Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.


Homemade butterscotch pudding

Have you ever ate homemade pudding? It’s by far lots better than the box pudding you can buy in the store. Sure, the box saves some time, but it doesn’t beat the flavors and texture of the real thing. You should try to make homemade pudding at least once.

We used to keep box pudding on hand, particularly for pudding pie, which Chris loves, but we didn’t use them often enough and the last boxes I bought went bad. Though it looked like chocolate pudding, it was a tasteless mass of  dark goo. Ugh!

I found a recipe for vanilla pudding in a cookbook that Chris’ parents gave to me for Christmas a couple of years ago. It also has instructions to alter the recipe into chocolate and butterscotch puddings. This is the butterscotch:

This pudding would be darker if I'd used dark brown sugar instead of light.

This pudding would probably be darker if I’d used dark brown sugar instead of light.

It’s really easy to make and I usually have everything on hand so it comes together quickly. Here’s what you do:

1. Mix 2/3 cup brown sugar, 1/8 tsp. salt and 2 tbsp. cornstarch.

Mix sugar, salt and brown sugar.

Mix sugar, salt and brown sugar.

2. Slowly mix in 2 cups of milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and boils.

Slowly mix in the milk.

Slowly mix in the milk.

3. After the mixture boils for 1 minute, add half of the mixture to 2 egg yolks. Mix well and return to pot.

(I forgot to snap a photo of this step!)

4. Cook until mixture boils again. Allow to boil for 1 minute.

5. Remove from heat and add 1 tsp. vanilla and 2 tbsp. butter.

Add in the vanilla.

Add in the vanilla.

Stir in the butter.

6. Pour into serving containers or pie shell and refrigerate until set (a few hours).

That’s it! Really easy and delicious.

(This is from a 1989 “Betty Crocker’s Cookbook.”)


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This is Herman

I’d like you to meet Herman.

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Herman is a sourdough starter. I got the recipe to make it from an old N.C. Extension Office cookbook from the ’80s. My mom used to make a lot of sourdough when I was growing up and I thought I’d try to make some. Turns out, her recipe and many others use instant potatoes or potato water for the starter. This one, for Herman, uses flour, water, sugar and yeast. Herman has been sitting out for 3 days at room temp. I kept it stirred everyday and, today, took out about 2 cups to make some sourdough bread. To the remaining starter I added more flour and water, stirred it and put it in the frig until I need to feed Herman again (in a few days with flour and water) or want to make more bread.

BTW, there’s a tradition of naming your sourdough starter, for some reason. A friend told me earlier today that she calls her starter “my pet” because, like a pet, she needs to keep it fed and watered. I’ve just started this process so my starter will keep the name Herman (the name of the recipe) until I come up with a different name. Kind of like when you adopt a dog that already had a name from a different family and you decide to give it a new name later.

The traditional way to make sourdough is to mix water and flour and leave it sitting out to “capture” yeast, which is naturally in the air. It could take several days, even a couple of weeks, to grow the starter before you can even use it. I’m worried about contaminating the starter with bad stuff (the starter will turn colors if the wrong things begin to grow) and wasting the tons of commercial yeast I have already, so I just used what I had on hand.

Here’s the bread I made today:

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Rolls for steak and onion sandwiches and a small loaf for soup or lunches later in the week. I think the crust may be a little too hard, but maybe it’s supposed to be that way? One source I read said this is a like a white bread, but with a thicker crust. I hope it tastes good, at least.


Sweet potato burgers

Looking for a healthier burger? I enjoy a bean burger now and again, but haven’t ever thought about using other vegetables.

The Chubby Vegetarian shared a recipe for Chipotle Sweet Potato Burger on his blog the other day. His combination of the sweet potato with chipotle peppers, cumin and garlic have my mouth watering. It sounds like an amazing flavor combo! My tasty black bean burgers may have to take a backseat from now on.

The Chubby Vegetarian also mentioned how with an equal amount of oats added to beans, sweet potatoes or squash, you can get a really good mixture that works well as burger patties. I’m now envisioning zucchini or yellow squash patties with tarragon or cilantro. We’ve still got tons of frozen squash stored in the freezer from last season. This might be a good way to use it up.

What spice combinations do you think would go well with zucchini or squash?

You can find The Chubby Vegetarian’s recipe here.


One of my favorite things to do with spinach

This is one of my favorite things to make whenever I need a quick side dish.

A spinach and tomato side dish that I love.

I don’t really have a name for it, but love its simplicity and flavor. And you can’t beat how quick it is to cook up! It’s also great in wraps.

Though I change some of the ingredients each time I make this, four things are always in there: spinach, tomatoes, olive oil and garlic. Sometimes I’ll add in mushrooms and onions. Sesame seeds and pepper have made appearances. But those four ingredients are a must.

This go ’round, I threw in some left over rice, onions, tomato paste and some dried sweet basil:

Tonight’s rendition features rice, onion, tomato paste and basil along with the main four: spinach, tomatoes, olive oil and garlic.

After a bit of warming and wilting on the stove top, the spinach-tomato side dish was ready for plating. I paired it with oven-fried chicken and baked potato.

Spinach-Tomato Side Dish

1-3 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 handfuls of spinach leaves
16 oz. can of diced tomatoes or 2-3 large tomatoes chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil
Optional: onions, mushrooms, sesame seeds, spices and anything else you may want to throw in

  1. Heat a pan over medium-high heat. Sauté garlic for 1 minute. If using onions, add them and sauté with the garlic.
  2. Add tomatoes and cook until heated through. At this point, also add any additional vegetables and spices.
  3. Add spinach and cook until leaves are slightly wilted.
Enjoy!
    


Summer Squash Saute

I took of some of the squashes I got from our garden the other night (see here) and decided to try out a new recipe.

This is called Summer Squash Saute. It’s from Frances Musser of Newmanstown, Pa., and is a recipe she submitted to “Taste of Home.” I found the recipe in a “Savings Pack,” which is attached to several other recipes Nannie used to create a recipe book for me.

Nannie used twist times to hold recipes from several sources together.
Tada! Instant cookbook.
Here’s the recipe.

Here’s the recipe with photos of the steps below:

Summer Squash Saute

1 bacon strip, diced
1 tbsp. onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp. each of green, red and yellow bell peppers, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 medium yellow summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1. Cook bacon until crisp over medium heat.
2. Add onions, peppers and garlic and cook until tender.
3. Add the squash, cover and cook until tender (about 5 minutes).

Plate and enjoy!

Here’s what I did:

Add the chopped bacon and cook until crisp.
While the bacon cooks, cut up the veggies: onion, garlic, pepper and squash.
I only used green pepper.

Cook the onion, garlic and pepper until tender.

Add the squash, cover and cook until squash is tender, about 5 minutes.

Ready to eat!


Tofu scramble

Our local Super Dollar just started carrying tofu so I bought a box of super firm, cubed the other day.

This morning I thought I’d whip up some breakfast using it. I decided on a Tofu Scramble:

The tofu scramble before I added in the spices. (Photo taken with my iPad)
The finished tofu scramble. (Photo taken with my iPad)

This was a pretty tasty dish. Some things I did differently:
– I didn’t use onion powder since fresh onions were in use.
– I used half of the garlic powder because I added some fresh garlic, too. (I love garlic!)
– I added salt and pepper at the end.

How do you use tofu?


Squash ideas

So just about this time of year, if you have a garden or have family/friends who do, you’re probably inundated with summer squash.

Usually I feel pretty limited in what I can do with all the crooknecks, butterstick and zucchini squashes. I like them sauteed with some butter or olive oil, fried or served as fritters. And, of course, there’s the zucchini bread I usually make at least twice during the summer and frittatas that make a good breakfast or dinner feast.

There’s also creamed squash or casseroles, though I’m not a big fan of either of those.

I’ve also created a couple of recipes and posted ’em on this blog. The Late Summer Veggie Soup is good, but the warm Squash-Chard Salad is my favorite! Kale would go well in that recipe, too.

This past week, on a whim, I threw some fresh crookneck squash onto a salad. Wonderful.

I also cooked some squash with garlic and a green onion in an egg scramble and made a breakfast burrito. Awesome!

So, I encourage you to figure out different ways to eat up all that squash besides cutting it up and freezing it for goodness knows how long. It’s a good way to get some healthy veggies into your diet!