Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Malt Pancakes

Malt is a funny thing. It is not a very appealing sounding word, but something about it just warms my soul. I am not a candy person, but if you asked me to pick a favorite I would have to go with Whoppers. I think I inherited this weird love of malt from my grandfather, who passed it on to my mother, who in turn passed it on to me. You would think that because I had such a deep love for malt I would love beer, but it is not so. Beer is so nasty tasting to me. I wish I liked it, because I would be so much cooler if I did like it.

I do not eat ice cream that often, but when I do I pour a thick layer of malt powder on top. Weird I know, but at least I don't drink milk with ice or eat the peels of bananas. FYI, I always had problems spelling "Bananas" until that lame Gwen Stefani Song, "Hollaback Girl", came out a few years ago. I guess something good can come from something lame. Back to weird eating habits...do you have a weird eating habit? If so, let me know that I am not alone in my strange malt habit!

I was going to find out a bunch of fun facts about Malt for you, but after researching it for about a minute I realized it was not fun...so I am not going to enlighten you. Sorry.

I was inspired to find a recipe for Malt Pancakes because my Grandpa likes this Stonewall Kitchen pancake mix that has malt in it. Of course it costs a million dollars for one ounce, so I figured there had to be a cheaper way to make malt pancakes. Lo and behold, there is. Next time I make these I plan on pouring a layer of malt on top of the layer of fresh maple syrup that covers the pancakes. Yum.

In other news I recently became re-addicted to coffee. Great, just great. Blame it on my cousin and his wife...they sell really good coffee in Montana and we decided to order some. Darn the good coffee. I now start each morning drinking a nice hot cup of coffee in a mug with a giant "L" written on it. Nothing convinces you to wake up in the morning like staring at that giant taunting "L"...loser...loser...loser...stay in bed...stay in bed. Once I have consumed about 1/2 of the cup it dawns on me that the "L" is for my Dad, Leif. So I am reassured, stick my tongue out at that "L", say "nanabooboo", and then make these pancakes. Yes, it is true, I eat pancakes for breakfast during the week...scandalous, but true. Don't judge, just eat.

Malt Pancakes

Whisk together the following in a large bowl:

2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla

Add and mix:

3 TBS melted butter

In separate bowl mix together the following and then add to the above ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup malt powder

Stir until smooth and let sit 10 minutes. Spoon onto hot buttered griddle and cook until bubbles form on surface, flip and cook until golden. Serve with warm REAL maple syrup. Really there are no excuses to eat that cheap fake stuff, ever.

If you like your pancakes thinner, add more milk. If you like them thicker, add more flour or reduce the milk. If you make these invite me over and I will bring the syrup...and the coffee. : )

"And malt does more than Milton can
To justify God's ways to man."

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Inspiration in a bowl of dumpling soup

"Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier."
~Mother Teresa

The master chef tasting his creation.

Dinner is served.

Do you inspire people? On a day to day basis I don't think I inspire many people, but recently I feel like I have. What a great feeling knowing that you encouraged or motivated someone to do something good. My two encounters with inspiration came from the two little people in my family. Leave it to the little people to do or say things that make you happy : ), darn them and their innocent comments.

My first encounter with inspiration came from my niece. My poor niece...I used to bake with her a lot more, but I started getting so many paying customers that I had to exclude her from most of my baking adventures. I try to make time at least once a week to make something with her, but that isn't enough for her. She is probably one of the only seven year old kids that knows how to work a kitchen aid mixer, a food processor, saute onions, and make eggs. She is very quickly working her way up to Sous Chef status is this house... sorry Mimi : ) Anyway, I was filling an order the other day while she sat at the table drawing away like she always does. She looked up and said, "I want to be like you when I grow up." I said, "Oh yeah, why?" She said, "I want to make things and sell them to people, and get money from them." What a cutie. She then disappeared upstairs for a few hours to work on a secret project. When she finally came down stairs she showed us 3-4 paper crowns she had colored, cut out, and taped together. She proudly told us that she was going to take them to school and sell them to the kids. She gets that salesmen attitude from her Daddy who happens to be an incredible salesman! Bless her heart! Inspired creativity, check.

My second encounter with inspiration came from the baby of the family, my 14 year old brother Nick. Being the runt of the litter he has 6 older siblings with strong personalities that he has to compete with. I have often asked him to help cook or bake, but he has never really shown an interest. I was determined to teach him how to cook, it is such an important life skill that he really does need to know. I bought him a cookbook for kids for Christmas, which he responded to by saying, "I am not a kid." So he grabbed a sharpie, blacked out the word "kids", and inserted the word "teenagers." Somehow that made it an okay cookbook and he would maybe consider it...wow, the power of a sharpie, I had no idea it could do that. : ) I told him to go through the book and pick out a few recipes we could try out and I would get all the ingredients we needed to make it happen. He liked that idea. Our schedules were conflicting so we couldn't nail down any times that worked for both of us. So he got home from school as I was leaving and started making the recipe on his own. He didn't think he could do it, but he did, and it was awesome. So awesome that I am posting the recipe for everyone else to try as well. Inspired someone to cook, check.

So, have you inspired anyone in your life? Even though I only inspired them to be creative, and to cook it felt like a whole lot more. So get out there and share what you are good at with someone! I know what you are all thinking, "what happy pill is she on?", or "maybe she stole that sharpie from Nick", but no...that is the power of inspiration my friends...go get you some. : )

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."
- John Quincy Adams

Turkey Dumpling Soup

adapted from Kitchen for Kids by Jennifer Low

2-3 Green Onions, sliced into disks
6 oz uncooked ground turkey,chicken, or pork

1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp garlic
Salt and Pepper
1 large egg white

32 wonton wrappers (one package)
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 eggs, whisked lightly

Mix together in a medium bowl the green onions, meat, soy sauce, oil, garlic, salt and pepper until combined. In separate small bowl whisk the egg white and set aside. Lay a single row of wonton wrappers flat on a tray and place a rounded tsp of meat filling in the middle of each wrapper. Using a pastry brush or your finger brush the edges of the wonton wrapper with egg white. Place an additional wrapper on top of those and press together around the edges until sealed shut. Continue this process until all the dumplings are assembled.

Bring broth to a simmer. Place the dumplings in the broth 5 or 6 at a time and simmer about 10 minutes. Remove from broth and set aside. Continue cooking until all the dumplings are cooked. Remove all the dumplings from the broth and while whisking slowly pour the 2 whisked eggs into the broth. Serve in bowls and place 3-4 wontons in bowl and spoon broth over them. Top with sliced green onions.

"Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others."
~Saint Augustine

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Can I just be one of those annoyingly nice people that decides everyone gets to win? I loved all the stories of inspiring love from you guys. In a world full of broken marriages and failed relationships it is refreshing to hear positive and reassuring stories of love. I did the random number generator thing and comment number 1 was the winner...which means Nancy is the winner of the cookies! Also, in thanksgiving for my Valentine cookie sales going well I am going to pick a second winner...just because and no random number generated here...Corissa. : ) Please contact me via my email whiskedaway2@gmail.com with your address or the address of the person you would like to send the cookies to. Thanks for participating and keep your eye out for more contests in the future!

Just in case you really wanted those cookies you have until tomorrow, Tuesday, February 8th to place your orders from my Etsy store.

True Random Number Generator
25 1

"Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor... Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting." ~Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Balsamic Lentil Stew

Can I share some happy news with you? I recently made a purchase that I am super excited about...lame I know...but all the same still beyond awesome. I traded in some old textbooks on Amazon and got a nice big credit...everyone should sell their books back! I decided to take my Mom's advice to splurge and buy the Cranford and Return to Cranford series, and the North and South series. Yes! Don't be a hater. I am trying to bulk up my BBC and Masterpiece Theater collection...best things ever. If you haven't seen any I highly suggest you rent them on Netflix right now, I promise you won't be disappointed. Now on to the lentils...

Wow, I could have sworn I already posted a recipe for lentil soup/stew...but no I haven't. How is that possible? I love lentils! We usually eat them about 4 times a month. Unlike dried beans that need to be soaked before cooking, most lentils are super easy and require no soaking. They are a great go to staple in our cabinets. They are great hot or cold. In a soup, or in a salad. As a dedicated lentil follower I strongly urge you to incorporate them into your diet...I endorse them, and I love them.

When I was a little one we used to eat out with my Papa (grandpa) at this local Lebanese restaurant. For the most part I remember thinking that most of the food there was weird and yucky. The only thing I would eat was the pita bread and a bowl of plain lentils and rice. I loved them. It was so simple and good. That love of lentils has stayed with me throughout the years, and I always have a soft spot in my heart for them. Just as a side note - I now love Lebanese food...what on earth was my lame childhood palette thinking?

Just a few things about Sir Lentil you should know:

1) They come in a nice variety of colors. Green, French green, brown, yellow, black, red, and crimson.

2) They can be sprouted...which I won't get into now, but sprouting is a good thing...do it.

3) Red and yellow lentils have a lower fiber content then the green and black types.

4) Just to give you an idea of how good lentils are for you...3.5oz of dried lentils have 26 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat, and 31 grams of fiber. In case you aren't sure, that is very very good. Plus they are high in iron...bonus.

5) "In Jewish Mourning tradition, they are considered as food for mourners, together with boiled eggs. The reason is that their round shape symbolizes the life cycle from birth to death." - Wikipedia

Balsamic Lentil Stew
by Dagny Syversen

1 pound dried lentils, I used French black ones they hold up better then the green ones, rinse them and drain in a colander
64 ounces chicken broth, any broth, or water
2 onions, diced

5 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
3 TBS balsamic vinegar

1 pound ground Italian Sausage, or any ground meat will work, beef, chicken, turkey
1 can diced tomatoes

1 TBS dried oregano leaves

4 cups packed fresh washed spinach, or one box of the frozen stuff

Super easy. Pour about 1 TBS of olive oil into bottom of large stockpot. Add sausage, break it up, and cook over medium high heat until no longer pink. Remove from pan and set aside. At this point there will be a good amount of fat left in the pan. I usually pour out 1/2 and keep the rest in the pan. Return pan to medium high heat and add onions. Saute 5-7 minutes until caramelized. Add garlic and stir. Return the sausage to the pan. Add the rinsed and drained lentils to the pan and stir. Add the balsamic vinegar and stir. It might start to fizzle and hiss at you at this point, don't panic, just keeping stirring. Add the diced tomatoes., and oregano. Add the broth or water and stir. Bring to a boil and cook 20-30 minutes until lentils are tender. Stir every few minutes and check the liquid level. If the stew is getting too thick and sticking to the bottom add some more water or broth.

Once lentils are cooked add the spinach to the pan and stir until cooked. This is a quick process and should only take a minute or two.

A few notes. Don't salt your lentils at the beginning of the cooking process, salt will make them mushy and they will break down a lot faster. I didn't even salt and pepper this stew, the Italian sausage had enough seasoning that it didn't require anymore. If you use a different meat you will have to add additional seasoning. If you want to make this more soupy add more liquid.
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