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Mr Kef’s Crowning Achievement: Sourmilk Donuts

2 Nov

Better than the muffin man– I’m married to the donut man!

It’s no secret that MrKef is happier as the breadwinner than the breadmaker in this family. He doesn’t venture into the strange room with the oven and dishwasher often, but when he does, it usually makes for a good story. For some of his previous shenanigans, check out the hilarious crime scene I woke up to last time he cooked, and his Jamdown-wowing  goat stew.

Over the weekend MrKef realized he had let this fancy milk he buys at Jrink go one day too long in the fridge. It’s entirely too expensive to go to waste, so he did some googling and found that one can make all kinds of bready bakedgood with milk that’s gone bad. Who knew?


These are the definition of easy- if you can stir ’em, you can make ’em. In case you don’t believe me, we made these after I had a full day of clinical, after I went on my first run in three weeks (#praiseHim), and before we went to Aar-zanaKef’s pumpkin carving party (and yes- if you were wondering- that is the first joint-couple Kef name to grace these pages).

We got the original idea from this recipe–what is reflected below are the few tweaks we made to thicken up the batter and speed the whole thing up by making them munchkins instead of full fledged donuts.

Sour Milk Donuts


  • 4 .5-5.5 c flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1.5 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1.25 sugar
  • 3 TBS shortening
  • 1 c sour milk (use insanely fancy milk your husband didn’t drink , or put 1 TBS  vinegar or lemon juice in a 1 cup measuring cup. Add milk to fill. Let sit for 5 minutes and milk will sour.)
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • Oil- enough for deep drying
  • 0.5-1 c sugar
  • 2-4 TBS cinnamon, to taste


  1. Mix together 4.5 flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and nutmeg in a large bowl. In a separate, smaller bowl combine sugar, lard, milk and eggs. Add wet ingredients to dry ones, and mix well. Batter should be thick enough that it can be rolled into balls–if it’s not, add the remaining flour as needed, a quarter cup at a time. You’re in the ballpark when it the dough is a bit sticky but doesn’t make an absolute mess of your hands.
  2. Roll the dough into munchkin-sized balls. They will get expand in oil, so be judicious.
  3. Heat oil in a saucepan on medium heat–the oil should be at least 3-4 inches deep, so choose your pot accordingly. When oil is hot, add doughnuts and cook for 2-3 minutes, flipping over halfway. Cool on brown paper or paper towels.
  4. Mix sugar and cinnamon to taste and roll each donut in the mixture before serving. Serve warm or room temp.

‘Pouzi Pizza

12 Jul

My love for watermelon runs deep- MamaKef has been known to stare into a fridge with three full melons and lament that there won’t be enough for the whole weekend once I get home. So ChampagneOnlyKef knew exactly what she was doing when she rolled up to the 4th of July ‘Ganza with an innovative watermelon dessert.

This ‘pouzi pizza (watermelon=karpouzi in Greek) is delicious and full of dairy decadence. I love the combo of sweet ricotta cheese and mint, and the cold watermelon base makes you forget you’re eating a Heart Attack flavored dessert. Many thanks to ChampagneOnlyKef for bringing this guy into the repertoire!

‘Pouzi Pizza


  • 1/2 c ricotta
  • 1/4 c cream cheese
  • 1 TBS honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Watermelon
  • Berries, for garnish
  • Fresh mint, for garnish


  1. Slice watermelon longitudinally.
  2. Mix together cheeses, honey, and vanilla until well combined. Spread over watermelon rounds.
  3. Cut covered rounds into “slices.” Garnish with mint and berries. Chill before serving.

Gingersnaps For Pinterest Flunkies

23 Dec

The lights are shining, the carolers are singing, and (this year) the lords are still a-leaping in shorts and a t-shirt on the running paths–Christmas is truly a magical time of year. If you’re like me, the shining lights and happy music act like a deceptive elixir: suddenly you’ve convinced yourself that you are a Pinterest queen and that you, too, can put together a strawberry, banana, and grape to make a snack that looks just like a Grinch with a Santa hat. Further proof that all that glitters is not gold: your version of those little snacks just look like fruit kebabs and the weather in January will still be miserable for running, even if it’s 70 on Christmas.

Today’s recipe goes out to all my people who are awesome bakers but just can’t give a damn about presentation–the bloggers who post great recipes without staging professional-level photo shoots, the parents who just send Twinkies to school without spending all night making them look like Minions, and the at-home chefs whose creations never get the biggest ooh and ahh when the buffet gets unveiled, but whose dishes are always gone the fastest once guests start digging in.

FullSizeRender (4)

This recipe is 100% fool proof. They taste great and look perfect each and every time. MamaKef has been making them for two decades and they have never not been superstars at the cookie exchange. Did I mention they take less than 30 minutes start to finish and require just one bowl? Leave Pinterest to your neighbor–2015 is all about the tried-and-true, no-frills-necessary gingersnap.

(But if you are actually a Pinterest Queen, whip up the insane green gingerbread cookies from yesterday, shape ’em into Christmas trees, and enjoy all the oohs and ahhs 🙂 — you earned them!)

Gingersnaps For Pinterest Flunkies


  • 2 c sugar (coconut sugar subs perfectly)
  • 1.5 c canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 c molasses
  • 4 c all-purpose flour (I used Cup4Cup and they lost a little of their snap but were still so delicious.)
  • 4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Additional sugar for rolling


  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silicon mat (if you have neither, leave your pan ungreased). Mix together sugar and oil in a stand mixer (or a large bowl with electric mixer) for about 1 minute. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add molasses.
  2. In a separate medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and salt. Slowly add to sugar/oil mixture and mix until you have the dough comes together- about 1.5-2 minutes.
  3. Shape into 3/4-inch balls and roll in sugar. Arrange about 1.5 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cookie springs back when touched gently. Cool on wire racks.

Chocolate Oatmeal Chunkers

27 Jan

I wish today were Monday so I could participate in my first ManCrushMonday, but it’s Tuesday so we’ll just have to go with RCT: Righteous Chef Tuesday. It’s probably for the best anyway because my true Man Crush is Yotam Ottolenghi … but he’s going to have to get used to sharing Chef Kefi, RN with Orange County, NY’s prodigal son, Johnny Iuzzini. MamaKef bought all of us his cookbook, SugarRush, for Christmas because it turns out he graduated from our high school and she is the unofficial president of the non-existent alumni association, so she had to support. The cookbook is awesome and filled with lots of interesting takes on old favorites. So I’m all about it.

I made these gluten-free chocolate oatmeal CHUNKERS (his caps, not mine) and found them stupendous.


This is very much an “inspired-by” recipe– go here for the original (which is easier and for which you probably have all the ingredients… just use butter for coconut oil, regular sugar for the unrefined stuff they list, and grind up quick oats to make oat flour). I couldn’t find gluten free rolled oats and had to sub in steel cut oats (seriously, Whole Foods?!), which then required me to change the liquid, oven heat and baking time… so my result was a deviation, but still so yummy. I mailed them off to CafeKef and ChampagneOnlyKef, so we’ll REALLY be in business once we get their stamp of approval.

GF SF Chocolate Oatmeal CHUNKERS


  • 3/4 c coconut oil in liquid form (or softened unsalted butter)
  • 1.5 c palm sugar (or regular– you do you)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 c steel-cut oats, finely ground in a food processor
  • 1/2 c + 2 TBS unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 c hot (but not boiling) coffee (or other yummy flavored liquid- simple syrup, hot chocolate, Godiva liquor, and Bailey’s all come to mind)
  • 1.75 c carob or bittersweet choc chips
  • 1 c gluten-free flour (I used Cup4Cup and suggest you do, too, for best results)


1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking sheet. In a small mixing bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, baking soda, and steel cut oats. Add the hot (but not boiling– I mean it!) liquid and let sit for about 30 minutes.

2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, mix coconut oil/butter with sugar on medium low until incorporated, about two minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add eggs, and mix on low. Scrape down the bowl again, increase the speed to medium and mix until you have a creamy mixture, which will take 4-5 minutes or so.

3. With the mixer back on low speed, slowly add the oats/cocoa/liquid mixture and stop as soon as it’s combined. Add the salt, carob/choc chips, then add the flour 1/2 c at a time. Let the first 1/2c of flour combine before adding the second, but don’t dillydally, as that will overwork your batter.

4. Spoon heaping tablespoons about two inches apart from one another onto your cookie sheets and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (note: I did one batch without chilling and they were still good, but the ones out of the fridge were better).

5. Bake for 18-20 minutes, then cool for 10 minutes on the pan before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

Feta Chive Cauliflower “Hashbrowns”

21 Jan

This post could also be called “The Time I Ate 6 Oz of Feta in One Sitting,” but as I am drowning in school work, I will save that story for another day (Care to chat about anticholinergics? Call your girl). I had every intention of simply Greek-ifying this ridiculously good-looking cauliflower-based grilled cheese, but once I sampled the “bread” I got impatient, remembered I actually don’t really love grilled cheese that much, and decided to scarf down the patties on their own instead. 2015 is all about living with no regrets, right?

Anyway, these are simple and so yummy. The “bread” is plenty cheesey already and without the round of extra toasting they turned out very similar in texture and crispiness to hash brown patties.  They also marked my inaugural trial of the Ninja food processor (vs my beloved Cuisinart), so more on that later. Do any of yall use the Ninja? Any fans out there?


Feta Chive Cauliflower “Hashbrowns”


  • small head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 2-3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 6 oz Feta (I used fat free because I am powerless in the face of Feta… but you do you)
  • 2-3 TBS chives, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • black pepper, to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 450F. Pulse the cauliflower in a food processor until it is a fine grain. Throw it in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 8 minutes. Let cool. Put in a cheesecloth or fine strainer and strain as much water as possible out of it.

2. Combine strained cauliflower, 2 eggs, and remaining ingredients. If the mixture will stick together to form a patty, congrats, you’re done. If it doesn’t, throw the other egg in there and mix again.

3. On a parchment- or silicone-lined baking sheet, shape the mixtures into patties (I used my fingers and the back of a fork). Cook for 16-25 minutes, depending on how successful you were at getting out the water. They’re done when they are browned to your liking.

Sweet Potato Ginger Latkes

17 Dec

Happy Hanukkah to all the Keftanis celebrating. In honor of the festival of lights, here’s a Cooking Up Kefi re-run: sweet potato ginger latkes! For a paleo/clean version, use whatever flour floats your boat. I love mine extra crispy (and then cooked a little more)- you do what you want with yours!

PS: Still on the hunt for some gifts? Check out the 2014 Cooking Up Kefi Gift Guide.

Burnt Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce and the Quinoa Bowl I’m Dying to Eat

18 Nov

Cranberries: not just the name of JetSetKef’s favorite band in middle school. I always buy bags of ’em because they are so cheap but have never really LOVED the dishes I’ve made with them. This year things are different: last week I made a cranberry apple galette that restored my faith in French pastry and yesterday I made a cranberry sauce so good and so easy that you will forget it even comes in a can. With two more bags in the fridge, who knows what more can happen!

This is a total set-it-and-forget-it recipe– I was actually doing yoga in my living room while it cooked (more like fighting with my cat for room on the yoga mat…a story for another day). The only way I could keep myself from eating the whole thing right out of the damn pot was to mix some with the butternut squash I had roasted earlier that day, which had me reallllllly wishing I had more of that frozen quinoa and kale from Costco I posted about a few weeks ago. I think this just-sweet-enough, hearty-with-a-pinch-of-spice cranberry sauce can be paired with almost anything–but if I were you, I’d throw it in a bowl with some red quinoa, braised kale, and roasted butternut.


Burnt Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce


  • 12 oz fresh cranberries
  • 7/8 c red wine
  • 1/8 c maple syrup
  • 1/2 TBS cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg


1. Combine ingredients in a medium pot and mix well.

2. Bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and let cook, strring occasionally, for 45-50 minutes, or until you’ve reached your desired consistency. The burnt bits on the bottom WILL be the best part.

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