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YUM.

marshmallowcreamcheesefrosting

Recipe here.

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Recently, our dear friends Dennis and Patsy came for dinner.  Dennis is our closest friend from law school.  The first friend we told about Rice Kernel; the only friend who’s ever babysat Rice Kernel!  In fact, our little boy was Dennis and Patsy’s ringbearer last summer. Dennis and Patsy are both as kind-hearted, good-humored and generous as friends get.  We are thrilled that they are expecting their first child this summer.

Dennis and Patsy happen to be great cooks and hosts.  They host yearly BBQs, crab bakes, and “pork-a-paloozas,” as Dennis calls them.  When it comes to dessert, their tastes are simple – sundaes and cookies.  Having endured her share of pregnancy symptoms, I knew Patsy would appreciate these little nuggets of buttery delight for dessert – and to take home.

I’ve added pudding mix to cookies before –  they provide a chewy, soft texture to the cookies, which we prefer.  With a hearty dose of old fashioned oats (you can use quick cook), these boast a crispy, nutty exterior and a soft, buttery, chocolately middle.  They are perfect. 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies, adapted from Baking and Boys!

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
3.7 ounce package instant vanilla pudding
2 large eggs
3 cups oats
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour or white whole wheat
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Any mix of chocolate chips, nuts, raisins you’d like (original recipe)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars for 2-3 minutes. Scrape sides of bowl. Add the eggs and beat another 2 minutes. Mix in the instant pudding.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Add the the dry ingredients to the mixer and beat just until combined.
  4. Fold in the chocolate/mix-ins by hand.
  5. Scoop the dough into tablespoon sized balls on the baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes.
  6. Let cool on wire rack

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When it comes to eating protein, I’m pretty predictable – non-dairy milk or whey protein in my oatmeal, egg whites or Applegate-brand cold cuts, any and all nut butters, and chicken breasts.  I dabble in the meat selections for the boys – sausages, beef, pork, shrimp, etc. – but I honestly don’t eat more than a few bites.  (I’ll eat whatever surrounds the sausage/beef/pork by the spoonful, though, since it usually involves pasta, grains or vegetables!)  I’m a creature of habit, what can I say.  My Dad and in-laws, though, eats tons of seafood and fish, in particular.  Over the years, I’ve tried to cook more fish.  It’s good for you, right?  But Rice Kernel isn’t that enthusiastic.  Unless there’s ketschup.  Or panko.

I don’t do that red sauce.  I can’t ever bear the smell.  And while I love crispy, pan-fried foods, there’s only so much panko-breaded salmon and white fish you can eat before your mouth longs for something juicier.  So I started searching for recipes.  This is the first I’ve tried.  I figure the sauce was red… like ketschup.  That didn’t do it for my little boy, though.  Fortunately he was happy with “naked fish,” as he dubbed it (sans sauce).  And I was happy with “dressed fish,” aka tomato cream sauce.

Cod with Tomato Cream Sauce

Recipe here.

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One of the most prolific, easiest vegetables to grow – sugar snap peas.  Infinitely more tender and sweeter than store-bought varieties, they are delicious raw from the garden – the way Rice Kernel enjoys.  If you have the space, I would recommend including these in your garden.

Although we typically stir-fry them in a bit of garlic, salt, and pepper, this “salad” is a nice change of pace and delicious cold or at room temperature.

Sugar Snap and Bean Sprout Salad

Instructions

1 pound bean sprouts (remove hair if you wish)
1 cup sugar snap peas, (8 ounces), trimmed
2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced on the diagonal

Directions

  1. Cook peas in lightly salted boiling water in a medium saucepan until tender-crisp, 2 to 3 minutes.  At the last minute, add bean sprouts. Drain and rinse under cold running water.
  2. Whisk vinegar, oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add scallions and the peas; toss to coat. Serve within 1 hour.

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This unpretentious cake has a slight tang and a moist, almost custard-like texture.  It is so addictive.  We’ve baked four in the past week.  I swear we didn’t eat them all…. just most of them.

Chocolate Chip Yogurt Cake

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter or oil, at room temperature (I get away with 1/3 cup canola, but we are used to less greasy cakes)
3/4 cup sugar (I cut to 1/2)
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the yogurt and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the two flours, baking soda and baking powder.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the yogurt mixture and stir to mix. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  5. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan.  (I used a 9″ round.)
  6. Bake 30-35 minutes.

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