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Working Girl likes Hungry Girl

May 12, 2010 By: almostgotit Category: recipe, recipes 3 Comments →

Today, Hungry Girl (aka Lisa Lillien) made over my recipe for rocky road fudge (an old family friend, remember, dearest sibs?) The original has 226 calories per tiny piece: the new version (made with — Ta Da!  — pumpkin!) has only 73.

You can watch fun Hungry Girl videos on YouTube, too. She’s not an “all-natural” cook, which some complain about… but then, “all natural” can have just as many calories as any processed food. While she recommends eating fresh fruit and veggies, blah blah blah, what’s she’s really about is “okay, this is the real-world” substitutes (or even FAKES!) for things — often fatty, fast-food, highly-processed, YUMMY CRAVE IT NOW things. Her breakfast egg mug recipes are GREAT! Very fast, tasty, and practically no calories at all.

I like her product reviews, too. So what if she earns money for them?  She certainly doesn’t pull punches when products are BAD!!

P.S.  — down 20 lbs and counting!  Yay, me!

Summer vacation pie: berry delicious

July 30, 2009 By: almostgotit Category: Uncategorized, berry pie, huckleberries, pie recipe, raspberry pie recipe, recipe, thimbleberries, vacation eating, vacation recipes 6 Comments →

red-huckleberry.jpg 
 Red Huckleberry (photo: Tarleton State University)

I’ve not read the “Twilight” books nor seen the movie, but we were clearly in Twilight Territory a few weeks ago when we visited La Push and Forks on the Washington coast, if the vampire coffee, vampire candy, vampire t-shirts, and the myriad of signs advertising Twilight tours, souvenirs, and photo ops were any indication.

Thousands of years before Bella and Edward arrived, however, the The Northwest Coastal Indians were noshing on salmon and berries, and that’s what we preferred, too.


Thimbleberry
(photo: Gardening-for-wildlife.com)

My sister’s house on Bainbridge Island, a few hours inland, provided us with a wide variety of native berries as well as her cultivated raspberries, too.  The red huckleberries were ripe in the woods, so we picked and picked and PICKED them until we had enough of the tiny jewels to make a single pie.

I had never sampled a thimbleberry before, but we threw a few of those into our buckets too.  Eating a thimbleberry is a little like eating a piece of wet felt, but the taste is extraordinary — sweet and rose-fragrant, like the best of raspberries.

It is a summer tradition of my family in the Pacific Northwest to make pies out of whatever berries we manage to pick, and a year or so ago I discovered the best berry pie recipe to date.  The berries are hardly cooked so they taste as fresh and sweet as can be.  As an added bonus, you can make this pie in a rental cabin that has no oven, if you purchase pre-baked pie crusts.

Summer Vacation Berry Pie

  • One pie shell, baked (make your own, or buy one.  We even tried a graham cracker one by mistake, and it worked.)
  • Enough fresh berries to fill the pie shell.  (Use any combination you like.  You can add other fresh fruit as well to help fill it out if not enough berries.  Sliced, pitted peaches are GREAT! )
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup water

Make/bake pie shell, if not using a purchased one.

Rinse and pick over the berries.  Mash some of the berries (1/2 cup or so) and set aside. 

Combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, water, and mashed berries in a saucepan, and heat over low heat for 10-15 minutes, until slightly thickened.   

Fill baked pie shell with fruit, pour the sugar mixture evenly over fruit, and chill for a few hours.

Auntie Almostgotit’s best playdough ever

July 29, 2009 By: almostgotit Category: Uncategorized, cooked playdough, cornstarch playdough, humor, parenting, playdough, playdough recipe, recipe, summer, vacation 2 Comments →

My six year old niece was so glad to see the Almostgotits that she drew this family portrait.  Er, that’s me on the left. 

A bit of an exaggeration, but it is true that I am a wee bit shorter than some.  This picture provoked a certain amount of joking at a certain Southern Auntie’s expense, as well (”She’s got legs like a little chee-wawa’s, bless her heart!”) But look, at least I have amazing muscles! It’s SUPER AUNTIE!

I love my nieces and nephews, and to prove it, while some of elder ones constructed their first summer berry pie, Almostgotit made the portrait artist some play dough of her own. 

Cooked home-made playdough, for those In The Know, is far superior to any other kind.  The usual kind with flour, cream of tartar and oil is great, but we tried this one so there would be enough flour left for the pies. 

6 year old’s verdict?  It was…

The Best Ever Playdough Ever

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 3/4 cup water
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Measure the baking soda and corn starch into a small sauce pan.  Scrunch your fingers through it to break up the lumps (fun!)  Add water, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.  As soon as the mixture gathers together (just starts to look like mashed potatoes), remove from the heat and let cool a little.  Child can then knead it into a smooth playdough, then divide into portions if desired to knead in some food coloring.  Store playdough in ziplock bags.

    Note: Don’t over cook this playdough or it will crumble when you use it.

Butternut squash gnocchi for the impoverished & unemployed

October 09, 2008 By: almostgotit Category: Uncategorized, butternut squash, butternut squash gnocchi recipe, butternut squash recipes, gnocchi, mushroom sauce, recipe, recipes, squash recipes 6 Comments →

Well, I guess the good news is I’m feeling a lot less lonely in my semi-employment these days.

Even better news is that I’m cooking at home more.  Hell, I even marinated something earlier in the week. 

Plus also, I made real live gnocchi totally from scratch!

My sister sent me this wonderfully autumnal recipe she adapted from Sunset Magazine (that’s Southern Living for Northwesterners, yo) and it is just as easy and tasty as she said it is. 

Nor could anyone in my family detect any nasty squishy squash component in these, only delightful, noodley-gnocchi-ness.

Butternut squash are not only very healthy — lots of vitamins and fiber – but also dirt cheap. Next year, I might even try growing some in my whiskey-barrel garden.

Butternut Squash Gnocchi

Serves 8 as a side dish, 4 as an entrée.

  • 1 butternut squash (2 lbs)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp each ground white pepper (we used black) and nutmeg
  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese or other hard cheese such as asiago.
  • fresh black pepper

1.  With a fork or sharp knife, poke holes all over squash; microwave on high 10 minutes.  Let sit until cool enough to handle.  Halve squash and scoop out seeds.  Flesh should be tender when scraped with a fork.  If it isn’t, microwave on high (cut side down) in 1 minute intervals until tender.  Let sit until cool enough to handle.  Scrape out flesh and mash until smooth.

2.  In large bowl, combine 2 cups squash, 1/2 tsp salt, white pepper, and nutmeg.  Stir in flour, 1 cup at a time, until a dough forms  (it will pull away from side of bowl).

3.  Turn dough out on a generously-floured surface.  Knead dough 10 or 12 times.

4.  Divide dough in half and cover 1 batch with plastic wrap.  On floured surface, roll other batch into a 3/4 inch thick rope and cut into 1/2 inch long pieces.  Put pieces on a floured baking sheet and set aside.  Repeat with remaining dough. 

5.  Bring large pot of salted water to a boil.  Boil gnocchi until they rise to surface, about 4 minutes.  Cook 30 seconds longer and then lift out with slotted spoon.  Gently toss with melted butter and cheese!

286 calories, 21% from fat, 9 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber.
 
I doubled the recipe and froze some: I put them on two floured cookie sheets as I sliced them and put the extra  cookie sheet in the freezer.  Once the gnocchi were frozen, I transferred them to a ziplock bag.

Serving Suggestions and Variations:

  • Butternut squash loves pepper, onions and butter.  Try adding some minced garlic to the gnocchi dough, or toss with sautéed sweet onions along with the butter and cheese.
  • Gnocchi also goes well with marinara sauce, or pesto.
  • Borrowing some ideas from epicurious.com’s recipe for Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Duck Confit and Swiss Chard, I plan to serve my frozen batch of gnocchi tossed with quickly stir-fried swiss chard, chopped chicken, and onions. Plus also garlic, because I *love* garlic.
  • How about serving squash gnocchi with this mushroom sauce for gnocchi, also from epicurious.com?  This recipe suggests the gnocchi be made ahead (including the boiling part) and then heated through in the sauce.  Maybe I should have cooked mine before freezing it?

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Cross-posted at Blogher.com