Monday, December 27, 2010

Standard Salmon Dinner

This meal is a standard meal in our house.  And it is anything but ordinary.  Everytime I make it I remember why its a standard!  Salmon, honey glazed carrotts, and wild rice.

And to reveal the best Christmas gift I may have received yet....the Canon Rebel SLR camera I have been wanting!

I am so excited about it and you will see why below in my pictures. 
So back to our recipe... this recipe is really easy.  Which makes it a standard. 

(I make this with frozen salmon fillets I keep in the freezer at all times)
Bake salmon at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes (or until cooked through)
I put teriayki, soy sauce, ginger powder, and brown sugar on my salmon before baking and then again before serving.

Boil carrotts until tender.  (I use baby carrotts because they are easy but I have heard whole ones have more flavor.  My way is just fine by me considering I really don't care too much for carrotts - oh unless they are coated in all of the following ...)
Once tender, glaze carrotts in pan with equal parts honey and butter, sprinkle with salt and crushed red pepper flakes.
This is the carrott recipe I made for Thanksgiving.  I wouldn't reccommend making it for a large meal like that.  It just didn't turn out the same.

Wild Rice - feel free to choose your easiest boxed brand :)  I usually go with Uncle Ben's.

OK and now to the camera!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

This is my 9 foot Christmas Tree.  That barely clears the ceiling.  That clears the ceiling only because we had to cut the top off.  That drinks the entire bowl of water each day.  Needless to say - its kind of huge.  Its beautiful and I don't want to take it down when Christmas is over!  (Oh and I forgot to mention how the first night we had it - we woke up in the morning to a toppled over tree and shattered ornaments...time to tie this guy down w/ twine?  what do you think?)

I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas!

On to food related subjects...I need help with my meatloaf!  I can't find a recipe that I want to make online.  I found a recipe that I loved this summer and of course probably threw it away after I made it.  I remember it having some special ingredient that I was excited about :) but who knows what that was.  So since I wasn't happy with any I found...I decided to wing it!  I've made meatballs a number of times for get-togethers with friends and I knew the basics were the I went for it. 

I threw ground beef, eggs, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, dijon mustard, ketchup, salt, pepper, worcestershire, parsley, brown sugar...and I can't really remember what else...together and formed it in a loaf pan.  Then I mixed some ketchup, bbq sauce, worcestershire, and brown sugar and put it on top for a glaze.  I baked this guy for 1 hour at 350 and the end result was pretty good.  The flavors were right...I just need to work on the consistency.  I don't think I had enough bread or egg.  We'll give it another shot, but really once you add some of the glaze on top and some mashed potatoes on the bottom who is gonna complain :)

So if any of my millions of readers (or two ... ahem) have a great recipe they would love to share...please do!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Green Chili Chicken and Lime Soup

Photo and Recipe courtesy of Picky Palate:  This soup was really good.  It reminded me a lot after I made it of a tortilla soup, but the lime added a new flavor that we really liked.  We will most likely be making this again in our household.

Green Chili Chicken and Lime Soup
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves fresh or roasted garlic
80 oz chicken broth, 2 1/2 cartons of the 32 oz
10 oz can rotel tomatoes, mild
7 oz can diced green chilies
4 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts; cooked, shredded and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper
2 1/2 Cups cooked rice
1/4 Cup fresh lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
Pinches of Kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper, Garlic Salt, Parsley or other
1 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
Fresh diced avocados (optional)
1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
Tortilla chips (optional)
1.  Place oil into a large dutch oven over medium heat.  Saute onion for 5 minutes then add in garlic; cook for 1 minute.  Stir in chicken broth, tomtoes, green chilies, chicken breast, rice, lime juice and seasonings.  Cook for 5 minutes; taste and season according to your liking.  Right before serving add chopped cilantro.
2.  Serve soup with fresh diced avocado, shredded cheese and crushed chips if desired.  10-12 servings

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Cookies

Guess who ate an unknown amount of Chocolate cookies off the counter last night???

I was so paranoid that he would get sick on them but surprisingly he didn't even act like it phased him last night or this morning!  We are not talking about my husband but about the puppy.  He is so rotten.  I strategically placed the tupperware far enough back so I didn't think he could reach them...apparently he has been growing and mom has not realized how much!  I came down stairs to find him scrambling to finish crumbs off the floor.  Luckily I had a sinking suspicion since he was not at my feet as usual and went down to see what he was getting into.  Otherwise I am pretty sure he would not have practiced restraint and only had a few.  I guess, who could blame the little guy...these things were pretty good!!!

Saturday I got together with Corey's Mom and sisters and made snickerdoodles:

Fat Fluffy Snickerdoodles
makes 16-20 cookies
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup sugar + 1 tablespoon cinnamon for dipping
Preheat oven to 375.
Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Add egg and vanilla, mixing well until combine, about 2 minutes. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix until dough comes together. Add in milk. If dough is still crumbly, add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until it comes together. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
In a bowl combine remaining sugar and cinnamon. Remove dough from fridge and roll into big 1 1/2 inch balls. Dip in cinnamon sugar mixture and place on baking sheet. Lightly press down on dough to flatten it. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes.

Then last night I wanted to make these, but couldn't find mint M&Ms or peppermint kisses, so instead I made Chocolate Peppermint Cookies and Chocolate Caramel Blossoms.  The peppermint ones were by far our favorites.  If you like the mint/choc combo like me you will be happy!  I started out making a batch of these below and used the Caramel kisses for blossoms and then folded Andes mint chunks and regular chocolate chips into the remaining dough for my peppermint cookies.

Double Chocolate Cookies
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350.
Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and mix until combined.
Fold in any chips, m&m’s or nut’s if you’d like. Leave plain to make blossom cookies.
Spoon onto a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.
If making blossom cookies, roll into balls and bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and push Kiss into center of cookie. Bake for 1 more minute.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Beef & Bean Taquitos

Corey said these were right up there with some of his favorites.  I figured since I made him suffer through mushroom soup the night before I could make something for him that I knew he would absolutely love.  There are many things he will try but when it comes down to it...I know he will always choose a mexican dish (or sometimes a casserole).  For example this is how our convo went over text:

Me:  Do you feel like chicken or mexican tonight?
Cor:  Mexican
Me:  duh... :)

1 lb ground beef
Refried Beans
1 package taco seasoning
grated cheese
corn tortillas
Vegetable oil

Brown the meat and onion together.  Add in the taco seasoning and let it simmer.  While cooking the meat prepare the refried beans (or you can use those already prepared).   While meat is browning, heat about a half inch of vegetable or canola oil in a skillet. Warm your corn tortillas in the oil, one at a time, about 15 seconds a side, just until they're pliable (don't skip this and just warm them in the microwave- you need the oil so they'll get crispy).  Set on paper towel to get excess oil off.  When all of those are ready, start assembling. I spread beans down, topped with meat, topped with about cheese.  Roll up, place seam side down on sheet or in pan.  Bake 12 minutes at 425, until browned and crispy.

Let me tell you, these things were great!  You could serve with salsa, sour cream, guacamole, enchilada sauce, etc.  We did a little sour cream and leftover enchilada sauce we had in the freezer.

I bought a avocado that was bad when I opened it...always a bummer.  My friend Annie from Cleveland gave me a really quick and easy guac recipe.  Basically you just mash the avocado with salsa, chopped cilantro, and garlic powder to your taste.  Soo easy and soo good!  I make this all the time for a football game on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

THE Mushroom Soup

As its referred to on the Pioneer Woman :)

This soup was soo good.  I have been wanting to try it for some time now but it just took some convincing to get Corey to have an open mind.  He usually will try anything, but he definitely wasn't excited about this one. 

Its sort of a spin on a cream of mushroom soup, but with tomato sauce included.  I think next time I would add cut up chicken to it as well and make it a little heartier.  I didn't have any tomato juice so I used some tomato paste and extra broth.  Next time I would use half milk and half cream.  I did about 3/4 cream and 1/4 milk this time and it was still just a little too rich for me.  We had it with a salad and some fresh crusty italian bread for dipping.  YUM!

THE Mushroom Soup

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 whole Small Carrot, Finely Minced
1 whole Celery Stalk, Finely Minced
1 Tablespoon Garlic, Crushed And Minced
1 pound White Mushrooms, Sliced Thin
4 ounces, fluid White Wine  (1/4 cup)
4 ounces, fluid Tomato Juice (or paste)
4 ounces, fluid Chicken Broth
1 pint Heavy Whipping Cream  (1/2 Milk, 1/2 Cream)
1 cup Parmesan Cheese, Freshly Grated
1 teaspoon Cornstarch
¼ cups Water
1 pinch Salt And Pepper, to taste

Preparation Instructions

Heat oil, over medium heat, in a large deep pot.
Mince the carrot and celery nice and fine. Too big and the soup will end up chunky. Toss into the pot and allow them to soften while you clean and slice the mushrooms thin.  Next, add your garlic, right as the carrots and celery start to cook down.
Add the mushrooms to the pot and allow them to reduce and soften. Pour in the wine, and let it cook with the mushrooms for a few minutes.
Add the tomato juice, and the chicken broth. Allow it to boil for about 5 minutes before adding the heavy whipping cream, and bring to a soft boil.
Grate Parmesan and add it to the pot. Let this cook for a few minutes, until the cheese is melted and blended with the soup. Add the cornstarch to 1/4 cup of water, then pour into the soup.
Lower the heat and let the soup simmer for about 10 minutes or so, until thickened. Salt and pepper the soup to your own tastes.  I also added some Thyme here like some of the comments suggested.
Serve with French bread or crackers.
Note: this recipe can be easily doubled, which you may want to do anyway, cause it won’t last long if you have to share it!  I agree with this point.  I was surprised when I made it...the recipe does not yield a large soup pot.  It would probably serve 4 people.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fresh Pinneaple

Have you ever cut up a fresh pinneaple?  I hadn't until about 2 weeks ago.  I was intimidated by this sweet little innocent guy:
and now I see the light!  There is really no comparison to fresh pinneaple that one can get from the can.  All you have to do is cut off the bottom, then the sides, then the top and slice her up!  This is the sweetest discovery I have ever made.  And its easy!  I don't think I can ever go back...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Corey's Favorite Meal & a few other recipes

You would think I would be able to master Beef Stroganoff...not only because its pretty simple, but because its one of his favorite meals (if not THE favorite).  I made this Sunday when we got home because we didn't have anything else in the house really and all you need is egg noodles, hamburger, onion, cream of mushroom soup, sour cream, and milk.  The portions is what we can not figure out.  So, I thought today I would put in a little effort and look up the recipe on line!!!  This ones from Paula Dean.  I would of course just use hamburger, but at least this sounds manageble!

1 1/2 pounds cubed round steak, cut into thin strips
House Seasoning, recipe follows
All-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, sliced
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can beef broth
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
Salt and black pepper
1 cup sour cream
Cooked egg noodles
Season the steak strips with House Seasoning, then dust with flour. In a large skillet, quickly brown them on both sides in the olive oil and butter. Remove the steak from the pan. Add the onion slices and mushrooms to the pan drippings. Saute for a few minutes, until the onion is tender. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon flour. Put the steak back into the pan with the onion and mushrooms. Add the mushroom soup and beef broth. Cook over low heat for about 30 minutes, covered. Adjust seasoning to taste, adding salt and pepper, as needed. Stir in the sour cream the last few minutes, right before you serve. Serve over cooked noodles.
House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder


This pasta I made last week and it was delicious!  The flavor was really good and it was really easy.

1 pound angel hair pasta
4-6 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
about 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
olive oil
1 bag frozen, pre-cooked shrimp, medium size
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
1/2 cup white wine
juice of 1 lemon
5 Tbs. butter
1 few ladels of the pasta cooking water

Boil the water for the pasta and when it’s ready cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Run the frozen shrimp under cold water to thaw it out. 
In a large skillet, put the garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes and about 1/4 cup olive oil.  Cook that for just a couple of minutes over medium-high heat. 
Add the wine to the skillet, then add a couple of ladles of the pasta cooking water and the lemon juice.  Add the shrimp and the butter to the skillet and let it cook for a few minutes.  Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet, stirring to combine everything with the pasta. 

Last but not least, these macaroons were so good.  I can't believe I didn't use to like coconut.  Corey isn't a fan of it so I froze them to share with family this weekend!  Aren't they pretty!  Picture courtesy of closet cooking as well.

Coconut Macaroons

(makes 18-25 cookies)
3 large egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup of sugar
3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
2 ounces dark chocolate (shaved)

1. Mix the egg whites, vanilla, sugar and coconut in a bowl.
2. Spoon the batter onto a parchment paper lined baking pan with 1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons of batter per cookie.
3. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until lightly golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.
4. Let cool for 20 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a double boiler and dip the macaroons in the chocolate or drizzle the chocolate on the macaroons.

Friday, December 10, 2010

my kitchen

why wouldn't you want to cook (all the time) if you had a hubby that built you this kitchen!

BEFORE:  my lovely kitchen...already loved this place!  The wall color is so nice in person

AFTER:  Close up of my new counter-tops...granite slab picked out by case you're interested its called typhoon bordeaux

Then there is the our new back splash he put him. self.

 oh and that involved pulling out the sockets to make them flush with the tile
 close up...beautiful!!!  i love it
   And I just realized I don't have a picture of my new sink and faucet.  I'll post later.  Corey and my Dad installed those. 

Some tips:  because I think we realized tonight my husband's passion (DIY)

1.  take out your old counter tops yourself.  It is really easy.  don't be mislead by your granite company when they want to charge you $300 bucks to do something you can do one evening after work.  Corey simply took a screwdriver and unscrewed the bolts that connected them to the cabinets.
2.  install (hook up) your new sink and faucet.  We purchased our sink from the granite company (they usually give you a better deal than you can get at home depot - for reference ours was $250 - it's a 70/30, 16 gauge.)  We purchased our faucet from home depot.  I don't think the granite company offered that, but it was around $220.  Installing is very easy.  People are a little intimidated by this but as long as you take it slow, oh and have some one who knows what they are doing, its do-able!

I really need to take a picture of this because it is probably my favorite part of my kitchen.  It is so convenient to have such a large sink...and it is really beautiful.

We still want to change out our appliances.  To tell you the truth they don't bother me too terribly.  One major thing to think about when choosing your granite is to think about your current appliances and whether you will be wanting to make any future changes.  We picked ours knowing it will go great with our current white ones and our future stainless steel!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Two (non) baked treats!

First I saw this cake batter chocolate bark on how sweet and KNEW I had to try it...I mean look at these pictures...

So fun!  But I knew I also wanted to make something Christmas-y.  So peppermint patties...why not!

Here are the recipes:

Cake Batter Chocolate Bark
6 ounces good dark chocolate (I used Lindt 70%)
12 ounces good white chocolate (I used Lindt)
1 teaspoon yellow cake mix
sprinkles of your choice (at least 3 tablespoons worth or more)
Melt dark chocolate either in the microwave or a double boiler. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour chocolate on. You can smooth it with a spatula to the thickness you desire. Stick in the freeze for 20 minutes.
Melt while chocolate. Whisk in cake mix, stirring well until no lumps remain. Let it set for 3 full minutes (or at least until it slightly thickens). Remove baking sheet with chocolate from the freezer and immediately pour white chocolate on top. Sprinkle on sprinkles. Freeze for 20 minutes.
Once set, break into chunks. Keep refrigerated.
Peppermint Patties
adapted from Joy of Baking
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons evaporated milk
1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
drop of peppermint extract 
 1-2 cups chocolate chips
In an electric mixer, beat first 5 ingredients until smooth. Scoop into a bowl and place in the refrigerator to set. Once firm, roll into one inch balls. Push down to flatten. Set in freeze for another 60 minutes.
Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler. Remove patties from freezer and dip in chocolate, setting on wax paper. Freeze again until ready to eat.

Can't wait to see how they turn out...and can't wait to see one of my best girl friends and her guy.  We always have a great time together.  Like I told her last time I saw her, I just try to soak her up when I do get to see her since its not too ofter since she lives in Chicago!

Pot Roast

Mmmm I am imagining the pup must be drooling in his cage right now at the smell in my house!  Sandra Lee's pot roast is cooking away...this recipe I found in the very first cookbook I ever purchased when we were first married at Sam's club for maybe 6 dollars.  It had a few "chefs" recipes at the beginning of the book and one was Sandra Lee's pot roast.  I searched the web but couldn't find this recipe of hers the same way it was in the I don't have a link for you but boy is it good.

Pot Roast - please forgive my paraphrasing

Roast 3 to 6 lbs in size
2 cups red wine
1 pkg italian dressing mix
1/2 cup balsalmic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tbls worcestershire sauce
4 cups (or more) beef broth
2 pkgs meatloaf seasoning
2 onions
couple stalks celery
other veggies if you maybe some mushrooms

1.  marinate roast overnight in wine, dressing mix, oil and vinegar, and worcestershire.
2.  discard marinade and pat dry with paper towels.  then brown or sear all sides of roast in olive oil.
3.  cook on low in crock pot 7-8 hours (or you could reduce cook time on high setting) in broth and meatloaf seasoning with veggies.

Can't wait to come home to this tonight.  And tonight I'm also baking (although I'm not sure how much baking is involved) a few treats for my hostess this weekend which I will share with you a little later.  They come courtesy of mrs. how sweet :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thanksgiving day in pictures

Thanksgiving was so give you perspective, Corey immediately asked - can we have Thanksgiving / any other holiday here at our house everytime?!!  I would love that just because I loved having family here.  Of course it makes me comfortable and makes the day very relaxing.  But thats not what its all about, so I am looking forward to seeing my extended family members next holiday.  So here we are...

the pup passed out - middle of the dining room

As my mom says, this is the look of pure contentment...and this was prior to him stealing a turkey leg off the counter...

our finished dining room and new table!  Cramed full with 9 chairs

beautiful table setting courtesy of our mom's

how pretty is this!  I wanted to leave it burning all night but was afraid it would get too hot on the new table. 

mmmm...pumpkin cheesecake was a hit...but I honestly couldn't think about eating it again...for like at least a few weeks ;)

my pup again, now asleep on the bed

and my craft :)  what the holiday is truly about!

Christmas time

I have been realizing that Christmas can go by so quickly each year as we start to get older.  And it just doesn't have the same Christmas-y feeling that it used to.  Why does this happen?  Rush, business, time, money, obligations...too many reasons to count.  I no longer soak up the season like I used to.  I don't stroll around the mall with my mom and sister or best friend in high school with no time in mind just enjoying shopping for others and looking at the lights and decorations.  I don't plan ahead like I used to and enjoy buying gifts for others like I used to.  (Don't get me wrong, I still love buying for others, I just used to REALLY love it.  Like plan way in advance each little present I was getting my sister and why it would just be perfect for her.) 

We are going up to Chicago this weekend to visit friends and attend their annual ugly sweater christmas party and we are really excited!  I hope that gets us in the mood :)  And also I want to go shopping Friday for gifts which will help.  I honestly think it has to do with being so busy at night after work and also on the weekends.  Not just having endless time to think Christmas.  To tell you the truth, I can't wait for the day I get to see Christmas again through the eyes of a toddler.  And until then, I'll look forward to and pray for that day.

I hope everyone is having a joyus Christmas season and keeping in mind the true reason for the season. 

Luke 2:9-12
And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. (10) And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. (11) For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (12) And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

Monday, December 6, 2010

Pablano Cream Sauce

We were in the mood for some mexican Sunday so I decided to try out this recipe I saw on Martha Stewart!  It was really good.  Next time I would probably add another pepper for the amount of cream used.  We mixed some salsa in and it was soo good!  I just topped mine on a chicken breast and Corey shredded chicken and had his in a tortilla. 

Pablano Cream Sauce
1 poblano chile
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup heavy cream
Coarse salt and ground pepper

We had this with homemade refried beans and some mexican rice.

This recipe was from the blog Eat at Home

Refried Beans
3 Tbs. butter
1 small onion, diced
1-2 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
2 cans kidney or pinto beans, drained
1 can chopped green chilis
about 1 cup tomato sauce
salt to taste
Melt the butter in a skillet.  Cook the onion and garlic in the butter until soft.  Add the beans to the skillet and mash them with a fork.  Stir in the chopped green chilis and tomato sauce.  Heat until hot and bubbly.  There is no comparison to the canned stuff!

We had a great weekend!  We had dinner Friday night to celebrate Corey's sister Kelly's bday at Maggiano's.  Only one of our favorite restuarants!!!  Saturday I got to go shopping with my mom.  Although I didn't accomplish a lot of my Christmas shopping list we still had a great time together as always.  AND she treated me to a peppermint mocha from starbucks!  Yummy!  Then me and Cor went and picked out and cut down our tree!  Its seriously so huge.  9 feet tall.  So we had a fun time with that!  Then we went out for a few drinks with some friends that evening.  Sunday we went to church, watched the colts game, then decorated our tree!  Then this morning we awoke to the thing on the ground.  Pretty hilarious...not so hilarious was the many shattered ornaments that I am going to have to sweep up this afternoon!  But me, mom, and sis are watching eclipse tonight yay!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Roasted Tomato Soup with Poblano Peppers and Oregano

So I am not avoiding updating about how turkey day turned out...I am just terrible about uploading pictures from my camera.  And I really want to have pictures with that post!  I guess I should probably get better if I want to keep this blogging thing interesting! 

This soup was awesome!  Its a little spicy, but not too spicy (I guess you could change up the number of peppers you used to make it more or less).  The smell of the roasted tomatos and peppers was so good.  I am obviously a little obsessed with soups this fall/winter... which Cor says is ok by him because he loves them too!  I'll have to share the recipe for his mom's chicken and dumplings we had last week (prior to turkey day).  They are soo good and perfect comfort food for this weather! 

Here is your ingredient list, photo (and recipe of course) courtesy of For the Love of Cooking:

Roasted Tomato Soup with Poblanos and Oregano
3 large tomatoes
3 poblano chiles
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 sweet yellow onion, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
4 cups of beef broth
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

Preheat the broiler. Place the tomatoes on the baking sheet and place into the oven. Roast the tomatoes on each side until the skins are blackened. Allow the tomatoes to cool before removing and discarding the skins. Pull the core out and discard; place the tomatoes and its juices in a food processor and process until you get a puree.

Place the poblano chiles on the same baking sheet and place under the broiler until all sides are blackened. Place the chilies in a bowl and cover with saran wrap or a kitchen towel for 5 minutes to steam. Peel, pull out stem, and seed pod of each chile. Slice the chiles into smalls strips.

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, add olive oil, then add onions and oregono and cook for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and roasted poblanos and cook for another minute, stirring constantly. Add the tomato puree and beef broth then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. Serve with cheese and enjoy!
I served with the queso fresca cheese I had left over from stuffed peppers the first time I ate this soup.  Then for the leftovers I actually toasted up some leftover bread with cheddar cheese under the broiler and made some little cheesy croutons out of it and topped the soup with those.  This was the way to go for me!  I thought it added a new dimension - I mean who doesn't like to add a little cheesy bread!!!
This was the first recipe I had made from For the Love of Cooking...but I don't think it will be my last.  We really liked the soup and I really like her style of cooking.  Homemade, and generally healthy. 
I just can't describe how much I am loving this new journey as a cook.  I mean I love all the new flavors that I didn't necessary taste before and I just constantly find new recipes I want to try and tackle.  And not to mention I sort of love doing it for those I mr. corey.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Stuffed Green Peppers

This recipe is from Simply Recipes.  They really have the most beautiful pictures I think!  These are something I have made many times.  They are really easy and can even be made ahead of time.  Oh and they are DELICIOUS!  (Note:  photos below are courtesy of Simply Recipes as well).  I actually made with ground Turkey this time instead of beef to make it a little healthier.  I didn't like it near as much, but Corey said he did.  I also added some Queso Fresca cheese on top and broiled for a few.  I also suggest making some extra sauce for the top - thats the way we like it at least!

Dad's Stuffed Bell Peppers


4 bell peppers, any color


5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped

1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped

1 lb of lean ground beef

1 1/2 cup of cooked rice

1 cup chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned (if using can, drain of excess liquid first)

1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon of dried oregano

Fresh ground pepper

1/2 cup ketchup

1/2 tsp of Worcestershire Sauce

Dash of Tabasco sauce



1 Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, cut top off peppers 1 inch from the stem end, and remove seeds. Add several generous pinches of salt to boiling water, then add peppers and boil, using a spoon to keep peppers completely submerged, until brilliant green (or red if red peppers) and their flesh slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Drain, set aside to cool.


2 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat 4 tbsp of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a minute more. Remove skillet from heat, add meat, rice, tomatoes, and oregano, and season generously with salt and pepper. Mix well. (You may find it easier to put the ingredients at this point into a large bowl and mix together with your hands.)


3 Drizzle remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil inside the peppers. Arrange the cut side of the peppers up in a baking dish, then stuff peppers with filling. Combine ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, and 1/4 cup of water in a small bowl, then spoon over filling. Add 1/4 cup of water to the baking dish. Place in oven and bake for 40-50 minutes (or longer, depending on how big the peppers are that you are stuffing), until the internal temperature of the stuffed peppers is 150-160°F.

Serves 4-6.

Hope you had a great long weekend!



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Turkey day recipes

Here we are...only a few more hours left of work then its time to celebrate!

Here are some recipes I wanted to share because they taste great (or look absolutely fabulous - if I haven't made them yet!)

Candied Walnuts - this is simple!  You can toast the nuts in the oven for a few minutes if you would like.  Once thats done, basically you just melt some sugar over low heat in a saucepan on the stove and then stir in the nuts once the sugar turns a darker shade...starts to carmelize...yummy!

Apple & Walnut Stuffing - courtesy of Southern
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped, about 1/2 cup
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 8 slices wheat bread, torn into small pieces
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or another nut)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried sage leaves, crumbled
  • salt & pepper 
  • Spicy Sausage (maybe 1/2 lb)
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
Measurements don't really matter when it comes to this type of thing.  Sauté chopped onion and celery in the butter.  Cook the sausage.  In a large bowl combine the onion mixture with the bread, apple and pecans. Beat together the chicken stock, egg, sage, salt and pepper; add to the bread mixture, mixing in gently. Place the mixture in a greased 2-quart casserole; cover with lid or foil and bake at 325° for 25 to 30 minutes. Uncover the last 5 minutes of baking time.
The Carrots are one of my favorite side dishes to serve the hubs.  Basically you just boil until tender then saute with butter, honey, salt, and crushed red pepper to taste.  Yummy!
The applesauce is also very simple.  I made it Tuesday night.  The only tip I have is to not over-estimate the number of apples you have.  I did four and it seemed like a lot at the time, but they cook down and really I think it may just be enough for 9 people to have a "taste"!  Thats ok though.  I think we'll survive on the rest of dinner :)  So you peel, core, and chop the apples.  Place them in a casserole baking dish and add brown sugar, a little splash of lemon juice and salt, and a little apple cider if you have or else water would to just fine.  No need to measure, just taste!
So Pumpkin Sweet Potato casserole...this is the same as any other sweet potato casserole you would make, except for you use half SP's and half Pumpkin.  I am going to use both pureed from the can which will be very easy.  I'm thinking either some marshmallows, coconut (mom's idea), or some type of crumble to top it...why not all three!  We shall see...
Dulce de Leche Pumpkin Cheesecake...can't wait to see how this turns out!
Thats all I've got for now.  Stay turned to see how it all turns out!  And don't forget to give your thanks to Jesus and those who truly mean the most to you!  What a great feeling the holidays bring :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Only a couple more days!  We are very excited this year because both of our families are coming to our house!  It will be so nice and relaxing.  Here is what I have been dreaming up for my pretty traditional menu with a little bit of my own touch :)

Breakfast:  Kolache factory - yum!!!  Corey's parents are picking up some of these wonderful treats.  We are also having some pumpkin bread courtesy of my sister and some fruit provided by my mom.

Apps:  Baked Brie w/ Cranberry Sauce
           Braided Pretzel Loaf & some crackers I have yet to purchase for the Brie
           Candied Walnuts

Dinner:  Turkey - Corey's parents are making a deep fried turkey this year which is going to be a first for all of us and I think it will be a lot of fun!
             Red Skinned Mashed Potatos  with Corey's dad's homemade Gravy
             Noodles - My mom and sis are in charge of these!  They are my grandmother's recipe.  I have so many fun memories of rolling these out on the table when we were all younger.  Such great tradition.
             Apple Walnut Stuffing - I made a trial run of this last night and it got the hubby's approval!  I'm not a big fan of stuffing but this wasn't too bad.  I added some dried cranberries and sausage.  My mom is also going to make a stuffing.
             Green Beans w/ Feta & Almonds
             Glazed Carrots w/ Honey & Red Pepper Flakes
             Rolls - these are coming from the Kolache factory as well, yum!
             Homemade Roasted Applesauce
             Pumpkin Sweet Potato Casserole
             Creamed Spinage - Corey's mom is picking this up from Boston Market.  It is Corey's absolute favorite!

Dessert:  Pumpkin Pie w/ Whipped Cream
              Pecan Pie - made by Corey's mom
              Apple Pie - made by Corey's mom Along with some Blue Bell icecream (have you had this it is a-mazing!!!)
              Dulce de Leche Pumpkin Cheesecake

What do you think...I think we should be fat and sassy after this dinner!  I am probably leaving something out too that is the sad part.  I think its a little obvious that I am pretty excited.  Corey has had to calm me down a few times and hold me back from adding more things to the menu...(but honey what if I made some jalopeno cheese grits for breakfast or a fruit tart as well!!!??)  Ok, Ok, I guess I do want to be able to relax and enjoy the holiday too.  But I am really looking forward to having a whole day of cooking :)

OH we have SO much to be THANKFUL for!!!!!!!!!!  Thank you Lord!

I'll be back to share recipes hopefully later today or tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pumpkin Bread

I was helping my sister Brooke unpack in her new place Monday night and we were talking about Thanksgiving.  We are really excited because we are having Thanksgiving at our house this year!  We usually go to Corey's parents and both of my parents' side of the family - so needless to say...three Thanksgiving dinners can be a little much!  We are so looking forward to having both of our immediate families at our house for a nice relaxing day :)

Anyway... Brooke mentioned she wanted to make Pumpkin Bread to bring over for some breakfast and I told her I found the best recipe for it!  Its from Simply Recipes and it was wonderful!  It was so moist and we loved the nuts in it.  You could also add chocolate chips if you wanted to mix it up.

How warm does that look :)  Soo looking forward to Thanksgiving and time with family!  We have soo much to thank the Lord for this year!

Pumpkin Bread Recipe

1 1/2 cups (210g) flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (1/4 L) pumpkin purée
1/2 cup (1 dL) olive oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup (1 dL) chopped walnuts


1 Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Sift together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda.
2 Mix the pumpkin, oil, eggs, 1/4 cup of water, and spices together, then combine with the dry ingredients, but do not mix too thoroughly. Stir in the nuts.
3 Pour into a well-buttered 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Bake 50-60 minutes until a thin skewer poked in the very center of the loaf comes out clean. Turn out of the pan and let cool on a rack.
Makes one loaf. Can easily double the recipe.

I'll try to share my Thanksgiving menu tomorrow...should be interesting!!!

And in case you were interested, we had these last night from the Picky Palate:

BBQ Ranch Chicken and Cheddar Pizza Roll em’ Ups

Monday, November 15, 2010

Weekend Recap

This weekend was of course another great one!  I am feeling tired back at work today though...I think its also because its very quiet in the office.  Friday we went to Corey's parents for dinner which was great to see them!  Saturday my Mom and I helped out at Spiritual DNA at our church.  Its an all day thing where you take multiple tests prior to the day to discover you strengths and really just the way God made you!  Its truly inspiring and really leaves you feeling connected to God and those who sit at your table with you.

I made these Pumpkin Scones when I got home.  I think next time I would add more pumpkin puree and try a cream cheese glaze.  Sunday we went to church, helped my sister move into her new apartment, and then watched the Colts win :)

Pumpkin Scones with Spiced Frosting

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 7 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp fresh nutmeg, grated
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 6 tbsp unsalted cold butter, chopped
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 4 tbsp half and half (divided)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a parchment paper (Next time I would grease the pan).
Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Use a pastry blender to cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly.
In another bowl, whisk the pumpkin, 3 tablespoons of half and half, the egg, and vanilla together. Slowly add the dry mixture and mix until just combined. Don't over mix the batter.
Form a ball and place on a lightly floured surface. Flatten the ball into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Cut the rectangle into four squares then cut each square diagonally in half to form a triangle.
Place the triangles onto the baking sheet. Brush the top of each scone with the last tablespoon of half and half.
Bake for 14-16 minutes or until golden brown. Let them cool on a wire rack.

Spiced Glaze:
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp fresh nutmeg, grated
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
Mix all of the ingredients together with a whisk. Once the scones have cooled a bit, drizzle each scone with the glaze then serve immediately. Enjoy.
Have a nice Monday!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Operation Christmas Child

Happy Friday!

Yay for the weekend!  Last night I got together with my mom, my aunt Kim and Linda, and a few other ladies to pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.
This is a ministry of Samaritan's Purse where you can pack your own shoebox for either a boy or a girl from different age groups to send over to a child who is less fortunate than us.  We shared in some fellowship and prayed for the children who are going to receive our boxes!  It also really helps remind you of how fortunate we are, especially around Christmas!

Wednesday we made a yummy fall soup - Pumpkin & Black Bean Soup.  My husband is in love with everything pumpkin so of course he was happy!  I found the recipe on Closet Cooking.  This is one of my favorite food blogs.  Everything he posts I want to try, he is so creative with his cooking.  This is the type of food blog that makes me wish I could be in the kitchen all day :)

Here is the recipe if you are interested:

Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup

1 tablespoon oil
1 onion (chopped)
4 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 tablespoon cumin (toasted and ground)
1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
1 can pumpkin puree

1 (19 ounce) can black beans (rinsed and drained)
1 (14 ounce) can tomatoes (chopped)
1/4 cup dry Sherry (or dry white wine)
1 handful cilantro (chopped, optional) - I didn't have1 handful toasted pumpkin seeds
(optional) - I didn't have

1. Heat the oil in a pan.
2. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
3. Add the garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
4. Add the broth, pumpkin, black beans, tomatoes and sherry and simmer for 30 minutes.
5. Remove from heat and puree to the desired consistency.
6. Serve garnished with cilantro and toasted pumpkin seeds.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Hello All!

Thanks for visiting!  I am very excited about starting a blog to keep in touch with family and friends and of course to share recipes!  I love getting ideas from others and thought it would be fun to share some of my own.  I can't wait to see where this new journey takes me!