Archive for June, 2010

June 22, 2010

Peaches and Cream Oatmeal

Peaches ‘n Cream Oatmeal

As a kid, the “‘n Cream” oatmeals from the packets were always my favorite. At the last Farmer’s market I got some fresh peaches (white and regular) which needed to be used up. I decided to try making some peaches and cream oatmeal. It’s Fantastic!

My version of peaches ‘n creme oatmeal came out better tasting than the packets – surprise surprise right! Anything homemade can not only be healthier, but better tasting. You can’t beat big chucks of fresh (not dehydrated) peaches and fresh cream (not powdered). Just cannot be beat!  (try this recipe with frozen or canned fruit if what you like is not in season). However, I cannot stress the difference between foods you buy in a grocery store and those foods purchased locally straight from the source! Grocery stores have to pick fruits and veggies so early just to make sure they are ripe for the store, but I am convinced that is sacrafising flavor SO much. For example I buy peaches from the store they are hard, dry, and essentially tasteless when compared to a peach I buy from the farmer’s market, which is juicy, sweet and smells so much more fragrant.  If you haven’t compared, please do, you’ll look at your fruits and vegetables differently (my mouth is watering thinking about a nice freshly picked ripe peach). My dad and stepmom always told me how things from their garden are so much better tasting than from the store, I didn’t think it was possible – oh but it IS! 

4 cups water
1 cup steel cut oatmeal
(or use other oatmeal and cook according to the directions for that particular cereal)
1/2 heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup diced peaches (w/skins on)

(Additional Ingredients: you can add flaxseed, 10-grain cereal, or any other heart healthy grain you like to use. I use 1/4c. 10-grain Bob’s Red Mill Cereal and bump the water by 1/4c. )

Bring the 4 cups of water to a boil, then add the steel cut oats and stir. Allow the oats to boil for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat a simmer for 30 minutes. At about the last 10 minutes add the cream and finish simmering for 10 minutes.

Stir in the peaches and brown sugar. Allow the oats to sit a few minutes to soften the peaches.

If you use 5-minute oats get the water boiling and then add the heavy cream when you add the oats. If you use regular oats, add the heavy cream halfway through cooking.

June 16, 2010

Fairy Flower Salad

If you have kids, you know the novelty of the food they eat is probably more important to kids than what they are eating! Thanks to a co-worker (thanks Tarah) I came up with this salad for my daughter and neice…I’m sure eating flowers would be fun for boys too, for those of you with boys let me know if you come up with a name to appeal to the boys.

Most of these ingredients I got at the Farmer’s Market. Including the edible flowers. The strawberries and cucumbers were from the Market as well. I could have purchased greens from the Market, but I was too late and it was all sold out. So the lettuce is organic mixed baby greens from TJs and goat cheese was from TJs too.

Fairy Flower Salad

You could grow your own edible flowers and as long as you are careful not to get chemicals on them.

To make enough for 4 people:
1/2 bag of mixed baby greens (or 3 cups or so of your favorite lettuce)
1/2 cup of edible flowers (I got mine at the Farmer’s Market last weekend)
1/2 cup of diced cucumber
5 or 6 strawberries thinly sliced
1/4 cup feta cheese
Strawberry Vinaigrette

Cut large pieces of lettuce in bite-sized pieces. Wash lettuce and flowers individually and then lay on a paper towel to dry off. Dice cucumbers and slice the strawberries. Place lettuce in a bowl toss with the vinaigrette dressing. Top with flowers and spread the cucumbers and strawberries over the salad. Top with feta cheese (or goat cheese is a good contrast to the sweet dressing).

Isn’t it the prettiest salad ever! What girl wouldn’t eat that!!!

Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
5 strawberries, cleaned and hulled
1/4c olive oil (Grapeseed oil is nice and clean tasting and would work really well)
1T Honey
1/4c balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Place the strawberries in a blender and coarsely chop. Add honey, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pulse the blender until mixed. Then with the blender running add the oil until the dressing is emulsified. Toss the dressing with the greens then top with the rest of your ingredients. (This dressing was really good with a salad with apples and goat cheese too!)


June 5, 2010

Berries and Ice Cream

Now you surely don’t need a recipe for this, but sometimes we all just need a “reminder” of those simple ideas…

Berries and Ice Cream

1 tub of your favorite vanilla ice cream (or any other flavor)
sliced strawberries
blackberries, halved
whole blueberries

A take on the classic berries and cream, ice cream takes the place of the cream to provide a cool summer treat.  We used blackberries and strawberries which are both really good at this time of year, and you can find them no problem at the Farmers Market. There is something about vanilla ice cream and berries that is SO good and satisfying this time of year, maybe the contrast of sweet, tart, and creamy flavors and textures. The bonus it is a no-cook, no-bake dessert with lots of health benefits from fresh raw berries, so you can feel good feeding yourself and your kids this summer treat.

I am a strong believer in involving kids in cooking and connecting them with what they eat. Kids are more likely to broaden what they eat and try new things if they are involved in the decisions and helping to make food. Berries and ice cream is a really easy way to get your children involved. You can make homemade ice cream with your kids and have them help pick out and prepare the berries.  My daughter and I go to the Farmers Market together each weekend.  We talk about what looks good, taste everything we can, and decide what we want to eat during the upcoming week.  On the day you make this dessert have the kids help wash and cut up the berries (use a butter knife for the little ones). Then make a “station” for toppings so everyone can make their own bowl. Serve some chocolate sauce and whipped cream too! Guaranteed happiness on their faces and in their bellies!

Assemble and eat!

June 5, 2010

Grill It!

I love that we have hit the grilling season! No oven or stove necessary! Keeping the heat outside and the house cool along with a meal with little fuss and so MUCH flavor!

THE BASICS: A cut of meat (chicken, pork, fish, beef, lamb) grilled with a grilled veggie or salad and some fresh fruit. While you have the grill going, add a little more for easy no extra effort lunch or dinner the next day.

Grilled Sausage and Veggies

Here is an example of a simple meal I made last night… Sausage with Grilled Veggies

1pkg of your favorite Sausage
1 bunch of asparagus
1 bunch of green onion
2 medium zucchini
1/2 lemon, for juicing
1T olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Clean your veggies and then prepare. For the asparagus I just snap the bottoms off and the green onion I cut off the root end. For the zucchini cut the top stem part off, then slice down the middle. Then slice the sides in half again, making wedges.

Toss the veggies with olive oil and salt and pepper.

I like to put a piece of foil down on the grill to protect veggies from the direct flame, they will brown the same…

Heat your grill to about medium for the veggies and low for the sausages (you want the inside to cook and the outside to NOT burn, although I like some good browning on sausages).

I like to cook the sausage for about 6 minutes before adding veggies – so everything is done about the same time. Cook the sausage turning often to prevent burning the outside about 6 minutes. Now add your veggies. Turn your veggies about every 3 minutes or so, cook everything for another 3-6 minutes. I check the sausage with a meat thermometer and make sure it’s about 180° internal temp.

Remove everything from the grill and squeeze half the lemon over the veggies and finish off with some nice coarse sea salt.

Grilled Sausage and Veggies

This is only one idea, but using the “Basic” idea you can come up with your own simple ideas with your favorite ingredients! Enjoy!

Now for dessert!!!! Berries and Ice Cream

June 4, 2010

Smoked Ribs

The more I do this the better I’m getting…or should I say the better my Ribs are getting! These were the best by far…check out the smoke ring!

I used my Rib Rub recipe – coat baby back ribs with the rub and allow to sit one hour.

Rib Fairy Dust (Just for those guys out there… 🙂
3T. Kosher Salt
3T brown sugar
3T black pepper
2T paprika
2T garlic powder
2T onion powder
2t. mustard powder
dash of cayenne (or more if you like the heat)

Heat your smoker – I use an electric smoker (there are people out there that will give you crap for using electric, but don’t let them get you down…charcoal is NOT the only way…just keep on smokin’!) I use hickory wood because it’s what I like best. Use whatever wood fits your flavor.

Once the smoker is heated lay your ribs on the racks make sure you put a thermometer in the smoker as close to the midde as you can, if you don’t have one build in on your smoker. Keep your smoker at 225 or as close to that as possible throughout the smoking process.

Add wood chips or chunks about every 30 minutes for the first 2 hours and then once an hour thereafter. It takes about 4 hours for two racks of baby back ribs to cook. (May take less on warmer days) These ribs came out with that right amount of pull from the bone, and not falling off the bone (which is overdone for me).

Serve dry or glaze with barbeque sauce during last hour of smoking.

See another method I used if you don’t have a smoker – thank you Meathead at Amazing Ribs