Wonton Pizzas

Ever since Lacy has learned about her allergy to anything with yeast, whether it’s yeast extract, “nutritional yeast”, or full blown yeast, pizza delivery has been completely out of the picture.  We’ve had to make our own pizzas.  And yes, we’ve discovered some great baking soda pizza crusts to make, but fixing homemade pizza takes away a little bit of the charm of “pizza party!”  It’s such a hassle and it takes hours in the kitchen.

Sometimes our craving for pizza is worth all the work, but much of the time it’s not.  So we’ve discovered a great alternative.  It’s not only a good substitute for people with a yeast allergy, but it’s also great for diabetic family members, too!

WantonPizza-Ingredients

Makes 8 pizzas

Serves 2 people

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

16 wonton wrappers

16 thin slices of small sweet tomatoes (about 3 tomatoes)WantonPizza-TomatoSlices

1 cup mozzarella cheese

¾ cup Italian cheese

24 slices pepperoni

1 cup of your favorite store bought marinara sauce or pizza sauce

A cup of cool water

Other pizza toppings are optional (mushrooms, black or green olives, Canadian bacon, etc.)

Steps:

STEP 1: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

STEP 2: Heat the marinara or pizza sauce on the stove, stirring occasionally.

STEP 3: In a skillet, fry the pepperoni on High heat.  Don’t cook it with oil or water, the pepperoni has its own grease that it will cook in.  Cook each pepperoni for about 1 minute on each side.  This will free the juices and they will shrink and crisp up.

WantonPizza-Pepperoni

STEP 4: Spray 2 pizza pans or cookie sheets with olive oil cooking spray.

STEP 5: Place 8 wonton wrappers onto the cooking pans, about 1 inch apart.  It’s ok for the olive oil cooking spray to soak into the little wrappers.  Once cooked, the pizzas will pop up off the pan.

STEP 6: Place 1 or 2 tomatoes onto each wrapper and cover with a small pile of mozzarella.  If you don’t prefer tomatoes, you can place the pepperoni here instead.  Place 1 to 3 pepperoni slices, depending on how much flavor you like.  If you have more than 2 toppings chosen for your pizza, you can also add 1 more topping along with the pepperoni. Just remember, the more toppings you put into the pizza, the harder it will be for the wanton wrappers to hold everything.

WantonPizza-Layer1Wanton

STEP 7: Cook for 5 minutes.

STEP 8: Place another wrapper on top of each pizza, then take a spoon and dip it into water.  Line the edges of each wrapper with water to let the wrapper sink.  Push the wrapper edges down on top of the bottom wrapper edges, to seal the pizza “crust” closed.  If you filled the last layer too much, it will have trouble closing, and that’s ok.  Just push the edges closed as well as you can.

WantonPizza-SealedShut

STEP 9: Top the pizza with a spoonful of sauce, spreading the sauce evenly on the top.  Place a pile of Italian cheese to cover the sauce, and if the pizza was filled with tomatoes, then place 1-3 pepperonis onto the pizza.  You can also place other toppings on top with the pepperoni, if it fits.

WantonPizza-Layer2

STEP 10: Cook for 12 more minutes until the sides of the wrapper look slightly golden and you can hear the pizzas sizzling.

STEP 11: Serve the small wonton pizzas with salad.

WantonPizza-Finished

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Ying’s Sesame Chicken Stir Fry

Being a writer, it’s a pretty amazing experience to have a personal relationship with your own fictional characters.  “Personal relationship”- It sounds pretty crazy.  Schizophrenia or something, right?

It’s not exactly the same thing; it’s not like our characters have audible voices or visual appearances (or at least not until we draw them.)  It’s all just in the head; like a daydream, a conversation you have with yourself, except one side of the conversation is a fictional character that you’ve written into a story.  Kinda like in the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, except if Walter Mitty had been imagining fictional characters instead of his boss or the co-worker that he liked.

Sometimes, the conversation you have with a fictional character can be quite enlightening.

Lacy and I have been cooking stir fry for years now, but we could never figure out the way to master the meal.  Chicken, tofu, etc… no matter what we tried… it tasted… “home-made”.  Which isn’t a bad flavor, not bad at all.  But not authentically Asian take-out.

“The trick is sesame oil,” we would always hear.  But we’ve tried sesame oil, and it’s never worked well in our meals.  We just… always seemed to do something wrong.  The flavors don’t mix well with… whatever else we do… I’m not really sure why.

But finally, one day, we had the kitchen completely to ourselves as we chopped the veggies and prepared the chicken for the stir fry (which was as simple as opening the cans and draining the liquid from it).  We were having fun, joking around in the kitchen, and “hanging out” with a character from one of our stories, one of our Asian characters.  While I was on one end of the kitchen chopping garlic and onion and the veggies for the recipe, Lacy decided to take the advice of Ying – our character – and experiment with the chicken and sesame oil.  She voiced the conversation out loud so that I could be a part of it. (Hence, the “having fun, joking around… and hanging out with a character” mentioned above.)

Lacy: Ying wants me to do something different with the chicken.

Kat: (sidetracked with chopping carrots) Oh….kay?

Ying: Please, please let me try it.  I promise it will taste good.

Lacy: (hesitant) I don’t know… we don’t like sesame oil Ying.  I don’t want to ruin the food for everybody.

Ying: Oh, please.  It won’t be ruined.

Kat: (stops chopping to think) Well…

Ying: Please.  I know how to do it. I cook like this all the time!

Kat: How different will it be?

Lacy: (still hesitant) Well it won’t be that different.  She just wants to put the sesame oil and maybe some soy sauce and ginger on the chicken before she puts it in the wok to cook.

Kat: Hmm…

Ying: (begging) Please.  I promise, it’ll be good.  Everyone will like it.

Kat: Well… what’s the harm?  It’s not that much different.  We’ll just do it this once, so… just let her do it.  (joking) Besides, she’s Chinese, she’d know how to do it better than we would, right?  (to Ying) Go ahead.

Ying: Yay!  Thank you so much, I won’t let you down.

Lacy: Ok. (shrugs) Let’s do this, Ying.

We were hesitant about changing our recipe, because we’ve never been able to make the sesame oil taste very good.  But Ying was so confident in her knowledge on cooking Chinese food, we decided to take her word for it and experiment with the food.

What resulted was… by far the best stir fry meal we had ever made.

Lacy wrote down the recipe, in the diction of her character Ying.  Here it is below:

Ying'sChicken-Ingredients

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: about 20 minutes

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

Cabbage, about 4 cupscabbageHeadTip

Baby Carrots, about 4 cups

Celery, 4 large stalks

Broccoli, 1 (12 oz.) bag frozen

Onion, 1 sweet yellow

Garlic, 8-10 fresh cloves

Sesame Oil, 1 tablespoon

Ginger, 1 teaspoon ground + additional sprinkling

Canned Chicken, 2 (12.5 oz.) cans

Soy Sauce, 1 tablespoon + additional sprinkling

Coconut Oil, 3 tablespoon

Coconut Sugar, 1 teaspoon

Red Wine Vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon

Salt and Pepper to taste

Steps:

YingsChicken-Rice

If you want to serve rice with your stir fry, the first step is to put the rice onto cook. Having a rice cooker makes this very easy. I recommend jasmine rice as a wonderful compliment to this meal, but you can cook brown rice if it’s your favorite.

Step 1 – Open cans of chicken and drain liquid. Place chicken in a bowl and stir in sesame oil and soy sauce (1 Tbsp.), then evenly stir in the ginger (1 Tsp.).

YingsChicken-ChickenStep 2 – Chop the vegetables. Cut the cabbage into large shreds, baby carrots into chopped pieces, and celery into crunchy slices. The onion should be diced, and the garlic also. This is all very good for your muscles and diet, to stand in kitchen and cut, except the crying part when you cut the onions, although some even consider that cleansing. I don’t know if I do.YingsChicken-ChoppedVeggies

Step 3 – The best pan to use with this recipe is a wok, because it is a deep pan that you can cook meat and vegetables in with a searing technique. Pour coconut oil into wok until the bottom is covered. Swish it around, to cover it more evenly. Add cut onions and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the aroma of the garlic fills the air and their colors change slightly (don’t burn it!). Drop chicken on top of the oil mixture, letting it stay on top, and cook on high heat until the garlic has browned, then stir, with a wooden spoon, the mixture together.YingsChicken-CookGarlicOnionsChicken

Step 4 –  Turn your oven onto “Broil” setting. Did you know that by putting the frozen broccoli under the broiler for about 5-10 minutes, you can remove the excess water and ice, and give the stir fry a better quality? That’s why you want the broiler on. Open the bag of broccoli and dump the florets into a cake pan, opening the oven and putting it under the heat. Watch it carefully because you don’t want the florets to get black on them; so in about 4 minutes, take it out of the oven and stir the florets, placing it back under the heat for another 2-3 minutes. When it’s finished heating, the broccoli will be less icy and a bit rubbery to the touch. That’s ok. You will cook it all the way in the stir fry.

YingsChicken-Brocolli

Step 5 – Keep searing the chicken on high heat. Juice is good. It keeps garlic and onion from burning. However, what you are trying to do is sear the meat until all the juice is gone and the chicken is being directly impacted by the heat, so you can brown the sides. Watch it carefully, letting it cook without stirring for about 3 minutes until you fold the chicken again, trying to turn it and let it cook on other sides. Cook until all the juice is gone and the meat is browned on different sides. (Some sides may be browner than others, and that’s good.) It’s about a total of 8 minutes cooking the chicken.

Juggle the task of checking the broccoli in the oven and chicken in the wok, keeping an eye on both while they’re cooking.

Step 6 – Add carrots to the chicken in the wok. This is a new layer, so begin with not stirring it in while you let it sit and cook for another minute on high. You can add more soy sauce if you want, and also, now it is time to season the stir fry with red wine vinegar and coconut sugar, because the carrots are delicious with their own seasoned taste.  After seasoning, stir the carrots into the chicken and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.YingsChicken-LayerCarrots

Step 7 – Add a new layer: celery. In this layer, you may add more ginger to your liking, sprinkling it in, to give the vegetables a bit more flavor, stirring the celery in after you season it. Cook for another 4 minutes on high heat.YingsChicken-LayerCelery

When you are able to slice a carrot with your wooden spoon, you are ready to move onto the next step.

Step 8 – Add broccoli on top. Do not stir it in. There should be enough liquid from the vegetables at this point, but if you need more (check the bottom to see) add more soy sauce. More ginger can be added (optional) in this layer, too, but only in a sprinkle. Cook for 3 more minutes on high heat.YingsChicken-Layerbroccoli

Step 9 –  In all it is about 10 minutes that you have been cooking the veggies. YingsChicken-CabbageAt last, add the cabbage layer and cook it only until the cabbage is slightly limp and less white in color, but it is best with a slight crunch which can only be kept with minimal cooking. Let the cabbage stay on top, and don’t stir until it’s almost ready to take off the heat. Salt and pepper this layer if you’d like to. I personally don’t like too much pepper but a little can add flavor. Add soy sauce, or take the soy sauce to the table for others to use it like they want. Some people like the saucy, salty taste while some the plainer flavor, I’ve learned.

Step 10 – Enjoy!

YingsChicken-Enjoy

 

Papa’s Old Fashioned Movie Popcorn

Although she may argue when she sees this, I will admit that a lot of our cooking experience was taught to us by our mother.  She was our teacher in our home school years, so when Lacy took a “Math Chef” math class in 3rd grade, it began our learning how to cook.  Aside from the killer salad I learned how to make from watching my brother make the best salad I had ever tasted as he prepared for us to watch the Ten Commandments movie with him (This was before I could stand any type of salad), my mom is pretty much the one who taught me how to cook.  That and… well.  The old fashioned movie popcorn my dad proudly passed down to me from his father, who I called Papa.

Our family had a tradition of eating popcorn every Friday, whether we were watching a movie or not.   Even if we were doing our own separate things, Dad would always fix a pan of popcorn for us to take to our room.  I was so happy when he finally taught me how he did it.

Dad would actually take a bag of microwavable popcorn, cut it open and add some fresh kernals to the buttered kernels, and then pop the popcorn on the stove.  Since then, I’ve learned that coconut oil works just as well, and you don’t have to trouble yourself with cutting open a bag of microwave popcorn.

If you like the taste of the Orville microwavable popcorn (or any other brand!) but you want an extra freshness that makes the popcorn taste heavenly, feel free to try it out.  Just substitute the coconut oil and ½ of the popcorn kernels in the following recipe with the butter and kernels from the microwave bags.

Serves 6-8 people

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup popcorn kernels

2 tbsp coconut oil

salt

You will also need a medium or large pan with a lid.

Popcorn-IngredientsSteps:

STEP 1: Mash popcorn kernels into 1 Tbsp coconut oil until all the kernels are coated with the oil.

Popcorn-Oil&Kernels

STEP 2: Over medium-high heat, melt remaining coconut oil into a medium or large pan.

STEP 3: Drop one kernel into the melted coconut oil, and when the kernel begins to

Popcorn-cloudyKernelshow a translucent cloudy color, dump the rest of the kernels into the pan.  Yellow corn kernels will show the cloudy look better than the white kernels will.

STEP 4: Cover the pan with the lid, but keep the lid loose on the pan so that there will be room for the steam to escape the pan.  Very frequently, take the pan and spin the oil and kernels inside.  The movement will keep the popcorn from burning. (Be careful not to slosh the oil out of the pan though, because oil and fire does not mix well!)  If the popcorn takes forever to begin to pop, then you can heat the stove to high heat, but I typically keep the heat balanced between medium-high and high.Popcorn-WithLid

 

 

Get a very large bowl ready!  When the popcorn starts, you’ll be trying to keep up with the popping!  (Have you ever read the children’s book “Popcorn (A Frank Asch Bear Book)”?  It was my favorite storybook as a child, and that’s exactly what the popping popcorn experience reminds me of!)

PopcornBook

STEP 5: When you hear the popcorn begin to pop, then get ready!  Keep the pan moving; while you spin the contents you can fasten the lid, but whenever you stop make sure the steam can escape.  It’s tricky, and may be intimidating when you first start.  But experience makes it easier, and the fresh popped popcorn is worth the effort!

Popcorn-SlingingPopcorn

STEP 6: When the popcorn starts to fill up the pan, go ahead and open the lid just enough to pour some of the popcorn into your bowl.  Be quick because you need to put the popcorn back on the fire to keep the kernels popping.  And don’t be startled when a kernel suddenly pops in the bowl!  By the end of the night, you’ll probably have popcorn all over your stove, and maybe even covering your kitchen floor.

Popcorn-IntoBowl

STEP 7: About every other time you pour some popcorn into your bowl, sprinkle just a little bit of salt onto the popcorn.  It’s always helpful to have a helping hand to salt the popcorn for you, but if you don’t have help, you can easily just wait until the end to do this step if you forget to do it now.

STEP 8: As the popcorn reaches the bottom of the pan, be careful!  You don’t want to burn the popcorn!  You may want to cut the stovetop heat down a bit if the popcorn is popping too fast for you to keep up.Popcorn-Everywhere

STEP 9: Serve and enjoy!  Another tasty way to serve the popcorn is by sprinkling Parmesan on top.

The Cheesy Cheese Geewls’ Mac & Cheese

Lacy and I had a dinnertime nickname when we were children.  We were called the “Cheese Geewls” (pronounced g-EE-uls, as in Gasoline, Sealion, & Ultimate) which was really just a silly way of saying “cheese girls”.  The truth is, we loved cheese as kids.  Whenever we had spaghetti for supper (which was a favorite meal that the whole family could… somewhat agree to love) I would eat my spaghetti, plain with grated Kraft Parmesan Cheese (The Ragu sauce that was served had little pieces of onion that ruined the sauce for me) and I would also serve myself a little wooden condiment bowl full of Parmesan cheese to eat by itself.  Of course, as with everything, I was picky about my cheese.  No Cheese-its or any other processed cheese, please!

When I got old enough to experiment in the kitchen, Mac & Cheese was an easy meal that I made an effort to learn.  After years and years of cooking it for the family, I’ve finally gained enough confidence in my mac & cheese technique to share it with others.

MacCheese-Ingredients

Serves: 6-8 people

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

5 cups Elbow Noodles

4 Tbsp. Butter

1 1/2  cup milk

¼ cup pasta water

1 Cup mozzarella cheese

1 1/2 cup fiesta blend cheese

1/3  cup shredded parmesan cheese

1/3  cup Italian cheese

2 cup cheddar cheese

2 oz. Velveeta

Pepper

Steps:

STEP 1: Cook 5 cups of the elbow noodles in a large pan, following the instructions on the package or box.

STEP 2: While the noodles are cooking, fill a medium pan with the butter, milk, and cheeses. Also, while the noodles are boiling, take a spoon or ladle and take some of the white foamy water, putting it into the cheese sauce as well.  Don’t take too much because you don’t want to flavor the cheese with it; just take enough for the nutritions.

STEP 3: Cook the sauce, stirring often so the cheese and milk won’t burn, until the cheese is all melted and very runny.  This is what will prevent your Mac & Cheese from being stringy.

CheeseSauce

MacCheese-CookedNoodles

STEP 4: After the noodles have been cooked, drained, and placed back into the pan that they were cooked in, pour the cheese sauce over the noodles and stir it in until all the noodles are covered with cheese.  Sprinkle pepper over the mac and cheese and stir it in, too.  Sprinkle a little more pepper on before serving.

 

MacCheese-CheeseOnNoodles

STEP 5 (Optional): For a more formal version of this recipe to take to pot lucks or parties, pour the mac and cheese into a casserole dish with a lid and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes, covered.  I love baked mac and cheese, even though I don’t fix it this way because it’s such a quick and easy meal without this last step, and also the rest of the family prefers the mac and cheese when its not baked.

STEP 6: Serve the cheesy macaroni with a delicious freshly chopped salad!

MacCheese-Plate

Fresh out of the oven!

Scrumptious Blueberry Bread Muffins

There’s nothing like cooking with fresh fruit and berries.  Here’s a recipe that Lacy and I pieced together one day after we were given the request to make blueberry muffins with the blueberries in the fridge.  It was likened to a biscuit with blueberry jelly filling.  “A blueberry surprise!” as my father expressed after tasting it.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups all-purpose white flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar or sugar substitute (we used Splenda)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, liquid or melted
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 large eggs

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (about 162 degrees Celsius).

Step 2: Grease a muffin tin thoroughly.  Remember, this recipe makes at least 12 muffins, so make sure to have a tin that cooks at least 12.

Step 3: In a large bowl, mix the 5 dry ingredients together. This is the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

Step 4: In a medium-sized bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, which are the milk, coconut oil, blueberries, and eggs.

Step 5: Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the large bowl with the dry ingredients, stirring them together.

Step 6: Continue to stir carefully until the dry ingredients and wet ingredients are evenly balanced in the batter.  You can stop when the dry ingredients aren’t sticking to the bottom of the bowl.  Don’t stir too much.  You want to see some of the flour still dry inside the bowl.BlueberryBreadMuffins-DryBatter

Step 7: Spoon the batter into the muffin tin.  The more batter each cup has, the bigger the muffin, so keep that in mind.  If you want smaller muffins then you could make 18 to 24.

Step 8: Cook for 30-40 minutes.  Stick a toothpick into the muffin; if it comes out clean, the muffins are done.   The toothpick may appear blue from the fresh berries. This is fine.

Step 9: Cool for 5 minutes.

Step 10: Serve the muffins warm with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk.  

Something my mother always tells me, and it’s wise advise to remember:  “Always store anything with fresh fruit in it into the refrigerator.  Fresh fruits spoil easily and they last longer when they’re stored in the cold.”

 

Recipe-BlueberryBreadMuffins

Sausage & Cheese Frittata

We recently got a Red Copper™ Square Dance Pan, so this past week we decided to make pancakes to see if they would stick to the pan. We mixed up a batch of Bisquick’s Ultimate Pancakes (using coconut sugar in place of the white sugar that the recipe called for), we put them in the pan, and…. it didn’t stick!   I didn’t even spray the pan with cooking spray first, so it impressed me very much.

redcoppersquaredancefrypan

Of course, a meal of pancakes always feels like it’s missing something important, so Lacy and I decided that we would make a sausage and cheese frittata to go along with our pile of pancakes.  We had tried frittatas before, and although last time we did it the task seemed daunting, this time we knew that the egg dish is very easy and fun to make.

This frittata recipe takes about 45 minutes to fix, and it serves 6 to 8 people.

frittatashot

Ingredients

  • 1 package (12 oz) ground pork sausage
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream (or milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese (or a Mexican blend)

Step 1: Prepare.  Gather all your ingredients together and preheat the oven to 350°.

Step 2: Cook the sausage in your iron skillet or Red Copper™ pan. The meat is finished cooking when there is no more pink showing. Once finished, drain the grease off the meat and then dish the meat out into a bowl. Wipe out the skillet and set the bowl of sausage aside while you prepare the eggs.

Step 3: Mix the eggs, cream, pepper,and salt. In a medium bowl, whip the eggs with a whisk or a fork.  Then mix the cream, the pepper, and the salt into the eggs.

Step 4: Make layers in your skillet. Melt the coconut oil into the bottom of the skillet, then pour half of the egg mixture into the pan. Spoon all of the sausage onto the first layer of egg, and then sprinkle the cheese onto the sausage.  Finish by pouring the rest of the eggs over the cheese.

Step 5: Cook the frittata for 23 minutes at 350°. Put the frittata in the oven and let it cook for 20 to 25 minutes.  This would be a great time to fix the pancakes on the stove top while the frittata is cooking.

Step 6: Remove from oven, serve and enjoy!frittatarecipe

 

SNOW MELT HOLIDAY DONUTS

Recently Lacy and I got a new silicone donut pan, so we could learn how to make our own donuts.  We’ve been doing some experimenting with donut recipes, trying to learn the trick of baking a good batch of donuts.

Yesterday I was browsing the internet, wondering what kind of holiday treat we could make for the family this week. As I was browsing I discovered a “no yeast cinnamon roll” recipe.  Cinnamon rolls have always been a favorite around our house, but with my mother’s health issues, anything with so much sugar has been a complete and strict “NO!” in our family.  This time, however, the no yeast jumped out at me, and I decided to look further.

Anyway, I saw the recipe and wondered, what would a cinnamon roll donut taste like?  Would it be as much fun to eat if it didn’t have the rolled dough and the lovely delicious cinnamon and sugar glaze swirls? I brought the idea to Lacy and her curiosity was peaked too.

As we were preparing the kitchen for our cooking experiment, I realized that we didn’t have enough all-purpose flour to meet the requirements for the recipe.  We did, however, have a few odds and ins of other kinds of flours: coconut flour that we have on hand for experimentation sake and Bisquick which Lacy likes to make dumplings with.  We decided to use what we have and change the recipe, since we were already adding a few spices to make the recipe our own anyway.  The experiment turned out to be a success; the whole family enjoyed the scrumptious holiday donut.

Here’s what our final recipe looked like. It’s a complex recipe with a complex flavor that will make people guess what spices you used. If you don’t have donut pans then I’m sure you could use make the recipe with muffin tins instead.

holidaydonutscompare

Makes 9 donuts

Expect about 1 hour to fix this delicious treat.

Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup sweetener (or more white sugar)
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground anise
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil

Dough

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 2/3 cup Bisquick
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup milk

Glaze:

  • 1/4 cup whole milk or whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar

Step 1: Prepare the kitchen. Gather all the needed ingredients. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray each donut cup with a non-stick cooking spray.

Step 2: Make the filling. Mix the sugar and sweetener, coconut oil, cinnamon, and anise in a medium bowl.  Sprinkle a little of the filling into the bottom of each donut cup.

Step 3: Make the dough. Sift the all purpose flour, coconut flour, and Bisquick into a large bowl. Add the coconut sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg to the sifted flours and stir. Then mix the coconut oil into the dry ingredients. It will now be a crumbled mixture. Form a small well into the mixture and pour the milk into the well. Stir until a soft dough forms.

Step 4: Alternate layers of dough and filling into the donut pan.  Fill each donut cup half-full with dough. Then spread a layer of filling on top of the dough layer in each cup. (Leave a small amount of filling to sprinkle on the top of each donut.) Fill the donut cups the rest of the way with dough. Sprinkle the remaining filling mix on the top of the dough in each donut cup.

Step 5: Bake the donuts. Cook the donuts at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  Let the donuts cool for 10 minutes, then remove them from the pan.

Step 6: Make glaze. Mix confectioner’s sugar and milk or cream together in a small bowl until the glaze is creamy and the lumps are gone.

Step 7: Serve warm. Place a donut onto a plate and drizzle the white glaze over the donut. If the glaze is thin and runny, sprinkle or sift some confectioner’s sugar on top. Serve immediately.

holidaydonutsshort

 

Black Beans and Tofu Tacos

My family loves taco night. They basically boycott the restaurants now because nothing is healthier and more delicious then tofu tacos. I know, sounds weird… tofu is primarily known for its Asian origin, because its soy, but making a great meat substitute, it is a good source of protein and has less fat than beef.

My tacos are not the easiest ones around to make, but they’re not too hard, either. You will need to use an oven to heat the shells, a skillet to heat the meat, and a knife to chop fresh garlic and onions. You’ll also have to have tissues to wipe your crying eyes (haha).

Ingredients

  • 1 package (14 oz) extra firm tofu
  • 3 to 6 fresh garlic cloves
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 12 taco shells

Step 1: Prepare.  Gather all your ingredients and get them ready to use.

Step 2: Finely mince the tofu, the onion, and the garlic.  After you drain the tofu and pull it out of the package, mince the three ingredients; the finer you mince, the better the chance you can hide undesirables from a picky eater. For example, my family doesn’t like big and noticeable onions, and prefer the tofu not to be in big chunks, so there will be more balance to the flavor.

Step 3: Put the tofu into the skillet with 2 tablespoons of oil. Mix the onion and garlic into the skillet with the tofu. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring frequently to keep the tofu from sticking to the pan.  Once the tofu begins to stick, it will  begin to look a little brown on the pan. At this point, do step 4.

Step 4: Drain the black beans and pour them into the skillet.

Step 5: Mix the taco seasoning into the tofu-bean mix and cook using the directions of the seasoning.  When we cook tacos, we like to use half the seasoning package, because there are some who have trouble eating foods that go heavy on the spices. If you use the whole package, like you’re meant to do, the tofu is going to turn out more orange and look less like a “black and white” mixture.

Step 6: Arrange the taco shells onto a pan.  Sprinkle cheese into the bottom of each shell and place it in the oven for 5 minutes.

Step 7: Remove the taco shells from the oven and divide the tofu mixture evenly into each shell. Then put the tacos back in the oven and cook for 5 more minutes.

You can prepare your tacos any way you like.  My family typically likes to have it with lettuce, tomato, salsa, sour cream, black olives, and extra cheese sprinkled on top.   We also make Quick and Creamy Pinto Beans and Natural Avocado and Lemon Guacamole to serve with flour tortillas, when we have the ingredients on hand.

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A Tuna Sandwich Recipe for Picky Eaters

As a kid, I was always a picky eater.  The only things that my mom could get me to eat was homemade soft tacos (just meat and cheese, thank you), spaghetti (plain, only with sprinkle Kraft Parmesan cheese on top) and chicken patties (Tyson brand only, please), plain on a bun.  Sometimes I would relent and have a hot dog (beef, not pork, which was hard to find at the time), but only if it was plain.

I would take turkey sandwiches (just the lunch meat and bread) for lunch, with chips – Doritos, Pringles, or Lays – as a side and gummies for dessert.  Finally, after she was tired of seeing me take the same lunch over and again every day to school, she helped me find another type of meal for my lunchbox: steamy Hot Pockets wrapped in aluminum foil.  (My mother was a genius, yes?)  Of course, since it was barely even a new product, the only flavor Hot Pockets offered at the time was pepperoni, so my friend would watch in amazement as I picked out ALL the pepperoni and left the pocket practically empty.  “Are you really not going to eat that?” He would ask me.  It’s true. I would not.

There was one meal which my mother could make, and I think she took advantage of it some because it was actually a healthy meal that I would happily eat.  I loved my mother’s tuna fish sandwiches.

Now, I’m still picky about my tuna.  I don’t like mustard in the sandwich, and I don’t like pickles.   But I love my mother’s tuna sandwiches. Lucky for me, she passed the recipe along, so that I could continue to fix the tuna sandwiches that I enjoy so much.

When we took in my 2nd cousin as a baby and raised him, he proved to be… quite the picky eater.  For a long time, he would only eat olives, oatmeal, anything jalapeno or cherry (candied, not fresh), and…. tuna sandwiches, made just like my mom would make for me.

I was on Pinterest a while back, finding recipes online of all the meals we enjoyed (because Lacy and I do much of the cooking for our family) and I searched for my mother’s tuna sandwich recipe, or even just a tuna salad recipe that was similar.  I searched site after site after site, but couldn’t find the recipe anywhere. I feel it’s a bit of an injustice, since this tuna was the ONLY kind of tuna I would eat as a kid, and Jake (my picky eater brother mentioned above) acts the same way.

So I’ve decided to share it on the blog.


Ingredients

  • 1 family pack tuna (11 ounces)
  • 3 or 4 boiled eggs
  • 2 or 3 big, red apples of your choice, peeled
  • 3 or 4 or 5 heaping soup spoons of mayonnaise (about 2/3 or 1 cup)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Step 1: Prepare. Get all your ingredients together before you begin.  It’s easier to work if you already have everything ready when you start.

Step 2. Chop the apples into a big serving bowl. You can put either 2 or 3 apples, depending on if you like the apple flavor more.  My family loves the apple addition, so I usually chop 3 apples.

Step 3: Chop the eggs up into the bowl with the apples. Again, you can choose to use 3 or 4, depending on if you like to have an eggy sandwich. I use 4 because that’s how my family prefers it.

At this point, I like to add a dash of salt, to flavor the eggs and apples more.

Step 4: Add the tuna and mix it with the apples and eggs. (Don’t forget to drain the tuna if you’re using a can instead of a package.)

Step 5: Add the mayonnaise.  If you like dry tuna, use less.  If you prefer a more moist tuna then add more.  You can use a measuring cup, but I typically just use a soup spoon to dish it out of the mayo jar.  Usually it takes about 3 or 4 spoonfuls, but sometimes it takes 5 or 6.  Just do a little at a time until you get the right amount of moistness. Be careful!  It is possible to put too much mayonnaise.

Sprinkle a light layer of pepper onto the tuna, and stir it in. Add more salt, too, if you want.

This makes about 8 sandwiches. If you’re like Jake and you don’t prefer bread, then you can eat it as a dip on fritos, corn chips, or potato chips, instead. If you’re like Lacy and you have a yeast allergy, you can also eat it as a wrap, on crackers, or simply on top of lettuce as a salad.

For variety, try chicken instead of tuna: substitute the tuna fish for 4 plain, baked chicken breasts chopped and add a 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts. If you also add 1/2 cup of purple grape halves, then you’ll get a chicken salad sandwich similar to Arby’s chicken salad sandwich (one of my favorite meals when I eat out). Yum!


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Our dog Trigger, waiting for his own package of tuna. It happens every time! When I begin to chop the eggs and apples, he comes and sits at my feet, waiting patiently for me to give him his share of the meal. I always have a package ready for him.

 

True Story: I was making the tuna tonight to take a few pictures of it, and got completely mixed up with the steps, putting the mayo before the tuna, because I was so caught up in whether the pictures looked right.  Where’s a photographer when I need one?  (I’m the photographer, but don’t take pictures and cook all at the same time! You’re brain’ll get flustered and it’ll be hard to think. )

I made the tuna as usual, I thought!  But I guess I forgot the extra apple, and I used the wrong mayo spoon so the tuna was too dry, and I paid the price.  The moment Jake got a spoonful on his plate he reacted.  “Ew! Kathryn, what did you do different this time!?  Are you trying to poison me with fish?” It must not have been that different though, because he still ate it without any post-serving complaints.

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