It’s the end of August, with so many tomatoes, so little time. How about some fresh salsa?
I’m not joking around with you here. This salsa is so good and so easy, we have developed a serious addiction. My 11-year-old can’t stop making it and the rest of us can’t stop eating it.
6 ingredients and – BAM!
This tasty little number is reminiscent of when I met The Professor. In college he was working as a waiter at a Peruvian restaurant and they served a fresh salsa that was very similar. The Professor spoke Spanish to all the customers. Swoon.
Why have we waited so long to feel the salsa love once more?
Try it. You’ll like it. But I warn you…it’s so good it kindof ruins the store bought variety. So maybe you don’t want to live outside the jar. Never mind, YES YOU DO!
The OM-Goodness I Can’t Stop Eating This Salsa
1/2 Cup Water
1/2 Onion (yellow or red)
1/2 Bunch Cilantro
1 Jalepeno (or more if you like spicy!)
Salt to taste (I like salty)
Put all ingredients in the blender and give it a whirl for about 30 seconds. We like this particular salsa just blended. It’s not chunky, but it’s not one uniform paste. You can add or take away water depending on thickness preference. You can add more jalepeno for more spice. Too spicy? Add another roma. Don’t like cilantro? What???
Hello friends! After an unexpected (and very fun) trip to San Diego (much to tell!) I’m back in blogging action with a seasonal, easy, and delicious smoothie for you. It might give you so much energy you’ll want to go climb a mountain. Or at least be able to think about what to make for dinner.Here she is, the Blueberry Peach Smoothie. What a natural beauty.
After seven years of barren bushes our blueberries are finally bursting. Remember: good things come to those who wait. I time our vacations around blueberry season. I’m only kindof kidding.
We’ve eaten so many blueberries, our whole family is practically one fat blueberry. So that’s how we’ll start our smoothie – put ’em in the blender – especially the droopy and less desirable ones.
Now let us turn our attention to the peach, also in season at the moment. Is this a dreamy life we live or what? It makes me almost forget New Hampshire winters. One year I canned them and we enjoyed peaches in the middle of February, making New Hampshire life bearable. Alas, I have not been so ambitious since.
Cut peaches up, using white or golden varieties. I’m particularly obsessed with the white peach at the moment. Peaches are perfect in the smoothie because I cannot eat them with the skin on – to me, taking a bite of fuzz is akin to nails sliding down a chalkboard. You with me? But now, we need some protein and fat that won’t upset the peach and blueberry taste. I went for avocado. Don’t freak out, just do as I say. Avocados hardly have any taste in a smoothie except to make it creamy and delicious. How to get the avocado into the blender? Just squeeze it out – it’s so easy! You can add the pitt if you’re feeling super nutritious and your blender can handle it (but I’ve never added the avocado skins.)
We just need one more eensy-weensy vegetable. We have a lot of carrots at the moment. How about this one??? We grew funky carrots, but any old ones will do. We wash, but don’t peel. Throw carrots into blender and you’ve got yourself a smoothie!
Here it is, my go-to homemade bread recipe passed down from the ancestors of old to me and now to you! Delicious, nutritious, easy to make, this bread winner is especially dreamy just out of the oven with a pat of melted butter…The finished product may remind you of the good earth.
You’ll begin with hot water, honey or maple syrup, and a dab of shortening. (Brown sugar works well too, but we’re veering toward more natural products.) Next, using the same measuring cup used for the honey/maple syrup, you’ll add warm water and yeast. This way the yeast flirts with the sugar on the bottom of the measuring cup to make the magic happen.
Add more water, a bit of salt, and white whole wheat flour and that’s it. The party has started.
The dough will rise twice for two super loaves. I like to bake bread on our baking stones, with a little corn meal laid down underneath. After the second coming rising, the dough looks like this beauty.
Bake at 400 for about 24-30 minutes. I mean, is that beauteous or what?
If you prefer more traditional loaves, you can plunk dough in bread pans. Could even sprinkle some oatmeal on top. Let rise until double in size like so:We are now ready for the oven!
Time? Yes, homemade bread takes time. It requires a morning, afternoon, or evening at home so bread can rise. The anticipation is part of the joy of baking, adding one ingredient at a time, letting dough rise, the smell of flour and gluten rising in the air and then baked bread filling the kitchen while children jump at your feet (drooling. always drooling.)
Honey Whole Wheat Bread
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup honey or pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup warm water
3 teaspoons yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 teaspoon salt
6 cups whole wheat white flour (OR 3 cups white flour and 3 cups whole wheat white)
1. Combine first three ingredients: 1/2 cup hot water, 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup, 3 tablespoons shortening. Mix until dissolved. (I use a kitchen aid mixer with dough attachment but this is optional – bread can be made completely by hand).
2. Combine *next two ingredients: 1/2 cup warm water and 3 teaspoons yeast. Let stand about 5-10 minutes until frothy/bubbly. *(Use the 1-cup measuring cup you used for the honey/maple so the yeast will rise in the water.)
3. Pour yeast mixture into mixer/bowl where the first three ingredients are waiting.
4. Add 1 1/2 cups warm water, 2 teaspoons salt, and 3 cups of the flour. Beat vigorously to make a sponge. Mix in remaining 3 cups flour (and 1/2 cup wheat germ or cracked wheat if you like). Knead or mix, adding more flour as needed. You want to be able to knead or mix until it no longer sticks to your hands.
5. Leave in mixer bowl and cover with a damp towel or saran wrap, preferably in a warm place. Let rise until double in bulk (45 min-1hour.) Punch down. Form into two loaves. Put on prepared pizza stones (sprinkled with corn meal) or in bread pans (with a non-stick spray). Let rise double in bulk again (30-45 min).
6. Bake on 400 for 24-30 minutes until the bread is toasty brown.
Yesterday morning we had another school delay, due to 3-5 inches of SNOW getting dumped on New Hampshire. These are the times that try the souls of men. And mothers. The kids need to be outside romping! Dear Mother Nature, it’s time to move on to a different season. How do we cope? We make the ultimate comfort food: soup. I owe the deliciousness to Curt, my dear brother-in-law, who prepared this classic tomato soup one year ago when I was in Utah, preparing to run the Salt Lake City Marathon. They don’t eat much meat in their family due to my sister’s stomach issues.
My mouth dropped open as his children devoured this tomato soup, asked for more, and ate it as leftovers the next day. I mean, I had to elbow my way in for a slurp; a soup is filled with vegetables. And the kids were loving it! It’s filling, delicious, and gut-friendly (and believe me, before and after a marathon your gut needs friends).
Let me introduce you to the leek. I’d never cooked with leeks before. What a beautiful food.
Fresh garlic was a Christmas gift. Priceless.
Leeks, celery, onion, garlic will be your base, sautéed in butter.
Topped with fresh cilantro. Are your salivary glands working?
No fresh tomatoes? No matter. Canned work well in the middle of winter.
Light, fresh, and packed with whole foods, you’re going to make your body happy with this dish.
Easy Buttermilk Biscuits There are times when I like chunks in my soup. Adding vegetables adds nutrition and substance. Using an immersion blender makes this soup is classically smooth – and the kids are much more likely to eat it.. Paired with the easy buttermilk drop biscuits, this is one beautiful night at home. Does nothing spell love for the man like warm soup on a cold night? Homemade Tomato Soup
Homemade Tomato Soup
2 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
2 Leeks, chopped
1 Stalk Celery, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 20 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 Cup Water
2 Cubes Chicken Boullion
1 32 ounce Plain Tomato Juice
1 dash Nutmeg
1 dash cayenne pepper (depending on spice factor
1 Tablespoon Honey
1. Saute butter, garlic, leeks, onion, and celery until soft.
Courtesy of my mother-in-law, this chocolate is dark and decadent. It tastes expensive, but is cheaper than any box of chocolates.
It’s mighty serendipitous that this tasty confection came just in time for Valentines Day as we are still trying to repent of our holiday gluttony.
You only need three ingredients:
Cocoa Powder, Coconut Oil, Maple Syrup
Put ingredients in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until melted. Pour into bowl (glass or metal). Freeze for an hour of so. Done. No candy thermometers or complicated instructions.
Break up chocolate and eat.
I wanted heart molds for Valentine’s so I bought this one from Amazon. It worked beautifully. The candy pops out and the silicone is easy to clean – even dishwasher safe. I’m already dreaming of all the other little molds I must make..bunnies, groundhogs, four-leaf clovers, chickens…oh dear.
This chocolate is so dark (a major heart healthy benefit) that at first Paige (age 7) didn’t like it as much as the sugary Hershey’s, but I tell you, she’s come around. “Mmm, mom, can I have another one, please, please, please?”
For quality nutrition, the cocoa should be at least 65% cocoa. Most chocolate is very low in cocoa. This recipe also has coconut oil (a healthy fat that is easily used for energy) and maple syrup. Maple syrup is obviously a sugar, but pure maple has some health benefits. In addition, as the baker, you can control the amount used.
The first time I made this chocolate I didn’t add enough syrup and it was just too bitter. So I lazily poured a drop into the individual molds after the chocolate and coconut oil was in. Don’t do that. You’ll end up with this:The darlings didn’t mind. “Mmmm, it’s chocolate filled with maple syrup!”
Excited? Oh boy, I am!
Homemade Dark Chocolate:
1 Cup Cocoa Powder (high quality)
1 Cup Coconut Oil
1/2 Cup Pure Maple Syrup (use less or more depending on taste)
Heat Cocoa Powder, Coconut Oil, and Maple Syrup on stove over medium heat until combined. Stir constantly. Taste (but be careful – it’s hot!) for sweetness factor. Pour into glass or metal bowl. Freeze. For molds: first pour melted chocolate into liquid measuring cup, then into molds. Freeze. Done. Eat!
Helpful hint: Put the molds onto a baking sheet before you pour chocolate into it. Trying to move it later with hot liquid chocolate…is a disaster.
Last week I waxed longingly of my Indian food obsession. Here’s the accompanying naan that will complete your life in every way.
Let’s get to it, shall we?
For the dough: combine 1/ 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast, 3/4 cup warm water (not hot!), and 2 teaspoons honey. Stir to dissolve. Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine 1 3/4 cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and a couple grinds of pepper.
Pour foamy yeast mixture into the dry ingredients. Mix until incorporated. It will look like this: Add a little flour and knead the dough a few times in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until about double in size, about 1 1/2 hours. It will look like this:Transfer to a floured surface and knead until smooth, about 2 minutes, forming into a ball, like so:Cut the ball in half because you get to make two naans!Roll out on floured surface, making a circle of some sort. It doesn’t have to be perfect. If it was, I wouldn’t be the one showing you the recipe 🙂
The dough is done and ready to cook! But let’s give it some mouth-watering death-defying flavor…In a saucepan: add 1/2 a tablespoon butter, lots of salt and pepper, chopped onion, and a glob of chopped garlic. Let it cook until fragrant smells rise…mmmmm. Salivary glands are working.I over-rolled the dough, then awkwardly put it in the pan, smoothed it out and it was all good. It’s hard to mess up. Let dough cook for just a few minutes, checking the underside until it looks like this: Flip! Cook the other side until they both look like this. Admire it until your children jump up and down impatiently to just eat it already.Slide the naan onto a cutting board. You can cut or pull apart.Take a sniff, pat yourself on the back, and know your work for the day is done.
Indian naan is what my sister-in-law calls a “pusher,” you know that tasty piece of something you push the food around with that really completes a dish? This naan completes this Chicken Tikka Masala perfectly. Now you’ve got a dinner the whole family loves – my children gobbled so fast I had to fight for my share!
I don’t have anything against purchasing naan, especially from an authentic market or restaurant. Trader Joe’s does a nice one, but homemade is a hands-down winner. We don’t have to make everything by hand (thank goodness), but spending time to plant a seed or pick some kale or roll dough reminds me of this quote:
“The fast food culture sees that we forget – the best things take Time and Presence.” -Alice Waters
Recipe is adapted from Iron Chef’s Alex Guarnaschelli’s Flatbread with Charred Broccoli and Roasted Grapes (we just happen to like onions and garlic 🙂
Indian Naan with Roasted Garlic and Onion
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
2 teasoons honey
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
For the Topping:
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic or 1 whole garlic, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Combine yeast, water, and honey. Let sit until frothy about 5 minutes.
2. In another bowl, combine flour, salt, and pepper. Incorporate wet with dry ingredients.
3. Knead in bowl a few times, adding flour as necessary. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
4. Transfer dough to floured surface and knead about 2 minutes. Split dough in half. Roll out into a circle.
5. In round sauce pan, add butter, onions, garlic, salt, and pepper over medium-high heat. Cook until fragrant, a few minutes.
6. Add the rolled dough to pan. Cook until underside is brown and toasty. Flip and cook.
7. Transfer onto a cutting board. Pull apart or cut to eat!
I have a fierce craving for Indian food at most times of the day. In my opinion it’s the perfect winter comfort food. Since we are hither and yon from quality Indian, I must make do on my own. Sadly, Chicken Tikka Masala is something I’ve failed at making too many times. What’s a mama to do? Ask The Professor of course. He threw in a little of this, a little of that, and ba boom, we had THIS.
(The man sure is handy, isn’t he?)
Chicken Tikka Masala is an Indian staple with juicy pieces of chicken simmered in a creamy, spiced tomato sauce.Now tell me, what’s not to like? Especially with that amazing flatbread Indian naan on the side?Ingredients are likely on-hand or simple to procure. So. I think it’s time to get some Indian on!
2. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, red chili flakes, and shallots, stirring often until fragrant (about 3 minutes).
3. Stir in the spices and cook 30 seconds.
4. Stir in the tomatoes, scraping bottom to incorporate spices.
5. Transfer sauce to blender and puree. Return sauce to the pan, stir in the milk, season with salt and pepper (we like a lot!) and bring to a boil.
6. Add chicken, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until cooked through, about 15 minutes.
7. Stir in the peas; simmer 5 minutes.
8. Eat up, my friends!
Oh, and by any chance were you drooling over the flatbread naan? The truth is, if you’re going to eat Indian, you have to have toasted naan to mop up the delicious Indian sauce. Never fear, that recipe is coming up next! And it’s wicked good.
A bit granola obsessed around the holidays? Join my party. I just can’t get enough. Here’s a Christmas granola that’s going to make you swoon with Santa spirit: Cherry, Pistachio, and Coconut-Toasted Granola.
I always make a double batch because it goes so lickety-split. First, in a small saucepan, combine 1 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, 1 Cup Honey, and 1 Cup Pure Maple Syrup. Heat on low until small bubbles form around the side.
While that’s going on, assemble the dry ingredients.
In a large bowl, combine oatmeal, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds, pecan pieces, coconut chips, and a dash of salt. I cook my granola until it’s toasty dark. This time around it went a little too dark. “Just say it’s gourmet,” the professor advised. Gourmet sounds better than “burnt.”
Gourmet, no? After you’ve cooked the granola, add dried red cherries and freshly shelled green pistachios. There you go! A beautiful, energy-inducing, homemade Christmas treat.
Some granola tips:from sad experience I have learned what not to do: do not cook the cherries or the pistachios. The cherries turn hard and the pistachios turn mushy.
Want granola that clumps? Sure, adding more sugary binder will help clump, but I didn’t want more sugar. Instead, Food52 advises adding a frothy (beaten) egg white to help stickage.
Two frothy egg whites were added. Clumps ensued. And life was good.
Super duper clumping: Bake granola as directed. Do not stir. When toasty brown, turn off oven and leave overnight. In the morning you’ll have a sheet of granola you can break apart with your hands, to your exact specifications!
Feast, my darlings.
Wrap it with a bow and give some Maisymak Granola Snack, Holiday Style. Fully loaded.
Cherry, Pistachio, Toasted-Coconut Granola
1 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 Cup Honey
1 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
6 Cups Oatmeal (not instant)
1 Cup Pumpkin Seeds
1/2 Cup Sunflower Seeds
1 Cup Walnuts
1 Cup Almonds
1/2 Cup Pecan Pieces
1 Cup Coconut Pieces
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
2 Frothy Egg Whites (optional, for extra clumping)
1 Cup Dried Cherries
1 Cup Pistachios
Preheat oven to 325. Must be low or granola will burn (another sad experience.)
1. In a small saucepan, combine the olive oil, honey, and maple syrup. Heat on low heat until small bubbles come to surface.
2. While wet ingredient are heating up, combine oatmeal, seeds, nuts, coconut pieces, and salt in a big bowl.
3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir.
4. Add frothy egg whites (I used a blender) and stir.
5. Line two cookie sheets with foil. Spread out granola. Cook for about an hour, checking to make sure granola doesn’t burn. For more clumps, resist the urge to stir the granola. Let cool and break up by hand.
6. Add dried cherries and pistachios.
7. Eat and/or scoop into bags for Christmas delivery!
Merry Christmas, friends! May you eat cherry, pistachio, toasted-coconut granola and never be weary again…
Looking for a quick and tasty holiday appetizer? Look no further. These simple sugared cranberry brie bites will give every foodie just the right fix.This recipe was originally posted at Annie’s-Eats, one of my favorite food blogs. The sugared cranberries are a Christmas staple around here; they have the most fantastic sugar tart POP!
First, you’re going to make a simple syrup to coat the cranberries and then let them dry on a drying rack like this, for about an hour.
Then you’ll coat them with more sugar. Yes, I’m saying sugar on the blog, oh dear. Justification: cranberries are soooo nutritious, but difficult to eat without a little bit of the white stuff. So there.
A little bit of brie cheese on a wheat cracker and there you go!
Sugared Cranberry Brie Bites:
1. Buy wheat crackers. Round crackers give a nice aesthetic appeal.
2. Milk cow for cheese. Wait. What?
3. Go to grocery store and pick out a nice brie. Better?
4. Sugar your cranberries:
Simple Syrup: Over medium heat, combine 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup white sugar. Sir until combined. Take off heat. Pour in a bag of cranberries, just to coat (not to cook.) Using a slotted spoon, lay cranberries on a drying rack for ONE HOUR, at least. The cranberries should slightly sticky dry, but not wet.
Next, pour some sugar into a bowl. Pour cranberries into bowl to coat. And that’s it. Really.
Now, let’s sing – FA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LAAAAAA…it’s sugared cranberry brie bite time!
Are you in an afternoon snack funk? For that magical combination of fast, quick, tasty AND healthy?
Check. Baked apples to the rescue!
True, you need an oven, but baked apples are so different than the usual fare, that I was just tickled apple pink at such a quick, healthy, and tasty morsel. Man, I love this season. The apples are in full bloom (are we really into fall?) so it’s time to pick yourself some yum-yum.
Turn the oven on to 400. Take a knife and cut a circle out of the top
Just like that! Now, darlings, use a melon baller and scoop out the middle, past the seeds It’s surprisingly easy.
Isn’t that pretty?The gorgeous apple! And I love stars. Star was my alias in college. Really 🙂
Eat the tops or feed them to the chicken. Or doggie. There. All scooped out and ready to fill. I suggest putting down foil to prevent dishwashing. Put a little brown sugar in the center and on the sides. Just a tad. Totally optional. Add a little cinnamon Perfect, no?
Now, put in preheated oven for about 15 min. An apple full of love. Isn’t that a perfect heart?
If you accidentally overbake them, no worries, just eat that warm, mushy apple pie right up.
Can you only have these for after school? Heck no! They’re pretty terrific for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Even Valentine’s.
Baked Apple Bites:
Preheat oven to 400.
Wash apples, cut off top
Spoon out seeds (scraping sides a little bit), making a little well
Put a teensy bit of brown sugar and cinnamon inside
Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes or so, depending on how crunchy or soft you like to eat baked apples.