January 19, 2010

Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I didn’t used to be a fan of soup. I don’t know if that was one of those things that I turned my nose up at when I was a kid or if my mom just wasn’t a soup person and so she never made it. Regardless, the only soup I ate for years and years and years was Campbell’s chicken noodle or tomato. But when I started cooking for myself, I figured out two important things about soup: It’s generally healthy (even the creamier ones still have vegetables) and it’s really easy to make. Throw some stuff in a pot and you just made soup! I realize that making soup probably isn’t a big deal for some people, but for me, who only ate soup from a can for 20 plus years? Making homemade soup is something I feel proud of, the same way I feel about making homemade bread.

This winter I’ve been craving lots of soup since we finally live in a place that gets cold, so I’ve been expanding my soup repertoire. I usually make it once a week but I’ve …

Read the Rest »


September 12, 2012

Cheesy Broccoli and Corn Chowder

Cheesy Broccoli and Corn Chowder

I’ve said here many times that Fall is my favorite season. Summer can never be over fast enough for me. Usually, I’m ready to declare it Fall as of September 1st despite what the actual weather or calendar says. But this year is different. It’s weird. I almost feel like I’m cheating on Fall when I say this, but: I’m not ready for Summer to be over.

It’s not so much that this has been a great summer, in fact it’s been a pretty crappy summer filled with record high temps that chased me back into the safety of my air-conditioned apartment. No, the thing I’m regretting is that I missed out on all of the great produce. Looking back through my archives of last summer, I’m reminded of my Peach Dumplings and Blueberry Donut Muffins and Cantaloupe Pie. Because of the move to Nashville and my blogging hiatus I wasn’t able to cook or bake much at all this summer and I’m sad about that.

October 19, 2010

Hearty Beef and Potato Stew

Hearty Beef and Potato Stew

I’ve posted a lot of sweet stuff lately, so I decided it was time to switch things up and post something healthier. Since the weather finally started turning cooler this month, I’ve been on the look out for some new soups or stews that I love as much as my chicken tortilla and chicken pot pie soups. Unfortunately, there are a lot of soups out there that are bland and boring, but after trying out two disappointing soups I was happy to find out that the third time was the charm with this recipe.

September 25, 2009

BBA Challenge: The European Trifecta (and some other stuff)

Italian Bread

I’m still here! I just looked at the date on my last post and realized I haven’t posted anything since Sept. 1 and I can’t believe it’s been that long. This month has been a wash due to the fact that I’m moving. Again. Less than a year after I moved back to Orlando. Ugh. But I’m moving to the literal greener pastures of Virginia, which I’m extremely happy about it because it suits me much more than Florida ever did. We weren’t planning to move but my boyfriend found a new job in Charlottesville and we both hate Florida, so it seemed like the best decision for us, despite being incredibly inconvenient. We’re moving up there next week and once I finally get settled in my new apartment — which I chose entirely because of it’s large, well lit kitchen — I’ll be able to start cooking again and posting regularly.

But first I thought I would give an update on the BBA Challenge since I haven’t posted about it in forever. I’m still plodding along with it, though most people …

Read the Rest »

August 23, 2011

Peach Semifreddo with Blackberry Glaze

Peach Semifreddo with Blackberry Glaze

I am officially putting summer on notice. Seriously. Start packing up. Time to go. There’s only a week and half left in August and then it’ll finally be September. Even though fall doesn’t technically start for a full month, I consider September 1st the first unofficial day of fall. It’s like how they start putting out all the Christmas stuff right after Halloween. I am ready for fall and I don’t care what the calendar (or the weather) says. Here’s what you can expect in the coming months: lots of soup and pumpkin and cinnamon and apples. If you were with me right now, you would see I am laughing like an evil villain. Can you tell I love fall?

But anyway. Back to summer. Because it is still summer for a little while and I need to take advantage of all the awesome produce this summer has brought me. I still have tons of blackberries that I froze earlier this summer and my CSA informed me that it was the last week we would be getting peaches, so I wanted to do something fun with them. A semifreddo is …

Read the Rest »

March 14, 2012

Homemade Maple-Cinnamon Oat Pop Tarts

Maple-Cinnamon Oat Pop Tarts

Just like Spaghetti-os and Oatmeal Cream Pies, Pop Tarts are one of those things I loved when I was kid but have tried to stay away from as an adult. But since I had so much fun learning to make those other favorites at home, I figured it was time I finally attempted a Pop Tart. With the other recipes I was trying to make a homemade version that was close to the taste and texture of the originals. This time I wanted to make a healthier Pop Tart. But one that still, you know, tastes good. And while this recipe isn’t especially low fat (by my calculations it’s about the same as the store bought version), after some trial and error I feel like I came up with a satisfying compromise.

A Pop Tart is pretty much just pie crust with some type of filling, so the pastry dough is the most important part. I tried out several different “healthy” pie crust recipes first. Lesson learned: pie crust without butter SUCKS. It just does. But thanks to a tip from a reader (Thanks, Shel!), I figured out you …

Read the Rest »

November 30, 2011

Cranberry Pandowdy (and my favorite Cranberry Sauce)

Cranberry-Apple Pandowdy

I hope all my American readers had a nice Thanksgiving. The past couple of years Brandon and I have had a guest to help us eat all that food, but this year was a simple Thanksgiving with just the two of us. Unfortunately, my brain kinda went on autopilot as I was preparing all my traditional dishes and I wound up making enough food for probably 5 or 6 people! Suffice it to say we had lots of leftovers.

The biggest culprit turned out to be cranberry sauce. I found a new recipe to try this year and went a little gung ho with it, making enough to feed about 12 people. Thankfully, the cranberry sauce turned out to be as good as its name: Cranberry Sauce Extraordinaire. It will definitely be my go-to cranberry sauce recipe from now on. The best thing is that it’s not just cranberries: it has apples, pears, pureed orange and berries. You can even mix in some pecans if you want. I love cranberries, but cranberry sauce can sometimes be a bit too tart for me, so I like how all the added fruit really balances the …

Read the Rest »

December 21, 2009

Christmas Cookies!

Christmas Tree Cookies

I may have gone a bit cookie crazy. Besides my Peppermint Fudge Pinwheels, I have two more cookie recipes to share. Well, it’s more like one recipe and one technique, but I’ll get to that.

I’ve never been able to find a sugar cookie that I actually like. I’ve tried about a million and they all just taste blah to me. But I think that’s just the kind of person I am. Brandon told me the other day that I have tendency to put too much flavoring in the things I bake and that may be true, but I just want something that tastes like…something. I hate blah food. Even something that has too much flavor is better than something that doesn’t have any. But I think this is just that age old debate of people who like vanilla ice cream and people who like chocolate. Of course I choose chocolate! The only time I’ll eat vanilla ice cream is if it’s covered in fudge or caramel.

Anyway, I’m not sure I even have a point other than to say that this desire for flavor translates into everything I cook and share on this blog. I make a lot of stuff that I don’t share here because it’s boring or basic. I always try to find recipes that are fun (at least to me). Which leads me to these totally adorable Christmas Tree Cookies. They are fun and easy to make and did I mention how adorable they are? But that’s not even the best part of them. The original recipe was for plain ol’ sugar cookies, but of course I modified them! The best part is that they taste just like cinnamon graham crackers, which are my absolute favorite. And my boyfriend, Mr. You-put-too-much flavoring, actually said that these were perfect! And he hates cinnamon, so if he likes these cookies, anyone will.

Christmas Tree Cookies Christmas Tree Cookies

I bet these cookies would be fun to make if you have kids. You divide the dough into three rolls which you cover in green sugar, then after they’ve chilled for a while, you just sliced them up and bake. I think kids would definitely have fun assembling the little trees; I did and I’m almost 30 years old! These would be really festive and pretty for a party and they keep well in an air-tight container. As with all Betty Crocker cookies I’ve made (or maybe it’s just a personal preference?) I think these taste better the day after you bake them.

Christmas Cookies

The other kind of cookies I made are technically called Stained Glass cookies, but I’m not sure that’s really accurate, especially after I modified them. I have seen recipes for stained glass cookies that actually have a little transparent window of sugar in them and these are not like those at all. These are just your basic sugar cookie recipe, but you divide up the dough and color parts of it with food coloring.

You are supposed to cut out shapes with cookie cutters in the uncolored dough and then cut up the colored doughs into little squares and arrange them on top of the uncolored cut-outs so that it looks like a stained glass window. But OH MY GOD, that is tedious. Seriously, I did about 3 cookies like that and I was done. It took forever and the colored dough kept getting too soft so I had to keep freezing it every 5 minutes. I was about ready to shoot someone and that is not the attitude you should have when making Christmas cookies! It’s supposed to be fun, not mind-numbing. So I pretty much just gave up on the whole “stained glass” thing and just cut out circles and whatever else I wanted. Then I took the colored doughs and cut them with cookie cutters and added more little details. It was much more fun when I could just do what I wanted to.

Christmas Cookies Christmas Cookies

Despite all that work, the cookies that came out were pretty but they were blah. Just about the blandest sugar cookies I’ve ever tasted: they weren’t even that sweet! So I won’t be posting that recipe, but the technique is still interesting and fun (as long as you do what you want and don’t try to kill yourself being “perfect”), and it should work with your favorite sugar cookie recipe.

Read the Rest »