Tag Archives: Semi-Healthy Mega-Delicious Recipes

missjunebug’s Smoothie Adventure Begins!

C.J. Rabbit tastes The First Smoothie as White Cow and White Hen look on. Photo by mjb2014
C.J. Rabbit tastes The First Smoothie as White Cow and White Hen look on green with envy. Photo by mjb2014

missjunebug is late to the smoothie craze, but people smarter than she have finally convinced her it’s a fine way to fine tune her nutritional intake. She took the plunge on AmazonSmile.com (so a % of her purchase goes to One Acre Fund!) and selected a Vitamix Professional Series 300! What. a. machine!

In mere minutes missjunebug whipped up some coconut milk for future smoothies. It’s actually really easy to make your own coconut milk.

Here’s a simple recipe to try:

missjunebug’s Homemade Coconut Milk

Bring 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat and add 1 cup of unsweetened coconut. Stir and let the mixture rest for 10 minutes. Then Vitamix it until smooth (30-60 seconds!) Strain through a cheesecloth-lined strainer, squeezing out the last drop of milky goodness. Store in a glass jar in the frig for 3-4 days or freeze into cubes.

With that success under her little bug belt, missjunebug moved on to smoothie making! Fun times!

After reading a bunch of recipes, she decided just to wing it with this concoction.

missjunebug’s Completely Unoriginal Very Berry Smoothie

2 cups of Baby Romaine

1/2  carrot

1-2 cups frozen berry medley (raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries)

3-4 ice cubes

1/2-3/4 cup coconut, almond, or soy milk. (you choose!)

Pour in 1/2 the milk. Then layer in the greens first, then the berries, then the carrot, topping with the ice cubes. Add milk to keep the Vitamix mixing until the smoothie is, well, smooth! Probably makes two servings, but mjb drank both!!

missjunebug may be late to the smoothie party, but she’s overcome her prejudice against pulverized greens and is ready to mix it up!!!

missjunebug’s Yes! Yeast Rolls!

White Cow's Shadow Sneaks In On Unsuspecting Yes! Yeast Rolls! Photo by mjb2014
White Cow’s Shadow Sneaks In On Unsuspecting Yes! Yeast Rolls! Photo by mjb2014

missjunebug spent a little time in her kitchen this weekend baking up some super delicious, super easy Yes! Yeast Rolls! In fact that’s what she and her trusty Mr.JB had for dinner last night. Bread being the Staff of Life, missjunebug is all for having some homemade SofL every once in a while.

missjunebug has a dear friend who calls such white flour concoctions Frankenbread, being on an anti-gluten crusade in her own life. To her friend missjunebug has two things to say: “De gustibus non est disputandum” and “You only live once!” Seriously, she appreciates her friend’s efforts at living a nutritionally clean life–would that missjunebug could be so disciplined, but if you have been reading this blog for any length of time, dear Reader, you must know missjunebug is erratic inconsistent whimsical in her nutritional leanings so she figures the occasional unbleached King Arthur White Flour yeast roll can only nourish her little bug soul if not her little bug body. C’est la vie!

So without further ado or rationalization missjunebug presents

missjunebug’s Yes! Yeast Rolls!

Adapted from a recipe mjb found somewhere in the never ending, constantly refreshing, infinitely entertaining, always inspiring annals of Pinterest.

Super Simple Ingredients

2 sticks butter

1 cup water

3/4 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt

2 eggs (Organic!–could help counteract the demon white flour)

2 packets of Fleischmann’s Active Dry Yeast

1 cup warm water

6 cups King Arthur unbleached white bread flour

Super Simple Directions

Warm up your oven for a while at about 225 degrees, then turn it off. This will be the perfect place to let your dough rise.

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat and add the 2 sticks of butter. Stir until melted.

Add sugar and salt. Stir until dissolved. Set aside to cool.

Whip up the eggs with a wire wisk in a small bowl until nice and creamy. Add to cooled butter/sugar/salt mixture. missjunebug suggests you now transfer this mixture to your Kitchen Aid mixer!

In a separate bowl, add 2 packages of yeast to 1 cup lukewarm water. Stir and add a teaspoon of sugar if you feel the need to proof the yeast (checking to see it is still active!). If the mixture double in volume and foams nicely, your yeast is alive and well.

Add the yeast mixture to the butter/sugar/salt mixture. Combine and then begin to add the flour one cup at a time until all the flour has been blended into the b/s/s/y mixture. missjunebug uses the regular Kitchen Aid paddle, not the dough hook to combine the flour with the b/s/s/y mixture.

Grease a large glass bowl with butter. Transfer the dough to the glass bowl and then flip it over! That way both sides are buttered up.

Cover with a lightweight kitchen towel and place in over to rise for 1 hour. Remove dough from bowl and place on floured cutting board to knead by hand for 2-3 minutes. Place back in bowl and let rise for a second time for about 30 minutes.

After second rising, place dough on floured board, roll out with a rolling pin, and cut into rounds using a biscuit cutter or pint-size glass. Silpat or parchment paper-up your cookie sheets and place rolls two or so inches apart. Let rise one more time for about 45 minutes.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10-14 minutes. Keep watch for golden brownness! Remove from oven, slather with butter, and enjoy!

These rolls are easily frozen and reheated in a toaster oven for daily deliciousness!

Long live the Yes! Yeast Roll!

Golden Brown Rounds of Yeasty Goodness! Photo by mjb2014
Golden Brown Rounds of Yeasty Goodness! Photo by mjb2014
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Ode to a Veggie Sandwich

Who knew veggies could be so good? Photo by mjb2014
Who knew veggies could be so good? Photo by mjb2014

Ode to a Veggie Sandwich

by missjunebug

It’s starts with Dave

And his Killer Bread

All 21 whole grains.

Toast it up

Slather on

French’s finest

yellow as the sun mustard.

Yum.

Pile on in no particular order:

Avocado. Buttery, brilliant CAvocado,

Radish sprouts, cute as commas

Spinach, baby-leafed green on green

Tomatoes sliced, juicy and cheerful

as laughing mouths.

Then grab that very veggie veritable feast

and put it in yours!

 

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missjunebug’s Apricot Nut Bread: The Perfect Start to the Day!

A Loaf of Deliousness! Photo by mjb2014
A Loaf of Deliousness! Photo by mjb2014

missjunebug has a love of all things nutty and apricoty. When the two are in combination she’s twice as happy. If you find yourself occasionally craving some carbs, try this sweet little tea bread on for size. missjunebug thinks you’ll find it fits your appetite perfectly!

missjunebug’s Apricot Nut Bread  

2 1/2 cups unbleached flour

1 cup sugar

3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

3 tablespoons Canola oil

3/4 cup orange juice

1/2 cup milk

1 egg

4 teaspoons grated orange peel

1 cup chopped dried aprictos

1 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a loaf pan (9x5x3inch or two mini loaf pans). Measure all dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add the liquid ingredients and chopped fruit and nuts. Mix well with hand mixer or Kitchen Aid, occasionally scraping the sides of the bowl.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake 50-60 minutes depending upon the idiosyncrasies of your oven! Check the doneness of the loaf with a toothpick–it should come out clean when inserted in center. Cool on a rack for about 15 minutes, then invert pan and remove loaf. It should come out easily!

Serve warm, cold, or toasted. Slice thin and smear with butter or cream cheese or apricot Stilton cheese spread!! Divine!

mjbTip: Make some tea bread today! It’s super easy and super delicious!

Little White Hen Looks on  Approvingly! Photo by mjb2014
Little White Hen Looks on Approvingly! Photo by mjb2014

 

 

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Welcome October!

missjunebug loves fall in SoCali!  The fall of blazing orange pumpkins, cool, crisp weather (almost here!), clear dark-sky nights (rain by Thanksgiving), sweater warmth (cashmere, please!), and plenty of practice baking going on so that missjunebug can be ready for pie duty on Thanksgiving day. So how has missjunebug been preparing herself for all that’s fall?

First, she headed to her fave pumpkin patch at Underwood Farms 3370 Sunset Valley Road in Moorpark and picked some perfect pumpkins for her porch! (Whew! So alliterative!) Take a look:

A Wheelbarrow Full of Pumpkin Fun! Photo by mjb2013
A Wheelbarrow Full of Pumpkin Fun! Photo by mjb2013

 

Ghost pumpkins! So spooky the orange ones cower! Photo by mjb2013
Ghost pumpkins! So spooky the orange ones cower! Photo by mjb2013

 

Pumpkins almost as far as the eye can see! Photo by mjb2013
Pumpkins almost as far as the eye can see! Photo by mjb2013

 

missjunebug worked up a serious appetite and decided it was time to make one of her fave cookie recipes: Monster Cookies! So appropriate for the Halloween month of October. Are they scary? Not really. Just big and fun and delicious. The secret: No flour! Just some healthy oats, some (maybe not so healthy) sugars, peanut butter and voilà! Monster Cookies! Easy to make. Easy to eat. Easy to freeze for later!

Here’s are the recipes for a ton o’ cookies (the first one) and a half ton o’ cookies (the second one):

missjunebug’s Not-So-Scary Monster Cookies

Full Recipe

1 dozen eggs

2 lbs brown sugar

4 cups granulated sugar

1 T. vanilla

2 T. Karo syrup

8 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 lb. butter

3 lbs. peanut butter

18 cups Quaker Old-Fashioned Oats

1 lb. M&Ms

12 0z. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Beat the room temperature butter until nice and creamy. Add the sugars, vanilla, syrup, and baking soda. Add the eggs and beat in a few at a time. Next, blend in the peanut butter until the mixture is thick and semi-gooey! Throw in the oats, M&Ms, and chocolate chips and you are good to go. Scoop a large size cookie onto Silpat-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 13 to 18 minutes, depending upon how crispy you want the cookie to be. missjunebug likes hers super crispy, but it’s up to your taste!

Remember what missjunebug says: “De gustibus non est disputandum!” There’s no accounting for taste (so each to his/her own!)

Too many cookies? Yeah, this Full Recipe makes about 12-14 dozen depending upon the individual size of the cookie. That’s a lot o’ cookies!!!

Try this instead:

Half Recipe

6 eggs

1 lb. brown sugar (= 2 cups)

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 T. vanilla

1 T. Karo syrup

4 tsp. soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 lb. butter

1 1/2 lbs. peanut butter

9 cups Quaker Old-Fashioned Oatmeal

1/2 lb. M&Ms

6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Throw in a bowl and beat the heck out of the ingredients. (Not really. Just read above Full Recipe for how to combine the ingredients!)

These cookies should be stored in an airtight tin or container. You can also Ziploc them into freezer bags and save some for later!

Throw all the ingredients in a big bowl! Photo by mjb2013
Throw all the ingredients in a big bowl! Photo by mjb2013

 

Form a big cookie using a couple of tablespoons. Photo by mjb2013
Form a big cookie using a couple of tablespoons. Photo by mjb2013

 

Cook until crisp and cool! Delicious! Photo by mjb2013
Cook until crisp and cool! Delicious! Photo by mjb2013

 

mjbTip: Go out and have some fall fun! Welcome October indeed!

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Black-Eyed Peas = Good Eating and Good Luck!

 

Check out these Black-Eyed Peas in the Pod!!! Photo by mjb2013
Check out these Black-Eyed Peas in the Pod!!! Photo by mjb2013

missjunebug had a fine time recently at Underwood Family Farm in Moorpark playing Farmer-for-the-Day! It’s black-eyed pea pickin’ season and the good people at Underwood have rows and rows of bushy black-eyed pea plants just waiting for pick-your-own peeps to drop by and fill up their bags with these beautiful peas famous in the South. They even have a restaurant named after them! Yes! The Black-Eyed Pea! A pretty decent place to eat all your southern faves when you’re in the South: cornbread, okra, collard greens, black-eyed peas (natch!), fried chicken, and, well you get the idea.

missjunebug donned her straw hat, hiking boots, old jeans, hiking shirt, and super bright orange garden gloves in preparation for taking on row after row of pea plants. She garnered four bags full o’ peas ripe for the shelling. Picking is really the easy part. Once she got home, she had to start the labor intensive task of shelling each individual black-eyed pea pod and popping out those beautiful peas. Fun times!

She’s still got a few (hundred!) to go, but she’s managed to Zip-loc lots of peas for the deep freeze. missjunebug will have plenty to eat on New Year’s Day 2014, making sure she covers her year with good luck by eating black-eyed peas that day, one for every day of good luck! Okay, not really. A bowlful will do.  She might explode if she actually ate 365 peas in one sitting.

Fresh, Young Black-Eyed Peas! Get busy shelling! Photo by mjb2013
Fresh, Young Black-Eyed Peas! Get busy shelling! Photo by mjb2013

Here’s a simple recipe from missjunebug’s Aunt Mary that pleases the pea palate!

Black-Eyed Peas that Please

Ingredients

1 1/2-2 cups of shelled fresh black-eyed peas

1/2 medium onion, chopped

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

2 slices uncooked bacon for flavor

1-3 shakes Tabasco

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Instructions

Place peas in a saucepan. Cover with water. Add chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, sliced bacon, Tabasco, salt and pepper. Stir. Heat on medium heat. Bring to a boil, then lower heat for a continuous simmer for about 20 minutes or until peas are slightly firm, not mushy. Adjust seasonings. Enjoy.

Eat with cornbread, over rice, or just on their own with the delicious soupy juice they are cooked in! You might have to have some serious Southern roots to enjoy these beauties, but keep an open mind and give them a try. They are delicious, nutritious, and lucky!

mjbTip: It’s fun to be a Farmer-for-the Day!

Don't forget your Underwood Family Farms Frequent Farmer Card! Photo by mjb2013
Don’t forget your Underwood Family Farms Frequent Farmer Card! Photo by mjb2013

 

Helpful Info If You Want To Be a Farmer-for-the-Day! Photo by mjb2013
Helpful Info If You Want To Be a Farmer-for-the-Day! Photo by mjb2013
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Tomato Time = Salad Success!

 

Captivating Caprese! Ciao Bella! Photo by mjb2013
Captivating Caprese! Ciao Bella! Photo by mjb2013

missjunebug has recently discovered Salads for Breakfast! She’s not quite sure what got her started on this, but she’s pretty much left conventional breakfasts behind–except for her occasional bowl of homemade granola.

This is the perfect time to tomato up early in the day. Here are a couple of inspired salads to get you started thinking: Salad for Breakfast! Grab those homegrown or farmer’s market tomatoes and dig in!

Caprese Salad

Tomatoes of your choice–missjunebug likes Romas and on-the-vine organic finds

Fresh mozzarella cheese

Fresh basil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Balsamic vinegar

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper–lots of it!

Slice the tomatoes and cheese to the thickness you prefer. Arrange on a plate alternating tomato, cheese, and basil or create your own artistic arrangement as missjunebug has done with a big pile of basil surrounded by tomatoes and cheese. Be creative!

Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Finish with salt and pepper. Enjoy every fresh bite of this Italian salad delight!

The perfect breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Photo by mjb2013
The perfect breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Photo by mjb2013

missjunebug came across this next salad at Lake Powell Resort in Page, Arizona when she and trusty Mr.JB were doing some eclipse chasing. This is a blast to the past recipe reminiscent of the Iceberg Wedge with Bacon, Tomato, and Blue Cheese. Very old school but very delightful to the taste buds and appealing to the eye!

missjunebug’s Bacon, Tomato, and Blue Cheese Salad

3 slices of crispy bacon

1 large chopped tomato

1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles

Thinly sliced red onion

Big pile of shredded iceberg lettuce (or add romaine for more texture)

Wishbone Chunky Blue Cheese Dressing

Kosher salt

Freshly cracked pepper

Arrange the lettuce on a plate. Scatter the tomatoes around the lettuce. Add crumbled bacon and blue cheese crumbles. Scatter red onions strategically around the plate! Top with chunky blue cheese dressing. Finish with salt and pepper! Done!

Best blend of tomatoes, bacon, blue cheese, and red onion. Yum! Photo by mjb2013

Of course, these salads are great anytime of the day, but try to break free of breakfast expectations by trying salad instead! missjunebug is sure you won’t regret it!

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missjunebug’s Holiday Bars

Holiday Still Life! Photo by mjb2012

No, this is not a post about the best place to imbibe alcohol during the holidays! missjunebug wants to share with you her recipe for fruity and nutty Holiday Bars. If you never got into fruitcake but enjoy dates, raisins, and walnuts, this holiday cookie is for you. Mega Delicious and Semi Healthy describes this bar perfectly. Easy to make, easy to freeze, easy to take to any party or cookie exchange, and very, very easy to eat!

missjunebug’s Holiday Bars

(adapted from an ancient but beloved cookbook entitled Cookery for Entertaining)

Ingredients

1 (8-oz.) package Sun Date California Medjool dates, pitted and chopped

1 cup raisins, Trader Joe’s golden or SunMaid regular or a mix of both kinds

1 cup walnuts, chopped

1 teaspoon grated orange peel

1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup sugar, divided

1 stick butter (1/4 lb.), room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs, organic

2 cups unbleached flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

2 tablespoons orange juice

Powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 375°. Grease 2 baking sheets (or use Silpat liners or parchment paper); set aside. Stir together in a large bowl dates, raisins, walnuts, orange peel, cinnamon, and 1/2 cup sugar until the fruit is well coated; set aside. In a separate bowl or Kitchen Aid mixer (best choice!) cream butter and the remaining sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.

Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Whisk together in a small separate bowl the flour, baking powder, salt, and orange juice. Then add this flour mixture to the sugar and egg mixture. Add the dates, raisins, and walnuts mixture and stir until blended. The dough will be stiff.

Divide dough into four equal portions and shape two logs (12″ x 2″ x 1/2″) on each prepared baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes until slightly brown. The logs will feel soft but they will firm as they cool. Cool for 15 minutes. Cut diagonally into 3/4″ bars. Dust with powdered sugar. These freeze well in Zip-loc freezer bags or cookie tins. Makes approximately 64 delicious bars!

After you make these, you can head to your fav holiday bar and celebrate! Cheers!

Don't these look yum x tum! Photo by mjb2012
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A Clean Well-Lighted Blog and a Good Home-Cooked Meal

The best chocolate sheet cake.  Ever.
The best chocolate sheet cake. Ever. (Photo credit: Appletini ?)

missjunebug cooked last night! A complete chickeny meal with two side veggies, a creamy risotto, and a rockin’ dessert! Who does she have to thank for this not-so-everyday occurrence? That unrivaled blogger The Pioneer Woman and missjunebug’s inspiration, ElderJB!

As an occasional blogger herself, missjunebug is truly inspired by the blogs of others and Ree Drummond’s Pioneer Woman blog tops the list of blogs worth checking out. This blog has everything and missjunebug’s blog looks really Mickey Mouse in comparison (no offense, MM!). The only things missjunebug can hold against PW is that she’s from Oklahoma and she graduated from USC. What an unfortunate combination! missjunebug says this with the authority of being a Texan who graduated from UT Austin (Hook ‘Em Horns!). That said, The Pioneer Woman is truly inspiring especially by way of the recipes presented and the outrageously good photos of the cooking process that documents every possible step and then some.

missjunebug thought it was time for some home cooking for her ElderJB who is visiting from his home-away-from-home, Rwanda. Yes, she’d made the requisite Easter ham and pineapple stuffing for Sunday’s celebration, but the junebugs had managed to dine out quite a bit, too, so it was time for some home-cooked nutrition to round things out.

The two vegetable sides were simple: bacon-laced green beans and glazed carrots. Yum. The requisite starch? (requisite must be the Word of the Day!!) Lundberg’s Parmesan Risotto, simple and simply wonderful and done in 20! The main course? Ree’s Chicken in Mustard Sauce laced with plenty of whole grain mustard, a dollop of Grey Poupon, and a full cup of brandy. That’s what missjunebug is talkin’ about! Throw in some garlic and cream, and you’ve got a crave-able sauce that embraces chicken like no other! missjunebug won’t waste your time re-writing the recipe here: check it out on Pioneer Woman yourself when you need something delicious and not too complicated.

Now on to the really important part: the dessert! The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever. missjunebug heartily concurs with naming this Texas-size sheet cake the best ever because it is the best ever! This recipe is not exactly easy. There are some steps involved that take some time, melting butter, stirring in lots and lots of cocoa, mixing sugar and flour and stirring pretty much nonstop for a while, then pretty much repeating these same steps for the decadent icing but it is so worth it! Check out The Pioneer Woman for this recipe and make it very, very soon. You will be thanking yourself for days!

Not only is The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever. a great dessert, it makes an awesome breakfast with a big glass of cold milk (non-fat, natch!). And, yes, that’s what missjunebug had for breakfast this morning!

Let’s hear it for homecomings and home cooking!

 

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A Few of missjunebug’s Favorite Things

English: Christmas cookies in Czech republic. ...
Image via Wikipedia

missjunebug is not much of a fan of that Julie Andrews song from the treacly Sound of Music--was that really Best Picture??–my! how tastes have changed. Anyway she still likes the idea behind the song: enumerating favorite things can be fun and useful. So here are a few of missjunebug’s current favorite things this time of year:

The Somis Nut House–the most awesome place to buy holiday candy, fruit, and nuts in Ventura County, SoCal. Located in an unassuming building reminiscent of a big shed, you’ll find an array of  candy favorites vintage and new as well as nuts amped up with spices, sugars, and smoke. She even found a spicy little mix called Samurai whose name speaks for itself! There are the usual sweet suspects: cherry sours, licorice, a virtual gummy zoo of shapes, malted milk balls on steroids, English toffee that’s pricey but so worth it, and many other chocolatey and foil-wrapped Christmas favs. And nuts and dried fruits galore. Mr.JB’s fav? Dried Kiwi fruit! Pale green disks of sugary sweet fruity goodness that look perfect as the centerpiece of a Christmas gift box. Where is this delightful house of delicacies? 4475 East Los Angeles Avenue  Somis, CA 93066-9616 Call them at (805) 386-1211 or check out their website at www.somisnuthouse.com. You and your sweet tooth will be thanking Somis Nut House (and missjunebug) the rest of the holiday season!

Pandora Radio set to Christmas Jazz. If you are a little tired of Jingle Bells barked by dogs or the Vienna Boys Choir somber Latinate songs of the season or the mellifluous but slightly depressing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” crooned by various old school musical masters like Bing and Tony or updated by Michael B. then try the instrumental and upbeat Christmas Jazz stream playing right now on Pandora. missjunebug recommends it as the best possible music to decorate a Christmas tree or bake cookies to. For a slightly edgier mix try setting your Pandora to Mannheim Steamroller. That will definitely get your Christmas groove on.

Spritz Cookies! What would Christmas be without these little pressed wonders so sparkly and buttery! missjunebug knows you remember she already gave you the recipe for those cookies in a previous blog post. If you don’t believe her just search her very accommodating site for it under Semi-Healthy Mega-Delicious Recipes! And make some! If  you can’t find the time to do that and you still crave sugar cookies, try to make it to Royal Bakery in Ventura for some delicious Christmas sugar cookies that are so worth the drive! Green trees! Red stockings! Black and white cows! Okay, so the cow cookies are not particularly seasonal, but they are delicious!

A fresh-cut Christmas Tree from the Men of the Elks Lodge or other such helping organization! These dedicated white-haired gentlemen provide funding for so many worthy charitable enterprises in local communities, you’ll feel practically holy buying a tree from them! And the piney fragrance is worth every penny! So bite the bullet, dole out the cash, and inhale the green freshness of that very noble Nobel Fir!

A Kiva Gift Card to help support small business entrepreneurs throughout the world. This is the quintessential gift that keeps on giving. As soon as the global entrepreneur pays back the loan, guess what? You can re-lend it again! And again! missjunebug has helped finance a Kenyan moto man so that he could buy some new tires for his burgeoning motorcycle taxi transportation service, a Rwandan woman who needed to procure beauty products for her salon, and another Rwandan woman supplying her clothing business with some fresh fashions! It’s never been more interesting to provide a hand up, not a hand out! Check out this super worthy enterprise at www.kiva.com!

Now missjunebug has an important question for you: What are your favorite things of the season? Shopping? Eating? Watching Christmasy movies–(actually, missjunebug should have included this one, too). Figure it out! Get busy doing them! And do as Julia says,”I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel so bad.”

Happy Holidays!

 

 

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Ciao Bella! Make missjunebug’s a Gelato!

missjunebug loves the Paciugo motto: Ante Lucrum Nomen: Reputation Before Profits.  Photo by mjb2011
missjunebug loves the Paciugo motto: Ante Lucrum Nomen: Reputation Before Profits. Photo by mjb2011

In her ongoing pursuit of living la dolce vita (and keeping her cruise groove going even on land!), missjunebug along with a few lovely friends made a wonderful discovery: Genuine gelato in her local community! Bellissimo!

missjunebug has Paciugo Gelato and Caffè at the outdoor wing of the Oaks Mall in Thousand Oaks to thank for making her taste buds as happy as they were during her recent trip to Rome! This semi-healthy, mega-delicious concoction of whole milk, sugar, and natural fruits and flavorings is to use a couple of hackneyed phrases: to die for good. Oh. my. yes.

What were missjunebug’s trifecta of choices for her piccolo cup o’ bliss? Vanilla, of course–any ice cream or gelato worthy of its rock salt must have a pure and good vanilla, panna cotta (trans. wedding cake but even more tasty), and Texas Pecan Sea Salt Caramel, an outrageous blend of sweet and savory deliciousness. Well worth the under four buck price but believe missjunebug when she says she was prepared to pay whatever they asked!

This gelato is the real thing not because missjunebug says so but because this is the real thing. The Ginattas, Ugo, Cristiana, and Vincent hail from Northern Italy and brought the family’s secret (of course!) recipes with them to start their first gelato location in a city near and dear to missjunebug’s little bug heart, Big D little a double ll A S and that spells Dallas, her darlin’ darlin’ Dallas where the family and their franchisees have thrived! Sales must be amazing there now what with the 40+ days of 3-digit temperatures torturing the locals.

Although missjunebug has no such excuse for needing to eat this cool treat, she plans to make it part of her weekly regimen. It is a treat that bears a repeat!

If you are in the Conejo Valley, swing by the Oaks Mall 190 W. Hillcrest #65 805-497-4449 and scoop up a piccolo cuppa gelato. At roughly a 150 calories for a 3.5 oz serving you cannot go wrong!

Arrivederci, Häagen-Dazs!

Ciao bella, Paciugo!

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missjunebug’s Grilled Cheese Italian Style!

Golden Brown, Melty, and Delicious! Photo by mjb2011
Golden Brown, Melty, and Delicious! Photo by mjb2011

missjunebug has been doing her best to keep her cruise groove on. She clocks serious time in her courtyard fountain-side chaise lounge, she occasionally revisits her travel pictures in her iPhoto gallery, and she eats Italian whenever possible!

A few weeks ago she came across a delicious entree at the local hospital where she volunteers that screamed ITALIANO! One of the perks for volunteering is an after-volunteer-work free lunch in the hospital cafeteria that never disappoints. The provolone, tomato, and basil sandwich on chibatta bread was outstanding! The cafeteria culinary experience inspired missjunebug to replicate it at home. Here’s are the simple steps to a delicious variation on the traditional grilled cheese sandwich.

missjunebug’s Grilled Cheese Italiano

Ingredients

1 Kaiser roll (or Chibatta bread) cut in half

2 slices provolone cheese

4-6 tomato slices

Fresh basil leaves

Kosher Salt

Pepper

Directions

In a skillet melt a little butter and place the two halves of the roll cut side down. Press the halves down to bring to warm up the halves and bring to a golden brown.

Remove the halves and assemble the sandwich: place a slice of provolone on each half. Pile on the tomato slices on one half. Salt and pepper the tomatoes. Pile the basil on the other half and then carefully press the two halves together. Butter the top of the sandwich.

Place the sandwich back in the buttered skillet. Cover with a lid to get the provolone melting over low to medium heat. After a few minutes, remove the lid and flip the sandwich over to brown the other side and bring the provolone to melty perfection.

Buon appetito!

Simple Ingredients: Tomatoes! Provolone! Basil! Photo by mjb2011
Simple Ingredients: Tomatoes! Provolone! Basil! Photo by mjb2011
Assemble as shown! Photo by mjb2011
Assemble as shown! Photo by mjb2011
Grill covered for a little while to get the melt on! Photo by mjb2011
Grill covered for a little while to get the melt on! Photo by mjb2011
Plate up! Photo by mjb2011
Plate up! Photo by mjb2011
Up close and delicious! Photo by mjb2011
Up close and delicious! Photo by mjb2011

So put all those tomatoes to use you’ve been growing in your backyard garden! Have a little red, white, and green grilled cheese!

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Lowly Veggie Gets a Makeover

Cauliflower
Image via Wikipedia

missjunebug is very fond of cauliflower; her family less so. So she decided to give her shiny new head of cauliflower an ambush makeover to bring the love to the lowly veggie. That little flowereted head never knew what hit it! And what hit it was her shiny new immersion blender, missjunebug’s current fav kitchen gadget.

Here’s her magical and transformative recipe adapted from a FoodTV recipe.

missjunebug’s “Mashed Potatoes” Cauliflower

Ingredients

1 head of cauliflower

1 tablespoon softened cream cheese

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Directions

Cut up the cauliflower into small pieces, discarding the stem and outer leaves. Place in salted boiling water for 7-8 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels. While still warm, use an immersion blender to puree the cauliflower. Add the softened cream cheese, the parmesan cheese, and the butter. Finish off with salt and pepper and blend until the cauliflower begins to magically transform into “mashed potatoes.” Really, it will! And missjunebug guarantees it tastes Dee Licious!

You will never look at cauliflower with disdain again! If you crave an even healthier version of this recipe, missjunebug suggests you might cut back on the butter, but she herself will not go there. Life is short. Butter is good.

Either way, enjoy!

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missjunebug Tries the Slow Love Diet

A pack of cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is nu...
Image via Wikipedia

missjunebug has the good fortune to be cruising soon on a fine ship in a finer place: The Regent Seven Seas Mariner in the azure blue waters of the Mediterranean.

Thanks, Mr.JB!

missjunebug and her Mr.JB have a hat trick of things to celebrate: 30th anniversary a few months back, turning 60 a few months from now, and a year out from cancer treatment with fingers tightly crossed! Woo double hoo!

In a preemptive strike against the inevitable onboard calorie-o-rama with fab food and bev available 24-hours a day, missjunebug and her Mr.JB have adopted and adapted a new eating plan based on the now famous Dr. Pat’s V-8 Juice diet outlined in Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put on My Pajamas & Found Happiness by Dominique Browning. Chapter 16 alone entitled “The Diet” is worth the price of the book because this simple and super restrictive eating plan works! In a nutshell: a hard-boiled egg for breakfast, a little V-8 juice for snack, a couple of hours later, a little container of fat-free cottage cheese, a little apple, a little cinnamon; a few hours after that, a little tuna or a little chicken, some greens and lots of water! By now it’s about 3:30 or so, so pull the tab on another little can of V-8! In a couple of hours, repeat the cottage cheese course, then it’s dinnertime with 4 oz. of protein, a cup of green veggies (broccoli, zuchs, summer squash, greenie beanies, or cucs.) Before bedtime, pop a little turkey and drink a little water! If you find yourself semi-famished between the two-hour intervals, have some–wait for it, wait for it–V-8 juice!!! (Please note the operative words in this diet description are “little” and “V-8”).

Ms. Browning had the good fortune to lose 15 pounds of her muffin weight (you’ve got to read the book) in a mere month. missjunebug will settle for five! So far, so good. She’s 3 pounds down and still has a couple of weeks to go before she cruises the high seas and the vast buffets!

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Spinach+Goat Cheese+Onion+Bacon Quiche=Delicious!

Hey Little Steer! Check out that Spinach Quiche! Photo by mjb2011
Hey Little Steer! Check out that Spinach Quiche! Photo by mjb2011

missjunebug recently updated her reliable old standard recipe for Quiche Lorraine and made it a tiny bit healthier by cutting back on the bacon and adding spinach and a little goat cheese.

Here’s her recipe re-do:

missjunebug’s Spinach+Goat Cheese+Onion+Bacon Quiche

Read the recipe through for the list of all the ingredients.

Homemade crust or Pillsbury Pie Crust (just unroll and you’re ready to go!)

4 eggs

1 cup Half and Half

1 cup whipping cream

4 eggs

1 T. flour

1/2 tsp. Kosher salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

Pinch of ground nutmeg

Whisk up the above ingredients and set aside while you assemble the quiche savory components.

1 bag baby spinach

1/2 chopped onion

1 T. olive oil

Cook baby spinach in a skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until cooked down. Drain vigorously using paper towels–wrap and squeeze out the liquid, then chop.

Heat olive oil in a skillet or dutch oven. Toss in the chopped onion and saute until onion is translucent. Add the drained, chopped spinach and combine with onion. Saute together a minute or two, just long enough to blend flavors.

Now prepare these ingredients:

6 pieces bacon, fried until crisp (missjunebug loves Farmer John’s) and crumbled

1 1/2 cups Jarlsberg Swiss cheese, grated

2-3 T. goat cheese, cut up into tiny pieces

Place pie crust in 9″ or 10″ pie plate. missjunebug prefers ceramic ones, but glass or metal will do just fine, too.

Sprinkle in a layer of grated Swiss cheese, then a layer of crumbled bacon. Repeat until you use up all the Swiss cheese and bacon. In one layer, place the spinach/onion saute on top of the cheese/bacon layers. Finish off with the tiny pieces of goat cheese. This part is a little messy since the goat cheese is a soft cheese, but do the best you can.

Pour the custard mixture evenly over the ingredients in the pie plate. Bake on the lowest rack in a 375 degree oven for 45-50 minutes, until quiche is golden brown on top and firm in the center.

Cut into generous slices and serve with a fruit salad of cut up Gala apples, mandarin orange segments, and raspberries! Delicious!

Yum! missjunebug has already dug into that Quichelicious dinner! Photo by mjb2011
Yum! missjunebug has already dug into that Quichelicious dinner! Photo by mjb2011
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missjunebug’s French Toast Perfection!

French Toast! So easy! So delicious! Photo by mjb2011
French Toast! So easy! So delicious! Photo by mjb2011

missjunebug is doing her mitzvah for the week: Making breakfast for her church’s winter shelter. Okay, she may be mixing religious metaphors here since she’s Lutheran, but she loves the Judaic idea of the good deed. According to adherents.com “When Mitzvah is considered to be an act of human kindness, it transcends all religions. While historically, Mitzvah is considered to be a term related to Judaism, anyone in any religion can perform a Mitzvah. While they may not refer to it by that name, they can still perform an act of kindness for another person.”

So there.

missjunebug really likes this idea! And she really likes her super simple Semi-Healthy Mega-Delicious recipe for missjunebug’s French Toast Perfection. She has her dear mother to thank for this recipe. missjunebug has made it for her boys since they were tiny bugs. She’s tweaked it a little, adding a little sugar, the tiniest bit of salt, and her secret ingredient, vanilla extract, but it remains inspired by her JBMom.

Consider cooking up this very forgiving recipe on a Saturday or Sunday morning and you, too, can enjoy missjunebug’s French Toast Perfection!

missjunebug’s French Toast Perfection

Ingredients

Orowheat Buttermilk Bread–14 slices

6 0r 7 eggs

1/2 cup or so of milk

1-2 tsps. of vanilla

1-2 T. sugar

Pinch of salt

Butter for the skillet or griddle

Powdered sugar for presentation

Real maple syrup for eating!

Directions

Wisk the eggs in a big bowl.  Add the milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt. The “batter” should be a soft creamy yellow color with a smooth consistency. Slice the bread on the diagonal to form triangles. Heat a good chunk of butter in a big skillet and when it barely sizzles, dip the bread triangles into the batter, shake off excess batter, and place in the skillet. Cook on both sides until crisp around the edges and golden brown. Yum!

Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar and slather with real maple syrup!

Double Yum!

Feel free to freeze and eat at another time. To reheat, just set your oven to 375 degrees, place the french toast in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with Pam, and pop in the oven for 10 quick minutes!  What could be easier? Well, eating it, missjunebug guesses!

Lots of French Toast Ready for the Freezer! Photo by mjb2011
Lots of French Toast Ready for the Freezer! Photo by mjb2011

missjunebug’s Homemade Kettle Corn Keeps Snacks Simple and Delicious!

Thanks for the help, Mr.JB! Photo by mjb2010
Thanks for the help, Mr.JB! Photo by mjb2010

missjunebug with the help of her steadfast Mr.JB performed a culinary experiment recently that was a resounding success: Homemade Kettle Corn. Simple. Sweet. Savory. and Capital Dee Licious!

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

1/2 cup Orville Redenbacher ‘s Original Gourmet Popping Corn

1/4 cup peanut oil or canola oil

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste

Directions

1. Place oil in stove-top style popcorn popper with hand crank (for best results) or use a heavy saucepan with a secure lid. Heat oil over medium high heat.

2. Add popcorn kernels. When the oil just starts to sizzle, pour in sugar on top of the popcorn, cover, and keep turning the hand crank or shaking the pan while the popcorn begins to pop.

3. Continue to crank or shake until the popping slows or stops, around 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Pour the popcorn into a large bowl and sprinkle on the salt to taste.

mjbTip: Use a wood spoon to remove the popcorn. It’s a little tricky to remove from the pan because it’s a little stuck together, but persevere! It’s worth it!

The kettle corn keeps well in a large glass container for easy, delicious, and low calorie snacking (35-40 calories per cup). Popcorn is a high fiber, whole grain that you just can’t go wrong snacking on!

Kettle Corn Up Close! See the Sugary Sheen? Photo by mjb2010
Kettle Corn Up Close! See the Sugary Sheen? Photo by mjb2010
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missjunebug’s Not Quite Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Candy

Chocolate + Peanut Butter = Delicious x 10!
Chocolate + Peanut Butter = Delicious x 10!

One of the great benefits of closet clean-out is finding cool stuff long since forgotten. missjunebug had that very thing happen recently. What she found was a notebook of Pleistocene-era recipes she used to make on a pretty regular basis. If you ever need a sweet treat that’s easy to make and fun to eat, missjunebug encourages you to try this recipe.

missjunebug’s Not Quite Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Candy

Ingredients

12 oz. Nestle’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

1 cup Jif Peanut Butter (smooth or chunky, your choice)

1 cup butter softened to room temperature

4 cups C & H Powdered Sugar

9 whole Honey Maid Graham Crackers (rolled into crumbs in a Zip-Loc bag)

Directions

1. Melt the chocolate chips in mixing bowl over a saucepan of water on medium heat. Set aside.

2. Mix together the peanut butter and butter in a large mixing bowl. Add the powdered sugar and the graham cracker crumbs.

3. Combine until no dry ingredients remain. Press by hand into a 13″ x 9″ x 2″ glass pan.

4. Spread the melted chocolate chips over the pressed mixture using an off-set spatula.

5. Before refrigerating, cut into small squares. These are good to go when the chocolate is completely set.

missjunebug finds these so rich you’ll only need one small square to satisfy! Unless you are Mr.JB, of course.

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missjunebug’s JBGranny’s Sponge Cake

Sweet! Simple! Sensational! Photo by mjb2010
Sweet! Simple! Sensational! Photo by mjb2010

What could be simpler than this delicious JBGranny’s Sponge Cake recipe? Follow the pictures to get one of your own to snack on! All you need is 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of flour, 4 eggs, separated, and the rind of one lemon!

Separate those four eggs! Beat the egg whites to soft peaks! Photo by mjb2010
Separate those four eggs! Beat the egg whites to soft peaks! Photo by mjb2010
Gently fold in the flour to the beaten egg yolks and sugar. Photo by mjb2010
Gently fold in the flour to the beaten egg yolks and sugar. Photo by mjb2010
Fold in the egg whites with care! Photo by mjb2010
Fold in the egg whites with care! Photo by mjb2010
Add the grated lemon rind to the mixture. Photo by mjb2010
Add the grated lemon rind to the mixture. Photo by mjb2010
Ready for the 350 degree oven for 30 minutes! Photo by mjb2010
Ready for the 350 degree oven for 30 minutes! Photo by mjb2010
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missjunebug’s Not Key Lime Pie

Oh. My. Yes. Not Key Lime Pie Perfection! Photo by mjb2010
Oh. My. Yes. Not Key Lime Pie Perfection! Photo by mjb2010

missjunebug thinks the lazy days of summer call for lazy desserts like her missjunebug’s Not Key Lime Pie, a cool and citrusy dessert that’s…well…as easy as pie!

Here’s all you need to do to make a delightful summery dessert that’s fresh and delicious!

Everything you need for your crust! Photo by mjb2010
Everything you need for the crust! Photo by mjb2010

Graham Cracker Pie Crust

1 pkg. graham crackers (1 ¼ cups)

3 T. sugar

5 T. butter, melted

Rolling pin the graham crackers into crumbs in a large Ziploc bag. Pour into 9” pie plate. Add sugar and blend with crumbs. Add melted butter and press down into pie pan as well as up the sides of the pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes.

Not Key Lime Pie Filling

3 eggs yolks

1 can Carnation Sweetened Condensed Milk

½ c. lime juice (Larger Persian limes work just fine for Not Key Lime Pie!)

2 tsp. lime zest

Beat egg yolks with hand mixer until smooth and creamy looking, about 2-3 minutes.

Add condensed milk slowly, using hand mixer to incorporate, about 3-4 minutes.

Blend in the lime juice and zest. Pour into pie filling and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until firm.

Add three egg yolks and voila! Photo by mjb2010
Add three egg yolks and voila! Photo by mjb2010

Separate yolks in the palm of your hand. Photo by mjb2010
Separate yolks in the palm of your hand. Photo by mjb2010
Mix until smooth. Photo by mjb2010
Mix until smooth. Photo by mjb2010
Mix in the sweetened condensed milk! Photo by mjb2010
Mix in the sweetened condensed milk! Photo by mjb2010
Add the not key lime juice. Photo by mjb2010
Add the not key lime juice. Photo by mjb2010
Don't forget the not key lime zest! Photo by mjb2010
Don't forget the not key lime zest! Photo by mjb2010
Pour into graham cracker pie crust! Photo by mjb2010
Pour into graham cracker pie crust! Photo by mjb2010
Ready for the oven! Photo by mjb2010
Ready for the oven! Photo by mjb2010
The delightful result: Not Key Lime Pie! Photo by mjb2010
The delightful result: Not Key Lime Pie! Photo by mjb2010

Optional Topping

1 cup Horizon Organic Heavy Whipped Cream

2-3 T. granulated sugar

Whip up the cream with a hand mixer. Gradually add the sugar and whip until the cream forms soft peaks. Slather on top of the Not Key Lime Pie and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Yum x 10!

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missjunebug’s Lemony Good Sour Cream Muffins!

Lemony x 10! Photo by mjb2010
Lemony x 10! Photo by mjb2010

missjunebug loves muffins and occasionally indulges in the semi-healthy mega-delicious varieties. The missjunebug Lemony Good Sour Cream Muffin recipe definitely qualifies for that designation. For all health foodies out there, please feel free to adapt away with whole wheat flour and less sugar and no butter, but for missjunebug, she’ll keep the white ingredients and only eat these delicious lemony treats every once in a while! The perfect compromise for optimal eating! And missjunebug can’t think of a better spring or summer breakfast treat served along side a slab o’ slices of Farmer John’s Classic Bacon, cooked up crisp-delicious! (jk, health foodies!)

missjunebug’s Lemony Good Sour Cream Muffins

(adapted from 1-2-3 Bake in Parade July 11, 2010)

2 cups King Arthur unbleached white flour or white whole wheat flour (for your h.f’s out there)

2/3 cup C & H sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. Kosher salt

1 lemon, zested and juiced

3/4 cup Daisy or TJ’s sour cream

2 large organic eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. lemon extract

1 stick butter, melted

India Tree Sparkling Sugar-Bright White (optional)

Prep dry ingredients first: Mix together with a whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and lemon zest.

Prep wet ingredients next: Mix together lemon juice, sour cream, eggs, vanilla and lemon extracts, and melted butter.

Prep dry and wet ingredients separately! Photo by mjb2010
Prep dry and wet ingredients separately! Photo by mjb2010

Mix the dry and the wet ingredients together. Stir in a kind and gentle way, just enough to combine. Don’t worry about any tiny lumps!

Mix Gently! Tiny Lumps Allowed! Photo by mjb2010
Mix Gently! Tiny Lumps Allowed! Photo by mjb2010

Spoon batter into paper-lined muffin tin. Sprinkle with India Tree Sparkling Sugar-Bright White for a bakery finish! Bake 20-22 minutes at 350 degrees. Let rest five minutes before sampling! Enjoy!

Any Old Muffin Tin Will Do!! Photo by mjb2010
Any Old Muffin Tin Will Do!! Photo by mjb2010

Let rest five minutes before sampling! Enjoy!

The Perfect Summer Muffin! Photo by mjb2010
The Perfect Summer Muffin! Photo by mjb2010
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Tiny Things Part Trois

Pleiades Star Cluster
Image via Wikipedia
Tiny Pancakes for Le Petit Dejeuner! Get it??? Photo by mjb2010
Tiny Pancakes for Le Petit Dejeuner! Get it??? Photo by mjb2010

missjunebug made pancakes this morning, nice and thin like her dear JBGranny used to make a long, long day ago. JBG always used Bisquick, but missjunebug prefers the efficacy of Krusteaz Pancake Mix! Still, it didn’t take long before mjb got a little silly doing it. JBGranny’s were always silver dollar sized and she and her JBBro just loved them with the Log Cabin! But missjunebug did JBG one better and made pancakes that fit right in with her Tiny Things Collection–remember Petite Pirate, Nifty Ninja, Small Ball, and the World’s Tiniest Pencil?

If these little pancakes were a constellation they’d look a little like the Pleiades viewed from Earth, of course, to approximate the tininess of them!

Sometimes when the larger things in life get too serious and too complicated, it’s good to get a little silly and go really, really tiny. It never fails to bring a tiny smile to missjunebug’s face!

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missjunebug’s Homemade Breakfast Bars: Semi-Healthy, Mega Delicious!

A Plateful of Goodness: missjunebug's Homemade Breakfast Bars!! Photo by mjb2010
A Plateful of Goodness: missjunebug's Homemade Breakfast Bars!! Photo by mjb2010

missjunebug has been comfort cooking lately and one of her fav comfort foods is a little breakfast treat called missjunebug’s Homemade Breakfast Bars which she adapted from a recipe given to her by one of her best students at the community college where she taught a long day ago.

missjunebug can’t say enough good things about these treats: grainy, sweet, easy to make and oh so easy to eat! Without further ado, missjunebug introduces you to

missjunebug’s Homemade Breakfast Bars

Ingredients

3/4 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (mjbTip: store in frig to keep fresh!)

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 cups Quaker Oats Old-Fashioned Oatmeal

1/4 cup Kretschmer Wheat Germ (Also store in frig after opening!)

1 1/2 cups jam of your choice (mjbFavs: boisenberry, raspberry, red plum, and blackberry)

Directions

Cream butter and sugar until well blended in your Kitchen-Aid mixer…you have one, don’t you? Mix in remaining ingredients except for the jam.

Press down well 1/2 the mixture into a buttered-down 13″ X 9″ glass baking dish. Spread jam evenly over the top using an offset spatula for smooth and even distribution of the jam.

Top with remaining crumble mixture, pressing lightly.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until light brown. While warm, cut into bars, 2″ X 1 1/2.” As they cool, they will set up nicely.

Enjoy for breakfast with a big glass of milk or a warm cup of coffee. Delicious!! You’ll never need to buy Nutri-Grain bars again…no offense NG.

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missjunebug’s Marvy Marinade for Flank Steak: Delicious x 10!!

Flank Steak with missjunebug's Marvy Marinade! Photo by mjb2010
Flank Steak with missjunebug's Marvy Marinade! Photo by mjb2010

missjunebug and Mr.JB recently collaborated on a great send-off dinner for ElderJB. (We miss him tons already, but what a great visit!!) Flank steak, a relatively inexpensive cut of meat, can be dressed up to perfection with a good pounding and the right marinade. missjunebug suggests you find the right culinary tenderizing hammer and then slather the pounded-not-quite-to-a-pulp flank steak with this marinade. Throw it on the barbie (not the doll, please!) and grill until medium rare, about six minutes a side. Cook up some grilled veggies: mushrooms, yellow, red, orange, and green bell peppers–the more color, the better, and lots and lots of onions for the perfect side dish. Throw a baked potato on the plate and missjunebug assures you, you will have the best meal ever to serve to family and friends.

missjunebug’s Marvy Marinade

1 cup Kikkoman Soy Sauce

1/4 cup lime juice

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon Colman’s Mustard Powder (dry mustard)

A generous grind of black pepper (1/4 teaspoon-1/2 teaspoon)

A sprinkle of Kosher salt

A sprinkle of garlic powder

Whisk together all the ingredients in a shallow baking dish large enough to hold the flank steak. Be sure to mix in all the mustard. It will try to clump up in the liquid. Carefully place the meat in the dish and press it down so that the top is covered with the marinade. Flip the meat over and press down gently again so the marinade completely covers the meat. Place in the frig for up to 3 hours so the marinade can work its magic. Grill 6 minutes a side, slice on the bias, nice and thin and serve with grilled veggies and a big ole baked potato with all the toppings!

Delicious Sides: Grilled Veggies and Baked Potato Pile High! Photo by mjb2010
Delicious Sides: Grilled Veggies and Baked Potato Piled High! Photo by mjb2010
Flank Steak: Up Close and Delicious! Photo by mjb2010
Flank Steak: Up Close and Delicious! Photo by mjb2010
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Side Dish Extraordinaire! missjunebug’s Golden Beets and Brussel Sprouts!

Golden Beets Pre-Roasting! Beautiful! Photo by mjb2010
Golden Beets Pre-Roasting! Beautiful! Photo by mjb2010

missjunebug knows what you are thinking. Beets?? Puhleeze. Brussel sprouts? She has got to be kidding. But trust her. This is one of the tastiest vegetable side dishes you will ever eat. Alone beets can be a little hard to take. And those little green mini-cabbages can sometimes be a little bitter. But with a light hand, a little olive oil, a handful of sliced shallots, and toasted almonds: Voilà!! You have just created an extraordinarily tasty and colorful sidedish! missjunebug won’t even mention how healthy it is for you!

Try this little photo recipe on for size and flavor! You won’t be sorry!

missjunebug’s Golden Beets and Brussel Sprouts (adapted from an online recipe from missjunebug can’t remember where)

Ingredients

10 or so medium-sized golden beets

12 or so brussels sprouts

1 shallot, peeled and sliced

Olive oil

2-3 Tbsp sliced almonds, toasted

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Step 1

1. Roast the beets in the oven at 350°F for an hour or so. Roasting will allow the flavor of the beets to develop fully. After roasting, let them cool enough so that you can easily peel them. Then chop into 1 x 1/2 inch chunks.

Golden Beets Post Roasting! Delicious! Photo by mjb2010
Golden Beets Post Roasting! Delicious! Photo by mjb2010
After Roasting, Give Those Beets a Little Trim! Photo by mjb2010
After Roasting, Give Those Beets a Little Trim! Photo by mjb2010


2. Peel outer leaves of the brussel sprouts and trim stems. On the stem mark a little X with your knife to ensure even cooking. Parboil brussel sprouts in a small saucepan of boiling water for 3 minutes. Test for doneness by cutting one in half. They should be not quite done. They will finish cooking when they are added to the beets. Cut each sprout in half and set aside.

The Side Dish Extraordinaire Triumvirate: Golden Beets, Brussel Sprouts, Shallots! Photo by mjb2010
The Side Dish Extraordinaire Triumvirate: Golden Beets, Brussel Sprouts, Shallots! Photo by mjb2010

3. Slice the shallots then grab a good-sized skillet. Heat 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat and add the shallot slices. Stir and cook until the shallots are translucent. Add one more tablespoon of the oil and turn up the heat a just a little.

4. Gently toast almond slices in a skillet on the stove top at medium heat. Stir frequently until lightly brown. Set aside to cool.

The Secret Ingredient! Sliced Almonds, Gently Toasted! Photo by mjb2010
The Secret Ingredient! Sliced Almonds, Gently Toasted! Photo by mjb2010

5. Add the brussel sprouts and beets to the skillet. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another minute or two, then add those delicious almond slices for the finishing touch!

Ta Da! Golden Beets and Brussel Sprouts Ready to Serve! Photo by mjb2010
Ta Da! Golden Beets and Brussel Sprouts Ready to Serve! Photo by mjb2010

Serves 3-4.

missjunebug encourages you to say “Yes!!” to vegetables, even the strange ones like golden beets and brussel sprouts!

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KFC Coleslaw: missjunebug Style

Simple and Simply Delicious Coleslaw Ingredients! Photo by mjb2010
Simple and Simply Delicious Coleslaw Ingredients! Photo by mjb2010

When missjunebug gets a craving for fast food her top pick is KFC. But missjunebug does fast food with a difference. She skips the chicken and goes straight to the sides: green beans (oniony-good), mashed potatoes (reminiscent of her high school cafeteria m.p.! Go Cougars!), coleslaw (creamy and crispy simultaneously!) and a peach ice tea for her beverage. This is mjb’s idea of the perfect fast food lunch!

missjunebug makes her choices partly on taste and partly on principle. The KFC sides taste delicious and are very calorie conservative. But matters of taste are not everything.  Michael Pollan (Food Rules “eat food.” “mostly plants.” “not too much.”) and Mark Bittman (How to Cook Everything; How to Cook Everything Vegetarian; Food Matters) have been instrumental in reforming her eating habits into vegetarian by day, omnivore by night, where meat, chicken, and fish assume the role of mere condiments on her veggie and whole-grain filled dinner plate. Eating low on the food chain just feels better to missjunebug!

Does that mean she doesn’t enjoy the occasional In-N-Out Burger? Absolutely not! But she does go with a single with cheese instead of a double-double or a 4×4 animal style! There really is something to be said for moderation in all things, but believe her when she says it’s taken missjunebug a lifetime to learn that lesson!

So last night when missjunebug was preparing pulled pork sandwiches for Mr.JB and ElderJB, she decided to whip up some KFC-style coleslaw, too. The pulled pork was super easy to pull off because missjunebug just opened up the StoneRidge Ranch Pulled Pork in BBQ Sauce package, plopped it in a baking dish, and heated it up for 2o minutes at 350 in the oven. Could not be simpler or more delicious. Which brings missjunebug back to her Coleslaw Homage to KFC Recipe:

KFC Coleslaw: missjunebug Style

8 cups finely diced cabbage (about 1 head)

1/3 cup diced carrot

1/3 cup diced green bell pepper

3 tablespoons minced red onion

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup sour cream

1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar

2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions

Finely dice cabbage, carrots, and green bell pepper.

Place cabbage and carrot/bell pepper mixture into large bowl and add minced red onion.

Whisk together remaining ingredients to form a creamy dressing.

Pour over vegetable mixture and mix thoroughly.

Cover bowl and refrigerate several hours or overnight before serving.

Makes a crap-ton and is the perfect accompaniment to Pulled Pork Sammiches in Q Sauce! Enjoy!

GiNormous Amounts of missjunebug's Coleslaw! Photo by mjb2010
GiNormous Amounts of missjunebug's Coleslaw! Photo by mjb2010
Up Close and Coleslaw-y! Photo by mjb2010
Up Close and Coleslaw-y! Photo by mjb2010
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El Fenix Tacos missjunebug Style

Mr. TacoHead Says "Plate Me Up!"  Photo by mjb2009
Mr. TacoHead Says "Plate Me Up!" Photo by mjb2009

missjunebug craves Tex-Mex food on a regular basis. Unfortunately, she’s about 1500 miles from Texas so it’s not so easy to find. She’s tried to replicate a few Tex-Mex dishes in her own kitchen with some success. Recently, she created her version of El Fenix Tacos that were reminiscent of the crunchy, creamy, meaty tacos the classic restaurant offers up by the hundreds on any given day in Dallas, Texas.

Here’s missjunebug’s El Fenix Taco Facsimile in Photos!

Step One:

Start With Some Basics!  Photo by mjb2009
Start With Some Basics! Photo by mjb2009

Step Two:

The Secret Ingredient? Add a couple of cooked potatoes to the ground beef mixture!  Photo by mjb2009
The Secret Ingredient? Add a couple of cooked potatoes to the ground beef mixture! Photo by mjb2009

Step Three:

Stir in the water and the Taco Seasoning! Yum!  Photo by mjb2009
Stir in the water and the Taco Seasoning! Yum! Photo by mjb2009

Step Four:

Cut up the veggie & cheese accoutrement!  Photo by mjb2009
Cut up the veggie & cheese accoutrement! Photo by mjb2009

Step Five:

Add a little squeeze of lemon, a little sugar, salt, and pepper. Mix! Stuff taco!   Photo by mjb2009
Add a little squeeze of lemon, a little sugar, salt, and pepper. Mix! Stuff taco! Photo by mjb2009

Step Six:

Eat The Delicious Result! Viva El Fenix!  Photo by mjb2009
Eat The Delicious Result! Viva El Fenix! Photo by mjb2009

Nostalgic for Magic Cookie Bars missjunebug Style

The Square Perfected!  Photo by mjb2009
The Square Perfected! Photo by mjb2009

There’s nothing to eat in missjunebug’s home right now. She has no eggs, no milk, one or two sad pieces of fruit, a few brussel sprouts, some ho-hum cereals, and a few cartons of yogurt. But she found a goldmine in her pantry and decided to skip making dinner and go straight to dessert. She grabbed some graham crackers, a stick of butter, some Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk, some chocolate chips, some butterscotch chips, sweetened shredded coconut, and she was in business. This is the world’s easiest recipe and affords the most delicious result.

Here’s the general procedure: Smash up a package of graham crackers in a Ziploc bag using a rolling pin. Pour them in a 9×13 glass baking dish and mix with the melted stick of butter. Pat down, throw on a layer of chocolate chips a cup or so, some butterscotch chips a cup or so, a good scattering of coconut, a cup or so, and yes, a cup or so of pecans. Pour on the sweetened condensed milk and pat down with an off-set spatula. Bake at 325° for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a rack, cut into tiny squares, because these are rich, and enjoy! Calorie count? missjunebug’s guess is around 100 per tiny square, but so worth it!

Perfect Poached Eggs? Yes We Can!

Pefection Plated!  Photo by mjb2009
Pefection Plated! Photo by mjb2009
Pefect Solid to Liquid Ratio, N'est-ce pas?  Photo by mjb2009
Pefect Solid to Liquid Ratio, N'est-ce pas? Photo by mjb2009

missjunebug finds herself with no eggs in the frig this Saturday morning. Not one. So she decided to write about eggs instead of going all the way out to the market to buy some.

Lately, missjunebug has had a wonderful time savoring many pages of that classic cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child et al. She ordered the new edition on Amazon the day after she saw the movie Julie and Julia (reviewed in August on another post). Someone told mjb that the cookbook was #1 with a bullet on Amazon.com after the movie opened. She doesn’t doubt that one little bit. It reminded her of the Oprah effect, but mjb digresses.

Thanks to the fabulous instructions there in, missjunebug was able to master the art of making the perfect poached egg, a skill that had thus far eluded her. The tricks are a wooden spoon, simmering water, and a little white vinegar. Gossamer threads of scattering white can be coaxed back onto the poaching egg with the wooden spoon so that when the 3 or 4 minutes have elapsed, Voilà! the cook can turn out the perfect poached egg on the plate. missjunebug assures you, it will be delicious.

In the meantime, hey, Mr.JB, pass the Cheerios.

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Bacon Special!

Plated and Ready to Serve! Smile, Baconface! Photo by mjb2009
Plated and Ready to Serve! Smile, Baconface! Photo by mjb2009

missjunebug made a wonderful discovery this weekend. Mr.JB requested bacon for breakfast and mjb could only groan. No, puhleeze, it’s such a mess! Ack X 10!

Then she remembered the cookmeister Ina G.’s recipe for cooking bacon in the oven. It is brilliant and super easy. Just line a baking sheet with foil and place a rack on top of the foil. Place the bacon side by side in one layer on the rack. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle about 2-3 tablespoons of pure maple syrup on the bacon. Pop back into the over for about five minutes. It will crisp up beautifully and the maple syrup adds a sugary crunch to the divine saltiness of the bacon.

Oh. my. yes. It is delicious.

mjbTip: When you pull the pan out of the oven after the 20 or so minutes, watch out for the hot grease, now in the bottom of the baking sheet. Try mjb’s method of dabbing it up with paper towels before putting it back in the oven for the final post-syrup crisp-up. It helps make for a quick clean-up afterwards, too!

If you’re a fan of  bacon (and not kosher!), try this awesome way for makin’ bac’n. You will love it.

So simple! So delicious!  Photo by mjb2009
So simple! So delicious! Photo by mjb2009

Lucky Dog!

Good Enough to Eat! Oh yes!  Photo by mjb2009
Good Enough to Eat! Oh yes! Photo by mjb2009

missjunebug has been trying to watch her calories lately so naturally, all she thinks about is food. She’s got a cruise coming up so she needs to shed about 1o Defensive Pounds. That is, she needs to counteract the normal pound-a-day weight gain on a cruise by losing that amount in advance. It’s not really weight loss, of course, merely maintenance of the sorry status quo. Oh well.

So instead of eating over her allotted calories today, she decided to write about Great Past Meals. Actually not too far past. Mr.JB who hails from Chicagoland made his own special Father’s Day dinner: A fine facsimile of the world renowned Chicago Dog. In a quick shopping trip to the fab Smart and Final, missjunebug gathered all the prerequisites except she had to substitute Ball Park franks for Vienna Redhots. Mr.JB and she had tucked away in their frig the two secret ingredients acquired in their last trip to Chicago: neon-green Vienna Chicago-style relish and Soala’s Hot Mix Giardiniera, a super-heated pepper mix. Mr.JB lined up the ingredients and went to work, piling on the tomatoes, onions, cucumber slices, mustard, and finishing off with the relish, the peppers and a quick sprinkling of celery salt.

Yum x 10.

Homemade Graham Crackers: Simply Delicious, But Not Simple!

A Jarful of Wholesome Homemade Graham Crackers!  Photo by mjb2009
A Jarful of Wholesome Homemade Graham Crackers! Photo by mjb2009

missjunebug put her knitting down long enough to whip up some homemade graham crackers based on the excellent Smitten Kitchen recipe based on the excellent Nancy Silverton’s Pastries from the La Brea Bakery and 101 Cookbooks recipe. No way to go wrong with that pedigree!

mjb did make a few changes to the SK recipe, substituting King Arthur white whole wheat flour for a cup of the white flour and using white sugar sprinkles instead of cinnamon sugar. missjunebug thinks cinnamon sugar belongs mostly on cinnamon toast. This recipe is totally do-able but it does take some time.

Here’s missjunebug’s Homemade Graham Cracker Recipe (adapted from Smitten Kitchen et al.):

Ingredients

1 and 1/2 cups plus 2 T. unbleached all-purpose King Arthur flour

1 cup King Arthur white whole wheat flour

1 cup dark brown sugar, packed

3/4  teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

7  tablespoons unsalted butter, well chilled/frozen, cut into 1-inch cubes

1/3 cup clover honey

5 tablespoons whole milk

2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

Topping
3 tablespoons white sugar sprinkles

Follow the pictures:

Step One

Combine vanilla, honey, and milk.   Photo by mjb2009
Combine vanilla, honey, and milk. Photo by mjb2009

Step Two

Stir together until smooth.  Photo by mjb2009
Stir together until smooth. Photo by mjb2009

Step Three

Combine brown sugar, kosher salt, and both flours.  Photo by mjb2009
Combine brown sugar, kosher salt, baking soda, and both flours. Photo by mjb2009

Step Four

Combine thoroughly in your mixer. Look at it go! Photo by mjb2009
Combine thoroughly in your mixer. Look at it go! Photo by mjb2009

Step Five

Add the chunks of butter and give them a good paddling!  Photo by mjb2009
Add the chunks of butter and give them a good paddling! Photo by mjb2009

Step Six

Add the wet ingredients!  Photo by mjb2009
Add the wet ingredients! Looks like a fumarole! Photo by mjb2009

Step Seven

Mix until the dough comes together.  Photo by mjb2009
Mix until the dough comes together. Photo by mjb2009

Step Eight

Pat the dough out on plastic wrap, wrap, and refrigerate overnight.  Photo by mjb2009
Pat the dough out on plastic wrap, wrap, and refrigerate overnight. Photo by mjb2009

Step Nine

Roll out to 1/8 inch thick, using plenty of flour to prevent sticking.  Photo by mjb2009
Roll out to 1/8 inch thick, using plenty of flour to prevent sticking. Photo by mjb2009

Step Ten

Cut into squares! Photo by mjb2009
Cut into squares! Photo by mjb2009

See how the knitting needle works!!  Photo by mjb2009
Place squares on parchment-lined baking sheet, sprinkle with sugar, and use knitting needle to make graham crackery markings!! Photo by mjb2009

Step Eleven

The perfect graham crackery markings!  Photo by mjb2009
The perfect graham crackery markings! Photo by mjb2009

Step Twelve

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven.

Step Thirteen

Oops! missjunebug couldn't wait! Delicious!
Oops! missjunebug couldn't wait! Delicious!

Peach Pie in Pictures!

The Delicious Result! Photo by mjb2009
The Delicious Result! Photo by mjb2009

missjunebug has been busy in her kitchen! Yesteday’s Peach Pie Project turned out well enough to share. Occasionally, her sons ElderJB and TinyJB ask for recipes they remember from their growing up, so she thought how cool to keep adding a few on her little blog for them that they would be able to access anytime they needed to! Of course, missjunebug is happy to have any of her legion of fans try out her recipes, too!

Nothing too extraordinary about this recipe, except the results! This peach pie has the Mr.JB Seal of Approval! A rare and wonderful thing, believe it.

So here it is in words and pictures!

missjunebug’s Peach Pie

6 medium-sized peaches, peeled

1/2 cup organic white sugar (oxymoron!)

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup flour

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 T. fresh lemon juice

Pillsbury Roll Out Pie Crusts (a  fab shortcut!) or your own homemade one (if you have the time).

Step One:

Perfectly Peeled Peaches!  Photo by mjb2009
Perfectly Peeled Peaches! Photo by mjb2009

Step Two:

Cinnamon! Nutmeg! Lemon Juice! Photo by mjb2009
Slice Those Peaches and Add Cinnamon! Nutmeg! Lemon Juice! Photo by mjb2009

Step Three:

Use a Whisk to Mix the Brown and White Sugars With the Flour!  Photo by mjb2009
Use a Whisk to Mix the Brown and White Sugars With the Flour! Photo by mjb2009

Step Four:

Mix the Peaches with the Sugar/Flour Mix! Photo by mjb2009
Mix the Peaches with the Sugar/Flour Mix! Photo by mjb2009

Step Five:

Slap that Piecrust in the Pan! Don't Take Any Grief From It!  Photo by mjb2009
Slap that Piecrust in the Pan! Don't Take Any Grief From It! Photo by mjb2009

Step Six:

Pour Pretty Peaches Into the Bottom Crust!  Photo by mjb2009
Pour Pretty Peaches Into the Bottom Crust! Photo by mjb2009

Step Seven:

Place and Seal Top Crust and Finger Crimp the Edge! Photo by mjb2009
Place and Seal Top Crust and Finger Crimp the Edge! Photo by mjb2009

Step Eight:

Cut Vents into the Crust in a Pretty Pattern to Let the Steam Escape!  Photo by mjb2009
Cut Vents into the Crust in a Pretty Pattern to Let the Steam Escape! Photo by mjb2009

Step Nine:

Just as Pictured: 350 Degrees for 45 minutes!  Photo by mjb2009
Just as Pictured: 350 Degrees for 45 minutes! Photo by mjb2009

Step Ten:

Into the Oven, Lowest Rack! Photo by mjb2009
Into the Oven, Lowest Rack! Photo by mjb2009

Step Eleven:

Oops! Two pieces missing already! Photo by mjb2009
Quick! Sprinkle Sugar on Top! Oops! Two Pieces Missing Already! Photo by mjb2009

What could be simpler than this? Eating it!

missjunebug also recommends having a piece for breakfast. Seriously, there’s nothing better than a big glass of milk and a fine piece of peach pie in the morning! Enjoy!

Great Grilled Cheese!

Grilled Cheese to Cry For!!  Photo by mjb2009
Grilled Cheese to Clamor For!! Photo by mjb2009

missjunebug has been trying to watch her calories lately and all she can think about is the great grilled cheese sandwich she had a few weeks ago at Ruby’s Diner in Palm Springs. missjunebug has a real thing for the great grilled cheese sandwich, one of the definitive comfort foods. Another great place for great grilled cheese is the Cheesecake Factory where one grilled cheese sandwich is large enough to feed a family of four and have some leftover. mjb exaggerates only slightly.

Of course, there is always the make-your-own grilled cheese sandwich which may be the best one of all because it comes straight from the pan to the plate to the mouth still hot and melty. Oh my yes, that’s the best.

Now missjunebug expects that everyone knows how to make a perfect grilled cheese sandwich. After all, it’s just two slices of bread buttered on the outside and pretty much any cheese you choose in between. Throw in a pan sizzling with butter and voila! What could be simpler? missjunebug has just one thing to add: her secret ingredient. She spreads a very thin layer of Miracle Whip on the bread before adding the cheese! It provides just the slightest piquant edge to what otherwise might be a tad too bland. Trust her! She knows what she’s talking about!

Even though April is past and with it National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month, it’s not too late (or too early!) to start practicing for next year’s celebration! Say cheese please and get grilling!

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Divine Deviled Eggs!

Devilishly Delicious!   Photo by mjb2009
Devilishly Delicious! Photo by mjb2009

missjunebug finds herself with a plethora of perfectly hard-boiled eggs that she plans to put to good use as appetizers before the Easter spiral-cut ham dinner. Here’s her fab recipe that she adapted from an old school Betty Crocker cookbook, the one with the tomato red/orange cover.

Divine Deviled Eggs

6 hard-boiled eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 -1 teaspoon  Coleman’s dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon cracked pepper

6-8 tablespoons Miracle Whip Salad Dressing

Peel the eggs. Cut lengthwise. Slip out yolks and mash well. Add seasonings and salad dressing. Adjust salad dressing to taste and consistency for filling the egg whites. Heap up the mixture on the egg whites and garnish with a pinch of paprika, dill weed, & parsley for color as desired. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Easy ingredients! Quick Prep!  Photo by mjb2009
Easy ingredients! Quick Prep! Photo by mjb2009
Try a melon baller for filling the whites!  Photo by mjb2009
Try a melon baller for filling the whites! Photo by mjb2009
Almost done!   Photo by mjb2009
Almost done! Photo by mjb2009

In Praise of PAAS

The Gold Standard in Egg Decorating   Photo by mjb2009
The Gold Standard in Egg Decorating Photo by mjb2009

missjunebug has a warm place in her little beetle heart for PAAS. This old school Easter egg decorating kit was, is, and always will be the gold standard of egg decorating kits. Jazzier ones come and go with stickers, add ons, and wacky stencils, but PAAS abides.

This year even PAAS updated itself just a little bit with the PAAS Scribblers for all you artistes who like to wax crayon outside the lines. In this kit instead of that crayon there are 3 Dual-Tip Markers that use food color ink.  Hmmm. missjunebug will get back to you in about a week with the results. She’s a little skeptical of replacing that reliable wax crayon that masked the egg from dye to create cool designs. We shall see.

In the meantime to prepare for the big decorating day, mjb would like to refresh her readers collective memory about how to boil the perfect hard-boiled egg. There are two methods: the hard way and the easy way.

The Hard Way to Hard Boil Eggs

Place eggs in saucepan and cover with water until the waterline is about an inch above the eggs. Turn up the heat to medium-high and bring to a rapid boil. Remove from heat immediately and let the eggs stand in the water for 20-22 minutes. When the sit-in-the-hot water time is up, immediately fill the pan with cold water to prevent any further cooking. You want to avoid that heinous, unattractive gray sulfur ring around the yolk. Dry off your eggs; they are ready for PAAS!

The Easy Way to Hard Boil Eggs

Place eggs in saucepan along with the egg-shaped Egg-Perfect® Eggtimer that changes color when the eggs are done! Voilà! mjb loves the easy way!

The Easy Way!   Photo by mjb2009
The Easy Way! Photo by mjb2009

Whichever way you boil your eggs, if you celebrate Easter, follow up with PAAS.  To its infinite credit, “PAAS packs over 125 years of imagination and color into every egg decorating kit!” If you don’t celebrate Easter, why not use mjb’s Hard Boiled Egg instructions to make the perfect egg for your Passover Seder? If you don’t celebrate Easter or Passover, mjb feels a little bad for you, but why not make some perfect hard-boiled eggs to eat anyway!?

mjbTip: Be sure to look for the best Deviled Egg recipe in a Post-Easter Post on missjunebug.com. You’ll have a recipe that can use up all those eggstra hard-boiled eggs when the Easter egg hunt is over.

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missjunebug’s Best Homemade Granola

Homemade granola, anyone?    Photo by mjb2009
Homemade granola, anyone? Photo by mjb2009

After opening her Arriving Home Ashram in the privacy of her own home about a year ago, missjunebug has been on a mission to improve her diet, to exercise more, to meditate regularly (ok, semi-regularly), and to try out healthier recipes in her Arriving Home Ashram kitchen.

One of her greatest successes so far is a granola recipe she adapted from one on the SmittenKitchen blog which SK says they adapted from Calle Ocho in New York City. So this recipe is an adaptation of an adaptation but she’s pretty sure that’s how things work in the world of online recipes.

This recipe is so much fun to make that peeps who have a taste for granola should be making their own at home. It is that good and that easy. Do yourself a favor and try it. The Arriving Home Ashram and missjunebug remind you, however, that granola is a calorie dense food, so choose a small bowl for serving and don’t fill it up to the rim. Try it with skim or 1 percent organic milk or vanilla almond milk for extra sweetness.

You can even use soymilk, if you want to thread the needle of controversy that surrounds this food product currently. Personally, mjb is off soy for good, but as she is fond of saying, De gustibus non est disputandum. To each his own taste, because there’s just no accounting for it!

Although the assembly of the granola is super easy, the baking is super tricky, so please follow missjunebug’s caveats if you decide to make her Best Homemade Granola. Her learning curve required a dial back of the baking time to no more than 20-22 minutes at 350 degrees, otherwise it is all over but the crying and the scraping of burnt granola bits off the Silpat. Trust mjb, she knows this from personal experience. Watch the bake time! Check at 15 and every 3-4 minutes thereafter.

Ingredients

3 cups old-fashioned oats

1 cup sweetened flake coconut

1/3 cup sliced almonds

1/2 cup pecans (substitute walnuts if you prefer a little heathier granola)

1/3 cup unroasted pepitas (hulled green pumpkin seeds)

1/3 cup brown sugar (mjb likes dark, but light brown works well, too)

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon French Grey Sea Salt (mjb recommends McCormick’s)

1/4 cup clover or orange blossom honey

1/4 cup canola oil

Combine ingredients in a big bowl and stir by hand or with a wooden spoon. Spread evenly on a couple of large cookie sheets. missjunebug uses Silpat-lined ones to make clean up easy. Bake at 350 degrees in the middle rack of the oven. Check after 12-15 minutes, stir occasionally, and watch for the burn at the edges. mjb usually pulls hers out of the oven by 20-22 minutes as she mentioned before, but each oven has its own quirks.

mjb admonishes, “Be vigilant!”

When the granola is golden brown and crisp, remove from the oven and spread out on paper towels to cool. Store in glass jars and add desired dried or fresh fruit only when you serve it. That way the granola stays fresh and crunchy in the glass jars for a couple of weeks. missjunebug re-purposes her Classico Spaghetti Sauce jars into Best Homemade Granola storage containers. (mjbMantra: ixnay lasticpay!)

mjbTip: If you measure and pour the oil first and then the honey, it’s easy to get every drop of honey out of the 1/4 cup measure.

missjunebug’s Best Homemade Granola is a wholegrain way to start the day that will prepare you for almost anything–including weeding! mjb says “Namaste and Bon Appétit” from the here at the Arriving Home Ashram.

Try some organic milk or Almond milk!  Photo by mjb 2009
Try some organic milk or almond milk! Photo by mjb2009
Yum. That was delicious & semi-healthy!    Photo by mjb2009
Yum. That was semi-healthy and mega-delicious! Photo by mjb2009

We Are All Pizza Chefs

img_27512
T.J.'s Ready to Roll Dough photo by mjb2009

missjunebug and her mr.junebug like to polish off Friday Fun Day (no better day of the week than Friday!) with the Friday Night Pizza Special. It begins with a quick trip to Trader Joe‘s which is THE happening place to be on Fridays between 4 and 6 pm. mjb has a tough time even finding a parking place because everybody, I mean everybody is there laying in supplies for the weekend.

Her latest and best find is TJ’s own brand of Plain or Wheat Ready to Bake Pizza Dough. No doubt the Wheat is healthier, but both are great for making your own homemade pizzas. mjb’s current favorites: Pizza Marguerite with fresh mozarella, fresh sliced Roma tomatoes, and fresh basil (sprinkled on after the bake) and The missjunebug House Special with Trader Giotto’s Fat Free Pizza Sauce (since when does pizza sauce have fat in it?) grated mozarella, pepperoni, red and yellow bell peppers, and red onion. The beauty part of this recipe is that the hard part’s already done by T.J.’s providing the ready-to-roll out dough. No floury mess. No tricky yeast! No mixing bowls!  It’s so easy!

Take the dough out of frig. Let it rest for about 20 minutes and roll out or hand pat into your greased pizza pan. mjb and mr.jb use the kind of pizza pan with the perforations to keep the crust crisp and tender. Try sprinkling cornmeal on the pan after greasing it. Yes, most of the cornmeal will fall through the holes but what sticks helps keep the crust from getting soggy. Also try baking the crust a bit before spreading on the sauce and the toppings. Anyway you do it, you will not be disappointed. It’s quick, easy, and super-delicious!

When the pizza’s done, serve it with the perfect under $5 bottle of R.C.T.J.W.F. Zinfandel Paso Robles California. It’s a “Really Cool Trader Joe’s Wine Find.” Yep, that’s exactly what the bottle says! Cheers!

Primo ingredients! Photo by mjb2009
Pretty fresh ingredients! Photo by mjb2009
img_2787
We ARE all Pizza Chefs! Believe it! Photo by mjb2009

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mjb’s Sweet Tea

A glass of sweet tea
Image via Wikipedia

To make the most delicious iced tea you’ve ever tasted try missjunebug’s recipe.You’ll need the following:

  • 7 Lipton Tea Bags
  • Half a lemon
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • A large pitcher of water

Fill the pitcher with water almost to the top (you have to allow room for the addition of sugar later, displacement and all that)

Pour half the water into a pan or tea kettle. Bring the water to a boil and then add the 7 teabags and turn off the heat. Let the tea steep in the water for a good 5-7 minutes.

In the meantime, pour the 3/4 cup sugar into the pitcher and squeeze in the lemon juice and throw in the rind when you’re finished squeezing out all the juice. Trust me, this is the secret of great sweet tea. When the steep is done, pour the tea into the pitcher and stir the sugar until it dissolves. Wait until it cools a bit, then serve over ice in a Texas-sized glass.

If you want to up the ante on the tea’s flavor next time, take some of the tea to make ice cubes so you get full strength tea through and through with no ice-cube-melt-dilution. That’s a little flavor-OCD but you might want to try it if you like a strong brew. Grab your glass and head to the porch.

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