Monday, June 27, 2011

Pineapple Chicken Kabobs

It's barbecue season! Eating outside, hardly any utensils to wash, no dirty kitchen! I love BBQ. Craig whipped these amazingly delicious kabobs up for us yesterday. With fresh spring onions from the Farmer's market these were such a treat. Try them sometime!!

Pineapple Chicken Kabobs

 3 chicken breast
1 cup teriyaki sauce
1 cup pineapple juice

Cut chicken into 1 1/2 inch pieces. Marinate overnight or at the very least, 4 hours.
1 sweet pepper (we used orange)
3-4 spring onions (they're usually about the size of a half dollar..really tiny & sweet!)
1 pineapple
10-15 skewers, soaked for 30 mins if wood ones

Cut everything into 1 1/2 inch size pieces (spring onions in half or 1/4's)
Skewer on kabobs.
Spray grill with oil & bring to medium heat. Cook kabobs, turning every 3-4 minutes for 15 minutes, basting with a fresh batch of marinade with each turn. I made a half batch of marinade and that sufficed. 

That's it! 

We used our own free range organic chicken the men folk butchered last month. Such a difference from store bought chicken!!!

Purely Delicious. Great job, babe!!! (I know you read this ;) )

For dessert we had grilled peaches & pineapples. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

PB&J Roll-ups

These are neither revolutionary nor gourmet but they are portable and hand-held, quick and healthy. Kid-friendly, too! That makes them winners around here. Easy to prep and they refrigerate for a couple days & still taste good. With summer upon us, we go to the park on average 3 times a week and always in the morning/afternoon. Packed lunches are a must and these are perfect for bringing! I just made up this week's portion of them. I thought I'd share!

PBJ Roll-ups

100% whole wheat tortillas
peanut butter
jam/jelly/fruit puree/spread
finely diced apple

I like to spread mine like this, rolling them up starting with the jam side. The peanut butter "seals" the roll shut.

All rolled up and ready to go!

Avoni likes hers cut up. Aerro likes his in rolls. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Pesto-Chicken Pizza

With a batch of fresh pesto in the house, there are two things guaranteed to be served 'round these parts. Pasta and Pizza. Pizza first. Super simple, totally crazy flavor. You know when the kids ask for more (and more and more and more) that you've scored one for the team! When I was assembling it, Craig raised an eyebrow but ever so sweetly decided to trust my instincts. Usually, they are right. I owe that to my mother..she's got great instincts!! So I layered. And added. A bit of this, a bit of that. And what turned out was totally awesome! Packed with whole grains, protein, & veggies, you can't go wrong!

Pesto Chicken Pizza

Per Pizza:
Whole grain flatbread
1/4 cup cottage cheese
2 tablespoons pesto
1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used colby-jack)
1/4 cup cooked, shredded chicken
1/2 roma tomato, sliced super thin
 Sprinkle of parmesan

I can fit two flatbreads per cookie sheet. Layer all ingredients in order given. Bake on 400 until cheese is melted. I like to toast my flatbread before baking it. It makes the pizza more crispy. Make as many as you want depending on family size.  =)  Craig ate two. The kids split one. I ate one. Delish!!

Farmer's Market Friday: Arugula

Arugula is a tiny, little wonder plant. It's a bit bitter and peppery and contains an amazing amount of folate (good for pregnancy!) lutein for eyesight, and carotenes which help against cancer.  I've had arugula before in salads but the person manning the booth last week mentioned using it in pesto. Well, we love pesto around these parts so that was a total go for me!
The cool part is I could get most everything right from the market there! Garlic, walnuts, basil, arugula. So few ingredients. Such large taste. So, onto the recipe. This took me about 20 minutes to whip up.  It is, by far, the best pesto I've ever had, bar none. No restaurant has ever served me better pesto! Try it!

Arugula Basil Pesto

2 cups packed arugula leaves, de-stemmed
1/4 cup packed basil leaves
1/2 cup paremsan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
5 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup shelled walnuts

Start by browning 4 of the garlic cloves on medium heat in a pan. You do this by simply leaving the skin on and allowing the heat to lightly brown the outer edges. Remove from heat when browned and let cool before peeling. Add walnuts to same pan and toast on same heat until desired flavor. I did about 4-5 minutes. Put arugula, basil, Parmesan, salt, walnuts, and the 4 toasted cloves plus the one extra un-toasted clove in food processor. Blend in the oil until smooth. That's it!

It looks like the recipe calls for an overwhelming amount of garlic, but the truth is, when you roast it, it makes the flavor a lot more hearty but not so strong. I like a bit of the pungent garlic flavor so that's what the one raw clove is good for. If you have a market nearby that sells fresh picked garlic, use that. It has a much more intense flavor then common store garlic.

Pesto is amazing stirred into pasta noodles and shredded chicken, as a glaze for roasted potatoes, as a sauce on pizza, on tortillas in place of mayo when making wraps, etc etc...  

The super cool "Nut" booth!

How gorgeous is fresh produce, anyway? 

 Today's Score..
Two Sister's Honey (I needed a new squeeze bear!), Arugula, Kale, Walnuts, Beets, Romaine, Fudge spoons (really interesting!)

 I became an expert at cracking tough shells.... =)

 Roasting the walnuts

After browning the garlic, I let them "sweat" a bit for easier extracting

Everything in the food processor!

My darling little Vienna, watching ever so intently

 The Final Product!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Farmer's Market Friday : Kale

I am challenged to create something new each Friday using an item from the Farmer's Market. With great optimism, I approached Schreiber & Sons Organic Produce booth..and then I wilted.

There were SO many different items... What on earth was I supposed to pick even? 

So. I asked. Good things come to those who ask, I found.

The guy manning the booth said to start off with kale. Kale? What on earth is kale? Turns out, kale is the most nutrient rich vegetable out there. It is extremely high in antioxidants and vitamin c. Who knew?! So, Kale it was.
Now, which of the three varieties there?? See my trouble? Too many options!

After I got the kale, I asked him how to make it and the quickest, he said, was kale chips.
Because, you know, it's entirely normal to bake your lettuce!! NOT!
But, not to be dissuaded, I got a large bunch and went home to...bake my lettuce. Right...

I washed it. And dried it. And ripped it into tiny pieces. That stuff is tough!! Really dense, thick, and fibrous. 

Then, I put it on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, spritzed it with olive oil, and sprinkled it with salt.
After that, I baked my lettuce. On 350. For 11 minutes.

And guess what. They were....strange. A good strange, though. Different. Definitely crispy! Kind of melt in your mouth crispy. I liked them! And so did the kiddos. I was going to save part of the kale to make a stir fry but, well, I made it all into crisps. My kids downed a whole bowl. As did Craig. I will be making these again! I'm quite happy I opened my mouth to ask because I found out something new.
You can bake lettuce. And it's good!
Gives new meaning to "Ruffle Chips"!
I already can't wait for next Farmer's Market Friday!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lip Balm

Ok. I must admit when my father presented me with The Book Of Honey, my heart skipped a few beats. 

He commented that not too many people would get excited over that particular book but he knew I'd love it so he had to get it for me. He knows me so well!
I'm going to have SO much fun making all the recipes and concoctions in there! This was recipe one out of 40. Stay tuned because I'm going to be making up some pretty cool stuff. I had this made in literally 5 minutes. So. COOL!!! This lip balm isn't sticky or greasy and it sets very nicely. I poured it into mini muffin liners. Time to get some salve tins for sure!

Lip Balm

1 tablespoon beeswax pellets
2 tablespoons coconut oil
5 drops essential oil (I used orange, but I have a thing for batch will be lemon chamomile! or peppermint...or maybe lavender...)
1 capsule vitamin e oil

Put beeswax, oil, and essential oil in a pint canning jar. Place jar in a pot of warm water that's level comes up your jar half way. Heat on medium/high until all is melted. You will probably need to use a hot pad to hold the jar once the water starts to simmer.  Do Not Ever heat beeswax over direct heat or in microwave as it is very flammable. Once melted, remove jar from pot and stir in the vitamin e oil. Pour into tins or molds. Cool. 
The end! I love it and I am very picky about my lip balm!! 

Orange Blueberry Pancakes

I love having pancakes in this house. When I make them, it's usually in a very large batch so I can freeze 3-4 of them in small bags for easy toasting & easy breakfast/afternoon snack/whatever. My husband can grab a bag or two and toast them up @ work, too, so that's cool for him. When I found this recipe in "Parents" magazine, I knew I had to try it. I did a few different things but they still turned out wonderful! I'm glad I did and so is my family! New staple in our freezer...

Orange Blueberry Pancakes

1 1/2 cups whole grain/wheat flour
1/2 cup sweetener (honey, evap cane juice,sugar)
3 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup whole milk
6 oz yogurt (I used home made)
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (this is just what I  used..any OJ will work)
1 tablespoon oil (I used coconut)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup blueberries

In one bowl, beat milk, yogurt, eggs, OJ, oil, vanilla, and honey if using that for sweetener. In another bowl, thoroughly mix all the dry ingredients.. Combine the wet and dry mix until mixed completely. Pour by 1/4 cup onto hot griddle. Add 1-2 tablespoons blueberries per pancake. Proceed to cook like normal pancakes.

We served ours with strawberry puree and frozen vanilla yogurt topped with more berries. Amaaazing! 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


What is a pasty? (for those non-Scandinavians who read this!) A Pasty, in my opinion, is a burst of excitement and flavor in the mouth. It is the pure essence of what I am. And what am I? A pure bred FINN. Straight up Finnish (though from America) girl. 

Pasties are as important to me as a sauna. And by the way, it's pronounced SOW-NA, not saw-na. Very few things rankle my gut then hearing my beloved sauna referred to as a sawna. Ask a Finn! It's SOW! Probably because you "sweat like a pig" in ir or something..who knooows! 

Anyway, back to the pasties. They are hand held meat and veggie pies. Don't THAT sound appetizing?? (not) Every person I know will claim theirs or their mother's pasty to be the best. recipe. EVER. Well, guess what. I'm going to clam that too. Mostly because I can! My mom's crust is flaky. And has just the right amount of crisp without being hard and dense. She always makes two different crusts when she makes pasties. She's crazy like that. I also know people who make theirs into actual pies. Like in a pie plate. I prefer mine portable. Also, ask anyone who's had my mom's pasties. It's alllll about the hand cubed (not shredded) veggies. 

Ok. I'm done bragging and sounding arrogant now. Please don't hate me. I just have an opinion like everyone else!! So, onto the RECIPE!!!

(to feed a crowd or about 36 people)

10 lb bag potatoes, peeled & cubed small
3 lbs mini carrots, halved & cubed
4 rutabaga, cubed same size as potatoes (this is a MUST!!!!)
5 onions, with the daylights chopped outta them
3 lbs extra lean ground beef
1 lb sausage (Italian is good!)
1 tablespoon salt
2 tsp pepper

Mix all ingredients in the largest bowl you can find. Or make a half recipe and them I'm sure you won't have to go to a specialty kitchen store and buy a 480 gallon sized bowl like my mom had to do. Make pie crust recipe. Follow photographic instructions. 

Enlist help of younger siblings to assist in chopping ingredients. (That includes war hero style wrapped brother who had a date with the pavement earlier on..-wear helmets, dear children!-)

Laugh hysterically as you photograph younger sister who got roped into bawling eyesballs out while chopping onions...I eventually took over the task! You're a trooper, Tova...

Placed in bowl...we assembled the root veggies the night before...

Get a ball of dough like this size...

Roll it out about this shape and size

(Shes gonna die when she sees my inscriptions and most likely tell me to take them off but I just love her new ring!!)

Put about 1 cup of filling into dough like so and top with a pat of butter

fold top over and seal like so..

Bake on 350 for about an hour
and what you will get is...


I absolutely must have mine with ketchup and a huge glass of icy cold milk.

You can use whatever pie crust you so desire...but I think my mom's are the best. Passed down a few generations, they are tried and true! Will post those recipes later!! You will need about 4 batches of a traditional 2 crust pie crust recipe.

My Mother's Waffles

Waffles. For dinner. And no, not with fried chicken... (I hear some people actually do that!) 

I think breakfast is the best quick go-to dinner. And I think my mom's waffles are the best.  I must not be the only one because they are requested quite often from other people! 

When we were kids, my mom would always make the best whip cream shapes for us.
"Mommmmy I wanna airplane! With clouds! And my name!"
"Mommyyyy can I haz a flower wis a bumble bee?"
" Mommyyyy I want a race carrrrr."
And with each outlandish request, that woman would whip out art with cream. 


Well, I make geometric shapes. A square, you say? How about a triangle? Don't ask me for something like a dinosaur....I mostly specialize in stick figures and straight lines with the occasional smiley face thrown in for good measure. I did draw a "T" on Ty's, though! That was pretty sweet of me...haha =)

Buttermilk Waffles

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, melted

Whip all ingredients to a froth. Let sit until bubbles settle. Fry in waffle maker. I think all waffles should be served with freshly sliced organic strawberries, but the occasional home made peanut butter with real maple syrup is ok, too.... =) Enjoy and try to not drool TOO much over the photos...!