Monday, November 29, 2010

Honey here I come!

I've been trying with little success to bake with honey (in complete place of sugar). I say little success because I want my baked goods to taste good. My wonderful husband has so far eaten most everything I've been baking, but I haven't been too impressed with the results. I want it to turn out like I expect it to. But alas, my baked goods have a mind of their own now and I never know what the outcome will be like.

But I'm not giving up! I refuse to be bested by honey. So I've ordered every cookbook the library has on honey (don't worry, it's only about 5) and I'm going to try those recipes and see if I have better luck. (In all honesty it's not just honey that I've changed. I also use whole wheat straight from the farmer and that makes a big difference in baked goods too.)

So, I'll try to keep you posted on how the new recipes turn out :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sweet and Sour

I tried to make sweet and sour meatballs this past week. I say tried, because, well, it didn't exactly turn out :(

On a happy note, TR liked it. He said it tasted really good, just they didn't taste at all like sweet and sour!

My problem I think, is that I didn't take the time to properly think about the recipe. I decided that it should be easy enough to simply substitute healthier ingredients and that the outcome would be about the same. Yikes! Was I ever WRONG!

Okay, so the first problem I ran into was the tomato soup. My recipe calls for tomato soup. That's not something we have in our house anymore - so I thought, okay, I will just add whole tomatoes. And I didn't measure. I just threw them in (way too many turns out!).

Next I used honey instead of brown sugar. Shouldn't be too big of a deal, right?

Then it was real soy sauce instead of artificial.

I think the rest of the ingredients were about the same as normal.

I taste tested it after a while. YIKES! It was AWFUL!!!!!!!

Way too tomato-ie. I tried adding some organic sugar. That helped a bit. A bit more soy sauce.

In the end the sauce was edible. TR liked it more than I did. But it was NOT sweet and sour by any means.

So until I find a new recipe that calls for some ingredients that we have in the house, I don't think that sweet and sour will be on the menu again any time soon :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Chloe has been asking for chocolate milk. She LOVES it. We never really had it much at home, it was pretty rare even when we were on our 'normal Canadian' diet. But when we were at Nana's, or sometimes at her cousins she would see it there. So at home she would ask. Well, I don't know if you've looked at the ingredients in the commercial chocolate syrup, but it does not fit into our new diet at ALL :) So here's my healthy twist on it.

~ Melt honey in a pot. Don't be too skimpy, this forms the base of the syrup. When you're just trying it out do maybe 1/2 cup - 1 cup. This last time I did it, it was around 2 cups.

~ Add chocolate pieces. I use 72% chocolate. Not too much, just a bit.

~ Add cocoa. Add LOTS more than you think. That honey is sweet and needs lots of chocolate.

~ Whisk together until smooth. Add a bit of water. With about 2 cups honey I think I did about 1/3 cup or so.

~ Taste. Add more cocoa if needed. You want it to taste way too strong so that it is concentrated for your milk. Make sure that it boils so that the honey doesn't go hard again.

~ Add it to milk, on top of ice cream, or wherever!

It was awesome! TR says it's even better than the store's version. And I can give my baby girl some chocolate milk :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My twist on Summaborsht

I have been craving summaborsht. CRAVING. But what to do when it involves pork?

Make it with beef :)

Here's my version of Summaborsht:

~ Boil chopped potatoes in water. Add chopped onions. Add dill, salt and pepper, celery seed (fresh would've been better). Add chopped carrots (I did these really fine, more for nutrition than for flavour).

~ Let it simmer on the stove for a while.
~ Add cooked ground beef. I put mine through the processor first so that it was really fine, but if you like chunks than skip that step.

~ Let it simmer for as long as you like. Add cream and enjoy!

I LOVED it. It totally hit the spot and tasted great. If I hadn't grown up knowing that Summaborsht was a soup that was meant for ham or varsht, I never would have thought twice about this soup.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It's becoming a habit

So, after some good advice, I have been trying very hard. And it's quickly becoming a habit! I used to do it some, but now I am doing it way more often.

I am freezing.

Cooking extra in order to freeze.

Here's some examples:

~ Cook 1/2 a chicken. Whatever we don't eat I take off the bones and freeze, or plan to use in the next couple of days. Usually I just left the meat for leftovers, but taking it off the bones makes it so much easier to use and less gets wasted. We usually have enough for leftovers and a new meal.

~ Made meatloaf and formed a few hamburger patties to freeze.

~ Made twice as many perogies as I needed in order to freeze some.

~ Made twice as much chicken pot pie filling as I needed and froze it in a casserole dish. Added some mashed potatoes and threw it in the oven for a super quick potluck meal this week!

~ Make a big batch of waffles whenever I make them and throw the leftovers in the freezer. I freeze them on a cookie sheet and then throw them in a bag when they're frozen.

~ Made homemade cream of chicken soup the other day and froze what I didn't need for that recipe for later.

~ Cooked up 2 salmon instead of just one. Saved energy from using the oven only once instead of twice and now I have extra de-boned salmon in the freezer just waiting to be made into patties!

~ I save all my bread crusts now to be made into crumbs.

It is becoming second nature to me to think about how I can stretch everything so that less is wasted and my time is better used. It makes things way less stressful in the kitchen and I usually end up with a couple of quick simple meals a week just from cooking more on other days and preserving it. I LOVE IT!

Thanks Leanne for giving me a good swift nudge in the right direction!

How do you save time in the kitchen? When you make more and save for another meal do you try to make the new meal different?

Friday, November 5, 2010


So I fried the sweet potato. And it was a big hit! I cut it up like I was making fries and then put it on a well oiled cookie sheet in the oven. Turned it over a couple of times and when it was crispy and soft it was done. The kids and TR enjoyed dipping them in ketchup and the kids never even knew it was the same food that they had disliked only days before ;)