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.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Kumama's Mongolian Beef

Hello from Kumama's Kitchen,
Meals are a challenge these days. We need to conserve energy, save money, be time efficient, serve healthy meals, and take care of ourselves. The list goes on. One of my favorite Asian meals is Mongolian beef. From the restaurant it can be pricy to feed a family .
The recipe below will easily feed 4-6 using the economical round steak. Only a pound ( you could use less- and fill in with some additional veggies) . Round steak is a leaner thus often tougher cut of meat. It is however tasty, and leaner means healthier. Make sure you trim any fat from the meat. If you find a larger than one pound piece have the butcher cut it in one pound pieces and freeze the other portions for the next time. White rice can be replaced with brown rice to increase the fiber. Since it takes longer to cook brown rice, cook a double batch and freeze leftovers on zip-closure bags for the next time you need cooked rice. There are many types of soy sauce- choose one that meets your nutritional needs. More garlic and ginger can make up for less soy if needed.

Kumama’s Mongolian Beef
1 pound round steak
1 medium onion sliced in strips (not rounds)
4 tablespoons soy sauce (lower sodium)
1 tablespoons white sugar2 tablespoons canola oil
1-2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger 2 cloves garlic, minced finely or crushed
4 green onions sliced on the diagonal in 1 inch pieces include the green
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted lightly (heat slowly in small dry frying pan- keep the pan moving they toast quickly and burn quickly – do not leave the pan) (you can also buy them already toasted)

Cooked rice or cooked Asian noodles
1. Mix soy sauce, sugar, oil, ginger, garlic, and onions in a large Ziploc bag. Set aside.
2. Cut steak into thin strips (It helps to put meat in freezer for about 20 min to firm it up- much easier to slice) and add zip closure bag. Zip and refrigerate at least 30 minutes but may be marinated overnight.
3. Cook in wok or frying pan about 5 minutes or until meat cooked through. Add sesame seeds and cook for additional 1 minute. Serve with cooked rice or Asian noodles
Serves 4-6 generously

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Kumama's Curried Fruit

We have been talking about saving money on veggies this week. We need to also talk about fruit. All of the same principals apply –using canned, frozen, farmers markets and so on. Keep in mind that many fruits such as apples and pears have “good staying power”. Properly stored they can keep for months. Have you ever considered drying fruits in a dehydrator ?. While we are in tough economic times I do not recommend a large investment in such and item, but I see them frequently at garage sales for under $5.00. It is also a way to preserve fresh herbs if they cannot be uses in a timely fashion.
Canned fruits are usually packed in sugar syrup; so look for juice packed or water packed if you are monitoring your carbs. You can also drain the syrupy fruit to cut down on the carbs.
Keep in mind the “old reliable” fruits , apples, pears, oranges and bananas pack a big nutritional punch, pack easily in lunches and usually will curb any sweet craving.
Here is a recipe for curried fruit- keep it in mind for the cooler days or when company’s coming and you don’t feel like fussing too much

Curried Fruit
1 can peaches, drained
1 can apricots, drained
1 can pears, drained
1 large can pineapple chunks, un-drained *
1 can black cherries, drained
½ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons curry powder (not hot curry powder )
3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
2 tablespoons butter (margarine OK but butter better )

Combine fruit. Place in slow-cooker .* NOTE do not drain pineapple *. Add rest of ingredients except butter . Cook in slow cooker on Low for 6-8 hours. Add butter in last hour of cooking and stir well. This will feed a large crowd, sit on a buffet well and tastes even better the next day . It can be served with ice cream or whipped cream if desired.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Kumama's Eggplant Sandwiches

Hello again!
Earlier this week we talked about some ways to stretch our food dollar with vegetables. I stopped by a vegetable stand here in Carroll County, Maryland near Westminster
Here are some of my bargains:
3 large beautiful ripe red tomatoes (almost 2 pounds) -$1.00
3 large orange tomatoes $1.00
3 pounds cherry tomatoes $3.00
3 large cucumbers (but not overly large) $1.00
2 eggplants about one pound each $1.00
8 medium zucchini 25cents each- $2.00
10 pounds small new potatoes $4.00
2 small cantaloupes 1.25 pounds each- 50 cents each - $1.00
All vegetables were grown on that farm. All except potatoes were picked this morning.
We will eat healthy dishes all week (and then some) from this bag of beautiful fresh vegetables.
I did not buy fruit as our blackberry bushes are still producing and the pears trees will soon be challenging me for ideas to properly utilize the bounty.
Any of you out there that have excess fruit and vegetable from your gardens and do not want it to be wasted- call your local shelters, missions, food banks or meals-on wheels programs and ask if you can drop it off. Fresh foods are often in short supply at these organizations- all contributions are appreciated!

Think I’ll make eggplant sandwiches this week!

Eggplant Sandwiches

Serves 4
2 One pound eggplants
2 cups seasoned commercial bread crumbs (or make your own)
¾ cup good quality grated Parmesan cheese
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons water
Olive oil greasing pan (may use olive oil flavored cooking spray such as Pam)
4 large crusty rolls – split
1 16 ounce jar spaghetti sauce – any red one will do – Pizza sauce also works if that’s what you have on hand
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

· Cut eggplant in slices – about ¼ inch thick (if your rolls are oblong slice the long way- if your rolls are round- slice in rounds)
· Whisk eggs in bowl with water
· Mix Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.
· Dip eggplant into egg mixture then into bread crumb mixture.
· Put eggplant on greased (sprayed) baking sheet and broil about 12 inches from heat- about 5 minutes on each side. ( OR- sauté in olive oil on grill pan or frying pan until slightly crisp. But since you need to heat the oven to melt the cheese why dirty another pan)
· Top rolls with eggplant then spaghetti sauce then mozzarella. Broil additional 3-5 min until sauce is hot and cheese melts and bubbles.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Kumama Talks Saving on Veggies

Kumama has been inundated with questions lately on how to reduce the food bill without compromising health or taste.
We all agree that food is getting too expensive. Choosing canned and frozen instead of fresh can be a money saver .Also most of us eat far too much fat and protein. So here goes.
Let’s talk today about vegetables.
Utilize your local farmers markets for fresh and in season fruits and veggies as much as possible. The prices are usually better and certainly promise to be fresher.

Corn, broccoli , green beans peppers, peas, cauliflower, asparagus, carrots , okra and spinach are all very good frozen and much less expensive. They have the advantage of keeping longer than fresh and usually have no additives.
Canned veggies are often not given the credit they deserve. Corn, beets, green beans, mushrooms, pumpkin, and of course the wide selection of tomatoes and sauces are often placed on sale. Do not forget the ethnic food isle- things like salsa, water chestnuts. Be mindful of salt content of canned veggies and choose salt free when possible. Salt can always be added - very difficult (impossible?) to remove. If purchasing canned vegetables with salt they can be drained and rinsed to reduce the salt content.

Use the fresh vegetables where you want them to “star” and the canned in a more “supporting role”
The following recipe is that of my sister MaryBelle. It utilizes canned veggies and a few fresh.
It is a tasty ,economical and high fiber salad The sugar may be replaced with *Splenda- use the kind that comes in a box and is pours like sugar- not the kind that comes in small yellow packages .

MaryBelle’s Salad

1 cup sugar (*Splenda)
½ cup cider vinegar
½ cup canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1- 15 ounce can French style green beans –drained
1- 15 ounce can white corn, drained
1- 15 ounce can peas (small peas if you can find them) drained
1- 15 ounce can bean sprouts drained and rinsed
1 small jar pimentos –drained and chopped (may use ½ cup diced fresh green or red bell peppers)
1 cup celery diced
1 medium onion finely diced
Mix sugar, vinegar and oil in sauce pan and bring to a boil. Allow to cool. Add salt and pepper if desired Drain and mix all vegetables together. Pour liquid over veggies. Refrigerate in sealed container such as Lock & Lock or Tupperware. Best if made day before serving.