Sunday, May 27, 2012
When I was a kid I used to hate meatloaf. My mom would try preparing it different ways, or serving it with ketchup, or putting it in a bun like a hamburger, but I just had it in my head that I didn’t like it and nothing could convince me otherwise. I was a pretty stubborn kid, a trait that Cole seems to have inherited from me. He also thinks meatloaf is yucky even though I try to make it more exciting, like making it in muffin form and adding interesting flavours to it, such as these ones with Greek flavours. Unfortunately, like his mother, he still wouldn’t eat it. I still have hope that he will one day like meatloaf, because I actually enjoy it a lot now. Somewhere along the path to adulthood I warmed to meatloaf, as I did to other foods I hated as a child, like macaroni and cheese. Now I can’t get enough of macaroni and cheese. Foods like meat loaf and mac & cheese are now my comfort foods, perhaps because they’re such a familiar part of my childhood, even if I didn’t like them very much at the time. I wonder what Cole will think of the foods he hates now when he matures into a man and leaves home. Will he miss the meals he once disliked and begin to seek them out because of the sense of nostalgia they hold? I like to think that he would.
Well, enough musings from me. Let’s talk about this meatloaf. I’ve started baking all my meatloaf in muffin tins, because it cuts down on the cooking time. Plus, it’s just more fun to eat meatloaf in mini form. I love these particular ones because of the feta cheese on top and the hint of lemon, garlic and oregano that give them such a wonderful Greek taste. The food processor is a great tool for dicing up the ingredients very finely so they’re dispersed evenly in the meat. If you have fresh oregano that would be even better to add with the parsley instead of dried oregano. I have some fresh oregano growing in a pot on my patio right now, so I can’t wait to give it a try. You can do a lot of fun flavour combinations in meatloaf, which is part of why I like it. What are some of your favourite ingredients to add to meatloaf?
Greek Meatloaf in Muffin Tins
1 slice of whole wheat bread
1/2 cup parsley
1/2 of an onion
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp lemon zest
0.5 kg extra lean ground beef
2-3 tbsp feta cheese
Place the slice of bread in a food processor and blend until it turns to crumbs. Pour the crumbs in a large bowl. Place parsley, onion, and garlic in the food processor and blend until ingredients are fully diced and combined. Add them to the bowl of bread crumbs. Add salt, pepper, oregano, lemon zest, egg and ground beef. Mix well until combined. Scoop meat mixture into a greased 6-cup muffin tin. Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese. Bake at 400F for 30 minutes or until meat has cooked through.
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Sunday, May 20, 2012
I love pretty much all types of dumplings. Whether they're wontons, gyozas, empanadas, samosas or perogies, I love biting into carblicious dough to uncover the yummy fillings hiding inside them. Not only are they fun to eat, they're also fun to make. The kids loved helping me make these wontons for our wonton soup. It was surprisingly easy to put them together; even 3-year old Bennett managed to make a few. I had to keep a close eye on him though, because he has a habit of sticking his fingers in his mouth, which is not a good idea when handling raw meat. Also, he decided he should dress up as Spiderman while making wontons and I had to make sure he didn't get his precious outfit messy. He likes to dress up as Spiderman in all sorts of situations, like going to the grocery store, to preschool, and playing in the backyard, so this is not an unusual scene in our house.
Here's Spidey joining us to make wontons.
Spidey takes off his mask, and it's...
Bennett?! He likes it when we act all surprised that he's the one under the mask. Cole seems more interested in the wontons though.
Cole was concentrating very hard, and he got the hang of it pretty quickly.
Next, Bennett (aka Spidey) had a turn.
Look at those muscles! He's been working out.
By the end we had filled up two plates with wontons. There were way too many of them for us to eat in one night, so I only used half of them for the soup and the rest I boiled and froze for later. I had extra meat too, so I fried it and added it to the soup. The kids enjoyed them, but they were a bit to big for them to eat whole so I cut them into smaller pieces. They tend to like meals more when they've helped make them. It took a lot longer than if I had just done it myself, but I think it's worth it if gets them to eat their dinner. I also think it's important for them to get involved with preparing meals at an early age. I'm hoping they'll gain an appreciation for cooking food and will continue to do so for their own families one day. That's my hope anyway. Whether or not it will actually happen remains to be seen, but for now I'm just enjoying quality time with my boys. They're pretty special little guys. Heck, one of them is Spiderman!
1 lb ground pork
1/4 lb peeled shrimp, finely chopped
1 small egg
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp diced green onion
45 wonton wrappers
6 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup chopped green onion
In a large bowl, mix together pork, shrimp, egg, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, ginger and green onion until thoroughly combined.
Place 1 tsp of meat mixture in the middle of a wonton wrapper. Wet the edges of the wrapper with water, then gather the ends together and squeeze them lightly to seal in the meat. Repeat until all wrappers are used. (If you have any meat mixture left over, you can fry it up and add it to the soup.)
For soup, bring chicken stock to boil and drop the wontons in. Cook for about 5 minutes until meat is cooked through. Garnish with green onion.
I hope you'll take a moment to vote for Food and Whine at Circle of Moms Top 25 Foodie Moms. I'm in the 60s right now but would love to get to the top 25 with your help. It only takes a second and you can vote every 24 hours. Thanks for your support!
Sunday, May 13, 2012
A fellow food blogger, Ashley from Ashley's Cooking Adventures, is expecting a baby next month! I was excited to join in a virtual baby shower for her and post a brunch recipe, but I unfortunately I was sick all last week and wasn't able to prepare anything. This post is dedicated to her, and what better day than Mother's Day to dedicate a post to a mother-to-be. I remember the Mother's Day when I was pregnant with my first child. I was visiting my parents on Vancouver Island so I could spend the day with my own mother. On the way back home, I saw they were giving chocolates to all the mothers as we boarded the ferry and I was surprised when the ticket agent gave one to me. "You're a mother too," she said to me with a smile. A mother! It seemed like such a foreign term to me. I hadn't really thought of myself as a mother yet, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that it was true. Even though I hadn't yet met the little baby growing inside me, I already worried incessantly about him and would do anything to protect him from harm. Here I am 6 years later with two kids and I essentially feel the same as I did then. I still worry and I'm still fiercely protective of my little ones, and I'm sure I'll continue to be even when they aren't so little anymore.
|Mother's Day 2006- My Mom and Me, 5 months pregnant with Cole.
Now how does this relate to bran muffins? It doesn't really. I can't think of a good segue for that one, except to say that muffins in general have been a popular item in my household since having children. I've baked them for visitors who came to see the new baby, I've baked them for myself when I was too busy nursing babies or chasing toddlers to sit for a proper meal, I've baked them for countless playdates and get-togethers with other moms, and I still bake them all the time for snacks and school lunches. They are the perfect food for moms with busy families. These particular muffins are my current favourites. One of the ladies at our daycare gave me the recipe. She baked them with the kids and they apparently loved them. I gave them a try and I must say that even though I usually don't love bran muffins that much, these are so moist and delicious. Best of all, they're a healthy snack that the kids will actually eat!
The Best Bran Muffins
2 cups all-bran cereal
2/3 cup boiling water
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp ground flax seed
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup fancy molasses
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425F. Grease or line a 12-cup muffin tin.
In a large bowl, pour boiling water over bran cereal. Let sit until cooled.
In another bowl, combine flour, flax, raisins, baking soda and salt.
In a measuring cup, whisk together oil, molasses, and egg with a fork. Add to cooled cereal along with buttermilk. Mix well, then add to dry ingredients, stirring until just combined.
Pour batter evenly into each muffin cup and bake for 15 minutes.
*Recipe can be doubled or tripled, and batter refrigerated for later use.
Happy Mother's Day to Ashley and all the mothers out there who take such good care of their kids. I hope you all had a wonderful day today. My day was very lovely; Tony actually made dinner all by himself tonight, so that was definitely the highlight of my day! What was your favourite part of Mother's Day this year?