Monday, April 6, 2015

My Perfect Marinara

My Perfect Marinara

1 Pound Ground Turkey
3 Tbs Olive Oil, divided
1 Shallot, finely chopped
1 Garlic Clove, pressed
1 (14.5oz) Can Diced Tomatoes, pureed in blender
1/2 tsp dry Basil
1/2 tsp dry Oregano

  1. In a large frying pan, cook turkey over medium high heat until brown and then turn it on low to keep warm, stirring occasionally.
  2. In a small sauce pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add chopped shallot.  Cook only long enough for them to become translucent.
  3. Add pressed garlic clove to shallot, stir quickly until mixed.  Scoop out about half of the mixture and put it into the turkey.
  4. Add pureed tomatoes to shallot mixture, and stir until mixed.  Turn down to low and let simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Stir meat so that the scoop of shallot and garlic is evenly distributed and then add basil, oregano and salt (I used about 1/4 tsp).  Drizzle with last 1 tablespoon of olive oil and stir.
  6. Once most of the water has evaporated from the tomatoes, stir one more time and add as much meat as you'd like (More meat? More tomatoes?  It's up to you!).  Add salt to taste and pour over your favorite pasta, and top with Parmesan cheese!
It has been waaaaay too long since I've posted on here.  Update?  My husband and I have been married almost 7 years, my son turned 2 recently, and I've got another baby joining our little family in Mid-August.  I've been cured of Thyroid Cancer, I'm working way less (as in, I haven't worked since October, but I'm still on-call for the most amazing little Oncology office ever), and I try every day to appreciate every moment I am blessed to be on this earth!  God is faithful, and I am so busy with real life that I tend to ignore the computer on a regular basis.

Anyway, I've been googling a lot of recipes lately, and to be honest, all the commentary at the beginning of each recipe blog post drives me absolutely bonkers because it takes forever to actually scroll to the bottom to find the recipe.  Soooo, I'm putting my commentary at the end...  No need to thank me, I know on that tiny phone screen that I just saved your day!

I made the above recipe for the first time tonight and my husband loved it!  I saw this video the other day and thought "I can do that! BUT, will it really taste that good?!"  I purposefully made too much meat because I wanted leftovers for another meal (and I didn't want to use too many tomatoes if my experiment was a dud).  It allowed me to make the tomato sauce extra meaty for my husband who prefers meat over tomatoes!  I didn't get a picture to make your mouth water, but I know I'll make it again and I'll just have to update this post.

Happy cooking!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

No Bake Cookies, Low-Iodine Style

I recently posted this picture on Facebook, so I'm going to share the recipe here.  I'm notorious lately for adjusting recipes on my first try.  Thankfully, I didn't fail on this one.  I figured that even if they didn't setup, I'd just sit there with a spoon and eat the soupy, sugary mess from the pan...

Since I didn't have any salt-free peanut butter for this recipe (page 109), I used the raw almonds I had on hand to make almond butter (soooo easy thanks to the awesome food processor from my mom).  It turned out a little more dry than I expected, so I added a little almond milk and less oats.  I think they taste pretty good!  This is coming from a girl that can't currently have foods containing iodine (dairy, processed food, and anything and everything containing iodized salt), so take that into consideration...  I may just want the chocolate bad enough?

1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
1 Cup Sugar
3 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
1 Cup Almond Butter
A Pinch of Kosher Salt
2 Cups Gluten Free Oats
1/4 Cup Almond Milk

1.  Mix everything (except milk and oats) over low heat in a medium saucepan until smooth.
2. Add oats, stir well
3. Add milk, stir well.
4. Spoon whatever size cookie you desire onto wax paper and let cool.

I may add chopped almonds next time to give them a little crunch.

Enjoy :)

Friday, March 29, 2013

Quick, Pick-Me-Up Bars

Has it really been over a year since I put anything on here?  I guess I better get busy!!!

I recently posted this pic on Instagram...

Here's the story:  I am on a non-dairy, non-gluten, non-coffee, non-chocolate diet due to my little person's food intolerances!  Let's just say this new mom is much happier with less dirty diapers, less fussing (from the whole family), and no more rash on his sweet baby skin because of the new "diet."

So, we bought a Ninja thinking it would be a great addition to the kitchen, and I was less than impressed (chunky, and I mean CHUNKY) green smoothies...'nuff said), so we returned it and bought a new vacuum!  It was the same price, and something needs to get all that nasty cat hair off the floor and furniture.

The hubby found this energy bar recipe online, and I looked up the Lara Bar ingredients for Pecan Pie.  First we tried it in the Ninja (failure), and then perfected in our trusty old mini food processor.  What a difference.  The only downside is that I had to make 3 batches to get the amount I wanted thanks to the size of my food processor, but it still only took about 15 minutes.  We got all the ingredients at Costco, because life is just less expensive that way!

So, without further ado, here's the recipe I used for the treats posted above:

1.25 cups dates (around $7 for 3lbs)
1.5 cup almonds (around $13 for 3lbs)
1.5 cup pecans (around $13 for 2lbs)

1. Throw it all in the food processor and pulse a few times to chop things up a bit.

2. Run the food processor on high for about a minute until the desired consistency is reached.

3. This is the messy part...  It's sticky and oily!  Dump the goods onto wax paper and roll into a ball and make sure everything is sticking together.

4. Flatten the ball so it looks like a giant burger patty or shape it into a square.

5. Refrigerate for about an hour to harden it up a bit.

6. Cut it however you like.  We did bite size the first time, and then bigger bars this time.  I prefer the bigger bars.

7. Keep refrigerated.  The first ones we kept separated with wax paper in baggies, and this batch we separated them into individual sandwich bags to be able to just grab and go.

Our first batch was too "date-y" tasting, so we used less the next time and they were much better!  I'd love to know if anyone successfully uses a Ninja for this mess.  Let me know how they turn out for you!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Kauai Inspired Cilantro Salmon Wrap

My hubby & I just got home from a fabulous week on Kauai's east shore.  We ate all our meals based on Yelp reviews!  We found things that made our taste buds dance and sing.  I'm not normally a fish person, but ahi, ono, and mahi mahi fresh from the Pacific sure made me a happy vacationer.

Our favorite hole-in-the-wall was a very popular establishment called Mermaids Cafe.  I had the Ahi Cilantro Wrap... not once, but two times during our stay!  So, of course, I had to create something reminiscent of my fabulous experience when I returned to the mainland.  All I had on hand was salmon, brown rice, and boring ol' flour tortillas, but that just had to do!  So I asked the man of the house to prepare the salmon on the grill and I set to work trying to create a cilantro sauce.  I have no idea what they put in their recipe, so I looked up "cilantro pesto" on the WWW, and got an idea for ingredients other than the obvious.  Of course I didn't measure, and it's all on taste, but here ya go:

2 cloves of garlic peeled, smashed and chopped
1 bunch of cilantro with the stems cut off
2ish tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
2ish tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1ish teaspoon of pepper

Put it all in the food processor until it resembles pesto.

I had leftover brown rice in the fridge from yesterday's lunch, so we dumped it (cold) on top of the tortilla along with the cilantro mix and the sliced salmon, and rolled it up like a burrito.  The flavors were pretty fantastic and I must say it will be a staple dinner in my house from now on.  Sure, it's a "summer in the sun" kind of meal, but hey, it's practically summer all year 'round where I live.

For next time:
I'd like to try a little dash of cayenne in the cilantro mix, and some sliced cucumber in the wrap.
Also, the hubby had a second wrap, and we were out of rice by then, so he used wasabi mayo from TJ's with the salmon and said it was very tasty!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Comforting Potato Soup

I didn't get an appetizing picture of this meal...  It really looks like mush to be honest with you, but it tastes so good!  I used this potato soup recipe as my base and came up with this:

First, cook this stuff:
4 baked potatoes (baked for an hour at 400°, cooled, peeled and very coarsley mashed)
1/2 pkg mushrooms, sauteed (in copious amounts of butter and salt...  I have the hubby do it)
1/4 lb ground turkey
1 Cup chicken stock (I use the organic stuff from Costco)
  1. Get the potatoes scrubbed, poked with a fork and into the oven.  They do take about an hour (until they're tender), so once you have them cooling go ahead with the rest of the instructions.
  2. Like I said, I have the hubby cook the mushrooms because I can't stand to put that much salt on anything, but he cooks them to taste, so however you cook them will be just fine.  Fry them up in a sauce pan, add butter, salt, garlic, whatever.  Once they are cooked to your liking, put them in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Using the pan you cooked your mushrooms in, cook up your ground turkey.  Once it's browned (from the left over butter that was in there from the mushrooms) return the mushrooms and add the chicken stock to soak up any remaining yummy-ness from the pan.  Let simmer on low, or if you decided to cook this ahead... stick it in the fridge until you're ready for it.  I am only guessing with my measurements because I was dealing with leftovers.
  4. Without burning your fingers...  Peel those potatoes and mash them coarsely.  They should be in bite size pieces, but not unrecognizable...  Cube them if you must.
In a large pot/stock pot/dutch oven:
2 tablespoons flour 
6 cups Milk
  1. BEFORE turning on the heat, dump your flour into the pot, and stir in the milk a few tablespoons at a time while using a whisk to mix well.  You don't want it all lumpy and bumpy.  
  2. Once all the flour/milk mixture is a nice paste, turn on the heat to medium low and continue adding the milk while stirring.
  3. Go ahead and turn up the heat to medium high and continue stirring until thickened.  Let it boil a little, but make sure to scrape the bottoms and sides to keep those lumps away.  When desired thickness is reached, turn it down to a simmer.
Now for the good stuff!
1 tsp pepper
2 dashes cayenne pepper
1 chive sliced
3 small stalks celery with leaves, chopped
1 large carrot sliced
3 1/2 inch slices fresh mozzarella
  1. Add your potatoes, and your mushroom/meat mix to the milk/flour mix and stir.
  2. Add  the rest of the ingredients (pepper, cayenne, chive, celery, carrot & mozzarella).
  3. Stir well and let simmer for about 10 minutes or until the celery and carrots are no longer super crunchy.
We like to eat this soup with a nice warm piece of garlic bread.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Unbaked #8 - Jewelry Holder Frame

For the last ten years, my jewelry has been in a mangled mess inside a little jar that a friend brought back to me from Russia.  Since I'm "growing up" I thought I should have a more respectable holder/display for my earrings and necklaces.

What I used:
Old baseboard (approx 68")
Handheld Saw (and then eventually hubby's power saw)
Spray paint
Lace (I bought a 'sample pack' of 25 pieces of lace 11.5"x14.5" for 99¢!)
Push pins

I found some old baseboards in the attic of our garage (something the previous owners left), and begged my hubby to get them down so I could cut them up and do crafty things with them.  My piece of wood was about 68" long.  So I made a mark every 16" and then I used my quilt mat to measure a 45° angle to either side of my mark.

Then I used my hubby's trusty handheld saw to get the first couple angles cut...  About the time I thought a power tool would come in handy, my hubby came to my rescue and helped me finish the cutting with more precision and less time. (somewhere in there one of my pieces came out shorter than the other three, so I just trimmed a second one down so my frame wouldn't look too funky)  I kept my scraps to fit the thing together...  I'll explain later.

I laid my pieces on a large piece of cardboard, and spray painted my wood white.

When they were good and dry, I flipped them over.  Since I did not have the precision of a table saw, nor do I own a staple gun, I used my scraps to hold the lace in each corner and nailed through the scrap and the lace into the "frame".  I also used nails to keep my lace tight on the sides...  I hammered in my nail part way & then bent it over!  My grandmother, a custom picture framer, and my father, a contractor, would both be so disappointed in my lack of appropriate tools!

I used push pins to make my hanger.  I cut my ribbon so that it was long enough to hang above the frame, and then I tied it around each push pin at either end.  I don't know where the pins came from, but they're flat on top and I was able to hammer them in since I think the baseboards were some kind of hardwood.

Then...  I hung it on the wall and put all my earrings and necklaces on it!  I think it turned out funky but fun.

Friday, July 22, 2011

3 Bean Turkey Chili

First, I have a question...  How do you make chili look appetizing?  If you have any helpful hints, I'll take them!  At least this one is colorful :)  My mom always made chili with all sorts of beans and a yummy spice mix, but I've never been able to make my chili as good as my mom's!  My hubby's grandmother gave me a cookbook a few weeks ago as a graduation gift, and I tried the chili recipe and fell in love!  Of course, I'm not an avid TJ's shopper like the majority of my friends, but I did have all the ingredients on hand and thought I'd give it a whirl.  So, here's my interpretation:

  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 14 oz can Diced Tomatoes
  • 14 oz can Black Beans
  • 14 oz can White Beans
  • 14 oz can Vegetarian Refried Beans (I like Rosarita brand)
  • 1/2 C Chipotle Salsa (for a smokey flavor)
  • 1/4 C Thick & Spicy BBQ Sauce (for a little zing)
  • One yellow onion, chopped
  • Olive oil (just a drizzle to saute your onion)
  • Ground Turkey (I use the prepackaged-from-Costco approximately 1 pound stuff)
1. Stir together tomatoes, beans, salsa and BBQ sauce in large pot over low heat.
2. Heat pan over medium heat with olive oil, and saute your onions until crisp tender, add turkey and brown.
3. Add cumin to meat and stir until all the meat is evenly coated.
4. Add meat mixture to bean mixture and simmer over low heat.  Serve once heated through.

I made this  yesterday for bible study, and the girls brought shredded cheddar cheese and Greek yogurt to top it.  They also brought a green salad and cornbread muffins that complimented it perfectly!  Since I wanted it ready when they got here, I threw everything in the crockpot on low for an hour and a half and then left it on warm until they arrived.  It allowed the flavors to mingle a bit longer, and the house smelled good too!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ranch Dressing, Please, Heavy on the Dill!

We ran out of ranch dressing a while back...  And, well, I just did not have it in me to run to the store that evening when I discovered I was out!  Dinner was on plates and headed to the table.  So, I did what I always do, and that was type "ranch dressing recipe" into my little search engine.  To be honest, it probably would have been faster to throw on shoes and drive the two blocks to the grocery store, but I figured "why put on shoes when I probably have all the ingredients...?!"  Plus, the store is usually a zoo around dinner time.

I found this lady's delightful ranch dressing recipe, and used what I had in my fridge.  That's what she'd do anyway, right?  So here's what I used, and I totally didn't measure...  I just scooped ingredients into my dressing thingy until it looked right and mixed it up:

Sour Cream
Fresh Green Onions
Dill (I can't get enough of this stuff!)
Pepper, lots of pepper
Cayenne Pepper
Dried Oregano
Dried Parsley
Fresh Garlic (pressed)

I stirred it up and tasted it, and poured it over our dinner that fateful night.  The hubby liked it, and I haven't bought it at the store since!  It's probably better for us anyway, right?  The salad pictured above includes fresh spinach, red bell pepper, feta cheese, leftover BBQ tri-tip, and of course, the dressing sprinkled with fresh ground pepper.  I served it with peas, corn and sourdough garlic toast.  I got the spinach and peas from a friend who was going out of town and couldn't use them before she left.  She got them from a local farm, and I have to say, they were really tasty!  The peas were still in the shell, so I had to pop them out and boil them, and that was a fun new experience.  I'm excited to change this recipe around and try using some more of my basil, that some may begin to consider a short tree!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pesto Pizza

This post is in honor of my dear friend Linda who helped me remember that I hadn't posted about my pesto adventures!  It started a few months ago when I was perusing the fresh herbs at the local grocery store.  I saw a giant pack of basil that had to be kept closed with a rubber band.  I didn't know exactly how I planned to use it all at the time, but then I remembered PESTO.  Yum!  So I looked on one of my all time favorite recipe sites, and found this tasty pesto recipe.  I love that it uses toasted almonds instead of pine nuts because I usually have almonds on hand.   Since my first batch of pesto, I have found an even better way of keeping the basil fresh if I can't use it all right away...  I bought a plant at Trader Joe's for only $2.99.

What was I to do with all this fabulous pesto?  Of course, I would spread the pesto over pizza dough, and top it with cheese!  Ok, so, I have a secret to share.  I could honestly live on pizza...  breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack...  every day... for the rest of my life.  It was a weekly ritual growing up, pizza, every.Friday.night!  I just can't get enough of the stuff.  Making dough in my bread maker takes at least an hour, so I searched my files of quick recipes, and decided on a focaccia.

I tried this focaccia recipe in a December post, and I was less than satisfied with the flavor.  However, I always hear my husband's voice in my head saying "It's a good first attempt" when I make something that does not meet the expectations of my taste buds' standards.  So, I grabbed that giant mixer and set to work with the bread.  I don't really measure the olive oil, I just kind of get my hands oily and spread the dough pretty thin on a baking sheet.  I only sprinkle the tiniest bit of cayenne and parmesan across the top before baking.  I bake it for about 8 minutes before yanking it from the oven and spreading pesto, cheese and toppings over the lightly browned thin crust.  The pizza in the picture is only topped with pesto, mozzarella and parmesan, but I've used leftover BBQ chicken, olives, pineapple, mushrooms, feta, cheddar, and any other toppings I might have in the fridge that day.

So, there's the easiest, fastest way I have figured out to satisfy my craving for pizza, and use that basil!  While the Focaccia is baking, whip up that pesto, shred that cheese, and have dinner ready in under 30!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Basil, Tomato, & Mozzarella, Oh My!

I bought a basil plant at Trader Joe's a few weeks ago and it just loves my sunny kitchen window! So much so, that I'm actually running out of recipes for all those scrumptious leaves!

My hubby had a long day at work today so I thought I'd make this snack for his arrival home. It popped into my head while I was staring at my giant basil plant and contemplating what to do for my hubby to provide a calm home atmosphere... FOOD! A friend of mine made a similar arrangement when I went to her house one day, so I thought I'd try it out.
It's so simple, and very tasty on a summer evening: 3 Roma tomatoes, fresh mozzarella in water, and fresh basil. I sliced and layered them in the fun arrangement you see in the picture, drizzled them with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and sprinkled the masterpiece with pepper and kosher salt.

On a side note...  My hubby bought me an iPhone for graduation, and I'm having so much fun taking pictures with it.  I tried posting this blog entry from my phone, but for some reason only the picture came through...  I'm still learning :)