Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Football Treats

Chocolate-covered Sunbutter Footballs
Think Chocolate Peanut Butter balls (or Buckeyes) but with Sunbutter, so nut-free!

Chocolate-covered Strawberries
It's what to make when there is leftover melted chocolate in strawberry season!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Kumquat Pie

Kumquat Pie

So it started with a question from my child "What's a kumquat?"  Seeing an article in the paper that it is indeed kumquat season here in Florida I knew I needed to answer the question in a real, tangible way - by buying some kumquats.  Tasting them raw did not impress anyone in the family as they were quite tart, but I knew I could change their opinion - with pie, of course!  They LOVED it!  This recipe is basically the one I use for key lime pie (which the family adores) with a meringue topping.  I baked it in a square 9" baking dish, but a regular pie pan would work just as well.

1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup melted butter

3 egg yolks
1/2 cup kumquat puree*
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk

3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare the crust by mixing graham cracker crumbs with butter to form a crumbly dough.  Press the mixture into the pie pan or baking dish.  Bake the crust in the oven for about five minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Prepare the filling by beating the sweetened condensed milk with the egg yolks in a mixer at high speed for about five minutes, until the mixture is light and lemon colored.  Stir in the kumquat puree.  Pour the mixture in the cooled pie shell and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.
While the pie is in the oven, prepare the meringue topping by beating the egg whites in a clean bowl with the cream of tartar with a mixer on high speed.  When the egg whites reach a soft peak stage, gradually add the sugar in a stream and continue to beat until the meringue is glossy with stiff peaks.
When the pie has baked for 20 minutes, remove from the oven.  Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees.  Spread the meringue over the top of the pie, making sure to reach the edges of the pie with the meringue.  Place the pie back in the oven for about 5 minutes, until the meringue begins to get a bit of color on the peaks.  Allow the pie to cool to room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator to fully chill before serving.

*Kumquat puree - Slice top third of the kumquat open.  Squeeze the juice of the kumquat over a bowl with a strainer to catch the seeds.  Place the de-seeded kumquat in a small food processor.  Puree the kumquats with the strained juice.  The whole fruit is edible (minus the seeds).  You will need just about a pint of fruit to make the 1/2 cup of puree.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Menu Plan Monday

Rainy morning here.  Definitely a crock-pot kind of day.  Working on some recipe ideas for Super Bowl Sunday.  Still need to decide if we are making it a dairy-thing or a meat-thing.  Keeping Kosher means we can't do both.  So that's always the big question when planning a menu especially for a event or party.  The meat thing seems obvious - wings, hot dogs, chili, etc, but if we choose dairy it's all the creamy dips and apps...hmmm...not sure yet.  The other part of it is the clean-up.  I don't want to be out at the grill or stuck too long in the kitchen - I want to watch the commercials, of course!  Either way, I think these Pretzel Bowls will make it the menu.  They would be perfect with chili or soup, but also would hold dips nicely, too!

Monday:  Vegetarian Goulash (using boca crumbles and throwing it all in the crock-pot on low) with leftover Pretzel Bowls

Tuesday: Fish tacos

Wednesday:  Pumpkin and turkey sausage pasta

Thursday - Crazy pizza bread

Friday - Hunter-style chicken, challah

Looking for more recipes and menus, please visit MPM at

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Pretzel Bowls

Pretzel Bowls (Makes 4)

I decided to adapt the pretzel recipe I already use to make pretzel bowls or a large size roll.  They are a perfect size for individual soups or as a serving bowl for dips.  I can't wait to make these again on Super Bowl Sunday - yum!  


1 cup warm water 
1 package active dry yeast 
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons coconut oil or parve margarine
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1 tablespoon sugar 
4 cups water 
2 Tbs. baking soda 
Kosher salt  or pretzel salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine warm water and yeast. When the yeast dissolves, add half of the flour, the margarine, salt, and sugar and mix  with dough hook for about 3 minutes. Add in the remaining flour. Continue kneading dough in mixer or turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is no longer sticky. Let the dough rise in a greased, covered bowl until it doubles in size, about 45 to 50 minutes. Punch down the dough and divide into 4 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball.  Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. . Cover with a towel and let rise again until almost doubled, about 30 minutes. 
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a large non-aluminum Dutch oven over high heat, bring 4 cups of water and baking soda to a boil. Using a large spoon, gently lower pretzels into water one at a time and boil for about 1 minute, or until they float. Return the pretzels to the cookie sheet.  Use a kitchen scissors to snip a "+" in the top.  Sprinkle with kosher salt or pretzel salt.   Bake until browned, about 15 minutes.  After the pretzels cool down, just cut off the top and scoop out the insides to make a bowl.  

The recipe can also make smaller size buns for burgers and sandwiches.  Just divide the dough by 6 and reduce the baking time to about 12 minutes.  When cooled, you can slice the buns in half.  

Monday, January 13, 2014

Menu Monday

Keeping this brief.  Made a big batch of these chewy granola bars for the weekend.  The kids devoured them and I'm lucky if they will last until tomorrow's lunchboxes.

Monday. Black bean enchiladas  gardein strips
Tuesday  potato leek soup

Wednesday. Chicken almondine. Kasha varnishkas. Carrot tzsimmes. ? Sticky toffee pudding
Thursday pasta a la vodka, salad
Friday meatball stew, challah

Looking for more ideas for menus, please visit MPM at

Chewy Granola Bars

Chewy  Granola Bars
yield: 20 bars

This is a variation of the chewy granola bars recipe I have made many times.  The kids adore this recipe with the dried fruit.   

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
4 cups quick cooking oats
2 cup crispy rice cereal
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup dried fruit (raisins, craisins, etc.)

In a large bowl, stir oats, rice cereal and dried fruit together. Set aside. In a medium pot, melt butter, honey (or maple syrup) and brown sugar together over medium high heat until it comes to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook 2 minutes.  Pour over dry ingredients and mix well to moisten all ingredients. Pour into lightly greased quarter sheet pan (12"x9"x1").  Press out the granola mixture evenly in the pan, making sure to pack them down so they stick together.  Cool on the counter top to room temperature for at least two hours until set before cutting into bars. You can speed up the process by putting them in the refrigerator.  Cut into bars and wrap in parchment or plastic wrap.
 This recipe is very easily doubled for a larger batch, just use a half sheet pan (12"x18"x1").

Monday, January 6, 2014

Menu planning monday

Ok. This is my second attempt. I am trying to post from my tablet to see how it goes. So far I wrote and lost one post. We are supposed to get freezing temperatures tonight.  The temps seem to be dropping every hour now. Brownies ran very late tonight and I needed to plan dinner in the car. Just a typical first-day-back-after-2-weeks-break kind of day. But we are home now. The plants are inside. The kids are fed and in bed.  Now its to e for the world to stop spinning. 

Monday. Broccoli and bowties
Tuesday Italian wedding soup
Wednesday black bean veggie enchiladas
Thursday homemade pizza
Friday chicken Marsala green beans challah

Looking for more menus visit MPM

Third attempt now since the Blogger app on the tablet failed to publish. Ugh!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Cranberry time

It's a cranberry kind of morning.  I had a super big bag of cranberries in the fridge that needed to be used.  So, a double batch of cranberry fruit conserve (minus the raisins and nuts) and a batch of cranberry orange muffins to the rescue! 

Cranberry Orange Muffins
(makes about 15 muffins)

This recipe is a variation on a cranberry bread that my mom used to make.

½ c. vegetable oil
¾ c. sugar
2 eggs
3 c. flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. orange juice
1 c. cranberries, chopped
½ c. nuts, chopped (optional)

Cream butter with sugar.  Add in eggs and mix to combine.  Sift dry ingredients together.  Add flour mixture alternating with orange juice and mix to combine.  Stir in cranberries and nuts.  Bake in a greased muffin pan at 350ยบ for 18-20 minutes until golden.