Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Family Tradition-Making Hungarian Pastries

At Christmas this year, my mother-in-law taught me how to make kiffles(pronounced kee-flee), a Hungarian pastry. This is a family tradition for them as my husband's family is Hungarian.(If you know our last name, you probably wondered where it came from-now you know!)

A kiffle is made of a rich dough that is rolled out and then filled with a walnut filling. Also used is a prune filling called lekvar. Apricot filling can also be used. After baking and cooling, these are sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Although, it is not that difficult to make kiffles, they are quite time-consuming. It is a 2-day process, consisting of making the dough, rolling it into little balls and refrigerating it overnight the first day. The second day is when you make the filling, roll the balls of dough into circles, fill and bake them. My mother-in-law made dozens and dozens of these for our dessert reception at our wedding a little over 2 years ago. I now have a greater appreciation for her hard work!:-)
None of these pictures show the kiffles sprinkled with powdered sugar, so just imagine them covered with white for the finished product.:-)

These are so yummy! They are my husband's favorite and I like them pretty well, too!

This link provides more information on kiffles. I was surprised, however,when googling this, to find that all the recipes are a little different and the pictures of the pastries in the link look nothing like our kiffles! There are a lot of variations to this pastry.

I was tickled to learn how to make these and excited to be able to add this tradition to my own family in the years to come!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Homemade Corndogs

Here is a picture of the homemade corndogs I made a couple of weeks ago! The picture is blurry but you can still see generally how they look. I used Alton Brown's recipe for these, which was easy to follow.

This was one of my attempts to learn something new by using ingredients that I already had on hand. (I didn't add the jalapeno peppers, but they were fine without.) Next time I will have more hotdogs on hand to use up the leftover batter, since there was a lot of extra. This time I made "fritters" out of it.

These turned out really tasty. My husband loved these! Of course, these are not a healthy recipe with the frying and all, so I won't be fixing these often. But you should at least try them once. It's really fun to "make your own" convenience foods at home!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Healthy Food-Homemade Granola and Healthy Food Changes

About this time last year, I was thinking a lot about making changes in our family's diet particularly from using refined flours and sugars to more whole grains and natural sweeteners. Looking back, I don't feel like I made that big of a dent in such a large goal. But then I got to thinking about the changes we have made in our eating and then I realized that a change such as this requires a lot of time and baby steps.

The changes we have made so far include:
  • Eating brown rice instead of white rice.
  • Using organic peanut butter instead of the very artificial over-sweet variety.
  • Incorporating more bean-based meals into our diet.
  • Gradually increasing the amount of whole wheat flour in my homemade bread.(I will be focusing more on this in the months to come!)
  • Making almost a complete change from regular refined pasta to whole-grain pasta. (The brands we have tried are surprisingly very tasty and more filling so we don't eat as much!)
  • Switching from margarine to real butter.
Wow! I didn't do so bad after all!

I have no plans of going completely 'crunchy" but I feel very strongly that God wants me to prepare as healthy of food as possible for my family. So far, I am focusing on doable changes that are financially and regionally possible.

This past week, I made some healthy granola that uses all natural products(no refined sugars). This recipe came from The Family Homestead. I made half of a batch to try it out and it makes a lot! In the future I will probably make a whole batch, especially if I have enough air-tight containers to keep it fresh. I was really concerned as to whether my husband would eat it as it doesn't have that nice sweet taste at first. I added raisins and some dried cranberries and I think that helped. But he loved it and so did I! So this will be the granola recipe that I will be using from now on...or until I find another that I like better.LOL!!!