Friday, October 30, 2009

Mike's Granola Bars

{I'm alive! Sorry I haven't posted in over a month...I started a new job and just haven't had very much free time to}

I started making these granola bars for my husband about 6 months ago, and I've been tweaking it ever since. I think we've finally came to a combination that suits him well. He says they are more filling than most store bought granola bars and just taste "fresher". I've just nibbled on a few here and there but every bit I do get is tasty!

Servings: 8 big bars (or 16 regular sized ones)
Adapted from Alton Brown

2 cups old fashion rolled oats
1/2 cup shelled sunflower seeds
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 cup peanuts

1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 oz chopped dried fruit, any combination*

*I used welch's mixed fruit and I found it in my baking aisle by the chocolate chips.

1. Spray a 7x 11 glass baking dish with Pam. Preheat over to 350 degrees F.

2. Spread the oats, sunflower seeds, peanuts, and wheat germ onto a sheet pan. Place in the oven and toast for 5 minutes, stir, and toast for 5 more minutes.

3. Meanwhile, combine the honey, brown, sugar, butter, extract, and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until the brown sugar is dissolved.

4. Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the over and reduce the heat to 300 degrees. Immediately add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture, add dried fruit, and stir to combine. Turn mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press down (I used wax paper on top of the mixture and my peanut butter jar to press). Place in the oven and back for 25 minutes.

5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely and store in airtight container.

Note: When buying the wheat germ, I've found toasted and untoasted. If you can only find toasted, don't toast it in the oven with the oats and nuts. Just add it in when you add the dried fruit.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Grandma Pat's Beef Barley Stew

I'm not sure if any of you other Mamas are having difficulties introducing solids to your wee one(s). Eddie wouldn't eat anything but breastmilk until he was ten months old, and then I tried being all crunchy and making him baby food out of our food, but he wouldn't touch it. He *loved* OTHER babies' homemade baby food (and storebought baby food, and cookies, and crackers and cheese...all that stuff we're not supposed to give him right away, of course!) but not mine.

But then I made that Tortilla Soup, and gave him a taste (PRE-hot sauce), and he LOVED it. I froze a bunch of it in an ice cube tray, and it's still a hit. I finally broke down and BOUGHT jarred baby food (sob :P) and he, of course, loved that too. The best laid plans of Mamas and wives, I tell you.

Also, he doesn't like the same thing twice in a row. If we had mango-peach-oatmeal for breakfast one morning, we'd BETTER have something different the following morning, or ELSE.

All this to say that I was so sad that I couldn't make food for my baby like I'd hoped and that I was afraid I was doomed to feed him pre-made food until he finally grew enough teeth to eat steak and green beans with us. UNTIL. We went to visit DH's parents and Grandma made her Beef Barley Stew, and I thought it was delicious and gave Eddie a bite, and then another, and the next thing I knew, he'd eaten half my bowl! :P Then he ate it for lunch the next day, and dinner, AND lunch the following day! So I had to get the recipe, and now that I've made it again, I'm sharing it here!

Beef Barley Stew

1/2 lb lean round steak, chopped in cubes
4 carrots, peeled and cut in 1/4" slices
1 c chopped yellow onion
1/2 c green bell peppers, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 lb fresh button mushrooms, quartered
3/4 c dry pearl barley
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dry thyme
1/2 tsp dry sweet basil
1 bay leaf
5 c beef broth

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low, 9-10 hours.

NOTE: I forgot to ask DH to unpack my slow cooker, and since I don't know where it is myself, I decided to brown the meat with the onions and garlic and throw it, along with everything else, in a heavy stew pot, and I've had it simmering for about half an hour now. I'll let it go until the meat is cooked through, and the carrots are tender. Then we'll store it for lunches and Eddie's meals! (DH isn't a big stew guy. :P)

Update: The stew simmered for about three hours before I was happy with the thickness and the taste.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Our first Turkish cooking experience!

Well, we just tried this recipe out last night and it was really delicious. Richie (my husband) had the stew all put together and simmering when I got home from work, which really made my night. All I had to do was keep an eye on it for the next hour and a half. Its so delicious, and we just finished having the rest for leftovers tonight!

Eggplant Stew (aka Patlicanli Kebap)


4 small eggplants
1 red and 1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into chuncks
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp butter or margarine
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and ground black pepper
1 Tbsp tomato paste
parsley sprigs, to garnish
1lb mutton (lamb is the main meat choice in Turkish cooking, but if you can't find any, beef should do the trick)
2 1/2 cups meat stock or water

1. Cut each eggplant lengthwise into four pieces and soak in salted water for 20 minutes. Drain them and squeeze a bit to extract some of the excess water.

2. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the eggplant lightly, in batches. (I always find that eggplant soaks up every bit of oil in a pan, and the recommended amount doesn't seem to be enough. I'm not sure what to do about this, so I usually add a bit extra, just to make sure they don't stick to a dry pan.) Set aside when done.

3. In the same oil (again, heat up a bit more if its all been soaked up by your eggplant), fry onion, bell peppers and meat. I usually make sure the meat is browned a bit on all sides, but you don't need to cook it too much. Drain and set aside.

4. Melt margarine or butter in an ovenproof casserole or big pot, stir in tomato paste, then pour in the stock. Bring to a boil, add meat and vegetables, and season to taste. Cover and cook over low heat for 1.5 hours (or alternatively, in a preheated 350 F oven). Serve hot and garnish with parsley sprigs.

Its great served with a bit of crusty bread, and maybe some olives.

Afiyet olsun! (Turkish for bon appetite!)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Incredibly Easy Chicken and Noodles

I've never made this recipe and was taking it to a family in need from church so I had Dan try a bowl and it was a hit. It's cheap. It's makes a lot. And it's GOOD! I served it up with a slotted spoon for the more traditional gravy-ish chicken and noodle instead of soupy. This is definitely going on our go-to meals list! A great find as the winter weather draws near.

1 (26 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
3 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
2 cups diced, cooked chicken breast meat
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 (9 ounce) packages frozen egg noodles

In a large pot, mix the cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, chicken broth, and chicken meat. Season with onion powder, seasoning salt, and garlic powder. Bring to a boil, and stir in the noodles. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes