Posted in Sides, St. Patrick's Day

Colcannon

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.

Colcannon
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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.
Notes
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 Soups

Baked Potato Leek Soup

baked potato soup
Cleaning Day.

Just the thought inspires such wonderful feelings, as it always provides such harmony in our house.

Harmony, that is, if you find peace in the groaning, whining and general disdain for me as a the evil real-mother imposing such horrors upon their existence.  Because it is, of course, my fault that their living space is such a mess.

This particular day was made even better because I was fortunate to be the only adult present for the day’s adventures.  The Man was out volunteering his time and muscles to help with maintenance on the baseball fields.  You know, the ones that our children play on.  And so to show their appreciation, they were spectacular helpers and did everything without my even having to ask.

Or not.

Just to give you an idea as to how the day went, I spent the entire day in my pajamas.

Yes.  Yes, I did.

And I made Baked Potato Soup for dinner.

Baked Potato Leek Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 6 medium baking potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp bacon grease (or butter)
  • 3-4 leeks
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ c. butter (or bacon grease)
  • ½ c. spelt flour (I used sprouted)
  • 1 c. bone broth (or chicken), room temperature
  • 5 c. or more, whole, grass-fed milk, room temperature
  • 2 c. shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Wash potatoes and put in oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until done but not overdone.
  3. While potatoes are baking, wash and slice leeks.
  4. Melt butter or bacon grease on LOW heat in medium skillet. Add leeks and stir to coat.
  5. Sweat the leeks to pull out all of the leek-y goodness. Make sure that they are soft and translucent but that they don't get too brown. (If you don't know what it means to sweat veggies, this is a good tutorial.)
  6. While the leeks and the potatoes are cooling, get out your big soup pot and melt the butter over medium heat.
  7. Add flour and whisk for 2-3 minutes. (This is a roux.)
  8. Slowly add chicken broth, whisking as you go.
  9. Slowly add milk, whisking as you go.
  10. Reduce heat to low.
  11. Add leeks. (In our house, we don't like to see green things. So, I throw the leeks into a food processor and grind them up. Either way works.)
  12. Chop potatoes and add. Throw the skins in there too!
  13. Let simmer for about an hour, stirring frequently.
  14. Add cheese and sour cream. Stir until well combined.
  15. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  16. If soup is too thick, add more milk.
  17. Ladle into bowls and devour.
Notes
I sometimes add some ham to this, if I feel like it. If you like ham in your potato soup, grab a ham steak (nitrate-free, of course), dice it and give it a little saute before you add it to the soup. It adds a nicer flavor.

The Bread Guy eats this, but the other two are not potato eaters or soup eaters, which is kind of a lose-lose with this one.  So they had ham and applesauce.  That’s great for me because that means that there will be leftovers.  Yay!

The day ended with clean rooms, a still-disgusting bathroom, a few rousing games of Clue (the Classic Edition, of course) in front of a nice fire (while still in my pajamas).

And harmony in our house.