Wednesday, March 3, 2010


We live in wine country...and coffee country, two epicurean concoctions I know very little about. But considering many of my Catholic friends are giving them up for Lent, I'm assuming that for many people, they're difficult to live without. There are different beverages to pair with certain cuisines, and in case you didn't know, you never EVER drink wine from a box or coffee with crystals in it.
Anywho, onto something I do know about. And if I were observing Lent, you can bet it would be a huge sacrifice to give up this:
I'm somewhat of a sommelier for non-alcoholic libations. Wonder what beverage pairs best with Mexican food? Diet Coke. What about bbq? Why, lemonade of course. And pizza? Root beer or creme soda, unless you're in the Seattle area and you get your pizza here, in which case you MUST get this.
(rosemary lemonade)

But, the quintessential pairing that goes with EVERYTHING is milk. I buy 2 gallons each week, and we use it all up. We slurp it from our cereal bowls, gulp it from tall glasses, and whisk it up in our creamy scrambled eggs. Growing up, my dad's coworker had a few milk cows, and we regularly trekked to their house for giant 2-gallon glass jars of milk, and that was some of the best white heaven I've ever had. We skimmed the cream off the top and ladled it on top of waffles and strawberry jam. Don't knock it before you try it!

Of course, we must have milk with an occasionally cookie treat, although I'm not a dunker...I like to keep my milk white and free of "floaties." In honor of this classic duo, here's one of my new favorite recipes. It's a revision of one I grew up enjoying, healthy alterations courtesy of one of my big sisters, Gerilyn. You only need these 5 ingredients:

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 box cake mix (I used carrot cake, but you can also use spice cake or even gingerbread)
3 mashed ripe bananas
2/3 cup egg substitute (or 3 eggs)
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup chocolate chips

Combine all together and drop by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-10 minutes. These are VERY moist, so when you put them away in a plastic tub or ziploc bag, I would recommend not shutting the lid or zip top tight. Recipe makes 4 dozen cookies, and I figured out the nutrition facts per cookie: 61 calories, 1 gram fat, less than 1 gram fiber, 1 gram protein.

One more favorite with milk:

Slow Cooker Rice Pudding
1 quart milk
1 cup sugar
1 cup long grain rice (not Minute)
1 teaspoon lemon flavoring
1 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of salt
2 eggs

Combine milk, sugar, rice, lemon, nutmeg and salt in slow cooker. Cook on the lowest setting for 6-8 hours or until rice is tender. Beat eggs. Turn off slow cooker and fold in eggs. Stir thoroughly and let stand for 10 minutes. The heat from the rice will cook the eggs without scrambling them. Serve warm or cold with raisins, nuts and/or additional milk on top.

What's your favorite way to use milk?


  1. I LOVE milk! I am a total dunker. I even love to pour it over warm cake or cobbler. Yum!

  2. Love the rice pudding but I never liked the lemon flavoring, and I would substitute cinnamon for some of the nutmeg (maybe 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/4 tsp. of nutmeg). Remember how mom used to make french toast with nutmeg? It's not my spice of choice. Tutta Bella, huh? sounds great.

  3. Tutta Bella was ok, but very $$$$.. I didn't see Rosemary Lemonade on the menu. I'll have to try that if I ever go back.
    As for milk, I love fresh raw milk (chilled of course). I love taking the heavy cream off the top for butter, then using the middle cream for ice cream.. and the bottom for drinking.. Kind of a pain to wait for it to separate though.
    We love rice pudding here. I'll try your recipe my daughter will love it. We love lemon rice pudding.. try adding lemon and vanilla together, it brings and awesome flavor complexity. amazing really.

  4. MMM...I'm getting hungry for rice pudding and banana cookies! That one sounds like a great one to try--no shortening like the original. Since I am the only rice pudding eater in my family, it would be deadly to make a pot of it as I would clean it up myself. I love rice pudding. Thanks for the reminder, Jen! (I love milk, too--especially without the floaties.)