Strawberry Banana Smoothies

This weekend  over father’s day we decided  to go strawberry picking, I had never been  before  but   you say the word strawberry and I am there. Image

I love strawberries, they are easily my favorite berry.   I never expected to come away with so many strawberries though, it was the perfect day to go, we didn’t have to move very far in the field to  come away with two big crates filled with strawberries. We got  so many strawberries I don’t even know what to do with all of them. 

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I made a strawberry pie,  ate a couple dipped in Nutella and brought them for lunch all week long, good thing I decided to freeze over half over them  I don’t think I would  get sick of them if I had to eat them everyday until they were all gone.  Freezing strawberries, especially these fresh ones  will make delicious summer treats.  One treat we will have to make more of are these delicious Strawberry Banana Smoothies.

Strawberry Banana Smoothies

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makes 4

-2 cups of  frozen strawberries

-1 banana

-1/2 cup of yogurt

-1-2 teaspoons of honey

-1/4 cup or so of milk and/or water to thin it out

Mix in blender or vita-mix and  you have a delicious refreshing summer treat!

 

 

 

Super-Chunky Almond Granola with Dried Fruit

One of my favorite pieces of reading material for cooking is a magazine called Cook’s Illustrated. This is an excellent magazine for anyone learning how to cook and it even has great flavorful recipes made to perfection from America’s Test Kitchen, suitable for anyone who loves to cook and loves great food. America’s Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full-time cooks and product testers. Their mission is simple, to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, they test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until they arrive at the combination of ingredients, techniques, temperatures, cooking times, and equipment that yields the best, most-foolproof recipe. Just about anything I have cooked from this magazine has been easily “the best thing I ever ate” material. Not only does this magazine give outstanding recipes, but it also talks about tips for cooking, sometimes history of where a food came from, equipment recommendations, product ratings, and so much more. This is easily my favorite must-have cooking magazine! Thank you Uncle Randy for this wonderful Christmas gift a couple of years ago, it has transformed our kitchen and cooking skills and we can not thank you enough.

One, of my favorite breakfast meals besides eggs is granola. I love granola with a little milk or even sprinkled over some All Natural Brown Cow Yogurt. If you haven’t had Brown Cow yogurt, you are seriously missing out! You can pick some up at your local Whole Foods, it will change your mind about yogurt forever, trust me!

Now I usually get pretty cranky if I run out of granola, because the stuff is expensive from those fill-it-yourself containers at the grocery store. I mean $10 for a little 12 oz bag, seriously, are they trying to rob me blind! I just want some delicious granola! So you can understand my excitement when I saw a granola recipe in my new Cook’s Illustrated magazine issue. It’s like this magazine can read my mind.

So if you have had it with the overpriced (and underwhelming) store-bought stuff, give this recipe a try. Warning, you are in for a treat! 🙂

Super-Chunky Almond Granola with Dried Fruit

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Ingredients:

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

4 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoons of salt

1/2 cup vegetable oil

5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (DON’T USE QUICK OATS!)

2 cups raw almonds, chopped coarsely ( Use knife and not a food processor, a food processor does a lousy job at chopping whole nuts evenly)

2 cups of raisins or other dried fruit (I used Craisins, because that is what I had on hand)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper (I use both for easy clean up)

ImageWhisk maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in oil.

ImageChop up nuts with a knife and not a food processor, for a more even pieces.

ImageFold in nuts.

ImageFold in oats until thoroughly coated.

ImageTransfer oat mixture to prepared baking sheet and spread across sheet pan, into thin even layer (about 3/8 inch thick). Using a stiff metal spatula, compress oat mixture until very compact.

ImageBake until lightly browned, 40 to 45 minutes (rotating pan once halfway through baking). Remove granola from oven and place on cooling rack for about an hour.

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Break cooled granola into pieces of desired size. Stir in dried fruit.

Store in air tight container for up to two weeks.

Enjoy!

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Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

So, Mr. Pea and I had very busy weekend this past Easter holiday. We usually have busy holidays  because we have many places to go and people to see, and there is always so much to do and so little time in the day to do it.  I am not complaining, Mr. Pea and I had a great weekend with family and friends, I just feel like I was in a tornado and spit out the other side  from how much we did in such a little time. In fact Mr. Pea didn’t even wake me up this morning for our morning workout and let me sleep in, and I actually did  for once! We usually wake up at 5:30am to workout every morning on the weekdays and so my internal clock usually doesn’t let me sleep past 6:00am!  I was so grateful to catch up on some zzz’s.

Anyways I know we left off talking about  how I was going to  dye eggs with Mr. Pea’s mom. We had so much fun, sometime it is just nice to just hangout and let your inner child come out! We definitely had a plethora of eggs to dye.  I made a dozen and a half and so did Mr. Pea’s mom.  It was especially  nice, because we got everyone involved, even Mr. Pea!  I will have to show you some photos below of some of our favorite creations.

The creativity just doesn’t flow without happy hour and a full belly. So I had brought up one of my favorite salsas that Mr. Pea makes. It is a tomatillo salsa and makes a great salsa for  an appetizer,  you can add an avacado to it and blend it in a food process or and make a avacado-tomatillo spread for a torta or a grilled chicken sandwich, it also makes a great salsa for tacos, or even to on top of fish for a burst of flavor.

So after a couple of beers and some salsa  we decided to order a pizza from one of the best pizza places in Racine county. The place is called Infusino’s Pizzeria and Restaurant, this restaurant has a couple of locations in Racine, but we went to the one located at 3225 Rapids Drive in Racine. This pizza is one of Mr. Pea’s top favorite places for pizza. The first being a place in Ocean City, New Jersey on the boardwalk called Preps Pizzeria & Dairy Bar and the second being my homemade pizza that I make, that I will surly have to share with you all. Infusino’s  is the pizza Mr. Pea grew up eating and reminds him of his childhood. A good choice since we were all sort of letting our inner child come out for egg dyeing.

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Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Ingredients:
1/2 Pound(s) husked, rinsed tomatillo
1 stemmed jalapeno pepper
2 Clove(s) peeled garlic
1/2 Bunch(s) cilantro
1/4 chopped white onion

Directions:
Roast the tomatillos, chile(s) and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler, until blotchy black and softening (they’ll be turning from lime green to olive), about 5 minutes. Flip them over and roast the other side. Cool, then transfer everything to a blender, including all the delicious juice the tomatillos have exuded during roasting. Add the cilantro and 1/4 cup water, then blend to a coarse puree. Scoop into a serving dish. Rinse the onion under cold water, then shake to remove excess moisture. Stir into the salsa and season with salt, usually 1/2 teaspoon.

Enjoy!

Now for a little egg dyeing display of our creations:

ImageTurtle in his shell

ImageMr. Pea’s Mexican guy

ImageWe tried Tye Dyeing eggs and used glitter too!

ImageMr. Pea’s crazy Easter Bunny

ImageIn lieu of Opening Day, Mr. Pea’s mom made a baseball, she makes one every year, and it wouldn’t be Easter without the baseball egg!

ImageIn honor of Mr. Pea’s late grandmother we called Grandma B.

ImageFishy

ImageKitty! It’s Peaches, Mr. Pea’s kitty.

ImageMr. Pea and I  both made penguins! Can you guess whose is whose?

Happy Easter Everyone!

Hardboiled Eggs

With Bunny Day just around the corner, I have been busy hard boiling eggs for decorating tonight. This is the first time that Mr. Pea’s mom and I will be decorating eggs together and I am so excited!  I feel like a little kid again!  Last October we carved pumpkins together and it was so much fun! Mr. Pea’s mom and I always have a good time together, I’m really lucky  to have such a great mother-in-law! Every year Mr. Pea’s mom gives Mr. Pea and I an Easter basket filled with candy and goodies just like when I was little, it is too cute! So this year I am going to create an Easter basket for her, because she deserves it!

I am so excited to dye eggs tonight,  I have dyed eggs in the past, but it is usually just me doing it by myself  and creating a big mess. In fact, I think there is a yellow stain on our kitchen counter from me dying eggs a couple of years ago that is FINALLY disappearing, thankfully, because Mr. Pea will never let me live that one down!

I have been reading about different egg dying techniques to get prepared for tonight, and one of them I read  said that  you don’t even hard boil  the eggs, you just poke a hole in the egg and blow out the yolk. I never knew people did  this, this  takes all the fun out of it doesn’t it? Who doesn’t like a hard boiled egg?

Anyways, until recently  hard boiling eggs was something I would never do, because I always struggled with getting them cooked properly. I tried  using this egg timer before and I can honestly say I have no use for it anymore, because I am a hard boiling egg master! So I thought I would write a post about how to properly hard boil eggs so they come out perfect every time,  I promise!

First  thing you need to know about hard boiling eggs is that you should use week old eggs, you will thank me in the long run. You want to use week old eggs, because  the fresher eggs the harder they are to peel. So if you want to make the peeling experience easier, try boiling eggs that have been in your fridge for a week or so.

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Next, place eggs in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and cover them with cold water. Make sure the tops of the eggs are covered by at least an inch of water. How much water will depend on the size of the pot, but in general, a bigger pot is better. Crowding the eggs risks cracking them.

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Bring the water to a full boil, uncovered.

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Remove the pot from the heat and cover it. Let the pot stand untouched for 17 minutes.

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Remove the boiled eggs from the water and transfer them to a bowl of cold water for 15 minutes, I add a couple ice cubes to the water to help it remain chill as you add the hot eggs to the water.

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Dry off and place in the refrigerator for up to a week.

OR

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Peel and enjoy! I like mine with a little salt, pepper and paprika 🙂

Enjoy!

***Photos of decorated eggs coming soon 🙂