Cleaning out The Pantry #1 Birdseed Cereal

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For the month of March,  I am taking my blogging inspiration from Therese at Road Wordy. Therese is the middle of a 100 day challenge to use the ingredients she bought for a recipe then kind of forgot about using again.  She has dedicated herself to finding recipes to use up the things she already has.

After cleaning out my pantry last week I found myself in a similar position.  I have a lot of partially used bags of things like quinoa, millet, barley, farro, amaranth, buckwheat, rice, wild rice, lentils, dark rye flour, pumpernickel flour, bread flour, don’t even get me started on the craziness of my canned pantry. So for the month of March, i am going to dedicate myself to finding recipes to use up what I already have.  I will only buy milk, eggs, fruit and vegetables.   My goal is to publish 15 new recipes featuring the things I have in my pantry in March.

My first cleaning out the pantry recipe is Birdseed Cereal from Big Sis, Little Dish. I loved her story about how her husband fed this mixture to his two doves and they have been around a very long time. I don’t know if it is what is giving the doves a long life  or not I just think it is a tasty breakfast I can share with my entire flock of 8 parrots, 1 grumpy gerbil and 2 rats.

I love how versitile this recipe is.  I didn’t have any sunflower seeds or chia seeds so I left them out.  I added some dried cranberries to my first batch because, well, I love cranberries.  It would be equally good with dried apricots, dried apples or perhaps, dried mango.  I didn’t have any dried fruit for the second batch so I used some cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  You could experiment with whatever spices you like best.  I serve the cereal with a splash of milk and a bit of sugar.

Pantry items used – quinoa, amaranth, millet and buckwheat

Birdseed Cereal

2 cups quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, millet and teff

1/4 cup sunflower seeds, optional

2 TBS chia seeds, optional

Mix all ingredients in a jar, using any ratio of seeds you want.  I used a 1/2 cup  each of quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat and millet because those were what I had on hand.  If using teff, keep the mixture in the fridge or freezer. Mix well before scooping it out to cook it because it likes to settle.

To make the cereal

6 TBS cereal mix

1 cup water

Combine water and the cereal in a small saucepan.  Bring to the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer.  Cover and cook for about 20 minutes.

If you have a pressure cooker, add all the ingredients to a heat proof bowl. Place the bowl on the trivet in the pressure cooker liner.  Add enough water to the liner to bring the pressure cooker to pressure.  Lock the lid.  Set the timer to high pressure for 15 minutes.  Use a natural pressure release.

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Christina Lane’s Sweet and Simple — A Review

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Christina Lane’s new cookbook was on my door step when I got home from work last night.  I knew it was coming because my youngest brother, Russell and his family, pre ordered it for me for Christmas.  To have actually have it in my hot little hands made me want to call into work and tell them I wouldn’t  be in  because I have to bake.  The boss would be okay with that, right?  Right?  Okay, probably not, at least not until I brought him some marvelous treats.  Okay, so I went to work but I spent my whole shift thinking of all the stuff I want to try from this cookbook.

For those that don’t know, Christina Lane is the creative force behind the blog, Dessert For Two.  and the cookbooks, Dessert For Two, Comfort and Joy, and her latest, Sweet and Simple.  Christina is the master of small batch desserts, a dozen cookies, 6 inch single layer cakes and bars made in a loaf pan will allow you to indulge your sweet tooth without expanding your waist line.

Now that I have baked some of the recipes in her Sweet and Simple cookbook here are some of the things I  like about it.

  1. The chapters are organized according to pan size.  So if you have to buy a pan you will know you have many recipes to use it for.
  2. The pans she uses are easily found at most retail stores that sell kitchen supplies or craft stores that sell cake decortating supplies.
  3. Although, I haven’t made many recipes from Sweet and Simple yet, the recipes I have made are absoluutely reliable if you follow the directions.  I have been a fan of Christina’s blog for years and tried dozens of her recipes so I didn’t really expect anything else.
  4. Christina always has a good variety of recipes on her blog and her cookbooks.  One of the reasons I like Sweet and Simple is it has a lot of more traditional recipes scaled down for one or two then the other cookbooks she has written have had.

So if you like to bake but like a lot of leftovers lying around to tempt you try Sweet and Simple.

 

Christina Lane’s Best Ever Frosted Brownies

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I don’t usually publish on Thursday but today we are celebrating!  Last Friday I handed over my Christmas money to my best friend, Steph, and sent her off to buy me a new computer while I finished working.  Steph is my tech guru so I trusted her to get me the best computer she could within the confines of my budget and with the features I wanted.  Steph not only got me a terrific deal, she got me features I didn’t think I could get with my small budget, like a touch screen.

I love my new computer!  It is going to make my life so much easier.  Well, at least it is going to make my blogging life easier.  I have been a blogger without a computer since last March.  How does one blog without a computer? I wrote everything out long hand in a notebook. then on my  one weekday a week off I would go to the library and type, edit, add pictures, proof read and schedule all my posts for the week.  That is great when it isn’t cold, I am organized, or I don’t have something else I have to do on my one weekday off. It’s not so great the rest of the time.  Now I can go back to lying in bed and watching reruns of Chopped, Iron Chef and Iron Chef America while I compose my posts on any day I want to, at any time of day I want to.

To celebrate, I made the brownie recipe from Christina Lane’s new cookbook, Sweet and Simple, to share with you all.I am not going to go into the cookbook because I will be doing a post about it soon.  So enjoy your small batch of frosted brownies while I wipe the frosting off my touch screen.

Christina Lane's Best Ever Frosted Brownies

Brownies

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons white sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp fine sea salt

1 large egg

1/2 cup all purpose flour

Frosting

6 TBS unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup cocoa powder

3/4  cup powdered sugar

2 to 3  TBS milk or cream

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a 9 inch bread loaf pan with parchment paper.  In a microwave safe bowl, combine the butter, cocoa powder, and sugar.  Microwave at full power for 30 seconds.  Stir the mixture and return it to the microwave for another 30 seconds.  Stir again.  Add one more 30 second pulse if the butter isn’t mostly melted.  Let the mixture cool for 1 minute.  Stir in the vanilla and the salt.  Stir in the egg.  Finally, add the flour and stir vigourously for about 1 minute or 50 strokes. Scrape the mixture into the loaf pan and bake for 40 minutes.  The top of the brownie surface should appear dry and be starting to crack.  Do  not over bake because you want the inside to be fudgy.  Meanwhile, beat together all of the frosting ingredients, adding milk or cream as needed to make the frosting spreadable.  Frost the brownies once cook and cut in half to serve.

Pressure Cooker Chicken and Rice

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Sooner or later you are going to want to cook a recipe in your pressure cooker that has ingredients that have vastly different cooking times, like chicken and rice.  The chicken takes 14 minutes and rice takes 3 minutes.  If you cooked these two things together the chicken would be way under done or the rice would  be way over done.So how the heck do we cook a recipe like chicken and rice and get them to come out right?  We use a method I call sequential cooking.  We cook the ingredient with the longest cooking time first and then take it out  and keep it warm, broil it or in other ways, finish it and then cook the ingredient with the least amount of time separately.  Or we cook the ingredient with the longest cooking time until it has cooked to the time needed to cook the food with the least amount of time, quick release the pressure, add the ingredient with least amount of cooking time and finish cooking them together.

I know your thinking “doesn’t opening the pressure cooker to add an ingredient add a lot of extra time to the recipe to come back up to pressure?” A hot pressure cooker comes to pressure faster then a cold one.  Have all the ingredients you need to add ready to dump in and you will only add 3-4 minutes to your final cooking time.

The full sized version of the recipe came from Hip Pressure Cooking and is by far my favorite pressure cooking recipe I have tried.

 

Chicken and Rice

For Chicken:

3/4 tsp canola oil

1/2 onion, chopped

3 tsp tomato paste

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 cup water

4 bone on, skin on chicken thighs

Spices:

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp cardamom

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

1/8 tsp turmeric

1 bay leaf

For Rice:

1/2 cup water

1 cup Basmati rice

Preheat your broiler to 400.  In a small frying pan over medium heat, saute the onions, until soft.  Add the garlic and spices and stir for about 30 seconds.  Place the onion mixture in the pressure cooker liner.  Add the water, tomato paste, and salt.  Add the chicken and coat with the liquid.  Bring to high pressure and cook for 14 minutes and quick release. Remove the chicken to a platter and cover with foil.  Measure the remaining liquid.  You will need 1 3/4 cup.  If the liquid from the pot doesn’t give you that amount, add some water until it does.  Pour the measured liquid back into the pressure cooker liner and add the rice.  Mix well.  Bring to high pressure for 3 minutes.  Use a natural release.  While the rice is cooking remove the foil from the chicken and place until the broiler until the skin is brown and bubbly. Serve with the rice with the chicken. 

Marinated Pork Chops

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Holy moley!!!!!   What was I thinking?!!!  I totally forgot I threw out my regular chili sauce when I did a condiment purge a few months ago but I was totally set on trying this pork chop recipe for dinner tonight.  So instead of 2 tablespoons of regular chili  sauce I used 2 tablespoons of Sriracha sauce. I repeat, WHAT WAS I THINKING?! I know that many of you don’t think 2 tablespoons of Sriracha  sounds like much.  You have got to remember one thing about me,  I am a total wimp when it comes to hot spices.  I use Sriracha a quarter teaspoon at a time.  Again, what was I thinking?  Fortunately, the honey and  baking mellowed the heat considerably.  The resulting heat level was at the upper level of my tolerance.  The next time I make this recipe I will make sure I have regular chili sauce.

Marinated Pork Chops

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 TBS chili sauce

2 TBS honey

2 TBS canola oil

2 TBS finely chopped green onion

1/2 tsp curry powder

3/4 lbs  boneless pork chops

In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, chili sauce, honey, canola oil, and curry powder. Mix well.  Lay pork chops in a pan with high sides and pour the marinade over with the top.  Turn the chops a couple of times to coat the chops with marinade.  Cover the pan with plastic wrap and marinate for 4-6 hours or overnight.  When you are ready to cook the chops, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Bake your chops for 30 -35 minutes.