Tag Archives: Cooking

365 Self-Portrait Project (week 46th)

If you celebrate it… – Happy Thanksgiving my friends! Those who wonders – No, we do not have Thanksgiving in Poland 😉 (answer based on a real question.lol)

Anyway, this week is full of me and my hand(s) doing something with the food. I don’t know how that happened but it did. 

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On Friday we had orange honey chicken stir fry for dinner. This dish is not the easiest/fastest to make but it is super delicious and my entire family loves it.   

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On Saturday I had a photo session. It was great! The weather forecast said it’s was going to rain so we were prepared with umbrellas and the right kind of boots, but it actually didn’t and we had fun improvising 🙂

and there was a plenty of time to play with my favorite thing: reflections!   

Sneak peak from this session is on my new website: here and here.

It’s my new baby; I have decided to go public with the photography business. I am very excited  about it!    

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On Sunday I took the picture of my boots (the blue ones) after being partially cleaned… I could not think of a better picture, not only because from the minute I woke up I had the most painful headache ever, but, because that day I was re-living the previous day over, and over again… especially while looking through all the pictures  I had taken. 

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The next day, fixing pasta salad for lunch, with a terrible headache (again) and no energy to think of a better self-portrait.

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Very recently we have started introducing solid food to No.2. 

She does not like it.

I don’t like it.

She is very stubborn and does not want to eat it.

So I give her a face cloth with which I wipe her face. She likes to play with it and bite it, so while she opens her mouth to bite the cloth I shovel the food in it. It does not always work. Most of the food ends up on me, on the floor, on her…  Maybe finger food would be a better idea in her case.

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Getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner.

Making cranberry sauce in orange juice, with some brown sugar, cinnamon and orange peels.

The cranberry sauce is the only dish I really enjoy. I do not care for the rest of the dishes served during the Thanksgiving dinner.   

This year there is only us celebrating… without being  guests, having guests (or the in-laws).       

And because of that I am not cooking a lot and I am not stressing myself out. 

I had the time and the energy to bake two cakes:

– Polish cheesecake, using mix of Mexican and American cheese (now you can call it a multinational dish !!!)

– apple pie for my husband

using Bonnie’s texture: “Signed & Sealed”

Photo Art Friday

 

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Hmm… Instead of a turkey, we roasted a wild duck, and a chicken in case if the duck failed (which of course did fail). Today was the first time I roasted whole chicken and duck. The chicken was delicious while the duck didn’t cook through and it made terrible, greasy mess inside the oven (our dog is going to be very happy in a few minutes).

Right now we are all making a room for some desert and a cup of tea.

I hope you guys enjoyed your Thanksgiving at least as much as I did. 

Give me your best shot at Better in BulkPhotoStory Friday ”Kleinworth

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Homemade Marzipan (Marcepan domowe roboty)

First of all today is my turn for a post to World Moms Blog. Please stop by the blog and join the discussion about breast-feeding in public.

As for my blog I’m talking about MARZIPAN!!!!!!!!

Who doesn’t know what marzipan is or who has never tired it… gosh… you don’t know what you’re missing, people 😉

If you like almonds and sugar you will love marzipan because basically it’s an almond paste with some sugar and extra almond flavor from  almond extract (some people don’t add it, though).

I grew up eating Ritter Sport Dark Chocolate Covered Marzipan and to these days, when I see this chocolate in a grocery store, I can’t stop drooling. It’s really expensive, though, and only the price keeps me from buying it each time I see it. Finally about a month ago I decided to try to make it at home. Yeah… you see how long it takes for me to finally make something.

It took me 5 months to make a cheesecake from the day I had decided to make it. I have an excuse, though. I was researching for the best recipe and this kind of research takes time 😉 

The same was with the marzipan. This time, though, I haven’t found any recipe that would suit me, I just got the idea of how to make it. If you google for “marzipan recipe” you will find many of them starting from very simple ones with only two ingredients to very fancy ones. Some call for rose-water, corn syrup or egg whites. Mine recipe doesn’t have any of those, although it has sugar syrup which I made myself.

It takes quite a bit effort to make it at home but IT’S SO REWARDING when you eat it homemade and it tastes just like the store-bought or even better.

From what I read the quantity of used almonds and sugar should be 2:1 (2 cups almonds, 1 cup sugar), and a few extra ingredients like egg whites or corn syrup to help the paste to stick together.

The thing is that after the paste is made you can actually adjust the amount of sugar to your personal likes. Just like I did.

INGREDIENTS:

2 1/2 cup blanched almonds, whole

1 cup powdered sugar, plus more for shaping the paste (I made my own by blending regular white sugar until the sugar turned to powder)

2 Tbsp sugar syrup, (I made my own sugar syrup as a substitute for corn syrup), honey can be used instead 

1 Tbsp almond extract

DIRECTIONS:

In a high-speed blender or food processor grind the almonds until they turn into almond meal. In my case I used high-speed blender and those almonds didn’t turn powdery/floury. They created a sticky paste that my blender couldn’t work with anymore or I would’ve burned its engine if I continued to work with it. That’s why you can see small pieces of almonds on the picture above. That doesn’t bother me at all. It gives an extra texture and doesn’t change the flavor at all.

After the almonds are all blended move the paste/almond meal into a sauce pan and add powdered sugar. Turn the heat to medium, and stirring constantly with wooden spoon, cook the paste until all the sugar melts. Mix in sugar/corn syrup and stirring constantly cook it over medium high until the mixture starts sticking together into a ball around your spoon. It might take 15 to 20 minutes. Close to the end add almond extract.

You can always taste it and adjust the amount of sugar and almond extract to your likes.

Here I will quote one comment I have found under a marzipan recipe at Smitten Kitchen:

I mix everything first in the sauce pan, then apply moderate heat while continuing to stir until the mass sticks in one ball. The trick is to heat the mixture enough to draw the oil out of the almonds while stirring. Too much heat will evaporate too much moisture causing the paste to get crumbly. Try to rescue by adding more water again after turning off the heat and then let it sit in a cool place (‘fridge) for a day or two.

I did not wait a day or two. I waited until the mixture turned cool and then I portioned into 5 parts. Using an aluminum foil sprinkled with a small amount of powdered sugar I rolled each part into a long log, one inch wide.

Shaping is your personal preference as well. The paste could be shaped into small balls, rectangles, squares, what ever you like. I roll it into a log as it was easy to store.

My recipe doesn’t have eggs in it so the marzipan could be stored in a room temperature. I keep mine in a fridge so it doesn’t get too soft. Whenever I want to eat it I just cut a small piece off of the log and put it back to the fridge.

For the purpose of this post I cut one log into a small pieces

and ate them one by one while taking pictures

the remaining two logs I cut into pieces and covered into dark chocolate

and they tasted like heaven! just like the Ritter Sport brand that I used to eat in Poland.

It wasn’t any fancy special chocolate. I simply melted over water bath 3 oz of regular dark chocolate and pour the it over the cut pieces of marzipan. I didn’t care much about the look. It was all about the flavor and it was PERFECT.

Btw, the recipe is at some point approved by husband… and that is AMAZING 🙂 he ate half of the chocolate covered piece and the next day he gobbled up 5 whole wheat pancakes with marzipan pieces in them.

Have a great evening, my friends.

You might also like:

Whole wheat blueberry marzipan pancakes

Yellow mango – avocado salsa (with coconut oil)

I love Spring, its richness (and low prices) of so many fresh fruits and veggies.

It makes me want to eat fresh and raw. I am not any near to say I eat raw a lot. To be able to say that I would have to stop eating all that home-baked breads and pies that I like so much (maybe too much), ah… and ice cream.

Sometimes, I wish my husband wasn’t such a carnivore, but that is his choice… I prefer to spend a little more time in the kitchen preparing two dinners (or lunches) just so I don’t have to eat meat. I think it’s worth it on a long run… and I feel so much better when I don’t eat it. I am not a vegetarian (I used to, though). I spoiled myself with a good and flavorful homemade chicken stock… and all kinds of soups made with it 🙂

Anyway,

once, after a long trip to a grocery store, which is always a challenge with two kids, we came back exhausted. Husband had quick leftover lunch (with meat) and I was planning to go through the afternoon snacking on some almonds. It didn’t work that way. I was too hungry. Unloading all the groceries I’ve decided to make a salad.
I thought, I came up with a great recipe. Later browsing the Internet I saw I wasn’t the first who invented mango-avocado-tomato salad… and that it actually has a name already: “mango salsa”.

I thought I found my “signature dish” 😉

Ingredients:

1 avocado

1 yellow mango

1 Roma tomato

1/4 red onion

2 Tbsp raisins

2 tsp coconut oil

1 Tbsp almonds, (optional)

salt

pepper

Directions are easy 🙂

Cut everything into pieces (except raisins) and mix with coconut oil. Add salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped almonds.

Enjoy!

I have to add that the coconut oil in this recipe is a MUST!!!


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Homemade and fresh: Coconut Milk

Coconut milk, delicious, creamy and thick, that’s how I like it… with a hit of sweetness.

It’s been a while since I bought coconut or almond milk. I like to make my own and the way I like it. It’s not only cheaper but it’s made fresh and it taste better.

Normally I buy peeled coconut which I have to open on the top and scoop out the white soft part. I keep the coconut water for smoothies or soups.

It’s pretty hard work to open it but it’s really worth it.

Most recipes for homemade coconut milk call for:

3 cups of water

1 coconut (the white soft part)

Of course, this way the milk is less thick and you get more for your buck.

I normally use only:

2 cups water, filtered,

1 coconut,

1 Tbsp agave nectar

This way I get more thick milk (if I don’t strain it, it’s even thicker).

The white part after it’s scooped out needs to be washed.

Then blend everything together, add whatever sweetener you use and blend a little more.

Enjoy or store in the fridge for further use.

It stays fresh for up to 4 days in the fridge.

All the recipes I found online say that you need to strain it after blending. I do not do that and I LOVE IT that way. It’s really thick and creamy. Yumm!!!

I think that if you have Blendtec, Ninja or Vitamix kind of blender it does pretty good job in blending and you don’t need to strain it but it’s only my opinion.

I can drink it just as it is without anything else.

Have a wonderful Monday and stay thirsty, my friends 🙂

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The Ultimate Mother’s Day Breakfast – healthy and with love

I have never been big on gifts. For any occasion. B-day, Christmas, Women’s Day or Mother’s Day. Maybe because I grew up in a household where those things weren’t that important. My mom prefers to receive a living plant than a bunch of dead-in-a-few-days flowers. Maybe because of her I’m the same way.

But every single year no matter what we celebrated the most important thing was to be nice to the person who was celebrating her or his day.

A simple hug or a few words assuring that you remember.

So for those who still haven’t decide what to give to their mothers on Mother’s Day, I say: “make her a delicious breakfast to bed. and give her the day off”. She’ll appreciate it more than anything!

If it’s homemade and a little healthier than usual it’s even better.

Something like whole wheat buttermilk blueberry banana pancakes with turbinado sugar.

I assure you, that will make her day!

Recipe:

dry ingredients:

1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour,

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder,

1 tsp. baking soda,

4 tsp. turbinado sugar,

1/4 tsp. salt,

1/4 cup flaxseed meal,

wet ingredients:

1 1/2 cup buttermilk (homemade will work great)*

2 1/2 Tbsp. butter, melted, cooled,

2 eggs,

fruit filling

1 cup fresh blueberries,

1 ripped banana, sliced

Directions:

In one bowl mix very well dry ingredients.

In second bowl mix very well wet ingredients.

Combine dry ingredients with wet. Do not overmix it. Now wait for at least 10 minutes for the batter to rest and let the baking soda and powder to start working its magic.

In the meantime heat the griddle on medium high. Melt about 1/4 Tbsp butter on it.

Sliced you banana so it’s ready to use.

When the griddle is ready spoon about 1/4 cup of the batter on it, more for bigger pancake.

Now sprinkle it with a few blueberries and sliced banana. (picture below does not show bananas because it’s from a different recipe, but you get the idea 🙂 )

Wait until bubbles appear on the top and the batter doesn’t look runny anymore.

Flip on the other side and fried for another minute or until light brown.

Garnish with the leftover fruits, maple syrup, honey, jam, icing sugar or whipped cream… . Whatever is your mother’s favorite topping 🙂 

I do like mine plain served with black coffee.

All-purpose flour will work if you do not have whole wheat pastry flour. You can use regular white or brown sugar in place of turbinado sugar.

I used to make them without that healthy twist before and they looked like that: 

* Homemade buttermilk:

you’ll need milk and fresh lemon juice. For each cup of milk you need 1 Tbsp of lemon juice. So for this recipe you need:

1 1/2 cup of milk

1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice (2 Tbsp. are fine, too)

Pour the lemon juice into the milk. VERY GENTLY stir just one time. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes before using.

Happy Mother’s Day!!!

Sumo's Sweet Stuff

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MyMeatlessMondays

Delicious creaminess: avocado-spinach-cucumber smoothie

Fast and easy with not a lot to prepare before and to clean after… . That is my motto these days if it comes to food. If it tastes delicious it’s even better 😉

Having this motto in my mind I came up with a super delicious and creamy avocado-spinach-cucumber smoothie. I had no idea how good cucumberis for us and how much freshness it brings when blended into a smoothie.

Yesterday I fixed myself this smoothie for dinner.

I’m trying to lose my extra pounds that are seem to hold on to me for dear life. No wonder… if you look at those pictures below you’ll see not only the smoothie but a fresh-baked apple pie. I say, if it’s made with brown sugar and whole wheat flour it means it’s good for me and I feel less guilty eating it, untill I look at the mirror… .

btw, it’s a kid friendly dish with no questions asked.

Anyway,

I ate a whole jar of that smoothie and after I finished it I was THAT close to make another one but then I thought: “pie or another jar of smoothie”. Pie won.

This morning I couldn’t wait to fix myself the same smoothie with a few changes. 

Ingredients:

3/4 cup vanilla yogurt, (plain will do just fine, but using it you may want to add more honey or dates) *

1 big orange

1 avocado

1/2 medium english cucumber,

BIG handful spinach

2 Tbsp honey (or more, if you like) **

* if it’s too thick add a smal amount of pineapple juice (or whatever juice you like)

** the second time (today) I made it using dates (about 12) instead of the honey. Liked it better with the honey.


Blend it all together until creamy and smooth. It will take more time to get that consistency if you’re using dates. That’s why I didn’t like it that much as with honey because I ended up with very small, not blended very well pieces of dates in my smoothie.

… and that’s how we were working today in order to take those delicious pictures 😉

The weather is just gorgeous here, perfect for a green and refreshing treat like this smoothie!

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Baked potato-kale soup with sweet cornbread

Our very needy no 2 has reached a point where she doesn’t want to fall asleep or relax without somebody holding her all day long. It got to a point when my back said NO MORE! PLEASE!!!

A few days ago our no 2 was screaming her lungs out while I was trying to ignore her. Our no 1 got upset as well just because no 2 was upset!

Seeing that miserable family portrait my husband digged out an old swing chair.

A day later he went out and bought batteries.

I’m saved!

And finally I have two free hands to write posts and comments 🙂

Yeay!

But I need to be fast, these days. Those quite times do not last long.

So,

I made a soup. I made it twice, so far. It tasted better the first time I made it. I think I overcomplicated it the second time, so I’ll share the simplest recipe.

I am too lazy (or I do not have much time these days) to experiment with cooking kale or spinach so I simply throw it into a jar with a smoothie or soup, blend it all together and call it good food.

That’s exactly what I did with this soup. The only thing you have to really prepare here are the potatoes. The rest of the ingredients don’t have to be cooked at all.

Ingredients:

2 medium red potatoes, baked with skins *

1 3/4 cup warm milk,

4 oz cheddar cheese,

1/4 yellow sweet onion, peeled

2 big leaves kale (about a cup)

salt and pepper to taste

plain yogurt (optional for garnish)

1 Tbsp almonds, chopped (optional for garnish)

 

* this soup taste awesome when it’s made from potatoes cooked on the grill (wrapped in an aluminum foil with some salt and butter and cooked on the grill for about 25-30 minutes).

Directions:

Throw everything to a blender and blend the heck out of it. Garnish with yogurt or almonds and serve.

If you want that soup to be very warm or hot it needs to be transferred to a pot and heated up.

I served it with homemade sweet cornbread. I used this recipe to which I added 1/4 cup chia seeds and 1/4 flax-seed meal.

My husband LOVES  Marie Callender’s cornbread so I was hoping for somehow close final effect but it wasn’t that good. The taste was sweet and pretty comforting, I would say, but the texture was too grainy. I think I used the wrong cornmeal. I’m not sure. I will try to make it again but definitely I’m going to use a different recipe. 

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Mixed fruit and spinach Smoothie

I’ve had many dreams about smoothies lately.

Not every single night although I’m not sure. Maybe I just don’t remember.

In my dreams I create smoothies. I mix all kids of fruits and veggies trying to figure out what taste the best. It’s silly and absurd. Oh well, welcome to pregnancy – a period of the most craziest dreams in the entire life. I mean, dreaming about smoothies is nothing compare to what my dreams look like for the most of my pregnancy.

Sometimes I can’t wait for the morning to start so I can have my smoothie. 

So far I’ve made many spinach smoothies but this one seems to be very tasty in my daughters’ opinion. The thing is that I prefer mine to be a little bit tart. Almost always I add lemon juice or very sour apple to achieve that taste… sometimes I avoid adding banana because its too much sweet for me.

Last week we went to Olive Garden – my husband’s favorite restaurant (and I have really no idea why). I wasn’t hungry so I ordered their strawberry smoothie… and let me tell you… that was one of the worst smoothies I have ever had. On the other hand my husband loved it. It was so sweet I could swear they use 1lb of sugar for this single glass.

Maybe it wasn’t that bad but me being so accustomed to not so sweet smoothies at all made it oversweet in taste.

Back to my green smoothie.

The last time I made it it was bitter-sweet and both me and my daughter loved it.

These days my daughter is so used to having those smoothies that everytime I’m taking pictures of what I just fixed (thinking it’s a good recipe to share on my blog), she stays very close to me hoping for a quick sip (or two). I don’t know if she really likes the taste of it or she just thinks that if I’m giving so much attention to this glass it has to be something good… Right!? 

As long as she eats it saying “yummy” while massaging her belly I’m happy 🙂 (yes, she really does that).

Recipe:

1/2 cup plain yogurt (more if needed)

1 kiwi

1/2 cup strawberries

1 apple, washed, cored, with skin (granny smith for more tart taste)

1 banana

lemon juice from 1/2 lemon (its about 1 Tbsp, depends on the size of the lemon)

2 tbsp chia seeds

1 big handful baby spinach

If that smoothie is too tart I would add a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup but for us it worked perfect without it.

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Cheesecake cookies and New Year’s Resolution

You might wonder what cheesecake cookies have in common with New Year’s Resolution. Well, at the end of the last year I promised myself that I will not have any resolutions for this new year. I actually don’t need them to feel better about myself, I decided. When the New Year came I actually changed my mind.

My first resolution was to start 366 Self-Portrait Project.

The second one was to cook and to bake more NEW things. Things I have never made before. I remember, our first year of marriage was pretty boring if we talk about food. I was terrified by the scale of my husband’s pickiness. When I found something he would like and enjoy to eat I cooked it for weeks, with pasta now and then. It’s much better now. He is more open to new things and even if he doesn’t like them he always tastes it and gives me an honest opinion.

This year I’ve decided to be more open to new things myself. It’s not about my husband. It’s about me pushing the envelope in trying to cook and bake things I’ve been scared or intimidated by. One of those things was sloppy joe, for example. I made it a few weeks ago and I don’t know what I was so scared about in this dish.

Being honest with you this year is all about cheesecake. I am going to try to make more new things, that’s for sure, but what I really want is to make a cheesecake. An edible one. I have in mind something like White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake. Just thinking about it give me goosebumps (and a heartburn!!!).

So here we go.

With baby steps I started from cheesecake cookies. I couldn’t believe how easy and fast they are to make.

Ingredients:

5 Tbsp. butter, softened

1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 egg

2 Tbsp. milk

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

In a medium bowl blend butter, brown sugar and flour with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Put 3/4 cup of the mixture aside for topping.

Press remaining mixture into an 8×8 baking dish sprayed lightly with cooking spray, bake for 15 minutes in 350 F.

In meantime, combine sugar and cream cheese. Mix until smooth. Beat in egg, milk, lemon juice and vanilla.

Spread over the baked crust and sprinkle with remaining brown sugar (crumbs) mixture.

Bake for 25 minutes in 350 F.

Before cutting chill it for about 1 hour.

Cut into 2×2 inch squares.

Quick Homemade Strawberry Jam – toddler approved

One of my daughter’s favorite food is bread with jam. Since she stopped drinking formula and we started solid foods she went through a stages where she refused to eat this or that for a months. First it was milk. She didn’t want to have nothing to do with milk. Any kind: almond, coconut, soy, cow. NON. Yogurt followed. Now she eats only one brand, vanilla flavored, and she is back to drinking cow milk. The only thing she likes from the start (and it has never changed for a minute) is bread with jam. Once or twice she got picky about the jam, though. From the start she’s liked strawberry and she’d had times when she didn’t want to eat apricot or raspberry jams, but those passed and now she is happy with whatever jam I give her.

She’s been meat eater since she had her first bite of meat and she never turns away from a slice of ham 🙂 or a hot-dog (yeah, I know, how bad!!!).

Anyway,

Last week we run out of jam. Again I didn’t see any point to go back to the store just for that one thing. I looked in my fridge and my freezer and discovered a frozen strawberries and peaches. I thought those would be perfect to fix some homemade jam. I had never done that before and now I wonder why. It’s really easy and fast and hundred times healthier.

Actually there is no recipe for the jam I made.

I just throw about 15 frozen strawberries and 6 slices of frozen peaches to the pot and cooked them on a very low heat until they were soft and the juices started to appear. I stir them a few times and cook a little bit longer. When all the fruits got soft I mashed them with a fork.

And the mixture looke like that:

I added juice from a half of lemon and cooked it for about 10 to 15 minutes. At the and I added a tablespoon of arrowroot to make it more thick.

After the mixture cooled down I added a few tablespoons of honey ( I think, it was 2) and mixed it very well. No, I didn’t cook it together. Honey is the best raw. What I mean by raw is RAW honey and a honey that is not cooked or mixed in hot mixtures. For a months I hadn’t been eating RAW honey because I though (or because somebody told me) that it’s not safe for pregnant women to consume it. Instead I was feeding myself that garbage that is called honey but it’s actually a pure sugar with no other values that just being sugar. Here is an interesting article called “Tests show Most Store Honey Isn’t Honey”. I highly recommend reading it.

Back to my jam. After I made it, it tasted a little bit too tart (because of the lemon juice) but I fought the urge to add more honey knowing that in a few hours or the next day it will get to the right sweetness, and I was right. I pour it to jar after my old jam and store in a fridge. The next day it tasted just right! Not too sweet like those store-bought and with a little freshness that the lemon juice added to it. It was delicious and those pictures prove it:

btw,

Happy Valentine’s Day my friends!!!

or if some of your prefer this version (which actually used to be mine for years), there you go:

Anyway, have a great evening, everybody!

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