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Breakfast Isn’t Boring Anymore

10 Feb

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In our house we do breakfast every day, I mean a full breakfast. My daughter isn’t a big lunch eater so we try to pack in the nutrition in the AM as best we can. I make a mean poached egg and slamming Matzoh Bri, the occasional Hash or the ever popular Chilaquiles. Over the years my husband has become quite the breakfast maker, he started off on the weekends and He even took over school weekday breakfast for a whole school year. He’s got his own funny recipes like the Framble, and the Encharadia.
Weekday breakfast is back on my plate now and we are board! I’ve made it my mission to try and make breakfast new again. It doesn’t take much effort to make it fun or different. The night before I set out bowls and chopsticks so when they sat down they had a surprise!
Today I made Breakfast Fried Rice, they ate it up, I will be a staple on our breakfast menu from now on. You can use brown rice and add frozen peas and carrots and anything else you can dream up. We like Applegate Organic Bacon, it’s thin and not too salty. You can add a sliced orange to finish the meal with just like at a Chinese restaurant!

Breakfast Fried Rice

When making fried rice it is best to use leftover rice, it clumps and soaks up the flavors well. Make your rice the night before and you can even make and chop, the bacon the night before. For ease I crack and scramble the eggs in a separate container. In the morning I just add the eggs to a pan scramble, and then add the rice.
Serves four

2 cups cooked white rice
5 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
Three large eggs
Salt
Pepper
Soy sauce
2 Tbs. grape seed oil or coconut oil
1 avocado, sliced

Heat oil in a pan on medium heat. Eggs, scramble until almost dry, remove from pan, set aside.
Add rice and chopped bacon to pan (you may need more oil if not using a non stick pan)
Fry rice until hot, stirring rice until cooked through, add eggs back to pan with rice. Season with salt and pepper.
Add soy-sauce and sliced avocado to taste.
Serve in boxes or bowls.

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Breakfast in Bed (kind of)

30 Jul

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 “Noosa Finest Yoghurt would like to serve you an Aussie-style ‘brekkie in bed,’ hand delivered to your door on a morning of your choice.”

Um OK, who doesn’t like breakfast in bed? When Noosa decided they wanted to drive to Novato to serve us brekie we said heck yes-sir-ee!! We usually eat eggs but I made an exception for this morning. I set the alarm for 7:30 and on the dot at 8 the van rolled up. Out came the most bubbly delivery gal, the sun wasn’t out but it didn’t matter she was so sunny and cheerful.

Not only did we get yoghurt hand delivered we got, organic granola, fresh juice and fruit brought right to our door. She unpacked her cooler onto the breakfast table and then we went outside to take photos of the van. She drove back to San Francisco and we dug in. We opened all the flavors right away, tasting them and giving our opinions. The raspberry was a hit even though I didn’t think I would like it, I loved it.   I really loved the honey flavor and so did Claire. The fruit purees are delicious too, not gummy or overly sweet. Noosa yoghurts stay away from artificial ingredients of any kind, including flavors, colors and preservatives, it just feels like good homemade food.

contact-page-sb-img1I had seen them at the store but I never picked one up but now I will, for sure, in fact when we were in Nantucket last week I grabbed a few at the market there. Noosa uses the best seasonal produce the market has to offer, and pack it in clear tubs so you can see for yourself the lusciousness of what you’re about to enjoy. And it was lush, I am used to lactose free yogurt so this to me was like the most creamy luscious treat.  I had never had Aussie style yoghurt, it has a uniquely sweet/tart tang and thick, velvety texture, I’m hooked. Noosa is made in small batches, on-site at the family-owned Morning Fresh Dairy in Bellvue, Colorado, and infused with locally produced clover alfalfa honey.images

We decided that we could get used to this breakfast delivery thing. I think this would be a great business for someone, I am lazy in the morning, just ask my husband! Once a week can someone can come over and bring breakfast to us,  I would be so in to that?

Yoghurt has roots all over the world, India, Greece, Bulgaria, Switzerland, France and so on…..It’ s used in savory and sweet dishes you can read more here.

Lets clear up this spelling thing…yogurt or yoghurt?

The word is originally derived from Turkish, to be curdled or coagulated; to thicken. There are many variations of spelling but they are mostly all pronounced the same so spell it however you want. Just don’t forget to try Noosa!!

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Sorry Noosa I don’t think I’ll be tasting the Vegemite anytime soon…I’m sure it’s delicious 😉

Super Delicious Fluffy Gluten Free Oatmeal Muffins

21 May

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I recently found Cup to Cup Gluten Free Flour and I think it may be the best one so far. Image

I just feel better when I eat gluten free! I have been eating that way for almost 6 years. I do eat gluten occasionally but for the most part I stick with a GF free diet. When I first started this way of eating I had gallstones, and they were horrible! I had to cut out fat and fat tastes good. After my gallbladder was removed (they tell you you don’t really need it, they lie!) I had a very hard time eating any fatty foods, so I started cutting out even more thinking maybe my digestion was screwy because of wheat or dairy. What happened, was that I started feeling alert and my occasional migraines disappeared for good.  I really had no idea I was even in a fog, but I must have been for a very long time because the change I saw from going off wheat was big. I was able to slowly reintroduce fat, truly unfortunate for my waistline!

I cut out most dairy too and my tummy problems cleared up a lot but not all the way. It wasn’t until just under two years ago I found out I had Thyroid issues that I was clear of tummy problems and the fog continues to be lifted. I continue to try and avoid dairy and wheat and feel worlds better for it.  I think a lot of us walk around not even knowing we feel terrible.

All this for muffins, yes I just gave you way too much information, but if you or your kids are feeling foggy, unmotivated or bloated try giving up gluten for a few months.

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Fluffy Gluten Free Oatmeal Muffins

These muffins are gluten free but you wouldn’t know it.

The flour does have milk powder so if you can handle a tiny bit of dairy it will be perfect for you.

1/2 cup milk (soy or almond milk)
 3/4 cup instant oatmeal
 2 Tbs vegetable oil
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 eggs
 2/3 cup brown sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour (gluten free flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup mini chips
1/4 cup shredded sweet coconut or unsweetened

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Butter 12 muffin cups or use cupcake papers
Mix oats and milk together in a bowl, set aside to soak for 15 minutes or longer.
Combine  flour,  baking powder, baking soda, and salt, cinnamon and nutmeg, set aside.
In a large measuring cup add coconut oil into vegetable oil. If the coconut oil is solid, mash the coconut oil into vegetable oil. Add eggs and brown sugar and mix until smooth
Add oatmeal milk mixture into wet mixture, mix.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, add chocolate chips and coconut, mix until just incorporated.
Fill the prepared muffin cups with batter.
Bake in preheated oven until tops are golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

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Happy St Patty’s Day

17 Mar

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My family loves to celebrate anything! This year we celebrated St Patrick’s Day on Saturday night so we could have the yummy hash on Sunday morning! Matthew and Claire added e green mugs and we all got decorative socks to wear. My Saturday was spent out of  the house at our gallery so I decided to try the convenience of the crockpot this year. It worked out great, I tossed the meat in at 8 am and by dinner it was perfect.
I learned a long time ago from our Irish housekeeper ( that’s what we called the cleaning lady way back when) to add a pinch of baking soda to the cabbage boiling water to prevent the smell and add tenderness, works every time.
About two hours before dinner I added the carrots and potatoes to the crockpot with the meat.
Then about 1/2 hour before dinner I took a few large ladlefulls of the broth from the crockpot and added it to a pot on the stove with water and cooked my cabbage.
Let the corned beef rest covered out of the cooking liquid for 20 minutes and then dinner was served.

Crock Pot Corned Beef

If you tie the pickling spice in a cheesecloth bundle your guests won’t have to pick out peppercorns and crushed bay leaves!

5 lb brined and washed brisket
One yellow onion quartered
1 Bay leaf
2 tbs bacon grease (if you have it)
Water
3 tbs pickling spice wrapped in cheesecloth x 2

1 lb carrots, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
3 red potatoes, skin on cut into 1/2 inch chunks
2 small heads Irish cabbage, quartered
Pinch baking soda

Add onion and bay leaf to pot. Add beef, fat side up. Fill almost all the way to the top with cool water.
Cook on low covered for 8 hours. After 8 hours or so add one bundle of spices, carrots and potatoes.
1/2 hr before dinner remove about 2 cups of cooking water and add to a pot with a pinch of baking soda. Add water half way up pot, bring to a boil and add second spice bundle and cabbage. Cook covered on medium until cabbage is tender but not limp. Remove the beef from the crockpot, cover with foil and rest 15-20 min.
Drain all veggies, slice meat and serve.

Breakfast

Sunday morning I made green waffles and corned beef hash with poached eggs!

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Husband wore a silly tie to breakfast (he never wears a tie)  and Kidlet wore a funny headband with Irish top hats. I unfortunately got so involved in making breakfast that I got pinched for not wearing green!20130317-085214.jpg

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Using Up Your Buns

22 Aug

French toast from leftover buns

For some reason I am a terrible recycler, I mean I am great at recycling food, a master perhaps? When it comes to knowing what goes in the blue bin, I’m not a star. I am surrounded by the world’s best recyclers, composters  and general waste-not-ers. I know my daughter watches me, for instance, should I rinse out the dog food can more thoroughly before I toss it in the bin? Does the milk carton go in the garbage or the recycle?  She knows what to recycle and how to do it and often corrects me.  It’s questions like these that don’t keep me awake at night. But what does keep me thinking is what am I to do with all the bread I have in the fridge or those fading apples?  I hate wasting food and most chefs feel the same way, that’s why we use corn cobs to make flavorful stock for polenta or scraps of veggies to enhance a dull broth.

Bread is a real sore spot for me, I am almost all gluten free but my family is not. I find myself buying bread that the two of them can’t finish. The bun situation is the worst, there are always too many buns to burger ratio or you have to buy an extra bag of buns because you are one or two short. Then what, it sits in the back of the fridge alone getting stale? Or you make a great attempt at freezing the abandoned but by the time you resurrect them they are freezer burned and even more tasteless than when they were fresh. Remember a two posts ago I wrote about the At Home Burger, the bun issue happened  for real, so I’m sharing the issue with you because I know you have the same problem, darn buns!

So, use them up for breakfast the next day. Make a regular French toast egg mixture and soak those buns in it. They cook up just right, problem solved! Now after that burger and French Toast we better get to the gym and get those kids outside to run around!

Basic French Toast

Mix the egg up the night before, cover and chill to make the AM easy.

3 eggs

3/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 burger or hotdog buns

Topping

Maple sugar, cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar 

Fresh fruit and vanilla yogurt

Method

Beat eggs in a shallow container ( I prefer square )

Add milk, and vanilla, beat until frothy and light in color.

Separate the buns, poke holes in the top and bottom, soak each in the egg mixture, first on one side, then the other.

Heat a skillet on medium, add butter or butter substitute

Cook both sides until golden about 5-7 minutes.

Serve on warm plates.

My at Home Burger is an Ugly Duckling

11 Aug

Fast food burger at home

I love summer but I hate the heat, I’m a typical Sagittarius, just can’t make up my mind! The reason I love summer, especially in California is for the tomatoes. With tomatoes comes the grilled summery food of the Gods….the perfect burger and I love those too!!
My darling child states that she hates burgers, at the mention of In and Out Burger she cringes!

Five Guys Bacon Cheeseburger with Cajun Fries

Actual Five Guys Bacon Cheeseburger with Cajun Fries (Photo credit: powerplantop)

My at home burger

When there is a food she hates, it just makes me try harder, I just keep making it and serving it in tiny cut up pieces. I make sure to serve something she loves with it, if I’m lucky she eats it all! Enthralling dinner table conversation helps to distract from the detested edible too!!
Anyway, Michael Pollen says if your going to eat junk food make it yourself! I had a hankering for a sloppy Five Guys style burger with summer tomato, so I grilled up a batch. I know eating healthy is a must but once in a while a juicy burger hits the spot. Just be careful not to eat like that daily and you should be A-OK.
I cheated with the roll because I haven’t mastered from scratch extra soft squishy rolls yet…forgive me?
Now I’ve tried it all, adding egg, bread crumbs, onion, A-1 sauce, you name it I’ve tried to enhance my burgers with it. I have gone full circle back to plain old meat, salt and pepper and that’s the way it’s going to stay.  Grinding your own Chuck would be best, a Kitchen Aid mixer attachment is pretty handy! If you can’t grind your own then buy the best meat you can. Buy the best meat with highest fat content. (don’t judge, trust me)

Back to tomatoes…we all love them and the heirlooms are at their peak and sweet as sugar. Keep it simple, cheese, tomato, onion maybe a thinly sliced pickle.

By the way, my kid ate a half of one of these  beauties, think she still hates burgers?

Best Burger

It may be ugly and squished  but it tastes good and when it comes to burgers that’s what’s important.

For easy clean up and to avoid cross contamination:  Place two sheets of foil on a cookie sheet, the top one will have the raw burgers. The clean one stays underneath and is used for the cooked the burgers. When you place burgers on the grill take the  top dirty foil away, use the clean sheet to place the cooked burgers on.

1 lb high fat content ground beef

Salt
Pepper
Softest buns you can find

3 Tbs butter melted
Cheese, sliced tomato, onion, pickle

Prepare a cookie sheet with two large pieces of foil one on top of the other.
Cut up 5 smaller pieces for wrapping burgers after cooking, place near grill.

To form the burgers, gently make 5 thin patties, do not roll into a ball or press into a mold.  Place patties on the  foil lined baking sheet.

Using a small roller or your fingers, press evenly to make a 3 1/2 -4 inch patty. It will look huge but the high fat in the meat will cook and the burger will shrink a lot.
Don’t fiddle with the edges, keep them ragged. The more you touch the meat the tougher the burger will be.
Chill patties for 15 minutes while grill heats up. (you can even freeze them very slightly to make it easire to transfet to the grill)

Brush melted butter on the buns and add to the cookie sheet. Just before cooking, sprinkle burgers with salt and pepper.
On medium high, about 400 degrees place burgers on the grill.

Wait until you see some juices coming to the top, about 7-10 minutes.

Flip burgers once only, you will loose all the juices if you keep flipping it.

Add buns butter side down to grill.

Add cheese to top of burgers. Cook to desired doneness
When finished assemble burgers and wrap in foil.

You may want to mark the “with cheese” ones.
Hand out burgers and let each person add toppings, eat!

Stay tuned for how to use up with those leftover burger buns!

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Life is a Bowl Of Cherries!

8 Jun
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Our cherry monkey!

The cherries almost always ripen the weekend of Claire’s birthday, May 11th which is also Mother’s Day. This year they ripened late, surprising but in the end a blessing. Let me tell you what usually happens every year…usually the cherries ripen over night, one day they are not ready and the next they are bursting. Well, do you know how smart crows are? Crows are they are really really smart. I have tried everything to deter them from eating our sweet delicious cherries, we really try. The sad part is, is that day when the cherries ripen, the crows call all their sleek feathered friends over and by 8 am the trees are empty. They suck them off the tree like a cartoon cat eats a fish, in one inhale! Sometimes you can find a half eaten cherry swinging in the breeze but more than not those trees are empty. Under the trees in a massacre of the unsavory cherries the birds rejected. They don’t even leave them on the trees to ripen they just toss them to the ground to taunt us.  Now I will tell you about the miracle that happened in our yard this year. We have a bird bath and I kept it full for the first time in forever, it attracted two Blue Jays, big beautiful ones, who love to splash around in our bath. They also like cherries but are much more polite than the crows, they eat one a day, not much.20120608-221023.jpg

The crows hate them, so it worked in our favor to host the Jays. They got very friendly and comfortable here in our yard one friend dubbed them “Guard Jay’s” and they were. Needless to say they kept the Crows away and we got an amazing harvest, almost 60 pounds of amazingly plump cherries. The problem is that I noticed the yard is very quiet the last few days, it seems that the Jay’s are gone, little freeloaders were just using us for our cherries. I thought they really liked us and were protecting our cherries, oh well they moved on. Today the crows enjoyed some of my baby lettuces, anyone have some Jay’s I can borrow? Darn crows!

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Puffy custardy cherry pancake

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Stems and bad cherries

I have never canned anything on a large-scale but I felt like I couldn’t let the cherries go to waste. I canned them in a simple syrup, it was easy and I may just be a convert to canning! Claire and I set out to can as many as we could, we ended up with about 50 jars! The kids can help if you keep organized, let them know you are using hot stuff! They can put the cherries in to the jars and help put the rings on the jars too.

Canned Sweet Cherries

Make use of a bot of boiling water to make utensils sterile and for making hot rags to wipe the jars with.  You can save the left over juice form the eaten cherries to use for drinks, like Shirley Temples!

(Rainier or Bing)

10 pounds sweet cherries (Rainier, Bing, or other sweet variety

16 cups water

8 cups sugar

vanilla beans

Wash jars and place  on a cookie sheet a 300 degree oven on their sides. For sterile jars leave in about 45 minutes to an hour.

boil lids to sterilize.

Wash cherries in a sterile sink or bowl and pit your cherries. I left mine with pits,in for a nuttier flavor.

Combine the water and sugar in a large saucepan. Stir and bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Keep hot (but not boiling) while you prepare  your jars.

Keep your jars in the oven until and take them out in small batches as you fill them. Do not add hot syrup to a cold jar it will crack.

With a clean sterile spoon, stuff cherries as you can into each jar, press them down.

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Washing cherries

I had tons of vanilla beans so I added 1 inch pieces of whole vanilla bean to some of my jars.

Using a ladle fill each jar with the hot syrup, stopping  just shy of the rim. I like to do this on a rimmed cookie sheet.  With a clean, hot, wet cloth, wipe the rims of the jars and place the sealers and lids on top. Tighten with your hands.

Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.

Remove from the water bath carefully place jars on a towel, let cool, and listen for the pops.  Of course, refrigerate any jars that do not seal and eat them immediately.

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The last of our harvest after removing stems

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Claire stuffing jars

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Using a sterile spoon to stuff jars

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A custard-y cherry pancake made with our fresh cherries. I used Michelle Stern’s puffy apple pancake recipe from her book, Whole Family Cookbook.

Adapted from Michelle Stern’s Whole Family Cookbook

I made this batter in a blender, it was really easy and clean up was a breeze. If you have a Vitamix or Blendtec I recommend using them for this recipe. A regular blender works fine too. Add all the ingredients to a blender jar and whirl just until blended and follow the ecooking directions.

Serves 4

5 Tbs. Butter, divided
Eggs
3/4 cup Milk
3 Tbs. Granulated Sugar
1/2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
1  tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Salt 
1/2 cup Flour

1 cup fresh sweet cherries, pitted 

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the microwave or in a saucepan.

In a medium-sized bowl, crack the eggs.

Beat the eggs lightly and then add the melted butter.

Measure milk, 1 tablespoon sugar, vanilla,  ground cinnamon, salt, and flour, and add them to the eggs.

Mix all of the ingredients until the batter is well blended.

Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a 10″ ovenproof skillet.  Add cherries and cook until they are soft 5 minutes.

Put on oven mitts and take the skillet off the heat. Pour the batter over the cherries.

Place the skillet into the oven and cook for 15-25 minutes until gently browned and puffed. (Do not open the oven during the first 15 minutes of the cooking process, or the puff will deflate!)

Put on oven mitts, remove the skillet from the oven, and immediately place an oven mitt over the handle, so that you won’t accidentally burn your hand.

Cut the puff into wedges and serve immediately.


 

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