alpharaposa: (home-cooking)
I had a recipe for pumpkin gingerbread that I wasn't entirely pleased with. So, I converted the sweetener in it from sugar to honey, bumped up the ginger, and added nutmeg. Below is the new recipe.

2 cups pumpkin puree (or one 15 oz can)
1 cup oil (or applesauce)
4 eggs
1 cup honey
1/3 cup water
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Mix all wet ingredients (including grated ginger). Mix all dry ingredients in seperate bowl. Combine and stir together until just mixed. Bake at 350 degrees. Muffins take 20-25 minutes. Makes 24 muffins.

The basic recipe makes a good, not-too-sweet, breakfasty muffin. If you want a little more sweet, butterscotch chips are an excellent add-in.
alpharaposa: (home-cooking)
My mom brought this recipe home, and I had to try it. Made these today and loved them, but keep milk or something similar on standby!

2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
1/3 cup (or so) of Demerara sugar (also called "turbinado")

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We used a slightly generous 1/2 tsp of cayenne, and that was just enough heat for us. (I like jalapeno poppers and spicy chicken sandwiches, but not much more than that.) The other spices don't stand out very much, but they're a great back up choir to the pepper's lead. And I love the slight sparkle and crunch from the Demerara.

alpharaposa: (home-cooking)
One of the joys of being around my parents so much lately is their stock of cast iron cookware. This has enabled me to practice cooking techniques that move between stovetop and oven. Such as frittatas. Or, as I'm cooking tonight, chicken fajitas.

You will need:
A cast iron skillet (at least 12" diameter)
tongs/forks for handling food
Instant read and/or probe thermometer (for meat)
cooking oil
2-3 chicken breasts, thawed
onions and bell peppers (2-4 vegetables in any combination)

salsa, sour cream, cheese, pico de gallo, black beans, guacamole, rice... whatever you'd normally put with your fajitas

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Congrats! It's fajitas, very like what you'd get at a restaurant! Serve with tortillas and your favorite additions. This is a very basic recipe, and is easily added to.
alpharaposa: (home-cooking)
For the holidays, I went hunting for a whole wheat, honey cookie with no refined sugar at all. I adapted a whole wheat, honey, chocolate chip recipe to remove the chips. I think they turned out delicious. Very soft, too. But huge.

3 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 cups honey
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 - 2 cups chopped walnuts

1. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and all the spices.
2. Preheat oven to 325. Beat butter and honey with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; beat until combined. Mix in nuts.
3. Drop dough by heaping tablespoon onto parchment lined baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart. Bake until golden around edges but soft in middle, about 13-15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack, and let cool completely.

Makes 20

Make Ahead
Dough can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.

These make fragrant cookies with great aroma. The ginger is noticeable! They also have that lovely, warm honey taste.
alpharaposa: (home-cooking)
In my pursuit to use up pumpkin pulp, I found a recipe for cookies and tried it out. It's a keeper without any modifications, but I'm reposting it here because the original website is one of those that's covered in ads and takes five pages of story and pictures before you get to the recipe.

Pumpkin Cookies:

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I halved the recipe and made a good test batch. I like these. Soft and cakey. Not a very strong flavor, but pleasant. I may have had half a dozen of them for breakfast this morning.
alpharaposa: (home-cooking)
This weekend, there were ripe bananas, and leftover peanut butter chips. So I made muffins.

1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 c butter, melted
1/3 c maple syrup (the real thing, not the fake stuff)
2 very ripe bananas
about half a bag of Reese's peanut butter chips
some unsweetened flaked coconut

Oven at 350 degrees F. Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl. Beat the eggs, butter, and syrup in another. Mash the bananas and add to the wet ingredients. Poor the wet ingredients into the dry, mix, add chips. Sprinkle the coconut on top. Bake for about 20 minutes. Makes 12 nice, big muffins.

They are delicious muffins, full of peanut butter and banana goodness! And it allowed me to finally clear out some stuff that I needed to use up.
alpharaposa: (home-cooking)
Some of you on Twitter and Facebook may have heard my lament on the sad state of carrot cake recipes out there. Mostly spices and sugar, carrot cake rests mostly on the deliciousness of cream cheese frosting. I, however, wanted a muffin. Not too sweet, with lots of carrots in it, that I could eat without feeling guilty. I finally found a recipe that yielded a wonderful muffin. Perfect, tender crumb, just sweet enough to satisfy, and loaded with carrots.

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alpharaposa: (home-cooking)
Been a while since my last cooking post!

This is a pasta technique I found that helps encourage the cubs to eat more veggies.

12-16 oz pasta (you can use macaroni, but rigatoni or similar ridged pasta holds the "sauce" better)
Some broccoli - 2-3 large stalks, or 3-4 crowns
A few garlic cloves
olive oil
water for boiling

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When finished cooking, you have green pasta that tastes a lot like broccoli. You can't really call this broccoli disguised because of the taste, but the older werecub gobbles up the green, broccoli coated pasta and not any pieces of broccoli stem that survive the cooking. Maybe it's a texture thing.

Anyway, a good dish if you like broccoli but aren't wild about the texture. Or just like green pasta.
alpharaposa: (micahicon)
While watching the episode of Good Eats about pumpkin pies, at one point Alton is holding a pie pumpkin and off-handedly says you could just fill one with cream, honey, and spices and bake it.

This sounded good to me, so our last pie pumpkin we bought a while ago was opened, seeds removed, and then I added some ingredients:

1/2 pint heavy cream
a handful of crystallized ginger, chopped
ground cinnamon
ground nutmeg
ground cloves
a little brown sugar

I oiled the outside, put it in a baking dish, and baked it in the oven at 350 degrees. After about an hour, the hubby scraped down some of the inside and hit it with the stick blender, but it wasn't pumpkiny enough. So we put it back for another 20 minutes, then took it out, scraped down some more, and used the blender again.

It tastes wonderful. And if we wanted to turn it into ice cream, I think we could easily pour the insides into a bowl, cut out and add a bit more of the sides and puree smooth, then add some whole milk to lower the overall fat content to an ice cream level. Chill and then send for a round in the ice cream machine.

Sound good?
alpharaposa: (home-cooking)
I tweeted about hash, and got some confusion. It's easy to forget that other people aren't familiar with your native cuisine!

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And that's hash. Tonight's hash was leeks, celery, bacon, potatoes, turnip, baked chicken, and eggs.
alpharaposa: (home-cooking)
Hubby wanted meatloaf, so we came up with a recipe that doesn't use ketchup (since I'm still not on speaking terms with tomatoes).

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If you're not watching your salt the way I am, you could probably add more than just a pinch and use some regular bacon for a fuller flavor, but I have no complaints about how this turned out! It was delicious and I plan to eat more of it this week!
alpharaposa: (home-cooking)
Christmas dessert this year was key limes all the way. I'm posting the recipe for the cheesecake below:

Key Lime Cheesecake (gluten-free recipe)

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This was my first time baking any cheesecake, and I was thrilled with how it came out! It's a little lighter and creamier than the standard cheesecake, but it carries the key lime flavor very well. The recipe makes about 12 modestly sized slices or 8 rather large ones.
alpharaposa: (home-cooking)
Tis the season! We bought a pie pumpkin, baked it and pureed the innards, so now I'm sorting through recipes and trying various types out. I made both pumpkin bars and pumpkin pancakes today. The pancakes were good, but not outstanding. The pumpkin bars were delicious, however, somewhere between a quickbread and a baked pudding with a pumpkin pie type taste. So I'm posting the pumpkin bar recipe below, with my modifications.

I am filled with seasonal cheer this evening. Quite stuffed!

1/2 cup oil (I subbed in applesauce, a frequent trick I use in baked goods)
1/3 cup honey
2 eggs
1 cup canned/pureed pumpkin
1 cup and 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice

Mix all the wet ingredients (including pumpkin). Add the dry ingredients. Mix until smooth. Batter will be fairly thick. Pour into greased 13x9 in baking pan. Bake 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool on a wire rack. Cut when cool.

Before I baked this and tried it, I was considering possible modifications, like adding cinnamon chips (recently spotted at the store) or subbing in some Special Dark cocoa powder for some of the flour. Really, though, I love how these taste without any more modifications. I think I'll get some whipping cream this weekend to whip and put on top and consider myself blessed!
alpharaposa: (bacon)
The werecub is still working on those last two molars, so one of his favorite snacks is a wedge of frozen waffle to gnaw on. We ran out, so Tuesday I decided to make some more and use up some very ripe bananas along the way. We used this recipe:

They were good, if very floppy (they don't even freeze stiff). But we wanted more. So, I found a half a pint of unused whipping cream in the fridge. We whipped it with a tablespoon of "special dark" cocoa powder and some powdered sugar. We sliced more banana on top of the waffles and covered it all with the whipped cream.

Oh, my, such indulgence. We each ate one waffle that way and were full. So, now I have leftover whipped cream and ideas on how to use it. I think next time, we can make the whipped cream with xylitol instead of sugar and have something rich and sweet but even more healthy!

And I did have plenty of leftover waffles to freeze for the cub.
alpharaposa: (bacon)
The bird turned out fan-flippin-tastic! Moist, flavorful, tender turkey with skin that even I dug into. We ate turkey until we were full, and then remembered that there was mashed potatoes.

The recipe? Gordon Ramsay's:

(The temps convert to approx 425 and 350 degrees fahrenheit.)

Seriously. If you roast a turkey, try this method. It's worth the extra effort, and the bacon on top tastes just as good as the bird.

Ima go veg for a bit. When do the Packers start?

Edit: oh, yeah.. and when we watched the episode, Gordon said to let the bird rest for as long as it cooked, so we did. That may have added to the juiciness.
alpharaposa: (Default)
Last week, we stopped by the butcher at the farmer's market and picked up some marrow bones. I roasted them and we tried eating marrow on toast. Very tasty for one piece. Four pieces of toast with marrow is just too much.

After that, I took the bones, threw in some onion and a lot of water and some garlic and some vinegar into the crock pot. I cooked them for several hours, let them rest half a day, cooked again, let rest, and then took out everything and strained the liquid. Bone broth.

To that, I added beef broth (from the store) to bring it all up to somewhere between 4 and 5 cups of liquid. The hubby was kind enough to soak some barley for me while I was at work, so when I got home, I made stew.

1 cup lentils
1 cup barley (presoaked at least 4 hours)
1 teaspoon additional minced garlic
2 small cans of petite diced tomatoes (plain, no added spices)
3-4 cups of chopped kale
Salt, pepper, and oregano to taste.

I cooked the lentils and barley together in broth for 30 minutes. Added tomatoes (with juices from can), kale, and spices. Cooked it another 20 minutes until the kale was tender.

It's very thick and hearty, and sort of Christmas colored, with the blond barley and lentils mixed with red tomato pieces and dark green kale. I wish we'd had some bay leaves to add to the broth, and both the hubby and I agreed that it could use some meat, probably bacon or sausage. So, next time, I'll try adding those in. And there will definitely be a next time. It's healthy and we all liked the taste, including the werecub.

Warning: both the lentils and barley expand when cooked. This makes a LOT of stew.
alpharaposa: (home-cooking)
Let me start this off by noting that this was made at the same time as I was making roasted red pepper sandwiches with bacon. So, that's where the bacon grease came from. >.>

I cooked about 2c (dry) of lentils in 4c water, with some garlic and onion powder in a large pot. I let it simmer while I was prepping other things. (Like the bacon for the sandwiches.)

Diced one large yellow onion. Cooked the onion in the leftover bacon grease.

When the lentils were tender, turned off the burner. Let onions cook until soft and sweet (about 15 minutes, total).
Added the onions to the lentils. (No, I didn't drain the grease. The onions and lentils soaked it all up.)

Also added one large can of crushed tomatoes, and a large bag of frozen veggies I wanted to use up.

More garlic powder, some curry powder, and salt to taste.

Stirred it, heated it until the frozen veggies were tender, then let it cool while we ate the sandwiches I had prepped on the side. Packaged it into those reusable/disposable containers. I filled up 4 2c containers, one quart container, and had a little left over that I put in a tupperware.

Note: do not microwave foods that contain tomato in plastic containers you want to stay nice! Tomato stains plastic, and is particularly bad if heated in it.

One 2c serving is a nice, filling lunch for me at work.
alpharaposa: (Default)
We had some roasted red pepper strips on hand. I fried some bacon, and layered the pepper strips with the bacon and some mozzarella and a little mayo between two slices of bread. Grilled on the griddle until the cheese just started to droop.

It was very tasty. Definitely something to make again. :9 Maybe next time, I'll put it in the George Foreman grill to make a panini-like sandwich.

Next time, I will roast more peppers, though. I only had enough for two sandwiches.
alpharaposa: (home-cooking)
I'm gradually learning to cook with a plan instead of a recipe. On Labor Day, I fried up 8 strips of bacon, and set them aside for BLTs.

I tossed half a larg onion, diced, into the grease and let it cook. When the onion was looking tanned, I added some flour and turned it into a bacon grease roux.

When it was looking bubbly and tan, I added heavy cream. I cooked it barely two minutes before it was thick, took it off the heat.

This was mixed with frozen veggies, browned ground turkey, and a little more cream in a casserole dish, then topped with mashed potatoes and baked. The result? Just as good as using some "cream of" soup, or better.
alpharaposa: (home-cooking)
So, I'm continuing to make freezer jam after my strawberry experiment. I made a batch of peach freezer jam that failed to set on the first try. I think the peaches were too ripe. So, some sugar and more pectin and boiling off some of the extra juice, and now I have firm, spreadable peach jam! With less than a cup of sugar in just over a quart. (2 pint jars plus tiny leftover in 1/2 pint jar.)

I commented on twitter that the amazing thing about homemade jam is how intense the flavor is. I'm not kidding about that. Since I'm using a low/no sugar pectin and adding very little sugar to the mix, the fruit tastes are not diluted by extra sugar or water. It's just FRUIT. Since I had to boil the peaches on the remake for about a minute to get rid of the extra liquid, it's been concentrated some. Not much, but it's a real wake up for somebody who's lived all her life eating the store-bought stuff.

So, cherries are showing up at the supermarket, and I bought some to turn into more jam. It's funny, but now that I've had the real thing, I don't want the sugar-filled jams and jellies from the store. I don't even want the spreadable fruit stuff. I want to have the stuff that I make, that I put on in a very thin layer because there's so much flavor in it.

Incidentally, peach jam tastes good in a sandwich with cream cheese. And now I'm looking for recipes that use jam as an ingredient. I can understand thumbprint cookies, now. When you have jam that's full of real flavor, you want to use it in stuff!


alpharaposa: (Default)

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