Monday, December 28, 2009

My New Seasonal CookBook!

Since I've been home, my mum and I have been doing some heavy-duty organizing and uncluttering. So heavy-duty, that we have thrown out all of our cooking magazines! I know. This was really hard for both of us to do. So... our solution was to go through all of the magazines (I learned a lot along the way BTW - like how to make homemade ricotta) and rip out all of the recipes I liked. I took these recipes and made my own revised cookbook. And, guess what.... Its arranged by seasons! I'm sure that this is something that is out there already, but it is this new creation that I can't wait to use and add to!

It works perfect with my New Years Resolution (I really don't like New Years resolutions because I like to make them all year long) to eat more seasonally! In doing this I will get to slim my grocery bill, experiment in the garden, and there is a lower chance of the use of nasty chemicals and other unnatural growing.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Another go-around with Biscottis that Hit Successful Scores!

I am going to say that it was from the help of my dad and my new bread knife! This biscotti recipe was inspired from Cooking Light's Savory Two-Cheese Biscotti from a magazine cut-out.
Ingredients (modified to our liking):
2 3/4 c Flour

3/4 c Shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 c Shredded mozzarella cheese
2 t Baking powder
3/4 t Salt
1/4 t Ground red pepper
1/4 c Skim milk
2 t Olive Oil
3 large eggs
Cooking spray

1. Preheat Oven to 350.

2. Mix flour with the next 5 ingredients (through pepper). Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl, and whisk. Add milk mixture to dry ingredients, and stir until well mixed. The dough should be crumbly and dry. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead 8 times. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into 8 inch long by 1 inch thick strips. Bake these two halves in the oven for 30 mins. Remove from oven and let sit on a wire rack for 10 mins. 3. Reduce the oven temp. to 325. 4. After the two halves cool cut them up into 2/3 inch pieces diagonally and place slices, cut sides down, on baking sheet. Bake for 10 mins at 325. Remove from baking sheet and let cool on wire rack before eating. I couldn't wait more than 2 mins!

We dipped these in bean salsa! Delish! Try it out an let me know what you think!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas day at our house...

Christmas day is here and our family always likes to take the day slow. We usually sleep in, check to see what kind of surprises Santa left with a big cup of coffee to drag us out of bed. And then we sit around the kitchen and visit, listen to music (currently Tom Petty), and cook, prepare, bake, etc... depending on what we have going on and what we are craving. My dad usually gets that look in his eyes and you know that you are in for a kitchen treat.

This morn we decided to counteract all of that sweet that we had yesterday by chopping up some veggies and made Pico De Gallo! One of my mom and my favorites.

These spicy pickled garlic cloves my dad got for Christmas yesterday, and we thought it would be the perfect new ingredient to include in his Pico De Gallo. OH, and it was.

Avocados. Not necessarily in season, but still great to add to this concoction. Only put avocados in what you are consuming or it will all be brown in a couple of days.

Our final result. Delicious, snack to counteract all of the sweet toothing we did and will be continuing today! YUM!

Back to more eating! I hope everyone is enjoying their Holidays!
Merry Christmas!

Pico De Gallo
equal parts:
Green, Yellow, and Red Peppers
Jalapeno (quantity depending on how spicy you want it)
Garlic (we did 8 cloves [our bowl was about 2 gallons])

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Winter dull-drum?

With winter moving briskly in, I am starting to feel the need to hibernate and stay cozy. This time of year it is hard for me to avoid the "bad" foods that seem to give me the instant satisfaction that I need to pick myself up after trudging through the snow. My aunt Vickie sent me a very good article from the Maharishi Ayurveda website about the good ways to treat our selves, so that instead of dreading winter, we can look at it as a time to gather and treat ourselves to the things that are truly good for us.

Why not...

  • Go to bed earlier. It is natural for your body to need more sleep at this time of the year.
  • Stretch more and longer
  • Eat more wholesome foods (i.e. whole foods - not processed, veggies, fruit, whole grain, rolled oats, organics, potatoes)
  • Look for natural sugars and spices that are very good for your body (cane sugar, )
  • Read more books (my goal this christmas break is three)
  • Learn more about your hobbies.... knitting or sewing anyone??
  • Plan out next years garden!- its something to look forward to and you can purchase the seed packs ahead of time and store them in a dry shaded spot.
  • Play more cards and board games with friends and family
  • Watch some movies... old, new, classics, TV series, documentary, etc...

Does anyone have any other favorites or goals for winter hibernation??

Immunity-boosting Foods and Lifestyle Tips for Winter

In general, immunity-boosting foods include those that are fresh, organic, easy to digest, pure and wholesome. These include fresh, organic milk and yogurt, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and ghee (clarified butter).

Foods that are hard to digest should be avoided if you want to increase your immunity. Commercially processed foods, as well as canned, frozen, and packaged foods are old and difficult to digest, so they weaken immunity. Leftovers, foods grown with chemicals, and foods laced with preservatives tax the digestive system and clog the channels of circulation, creating a sluggish, compromised immune system.

Foods that nourish and balance the body in the cold, dry, winter season are the sweet, sour and salty tastes. It's best to eat less of the astringent, bitter, and pungent tastes in winter, although all six tastes should be included in your diet. Warm, home-cooked, unctuous foods are ideal, as long as they are not deep-fried and are cooked with easy-to-digest oils such as ghee or olive oil. Avoid cold or ice-cold foods, as cold foods and drinks douse the digestive fire and decreases immunity.

Lifestyle also impacts immunity. Staying up late, working at night, eating at irregular times, exposing the body to stress and fatigue, and sleeping during the day can all affect the digestion and body rhythms--and thus compromise the immune system. That's why it's important to follow the ayurvedic daily routine, to keep the digestive system and other bodily rhythms working smoothly, and thus keeping the immunity high.

In winter, when the days are shorter and the nights are longer, it's natural for the body to crave more rest. Try going to bed a little earlier, and you will wake up with more vitality and freshness. Winter is a more inward season, when nature is at rest, so you can take advantage of this natural tendency by giving the mind and body extra nourishment in winter.

Doing a daily self-massage (abhyanga) will also help enhance immunity. Self-massage stimulates all of the organs of the body, flushes out impurities, and builds resistance to stress and disease.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bleached vs. Unbleached

My curiosity has gotten the best of me and I am finding time to quickly get on here to share something interesting that I just learned. (Many of you may be ahead of me on this one!)
According to Better Homes and Gardens, there is really no baking/cooking difference between bleached and unbleached flour. The only differentiation between the two is that the bleached flour is made chemically whiter. Whoa! I think from now on I am going to be going the unbleached route!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Blog Hiatus!

(this picture is from an Etsy artist! Artist, if you read this please reveal yourself so I can put a link on here for you. I forgot exactly where I found it!)

Sorry guys I know I've been neglectful. No excuses! I'll be back at it after finals I promise!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Books I would like to get... recycled and used of course!

Here is a list of books that I would like to rent, pick up off Amazon used of course, or if anyone has any of these I would love to borrow!!

Fanny Farmer Baking Book (there is also the Fanny Farmer Cookbook that I am very interested in) I feel that this may be a classic that many kitchens should have.

A Homemade Life A very heavy hearted story about a young woman: Molly Wizenberg from Orangette who's father dies from cancer and she finds herself reaching for more than her graduate school in Seatle. She travels to Paris where she and her father had taken a very memorable trip to and she rediscovers the foodie in her. She tells of her experiences and her recipes.

Once Upon a Tart
offers 225 recipes from this famous shop in Manhatan. They specialize in their tarts, but they also feature recipes of delicious soups, salads, and muffins.

Vegetables Every Day
."If you find yourself in daily dread of how to fix those vegetables that Mom always told you to eat, your lifeline is here. Unique and tempting recipes are abundant in Jack Bishop's Vegetables Every Day. Throughout the book's 66 chapters--one for each vegetable he includes in the book--Bishop features the retail availability of the specific veggie, the best season to find the most flavorful choice, and which characteristics to look for in a good specimen. He also includes recommendations for best preparation and which spices and herbs will best support and enhance the flavor of the vegetable of choice."-Amazon

The Backyard Homestead will teach you how to grow organically right in your back yard! "And when the harvest is in, you'll learn how to cook, preserve, cure, brew, or pickle the fruits of your labor. From a quarter of an acre, you can harvest 1,400 eggs, 50 pounds of wheat, 60 pounds of fruit, 2,000 pounds of vegetables, 280 pounds of pork, 75 pounds of nuts." -Amazon

Farm City.
In this utterly enchanting book, food writer Carpenter chronicles with grace and generosity her experiences as an urban farmer. With her boyfriend BillÖs help, her squatterÖs vegetable garden in one of the worst parts of the Bay Area evolved into further adventures in bee and poultry keeping in the desire for such staples as home-harvested honey, eggs and home-raised meat. The built-in difficulties also required dealing with the expected noise and mess as well as interference both human and animal. When one turkey survived to see, so to speak, its way to the Thanksgiving table, the success spurred Carpenter to rabbitry and a monthlong plan to eat from her own garden. Consistently drawing on her Idaho ranch roots and determined even in the face of bodily danger, her ambitions led to ownership and care of a brace of pigs straight out of E.B. White. She chronicles the animalsÖ slaughter with grace and sensitivity, their cooking and consumption with a gastronomeÖs passion, and elegantly folds in riches like urban farming history. Her way with narrative and details, like the oddly poetic names of chicken and watermelon breeds, gives her memoir an Annie Dillard lyricism, but itÖs the juxtaposition of the farming life with inner-city grit that elevates it to the realm of the magical.

Cradle to Cradle

Here is a list of books that I would like to rent, pick up off Amazon used of course, or if anyone has any of these I would love to borrow!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sick again...

I doesn't seem like it wants to go away. It started with a cough and now I have a fever. :( When it gets better I have much posting to do.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Say Good Bye to Gourmet

I just recently discovered Gourmet magazine, and now Condé Naste is saying it's farewell to this very classy "gourmet" food magazine.

(Picture shown is of the October 2009 issue, unfortunately I couldn't find a good picture of the November issue and I don't have a scanner!)

On this note, I decided that I wanted to reap all of the last benefits I could by picking up their last issue EVER! The November 2009 is their last issue that they are distributing. (I KNOW, NO Holiday Cookies!)

I would definitely recommen this purchase to the foodies out there! They have many great recipes to enjoy our upcoming Thanksgiving!

With Christmas coming, and my newly discovered lack of knowledge... I am challenging myself to get more knowledgeable about the food magazines that are out there. What a great Christmas present for someone who loves food! On my list: Bon Appetit and Suveur. I am currently receiving Martha Stewart Living, Martha Stewart Food Everyday, and Rachael Ray. They are all fantastic, but I did have to make a cut this year. I continued with both of the Marthas, but I did drop Rachael. I did this because Martha Stewart has more "hostess" tips, and I really like the hostess and recipe combo. Any favorites out there??? (They don't have to be food)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rough week

Sorry guys! I'm having a rough start to my week. I promise a new post soon!!

My room doesn't look quite like this, but it is getting too close...

To do this week:

Finish class readings, take three tests, catch up for next week
Clean my room
Make a roast (I will let you know the skinny on this one!)
Clean the kitchen

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Thanks Martha for the Great Butternut Squash Recipes

Martha does it again.
These are some great butternut squash recipes to get you in the mood for Autumn! Check them out here!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Herbs I was able to Save!

Hello, Parsley, Rosemary, and Mint, how wonderful of you to graze us with your presence.

These are the tough herbs that survived the first snow/frost that my garden had. Funeral arrangements were made for Basil and Lavender (I'm holding out for chives because I feel that they will hibernate and appear again!).

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Something Brothy to Keep in Mind

I was following up with some of my favorite cooking websites today and I ran accross an interesting soup recipe from Lovely Morning and Orangette that I would like to try: Green Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk and Warm Spices! Doesn't that sound delightful! But before I post about the spicy goodness 1. I would like to make it and see if I would change anything about it. 2. This post is actually about broth!

Where does the Green Lentil Soup come in to play you may ask? Well it calls for homemade broth, and it had a link to a great broth recipe! Check it out here.

I've always wanted to get a good soup broth to make of my own... muahahaha! But seriously I'm going to try this recipe sometime this week because I can feel the chilly weather in my bones.

Basic Vegetable Broth

1 ½ Tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely sliced
1 small leek, white part only, coarsely sliced
½ stalk celery, coarsely sliced
1 carrot, peeled and coarsely sliced
1 large clove garlic, peeled and smashed
8 cups cold water
1 Turkish bay leaf

In a large saucepan, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, leek, celery, carrot, and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the water and bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the vegetables are very soft, about 1 hour. Strain the broth through a sieve into a clean bowl or heatproof container, pressing down on the vegetables to extract all their juices. Let cool, uncovered. Refrigerate in a sealed container for up to a week, or freeze for longer keeping.<BR/>

Yield: About 6 cups, give or take a little

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

10 Ways to Winterize Your Garden

Sorry I didn't write yesterday. I'm working to be better dedicated on Monday's. They are always my hardest days to post.

Now that Autumn is here it is time for us to winterize our gardens just like we winterize our houses.

HowStuffWorks has been my most recent favorite website to literally find how anything works! This morning they are telling us How to Winterize our Gardens!

1. Plant Bulbs
These little lovelies need the time over winter to store nutrients in their roots for next years bloom. The word "bulb" refers to the organ-like shape that these plants start in. Bulbs range from daffodils to tulips and many more. Some are better at with-standing the cold than others, so make sure to check yours out. The blooming for them also vary by type. After you plant them, make sure to insulate them with some shredded leaves (shred your leaves by mowing them) after the first frost. The shredded leaves still give them breathability so it won't smother and kill the grass that is under the insulation. Bulbs are an easy "head-start" to your early planting!

2. Growing or Maintaining Wildflowers
Now is the time to maintain your perennial wildflowers that you have, or plant seeds for some that you want to see spring up next year. Growing and maintaining wildflowers is very similar to that of the bulbs. Mow any of the perennials that you wish to see again next year and insulate it with mulch or shredded leaves. You may even need to water some varieties. To learn more, I would recommend reading more specifically into species that you would particularly like to grow.

3. Herb Cover
This is the time of year when you should pull in your herbs to save for using in the Winter months, and to tend to until replanting next spring. I'll show you which ones I was able to save from the frost this year in a later post. Also- I still had some pepper plants that were still producing, and I would have brought them in the house too if I had a good window space open. Consider, if there are any plants still producing, which ones you would like to shelter to gain the last of the fruiting.

4. Lettuce Varieties
My goal this winter is to read up on the lettuce varieties... how they grow? What they need to flourish? Which ones are good for you? Etc.. They don't need a lot of space, so I feel that this is a good way to still keep veggies growing in the Winter! I will keep you posted on my adventures. Let me know if anyone has tried this out for themselves!

5. Succulent Challenge!
Succulents/Cacti are plants that need very little maintenance. Someone tell me if they have any great Succulents growing! Plant these guys to liven up your house to defeat the winter dull. I challenge you to name them! Why not even greet them in the morning! It has been proven that plants grow better when communicated with, weather its you singing to them, or them even hearing music. They just want some love!

6. Water Features
If you have any water features that can be damaged from the winter. You should consider winterizing these so you can enjoy them again next year. Shut down the water and remove the pump. Place the pump in a bucket of water to prevent seals from cracking.

7. Ground Cover
Ground cover are things such as shrubs, vines, perennials, bulbs, etc... These are things that may be sensitive to the harsh winter weathers, and many need to be insulated. The best insulation is fir bark, sawdust, bark, tree leaves, gravel and rocks (as I mentioned before, shredded leaves works too). You should apply this to the ground cover after it has been established. On that note, ground cover for regions with cold winters should be planted in the early spring. Mild areas should plant in the fall or winter months.

8. Shrubs
If the rain is scarce where you live, give the shrubs a good dose of water before frost comes. Use wind breaks on the plants that are young or moderately resilient plants. To make a wind break, stake the ground around the shrubs with wood stakes and use a material like burlap to wrap the shrubs. When there is no risk of frost, remove the wind break.

9. Evergreen Maintenance
HowStuffWorks recommends that evergreens get a good dose of water right before Autumn. Well established evergreens wouldn't require water to live through the winter. Evergreen leaves produce moisture all year long, so they are sensitive to cold winds. You could apply 4 inches of mulch around the evergreens to ensure better moisture for the tree and to prevent the soil from freezing. Whack down heavy snowfall that may bend and break the branches.

10. Weeding
I'm sorry if many of you thought you didn't have to worry about this now that Autumn and Winter are fast approaching, but the lawn maintenance that you do now will save you time in the early Spring. Rake the leaves that fall to prevent grass suffocation. Weed your garden now so that the weeds won't be there waiting when the snow melts and your perennials are starting to show. Dispose of any annuals that are not looking as lovely as they once were. Throw them in a compost bin or in the trash. Clean pots that were outdoors and store them in a nice dry place for next year. And make sure you have your winter equipment in the front of your closets!

Good bye hott Summer, and hello Autumn colors and hot coco!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Morning Inspiration

I am up and feeling way better today then yesterday! I think the Echinacea is finally kicking in! Another cup and I am on the go. I'm going to pick up bread at the New French Bakery for work today at D'lish! It is wonderful there. We have great fall produce, pumpkins, cute gourds, and squash of many shapes and sizes, and so much more!

By the way- the farmer's market and canning last night was a wonderful success! It took much longer than I thought but it was well worth it! Now we can have fresh tomato sauce in the winter! I also made applesauce. I used Haralson, Sweet 16s, and I think the third variety was the Stella. When I took the canning class, Anna told us that it works really great to use a variety of apples when making the apple sauce. This is a great sight to check out for learning more about our apples in Minnesota.

Morning Inspiration

If this doesn't get you in the mood for Autumn and Thanksgiving I don't know what will!

My sister's dog Riley doing dog yoga in the morning. (And the fact that there is actually dog yoga out there! )This should remind us that stretching is good for your soul. (This is not a picture of her actual dog, but it does look really close)

You are never too old to jump in leaves!

Get some of your weekend tasks done today that you put off on the last two days!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Home, Sick...

Creaping in since yesterday have been flu symptoms. I am now in bed cuddling up with a glass of Simply Apple Juice.

There are two things that I have discovered in the past two days in between trying to cram a lot of reading in and running to the store balancing a box of Kleenex's, cough drops, and all of the "sick prevention" beverages that I could think of.

1. I have heard many people preach Echinacea tea for when you get sick, so yesterday I drank 4 glasses hoping to nick this sickness before it worsened. I feel like it helped a bit. What is so special about Echinacea?

The Echinacea flower (commonly known as the coneflower looks like this. It is grown primarily in the Midwest. This is a great flower for many people to grow because it is so colorful, and it does have health benefits. Echinacea stimulates the immune system by increasing activity to your white blood cells which help battle viruses and bacteria that may cause sickness. It is also known to treat respiratory illnesses like colds. I also read here to drink Echinacea tea about 2-3 times a day to gain it's benefits. (Looks like the rumors are true!). Coneflower is definately going into my garden this summer!

2. Simply Apple Juice is the best juice!

It is so good and so good for you! It is so natural and isn't caulk full of nasty preservatives and sugars to make the flavor fake. It is made of pure pressed apples. No concentrated stuff. No added sugars. Simply also makes a variety of other juices here! They are a little on the higher price point, but if you are a juice feen or the occasional juicer you must try this! It is like having your very own juiced apples! With their natural sweet taste. The website says it best:

"It isn't like the apple juice you've always known. It doesn't look the like apple juice you've always known. Or taste like it. It tastes like biting into a crisp, juicy, perfectly ripe apple.
Made from 100% pure apple, Simply Apple is never sweetened and never concentrated."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Something else...

If anyone has a really good recipe or some advice for me I would love to hear feedback! Try my recipies and let me know what you like, didn't like, changed, if you could follow my directions and actually make something the way it looks in the pictures!

You can email me:

You can post a comment on my blog. You can click on the place where it says "0 Comments" or "4 Comments" and then you can write something in the box and then click the drop down box to Name/URL (URL-which really just means who you email through ex: or or )
Any one can comment! (email me if you have questions)

Adding to the weekend board:

1. See Wednesday's post (Canning 101)

2. Homemade chili (Dan's mums savory recipe) CHECK! I did this on Friday....spicy food is supposed to be really good at clearing your sinuses as long as you can stomach spicy when you are sick.

3. Dig up and transfer some of my living pepper plants- (Too late. Woke up to snow this morning!)

5. Halloween party planning... date, who, and what foods (hopefully Martha can help with this one!)

Canning 101

With the summer season cooling rapidly, I bet many people are rushing around trying to squeeze in the last little bit of summer's food juices (literally!).

My exciting summer garden adventures are over and the Minneapolis farmers markets are starting to taper.... so its time to start PRESERVING!!! I am lucky because I have always been so close to my grandmas' great cannings that I haven't even given canning much more of a thought. I still get some canning from them, but I have to wait for such a long time in between that I wish I knew more about the underrated art!

My inspiration sparked from work one day (Local D'lish). Ann (the owner) decided to contact one of Minneapolis's well-known healthy living/eating experts Anna Dvorak. This woman is amazing and so inspirational. Check her out here and here! Fantastic artist as well!

The class was great. Ann and her daughter CC, Anna, and I canned all night long! It was very nice because we got to do a lot of hands-on to really learn the tricks and techniques. At the end of the night we walked home with a tasty treat! (A jar of concord grape jelly!) We even used organic sugar!! I'll let you know how my canning goes this weekend!

List of things to can before fall:

Tomatoes (stat!)

Apples (while the pickin' is good!)

Some fruits... (the farmers market will show me what there is now!)

Wish me luck at the Farmers Market this Saturday!!! Depending on how early I want to wake up I will either go to the Midtown Farmers Market or the NE Farmers Market!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Fall foods are beginning...

I have been trying to dive into using more fall produce to take advantage of what our seasons give us. So here is my second attempt (first attempt see Squash soup recipe)! It was amazing. A little spicy and very versatile!

The recipe was taken from Epicurious online and tweaked to Dan and my liking.


1 Medium Spaghetti Squash

1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces

2 garlic cloves (flexible for garlic lovers and haters), minced

1 t. ground cumin

1/2 t ground coriander

1/8 t cayenne (for the spicy kick!)

3/4 t salt

2 T chopped fresh cilantro (if you don't have fresh use less dry, but fresh is SO worth it!)

What I added as extra: (I would suggest putting your fav. veggies in this Moroccan Spice Sauce! Make more sauce if you want!)

1 medium scallop

2 chicken breasts

some broccoli (depending entirely on how much you like)

a few zucchini slices

2 corn ears

pepper (we used yellow because that was what was about to go bad), thinly sliced

Sriracha sauce (on the meal at the very end)

2 t olive oil

Cut holes in the squash with a sharp knife all around the outside and set it in a pan to bake in the oven for about 1hr on 375 degrees F. After the squash has been baking for about 15 mins you can start the rest of the cooking.
While the squash is baking, simmer butter with onion and garlic until transparent. Add remaining spices and let simmer. Boil water and put in broccoli and corn. Corn for 3 mins, and broccoli until softened. Fry chicken breasts in oil. Take corn out of water and set aside. After the sauce has been simmering for about 5 mins ad zucchini slices and peppers (or what ever veggies you have ready). Let this simmer on med low for about 10 mins to soften them a little bit.
Take the squash out of the oven and cut it in half the long way. Scoup out the seeds and start using a fork to scrape at the soft flesh. As you are scraping, put the spaghetti looking squash flesh into a separate bowl. When the squash is all scraped out add the sauce, chicken, broccoli, and the corn (we cut the corn off of the cob and mixed it into the whole shebang!). And Serve!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

National Free Coffee Day!!

Good excuse to drink a cup of joe! (or two...or more! :) ) Sorry I've been neglectful. Falling behind a bit on sleep and homework. My cup of joe is now teetering between a hot and cold beverage as we are working our way into Autumn.

And in celebration of today I am drinking both the hot and cold beverage as I am typing! Also- here is a little history for those of you who would like to brush up on your coffee savvy!

I have a new favorite, but late-bloomed (due to the season change) iced coffee drink::Vietnamese Iced Coffee. I have been able to enjoy some this morning, but it needs an overnight sleep in the fridge while the coffee steeps, for those of you who want to jump on this coffee drink right now! Check it out! By the way- this is probably one of the most caffeinated iced coffee drink you can make because of the concentration of the cold-press coffee! Yay!

Vietnamese Iced Coffee

Need (my version for others see alternative links):


hot water

cheese cloth or a fine strainer

chicory based coffee (regular works fine too; just not as authentic)

sweetened condensed milk

Now, I have found many varieties for making this drink and I have come up with one that is easy enough for me to make. Here is a recipe that allows you to do it more authentic, but make sure you have some allocated time for preparing it this way. I really like this drink, and I don't have a lot of time to prep this in the morning so I made cold-press coffee with chicory based coffee (its a little spicier than normal coffee; more authentic Vietnamese coffee) ahead of time in a large quantity and put it in a pitcher in the fridge. When I am ready to serve it I use the amount of sweetened condensed milk I would like for that particular cup of coffee. Some days I want it sweeter and some days I want it more bitter!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pizza Party

Last night my boyfriend Dan and I made some homemade pizza! Dan usually gets roped into my cooking and baking adventures because he likes to cook and we usually have great success cooking together!

We cheated with the pizza a little because we used Boboli ready-to-bake pizza crust. However, I feel that the sauce made the pizza! I didn't think this was going to be a fantastic feat so I didn't take any pictures unfortunately :( . This picture is similar to the slice of heaven it resembled.

Pizza Sauce Ingredients

2 garlic heads (medium sized), roasted*

1 medium onion, diced small

2T extra virgin olive oil

28 oz. can Italian plum tomatoes or 5 to 6 fresh

Pinch of cayenne pepper

1T sugar

Kosher Salt

10 basil stems, whole (leaves reserved for the topping)

In a deep saucepan, combine sweet onion & oil over low heat until the onions are translucent. Crush tomatoes & drain well. Add to pan with sugar, garlic, & cayenne. Season with salt. Place on medium heat for 15 mins., stir occasionally (we used homegrown tomatoes so they had a lot of water still after draining so we let them simmer longer to evaporate some of it). Add basil stems sans the leaves & cook another 5 to 10 mins. Do not puree. Remove the basil stems, adjust seasoning to your taste, and spread on pizza crust!

After we spread the sauce on we chose to top last nights pizza with pepperoni, Mexican cheese blend (would have preferred moz. but Mexican was what we had on hand); from my garden the basil, banana peppers, and jalapenos!

After the masterpiece was done we popped it in the pre-set 350 degrees oven for about 15 mins. (or until the cheese melts completely and starts to brown on the edges).

*here is a simple garlic roasting how-to that I found very helpful...and fragrant!

Muy Delicioso!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cupcake store!

This is the kind of bakery I want! The look the feel.... Mmmmm...

Enjoy Cupcakes located in Santa Barbara, CA has captured this irresistible 1960's flare that I think is just adorable. I love the clean and dainty interior. I would invest in less of a '60's feel and go more towards a fun and whimsical flair with this dainty interior.

...and of course I would have every pastry imaginable! This is a bake shop that I am putting on my list to visit!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Butternut Basil Soup

This week I am going to take advantage of the bright fall produce and I am going to make Butternut Basil Soup. (it is a little different from this picture above, but the color is very much the same!) I pulled this recipe from the Minnesota Homegrown Cookbook.

1 large butternut squash
1 large onion, finely chopped
2T butter
2T olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4t dried basil
1 quart well-seasoned veggie or chicken broth
4 slices American or soft cheese
1t balsamic vinegar
Brown sugar, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

I'll let you know how it goes!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Top'o the Mornin'

I love breakfast. So, my crazy recipe searching typically is densely geared towards breakfast/brunch. Here is a breakfast that is one of my new favorites! I didn't have flax seed, but it still tasted great. It has such a rich but smooth flavor. The combination of the banana and the vanilla soy milk really bring the whole drink together into a sweet (but not-to-sweet) breakfast drink! If you want it to be more bitter add more cherries! This recipe would work with any fruit! Try it out for yourself.

Cherry Vanilla Flax Smoothie
From Kashi

Makes 2 servings.
Cooking time: 5 minutes


2 tablespoons organic flax seeds
1 cup organic low-fat vanilla soymilk
¼ cup frozen organic dark tart cherries, defrosted (use fresh when available)
½ medium organic banana
3 ice cubes


Using a coffee grinder, grind flax seeds to a fine powder. Pour the flax powder into a blender and add the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth.

Nutrition Facts

Number of servings: 2 servings. Serving size: 1 cup, Calories 139, Calories from Fat 47, Total Fat 5.2g, Saturated Fat 0.5g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 65mg, Total Carbohydrate 18.8g, Dietary Fiber 3.7g, Sugars 10.5g, Protein 5.8g, Vitamin A 1%, Vitamin C 6%, Calcium 5%, Iron 7%

Friday, September 11, 2009

Breakfast of Monkeys...

Yesterday morning I made one of my favorite recipes: Monkey Bread. The recipe is a quick way to impress anyone you are serving for. It looks incredible in the end and it is SO easy to make. I am using the recipe from Pillsbury, but I was not happy with their caramel recipe so if you have a favorite I would recommend using that. I will be on a mission to find mine and I will surely substitute it!

Ingredients (pulled from the Pillsbury website)
1/2c. Sugar
1tsp Cinnamon
2 Cans Buttermilk Biscuits (the ones that come in the tubes you pop open)
1c. Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
3/4c. Margarine

First you mix the sugar and cinnamon in a medium size Ziploc bag. Then you cut each individual into quarters and toss them in the bag (about 2 individual biscuits at a time). Shake them to ensure they get coated very well with the cinnamon and sugar. Then place them in a pan. Some people prefer bundt pans because it makes it easier to cut portions, but I personally just like to keep it in a 9x9 glass pan and just dig in. I would use a larger pan than 9x9 or an additional smaller pan like a bread pan (that is what I did::one for work and one for home!) because 2 full biscuits is a lot to fit in one with out it exploding over the edge once it bakes. After you have placed all of the biscuits in the pans drizzle the caramel topping over them and place them in the oven for about 30 mins. with the oven on 350 degrees.

When they are all done they should have a slight crust on the top. Tip them upside down in a pan or on a plate and serve them up! They are the best to eat the day you make them. All fresh out of the oven!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Healthy Pasta!

I was brainstorming today about what to eat; as I usually end up doing in the middle of my mug of coffee or on my bus ride between classes. I often find that I rarely have any time during the week to make a meal meal more than a couple of times. So subtracting out the days for left-overs that usually leaves me with at least 3-5 meals where I don't have a lot of time to prepare an extravagant dish.

Lately I have been finding everything that I can whip up quickly is usually not the healthiest for you.... anything prepacked with an expiration date that is longer than three months from now is probably chalk full of preservatives that are unnatural for our bodies.

Pasta is my favorite go-to dish for a quick meal, so I decided to do some research for everyone and find some pasta dishes that are healthy to for your body and quick to make.
(These pictures are not pictures I have taken. They are pictures from the website that the recipe is located on.)

No Bake Mac&Cheese
from: EatingWell

This recipe contains most of the ingredients you would have on hand. I would advise switching the cheese depending on what you liked. I even kick it up a bit by adding some spices and additional veggies like red peppers and some Sriracha sauce! And for those meat lovers, this dish would be very youthful with some chopped up hot dogs or more fancy with some thinly sliced prosciutto.

Prep time: 20mins
Total time: 25mins
Per serving: 412 Calories; 13 g Fat; 7 g Sat; 1 g Mono; 37 mg Cholesterol; 56 g Carbohydrates; 22 g Protein; 7 g Fiber; 640 mg Sodium; 236 mg Potassium

Athena Pasta Primavera
from: EatingWell

What I like about this recipe is that everything is literally fresh. The recipe is so simple that you could change it depending on what veggies are in season. You could also tailor it to your favorite veggies. It is a very filling dish, but with the nutrients you gain from the veggies and the whole wheat pasta it is a quick and healthy dish to keep handy!

Prep time: 30mins
Total time: 30mins
Per serving: 305 Calories; 6 g Fat; 3 g Sat; 3 g Mono; 13 mg Cholesterol; 51 g Carbohydrates; 10 g Protein; 8 g Fiber; 326 mg Sodium; 236 mg Potassium

Whole-Wheat Pasta with Garlic and Olive Oil

from: MarthaStewart

This is probably the easiest pasta recipe I could find. Once again, like all of the other pasta recipes, this one could be tailored to what you like to have in pasta. Personally if I'm feeling like something a little less sharp I would replace the parsley with basil and I would definitely add some tomatoes. Preferably cherry tomatoes!

Sorry guys, Martha doesn't have the nutritional values nor length of time it would take to make. If I were to guess though:
Prep time: 5mins
Total time: 15mins

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Exploring the New French Bakery!

Today I visited the New French Bakery to get some bread! This is where Local D'lish gets all of their fresh bread. They have many great sorts of breads from a cinnamon raisin loaf to baguettes to certified organic rolls! They make new batches daily and have markdowns for their breads that weren't made that same day!
I snagged a baguette and the raisin loaf for myself! A hearty loaf of bread is also on my list of foods to tackle and be really good at making. Leslie greeted me from behind the counter, and Rebecca chimed in on information about their store. The New French Bakery is located on 26th ave and 26th street in south Minneapolis accross the street from a popular hang-out Memory Lanes. Check them out! Also, check their breads out at Local D'lish! Buying local is soo rewarding and SOO fresh!
(The baguette picture was found on the New French Bakery website, and unfortunately I didn't have my camera with to take a picture of the outside so I found that on Google)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cinnamon&Sugar Biscotti

For my first upload into my "journalBlog" I am starting with a Biscotti. I have always wanted to learn how to make a biscotti and I have heard that they are very easy to make and I feel that they would be easy to modify!
Diving on to Epicurious I found this recipe for Cinnamon & Sugar Biscotti's. They were delightful. I made these tasties last night and I was too busy figuring out how to blog.. (I know I'm in my early twenties and still don't really know how to blog. Sad.)

(Reminder: I am still an amateur food photographer!)

The original Epicurious recipe:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

I changed this recipe a bit due to the repeating comments on Epicurious. I cut the sugar to about 3/4ths cups because I thought 1 full cup would be a bit much. Many of the reviews also said to add another egg. So I did!
Over all the recipe was easy to make and worked really well. The texture of the biscotti was a little more moist than biscotti's should be so next time instead of adding an additional whole egg. I might try just adding another egg yolk to see if that helps. This recipe would be an easy one to make sweet or savory! For savory I will try to toss some fresh rosemary and some olive oil (perhaps as the egg substitute!) in the next batch!