Potato Soup

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bowl of potato soup woth spoon

We’re in the second week in January, temperatures on the East Coast have dropped below five (that’s single digits!), and my furnace chose this week to die.  Having spent most of the week wearing scarves and gloves indoors and sitting in range to the only space heater the circuit  in my bedroom would allow, I’ve had a lot of time to dream about warm things.  Mainly, the thought of a big pot of soup on the stove, and a warm, satisfied belly.  Sadly, the trek to the cold, cold kitchen, and away from my toasty, space heated sanctuary, seemed unlikely, so all week I’ve been slumming it with homemade soup’s, sadder, only mildly flavorful cousin, canned soup. But as soon as the HVAC crew got the heat flowing, I got the soup pot back out for some celebratory potato soup with bacon!

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Cranberry Sorbet

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sparkling cider with cranberries in plastic flute
Happy New Year!

Now that the radio is back to regular-old, jingle-bell-free music, and New Years for me is staying up to drink sparkling cider out of a plastic champagne glass in my pajamas, I was ready to ring in the New Year with something bright and cheerful; something to lift my spirits and cleanse my palate to prepare for 2014.  An added bonus: I was finally able to put those ‘Target’ dollar-bin ice cream cups to good use…

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Holiday Hiatus

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Hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgivakah!

So, the holiday season has hit me full-force this year.  Working two jobs in retail, during holiday rush, hasn’t left me with any time to think, let alone cook.  I’ve been going through some serious kitchen withdrawal this past November, which is especially hard because of all the great holiday recipes, new and old, that have been circling around.  Lucky for me, my Thanksgiving plans only require me to show up and eat, so I was able to enjoy a little bit of relaxation before trudging back to work (if it weren’t for those damn paychecks that the jobs provide, I would be in the kitchen, all day, every day).

I fear December is shaping up to be another month spent bouncing around between work, holiday shopping, and fulfilling my social obligations to make time to meet up with friends visiting from out-of-town, and attending every/any holiday party that I’m invited to.  Somewhere in there I will have to fit in, ‘bake holiday cookies with mom’, ‘put up Christmas tree’ and ‘plan kick-ass 24th birthday party with trampolines.’

Meanwhile, my list to Santa will include more free time and probably this amazing microwave s’mores maker…

I just wanted to say ‘Thank-you’ to all of you who have taken the time to read any of these posts, and to please stick around, because I hope to be back in the New Year.  Happy December everybody!

Chili-Lime Pumpkin Seeds

four jack-o-lanterns sitting on a table

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!  I do hope you enjoy your tricks and treats and all your favorite fright night shenanigans.  I thought I’d round out the month, by talking about one of my favorite Halloween staples, pumpkin seeds.  When I was a kid, scooping out the pumpkin ‘guts’ and sorting through the slimy seeds to roast them, was my favorite part of carving pumpkins, and well worth the effort.  So much so, that by and large, after the pumpkin was scraped, and gutted, actual carving of the jack-o-lantern’s face just seemed like unnecessary extra work, but I always trudged ahead.  I needed something to do while my pumpkin seeds dried out after all.

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Vegetarian Chili with Acorn Squash

bowl of acorn squash chili with a spoon

This is just the kind of recipe a person needs when they got a little overzealous at the onset of the first Fall squash sale of the season, and were tremendously tired of slow roasting everything.  Roasting winter squash with brown sugar and cinnamon is all well and good, but adding it to beef up a kick-ass vegetarian chili?  Even Better.

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Pomegranate Salsa

salsa in the center of tortilla chips

I do apologize to my [3-6] regular readers [hi mom!].  I have been off cruising in my brand new ‘automobile’ [the word for cars that have all of their paint and, cars that you don't have to blast the radio in to drown out the scary engine noises] and have been bypassing my apron (just kidding, I never wear aprons) in favor of the drive-in.  But, if anything was going to wrangle me back in, it would be an abundance of pomegranates at my local grocery store.  And what’s red and green and orange all over?  Pomegranate salsa [clearly].  This salsa marks several firsts for me:  the first time I’ve ever eaten a mandarin orange, the first time I’ve not immediately turned an avocado into guacamole, and the first time Lime Tostitos  have ever been on sale for less than $4!  It’s an autumn miracle!

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Party Animal

This past week has been a long, harrowing adventure into baking that I did not anticipate, nor have time for.  Saturday, I had an unusually packed social calendar of events [I was so exhausted from the socializing that I welcomed my impromptu Sunday off, and slept until 1:00 pm], a housewarming party in Virginia in the afternoon, and my first ever [surprise] baby shower, for a co-worker, in the evening.  Also, one of my oldest friends, Marie, was coming into town to visit and attend the baby-shower, taking a break from her PhD studying in Michigan to come and see the little people.  All of this, on top of the usual two-job work week and the new fall TV lineup [you see how a girl could be stressed].

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I had committed to making one of my specialty cookie cakes for the baby shower, so I figured I’d bring one as a housewarming gift for Anna and her roommates as well.  Cookie cakes, being something that I’ve made regularly, with adequate success since high school, I didn’t carve out that much time a dedication to the construction of them.  What I didn’t anticipate, was my lack of cognizant math skills, which led to a horrible lesson in doubling recipes; don’t forget to also double the amount of flour.

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Henri’s French Onion Soup

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I’m recovering from my first cold of the Fall season, and, let me tell you, it’s been a doozy.  I’m no stranger to colds, but mine usually stick to a very sensible pattern (if getting a virus can be sensible).  So I was completely thrown when I lost my voice three days in, got it back two days later, and still woke up with some residual sinus pressure some eight days after the initial sore throat [the downside to being a grown-up and living on your own, means you have to make your own sick food]. Lucky for me, I had the foresight to make a huge pot of ‘Henri’s French Onion Soup’ at the start of last week; that got me through those first treacherous days of coldmageddon.

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Parsley Pesto with Walnuts

basil bunch in jar with water

The little window box herb garden I planted over the summer with basil, thyme and parsley needed a good pruning.  So, while I’m cultivating my parsley, as one does on a Sunday night after dark, I was a little overwhelmed by the amount that made it’s way into my colander.  I don’t use parsley that much, so it’s anyone’s guess why I planted it in the first place.  It’s my alternative to cilantro, even though people give me funny looks when I compare the two [I use it in fresh salsa and in vinaigrette dressed potato salads (which I made zero times this year)]. As I’ve fallen down the pinterest black hole as of late, I decided to consult those internet strangers who help mold my life’s purpose, for some recipes featuring parsley.  What I got, was a lot of ‘add parsley to this’ and ‘garnish with that’, and a whole lot of pesto recipes [but, really, I already knew that's where this was heading].  I was doubtful that I liked parsley enough to be used as dip, sauce and drizzle, but a large bunch of flat leaf parsley and an inability to waste food, forced my hands to pull out the food processor.  And you know what? Parsley pesto might even be better than basil pesto, I’m just putting that out there.

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Baked Caprese Mac with Pan-Blistered Cherry Tomatoes

casserole dish close up

There’s really not a lot going for me at the moment, besides watching season 2 of ‘Chuck’ (which I still haven’t decided if I like yet) and  obsessing over Bastille covers like this one.  Friday the 13th came and went without one mysterious mishap, unexplained event, nor hockey-masked man with a chainsaw.  The real horror, I guess is that I’ve gotten myself into a bit of a food rut situation.  10 and 12 hour work days, have left me with very little enthusiasm to remain standing long enough to cook a meal that requires more effort than pushing a few buttons on a microwave.  Plus, it’s 5 dollar foot-long subtember, so my lunch and dinner for the past week has pretty much been spoken for, I’m sad to say.  But, earlier this week, my food prospects were looking pretty good.  I actually started the week with a day off [score!] and spent it in the kitchen, with the idea that I would eat leftovers the rest of the week.  Sadly, I overestimated my self-control.

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The foodie in all of us

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