scone city

We made our first visit to Great-aunt Helen’s recipe box in January 2015 and it floors me that I continue to find recipes worth getting excited about. Besides the first two boxes,we’ve since added two smaller–and most definitely quirky–books.   … Continue reading

oh crepe

oh crepe

Bonjour and welcome. I wish I could tell you that spring has sprung in Minnesota but alas it has not. Just this past weekend, I watched in horror as two feet of snow fell over 24 hours. Looking through Great-aunt … Continue reading

scones with soy and the one with all the links

Gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, raw, vegetarian–while I’ve found truly spectacular recipes in all of these categories on other blogs, foodforfun has never gone down these roads. Sure, I’ve whipped up a kale shake (need a better recipe as I could barely choke it down), stirred beets into my brownies,  and even gone the distance by whipping up an amazingly addictive batch of Scarlet Rosita’s Utterly Delicious Date Slices. But most often, foodforfun brings you recipes containing gluten, dairy, animal products, and even alcohol. That said, I’m a huge fan of vegetables and healthy eating–when not enjoying ice cream, cake, marshmallows, and the like–and occasionally post downright healthy fare.

Today I feature a somewhat controversial health food, though one I’ve long enjoyed. My role as sometimes-spokesperson and  longtime food consultant for Minnesota Soybean has given me great opportunity to hear experts speak and keep up with the latest research on soyfoods and their effect on health. It was my conclusion in the beginning and still is nearly 15 years later that soyfoods, when consumed as whole foods and in moderation, can be a good addition to a healthy diet. (Excepting folks with soy allergies and thyroid issues.)

As blogger for Minnesota Soybean’s The Real Story, I have the opportunity to play with soyfoods as I develop recipes for monthly posts. I’ve pureed silken tofu into pudding, crumbled firm tofu into “egg” salad, baked banana bread with soynuts, made ice cream with edamame. The latest recipe took inspiration from green onions as I was anxious to cook with one of the first spring veggies to come into season. (True, green onions are available year-round, but Minnesotans–tiring of snow–celebrate the green onions, asparagus, and rhubarb that first peek through the ground in April.) Stirring sliced green onions into a scone dough that contained soy flour and soymilk resulted in a winning recipe that featured two soyfoods. Even better, plain soymilk and vinegar are mixed and used in place of buttermilk, highlighting soymilk’s versatility and ability to sub in for dairy milk in nearly any form. (One exception: Instant pudding mixes take twice the amount of soymilk than they would dairy milk per package instructions.)

You can read my Real Story blog post here, though you’ll find the recipe below as well. These savory scones are elegant enough to be passed in a bread basket when company comes and comforting and homespun enough to make a satisfying snack when solo. They accompany soups, salads, cheese, fruit, and anything else you think to serve them with. Gluten- and dairy- and animal product-free they are not, but these soy scones offer heart-healthy protein and antioxidants as well as great texture and taste.

But before we get to the food, I have one more link to add to the alarmingly long list already shared. A few days back, I hung out over at Blog of Funny Names for another funny names in food post and would love it if you’d click over for a read. You’ll be sweetly rewarded as it’s all about a man who rocked the chocolate world!

Back to those scones…

doubling down on the soy with pretty spring scones

doubling down on the soy with pretty spring scones

Savory Spring Scones

  • 1 tablespoon vinegar plus enough soymilk to measure 1 cup
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup soy flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sliced green onions
  • Dash cracked black pepper

Heat oven to 500°F. In measuring cup, combine vinegar and soymilk; let stand 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles bread crumbs. Stir in soured soymilk until dough forms. Stir in onions and pepper.

Turn dough out onto well-floured surface; knead dough gently 8 to 10 times, sprinkling with flour as needed. Pat dough into 8-inch circle, about 3/4 inch thick. Cut circle into 8 pie-shape wedges, pressing down with knife without sawing. Sprinkle baking sheet with flour. Gently transfer wedges to baking sheet.

Reduce oven to 450°F. Bake scones 20 minutes or just until golden. Makes 8 scones.

teaching kids to cook and instantly oatty

When a friend who works as Director of a local cooking school asked me to teach a class on cooking with kids, I thought it sounded like fun. When she asked if I’d bring my 10-year-old daughter on board to “assist,” the deal got even sweeter. I loved the idea of sharing deLizious with my kids.

In planning the class, I thought about foods that were winners with my girls as well as dishes they might have a hand in preparing. In the end, the menu featured one recipe for each mealtime (breakfast, lunch, supper) with the lunch dish able to play snack role as well.

First up: Fast Food-Style Chicken Tenders, seen here before at foodforfun. Next was Asian Noodle Bowl, made from cooked whole wheat spaghetti tossed with an Asian dressing (6 Tbsp orange juice, 3 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil, 3/4 tsp grated fresh gingerroot for 8 ounces dried pasta).

Students, ranging in age from 4ish to 10ish along with accompanying adults, took bowls of dressed noodles and tossed in favorite veggies from a colorful produce buffet that had been prepped before class. Whether tossing in snowpeas, broccoli, and bell pepper or just carrots (that would be my girl), kids were adding veggies they’d eat and making a (healthy) dish they were excited about. Besides this being a do-able lunch for school, it could also be packed as snack.

With supper and lunch/snack down, we moved on to breakfast. I’d found a fun recipe in ChopChop magazine (loving CC–a cooking mag for kids that keeps things simple without dumbing down) for DIY Instant Oats that struck me as brilliance. With all the other make-a-mixes out there, why not one for instant oats? True, old-fashioned rolled oats don’t take terribly long to cook: A hot bowl of steaming oats is never more than 20 minutes away and setting them up in a slow cooker the night before makes mornings even easier.

But how about this: Grind a cup of oats along with a handful of dried fruit, tablespoon or so of brown sugar, and small amounts of ground cinnamon and salt to powder in a blender or food processor, then add another 2 cups oats for a quick pulse. The result? A shelf-stable mix you combine 1:1 1/2 with boiling water (1/2 cup oat mixture to 3/4 cup water) for a quick-fix breakfast. It tastes way better than packaged with hearty, fresh, real flavors and has a great chew. The bowl of oats you want to fill your kid’s (or your own) tummy with in the morn? Just seconds away if you have this mix in your cupboard. And as with the noodle bowls, there was a topping buffet for this recipe, too: unsweetened baking cocoa, nuts, dried and fresh fruit, yogurt, nut butters, honey, maple syrup. (“Kid like choices, mom” was one sage bit of advice my daughter had given me as we planned this class.)

Class ended and we were on our way home before I realized I’d taken no photos. My mind had been on wanting the class to go well and not so much on capturing the food on camera. To rectify, I made myself a batch of DIY oats today, snapping photos as I went. I’d like to write that my daughters helped me, but reality had them working on homework and cleaning their room instead. But it’s good to know I have recipes to share for those times when we all have time to play together in the kitchen. And even if they didn’t have a hand in making this batch of DIY oats, they’ll be enjoying them for many breakfasts to come.

ingredients in the food processor, ready to rock

ready to rock

ground to a powder

ground to a powder

more oats added, pulsed

more oats added, pulsed

containered up, ready for action

containered up, ready for action

clockwise l to r dreamy instant oatmeal toppings: raspberries, cocoa powder, honey, mini 'mallows, almonds, maple syrup, chia seeds, coconut

dreamy instant oatmeal toppings clockwise l to r : raspberries, cocoa powder, honey, mini ‘mallows, almonds, maple syrup, milk, chia seeds, coconut

muffins with friends

It’s said that friendships are made, but I believe instead that they just happen. There are folks you connect with and those you don’t. The ones you connect with? Definite friend potential. Past membership in a local mom’s club added a few more connections to my life and even though the mom’s club years are behind me, the friendships remain.

One of these friends is a consummate foodie and I was lucky enough to bake with her earlier this week. The night before, we laid plans to make Cranberry Whole-Grain Muffins and I showed up at her house the next moning with cranberries, oats, whole wheat flour, buttermilk powder, and an orange. She furnished the remaining ingredients (including the toasted pecans) and we set about to measure, stir, chop, zest, mix, fill, and bake. The muffins turned out better than I’d imagined–wholesome and healthy, containing no white flour, but also slightly sweet, indulgent, and satisfying. Breakfast and snacktime were made for these muffins. (They were so good we didn’t even bother with the orange juice glaze.)

Better than the muffins themselves, though, was baking with a friend. There was flow in Sarah’s kitchen–we didn’t verbally assign tasks, we just baked. She mixed the butter, eggs, milk; I whisked together the dry ingredients. I chopped cranberries; she filled muffin tins. We enjoyed catching up with each other and somehow baked up an amazing batch of muffins as we chatted. Muffins, bread, scones, pie pops–all have been made while I’ve baked with friends. But the friendships themselves? They’ve just happened.

whole wheat, oats, cranberries, toasted pecans--good for you and pretty, too

Whole wheat, oats, cranberries, toasted pecans–good for you and pretty, too. No glazing necessary!

peanut butter, banana, chocolate

Having recently received a large bag of dried banana chips, I wanted to find a use for them outside of eating as-is or tossing with granola. An online search got me thinking about using them for baking. A few recipes included them in banana bread, which intrigued me. Because peanut butter and chocolate seem a good fit with banana, I wanted to build a quick bread that incorporated all three flavors.

Banana chips in banana bread seemed redundant and chocolate bread was more indulgence than I needed. This left me looking for a peanut butter bread recipe. My cookbook collection includes a 1970s-esque Jif Peanut Butter recipe booklet (complete with ’70s-style food photos), which was where I found a simple and delicious peanut butter bread recipe. I tossed a large handful of coarsely chopped dried banana chips and a slightly smaller amount of coarsely chopped chocolate (mix of semisweet and dark) into the batter and was thrilled with the result.

The bread itself is rich and peanutty, but adding chocolate (always a good idea) and banana chips elevated it to another level of yum. The banana flavor is only there when you bite into a chip, but it’s a lovely subtle hit when you do. And the slight chew of these chips–they don’t get squishy like raisins do–adds texture contrast.

I find myself having a slice (or two) for breakfast, munching on it between meals, then considering it a dessert at the end of the day. It needs no embellishment, but a small bit of grape jelly bumps up the sweetness and if I’m really wanting to gild lilies, a touch of butter rounds out the flavor very nicely. It’s been a fun bread to discover and am happy to have found a use for my bag of banana chips.

Peanut Butter Bread with Banana Chips and Chocolate

Based on a recipe found in Jif® Choosy Mothers’ Peanut Butter Cookbook (1979)

  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter (Jif’s recipe called for creamy, but I used chunky)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried banana chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped chocolate bar

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 9-inch loaf pan.

In bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add peanut butter; cut in with fork or two knives until crumbly. Add egg and milk; stir just until dry ingredients are incorporated. Gently stir in banana chips and chocolate. Pour batter into pan; bake 1 hour or until wooden pick inserted near center of loaf comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

out-of-this-world peanut butter bread