Banana Muffins

In every family there is at least one recipe that’s everyone’s favorite and gets made over and over again. In my family it was these banana muffins.

Banana Muffins

My brother, Will, was a fairly picky eat growing up and my mom would often joke that if I really liked something he wouldn’t like it and vice versa. That wasn’t the case when it came to these muffins (though it was the case with chip beef on toast, yuck). To this day whenever we go visit and my mom asks us what she should make we still request these muffins (even though Will and I are fully capable of making these for ourselves whenever we want…)

Banana Muffins

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Brown Rice Salad

While we have been down at my parent’s house this past week and a half we have had a ton of yummy food.  One of our favorites is this brown rice salad.  It is quite addicting, we’ve made it twice already and are contemplating a third time.  It would be a great side dish to take to a summer potluck or a 4th of July Party.  It can hold its own in the summer heat or is delish chilled right out of the fridge.  Brown rice mixed with a dairy free dressing, crunch from pecans and celery and tang from ginger, shallots and orange juice.  Mmm my mouth is watering just thinking about it, and I have a bowl right in front of me eaten a bowl just now.

  

This is a favorite salad that we like to serve for any special occasion or Tuesday night dinner.  The hardest part is waiting for the brown rice to cook, it always takes longer than I think it will.  Throw the dressing ingredients in a food processor or blender and you are basically there.  If you need it to be nut free (like me), you can always omit the pecans and it is still just as yummy, just add a little more celery to keep the crunch to chewy ratio.

Brown Rice Salad

From Momba’s Kitchen

Ingredients

   Dressing

  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 shallot chopped
  • 1 TBSP minced ginger
  • 3 TBSP brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup of extra light EVOO

   Salad

  • 3 cups of cooked brown rice (1 1/2 cups uncooked)
  • 1/2 cup of celery chopped (about 2-3 ribs)
  • 1/2 cup of green onions
  • 1/2 cup of toasted nuts (we like pecans but walnuts, pine nuts or slivered almonds would be good as well)
  • 1 can of mandarin oranges drained and chilled
  • salt and pepper to taste

Put your can of mandarin oranges in the refrigerator a few hours before you start.

Cook your brown rice according to the package directions (just in case, it is usually 2:1 ration of water to rice, so 3 cups of water to 1 1/2 cups of rice).  Meanwhile chop the shallot and ginger and prep your ingredients for the dressing.  In your food processor or blender add the first 5 ingredients.  Run the machine for a bit to get it going, then on a low speed slowly add the EVOO.  Mix until combined.

Chop the celery and green onions.  Toast the nuts in a small pan on the stove until fragrant (make sure you watch these closely so they don’t burn).   Pull your oranges from the fridge and drain them (if you forgot to put them in the fridge no worries it isn’t critical, just make the taste testing all the yummier).

In a large bowl mix all your ingredients together (you may want to reserve a little of the dressing for later, but you don’t have to).  Be prepared to start crying as the onions often get really strong when mixed with the warm rice. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Test the salad and try not to eat it all while standing at the counter.

Chill the salad until you are ready to serve.  It just might be better the next day, so feel free to make it a day (or two?) early.

 

As Seen On Pinterest – No Cook Mud Playdough

Combining two pins in one, No Cook Playdough and Mud Playdough.  We hadn’t made any playdough since Feb and between it drying out a bit and the dog eating much of it (bad bad bad, the playdough is not good for dogs, and the amount of salt that is in it can be toxic for them, luckily (in that he didn’t go into toxic shock or anything) for us, Buddy just was super super thirsty and peed every 10 minutes for the next 24 hours (rough night)) we needed more.

I thought the brown, mud, playdough would be fun and had seen a post on making a no cook version.  Basically the same recipe, just use hot water instead of boiling the whole thing on the stove.  It does seem to be smoother, and stayed fresh while we played with it the whole day (it was the only thing he did from about 10 -6:30, only taking a nap in between…)

  

We have moved the process up to the kitchen table as to avoid the dog sneaking some while we are out of the room.  Overall this was a great success, the dog didn’t eat any and Henry had a ton of fun!

No Cook Mud Playdough

From theimaginationtree.com and icanteachmychild.com

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 TBSP cream of tartar
  • 2 TBSP cocoa powder (or food coloring of your choice)
  • 2 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 2 cups boiling water

Mix the dry ingredients together. Add the vegetable oil and 3/4 of the water.   Mix until combined to a sticky mess dough, adding more water as needed. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.  Roll out onto a well floured surface and kneed the dough until it is no longer sticky and is a nice playdough consistency.

Store in an air tight container in the fridge and play with it as often as desired.

 

Making Beans

Yesterday I made a big batch of beans in the crock pot.  I make beans once every few weeks and store them in wide mouth quart canning jars in the freezer.  I make them really simply with homemade chicken stock and a chopped onion so that I can use the beans for any type of recipe.  They usually end up being made into re-fried beans for burritos (with some cumin, salt, pepper, and paprika, and some nights diced jalapenos).   I have also been using the beans in vegetable soup a lot lately, they add a nice depth and help thicken the stock a little.

Usually I make only one type of bean at a time and rotate through my stash of beans from batch to batch, but when I went to make this batch I realized I did not have enough of any one type for a full batch.  Instead I mixed together the last of the pinto, pink and black beans, which gave me enough for two batches. After soaking the beans overnight the pintos and the pink beans were left with a blue/purple hue from the black beans which I thought was really pretty.  To match the bean’s color palette I thought I would use a red onion too.

Though the steps are really simple, I thought I would share my process for those who might want to make beans for the first time (Hi Will!).

Crock Pot Beans

From Daisy’s Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of dried beans (any will work, I like pinto, black or pink)
  • 1 med/large onion diced
  • 8 cups of chicken stock (or any stock or combination of stock and water, or just all water works too)

Soak the beans over night in about 8 cups of water.  The next morning pour out the water and then pour the beans into the crock pot.  Add the onion and chicken stock.  Cook on low for a minimum of 8 hours.  When done ladle them into wide mouth quart canning jars with enough liquid in the jars to cover the beans (and a good inch of head space so the jars don’t crack in the freezer).

Often there are a few beans and a good amount of liquid left in the pot, I pour all of this in another quart canning jar and freeze it with the rest, I use it for soups to add a little extra flavor.  The jars thaw fairly quickly and using the wide mouth jars makes it easier to get out of the jar while still pretty frozen.  The beans + liquid is the perfect ratio for re-fried beans.

Garlic and Goat Cheese Pasta

For the first few years Timo and were married we had cable TV.  I was constantly watching the food network, gleaning techniques from their chefs, but not really making any of the recipes myself.  I always think I am not a picky eater, but really I am. I have to be in the mood for something in order for me to make it.  Out of all the recipes I watched that first year, this one is the one I tried and still make today, albeit with my modifications.Garlic and Goat Cheese Pasta Continue reading …