Friday, February 27, 2009

Four is Better Than One

Only FOUR people signed up for the chance to win coupons for free Happy Baby Food. And I happen to have FOUR coupons in my possession. So I'm changing the rules. Congratulations, turleybenson, Katy, Jill H., and SaLy! You each won one coupon for free baby food! Email me your mailing address and the age of your baby (or nephews, Katy), please. I have two toddler food coupons and two baby food coupons, so I'll divvy them up by age.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Good Night, John Boy

Bedtime conversation from The Day The Fish Died:

Katherine (tearing up): Mama, I like my two new fish, but I wish I still had Polly and Tiny.

Me: I know, Honey. But you took good care of them and they had a nice life.

Katherine: *crying*

Eli (calling from his room): Hey, Mommio! What wrong Katin?

Me: She's sad about her fish.


Eli (yelling): Hey, Katin! Your two fish die AGAIN?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Happy Baby Food

I was fortunate to receive some coupons for free baby food from Happy Baby. However:
  1. The closest location I can find to purchase Happy Baby food is 30 minutes away.
  2. My happy baby is no longer eating baby food, anyway.
So! Who wants to win two coupons for Happy Baby fresh frozen organic baby meals, valued at @$10 total? Leave a comment by, oh, let's say, Friday, February 27th at noon. If you need a topic, tell me about your favorite online place to shop for food (bulk, allergen-free, whatev).

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sweetheart Rolls


Sweetheart Rolls from Bisquick Breakfast & Brunch (2002)*
(for Not Your Aunt Bea)

4 1/2 cups Original Bisquick
1 1/3 cups soy milk
1/4 teaspoon almond extract**
2 T. dairy-free margarine, softened
1 package (4-serving size) raspberry- or strawberry-flavored gelatin (not sugar-free)
Powdered Sugar Icing, if desired

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper or grease with shortening. Stir Bisquick, soy milk, and almond extract until soft dough forms. Place dough on surface generously dusted with Bisquick; gently roll in Bisquick to coat. Shape into ball; knead ten times.

Divide dough in half. Roll or pat each half into 12x7-inch rectangle. Spread 1 tablespoon of the margarine over each rectangle. Sprinkle half of the gelatin over each rectangle; spread evenly with back of spoon. Roll up each rectangle tightly, beginning at 12-inch side. Pinch edge of dough into roll and seal. Cut each roll into 12 one-inch slices. Place on cookie sheet. To make heart shape, pinch one side of slice to form a sharp point; make deep indentation in opposite side of dough with knife to make top of heart.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove rolls from cookie sheet to wire rack; spread Powdered Sugar Icing over warm rolls.
* I made half of a batch (12 rolls) which was more than enough for us.
** or vanilla

Powdered Sugar Icing

2 cups powdered sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons soy milk or water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all ingredients until smooth and spreadable.

Image from

If you can ever find a copy of Bisquick: Breakfast & brunch (Gold Medal Flour), buy it! There are a lot of cute recipe ideas in it.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Nerve

This pesky thing called life is getting in the way of blogging today. Two things:

The Living With Food Allergies Blog Carnival is up here.

Hannah is giving away TWO copies of Go Dairy Free here.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I Owe It All to Fannie and the Doughboy

Per your request, here are my Valentine's Day/Presidents' Day sour cherry pie-making secrets:

1. Take your free labor children to Gramma's house several times during sour cherry season to pick cherries and to yell at the squirrels and birds to get away from your harvest.

2. Bring the cherries home and pit them immediately, before they turn brown. Wear old clothes; cherry juice stains like a like nobody's business.

3. Freeze the cherries.

4. In February, remove four cups of frozen cherries from your freezer to thaw.

5. Buy a package of Pillsbury piecrust at the store.

6. Follow the recipe for Sour Cherry Pie Filling in your Fannie Farmer cookbook.

7. Fill the bottom piecrust.

8. Place the top crust on the pie.

9. Crimp the edges, folding the top crust edge down toward the edge of the pie plate, not in toward the center.

10. Cut girlie heart designs in the top crust with a knife.

11. Bake the pie.

12. Remove the pie from the oven and immediately brush the crust with Fannie Farmer's sugar glaze, which makes it taste just like those lard-filled hand pies you used to buy at Lawson's.

13. Eat the pie.

Sugar Glaze for Piecrusts from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook: Anniversary

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 T. water

Mix the sugar with the water and brush it on a hot baked pie immediately after it is removed from the oven.

Tomorrow: How to turn Bisquick and Jell-O into sweet rolls! No, I'm not kidding!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons

I had the chance to try Nava Atlas' Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons this week. It is arranged by season, which is my favorite type of cookbook. It has a lot of creative recipes, like Puree of Spring Greens--the perfect way to use up your Spring CSA surplus. Of course I will be using real chicken, clams, sausage, etc. when I cook from this book because we are not vegan. But we do cook dairy free, so this is a great addition to our cookbook shelf (Shelves.).

I made the Onion and Garlic Broth, which I am really excited about because:

  • it is quick and easy
  • it is a flavorful addition to soups or risottos, etc.
  • I always have the ingredients in my house
I used the broth in Barbara Kingsolver's Vegetarian Chili, and it added a nice depth of flavor.

Onion and Garlic Broth--Quoted directly from Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons
Makes about 6 cups

This broth may be used as an extra-flavorful soup stock or as an alternative, with a little extra kick, to a basic vegetable stock.

It's also a soothing remedy for the common cold!

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, chopped, or 2 medium leeks, white parts only, chopped and well rinsed

4 to 6 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup dry red wine

6 cups water

Heat the oil in a 2-quart saucepan or small soup pot. Add the onion or leeks and sauté over medium heat until golden.

Add the garlic and continue to sauté until the onion or leeks brown lightly. Add the wine and water. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer gently over low heat for 30 to 40 minutes. You may leave the onions and garlic in if you wish, or strain the stock through a fine strainer. Discard the solids or puree them and add to soup for a thicker consistency.

Per cup:

Calories: 42 Total fat: 2 g Protein: 1 g Fiber: 1 g

Carbohydrate: 4 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 9 mg

There is an Accompaniments section at the end of the book that has several muffin, scone and bread recipes. Scott made the Focaccia Bread recipe. Twice. We love this bread!

Focaccia Bread--Quoted directly from Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons

Makes 1 round loaf, about 8 wedges

Although this excellent traditional Italian bread is yeasted, it does not take as long to make as other yeasted breads, since it only requires one rather brief rising. If you are making a long-simmering soup, this bread will likely fit into the time frame. It’s a natural pairing with Italian-style soups such as Minestrone (page 00), but it’s good with most any tomato-based soup.

1 package active dry yeast

1 cup warm water

1 tablespoon natural granulated sugar

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup unbleached white flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic

Coarse salt

Dried oregano or rosemary

Pour the yeast into the warm water and let stand to dissolve for 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the sugar and two tablespoons of the oil.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours and salt. Work the yeast mixture in using your hands, then turn out onto a well-floured board.

Knead for 5 minutes, adding additional flour if the dough is too sticky. Shape into a round and roll out into a circle with a 12-inch diameter.

Place on an oiled and floured baking sheet, cover with a tea towel, and let rise in a warm place for 30 to 40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

When the dough has finished rising, poke shallow holes into its surface with your fingers, at even intervals. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the top evenly, followed by the garlic, coarse salt, and herbs.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the bread is golden on top and sounds hollow when tapped. Serve warm, cut into wedges, or just have everyone break off pieces.

Per wedge (8 wedges per loaf):

Calories: 206 Total fat: 7 g Protein: 5 g Fiber: 3 g

Carbohydrate: 31 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 294 mg

This review was written for Go Dairy Free.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Weekend Update

Here is a photo of the sour cherry pie I made for Valentine's Day/Presidents' Day. Great idea, except it didn't live to see Presidents' Day. I'm going to have to pinch hit with a cranberry pie, as we are all out of cherries. Spring and summer are coming, though. Soon we will be able to pick more sour cherries from Gramma's cherry tree.

For Valentine's Day breakfast, I made these goofy Bisquick sweet rolls that have red Jell-O powder in the filling instead of cinnamon sugar. The kids loved them. I served them with dairy-free hot chocolate.

As for the school party, one of the moms brought strawberries and grapes (Thank you!), so Katherine and her friend N. were able to enjoy those with the rest of the class. They each chose one of their freezer treats as well.

I'll be back later with a cookbook review. Happy Presidents' Day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

No, There is Too Much. Let Me Sum Up.

You are the parent in charge of the first grade Valentine party. Teacher gives you a list of the parents who signed up to help, as well as the names and numbers of the two allergic children's parents, so that you can, presumably, coordinate safe food for the party.

You :

A. Call the allergic children's mothers and ask them for some safe food suggestions.

B. Call the allergic children's mothers, tell them the foods the other parents are providing and ask if these items are safe.

C. Call the allergic children's mothers, tell them the foods the other parents are providing and ask them to provide comparable allergen-free treats.

D. Some combination of A and/or B and/or C.

E. Call the allergic children's mothers and leave messages saying you have NO IDEA what the parents will be bringing to the party you are coordinating, but Teacher mentioned that the allergic children have treats in the freezer that they use for birthdays, so they can just eat those.

You are a mother of one of the allergic children. You hear this message and:

A. Mentally compose a return phone call that you then decide not to place, deciding no good can come of it.

B. Explain the situation to your child, who is quite confused, as all of the holiday school parties so far have had at least one safe treat she can eat.

C. Come up with a plan with your child. You will send an extra treat (fruit snacks) for your child to eat in addition to a cupcake or cookie from the freezer. (Hey, it's Valentine's Day.) You will also write a note to teacher explaining this. If your child knows that one or more of the party foods are safe, she will tell Teacher, and/or ask Teacher to call you and confirm.

D. Wonder if this is the right way to handle things and/or if you are overly sensitive.

E. All of the above.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Just One More Embarrassment

Many moons ago, Andrea Ross and Mark Blevis of Just One More Book! asked me if I would call their hotline and leave a message about a favorite children's book for their fantastic children's book podcast. So I did. (Of COURSE I chose a book about food. Did we just meet?) Go have a listen if you need a laugh, and consider leaving them a message about one of your favorite books so I can laugh at you.

'Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy

(I love misheard lyrics.)

Go on over to Bittersweet by February 14th and enter for your chance to win a copy of My Sweet Vegan: passionate about dessert.
We LOVE this cookbook.

When I cleaned out the basement, I found a few small toys, some of which were mine, and some of which were freebies Scott received from companies he used to work with (a Matchbox truck, etc.). Ta da! Instant Valentine's Day gifts! Right now, I'm looking at Valentine printables. These lunchbox jokes are perfect for Katherine. Yes, I've been reading The Complete Tightwad Gazette-- Shut up.

I think I'll bake a cherry pie this weekend. Red = Valentine. Cherries = Presidents' Day (which is Monday). Two holidays for the price of one dessert!

What are you doing for Valentine's Day?

Monday, February 09, 2009

When Pack Rats Breed

If you drive by our house this Trash-day morning, you might think we are moving. Sorry to disappoint you, Single Next Door Neighbor We Irritate! We're never leaving the homestead! I just cleaned out the basement this weekend!

Here are the before and after photos:

HAHAHAHAHA! As if!! NOBODY gets to see that hot mess--not even family. We m i g h t not die of horror if someone saw the basement now, but we would probably faint. It's getting there, though. I passed along some clothing and put some items in their rightful places, but most of it was garbage. And it's GONE!

I need a nap.

What projects have you been working on? Any organizational/cleaning tips to share with the class?

Friday, February 06, 2009

Insert Title Here

The latest Living With Food Allergies Blog Carnival is up at Go Dairy Free.

Alisa is giving away gourmet chocolate (that crazy girl) at One Frugal Foodie.

If you should ever need a recipe for manna cookies (It could happen.), this one is very good and has the added benefit of not requiring FOUR CUPS of finely chopped almonds. I made the cookies with margarine instead of butter, of course.

I just made Dog Hill Kitchen's recipe for dairy-free hot chocolate mix, minus the vanilla powder because I don't have any. Also, my poor, deprived children will be mixing it with water, not additional soy milk. It tastes just fine.

Whoever keeps finding my recipe for Russian Hot Pot because you are searching for "hot Russians" and "hotrussiansdotnet," Ew. Go away.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Meet Our New Pets!

Polly and Tiny the guppies
(Polly is expecting! Hope she doesn't eat her babies.)

Fudge the dog
(Melissa and Doug Black Lab - Plush)

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Edible Tractor

What's that? You want to see the John Deere cake I made for Eli's birthday? OK!

"I'll have the radiator, please."

I bought the Wilton Tractor Panfor $12.99! on Amazon. Totally worth it because I can use it for many Eli (and Grandad) birthdays to come. To really set the mood, we recommend All About John Deere for Kids the Music CD, Parts 1-3. "John Deere... made a better plow...."

Monday, February 02, 2009

February Second

Yes, the Steelers won last night. Yes, it's Groundhog Day. But most importantly, this baby boy is three today. Three! Happy Birthday, Buddy. I'm glad you liked your John Deere party.