Browsed by
Month: August 2013

Cheesy Cauliflower Soup and Taco Chili: Two Fall Staples

Cheesy Cauliflower Soup and Taco Chili: Two Fall Staples

We are in full, back to school frenzy-mode around here! There are three of us going this fall, Dallas to first grade, Max to preschool and me. I’m going to preschool too!

I’ll be Max’s teacher. Do you want to clap or cry for me? Both are appropriate. My husband keeps asking me if I’m sure I can handle 12 Max’s at once. Give me enough coffee and I can do anything!
So, I’m in the market for a 6 quart crockpot and not sure if I want the kind you can ground your beef in first, or if I’ll stick with the old-school type. On a side note, Dallas uses the term old-school now and I’m proud to say he uses it correctly. It’s kinda funny! I’ve been busy planning, prepping and transitioning from a full time stay-at-home, but never really stay at home mom to a mom who gets paid for working for someone else. See how carefully I worded that? I have been working plenty for the past six years, now I can finally get a little money out of it!

I was hoping to make this a triple recipe post and include Autumn Sausage Casserole, but that will have to wait. I only own so many pots. If you are planning your meals for the upcoming school rush, I would totally suggest you add these two family staples!

Sorry for the formatting of the first recipe, my Easy Recipe Plus program isn’t working well and hoping the company fixes it soon! Until then, I’m giving another program a shot. Also, I can’t get back in and edit the second recipe, for Cheesy Cauliflower Soup. It isn’t my recipe! It comes from Katie Workman’s cookbook, The Mom 100. Which is a staple around here too!

taco

CheesySoup

Before recipe time, can we just meme for a bit? I can’t laugh alone. (Even though I usually do).

57e576dee762b9330388dd7f508c5286    cd9221370d4784503d4cf62992625759     a98443bb1f58796a3b5e29d7f3676e7f    415730009cbfc0a73c847c7bcd63feb7

0bb2bacc2bb3c17e3fbe5e0a024e7ab0

 

Cheesy Cauliflower Soup
Serves 4
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 Tbs. Kosher or coarse salt, plus more to taste
  2. 1 large head of Cauliflower (about 2 lbs.), cored and cut into 1″ pieces
  3. 2 Tbs. (1/4 stick) of unsalted butter
  4. 1 onion, chopped
  5. ½ tsp. minced garlic
  6. 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  7. ½ tsp. dried thyme or 1 big pinch of ground nutmeg
  8. 4 c. low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  9. 2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
  10. ⅛ tsp. cayenne, or a few shakes of Tobasco sauce or 1 squirt of Sriracha sauce (All optional)
  11. 1 cup. heavy cream or whole milk
  12. 1½ c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
  13. Freshly ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Pour water to a depth of 1 inch into a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add 1 Tbs. of slat and the cauliflower, cover the pot, reduce the heat to med-high, and let simmer until the cauliflower is tender. (about 7-9 minutes). Drain the cauliflower and set it aside.
  2. Melt the butter in the same pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until tender but not browned. (about 4 minutes) Add the garlic and cook until the garlic starts to turn golden and becomes fragrant. (1-2 minutes) Whisk in the flour and thyme or nutmeg and cook, whisking, until the flour starts to color, about 3 minutes.
  3. Gradually whisk in the broth, dijon mustard, and whatever spicy ingredient you are using. Let come to a simmer and cook until the liquid thickens slightly, about 5 minutes, then stir in the cook cauliflower. (the only change I made here is that I pureed the cauliflower in my blender BEFORE I added it to the pot – she does it in the next step, but I’m just saying what I did)
  4. At this point, you can transfer the soup to a blender or food processor (working in batches if necessary) and puree it or, better yet, use an immersion blender (this is what I used in this step) to puree right in the pot until smooth. Make the soup as smooth or chunky as you want. (I liked mine smooth!)
  5. Return the soup to the pot if necessary and reheat it over med-high heat. Add the cream or milk, and the cheddar cheese and stir until the cheese is melted and everything is hot, about 3 minutes. Don’t let the soup come to a boil or it might separate. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt or pepper to taste. (I added a little tiny bit of garlic powder here, just to get that garlic flavor a little higher).
Adapted from Kim Nowlin
Adapted from Kim Nowlin
Food It Forward http://fooditforward.com/
Pumpkin Scones

Pumpkin Scones

I have a story I’d like to share and I’m not sure if it’s a good idea, but I will anyhow.

My second dental cleaning was this afternoon. Not the second cleaning I’ve had in my life, but second in the past few weeks. I had a deep cleaning where my gums get a bit of numbing and the hygienist goes to town. These cleanings each take an hour and a half or so and your mouth isn’t in the mood to party afterward. What am I getting at here? I needed to eat lunch before my appointment. 

It didn’t dawn on me that I should eat something, until about fifteen minutes before I was scheduled to be in the chair. The kids had already been dropped off and I had already spent my “extra time” picking up a fun new bag I ordered from my friend. I knew I needed some protein, but wasn’t sure where I could park, run in, buy something and have time to eat it.

First place with a parking spot in front? The bagel store. Knowing full well bagels are not on my “Good Eats” list, I bought a bagel dog in hopes of finding some protein in the hot dog and hopefully gnawing only a little of the bagel wrap away.

Now let’s talk about how it really went down.  

The man behind the counter didn’t hear me say that I wouldn’t need my bagel dog warmed up, so he microwaved it anyhow. I pushed all the bad things I know about hot dogs out of my head as I forked over the money for my “lunch” and a pack of day old bagels for my boys. He pumped some mustard and ketchup into a cardboard box that is meant to hold french fries, I grabbed the bagel dog and ran out the door, then jumped in the car.

5 minutes to go and the drive over would take 4. I dipped my bagel dog into some mustard and then ketchup and took a bite of what I knew would be a little too hot. It didn’t matter, I was hungry.

Ok, so “a little too hot” also translates to blazing inferno in this situation.

As I was having trouble ripping a bite of the  bagel and dog off, I felt my fingers got hot while I worked and worked to tear off the last 10% of my bite. I didn’t have a napkin around my food,  and even though my fingers were burning, I couldn’t just put it down. There was a big bite in my mouth and I would have either:

A) Pulled a chewed up bite of bagel dog out of my mouth, still attached to the big dog

or

B) Let go of the bagel dog and let the whole thing hang from my mouth while I let my hand cool down.

Are you following me? does this make sense?

My mouth could handle the heat of my food, but my hands couldn’t. Plus, I was driving. I really did contemplate letting the bagel dog hang from my mouth while I kept both hands on the wheel. I had no choice but to let my fingers sizzle away while I had my fill of bagel.

The worse part is, I went back for a second bite, even after my pointer finger was left red and throbbing.

I finished my lunch like a champ and then went in to confess to the receptionist why I’d need one of their free toothbrushes.

Grossed out? I know. I’m sure someone I know saw it. Maybe in the next few days I’ll hear, “I saw you driving! You looked like you were in pain. Were you ok?”

Ok, ok, we can finally move on to something everyone loves. Pumpkin scones!

Iced Pumpkin Scones. So yummy!

 

My boys woke up and asked for pumpkin scones from Starbucks, because…well, they have spent a lot of time at Starbucks. I know you aren’t judging. 

Anyhow, our Starbucks  doesn’t sell pumpkin scones right now. So, I did the next best thing and made them myself. Well, that’s the third best. Second best would have been to pay someone else to do it. Alas, I’m poor. So, I messed my own kitchen up.

Pumpkin Scones
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breads & Breakfasts
Serves: 8-12
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter (cut into chunks)
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin (plain, not pie mix)
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 3 tablespoons half and half
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla


  • Glaze
  • 1 cup + 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons half & half

  • Spiced Glaze
  • 1 cup + 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons half & half
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ ground ginger
  • ⅛ ground ground clove
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger cloves and nutmeg.
  3. Using a pastry knife, two knives or a food processor, cut cold butter into the dry mix of flour and spices.
  4. Continue to cut the cold butter into the mix, until there are no large chunks and dough is course in texture.
  5. In a smaller bowl, whisk together pumpkin, molasses, egg and vanilla.
  6. Combine wet ingredients into the larger bowl of dry ingredients.
  7. Mix only until all ingredients are combined.
  8. Place dough on a lightly floured surface, kneading a few times to solidify.
  9. Roll the dough with a floured rolling pin into a large rectangle, about ½ inch high.
  10. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough horizontally and then into quarters.
  11. Cut each quarter into four triangles.
  12. Place dough on a lined or buttered and floured pan.
  13. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown.

  14. After scones have cooled, mix together the powdered sugar and half and half for the white glaze. Sifting the flour offers better results. If the glaze is too runny, add more sugar.

  15. Mix the spiced glaze in the same way as the white glaze.

  16. Dip the top halves of scones into white glaze, being careful not to over do it.
  17. Using either a squeeze bottle or a small utensil, drizzle the spiced glaze over the top of iced scones.
  18. Giving the glaze time to set will offer better results.
  19. Enjoy!
 

Sliced Bread for School Lunches

Sliced Bread for School Lunches

We had an…um, “discussion” the other day about bread in our house. I rarely get mad at my husband. Like, hardly ever. I get annoyed with him, sure, but mad, not really. There are three things he can do though, that will surely get me seeing red. Wait until you read how serious and important these things are.

1. Dump out the rest of my coffee. I know it’s six hours old. I’m still working on it!

2. Come home with a sunburn. Lord, help my husband if he ever brings my kids home sunburned.

3. Buy low quality food for the kids.

If I find a Snickers wrapper in his car or an Old Carl’s Jr. bag in the backseat, I mostly just roll my eyes. But, when he saved us money (somewhere between .50¢ and $1) by bringing home the extra-cheap store brand bread, I flipped my ridiculously food-sensitive lid. It is loaded with chemicals and High Fructose Corn Syrup. It’s not made of food, it’s made of lab-grown materials!

Lucky for me, Jy is super patient and deals with all my ______________. (I was thinking of the words: oddities, quirks, tangents. What where YOU thinking?)

Fine family, you want your white bread. You won’t eat my weird brown, sprouted bread? I’ll make you some white bread. Because, I love you. See how much nicer I sound by saying I love you?  Close one!

Breadmaker Bread

 

I have made loaf after loaf in my bread machine and rarely have I had such success as I have had with this recipe. Most of the time, my short blocks of wheat and yeast are either doughy in the middle, too heavy to digest or just plain nahashty.

This is the PERFECT school lunch style white bread recipe. No corn syrup, no wheat gluten, no xanthan gum, no adjfkdlsjfasedhryeiist, which is probably a thing. It’s foolproof! Don’t be afraid when you see your dough rise, rise, rise!

I’m experimenting with a loaf using 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 white flour. Next, I’ll work on ridding the white sugar. I have a feeling though, that this will be the exact recipe I make for school lunch sandwiches (using raw sugar instead of white).

Give it a go, you’ll end up with a giant loaf of bread!

Sliced Bread for School Lunches
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Bread
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package bread machine
  • yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45
  • degrees C)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. Follow your breadmaker's instructions to put ingredients in the correct order. Don't let water get too hot or it will kill the yeast. Use the 2 cup basic white button on regular color for your machine.
 

Triple Cheese Apple-Strawberry Pecan Stack

Triple Cheese Apple-Strawberry Pecan Stack

What would you call this? An appetizer or dessert? It’s something in between and it’s a great way to make someone your friend. Take a bite or two, sure, but don’t fool yourself by thinking the apple slices make this dish healthy. It’s fat and it’s proud, baby!

And no, it’s totally not DAMY friendly.

Here’s what we’ve got put together: three cheeses (brie, mozzarella and cream cheese) melted together with butter and pureed with strawberries, spread over toasted bread, with roasted pecans, crispy apple slices, cinnamon and honey.

So yeah, you’re gonna just want to go out and buy yourself some fat pants, ok?

TripleCheeseBerryDip

I can only wonder what this would taste like spread over angel food cake. Someone else please, make it and tell me!

With everyone asleep, I have some time to chat. So let’s hurry up and talk about nothing, shall we?

IMG_3671

Check out my cute little Seattle Starbucks mug. I love it! Every month I swap “Fit Boxes” with other members of a Facebook fitness group. The idea is to send a shoebox filled with goodies to inspire your friend (of the month) to get her butt off the couch and exercise. There are a few hundred ladies who participate and it is a blast! My buddy last month sent me a big fat mug, along with other goodies. I always want to buy myself the San Francisco or California mug at Starbucks, but will never plop down (um, ew?) the cash. So, this was an awesome surprise.

IcedCoffee

I found this new Trader Joe’s Cold Brew Coffee and can’t wait to try more. I over-milked it this morning, so the jury is still out. My hopes are high, though! The coffee was brewed cold (not sure how that is done), which means it was never heated and won’t have that bitter, old coffee taste that a lot of bottled iced coffee does. I promise to report back.

icecream

Here’s my kids, digging into each other’s ice cream. They seriously choose the grossest flavors. Why do kids think Gummy Bears taste good mixed with ice cream? They just don’t kids, they don’t.

chairs

Here’s my before and after chairs. My brother let me know how my last recover (the pink floral) would fit perfectly in a retirement home. Hopefully my new (unstained and playdough free) material has a more youthful floral pattern to it. Maybe my chairs are now suited for Baby Boomers instead? I’m sure there are plenty of young patterns out there, but I have two small boys and I need something to hide yogurt stains.

Ok, I’ve got nothing left to chat about. However, before I get to the recipe, I wanted to remind you that granola is yummy and totally isn’t just for hippies. Yeah, if you eat too much of it you’ll expand your own hippies, but you won’t magically end up with Birkenstocks on your feet. 

And if you do find yourself in that situation, please make an appointment with a podiatrist. Sandal shaped fungus is no laughing matter. 

I have Jamie Oliver’s 25 minute recipe you can try, it’s the gateway recipe into the serious stuff. Serious granola I mean. Not drugs. Don’t do drugs. They are expensive, they make you ugly and kill brain cells. Other than that, goodnight!

granola

 

Triple Cheeseberry Stack
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Ingredients
  • Spread:
  • 1 part mozzarella
  • 1 part brie
  • 1 part whipped cream cheese
  • ½ part strawberries
  • ¼ part ghee (clarified butter)
  • dash salt

  • sliced bread of choice, gluten free, rolls, french bread...anything works
  • raw, unsalted pecans
  • thinly sliced apple
Instructions
  1. Sauce:
  2. Over low heat, gently melt Ghee, brie and mozzarella. Don't overcook, you'll just want to get the cheese soft and runny.
  3. While sauce melts, blend strawberries in a food processor until they are a saucy consistency.
  4. Pour the melted cheese into the food processor with strawberry puree and process until well combined.
  5. Add cream cheese and blend until smooth.
  6. Sprinkle in a dash or two of salt and blend again.
  7. Turn on oven broiler to high.
  8. Assembly:
  9. On a large baking pan, spread cheese dip over sliced bread of choice. Sprinkle pecans over the top and let broil in the oven until sauce is melted and smooth.
  10. Don't over-broil!
  11. Remove pan from the oven and transfer bread to serving tray.
  12. Gently lay sliced apples over the top of bread.
  13. Sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle with honey.
  14. Enjoy!