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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Menu Plan: December 27 - January 2 (Days 3 - 9 of Christmas)

This is a bit late this week, we've been busy with Christmas and having some time to our family. Christmas was quiet and beautiful here. We only had our immediate family and did not have to keep even a modicum of a schedule. However, even with just our family, our activity has kept me busy enough not to be able to put together any blog posts. I will put the recipe for brown sugar biscuits on this week's recipes come Saturday. I also have some pictures of everyone from Christmas and of the wooden toys that Rich made for the children.

Since we are in the 12 days of Christmas, we have no meatless days this week. Our anniversary is also this week, but we will be celebrating it a little more quietly as well. We have a big dinner to go to the day before, so we're just going to celebrate on our own the next day.What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up on Saturday.

Here is the list of foods from the freezer, fridge and pantry that I'm using this week. Anything from the freezer, pantry or fridge that was not bought specifically for this meal or this past week will be included in my lists.

Freezer:
Ham
Kielbasa
Chuck Roast
Mixed Sliced Peppers
Cargamento Beans
Mozzarella Cheese
Butternut Squash
Green Beans
Unbaked Pumpkin Pie
Blackberries
Pear Sauce


Fridge:
Eggs
Butter
Milk (& Cream from the Top)
Sour Cream
Horseradish
Parmesan
Muenster
Cheddar
Lemons
Salami
Carrots
Celery
Parsley
Marinated Artichoke Hearts
Leftover Sausage
Maple Syrup


Pantry:
All Herbs & Spices
Salts
Potatoes
Onions
Garlic
Olive Oil
Brown Rice
Hard White Wheat Berries
Soft White Wheat Berries
Yellow Indian Woman Beans
Pastry Flour
Corn Starch
Yeast
Coffee
All Sugars
Honey
Cocoa Powder
Peanut Butter
Dove Chocolates
Vanilla Extract
Olives
Golden Raisins
Dried Cherries
Apples
Brussels Sprouts
Canned Tomatoes
Tomato Paste
Mustard
Bourbon

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Menu Plan: Fourth Week of Advent & Christmas

Well, the end of Advent is upon us. Our Advent has been much lower key this year, and our Christmas will be as well. Our normal rib roast for Christmas dinner is being replaced with a roast turkey, as we aren't butchering our steer until after Christmas. Our children are counting down the days to Christmas, we are trying to fit in all the last minute preparations. We still have several gifts to mail, our Christmas letter to get out and all the presents for the children wrapped. Thank God there are 12 days of Christmas!What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up on Saturday.

Here is the list of foods from the freezer, fridge and pantry that I'm using this week. Anything from the freezer, pantry or fridge that was not bought specifically for this meal or this past week will be included in my lists.

Freezer:
Turkey
Shortribs
Kielbasa
Ground Pork (for sausage)
Mixed Sliced Peppers
Poblano Peppers
San Marzano Tomatoes
Butternut Squash
Garbanzo Beans
Carrot Cake
Unbaked Pumpkin Pies
Candy Canes

Fridge:
Eggs
Butter
Milk (& Cream from the Top)
Sour Cream
Cream Cheese
Chevre
Muenster
Cheddar
Yogurt
Salami
Carrots
Celery
Parsley
Leftover Tomato Sauce


Pantry:
All Herbs & Spices
Salts
Potatoes
Onions
Garlic
Olive Oil
Sushi Rice
Falafel Mix
Hard White Wheat Berries
Soft White Wheat Berries
Cargamento Cranberry Beans
Yeast
Bittersweet Chocolate
Espresso Powder
Coffee
Tea
All Sugars
Honey
Vanilla Extract
Almond Butter
Olives
Golden Raisins
Apples
Clementines

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Weekly Recipes: December 19


Butternut Squash & Spinach Bread Pudding

I started with a recipe for butternut squash, kale, shallots and cheddar cheese, decided to change it to spinach, onions, mozzarella and parmesan and messed with the method a little to account for the quicker cooking spinach.

2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt, more to sprinkle
7 large eggs
2 1/4 cups rich milk
6 tablespoons dry white wine
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 large loaf of French or Italian bread (I used a three cheese semolina loaf), torn into 1 inch pieces
1 large onion, peeled and diced
1 pound spinach, washed and dried
8 ounces mozzarella, grated (I used fresh, after freezing it a little to make it easier to grate, but the regular store type would work just fine)
2 ounces parmesan, finely grated


Preheat oven to 400°F.

Toss squash with 1 tablespoon oil on rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with a little salt. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until soft and starting to brown.

Whisk eggs in large bowl. Add half and half, wine, mustard, and 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt; whisk to blend. Add baguette pieces; fold gently into egg mixture. Let soak 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until soft, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat. Add spinach and combine with onion and oil. Spinach will start to wilt a little, but not cook down too much.

Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

Butter 15x11x2-inch baking dish (or two smaller pans). Using slotted spoon,
transfer half of bread from egg mixture to prepared baking dish, arrange to cover most of the dish. Spoon half of spinach mixture over bread. Spoon half of squash over bread and kale; sprinkle with half of cheese. Repeat with remaining bread, spinach, squash and cheese. Pour remaining egg mixture over bread pudding.

Cover bread pudding with foil. Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil, bake
uncovered until custard is set and bread feels springy to touch,
about 20 minutes longer.

Cool 5 minutes and serve.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Menu Plan: Third Week of Advent

We are truly rejoicing this Gaudete Sunday, as Yasmina was baptized this morning. We were able to go to our home church back on the west side as our bishop was visiting, and he did the honors for us. I was also able to surprise my prayer group by showing up on time just like normal, with the whole family. I didn't even mention to them that we were coming into the area. What fun that was! The looks on their faces were priceless. We weren't able to fit in everything we wanted to do or all the people we wanted to see in three short days, but it was good to see the folks we did see.

I was going to schedule a bean week challenge this week, but our plans were shifted quite a bit by the baptism, so I think I'm just going to call it for this month and try again in January. We are learning exactly how cold cold is. -2 has been the lowest temperature so far, this month, but we hear it is normal to see lows around -17 and -20 in January. I'm glad our house is well stocked.

We did get our tree this weekend, but we only got home this evening, so we haven't put it up yet. We have three Ember days this week, so Wednesday and Friday will be 24 hour fasts and Saturday will be a sun up to sun down fast for us. The food those days will be for our children who do not fast fully.What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up on Saturday.

Here is the list of foods from the freezer, fridge and pantry that I'm using this week. Anything from the freezer, pantry or fridge that was not bought specifically for this meal or this past week will be included in my lists. I will update this list tomorrow, I just wanted to get the menu planned before I went to bed. Done!

Freezer:
Turkey Soup
Cooked Turkey
Turkey Gravy
Roasted Corn
Mixed Sliced Peppers
Poblano Peppers
Butternut Squash
Mozzarella Cheese

Fridge:
Eggs
Butter
Milk (& Cream from the Top)
Parmesan
Feta
Cheddar
Yogurt
Lemons
Carrots
Celery
Pancetta
Greek Olives


Pantry:
All Herbs & Spices
Salts
Potatoes
Onions
Garlic
Olive Oil
Brown Basmati Rice
Sushi Rice
Hard White Wheat Berries
Soft White Wheat Berries
Steel Cut Oats
Black Beans
Corn Meal
Yeast
Baking Powder
Baking Soda
Coffee
Tea
All Sugars
Honey
Almond Butter
Tomato Sauce
Olives
Canned Chiles
Golden Raisins
Apples

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Weekly Recipes: December 12

Only one this week. But it's a good one for cold winter mornings and can be prepared the night before and popped in the oven before you shower in the morning. This is also a great way to reclaim apples or pears that are getting mealy.

Baked Oatmeal

2 cups steel cut oats
2 cups raisins(or other small dried fruit, like cranberries or cherries or chopped apricots)
2 cups chopped apples or pears
water to cover
2 1/4 cups milk
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped nuts

Butter a 9" X 13" pan well. Pour in oats, raisins and chopped apples (or pears). Stir to combine. Cover with water and let soak on the counter overnight.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix the milk, honey, coconut oil, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, baking powder and salt together well (I use a stick blender, but if you are doing it by hand, whisk the dry things into the honey and coconut oil, then whisk the eggs in, then whisk in the milk and vanilla). Pour over soaked oat mixture and mix well. Carefully stir in nuts. Bake for 30-45 minutes.

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Sunday, December 06, 2009

Menu Plan: Second Week of Advent

We begin the second week of Advent with the feast day of St. Nicholas. We put out our stockings last night and received quite the bounty, including our bags of gold (to recall how the good Bishop saved three poor sisters from being sold into prostitution since they had no dowry).

Since we enjoy turkey so much, and we got so many good deals on turkeys before Thanksgiving, we decided to roast a smaller one for our St. Nicholas dinner. We still had some brussels sprouts, so I roasted those whole in olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. We used the last of our frozen pie cherries to make a pie for dessert. This is the last feast day we observe until Christmas day. There is a little break next Sunday because it is Gaudete Sunday, but it is still a bit more subdued. We hope to put our Christmas tree up then, and string the lights. We do not decorate it fully until Christmas Eve after Mass.What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. Starred recipes will follow separately.

Here is the list of foods from the freezer, fridge and pantry that I'm using this week. Anything from the freezer, pantry or fridge that was not bought specifically for this meal or this past week will be included in my lists.

Freezer:
Turkey
Ground Beef
Chicken Broth
Sprouted Wheat Bagels
Tomatoes
Roasted Corn
Sliced Peppers
Peas
Hazelnut Meal
Cherries
Pie Crust (homemade and prepared ahead of time)
Cranberries
Pumpkin Puree

Fridge:
Eggs
Butter
Milk (& Cream from the Top)
Parmesan
Cheddar
Cream Cheese
Homemade Mayonnaise
Yogurt
Lemons
Carrots
Celery
Salami


Pantry:
All Herbs & Spices
Salts
Potatoes
Onions
Garlic
Olive Oil
Brown Basmati Rice
Sushi Rice
Hard White Wheat Berries
Soft White Wheat Berries
Steel Cut Oats
Black Beans
Walnuts
Pastry Flour
Corn Meal
Yeast
Baking Powder
Baking Soda
Coffee
Tea
Vanilla Extract
Almond Extract
All Sugars
Honey
Tomato Sauce
Olives
Canned Chiles
Golden Raisins
Dried Cherries
Brussels Sprouts
Apples
Oranges
Sherry

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Saturday, December 05, 2009

Weekly Recipes: December 5

Slow Sauteed Green Beans

I know, I know, it's a lot of oil. Trust me. It's great this way and you will love it.

1/2 cup olive oil
2 large onions, diced
8 cloves garlic
2 pounds green beans, washed and trimmed (can be frozen)
kosher salt to taste

Heat oil in large saute pan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and stir to cook and soften, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low and add green beans. Stir to keep onions and garlic from burning on the bottom of the pan. Cook over medium low heat, stirring frequently, for 45 minutes. If it looks like the onions might burn, turn the heat down. Season with salt to taste. You will end up with soft green beans, dark, dark brown onions (but not burned!), and amazing flavor.




Saffron Buns for St. Barbara's Day


1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons cold milk
zest of two lemons (to be used separately, so dividing them at the beginning is easiest)
3 cups bread flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1 cup slivered almonds (I was out this year, so I used sliced almonds)
2 teaspoons yeast
1 cup golden raisins
Coarse Sugar

Heat milk and zest of one lemon together briefly, just to warm. Allow to cool slightly while the oils from the zest diffuse in the milk. Pour into bread machine pan. Add flour, sugar, eggs, butter, salt, saffron, slivered almonds and yeast. Process on dough setting. Add raisins and zest of remaining lemon to dough and process on dough cycle again, for about 5 minutes, stopping machine just after raisins are mixed into dough.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead slightly to form an elastic dough. Cut into 12 - 16 pieces and shape into figure eights, brush with water and sprinkle with coarse sugar and allow to rise on greased pan, covered with a damp towel, until doubled in bulk about an hour.

Bake in preheated oven, at 375 F, for about 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove buns from pan to cool on rack. Serve warm.


Bleu Cheese Dressing

This is so easy to make, it makes us wonder why people buy it. The only bleu cheese I will eat is gorgonzola, so that is what we use. Also, I make the mayonnaise for the dressing, it is so fast and easy and better than store bought. You will never, ever, buy store bought again if you start making your own.

This is the recipe from Joy of Cooking, with a tiny amount of tweaking:

1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
salt & pepper to taste
4 oz gorgonzola, crumbled

Mix it all together. Eat on salad or celery sticks. The end.


And a bonus recipe, because we enjoy this so much and I thought you might have extra pumpkin puree lying about. Sweet potato would work in this, too.

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

I used whole wheat pastry flour, but was thinking of subbing 1 cup of the pastry flour with oat flour. If you try that, let me know how it tastes.

3 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I used freshly milled)
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. Set aside.

In another bowl, mix milk, pumpkin, eggs and butter. I usually melt the butter in this bowl first, then add the rest of the stuff. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well, but don't worry about a stray lump or two.

Heat your griddle or your pan and cook these, using about 1/3 of a cup of batter, flipping after most of the bubbles formed on the top have popped. I have a really hot stove, so these get cooked at 2 on my stove setting, which is just above low.

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Actual Drawing

I know I was supposed to do this more than a week ago. I kept meaning to do it, then either falling asleep or having to do something else. So, before I get pulled into another task, here is the winner of Knit the Season:

Webhill! I will e-mail you to get your address so I can send this. Maybe even before December is over.

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