I love baking and cooking! Join me as I explore new recipes, old favorites, and healthier options.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fruity German Pancakes

We have a new favorite recipe.
It's a breakfast food, but we often eat if for dinner.
When I was growing up,
we'd eat these pancakes (the non-fruit variety)
every Christmas morning,
so they were called "Christmas Morning Pancakes".
Now we love this old/new recipe with some fruit added.
With no sugar in the pancake itself,
it's easy to control the sweetness.
German Pancakes

6 Tbsp. butter
sliced fruit
(our favorites are apples or peaches – peeled and thinly sliced, but I'm dying to try strawberries or blueberries)
brown sugar
8 large eggs
2 cups flour
2 cups milk
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Heat oven to 400.  Melt butter in 9X12 pan in oven.  Sprinkle pan with brown sugar and cinnamon.  Lay sliced fruit into pan.

Beat remaining ingredients.  Pour into cake pan.  Bake 30-35 minutes, or until browned.  Serve warm with lemon juice and powdered sugar.

We have several tiny shakers.
I fill them part-way with powdered sugar and give each child one.
Sometimes they shake them on, but sometimes they resort to eating the sugar straight from the shaker.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Chicken Broccoli Casserole

What are your comfort foods?
On my short list I'd include
Chicken Broccoli Casserole,
a childhood favorite.
Perfect on a cool fall evening.
Thanks for the great recipe, Mom.
Chicken Broccoli Casserole
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (Cooked and chopped)
1 bag frozen broccoli (cooked)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste
cheddar cheese

 Place chicken and broccoli in pan.  Stir soup, mayo, milk, juice, salt, & pepper.  Stir into chicken mix.  Spread evenly in pan.  Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup

Cold days seem to be begging for a pot of homemade chicken noodle soup.
I love it herb-y and hot with a side of warm, whole-wheat rolls.
Chicken Noodle Soup

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp. minced garlic
1 cup chopped onions
2 chicken breasts, cubed
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 cup peas
2 cups egg noodles
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. parsley
1 1/2 tsp. sage
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. thymne
1/4 tsp. paprika

Heat oil in large pot.  Add garlic and onions.  Cook until browned.  Add chicken.   Saute until cooked.  Add chicken broth and water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium (or until soup is softly boiling).  Add remaining ingredients.  Cook until noodles are soft, adding water as necessary.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

Today we needed a little treat to sweeten our school day.  The kids were wowed by this two-layer fudge.  I don't know if they'd ever had fudge before.  They certainly didn't know what it was.  The chocolatey smeared faces soon proved their approval.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge
1/2 cup butter
3 1/3 cups dark chocolate chips (60% cacao)
2 tsp. vanilla
3 1/4 cups powdered sugar
4 Tbsp. milk

1 1/4 cup peanut butter
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
3 Tbsp. milk

1.  Line a 9x13 pan with aluminum foil (anyone still call this tinfoil - we still do).

2.  Melt chocolate and butter in a glass bowl in the microwave, stirring every minute or two, until melted.

3.  Add powdered sugar and vanilla to a large bowl or stand mixer.  Add chocolate mixture.  Add milk.  Beat until well blended.  (Depending on the humidity, you may need to add more or less milk.  Watch the texture as you mix.)

4.  Dump fudge into lined pan.  Push fudge down into a flat, even layer.

5.  Add powdered sugar and peanut butter to mixing bowl or stand mixer.  Add vanilla and milk.  Beat well.  (Depending on the humidity, you may need to add more or less milk.  Watch the texture as you mix.)

6.  Dump peanut butter fudge into lined pan on top of the chocolate layer.  Push fudge down into a flat, even layer.

7.  Refrigerate for 3 hours or until firm.

8.  Cut and serve.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tunnel of Fudge Cake

A few weeks ago some friends invited us over for dessert.
They served a "tunnel of fudge" cake.
Apparently this is a classic recipe, but it was new to us.
We decided to try it today.
After researching lots of recipes online, we selected one and started baking.
We tried this recipe here.

Not sure if this is my favorite recipe or not.
Our friend's cake was fudgey in the middle.
Our was more molten - think lava cake.
It was good, but is it the best recipe?
I'm not sure.
I loved the deep chocolate on chocolate taste,
but I might prefer a more fudgey texture.

I do love the impressive look of the cake.
Anything in a bundt pan is visually appealing.
Do you have a favorite recipe for Tunnel of Fudge Cake recipe?

Let me know.

Friday, September 2, 2011


Do you ever skip lunch?  My children love "skipping" lunch.  I tell the children we are NOT having lunch, just snacks.  (Thanks to my mom for the fantastic idea.)  Today I pulled out lots of "fun" kid bowls and filled the table with bowls of red grapes, green grapes, blue grapes (what Erik calls black grapes), cherries, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, cheese, and some veggie straws.  Instant unlunch.  Try it sometime.  Your kids will thank you!

By the way, thanks to Disney for inspiring a new love of cherries in my boys.  We went to the store and saw cherries in a bag with a large picture of Lightening McQueen.  Now Sean prefers McQueen cherries to almost any other food.  Excellent!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Lentil Soup & Pita Chips

All through dinner we sang... "Eat Like an Egyptian".
Taste this Egyptian meal - a kid favorite at my house.

Lentil Soup
2 cups dried lentils
3 quarts water
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped carrots
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup chopped potato
1/2 cup chopped & seeded tomato
4 beef boullion cubes
3 Tbsp. canola oil
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin (add more to taste)
2 tsp. dried parsley

Wash lentils well.  Add to large pot.  Add water.  Bring to a boil. 
Add remaining ingredients.  Simmer for 1 hour until everything is soft. 

Pita Chips
2 pita rounds (see recipe here)
1 Tbsp. butter

Melt butter in frying pan over medium heat. 
Cut pita rounds into 8 slices.
Fry pita chips for 4 minutes per side.
Cool and serve.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Egg in a Cup

Have you tried egg in a cup?
It's been awhile, but if you only need one egg,
it's fast, easy, and great entertainment for little helpers.

Egg in a Cup
1 egg
salt, pepper, garlic, cheese, or whatever you like on your egg.
1 mug

1.  First add egg and seasonings to the mug.  Whip with a fork.
2.  Place mug in microwave.  Cook egg for 1 minute.  (Adjust as needed for microwave power.)  When you begin cooking, the egg will fill approximately 1/3 of the mug.
 3.  Invite your little helpers to watch as the egg begins to fill the cup.  We call this "egg volcano".
 4.  Dump egg onto a plate.  Cut and fluff with a fork.  Enjoy!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Monster Cookies

Growing up we made these cookies:
loaded with chocolate chips and M&M's.
They adapt very well to a healthier version -
high protein and high fiber.
Monster Cookies
1 ½ cup peanut butter
4 eggs
1 1/4 cup pureed dried fruit (I used apricots and prunes)
2 tsp. vanilla
½ cup butter
2 tsp. baking soda
3 ½ cups oatmeal
1 cup oat bran
1 cup high cacoa chocolate chips 
1/2 cup raisins

Mix first 7 ingredients.  Add dry ingredients.  Stir in chocolate chips and M&M’s.  Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown (centers will be soft).  Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet.  Cool on wire rack.  Enjoy.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pita Bread

We wanted falafel for dinner.
But we didn't have any pita bread.
Figured I'd just find a recipe.
Turned out to be great entertainment, too!
Pita Bread
2 1/2 tsp. yeast
1 1/2 cup warm water
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 cups white flour
1.  Mix yeast and water.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients. 
2.  Knead in mixture for 6 minutes or knead by hand for 10.
3. Let rise for 1 hour or until double in size. 
You can speed this process up in the following way (works for all breads).  Turn your oven on set for 450 degrees.  Allow it to heat for 1 minute.  Turn the oven off.  Place dough in a bowl covered with a damp cloth inside the oven which is now warm, not hot.  The dough usually doubles in about 30 minutes.
4.  Divide dough into 12 balls.
5.  Roll flat until dough is 1/8 inch thick.
6.  Place rounds on a greased cookie sheet.
7.  Bake at 500 degrees on a low oven rack for 5-6 minutes.
The pita will be ready when the bread is lightly browned.
 8.  Optional:  Now the fun part!  The dough will POOF as it's rising. 
 My children thought this looked like balloons expanding.  After the bread's been in the oven for 2 or 3 minutes, invite your little ones to WATCH.
My kids were glued!
 This is how we served our pitas.
The balls are falafel.
(Falafel is a vegetarian protein made of seasoned chickpeas - very common in the middle east and introduced to me by my mom when I had Sean).
We ate them in our pitas with chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, and yellow bell peppers.
 Close-up of the Falafel.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pumpkin Cookies

Christmas tended to be a little too sweet around here.  We just returned home from visiting family, and I'm back to finding life sweet enough.  Here's some cookies I whipped up tonight.

Pumpkin Cookies
1/2 cup pumpkin
3 Tbsp. butter, softened
2 Tbsp. canola oil
3/4 cup pureed prunes
1/4 cup molasses
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. baking soda

3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
3/4 cup high cacao chocolate chips

Beat all ingredients until well blended.  Stir in pecans and chocolate chips.  Scoop onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes at 400 degress.