Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pumpkin Pie? Why yes please!

My friend Kadee sent me this recipe. I, of course, tweeked it to make it super delicious. And come on, who doesn't want to drink pie! 

Makes a wonderful easy treat while watching for trick-or-treaters. 

1 cup pumpkin puree (I used what we had left from last years Halloween pumpkins I had painted)
1 very ripe medium-sized banana, you can use the frozen ones you forgot about in the freezer

cup fat-free vanilla yogurt, my favorite is a greek style
2 tbsp honey (We were out of honey and the honey dude hasn't called me back so I used Karo Syrup)
1 cup milk or cream, you could use any sort of liquid that suits you, I just went off of the standard pie recipe

a splash of Mocha or Chocolate flavored coffee creamer, totally optional but why not?! 

3/4 tsp Penzey's Baking Spice
a splash of vanilla extract
a handful of crushed ice


Whipped Cream


Throw everything in a blender. Make sure you remember the lid. Throw that puppy on high speed and let her rip! 

Pour into a lovely glass, preferably with a straw. A scoop or squirt of whipped cream on top and your favorite tiny candy crumbles on top. Perfectly festive! 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Redemption Spelt Berry Apple Pear Salad

This isn't an original but it's my tweeked version of a recipe found here:

It's so delicious and reminds me of good times in Florida. It was a regular purchase from Native Sun when I lived there and I missed it so bad I went searching for the recipe. 

Apple, Pear, Spelt Berry Salad

1 cup cooked spelt berries
1 pear, large diced (any variety, I liked the green ones)
1 apple, large diced (any variety, I LOVE granny smith but used Gala because it was handy)
about 1/4 cup celery, sliced thin
1/2 cup dried cranberries, soaked in about 1/8 cup water to reconstitute a little
1/3-1/2 cup greek yogurt, plain or vanilla work
2 tbsp cream cheese
1 tbsp lemon juice
2.5 tbsp honey, sugar, or karo syrup (I used karo because I didn't have any honey left, but honey tastes better)
1/2 tsp Penzey's Baking Spice (or something similar

Cook the spelt berries. Boil 1.5 cups water and add  in 1/2 cup dry spelt berries. Cover and let simmer for about 40 minutes. Turn off heat, leave covered, let cool. 

Mix the wet ingredients together until kind of soupy. 

Toss together dry ingredients until mixed well, including spelt berries. 

Combine everything into a nice serving dish or storage container. 

Keeps in the fridge for about 5 days pretty well. After that it gets a little soggy. 

You can substitute something like a kamut berry or even some almonds, cashews, or walnuts if you can't find spelt. I just ordered mine from It's a great site and clicking through here should get you a free $10 credit! 

It's a perfect breakfast, meal, or snack. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

This is what happens when I don't cook... crappy food and a worse experience!

Today my husband and I decided to try the local Pizza Hut in Starkville MS. As we entered the restaurant we immediately noticed that the decor appeared quite rundown and in a state of disrepair. The tile in the entrance was cracked, loose, and uneven so bad I tripped. The bathrooms were that of a 3rd world country with cracked bowls, no soap, and not even attached toilets! We should have turned around and left but my husband suggested we stay since the buffet appeared to be in better shape. It's pizza right? What can go wrong? After we were rudely seated by a woman who didn't bother to greet us at all but showed her horrible manners and "threw" the silverware on the table before turning around and walking away. We later learned, she was our waitress, or what should have been. She didn't do anything but throw a check on the table. The seats were badly torn to where they pulled at our clothes, my husband felt something poking him, turns out it was an electrical outlet hanging out of the wall with loose wires hanging from it! 

During our meal we were seated by a pair of women with small children. They were so disinterested in attending to the needs of the children they both screamed and yelled for nearly 30 minutes. This included the women yelling across the restaurant to employees who carried on a conversation. Apparently they thought they were at some sort of family reunion or something. Several other patrons exchanged glances of dismay but continued their meal as quickly as possible to leave. When I stood up to ask them to quiet the child down a bit so we could enjoy our meal, the two women became irate and started to defend their actions stating "children can't be trained". Maybe not theirs, of course they couldn't be trained either... Several employees (that had been yelling across the restaurant, came running over and out from the kitchen, all appearing to be friends. As the scene developed one employee wearing large hoop earrings and a red polo shirt actually physically bumped me with body language leaving no doubt she was wanting a physical altercation to ensue. At this point she started screaming and asking us to leave so I lost it and threw my bill at her (no I did not hit her, it's a piece of paper smaller than an iPhone). This resulted at her lunging at me and about knocking a table over screaming obscenities. 

An off duty police officer intervened and escorted me out of the building as the crowd was ready to draw blood while my husband paid the bill. All of this because someone asked a parent to be a parent. Several other patrons confronted me in the parking lot and said they were about to do the same thing (yeah, right) but didn't. 

Now we've traveled all over the world and been treated like crap by a lot of folks. Most of the time I can take it. This shot me over the edge. I will NEVER patronize another YUM! Brand foods family of stores again! I encourage you to do the same... 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Chicken Corn Soup

I promise, if you make this, you will LOVE it! 

1 whole chicken
4-5 stems of celery, diced
5-6 carrots, diced
1 whole medium onion, diced
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
4 cups corn (can be frozen or fresh, don't use canned)
3 medium potatoes, diced
3 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tbsp olive or grape seed oil

Put a rinsed whole chicken in a stock pot, cover with water, boil until falling apart. Remove from heat and let cool. If you do this the night before and put the whole pot in the freezer you get a nice layer of chicken fat on the top of the stock. I use this in place of oil in the next few steps. If you don't have time, no worries, use the oil. 

In another large stock pot add the 1-2 tbsp of oil to the pot and put on a medium high heat. Add in the garlic, onion, celery, and carrots. Saute until soft. It's ok if the bottom of the pot starts to caramelize a little. That means its' building good flavor. Spread everything to the sides and add in the potatoes to the center. You may have to add a touch more oil to combat the startchy-ness. Salt and pepper liberally to build the flavors. I use somewhere around 1 tbsp of each. 

When you get everything soft, add in the stock from the whole chicken pot. Pull the chicken out and remove bones. Cut or pull into small pieces. Add the chicken to the pot.

Add in the corn and the three raw eggs. After about 10 minutes, scoop the eggs out and let them cool a touch in a bowl. Peel and dice then add back to soup. 

Let everything get happy for another 10 minutes or so and serve. This is one of my favorite recipes from being a kid during harvest season. Plus it's how my husband and I spent our first date! He was sick, I made him this. 5 years later we're married and expecting our first baby! :-)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cool Weather Grub!

Fall is DEFINITELY in the air here in Juneau. It was 36 degrees this morning when I took the hubby to work... You know what that means? I can FINALLY cook soups & stews for dinner! Yay! I am trying to convert my husband over to my way of thinking when it comes to the awesomeness that is a pot of delicious soup... He maintains that "soup is not dinner" but I can usually get him to eat stew or chili with few complaints.

Earlier today, I had a craving for lentil soup. To satisfy my craving, I went to the store to get ingredients while I had a bit of time between when I got off work and when Aaron got off work. While wandering the store, I saw a bag of baby yukon gold potatoes... and changed my mind (I just couldn't convince myself that I could successfully add potatoes to lentil soup). So I could use the potatoes that I immediately craved upon sight, and so I could get Aaron to eat it, I decided to make chicken stew.

Another good thing about soup weather? You don't really need a recipe... Just a good understanding of what tastes good together...

Heat some olive oil in a dutch oven (love my Lodge Enameled Cast Iron one). Cut one chicken breast into cubes, season with salt & pepper, and brown in the oil. When browned, remove the chicken and set aside. Add a bit more oil and then add one red onion, two stalks of celery, and two carrots (all chopped) and cook until the veggies start to soften. Add the baby yukon gold potatoes (roughly quartered, but it depends on the size of the potatoes... just make sure they are about the same size, but not too small, or they'll be mushy) and the chicken. Season with more salt, pepper, and about 1 tsp. of an herb blend (I used herbs de provence, but you can use whatever you like). Then, add 1 quart of chicken broth and let it simmer with the lid on over medium heat. Cook until the potatoes are soft. Mix in some cornstarch (mix it with liquid first, or you'll be sorry.... I used some white wine I had lying around). Thicken it to the desired consistency (Aaron likes it thick, so I used about 2-3 tbsp of cornstarch, but 1-2 would probably be fine). Taste for any additional seasoning it may need. Fresh herbs might be nice (but I didn't have any luck with my kitchen herb garden, so I didn't).

Feel free to add anything else you want to it... soup isn't rocket science and it isn't exactly precise... I RARELY measure anything for my soups. And it is pretty rare for me to have a crappy batch of soup.

I didn't get any pictures of the awesomeness, so you'll just have to take my word that it looked and tasted great. Definitely hit the spot for some comfort food. An added bonus? When I plugged the ingredients in to calculate the calorie count of the dish, it works out to a little over 200 calories per serving. We each had 1 bowl and I separated the rest of the pot into two plastic containers. I figure it is about 6 servings a pot, at these quantities. Sometimes I go a little overboard with soup production, but I successfully reigned it in for this one :)