Banana Bread

We gave it a go at another all American classic - banana bread. Perfectly good for using overripe bananas. For starters we turned the oven to 375F and frothed up 12 table spoons of butter with 1 cup of sugar (Now we do understand that this might not stack up to your health standards, but oh my was it yummy. We might substitute the sugar with a 1/4 cup of honey next time around).

Then Lucy added 2 eggs,

3 bananas, and 4 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream, mixing it all up.

Then we folded in 2 cups of flour as well as

1 teaspoon of baking soda and a small handful of chopped almonds (any nut would be good).

We spread the goodness over two 9 inch baking pans and shoved them into the oven for 25-30 minutes.

Look at it. Just unadulterated gobble it down and lick your fingers delight.

Slow Cooker - Split Pea Soup

"If you say one more time - ohh, it tastes just like it would back in Germany - we'll skip right to the ice cream!!"
But for real for real; this thing was off the shizzle. We put real ham hocks into it. For taste. Beat that!

Okay. But first we chopped up a whole bunch of stuff: 4 carrots (they don't have to be that colorful), half a red pepper, 2 sticks of celery, 1 whole big onion, 4 cloves of garlic, 2 bay leaves, and about 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves. All that and 2 ham hocks (1 is plenty) we placed into a slow cooker. 

We added 1 pound of split peas, salt, and pepper. We covered it with 2 quarts of vegetable broth and turned the slow cooker on low for 8+ hours.

Before we left for bigger and better things we chopped up a few beef franks and tossed them into a scolding hot cast iron pan for a short while. (If we can get our hands on good quality Vienna sausages, we'll use those.) Discarding the greasy juices we popped them into the fridge to add them later upon our return.

Check it out! Everybody dug in and fought for the best pieces. Perfect fall fodder for the masses.

We did remove the hog's ham hocks prior to eating. We might try it sometime with big chunks of bacon instead. Just to see how it might turn out.

Slow Cooker - Goulash

Now here is one to remember. A goulash by way of a slow cooker. Another step in the quest to finding 8 hour slow cooking ideas for that Time-Tugging-Tuesday of ours. Check it out:

We started by cutting up 2 pounds of good quality happy cow beef into chunks and searing it well in olive oil together with 8 slices of chopped up bacon.

We chopped up 1 whole big onion and 3 cloves of garlic. When the beef looked good we added first the onion for 5 to 8 minutes and then the garlic for a short bit.

Next we added about 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, red pepper spice, salt, and pepper.

After another minute we added 1 glass worth of red wine and let it cook away.

That gave us enough time to cut up 1 red pepper. 

All that we placed into the slow cooker and covered it with 1 quart of vegetable broth. We let it cook on low for 8 hours +.

To serve we offered creme fraiche, parsley, and some crusty bread. Voila! 

It was delicious. Despite the fact that a discussion broke out on what the 5 major food groups are. And that we were basically shoving down a big bowl of meat. Which Lena especially had no objection to.

Roasted Chicken

After three and a half hours of treacherously climbing through NC mountain ranges the girls demanded a hearty dinner. We obliged. We stuffed an entire chicken in the oven. 

A happy free range chicken that is. We filled it with 2 lemons, fresh bay leaves, rosemary, sage, and 3 cloves of garlic, unpeeled. We rubbed it all over with olive oil, salt, and pepper. We roasted it at 375F for 1 and 1/2 hours. Half way through we basted the bird with its juices and added more herbs and lemons to the pan.

My goodness! It was pure bliss. Lucy and Papa went for the legs, while the rest sliced off meat from the breast. When slicing became futile the forks came out and the bones were picked clean. Good eating. (To round it off we had made some mashed potatoes and carrots. But who cares. With a bird like that happiness ensues.)

Slow Cooker - Sloppy Joes

All right. Here is another Slow Cooker recipe. One that can be cooking for eight hours and be put on the table in seconds - Sloppy Joes.

It was quite simple and yes - sloppy. We browned 2 pounds of happy cow beef, placed it in the slow cooker and added a whole bunch of stuff. Namely: half a chopped onion, 1 chopped green pepper, 2 tablespoons mustard, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 can tomato sauce, half of that can worth of water, roughly one half cup of ketchup, a quarter cup of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, a little salt and pepper, and 1/8 cup of flour.
We turned the bad boy to low, turned to more pressing matters for about 8 to 9 hours and ate. 

To do so we got a bag of hamburger buns. The girls loved it!

Apple Fritters

Apple Fritters. Here we go:

In one bowl we mixed up 1 cup of flour, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg, as well as 2 tablespoons of sugar. In another 1 1/4 cups of almond milk and 1 egg.

Then we added the milk to the flour while whisking.

Next we cored and sliced up 4 apples.

Last we heated up coconut oil, slathered the apples in the batter and then fried them up till golden crispy.

Slow Cooker - Chili

Okay. Here is another attempt at this slow cooker business. Our unfounded reservations remain and so does our packed schedule and the hungry crowd. And, admittedly, this chili wasn't bad and truly ready to serve 8,9 hours later.

All we had to do in the morning was to fry or rather sear 1 pound of ground beef.

We chopped up 1 pepper, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 sticks of celery, and half an onion.

All this we mixed up in the slow cooker with 2 cans of red kidney beans, 1 can of canellini beans, 1 big can of crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, dried basil, dried oregano, and 1 of the small cans worth of water. We turned the beast to low for 8 hours +, went to school, work, gymnastics, etc., and ate.

A loaf of bread and Tabasco sauce added the right flair. Not bad. Right?!

Pasta Caprese

Just in case you need a mouth full of yummy on the easy - try this dish. No disappointments. Guaranteed.
We got the idea when we opened the Charlotte Observer this morning and browsed the food section.

We prepared a pot of pasta and plugged a handful of fresh basil leaves from our poor dried out garden.

We also halved cherry tomatoes and small mozzarella balls and minced 1 clove of garlic.

When the pasta was done we tossed it all together and mixed it up with olive oil, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar to taste.



So we have to tell you about this one and ignore all those other recipes we have been trying out since our last post. It's about the easiest thing we've ever thrown together. And it's yummy. And it's vegetables. And it's fun.
Now. Don't blink. You'd might miss it.

(We prepared a pot of brown rice.) We chopped 1 lb worth of zucchini.

We chopped 2 tomatoes.
We chopped 1 handful of cilantro leaves, 1 piece of feta cheese, 2 green onions, and squeezed the juice of 1 1ime and placed them on the table.

When the rice was done, we heated a couple gluggs of olive oil and warmed the zucchini for 3 minutes and

then added the tomatoes and about half of the green onions for another 3 minutes. A little salt and pepper to taste.

Then we set down and ate.
Everybody got to garnish their own dish with the greens and the feta to their delight. Oh my! Talk about healthy and yummy and fun for the kids.
The inspiration for this came from a superb website called skinny taste by Gina Homolka. Check out her work. She takes a mean picture, writes eloquently, and knows her food.

Butter Cake

The girls found a new liking in "Butterkuchen", literally Butter Cake, on their visit to Germany. So they went into Heidrun's kitchen and gave it a try.

First they measured and sieved 500g (4 cups) of flour.

They slighly warmed 1/4 liter of milk (1 cup),

mixed it up with 50g of live yeast (It was a block they crumbled up. We'll try 3 packs of dry yeast next time back home.),

and added the first tablespoon of 120g of sugar (1/2 cup).

This "Pre-Yeast-Dough" they whisked up to let the yeast develop.

Then they added 1 egg and 1 egg yolk, the rest of the sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, the zest of half a lemon, and 150g butter (10 tablespoons, yes, 10, and don't worry, there will be more).

All that was mixed up into a dough.

It was mixed, checked, discussed, and mixed again. We will try our bare hands next time, too.

A little flour. Just to see how nicely it will rise and crack.

Then the dough went into the warm oven for 45 minutes to rise.

When the dough was nice and huge it was spread into a large cake form with their hands. All their hands. It needed Lucy, Lily, Lena, and Heidrun for this one.

Then the dough was dimpled with their thumbs. (Not before Lily got properly dressed though. For the historic note.)

Then they spread 100 g more of cold butter (7 tablespoons) in chunks into all the dimples (There it is. That's like 2 sticks of butter in total for this cake. Good riddance.).

Over all that goodness they spread 50g of sugar (1/4 cup) and 

a couple handfuls of sliced almonds.

All that went into the oven at 175°C for 20-25 minutes (Try 350°F).

There it is. Cut into pieces. Absolutely yummy. Add  hot chocolate and coffee and you got yourself a 4 o'clock meal.

Soft in the inside and crunchy on the outside. Just like any kid. Happy eating!