Life Turned Upside Down

Dear Fellow Souper Moms,

I apologize for not posting any recipes recently. My life literally was turned upside down last week when, on 12/12/12, my youngest son, Connor was diagnosed with Diabetes. The whole situation has left me speechless and in total shock. I wanted to let you, all my dear followers, know because I will be taking a break from the blogging world for the time being. When things settle down, and I can get into a routine with caring for my son and his condition, I plan on blogging again. This time, though, it will be from a whole new perspective. It will have a whole new meaning. It will take a whole new turn – a turn down a road to my son’s return to health. It will be a journey in exploring the “alternative” sides to curing Diabetes. It will include the food and “souper” mom recipes necessary to restore Connor’s body to complete health. It will be a Diabetic revolution!

Thank you for following me thus far, and I appreciate your support and understanding.

Connor and me   Connor   Connor and me   Jake and Connor   Connor

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Cheese-Stuffed Meatloaf

I hope everyone had a very healthy, yummy, and happy Thanksgiving. If you are like me, though, you have had enough turkey to last you to the next Thanksgiving! I think I’m still stuffed, no pun intended! Turkey salad, turkey soup, turkey sandwiches…yep, I have had them all! I honestly could not think of a recipe for leftover turkey (I think the brain is a little stuffed too), so if you are sick of turkey and need something else to serve for dinner tonight, don’t worry; the post for today has nothing to do with the bird (or desserts, my favorite)!

Have no fear! Cheese-Stuffed Meatloaf is here! Think of this as meatloaf brought to the next level. There are never any leftovers when I serve this, so it is great to make if you are having company for dinner, and it can be made ahead of time too. It may look and sound complicated, but it really isn’t. If I can get it all rolled up and have it stay together, then I know you can. This is great served with steamed vegetables and a side of roasted potatoes. The original recipe came out of “3 Books in 1 Rival Crock Pot: Slow Cooker Favorites/ Winning Slow Cooker Recipes/ Slow Cooker Recipes for All Occasionscookbook. Souper Moms, I think this recipe is a very “manly” dish, so I’m sure the men – big and little – in your households would find it very hardy and satisfying. This has “meat and potato man” written all over it! Eat Up!

Cheese-Stuffed Meatloaf

cheese stuffed meatloaf

1 pound lean ground beef
1 slice of bread (I used the end piece of a loaf of challah)
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1 cup favorite jar pasta sauce or ketchup
1 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper to taste
 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with oil.

Fill a medium sized bowl (salad bowl) with water. Place the slice of bread in the water and press down so the water covers the bread. Set aside and let soak while you prepare the other ingredients. This technique will keep the meatloaf moist and avoids having to use breadcrumbs which are often laden with preservatives and can dry out the meat mixture when cooking. Note: You could use this same technique when making meatballs.

Add all the other ingredients except the sauce, parsley, and cheese to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Remove the bread from the water, and carefully wring the soak bread over the sink until most of the water drains. Break up (tear) into pieces this wet bread into the meat mixture and with your hands combine all the ingredients together.

Spray a large wooden cutting board with oil. This will prevent the meat from sticking too much when you have to roll it up. With your hands, spread the meat mixture onto the cutting board to form a rectangle. Be mindful not to spread it too thin. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the meat, leaving about a 1/2 inch rim alongside the rectangle. Sprinkle the dried parsley over the cheese. From one of the shorter sides of the rectangle, roll up the meatloaf until you get to the end. If while you are rolling, the meatloaf mixture starts to stick to the cutting board, just “pull” the meat off the cutting board and press into the roll. Seal the top of the meatloaf by gently pressing the meat mixture together. Pinch (seal) both ends of the meatloaf so the cheese mixture does not ooze out while baking. Pour the pasta sauce or ketchup over the top of the meatloaf, cover with foil, and bake for 1 hour. Slice and serve! Serves: 4-6

 Soak the slice of bread

soaked loaf

Meatloaf mixture

meatloaf mixture

Shredded, soaked bread added to the meatloaf ingredients

soaked bread with meat

Shape the meatloaf into a rectangle

rectangle meatloaf

Cover the meat with cheese

sprinkled cheese

Sprinkle parsley or Italian seasoning over the cheese. I was all out of parsley so I had to use Italian seasoning, as you can see. This touch of herbs give the middle of the meatloaf some real good flavor.

seasoning

Roll up the meatloaf and seal the top and sides

rolled up meatloaf

The effort pays off!

cheese stuffed meatloaf

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Kefir Oatcakes

I have a high powered job ahead of me this week, one that would be nice if it brought in a high-powered six figure salary. HA! All kidding aside, I have the best job in the world, and I would not want anyone to pay me for it — a stay-at-home mom to two loving and lively boys! My second “job” I love just as much and keeps things just as lively – and that is to feed the family, particularly Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday! I am sure you couldn’t guess it, but I volunteered to make the desserts! Who would have thought! My Mom and my sister do a good job dressing the turkey and providing the trimmings so I thought I shouldn’t mess up their groove! As you all know, my groove is desserts, so I thought I shouldn’t mess that up either – I’ll stick to what I’m good at!

Since I’ve already blogged about several possible Thanksgiving desserts, I figure I needed to share one of my high-powered breakfast recipes, Kefir Oakcakes, that keeps me fueled all morning while I prep for the Thanksgiving feast. They are oh so very satisfying and healthy. Kefir is a cultured probiotic drink that tastes like liquid yogurt and is very good for you. It is high in protein and fiber and can be substituted in recipes that call for buttermilk. The original recipe came from the March/April 2012 issue of Eating Well and was created by Chef Susan Todoroff owner of Juicy Kitchen.

I wish all of you and your families the Happiest of Thanksgivings. Eat up!

Kefir Oatcakes

Kefir Oakcakes

2 cups well-shaken plain Kefir
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
 

Whisk kefir and egg in a medium bowl. Make sure the kefir is well shaken before you pour it into the bowl or it will come out very watery. Combine oats, flour, sugar, baking soda, and apple pie spice in another bowl. Mix dry and wet ingredients and let stand while you heat the pancake skillet with oil or butter over medium heat. The oatcake batter will bubble slightly. With a 1/4 cup measuring utensil, spoon the batter onto the hot griddle and cook each side until slightly browned and cooked in the center, about 2-4 minutes per side. Serve hot with maple syrup and/or fruit. Yield: 4 servings (about 3 pancakes each)

High-powered ingredients
 high powered ingredients
 Dry and wet mixtures

dry ingredients     wet ingredients

Oatcake batter. Let’s get cookin’

oatcake batter

Sizzlin’ hot oatcakes! Stomach is growling! My appetite is the size of the turkey right about now.

sizzlin' hot oatcakes

Let the high-powered breakfast begin!

Kefir Oakcakes

I added some blackberries because I just don’t do “naked” pancakes!

Kefir Oakcakes with blackberries     Kefir Oakcakes with blackberries

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Apple Tart

I just need to face it! I am not one of those “souper” moms who make recipes with elaborate ingredients or instructions and come up with elaborate desserts. I am not that super! I go for as quick and as easy and as delicious as I can get! Honestly, my busy, active boys don’t allow me time for much more! I am also not one of those last minute bakers, especially when it comes to the holidays, so the recipe I posted last week, Apple Kuchen and the one for today, Apple Tart, can easily be made the day before.

I apologize ahead of time for quite possibly making it difficult for you to choose which apple recipe you might decide to make for Thanksgiving dessert, but truthfully, I wanted to give you more than one to choose from. Okay, enough about choices, but I would love to know what you plan on making, so please feel free to share your recipes with me. Souper moms around the world make super Thanksgivings!

This original recipe came from Gail Simmons, host of Top Chef: Just Desserts and was made with pears, but I substituted with apples and, of course, added my usual twists. Eat Up!

Apple Tart

Apple Tart

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar
 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray with oil a 9-inch spring form pan.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the 2 tablespoons of sugar and the cinnamon (last two ingredients) and set aside.

In another small mixing bowl, combine flour and baking powder. In a large bowl, cream the butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs and then the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Spread this mixture on the bottom of the spring form pan.

Arrange the apple slices in tight concentric circles (see pictures below) on top of the dough. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture on top of the apples. Bake for 45 minutes, until edges are golden brown and center is set. Cool tart in pan for at least 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the inside edge of the tart and then remove the sides of the spring form pan. Serves 8.

Sliced apples

sliced apples

Batter spread in pan

batter spread in pan

Circling of the apples
apple arrangement  Looks like a bit of a traffic jam in the center!
Cinnamon and sugar topping

cinnamon and sugar topping

Let’s have dessert before the turkey!

Apple Tart

A slice makes everyone nice!
     sliced tart     sliced tart  In case you didn’t notice, I’m not one of those “souper” moms that always bust out the fine china either. Yes, these are paper plates. Actually my dear friend, Lynn, had a get-together at her house, and we decided to serve the dessert on paper plates to make life easier. We’re moms! We like to make at least one thing simple in life: clean up!
 
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Apple Kuchen

November has crept up on us somehow, the elections are behind us, and Thanksgiving will be here before you know it. Time to prepare for Thanksgiving desserts, my favorite part of the entire holiday feast. Pumpkin and apples always seem to be the popular choices for my family’s table, and this year I probably won’t stray too far from that. It is my Dad’s favorite holiday so I try to stick to his favorites, though last year I made my own cranberry sauce in an attempt to retire Dad’s preference for Oceanspray, but no such luck. Sometimes you just can’t mess with tradition!

I think I have exhausted the realm of pumpkin recipes, so I turn to apples for my next blog post. The recipe for today, Apple Kuchen, pronounced [koo-khuhn], originated from Germany and is a breadlike cake filled with fruit, sugar and/or nuts. While there is no German ancestry running through my veins, I can appreciate a delicious dessert when I see and taste one! I got this original recipe from Penzeys Spices, and there are never any leftovers when I serve it. If you are looking for an alternative to apple pie this Thanksgiving, I highly recommend making this easy dessert and making more than one if you are feeding a large crowd. Eat Up!

Apple Kuchen

Apple Kuchen with Ice Cream

Kuchen:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 – 3 medium-sized Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
 
Streusel:
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a large rectangular baking dish (9 x 13) with cooking spray.

To make the streusel: Measure all streusel ingredients into small mixing bowl and combine with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles small crumbs. Set aside.

To make the Kuchen: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and butter. Use a pastry blender or your hands to blend all the ingredients so it resembles large crumbs. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks then add the vanilla extract and milk. Pour this into the crumbled dry ingredients and mix until it comes together. Press this dough into the bottom and up the sides of the greased baking dish.

Arrange the apple slices in 3 lengthwise rows on top of the crust. Sprinkle the streusel over the apples. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the apples look deliciously glazed. Serves 8 -10. This can be served right out of the oven or hours later and with or without ice cream.

Sliced apples

sliced apples

Kuchen mixture

kuchen mixture_1     kuchen mixture_2

Starting to come together

coming together

The dough

dough

Apple layers

apple layers

Finished off with the streusel mixture

streusel topping

Fresh out of the oven. Just look at that glaze!

out of the oven

Let the festivities begin!

Apple Kuchen     Apple Kuchen

Everything is better with ice cream!

Apple Kuchen with Ice Cream

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