Sunday, November 4, 2012

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Okay, I know I should just call a spade a spade and consider this an official "SOUP" blog instead of a "recipe" blog with variety.

Anyway, when I was growing up my mom used to make a delicious broccoli cheese soup. Being a kid I wasn't a huge fan of broccoli. Or cheese. Or soup, for that matter (don't worry - I grew out of it), but this soup was an exception. It was totally delectable, as Fancy Nancy would say. This is not the same recipe my mom used (because I don't have it... hm, I should look into that), but it is definitely delectable all the same.

2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 medium chopped onion
1 cup carrot, grated
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups half-and-half cream (I use fat-free 1/2 and 1/2 and it is just the same! It's my dirty little fat-free secret)
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 lb fresh broccoli
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese (have I mentioned how much I love Cabot's Seriously Sharp cheddar?)
salt and pepper

1 - Sauté onion and carrot in butter until tender.
2 - Stir in flour and whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and add the half & half.
3 -  Add the chicken stock. Simmer for 20 minutes.
4 - Add the broccoli. Cook over low heat until broccoli is bright green.
5 - Add nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and add cheese.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fall Soup


1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, diced
2 carrots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 cup apple juice or cider
4 cups beef broth
1 can diced tomatoes
1 zucchini, cut into 1-in. pieces
2 red potatoes, chopped
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
Dash of nutmeg
Dash of baking soda
1/3 cup small shell macaroni (or any small pasta), uncooked
1/3 lb. ground Italian sausage, cooked (optional - if you want a vegetarian dish!)
1 cup fresh baby spinach 
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Saute onion and carrots in olive oil for several minutes; add garlic and cook for one minute longer. Add tomato paste and stir, over med-high heat. Add apple juice or cider and cook for a few minutes until slightly reduced.
2. Add beef broth, diced tomatoes, zucchini, potatoes, beans, Italian seasoning, and nutmeg. (I also added some basil and Penzey's "Forward" spice blend, which I nurse an addiction to and put on everything - fish, eggs, ice cream...) Add whatever seasonings taste like Fall to you. Sprinkle with a dash of baking soda to cut the acidity - add a little at a time because it will make the soup mad!
3. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for as long as you like - maybe even an hour, if you have that kind of time.
4. Add macaroni, cooked Italian sausage, and spinach. Simmer for about 15 min. Season generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with fresh Parmesan and serve with bread!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookies

Um.... My two favorite things in a cookie? YES PLEASE!

[A random speech - because you've come to expect that from me]:
You may notice that I prefer to BAKE than to COOK. In this world, there are cooks and there are bakers. The bakers are in charge of dessert and generally fattening everybody up. The cooks are in charge of sustenance and basically whipping up the everyday eats that keep us alive. You can guess which I consider to be more valuable, yet here I am trying to adapt to fill both roles. Let me just indulge myself here and give into my natural inclination. Which is, of course, to bake loads of delicious treats that I certainly should not be eating and/or feeding my children for breakfast.


1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk


1/2 cup peanut butter (+ maybe a little more - I had to add a bit more to make it manageable)
1/2 cup powdered sugar


1/2 cup chocolate pieces (I used Ghirardelli's 60% cacao)
1 Tablespoon butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 Tablespoons milk


1. Beat butter, shortening, and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat for several minutes on medium-high. Beat in cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Batter will be very thick. Add milk, a tablespoon at a time, until batter is desired consistency (you may not need the full amount).
2. Drop cookies onto cookie sheets. Press your thumb into the center of each ball.
3. For peanut butter filling, mix peanut butter and powdered sugar (add another tablespoon or so of peanut butter if the mixture is too thick to stir). Drop a rounded teaspoonful of peanut butter filling into the indentation in each chocolate cookie.
4. Bake cookies at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
5. Meanwhile, make chocolate frosting. Melt chocolate pieces and butter in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. Add powdered sugar and blend with electric mixer until smooth. Add milk during mixing to keep the frosting at a smooth, mix-able consistency.
6. Spread frosting over cooled cookies, covering the peanut butter filling.
7. Try not to eat all of the cookies by yourself. At least not all in one sitting.

Green Smoothies

 I adjusted this recipe a little each time and took advice from some friends who are on the "green smoothie" bandwagon, and now we have a base recipe that is a keeper! Troy and Brooklyn STILL eat it, which is more than I can say for my first few versions after the first try.

I first discovered this new craze via the wonderful world of Pinterest. Smoothies? + Vegetables? My kids eat smoothies! And they do not eat vegetables. Surely we can come to an agreement here...

I have to admit, when I pulled out the blender and then... stuffed it full of fresh spinach... I was skeptical. I mean, well just look.
Yum, right?

So I hit "blend" or something else with a pulverizing description to it and came up with this.
Then we drank it.

It was a WIN!
WOW, you wouldn't believe how much like spinach this does NOT taste! No really! It was truly delicious. I made a couple alterations to the first recipe I found and liked it much better.

Here ya go.

6 oz fresh spinach, kale, or collard greens
8 oz frozen raspberries or strawberries ( I used strawberries)
1-2 ripe bananas (fresh or frozen)
1-2 cups milk
1/2-1 cup yogurt (if using plain yogurt, add honey or sugar)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup grape juice
1/4 cup flax seed meal (optional)
6-8 ice cubes (also optional, if the banana was not frozen and/or if you like a more icy consistency)

Place all ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth. Some people prefer to blend the greens and water first, then add the other ingredients, but I've found it makes no difference for me!