Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pears, Pears and More Pears

Truly, is anyone luckier than me??? You may think, "why yes, I believe I am luckier than her", but let me contradict that thought by telling you that I am the luckiest girl ever. My sister-in-law's mother, that's right...sister-in-law's mother, brought over probably 50 organic pears from her pear tree! We have been eating pears like crazy and loving every second of it. I made pear butter and a pear tart that was awesome! I'll give you the recipe I used for the pear tart, with one small caveat...you need to serve a lot of people with it or you might just end up eating 4-5 slices, like a friend of mine who was visiting the evening we ate it. This is delicious served piping hot with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. Now, tell me...how many of you have a sister-in-law's mother that would bring you 50 organic, freshly-picked pears? None of you...that's what I thought...the award for luckiest girl goes to...me!

Pear Tart

6-8 pears, pealed, cored and sliced lengthwise

3/4 C sugar

1 1/4 C freshly-ground whole wheat flour

1/4 C butter

1/4 C milk

2 eggs

1/4 tsp. salt

Mix together butter, eggs, sugar and milk. Add in whole wheat flour and salt. Mix together until thoroughly blended. Stir in pealed, sliced pears. Pour into greased 9X9 pan. Cover and refrigerate for several hours. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Serve hot with vanilla ice cream.

P.S. The pear butter was amazing, too, if you want that recipe, just email me at suziessweetwheat@gmail.com. If enough people want the recipe, I'll post it, if not, I'll just respond to individual emails.

Monday, September 12, 2011


I was asked recently if I had a good minestrone recipe and yes, I do. This recipe came from my friend Jill. I used whole wheat egg noodles this time and I added an extra can of green beans and kidney beans. It is so good and just perfect for fall AND my kids LOVED it!!! All those veggies...and my kids asking for more...does it get better than that??? This is straight out of my cookbook and is wonderful served with the Quick and Easy Buttery Rolls found in the cookbook. Enjoy!

Minestrone **V** (CR)

1⁄2 C olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 C diced onions

1 C diced celery

1 C thinly sliced carrots

1 C chopped cabbage

1 C diced tomatoes

1 can green beans

1 can kidney beans

1 can petite diced tomatoes

1⁄4 C wheat berries, cooked and cooled

41⁄2 C chicken broth

6 C beef broth

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp basil

2 tsp oregano

1⁄2 C tomato puree salt and pepper to taste

1⁄2 C whole wheat macaroni (or whole wheat penne)

Parmesan cheese

Saute onions, carrots and celery in olive oil until soft. Add garlic and cook until garlic is cooked, but not browned. Add to crockpot and add all other ingredients, except pasta. Cook on low heat for 2-4 hours to blend flavors. Thirty minutes before serving, add whole wheat pasta. Serve sprinkled with parmesan cheese. Serve with Quick and Easy Buttery Rolls or Deliciously Moist Whole Wheat Rolls. Serves about 10 people.

**V** Substitute chicken broth and beef broth with vegetable broth

Crockpot Lasagna???

We had this last week. It was wonderful. My whole entire family loved it. Why do I feel like that is such an accomplishment? Of course...most families love lasagna.
Three reasons: 1. Crockpot 2. whole wheat 3. I used up TONS of my tomatoes (which I diced and threw in on the top, but that is not in the recipe).

This recipe incorporates two "unique" ways to incorporate whole wheat into foods that don't normally have it and where people wouldn't usually like it. If you look closely you can see the cracked wheat...but believe me, no one will taste it. That's the magic of this meal.

To make the puree...first follow these instructions: How to make Wheat Berries

To make the cracked wheat that you cook with the ground beef, follow these instructions:

This recipe is straight out of my cookbook on page 101:

On-the-Go Delicious Lasagna **V** (CR)

Either make or buy whole wheat lasagna noodles (if you can't find them, don't worry, there is wheat in the sauce and the meat!!!) Note: If you are making the noodles, use one of your thicker settings. I use the setting right before the thickest setting for my home-made lasagna noodles.

1 lb. ground beef

2-3 C water

1⁄2 C cracked wheat

1 large jar spaghetti sauce

11⁄2 C mozzarella cheese

3 T Parmesan cheese

1 lb. ricotta cheese mixed with 1⁄2 C wheat berry puree

11⁄2 C cheddar cheese

black olives (as many as desired) (I don't actually add these because I don't like olives)

Brown hamburger and drain off grease. Add water and cracked wheat and cook for about 20-30 minutes until wheat is no longer hard or crunchy and water is evaporated. Add more water if you need it. Combine hamburger/cracked wheat mixture and spaghetti sauce.

Layer ingredients as follows:

hamburger spaghetti sauce

uncooked lasagna noodles

1⁄4 C water hamburger sauce

ricotta cheese/wheat berry puree

uncooked lasagna noodles

1⁄4 C water

hamburger spaghetti sauce

cheddar cheese

uncooked lasagna noodles

1⁄4 C water

hamburger spaghetti sauce


mozzarella cheese

Parmesan cheese

Cook on low for 3 hours.


You can substitute cottage cheese for ricotta cheese to make it a bit cheaper. Note: If using home-made noodles...omit the water on top of the noodles **V** Substitute ground beef with 11⁄2 C grated zucchini and 1 C sliced mushrooms added to sauce. Add 2 Cups fresh steamed spinach (squeeze to remove water) to the ricotta. You can also substitute with 2 C TVP sausage for those of you with meat-loving family members...this would be the closest vegetarian match.

Pumpkin again!!!

These pancakes were inspired by my friend Stacey Allen. She introduced me to pumpkin pancakes about five years back or so. She gave me these pancakes, or something very similar to pancakes made from this recipe, and I fell in love instantly. I LOVE pumpkin pancakes. This is a recipe straight from my cookbook...on page 19.

Pumpkin Pancakes

1 C whole wheat flour
2 T sugar
1 T baking powder
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 C canned pumpkin
1 egg
2 T butter, melted
1 C buttermilk
1-2 T milk (or to desired consistency)

Optional: 1/4 - 1/2 C chocolate chips (I didn't add these and my kids still raved about them)

Mix dry ingredients (flour, sugar, banking powder, pumpkin pie spice). Mix together pumpkin, egg, butter and buttermilk. Mix wet and dry ingredients and add milk to desired consistency. Stir in chocolate chips, if desired. Bake on a heated, greased griddle or skillet. Makes 8-10 pancakes.

Pumpkin Waffles

The best part of wakin' up... Okay...continuing with my autumn-lovin' pumpkin theme...here is a recipe I'm surprised I didn't already have. I'll post my pumpkin pancakes later this week...but honestly, that recipe I've had for a while. It wasn't until this morning that I first tried pumpkin waffles and boy-oh-boy were they a hit this morning! Yummy! Now, because this recipe makes so many waffles...I'll save the majority of it in the refrigerator. Later this week, I'll pull out the batter and heat up my waffle iron and PRESTO...a hot, fresh breakfast of pumpkin spice waffles. You can't beat a whole-grain breakfast that incorporates vegetables and takes less than one minute to make.

Pumpkin Waffles

1 C canned pumpkin

1/4 C brown sugar (can add 2 more T if you like them a little sweeter)

4 eggs

1/4 C oil

2 C buttermilk

2 T baking powder

1 C milk

3 1/2 C whole wheat flour

1/2 T pumpkin pie spice

Mix all together on medium high speed for 30 seconds, then high speed for 1 minute. Bake in a preheated waffle iron.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Breakfast Bake

Am I the only one suffering from "my life is completely out of control because of soccer" syndrome? I now have three kids playing games on Saturday. That amounts to sheer craziness. To make it easier, I like to make breakfast the night before. I like anything that makes my life a little simpler in the mornings. This recipe accomplishes two important tasks. It takes care of breakfast AND fills my house with the necessary scent of pumpkin. Who needs candles, right? Be careful, if you add a little bit of whipped cream to this, your kids might just think they're eating dessert for breakfast. ;)

Pumpkin Pie Breakfast Bake

10-12 slices whole wheat bread (cubed) I used 12
2 C canned pumpkin puree (I'm sure a 15 oz. can would work, too)
3/4 C white sugar
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1-12 oz. can evaporated milk
6 eggs

Grease a 13X9 pan. Cube bread into approx. 1 in. cubes. Evenly fill 13X9 pan. Mix the rest of the ingredients thoroughly with an electric mixer. Pour over bread cubes making sure to coat each cube of bread. Cover with foil. Refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove foil and bake, uncovered, for about 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve hot with whipped cream, if desired.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My kickoff for Autumn...Pumpkin Paradise

If you've been following my blog for a while, you know that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE pumpkin in the fall. I love the smell of pumpkin muffins baking and I love that everyone, my kids, my husband, my friends, can smell the aroma wafting through the house as they come into my home. I love the taste of pumpkin treats, pumpkin breakfasts, pumpkin soups. I love the feeling that I get as I cook with pumpkin while the wind howls, the trees shed their leaves and the days get shorter and cooler. Sounds corny, I know, but hey, I really love pumpkin. Maybe I just really love the fall.

Anyway, to add to my love of pumpkin is the knowledge that it is EXTREMELY good for you! It is loaded with Vitamin A (alpha and beta carotene)...which may lower your risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. It has and abundance of other vitamins, too, like C, K, E, and minerals like potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, riboflavin, calcium, thiamine and niacin. In a 1/2 C serving, there are 4 grams of fiber, only 5 mg. of sodium and only 40 calories!

As if that weren't enough...pumpkin seeds are also good for you. They have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that may help fight osteoporosis. And...1/4 C has 1/5 grams of fiber. So...this year when you carve your pumpkins...keep those seeds, roast them and enjoy those morsels of healthy deliciousness!

And...that is my official kickoff for fall...my pumpkin post. I'll post some delicious pumpkin recipes coming soon!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Can you ever go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate???

Peanut butter and chocolate. Chocolate cookie with a creamy peanut butter filling. Do I need to say anything else? These cookies are SO good! I got the idea from another recipe and tweaked it until they were just the way I liked them. Now, I'm giving them to you...

Chocolate Surprise Cookies

1 ½ C finely-ground, sifted whole wheat flour

½ C cocoa powder

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

½ C sugar

¼ C brown sugar

½ C butter (softened)

¼ C smooth peanut butter

¾-1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg plus 1 egg yolk

Peanut butter filling

2/3 C peanut butter

2/3 C powdered sugar

Mix together flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Cream sugars and butter together. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. Mix together wet and dry ingredients. Make filling by beating together peanut butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Form 20-¾ in. balls out of filling. Flatten 20 circles of chocolate dough to about 3-4 in. in diameter. Put a peanut butter ball in the middle. Fold chocolate dough around the peanut butter ball. Roll in sugar and place on a greased cookie sheet. Flatten with the back of a cup to about ¼-1/2 in. thick. Bake at 375 degrees for about 8-10 minutes. Makes 20 cookies.