Monday, December 23, 2013

Quick Pickles: Apples and Onions with Chinese Five Spice and Caraway

Note: I made this one up on the fly, so all measurements are approximate.  It's not a perfect recipe, but it did the trick.
  • 2-3 C water
  • 1/4 C apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 T white wine vinegar
  • 2 T agave, sugar, or other sweetener
  • 1-2 t Chinese Five Spice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-2 t caraway seeds
  • 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced across the grain into half rounds
  • 2 medium apples, such as Junami, Honeycrisp, Gala, Fuji, etc., thinly sliced (with core removed)
In saucepan, bring water, vinegars, and seasonings to boil.  Let boil for 5-10 minutes.  Pour liquid over onions and apples.  Let sit for 10-20 minutes.  Drain liquid, remove bay leaf, and serve alongside something that needs a hit of fresh, pickly, spiced, biting sweetness, like Spiced and Roasted Chickpeas and Cauliflower.

Spiced and Roasted Chickpeas and Cauliflower

Adapted from

Ingredients (makes about 4 large servings)
  • 1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 2 cans (15 oz.) chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and dried well
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 6 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. garam masala (or, if you don't have any garam masala, as I didn't, use a mix of mostly cumin, some cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, and a little bit of nutmeg and cloves)
  • 1 tbsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In bowl, combine cauliflower florets, chickpeas, spices, salt, and about half of the olive oil.  In large sheet tray, pour the rest of the olive oil (about 3 T).  Put oiled sheet into preheated oven for 2-3 minutes, just until the oil is hot but before it smokes or changes color.  Once oil in sheet tray sizzles when a drop of water is added, add the chickpea/cauliflower mixture.  Spread it around, so you have one layer (or as close to it as possible).  Put in oven, stirring occasionally (but not more than once every 5 minutes), until chickpeas are roasted and largely crispy on the outside, about 30 minutes.

Once chickpeas and cauliflower are roasted, remove from oven.  Mix with fresh lemon juice.  Salt to taste.  Add fresh parsley, if you have it.  Or fresh mint might be delicious.  Serve with cooked quinoa, roasted squash, lettuce, or other side.  Add a dollop of plain Greek yogurt for creaminess, chunks of avocado, and/or pomegranate seeds.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

It was Halloween!

For the first time since fourth grade (when I was one of a pair of dice), this year I made an effort to have a Halloween costume. Like so many other young moms, I ordered my family into coordinating costumes that I had procured largely without their input. And, like so many other young families, we were adorable.

Meet Noah and crew!  Notice the pair of giraffes (baby Nate and stuffed friend), the pair of elephants (baby Reed and stuffed friend), and the dove (Sarah, whose costume well may be repurposed in future years as other kinds of poultry).  Also notice the ark in our trunk--a wooden bowl we floated in a small tub.  What you cannot see here is the candy floating in the ark, for withdrawal by ward members at our ward trunk or treat.  (Which, for the record, we entirely missed.)

Consider too the rain drops on the pavement, caused maybe not so much by God's doing as by the water in the tub (carrying the ark) sloshing around our arkscape as we drove madly from our home to our ward building so as not to miss the trunk or treat.

So much going on here.  Some detail shots.

This was Jed earlier in the morning, on his way to work.  (To distinguish him from Moses, we pinned a small dove on his shoulder.  Turns out, the finer distinctions in fashion between the Mosaic and the Noic eras have not been preserved in common culture.)

Note: Maybe my favorite part of Jed's costume was the small spray bottle of water he brought to spritz people with at random.  He didn't really ever do that (it would have been a bold societal move), but oh Noah, it made me laugh.

 Sarah's "dove" feet, looking so much like Big Bird's talons.

We planted Skittles at the base of the rainbow.

And, maybe my fravrit part of Halloween--Reed's cuteness meeting Reed's excitement.

For a while--and I mean a while--Reed knelt in the very center of the gym, turning circles on his knees and yelling, "Go, go, go!"  I caught him on film at the end of his tour.  Even still, you can tell that, as Jed just said, reviewing these videos, "That is one happy elephant."

Fourth grade had nothing on this.  Best Halloween of my life.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Honey Lemon Meringue Pie

This was seriously delicious.  I made it during dinner prep on a Monday and then served it for dessert after Family Home Evening.  It was easy, my meringue looked beautiful, and it is grain-free and sweetened entirely with honey.  Go forth.

Honey Lemon Meringue Pie

Prepare coconut crust, lemon curd filling, and honey meringue, in that order.  Then assemble.  Then eat.

Coconut Crust
4 tablespoons butter or coconut oil or some combination of the two
2 cups dried, unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons honey
Rind of 1/2 of a lemon

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor or fancy blender and blend until well combined. Press into 1 large or 4 small pie tarts. Bake in the oven for approx 10 minutes.

Lemon Curd Filling
.5 C freshly squeezed lemon juice
.25 C honey
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
.55 C unsalted butter (just more than one stick)

Create a double boiler by filling a medium saucepan with water to the halfway point and placing a metal mixing bowl on top. (Make sure it can't fall in.) Whisk the eggs, lemon juice, and honey well to combine before stirring with a wooden spoon over the simmering water. Once the curd has thickened, continue to stir for a further 5 minutes. At this stage the curd should be thick and velvety. Remove the curd from the heat and quickly whisk the cold butter into the curd until it's completely dissolved. (See note.)

Honey Meringue
5 egg whites
3 tablespoons of honey

Pour 2 inches of water in a saucepan and place a metal bowl on top. (Ensure bowl isn't touching the water.) Whisk the egg whites and honey over medium heat for 5 minutes or until warm to touch. Remove from heat and beat with an electric mixer or whisk until it becomes thick and holds its shape.
Assembling Pie
Turn oven up to 350 degrees. Place lemon curd into cooked coconut crust and top with honey meringue. Place in oven for 5-10 minutes or until it is a light golden brown on top. Refrigerate the pie for a couple of hours to thicken the lemon curd, or if you don't mind the curd being runny, it can be served straight away.

Note: You may have extra lemon curd depending on the size of your pie dish. If you have extra curd, you can halve the recipe in future or the curd can be stored in the fridge for 3 days and used to top other desserts, pancakes, etc.

Adapted from

Thursday, May 09, 2013

No-Sugar Barbecue Sauce

I made this, more or less (no smoke, for instance), tonight for dinner.  It was pretty good.  Not amazing (but again--I was doing a total straight-from-my-pantry variation) but even that was pretty good and totally workable.  And maybe much better than the versions I've been making with ketchup (which were too sweet and too vinegary and too high fructose corn syrupy).

Makes 4 cups of sauce
1 15 oz can of organic tomato sauce
1 12 oz can of organic tomato paste
1 cup of red wine vinegar
1 cup of unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup of pure raw honey
1/3 cup of molassas
2 T butter or ghee
2 T all natural liquid hickory smoke* (this is the best all natural one that contains no yucky ingredients: CedarHouse Ultra-Premium Liquid Smoke: All Natural Hickory Liquid Smoke – 4 oz)
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
heaping ¼ tsp cinnamon
heaping ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients together in a large pot over medium low heat. Let simmer for 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip

Chocolate chip cookie dough dip made with no sugar and white beans, and you know what?  It was pretty tasty.  Both Jed and our visitor (male) ate their all of their servings tonight (with apples to dip in it).  I would make it again.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Bites

I made these tonight.  They weren't amazing, but they were tasty.  And sometimes, I cannot get enough of the Buffalo Chicken flavor.  This helps.

3 cups shredded cooked chicken
1/3 cup favorite hot sauce
3 1/2 oz. fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (you won't use all of it)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups Corn Flakes cereal, crushed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large bowl, combine shredded chicken, hot sauce and cream cheese; mix well.  Stir in cheddar cheese and green onions and set aside.  Using 3 separate bowls, set out the flour, eggs and crushed cereal.  Scoop out chicken mixture and make 1 1/2-inch balls, first rolling in flour, then dipping in egg and last coating with cereal.  Repeat this until you have about 30 balls.
Place balls on sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden.  Serve with blue cheese or ranch dressing and enjoy.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Sarah Allen's Pumpkin Bars

These are the best.  I made them for Relief Society two Sundays ago.  They were such a hit.  Make these.  They are delicious.

2 C flour
2 C sugar (or about 1 3/4 C honey)
2 t baking powder
1 t cloves
1 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1/2 t salt
1 C oil
2 C pumpkin
4 eggs

Combine.  Mix low until moist.  Grease/flour pan (I use one of those cookie sheets with the inch-high lip) and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

1 pkg (8 oz) Neufchatel (or cream cheese)
1 t vanilla
2 C powdered sugar (or honey to taste)
1/3 C margarine (or other butter spread)

Spread frosting gently onto cooled bars.

Greasy Cake

Another one from my college recipe cookbook.  I only had this cake once.  A girl in my home ec ("Family Meal Management") class made it, and I remember thinking, "This is UNBELIEVABLE."  At the time, I figured I would never be able to afford the number of extracts needed to make the cake.  But you know what?  Maybe now I can.  Here's to seeing how it tastes to me ten years after.

2 cubes butter, softened
1/2 C shortening
3 C sugar
5 eggs, beaten
1/2 t baking powder
3 C flour
1 C milk
1 t vanilla, butter, lemon, rum, and coconut extract

1 C sugar
1/2 C water
1 t vanilla, butter, lemon, rum, and coconut extract

Cream butter, shortening, and sugar till fluffy.  Add beaten eggs.  Combine baking powder and flour.  Add to cream mixture alternately with milk.  Mix in flavorings.  Put in a well-greased and floured bundt pan.  Bake at 350.

Make glaze by adding sugar, water, and flavoring.  Bring to a boil.  Turk cake over on to plate.  Drizzle glaze on top of cake until gone.  Top with whipped cream and fruit of choice.  Serve.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Lemon Muffins

These days, the number one dinner starch I crave is lemon muffins.  Of almost any kind.  I made these once before, and I'm trying them again tonight (but with honey instead of sugar).  They were kind of biscuity, which I liked, and I left out the blueberries and upped the lemon/zest content (it's the lemon I'm after). 

If you have lemon muffin recipe recommendations, please send them along.  I'm in need.

  • 3 cups flour (mix of white and wheat works as well)
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (or greek yogurt)
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • zest of 2 Meyer lemons (or regular lemons)
  • 1/4 cup juice from Meyer lemons (or more!)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (can omit if necessary)
Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a muffin pan or line with muffin cups.  In a large bowl combine the sugar, sour cream, yogurt, egg, oil, and lemon juice.  Add the dry ingredients and gently stir till just combined.  Fold in the zest and the blueberries.  Scoop into a standard muffin pan, about 1/4 cup of batter per muffin cup.  Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.  Devour warm with a little butter or at room temperature.

Lemon Salad Dressing

Making it today for the second time.  The first time it was really garlicky, lemony delicious.  Here's hoping we can repeat.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (can use hazelnut or walnut oil)
2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice*
1/2 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
3/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped (I used dried, but reduced the amount)
1 clove garlic, minced (more, if you like, of course)
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Pinch coarsely-ground black pepper