Super Fondue Party

There will be no football watching at our house on Sunday. I like to watch football. We watch football every Sunday during football season. However, my husband will be watching Super Bowl with his buddies and I really don’t care about the game. I follow the Saints and the Seahawks so this year I don’t need to watch the “big” game.

My girls and I are going to have a fondue party and watch old movies. If it is a hit we might invite some girlfriends over next year. I think Super Fondue Party could be an annual thing.

Starters:
Welsh Rarebit fondue
Vegan cheese fondue
sourdough bread
Granny Smith apples
olives
baby dill pickles
French Fries

Main:
Beef
Chicken
Ham
potatoes
broccoli
carrots (veggies lightly steamed or roasted)

Dessert:
Chocolate fondue
sugar cookie dippers
brownie bites
marshmallows
apples
pineapple

 

Welsh Rarebit Fondue (original recipe)

  • 4 cups shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1/2 cup beer
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • dash hot pepper sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water

Have cheese at room temperature. In a small bowl beat the cheese on low with a hand mixer gradually add beer. Mix at medium speed until fluffy. Add Worcestershire, mustard, garlic and hot sauce. Beat well. Melt in fondue pot on stovetop. Blend cornstarch and water, add to fondue. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.

This is an old fondue recipe from my mama. We had fondue on New Year’s Eve when I was growing up. I have seen several recipes for fondue broth floating around and I know it would be healthier than frying, but I don’t want boiled beef. I just don’t. We don’t have fondue all that often anyway. I think the last time I had fondue was in college.  Can that be right? My husband has moved my fondue set (including pottery plates) all over the country for over ten years and we have never had fondue? That can’t be right.

Chocolate Fondue (adapted from the Gourmet International Fondue cookbook, vintage-super fun)

  • 2 tablespoons of honey or light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dairy free coffee creamer (nutpods)
  • 1 cups allergy free chocolate chips (Enjoy Life or similar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons Amaretto (after the kids go to bed)

Heat honey and creamer on stove, when honey is melted lower heat and stir in chocolate. Stir constantly until chocolate is melted. Stir in vanilla and liquor (if using).

I haven’t made the vegan cheese fondue yet and I have a couple of recipes I want to try before I post one. Here are the contenders:

Easy Vegan Fondue

Vegan Fondue

Melty Stretchy Gooey Vegan Mozzarella

I’ll let ya know how it goes. I’m also thinking of making my mom’s Welsh Rarebit with Dayia or Follow Your Heart vegan cheese. Sometimes commercial vegan cheese turns to liquid when you melt it though. Tricky.

I can’t seem to do anything without making a Pinterest board for it, so here is my fondue party board:

Yea for Pinterest and people who take pretty food pictures!

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New Year’s Resolutions

For many people a New Year’s resolution may look something like this.

“This year I will get in shape.”

Or

“My New Year’s resolution is to lose weight.”

Or, more specific

“I will lose 20 pounds in 2017.”

My New Year’s resolution is to “keep on keeping on.” I’m not starting anything new. I’m not setting a nebulous goal for myself. I’m not even vowing to break a bad habit. I am going to make a list of all the things that I have decided are part of a healthy day for me. Some of these things I have been doing for years, others for a few months, but I want to be aware of them and work to do them EVERY day.

  1. read the Bible
  2. take vitamins and supplements twice a day for hormonal health
  3. drink gelatin
  4. do T-Tapp
  5. drink a Green Thickie
  6. drink 5-6 glasses of water
  7. wash face using oil cleansing method
  8. use Wellness Mama toothpaste and oil pull
  9. go to bed with a clean kitchen sink

The last one is probably the hardest for me and the one my husband is most interested in. His love language is acts of service and clean dishes make him feel loved. Washing dishes is right up there with doing laundry. I’ll do it, if I have to, I guess. Doing the laundry should be up there too, but I don’t want to do it every day.

This list might change over the course of this year, but this is a good start.

Alright, here is my one, big, nebulous, hashtag-able New Year’s resolution: be a friend.

I don’t really have any friends and the one thing my husband is always saying to me is if I want a friend I need to be a friend. So there is my big idea for 2017. Now I have to figure out how to be a friend.

Holiday Baking! And…GO!

GF DF Chocolate Cream Pie

Crust:
Adapted from Minimalist Baker

3/4 cup gluten free rolled oats
3/4 cup  raw almonds
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar, plus more to taste
3-4 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

Filling:

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
4-6 tablespoons cocoa powder* (depending on taste)
3 cups unsweetened dairy-free milk**
4 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons vegan butter, dairy-free margarine

For the crust:

Preheat oven to 350°. Blend all ingredients in blender, except coconut oil, to a fine crumb. Gradually add coconut oil while blending. I used all 4 tablespoons and my crust was a little too wet. Add oil until the crumbs can hold together. Pat crust into pie plate, cover the bottom of plate and go up the sides as much as you can. Bake for 15 minutes then raise oven temperature to 375° and bake for 5-10 minutes longer, until lightly browned. Let crust cool on wire rack while you prepare the filling.

For the filling:

In a large sauce pan whisk all the dry ingredients together. Mix egg yolks and milk together and gradually add to the pan while whisking. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and boil for one minute. Remove from heat and add in vanilla and vegan butter. Pour into pie crust, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours. Serve topped with coconut whip.

*I used 4 tablespoon of cocoa this year to make the pie a little more kid friendly. 6 tablespoons of cocoa makes a rich, dark pie, a little more suitable for grownups.

**As with any custard/pudding the fat content of the milk that you use matters. I had half a can of coconut milk left over in the fridge that I used. I made up the rest of the three cups with a coconut almond blend. Just be sure to use unsweetened milk or the pie will be too sweet.

For some reason my husband doesn’t think that chocolate pie is Christmas-y. Chocolate was a regular at our house for holiday dinners. Then again we rarely had apple pie for holidays. My mom made fabulous apple pie, but it was an every day dessert, not fancy enough for holiday feasts. We always had pumpkin and pecan pie and then a chocolate pie or pumpkin cake roll or my Aunt Bonnie’s French Cherry Pie. (I’m still working on making that one dairy free!) I saw a Thanksgiving post on FB that showed three pies for six people. My first thought was that is not near enough pie, but my friend was thinking that was too much pie. Only three pies for six people? All families are different. Our family is a bit food centric, sweet centric to be more specific and we like it that way.

I’m not going to the store!

How did this happen? I only have about 2 tablespoons of Earth Balance in the fridge. Do I not know that it is Thanksgiving? My sweet husband needs butter to inject the turkey and I need butter for the stuffing, not to mention all the other things that “just need a little bit of butter”. Not to worry. I have coconut milk, coconut oil and a few pantry items needed to make vegan butter.
I used to make butter all the time, but then I got lazy and we moved closer to Fred Meyer, where they carry Earth Balance. It doesn’t take too long to make vegan butter, neither is it too difficult. The clean up after making butter is the most tedious part. Right now my kids are playing in a sink full of warm soapy water and greasy measuring cups. I’m quite sure that the cups and my children will need to be washed when they are done playing.
This is one of the first recipes I posted a few years ago. At the time Earth Balance was still a little tricky to find everywhere. It’s still a great recipe to have for those times when you run out of butter or the store is closed or you want something that just tastes a little better. My husband is still amazed that I can make something so close to butter in our kitchen. Here is the original post Can’t have Thanksgiving without BUTTER.10007488_10202338683121303_2497104984883312772_n

Here is the recipe just a little updated:

Vegan Butter

  • 1 cup+2 Tbsp+2 tsp unsweetened coconut milk beverage (not the kind in a can)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups+1 Tbsp+1 tsp coconut oil, measured after melted
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or any other liquid oil)
  • 1 tablespoon+1 tsp liquid sunflower lecithin
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  1.  Measure coconut milk, add apple cider vinegar and salt and whisk together . Let sit while working on rest of recipe.
  2.  Melt the coconut oil in a microwave so it’s barely melted and as close to room temperature as possible. (There are still some chunks in mine, but they get blended up. I just don’t want the oil to be too warm.) Pour coconut and olive oil into processor or blender.
  3. Add the liquid lecithin, sprinkle the xanthan gum over oils and process until well blended. Pour in the coconut milk mixture and process 2 minutes in food processor or 30 seconds in high powered blender. It will thicken up to the consistency of heavy cream.
  4. Place silicone mold on a cookie sheet. Measure ½ cup at a time and pour into mold, I use a mini loaf pan that is just right. It makes it much easier to use in baking if you measure before you mold.
  5.  Pop the pan in freezer.
  6. After they are hard take the cubes out of the mold and wrap in plastic wrap.

I usually keep my butter in the freezer and just have one or two sticks in the fridge. You can’t leave this butter out like dairy butter, but it will melt easily on toast or warm rolls.

This recipe is based on the recipes I found here.  www.veganbaking.net/recipes/fats/veganbutters/veganbutter  There is no way I could have come up with this concept on my own. Mattie is a bit of a genius! If you want learn more about butter and vegan butter, read this article. Again, I have to thank the vegans for improving my quality of life. THANK YOU!

 

Is It? Is It Here? FALL!

I clearly remember the first time I found that I liked Fall. It was my freshman year of college. School didn’t start until the end of September, so for the first time in my life I could see Autumn coming. I wasn’t dreading the beginning of school. I enjoyed the weather getting cooler and the leaves changing. Plus, after school began I felt pretty collegiate walking around campus under the canopy of colorful foliage. Now, holy cow, people are going crazy over fall. Were people always crazy about fall, but because we didn’t have Pinterest we didn’t know? I like pumpkin, but get a grip! Pumpkin doesn’t have to be in everything! So, I’m gonna share some pumpkin recipes. Just kidding, no really I am. Only my favorite one though. I found I don’t care for savory pumpkin. Pumpkin soup, pumpkin chili, pumpkin pasta, pumpkin pasties? I found a whole page of savory pumpkin recipes from the Huffington Post, go ahead knock yourself out. This recipe is from Grandma Velma. She wasn’t really my grandma. My dad called her Aunt Velma, but she wasn’t his aunt either. Grandma Velma was vaguely related to us. Her family and my grandparents came out to Oregon from Arkansas about the same time. She was a character. She sewed quilts and watched soap operas all day. I have five quilts in my closet she made, plus an afghan and we were barely related! Just imagine how many quilts her actual grandchildren have! She was a great, old-fashioned, Southern gramma. And a great cook.

Pumpkin Cake Roll-From Grandma Velma

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Filling

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 8 oz vegan cream cheese (like Tofutti)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons vegan butter (like earth balance)

Preheat oven to 375°. Grease and flour a jelly roll pan and line with wax or parchment paper.

Beat eggs on high for 3 minutes. Gradually beat in the sugar. Stir in pumpkin and lemon juice. In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients, fold into pumpkin mixture. pour batter into prepared pan. Top with nuts.

Bake for 15 minutes. Lay out a tea towel and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

When the cake is done carefully turn it out onto the sugar covered tea towel. remove the paper from the back of the cake. Roll the cake in the towel and let it cool.

Beat all the filling ingredients together until smooth.

Slowly and carefully unroll the cake. Smooth the filling over entire cake and roll again (with out the towel).

Chill and slice to serve.

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Jambalaya My Way

Marrying someone from a different ethnic/geographical background than your own expands your horizons. Learning to cook Louisiana style foods has been a learning process for me. I haven’t heard of other people making Jambalaya this way, but I think it works best. Most recipes call for cooking the rice in the same pot with the meat and tomatoes, but I had a hard time with my rice sticking or becoming a gummy mess. So I decided to cook my rice in the rice cooker and then just stir it in to the cooked meat and veggies.

Jambalaya

2 cups uncooked rice (cook in rice cooker)
1 lb chicken (breast, thigh, combo)
12-16 oz anduille or smoked sausage
1 medium onion, diced
2-3 ribs celery, diced
1/2 Bell pepper, diced
1/2 bottle Gluten Free beer* (like Omission)
16 oz canned tomatoes
2 tsp Garlic
2 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Oregano
1/4 tsp Basil
1/4 tsp Sage
salt and pepper to taste (or cajun/creole seasoning)
2 tsp tamari* (gluten free soy sauce) optional

So, what I do is cook the rice in the rice cooker and while that is going I start the chicken in a deep skillet on the stove. I usually cook it frozen (because planning ahead is not my forte) and then chop it up and plop it back into the pan. Then I add the sausage and brown it up a bit. Next comes the veggies. When the onion is translucent I deglaze the pan with beer.  Let the beer cook down a bit. Add the tomatoes and spices. Stir it all together and let it come to a simmer. Pile the rice on top and stir it all together. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.

It may not be the traditional way to make Jambalaya, but it works for me.

*If you aren’t GF just use regular beer and soy sauce.

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Easter Dinner Plus

I tend to over-cook on holidays. Growing up, our holidays were so focused on food that I feel like my children will be missing something if I don’t have a feast for them every holiday. So, Easter.

Brunch Menu:
Deviled eggs
bacon
sausage links
poppy-seed muffins
fruit and juice

Dinner Menu:
Roast Pork
mashed potatoes
carrots
potato salad
spinach salad
green beans
lemon meringue pie

This is what I planned for my family. Me, husband, two girls. Four people.  I was the only one to eat the roast on Sunday. Apparently, I should have assumed that my children would prefer left-over chili-mac to a roast dinner. The dreams of sitting down to a well laid table with flowers and candles and children in their frilly Easter dresses was dashed. The reality being children gobbling up chili-mac surrounded by pastel colored tin foil candy wrappers. And my husband sitting in his chair in the living room, eating only potato salad and sausages. That seems to be the way holidays go in our house. If I really cared I would force my family to change, but if they are happy, I’ll leave it alone.

I might have got a bit carried away, but, BUT I learned something! I put two small roasts in the crock pot and I have three different meals. After I had my roast dinner, I put the left over meat in Ziploc bag and stuck it in the fridge. The next day I took out the bag and kneaded the meat until it was shredded. I love to use a mixer to shred chicken when it is hot, but this was even easier. You just need more time. So, after I smooshed the meat around the bag I took out half and warmed it up with BBQ sauce (recipe below) and served pulled pork sandwiches. The other half I warmed up with salsa verde (Herdez brand) and made pork tacos. And tonight my family can decide if they want BBQ or tacos. I love left overs.

I did make a change to my menu; I made a chocolate chess pie instead of the lemon meringue. I wanted something a little easier, with fewer steps. Here are a couple of recipes so people like me might actually read this post.

 

Sonny’s BBQ Sauce
Ingredients:
1 ½ cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup red wine vinegar (scant)
1/3 cup water
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon garlic
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or less for the kids
Several dashes liquid smoke

Whisk it all together and heat on the stove if you want.

Chocolate Chess Pie

½ cup margarine
1 ½ cups sugar
¼ cup cocoa
3 eggs
1 tsp. cornmeal
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. vinegar
Unbaked 9” pie shell

Cream margarine and sugar. Add remaining ingredients, mix well. Turn into pie shell and bake at 325º for about 45 minutes or until firm. Let cool before serving. If it is still warm at serving time add a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This pie is also yummy the next day just out of the fridge. It is chocolate pie, it’s just good.

 

When I came up with the BBQ sauce recipe Sonny’s wasn’t selling their sauce except at their restaurants. When we lived in Florida we went to Sonny’s quite often and we always had sauce packets in the fridge. BBQ isn’t so popular in Idaho. We have a couple of places that we like to go, but (even though it’s a chain) I miss Sonny’s. Now I see that you can buy their sauce on Amazon, but I like the recipe I use. I really don’t feel compelled to spend $17 on BBQ sauce. If you have never been to a Sonny’s, the sauce is sweet, a little tangy and a little spicy, but mostly sweet. I like it that way. We once went to BBQ in Alabama and there was no sugar in their sauce; tomato base with mustard, vinegar and no sugar. No thank you. Yes, I am from the Northwest and no, I don’t know anything about barbecue, but I know what I like. (And that wasn’t it!)

The chocolate chess pie recipe is from my mom. You can leave out the cocoa and have a plain chess pie, which I love covered in fresh blackberry or raspberry syrup. THE taste of summer! Better make a note of that and make some chess pie and berry syrup in a few months. I love summer.