Summer fruit yogurt smoothie Friday, Apr 24 2009 

I just made the best smoothie ever! I got the recipe from the book Superfoods: For Babies and Children, which my friend Marilyn suggested.  The smoothie is very creamy, very filling and most importantly, very healthy. I think I'm going to make this for us as a mid-morning snack every day or so. The kids always seem to be hungry right around 10 am, so this would be perfect for them. Maybe it will keep them out of the kitchen and in the school room until lunch time :-) I added flax seeds to make a little bit healthier. I made this smoothie in my Vitamix, although the recipe is actually for ice cream and you make it in an ice cream maker. I don't have the patience to wait for it to harden, so a smoothie it is! 

Summer fruit yogurt ice cream smoothie

One 10-ounce package mixed frozen berries
1 3/4 cups plain yogurt
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar- we use organic sugar from Costco
2 tablespoons of flax seeds

Put all ingredients in the blender and mix until smooth and enjoy!

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Passion Fruit Cheesecake for Passion Sunday Sunday, Mar 29 2009 

Since the 3rd Century, today (5th Sunday in Lent) has been known as Passion Sunday. Today we will have passion fruit as our theme.

Passion Fruit Cheesecake

Ingredients:

Crust
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons nuts, finely chopped
6 ounces butter, melted

Cheesecake Filling
1 1/2 pound cream cheese
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
3 eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup passion fruit puree.

Directions:

Make crust by combining dry ingredients in a large bowl. Melt butter and add to dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly. When incorporated, press evenly into nine-inch springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.Combine cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add corn starch and blend. Add eggs and mix thoroughly, scraping the sides of the bowl. Add vanilla and sour cream. Mix until smooth and fold in passion fruit puree. Pour batter into a springform pan and bake at 300 degrees for approximately one hour and thirty minutes, or until set. Cool slowly and completely refrigerate for several hours.

Tomorrow’s dessert- Lemon Pound Cake Saturday, Mar 7 2009 

Cake Ingredients:
2   cups sugar
1   cup butter, softened
4   eggs
3   cups all-purpose flour
1/2   teaspoon baking powder
1/2   teaspoon baking soda
1/2   teaspoon salt
3/4   cup buttermilk*
1   tablespoon freshly grated lemon peel
1   tablespoon lemon juice

Glaze Ingredients:
1 1/4   cups powdered sugar
2   teaspoons lemon juice
1 to 2   tablespoons milk

Heat oven to 325°F. Combine sugar and butter in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until creamy. Continue beating, adding eggs one at a time, until well mixed. Reduce speed to low; gradually add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt alternately with buttermilk until well mixed. Stir in lemon peel and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

Spread batter into greased and floured 12-cup Bundt® pan. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan. Cool completely.

Stir together powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons lemon juice and enough milk for desired glazing consistency in small bowl. Drizzle over cooled cake.

*Substitute 2 teaspoons vinegar or lemon juice plus enough milk to equal 3/4 cup. Let stand 5 minutes. 

Recipe found on LandOLakes.com

Our favorite meatless recipes for Lent Wednesday, Feb 25 2009 

Here are some of our favorite meatless recipes for Lent. Not everyone on my family likes every recipe, but with 7 kids, you can't please all of them every day, so they are free to have something else for dinner.

Orzo with Parmesan and Basil

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Melt butter in heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in orzo and saute until lightly browned.
Stir in cream and bring to boil. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer until orzo is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15 – 20 minutes.
Mix in Parmesan cheese and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to shallow bowl. Garnish with basil sprigs.

Macaroni and Cheese

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 (16 ounce) package elbow macaroni
9 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain well and return to cooking pot.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 8 tablespoons butter; stir into the macaroni.
In a large bowl, combine the Mozzarella cheese, mild and sharp Cheddar cheeses, and Monterey Jack cheese; mix well.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Add the half and half and 1 1/2 cups of cheese mixture to macaroni; mix together and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a lightly greased deep 2 1/2 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese mixture and 1 tablespoon of butter.
Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes or until hot and bubbling around the edges; serve.

Minestrone Soup

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 cups chopped celery
5 carrots, sliced
2 cups water
115 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 cup canned kidney beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can green beans
2 zucchinis, quartered and sliced
2 squash, quartered and sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup seashell pasta
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese for topping
1 tablespoon olive oil

In a large stock pot, over medium-low heat, heat olive oil and saute garlic for 2 to 3 minutes. Add onion and saute for 4 to 5 minutes. Add celery and carrots, saute for 1 to 2 minutes.
Add water and tomatoes, bring to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and add kidney beans, green beans, zucchini, squash, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, the longer the better.
Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until tender. Drain water and set aside.
Once pasta is cooked and soup is heated through place 2 tablespoons cooked pasta into individual serving bowls. Ladle soup on top of pasta and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Spray with olive oil and serve.

Greek Pasta with Tomatoes and White Beans

2 (14.5 ounce) cans Italian-style diced tomatoes
1 (19 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
10 ounces fresh spinach, washed and chopped
8 ounces penne pasta
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente.
Meanwhile, combine tomatoes and beans in a large non-stick skillet. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.
Add spinach to the sauce; cook for 2 minutes or until spinach wilts, stirring constantly.
Serve sauce over pasta, and sprinkle with feta.

Pesto Pizza

1 (12 inch) pre-baked pizza crust
1/2 cup pesto
1 ripe tomato, chopped
1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1 (2 ounce) can chopped black olives, drained
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 (4 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
Spread pesto on pizza crust. Top with tomatoes, bell peppers, olives, red onions, artichoke hearts and feta cheese.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and browned.

Lentil Soup

1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups dry lentils
8 cups water
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery; cook and stir until onion is tender. Stir in garlic, bay leaf, oregano, and basil; cook for 2 minutes.
Stir in lentils, and add water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for at least 1 hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Eggplant Parmesan

3 eggplant, peeled and thinly sliced
2 eggs, beaten
4 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
6 cups spaghetti sauce, divided
1 (16 ounce) package mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried basil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Dip eggplant slices in egg, then in bread crumbs. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes on each side.
In a 9×13 inch baking dish spread spaghetti sauce to cover the bottom. Place a layer of eggplant slices in the sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Repeat with remaining ingredients, ending with the cheeses. Sprinkle basil on top.
Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.

Black Bean Burritos

8 (10 inch) flour tortillas
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
4 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno peppers
1 package softened cream cheese
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Wrap tortillas in foil and place in oven heated to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake for 15 minutes or until heated through.
Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Place onion, bell pepper, garlic and jalapenos in skillet, cook for 2 minutes stirring occasionally. Pour beans into skillet, cook 3 minutes stirring.
Cut cream cheese into cubes and add to skillet with salt. Cook for 2 minutes stirring occasionally. Stir cilantro into mixture.
Spoon mixture evenly down center of warmed tortilla and roll tortillas up. Serve immediately.

A (Blue) French meal for Our Lady of Lourdes Wednesday, Feb 11 2009 

Lourdes

"'Cordon Bleu' is a French term, literally translated as 'blue ribbon'. The main dish for today's feast of Our Lady of Lourdes is Chicken Cordon Bleu and for dessert we will have Crepes with vanilla ice cream and blueberries.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
6 slices Swiss cheese
6 slices ham
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon paprika
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Pound chicken breasts if they are too thick. Place a cheese and ham slice on each breast within 1/2 inch of the edges. Fold the edges of the chicken over the filling, and secure with toothpicks. Mix the flour and paprika in a small bowl, and coat the chicken pieces.
Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the chicken until browned on all sides. Add the wine. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.
Remove the toothpicks, and transfer the breasts to a warm platter. Blend the cornstarch with the cream in a small bowl, and whisk slowly into the skillet. Cook, stirring until thickened, and pour over the chicken. Serve warm.

Dessert Crepes

4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/3 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

In large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, melted butter, flour sugar and salt until smooth.
Heat a medium-sized skillet or crepe pan over medium heat. Grease pan with a small amount of butter or oil applied with a brush or paper towel. Using a serving spoon or small ladle, spoon about 3 tablespoons crepe batter into hot pan, tilting the pan so that bottom surface is evenly coated. Cook over medium heat, 1 to 2 minutes on a side, or until golden brown. Serve immediately. Top with vanilla ice cream and blueberries.

Litany to Our Lady of Lourdes

Feast of St. John Bosco, confessor Saturday, Jan 31 2009 

Please stop by Catholic Cuisine to get a few ideas for celebrating the feast of St. John Bosco.

Stuffed Peppers

Bachelor Buttons

St. Catherine of Alexandria, virgin and martyr Tuesday, Nov 25 2008 

Catherine alexandria 

Artist: Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
Title: St Catherine of Alexandria

Today is a very special feast day in our family. St Catherine of Alexandria, one of the "Fourteen Holy Helpers," is the patron saint of many things, most importantly educators, schoolchildren, students, teachers and apologists. We have been formally homeschooling for 12 years, although we as parents start educating our children from birth. I will be invoking the help of this most powerful saint, especially during the most difficult days of homeschooling.

Prayer to St. Catherine of Alexandria:

Glorious St. Catherine, virgin and martyr, help me to imitate your love of purity.  Give me strength and courage in fighting off the temptations of the world and evil desires.  Help me to love God with my whole heart and serve Him faithfully.

O St. Catherine, through your glorious martyrdom for the love of Christ, help me to be loyal to my faith and my God as long as I live.  Amen

Here is a great idea for dinner tonight. 

Salad

Mini Wheels Pasta Salad.

1 (16-ounce) box Barilla Piccolini Mini Wheels

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided use

2 cups frozen green peas

1 pound chicken breast, diced (optional)

5 to 6 slices (about 1 cup) of bacon, cut into strips

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed (may substitute shredded)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Salt to taste
  1. Cook pasta for 6 minutes; drain and drizzle with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and spread on a cookie sheet to cool.
  2. Boil green peas in salted water for five minutes, drain and cool.
  3. In a skillet over medium heat; cook chicken in remaining olive oil for 4 to 5 minutes or until cooked through, season with salt and pepper. Allow to cool.
  4. Cook bacon until crispy, drain fat.
  5. Combine all ingredients, let sit 30 minutes before serving.

Serves 4 to 6.

Recipe provided courtesy of Barilla.

 

Pane Rustica Sunday, Nov 16 2008 

19_crusty_chewy_bread_p1090038_2
I got this incredible bread recipe form my dearest friend Robynn last year. I made only one loaf, but I should have doubled the recipe because it didn’t last past dinner. It is very crispy on the outside and very soft on the inside. As Robynn says,

"What you get is a crusty, chewy bread with big beautiful pores that can stand up to even the hottest French Onion Soup."

This is so easy to make because you don’t have to knead it. You just put the ingredients in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Enjoy!

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed

1.
In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water,
and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl
with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about
18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is
ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work
surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and
fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap
and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to
keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and
quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not
terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side
down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with
another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready,
dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back
when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough
is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered
pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When
dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under
towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a
mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly
distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and
bake 20 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 20 minutes, until
loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Saturday, Nov 15 2008 

I can’t seem to get enough of pumpkins this year. So this week I’m going to make a pumpkin cheesecake for dessert. I would have made it today, but I forgot to buy the graham crackers for the crust. I hope it comes out ok. I can’t seem to master the art of baking cheesecakes.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ingredients

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1/2 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time. Remove 1 cup of batter and spread into bottom of crust; set aside.
Add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the remaining batter and stir gently until well blended. Carefully spread over the batter in the crust.
Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center is almost set. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Cover with whipped topping before serving.

Pumpkin Pie Play Dough Saturday, Nov 15 2008 

This week while I was in the waiting room at the dentist office for one of my kids to have a filling replaced I read Family Fun magazine and found a really neat recipe to make with the kids this month. I asked the receptionist to make me a copy in case I wasn’t able to find it on line when I got home. I’m glad I did, because I can’t find it on their website. Here is the recipe. I’m going to try to make it today.

118_1287_2

Pumpkin Pie Play Dough 

You will need:

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamom
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup water
food coloring (6 drops of red and 15 drops of yellow)

Combine the dry ingredients in a nonstick saucepan. Add the oil, water,
and food coloring and whisk until smooth.Stirring constantly with a rubber
spatula, cook the mixture over medium heat until it forms a ball, about 3 to
4 minutes.Turn the dough onto a counter, let it cool slightly, then knead the
dough until it has a smooth texture, about 1 minute. athe dough will keep up
to a week in a ziplock bag.

This play dough smelled so good, even Daddy got in on the fun!

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