Thursday, June 24, 2010

Kids' Birthday Cake

I think I found my recipe for the kids' birthday cake. I'm making it in advance and freezing it (since I'm having the baby right before the birthday) so I'll get to taste this to make sure it's as good as I'm hoping, then I can pack it when we leave for the beach.

chocolate cake recipe

Revisiting a Breakfast Favorite

Today is hot, so hot.  I wanted to make something for breakfast, I had some zucchinis from the farmer's market to use up, and I did not want to use my oven for long.  So I dug up my zucchini bread recipe and adapted it as a muffin recipe (for a third of the baking time). 

Zucchini Muffins

3 eggs
1 c applesauce
1/2 c brown sugar
2 c grated zucchini
2 t vanilla

Then add:
2 c ground flour of choice
1/4 t baking powder
2 t baking soda
1 t salt
3 t cinnamin
1/4 flaxmeal

Stir, then add:
1 c walnuts
1 c raisins

Bake in muffin tins at 350 degrees for 20 to 24 min.

I should mention that I somehow forgot to add the applesauce, but I was using pretty big eggs and I think it balanced out somehow.  But the cooking time might be slightly different with the applesauce.  (Alternatively, you could leave it out like I did.)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Apple Bars

It has been called to my attention that the apple bars recipe turns out VERY different if undercooked.  I cook them usually in an 8x11 glass dish (not 8x8 as I had written) at 375 degrees (not 350) and it needs at least 45 min. (sometimes an hour) to bake.  Make sure it's not soft like oatmeal, they should be stiff bars.  I changed the recipe down below.  Sorry for the misinformation!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

36 weeks . . . one month to go (but who's counting?)

Someone, whose identity shall be protected, but revealed herself in a comment recently, asked me to post a pregnancy picture.  Hilariously, this proved harder than it should have.  Owen thought the whole "Val posing in the living room thing" was just a little too forced and unnatural.  But as we have not been taking any pictures of me pregnant this time, and in case the baby book calls for one (at least one of the other ones did), and in case any of my readers feel cheated that I have posted nary a pregnancy photo, here it is . . .

Again, the only impressive thing about this picture is that it took about 15 tries to find one just decent like this.  The first time we tried, with Owen standing above me (since he's a foot taller), I looked comically short and fat.  We really had to work with photo angles, because my self-esteem was not strong enough to handle the results of our first eight or ten attempts.  So there it is, pregnant Val.  :)

Flower Craft

I promise this picture isn't posed, though it totally looks like it.  I came down the stairs and found Micah like that, waiting to go to the office to get his dad (and deliver his flower craft).  So I of course told him to stay like that while I got the camera.  The craft was cute, from some Family Fun magazine or something.  You cut edges on a paper plate (an odd number), then start on the back of the plate with the yarn (tape it) and make the spokes (then tape the other end of the yarn on the back).  Get a new piece of yarn in another color and tie it in the center, then start weaving over and under each piece of yarn to gradually coil outward.  we switched colors partway through, twice, actually, 'cause we're exciting like that.  Anyway, Micah could do it himself and Jesse could tell me that he could do it himself.  It was a nice stay-at-home-day craft.  Thought I'd share in case any other crafters out there want to try it.

Friday, June 11, 2010

2 Healthy Breakfast Treats

Some old breakfast recipes I've shared in the past, back by request.  (It's easier to just post them a second time than try to find them from a year ago to tell people how to find them.)  Here's a great one for using local ingredients--it's really easy and simple:

Applesauce Bars

1 1/2 c applesauce
1 1/2 c oats
1/4 c flour
1 egg
1/2 c walnuts
2/3 c raisins or dates

Mix.  [You could optionally add sweetner like honey or sugar if desired.]  Add walnuts and dried fruit last.  Pour into 8x11 greased baking dish.  Sprinkle cinnamon (or cinnamon sugar) on the top.  Bake at 375 degrees for 45 min. to an hour or until golden and bar-like in texture. 

Applesauce bars are simple and nutritious, and make a good and hearty breakfast.  They are a hit with the kids.  The muffin recipe I use is less "local" (since it is sweetened with bananas--never local for Philly--and calls for blueberries--which will only be local this upcoming year if I can get my hands on lots of unsprayed ones to freeze before my baby comes next month), but is actually more of a hit with the adults.

Wholegrain Banana Blueberry Muffins

wet ingredients:
3 T olive oil
1 c applesauce (or blended mango)
3 mashed bananas
3 eggs
~1/2 c milk or soymilk
4 1/2 T honey

dry ingredients:
1 1/2 c flax
1 1/2 t baking soda
2 1/4 c flour blend (any whole grain flour blend)
3/4 t cinnamon

Mix wet ingredients and dry ingredients separately, then combine.  Last fold in 2/3 c walnuts and 1 generous cup of blueberries or raspberries.  Put into 2 muffin tins (makes 2 dozen).  Bake at 375 degrees for about 15-20 min.

Enjoy!  They're both good healthy breakfast recipes!  

Just Watched "The Future of Food"

Thanks to a mom from my library group, I have been introduced to yet another alarming movie I thought I'd share with my readers called "The Future of Food."  You can watch it free on at:

Movie: The Future of Food

It was fascinating and alarming.  And at the end I cried, which could be hormonally related.  I am 35 weeks, after all!  Anyway, it's mostly about genetically modified food.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

BPA in cans . . .

Just thought I'd post this article on BPA in canned foods, it's interesting and concerning:

Most cans of food contain controversial BPA

Here's to fresh produce!  And frozen tomatoes for winter!


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Peas, strawberries, and RASPBERRIES!

Sugar peas and pod peas are actually on their way out, after that hot, hot sunny weather we had in Philly the last few weeks (it's finally cooling off tonight, but it's too late for my peas, I'd guess).  But I was really pleased this year with my pea success.  The kids would pick sugar peas on the way to or from the car (since they're growing along the fence in the front) and we'd eat them raw in the car or for a lunch addition.  But the last two weeks my kids have really been excited by the pod peas.  Those we grew on the back fence behind the house, and if my mom hadn't stood up for them I was actually in favor of ripping them out for more tomato space.  I'm so glad I gave them a chance, my kids were ecstatic to pop them open and pull the peas out (partly because they were so sweet, I'm sure). 

Strawberries have been averaging about a quart a week from our plants (which translates to about $7 worth in Philly).  And now the really exciting development is the raspberries ripening.  I thought they'd be a July crop for some reason, but here we go!  I put 2 or 3 in everyone's granola yesterday, but today I decided to save them.  When we get a pint (or at least half of one) I promised the kids what I consider to be the ultimate dessert: black raspberries on vanilla ice cream.  It's the only way to eat them, as far as I'm concerned (though I've never complained about eating the jelly or pie made from them either). 

I don't know if I can properly express my excitement and thankfulness to be able to produce real crops that actually affect our family's diet a little (especially some of these more expensive items: pod peas and strawberries were selling for $7 a quart at the farmer's market this weekend, black raspberries will likely sell for $5 a pint if they have them at all, and after our major construction needed in our basement due to water and termite damage, we need to cut corners where we can).  I think our strawberry crop would have been substantially higher had I not inadvertantly planted their enemy crop, arugula, around about a third of my plants.  I searched online after both plants were so stunted and yellow that I suspected I had found enemy crops.  Next year I will not make that mistake. 

Tomatoes are forming on my plants, so they should start coming a little bit before Baby Davis #3 arrives.  That will save us a fortune.  Ever since I read about BPA in cans of tomatoes I've felt like I should buy fresh, and anyone who reads my blog will know I feel like I have to get local ones, so I've been buying these early expensive ones to tide us over until mine are ready.  Why do I feel like tomatoes are essential for about half of what I make?  And how much better are sandwiches with a good old slice of ripe red tomato?  Oh boy, am I ever ready for ours to ripen!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Easy and Tasty Dinner Idea in 20 minutes!

We were sent home from a barbeque with a leftover steak and some grilled squash for Memorial Day.  Then last night I sauteed some other veggies and had some broccoli rabe and asparagus left over.  So tonight for a lovely 20 minute leftover twist dinner I boiled pasta (brown rice), drained most of the water, added the veggies and 2/3 of the steak all cut into small pieces, added part of a small fresh tomato, and sprinkled it with a little salt and parmesan cheese.  It was really good and REALLY easy and did not involve much time in my hot kitchen.  Just thought I'd pass the idea along now that we are in the season of grilling.  Yum!