Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Recap

It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving has come and gone... at least we have some reminders of the day in our fridge that we are slowly enjoying. My parents hosted our family, my uncles, cousin and our family friends. After work on Wednesday, I rushed home to start cooking my share of the meal. Wednesday night, I made an apple pie, be it not the prettiest apple pie, but it tasted great. I learned that the oven time is NOT an alarm clock. I set it and lay down, thinking I'd just shut my eyes and rest while it was cooking... well, the timer went off and I must have been in a deep sleep because it did not register. The pie is cooked, not completely overdone, but definitely cooked more than I had wanted it to. After a great nights sleep, Thursday morning, I made spinach & artichoke stuffing. When I arrived at my parents house, I made the garlic roasted mashed potatoes. I also helped my mother with popovers! We had a gorgeous and delicious spread of food to consume. It was a great evening with family and friends.



Apple Pie
King Arthur


2 1/2 cups Mellow Pastry Blend or King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup plus 1 to 2 tablespoons ice water

8 cups sliced apples
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup boiled cider or undiluted apple juice concentrate
2 tablespoons butter, diced in small pieces

1) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
2) Cut in the shortening until it's in lumps the size of small peas.
3) Dice the butter into 1/2" pieces, and cut into the mixture until you have flakes of butter the size of your fingernail.

4) Add the water, two tablespoons at a time, mixing with a fork as you sprinkle the water into the dough
5) When the dough is moist enough to hold together when you squeeze it, transfer it to a piece of wax or parchment paper. It's OK if there are some dry spots in the pile. Use a spray bottle of water to lightly spritz these places; that way you'll add just enough water to bring the dough together without creating a wet spot.
6) Fold the dough over on itself three or four times to bring it together, then divide it in half and pat it into two disks 3/4" thick.
7) Roll the disk on its edge, like a wheel, to smooth out the edges. This step will ensure your dough will roll out evenly, without a lot of cracks and splits at the edges later. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling.
8) Lightly grease a 9-inch pie pan that's at least 2 inches deep. This will make serving the pie easier after it's baked.
9) Combine the sliced apples and lemon juice in a large mixing bowl. I sliced the apples really thin as suggested on the KAF website. It makes the slices look nice and clean and I personally think it tastes better.
10) In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cornstarch, salt, and spices. Sprinkle the mixture over the apples, and stir to coat them. Stir in the boiled cider or apple juice concentrate.

11) Roll out half of the pastry to a 13" circle. Transfer it to the prepared pan, and trim the edges so they overlap the rim of the pan by an inch all the way around.

12) Spoon the apple filling into the pan. Dot the top with the diced butter.

13) Roll out the remaining pastry to an 11" circle. Cut decorative vent holes, if desired. Carefully place the pastry over the apples.
14) Time to preheat the oven to 425°F.
15) Roll the overhanging bottom crust up and over the top crust, pinching to seal the two.

16) Flute the edges of the pie, then place it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to firm up the crust while the oven finishes heating.

17) Place the pie on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the pie for 20 minutes at 425°F, then reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and bake for 40 minutes more, until you see the filling bubbling inside the pie. Check the pie after half an hour of baking time, and cover the edges with foil or a pie shield to keep them from browning too quickly.
18) When the pie is done, remove it from the oven and cool it completely before slicing.


Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
1 head of garlic
5 lbs Yukon Gold pototoes
1 container Cabot sour cream
2 sticks Cabot unsalted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
Slice of the top of the head of garlic. Wrap in tin foil and roast in an oven for 50-70 minutes at 375.
Wash and peel the potatoes. Slice in 4 sections and place them in a stock pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until cooked. Test with a fork after about 13 minutes.
Drain the water, and return the potatoes back to the pot. Using a potato masher, encorporate the sour cream, butter and roasted garlic cloves until you get the a creamy and garlicy flavor. I used the whole container of sour cream and about 14 tbsp butter and about 10 or so garlic cloves. Salt & pepper to taste. I estimated how much I used but I don't like my potatoes too salty or peppery.
Stay tuned for posts about the popovers and a few other dishes!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Friends Thanksgiving

Every year for the past 4 years, a friend has hosted an annual "Friends Thanksgiving" where she gathers friends and has a feast of epic proportions. Everyone brings a dish to contribute and it is a nice smorgesborg. Several people now have standard dishes they are expected to bring.

Four years ago, I made a recipe at the suggestion of my sister and it has been a hit. Savory Spinach & Artichoke Stuffing is pretty great recipe as it is... I've only made a few adjustments but nothing huge. It's relatively labor intensive but I now have a system after making it so many times soI just get antsy because I can't wait to dig in! 

Savory Spinach & Artichoke Stuffing
Emeril Lagasee Food Network


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 pounds spinach, washed (3 cups cooked and roughly chopped)
2 cups chopped yellow onions ends up being 1 onion
1 tablespoon roughly chopped garlic
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Emeril's Italian Essence, or other Italian seasoning blend
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3 (8 1/2-ounce) cans quartered artichoke hearts, any tough outer leaves removed
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups heavy cream light cream
2 cups chicken stock broth
2 tablespoons lemon juice
12 to 14 cups cubed (1-inch) day-old French bread (1 loaf)
1 pound Brie, rind removed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes  1 small (8 oz) round, regular Brie; 1 small (7oz) round, light Brie
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook until just wilted, about 30 seconds. Drain and rinse with cold water. Once cool, squeeze as much water from spinach as possible, then roughly chop, and reserve. I take a small handful of spinach, wrap it in a paper towel, and squeeze the water out. You can also use a clean dish cloth and twist to squeeze the water out.

I haven't found an easy way to remove the rinds besides using a long, sharp knife (not a Santakou knife) and a peeler. I didn't use a peeler this time but I have in the past and it's worked ok. The brie tends to melt easily so it's best to work fast and keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until golden brown and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, 2 teaspoons of Italian Essence, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the artichokes and cook, stirring, another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and reserve.

Combine the eggs, cream, chicken broth, lemon juice, remaining 1 tablespoon Italian Essence, remaining 2 teaspoons salt, and remaining 1 teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Whisk to combine. In a large bowl or stock pot, combine the bread, spinach, artichoke mixture, brie, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and parsley and mix together. Add the liquid mixture to the bread/spinach/ artichoke mixture.  If bread does not absorb all of liquid immediately then let rest until this happens, about 20 minutes.
Pour the bread pudding mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan over the top and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Bake until firm in the center and golden brown, about 1 hour. Serve warm.

This picture was before being cooked

I thought I took a larger picture after it was cooked but I guess I didn't! I will update with better pictures after Thanksgiving when I make it again.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Channeling My Nana Ruby

My Nana Ruby is the person I picture when I am baking. She was an incredible baker, who made all our birthday cakes, bat/ bar mitzvah cakes and my parents wedding cake. She also had a killer apple pie! I remember sitting on a stool as a young kid and peeling apples... but I had to peel it in one piece and leave as much meat on the apple as possible. Nana Rubs also had this amazing chocolate cake that was our favorite. She called it Mississippi Mud Cake. Unfortunately Nana Ruby never wrote her recipes down and it was too late by the time we thought to ask her for it. I've been on a mission to replicate her Mississippi Mud Cake for a while... when I look for recipes called "Mississippi Mud Cake" it is definitely not what she made. We think she may have used part of the Hershey recipe so here I am...

Two of my coworkers are celebrating their 60th birthdays this year and my department is throwing a surprise party for them on Friday. I offered to make the cake. My goal for the winter is to take a cake decorating class so I can learn proper decorating techniques. All and all I think it turned out well. I'll update with pictures of a cake slice once we cut into it :)

Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.


Chocolate Ganache Fillling
3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tbsp butter

Chop chocolate and place in a bowl. Heat cream & butter on the stove. When cream boils, pour over chocolate and mix. I used a mixer to whip it for a bit as well.

Cake with a thick layer of whipped chocolate ganache

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
2-2/3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Beat butter in medium bowl. Add powdered sugar and cocoa alternately with milk; beat to spreading consistency (additional milk may be needed). Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

Here is my pathetic attempt at cake decorating! Hopefully this doesn't get submitted to CakeWrecks- such a horrible job decorating... it was past 11pm at this point and I was a little delirious & hopped up on frosting!
This is the best picture I was able to take at the birthday celebration...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Yummm.... Pancakes!

Danimal woke up this morning to a smell of something baking... he ran to the oven to see what muffins I whipped up. He came sulking out of the kitchen with the knowledge that I did not bake for him but that I made another batch of pumpkin pie biscuits for the pup. Therefore I was feeling guilty and made him some pancakes using some leftover buttermilk.

Oatmeal Pancakes
adapted from recipe received in middle school home-ec class

1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
3/4 cup fat-free buttermilk
1/4 cup skim milk
1 tbsp sugar
2 TB vegetable oil
1 tsp. Baking powder
1/2 tsp. Baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 egg

Beat all ingredients in a medium bowl with a hand beater until smooth (for thinner pancakes, stir in 2-4 TB of additional milk)

Using a non-stick skillet, lightly spray with cooking oil (or small dab of butter) and heat over medium-low heat. Pour about 1/4 cup batter onto the hot pan.

Cook until pancakes are puffed and dry around edges. Turn and cook other sides until golden brown. Serve with applesauce if desired.

Makes 10-12 pancakes.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Night Simplicity

After a long week at work, the last thing I want to do is spend Friday evening making dinner... Taco Salad is a quick and easy dinner to prepare in less than 20 minutes. This is a great dish for a light summer dinner and has the ability to be made year-round as the ingredients tend to be readily available. This has been a staple in my family's life for a long time!

Taco Salad
1 lb ground turkey (93/7)
1 pkg taco seasoning mix (low sodium)
1 head lettuce (or 1 bag of prewashed lettuce)
1 cucumber
1 box grape tomatoes (or regular tomato)
1 red or green bell pepper, chopped
1 can black beans (or kidney beans, or both!), drained & rinsed
1 can whole kernal corn
1 avocado
bag of doritos (we used baked doritos)
Fat-Free Thousand Island dressing

In a pan, brown the meat. Drain excess liquid and add seasoning mix and water as directed by the package of seasoning mix. Cook til completed.

Slice tomatoes in half, length-wise. Peel cucumber & slice into rounds. I slice the rounds in half again so they are half-moon shaped. Drain & rinse the black beans & corn. Slice avocado, chop the bell pepper. Combine these ingredients plus lettuce in a large bowl.

Add ground turkey meat and mix together. Serve with crumbled doritos and Thousand Island dressing. We notice that the lettuce wilts faster if the dressing is added to it and the doritos get soggy. If you are planning on having leftovers, keep the doritos & dressing separate and mix as you go.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

The most non-photogenic meal ever.


I've been busy this week! Monday evening was spent at the vet and then baking cookies to thank the clinic. Tuesday, I baked a Tollhouse Cookie Pie and a coffee cake for our friends and their family. The cookie pie recipe is on the fritz and I need to play with it to get it to work right. I ended up keeping that one because it didn't pass inspection. I didn't take any pictures so I'll make the coffee cake again soon and  post about it- it sure is yummy!

I spotted two recipes recently that enticed me and I wanted to try them out. Danimal looooooves artichokes so I knew I needed to test out Artichoke Chicken. The other, couscous with butternut squash & cranberry salad sounded like something I'd enjoy. All in all it was a decent dinner but I wasn't thrilled with the results.

Artichoke Chicken
Adapted from

1 (15 oz) can of artichokes, drained & chopped
3/4 cup 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup 1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 pinch garlic powder  3 garlic cloves, chopped
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (my package had 3)
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

In a medium bowl, mix together the artichoke hearts, Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise, garlic, and mushrooms. Place chicken in a greased baking dish, and cover evenly with artichoke mixture.

Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until chicken is no longer pink in the center and juices run clear.
 This recipe was just ok. I'm not a fan of creamy chicken dishes but I wanted to see how it could work. The chicken was moist and had a decent flavor but nothing great. Danimal rated it a 6 out of 10. I probably wouldn't make this again.
Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash and Cranberries

adapted from Erin's Food Files ( ) which was adapted from TheKitchn
Makes about 5 servings

1 medium butternut squash (or other hard winter squash), peeled* and cut into 1-inch chunks
3/4 cup uncooked cous cous  1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup water  2 cups water
1 onion, diced
4-5 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Zest of one orange
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cumin
1-3 teaspoons salt--to taste
1 can garbanzo beans--rinsed & drained
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss squash with a bit of olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Roast squash, stirring occasionally, until tender - -about 30 minutes. Allow to cool before combining with other ingredients.

Cook quinoa as directed (my bag said add quinoa & water in saucepan, bring to a boil. Cover & simmer for 10-15 minutes). Fluff with a fork and set aside.

Saute onion in a skillet over medium-high heat until translucent. Set aside and allow to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, zest, spices, and 1 teaspoon of salt. In a large bowl, combine squash, quinoa, onions, garbanzo beans, and cranberries. Pour on the vinegar-oil dressing and stir to combine. Taste to check seasoning and add salt if needed. This salad can be served room temperature or cold.

I had never had quinoa before tonight and wanted to see how it would work with this recipe. I liked it but I think this recipe would be better and more substantial with couscous (as it originally called for)... next time I'm going to try it with Israeli couscous if I can find it at the store. Danimal wasn't a fan but he doesn't like butternut squash or dried cranberries.


Monday, November 9, 2009

A Tollhouse Bribe

I'm feeling a tad bit guilty right now. I took ninja kitty to the vet for his 2nd round of shots and stinky dog came along for the ride. While I was waiting for ninja kitty to come back from the back room (I heard the staff back there playing with him because he is so much fun... he was long done with his shots) I asked if they wouldn't mind trimming Stinky's nails.

Well.... he got his nails cut... but not without a scene. Stinky has come a long way with the nail trims but he had a minor setback tonight. He sounded like he was being tortured and made a huge mess in the backroom(sorry but it's the basis of the story)... and they didn't even charge us for the torture. The guilt set in... and I made the decision to come home and bake some bribe cookies so they will love us again.

I just whipped up some tollhouse cookies and packed most of them away to drop off tomorrow on the way to work... the rest mysterious disappeared ;p

Bribe Cookies
The Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1 tsp cinnamon (or more!)

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the cinnamon. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Mine cooked about 11-12 minutes.


Friday, November 6, 2009


After a long week of work and crazy animals, it's nice to welcome in the weekend! Danimal is home from 10 days away! I needed a quick meal before I settled in for a long night of preparing a lecture I need to present tomorrow (yes, a Saturday!).

I whipped up Black Bean, Corn and Shrimp Salad with toasted pita chips. I love this meal- it's so easy & quick, yet zesty & colorful. I cut up whole wheat pita bread, first in half and then each half into 5 or 6 triangles, separating at the crease. I lay out the pita triangles in a single layer on a cookie sheet and lightly sprayed with olive oil spray and cooked it at 350 for about 7-9 minutes or until toasted.

Black Bean, Corn & Shrimp Salad
Cooking Light, July 2005)

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
1 1/2 cups frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
3/4 cup bottled salsa
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained


Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Add shrimp; toss to coat.
Coat pan with cooking spray. Add shrimp; sauté 3 minutes or until done. Add 1 tablespoon lime juice. Remove shrimp from pan. Add corn to pan; sauté 1 minute. Stir in salsa, cilantro, and beans; cook 30 seconds or until thoroughly heated. Stir in 1 tablespoon lime juice. Serve shrimp over bean mixture.





Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Doggie Treats

In an attempt to save my waistline, I took the evening off from baking treats for myself & decided to tackle doggie cookies. First off, I have the pickiest dog ever. He is ridiculous with his food. He eats sooooo slowly and scatters his food... sometimes in patterns (ie at my in-laws house, he tends to place them on the dark spots on the carpet... and my parents house, he tends to place them on the tile grout... and at our house, we've witnessed some pretty sophisticated shapes for a dog). I have a basket filled with treats and he only loves a select few. He will eventually eat the others but he doesn't gobble them down.


Needless to say, I was curious to see if he'd like homemade treats.... and he does!!!! He gobbled them down. Seriously gobbled. So this is a keeper. I brought them next door to Simon's girlfriend, Alli, and she enjoyed them as well.

Pumpkin Pie Biscuits
Beantown Tails November 2009 (
Yields 30 biscuits

1 1/2 cup unbleached flour
1 cup rolled oats
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup natural unsalted peanut butter (I ran out of my Teddy PB so I used Skippy)
1/4 cup filtered water

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
  2. Measure the flour, rolled oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and ginger into a mixing bowl. Whisk until combined.
  3. Make a well in the flour and add the canola oil. Mix on medium speed using a paddle attachment until crumbly. Add the pumpkin and peanut butter, and stir until combined. 
  4. Add the water all at once and mix until dough forms and all the ingredients are combined. 
  5. Turn the dough out onto a slightly floured surface and gently knead until dough is smooth and soft. I used the Kitchen Aid mixer with the dough attachment and kneaded it for about 5 minutes until smooth and soft. Roll the dough 1/4-inch thick and cut the biscuits into desired shapes with cookie cutters. 
  6. Place the biscuits on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake 12-15 minutes until they are dry and firm to the touch. Turn the oven off and leave the biscuits in another 20-30 minutes. Remove them from the oven, cool them on a baking rack, and store them in a cookie tin.  

Horrible picture but you can see the happiness in his face and his tongue lick saying "yummy!"!!

And just for laughs- two pics of the zoo enjoying the canned pumpkin!


Mmmmm Raspberries!

Raspberries are awesome. Last night I made Raspberry Buttermilk Cake  for a pick-me-up for my coworkers. I love this recipe- it's so quick & easy! I've tried it with strawberries too and you can definitely use any berry to make this scrumptious cake.

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake adapted from Gourmet, June 2009

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)
1 large egg
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup fresh raspberries (about 5 oz)

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In a larger bowl, beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about two minutes, then beat in vanilla and zest, if using. Add egg and beat well.

At low speed, mix in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Scatter raspberries evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar.

Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm, 10 to 15 minutes more. Invert onto a plate.

I place my raspberries in the batter so the hollow centers are exposed and place them in a circle from the outside towards the center.



Monday, November 2, 2009

My husband hates soup!

So while he's away, I decided to bust out the immersion blender and try my hand at Butternut Squash Soup. I love butternut squash and I've been on a search for a healthy, no (or light dairy) soup recipe. I saw a recipe in September's Cooking Light and knew I had found something to work with. It turned out pretty nicely if I must say so myself. I was impressed with the thickness and felt it had good flavor. Update: I spoke to my husband and told him I made this soup and his response was "yucccckkkkkkk!". Good thing I made it while he's traveling!

Butternut Squash Soup
adapted from Cooking Light September 2009
1 tablespoon butter

3 1/2 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3/4 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1 Granny Smith apple, chopped
2 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup fat-free half-and-half
1/8 teaspoon salt
cinnamon & nutmeg, to taste

(note: I did not measure out my ingredients- I had more than 1 1/2 pounds of butternut squash so I added a bit more of each ingredient)

1. Melt butter in large saucepan on medium-high heat.
2. Add squash, carrot, onion & apple and cook for about 12-15 minutes.

3. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and add the half-and-half and salt.
5. If you have an immersion blender, combine the ingredients in the saucepan until smooth. If not, use a food processor and blend until smooth.
6. After blended, sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg to taste & mix to combine.

Next time, I may sprinkle toasted walnuts or pecans for some added excitement.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

In Honor of November

I woke up this morning craving something with pecans... now that it's officially November, it must be why. I love pecan pie! I made some whole wheat raspberry pecan muffins to celebrate the official start of pecan festivities. Since Danimal is still out of town for another 4 days, I get to enjoy these scrumptious delights myself! The raspberries and pecans combine to make a hearty and delicious muffin.

Raspberry Pecan Muffins
Makes 12 regular sized muffins
adapted from

1 cup all-purpose flour  3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour  3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon  1 tsp cinnamon
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 cup fresh raspberries (coat with a tbsp of flour)
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped

Preheat oven 350. Grease muffin tin (I use muffin liners); set aside.
Combine dry ingredients in a big bowl. In a smaller bowl, beat egg, milk, and melted butter together. Make hollow in the center of dry ingredients and add wet ingredients. Stir with wooden spoon until just blended. Gently fold in berries and pecans. Fill muffin tin and bake until tester comes out clean (20-25 mins).