Sunday, September 30, 2012

Freezable Slow Cooker Goulash

This is another one of the meals I am making with the intent of eating home cooked food on busy weeknights.  Just like the Curry Chicken, you freeze the raw ingredients, dump them in the slow cooker the day you want to eat it, and it is ready when you get home - well almost.  In this case, you do have to stir in some sour cream and cook the noodles, but you should be able to have dinner on the table about 30 minutes after you get home, with very little work involved.  Also like the chicken recipe, this one called for baby carrots, which I used (I made and froze them on the same day).  Next time, I will just cut up regular carrots because the baby carrots are just not as good after being frozen.  You could also dump in a bag of the baby carrots (unfrozen) with the other ingredients and that might work better.  This is recipe is my favorite of the freezable slow cooker recipes I have tried thus far, and I think you will really like it.  Plus it is super easy!

I got this recipe from Mama Baby Love and only changed it just a little bit.  I reduced the amount of onion by a lot because I am not a big onion fan, and I added additional sour cream into the goulash instead of just using it as a garnish.  Hope you enjoy!

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Foodie Friends Friday #14

It is time again for Foodie Friends Friday!  Thank you all so much for your great recipes last week!  This week our sponsor is Mustard Seed Dreams!  Three randomly pick winners will win a canister label set.

Here are last week's winners:

Fan Drawing: (each will receive a coupon for Free Daiya Cheese)
1.  Jessica
2 . Tara, Let's Eat Beef Stew

Blogger Drawing: (each will receive a coupon for Free Daiya Cheese)
1 .High Heels and Grills Tin Foil Dinners
2 .A lil' Country Sugar Roasted Balsamic Zucchini
3 .Life with Lovebugs Vegetarian Chili
4 .A Girl's Reflection Italian Wedding Cookies


Top 3 Voted: 
(don't forget to grab your "brag button" on our Get Our Buttons Page)

#1 Marlys This and That - Baked Rice with Eggplant and Zucchini

#2 Family Food Finds - Vegan Crunch Wrap

#3  Pint Sized Baker - Ginger and Lime Sandwich Cookies

Top 3 Most Clicked
(don't forget to grab your "brag button" on our Get Our Buttons Page)

#2 Marlys This and That - Baked Rice with Eggplant and Zucchini

#3 Busy Vegetarian Mom - Vegan Philly Cheese Steak

This week's hosts are:

Robyn at Robyn's View
Lindsey at Family Food Finds
Cynthia at Feeding Big
Jodie at Binomial Baker
R Dawn at Spatulas on Parade
Angie at A lil Country Sugar A 'Lil Country Sugar
Erika at Chef Picky Kid Chef Picky Kid

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tomato Bisque

Fall means soup time and tomato bisque is one of my husband's favorites.  In fact, it is such a favorite of his that he is the one that makes it instead of me.  He has tried many recipes, but this seems to be the favorite, at least for now.  I love it when he makes it because it is the ultimate comfort food - soup, and I didn't even have to make it!

He got this recipe from Food and Wine and just slightly adapted it.

Tomato Bisque

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
2 14 1/2-ounce cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Optional garnish:  fresh basil, chopped

Melt two tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat Add the onion, carrot, celery and cook just until vegetables are beginning to brown.  Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant.  Sprinkle flour over vegetables and cook stirring constantly for one minute Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, and tomato paste stirring to combine.  Bring to a boil. Cover and cook the soup over medium heat, until the vegetables are tender (about 15 minutes). Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth.  If you don't have an immersion blender, puree until smooth in batches using a blender or food processor.  Stir in the cream and heat just until heated through.  Stir in remaining butter and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve hot.  Garnish if desired. 

Source:  Food and Wine

This recipe was shared on Foodie Friends Friday.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Peaches and Cream Cake for My Mother's Birthday

I made this cake for my mom for her birthday.  It is a vanilla cake using the same recipe I used for these vanilla bean cupcakes.  I know she loves peaches, so I filled it with homemade peach filling.  And, then I frosted it with a quick butter cream that she always says tastes like ice cream.

I originally got the recipe for this cake off from  Annie's Eats , where it was used as cupcakes.  I liked it so much as cupcakes that I decided to turn it into cake.  The filling is one I came up with on my own based on numerous fruit filling recipes I have used and seen over the year.  I pureed the peaches and just kept adding sugar, a little at a time, until I got the right sweetness.  And then, cooked it with cornstarch to thicken it.  I think you will love it as much as I did!

Peaches and Cream Cake
yield:  12 large servings

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean
5 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups cake flour
1 1/4 cups buttermilk

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour three 8 inch cake pans (at least 2 inches deep).  I also line mine with parchement and butter and flour it as well.  Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds.  Cream together butter sugar and vanilla bean seeds with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time mixing after each addition.  Add vanilla, baking powder, and salt and mix until evenly distributed.  Add the flour alternately with the buttermilk, mixing well after each addition and beginning and ending with flour.  Evenly distribute the batter into the the three pans  Bake for about 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pans on wire racks for about 10 minutes.  Remove from pans and allow to cool completely before filling with peach filling and frosting with vanilla buttercream.  Spread filling on one layer.  Top with the second layer and spread filling on it.  Top with the third layer and frost with vanilla buttercream.  Garnish as desired.

Peach Filling

2 cups peel peaches, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch

Puree peaches in a food processor or blender.  Combine with sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until boiling, stirring constantly.  Boil about 1 minute or until thick.  The cornstarch will have given it a whitish look that will go away and become more translucent when it is cooked.  Let cook completely before filling cake.

Vanilla Buttercream

4 sticks butter, softened
8 cups confectioners' sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1/4 cup milk or water (or more if you desire a thinner icing)

Beat all ingredients together using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer.  Frost cake.  This will make too much, but I really don't like to scrimp on the frosting.

Source:  Cake adapted from Annie's Eats.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Freezable Slow Cooker Curry Chicken

My work schedule this year has changed quite a bit requiring a minimum of 45 hours in the building (and I am having a lot of trouble keeping that down to 50), and a start time that has me getting up before 5 am.  And then, there is the work I have to bring home...  So, this has resulted in me eating a lot of convenience food.  I mean I might make something for the blog or cook all weekend for the blog, but week night dinners were becoming, well, not real food.  So, I went in search of a solution and have found quite a few websites with freezable meals that have been very helpful.  Freezable meals that can be cooked in a slow cooker or crock pot have been even more helpful.  My husband does not have nearly as early a schedule as I do, so if I put together slow cooker meals and put them in the freezer, he can then take them out put them in the slow cooker, and they are ready when I get home.  And, the best part is that they are real food.  The goal is fewer chemicals.  I have absolutely no scientific evidence of this and don't even know if there is any out there, but I weigh less when I eat real food.  I have done the calorie counts on what I was eating and what I am eating now.  On paper they are very similar, some days I am even eating a good bit more, but in the two weeks since we have started this, I have lost over 3 pounds with no other changes.  Could be just a coincidence, but it is working for me right now, and that makes me happy.

I found the original version of this Curry Chicken at Mama and Baby Love, but of course, I have to change everything, so you are going to get my version.  Next time, I think I will change it even more.  I don't really like the baby carrots in it.  I have made several of these meals, and the baby carrots just are not good to me after they have been frozen, so next time I am going to cut up my own carrots.  And, yes I have read about the possible evils of baby carrots.  I might change up the other vegetables too next time, and will update this to include those changes if I do.  Don't get me wrong, they were good, just not what I am used to with Curry Chicken.  

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Foodie Friends Friday #13

Welcome back to Foodie Friends Friday!  This week we are doing something a little different.  Our sponsor, Daiya Foods, has provided coupons for their vegan cheese for our give away, and we have created vegan recipes using their cheese.  You should really try this cheese.  It tastes like dairy cheese, and even melts!  This week the coupons will not only go to bloggers, but also to readers!  Four coupons will go to randomly selected bloggers who link, and two will go to randomly selected readers.  Scroll down to the submit button to enter.  It will ask for a url, but you can leave that blank.

Bloggers, if you don't have anything vegan or vegetarian to link up, please link up anyway, BUT if you do have something vegan or vegetarian to link up, please do!

Here is a photo of the Vegan Cheddar Apple Quesadillas I made.  They were yummy!

Now for last week's winners:

Sponsor Gift Winner:
Cinnamon Rolls  from Baker Becky
#1 Voted and #1 Most Clicked:
Plantation Iced Tea from Jenmi Jenmi
#2 Voted:
#2 Most Clicked:
#3 Voted:

Here are our hosts this week:

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Cheddar Apple Quesadillas for the Daiya Vegan Challenge

This week for Foodie Friends Friday we each came up with a recipe using Daiya Vegan Cheese because they are our sponsor this.  I am not vegan and in fact love dairy, so I was a bit skeptical.  I had tried other brands of vegan cheese back when my daughter was allergic to milk, and honestly didn't like them but I have to say the  Daiya Vegan Cheese  really is different.  It really tastes like cheese, and it melts!  I really did enjoy the challenge and really did like the cheese.  

The recipe came from me wanting to do something with apples and cheese.  I had been thinking about putting the apples in a grilled cheese sandwich when I realized I still had tortillas in the refrigerator, so I decided to make quesadillas!  I added a little fresh sage from my herb garden to the apple cheddar combo, and they were perfect.  Don't forget to check out Foodie Friends Friday. This week you can win a coupon for this delicious cheese.  And, we are having reader winners too, not just blogger winners!

Vegan Cheddar Apple Quesadillas
yield:  2 quesadillas

4 corn tortillas
2 tsp. vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance.)
1 large apple of your choice, cored and thinly sliced (I used a Jona Gold.)
1 Tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
2/3 cup Daiya Vegan Cheddar Shreds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread each tortilla with 1/2 tsp. margarine.  Arrange apple slices over 2 of the tortillas.  I used a pinwheel arrangement.  Sprinkle with half the sage and top with half the cheese.  Top with with the other two tortillas.  Bake until they are hot all the way through and the cheese is melted (about 8 to 10 minutes).  Serve immediately.

This photo shows that the cheese really does melt.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

German Plum Cake (Zwetschgenkuchen)

Back when I posted the strawberry pie, my husband had really been wanting to make this plum cake.  We were out looking to see if the prune plums were in the produce department, when he realized he had not made the strawberry pie this year, and decided to do it.  I mention this because the plum cake has the same crust/cake as the strawberry pie.  I know, one is called a cake and one a pie, so how could they use the same dough?  I think the reasoning is that the plums are cooked on the cake instead of added after like the strawberries.  This is another one of his mom's recipes.  She was very adamant that you had to use prune plums.  Prune plums are the plums used to make prunes, though they don't really taste like prunes unless you dry them.  They are small dark plums that are a bit sweeter and dryer than most plums, and they are only available for a short time.  At least where we live, that is right now.
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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rosemary Muffins

I've made this recipe without the rosemary before - usually for breakfast or brunch, but this time I decided to make them for dinner and add fresh rosemary from my herb garden.  They were delicious - light and buttery with just the right touch of rosemary, almost like a biscuit.  And, they are super easy to make.  I just know you will love them.

Originally, I actually got the recipe from my mother, who got it from a friend.  But, I think it is one of those things that has been around for a while, so I did an internet search to see if I could find a source.  I found this one from Southern Living via My Recipes minus the rosemary.  But, the rosemary, really is the star here, so if you are making them for dinner, definitely add it.

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Chicken Chili Enchiladas

It has been so long since I made enchiladas and the ones I used to make had canned soup in them.  So, since I am trying not to use that, I went looking for a new recipe.  The first place I looked was on the past Foodie Friends Friday links.  That is where I found this recipe from Lois at Walking on Sunshine.  This sounded good, but my previous recipe had used chicken, and I'm not a huge ground beef fan.  Then I noticed that this was a new version of an original chicken enchilada recipe.  Perfect.  Lois found the recipe here Joyful Momma's Kitchen via Pinterest.  You should definitely check out Walking on Sunshine .  It is an awesome blog, and she even shows step by step photos of her enchiladas.

I have to tell you these are super delicious.  I changed the recipe a bit by using Pepper Jack cheese instead of regular Monterrey Jack cheese.  I also used corn tortillas instead of flour because they have less carbs, more fiber, and honestly, I just like them better.  They have a tendency to fall apart more easily though, making it a little difficult to get them out of the pan, but it is worth it to me.  So, if you like flour tortillas better or want be sure the enchiladas come out in tact, then use them.  I also doubled the recipe and froze them.  Not sure how well that will turn out, but I plan to update this when I do to let you know.

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Foodie Friends Friday #12

It is time again for Foodie Friends Friday!  Thank you for the great party last week!  I can't wait to see what everyone links up this week!  

This week one lucky winner will receive a custom made spoon ring by MissMacie.

Photo: Are you ready for the PARTY? Goes LIVE at 6pm PST TONIGHT! Up for grabs this week is a BEAUTIFUL SPOON RING Custom Made by Miss Macie (on Etsy) for 1 Lucky Winner!

Here is a recap of last week's winners.

Voted top 3:

#1 Top Voted: 

#2 Top Voted: 

#3 Top Voted:

Most clicked:
#1Most Clicked:

#2Most Clicked:

#3 Most Clicked:

Our sponsor winners were:

Now for my favorites:

Lady Behind The Curtain - Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownies

And, for the savory:

If you were one of the one's I picked, hop on over to the Foodie Friends Friday hosts page and grab your button!

This week's hosts are:

Robyn at Robyn's View
Angie at A 'Lil Country Sugar  
Lindsey at Family Food Finds
Ericka at Chef Picky Kid
Cynthia at Feeding Big
Jodie at Binomial Baker
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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My Husband's Fabulous Smoked Chicken and Chicken Wings

So Sunday, while I was pre-making meals and cooking spaghetti squash in the slow cooker, this is what my husband was doing.  This some of the best chicken I have eaten, so if you have a smoker, you should definitely try it.  

He first had the idea to smoke wings when we went apple picking a few weeks back.  We had stopped to eat, and the restaurant had smoked wings.  So, after an internet search, he adapted this recipe from Extraordinary BBQ to fit his tastes, which include a little heat, so one of his modifications included the addition of some jalapeno peppers.  I edited his recipe a bit, but this is mostly in his words.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Squash

Ok, you just have to try this.  We love spaghetti squash, but it is just so difficult to cook.  I am a small person with small hands, and it is a lengthy, painful experience to cut one in half.  And, then it takes forever to cook in the oven, and with the time I get home and the time I need to get in bed, I just don't have time for spaghetti squash very often.  But, now you can have it easier.  You can put it in your slow cooker.  Yes, it takes longer, but you can program when it comes on and you don't have to be there while it cooks.  And, the best part, you cook it whole.  You don't even have to worry about cutting it in half until it is nice and soft.  

It will take two to three hours on high or 4 to six on low.  I actually over cooked this one because I was cooking MANY things at the same time, which you will get to read about, and at about two hours on high, I thought it needed about another half an hour.  And, about an hour and a half later when I remembered it, I got what you see in the photo.  It tasted great, but the strands broke and it didn't really look like spaghetti.  Oh well, I had to share anyway because it was so good and so easy.  I just tossed this squash with olive oil and salt and pepper, but feel free to do whatever you usually do to yours (or try something new).  I think my next one will be the traditional with spaghetti sauce.

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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Strawberry Pie

Well, I guess it is pie week.  I didn't mean it to be, but my husband had not made his mother's strawberry pie recipe this summer.  And, with summer rapidly fading, he wanted to go ahead and get this in.  
My husband's mother was German, and while the strawberries and glaze in this recipe will taste familiar, the crust may be new to you.  It is thick and almost cake like, and completely delicious.  The glaze is not her recipe, but one that I sort of cobbled together from several others.  She used a purchased glaze that we cannot find, so feel free to purchase your favorite if you don't want to make your own.  
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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Foodie Friends Friday #11

Thank you to everyone who linked up last week.  It was a great Foodie Friends Friday week!  This week three randomly selected recipes will recieve a kitchen hand towel from Bazor Designs.


Here are last week's winners:

Sponsor Winners:

Hot Eats and Cool Reads  Raspberry Custard

The Big Green Bowl   Toffee Bars

Zent Mrs & The Mr

Top Voted:

#1 Frittata with Goat Cheese From: The Full Fridge

#2 Low Fat Turkey Taco Pizza From: CEO of Me, Inc.

#3Applesauce Muffins From: Cozy Cakes Cottage

Most Clicks:

Applesauce Muffins From: Cozy Cakes Cottage

Zucchini Oatmeal Cookies From: Hun What's For Dinner

Smothered Pork Chops From: My Biscuits are Burning

Here are my favorites from last week.  Hop on over to the Foodie Friends Friday hosts page and grab your button.

This week's hosts are:

Robyn at Robyn's View
Angie at A 'lil Country Sugar  
Lindsey at Family Food Finds  Family Food Finds
Keira at Luscious Delights Luscious Delights
Michelle at From Calculus to Cupcakes
Cynthia at Feeding Big

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

French Apple Tart

I have wanted to make a French Apple Tart for years.  In fact, I bought this pan to make a French Apple Tart ... when I was a teenager.  I now have teenagers of my own, one of which is eighteen.  To be honest, I have no idea why I have not made one before.  I've wanted to, but just have not gotten around to it.  It is not like I've not made tarts over the years in this pan, just not a French Apple Tart.  I've decided to start writing these things down, so that a great idea doesn't just go unrealized for years, especially not over twenty years.

So last week when we went apple picking, I decided this was the time, so I went in search of recipes and found Sara Moulton's French Apple Tart at Saveur and decided to give it a try.  Let me tell you, this recipe is a must try.  Not only is the crust wonderful, but it is one of the easiest I have worked with.  And, while the filling may seem overly simple with few ingredients, trust me, it is decadent.  It was definitely worth the twenty year wait, but I don't plan to wait that long before making it again.

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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Saying Farewell to Summer with Barbecue


First, let me say that this post is about sauce instead of meat.  The ribs you see here were smoked by my husband and were absolutely wonderful, but I really have no idea how he did that.  But, I did make one of the sauces and know what he did to make the other, so that is what I am posting about.  We actually made this meal a while back, but I saved the post for a holiday that is frequently celebrated with barbecue, so Labor Day weekend seemed perfect.

We made two different sauces for the barbecue.  The first is an Alabama tradition, white barbecue sauce.  It is usually eaten on chicken, but I wanted to try it anyway, and was very pleasantly surprised.  Despite its mayonnaise base, white barbecue sauce does have a barbecue type flavor.  I will definitely be using it again in the future! I adapted it from several different white barbecue sauce recipes.  If you are looking to try something a bit different for your Labor Day meal, it is the way to go.  The red barbecue is a Kansas City rib sauce my husband found here.  If you want to stay traditional with your Labor Day meal, this is the one you want.
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From Calculu∫ to Cupcake∫: September 2012

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From Calculu∫ to Cupcake∫