I’m Still Alive and a Fish Recipe

Yes.  I’m still here.

Sorry for the long(ish) absence.  Life has been really crazy over here.  (Actually, I should be cleaning my room right now.  But, hey.)

On Tuesday two good friends and I put together a fancy dinner for the leadership couples in our church.  It was a BLAST – but still a lot of work, and very exhausting.  We decorated our basement, and set up a table with white tablecloths down there.  The night of, all of us – my friends and their brothers and I and my siblings – dressed up fancy and served/waited on the parents.

Anyways, lots of fun, but it took up Monday (cooking and prepping) and Tuesday (more cooking, prepping, and then serving).  Wednesday was takedown and we had company, Thursday Mom and I had to run an errand, and on Friday I spent the day at a friend’s home making Milky Way Bars (which was a blast).  And today Mom and I went shopping again.

So, basically, I’ve been busy.

Now, a (hopefully) brief story – I have some large-ish hoop earrings that I wear quite a bit.  Well, on Monday I went to put them on, and one broke.  I was pretty bummed!  I wear those a lot!  Thankfully, Mom had just received a coupon in the mail for Kohl’s (where I got my first pair) and I was hopeful that I could find another pair.

Today Mom and I went to Kohl’s, and they didn’t have any.  I was not too thrilled to say the least.  So on the way home we stopped at a different Kohl’s, and they had a pair of the hoops!  Not only that, but they were on sale, along with a bunch of other earrings, so I got several pairs.  And that makes me really happy. 🙂

Also, I got some pairs that *actually* have color on them, which makes me happy that I am branching out (most of my earrings are silver).

Moving on now.

I made this really tasty fish for dinner.  It turned out so well that I want to post it here, mostly so that I can make it again (I am bound to forget).

So, without further ado (or earrings), here it is.

Fish in Sauce (I am really creative with names, am I not?)

10 fillets of fish (mine was either catfish or tilapia, I didn’t look)
Salt and Lemony-Dill Seasoning (or dill)
Butter (and lots of it!)
1 onion, minced
2 c. Chicken broth
1/2 c. Water
3 Lemons, juiced
Dill and lemony-dill seasoning
Minced green onions

1.  Melt the butter over medium heat.  Fry the fish over medium heat on both sides until cooked through, being careful not to overcook.  Sprinkle the fish with salt and lemony-dill seasoning while it’s frying.  Add butter as necessary to keep it from sticking.  When cooked, transfer to a 9×13” pan.

2. Scrape out any burned bits from the pan and pour out any burned butter.  Add a pat of butter and the onion, and sauté until softened.

3.  Add the broth, water, and lemon juice.  Bring to a simmer, and simmer for 8-10 minutes.  Add four tablespoons of cold butter one tablespoon at a time, whisking after each addition until the piece of butter is gone.  Sprinkle the dill and lemony dill seasoning into the sauce.

4.  Sprinkle some green onions over the fish in the pan, pour the sauce on it, then sprinkle some more green onions on top.

Enjoy!

If you try this, please let me know if you like it!

Love,
Allison

My Reading Nook and an Amazing “New Food”

I discovered an amazing “new food.”

It’s not totally new, since I am familiar with all the ingredients.  But the combination is new.

Are you ready?  Two words:

Stuffed Onions.

That says it all.

They are one of the most amazing things. Ever.  So simple and delicious.

I hadn’t really thought of onions as a side dish on their own until recently, when Mom was chatting with someone at the grocery store who would just serve sautéed onions with dinner, as a side.  I wanted to try that sometime – a big pile of onions.  Mmmm…

Then the other night I had some time, and I remembered the stuffed onion recipe that I had seen several years ago (I know, I know) in a cookbook I own, and I had to try it.

I altered the recipe a bit, since it originally called for bread, and I didn’t want to add any.  Well, really since I wanted to eat an onion.

They are SO TASTY.  The outside is a baked onion – cooked plain, not to talk it down – and the filling.  Oh the filling.  It is a combination of the centers of the onion that have been scraped out of the onions that have been sautéed, along with some bacon and cheese.  Delicious.

Stuffed Onions
Adapted from Fresh Flavor Fast (an AWESOME cookbook)

3 large onions (mine were very big), peeled
1/2 lb. bacon, cut into one-inch pieces
1/2-3/4 c. shredded cheese (I used Monterey Jack, which was very, very good)
1/2 c. chicken broth.

Preheat the oven to 400*F. (See note)

Using a melon baller,  hollow out the centers of the onions, until the sides are about 1/4-1/2 inch thick (I just hollowed mine until the cave in the middle looked sizeable).  Place the onions in a pan (I had to split mine into two pans – an 8×8-inch pan would work, as well as a 9×13-inch pan.  Whatever your onions fit comfortably in).  Pour the chicken broth in the pan (not inside the onions), and cover the pans with foil.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until the onions are soft when pierced with a paring knife.

Meanwhile, chop up the onion middles that have been scooped out.  Fry the bacon over medium heat until started to get crispy.  Add the onion, and sauté until soft, 10-15 minutes.  Drain off the fat.  Right before you stuff the onions, mix the cheese into the filling, reserving some to top the onions.

Pour the chicken broth out of the onion pans (reserve this, especially if it is bone broth!  It is now onion flavored).  Fill the onions with the filling, and top with cheese.  Bake at 450*F for 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and browned.

Notes:  The original recipe had you bake the onions (before they are filled) at 450*F.  I baked two of my onions at 450*F, while I baked the other one at 400*F.  The one that I baked at 400*F had a much better color, and I liked how it came out more than the other two.  Either temp should work.

Next time I think I will stir some parsley flakes into the filling.  I was going to this time, but forgot. 🙂

 

On Thursday I cleaned up my room.  This wasn’t just a straighten-up-the-stuff clean up, but a real cleaning.  Going through drawers, and relocating accumulated junk stuff that has just been sitting around for WAY to long, and just needed to be put away.

(Really, there is a point to this.  Just bear with me.)

I cleaned out my vanity and moved it downstairs.  In the corner where it used to be I put a chair and a small table.  It is my new little reading nook! A comfortable spot to do my schoolwork.  Drake and I are sharing the chair, so I get it part of the week, and he gets it the rest of the time. I am really enjoying it!

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My cozy reading nook

 

Have a lovely Lord’s Day!

~Allison

Deep, Dark Fudge

So I did end up making fudge.

I had found a recipe, and was meaning to follow it.  But as I was looking at it, I thought that the sugar would be unnecessary.  Chocolate chips are pretty sweet already!  And plus, I like dark chocolate.

Then, when I was stirring the chocolaty mixture, I decided to add some cocoa powder, to make it extra dark.  And it made it extra good!

I am really pleased with how this fudge turned out:  fudgy (a good thing in fudge), deep, dark, and evil (my favorite term for great desserts, especially if they include dark chocolate).  I hope you enjoy!

 

Fudge

1 (13.6 oz.) can coconut milk (I used full fat)
3 c. dark chocolate chips (mine were 60%)
1-2 Tbsp. cocoa powder, or more to taste (optional)
2 tsp. vanilla

Combine the coconut milk and chocolate chips in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir until melted.  Add the cocoa powder, and stir until mixed in.  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.  Pour into a 8×8 pan lined with parchment paper, and refrigerate overnight, or until hardened.

Remove from the fridge, and, using the parchment paper, take the fudge out of the pan.  Remove the parchment paper and slice the fudge into small-ish pieces.  Store in the refrigerator.

 

The fudge it a little on the soft side, but everyone loved it.  Meiling kept declaring that it was good, even though she hasn’t had any yet.

A Fun Breakfast and Today’s Walk

I have had a bit of inspiration for a yummy breakfast dish, and on Sunday I finally had all the pieces together, so I made it.  It consisted of a piece of warmed ham, sautéed spinach, and a poached egg, then drizzled drenched with some hollandaise sauce.  It was yummy!  I might have to make one tomorrow for breakfast.  We’ll see how much time I have…

Here is a link to the hollandaise sauce recipe I used.  I think I halved it.  This recipe is great, as it is made in a blender, and is so quick to throw together!  Just what we all need – hollandaise sauce at the touch of a few buttons!

Now for the photos! (Yes, I *actually* remembered to take a picture of my food before I ate it all!  I could have a serious gallery of empty plate photos if I took one each time I didn’t remember to take a picture before my food was gone.)

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LOTS of hollandaise sauce!

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The lovely colors

 

I took some photos on my walks today.  I took my two youngest siblings on a walk first (on this walk I took my camera with my macro lens.)  Then I went up to the pasture-behind-the-pond by myself, bringing normal lens.  I also brought my hymnal and psalter.  Yesterday I discovered that the pasture-behind-the-pond is an ideal spot to sing.  It is so open and peaceful, it is a joy to lift up one’s voice there.  You can hear it echo just a little, and you are secluded enough that you can sing at the top of your lungs and not be worried about anyone being too near.

I am hoping to start taking walks every day.  I will try not to post too many photos of my walks here, but if it snows, you know there will have to be lots of photos!  (I LOVE snow.)

So first, the photos of my walk with Meiling and Noah.

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My favorite trees are the out-of-focus blob in the background 🙂

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Who knew weeds could be so much fun?

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An old grave – I am not sure, as the stone is very worn, but I think it said 1836.

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Now the photos I took on my walk.

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A girl needs her chocolate, right?

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The pasture-behind-the-pond

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My hymnbook

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Heading home

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In my science book I was reading about astronomy, namely, the Milky Way galaxy.  Now every time I read “Milky Way,” you know what I though of?  Milky way candy bars, of course!  (Why do I seem to have this special ability to wrap food into anything?!?)  So, since my success with the Twix bars, I decided it would be fun to try to make Milky Way candy bars!  I am hoping to make them tomorrow.  Be sure to come back tomorrow evening – if I do make them, I will be sure to post pictures!  Oh, and they will be grain-free, made with coconut sugar, and all that good stuff.  🙂  It should be SO FUN!  (I am really excited, if you can’t tell!  :))

Looking forward to some Milky Way bars,

Allison

P.S.  Thank you for reading.  🙂

Brownies–A Recipe

Fall is officially here now (although I think that it has felt like fall for about a month).  It has definitely been cooler out – last night the temperature dropped down to 37 degrees!  I have been looking forward to the cooler weather, but now that it is here, I am not enjoying it so much.  Well, maybe once I get used to it, I won’t be so chilly all the time.  🙂

We have been busy. (I am really starting to sound like a broken record, am I not?  Maybe I should just stop saying that all the time, and you can just assume I am busy.  How’s that sound?)  We were out of town two weekends ago (my grandmothers birthday!), and then my dad was out of town the next week.  Mom and us children did all kinds of different things (a Christian Civics class, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra concert at Art Hill – followed by an impromptu dance, and a fun movie night with friends).  Saturday we got together with a whole bunch of friends for kickball – dads v. children.  I systematically forgot my camera almost everywhere we went, with the exception of our out of town trip.  I hope to post about that soon.

I also have just about forgotten about my blog.  Not completely, because I keep checking on it every few days or so, but not posting.  I keep thinking “Oh, I need to post that recipe,”  but I just move on, because, you guessed it, I’ve been busy.

So without further ado, here is my brownie recipe.  Here is the link to the original post.  I will include directions for making them mint-chocolate covered, but you can just as easily make them plain (and they are delicious that way, too!).

Grain-free Brownies   (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook)

5 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips (you can use semisweet, but I used bittersweet)
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 stick (8 Tbsp.) butter, unsalted
3 Tbsp. Dutch-processed cocoa (I think I used regular once because we couldn’t find the Dutch.  Still very good.)
1 1/4 c. coconut sugar (Sucanat, evaporated cane juice crystals, or just plain ol’ white sugar would work here, too)
3 large eggs
2 tsps. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. almond meal (if you use almond flour, let me know how it turns out)
1/4 c. coconut flour

1.  Start by putting the oven rack right in the center of the oven, then preheat the oven to 350*F.  Grease either an 8”x8” square pan or your mini muffin tins with butter (this will make about 40 brownie bites, maybe a few more).  Melt the chocolate chips, unsweetened chocolate, butter, and cocoa powder together in a double boiler, or a makeshift double boiler (a glass bowl set over a pan of simmering water – a metal bowl might work, but it may get too hot).

2.  Combine the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt in a separate bowl.  Next, add in the melty chocolate mixture (if you haven’t eaten it all).  Now add the flour and the meal, and stir until well mixed (but don’t stir too much).

3.  Scoop the batter into your pan or muffin tins.  Bake the 8”x8” pan for 35-40 minutes (I usually check my grain-free baked goods ten minutes before the earlier time, so I don’t over bake).  The bites will take 10 minutes.  Be very careful not to over bake the bites.  It is very easy to do.  (I did it the first time.)

4.  Let the brownies cool.  Or don’t and just dig in right away, and burn your tongue while you’re at it.  If you are planning to coat your brownie bites in mint chocolate, remove from pan and let them cool completely before coating.

Notes:  Don’t be afraid to play with the ratio of coconut flour to almond meal/flour.  I will probably try using a bit more coconut flour and less almond meal next time.  Oh, and I am sure stirring in some whole chocolate chips into the batter before spooning it into the pan would be delightful.  I really like that idea.  If chopped nuts are your things (they are not mine), you could add those in before baking, too.

(I actually remember being at a friends’ home when I was, oh, five, and complaining quite loudly about there being nuts in the brownies.  I stand ashamed.)

Mint-Chocolate Coating for Brownie Bites

1 bag bittersweet chocolate chips
Peppermint extract

Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler, or a glass bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Add the peppermint extract a little at a time, stirring well and tasting after each addition.  You want it to be minty, but not overpoweringly so.  I would guess I used somewhere between 1 and 1 1/2 tsp., but I am not sure.  Just do whatever tastes best to you!

Turn the little guys (brownies) upside down, and coat the top and side(s) (does a round brownie bite have a side or sides?) with the chocolate.  I did this with a spoon, dolloping it over the top and swirling it down the sides.

Refrigerate until the chocolate is hardened.  If desired, take them out of the fridge when they are mostly hardened and swirl some chocolate on top or decorate them in some way.  Refrigerate again until thoroughly hardened.

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So whether they look like this…

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…or this…

…enjoy!  Either way you make it, let me know how it turns out!

~Allison

Dublin Coddle

Well, it is now officially September.  I am so enjoying the cooler weather.  We have had the windows open off and on the past few days, and it has even been a little chilly at nights.  When Mom and I were running errands on Saturday, I actually needed a jacket!  It was so fun to have to get my jean jacket out again!  I love fall.  It is one of my three favorite seasons (the other two are Spring and Winter), and is currently top on my list (although that could change in about 36.1 seconds.  You never know).

Well, with the onset of September, this is always a time of getting back into school.  Just something about the cooler weather and shortening days makes me want to get back to my books.

This year I am doing some unit studies with Meiling and Noah on different countries.  We just started this Monday, and I am having so much fun with both of them.  For each of the countries we are going to make a somewhat traditional dish.  It may be a dinner, it may be a dessert.  Disclaimer:  I am not making the meals very traditional.  Most of the dishes will probably be only semi-traditional.

Are you really that surprised?  I organize some unit studies, and they include food.  Amazing, I know.

This week we are learning about Ireland.  After perusing through some recipes, I found this recipe for Dublin Coddle.  It looked pretty simple and I thought everyone would like it (it has bacon).  I did make a few changes to it, and I also seasoned my own meat to use instead of the sausages, since I didn’t know when we would be able to find some.

Everyone liked it!  It was a bit too salty, but not too terribly salty that it couldn’t be eaten.  Next time I will decrease the salt in the “sausages.”

Here is my version of Dublin Coddle.

Dublin Coddle

2 lbs.  Bangers (or ground pork, seasoned, like in this recipe – just decrease the salt by about half!)
12 oz. bacon, cut into one-inch pieces
2 onions, halved and sliced fairly thick
3 cloves of garlic, minced
5 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and sliced (about the same thickness you sliced the onions)
1 to 1 1/2 c. of water or broth (I used the water since my meat was too salty)

1.  If using ground pork, mix it with the spices and form into small sausage shapes.

2.  Take the sausages (or your mini sausages) and fry them on medium heat in a Dutch oven or similar pan until brown on all sides.  Remove from pan, and cut sausages into four or five pieces (your mini sausages should be cut into halves or thirds depending on their size.  Just eyeball it).  Pour off the fat from the pan.

3.  Next, fry the bacon just until it begins to get crispy.  Remove the bacon to a bowl, and pour off all but about 2 tsps. of the fat.

4.  Add the onions and sauté until just starting to soften.  Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Remove onions/garlic from the pan and place on the pan.

5.  Now, according to the original recipe you are supposed to layer the stuff in like this:  first potatoes, then onions, bacon, sausage, potatoes, onions, bacon, sausage, and ending with potatoes.  After I got it all layered in my pot and added the water, I wasn’t sure if the potatoes would cook properly, since they weren’t covered with water.  So I stirred mine, trying to push the potatoes toward the bottom of the pot.  So I say:  just put everything in the pot, pour in the water, and stir gently.  If you try it the other way, let me know if it works.

6.  Simmer, covered, for about and hour, or until the potatoes are tender.  Serve warm.

 

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Noah getting started on the “sausages”

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Meiling waiting for a job 🙂

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Ahhh…BACON!

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Potatoes

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Noah forming the “sausages”

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The little sausages

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The finished coddle

Strawberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Meiling’s favorite ice cream flavor is strawberry.  We have been letting her eat regular (dairy) strawberry ice cream, but since she really can’t have dairy either, I decided to make her some strawberry coconut milk ice cream.

So yesterday, while the boys were at the store and Mommy was taking a nap, we made the ice cream.  Here is the recipe.

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Strawberry Coconut Milk Ice Cream (Primal)
2 cans good-quality full-fat coconut milk
Approx. 13 frozen strawberries
2 tsp. to 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. plus 2 Tbsp. honey
Fresh strawberries (optional)

1. Open the cans of coconut and pour them into a medium bowl.

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2.  Place the strawberries in a sauce pan on the stove and heat them to thaw.  (You don’t want to cook them, just thaw them enough so you can break them up.)  (I did mine in two batches, so don’t be surprised a there only being 8 strawberries in this pot.)

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3.  Mash up the strawberries until there are not many chunks left.  (If you like more chunks, you can leave some more chunks.  If you are using the optional strawberries, those will be chunks later, too.)

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4.  Add the mashed-up strawberries as well as all the other ingredients to the coconut milk.

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Adding the strawberries

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5.  Using a stick blender or whisk, stir/blend/whisk until well combined.  After it is combined, taste it, and add whatever you think it needs.

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6.  Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions.

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7.  If using the fresh strawberries, chop them up into small pieces and add them to the ice cream when it starts being more of a solid.

Enjoy!

 

I ran into a bit of trouble with my ice cream, as I left it in the ice cream maker too long.  The ice cream maker wasn’t cold enough any more, so my ice cream melted.  It should have been taken out sooner.  So don’t make that mistake.  Once it gets in the freezer, it freezes, but it is harder than it normally would be.  I may melt mine again and re-freeze it.  We’ll see.

I really liked the ice cream.  Mom and Dad really liked the ice cream.  Drake liked it, too.  But Meiling didn’t.  I am not quite sure why.  Everyone else said that it was really good, though. :/

 

Have a lovely day!

Allison