Posted in Beef, Ground Meat, Mexican, Quick n Easy, Recipes, Slow Cooker, Turkey

Southwestern Goulash

southwestern goulash with beans, corn, bone broth and tomatoes

I made it! I made it! I finally made it!

Aren’t you tickled-oh-so-much-that-there-are-no-words?

Or is that overstating?

Seriously, though … this must hold some kind of household record for most weeks spent on a meal plan without actually being made. I could take the time to look back and count, but I’m feeling lazy at the moment and so I’ll just send you to the page with our meal plans and you can look. If you really want to know and you’re not being lazy, of course.

This Southwestern Goulash recipe is one from our archives of things-we-made-often-before-kids-but-haven’t-made-in-years-because-we-forgot-about-it. (And because they don’t love dishes like this.)

The Man actually clipped this Southwestern Goulash recipe (you know, with scissors) from the Washington Post many years ago when we still got that paper (we are one of those dorky rare households that does actually still get a local paper delivered and even reads it). I kept that clipping for a long, long time. Of course, due to my incapability (you know – the one that prevents me from making something the same way more than one time), I have changed it significantly from what it was on that clipping – obviously for the better – and so, somewhere it ended up in the recycling.

Now I wish I’d kept it. Just so I could share it with you.

Southwestern Goulash
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey (we actually prefer turkey)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15 to 19 ounce can drained black beans
  • 1 cup bone broth (or chicken or beef)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried cilantro (can use fresh, you'd just need to add more)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  1. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook beef or turkey until mostly brown.
  2. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, beans, broth, corn, chilies, chili powder, cilantro, cumin, pepper, and salt. Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes (or longer).
  5. Serve over noodles (The Man says rotini is the best).
You can easily make this in a crock pot. Brown the meat first, add to the crock pot with everything else and cook on low for 3-4 hours.

I double and triple this recipe because it freezes nicely and makes a perfectly easy out-of-the-freezer, busy-weeknight meal.

Southwestern Goulash is hands-down one of The Man’s most favorite dishes. “Easily in the top ten.” He was incredibly bothered by the roller coaster of excitement and disappointment that resulted from its being pushed from the plan so many weeks in a row. Poor guy. The kids, though, not so much. They all tried it … that’s all I’ll say about that.

Do you have things that you made before kids but don’t make as much now? Any good old newspaper recipes?

Posted in Sweets

Chocolate Stout Cake

Oh. My. Double Yum.

The St. Patrick’s Day that keeps on giving! Or the one that would never end. Depending, of course, on your perspective.

Somehow … I cannot figure this one out … I did not learn of the delectableness that is a chocolate stout cake until now – my ??st year on this earth. How can that be?!?

Not to worry the wrong has been righted and I am in a better place now.

In general, I am not a huge fan of cake. I tend to prefer chocolate over dessert. For me, any sort of flour-based confection takes far too much of the spotlight off of the superstar (chocolate), making it unworthy of the extra, generally unnecessary calories.

I would say that this chocolate stout cake is as close as I’ll ever get to expressing any cake-love. The fam declared it “the best cake that you have ever made.” It is that good.

So good, in fact, that I made this chocolate stout cake cake two times in three days. Yes. Yes, I did. And we have half in the freezer, lying in wait for that day when everyone really wants cake again … which is really everyday.

I made the cake with the intention of serving it with a Bailey’s cream cheese frosting. Knowing that the picky cake lovers in this house would likely not enjoy the addition of the Bailey’s, I also made a vanilla cream cheese frosting.

The Man said that the icing almost took too much away from the deliciousness of the cake, so when I made it the second time, I tried a ganache. I can’t believe that I’m going to say this, but the chocolate in the ganache just took too much away from the cake.

We I recommend the vanilla cream cheese (recipe is included below).

Chocolate Stout Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 1 cup stout beer, such as Guinness extra stout
  • ¾ cup butter
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
  • 1½ cups non-GMO sugar
  • ½ tablespoon molasses
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Cream Cheese Icing
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar (or less, depending on how sweet you prefer it)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease a 8 or 9-inch springform pan (I used butter) and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  3. Combine beer and butter in a large saucepan.
  4. Cook over medium-high heat until the butter is melted.
  5. Add the cocoa powder, sugar, and molasses and whisk together. Transfer mixture to a glass bowl and allow to come to room temperature.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla extract until no lumps remain.
  7. Add to the butter-beer mixture and whisk together.
  8. In another bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  9. Add to the cooled beer-butter mixture and whisk until it just comes together.
  10. Pour into the prepared pan and let sit so that the air bubbles can mostly rise to the top. Gently spread a spatula over the top of the batter to pop the bubbles. I couldn't get them all out but that's because I'm impatient.
  11. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack. Run a knife around the edge to separate the cake from the pan and pop the ring off the springform.
Cream Cheese Icing
  1. Let the butter and cream cheese soften at room temperature.
  2. Cream together the butter, cream cheese and vanilla.
  3. Gradually add in the powdered sugar ¼ cup at at time, until fully blended and smooth.
If you don't have molasses, you really should get some. Blackstrap, of course. But if you're in a pinch and don't have any, you can substitute ½ cup brown sugar for ½ cup of the white sugar.

Adapted from Simply Recipes and smitten kitchen.

Even if you’re not a St. Patty’s Day fan(atic), I recommend that you make this cake.

Or don’t. But that’s your loss.

Do you have any recipes that you have wished you had discovered sooner?

Posted in Dips and Spreads, Lunch Boxes, Quick n Easy, Snacks

Quick and Easy Strawberry Fruit Dip

easy cream cheese strawberry fruit dipSome of my best creations come out of the necessity to repurpose kids’ lunch leftovers.

Okay, not really. But this great idea was born from just that.

I had already planned to make a simple fruit dip with cream cheese and maple syrup and vanilla. But then … leftover frozen strawberries emerged from not just one … but two lunchboxes.

leftover strawberries in the magic bullet

Because they didn’t have time to eat them.

And so this strawberry fruit dip was born. And the world became a better place. Well, our little food world, anyway … for a few days at least.

This is so incredibly easy, even the least-talented of home chefs could make it. I promise.

I used a Magic Bullet, but you can use a blender or a food processor.

This is really one of those wing-it, suit-it-to-your-tastes kind of recipe, so consider that as you make it. We tend to like our strawberry fruit dip on the less-sweet side, so if you like yours on the more-sweet side, you may need to add some more syrup.

Quick and Easy Strawberry Fruit Dip
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 5 frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor or Magic Bullet and blend until smooth.
  2. Adjust sweetness to your taste.
  3. Serve with fruit for dipping (my favorite was the galia melon).
  4. Share. This is so good you'll want to eat it all yourself.
If you don't have lunch-leftover strawberries to repurpose, you can use fresh. The dip will likely be a bit thicker.

What do you do with your kids lunch leftovers if they don’t eat them as a snack?

Posted in Beef, Boneless Pieces, Meat

Easy Shredded Beef

easy shredded beefDing, ding, ding!

In the category of last-minute-dinner-idea-that-becomes-a-new-favorite, we have another winner!

Shredded Beef.

(I know that the picture doesn’t really speak to this, but truthfully, I wasn’t really expecting this to be that good. But it is. And worth sharing despite the fact that I didn’t snap the pic before the vultures hungry males got to it.)

At 3pm yesterday, I had a chuck roast in the fridge and absolutely no idea what I was going to do with it. The kids had a mutiny the last time I made a pot roast “Why does it seem like this is all we’ve eaten lately?”

So, I needed to make a pot roast that didn’t look like a pot roast but by definition, was still actually a pot roast.

And so I decided to make shredded beef. If it doesn’t look like a pot roast, then it’s not really a pot roast. Semantics. Smoke and mirrors. Because that’s what good parenting is really all about, right?

This shredded beef is so darn delish, that I actually patted myself on the back. Literally. (You can thank me in the comments.)

And so stinking easy.

And four-fifths of the clan loved it!

There may even have been a bit of actual excitement in the voices of a few. About food. New food.

Shock. Awe. Astonishment.

Mr. Selective was the lone dissenter. His opinion, “The flavor gets stuck in my throat and that’s all I taste. There’s like no meat flavor just the flavor of the flavor.”

This is what I live with. Heaven help me.

Easy Shredded Beef
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 2-3 pound boneless chuck roast (well-marbled)
  • Steak Seasoning
  • 1 cup bone broth (or chicken broth)
  • Avocado Oil (or any oil) for searing
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Generously sprinkle the steak seasoning on both sides of the roast. And I do mean generous.
  3. Pour a glug (that is an official term) of oil into a skillet (big enough to fit your roast).
  4. Warm skillet over medium heat.
  5. Place roast in pan and sear both sides, 5-7 minutes each side. Make sure it's good and brown.
  6. Transfer roast to a roasting pan or a dutch oven and pour bone broth over top.
  7. Place in oven and bake for 2-2½ hours or until roast shreds easily.
  8. Transfer to a serving bowl and use 2 forks to shred meat.
  9. Sneak a little into a side bowl so that you can save some leftovers for yourself.
Make sure that your steak seasoning does not have any natural flavors or spice extractives because ... yuck.

You can easily make this in the crock pot, provided that you think about making things like this before 3pm. To make in the crock pot, after searing the meat, place meat in crock pot, pour broth over top and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4.

Inspired and adapted from Add A Pinch

This is a great recipe to freeze for leftovers.

I’m curious … what are your thoughts on flavor? In particular, do you have issues with it getting stuck in the throat?

Posted in Quick Breads, St. Patrick's Day

Whole Grain Irish Soda Bread

irish soda breadOh. My. Yum.

This Irish Soda Bread recipe has been passed down from my mother, who got it from I-don’t-know-where but if I were to venture a guess, I’d put money on Betty Crocker. This is a bit of a non-traditional recipe in that it’s more like a quick bread – no kneading required. And that’s why I make it.

I’m just lazy like that.

My mom always made it in a loaf pan. It wasn’t until I got older (like late 30’s older – yikes!) that I figured out that it is not traditionally made as a quick bread in a loaf pan. Go figure.

And why is it that Irish Soda Bread tends to show up on American tables mainly on St. Patrick’s Day? We like to go anti-establishment here and make it several times in the winter. It pairs well with any soup or stew.

Technically, Irish Soda Bread is made with only baking soda, but I’ve added baking powder to this to help give the whole grain flour some lift.

Irish Soda Bread
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 1¾ cup sprouted spelt flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Give it a stir with a fork or a whisk just to combine the ingredients.
  4. Add raisins and stir them in. They will be coated in flour. That's okay.
  5. In a separate bowl or a large measuring cup, whisk together buttermilk, egg and vanilla.
  6. Pour buttermilk mixture into flour and stir just until combined.
  7. While you let the batter sit, grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. If that doesn't take at least 5 minutes, go do something else and come back when its been 5 minutes. Trust me ... this makes a difference.
  8. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  9. Bake for 25-27 minutes.
  10. Serve with lots of butter.
If you use all purpose, whole wheat or regular spelt flour, increase the amount to 2 cups.
I have tried making this with honey in place of the sugar and it is more dense. You could also omit the sugar altogether and serve with honey.
We like a lot of raisins in our soda bread. If you don't, you could get away with ¾ cup.
I used real, cultured buttermilk when making this. You should too.

I figure it goes without saying, but this is a big winner all the way around in our house.

It is that good.

Posted in Sides, St. Patrick's Day


colcannon irish potatoes and cabbage with butterMom’s Journal, March 20th.

Snow day number 9 … and the first day of Spring.

Seems an oxymoron and yet … here we are.

Typically at this point, I’d be ready to put my kids up for adoption, but this year, and this snow day in particular, has been surprisingly delightful. Yep. I did just say that. Daring to step out of the establishment … flying in the face of expectation. Not lamenting the fact that they’re off another day.  No frustration that they’re not in school and that they’re driving me nuts. We’re not talking Brady Bunch here, so don’t get carried away.

And let’s just keep this between us, shall we. I don’t want to damage my rep with the other moms in the neighborhood.

This year we have had so many consistent snow days that we have actually figured out a “snow day routine.” It’s really been quite lovely.

I was even able to knock a bunch of things off my to-do list this morning and, as an added bonus, I declared this our “St. Patrick’s Day Do-Over.” My being sick caused it’s postponement from the actual day-of, and I still had all of the ingredients that really I didn’t feel like re-purposing.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day Do-Over!

And … as an added, added bonus, I got to spend some time in the kitchen, enjoying the cooking of a meal without slaving over it or feeling rushed to get it on the table at a certain time so that someone can get to a certain place for a certain activity.

That, my friend, is the real beauty of the snow day – the removal of {most} obligations. I do secretly relish that part. Which, I guess, is not really a secret anymore because I just told you. I guess I’m inclined to spill all my dirty secrets today.

I had never heard of Colcannon until about 2 months ago, as I was searching for an actual recipe for a dish that my family makes called “yamoose” (honestly I’m not even sure if that’s how you spell it) that’s basically potatoes, cabbage, and kielbasa steamed together with yellow mustard, salt and pepper. Say what?

Your response is apparently not unfounded. There is absolutely nothing out there about yamoose, but it does have a close relative in Colcannon: mashed potatoes with cabbage or kale or some-other-green and some form of onion. I filed it into the memory as a must-try for this St. Patrick’s Day.

And, in a moment of Irish luck (and thanks to my Pocket), I actually remembered to dig it out of my memory when planning the menu for this year. Go, me.

I wasn’t sure how the band of three merry young men would react, but I figured it was worth a try.

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • 2 lbs. yellow or red potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium head of cabbage, finely sliced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 bunch spring onions, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Butter, for serving
  1. Place potatoes in pot and cover with water. Add 1 teaspoon salt.
  2. Place pot over medium-high heat and bring to boil. Cook potatoes until soft and drain.
  3. While potatoes are cooking, melt 2 tablespoons butter and bacon grease in a skillet (preferably iron) over medium heat.
  4. When melted and pan is warm, drop the cabbage in there.
  5. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage has wilted and started to brown, 10-15 minutes.
  6. Add ½ teaspoon salt and stir.
  7. Turn off heat but keep cabbage in skillet to keep warm.
  8. Into the pot that you used for the potatoes, add the milk and the ¼ cup of butter. It should still be warm from the potatoes, but if not, put it on the stove over low heat to melt the butter and warm the milk slightly.
  9. Return the potatoes to the pot with the milk/butter mixture and mash, as much or as little as you prefer. You hold the fate of the lumps in your hands.
  10. Mix in cabbage and onions.
  11. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  12. To serve, make a well in the center of your pile and slap a big ole pat of butter in there.

The cabbage in this is delicious (so says the girl as she pats herself on the back). I left some out for Mr. Selective and Big Britches who don’t prefer mashed potatoes. They wouldn’t eat it because “it smelled” but The Man and I thought it was super yum as it was. I think if add some caramelized onions … presto! – a new veggie for {some of} us.

Love those little nuggets of surprise that come out of a mixed-up snow day/first day of spring.

And now the time has come … admit it … are you one of those parents who complains about snow days but who secretly loves them? I promise I won’t tell anyone … 😉

Posted in Quick n Easy, Snacks, Sweets

Easy Protein-Packed Pudding

What do you do when your fridge looks like this? …

a full real food fridge

… and you just bought a gallon of milk (because you were at the store and you knew that you’d be out before you were back at the store) but still have about a quarter gallon in the old milk jug and can’t fit both gallon jugs in there?

Not a dilemma you often encounter because you have another fridge? Lucky.

Well, in this particular instance, on this particular day, I decided to make pudding. Not just any pudding … the best pudding! As proclaimed by my 3 toughest critics – one of whom has claimed, adamantly and without question, that he does not like pudding. But when he saw it, looking all creamy and delicious sitting there in front of him, the temptation was more than he could bear.

easy creamy protein-packed pudding

Can you blame him?

They ate it all, leaving me with the bowl. And I’m not too proud to tell you that I licked it. Clean. Every last delicious pudding morsel.

Fortunately, this is so easy that I can make some more.

Easy Protein-Packed Pudding
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ¼ cup (or more) chocolate chips (I use this brand)
  • dash salt
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine milk, egg yolks, maple syrup, and corn starch.
  2. Whisk completely to blend in the egg yolks and dissolve any clumps of corn starch.
  3. Place over low-medium heat.
  4. As the milk warms, whisk every few minutes, making sure to scrape the edges of the pot (that's where the corn starch likes to collect). Some people will tell you that you have to whisk this constantly until it thickens... snore. Who has the time for that? I usually just give it a whisk every few minutes while it warms up.
  5. When it starts to thicken slightly, whisk constantly. This is a good time to catch up on email or Facebook, provided that you are an expert at the one-hand whisk.
  6. Whisk until thickened and just starting to bubble.
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. Stir in vanilla, chocolate chips, and salt.
  9. Pour it into a separate bowl or smaller serving bowls, cover, and stick it in the fridge. If you cover it and it won't get that hard film on top. If you like the hard film, go ahead and just stick it in there.
To make vanilla pudding, leave out the chocolate chips. This seems obvious, but just in case, I figured I'd let you know. You could also add 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, but we thought it was pretty delicious without it.

You can make this with tapioca or arrowroot but they don't seem to hold the firmness in the fridge as well as cornstarch. And you'll need to increase the amount if you choose to use either of them.

This will start to separate after a couple of days in the fridge. I usually pour them into popsicle molds and make pudding pops at this point.

If you don’t make pudding, what do you do when the fridge is jam-packed and you’ve got groceries that need to go in there?

Posted in Fish, Mediterranean, Quick n Easy

Almond Crusted Cod with Mediterranean Sauce over Creamy Polenta

almond-parmesan-crusted mediterranean cod over creamy polentaThis recipe was born from an I-need-to-make-dinner-but-have-little-in-the-coffers night. When the stars are perfectly aligned, it also becomes a necessity-is-the-mother-of-creativity evening.

Some of my best dishes have been born in these moments. I wish that inspired me to relish them more. It doesn’t.

Tonight’s was particularly special because there were no leftovers. Not. A. One.

This rarely happens in our house, but especially rarely on fish nights.

Although Big Britches did tell me that he LOVES fish. And The Bread Guy decided that fish is “actually pretty good as long as you put a lot of malt vinegar on it.” I secretly gave myself a pat on the back.

I also learned tonight, mostly because of my own laziness, that if I leave the fish pieces larger, they will eat more. Eureka!

And the shocker of the evening … I need to make more polenta from now on. They were literally fighting over the last spoonful. And then requested it for breakfast the next day. Say what?!?

I’d imagine that you can use a different fish, but we are strictly a cod household. It’s low on the fish-flavor spectrum and is reasonably priced. And I find tilapia to be nasty (I know you appreciate my directness and honesty), so I refuse to buy it.

Almond Crusted Cod with Mediterranean Sauce over Polenta
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup yellow corn grits
Mediterranean Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil (or oil of choice)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ cup kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced (or 1 can diced tomatoes)
  • 3-4 handfuls baby spinach
  • 2 pounds cod filets, defrosted and patted dry
  • ½ cup almond meal
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Refined coconut oil, for frying
  1. To prepare polenta, combine milk, water and salt in large saucepan and warm over medium heat.
  2. When near boiling, slowly whisk in grits.
  3. Continue to stir until thick.
  4. Cover and keep warm. Stir occasionally.
  1. In medium skillet, warm avocado oil over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic and saute for a minute or two.
  3. Add wine and oregano and reduce by half.
  4. Add olives, capers and tomatoes and cook until just warm.
  5. Stir in spinach and remove skillet from heat but keep warm in skillet until ready to serve.
  1. Salt and pepper the fish.
  2. On a plate, combine the almond meal and the Parmesan cheese.
  3. Whisk the egg in a separate bowl.
  4. Heat an iron skillet (or whatever skillet you're using) over medium-high heat with a few hefty tablespoons of coconut oil in it.
  5. Dip each cod fillet in the egg and then in the almond/cheese mixture.
  6. Place in skillet and cook until crispy on both sides.
  7. Serve with polenta and sauce.

This looks like a lot of work, but it comes together quickly, so don’t be intimidated by all those steps. I would be. And I would quickly put that in the maybe-on-a-rainy-day file. This one, though, definitely belongs in the I’m-going-to-make-that-this-week list.

My kids will all eat cod as long as it’s crusted with something. I used to use panko but have found other things that work better. Almond crusted cod has become a go-to. I just try to mix up the sauces and I also find that I can change the seasonings in the almond meal mixture to achieve different flavors. Old Bay is also a fave in our house.

What do you make on your I-have-no-plan-and-the-pantry-is-barren nights?

Posted in Breakfast, Breakfast Breads

Dutch Baby Oven Pancake with Apples

Snow day #7.

Not that I’m counting … but … 7!


And likely number 8 tomorrow.

In all honesty, I really don’t mind. My boys much prefer the cold and snow to the hot and muggy. So, at least this lessens the amount of time that they will be in the house complaining that it’s too hot.

Perhaps. A girl can hope.

I decided to liven up our usually boring breakfast routine – eggs, meat, fruit, muffins. repeat. – with a new twist on an old friend.

dutch baby pancake with apples from change of plates

A couple of years ago, I discovered the beauty of the Dutch Baby – an oven pancake made with eggs, milk, and flour. The boys would scarf down the whole thing, leaving very little for their two parents-with-a-big-appetite.

I made it plain; Big Britches and The Bread Guy would eat it with maple syrup while Mr. Selective would slather his with chocolate chips.

And then, one day, they suddenly didn’t.

“I don’t think I like that any more.”

I think I had overused it and so they got tired of it.

Fast forward to this morning … I was in the mood to make something different, so I decided to revisit this old friend … and add some caramelized apples. A friend had told me that she makes hers with apples, so I figured I’d give it a whirl … knowing full well that The Bread Guy would be greatly displeased and that there was a chance that the other two wouldn’t eat it.

Sometimes you just have to throw caution to the wind.

Dutch Baby Oven Pancake with Apples
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8 Servings
  • 2-3 tart apples (I used Pink Lady)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup coconut palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 cup milk of your choice
  • 1 cup whole wheat or all-purpose flour (or ¾ cup sprouted wheat)
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • dash salt
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. If using an iron skillet, go ahead and stick that in the oven to warm with it.
  3. In large mixing cup, whisk to combine milk, flour and nutmeg, making sure to get all the lumps out.
  4. In separate bowl, whisk together eggs, maple syrup, vanilla and salt.
  5. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and mix well.
  6. Peel and slice apples. I cut them in half also. Not for any real reason, mainly just because I felt like it.
  7. In a small bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon and ginger.
  8. Once the oven has come to temperature, cut the butter into 4 tablespoons and drop it in the iron skillet.
  9. Let it melt and then pull the skillet out of the oven.
  10. Sprinkle the coconut or brown over the bottom of the skillet.
  11. Spread apples on top of brown sugar, keeping it as close to a single layer as you can.
  12. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture on top of the apples.
  13. Put the skillet back in the oven.
  14. When the apples are caramel-y and bubbly, pull the skillet out.
  15. Pour the batter into the skillet, making sure to cover the apples.
  16. Stick it back in the oven and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the middle is cooked through.
  17. Serve with fresh whipped cream.
If you don't have an iron skillet, you should get one. However, I have read that you can also use a glass casserole dish. If you do, I'd recommend that you warm it with the butter, rather than warming the oven with the dish inside. I have never made a Dutch Baby with a glass dish, so if you go this route, I have no idea how it will turn out. Just sayin'.

You can make a plain Dutch Baby by simply eliminating the apple part of the recipe and just adding the batter to the hot butter.

I have to give props to The Bread Guy because he did give this a fair shake, but the “apple flavor” overtook the “pancake flavor” and made it not edible. Add a squished-up nose and a lemon-face and you get the picture. Everyone else ate it. Happily.

They usually avoid the edges of a plain Dutch Baby, but that was the best part of this one. Crispy, sugary, buttery deliciousness.

How to top this on the mostly-expected snow day number E.I.G.H.T tomorrow?

Posted in Soups

Split Pea Soup with Ham

IMG_3893.JPGRemember my experience with the Chicken Noodle Soup?

After that, I’ve decided to throw in the towel. They’ve worn me down. No more attempts to sell them on all of the awesomeness that is soup.

For this winter only. They may have won this battle … but I’m in it for the war!

Going too far? It is just soup after all.

Does that mean “No soup for you!”? (If you don’t get this, then ask an older, wiser someone.)

Oh, no no no no no no. Nope. And no.

Mainly because I still hadn’t made my most favorite soup of all time … the Split Pea with Ham.

When I was a kid, the Campbell’s split pea was one of my lunch staples in the winter. It disgusted me that it came out of the can in one solid lump, and it was always amazed at how after a few stirs and a couple of minutes in the microwave it would get creamy. But it was oh so tasty. In my memory anyway.

Now? Blech. I can’t remember the last time that I had that, but just writing that paragraph … well … Oooooo.

Frankly, with a Split Pea Soup this easy and tasty – who needs it?

Split Pea Soup with Ham
  • 1 pound split peas
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ham hock (nitrate/nitrite-free) or half a boneless ham or a ham steak
  • 6-8 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 medium carrots, sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  1. Rinse peas and discard any hard pieces.
  2. In large stock pot, combine peas, onion, garlic, and ham. If you're using actual ham and not the hock, cut it into large chunks.
  3. Add water. Use less water if you like your pea soup a bit thicker.
  4. Add thyme, bay leaf and salt.
  5. Stir to combine.
  6. Bring to boil over medium heat.
  7. Cover and cook about an hour. Peas will be soft but still have some shape.
  8. Remove ham
  9. Add carrots and celery.
  10. Uncover and cook another 45 minutes to an hour, until soup is desired consistency.
This soup is very forgiving (It just prefers that you actually ask for forgiveness), so you can "overcook" it if it's too runny. Just keep in mind that the carrots and celery will soften quite a bit also.

Just be sure to find a ham hock or a ham that is nitrate/nitrite free. That is one of the non-negotiables in our house. And it would ruin an otherwise perfectly good soup. Not that my kids would know.

The Bread Guy usually tolerates a small bowl of this soup, claiming to love it yet laboring just enough that it’s pretty obvious that love it just too strong an adjective. He didn’t even eat it this time. Big Britches has declared, in no uncertain terms, that he does not do soup. And Mr. Selective can’t get past the way it looks.

And I didn’t even try. Not a bowl. A spoon. Or any intimation that they should sample even the tiniest taste.

But watch out boys … next winter … game on!