Archive for the 'General' Category

#thanks #giving

Photo Courtesy: IKEA

Photo Courtesy: IKEA

It’s easy to get caught up in the food festivities that surround the holidays. Traditional fare, too much of it, and an opportunity to hang out with ‘those’ relatives that often times create that intense and highly entertaining family drama you’ll eagerly recap at the water cooler at work come Monday. BUT what’s lost in this satirical depiction of Thanksgiving is that there are many families that can barely scrape by enough to provide this celebratory meal. Hunger in the United States is a reality that is not talked about often enough.

I would like to present you with the opportunity to change that reality. To give and provide something for others to eat. It takes but a moment and actually, if someone or a family is in need of a meal, they might very well be in need of more than just a Thanksgiving meal.

Annually I make this plight- I stop the foodie talk in hopes of opening up a very important dialogue. I am a supporter of No Kid Hungry. And as I sit down tomorrow I hope that my donation will allow others to sit around their table with family and friends enjoying some good food. It’s not that I have an abundance of cash lying around, it’s about making choices, and I’ll happily scale back on luxurious coffee drinks for a few weeks and share those funds where I can make a difference- giving to others. The impact $10 = 100 meals. Imagine what I can do in just a few weeks time.

And in light of all of the things I am thankful for today, I raise my glass to all of you – thank you for being my supportive blog family. You make the difference to me by feeding my soul.

Chocolate Chip Cookie – Bean Cake Cookies In Disguise (Gluten Free)

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I have lived on the edge of holding on. Holding onto quotes, phrases, and people. I am horrible at good-byes. And permanent good-byes terrify me. This type of closure pushes a hole deep into my heart. I guess I just can’t let go, so I live by Continue reading ‘Chocolate Chip Cookie – Bean Cake Cookies In Disguise (Gluten Free)’

Peanut Butter Coconut Balls (Gluten Free)

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The holiday vortex. It is only when I’ve woken up in January from my sugar filled dreams that I realize I’ve been caught in culinary bliss; blissfully drifting from bite to bite through the month of December. My body screams- it’s time to wake up – time to thin down – time to ‘try’ to leave the sugar and excess poundage behind. Every year around this time I do a gentle cleanse. Now don’t panic, it is not just a juice cleanse, which I doubt I could ever do, but it does strip out a few edible options. The cleanse is gluten, dairy, and sugar free. There are a few foods I can’t eat temporarily, but Continue reading ‘Peanut Butter Coconut Balls (Gluten Free)’

Coffee Cake Gingerbread Chocolate Protein Waffles & 3 Unique Toppings

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I am fairly new to the world of waffles. My mother tells me that she used to make them, but I mostly remember her pancakes, omelets and drop biscuits. The person who I identify waffles with most is my stepmother Regan. A trip to the mountain house in Mt. Shasta is not complete Continue reading ‘Coffee Cake Gingerbread Chocolate Protein Waffles & 3 Unique Toppings’

Give Thanks – Give Hope

Give Thanks

I am looking forward to Thanksgiving, which I’ll spend at home cooking with my husband for our family and a few good friends. There is so much to be thankful for this time of year, including the lavish meal we will prepare for loved ones.

In my minds-eye, the table is festively set. Family and friends gathered Continue reading ‘Give Thanks – Give Hope’

Wordless Wednesday – North Carolina

1 day old piglet

A nearly Wordless Wednesday post sharing some photo out-takes from my trip to North Carolina. For the full story of ‘Farm to Fork’ and my recipe please read: Swine and Wine Italian Pork Stew Continue reading ‘Wordless Wednesday – North Carolina’

No Kid Hungry- A Thanksgiving Wish

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While I am typically not home to celebrate a traditional Thanksgiving meal, when I see a beautiful table setting I imagine what it would be like to sit as a guest at that table. The wafting smell of a home cooked turkey, a plate brimming with my favorite stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes with a puddle of rich gravy, accompanied by tart cranberry orange relish and eventually a slice of pumpkin pie. What strikes a cord with me is that imagining such a dinner is what many do on this holiday. Knowing that there are families that can’t afford it breaks my heart. I know how lucky I am to have a good job that allows to put food on the table. My family and I have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. But many people in America are struggling. You can help by making a donation to No Kid Hungry’s Thanksgiving campaign today. With the simple click of your mouse, you can be a part of the solution to end childhood hunger and connect hungry children with the food they need to grow, learn and thrive.
Continue reading ‘No Kid Hungry- A Thanksgiving Wish’

Cutie Pie – A Clementine Dreamsicle

All this fuss over a simple Cutie Pie? Well, sometimes dessert is a BIG DEAL, even if it is not ornate. I am always striving for ways to make a low sugar dessert for my mom. She claims not to have much of a sweet tooth, but since being diagnosed with diabetes she has her moments where she would love to sink her teeth into dessert. I love to see the look on her face when I show up with something sweet that she can eat. While her dietary restrictions limited her to the one slice, she was quick to secure a second piece for a future day. I made sure to gobble up a very generous slice and wish I had another one to enjoy right now!

Cutie Pie

Crust Ingredients

6 TBS chilled unsalted butter, diced

3/4 cup wheat flour

1 cup almond meal

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg yolk

Filling Ingredients

2 tsps water

1/4 tsp unflavored gelatin

3 egg yolks

1/4 cup sugar

4 1/2 tsps cornstarch

1 tsp orange zest

1 cup 2% milk

1/2 cup heavy whipped cream

6 clementines (or cuties), peeled and sectioned

honey

Crust Directions

Coat a 9-inch spring form pan with cooking spray. In a food processor mix together almond and wheat flour, butter and salt. Blend until the mixture resembles course meal. Add yolk and continue to blend until dough comes together in moist clumps. Press dough evenly onto bottom and up sides of pans. Using a fork, pierce dough. Freeze 30 minutes or until firm. (This can be made 1 day ahead of time if kept frozen.)

To cook crust, preheat oven to 400. Bake approximately 18-20 minutes until dough is golden brown and appears slightly puffy. Set aside, allow crust to cool.

Filling Directions

Place 2 tsps of water in a small cup and sprinkle gelatin evenly over it. Allow gelatin to soften 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk yolks, sugar, cornstarch and orange zest until blended. In a medium pot, over medium high heat, bring milk to a boil. Slowly mix hot milk into yolk mixture, stirring continuously as to not risk cooking the eggs. Transfer yolk and milk mixture back to the same pot. Over medium heat whisk yolk mixture until custard thickens and boils, approximately 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add gelatin to mixture. Whisk until dissolved and custard is smooth.

Transfer custard into another bowl. Allow to cool to room temperature, approximately 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Custard will become thick.

In a medium bowl, beat cream until peaks form. Whisk custard until smooth. Fold whipped cream into custard in three additions. Transfer filling into the cooked crust. Chill until filling sets, a minimum of 3 hours and maximum of 8 hours.

Peel clementines, remove pith. Place in a small bowl and cover with a damp paper towel so that segments do not dry out.

Place spring form pan over a large glass and push down the sides of the pan to release the tart. Decorate pie with clementine wedges. Cut the tart into wedges and drizzle with honey.

DE-Licious Disappearing Caramel Corn

This is one of my favorite childhood recipes. It has been probably 30 years since I last made this caramel corn recipe and it was JUST as amazing as I remembered it. With my friend Desi helping me this time, we shared the spoils and I was able to relive my childhood cooking adventures through her eyes. Warning- this recipe is addictive so if you are low on will power, give it all away for fear that this treat will magically disappear before your eyes.

Disappearing Caramel Corn

Ingredients

2 cups brown sugar (light or dark brown sugar is fine)

1 cup butter (2 sticks)

1/2 cup corn syrup (light or dark corn syrup is fine)

6-8 quarts popped corn (I like to have a little less caramel, so I use 8 quarts)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

Pecans, walnuts or cashews (optional)

In a medium size pot, boil butter, sugar and salt for 5 minutes on medium heat. Stir constantly. Remove from heat and add baking soda. Pour evenly over popped corn, mix well to coat and add nuts. Spread onto cookie sheet and place in an 200 degree oven for 1 hour, stirring ever 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Store in an air tight container.

Lomo Saltado

Lomo Saltado

This is a wonderful Peruvian dish that has delicious Asian undertones. Beef sirloin strips are cooked in vinegar, soy sauce and spices, then stir fried with red onions, cilantro and tomatoes. Like many good Peruvian dishes, two carbs are necessary with this meal, rice and French fried potatoes. This was one of my favorite dishes that Rosa used to prepare. When she came ‘home’ for the holidays I couldn’t wait to make it with her. I can highly recommend this multicultural dish. One try and you’ll be hooked!

Ingredients

2 lb (approximately 6 pieces) of beef sirloin

2 tsps garlic salt

1 tsp pepper

4 TBS oil, used in 1 TBS increments per directions

4 medium sized tomatoes, vine ripened

2 large red onions, thick chopped

½ cup soy sauce

1 TBS oyster sauce (optional)

2 TBS red wine vinegar

¼ cup cilantro, chopped

1 ½ bags of frozen French Fries, cooked according to package directions

3 cups of uncooked white rice, cooked according to package directions

Directions

This recipe is very straight forward. That said, the two steps that can be a little tricky are (1) timing the rice and French Fries to be ready at the same time as the main dish and (2) cooking the meat in two batches as to ensure that it does not become overcooked.

Cook rice and French Fries according to package directions. If all of the Lomo Saltado ingredients are prepared to be cooked, the dish will take approximately 15 minutes to cook.

Cut the onions, first in half, once horizontally and 4 times vertical (big pieces) to end up with thick chopped onion wedges. Prepare the tomatoes similarly.

Slice the meat stir fry style, ensuring the pieces are uniform in size for even cooking. Add garlic salt and pepper.

In a large pan add 1 TBS oil on medium high heat. When the oil is very hot add half the quantity of meat. Stir regularly and when cooked, add the soy sauce, oyster sauce, vinegar and set aside covered while the second batch of meat is prepared. Cook second batch of meat, set aside and cover to keep warm.

(This is a good time to check the timing on the rice and fries. If needed, hold on finishing this next step until rice and potatoes are ready.)

In the same pan add oil and the onions, cook stirring regularly for at least 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes for another 2 minutes, then return the meat to the pan to heat for approximately one minute. Add the cilantro and serve over white rice with French Fries.