Thursday, September 19, 2013

Kale Recipe Round-Up

We have a lot of kale in our garden right now. We could eat kale every day and not exhaust the supply. Come to think of it, I think I have been eating kale every day, since it's in so many of our favorite recipes. When I canned spaghetti sauce this summer, I used kale instead of spinach. When I made a big pot of bean & sausage soup (which I've had in my lunch three times this week), I added chopped kale.

I thought I'd share a few of our favorite kale recipes for those who say "I've seen kale in the produce aisle, but I wouldn't know what to do with it!"

Our favorite:
Kale Chips
If you Google "Kale Chips Recipe", you can find thousands of recipes... using various spices and combinations of oil and lemon juice, lime juice, or vinegar. I usually mix 2 Tablespoons of oil with a Tablespoon of lemon juice, mix it with a bowlful of kale, spread on a cookie sheet in a single layer and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 15 minutes (anywhere from 350 to 400 degrees, depending on what's already in the oven).

I remember the first time my daughter Connie tried them. She said "These are delicious. They are so weird... but delicious!"

Sauteed Kale
We love this recipe for Sauteed Kale from Bobby Flay. It calls for sauteing some garlic... I also add some sliced onion when I'm cooking up the garlic. 

Sometimes when we want a little variety, we use this recipe for Sweet and Savory Kale.

Kale Salad
The great thing about this Super Summer Kale Salad is that you can make it up hours before. I tend to decrease the sugar in the recipe, using 1/2 cup instead of 3/4 cup. You can add or subtract ingredients to suit your taste. I leave out the Edamame, but have added shrimp or diced chicken breast to make it a meal salad.

Kale and Potato Hash
My family likes this side dish, too: Kale and Potato Hash. I tend to cut back a bit on the horseradish, though, using "horseradish sauce" and only about half of what they suggest. I also use a plain onion instead of shallot.

Toss some kale in there... 
If you toss a few kale leaves into the blender and chop them up fine, you can sneak some kale into just about anything...
Spaghetti Sauce
Calzone filling
Chicken Pot Pie
Vegetable Soup

Now I want to make some kale chips with dinner!

Update: Apparently October 2nd is National Kale Day. This recipe showed up on my Facebook page - Tomato-Kale-Basil Quiche. I substituted a teaspoon of dried oregano for the basil, and we all liked it! Definitely going in the "make again" folder!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

How to do a canner-load of plums in the morning and still be on time for work (my 56-point plan)

Last night, somebody commented to me that I was a master of time management. It sure doesn’t feel that way. Lately, it seems like I’m running in ten directions at once and not getting much accomplished.
My daughter’s alarm goes off at 5:45, so she can have plenty of time to get ready for her 7 AM school bus. I heard her walking around and got up too. It was 5:51 when I walked into the kitchen. I thought that with three hours to work, I should surely be able to get a load of plums in the canner before leaving for work. So… here are the steps I took.
1.       Wipe and label jars of cinnamon pears that I canned Monday.
2.       Take box of cinnamon pears down to basement.
3.       Realize there’s not enough room on shelf 49 for all the cinnamon pears.
4.       Move Apple Butter to shelf 48.
5.       Update inventory spreadsheet on top of chest freezer to show that Apple Butter has been moved.
6.       Look through freezer for an idea of what to make for dinner. No idea.
7.       Refill empty box with wide-mouth canning jars.
8.       Realize that I need the sink cleaned out to wash canning jars.
9.       Empty and refill dishwasher.
10.   Take clean plastic yogurt containers that were in dishwasher out to recycling bins in garage.
11.   Realize I need more counter space to work – take Sorghum Flour from yesterday’s Amazon order to refill empty canister.
12.   Take empty box from Amazon order out to recycling bin in garage.
13.   Wash canning jars.
14.   Realize stomach is growling and wants breakfast. Grab a gluten-free pear muffin and a chai latte.
15.   Putting empty containers from Vanilla Almond Milk and Chai Concentrate tops off garbage can. Empty trash.
16.   Walking through garage to trash can, see that there are a lot of little leaves on the carpet just before coming into the kitchen. Grab the broom and do a quick sweep so all the debris doesn’t get tracked into the house.
17.   Settle into my chair with muffin and chai. 
18.   Grab phone to check e-mail.
19.   Check Facebook.
20.   Respond to message on Facebook.
21.   Clear two levels in Bubble World.
22.   Open blinds and watch for bus.
23.   Call out alert to Bethany when the bus goes down the street across from our house.
24.   Finish up chai and head back to kitchen.
25.   Fill 9 wide-mouth canning jars with plums. Start to cover with syrup and realize I didn’t make enough.
26.   Make more syrup, finishing off bag of sugar.
27.   Wash hands and grab phone to add sugar to shopping list.
28.   Check Facebook notification that popped up on phone. “Like” cute picture a friend posted.
29.   Check pantry for another bag of sugar.
30.   Realize flashlight for checking pantry is in bedroom, since I was reading by flashlight last night.
31.   Retrieve flashlight from bedroom.
32.   Make bed.
33.   Try to finish with the syrup I’ve made. Run out of syrup.
34.   Search cupboard for more sugar. Find enough for 2 more cups of syrup. Wonder what my neighbor Judy would think if I showed up on her doorstep at 7:20 AM asking for a cup of sugar.
35.   Finish up (just barely) with the last two cups of syrup.
36.   Put plums in canner.
37.   Search ten boxes of canning jars in basement, looking for any more wide-mouth pints. (There’s still one more container of plums in the fridge – probably enough for 4 more pints.) Move some jars around to empty out boxes.
38.   Take empty cardboard boxes out to recycling in garage.
39.   Search fridge for items in wide-mouth pints that can be downsized to half-pints. Find one (sweet pepper rings – with one or two sweet pepper rings floating in about ¼ cup of pickle juice).
40.   Add “Make Pickle Dip” to my to-do list to use up the pickle juice.
41.   Hear elementary bus going by… my signal that I need to hit the shower if I want to be on time for work!
42.   Miss a phone call from Bethany asking me to bring a certain shirt to the volleyball game.
43.   Put shirt in car so I don’t forget it.
44.   Take plums out of canner.
45.   Search fridge for something for lunch.
46.   Find another wide-mouth canning jar that I can downsize into a smaller jar.
47.   Rearrange dirty dishes in dishwasher to add those emptied by making my lunch.
48.   Take three cardboard boxes emptied during fridge search out to recycling.
49.   Hurry to answer the phone, thinking Bethany forgot something else… telemarketer.
50.   Get out crockpot to start teriyaki chicken.
51.   Sort yesterday’s mail that was still on the table where I put the crockpot.
52.   Realize I can’t make teriyaki chicken because there’s sugar in the recipe, and there’s no sugar in the house!
53.   Put BBQ chicken in the crockpot (Plan B).
54.   Fix hair, apply make-up.
Current knitting project is another "manly bib" like this one...
55.   Toss together “knitting to go” bag for volleyball game.
But this one has a bow tie instead of a regular tie.
56.   Out the door… on time! (Highly unusual… since, as you can see, I end up going down a lot of “rabbit trails”!)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Gluten-Free Applesauce Muffins

My blog has been quiet lately.

Sorry... life has been crazy. In mid-August, we picked pears. Lots of pears. Lots and lots of pears. I think there were 9 baskets.

Pears are a very time-consuming fruit to can, since you have to cut the peel off each one. So, I just finished canning over 50 quarts of pears a few days ago. Now I can breathe again!

Lately, I've been trying to keep my spending on groceries to a minimum. I need to use up what I have in my cupboards and canning shelves (like all those pears). I was trying to figure out what to have for breakfast last week, and felt like baking something gluten-free. After all, my favorite gluten-free cereal (Bakery On Main Extreme Fruit & Nut Granola) is $6 per bag. If I could whip up some muffins with what I had on hand, it would save a lot of money.

I leafed through my collection of gluten-free recipes I've printed from the internet. Nothing sounded good to me. Then I went through the other pile of recipes. I found a recipe for Applesauce Muffins that I printed out in 2008 (before I went gluten-free). I made a few changes, gave it a try, and loved the result. So, I will share it!

Applesauce Muffins
2 cups gluten-free flour**
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 Tbsp apple pie spice (or 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp allspice, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp ground cloves)
1 cup applesauce
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Combine flour, xanthan gum, sugar, baking soda and spice. Add applesauce, melted butter, egg and vanilla. Mix until well-combined. Fold in walnuts. Spoon into muffin tins (use paper cupcake liners, as these muffins are a bit crumbly). Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.

**I used 2/3 cup cornstarch, 2/3 cup sorghum flour, 1/3 cup brown rice flour and 1/3 cup white rice flour

I have also made these by pureeing canned pears and replacing the applesauce with pear puree. They also turned out quite well.

Now... back to canning (still have peaches, plums and rhubarb I want to finish up)... and then to knitting (I have some newly finished items in my Penguin Place Shop.

Thanks for stopping by!