Sunday, October 5, 2008

Family, Fun, and Soup

My family had a great get together Friday night. We all brought a soup and my mom made scones. The soups were all so good that I asked my brother and sisters to send the recipe. I haven't received any recipes yet, but I'll post mine and keep bugging them for theirs.

Bratten's clam chowder

1 C finely chopped onion
1C finely sliced celery
2 C finely diced potatoes
2 or more cans minced clams
3/4 C butter
3/4 C flour
1 qt half and half
1 1/2 tsp salt
dash pepper
1/2 tsp sugar

Prepare vegetables - place in saucepan. Drain clam juice over veg. Add enough water to barely cover veg. Simmer, covered, over med. heat until potatoes are tender - about 20 min. Melt butter, add flour, and blend - cook 2 min. Add cream to butter mixture and cook, stirring (wire whisk) until mixture is smooth and thickened. Add undrained veg and clams. Heat through. season with salt and pepper.

For those that don't like clams, use corn instead. To speed up the process, cook potatoes in electric pressure cooker - 5 min., high pressure.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fun Class

I went to a great cooking class last night. Chef Brad ( was giving a demonstration on the electric pressure cooker and making salads with grains. It's amazing the benefits we can get from adding whole grains in to our diets. Our family has been adding kamut, spelt, buckwheat and other wonderful grains to the food we eat. Kamut is my favorite grain because of the taste. I make a hot breakfast with freshly rolled oats, kamut, freeze dried blueberries, agave nectar and cinnamon. The kids love it. I cook it in the pressure cooker because it is SO fast and the grains come out perfect every time.
Spelt is the perfect grain for baking. It's basically an ancient wheat. Many people who cannot tolerate the gluten in wheat CAN eat spelt. It rises much better than wheat and is very light. I love spelt in pancakes. I use it in the place of white flour. I also like to replace the sugar in pancakes with a ripe banana (blended with milk). The banana not only sweetens the batter but it makes the batter thicker. It also works great with whole wheat pancakes which tend to be too thin.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Steam Cleaner

One of my online friends got me hooked on the steam cleaner. Ever used one? It's pretty amazing. Fiberglass showers are not my favorite thing to clean. The steam really cuts through the hard water stains. I also love it for my floors. Very fast! The only thing I miss when using the steam cleaner is the smell of essential oils. I used to clean with EO's diluted with water. I found a trick for that with the floors. I just put a few drops of my favorite EO's on the mop - the steam comes up and the scent is distributed all through the room.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Electric Pressure Cooker

Well, I've got to start somewhere. Recently I purchased an electric pressure cooker. This appliance is amazing. For example, last night I wanted to make meatball sandwiches. This is usually quite a lengthy process (I like the homemade French bread) and I ran out of time. The bread was cooking but I hadn't even started the meatballs. They usually take 25 minutes to cook (if I remember right). It takes a few minutes for the pressure to build, but the actual cooking time was 6 minutes. 6 MINUTES!!! It was also a quick release recipe (meaning you let the pressure out as soon as the beeper goes off) so that only added another 30 seconds or so. If anyone is interested in trying an electric pressure cooker, I recommend the book, "Pressure Perfect" by Lorna Sass. She has the most extensive list of pressure times for many foods. My favorite list is her meat times. She has them listed by type of meat (chicken, pork, beef) and the cut of meat. She also tells you how much time to add for frozen meat. That's kind of important in our house.