Sunday, October 17, 2010

Toffee Bars

Originally uploaded by jenerationx17
One of my favorite desserts--toffee bars.

Now, you aren't actually making toffee; just a bar that tastes like toffee. And it does taste like toffee.

Toffee Bars

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
3-8 Hershey bars

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix butter and brown sugar. Add egg yolk and vanilla. Mix. Add the flour and mix. Dough will be stiff.

Spray a 10x15 inch pan. (You can use a different size pan--obviously, the smaller the pan the thicker the bar; the larger the pan, the thinner the bar). Spread dough--it will be hard to spread. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately top with chocolate bars. Let sit for a few minutes and then spread the chocolate.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Foods I Should Like

I could eat massive amounts of mashed potatoes, fresh berries, guacamole and ice cream. My husband is often amazed at the amount of ice cream I can eat. I'm always amazed at the amount of ice cream he doesn't eat.

Of course, there are foods I don't eat. And some I probably should since they are actually healthy for you.

Sweet potatoes. I get that they are so much better for you than potatoes, but seriously, I can't get past the fact that they look like massive amounts of ear wax. Sorry.

Raw tomatoesAs indicated in my last post, I don't do raw tomatoes, unless it's salsa. I know, makes no sense. I know that they are nutritious, but they taste like nothing to me--even the organic, heirloom ones fresh from my own dirt.

Tea. Tastes like extremely watered down coffee. I try, really. I've tried again and again to like it. No dice. I do however like chai, but that's it.

Salmon. I like fish, but salmon? No. Tastes super fishy to me and super fishy fish usually means it is old. Yuck. If a restaurant has fish on the menu, 9 times out of 10, it's salmon. So sad.

What healthy foods do you not like?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tomato Sauce

I'm not a huge tomato fan. I like salsa, spaghetti sauce and other cooked tomato types of things, but raw (aside from salsa), not so much. Of course, I'm disappointed whenever my tomatoes don't grow. Go figure.

We did get a few tomatoes from our own Juliet tomato plant, but that was about it. I did however, get boatloads of tomatoes from family and a friend. Yeah!

I made some sauce that I can't wait to use! Lasagna here we come.

Here is the recipe, so you can try it yourself.

Courtesy of Fashionably Foodie.

fresh tomato marinara sauce
an original recipe by rachelle (fashionably foodie)

8 big garden tomatoes, or 10 romas (must be garden fresh. no blando supermart tomatoes! if you must, use a couple big 28 oz cans/quarts of tomatoes.)
1/2 onion, chopped
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 bay leaf
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

drop half of the tomatoes into boiling water in a big stockpot and boil for 45 seconds. remove to a big bowl of ice water. repeat with the other half of the tomatoes. peel dump the water out of the stockpot to use for sauce. set aside.

chop the onion. preheat the oil in the stockpot. (sure you could use less oil, but it adds richness and flavor. minimum 2 Tbsp. ok.) drop the onion in the oil and soften for 5 mins over medium heat.

working quickly, peel the skins off of the tomatoes, they should slide right off after you break the skin. cut out cores and cut tomatoes into big 2-3 inch chunks. (they cook so long, they break down. you can cut them in huge quarters.)

drop the tomatoes into the pot with the onions. add in all of the tomatoes, the garlic and the bay leaf. bring to a boil. hard simmer for a half hour.

add basil, oregano, salt, and sugar. adjust seasonings to taste. (it just depends on your tomatoes. sometimes you need more or less salt, more sugar, just taste. but for heavens sakes, blow on the spoon alot before you taste. just a tip i've come by the hard way. six thousand times.)

hard simmer another half hour. liquid should have boiled down and reduced by about half. stir in balsamic vinegar. taste, maybe add another teaspoon balsamic.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Disposable cup coffee makers

You know the ones I'm talking about. Keurig, Tassimo, etc. Thinking of buying one? Think again.

Think about the environmental aspects of using a disposable cup for every pot (or even worse--cup) that you brew! Apparently, I wasn't the only one thinking about it. Check out this article from the New York Times.

Friday, August 27, 2010

My First Canning Adventure

I remember my mom and grandma canning batch after batch of tomatoes. Enough tomatoes to last a lifetime, it seemed. And jams. And who knows what else. I've always wanted to do it, but after being food safety certified and listening to several canning horror stories from educators at UW Extension I was a bit paranoid.

Then, canning became cool. It was everywhere. Target, blogs, newspapers, etc. One of my favorite blogs, by the way, is Food in Jars. Check it out if you have any interest in canning. I got a bit more confident after reading more and more.

I drug my son with me and we picked 3 pints of raspberries at Blue Skies Farm. We had beautiful weather, yummy fruit and a great time. If you are local, visit Blue Skies. They are great and their farm is organic. Awesome!

I decided to turn this


into some jam.

The recipe I use for raspberry peach jam (yum!) came from this blog, Fiber Fool. (Thanks!)

So, I went from the berries (and peaches) to this:


Yeah!! Sorry for the bad pic, but all I had was my phone. Anyway, success! I took the jam out and heard the jars pop right away--sweet sound of success. I let them sit for the recommended 24 hours and then noticed that there was some condensation on the top of the lid inside the jar. What?!? Anyone reading? Do you have any ideas on why that happened? I ended up opening them all and freezing. That was sad, but I think I'll still try again.

A couple of the things I love

I took this week off as sort of a "staycation". Originally, I had planned to get some stuff done around the house. Um, yeah. That went out the window by Tuesday morning. That's OK though--it can wait. My soul feels refreshed in a way it hasn't in a very, very, very long time. (We had some really rough patches in life a few years ago). Ah.

A couple of the things I love, in no particular order.

I honestly, don't think summer needs any explanation. Let me know if you need for me to list the 1,987 reasons why it rocks.

Pandora Radio
At first, I didn't get the hype. At all. I have well rounded musical taste, as I like to call it--including rock, classic rock, country, jazz, hip hop, alternative, folk, grunge, etc. I tried plugging in Dave Matthews Band, Dixie Chicks, Charles Mingus and AC/DC into one station. Yeah, totally confused Pandora. But, but, then I got the hang of it. I now have about 12 stations (and adding) and love it! My newest thing? I discovered quickmix--mixes stuff from all my stations! love!

I'll post more favorites another time. What are you favorites??

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mini Milk Showdown

I always love reading the blind-taste testing that bloggers/news/etc. do.

My mini milk showdown only consists of two types of milk. Honestly, I really didn't want to spend the money to review non-organic or store brand milk.


Milk #1
Sassy Cow Lowfat Organic Milk
Sassy Cow
is a relatively new creamery. They are local (to me), located in Columbus, WI, and it is a family operation, which I love. I do heart family farms.

Cornucopia Institute rates them a 5 out of 5.

Milk #2
Organic Valley Lowfat Organic Milk
I think most people are familiar with Organic Valley. Headquartered in LaFarge, WI, the coop is the largest organic milk provider in the US. While they are comprised of family farmers (again, I heart family farmers), they are sort of seen as "the big guys".

The milk I sampled is the ultra-pasteurized version. A drawback of this kind (aside from it being ultra-pasteurized) is that you aren't exactly sure where the milk came from. It could be from any of their family farmers throughout the country. That said, you can purchase the pasteurized Heartland Pastures milk, which has not been ultra-pasteurized AND gives you a little bit more knowledge about where it came from. (I would have chose the Heartland Pastures kind, but they were out).

The Cornucopia Institute gives Organic Valley 4 cows out of 5.

So, which did I prefer?


The winner is.... Organic Valley! It tastes just like milk should taste and I love it's creamy flavor. I appreciate that it does not come in plastic (although the gallons do).

The Sassy Cow is still a very good milk--as noted by the 5 cow rating from Cornucopia--but not as creamy. I also think the plastic isn't the best choice, either.

Thanks for reading my mini milk showdown! What milk do you prefer?