New Mexico Sopaipillas

– johanna | August 17th, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES - Breakfast, RECIPES - Snacks, RECIPES - Treats

When I was a teenager I traveled with my best friend Cindy and her mom across the United States from Southern Florida to the Mid West. We saw Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and the Grand Canyon, then drove on to Utah to pick up her sister. While in New Mexico we dined at a local Mexican restaurant. The highlight of the meal was Sopaipillas; a fried square puff of bread, similar to the Native American fry bread, served with butter and honey.

I made these for the kids this week for our back to school celebration party. I dusted some with powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, or spread with butter and drizzled with honey. They went nuts asking if they could take some to the neighbors. So we ended up feeding most of the neighbor kids too. The way to eat them is you tear a corner off, drop a little butter in the hole, and then drizzle the cavity with honey. So tasty! They have a slight crisp to the outside and the inside is doughnut heaven.

* The heat of the oil is very important. The oil should not be too hot nor to cool. If it is too hot the dough will burn quickly resulting in crunchy not crispy sopaipillas. If the oil is too cool then the dough will absorb more oil as it cooks longer making the sopaipillas soggy. I do not fry foods hardly ever so it is hard to remember from year to year the trick to heating oil. This time I took notes. I started heating the oil over medium heat before making the dough. By the time the dough was ready to rest I could smell the oil. I turned the heat down to medium low while the dough rested. Then turned it back to medium while I rolled and cut the dough. The dough was a perfect light brown after 10 seconds.

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon shortening
3/4 cup warm water
Canola oil for frying

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, powder, and salt. Cut in the shortening with a pastry cutter or your hands. Using a fork or hands, gradually stir in the warm water. Knead and mix the dough until the dough forms a loose ball. (dough will be crumbly) Turn out onto a flat surface and knead. (you should not need any flour but if the dough is too sticky lightly dust the surface with flour.) Knead the dough until it is smooth, about 5 to 10 minutes. Divide the dough in half and let sit covered with a hand towel.

Beginning with one half of the dough, roll into a large square to a 1/8-inch thickness. Cut the dough into 9 equal pieces by cutting the dough into thirds both horizontally and vertically. Repeat with the other half of dough.

* Pour oil 1 to 2 inches thick in a deep rimmed skillet. Carefully place squares of dough in hot oil (careful not to overcrowd). Cook for 10 to 30 seconds each side. The cooked side should be lightly browned. Remove fried dough from the oil and drain on paper towels.

To serve: Dust with powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar immediately after removing from the oil or serve with butter and honey.

– Gluten free version to come. Any ideas please comment.
– Use sunflower oil for corn allergies.
– Use coconut oil in place of shortening

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Cinnamon Cream Cheese Rice Cakes

– johanna | May 11th, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES - Breakfast, RECIPES - Snacks

Cinnamon cream cheese rice cakes is huge hit at my son’s nursery school. The kidos gobble them up like apples, another huge favorite. There is one good thing about peer pressure. At school my son is willing to try more foods and in the process discovers that they really are delicious. Although at home the same foods are still up for debate, like beans. At school he loves refried beans. At home, he turns his nose up every time.

Rice Cakes
Cinnamon Sugar
Cream Cheese

Take a rice cake. Sprinkle a dash or two of cinnamon sugar. Spread a dollop of cream cheese over the cinnamon sugar. Enjoy!

To make cinnamon sugar:
Mix 1/2 cup sugar with 1 tablespoon cinnamon.

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Orange Yogurt Parfaits

– johanna | May 4th, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES - Breakfast, RECIPES - Snacks

This is one of my youngest son’s favorite snack. We made them together at his nursery school to much trepidation on his part. He seemed a bit scared and was a little hesitant at first, he is our pickest eater, but since we were playing with food he went along with it. He was surprised to find he actually loved it.

Servings: 1
1/4 cup yogurt, vanilla or plain
1 tablespoon orange juice
Dash groung cinnamon
1/2 apple, chopped
1/4 banana, sliced (optional)

Take a small cup and add two tablespoon of yogurt. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon, about a tablespoon orange juice, two spoonfuls of apple, and one spoonful of bananas, if using. Top with a dollop of yogurt.

Add a sprinkle of nuts or granola to make a meal.

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Korean Tuna Pancakes (Chamchijeon)

– johanna | April 27th, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES - Appetizer, RECIPES - Main Dish, RECIPES - Snacks

Lately we have been learning all we can about South Korean customs. Such as it is bad luck to pour your own drink and always take your shoes off before entering ones home. Respect is of utmost importance in South Korea. The formality of Confucianism dictates so. It is a belief in a code of honor that is viewed as old fashioned by newer generations.

Generally most Koreans are warm and giving. They live by the age old traditions that when an elder enters a room you stand up. On the bus you offer them your seat. If someone is in need you help them. When accepting a gift use both hands to take it. And always be sure to say, “gamsa hapnida.” (Thank you)

The relationship between people of seniority is just as important. In fact, when adults speak to one another they use a formal form of speech; unlike when talking to a child or how youth of the same age converse. When addressing a person they always use the surname first. To call an acquaintance by their name would be considered informal and is frowned upon. For example, the name Eun Sun (first name) Park (surname) would be spoken Park Eun Sun. When familiar or given permission you can drop the surname. Interestingly enough even a slight inflection in the pronunciation of a name (similar to a nickname) is seen as informal.

When addressing a person of status always use their title or position first: including president, director, professor, doctor, Sunbea (senior at school). With permission a younger girl might use the term ‘Uhn-nee’ (meaning older sister) to address a female a few years older than she. A young male could call a female he is comfortable with ‘Noona’ (meaning sister). A female would call an older young male with whom she is close to ‘Oppa’.

Now on to the food! Maangchi’s tuna pancakes are amazing. My kids gobbled them all up. Do not let the word pancake confuse you. Jeon means pancake in Korean but it is basically a tuna cake. Like a crab cake. The onion and sesame oil are what what gives these little cakes flavor. I do not recommend omitting these ingredients as it would drastically change the taste.

Source: Maangchi
(Makes 6 small pancakes)
1 (5 oz) can of tuna
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 egg
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons canola oil

Strain out the liquid from a can of tuna and place it in a bowl.

Add onion, garlic, salt, pepper, egg, sesame oil, and flour to the tuna and mix it well.

Heat oil in up a pan until hot.

Scoop a spoonful of the tuna mixture with a spoon and place it on the heated pan. Press slightly and round the edges with the spoon.

When the bottom is cooked golden brown, turn it over and cook until both sides of the pancakes are golden brown. About 3-5 minutes total.
Transfer the cooked pancakes to a serving plate and serve with rice.

Sauce: Mix the following ingredients
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon vinegar
left over onions

** Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to two days. Reheat in the microwave or panfry.

– Egg allergies: Egg can be omitted. No substitute needed.
– Gluten free: replace flour with corn flour.

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Gluten Free Banana Nut Muffins

– johanna | March 16th, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES - Breakfast, RECIPES - Snacks

I have a friend who’s son is allergic to practically everything from eggs, milk, nuts, wheat, and corn. It is quite overwhelming trying to find gluten, egg, and corn-free products much less shop on a limited budget.   I started my youngest on a gluten free regimen a little over a year ago. While he is not strictly gluten free and is able to consume small quantities of wheat, I understand her heartache. To a newcomer most gluten free recipes  resemble an advanced chemistry experiment.

The prices for whole grain flours are insanely high and hard to find in many areas. The few gluten free recipes I did know of contained corn starch and xanthan gum (an agent that acts like gluten that contains corn). I have yet to find a viable bread recipe because the xanthan gum is pretty much a crucial ingredient. However, muffins, pancakes, and cookies seem to do well without it. This recipe for banana nut muffins originally includes xanthan gum. The muffins came out so light and fluffy without the xanthan gum so I omitted it from the ingredients list below.

I love that the flour mixture consists of only three items: potato starch (not corn), tapioca starch, and brown rice flour. I think a little bit of almond flour subbed in for the flour mixture would give the muffins a nice flavor.

Now for the eggs. I subbed in two tablespoons flaxseed meal mixed with four tablespoons water. Set aside a few minutes to set. Then I added an additional heaping tablespoon of baking powder. I did a happy dance of joy and emailed a copy to my friend.

Source: adapted from Gluten Free Baking Classics by Annalise Roberts

Yield: 12 muffins

2 cups GF Flour Mix*
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 packed cup very ripe chopped banana (about 2 medium bananas)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 350 F. Position rack in center of oven. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt, and cinnamon in large mixing bowl. Add bananas and walnuts; stir to coat evenly.

Combine milk and oil in small bowl; remove 1 tablespoon of combined liquid and discard it. Beat in eggs. Add liquids to banana mixture and stir until just blended.

Fill muffin pans 2/3 full. Bake 18-25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from pan and serve immediately or cool on a rack.

*GF Flour Mix
2 cups brown rice flour
2/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca starch

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Cheesy Toast with Egg

– johanna | March 9th, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES - Breakfast, RECIPES - Snacks

Cheesy toast is a flashback to my summer camp days when I was a youth. Each summer I spent two weeks hiking, swatting bugs, sleeping under a mosquito net, and taking cold showers at the Girl Scout camp near my home. I learned first aid, how to respect the American flag, that people actually drink pineapple juice and where all the unsold boxes of Girl Scout cookies go- in the cafeteria closets of camps throughout the country to be served during Girl Scout camps as a special treat (yum). At each meal there was a spread of silver pitchers filled with juices, milk, and water. We ate a real smorgasbord.

Sometimes I serve cheesy toast at dinner with a salad. I will add a sprinkling of garlic powder with the butter for a garlic version. The kids have converted me to eating non classified breakfast foods for breakfast, mainly leftovers. Cheesy toast is a warm and comforting choice on those mornings we are running late and need to grab something to take with us.

Slices of bread
Shredded Italian cheese blend

Spread the top of each slice of bread with butter. Sprinkle with cheese. Place under the broiler until cheese is lightly browned and melted.

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Gluten Free Breakfast Cookies

– johanna | December 9th, 2011

Filed under: RECIPES - Snacks, RECIPES - Treats

When I saw this recipe for gluten-free breakfast cookies, I was excited because it only calls for one type of flour and the results were amazing. Switching to a gluten-free diet is very difficult, it is not just replacing a cup of wheat flour with coconut flour, there is an entire new baking formula to go by. Even then, the results can be less than satisfactory.  Those who suffer from celiacs disease and gluten sensitivity deserve to have that perfect crunch of bread or moist light muffin, it is one of those simple pleasures many of us take for granted.

With Celiacs disease, the gluten attacks the lining of the intestines; once gluten is removed from the diet, the symtoms of the disease go away. Gluten is found in wheat, rye, and barley (there is some debate as to oats being included in the mix). Those with a sensitivity to gluten may feel run down, bloated, and risk developing other types of autoimmune diseases. However, you need not have Crohns disease or Celiacs disease to experience a sensitivity to gluten.

Today, the gluten content in wheat is 90% more than 70,  or even 100, years ago. Many doctors are advising patients with unknown chronic illnesses to lay off the gluten until their system recovers. Some individuals discover that they feel healthier and have more energy once the gluten is removed from their diet. All in all, I would not rush out and start buying gluten-free products, as it seems to be the craze now-a-days. Moderation is the key in all things.

Often times gluten-free recipes can be somewhat overwhelming with all the unfamiliar products. With recipes like this one, we can easily incorporate more grains into our diet. And, your gluten-free friends will be so shocked. Just remember to use uncontaminated baking equipment.

Source: Comfy Belly
2 1/2 cups of almond meal or almond flour (any nut flour will work really)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (or 1/2 cup of coconut oil or vegetable shortening, melted)
1/2 cup of honey (or other sweetener)
1 egg
1 tablespoon of vanilla
2 cups of nuts, dried fruit, seeds, chocolate (in any variation)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Whisk the flour, salt and baking soda in a bowl. Stir in the 2 cups of desired nuts and fruits.

Stir in the melted butter, honey, egg, vanilla. Blending well.

Drop by tablespoonfuls on greased cookie sheets. Space them about 1 inch apart.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until brown around the edges. Cool on a wire rack.

Makes 25. Store in a sealed container.

– For a crunchier cookie, leave them in the oven at 200 degrees F for another 15 minutes or so, or in a dehydrator on a fairly low temperature for about 2 hours.
– Fall spice blend: 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg and ground cloves. Add with dry ingredients.

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Fall Spice Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Cookies

– johanna | November 25th, 2011

Filed under: RECIPES - Snacks, RECIPES - Treats

Last month I was trying to think of a kid friendly snack to make for our pumpkin decorating party. I also had an entire bunch of bananas sitting untouched in the fruit basket. Not a normal phenomenon in this house. Fortunately for me I was able to produce two loaves of banana nut bread and our favorite fall banana cookies. I love this recipe because it is packed with chocolate and nuts and just the perfect hint of fall spices.

Source: adapted from Martha Stewart Banana Cookie

1/2 cup of unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Stir the baking soda into the mashed bananas and let sit for 2 minutes.

Combine the flour, salt, spices, pecans and chocolate chips.

Cream the butter and sugars (on medium speed) until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and continue to beat until well combined. Fold in the mashed banana banana in 2 additions, alternating with flour mixture, ending with the flour, folding until just combined.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a baking sheet. Bake until edges are golden, about 12 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

– johanna | October 14th, 2011

Filed under: RECIPES - Breads, RECIPES - Snacks

Fall finally arrived last weekend. Rainy and cold. It was heavenly. Thanks to Emily, my brother’s wife, the pantry is well stocked with canned pumpkin. Last year I was complaining about not being able to find canned pumpkin in the supermarket during the month of October. Emily made sure I had a few extra cans tucked away in the pantry to use this fall. This year we are hardly into october and I have used up two of those cans. The onset of rainy cold fall weather called for a batch of pumpkin muffins.

My favorite pumpkin recipe used to be Pumpkin Chip Cookies. I especially liked the ones from a grocery store in Utah. I searched recipe after recipe trying to find an exact match. Baked and baked, with unsuccessful results, until I found the closest contender on Joy the Baker. They were soft with a hint of spices just as I remembered. Pumpkin chocolate cookies are no longer my favorite. Although they still bring a smile to my lips as I remember wonderful dear friends I once shared them with.

Pumpkin Chip Muffins are similar to the cookie in taste. However, many people find the cake texture of the cookie to be annoying. If this is the case a chocolate chip pumpkin muffin might make more sense.

Source: Thorp House Inn of Fish Creek, WI
1-2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal, optional
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pre-spiced)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°.

Spray a standard muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper baking liners.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, and cloves.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and set aside.

In another medium bowl, combine the eggs, pumpkin, and melted butter.  Add the pumpkin mixture all at once to the flour mixture.  Stir until just moistened (batter may be a bit lumpy).  Fold in the chocolate chips.

Spoon batter into the 12 prepared muffin cups. Bake for about 20 minutes, or just until a wooden toothpick inserted into centers of the muffins comes out clean. Do not over bake. Let sit in the muffin pan to cool for 2 to 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups.

Yield:  12 standard size muffins

–This recipe calls for mace. Mace is the outer red webbing of a nutmeg seed. Add it if available. Otherwise omit it and add a hint more of nutmeg.

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Fall Afternoon Snacks

– johanna | September 30th, 2011

Filed under: RECIPES - Snacks

Fall is my favorite time of the year. Ok, maybe a very close runner up to Spring, but for different reasons. I love the smell of Fall the most. Like an aged book or worn leather. It feels warm and cosy. I especially enjoy the crisp tendrils of wind encircling about, announcing the encroaching presence of Fall. I love sweaters, soup, hats and scarfs. As much as I have enjoyed summer this year I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of Fall. Fall is being quite timid this year. We had a few chilly days followed by several muggy hot ones.

I have been working tirelessly trying to organize our home in preparation for the winter. The whole house goes toppsy turvy as we work to clean up the yard, trimming trees and bushes, and washing down the windows and the exterior.  Our goal to declutter the inside has been a month long project. There are not enough hours in a day anymore with all the schooling and extra curricular activities going on during the school session.

Making snacks is one item of business that cannot be put on hold. With all the ingredients my kids have allergies to we have to make the majority of our meals from scratch. Here are a few of our favorite Fall after school snacks that do not require too much time to make.

Muffin Tin– My favorite way to serve snacks is in a muffin tin. If you want your kids to eat fruits and veggies try putting them in a muffin tin. The Muffin Tin Mom has loads of exciting edible creations to serve in a muffin tin.

Apple Smile– You have probably seen these on Family Fun. I love the ghastly teeth for Halloween. We use peanut butter instead of the butterscotch chips.

Apple People– Little kids love to make apple creations. Place all the materials in a muffin tin or on a baking sheet and let them decorate.

Crunchy Apple Sandwich– There are serval variations to this snack. We use pears or whole grain crackers in place of the apple. Replace the peanut butter and serve with just jam.

Fig Newtons– Berry newtons are a nice alternative for children who dislike figs.

Bear cookies– On Fridays we like to make cookies for movie night. It signifies the week is over. Time to relax. The recipe calls for a boxed brownie mix. You can make your own cookies from a brownie recipe. I have not figure it out just yet. So we use a chocolate brownie cookie recipe instead.

Spider Crackers– Substitute your preferred cracker. We use Triscuits because they are on our approved list. Substitute real spreadable cheddar cheese for the peanut butter. Chocolate chips, frosting or nuts for the eyes.

Fluffer Nutter Bites– We buy our gluten free ricemallow cream from Natural Candy. I have not tried the vegan marshmallows yet. You can also make it following step by step instructions on Ginger Lemon Girl.

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