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Grandma Gin. Typical Swedish grandmother. Quiet. Reserved. Never a bad word about anybody. She had tea cups and coffee or glasses of milk with sweets sitting at her kitchen table. One would peer out past the breeze fluttering through the pale window curtains. We would chat there or converse while gently bouncing in the chairs on the back patio. Talking about the things of life. She fed us all. Figuratively and literally. Among her many masterful works in the culinary world was this little gem: her chocolate chip cookie. In our entire family, there is no better cookie. If you make them. They will disappear. Within minutes.

When Grandma Gin first gave me this recipe years ago, I failed at duplicating them. I followed the recipe exactly and several times I might add. Still not quite the same. So one day I told Grandma Gin that I wanted to watch her make them. She prepared each step just as she had outlined on her hand written recipe card. After she took them out of the oven, she removed them from the cookie sheet and placed them on a flour sack towel. Voila! The recipe had said to cool, but nothing about a flour sack towel. I eventually realized that the towel pulled the excess moisture out of the bottom of the cookie and made the bottom crispier than the rest of the cookie. It was genius.

I've since learned I can duplicate this by just leaving the cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet for a few minutes after taking them out of the oven. Funny how the smallest change can make the world of difference in a recipe. Thank you Grandma Gin for the cookie, for taking time to show me the recipe, and for all the times you feed me and the rest of our family with your wisdom, guidance, and culinary acumen.
Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda 
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt

  • 1/4 Cup Softened Butter (1 Stick)
  • 3/4 Cup Crisco Shortening
  • 3/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup White Sugar
  • 2 Unbeaten Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 Teaspoon Hot Water

  • 1 Cup Chopped Nuts (Walnuts Or Pecans)
  • 2 Cups Quick Oats
  • 4 Cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (2 - 12 Ounce Packages)

Preparation
  1. Sift first three ingredients (flour, soda and salt) in medium sized bowl.
  2. Combine the next seven ingredients (butter, shortening, sugars, eggs, vanilla and water) in a large bowl and cream until fluffy. I use a silicone spatula. I'm sure grandma used a wood spoon.
  3. Add the dry mixture into the wet mixture a third at a time.
  4. Chop the nuts in a food processor. You will end up with various sizes. The largest should be a bit smaller than the size of a chocolate chip. Grandma did this by hand with a knife.
  5. Stir the nuts into the batter.
  6. Add the oats and stir into the batter.
  7. Add the chocolate chips and stir into the batter until completely incorporated. This will seem like a lot of chips and very little batter, but trust me this is accurate.
  8. Refrigerate dough for about 5 minutes.
  9. Drop dough onto parchment lined light colored aluminum baking sheets. I use a melon baller and make a rounded ball.
  10. Bake at 375 degree Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Please note that this can vary depending on oven temperature (most fluctuate), dough temperature, size of dough balls, and darkness/material of the baking sheet. If you are using warm dough on a dark sheet it could take only 8 minutes.
  11. Remove from oven and either cool on a flour sack towel or on the parchment lined baking sheet for several minutes.

Tips
  • The cookies should appear under cooked with a slight browning starting on the bottom when you take them out of the oven
  • Refrigerate the dough for a few minutes between each batch to help with the dough not becoming too sticky.
  • Definitely use parchment paper and a light aluminum baking pan. The one my grandmother used was made by my grandfather, so good lucky finding an exact match!
  • Make sure the baking sheet cools down completely between each batch or the cookies could burn on the bottom.
  • I  use a 1/4 butter to 3/4 Crisco shortening ratio for the fat. I know my grandmother used just about whatever was available from margarine to butter to Crisco. I have made these with all butter (much softer) and all Crisco (much firmer). I prefer the combination or 1/2 and 1/2 would work too.
  • Make sure your baking soda is fresh.
  • I use pecans or walnuts. I'm sure my grandmother used walnuts.
  • I use Kirkland semi sweet chocolate chips, my grandmother used Nestle.
  • Get a good vanilla. I like Kirkland or Williams Sonoma.
  • They can be stored for several days in plastic bags or tightly sealed containers. They also freeze well.

Makes
Makes approximately 85-90 cookies.

Nutrition
Seriously, they are cookies.


© Russell W Peterson | DayParentDad.com | 9.11.14
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Disney's Frozen
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Mostly what I remember about meals when I was young is my parents' saying: "Children in (insert an impoverished nation of your choice) are starving, so clean up your plate and don't let this food go to waste." I'm convinced that sitting for hours trying to finish food that I could barely stuff into my mouth because I was so full is a big part of why I struggle with weight issues. 

I didn't raise my kids that way. I let them leave food at the table and on their plate. I wanted them to understand how to feed their bodies appropriately and be healthy. However, when you have dancer/athletes like I do, you never know when they are going to eat a super huge meal or a very tiny meal. So I always have leftovers - lots of leftovers. What do I do with them?

I make soups, casseroles, savory pies and eggs. I make lots of left over egg dishes. This is one of my favorites. I combine my love of roasting vegetables with a simple steamed egg and a bit of cheese. And while I'm at it, I imagine I'm helping to not waste food for starving children somewhere. Oh, and let's all give to Action Against Hunger while we are at it.
Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 Cups Roasted Vegetables
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Tbl Shredded Cheese
  • Olive Oil
  • 1/8 Cup Water

Preparation
  1. Drizzle olive oil into a pan that has been heated to medium high.
  2. Add the roasted vegetables and cook for about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Crack two eggs directly on top of the vegetables.
  4. Cook another 2 minutes. Lower heat to medium to medium low.
  5. Add water to pan and cover until eggs are steamed done and whites are set. About 2 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle with cheese and cover until melted. About 30 seconds. Season with black pepper.
  7. If you want a crunchier bottom on your vegetables, keep the lid off after adding the cheese so the water evaporates and a crust forms on the bottom.

Serving
This makes one hardy serving or two smaller servings.

Nutrition
Large hardy serving is about 300 calories.
Smaller half size serving is about 150 calories.
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I would always look at that two-ingredient low carb healthy banana pancake recipe and think, "No way. How do you get anything to taste like pancakes without flour?" Well, I finally tried them and thought, "Not bad, but could be improved." So I worked up a killer recipe that, "Voila, tastes like pancakes." My athletic dancer kids love them and so do I.

Ingredients
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 Cup Egg White
  • 1/8 Tsp Baking Powder (Slightly Less)
  • 1/8 Tsp Cinnamon (Slightly Less)
  • Vegetable Oil

Preparation
  1. Place all ingredients into a blender or hand emulsifier. Pulse once or twice. (Really, only once or twice Don't over do it. You don't want them too watery.)
  2. Heat a skillet to medium high heat and then reduce to medium or just slightly above medium.
  3. Drizzle just enough vegetable oil to cover pan. 
  4. Pour in batter into 2-3" rounds. Cook until bubbly and then flip. Cook until puffed up slightly.
  5. Serve with peanut butter, maple syrup, Nutella, or fruit preserves.

Tips
  • Alternatively you could mash the banana and mix in the egg with a fork until just barely lumpy.
  • Use vegetable oil, not canola or butter or anything else. Definitely do not cook them dry in a non-stick pan. The oil helps make the outside a bit crunchy and delicious.
  • You could use two eggs, but I prefer the one egg/one egg white combination.
  • I use slightly less than 1/8 each of the baking powder and cinnamon. I think in part it depends on how fresh your baking powder is and what kind of cinnamon you are using.



Servings

This is for one serving. Stack them high on a plate. Yum!

Nutrition
About 200 calories without toppings.
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I gained weight. Surprise. Medications and laziness will do that to you. Well I wasn't actually THAT lazy. Seriously. My heart doc says no carbs at night and no eating anything after 7pm. A new study, yes another one, says that we were wrong about the eating more carbohydrates thingy and the eating low fat thingy. Apparently once that whole low fat thinking hit the population the obesity rate went up significantly. We replaced filling fats with not so filling carbs and thus consumed more calories and affected triglycerides negatively.

I blame New York Times columnist and cookbook author Jane Brody for a big part of my personal situation. I was always over weight, but I had managed to keep it mostly in check. Out of desperation as the weight started to creep up again, I bought into her high carbohydrate sales pitch hook line and sinker and I definitely sunk. I cooked everything in her Good Food - Eating The High Carbohydrate Way cookbook and the weight just kept creeping up. I exercised, Went to fitness classes. Portioned food. Nothing worked. So I eventually stopped eating like that and thank goodness reversed course by the time my children came into the picture. They ate high quality foods with lean protein, quality fats, and complex carbohydrates of vegetables and fruits with very little added sugar or processed flour. They were also very active.

I managed to reduce my weight significantly eating lower carb again until my heart surgery recovery. I was re-educated by the hospital nutritionists back into a low fat diet again. I just rebounded with the weight. So I talked to my cardiologist and we are reversing course. I'm embracing this new study and once again going back to a higher protein and quality fat diet with vegetables and fruits and very little processed carbohydrates. 

Here is a perfect example: Low Carb Turkey Avocado Wrap. It has good quality fats, lean protein, and complex vegetable carbohydrates. I'm hoping this kind of eating is a win win because I could use a win on the weight front. So could my heart. 

Ingredients
  • 2 Romaine Slices
  • 4-5 Turkey Slices
  • 1/2 Avocado Sliced
  • 1/2 Carrot Diced
  • Olive Oil
  • Champagne Vinegar
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper

Preparation
  1. On the romaine slices layer turkey slices, avocado and carrots.
  2. Sprinkle with olive oil and vinegar. Season with black pepper.

Now that was super easy and very filling I might add!

Nutrition
About 350 calories for two wraps.
 
 
I hate crunchy tuna salad. Let me repeat. I hate crunchy tuna salad. It tastes like I'm eating sea shells or sand with my fish. My mother originally created this simple tuna sandwich. Of course, we know she couldn't really cook, so I've improved it. (My friend MaryAnn who LOVES crunchy tuna salad actually said mine was better. Ha! There you go. No sea shells.) Enjoy!

Ingredients
  • 1 Seven Ounce Can Chicken Of the Sea Chunk Light Mostly Drained (Don't even try to substitute because I'll know.)
  • 1 Tablespoon My Homemade Mayonnaise (Or Hain, but it will be your loss.)
  • 2 Tablespoons Heinz Sweet Relish (NO SUBSTITUTIONS)
  • 5 or 6 Shakes Onion Powder
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • Butter
  • Bread

Preparation
  1. Combine all ingredients and mix.
  2. Spread on buttered bread or toast. We enjoy it on croissants, white bread, and bun halves. It can be served open face or closed cut into triangles. (Seriously, I mean only triangles.)
 
 
Nearing Mother's Day my mother would usually inquire as to the plan for the day. My dad would reply, "You're not my mother." His point being that the day was to celebrate one's mother, not one's spouse. My mother was forgiving so the same never went for Father's Day. In that spirit the Trophy Wife made this wonderful breakfast dish for me this year. Even though I am not her father.
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Ingredients
  • 18-20 Stale Dinner Rolls Torn Up
  • 1 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 6 Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Ripe Bananas

Topping Ingredients
  • 1 Stick Softened Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cup Oats

Oven
Preheated 350 degrees F

Preparation
  1. Mix and toss all ingredients except topping ingredients and bananas  with torn up buns.  Let sit about 15 minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl combine softened butter, brown sugar and oats.
  3. Slice two ripe bananas into ½ inch pieces.
  4. Pour ½ the mixture into a spray oiled lasagna pan.  
  5. Sprinkle that first layer with cut bananas.
  6. Added remaining bread mixture.
  7. Drop topping mixture in small chunks all over pan. 
  8. Bake 45 minutes until light brown on top.
  9. Let cool slightly and serve over warm maple syrup.

Optional
Add 1/4 cup of chopped pecans to the topping mixture if you wish.

Nutrition
Did you see the heavy cream and butter? Don't ask.


Notes
Inspired by a recipe from Paula Dean.
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I almost always have chicken and an array of vegetables in the house. This can lead to many dishes, but one of my go to basics is chicken stew. It is the base for my chicken and dumplings, chicken and drop biscuits, chicken with mashed potatoes, and chicken pot pie. You can adapt the spices and flavors in a variety of ways, but this is the basic method. My kids love having this on a cold evening after school. I hope you enjoy it.

Ingredients
  • 2 T Butter
  • 1 T Olive Oil
  • 1 Yellow Onion Finely Chopped
  • 4 Medium Carrots Sliced Thin (I use a mandolin on 2 or 3 setting.)
  • 2 Cups Cooked Chicken In Pieces
  • 1 Cup Frozen Peas
  • 1 Cup Frozen Corn
  • 1 Can Green Beans

Sauce Ingredients
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 8 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1 32 Ounce Box Chicken Stock
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Dried Rosemary
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Cracked Black Pepper
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Tumeric
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Parsley
  • Salt As Needed

 Preparation
  1. Heat the butter and oil in a heavy pot over medium low heat.
  2. Add the onion and carrot. Cook until onion softens.
  3. Add the chicken, peas, corn, and beans. Cover. (Be creative here, you can add other vegetables.)
  4. In a large sauce pan, heat the sauce butter, add the flour and stir with a whisk until the mixture starts to turn light brown.
  5. Add the stock and whisk. Bring to a boil and then reduce to medrium.
  6. Add the herbs and spices and stir thoroughly.
  7. Pour the sauce into the vegetable and chicken pot. Stir and cover.
  8. Cook over medium to medium low 30 minutes to 1 hour. The longer you cook low and slow the more flavor will develop. You may need to add a bit of water if you cook longer due to evaporation.
  9. At this point you can either pour into a pie crust for pot pie, drop in biscuits and bake in the oven covered, pour over mashed potatoes or bread or be imaginative.

Nutrition
Less than 200 calories per cup.

Hints
  1. Substitute olive oil to make this dairy free.
  2. In addition to the olive oil if you eliminate the chicken and substitute vegetable stock this makes a great vegetable stew.
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These light egg muffins are great for breakfast, brunch or snack time. They are low carbohydrate, low in calories, low fat and high in protein. They refrigerate well and can be reheated

Ingredients
  • 9 Eggs
  • 3/4 Cup 1% Milk
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Of Salt
  • Pinch Of Black Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup Finely Grated Cheese
  • Just Shy Of 2 Cups Of Fine Bread Crumbs (About 2 Thick Slices Of Home Made Bread)
  • Spray oil

Preparation
  1. Spray a muffin pan heavily with spray oil.
  2. Pulse the bread to a very small size in a food processor or use store bought tiny bread crumbs.
  3. Place bread crumbs in bottom of muffin openings.
  4. Whisk the first four ingredients together and pour into muffin openings. They should be nearly full, but not full.
  5. Sprinkle cheese on top.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 17-18 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and cool slightly.
  8. Remove from muffin tray using a small silicone spatula running it quickly around the edge and popping it out.
  9. Serve with hot sauce and fruit.

Nutrition
About 95 calories per muffin depending on cheese used.

Tips
  • These are light, so the bread crumbs and cheese can really change the flavor. Experiment.
  • You could add bacon, ham or other flavorings easily to these muffins.
  • Once refrigerated they can be reheated in a microwave on 50% power or in a toaster oven.


 
 
There are so many ways to cook eggs, especially scrambled eggs. One of my kids' favorites are my silky eggs. The combination of cream, butter and low temperature create a yummy silky texture: smooth, warm and wonderful.   The recipe can be increased significantly for brunch or a larger group.

Ingredients

  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons Heavy Cream
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • A Bit Of Salt And Pepper

Preparation

  1. Heat butter in a non stick pan on medium low.
  2. Whisk the eggs and cream together vigorously and pour into the pan with the melted butter.
  3. Cook on medium low stirring frequently until just set. They will cook slightly after you remove them from the heat.

Nutrition
About 190 calories.


 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Pound Ground Beef
  • 1 Chopped Red Onion
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup White Wine (Or Red, Whatever You Have)
  • 1 Jar Kirkland Marinara
  • 1 Heaping Tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Dried Basil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Dried Onion Powder

Preparation
  1. Heat olive oil in large pan over medium heat.
  2. Add onions and sweat them.
  3. Add ground turkey and cook through until it begins to brown.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. 
  5. Cook on medium low approximately 20 minutes.
  6. I like to toss my sauce with cooked pasta and a little olive oil in another pan to meld the flavors.