because what is life without good food?

Posts tagged “Spinach

Happiness & a Mushroom Tomato Skillet Frittata

Smoky Mushroom & Tomato Skillet Frittata

Last night my facebook page zoomed past 10,000 “likes” when I wasn’t looking. I was out having a glass of wine with my friend, talking out all the things we needed to talk about, sharing things we probably wouldn’t ever tell anyone else.

How did it zoom by without me so quickly? I think it’s because I’ve been doing an A-Z health challenge on my facebook page. Every day there is a letter, you choose one thing that starts with that letter and share the health benefits of your chosen thing. A was Avocado, B was Basil, C was Cilantro, D was Dill. E was Eggs. F was Flax. Yesterday was G and I chose Garlic. Somewhere along the way I invited my foodie friends to join in and share facts or recipes on my page. That’s when things really got fun. Suddenly I wasn’t talking to myself anymore … everyone was joining in and we had such a spread of beautiful recipes and wonderful conversations going on everywhere.

10,063 likes on facebook

Today is the letter H and because I’m so HAPPY, I’ve asked everyone to share what makes them happy. And I thought I better take a minute to share what makes me happy. Each and every one of you that comment, visit, or like me on facebook or Pinterest or twitter: you make me happy. You are what makes all of the time and effort I put into this blog worthwhile.

What makes me happy?

Snuggling, hugs, curling up with my cat, the many shades of green leaves on the trees, joking with my son, hearing my daughter sing, seeing her dance, visiting my parents, talking with my sisters, playing with my nieces and nephews, going for long walks and hikes in beautiful, natural spaces, a text or visit from a friend, yoga, a genuine smile. Art. Live music. Singing. Beautiful architecture. History and Books. Sunrise on the lake.

Beautiful morning at Big Stone Lake

Thunderstorms and rain, rainbows, blue sky, clouds, flowers, sunshine, seeing a deer or beautiful bird or a bat flying in the sky. Dragonflies and butterflies. Mountains. Plants. ANYTHING purple. Looking at the stars somewhere away from the city where you can see so many more of them. Riding on a boat, canoeing, sailing. Swimming. Camping. Dancing. The sound of waves and the feel of water and sand on my toes. Opening the windows and feeling a slight breeze through my house. Travelling. Meeting new people and seeing new things, trying new foods and seeing the world from a different perspective. Coming home. Breathing freely. Being healthy and so grateful to be alive.

A hot cup of chai on a chilly morning, dinner on the patio, a really good smooth dark chocolate. Having a drawer full of different wonderful cheeses, a bottle of wine and several lovely dark beers in my refrigerator. Picking berries, vegetables, herbs or flowers and eating them fresh. Hot soup and the smell of fresh bread baking on a cool or rainy day. Thai food. Or Mexican or Greek or anything funky and ethnic. Baking cinnamon rolls with my daughter, making up new recipes with my son. A beautiful salad. Little toasts! Pizza. Cold sweet ice cream on a hot day. Cooking. Having a handsome man cook for me and rub my back or my feet. Growing herbs. Foraging. Writing and reading and sharing with all of the wonderful foodies that have graced my life with their presence.

Smoky Mushroom & Tomato Skillet Frittata

Smoky Mushroom Tomato Skillet Frittata

Cheese is one of those things that send me into a happy oblivion. Dofino cheese noticed this and sent me a bunch of cheeses. One of the cheeses they sent me was this smoked havarti which is very creamy and has an intense smoky taste, which blends so well with mushroom, tomato and eggs and a bit of smoky bacon.

  • 1 teaspoon of butter
  • 2 cups mushrooms
  • 1/4  – 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh spinach or swiss chard
  • A small handful of fresh herbs (basil, oregano, thyme)
  • 2 – 4 eggs (depending on how fluffy you want your frittata … I used 2, but it was a little flat)
  • 1 slice lean bacon, fried crisp, cooled and crumbled or chopped
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (sharp cheddar, smoked havarti, & asiago, mixed)

Directions:

  1. In a skillet pan, melt the butter, then add the mushrooms. Sautee for a few minutes, add the tomato & onion. Cover and cook for a few minutes, then uncover and sautee until the onions are soft. Add the spinach and sautee briefly until wilted.
  2. Put the vegies in a bowl, mix with the herbs, and set aside. Clean out the pan. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs with a spoonful of water for each egg. Sprinkle with Red Robin Seasoning (or just salt) and freshly ground pepper.
  3. Heat the skillet to medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Pour in the eggs and let them cook for just a moment to start setting up. Quickly spread the vegie mixture over the eggs, sprinkle with bacon and top with the shredded cheese. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover and let cook till the cheese is melted. Remove from heat and serve immediately in wedges.

Smoky Mushroom & Tomato Skillet Frittata

What makes you happy? I would love to know!

This recipe was shared at Share It SaturdaysScrumptious SundaysRecipe of the WeekKatherine Martinelli’s Tomato Bloghop and Everyday Mom’s Meals.


Magic “Feel Better” Soup

Feel Better Magic Soup

This soup is one of the best things to make when you’re feeling sick. I haven’t made it in years, but it was one of those things that has always made me feel better, not just because it’s full of loads of good vitamins and herbs, but also because it tastes soothing and comforting and warm.  It’s so tasty, you don’t really need to be sick to make it. But it will help you feel better if you are.

I have struggled with sinus problems for a good part of my adult life … there was a period in my life when I was getting a sinus infection every month. As soon as I would get done with one, I was getting another one. I was on a constant stream of antibiotics and always felt miserable. I’ve learned ways of coping with it now so I haven’t had one now in over a year, but this morning I woke up and I could feel one coming on … this is NOT a good time to be sick! My sister is coming to visit this weekend … I started thinking of all the things I used to do to make them go away and I remembered this soup I used to make.

The last time I made this soup was long before I had all the fresh herbs I have now and I don’t exactly recall what herbs I used to put in it back then. I remember the basic formula for it, though. And this is how it goes …

Magic Feel Better Soup

Magic “Feel Better” Soup

  • 1 large potato, cut into hunks (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup of chopped carrots
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups of chicken (or vegetable) broth
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cups of fresh swiss chard or spinach, washed and chopped
  • A handful of fresh herbs: I used basil, thyme, rosemary, & parsley
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt or fat free half and half
  • Sriracha or other hot sauce, to taste (to open up the sinuses)
  • Freshly grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley (optional)

Directions:

  1. Put the potato, carrots, garlic, bay leaf, onion and broth into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer (medium low) and cook for about 20 – 30 minutes or until the potato is fall-apart tender and the other vegies are soft.
  2. Fish out the bay leaf and stir in the chard. Cover the pot and cook for just a couple minutes or until the chard is cooked. Add the herbs.
  3. Pour the soup into a blender (or use an immersion blender), add the yogurt or half and half and blend until smooth. Add more broth if you want a thinner soup. I like my soup pretty thick. Serve hot, topped with Sriracha and shredded cheese and garnish with fresh parsley. That red swirl you see there … that’s the Sriracha.

Feel Better Magic Soup

This recipe was shared at Foodie Friends FridayFit & Fabulous Fridays, Scrumptious Sundays, Family Fresh Meals and Manic Monday and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.

Your Child’s Food made a Thai-inspired version of this soup that is dairy free. I really love her twist on it! Her recipe is here.


Bacon Cheddar Spinach Dip

{a guest post for The Black Peppercorn}

Bacon Cheddar Spinach Dip

My friend Steve over at the Black Peppercorn is off on vacation, so I’m helping tend his blog while he’s away!

Steve is a great blogger who has some great recipes and beautiful photography. I’m proud to count him as one of my foodie friends.

So pop over to the Black Peppercorn for the recipe!

Bacon Cheddar Spinach Dip Recipe

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysCast Party Wednesday, and Weekend Potluck.


Spinach Avocado Quesadillas

Spinach Avocado Quesadillas

It was the big day, the day the dancers prepare for all year. My girl is in competition dance so she gets so many opportunities to perform, but it all leads up to THIS. The day of the big end-of-the-year dance recital.

I thought I was being clever, but really, in hindsight, perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea to plan a vacation right after recital. That meant I was scrambling at work today to finish up all the loose ends … and on top of that, I had to make sure she got fed and drank enough water and run her to rehearsal and back. And find her lost costumes and the missing jazz shoe (that never did turn up … she had to borrow a shoe from a friend!) … and help her with her hair … and then my family was coming for the recital so I was bugging my son to clean up and wash all the bedding. My mom, dad, and sis showed up at 4 and I hadn’t even showered yet! I quickly cleaned myself up and we rushed off to find some food before the recital …

It all added up to a lot of craziness and stress that really didn’t need to be QUITE that crazy. The show went really well, but I could tell at the beginning of the show that my dancer didn’t quite have her head in the game. I feel a little pang of “mom guilt”, like could I maybe have been a little less stressed and rushed today and had more patience with her?

So you know I had NO time to cook today. But still after scrambling with everything all morning, I really really needed to eat! I found some of the cheese mixture I’d used for my fish quesadillas in the fridge and threw together this quesadilla for lunch today in a few minutes … and it turned out really good. I’m glad I took a short break to make this … I’m wishing now that I had taken the time to make my sweetie girl the waffles that she wanted this morning. Ah well. There is always tomorrow. Finally, some time to just unwind and do as we please …

Spinach Avocado Quesadillas

Spinach Avocado Quesadillas

For the cheese mixture:

  • 1 cup cooked white beans (Great Northern or Cannellini)
  • 1/4 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon of liquid from the beans
  • 1 Tablespoon goat cheese
  • Green onion (I used two)
  • Garlic scapes (I used two)
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno (use more or less according to how spicy you want it)
  • A few cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup finely shredded Mexican blend of cheeses

For the quesadilla:

  • 2 whole-grain flour tortillas
  • A handful of baby spinach leaves
  • Chopped tomato (I used 1/2 of a medium tomato for one quesadilla)
  • Chopped red onion (just a bit)
  • Avocado, part sliced, part chopped (I used half an avocado for my quesadilla)
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
  • Salsa (I used my dad’s simple salsa fresca)

Directions:

  1. In a food processor or handi chopper, blend the white beans, yogurt, goat cheese, and a bit of cooking liquid from the beans till smooth. Add snipped green onion, garlic scapes, jalapeno, and cilantro and stir (or chop if you like), then blend in the shredded cheese. (You can make the cheese mixture ahead of time and store it in a covered container in the fridge.)
  2. Spread both tortillas with a thin layer of the cheese mixture. On one of the tortillas, arrange the spinach leaves, tomato, red onion, chopped avocado and cilantro. Top with the 2nd tortilla.
  3. Heat a frying pan or cast iron skillet to medium low heat and spray with cooking spray. Put the quesadilla in the pan, cover and cook briefly. Check often and when it is brown on the bottom, slide it onto a plate, then flip it over and slide back into the pan and cover to brown the other side. When both sides are brown and the cheese is nicely melted, slide the quesadilla out of the pan onto a cutting board, cut into pieces, and serve immediately topped with avocado slices with salsa on the side.

Spinach Avocado Quesadillas

This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous Fridays and Weekend Potluck.


Spicy Smoky Corn Pudding

with smoked Gouda and bacon

Spicy Smoky Cornbread Pudding

So what do you do with leftover cornbread? My kids both love it, but they will only eat it when it’s fresh. Of course it’s best when it’s fresh and hot, but it’s still good later! … especially when it’s grilled cornbread. I opened up the container that I stored it in and I could smell that smoky grilled taste all over again … ah! It made a wonderful breakfast.

But still I am only one person … and I tire of the same thing over and over … what if we just work a little bread pudding magic on it?

Spicy Smoky Corn Pudding

Spicy Smoky Corn Pudding

  • 2 cups cubed cornbread (the pudding will have a smokier flavor if the cornbread was cooked on the grill)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped jalapenos (more or less to taste … you can substitute other peppers for the jalapeno if you prefer)
  • 3/4 cup corn (I thawed out some frozen corn, but you could use fresh corn)
  • 1/4 cup smoked gouda cheese, cut into small cubes (or shredded)
  • About 1 Tablespoon bacon, cooked crisp, and crumbled
  • Chopped chives, basil, baby spinach, garlic scapes or other herbs of your choosing (about 1/2 cupful total? I just went out to my garden and started picking random things … my spinach is pathetic … only a few baby leaves to be had, but there are plenty of chives and basil and garlic!)
  • 2 eggs

Directions:

  1. Spray a small casserole dish or large oven-safe bowl with cooking spray, and put the cornbread in the bowl. Pour the milk over the bread and let it soak for 15 minutes, stirring a couple times to make sure all the bread gets soaked.
  2. Sitr the jalapenos, corn, cheese, bacon, and herbs into the cornbread mixture.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth, then fold them into the cornbread mixture.
  4. Bake at 350 for 20 – 25 minutes or until the pudding is “set” (springs back when you touch it lightly right in the center). Let set for just a few minutes, then serve while it’s still hot.

Spicy Smoky Corn Pudding

This recipe was shared at Weekend Potluck.


Green Grilled Cheese Sandwich

From the Full Belly Sisters

Green Grilled Cheese Sandwich

The truth is, ever since I saw this green grilled cheese sandwich from Full Belly Sisters, I wanted it … bad. But circumstances did not avail themselves to fulfilling my desires … until tonight.

My daughter was out with her dad. My son was busy with his game downstairs. I was pretty much left alone for the evening … and it was a gorgeous spring night … perfect for a light dinner and a glass of wine on the patio, and then a walk in the forest.

And since I had some luscious green creamy paste left from the little green toasts that I had for lunch, I looked up the recipe and noticed mine wasn’t too far from the mark. All I needed was a little cheese. I didn’t have any gouda on hand, so I used havarti. That did the trick.

My sandwiches were little because my bread is just a small baguette … and so I served my mini-grilled cheese sandwiches (to myself) with a glass of my dad’s wine and a little dish of honeydew melon (keeping with the “green” theme …) … oh it was SO good!

Green Grilled Cheese Sandwich (Avocado, Spinach, & Havarti)

I am going to send you over there for the recipe. Really, mine wasn’t much different than hers. I added some garlic. And a little parmesan and shredded Havarti cheese in place of the Gouda.

This is really a grilled cheese sandwich experience you don’t want to miss. Look at all that gooey green deliciousness.

Green Grilled Cheese Sandwich


Asparagus on Green Garlic Crostini

Asparagus on Green Garlic Crostini

It’s spring! Everything is turning green … that means it’s time for my favorite spring vegetables. Like asparagus. And spinach. I’m in heaven whenever I can have fresh asparagus and spinach from the garden.

And this year I have one more wonderful thing to harvest from the “garden” … garlic. I snagged a couple clumps of garlic from my mom and dad’s garden and planted them in a pot to bring home. Now I have a big mess of delicious fresh garlic ready anytime I want them. I love that. I love garlic.

Asparagus on Green Garlic Crostini

And I really, really love these little green toasts. Aren’t they pretty?

Asparagus on Green Garlic Crostini

Asparagus on Green Garlic Crostini

Inspired by the Full Belly Sisters’ Green Grilled Cheese Sandwich

  • 15 – 20 fresh asparagus spears
  • 6 fresh cloves of garlic (the whole plant … complete with scapes … if you don’t have fresh garlic, you can substitute garlic cloves
  • 2 cups packed full of fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1 oz light cream cheese
  • French bread slices
  • Freshly shredded parmesan cheese
  • Pinon nuts (pine nuts)

Directions:

  1. Wash the asparagus and set it on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Roast in the oven at 450 for about 5 – 7 minutes or until the asparagus is barely crisp tender (and still bright green). Chop into about 1 to 2 inch slices. Set aside.
  2. Clean the garlic, chop off the roots and any bad peel, and toss it into a handi chopper or food processor with the fresh spinach leaves. Whir until it’s all chopped fine.
  3. Mash the avocado in a bowl, then cream in the cream cheese to make a smooth blend.
  4. Stir the chopped spinach & garlic into the avocado/cream cheese to make a wonderful luscious green paste.
  5. Lightly toast the french bread slices, then spread each toast with a liberal amount of the pretty green creamy paste.
  6. Arrange the asparagus on the toasts (I arranged them in a fan shape … not that you can really tell …), then sprinkle lightly with parmesan and a few pinon nuts.
  7. Put the toasts on a baking sheet and bake at 450 for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the pinons are lightly toasted.
  8. Serve immediately.

Asparagus on Green Garlic Crostini

This recipe was shared at Newlyweds Recipe LinkyTastetastic Thursdays, and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


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