Friday, June 1, 2012

Ham and Bean Soup

In the weeks following Christmas and Easter it seems I'm always looking for good ways to use up ham thanks to Rob's propensity to buy excessively large quantities of meat for the holidays. This past year I decided to give Eating Well's "Soup Beans" recipe a try. Considering it cost less than $3 (not counting the cost of the leftover ham) it was a steal. We have made it several times since and have our own minor variation. It freezes well and is very filling!

The first time I made this, I was reminded of my sister since ham and bean soup was her favorite as a child. The whole house filled with a comforting, nostalgic smell. I could literally smell it on the top floor and in the basement (in a really good way!). We couldn't wait to serve up a bowl! I even made this recently in a slow cooker and put it in the basement to simmer all day due to the summer heat. I still smelled it while rocking the baby in her room...crazy! That's a great comfort food :)

We serve ours with garlic and cheese croutons crushed on top or with a slice of crusty french bread. Perfect meal for a cool day!

Click HERE or head over to the recipe tab for the recipe.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Slow Cooker Yogurt

I love nothing more than being able to make something myself instead of buying it "pre-made" from the store. Typically for me this includes things like pizza crust, pasta sauce, tartar sauce, whipped cream, corn bread, etc. For some reason, I never had the desire to make my own yogurt until I went hunting for organic, full-fat, plain yogurt to feed Annabelle as a baby food. I couldn't find it anywhere (at least not anywhere convenient) so I decided to make it. I am so glad I did! I was nervous because it seemed complicated and easy to mess up - definitely not the case.

For my first batch I used a half gallon of organic, ultra-pasturized, whole milk. I didn't thicken or strain it although, I may try this in the future - especially if Rob and I plan to eat it ourselves. At our local grocery store the cost was $3.67 for the half-gallon (64 oz.) and was around $3.75 for 32 oz. of plain non-fat (they didn't offer any with fat), organic yogurt. Around a 50% savings for very little work and I got exactly what I wanted instead of trying to find a grocery store that carries what I need. If you made this for yourself and didn't care if it was organic or not, you could save even more. I'm sure you can get good deals on regular milk fairly often.

My first thought upon waking up this morning was, "I wonder if my yogurt turned out ok". I was pretty excited to take a peek and see how it turned out. I lifted the lid and voilĂ ! Sure enough, it had turned into yogurt overnight. I couldn't resist and had to taste a spoonful immediately. Considering I am never a fan of plain yogurt, I was ecstatic! I could have eaten a bowl of just plain yogurt with no complaints. It was a nice creamy texture and not nearly as "tangy" or "tart" as store bought yogurt (which I liked). With just a little sweetener and fruit mixed in it was perfect.

Needless to say, between the cost savings, ease of preparation, taste, and expected frequency of use, I plan to use this recipe over and over again. Hope you enjoy it as well!

Find the recipe here:

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Buttermilk Oatcakes with Raspberry Compote

I have long been in search of a healthy pancake alternative. These oatcakes definitely fit the bill. They are filling and wholesome with a nice touch of cinnamon to liven them up. The raspberry compote is tart with a good cinnamon accent finished with a touch of maple syrup.

I served them this weekend for my parents, brother, and (soon to be) sister-in-law. When I said we would be eating oatcakes for breakfast my dad's face looked sceptical and my brother said his feelings were the same as my dad's! They both ate them up in the morning without complaint so I'm pretty sure I won them over. I'm sure my husband will try sneaking some chocolate chips into this recipe at some point - if he did they would taste a lot like an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie.

These oatcakes are very versatile and would be great with chopped up fresh fruit, bananas and walnuts, chocolate chips, or peanut butter on top. As an added bonus they are a breeze to pull together and give you plenty of downtime to chop fruit or make a pot of coffee while they rest and cook!

Buttermilk Oatcakes with Raspberry Compote

by Jill Tanzer

Prep Time: 20 mins.

Cook Time: 20 mins.

Keywords: fast stovetop breakfast low-fat low-calorie whole grain summer

Ingredients (4 servings, 3 oatcakes ea.)

    • 2 cups well-shaken buttermilk or plain kefir
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
    • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    Raspberry Compote
    • 2 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)
    • 2 tablespoons maple syrup, or to taste
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


    To prepare oatcakes: Whisk buttermilk (or kefir) and egg in a medium bowl. Combine oats, flour, sugar, baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and salt in another medium bowl. Stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture and let stand for 15 minutes. The mixture will bubble slightly as it sits.

    To prepare compote: Meanwhile, place raspberries, maple syrup and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a small heavy saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries are mostly broken down, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

    Coat a griddle or large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Using 1/4 cup of batter for each, cook 3 oatcakes at a time until bubbles dot the surface, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and continue cooking until browned, 1 to 2 minutes more, reducing heat if necessary to prevent overbrowning.

    Serve the oatcakes with the compote.

    Make Ahead

    You can make the raspberry compote ahead of time and refrigerate for up to one week. I also mix the dry ingredients and store in a pyrex overnight. Then in the morning I can just quickly add the buttermilk and let it rest.

    Nutrition Information

    303 calories; 5 g fat ( 2 g sat); 51 mg chol; 55 g carbs; 12 g protein; 9 g fiber; 609 mg sod;

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