Monday, October 29, 2012

Zombie cupcakes

In a coup of marketing, Aldi combined a box cake mix, with skull cupcake cups, and pink icing mix for brains. My in-laws bought a box, but I have to admit my husband really wanted this.

How we entertain ourselves as the wind of hurricane Sandy hits eastern Pa.

Hurricane Sandy Pasta

During the weekend, my husband made his famous-in-our-household "Daddy Pasta" to use up our ground beef from the farm, just in case we lose power.

We recycled it for lunch today and used up our calamata olives and Bulgarian feta that I would hate to lose. So we ate it.

Yummy stuff.

We also got homemade muffins, zaatar bread, mocha bread from Target, and croissants from the freezer.

We're ready.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hey Sandy!

For about a week, I've been talking about Tuesday. October 30 is my 13th wedding anniversary and it's the first day in weeks that I don't have school, work, volunteer commitments, internship and/or job interviews.

I was very much looking forward to this day.

Now we're getting a category 1 hurricane.

We have filled buckets, pitchers and other spare containers with water. We cleaned the yard, put the car in the garage and scrubbed the bathrooms and the kitchen with bleach.

We ate the contents of the fridge and freezer. Stocked dried fruit from Forks Mediterranean Deli. Have home canned salsa and corn salsa and tortilla chips. Bananas, apples, nuts and mocha bread. Peanut butter. Juice in boxes and bottles.

Flashlight batteries changed. Candles and matches gathered. Electronics charged.

So, we're ready. And right now we're having hamburgers made from ground beef from the farm made with spinach in them, homemade French fries, and the burgers will be served on zaatar bread with Bulgarian feta and calamata olives and a side of cole slaw.

I also stopped at the liquor store for wine and brandy.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Power omelet

- 2 farm fresh eggs
- 1 cup spinach
- handful of calamata olives
- 1 tablespoon Bulgarian feta
- 2 tablespoons cheddar horseradish spread
- 2 tablespoons roasted red pepper dip from forks Mediterranean deli.

Served with iced earl grey tea with honey

Raspberry smoothie

I'm not a fan of smoothies. Maybe it's a psychological throwback to when I broke my teeth and survived on an all liquid diet for a month.

But today I wanted something different.

So, for breakfast, I prepared some salad in a wrap.

And got out the blender.

- one banana
- about 1/4 cup vanilla maple yogurt from Klein farm
- about 3/4 cup frozen raspberries
- about 2 tablespoons apple cider from Heckman Orchards
- about 3 tablespoons Very VanillaSilk

This is delightful.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

More so-called weird snacks

For breakfast today, my daughter had a banana, water and peanut butter/jelly on my multigrain biscuits I made yesterday.

I started to prepare her snack. I was thinking maple-vanilla yogurt from
Klein Farm. She's been pretty good about avoiding dairy so a shot of yogurt will be good.

As I was adding some frozen raspberries to keep it cold, she came into the kitchen.

"Are you packing another weird snack?" she asked.

"Is yogurt and raspberries weird?"


"I thought other kids brought those tube yogurts."

"Yeah. And some bring fruit snacks so that's similar."

Me, muttering, "fruit snacks... As if that's healthy... Do you want something else."

"No," she said.

"Do you want some almonds in top?"


Me, after contemplating, "Yesterday you had an apple. That's not weird."

"It is when I bring it."

"I'm sorry."

She shrugs.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Funky grain biscuits

This is a variation of my "experimental" multigrain yeast biscuits.

Yeast mix ingredients:
1.5 cups warm water
1 heaping teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon local raw honey

For the dough:
2 cups organic unbleached wheat flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
About 1/2 cup organic sorghum flour
About 1/2 cup white corn meal
About 1/2 cup organic whole grain dark rye flour
About 1/2 cup ground flax meal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick butter

Combine dry ingredients (and butter). Stir. Add yeast mix. Stir. Kneed with hands.

Sprinkle corn meal in the bottom of a large cast iron skillet.

Roll out dough and use glass or biscuit cutter to cut biscuits.

Preheat oven to 400. Let biscuits rise about 15 minutes. Cook about 15 minutes.

This is my first time buying organic wheat flour (at Target. Had coupon. Normally $5/bag). Ordered coconut flour.

The sorghum flour is gluten free but not low carb. Has a little more protein than wheat.

The rye has slightly more protein and iron than the other two and it has calcium. And flax is full of good stuff and is low carb.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Vegan night

- leftover chili from the freezer
- tortilla chips
- raspberry salsa
- local apple cider

I packed the child's school lunch today: an orchard fresh apple, homemade date fruit bars, cocoa dusted almonds, zaatar bread, Bulgarian Feta, and calamata olives.

Breakfast was homemade apple butter and cottage cheese.

After school snack was a banana.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Spaghetti and local sausage

- wheat rotini
- tomato sauce
- local sausage
- oregano
- garlic pepper
- Italian seasoning

'Nuff said?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday Reflections

Food is such a vital part of our lives, and since I'm finishing school, interning at USAID, trying to be productive on the library board, and laying out the GLVWG newsletter, I'm stressed. Oh, I forgot my job at Target and the job hunt. Two interviews this week.

I decided that since I'm stressed, I'm making an extra effort to eat more whole and less processed food. I have a tendency to eat less healthy when I'm stressed and then my physical performance suffers.

This week I ate a lot of salad wraps. Homemade apple butter. Fresh feta from our favorite deli.

Today I stopped at Nature's Way for some funky flours-- some gluten free, others not. My family doesn't have gluten issues but many of the gluten-free recipes incorporate a better balance of carbohydrates/protein than wheat.

I have a long history if requiring a certain blend of carbohydrates and protein with lots of good veggies to keep from self-destructing. I experience incredible weakness if I skip meals that can't be fixed without hearty protein. Testing my blood sugar reveals that it's "fine," but that I feel ravenously hungry with a blood sugar of 90.

Anyway, my adventures with flour hopefully will start with multigrain biscuits.

Then we went to Kline Farm where I got yogurt, dill Colby, a huge pumpkin, apple cider, ground beef, sausage and pork chops.

I planned to make a "quick" 4 course meal before I go to work, and realized I must be delusional.

We started with a salad and big glass of water.

Next I heated my spiced apples in my skillet with pecans and butter and served with vanilla ice cream.

Now I'm frying pork chops in the same skillet I warmed the apples to capitalize on any apple flavor. I'm also heating corn we froze off the cob this summer.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Gluten Free Fruit Bars

I almost broke my food processor this morning, jamming all the pieces together the wrong way and somehow still managing to get the thing to run.

This recipe is based on:

Basically, match 1 part nuts to 2 parts dried fruit.

I soaked raw almonds and chopped pecans overnight like the recipe suggested. I used chopped pecans because I bought my food processor when I got married 13 years ago and it's a cheap Black and Decker and I thought this recipe would kill it.

The nuts chopped fine. The fruit made it groan and convulse.

This recipe gets mixed in three parts. First nuts. Then fruit. Then fruit and nuts together.

- about 1/2 cup raw almonds
- about 1/2 cup pecans
- about 1 cup dates
- the remaining one cup for me was a helter skelter mix of raisins, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, dried strawberries and dried kiwi.
- instead of spices, I used about 2 tablespoons poppy seeds

Grind nuts. Transfer to bowl.

Grind fruit, using rubber spatula to pull sticky goop from under blades and the sides.

Add nuts back to goop and blend and mix and rubber spatula until combined.

I greased my hands and a cookie sheet with walnut oil. A plate would have been big enough. Or a brownie pan. And shaped them.

Refrigerate for a couple hours.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Forks Mediterranean Deli

I adore Forks Mediterranean Deli, every time I'm missing the lamb shawarma from Paris or the olives from Tunisia, I visit them.

Today I bought four batches of zaatar bread, 1 lb Bulgarian feta (a variety made from sheep's milk), 1 lb pitted calamata olives, roasted red pepper dip, dried kiwis, raw almonds and a huge can of quince jam.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Apple butter, part 2

So if you read Saturday's post, you know I left off with a crock pot full of local apples.

Three hours later I had the best applesauce ever.

Five hours later I had runny apple butter.

At that point, I transferred it to the stove to boil off some of the liquid for an hour.

I processed in a hot water bath for ten minutes and have the equivalent of four pints of apple butter.

Really incredible stuff.

Today, I filled half the crock pot with apples with the same basic honey/spice recipe to get some more apple goodness.

Some spiced apples. Maybe applesauce. If some remain, apple butter.

Yield: 2 pints spiced apples and turkey sausage with apples in the crockpot for dinner.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Chicken spinach Alfredo

My husband requested "some sort of Alfredo sauce" over linguine.

So I whipped this up:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon flour
(Melted and blended in the cast iron skillet until bubbly)
- parsley
- Italian seasoning
- dry mustard
- generous amounts of garlic pepper
Add about 3/4 cups each:
- milk
- half and half
- soy milk
- fresh spinach
- frozen peas
Cook until bubbly.
Add chicken if desired.
Once chicken is hot, add:
- about 1/2 cup grated Romano
Then put over pasta and top each serving with shredded Parmesan

Saturday, October 13, 2012


My husband made BLTs for lunch: bacon purchased at a local farmer, tomato given to us from someone's garden, lettuce and spinach on a bagel (mine was everything) that my mom brought from Dunkin Donuts. Of course, I had horseradish instead of mayonnaise.

Served with a side of sweet potato chips from Aldi.

Apple Butter, part one

I have wanted to make my own apple butter for a long time. My daughter loves the stuff. I occasionally like it. My husband is not real fond of it. So if I buy it, it often goes moldy.

We have awesome apple orchards locally so the idea of canning our own apple butter makes sense.

We can preserve the butter in smaller jars that won't spoil before we use it.

I found a recipe online using the crock pot, from Simply Canning, a canner I also follow on Facebook:

My Better Homes and Gardens canning book also has a standard on the stove recipe, but that one requires lots of liquid. The crock pot version has no liquid.

We overfilled the crock pot with chunks of fresh apples. 6 pounds seems to be the estimate provided on the recipes. I added a few splashes of local apple cider, a few splashes lemon juice, some local raw honey (about 1/4 cup) and spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves and just a pinch of ginger.

The Simply Canning web site says to cook on high one hour, stirring, and leave on low overnight. By morning you should be able to whisk instead of stir.

We've almost done loading the crock pot.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fish low-dairy pizza

I apologize in advance for not having a real recipe for this but I didn't know this was going to be the best pizza ever.

Before I went to get my daughter from her after school activity, I made one of my quick pizza crusts:
- 1.75 cups unbleached white flour
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup warm water
- 1+ tablespoon local raw honey
- 2 tablespoons yeast
- parsley
- oregano
- garlic pepper

Mix and set in warm place to rise for one hour.

When preparing the pizza, preheat oven to 450.

Take imitation crab meat and sauté in cast iron skillet in equal parts lemon juice and butter until slightly golden.

Remove to bowl.

In skillet, combine about 2 tablespoons flour with 2 tablespoons butter. When bubbly add about 1/2 cup soy milk and 1/2 cup skim milk. Set aside after warm and bubbly.

Press pizza into large jelly pan/cookie sheet.

Place fish on the pizza. Sprinkle with lots of fresh spinach and peas. Drizzle with the cream sauce.

Sprinkle about 3/4 cup shredded Italian cheeses and 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan across spinach.

Drizzle about 2 tablespoons ranch dressing across the pizza.

Bake 15-20 minutes.

Monday, October 8, 2012


Today we ran out to Kline Farm to get honey, eggs & yogurt. While I was there I also grabbed some bacon and a pound of local grass fed beef that came from a farmer with whom I used to serve on the Penn State Cooperative extension board in my county.

Then I also grabbed a gallon of apple cider from a local orchard. So we've been drinking a lot of hot apple cider with fresh ground cinnamon.

For dinner, there was a family effort to make burgers from the beef, which we served on tortillas with fresh spinach, garden tomato, and our own lemon pickles. Sides included homemade French fries and roasted cauliflower.

Man, am I stuffed.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Crock pot stuffed peppers

A friend brought groceries so I prepped stuffed peppers. In the crockpot.

I filled the crock pot with pungent vegetable stock and diluted with water.

Placed three very large red peppers standing up inside with a whole in the bottom to let the stock in.

Made rice. Chicken flavored Uncle Bens and prepped turkey sausage. Diced and mixed it into the rice.

Stuffed the peppers and added enough potatoes to keep it from falling over.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Super Blueberry Crumb muffins

Very loosely based on a Betty Crocker recipe. Use margarine instead of butter for vegan muffins.

2.5 cups blueberries
1 cup almond milk
1 cup soy milk
1/2 cup canola oil
About 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1.5 cups unbleached white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1.5 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup Bob's multigrain cereal with flax
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 pinches salt

*crumb topping if desired
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Bob's multigrain cereal
1/4 cup butter (firm)
Hearty amounts of cinnamon
Mix with fingers until crumbly

Mix wet ingredients. Add dry ingredients, folding into the batter slowly. Add baking powder and salt almost last. Fold in fruit. Plop into muffin tins, top with crumbs.

Bake 20-25 minutes at 400.

Mine deflated and I didn't watch them properly because I had an important conference call. But these ugly things... The whole two dozen... Could be the tastiest muffins I ever made