Posted by: Deana | July 12, 2014

Homemade Whole Grain Pancake Mix

This is a great pancake mix recipe because it’s delicious, hearty and easy to make in bulk and keep in the freezer.  I got it from my King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking cook book.

Homemade Whole Grain Pancake Mix

  • 3½ cups (12¼ oz) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 4 cups (1 lb) white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup (4¼ oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 T (1¼ oz) sugar
  • 3 T (1½ oz) baking powder
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 T baking soda
  • ¾ cup (5¼ oz) vegetable oil (I use melted coconut oil)

Make the Mix:

Grind the oats in a food processor until they’re chopped fine but not a powder. Put the ground oats, flours and the remaining dry ingredients into the bowl of a mixer with a paddle. Mix on slow speed, and drizzle the oil into the bowl slowly while the mixer is running. When all the oil has been added, stop the mixer and squeeze a clump of the mix in your hand. If it holds together, it’s just right. If it won’t hold together, stir in 1 T of oil at a time until the consistency is correct. Store in an airtight container indefinitely in the freezer.

Make the Pancakes:

Whisk together 1 cup of mix, 1 cup buttermilk (or you may use ½ cup plain yogurt plus ½ cup milk), 1 T orange juice (optional)* and 1 large egg. Don’t worry if the batter seems thin at first: the whole grains will soak up the liquid , and the mixture will thicken as it stands. Let the batter stand for at least 15 minutes before cooking.

*The acidity and sweetness of orange juice helps mellow the tannic taste some people perceive in whole wheat flour; while the pancakes won’t have any orange flavor, they may taste slightly milder to you than without it.

Posted by: Deana | June 4, 2012

Spaghetti alla Carbonara – revised

In the past we have made Rachael Ray’s spaghetti alla carbonara, per my post here.  But I recently saw another version on a favorite site of mine, Simply Recipes.  So I decided to take the parts I liked from each one and make a new version.  Z was a huge fan the first time I made it, so this is how we’ve been making it the last few times.  I’ve taken some ingredients, and their portions, from each and have started using the method suggested by simply recipes because I find it much easier than Rachael Ray’s method.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

  • 1 pound spaghetti (we usually use organic whole wheat from Costco!)
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • ½ pound (8 oz.) pancetta (I buy the pre-chopped pancetta that comes in 4 oz packages; I used to get them at Safeway, but they stopped carrying them.  Thankfully the Trader Joe’s here usually has them.  So I often buy several and keep them in the freezer)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 1 c. Parmesan
  • ½ c. white wine
  • handful of fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  While the water is coming to a boil, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook slowly until crispy. Add the garlic and cook another minute.  Add the wine and reduce the liquid by half, about one minute, then turn off the heat and put the pancetta and garlic into a large bowl.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs and mix in about half of the cheese.

Once the water has reached a rolling boil, add the pasta, and cook, uncovered, at a rolling boil. When the pasta is al dente (still a little firm, not mushy), drain the pasta (not too thoroughly, a little water will help create the sauce) and quickly move it to the bowl with the pancetta and garlic. Move the pasta from the pot to the bowl quickly, as you want the pasta to be hot; it’s the heat of the pasta that will heat the eggs sufficiently to create a creamy sauce. Pour the beaten eggs with cheese over the top and toss quickly to combine. Add the parsley.  Add salt to taste.

Serve at once, passing the rest of the parmesan and freshly ground black pepper at the table.

Posted by: Deana | April 5, 2012

Mac Cheese with Vegetables

This is another recipe from the petit appetit cookbook.  A doesn’t like broccoli by itself yet, we’re still working on that, but he’ll usually eat it in this Mac-n-Cheese.  This is a great recipe to make ahead of time and pop in the over right before dinner, or double and put half in the freezer.

Mac Cheese with Vegetables

  • 8 oz. elbow macaroni
  • 1½ c. organic broccoli and/or cauliflower florets, cut into equal-size pieces
  • 1 c. organic whole milk
  • 3 c. (¾ lb.) shredded sharp white cheddar cheese (I use raw cheddar, so it’s not very sharp)
  • salt, to taste
  • ¼ tes. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 T freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I don’t always put this on)

Preheat oven to 350º.  Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat.  Turn heat to medium and add macaroni and vegetables.  Simmer until macaroni is tender and vegetables are cooked, but not mushy, 7 to 10 minutes.  Drain water from pasta and vegetables and return to cooking pot.

In a small saucepan, heat milk over low heat until hot.  Add cheddar cheese and hot milk to vegetables and macaroni and toss.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour mixture into an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top and bake for 15 minutes, or until bubbling.  If it was made ahead of time and put in the oven from the fridge, bake time may be longer.  Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Posted by: Deana | February 28, 2012

Couscous Pudding

I was given this cookbook, the petit appetit cookbook, as a hand-me-down when I was pregnant.  I’ve been using some of the recipes more recently and there have been a couple that A has really enjoyed so I’d like to keep track of them here.  The first is a couscous pudding that he has loved every time I’ve made it.  Not all of my ingredients are organic.

Couscous Pudding

  • ½ c. organic couscous (I use whole wheat)
  • 1 c. organic whole milk
  • 2 T. organic brown sugar
  • ¼ c. organic golden raisins
  • 1 c. plain organic whole milk yogurt
  • ¼ tes. vanilla extract
  • ¼ tes. ground cinnamon

In a medium saucepan, heat mild over medium heat just to boiling point.  Be careful not to burn.  (I also add the raisins at this point, I find that it plumps them up a little bit and makes them a little easier for A to eat.)  Remove pan from heat and stir in remaining ingredients to combine.  Cover and let sit for 20 minutes, or until the couscous absorbs milk and the texture is creamy.

Serve warm or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  You may need to add more yogurt when reheating if pudding becomes dry.

A seems to like this warm or cold, and sometimes he eats it right out of the fridge.

Posted by: Deana | February 28, 2012

Almond Cake with Boysenberry Jam

Almond CakeI found this cake recipe in the February 2011 Bon Appétit we got; since Z’s birthday is February 14 I had found it just in time.  Z loves pretty much anything almond, so I knew this would be a good birthday cake.  It was so good, in fact, and things were so busy this year that I made it again a few weeks ago for his 30th birthday.  We were out of my mom’s homemade boysenberry jam, but we had a full jar of her raspberry on hand so we used that in the middle.  I don’t often like to cook/bake with her jam because it seems to take away from the deliciousness of the jam itself.  But this cake is so simple that the jam and almond flavors really shine.

Almond Cake with Boysenberry Jam

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp almond paste
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks butter)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup boysenberry jam (We had raspberry, and I used a little more than 1/3 cup.)
  • Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°.  Butter 8 in round cake pan with two inch sides. Line bottom with parchment or waxed paper and butter again.

Blend sugar and almond paste in processor til finely ground.

Put flour, salt and baking powder into small bowl and whisk to blend.

Using electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and almond paste on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Add eggs one at a time, beating on medium high until each is incorporated.

Fold in dry ingredients and transfer mix to pan.

Bake for 40 minutes without opening oven, rotate pan and bake until cake is golden and firm to the touch. (Another high altitude change…I only baked mine for at most 35 minutes total).

Cool in pan for 10 minutes, run knife around outer edge, invert cake onto flat surface and remove paper from the bottom. Turn over and cool on rack.

Cut cake in half horizontally using a long serrated knife (bread knife is perfect).  Using the bottom of a tart pan, transfer the top half of the cake to a work surface.

Put remaining piece of cake, cut side up, on cake plate and spread the surface with jam. Place top half of cake on top of jam, cut side down.

Dust with confectioner’s sugar and served with lightly sweetened whipping cream. (We did not have whipping cream)

NOTE: To evenly cut the cake, measure the overall height. Then mark the halfway point with toothpicks at several points all around the cake. Use these toothpicks as your guide to slowly cut the cake in half with a serrated knife.

Posted by: Deana | October 12, 2011

Chicken Stew with Biscuits

Chicken Stew with Sweet Potato Biscuits

I originally found these recipes via Posie Gets Cozy, and Z said it’s definitely a repeat dinner, so I’m posting it here so we always know how to find it.  The stew recipe was from Barefoot Contessa and the biscuit recipe was from 3191 Miles Apart.  There’s another chicken pot pie recipes we’ve been enjoying that Mom found recently through America’s Test Kitchen, but that will be another post.  This meal is very similar, I think a little easier, and Z liked it better, I think I did too.  I changed a few little things to suit our taste better, and this was a delicious dinner after a long October day.

In the future, I’ll probably freeze half of this, or make extra to freeze if I’m making this for a larger group.  I made all of it today since it was the first time and since I wanted plenty of left-overs for the rest of the week.  I’m excited to eat the leftovers and already looking forward to making this again.

Chicken Stew

  • 3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
    • I used skin-less bone-less breasts, and that worked fine.  Cooking the chicken actually wasn’t too much work, but in the future I may try getting a rotisserie chicken from Costco and using that – easy and tasty!
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 large chopped yellow onions
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups medium-diced carrots (4 carrots), blanched for 2 minutes
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen peas (2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Cut the chicken into large dice. You will have 4 to 6 cups of cubed chicken.

In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the heavy cream. Add the cubed chicken, carrots, peas, onions, and parsley. Mix well. Place the stew in a 10 x 13 x 2-inch oval or rectangular baking dish. Place the baking dish on a sheet pan lined with parchment or wax paper. Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove the stew from the oven and arrange the biscuits on top of the filling. Brush them with egg wash, and return the dish to the oven. Bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the biscuits are brown and the stew is bubbly.

Note: To make in advance, refrigerate the chicken stew and biscuits separately. Bake the stew for 25 minutes, then place the biscuits on top, and bake for another 30 minutes, until done.

Sweet Potato Biscuits

  • 1 pound sweet potatoes or yam (one large one is usually sufficient)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (chilled), cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Prick the sweet potato and bake until soft (about one hour…you can also do this more quickly in a microwave). Once the sweet potato has cooled, scoop the flesh from the skin and pass through a food mill, ricer or sieve. You should have about 1 3/4 cups puree.

Stir together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and cayenne. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter  until it resembles a course meal. Mix milk with sweet potato puree and add it to the other ingredients. Mix dough, just to incorporate. If the dough is really sticky, add a touch more flour. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead a few times. Pat out to a 1/2 inch thickness. Cut biscuits with a biscuit-cutter or glass.  Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet and refrigerate for 10 minutes, or until ready to bake with the stew.  Place in preheated oven and cook until risen and slightly brown, about 12 minutes (longer for larger biscuits). Serve warm. Only if you’re not making them with the stew, otherwise follow the baking instructions above.

Posted by: Deana | August 27, 2011

Basil Lime Fizz

We made this Basil Lime Fizz (found here at the hip girl’s guide to homemaking) last Sunday and it was delicious:

Basil Lime Fizz
Combine the following ingredients in pitcher and serve immediately over ice:

  •     3/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup basil simple syrup*
  • 1 liter sparkling mineral water (Topo Chico, Pellegrino, La Croix, etc.)

*Prepare the basil simple syrup in advance (see recipe below)

Basil Simple Syrup
1. Place the following ingredients in a saucepan and heat on medium heat:

  •     1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups basil, chopped

2. Bring the mixture to a boil until the sugar dissolves (it only takes a few minutes).

3. Remove the mixture from heat and let stand for 30 minutes to let all the basil flavors seep into the sugar mixture.

4. Pour mixture through a sieve/strainer lined with dampened cheesecloth to remove all the basil and then pour it into a container with an airtight lid.  Chill in the refrigerator; the simple syrup will keep for 3-4 weeks.

Posted by: Deana | February 11, 2011

Cream Wafers

This is a recipe that my mom has had for years.  They are delicious small cookies that are so addicting.  We made them recently, and next time we may try adding a little bit of almond extract to the cookie dough.

Cream Wafers

For the cookies, mix:

  • 1 C  soft butter
  • 1/3 C  whipping cream
  • 2 C  flour

Chill for 1 hour.

Roll about 1/8″ thick and cut into 1″ rounds. Dip one side in sugar and prick 4-5 times with a fork. (Or place on ungreased cookie sheet and sprinkle with sugar then prick with the fork.) Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 7-8 minutes.

For the filling, cream:

  • 1/2 C butter
  • 1 1/2 C powdered sugar
  • a few drops of milk
  • about 1/4 tes. vanilla
  • A few drops of food coloring (red)

Put filling in a pastry bag and extract some on half of the cooled cookies.  Place another cookie on top.  We just used a knife to put a little filling on the cookies.

Posted by: Deana | February 10, 2011

Carmel-Apple Crisp

Z found this recipe in the March 2009 issue of Bon Appetit, and we adapted it a tiny bit and loved it!

Carmel-Apple Crisp


  • 1 ¼ c. all purpose flour
  • 10 T. sugar
  • ¾ tes. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tes. salt
  • 1/8 tes. ground allspice
  • 1/8 tes. ground nutmeg
  • 10 T. (1¼ sticks) chilled unsalted butter, diced


  • ½ c. sugar
  • ¼ c. (½ stick) unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tes. salt
  • 12 Pippin or Golden Delicious apples, peeled, quartered, and cored

Topping: Whisk first 6 ingredients in medium bowl to blend.  Add butter and rub in with fingertips until small moist clumps form (Do ahead: can be made 1 day ahead.)  Cover and chill.

Filling: Preheat oven to 375º F.  Stir sugar and butter in large skillet over medium heat until smooth surface forms.  Add lemon juice and cook, stirring, until caramel is deep brown, about 5 minutes.  mix in salt, then apples.  Toss until apples are evenly coated, about 1 minute.  Scrape apples and caramel into 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish; spread evenly.  Sprinkle topping evenly over.

Bake crisp until apples are tender, sauce is bubbling thickly, and topping is golden, about 50 minutes.  Let crisp cool 15 minutes.  Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

Posted by: Deana | February 9, 2011

Soft Garlic Knots

I saw these some time ago over at Annie’s eats and finally recently got around to making them.  They turned out wonderfully and were delicious!  Everyone who joined us for dinner loved them too; we’ll definitely have to make these again.

Soft Garlic Knots

For the dough:

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. lukewarm water

For the glaze:

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp. melted butter
  • ½ tsp. Italian seasoning

To make the dough, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine the dry ingredients.  Add the olive oil, milk and water.  Mix until ingredients have formed a dough.  Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.  Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.

Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces.  Roll each piece into a 10-inch long rope and tie into a knot.  Take the end lying underneath the knot and bring it over the top, tucking it into the center.  Take the end lying over the knot and tuck it underneath and into the center.  Transfer shaped rolls to a baking stone, or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for 45 minutes, until puffy.

To make the glaze, finely mince the garlic or press it through a garlic press.  Mix with the melted butter and Italian seasoning.

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Brush the glaze onto the shaped rolls.  Bake until set and lightly browned, about 15-18 minutes.  Let cool slightly before serving.

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