Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Asian Style Slaw


Pictures don't do this slaw justice. After years and years of sticking to lettuce, I've begun to appreciate cabbage. Especially on tacos and sandwiches, items I've always strictly put lettuce on. I'm always hesitant to try a new vegetable, mainly because I'm always worried if the hubby will eat it or not. So I was hesitant to try using cabbage. Luckily, my fears were unfounded and the hubby likes cabbage if I prepare it the right way. I've primarily begun to make slaws and put cabbage in soup. So far, so good.

If you are a fan of Asian flavors, you'll love this slaw. It's tangy, sweet, salty, crunchy, etc. I served this on Hoisin Turkey Burgers (ground turkey mixed with a tbsp of hoisin, a tsp of garlic, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper), and the burgers were devoured so fast there was nary a picture. Boo. Even though I put this slaw on burgers, you could easily serve it as a side to chicken, pork, fish, etc.

I'll be scarfing down the leftovers for lunch today :)


Ingredients:

1 head cabbage, thinly sliced
1 carrot, shredded
1 jalapeno, de-seeded and minced
3 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
salt and pepper

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, combine cabbage through green onions.
2. In a small bowl, combine vinegar through ginger. Whisk thoroughly. Drizzle over salad, toss to coat. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

*Recipe adapted from Curry and Comfort*

Monday, July 29, 2013

Pizza Sauce


Those tomatoes just keep on comin'! A couple of days ago, the hubby's uncle brought us 3-4 lbs of tomatoes. I'd just finished up with my previous 4 lbs, what the heck was I going to do with even more? Pizza sauce, I thought, pizza sauce. The hubby hates my go-to fast and easy sauce, Ragu. It was a much better plan to make my own sauce, freeze it in little portions, and just use those when I make pizza. So that's what I did.

I ended up getting 7 (1-cup) portions of pizza sauce, which I froze in food-saver bags and then tossed in the freezer. That's a lot of pizza. It's ok, we love pizza in this house. I usually make a couple a month. Plus, we'll be getting more tomatoes. I may be back in the kitchen, pureeing up more sauce before it's all said and done.

This sauce is super-easy to make, and tastes so fresh! I was very pleased with the sauce. I simmered mine on the stove for 2 hours to let all the flavors meld together, and the house smelled delish all day. I know it's so easy to buy pizza sauce at the store, or even order a take-out pizza, but at least when it's homemade you know what's in it. And then you know exactly what you are feeding your family :)



Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
4 lbs tomatoes, deseeded and diced
1 (15 oz) can tomato paste
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper

Directions:

1. Heat olive oil in a large, wide-side pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add garlic. Saute for 30 seconds, or until toasted. Add tomatoes to pan, saute 5 minutes or so. Add tomato paste and chicken broth to the pan.
2. Add kosher salt through pepper to the pan. Bring to a simmer, cover pan, and lower heat. Simmer for 2 hours, stirring every half 30 minutes.
3. Taking an immersion blender to the sauce, puree until sauce is very smooth. Remove pan from heat, and allow sauce to cool before storing. Makes about 7 (1-cup) portions. Can be store fresh in the fridge for up to 5 days, covered tightly.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Banana Sundae Cupcakes


There must be something in the air lately, I've just been feeling really creative in the kitchen. I had some bananas leftover from last week that had to be used. Badly. After running through the usual options of muffins, banana bread, and banana pudding, I settled on cupcakes. I couldn't find a specific recipe I wanted to use, so I improvised on the recipe. I knew I wanted a banana cake, whip cream tasting-frosting, a chocolate drizzle, and chopped nuts.

The cupcakes turned out fantastically. Can't stop eating them good. The recipe made 24 cupcakes, so with a heavy heart, I knew I had to give most of them away. Between the hubby's aunt and uncle, and then his mother, we've managed to clear the house of most of them. They were a huge hit with all the in-laws, which I judged by the pace of which people were scarfing them down.

They were a bit laborious to undertake, but hey, the weekend was made for relaxing while baking yummy treats in the kitchen :)


Ingredients:

1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup flour
3 ripe bananas
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp lemon juice
3 eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup greek yogurt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnut pieces, chopped

Recipe for frosting: Whip Cream Frosting

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350┬║. Line 2 cupcake pans with paper liners.
2. In a small bowl, combine cake mix and flour.
3. In another small bowl, mash bananas together with baking soda and lemon juice.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs through the vanilla extract. Add the banana mixture to the wet ingredients, whisk until well combined. Add the cake mix/flour to the wet ingredients, stir until batter is mostly smooth (there will be chunks of banana in the batter).
5. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 way full. Bake in oven 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven, cool in pan 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes to a cooling rack.
6. Prepare whip cream frosting.
7. When cupcakes are completely cool, frost with whip cream frosting.
8. In a double broiler, melt chocolate chips until smooth. Remove from heat, let cool for 10 minutes.
9. Place all cupcakes on a cookie sheet. Using a spoon, drizzle chocolate over cupcakes. Dust cupcakes with chopped walnuts. Place cookie sheet in the fridge for 30 minutes, then immediately serve. Store remaining cupcakes in fridge.

Cake recipe adapted from Your Cup of Cake

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Orecchiette with Roasted Peppers and Spinach


You may not be familiar with orecchiette. I wasn't familiar with it until a few years ago. It's also referred to as "Little Ears" pasta. Once I discovered this pasta, it quickly became one of my favorites. Orecchiette has a thicker, almost chewy texture compared to traditional pasta. The "scoop" shape allows the sauce to hide in the crevices of the pasta. Yummers.

A couple of things I've learned about orecchiette. It's very important to treat orecchiette delicately. I find the pasta loses its mystique if it breaks. Therefore, treat the dried pasta gently. Do not crush the pasta, don't toss it around, and stir gently when preparing. I brought some orecchiette from Oregon across country when we moved, and needless to say, the pasta was in pieces by the time we got to Kentucky. It just didn't taste the same. Big disappointment, as this pasta can be hard to find in the rural grocery stores here.

This dish is perfect for summer, capitalizing on fresh grape tomatoes, peppers, and spinach. Instead of a heavy marinara or cream-based sauce, this is made with a light vinaigrette. It makes for a light, one-dish, meatless summer meal. Something the hubby and I both appreciate on these hot summer days :)


Ingredients:

1 yellow pepper
1 red pepper
8 oz orecchiette pasta
1 tsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
8 oz grape tomatoes, halved
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 cups spinach
Shredded parmesan cheese (garnish)

Directions:

1. Preheat broiler on oven. Cut peppers in half, remove seeds and membranes. Flatten halves, and place under broiler. Broil 10-15 minutes or until peppers are blackened. Remove from oven and place in a ziploc bag for 15 minutes. Remove from bags, peel off skins, cut peppers into slices, and set aside.
2. Cook pasta according to directions. Retain 1/3 cup of cooking water. Set aside.
3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 clove garlic to skillet, toast for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and bell peppers to skillet. Cook 4 minutes, or until tomatoes are tender.
4. In a small bowl, combine remaining garlic, vinegar, and next 5 ingredients. Whisk throughly.
5. Add pasta and vinegar mixture to skillet. Toss to combine. Add spinach to the pan, stir just to combine. If pasta feels too thick, drizzle some reserved pasta cooking water over the pasta, stir to combine. Remove skillet from heat, and garnish with parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Summer in Kentucky: Around The House

I just love the summer's here in Kentucky. Yes, there is almost 100% humidity from July through September. Yes, it's usually in the upper 90's most days. And yes, we do have huge thunderstorms a couple times a week. 

My hair hates the humidity, along with my makeup and freshly showered skin. But the temperature? Love it! The sun is amazing and wondrous here, especially to a girl who spent 27 summers in Oregon. I love you Oregon, but seriously, your weather is the pits. Summers with weeks of gray, rainy weather are common in the Willamette Valley (where I grew up), but even sparing a couple weeks of your summer when you don't see the sun for 9 months is unbearable! My body likes all the vitamin D I get here, because I definitely notice less headaches on sunny days.

Our property is a veritable quandary of flora and fauna. We've got a deer that comes to feed in our backyard most evenings around 7:30. There are bunnies everywhere. I see frogs and toads all the time. Unfortunately, I see lots of raccoons, possums, and coyotes as well. Our grass is making progress (those thunderstorms are good for something!).

Oh, and the pups are enjoying the summer as well :)



















 Butterfly in our driveway// Scary thunderstorm blowing in// Lawn in front of the house// Lawn on the side of the house// Big branch that fell too close for comfort// Our makeshift fire pit (from said branch)// Weeds starting to grow on the fire pit// Daisy// Another weed// Pecan Tree! (I think)// Looking down the lane at our house// Field across from our house// Haloti at his watch post//Gizmo wants the watch post// Gizmo gets the watch post// The dogs are shedding like wild men!

Happy Hump Day everyone!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The 4-Year Mark

I cannot believe it's been 4 years. 1461 days, give or take. I might be missing a leap year in that calculation, but I don't think so. Our wedding day is still so vivid in my memory, it feels like yesterday. Crazy.

I wouldn't change a moment of anything that has happened. We've gone through some tough times, but they've all got us to where we are today. I wouldn't trade where we are today for a second. I can't believe how much things have changed in just a year. Last year at this time, construction had barely begun on our home. We were semi-homeless, living between the hubby's aunt's house and his mother's. All of our things were in storage, and the memory of living in that rental house was still painfully fresh. Today? We are settled, happy, and satisfied in our new home. After everything we went through in the last year, things look so good from where we're at.

So, I wanted to post pictures of the hubby and me that I haven't previously posted. Which means I had to do some serious digging through i-Photo. It was worth it, because I found some classically classy pictures, as well as some classically goofy pictures.

Hubby and I's first Duck Game together.

Bloody Mary brunch in Oregon.
Hubby's 29th B-Day.
Another Duck's pre-game spent at the Mo Center.

The hubby had a little bit too much to drink at one of our Superbowl parties, and decided to perform for everyone using a speaker as a microphone.

Nothing says classy like Rock Band in a wife-beater :)

Oregon Coast
Haystack Rock
Hubby and I singing karoke together. We both make the greatest faces :)

New Year's after our engagement. I really liked that pizza, and the hubby's take on sign language.

Our first Christmas after we got married.
Hubby's 33rd Birthday.
Shortly after moving to Kentucky.
Happy Anniversary Hubby! Another year of marriage, under the belt :)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Easy Homemade Salsa


Oh salsa, how I love thee. Let me count the ways- with chips, tacos, burritos, eggs, veggies, salads...  Counting the ways might take a long time...

Fresh salsa is such a luxury. I eat the pre-made kind throughout most of the year, but when tomatoes are finally in season, it's homemade time! Salsa is so easy, and such a good way to use an over-abundance of tomatoes. I had 4 pounds of fresh tomatoes from the hubby's aunt and uncle that I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with. I finally narrowed down the choices to salsa, marinara, and pizza sauce. I didn't have a parmesan cheese rind to make my marinara, and pizza sauce sounded dull. I think I just really wanted homemade salsa.


I had to pick up some freshies at the store- onion, garlic, jalapenos, and cilantro. Surprising because I usually have cilantro in the house. At all times :)

Why is this recipe so easy? Umm, cuz it's made completely in the food processor. Which also means you don't have to have perfect knife cuts to make this. You can get away with barely even chopping your ingredients when using the food processor. Love! The hardest part about using the food processor is cleaning it afterwards, honestly.


The recipe is for 1/4 of what I made. I just had a lot of tomatoes, hence the quadrupling of the recipe. I find homemade salsa usually keeps for 5-7 days in the fridge. You could also can homemade salsa, that was just a whole lot of work that I didn't feel like doing today. Eh, it's one of those Mondays.

Take advantage of tomato season! Make salsa!

Ingredients:

1 lb fresh tomatoes, deseeded and quartered
1/4 onion, roughly chopped
2 tsp jalapeno, roughly chopped
2-3 tsp cilantro, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, smashed
2 tsp lime juice
1 tsp kosher salt

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender.
2. Pulse until salsa reaches desired consistency.
3. Store in fridge in airtight container 5-7 days.

Recipe courtesy of Real Simple

Sunday, July 21, 2013

What I Love About Summer: Raspberries


There are few things in the world more perfect than the raspberry. They symbolize summer to me. Plump, juicy, flavorful, and a beautiful rosy red color. My parents grew raspberries in our backyard when my brother and I were growing up, and I'll confess- I spent a lot of time hunkered down in those raspberry bushes. My mom would freeze raspberries, make raspberry syrup for pancakes, and bake raspberry cobblers in the oven. She would keep large bowls of raspberries in the fridge, and they went on everything from my cereal to my bowl(s) of vanilla ice cream.

Now that I'm an adult, my lust for the raspberry has not abated. I would cook or bake everything (well, almost everything) with raspberries if the hubby wouldn't start to question my sanity. I do love to cook with them though- that means I get to eat whatever I put them in. Here's a few of my favorite raspberry recipes:

Raspberry Filled Vanilla Muffins

Raspberry-Peach-Lime Lemonade

Raspberry Banana Oat Muffins

Raspberry Filled Mini-Doughnuts

Raspberry Lemonade Muffins

Chewy Chocolate Raspberry Cookies
And, a couple of recipes on my to-do list:

Brownie Bites with Raspberry Sauce- Hardly Housewives

Raspberry Crisp- Pioneer Woman

Raspberry Lemonade Bars- Annie's Eats

Raspberry Bread Pudding- Chef In Training

Raspberry Mint Ice Pops- Cooking Light
I always dread that time of year when raspberries are no longer in season. I'm hoping to grow my own berries next year, so hopefully at this time next year, I'll have raspberries out the wahzoowilla. Yes, that's right. I said wahzoowilla.

I hope everyone had a great weekend!