Food From Home

Cooking at home for fun, health and frugality!

Fun Food For Kids

Years ago a young Amethesto received a book titled Silly Snacks: Family Fun in the Kitchen.
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It had been forgotten on the shelf for quite awhile but she was flipping through it recently and wanted to try the “bugs and grubs” recipe. Sounds pretty gross but it is really just cocktail sausages wrapped in dough with pretzels stuck in for legs. Whew!
This would be great for young bug enthusiasts, nature themed parties or homeschool units, or even Halloween. It is simple so kids can help out easily.
My plan was to make a batch of crescent roll dough but a migraine struck me and I was not up to doing anything for quite awhile today. Just opening and closing my eyes hurt so no way was I making dough! Hagbard ran to the store and bought 2 cans of crescent roll dough- 16 oz of dough if you are making your own.
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Grubs and Bugs
12 oz cocktail sausages (32 links)
2 cans crescent roll dough (8 oz each)
Thin pretzel sticks

Heat oven to 375°F. Grease baking sheet.
Cut triangles in half. Roll sausage up in dough triangle. Place on baking sheet.
For bugs- break pretzel sticks in half and insert 3 on each side of body for legs.
Bake 11-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Makes 32 bugs and/or grubs.

We are having these with baked beans (bug eggs?), salad and fruit.

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A Windy Spring Day

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I went for a short walk around my yard today to see what is growing. It is pretty windy outside today. There are not many plants blooming in my yard yet although there are green things. I have a  solitary red tulip standing defiantly in the wind. My white lilacs have started bloom and sway back and forth with quiet resilience with each blast.

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The grass creeps over the old brick path. I love the geometric pattern on these old bricks.

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From my home to yours,
Lounmoun

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Easter Breakfast: Strawberry Rolls With Vanilla Glaze

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I got up around 5 AM today to make some breakfast rolls and deviled eggs. The deviled eggs are standard for Easter but these strawberry rolls are something new to try this year.
http://bakerbynature.com/strawberry-rolls-with-vanilla-glaze/
I didn’t change the recipe. What I would suggest is that when you are instructed to roll the dough tightly that they don’t really mean all that tight or all your strawberry filling will be pushed out even with the 1″ border. I had the majority of the filling ooze onto the counter the first time I rolled. I had to unroll and scoop the filling back on the dough and roll somewhat more loosely.
I made 12 rolls because it fit better in my 8″ x 8″ baking dish and divides more evenly among 3 people than an odd number like 10 or 11. If you have kids are probably painfully aware that they like equal amounts when it comes to food. My finished rolls ended up being about 2″ across and 2″ high.
I sampled a warm roll while cooking my hard boiled eggs. They were light and fluffy. The flavor was pretty subtle and lightly sweet- mostly the flavor came from the vanilla glaze. The strawberry wasn’t really screaming strawberry to me. I think I would like it better if there were also a cinnamon or lemon flavor with the strawberry…maybe in the dough. The rest of the family has not surfaced yet to give them a try so this is just my sleepy opinion.
Hey! It’s 9 AM now. The cat is having her second breakfast/snack… how often do hobbit cat’s eat? Oh, she’s done. I probably freaked her out staring at her eating. Well, following the cat around and reporting on her activities doesn’t get deviled eggs made… or does it? Nope. No little elves have made the eggs for me.

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PJ cat says petting her is more important than cooking.

Back to work. 🐇

ETA: Hagbard and Amethesto did get up and try the rolls and liked them.

From my home to yours,
Lounmoun

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Lounmoun’s Picks- Cooking Papa & Honeysuckle Tea

This week I wanted to mentioned just two things I have enjoyed lately and one upcoming event I’m looking forward to.

We went on a short road trip this week and stopped to buy drinks. Standing in front of the wall of drinks was somewhat overwhelming and I just grabbed something fast that didn’t have calories. I got Inko’s organic unsweetened white tea honeysuckle flavor.  The flavor was very lightly floral and pleasantly refreshing.  I don’t know if I would like their other drinks but I would definitely drink the honeysuckle tea again. They don’t sell it in my local store at this time unfortunately. https://www.inkostea.com/

The weather is warming and it is almost time for outdoor flea markets! Hagbard, Amethesto and I love browsing through flea markets. There is a large market that we have been going to for several years located in Sparks, KS. The town is interesting in that it has a normal population of just 9 people. For 4 days each in the Spring and Fall there are over 500 vendors plus food stalls filling the town and thousands of people. Cars fill the parking area and line the sides of the highway every time. Hagbard has joked that I am walking more these days just to get in training for flea markets!  Seriously, if you go expect to do a lot of walking out in the weather on unpaved areas. Dress in appropriate footwear for a hike, wear sunscreen, drink plenty of water and bring a bag, cart or wagon for your purchases. We always have to walk pretty far from where we park so our habit is to walk through to the end noting down anything larger we want to purchase and go back and buy it on our way out. This year I hope to find some interesting dishes or kitchen implements. I think Amethesto wants to look for vintage clothes and old video games.  We almost always buy some books. The Spring dates are April 28, 29, 30 and May 1. http://sparksantiquesandcollectibles.com/

http://www.examiner.com/article/population-surge-from-9-to-over-75-000-sparks-kansas

Finally, I was reading a manga called Cooking Papa this week. The story is about a 31 year old sales manager named Kaizumi Araiwa who loves to cook and cooks very well but hides this from most people. His wife is a journalist and they have a 7 year old son. Each chapter has a recipe included.  Araiwa is large and muscly in appearance. He does not say much and seems reliable but stern to his co-workers but is actually very caring about others and secretly helps people out all the time. He lets people believe that his wife makes his amazing lunch or that foods he shares are from a store.  I don’t know why he hides what he does but maybe he would get taken advantage of or be seen less seriously in the business world if he revealed that side of himself… like “Hey, Araiwa since you are so good at cooking just make an elaborate lunch for 50 people for the company event.” What he loves could easily turn into a burden. Since his wife is often rushing away on assignment, working late or drinking with colleagues he does a lot of the care for their son beyond just cooking. His persona at home is more fun and chatty. It is a fun cooking manga to check out. http://bato.to/comic/_/comics/cooking-papa-r7712

 

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Spring Break Outing

This week Hagbard, Amethesto and I went to Tuttle Creek State Park just north of Manhattan, KS. It was a cool, cloudy and quiet retreat. We hiked a trail and enjoyed the lake view.

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St. Patrick’s Day Non-Authentic Irish Traditions & Pistachio Pudding Cookies

I have a mixed European ancestry. My ancestors from Ireland arrived in the United States a long ass time ago. My  Irish American immigrant ancestor had a child born in 1758 in Virginia.  On St. Patrick’s Day my family so long removed from Ireland  always ate corned beef, potatoes and cabbage. We usually had some green gelatin dessert.
I’ve read two articles today about how  St. Patrick’s Day  food traditions in the US changed from traditions in Ireland. It is interesting to find out about why we do these things. Corned beef is delicious so I don’t really need a historical reason or a holiday to eat it. I’m sure whatever people are eating today in Ireland is awesome too.
http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/food-and-drink/why-are-millions-of-irish-americans-serving-corned-beef-on-st-patrick-s-day-1.2575518
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/18/dining/corned-beef-and-cabbage-not-so-irish-historians-say.html
Today I absolutely have my corned beef in the slow cooker and I am going to make pistachio pudding cookies for our dessert. The pistachio pudding adds a little green. The cookie is not Irish or a particular holiday tradition but has a tasty memory attached.

When I was young my parents would take us all to visit my aunt, uncle and cousin… really we would descend on their peaceful home in a noisy herd. We would read my cousin’s comic books and play on his tire swing. We didn’t have these things at home. My aunt would often bake soft, buttery vanilla pudding cookies on these occasions for us. My mom never made these kind of cookies. I have great memories of the treat of these cookies all warm from the oven. My aunt sadly died of cancer when I was a sophomore in high school but years later when we made a family cookbook we all agreed to the inclusion of Aunt Bev’s pudding cookie recipe. I’m sure she got it from a newspaper, magazine or pudding box but it was still HER recipe. It is a favorite cookie of my daughter now too. You can use any instant pudding flavor you like and add things like chocolate chips. It is fun to experiment with different flavors.

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Pistachio Pudding Cookies
2 1/4 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 c butter, softened
3/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c white sugar
3.4 oz box pistachio instant pudding
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350° F. Mix flour and baking soda in one bowl. In separate bowl, beat butter, sugars and instant pudding until combined. Mix in vanilla and eggs. Add flour mixture gradually and mix until combined. Drop by the spoonful onto baking sheet 2″ apart. Bake 8 -10 minutes. Let cool 1 minute on the baking sheet. These cookies stay soft. Store in a tightly sealed container. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

These turned out to have a very pale greenish cast and subtle flavor. I added a bit of green tea powder to the last batch and it made the cookie a little darker and stronger flavor than just pistachio alone.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

From my home to yours,
Lounmoun

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Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole & Game Night

Several months ago I went looking for chicken casserole recipes on Pinterest. I found this great recipe for Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole. Since it uses pre-cooked chicken it is a great way to use leftover chicken.  On Monday I had cooked a bunch of chicken in the slow cooker to use in three planned dinners this week and this is the last one. The most time consuming part of the preparation is the sauce and then after that you pop it in the oven and go on your merry way for 45 minutes.  I used the time to exercise.

I did some math and made half of this recipe for about 4-6 servings. ( I do the most math when I cook it seems.) http://recipevan.com/recipe/chicken-cordon-bleu-casserole-2/

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

2 1/2-3 cups of cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
4 thin sliced deli-style honey ham, rough chopped
2 oz thin sliced baby Swiss cheese

For the sauce:
2 T  butter
2 T  flour
1 1/2 cups + 2 T milk
1 T lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1/8 teaspoons pepper

For the topping:
3 T butter
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 tsp seasoning salt
3/4 teaspoon crushed dried parsley

1) Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter an  8″ x 8″ baking dish.
2) Layer cooked shredded or cubed chicken on the bottom of the baking dish. Chop the ham and put it on top of the chicken. Layer the Swiss cheese on top of the ham.
For the sauce:
3) Melt the butter in a  pot over medium heat. When butter is melted, quickly stir in the flour until smooth. Do not brown! Once smooth and bubbly, slowly pour in the cold milk while stirring briskly until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Stir in the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, smoked paprika and white pepper. Bring sauce just back to a low boil and turn off heat. Pour sauce over the casserole and spread to edges.
For the topping:
4) Melt the butter. Stir in the panko bread crumbs, seasoning salt and crushed dried parsley. Sprinkle crumbs over the top of the casserole.
5) Bake casserole uncovered for 45 minutes until hot and bubbly throughout and topping has turned a light golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes prior to serving.

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It tastes great and is filling!

A handy site for converting all kinds of measurements- http://www.convertunits.com/

Tonight was game night at our house. We played Gears of War: the board game. It is a cooperative game (which we love) and can be played by 1-4 players. Our team emerged victorious (barely). It was the first time Amethesto and I had played this so Hagbard had to patiently explain everything to us. Neat game!

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Sunday Fun Day: 3/6/16

When I was growing up my family subscribed to two newspapers. On Sunday morning they arrived on the porch with a thud… heavy with store ads and special supplement sections. One of those special sections was the color comics or as we called them the funny papers. It was the first and sometimes only part of the newspaper I read.
There were old regular comic strips like Peanuts, Beetle Bailey, or Dick Tracey and newer ones like Baby Blues or Calvin and Hobbes. Reading the comics section was a fun Sunday ritual.
I have always loved comics and animated cartoons. Hagbard turned me on to Japanese manga and anime after we married. Loved it! When Amethesto was a baby we would watch Slayers. I was impressed with the strong female sorceress character. As she got older we watched the Studio Ghibli films as a family like My Neighbor Totorro. I was a weepy mess the first time I saw that. Later I would watch Ranma 1/2, Sgt Frog, Fruits Basket, Azumanga Daioh, Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell…lots of great stuff. Today there are sites like Crunchyroll where you can watch free anime and Batoto where you can read manga of all kinds. There are even manga about food!
This week I watched Space Dandy and Lupin the Third: Castle of Cagliostro on dvd. They are both kind of over the top with characters who are somewhat unheroic heroes although Lupin is probably more of hero than Space Dandy.
Here is a great car chase from Lupin the Third to wrap this up. I just love that little car! https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oxbum3is6G0
Have a fun day!

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