Monday, June 23, 2014

Homemade Fruit Rollups

My 13 month old daughter has been having constipation problems lately. I know, TMI for this food blog, right? Well, we've been trying everything to help ease her pain. Lots of water, lots of prune juice, and lots of fruit. I've bought all kinds of fruits that are in season to help kick up her fiber intake. With those fruits, I've tried making different combinations of smoothies and purees. But then I came across this recipe for a 2-ingredient homemade Fruit Roll-up from Raining Hot Coupons via Pinterest that I thought would be another great way to get her to eat more of the fruits. Its literally only 2 ingredients. If your fruits are sweet enough and you omit the sugar, its only 1 ingredient. You can use any fruits and any type of combinations of fruits you have on hand. I just happen to have a lot of strawberries to use up. And it really is like a fruit roll-up. My older daughter enjoyed it a little more than my 13 month old. I guess its a textural thing. Besides, she doesn't have that many teeth to chew with anyway.

3 cups of fruit
sugar (optional or to taste)

1) Pre heat oven to 170 deg F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap, making sure you have enough overhang.

2) Puree the fruit and sugar (if using) until you reach a smooth consistency.

3) Pour on a prepared cookie sheet about 1/8" thick. Bake for 6-8 hours until the center is no longer tacky.

4) Lift plastic wrap out of the cookie sheet and allow to cool. Once cooled, flip over on top of parchment paper or wax paper. Peel off plastic wrap. Cut into strips and roll. Store in a ziploc bag or an airtight container for about a week.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Pioneer Woman's Spaghetti Sauce

Everyone who knows me in real life knows I love anything that's related to spaghetti. In fact, I've made a whole bunch of spaghetti recipes on this blog, some of them sauces, that I like to make large batches of that I freeze as a make-ahead meal. Just freeze the portioned sauce and thaw it in the microwave for a quick, homemade meal. I even like to bottle some of the sauces and give them to my brother and co workers. From Pasta Bolognese, to Tomato Basil Marinara  Sauce, to Spaghetti al Amatriciana. I love all my spaghetti recipes. Despite all the spaghetti recipes I have on here, though, I actually don't have a spaghetti sauce recipe. What a shame. My mother-in-law actually makes a kick a$$ spaghetti sauce, but she hasn't quite given me the recipe for it yet. So I decided to do a search on Pinterest for my own spaghetti sauce recipe and this one from The Pioneer Woman (one of my faves) has come up quite frequently on Pinterest. This sauce is quite comparable to mother-in-law's. It makes a huge batch of meaty goodness. Perfect to freeze as a make-ahead-meal.

5 lbs. ground beef
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 large onions, diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 (28 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
1 (14 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 jar of store-bought marinara sauce (I used my marinara sauce)
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
4 bay leaves
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
8 basil leaves, chopped (or more if you like basil)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, more for garnish

1) In a large pot over medium heat, add ground beef and cook until browned. Remove meat from the pot and set aside. Discard grease and add olive oil. 

2) Once oil is heated, add onions and cook for about a minute. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute or so.

3) Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and marinara sauce. Stir to combine. Then add sugar, salt, oregano, thyme, crushed red pepper (if using), and bay leaves. Stir in cooked ground beef. Cover and allow to simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add water or beef broth if it needs more liquid.

4) After 1 hour, stir in parsley, basil and Parmesan cheese. Cover and simmer for another 30 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Serve over your favorite pasta or spaghetti. Freeze unused sauce for up to 6 months.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cookie Dough Dip

I love anything that has to do with cookie dough. Whether it be cookie dough it its raw form whenever I make my Big Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip cookies. Or my Cookie Dough brownies. Or my Cookie Dough cupcakes. Or my Cookie Dough truffles. I just love cookie dough. So when I found this Cookie Dough Dip recipe from Love and Prayer via Pinterest, I knew I had to add it to my collection of cookie dough recipes.

I decided to make this for a pre Mother's Day lunch with hubby's side of the family last month and it came out really good. I served it a few neutral flavored cookies and crackers like Vanilla wafer cookies, Graham crackers, and honey wheat pretzels. I loved it most with the pretzels. So yummy.

1 stick unsalted butter
1/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 (8 oz) block cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
3/4 cup semi sweet mini chocolate chips

1) Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and whisk until sugar dissolves and mixture starts to bubble. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, whisk in vanilla extract.

2) In a bowl of an electric mixer, cream together cream cheese and confectioner's sugar. Slowly add cooled brown sugar mixture. Mix until combined.

3) Fold in chocolate chips. Refrigerate for an hour before serving. Serve with vanilla wafer cookies, graham crackers, or pretzels.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Kimchi Fried Rice with Portuguese Sausage

I had my first taste of Kimchi fried rice during a recent visit to Hawaii. Hubby's cousins took us to dinner at Side Street Inn in Waikiki. I never really liked Kimchi because I just couldn't get past the strong fermented smell of cabbage. But I was on the islands and it seemed to be in a lot of the menus we ordered from. And of course, the cousins ordered it for the table, so I gave it a taste. Man-oh-man was I missing out. Yes, it did have that pungent smell. But boy did it taste ono.

I started seeing posts on Facebook of people making Kimchi fried rice and decided to recreate that yummy dish I had in Hawaii. Kimchi Fried Rice, also known as Kimchi Bokkeumbap, is just the way its sounds. Fried rice made with Kimchi. I did a search on Pinterest and came upon this recipe from Notions and Notations from a Novice Cook. It called for shrimps, but in order to make it Hawaiian style, I replaced them with Portuguese sausage, which I bought at a Japanese supermarket that sold Hawaiian items. You can also use canned luncheon meat like Spam or Polska Kielbasa or Louisiana Hot links for that extra spice. The rice came out just like I remembered. So yummy and flavorful. This has been somewhat of a staple at home for hubby and me (my daughter can't take the spice yet).

3-4 cups cold, day-old white rice
1/2 - 1 cup cubed Portuguese sausage (or Spam, Kielbasa, or hot links)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 - 1 1/2 cups kimchi, chopped (juice reserved)
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil for cooking
salt & pepper to taste
fried egg for garnish

1) Heat sesame oil in a large pan over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add sausage and kimchi and saute for about 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly.

2) Add soy sauce, fish sauce, and lime juice and continue to stir.

3) Add rice, making sure to break up as much of the large pieces as possible and stirring constantly to prevent it from sticking to the pan. Add kimchi juice, one tablespoon at a time, if the rice is too dry.

4) Stir in green onions and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and place in a serving platter, topped with fried egg for garnish.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Lemon Blueberry Bread

I know I've somewhat neglected this blog for a while. Having a six year old with tons of activities at school and a 1 year old needing attention will make me do that. I'm not complaining though. I'm so blessed and thankful to have healthy children and a busy household. But now that I have another daughter to look out for, I really needed to get back to my food blogging so both my children can benefit from this. I want to start creating memories with her in the kitchen like I did with my 6 year old. I can't wait to have both my girls with me in the kitchen. Its what I've always dreamed of.

I had been craving something lemony to make one day. But I had a huge batch of blueberries that I bought from Costco that needed to be used up. So in search of a great recipe, once again, turned to my favorite Pinterest and found this recipe from Notes from the Heartland.

This had just the right amount of tartness I was looking for and not overly sweet. I brought this to work and my co-workers really enjoyed it. Its a great way to use up those blueberries.

1 1/2 cup, plus 1 Tbsp. all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)

1) Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Grease a 9x5 loaf pan.

2) Sift dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients together. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir to combine.

3) Mix the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour with the blueberries, being careful not to crush the blueberries. Gently fold blueberries into batter just until combined. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes or until toothpick test comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes then remove from pan.

Lemon syrup
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar

1) Dissolve sugar and lemon juice in a small pan over medium heat. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

2) Remove from heat. Place blueberry bread on a plate. Poke with a fork or wooden skewer several times. Brush the bread with the lemon syrup.

Lemon glaze
1/2 -  1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2-3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1) Stir together powdered sugar and lemon juice until well combined.

2) Pour glaze over blueberry bread.