Category Archives: Food

Egg Nog Cinnamon Swirl Brioche

I came across a brilliant loaf of cinnamon swirl brioche from a local baker (Macrina) at Central Market in Poulsbo. It’s lovely on it’s own, but when I spied the Twin Brook Creamery egg nog on the same trip I knew they’d be a match. These two things along with some farm fresh eggs, homemade vanilla extract and fresh ground cinnamon added up to be a splendid breakfast that probably should have been saved for dessert.


Ingredients:
1/2 cup egg nog
1/4 cup milk
8 slices cinnamon swirl brioche
3 large eggs
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon
dash of vanilla extract
lots and lots of butter

Preparation:
In a large shallow bowl (or pie plate), whisk eggs, milk, egg nog, salt, vanilla and cinnamon until well blended. Melt 1-2 tablespoons butter in skillet over medium heat.
Dip brioche in egg mixture to coat both sides. Place in skillet and cook until browned. Repeat with butter and brioche. Serve hot with butter, syrup, powdered sugar or honey.

* If the brioche sticks to your pan… use more butter.

Enjoy :)

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WOCU: Outdoors

This is my Week Of Catching Up and I’ll start with a few things that have been happening at home – outdoors.

The garden is beginning to crank out some food. Radishes were the first up – they have a 22 day cycle. I will admit to knowing just about nothing when it comes to gardening so the lessons are being learned quickly. I know I’m going to have a few downfalls due to thinning errors (from pulling plants out by their roots and disturbing their neighbors, not thinning early enough or not thinning at all) and I’m trying to organically fight the bugs and the bugs might be winning. With that said, there is some good food out there (mostly greens), great herbs of the catnip, dill, parsley, chives, thyme and lavender varieties, and a few experiments (stevia and tomatillos to name the most glaring). I have planted more radishes in hopes of eating another handful (I didn’t know that each plant would only provide one radish – yes, another lesson) and will plant them in 10 day increments in the future. Now I’m working on digging up lots and lots more space for late Winter/early Spring planting…. I should probably go rent a tiller.

The chickens have grown. Their voices have changed, their poop has gotten bigger, they’re eating more food and they’re readying to lay some eggs! I’ve been cooking with more eggs to find some favorite dishes. Quiche is landing near the top of my list, but I’m not sure the rest of the Kings would agree. They might be more frittata/strata/hash type people. No worries… we’ll find a few things to settle on. I think we have another 3-6 weeks before the ladies start laying. We better get to building those nesting boxes.

And here’s a glimpse of our fire pit. It’s nothing extraordinary, but it’s had a few fun evenings. We have, of course, roasted many many marshmallows, been bitten by way too many mosquitos and ran from the ants which have an enormous home nearby. The future of our fire pit is bright, with benches to seat a good sized group and roasting sticks piling up in the corner… we will see more of you.

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Thanks Martha: Pizza!

After browsing Martha Stewart Living July 2011, I decided it was time to have a successful evening of homemade pizza. For some reason every time I go to make my own pizza I have either a major fail food-wise or a major fail budget-wise. I had a good feeling about a positive outcome this time around. Easy thin crust + fresh toppings + big flavor + local ingredients = nom.

First up was a caramelized peach, prosciutto and basil and the second was Uli’s hot italian sausage, mushroom and onion.

I ran out of propane for the grill mid-way through. Thankfully I had the Cuisinart grill as a backup. No grill could have turned this pizza night into an epic fail, but it only slowed us down a short bit.

For the peach pie, the pizza dough was grilled then baked with mozzarella then the fresh toppings added. For the sausage pie, the pizza dough was grilled, the toppings sauteed then added to the crust with mozzarella and baked. I would add marinara to the sausage pie next time around as it slipped my mind for this one. All in all they turned out fantastic and we have plenty of ingredients and leftover dough for tomorrow night!

 

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Hiking/Camping with Children in the Pac NW: Food and Hydration

We might be good at the food thing at home, but this is the area we struggle with the most when we’re camping. Don’t get me wrong, we’re always well fed, we just bring too much and wish we could get away from bringing cans of food. I’ll share what we’ve done in the past and what strides we’re making to improve our food situation in the coming years.

We usually have oatmeal for breakfast. Steel cut oats are the best, but instant oatmeal will do just fine and can be helpful for bigger groups. We have a super handy Jetboil that we’ll cook our oatmeal in. And when we’re done, we’ll use it for some tea. (Note: this would be a great time to make some nettle tea) Just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you have to get rid of all the little luxuries. A cup of tea starts all of my mornings, my mornings outdoors just wouldn’t be the same without it. If you’re a coffee drinker, you can find those little packs of instant coffee at Starbucks I think. I love that our breakfasts are always made without a fire. You wake up in your warm and cozy sleeping bag and know you have to get up and out into the cold. You have to pee and you know it’s going to be a super cold pee and you’re hungry. The last thing I want to have to do is build a fire before I get my breakfast and tea. These are just a few of the reasons I highly recommend having an alternate food heating source.

Bananas, apples and oranges are great fruits to bring since they come with their own protective sleeve, but if you want something more sturdy and compact, dried fruits do a wonderful job. Pineapples and mangoes are my favorite dried fruits, but pick whatever you like best. I know kids usually love apple and banana chips.

One of my favorite things to do for camping trips is make my own trail mix. I’m not a fan of premixed trail mixes so I spend some time in the bulk section of the grocery store getting bags of my favorite things and then toss them in a ziploc bag before I go. If it’s going to be hot on your trip leave out anything that can melt. My favorite mix: macadamia nuts, cashews, pecans, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, coconut, dried mango slices, dried pineapple slices and granola clusters (I just shake the granola and take the large chunks).

We rarely have a designated lunch time since we snack throughout the day. Oftentimes we’ll have a can of green beans or corn and call it good. And for dinner we usually bring a couple cans of chili. But we’re really really trying to get away from bringing cans. It just seems ridiculous to pack those heavy things around for miles. We’re working on a dried soup mix that doesn’t have 18 times the amount of sodium you need in a day – I’ll let you know if we come up with something good there. Cured meats and jerky can pack a punch, but again, I hate the loads of sodium. You can purchase camping meals that come in a bag that are pretty similar to MRE’s. They do the trick, but taste like crap. If you have a little cooler, it can be fun to bring some bacon or hot dogs to cook over the fire. Ramen (and other ramen like meals) are lightweight meals, but again – the sodium. As you can see, we are struggling with the dinner thing. We’re fed, but we’re carrying around cans or are eating sodium rich foods. This is part of the reason we’re working on our foraging skills. It would be so lovely if we were skilled enough to not have to bring much in the way of food, but find it on our journeys.

A small fishing kit is super handy if you’re going to a lake or river. We ate a whole pan full of brook trout one time and it was such a lovely escape from the cans we were used to. Of course you can hunt as well. We’re not hunters so I don’t have a whole lot of advice there.

And for dessert… S’MORES! If you have room in your pack, don’t forget the s’mores. Warm, gooey, messy, yummy fun. You know the deal. Roast ’em and eat ’em or light your marshmallows on fire and play with them like they’re sparklers.

On hydration: We don’t have a steripen yet so we haul water along. It’s the heaviest thing we bring so a quick investment is in order. We almost always go places with ample water supply so it’s pretty silly for us to haul water along with us. But whether you plan on bringing a water purifier or packing your own – take hydration seriously. It will keep you alive.

We’ll be back tomorrow with talk about shelter. Have a good Wednesday!

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Filed under Food, Hiking/Camping with Kids Series, Outdoors

The quest for the best waffles in town

I got Chris a waffle iron for Winter Solstice and it’s been one of the most highly used kitchen tools all year. I’ve fiddled with the recipe a little every time and here’s the best of what I’ve come up with.

Buttermilk Waffles
Recipe from the Good Housekeeping Cookbook
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp melted butter
1 egg
2 cups buttermilk

Maple Waffles
Use the buttermilk recipe except
substitute the 2 cups of buttermilk for:
6 oz. Brown Cow Cream Top Maple yogurt
1 cup buttermilk

Greek Waffles
Use the buttermilk recipe except
substitute the 2 cups of buttermilk for:
6 oz. Greek Gods Honey yogurt
1 cup buttermilk

Banana Waffles
Use the buttermilk recipe except
substitute the egg for:
1 mashed banana
(feel free to add a handful of macadamia nuts)

Prep: in large bowl, combine dry ingredients. whisk in wet ingredients and whisk until most the lumps are gone. using a 1/3-1/2 cup measuring cup, pour batter into waffle iron (i set mine on 4-5). cook. serve immediately. if you want to serve the family all at the same time, store the waffles in an oven on warm making sure the waffles are set directly on the grate as to not get soggy. if they’re stored too long they will dry out.

As a side note: we usually make the greek or banana waffles. we like the density of the greek waffles. if you find that they’re too dense or don’t yield enough waffles, you can add more buttermilk. additionally, you don’t need to use buttermilk if you’re using yogurt (you can use whole milk) – we just like them the best with buttermilk.

And here’s a sneak peek on my latest knitting project. It’s the Oriental Lily dress for Elle boogie. A friend of mine through Ravelry knit one for her and I loved it so much I had to knit one for her myself. I’ll spill more details when it’s done blocking.

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The rainbow of baby poop

It’s a bit of a joke that as a parent you will see every color of poop in a diaper. With that said, it can be concerning if you don’t know the cause of such colors and if they’re normal or if you should call the doc. I hope this list can help you distinguish what is regular and what is not.

Red: Either ate red beets and all is well or has blood in the stool in which case you should call the doc.

Orange: Totally normal color for baby and toddler poop.

Yellow: Also a very normal color. Breastfed poop will generally look like seedy mustard.

Green: Pretty normal poop color. A breastfed baby could be getting a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. You can read more about that at kellymom.com. Nothing to worry about.

Blue: Your baby probably ate a handful of blueberries. (Their pee is probably neon too and they might be bouncing off the walls)

Purple: Pretty rare to have purple poo, but it has been reported after having eaten bananas.

Brown: Congratulations, your baby is eating solids. As we all know, brown is a very normal color of poo.

Black: A newborn’s poop is called meconium and is black and tarry. You should expect this kind of poop for the first few days of you baby’s life. If your baby is past this phase and has a black and tarry poop, there could be a problem and you should call the doc.

Iron fortified formula or iron supplements can also cause a baby’s poop to be black-ish. As long as your baby isn’t constipated from the iron, this shouldn’t be an issue.

White: Could indicate a liver issue or be a tint from drinking cow’s milk. Good time to call the doc.

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Mama’s Dark Chocolate {everything but the kitchen sink} Cookies

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe, so I’ll quickly remind you that I’m not a big fan of making or following recipes. I much prefer to use recipes for inspiration and edit them according to my preferences. Please, if you consider making these cookies, read through the recipe and substitute anything you might not like for something you do. Cooking is all about the experiment. So have fun.

Last night Chris asked for chocolate cookies. I had some Valrhona Cocoa Powder on hand so I knew I could make it happen. My cookies commonly have quite a few ingredients, but I like them that way. The white chocolate chips in this recipe are mostly for looks, the Heath toffee bits for a little crunch and the rest is to make them as chocolaty as possible.

I should also note that I always make my own brown sugar. If you’ve ever bought organic brown sugar you would have noticed how much more fluffy and sticky it is. After the first time I tried it, I couldn’t go back. And then I read the ingredients and realized that all brown sugar is is sugar and molasses. If you’d like to make your own, just pour some sugar in a bowl, add a bit of molasses (approx. 1 Cup sugar to 1 tblsp. molasses) and fluff with a fork until you have that yummy brown sugar you’re used to. It takes a couple minutes of fluffing, but it’ll get there. I also use homemade vanilla extract. I’ll post about that soon since I just realized today that I was using the last couple of teaspoons for these cookies.

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 Cup Valrhona unsweetened cocoa powder (you can sub this for another unsweetened cocoa powder)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup butter flavored Crisco
1 1/3 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter chips
1/4 cup Heath toffee bits

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Beat butter, Crisco, and brown sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Gradually add dry mixture. Stir in chocolate and peanut butter chips and toffee bits.
Drop dough onto cookie sheet. Bake approx. 13-15 minutes. Cool on cookie sheets and then transfer to racks.

Everyone knows cookies straight from the oven are the best, so I recommend enjoying these right away. They are also fantastic milk cookies. I usually save half my cookie dough in the fridge for the next day or two so I can have oven fresh cookies more than one day in a row.

ETA: Since many of you are talking about the brown sugar tip, I will mention that my mom tried it recently and said it took her quite a while to get it to fluff up but that it did eventually get there. I haven’t experienced having to work too hard to get it where I want and I think it might be the kind of sugar I use. I used to use organic sugar and then I switched to Zulka. It isn’t as fine as the generic cane sugar and it could be the reason it doesn’t take me as long to fluff it up. I’d love to hear your experiences!

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