Granola Grain Anzac Cookies

– johanna | April 30th, 2009

Filed under: RECIPES - Snacks, RECIPES - Treats

This is a recipe given to me by my sister, Allison. These granola grain cookies are a variation of the Anzac biscuits; a thin chewy cookie from the early 1900’s.

“Anzac biscuits (originally called Soldiers’ biscuits) came into being around 1915 (during World War I) when soldiers’ wives and/or mothers would bake and send the biscuits to the troops stationed overseas. The biscuits were ideal, because they were cheap to make (remember that it was the Great Depression), non-perishable (Anzac biscuits contain no eggs or milk) and so didn’t need refrigeration, and gave the men some added nutrition and sustenance.”

“After the landing of Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) in Gallipoli, the biscuits were renamed in honour of those brave soldiers who landed that fateful 25th day of April on the coast of Turkey, now known as Anzac Cove.” –

The brewers yeast is optional. It’s use is only meant to add additional nuttrients. Do not confuse brewers yeast with baking yeast. Baking yeast is meant to be used in dough and should never be ingested. Brewers yeast is a nutritional supplement found in health food stores and may be used in it’s raw form in batters and as flavoring on popcorn.

Allow cookies to cool completely before snacking.
1 cup all-purpose or whole wheat pastry flour, plus 1/2 cup flour, optional, for more cake like texture
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1 1/2 cup rice crispy
1 cup brown sugar
6 tbsp 1/2 cup butter, cut into little cubes
1/2 cup golden syrup or honey
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tbs flaxseed meal
4 tbs water
2 Liberal tbsp brewers yeast
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp Protein powder
1 cup choc chips, nuts and/or dried fruit

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
In a 1/4 cup measuring cup pour in 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal and fill with water, set aside to absorb.
In a large bowl combine the flour, oats, rice krispies, coconut, soda, protein powder and yeast. Mix well.
Cream the brown sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the honey, flaxseed meal with water and vanilla; mix well. Add the dry mixture and mix well until well distributed and crumbly consistency. Add fruit, nuts or chocolate chips.
Use a tablespoon spoon to scoop out onto a baking sheet. Press down for a flatter crispier cookie. Or keep in a mound for a more cake like cookie (especially if more flour was added). Bake in a moderate oven, 350F, for 13 – 18 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet or use a thin metal spatula to remove cookies from the baking sheet, cleaning the spatula each time. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Press batter into a baking dish. Cut into bars when cooled or bake longer for granola that can be crumbled up.
Bake longer for a crunchier cookie. Shorter for a chewy snack.

Classic Anzac Biscuit:
1 cup plain flour
I cup sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup desiccated coconut
4 oz butter
2 tablespoons boiling water
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda (add a little more water if mixture is too dry)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet or line with baking paper.

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter and syrup until the butter has melted.
In a medium bowl, combine the boiling water and baking soda. Stir in the melted butter and syrup. Combine with the dry ingredients; mixing thoroughly.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the greased baking tray 2-3 inches apart. (Biscuits WILL spread during baking) Bake for 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven. Allow the Anzac biscuits to cool on the tray for a few minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

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May Day

– johanna | April 29th, 2009



Photo: Maypole Dancing at Wishford, Wiltshire

One of my favorite childhood memories I have, is watching my mom and the other ladies from church weave ribbons in and around the May Pole. If I remember correctly, it was usually done during our Easter celebration rather than May 1st. The picture of festive celebrations is what I cherish most about the experience.

May day is an ancient holiday celebrated in many countries around the world. In some places, May 1st is known as a Labor Day, while in other places, the day is a celebration of the turning tide of spring equinox into summer solstice. The traditions we recognize still today is flowers and the May pole.

May Pole: Decorate a pole or tall stick with brightly colored ribbon or paper streamers. Add flowers and balloons. Then, dance around the May pole, holding the ends of the streamers or ribbon.

May Day Basket of Flowers: Hang a basket full of spring flowers on a neighbor’s doorknob. Use real flowers or make your own out of felt, paper, colored craft sticks or egg cartons.

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Butter Garlic Sauce with Potatoes

– johanna | April 28th, 2009

Filed under: RECIPES - Breakfast, RECIPES - Sides

I adapted this recipe after my friend Marilyn’s skillet potatoes. She slices the potatoes and adds them to a cast iron skillet with oil, salt and pepper. Covers the pan and simmers, tossing occasionally until tender. I use her method when cooking diced potatoes for breakfast; adding chopped onions and garlic. Tonight, I wanted something garlicky. I had some left over bacon that would pair nicely with a garlic butter sauce.

5 potatoes, sliced thick
2-3 slices bacon
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp dried dill weed
salt and pepper
2 tbsp butter
garlic powder

Cook the bacon in a skillet. Remove the bacon and add the garlic and potatoes. Cover and cook until tender. Add pepper, dill, garlic powder, butter and bacon.

Sometimes I add 1/2 -1 cup water or broth and simmer. Simmer until the potatoes are done.

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18th Century Chicken Timbale to Modern Day Pastina Timbales

– johanna | April 27th, 2009

Filed under: BUDGET MEALS, RECIPES - Main Dish

A few years ago I went on a quest to dig up recipes from the early 1900’s. I was curious to know what types of meals they prepared at the time while living on a strict budget with limited convinences. Timbale was one of the few that intriqued me the most. Surprisingly I discovered that by mid-18thC people were becoming concerned about the added calorie count of baking in crusts and were looking for alternative ways of cooking without having to eat the container.

A timbale is sort of like an eggy souffle or custard that can be made using a variety of ingredients, including the classic timbale of spinach, mushrooms, onions, and breadcrumbs in addition to other types of meats, grains and vegetables. Timbale is usually prepared in individual ramekins cooked partially submerged in a tray of water. The steam created by the water aids in helping the custard to set. Timbale may be served hot or cold in individual ramekins or plated and dressed with a sauce.

I thought I would include the classic version of a Timbale in addition to a more modern flavorful recipe from one of my favorite chef’s Michael Chiarello of Napa Valley.

Chicken Timbale
Source: Unknown – Budget saver meal from the late 1930’s
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp finely diced onion
1 tsp salt
ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients together. Divide mixture among custard cups or individual baking dishes.

Place cups in pan of very hot water and bake at 350 degrees about 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of timbale comes out clean.

Cooked macaroni, spaghetti, or noodles may be substituted for the cooked rice,
Cooked ham, pork, turkey, fish, or rabbit may be used in place of the chicken. If you have less than the 1 1/2 cups of chicken (or other meat) the recipe calls for, stretch the meat with sliced hard cooked eggs and cooked peas.

**When serving to little kids limit the heat by using mild Italian Sausage in the filling and 1 jalapeno pepper in the sauce.
Pastina Timbale
Source: Michael Chiarello
1 tbsp unsalted butter
6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound spicy Italian sausage links, boiled for 6 minutes and cut into bite-size pieces
2 tsp minced garlic
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 pound pastina (tiny pasta)
Pastina Timbale Sauce, recipe follows

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Brush 8 (12-ounce) ramekins or 1 large oven-safe bowl with butter and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan and saute sausage until browned.

Meanwhile, combine 2 tablespoons of the oil and the minced garlic in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook until the garlic is light brown, about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bread crumbs to the skillet and stir them every minute for 3 to 5 minutes until the crumbs are lightly toasted. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1/4 cup of the parsley and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan. Cook for 30 seconds. Pour the bread crumb mixture into the prepared ramekins or bowl and press around the sides to line with the bread crumb mixture, using your fingers to evenly distribute it along the bottom and up the sides.

While the Pastina Timbale Sauce is simmering, cook the pastina in the boiling salted water until just shy of al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain the pastina in a colander. Reheat the sauce, if needed, and add the drained pastina and then the browned sausage. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of parsley, and remaining 3/4 cup Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir to combine. Transfer the pastina mixture to the lined ramekins (1 1/4 cups per ramekin) or large bowl. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Invert the molded pastina timbale onto warmed individual serving plates, and serve.

Pastina Timbale Sauce:
3 pounds canned diced tomatoes, drained
2 jalapeno chiles
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup minced onion
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp Gorgonzola
1 small jar roasted peppers, julienned (about 1 cup)
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a bowl, toss tomatoes and whole jalapeno chiles with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Place tomato mixture on a cookie sheet and roast in oven for 15 or 20 minutes or until slightly browned. Remove from heat and finely chop the tomatoes. Transfer tomato pulp and any juices from the cutting board to a bowl. Chop the chiles and taste to determine their heat.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat until hot. Add the onion, season with salt, and saute until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and oregano and stir. Add the chiles and simmer for another minute, only adding as much jalapeno as you want for spice. Add the tomatoes and their juice and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Add the vinegar and stir in the Gorgonzola. Stir in the roasted peppers and the parsley. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Keep warm until ready to serve.

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Ruth’s Wedding Cookies

– johanna | April 26th, 2009

Filed under: RECIPES - Treats

My Aunt Ruth usually had these delicious bites around many times when we stopped by for a visit. Ruth’s version of Mexican wedding cookies are also known as Russian Tea Cakes or Italian Butter Cookies. They are a very delicate shortbread like cookie. Her original recipe had an hour baking time at 250 degrees. To save time I bake them at a higher temperature for less time.

1 1/2 sticks butter
4 tbsp sifted confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup nuts- pecans or walnuts
1 cup powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350. Spread the nuts out on a baking sheet. Lightly toast in the oven for about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool; finely chop.

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Add flour, salt and finely chopped nuts. Chill for 30 minutes to an hour or until firm. Roll into 1-inch balls and place on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven. Cool slightly, about 5 minutes then roll in powdered sugar. Cool completely. Roll in powdered sugar again. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

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Glazed Salmon on Green and Orange Salad

– johanna | April 25th, 2009

Filed under: BUDGET MEALS, RECIPES - Main Dish, RECIPES - Soup / Salad

Good Seasons used to make a nice make-it-yourself Asian salad dressing. Sadly I can never find the Asian flavor or Cesar at any of the grocery stores in the area. I used the dressing from an Asian spinach salad recipe and omitted the OJ.

Source: unknown
4 (5oz) cooked salmon fillets
1/3 cup Asian Ginger salad dressing
2 tbsp clementine or orange juice
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
8 cups mixed salad greens
4 clementines, peeled and sliced
1/3 cup chopped unsalted toasted almonds

Heat broiler. Place salmon on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Spoon on or brush salmon with 2 tablespoons of the dressing. Let sit 15 minutes. Broil salmon 8-10 minutes or until just cooked through.

Meanwhile, put the remaining dressing and the juice in a large bowl; add onions and toss to coat.

To serve, add salad greens and clementines to the bowl with the onion; toss to mix and coat. Arrange salad on serving plates. Place salmon on salad and sprinkle with almonds.

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Ham Egg and Cheese English Muffins

– johanna | April 24th, 2009

Filed under: BUDGET MEALS, RECIPES - Breakfast

Breakfast is one of my favorite meals of the day. I just love breakfast food. My mom used to make these for us all the time even on camping trips. I love my egg with a slightly runny center. It must be a Southern thing like grits.

English muffins
Cheddar cheese slices
Scrambled, poached or fried eggs
Ham deli slices

Toast English muffins. Spread with a little butter and top with scrambled eggs, a slice of cheese and ham.

Add a slice of tomato.
Replace ham with bacon.

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Breakfast Burrito

– johanna | April 23rd, 2009

Filed under: RECIPES - Breakfast

My favorite thing to eat in the morning is a breakfast burrito. It is so simple and can be wrapped up to go. The kids love burritos. The breakfast burrito is no exception.

Tortillas, warmed
Scrambled eggs
Cheddar and Monterrey Jack shredded cheese blend

Take a tortilla add a spoonful of scrambled eggs, a dollop of salsa and a sprinkle of cheese. Wrap it all up and enjoy.

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Shrimp Scampi

– johanna | April 22nd, 2009

Filed under: RECIPES - Main Dish

Sometimes there is nothing better than pasta tossed with a little butter and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Add shrimp sauteed in garlic sauce for a light comforting meal.

6 ounces whole wheat pasta
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 tbsp butter, divided
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup reduced-fat Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Prepare pasta according to taste.

Meanwhile, heat oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring frequently, until almost pink, about 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon butter, lemon juice and broth to shrimp; saute about 2 minutes more.

Place cooked pasta in a large bowl and mix with the remaining 3 tablespoons butter, black pepper and Parmesan cheese. Add cooked shrimp to pasta and mix together. Top with parsley.

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Homestyle Turkey Meatloaf

– johanna | April 21st, 2009

Filed under: RECIPES - Main Dish

I never thought about making meatloaf before I ate it at a friends house. I was so good I had to try making my own. This loaf of meat is not your grandmother’s. The salsa gives it a kick and the ground turkey sheds unwanted calories. The tomato sauce and sliced onions make for a beautiful presentation.

Source: Adapted from Body for Life, Eating for Life
1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped, plus one quarter onion sliced into rings
4 egg whites
1 cup salsa
3/4 cup old fashioned, oats, uncooked
1 package Knorr Vegetable soup mix
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup ketchup or tomato sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine ground turkey, chopped onion, egg whites, salsa, oats, soup mix and black pepper. Press mixture into 9×5 loaf pan. Spread ketchup oven top and sprinkle with sliced onions. Bake in preheated oven until meatloaf is no longer pink in the center and juice is clear, about 60 minutes.

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