Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Spring is here!  Which means asparagus is finally coming into season, so we are trying to eat it as often as possible until it goes back out of season, which isn't a very long time.  The other night we made the recipe below, and sorry I didn't take any pictures.  But trust me it is delicious. Again this recipe is taken from Smitten Kitchen.

Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Lemon Pasta
Adapted from Bon Appetit

Serves 6
1 pound spiral-shaped pasta
1 pound slender asparagus spears, trimmed, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon plus more for garnish ( I actually didn't have any of this but I just added some other seasonings and garlic)
1 5- to 5 1/2-ounce log soft fresh goat cheese (the pre-crumbled stuff will not melt as well)
Fresh lemon juice to taste (optional)
Crushed Red Pepper flakes to taste

Cook your pasta in a large pot of well-salted water until it is almost tender, or about three minutes shy of what the package suggests. Add asparagus and cook until firm-tender, another two to three minutes. Drain both pasta and asparagus together, reserving one cup of pasta water.
Meanwhile, combine olive oil, lemon peel, tarragon and cheese in a large bowl, breaking up the goat cheese as you put it in. Add hot pasta and asparagus to bowl, along with a couple slashes of the pasta water. Toss until smoothly combined, adding more pasta water if needed. Season genersously with salt and pepper, and lemon juice if you feel it needs a little extra kick. (We did.)

Granola Bars

I used to eat granola bars all the time, but then stopped because of all the extra stuff that add in them and all the packaging was a turn off.  So I have slowly been searching for a recipe that I really liked and I have found it. 

Of course it comes from Smitten Kitchen

Makes 12 to 16 granola bars

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed (I used unsweetened)
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
2/3 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cup dried fruit, or a mix of dried fruit (I used chopped cranberries and pumpkin seeds)
*I also threw in some ground flax seed

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Butter an 8×12-inch baking dish (lacking this, I used a 9×13-inch).
Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.
While the mixture is still warm, stir in the honey, vanilla and salt until the mixture is well coated, then the dried fruit. Pour the mixture into your prepared baking dish and press, press, press it in (wet fingers and/or a silicon spatula work great for this) until the mixture is packed as tightly as possible.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares — your best serrated knife is great for this.

You can store these in an airtight container at room temperature for a week or two, as you would cookies, however, I prefer to store mine in the freezer. I find that they stay the most crisp this way as all granola tends to soften at room temperature after a day or more.

My favorite way to eat these is crumbling them up and throwing them on some plain yogurt.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010


The other night we decided to make pizza.  We made our own dough which was pretty easy as seen below.  And then we topped it with some tomato puree, cream cheese, red peppers and roasted garlic.  It was delicious!  But you could top it with whatever you want. 

Basic Pizza Dough ( taken from How to Cook Everything)

1 tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more as needed ( we used a mixture of white, whole white wheat, and whole wheat)
2 tsp sea salt
1-1 1/4 cup water
2 Tbsl plus 1 tsp olive oil

1. Combine yeast, flour and 2 tsp salt in medium sized bowl and use a mixer with dough hooks to mix together.  Slowly add 1 cup water and 2 Tbsl olive oil. 

2. Once fully combined if it is dry, add another tablespoon or two of water.  If too wet, do the same with flour.  

3. Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead by hand a few seconds to form a smooth, round dough ball.  Grease a bowl with the remaining olive oil, and place the dough in it.  Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm, area until dough doubles in size, 1-2 hours.  

Then roll it out onto your choice of pan, add some toppings, and bake at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes.


Lemon Risotto

Last night while we had some massive precipitation, we made lemon risotto.  This recipe came from the wonderful Smitten Kitchen.  The key to good risotto and patience and keeping your broth warm.  This risotto turned out very creamy and delicious.  We added some peas because I felt it need some more substance.  I wish we had some scallops to top it off with, but maybe next time.  This dinner was coupled with watching The Time Traveler's Wife by candlelight.  It was a great evening and a perfect meal. 

Lemon Risotto
Adapted from Bon Appetit, May 2002
Makes 6 first-course or 4 main-course servings.
6 cups canned low-salt chicken broth homemade vegetable broth
3 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large shallots, chopped
2 cups arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice ( we used a Meyer lemon)
4 teaspoons grated lemon peel

Bring broth to simmer in large saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low; cover to keep warm. Melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and saute until tender, about 6 minutes. Add rice; stir 1 minute. Add wine and stir until evaporated, about 30 seconds. Add 1 1/2 cups hot broth; simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently. Add remaining broth 1/2 cup at a time, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently until rice is creamy and tender, about 35 minutes. Stir in cheese and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in parsley, lemon juice, and lemon peel. Season risotto with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl and serve.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Miso Soup

Miso soup is a super easy soup to make and is so good for you.  Last night Jeff made some here and it was delicious.  I think it really came down to the miso we used, which was Taki Ginger Miso.

It claimed to be spicy but it really wasn't, promise.

We used this recipe taken from 101 Cookbooks.  We also ended up doubling it.  

Miso Soup Recipe

Miso Choice: This time around I used an organic white miso, but I'd encourage you to experiment with a range of misos.
3 ounces dried soba noodles
2 - 4 tablespoons miso paste (to taste)
2 - 3 ounces firm tofu (2 handfuls), chopped into 1/3-inch cubes
a handful of watercress or spinach, well washed and stems trimmed sugar snap peas
2 green onions, tops removed thinly sliced
a small handful of cilantro
a pinch of red pepper flakes
Cook the soba noodles in salted water, drain, run cold water over the noodles to stop them from cooking, shake off any excess water and set aside.
In a medium sauce pan bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and remove from heat. Pour a bit of the hot water into a small bowl and whisk in the miso paste - so it thins out a bit (this step is to avoid clumping). Stir this back into the pot. Taste, and then add more (the same way) a bit at a time until it is to your liking. Also, some miso pastes are less-salty than others, so you may need to add a bit of salt here. Add the tofu, remove from the heat, and let it sit for just a minute or so.
Split the noodles between two (or three) bowls, and pour the miso broth and tofu over them. Add some watercress, green onions, cilantro, and red pepper flakes to each bowl and enjoy.
Serves 2 - 3.


Apples, apples, apples

Applesauce is so good and delicious, can I just say that.  I have been using it a lot lately for my muffins, see below; so I decided to make some of my own.  I bought some dollar bags of apples and went to town.

It was so easy too.  I didn't even peel the apples, I just sliced/cored them up and put them in a pot with a little bit of water.  Once they cooked for an hour or so I added some cinnamon and nutmeg to taste and cooked them a little bit longer.  Then I blended them up to make it smoother, and that is it.  Super easy.  I used 10 apples and look how much it made!  I used a variety of apples too, some sweet and some sour.  I am very excited to eat some.


Reading List

Yesterday I went to Tattered Cover, an awesome local bookshop, with some birthday money and bought 6 new books!  Very excited about that, I love bookstores and books and browsing.  But anyway, thought I would post by bedside to read pile.  It is rather large but I will get through it eventually.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver

I just finished this book this morning and it was really good.  I am terrible about saying what books are about because I become so involved in them that it is like telling about your life; you can't put into words what you do everyday because it doesn't seem like much but it is your life.  Yes, I am a little obsessed with books, but this is how I feel when I read them.  I am apart of them and I can't give enough.  I always what to know what happens after.  But anyway back to the book.

I love Barbara Kingsolver, everything I have read by her is great.  And I have many more of her books to read which is great.  She is great at capturing emotions and moments in life, where you do really feel like you are a part of it, you can see it happening.

So if you want a good read, read this.  It takes place in the U.S. Southwest and revolves around a woman trying to find her place in life and the world because she doesn't think she has a home.  That is the best I can do with a plot, sorry.  But you should still read this book.  I liked this book much better than the Poisonwood Bible, if that says anything.

Happy Reading.

Chana Masala

Lately I have been craving Indian food and most of these cravings have been met with frozen dinners from work.  But last night I decided to try my hand at some Indian food and I am pretty pleased with the turnout.  It was a little spicy but still very good, maybe just a little less cayenne next time.  I took the recipe from the wondering Smitten Kitchen.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil olive oil
2 medium onions, minced ( I felt one was enough)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 fresh, hot green chili pepper, minced
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (I used a quarter of this because my cayenne is extremely hot)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 tablespoon amchoor powder (see note)
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 cups tomatoes, chopped small or 1 15-ounce can of whole tomatoes with their juices, chopped small
2/3 cup water
4 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 lemon (juiced) (see note; I used a whole lemon to swap for the amchoor powder)

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion, garlic, ginger and pepper and sauté over medium heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Turn heat down to medium-low and add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, cumin seeds, amchoor (if using it), paprika and garam masala. Cook onion mixture with spiced for a minute or two, then add the tomatoes and any accumulated juices, scraping up any bits that have stuck to the pan. Add the water and chickpeas. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, then stir in salt and lemon juice.
Eat up or put a lid on it and reheat it when needed. Curries such as this reheat very well, later or or in the days that follow, should it last that long.

I ate it with some naan bread and it was very good.  You could also make some rice to eat it with if you choose.

Happy Eats.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


We have had some guest this week which is why there has not been any updates recently.  Haven't really been cooking but that will go back to normal tomorrow.  My birthday was this Monday and my family is in town for that and to just visit.  It has been nice.  The best day has been going to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, this is one of the best zoos.  Seriously, you can feed giraffes!  Weather has been beautiful lately, so enjoy the pictures.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Loco Hummus

Hello Interwebs, it's Jeff.  I know I don't post on this website often, but I wanted to share my latest hummus concoction.  I have been making hummus a lot lately, as it is one of my favorite snacks and it is so easy to make.  There are also so many variations that it is fun to experiment with.

It's pretty darn tasty, and here's what you'll need if you want to make it yourself:

Tahini (premade or you can just buy sesame seeds to save $)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Garbanzo Beans
Black Beans
Juice from 1 Lime
1/4 Onion
1 Garlic clove

First cook your dried beans.  You can do this ahead of time.  I used about 1/3 cup of each, which yields around a cup of each.

If you need to make the tahini, put a couple-few cups of sesame seeds on a greased/sprayed/oiled sheet in the oven at 350 degrees.  Bake for about 6-8 minutes, stirring often.  Once the sesame seeds have cooled, put them in a food processor and blend them with EVOO until nice and smooth.  Pour out excess tahini in container in the fridge for other tahini needs (I left in around a cup in the processor I think).

Stick in onion, garlic, lime juice, and as many jalapenos as you care for (I did 3 big ones, but they were fairly mild), and blend with the left over tahini.

Next, begin blending in the beans along with more EVOO.  I split this up into two rounds so I could better control the consistency.  The amount of EVOO you use depends on what smoothness you want, and how much oil you can handle.  It would probably be better to use an EVOO from the eastern Mediterranean, but I just used one I had on hand that is blended from California and Italy.

The most important part about making hummus is continually checking the taste as you go and being able to improvise, because the spicing can make or break it.  I add quite a bit of sea salt to begin with, and go from there.  I also added black pepper, chili powder, and cumin.  You could certainly add cayenne pepper and/or hot sauce, but I wanted the jalapeno flavors to come through.  Anyway, voila!

Just remember, always use proper sanitation techniques and don't get any hair in it.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Apple Oatmeal Whole Wheat Muffins

Lately I have been hungry, like all the time.  It is getting a little out of hand, so I am trying to find good, healthy snacks.  And hopefully they will help me keep full for a longer period of time.  Besides fresh fruit and veggies, I am trying to consume more nuts, my current fav. are pistachios.  But I found this recipe and it seemed pretty healthy so I made it and this muffins are so good.

Just look at them, they even look tasty. Anyway, here is the recipe.

Makes 12 servings
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon (or more, if you like)
1/3 cup sugar (dry) 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
1/2 banana, mashed
1/3 cup applesauce (no sugar added!)
3/4 cup soy milk (plain or vanilla work well) unsweetened original almond milk
1 apple (make sure it's baking safe) I use Pink Lady
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped into chunks
  •  Set oven to 350 degrees.
  • Dice your apple so it's ready to be put in (I like 1/2" chunks).
  • Thoroughly mix dry ingredients (oats through sugar) in a large bowl.
  • Mix the mashed banana, applesauce, and soymilk (I do the banana and applesauce first, then kind of whip in the soymilk).
  •  Mix the wet into the dry and toss in the nuts and apples (quickly!)
  • The batter should be rising, very fluffy and wet. Scoop it into a greased muffin tray.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes, but try to take out as soon as they look done (over cooking makes them a little bit harder, but still just as tasty).
  • Cool If you let them cool before you eat one, they're much easier to get out of the pan.

Read more: http://caloriecount.about.com/apple-oatmeal-whole-wheat-muffin-recipe-r1324#ixzz0hMDBHWOj

I also added some ground flax meal to make it a little more healthier. 


Red wigglers

We finally made the plunge and got red wigglers.  They are excellent worms for composting.  I am super excited about them, we can finally be a little more green and use our kitchen scraps for something!

We bought them from a source in Kansas at this website Rising Mist.  At the package came with a book, a plastic bins, the worms and compost bed.

Now if only we had a garden we could use this for... maybe one day.
Also we can hope to enlarge this container when we move somewhere else that has the space.

So excited!


So the other night I was craving cake but knowing it would not be super easy I choose brownies instead. 

1/2 cup butter- melted
12 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2 cups sugar- I usually cut this in half
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup flour
4 eggs

Mix all ingredients together until combined.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

I honestly cannot remember where I got this recipe from but it is very good and super easy.  This time Jeff "helped" meaning I asked for the cocoa and he gave me hot chocolate powder, I didn't realize this until I was halfway through adding it.  Thankfully the brownies still turned out good, a little cakier than usual, but I blame that on the hot cocoa mix. 


Lentil Soup and Grilled Cheese

This is one of those comfort food meals.  Not that I needed the comfort but it is just so good and you know I love soup.  This time the crock pot was used, an appliance that is not used very much in our household.  That is mainly because of time, anything requiring a crock pot takes all day and it is not that often that I plan that far in advanced in order for it to be done by dinner.

The recipe it self it pretty simple for the soup...
2 medium onions -- chopped
2 stalks celery -- chopped
4 whole carrots -- chopped
2 whole parsnips -- peel and chop
2 cloves garlic -- minced
1 1/2 cups lentils -- rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon dried thyme
8 teaspoons vegetable bouillon cube
8 cups water

Combine all ingredients in the insert of the slow cooker. Cover, and cook on high until the lentils are soft and the vegetables are tender, about 5 hours. Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Add additional heated vegetable broth if the soup is too thick.
(taken from justslowcooking.com)

And if I do say so it was pretty tasty.  I also added in some barley just because barley and lentils go together so well I figured why not.

Then add it with these awesome grilled cheeses that I made, it was quite a meal.
Lately I have been wanted grilled onions, so I made some for these grilled cheese and they are amazing.  Onions and melted cheese just go together so well.  I also love tomatoes on my grilled cheese whether they are fresh tomatoes, salsa or stewed (as shown above), they just add something so great to grilled cheese.  It is like dipping a grilled cheese in tomato soup.  

So anyway, I recommend this meal, it's easy and tasty and budget friendly.