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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Red Cross App

I'm safe via the American Red Cross Tornado app

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Mini Chocolate Chip Pancake Bites

Here is my little yummy creation for the day.
I made some pancake bites with mini chocolate chips in them.  Only 6 ingredients, Krusteaz pancake mix, milk, eggs, avocado oil, mini chocolate chips and sugar in the raw.  You know me, I didn't measure, so these are estimates.
Add 4 cups pancake mix, 4 eggs, 3/4 cup milk and 1/3 cup oil to a mixing bowl. (You could use water instead of milk and any cooking oil will work.)  Mix until the chunks are broken up, but not gone.  You want it to be a little thicker than pancake batter, about as thick as muffins. Then add one bag of mini chocolate chips and stir.  Try not to over mix them, they will get kind of tough if you do.  Spoon into a well greased mini muffin pan, I used buttery baking spray and my small ice cream scoop.  Sprinkle some sugar in the raw or sugar crystals on the tops of each one, for an added little bit of sweetness.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes on the second from the top rack of you oven.  You could use a cupcake pan, just increase your bake time to about 15 minutes or so and lower the rack to the middle of the oven.
I think these are yummy and make for a quick breakfast or snack.  Happy Baking!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Pumpkin Applesauce Corn Flour Cookies

Pumpkin, applesauce, corn flour cookies?  I know, it doesn't sound very appetizing, but if you could smell these surprisingly tasty treats, you would be in heaven.  I was having some fun experimenting with baking today.  These have ZERO sugar in them!!  Something about the applesauce and pumpkin, mixed with cinnamon and nutmeg, it didn't need any sugar.  I also used coconut oil instead of butter.  But if you are a sugar lover like me and want to add just a little bit of sweetness to your cookie, white chocolate chips are perfect.  I actually stuck some in one of the cookies after it was baked and tried it.  It was almost too sweet, yes, you read that right, too sweet.  You will rarely hear me say that, but on occasion it comes out.

So, how do you make these yummy cookies?

This is what I had and this is what I used.  If you have read my blog at all, you will know that I hate measuring, especially when I am just making something up as I go.  I tried hard to measure this time and keep track of what I put in.

Pumpkin Applesauce Corn Flour Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1 cup corn flour
1/2 cup ground instant tapioca
1 tsp. salt (you could go with less than that and still be ok)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup coconut oil solid (3/4 cup melted)
1 can pure pumpkin (not pie filling)
1 cup applesauce
1 large dollop of plain Greek yogurt (about 1/4 cup)
3 eggs at room temperature
3 tsps.  pure vanilla extract

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.  You will notice there is not a lot of dry ingredients.  That is because corn flour absorbs moisture quickly and the tapioca ground up will also absorb the liquid and gives it a little better texture than if you only added corn flour.  You need a little something to lighten the corn taste and texture.  You could use tapioca flour, soy flour or even almond flour instead.  They are all more expensive than wheat flour, but if you are on a no gluten or amylose diet, like my husband, a little bit added to a less expensive flour like corn flour works.  I am not sure if corn flour is gluten free, but it has no amylose and is o.k. for Duane to eat.  If gluten is an issue and not sugar or amylose, oatmeal ground into flour works too.  Remember that all these grains have different properties, so you will have to play with them a little bit to see what works well and how much is needed.

Melt or soften the coconut oil in a large glass bowl.  Add the rest of the liquid ingredients and eggs.  The coconut oil may solidify some, just keep mixing it well.  I would make sure all liquid ingredients are at room temperature when adding them to the oil, except the yogurt, add it last.  You can use an electric mixer if you want, I just prefer doing it by hand when experimenting so that I can feel the thickness.

Once the liquid ingredients are mixed well, add the dry ingredients.

It should be similar to chocolate chip cookie dough.  Pasty, but not dry.  You might still see some chunks of coconut oil, try to mix them in a little bit more.

Drop onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, about 2 inches apart.  I almost always use parchment paper when baking.  I also like to use an ice cream scoop so that my cookies are uniform in size.  Press them down a little with your finger or a fork to flatten them.  Corn flour is very different from wheat flour.  I found that these cookies did not spread out on their own and were a little doughy if I did not flatten them.  Bake them for 15- 20 minutes depending on your oven.  They will be very soft when you first take them out, but let them cool a bit on the pan and then on a wire rack.  They should be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

My 11 year old just came home and tasted one.  He said it was weird but good and that he could get used to it.  We will see what the 7 year old has to say.  If he will even try it, I will be happy.  I know that my husband, Duane, will enjoy it, especially since I made them for him and his crazy diet.   My 7 year old just tried them, which is unusual.  He made a weird face and said they were cold.  He did not like them very much, but did finish eating what was in his mouth.  I expected worse, so I guess it was a success.

Well, I like them.  I hope you enjoy them too.  Let me know if you try any other varieties of flour and how it turns out.  As always, thanks for your comments.  Happy Cooking!!

Corn Chowder with Butternut Squash

It has been pretty cold the last few days and snowy too.  So I decided to make some soup before going to work on Monday.  I love my crock pot and use it a lot, especially in the winter time.  I wanted to make some Duane friendly soup, so I started looking for a bean or corn variety on Pinterest.  I remembered seeing one that looked good a while back.  Well, I could not find the one I was thinking of, but I did find an interesting corn chowder.  The recipe can be found  here, but remember, I like to change things up a bit and make them a little more Duane friendly and use what I have on hand. I will give you my recipe as we go.

This picture is of the leftovers. I was at work when Duane ate it and did not get to take the final picture in the crock pot.  It still looks tasty though.  Much better tasting than I thought it would be.  I added butternut squash instead of potatoes and I am not a big fan of squash.  The ham gives it just the right amount of flavor to make you almost forget their is even squash in it.  Although my kids loved it as babies, they won't even touch it now, but they don't like to try new things.  Someday they will learn that it's not so bad after all.

The recipe I found called for potatoes, creamed corn, canned corn, chicken broth, ham, onion, butter and cream or milk.  I had on hand cream of chicken soup, ham, onion, creamed corn, frozen corn and butternut squash.  I figured the squash was similar in texture and cooking time as potatoes and Duane can't eat potatoes but he can eat squash and likes it very much.  He will cut it in half and bake it for an hour or so and then eat it with cinnamon on it or plain.  Yuck, I can eat it that way, but do not like it much.  Something about the way it sits in my stomach, I just don't care for it that way.  But I did like it in the chowder.  It was a pretty big squash, so I only used half of it.  I cut it into halves, quarters and then eighths.  I shaved the outer layer off with my knife, very carefully, so as not to cut myself.  I like not having seeds to clean out, that is a plus with butternut squash.  Then I cut it up into about 1 inch thick chunks, so it would cook quicker.

I figured that cream of chicken was just about the same as chicken broth, butter and cream.  I did rinse the can and add the water into the mixture.  I think it worked out just fine.  You could use 2 small cans, but this is what I had on hand, so I used it.

I had some ham left over from the chicken Cordon Bleu last week.  I chopped it into about 1/2 inch or slightly larger squares.  It was pre-sliced and they were thick, so I only used 2 slices.

Chop and add the onion.  I used a nicer dicer, it works great.  If you don't have a fancy chopper or slicer, just cut it into small chunks.  I like them small, but it is up to you and how big you like them.
 Add the can of creamed corn and about 1 or 2 cups of frozen corn.  Stir it up a bit and cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 8-10 hours.  I started on low for about 2 hours, but thought it would take too long, so I turned it up to high just before I left for work at 1:30.  Duane ate around 6, so it was on high for about 4 or 5 hours.  I left him a note to smash up the squash a little before he ate it.  He said it was a little runny, but still good.  I think if you smash them up and let it cook for another 30 minutes or so, it would thicken up more.  It was thicker the next night, when we ate leftovers.  I always like my crock pot concoctions the next day.  Something about having the flavors meld together and congeal a little more.  I think I might add a little garlic next time or some other seasonings, just to see if it will make it even better.

Chowder mixture before cooking.

It was a very yummy dinner, both times around.  That is another thing I love about making stuff in the crock pot, you can make a big batch and eat leftovers once or twice.  I hope you enjoyed the post.  If you have any suggestions or recipes to share, pleas leave a comment.  Happy Cooking!!!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Feeding the Missionaries

   In my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, otherwise known as Mormons, we have young missionaries that share the gospel with others.  These missionaries pay for the mission themselves.  As members, we try to help them by feeding them dinner.  I have not been able to sign up to feed them in a while, so I was excited to have them over and made a really big meal.  Our ward, or congregation that meets together, has two sets of missionaries.  One set are Elders, single young men 18 or older, and one set are Sisters, single young women 19 or older.  They both came to dinner last week.  I used to have them over at least once a month, but have been busy with life and I am in the Primary at church, so I do not get as much of a chance to see the calendar and sign up.
   The Primary is what we call our young children's group.  It consists of children from 18 months to 11 years.  Once they turn 12, they go to Young Men's or Young Women's classes.  When they turn 18 they go to Priesthood for the men and Relief Society for the women.  It is a wonderful program that the Lord set up for us.  I just love it!
   Anyway, I made a big dinner and tried a few new things for Duane, my husband.  He has been on a diet that is anti sugar and amylose, which is a sugar like substance that is in a lot of root vegetables, wheat and grains, and stuff like that.  So he cannot eat potatoes, bread or any desserts.  I have made a lot of changes in my diet since I have been with Duane, but that is something I am not ready to do.  I love potatoes, I love breads and I love desserts!!  I have cut back a little on all of those, just because I think it's rude to eat them in front of him and I like to be around my husband.  He got the diet from a book called "Loose the Weight You Hate!" by Ritchie C. Shoemaker, M.D.
We eat a lot of salads.  This is just as American blend salad mixed with some romaine lettuce that we had in the fridge.  Nothing fancy, but tasty.  We like to put avocado oil or olive oil on our salads, instead of dressing.  Some Parmesan cheese adds a little extra flavor too.

These are some really yummy biscuits that are supposed to taste like Red Lobster's cheddar bay biscuits.  I got the recipe from a Pinterest post which you can find here.  I have adapted this recipe to what I have on hand.  I had Krusteez pancake mix instead of Bisquik biscuit mix, so I omitted the sugar and buttermilk.  I just added water as the liquid, since Krusteez is a buttermilk mix.  It tastes almost the same and is still good.

These tasty little cornbread like biscuits are my invention.  Duane can eat corn, for some reason it has a different type of sugar in it, which is ok for him to eat.  So he eats a lot of corn tortillas and corn chips instead of noodles or rolls or regular chips.  So I wanted to make something he could eat instead of the cheesy biscuits.  I started out just making them like I would regular biscuits.  I added the corn flour, some baking powder, some baking soda, some salt and water.  I did not measure, sorry, I don't like measuring unless it is a recipe that I am following for the first time.  This was just one I was making up, so I did not keep track.  I believe it was 2 cups corn flour, 1- 2 tsps. baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. vanilla, 2 Tbsps. powdered buttermilk, 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese and 2 cups water.  I was trying to make it similar to the cheesy biscuit recipe, but stuff Duane could eat.  So no sugar and he can eat mozzarella cheese more so than cheddar cheese.  I added some more water until I got about the same consistency as the other recipe.  Corn flour is different from wheat flour, I have learned this by experimenting.  Almond flour, rice flour, graham flour, soy flour, whole wheat verses white flour, they all have different properties and work for some things better than others.  So just try a little hear and a little there and you will find what you like best.   

This is what the dough looked like.

I made some rice for everyone else, since that is what I like, besides potatoes, with my Chicken Cordon Bleu.  I just followed the cooking directions on the package of brown rice and left it in a little longer, so it got sticky, which is fine for pouring the chicken over.  I made my Chicken Cordon Bleu crock pot style.  I also found the recipe for that on Pinterest and adapted it to my needs and what I have on hand.  The recipe can be found here.  I am not sure if that was the original site I went to, but it looked like the same recipe.

My version is 6 to 8 frozen chicken breasts, 2 cans of cream of chicken soup or one family size can, rinse can and add water from can, cubed ham (about 2 cups), cubed swiss cheese (8 oz. package), salt and pepper to taste.  Sometimes I add garlic powder or onion powder to it, if I think it needs more flavor.

We had a good time and everyone liked the food.  Do you have some favorite recipes that you have adapted and would like to share?  Please leave your comments and suggestions, I can always use more ideas.  Happy Cooking!!!