Sunday, February 27, 2011

Warm Blueberry Soup and Soup Link Party

**I'm extending the THRIVE cookbook give away.  If you have not entered yet you have until Friday March 4th.  Check it out here!

If you have never tried soup made from fruit you have got to give it a try.  This soup is fantastic on a cold winter day for dinner, or any day for breakfast.
Warm Blueberry Soup
2 cups THRIVE Freeze Dried blueberries (rehydrate in 2 cups HOT water, until soft and plump)
3 cups water
3 T THRIVE white sugar
1 ½  T lemon juice
¼  t ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 t cornstarch
½ t vanilla

low fat vanilla yogurt for topping (or THRIVE Vanilla Yogurt bites)
granola for topping (or Grapenuts)

In a large sauce pan stir sugar and corn starch together. Add to water. Stir until no lumps remain.  Add blueberries, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt. Bring soup to a gentle boil.  Reduce and simmer until 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla.

Gently mash some of the berries with a potato masher and serve topped with yogurt and granola
I was inspired by this post

It's your turn.  This week's link party is all about soup.   

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Polka Dot Fruit Leather

We love fruit leather.  I like to feed it to my kids because it is real fruit.
2 cups THRIVE Freeze Dried Blueberries (or other Freeze Dried Fruit)
1 cup hot water
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)

1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce  (I make my own apple sauce so that is what I used)

1.        Make Blueberry Puree
Put the hot water in a blender, add the THRIVE Freeze Dried Blueberries.  Let sit until fruit is soft and completely rehydrated.  Add sugar, if desired. Blend until very smooth.
2.        Spread applesauce out onto a lightly greased lined dehydrator tray to 1/4-inch thickness, or if you are going to dehydrate in your oven on a 13 x 7 jelly roll pan that is lined with a Silpat or saran wrap.  I find a large offset spatula works well, but if you don’t have one spread the applesauce out evenly as best you can with the back of a spoon.
3.       “Decorate” the applesauce with the blueberry sauce using plastic squeeze bottles. We really like to make polka dots, but you could make any design.

If using a Dehydrator:
Place the prepared tray in the dehydrator and set the machine to 135 degrees F. Run the dehydrator for 4 hours or more until the fruit leather is no longer tacky and completely dry. The amount of time necessary depends on the thickness and amount of sugar in the fruit.

Remove the fruit leather from the tray and cut into approximately 2-inch wide strips. Store rolled up in wax paper in an airtight container. Should keep for weeks, if not months.
Yield: 1 12-inch square sheet (4 or 5 rolls)
Prep-time: 10 minutes
Dehydrating-time: 4 hours or more

If using your oven:
Preheat oven to 120 degrees Or the lowest setting your oven allows. Line a 13 x 7 inch jelly roll pan with plastic wrap or a silpat mat and pour the puree on top. Spread evenly over the pan with an angled spatula. Place in oven and stick a wooden spoon in the door to keep it slightly ajar. Cook 5 to 8 hours, depending on your oven’s temperature, or until the puree is no longer sticky and has a smooth texture.  Take it out of the oven and cool. Cut into strips and roll up.

 Inspired by this post

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hot Chocolate Cookies

Recently I have seen quite a few recipes for chocolate cookies made with powdered hot chocolate.  I think the originator of the idea is thepioneerwoman and her triple threat cookies.   Then I went to the Shelf Reliance convention, and during the recipe exchange Tiffany Fairbanks gave out the Triple Threat Cookie recipe adapted to use THRIVE ingredients.  I decided it was a must make.  I have not have good luck with the butter powder in cookies. So I use real butter.  Love it. One note: be sure to remove the cookies promptly from the oven and then let them sit. If you bake to long they get very hard.

Hot Chocolate Cookies
adapted from thepioneerwoman
1 cup butter
1 cup THRIVE sugar
⅔ cup THRIVE brown sugar
2 T THRIVE egg powder plus 4 T water (or 2 eggs)
¼ cup water
1 t vanilla
3 ¼ cup THRIVE flour
¾ cup THRIVE chocolate drink mix
1 t THRIVE salt
1 ¼ t THRIVE baking soda
¾ c each white, milk and semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream butter, and sugars until fluffy.  Beat in egg powder, water, and vanilla. Add  all of the dry ingredients and mix well.  Fold in chocolate chips.  
Spoon onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 350  for 9 to 11 minutes until edges are golden brown.  Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Carribean Spice Thai Noodle Soup

Thanks to Rachel Shaffer for sharing this recipe at the recent Shelf Reliance Convention.  I love this Thai soup, it is a great easy, and fast addition to our regular dinner menu.  I think that next time I make it I will leave out the Siracha (a red garlicky spicy chili paste)  and just add it to adult portions at the table. I think my kids will eat it better if it is not so spicy. If you have never used Siracha, it is found in most grocery stores (my grocer store carries it and I live in the country so your grocery store probably has it. Find it on the Asian isle by the soy sauce)

Caribbean Spice Thai Noodle Soup
8 cups Thrive Chicken Broth prepared
1 Tablespoon Siracha
4 Tablespoons THRIVE Dehydrated Carrots
1cup THRIVE Freeze Dried Mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups Thrive Chopped Chicken
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Cloves
1/4 tsp Coriander
1/4 tsp Allspice
1/4 tsp Cardamom
1/2 Tablespoon Sea Salt
1 Tablespoon White Pepper
1Can Coconut milk

For Serving
1/4 cup fresh Cilantro, chopped (optional)
2 limes cut into wedges
2 shallots, thickly sliced
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
2 cups bean sprouts
1 package, rice noodles
Fish sauce and Sriacha to taste

In a large pot, add the first 7 ingredients. heat on Medium High until meat and vegetables are tender and well hydrated. Add in spices (next 7 items) Simmer 10 min. Prepare the rice noodles. Add coconut milk to the soup, continue heating. Divide noodles into 6 to 8 large soup bowls.  top the noodles with bean sprouts, shallots, green onions, and cilantro. Ladle soup mix over bowls. Serve with lie wedges, fish sauce and siracha to taste.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Healthy Snack Mix Link Party

One of the things I most love about using freeze dried fruits and veggies is how easy it is to get my kids to eat healthy snacks.  Here are two of my favorite snack mixes.  They are super easy to make and when I feed them to my kids I know they are eating real fruits and vegetables, unlike the popular "fruit snacks", which are really just candy.

1-2-3 Ranch Snack Mix
1 cup THRIVE Freeze Dried Corn
1 cup THRIVE Freeze Dried Peas
1 cup THRIVE Freeze Dried Green Beans
1 cup gold fish crackers
1 Tablespoon oil
1 Tablespoon dry ranch dressing mix

Put all ingredients in a covered container. Gently shake until well coated.  Store in an air tight container.

Almost a Sundae Snack Mix
1 cup THRIVE Freeze Dried Banana Slices
1 cup THRIVE dehydrated Pineapple
1 cup THRIVE Freeze Dried Strawberries
1 cup roasted salted peanuts

Put all ingredients in a covered container (I used a zip lock bag). Gently shake until well mixed.  Store in an air tight container.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Frozen Hot Chocolate-and how to use THRIVE Chocolate Drink Mix

We love hot chocolate.  Every winter I know I need to stock up because my husband and kids drink a TON of it.  But one of our favorite creating is Frozen Hot Chocolate.  Okay we did not come up with the idea, but a while ago Oprah featured it and my Mom found a mix for it and we all tried it.  Well we really like it.  My enterprising husband says "I think I could make that" And he did.  It is really very easy.  Ice, drink mix, water and a blender and you are there.  I have included some info on other ways to use your chocolate drink mix.

Frozen Hot Chocolate
My husband created this recipe a while ago after we tasted the frozen hot chocolate that Oprah made famous a few years ago.   The consistency should be like that of a Wendy’s frosty.
2 cups ice
¼ cup chocolate drink mix
½ cup water

Add all ingredients to blender. Blend well.  Serve.

Other THRIVE Chocolate Drink Mix Recipes:
Hot Coco
To make 1 quart: Add 1 cup Chocolate drink mix powder to 4 cups hot water. Stir well. We usually use our hot chocolate machine. Love it when making hot chocolate for the entire family.

To make 1 cup. Add 2 ½ tablespoons to chocolate drink powder to 1 cup hot chocolate. 

Chocolate Milk:  To make 1 gallon
In a 1 gallon picture, add 3 cup chocolate drink mix to 4 cups very hot water (we usually use boiling). Stir until completely dissolved.  Add enough cold water* to make 1 gallon.  Refrigerate until cold.  Serve cold. 
*If you want to drink it sooner instead of adding cold water add ice to make 1 gallon.

All about THRIVE Chocolate Drink Mix
Shelf Life Sealed Shelf Life    25 years*
Opened Shelf Life            2 years*
*Shelf life based on optimal storage conditions.

Sugar, whey, non-fat non instant milk, non dairy creamer (coconut oil and/or soya oil, corn syrup solids, sodium caseinate, dipotassium phosphate, mono and diglycerides, soy lecithin), cocoa (processed with alkali), guar and xanthan gums, salt, vitamins A/D blend (Vitamin A Palminate, malodextrin, vitamin D3), natural and artificial flavors.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Freeze Dried Onions vs. Dehydrated Onions

Just think, no more chopping onions.  I love onions but my husband likes onions to be chopped very finely.  I do NOT like chopping onions. Do you see the problem?  I started using dry onions and the problem is solved. No more picking out all of the onions.

Shelf Reliance sells two different kind of onions. Dehydrated and Freeze Dried.  What is the difference?  I made this table so you could compare the two.
If you want to see the detail in the photos click on them.

Dehydrated OnionsFreeze Dried Onions

Open 2 years

Open 2 years
IngredientsWhite OnionWhite Onion
Price as of 2/11/11$12.55 for #10 can$17.39 for #10 can
AppearanceFinely chopped onionsTiny puffs
Add hot water, let soften

Add hot water, let soften
GMO FreeYesYes
Gluten FreeYesYes
MSG FreeYesYes

So the sum up. We have tried both and like both. I think in our food storage we are going to store the dehydrated. Why?  Because the freeze dried float when you make soup, and it kind of wierds me out. (My husband says I am crazy, no one would notice floating onions but me). 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Carmel Apple Cookies and Apple Chips vs. Apple Slices

Don't forget to enter the giveaway!  You have until Saturday to enter. 

Carmel Apple Oatmeal Cookies- Recipe adapted from Cooking Light
These cookies are crisp on the outside and chewy in the middle, a nice change from oatmeal raisin.
¾  cup granulated sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
6 Tablespoons butter softened
 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg (1 Tablespoon egg powder plus 2 tablespoons water)
1 ½  cups flour
1 ½ cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
½  teaspoon baking soda
½  teaspoon salt
¾  cup THRIVE Dried Apple Slices, roughly chopped
¾ cup caramel bits (these are sold by the chocolate chips under the Heath or Score brand names)

Preheat oven 350 degrees
Cream sugars and butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg beat until combine.
Add dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add apple and caramel bits. Drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment. Flatten balls slightly with hand. Bake at 350 for 9 minutes.

So what is the story with dry apples?
Shelf Reliance offers two apples options in the THRIVE food line. Apple chips and apple slices, both are dehydrated. So what is the difference? Well we did a few experiments at my house and here is how it turned out.  I must say that in the end we prefer....drum roll.....both.  I like the apple slices, and my husband likes the apple chips.  I have eaten both as a snack and to bake with and they are both good.  We have decided that in our food storage we will store both.  But here is all the info so you can choose for yourself.

Apple ChipsApple Slices
IngredientsApples, Sodium Sulfate100% Organic Granny Smith Apples
Shelf LifeSealed Shelf Life: 30 years*
Opened Shelf Life: 18 months
* Based on optimal storage conditions
Sealed Shelf Life: 25 years*
Opened Shelf Life: 1 year*
* Based on optimal storage conditions
Very light, almost white

Dark brown, especially when hydrated
TasteClean apple tasteCrisp apple taste
Re-hydrationAdd boiling water, let sit 15 minutesAdd boiling water, let sit 15 minutes

Monday, February 14, 2011

Shout Out

There are a lot of great bloger out there doing a lot of great thing with their food and food storage. Here are a few of my favoirtes from this week.

1. Make your own sprinkles.  What a fun ideas is this and super easy too. From Brave Tart

2. Make your own Berry Newtons.  The recipe even uses whole wheat flour. Awesome! From All Day I Dreamed of Food

3.  Chocolate Pancakes.  Yum Chocolate for breakfast.  From 5 Second Rule

4. Chocolate Mint Cookies from Prudence Pennywise

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Link Party--Food Storage Breakfast

This weeks link party is focusing on breakfast foods made from food storage; If you have something amazing you make for breakfast from ingredients in your food storage please link them up.

Be sure to grab a button and let everyone know you are cooking with your food storage.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Giveaway "I Can't Believe It's Food Storage" By Crystal Godfrey

Today I reached a goal I have been working on for a long time so I decided I/we needed to celebrate. As a special celebration Cooking With My Food Storage treat, I am having a giveaway. 

One lucky reader will on of my favorite food storage cookbooks. Crystal Godfry's fabulous book I Can't Believe It's Food Storage

If you are new to food storage or want to know more about the basics this is the book for you. 

So how do you enter? Comment on this post for each of the following things you do.

1.  Become a follower of this blog

2. Tell me what THRIVE product you would most like to have in your food storage.

3. Tweet, post on facebook, and blog about the giveaway. 

**Make sure to leave a separate comment for each thing you do.

This give a way closes on Saturday February 19, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.

Good Luck.

Homemade Tortillas and Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas

My sister taught me how to make tortillas when I first went away to school.  But I never loved how they turned out. It seems they were always a little bit crumbly and not quite as delicious as I wanted them to be.   I recently ran across a recipe that was a little bit diferent. It uses both white and whole wheat flour. It also uses both vegetable oil and butter.  We love it. It is easy to make, easy to store, and not crumbly.

Printable Recipe

Flour Tortillas
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons vegetalbe oil
2 tablespoons butter, softened

  1. In a large bowl mixing bowl, wisk together, the flours, salt and baking powder.
  2. Add oil and butter.  Using your hands rub the fat into the flour, until it has the texture of cornmeal. 
  3. Add 1 1/4 cup warm water. Mix well
  4. Knead for 2 minutes.  The dough should be soft and pliable. It should not be sticky.
  5. Cover dough with saran wrap or a wet towel (you don't want it to dry out) and let dough rest for about 10 minutes.
  6. Form dough into 12 balls.  
  7. Heat a dry (don't grease it) cast iron skillet over medium heat.
  8. On a lightly floured surface flatten one dough ball and using a rolling pin roll into a think 8 inch circle.  
  9. Place tortilla in the hot pan.  cook for 1 minute and flip over. It should have brown spots.  Cook for 1 minuet on the other side.  Remove from pan and cover with a clean towel.  Repeat for remainder of the dough balls.  
I was inspired by a recipe in the book DIY Delicious by Vanessa Barrington.  It is a great book. If you have not looked at it you should!

Mushroom Spinach Quesadilla

makes 2 Quesadillas
4 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup freeze dried spinach
1/2 cup freeze dried mushrooms
Feta Cheese
4 Homemade tortillas

1. Rehydrate spiach and mushrooms by placing them in a 2 cup measuring cup and covering with hot water for 3-5 minutes.  You will know it is rehydrated when you pinch a peice of spinach between your fingers and it is soft all the way through. Drain off the water. Squeeze the mushrooms and spinach in your had to remove excess water.
2. On a tortilla spread 1/2 the spinach and mushrooms. Sprinkle liberally with feta cheese. Top with second tortilla.

3. Microwave for 30 seconds until cheese is melted. Cut with pizza cutter in quarters. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Valentines Sugar Cookies

When my husband was going up every year at Valentines Day his mother would let each of her children (she has 6) invite over 2 friends to bake and decorate cookies.  It is one of my husbands favorite memories.   I am carrying on the tradition but I am not quite as adventurous as my mother in law. I bake my cookies in advance an only let me kids each invite one friend.  This year we used some of my THRIVE freeze dried fruits to decorate the cookies.  That make the cookies a health food.  Right?

Best Ever Soft Sugar Cookies                                                                                       
2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. butter or if you must shortning
3 eggs
1 c. milk
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. almond extract
About 7 or 8 c, flour

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together sugar, and butter or shortning.
2. Add egg, milk, and almond extract. Mix to combine.
3. Add salt, soda, and baking powder. Mix to combine
4. Add flour to make a soft dough.
5. Roll out a little on the thick side.  Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 min.

My Favorite Butter Cream Frosting--Thanks for sharing this recipe with me Ann
½ cup butter or margarine, softened
¼ cup shortening
3 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. corn syrup *don't leave this out it is crucial
2 tsp. milk

1. Mix butter and shortening together with hand mixer until creamy.
2. Gradually add powdered sugar. Beat until smooth.
3. Add corn syrup and milk. Beat until smooth.

BBQ Pizza

One of the wonderful things in life is BBQ Pizza. There is something about the tangy BBQ sauce and the melted mozzarella cheese that is fantastic.  This recipe is great with chicken but I find that it is a fantastic use of left over BBQ pork. 

1 pizza crust
1/2 c  BBQ sauce
1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 cup left over BBQ Pork, or 1 cup FD chicken re-hydrated and mixed with mixed with bbq sauce. 

1/2-2 c mozzarella cheese
1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped

Preheat oven to 400. If you have a pizza stone (they make the best pizzas), put it in the oven to preheat as well.  Remove hot pizza stone from oven spread with melted butter and/or sprinkle with corn meal. Press dough into shape on the hot stone. Be careful it is HOT.  Return to oven cook for 10 minutes. Spread bbq sauce over dough, you want it to thinly cover the crust. Spread pork or chicken over the sauce and then top with cheese. 
Arrange onion slices over sauce.  Bake 10 minutes or until crust is golden brown. (That time is for a pizza stone - if you are using a cookie sheet, it may be a shorter time) Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and slice into 8 wedges.

I got inspiration for this recipe from this post about BBQ Chicken Pizza at The Sisters Cafe

Pizza Crust
1 1/4 cup hot water
2 1/2 tsp yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 table spoon oil
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups flour
melted butter

  1. Preheat oven with pizza stone in it to 400 degrees. 
  2. Pour hot water in mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast to dissolve. Add sugar, salt,  oil. Stir to combine
  3. Gradually add flour.  Mix well. Knead in mixer for 5 minutes.  The dough should be firm not tacky and soft to the touch.  Let dough rest in bowl until the pizza stone is preheated.
  4. Remove pizza stone from oven and brush with melted  butter
  5. Form crust on stone. Be careful  the stone is hot.  The dough should be spread thin enough to cover the entire stone.  
  6. Bake crust with out toppings for 10 minutes. 
  7. Add toppings bake 10 minutes.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Instant Milk Comparision

  I get a lot of questions about Thrive Instant milk.  Instant milk is designed for drinking. It is easy to mix up and easier to drink then powdered milk.  Hopefully this chart will help you better understand Instant Milk. Thanks Elise for sharing!  

1% milk
Thrive Instant Milk
Morning Moo Milk
Cost Per Gallon
$2.00 on Sale
Aprox $3.60
Aprox $1.81
8 g
Shelf Life
1-2 weeks
25 years (2 years open)
25 years (1 year open)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Amazing Blueberry Muffins-Make your own mix

A few years ago I found this recipe in the Taste of Home Magazine.  I tried it and I have loved it.  It is easy to make and a great way to start the day.  I have a couple of muffin recipes that I make pretty often, for those recipes I make my own mixes.  Let's be honest some morning measuring flour and sugar are beyond me, but I can dump a mix into a bowl and stir.  I usually use frozen blueberries for this recipe but Freeze Dried Blueberries that have been rehydrated in hot water work well too.


Bonnie’s Blueberry Muffins

Courtesy of Heritage House, Chesaning, Michigan

Printable Recipe
2 cups all-purpose flour
⅔ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
⅓ cup butter or margarine, melted
 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries or freeze dried *

Additional butter or margarine, melted
Additional Sugar

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl beat eggs. Blend in milk, butter, nutmeg and vanilla; pour into dry ingredients and mix just until moistened. Fold in blueberries. Fill greased or paper lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 375º for 20-25 minutes. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.

*If using frozen blueberries, rinse and pat dry before adding to batter. If using freeze dried rehyrate in boiling water and drain well before adding.

Yield: 1 dozen.

Make your Own Mix
In a resealable bag:
2 cups all-purpose flour
⅔ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoon egg powder
¼ cup dry milk

To make:
In a mixing bowl add mix, 1 ¼ cup water, ⅓ cup melted butter or vegetable oil and 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix with wooden spoon until combine.  Gently fold in 2 cups blueberries.  Fill greased or paper lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 375º for 20-25 minutes.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cookies from Food Storage Link Party-Cowboy Cookies

Today I going to have a link party.  My first one so I hope it goes well.  If you are new to link parties, here's how it works: if you have a post on your blog that relates to the party, you fill out the section below and a photo from your blog with a link to your blog will appear.  It is a fun way for everyone to share recipes.  If you don't have a blog and just want to check out all of the recipes it is a good way to see what is out there.  Today's link party is Cookies from Food Storage 

If you are new to food storage one of the easiest ways to start using it is to make cookies. One of my family's favorite recipes is Cowboy Cookies. In fact when we were first dating my now husband made these for me to take on a family vacation.  My family loved them and was sure we would get married (we did) all  becuase of a cookie.

Yes I do think you should have chocolate chips in your food storage.  My husband says butterscotch chip are also a must have.

Cowboy Cookies
Thanks to Becky Powell for sharing this recipe with me.
2 C      Crisco
2 C      White Sugar
2 C      Brown Sugar
4          Eggs
2 tsp    Vanilla
2 tsp    Salt
2 tsp    Baking Soda
2 tsp    Baking Powder
4 C      Flour
4 C      Oats
1 bag   Chocolate Chips
1 bag   Butterscotch Chips

Mix Crisco and sugars, add eggs, vanilla, salt, baking soda and baking powder.   Add flour then oats, then Chocolate and Butterscotch chips.

Bake at 350 for 7-10 minutes

Makes a LOT (this is a double recipe for normal cookies).  Make sure you have a large bowl.  

Be sure to add the link to your blog post not to your home page.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Spinach Artichoke Dip

 I took this to a party and had five people ask me for the recipe so it must be good. 

To Cut Up Messy Canned foods--Like Artichokes 
Just cut them right in the can with your clean kitchen shears or use a knife cutting the food against the side of the can. This recipe takes about 1/2 a jar of artichokes.

Spinach Artichoke Dip
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
1/3 cup sour cream powder (add to 2 Tablespoon hot water mix well)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 cup FD Spinach (rehydrate in 1 cup hot water and drain)
1 cup coarsely chopped artichoke hearts (canned or marinated)
2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 400°. 

In a medium bowl -combine sour cream and hot water mix well,
Add the cream cheese and mayonnaise.  Beat till smooth, either by hand or on low speed with a hand mixer. 

Add in the salt.

Fold in the drained spinach, garlic, artichokes, and Parmesan cheese.

Spread into a small baking dish.  (2 small Pyrex dishes - to keep at home for my own snacking later - and one to take to the party).  You may wish to spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray for easier cleanup later.

Bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until the top is slightly browned.  Avoid over baking to prevent it from separating.
Sprinkle additional grated Parmesan cheese over the top if desired, during the last 5 minutes of baking.

Serve warm with baguette slices, pita chips, crackers, etc...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Spinach and Lemon Soup with Rice

I love Greek Food.  All of the Greek food I have ever eaten I have liked.  For a couple of years I have been looking for great Greek Lemon Rice soup.  To have a great soup you need to start with a great base.  I often use bouillon but for a really great soup you need stock.

Spinach and Lemon Soup with Rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (crush in your hand to release the flavor)
1 cup freeze dried spinach
1 1/2 cups cooked rice (I cook it in the microwave while I am getting everything else ready)
1 cup cooked chopped chicken (I like to use left over roasted chicken)
8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
4 eggs
Juice of 3 lemons
Fresh parsley, chopped (to serve)
Feta Cheese or Fresh-grated Parmesan (to serve)

Cook rice according to package directions.

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven. Cook the garlic and onion over medium heat until fragrant and slightly translucent. Turn the heat to medium high and add the red pepper flakes, and spinach(dry not rehydrated). Cook for about a minute, and then add the broth.

Bring to a light simmer, then turn the heat down and simmer for about 15 minutes. Take the soup off the heat and let it cool down for a moment or two.

Whisk eggs vigorously in a largish bowl, then whisk in the lemon juice. Whisk for a couple minutes; the mixture should be thick, pale yellow, and creamy. Add a small ladleful of the soup broth to the eggs and whisk vigorously. (If you want to be really sure not to curdle the eggs, take a ladle of soup and cool it a bit before tempering the eggs.) Whisk in two more ladles of soup broth, whisking each well and letting them cool.

Add the egg mixture to the soup pot, whisking very well. Return to very low heat, stirring the whole time.

Cook carefully over low heat until the soup has thickened slightly. Add cooked rice and chicken. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley and feta cheese (or Parmesan).

Homemade chicken and veggie stock

Side Note: My Mom is a great cook, and she can spell too.  She reads this blog (because she is a good mom) and cringes at ever typo. I try and I use spell check, but sometimes when the kids need help I must admit that I don’t always proofread my blog posts as many times as I should.  I am sure you understand, but I will try to do better in the future. Sorry Mom.

Home Made Chicken Stock—This is so easy and economical, but the best part is it is amazingly good.  The same principle applies to any kind of meat your have. All you need are a few good bones and you can make a great stock.
1 chicken carcass ( I make chicken stock any time I buy a rotisserty chicken, or roast my own chicken.  It is a little bonus after you have eaten a delicious meal)
Water-Enough to cover the chicken
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
3 stalks celery, including some leaves, roughly chopped
1. Place chicken in a large soup pot, Dutch oven, or crock pot. Add enough water to cover. Bring to  a simmer over low heat.   Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1-3 hours. If using the crock pot 4-6 hours.
 2. Add onion and celery during last hour of cooking.
3. Remove chicken and vegetables. Strain stock. Skim fat off the surface.

Home Made Veggie Stock-From vegetables you would normally compost.
I am sure I took photos of this last time I made it but I can't find them so you will have to imagine.

Enough veggies to fill a 1 gallon Zip Lock Bag.  This includes the cuttings, stems, leaves, outer skin, stalks and any other parts of fresh vegetables that you might otherwise discard. Think onion peels, the ends of celery, carols, the stalks of parsley, etc.  DO NOT fish out veggies from the compost bin because they have already started to compost and are not safe to eat. I keep a bag in the freezer and add these usually discarded parts of veggies to the bag. When the bag is filled you are ready to make stock.  You do need a lot of onion to make good veggie stock, so if there is not a lot of onion in your Zip Lock bag then add a new quartered onion to the veg.

Heat a deep pot over a medium high flame. Add a 1/4 cup olive oil. Add veggie scraps. Sauté for about 10 to 15 minutes. Cover with water. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 45 minutes. If there aren't enough onion skins amidst your scraps, add a new onion, roughly chopped.
Strain. Store in quart containers or, for smaller portions, fill an ice cube tray full of stock. Freeze.

Green Smoothies-with Freeze Dried Spinach

So have you caught the green smoothie craze? My friend Kim introduced me to green smoothies a couple of years ago. (She has a great post on her blog about them.).  The idea is to eat/drink some highly nutritious foods such as spinach or Kale, along with a bunch of fruit in smoothie form. Recently I have had a ton of people at my parties talking about green smoothies.  I thought I would try them with freeze driend spinach.  I did and it turned out great.  My husband says "the tree huggers will love it"  so to all of you tree huggers out there give it a try.

One note: Lots of people making green smoothies have amazing blenders.  I on the other hand don't.  I have a Hamilton beach blender that I got for my wedding 8 year ago, and it worked just fine)
My friend Marie calls these "Shrek Smoothies" (she does not use strawberries that make it turn brown) and she says her kids LOVE them.

Green Smoothie
1 banana  (or use freeze dried, I would of but I am out until my Q ships this month)
1 cup freeze dried spinach (dry you don't need to rehydrate before)
2 cups frozen fruit (we use strawberries)
2 c hot water (the hot water helps rehydrate the spinach and to help your blender run smooth)
1 Tablespoon honey (optional)

Put all the ingredients in blender and blend well.  In my blender it takes a few minutes.  I just let the blender run until it is smooth.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Recipe Exchange--What should I take?

I am attending the convention that Shelf Reliance is having on the 17-19th of this month.  I just found out that as part of the convention they are having an informal recipe exchange.  So now I need to decide what recipe I should take (okay so if I am printing out a whole piece of paper it will probably be more then one).  But I am not sure what to take. This is where I need your help.  What do you think I should share?  What is your favorite recipe from the blog?  Or do you want a new recipe?  I would love to hear what you think. 

Cornmeal Pancakes

I have been thinking about making cornmeal pancakes for a couple of months.  I have looked at a lot of recipes, but it was never quite right.  Recently I saw a recipe in the New York Times for Cornmeal Pancakes with Vanilla and Pine Nuts (I was going to link you to the original recipe but apparently it is behind the Pay Wall at the New York Times so sorry, it was the January 14, 2011 issue).  Wow that sounded great. I gave it a try, and tweeket is a bit.  What I ended up with is a nutty slightly crunch tasty easy to make pancke.  I have been enjoying these pancakes with blueberries, powdered sugar and lemon juice. My kids like them with honey, but I think they would be great with a savory topping, maybe poached eggs. 

When cooking this pancake there are a couple of things to note; First the pancake does not have bubbles that form and then solidify like normal pancakes, so it is a little bit tricky to tell when it is done.  It is done when it is not sticking to the pan anymore. If you try to flip it and it is sticking let it cook more.  Second, it is important to let the boiling water sit on the pancakes (it is absorbed almost immediately but let it sit anyway) this precooks the cornmeal a little bit and makes the pancakes a little bit like polenta.

Cornmeal Pancakes  
1 1/2 cups fine or medium cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup cup milk, (when I make this it usually ends up being 3/4 cup and the batter is still pretty thick)
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil, plus more for frying
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Honey, for serving. 

1.Combine the cornmeal, salt and 1 1/2 cups boiling water in a bowl and let it sit until the cornmeal absorbs the water and softens, 5 minutes. Heat skillet.
2. Stir in the milk, a little at a time, until the batter is spreadable but still thick. Stir in 2 tablespoons oil, and the vanilla.
3.  When the skillet is hot (a few drops of water dance on its surface)  add a thin film of oil (maybe 2 teaspoons) and let it become hot. Spoon out the batter. Cook until bubbles form on the top and burst and the underside is golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes; turn and cook on the other side until golden. Serve Hot.