To borrow a phrase from Glenda, these are “carbs worth eating.”
Larry’s favorite pie
Even though we generally eat “low carb” around here, we do make occasional exceptions. And homemade blueberry pie is definitely an exception worth making! This is the same recipe I’ve used since living with Mimi during college summers. Back then I picked blueberries with our neighbor Maggie, and invited friends over to have pie after dinner. . .now I have to buy my berries, but I think Larry and the kids are just as appreciative of the end results.
Pie always makes me think of Nana. . .
5 cups blueberries
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp butter
Pastry for double crust
Combine berries, sugar, flour, salt, and juice. Fill 9″ pastry lined pie pan. Dot with butter; adjust top crust.
Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then at 350 for about 30 minutes.
I have to admit that I’ve never been very fond of Hershey’s syrup; I’ve always thought it tasted more like plastic bottle than chocolate. I started making my own hot fudge sauce as a newlywed, but a year or two ago I started thinking of practical uses for chocolate syrup. It goes on ice cream, of course, but unlike hot fudge it can also be used to make chocolate milk or drizzled in places where (perish the thought!) hot fudge might be a bit too much (say it isn’t so!).
A Google search will yield a variety of recipes for chocolate syrup. They all use the same simple ingredients, but quantities vary. The proportions below work well for us, although I’ve been known to tweak the cocoa:sugar ratio if I’m running low on one or the other.
1 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
Combine cocoa, sugar, and salt in medium saucepan. Stir in water. Cook & stir, over medium heat, until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Store in refrigerator; reheats well.
I’ve made a lot of attempts at homemade granola bars over the years, but most of them resulted in something that needed to be eaten with a spoon. Not exactly the portable snack I had in mind! This spring, I renewed my search for a granola bar recipe, preferably one that could be made without gluten. I found this recipe, which I have tweaked over time and made my own. At last. . .granola bars that (usually) stick together. Hip hip hooray!
(Note: wheat or oat flour might also work, but I’ve not tested them in this recipe.)
3 1/3 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup almond flour
1 tsp cinnamon
Combine in large bowl and set aside.
3/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup peanut butter
Stir together until smooth; mix into dry ingredients.
Stir in 3-4 cups of goodies: chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, coconut. I usually use 2/3 cups each of chocolate, fruit, and nuts plus 1 1/3 cups coconut.
Press firmly into parchment lined jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes or until browned on edges and top (will still seem soft).
Let cool completely before lifting out of pan and cutting.
TIP- let pan sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes before cutting.
I know I’ve shared a granola recipe before, but below is the one I have been using for the past couple of years. Since I’m not in the habit of going back and changing or deleting blog posts as I change, this blog ends up being a journal of the changes in my habits over time. Anyhow, this one started as the Chunky Crunchy Granola from Simply in Season, but I’ve made assorted changes–I think reducing the sugar and switching from wheat to almond flour are the main changes. I prefer the use of flour (as opposed to wheat germ) because it forms little clusters better, rather than being left in the bottom of the container. After recently looking at Susan’s granola recipe, I think next time I will try baking this in thinner layers at a higher temperature and shorter baking time.
Edited to add: The past couple times I have baked this on three greased jelly roll pans, 20-25 minutes per pan at 350. I don’t stir it while it bakes or while it cools. Works great–less work, and I can turn the oven off sooner!
12 cups rolled oats
4 cups almond flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ginger
1 cup coconut oil
1 cup honey
1 cup milk
up to 6 cups nuts, seeds, or coconut–optional
Combine dry ingredients; combine wet ingredients and mix into dry. Stir in nuts, if using.
Bake at 300 for 50-60 minutes, stirring often.
Although we’ve not strictly avoided grains since completing our 30 day challenge last summer, we’ve continued to limit our intake of both grains and carbs. With Larry’s health history, he (and his offspring) have no business eating a carb-based diet. I do feel better with fewer carbs, but I’ve mostly found that I need to stick with real foods: potluck or restaurant food often bother my stomach. I suspect it’s some additive or preservative that isn’t in my own cooking, but since I don’t cook the food that causes the problem I’ve not narrowed down the culprit.
At the moment we’ve used up our supply of wheat and I haven’t decided whether to buy more, though oats or rice show up on our menu a couple times a week. Taking pastas and breads out of our regular diet have mostly led to an increased vegetable consumption as well as a slight increase in meat and dairy. When I do bake, I typically use almond or coconut flour. I find almond flour in particular to make a more filling baked good and today I thought I’d share my scone recipe, which started out as this one.
Almond Flour Scones
Yield: 16 scones
4 cups almond flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp orange or lemon zest, or neither
6 Tbsp cream
2 tsp vanilla or almond or any extract
1 cup chocolate chips or blueberries or craisins or chopped nuts or. . .
In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, and extract. Mix wet ingredients into dry; fold in chocolate chips (or other add ins).
Divide dough in half and form each half into a circle about 3/4″ thick. Cut into 8 wedges and transfer to parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.
This recipe can easily be halved if you don’t have 8 eager eaters at your house. . .although leftover scones are always good with a dab of butter and a cup of tea. Popular flavors here have included Lemon-Blueberry and Orange-Cranberry, as well as the Orange-Chocolate of the original recipe. Sometimes I don’t add anything other than a quick sprinkle of cinnamon sugar before baking; this does yield slightly smaller scones. And yes, you really should use cream: milk works, but the dough is much stickier and the end texture isn’t quite as good.
I don’t normally share recipes I’ve only made once but. . .this one was really good! Our Sunday evening supper is often popcorn and a movie, and this past Sunday I decided to find a caramel corn recipe that didn’t use corn syrup. I ended up at this blog post, but actually decided to use the following recipe which was shared further down in the comments:
20 cups popped popcorn
3/4 cup honey OR maple syrup
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted peanuts or 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds (optional)
Remove unpopped kernels from popped corn and put in a very large mixing bowl. Combine honey or maple syrup and butter in a 1 1/2-quart saucepan. Cook and stir over moderate heat until butter melts and mixture boils. Boil, without stirring, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla, baking soda and salt. Pour over popcorn and gently stir to coat popcorn. Spread popcorn mixture on two baking sheets. Sprinkle with peanuts and/or seeds, if desired. Bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes; stirring every 6 to 8 minutes. Remove corn to a large bowl; cool.
Yummy! I used maple syrup because I actually had some on hand; I’ll probably try honey next time as I always have that. I also substituted pecans for the nuts.
Oh, and as for the movie: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I had just finished reading the book aloud to Silly Boy earlier in the afternoon and so he asked to watch the movie. I want to like the Harry Potter movies, and they are fun viewing. But they lack the depth that makes the books worth reading and rereading. Important scenes were omitted to leave screen time for scenes that made use of more special effects. More critical, though, is that the movie characters seem to have no free will: they do the right thing without wrestling with good and evil and what the right thing is. Take away that inner conflict, and all that remains is a cleverly created world populated by stereotypical characters.
This isn’t really a recipe; it’s one of my general methods for throwing together a one dish meal using whatever I have on hand.
- If the meat isn’t already cooked, start there. This time, as I often do, I started with a pound of ground beef; once it’s browned, I remove it from the skillet and set aside.
- Add fat to the skillet as needed–olive oil, butter, bacon grease. . .and begin cooking vegetables. This step varies based on what I’m using and how long it needs to cook. This week I had a chopped onion and a pair of summer squash* that I had shredded in the food processor, so I sauteed the onion first. Once it started to get soft, I stirred in some minced garlic and then added the squash.
- When the vegetables are nearly cooked, stir in the meat and any liquid ingredients such as wine, broth, or tomato sauce. I used tomato sauce this time because I wanted a “spaghetti” type dish. This is also where I add cheese, if I’m using it. It can be stirred in but I generally sprinkle it on top, cover with a lid, and let it melt. Simmer, covered or uncovered, until heated through.
* A helpful tip for summer squash or zucchini: slice, dice, or shred them before proceeding with your recipe. Sprinkle with salt to help draw out excess moisture and place in a strainer to drain until you are ready to cook the squash. If needed, turn out on a clean dish towel and press out more moisture.
I’ve had several requests for this recipe so I figured I may as well post it here. If you’re in a habit of eating pizza with a wheat crust, you’ll probably be unimpressed. But we have tried a number of grain free crusts here and this one (based on a couple recipes) was our clear winner. . .it’s what I’ve served most Friday nights lately, and will be serving tonight. The quantities below will make two 13-14″ish round pizzas, depending on how thin you press out the dough.
4 large eggs
3 cups almond flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
4-6 Tbsp olive oil (or melted coconut oil)
2/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp dried Italian seasoning
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
In a medium sized bowl beat eggs slightly with a fork. Add the olive oil, Parmesan, and herbs; mix to combine. Add almond and tapioca flours. Mix until dough is formed.
Press dough onto pizza pans lined with parchment paper, using a sheet of parchment or waxed paper to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands.
Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes; the edges should begin to brown.
Remove from oven and cool slightly before putting on your favorite sauce and toppings.
Bake for another 10 minutes and enjoy a grain free pizza!
Lately, especially since reading Gary Taubes’ Why We Get Fat, I’ve been making an effort to reduce our overall intake of carbohydrates. I am not a nutrition expert, just a mom trying to feed her family. But diabetes runs in Larry’s family (and therefore is part of our kids’ health history too), and this seems to be our best option for avoiding or at least postponing that. At the same time, I continue on my quest to push more vegetables into my family. We no longer have our C.S.A. share (sniff!) but have regularly participated in Bountiful Baskets. This still involves a certain amount of trial and error as we figure out how to enjoy new-to-us vegetables.
A recent hit involved macaroni and cheese without the noodles. . .and yes, I do realize there are carbs in the cheese sauce but I am feeding picky children here. Small price to pay to see them asking for seconds on cabbage! So without further ado, I give you:
Not-Macaroni & Cheese
1/4 cup butter, divided
2 tablespoons flour
Salt & pepper to taste
1 cup milk
8 ounces cheese
1 pound ground meat
1 head cabbage, shredded
Make white sauce using 2 tablespoons butter, flour, salt and pepper, and milk. Once it is thick and bubbly, reduce heat to low, add all or most of the cheese and stir until melted.
Meanwhile, brown meat and season to taste. Set aside. Saute cabbage until soft, using remaining butter and seasoning as desired.
Combine sauce, meat, and cabbage in a large bowl; pour into greased 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle with reserved cheese if desired.
Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until heated through and bubbly.
For what it’s worth, I like to mix my cheeses–so far, I’ve made this with cheddar and cream cheese, and cheddar and feta. I also vary the herbs and spices used in the meat and cabbage. When I made it with feta, I was also using ground lamb; garlic and oregano seemed to be the logical choices.
Because recipes were made to be shared with family and friends. . .here you go! I’ve (so far) made chocolate , lemon-pine nut, and ginger biscotti with this recipe–all good.
Julee’s Hazelnut Biscotti
2 1/2 cups hazelnuts or almonds, toasted
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 cups flour
3 tablespoons baking cocoa (optional)
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons hazelnut or almond liqueur (Julee uses coffee syrup)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract if using almonds
2 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat oven to 350°.
Place half of the hazelnuts and all of the sugar in a blender or food processor and process until the nuts are finely chopped. Place in a bowl. Coarsely chop the rest of the nuts and add to bowl along with the rest of the dry ingredients. In another bowl, blend eggs, liqueur and butter. Stir into the dry ingredients and knead gently with hands until incorporated; or, mix in Bosch with cookie dough whisks.
Divide the dough in half and, on buttered or parchment lined cookie sheets, form into two 14″ long rolls that are about 3″ wide and 1″ thick. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes and remove cookie sheets from the oven. Cool 10 minutes.
Cut with a serrated knife into 1/2″ slices and return the slices to the baking sheet, setting them upright and spacing them well apart. Lower the oven temperature to 300° and bake another 20 minutes until crisp and dry but not brown on the bottom. Cool and store in an airtight container.
Chocolate: Increase the cocoa to 1/2 cup, increase liqueur to 1/4 cup, decrease nuts by 1/3 and add 1 cup white chocolate chips, 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla.
Ginger: Half the nuts; add 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 1/3 cup minced candied ginger and 1 1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger; omit hazelnut liqueur and add 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla.
Orange: Add 3 tablespoons grated orange zest and use orange liqueur instead of hazelnut.
Coffee: Add 3 tablespoons instant coffee granules.
Apricot: Add 2 teaspoons ground cardamom or cinnamon; half the amount of nuts and add 1 cup chopped dried apricots and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Lemon-pine nut: Omit the nuts, cocoa, and liqueur; use lightly toasted pine nuts and add 1 1/2 tablespoons each of grated lemon rind and lemon juice.
P.S. to Ewe: my Pooh mug was a gift from a high school friend who knew me well.