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Stylin'

There is no recipe today, except that of love and support for a great little guy named Caden Hope. My baby great nephew, at less than 1 1/2 years old, is undergoing open heart surgery today in Missouri.

This video slideshow is full of sweet pictures of him and his mom, an amazing young woman who deserves national mom-of-the-year award for her dedication and hard work, working two jobs to support them both while raising a happy, loving little boy and taking online classes.

And here’s a brief news clip explaining he was born with holes in his heart, and discussing the fundraisers in Missouri, a kickball tournament that was in October and a benefit account set up at Southwest Missouri Bank to accept donations.  The bank confirmed with me that mail-in donations can be accepted at the following address:

‎”Attention: Benefit of Caden Hope”
Southwest Missouri Bank
300 W. Third
Carthage, MO 64836

Blue Eyes
Caden, 2011

Newborn Caden and his wonderful mom
newborn Caden and his mom, 2010

All my love and my heart is in a hospital in Missouri today with the most inspiring mom I’ve ever met, the sweetest little boy I wish I could visit more often, and all of their family.

Supporting a Heart for Hope, one virtual hug and prayer at a time.

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

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Pumpkin Pancakes

I wanted to make a special breakfast for my stepkiddos this morning to celebrate Halloween a bit early, as well as simply celebrate the coming of fall weather (we finally had a cold front with mornings in the 40’s!).

I had just a bit of canned pumpkin left over from the last batch of pumpkin scones. My youngest stepdaughter loves pancakes, so making pumpkin pancakes seemed to be the most logical option for something yummy and special.

I pulled out my standard pancake recipe, brown sugar whole wheat oatmeal pancakes, and modified it the tiniest bit. The resulting pumpkin oatmeal pancakes were so good! The girls enthusiastically had seconds and I will definitely be putting them on my regular cold-weather breakfast rotation.

PUMPKIN OATMEAL PANCAKES
Makes 12 5-6 inch pancakes
Downloadable PDF of Pumpkin Oatmeal Pancakes

  • Set a griddle to medium-low and allow to heat while you prepare the batter
    • I don’t own a griddle, so heat 2 nonstick skillets over 2 burners set to medium-low heat
  • In a large enough liquid measuring cup, mix the following:
    • 3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
    • 3/4 cup buttermilk (or 3/4 cup milk with 1/2 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar)
  • Let oats soak while you prepare the rest of the batter
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the following:
    • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
    • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • To the dry ingredients, add:
    • 1 egg
    • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
    • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • The oatmeal/milk mixture
  • Mix batter well
  • Using a 1/4 cup dry measuring cup, pour 1/4 cup of the batter at a time onto heated griddle or skillets
  • Allow to cook until edges start to firm and a few bubbles appear on the top
  • Gently flip pancake over and cook other side until cooked through, about 1 – 2 minutes
  • Serve immediately or keep warm until ready to serve (I keep mine in a styrofoam tortilla warmer that keeps them very warm until everyone in the house gets out of bed)
  • Top with your favorite toppings – we topped ours with a bit of maple syrup, whipped cream, and chopped pecans

Pumpkin oatmeal pancakes

The oatmeal and the whole wheat pastry flour make these more filling than standard pancakes, and the pumpkin and extra cinnamon make them extra tasty. Topping with whipped cream and chopped pecans make them extra special for a pre-Halloween breakfast. I have just enough left over to warm up for the girls’ breakfast tomorrow morning.

These would also make a wonderful fall breakfast-for-dinner meal, served with some breakfast sausage on the side; hot, filling, and hearty.

Downloadable PDF of Pumpkin Oatmeal Pancakes

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

Soup and Pie Night

Saturday night was soup and pie night at our house. My dad, stepmom, and father-in-law came over for dinner and a little World Series watching. I can’t wait to repeat this meal next month with my hubby’s brother and his family. It’s definitely a meal worth sharing.

Soup Night
Bowls are ready and soup is simmering

Getting ready to boil the chicken
Ready to boil the chicken

Chicken and Noodle soup
Chicken and Noodle Soup

Fresh Vegetable Tray
Sugar snap peas and carrot sticks with buttermilk ranch

Covered Pecan Pie
Dessert

Pecan Pie
Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie Slice
Slice of the best pecan pie

I had been looking forward to making this soup for a while. It’s one my mom’s family makes every Thanksgiving. I can’t remember a Thanksgiving in Missouri without chicken and noodles. I don’t know who started making it, but it was my favorite dish at Thanksgiving when I was a kid. I don’t have the recipe, so I made my own version and it turned out excellent. Followed by the best pecan pie, and my hankering for my Thanksgiving favorites was satisfied. For now, anyway. The soup is really easy, and perfect to make on a lazy Sunday afternoon when you have time to let the chicken simmer for a long time. It makes your house smell amazing. Paired with a pecan pie baking in the oven, and you’ll be in aromatic heaven.

OLD FASHIONED CHICKEN AND NOODLES
Serves 8
Downloadable PDF of Old Fashioned Chicken and Noodles

  • Place in a 6-quart stock pot:
    • 2 bone-in split chicken breasts
    • 4 bone-in chicken thighs
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 30 cranks black pepper from a mill
    • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
    • 1 carrot, peeled and quartered
    • 2 extra-large (or 4 medium-large) garlic cloves, peeled and halved
    • 3 bay leaves
    • 1 handful fresh oregano, still on stem
    • 1 8-ounce container chicken stock
    • Water to cover everything by 2-3 inches, nearly filling the pot
  • Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low, and allow to simmer for 1 1/2 hours
  • Turn off heat and remove chicken breasts and thighs (carefully so the pieces stay in tact), place on a cutting board and set aside
  • Place a large strainer in a bowl large enough to hold all the cooking liquid
  • Pour cooking liquid through strainer into bowl to strain out all the vegetables and herbs
  • Discard the vegetables and herbs
  • Return cooking liquid to the pot
  • To the cooking liquid, add 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste, and another 8-ounce container chicken stock
  • Bring liquid to a rapid boil
  • Add 1 12-ounce package Reames brand frozen egg noodles
  • Boil for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to separate noodles
  • While noodles are boiling, carefully remove and discard skin and bones from chicken pieces (the meat should simply fall from the bone after simmering for so long, but will be very hot to the touch near the bone)
  • Shred the chicken meat either with two forks or your hands (it’s so tender, it falls apart in my hands and takes only a few minutes to shred)
  • Set shredded meat aside
  • In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together:
    • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
    • 1/2 cup water
  • Once the noodles have boiled 20 minutes, add the cornstarch slurry and continue to boil, stirring until soup thickens slightly
  • Add the shredded chicken, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer to heat through
  • Serve immediately, or continue to simmer covered until ready to serve.

This soup is SOOO good. We served it with fresh sugar snap peas and carrot sticks on the side with buttermilk ranch for dipping, rosemary bread, and Hawaiian sweet rolls. I went for seconds of the soup and found an empty pot in the sink!

FOR THE PECAN PIE, I used this recipe by Eddy Van Damme that doesn’t use any corn syrup. And it is the best pecan pie recipe. Optional is adding brandy or rum. I don’t keep much alcohol in the house, so add 1/4 teaspoon rum extract instead. It adds the perfect depth of flavor to enhance the pecans. I ran out of brown sugar, so used 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 1 1/4 cups regular sugar with 2 Tablespoons molasses, which turned the custard portion a luscious, deep, dark brown. Baked in a fresh whole wheat pastry crust, and it was absolutely divine.

WHOLE WHEAT PASTRY CRUST
Downloadable PDF of Whole Wheat Pastry Crust

  • In a food processor, or large bowl, add:
    • 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Cut 1 stick cold butter into small pieces, and to the flour mixture
  • Pulse processor until the butter creates coarse, peas-sized crumbs (if not using a food processor, use a pastry cutter, two forks, or your hands to cut the butter into the flour)
  • Add ice cold water, 1 Tablespoon at a time, and pulse/mix just until dough comes together
  • Flatten dough into a disc shape and place on plastic wrap
  • Dust with flour and roll out to a circle 2 inches larger than your pie dish
  • Lift plastic wrap from countertop, and turn over to gently position pastry in pie dish, gently pressing crust to the sides of the dish
  • Pull plastic from the sides only and gently cut away excess pastry from the top edge of the pie dish
  • Gently flute the top of the remaining crust, then gently return plastic wrap against sides of pastry and over the edge and refrigerate until ready to fill
  • If desired, roll out excess pastry remnants and free-hand cut 5 leaves and set on a plate, cover with wrap, and refrigerate to place in the center of the pie before baking. I use a toothpick to carve the veins of the leaves.

Pecan Pie Slice

What are your favorite Thanksgiving dishes?

Does your family have a special Thanksgiving dish?

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

Oven Fried Catfish

Oven Fried Catfish

This crazy easy meal has been sitting in my “to-post” queue for a while now. Every time I’d look at it, I wasn’t ready to post it. Probably because it’s not really a recipe. It’s 3 ingredients; 4 if you count the bagged cole slaw kit. Talk about an easy dinner. You could make your own cole slaw from scratch, or serve whatever other side you prefer (my top choice is always mashed potatoes – something I contribute to growing up in the Midwest on my grandma’s mashed potatoes).

OVEN FRIED CATFISH
Serves 2; easily doubled (or more) to serve more people
Downloadable PDF of Oven Fried Catfish

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  • Line a baking sheet with foil
  • Spray foil with cooking spray
  • In a shallow dish, mix:
    • 1/2 cup cornmeal
    • 1 teaspoon Tony Chachere’s Lite Creole Seasoning; adjust amount to your own liking
  • Dredge 2 catfish fillets in the cornmeal mixture, coating thoroughly on both sides
  • Place fillets on foil-lined baking sheet
  • Spray fillets lightly with cooking spray
  • Bake at 425 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes, or until cooked through and cornmeal coating is crisp
  • Serve with cole slaw or side of your choice and preferred dipping sauce, such as tartar sauce

Oven Fried Catfish

I love turning to this meal when I don’t have a lot of time for cooking, which has been my life the last couple of weeks. First, it was the back-to-back birthday celebrations (one with friends, one with family) for our now 12-year-0ld, followed by my sudden urge to scrub our entire house for the last week. I’ve been scrubbing walls, doors, baseboards, blinds, cabinet doors, and everything in between, one room at a time since early last week. I promise, once I get over my cleaning obsession, I’ll get back into posting regularly. Though, with my other new obsession of Pinterest, I have a ton of recipes “pinned” to try instead of creating my own…

Tonight, our simple, minimal ingredient dinner will be roasted potatoes with seared sea scallops and my standard lemony white wine butter sauce.

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

Posole

Fall weather and soup go hand in hand, which means I try to make a soup once a week now that we’re finally getting some fall-like weather. One of my hubby’s favorites is posole. My stepaunt makes the best, and I can’t come close to what she makes, but hubby and the kids love this version too.

I used this recipe, but halved it. I don’t like having tons of leftovers that I have to store or freeze. If I wasn’t home to cook dinner every evening, I’d be all about leftovers. But since I’m home, I like making something different every night. I also did not brown the meat before adding it to the slow cooker. I know many folks would say I’m losing flavor without browning it first, but it was still full of flavor and oh-so-tender without browning it.

SLOW COOKER POSOLE
Recipe from allrecipes.com
(we got 5 servings from the below modifications)
Downloadable PDF of Slow Cooker Posole

  • Chop 1/2 medium onion
  • Saute chopped onion in a dash of olive oil, or whatever oil you prefer, in a hot skillet
  • While onions are sauteing, cut pork
  • Cut 1 pound pork loin roast into cubes, 1-inch or smaller (I like mine smaller)
  • Place cubed loin roast into a 4-quart slow cooker
  • Top cubed meat with sauteed onion
  • Add:
    • 1 14.5-ounce can red enchilada sauce (I use La Victoria brand, mild)
    • 1 15.5-ounce can white hominy, drained
    • Using the empty enchilada sauce can, add 2 cans’ worth of water to the slow cooker
    • 1 4-ounce can diced green chilies
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Cook on low 6-7 hours, or until meat is tender
  • Add:
    • 2 Tablespoons dried cilantro
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Cook on low an additional 30 minutes
  • While the soup finishes cooking, prepare home baked chips:
    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
    • Cut 5 corn tortillas into strips
    • Cut the strips into pieces, so you have mostly squares of tortilla
    • Cover a baking sheet with foil
    • Very lightly spray the foil with olive oil or cooking spray
    • Arrange the cut tortillas onto the baking sheet – mine covered the entire sheet
    • Lightly spray with olive oil or cooking spray the tops of the tortilla pieces
    • Sprinkle lightly with salt
    • Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or so, until lightly browned and crispy.
    • Remove from baking sheet and set aside to sprinkle onto bowls of soup
  • Serve soup topped with:
    • Splash of lime juice
    • Chopped avocado
    • Home baked tortilla chips
    • Sour cream

Posole

Yum! This soup is so easy, so tasty, and a perfect slow cooker meal for days when I’m too swamped to make dinner. This was the perfect amount to feed our family of four, and have just enough left over for hubby’s lunch the next day. (I have green smoothies for lunch every day, so I try to have something more substantial on hand for him.)

What’s your favorite soup?

Do you like making soups in the slow cooker?

Downloadable PDF of Slow Cooker Posole

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

Bacon Wrapped Halibut and Roasted Veggies

Bacon-wrapped halibut is my favorite meal to serve for date night at home. It’s usually what I’ll make for Valentine’s Day if we don’t go out to dinner (which we usually don’t – neither hubby or I like the big crowds for such holidays).

The version above is not my favorite I’ve made, but it’s still good. In the recipe below, I’ll note what to change to make it the version I prefer.

Halibut is an expensive fish at our local grocery store, but buying just for the two of us is still way cheaper than going out to eat for date night. Don’t get me wrong – we still go out. As a lover of food, I enjoy being treated to a dinner I didn’t make. But sometimes, it’s really fun to have date night food at home. And this meal couldn’t be easier.

BACON-WRAPPED HALIBUT WITH ROASTED VEGETABLES
Downloadable PDF of Bacon Wrapped Halibut with Roasted Vegetables

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  • In a small roasting dish, place:
    • 14 baby Dutch potatoes, rinsed well
    • 10 radishes, rinsed well with stems and long root ends removed
  • Coat vegetables lightly with olive oil (I keep a spray bottle of olive oil that ensures I coat them with just enough that’s needed and no more)
  • Sprinkle vegetables with salt, black pepper, and dried thyme to taste
  • Toss vegetables to distribute the seasonings
  • Set vegetables aside while you prep the fish
  • Season 2 4-ounce fillets halibut with salt and black pepper
  • Variation pictured:
    • Sprinkle with dried basil and dried oregano
    • Place a layer of crumbled feta cheese on top of the fish
    • Wrap fish with 3-4 slices bacon (I used the fully cooked variety since that’s what I had on hand)
    • Place on a lightly greased foil-lined baking sheet
    • Place fish and veggies in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until fish flakes with a fork and veggies are browned
  • My preferred variation:
    • Spread a layer of garlic & herb flavored soft goat cheese on the fillets
    • Wrap each fillet in 3-4 slices of bacon
    • Place on lightly greased foil-lined baking sheet
    • Place fish and veggies in oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until fish flakes with a fork and veggies are browned

Veggies prepped for roastingPrepped halibut
Bacon Wrapped Halibut and Roasted Veggies

Use whatever vegetables you prefer. I happen to love roasted radishes. Roasting sweetens them a bit, but they keep a slight peppery edge. Baby Dutch potatoes are super yummy roasted. The fully cooked variety of bacon gets quite crispy, so I’d suggest either covering the fish loosely with foil while baking, or using uncooked bacon slices. I keep the fully cooked variety on hand because it’s so easy for the kids to warm up for their breakfast without any grease splattering on them.

Using soft cheese, such as a spreadable goat cheese, is preferable to crumbled feta, just because it stays on the fish. I only had feta on hand this time around. It was okay, but I preferred the robust flavor and texture of garlic and herb goat cheese.

If steak is more your thing, whip up some bacon wrapped filet mignon, place a dollop of herbed butter on top, and serve with these roasted vegetables for a variation of this dinner that’s just as easy and yummy.

This is also an easy meal to double or triple when in need of a fancy dinner for guests. Keep the cost down by using a different white fish, or using boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

Downloadable PDF of Bacon Wrapped Halibut with Roasted Vegetables

What’s your favorite date night at home meal?

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~

Lemon Sauced Dory

Wednesdays are the busiest days at my house. It’s trash day, lawn-watering day (and with no actual sprinkler system, that makes me the lawn waterer), and vacuum/mopping day. Wednesday is also a day one of my strength training workouts falls on. And of course after that, I have to walk the pup 3 miles or he’ll drive me batty the rest of the day.

Usually all these tasks are enough to wear me out. That’s why on Wednesdays, I make really easy, fast meals of fish. White fish cooks in mere minutes and served with a quick steamed veggie, means that I have dinner made in about 30 minutes or less.

Yesterday, I had a sudden impulse to do some fall gardening, which really kept me busy. I put fresh, nutrient-rich soil around all my rose beds, and planted two Chapel Hill Lantana by the back porch.

Needless to say, I had no energy to even consider a complicated dinner. I’m very glad I had already planned Lemon Sauced Dory for the menu. It’s quick, easy, tangy, and yummy. And did I say it’s quick?

I can’t remember if I first this sauce on the back of a frozen fish package or where, or even if the measurements are the same as that first recipe I saw, but this is one of my favorite ways to have fish, with a lemony, buttery, white wine sauce poured over it, with bits of thyme and tangy capers.

LEMON SAUCED DORY, OR OTHER WHITE FISH
Serves 2
Downloadable PDF of Lemon Sauced White Fish

  • In a medium, deep skillet over medium heat, heat a minimal amount of olive oil, 1 teaspoon or less
    • I have a spray bottle of olive oil, and I just spray the pan lightly
  • Place 2 fillets of dory, or other white fish you prefer in the heated skillet
    • I use dory because it’s only $3-4 for a frozen bag of 5 fillets, making it very economical, and easy to always have on hand in my freezer
  • While one side of the dory cooks, season the top side with salt and black pepper to your preference
  • Zest 1/2 of a lemon over the tops of the fish evenly
  • After cooking for 4-5 minutes on the first side, flip fish over and season the cooked side with salt and black pepper – no need to add lemon zest to this side if you have none left
  • Cook another 4-5 minutes, or until fish is cooked through
  • Remove fish from skillet
  • The skillet should be somewhat dry with brown bits stuck to it at this point
  • Over medium heat, pour in 1/4 cup white wine
    • Be careful, it may splatter from the heat
  • Add 2 Tablespoons butter and stir until melted
  • Add:
    •  1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 1 teaspoon capers (optional)
    • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • Let simmer about 2 minutes or until sauce is slightly browned from the butter
  • Pour sauce over fish

Lemon Sauced Dory 2

I keep bags of the Ore-Ida brand steam and mash potatoes in my freezer. They only take 10 minutes in the microwave, so in the time I made the fish, I also steamed the potatoes. I quickly mashed them with some butter and sour cream and in 15 minutes, we had dinner. And it was SO GOOD! I love having this quick and easy meal on our dinner rotation. If your kids are fish eaters, they’ll love the lemony sauce. And the lemon zest cooked onto the fish really adds a pop of lemony flavor. Just don’t tell them it’s dory, or use another fish, if they’re sentimental to the characters in Finding Nemo.

Downloadable PDF of Lemon Sauced White Fish

What’s your favorite quick and easy go-to meal to make when your day is too exhausting to think about more than take-out? I was very tempted to use the Subway coupons that came in the mail yesterday instead, but this dinner was faster than getting in my car to get the sandwiches.

~Ingredients to nourish the body put together in ways to nourish the soul to share with family and friends to nourish the heart~