My Fab Fam

My Fab Fam
Photo by Thousand Hills Photography. Click on photo to visit their site.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

GREEN Cookies!

If you read yesterday, you may already know I baked "Everything Cookies."  I made up a recipe and put a little bit of everything in it, and a really yummy cookie came out of the oven, and we all ate two immediately, and the rest sat to cool until we all decided to eat some more after supper several hours later.  The Mr. and younglings watched some Star Wars (sigh of surrender) and each had two more cookies while I cleaned up the kitchen.  We put the girls to bed and I sat down on the couch with my "I made it to the end of another day" prize:  two cookies with milk, and hot tea and water for later.  (What can I say?  I planned on being there a while and I drink a lot.)  I took a bite of a cookie, and immediately spit it back out, because this is what I saw:

I slowly tilted my head then asked the Mr, "Why is the inside of my cookie GREEN?"

He kinda turned his lips down in a slight shrug, and went on reading, completely unperturbed, while I dashed off to the kitchen to check the other cookies.  Cookie after cookie, when broken in half, turned out to be green in the middle.  I immediately thought, "I fed these to my KIDS!"  I was torn between being perplexed and distraught!  What do I do when I'm perplexed or distraught?  Google it, of course.

Surprisingly, as I typed in "cookies turned g..." the search bar filled in the rest.  Okay, I thought, this is at least common enough for Google to expect my question.  Guess what?  There were numerous images of green cookies and page after page of discussions about this strange phenomenon.  Even SunButter's website addresses it HERE and HERE.

Turns out, sunflower seeds have chlorophyll in them that reacts with baking soda/powder when heated and results in the green color when cooled.  SunButter assures us "the cookies are still perfectly edible and safe to consume."

Still. Weird, right? I have eaten them again today, but if I'm honest (and I'm all about keeping it REAL up in here), it is a little bit of "an appetite squelcher," as even SunButter's website admits.

Here's to yummy, strange, green, everything cookies.  Happy eating, my sunbutter lover friends.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Everything Cookies

My man really gets a little frustrated with me that I never follow a recipe.  Has he ever told me this?  No.  Would he ever admit it?  No.  He compliments the food, always.  But I know him.  I know what he is not saying, and what he is not saying is, "You didn't follow the recipe again, did you?"

Every once in a while I will make something he really likes, and he will say something like, "What did you put in this?  You should write it down so you can make it again."

The down-side to never using a recipe is you can rarely create the same dish twice.  The up-side to never using a recipe is you never eat the same thing twice!

So, today, when I decided I wanted a rich, fall flavored cookie, I did some Google searches with various combinations of the following words:  oats, pecans, chocolate chips, and maple syrup.  I found nothing that was exactly what I wanted; so -big surprise - I improvised.  Truth be known, had I found a recipe that sounded really awesome, I probably still would have changed something.

What follows is the recipe to what I am calling "Everything Granola Cookies," because I basically threw every ingredient from every recipe I found that I liked, plus a few more ingredients not listed on any recipes.  

Everything Granola Cookies

Preheat oven to 375.


1 stick butter, softened
*FYI: when in a pinch, I have realized I can use the microwave on defrost setting to soften the butter without melting it completely!
1/2 c. sunbutter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. raw sugar

While mixing on low speed, add:

2 eggs
2 T. maple syrup
1 t. vanilla

Mix in a separate bowl:

1 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt

Add flour mixture to egg mixture, mixing by hand.


3 c. oats
1 c. pecans
1 bag of chocolate chips

Scoop by rounded spoonful on stone cookie sheet and bake 10 mins. 



Also in the oven today (only because I'm cooking to procrastinate finishing the dreaded wardrobe change)...

Alton Brown's Granola and cheese enchiladas made with Jami Nato's whole wheat tortillas

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fall is upon us.

I love this weather. 50's by night, 70's by day. Windows open from 7am 'til midnight. Jackets and sweaters in the morning. Heat and defrost on the way to school. Fog. Fog! I love fog. Always have. 

I read this book when I was a kid called Fog Magic. In it a little girl who lived by the sea discovered a secret town that only existed when a deep fog settled in. I always wished that could be true for me. But, alas, I do not live by the sea. 

And, so it's fall. The weather is ideal, in my opinion. Chili weather. Pun intended. The only down-side to fall is the wardrobe change. I put it off and put it off, squishing my growing girls into capris that should be pants and 3/4 length sleeves that used to be long - until I can not wait anymore. And so today I began the daunting process. 

It looks like my girls' closets have erupted, spewing lavaclothes all over their bed, their floor, their chair, and their drawers, until finally over-flowing all the way down the hall, winding around corners, and flowing mysteriously uphill again to cover my kitchen table. We may be eating in the living room tonight. 

And, speaking of eating, I will be serving lasagna for the third night in a row. I can guarantee you the Mr and our youngest youngling will not be happy about that. 

But it's fall!  And I sit in the hammock while lava waits to be cleaned up inside and a garden bulges with a last harvest to be gathered and girls play soccer and ride bikes and we eat popcorn and drink juice when we are minutes away from our regular supper time. Forget supper. Maybe we'll just have hot chocolate and go to bed... 

Because it's fall!

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Sauce Continues

Once again I wrote something I never posted.  This was written Saturday night.  And, if you're wondering, because I know you're not, we "shabbat-ed" Sunday by going swimming.  Now it's Monday, and my to-do list for the week seems daunting, but, as I read in 2 Samuel this morning, "With my God, I can scale a wall."  Amen?

I made batch two and three of what I am calling "Italian Sauce" tonight.  Yay, me!  I'm feeling pretty much awesome right now, as I sit and type at midnight, drinking mint tea, made with mint from my own garden, waiting for my last batch of sauce to thicken, so I can pour it in the jars.  Can I also jar this feeling?  For those days when I'm feeling not-so-awesome?  Like everyday, at some point, or many points in the day.  Liking all my commas?  That's because, I'm thinking really slowly.  It's, been, a, long, day.

The man and I are taking care of our friends' lawn while they are out of town for six weeks.  So, this morn we went straight there and he mowed and weeded with the weed-eater, while I watered their never-ending pots of flowers (lit-ra-lee takes an hour to water) and weeded by hand.  It was be-a-u-tee-ful outside today; so, working outside was fun.  I really wanted to jump in their pool afterwards, but, alas, I didn't have my bathing suit.  I seriously considered jumping in anyway.  Why didn't I?  That would have been really fun.  And much more exciting to tell.  I need more fun.

Then we came home and I harvested the garden and did laundry.  Lots, and, lots, of laundry.  Then I made sourdough biscuits with my new sourdough starter that is ridiculously awesome!!!!  It is just a slurry of flour and water, no sugar, my friends.  Tangy sourdough bread.  Yum.  (And sourdough biscuits.  And sourdough pizza crust.  And sourdough pretzels.  And sourdough bagels.  And I'm starting to sound like Forrest Gump...)

So, I made sourdough biscuits, fried bacon and eggs, cut up tomatoes, and my man made gravy, and we had breakfast for supper.  Yum again.

Then I put the girls to bed while my man went to see his cousin in the hospital.  I picked up.  I did dishes.  I made two batches of "Italian Sauce."  See, why I'm feeling awesome?  I am never (I mean never!) this productive.

OOOoooooh!  I just heard a pop!  One jar sealed. Four more to go.

So, why "Italian Sauce?" you may be asking.  Or you may not be asking, but I'll tell you anyway.  I use spaghetti sauce for everything.  I know some people differentiate; they'll use marinara for lasagna and bread sticks, pizza sauce for pizza, and so on.  I buy spaghetti sauce and use it for everything.  Mezzetta roasted garlic sauce.  And it goes on, in, or with anything that requires any type of red sauce.  It is the only sauce I have ever found that has NOTHING weird in it.  (And, no, I am not getting paid for this little advertisement, but I should!)

So, since I already use one sauce for everything Italian, I thought I would just call my homemade sauce "Italian Sauce," because it will be used for all things Italian.

If you remember in my last post, I said the sauce is yellow-orange when I pour it in the pot but turn red as it boils down, well, here's proof. The closest pot has just started cooking, while the back pot is nearly done. Weird, right?

In other useless news, my cat has become a lap cat.  In the course of one day, she has gone from aloof to snuggly.  Weird but wonderful.  She sat in my man's lap last night.  Then today when I sat on the couch she crawled into my lap.  And just now, while sitting at the kitchen table typing, she jumped up and tried to get comfy in my lap again.  Unfortunately, I had to get up to stir the sauce.  I hope I haven't just ruined the good thing we have going with her.  You know how cats are, one wrong move, and they are done with ya.

Well, it's late and I'm tired from all this productivity, so I'm off here.  All this productivity may have been possible because I know tomorrow is my "slouchy" day, as my sister calls it.  We will go to church, then come home and nap.  We may go swimming or watch movies or play outside or read books, but I will do no work tomorrow, because, it's the Sabbath, y'all.  Just in case I haven't shared this awesome lil tidbit before, have you heard where that word comes from?

Sabbath comes from -> shabbat which means -> "ceasing" or "stopping."

Tomorrow I stop.  I cease all work.  I shabbat.  It's an awesome feeling knowing I have this day of rest coming.  Maybe that's why I'm feeling so awesome. 

Night, all.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

I interrupt these Facebook flashbacks for the following announcement...

I made tomato sauce tonight!  Can I get a WOOT-WOOT!?!?!

Is that a recycled store-bought jelly jar?  Reduce, reuse, recycle, peeps.  That's all I'm sayin'.

So, first, I did a little batch as a trial run. I wanted to see if I could get a decent flavor before pouring tons of precious garden bounty and time into canning. The trial batch was used on pizza and earned this sauce the right to live in a jar. 

The crust was barely edible, but the sauce was in-credible!!!

Last year I had my first canning experience with pear preserves. I don't even really like pear preserves, but I have a friend who has a pear tree and she doesn't eat pears.  Free produce = opportunity to experiment with canning.  It was successful; so, I had the courage to keep on experimenting.

This summer another friend was kind enough to give me lessons in canning tomato juice and salsa.  Tonight I decided to venture out on my own and try a sauce recipe posted by a friend on Facebook.

Here is her post, including the original recipe and her changes.

Ok, here's the original spaghetti sauce recipe [...] 

24 c tomatoes
4 c chopped onions
18 T olive oil
6 T garlic
36 oz tomato paste
6 T oregano
6 T basil
6 bay leaves
4 T salt
6 T sugar

I made a few changes.
I used heirloom Russian Krim, black cherry and beefsteak varieties. I blend them whole in my Vitamix. (too lazy to peel)

Instead of dried basil and oregano- I used fresh from my garden. About 3 c each.Chopped.
I added a couple of pinches of red pepper for some heat.
Only had one 15 oz can of tomato paste.
Boiled to reduce by half. (took abt 12 hrs!)
Used red wine vinegar to increase acidity.
Water bath canned for 55 min for altitude.

And now, for my changes...

I only had about 15 tomatoes, including San Marzano, Hillbilly, and some GMO variety from a local farmer.  =/  I used my own fresh basil and oregano, approximately 5-6 basil leaves and about a 6 inch stem of oregano (leaves only) for every 3 tomatoes.  I used pearl onions from the local Amish, about one per every 3 toms.  And a clove of garlic for every tom.  I also used one carrot, because I had read (while researching how to can spaghetti sauce) that it would make it sweeter.

You may have noticed - no tomato paste.  I started to buy some yesterday at the store, but I just couldn't bring myself to add something already canned to my fresh produce.

So, I pureed all that yummy freshness in my Ninja, cocked my head at the coloration, and poured the yellow-orange mixture in a pan.  I was a little concerned at this point that I would have pale sauce since several of my tomatoes were yellow (Hillbilly tomatoes are yellow/red).  I was also concerned that I would never get it to cook down; it was very juicy since I pureed the whole tomato.  I brought the yellow-orange soup to a boil and added about a teaspoon of salt and sugar and a couple of splashes of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  I boiled it down until it was the consistency (and color) I wanted (amazingly, this only took about an hour) and canned.  YUM! 

You readers may not be at all interested, but I wanted to preserve this recipe for myself and my kidlets, who I hope are interested some day.  =)

Happy Harvest season, friends!!!