Sunday, October 31, 2010

Second Chance at the CSN Stores Giveaway!

Fortunately for you, I was unable to get in contact with the winner of the CSN Stores Giveaway I held two weeks ago. Soooo the FIRST person to comment on this post will be the new winner and receive $35 to use at CSN Stores.

On your mark.....get set....GO!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Captain's Kugel

While Momma Heidi and I were making Matzo Ball Soup, we also whipped up Kugel, a noodle pudding that is served as a side dish. This recipe comes from Momma Heidi's cookbook, "From Noodles to Strudels" and is a family favorite.
 I learned that Kugel can be made literally a thousand different ways. It is wonderfully comforting and this Kugel is sweet but not in a dessert type way - more in a pasta side dish way.  I am excited to make this again at home and to try different variations. If you have a favorite Kugel recipe please share it with me!
Captain's Kugel 
Printable Version

1 pound wide egg noodles
6 quarts of boiling water
3 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons sugar
1 pint sour cream
1 cup of milk 
1 pound large curd cottage cheese
6 tablespoons of butter, melted
1 cup of corn flakes, crushed
2 tablespoons of butter
1/2 pound of dried apricots, diced (optional)
Cook noodles in boiling water with 1 teaspoon of salt. Remove when tender - do not overcook. Drain, rinse with cool water, and allow to cool. Mix sour cream, cottage cheese, milk, 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, sugar, and melted butter together in a large bowl. 
Mix with noodles and add in apricots. 
Pour into a greased 3 quart casserole dish. Cover with corn flakes and bits of butter. 
Bake at 375 degrees for 1 1/2 hours, making sure the corn flakes  do not brown. Serve hot. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

CSN Stories Giveaway Winner & Matzo Ball Soup!

Thanks to everyone who entered my CSN Stores giveaway! I used to pick the winner and here are the results:

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2010-10-25 20:59:09 UTC

The eighth person to comment was Natural N. Congrats to Natural N -- please comment or email me with your email address. Thank you to all who entered the giveaway! I am hoping to host another giveaway for my blogiversary coming up in November, so be sure to keep checking back. 
Now let's get to the good stuff: Matzo Ball Soup!
This weekend I was so lucky to be a guest in the kitchen of my California Mom, Momma Heidi. Momma Heidi is the mother in law of my sister in law - if you are confused, don't worry. Basically, she's a wonderful lady who I consider another Mom. She is so sweet and loving and generous (not to mention fabulous with great fashion sense) and she blesses all those who are in her life. I asked Momma Heidi if she would show me how to cook Matzo Ball soup since it's one of her family favorites. She not only showed me how to cook it, but we also made kugel (recipe to come later) AND she took me to an awesome Jewish deli and bakery  in San Diego called D.Z. Akins  where I got to try my first Hamantaschen cookie. YUM!! I am officially hooked on Jewish food. Momma Heidi and I talked about how a lot of Jewish food is based around carbs -- a great match for me since I'm a huge carb lover. 

If you've never had Matzo Ball soup or never made it you are really missing out. It's like chicken soup but so much better! The Matzo Balls are my favorite part. They are light and fluffy and so good with the chicken and vegetable flavored soup. Momma Heidi and I made the soup pretty thin, but you can modify it to make it as thick or thin as you desire.
Matzo Ball Soup
Love and thanks to Momma Heidi - XOXOX

For the soup:
2 to 3 quarts of chicken broth or soup (*Momma Heidi made her own stock by boiling a whole chicken in 3 quarts of water and then shredded the chicken and added it to the soup)
10 carrots, peeled and chopped into thirds
1 head of celery, rinsed and chopped into thirds
3 yellow onions, peeled and chopped into large pieces

Bring the chicken broth to a boil and add in the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer until the vegetables are tender when pierced by a fork. Ladle veggies into a food processor and puree in small batches until smooth and thick. 
Continue pureeing until all veggies are incorporated. Ladle the veggies back into the broth. 
For the Matzo Balls: 
We used one of these boxes and simply followed the directions on the box. 

When the Matzo Balls are done, ladle them into the soup. 
Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Peanut Butter and Jelly Pancakes

I'm not sure if it's because I'm a teacher and around kids alllllll the time but I still really like peanut butter and jelly. I don't eat PB&J sandwiches anymore but I love it on english muffins or waffles. I came across this recipe on one of the cutest and most entertaining food blogs out there, How Sweet It Is. I made these pancakes for my hubby and I and we both loved them.  I made the jelly sauce with homemade jam from wild Michigan blackberries. It was awesome. Unfortunately my hubby doesn't like fruit (yes, he is crazy) so he omitted the jelly sauce from his pancakes. He really liked them with just the peanut butter and syrup. Since the pancakes are made from whole wheat they are very thick and very filling. This recipe is a definite winner in my PB&J book!
Peanut Butter & Jelly Pancakes
From Jessica at How Sweet It Is
Printable Version

For the pancakes:
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, well beaten
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons peanut butter, melted plus additional for drizzling
For the jelly topping:
1/4 cup strawberries
1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup jam of choice
1-2 tablespoons water
1-2 tablespoons maple syrup

For the pancakes:
Stir together dry ingredients. Add eggs, milk, vanilla and oil. Stir until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in peanut butter. Cook on preheated pan until bubbles form and edges start to dry.
Flip and cook until lightly browned. Top with additional peanut butter and jelly topping.
For the jelly topping:
In a small saucepan, combine blueberries, strawberries and water over low heat. Mash the berries and add jam, stirring until mixture becomes mostly liquid and warm. Stir in syrup. Drizzle over pancakes.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tomatillo Avocado Salsa and another CSN Giveaway!

YAY! CSN Stores contacted me to host another $35 giveaway. I love CSN stores and you will too! Go to their site to check out all the wonderful things CSN stores have to offer from dining sets to bakeware to wall art. If you'd like to enter the giveaway, just leave a comment telling me what you would put the $35 towards. If you'd like a second chance to enter you can become a follower (if you aren't already) or post about my giveaway on your blog or Facebook. Please make sure to leave a SECOND comment for your second chance to win. Entry deadline is Sunday, October 24th at midnight and I will announce the winner on Monday, October 25th. Good luck!!
Onto the recipe! I have always wanted to try making my own salsa verde, so when saw this recipe on Tasty Kitchen I couldn't wait to make it. It was really fun using tomatillos, a small green tomato covered in a papery like husk. This salsa is tangy, fresh, and easy. I loved the chunks of avocado and hubby loved the cilantro taste. We enjoyed it with tortilla chips and as a topping on tacos. 
Tomatillo Avocado Salsa
From Laura @ Sweet Savory Planet
Printable Version
1/2 pound Tomatillos (about 4 medium Tomatillos)
1/2 cup Cilantro, loosely packed
2 whole Serrano, roughly chopped (Note: jalapeno can be substituted, which is what I used because my store didn't have Serranos)
1/4 cup water
1 Avocado, diced 
1/2 medium sized white onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Place tomatillos, cilantro, Serrano pepper, and water in a food processor and pulse until you have a slightly chunky puree.
 Toss the avocado into the processor and pulse for a second or two. Make sure to keep the avocado in good sized chunks. 
Place the diced onion in a colander and give it a good rinse in cold water to rid the onion of sulfur flavor. Add it to the salsa and stir. Season with salt and stir again. Taste to see if more salt is needed.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Gram's Twist Noodle Salad

Somehow this recipe of my Grandma's didn't make it into the family cookbook we complied a couple of years ago. Thankfully, I asked Gram to dictate it to me one day after eating a big helping of it. I love that my Grandma called Rotini pasta, "twist noodles". She didn't need to know it's exact name to make a yummy, tangy and sweet pasta salad with it. Gram's recipe only called for onions and cucumbers, but I added in tomatoes and broccoli because I had them in the crisper and wanted to use them up. Carrots or peppers would also be great additions to this easy, simple side dish. Like a lot of Gram's recipes, this one needs time to marinate and is best a day or two after you make it.
Aren't my Grandma and Grandpa beautiful in this picture together? This picture was taken on the wedding day of my Great Grandma Barry (Gram's Mom, so my Mom's Grandma). Gram hosted the wedding party at her house. I am in love with this picture, with Gram so elegant and timeless (I want that dress!) and Grandpa so handsome and clean cut. I know this was a very happy day for my Grandma and her Mom. This picture is in a frame next to a picture of my husband and I on our wedding day.
Gram's Twist Noodle Salad

1 lb "twist noodles" (Rotini)
1 1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon pepper
1 tablespoon mustard
1/2 tablespoon garlic salt
2 cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1 small white onion, diced
Boil pasta until al dente. Drain and allow to cool. 
Whisk together sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper, mustard, and garlic salt. 
Combine pasta, cucumbers, and onions in a large bowl. Pour the vinegar/spice mixture over the pasta and veggies and mix throughly. 
Chill in the fridge overnight. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Gram's Homemade French Dressing

Everything tasted better at my Gram's house. She used real butter, Vitamin D milk, real salad dressing, real mayonnaise, real everything! I use the term "real" because my Dad is a Diabetic, so at my house there was "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter," skim milk, and fat free dressing, low fat get the idea! My Grandma's food was from scratch and full of flavor. No low fat, low calorie anything. Even simple green salads at her house tasted amazing. Grandma's salads weren't complicated. They usually consisted of iceberg lettuce, carrots, tomatoes and onion. But she always had delicious dressings - Vidalia Onion, Poppy Seed, or her homemade French dressing. 
Gram's french dressing is sweet, rich, and so much better than store bought. I had never made it before, but have eaten it lots of times. The recipe only called for "oil" and my gut told me that Gram didn't use olive oil, but I tried making the dressing with it anyway. Whoops. The olive oil flavor was too overpowering, so I know now that Grandma must have used vegetable or Canola oil. Next time, my friends, I will get it right!
My Grandma is 15 in this picture and it was 1946. She was a Majorette for her high school and helped to lead the band.  As a little girl I looked at this picture and wanted to be beautiful and glamorous like my Gram, so in first grade I signed up for baton lessons. I learned a few moves, enough for show and tell at school and to show my Gram. Grandma kept one of her old batons in the basement, so the two of us practiced our baton twirling together in her living room.  40 years after this picture was taken, Gram still had her baton skills. This picture and my baton memories make me smile, and goes to show how much I admired and looked up to my Grandma, even from an early age. PS Please notice that she autographed this picture. :)
Gram's Homemade French Dressing
Printable Version
1/2 cup of sugar 
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Squeeze of lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
Blend all ingredients together. Refrigerate. Shake well before serving.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Gram's Cole Slaw

This cole slaw was a staple in Gram's fridge. I love cole slaw and my Grandm'a cole slaw was definitely my favorite. It's sweet, tangy, and creamy. I love how it has a little bit of this and a little bit of that, which is so classic of my Grandma's cooking. She just eyeballed ingredients and tasted as she went along. So in honor of her I did not use a single measuring cup to make this recipe. 
This picture of my Grandma and Grandpa on their wedding day in 1947. My Grandma was only 16 when she and Grandpa eloped and got married in Indiana. They were married for 61 years and were each other's best friend. Truly amazing if you ask me. 

Grandma's Cole Slaw
Printable Version

3 flat tablespoons sugar
2 heaping tablespoons Hellman's Canola Mayonnaise 
2 heaping tablespoons low fat sour cream
3 green onions, chopped
1/4 of a green pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 or 2 shakes of garlic salt (don't overdo)
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 package of shredded coleslaw mix or 1 head of shredded cabbage with a few carrots shredded 

Mix all of the ingredients together and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. 
Taste for sweetness or tanginess and add sugar or vinegar if needed. 


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