Monday, November 29, 2010

Farmhouse Corn Cakes

{Meatless Monday}
At 6:30 pm tonight, I had no idea what I was making for dinner.  I only had 3 eggs, a tiny bit of milk, no tortillas, only 3 pieces of bread and we've had pasta the last 2 when I saw bags of frozen corn, I quickly ran upstairs and googled Corn Cakes.  They were delicious and seriously about the only thing I could have made with what I had.  I amazingly even had an avocado (not the norm for me!).

On a side note:
I officially HATE my point and shoot camera!!  My SLR is in the van that my husband has and my little camera only takes a decent photo in really good lighting....but in low light--it STINKS!!
So here's the best shot I could get ; )...  (they really were delicious!!)

Farmhouse Corn Cakes
about 3 cups frozen corn, mostly thawed
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 T melted butter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup of your favorite cheese, grated (I used cheddar and pepper jack)
2 T chopped chives
1 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper

Pulse first 4 ingredients in a food processor 3-4 times until corn is coarsely chopped.  (I just used my blender and briefly blended it until it was about half creamed)

Stir together flour, cornmeal, cheese, chives, and salt and pepper.
Add corn mixture and blend until moistened.

Cook in buttered skillet about 3 minutes each side, until browned and firm.

Serve with Salsa, sour cream, and diced avocado.

They were a quick and EASY thing to throw together for dinner with just me and the kids.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Teriyaki Bowtie Spinach Salad

 {Meatless Monday}

This is the MOST amazingly delicious salad!!  I was not sure what to expect. It is a mix between a pasta and a spinach salad, but it is so scrumptious.  There are just so many goodies in it, what's not to like??

Here's what you need:
1 16 oz package bowtie pasta, cooked, rinsed in cold water, and drained
1 bag of baby spinach
2 cans of mandarine oranges
1 cup craisins
1 red pepper, chopped
1 bunch green onions
1 cup cashews 
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted if you want

1 cup oil
2/3 cup white wine vinegar--I used 1/2 Rice Vinegar and 1/2 regular Vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2/3 cup Soy Vay Teriyaki sauce (you MUST use this is SO much better than Kikkoman's)
5 Tbs sugar 
I was able to find this brand at my was just over $3, I think.  It really is a GOOD teriyaki one you would make at home!

I mix up the dressing while the pasta is cooking.  Then combine the cooled pasta with the dressing and refrigerate for 1-4 hours.  Once I have that in the fridge, then I chop up the red pepper and green onions and put them in a container in the refrigerator.  All you have to do now is throw it all together about 10 minutes before you are going to serve it.  It makes A for my family, I "marinated" all the pasta with all the sauce, but then I only mixed up half of the salad for our dinner.  Then, the next day, I was able to mix up the other half for lunch with friends and everything was still fresh.

I recommend making this is so yummy...I think it will become a favorite salad for you too!

Friday, November 19, 2010

My New Laundry "Room"'s more of a closet...but now it makes the most of every inch!

In our house plans, our laundry was originally placed right inside the back door.  So you would walk by it every time you came in from the garage.  That was the first problem...the second problem was that there was no pantry.

So I opted to move my laundry upstairs into the "loft" area and leave the space open downstairs to build in pantry cupboards (which I did back in 2007).

I have DREAMED of doing this built-in laundry system for all the years that we have lived here.  Once we had our 5th child, it really became important to me.  The biggest obstacle was that I would have to buy new machines: Front Loaders.  When I found a pair in the online classifieds for a great deal, I knew it was time to get this project done!  I bought the cabinets (IKEA), the sheets of MDF (Home Depot), and the paint (Sherwin Williams)...then just waited for the countertop to be installed.  That was the one thing I couldn't do myself!

I love how the countertop turned out.  It is Formica "Smoke Quarstone" and it has the Radiance Finish...which means it has tiny spots that reflect light almost like fish scales....I love it and I love how it sets off the blue walls.

Here's what it looked like before: ( just so you can appreciate the difference!)

I found this divided tray at TaiPan Trading.  I fell in love with it and actually had NO idea what I would use it for...but it became the inspiration for the whole project.  I put my Spray and Wash in the clear spray bottle and my Ajax Orange dish soap (it works wonders on stains!!) in the glass bottle.  I use the other cubbies for the random things that come out of my children's pockets.... ; 0

I also have this little sign that I found at Hobby Lobby.  I love it because it reminds me of why I have SO much laundry to do...and that it really is a great blessing! ; )

And here's what it looks like IN REAL LIFE...each of my kids has their own cubby.  I have ALWAYS wanted cubbies so my kids can put away their own clothes and most of all, so that laundry NEVER has to be moved to another part of the house!  I LOVE it!

The silver bins are used for a garbage bin, a recycling bin, and to store plastic bags.  I have a plastic bin inside one cupboard for lonely brings me such joy to find them each their match! ; )

Monday, November 15, 2010

Quick Oatmeal Whole Wheat Bread

Hello!  Another crazy Monday has come to an end, and I realized that I hadn't done a post.  And it has to be quick because I have to wake up in 7 hours and 20 minutes from right now!  ; )

This is a very quick, very hearty bread that I found on a blog called New Nostalgia.
This is before it was is very crusty and delicious with soups.

My family loves it and I added a few things to the original recipe, so I thought I would share it here.

Quick Oatmeal Whole Wheat Bread
1 cup rolled oats, blended to flour
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 T flax seeds
2 T sunflower seeds
2 T whole rolled oats (not blended)

Combine dry ingredients together.  The last 3 on the list are my add-ins. Those measurements are very approximate, since I just dump a little in from my containers! : 0

1 1/2 T honey
1 T. vegetable oil
1 cup milk

Steel cut oats, for top

Warm liquid mixture slightly in microwave (30-40 seconds) and add into dry.  Add a little more flour to make a sticky ball.  (It can take up to another full cup of flour)  Sprinkle cornmeal on your pan to prevent sticking.  Place ball on pan and press steel cut oats into the top, if desired.

Bake at 400* for 20-22 minutes.    ***I like to make it into two smaller balls so that they cook in the middle a little easier.  Or I double the recipe for my whole family and make 3 balls.***
I never got a picture of it cooked....but it is yummy!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Three Cheese Skillet Lasagna

{Meatless Monday}

Just a quick and easy one today.  I've got a whole book to read by tomorrow night! ; )

This is from Martha Stewart Everyday Food...

Here's what you need:
  • 43 ounces canned whole peeled plum tomatoes (from a 28-ounce can and a 15-ounce can  (I just used one quart of my own canned tomatoes and one 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese, room temperature
  • 1 16 oz box lasagna noodles, boil according to directions
  • 1/2 pound mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a food processor, pulse tomatoes until coarsely pureed. In a large deep skillet (I used my very largest skillet that came with my set.  It is BIG--about 14" across), bring tomatoes, garlic, and oil to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce to a simmer and cook on medium until thickened, about 12 minutes (you should have 5 cups marinara sauce).

  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix together egg, ricotta, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper.

  • Carefully pour sauce into a heatproof bowl and return 3/4 cup to skillet; spread sauce evenly. Add a single layer of noodles, cutting them to fit.  Top with half the ricotta mixture, spreading evenly. Follow with a second layer of noodles, then 1 1/2 cups marinara. Add a third layer of noodles, then remaining ricotta mixture. Follow with a final noodle layer, then remaining sauce. Sprinkle mozzarella and parmesan over top.

  • Bake lasagna until golden and bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

  • ***Again, be super careful when you take your skillet out of the oven!!  We now cover the handle with a huge oven mitt just to make sure that no one can possibly burn themselves!

    Monday, November 1, 2010

    Burritos with Squash and Goat Cheese

    {Meatless Monday}

    Since ours did not turn out looking quite as yummy as they really were, I thought I would share the picture from Martha Stewart...maybe that will help you want to make them more! ; )
    If you make them, and they actually LOOK this good...please tell me your secrets!!

    1 T vegetable oil
    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 tsp ground cumin
    1 package (10 oz) frozen winter squash, thawed ( I used a fresh butternut squash***)
    2 cans black beans, drained
    1 package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
    salt and pepper
    8 Tortillas
    5 oz. crumbled goat cheese (I found some at Walmart for the same price as feta!)
    1/2 cup salsa

    ***I cut the squash in half, placed it in a 9X13 pan with a little bit of water, covered it with foil and baked for 35-40 minutes at 350*.  Then I let it cool and scooped out and chopped the squash.

    In a large skillet, heat oil and add onion, garlic, and cumin.  Cook for 5-6 minutes until tender.  Add squash and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Stir in beans and spinach.  Cook until warmed through, 4-6 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.

    Steam tortillas in the microwave (with damp paper towels).  Take a tortilla, sprinkle goat cheese and then salsa down the middle of the tortilla and then fill with bean mixture.  Wrap into a burrito.  Cut in half and serve with salsa.
    These had a yummy creamy taste to them.  I really liked the goat has a milder taste than feta, which would be fine in these also!  My older kids really liked these.  Even my oldest (who doesn't love veggies much) thought they had a good flavor.  They were an unexpected combination--that is what made me interested to try the recipe.

    As my husband was finishing his up, he said, "Well...that one's a keeper!"  And our daughter looked at him with the most horrified expression...I guess she didn't agree.  ; )