Saturday, November 22, 2014

What To Do With All That Washi

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Leek, Potato & Corn Soup (Meatless Monday Meal)

It might not look like much but the flavor is addictive and the aroma intoxicating. I shares this Meatless Monday meal in a vlog but here is the written recipe

  • 3 large leeks cut into half moons
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons of good Veggie Base, I use Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base (they even have Vegan Organic bases, here is the extensive selection)
  • 1 tablespoon Coconut Oil
  • 6 cups of hot water
  • 1 tablespoon No Salt McCormick's seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons of sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped dill
Clean thoroughly the leeps, since they grow slowly, dirt gets trapped between their layers. The most effective way to remove that dirt is to cut off the dark green portion of the leek (it's too woody for cooking) then cut the leek lengthwise and then chop into half moons. Place the cut pieces into a bowl of water and agitate to rinse, replace the water and repeat as needed till you no longer see any soil. I use a salad spinner for this process and it works nicely.
Once the leeks are clean, saute them in Coconut Oil with onions and no Salt Seasoning (or salt & pepper if you are not counting your sodium intake), Once the onions and leeks are translucent but not brown, add 3 smashed garlic cloves (no need to chop because everything will be blended together),
Dissolve the veggie base in water you will be adding to the soup, then add diced potato. Let cook till potato is fork tender, add sour cream or yogurt and blend off the heat then add 2 cups of frozen corn. Taste for seasoning, I always add fresh cracked black pepper at this point.
Garnish with dill and croutons and enjoy.

I showed the step by step in the following vlog:

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Simple Project Each Day - Livingroom Cleanup

I admit it, we got lazy the last couple of weeks with Paulie's health challenges and wound care that the living room started resembling something out of Hoarders episode. Today my patience ran out so I used my lunch break from work to tackle it and shamed myself publicly by posting the before and after. I am committing, once again, to complete a project each day to continue this motivational momentum. Tomorrow I address the kitchen... now that will be a job and a half.

Weeknight Gourmet - Lamb Chops

Spoiled hubby my making a weeknight gourmet dinner of lemon parsley lamb chops over ricotta garlic mashed potatoes. Both plates were cleaned and it was a fraction of the cost had we gone out to a restaurant. Sometimes it pays to learn a few good techniques so you can reproduce your favorite flavors at home.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Tapas Dinner for Meatless Monday

We opted for Tapas tonight, bite size morsels of flavorful treats from savory to sweet 

I was inspired for the entire meal by the gorgeous thickly sliced portobello mushrooms from the market which were fried in coconut oil with fresh cracked black pepper resulting in what looks and even tastes like 'bacon' but without any animal protein 

Accompaniments of pimento stuffed green olives that are....wait for it... LOW Sodium! 

Two small wedges of cheese - a lovely light brie perfectly paired with slices of Asian pear and Mediterranean Cheddar full of herbs and spices 

Capping off the meal with a quick and easy Cheesecake dip of 3 tablespoons of Ricotta cheese mixed with 1 teaspoon of Raspberry Agave again inspired by the fresh Raspberries from the market

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Banana Pumpkin Muffins

These are the mini versions with #Wilton Fall Leaf Sprinkle 
And the Big Muffin in #IKEA muffin liners with a Maple Agave & Orange glaze topped off by a pecan half

  • 2 Ripe Bananas (mashed with a fork)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 cup Honey (use the measuring cup for oil first then honey comes out easily)
  • 1 1/3 cup Pumpkin Puree or Pumpkin Pie Filling in a Can
  • 1/2 cup sugar (white or in the Raw)
  • 2 1/2 cups AP (All-Purpose) Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice or Apple Pie Spice (your reference)
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 teaspoons of Orange Zest (approximately one medium size orange)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts* (pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts)
  • 1/2 cup raisins*
* Optional

Preheat oven to 375° F. If making muffins, line your muffin pans with paper liners for best results and easy removal. If making bread, spray pan(s) with cooking spray or butter generously.
In one bowl, combine all the wet ingredients starting with ripe bananas and including the spices. In a separate bowl combine all the try - flour, baking soda & baking powder. Combine both both wet and dry, mixing just enough to incorporate. Do not overmix. For muffins, use an ice cream scoop for even distribution.
Bread bakes for approximately 40 minutes or till a thin skewer comes out clean when tested.
Muffins bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a thin skewer comes out clean when tested.
Take out of pans, let cool before applying glaze.

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Maple Agave or Maple Syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of Orange Juice (use the orange you zested earlier for the batter)
Mix till sugar dissolves and the consistency is that of thin milk shake. You can either drizzle the glaze or turn the muffins upside down and dunk the tops into the glaze. Set aside on a cookie sheet to dry, decorate with a pecan half or fall color sprinkles

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Dinner

Thinly cut bone in pork chops, seared and covered in homemade apple, cranberry, chestnut and Chambord chutney along with smashed potato, peas and Cheddar Bay biscuit. Now that's a home cooked meal.
Smashed potatoes - boiled till fork tender then pressed in a frying pan to sear each side then sprinkled with chopped parsley 
Cheddar Bay biscuits right out of the oven 

Looking pretty on the new white bone china plate 

Closeup of the biscuit 

Petite peas

Monday, October 20, 2014

Henry Park Vernon CT

What an amazing view from the top 

Purple filter makes it look magical 

No need to go North, we have all the colors here 

Something very cozy about a pile of leaves, makes me want to launch at it 

Last of the kohlrabi from the garden since we are expecting a frost

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Perfect Birthday!

It's official, Google knows EVERYTHING! lol

My morning bath was enhanced by coffee, a fresh cheese pastry from Collette's around the corner and a couple of scratch tickets from hubby (I won $25!)

Once I was squeeky clean and dressed I got my card which made me snort and a new green pan to test drive on my YouTube channel (I love to cook if you hadn't noticed)

We packed the car, camera bag (#Nikon D3200), dogs, drinks and a great attitude and headed to Bigelow State Park in Union CT. Apparently, October 15th is Ladybug day, no doubt they were enjoying the 78° F weather and a light sprinkle before the cool of the pending fall/winter. 

Leaves changing color and a light breeze stilled enough for this mirror photo 

Have I ever mentioned how much I love moss? No, well I do.
I requested no cake, cupcakes or ice cream so I capped off the night after a beautiful day out with a Banana, Carrot, Orange & Peach drink which was pretty much perfect.
Thank you to everyone for the wonderfully heartwarming Birthday wishes on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. It really was a PERFECT Birthday. Never stop celebrating each one, none of us are guaranteed another.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Microwave Chocolate Lava Cake

One Portion Microwave Chocolate Lava Cake aka Emergency Cake
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 oz chocolate chunk piece
In a microwave safe cup/mug, at least 10 oz size, melt butter, add all the ingredients except chocolate chunk till combined. A fork works nicely in this small scale. Once mixed add the chocolate chunk in the center of the cup and submerge in the mixture. Microwave on high, start with 30 seconds and an additional 10 second increments till batter is cooked but not too dry. Eat warm with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream.  If you have a fresh orange you can add a little zest and swap one tablespoon of milk for orange juice to make an Chocolate Orange Lava cake. Play around with flavor, a pinch of cinnamon or cayenne or a finish of sea salt. It's a great way to experiment without the commitment of an entire cake.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Spicy Baked Cauliflower

The recipe is from PureWow

Before going into the 400° F oven smothered in the tasty spicy sauce 

Out of the oven, resting for 10 minutes before cutting 

Sprinkled with chopped parsley, so impressive for a centerpiece vegetarian meal.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Hamburger Soup

This soup is easy to make and is flavorful full of veggies and herbs

In this bowl are most but not all of the veggies I added:
  • 1 cup of diced onion
  • 1 medium size carrot, chopped
  • 1 small yellow squash, cut in half moons
  • 1 large celery stalk, diced
  • 2 cups frozen corn (I prepped earlier in the season)
  • 4 medium baby portabella mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 14 small garlic cloves, whole
  • 3 sprigs of dill
  • 5 sprigs of thyme
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon Beef Base (diluted in 2 cups of warm water)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Original (salt substitute)
  • 1 teaspoon Paul Prudhomme's Magic Seasoning Blend - Toasted Onion & Garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh cracked black pepper

Ground beef 90% lean, sauteed, drained and removed from pot

In the same pot, sauteed all the veggies and herbs 

Add Beef Base (2 cups) + 8 additional cups of water then add all the seasoning. Bring to boil then lower to simmer for 45 minutes.

Dress with some fresh parsley and a couple of dashes of hot sauce, enjoy with crusty bread or just on it's own.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Easy Oven Chili

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 1/4 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 cup mixed bell peppers diced (red, yellow, green)
  • 1 fine minced jalapeno
  • 1/2 cup diced dehydrated tomatoes (made at home from our garden's harvest) *
  • 1/4 cup diced dehydrated bell peppers - green and purple *
  • 1 cup dry black beans (picked, rinsed and soaked overnight)
  • 1 cup dry Northern White beans (picked, rinsed and soaked overnight)
  • 1 - 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 - 15 os can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups diced fresh tomatoes, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 2 teaspoons fresh cracked black pepper
*Optional ingredients, I happen to have them on hand and used them in lie of tomato paste (2 table spoons)

For steps, watch the video below.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014