Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sour Cream - Yogurt Cucumbers

We are in chopping mode over here. Me with the chef's knife and the plethora of cucumbers from the garden.

Kahuna with the chain saw and this oak tree that decided to come crashing down in our backyard the other night at midnight.
How rude.

See the poor little peach tree stick in the foreground?
Kahuna's been busy.

Cucumbers. We were talking cucumbers.
This fine recipe, recently posted at Donna's blog, Designs on 47th Street, is a great alternative to the vinegar-y, pickle-ish cucumber dishes I often make. (Like this one, for example. Or this one.)
Donna's recipe calls for 1/2 c. sour cream. But the first time I made it I didn't have enough, so substituted half plain yogurt for half the sour cream. I added a touch of sugar to offset the yogurt's tang. I decided I like it this way.

1 cucumber, sliced
1 t. salt
1/4 c. sour cream
1/4 c. plain yogurt
1/4 t. sugar
4 t. vinegar
2-3 drops hot pepper sauce
2 T. snipped chives
1/2 t. dried dillweed
dash pepper
Thinly slice cucumber. Sprinkle salt over and let sit for 30 minutes. Drain and rinse to get rid of some of the saltiness.
Combine sour cream, yogurt, sugar, vinegar, hot pepper sauce, chives, dillweed, and pepper. (I just mix it all up in the measuring cup.)

Pour over the cucumbers.
Et voila. You are done.

How are the rest of you doing with your garden produce?


Friday, July 24, 2009

Onion Pie

Well you probably shouldn't try serving this to any onion haters in your house (and you know who you are), but if you happen to like the little bulbs -- and we do (see onion crop here) -- you should give this frugal quiche-like main dish a try. Notice it doesn't call for a traditional crust; rather you mix saltine cracker crumbs with butter and smush away.
I do love smushing.
Recipe comes from Katy's blog, Food for a Hungry Soul. Thanks, Katy, for a great new dish.
2 c. thinly sliced onions, separated into rings (2-3 medium onions)
2 T. butter
1 c. finely crushed saltines (about 28 crackers) (I whirled these in blender)
1/4 c. (1/2 stick) butter, melted
3/4 c. milk
2 eggs
pinch salt
dash pepper
1/4 c. shredded cheese (I used sharp Cheddar; Katy says just about any kind of cheese works)
dash paprika
Slice onions and separate into rings. Melt 2 T. butter in saucepan and saute onions until transluscent.

While onions are cooking, smash your saltines into crumbs. (The blender works perfectly for this. My crackers were even a little bit stale, but you couldn't tell in the finished product. So maybe this is a new use for all of our stale crackers.) Mix crumbs with the 1/4 c. melted butter and smush into bottom and sides of pie pan.
Place cooked onions in crust. Combine milk, eggs, salt and pepper and pour over the onions.

Sprinkle with cheese and paprika. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean.

Enjoy your pie.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Jello Poke Cake

Well it might not be diet food exactly, but this cake, recommended by Sandra at Add Humor and Faith, starts with a reduced-sugar Pillsbury devil's food cake that you bake, poke with a fork, then drizzle with sugar-free/ fat-free raspberry gelatin and top with an 8-ounce container of Cool Whip Lite.

I'm feeling pretty virtuous over here.

Sandra mixes light raspberry yogurt with the Cool Whip topping, but I got so excited I completely forgot about the yogurt.
You can find complete instructions here.
Thanks, Sandra, for the great idea.

And on an unrelated note, welcome to our new pet. It's not exactly a puppy, but we're growing fond of her anyway.
Perfect name for a turtle, don't you think?


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Honey Cinnamon Rolls

Another offering from an old issue of Cooking Light magazine.
If you eat three or more, however, I believe they no longer qualify as "light."
The magazine directs you to start with frozen bread dough (you can find this in the freezer section at the supermarket), but my handy dandy bread machine is so easy to use, I whipped up a batch of homemade white bread dough to use instead.
What this recipe does that I'd never seen before is instruct you to roll out the dough and spray it with cooking spray before sprinkling on the sugar/cinnamon mixture. No extra butter or oil in that layer. That must save a few calories right there.
On to the food:
1 lb. loaf frozen white bread dough
2 T. sugar
2 t. ground cinnamon
cooking spray (recipe called for butter-flavored spray, but I used regular Canola Oil Non-stick Cooking Spray, and it was fine)
1/3 c. honey
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
(optional: 1/4 c. chopped pecans, toasted. I left this out)
Thaw dough in refrigerator for 12 hours; cover and bring to room temperature (about an hour). (Obviusly, if you make your own dough you don't need to wait 12 hours.)
Combine the sugar with the cinnamon. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it makes a 16 x 12 inch rectangle. Spray lightly with cooking spray; sprinkle cinnamon sugar over all. Coat dough again with spray. Starting with 12-inch end, roll up tightly. Pinch ends and seams well so none of the cinnamon-sugar goodness escapes.
In small heat-proof bowl, microwave honey for 20 seconds on high. Pour honey into 9-inch round cake pan (I used a pie tin), tilting so honey coats the bottom of whole pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar (and pecans, if you're using them).
Cut dough across into one-inch pieces (making 12 pieces). Place, cut side down, in cake/pie pan. Cover and let rise in warm place, free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in size. (If your kitchen isn't warm, you can put your oven on "warm" for two minutes, shut it off, then put your dough in there to rise.)
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. (The recipe says until golden brown, but mine were golden brown after just 15 minutes, but were still too dough-y in the middle. Next time I will cook these for the entire 20 minutes.)
When you take them out of the oven, immediately invert the pan onto a serving plate. These are especially yummy when warm.
Makes 12, about 225 calories each.
Doing any baking at your house? I'd love to hear about it.


Friday, July 10, 2009

10 Honest Things

Thank you, DarcyLee at In This Season, for sharing this "Honest Scrap" award with me. DarcyLee always has wonderful homemaking thoughts and recipes to share. And besides that, she's a brand new grandma! So hop on over and scroll back a tad to see a picture of her precious new bundle and wish her congratulations.

Here are the "Honest Scrap" rules:

1. Say thank you to the presenter of the award and link back to them.
2. Share 10 honest things about yourself.
3. Present this award to 7 other people whose blogs you find brilliant in content and/or design, or those who give encouragement.
4. Tell those 7 people they have been awarded Honest Scrap and inform them of these guidelines in receiving it.

My 10 honest things:

1. I'm making a crazy quilt of old fabric scraps. Which leads, of course, to more fabric scraps, which leads to more scrap quilts. I don't picture this ending well.

2. I love my Moms In Touch prayer group. There is nothing like praising God, confessing your sins, thanking Him for His many blessings, and bringing your precious family before Him in prayer. Nothing. (You can read article here.)

3. We have no TV reception right now. Not missing it.

4. Our plum trees this year have no plums. Our peach trees have about 7 peaches, which we are valiantly fighting over with the squirrels. Not sure what happened. Missing my homemade peach nectar.

5. I wrote to President Reagan once to ask if he or Nancy used personal computers. (I worked for a computer magazine at the time.) I received a very nice reply on official White House stationery, which hung on my refrigerator door for quite a while. (The answer is no; neither he nor Nancy.)

6. My favorite Bible study resource is Joy of Living Bible studies. You can mail away for them. They are awesome. They even have studies for youth, and studies in different languages.

7. The last chocolate item I ate: homemade chocolate sauce, on sliced bananas. It was today's post-lunch dessert. (You DID get your post-lunch dessert, didn't you?)

8. My spices are alphabetized.

9. My refrigerator? Not.

10. When I was a kid I had a book of 1,001 free things to send for. I sent for almost every one, including the brochure from the tire company on how they make rubber. I have always liked mail.

I know not everybody has time to receive and pass along awards, so rather than doing as I'm told and passing this on to 7 more Honest Scrappers, I think I'll just list a few of my favorite blogs to visit, and hope you'll go visit them, too. And if anyone wants to play along, consider yourself bestowed with this honor and tell us 10 honest things about you!

Some favorite blogs:

Aunt Ruthie at Sugar Pie Farmhouse

Lori at A Frugally Old-Fashioned Homemaker


Visions of Sugarplum

Canning Jars Etc.

Carpoolqueen's Blog

Happy Friday. Now go get your post-lunch dessert if you haven't had it yet.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Crispy Potato Rounds with Rosemary

This simple dish makes a nice alternative to French fries. It comes from The PlumpJack Cookbook by Jeff Morgan.

5 T. olive oil

3 lbs. potatoes, scrubbed (recipe called for large white or Yukon Gold, but I used potatoes from the big old bag of regular baking potatoes I had on hand)

1 T. dried rosemary

coarse salt and pepper

Cover the bottom of your roasting pan with 2 T. oil. Slice potatoes into 1/8-inch rounds. Place in pan. (You can be decorative here, and line them up in overlapping rows or in a circular pattern.) Drizzle over the remaining 3 T. olive oil. Sprinkle with rosemary, and season with salt and pepper as desired. Cook at 400 degrees aout 30 minutes, until golden brown.

Question: do you have any favorite summertime side dishes?


Friday, July 3, 2009

Pork Chops with Gravy

Just finished reading Fannie Flagg's Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe yesterday, so of course I had to make one of her recipes for dinner. I chose pork chops with gravy.

Sorry there's no picture. We ate them all. I could show you a picture of the leftover gravy, but that would just be weird.

So I'm showing you part of our garden instead. (Actually, to be completely honest, it's my husband's garden. My contribution is basically to eat. And no, to answer your next question, I don't eat the sunflowers. Smart aleck.)

Back to pork chops.

Usually my pork chops end up dried out, like some kind of meat jerky you might be forced to eat on a ten-month moon voyage. I have avoided making them for a while. But they are so cheap at the grocery store. And since this recipe directs you to brown them, then cover and simmer and smother with gravy, Fannie's pork chops are not dry. They are lovely. I will be making Fannie's chops and gravy again.

Enough yakking. (Or is it yacking?) On to the recipe.


4 slices bacon
1/3 c. flour
salt & pepper
4 large, thick pork chops
1 1/2 c. milk

Fry up bacon in skillet. Remove cooked bacon and allow family to scarf all four pieces down like ravenous wolves. You will not be needing the bacon; you will need only the grease they left behind. Put the flour on a plate, add salt & pepper as desired, and stir around with a fork. Dip both sides of pork chops in flour and put in heated skillet with the bacon grease. (Do not throw away left over flour; you'll be using it later.) Cook over medium high heat until browned (a few minutes), then turn and brown the other side. Turn down the heat, cover, and cook until chops are done, about 30 minutes.

Once the meat is done, you can remove it to a plate to make this next step easier. Stir left over flour into the fat in the pan. Add milk and whisk it around good, cooking until gravy thickens. This should take only a minute or two. And don't worry about lumps; the whisking will get rid of them.

Serve gravy over the chops. Delicious with garlic mashed potatoes.

Thank you to The Bumbles for this book recommendation. Any other good food books to recommend? Anyone?