arrange sweet apples
topped with winter’s cream; is it
nature’s a la mode?
a la mode by Angie Quantrell
photo by Angie Quantrell
December, West Valley
This lovely treat was an experiment from the get-go, but worth every creative independent choice I made in the process.
First, the recipe said 6-8 apricots. I stopped at Barrett Orchards (Washington Fruit Place) to purchase apricots. A HUGE bag, with possibly 20 apricots. And cherries. 2 pounds, Rainier and a different red cherry. I can’t remember the name. The recipe does not call for cherries, but I’ve been craving them.
Then. The recipe says refrigerator pie crust. Nope. First. It’s not whole wheat. So I searched for a simple whole wheat pie crust recipe. Quite simple, but did not make very much. Or roll too thin.
Mixed the cream cheese mixture to put on the crust and realized this is more like an apricot cheesecake, but with less filling. I also reduced the sugar. Added it to the too small crust. So beautiful!
And then apricots. It only took 3 to cover the top. I still have way too many for 2 people to eat before they are overripe.
Brush the crust with egg white. What crust??? There was barely enough to fold over. Ok. There wasn’t even enough to fold over. But I did my best to brush the crust edges. Sprinkled a little raw sugar on it like the recipe said. Barely any.
So now I have a lovely rustic apricot galette! We can’t wait to have it after lunch. Or for lunch.
Next time, I will search for a different crust recipe. And try to make a larger, more rectangular galette, due to the size of our cookie sheet and RV oven. One doesn’t bake big items in an RV. And use more apricots.
Be a Superhero in the Kitchen
Written by Donna Glass
Illustrated by Alejandro Chamberlain
Mascot Books, March 2020
Friends, if you are stuck at home with young children (and most of us are right now, due to COVID-19), I have a great idea for you. It’s time to enlist your superheros and teach them to cook!
Why not? Plenty of time, cooking reinforces OH SO MANY skills (math, reading, science, nutrition, fine motor, life skills), and your enlistees will be SUPER happy to help you make a meal!
Thank you, Mascot Books , for sending a review copy of Be a Superhero in the Kitchen by Donna Glass. I didn’t know I was getting a very cool COOKBOOK!
Let’s dig in!
Why I LOVED this Book:
~ Super colorful and engaging
~ Each page spread is an entire recipe, filled with simple directions, ingredient lists, and illustrations; Cautions are listed along the way
~ 20 different recipes are included for entrees and side dishes, desserts and breads, and even a beverage
~ Superhero Cooking Tips are listed right at the beginning of the book! Yay!
~ The superhero theme is wonderful. I love how it is continued throughout the entire book. Kids will LOVE being a SUPERHERO chef!
~ This book is perfect for teaching young readers and chefs how to TAB a favorite recipe with a sticky note. The age old method of quickly finding your place…
~ Well written, fun, interesting, and very useful
~ With so many families caring for and homeschooling their children and grandchildren right now, this “activity” book is perfect. Plus, you get help making dinner.
~ Scroll down to the bottom of this post and follow the link to order your own copy.
Let’s get cooking!
Every caregiver knows the trials of feeding a picky eater. Some nights are truly a battle. Nerves are frayed, and a pleasant, relaxing dinner can quickly be filled with tears, tantrums, and some nights, a battle of wills. Well, my goal with this book is to tip the scales in our favor. One surefire way I’ve discovered to get my picky eaters to eat is to let them help make the meal. After all, food tastes better when you’ve had a hand in fixing it. Let your child try their hand with the recipes in this book. A child who becomes the superhero of dinnertime is one who eats super well.
To purchase a copy of Be a Superhero in the Kitchen, click this link:
2020 is the year of Kevin and Angie. At least that’s what my honey says. He wants to celebrate our 35th anniversary all year long. I can live with that.
Our actual wedding anniversary date is June 22, 1985. Happy anniversary to us!
I realize that many of you may not even have been born yet. Wow.
I’ve also lately realized that many of the gifts we received on that sunny Saturday so many years ago we still have, use, and enjoy. If it ain’t broke, keep it and use it. Sentimental value makes these gifts even more special.
Like my casserole dish. I have really come into my own in using this versatile beauty over the last couple of years. For one, the size is perfect for the tiny RV stove. And the lid is an added bonus which allows me to cook covered dishes or uncovered foods. Perfect! An added bonus is how easy this is to clean. Nonstick without the Teflon.
This casserole and lid were originally part of a set. There was a smaller casserole dish and matching lid. I’m pretty sure the smaller dish did not make it to the 35th anniversary year. Unless (let’s all hope so) it has been in storage so long I can’t remember what happened to it.
I’ve cooked everything from quiche to apple crisp to salmon to tater tot casserole in the larger casserole. One of my favorite recipes is a no/low carb bacon cheeseburger casserole. You serve it with relish and diced red onions! The next time I make that I’ll try and remember to take some photos. But photos will not do it justice. One must taste it, relish, dill, and all.
Featured in this casserole dish (again, the pictures are not great) is a no crust apple crisp. Sliced apples (unpeeled), oatmeal, cinnamon, and grated cheese. I sometimes add a tiny bit of water for moisture. Bake until apples are softened and cheese is melted. My stamping and eating buddy somehow came up with the recipe. Super easy and tasty. Thanks, Alyson.
Back to my casserole dish. I love the French words and images on the side. Many memories have been made when sharing foods baked in this wedding gift. Thank you, to the thoughtful giver. Who knew I would still have it so many years later?
If I could find my “wedding stuff” box, I bet I could even figure out who gave us this set. Now that would be fun. New goal before the actual anniversary date: FIND the wedding box.
How about you? Do you have any wedding gifts or sentimental items that you’ve kept over the years? I’d love to hear about them.
Yesterday, while I was watching the Seahawks shoot themselves in the feet, I mean LOSE but with style, I gave in to my urge to bake. The day went like this.
Home from church. Make tuna salad for lunch. Clean up.
Tuna Salad: two cans tuna, drained; 1 celery stick, chopped; 1/2 red onion, diced; about 1/4 c. dill relish; 1/4 c. chopped walnuts; fresh ground black pepper; cayenne; cumin; and enough mayo to make it mix well. I ate mine over cherry tomatoes. My honey ate his on his favorite whole grain bread. No pictures of this, but it was tasty!
Bake Gingerbread Muffins. Clean up.
I found this recipe at the What’s for Dinner Moms? blog. I’ve found quite a few tasty treats on this blog. As usual, I adjusted the recipe to our tastes, using whole wheat and almond flour, and added allspice and cloves, and swapped out white sugar and added brown. I also doubled the icing. These are so yummy!
Bake Oatmeal Cups. Clean up.
Okay. So the recipe calls them Granola Cups with Yogurt and Berries. I was taste testing them for a Jello Molders weekend. They came out pretty good. I found this recipe in an old 2017 issue of Cooking Light.
Bake Mexican Chocolate Cookies. Clean up.
These spicy little treats are awesome. The cayenne livens things up a bit. And chocolate? Of course they are delicious. This recipe is from a May issue of Martha Stewart, but I’ve accidentally torn off the year…
Put a pot of chicken soup on to simmer. Clean up.
There are no pictures of this first soup of the season. But know I used up the rest of our Costco rotisserie chicken, celery, onions, a potato, kale from the garden, a bag of mixed frozen veggies, stewed tomatoes, chicken broth, Mrs. Dash, crushed red pepper, black pepper, and poultry seasoning. It was excellent served with a dollop of sour cream. My honey added corn chips to the top.
Eat dinner. Clean up.
I’d say for a Sunday, I spent a lot of time cleaning up! A friend and I consider washing dishes a workout. Including breakfast dishes, I worked out 6 times! You should see my buff arm and shoulder muscles. 🙂 In the RV, one must clean up EVERY time a new dish is prepared. Space and tiny sink and all.
The successes were ALL of the above. It was a tasty day. Other than the Seahawks losing.
How about you? What do you like to bake or simmer in the fall? Happy first day of autumn!
Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners
by Natalie Rompella
Sky Pony Press, 2017
What’s a girl to do when she is suddenly placed in a class WITH the hard-nosed teacher and WITHOUT her best friend and co-chef? The project they have been planning for years is swept off the table and the friends are paired with new partners.
Ana is devastated to learn she must partner with Dasher, a new kid from Alaska. All the new girl talks about is sled dogs. Worse, she has no culinary skills! Even worse, best friend Lily is paired with Via, another non-cook but super cool girl.
AND only Lily knows the truth about Ana. OCD dogs her every waking minute, leading Ana to obsess over germs and wash her hands to the point of cracked, chapped skin.
There are so many great things about Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners! I loved the characters and the middle school angst. The finer details of friendship, making new friends, OCD, school, projects, hobbies, teamwork, trying something new – all of these important issues play together in this engaging chapter book.
I learned new information about obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and treatment for this disorder. I also learned many new things about racing sled dogs and creating unique recipes. Readers will find at least one thing to identify with through the characters in Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners. Readers looking for books about dogs, friends, cooking and creating, going to school, or OCD will love this book.
Two thumbs up for Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners by Natalie Rompella.
P.S. ACTUAL recipes are shared in this book, creations by the main characters.
I won a copy of Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners after reading an interview with Natalie Rompella and commenting about her new book at groggorg.blogspot.com. You can read the interview here.
Now don’t say no before you try this salad! It is so good, I had two huge servings. If you ask me, there is nothing wrong with fresh corn in any kind of salad, especially if it was just shucked and cut from the cob. Delish!
A wonderful cook and hostess (Vickie) made this lunch salad for my stamping buddy (Alyson) and I when we were spread out all over her dining room table creating cards. This wasn’t the only tasty dish she prepared, but certainly one I want to recreate. Thanks to Vickie and her bountiful garden!
And drats, the picture I took of the recipe cut off the magazine title and year, but I believe it as Better Homes & Gardens, many years back. Since I can’t adequately give the source, I will just list the ingredients. Just remember to cook the corn about 5-6 minutes, cool it in ice water, and slice if from the cob.
Corn Blueberry Salad
6-7 ears of sweet corn (shucked)
1-1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1 sliced English cucumber
1/4 cup cilantro
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced (less if you prefer less spice)
lime juice, olive oil, honey, cumin, a sprinkle of salt (for dressing; shake well in covered jar)
Gently mix all ingredients (minus dressing) in bowl. Stir in dressing until well covered. The original recipe says to let it sit 24 hours in fridge, but we decided that was not necessary AND the cilantro and perhaps the cucumber would become wilted in the long soak. So eat it right away!
This salad is not only tasty, but gorgeous! Perfect for those summer barbecues. Five thumbs up!
Note: As per my usual, I’ve tweaked the amounts and added more of what I love (like red onion and cucumbers). I bet there are other tasty ingredients just waiting for a chance to join the salad party.
We love breakfast sandwiches! Or at least I used to, before cleaning up my diet. But my honey still enjoys taking a break from muesli and yogurt to eat a yummy protein-rich breakfast sandwich. I make these at home, usually 3 at a time. They freeze very well and he can pop one in the microwave any day he feels like a little something different. The filling possibilities are endless.
Whole Wheat Egg, Ham, and Cheese Breakfast Sandwiches
3 whole wheat English muffins
3 slices ham (we prefer thinner slices)
3 slices cheddar cheese (Swiss or pepper jack are also great)
1. Toast the English muffins. Spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard on each sandwich. Place open-faced on a cutting board.
2. Layer ham and cheese on one half of each muffin, cheese is on top.
3. Fry the eggs in olive oil, liberally doused with black pepper. For freezing, cook the eggs all the way through. For immediate consumption, a runnier yolk is fine.
4. Place one egg on top of each cheesy muffin. The egg will melt the cheese. Leave open-faced to cool. Unless you are eating right now, then close it up and enjoy!
***If you want, quickly place eggs on a folded paper towel to remove excess oil, then add to sandwich.
5. For freezing, let sandwiches cool completely. Add muffin tops and wrap snuggly in plastic wrap. I also like to put mine in sandwich ziplock bag. Pop in the freezer until time to eat. Rewarm in the microwave.
Other things to add: baby kale or spinach, turkey, onions, sausage patties, bacon, different mustards. For fresh sandwiches (not frozen) you can add tomato slices, thinly sliced zucchini, mushrooms, or any other fresh veggie from the garden.
The sky is the limit! Or should I say the amount of space between muffin top and bottom and what you can hold together in your hands is the only limit. 🙂
I just read this blog post over at Vivian Kirkfield’s place. Click here.
Tara’s post is on April 7 (I’m a bit behind in my emails and blogs due to spring break). I loved reading about her writing story and new books. I may have slightly drooled a bit when reading her no-bake cookie recipe. I think we will be trying that soon!
Thanks to Vivian and Tara! Congratulations!
By Lisa Amstutz
Pictures by Tabitha Shipman
Albert Whitman & Company, 2017
I love Applesauce Day!
Fall is my favorite time of year, when the apples, pumpkins, squash, and other great produce is harvested. I can’t wait to sink my greedy fingers into a box of apples or a trunk-load of pumpkins.
Applesauce Day takes me right into autumn. I can just imagine the fun and tradition of gathering with family to make large amounts of applesauce. What tastes better than homemade applesauce? Nothing! Ok, maybe homemade pumpkin pie or apple cake or pear tartes or . . .
This lovely picture book tells the tale of a family traveling from the big city to the orchards to pick apples and then to grandma’s house to put those apples to good use. What’s special about Applesauce Day is the family heirloom – the applesauce cooking pot. Family traditions and passed-down items are a passion of mine, so I immediately bonded with this tale.
I found Applesauce Day to be well written and beautifully illustrated. Flashbacks! I don’t know that I’ve seen other picture books with flashbacks, but the ones in this book are adorable.
Even though apple season is at an end, boxes of apples are still available. Go ahead. You know you want to read this book and make applesauce. Just imagine the scent of warm apples and cinnamon wafting through your home. See? I can smell it from here.
Make Crock-Pot Applesauce
apples, cinnamon, water
1. Wash, peel, and core apples. Slice into wedges.
2. Put apples in Crock-Pot. Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon. Add about 1/4 cup water.
3. Cover Crock-Pot with lid. Turn heat to high and let it simmer. Occasionally stir and check apples for tenderness.
4. When apples are soft and mushy, use a potato masher to mash the apples into sauce. I love chunks, so I don’t strain it.
5. Eat warm! Cool and put the rest in the fridge. Or freeze individual containers for later.
I love making Crock-Pot Applesauce with my students every fall. Everyone brings 2 apples, no matter what variety, and we put them all together to cook. By the end of the day, everyone in the school wants what’s bubbling in our room!
I’d love to hear (and smell and taste) how your applesauce turns out!