Open Face Egg Sandwich

The great Easter dilemma is upon us – what the heck do we do with all the hard boiled eggs after the Easter bunny has had his way with them?

Myself, I would like to go with making a big ol’ batch of egg salad egg-cept (ha!) for the fact that no one else in my house will eat it, and if I eat it all by myself, I will be fat. Because good egg salad = lots of mayonnaise.

Fortunately I did figure out a way to have the flavors of egg salad without all the fat and calories – an open face egg sandwich.

This is similar to one of my favorite sandwiches in the world, the open face egg and shrimp sandwich from the Ikea cafeteria. You don’t want me to get going about the Ikea cafeteria but I will just say this: I love that place.

I know – I’m wierd. Who loves the food at Ikea? Well, for what it’s worth, it’s also similar to a sandwich I once had at a cafe in Madrid. In both cases it was surprising how a simple egg, mayonnaise and bread could be so tasty.

Anyway, this version of the sandwich is a total win. Sliced eggs, tomatoes, lettuce, and a little mayo on whole wheat bread – totally simple, yet delicious.

Open Face Egg Sandwich

1 slice whole wheat bread
1 Tbsp. Mayonnaise
1 sliced egg
1 sliced Campari or Roma tomato
1 leaf of butter lettuce.

Spread the mayo thinly on the bread. Slice the eggs and tomatoes thinly – an egg slicer works great for the egg, not so much for the tomatoes. Arrange the lettuce, then tomatoes and egg on top.

That’s it – enjoy!

image

Advertisements

Healthy Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps

These are about as Asian as my grandmother’s spaghetti is Italian, but they are equally as delicious and for the same reason – they both contain copious amounts of ketchup (which are, as we all know, a key ingredient in both Italian and Asian foods…right?).

This is a popular recipe at our house, because our kids love any food that they get to put together themselves. It’s also healthy – low in calories, fat and cholesterol, high in protein and actually tastes better with more veggies inside. The fresh pickled veggies add a nice zing and some crunch.

Healthy Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps

1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion chopped
1 package ground turkey

The Sauce
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1/3 cup ketchup
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
Sri Racha sauce (optional to taste)

Hoisin
2 Tablespoon peanut butter
1 Tablespoon honey
4 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons ketchup
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Serve With:

Romaine or Bibb lettuce

Cooked Brown rice

Pickled Veggies
1 small carrot julienned
1/2 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup shredded cabbage
1 teaspoon white sugar
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar

Instructions:

Sauté your chopped onions and garlic over low to medium heat until they become translucent.

image

Translucent onions (not brown, just starting to be soft):

image

Add the turkey to the hot pan and brown, using your spatula to chop it up until it is nice and crumbly.

image

If you don’t keep hoisin on hand, now is the time to make your own using the ingredients listed above. It makes extra – put some on the table to serve and refrigerate the remainder.

Once your turkey is browned, then you add The Sauce.

image

I just shoot the hoisin, ginger, soy sauce, ketchup, vinegar and Sri Racha directly into the pan, but you could also mix it up in a bowl and then add it. Whichever way you go, mix well, and simmer the entire mixture on low heat for an additional 10 – 15 minutes.

The finished product:

image

To Serve

While the turkey simmers, wash and pat dry your lettuce leaves and arrange them on a serving plate.

In a small glass or ceramic serving bowl, prepare the pickled veggies by tossing the ingredients lightly together. Place on the table.

When meat has finished cooking, place in a serving bowl on table.

Also have soy sauce, hoisin and Sri Racha available on the table for those who want a bit more sauce in their sauce.

To eat, each person takes a lettuce leaf and puts the fillings of their choice (meat, vegetables, rice) inside, plus any additional sauce to taste. Wrap the lettuce leaf around the fillings like a burrito, and eat.

This serves 4 – 6, and is a great, healthy weeknight dinner.

image

Enjoy!

Happy Easter!

image

Whew! Easter is hard. But the eggs have been dyed and hunted, spring outfits worn, and church attended. All that is left is dinner, and I haven’t done anything about that. I’ll have to go to the grocery store and hope for some inspiration. Perhaps a divine light will shine down from the meat aisle to give me some guidance.

I’ll probably end up going with lamb though. I thought about ham but I don’t like the religious significance of it at Easter time. The reason it’s a tradition to eat it at religious holidays is because historically it was a way for Christians to separate themselves from Jews. It bothers me to focus on that at Easter. But lamb is a nice symbol of springtime, plus a reference to the Lamb of God.

I realize this is probably overthinking things a bit. One meat is as good as another, right?

That’s what I do on Easter though – I overthink things. Unlike Christmas, this is the holiday in the Christian religion that is about faith. The historical fact of Jesus’ birth and life is not in dispute, but his death and resurrection, and the idea that in him we will have everlasting life is the part that requires faith. So, for me it usually brings some reflection. I sometimes wish I had that sort of faith that never questions, but I do. I question. I believe, because I CHOOSE to believe. And yet, I question.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Easter, but I struggle with it. I struggle with the way it moves around the calendar so it’s hard to get organized. I struggle because of the questions. And I struggle because I don’t get why it is such a Hallmark holiday. The idea that kids are getting gifts on Easter blows my mind because for me, it was never about that. It was just eggs and candy – and church if I was at my grandmothers house. I’ve never really thought of it as a gift giving holiday.

So we went with the traditions – eggs, candy and church, plus some Legos in the Easter basket. Unfortunately, a certain 7 year old boy decided to complain that the Easter Bunny didn’t bring the right Legos, rather than being grateful for having received Legos in the first place. So, I decided it was time to enlighten him as to the true nature of the bunny. He’s 7, after all, and has already figured out about Santa Claus (who never visited in Russia and so it never made sense to really try to instill a belief in something he already knew not to be true).

And I reminded him that when one is receiving gifts, it is better to say thank you than to complain about the gifts one has received. That is, if one wants to continue receiving gifts. Even Moms Easter bunnies like to hear a little gratitude once in a while.

With our priorities realigned, we had a better outcome with today’s church attendance than the last time we went. We made it all the way to the sermon before the wiggles took over and the boys asked to go to the nursery. Which I thought was pretty good for 5 and 7 year old boys.

Even before Easter we were getting a lot of questions about God, and Jesus and what all that is about, and since as a questioner I obviously don’t have all the answers, I guess it is time to get serious about finding a church home for our family. And while we have liked the churches we have tried, none of them yet have felt like home.

Many of the families we know go to the same big church in town, but we have resisted going there, partly because of not wanting to follow the crowd. Also because it’s a longer drive. I mean, we would have to drive 10 minutes to get there, vs. 5 minutes to go to the other churches we tried.

You may laugh, but we are seriously not morning people, especially not Sunday morning people, and so that extra 5 minutes makes a huge difference between whether we will show up or not.

However, there is something to be said for a church where you already know a lot of people and so it probably is where we are going to end up. We liked the church we tried today, but we just didn’t know anyone so it didn’t feel quite right. Plus, they do Sunday school after the church service which means you have to hang around for a long time. That’s not gonna work. If we’re gonna do this, we need to be efficient about it.

Plus, the kids have said they want to go where their friends go, and honestly I feel the same way.

After church we went out for donuts, and later today the boys are going out for some batting practice, and I am going to go walk and run at the track. That will be my first outdoor run since my surgery so I am looking forward to that.

From our family to yours, Happy Easter!.

Mini Brownie Egg Nests

image

I am all about last minute Easter preparations around here, mostly because Easter always seems to sneak up on me. We haven’t dyed eggs yet, nor have we even found the Easter baskets. Time is running out. But I loved this idea so much and it seemed simple enough, so I decided why not? If nothing else at least I managed to do this – Easter will not pass without at least something to commemorate it as special.

Besides, I don’t know about you but my kids and I would rather eat a brownie with a candy covered chocolate egg on top, than a real egg, any day of the week.

You can do this recipe from a box mix, or you can do it from scratch. Scratch takes just a few extra minutes and gives you more control over what goes in. I went with the scratch option.

Mini Brownie Egg Nests

Wet ingredients
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
4 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 eggs, beaten well
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Dry ingredients
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (because of course these are healthy brownies)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Topping
Sweetened shredded coconut
Nutella
Whoppers Robin eggs, Cadbury mini eggs, or jelly beans. We went with the Robin eggs, which can only fit one in the nests, but are still cute.

Instructions:
Gather your ingredients. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

image

Melt the butter in the microwave – 40 seconds to 1 minute on full power.

image

Stir in the cocoa powder, eggs, sugar and vanilla, mix until smooth.

image

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.

image

Stir dry ingredients into the sugar and butter mixture. Mix well until all ingredients are smooth and without lumps.

image

Measure by teaspoonfuls into a mini muffin pan. Each tin should be no more than 2/3 full (the nests are hard to get out if they puff up above the edge of the pan).

image

Place in hot oven for 5 minutes. Remove and sprinkle a small amount of sweetened coconut on top of each brownie.

image

Return pan to the oven for 10 minutes. The coconut will brown and will mimic the sticks in a natural bird nest.

image

Remove from oven, and while brownies are still warm make an indentation in top for your eggs to sit in.

Allow the brownie nests to cool before removing from pan – this is the Pinterest Fail portion of the recipe if you rush it.

Remove cooled brownies to a plate or cooling rack. Place a small dab of Nutella on the underside of your “eggs” and arrange them Nutella side down on top of the nests. The Nutella holds the eggs in place.

Plus, Nutella just makes everything better.

image

And voila – Mini Brownie Egg Nests!

Happy Easter!

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

I’m fighting a case of bronchitis, as it turns out, so for the last few days I’ve had to skip running. I tried to do a long run on Friday, but had to cut it short – that’s when I knew I was actually sick. Had to stop at 5 miles and all of them sssllloooowwww.

But that’s okay, there haven’t been any food posts around here in a while so maybe we can do that while I wait to get back on the road. I have a race in 6 weeks but it is just a 12k, so as long as I get well in the next couple of days I won’t lose much fitness. Trying to not worry about it.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner now, and the new cranberry crop (grown right here in Washington state!) is in. When our family visited the Long Beach peninsula last fall (where cranberries are grown) I bought 5 pounds of cranberries. I froze them, and am finally down to my last pound or so.

I decided to put my remaining berries to good use by making and canning some cranberry sauce for thanksgiving and Christmas. Cranberry sauce is so easy to make and so much tastier and healthier when you make it yourself, I don’t know why anyone buys the canned stuff. Here’s how to do it:

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

4 – 5 cups whole cranberries (1 bag as sold in supermarkets)
1 cinnamon stick
1 satsuma or small orange, zested and juiced
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

If you want to preserve the sauce, you will also need some canning jars, or freezer containers.

The recipe makes about 4 cups, so 4 half pint jars or 2 pint jars. You can use fresh or frozen cranberries.

To Prepare

Put cranberries in a pot, and put the pot on the stove.

Add the cinnamon stick and zest plus juice of the orange.

image

Add sugar and water, turn stove to medium high heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.

image

Cranberries will begin to make squeaky noises and burst open as they cook. Continue to boil and stir occasionally until the mixture thickens – about 30 minutes.

If you plan to can your berries, put on a pot of water to boil while the cranberries are cooking, with enough water to cover your canning jars. Use this water to disinfect your jars and lids, and to can. More instructions on the canning after the next step.

Remove cranberries from heat after 30 minutes and pour into food mill, placed over a large bowl. You can skip this step if you like your cranberry sauce with whole berries. People at my house like it a little smoother, so I mill it before canning.

Cranberries before milling:

image

Cranberries after milling. Love the color!

image

To Preserve

While cranberries are cooking, put on a large pot of water to boil, with enough water to cover your canning jars when they are standing upright. Disinfect your empty jars and canning lids before use by placing them in the boiling water for a minute or two, laying on their sides. Remove from the water using canning tongs and place upright to dry with open end up while you finish milling the fruit. Don’t touch the insides of the jars or the underside of the lids to prevent introduction of bacteria.

After milling is complete and while sauce is still hot, pour the cranberry sauce into freezer containers, or your prepared canning jars.

If freezing, allow the sauce to cool before placing lids and putting containers in the freezer.

If canning, leave about 1/2 inch of headspace between top of sauce and the top of the jar to allow for steam expansion while canning in the water bath. This is what forces the air out of the jar and creates a good seal. Carefully place the canning lids and rings so that there is a seal that will still allow air to escape.

Place the covered jars into the boiling water. Water should cover the jars up to their “necks” but should not completely cover the jars – air has to escape and you don’t want water to get in.

image

Keep the jars in the boiling water to process for 15 minutes. Listen for the Ping sound that indicates the jars have sealed. The number of pings should be equal to the number of jars. If you don’t hear the ping, pull the jars out of the water at 15 minutes anyway and set aside to cool. Listen to any unsealed jars as they cool – they may yet ping to indicate a seal. When jars are cool, test for a seal by poking the top of the jar – if there is no bubble, then you probably have a good seal.

If the jars don’t seal, you can refrigerate or freeze the sauce. They will still keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks but won’t be shelf stable.

If properly canned and sealed, the sauce should keep for up to a year unopened. After opening, the sauce will have a shelf life similar to any opened, canned jam if kept refrigerated.

Caveat – this recipe gives canning times for canning at sea level (which it is, where I live). If you live at altitude, or if you have never canned before, I highly recommend reading up here before you start. I have done my best to ensure this recipe is safe, but with any type of canning it is best to ensure you thoroughly understand what you are doing before you get started, to ensure food safety.

I Escaped The Gaping Maw..

Well, we finally did it. We broke down and bought a Costco membership. We entered the gaping maw of consumerism and were converted. Because PEOPLE! You can get a two-pack of huge organic peanut butter jars for $10, and bread is half the price as it is at our regular grocery store. And we go through a ridiculous amount of just those two items. Stella Artois is less than a dollar a bottle. We typically don’t go through much of that, but we would like to. So forget everything I have ever said about Costco and the people that shop there – if you have peanut butter addicts for kids, the deals on peanut butter alone will save you a fortune.

So that was what we did this morning. It took a lot of word swallowing for us to get in the door because we swore when we let our membership lapse 8 years ago that we would never renew – back when it was just the two of us, we found the whole thing to be just over the top and unnecessary. Ten pound blocks of cheese, pallets full of toilet paper so abrasive you can use it to refinish furniture (yes, Kirkland Signature, I am talking to you), 12 packs of frozen pizza, 5 pound packages of peanut butter, and wine by the case – when there were only two of us, we had no use for these things. But now we have two little boys who can eat 10 pounds of cheese for a snack, and we are burning through peanut butter at an alarming rate. Things have changed.

I am also finally accepting that my regular grocery store doesn’t have very good selection or prices on organic produce. Costco doesn’t have a huge organic selection either, but the prices are good on what they do have.

But the main reason we finally went there was because it seems as though our regular grocery store is going to be affected by a strike and so I don’t want to cross the picket line. And since there aren’t any regular grocery stores for about 10 miles around that aren’t affected, we have to go out of our way to get food. Costco turns out to be one of the closest places.

I also ran today. I was feeling off – I had a side stitch, my shoulder was still bothering me, and I had a crampy calf, so I was probably dehydrated. But I put in the miles anyway.

Distance: 5.44mi, time: 56:55, pace: 10:28min/mi, speed: 5.73mi/h.

http://mapmyrun.com/workout/413589329

Applesauce

The other day on my personal Facebook, I posted that I had made applesauce but wasn’t sure if I would post a recipe because it’s so easy, basically just 2 ingredients. I do have a few tricks for making it though, so I decided just to go with it.

Like a kajillion other recipes, this is crockpot applesauce – I think by far the crockpot is the way to go, because there is no stirring necessary. So you don’t have to spend your day babysitting the applesauce, you just turn it on and go.

However, unlike a lot of recipes I have seen, this applesauce is just dirt simple. It has no added sugar, no lemon, no butter. All of which I have seen added to recipes for no good reason, because if you are starting from good apples, none of that other stuff is necessary. Nothing but apples and cinnamon are necessary, and the cinnamon is optional.

In the picture below, is everything you need to make applesauce – apples, cinnamon, an apple slicer or a knife, a crockpot and a food mill. Four year olds are good helpers, but are optional. The crockpot does the cooking, the food mill gets rid of the peels (I don’t pre-peel), and the slicer is just because I’m lazy and don’t like to slice apples with a knife (although I end up doing it anyway since some apples are too big for the slicer).

Applesauce!

4-5 lbs. apples (tart ones with strong apple flavor are best)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional, but highly recommended)

(This is for a 3 quart pot – if you have a bigger pot, scale up).

image

Wash and cut up the apples, remove cores and seeds, and put the apple slices in the crockpot. Peels can stay on if you have a food mill. I use Honeycrisp apples and they are the bomb, but kind of expensive. You can use any kind of tart apples. Granny Smiths are also good and usually cheaper and easier to find.

image

See? Peels on. Trust me, it will be okay.

image

Sprinkle one teaspoon of ground cinnamon on top of the apples. Cover the crockpot and turn to high for at least 4 hours or until apples are soft. You could also put them on low for 6-7 hours.

image

When the apples are done cooking, they look like the picture below. They will be completely soft, and the color from the peels will have leached out into into the juice. This, along with the cinnamon, gives kind of a rosy tint to the applesauce. Possibly green peels would be more green. Something to keep in mind.

image

Now it is time to use the food mill. Place your food mill over a bowl. Mine has different size screens so I use the largest one because I like my applesauce a little bit chunky. If you like yours smoother, use a finer screen.

image

Use a ladle to give the cooked apples a little stir, and then begin ladling the apples into the mill. Begin milling – the mill catches the peels and turns the apple flesh into sauce. Every so often, remove the peels from the screen, then continue milling until all apples are processed.

image

The end result:

image

Applesauce is good cold, but it is really a treat when still warm and served with ice cream. It’s like apple pie without the pie crust – delicious!

image