Friday, February 26, 2010

Arugula Pesto

Pesto, pesto, pesto... it is so simple and so good.  I really need to make it more often and make other varieties.  But this week I make arugula pesto and it was so good.

Here it is all blended up.
Here is the recipe I used, I took it from Simply Recipes.  Like I have said before, a really great website with lots of great recipes.

Arugula Pesto Recipe


  • 2 cups of packed arugula leaves, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts
  • 1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1/2 garlic clove peeled and minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste


1 Brown 6 garlic cloves with their peels on in a skillet over medium high heat until the garlic is lightly browned in places, about 10 minutes. Remove the garlic from the pan, cool, and remove the skins.

2 Toast the nuts in a pan over medium heat until lightly brown.

3a Food processor method (the fast way): Combine the arugula, walnuts, roasted and raw garlic into a food processor. Pulse while drizzling the olive oil into the processor. Remove the mixture from the processor and put it into a bowl. Stir in the Parmesan cheese.

4 Mix with freshly prepared pasta of your choice. You may need to add a little bit of water or more olive oil to mix the pesto more evenly with the pasta. - I saved some pasta water for this step since there is already plenty of oil in the recipe.

Makes enough pesto sauce for an ample serving of pasta for four people.

I made some roasted carrots to serve with it, so it ended up being a very good and simple meal.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Recent dishes

We have been cooking a lot lately which is great!  So here are some recent meals.

Swiss chard pasta, adapted from a couple recipes on Simple Recipes

Cream cheese stuffed jalapenos, topped with raspberry jelly

 Apple Coffee Cake from Simple Recipes

 Pasta with baked chicken, whole tomatoes, roasted red peppers and fresh mozzarella

 The roasted red peppers

Note on the peppers, recently we have been getting dollar bags ( produce at the VC that is going bad) mainly peppers and roasting them, then freezing them for future use.  It makes them taste great and saves money.  Some of these peppers were used in the chicken dish and the rest were frozen. 

Enjoy and be jealous of these amazing meals.

Dish towel

So I did my first solo sewing project... a dish towel.

I am rather happy with the final product and it was rather easy to complete which is good.  Need to make some more now.

My next project from this is a hand bag.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I recently acquired a sewing machine from my grandma so I have started the process of learning to sew.  On Saturday I took a basic sewing class from a local craft store - Fancy Tiger.  It was very helpful and I am glad I took that instead of trying to read an owner's manual.  In the class we made an ID cozy as shown above in the picture.

After class I signed up for more classes- basic skill classes including zipper and buttons, etc.  I also bought a book with some simple projects.  So I have decided to make kitchen towels and a tote to carry my gym items.  And then keep going from there.  I went a bought lots of supplies today and all ready now I just need to work up some motivation.

Now I just need to re-learn how to knit. And maybe take a painting class.


Valentine's Day

This year for Valentine's we decided to stay in and cook instead of going out to eat, partially to save money, partially to cook some fun stuff and partially because Denver Restaurant Week begins soon and we will be eating out then. ( Very excited about the restaurant week!) 

So on the menu for Valentine's Day was:
Mushroom Wheat Berry Soup
The soup was decent, nothing great.  Jeff enjoyed it but I thought recipe sounded better on paper.

Baked artichokes
I was really excited for these but they turned out someone bitter, maybe they just aren't in season?
Mashed sweet potatoes with apple
I liked these a lot they were really good, but Jeff wasn't as big of a fan.

Blood orange sorbet
This was by far the best item of the meal.  This was soooooo good, I cannot even describe it.

The wine.
The cab was pretty decent, nothing fantastic but good.

Overall it was okay not nearly as good as I was hoping but that happens.
After dinner we went to the Les Claypool concert which was awesome!!!


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Potato Leek Soup

Last week I made potato leek soup and it was very simple and very delicious.  And let me just say I love soup, I would eat soup everyday for lunch if I could.  But I don't mainly because Jeff does not like soup very much so I have to limit my soup consumption.  I try to make soup about every other week and this recipe has been one of the best soups we have made recently.

The recipe is taken from Simple Recipes, another great cooking site to check out, . I used a variety of potatoes, red, purple and yukon.  I also added some cream at the very end that gave the soup extra flavor. 


  • 3 large leeks, cut lengthwise, separate, clean. Use only the white and pale green parts, chop.
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarian option)*
  • 2 lbs potatoes, peeled, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • Marjoram - dash
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Tabasco sauce or other red chili sauce
  • Salt & Pepper
*If cooking gluten-free, be sure to use gluten-free broth.


1 Cook leeks in butter with salt and pepper in a medium sized sauce pan. Cover pan, cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Check often. Do not brown leeks! Browning will give leeks a burnt taste.
2 Add water, broth, and potatoes. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Scoop about half of the soup mixture into a blender, puree and return to pan. Add marjoram, parsley, and thyme. Add a few dashes of chili sauce to taste. Add some freshly ground pepper, 1-2 teaspoons salt or more to taste.
Serves 4-6.

So hopefully you will decide to use this great recipe.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Blood Oranges!

If you have never tried a blood orange, do it now while they are in season because they are awesome.
Taken from Harvest to Table website.
Some people think they are intense but I find them awesome and fun.

So since they are in season now and I can find them at my place of employment I am trying to eat them as often as I can and cook with them as often as I can.  So I was looking at cooking blogs and found this awesome recipe that used blood oranges in cupcakes! I knew I must try it out. 
Here is the result and they are awesome!  If you feel like trying something new you should try out this recipe.  This recipe was taken from blog, great cooking blog to explore if you have time.

Chocolate Olive Oil and Blood Orange Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes.
1 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup pure olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon blood orange zest, finely grated
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon almond meal
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
For Frosting:
1/2 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
2-3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons blood orange juice
1 teaspoon blood orange zest, finely grated
1-2 tablespoons soy creamer or heavy cream (as needed)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pan with paper liners.
Whisk together the coconut milk, sugar, oil, vanilla extract, and zest until incorporated. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, almond meal, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients and pour in coconut milk mixture. Stir until just smooth (do not overmix).
Pour into liners, filling each with 3 tablespoons of batter (cups should be no more than 2/3 full). Bake 18-20 minutes (or 10-12 for minis), or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
For frosting, cream butter until smooth and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add 1 cup powdered sugar and beat until combined. Mix in orange juice, zest, and vanilla. Continue adding sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition (depending on the temperature of your butter, you may need more or less sugar or added cream to achieve the proper consistency). Continue beating until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes.
Happy Cooking, 

First Hike

Today was a beautiful day in Colorado and since we both had the day off we decided to go an a stroll.
It was the first one of the year and it was nice to get back in the swing of it.  We did a short and easy one to start the process, didn't want to hurt ourselves. We went to Red Rocks and did the Trading Post trail, and I still cannot believe how nice it was outside.  Anyway, here are some pictures from the hike.


Hopefully this is the beginning of a good year of hiking and camping.  We plan to do a 14er this year or two but we will see what happens.

Happy Hiking,

Kitchen Creativity

Each week when I make up a new shopping list for meals, I always try to have different recipes.  No same recipes two weeks in a row or even three.  This way I am hopefully trying new recipes or at least mixing it up and not eating spaghetti every week because that is just boring and not a well-rounded diet.  I have been trying to mix it up to get a big variety in my diet lately and part of that is not using the same recipes over and over again.

Anyway, to the point.   When trying to be creative in the kitchen I feel it flows the most when I don't have a recipe already planned to use but I am hungry and need to eat something.  Times like these, when I begin searching and scanning what my options are and then deciding what to eat, are when I feel most creative in the kitchen.  I don't have anything follow I just having to decide what is going to be good out of leftover ingredeints. 

This week for lunch one day I had one of these moments and this is what I came up with.
It is a toasted sandwich with tomato sauce, melted cheddar, baby spinach and spices.  
And it was quite tasty and I was very pleased with my self for coming up with it.  I oringinally was just going to make a plain ol' grilled cheese but say the tomato sauce and figured why not.  Overall I think it was a success and need to push myself to be more creative in the kitchen.

Happy Eating, 

Gluten Challenge

With all these reports coming out about gluten and the many problems people are facing with it, I have been trying to reduce my consumption of gluten.  Just by being conscious about it has helped.
Now instead of buying regular bread we always buy sprouted grained breads, which are easier for your body to digest.

Also we have been trying out new pastas that are gluten free, such as quinoa pasta, rice and millet pasta.  All of the varieties we have tried so far have been pretty good, not the exact same but a good substitute.

When I plan our weekly meals I try to make sure at least one meal is completely gluten free.
I am also trying to do the same with dairy and added sugar.  All part of our eating better from now on.
Dairy isn't too bad, our main dairy consumption is from cheese and yogurt.  Milk is only used for cereal in the morning.

Added sugar is where I really need some work.  I have been better about not eating sweets that aren't fruit.  I just have to not bake as much or give it away when I do.  My only downfall is dark chocolate, which I justify by saying it is dark chocolate and not regular.

But this is all a journey and long process of trying to eat better overall.  

Happy Eating,