Sunday, December 23, 2012

Pumpkin Banana Pancakes

We finally made it to Oregon. It took us 12 hours, 6 more than usual to get to my brother's house in Oregon. We survived a blizzard and three traffic accidents where we were completely stopped for over an hour each. Finally after 12.5 hours in the car, we get to my brother's two mile long ice covered driveway, only to make it part way up. Quite a memorable road trip and it doesn't end there. Since we got here, we've had two power outages which wouldn't be a big deal if the toilet and the coffee maker would work. :-) At least we're all together and it's almost Christmas. Here's a picture from my brother's front deck. 

It's a few days before Christmas and I'm sure there is some last minute scrambling but if you have time for a nice breakfast, here's a good homemade pancake recipe that's pretty easy and you probably have all this on hand.

Pumpkin Banana Pancakes

1 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup pumpkin
2/3 cup coconut milk, or milk, soy milk, almond milk
2 large eggs
1 mashed banana

Mix dry ingredients together -  flour, brown sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. In a large bowl, mix wet ingredients together - pumpkin, coconut milk, eggs and banana. Gradually add dry to wet ingredients until just combined. Heat up a large non-stick pan or griddle over medium heat and add a pat or two of butter. When butter is melted, add a 1/3 cup of pancake batter and form as many as your pan can hold. When bubbles start to form on the tops of the pancakes, flip them over. After a minute or two, they should be cooked and slightly brown on each side. If you have a bunch to make, turn your oven on 250 degrees and keep your pancakes in the oven as you make them. This way you can all eat at the same time. When ready to serve, add cut up banana, sprinkle with powdered sugar and/or serve with warm maple syrup.

Makes 9-10 small pancakes

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Cookies, cookies and more cookies

It's that time of year again for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. Everyone is given three blogs to ship cookies to and each blogger receives cookies from three different blogs. I received cookies from Saucy Mouth (bottom right), Full on Food Lust, and Saving Room for Dessert (bottom left). I sent Chewy Coconut Cranberry Cookies to Semi Sweet Designs who makes the most beautiful cookies, Toffee Bits and Chocolate Chips, and Simply Fresh Cooking. Check them out. They are all wonderful food blogs.

Hope your holiday season is going well and isn't too stressful. It seems this time of year everything gets a little crazier, especially the to-do list. I'm a little behind but I'm not stressing about it to much. I figure it will all get done. Hopefully on time.

This was a new recipe for me. Not my favorite cookie but a good cookie and seems to go well with the season. I got this cookie out of an old Sunset magazine and it won first place in their cookie contest. My favorite cookie would have to be Snicker Doodles. I can't make them though or I would eat them all. I base my likeness level on how hard they are to resist.

Chewy Coconut, Cranberry Cookies

1 1/2 cups room temp butter
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked dried coconut

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine butter, sugar, orange zest, and vanilla in a large bowl and mix until smooth.  In a smaller bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix with a whisk. Gradually add flour mixture to the butter mixture until it comes together. May take a couple of minutes. Shape dough into 1 inch balls and place about 12 on a greased cookie sheet. I flattened my a bit with a spoon. Bake 10-12 minutes or until the edges of the cookie are slightly brown. Let cool on cookie racks. Make 6 dozen.

Recipe from Sunset Magazine
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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Lamb with Mint Sauce

I am lucky enough to have a freezer full of lamb. Seriously, I have a lot of lamb and I value it like gold.

My great-great-grandfather started a sheep farm many years ago and it has been passed down four generations. My grandfather raised lambs for sixty years and now my uncle is carrying on the tradition. The lamb they produce is amazing. I know I sound partial and I am, but there isn't anyone that I serve it to that doesn't think it tastes wonderful. Most lamb is good but this lamb is tender, not gamey at all and really flavorful. All you need is a little salt and pepper, maybe some garlic powder...and it melts in your mouth. I wish it were available to everyone.

I know it's probably not the first thing that pops into your mind for an evening meal, but lamb is now readily available and if you get some lamb chops or shoulder chops, they cook up quickly. You can pan fry it, grill it, or even put it under the broiler. Just cook to your desired doneness.

I never grew up eating lamb with mint sauce. It wasn't until my husband, who grew up in the U.K. and always ate mint sauce with lamb, introduced me to it. I grew to really like mint jelly with my lamb but it's not always the easiest to find. If you get some fresh mint, you can whip it up in no time and create a really impressive meal for your family. They'll love lamb with this mint sauce.

Lamb with Mint Sauce

6 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup chopped mint
1 cup white vinegar
4 lamb chops or shoulder chops

In a small saucepan, add sugar and vinegar. Bring to a boil and cook for 8-10 minutes. The sugar will dissolve in the vinegar as it boils. Let it cook down to about half and it will become a little more syrupy. Pull it off the heat and add the mint. Let the sauce cool for one hour. Any remaining sauce can be refrigerated.

For the lamb, season both sides with salt and pepper. Grill for 3-5 minutes per side (to your desired doneness). Let it rest 10 minutes before serving. Drizzle mint sauce over lamb and enjoy.

Mint Sauce from Cooks Illustrated Best Recipe Cookbook
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