Saturday, April 25, 2015


~ Cooking With Christen

10 pears
1 T. vanilla
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. cloves

Coat inside of crockpot with nonstick spray. Peel, quarter, and core the pears, then place in crockpot. Add vanilla. Cook on low for 8 hours. Mash with fork, then add both sugars, cinnamon, and cloves. Cook on low for 6 hours. Leave chunky or use an immersion blender to puree.

Makes about 6 cups.

Notes: Since this takes so long, I start the crockpot for the first time when I go to bed, then mash the pears and add the second round of ingredients when I wake up. Ours cooks way longer than six hours on the second round to get thick enough to be considered pear butter instead of pear sauce, but it's not a problem when I'm home all day anyway. After the six hours are up I take the lid off so that liquid can evaporate more quickly to thicken it up, stirring occasionally. 

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015


~ brunch, by Parragon Books

2 3/4 c. rolled oats
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
2/3 c. dried figs, chopped
1/2 c. slivered almonds
2 T. honey
1/4 c. cold water
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. vanilla
1 t. butter, melted for greasing pan

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In large bowl, mix oats, apples, figs, and almonds. Bring honey, water, cinnamon, and vanilla to a boil in a pan, then stir together with oat mixture.

Lightly grease baking sheet with melted butter and spread oat mixture evenly on sheet. Bake 40-45 minutes or until granola is golden brown, stirring occasionally to break up clumps. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Notes: The apples will not dry out completely during the baking process, which means the oats will absorb their moisture if you store the granola for any length of time. You could either skip the fresh apples and just add diced, dried ones to the mixture instead, eat the granola soon after baking it, or reheat the granola for a bit to dry things out if it's softened in storage. We skip the butter and just use non-stick spray.

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Sunday, April 19, 2015


~ allrecipes

14 lb. roast-ready prime rib roast (ribs cut off and tied to roast)
3/4 c. flour
2 t. pepper
2 t. salt
2 t. paprika
1 t. onion powder
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. celery seed

Remove meat from fridge and allow to come to room temperature, about three hours for a 14 lb. roast.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a roasting pan with foil. Place roast on roasting pan and blot with paper towels. In a small bowl, mix flour, pepper, salt, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and celery seed. Coat the meat with the flour mixture.

Roast until it's as cooked as you'd like it to be, about 20 minutes per pound for medium-rare. Internal temperature should be 120 degrees for medium-rare, 130 degrees for medium, and 140 degrees for well-done.

Remove from oven and cover with foil. Rest in a warm place for 30-60 minutes before slicing.

Notes: We've made this with a much smaller amount of meat, didn't cut the ribs and tie them to the meat, didn't allow it to come to room temperature, and cooked it in a 3-qt. cast iron Dutch oven, but it still turned out awesome. You can click the allrecipes link at the top of this post and read the comment to find out how long people have cooked various sizes of meat. 

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015


~ Barefoot Contessa

4 garlic cloves
2 c. canned chickpeas, drained and liquid reserved
1 1/2 t. kosher salt
1/3 c. tahini
6 T. lemon juice
2 T. water or reserved chickpea liquid
8 dashes Tabasco

Turn on the food processor fitted with the steel blade. Drop the garlic through the feed tube and process until minced. Add remaining ingredients and process until desired consistency is reached.

Notes: I use dried chickpeas that I cook in a crockpot and skip the Tabasco.  

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015


~ Back to Her Roots

1 lb. pork sausage
1 t. fennel seeds
1 t. basil
1 t. oregano
1 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. onion powder
1/2 t. rosemary
1/2 t. pepper
pinch red pepper flakes

Using your hands, mix all the seasonings into the meat. Use in any recipe that calls for Italian sausage.

Notes: This is easy, delicious, and doesn't turn your sausage red like the store-bought version. I'll avoid buying Italian sausage now and just buy plain sausage, seasoning it with this recipe when I need Italian and leaving it as is when I don't.

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Monday, April 13, 2015


~ my own little brain

onion, chopped
garlic, chopped
celery, sliced
carrot, grated
butternut squash puree
red lentils
seasonings of your choice (we use bay leaves, Italian seasoning, seasoned salt, pepper)

Heat a small amount of oil in pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, stirring occasionally until browned. Add celery and carrot, stirring occasionally until slightly softened. Stir in puree, water, lentils, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until lentils have softened.

Notes: Other than having a pint-sized jar of butternut puree, I didn't measure anything, so just do whatever amounts will fill the stomachs in your home.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015


~ Eating Well

2 1/2 c. rolled oats
1 1/2 c. milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 c. pure maple syrup
2 T. canola oil
1 t. vanilla
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
3/4 c. blueberries, fresh or frozen

Combine oats and milk in a large bowl. Cover, then place in the fridge for 8-12 hours, until most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.

Add egg, syrup, oil, vanilla, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt to the oats, stirring until well combined. Scoop about 1/4 cup of the batter into each muffin cup. Top each muffin with 1 tablespoon of blueberries.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until they spring back when touched. Leave in muffin tin to cool for 10 minutes before removing.

Notes: Neither the form nor the texture of these resemble cake, but they're pretty good! Shaped like a muffin, the texture is like a cross between the baked oatmeal recipe we like, our frequent bowls of oatmeal, and your average muffin.  

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