Le Bonhomme de Neige 7 Course Meal

When my brother was 14 or so, I told him that I'd do a full 7 course meal for him for a date if he ever wanted me to. Well, he finally called that in this past weekend. He and my cousin asked out two girls from my church and brought them out to the house for dinner, then took them bowling. I had so much fun deciding on a theme, putting the menu together, and getting decorations up. I LOVE doing these dinner parties. 

Brig and I decided on a Snowman theme and tried to incorporate that into as many of the courses as we could. I had plans to make snowmen for the table centerpiece as well, but I ran out of time. I do like what did pull together though. I hit up the after Christmas 50% off sale and got me a pack of 20 mini trees, some glittered and scented pinecones, 4 silver snowman ornaments, and 4 gold plate chargers. I also picked up 2 small packs of gold and silver ornaments for our New Years Tree (since we didn't get the tree decorated in time for Christmas, we ended up with a New Years Tree instead), and Cameron Brig and I worked on making ornaments as well. 

(click on any photo to see it larger)
The Decorations:

Thanks to Google Translate, we did the whole menu in French. I knew that no one coming to dinner knew French, but I figured it would help provide some good conversation (which it did) as they tried to figure out what each course was. 

And then we had the New Years Tree nearby for added awesomeness.  

The Menu:

Course 3: Salad
This was just a generic salad, with garlic cheese croutons and their choice of dressing (we have tons). Then I had the great idea to buy mozzarella cheese pearls and put three on a toothpick, topped with an olive to make a snowman. Only I found out when we opened the package of cheese that cheese pearls aren't necessarily round...so the cheese snowmen looked more like modern art then snowmen. Oh well. 

Course 4: Mango Sorbet. 
I forgot to get a picture of this course. We bought mango sorbet at the store (I made my own once and that was more than I wanted to deal with this go around). We served the sorbet in small decorative canning jars with a gold ribbon tied around the top. 

Course 5: Mashed Potato Snowman with Chicken gravy, served with Parmesan Asparagus,

Course 6: Chicken Cordon Bleu with Sauteed Peppers
I didn't end up getting a picture of this course either. But it was yummy! Cameron cooked up the chicken and it was perfection. We were going to serve it face up with a piece of rye toast cut into the shape of a hat so it would be a snowman head, but I forgot to do that...I forgot to even pull out the toast. But it was still delicious. 

Everyone had a water glass, but then we also gave them the option of Homemade Egg Nog or a Homemade Vanilla Cream Soda. We served the Egg Nog and Cream Soda in our fun "fancy" glasses, and drew on snowman faces with dry erase markers. 
For homemade vanilla cream sodas, fill a glass 3/4 of the way with shaved ice (like you get at sonic). Pour in your flavored Torrani syrup (found in the coffee aisle in your grocery store). In these glasses Cameron filled the cup about 1/4 of the way with the syrup. Pour Club Soda in the glass, filling about 3/4 of the remaining space. Finally pour in some heavy whipping cream or half and half (we used heavy whipping cream this go around). Stir and enjoy!

It was so much fun to serve the dishes and to carry out the dinner. I loved it. Cameron would periodically go out and provide some entertainment. He juggled osage oranges, he did a "magic show", he read the menu in his best and worst French accents, and was just a hit. All in all, I think it was a success. 

Cheese Balls

I made three cheese balls, and I was going to serve them stacked like a snowman, but they kept rolling off...so this worked. I only made 4oz. cream cheese worth of each cheese ball because I knew we wouldn't need too much. We served these with Rosemary Triscuits.

Cheese ball #1: Garlic Cheese Ball (the white one in the photo)

2 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. butter
1 TBS prepared Dijon-style mustard
1 tsp minced garlic
1 (1oz) package ranch dressing mix

In a medium bowl, beat all ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate 6-8 hours, or over night.

Cheese ball #2: New Mexico Cheese Ball (the pecan covered one in the photo) 

I adapted a recipe I found on allrecipes for this cheese ball.

4 large anaheim chile peppers (or canned green chile) or (I just used green chile powder)
1 1/2 pounds shredded pepper jack cheese
2 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 cups finely chopped pecans

1. If using raw green chile, preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat, and lightly oil the grate. Cook chiles on the preheated grill until the skin of the peppers has blackened and blistered, about 5 minutes. be careful not to overcook the peppers, or the skin will not come off easily. Turn the peppers often to cook evenly. Place the blackened peppers into a bowl and tightly seal with plastic wrap. Allow the peppers to steam as they cool, about 20 minutes. Once cool, remove the skins and seeds. Chop the peppers.
2. Combine the chopped peppers (or the chile powder) with the other ingredients (minus the pecans). Form the mixture into a ball and place in the freezer until very cold (about 15 minutes).
3. Spread the chopped pecans on a large cutting board or baking sheet (I just put them in a bowl). Roll the cheese ball in the pecans. Use your hand to pack any areas not covered by pecans.

Cheese ball #3: Yummy Cheese Ball (the cheese covered one in the photo) 

I didn't name this one...that was its given name.

1 pound bacon (I used real bacon bits)
2 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese
3 TBS mayonnaise
1 green onion, chopped
1 c. chopped pecans (I omitted these since I already had a pecan covered cheese ball)

1. In a large skillet, fry the bacon. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Chop or break into small pieces.
2. In a medium sized bowl mix all ingredients (minus the pecans) together. When mixed well, form 2 balls out of the mixture. Cover and refrigerate 3 to 4 hours, or overnight.
3. Before serving, roll in pecans.

Curried Carrot Soup

I found this recipe by Rachael Ray on the food network. To spiff it up, I also made little mini bread bowls from rye bread. I'll give you the soup recipe first, then the directions for the bread bowls.

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 pounds packaged baby carrots, from produce section
6 cups chicken stock, available on soup aisle
1 tablespoon mild curry paste or 1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Coarse salt
1 cup sour cream
Plastic condiment bottle or medium plastic food storage bag
6 blades fresh chives, cut into 1-inch pieces
Preheat medium pot over medium high heat. Add olive oil, butter, onions and carrots and saute 5 minutes. Add 4 cups chicken stock, curry and cayenne, and about 1 teaspoon salt to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover and cook until carrots are very tender, about 15 minutes. Place pot on a trivet next to food processor. Process soup in 2 or 3 small batches until soup is smooth and carrots are fully pureed. Transfer processed soup into a large bowl as you work to make room for more soup in the food processor. Return completed soup to the soup pot and place back over low heat. If the soup is too thick, add remaining stock, up to 2 cups, to achieve desired consistency. Adjust seasonings. Place sour cream in a plastic condiment squeeze bottle or into a medium food storage bag. Cut a very small hole in the corner of the bag with scissors. Ladle soup into bowls and squirt a swirl of sour cream around the bowl from the center out to the rim. Drag a toothpick from the center of the bowls out to the edges, forming a spider web design on soup. Pile a few pieces of cut chives at the center of each bowl to resemble green spiders in their webs! Cool!

Then, for the bread bowls:
Using a rolling pin, roll out each slice of bread as flat and thin as you can get it. Round the edges slightly. Tuck into muffin pan, pressing the bread against the edges of the tin. Spray with olive oil spray or give a light coat with a brush. Sprinkle on oregano and parsley. Bake at 350 until the bread is dry (about 10 min.). 

Parmesan Asparagus

I'd give you the recipe for the mashed potatoes...but I used instant...so nothing exciting there. The asparagus though, I can give you that recipe.

2 TBS olive oil
1/2 pound fresh asparagus
3 TBS lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c. finely grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Heat the olive oil in your skillet or frying pan. 
  2. Saute the asparagus until tender, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Pour the lemon juice over the asparagus and season with salt and pepper. 
  4. Cook another 2-3 minutes. 
  5. Remove asparagus from pan and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. 

Cheesecake Snowman with Raspberry Sauce

Okay, I know...it looks like the snowman was murdered...it didn't look like that in my head. Oh well. It still tasted fantastic. One of the girls told me that she didn't like cheesecake normally but she loved this one, so I'd say that's a win.

I found this recipe in a set of recipe cards stuck in one of my cookbooks. I have no idea where I got the cards, but I like them. This was for Holiday Cheesecake Presents. They cut their cheesecakes into squares and decorated them with gel icing to look like presents, but since the dinner was snowman themed, I cut mine into circles with my cookie cutters and then tried to make the raspberry sauce look like a scarf, and when that just made it look like the the snowman had had his neck split open, I just drizzled the sauce over it.

1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/3 c. butter or margarine, melted
3 TBS sugar
3 pkgs (8 oz. each) Cream Cheese, softened
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs

  1. Mix crumbs, butter, and 3 TBS sugar; press onto bottom of 13x9-inch baking pan .
  2. Mix cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs; mix until blended. Pour over crust. 
  3. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool. Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight. Cut into bars. Decorate bars with decorating gels and sprinkles to resemble presents. Store leftover bars in refrigerator. 
Makes ~2 dozen bars

Effortless Egg Nog

Add a snowman face to your glasses with dry erase markers. 
1/2 Gallon cold milk
1 pkg (3.4 oz) instant french vanilla pudding mix
1/4 c. sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

In a large bowl, whisk 3/4 c. milk and pudding mix until smooth. 
Whisk in the sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. 
Stir in the remaining milk. 
Refrigerate until serving. 


Wow, somehow I managed to delete this post within seconds of posting it. So here goes take two.
This is a dish that Ethan introduced me to shortly after we got married. He bought the stuff and made it one day when I was at a night class, so I came home to dinner already made. It looked kinda weird  and it smelled even more weird. I'd never eaten anything like it before. I was pretty skeptical, but I have to say I ended up really liking it, and it's something we've had fairly often since then. I love it because it's quick, easy, and you can just kinda throw in whatever you've got laying around. It's pretty hard to mess up.
What You Need:
1 box (or bottle) curry seasoning (you can use whatever brand you want, but after some experimenting, we've decided to stick with this one)
S&B Golden Curry. It comes in a whole range of spiciness levels, so you can pick what works for you. I never had any trouble finding it in Thatcher or Rexburg, but only one of the three stores here carries it.
1lb cubed meat ( use the pork roast chunks I keep on hand, but you could also use raw pork, beef, chicken, shrimp, lamb, or anything else you have handy, although I'm not sure what else one WOULD have handy)
1 onion, diced
2 cups water, unless you're using a pre-made sauce in which case you don't need water (start with a little less than this and add more if you decide you want it)
A little oil or butter for stir-frying
Veggies, we use carrots and bell peppers, but you could also but celery or anything else you've got laying around.
Rice (start this cooking when you start your curry and they should be done around the same time)
If you're doing this with already cooked meat it's pretty simple, here's What to Do:

Stir fry your veggies until they are crisp/tender (meaning they're mostly soft, but still have some crispness left in them, you don't want mush). Add the meat and water (or sauce if using a bottled variety, if you are than you are done now) and bring to boil.
Waiting for my water to boil. 
Now turn your pan down so it will simmer, break your bar of curry seasoning into pieces, and stir in your curry seasoning. Stir until it dissolves and then simmer for a few minutes to let it thicken. Start with about half the bar and then taste it to see what you think. I don't normally put in the whole bar, it's just a little too strong. I think I leave out one of the pieces.
Serve over warm rice or noodles and you're ready to go.

For cooking this with raw meat:
Stir fry your meat and veggies until your onions are just starting to brown. Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until meat is done. Break apart your curry seasoning and add to skillet. Simmer a few minutes to thicken and then serve over rice.

Chocolate Praline Pumpkin Pie

Can she bake a pumpkin pie Billy Boy, Billy Boy? She CAN bake a pumpkin pie, she's the apple of our eye, she's a young thing and cannot leave her mother!

This year Abigail made the pies for Thanksgiving --her first attempt. The crust was the obvious challenge and it was pretty challenging. Abby tried a new recipe for crust that was said to be "no-fail" but it did NOT live up to the name. The recipe called for oil instead of shortening and it was far too flaky to bend, which made fluting the edges impossible. But Abby pushed and poked and finally sort of made it work. The filling was delicious as always and Abby learned how to do marbling. The crust was really flaky and tasted okay. But I think she will be looking for a new recipe for crust.

Chocolate Praline Pumpkin Pie

1 can (16 oz.) pumpkin
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
3 eggs
1 can (5 oz.) evaporated milk
½ cup milk
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1 9-inch deep dish pie shell with high fluted edge (do not prick)
Praline pieces
Whipped cream

Stir the pumpkin, sugar, and spice together in a large bowl. Add eggs and lightly beat into mixture. Stir in both milks and transfer ½ cup of mixture into a small saucepan. Pour the rest into the pie shell. Add the chocolate pieces into the saucepan and cook over low heat until they are melted. Carefully spoon the chocolate mixture over the filling in the shell and gently swirl with a narrow spatula to marble. Cover the edges with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake for 30 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. (BTW-the chocolate will sometimes stick a little to the knife, even though the pie is done. If it has been in for more than ten or so minutes longer and the top begins to seriously crack - the pie is done, even if the knife isn't completely clean.)

Praline Pieces:

In a small heavy skillet, combine ½ cup coarsely chopped pecans, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon margarine. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 6 to 8 minutes until the sugar turns a rich brown color. Spread the mixture on a buttered baking sheet or foil and separate into clusters. Cool. Break clusters into smaller chunks. Garnish each piece of the pie with whipped cream and sprinkle the praline pieces over top.

Prickly Pear Raspberry Lemonade

This stuff was delicious. Before serving it I dropped frozen raspberries in each cup to serve as the ice cubes (and because it looked cool)

1 qt. prickly pear juice
1 bag frozen raspberries
1/2 c. lemon juice
between 2-3 quarts water
lemon berry and/or raspberry lemonade drink mix (I used the single serving sized packets that you put in your water bottle) OR sugar (optional)

1. In blender, blend prickly pear juice and raspberries
2. Pour in 1 gal. pitcher and add lemon juice.
3. Fill the pitcher the rest of the way with water.
4. At this point you can be done, it all depends on how strong and/or sweet you want it. If you like the taste, stop. I liked it, but I wasn't sure if our guests would like the strong prickly pear after taste, so I added 1 packet each of lemon berry and raspberry lemonade to help with the flavor.

Flourless Crepes

Crepes Ingredients:
3 eggs
3 TBS milk, half and half, or heavy cream
3 tsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar (or 1/4 tsp sugar substitute)
1/2 tsp vanilla

Filling Ingredients:
2 oz cream cheese
1-2 tsp milk, half and half or heavy cream
1 tsp sugar (or 1/4 tsp sugar substitute)
1/4 tsp vanilla
(that's at least what we used...you can fill these with just about anything sweet or savory)

1. Make the filling first. Mix the cream cheese, milk, sugar and vanilla together until blended (I just used a fork).
2. In a bowl (I used a large pourable measuring cup), mix all crepes ingredients together and beat.
3. Heat a pan to medium, medium high heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
4. Pour a small amount (about 1/8 c.) of batter into the middle of the pan and tip/swirl the pan to spread the batter out evenly. You're supposed to get a circle...I got oblong shapes with holes...but it still worked fine.
5. Cook for about 30 sec. to 1 min. Flip and cook the other side until done (slightly browned).
6. Remove from pan, fill, and eat! These get cold fast, so if you want to eat them warm you'll have to eat them as they come off the pan. For these today I put a little dollop of the cream cheese filling and a little dollop of raspberry jam and spread it in the crepe before I rolled it up. Mmmmmm.

This will make 9-10 crepes. I know, it won't look like you've made that much batter when you mix it up. I was skeptical at first, but I think we got 9 decent sized crepes out of this.

Prickly Pear Raspberry Smoothie

2 years ago we posted Cameron's Prickly Pear Slush...but I wasn't a huge fan. It just had a funny aftertaste; he loved it though. Today I played around until I had a Prickly Pear Raspberry Smoothie that I LOVE. 
I just can't get over the color of the prickly pear fruit. It really is so vibrant and awesome.


  • 1/2 c. frozen unsweetened raspberries
  • 1/2 c. prickly pear fruit puree 
  • 1 c. plain yogurt 
  • About 2-3 TBS of water
  • About 1-2 tsp. olive oil (I know...seems weird, but your body needs good oils in it and olive oil's not bad...if you have sunflower oil that works great too)
  • Sweetener (sugar, truvia, jam, whatever you want to use)
  • And then I added a tiny squirt of Berry Pomegranate MiO to help cancel out the prickly pear aftertaste (I love the initial prickly pear taste...it's the aftertaste that's a little odd)
  • If you have prickly pear juice and not the puree, then omit the water in this recipe
Combine all ingredients in the blender and blend till smooth. I accidentally added too much water so I had to add a small handful more of frozen raspberries to give it the right consistency. 

Healthy Fruit Dip

So I've been wanting to eat more fruit...but I'm not one to just pick up an apple and munch away. So I read a few recipes online and made a healthy fruit dip to help entice me to eat more fruit. It's working like a charm. I love this stuff.

8oz. fat free sugar free (or reduced...or regular) plain yogurt
8 oz. fat free cream cheese
Sugar (I used truvia instead). I didn't measure...I just added a little bit at the time until the taste was about right. I probably used about 2-3 teaspoons of truvia (which is sweeter than sugar, so you'd have to add more sugar than that)

Just mix them all together with a hand mixer until it's light and fluffy. Mine's almost looks like marshmallow creme.

Bitter Gourd, a Cautionary Tale....

Our neighbors have turned out to be pretty good at container gardening, which has been fun for us since they are from Sri Lanka and grow some things that we haven't seen before. Among them you will find bitter gourd. About the same size and roughly the same shape as a cucumber, except a little bit different. 
 They were kind enough to give us one or two specimens, so we googled how to cook them and gave it a try, although Gaji did warn us that we probably wouldn't like them as much as he does. We started by giving them a good washing, and then sliced them up. I'd read that you can remove some of the bitterness by heavily coating them in salt and leaving them to sit for a little while. So we did this, rinsing the salt off before we were ready to cook them.

 We didn't do anything else to prep these babies, just dropped them in a pot of hot oil and gave them a good fry until they were golden brown.

I think I salted them after we took them out of the oil, but I'm not sure really.
The texture was about what you'd expect of any fried food. Crispy and crunchy and perfect.
Then the taste hits.
The first thought that pops into your head is "wow, we WAY over-salted these puppies".
Very shortly after that you realize that maybe it's not just the salt you're tasting.
Then you think "ummm, this is kinda gross, but I guess I can finishing chewing and swallow it".
This progresses to "If I can't find somewhere to spit this thing I'm going to DIE!!!!!!!!!".
Next comes "OH MY GOSH! I already spit it out, why is the flavor still intensifying on the back of my mouth?"
All this is ended by spending the next couple of minutes frantically eating and drinking ANYTHING you can get your hands on, because at this point you'd probably eat poop if it would get that ever increasing foul taste out of your mouth.
Moral of the story, don't EVER eat bitter gourd unless you wish to die a slow and incredibly nasty death while the worst taste imaginable builds on your palate until it takes over and squeezes the life out of you.

Gaji was not surprised to find out we didn't much care for his favorite snack, but he's probably glad. There are now two less people in the world he has to compete with for a supply of bitter gourd.

Spicy Zucchini Pickles

We share a garden with our Landlady and we have had a ton of zucchini and squash...more that we could keep up with. Cameron hates to see things go to waste. One year he spent a few days making peach freezer jam from a deserted peach tree at work (he got permission to use the peaches) even though he really doesn't like peaches at all...he just hates to see free food go to waste. So he looked up recipes and found one for Refrigerator Spicy Zucchini Pickles. I'm not going to lie...I was kinda hesitant. It just didn't sound real great.  However...I had the first one today and it was phenomenal. I LOVED it. It was crunchy and tasty and zippy and so good. AND, it was a really easy recipe and process. No canning and they're ready within a few days.

 Thank you Cameron. 

He found the recipe at http://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2011/spicy-zucchini-pickles/.

Spicy Zucchini Pickles

1 pound zucchini (or any summer squash)
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup water
4 garlic cloves, light smashed
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 tablespoon dill seeds
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds

  1. Trim the ends off zucchini and slice lengthwise into quarters.
  2. Bring vinegar, water, salt and spices to a boil. Simmer for five minutes, then remove from heat.
  3. Thoroughly sanitize and rinse the jar you’ll use and keep it filled with hot water until you’re ready to use it.
  4. Pack the zucchini snugly in the jar. Tuck the garlic cloves in. Pour the hot brine over the squash. Let the jar sit, uncovered, until it has cooled, about an hour. Cover and refrigerate. They should keep for a couple of months, if not longer.
He made these on Monday (the 3rd of Sep.), but we didn't know how long we were supposed to let them sit before we tried them. I finally got curious (and hungry) and tried one today (the 8th of Sep.) and they were awesome. 

Turtle Soup

No, that's not a play on words. I'm not kidding. We made turtle soup this week and it was an interesting experience. 
Ethan caught several turtles and decided that he wanted to see what they tasted like. We've both heard of turtle soup, but never actually knew anyone who's eaten it (that we know of anyways), so HE decided to try it. You start by using your wife's meat cleaver to behead your subjects (make sure it's one she doesn't want back, because it just may not stand up to the tough little guys).  Now, you need to watch out, because these things have crazy reflexes and will keep trying to bite you even after their heads are long since severed. Okay, next you have to detach the breast plate from the bottom of the turtle using a sturdy saw (warning, those crazy reflexes will kick in here, and the little guy will try to kick your hands away as you're doing this, watch out for the claws!) Now you can proceed to harvest the neck, leg, and loin meat from your victim. Basically, the easiest way to do this is just to cut the legs and neck off and then say to heck with the loin meat because in order to get it off the underside of the shell, you'd need to pull the spine out with a pry bar.
Now that you've butchered your turtles, here's what you do for your soup.

What you need:
Turtle meat
chicken broth
assorted veggies (carrots, onion, celery, etc...)

What to do:
Boil your turtle's legs and necks in the broth until the meat is tender enough to remove from the bones. Two turtles will produce about this much meat:
Return the meat to the pot, along with the veggies. Cook until everything is done, and then enjoy!
Okay, well unless you like to eat fishy tasting leather, I would recommend skipping that last part. I finally worked up enough courage to taste it, and it wasn't terrible, flavor-wise. I chewed and chewed that little hunk of turtle and after some serious chewing I finally spit it back out and looked at it. It looked just like it had before it went into my mouth. At least I can say I've eaten turtle, but can you?

More Baby Finger Foods

Well, maybe I'm the only one out there who is desperate for baby food ideas, but just in case, here's a few more things Erik likes to eat. 
What you need:
English muffin (preferably whole wheat), sliced in half
Spaghetti Sauce
Mozzarella Cheese
Pepperoni (or lunch meat, or whatever you want to top your pizza with)
What you do: Spread the sauce on the english muffin, then sprinkle shredded mozzarella over the top of that. Top your pizza with whatever you've chosen, but make sure it's cut up into small enough pieces for you baby to handle. Place on a baking sheet and put in the broiler until the cheese melts. Cut into bite size pieces for a smaller baby, or leave whole for an older one, and serve.

What you need:
1 potato (I've been using sweet potatoes for this, but you could use regular ones as well)
What you do: You can just bake your potato like you would do for any old baked potato, but if you're like me you never plan that far in advance. So, I slice my potato into ~1/2 inch slices, spray them with cooking spray or brush them with butter(or oil, or whatever), and then bake them at 350 until they are soft enough for Erik to chew (15-20 mins). Once they've cooled enough to eat, I cube them up and they're ready to go. These store well in the fridge and taste yummy the next day
What you need:
Firm tofu, cubed
spaghetti sauce
bread crumbs (either pre-seasoned, or you can mix in some garlic and onion powders, basil, oregano, parsley, etc...)
What you do:
Roll the tofu in the spaghetti sauce, then in the bread crumbs. Bake at 350 until they are warm and crunchy.

Pickled Cantaloupe

Abigail canned pickles for our county fair yesterday. She made Spicy Pickled Cantaloupe for the pickled fruit category. If you are interested, go to Miss Abigail's Hope Chest for the recipe. You wouldn't expect canned cantaloupe to taste this good. She pickled some cherries also, just because we had some sweet cherries ready to can.

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Okay, so I know the picture isn't the greatest, but I forgot to take one before we started dishing up. I was looking for something to help fill up our taco bowls, and decided to give this a try. I just threw this together with what I had around the house, but there are lots of fun recipes online for things similar to this online that included yummy things like avacado, fresh cilantro, green onions, etc...
What you need:
1 can black beans
1 can corn
Diced tomatoes (preferable fresh, but canned will work)
1 can green chili
diced onion
red chili poweder
garlic powder
ground cumin

What you do:
Dump everything together into a bowl, tasting the seasonings as you add them. Serve with tortilla chips, on tacos, in burritos, or in any other way you think sounds tasty.

Dessert Apple Rolls

So, this one was on my personal blog and I thought I had it on here, but apparently I don't...so here it is. It's SOOO yummy.

2 8ct. cans crescent rolls
2 granny smith apples (tastes best with granny smith, but we've used all kinds)
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 sticks butter or margarin
1 tsp. vanilla
1 can lemon lime soda (Sprite, Mt.Dew, 7up, etc)

1. Peel apples, core them and cut into 8 wedges
2. Roll each apple slice into 1 section of crescent roll dough
3. Put in buttered 9 x 13 pan
4. Melt butter in sauce pan
5. Barely stir in sugar and vanilla (so the mixture is still grainy) and pour over the apples (make sure the dough gets a complete coating)
6. Sprinkle with cinnamon
7. Pour the can of soda around the edges, and NOT on top of the apples
8. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
9. You can eat them immediately or let them sit for a bit and the sauce will thicken up. Tastes great served with vanilla ice cream. Tastes great hot or cold. It just tastes great. Try it.

Taco Bowls

One of my favorite things to get when we got out for Mexican food is taco salad(I know, not the most authentic thing), but only when it come in a taco bowl. I wanted to make tacos the other day, but decided I was feeling more adventurous than just boring old taco shells. So I started looking around online, and realized that the taco bowls are super easy to make, and are not deep fried, so they're healthy, right?
What you need:
Flour tortillas (you could use whole wheat if you really want to be healthy)
Non-stick spray or veggie oil
An oven safe bowl, about the size you want your taco bowls to be.
Whatever you want to fill your taco bowls with. We used taco meat, lettuce, tomato, salsa, sour cream, cheese, and a corn and black bean salsa (guess what my post for next week will be). Guacamole would be yummy too!

What you do:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray both sides of your tortilla with the non-stick spray. If this sounds weird or you don't have any spray, you can just brush the tortillas with a light coat of oil. 
Place a tortilla into the bowl, arranging it how you want the finished product to be. Bake for 5(ish) minutes, or until the edges start to get brown and crisp. The bottom may not seem totally hard yet, but it hardens as it cools. 
Stuff your tortilla bowl with whatever yummy stuff you want and dig in!

Baby Finger Foods: Tofu Two Ways

I know this isn't quite the stuff we normally post on here, but I figured it was useful for me and might come in handy for someone else too. I actually have plans to do several more posts like this one as I get more ideas.  
Erik has decided that the only food he wants to eat is stuff he can put in his own mouth. He is done being spoon fed, which means I've had to get really creative. Finding things that he can chew with no teeth, but that will still fill him up and give him the nutrition he needs has been challenging. I started to look around online for ideas, and that's when I discovered tofu. Tofu is packed with protein and nutrients, but is very soft, so it can be easily mashed between a baby's gums. It has almost no flavor of it's own, but will take on the flavors of other things very easily. This makes it the perfect baby food, that you can use for any meal.

For breakfast: Cold Cereal Tofu 
What you need:
Firm tofu, cut into bite size pieces
A handful of baby's favorite cold cereal, we used whole grain Cheerios, crushed in a small re-seal-able bag.
What to do:
Toss the tofu in the bag of crumbs, give it a good shake, and then you're ready to go. You now have cheerio flavored tofu bites. Slightly crunchy on the outside, but smooth and creamy on the inside. Add some diced fruit (in this case strawberries and blueberries) and you've got a perfect way to start the day!  

 Now for tofu dinner: Crunchy Tofu Nuggets
You will need:
firm tofu, cut into bite size pieces
flour (about 2-3 TBS maybe more, depending on how much tofu you've got)
salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, or anything else you want to use to season the flour
Your baby's favorite crackers, I used gold fish, crushed up
milk (maybe 2 TBS?)
What you do:
Mix whatever seasonings you've chosen into your flour. Roll the tofu bites into the flour to coat.
Dip the bites into the milk, just long enough to moisten them, not long enough to soak the flour off.
Roll in the cracker crumbs, and place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until nice and crunchy on the outside. Add some veggies and you've got a meal.

You don't think this sounds yummy? Well, let's see what the baby thinks...