Here is another Christmas recipe for a delicious single-serving cranberry waffle that you can serve along with yesterday's Cranberry Smoothie or by itself for the perfect Christmas breakfast.
½ cup flour ¼ cup oatmeal ¼ tsp baking powder ¼ tsp baking soda dash of salt ¼ tsp cinnamon 1 tbsp sugar ½ cup buttermilk ½ tsp vanilla 1 egg white handful of fresh
Mix together all the
dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mash up the banana and whisk it with the
milk, egg, and vanilla. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, stirring in the
cranberries. Cook in a preheated waffle iron according to the directions on
your personal iron. It will make one Belgian waffle, and possibly two waffles
in a smaller waffle iron. Top with butter, syrup, cranberries, or just dig into
After you dig into your amazing waffle meant just for you, you should probably consider making something to share. This Christmas card is sure to brighten someone's day and wish them a Merry Christmas.
Smoothies are not your typical wintertime snack, but this Christmas Cranberry Smoothie is definitely an exception. It brings both the festive Christmas color and flavor to the table with a delicious twist to your regular holiday fare.
I made this particular smoothie last Christmas for breakfast and waited an entire year to share it with you. I hope it proves to be worth the wait. Enjoy!
1 cup frozen
1 cup milk
1 frozen banana
1-2 tbsp honey
Blend all the
ingredients together in a high speed blender. Add a little more milk to make
the smoothie less thick if desired.
I made several sets of stockings for my sisters. I have a mini stocking pattern that I use to make miniature stockings out of Christmas themed fabric. These stockings are perfect for American Girl Dolls, stuffed animals, or, if the recipient is older, simply as a holder for a small gift.
I made these for Harper's American Girls and Carson's stuffed dog named Rudy.
For the American Girls, mini candies were the perfect stocking stuffer, especially for the chocolate themed stocking.
Here is Rudy the dog's stocking complete with a foam bone.
Christmas is almost here. Where has the time gone? I am happily graduated and home with my family. It is nice to finally have time to catch my breath and sleep for a bit after the super busy semester. Now I am free to craft, cook, and play with my amazing little sisters. Here is a fun Christmas card to kick off my Christmas posts!
Well, the big day is over. All the food was prepared. The table was set. Everyone said the blessing and dug in to the marvelous feast. The dishes have been washed. The post-gorging nap took place. The guests have gone home. And now you have a refrigerator full of delicious leftovers that you have no idea what to do with. Look no further because this post has tons of ideas for all your leftover turkey, sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce. Let feast #2 commence!!
I made these yummy baked donuts to take to my roommate's family Thanksgiving yesterday. They were nice enough to let me join in on their festivities since I was unable to go home.
Sweet Potato Baked Donuts
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
½ cup butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup milk
1 large mashed sweet potato (about
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
and oil a donut pan. Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt,
cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the
milk, eggs, and sweet potato. Stir until just combined. Mix the wet and dry ingredients
together, once again mixing until just combined. (You do not want to overmix!)
Divide the batter between the holes in the donut pan. Bake for 12 minutes, or
until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the donuts to sit in the pan for 5
minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.
1 garlic flavored naan
3 slices chopped bacon
2 ounces cook turkey,
1 button mushroom,
½ cup shredded cheddar
1 green onion, sliced
2-3 tbsp ranch dressing
Spread the ranch over
the naan. Sprinkle on the cheese and remaining toppings. Broil on high for
about 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese melts.
The traditional shepherd's pie gets both a healthy and Thanksgiving-themed makeover when the usual mashed potatoes are replaced with sweet potatoes and the ground beef is replaced with shredded turkey. It will be a new favorite!
Pre potato-ing! Look at the yummy filling. :)
Single Serving Sweet
Potato- Turkey Shepherd’s Pie
1 small sweet potato,
cooked until tender and peeled
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp butter
½ cup chicken broth
1 tbsp flour
½ cup mixed frozen
2 tbsp chopped onion
3 ounces chopped cooked
1 tsp minced garlic
¼ tsp Italian
salt and pepper, to
Preheat your oven to
350 degrees and butter a 2 cup ramekin. Mash up the sweet potato with 1
tablespoon of butter and the milk. Set aside. Heat ½ tablespoon of the butter
over medium heat until it melts. Whisk in the flour and cook for a minute,
stirring constantly. Slowly whisk in the broth. Cook, stirring often, until the
gravy thickens. Season to taste and mix in the Italian seasonings. Wipe out
your pan and heat the remaining ½ tbsp. of butter over medium heat. Add the
onions and garlic. Sauté until the onions are tender. Add in the frozen veggies
and cook until they are thawed, about 5 minutes. Mix the veggies, turkey, and
gravy together and then pour them into the ramekin. Spread the sweet potato over
the top. Bake for 15 minutes.
½ cup milk
½ cup applesauce
½ cup quick or old
fashioned rolled oats
handful of cranberries
(fresh, frozen, dried, or a mixture)
1 tbsp maple syrup
1-2 tbsp cranberry
Mix together the first
four ingredients the night before. In the morning, swirl in the cranberry
sauce. Sweeten with maple syrup to taste and enjoy!
Coconut Sweet Potato
2 cups rolled
oats, blended into a flour
1 cup coconut
1 cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp baking
1 large sweet
potato (about 16 ounces)
¼ cup coconut
sweet potato all over with a fork. Place it on a microwave safe plate and
microwave for 8 minutes, or until it is tender. Allow it to cool before
peeling. (Or skip this step and use a precooked sweet potato.) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and oil a muffin pan. Mix the flour,
oat flour, coconut flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder together. Blend the
sweet potato together with the milk, eggs, and oil. Combine the wet and dry
ingredients, stirring until just mixed. Divide the batter between the prepared
muffin pans. Bake for 22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the
muffins sit for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.
I am finally posting again! I cannot believe that I have practically missed all of Autumn here on my blog. There are so many apple, pumpkin, squash, and Thanksgiving recipes I wish I had time to share. Plus, I have a boatload of craft ideas and a ton of countries on my list of things to do once I can breathe again. The end is near. I see the light at the end of this long tunnel that is senior year (or senior semester). Only a few more weeks before I have my diploma! Hopefully I can make it until then. This whole 4 hours of sleep a night thing is really getting to me....
Anyway, even though I am not posting, I still do eat. I justify spending time cooking and eating because if I don't, I will die. If I die, who will write my papers? Who will get my diploma? Who will do that laundry that has been sitting on my bed for what feels like years, just waiting to be folded? The answer is nobody, so cooking is a must. :) Since instant ramen noodles just don't cut it, I have some recipes to share that use up some of the yummy ingredients that are ever-so-popular this time of year. Enjoy!
This first recipe is just in time for Thanksgiving. I absolutely adore dressing. (And yes, it is dressing, not stuffing.) I can eat a whole pan all by myself, and that is exactly what I did with this delicious butternut squash filled and hazelnut coated dressing.
Butternut and Hazelnut Cornbread Dressing
12 cornbread muffins, or 1 recipe cornbread 1 onion,
finely chopped 1 small
butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes 3
apples, peeled and cut into small cubes 3 eggs 2 cups
chicken broth (or more if you like a wetter dressing) 1 tsp
dried rosemary 1 tsp
dried thyme 1 tsp
dried sage ½ cup
your oven to 350 degrees and prepare a large baking pan or several smaller
ones. Chop the cornbread into small cubes. In a large bowl toss the apples,
squash, onions, and seasonings. Whisk the eggs and broth together in a separate
bowl. Add the broth mixture and bread cubes into the bowl and mix until well
combined. Evenly spread the mixture into your baking dish and top with the
hazelnuts. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the squash is tender and the
hazelnuts are toasted.
Recipe #2 uses butternut squash again to make a creamy, fall-themed pasta sauce. It is so good!
Butternut Squash Alfredo
1 pound cubed butternut squash
(about 1 medium squash)
3 cloves garlic
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
12 ounces grated mozzarella cheese
6 ounces grated parmesan cheese,
plus more for topping
6 tbsp butter
16 ounces pasta noodles, cooked
according to the directions on the box
Boil the butternut squash in a pot for 20 minutes, or until extremely tender. Blend together the squash, milk, and garlic in a high speed blender. Heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the sauce and continue to stir until it begins to bubble. Season to taste. Mix in the cheese, remove the pan from the heat, and toss the sauce with the pasta. Top with more parmesan cheese and serve.
Here's a recipe to make your Thanksgiving brunch amazing. Any leftovers will be the perfect way to prepare for hours of Black Friday shopping in the wee hours of the morning. Plus, they are whole grain, so you can feel good about eating them after all that apple pie and sweet potato soufflé.
2 dozen 1 ¾ cups rolled oats 2 cups whole wheat flour ½ cup Bob’s Red Mill 10 Grain Hot Cereal 1 tbsp baking powder 1 tbsp cinnamon ½ tsp salt
½ cup brown sugar ½ cup granulated sugar 1 ½ cups milk 4 eggs 2 cups canned pumpkin ½ cup oil
Soak the 10 Grain Hot Cereal and milk in a
covered bowl for at least 3 hours. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and oil a
muffin pan. Blend 1 ¼ cups of the oats into a flour using a high speed blender.
Mix the flour, oat flour, oats, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and baking powder
together. Whisk the Hot Cereal and milk mixture together with the eggs,
pumpkin, and oil. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, stirring until just
mixed. Divide the batter between the prepared muffin pans. Bake for 20 minutes,
or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the muffins sit for 5 minutes before
removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.
My most recent stovetop travel took
me to the African country of Angola. It was a past colony of Portugal, and it
was the Portuguese who gave named it based off of the indigenous Ndongo’s name
for their leaders, ngola, back in 1571. The Angolans gained independence in
1975 and right afterward went into a civil war that lasted several decades. Since
the end of its civil war in 2002, Angola has been on an upward trajectory. Angola's economy is centered around diamonds and oil. The government has also just instated a new push towards better healthcare and vaccinations. Let's hope that Angola continues to become a happier and freer place to live.
Muamba de Galinha is like a lot of African stews. It uses chicken, okra, and red palm oil to create a delicious and nutritious meal. Unlike African stews that I have cooked in the past, Muamba de Galinha has the delightful addition of pumpkin. Leave it to Africa to show us how good a savory pumpkin dish can be.
Muamba de Galinha
¼ cup lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 chili pepper, minced
½ tsp chili powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound chicken breast, cubed
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp red palm oil
1 cup chicken stock (traditionally
palm soup base)
4 okra, sliced
1 small pie pumpkin; seeded,
peeled, and cubed
Mix the lemon juice, garlic, chili,
and seasonings together. Pour this marinade over the chicken and let it sit for
20 minutes, mixing occasionally to ensure that the flavors meld. Heat the red
palm oil over medium high heat in a saucepan. Add the onions and cook until
golden, about 6 minutes. Toss the chicken into the pan and cook each side for
about a minute until browned all over. Pour in the marinade and chicken broth.
Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer for 20-30 minutes. Uncover the pan, and
add the pumpkin and okra. Cook for another 15 minutes until the pumpkin is
This yummy pumpkin and chicken stew
proved to be a delicious fall-themed comforting meal that provided the African
flavors that I adore. It came together pretty easily, was relatively
inexpensive (boneless, skinless chicken breasts are $1.99/ lb from the meat
counter at Kroger, but around $4 or $5/lb if you buy the prepackaged kind), and
was delicious!! I love African food, and I love trying out new African recipes.
I have been trying to space my African meals out to savor them, but I am flying
through the country a lot faster than I would have liked. If only Eastern
Europe could go by as quickly….
It seems like my posts are going to be few and far between these next few weeks before graduation. I really hate it because its the time of year when I want to share a bunch of cute holiday craft ideas/recipes. But unfortunately when you have to choose between class, work, blogging, and breathing, it's pretty obvious what goes first. (Sleeping dropped out of the running long ago.) Anyway, I wanted to be able to post at least once this week and hopefully get a country in. The country posts take forever, so don't hold your breath.
I don't know what the weather is like in your neck of the woods, but it has been gross and rainy the past few days here in Tennessee. Rainy October days call for comfort food and PJs. (Unless you are a college student taking seven classes to graduate in 2.5 years while working 5 jobs and writing 11 papers. Someone that crazy doesn't even know what pajamas look like. They just know that they are on page 16 of their 20 page research paper in Spanish and cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel because their computer screen has caused them to go blind.)
What was I talking about?
.......oh yeah, chicken risotto. It's perfect for a yucky day. Or a sunny day. Or a snowy one. Even one of those weird days when you can't see your hand in front of you because all of the fog, but for some reason everyone still thinks driving is a good idea. Yes, that is the kind of day for risotto. And here is that risotto:
Creamy Parmesan Chicken Risotto 1 cup Arborio rice 4 cups chicken broth ¼ cup olive oil 3 slices bacon, chopped 1 cup milk ¾ cup shredded parmesan cheese 2 tsp Pampered Chef Garlic and Herb Seasonings 2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces salt and pepper, to taste
To cook the chicken heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over
medium heat in a large frying pan. Cook the chicken until it’s done and browned
all over. Meanwhile bring the broth to a boil in a small pot and heat the
remaining olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add the bacon and cook
until crispy. Stir in the rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Pour one
cup of the boiling broth over the rice. Stir and cook until the rice has
absorbed all the liquid. Continue in this manner, slowly adding in more broth
as the rice absorbs it until there is no more broth. Stir in the milk,
seasonings, cheese, and chicken. Bring it back to a simmer and cook until the
milk has been absorbed as well. Season to taste and serve.
Life continues to get crazier and crazier, but Bhutan and its unique cuisine do not deserve to be ignored any longer. There is a widespread deficiency amongst the college-age American population of knowledge about Bhutan. When I told several different people that I cooked Bhutanese food, they either gave me blank stares, asked me what country the "Bhutan" was from (like it was a dish and not the actual place's name), or said something like, "Bhu-what?". I am here today to put an end to Bhutanese ignorance. Bhutan is actually one of the many nations that make up our world and deserves to be recognized. Bhutanese culture lovers unite! :) Before I get too carried away here....
Bhutan is a country. There's our start. Can everyone say Bhutan. (The inner teacher is really coming out now.) It's located in Asia. Yes, China is not the only country over there no matter what the bottom of every item you have ever bought claims. If you find China on a map and go south a bit, you will find Bhutan tucked away in the Himalayas. The mostly Buddhist Bhutanese people are matrilineal (ancestry is passed down the mother's line) and archery is the national sport. The Driglam Namzha is basically Bhutan's code of etiquette. It regulates dress code during different situations depending on the formality and context. It also tells the people how to eat, bow, talk, and how to build their buildings. One minority group refused to follow the new code when it was enacted in 1990, and their whole region was exiled and no longer is recognized by the Bhutanese as being part of Bhutan. About 20% of Bhutan is currently in exile because of nonconformity. That's a high percentage, especially since Bhutan is not that big to begin with. Back to the point about how Bhutan is matrilineal, it is the Bhutanese men who generally cook, clean, and take care of the home. It's also illegal to smoke in Bhutan and has been since 2010. It was the first country to enact this law. Bhutan has some very interesting laws....
Bhutan is home to the amazing red rice; the only rice that grows at high altitudes such as those in Bhutan. (They are in the Himalayas, after all.) Other than the staple of rice (and in some regions corn and buckwheat), yak, chicken, dried beef, and pork are popular. Chili peppers and cheese are other must-haves for a Bhutanese table. Butter tea is a common drink that literally mixes tea with butter and supposedly tastes great.
Eze is like the salsa of Bhutan and is great served alongside your main dish and rice to spice things up. (Because you didn't think your Bhutanese food could get any spicier.)
1 small onion,
quartered 1 small tomato,
quartered 1 cup packed
cilantro leaves 4 red serrano chilies ¼ tsp ground
ginger 1 tsp Szechuan
Broil the chilies
under high heat until charred. Flip them over and cook until the other side is charred
as well. Wait for the chilies to cool before peeling and seeding them. Place
all the ingredients in a food processor and process until a nice paste has
Ema Datshi is the national dish of Bhutan, and consists of chili, "Ema", and cheese, "Datshi". It's spicy and good served over a nice heaping portion of red rice. Be careful when you cook the chilies because they will smoke you out if not covered properly.
8 ounces feta
cheese (the creamy block kind, not crumbled) 1 small onion, thinly
sliced 2 cups green
chilies, seeded and sliced into long strips 4 cloves garlic,
minced 1 tbsp oil 1 tomato, pureed
in a blender a few leaves of
cilantro salt, to taste
Heat the oil over
medium heat in a large saucepan with a lid. (Trust me; you’ll want the lid
unless you enjoy hot chili smoke in your eyes and throat.) Add the garlic,
onion, and chilies to the saucepan, cover, and cook for about 10 minutes. Stir
occasionally and do not allow them to brown, only caramelize. Add in about a
cup of water along with the tomato. Simmer for about 5 minutes before adding
the cheese. Stir until creamy, adjusting the water as needed. It should be a
creamy sauce. Last of all, stir in the cilantro and cook for 2 minutes. Season
to taste and serve with red rice.
Minced chicken and (even more) chilies come together to make the meat dish called Jasha Maroo. It's also good over rice and topped with cilantro.
Heat the oil over
medium high heat in a large skillet. Add the onion, garlic, and chilies. Cook
for about 5 minutes before adding the chicken. Allow the chicken to brown for a
couple of minutes before pouring in the water along with the tomato, and
ginger. Simmer for 30 minutes, adding more water if needed. Serve atop red rice
garnished with cilantro leaves.
The Bhutanese sure do love their cheese and chilies. Unfortunately, I was not able to get authentic cheese nor chilies like they have in Bhutan. My Ema Datshi looks a little chunky because the feta I used did not melt as nicely as I had hoped. Oh well, the chili flavor still showed through. My mouth was on fire! I also couldn't get ahold of any red rice, so I subbed black rice, which I think looks very similar. Maybe it was all the less-than-perfect substitutions or maybe I just wasn't in a spicy food kind of mood, but I wasn't completely thrilled with my Bhutanese experience. I think I just wasn't feeling it because everything tasted great and came together well. (Except for the chunky cheese.) I even stirred some of the leftover chili salsa (Eze) into soup I made a couple of days later. I wonder if my meal goes along with the mandated Driglam Namzha code. I would not want to be exiled....
As the weather continues to fluctuate between summer and fall, I cannot keep track of whether I should plan on making cold overnight oats or warm cooked oatmeal. That's why I'm sharing two oatmeal recipes today. This way you have a back-up plan for whatever the weather decides to do. Who knows- it might be snowing tomorrow morning but get up to the mid 90s by the afternoon. You will be well stocked with yummy oatmeal recipes for every situation imaginable.
I have seen quite a few recipes on Pinterest and around the web for oatmeal made with grated zucchini. The claim is that the zucchini moistens up the oatmeal without imparting any squash-y flavor. I decided to try it out for myself and threw in some grated apple to give it a fall theme. A big glob rounded it out and created one of the creamiest bowls of oatmeal I had ever experienced. Zucchini is a definite winner, and this recipe is great for all you fall lovers!
Peanut Butter Apple Zoats
serves 2 1 small apple or
half a large apple, grated ½ a zucchini,
grated 1 cup oatmeal (I
used a mixture of quick and old fashioned.) 1 cup milk 1 cup water 2-3 tbsp maple
syrup, optional ¼ cup peanut
butter cinnamon, to taste
Bring the oats,
milk, water, apple, and zucchini to a boil in a small pot and then reduce the
heat to a simmer. Cook until the liquid has been absorbed and the oats have
reached your desired consistency/texture. Stir in the peanut butter, maple
syrup, and cinnamon and enjoy!
If you are still clinging to the last recesses of summer (or living in the southern hemisphere), Peach Melba Oats are the way to go. Inspired by the favorite dessert of vanilla ice cream topped with peaches and raspberry sauce, this scrumptious bowl lets you have all the decadence for breakfast! A thick and luscious vanilla-yogurt-oatmeal base is mixed with fresh fruit and raspberry preserves to create a cooling breakfast treat.
Peach Melba Overnight Oats
¼ cup plain or vanilla
yogurt ½ cup milk ½ cup rolled oats ½ tsp vanilla extract 1 peach, peeled
and diced handful of
raspberries 3 tbsp raspberry
Mix together the yogurt, milk, and oats. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours. The next morning stir in the vanilla, peach, and raspberries. Top with the preserves and enjoy!
Tonight’s meal was
extra special because I got to share it with one of my very best friends, Becca,
who has actually spent a month living in Burkina. Burkina Faso is an African nation with a history of French colonization up until the 1960s and an even more recent history of governmental overthrows and issues. By recent I mean last month. Yeah, things in Burkina are not going so well right now. In 1984 Burkina Faso changed its name from Upper Volta to what it is today. The current name means "the country of honorable people". One very interesting custom that is generally practiced between family members or between members of two different ethnic groups is called "rakiire". Rakiire is basically a form of joking with the other person, but in the Burkinabe culture it is seen more as an invitation into the community than a harmful insult. Members of a single family can basically trash talk each other and it is seen as loving expression. Between members of two different ethnic groups rakiire expresses a pact of peace and nonaggression. If two tribes seem to be on the edge of a battle, rakiire can be used to defuse it. I guess the Burkinabe utilize it as a way of fighting with words instead of weapons in a way that is more comical to the other group than hurtful. Check out this interesting article if you want to learn more about rakiire: http://blog.compassion.com/burkina-faso-culture-the-tradition-of-rakiire-in-burkina-faso/ Maybe the coup leader who just seized the president of Burkina back in September and declared a change in government was persuaded to back down by rakiire. Six days later the transitional president, Michel Kafando, was restored to power.
Becca and the
internet told me that Burkinabe food is based mainly off of the common Tô staple or
rice along with a sauce. I debated on making peanut butter or okra sauce with Tô as this
seemed to be the most common Burinabe meal, but I have made peanut sauce and Tô a million
also goes by the names fufu,
sadza,pap, and nshima in
other African countries. It also closely resembles the cou-cou
of the Caribbean.) Instead of making yet another repeat meal, I decided to go
with what appears to be Burkina’s national dish: Riz Gras, which means “fat
rice” in French. Becca said that meat was hardly ever served where she stayed
except during celebrations. She was working in an orphanage so I am sure that
the food was not of the highest quality, but meat definitely is a treat for
most Burkinabe people, orphan or not. Riz Gras would probably be a great meal
for an important day. I had to feed my guest the best.
8 ounces boneless,
skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes 1 cup rice, rinsed 1 small onion 1 tomato 1 jalapeño, seeded 1 clove garlic 2 tbsp tomato
paste 2 cups chicken
broth 2 cups cabbage,
chopped 3 carrots, peeled
and chopped oil, as needed salt, to taste thinly sliced
onion, to serve
Pour enough oil to
cover the bottom of a pot/wok. Add the chicken and fry until browned all over.
Cover the chicken with water and bring it to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, process the onion, tomato, jalapeño, and garlic together in a food
processor until it becomes a thick past. Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil
over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Add the pasta and cook, stirring
frequently, for 8 minutes. Pour the broth into the saucepan along with the
cabbage, carrot, rice, tomato paste, and chicken. Stir to evenly mix everything
together. Cover the saucepan with a lid and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook
until the rice is done and all the water has been absorbed, about 20 minutes
for white rice and 45 for brown. Season to taste and serve topped with onion
Becca and I LOVED
the Riz Gras. (At least I know I did, and she said that she did.) We had to sub
roasted red peppers for the tomatoes because of my allergy and her complete
hatred towards anything tomato related. (Maybe that’s why we are such great
friends. We bond over a common enemy.) The flavor was amazing, and even with
the peppers instead of tomatoes, the color turned out to be just like in the
pictures I found of authentic Riz Gras. It was nice to have company for one of
my countries and learn about Becca’s experience in Burkina. African food never
ceases to amaze me. I’d eat Riz Gras every day!
Although Poland has had a sad past of Nazi and communist takeovers, today it is one of the safest and most peaceful countries on Earth. Poles have a lot to be proud about. Nicolas Copernicus, the astronomer who first suggested that the sun was in the middle of the solar system rather than the earth, was a Pole. Poland's school system is the 10th best in the world. Poland is and has been (except during Nazi takeover) extremely tolerant to all people no matter their race, gender, or religion. To further prove how peaceful the Poles really are, they were the first country to outlaw corporal punishment, way back in the 1700s when American teachers were still beating their pupils with sticks. (My mom's teacher actually hit her with a ruler and that was in the 80s!) Slavery was never allowed in Poland. The Poles also work the second most amount of hours per week out of any other people in the world. Man, I think we should all become Polish. The world would be a better place.
Polish cuisine is
pretty well known here in the US due to the fact that there were a lot of
Polish immigrants who came over at the turn of the 19th century.
(Approximately 19-20 Americans are of Polish descent.) Bigos, kielbasa, cabbage rolls, soups, and pierogi are some
of the most popular Polish dishes. There were so many that I had trouble
choosing the right one. I settled on pierogi and a carrot-apple slaw because
they were different from things I had cooked from this region before, and pierogi
have always been on my things-to-try list. Noodles, eggs, pork, rye bread, and soups are the foundations to Polish food. They love hearty fare and will go all out for Christmas and Easter. For Christmas they have their traditional Wigilia, a meal with 12 courses that is centered around fish. The meal is so popular that they actually call the whole day of Christmas Eve Wigilia. The main meal is served around 2 in Poland and generally is followed by a nice dessert of yeasted cakes or poppy seed pastries.
Pierogi are popular Eastern European dumplings stuffed with a variety of sweet and savory fillings. Cheese, fried onions, and mashed potatoes are the most common fillings, so that's what I chose to go with tonight. Way back when, pierogi were considered to be peasant food, but once nobles caught on, they became widespread. They are so widespread today that you can even find them on the frozen food aisle here in America. It's crazy how things can catch on so quickly and spread all over the world. You can choose to either boil or sauté them, but I would definitely go with sautéing!
serves 4-5 (4-5 pierogis each) For the dough: 2 cups all-purpose
flour ½ tsp salt ½ cup hot water 1 egg
1 potato, peeled
and cubed ¾ cup cottage
cheese 1 egg ½ onion, chopped 1 tbsp oil salt and pepper,
to taste butter, optional
if sautéing the pierogi sour cream and
sautéed onions, to serve
Bring a small pot
of water to a boil and cook the potato cubes until tender, about 10 minutes.
Drain and set them aside to cool. Meanwhile, mix together all of the dough
ingredients until a soft ball has formed. Continue to knead it for 5 minutes,
adding a tablespoon or two of extra water if needed. Cover the dough with a
moist towel and set it aside for 30-40 minutes.
Preheat a pan over
medium heat with the oil. Add the onion and cook for about 6 minutes, or until
golden. Mash the potato up with the onion, cheese, and remaining egg. Season to
To make the
pierogi, roll out the dough to be about 1/8” thick (or even thinner if
possible), and use a biscuit cutter to cut it into 4” rounds. Keep the dough
covered with a moist towel as you work to prevent it from drying out.Place a couple of teaspoons of the filling in
the middle of each round, fold it in half, and pinch the edges to seal. Repeat with
the remaining pierogi.
Bring a large pot
of water to a boil. Cook 4-5 pierogi at a time for about 5 minutes, or until
they float to the surface. Remove them with a slotted spoon and either serve
immediately topped with caramelized onions and/or sour cream, or proceed to the
Heat a tablespoon
of butter or so over medium heat in a large pan. Sauté the peirogi on each side
until golden. Serve with the fried onions and/or sour cream.
Literally meaning "salad with carrots" Surowka z Marchewki is a colorful and delicious addition to any Polish meal. The Poles love their shredded veggie salad mixes and this particular on is a winner!
Surówka z Marchewki
4 carrots, peeled
and grated 2 large Granny
Smith apples, peeled and grated
3-4 tbsp lemon
¼ cup raisins
Toss the carrots,
apples, and lemon juice together in a bowl. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours,
or until chilled. Top with the raisins and serve.
I actually enjoyed
the SSSSSSSS a lot more than I thought I was going to. (That always seems to be
the case.) The combination of carrots, apples, lemon juice, and raisins just
seemed a little strange to me, mostly due to the carrots. I ended up really
liking it. The citrusy lemon flavor did wonders to the carrots and apples. The
flavors all came together nicely. My only complaint is that it takes a bit of
effort to grate the apples and carrots, and it can make quite a mess. The
pierogis, on the other hand, were not my favorite. It is very funny how things never
turn out as planned. I thought that I would love the pierogis. I had never had
one before but have wanted to try them for a long time now. It might have been
because I don’t like potatoes, or possibly because they took stinking forever
and made a bunch of dirty dishes, or even because after the photoshoot and
cleaning everything up they had grown cold and our microwave was currently out
of commission, but there was something about them that I just did not care for.
Oh well, the fried onions on top were delicious.
As I have mentioned before, I am not a fan of mayo. I'm not as bad as my former coworker who was actually terrified of the stuff, but I am not all that willing to have it come near my mouth. Because of this, chicken and tuna salad are generally off my list. A couple of years ago I came up with an ingenious way to use Laughing Cow cheese as a substitute for mayo in chicken salad. I decided to try it out with tuna and enhanced the creamy factor even more with the addition of avocado in the mix. I then rolled this delightful tuna salad in a scrumptious tortilla along with some fresh veggies. It was a wrap to die for! If you share similar animosity towards mayo as I do, I definitely recommend that you try this recipe out for yourself.
Avocado Tuna Salad Wraps
serves 4 4- 8” tortillas 1-5oz can of tuna 3 wedges of
spreadable cheese (like the Laughing Cow cheese wedges)
¼ cup chopped red
3 tbsp grated
carrot 3 tbsp chopped red
onion 1 ripe avocado 1 tsp lemon juice salt and pepper,
to taste lettuce (optional)
Mash the avocado
with the cheese wedges. Mix in the lemon juice and then add the tuna, pepper,
onion, and carrot. Season to taste. Divide the tuna salad in between the
tortillas along with some lettuce if desired. Roll fold in the sides of the
tortillas, roll them up, and enjoy.