Wednesday, February 27, 2013

what 's there to eat ?

Today was one of those days for me when I realize I've got seemingly nothing in the refrigerator but I'm not nearly in the mood to go to the store (it's rainy and freezing).

Somehow I've always got hummus ingredients on hand so I at least had that going for me...
chick peas, tahini, lemons, salt, garlic

then all I had was carrots, golden raisins, four grape tomatoes, a big piece of romaine lettuce and some slivered almonds. Hmm...

"Well, I could finely chop some carrot and those little tomatoes. Then I could toss in some raisins for sweetness and add some slivered almonds for crunch! THEN I could mix it all up and make it like a lettuce wrap of sorts and top it with my fresh hummus!"

So I did. And I'd do it again any day... don't judge until you try it. It's actually not boring and it's actually so good. The only trouble was that I literally only had one romaine leaf left so, I ended up eating the rest of the filling drizzled with hummus straight out of the bowl, almost like a salad.
(there's one photo of this because honestly, I wasn't expecting a blog post out of my barren fridge)

Okay! So whip up some of our homemade hummus. So fast and so easy. Then chop two carrots, and a few tomatoes into small bits... the smaller (or thinner) the better I say. Toss those in a small bowl with a handful of golden raisins and a sprinkling of slivered almonds. You can use regular raisins if that's all you've got on hand but, I really like the mild sweetness of the golden compared to regular... personal preference! Lay out a few romaine leaves, fill with your yummy chopped carrot salad and go to town with that hummus. Wrap it up like a burrito and enjoy!

Some days you've just gotta keep it simple, amen?!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

We have a Winner !!

Drumroll please.........................


YOU are the winner!!! :D :D :D
(of ALL people, YOU are so deserving of this win... i can't wait to SEND YOU something in the mail for a change!!)

Thank you, everybody, for voting and being a part of this little poll! It's fun to see everyone's answers and keep you on your toes a little! ;)

Debbi, send me an e-mail with your mailing address and expect a little treat in the coming days!

Debbi has won a collection of Savory Spice Shop gourmet salts for seasoning all her culinary adventures! I cannot wait to send you these and see what you think... I love them.

Happy Weekend, friends... see you soon!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Simple Baked Eggs

*don't forget to vote and post your name in the comment box below to be entered in the prize drawing 
today's the last day until the poll is closed- winner announced tomorrow!

This is the easiest, quickest recipe for the best eggs. I was rushing around the house the other night thinking I'd be really late to girls night... I hadn't eaten dinner and I still had to stop and pick up a bottle of wine. So I thought, "eggs!"

To my pleasant surprise, I was enjoying one of my new favorite meals in 15 minutes AND ended up 20 minutes EARLY to girls night haha! (sorry, Lauren)

Also, depending on how you like your eggs, runny or solid, these could only take you 10 minutes to bake. So let's get into it!

You'll Need: (yields 1 serving)

  • 2 eggs
  • small handful fresh basil
  • 4 grape tomatoes
  • white cheddar cheese, or any other you prefer
  • avocado (optional)
  • lemon juice (optional)
  • butter, for greasing muffin tin
  • salt and pepper to taste
First, preheat your oven to 350 and lightly butter two muffin holes in your muffin tin. Salt and pepper the tin so that it sticks to the butter. Slice your grape tomatoes in halves and plop one halved grape tomato in the bottom of each tin with some of the basil.
Crack an egg in each tin and top with chopped up cheese. Then place the other halved grape tomato and the extra bits of basil on top.
Pop the tin in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on how you like your eggs... it is fun to have it a little runny in the center but, I just sort of like having that strange, solid yolk sphere to slice into by baking it for the full 15 minutes. Personal preference! They should be a little golden and bubbly on top.
Let them cool for maybe three minutes, gently loosen them from the muffin tin with a butter knife, place them on a pretty plate and top with sliced avocado... and even a squeeze of lemon juice if you're feeling zesty!
Whip up these simple eggs for breakfast, lunch OR dinner... They're too easy, right? But wait 'til you taste!

Happy Eating and HAPPY FRIDAY!

Don't forget... winner announced tomorrow! Today is the last day to vote on that poll at the top right of the page!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

extension . . .

See that poll over there ------------->

Friends!! Let me try and make this clear one more time... I'm extending the voting poll because no one is actually putting their name in the comment boxes!! :D

You can't be entered to win the prize if you don't tell me you voted... I cannot look to see the names of people who voted so you've gotta tell me yourself! SO-

click one and place your vote... THEN, go down to the comment section and tell me your name so I can enter you! I've got a great prize that needs a WINNER!

I'm gonna keep this open for two more days so we can actually have a drawing here! :)

lots of love

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

don't forget to vote!

after voting over here -------------->
be sure to write your name in the comment box and I'll enter you in to the prize drawing! Voting ends TONIGHT.

Winner announced tomorrow :)


Saturday, February 16, 2013

All - American Sloppy Joe 's

Just in time for President's Day...

We whipped up a batch of this nostalgic goodness a few nights ago with some homemade hamburger buns and it was simply bliss. I know, I know, it seems fairly uncharacteristic for us to desire eating sloppy joe's in this household. But listen, I'm not precious. There always has been and always WILL be something COMPLETELY DELICIOUS and magical about orange, drippy sloppy joe's (also let's not forget that my husband's all-time favorite thing to eat is an Aussie meat pie.. sloppy joe's are essentially the same thing sans pie crust AND HE'D NEVER HAD A SLOPPY JOE). Sometimes you just need a comfort food meal and we had one of those nights. You know what else we served with them? Chips. Ruffles. Salty, crunchy, delicious ruffle chips.

(Aaaak! Can't believe I'm admitting this!) But also you should know we basically starved ourselves all day in preparation for this upcoming culinary event so that we could eat TWO of them if we wanted and not feel guilty about it. Such horrible logic, I don't recommend it.

But here's my other thought... as I was preparing to post this to you, I kept thinking, "What the heck is wrong with eating a good sloppy joe?! There's hardly any difference between that and a hamburger... omit the little bit of brown sugar and you're there! I want people to know it's A okay to eat good old fashioned meals if they want to, as long as the rest of their diet has balanced, fresh goodness in it. I'm goin' for it! I'm telling them about these awesome sloppy joe's and encouraging them to have a sloppy joe party night!"

So friends, celebrate our glorious land of the free and home of the brave this President's Day weekend with an All- American tradition of sloppy joe's, chips and baked beans if you want 'em!

God Bless America!
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion or 1/2 large, diced
3/4 cup ketchup
a big squeeze of yellow mustard (or dijon if you're fancy)
little less than 1/4 cup brown sugar, not packed
1/8 cup worcestershire sauce
1/8 cup apple juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
white cheddar cheese, or whatever suits your fancy (optional)
chips (optional..... but not really) ;)
hamburger buns for serving... we homemade ours, they're awesome. I'll put recipe at the bottom of post.

A quick word about the way I sometimes measure which could make your life easier as well: In cooking, if something calls for 1/4 cup something and 3/4 cup something, why not just put them both in the same ONE CUP measuring cup? Yes. You should. It's fun. If something calls for 1/8 something and 1/8 something, praise the Lord for 1/4 cups, right? Half and half it! So somewhere under that messy pile of brown sugar is ketchup and a big squeeze of mustard. And underneath that chunky apple juice is worcestershire sauce. Cool? Cool. Also the only reason my apple juice is chunky is because I attempted to "freshly squeeze" my apple with my citrus juicer because I didn't have apple juice but it needed it. So go easier on yourself and just buy a box of apple juice.
In a large skillet over medium low heat, toss the diced onion in and start to saute until translucent, around five minutes (no, you don't need oil in the skillet). Make sure to keep the onions moving so they don't stick and when they're getting translucent, add the ground beef and cook until brown.
If you're homemaking your hamburger buns, now's the time to pop them in the oven because you'll just now start the slow simmering process for the sloppy joe mixture. It'll take about 20-25 minutes, just the same as the buns.
Once the meat is browned, add in the spices and stir well for about 3 minutes. Again, make sure you're stirring often and keeping an eye on the skillet, otherwise the meat will start to stick and burn. We don't want to add extra oil to the pan because you're about to deluge it with all kinds of liquid.
Moving on... let's add all the other ingredients. Dump them all in and stir stir stir. Now slice up some cheese and egg wash the buns if you'd like in their last few minutes in the oven. This is when you can start your kitchen clean up because now, you'll slightly turn the heat back and let it simmer. First it'll be liquidy, with pools of orange, then it'll thicken a bit. Then when you can pick up a good portion of it with a spoon, about 20 some minutes later, it's done (make sure you're tasting it along the way and that you like it.. add whatever your heart desires if you think it needs it.. i think i sprinkled in some extra pepper in there at some point... also diced green pepper would be nice).
just needed you to see the bottom of that bun.. i mean, it looks store bought right? please please make these.
And now we assemble! Turn your oven to the lightest broil setting, slice your buns in half and lay the cheese on top. Or bottom, or both. :) Broil just until the cheese is melty and the edges of the buns are getting a little golden.
Pull them out, turn your oven off and slop away! The messier the better! Serve with a side of chips or stuff those inside too!
Smush down and enjoy... and worry about the mess on your chin later. ;)
Happy Birthday, Mr. President. No better way to celebrate George Washington.


*to make hamburger buns, use the recipe here for yeasty jordan rolls but use these modifications:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 & 1/4 cup bread flour

cut the dough into 6 pieces only, roll into a ball, flatten out with your hands and place on a greased cookie sheet instead of a cake pan.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Crock Pot Asian

Time to answer the polling question!
See it over there to the right? ------------------->>
Poll ends in ONE WEEK! (and a random voter might just receive a prize)
type your name in the comment box at the end of the post to enter.

We're goin' simple today, friends... crock pot! Cause somedays you just need ease and the crock pot becomes your best friend. I like to vent to mine. :)

No really.

  • 2 chicken breasts, frozen or thawed
  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • stir fry oil for drizzling
  • 3 Tablespoons peanut butter, we used crunchy but either will do
  • 1/4 cup red curry sauce, we used Trader Joe's and it was awesome
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 cup chicken broth, ours was from homemade soup, that's why it looks so funny
  • 1 heaping teaspoon lime zest
  • juice from a whole lime
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons minced ginger, fresh or jarred
  • bamboo shoots (optional)
  • bean sprouts (optional)
  • crushed peanuts (optional)
  • crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • white rice for serving
Drizzle stir fry oil in the bottom of your crock pot. Toss in the carrots and onions and top with the chicken breasts.

Put all your other ingredients into a container or bowl for mixing and mix together well. Make sure to really really mix it otherwise you'll get strange globs of peanut butter that are still perfectly in tact, ha! :)
Pour the mixture over the chicken and put the lid on your crock pot. Set it to low heat for 6 hours and roughly half way through, take a big spoon to the chicken breasts and break them up a bit so the flavor gets all the way melded.
Serve it over a bed of white rice and top with bean sprouts, crushed red pepper flakes and peanuts. Use chopsticks. ;) ALSO, use the left overs again... toss all the leftovers into a wok with a little more stir fry oil, some fresh garlic and toss with more fresh carrots AND GREEN BEANS. Add in a little more soy sauce and a few dashes of oyster sauce if you've got it. SUCH a good use of your leftovers and it tastes like a completely different meal.

What's everybody doing for VALENTINE'S DAY?!

Monday, February 11, 2013

handmade ravioli & the best filling

This post is photo heavy and this dish was heavy (and awesome).
For that reason I'm gonna jump right in.
Pasta Ingredients: *adapted from Mario Batali's recipe*
  • 3 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 4-5 eggs, depending on size
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, plus more depending on dough consistency
  • water
Filling Ingredients:
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 3/4 cups (roughly half a normal size log) goat's cheese
  • handful fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 8-10 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon rosemary, fresh or dried will work fine
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon all-spice

First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees, place your sweet potato on a baking sheet with a big slit down the top of the potato and bake it until tender, about 45 minutes to an hour. While that's baking, get out a big wooden cutting board or clear out some serious space on your countertop. Pile up the 3 & 1/2 cups of flour and keep the extra for dusting close by.
Make a well big enough to hold the eggs in the middle of the mound, making sure to keep the sides of the mound in tact.

 Add the eggs and the oil and try not to let it spill over the edge like mine did. ;) Live and learn.
Begin to stir stir stir and slowly incorporate all the flour by pulling it from the inside of the well walls. This is when you might need a little extra oil and a little water, to keep the dough just sticking together, because it's crumbly! When it's combined and in a rough dough shape, wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest for half an hour somewhere warm, like on top of your stove. I couldn't quite get mine in one ball so I did three. No worries if that happens... it actually gave me some creative liberty when forming the raviolis.. they all looked different! :) Also you WILL HAVE EXCESS DOUGH left on your workspace and that's okay... don't try and force it all to stick together. Just scrape it off to the side and re-flour your workspace for when you form the noodles.
While your dough is resting, let's make our amazing filling! Get out your Vitamix, food processor or heavy-duty blender and toss in all the filling ingredients (except the sweet potato because it's probably not finished yet).
Blend it until it's a really smooth, green puree. Set it aside and let's get started on rolling out your dough. If you have a pasta maker, go ahead and use it because it's a little bit of a nightmare to roll this stuff out thin enough if you don't have patience. Luckily, I have a little patience when it comes to dough, considering food prep is my therapy... Roll it out as thin as you can without it tearing... and MAKE SURE YOU'RE CONSTANTLY RE-FLOURING the top of your dough and work surface. That's what it's there for so USE IT!
Now your potato should be ready so remove it from the oven and add the sweet potato flesh to the green puree. Place it back in your Vitamix and blend it JUST until combined. We want it to have some texture, a little lumpy! Nobody likes soupy filling in their ravioli.
Now like I mentioned before, because I had three chances to roll out the dough, I filled them each differently each time. On this one I just laid out the filling straight across the bottom middle third of the dough, folded it over, pinched it all shut and sliced it in a few ravioli pieces... this worked fine except that I then had to re-pinch together each sliced side so the filling didn't come out. No big deal but, probably not necessary.
On this one, I got wise and and made dollops of filling with space for slicing in between. Folded it over on itself left to right, leaving the filling being up against the back of the fold, pinched it all shut, slice slice sliced and re-pinched where needed. I liked this method best.
 you'll want to pinch ones like that really well... otherwise you'll have filling floating in your boiling water. ick.
And you've got raviolis! They're ready to go in the boiling water... but first warm up your sauce and prep your dishes because fresh pasta cooks in half the time pre-made pasta takes to cook. You'll only have these babies boiling for about 5 minutes or less.
I won't give you an exact recipe for this because really, this filling asks for any kind of a light sauce so you can be creative. All we used was a basic marinara to start, added in some greek yogurt and dry white wine and heated it through over medium-low heat.
Pour some sauce onto your serving dishes and place them in the oven to keep warm while you cook the ravioli noodles in batches. Nobody wants cold ravioli, right? Your oven should still be pretty dang hot from baking that sweet potato.
Boil some fairly well salted water and toss in 4-7 noodles at a time, depending on their size. Keep an eye on them and make sure they're not sticking to the bottom or each other. Remove them when they're al dente and place them on a lightly olive oiled plate to wait for the others to finish.
When they're all done, serve it up! Remove the warm serving dishes (with potholders) from the oven, add a few raviolis to each plate, top with the rest of the sauce, drizzle with a good amount of extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with rosemary to finish.
YUMMMMMMMMMMM.... we literally couldn't have loved this any more than we did.
 EXCEPT... James did say it wouldn't hurt to add another small sweet potato to the filling... he wouldn't mind tasting more sweet potato flavor. I think he's right! We'll do that exact thing next time.
 As for tonight, however... I will be adding some chicken to all the extra filling we have left over (you'll have a lot left), tossing it with some penne and baking it at 350 for 20 minutes or until bubbling. What a great way to re-use that goodness right? Try it!
Happy ravioli creating to you and yours and don't be afraid to try a different handmade pasta recipe if you've got one that looks great to you! Honey, I need that ravioli stamp down there! ;)