This may sound silly to some of you, but homemade Alfredo sauce seemed like some mysterious creation to me when I first started cooking. My mom never made it, so the only time I had it was when I ate out, which was a rare thing. Thankfully, back when the boys were just little peanuts, I met a nice young woman from Japan one day at the park when the kids were playing together, and she had an American husband who loved Italian food. We were over for supper one night and she made this sauce. I got the recipe, and haven’t purchased the bottled stuff since. To people who cook real, authentic Italian food, please don’t be offended! I know that “authentic Alfredo” is just cheese and butter, or cheese and butter and cream, depending on who you ask. We just like this uber-creamy variation. We also regularly pair our Alfredo sauce with spaghetti noodles instead of fettuccine, because I buy Tinkyada gluten free spaghetti in bulk.
Bean and lentil recipes can be a frugal and nourishing addition to just about any menu – but – believe it or not – I’ve only cooked about a handful of different bean recipes. My mom rarely used them, so I never picked up the habit. My friend, Pat, from Heal Thyself, suggests a cup of beans or lentils per day for folate and molybdenum. The Dr. Oz Show says, “Beans are high in antioxidants, fiber, protein, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. Eating beans regularly may decrease the risk of diabetes, heart disease, colorectal cancer, and helps with weight management.”
New year = time to introduce new habits, so I turned to my blogging friends for more ideas and inspiration in the kitchen. They pitched in and provided me with this list of beautiful and interesting bean recipes, from snacks and appetizers to entrees and side dishes to dessert. I had no idea beans could be so versatile. I hope you’ll join me in trying something new. Huge thanks to all my blogging friends who contributed recipes and photos for the photo collages.
These rolls were a family favorite that mom used to bake for most holidays, along with kolache and rolache. (No idea of the proper spelling on that one – same dough as kolache, but rolled up into a crescent, brushed with egg wash and sprinkled with salt and poppy seed). Later she also added Hungarian rolls. Christmas time would have Polish tea rings. I bake less than mom did (trying to avoid so much white sugar and white flour), but special occasions call for special recipes and memories of family traditions. Sometimes I make these as Caramel-Pecan Cinnamon Rolls, with a caramel sauce baked in the bottom of the pan, usually I just make them with icing because my boys like them better that way.
Cookies for breakfast? You bet! I’m not talking about a certain boxed cereal with fluffy little bits that leave you hungry an hour later, I’m talking about chewy, crunchy go anywhere granola cookies with all the stuff you want and none of the stuff you don’t. These easy granola cookies can be gluten free if you use certified gluten free oats (oats do not naturally contain gluten, but can be cross contaminated). They are also casein free (when the oats are soaked with vinegar) and soy free.
There was a bumper harvest of apples this year at my favorite local orchard, and fresh cranberries are shining like rubies in the produce section. Wisconsin is the top cranberry producing states in the U.S., and produces half the world’s supply of cranberries. I also have a nice stash of local maple syrup, so I figured I’d take a shot at combining all three into a tasty cranberry-apple pie. It turned out quite pretty and pairs nicely with some ice cream or whipping cream.