cooking thursday: recipe for cretons

This year I am so excited to try lots of new recipes and share them with you! Over the last few years, some of my favorite recipes have come from online friends and Sandra has some of the best. Every Thursday she has an excellent recipe sharing feature — you should join in the fun!

For the first recipe of the year, I’m sharing a recipe that admittedly looks less-than-appetizing. It’s a breakfast spread called cretons that originates in Quebec. Drew’s grandmother used to make it and when he and the boys visited Quebec last summer, he reignited his love affair with this pork dish. He begged me to try making it, and although I didn’t know what it was really supposed to taste like, I gave it a try. I looked at several recipes online (everyone seems to have their own way of making this) and combined ideas and tweaked proportions until I came up with something that sounded right. As it cooked, Drew nodded and approved of the smell, and when it was finished he told me that it tasted like Grandma’s. (Whew!) Traditionally, this spread is served on buttered toast, but we discovered that it is supremely delicious on English muffins because the nooks and crannies hold the butter.

Cretons

cretons

1 lb. ground pork
1 med. onion, finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup breadcrumbs (do not used seasoned)

Saute pork in a large pan until it is no longer pink. Add the onions and garlic, and cook for 1 minute, stirring to incorporate the vegetables. Stir in the salt, pepper, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg and cook for 1 minute. Transfer pork mixture to a food processor and pulse until the meat reaches an extremely fine consistency.

Return the pork mixture to the pan and add the milk and bread crumbs and cook for 3 minutes over medium heat. Stir well to blend everything together. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pork is very tender and most of the liquid is evaporated, about 1 hour. Remove the lid and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick and all the liquid is evaporated, about 10 min. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste.

Transfer to a pretty bowl (though a Tupperware-type container is fine, too), and smooth the top with a spatula. Cover tightly with plastic wrap (or a lid) and refrigerate until well chilled and firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Serve on buttered toast or English muffins.

Be warned: this pork pate is incredibly addictive. I didn’t plan on trying it because it looked and smelled a little weird to me, but because I made it I figured I needed to give it a try. I am fairly sure that the cretons is to blame for my holiday weight gain, LOL!

Be sure to visit Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom to check out other delicious recipes!

2011 goals: health & fitness

sour cherry picking

I’ll bet that losing weight and “getting healthy” are the most popular new year’s resolutions out there. Last year I actually met my goal weight (thanks to the discovery of my thyroid disease). Over the holidays a few pounds have found their way back onto my body (I blame the cookies), so I need to focus of getting back down to where I was just before Thanksgiving.

Here are some of the things I want to focus on, not just for me but for my whole family:

  • Eat more veggies. My two boys willingly try almost any vegetable and eat quite a variety (although Noah still runs in terror whenever I even suggest green beans). They both eat salad, which is great, but I want to expand their horizons when it comes to vegetables. The first thing I’m doing is going back to the farm share program we participated in a few years ago. I will be filling out the CSA application and sending in my check this week. Last summer we ate nowhere near as many fresh vegetables as the two years prior. I also am setting a goal of one meatless meal per week to start, with the hope of ramping it up to two or three as the spring and summer approach and the veggies become a lot more tempting.
  • Drink more water. During the summer months, this isn’t a problem for me. But when it’s 20 degrees outside, chugging cold water isn’t that appealing. Nevertheless, it’s something I need to do.
  • Exercise. I’m not sure if chasing my 19 month-old around counts as cardio (though I wish it did). Quite simply: I need to tone up after having lost weight. I have a copy of Jillian Michael’s 30-Day Shred. I just need to pop it in and start doing it. I also want to get back to a regular yoga program. I started doing yoga last February and loved it, but at some point my routine fell by the wayside. Even if I don’t do anything else, I want to start doing yoga again.

Pretty simple goals that I should be able to meet, right?  Let’s hope so!

good morning, 2011

new year's breakfast

I decided that we needed to start the new year with a big breakfast, so I made a fritatta with smoked ham, potatoes, tomatoes, and onions as well as pancakes (served with the cherry preserves I canned back in July) and sausage. And I’d be remiss not to mention the giant cup of coffee. Not that we were out drinking until the wee hours of the morning. Actually, we didn’t even crack open the champagne last night. I had a cup of tea, a few Rolos, and we watched “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” (Amazing and highly recommended movie!).

As much as I dislike New Year’s Eve, I just love New Year’s Day! Time to start fresh, get back into healthy habits, a schedule, and get things back into order.

I also have plans for some new blog features this year, and I’m excited about that. I also plan on journalling a line a day (more about that soon), and taking a photo a day to document the year. I’m feeling pretty ambitious, so we’ll see how it all goes!

The Beet Goes On

Beet Cake

In a desperate attempt to use up beets from my CSA, I decided to try baking with them. I was a bit apprehensive after Dara didn’t have great success with beet brownies… I wondered if perhaps it really was just not possible to incorporate a root vegetable into a dessert.

I decided to take a different route and started looking at cake recipes. There was one that sounded interesting, plus I had all of the ingredients! Bonus! The recipe is here. The only thing I did different was I added nutmeg instead of allspice (which I did not have).

I’m not going to lie. I was nervous. I had memories of my Babci G.’s borcht. I began to doubt that this cake would turn out well. After all, I am not a fan of the beet. I dislike their earthy flavor. Face it — they taste like dirt. But luckily I was wrong about the recipe. It came out moist and delicious! Somehow I don’t taste the beets at all in this recipe. It taste more like a spice cake or a carrot cake (just as someone had commented on the recipe’s page). I frosted it with cream cheese frosting and shredded coconut. I also sprinkled some walnuts on top.

Cake is a worthy use of beets.

{Recipe} No-Bake Easter Nest Cookies

Easter Nests

With Easter just on the way, I thought I’d share my favorite Easter cookie recipe with you. My good friend Kelly used to always bring back some of these delicious cookies after Easter break and we’d enjoy them with a cup of tea as we watched TV in our dorm room. They’re great to make with kids, too because it’s a no-bake recipe (and it’s messy, so naturally it’s fun!). Be sure to store extras in your refrigerator, otherwise the marshmallow will get too melty and goopy.

I hope you enjoy!

No-Bake Easter Nest Cookies
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 7 oz. marshmallow fluff
  2. 1/4 c. creamy peanut butter
  3. 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  4. 5 oz. chow mein noodles
  5. 1 cup chopped M&Ms
  6. Peanut M&Ms, Cadbury mini-eggs, or jellybeans
  7. Powdered sugar (optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine marshmallow fluff, peanut butter, melted butter. Mix until well blended. Add noodles, chopped M&Ms. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto greased cookie sheet and shape to form nests. Let stand until firm. Dust bottom with powdered sugar (optional). Fill with peanut M&Ms, Cadbury mini-eggs, Robin's Eggs (malted milk candies) or jellybeans.
Pure Sugar http://www.puresugar.net/