Category Archives: Sandy’s Cooking

I did it.

So here we are at the end of November. I posted every day of the month, I am pleased to say. I loved every minute of it.  I hope you had some pleasurable moments as well. While I will not promise posting every day (I know I will not in the coming months) I do plan to be a bit better of a FRIEND of bloggers by actually visiting their blogs and (SHOCK) leaving comments. I plan on leaving so many comments that you’ll be sick of me and beg me to go back to blogging myself just so that I will leave you alone for a change! 🙂

I made the homemade yogurt yesterday and as Norma says, I am ENTHUSED. To say the least.
One thing that you may not know about me is that over the years, I have been on a quest for healthy eating. Real food! To know what goes into my food and have a choice over that. That is not to say that I haven’t polished off a bag or three of Doritos in my time or that I don’t enjoy an occasional filet ‘o fish at McD’s. I do. But mostly, I like to avoid things like high fructose corn syrup and other ingredients that I cannot pronounce and have no place in nature that a conglomerate decides is good for MY food.
Well, I say, “NOT MY FOOD!” Hell no.

Hell. No.

This particular quest started when I had kids. Jarred baby food for MY baby? I think not. I don’t know what is in that jar! So, I made my own. I got a blender and blended up veggies and meats and fruits that Andy and I ate and I froze them in ice cube trays. I thawed and warmed them in a bowl of boiling water because I did not have a microwave at that time.

I am not perfect on this quest of mine. I still eat plenty stuff I wish I did not. But I am getting better. It gets easier as I get older.

So, making my own yogurt falls right into place with all of that.

Now, let me tell YOU that homemade yogurt is WONDERFUL! I love it. Love. LOVE! It is creamy, tangy, delicious and oh-so-white! Just beautiful to look at as well as to eat!

I basically followed the crock pot yogurt recipe here, with these exceptions.

Here’s how I did it:
I used 1/2 gallon of 1% milk from Whole foods. No hormones and pure, natural milk.

I added a 1/2 cup of powdered milk to add more protein and calcium to the mix. (I also bought this at Whole Foods)

I covered my crock pot and heated the milk on HIGH for about 3 1/2 hours until the milk was 180 °F (although I strived to readch 180º, it only got to 178º and would not budge up anmore). I then took the crock off the heating element and took off the cover, letting it cool to 120º which took under an hour.

I took about a cup and a half of the heated milk out and mixed into that about 1/2 cup of Stonyfield plain yogurt. I wrapped the covered crock with a bath towel and put it into the oven. leaving it there overnight.

9 hours later, I stumbled down into the kitchen expecting to find milk in the oven but I found yummy, creamy, thick yogurt.

I topped some with Starbucks sugar free vanilla syrup and a spootch of vanilla extract and brought it to work with me. What a delicious, nutritious treat.  I am over the moon about my homemade yogurt. And you will be too. It’s easy and moneysaving and one of those moments of magic in life that brings a smile to your face.

I plan to add some fruit to some of the yogurt, perhaps some mango  and some blueberries.

So many possibilities.

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musings and a bit of begging at the end

Another Thanksgiving, come and gone. How does time go so fast? I have a decent amount of leftovers which some will become a wonderful turkey tetrazzini tomorrow or the next night. A few sandwiches, a soup and we’ll be done. Our fill of turkey.  Tonight I made a lasagna, not being about to think turkey thoughts one more minute. It sure does make the house smell wonderful.

And while I am on the subject of food, I have a crock pot of milk heating for homemade yogurt. I have looked into making yogurt before but did not want to buy another gadget to clutter my already cluttered kitchen. I am trying to get rid not receive! And frankly, those yogurt makers did not make much yogurt. If I am going to eat yogurt twice a day (at least) then making 6 whole containers does not last long and doesn’t seem worth the time.
Sometimes blogland is a funny place. I have yogurt on my mind, searching yogurt makers and then a good friend makes crock pot yogurt. Seems lots of times, we are all on the same wavelength. Great minds, and all.

Tomorrow night, hopefully I will be eating homemade yogurt.

Back to work tomorrow. Honestly, it might be more restful working than keeping up this Thanksgiving pace!

~~~

There is an emergency brewing and only us knitters can help.Thre is a Red Scarf shortage. Can we let that happen? Can we sit idly around while  some orphans, come February will have cold necks? Red Scarves are needed. Read about it here, think about knitting one up. A nice worsted yarn will knit up quickly, perhaps a pattern like the Irish Hiking Scarf? Just something I am thinking about….

Please.

 

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leftovers

My Thanksgiving table

To answer DebbieB’s question (she said: “I can’t stand the suspense! Didja cut it???”). Yes. I did. Now, I’m just assuming that she is indeed asking about the pumpkin pie. She may have been sidetracked and is asking me if I cut the well, ahem. Cheese. But I doubt it. Because we never talk about that here. And? We never will please. I know it’s only natural but here is a “THAT” free zone.

Yes, I did cut the pie. But not until after Thanksgiving dinner, like a good doobie. I had a sliver. I couldn’t eat any more after that. In fact, I was in bed by 8:30, snoozing away. Well deserved, I’d say!
However, for breakfast? Bigger than a sliver. A delicious way to start the day, if I don’t say so myself. I wish you pumpkin pie for breakfast. With whipped cream. And a scootch of nutmeg. I did not, however think of taking a picture until I was left with a plate and a few lonely crumbs. Perhaps tomorrow’s breakfast will be better planned out.

For dinner, along with my turkey leftover hash, (home fried potatoes, turkey, gravy and a bit of bell’s seasonings sprinkled in), a glass of leftover wine, pinot noir and a HUGE helping of salad. I am CRAVING veggies. Lots of them! That can never be a bad thing.

Salad!

I would love to say that I did not shop today but I do not consider myself one of the black Friday shoppers. I DID, as I do every year, think of the shoppers at 3:30. Then I rolled over and pulled up the covers. Some things are traditions and should never be tinkered with.

But around 3:00 (PM, that is)  Bethany and I went to Barnes and Noble. Sometimes a girl just has to buy books. One of the most basic needs of life, honestly. The store was bustling but not too busy, the lines were on the short side, which I was thankful for.
The thankfulness just goes on and on, doesn’t it?

 

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Blessings abound

Just waiting for it's whipped cream! (It's hard not to eat it for breakfast! but I made the kids wait for tonight for the apple pie, I must do as I say!)

Give thanks for the blessings
that daily are ours
The warmth of the sun
The fragrance of flowers
For the joy of enjoying
And the fullness of living
Are found in the heart that
is filled with Thanksgiving
~Helen Steiner Rice

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The name is pie. Pumpkin Pie

This Thanksgiving eve has been filled with baking. My home smells wonderful however, I still have to clean up a bit before I can think of going to bed.
I roasted my sugar pumpkins this morning.

Pumpkins go in the oven

 

About an hour later, they look like this:

A knife slips into the flesh easily, they are soft to the touch, ready for pie.

I let them cool and then cut them in half, scraping the seeds out. (The color is a bit off on these photos, however these particular pumpkins were not very orange. They are more like a squash yellow.)

ready to be cleaned out

Into the food processor they go. Nothing added, please!

Time for a whirl

Whirl until smooth

Pie ready, no can in sight!

I then followed a Martha recipe which is undocumented. It is in the oven right now baking, almost done. Can you smell it?

Honestly, using fresh pumpkin is not labor intensive and is almost as easy as opening a can. But feels so much more smug.

I’ll show you the pie tomorrow.

I still have a sink of dishes waiting. For that? I am not so grateful!

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Favorite dishes

My thoughts are all wrapped up around the Thanksgiving meal as of today. I love to plan the meal. It’s almost as fun as the eating. Maybe (truthfully) more fun. The planning goes on all week but the eating, well, you know how long THAT takes.
The dish that I look forward to the most? Is the stuffing. It’s a meat stuffing that is my family’s tradition. What I would have previously called a “french Canadian thing”. but now know to be An Acadian thing. Meat stuffing, not a stuffing at all in the traditional sense, truly a “dressing”. But we shall NEVER ever refer to it again as a dressing, capish?
My family’s version has ground beef, ground pork sauteed with onions, salt and pepper, drained and cooled. Then I break apart a stuffing bread, wet it with water and squeeze the bread into the meat until mixed well, using the whole loaf of bread. This part is wonderfully messy. Love it. Sprinkle generously with Bell’s seasoning (poultry seasoning to you non New Englanders) then add basterfuls of turkey broth until the stuffing is moist.
When I got married, I realized that the rest of the world did not eat MY meat stuffing. I was crushed. If I wanted it as part of my adult tradition, I would have to bring it to the table myself. I serve both the meat stuffing and the turkey stuffed bread stuffing on the day. Something for everyone.
I love family traditions almost as much as I love the stuffing itself.
SO, I’m curious. Tell me what dish you are looking forward to the most? What is YOUR family tradition that you carry on or that you miss dearly? (and should start yourself from now on, says me!)

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What’s for dinner Wednesday

The big question as the cook of the family is “what is for dinner?”  Tonight I had to have an early dinner because we are going to an art show (Hi Faith!) so it had to be quick-ish. But delish, always.

Shaw’s Get Inspired Recipe Cards to the rescue! Tonight will be Skillet Baked Spaghetti . You can find the recipe here: CLICK FOR RECIPE

First, I gathered my ingredients.

Ingredients

I cooked the ground beef and sausage out of it’s casing until browned.

ground beef and sausage cooking

I drained the meat, added garlic (lots of garlic)

chopped garlic

I also added some red pepper flakes and oregano. When the garlic was smelling wonderful  I added 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes. (I doubled the recipe. We have a lot of hungry people eating here) And 3 1/2 cups of water.
Then in goes the spaghetti, broken up into smaller pieces. It looks a bit like a porcupine with the noodles all spiky.

Spaghetti goes in to cook!

About 12 minutes later, it looked delicious!
I then added about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of cream, a bit of shredded Italian cheese mix and then put the rest of the cheese on the top.  Into the oven it went.

Honestly, if I had to do it again, and I may have to it was that good, I won’t bother with the cheese on the top. It was not needed and won’t be missed.

Dinner is served!

It was absolutely delicious, easy and filling. A nice hot dinner to greet the fam. It is not trying to be health food, something we won’t dine on every evening but a taste bud delight to have tonight.

Bon Appétit

What’s for dinner at your house?

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