Monthly Archives: May 2010

[sorta healthy] Rhubarb Muffins

The rhubarb recipes aren’t going to disappear anytime soon. This and spinach are the only things edible growing in my yard for the moment.

N has decided to be a muffin person. By that I mean that he has mentioned several times that he would happily eat a muffin every day if they were available. “Fluffy, moist goodness,” I believe was his exact quote. And these muffins are the ones that inspired said quote… they’re delish. Trust me.

Rhubarb Muffins
Adaptation of my grandma’s sour cream muffins recipe

1-1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c. AP flour
3 t. baking powder
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 t. cardamom
dash of salt
1 egg
1/2 c. applesauce
3/4 c. yogurt (I used strawberry- could use vanilla, plain, lemon, blueberry…)
3 T. melted butter
1 T. milled flax seed
2 c. chopped rhubarb sprinkled with a little sugar (~ 1 T.)

Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, cardamom, powder, and salt. In a small bowl, mix together the egg, applesauce, yogurt, butter, and flax seed. Make a small well in the dry ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients, and fold together only until blended with a spoon or spatula. Fold in rhubarb.

Spoon into muffin tins with paper liners or sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for ~20 minutes, until the tops feel springy and not batter-y when poked.

2 T. melted butter
2 T. sugar
1/2 t. cardamom

Mix together the sugar and cardamom in a small dish. Once the muffins are cool to the touch, lightly roll the tops in melted butter and let the excess drip off; then roll in the cardamom-sugar mixture. Adds a subtle sweet-and-crunchy top to offset the tender tart center. Mmm. :)


Filed under 30 min. or less, Breakfast, Desserts, Spring, Summer

Almond butter vinaigrette

I’ve got all this great lettuce growing in my yard!!!

(Well, okay, it’s mostly spinach.)

I’m not a big “dressing” person. I despise ranch on salads. I only eat Thousand Island with corned beef, Swiss, and sauerkraut. The only dressings I’ve ever actually enjoyed salads are 1) the red-orange sweet-and-tangy Western or French dressing, and 2) vinaigrettes.  (Usually I bypass both of those options and top my salad with cottage cheese instead, but I was out and too lazy to go to the store for one thing.)

I don’t know if this is a true vinaigrette, but it’s got a fat and a little bit of oil, whisked together with vinegar, so I think it counts.

Plus this is a lot like Applebee’s dressing for their Oriental Chicken Salad; however, their’s uses mayonnaise. ICK. This recipe is so close as a subsitute, plus SO much healthier. I love it on greens topped with sliced almonds, shredded carrots, and crispy Chinese noodles, or just tossed with broccoli, celery, carrot, and onion as a crunchy side.

Almond butter vinaigrette

4 T. almond butter
2 t. honey
generous dash of salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 T. vinegar (I use white wine vinegar, but I’m sure cider or white vinegar would be good)
1 T. lemon juice
1-2 teaspons olive oil
cold water (as needed)

Blend together the almond butter, honey, and S&P in a food processor or with a whisk. (I make my own almond butter by processing 1/2 c. almonds for 5-10 minutes with 2-3 small drizzles of oil, just to get it creamy.) Add the vinegar slowly while processing/whisking. Depending on your preference of thickness and taste, a few drizzles of olive oil and/or water can be added as preferred. I add about 1/2 t. oil and 2-3 teaspoons water to mine, as I like it thinner.

The key to making condiments (imo) is to KEEP TASTING! If you wait until the table to try what you’re making, there’s a good chance it might suck. Never be afraid to add a little bit more of this or that to get the taste exactly where you want it. :)

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Filed under 30 min. or less, Condiments, etc., Spring

seven confessions

1. I like The Family Stone.  I really don’t like Rachel McAdams or Diane Keaton, but I like this movie. A lot. And I know a lot of people thought it was awful. Well, too bad…. I still like it.

2. I hate hate hate hotel placards that extoll their virtues of “conserving resources” and “protecting the environment.” Be honest- you really just want to save on your water bill, the cost of detergent, and the cost of employee time and energy by not having to wash every towel and every set of sheets everyday.

And yes, using linens and towels more than once certainly does benefit the environment. But what about the petroleum-based-plastic single-use cups and shampoo and conditioner bottles, the soap wrappers, the multiple garbage bags? What about the unused little bit of conditioner, lotion, soap, or shampoo left over? The crappy newspapers outside my door every morning- do those get recycled? Simply throwing all that stuff away is harmful for the environment and is completely wasteful. Why don’t they stop putting that stuff in every freakin room and explain to their guests that they’re simply helping the environment? [oh, wait- it wouldn’t save them money or be a good PR move. nevermind.]

3. Looking cute is not necessary. For my job, looking professional and dressing conservatively is, even if I wear a blazer that is 8 years old or my trousers aren’t tailored perfectly or I wear very few accessories. Sometimes I feel frumpy, but I would rather have 65-year-old bank presidents assume I’m closer to 30 than 21, that I’m more in tune with their balance sheet than with Cosmo.

4. I stereotype people who eat fast food as lazy. I don’t mean the people who have it occasionally, while traveling, or once a month as a “treat”. I mean the people who eat fast food for lunch or dinner more than two or three times a week, even though they go home every night and could easily bring lunch or make supper. (Frequent business/client meals or those who travel and don’t get to go home every night are excluded in my mind.)

5. I swear and drink too much, or at least more than my husband does [and I think he might judge me for it]. I wish he would just tell me instead of giving out subtle clues.

6. Sometimes on the road, I miss my cat more than my husband. Don’t get me wrong- I miss him too. But even when I’m home, he still gets home from work late, is tired and sweaty and smelly, and we usually have 1-2 hours together before bed. That’s it. My cat, on the other hand, follows me around in the morning and all evening, and even greets me at the door at the end of the work day. We chat, we cuddle, we nap. N and I still get to chat on the phone everynight that I’m out. We do cuddle, but he never naps with me.  Cat FTW.

7. I love my paychecks but hate the travel associated with my job. I’m not qualified to do anything I think I would like to, and I’m not even sure that I know what I want. That leaves me unsatisfied but scared to walk away. I don’t want to be mindlessly materialistic; I want to experience and feel fulfilled. I’m scared of more money; I’m scared of less money.

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Filed under Just a Thought


Ohhhh, you can all be sooooo jealous of me.

Why, you ask? Because of my good looks, glowing personality, overabundant intelligence? (Well, yes, all of those things but there is one more reason…)

That’s right, that’s my kitchen table, basking in the glow of a HUGE PILE OF MOREL MUSHROOMS.

I wish I could say that I hunted them myself, but alas, I’ve been informed by seasoned shroom-hunters that the Eau Claire area is lacking in the necessary loamy soil and lots of elm trees. We’re an oak-and-spruce kind of area. Sad face.

But I’ve got a great coworker who not only loves drinking and has a dry sense of personality, but ALSO has a brother who lives near the Morel Capital and likes to share the wealth. So I suddenly found myself with a dozen large beauties delivered to my cubicle, and I couldn’t be happier.

So I did what any morel-loving shroom-hunter would do- immediately cooked up a small, delicious batch of morel gravy and some bloody red meat to go with.

*When eating morels and you’re not sure if/how they’ve been “cleaned,” or if you pick them yourself, first soak them for at least 30 minutes in salt water. This will draw out any little friends who might be crawling around inside and supposedly can help neutralize some of the stuff that can cause… *ahem* indigestion when eating morels. Be sure to rinse really well, and don’t be afraid to soak overnight in the fridge if you’re grossed out by potentially eating tiny bugs.

There are tons of tips and recipes on The Great Morel, and though it’s a slightly dated-looking site, give it a shot if you’re truly interested in the tiny, succulent little sponges.

As for the recipe I use… it’s an estimate every time.

*I chop up the shrooms and sautee them in plenty of butter and salt and pepper for about 6 or 7  minutes on medium-high. I spoon the morels out onto a plate and leave the buttery yumminess in the pan.
*Then deglaze with white wine and reduce, stir in a hearty splash of cream and maybe a cup of beef broth, and a clove of minced garlic.
*Simmer for maybe 8 to 10 minutes, add in the mushrooms to reheat, and serve.
*Oh, and I like to garnish with scallions or green onions, or even minced shallots if I’m really daring.

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Filed under Side dishes, Spring, Vegetables

Pommes de terre boulangere

 Everyone loves potatoes with onions. Everyone loves any sort of pan-fried potatoes, be it slices or home fries or hash, etcetera. But these are made special because of 1) the crispiness and 2) the onions.

Holy balls, even if you don’t make the potatoes, make the onions. Serve them with meat, on toast, on grilled cheese or with sauteed zuchinni or however you want. Eat the onions. Looooooove the onions.

Luisa can tell you about it better than I can.

Pommes de terre boulangere
From The New York Times

3-4 large potatoes (Yukon Gold is my favorite, but reds and bakers are great too)
4 to 6 cups beef or chicken broth, as needed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1-2 tablespoons oil, butter, or fat
pinch fresh thyme
2 teaspoons vinegar (white, cider, or sherry)

1. Place potatoes in a saucepan and add broth to cover by about 1 inch. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper, or to taste. Bring to a boil and simmer until just tender but not falling apart, about 15-20 minutes. Remove potatoes from broth and allow them to cool.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, combine onion with 1 T oil. Place over medium-low heat and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add thyme. Reduce heat to low, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and caramelized, about 10 more minutes. Increase heat to medium; add vinegar and cook 2  minutes more. Remove from heat.

3. Slice cooled potatoes into rounds about 1/3 inch thick. Place a large skillet over high heat, and add oil/butter as needed to provide a thick coating on bottom of pan. When oil is extremely hot, add potatoes and allow to sit without stirring or shaking until seared and crispy.

4. Turn potatoes and sear and crisp other sides. When well-browned, add caramelized onions, salt and pepper to taste, and stir to mix. Eat. Be merry.

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Filed under 30 min. or less, Fall, Side dishes, Vegetables, Winter

crockpot roast beef

Seriously. Seriously.

So good. The best unexpected crock pot recipe.

There are no words to describe how delicious and moist this was. So here’s the recipe.

Crockpot roast beef with veggies

1 chuck roast, 3-5 lbs.
carrots, 3-6
celery, 3-4 ribs
onion, 1 small or 1/2 large
garlic, 3-6 cloves
scallions (optional)
salt and pepper, oregano, parsley, thyme
3 T. oil or butter
3 T. flour
2 cups beef broth
1 T. worcestershire sauce

Clean and chop up the veggies. Heat the oil in a cast iron pan or similar heavy skillet; sear the roast on all sides, about 10 minutes in total. Use tongs to remove the roast from the skillet. If needed, add another tablespoon of butter/oil to the skillet and scrape up all the little brown bits. Stir in the flour, and slowly add the broth and worcestershire while stirring. Add herbs as desired; bring to a simmer and stir regularly for 5 minutes.

Place the roast in the crockpot; add the gravy and then the veggies. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours.

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Filed under Clean Eating, Main dishes

good things

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Filed under Just a Thought



Those that truly love
have roots that grow towards each other underground,

and when all the pretty blossoms
have fallen from their branches,
they find that they are one tree
and not two.

-Louis Berneires

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Filed under Marriage