Sunday, September 9, 2012

Quick and Simple Mushroom Tart with Goat Cheese

Today was a beautiful day in southern Pennsylvania, a great day to be outside.  My son and his new best friend (can you have a bromance at 2?) had a play date at our house and we were in and out, and in and out.  We played baseball, colored on the deck, played with all the toys in the  living room and had a great time.  While the boys played, I started preparing the mushroom tart. Don't worry, I kept my eye on them at all times, unless my husband was watching. 

I have been wanting to do more vegetarian foods, as I am sure you know by now, and not only less meat but foods that wouldn't upset my stomach. I have been slowly compiling a list of foods that do and don't irritate me and I am finding that mushrooms are one that do not bother me so, I hope to use them more often.  I also am trying to cut out dairy, which I must say is hard even though I don't really eat that much of it.  I tried some dairy free 'cheese', and I lets just say...I didn't finish it.  Luckily, I have found that goat cheese is okay and I like it so it works for me! So here it is, a simple and easy Mushroom Tart with Goat Cheese.

Mushroom Tart with Goat Cheese

2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 a large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp sherry
2 pints mushrooms, sliced (I used button and crimini)
1 sheet of store bought puff pastry, thawed
2 oz goat cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large skillet, sweat together the onions and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat just until translucent  Add the sliced mushrooms, sprinkle with salt, cover and let sweat for about 5 minutes, turn up the heat slightly to medium-high and add the sherry.  Cook until the mushrooms are very tender.

Lay out the sheet of puff pastry on a lightly greased cookie sheet.  Pour the mushrooms on the puff pastry, leaving about an inch around the edges.  Sprinkle with the goat cheese, and bake for about 20 minutes until golden.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Moms Meet: Kashi Chocolate Soft Baked Squares

Last Sunday our moms got together to sample Kashi Soft Baked Chocolate Squares. The verdict was...they were good.

These are family friendly brownie like bars. Soft, chocolaty, and full of things you wouldn't necessarily expect. The second ingredient is sweet potato, there is also black beans. It is something you wouldn't mind giving to your kids; mine thinks it is a treat, and I would rather give him this then a cookie.

We had to rate what is important to us when buying snack bars and also what we thought of the squares. Some of the items were: is it good tasting?; is it a good value for the money?; is it something my kid(s) would enjoy?; is it low in fat?; etc.

The items most important to our group when buying snack bars were; good value, good tasting, something my whole family would enjoy, flavor and high quality ingredients. And they were all found in the Kashi squares. We also liked that the Kashi squares were; healthy, natural, made with whole grains, naturally sweetened and that they contained fruit/veggies.

Currently they only have chocolate and almond flavored squares. Hopefully they will come out with some other flavors eventually. I think everyone in the group will probably purchase these, the only thing that would keep us from doing so is that they are a little dry and aren't available in our local grocery store. Maybe someday our store will branch out, they don't have much in the way of organic, natural or vegetarian options

*We only sampled the Chocolate Squares, I also received a couple cereals and Banana Chocolate Chip Bars.

Please visit the Kashi website for a lot more information.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


First of all, for those who don't know gak; gak is basically a cross between Silly Puddy and the Slime you used to play with as a kid.  It is slimy, stretchy, pliable, as my sons says "melty", it's wet but dry at the same time. I can be less messy then play dough (as long as you don't just let it sit on fabric or on a surface for too long, because it will "melt" onto the surface.)

The Recipe

2 - 4 oz. bottles of Elmers Glue (you can use the clear or classic, I used the classic)
1 tsp Borax
Warm water
Food Coloring

Pour the glue into a large bowl, fill the empty bottles with warm water, shake and pour into the bowl. Add food coloring (more that you think, I thought I used a lot but as you can see it isn't very vibrant.) Add an additional 1/2 cup of warm water, and the borax.  Stir into the glue mix, stir for a bit then get our hands in it.  Knead/blend until you can form a ball.  There will be a lot of liquid left in the bowl, that is normal.  Remove the glob ball, when it is not being played with store in a zip top bag or plastic container with a tight lid.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Much Needed Post (includes recipes for Stroganoff and Enchilada Chicken)

I have officially been slacking on the blog front; I have made a few recipes, accomplished the Iron Girl (yay!) and other than that just have been enjoying my family's company (who are currently wrestling on the living room floor on top of all the couch cushions).  Since I am no longer training for anything, and won't be for a long while; I have decided to start working on my art again.  It has been pushed to the side for a long time, only occasionally do I actually make it into my studio or take out my sketchbook.  I do, however take much joy in painting with my son and making and trying different things with him.
Anyway, some of the food I have made this month are; salsa, of course such a summer staple; beef/mushroom stroganoff; and slow cooker enchilada chicken.  I have been sucked in to Pinterest just like most of the world and I love it!  So the chicken and the stroganoff were make, freeze then just throw in the slow cooker meals, so many people have posting about making many meals in one day then freezing so you can either just throw in your slow cooker or in the oven.  I personally LOVE make ahead meals. 

So the chicken dish was actually taken based on inspired from Pinterest, my friend actually reposted it and it looked really good, the recipe originally said to bake in the oven.  I put it all in the slow cooker, but I think it would have been much better baked in the oven or maybe for less time in the slow cooker. My chicken dried out a little bit, but it was still delicious! (The recipe reflects the lower cook time in the slow cooker.)

Enchilada Chicken

1 pound chicken breasts (I used chicken tenders)
1 15-oz can enchilada sauce
3 tbsp taco seasoning
1 cup shredded cheese, more or less depending on how much you like cheese
6-8 flour or corn tortillas OR 1 cup rice 
your favorite taco toppings; onions, cheese, tomatoes, sour cream, cilantro, etc.

Place the chicken in the slow cooker, or baking dish, sprinkle chicken with taco seasoning then cover with the enchilada sauce. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or on low for 4-6 hours.  Serve with tortillas or over rice and top with your favorite toppings.  

Tenders ended up being the perfect size for wrapping in a tortilla, I would highly recommend using them.  You could also omit the cheese when cooking or as a topping, but we like cheese in our house so we used on both. Next time I make this I plan on putting everything in a baking dish, you can place chicken, seasoning and sauce in a freezer bag; freeze, just thaw overnight when ready to bake.

Beef/Mushroom Stroganoff

(This can easily become a vegetarian dish, just add more mushrooms and omit the beef)

1 pound round steak, cut into strips (or a pound of stew meat)
1 pound mushrooms, sliced, use the ones you like or a variety (I used crimini)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 beef bouillon cube, or a mushroom base such as Better than Bouillon 
1 cup warm water
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream

Place the beef, mushrooms, onions and garlic in a large freezer bag. In a small bowl mix the warm water, bouillon and soy sauce; stir just until the bouillon breaks down. Pour into the bag. Add the salt and pepper.  Seal the bag and carefully massage the ingredients together. At this point you can freeze until you are ready to use, or you can dump the mix into a slow cooker.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours, in the last 30 minutes add the sour cream, stir to combine.  You may need to turn the slow cooker to high for a few minutes to heat the sour cream.  Serve over egg noodles, GF noodles or even rice.

The flavor in this was really good, the only comment I received was that my husband would have liked it a little thicker.  I was looking around to see what I could use to thicken it up a bit and a lot of recipes call for cream of mushroom soup, I would rather find something different so more will come on this. (And yes, I know I can just add cornstarch or flour)

Now, for the last little bit...

The Salsa

 I don't really have a recipe. I did have some help!  I cut up tomatoes (I used Mr Stripey's because that is what I have in my garden), two jalapenos, an onion, a clove or two of garlic into large chunks and put into a large container.  I took some of the chunks and cut into smaller pieces and set aside (this was just in case my helper went over board with the food processor.)  I let my helper process the large chunks, we then added cilantro and salt.  As a side note, he did process just a little too much.  But it was yummy!