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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

So, these were good…

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Thank you Shelby for another wonderful recipe. I altered mine a little to include things the girls like (e.g., almonds instead of walnuts). However, they would probably eat insects if they were covered in dark chocolate, so I wasn’t too worried. I made a few without chocolate to include in school lunches (no chocolate allowed at school). But the chocolate ones made a great after school treat (for all of us)!

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Sesame Bars

Makes around 18

1 1/2 cup almonds (or walnuts)
1 cup sesame seeds
1/3 cup dried goji berries
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup raisins

4 tbsp honey or maple syrup (I did 2 tbsp honey, 2 maple syrup)
3 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 tsp salt

*Optional (but recommended): 1 Bar of 70% dark chocolate

Lightly toast the nuts in a large saucepan on low heat for a few minutes. Transfer them to a food processor and blitz into a coarse flour. Add the sesame seeds to the sauce pan, make sure the heat is low as the sesame seeds are very heat sensitive – you want to lightly toast them without burning. Meanwhile, add all the berries to the food processor. Pulse for at least a minute, then pour everything into the sauce pan. Add honey/syrup, coconut oil, shredded coconut and salt and stir around until everything is combined, sticky and warm.

Cover a 8×10-inch (20×25 cm) baking dish with parchment paper and pour the mixture into it. Flatten it out with your fingers and the backside of a spoon (dip it in water to prevent sticking). Put in the fridge for at least an hour, then cut them up.

*If you wish, melt your chocolate or over a double broiler (or in the microwave – checking often to make sure it doesn’t burn). Dip chilled, cut bars into the chocolate, and refrigerate until hardened.

~~~~ YUM ~~~~

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Sushi and Spring Rolls

A trip to Japan is in our future – or at least it should be. The girls are smitten with sushi lately. We occasionally order-in or eat out, but lately we’ve started making it at home, which has naturally, only increased the obsession, since most kids adore eating their own creations.

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Considering the raw-fish factor with kids, we tend to stick to smoked fish and cooked shrimp and lots of their favorite veggies. These bamboo sushi rolling mats are great. I’m pretty sure there is a method for making normal white rice into sticky sushi rice (I think it involves vinegar), but since we normally eat brown rice, we buy “sushi rice” just for these occasions and it is naturally sticky.

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We need to work on our chopstick technique – but they sure are fun!

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Bring on the Spring Rolls!

We enjoy these for dinner sometimes too and our mostly-gluten-free girl, loves getting spring rolls in her school lunch. They are easy to put together the night before and are a great way to reinvent leftovers. We often include shrimp or chicken, lettuce, cucumber, red pepper, carrot, a bit of rice and soy sauce.

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It takes a bit of an assembly line to put them together and I could do a better job at rolling the rice wrappers, but sometimes you have to love a no-cook meal!

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Snow’s on again! After a week or so of mild, rainy (think Seattle-like) weather, the white stuff is falling again. For the past two days light, fluffy flakes fall and swirl around, leaving a fine powder on the ground. Mid-February usually has me dreaming of sunny destinations, but I am embracing this right now. Winter can be so beautiful.

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The girls are on midterm break or “vinterferie” as it’s called here. I have some classes to attend, so Brett and I area trading off being home with them.

On the inside things are warm and cozy…which usually means some cooking and baking is going on. (Brett made his first-ever batch of cookies today!) 🙂 Here are a few things we’ve been cooking up…

Oatmeal with maple syrup and heaps of seeds, nuts and dried fruit…

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This is brunch we hosted for some friends…mini spelt pancakes, bacon-wrapped dates, frittata, coffee and mimosas.

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Roast chicken and a bulb of roasted garlic…

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Portobello mushrooms with sundried tomatoes and goat cheese…

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Homemade granola bars…

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Soup!

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Cherry tomatoes stuffed with pesto goat cheese…

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Brett’s gluten-free chocolate chip cookies turned out awesome!

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As promised, tomorrow we will cut a couple into heart shapes and add some icing and sprinkles as a half-hearted (yes…pun) attempt to celebrate Valentine’s Day, which (like most Hallmark holidays) is quite absent in this country.

On a random, yet somewhat-Valentine-related note, Matea has been into word searches lately. I made her one yesterday with love related words. They are quite easy to make and fun and educational.

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An Apple a Day…

Important business to address here. You’re not busy are you? Winking smile

So, we eat a lot of apples in this house. The girls used to love to pick them out of the fruit basket and just munch away – eating the entire outside skin and leaving much of the meaty middle.  However, recently (and I’m sure you will be shocked to hear this) their preferences have changed. Apples must now be sliced to be acceptable. Even in a lunch box, despite the risk of turning brown (which we attempt to combat with lemon juice).

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A few weeks ago, Brett brought home one of those apple-cutting-gadget-things. It isolates the core and leaves you with perfect, seedless pieces. I will admit to being shocked by this recent purchase of his. He is not usually one for frivolous, specialty items like this. I think I laughed when I saw it.

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But let me tell you – that hubby of mine knows how to differentiate a completely frivolous, useless item from the ones that have potential life-changing qualities. I love this thing! If you eat a lot of apples and you don’t have one of these…get one! I must be gaining hours of free time from the time I save by not cutting and coring apples!

I just might buy one of those hard-boiled egg slicing contraptions next!

That’s all. Enjoy your day!

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It is late-October and the leaves are brittle and brilliantly colored.  Autumn is apparent, yet Halloween is a little harder to see in Copenhagen…

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There may not be barrels of pumpkins to choose from, but we are finding our own way to celebrate the spooky season.  The girls were on Autumn break (efterårsferie) last week and we took them to visit Sømods Bolcher – a small, historic candy factory that is the only one in the world still making candy the old-fashioned way.  Read more of the charming history here.

It is a place I had unknowingly walked past numerous times, only made aware of its presence on a visit with my school, while on a city food tour.  I knew I had to come back with Brett and the girls.

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Crystal sugar is boiled at 180 degrees Celsius, poured onto a table and kneaded into a thick mass, which is later stretched on a hook – truly fascinating to watch!

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This man is thowing the tafy-like candy onto a large hook and stretching it down.  Matea said that the stretchy candy looked like Rapunzel’s hair.  I wish I had a better picture – because she is right! After the stretching, it is cut into small pieces, by hand, using an old machine.

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Ta-da!!

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These kids may not get to go trick-or-treating, but that doesn’t mean they are deprived of candy.

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Or pumpkins, for that matter!  We carved ours over the weekend.  I was impressed with their creativity…designing star-shaped eyes and a heart-shaped mouth.

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For more images of autumn in Copenhagen & our trip to Dyrehaven park, click here.

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Okay – I cannot believe it’s been over 6 months since I first received this book (as a gift for my birthday) and I haven’t told you (or written) about it yet.  I almost feel like I’ve been keeping something from you?!?  Sorry – forgive me?

Honestly, I love this book.  It is, quite frankly, a book I would have loved to write…well…if I had more time and/or talent in the kitchen.  No matter, because the book Jennifer Reese wrote, Make the Bread, Buy the Butter is far better than any food-related book I could have whipped up.  {And, as you know, but just for the record, I DID NOT received a free copy of this book and therefore feel compelled to sing its praises. It’s just a great, great book and worthy of a few words between sisters.}

In the past six months I have made (and dreamed of making) so many of the wonderful recipes from this “what you should & shouldn’t cook from scratch” collection.

Here is a sample (just a SAMPLE) of some things I’ve (proudly) made from scratch with Ms. Reese’s help:

Buttermilk Biscuits (fool-proof/toddler-proof recipe)

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Peanut Butter (ridiculously simple; haven’t bought a jar since January)

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Yogurt (something I’ve always wanted to make from scratch!)

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Lemon curd (reminds me of the wonderful jars we brought home from the Farmers Market when we lived in the UK)

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 Pasta (the girls ♥ this)

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Oh…and it was this book that inspired me to make clotted cream – a recipe/technique I’ve already shared with you.

These are, as you may have noticed, rather simple things (no duck terrine or flambe souffle) – but they are also things I usually buy; assuming, on most occasions, that one “doesn’t bother” to cook this stuff.

I have a number of things on my “what to cook from this book next” list.  Though, I can’t say I’ll cross ALL of them off…given that the author went as far as raising goats, curing pastrami and making Camembert (for heavens sake!).  That said, I intend to give homemade Worcestershire sauce a try (truth be told, just to say I’ve done it).  Then I might move onto cured salmon – which is placed (ambitiously) on page 22 of her book (right after “cream cheese”).

You name it and it’s probably in here – from Grapenuts to donuts, bacon to bitters, honey to hotdog buns – this is a one-stop-recipe-included-shop to anything and everything you’ve ever even considered making from scratch. 

That is, if you’re the kind of cook who enjoys a bit of adventure (and a bit of a laugh) in your kitchen. 

Homemade lard anyone?  No?  Then how about ginger ale? Beef jerky? Corn dogs? Kimchi? Potato chips? Turkish delight?  Mustard? Ricotta? Vanilla extract? English muffins?

You get the picture, right? 

Such a great gift for a resourceful chef, as well as a good reminder to all of us that just about anything is possible – if you have the time, the tools…and a good recipe.

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p.s. You can find more about The Tipsy Baker at her blog.

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So, my kids can’t say the word zucchini. 

Instead, it’s been a summer filled with talk of “linguines” “paninis” and, my personal favorite, “bikinis.”

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Here are four of my very ‘bestest’ recipes for all the bountiful bikinis we’ve been harvesting from our humble, urban garden.

Bikini Chipshere’s the recipe I use.  The recipe calls for baking the chips, but I must admit, I prefer the taste when they’re fried in a bit (not a vat) of olive oil.

Bikini Patties – I (mostly) use this recipe…which is great as-is, but I sometimes add a bit of pepper, parsley, garlic and/or garlic salt.  Serve this with a hearty salad and you’ve got a fab dinner.DSC01098

Bikini BrowniesThis recipe is incredible.  One 9×13 pan calls for 2+ cups of bikini (none of that wimpy “1/4 cup” stuff that Mrs. Seinfield made so popular). Don’t take any shortcuts with the frosting either – it’s nothing short of epic.  Wynn actually requested this for her birthday cake this year – which is extra remarkable, since she also had it for her birthday cake last year!  And don’t get me wrong, she didn’t request bikini cake, she requested “THAT chocolate cake with THAT chocolate frosting.”  Yes, it’s THAT good.

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And, hold onto your hats for this (much-adapted) decadent family favorite –  Butterscotch/Walnut/Prune Bikini Bread…

Butterscotch Bikini Bread

This isn’t really “breakfast” bikini bread.  Packed full of sweet ingredients, it’s more like a rich fruit cake and would go lovely with heavy cream or a scoop of vanilla. Save this for dessert or alongside a late-afternoon cuppa. 

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup flour (I used 1 1/4 white, 1/4 wheat)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • approx. 1 cup pureed zucchini
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips <optional>
  • 1/2 cup crushed walnuts <optional>
  • 1/2 cup chopped prunes (or raisins) <optional>
  • 1 TBS raw sugar (or one of these little packets)

– Preheat oven to 350F

– Lightly grease a 8×4 loaf pan.

– Cream butter and sugar. Then add vanilla.

– Sift in the flour, baking soda and salt.

– Last, stir in chips, walnuts and prunes. Sprinkle the top with raw sugar if want an extra-sweet, crackly top.

– Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 60 minutes.*

* Baking times differ! Perhaps I should consider draining my zucchini or increasing the oven temp, because this bread always needs more baking time.  At 325, I keep mine in closer to 80 minutes.  

We’re certainly making the most of bikini (not to be confused with bikini) season around here. <wink>

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Anything edible growing in that balcony garden of yours?

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