Spring Green Risotto with Poached Egg

risotto

This ended up being a very light, and yummy Sunday dinner a few weeks ago.  With the appearance of lovely asparagus, and the price hitting the floor for the stuff, I knew I wanted to make this recipe.  The asparagus was blanched until just barely cooked, and the peas went in at the last moment.   But with all things lovely and wonderful and delicious, I had to add a runny egg:)  That made the whole dish I thought.

There’s kind of a textural thing going on with Risotto.  I always feel like if you like Rice Pudding then you’d really like Risotto.  It’s the savory version of the creamy rice I love so much!  A little bit of patience is required, but it’s really not hard.  Ladle a spoonful of hot broth into the rice every few minutes or so and you’re set.  I also think the addition of other wonderful veggies would make this risotto fantastic!  Next time I’m going to try a few shitake mushrooms, and maybe some roasted cherry tomatoes.  MMMMMmmmmm!  Goat cheese would be dang good as well.  Imagine what you could create here!

This recipe comes from Ina Garten.  I love her stuff!  I watched her make this risotto years ago, and adapted it to my liking.  It’s light and bright with the addition of the lemon zest.  My kids didn’t love the lemon, but I sure did.  Arborio Rice is your best rice option.  My local Wal-mart even sells Arborio Rice in little 1lb. bags at a very reasonable price.  If you just can’t find Arborio I’d suggest Calrose Rice since it’s a little more on the starchy side.  Enjoy trying Risotto and please! Don’t forget the egg:)

Spring Green Risotto with Poached Egg

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine (I used apple juice)
  • 4 to 5 cups simmering chicken broth
  • 1 pound thin asparagus
  • 10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice from the zested lemon
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, or goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley to sprinkle on top
  • 1 soft fried or poached egg per person (I served my family of 6 and we had plenty of leftovers for breakfast the next day!)

Instructions

Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the onion, oil, and butter. Add the white wine (or apple juice) and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the asparagus diagonally in 1 1/2-inch lengths and discard the tough ends. Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes. You still want the asparagus to be bright green and crisp. Drain and cool immediately in ice water.

When the risotto has been cooking for 20 minutes and you only have a little bit of broth left to add, drain the asparagus and add it to the risotto with the peas, lemon zest, 1 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking and adding the last spoonful of stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.

When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the goat cheese and the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley. Set aside, off the heat, for a few minutes. Taste for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve with more parmesan cheese a fried egg on top. I promise the egg will make the meal. Crack the yolk and combine with the risotto, and you'll be in heaven!

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Quinoa Protein Power Waffle

waffle

I think this is probably the most used recipe at my house. It is definitely my favorite breakfast. It’s not the waffle that you’d make for Saturday morning breakfast, or a big fancy family brunch. It IS the waffle that you make every other day of the week though:) The recipe is a single serving, but I can pump out a bunch of these if needed. It’s usually James and Emma and I that love a good Power Waffle. That’s what we call them around here. A Power Waffle is the perfect combination of protein and carbs, and it’s tasty too.

A friend of mine gave me this recipe years ago when she was doing the Body For Life Program. Body For Life required a protein and a carb at each meal. My options for breakfast were pretty slim. Egg on toast was about it, but then this waffle came along. The recipe is gluten free. I’m actually “Rootin’ for Gluten” since we own a whole wheat bakery, but for those who are watching their gluten intake this is a great option. The recipe calls for cooked quinoa, but I have used cooked steel cut oats, and also dry oatmeal both quick and old fashioned varieties. All grains work fantastic!

The recipe may seem a little temperamental the first time you make it. I had a friend who once told me her kids were like pancakes. The first ones didn’t turn out so good, but the kids that followed were perfect:) She was totally kidding, but I have found a lot of pancakes, crepes and waffles sometimes have a hard time being perfect the first go round. Am I the only person on the planet who throws out the first two crepes EVERY time I make them?

These waffles will take a little patience. DO NOT peek while the waffle is cooking! Give it a good 3-4 minutes or until most of the steam has stopped. And then open that waffle iron as fast as you can! Those are my best tips. Oh and also, make sure your waffle iron is generously sprayed with non-stick spray, and it’s super hot. Follow these tips and you will be in Power Waffle Heaven!

Quinoa Protein Power Waffle

Ingredients

  • 1/4 c. cooked quinoa packed in the cup
  • 1/4 c. cottage cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 t. baking soda
  • 1/8 t. cinnamon (optional)

Instructions

I use a 1 cup measuring cup and an immersion blender. If you don't have an immersion blender you can use a regular blender or a food processor would work too. Place all the ingredients in the cup and place the immersion blender in. Buzz away until there are no more chunks of cottage cheese or quinoa. It only takes 15-20 seconds. Preheat waffle iron until nice and hot. Spray a good coating of nonstick spray on the iron. Poor the batter on the iron and close. I usually have a little bit of overflow when I use my Belgium waffle iron, but when I use a regular waffle iron with 4 sections it fits perfectly! Let waffle cook for 3-4 minutes or until most of the steam has stopped rising out of the iron. Lift the waffle iron lid quickly, and pull waffle off. Serve with fresh berries, and powdered sugar or my favorite, bottled pears. Serves 1

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Helen’s Brownies

brownie

So who’s Helen?  I’ve written about these brownies before, but you know sometimes things need to be brought back to the surface for people to enjoy!  Helen is my cousins OTHER grandma.  She’s not my granny, but she was an amazing cook!  Helen gave me a tupperware container of these brownies for my wedding.  Something to take on the honeymoon.  I thought it was so thoughtful of her, and a really nice gesture.  James and I loved them, and to this day, I still think they are the best brownies on the planet!

When it comes to desserts, I have decided that my most favorite treat is a brownie.  I am a chocolate freak!  I finally admitted it, and it’s 100% true.  But to top that off I love a brownie full of nuts.  It’s something I’ve kind of grown in to, but a boy brownie is the absolute best!  Especially if it has pecans vs. walnuts.  Just my personal preference.

So it’s summer time now, and there will be plenty of opportunities to make these brownies.  The 4th of July, Father’s Day, ummmm Tues. night is always a good excuse as well.  Enjoy!  With or without nuts:)

Helen’s Brownies (AKA Lovely Lisa Brownies)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1/2 c. Crisco or shortening
  • 2 c. sugar
  • Cream together. Add:
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 c. cocoa
  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 t. cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 c. chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1 c. chopped pecans (optional)

Instructions

Mix together until barely combined. I've found the less you mix the fudgy-er the brownie turns out. Pour in a GREASED and Floured 9x13 inch pan. I like to top the brownies with more chocolate chips and chopped pecans now. I like the nuts and chips inside the brownie, but they look so much prettier in the top. Bake for 30 mins. in a 350'F preheated oven. The center should slightly wobble, and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out pretty clean with maybe a few clumps on it. When I doubled the recipe and made it in the larger pan it actually baked for 50 mins. They are great as brownie sundaes, or a great breakfast for your children! You'll totally be the favorite mother:)

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Fajita Chicken Burritos

burritoes

This is IT!!  I love this recipe!!  I love it!!  I love the use of leftovers (Baked Chicken Fajitas are the leftover of choice.)  to create this yummy, portable meal.  And let’s be completely honest here.  I’m not sure it’s a recipe as much as a suggestion of how to make something delicious!  You can add or delete any ingredient and make these Burritos all yours. You’re individual little bit of heaven.  My family loves this meal, and when I make it, I make enough to last for a few days.  Technically I make a big enough batch that my kids can take the burritos to school for lunches or pull out of the fridge as an after school snack.

I love going to Chipotle and getting a big tortilla wrap.  I love all the yummy healthy ingredients you can add to your burrito, and make it just how you like.  I don’t have a Chipotle anywhere nearby, but whenever I travel, I stop at least once for a honkin’ huge burrito.  These burritos are my “homemade” version of a Chipotle Burrito with a little extra thrown in.

I love to add lots of different colors, and textures to these Burritos.  Sweet potato chunks are spectacular.  (got that idea from my friend Mel at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe!) Black beans and a corn salsa are awesome, but I really like the addition of a Sweet Cilantro Rice.  Yum!  I make these Burritos BIG!  Like 14-16 inch tortilla wraps for each burrito.  (The only tortillas I can find this big are the Don Pancho brand.  And I love that they have all kinds of flavors.  Spinach, Tomato, and Garlic Herb Wraps are my favorite!  In Utah I can only find these tortillas at Winco.)  Half a burrito is a perfect meal.   Give these a try.  I promise they will become a new favorite, and something your family will ask for.  You can also freeze these for later use.  Serve these with some yummy homemade salsa and guacamole!  MMMMmmmm!  Enjoy!!

Fajita Chicken Burritos

Ingredients

  • 2-3 c. of leftover Baked Fajita Chicken with peppers and onions
  • 2 15oz. cans of black beans rinsed
  • 2 medium yams or sweet potatoes baked and then cooled and diced
  • 1 recipe Sweet Cilantro Rice (recipe to follow)
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro chopped
  • 2 cans corn drained and rinsed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6-8 extra large flour tortillas (I you can't find huge tortillas you can do individual tortillas with great success too. I'd plan about 12-15 10 inch flour tortillas.)
  • 2-3 c. shredded cheese of choice
  • 2 cans corn drained and rinsed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • *some other suggestions would be, chopped fresh jalapeno, a chopped Chipotle chili in Adobo Sauce, brown rice, chopped green chilis, a squeeze or two of lime, lime zest, some Feta or Mexican crumbly cheese. You get the idea. Add what sounds good to you, and have fun! Taste the mixture before you roll it up and add a little more spice or salt if needed:)

Instructions

In a very large bowl combine all the ingredients together except for the tortillas and cheese. I like to gently toss everything together and then season with a little more salt and pepper if needed. The Fajita Chicken should give you plenty of flavor as well as the Sweet Cilantro Rice. Take a wrap and place a large portion of the filling down the middle. For the big tortilla, it takes about 1 1/4 c. filling for each wrap. Take a generous helping of cheese if you like that, and place it on top of the filling. Wrap the ends in on the burrito, and then continue rolling the tortilla up. I place my burritos in a sheet of tinfoil for easy handling. Continue until you have used all the filling. To serve preheat the oven to 375' F and place the wrapped burritos on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Just until the cheese is melty and the insides are hot. If you want more of a crispy burrito, you can bake them without tinfoil wrappings. Just place the burritos on the cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. This will give you a crispy, yummy burrito.

I love to make a lot of these, wrap them in the foil and put them in the freezer or have a bunch in the fridge for the kids. From frozen you will need to place in the oven for 30 minutes. A lot of times my kids will plop them in the oven for 15 minutes before they leave for school, and have them for lunch. They love them!

Sweet Cilantro Rice

1 1/2 c. white rice

1/4 c. cilantro chopped

3 c. chicken broth

Bring the broth to a boil and then add the rice and cilantro. Reduce the heat to low and let the rice simmer, covered for approx. 20 minutes. When liquid is absorbed add 1/2 c. sugar to the hot rice. Stir until the rice is coated and glossy and the sugar has melted. You can add a little chili powder to the rice as well if you'd like a little heat.

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Baked Chicken Fajitas

foodgawkerfajitas

So I have a duel motive for posting this recipe today.  It’s dang tasty, and delicious, but when you make a HUGE batch, it’s what you make with the leftovers that is my absolute favorite thing!  Killed two birds with one stone, or in other words, 2 meals out of one dish.  That is a huge win win.  You’ve probably seen these Baked Fajitas around pinterest.  That’s where I found it.  I’ve simplified the recipes I found and totally Lisa-ized it, and made it a Clawson version.  That’s one of the great benefits of being the mom.   I decide!

We’ve actually had these fajitas a few times over the last few weeks.  They are a spectacular meal for a crowd!  We’ve shared with a couple family friends, and our cute local Mormon Missionaries.  All seemed to like them, and I love topping them with everything I like and then seeing my red-headed son eating them just the way he likes.  Totally naked fajitas.  But hey, that’s what it’s all about right?

I make a big batch of these.  The recipe I’m providing fills a 9×13 inch pan to the brim and even feeding two good sized families we still had enough to make the leftover burritos I’ll post about Fri.  And even if you don’t make the burritos, the fajitas are great as leftovers the next day for lunch.  So make or pick up some of your favorite salsa, grab a lovely avocado or two or three.  Cheese is nice, and lettuce is great as well.  And don’t forget the sour cream!  We love them with warm flour tortillas, but we’ve eaten them with corn as well.  Both are lovely!  Enjoy!!

Baked Fajitas

Ingredients

  • 3-4 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast cut into strips
  • 1 green bell pepper cut into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into strips
  • 1 large onion cut into wedges
  • 1/8 c. olive oil or vegetable oil (Whatever you've got)
  • 1 can Rotel Tomatoes (any chopped canned tomato will work, but Rotel has the best flavor in my opinion.)
  • 1 t. dried oregano
  • 1 t. chili powder
  • 1-2 t. salt
  • pepper

Instructions

In a large bowl place sliced chicken, sliced peppers and onion. Drizzle the oil over the top and add the Rotel tomatoes and all the seasonings. I like to use my hands here and just stir all the ingredients together. Make sure that everything is evenly coated. Pour all the ingredients into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Top with tin foil. Place in a preheated 400' F oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven and take off the tin foil. I like to kind of break the chicken up at this point. It likes to kind of clump together so I just use 2 forks separate the chicken. It only takes a minute and you don't have to be too precise. Place the casserole dish back in the oven UNCOVERED for another 10-15 minutes, or until the veggies and chicken start to char a bit. This isn't necessary, but I like the look. Remove from oven and serve with all your favorite fajita toppings.

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Quick Udon Noodle Soup

udon

Again I will confess that soup IS my most favorite food on the planet!  I love it, and I don’t care what time of year it is, I will eat soup.  When I’m at a restaurant, and asked if I would like soup or salad probably 7 out of ten times I’ll get soup.  Actually I lied there.  If it is a restaurant that serves homemade, different, maybe even exotic soups then it is 10 out of 10 times.  Other places I don’t bother since I’m somewhat of a soup snob:) I say that I’m a soup snob, but I still love the good old Campbell’s Bean and Bacon, Chicken Gumbo, or Split Pea soup any day.  Kind of a kid thing.

Udon Noodle Soup has been an absolute favorite for the last few years.  I LOVE going into my local Japanese Sushi joint on a really cold day, and getting the hottest bowl of Udon Noodles you have ever tasted!  It just about rips your lips off it is so hot, but wow is it wonderful!  The noodles are thick and chewy, and the broth is light.  I love it especially if it has shaved raw veggies and green onions on top.  Heaven!

I have tried my hand at making homemade Udon Noodles.  They actually turned out pretty darn good considering I’m not a noodle twirler like on Kung Fu Panda.  But I defineatley love using premade refrigerated Udon Noodles.  They are usually in the refrigerated section of the produce department of the grocery store.  Mine are right next to the refrigerated salad dressings, fresh bean sprouts, and those super tasty, but very expensive juices:)   They only cost about $1.25 per package and 3 packages will feed my family of 7. (ok 6!  My oldest is still in Albania!) All you need is a good broth, some fresh veggies, and some Udon Noodles and you’re set.  A set of chopsticks and an Asian deep dished spoon come in quite handy too.

Give it a try, and next time you get a craving you won’t have to drive ALL the way into town for your noodle fix:)

Quick Udon Noodle Soup

Ingredients

  • 2- 7.34 oz Refrigerated Udon Noodle packages
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 T. miso paste
  • 1-2 T. soy sauce
  • 1/2 c. thinly shredded carrots
  • 1/2 c. thinly sliced snow peas, sliced on the diagonal
  • 1/2 c. thinly shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 c. fresh bean sprouts
  • 1/2 c. thinly sliced green onions
  • shitake mushroom thinly sliced (I have a bag of dehydrated mushrooms. It only takes about 10 minute to reconstitute them.
  • Furikake to sprinkle on top (Totally optional)

Instructions

Cook the udon noodles according to the package directions, drain and set aside. My noodles contain a sauce packet. Sometimes I put that in the broth and other times I don't. Do what sounds good.

In a large stock pot I make the broth. It's actually real easy. Add the stock, and miso paste and soy sauce. Stir around and bring to a low simmer. Taste the stock. If it need s a little more salt add some more soy sauce. If you like a little heat you can add some chili paste to the stock. Doctor it up to your liking.

I like to shred all the vegetables and have them in individual bowls. That way people can add what they like, and make it their own personal bowl. The thinner the shred the quicker they will soften in the soup. In large bowls place a big spoonful of the Udon Noodles and then top with the broth. Garnish with the fresh veggies and sprinkle a little Furikake on top if you'd like. Serve immediately

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Oven Roasted Asparagus

asperagus

Isn’t asparagus wonderful this time of year!  It’s cheap and glorious and we’ve been eating a lot of it lately at my home.  I have one wonderful tip for cooking veggies.  It’s just about the only way I cook ANY vegetable.  Roasting them in the oven.  Have you tried it yet?  I promise you will love it! I haven’t prepared a vegetable this way and not liked it yet.  So here are some suggestions of vegetables to roast.  Well first off, asparagus!  But the list doesn’t end here.  I’ve roasted zucchini, cauliflower, haricot vertes (slim green beans), beets both yellow and red, cabbage slices, carrots, parsnips, onions, sweet potatoes and even tomatoes.  Hopefully you get the idea here.  Any veggie is fantastic roasted.  All you need is a cookie sheet, a little oil (I use Extra Virgin Olive Oil, but regular canola oil has been used in a pinch.) and salt and pepper.  You can always doctor the veggies up a bit after the roasting.  I put a little lemon zest on my asparagus, but chili flakes, or parmesan cheese shavings would be spectacular, as well as a little balsamic vinegar too if you’re feeling fancy:)  The great thing about these roasted veggies is ththey are great hot right out of the oven, or even cold on top of a salad.  Of course I’ll tell you a runny fried egg is fantastic on top as well.  Enjoy something roasted this weekend. You will like it!

Oven Roasted Asparagus

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds fresh asparagus (usually 2 big bundles.)
  • 1-2 T. olive oil (or if you don't have that on hand use what you've got.)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • lemon zest (opt.)
  • chili flakes (opt.)
  • parmesan cheese shredded (opt.)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Break off the tough ends or cut off the bottom inch or two of the asparagus. I love the thicker asparagus. My mom used to buy the thinnest asparagus she could find, but I read an article about thick asparagus in Martha Stewart once. She said that the thicker stalks were better. I decided to try it out, and I am completely hooked on fat asparagus now. Place the asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, then toss to coat the asparagus completely. A little oil goes a long way. You don't want to deep fry your asparagus. Spread the asparagus in a single layer and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast the asparagus for 20- 25 minutes, until tender but still crisp. The thicker you veggie the longer it will roast. Once the veggies start to char a little on the ends I take them out. Sprinkle any of the above optional ingredients if you'd like. Lemon zest or chili flake or parmesan cheese are all fantastic on the veggies. Serve!

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Chocolate Creme Brulee

cremebrulee

I have a family FULL of pudding lovers!  They all love the creamy goodness of a homemade pudding, a cream pie, or even a box of Instant Pistachio Jell-o makes them so stinking happy!  I love asking people at Thanksgiving time what kind of a pie family they are?  When I was growing up we NEVER had a cream pie.  EVER!  We loved fruit pies, and pecan pies, pumpkin pie, and lemon meringue, but there was rarely a cream pie at our dessert table.  Maybe if an aunt or someone brought it to the meal.  But my mom never made them.  Since those early years:) my dad has now made it known that any cream pie is a favorite of his.  Who’d have thought!

Well my husband would eat a creamy, fluffy, smooth dessert any day of the week.  My kids stand behind him 100%.  So when I decided to try making Chocolate Creme Brulee last week, I was instantly the best mutha on the planet!  There is nothing more gratifying than having a child walk into the kitchen and ask what you’re making, and get a response like this, “YES!!  I love you!!”  It’s just not that hard to be the favorite mom at my house.

I’ve tried making Creme Brulee before with not a whole lot of success.  It took forever to bake in the oven.  It was still WAY to jiggly, so I turned up the oven temp, and curdled the pudding.  Another time I was impatient with my kitchen torch and so I broiled the puddings, and again, it wasn’t a happy ending.  You CAN place you’re puddings under the broiler element in your oven, but it has a tendency to heat the whole pudding too much and causes curdling.  I actually gave up on Creme Brulee until last week.  I thought I’d give it one more shot using a water bath technique.  It worked fantastic!!  Wonderful actually, and I will make these again this Sunday.  And then I’ll probably make them for Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day and you know someone will be graduating soon, so I’ll make it in honor of them too. Enjoy the deliciousness of this dessert, and the chocolate variation worked fantastic for us!  Next time I make it, I’m making a coconut version.  Stay tuned!

(A quick note on my brulee-ing of the sugar.  I used a propane torch that my husband owns for manly purposes.  It worked fantastic, BUT is was a bit large:)  I owned a kitchen torch at one time, that my husband thought was a nose hair clipper when I bought it, that was just a little wimpy.  The broiler in your oven will work.  It just doesn’t brulee you puddings to evenly, but it that’s all you’ve got, then by all means use it! got, then by all means use it! )

Recipe is inspired by this one from Alton Brown.  I love that man!

 

Chocolate Creme Brulee

Ingredients

  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • 2 c. half and half
  • 1/2 c. cup sugar
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 c. semi sweet chocolate chips
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 quarts of hot water (Not boiling, but super hot.)
  • Sugar for dusting the tops of the puddings to brulee
  • Fresh raspberries for serving (optional)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the cream, half and half in a saucepan and bring to a soft simmer. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 10 minutes while you prepare the rest.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar and the egg yolks until well blended and it just starts to lighten in color. At this point I have a whisk ready and ladle a small scoop of hot cream into the egg mixture. Whisk your little guts out so you don't get scrambled eggs. This is called tempering your eggs. I'll usually ladle 1 or 2 more scoops of the hot cream into the eggs. At this point your eggs are tempered and shouldn't curdle when you add them to the warm cream. Add the egg mixture a little at a time, stirring continually. Add your chocolate chips now and continue stirring until they are completely melted. You may need to taste the liquid now just to make sure it's not poison, and you'll make lots of yummy sounds! Pour the liquid into 6-8 ramekins. My ramekins are all different sizes and shapes, but I completely filled 8 ramekins. In the bottom of a large cake pan or roasting pan (my pan is a 11x15 inch cake pan. It has 2 inch sides) I placed a dishtowel in the bottom and then placed the ramekins full of pudding on the towel. It just added a little stability. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the creme brulee is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 30-40 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days. If you don't cover the puddings they get a little bit of a rubbery top, but if you brulee the tops of the pudding it won't matter. If you aren't going to brulee then cover the puddings before you refrigerate them.

Remove the creme brulee from the refrigerator and sprinkle 1 t. of sugar on each pudding. I tilt each pudding and tap the sides until the sugar is spread evenly. Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top. Top with fresh berries and enjoy!

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My Kids Favorite Morning Juice

juice

My kids drink this juice EVERY. SINGLE. DAY!  It has become a little bit of a ritual at our home in the mornings.  Dad makes the sandwiches for the kids lunches, Emma cooks short order eggs, or Huevos Rancheros, or Cinnamon Toast for the brothers, and I juice the good stuff! Even my picky red headed child loves this juice.  At least I know they’ve got a good start to their day, and if they don’t get smarter at school that day, it is totally not my fault:)  Actually they pretty much have their daily allotment of fruits and veggies in their bodies before 7:30am.  Every fruit or vegetable they eat the rest of the day is a total bonus!

James and I usually have 32oz. of Green Lemonade for breakfast, but we like to change it up with the Morning Juice every once in a while.  Here is my personal preference.  I can drink just about any juice, be it a beautiful Green Lemonade, this fantastic Morning Juice, or any mud colored juice (which happens a little more than I’d like to admit.) as long as it has a little bit of fresh pineapple in it.  Pineapple is the magic fruit.  Tons of flavor in a little strip of fruit.

This recipe makes approximately 64 oz. of fresh juice.  (Now last time I was visiting my favorite Big Island I noticed that this juice was $7 for 16oz.  So if you’re a number cruncher like me this recipe is a $28 value!!  And you’re making it for a lot less than that:) Between my 4 children this is the perfect size for them to guzzle down before they run for the bus.  James and I will sip on 32oz. each for a few hours usually.  Sometimes well into lunch.  Adjust the recipe to the amount you need.  If you only want a quart of fresh juice, half the recipe.  If you only want 2 cups then quarter the recipe.   I you need a gallon…….well good for you!  And double the recipe:)  Enjoy and remember you can always experiment.  No apples, go ahead and use pears.  I used Blood Oranges yesterday for the kids.  That was a pretty juice!

I’m asked a lot what kind of juicer I use and I have a Hurom Press Juicer.  I love it!  It was a little on the pricey side, but it’s been going strong for almost 3 years now.  I’ve used a cheap juicer from Sam’s Club to great success as well.  A lot of people swear by their Breville’s.  All of the juicers, no matter which one you get will have you eating better the first time you use it.  I also get asked if you can blend this in a blender.  Of course you can!  It’s different though, and you will need to adjust the amounts of fruits and veggies.  Also you’ll need to add a lot more liquid or you get a thick frothy mess.  Again, just experiment and enjoy getting more fruits and veggies in your day!

My Kids Favorite Morning Juice

Ingredients

  • 4 medium apples
  • 6 medium oranges (skins cut off)
  • 8-10 good sized carrots
  • 1/4 of a fresh pineapple peeled
  • 1-2 c. water to make 32 oz. of juice if necessary

Instructions

Peel and half oranges. I quarter my apples and juice with the seeds and all. I wash and slice the carrots in half. Peel and quarter your pineapple. Send everything through your juicer. Serve over ice, but if your like me, I like it a little more on the luke warm side:) Heaven in a glass!

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Steel Cut Oats (Jamba Juice Style)

oats

I have always really liked eating oatmeal for breakfast.  I like those little instant packets, quick cooking oats, old fashioned rolled oats, but my absolute favorite is Steel Cut Oats.  Steel Cut Oats is a less refined oatmeal.  It is actually oat groats or the oat kernel or berry, cracked or cut into a smaller size.  You can actually do this to a lot of different grains.  I love to crack wheat berries, or rye, or barley.  In their “whole” stage, all of the grains look a lot like rice in shape.  I usually take the whole “berry” and place them in the blender and give them a whirl for a few seconds.  You’ll see how quickly you can create your own Steel Cut Oats or Cracked Wheat.  I do have a rather large supply of ready to go Steel Cut Oats though.  You can find them in any grocery store.  They go by a lot of different names.  Irish Oats, Steel Cut Oats, Cracked Oats. There is something a little extra special about Steel Cut Oats.  It’s the chewiness and heartiness of the Steel Cut Oats that just make them delicious!

As a kid never used the word oatmeal.  To all of us Garner children, we knew oatmeal as “Man Mush!”  My mom always made our oatmeal out of the red and blue cylinder shaped container from Quaker Oats with the man on it.  Get it.  That Quaker Oat man smiled at us every morning as we ate our oatmeal.

I love the fact that I can get a really good cup of oatmeal in quite a few places if I’m out and about early.  My absolute favorite place to get oatmeal is Jamba Juice.  Hot Steel Cut Oats are placed in a perfectly sized insulated cup and then it is topped with a warm berry sauce, brown sugar, and chopped nuts.  It is absolute heaven!!  I usually add a little milk to my oatmeal at home, but these Jamba Juice oats are perfection as is.  I wanted to recreate my favorite breakfast at home.  Oats are cheap, and I figured it really couldn’t be that hard to make them and enjoy any day I choose.  It worked.  I’m completely in love with them.   And it’s quite simple to make.  I use my rice cooker, but a pot and the stovetop will work just as well.  I’ll be eating my favorite breakfast most days now, and my heart will love me for it!

Steel Cut Oats (Jamba Juice Style)

Ingredients

  • 1 C. Steel Cut Oats
  • 2 C. water, milk, soy milk, or almond milk (Your choice! Jamba uses soy milk, but I love using the almond milk.)
  • a pinch of salt
  • (This amount of dry oats will make approximately 3-4 good servings.)
  • Warm Berry Sauce
  • 2 c. fresh or frozen blueberries (Any berry of choice will work.)
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/2 c. sugar

Instructions

I cook my oats in a rice cooker. Place oats and liquid of choice and pinch of salt in rice cooker, and cook according to directions. It takes about 20 minutes. If you are cooking your oats on a stovetop it's pretty simple. Place the oats, liquid and salt in a good sized pan and cover with the lid, and turn the heat to high. You want a pretty good sized pan, because as the mixture comes to a boil it will sometimes boil over creating a mess if your pot isn't big enough. This is the main reason I have moved to my rice cooker. Once the mixture comes to a boil reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently with the lid on for 15-20 minutes. Check for doneness, and if all of the moisture isn't absorbed let the pan sit covered off the heat for another 5 minutes and it should absorb all the liquid. Top with sweetener of choice. Brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, cinnamon sugar or the warm berry sauce that follows.

Leftovers can be placed in a tupperware container and refrigerated. To reheat just place desired amount in a bowl and microwave for 1-2 minutes and it will be just like you made it that morning! I love making a big batch and having it easily reheated for the next few days. Easy breakfast!

Warm Berry Sauce

Place the berries water and sugar in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Boil for 2-3 minutes or until the berries have burst. The sauce will thicken as it cools. It's perfect hot over your oats though. I use this sauce on pancakes, or pound cake, cheesecake, or even yogurt. It will keep in your refrigerator for 1 week or so.

For the perfect bowl of Steel Cut Oats, I place a big spoonful of the oats and then drizzle some blueberry sauce on top and then sprinkle a little brown sugar and chopped almonds. It's perfection!

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