December 29, 2009

Oatmeal Pancake

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These are simple, basic, and can be topped with anything you want. Try bananas, berries, or whatever fruit/greek yogurt combo you want. These are basically the Pumpkin Oatmeal Pancakes without the pumpkin. They don't look as beautiful, but they're full of healthy goodness. Enjoy!

December 21, 2009

Pumpkin Oatmeal Pancakes

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We used up the very very last of the pumpkin with this - finally! Pumpkin Oatmeal Pancakes, mmm mmm. Despite how it might look in the picture (forgive my horrible photography skills), they turn out very well. They're moist, light, and flavorful. And they pack a powerful punch of fiber and sweet, sweet beta carotene.

We learned of the original recipe from Kath Eats and proceeded to tweak it slightly to our tastes. For one, we increased everything to use 1/3 cup of pumpkin instead of the 1/4 cup, and balanced out the rest of it as well, using 1 whole egg instead of just egg whites. If you've made both kinds, what did you think? Enjoy!

December 19, 2009

Vegetable Soup from Scratch (without stock)

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Yes, you can make your own vegetable soup from scratch without using stock or bouillon or whatnot. It's actually pretty simple. I would've just chucked everything into a pot and started boiling, but it turns out that you can get a lot more flavor out of the veggies if you saute them first. I think poaching would work fine too if you'd rather do that.

There are a lot of different options to work with here, which is the beauty of vegetable soup. Throw in leftover veggies, throw in whatever spices you want, add salt, and ba-da-bing! You're done. Enjoy.

Vegetable Soup from Scratch (without stock)

Total time: 1 hour
Yield: Serves 2
  • 2-4 potatoes
  • 1-3 carrots
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1/2 bunch asparagus
  • 1/2-1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed and chopped
  • water
  • salt and various seasonings to taste
  • examples: thyme, oregano, parsley, cumin, cajun, turmeric (will turn soup yellow), garlic powder, crushed red pepper, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, etc, etc, etc
  • optional: wine (add a splash or two right before adding the water so the wine can loosen the flavor that's stuck to the bottom of the pot)
  • optional: 1/2 cup rice
Cooking Directions
  1. In a large pot, grill/saute/poach onion, potatoes, and carrots - make sure the potatoes and carrots are cut small enough to cook quickly - until almost completely cooked.
  2. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes before adding enough water to reach half way to 3/4 the top of the pot.
  3. Bring to a boil on high heat, then set to medium to low. Add salt and seasonings of your choice.
  4. When veggies are done, add any remaining veggies and test the broth. Does it need more salt or cumin or?
  5. When all veggies are done, test again, make final adjustments, turn heat off, and let sit for a minute.
  6. Serve as is or over rice if you wish.
Voila! As leftovers, the veggies soak up even more of the spices, creating an even more flavorful dish.

Note: If it turns out you added way way too much salt, cutting a raw potato in half and tossing it in the pot will soak up a decent amount of sodium. Give it about 10-15 minutes to accomplish its job.

December 17, 2009

Healthy Popcorn

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Would you like a snack that's easy, low-calorie, fun, and healthy? Then you want homemade popcorn!

Do NOT do microwave popcorn anymore. For one, doing it on the stove is so simple and healthier for your wallet too. But also there's bad stuff in that microwave bag. Really bad stuff (number 3 on this list).

As you can see, our popcorn went a little overboard. Whoops. Next time we'll use only 1/2 cup instead of a whole cup. What's great is the types of experimenting you can do as well. But more on that after the recipe.

December 15, 2009

Eggnog Cookies

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This is kind of a cheat (sort of). Sure, they'll taste like eggnog, but it's because there's eggnog in it. You could try making it taste like eggnog by just using rum and nutmeg flavors - though the proportions will be off. Eggnog is really easy to make too. It just takes some time. Ask me if you want to learn how.

If you're in a pinch, buy a store brand eggnog (though it will have lots of added sugar). These cookies come out kind of hard, so forewarn anyone who tries them that has sensitive teeth. The cool part is they look amazing and taste just like eggnog! And you get to use rum in the glaze. Yay! Enjoy.

December 12, 2009

Crock Pot Turkey Chili

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At last we have a crock pot recipe! My family made this, oh, a few months ago now, and sadly, there are no pristine pictures of the fine goop that came out. It was hearty, healthy, and heavenly. I mean it doesn't get much easier than a crock pot, crockery, or slow cooker, right?

The beauty of this recipe is that it's very flexible. Add a ton of beans...or not. Mix it up! I just want to make one warning though - the "jar of tomatoes" should really be a jar and not a can. Canned tomatoes contain bisphenol-A, "a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity." Here you can find a few other common foods to avoid and why. Just an fyi for all of us. Enjoy!

Crock Pot Turkey Chili

Total time: 5-8 hours
Yield: Serves 4
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 onion
  • 2-3 kinds of beans
  • 1 large jar (28-32 oz) crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 2-3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt/pepper
  • 1 medium jar (12-14 oz) tomato paste/sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • green chilies
  • 1-2 cups corn
  • 1/2 teaspoon various other seasonings, optional
Cooking Directions
  1. Chop onion and cook with ground turkey in pan with olive oil.
  2. Drain fat from turkey and onion and add to crock pot.
  3. Mix everything else in crock pot (optional to mash some of the beans to make thicker chili).
  4. Cook on low for 5-8 hours (crock pots vary).

December 10, 2009

Pumpkin Waffles and Spanish Tortilla de Patata

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We have some Pumpkin Waffles and Spanish Tortilla de Patatas cooking up today. The pumpkin waffles are the leftover pumpkin from everything else we've been using and waffle mix. Inspired by our recent trip to Spain, the tortilla de patatas is something akin to an omelette with potatoes, except the ingredients are all mixed together instead of any kind of filling. It's a new and scrumptious way to enjoy eggs and potatoes!

December 07, 2009

Disneyland's Blue Bayou Gumbo


So here's the deal. I got Disney's Blue Bayou Gumbo recipe. Yeah that Disney, and yeah that Blue Bayou. Whoa, right? Long story short, I have it. It tweaked it down to the correct proportions because they make it in HUGE batches all day. I had to cut it down by 8 or 12.

This is superb gumbo. The best I've ever had at a restaurant, at least. I know you're thinking "Seriously? Disneyland?" but yes! It's really just that good. And now you'll know how to cook it yourself. There are two styles of cooking it, so experiment with both. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

Disneyland's Blue Bayou Gumbo

Yield: A lot!

  • 2 ounces roux (¼ cup room-temperature butter and ¼ cup flour - see note and instructions)
  • 1 cup (2 medium) yellow onions, cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 1 cup celery, cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 2 quarts (8 cups) chicken stock
  • 1 cup (12 ounces) cut okra
  • 12 ounces meat (chicken and/or andouille sausage and/or shrimp)
  • 1 6-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper AND 1/3 teaspoon cayenne pepper (OR 1 tsp. cajun seasoning replaces both)
  • 1 teaspoon gumbo file
  • 1 tablespoon salt, divided use (OR to taste)
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • optional: 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
  • optional: ¾ pound green bell pepper, cored, seeded, cut into ¼-inch dice
  • optional: 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • optional: 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
Cooking Directions
    Two ways to cook:

    Directions 1 (the Disney way - how un-imagineering, if you ask me)

  1. Place room-temperature butter in a small sauté pan or saucepan over very low heat. Slowly whisk in flour until very smooth. Continue whisking until the roux is the color you desire (blond to brown).
  2. Add the onion and celery. Cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the stock and make sure the roux is dissolved completely. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add remaining ingredients (except file and salt) and return to a simmer. Adjust salt to taste.
  5. If you are adding seafood, add it at the very end and make sure it is completely cooked.
  6. Add file. Mix well and serve over rice.

  7. Directions 2 (the non-Disney way)

  8. Place room-temperature butter in a small saute pan or saucepan over very low heat. Slowly whisk in flour until very smooth. Continue whisking until the roux is the color you desire (blond to brown).
  9. In a large pot, heat half of the oil over medium heat, add half of the okra and saute until light brown and slimy looking. Add onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic and andouille. Saute until the vegetables become translucent. Be careful not to burn.
  10. Add the diced tomatoes, white pepper/cayenne pepper or Cajun seasoning and ¾ tablespoon of the salt. Mix well.
  11. Add roux to the chicken stock. Whisk until the roux is completely dissolved. Mix chicken stock/roux mixture with vegetables. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer 10 minutes. Stir frequently so the gumbo doesn't burn into the bottom of the pot.
  12. In a saute pan, heat remaining oil over medium heat. Add chicken and remaining salt. Saute until the chicken is cooked through and slightly brown. Add the rest of the okra and cook until hot.
  13. Drain well, add to the gumbo. Add/cook seafood. Add the file. Mix well. To serve, divide rice evenly among bowls (a couple of tablespoons per bowl) and ladle gumbo over rice. Garnish with parsley.
And there you have it. If you liked this, I'm sure you'll like all the other things we have in store here. Feel free to come back often and subscribe to the updates on our culinary journey of discovery.

December 05, 2009

BBQ Pork Buns

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I love pork buns. If you've never had them, you're in luck! You can easily (so easily) make them yourself at home. It just might be the easiest bread you'll ever make. There's no need to follow the directions on the filling either. Just toss in whatever you feel like. I suggest savory goodness, but sweet (e.g. red beans, cream, etc.) will work too if that's your thing. A little goes a long way. Enjoy!

December 03, 2009

Steamed Herbed Potatoes

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So I found these over at the other day. If you've got a steamer, I think that's the way to go when cooking potatoes (or most anything really since it retains more of the nutrients). But for potatoes it's super fast too. I detest waiting around for potatoes to cook through but not anymore! Yatta!

Feel free to leave out the lemon juice and use a different kind of potato, if desired. Enjoy.

December 02, 2009

Puffy Pumpkin Pancakes

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These are uber easy to make. With the mix it's just a matter of balancing the water and pumpkin so it's moist enough. The darker one has the cinnamon added, which gave it an extra little kick. Quite nice, actually. Simple, easy, and delicious. What more could you want? Enjoy!