Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Totally basic, right? Everyone knows how to make pancakes, right? Well, just in case you need a good, simple recipe, here's my favorite. I taped it to the inside of the cabinet so the kids can make pancakes by themselves whenever I'm too lazy to get out of bed and make Mother's Day breakfast.

You have to know that I feed an army, so yes, we make and eat this whole recipe.

You also have to know I am obsessed with modifying recipes. I can't look at a recipe without seeing how I'll change it or add to it. So here's the plan: read the recipe and tell us how your family likes to get creative with pancakes!

Pancakes or Waffles -- from the King Aurthur Flour Cookbook
4 cups flour
4 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
4 eggs
4 cups buttermilk, yogurt or sour milk
1/2 c melted butter
  • if you want smooth, fluffy, diner-style pancakes, use all white flour
  • if you like crunchy, hippy pancakes like I do, use 2 cups white, 1 cup wheat, 1 cup oats. you could also add in some flax or other seeds for nutty, hippy goodness.
  • if you want really airy, puffy pancakes no matter what, separate the eggs, whip the whites and loosely fold them in as the last ingredient
  • who has buttermilk on hand? I always do 2 cups plain yogurt and 2 cups sour milk (2 cups minus about 2 Tbs milk, then fill that 2 Tbs with lemon juice to make 2 cups. Let sit for 5-15 minutes to get lumpy and "sour")
  • for that matter, lemon zest is always a bonus special feature treat secret goodness
  • for that matter, orange liqueur is always a bonus special feature treat secret goodness
  • my favorite add-in: grated zucchini. I have never had a single vegetable-related complaint about this, and the moisture in the zuch makes up for the dryness that wheat flour adds
  • chocolate chips make any pancake better
  • bananas and other fruit (hello mango!)
  • ...what else? Who knows a good substitute for sugar (proportions included)?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It's All About Ratios

I found this article with some interesting/helpful advise about baking, which coincides well with my experiences baking in mass quantities in Austria. We used metric (which I think everyone should use), and we used weight to measure ingredients like flour. It makes so much more sense, and might explain why I find baking difficult at home. Looks like I need me a kitchen scale!

...Now if we can only find a solution to burning things...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Freezing refried beans??

So I made a big batch of refried beans this evening. I'm not sure exactly what I was thinking when I made this big of a batch...so I was wondering if anyone has any advice on whether they freeze well and if they do then what is the best method for packaging and/or reheating. Thanks for any help.... or we may be eating a lot of refried beans in the next few days.

I double-dog-dare you.....

.....to try this recipe. It's from a cute little popcorn cookbook I have(cleverly titled, "Popcorn"). The book is full of super yummy savory and sweet popcorn recipes(like chile-lime-tequila popcorn, curry corn, chai-spiced popcorn and mocha latte corn) but also has a few main course recipes that are a little over the top. One of them is this intriguing(though slightly unappealing) recipe. Any one up for the challenge?


8 ounces elbow macaroni
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
12 ounces small curd cottage cheese
8 ounces sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 cups freshly popped corn
1/3 cup butter,melted
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

Preheat oven to 350.
Cook and drain the macaroni.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the cheeses, sour cream, milk, mustard, salt/pepper, and cayenne; stir well. Pour the drained macaroni into the cheese mixture and stir until blended. Transfer everything to a 9 by 13 baking dish.
Put the popcorn into a large bowl and crush it slightly with the back of a wooden spoon. Pour in the melted butter and parsley, stir well.
Sprinkle the popcorn mixture over the pasta and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown.
Serves 6

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


In our house guacamole really just means mashed up avocado with the occasional sprinkle of lemon pepper seasoning if mom is feeling festive... so I'm curious...how do you all make guacamole??

Friday, March 20, 2009

Cottage Cheese Biscuits

These drop biscuits are something I make at least once a week. They are super easy, fast and perfect for serving with soup, stew and chili. This recipe also doubles really well.
The recipe is from the Better Homes and Gardens New Baking Book which is one of my very favorite cookbooks... I use it ALL THE TIME.

2 cups flour(I use half whole wheat and half unbleached)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese
2/3 cups milk
2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
1-2 tablespoons of your favorite herbs(I often use dill and they turn out great)

Grease a cookie sheet and preheat oven to 425^.
In a medium mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
In a small mixing bowl combine cottage cheese, milk and chives(or herbs). Add cottage cheese mixture to the dry mix and stir until just moistened.
Drop dough by generous tablespoons onto baking sheet. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden. Serve warm.
makes 12 yummy biscuits.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy Saint Patrick's Day 2

I just have to say that I TOTALLY feel like I am hacking into some one else's blog.
That said.....
My husband requested vegetarian haggis for St. Patrick's Day but since
A) haggis is a scottish thing
B)haggis is gross
C)there is no such thing as vegetarian sheep stomach
I am going with an easy Irish inspired soup. I don't have a recipe but I can make one up....
red potatoes
all cut into hearty chunks
veggie broth
green cabbage-coarsely chopped
-determine portions according to taste and quantity of soup you want
-put all the veggies except cabbage into a pot and cover with vegetable broth(by a few inches)
-bring to boil and simmer until veggies are almost soft
-add cabbage and cook until cabbage is soft
-season with salt,pepper and dill and let simmer until you are ready to serve.

I will be serving it with a loaf of sesame bread and some sauteed veggie sausage(a close second to vegetarian haggis).

Happy St. Patrick's Day

To celebrate the holiday we've been experimenting with some good old Irish recipes this week.

Last night we tried Dublin Coddle with Sausage. Delicious and totally filling. Plus if you've never tried Soda Bread, you have to! It is the simplest quick bread I have ever made and so so yummy.

Tonight we will be trying a new version of an old favorite. Last year was our first St. patrick's Day as vegetarians and I have to admit that missing out on the corned beef was painful. Fortunatley a friend found a recipe for a Vegetarian Corned Beef and Cabbage and I cannot wait to try it out tonight!

Have a Happy St. Patrick's Day, be sure to share you're favorite Irish meals and don't forget to wear green!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Shamrock Cookies

1 cup shortening (at least half butter)
1 cup sifted confectioner's sugar
1 egg
1-2 tsp. peppermint flavoring (we substituted almond)
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. green food coloring

Heat oven to 375. Mix shortening, sugar, egg, and flavoring thoroughly. Stir in flour, salt and food coloring. Shape shamrocks by pressing 3 (or 4) small balls together with fingertips. Shape stem and attach. Or roll out and cut with shamrock cookie cutter. Sprinkle with green decorator's sugar, if desired. Bake about 9 minutes. Makes 9 dozen cookies.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

TIP: Noodles in Soup

I have fretted for a long while over how to have leftover soup with noodles and not have the noodles just soak up all the liquid, becoming all fat and mushy. How does Campbells do it? Special noodles? So I started adding cooked noodles to each individual bowl and pouring soup on top, and keeping them separate in the leftovers too. Then....I figured it out, people. I can go. on. with. my. LIFE!! And the kids can have proper noodle soup in their lunch tomorrow.
Here's what you do:

1. Cook and cool noodles.
2. Cook and cool soup completely.
3. Mix together.

So simple. I can't believe it took me so long to figure that out. Let me know if it doesn't work for you and we'll go back to the science lab.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Midnight Cookies

Called midnight cookies because you mix them up the night before and leave them to bake slowly in the switched off oven. A fabulous aroma permeates the kitchen as you head off to bed and yummy cookies await you when you wake up. Perfect for those mornings when you know you will be rushing out the door and scrambling for a breakfast snack.

1 egg white
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup candied cherries (I use raisins instead!)
2/3 cup shredded coconut

1. Preheat the oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk egg white until stiff peaks form.
2. Add sugar to the egg white, a spoonful at a time until it is completely incorporated. Mixture should be completely smooth and glossy.
3. Fold in the almonds, chocolate chips, cherries(or raisins), and coconut. Place in even spoonfuls on baking sheet. Place in the oven, close the door and turn the oven off. Leave overnight (or at least 6 hours) and don't open the door.
4. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Split Pea Soup

The easiest and most delicious split pea soup recipe from The 5-Ingredient Vegetarian Gourmet, only the most amazingly awesome (simple) cookbook ever!

Even the kids devoured it! I'm sure it helped that we called it Yoda Swamp Soup, but either way the fact that they ate it was awesome!

16 oz green or yellow split peas
1/2 cup barley or rice
1 lg onion finely chopped
3 medium carrots thinly sliced
seasoning as desired

1. Combine all ingredients in a large soup pot with 8 cups of water. Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer gently for about an hour.

2. Stir in 2 cups of water and simmer until peas are completely mushy, about 30 minutes. Season to taste and serve.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Leek and Potato Soup

I love to make this soup any time I get my hands on a couple of leeks. It is easy to make and I always have the other ingredients on hand. ~Laura

2 tablespoons butter
3-4 medium-large leeks, white and palest green parts only, chopped and very well rinsed
6 large potatoes, peeled (I never peel mine) and diced
2 vegetable bouillon cubes1 to 1 1/2 cups milk or soymilk, or as needed
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat the butter in a soup pot. Add the leeks and saute over low heat, stirring often, until they are wilted, 8 to 10 minutes.

2. Add the potatoes, enough water to cover, and the bouillon cubes. Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer gently until the potatoes are very tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

3. Remove 2 cups of the potatoes with a slotted spoon and mash coarsely (I just use my immersion blender and mash it up and down a couple of times). Return to the soup pot and stir in enough milk to achieve a medium-thick consistency. Season with salt and pepper. If time allows, let the soup stand off the heat for an hour or two to develop flavor. Heat through as needed, and serve.

Serves 6

If you like this recipe, then you should check out "The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet" by Nava Atlas. It has over 250 simple recipes. Most of our family meals come out of this cookbook.