Thursday, January 27, 2011

Baked Oatmeal: Old-School

I decided I'd try reheating yesterday's oatmeal the old-fashioned way and made baked oatmeal last weekend.  I feel overly microwave dependent, and thought I'd see how it worked if I put it in the oven.  I put the leftover oatmeal from the fridge (which was actually a blend of steel-cut oats, millet, quinoa, and amaranth cooked on the stove until thick and soft) into a shallow baking dish.  I added milk, honey, frozen blueberries, walnuts, flaxmeal, and sprinkled cinnamin over the top.  Then I baked it in the oven until it was bubbling--less than 45 minutes.  It would take longer in a deeper dish.  It tasted very much the same as stovetop, but gave me the satisfaction of not doing it the modern "lazy" way and warmed the kitchen nicely.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cutsey :)

OK, admittedly, I've been sloppy about posting.  Maybe it's the winter doledrums, maybe it's that I read the Hunger Games series a little obsessively (very good, especially the first two--I was totally hooked), maybe it's just laziness, but I know, I have shirked at posting.  Anyway, I thought I'd put in a few cute pictures of the kids to make up for it.

Abigail is eating solids--but she'll only eat things that actually taste good, more specifically, sweet.  Oh dear, I'll have to break her in gradually.  She's too cute to force into eating some of those veggies.

Hot chocolate on a snowday.  We've had pretty many so far this winter--again.

The Giant Purple People Eaters

My pretty Christmas dress--with a little drool.

Me and Grandpa

Some shameless exploitation of Abigail's cuteness. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Happy Meat

So, after the stress of planning; picking up the enormous weight of a full cow, a pig and a half, and 12 chickens all packed in boxes (slightly alarming for our van, with its already lousy shocks); and driving to and from Lancaster on a snowy day (worried on the way back that an accident would endanger Abigail with all the frozen meat in the car) . . . we're done!  The local meat is in the freezer (or picked up by participating families), the money is mostly in, and we're just getting ready for some roasts and sausage meals.  Last night was actually the Lancaster classic (at least in my house) of Sausage and Rice with butter beans on the side (the southern version of lima beans).  Tonight is beef chuck roast with noodles, pumpkin (with brown sugar and butter?), salad, and the leftover butter beans.  I'll include the recipes for anyone else who just filled a freezer with meat--they're two of the easiest things I know to make.  :)
Sausage and Rice (Lancaster style)

Saute the sausage (about a pound) on medium-low heat until it's cooked through.  Add two quarts of frozen/canned diced or stewed tomatoes.  (To sneak greens into the meal, add blended kale, which will change the appearance, but not the taste.)  Before serving, mix a few tablespoons of corn starch into a small dish with a few tablespoons of water or white wine.  Mix thoroughly, then pour it into the simmering sausage tomato dish.  That will thicken the tomato into a "sauce."  Serve over rice.
I got that recipe from my mom.  This next recipe, for a spice rub, I got out of a magazine and I keep a mix of it in a drawer with the recipe taped to the bottom (thank goodness for that, considering that I'd otherwise have no idea what was in it).

Davis Dry Rub
(that's really what it was called in the magazine)

To make the mix (which you can use multiple times, it stores well), get a bowl and add:
1/2 c paprika
1/3 c ground black pepper
1/4 c salt
1/4 c chili powder
1/4 c ground cumin
1/4 c packed brown sugar
3 T granulated sugar
2 T cayenne pepper

There's no way I made that much when I mixed it up, I just used the amounts to know the balance of ingredients.  I probably made about a quarter of that and it lasted a few years (we don't do that many roasts).  But I use it every time I make a roast and we really like it. 
Wash the meat, dust both sides of the roast with the rub, and put it in the crockpot or roasting pan--with carrots, potatoes, and onions if you prefer.  Easy schmeasy!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Beer Bread

Well, dinner was truly a disappointment.  All day, in little stages, I prepped for what I thought was going to be the best rainy January day dinner ever: Lentil soup with swiss chard (I know, that should have been my tip-off right there, but they made it sound so good), bread, cheese, wine . . . what could be better--right?  Wrong. 

The lentil soup was with French green lentils (the ones that cost twice as much but don't fall apart).  And I made improvements on the recipe.  For example, I cut up some turkey lunch meat that had reached it's prime, so it's not even vegetarian!  There's saffron infused yogurt (well kefir, because I make that myself and always have it on hand--you can look in the labels on the right if you want to see what that is) to drizzle over the top.  And I sent Owen to the store for cheese, which turned out to be sharp cheddar because that's what was on sale, but I really don't like sharp cheddar when it's not moist, so that was a bust, too. 

Anyway, the soup was a complete disappointment.  But what saved the meal was the fragrant beer bread (OK, not that I could eat it--I made myself a Bob's Redmill gluten-free loaf in the bread machine) we served alongside.  Now Owen tells me that if I do not mention that 1) I got the bread recipe from Margaret, and 2) he spent the whopping 5 minutes to mix it up, because I made him so I wouldn't have to handle the gluten, he will expose me as a fraud on his new website he will create at  But seriously, how corny is it that I spend hours on dinner, and the only good part was the 5 minute bread?

Here's the recipe for the bread (I'm withholding the lentil soup recipe so no one will be tempted to try it):
Margaret's Beer Bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, mix:
3 c whole wheat flour (or white, if you prefer),
3 t baking powder
1 t salt
2-3 T sugar

Gradually mix one 12 oz. room temp. beer in with the flour until bread is kneedable and doesn't stick to your hands (you either have to drink the last swallow of beer or add a little bit of extra flour).  Bake in greased bread pan for 45 min to an hour.