Tag Archives: Recipe

Recipe Review: Marshmallows – Corn Free

Home Made Marshmallows

Most Americans can’t imagine camping without making S’mores. Well, last year, I decided we as a family would try our best to not consume Corn Syrup. Every package of Marshmallows I’ve seen has it as a staple ingredient. So, that meant we didn’t make S’mores when we went camping…Guess who wasn’t the most popular Mama?  So, you can imagine how excited I was to find a recipe that didn’t use any corn? I didn’t jump up and down, but was giddy to give the recipe a try. The blog, A Messy Kitchen, posted a recipe for Lemon Honey Cardamon Marshmallows. The author’s daughter is allergic to corn of any type, even corn starch. But, she’s an amazing baker and goes above and beyond to make substitute treats for her. I asked about this recipe, because I just wanted to make plain old Vanilla Marshmallows. Since it was my first try, she suggested I start out with Cookie Baker Lynn’s recipe for Classic Vanilla Marshmallows.

I must say Marshmallows are really a lot of sugar, like over 5 cups! So, I was amazed by the process of heating and mixing and beating to make them.

Lessons and Notes:

Doesn't my borrowed Kitchen Aid look pretty?

– Use a stand mixer. You’ll need to beat the hot syrup with sugar in a bowl on high speed for 10-12 minutes. I don’t recommend using a hand mixer simply because there might be some splatter, and you won’t want to get burned. Plus, the fact that beating for that long will give you an aching shoulder. I borrowed one, and a candy thermometer – Key tools!

– From start to finish, making these took over 2 hours, plus setting up overnight (the recipe says all you need is 4 hour to set).  But, I made my own sugar syrup, and took my time checking each step. Just so you know, hot sugar syrup burns like wow! I was trying to ladle it from the pot into a jar for later, and accidentally got some on my thumb. It wasn’t a blister level burn, but did make me worry that I’d mess this first try up. So, be very careful when you’re making the syrup and when you add it to your mixer to make the Marshmallows.

– The only change I made to Lynn’s recipe was with the finishing powder – calls for Powdered Sugar and Corn Starch. I used Arrowroot Powder instead of the Corn Starch, and think you could also use Tapioca Starch. And, some Powdered Sugar already has Corn Starch added. I found some at our local Co-Op made by Wholesome Sweeteners that doesn’t add anything. Whole Foods also carries some that has Tapioca Starch instead.

Sticky like glue, the Marshmallows set in 4-24 hours.

– Yield: I got 36 out of this, but cut some really small to fit into a cup of coffee, and others large enough to roast over a camp fire. The recipe says you can use a cookie cutter for fancy shapes, but I think the sticky factor would keep me from trying it out. I am happy use a knife and make squares or diamonds.

My official taste testers approved of the results and can hardly wait for camping to enjoy the rest. I’m so happy with how these turned out, that next time I want to try the Lemon-Honey-Cardamon recipe! Or, I might modify a bit and use her latest, shortened Vanilla Marshmallow Recipe, which uses a store bought Sugar Syrup, cutting the time down to about 30 minutes plus setting up (4-24hrs).

p.s. My friend Fran says you can also just roll the Marshmallows in sprinkles and avoid the Powdered Sugar coating step all together. I’m sure they’re not healthier, but I bet very pretty! A great party idea too.

Recipe: Cool Cucumber Salad

Quick, easy and refreshing Cool Cucumber Salad

I am always delighted with myself when I take a bite of some new recipe I create on the fly and find it is delicious!  It never ceases to surprise me, as funny as that sounds. I guess I make as many “mistakes” as I do “successes” when it comes to creating new recipes.

This salad is perfect for a hot Summer day. The coolness of the Cucumber balances the slight bitterness of the Celery, and the Parsley and Thyme add just enough flavor to provide a light, satisfying taste.

Cool Cucumber Salad

Ingredients:

– 2 Stalks Celery

– 4-6 Leaves Romaine Lettuce

– Half a large Cucumber

– A handful of fresh Parsley (about a half cup)

– 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme

– 2 Teaspoons Olive Oil

– Salt to taste

Wash and chop, dice or slice the Celery, Lettuce, Cucumber and Parsley and place into a bowl. Drizzle with Olive Oil, sprinkle on the Thyme and Salt to taste. Enjoy!

I think this recipe took me about 5-10 minutes from prep to eating it off my plate. It makes 2 large servings or 4 small dinner salads.

Recipe: Confetti Garden Salad

Refreshing and easy to make!

Cilantro and what we had on hand were my inspiration for this salad last week. It is refreshing and slightly sweet.

Ingredients:

– 2 Large Carrots

– 2 Stalks Celery

– 1/2 Cup Peas

– Handful of Cilantro (about 1/4 Cup)

– 2 Table Spoons Olive Oil

– Squeezed Lemon (about 2 Teaspoons)

– Salt to Taste (about 1/2 Teaspoon)

Wash, peel and grate the Carrots before adding them to a bowl. Dice the Cilantro and Celery or chop into desired size, add to the bowl. Add fresh Peas, or defrost frozen Peas but don’t cook them least they get mushy. Drizzle with Olive Oil, Lemon and Salt to taste. Enjoy!

This recipe serves 2-4 adults depending on portion size.  We enjoyed it with baked Cod and Zucchini. I think it would go well with any meat, and even with some added cheese like Cheddar or as a meal itself with some Rice or Pasta. Let me know what you discover!

p.s. Shared on Spain In Iowa’s Simple Lives Thursday.

Recipe: Applesauce Cookies

Applesauce Cookies with Currants.

After researching vegan cookies, I came up with this recipe. It is egg-less, and butter-less, but tastes light and is surprisingly soft. You can easily make these more crisp by baking longer. And, since it is so simple, it lends itself well to whatever additions you want. I have thought that crushed Walnuts, Pecans or slivered Almonds would be tasty extras. But, our Little Miss can’t digest them very well, so I haven’t tried them yet.

I have enjoyed these as a classic cookie flavor using only Vanilla and as a light Lemon variation with Currants. Below is the recipe with the modifications depending on what you’re taste buds want.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Ingredients:

– 1 1/2 Cups Flour

– 1/4 Cup Sugar (or Sucanat)

– 1/2 Teaspoon Salt

– 1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda

– 1/2 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar

– 3 Table Spoons Ghee or Coconut Oil (Vegan friendly)

– 1 Tablespoon Vinegar or Lemon Juice

– 1 Tablespoon Vanilla or 1 Teaspoon Lemon Zest

– 1/4 Cup Applesauce

Pulling the dough up around the shapes is easier.

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl mix together wet ingredients (if making Lemon Cookies, add the Lemon Zest too). Add wet ingredients to the dry and blend until the dough becomes soft like play dough.

You can roll the dough out onto a floured surface and use cookie cutters for fun shapes. When doing so, I’ve found it helpful to roll the dough onto Parchment paper, then cut shapes and then pull the dough up off the surface. Otherwise it can be tricky to transfer onto a cookie sheet. These only take 15 min to bake depending on how thick you want them.

Or you can simply shape Table Spoon sized dough balls and place onto the cookie sheet to bake. These take about 20 min to bake depending on how soft you like your cookie.

This recipe yields about 12-36 cookies depending on size.

Enjoy with a cup of Tea or your favorite beverage!

p.s. Let me know if you try other ingredients and how it turned out.

Recipe: Carrot Basil Soup

Basil Carrot Soup with Zucchini

I love the smell of Basil. And, Carrots are one of my favorite vegetables. These are the two reasons for creating this soup recipe.  It works as a great base to add complimentary vegetables, and if you chose to add fat and protein, all you need to do is add some Ghee, Butter, Chicken or Beef stock. From start to finish, it takes about 30 minutes or a little longer when you add extras. I chose to add Zucchini to my last batch, and it was so yummy!

Basil Carrot Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

– 3 Cups chopped Carrots (about 6-8 Carrots)

– 3 Cups Water

– 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme

– 1/4 Teaspoon Dried Oregano

– 1 Tablespoon Freshly Diced Basil

– 1 Teaspoon Salt plus more to taste

Wash, peel and chop Carrots into 1/2 inch rounds, and place in a sauce pan to boil with 2 cups water. Once the Carrots are soft enough to puncture with a fork (about 5-10min), let cool for 5 minutes. Add to a Blender with residual Water, and add one additional cup of Water before blending on High for about 2 min. Depending on you blender, you may need to use a wooden spoon or spatula to mix the Carrots and blend to create a smooth texture. Once you get it to your liking, return the mixture to your sauce pan or pot, turning the heat onto a Medium-High setting. Add Salt and Herbs and let simmer until you are ready to eat. Enjoy with homemade, fresh Bread or Crackers!

The recipe yields 2 large bowls or 4 small bowls of soup. You can easily multiply the ingredients to make a larger batch.

This is a great recipe for experimenting – let me know what delicious variation you discover!

p.s. I have successfully added left over rice for more substance, and frozen Peas to cool it down quickly for eating.

p.s.s. I love this recipe enough that I also shared it on The Healthy Home Economist’s Monday Mania Recipe/Food round up.


Recipe Review: Artisan Bread in 5 Min a Day!

Fresh, Easy Artisan Spelt Bread

In my quest to make food from scratch, bread was the one thing that daunted me. I imagined a laborious process of kneading, kneading and more kneading. Plus, the family was pretty happy with home made Tortillas and Crackers. So, I didn’t have any pressure. But, my Aunt linked to this recipe on Facebook, and so I decided to check it out.

Honestly, I doubted the “5 Min a Day” claim, but after looking over the recipe and talking to my Aunt, I learned that it takes about 3-4 hours from start to the finished result of eating a slice of bread. Or, you can keep the bread dough in your refrigerator and make a fresh loaf in the morning after about 5 minutes of shaping it (hence the name). The recipe is from FrugalLivingNW.com – they do a great job of lining out the process and include a YouTube video for more instruction. So, no need for me to repeat it here. Instead, I want to share what I have done with it.

Important note: Warm water = 100 degrees.

First Try: I made a slight alteration and used refined Spelt Flour instead of regular Wheat Flour. And, I didn’t have 6 cups of flour, so I halved the recipe and shaped 2 loaves instead of 3.  The result: small, tasty fresh bread with lovely hard crust and a moist center – but, it didn’t rise very much. Fortunately, I made my first loaf in time for a play date with my cousin and her little kids. She had experience making this recipe and gave me some good advice: make sure the “warm” water is at 100 degrees. Adding that suggestion to my notes make the loaves actually rise more.

Another tip: The recipe says it yields 3 loaves, but they are small. They’d serve just 4-6 people as a complimentary addition to a meal. As my cousin also suggested, you can remedy this by using the full recipe to make 2 larger loaves. I like this approach, because I can actually get sandwich sized slices out of it.

Since that first try, I have made this bread many times and just last week used the dough to make pizza. It was perfect! All we did was to knead it with additional flour after the rising step. That way it was less sticky as we shaped and flattened the dough out before adding our toppings.

I’ve also used a 50/50 ratio of Refined and Sprouted Spelt Flour and find it tastes even better. So, if you want to use Whole Wheat or combine flours, I think it would work out just fine. If anything, it might not rise as high.

Makes a great Pizza Dough!

We love the bread so much that when I make it, the challenge become to not eat all of it in one day. So, I don’t make bread every week because it nearly doubles our grain consumption.

Do you have a favorite easy bread recipe?

I’m looking for a great Sourdough recipe and a non-Artisan recipe – feel free to link me to it, or pretty-please do share it in the comments.

Recipe: Easy C Salad

Super quick and easy Carrot and Cucumber Salad.

This salad was born out of necessity – I only had Carrots and a Cucumber to work with one fine day, and wanted some raw veggies. It is refreshing, sweet and downright delicious.

Easy C Salad

Ingredients:

– 2 Carrots

– 1/2 Cucumber

– Several small Basil leaves

– 1 Table Spoon Olive Oil

– Salt to taste

Wash and peel the Carrots, then finely grate them. Wash and peel the Cucumber, then slice finely – I cut mine diagonally, then into smaller sections. Mix together in a bowl, add Olive Oil, Salt and a few leaves of fresh Basil. Enjoy!

Additions: You could add some fresh Mozzarella or Feta cheese for protein. I think Chicken would also be tasty with this salad but a red meat might be too strong in flavor and distract from the subtle sweetness of the Cucumber. If you discover some amazing additions, please let me know.

p.s. Shared on The Healthy Home Economist’s Monday Mania Recipe/Real Food mania share post.

Recipe: Sweet Zing Salad

Sweet Zing Salad ready to eat.

Sometimes, while I’m drifting off to sleep, I think of a recipe I want to create.  I can almost taste the various flavors and try to imagine what the marriage of them together become.  I try my best not to forget them the next morning, and usually find the time to try them out. Sharing them with you helps me remember them, and gives me motivation to keep experimenting.

Sweet Zing Salad

Ingredients:

– 8 Romaine Lettuce leaves

– 2 Stalks Celery

– 1/2 Small Shallot

– 1 cup Red Grapes

Wash produce, then chop Romaine, Celery and dice the Shallots finely, adding to a bowl. Cut Red Grapes in half, or quarters and add to the bowl. Drizzle with a little Olive Oil and Salt to taste. Makes 2-4 servings. Enjoy!

Options: I think some sharp Cheddar or Feta Cheese would add some extra depth to the overall flavor, and protein to this salad. As for meat, I’d recommend Chicken because it has a milder flavor and would compliment the Shallots. Feel free to play with this recipe – let me know when you discover your own favorite variation.

Shared at The Health Home Economist’s Monday Mania Round-up.

Recipe: Easy Chop Salad

Easy Chop Vegge Salad

I made this up one day when I didn’t have any lettuce. It was delicious with the sweetness of the Cucumber complimenting the saltiness of the Celery and punctuated by the Carrot flavor. If you happen to have Lettuce on hand, it would add more body and some greens.

Options: This salad is really a nice canvass allowing you to add any herb you like, some cheese, hard boiled eggs, meat, etc. When Basil is back in season, I will be replacing my dried herbs with it for this salad.

Easy Chop Salad

Ingredients:

– 2 Carrots

– 2 Stalks Celery

– 1 Medium sized Cucumber

– 1 Table Spoon Olive Oil

– Pinch (1/4 Teaspoon) Dried Thyme or Rosemary

– Salt to taste

Peel Carrots and Cucumber, slice of the ends. Chop all ingredients and place in a bowl. Drizzle with some Olive Oil, add salt to taste and a pinch of dried Thyme or Rosemary for added flavor. This salad served two adults – filling a dinner plate.

Let me know what you discover when adding other ingredients – Enjoy!

Recipe: Garden Green Salad

Garden Green Salad

April will always remind me of my Grandma. Her birthday would be this month. She was an avid gardener and practiced edible landscaping before it became popular. But, she was not a fan of salads, and referred to them as “rabbit food.”  I love salads, so I dedicate this month’s recipes to my Grandma the gardener and salad avoider.

While my efforts to get my kids to eat more vegetables consumes my research time and experimentation, it is easy for me to share these salad recipes. Salads are like treats to myself. Before we began our “eat more vegetables” quest, I was the only one who ate salads. Now, my husband does to set a good example, and even enjoys them (some more than others). You can expect a new salad recipe every Monday.

Garden Green Salad

Ingredients:

– 4-6 leaves of Romaine Lettuce (about half a head)

– 2 Stalks Celery

– 1/2 Cup Peas

– 1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley (Italian shown in the picture)

Italian Herb Dressing

– 1 Table Spoon Olive Oil

– 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme

– 1/4 Teaspoon Dried Oregano

– 1/2 Teaspoon Salt (or just add to taste)

First, wash produce. Chop or Dice up Lettuce, Celery and Parsley to desired size (I usually like to dice up the Celery) and place in a bowl.  Either add the fresh Peas, or thaw some frozen Peas by steaming for only 2-3 minutes in a sauce pan, then rinse with cool water before adding to the salad (this avoids wilting the lettuce). Now, you’re ready to make the dressing.

Dressing: Mix Olive Oil and Salt together, then add the dried herbs. I usually like to grind the Thyme and Oregano first, but you can add them directly to the Olive Oil. Mix well and drizzle onto the salad.

Yield: This recipe makes 2 large plate fulls, or 4 small dinner salads.

Additions: You could add some Parmesan or Romano cheese to the salad, or any other that would compliment the Italian flavor of the herbs. To create more of a meal, I’d also recommend adding some meat like Beef or Poultry.

Let me know if you discover any other delightful additions!

p.s. Shared this recipe on The Healthy Home Economist’s Monday Mania Recipe/Resource Roundup.