Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Northwood Soup

This soup is easy for a cozy day at home - any time. It takes about 30 minutes to make. Very easy and healthy - about 250 caloried for 1.5 cups. Serves 5 so I have enough for lunches throughout the week. I got this recipe from

3 regular carrots - peeled and sliced in 1/2 inch slices
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic (I always grate mine now with my zester grater)
1/2 pkg turkey kielbasa, sliced
oregano, pepper
1 box low sodium chicken broth
2 cans great northern beans
1/4 cup celery leaves (from celery stalks)
6 oz spinach leaves

Saute for 4 ingredients in olive oil for 3 minutes. Add in everything to greens and bring to a boil. Let boil for 5 minutes, simmer for 5. Then mash soup with potato masher (to make it thicker by breaking down some of the beans). Bring to simmer for 5 more minutes. Add in spinach and celery leaves. Serve with some parm cheese. Easy, cheap, good. My three requirements for soup!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2009 Cooking Resolutions

I heard someone say this weekend that they categorize their resolutions. So, that is what I'm doing this year. Since this is my food blog - these resolutions will have to do with cooking. There are three of them.
1. I get to cook one new recipe a week. A week is Monday-Sunday. This week I will at least be doing 5 new recipes - it won't be like this every week though. In my menu blog at the beginning of the week - I'll tell you which one is the new recipe.
2. Since I collect cookbooks, I must start using them. So I counted all mine up (not including magazines) and I have about 60. That means I have to cook one recipe out of each cookbook this year. That will be fun, but also hard. It will also give me a chance to hopefully work with some new ingredients!
3. For the healthier end of things - I would like to start cooking with more legumes, whole grains, fish, and veggies.
What are your cooking or food resolutions this year?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Menu: Last week of 2008

I'm already starting this health(ier) eating thing even though we aren't quite into the New Year. This week also holds my birthday - so we'll see how that goes. More on 2009 Food Resolutions in a coming blog.
Monday - Asahi sushi for lunch (I had 4 of the california roll, 4 of the Spicy Crab Roll - that was amazing, some of the hibachi veggies, and a salad). Dinner will be veggies and an egg white omelette.
Tuesday - Progressive dinner with friends. I'm making a pear/gorgonzola/cherry/pecan salad with honey mustard vinaigrette. Laura is making meatballs. And Beth has desserts. This will be fun!
Wednesday - no clue yet. I'm making a hummus platter to take to a NYE party.
Thursday - Orange Cranberry muffins, Tilapia with citrus vinaigrette and veggies.
Friday - Brunch with Reed's: ham, grits/greens/eggs, cinnamon rolls, citrus salad
Saturday - Dinner at Joneses'
Sunday - Lunch with Lilly somewhere for my birthday!

Egg Cuties

To build relationships among the secretaries here at Southern, we have an administrative secretary birthday breakfast once a month. My friend, Bonnie, always seems to be in charge of the egg casserole dish. Its kinda become a tradition. And she's a great cook, so none of us mind leaving that task to her! She made a these a while back and I claimed the recipe for a brunch last week. They were very good. We sent some of the leftovers to the grandparents and had some of the leftovers for Christmas breakfast. My parents are making them again this week. These are a great thing to make the night before if you are going to be rushed in the morning, but I would still prefer them hot out of the pan the first time.

Egg Cuties (by Bonnie Myers)
1 lb. Sausage - this adds to much flavor - the pork fat stuff, not turkey stuff.
1 medium onion- chopped
2 cups shredded frozen hashbrown potatoes
1 tsp. Lawry’s season salt - we didn't have any, so we made up our own
6 oz. Shredded cheddar cheese - we used 2% sharp cheddar
6 eggs
3 tbsp. Flour
½ cup milk
1 cup ranch dressing - we used Walmart brand light Ranch

Grease muffin tins and set oven to 325 degrees.
Brown sausage and onion and drain.
Add potatoes, cheese, and flour to sausage and onion
In another bowl, beat eggs, dressing, and milk. Add to potato mixture.
Add seasonings. Fill muffin tins ¾ full.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Yields 24 muffins.

Homemade Cinnamon Raisin Bread French Toast

This whole recipe came about because my Mom got a brand new bread machine for 8$ at a church yard sale. She bought it to give away, but we had to make sure it worked first. So, we made some bread on Wednesday night and decided to make French Toast with the leftovers of it for Christmas morning.
It turned out very well - even if we had to make do without syrup. (the other in the picture is a fruit salad with blood oranges from the back yard and leftover Egg Cuties from another post).

For bread: (1 lb loaf)
5/8 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups bread flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons rapid rise or bread machine yeast
Put all in machine in that order and turn on regular setting.

French Toast (6 slices)
2 eggs
2 egg whites
3/4 cup milk
1 T vanilla
2 tsp sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg (my Mom actually had the nutmeg, we ground it - so good fresh)
Mix up in a big enough bowl for bread to fit in. Line cookie sheet with foil and spray well with pam. Turn over on to 500.
Dunk bread till well coated and lay on pan. Cook for 5 minutes, flip, 3-4 min on other side.
Dad topped his with light corn syrup. I topped mine with 1 tsp brown sugar and 1 T heavy cream, cool whip, and raisins. Mom topped hers with cool whip. It was very very yummy!

North Carolina Pecan Pie

My Mom's side of the family is pecan growers. Tons of pecan trees in south Georgia - loved tasting the pecans on family trips.
When I saw this recipe in my Farm Bureau Insurance magazine in October - I saved it to make for Thanksgiving. This would be my first pecan pie. We thought we had bought a pie shell, but didn't - so mom pulled together a great shortening crust (use one that you have or buy a regular crust). I also added chocolate chips to this one. It was great.
a crust of your choosing (9 in regular)
4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup EACH light and dark corn syrup
1 1/2 T butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup pecans, arranged on top in a circular fashion
Beat eggs, add rest. Pour into pie pan. It will go almost to the top. Sprinkle chocolate chips. Arrange pecans on top. Bake for 40-45 minutes at 350.
We made ours early Wednesday for eating on Thursday. I liked how it had plenty of time to completely set. It was yummy with cool whip!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Roasted Fruit Arugula Salad with Panettone Croutons

I had a very special fmr teached and dear friend over for a holiday brunch at the house. It was a sweet time of catching up and hanging out with her and my parents. I enjoy watching people eat what I have made. We all really enjoyed this first course salad. Thanks to Giada!
1 pkg arugula or mixed greens (I really liked the flavor the arugula brought to the table).
2 pears
1 cup grapes
1 cup cranberries (fresh preferably)
6 oz (2 small) Panettone, cubed
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus 1/4 cup (about 2 lemons total),
1/2 lemon, zested
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup orange blossom honey
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 300 and brown the cubed bread until crispy - about 35-40 minutes. We did these the night before and put them in a baggy. Cut the pears into 8ths, peeled, mix fruit on sheet with sides and drizzle the butter, juice, zest, and sugar over the top. Roast at 425 for 25-30 minutes. Mix the dressing right before serving. Plate it and serve!

Pork, Apple, and Sweet Potato Bake

My friend, Sarah, made this for the first time I met her. I loved it then, I loved it today. I made it for my parents for a light(er) lunch during this holiday week of baking and big dinners. My cousins in Cullman, AL grow sweet potatoes, and give our family TONS of them every fall. This was a perfect dish. You can bake it in the oven for about an hour but I put it in a crock pot since we needed the oven to bake!

3 med or 6 small sweet potatoes
3-4 small-medium apples
1 lb pork sausage

Peel and slice potatoes and apples. Cook and drain pork. Put all in crockpot (or 9x9 pan). I put about 1/4 cup flour, 2 T sugar, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp salt. 3/4 cup water. But, play with it all. I liked how it turned out today - it had a little more liquid, but then after it cooled it had set up a bit. Yummy! The pork sausage gives it great flavor - even though its not the healthiest for you - but turkey sausage doesn't quite cut it!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Menu: Christmas Week

There are a lot of big meals this week, but then eating out and little ones too! :) I'll enjoy cooking with my Mom this week in a big kitchen! Going to FL tomorrow!
Monday - traveling (airport food), taco soup
Tuesday - Brunch: arugula salad with fruit and panettone croutons, egg cuties (from Bonnie), cinnichip scones (already on here), ambrosia salad with vanilla yogurt and homemade granola (already on here) and washing it down with Citrus Punch. Then dinner at Alan and T's: ribeyes, shrimp, rolls, salad, sauteed shrooms, garlic roasted onions, roasted brussel sprouts, nanaimo bars and deep chocolate torte.
Wednesday - Sweet potato, apple, and sausage bake (recipe from my friend Sarah that I had a few weeks ago) and then a grilled chicken salad for dinner (something light to counter the eating together days!
Thursday - Smoked mullet, ham, cornpudding casserole (from BGC), applesauce for granny, sweet potato casserole, cauliflower au gratin, sour cream biscuits (from Lindsay), lemon glazed lemon cake, apricot sandwich cookies, broccoli salad.
Friday - Sonnys and probably Barnicle Bills
Saturday - hotel breakfast, lunch with Robshaws, airport food
Sunday - eating with Sarah and Cheryl while shopping for NYE outfits!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Coconut Cream Pie

This was my first time making a coconut cream pie. The only reason I did was because I had leftover cream of coconut from the Coconut Cream cupcakes I had. This was really good. I took it to a dinner and baking session I went to - and we all ate a piece and it was yummy - sugar overload!

1 ready made graham cracker crust (this time of the year, short cuts are grand!)
1 block of 1/3 less fat cream cheese - softened
1 cup cream of coconut (NOT coconut milk) - this is found in the drink/mixer section
1 small pkg of cheesecake pudding mix
1 6 oz bag of coconut
1 8 oz container of Fat Free Cool Whip
1 cup heavy whipping cream
vanilla extract
sugar (both of these are optional if you wanted sweetened whipping cream, I don't like it plain)
coconut to garnish

Cream cheese and cream, then add in dry pudding mix, then add in coconut, fold in cool whip. Pour into crust. Let chill for 2 hours. Before serving whip heavy whipping cream till medium peaks form - add in 1 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1 1/2 T sugar. Spread on top. Top with coconut for garnish if you want to.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Night Dinner In and Pear Cranberry Crisp

I had some great new friends over for dinner tonight. It has definitely become my love language to cook for people (acts of service if you follow the Gary Chapman guideline). I just love sharing my love for food with others.'s the menu:
Pear/Cherry/Gorgonzola/Spinach Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette (1 pear, spinach, 1/2 cup dried cherries, 1/4 cup gorgonzola cheese) - Vinaigrette was out of the Butterfly Garden Cafe cookbook (honey, dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, and olive oil)
Flat Iron Steak with Marsala Reduction and Sauteed Onions (3.5 lbs of flat iron - s/p/garlic/thyme). 1 1/2 cup each of beef broth and marsala wine - reduced 3/4 to a glaze. 2 onion sauteed in olive oil and 3 T butter). Chris actually finished off the steak and it was so yummy - thanks to his cooking it to perfection (medium or medium rare). It was so tender. The reduction was so good and how can you go wrong with the onions!
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Lemon - 2 lbs brussel sprouts, cleaned and halved. 425 with olive oil, s/p and lemon zest for 18 minutes, stir, 12 minutes, crumble bacon and add some lemon juice.
Creamy Parmesan Orzo. This was good but the only thing that wasn't to my definite liking just because it had sat too long by the time we ate it. Find this recipe on
Pear Cranberry Crisp - (Fosters, yes the cookbook I use for everything!) - what I liked about this. It was a warm way to end the meal and it cooked while we were eating our dinner.

6 pears - peeled, cored, sliced thin
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 T vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch salt
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp all-spice
Mix all together and pour into deep dish pie pan or 9 in pan.

1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
4 T unsalted cold butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 t vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
Crumble together and put on top.
Bake at 375 for 40 minutes or until fruit is bubbly. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream!
YUMMY. The sauce mixes with the melted ice cream - oh I love warm desserts in the winter!
It was fun getting to cook for a change (instead of just bake). Glad my guests enjoyed it. And glad I have some leftovers (I sent the dessert to the drum session down the road).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Peanut Butter Brownies...Take 2

I made these about 2 years ago - and this time made them again, took pictures, and changed 2 things. Instead of using the mini baking reeces cups - I used just the miniature ones (about 2/3 of a bag) and cut them in half. That way they are chunkier. I also sprinkled about 1/2 cup reeces pieces to give them some color.
These were more moist than they were back then!
I'll take some to the office tomorrow and most of the to community group. Very good and easy - better than from a box and didn't take much more time. I will usually take homemade over boxed!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Menu Week: Dec 15

This is my last week up here before I go to FL for Christmas (leaving Monday, excited to have some warm weather hopefully and cooking with my Mom).
I actually have a slower week than last, so we shall see what this week holds:
Cyclers Cafe
Peanut Butter Brownies (made in 2006 on here, found, have all the ingredients, and don't have to make them from a box for small group - very excited about that!)
Flat Iron steak with shallots
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with bacon, parm, and lemon
Pear/Gorgonzola Salad
Cream Parmesan Orzo
Pear and Cranberry Crisp
Candy Cane Fudge
Dark Chocolate Pistachio Apricots
Rocky Road Bark
La Vida Java

Will have fun baking brownies for small group and the office, eating meals with friends, cooking for friends, taking girls to my fave coffee shop, eating and making candy with friends. This time of the year is so cool for hang out time and cooking!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Baking Fun

Last night I went over to a friend's house, Brandi, of Bites with Brandi, and had a great time baking with some fun ladies. Only one had I met before - so we got to know each other better, but it was just baking with people.
You had to bring a favorite holiday recipe, all the ingredients, and give the finished product to the other ladies. So I left with 8 things last night in a little goodie bag! And a butterfly (I know not Christmas, but fun) cookie cutter. We had pizza and roasted red pepper hummus and veggies - and then nibbled of course while we were baking.
We made: chocolate macaroons, no bakes, chocolate covered pretzels, pupmkin bread, brown sugar chews, pistachio craisin white chocolate biscotti, rocky road bark, chocolate peanut butter bars. My Mom will love the rocky road bark (Brandi's), you can't go wrong with white chocolate, I woke up hungry about 4.45 this morning and had a bite of Sarah's pumpkin bread - very moist.
All in all, it was fun and we had a great time baking. The guys were watching Elf and Narnia and the kids.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Taste of Louisville: Butterfly Garden Cafe

Even though my lunch time was really hurried - this place was excellent - the soup definitely made everything worth it. Butterfly Garden Cafe is down on Bardstown, only about 3-4 miles from the seminary. Only problem with Bardstown Rd is it is very difficult to find parking places and there is tons of traffic.
But, once inside - its all good. We all had the tomato tuscan soup (broth based, fresh tomatoes, basil, onions, etc) - it was worth everything. So yummy and warm - especially with flurries coming down outside! The chicken salad was ok. I like chunky chicken salad and this was shredded. But, I loved the bread. It came with some sun-chips and a square of a corn casserole of some sort. That was very good too.
I sampled the Raspberry Chai while waiting for our table. That was very yummy - with just a hint of raspberry. Lilly and I ended up buying the cookbook from there - and Lauren already had both of them.
All in all - very good, poor parking, about a 1/3 higher than Panera - very nice servers, cozy place. Very thankful for Lauren who suggested it! Thanks!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Taste of Louisville: Shiraz

Dwon a couple miles from the school is a great district called Clifton - with tons of little restaurants in it. One the most affordable and also tasty and quick is a place called Shiraz. I had been there once before, but today I went again and had a much better experience.
I got a Shiraz Panini - flat bread warm with avocado and quinoa and jack cheese in it. Very very good. And some of their lentil rice: basmati rice with seasonings and lentils. This I will heat up this weekend to enjoy with some chicken or just some hummus from Whole Foods.
The people I was with enjoyed it as well. So - go, great for mediterranean food - and cheap on the wallet!

Coconut Cream Cupcakes

I love coconut at Christmas time. We had our Community Group Christmas dinner last night and I brought these. I thought they were good, fluffy cupcakes, icing had little more than a hint of coconut, and the top was festive! This is a Southern Living recipe.
1 (18.25-oz.) package white cake mix with pudding
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Mix all together in a mixer. Line cupcakes tins with festive cupcake liners (I had just gotten some from my secret sister). Fill 2/3 full and bake at 350 for 20 minutes - don't overbake.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (3-oz.) package cream cheese
1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar
1/4 cup cream of coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sift sugar into mixture to not get lumps. There is plenty leftover. Just dunk the bowl in some water so you don't lick it clean!
Green food coloring (3 drops to a baggy full of coconut) and fruited cherries.

These are my new winter/Christmas dishes I got at Kohls - love them!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Menu Week: December 8

Tis the season of many parties, dinners, games - anything to make you eat more - right? I'm glad this week holds time for me to cook, socialize, fellowship, enjoy others, bake, eat, and exercise!
The menu outside of these parties will be very simple and nothing extraordinary about them, but here is what I'm making this week:
Jack Corn Casserole (under vegetables)
Coconut Cream Cupcakes that I'll decorate in the colors of the season
Pistachio Cranberry White Chocolate Biscotti
I'll eat at least two meals out and will comment on those if they are rave-able.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Foster's Granola

Well, by the name of this you should know by now that it is Sara Foster's recipe (Durham). Again, another great recipe out of this cookbook (Fresh Every Day). I'll be ordering her first one here pretty soon - can't wait to get it!
I honestly was a little worried about this granola. It looked too wet and then too burnt. But, you know, once it was completely cooled and broken up - it is very good, very crunchy and maple-y tasting. What good granola should be! This recipe is time consuming because you have to stir it so it doesn't burn and then work it off the pan while its cooling - or it will all stick.

2 cups rolled oats (Quaker Old Fashioned)
1 cup sweetened flake coconut
1 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup quality maple syrup
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup craisins or dried cherries
1/2 cup dried apricots, cut into pieces with scissors (I found this easier than chopping them)

mix first three with a pinch of salt on a cookie sheet with sides. 275 for 12 minutes. Take out and mix with the wet ingredients. Spray pan very well. Bake again 20-25 minutes (slightly shorter time than Sara says, but ovens cook at different temps) at 350. Stir every 5 minutes or so. Then let cool completely, breaking up pieces as it is cooling. Once cool put all in a big bowl and add fruit. (You can play with the fruit to whatever you like). This makes 4 cups.
I'm using it for our women's gift exchange tomorrow at church. Should be fun and I hope people like it.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (from Durham)

This recipe is for a special lady I work with. She has been my "secret sister" this fall semester and this is her favorite cookie. So, tomorrow for our reveal - she is getting a big container of them.
Earlier this fall I found this recipe in Fresh Every Day from Foster's Market in Durham. My favorite place to hang out in Durham and I so love the cookbook. It is my go-to cookbook because I know its going to be great! Everytime I make these I can just imagine myself sitting there on 15/501 eating, chilling, maybe seeing Sarah herself!
So, the dough is phenom and the cookies are great too - nice and warm and chewy, just watch oatmeal cookies should be - with chocolate all the way through them. You can't go wrong.

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup each light brown sugar and white sugar
3 eggs, one at a time
2 tsp good vanilla (I used some from Trader Joes)
3 cups oatmeal (I use old fashioned Quaker Oats)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp cinamon and baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Mix dry and spices. Fold in chips.
Lightly spray cookie sheets. Oven at 350. Big cookies (about 1/4 cup). Bake for 13-17 minutes depending on how you like your cookies. Mine were a little smaller and I let them cook for 13 minutes.