Tag Archives: cooking

Melktert – South African Milk Tart

29 Mar

A few of my South African friends have been introducing me to all kinds of treats, and melktert is now one of my favorite desserts! I have been playing around with the recipe (and sharing test samples with my SA friends) over the past year, and finally got it right. There are many recipes for melktert, but this one is based on the feedback of my friends. Enjoy!

www.ourlifewithkids.com

MELKTERT

SWEET SHORTCRUST

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup powdered (confectioners) sugar

4 ounces plus 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes

1 egg yolk (this leftover white not needed for this recipe)

4 tsp milk

FILLING

2 cups whole milk

1 stick cinnamon

3 eggs, separated (save whites)

1/3 cup all purpose flour

1 Tbsp cornstarch

1/3 cup baker’s sugar

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tablespoons butter (regular, not unsalted)

1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix 1 Tbsp each ground cinnamon and powdered sugar for dusting

PREPARATION:

SHORTCRUST

  1. Place flour, sugar and butter in a mixer with the flat beater attachment. Mix until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Can also be made in a food processor.
  2. Add egg yolk and milk. Mix until liquid is just combined. If dough does not adhere to itself, it is too dry, add more milk a few drops at a time until dough is moist enough.
  3. Form dough into a flat disc, wrap with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes. Butter your cake/tart/pie pan. I prefer to use a 10” springform pan.
  4. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of the pan, then refrigerate for another 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line pastry with parchment paper (not waxed paper!) and fill with pie weights, uncooked rice or dry beans. Bake for 10 minutes; remove paper and weights and bake for another 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

 

FILLING

Measure three-quarters of the milk into a saucepan, add the cinnamon and heat to just below boiling point. Set aside to infuse for about 15 minutes.

Mix together the remaining milk, egg yolks, flour, cornstarch, sugar and baking powder. Strain the cinnamon-flavored milk and slowly add to the mixture, being careful not to cook the egg. Pour into a clean saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the custard thickens, approximately 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract. Cool to room temperature.

Oven should already be set to 350°F. Whisk the egg whites stiffly and fold into the custard. Pour into pastry shell and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F and bake for about 25 minutes more, until the filling is set but still wobbles when pan is shaken. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon mixture and serve warm.

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Unintentional Treat for the Kids.

11 Dec

I was recently approached by another mom, from Positively Kids, wanting to do a raw food challenge.  Since I’ve been working on regaining my healthy eating and not grabbing handfuls of fish crackers and the other ‘kid’ snacks that manage to find their way into my house, I accepted.  We (like everyone else!) have been super busy with all of the holiday planning and celebrating, so I really need to head to the grocery store and load up on more items for this raw eating endeavor, but did already have a good amount on hand to start right away.

It does take a bit of prep and planning, but for me, prepping food satisfies part of the craving.  It’s all part of the eating experience.  Taking the time to cut, slice, shred and prepare causes me to think more about my food choices and what I am feeding myself and my family.

I started out really simply with fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds.  The other day I was trying to think of something to prep for the next morning and decided to try these oat cookies.  When the kids saw them, they were begging for them!  Looks like this will find its way into our morning rotation…or even as an after dinner treat – which is what my 3-year-old just requested.oat cookies

This recipe is the amount I would eat for breakfast.  Truth be told, I just eat it by the spoonful out of the mixing bowl, but it will make about 5 cookies.  Feel free to double or triple the batch size to suit your needs.

 

Oat Cookies

1/4 cup oats (I did use rolled oats which are not raw, but need to get to the store for raw oats this week)

2 TBL natural nut butter – use whichever type you prefer

1 tsp raw honey

Mix together, cover and let sit in the refrigerator over night.  If you are planning to make cookies, roll the mix into a tube shape with parchment or plastic wrap before placing into the fridge.  In the morning, use a sharp knife to slice.  Cover any unused portions and store in the refrigerator.

Cookies…It’s what’s for breakfast!

20 Nov

Don’t get me wrong, my kids are great eaters, but sometimes it’s helpful to make something sound more exciting than it really is.  I discovered this when my middle-little was about a year or so old.  That is when I started serving waffle cookies.  What are these little treats?  Absolutely nothing more than plain and simple, regular whole wheat waffles.  Because she heard cookie, she was hooked!  She will often eat them without syrup or any other topping, just holding and eating it…like a cookie.

Now, I have fallen victim to a few Pinterest-fails.  When I tried the individual baked oatmeal, it wasn’t a total disaster, but I had a heck of a time peeling them out of the muffin papers.  The other day my niece said she was eating 2-ingredient cookies; just quick oats and bananas.  I thought – c-o-o-k-i-e-s!  I won’t have to peel the wrappers off and what kid wouldn’t like breakfast cookies?!

I didn’t use quick oats and I also like to add flax seed meal to these types of recipes, so I fiddled around and came up with these, which turned out to be VERY kid-approved!

Keep in mind, these are not going to taste like the oatmeal cookie recipe that comes on the oatmeal container, but you can eat these knowing they are a guilt-free, healthy breakfast and are even good on-the-go.

Please don’t hate on my ingredients; in a perfect world everything would be organic, maybe even grown at home, free of any controversy, totally perfect for the world brands.  I don’t know if there are any specific issues with these brands, but feel free to use whatever brands you care to.  The only thing I would say is, make sure not to use quick oats, in my opinion, things turn out a little too gummy with them. 

Breakfast Cookies

1 cup oats

2 very ripe bananas, smashed

¼ cup flax seed meal

A big handful of raisins

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ cup milk (I use regular, but use almond, soy, etc., if that’s what you use)

Mix all ingredients together and spoon out on a cookie sheet.  Because there is no oil in the cookies, I placed them on a piece of parchment that I spritzed with vegetable oil.  Bake at 350F for 15 minutes, flip the cookies and bake for an additional 7 minutes.   

Makes 12 cookies

Note:  If you need to hide veggies in order to get your kids (or you) to eat them, I would add shredded carrot or zucchini to this recipe.  I’ll update this page once I try it.  My guess at this point would be to add about ¾ cup of either shredded carrot or shredded zucchini.

We Just Ate the Great Pumpkin

13 Nov

Photo credit: Urban Farmer

Well, to be honest, it wasn’t all that big of a pumpkin.  It was a sugar pumpkin.  The kids didn’t want big pumpkins this year, so we picked out some sugar pumpkins.  Instead of carving them into jack-o-lanterns, they were just as happy painting them with non-toxic, water based paint (I knew I would be cooking them after Halloween).  When they decided to go with the smaller pumpkins, I instantly started scrolling through my pumpkin recipes.

I learned a few years ago that you could just bake the pumpkin whole!  I thought this was the neatest idea and after trying it, realized how super simple it is!  Just place the pumpkin on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven and bake for approximately 45 minutes.  Let it cool for a bit before you cut it in half and scrape out the seeds and stringy parts with a spoon.  After peeling it, run the pumpkin through the food processor  or a blender and use it in place of canned pumpkin in your recipes.We strayed a little from the original recipe this time around.  In addition to using fresh pumpkin, you can use your own chicken stock.  We also did not have the pear nectar, so we used our juicer and juiced some apples and carrots instead.  With grilled cheese sandwiches, it was the perfect fall meal!

Ginger-Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients:

2 can(s) (15-ounce) pumpkin puree

3 can(s) (14 1/2-ounce) chicken broth 1 can(s) (11 1/2-ounce) pear nectar

1/3 cup(s) creamy peanut butter

2 clove(s) garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoon(s) grated fresh ginger root

2 tablespoon(s) finely chopped green onion

1 tablespoon(s) fresh lime juice

1/2 teaspoon(s) salt

1/4 teaspoon(s) ground cayenne pepper

Toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)

Chopped chives (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a 6-quart saucepan, combine pumpkin puree, chicken broth, and pear nectar. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes.
  2. In a blender or the bowl of a food processor fitted with chopping blade, process 1 cup pumpkin mixture with peanut butter until smooth. Return to saucepan with the remaining pumpkin mixture. Add garlic, ginger root, green onion, lime juice, salt, and cayenne pepper; cook 10 minutes over medium heat.
  3. Divide soup among soup plates and garnish with pumpkin seeds and chives, if desired. Serve immediately.

 

Why did the chicken cross the road?

3 Nov

He clearly didn’t know my slow cooker was on the other side!  With the unseasonably hot weather, roasting a chicken in the oven was not happening!  We scored a great price on a roasting chicken, so into the slow cooker it went.  We pretty much followed this recipe from food.com, but to be honest, next time I will follow their cooking time (hubby cooked it on high for 3 hours and low for 1 hour), I would definitely cook on low!  The flavor was great, but it seemed a bit dry to me.  No one else complained,  but I’m certain I can get it right!

Spice Rub

Ingredients:

4 tsp salt (per recipe reviews, 2 tsp is better)  – I went with 2 tsp.

2 tsp paprika

1 tsp cayenne pepper – I used chili powder, because it’s what I had.

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp thyme – This invoked an entire “whose on 1st” scenario in my house.

1 tsp white pepper – Didn’t have it, didn’t use it.

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp black pepper

1 large roasting chicken

1 cup chopped onion (optional) I opted to use it.

Ready to cook.

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the spices.
  2. Remove any giblets from chicken and clean chicken. (I didn’t dry the chicken enough prior to putting on the rub.)
  3. Rub spice mixture onto the chicken.
  4. Place in resealable plastic bag and refrigerate overnight. I skipped this step.
  5. When ready to cook, put chopped onion in bottom of crock pot.  I used the onion.
  6. Add chicken. No liquid is needed, the chicken will make it’s own juices.
  7. Cook on low 4-8 hours.

The original recipe recommends a pop-up timer.  I didn’t use a pop-up timer, but will cook on low next time.

Slow Cooker Chicken

This easily fed all five of us and we had leftovers for the next night.

Leftover Chicken

I boiled pasta and chopped the leftover chicken.

In a pan with about a ½ cup of olive oil, heat the following until warm:

Leftover chicken

1 lb of pasta (prepared)

Steamed broccoli

A handful or two of toasted pine nuts

Juice from 1 lemon

A handful of seasoned breadcrumbs – I use garlic powder, salt, oregano, basil and parsley in mine.  No one ever likes the heels of the loaves of bread, so I save them in a Ziploc in the freezer until I’m ready to make breadcrumbs.

Cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

Add more olive oil if necessary

Forgetting to Prep the Slow Cooker Items

16 Oct

Like many families, everyone is running in a million different directions all at once.  Our typical week contains homework, karate, swimming lessons, physical therapy, play dates, Sunday school and any number of other projects that come up.  Luke and I have been trying to simplify things by planning ahead and using the slow cooker, but on occasion, we don’t get the prep done in time.  What can I say, our meal planning is a work in progress.  We have, however, discovered a new weapon in the kitchen; a pressure cooker!  Ours is a 6 quart, that is similar to this one.

Fagor Cookware

While Luke had some experience using a pressure cooker before, I never have.  My mom just happened to give one to us over the summer when we were visiting her.  (She REALLY likes to buy things from QVC – I’m sure I will write about that another time!)

Let’s get back to the pressure cooker.  The other day Luke and I were planning to make a slow cooker recipe with beans.  We woke up that morning and realized that neither of us had soaked the beans.  I recommended that we soak them, then use the pressure cooker later on that evening.  It worked great!  Since then, we have steamed artichokes, made rice and last night we made Kalua Pork.  The artichokes were a pretty good size, and even kept whole, steamed in 6 minutes!  The Kalua Pork was WONDERFUL and super easy!  I’ll post the recipe in a bit.

Finally, this brings me to the rice.  Plain brown rice.  Every now and then, I will admit to resorting to the frozen, pre-made rice that we have found at Trader Joe’s.  I wondered, why can’t we just make our own rice and freeze it for those nights that we get behind schedule?  Since we are able to make quite a bit of rice in a 6 quart pressure cooker, we did just that!  We portioned it in Ziploc bags and now we are ready for nights we don’t have an hour to cook rice!

Frozen brown rice

The only thing I would do differently is to put the rice into the bags in a thinner layer, so they stack better in the freezer and you can loosen up the rice a bit prior to reheating.  Luke loaded the Ziplocs, and in an attempt to get all the air out, forced all of the rice to the bottom of the bag and the top few inches of the bag are folded over.  We’ll try the flatter way next time, but this still works.

In Their Tummies

1 Oct

I have been wanting to add a section for cooking with the kiddos, and have also been very intrigued by all of the prep your meals for a week/month/slow cooker recipes that have been posted around the internet.  Since the little-ones who will be cooking with me are 3 and 6, I don’t want anything too elaborate and think starting them with food prep for a slow cooker will be a great introduction.  Another consideration is that my 6-year-old has a congenital heart defect (CHD), so I don’t necessarily want to resort to old-school slow cooker recipes that seem to be higher in fat and salt.  I have been preaching healthy eating from the beginning; healthy fats versus unhealthy, not too much salt, not too much sugar, everything in moderation.  I was so excited today, when I learned that the American Heart Association had just released their latest version of their Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook!

I jumped right on Amazon and ordered a copy with my Amazon Prime membership!  Be on the lookout for our review of the recipes and track my progress cooking with the littles!

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