Mediterranean Tuna Casserole

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If you want to go for something different tonight (or tomorrow) this is a great recipe featured in Taste of Home. I’m not a fan of fish, and really not a fan of tuna casserole. This dish makes the tuna hard to taste and gives a nice update to an old (and usually gross) classic.

Mediterranean Tuna Casserole

1½ c uncooked whole wheat penne pasta
2 cans (10 oz) white water packed tuna, drained
1 can (10¾ oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1¼ c water-packed artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and chopped
½ c sour cream
¼ c roasted sweet red peppers, drained and chopped (I oven roasted some red pepper)
3 Tbsp chopped onion
3 Tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbsp Greek olives, chopped
1 Tbsp snipped fresh dill or 1 tsp dill weed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp grated lemon peel (or juice)
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
½ c dry bread crumbs (I used crushed Corn Flakes)
¼ c grated Parmesan cheese
½ tsp Italian seasoning

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the tuna, soup, artichokes, sour cream, peppers, onion, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, dill, garlic, lemon and pepper flakes. Drain pasta; stir into tuna mixture. Divide among six 10-oz. ramekins or custard cups.

In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, cheese and Italian seasoning. Sprinkle over tuna mixture. Place ramekins on a baking sheet. Bake uncovered, at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

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Oatmeal A, B, C

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From the family cookbook.
This one is from my late Grandma’s kitchen. It has ingredients you will recognize! I used my small spoon scoop thing for cookies to make these. It makes a wonderful little snack that way, keeping the cookie count up and the calorie count down.

Oatmeal A, B, C

½ c (1 stick) butter
½ c applesauce
1 tsp soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 c firmly packed brown sugar
1 c sugar
1 tsp salt
¾ c chopped nuts (optional)
2 c quick oatmeal
c all purpose flour
1 c raisins
½ c mini chocolate chips
2 eggs

In large bowl cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs. Add flour, soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix well. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover. Refrigerate until chilled or overnight. Preheat oven to 350°. Put a tablespoon of dough 2” apart on baking sheet. Bake 12-15 min. or until golden brown.

And voilà you have these awesome homemade oatmeal (and fruit), with chocolate 🙂 cookies!

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Pecan Tassies

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Another recipe from the family cookbook. This one is from my aunt’s kitchen and will use a little cream cheese, your mini muffin tin, and of course those pecans that are just sitting around.

Pecan Tassies

1 (3 oz) pkg cream cheese
½ c butter
1 c sifted flour

Filling:
1 egg
¾ c brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp butter softened
Dash of salt
⅔ c pecans

Blend cream cheese and butter. Add flour. Chill 1 hr. form into small balls and shape into muffin pans. Beat together egg, brown sugar, 1 Tbsp butter, vanilla and salt until blended. Divide pecans among pastry-lined pans. Add egg mixture. Bake at 325° for about 25 min. or until filling is set.

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Focused

UPDATE: It’s completed and framed. (And I’ve already begun on the next one). The framing wasn’t exactly as I hoped it would turn out, but overall I think it looks pretty sharp.

butterfly flower crossstich

 

I haven’t been forgetting to post about what I’ve been up to. I’ve been very focused on one project. My youngest niece was born at the beginning of February and since Christmas I’ve been working on a cross stitch for her.

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I’ve made a lot of progress this last month, trying to finish before photography picks up as the weather warms up.
I’ve also been to the store a couple times to pick up more floss, this may not look big, but it’s a little over 8×10 and has very small stitches.

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This is my progress now. Looking much better than at the beginning of the month. I’m hoping to start outlining by the first half of April.

Sesame Seed Bar Cookies

Sesame Seed Bar Cookie

I’m not sure where I got this recipe, but at some point I typed it up and boy is it good. Just a fair warning that they are fairly addicting and hard to stop eating. I think in part it’s the brown sugar flavor that keeps me wanting to eat more. It’s also fairly easy to make, I just need to take the time to make it again.

Sesame Seed Bar Cookies

8 Tbsp butter
½ c applesauce
¾ c brown sugar
2/3 c tahini
1 egg
1½ tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt
2 c flour
1 c raisins
½ c sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Center an oven rack.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the tahini and beat until combined well. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and salt. Add the flour and beat batter until just combined. Beat in the raisins and benne seeds. Spread the batter evenly in a buttered or lined with parchment paper, jelly-roll pan, 15 ½ by 10 ½, and bake in the middle of the oven until a tester comes out clean, about 16 to 20 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a rack and cut into 36 bars. The cookies may be made 3 days in advance and kept in an airtight container. (Or freeze/refrigerate for even longer lasting)

Peanut Butter Rice Krispies

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This recipe won’t be so good if you happen to be allergic to peanuts. But if you aren’t it’s so yummy! It has only 5 ingredients and there’s no baking involved. Just mix, refrigerate and enjoy! Ok so there’s a bit more to it than that, but still really easy.

Peanut Butter Rice Krispies

6½ c Rice Krispies
½ c raisins
1 c peanut butter
2 Tbsp butter
¼ c honey

rice krispies_001In a very large bowl mix together the Rice Krispies and raisins. In a separate smaller bowl combine the rest of the ingredients and microwave until melted. I do 1-2 minutes on power 6-7 sometimes 8 to make sure I don’t burn the peanut butter. This is something you’ll have to play with a little with your microwave and what setting work best.

Pour the microwaved mixture onto the Rice Krispie mixture, mix well with your hands until rice krispies_002everything is nicely blended. Then transfer this into either a 9″ x 9″ or 9″ x 13″ pan, depends on how thick you want the bars when you are done. Once you transfer the mixture press down to make it all stick together. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Then cut into bars and enjoy!

Note: When using natural ingredients it takes longer to melt and can be beneficial to start with the butter, then add honey (if it’s raw), and finally the peanut butter.

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Swedish Apple Pie

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Apple season is upon us! This new take on apple pie is simple because you don’t even have to worry about making a crust. You also pretty much just mix everything together, put into a pie pan, and bake. This tasted like something familiar I think it’s the cinnamon and apple flavors together. If possible I would highly recommend using toasted walnuts, it adds really great flavor.  Your house will smell really nice after baking this. I cut back on the sugar, as usual. This recipe is adapted from Taste of Home.

Swedish Apple Pie

¼ c sugar
½ c flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg
¼ tsp vanilla extract
2 (187g) medium tart apples, chopped (I’m lazy and didn’t peel the apples, it still turns out great)
¾ c chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In a small bowl, whisk egg and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in apples and walnuts. (Mixture will be dry and crumbly)

Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350º for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve warm.

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Mock Apple Strudel

Mock Apple StrudelThis morning was my first attempt at making a pastry. I’ve never had success with dough. It just never works out in my favor. This time I wasn’t so stingy with the “lightly floured surface”. For the most part this worked out. The center of my board however seems to be a black hole for flour, it just disappeared. Anyway it all worked out and made it into oven.

This recipe came from Beth Dauenhauer of Taste of Home, I’m really glad it’s not too hard to make. I modified the sugar amounts a bit, so feel free to add more, but I think it tastes great with less, but then I never had it with the full amount.

Mock Apple Strudel

2 c flour
31 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp sugar
½ tsp salt
¼ c
cold butter
¾ c milk
1 Tbsp butter, melted
3 c cupped tart apples
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Frosting
½ c confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp milk
¼ tsp vanilla extract
Chopped nuts are optional, I didn’t use any.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Cut in butter until mixturecutting butter into flour resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in milk just until moistened. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead 8-10 times.

Roll out into a 14-in. x 10-in. rectangle. Brush with melted butter. Top with apples; sprinkle with cinnamon and remaining sugar. Roll up jelly roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seams to seal. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet about 15-in x 10-in. Bake at 425° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Not really a rectangle, but for a first try not bad.

Not really a rectangle, but for a first try not bad.

Remove from pan to a wire rack. In a small bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla; drizzle over the warm strudel. If you chopped some nuts sprinkle them on now.

Anytime Bars

anytime bars_0613_03This recipe is from The Cancer Fighting Kitchen. I picked it up when I found out my cousin’s then-fiance had leukemia. You can read her story and journey here. These bars are suggested for when someone is receiving chemo to help give them more energy. My husband and I make them when we are on the go, traveling or just want a tasty (healthy) snack.

These bars take a little time to make, but they are worth it!

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1 c raw pecan halves
1 c whole raw almonds
2 Tbsp spelt flour
2 Tbsp unbleached all purpose flour
2 Tbsp finely ground flaxseeds
¼ tsp sea salt
⅛ tsp baking powder
⅛ tsp baking soda
¼ c old-fashioned rolled oats
1 c pitted dates, quartered (preferably Medjool)
1 c unsulfured dried apricots, cut in half
1 organic egg
5 Tbsp maple syrup (I use grade A)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350° and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly oil a 9-inch square pan.

Spread the pecans in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and toast for 7 to 10 minutes, until aromatic and slightly browned. Watch them carefully, as they can burn easily. Repeat this process for the almonds. Turn down the oven to 325°.

Combine the spelt flour, all-purpose flour, flaxseeds, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a food processor and process for 5 seconds to combine. Add the pecans and almonds and pulse 5 times to coarsely chop the nuts. Add the oats, dates and apricots and pulse 10 to 15 times, until the mixture is well chopped but still coarse.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg, maple syrup and vanilla together until thoroughly combined. Add the fruit and nut mixture and use your hands to mix thoroughly, being sure to separate any clumps of fruit. Spread the mixture in the oiled baking pan in an even layer and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until set and golden brown; don’t over bake, or the bars will be too dry. Let cool 5 minutes and cut into 25 squares. Leave bar in pan to cool all the way so they’ll hold together when you remove them.

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Variations

Use walnuts instead of pecans.
Add ¼ cup dried cranberries, cherries, blueberries, raisins or currants when mixing together at the end.
Add 1 tablespoon of grated orange zest when mixing together at the end.
Add 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds when mixing together at the end.
Add ¼ cup of unsweetened shredded coconut when mixing together at the end.
For gluten-free substitute gluten free muffin mix for the flours. Make sure oats were not processed alongside wheat.

Concrete Stones

rhubarb concrete_0813_11-headerAnother Pinterest project is underway. This time working with concrete, which I know nothing about. I do however know where to find rhubarb leaves. Not only in my backyard, but I found some wild rhubarb (and strawberries) growing along the path to the park from my house.

Using rhubarb leaves as a base and toilet paper rolls and pie tins to hold in the cement I went to work creating some stones. I bought a bag of quick set concrete to use for making the stones. They are fairly crumbly and I never researched what type of concrete would work best for this project. Sometime when I get back to this project I will try different ratios of water to concrete to see if that helps at all. I think there might also be too many air bubbles causing them to break apart easily. I also had some trouble getting the veins of the leaf out once the concrete hardened around it. I figure eventually it will dry out and wash away.