Monday, August 31, 2015

Iced Oatmeal Cookies

We used to have this thing for iced oatmeal cookies.
And by that I mean, the hubs and I would devour a package or so every week.
The perfect combination of sweet and crunchy, this homemade version does not disappoint.
We like things a little more mellow at our house, so I cut down the sugar as well as the amount of icing.  Feel free to check out the original recipe if you have a larger sweet tooth.
Iced Oatmeal Cookies
Recipe modified from Bake-a-Holic

1 c. shortening
3/4 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 c. regular rolled oats

Combine shortening, sugars and eggs, mixing until fluffy.
Add vanilla.
Combine flour, soda, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl, and gradually add to creamed mixture.
Mix in oatmeal.
Let mixture stand for 5 minutes, and then mix again.

Accounting for the cookies spread, arrange 6 at a time on lined baking sheets.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes - edges will be golden, but the middle will look undercooked.
Cool on sheet on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely on wire racks.
Makes 2-3 dozen.

1 egg white
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 c. powdered sugar

Beat well.
Hold cookies by outside edges and dip upside down in icing.
Let harden on wire racks.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Bottled Jalapeno Rings

The first time I bottled jalapenos I made the mistake of assuming they had to be canned in a pressure canner.  They came out of the canner looking beautiful and ready to add to fresh salsa and mexican dishes all winter long.  But they ended up being horribly mushy and I ended up throwing the entire batch down the drain.
After a little more research, I discovered that the jalapeno rings you get in the grocery store are in fact, pickled.  And so I was back in the kitchen to test this new recipe for pickled bottled jalapeno rings.
They are the perfect replacement for store bought jarred rings, and a wonderful way of extending the garden harvest if you grow your own jalapenos.  I was at first worried that the taste would be too 'vinegar', but the heat of the jalapenos overpowers all else and these are a welcome addition to my winter storage.
You can shake out the excess seeds if you prefer, but I find it much easier to just throw them all in.
Bottled Jalapeno Rings
Recipe from The Organic Prepper

5 lb jalapeno peppers
4 Tbsp. canning salt
4 c. white vinegar
1 c. water

Bring the vinegar, water and salt to a boil.
Slice washed jalapenos into rings, discarding stems.
Tightly pack jalapeno rings into warm, sterilized pint jars.
Pour boiling vinegar liquid over the jalapenos, allowing 1 inch for headspace.
Process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes (be sure to adjust for altitude).
(20 minutes for Utah).

Monday, August 17, 2015

Bagged Boiled Omelets (Backpackers Breakfast)

The idea of boiled omelets in a bag has been around for a while.  This recipe takes it a step further and uses powdered eggs and freeze dried meats and vegetables to make the entire meal shelf stable (no refrigeration required) - making it the perfect go to for backpacking.  Everything is contained inside of the bag as well, making clean up basically non-existent.  No pans, plates, or even utensils are necessary for this dish, making it the perfect go to for backpackers everywhere!

And if you don't want to go the dry food route, or you're just hitting the hills for a quick over nighter, this same idea can certainly be made using fresh eggs and vegetables.  Just toss it all together in a bag and keep it refrigerated or in a cooler until ready to cook.

The finished product can be eaten directly from the bag, or you can dress it up like I did with a tortilla, some cheese, and salsa (try ketchup packets if you're backpacking).  Regardless, this is a fun and easy way to enjoy breakfast in the great outdoors.

There are several brands of powdered eggs available on the market.  Follow the instructions on the label for how many eggs you want, and to determine how much water is needed to reconstitute.  The remaining ingredients can be switched around as well, but this may alter the amount of additional water you add.  When in doubt, add more water than not enough.  After boiling, the extra water will easily drain from the bag once the omelet has cooked.

Bagged Omelets
(Backpackers Breakfast)
Menu Managed Original

whole egg powder (enough for 2-3 eggs, per package directions)
1 Tbsp. freeze dried green onions
1 Tbsp. freeze dried green chilies
2 Tbsp. freeze dried bell peppers
1/4 c. freeze dried sausage crumbles
salt and pepper to taste
water to reconstitute eggs (per package directions), plus 2.5 Tbsp.

Add dry ingredients to FREEZER quart ziplock bag.
When ready to cook, bring a pot of water to a boil.
Add 2.5 Tbsp., plus water for egg reconstitution to the bag and seal.
Squish around in your fingers to reconstitute the ingredients.

Once water is boiling, drop bag into boiling water and let cook for 4 minutes.
Eat directly out of thh bag, or put in a wrap and serve with salsa, cheese, etc.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Quinoa Patties

These patties....
Photo courtesy of Eating Well Living Thin
They are amazing.  The recipe source calls them a quinoa burger.  (Please).  A hamburger is a burger.   If you are a vegetarian go ahead and call it that.  For all you meat eaters, lets just call it a patty.
A delicious patty filled with unusual ingredients that produces almost a tater tot result.
You can serve yours with a dollop of greek yogurt or sour cream as the picture shows.
You can eat them plain, as my 3 year old prefers.
Or make a meal out of it and try my personal favorite; with a slab of bacon and a fried egg on top.
Either way, these don't disappoint!

Quinoa Patties

1 c. uncooked quinoa, prepared per package directions (or 2 rounded cups cooked quinoa)
3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c. cottage cheese
1 medium carrot, grated
3 eggs
3 Tbsp. all purpose flour
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
oil for frying (olive, canola, vegetable, coconut)

In a large bowl combine cooked quinoa and all other ingredients except for the oil.
Heat a large skillet over medium low and coat the bottom liberally with oil.
(If you are taking my advice and cooking bacon, go ahead and use the bacon grease to fry these in).
Drop 1/4 - 1/3 of the mixture into the oil and flatten out into a patty. 
Use a spatula to smooth out the edges and make into a circle, squishing the mixture together to hold.
Fry until golden brown, at least 4 minutes per side.
Flip carefully, and fry remaining side.
Makes approximately 10 patties.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Fresh Lemon and Lime Replacements

I rarely have real lemons in my kitchen.  The idea of buying a lemon just to spritz some juice or zest into a dish has always been annoying to me.  I feel like I'm wasting either the zest or the juice...

I'll occasionally buy them to make my moms lemon meringue pie, or my lemon kitchen cleaner.  I'll freeze the juice in ice cube trays and add it to my honey whole wheat bread, but more often than not, I am lemon-less.  And I'm even worse with limes.

And just so we are clear, refrigerated lemon juice has a permanent home in my kitchen.  But it doesn't do justice when you need the boost you get from the tangy zest.  (And if you've never looked into purchasing dry zest, don't.  It is way too expensive.)

So today I'm sharing my two favorite ways for adding intense citrus flavor, without using real citrus.
(and these really are MY favorites - I'm not being compensated to write this post).

I was just telling my hairdresser about using essential oils in the kitchen and her reaction shocked me.  "Gross!  Doesn't it make everything oily?"
It's not oily.
It's freaking amazing.
Lemon essential oil packs an insane amount of lemony goodness in each tiny drop.
Put two in a mug of warm water with a Tbsp. of honey for a wonderful lemon tea, perfect for soothing a sore throat.
Or use it as a substitute for lemon extract to perk up frostings and icings.
I'll add it to muffins and quick breads to intensify the flavor.
You can't go wrong here.

And, trust me on this one, lime essential oil does wonders with meat.  One of my all time favorite chicken marinades will never be made without 3-5 drops of lime essential oil again.
And you better believe I'm dropping in some lovely lime goodness every time I make this quinoa dish.
In fact, I don't even buy refrigerated lime juice anymore.  If a recipe calls for it, I replace the same amount with lemon juice, and add in 3-5 drops of lime essential oil.  A-mazing flavor. 

The process is really simple.  I don't have an exact "recipe", but basically, if the recipe calls for zest, I throw in 3-5 drops, give it a taste, and add one more from there if it needs a little extra.
Remember, this stuff is potent!  A little goes a long way.

My other favorite flavor booster: Classic Lemonade mix from Thrive Life

This lemon love affair happened completely by accident.  I had won a can of this stuff in a drawing, and, being purely water drinkers in our home, we'd had it sitting in the basement for months before breaking it open.  My 9 year olds' desire to have a lemonade stand one hot afternoon brought this out of the storage room and it has stayed in the pantry ever since.
It is a dry powder mix, designed to add water and sweetener to make lemonade.

It is TART.
It is POWERFULLY lemon.
It is the perfect zest replacement.

One teaspoon of this stuff will surpass any 'zest from one lemon' in any and all of your recipes.  Seriously, start with a tsp.  Its crazy strong.
I made two fantastic desserts with this (coming soon), and the flavor was incredible.
But don't stop there.  Some cracked pepper and a tiny dusting of this powder over fish... heavenly.

And of course, if your into that sort of thing, go ahead and make some lemonade.  It's decent.

The same company also carries limeade (seasonally - they'll stop offering it when summer is over).
These cans hold about 4 cups of powder and run for about $21.  That's a lot of lemon powdered goodness for the price.
You can order them online through the links above (and you can pick them up for free at their American Fork location if you are local), or they'll ship it to you. 

I hope this helps bring some citrus happiness into your kitchen!