Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Indigo with a side of Lima Bean & Potato Soup

The happiest parts of any of my days are when I first pick Indigo up from daycare, or when she gets up in the morning and I open her bedroom door. I am savoring her running at full speed into my arms or handing me her tangled blankets from her crib. She loves me so much and I love her so much, plain and simple.

When I picked up Indigo yesterday I was informed that not only did she walk backwards all around their classroom but that she also drank from her first *big girl* cup. These are two great accomplishments for a kid and two great wonderments for a parent. When you are first gifted your child you wander how they will ever do stuff, and I mean any type of *stuff* but man is this *stuff* coming at a fast pace now. The excitement is overwhelming. I am terribly thankful for being able to observe her everyday and I take great pleasure in every small step she takes. I guess some people when they become parents never think that things like waving bye, blowing a kiss or drinking from a cup will blow your mind; but they will and do EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Sooo. While all this cup drinking was going on, I gathered and chopped all the following ingredients.


4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 Green Bell Pepper, Chopped
2 Celery stalks, sliced thin on a bias
1 Onion, chopped
2 Large Potatoes, chopped
1 can of Lima Beans
1 can of Corn
2 ½ cups Vegetable Broth
1 ½ cups of Whole Milk
1 tbs of vegetable or sunflower oil
½ tsp of dried sage or more (have to taste test!)
Salt for taste
Cornstarch to thicken, if you like…and I do.


In a large pot sauté your oil, garlic, bell pepper, celery, onion & potatoes for about 5 minutes. After this turn your heat down to low and cover the pot so the vegetables can sweat it out for at least 10 minutes.

After the 10 minutes are up add in your vegetable broth and bring to a boil; turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes add in your milk, lima beans, corn, sage & salt. Simmer your soup for another 5 minutes or so and add in the cornstarch to thicken soup (mix cornstarch with cold water before adding to the soup to prevent clumping).

And now you are all done, this makes a really light but filling soup.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Fudge Cakes

Well in addition to tomatoes being new on my craving list after pregnancy you can now officially add chocolate to that list; totally a vanilla girl before. My family was nursing a cold over the weekend and we wanted to make a special breakfast on Sunday, something to pep us up; and as we speak I just accidentally erased the best picture of it……@$%& DARNIT! Alright now moving on to these *fudge cakes* they were pretty darn good. I don’t want to lie and call them pancakes because well the consistency was far from a pancake. So I dub these *fudge cakes*. Little spiral disks of chocolate goodness, great topped with whipped cream and syrup.


3/4 cup Butter, melted
3/4 cup Cocoa
2 cups Flour
1 1/2 cup Sugar
4 Eggs
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1/2 teaspoon Salt
¼ cup whole milk


Melt butter and mix with cocoa powder. Mix together all other ingredients, then add in the butter & cocoa mix; pan fry till done…just like a pancake. This batter makes a fairly thin cake; but don’t worry.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Polenta Lasagna

I actually just whipped something up last night (I am a non *whipper*, normally I only follow a recipe!). Over the weekend while at Whole Foods, I picked up a roll of pre-made Polenta. I have always wondered about it; how does it taste and what kind of recipe do you use it in? As with many ingredients I did some internet searching and found that many folks love to use it in Lasagna. Well it just happens that my mom sent me these fantastic new dishes that go from prepping dishes to oven cooking and my polenta was going to be their “first use” meal, and I made lasagna with it. This is such a simple recipe, I did not do any measuring and it turned out fantastic. When I list the ingredients I will try my best to approximate, but I do not think you can go wrong in general. My husband LOVED this, hope you will too.

INGREDIENTS (serves 3, baked in a small baking bowl)

1 package pre-made polenta, sliced into disks (1/4 inch thick)
½ to a whole jar of Marinara Sauce
Basil Pesto
Crimini Mushrooms, sliced (about 2 cups)
Ricotta Cheese, about 1 cup
Fresh Mozzarella, at least 2 cups


First things first, slice the polenta and pan fry with a *smidge* of butter until lightly browned. Now let’s get to the assembly line –

Use a few spoonfuls of Marinara to coat your baking dish of choice; then dollop down a wee bit of ricotta and some basil pesto.

Next place one layer of Polenta

Next is a layer of mozzarella, ricotta, basil pesto, marinara & crimini’s.

Then……rinse and repeat; ending with a final layer of Polenta, covered in cheese and small spots of marinara.

Bake at 380 for 20 minutes; turn the broiler on low for about 3 minutes towards the end. Remove from oven and let set for at least 20 minutes.

Your reward...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt

Man how far Disney films have come; I watched Snow White over the weekend with Indy and just could not believe it. Although I must say my heart was a little warmed watching this old timer gem of a flick. My little girl was under the weather and we just had a really low key day of movie watching and cookie baking. I had made dough the previous day and we had already planned on making them Sunday. They turned out great and came in mighty handy for comfort.

So about these cookies - yum. You will find that “yum” is a descriptor I am often calling on. These cookies have bite for sure since they are topped with sea salt. A very popular thing right now it seems is the union of chocolate and salt, I knew when I saw this recipe it was one I wanted to try.


2 cups minus 2 tbs of Cake Flour
1 2/3 cup bread flour
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ sea salt
2 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 ¼ cup light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tbs of granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 ¼ pounds bittersweet chocolate chips/disk, 60% cacao
Sea salt, for the cookie topping


In a large bowl sift together your flours along with the baking soda, powder and salt.

In another bowl cream together the sugars and butter with a hand mixer. Once nicely bonded add in the eggs and vanilla, blend well; after that slowly add in your dry ingredients until incorporated nicely. It is all good from here, just cut open you bad of chocolate and add them into your dough; be gentle.

Now wrap your dough in a plastic wrap or grocery bag and refrigerate over night. I know this is torture, but hey it is good to have to work for your treats.

And can I add a few more words, Isn’t dough just a gorgeous thing…take a spoonful and enjoy please.

So come 24 hours later, you just need to line a baking sheet with parchment paper and then throw down some golf ball sized dough balls. Here is where you will want to sprinkle very lightly with your extra sea salt. Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes, they should be golden brown and just lovely. I let mine rest on a wired rack for about 2 hours.

The results . . . . .

And the results just a few minutes later. . . . .

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Onion Soup Burgers

Last night was burger night for our household. Such a simple recipe below, made some really tender and juicy burgers. I will make a confession though; my burgers were cooked in a frying pan. I went outside to uncover our grill and well it had not been uncovered for quite some time. When I opened the thing up I was greeted with much wild life and chose to do my burger cooking inside; I didn’t need the extra protein. Ok now that you are good and hungry after my confession, here is the recipe.


2lbs of ground beef
3/4 package of dry Onion Soup Mix
1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
3/4 cup of sour cream, add more if patties will not shape properly
Salt & Pepper
Buns or bread


Combine all ingredients except the bun. Refrigerate for 20 minutes then shape into 8 patties. Grill (or cook on your stovetop), how simple is that! These burgers have crazy flavor. There is no cheese needed, but who are we kidding cheese will not hurt the burger. I recommend a slice of tomato.

What’s on the inside

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tomato & Basil Soup

Last night was a husband’s choice night; I let him decide what we should make. He is a total soup lover and chose a tomato basil soup. I won’t like to you; and neither will the ingredient list..There might be a few extra calories in this recipe. We enjoyed it with some crushed saltines on top, might I also recommend a pepperoni or two? Indigo was not interested, and frankly I was glad – girlfriend has a way of tracking food into all rooms of the house and I was not crazy about cleaning up tomato soup. Don’t fret over her dinner though; she enjoyed a nicely chopped avocado and some chicken. I find it really odd that a girl who enjoyed cake & bagels in the womb, very rarely likes to eat what mom makes today.

I would also like to apologize to my poor little girl; her and my coffee table often end up in scuffles. I should have kicked this table to the curb by now! Indigo had a brief meeting with the corner via her cheek, poor thing. Hugs Indigo.


(2) 28oz cans crushed tomatoes
(1) 14.5 oz can chicken broth
3-4 tbs of fresh minced basil leaves
3 tsp of sugar
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
½ cup of butter


Bring to a boil in a large pot your tomatoes & chicken broth, then turn to low and let simmer for 10 minutes. After simmering add in the basil, sugar, cream & butter. Let all of the soup come to a simmer once again. Your soup is ready now if you prefer a soup with little bits, if you want a creamier soup (like me) you can use an immersion blender or a drink blender to combine. Don’t burn yourself please!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Coconut Bread with Strawberry Butter

Feeling adventurous, I was! I decided on Friday while at work that this was the weekend I would attempt to make bread. I searched high & low on the net for the perfect sweet bread. I picked sweet over savory since my husband tossed the last of the chocolate cake I had at home waiting for me (NO I have no idea what he was thinking when he did that – Don’t worry he was severely punished). So I found my recipe and picked up all the ingredients for Coconut bread, yum.

I was pretty nervous about the whole thing, for some reason I see bread making as a science project more than a fun time in the kitchen. I must have looked like a mad scientist with all my ingredients as I was really scared to measure wrong; but hey it paid off. Hubby & I enjoyed this coconut bread with a strawberry butter and when I say enjoy I mean we ate a whole loaf for dinner.


2/3 cup coconut milk
2/3 cup lukewarm water
2 tablespoons shortening ( melted )
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoon milk powder
4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg ( beaten )
2 tablespoon coconut( finely chopped )
4 cups bread flour


1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
3 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon butter, soft
2 tablespoon coconut( finely chopped )


In a large bowl add the lukewarm water, beaten egg, coconut milk, melted shortening, sugar, instant yeast, milk powder, salt and finely chopped coconut. Mix with a wooden spoon till well mixed.

Add in half the flour and continue to mix until smooth. Start to add in more of the flour slowly. You will notice after a little bit the dough it no longer going to cooperate with the spoon. Here is where muscle comes in, lets start kneading until all the flour is incorporated. I kneaded the whole time in my super large bowl, however you can transfer to a hard surface if you like that better. Knead for 10 minutes.

Once done with kneading add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to a large bowl and coat the outside of your dough with it. Once coated set your ball of dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rest for 1 hour; It should grow in size over that hour.

Ok, hours up. Now take the dough out and depending on whether you want to make one large loaf or two small loafs you will want to either divide your dough into 16 equal size pieces (1 large loaf) or 32 small pieces (2 small loafs). Roll the pieces into a ball shape.

Now let’s get the pans ready, you will want to grease them. Place 8 balls on the bottom of your pan in 2 rows of 4. Now place a second layer of dough balls on top of the first. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for another hour.

I made the topping while waiting this final hour. In a bowl combine flour, sugar, butter & coconut. I mixed with my hand until in had formed a crumbly mixture. In another bowl you will want to whisk together your egg white & water until it gets frothy. Once your dough is rested, uncover and brush the egg white foam over the top of your loaf. Once that is done you will want to sprinkle the bowl of crumble top over that.

Bake at 350 for 25-45 minutes, depends on the loaf size. As with cake you can also insert a skewer into the center of bread until it comes out clean.

ENJOY!! And when I say enjoy, I also think you should try it with my strawberry butter.

Strawberry Butter INGREDIENTS

1 stick of butter, softened
1 tbs of strawberry preserves
2 tbs of heavy whipping cream


Whip together as thoroughly as possible all ingredients. Form them into a ball after that and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Lima Bean & Pesto Pasta with nutmeg

This is a light and tasty dish for a weeknight meal. I whipped this little pasta dish up while feverishly cooking a chocolate cake for my co-workers. My kitchen is barely recovered from all the pasta and chocolate splatters. I am so not a neat cook, are you? I often have to do mini-cleanings throughout a cooking adventure just to keep my head above water.


8-12oz of Spiral Pasta, or a whole box who am I kidding.
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
1 14oz can of Lima Beans, drained
3-4 tbs of pesto, I used roasted red pepper
2 tbs Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Fresh grated nutmeg, about ¼ tsp (secret ingredient)
Parmesan, as much or as little as you like
Pine Nuts, same as above


Cook pasta as directed on package, drain and toss with Olive oil & nutmeg. In a sauce pan bring to a simmer the cream, lima beans & pesto. Once simmering, toss that into your pasta and stir. Top with your parmesan & Pine Nuts…and don’t forget your salt & pepper.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tomato and Onion Pie

Let’s make a pie, but a sweet & savory pie. Do you know just 2 years ago I absolutely hated tomatoes, I mean hate. Something about pregnancy changed my taste buds, now I actually crave them. I spent yesterday looking around the net for the most common things to make a tomato pie, below is what I came up with.


2 Pie Crust, thawed
4 – 5 tomatoes, sliced thin
3/4 a medium onion, chopped
1 tsp of minced shallot
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 log of goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup of mozzarella, shredded
¼ cup of parmesan
½ cup of fresh basil, chopped


First things first, bake one of your pie shells according to the package directions. The other pie shell should be removed from it’s pan and placed upside down so it can become flat.

Place a double layer of paper towels down on your counter to place your sliced tomatoes on. Once placed sprinkle your tomatoes with salt and place more paper towels on top. Leave the tomatoes here for at least 15 minutes. We are trying to reduce the water here, you can also deseed them. (you do not want a watery pie!).

Now let’s take care of everything else, get to chopping and mincing as listed above. Once all is chopped and minced you will want to sauté together the onion, garlic and shallot over a medium heat until the onion is translucent.

In a bowl combine together all of your cheeses with the mayonnaise.

Time to assemble..Pie, then tomatoes..

Onion, garlic, shallot & basil

Cheese concoction

Ok the last thing is to cut you other pie crust into strips so we can decorate “all professional like” your tomato pie, like so :

There, now it is ready for the oven. Bake at 380 for 35-45 minutes. I noticed my edges getting dark toward the end and covered them with aluminum foil. Just like you would a turkey. I also broiled my pie for about 2 minutes toward the end to slightly brown it.

And for all the hard work you get a pretty little and a tasty little pie. Make sure to let this bad boy rest for about 15-20 before cutting in as it needs to set up just like a lasagna.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cinnamon Turkey Soup

Have you ever thought to yourself that cinnamon and turkey would be good together? Well, not me. To be honest with you even now it sounds strange but.. I have a super great recipe for some wonderful Cinnamon Turkey Soup, it is a very odd flavor at first but then it just binds so wonderfully. I lived on this for a few days for dinner and so did my husband. Not Indy of course, it was too good for her palate so I made her live on Saltines and cheese.


1 Onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 ¼ pounds ground turkey
8 oz o canned green chili peppers, chopped
1 tbs cumin
1 tbs dried oregano
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cayenne pepper (based on the heat you want!)
(3) 15 oz cans of white beans, 1 should be pureed
4-5 cups of chicken broth
2 cups of shredded Monterey jack cheese
Cornstarch to thicken (if you like)
1 cup of cooked instant white rice
1 toddler who likes to give unwarranted hugs (CHECK)


First things first, let’s get everything chopped and pureed (as listed above). This is how I like to do things, keeps the kitchen cleaner. I even put all the spices in one bowl just to get all the clutter out of mommy’s way.

In a large pot over a medium high heat brown your turkey, onion & garlic together. Add the chili peppers next then all the spices and let cook another 3-4 minutes. Next comes the beans, you will want to add the 2 cans of whole beans drained and the pureed beans from the 3rd can. After that you can add in your chicken broth, cheese & cooked rice. Cornstarch is the very last step if you want, totally your choice. I added a tablespoon.

Sit….Wait…unwarranted hugs from toddler come in handy now (that’s why they are part of the list). So after about 20 minutes dinner is served. The next day the flavors are twenty times better, so save some for work!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Chocolate Cake with chocolate icing

Well this mom enjoyed a lovely Sunday with her little lady. After church we relaxed the day away, we made collages out of magazine clippings and managed to avoid the purple elephant in the room until Oscar time. What purple elephant you might ask…well that would be the chocolate cake mommy made. Me & Indy enjoyed a huge honkin (the word honkin describes a HUGE piece, in Jennifurla language). We watched all the beautiful actresses parade down the red carpet and envied their beautiful dresses. As we were eating we also reflected upon how crazy and full of themselves that particular world is. In our opinion of course; ok my opinion, Indy was more interested in the cake.

Now onto this cake, make it - Plain and simple it is a perfect chocolate cake. It deserves an Oscar.


2 ½ oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
5 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
1 1⁄4 cups sifted flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 ¼ cup buttermilk
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks

The first thing you want to do is preheat your oven to 350, then set up a double boiler to melt your chocolate. I used a small pot and a large bowl over a medium low heat with a wooden spoon for mixing.

Next you will need to sift your flour and mix in the salt.

Now stir together your buttermilk & baking soda in another bowl, don’t for get about your chocolate. I bet it is almost ready to be taken off the burner. If it is melted take it off the burner so it can cool a little.

Now let’s do some mixing. You will need to beat together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Now lets add in the 2 egg yolks and beat until blended.

Now comes time for that star ingredient. I made sure the chocolate had been off the burner for at least 5 minutes. Now blend it into your sugar & egg mixture.

Last step is to add in the flour and buttermilk mixture slowly, beat thoroughly until mixed. One thing I would like to add is don’t worry if the batter is not “pourable” this batter is going to be pretty thick. Put your batter into you choice pan for baking. I made two cake rounds. Make sure your pan’s are greased or buttered. Cook your cake at 350 until a toothpick comes out the center cleanly.

Now to keep you busy while your cake is baking, you need to make my icing. Do not, I repeat do not use some store bought crap. This is the real deal, it is so good seriously. I was a store bought everything girl, NO MORE!


2 1⁄4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
5 tbsp. cocoa
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
5 tbsp. hot freshly brewed coffee

Sift together the confectioner’s sugar and the cocoa

Next stir in the butter and coffee. Your mixture will be very thin at first, but in about 5 minutes will be ready to use on the cake(s). It set’s up real shiny like. . . . and yes let me warn you ****CHOCOLATE CAKE ALERT****

Like I said I used two cake rounds, I put a layer of icing in the center too.

Ok one more…you talked me into it.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Parmesan Quinoa with roasted tomatoes & peas

I have a hearty little side or main dish for you. I was pleasantly surprised at the really great flavor. I bet if you are more versed than me you might even improve this pretty basic recipe. I would recommend more tomatoes and less Quinoa than listed below, for my tastes. I want to post what I actually made though and you can change as you like.

Also I would like to add that my child tried to kill me last night, girlfriend tipped a lamp over and it hit me over the head! I was diligently knitting her new socks (total lie) and she just went and hit me! Little devil.


15 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained
2 tbs of white wine
2 tbs of vegetable oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalk of celery chopped
3 ½ cup of veggie broth
2 cup of rinsed quinoa
½ cup evaporated milk
1 cup of frozen peas, thawed
2/3 cup grated parmesan
Salt & pepper for seasoning


Preheat your oven to 400. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. In a bowl combine your drained tomatoes and the white wine. Place the mixture on your pan and bake till the tomatoes have dried but not burned. Set aside.

Now lets get to frying. Toss your celery and onion with the 2tbs of vegetable oil and fry until the onion is translucent. Enjoy the aroma!

Next add in your broth and quinoa. Cook this until all of the liquid is absorbed (15-20 minutes). Here comes the last part, the free for all basically; Add in your evaporated milk, tomatoes, peas & Parmesan.

I then removed the pan from the heat and let it sit for about 15 minutes before serving. I seasoned with salt & pepper.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Omaka Springs Sauvignon Blanc '08 - 4 STARS

3rd times a charm and also 4 stars, really teetering to nearly a 5; but I want to reserve that for the bottle that might make you faint from delight. My only warning concerning this bottle is if you do not like grapefruit you will not like this.

From the experts :
89 PTS WILFRED WONG. A really appealing effort, the mildly pungent '08 Omaka Springs Estates Sauvignon Blanc provides a bundle of joy for the palate; crisp but not biting in the aftertaste.

From Jennifurla
– 4 count em! 4 stars!

PS – Got this at BevMo for 14 dollars, got the 2nd for 5 cents.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ginger Beef over white rice

I had a really tasty dinner last night. This is not a show stopper but is will make a nice addition to my weekly meal planning in the future. It is easy except for a little bit of chopping when it comes to the ingredients. I served it over white rice, I am sure there are many other ideas you could come up with. Since I am a beginner I stuck with what was obvious. Oh, oh Indy ate some of it! How could I forget? She took about 5 bites before those sneaky Backyardigans made her go back into the living room.

1 ½ pounds of boneless beef sirloin, tenderized, slice into thin strips
1 ½ tbs of vegetable oil
1 onion, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 large celery ribs, thinly sliced sideways
3 tbs minced fresh ginger root
3 tbs soy sauce
Salt to taste

Here’s a trick, put your boneless beef sirloin in the freezer for 20 minutes. After that time, take the steak out and cut thin strips. It is much easier to cut thin strips when the beef is icy cold. Now let’s prep the other ingredients, slice the onion, mince the garlic, slice the celery and mince the ginger root.

Now let’s cook. In a large frying pan or wok toss 1 tbs of the vegetable oil with your sliced onion until soft and semi caramelized. Put the onions aside now. Put the frying pan back on the burner and add your beef and the ½ tbs of oil if needed. Brown your beef for about 3-4 minutes then add in the garlic, celery & fresh ginger root. Keep frying until beef is cooked to your liking then toss in the soy sauce and onions, mix & serve over white rice. Remember to get some of that juice over the rice too.

Just an extra note, I did use salt over my dish and flavor really came out with it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

We have art! Coffee Can art.

How about creating something out of those old coffee cans? Yes, no? I say yes, especially if your kid is bored and needs something new to do. Me & Indy had a great hour or so creating a few coffee planters.

Finger Paint
Paint brushes..or not
Coffee cans
Blanket, or you can do this outside with no protection
Kid (any age)

Strap child to a chair in front a table that has a sheet thrown over it. Place paints in front of child. I used an old egg carton to hold the paints. Place can on table next to paints. Place brush in child’s hands.

Now your particular artist may like to do a little paint mixing now, or perhaps test out the colors on their face; then again which great artist didn’t do that?

At some point my husbands double got down to business, GO INDY!

“Mommy don’t take the product, MINE MINE”

Oh wait, I can remedy your sadness Indy! Hugs lady.

And the finished product