The other day I could feel my body needed something packed full of good nutrients and protein … I didn’t have much time to cook, so I quickly whipped up this delicious smoothie. I like how the kiwi adds a little “zing” to the taste, along with being a nutrient powerhouse. According to a study at Rutgers University, the kiwi is the most nutrient dense fruit, ounce for ounce. It’s high in vitamin C and one study showed that eating 2-3 kiwi fruits a day can reduce the potential for blood clots and decrease triglycerides. Yet another study cited the kiwi’s ability to protect and repair the body from DNA damage, which could protect against cancer. (Source: Super Kids Nutrition)
All of that, plus it makes a really yummy smoothie.
Strawberry Banana Kiwi Smoothie
- 2 small kiwi fruit
- 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
- 1/2 of a frozen banana
- 3/4 cup vanilla yogurt
- 1/4 cup lowfat milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- A few fresh mint leaves
Cut the kiwi in half and scoop out the fruit from the fuzzy skin. Put the flesh of the kiwi along with the rest of the ingredients in your blender and blend everything till smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy!
“Soup is a lot like a family. Each ingredient enhances the others; each batch has its own characteristics; and it needs time to simmer to reach full flavor.”
~ Marge Kennedy
The other day I was digging through my freezer trying to identify all the things that were too freezer burned to eat and I came across this “mystery” container with ugly brown stuff in it. I had NO idea what that was. I sniffed it. Poked it. Nope, couldn’t tell what it was. I set it in my pile of “things to discard” … and it wasn’t until morning that I realized it was MOREL mushrooms! Oh NO! my precious most favorite mushrooms in the whole world that my dad gave me … I just couldn’t let those go to waste! I quickly set my mind to thinking what to do with them …
Soup! Yes, mushroom soup. Something wonderfully creamy and cheesy … I originally thought I would puree this soup and make a rich cream of mushroom soup, but once I got it all done, I just didn’t want to do that to my soup. I wanted to savor the soft texture of the mushrooms and caramelized onions contrasted against the smooth creamy, cheesy broth. You can puree it if you prefer. I’m leaving mine with bits of mushroom and caramelized onion floating about in it.
I am SO glad I saved the mushrooms. I feel a bit super-hero-ish now. I have accomplished something most very worthwhile today.
Caramelized Onion Mushroom Gouda Soup
This recipe makes about a quart of soup.
- 1/2 Tablespoon butter
- 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups lowfat milk
- 1 cup sauteed mushrooms (Measured after sauteeing … I used morels, but I think you could substitute any mushroom and it would still be a great soup! Whatever mushrooms you choose, try the Chardonnay mushroom cooking method to avoid putting loads of extra fat in your soup … )
- 1 cup beef or vegetable broth
- 3/4 cup shredded Gouda cheese
- Salt & Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- For garnish: freshly grated cheese & snipped green onions
- Heat a medium saucepan to medium and set the butter in to melt. Once it’s mostly melted, add the onions and sautee the onions in the butter. Cover and let cook for just a minute, then remove the lid and stir well. If the pan seems dry, add a little wine and stir well. Cover again and let cook, then remove the cover and stir. Keep repeating this process until the wine is gone and the onions are a lovely dark brown color.
- Stir the flour into the onions and stir to coat all the onions in a lovely jacket of flour, then add the milk, mushrooms, and broth and stir to mix well.
- Reduce heat to medium low and let cook, stirring frequently, until the soup starts to thicken a bit. Add the cheese and stir to mix. Cook until the cheese is melted and the soup is heated through. Try a small spoonful of the soup and add salt & pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Store any leftovers in a covered container in the fridge. I like to put my soup in a glass jar so I can gaze at it every time I open the fridge.
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My daughter, her friend and I went up to my friend’s lake house this weekend for a “girls” weekend. I wanted to bring along some fun “girly” things to eat, so I made up some chocolate mascarpone spread so we could make chocolate strawberry bruschetta, and while I was at it, I made a pumpkin maple spread too. But then I needed something to put the pumpkin spread on, so, despite the fact that it was a crazy busy day, on a total whim I started up some dough in my bread machine to make pumpkin cinnamon swirl bread. I wasn’t really sure that I would be home long enough on Saturday to bake it before we left, but somehow I managed it. And I was SO glad I did. This bread, with the pumpkin mascarpone spread is pure bliss to eat. You can just close your eyes and lose yourself in the lovely taste of it. My friend said she felt like she could just keep eating it till she exploded. I told her I wasn’t going to share that on my blog, but now here I am sharing it LOL. The young teenage girls loved it too.
We had such a fun weekend. We went for a LONG walk along the lake, then we had tea and hot chocolate and a lovely dinner … I made the salad, my daughter’s friend made cajun chicken pasta, my friend made green beans and we had rotisserie chicken and chicken sausages too, then we listened to funky music and my friend and I had wine and chatted while the girls danced their hearts out in the living room.
My friend who has three boys and has rarely (if ever?) had a girls weekend, wanted to take some of the bread home to her boys. I couldn’t let her have it ALL (my daughter wanted some!), but I did give her the smaller loaf to take home … so the boys could try it too. I think she loved the girls weekend, but I could also tell she felt a little lost without her boys. I was craving some male energy too. Girls’ weekends are great, but … well, we need our boys, too. However, I do have to tell you my daughter and I were awfully tempted to buy this lakefront house we saw, move to the lake and leave our “city” life behind.
Yeah, that’s not going to happen. It is tempting, though …
Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Bread
- 1 package (1 tablespoon) active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup puréed pumpkin
- 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 1/4 cups bread flour
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached white whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- To make the swirl: Cooking spray (or melted butter) + cinnamon sugar
- Dump all the ingredients except for the “Swirl” ingredients into your bread machine and set it on the dough setting.
- When the dough is ready, roll it out into a rectangle, spray with cooking spray, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and roll it up. (I rolled it up lengthwise, and the dough was long enough to make one loaf pan plus a smaller loaf.)
- Spray your loaf pans with cooking spray and carefully transfer the dough into them, tucking under the ends to form a nice loaf shape. Spray the loaves with cooking spray, cover with a clean towel and set in a warm place to rise.
- When the dough has risen to a big, puffy state (roughly double the size), bake at 375 F. for about 30 minutes or until the loaves are a deep golden brown on top and the loaves sound hollow inside when you thump them.
- Let the bread sit for about 5 – 10 minutes, then slice and serve with Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Cream.
Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Cream
- 3 oz. light cream cheese
- 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons maple syrup
- 3/4 – 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (if you don’t have any on hand, here’s a quick recipe to make your own)
- 1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract
Let the cream cheese warm up a bit at room temperature, then in a small mixing bowl, mix the cream cheese with the rest of the ingredients until it’s all smooth and very well mixed. You can use a spoon or a mixer does the job quickly and gets the spread all nice and fluffy. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
This recipe was shared at Scrumptious Sunday, Melt in your Mouth Monday, Totally Tasty Tuesday, Tuesday Talent Show, Tasty Tuesday, Wonderful Food Wednesday, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Show & Share Wednesday, Cast Party Wednesday , Full Plate Thursday and All my Bloggy Friends.
It is September … the weather is starting to cool down. I was really loving the cooler weather … until my allergies kicked in …
Ah but I am lucky! I “inherited” some wild rice from my sister. She said it was too salty and brought it along up to my parents’ place last weekend for us to “fix” for her. Well we didn’t get around to making anything with it, she left and my other sister left and there was still the wild rice in the fridge, so my mom asked if I would take it. Sure, I said. Then I can make soup!
So yes, I made soup. And what’s better than soup in the fall when there’s a little chill in the air and your allergies are in overdrive? Soup is just the thing to make you feel better … it’s so warm and comforting and wonderful.
Creamy Cheesy Chicken Wild Rice Soup
This is a very thick and chunky soup. Feel free to adjust the amounts of vegies, rice and meats to your liking … if you want more of the delicious cheesy broth, put in fewer vegies and rice. Like many soups, it is really better the next day. If you want a vegetarian soup, leave out the meat and use vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth
- 1/2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped celery (reserve the leaves!)
- 3/4 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped carrots
- 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
- 2 – 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups milk (I used 1%)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup shredded Edam cheese (I used some Dofino Edam cheese that Dofino sent to me as a “sample”)
- 1/4 cup Asiago cheese (or other sharp cheese such as parmesan or romano)
- 1/2 – 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup corn
- 2 cups cooked wild rice (use the wild Minnesota wild rice if you can find it … it’s SO much better!)
- 3/4 cup cooked leftover chicken (or more if you want a meatier soup)
- 1/2 cup corn (frozen, thawed or pre-cooked fresh)
- 1 teaspoon Red Robin Seasoning or your favorite seasoned salt
- The leaves from a few sprigs of fresh oregano and parsley
- Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
- For garnish: shredded cheese and oregano or parsley leaves
- Heat a saucepan or your soup pot over medium heat and add the olive oil and swirl it around.
- Pour the celery, onions, carrots, zucchini and garlic into the pot. Over medium-high heat, sautee the vegies until the onions are soft and translucent and the zucchini is tender.
- Add the flour to the pan and stir, coating all your little vegetables and garlic bits in flour. Do this quickly before the flour starts to brown.
- Add the milk and bay leaf and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for about 5 – 10 minutes or so or until the mixture thickens.
- Add the shredded cheeses and cook for a few minutes longer until the cheese melts, then stir in the broth, rice, chicken, corn, and lower the heat to a simmer (on medium low to low) and cook for 15 – 20 minutes to let the flavors meld. Stir in the reserved celery leaves, oregano, parsley and Red Robin Seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve hot, garnished with a bit more shredded edam cheese and a few fresh oregano or parsley leaves. Store leftovers in a covered container in the fridge.
Do you want to hear the story of the refrigerator and the caramel rolls, how I gained a great appreciation for towels, teflon tape and good neighbors … and how this bread pudding came to be?
It all started when my sister and her husband came to visit. The ice machine in my refrigerator has been broken for some time. We’ve been making do with ice cube trays, which was a little frustrating at times because we’d be spilling water on the floor and sometimes it was kinda hard to get the ice cubes out of the tray, but it wasn’t a terribly big deal to us. However, ice is important to my sister. She mentioned to her husband that perhaps he ought to fix the ice maker in my refrigerator. So he set out to do that. We pulled the refrigerator out of his spot, he started cleaning and investigating and finding all sorts of strange things in the grate and around the back of the fridge, some from the previous owner of the house even. He figured out what was wrong, but then he needed a part to fix it. He started calling all the local repair shops and nobody had the right part.
So we ordered the part online, he put the fridge back together and we pushed it back into place. No big deal, right? Except now the water dispenser in the door (which didn’t work before he started) was leaking. We put a cup under it and went about our business. A few days later after my sis and her husband were gone, it started leaking faster. Like the cup would be full in an hour! You can’t really fit a bucket under there, and the part wasn’t here yet, so my kids and I rigged up a system with a piece of an old hose, some duck tape and a bucket. Then you could actually go to sleep at night and let the thing drip. It was ugly and awkward, but it worked. Then the part finally arrived, but it was days before I could get to fixing it.
Now, I’m not a fix-it kind of person. Anytime I have to do a fix-it project I get terribly nervous, but I got my son to help me move the fridge, we shut the water off, and we set to work to put this new part in. It was going pretty good, I got the part in, tightened it up, but left the fridge out so I could observe it for a while after we turned the water on. It was dripping. Oh dear. I tried tightening it. It dripped faster. I got more towels and turned the water off. My son tried tightening it. No luck. He went downstairs all frustrated and I sat down and cried. Then I started looking for the phone number for the plumber. But then it dawned on me that my neighbor might be able to help. He was outside working on his van when I ventured over there … sure, he would look at it. He told his son to grab the teflon tape and the two of them came over to look at my fridge. It wasn’t even 15 minutes before they’d fixed it. No leak! YAY! And the ice maker works! No water will come out of the dispenser that was leaking like crazy before, but I’m okay with that.
I felt a moment of great gratitude for good neighbors, towels, and teflon tape.
The next morning I woke up determined to do something nice for my neighbor. I set about making some freshly baked peach caramel rolls, sure that that would be the perfect treat for him and his family on a Sunday morning. But when I finished the rolls, my neighbors were nowhere to be found. They weren’t around all day, in fact, and by the next morning, the peach caramel rolls that had looked so delicious the day before didn’t look so appetizing. They still tasted good if you warmed them up first, but they weren’t very pretty and I was NOT going to give my neighbor an ugly treat.
So I made the caramel rolls into bread pudding. I dare say, this bread pudding was even better than the rolls and it made for lovely breakfasts for me for several days … and even served as breakfast over the weekend at my parents’ place. This is the view from the dock at my parents’ place …
Caramel Peach Bread Pudding
Maybe you don’t have a big plate of caramel rolls sitting around, so I’ll give you two variations of the recipe here: one made with old caramel rolls, and another similar bread pudding made with bread and peaches.
- 6 cups of old caramel rolls, cut into 1-inch chunks (it’s ok if they are a little stale or dry)
- 2 cups milk
- 5 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped (if you’re using my peach caramel rolls, cut the amount of added fruit to 2 1/2 cups)
- Sliced almonds & raw sugar, for the top
- Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray. Put the chopped caramel rolls in the casserole dish. Pour the milk over the rolls and let the cubes bask in their milk bath for about 15 minutes, tossing gently every once in a while to give all the rolls a chance to soak.
- In a bowl, whisk the eggs till they are a little fluffy, then add the vanilla, nutmeg and salt and whisk till everything is well blended. Mix the peaches into the egg mixture.
- Fold the fruit into the soaked caramel rolls. Top with almonds and sprinkle with a tablespoon or two of raw (turbinado) sugar.
- Bake at 350 degrees F. for about an hour or until the pudding is set.
Variation using bread: Substitute 6 cups of bread cubes for the caramel rolls. You can use any kind of bread … I think whole wheat adds a nice texture. Add 1 cup of brown sugar + 2 Tablespoons melted butter to the egg mixture.
Do you love basil? I love basil. My mother has suggested maybe my dad and I love basil a little too much. How could that possibly be?
I have seen people put basil in sorbets and syrups and even cookies, so for #icecreamlove this month, I had this brilliant flash of inspiration: I wanted to make ICE CREAM with BASIL in it! I thought I was SOooo clever … but well, I googled it and it turns out that’s not an original idea. Sigh. But then very few ideas are. I mean with 7 billion people on this earth (currently, plus how many before us?), it’s highly unlikely that none of them ever had the same flash of insight.
I made my brilliant basil ice cream anyway. But I put green tea in mine too. Because it just felt right to add green tea.
I don’t really know whether to call this an ice cream or a gelato. I chose gelato because Saveur calls it a gelato and hey, they’re Saveur, they should know.
If you are a basil lover like me, you will love this gelato. It has a wonderful sweet basil taste. It IS very clever, even if it wasn’t my own brain child. I totally ♥ this gelato … er, ice cream? oh whatever …
Basil Green Tea Gelato
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 1 cup fat free half & half
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream (for a lower-fat version, use skim milk in place of 2%, more fat free half & half and less heavy cream … I would recommend 1 1/2 cups fat free half & half and 1/2 cup whipping cream)
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup, but if you want it sweeter, add more sugar … )
- 2 eggs
- a pinch of salt
- 3 green tea bags
Put the basil, milk, half & half, whipping cream, sugar, eggs, and salt in a blender and blend till smooth. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and heat till the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is hot to the touch (like as hot as a tea you would drink). Put the green tea bags in the pot and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes or so to let the tea steep. Chill the mixture in the fridge until it’s cold. If you want, you can strain out the basil leaves by straining the mixture through a fine sieve or cloth. (I decided to strain it this time, but I’ve seen others leave the specks of green.) Either way, take the tea bags out and freeze it up in your ice cream maker.
Enjoy immediately, or freeze it in the freezer for a couple hours to firm it up some more.
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Is this baked oatmeal breakfast or dessert? I styled it like a dessert, with a pouf of whipped cream on top because it TASTES like a decadent fruity dessert, a lovely warm fruity crumble with a crunchy topping and a fruity sauce on the bottom. But really (if you skip the whipped cream) it is a quite healthy breakfast full of fruit, fiber, and protein. I love breakfasts like that.
This is something I’ve been meaning to try ever since Ann at The Fountain Avenue Kitchen posted her Strawberries & Cream Baked Oatmeal. When I met mom and dad for lunch last Sunday, they brought me some rhubarb. To me, that seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out this “baked oatmeal thing”. After trying this delicacy, I may never go back to eating regular oatmeal again …
Mulberry Rhubarb Baked Oatmeal Crumble
Adapted from Nutmegs, seven
- 3 cups rhubarb, cut into 1-inch lengths
- 4 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (100g) old fashioned oats (not instant oats)
- 1/3 cup (30g) almonds, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup (60g) brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup (250ml) milk
- 1 large egg white
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons melted butter
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons flaked almonds
- 1/2 Tablespoon or so of raw (Turbinado) sugar
- 1/2 – 1 cup mulberries (or other berries)
- Pre-heat the oven to 375 F. Spray a small casserole dish or 8×8 inch square baking dish with cooking spray. Scatter the rhubarb over the bottom and toss with the sugar and vanilla.
- In a small mixing bowl, mix together the oats, chopped almonds, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter, milk, egg white and almond extract.
- Sprinkle your oat mixture over the rhubarb evenly, then pour the milk mixture over the oats as evenly as you can. Sprinkle with mulberries, raw sugar and 1 1/2 Tablespoons of flaked almonds.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until the dish has set and turned a lovely brown and crunchy on top. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
If you want to serve it for dessert, serve in wedges with a little dollop of whipped cream. Or just scoop it out in warm spoonfuls into a bowl for breakfast with your coffee or tea in the morning.