Sunday, March 31, 2013

Potato Soup

It's been a busy couple of days here, the Little Guy has started potty training, it was a rough start, and there was a lot of screaming involved, but we turned a corner on Thursday and it seems to be going much better now. . .meanwhile, Little Girl has had the flu, and we were concerned about her being dehydrated since she lost 3 lbs (which is a lot when you only weigh 35 lbs). We spent last night in the ER for 2 hours and ended up just needing an anti-nausea medicine so she would drink. Thank goodness we went when we did, we were able to get through the check in process to the back room fairly quickly (as in, not another sole was in the waiting room), when we left, the place was packed, 9:30 pm on a Saturday is not the time to go the ER, not that one plans visits to the the Children's ER, but I felt really bad for all the people in the waiting room at that point.
First hospital visit
 So, hospital visit aside, on a cold rainy Easter, here's a warm potato soup that is super easy and very yummy, enjoy! This recipe is modeled after Panera's potato soup.

What you'll need
A heaping four cups of potatoes, cubed (today I used red, but you can you use your potato of choice)
1/4 cup finely diced onion
4 cups broth (I used vegetable broth)
8 ounces of cream cheese

Start by preparing your potatoes, I like to leave the peal on the potatoes, but that's a personal preference, so feel free to peal the potatoes first if you like that better.


Add the broth, onion and potatoes to a sauce pan and bring to a boil, salt and pepper to taste. Boil for 20 minutes or so, and then smash a few of the potatoes against the side of the bowl to release some of the starches.

While the potatoes are boiling, cube your cream cheese. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the cream cheese, stirring occasionally, cooking until thoroughly melted. 

That's it! You're ready to serve, pour it out, then top with shredded cheese, some chopped chives or bacon if you wish. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Timable. . .with meat

Look who decided to cook with me while his sister took a nap
This recipe holds a special place in my heart, I made it for the first time when
I was on maternity leave with little girl. My Food Network magazine arrived, I
found this Timbale dish, which I had never seen in a restaurant before, but it
looked eerily similar to something the food critic had been describing to me for
months from a trip he took to Green Bay.
ii. So, I thought it was meant to be, it looked hard (especially given my skill level
at the time), but I had all day, just me and a baby, we could make it work. So,
giving myself plenty of time, I started cooking, it turned out AMAZING! We have
loved it ever sense, and seriously, this is the ONLY thing that I miss now that I
don’t eat meat. Ok, I did eat meat this week, because I had to have this, so that
should tell you something right there, if this dish is good enough to make a 98%
of the time vegetarian eat it, you know you need to try this, shouldn't you?

What you'll need:

1 medium onion, chopped
2.5 cups arborio rice
1 lb ground beef or ground veal
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 small can tomato paste
Olive oil
3 eggs
1 tbsp butter
3 cups beef broth (I was out of Beef Better than Boullioun, so I used vegetarian broth today)
Bread crumbs
1.5 cups parmesean, shredded
 3/4 cup asiago cheese, shredded

Start by prepping your ingredients, if you're using boullion cubes, or Better Than Boullioun, go ahead and get your broth going.

Heat a pot of salted water to a boil, then add the rice. Cook for 12 - 15 minutes,

then drain the rice and spread it on a cookie sheet to dry out.

Heat a pan over medium heat, add enough oil to coat the bottom, then add the onion, and cook for 8 minutes or so. . .

Add your meat, and cook until browned.

Next, add your tomato paste, garlic and basil

Once the mixture above is well combined (a few minutes), add the broth and simmer until the liquid has been absorbed (about 20 minutes), stirring occasionally.

While that's simmering, butter a spring form pan, then sprinkle in some bread crumbs, rolling the pan around until the bottom and sides are all coated with bread crumbs, yum!

Go stir your meat mixture.

Beat three eggs, add the parmesean and rice and mix until the rice has a nice even yellow color.

Lightly press 3/4 of the rice mixture to the bottom and side of the pan, set aside.

Your mixture on the stove should look like this now, see, nicely absorbed.

Back to the rice mixture, add the asigao to the bottom, when cooked, it will make a nice cheesey layer to make sure the sauce doesn't seap through the rice.

Add the meat mixture, spread, and top with the remaining of the rice. Finally, sprinkle a little additional parmesean on top.

Bake in the oven at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Let it sit for 5 minutes before removing the sides of the springform pan (remember to run a knife along the sides first). Enjoy!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

I've been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately, it's not uncommon to have a night where I am only sleeping 4 - 5 hours. . .which in turn means by 8 pm the next evening, I'm fast asleep. Speed ahead 9 hours, and at 5 AM, even on Saturday, I am wide awake since I slept for so long. So this morning as I'm sitting wide awake hours before my family will join me I decided to do the only logical thing I could think of. . .try out a new recipe!

Somehow we ended up with quite a few blackberries this week, and no one seemed to be eating them, so they were a perfect candidate for this morning's breakfast. Last summer I made a variety of crumb and coffee cakes of the cinnamon and blueberry varieties, but I don't have a good blackberry recipe. I started off with Martha for some inspiration. After a few changes, here's what we we're eating. . .

What you'll need

Crumb topping:
4.5 TBSP butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup AP flour
1/4 tsp salt

10 oz blackberries (2 small containers)
4 oz olive oil
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup AP flour

Start by combining the ingredients for the crumb topping with a pastry cutter or fork. Once large clumps form, put it in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vanilla, and powdered sugar.

Once fully combined, add the eggs and whisk.

Add the salt, baking powder and flour. Pour into a well greased square glass pan.

Add the blackberries

Now, add your crumbly topping, and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees, or until a toothpick comes out clean (if the crumbly topping sticks to the toothpick, that's fine).

Breakfast, YUM!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Day 0: Planting Day

I have being toying around with the idea of starting a vegetable garden for several years, but just haven't started it. I actually bought some special dirt for it last year, and it just sat in the bag, all summer, fall and winter long. So, that brings us to a rainy/snowy/blistery March, ideal planting weather right? I was hoping that if the little ones help with the planting, then they'll want to try some of the vegetables they will grow. She's already excited about trying the peas. . .

I stopped by Ace and picked up some seeds over the weekend, along with some small planter pots that can actually be potted directly into the ground, so I don't have to worry about disturbing the roots later. Sounded good, we'll see how that works out.

Since we're starting from seeds, we are going to be growing indoors for a while. We started by spreading a garbage bag on the floor (it was below 30 over the weekend, which was just too cold for my helpers to be outside), then we gathered our seeds, the pots and some water.

I started off with two assistants (3 if you include Clifford)

This little girl has a green thumb, she's in charge of the mid-day watering, and has been doing a great job with the responsibility.

This little boy grew bored with the indoor garden and decided to ride a horse instead.

We decided to start with zucchini, snap peas and asparagus. Then, for fun, and hopefully some help with pollination some morning glory flowers. I also found a small herb garden kit, it should have chives, basil, dill and parsley. I wrongly thought the seeds would be separated, but they weren't, so I'm not really sure how they will start growing, it sounds like it will be a herb mess for a bit, but we'll see. .  We've been taking turns watering them, but thought it would be fun to watch their progress as they grow. Here they are Day 0, wish us luck.
Week 0: Veggies and flowers (flowers are in the small pots on the sides)

Week 0: Herb Garden

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Blueberry Crum(y) Cake

I've been on a bit of a blueberry crumb cake lately, or as my sous chef likes to call it, crummy cake. I've made a couple different varieties and finally decided I could make a lower calorie version if I made my own. So, here's my own version of the classic blueberry crumb cake.

I have found the "crummy" cake to be quite versatile. It's a great dessert, or, when made the night before, it makes a great breakfast treat. And. . .since I added oats to the topping, I think we can all make a sound argument for this being a "healthy" treat right? OK. . .maybe that was taking it a bit far, it's certainly not a health food, but, for a yummy treat, its actually not that bad.

What you'll need
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup Whole Wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil

  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 cup Whole Wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 4 Tbsp applesauce
  • 1 cup blueberries

Start my combing the ingredients for the topping and set aside

Next, take the dry ingredients for the cake, mix together, then add the wet. Once it's combined, add you blueberries. I recommend washing your blueberries long in advance to ensure they're dry. Otherwise, they can add some extra water to your cake that isn't needed.

Now pour your cake batter into a lightly greased square baking dish, evenly disperse the topping and bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees. Let it cool and then enjoy. Prick the middle with a tooth pick to make sure it's done, depending on your oven it may need up to an extra 10 minutes.