Simply Made Veggie-Style California Roll

20140427-102020.jpg
Our local grocer has a wonderful sushi station set up in the produce section of the store. Each time I visit the store, I load up my cart with a few packages of veggie style California Roll. M loves to take it to school in her bento box. She eats it for lunch or saves it for her after-school snack, just before track practice. Lately, my long work hours have kept me from visiting the market during the sushi making hours. It seems the hours for the station are limited and once the station is closed, the remaining sushi is often removed from the refrigerator case well before I arrive.
M and I were out shopping yesterday, and once again, the sushi station was closed. As M passed by the station with a disappointed look on her face, she spied a display that included all of the supplies needed to make our own California Roll recipe. We quickly gathered up all the supplies and headed home to begin our sushi making project. On a recent visit to Disney, we had purchased a bamboo sushi rolling sheet so we were excited to finally put it to use. We carefully read the directions for making the rice, although, we eliminated the addiction of sugar and salt. We then proceeded to assemble the California roll. Wow, what a simple project…and so delicious! I hope you have a chance to try the recipe on your own. Add any combination of fresh veggies you prefer…cucumber or jicama might be nice. This is really a fun family cooking project.

Simply Made Veggie California Roll

2 cups Premium Grade Nishiki Sushi Rice, cooked according to package directions
1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
5 sheets nori (dry seaweed)
1 avocado, sliced thinly,
3 stalked celery, cut julianne style, about the length of the nori sheet
3 carrots, peeled and cut julianne style, about the length of the nori sheet

20140427-102433.jpg

20140427-102447.jpg

20140427-102500.jpg
Transfer cooked rice to a bowl and carefully cut in rice vinegar using a rice paddle or wooden spoon. Allow to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Place a sheet of nori, on the rolling mat.

20140427-102716.jpg
Place 2 to 3 pieces of each of the avocado slices, celery, and carrots on top of the nori in one layer.

20140427-102811.jpg

20140427-102828.jpg
Using the mat as a guide, carefully roll the California roll into a tight log. Remove the rolling mat.

20140427-103006.jpg

20140427-103020.jpg
With a sharp wet knife, cut roll into 6 even pieces. Repeat with remaining sheets of nori and filling. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.

20140427-103124.jpg

20140427-103146.jpg

Overnight Breakfast Casserole

20140420-112800.jpg
Traditionally, this is the breakfast casserole that I make for early morning holiday meals throughout the year. What I really like about this dish is that it’s prepared the night before the occasion. I assemble things just before heading to bed, pop the dish in the fridge and pull it out early in the morning with little fuss or cleanup involved. Early the next day, I usually head into the kitchen well before anyone else is up, make myself a piping hot cup of coffee and enjoy the quiet first light of the new day.
This Easter was no different when prepping for the holiday brunch. A special treat, I was pleased to have our K home for the weekend. We will drive her back to campus later today but it’s always a blessing to have the family together on these special mornings.
Happy Easter everyone! I hope you are enjoying the warmth of the sunshine wherever you may be this lovely blessed day.

Overnight Breakfast Casserole

1 pound ground pork sausage
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
8 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
8-10 slices white bread, cubed
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray with cooking spray, a 13×9″ baking pan. Crumble sausage into a medium skillet. Cook until evenly browned; drain.
In a medium bowl, mix together mustard, onion and garlic powder, salt, eggs and milk; set aside. Layer ingredients into prepared 13×9″ baking pan as follows:

20140420-113146.jpg

20140420-113209.jpg

20140420-113233.jpg

20140420-113401.jpg

20140420-113413.jpg
Evenly distribute bread in the bottom of pan. Next, layer in the sausage and then the broccoli. Pour egg mixture over entire dish, making sure to saturate all of the bread. Top with shredded cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 8 hours, or overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover with foil and bake 45 to 60 minutes. Uncover, and reduce temperature to 325 degrees. Bake for an additional 15- 30 minutes, or until set.

20140420-113604.jpg

20140420-113625.jpg

Old Fashioned Vanilla Pound Cake

20140416-212050.jpg
You probably recognize this cake shape from an earlier post. Yup, it’s the Mickey Mouse cake mold that we purchased in Disney World a couple of weeks ago. My twins, M and P just celebrated a birthday and M requested this delicious vanilla pound cake with cream cheese icing and strawberry topping. I usually use this recipe to make my Easter Lamb Cake. I use a special two-piece mold for a three dimensional cake. I am happy to say that this flat mold worked out just as well. Follow the recipe below for instructions to fill a more traditional pan size. A good rule of thumb when using a pan other than suggested in the recipe is to make sure that you don’t fill the pan too high or you’ll have a real mess on your hands! The pan will often overflow or you’ll end up with a lopsided, domed cake that often needs to be shaved down for a uniform shape. For a moist, dense cake, try to set your kitchen timer a few minutes less than the suggested time so that you can check out the cake before it becomes too well done. Ovens vary in temperature so get to know your oven. This way, you can avoid an over-baked cake that will most likely end up dry and crumbly. I must admit, this is a great pound cake recipe. I hope you have a chance to try this old fashioned favorite. It’s certainly isn’t a figure friendly recipe but it’s sure to please when baking for a special occasion.

Old Fashioned Vanilla Pound Cake

2 2/3 cups sugar
2 cups butter
8 eggs
8 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 1/2 cups cake flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Separate the yolks from the egg whites. Reserve the yokes. In a stainless steel bowl, beat the whites to form stiff peaks.
In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter thoroughly. Beat in egg yolks. Stir in milk, vanilla and almond extract. Add flour, 1 cup at a time. Carefully, fold in egg whites. Pour batter into well greased 10″ tube pan and bake for 90 minutes. Cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or frost with your favorite cream cheese frosting. Optional: Top with fresh fruit before serving.

Slow Cooker Corned Beef

20140405-211748.jpg
While St. Patrick’s Day is long past and Easter is just around the corner, I recently searched the freezer to see what kind of inventory I had available in the way of meat products for the coming holiday. (I often have a supply of ground beef, ham, pork, or prime rib roast left from thrifty bulk purchases when I find a great deal at the supermarket.) To my surprise, I had several corned beef roasts set on the top shelf. I quickly remembered that I had bought a boat load of corned beef around St. Patrick’s Day because the price was too good to pass up. Five roasted were neatly stacked in the freezer so I put one in the fridge to thaw for Monday’s dinner.
Before I headed to work on Monday morning, I lined the bottom of my crockpot with potatoes, carrots, and onions, then laid the roast among the vegetables.

20140405-212048.jpg

20140405-212237.jpg
I sprinkled the seasoning packet over the corned beef and poured in some water and a half can of beer before shutting the lid and setting the dial to low.

20140405-212436.jpg
I arrived home to the delicious aroma of the complete dinner. There is nothing quite so wonderful as having dinner ready when walking in the door after a long day at work. I have quite a few recipes to successfully cook corned beef. I often bake it or boil it, but this is one of my favorites…very little time or effort produce a magnificent meal. If you like Reuben sandwiches, add thousand island dressing and sour kraut to some toasted rye bread and you have quite a sandwich.

Slow Cooker Corned Beef

2 1/2 cups baby carrots
3 potatoes, diced
1 onion, peeled and rough cut
4 cups water
1 (4-5 pound) corned beef brisket with spice packet
6 ounces beer

Place the carrots, potatoes, and onion into the bottom of a slow cooker. Place the brisket on top of the vegetables. Pour the water and beer over the brisket. Sprinkle on the spices packet, cover, and set the cooker on High.
Cook the brisket for about 8 hours. Cool slightly before cutting into thin slices.

PB&J French Toast

20140402-202012.jpg
Lately, M has been using the Ninja blender to make her very own homemade peanut butter. She loads up the machine with lots of unsalted peanuts and pulses the motor until the mixture forms a smooth, creamy spread. When we pair the freshly made peanut butter with our Concord Grape Jam and favorite French toast recipe, the combination makes for a killer breakfast treat.

PB&J French Toast

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 pinch salt
3 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon butter extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sugar
12 thick slices of bread

Measure flour into a large mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in the milk until well combined. Whisk in the salt, eggs, cinnamon, almond, butter, and vanilla extract and sugar until smooth.
Heat a lightly buttered griddle or frying pan over medium heat. Soak bread slices in mixture until completely saturated. Cook bread on each side until golden brown.
Slather your favorite peanut butter over one slice of French toast. Spread your favorite jam or jelly on a second slice of French toast. Combine to make a sandwich and slice diagonally for corner to corner.

20140402-202146.jpg