Memories and healthy recipes for your dinner table.

Month: January 2011

Barbecue Chicken Pizza

When I was little I loved Pizza Hut pizza. The crust was so thick and crunchy on the outside and so soft and warm on the inside. Each slice had the perfect ratio of sauce to cheese. Of course if it was not a special […]

Pesto Chicken French Bread Pizza

Super Bowl Sunday is set for February 6th. If you are not heading to the Cowboys Stadium then it is time to plan your home turf game menu. This year we’ve got a pizza bar theme. The two contending teams are the Gourmet Pesto Chicken […]

Family Togetherness: Winter Olympics

The first winter Olympics took place on this day in 1924 in Chamonix, France. The olympics used to be a major highlight when I was a child. I loved watching the daring athletes perform amazing feats to compete for the gold. What an exhilarating feeling to know you are among the most gifted athletes in the whole world.

To help cultivate a love of the Olympic games and bring the excitement close to home hold a family or neighborhood olympic event. Ask each family member to suggest their favorite winter olympic event. If you are like us and not do not live within easy access of the snow work as a team to come up with creative ways to meet the needs for each event. When I lived up north my friends and I would gather garbage can lids, shovels and trash bags to slide down icy hills. Plastic tied over shoes coupled with wet grass becomes an ice skating rink. Brooms and a birdie or puck are all you need for street hockey.

You will need:
A musical anthem and flag for each team and an official olympic banner.
A stop watch
Any materials needed for each event

Make medals using wood circles from the craft store. Drill a hole at the top. Spray paint gold, silver or bronze. Then slip a ribbon through the hole and tie a knot.

Begin with a celebratory march. Have each team or family member carry their flag during the opening ceremony. Afterward celebrate each others victories with a warm mug of hot chocolate.

Shrimp Linguini Alfredo

I had a pint of heavy cream left over from a Slovian nut roll I made for Three Kings Day. I really hate it when I have to throw expired goods away. Like the four pears that ended up in the trash because I kept […]

Family Togetherness: New Year Treasure Box

Photo and Art of decoupage box by: Haru It is a brand new year with many amazing possibilities. The kids and I spent New Year’s weekend going through a box of my belongings from long ago that my mom sent to me for Christmas. The box […]

Shepherds Pie with Mashed Cauliflower and Potatoes

Shepherds Pie is a meat pie dating back to the Middle Ages. Traditionally “Mutton Pie” was made using lamb or mutton and vegetables baked in a thick pastry shell called a “coffyn”. The pastry was thick, tough and inedible. The “coffyn” was a type of baking dish patterned after the stoneware dishes of Ancient Egypt that could withstand hours of heat.

The “Cottage Pie” is believed to have originated in Scotland. The cottage pie was traditionally made with beef and vegetables topped with mashed potatoes unlike the shepherds pie made with mutton and vegetables. Pies or casseroles were a useful way to use left over meat. The vegetables consisted of what ever was available that season. The Elizabethans favored a similar “Minced Meat Pie” seasoned with cloves, mace, pepper, saffron, raisins and prunes.

Cottage pie came across the seas to the America’s with the English. There are as many versions of Shepherds or Cottage pie as there are Grandmothers. This recipe for Cottage Pie is a mixture of beef with gravy and loaded with veggies.

Source: Elli Krieger
1 pound lean ground beef (90 percent lean or higher) or turkey
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped (about 3 cups)
3 medium carrots, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 pound white mushrooms, sliced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup low-sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon salt, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup frozen peas
1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold or creamery potatoes
1 small head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into florets
2/3 cup 1 percent lowfat milk
2 tablespoons butter

In a large nonstick skillet cook the meat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate. Drain any fat remaining in the skillet.

Heat the oil in the skillet over a medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook, covered, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Raise the heat to moderately-high. Add the mushrooms and thyme and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are soft and their liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes longer. Return the meat to the pan. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the broth, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper and bring to a simmer being sure to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the peas. Pour the mixture into a 12-cup shallow baking dish (about 11 by 9 inches).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Scrub the potatoes and cut into 2-inch pieces. Arrange the potatoes in a steamer basket, and steam for 10 minutes. Add the cauliflower to the basket and cook until the potatoes and cauliflower are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 15 minutes longer. Mash the vegetables with a potato masher until smooth. Heat the milk, butter, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a pinch of pepper and stir into the potato mixture.

Spread the potato mixture on top of the meat and bake until heated through, about 25 minutes.

— For a smaller serving bake individual cups using 6-oz ramekins per person; or use half the mixture and bake in a 9X9-inch pan.
– Use the leftover potatoes with another main dish later in the week.
– Use the leftover meat mixture in a pot pie. Grease a pie plate with oil or butter. Lay 1 pie crust in the bottom then fill with meat mixture. Top with another layer of pie crust. Freeze or use within the next two days. – Make a Mexican pie. Add a tablespoon chili powder, 2 tsp cumin, black beans and corn. Layer in a cake pan: tortilla, mixture, cheese. Repeat. Freeze or use within the next two days.

Research: Food Time Line & What’s Cooking America

January Website Review: Adultitis- The Escape Plan

I found Kim and Jason on the Escape Plan blog two summer’s ago. I started to write down the 40 day steps to end Adultitist. Got to number 20. Then got busy. Lost the name of the website because I forgot to save it. Periodically […]

Cheddar and Herb Biscuits

Growing up in the south biscuits were common whereas in California rolls or bread usually accompany a meal. We rarely serve bread with a meal. The exception would be if we are having soup or a dinner salad. Biscuits are a great choice because they […]

The Day of Epiphany: The Twelfth Day of Christmas

Artwork: Tres Reyes Magos,

(Author’s name unavailable)

Our daughter was not in the mood to take down the tree and put away the Christmas decorations. I can sympathize with her; I felt the same way. December seemed to rush by like the wind. Next thing I knew our son was back at school and we were going about the day just as before. So I went searching for another tradition. I most certainly was not looking to add another tradition but the Twelve Days of Christmas seemed like a perfect ending to all the excitement we experienced over the past month.

The Day of Epiphany, Three Kings Day or Christmas is celebrated in Europe and in many Latin countries on January 6th as apposed to December 25th. The feast commemorates the arrival of the Magi or Three Wise Men to the manger where the baby Jesus was born. The Magi, similar to Santa, leave gifts under a tree or in socks or shoes to symbolize the offerings of gold, myrrh and frankincense by the wise men. In return for the gifts from the Magi children will leave straw or hay under their beds or in their shoes for the camels.

Three King’s Day represents the close of the Christmas Season. There are many ways families celebrate the 12th Day of Christmas; however the tradition of serving a King’s Cake is the most constant of them all. The King’s Cake or Epiphany cake is baked with a trinket or bean inside. Whoever gets the piece with the trinket reigns as king or queen of the feast and gets to order everyone else around for the day. In Mexico the winner is in charge of buying the tamales. Traditional cakes can be a type of sweet bread shaped in a round (France), a pound cake or cake in the shape of a crown or a round pastry with a gold paper crown (Spain) set on top. The cake may be decorated with colorful candies or frosting.

For many families January 6th is the day they take down all the Christmas decorations. One family prepares pinecone bird feeders a few days before to hang on their tree. Once all the decorations are removed they set the tree outside to feed the birds. The bird seed is their small gift to the birds.

Kristen, a mom I met at the playground one day told me all about their Progressive Christmas Cocktail tradition. They start out at her sister’s house for French Onion Soup. Then travel to her mother’s house for horderves. Finally everyone gathers at Kristen’s house for martini’s. The idea of traveling from place to place seemed to fit with the theme of the traveling Wise Men.

I thought it only befitting that we could incorporate my favorite Christmas Eve read, The Littlest Angel. His gift was not made of sparkles or gems but was comprised of the warmest memories of earth: A butterfly, a stone and his dog’s collar all tucked gently away in a worn wooden box. Our cake? A wonderful Eggnog Pound Cake. Lastly, we come up with this year’s goals (our gifts) for both family and personal.

How do you celebrate The Day of Epiphany?