Hawaiian Haystacks, Part 2

Youngest Brother-themed Hawaiian party ... 
... can you guess what my youngest brother looks like?


Hawaiian Haystacks, or "17 Ways to Use a Coconut"

Hawaiian Haystacks
Serves 2-3 (easily adjustable for large groups)

1 c. cooked rice
1 c. cooked and shredded chicken + 1 can cream of chicken soup.  Heat over medium heat until soupy.
-chopped celery
-diced tomatoes
-sliced green onions
-crushed pineapple (drained)
-shredded coconut
-shredded cheddar cheese
-chow mien noodles

Start with a spoonful of rice on a plate.  Scoop the chicken/soup mixture onto rice.  Add choice of toppings and enjoy!

I took Baby rhymeswithsmile on a road trip this weekend - first out-of-town trip for me since Thanksgiving, and ever for the babe.  I could write entire blog post about the adventure of changing a diaper in a compact car or breastfeeding in a small-town gas station parking lot, but I will save that for later.  This post is about Hawaii, and coconuts, and sibling love.

You see, my youngest brother is in the army, and suffers through his tropical assignment of Hawaii (insert jealous glare here).  He is getting married in a week, and our parents will be joining him and his fiancee on the island for their beach ceremony, but the rest of us (me and two other brothers) won't be able to be there.  However, the two brothers and I were all at my parents' house this weekend, and Mom decided that we needed to have a Hawaiian-themed dinner in Youngest Brother's honor.  I suggested Hawaiian Haystacks.  I think it's such a fun meal, and it's great for a crowd because each person can build his or her own plate to taste.  There ended up being 16 people for dinner (my parents tend to collect house guests, you see) so we ended up supplementing the haystacks with a pan of lasagna ... but I digress.  Haystacks.  Hawaii.  Coconut and pineapple on rice.  Youngest-Brother-themed dinner and wonderful time with family and friends.
Youngest Brother's handsome face attached to popsicle sticks

Mom, wearing her "Hospitality Queen" crown bestowed on her by house guests
(I'm pretending that the H is for Hawaii)

The meal was really tasty!  You should try it (and be creative with your toppings and the decor, of course)

I think that this might be overkill, but I'll do it anyway ... 16 more ways to use a coconut (this list comes from none other than Uncle John's Unsinkable Bathroom Reader, 21st ed.)
2. Make candy from the sap
3. Buff floors with dried coconut half-shells
4. Make small canoes out of the hollowed-out trunks of the palm tree
5. Make mouthwash 
6. Make a short-term intravenous hydration fluid out of coconut water (really!)
7. Simulate a horse's hoof-beats by banging two coconut halves together
8. Make a bomb out of coconut shells filled with gunpowder
9. Carve shirt buttons from the shells
10. Drink the water to relieve fever, headache, upset stomach, diarrhea, and dysentery (watch out pepto! you've got competition!)
11. Create cooking skewers out of the ribs of the palm leaves
12. Feed the husk fiber to livestock
13. Use the fibrous husk to make an aquarium filter
14. Prevent fogging on snorkeling goggles by rubbing a fresh, inner coconut husk on the lens
15. Use coconut oil to treat snakebites
16. Fray a piece of the root and use it as a toothbrush
17. Make a hamster bed out of a hollowed-out shell (in case you were wondering how in the world you were going to ever get that hamster to sleep in its own bed)

sibling love!


Winter Greens Pie for a Springish Winter

Recipe comes from here, with slight adaptations.

*This is from yet another meal that I was fortunate enough to receive from a friend a few weeks back.  So, I haven't actually made it myself yet.  But she made it, and it was awesome, and I WILL be making it soon.  As soon as I can coordinate myself enough to make it to the grocery store with an actual list in hand ... *

Place 6 eggs in a pot of cold water.  Bring to a boil.  As soon as water comes to a rolling boil, remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 15 minutes.  Peel shells and set aside.

1 1/2 lb. kale, rough stems removed
2 c. fresh spinach
2 T. olive oil
2 leeks, washed and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 c. ricotta cheese
1 c. grated parmesan cheese
3 scallions, finely chopped
2 T. fresh oregano, freshly chopped, or 2 tsp dried oregano
sea salt and black pepper to taste

1 package puff pastry
2-3 T. melted butter

Coarsely chop leaves of greens, steam for 6 to 8 minutes or until wilted, transfer to a colander to cool, then squeeze to remove excess water (according to the original post, it's really important to squeeze hard!).

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add leek and garlic and cook for 5-6 minutes or until very soft. Transfer to a food processor, add greens, and process until finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl, then add cheeses, scallions, and oregano. Mix well and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place an 8-inch springform or other deep cake pan on a cookie sheet, brush the inside of the pan with butter, line with puff pastry, allowing excess to overhang.  Brush with butter.

Spoon 2/3 of ricotta mixture into the pastry-lined pan, smooth surface, then create 6 wells for the eggs around edges, using a spoon. Place eggs in wells, then spoon over remaining ricotta mixture, smoothing top. Place another sheet of puff pastry on top and pleat edges or seal with a fork.  Brush top with butter and bake for 40 minutes or until golden.

Serve warm or at room temperature.
REALLY good.  That's all I really have to say.
And now I'm going to include a picture that has nothing to do with my recipe, because it's my blog and I can do what I want, right?!?


Food Baby



Sweet Pea


Baby Girl!


Secret Recipe Brownie Cookie Bars

Back Story: Cousin Becky came to visit and help out with the baby a couple of weeks ago.  A friend brought us dinner and included the most amazing dessert we had ever eaten - this pan of dessert bars with a brownie base and cookie dough on top.  I mean, seriously - it was delicious.  Why had we never thought about baking these two together?  What could be more logical than brownie and cookie?  Bacon and eggs ... peanut butter and jelly ... brownie and cookie.  It made sense.  
We raved about it.  We dreamed about it, talked about it, laughed at our reaction, and sat down to eat more of it.  We ate it for snack, appetizer, dessert, second-dessert, and to finish off the meal.  It lasted all of 36 hours in the house - well, I think we should subtract the 14 hours that were spent outside of the house or sleeping.  So, 22 hours of this awesome brownie-cookie bar later, we began lamenting the fact that it was over - OVER! - until the next time we should be lucky enough to receive such a delightful dessert from my thoughtful friend.  
Almost weeping at the fact that the brownie-cookie bars were gone, I sent a message to my friend asking for her recipe.  Two days later, she saw me at church and slipped me this in between Amazing Grace and the Doxology:

Praise God from Whom all blessing flow!
Shhhhhh.  Don't give away the secret recipe, now that I've shared it with you, OK?  Or, if you do spread the love, make sure that you give me a cut (literally.  I require 50% of the pan).