Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lunch: 12.1.10

December already?  How did that happen???

Snack is a couple slices of apple, a chewy granola bar with pumpkin, and a juice.

Lunch is a chai spiced cupcake, apple slices, pretzels (yes, they are leftover Halloween pretzels...), and a cheese and jelly sandwich on Christmas swirl pain de mie, packed in an Easy Lunchbox.

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Recipe: Artisan Bread Bowls

I started to make these last night, and then read the recipe and realized they are supposed to rest for at least four hours before baking... so I made them tonight with chili.

They were worth the wait.

I pretty much followed the King Arthur Flour Recipe for Artisan Bread Bowls, except I subbed in a cup of Sir Lancelot flour that I have for some of the all-purpose flour.

I only wish the recipe made more!  I would love to have one to go with my lunch tomorrow.. *sigh*  Live and learn.  Next time, I make a double recipe.

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Gift Idea for the Lunch Packer: Crockpot & Yogurt Strainer

This is the first in a series of posts I'm going to do about good gift ideas for the lunch packer - or for the follower of my blog!

First things first, I want to disclose that I am an Amazon Affliliate, and the links I post are my affiliate links.

It is no secret that I love to make my own yogurt in my crockpot

I also prefer to strain my yogurt, so that it is Greek Style, and I have all of that lovely whey to use in other things, like Rainbow Pain de Mie.

The first thing you need to make yogurt is a good crockpot.  The one I use is a 5-Quart Rival Smart Pot.

This West Bend 4-Quart Crockery Cooker looks like a nice one, too.  It would be a good size for a batch of yogurt.

As far as a strainer goes, I have two of these Donvier Yogurt Cheese Makers.  Three would be better for a whole recipe of yogurt.  I have to strain in two batches.
I like this yogurt strainer because it is so easy, efficient, and dishwasher safe!  Sure, you could strain with cheesecloth, but it makes a huge mess.  This does not.

So, if you have someone on your Christmas list who you think would like to try their hand at making yogurt, here's the perfect gift for them!

More gift ideas to come!  Happy Holidays!

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Lunch: 11.30.10

The Girl was not feeling well yesterday, so this is the first post-Thanksgiving school lunch for her.

Snack is three kiwi mini muffins, some yogurt with pomegranate seeds, and a juice.

Lunch is a leftover turkey sandwich on red & green "Christmas Swirled" pain de mie, a chewy granola bar with pumpkin, some apple slices, and a small piece of (still in the freezer from Halloween) candy corn bark, all packed in an Easy Lunchbox!

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Recipe: Creamy Roasted Veggie Soup

The Girl wasn't feeling well today, so I wanted something for dinner that would pack some good veggies in... so didn't eat a LOT, but she did eat some... and I had three bowls.

As I made it, it was a little thick.  You could add more water/broth/milk/evaporated milk if you wanted it thinner.  Look at the color of the soup!  So beautiful!
That's a mighty festive dinner!  (The white is cheese)

But try it, with your favorite mix of veggies!  It was very easy, and I served it with some red & green "Christmas" Swirled Pain de Mie.

Creamy Roasted Veggie Soup

5 medium potatoes, chopped with skins on
1-2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 c peeled and chopped winter squash (I used 1/4 of a very large squash)
1-2 large beets, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, peeled and chopped

2-4 Tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

1 c fat free evaporated milk
1 c skim milk
1 c water
1 can condensed tomato soup (I used special edition yellow tomato soup, but you can use regular)

Preheat oven to 450 F.  In a large pan (or two), combine vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Potatoes and sweet potatoes
Beets, winter squash, and onions
Roast for about 30-40 minutes, or until veggies are soft and slightly browned.
I stocked up on some of this special edition soup.  Yummy.
In a large soup pot, combine liquids, condensed soup, and roasted veggies.

Cook together for about 10 minutes, and then puree either by transferring carefully to a blender in batches, or by using an immersion blender.  Serve with bread, and with cheddar cheese if desired.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Lunches for an Outing: 11.26.10

I am working retail on Black Friday (small local store, so we have madness, but not the midnight door sitter kind, just the good old fashioned happy Holiday shopper kind), and my parents are watching my kids for the day (so that they can play with their cousins who are up visiting).

So, I packed lunches for them for the day, to make it easier on my parents. 

The Girl has a lovely leftover turkey sandwich with lingonberry jam on one side (it's very close to cranberry sauce) and miracle whip on the other, on pain de mie.  She also has some grapes, some apples, and some homemade Greek style yogurt with vanilla.

The Boy declined turkey, so he has a couple of my mom's crescent rolls with nutella in them, some grapes, apples, and yogurt with vanilla.

Both of them will also have a cupcake that my sister brought up.  They had pie for Thanksgiving dessert, but wanted the cupcakes with their lunch. 

FYI:  I posted some links on my Facebook page to some recipes I made for Thanksgiving.  Go check it out if you don't "Like" me on Facebook yet!

I hope that everyone had a truly wonderful Thanksgiving! 

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Recipe: Mini Apple Butter Pies

Happy Thanksgiving to all my wonderful readers!

It cannot be surprising to any of you that I decided to try making one of the pies I made for Thanksgiving in mini form...

And they are adorable.

The filling is the same as the full sized Apple Butter Pie.  The full recipe made a LOT of mini pies and needed 4 pie crusts total.  Feel free to halve the recipe.

To make the mini pies, cut the pie crust out with a 2" biscuit cutter (or other round cookie cutter). 

Spray your mini muffin pans, and carefully press the crust down into each cup.

Fill with a generous scoop of pie filling.  Bake at 400 for 5 minutes, and then lower heat to 350 and bake for an additional 12-17 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Aren't they adorable?

I cut out mini apples of pie crust using the inside of a linzer cookie cutter and popped them on top of each mini pie after the first 5 minutes of baking.

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Recipe: Shoofly Pie

This is one of my favorites!

It's an interesting pie, with a wonderful flavor of molasses.  If you don't like molasses, you won't like this pie.  I love molasses.

I use blackstrap or "bold flavor" in my shoofly pie, and I think it makes all the difference.  I used a combination of blackstrap and bold this year.

It's really fun to make, and goes together really quickly.  There's a fun vinegar + baking soda reaction, with lots of bubbles.  I love when my food is fun.

Shoofly Pie

1 c boiling water
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 c bold flavor or blackstrap molasses
1 Tbsp vinegar

1 1/2 c flour
1/2 c butter
1 c sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

1 unbaked pie shell

Mix topping ingredients in a food processor to make coarse crumbs (I shred the butter frozen to make the texture better).

In a bowl, beat together boiling water, molasses, and vinegar.  Add in baking soda and continue whisking until bubbly.

Pour immediately into the pie crust.  Then, pour topping on and spread thickly and evenly.

Bake at 350 for about 45-60 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

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Recipe: Crumb Topped Apple Pie

I know a lot of people like their apple pie with a top crust.

For me, it's all about the crumb topping.

And the pie has to be as tall as possible.

This year, I tried a couple "Alton Brown" techniques in order to avoid the dreaded soggy pie.  I won't know if they have worked until tomorrow, but I will post them here and report back.

I also used a good combination of apples - but you can use your favorite.

Crumb Topped Apple Pie

~2 lbs apples (I used a mixture of Granny Smith, Empire, Macintosh, and Golden Delicious)
1/2 c sugar

3 Tbsp tapioca flour (I ran quick tapioca through my spice grinder)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground ginger

3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c butter
1/2 c white flour
1/4 c whole wheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ginger

1 pie crust

For the apples:  Peel, core, and slice the apples evenly.  Toss with sugar and place in a colander to drain for at least an hour and a half (my apples released nearly a cup of liquid!)

Toss the drained apples with the tapioca flour and the spices.  Pack high into your pie crust.

For the topping:  Combine the topping ingredients in a food processor (or by hand).

Pack the top of the pie with the crumb topping.

Bake at 425 for 10 minutes, and then at 325 for another 25 minutes or until apples are done.

Serve with a generous slice of extra sharp cheddar cheese.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Recipe: Apple Butter Pie

Another pie (and another one I might try mini for customers on Black Friday...)

I made this pie last year and had actually forgotten about it, but my sister wrote to me last week and asked me if I was going to make it again.

Well, sure I can, if I remember it!

So, I made some apple butter earlier this week, and here's the pie!

It's akin to pumpkin pie, but made with apple butter.  It's truly something special and delicious.

Apple Butter Pie

1/2 c apple butter (store bought or homemade)
2 c fat free evaporated milk
1/2 c sugar
1 egg
1 Tbsp flour
cinnamon (to sprinkle)

1 Pie Crust

Mix together apple butter, evaporated mik, sugar, egg, and flour (I used a food processor).  Pour mixture into a pie crust shell.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Bake for 425 for 10 minutes, and then 350 for 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.

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Lunch: 11.22.10 & 11.23.10

Sorry these are posted late - it's a busy week! (what with all the pies...)

The Girl only had school for two days this week, so here are her lunches and snacks for the two days she did have!

Monday's snack was apples and nutella, along with a juice.

Lunch was a garlic knot, a chai spiced cupcake, a babybell, some ham, some grapes, and some broccoli with ranch.

Tuesday's snack was apples with nutella and a juice (she really likes this snack).

Lunch was a maple leaf shaped ham sandwich on pain de mie, a chai spiced cupcake, a babybell, some yogurt with vanilla syrup stirred in, and some grapes.

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Recipe: Cranberry Pecan Pie


I'm going to post several favorite pie recipes tonight and tomorrow... my family has a tradition of making too many pies.  It's a wonderful tradition.

And then we eat pie for several days for breakfast.

My mom swears it's a Pennsylvania Dutch Tradition.  I don't know if this is true or not, but I'll take it.

Here's my (not so) secret problem... I fail at pie crust.  I can make tart shells, scones, all sorts of delectable treats... but I fail at pie crust.  So don't judge me.  I buy the rolls of pie crust.  *sigh*  Someday, I shall master the crust.  My family laughs at my failure.  It's kind of a family joke.

This is a new pie recipe this year - Cranberry Pecan.  I am going to attempt making them mini for customers at my retail job on Black Friday.  I'll let you know how that works.

It's a very simple pie to put together.  And so pretty.

Cranberry Pecan Pie

2 c fresh (or frozen) cranberries
1/2 c brown sugar, packed
1/2 chopped pecans
2 eggs
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c butter, melted
3/4 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 pie crust
Whole cranberries
Chop cranberries (I used a food processor)
All chopped
 Add brown sugar and nuts and combine (I also used the food processor).

Pour this mixture into your prepared pie crust.

Whisk together eggs and sugar.  Add melted butter, vanilla, and flour.  Combine well.  Pour onto the cranberry and nut layer of the pie.
I decorated the top with some pecans and a cranberry
Bake at 400 F for 15 minutes, and then at 350 for an additional 35 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Recipe: Crockpot Spiced Apple Butter

I am planning on making some Apple Butter Pie for Thanksgiving (that recipe coming - it's really fabulous, if I do say so myself).  Last year, my sister gave me some apple butter that she had made.  This year, I wasn't so lucky.  So, I made my own.

In the crockpot, it's easy.  Takes a while, but it's worth the wait.

Crockpot Spiced Apple Butter

~2 lbs apples, cored and chopped (I used Empire apples, with one really huge Granny Smith thrown in, and left the skins on)
2 tsp vanilla
1 c sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves

In a slow cooker (at least 3 1/2 quart in size), combine all ingredients. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour.  Mash apples with a potato masher to mix well and break the apples up some, then set to low and cook 6-8 hours.  (I let it go overnight)

After this time is done, run through a food mill or puree carefully with an immersion blender.  Return to slow cooker and cook for an additional 6-8 hours, propping the top open if necessary for some of the time to allow evaporation and thickening.  The final apple butter should be thick and spreadable.

Scoop into a large jar (or jars) and store in the refrigerator.  Can be frozen in freezer containers as well, or processed and canned for longer storage.

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Special From King Arthur Flour

Between now and Friday, King Arthur Flour is offering some special discounts!

Simply follow this link, and enjoy your savings!

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Recipe: Garlic Knots

I was making spaghetti tonight.  And I didn't make my own pasta. 

I know, I'm slacking.

In my defense, I think I'm getting a cold.  And I haven't slept well for a couple nights...

To atone for not making my own pasta, I decided to make garlic knots to go with them.

Shhhhh.  I bought the pizza dough.  At least it's whole wheat.

Super fun and super easy - and they look impressive.  You could use any variety of herbs to make them suitable for lots of meals.  That's a winner in my book.

So try them.  With store bought dough or your own, they are wonderful!

Garlic Knots

Pizza Dough (homemade or store-bought - your favorite.  I used whole wheat store bought tonight)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Roll the dough out into a rectangle.

Spread olive oil onto surface evenly.  Sprinkle with garlic powder and cheese.

Slice into strips about 1/2 inch wide (I used a pizza cutter to get even slices).

Tie each strip into a knot and place on a cookie sheet.

Spray with butter flavored cooking spray or brush with butter lightly, and then bake for 12 minutes.

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