Julia's Guardian Angel Fund

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Our Ash Wednesday Dinner

Ash Wednesday is a day of Fast and Abstinence for us Catholics. What are you making for dinner? My husband and I agreed to light breakfast (for him that was a vitamin drink, for me a high protein Greek yogurt and a banana) and light lunch followed by this meal for dinner AFTER Ash Wednesday Mass.

Toasted Cheese Sandwiches and Tomato Basil Soup
Toasted Cheese Sandwiches:
Good quality bread (white or wheat your pick)...I will use batard made from ABI5MAD white
Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Using a large cookie sheet or stoneware sheet (I use a 10x14 Stoneware Bar Pan), butter the outsides of the bread. Load as much cheese as you like into the bread. Bake until golden brown. If you are using a metal cookie sheet, you will need to check on the bottoms and flip the sandwiches half way through. This works well with gluten free bread, too. You can make many sandwiches at a time this way.

Tomato Basil Soup
4 C. (8 to 10) tomatoes, peeled, cored and chopped, or 4 C. canned whole tomatoes, crushed
4 C. tomato juice and part vegetable stock or chicken stock
12 to 14 washed fresh basil leaves
1 C. heavy cream
1/4 pound sweet, unsalted butter
salt to taste
1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper

Combine tomatoes, juice/and or stock in saucepan. Simmer 30 minutes. Puree, along with the basil leaves, in small batches, in blender, food processor (or better yet, one of those handy hand-held food blenders, right in the cooking pan).

Return to saucepan and add cream and butter, while stirring over low heat. Garnish with basil leaves.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Egg Allergy and all it's woes...

The egg allergy belongs to me. Luckily for my kids, I'm not the kind of person that says, "That's it! No more eggs in the house! No more cooking with eggs!"
Now, I would love to switch everyone over to some alternative, but frankly it's just not worth it.

I figure this is God's plan for weight loss for me (although I don't think he intends for me to lose weight while I'm still pregnant.) It's funny. I'm such a snitcher that I.JUST.DON'T.THINK before I put food in my mouth. I need to do that now. Yesterday, I snitched 1/2 of a chocolate chip cookie brought home from a restaurant the night before that a kid didn't finish (as part of their kid's meal.) After nibbling away that 1/2 a cookie, I was itchy and my chest got tight. This morning, I was scrounging the freezer for something to serve with scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast (we're out of bread, can you believe it? Just too busy the last couple of days.) I found banana bread I had frozen a couple of months back. I defrosted it. Then I thought...wait a minute. I can't have that. It's still defrosted on the counter, but I opted for turning a tube of crescent rolls into mini-cinnamon rolls instead. They were good ;-) and they had no eggs. It makes 8 mini rolls...just right with breakfast. Not too sweet and not too big...just right for me!

So, I won't disclude recipes with egg here, but I will have more without. AND, I can still make bread. Toast for breakfast with cottage cheese or sun butter (sunflower seed butter) will probably have to be my new breakfast. I miss eggs already, but I'm offering up this sacrifice for another cause. I will live...now I just have to hit the priest up for ideas on what to do on Non-Lent Fridays when we normally give up meat. In Lent, it's a given. I WILL GO WITHOUT MEAT ON FRIDAYS. The rest of the year? All I have left for protein on my list of okay foods is beans and dairy. Thank God for protein shakes!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Needing help if anyone has it to offer...

I have a variety of allergies for which I need to accommodate. Eggs and pomegranate have now been added to the list. Anyone having experience with the egg allergy in particular, please comment and let me know how you survive eating out...I'll give the details later when I'm not so exhausted.

Marybeth's Rye

Isn't it lovely? She's been using the ABI5MAD since the summer. This is lovely!

Sorry for the shortage of postings...medical issues here to deal with and will return when life gets back to normal (HAHA).

Friday, February 6, 2009

My classic new mom meal

In August of 2005, I was blessed beyond belief. After the birth of my 4th child, I ended up in the ICU with post-partum pre-eclampsia. After the 3 day stay, I was told to go home and "put my feet up", with 30 people coming for a baptism reception that weekend. Besides the fact that my sister had already pitched in by taking our kids for a couple of days, she and her 5 beautiful children came and cleaned my house. To say she blesses me is an understatement. She's always doing great stuff like this.

We ordered out for the baptism reception food and I survived. The weeks that followed, I was blessed by meals from other moms in my home school co-op. Those meals really saved me and my sanity. These corporal works of Mercy were humbling for me as a cook and baker. God really provides our daily bread in many ways, doesn't he?

I asked one of the moms how I could possibly repay those who brought me meals, as many of them were done having kids. She said, "Pay it forward." I am now a staunch advocate of bringing ANY new mom I know a meal if I can. And, when I bake my big batch of bread, I aways bake 3 loaves. Two for the family, and one to give away.

Eight months later, my best friend was diagnosed with colon cancer. Normally, she was the meal organizer. This time, I got to help by organizing and bringing meals and food for her family.

This is something our previous generations did without thinking twice. My now 90 year old grandmother couldn't possibly go to the eye doctor without taking him some jam. Come to visit and she'll break out cookies. I learned from the finest cooks, bakers and hostesses - my grandma, Evelyn and my mom, Barb. My mom, a working woman, often brought treats into work because few women of her generation that worked actually baked or cooked. She did. Many of my recipes have been passed down. That's part of the reason for this blog. To pass along recipes worthy of SHARING.

So, here's one of my standard New Mom Meals:
Spaghetti and Sauce (this sauce makes 12 cups, so if there are two new moms that need meals, I can kill two birds with one stone)
A frozen veggie (I do this to avoid the problem WE have in that my kids don't like any "stuff" on their food)
A home made loaf of bread (The Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day Baguette or Ciabatta)
Either Lactation Cookies or Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Also, when I have the resources, I also include plates, cups, utensils, napkins and juice. I'm low on those supplies, so my last couple of meals went out the door without, unfortunately.
Here are the recipes:

From _Once a Month Cooking_ by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagorborg
Spaghetti Sauce
Note for my dear friend Gary - This is wheat free and you can sub Agave Nectar for the sugar. It freezes well. We had this when we had B's Open House here.

Category: Main dishes

1 pound Italian sausage
1 1/2 cups onion - finely chopped
1 12 oz. can tomato paste
3 28 oz. cans Italian style crushed tomatoes
2 cups water
4 teaspoons garlic - minced
4 bay leaves
2 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
4 tablespoons fresh parsley - chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 16 oz. pack spaghetti

In a large pot, cook and stir the Italian Sausage with onions until the meat
is brown (I remove the skin from the sausage and cook like browning
hamburger); drain fat. Add remaining ingredients, except the spaghetti.
Bring sauce to a boil; reduce heat. Partly cover, and simmer for 2 hours,
stirring occasionally. (If desired, simmer in a crockpot instead of a pot.
Lessen the amount of water to 1 or 1 1/2 cups if using the crockpot method).
Makes 12 cups of sauce.

After sauce has cooled, freeze in 4 cup containers for spaghetti. This can also be used for French Bread Pizza and Calzone.

To prepare for serving SPAGHETTI, thaw sauce and heat in medium saucepan.
Cook pasta according to package directions and pour sauce over pasta.

You can also cook pasta and serve right away for spaghetti.

Nutritional facts (daily value): Calories 234kcal; Protein 4g (8%); Total Fat 1g (1%)(Sat. 0g (1%)); Chol. 0mg (0%); Carb. 57g (19%); Fiber 6g (24%); Sugars 36g; Calcium 197mg (20%); Iron 4mg (20%)

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies
For those of you that are gluten free, these can be made with a GF flour blend like Bob's Red Mill and you can use McCann's Steel Cut Oats (which tend to not carry any gluten). You can also get gluten-free oats at: www.glutenfreeoats.com, Gifts of Nature www.giftsofnature.net, and Bob's Red Mill www.bobsredmill.com

Category: Breakfast|Cookies and Bars
Yield: 54 servings of 1

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons flax seed meal
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups oats
1 cup chocolate chips
2-4 tablespoons brewer's yeast

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Mix the flaxseed meal and water and let sit for 3-5 minutes.
3. Beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar well.
4. Add eggs and mix well.
5. Add flaxseed mix and vanilla, beat well.
6. Sift together flour, brewers yeast, baking soda, and salt.
7. Add dry ingredients to butter mix.
8. Stir in oats and chips.
9. Scoop onto baking sheet.
10. Bake for 12 minutes.
11. Let set for a couple minutes then remove from tray.

Nutritional facts per serving (daily value): Calories 133kcal; Protein 2g (4%); Total Fat 6g (10%)(Sat. 3g (16%)); Chol. 17mg (6%); Carb. 17g (6%); Fiber 1g (4%); Sugars 10g; Calcium 11mg (1%); Iron 1mg (4%)

Chewy Oatmeal Cookies
Same is true here for gluten free - use a GF flour blend and gluten free oats.
Category: Cookies and Bars

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Mix in the quick oats, walnuts, and chocolate chips. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.
Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Nutritional facts (daily value): Calories 6091kcal; Protein 94g (189%); Total Fat 338g (519%)(Sat. 160g (798%)); Chol. 911mg (304%); Carb. 721g (240%); Fiber 46g (183%); Sugars 413g; Calcium 616mg (62%); Iron 32mg (179%)

Next, I'll post my beef stew and chicken parmesan recipes that are my other "stand by" recipes for new moms.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Molten Chocolate Cookies

This was our Superbowl Sunday treat. We don't watch the Superbowl or even record it. We're just not sports fans here and really, you just can't trust anything, especially the commercials when viewing with children. Still, I'll use any excuse to bake, I mean celebrate.

From Guittard Chocolate
These rich cookies are best eaten warm, while the crust is crispy and the centers are gooey. They can be reheated in the microwave to soften the centers. Yields 16-3" cookies.

2 c. Semisweet Chocolate Chips (we used bittersweet)
3 Tbsp. butter
2 lg eggs
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder

Melt chips and butter in double boiler or in microwave on 50% power until smooth but thick. Set aside to cool.

In large bowl of mixer, beat eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla on high speed for about 2-3 minutes until pale yellow and slightly thickened. Mix in chocolate on low speed. Stop mixer and scrape bowl. Add flour and baking powder on low speed just until incorporated, stopping once to scrape the bowl. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Scoop 8-2" mounds of dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet leaving about 2" between cookies. Bake one sheet at a time for 12 minutes or until crusty on the outside but soft in the center. Cool on cookie sheet for 3-5 minutes. Serve warm.
In the unlikely event you have any left, they can be reheated in the microwave for about 10 seconds each.

I don't have any pictures for you because the first pan disappeared and didn't even get to a serving plate. They were eaten warm off the cookie sheet. The second pan was cooled and saved for later. Too much chocolate before bed means little people can't get to sleep and drive their parents nuts (1 cookie was unfortunately enough to do that). However, Little Princess decided that the piano teacher deserved them (and he does) and gave them away the next morning before anyone else could have seconds.

My new favorite NO KNEAD Wheat Bread

H/T to Margaret, my favorite blogger, ever, (aka Minnesota Mom) for recommending the book _Mitten Strings for God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry_ by Katrina Kenison. Anyone who knows me, knows this book was written for me. I book way too much into my calendar. I tend to do TOO MUCH. I have taken much advice from this book since dear Margaret recommended it here. My dear husband bought it for me for Christmas last year.

There is a recipe in there that I've been meaning to try called "Wonder Bread". It's not called that because it's like the trademarked bread of the same name, but because it always works. We tried it today (and yes, I did soak the whole wheat flour). It is not 100% whole wheat and that is okay with me.

So, if you are thinking, I can't make bread. Especially, I can't make wheat bread because I don't have a bread machine or a Kitchenaid or a Bosch Universal mixer. You are WRONG. My 9 year old Little Woman did it - herself (except the soaking the flour and oats part - I did that yesterday).

It's delicious. Here's the recipe:
Wonderbread from _Mitten Strings for God_

In a large bowl combine:
4 Tbsp. oil
4 Tbps. honey
3 Tbsp. salt

8 cups warm water
2 Tbsp instant yeast

Sit for 5 minutes.

7 c. white flour
7 c. whole wheat flour
2 c. oatmeal

Mix with a spoon or hands (as Little Woman did both). When done, split dough into two batches, moving one batch to an oiled bowl. Cover both and allow to rise for 1 1/2 hours or until doubled. Punch down dough and place in oiled pans (we halved the recipe and it made 3 - 9"x5" loaves). Rise again. Place in a preheated 400 degree oven for 40 minutes.

Again, I halved the recipe, soaking the oats and whole wheat flour beforehand using this modified version of the recipe:

Half batch of Wonderbread from _Mitten Strings for God_ using soaked whole wheat flour and oats

In a large bowl, combine:
3 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. oatmeal
3 c. warm water
3 Tbsp. cider vinegar or lemon juice

Allow to sit, covered with plastic wrap and a damp towel for 12-24 hours. Then, in a large bowl combine:
2 Tbsp. oil
2 Tbps. honey
1 Tbsp. salt

1 cups warm water
1 1/2 Tbsp instant yeast

Sit for 5 minutes.

3 1/2 c. white flour
The messy blob of whole wheat, oatmeal and water that sat overnight.

Mix with a spoon or hands (as Little Woman did both). When done, split dough into two batches, moving one batch to an oiled bowl. Cover both and allow to rise for 1 1/2 hours or until doubled. Punch down dough and place in oiled pans (we halved the recipe and it made 3 - 9"x5" loaves). Rise again. Place in a preheated 400 degree oven for 40 minutes.

One last note (added later)...The book says this could be refrigerated. Sounds like ABI5MAD to me! Oh, and Little Woman reminded me to tell you this is VERY sticky dough!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Quick Crepes for Breakfast

My dear husband did my Sam's Club run again yesterday while I napped. He came home with 2 huge containers of strawberries ($3.88 EACH!!!!), raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. To say we are berry fanatics would be an understatement. I love my husband...he knows what I love.

So, to celebrate the berry wonderful occasion, we had crepes for breakfast this morning. My crepes are not the super thin, see through, fall apart crepes. Those are for big people and I have little people here who cry when their crepes fall apart, so we adapted. These are very easy folks, so don't be intimidated! Oh and we don't need whipped cream around here to enjoy crepes, although they are very good when we do have it.

Here's the recipe:

Crepes for Kids HUGE BATCH SIZE feeds 5 kids and 2 adults
3 eggs
3 c. milk (substitute, in our case)
3 Tbsp melted butter
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp melted coconut oil
dash of vanilla
2 1/2 c. Bisquick

Heat a griddle or electric fry pan on medium high heat. Whisk eggs, milk, butter, sugar and oil with vanilla. Add Bisquick and whisk until smooth. Butter the skillet generously. The butter should melt immediately or it is not hot enough.

Pour 1/4 c. measure of batter and spread with the bottom of the cup. They should bubble on top right away.

As soon the edges are set or brown, slide a rubber spatula under the middle, lift and flip. Really, they shouldn't tear if they are cooked to a medium brown. Cook on the other side until just golden.

My skillet is big enough to do two at a time. Your mileage may vary. This goes really quick, so have someone else getting the inside ingredients ready or have them done beforehand. Don't take your toddler to the potty. Don't decide to make a cup of coffee. Stay there so they don't burn. IF by chance the first two aren't perfect. Eat them as a test case (that's what always happens here even when they are perfect). My kids hover, asking to test them, too. Most of the time I share :-).