are browned & crisp.  Cool.

Place meat, beans and salsa (if not already combined) in a pot and warm on the stove, stir occasionally.  Arrange greens on plates.  Sprinkle cheese on top.  Drop hot meat by spoonfuls onto the cheese (to lightly melt it).  Lightly spoon salad dressing all over the salad.  Snip green onions on top, and any optional ingredients.  Take cooled tortillas & crumble all over the salads.

Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Granola of My Dreams

Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a little- but maybe not!  This granola is so good, I really do think about it during the day. "I didn't have granola this morning, when can I have it?  Dinner?  Late night snack?"  Seriously!  I love some good granola, mixed with plain whole milk yogurt and raw honey= bliss!

Do you remember the last time I posted about granola?  My failure then is typical of my experience making granola- but this time I had success!  The recipe comes from Passionate Homemaking.  I only changed it a little when I made it, based on what I had on hand.  The ingredients here are half of what the original recipe calls for.  I'm the only one who eats granola in my house so this was the perfect amount for me. 

"Soaked" Granola
4 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. coconut oil (melted)
1/4 cup melted butter
3/4 cup buttermilk or kefir
1/2 to 1 cup water (as needed for moisture- I used kefir instead)

**combine above ingredients in a bowl, cover & allow to soak for 24 hours**

1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla (I was out of vanilla so I used maple extract)

**Pre-heat oven to 200.  Combine honey, syrup, salt, cinnamon and vanilla (I just put this in a small pot, original directions say to place in glass measuring cup inside pot of water). Warm gently until thin & then add to oat mixture.
Spread on parchment paper covered cookie sheets.  This batch filled one and a half of my cookie sheets.  I tried to spread it as thin as possible, without leaving any holes.
Bake for 2 to 4 hours.  Cool in oven.  I baked mine for 6 hours, which was a little too long.  I thought the granola needed to be dry before I removed it from the oven, but it really does crisp more as it cools.  

Add ins:
1/2 cup shredded coconut (I used closer to a whole cup)
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds (I had neither)
1/2 cup nuts (I used pecan pieces)
1/2 cup dried fruit (I just added more raisins)

Mix it all together & store.
When you are baking this your house will be filled with amazing smells.  I went outside & could even smell it outside the house.  It was torture!  It's like when people burn candles that smell like food (apple pie, sugar cookie, etc.).  Why would you do that?  It just makes me hungry!  But, if you can wait 'til it cools (don't burn your mouth!) this granola is worth it.

Do you like my photo background- the yellow with red & pink ladybugs?  That is my mom's sleeved apron from the 1970's.  I used to wear it as a kid, and now my kids get to wear it too.  I just thought the picture needed a little "something" so I threw that in there for fun.  And a little nostalgia.  


This post is a part of Pennywise Platter Thursday.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dark Chocolate Coconut Fudge

This recipe actually originated on the Tropical Traditions website, but as written it only made a small amount.  I quadrupled the recipe and modified the amounts slightly.  This amount of fudge worked perfectly for using a bread pan as a form.  I have kept mine in the freezer- it does not get too hard but has a nice consistency when frozen- reminds me a little of a "fudgesicle".

I shared this fudge with some extended family members, people who are not "real foodies".  They loved it!  One even offered to pay me to make this for her!  You can vary the amount of honey to give it more or less of a dark chocolate taste.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Fudge
3 (scant) Tbsp. coconut cream concentrate
3 (scant) Tbsp. coconut oil
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup hot water
1 cup cocoa powder

optional: chopped nuts, shredded coconut

This is how I prepare the coconut cream concentrate for use.  I place it in a pot of water and heat over medium heat.  As the outside of the cream begins to melt I use a knife to cut through it (like cutting a pizza) because having more surface area will help it melt faster.  Once it's melted you need to mix it up thoroughly.
Measure the coconut cream and honey into a bowl.  Add the coconut oil (solid) and then use the hot water from the pot to add the 1/2 cup hot water needed.  The hot water will melt the coconut oil and soften the honey.
Add the cocoa powder (and any optional ingredients- I didn't use any).  Mix thoroughly.  Line a bread pan with parchment paper and pour in the fudge mixture.
Place in the freezer until firm (a few hours would be good).  Pull out the parchment paper & slice the fudge.  I tried this both with a regular knife and with a pizza cutter.  I think the pizza cutter made it a little easier, though it is sticky either way.
I placed the pieces in mini muffin cups to keep them separate & also for presentation.

If you have coconut cream concentrate you can try this other idea too (if you order through Tropical Traditions and give my customer # 5997607 as your referral, then you get a free book & I get a bonus product too!) .  When the coconut cream is warmed a little (like in the Summer months) use a knife to make a hole in the side (so you're getting down into the cream, not just getting the oil on top).  When you have pancakes scrape a little bit out and put it on your pancake. The hot pancake will melt the cream & with maple syrup it tastes amazing!  This picture was a bit of an afterthought so it doesn't look pretty, but trust me, this tastes so good!


This post is a part of Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Real Food Wednesdays. 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Kefir Dressing, Slugs & Bugs, and Broken Glass

This week we got our first delivery from our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).  Do you know about CSA's?  You buy a "share" in a local farm & then each week you get a box of what was harvested from the farm.  You can find out about CSA's in your area by going to

In our delivery was a bag of mixed salad greens, so I decided to make my homemade Ranch Salad Dressing.  But this time instead of yogurt or sour cream and buttermilk, I used just kefir.  I've been making kefir with both coconut milk and goat milk lately, which had made it more mild than the cow milk I have used.  I also replaced the dried chopped chives and the dried onion in the recipe with chopped fresh green onion (also in our CSA delivery this week).  It tasted great & good for my tummy too!  Throw some roast chicken on there & that's lunch or dinner for me!

Now, if you need a picture to remind you to always thoroughly wash your greens, I've got one for you.  I threw my bag of greens in the salad spinner & this is what I found in the bottom afterwards...

That's about a 2 inch slug there- what do you think, does he look a little dizzy?  Now, what I also should have done is carefully washed each leaf, not just toss it in the salad spinner & be done.  Because you see, a few days later I was eating one of those chicken salads, and as I got to the second to last bite my front teeth felt something I thought was a chicken bone.  Instead, I pulled a little black beetle out of my mouth.  YUCK!  Thankfully it was hard & stayed whole- legs & all.  So gross though & slightly traumatizing.  But that is organic & fresh from the farm right there- wow!

I also wanted to let you know, if you're wondering, what I ended up doing with that jar of broth that broke in the freezer. (That has been keeping you awake at night, right?)  Well, you can rest easy now: I solved the problem.  I decided to keep the broth frozen and break the rest of the glass off.  I do not recommend this to anyone, because after all, dealing with broken glass is dangerous!  And in fact, if my husband had been here I'm sure he would not have let me do it- but I did.

I ran it under hot water for a minute to loosen the broth from the sides of the jar.  One of the broken pieces of glass came off at this point.  Then I layed it out on several paper towels and used a hammer to fracture the rest of the jar so it would come off.  I ran it under hot water again & the pieces began to fall off.  Here are the pieces I collected from the sink (again, dangerous, I know).

The outside of the block of broth melted under the hot water, also washing away any little shards of glass with it.  I made sure to run it for a good amount of time.  When the broth was clean I just put it into the pot I'm going to use for the soup so it could continue thawing in the refrigerator.
This seemed like the best way to salvage my broth- what do you think?  I really do have a problem with throwing away food!

Tomorrow I'm going to share with you a recipe for Dark Chocolate Coconut Fudge... yum!


This post is a part of Tuesday Twister at GNOWFGLINS.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hummus: Yummy & Easy

This post is a part of Fight Back Fridays at Food Renegade.

Since I had made some sourdough crackers last week I decided I wanted some hummus to dip them in.  Last time, also the first time, I tried making my own hummus I soaked & boiled up a huge batch of dried chick peas (garbanzo beans) and froze them in bags (2 c. each).  This way, when I want hummus I just thaw out a bag (I figure 2 c. is pretty close to what you'd get in one can, which is what most recipes call for.)  In my previous attempt at hummus I used a recipe that did not use tahini- and that hummus was bad.  You could just tell it was missing something (like, hmm, hummus?)  This time though the hummus was great!

3/4 to 1 tsp. minced garlic (or one garlic clove)
2 cups (or 19 oz. can) garbanzo beans
4 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. tahini
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Combine all the ingredients in your food processor & process til smooth.  Use more or less garlic depending on your preference (more!).  I like to use the minced garlic that comes in a jar because I think it's so much easier than messing with garlic cloves.

Below is the hummus with my spinach sourdough crackers, but I actually found my favorite way to enjoy this is by dipping cauliflower in it- you must try it.  One day I also tried dipping my crackers in both hummus & tuna salad and that was a good lunch!
By the way, I did a little google on chick peas.  Did you know they are a good source of dietary fiber, protein and copper, and a very good source of folate, zinc and manganese?  Now that's the kind of snack (or lunch) you can feel good about!


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tidbits From This Week

This post is a part of Tuesday Twister at GNOWFGLINS.

This week I finally took my recipes- the ones I actually use now & refer to- and put them in a binder.  Using a 3 ring binder and photo pages (sticky-type pages from old photo albums) is my preferred way of keeping my recipes.  I had two large binders with my collection of recipes, but I went through them & picked out the recipes that I actually use & the ones that fit with our new "real food"/Nourishing Traditions style of eating.  I wanted to share with you how I organize my recipes in case you need help organizing yours.
My sections are: Dessert, Breads, Breakfast, Vegetable/Salads, Rice & Beans, Meatless Entrees, Pork, Fish, Beef, Chicken, and "Etc." (sauces, beverages, and so on).  I had these little sticky notes that I wrote my titles on, folded them in half over the page, and then stapled it. 
I took this photo so you could see what a typical page in my book looks like.  I've got a recipe that I copied from a web page, pasted into a word document, and then printed. I've got a recipe photocopied from a cook book (I even have recipes cut out of cookbooks- a few years ago I purged my cookbook collection- I only kept a few and from the rest I actually cut out the recipes I wanted).  I also have a recipe that I scribbled on a piece of scrap paper after reading it somewhere on the internet.  Some great things about the sticky photo pages is they keep all different sizes of recipes, and they are splash & spill proof!  As I fill up the pages in a section I just open up the binder & add in a new page- easy!

A few recipes I will be adding to my binder this week: first, I used this recipe for "soaked" pizza crust (update 6/17/10: recipe gone, try this one).  I used one third of the dough & froze the other two-thirds in bags for later use.  I made a pizza for me & the little guy- marinara & cheese for him, pesto & cheese for me!
I made this in the broiler pan for our toaster oven.  If you make pesto pizza make sure you use a pan with edges, because the olive oil in the pesto becomes very thin & could make a mess otherwise!

Second, I tried out the recipe Millie posted for Buttermilk Syrup.  I used turbinado sugar & it was yummy, but I think next time I'll try using less sugar because it was a little over-sweet for me.  I used the buttermilk syrup to cut my real grade B maple syrup in half hoping to stretch out that precious stuff.  I was able to pass it off on the little guy (the maple syrup lover- the same one who I caught drinking a coffee cup full of maple syrup one day!)  However, he really balked when we pulled it out of the refrigerator the next day looking like this:
Yeah, I didn't think about the fact that this syrup is made with butter!  So, you're going to need to put it in a pot of hot water to mix it up again before using (which makes a glass container come in handy).  Can you tell what my re-purposed syrup container used to be?  Here's a hint: the little guy calls this our "Chinese Maple Syrup".  Ha!


Strawberry Syrup or Jam

This post is a part of Real Food Wednesdays.

One thing that has always puzzled me is why is it that strawberries taste so sweet when eaten fresh, but if you cook them they lose their sweetness?  I don't understand it, but that's what happens.  This week I bought 6 pounds of strawberries.  I forgot that I had originally planned to freeze some of them, so I made the whole lot into a huge batch of strawberry jam.
I decided I wanted to try morphing this strawberry jam from Z's cup of tea together with this recipe from Free to Feast.  I hulled & quartered all the strawberries and then followed Free to Feast's directions for the honey, water, gelatin mixture- except I quadrulped it: 4 c. water, 1 c. honey, 4 packets unflavored gelatine (heating over low heat for about 5 minutes til dissolved).  I then added this to the strawberries, but I could tell right away I had too much water in there.
I simmered those berries for hours & hours, trying to get the whole thing to "reduce".  At the point when I could tell they had gone completely soft I used a hand blender to mash it all up in the pot & kept on cooking.  I was sure this was never going to set- it also needed more sweetness so I added an additional 1/2 cup of honey.  At this point I could have kept it as strawberry syrup, but I took out a cup of the sauce, allowed it to cool and dissolved 4 more packets of gelatine in it, and then added that back into the pot, simmering for a while longer.
Oh, and I did have one boil over with this- what a sticky mess!  I'm not sure if this burner on my glass top stove will ever be the same!  Since it was still so thin when cooled, I thought use it as syrup on pancakes.  I let it cool on the stove and then placed it in plastic containers for the freezer (no more glass if you read my post from last week!).  Imagine my surprise when the next day I pulled them out of the fridge to go in the freezer & behold, it was jelled up.  Strawberry jam!
Besides the usual bread applications for this, try a few spoonfuls in your fruit smoothies!  It also works great to flavor plain yogurt.  So, if I was going to do this again:
6 lbs. strawberries, hulled & quartered
3 c. water or white grape juice
1 to 1 1/2 c. honey (use less if using grape juice)
8 packets unflavored gelatine (4 if you want syrup)

Place strawberries in extra large pot.  Mix water or juice, honey and gelatin in pot & heat on low over stove until dissolved.  Pour over strawberries & mix well.  Bring to boil over medium heat (watch closely!) then reduce heat to low & simmer for several hours.  When strawberries are completely soft use hand blender to mash into mixture.  Allow to cool, then transfer to containers.  Freeze whatever will not be used within 2 weeks.