Black Sheep Dancing

Why be like everyone else when you can be yourself?


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I’m in looooove

Recently, a co-worker was in the kitchen making her lunch…a lunch of steel cut oats. I have seen these many times, and asked her about it. She could not say enough good things, so the next time I went to the grocery store I picked up a box.

Today I decided to try them out. Prepping I read the side of the box – over 30 minute cook time? Oh my! But, alas, I was told these were super yummy, so I pressed on. 30 minutes later, yum! It surely doesn’t look like the oats I’m used to, and boy, it doesn’t taste like it either. IT IS SOOOOO GOOD! Warm and gooey and refreshing…like a big bear hug. Can I ever go back to regular oats again? (My wallet says I must, but definitely keeping an eye out for sales!)

On a side note, speaking of price, why do less processed foods always cost more? Shouldn’t they cost less since there is less work in processing? K. back to my story…

To add a little spice to my oats, I added in:

1/2 apple, chopped

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

handful of raisins

pinch of salt


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Pineapple Banana Bread…with changes.

Rough day today for various reasons, but getting a nail in my tire would be part of it. See, while I have a popular car, apparently I am the only owner who is a klutz and needs to order new tires all the time, so they are never in stock. It’s really a pain in the butt, but at least the tire is coming tomorrow.

What to do tonight? Bake!  I had some crushed pineapple left over from making some sweet and sour sauce, so I went to Allrecipes.com and searched for pineapple. What I found was bread that I had all the ingredients for! Pineapple Banana Bread!

However, I did change it a lot. Instead of 1 1/4 c oil I used 1/2 applesauce and 3/4 c coconut oil (my first time using it!). And I added pecans…and a wee bit of coconut.The result? Eh. It was lacking a lot of flavor. Oh, I did also reduce the sugar slightly, so that might be why, but I think adding that sugar back in would have made it way too sweet, yet not the nice blend of flavors I was expecting. I think if I make these again, I’ll add more banana and more cinnamon. I will say though, I bet the munchkin will love these anyways, especially if he gets to eat them for breakfast!

 


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Spinach Enchiladas

Unknowingly, I was in a Mexican kind of mood when shopping at the grocery store yesterday, and managed to buy all the ingredients for tonight’s dinner without even knowing it! This was super easy, pretty cheap, and good for you…well, the spinach is good for you.

Spinach Enchiladas

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 medium sized onion, minced
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 to 1 bunch fresh spinach, washed, stems off and chopped
  • 2 cups shredded colby jack
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 10 flour tortillas
  • 1 jar ortega mild taco sauce, 16 oz. (or whatever brand you like)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Melt butter in a medium sauce pan. Add in garlic, onion, salt and pepper until cooked, but not brown.
  3. Add spinach, stirring and then cook until wilted, but not over cooked.
  4. Add in 1 cup of the colby jack, sour cream and cream cheese and mix until well blended.
  5. Place a large spoonful of spinach filling on a tortilla and loosely wrap and place in a 9×13″ baking dish, seam side down. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
  6. Cover tortillas with bottle of taco sauce and top with remaining cup of colby jack
  7. Bake in pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or until sauce is bubbling

I like to add a dollop of sour cream on top and I’d imagine a margarita would go quite nicely if you so chose.


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Sometimes you fail

I post lots of photos of all the yummy, delicious things I make. But sometimes one needs to be taken down a notch and post a fail. Case in point? Granola.

 

So, not long ago I got it in my head that I was going to make my very own granola so I could have yummy cereal, and a sweet and crunchy treat for my yogurt. So, I googled “make your own granola” and found this recipe over at Food Network. Easy to make, for sure!

 

So yesterday I was at home with a sick kiddo, and said, I can whip this up, put it in the oven and get some work done while it bakes! An excellent idea! Except I have dark pans. And what calls for over an hour of baking, I soon found should only have been about 30 minutes. 😦

 

 

I quickly pulled my granola gold out of the oven in hopes of saving it. It LOOKED okay, but when I tried eating a bowl of it, my yummy granola was a smokey pile of not-so-yummy goodness. I was so bummed.

 

That’s kinda how my day went. I LOOKED okay, but really was bummed on the inside. We all have days like that. I blame the recent reemergence of snow.

 

On the upside, I received in the mail today my coconut oil! I’ve seen a couple of recipes that call for it, and as I get more health-nutty as I age, am excited about all the health benefits and uses as well. Anyone have any great recipes/uses for coconut oil?


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I heart hearts

Ah, Valentine’s Day. Love it or hate it, it comes around every year. I’m not one to really enjoy the day. I’ve had some pretty awful v-days, but you just can’t make it go away. However, anytime you have an excuse to make everything pink and with hearts, how can it be ALL bad?

 

I decided to get to baking. I made a valentine for my valentines, both at home and work. I don’t care who you are, it’s nice to know someone is thinking of you on this day.

 

I made:

 

Jam cookies:

 

 

Chocolate Cake Balls

Cupcakes, chocolate dipped pretzels, chocolate raisin candy

And heart shaped chocolate chip cookies.

 

I then packed them for work:

 

 

And for my big valentine:

I put the goodies in one of my many hammered aluminum dishes and tied with some clearance ribbon I got after Christmas (yippee for 90% off!!!) I started collecting aluminum pieces after my grandmother gave me a casserole dish she had gotten as a wedding present.

 

And my little valentine. Of course munchkin was the most excited of all. Who doesn’t love cookies for breakfast? (Just for special occasions that is)

Recipes:

Chocolate chip cookies – made from a mix and then put down cookie cutter and dropped a spoonful of dough in and smushed it down.

Emily’s Cake Balls

Ingredients

  • 1 cake mix
  • 1 can complimentary-flavored frosting
  • bag of chocolate chips
  1. Bake cake according to directions. Allow to cool completely and crumble into a bowl. Put in the fridge if still warm.
  2. Mix in some frosting until it creates a dough-like mess. Freeze for 30-60 minutes
  3. Use a scoop to scoop out balls onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Use hands to make into a more uniform ball and place back on sheet. Freeze for 30-60 minutes
  4. Melt chocolate chips in double boiler. Add in butter if necessary to make it smooth.
  5. Use a fork to dip balls into chocolate, allowing extra to drip off. Place back on parchment paper.
  6. Cool in fridge until set. I like to keep mine in there until served.

Raisin candy and chocolate dipped pretzels – I had left over melted chocolate after dipping the cake balls so I dipped some pretzels first and then mixed some raisins in the remaining chocolate and spooned into candy wraps. Refrigerate.

“Christmas Stars” (Or Valentine’s Hearts)- Allrecipe.com

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons strawberry jam
  • 1/4 cup green decorator sugar (optional)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir flour mixture into the butter mixture until well blended. Refrigerate dough for three hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease several cookie sheets.
  3. On a floured surface, roll out 1/2 of the dough at a time to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut dough into star shapes using a 3 to 4 inch star cookie cutter. Using a 1 to 2 inch star cookie cutter, cut a star into the center of half of the big stars. Sprinkle colored sugar on the cookies with the center cut out if desired. Put onto prepared cookie sheets about 1 inch apart, and bake for 6 to 8 minutes.
  4. After cookies cool completely, spread 1 teaspoon of preserves in the center of each cookie that does not have a star cut out in the middle. Place a cookie with a cut-out on top of the layer of preserves. Pack cookies in a covered tin to preserve freshness.


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Blueberry kind of morning

This morning was a classic pancake morning. Not just any pancakes, but I made the classic Betty Crocker pancakes from my grandmother’s 19__ copy. Half with blueberries. Half with apples and pecans. Mmmmm.

 

 

I’m not one for sweet foods. I don’t like to eat cookies or cake, but I do love me some pancakes. My senior year of high school I did post secondary enrollment, and I had extra time in the morning so for a whole year I made chocolate chip pancakes nearly every weekday for breakfast. It was awesome. I even had the recipe memorized.

 

Here’s the recipe:

 

 

I always add in vanilla extract and cinnamon as well. Now, what I find interesting is how recipes were written. Throughout the book they give you the basic recipe, and then variations on a theme. Some of the recipes also have terms that I really don’t know what it means. Luckily, it is usually in reference to meat, so they aren’t recipes I would try anyways.

 

I made a double batch, so we have breakfast tomorrow covered too!

 


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Ship Wrecks and Pears

Tonight’s dinner was compliments of $5 Dinners. I have been obsessed with her blog lately, and was able to make a couple of her recipes for tonight’s dinner.

 

The Ship Wreck Casserole I made this past weekend and instead of one big dish, I split it between two and froze them both for  later, which was perfect for tonight’s dinner. I also vegetarianized it, using fake beef instead of the real thing. I really like the idea of making things ahead, and love that it is a vintage recipe.

 

 

While it was baking, I made the Gingered Pear and Blueberry Cobbler. I actually had no eggs, so looked online and read somewhere you can substitute cornstarch for eggs. Not quite the same, but it still turned out super yummy, and really, cobblers are so easy. I wish I would have had some whipped cream or ice cream to go with it.

 

 

Both dishes were delicious, easy and cheap. So, go ahead, head on over to the  $5 Dinners and check out these and some of her other recipes.


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Depression Cooking

When I was younger I lived with my Grandmother for a year of high school and for some of college so I could go to the university by her house. She loved to feed me, and one of her quick menu items I made for breakfast today, although it is just as good for lunch or dinner too. Her fried potatoes are easy and quick and good for you.

 

Of course I always enjoy my potatoes like this:

Grandma’s Fried Potatoes

3-4 potatoes, either sliced or cubed
1 small onion, diced
3-4 eggs
1 Tbs oil
salt, pepper to taste

  1. Warm skillet to medium high, add oil when pan is ready
  2. add potatoes. While potatoes are cooking dice onions and add in, cooking until both are tender. Add in salt and pepper to taste
  3. wisk eggs and add to skillet, cooking everything until done.

Now, you can add to this recipe if you want. You could also use veggie dogs cut up, or for you meet eaters, hot dogs or sausage or something. You could also use additional spices such as rosemary, but I like it with just the pepper and salt.

 

I also found this Youtube video a few months ago that is essentially the same thing, and Clara is just the cutest! She has an entire series of Depression Era cooking. What a great way to track oral history!

 

 


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Warm soup on a cold, cold day

Lately I have been craving chicken noodle soup. However, not eating chicken, this can pose a problem. It’s not like Campbell’s makes a version just for me. So, I decided to make my own. I kinda just thew some stuff together and it turned out pretty good!

 

It turned out quite yummy! I served it with some of the fresh wheat bread I made the night before and some oranges and had quite a lovely dinner and lunch today.

 

Here’s how I did it:

 

Emily’s Faux-Chicken Noodle Soup

8 cups water
4 vegetable bullion cubes
1 Tbs oil
1/2 to full bag/box fake chicken, (I used Morningstar Farms Meal Starters)
3 medium carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp. thyme
3 cups egg noodles
2 Tbs parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large soup pan, bring water and bullion to a simmer.

2. While base is simmering, use the oil in a skillet and cook the fake chicken. Remove from pan.

3. Put carrots, celery, onion, and thyme in skillet and cook until soft.

4. While vegetables are cooking, cut “chicken” into bite size pieces. Add to vegetables.

5.  Add vegetable/chicken mixture to broth. Add in noodles, parsley and salt and pepper as desired. Simmer for 20 minutes and enjoy!

 

I did a whole bag of the fake chicken this go around and it was too much for me, but it’s really to your taste, so add as much/little as you want.