Thursday, October 29, 2009

Aunt Susan's Minestrone

The last time I made this, I was in college and trying to impress a boy. So, as I was planning this week's menu my husband says to me, "Do we have a recipe for a GOOD minestrone?" And, I think, "Well, yes I do." You see, my husband was not the afore mentioned boy. Let's hope that it will impress my husband, too.
{Aunt Susan's Minetrone Soup}
1 1/2 - 2 lbs Italian seasoned sausage (or, 1 lb sausage with 1 lb ground beef)
2 qts water
2 celery stalks, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 can of beef broth
2 small cans of tomato sauce
1 large can of tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1 Tbsp parsley flakes
1 clove garlic, minced

Cook, crumble, and drain the sausage and ground beef. Combine with all other ingredients and simmer for 6 hours. That's right - 6 hours!

20 minutes prior to serving, add:
2 C. noodles
1 can green beans, cut
1 can yellow wax beans (you could also use garbanzo beans)
1 tsp sugar
salt & pepper, to taste

Serve warm with parmesan cheese and crusty bread.

*I just got the simmer started on mine, I can't wait to smell it cooking all . . . day . . . long.

Monday, October 26, 2009

This Week's Dinner Menu

Sunday - Taco Bake (I was just returning from a quick trip to Utah, and my husband made dinner for everyone. Thanks, honey!)
Monday - Stuffed Shells with Smoky Marinara, peas, garlic bread
Tuesday - "Meal Swap" Night
Wednesday - Aunt Susan's Minestrone, rolls, salad
Thursday - Diner Meatloaf Muffins, Individual Potato Gratins, salad and broccoli
Friday - Halloween Dinner (more details to come)
Saturday - Halloween Breakfast, Dinner will be at a Church Activity

Monday, October 19, 2009

Goodbye Sun, Hello Rain

I just returned from vacation in San Diego and Disneyland. And, let's just say that fall has hit the Northwest while I was gone. We had a great time with our family, but really enjoyed the food. I convinced my husband that we had to try out Cafe 222 during our trip. We saw it on an episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate: Wake-Up Call.
We convinced the whole family to follow us down. And, while they have limited indoor seating, they graciously accomodated our party of 11 and the 8 we sent in on the second shift.
It is a kitschy little cafe with cup and saucer chandeliers and eggs painted on the floor. Those alone entertained my little one while the rest of us finished eating.
Terryl was even kind enough to pose for a picture while we were there.
The menu was great! We got a few orders of the Famous Peanut Butter and Banana Stuffed French Toast, along with various other waffles, eggs and breakfast yummies. I loved the bite I had of the French Toast, but I would have to say the tastiest thing I tasted that morning was my father-in-laws "The Mexican" eggs. Maybe, someday, I can acquire that secret recipe . . .
In other food related travels, my husband loved the bacon burger and onion rings at Hodad's and we all enjoyed authentic mexican food in Old Town San Diego. From there, it was continental breakfast, brown bag lunches and snacks as we ran around Disneyland for the rest of our vacation. And, to be honest, I am excited to be cooking again in the Fall weather of Washington.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Homemade Granola Bars

My sister made these granola bars, but they did not "firm up." But, even as granola they were worth giving it a try. I made a few modifications to the recipe and mine turned out great.

{Homemade Granola Bars}

1 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/3 cup honey
3/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 7 by 9-inch baking dish with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray.
Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.
Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
Place the honey, vanilla, and salt in a microwaveable bowl. Heat for 30 seconds, stir and heat for another 30 seconds if needed. Pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the apricots, raisins, and cranberries and stir well.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Press the mixture evenly into the pan, with the back of a greased spatula. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into 10 bars. Serve at room temperature.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Baby Breakfast Parfait

Here a simple trick for a quick, healthy breakfast for the little ones. It is my Baby Breakfast Parfait. My little guys love yogurt, but I like to get a little fiber into their breakfast to give them some staying power. Here is what I do:

Portion out plain 3% milkfat yogurt into individual bowls. Add, 1 Tbsp fruit jam. I like to use my own homemade jam, because I can control the sugar better that way. Sprinkle in 2 Tbsp of oats. Somtimes I crush these up a little between my fingers. Then, stir it up.


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