February 12, 2011

Chocolate Espresso Brownie Cookies

I started with a recipe from Taste of Home at this site, and made a number of changes, including cutting down the ingredient amounts. These are just delicious and truly scream Happy Valentine's Day!

* 1/2 cup butter, cut into slices
* 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
* 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 egg
* 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour (or a combination of whole wheat pastry flour and all-purpose flour)
* 1/4 cup baking cocoa
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
* extra cocoa for rolling out dough*

* 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
* 1 tablespoon coconut oil*
* 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

* In a large saucepan, combine butter, espresso powder, and brown sugar. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until butter is melted. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Cool for 15 minutes. Whisk in egg.
* Combine the flour, cocoa, salt, and walnuts; add to butter mixture. Cover and chill for 30 minutes or until easy to handle.
* On a surface lightly coated with cocoa powder, roll dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with a 3-in. heart-shaped cookie cutter, or any size you prefer. Place 1 in. apart on baking sheets. ( I always use unbleached parchment paper on my cookie sheets.)
* Bake at 350° for 9-10 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on cookie sheets.
* For topping, in a microwave, melt chocolate chips and coconut oil; stir until smooth. Dip half of each heart into chocolate mixture; allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper. If desired, decorate with sprinkles before chocolate sets up; let stand until set. Yield: about 4 dozen, depending on the size of your cookie cutter.
1. I use coconut oil in place of shortening. It's solid at room temp., so has very similar properties to shortening, but without the horrible ingredients of shortening. In fact coconut oil is very good for you - look it up!
2. Using cocoa powder to roll out chocolate dough helps keep from having white flour spoil the look of your finished cookies, plus it adds yet another layer of chocolate flavor!

November 8, 2010

Cranberry Salad Dressing

This makes a nice dressing for fall salads, over pears, etc. Add some chopped nuts to the salad too, and maybe some goat cheese? Very easy to make and something a little different.


2C fresh or frozen cranberries
1/4 C water
1/4 C orange juice
3/4 C sugar
2Tbs. walnut oil
extra orange juice for thinning dressing if needed
orange zest (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the cranberries, water, juice, and sugar in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes, until the berries are mostly popped. Stir frequently. You want to keep an eye on this and watch out for spattering!

Remove from heat and let cool. Push the mixture through a sieve so that the skins and most of the seeds can be discarded. Add walnut oil and orange juice until the dressing is a consistency that you like. Stir in zest and S&P. Taste as you go!

October 27, 2010

Sausage, Potato, and Kale Soup

This recipe is similar to one of the Italian soups that is served at a popular Italian restaurant chain. However, my version has much more meat and many more veggies. The last time we made this, we added more chicken stock than what is listed below, since it didn't seem like there was enough liquid. We also had an entire bunch of kale to use up, and it was more than two cups. When cooking the kale, keep in mind that it takes a little longer than spinach to cook down. Test the kale when you think it's finished, to make sure it has the texture you like. This is a really a hardy Italian soup which is perfect for cold weather!

1 lb. spicy Italian sausage (or use whatever Ital. sausage you have and add a few red pepper flakes)
1/2 lb. bacon - chopped
1 qt. water
32 oz. carton (4 C) chicken broth
2 lg. russet potatoes - scrubbed clean, cubed
2 garlic cloves - peeled, crushed
1 med. onion - peeled, chopped
1/2 C carrot, grated
2 cups kale, chopped
1 cup milk, half and half, evaporated milk, or heavy whipping cream
salt and pepper - to taste

Brown sausage and bacon in a medium skillet, breaking sausage into small pieces as it cooks; drain, set aside.

Place water, broth, potatoes, garlic, onion, and carrot in a large soup pot; simmer over medium heat until potatoes are tender. Add sausage and bacon to pot; simmer for 10 more minutes. Add kale and milk to pot; season with salt and pepper; heat gently until kale is tender.

September 29, 2010

Yellow Squash Fritters

The early fall take-home from our food co-op has included some beautiful yellow squash. I have no trouble using up this veggie and have lots of favorite things to do with it, like sauteing and adding Italian spices and Parmesan cheese, or simply using it in spaghetti sauce or in a lasagna. However, I'd seen this recipe made on a cooking show and wanted to try it. As usual, I started with a base recipe and made a number of changes to suit us. You should do the same!

Here are the ingredients:

1 medium yellow squash, soft/seedy parts removed, and chopped into small cubes - you will need 1 C of mashed squash in the end, or if you have more than that, just adjust the other ingredients
1 Tbs. dried onion flakes
1/4 C chicken broth
1 egg
1/3 C whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 C cornmeal
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp pepper
oil for frying - 1/4 to 1/3 C

Cook the squash with the dried onions in the chicken broth, until tender. I used a microwave vegetable bowl for this step. I also added salt and pepper to the squash, but you can suit your own taste here - in fact if you like spicier food, a touch of cayenne would be good. Once this mixture is tender, mash it, using a potato masher, or if you are lucky enough to have a hand blender, use that until it looks about like this consistency:

Beat the egg into the squash mixture until well blended. Next, mix the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the squash mixture to the flour mixture, stirring well but not over beating.

Heat the oil in your skillet - I used about 1/3 C for frying these. Drop batter into the oil by the tablespoonful. Don't over crowd the skillet- you may need to do these in a couple of batches. Flip over to cook the other side. Drain on a paper towel. I got about 12 fritters out of this batch.

We enjoyed these along side a nice steak and the next morning they were great with sunny-side-up eggs!

September 19, 2010

Apple Stuffed Iowa Chops

What a great fall meal this is! Apples are in season and this stuffing is a great compliment to a thick cut chop - in this case an Iowa chop. As with most of my recipes, this one is flexible in terms of what you put into your stuffing. Also, you can obviously double or triple the amounts for more servings. Just be careful to check the final cooked temperature of the pork with a meat thermometer. According to this article from the USDA, pork is safely cooked at 160 degrees.

To Start:

2 thick-cut pork chops - ask to have the pocket cut for you at your grocery store if you are unsure about how to do it. I used a good pair of kitchen shears to cut the pocket.


1 whole apple, cored and chopped with skin on
1/2 C bread crumbs - I had seasoned croutons on hand and crushed those up
1/2 C chopped pecans
1/2 C crumbled blue cheese - feel free to substitute another cheese
1/4 C snipped fresh chives - or 2 tsp dried - or substitute finely chopped onion
1 slightly beaten egg
salt and pepper to taste
Mix all together and stuff tightly into pork chops. You can use skewers to secure the stuffing in the pocket if you need to.

Place stuffed chops into a greased baking dish which is big enough to hold them without being crowded, pour a little apple juice (and a splash of sherry?) in the bottom for moisture if you wish, cover and bake at 350 for 45 min. Then remove the cover (foil) and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until browned and at the safe temperature of 160 degrees.

This made the whole house smell like Thanksgiving!

September 4, 2010

Tomato Cucumber Salad with Feta Cheese

vThis salad is similar to another tomato and cucumber salad I posted last summer, but it's nice to have several options when cucumbers and tomatoes are pouring out of your garden! We have a local source for fresh Feta and it's nice in everything. Check out the website for Northern Prairie Chevre - they love their goats!

2 cups fresh tomatoes - I used 3 medium sized yellow pear tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped
1 medium cucumber, seeded and sliced - I partially peel mine
1 Tbs. chopped, fresh oregano
1 Tbs. chopped, fresh parsley
1/4 - 1/3 crumbled Feta cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp. sugar - I used dried cane sugar
Mix together gently.

2 cloves garlic, crushed
1-2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
2-4 Tbs. oilio
**a general rule of thumb in dressings is to use twice as much oil as vinegar or other acid

Whisk together until the garlic is evenly distributed and pour over salad.

August 30, 2010

Summer Fruit Crisp

Mmmmmm...local blueberries and raspberries from our food coop, and Colorado peaches at our local grocery store, collided in our kitchen to become this delicious fruit crisp! You can make this crisp with any fruit you have available - fresh or frozen. Adjust the amount of sugar and spices in the filling to suit the fruit and your taste buds. Reduce the amount of cornstarch in the filling if you want a looser (runnier) crisp. No matter what changes you make, this is almost fool proof!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Fruit filling:
Roughly 2 pts. total fruit - I used 1.5 C frozen blueberries, 1/2 C fresh raspberries, and 5 small Colorado peaches (peeled and sliced)
1/4 c. granulated sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
pinch of grated nutmeg
Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl, and place in a buttered or sprayed 9x9 inch baking dish, or one of similar capacity.

1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. rolled oats
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/2 c. walnuts, pecans, or almonds, chopped
1 stick softened butter, cut into slices (for easier incorporating)
Mix together the dry ingredients, including the nuts, and then work in the butter with a pastry blender or a fork.

Sprinkle half of the topping evenly over the fruit and cook for 10 minutes. Add the rest of the topping and cook for another 15 minutes, until top is crisp and brown and juices start to bubble up around the edges.

Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream!

July 27, 2010

Lovely Lemon-Filled Coconut Cupcakes

These are not your everyday, quick-cooking cupcakes. These are for special occasions and worth every minute of effort! These are pound cake-like in density, and part of the lemon flavor comes from a liqueur called Limoncello, which is really lovely. If you "Google" recipes using this liqueur, you'll find it in everything from pasta to chicken. I hope you'll make these cupcakes for someone's birthday, Father's Day, Mother's Day, a bridal shower... and I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Yield: 1 dozen

For the cupcakes:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons Limoncello (an Italian lemon liqueur)
1 tsp. coconut extract (optional)
½ cup milk or buttermilk
¼ cup lemon juice
½ c shredded sweetened coconut
Zest of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until light and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the Limoncello, coconut extract, milk and lemon juice, and beat an additional minute. On low speed, add flour mixture, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add the coconut and lemon zest and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Divide the batter between 12 muffin tins. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely.

For the lemon curd:
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk

In a heavy medium saucepan, stir together the lemon zest, juice and sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and egg yolk. Whisk a small amount of the lemon mixture into the eggs to temper them. Scrape the mixture back into the saucepan and place over medium heat, whisking constantly until it thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and let cool completely.

For the cream cheese Limoncello frosting:
½ stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon Limoncello
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Coconut for toasting, for decorating top of cupcakes
*you can also add a little coconut to the frosting itself if you're a big fan :)

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until light and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the Limoncello and beat for an additional minute. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and beat until fully incorporated and smooth.

Toast about 1/2 C additional coconut for topping the cupcakes if desired. You can easily toast the coconut in the oven while it's coming up to temperature for the cupcakes, or you can do it on top of the stove in a small skillet. Always watch very carefully when you toast coconut or nuts as they get away from you so quickly!


1. Cut a cone shaped piece from the top of each cupcake. Cut the point off of the cones so that you won't be displacing too much filling when you put these cones back on top of the filling.

2. Fill the cavity with the lemon curd.
3. Replace the trimmed cones on top of the filling, and don't push down too hard. If it sticks up a little or if a little filling squishes out the top, it's fine since the frosting will cover it up.
4. Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle on the toasted coconut. Then have someone with willpower hide some of them, so you don't finish them off in one night! Actually they're so rich you won't be able to finish them quickly unless you have the world's biggest sweet tooth!

July 6, 2010

Fruited Rice and Lentil Salad with Chicken

This is another recipe which started with a recipe in Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special cookbook. The biggest difference is that you won't find chicken in the salads in this cookbook! I certainly don't mind a vegetarian salad, but this is one example of a way to make a more hearty dinner salad by adding a little grilled chicken or shrimp.

1. You will need about 3 C of cooked rice, and 1 c cooked lentils for this salad. This is approximately 1 C uncooked brown rice, and 1/2 C dry lentils. When I made the salad, I had leftover cooked rice and therefore simply cooked up the lentils. If you cook either the rice or lentils from the raw state, follow the package cooking directions and add a bay leaf and a clove of garlic to the cooking water for both.

2. Adding chicken to this salad is optional. I used two grilled, chopped chicken breasts, and added it at the same time that the fruit and vegetables were added.

3. To the cooked rice and lentils, add the following:
1 apple, unpeeled and chopped - toss with a little lemon juice to prevent browning
1 1/2 C seedless grapes (black preferred), sliced in half
1 large red or yellow pepper, medium dice
1/2 C celery, chopped
cooked, chopped chicken if using

4. Dressing:
1/2 C olive oil
1/3 C white wine vinegar
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tsp. dried tarragon
1/4 tsp. dried mint
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Add about half the dressing, or as much as you need to make the salad moist enough for your liking. You can offer more of the dressing when you serve it. OR...I made this salad the day before, tossed half the dressing into the salad the first day and then added the other half of the dressing the next day before I served it.

Greek Pasta Salad

This recipe was inspired by Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special cookbook. I put in a few changes of course - can't help myself! I highly recommend this cookbook - salad, soup, and bread combos - what could be better?

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil to cook pasta. Once water is boiling, add 1/2 pound pasta such as rotini, bow tie, or elbow macaroni. Cook until just tender and drain.

2. Whisk together:
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. ground fennel seeds
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Then add:
1 1/2 C cooked chickpeas (or 15 oz. can, drained). Set the chickpeas aside to marinate.

3. Heat 1 Tbs. olive oil over low heat. Add 2-3 cloves of minced garlic and cook just until the garlic is tender, probably less than a minute.

Then add:
1/2 C celery, sliced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 C diced tomatoes, or when out of season use 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes with liquid
1 1/2 C green onions, sliced

Simmer the tomato mixture for 8-10 minutes, stirring often. Then add in the chickpeas with marinade and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

4. Toss the warm tomato/chickpea mixture with the pasta, then add the following ingredients:

1/2 C your favorite olive, sliced
1/3 C chopped parsley
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1/2 -1C crumbled feta cheese - depends on how much you love it!
1 small can artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped

Serve warm or chilled. Serves 4-8 depending on whether or not it's a main dish or a side.

Pear Salad

This has been one of our daughter's favorite salads for some time now. We tried it out for the first time a number of years ago on some died-in-the-wool Mainers and they loved it! This photo shows the addition of fresh blackberries, which we don't always have available, but it's a wonderful compliment. It's simply a composed salad, one you layer on a plate. We use one whole pear for each person, but that can be changed of course.

Here's a list of the ingredients:
spring salad greens
ripe pear, cored and sliced
thinly sliced red onion
fresh black raspberries or another berry if in season
toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
blue cheese crumbles or soft goat cheese bits
raspberry vinaigrette - homemade or purchased

Watermelon Salad - Hawaiian style

For my 50th birthday, we went to Hawaii and for my actual birthday dinner, we ate at a wonderful restaurant that is known for their watermelon salad. We didn't get the recipe, but recreated it by listing the ingredients on a scrap of paper that actually made it home with us! I either compose each person's salad on a small plate or layer it on a large platter to pass. It's colorful and delicious!

Here are the ingredients:
greens of your choice
watermelon cut into chunks
very thinly sliced red onion
carrot curls
toasted macadamia nuts, chopped
Roquefort or Blue cheese crumbles (the cheese crumbles aren't pictured here since I passed them separately when I last made this - we had a non blue-cheese eater in the mix!)
Raspberry vinaigrette - homemade or purchased

May 4, 2010

Crockpot Chicken Chili

This was an easy dish that I took to a church luncheon. It is just delicious and is very simple to adjust to your tastes and what you have on hand in your pantry. Somehow the chicken and black beans felt more like a spring/summer kind of chili. I left some of it at home for us to enjoy later, and it was excellent with a Fat Tire beer. Perfect out-on-the-patio supper!

* 3-4 chicken breasts - cut in half, or thirds if large
* 15 oz. canned black beans, drained
* 15 oz. canned pinto beans, drained
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1-2 tsp. cumin
* 16 ounces salsa - I ended up using about 1 1/2 pints of my homemade salsa
* 1 C bell peppers, chopped (frozen works too if you need a shortcut)
* 1 jalapeno, chopped or 1 medium long green chili, chopped
* 1 C chopped onion
* 1 C frozen corn
* salt and pepper if needed - I didn't use any

* Garnishes - fresh cilantro, sour cream, shredded Manchego cheese, chopped green onions, or anything else that pleases your family. I served this with blue corn chips and it was great!

Place all ingredients into crock-pot, placing chicken pieces on top. I pushed them down slightly into the liquid ingredients so they would cook well, but I wanted to be able to retrieve them easily later on. Cook for 6 hours on low, or 4 hours on high. Remove chicken from the crockpot to a cutting board and check for doneness with a thermometer (should be 165 F per USDA). Shred chicken pieces and put back into crock-pot and let them heat through for another 20 minutes. Adjust seasonings and serve.

***Note - For the potluck, I shredded the chicken, stirred it back into the chili, then moved the entire mixture into a casserole dish and refrigerated it overnight. At the potluck, I placed the casserole into a medium oven to re-heat, and it was nice and bubbly by the end of the morning service. Of course this might vary according to how long your pastor preaches!

April 26, 2010

Chocolate Shortbread Cookies - No Eggs or Butter!

I made a batch of one of our favorite chocolate cookies recently, and made use of some new organic flavorings I recently purchased. I chose the hazelnut and it worked great in place of the vanilla! The original recipe comes from the magazine "Vegetarian Times". I've made a couple of permanent adjustments, like subbing whole wheat pastry flour. In one of the photos above, you can see another addition, which is a little bit of raw sugar sprinkled on top for taste and appearance. There's a little nutrition boost with the prune puree, and no eggs or butter makes them an option for some folks with food allergies - but check first before you serve these to people with allergies as there are always hidden ingredients that we might not know about.

Makes 16 cookies

* 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1/2 tsp. baking soda
* 1/4 tsp. salt
* 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate
* 3 Tbs. canola oil
* 5 Tbs. prune baby food
* 1 tsp. vanilla extract (or try hazelnut extract)


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Whisk together flour, brown sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in bowl. Heat chocolate and oil in glass measuring cup in microwave on medium power 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until melted. Stir in baby food and vanilla, then stir into flour mixture. If dough is too crumbly to hold together, add 1 Tbs. more baby food.
2. Roll dough into 1 1/2-inch balls and place 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Press with bottom of drinking glass to flatten. Bake 12 minutes, or until small cracks form on cookie tops. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet; transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

April 7, 2010

Swiss Green Beans

This recipe is from Mollie Katzen's Enchanted Broccoli Forest cookbook and everyone at our home loved it. I am posting the recipe as we made it, which is just slightly different from Mollie's recipe. BE SURE to remember that if you make this ahead of time to let it marinate, you don't put the almonds, or the vinegar and lemon juice on until the last minute, so that you won't end up with gray colored green beans! Makes 4-6 servings.

1.5 lbs fresh green beans, cleaned and trimmed
1/4 C olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried tarragon
1 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
black pepper to taste
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 C minced fresh parsley
1/3 lb. Swiss cheese cut into thin chunks
one small can sliced black olives
1 large red pepper, cut into small squares
3-4 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1/2 C sliced almonds, toasted

Steam green beans until just tender. In a large bowl, combine all other ingredients except lemon juice, vinegar, and almonds. Add green beans, toss well and allow to marinate (tightly covered) in the refrigerator, for at least 2 hours, and up to 24 hours. About 10 minutes before serving, toss with the lemon juice and vinegar, and top with toasted almonds.

February 23, 2010

Fajita Salad

What started out as fajitas in corn tortillas, eventually became a new twist on a salad! I decided not to deal with the usual mess of sauce and peppers, and whatever else dripping out of the ends of the tortilla, and instead cut the tortillas into triangles, and quickly sauteed them in a little oil in a fry pan, turning them to lightly brown both sides. I put them on paper towels to drain, and sprinkled them with salt and a little chipotle pepper from this nifty new grinder (pictured above) that my hubbie found at the grocery store. The final product tasted a little like fry bread - yum!

The rest of the salad was just a matter of assembling. The first layer was organic lettuce greens, topped by the fajita mixture, then Colby-jack cheese, the corn tortilla chips, a little homemade salsa for dressing, a drizzle of yogurt, and finally some cilantro leaves. Here's what I put in the fajita mixture:

thin slices of round steak
slices of green and orange bell pepper
thin sliced onion
one 15oz. can of fire-roasted tomatoes (drained)
2 tsp. crushed garlic
1-2 tsp. cumin
2-3 tsp. chili powder
1-2 tsp. oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Simply saute the meat, peppers, and onions in a little oil until the meat is slightly browned, then add the tomatoes and spices, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes until the meat is tender. Enjoy!

October 29, 2009

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Walnut Bread

Oh yes, it's autumn and that leads to pumpkin bread every time! This recipe comes from the Whole Foods website. Of course I couldn't leave well enough alone, so I have included the little changes that I made. For one thing, I couldn't see using part of a can of pumpkin, so I upped the amount in the bread and added more flour to prevent wasting the rest. And since we're "gaga" over black walnuts, I just had to use them in this bread and sprinkle some on top for good measure! I served this with cream cheese sweetened with honey and spiked with cinnamon - so good with a cup of hot tea on a rainy afternoon!


Canola oil cooking spray
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I added an extra 1/4C)
1/4 cup oat bran or wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons cane sugar (I used Sucanat)
1/3 cup canola or sunflower oil
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup milk
1 1/4 cups fresh or canned pumpkin puree (I used one 15oz. can)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts


Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch loaf pan (I used a larger loaf pan) with canola oil cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, oat bran, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda. In a second large bowl, combine sugar, oil, honey, milk, pumpkin, egg and vanilla then add to flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in walnuts.

Transfer batter to prepared loaf pan (I sprinkled a few extra black walnuts and 2 tsp. cinnamon sugar on the top before placing the bread in the oven.), and bake until cooked through and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack then remove from pan and set aside to let cool completely.

September 28, 2009

Asian Lettuce Wraps

This is one of our favorite appetizers from Chinese and Thai restaurants but I'd never tried it at home for some reason. Now I will admit that the first recipe I found on the internet was one of the most convoluted, complicated processes I'd ever seen, and it could have scared off anyone - but that didn't deter me for long since we were craving these! As usual, I researched all the versions and put them together to suit us. This is very versatile and therefore great for using what's in your fridge.

For serving:
bib lettuce, or another soft lettuce, washed and leaves separated
sliced green onions
thin, crispy rice noodles

For filling:
1/2 C celery
1/2 C onion
1/2 C green and hot peppers - combination depends on how much heat you like
1-2 Tbs. peanut oil
Saute the vegetables in the oil in a large pan until they have started to soften.

1 lb. chicken breast meat, chopped or ground
small eggplant, peeled and chopped (optional, but gave a nice texture)
one can of water chestnuts, chopped
2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
Add the chicken, eggplant, water chestnuts, and ginger to the vegetables, and drizzle the sesame oil over all. Continue cooking until the chicken is cooked all the way through.

1/4 - 1/2 C sesame/ginger salad dressing
1-2 Tbs. soy sauce
1-2 tsp. cornstarch
To finish the filling, add the dressing to the pan, then dissolve the cornstarch in the soy sauce and add that to the pan as well. Stir well and cook until the filling is thickened, about 2-3 minutes.

Fill the lettuce pieces with the filling and top with the onions and noodles. Fold the lettuce over the filling, a little like a burrito or a taco shell. We had these with steamed dumplings and called it a meal - a delicious meal!

September 25, 2009

Baked Bean Soup with Ham

Yes indeed, this is not a picture of baked bean soup! I decided that would be a rather boring photo, and besides these individual bean pots are so cute that I put them on my wish list! You can get them if you click on the photo or the link. This recipe had it's start from the Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special cookbook, but it was greatly transformed in our kitchen since it's a vegetarian recipe and the ham addition would not be welcome! It tasted great and I'll try my best to include all the changes I made, but keep sampling it and make it taste the way your family likes baked beans!

2 C chopped onions
1/2 C diced celery
1 C diced carrots
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. chili powder
3 tsp. Dijon or German mustard
2 C chicken stock
1 - 14.5 oz. can stewed tomatoes and juice (I used my homemade stewed tomatoes)
2- 15.5 oz. can white beans or pinto beans, or a combo, drained
1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
3 Tbs. molasses
1-2 Tbs. brown sugar or another natural sweetener like sucanat
1 Tbs. soy sauce
3 Tbs. catsup
3-4 Tbs. tomato paste
1 C diced ham
several drops liquid smoke
ground pepper to taste

In a soup pot, saute the onion, celery, and carrots in the olive oil for about 10 minutes. Add the chili powder and continue to cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil. Then lower heat and gently simmer for about 15 minutes. Season with pepper to taste. An optional step is to use a hand held blender and puree the soup slightly to thicken it.

Alternately, this can be cooked in a crock pot. I did this for a ladies' soup and salad dinner, sauteing the vegetables first, then adding everything else to the crock pot and cooking the soup for about 4 hours on high and 2 hours on low. I think it gave it a nice flavor, like you'd get from the long cooking of baked beans. The ladies all enjoyed it!

September 12, 2009

Another Coleslaw Recipe?

I couldn't help myself! We're still getting 2nd generation cabbages from the garden, which are plants that grow on the same plant that's already been harvested once, so it's impossible to ignore such bounty! So, this one is a little different twist, though still using cranberries and nuts. It's delicious and we'll have it after church tomorrow, alongside BBQ ribs from the crock pot - if I remember to turn it on at 6:00 in the morning!

1 small head cabbage, sliced, shredded or chopped
1/2 C dried cranberries
1/2 c chopped raw cashews

Combine in a large bowl.


1/2 C mayo
2 Tbs. white wine vinegar
2Tbs. real maple syrup
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. pepper

Whisk together well, and pour over cabbage mixture. Combine gently and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before it's served.
These recipes will hopefully give you some ideas about how to use produce from your garden or farmer's market. There are also other recipes that are simply here because they are our favorites, or someone made a request at the last church lunch! I'd like to encourage you to alter these recipes to suit your own tastes, your family's needs, and to use what you have on hand. Therefore, some of my recipes will not have exact measurements. So...if any of the recipes leaves you scratching your head, just send me an email and I'll try to answer your question. HappyGrowing@eatingfromthegarden.com