Romantic Rendezvous

Image

Since Marvel and I won’t be able to celebrate on the actual Valentine’s Day, I wanted to “surprise” him with something special before he left. The limits were diet (we have a lot of food sensitivities at our house), time, budget, and no babysitter.

Well, I don’t think anything turns out the way I have it pictured in my mind but considering having to do our school responsibilities, restock our nearly empty fridge, teething baby that’s transition from 2 naps to one, and getting (threatening?) the kids to bed early (can someone tell me why kids NEVER go to bed early when you want them to?)….it turned out presentable and my hubby was happy so all’s well that ends well.

So here’s how it went.

First I made a simple invitation to leave on his computer screen while he was showering in the morning (sorry, didn’t get a picture of that one before it got destroyed).

Then we finished up with school and thankfully he took two of the girls to run errands with him, so I just took my son and baby to the grocery store.

Came home and Engineer helped me put groceries away and make the lemonade (which I added the raspberries to later) while I got the bread sticks going. Another set back was the bread didn’t rise???!! (Still no idea what I did differently) Which is why they became bread sticks and I have that corny bread heart 🙂

I cut up the filling for the Beef Milanesa Roll (I made this up  that day, you can get the recipe here), being sure I cut up enough to make something similar for the kids on the actual Valentine’s Day. When I  got to the mushroom cutting I just chopped them all and made a mushroom soup that could cook while I finished preparing the beef.

I rolled up the Milanesas and made the sauce, poured it on and popped in  the oven. Then I got the first pan of breadsticks ready, cleaned up a bit and then stuck them in  the oven.

Image

Next I made the layered Maple Spice Cake (get it the recipe here) that is one of the few desserts my Marvel will eat,  and put in in the oven as well ( just cut it into a heart BTW). By now the soup was cooked and I turned off the heat for it.

I got the potatoes peeled and cooking in the pressure cooker. Then I made the breadstick heart and put them in the oven as I took the first pan of breadsticks out.

Got the kids bathed and in bed, cleaned up my mess, mashed the potatoes and made the salads and finished the lemonade….then off to make myself look like I hadn’t been cooking for the last couple hours;)

While I got ready I “set-up” the room with candles and our wedding playlist of music and made everything pretty.

After I was presentable I made up the plates and set the table and called Marvel to the table.

He’s always so cute and makes a big deal when he knows I put a lot of effort into something for him. He’s such a keeper:)

So….it was really a nice evening.  We ate dinner with a real conversation, no interruptions! Watched a movie…well, I watched a movie. As usual, he fell asleep and I got one of the action movies he likes so I couldn’t turn it off ‘til I found out what happened….and then couldn’t sleep cause I thought I was being chased all night:/ …And…. Well…there may or may not have been more to the evening but I’m not tellin’… 😉

Advertisements

Maple Spice Cake

Image

I make this a little different every time, according to the taste of those we’re serving so feel free to experiment!

Cake Batter:

3 cups Flour (we’ve done all White to all Whole Wheat, the more the whole wheat flour the more dry the cake when baked)

1 cup White Sugar

2 tsp. Baking Powder

½ tsp. Baking Soda

1 ½ tsp. fine grain Sea Salt

Mix all dry ingredients. Then add:

2/3 cup Vegetable Oil (usually use Canola, but it’s FABULOUS with Coconut oil, especially with Vanilla instead of Maple)

2 tsp. Maple Flavoring (opt., would recommend Vanilla if not putting in Maple)

2 Large Eggs

Enough water (I’ve used almond milk) to make a thick, barely pourable, batter.

Layering:

1-1 ½  cup Brown Sugar (depending on how sugary you like things)

1 Tbsp. Ground Cinnamon

1/8 tsp. Ground Nutmeg (opt., great with Pumpkin/Apple Pie Spice or Cloves)

Mix all Layering ingredients together.

Pour half of batter into greased baking pan. Sprinkle Layering in even layer over batter. Pour remaining batter on top of Layering. Sprinkle remaining Layering on top of batter. Bake in 350 degree F oven for about 30 minutes or til golden brown and done in middle.

Variation: You can pour a stick of melted butter on top when finished with layering to add extra decadency (and a lot more fat and calories which is why we don’t do that anymore;), but it is delicious that way!

Enjoy!

Beef Milanesa Roll

Image

Meat Roll:

1 medium Green Bell Pepper chopped

1 medium Onion chopped(I used white but yellow would be great!)

1 250g jar of Black Olives chopped

6-8 cloves of Garlic minced (depending on how much you like garlic and what type you use, I used Elephant garlic, about 7 cloves, but we really like garlic)

Mix all chopped ingredients together with salt to taste and let sit for at least a few minutes to marinate the flavors.

4 Beef Milanesa Cuts (Sorry, don’t buy beef hardly at all and don’t remember what they’re called in English, really thin,  1/2in.thick or less, cut of beef would work)

Add about ¼ cup of chopped ingredients to one end of beef cut and roll up as you would a crepe/taco. Place in greased pan with “flap side” of the beef down so it will not unroll while cooking.

Sauce:

2 Large Roma Tomatoes, cut in half

4 whole cloves Garlic (again, we like garlicJ)

1 boullion cube

1 tsp. dried Basil flakes (this is a guess on measurement)

½ tsp. dried Cumin powder (another guess)

2 Tbsp. Jalepeno Sauce (opt., my hubby loves a bit of spice!)

Puree all ingredients in blender until it looks like an orangey sauce. Pour on top of meat rolls. Put in uncovered (gives it a great “browning” color on top) in a 350 degree F oven for aprox. 1 hour (depending on how you like your meat, we like ours done with a slight pink in the very middle)

Enjoy!

Ornaments!

Ornaments!

After finding that I had “undesirables” living in the kilo of whole-wheat flour I just bought,we decided to use it for our salt-clay ornaments! So we invited over some friends and had an ornament party! We’ve made them several years and in several different ways and I’ve messed with the recipe until I’ve found one that we like:

1 kilo whole-wheat flour (you could substitute any flour, corn flour for gluten-free)
1 cup salt
1 cup white (“school”/all-purpose) glue
1/4 cup cinnamon
Enough water to make stiff dough (similar to chilled cookie dough)

Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch in thickness and cut out the shapes you would like. Bake at 350 degree F for about 20 minutes or until thoroughly baked (will look and feel like a cracker). Paint and glitter to hearts content! We’ve also just left them plain, for a fun country look. Use a clear acrylic paint (we use a spray-paint) over the top to have them keep longer. We’ve had some for several years now!

Cinnamon Roll-up Pancakes

Image

Ok, I promise to get back to discipline on the next post but I just had to share this new find! If you’re on a diet you might want to skip this one. Unless you’re on my diet, the “eat-whatever-looks-good” diet, if you are you’ll LOVE this recipe!

So, I’m sure the majority of you already know about cinnnamon-roll pancakes but for those of you who don’t you should definitely check out this recipe: http://www.justapinch.com/recipes/breakfast/other-breakfast/cinnamon-roll-pancakes-2.html

They are AMAZING! Not health food. Not anywhere close. But totally delish!

But as usual, I couldn’t leave the recipe alone and had to mess with it. Mostly, I wanted something quicker and that omitted foods to which we have sensitivities.

So here is what I came up with:

4 cups all-purpose flour
8 tsps baking powder
2 tsp. salt1 Tbsp. cinnamon

Mix dry ingredients, then add

6-ish cups almond milk(we’re going for almost crepe batter consistency)
4 tbsps vegetable oil

1 Tbsp. vanilla

4 large eggsMix well and cook like normal pancakes only make them larger (6-8 inches across)
GLAZE
1/2 cup vegetable oil spread (or butter, you can omit this too)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla(can be omitted, or try maple or mint!)Almond milk (or water or milk) to desired consistency

Once you’ve cooked the pancakes just drizzle the desired amount of glaze on them and roll them up like a crepe and you’ve got a cinnamon roll pancake that tastes just as good in 1/2 the time as the original recipe! Yum!

Harvest Butter

Image

So, do your kids eat parts of fruits or not want the peel and it seems you end up with these bits and pieces of fruits? It drives me nuts to waste things!

Usually I use our leftover fruits for smoothies and homemade popsickles but with the turn of fall I was craving a change. I had friends and family mentioning that they were making apple and pear butter and the thought occurred to me to use my fruit scrapes as a fruit spread.

I’ve mentioned in my other recipe posts that I’m a bit of a recipe rebel and have a hard time following them exactly so when I’m making something up I don’t measure much, but here’s what I did (roughly).

Cut up the fruit in bite size pieces with no pits or seeds (leave the skins!). Put them in the freezer overnight or longer so I can even use bitten pieces without worry of too much “contamination”, hahaha! Also, I have an ongoing “Fruit Bag” in the freezer so I can collect scrapes over time and then make bigger batches when I have enough scrapes.

Put them in a crock pot with about 3-4 inches of water. Used about a 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon and about 1/8 tsp. ground cloves per 4 cups fruit. Leave to cook in crock pot for about 5 hours on high or 8-9 hours on low.

The first time around I had a mixture of peaches, nectarines, plums apples and about 1/2 pears. The second time around I had more apples and peaches and added more cloves. I preferred the less cloves and more pears and my kids so far have given mixed reviews on both batches. Personally, I love having a fruit spread with no added sugars of any kind and tastes deliciously like fall!

The Most Versatile Bread Recipe Ever

ImageO.K, O.K….so I do not know for sure that the title is a fact, but seriously….I LOVE THIS RECIPE!!!! In my post yesterday I mentioned that I made some pumpkin bread to celebrate fall, well, this is the recipe I used.

I’ve messed with it so much I’m not sure what the original format was but here is the basic recipe and below I’ll put the “tweaks” that our family has enjoyed:

1/2 cup canola oil

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 T. vanilla

1 1/2 cup mashed/pureed fruit/veggie (our favorites: banana, pumpkin, jack-fruit, squash, sweet potato)

2 cups flour

Mash or Puree your choice of fruit/veggie and then add all the wet ingredients and mix. Then gradually add the flour. Bake at 350 degrees F, for about 20-30 minutes. This will make one bread loaf or a dozen muffins.

“Healthier” Version (DOUBLE BATCH)

4 cups mash/puree of choice

3/4 cup oil

1 1/2 cup honey (or agave)

4 small (we used pheasant) eggs

2 tsp. salt

4 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. baking soda

2 T. vanilla

1 1/2 cups cooked oatmeal

1/4 cup flaxseed

1/2 cup wheat bran

1 cup popped amaranth

2 cups flour (whole wheat or white)

Same process as above, just add the various dry ingredients one at a time. Bake. Enjoy!