Ypsi Cooks

healthy and sustainable for the frugal foodie


Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

A quick diner

Bridgit had promised Eli corn dogs a while ago so we got some of the soy corn dogs from TJ’s along with some square fish stick things. I made some multicolored oven fries with garden potatoes and turned the fish stick things into sliders with some Tatar sauce, arugula, and baguette.

This is how we do frozen dinners!

What to make for dinner tonight

Here’s a list of things I bouncing in my head, just not feeling inspired to actually do it…

-curry lentil cakes (I should probably share this recipe with you) to fill up the hamburger buns we have
-something with green beans and potatoes from the garden… but I’m all out of feta
-something with the 3 small red tomatoes growing in the front yard
-black bean/zucchini/corn tacos, except I don’t have any of the newly picked and shelled black beans cooked up yet
-buttermilk corn chive popovers, but what to have with them? (if only my children thought tomato salad was delicious)

-uhhhhhh… your thoughts?

A 4 pie week

Check out Bridgit's Cherry Pie. The UP shifted away while baking.

It has been a good week, partly because we have had four pies. Bridgit made this wonderful Cherry Pie as well as a Peach Pie. I made a Cherry/Mulberry/Blueberry Pie. My mother made a Lemon-Meringue Pie. With the exception of the lemon all the fruit was from Michigan.

Thinning Carrots

thinned carrots

I always feel bad when thinning carrots. It is like killing your children. I know that if I don’t thin then they won’t grow as big or nicely, but pulling out a perfectly good vegetable seems wrong. The first thinning isn’t to bad, but in the second you start to get something the looks like a carrot. What we do is pull the larger carrots and eat them, and let the smaller ones keep growing. Most of the ones pictured are 2-4 inches long. These are all the Danvers variety. I cut the tops (and sometimes the bottoms because they can be stringy), wash them and use them like baby carrots (because they are). The tops get put back in the garden as mulch.

Was Jack here? Because we have some beanstalks.

Sprouted Bean

Sprouted Bean

Our beans are about 3 inches tall and we planted them only a week ago. Want to know the trick? Pre-Sprout them.

You will need:

  • Canning Jar and ring
  • mesh onion or orange bag
  • some bean seeds
  1. Cut a piece of the bag big enough to cover the jar and the ring to keep it in place.
  2. Put your seeds in the jar. Your jar should be less than 1/4 full of seeds, so get a larger jar if you need.
  3. Fill jar with water and set on counter for 24 hours.
  4. After waiting 24 hours drain beans, and rinse. Keep away from light. Cover with towel, or put them in the cupboard.
  5. Three times a day give the beans a good rinse.
  6. After about 5 days plant them. A few more is OK too.
  7. Put the roots down and be gentle with them. If there are Cotyledon or real leaves allow them to stick out of the ground. The more developed the more you can leave sticking out.

Bean Cotyledon

Now you just have to wait for the plants to grow, climb, grow some more, flower, and then start harvesting beans. Another advantage is knowing right away how many will come up. In a couple days they will be out of the ground and any missing ones can be replaced. You can also stagger a small second batch by 4-ish days to fill in any gaps.



Photos by Elle-Epp and BlueRidgeKitties available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license

Need more garbonzos (or, my new favorite lunch)

Oh my. I haven’t felt this way about a food in some time. And I definitely haven’t felt this way about a salad, maybe ever. It has been my lunch two days in a row, and if it weren’t for my super husband turning the other 4 cups of garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas) into lovely hummus, I’d be eating it right now.

It all started last week when I decided to make this wonderful gabanzo bean salad (with a double quantity of finely chopped arugala instead of  herb,s because that’s what I had) for a lovely little Easter Monday dinner with friends. I cooked up a lot of beans. I made a lot of salad. I ate the leftovers with lettuce, vinaigrette and blue cheese for lunch the next day. I ate plain beans, greens, vinegarette and blue cheese then next day, and today. And I want more. Now. But alas, there are no cooked beans in the house. Maybe tomorrow?


The Vinaigrette (check out my very specific recipes)

I’m sure there are a lot of dressings that would be good on this, but I’m partial to this one: equal parts white wine vinegar & good olive oil, a fair spoonful of mustard (perhaps this amazing tarragon-dijon that ended up in my Easter basket via Everyday Wines Marquette), and a pinch of salt. Shake to blend.

Yummy Lunch Salad

  • 1 cup (ish) garbanzo beans (if using canned, omit the salt from the vinaigrette)
  • several large handfuls of lettuce (from the garden!!!)
  • 2-3 Tbsp blue cheese, crumbled (if gluten free is important to you, please check the cheese)
  • 2-3 Tbsp vinaigrette (see above)

Layer the container with the beans and dressing on the bottom, cheese and lettuce on top. Store in fridge until ready to eat (or until the appointed time comes, depending on your place of employment). Hold the container’s lid securely, flip upside-down and do a little shake-dance, because you’re about to have a great lunch. Return to upright. Enjoy!


Easter (or just for fun) Oatmeal Cookies

The kids’ school had their Easter party on Thursday (annoying to us because we’re still trying to be in the throes of lent, but oh well). A few time one Wednesday, and then again right before bed, Eli requested “chocolate chip cookies in Easter shapes.” At that time, I didn’t take time to explain how drop cookies and rolled cookies are different, and the one is not easily used for the other. However, I did do a little research and found some yummy chewy oatmeal cutout cookies that, with a few springy sprinkles, seemed like they’d be perfect for the job. With just a few tweaks, we had a super, spring time cookie. Eli reports that all of his classmates liked them, “Except Ben. He didn’t even like the dipped in cool-whip, but he did like chips in cool-whip.”  I’m pretty sure that means Ben’s has questionable taste.

It’s hard to see the spinkles in this photo, but they’re there, I swear. The kids are super excited about them.

*We’ve been out of vanilla for a while, so I keep subbing in various zests. These cookies are lovely with orange, but I’d bet they’d be great with lemon, almond or vanilla.

Chewy Oatmeal Cutouts from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking via Shiny Cooking

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 2 Tsp orange zest (or lemon, or vanilla extract, or 1/2 tsp almond extract)1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 c (10 oz)flour (could probably replace more of it with whole wheat)
  • 1/2 cup (2 1/4 oz) of regular or white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup oats (4 oz) lightly ground in the blender (blending makes the cookies much easier to cut and give them a finer texture)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/ tsp salt
  • egg white for egg wash, if desired

Cream butter, sugar and zest (if using) until light and fluffy, scraping down occasionally to make sure butter and sugar are fully incorporated (3 min.). Beat in extract (if using) eggs one at a time (1 min.) again, scraping down for full incorporation.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture and beat at a low speed until dough forms a ball. Press dough into 2 disks, wrap in a cereal bag (or cellophane or whatnot)  and refrigerate at least a half hour, 1 or more is better. Preheat oven to 350*. Roll out one disk a scant 1/4 inch thick and cut into desired shapes. Transfer cookies to baking sheets (I put silpat on mine, but I’m not sure it’s necessary). If desired, whisk egg white with 1 tsp of water. Brush a thin coat of egg wash on the cookies and decorate as desired (SPRINKLES!!!!). Bake for 9-11 minutes. Gather scraps and re-refridgerate. Repeat rolling process for second disk. Re-roll scraps, and repeat cut-out process, or cut into diamonds. Remember, rolling cookie dough more than twice may result in tough cookies.

Getting Started in the Garden

It’s that time of year again. Time to get dirty.

Our tomatoes, broccoli, eggplant, and cabbage are all popping up, reaching for the flourscent lights, and the garlic in the garden is peaking out from the leaf cover. We are getting ready to plant our potatoes, peas, and onions in the upcoming weeks.

Last year we had a great time and grew a ton of food (more accurately about a quarter ton). I attempted to weigh and keep track of how much, but after a while it just gets old. According to my notes from last year we stopped counting at 132 lbs of tomatoes, 32lbs of watermellon, 20lbs of eggplant, 8 ice cube trays of basil pesto, 35lbs of cucumbers, 18lbs of green beans. And the list goes on. (more…)

Granola Bars

I feel quite confident that if needed, I could come up with a new recipe for Oatmeal every month, what with Fudge Nut BarsTurkish spice cookies,  overnight oatmeal (which recently got gussied up with home jarred peaches!), and how could I forget oatmeal pancakes. Needless to say, there’s a lot of oatmeal in our repertoire. With that, it’s not shocking to find that we have consumed most of the 50lbs of oatmeal I bought last March (buying a whole bag meant that we got it for about $.55/lb and we haven’t had to go back to fill up our sad little containers). Some of this was used in the occasional search for a good, homemade granola bar recipe. We’ve tried many different techniques, and none of them have done it for me: too sweet, too crumbly, too complicated, too hard, too expensive.

Reading a recipe for “Chewy Walnut Trail Bars” on another blog I felt invigorated to try again, so I checked out a few other new recipes, and decided on my tweaks. 3 batches later**, I feel very confident of what has become our go-to granola bar. This recipe is definitely not too sweet, and, if you have a food processor, very easy to make. It’s still a little crumbly (I’ve been meaning to add an egg to the goo, but haven’t yet [editor's note: tried the egg and the bars become cakey... not what I was looking for]), a little bit spicy, and has plenty of room for improvisation.


More horseradish, please.

Years ago (I’m pretty sure it was the summer before 9th grade, maybe 8th) we went to a wedding “Down South.” This was the kind of wedding where cake and punch is served in the church gathering area immediately following the morning service, then, after wishing the couple well, all go on their merry way. All that is, except for out of town guests and immediate family: they go back to mom’s or grandma’s for a nice little luncheon. It was at this luncheon that my father spied the sweet potatoes and promptly avoided them. Moments later, my mother spied those same sweet potatoes and piled her beautiful china luncheon plate high with them. At the table, she took a bite, then insisted my father try them. Was this a cruel joke? My father is not a fan of sweet potatoes. She insisted, he relented and was shocked. Not sweet potatoes at all; rather sweet, buttery, horseradish carrots. To my father’s mind, what could be better than that? Fast-forward a solid 8, maybe 10 years and my mother was still scouring cookbooks at garage sales looking for a recipe. All of a sudden it dawned on her, we ate these carrots in Alabama, maybe the recipe would be in a Southern cookbook. She picked up the book right in front of her, and low and behold, Horseradish-Glazed Carrots.

You must know, she tweaked the recipe a bit. As in, she halved the butter and honey and doubled (or more) the horseradish. But here’s the thing about horseradish: it looses its spiciness fast. As in, 6 months after opening the kick is almost gone. So, my advice, if using just opened, hold back on the horseradish a bit, and if you’ve got a jar that’s been hanging around awhile, pile it on. Enjoy!

Horseradish Carrots

(This dish reheats beautifully which is why it will be on the Thanksgiving table in Midland tomorrow, along with pumpkin-pie brioche rolls that are cooling on the counter as I type.)

  • 1 lb carrots, sliced on the diagonal
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T honey
  • ¼ cup horseradish (more or less, depending on freshness and to taste)
  • Salt, to taste

Cook the carrots to just shy of desired tenderness (some people like to team, some boil, some microwave: use your fave method). I like mine to be fairly tender, but with a bit of firmness left. Drain. Add remaining ingredients and stir until melted and combined. Adjust quantities as needed. Serve immediately, cover and keep warm, or chill and reheat for later. Easy-peasy!

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