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Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

15 Sep

I am finally okay with getting out the fall recipes.  The nights have gotten below freezing recently and the air is crisp.  Sweatshirts are out and the leaves are starting to change.  Bring on the soup and pumpkin bread.

Here is my new favorite recipe.  Just tried it last night and the soup was a huge success.

Crock Pot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

8-10 cups turkey or chicken stock, divided
8 oz. uncooked wild rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, diced
2 carrots, diced
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons chicken soup base (I like Better Than Bouillon)
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups half-and-half or cream
2 cups diced cooked turkey
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped (or one tablespoon dried parsley flakes)
salt and pepper to taste

Add eight cups of stock and the uncooked wild rice to a crock pot set to high. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and saute onion, celery and carrots until onion is transparent, about 10 minutes. Season with the black pepper, and add the sauteed veggies to the crock pot. Stir in the chicken soup base. Cook on high for 3-4 hours (or on low for 6-8 hours) until the wild rice and veggies are sufficiently tender.

In the same skillet over medium heat, melt 1/2 stick of butter. Whisk in the flour, and cook for a minute or two. Gradually add the half-and-half or cream, whisking constantly. You may wish to thin this mixture out with an additional cup of stock at this point. Once thickened and completely smooth, add the white sauce to the crock pot and stir to combine. Add the turkey and the parsley (and perhaps another cup of stock if you prefer a thinner soup), and cook on high for another 15-20 minutes until heated through. Taste to correct seasonings before serving.

Enjoy.  Because we sure did!

Pesto Delight

19 Aug

Pesto is divine.

But first you have to do some work:

pick the basil from your garden

wash the basil, I used our salad spinner to dry the leaves

carefully inspect each and every leaf (jk, that is just what Aleah did)

blend with a food processor (we used our magic bullet)

I have not had it since last spring spring of 2011 when we moved away from our basil plants.  Sad, I know.

So we were quite due for some pesto around our house.

Here is a recipe I sort of based my pesto on (it is all up to you, do you like more parmesan?  good add more, do you like a stong nut flavor?  good- add more walnuts or pine nuts) and it’s gluten free!

We actually did not have any nuts in our house so we did without and it turned our just fine.

Happy Cooking, hope you get to enjoy some of this delicious stuff soon.

Camping with Quinoa

27 Jul

I love having salad’s waiting for me to eat during the summer.  No one wants to stop the fun of swimming and playing to make a big meal.  At least I don’t.

Sooooo, I have a great recipe for you to keep in your fridge or for you to take on your next camping trip.  I brought this one on our trip last weekend and it kept fine and tasted great.  Here is the recipe:

Citrus Quinoa Salad

Quinoa

  1. Soak 1 C Quinoa in water 10 min
  2. Bring to simmer 1 cup veg broth 2/3 Cup watr
  3. Strain Quinoa and add to pot bring to simmer 14 minutes.
  4. Cool

Add :

3 peeled madarin oranges

1 cup grape tomatoes

½ Cup red pepper

2 tsp fresh basil

1Cup cooked black beans

Dressing:

½ plus 2 Tbs Olive oil

¼ Cup Lime Juice

1 Tbs honey

If you have never had quinoa you should give it a try.

This Calls for Cake!

19 Jul

This is my 200th blog post!  I think that calls for some cake =)

This is the cake Aleah requested for her real Birthday, a “barbie” cake:

a doll squished into the middle of a cake baked in a round bowl

I had bigger plans for her birthday party day.  This cake is so rich a delicious.  I only wish I had my strawberries when I made the cake.

Extreme Chocolate Cake Recipe:

2 cups sugar

1  3/4 cup flour (sorry Courtney)

1 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1  1/2 tsp baking soda

1  1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water

Bake in 2, 9 inch pans for 30 minutes

Frosting:

3/4 cup butter

1  1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

5  1/3 cup confectioners sugar

2/3 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

I dusted the top with a bit of confectioners sugar to make it purdy

I didn’t say it was healthy, only EXTREMELY delicious!

Crepes

7 Jul

Hopefully you have already gone strawberry picking and need some crepes to go with them!

Here is my go-to recipe:

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/3 cup water

1 cup flour

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 Tablespoons butter (melted)

put into a blender and then cook ’em on the stove

Sophi was a fan, she kept lifting them up and saying, “What’s this?”

happy eating, they will be gone in no time at all

Special Rhubarb Bars

27 May

We have four HUGE rhubarb plants and have dug up some delicious recipes.

Aleah and Jared’s mom cut up all the rhubarb. And then they made some rhubarb sauce to drizzle over vanilla ice cream.   Holy deliciousness.

All you do is cook in a saucepan over medium heat 5 cups rhubarb, 3/4 cup sugar, 2/3 cup water and at least half a cup of strawberries if you have them.  I had some frozen strawberries leftover from last summer’s harvest.  Cook until it forms into a delicious thick mess.

Yet another recipe:

Special Rhubarb Dream Bars

Crust:  2 cups flour, 2/3 cup powdered sugar, 1 cup butter

Filling:  1-1/2 cup white sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup flour, 4 beaten eggs, 6 cups chopped rhubarb

Directions: Preheat oven to 350

Mix together crust ingredients in a food processor or medium bowl.  Pulse, or work with a pastry cutter, until butter is in small crumbs and dough holds together.  Press into the bottom of a 9X13 baking dish.

Bake crust for 10 minutes in the preheated oven.

While crust bakes, whisk together the white sugar, salt, flour and eggs.  Stir in the rhubarb to coat evenly.  Spread over the bake crust when it is done.

Bake for another 45 mintues, or until the filling is set and rhubarb is tender.

Cool and cut into squares and enjoy.

Fresh Pasta

2 May

I have always thought that the process of making pasta must be reserved for very brave and skilled people who have all day to devote to following detailed recipes and intense preparation.

Just found out that this is not the case.

I actually made pasta when the kids were around, very present actually.  I gave the kids some dough to play with and kneed.  They kept wanting more and more flour and the floor was a bit white afterwards.  But we ended up with delicious noodles.  It was surprisingly easy and very fun.

Measure out 3/4 cup flour + 1 egg for each person

Now that you know how easy it is don’t you want to try?

Click here for step by step instructions

Now I want a noodle press since the hardest part of making these was rolling out the tough dough.  I might have  gotten a few new muscles making these so maybe I don’t want a noodle press =)

Kale and Apple Salad with Molasses Vinaigrette and Sugared Pecans

26 Mar

We had a little get together this weekend and enjoyed this salad.  It is so delicious I just had to share it with you all.  Thanks Terry for coming and making a wonderful dinner for us!

We are having a little birthday party for Sophi this Thursday and I am going to make a big batch of it.  Sophi loved the salad and I hope you will too.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Marinate Time: 1 hour
Yields: 4 servings

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch of kale, washed (about 7 cups loosely packed)
  • 1 Golden Delicious apple, cut into matchstick slices
  • 3 ounces Parmesan cheese, thinly sliced with carrot peeler

Dressing Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon molasses (not blackstrap)
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground mustard
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable stock (I didn’t use this ingredient and it turned out fine)

Pecan Ingredients

  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • pinch of allspice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves

Instructions

1. Using a sharp knife, cut away think center stems of kale leaves and discard stems. Stack several leaves, tightly roll them into a cigar shape and slice them into thin ribbons. Repeat until all leaves are thinly sliced.

2. In a small bowl, combine molasses, vinegar, mustard, shallots, oil and stock, and season with salt and pepper. Toss dressing with kale, apple and cheese, and let sit at room temperature for one hour.

3. Heat butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in cinnamon, allspice, pepper, sugar and pecans. Toast pecans for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring until the sugar has melted and the pecans are lightly toasted. Spread on wax paper to cool. Toss pecans with salad and serve.

What to do with All that Venison

24 Feb

 

We live in deer country, and thus one of the most accessible, local, and natural meats around is venison.  Neither Caitlyn nor I currently hunt, but through our network of relationships, (i.e. the local wild game butcher who happens to be a good friend), we have been able to obtain a plethora of venison that continues to last us through the winter.  Admittedly, the abundance of venison in our diet can lead to a sense of food monotony, thus we continually look for new ways to prepare and serve venison.  Our latest idea:  Venison Fajitas.

I defrosted a few venison steaks and then let them marinade in a homemade brine consisting of hot pepper juices, garlic, salt, pepper, habanero sauce, and whatever else I felt like splashing together.  The spicy, acidic marinade added quite a zing to the gamy flavor of venison. 

Once my steaks had adequately bathed (after about a day and a half) I was ready to throw together the fajitas.  I chopped my green peppers and onions, minced a little garlic, and halved some grape tomatoes.

I let the green peppers, onion, and garlic cook for a while before adding the tomatoes so as not to turn the tomatoes to mush.  Meanwhile, I cut the steaks into strips and then added them to the skillet with the veggies.   As the meat cooked, I stirred in a fajita spice mixture to coat the veggies and meat.  Mine came out of a packet but in the past we have made our own with basic spices like paprika, chili powder, crushed red pepper flakes, and cumin.  Delicious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the meat cooks to the desired level, simply plate the contents of the skillet into warm corn tortillas and gobble them up.  It really warms the innards.

 

 

 

Chocolate Mousse and Messy Kids

21 Feb

Place a half cup of milk on the stove until it just starts to boil. Set aside.

Place a whole bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave for 30 seconds, stir, then 30 seconds again.  It will be almost melted.

Pour the milk into the chocolate chips to completely melt the rest of the chocolate.

Set in the fridge to let cool, until it starts to harden a bit on the sides.

Whip a pint of heavy whipping cream until it is whipped =)

Make sure the chocolate is cooled enough and then fold the chocolate into the whipped cream.

Enjoy!

This dessert takes about a half hour and is delicious.  Hope you give it a try.

Your kids will love it but you will probably have to give them a bath afterwards.