Mixed Summer Fruit Cobbler

/ Tuesday, July 28, 2015

1 comment

Mixed Fruit Cobbler - Buttered Side UpMixed Fruit Cobbler - Buttered Side Up
Mixed Fruit Cobbler - Buttered Side Up
Mixed Fruit Cobbler - Buttered Side Up
Mixed Fruit Cobbler - Buttered Side Up
Mixed Fruit Cobbler - Buttered Side Up

A couple of weeks ago, Reuben's family went on vacation and asked if we'd be willing to look after their chickens and harvest their ripe produce. Well, of course we agreed. There's nothing quite like freshly laid eggs and raspberries eaten right off the bush.

Helen and I walked the half mile (or so - I'm so bad with distances) to Reuben's family's place and picked three berry baskets of raspberries. There were also a few precious blueberries ready to be plucked. This was more than we could eat fresh, so I decided to put the fruit into a cobbler.

That turned out to be an excellent plan. There's something marvelous about warm berries covered with a sweet, hearty topping. It's even better with cream, though (shockingly enough) Reuben thought it was good without. Crazy man! ;)

This cobbler is really stupid easy. Just melt butter in a pan, toss some berries with fruit, whip up a (very simple) batter, and shove it into the oven. I think you'll be quite pleased with the results. We were!





Mixed Summer Fruit Cobbler
| PRINT
adapted from A Couple Cooks

A super simple but delicious cobbler using whatever soft summer fruits you have on hand.

Serves 6

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons butter,
4 cups summer fruit (I used half raspberries and half blueberries here, but I've also used peaches. Use whatever soft fruit you have!,
1/8 cup organic can sugar,
1 cup organic all purpose flour (you could definitely use whole wheat here as well),
1/2 cup sucanat,
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder.
1/2 teaspoon real salt,
1 cup whole milk,
1/2 of a vanilla bean, just the seeds, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract,
1/2 tablespoons demerara sugar, optional,

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C). About 5 minutes before the oven is finished preheating, put the butter in a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish (I've used a glass pie dish and another odd-sized round pan I've had for years) and place in the oven to melt. Don't forget about it or it will burn!


In a large bowl, toss the fruit with 1/8 cup of sugar. Set aside.


In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sucanat, baking powder, and salt. Add the milk and vanilla. Whisk just until everything is moist. 


Pour the batter over the melted butter in the pan. Dump the berries on top and spread around a bit. Place in preheated oven and cook until golden brown and set, about 45-60 minutes. About 20 minutes into the baking time, pull the cobbler out and sprinkle with the demerara, if desired. Continue cooking until done. The berries will sink to the bottom and the batter will form a lovely crust on top.


Cool slightly and serve with whipped or liquid cream.



How to Saute Garlic Scapes + Scrambled Eggs

/ Sunday, July 19, 2015

5 comments


Garllic Scapes
Garllic Scapes
Garllic Scapes
Garllic Scapes
Garllic Scapes

Before this week, I had never cooked or eaten garlic scapes. I overheard some relatives talking about how delicious they were, and of course I wanted to taste them. So when Reuben's family offered us some fresh from their garlic plants, I accepted them readily. 

I knew I wanted to keep things simple and just fry them in some butter and season them with salt and pepper. 

I did a bit of digging on the old internet because I was confused as to how to prepare the scapes. Some places advocate cutting off the entire bulb, and others say you should just cut off the stringy portion above the bulb. I opted to save the bulb, and I'm glad I did.

They were a lovely, mild side dish. Don't worry about the garlic flavor being too powerful - it's quite subtle.

The leftovers were amazing in softly scrambled eggs. It was so good that I ate two whole eggs. Which is a big deal for me - I'm not a huge egg fan (though Whole 30 helped a bit).

The recipes I'm sharing below are super simple, but sometimes it's nice to see how someone else cooks with an ingredient that I've never used before. I've also heard that garlic scapes are great made into a pesto.



How to Saute Garlic Scapes | PRINT

Ingredients:
  • butter
  • garlic scapes, trimmed just above the bulb and a bit off the cut end, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add some butter. When it's melted, add you garlic scapes. Saute on medium to medium-low for 5 minutes, or until tender crisp. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.


Soft Scrambled Eggs with Garlic Scapes

Ingredients:
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • salt and pepper
  • butter
  • leftover sauteed garlic scapes

Directions:
Whisk the eggs with the milk until very uniform. Season with a couple of pinches each of salt and pepper.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add about a tablespoon of butter (you need more for a stainless-steel skillet, less for a cast iron skillet). Once it's melted, pour in the eggs. Immediately start pushing the eggs around in the skillet with a metal spatula. 

When the eggs are nearly set, push them to one side and add the garlic scapes. Let them warm up a bit, then mix in the eggs and cook just until set. Serve with extra salt and pepper if needed.




Blueberry Dutch Baby

/ Sunday, July 12, 2015

14 comments
Blueberry Dutch Baby - Buttered Side Up
Blueberry Dutch Baby - Buttered Side Up
Blueberry Dutch Baby - Buttered Side Up
Blueberry Dutch Baby - Buttered Side Up
Blueberry Dutch Baby - Buttered Side Up
Blueberry Dutch Baby - Buttered Side Up
Blueberry Dutch Baby - Buttered Side Up

This past week, Reuben and I were away from each other overnight for the first time in our married life. Waaaah! It wasn't so bad during the day since Reuben is gone at work during that time normally. But at night, after Helen was in bed, it kind of sunk in. It's something I'm glad we were able to avoid for so long, and I hope we won't have to do it often. 

While Reuben was gone, I made this Blueberry Dutch Baby for Helen and I. It's one of her favorite things to eat. She would probably eat a third of a pan in I let her. 

One of the reasons I like this "pancake" is because is calls for less flower and more eggs than regular pancakes. It's a fun way to get some eggs into your diet.

I have used both sprouted wheat and white flour for this recipe - both work well. Of course the sprouted flour will be less light and airy, but I'm willing to compromise a bit for the added nutrients.

Have you ever been away from someone you love for an extended period? How did you deal with missing them?


Blueberry Dutch Baby

adapted slightly from Always With Butter | serves 3-4 | PRINT

Ingredients:
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or 1/2 of a vanilla bean, cut in in half and seeds scraped out
  • 1/2 cup sprouted wheat flour or organic all-purpose white flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/3-1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • butter, maple syrup, and/or powdered sugar for serving

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 F (218 C). Butter a 12-inch cast iron skillet.

Put the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract into a blender and blend until smooth (you can also do this in a bowl with a whisk). Sift in the flour, salt, and cinnamon; blend until smooth. Add the butter and blend.

Pour the batter into the prepared skillet. Sprinkle the blueberries on top. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 325 and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve hot with lots of butter and a drizzle of maple syrup or a sprinkle of powdered sugar. 



Warm Strawberry Bacon Orzo Salad

/ Monday, June 29, 2015

4 comments



Warm Strawberry Bacon Orzo Salad
Warm Strawberry Bacon Orzo Salad
Warm Strawberry Bacon Orzo Salad
Warm Strawberry Bacon Orzo Salad
Warm Strawberry Bacon Orzo Salad


Shopping with Helen can be a bit of an ordeal. Thus, Reuben and I TRY to do the grocery shopping together. 

Last week we were going through the self-checkout at Walmart (as we do). Some brilliant marketing person has decided to put lollipops at each checkout station. Thankfully it's so far out of Helen's mind that she would actually get to eat a lollipop that she doesn't ask to buy one. But she always has plenty to say about them. 

She was asking me again and again where the lollipops were, and I was dutifully answering her. Then she said (not at all quietly), "Her big girl undies!" I turned to see where Helen was looking and, sure enough, the lady behind us was ringing up some underclothes. Of course I was horrified at the situation, but I couldn't help but laugh. Thankfully Reuben was finishing up paying so we could make our exit. But not before Helen mentioned the "big girl undies" a few more times. Kids just have no sense of propriety. 

But about this salad. 

It's the kind of dish where you take the first bite and fall instantly in love. The mix of flavors is quite lovely. 

And please don't be turned off if you don't like goat cheese. You could easily leave it out or substitute another cheese (I think feta would be a good choice).







Our Anniversary Trip

/ Tuesday, June 16, 2015

12 comments
For our fourth anniversary, we decided to take a trip to the cities (that's what we Minnesotans call the Minneapolis/St. Paul area). Reuben's family graciously agreed to watch Helen so we could have a just-us-two outing. This was the first time we had ever been away from Helen overnight!

Here are some of the things we did and food we ate:

First time at Chipotle.
Starting things off right: we had supper at Chipotle. This was our first time eating there. It wasn't out-of-this-world delicious, but I really appreciate the fact that they are GMO-free.

That evening we did some thrift shopping and stopped by World Market and Whole Foods. I was really impressed by the selection at the Whole Foods in Maple Grove. Their cheese section was huge!


The Copper Hen
The next day we did more thrift shopping, and then I forced convinced Reuben to go to The Copper Hen for lunch (it's really not his kind of restaurant).


The Copper Hen
I ordered The Perfect Marriage cheese and meat board. I was quite impressed with the variety: house-made mustard, dates stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in bacon, cheddar with veins of blue cheese, house-made strawberry jam, goat cheese with micro greens, fig jam, thinly sliced apples, prosciutto, another cheese, the name of which I can't remember, and thin slices of toast. It was fun trying out different flavor combinations. 


The Copper Hen
Reuben had the BLT with smashed potato "fries." He, of course, was disappointed by his meal. He said the potatoes were falsely advertised as fries. And there was only one slice of bacon on his sandwich.

I really wanted to try one of their Bacon Blueberry Breakfast Cupcakes, but I knew I would be way too full if I did.


Spyhouse Coffee
I also convinced Reuben to take me to Spyhouse Coffee, which was just down the street. I didn't particularly enjoy the atmosphere. The door was open, and someone was smoking outside. The building seemed kind of run down. And the bathroom had a funny smell (needless to say, I skipped it).



Spyhouse Coffee
My vanilla breve had a very interesting flavor. I appreciated that it wasn't sickeningly sweet, but it could have used a hair more syrup (and I don't like my coffee very sweet). It was very smooth, but it had a different flavor to it. Reuben said that it tasted burnt. 

I don't think I would go there again - next time I want to try out Five Watt Coffee.


REI
After lunch/coffee we went to IKEA and The Mall of America. Then we stopped by Reuben's favorite store: REI.



Red Lobster
For supper we went to Red Lobster. We ordered a seafood plate and seafood stuffed mushrooms. Cheesy biscuits. What more can I say?



Anthro
On our last day, we decided to divide and conquer. I went to a shopping center (The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes), and Reuben went to more guy-oriented stores.

Of course I had to roam through Anthropologie. I drooled over their amazing dishes and left with two.


Trader Joe's
And I stopped by Trader Joe's. Their flower section was just wonderful - such variety and amazing prices. I really wanted to buy some sushi, but we had other lunch plans, and I didn't know how it would last in our cooler.



Five Guys
Our last meal in the cities: Five Guys Burgers and Fries. This was another first for us. The burger was yummy, but our fries were soggy. Overall, I don't think the taste justified the price. Culver's is just as good, and less expensive.

It was fun to get away for a few days, but I really missed my Helen. We were so glad to be home and hug our little girlie. 

If there are any Twin Cities residents reading this, please let us know if you have any must-try places to eat!



Shrimp Spring Rolls!

/ Monday, June 8, 2015

1 comment
Shrimp Spring Rolls with Sweet and Spicy Peanut Sauce
Shrimp Spring Rolls with Sweet & Spicy Peanut Dipping SauceShrimp Spring Rolls with Sweet & Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce
Shrimp Spring Rolls with Sweet & Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce
Shrimp Spring Rolls with Sweet & Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

You guys, I made spring rolls for the first time! Yay for me! For some reason I just feel like one of the cool kids for pulling these off.

They were incredibly tasty, especially with the peanut sauce. That stuff is just amazing. Looking at these photos makes me want to whip up another batch of these spring rolls.

I'm a sucker for recipes with shrimp. And all of the fresh veggies make it so colorful and fresh.

You should really give these a try. I shared the step-by-step process over on the Tasty Kitchen Blog.


What was the last new recipe you tried out? Did you like it?



My (Modified) Whole 30: Week 4.25 Recap

/ Wednesday, June 3, 2015

12 comments
Whole 30: Week 4.25

I'M FINISHED WITH MY WHOLE 30!

Let the chocolate eating begin. Sort of kidding.

This was definitely an experience that I won't soon forget. I'll detail the things I like and dislike about the diet, but first let me show you what I ate the last 1 1/4 weeks:


Whole 30 Day 22
DAY 22
Breakfast: Scramble with hashbrowns and kiwi.
Lunch: Leftover mayo baked salmon.
Supper: (at my family's house) Burgers with fries, chips, and carrot sticks.
Snacks: Homemade cobbler and rhubarb bars for dessert.
Cheats: Many.


Whole 30 Day 23
DAY 23
Breakfast: Smoothie (strawberries, bananas, milk, cream, and collagen)
Lunch: Leftover meatballs, mashed potatoes, asparagus, butter, and cod liver oil.
Supper: Burger with crispy potatoes.
Snacks: Seaweed snacks, almond butter, pickle, dates.
Cheats (I don't really consider dairy to be a major cheat): Milk, cream, butter, cheese on burger.


Whole 30 Day 24
DAY 24
Breakfast: Fried egg, hash with bacon, orange juice (given to me by Positive Energy), and kiwi.
Lunch: Leftover hamburger + hash from breakfast.
Supper: Taco Salad.
Snacks: Pickle, carrot sticks.
Cheats: Sour cream and cheese on salad.


Whole 30 Day 25
DAY 25
Breakfast: Banana + almond butter.
Lunch: Leftover taco salad.
Supper: Scramble with pulled pork, potatoes, and an orange.
Snacks: Mango, carrot sticks, apple juice, almond butter, pickles, 1/2 banana.
Cheats: Sour cream on salad, took a sip of Helen's (unsweetened) carob milk to see if it was too hot.


Whole 30 Day 26
DAY 26
Breakfast: 2 fried eggs, almond butter, and an orange.
Lunch: Chicken broccoli stir-fry.
Supper: Apple + almond butter, chicken stir-fry, carrot sticks.
Snacks: Seaweed snacks, dried blueberries, carrot sticks, a date, and a pickle.


Whole 30 Day 27
DAY 27
Breakfast: Smoothie (same as day 23 except without collagen).
Supper: Graduation open house food (besides what is pictured I also had a third of a chocolate cupcake).
Snacks: Almond butter, carrot sticks.
Cheats: Many.


Whole 30 Day 28
DAY 28
Breakfast: 2 fried eggs, 1/2 grapefruit, dill pickle relish, sauerkraut, and cranberry juice from Positive Energy.
Lunch: Graduation open house food.
Supper: Apple + banana with almond butter.
Snacks: Pickles.
Cheats: Many.


Whole 30 Day 29
DAY 29
Breakfast: Scramble with mango.
Lunch: An apple with almond butter, pickles, carrot sticks, a date, and sauerkraut.
Supper: Shepherd's pie.


Whole 30 Day 30!
DAY 30
Breakfast: Scramble with grapefruit.
Lunch: Leftover shepherd's pie.
Supper: Crockpot roast chicken with mashed potatoes, peas, and butter.
Snacks: almond butter, a date, and dill pickle relish.
Cheats: Butter, cheese on shepherd's pie.



WHAT I LIKE AND DISLIKE ABOUT THE WHOLE 30 DIET

Overall I think my experience was positive, but there were a few things that bothered be about this program.


WHAT I LIKED:
  • * It really makes you realize just how much sugar you consume. It's in everything! I personally don't have a problem with consuming moderate amounts of sugar, but it was a bit of an eye opener when I had to avoid all forms of it.
  • * It encourages you to eat the majority of your meals at home. Normally, when I'm not feeling like making supper, I can convince Reuben to take me out to eat. But with the limited options for Whole 30 approved restaurant meals, you're forced to do a lot of cooking. Which isn't a bad thing at all!
  • * I ate way more fruits and vegetables than I usually do. Without grains to cut through proteins and fats, you have to consume fruits and veggies or die of nausea (kidding).
  • * When you can't use grains, it actually simplifies your meals. Instead of coming up with complicated Whole 30 approved dishes, I stuck to simple ones that didn't call for banned ingredients in the first place.
  • * Throughout the month I have felt less bloated. I notice a bit of discomfort if I eat a lot of grains at once.
  • *  At the start I had a few more blemishes, but they diminished as the month went on. I only had one new blemish pop up, and it disappeared quickly. I'm not sure if it was just the progression of the month (if you know what I mean), or the diet. I usually don't have a lot of acne problems.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:
  • * I'm a little put out that the Whole 30 plan doesn't allow dairy. I know that a lot of people are allergic to it, but they can be allergic to eggs and nuts as well. You can't cut out a food just because someone somewhere is allergic to it. People have been consuming dairy for a long time. As long as you're sourcing organic/grass-fed/raw dairy, I don't see a problem. In fact, unless you're allergic, I think that dairy is a very beneficial food.
  • * There is no encouragement to soak your nuts for optimal digestion.
  • * This diet was somewhat of a trigger for me. During the first few days when I was still figuring things out, I was hungry often. It brought me back to my low-fat days. You see, hunger can be addicting, and some of those old feelings came back to me. I don't think it's healthy.
  • * My nails seemed a little more brittle - perhaps because of the decrease in dairy and thus calcium?
  • * I had less energy than I normally do, especially at the beginning as my body was adjusting. Nothing major, but it's not a fun feeling. I've also been on the verge of a headache often. This could be a combination of being on the Whole 30 and Helen not wanting to sleep at night...
  • * It's harder to be spontaneous. If I wanted to take Helen to the park, I had to worry about making supper when I get home. I felt guilty for cheating.
  • * Reuben didn't like me doing the Whole 30. He thought I was a bit more cranky, which I freely admit to. When a girl can't have her chocolate, it ain't pretty!

WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS DIET?

Yes, but I would say: Listen to your body and make modifications if you want to. Be strict with yourself most of the time, but forgive yourself if you cheat.

If you want to try Whole 30 for yourself, HERE are the original rules.



Thank you for coming on this journey with me!

Would you be interested in an occasional post about what I eat normally for a day or a week?



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