Olive Garden Style Chicken and Gnocchi Soup is something my boys enjoy on the rare occasions we eat out. It didn't seem overly complicated, so I went hunting on the internet and came up with two recipes. Neither seemed quite right to me, so I combined the two and tweaked it a little, and this is the result. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. It's great for using up leftover chicken and mashed potatoes, too. I've also added a gluten free gnocchi recipe, so the recipe can be made with or without gluten. [Read more…]
Some of you may remember that we planted some chestnut trees last year as part of our efforts to expand the number of different food crops that we grow and create part of our permaculture landscape. Before we planted any more of them, I figured I'd better make sure we actually like to eat them, so I went hunting for chestnut recipes and chestnuts. Costco had some organic roasted chestnuts for sale, so that covered the nut end of things, and these Maple Pumpkin Blondies from The Healthy Gluten Free Life looked like something my family would be willing to eat, so I started from there and made a few tweaks to work with our flavor preferences and pantry contents.
I'm rechristening my version as “Cranberry Chestnut Bars”, because the texture is nothing like a proper blondie (no offense to THGFL – they are just not blondies). These bars have a texture more like really good quickbread – moist and tender, a little bit heavier than most cakes. The cranberries add brightness to the recipe – a little “pop” of flavor. They'd be great without the chocolate chips, too, but of course the boys are more likely to gobble things up if there's chocolate involved. [Read more…]
When I mentioned I was writing a post on herbal coffee alternatives, my eldest quipped, “Isn't that called, ‘tea'?” Not being a coffee drinker, the boy simply doesn't understand the finer aspects of coffee drinking. There's just something about that rich, earthy brew that calls to me on cold winter mornings. I drink plenty of regular and herbal tea, but coffee is an altogether different beverage category.
In the interest of being a little kinder to my liver and adrenal glands, I've been experimenting with a variety of herbal coffee substitutes without caffeine. Do any of them taste exactly like America's favorite morning caffeine hit? Nope. Are they reasonably tasty? You bet! Plus if you're so inclined, they are a great way to help ween yourself off of your coffee habit. Just start with mostly coffee and a small amount of herbal coffee, and gradually increase the amount of herbal coffee while decreasing the amount of regular coffee each day until you're switched over to herbal. [Read more…]
Kolache, kolace, kolach, or kolacky
No matter how you spell it,just about everyone enjoys these tasty treats. My momma taught me how to make kolache the way I do in this post, but there are many different shapes, sizes and fillings. From rounds to folded pockets, hand sized to pie-sized, sweet to savory, your imagination seems to be the limit. Most sources seem to agree that the name “kolache” (however you spell it) comes from the Czech word for “cookie”. As for the origin of kolache, no one is really certain, but this story from the Polish Art Center is sweet:
The origin of the kolache is uncertain. One version goes like this: “A mother, busy with her weekly baking, broke off a few pieces of dough to keep her little daughter occupied. The little cook kneaded her dough into flat cakes. She selected several plums from a bowl on the table and placed the fruit into the center of the round piece of dough. Her cake went into the oven along with Mother's bread. The father, coming in from a long day in the fields, picked up the cake cooling on the table and took a bite. The hot juice of the plum spurted into his mouth, causing him to hop around on one foot around the table. The little girl shouted with glee saying, ‘Tatinek (father).. kolac'. And that's how kolache got its name. Soon the fame of the kolache spread throughout the Czech-Austro-Hungarian empire and on to the New World.”
It's winter, you always *planned* to get supplies if the power went out. Now it's below zero and the power just failed. What do you do when a winter storm leaves you without power? This post contains ideas for winter storm survival while sheltering in your home, but many of the ideas could be adapted for elsewhere, especially the section on cold weather clothing. Plan NOW instead of trying to remember all this when you are freezing and the power is out. [Read more…]