A Carbohydrate Sort of Day

It didn’t start out to be a bread and cobbler bake-off that that’s what happened.   Summertime is not my favorite time for turning on the oven so it was odd that I found myself in the kitchen both simmering a soup and baking up a trio of carbohydrate laden foods.  How did this happen?  I’m not sure because even with air conditioning it just feels wrong to heat up the house mid-summer days.

There we were with mushrooms and a few onions optimistically purchased for a meal that never got made.  Time was running short for the mushrooms; too late to add to a salad but still viable when chopped and hidden into something.

 Not a Carbohydrate –  but Still Part of the Day

My easiest solution: a mushroom/onion soup or  as it turned out an onion/mushroom soup.  There’s no written recipe it’s all about what’s on hand the day the soup is made. This time I was heavy on onions.

Onion Mushroom soup

Bowl of Onion Mushroom Soup

An Overview of the Soup

Sauté the onions and mushrooms – put in a stockpot with beef stock (or chicken if that’s all that is around) add a can of beer, salt, pepper and a few other spices (rosemary and garlic are good).  After it’s been bubbling for a while decide what else is needed.  This time I tossed in some finely grated carrots but I’ve added grated potatoes before.  One time there was no beer so I used red wine.  There were no complaints from soup lovers that day.  At some point add rice or quick cooking barley.  Finally for a gourmet touch swirl in some cream about 5 minutes before serving.

Experimental Carbohydrate Baking

As long as I was already in the kitchen and there were still ingredients around I decided to do a bit of baking experimentation.  Yes I was on shaking ground.  Baking is so much more precise than tossing random items into a soup pot but what the heck.

  1.  Beer Bread – the usual recipe but I substituted oatmeal for ½ cup of the flour.  The bread is a bit coarser this way but still tastes great and I feel like I’m getting some fiber in my diet.
  2. Banana Bread – I know most recipes call for chopped nuts but none were in the house so I macerated (don’t you love that word – it sounds so much better than soaked) some dried cherries and dates in rum.  Since I had 4 large bananas instead of 3 regular sized ones I had to adjust the other ingredients.  All in all the bread came out well; I could have added more fruit.  Tasty the first day it was even better then next day once the flavors had done whatever it is flavors do overnight.
  3. The only way I experimented with the Blueberry cobbler recipe was to add extra blueberries.  I do think blueberries are my favorite fruit so the more the merrier.

Carbohydrate Cooking Resized

My big baking surprise was the banana bread – because of the extra ingredients I didn’t think it would ever get done.  It was 2nd in the oven but came out after the cobbler had cooled enough for a sane person to eat (that’s quite a long time – the cobbler is really really hot just out of the oven.)

As a “use up what’s on hand” carbohydrate cooking day it turned out well.

Food is fascinating – its history, methods of cooking, even family stories about food.  I like food and everything about it.  If you enjoy food too and would like emails when I post more blogs – click on the button on the right.

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Way too much finger food!

Assorted forks. From left to right: dessert fo...

Last week I watched one granddaughter eat her breakfast.  It’s obvious she has eaten way too much finger food–she doesn’t know how to properly use a fork.  Of course proper use of a fork depends on which side of the Atlantic you’re on.  Since I’m on the western side I expect the fork to be held in the right hand, if needed the fork can be moved to the left hand to hold food steady while it’s being cut with a knife which is now in the right hand.

I thought granddaughter #2 was ok eating cereal but then I discovered even though she can use a spoon when milk is involved she prefers her cereal handpicked directly out of the box.   Thank heavens she doesn’t try to put her peas on her knife and shove them down her throat. All is not right in the acceptable manners world.

English: Picture of Waffle ice cream cones fro...

First my idea of finger foods:  grapes, ice cream cones, hamburgers, French fries, cookies, apples, and begrudgingly chicken fingers.

What I do not consider finger foods for anyone over the age of 4 are spaghetti, cereal, cooked vegetables, Ramen noodles, sausage patties, slices of cake, pork chops, cole slaw, and most especially waffles with syrup.

Finger pulling on waffle

While I was contemplating her finger eating habits I actually saw her use a fork.  Horrors!  Thumbs that can text 10,000 words a minute should be able to wrap themselves around a fork in a proper manner.  When held correctly a fork, in my opinion and I feel most of the civilized culinary world, should not be mistaken for a stabbing instrument.  A fork should never be held like a weapon unless supper rises from the plate and starts to attack the diner.

Hand holding fork

Did proper cutlery technique go the same way as tying a shoelace?  Based on the amount of loose shoe laces I have seen recently it would seem parents today are too busy to waste their valuable time teaching a skill.  It’s easier to just tie the laces each morning and hope that once they become untied the child will not trip before arriving home.   Much knowledge can be gained from computers but some basic skills just have to be passed on from one generation to the next.  Time spent learning to tie a basic knot or hold a fork correctly is not time lost.

Evidently toaster warmed pastries have taken the place of bacon and eggs or other meals that require the use of a knife, spoon and yes a fork.  I have observed from the plethora of popcorn, frozen pizzas and burritos ahead of me in the checkout lane of the grocery store that the new “normal standard of eating” is microwave food which is meant to be eaten as finger food

Officially I’m now “Old.” The lament of the crotchety generation is now mine “What’s happening to our children?  They don’t act the way I did as a child.”

Waffle With Syrup

Citizens of the culinary cutlery world unite.  Text a child instructions for using a fork!

Thumb nxt 2 frk. Nxt fger tp v frk.  Othr fngrs ndr frk. Gnte jab sml bts v fd.  Eat. Tlk w parnts.  Njy.

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Fun Summer Food for Kids

It’s July and hot and if your children are typical they’re starting to get bored.  Here are a few recipes that are a mother’s delight.  If you have a child that camps with a youth group or attends summer camp you probably know most of these recipes but I’ll bet you haven’t thought about making them at home.  They may be considered camp food but for a midsummer treat any child will enjoy these snacks at home too.

Starting with the Gross Names but Great Tasting Recipes.

Fudge

 Armpit Fudge

½ Cup powdered Sugar

1 Tablespoon butter

2 Teaspoons cream cheese

Dash of vanilla extract

2 teaspoons cocoa powder

Put all ingredients in a baggie being sure it is tightly sealed leaving as little air as possible inside the baggie.  Place baggie in armpit to soften the ingredients.  Squish until well mixed.

Raisins

Strange isn’t it – most of the Gross Named but Great Foods have raisins in the recipe.

Ticks on a commode seat

1 canned pear half, cut side up.

A Tablespoon (or so) of peanut butter spread around the top of the pear. Then sprinkle the raisins on the peanut butter.

Ants on a log

Celery with peanut butter spread down the center. Sprinkle the raisins on the peanut butter

 The Sweet Treats

English: Picture of Waffle ice cream cones fro...

Mushed Non Ice Cream Sundae

Instant pudding mix –  place in large baggie – add milk per directions.  Squeeze and mush baggie until done.

Spoon pudding into ice cream cones.  Top with whipped cream or your favorite sundae topping like nuts, cherries or even, yes, even raisins.

Banana Boats

Split one banana lengthwise.  Leave skin on.  Fill with mini marshmallows and chocolate chips; oh heck throw in a few raisins too.  Wrap in aluminum foil.  Traditionally these are placed on the embers of a fire but you can just as easily bake in the oven until the marshmallows and chips are melted.

Speaking of Fire – there’s always an Edible Fire the little ones can make

You’ll need pretzel sticks laid out in a triangle shape. In the center place shredded coconut as the tinder to start the fire. For a flame use either candy corn or red hots. After you have enough “flame” toss on some Tootsie Rolls as the bigger logs.  Enjoy your hot yet cool dessert.

Everyone wants Ice Cream – here’s one recipe made 2 ways.

A teaspoon. The length is about 14 cm.

 Ice Cream in a Bag

1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon sugar
4 cups crushed ice
4 tablespoons salt
2 quart size baggies
1 gallon size freezer baggie
FYI:  Since you’re mixing the ice cream by hand the mixture does get cold so consider wearing gloves.

Mix the milk, vanilla and sugar together in one of the quart size bags. Seal tightly, allowing as little air to remain in the bag as possible. Place this bag inside the other quart size bag, again leaving as little air inside as possible and sealing well. By double-bagging, the risk of salt and ice leaking into the ice cream is minimized. Put the two bags inside the gallon size bag and fill the bag with ice, then sprinkle salt on top. By now you know to let all the air escape and seal the bag. Shake and massage the bag for about 5 – 8 minutes, making sure the ice surrounds the cream mixture.

When the ice cream is done pull the smaller baggie out and rinse off the salt before opening.

If you have several children around consider Coffee Can Ice Cream

The downside of this method is finding the correct size cans. The ingredients are the same, but should be be doubled or tripled because the coffee can holds more liquid than the baggies. Put the mixture in a standard size coffee can and seal with the plastic lid, then place that can inside a larger “economy size” can. Pack the large can with ice and salt, and seal with the lid. If your larger can does not have a lid you’ll have to improvise with a cover that fits tightly and will stay on while being pummeled about the yard.  Your children can roll the can back and forth on the ground until the ice cream is set. The time required to set the mixture will vary depending on the number of servings in the can.

Sparks from campfire

No children around, no campfire,  no problem, become a child again with these fun summer foods.  Do you have a silly summer recipe – share it in the Reply section below

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