L’eggo the Eggo…..

And all the ingredients you can’t pronounce that come along with them. You know, the eggos from the frozen section at your local grocery store.  Sure they’re an easy breakfast item…..with the texture of cardboard and taste to match.  With a whisk and a waffle iron you can make these delicious, fluffy waffles with ingredients you already have in your pantry and fridge. Cool them on a cooling rack, then freeze them in a ziploc bag or container, and pop them in the toaster in the mornings. This is a basic recipe which you can easily adjust.  Add chocolate chips, blueberries, bananas, etc.to make them your own. Your children and wallet will all live in harmonious balance….ok maybe just the wallet.  Double or triple the recipe, these go fast!

Basic Waffles ( makes 6, 8in waffles, or 24, 3in ones)

  • 1 3/4 Cup flour
  • 2 Tbsp Sugar ( you can add more if you like them sweeter)
  • 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 Cup  Milk
  • 4 Tbsp Butter Melted
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

Whisk  all  dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.  In a medium bowl gently wisk the eggs, milk, melted butter, and vanilla extract.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently whisk just enough to incorporate.  Cook them on your waffle iron according to manufacturer’s directions.

Chicks for the weekend

We’re having a few friends stay with us for the weekend.  Three very small feathery friends that is.  My youngest daughter brought three little chicks home from school for the weekend.  They are so cute and noisy!

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I didn’t realize the work it takes in caring for these little creatures. Remind me of having a puppy or bunny.  You have to change their bedding everyday, give them fresh water and feed, take them outside so they can roam and enjoy fresh air and nature.  At night they need warmth to sleep and for that we attach a heat lamp to their box.  Also one of them which my daughter named Caramel ( the bigger tan colored chick) likes to perch alot…we think it might end up being a rooster.  It wants to go everywhere, and for that we need to keep an eye on him and keep some type of ventilated cover on the box.  The grate from our wood stove works great for that.

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Our sweet doggy Lily(pictured here) has been keeping an eye on them since we got them.  She needs to be next to them at all times, she acts like an overprotective mother hen (pun intended.)  I don’t know if its motherly instincts? She’s never had puppies, but she whines and licks them if I let her sniff them.  Our adventure will be over on Monday morning when these cuties have to go back to the science classroom at school.  Until then we’ll cuddle them, get pooped on by them and contemplate if we should get our own? But first, I hear summer vacation calling my name.

Marinated Roasted Peppers

These evoke the taste of summer! Grilled and marinated, they can be served in whichever way you please.  As a side dish, on sandwiches or straight from the bowl 🙂

Marinated Roasted Peppers ( servings vary)

  • 2 lbs mini bell peppers
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Fire up your grill.  When hot, place the bell peppers on and grill approx. 5 mins. per side until you see  grill marks and the skin starts turning brown.  Remove peppers from grill and place in a bowl.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for about 15-20 mins.  The steam and heat inside will help the skin from peppers detach, making them easy to peel. The skin on the peppers turns stringy and hard to chew once they’ve been grilled so the skins need to be removed.

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When cool enough to handle, remove plastic wrap from bowl and peel the skin off the bell peppers.  Place peppers in a bowl, drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and add the apple cider vinegar.  Gently toss with a spoon to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.  The longer they sit in the fridge, the better the marinate gets absorbed into the peppers.   Serve with the smoky eggplant dip.

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Smoky Eggplant Dip

eggplant dip

Growing up, this was one of my favorite dishes, and still is.  My mom would usually make it in the summer to early fall months, when eggplants were in season.  Simple to make, yet so full of flavor.  Make it as an appetizer with crusty french bread for dipping or spreading, pita chips, or use as topping for chicken or steak.  It can be adjusted  to become a vegan dish if you omit the mayo.  I use sunflower oil, but if you don’t have any on hand you can substitute your favorite oil instead, I recommend something mild in flavor , you want the eggplant to shine.

        Smoky Eggplant Dip  (makes approx. 2 cups)

  • 3 medium to large eggplants (pick the ones that are darker with shiny skin)
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onion
  • 2 Tbsp Sunflower oil
  • 1 Tsp Mayonnaise
  • Salt to taste

Turn on your grill until hot.  Pierce the eggplants 2-3 times with a fork in the thickest part.  This will prevent them from exploding on the grill.  When grill is very hot, place eggplants on it and close lid.  Grill 15-20 mins on each side until charred and softened.  This will give the dip the smoky flavor.  Remove eggplants from grill and place in a colander to cool and drain.

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While eggplant is cooling, place the finely chopped onions in a small bowl and add a few generous pinches of salt to it and rub with your fingers.  This will release most of the juice from the onions and will prevent the dip from having strong onion flavor/spice.  Leave onions in salt mixture until you finish cleaning the eggplant.

When eggplant is cool enough to handle, remove the skins with your fingers, rinsing your hands under water if necessary to clean char off.  Place flesh in a bowl while removing skins from eggplant, we will then add them back to colander when peeled to finish the draining process which should take about 5 mins. Place eggplant into a medium bowl, squeeze the diced onions until most of the juice is out and they feel dry.  Add them to the eggplant along with the sunflower oil,  salt to taste ( start with 1 tsp and adjust from there depending on taste.)  With handheld mixer turned to high, mix all the ingredients together until homogenized for approx. 2 mins.  Taste and adjust salt as needed.  Mix the mayonnaise into the dip, and chill it for at least one hour.  The longer the dip sits in fridge, the more the flavor develops. Serve with bread, pita chips or fresh veggies.  This also makes a great spread for sandwiches.

Serve with the marinated roasted peppers.

 

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Enjoy and please let me know how you liked it!

 

 

 

Lazy Gardeners Planting Guide

It’s that time of the year again.  Crowds gathering at The Home Depot garden center to get their pick of the best looking tomato plants to plant for their summer garden.  Or maybe you’re the type that grows theirs from seed ( me? no more!) The light, the watering, all the little planting cells and seedling soil, ohhhh the fragility! Take a deep breath and calm down because it doesn’t need to get that far.

Check out this baby

Lazy gardeners guide to planting What in the world is this? They are multiple tomato sprouts growing out of a discarded old tomato…from my garden compost bin.  It doesn’t just stop at the tomato folks, there are peppers, zucchinis, pumpkins( if you dare), and basically anything that has seeds.  And if you have a kitchen compost bin, then you’re in luck, because you can be a lazy gardener as well!!! And maybe even share your compost with your neighbors and family members so they can become lazy gardeners just like you and me!

Here’s the magic that happens in your compost bin.  The fruit and vegetable scarps you toss in there sit nice and warm throughout the year, while all those little organisms and decomposers break them down, and excrete them as poop (hello little worms.) Might sound gross, but your garden LOVES it!!! When that time of the year comes and you mix your wonderful compost into your garden beds, all those seeds get in there as well, and when you start adding water and sunshine…well you know what sprouts. For me it’s lots of tomato plants this year.  In the past I’ve had potatoes, bell peppers, and pumpkins.

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It started for me a few springs back when I was so diligently planting my summer vegetable garden.  I mixed my garden compost into my beds, worked it in real good ( blisters in my palms good), mapped out where my plants will go, I made sure they were spaced accordingly, that they would get along together and so on.  If you’re a gardener you know how time consuming this is.  Everything looked so professional, I patted myself on the back and had a nice cold drink.  A few weeks go by, my plants are thriving, but I also notice that things are starting to sprout….everywhere in my beds.  And it wasn’t weeds.  I noticed the fuzzy starting leaves of tomato plants, the smooth and pointy ones of bell peppers and even a few thin sprouts of garlic.  “What is going on?” I though to myself, it was a DUH moment until I figured it out.  After I chuckled at myself for trying so hard when I could have had veggies  for a lot less work ( and money.)

So, now I wait in anticipation to see what kind of vegetables I’ll be eating this summer.  Will it be heirloom, cherry or maybe I’ll get the kumato brown tomatoes, baby bell peppers or jalapenos? This is such a fun project for kids as well, they can get a lesson in photosynthesis while you’re at it!

Remember what you throw in your kitchen compost today, you might end up eating next summer in your salad…or side dish. Happy Gardening!

 

Coconut Rice Pudding (GF)

Rice pudding….so creamy…so decadent, yet so simple to make.  Either as a dessert, or for breakfast (yes, that’s what my kids had today), this easy to make pudding will have you wondering “Why haven’t I made this more often?”

Coconut Rice Pudding (makes approx. 6, 8 oz servings)

  • 1 cup medium grain rice ( such as Calrose rice)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can coconut milk (regular or reduced fat, your choice)
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • zest from one lemon (optional but highly recommended)
  • zest from one orange (again optional)

IMG_5483Start by giving your rice a good rinse, about 3-4 times until water is somewhat clear.  That’s to clean rice first of all and rinse some of the starch off. Drain water from the rice and place in a 4-5 QT pot.  To the rice add the remaining ingredients in no particular order, and given them a good whisking.

IMG_5485Those chunks on top is the coconut meat that rises to the top of the coconut water when it’s inside the can.  Don’t worry, it will all melt and blend beautifully by the end.  Now is a good time to grab a spoon and tasted the milk to see if you would like it sweeter, more lemony etc…Set your pot on medium to low heat, again whisking briefly.  Don’t go too far now, because milk does spilith over quite quickly.  When the milk starts getting a little foamy, and the beginning of a low simmer is happening, turn your heat down to the LOWEST setting you have, I’m talking barely a flame in sight.  Let this simmer, whisking occasionally for approx 60 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Rice pudding will thicken as it cools.  Enjoy!

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