On Delivering Dinner

Hopefully we have been friends for a bit. If not no worries. I’m always happy to make new friends.

If we have been friends for a awhile one thing you will know about me is my reaction to pretty much any major life event is to throw food at it. Not literally but figuratively. You moved? Had a death in your family? New baby? Generally speaking an awful week? Birthday? Anniversary? I’m there with food in hand.

On delivering dinner

Over the years I feel I have become a bit of an expert on what to take to people. There are a few things I try to take into consideration:

1. I never make anything for a someone I wouldn’t feed my family. Good food but also good for you (well besides the cookies maybe). This means whole grains, locally sourced meats, as much organic produce as I can afford, little or no refined oils

2. Aim to include veggies. So often I feel when people drop off dinner the dishes are rich and calorie laden. I always pick main dishes that are chocked full of veggies.

3. Include something for breakfast. Ages ago I read a post about delivering dinner to a new mom and it suggested to take breakfast foods along with the dinner. I tend to make something like muffins or scones for an easy next day breakfast.

4. If you can just bring along some plain fresh fruit- apples, watermelon, grapes, strawberries. you know- whatever is in season. When we are in the midst of a life changing event I don’t think we tend to eat well. Wash and cut up the fruit for easy, mindless snacking.

5. Always ALWAYS ask about allergies, aversions, preferences before deciding on your menu. I don’t like blue cheese but you wouldn’t know that unless you asked. Or know me well.

6. Don’t break the bank. The reason I have such a deep repertoire of recipes is I cook and deliver based on what is in season, on sale, or on hand. Most meals I deliver cost me less than $10 to make. The entire meal- fruit, breakfast, and entree.

7. Only deliver on dishes and in tupperware you don’t want or need back. The last thing these people need is to keep track of your stuff. Make sure they know they don’t need to wash or return anything.

Do you ever make and deliver food to friends and family? This little blog has a long list of recipes that are perfect for delivery. Here is a list of my favorites:

Casseroles:

Black bean and spinach enchiladas

Black bean and spinach enchiladas– Healthy and hearty. I actually delivered this to a new mama yesterday.

lighter tuna noodle casserole

Tuna noodle casserole– First reference #5 above. Not everyone loves tuna casserole BUT if they do this lighter version is packed full of veggies and is sure to please!

chicken or turkey biscuit pot pie

Chicken or turkey biscuit pot pie– A twist on pot pie that is a bit quicker to prepare. Still a showstopper and again loaded with veg.

Baked penne bolognese

Baked penne with bolognese– This dish packs a veggie punch without you realizing it. Plus there isn’t anything out there as hearty or heartwarming as homemade pasta sauce.

Baked mac and cheese

Baked mac and cheese– This recipe offers two ways to make it- both with veggies! And who doesn’t love homemade mac and cheese? Fascists that’s who.

Easy to reheat dinner:

Easy veggie curry

Easy veggie curry– Perfect vegan or vegetarian dish. Make brown rice for an extra hearty fiber punch.

Lentils, sausage and swiss chard

Lentils, sausage and swiss chard– Yes this sounds a bit unusual but make it and I promise the recipient will be impressed. This basic dish has so much flavor.

Soups:

Broccoli cheese soup

Broccoli cheese soup– Loads of veggies in this lighter version of an all around classic. Be sure to include bread for dipping!

Beef barley stew

Beef barley stew– Veggies, meat, barley. Yum. Stick to your ribs soul food.

Saffron chicken veggie soup

Saffron chicken veggie soup– Did you know saffron is a mood booster? Ideal dish if someone if having a particularly hard time.

Leek and potato soup

Leek and potato soup– One of our standby faves for weeknight dinner. Simple mild soup made with nourishing chicken or veggie broth. A must make for anyone recovering from illness.

Sweet potato quinoa chili

Sweet potato quinoa chili– Another great recipe for the vegetarian or vegan. Be sure to make cornbread (suggested recipe below).

Breakfasts:

Banana bread

Banana bread– Does this really need an explanation? A classic favorite.

Cranberry orange muffins

Cranberry orange muffins– Perfect around the holiday season or if you have frozen cranberries lurking in your freezer.

Homemade granola

Homemade granola version one or version two– Cereal lovingly made by someone else is always a welcome treat.

blueberry-muffins

Blueberry muffins– I make this recipe so often I have it memorized. First time I made them was to deliver to a friend at the hospital right after she had her baby.

Sides (to go with soups or casseroles!):

Brown butter rosemary cornbread

Brown butter rosemary cornbread– I think this would go great with the sweet potato quinoa chili. Just sayin.

Artisan bread

Artisan bread– This bread is no effort at all on your part and is a stunner. Sure beats spending $5 on a loaf at the store.

Cheddar scallion drop biscuits

Cheddar scallion drop biscuits– Ridiculously cheesy and flavorful biscuits. Goes great with the saffron veggies soup.

 

I hope this has given you some ideas and inspiration. What are your favorite recipes to deliver?

 

 

A collection of party recipes and a very happy birthday (my favorites #7)

Little turns one today. We threw him the party to end all parties yesterday. A party to celebrate one tiny loved little boy and all the people who have been a part of his life. We are so blessed.

Happy birthday Little

I intended to photograph many of the recipes I made for Little’s birthday so I could share them on here. In the hustle and bustle of preparations and the actual party those intentions never materialized. So instead I present you with gorgeous party pictures and links to the some of the recipes I used.

The Party Spread

The table spread….

BBQ Broiled Tofu (Vegan)

Tofu counts as a new ingredient for me. I have eaten it many times but this was my first foray in to cooking it. I used this recipe from Peas and Thank you. It was delicious and so easy.

Delicious pulled pork

I served pulled pork sandwiches as it is something that is easy to make in advance and warm up right before the party. I used this recipe from Food Network (I only made the pork- not the sauce or coleslaw). So easy. So tasty. So much food. I will be eating this for the rest of the week.

Cilantro Lime Coleslaw

There is a local food cart that makes the best coleslaw. At Nathan’s request I tried to replicate it. My coleslaw was not as good as theirs but infinitely better than the usual plain coleslaw served with pulled pork. I made it the day before so the flavors had lots of time to mingle. Delish. Recipe here. I skipped the chile.

Pasta salad and potato salad

Pasta salad made by my sister and potato salad made by my mom. Both to die for.

Fruit and veggie tray - We juiced the leftovers

A party isn’t complete without a fruit and veggie tray. The homemade buttermilk ranch deserves its own post so you will just have to wait for the recipe. Ever wonder what to do with all the leftover veggies and fruits from a party? Throw them in your juicer the next morning. That’s what we did!

Party drink table

 

Party drink table.

Cupcakes and Cookies

Cupcakes and not so tiny cake for the Little. Also yummy sugar cookies.

Happy birthday Little

And last but certainly not least- gratuitous picture of cake smashing Little. He actually smashed it less than I anticipated. He mostly picked off the blue and yellow frosting circles then patted it a bit.

Happy happy birthday Little. Your daddy and I love you and are honored to be your parents.

My Favorites- #6

Blah.

Blah.

Argh.

That is how I feel about the past week. Little is cutting I don’t know how many teeth so there is no sleep to be had. I am brain dead. The last time I got this little amount of sleep I crashed my car (a small crash, in June, we are all ok). This time I am loading up on coffee and driving very very slowly. Also I am either eating peanut butter and jelly or ham and cheese sandwiches or making the same three things over and over again- and forgetting to take pictures. So for my favorites post this week I offer things that are ACTUALLY favorites. Recipes from around the web I make again and again.

1. I love Smitten Kitchen. Too much. I fawn over the pictures of her toddler and drool over her stunning photography. And I make these broccoli fritters way too much. Little devours them and, while I have been eating snadwiches, he has been eating these all week. Not that I don’t like them. I love them with a fried egg on top for a hearty lunch. It is just that I feel the need to feed Little veggies and this is an easy way to do it. Particularly when I can’t put together a complete thought.

2. A couple of weeks ago these cheesy quinoa bites appeared on my pinterest. In the scramble to get out of the house to drive to my grandparents I threw them together. Literally. It is a dump things in a bowl, dump in a muffin pan, throw in the oven recipe. On the plus side you are getting veggies for breakfast. On the downside you have to wash a muffin tin. It is a decent trade off for me. I have discovered they can be made with leftover quinoa out of the fridge or you can use with freshly made quinoa too. Lastly I love this recipe because it is what I call a refrigerator magnet- it is perfect for whatever leftovers are lurking in your fridge. Feta- yes please. Roasted red pepper- be still my heart. Grilled veggies from last night’s bbq- oh no you wouldn’t (actually you should, that sounds amazing). These bites are super versatile. Omit and add to your hearts content. Experiment away.

3. I’m taking a cake decorating class and at the first class we practiced our techniques on cookies. This is my go to sugar cookie recipe. Of course it is from I am baker. Would you expect anything less? I think the recipe, as written, has too much almond flavor so I cut it in half. Roll these cookies out thick for a chewy, decadent, easily decoratable sugar cookie.

I’ll be back next week with recipes. And hopefully my brain.

My Favorites- #5

I have all sorts of lame excuses why there haven’t been more recipes this week.

  • I cut the tip of my middle finger on my left hand and, until today, typing has been slow and painful.
  • It is hot out. I don’t have AC. I am not in the mood to heat up my house by turning on the oven when my house already feels like an oven.
  • My garden is in full swing and I am expending all my cooking energy just keeping up with canning, freezing, and cooking/eating what it is producing. I am making the same recipes over and over- recipes I have already shared with you.
  • Hot weather makes me lazy. I want to spend all day in air conditioning. There have been THREE trips to Toy r us for Little and me this week just to spend some time out of the heat.
  • I have some orders for the bake shop coming up and it is somehow using all my brain power to keep track of them. Don’t worry- I finally wrote them down so we SHOULD be moving past this stumbling block.
  • I’m mad. This is ridiculous but… I got the results from the fair. The carrot cake (which I was extremely mad at) and the lemon dream bars each won a blue ribbon. The chocolate peanut butter cupcakes, a recipe I intended to share this week, won NOTHING. I spend a great deal of time and energy on them. I knew they were dry but come on! At least a third place right?!? Augh.

Ok so there are my excuses and rants. Here are some other recipes I have found that look awesome:

1. I love anything salty. Salted caramel is high on my favorite tastes list. Mama say what posted this incredibly easy looking recipe for caramel pretzel bark. Oh be still my heart. Only five ingredients. I think this will find its way in to Christmas baskets this year.

2. This recipe for lemon cupcakes with blackberry buttercream is from All Recipes and surfaced on my pinterest this past week. I think I want to try it with fresh blackberries instead of jam. Afterall it is blackberry season here in Oregon!

3. Do you hate greasing and flouring pans as much as I do? I put parchment on everything just as extra insurance. I hate putting tons of effort in to a cake only to have it fall apart. Veronica’s Cornucopia posted a simple recipe for a miracle pan release concoction. I can’t wait to try this. It looks so easy! Thoughts?

4. While it is exceedingly hot in Oregon this week, fall is right around the corner. And fall means apples. Apple pie, apple sauce and this apple bread from Mommy’s Kitchen. I love the warm weather but can’t wait to be able to cook whenever I want without worrying about heating up my house.

Oh and in case you didn’t catch it earlier I did win two blue ribbons at the fair. Even if I am still mad about the stupid cupcakes.

My favorites- #4

Blah.

That is how I feel today.

I have made several different things in the past few days in the hopes of putting them on here. They have been delicious and we have devoured them but when it has come time to write about them it has all been a bit…. eh. While I would serve them for dessert, even dessert for company, they aren’t recipes I am thrilled with and would remake.

So, while I normally to my favorites posts on Fridays (and I missed last Friday), I am going to do it today instead. This afternoon I am making some tasty pesto I WILL share along with some carrot cake cupcakes. Stay tuned. In the meantime here are some cool things I have found around the interwebs:

– It is almost the end of July so lets talk Christmas. I was at Costco yesterday and they already had Christmas ribbon for sale. Heck we only have five more months! I found this wonderful compilation of Christmasy cookies on Six Sisters’ Stuff. I so want to make the candy cane blossoms and the orange creamsicle cookies! Anyone up for a cookie exchange this winter? Sounds like an excuse to drink hot toddys, eat cookies, and make the husbands watch the kids.

-Ok but it is still summer and summer (especially in Oregon) means fresh fruit. I have eaten my weight in berries this week. I wanted to make this strawberry cream cheese cake from Food Wanderings in Asia but was out of berries. Perhaps this weekend. Which means I need to get to the market to get berries. Such a sacrifice.

-I love bacon. Alot. Every time I cook it on the stove I burn it. Did you know how easy it is to bake bacon? I didn’t but thanks to Healthy Living How To and this post I now know how! I baked bacon according to these directions last week for BLTs and it  was a breeze. The bacon turned out perfectly! Also I love what she has to say about how bacon isn’t really bad for you. I am a proponent of eating real foods (not food like products) and eating in moderation. Plus it makes eating bacon guilt free.

This is about all I have for today. Watch for cupcakes tomorrow.

My favorites- #3

This week flew by. Also who said it could nearly be the middle of July! Where is summer going?

With the whirlwind this week has been I haven’t had as much time to peruse recipes as I would like. In all reality it is probably for the best. It means I am out there living my life, enjoying Little, spoiling my husband, rather than sitting in front of my computer or being glued to my phone. However here are a couple of little gems I found:

-There are never enough cupcake recipes in this world. Restless Chipotle was kind enough to gather her version of the top 50 all in one place. Go check it out. Super awesome. Thanks a million.

-While this is not a recipe it made me tear up just looking at it- recipes made in to tea towels. She used Spoonflower to print her grandma’s recipes on to fabric. I want to have my mom and both grandmas write out recipes for me so I can do this too. Incredible.

-Lastly- can you eat a box of cheeze-its in one sitting? I could if I would let myself. Which I wont. Cooking a la Mel has a homemade version. While she admits that they are not healthy, they are at least not packed full of chemical and preservatives and things I can’t pronounce. I want to try these next week (perhaps even today if I can find the time!) and substitute whole wheat flour.

Have a lovely weekend!

My favorites- #2

It has been an off week around here. The holiday in the middle of the week was just odd. Granted I am home every day, but somehow I kept thinking Wednesday was Saturday and yeah it has all just been a whirlwind and a mess. Here are a few things this week I wanted to make. I haven’t had time though. I did, however, make what appears to be a delicious peppermint patty cake. Pictures, post, and review next week! In the meantime…

-I have been buying zucchini from the farmers market like it is going out of style. My plants in my garden are as big as a good sized pony and the first teeny tiny zucchinis are coming on. I found this recipe for zucchini fries. It looks crispy, yummy, and an easy way to use up lots of zucchini! Also just go poke around The Lean Green Bean. She has some great posts!

-Another blog I discovered this week is Smells Like Home. I got lost in her posts for the better part of Little’s nap time earlier this week. These strawberry crumb bars look amazing. Oregon strawberries are in full force and I love finding new recipes to make with them! I have never really baked with strawberries before this year.

-My sister and I have a weakness for dipped ice cream cones from Dairy Queen. Anyone else suffer from this addiction? Well I found a way to make them at home! This post for DIY magic shell topping popped up on my pinterest feed and I was thrilled. Haven’t tried it yet but will report back when I do.

-And last but not least- brownie cookies with salted caramel creme filling. Um. Yes please. I will be making these soon and reporting back. In the meantime, if you have a few hours to kill and want to feel like a less than adequate baker, visit Bakers Royale. So many tasty treats I want to try!!!

Hugs and love. Have a great weekend!

My favorites- #1

Once a week I will be posting things I have either made or want to make that I have found online. I hope you enjoy and might find something tasty!

I am obsessed with French Macaroons. I am horrible at making them. My very first attempt they came out beautifully and since then… I will master them fear not but will most likely not post the recipes here. Honestly they are impossible to replicate. It is a matter of feel and what the weather is doing that day and if you do quarter spin to the left at the right moment. It is voodoo I tell you. Either way I tried this recipe for chocolate macaroons from Cannelle et Vanille. They were delicious although a complete failure in execution again.

I am making these vanilla bean cupcakes from The Sisters Cafe for a fundraiser a few weekends ago. I found the vanilla bean cupcake with the vanilla bean frosting to be too much vanilla so I am using a different frosting (probably chocolate) and using this frosting on chocolate cupcakes. Also I used this frosting to fill the macaroons mentioned above. That was divine.

I can’t wait to try this salted caramel shortbread from Sweet Tooth. Enough said. Want to come over when I make them to save me from eating them ALL? There will be coffee….

Who doesn’t love Smitten Kitchen? I have made many of her recipes and they are flawless every single time. Sunday morning Little woke us up way to early (as he often does). The morning was saved by these strawberry scones and two lattes before 9 am. They were a little bland so I would double the strawberries and increase the sugar by 50%. All around tasty though.