Thursday, December 01, 2016

Chimichurri Sauce: Green Goodness

This is THE sauce that goes amazing on everything savory. I drown my steak in it. Pork, chicken, tortilla chips, toast... you get the idea. I’m obsessed and you will be too!




Ingredients
makes about 2 cups
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced or minced
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 Fresno chile or red jalapeƱo, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Preparation

Combine all ingredients, except jalapeno, in food processor and blend until desired consistency. I like mine well blended. Add jalapeno and stir well. Refrigerate for an hour. Then you can season with salt to your liking and begin pouring it over everything like I do. If you want to use it as a marinade, remove 1/2 cup chimichurri to a small bowl, and reserve as sauce. Put meat in a glass, stainless-steel, or ceramic dish. Toss with remaining marinade. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.Remove meat from marinade, pat dry, and grill.Spoon reserved sauce over grilled meat. Prepare to have an addiction to this green goodness! Enjoy!


Make Ahead Quick Oatmeal

I'm trying to move my family to healthier eating slowly. Something I hadn't tackled yet, was cereal. You know. That staple of Saturday mornings and cartoons. Frosted, marshmallows, fruity, chocolatey, etc. There's a lot of bad junk kids don't need in them. From dyes, to heavy metals to outright poisons. We wonder why kids struggle with ADD, hyperactivity, learning disorders and such. A lot of it is diet related. Of course, the FDA is fine with all this because they're in cahoots with Big Pharma that makes the drugs to help "manage" any adverse affects caused by ingesting this garbage. Nice little partnership they have huh? Ask yourself why these various companies need lobbyists in Washington and start researching. You'll be appalled. I'll include links to valuable info at the end of this post.

So! With that little rant aside, lets dive into this great alternative that my kids just gobble right up. There are many variations so it's easy to make any flavor your kids desire. I like having a bunch made up with instructions on a larger bag that I put individual serving bags into so all they have to do is add water and maybe some additional toppings once cooked. This is great for when I have to be gone for a medical trip and can't be home, so mornings are easier on dad. The older two are also getting more self sufficient and this is an easy breakfast for them to make for themselves and even the younger two if need be. Without further ado, lets dive into the recipe!

Make Ahead Quick Oatmeal
Ingredients: (makes 3-4 servings)
  • 1 cup rolled oats (not quick!)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (Himalayan is my choice!)
Optional additions
  • 1-2 Tbsps cocoa powder
  • chopped almonds (maybe honey roasted?)
  • dried cranberries, raisins, cherries
  • freeze dried or dehydrated strawberries or bananas?
  • peanut butter (or any other nut butter): creamy, chunky, powder
In a food processor or blender, add oatmeal, cinnamon and salt. Blend until desired consistency. I like a little bite to mine, so I don't blend it down to powder. For little ones just starting on solids, fully blending to flour is probably recommended. Blending partially helps it cook quicker and gives a nice mouth feel.

If making right away, you can then add this and the water to a pot and boil for about 8-10min until desired consistency. Then spoon into bowls and add desired toppings. My kids like it pretty basic. So a little pat of butter, spoonful of brown sugar and sometimes a splash of milk.

To make ahead, you can add the blended ingredients to a ziplock snack sized bag and label "cinnamon". OR you can add more ingredients to make it even more adventurous. Here are some of my mini recipes. Following the above directions (minus cooking) you can make up baggies of these and all you have to do then is add 2 C. water and cook!

Chocolate Oatmeal
to the basic oatmeal recipe above, add:
  • 1-2 Tbsps cocoa powder (adjust to how chocolately you want it)
I add to the blender to make sure it is well distributed, or you can just toss it on top in the bag.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal
to the basic oatmeal recipe above, add:
  • 1-2 Tbsps cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter powder (or add instructions to add nut butter after cooking)
Almond Cranberry Oatmeal
to the basic oatmeal recipe above, add:
  • 1-2 Tbsps chopped or slivered almonds (I use honey roasted!)
  • 2 Tbsps dried cranberries
Add these ingredients to the bag with blended oatmeal. After cooking, you can add a Tbsp or two of white chocolate chips for a fun festive breakfast (Christmas?).

Strawberries and Cream Oatmeal
  • 2 Tbsps freeze dried or oven dried strawberries (diced up is best)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • cream (alternative creams like coconut are also great!)
Add the strawberries to the bag with the blended oatmeal. After cooking, add to your desired flavor level of cream. YUM!

The sky is the limit on all the flavor combos you can create really. What do you think would be a great addition to the recipe? What would you add to the dry mix and what would you add as a topping after cooking? Let me know!

Here are the links to why today's store bought cereals should be banned from our pantries and breakfast tables:
10 Toxic Kid Cereals To Avoid 

Enriched Cereals Full of Metal Filings 
What Is Trisodium Phosphate? Why Is It In Cereal?! 

Monday, November 28, 2016

A New Species of 8 Legged Freaks



I recently saw a post on Facebook, informing folks of a new species of arachnid. I immediately thought of a comic strip wherein a common theme occurred during fall. One character would work feverishly to rake up all the leaves in the yard, while the mischievous one would wait until it was all finished, and jump into the middle, scattering the leaves everywhere. So, with no copyright infringement intended, I had to create the scene where knowledge of this eight legged nightmare was revealed and their reaction to this knowledge. Here is my humble submission...



Saturday, March 26, 2016

Buttery Hamantaschen

This recipe comes from blogger Tori Avey who has an amazing blog. I highly suggest you visit and see more wonderful recipes and beautiful pictures!
click here for Tory's Kitchen


Hamantaschen Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1-5 tsp water (if needed)

You will also need

  • Large mixing bowl, electric mixer, sifter, pastry scraper, rolling pin, 3-inch cookie cutter or drinking glass with 3-inch diameter rim
Servings: About 35 hamantaschen
Kosher Key: Dairy

Instructions

  1. Slice room temperature butter into small chunks and place in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add sugar to the bowl. Use an electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar together for a few minutes till light and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg, vanilla, and orange zest to the bowl. Beat again till creamy and well mixed.
  4. Sift flour and salt into the bowl.
  5. Mix with the electric mixer on low speed till a crumbly dough forms.
  6. Begin to knead dough with hands till a smooth dough ball forms. Try not to overwork the dough, only knead till the dough is the right consistency. If the crumbles are too dry to form a smooth dough, add water slowly, 1 teaspoon at a time, using your hands to knead the liquid into the dough. Knead and add liquid until the dough is smooth and slightly tacky to the touch (not sticky), with a consistency that is right for rolling out. It can easily go from the right consistency to too wet/sticky, so add water very slowly. If the dough seems too wet, knead in a little flour till it reaches the right texture.
  7. Form the dough into a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 3 hours to overnight.
  8. Before you begin to assemble the hamantaschen, choose and make your filling and have it on hand to work with. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly flour a smooth, clean surface. Unwrap the dough disk and place it on the floured surface. The dough will be very firm after chilling.
  9. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thick. At the beginning, it will be tough to roll out-- you may need to pound it a bit. A heavy rolling pin works best. As you roll, cracks may form on the edges of the dough. Repair any large cracks with your fingers and continue rolling.
  10. When the dough reaches 1/4 inch thickness, scrape the dough up with a pastry scraper, lightly reflour the surface, and flip the dough over. Continue rolling the dough out very thin (less than 1/8 of an inch thick). The thinner you roll the dough, the more delicate and crisp the cookies will turn out-- just make sure that the dough is still thick enough to hold the filling and its shape! If you prefer a thicker, more doughy texture to your cookies (less delicate), keep the dough closer to 1/4 inch thick. Lightly flour the rolling pin occasionally to prevent sticking.
  11. Use a 3-inch cookie cutter (not smaller) or the 3-inch rim of a glass to cut circles out of the dough, cutting as many as you can from the dough.
  12. Gather the scraps and roll them out again. Cut circles. Repeat process again if needed until you've cut as many circles as you can from the dough. You should end up with around 35 circles (unless you've kept your dough on the thicker side, which will result in less cookies).
  13. Place a teaspoon of filling (whichever filling you choose) into the center of each circle.
  • Do not use more than a teaspoon of filling, or you run the risk of your hamantaschen opening and filling spilling out during baking. Cover unused circles with a lightly damp towel to prevent them from drying out while you are filling.
  • Assemble the hamantaschen in three steps. First, grasp the left side of the circle and fold it towards the center to make a flap that covers the left third of the circle.


  • Grasp the right side of the circle and fold it towards the center, overlapping the upper part of the left side flap to create a triangular tip at the top of the circle. A small triangle of filling should still be visible in the center.
  • Grasp the bottom part of the circle and fold it upward to create a third flap and complete the triangle. When you fold this flap up, be sure to tuck the left side of this new flap underneath the left side of the triangle, while letting the right side of this new flap overlap the right side
    of the triangle. This way, each side of your triangle has a corner that folds over and a corner that folds under-- it creates a "pinwheel" effect. This method if folding is not only pretty-- it will help to keep the cookies from opening while they bake.
  • Pinch each corner of the triangle gently but firmly to secure the shape. If any cracks have formed at the places where the dough is creased, use the warmth of your fingers to smooth them out.
  • Repeat this process for the remaining circles.
  • When all of your hamantaschen have been filled, place them on a lightly greased baking sheet, evenly spaced.


  • Place them in the oven and let them bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, till the cookies are cooked through and lightly golden.
  • Cool the cookies on a wire rack. Store them in a tightly sealed plastic bag or Tupperware.

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