Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Kumama's Bread Pudding

Hello again!
The presidential debate is just finishing up-I change my mind everyday as to my vote.
Gas prices are down- but for how long ????
Today I’ll give you a few simple ideas for saving on groceries, the most important of which is- DO NOT WASTE ANYTHING! Think if ways to be creative with leftovers is an easy way to start. But first you have to purchase your groceries.
Do not shop without a list. I do not mean a list you write while in the grocery parking lot. Take inventory of what you have on hand; make a menu and construct you list from what you need to get through the week. Go over the ads in the newspapers a clip. Alter your list as needed to take advantage of the sales Pull the appropriate coupons and clip to your list. If at all possible shop alone! Kids and spouses slow down the process- and any added time in the store usually translates into more “stuff” or junk foods in the cart. I do not believe in going from store-to store unless there is a remarkable bargain that will result in a big saving on products that I need or will need in the near future. For example I was in a local Shoppers market to make a deposit at the bank inside the store. I noticed they had tomatoes in 29 ounce cans on sale for a dollar (89cent savings per can) .There were manufacturers coupons at the display .$1.00 off if you bought 3 cans. I bought 6 cans. When I checked out –the coupons were DOUBLED- 6 large cans of tomatoes for $2.00!!! I went to the service desk and asked if it was OK if I purchased more-“absolutely” was the reply. I bought an additional 18 cans for $6.00. So for a total of $8.00 I have enough tomatoes to last me well into spring and saved $37.36!
We need to think about how we spend, how we shop and how and where we eat.

I noticed tonight that there are a few slices bread leftover from last evening’s meal. It’s a bit dry- I could just toss it out to the birds .I could put it in the food processor to make bread crumbs for a casserole topping (store in freezer if you choose to do this) , or I can make dessert for dinner tomorrow. I choose the latter.

Kumama’s Bread Pudding

Serves 4-6

2 cups bread cubes- Any type- Italian, regular white, whole wheat or a mixture – Use the heels of the bread that always seen to go wanting in the bottom of the bread wrapper

½ cup raisins or other dried fruit or mixture .Cut up an apple if that is what you have
2 large eggs
¼ cup sugar (or Splenda that measures like sugar)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla or the flavor you like
1½ cups milk – whole, low fat, skim. If you use reconstituted powdered milk- that is also OK. Have chocolate milk that needs to be used up-give that a try !
Cut or tear bread into 1-inch pieces and place in a 1 ½ quart baking dish .Add raisins and mix . In another bowl, beat the eggs with a fork. Add milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla to the eggs. Mix well. Pour the mixture over the bread. Allow mixture to soak for 10-15 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a knife in the middle- it is done when the knife comes out clean. Serve warm or cold.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Kumama’s Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Kumama has been on a lazy streak!! I apologize for not being more faithful to this blog!

My husband and I had the pleasure of our wonderful family and friends joining us at our home to celebrate 40 years of marriage. What a wonderful day! My family surprised me with a 5 month old Yorkie puppy. She was at my daughter’s home for a few days before the party – where she got the name Millie – perfect for her. What a joy!!

The economy crisis is impacting all of us! I will be concentrating on recipes that are economical but in cost and in preparation time. Many are having to work more hours at alternate jobs to make ends meet. I will try to also keep the recipes healthy.

The one below is for chicken cacciatore in a slow cooker. It is not particularly unique but it is a recipe you can play with. Don’t have mushrooms- leave them out. Add more onions to stretch a little if needed. If you have the red, orange or yellow peppers in the fridge – use some of those. Green peppers are usually the least expensive. Small to medium sized pepper will do, but often green peppers are sold by the pepper rather than by the pound. If this is the case- go for the largest pepper in the rack- use it all in the dish to stretch the dish or save some for another use. Thighs and drumsticks are often on sale. Today I bought a tray of 14 nice sized chicken thighs for a little over $5.00 at Wegmans! (99 cents a pound). Feel free to add herbs - fresh or dried such as parsley and thyme. Have some left over red wine- throw in a splash

Just for the record ,the more traditional Chicken Cacciatore or Hunters stew has a brown sauce- not the red sauce listed here. .

Kumama’s Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Serves 6 hungry people- with leftovers

1 Large package of chicken drumsticks and/or thighs (10-12 pieces) – skin removed
1 large onion sliced
1 8-ounce can of tomato sauce
1 8 ounce canned sliced mushrooms – drained (OK to use stems and pieces or fresh)
1 large can of diced tomatoes – seasoned or plain
1 sliced green pepper
2 cloves of garlic minced (or1 teaspoon garlic powder)
Salt and pepper to taste
½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce (optional)

Cooked pasta noodles or rice – use any pasta that you have on hand – the long skinny ones like spaghetti seem to work best . Whole wheat pasta and brown rice are the healthier choices.

Remove skin from chicken and discard. Put onions and peppers in the slow cooker; add chicken, mushrooms. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Add Tabasco sauce if using. Cook on low for 7-9 hours or 3-4 hours on high. Serve it over either rice or linguine noodles.
Tastes even better the second day.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Kumama's Super-charged Oatmeal Cookies

Yesterday, true to my word I did very little. I even PURCHASED ready made oatmeal cookies for 2 of my precious grandsons. I ask you, what kind of grandmother does that? Well this “Kumama” did. Sam (who named me Kumama) and his brother Noah seemed to very much like the store-made oatmeal cookies purchased at Shoppers in Eldersburg Maryland. Sam 5, and Noah 3, are both autistic. They both have limitations in the foods they will eat and /or foods they can tolerate. The oatmeal cookies were a hit. Kumama has been thinking of things that can be added to oatmeal cookies to boost their nutritional impact. Today I will start with a basic oatmeal cookie recipe and give a list fruits and or veggies that might also be added. – but, not more than one or two in a batch though.
I’m certainly not recommending parents look to cookies to nourish their children but there are circumstances where some extra nutrition can and should be packed into a treat.

Kumama’s Super-charged Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup butter (or solid margarine without Trans fat)
1 cup brown sugar firmly packed
½ cup granulated sugar
2 extra large eggs
2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt (can be omitted if needed)
3 cups un-cooked oatmeal (old fashioned or quick oats)
1 ½ cups raisins, dark or golden
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional) (or chopped pecans)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter (margarine) and sugars together until very creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time and vanilla .Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add to sugar mixture, mixing well. Stir in oatmeal, raisins and walnuts until well distributed in batter.
Place dough on un-greased cookie sheet in rounded tablespoon amounts. Bake 10-13 minuets or until golden brown. Cool about 5 minutes then transfer to cooling rack until completely cool. Store in airtight container. Makes about 40-48 cookies.

“Add ins”-
½ cup finely shredded zucchini- squeeze dry in paper towel before adding to batter.
½ cup finely shredded carrots
½ cup finely chopped dried apricots, OR dried pears, OR dried apples OR dried peaches. - I would soak these in warm water a few minutes after chopping. Drain before adding to batter
½ cup cooked fresh or frozen(not canned) finely chopped spinach - squeeze dry in paper towel before adding to batter.(I know what this sounds like but if finely chopped it goes un-noticed)
½ cup powdered milk (the dry powder) add with the other dry ingredients.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Kumama's Vegan Cherry Cobbler

Hope you are enjoying the weekend
Kumama is taking a break today and hope you will as well. The weather is so gorgeous - I want to cook everything and nothing at all!!
My son Bruce is going to visit today and I'm planning in my head what to serve. We may just order pizza or Chinese but I will make a a very simple cherry cobbler . This hardly qualifies as cooking. Put it on your list of vegan desserts - Bisquick has no animal products unless you add them . Keep Bisquick (or it's generic equivalent) on hand . You will find a million uses for it!!
If you use dairy by all means use regular milk instead if the soy, if you wish.

Kumama's Vegan Cherry Cobbler
1 (21 oz.) can cherry pie filling
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 cup Bisquick (regular or lower fat)
¼ cup soy milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon softened stick margarine

Mix pie filling with extract in an ungreased 1 ½ quart casserole. Place in 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes ,until cherry mixture is hot. Meanwhile mix the baking mix, sugar, margarine and milk with a fork until it makes a dough. Beat vigorously for about 15-25 strokes- do not over mix or cobbler will be tough. Drop this mixture by spoonfuls onto the hot cherry mix and bake until topping is golden brown which should take about 20 to 25 minutes. It is best served while it is warm If desired serve with non-dairy topping or sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Makes 6 servings.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Kumama's Peach Pie

Good morning!
You are either a pie maker or you are not. Anyone can make the filling – the crust is the needed skill. Kumama is not a pie crust maker. When I make a quiche- I purchase the “already in the pie pan” frozen pie crusts; for the other pies I purchase the one in rolls in the dairy case. The most basic necessity for making a terrific flaky pie crust is having a mother that made a terrific pie crust. My mother could make beautifully delicious yeast breads but no pie crust. My late sister-in-law, Loie Godfrey was a terrific pie and pie crust maker and so is her beautiful and talented daughter Elizabeth. I have their recipe but I just can’t make it happen. I’ll share that recipe at a later time.
Peaches are still in season and I strongly recommend you take the time and make the effort to make a peach pie this weekend. You won’t regret it. So we have established you are a pie crust maker or you are not- you’ll need a double crust (top and bottom) for this pie- use what you like best! The daring can even make a lattice crust (but not Kumama).
This pie goes especially well with a good quality vanilla ice cream!!

Kumama’s Peach Pie

Unbaked crust for top and bottom of pie
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
6 cups ripe, peeled, pitted and sliced peaches (about 6-8 large peaches)
*(2 -16 ounce bags of frozen, unsweetened peaches, thawed, may be used if fresh not available)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract OR ½ teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon melted butter (not margarine)
2 teaspoons additional sugar

Save yourself some work- place pie on baking sheet covered with foil – it catches the drips and saves an oven cleaning
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine sugar and cornstarch in large bowl .Add peaches, lemon and vanilla (or almond extract). Toss all to combine. Pour peach mixture into the prepared bottom crust. Cover with top crust and crimp edges of pie crust together. Brush top crust with melted butter . Cut several slits in pie top to allow steam to escape while baking. Sprinkle top crust with remaining 2 teaspoons sugar. Cover edges of pie crust with strips of aluminum foil . Bake 35 minutes and then remove foil. Continue baking an additional 20-25 min or until crust golden and juice begins to bubble.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Kumama's Split Pea Soup

Good morning ,
QVC is selling autumn wreathes and the magazines I purchased today have pumpkins on them.
This has made me start thinking about SOUP. When looking for economical and healthy food in the same dish- check out the soups first- homemade that is. Soups are easy to make- requiring minimal kitchen skills and often use inexpensive and/or leftover foods. I keep a covered plastic container in my freezer for left over bits of cooked veggies meats and gravies (I do not put seafood in this mix) for that nice big pot vegetable soup.
Split pea is the all time winner for economy. A bag of split peas costs around a dollar. The ham, if used, is already hanging around in the fridge begging to be used up. A few veggies added to the mix and you have a pot of soup that will feed 4 hungry people at least twice probably more. It is very high in fiber, you can control the salt, freezes well and without the ham costs about $4.00 for the whole pot. AND IT TASTES GREAT!

Kumama’s Split Pea Soup

10 cups water (may need to add more as soup cooks and thickens)
1 pound dried split peas (about 2 ¼ cups)
1 meaty ham bone (optional)
1 large onion diced
3 large potatoes peeled and diced
1 teaspoon salt (optional – if using ham – taste soup before adding salt)
1 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
3 carrots chopped
3 stalks celery chopped
2-3 dashes Tabasco sauce – optional

Heat water, peas and ham (if using) to boiling. Boil about 45 min; remove ham and cut meat from bone. Discard bone. Add the meat back to pot and add vegetables, and seasonings. Cover and simmer until peas are tender, about 1 hour more on low heat. The soup freezes very well.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Kumama's Jewish Apple Cake

Good Morning!
It is beginning to feel like autumn is certainly on the way. My small (ultra-small) vegetable garden is beginning to look old despite watering and feeding. My grandson Nolan’s other grandmother has already purchased a Halloween costume for him to wear- but actually that probably has more to do with her better organizational skills and less to do with season changes.
I have been looking through my favorite dessert recipes to find some that are easy to make and can be made ahead in preparation for our 40th wedding anniversary party that is rapidly approaching!
Let’s see- needs to be easy, make ahead (meaning freezes well), versatile, tasty, not too horrible for dieters (slices easily into thin slices), – only one answer Kumama’s Jewish Apple Cake. It also is economical(no frosting,no butter) and feeds a large number of people.

Kumama’s Jewish Apple Cake

4 or 5 large apples (Granny Smith's are good)
6 teaspoons cinnamon
½ cup sugar
3 cup flour
2 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup oil
4 extra large eggs
½ cup orange juice
Zest of one orange or lemon (optional)
1 tablespoon good quality vanilla extract

Peel, core and slice apples; mix cinnamon and 1/2 cup sugar together; add sliced apples and let sit. Combine all other ingredients in another bowl and beat to make a smooth batter (about 3 to 4 minutes). Pour half the batter into a large greased tube pan (10 inch is best); layer half the apple slices on the batter; add remaining batter, then top with the rest of the apples. Pour any remaining sugar and cinnamon mixture on top. Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until tester comes out clean.
*Note -- Jewish apple cakes are made with oil - no dairy- thus it can be served with a meat meal except during Passover.