Salted Apple

The other day my 5-year-old started an unsolicited brainstorming session concerning what she would be having for snack that afternoon.

“Apples with… salt mama! Ha! Let’s make that!” she said jokingly. And I said, “I think that’s actually something people do eat sometimes. Wanna try it?”

And, of course, she said “YES!” So I bought out a tiny bowl with some kosher salt and viola!

She liked it. She loves salt almost as much as she loves sugar. My other kid was not a fan though. Can’t win ’em all. My husband thinks I’m a loser for publishing this since he’s been “eating apples like that for years“. But I’d never heard of it until I met him.

In other news…

We have sprouts. Not just any sprouts either. This is the precious Lemon Basil, the herb to end all herbs. It’s the whole reason I’m starting everything from seed. I couldn’t find it at my local nurseries last year. I hope it’s a strong little plant because I have no idea what I’m doing.

The Big Rainbow tomato sprouts emerged today too. These will produce giant yellow heirloom tomatoes with red stripes. I’m salivating as I type this. Get crackin’ little plant!

In case you hadn’t noticed I’m a little giddy over the coming of spring. I can’t help it. There’s no one happier than a New Englander when spring finally arrives.

Also, in case you were wondering, the chicks are doing their best to take over the basement.

You know it’s time to move them out into larger quarters in the garage when they jump right out of the bin and roost proudly on the edge. I’m already afraid this one is a rooster because she is so brazen and ready to take on the world.

Oh, and one more thing…

If you’re looking for the best Double Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe ever, I’ve got a lead for you. This blessed cookie was made from a recipe in Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan. It’s brilliant. It’s more of a brownie than a cookie. I think I’m going to need to own a copy of the book soon because the recipe for Swedish Oatmeal Hardtack is also excellent. And the recipe/tutorial devoted to pie crust is one of the best I’ve seen.

 

Shiny Happy People

Here’s another one to add to the simple yet brilliant category. My five-year-old thinks they’re the bee’s knees. Any snack that can momentarily distract her from her seemingly constant fixation on sugar is a winner in my book.

I think I’m going to save you from my blather and not post a recipe for this one. It’s obvious from the picture right? All you need is a slice of apple, peanut butter, and raisins and you’re good to go. I do the apple and peanut butter prep and let the child go to town with the raisins. We really know how to live it up here.

These remind me of Apple Flying Saucers which I wrote a recipe for back in 2009.

Chicks! (Again!)

As of last week, we have four little chicks hanging out in a bin in our basement. They are beyond cute. They are fluffy. They peep. And hopefully sometime this fall they’ll burden us with an overabundance of eggs.

Two of them are Ameraucanas which means they’ll lay blue eggs. The other two are New Hampshire Reds. The New Hampshires are the yellow ones.

We’re also getting closer to the good stuff with our current hens. I’ve been throwing large handfuls of raw kale their way and we’ve started getting eggs with slightly darker yokes. Thus far my family is less than enthusiastic about the kale I try to serve them. So I figure feeding it to the hens is the next best way to get those dark leafy greens into their systems.

Breakfast Nirvana

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Moonstruck is probably my favorite romantic comedy of all time. I’ve been cuing it up for many years now. In the beginning, it was all about the unstoppable and offbeat romance between Loretta (Cher) and Ronny (Nicholas Cage). But lately every time I watch it I focus on the food.

I love the scene where Rose (Olympia Dukakis) fixes egg-in-a-hole for Loretta. Until recently I thought Rose had added some bacon on top of the egg. We’ve even made it this way a few times. But the last time I watched the movie I noticed that it was really strips of roasted red pepper! I am thoroughly over the bacon-on-top-of-and-inside-everything-you-could-possibly-eat thing. So roasted red pepper sounds so much more exciting.

The next morning I couldn’t find any roasted red peppers in the house. But we did have some leftover caramelized onions hanging out in the back of the refrigerator. I didn’t hesitate because, as far as I can tell, caramelized onions never disappoint. And this time was no exception.[/donotprint]

Egg-in-a-Hole with Caramelized Onions Recipe

One slice bread
One egg
1 tablespoon butter (or less, just don’t be shy with the butter)
Salt and pepper
1-2 tablespoons caramelized onions

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Cut a hole out of the center of a piece of bread with a 2-inch round cookie cutter or the rim of a shot glass. Add butter to skillet and wait until the butter is melted and starts to bubble/sizzle.

Place the bread in the skillet. Crack an egg into the hole. Season with a dash of salt and pepper. Top with the caramelized onions. Cook for four or five minutes and then flip the bread over with a spatula and cook one minute more.  Serve immediately.

Yield: one serving
Prep-time: 5 minutes

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Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (for the Bread Machine)

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The weather here has been beyond amazing lately. It’s February in New England and sometimes I find myself in a t-shirt. Outside even. It’s been heavenly and I hope it continues.

What seems to be the early coming of Spring has sent me into a baking frenzy. I simply can’t stop making bread. Have you ever seen the cookbook Flatbreads & Flavors? It’s like crack for homemade bread makers. I just can’t stop. Before we know it it will be far too gorgeous outside to stay in and bake. I was planning on making tons of crackers this winter too and I’ve done next to none. Woe is me.

Recently, I couldn’t find a recipe for whole wheat pizza dough for bread machines on the World Wide Web. It’s always a little troubling when a recipe search just comes up empty. Doesn’t the web have everything on it by now? Anyhow, I was forced to do a little experimenting and come up with my own.

This recipe is actually a mash-up of my husband’s recipe and one I found in a bread machine cookbook. I’m not sure if any of it actually makes sense. But it works for me. I make the dough in the bread machine and then put it in the fridge overnight. My husband does the overnight rest, but I forget why – probably something to do with gluten development or something.

I haven’t tried throwing this dough to make a traditional pizza pie, but it would probably rise to the occasion. I’ve been making ten thousand pinwheels instead. I have enough pinwheels for an army in my freezer. My kid’s school lunches are going to be very predictable, but yummy, for the rest of the year.[/donotprint]

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough Recipe (Bread Machine)

Scant cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Put the water, sugar, olive oil, salt, and flours in the bread machine pan. Make a well in the flour for the yeast and pour it in. Put the machine on the Dough setting. Check on it once the knead cycle has been going for a little while to make sure it’s not too wet or too dry.

Divide the dough in two and place each dough in a lightly greased 2-quart airtight container. Place the containers in the refrigerator overnight.

30 – 60 minutes before you are going to need the dough, place it on the counter and allow it to come to room temperature. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface or onto a baking sheet.

The rest is up to you! Happy pizza!

Yield: 2 pounds of dough, enough for 2 12-inch pizzas
Prep-time: 5 minutes

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Web morsels

Mini fish tacos from Inspired Taste.

Granola Chocolate Bites from Eat Life Whole.

Fruits and Vegetables at Every Meal and Every Snack — Every Darned Day from It’s Not About Nutrition.

My Skills Include Eating Dounuts: Social Media Explained at Gastronomista.

No Muffin Left Behind: 5 Common Baking Problems and How to Fix Them from America’s Test Kitchen. Also check out Taco Night, Unleashed.

 

Brocoli and Cheddar Pinwheels (and a Cookbook Giveaway!)

Don’t tell anyone, but did you know that people just give you new cookbooks when you’re a food blogger? And sometimes they even give you recipes to share. Even really good recipes. Take, for instance, these brilliant pinwheels from Parents Need To Eat Too by the lovely Ms. Debbie Koenig.

Oh, how I wish this cookbook existed when I was a new mum. I think my husband and I made quesadillas and spaghetti for many months. I vividly remember not being able to tackle any recipe that involved chopping of any sort until the baby was at least 6 months old. I’d read a recipe that called for peeling and chopping an onion and roll my eyes and mumble something like, “Yeah, like that’s ever going to happen.”

The author of Parents Need To Eat Too has been there and has amassed a stunning array of parent-friendly recipes that would have broken even me out of my quesadilla and take-out pizza rut. It includes exciting recipes for a variety one-handed meals such as these pinwheels, slow cooker delicacies, recipes broken down into stages so most of the work can be done during naps, as well as recipes that support breastfeeding.

If you’d like to win a copy of Parents Need To Eat Too, comment on this post and tell us how you keep yourself fed when you have a new babe in the house. I’ll pick a winner next Saturday, February 18th at 7pm EST using random.org.

Update 2-18-2012: And the winner is Christy! Thanks to everyone for your comments. 

Broccoli and Cheddar Pinwheels Recipe from Parents Need To Eat Too

1 pound prepared pizza dough, white or
whole wheat
2¹⁄₂ cups finely chopped broccoli, or one 10-ounce package of frozen chopped broccoli, defrosted and finely chopped
1 to 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line or grease a baking sheet.

1. Remove pizza dough from the refrigerator 30 minutes to 1 hour before you plan to use it.

2. Steam the broccoli until just tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Cool slightly, then combine broccoli with the Cheddar, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste.

3. Roll or stretch the dough on a floured work surface into a large rectangle, about 10 x 14 inches. Don’t worry if you can’t get those exact measurements, but take care not to stretch the dough so thin it rips.

4. Spread the broccoli mixture over about three-quarters of the dough, leaving an uncoated portion at one short side. Begin to roll the dough from the short side covered with the broccoli spread, and keep rolling until you’ve got a nice, neat log of dough.

5. using a serrated knife or a pastry scraper, cut the log into 8 equal pinwheels. Carefully lay the pinwheels flat on the prepared baking sheet, and bake until crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted, 15 to 20 minutes.

Yield: 8, easily doubled
Cooking time: 1 hour (20 minutes active)

Healthy Valentine’s Day Snacks Round Up

I’m a big fan of link round ups lately. Here are more ideas for healthy Valentine’s Day snacks (and breakfast and lunch) than you ever wanted. My kids are sure to be drowning in candy at school. So I’ll probably be taking it easy when they’re at home. Or maybe not. We’ll see.

Heart-shaped hard boiled egg from Anna The Red

Heart-shaped potato skins from Make the best of everything!

Calzone hearts from Craftzine.

Chicken soup with heart-shaped carrots from Sophistimom.

Vanilla Apples with Sweetheart Croutes from Recipe Girl.

Valentine’s Day Bread from Bread in Five.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Pan-Crepes from Family Fresh Cooking.

Valentine’s Day Breakfast from Cute Food For Kids.

Hugs and Kisses Pancakes from Cooking with My Kid.

Heart-shaped blueberry bagels from The Knead for Speed.

Valentine lunches from Lisa Storms.