Monthly Archives: February 2013

Baked Donut Muffins

 

This is a wonderful recipe that’s a cross between a mini muffin and a donut hole! Plus, since they are baked and not fried we could say a bit healthier than your ordinary donut.  But I dare you to try and eat just one.  It’s impossible.  They are like Pringles, once you start, you can’t stop.

Yield: 20-24 mini-donuts

Ingredients:

For Donut:

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup flour


For Sugar Topping

  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 °.  Spray 2 mini-muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In medium sized bowl, mix 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup melted butter and nutmeg.  Stir in milk and baking powder, mix well.
  3. Next add in flour, stir until just combined.
  4. Fill prepared mini muffin cups, each cup half full.
  5. Bake in preheated oven about 15-20 minutes, or until tops are lightly golden.
  6. While muffins are baking, place 1/2 cup butter in a microwave safe bowl and melt.  In a separate small bowl combine 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon.
  7. Remove muffins from pan. Dip each muffin top, first in butter and then roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Allow to cool and serve.   

Adapted from:  allrecipes

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

 

So, I have to admit that I have a small love affair with cauliflower.  It is absolutely my favorite vegetable.  I can put it in just about anything.  So, with February as my self proclaimed soup month, I decided to make cauliflower soup. Why, not?  Cauliflower has an unbelievable amount of vitamin C, so with it being cold/flu season, the more vitamin C you can add to your diet the better.  I also learned what a roux was and how to make one.  It is a mixture of flour and butter used as a thickening agent for soups and sauces.  Voila, add it to your cooking dictionary.  Also, if you prefer this to be a vegetarian soup, substitute the chicken broth for vegetable broth.  Both are delicious.

 Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup onions, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, washed and chopped into small pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1.  In a medium saucepan, make a roux by melting the butter on low heat and then adding in the flour.  Stirring constantly for 1 minute.  It will be a paste consistency.

 

2.  Next add in chicken broth, onion, garlic, salt and cauliflower.  Bring mixture to a boil.
Once boiling turn heat down to low and simmer covered for 20 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.

 

3.  In small batches, puree mixture in blender until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.

Adapted from: skinnytaste

The Weekly Adventures of Insightful Girl

To say the least, this was a hectic week of work.  By the time Friday rolled around all I could think about was laying in bed all weekend and catching up on some much needed sleep.  Thankfully, Colorado has given us an unusually warm winter and Saturday morning the weather was absolutely beautiful.  My husband and I decided to take advantage of it and took Biza for a hike up Green Mountain.  It was wonderful.  Taking a break from the fluorescent lights at work and getting some good old fashioned sunshine was exactly what I needed.  It gave me a nice energy boost, so much that I actually cleaned my entire house when I got home from the hike.  Thanks, Mother Nature.

We did make it to an old school diner on Sunday morning for breakfast, called Tom’s Diner.  It’s a bit of a greasy-spoon type of place, but I have no fear when on the hunt for a delicious green chili smothered breakfast.  I had a cheddar omelet smothered in their homemade pork green chili with  fresh cut home fries.  It was finger licking good, or should I say brow wiping spicy?  The green chili definitely had some kick to it.  Yummy!  This is one of the signs that was posted in the diner.  I wasn’t sure if I should be scared or laugh.  You decide.

 

After taking some time with nature and getting refueled on green chili I feel ready for the upcoming week.  Hope everyone has a wonderful week.

One Touch of Nature Makes
the Whole World Kin.
~ William Shakespeare ~

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

So, to continue on with my February soup theme, I thought I would incorporate a little Valentine’s Day tribute.  I decided to make a red soup and tomato seemed the obvious choice.  Besides, I had never made home-made tomato soup and the pre-made ones in the store are full of sodium and chemical ingredients.  Then in a moment of genius (or so I thought) I threw in a little extra heart grilled cheese sandwich bonus.  Aren’t tomato soup and grilled cheese a perfect combo anyhow?  Whoever came up with this winning combination should be given an award.  It’s marvelous.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes packed in juice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 large slices of sandwich bread, crust removed and torn into 1-inch pieces (I used a dense whole-wheat bread)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

Directions:

1.  In a large stockpot heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onion, garlic, red pepper flakes and bay leaf.  Stirring frequently, cook until onion is translucent, about 4 minutes.

 2.  Add in tomatoes, including the juice and using a potato masher mash the tomatoes until they are broken down into smaller pieces.  Careful not to break up the bay leaf.  Stir in sugar and bread, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium, stirring occasionally, cook until bread is completely saturated and begins to break down, about 5 minutes.  Remove bay leaf.

3.  Turn heat off under pot and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and puree soup using a blender.  I separated the soup into 3 different batches, so as not to over fill the blender.  I always leave the slightest crack in the clear plastic topper of the blender to allow some of the steam to escape.  Do make sure you hold onto it TIGHTLY when mixing, otherwise you will have a big mess on your hands.

4.  Blend each batch for about 1 minute to get as smooth as possible.  After blending, place tomato soup back into stockpot, stir in chicken broth and salt.  Return soup to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, add salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in basil and serve.

As an extra bonus, I made grilled cheese and cut them into hearts using a large heart shaped cookie cutter.  It came out too cute for words.  Give it a try.  Show that special someone you care.

                                   

Adapted from:  browneyedbaker

The Weekly Adventures of Insightful Girl

Well, as it turns out you aren’t allowed to opt out of having a birthday every year.  It appears that it ranks up in the same category as death and taxes.  I guess you could pretend you never had a birthday, although people may become suspicious when you state your age as 19 while pushing your walker down the laxative isle.  So, deciding to embrace my birthday this year I decided a nice dress up dinner was the key. 

Kevin and I had dinner at the Capital Grill.  The filet mignon was out of this world, I barely needed to use a knife it was so tender.  Then the creamiest mashed potatoes I have ever had.  I am sure there was at least a pound of butter in the potatoes.  But as one of my birthday cards said, if it has a candle in it, the calories don’t count.  Or as I say if it is your birthday day, calories don’t count all day.  We then were treated to a sinfully good dessert, coconut cream pie.  My mouth is watering just remembering it.

To finish off the night we ended up at the Green Russell, a speak easy bar in Larimer Square.  A fun secretive little place in the basement of a building, where the bartenders are dressed up in 30′s garb including tweed hats.  As you belly up to the bar, you simple ask for the bartender’s choice.  They ask you what type of alcohol and what sort of favors you like.  I told him vodka and cinnamon.  He made me an incredible martini with vodka, cinnamon, nutmeg and a splash of cream.  It was amazing.  

So as I head into being 36, I  feel thankful that I have been given yet another year on this amazing earth.  Also, that I am back in Colorado and soooo happy to be back home.  Here is to making every moment count.
                                
                                                           I love Colorado!!

taken the night of my birthday in Larimer Square

Vegetarian Greek Lentil Soup

Since February is my birthday month and soup is one of my favorite foods, I am declaring February Soup Month.  Besides, it is usually the coldest month here in Denver, so why not warm yourself from the inside with some delicious soup.  So my blog this month will be devoted to yummy soups.  So, here we go.

This recipe came from talking with the girls at work.  The forecast was predicting a cold weekend and I wanted to make soup for the cold weather.  I talked with the girls at work and asked them what  their favorite soup were.  I got everything from clam chowder, butternut squash to a vote for this Greek lentil soup.   I just can’t fathom the thought of clam chowder with all its chewy clams.  Yuck!  I prefer not to have rubber bands in my soup.  Sorry Laurie.   It’s a texture thing for me.  I also wanted something more on the hardy side, since I wanted it to be the main course.  So, here is how the lentil soup recipe was born.  Also, an added bonus to this recipe is the feta.  I usually have it with chicken or on a salad, but why not venture into soup.  Here is the finished product, thanks Lisa for the inspiration.  Enjoy!

Yields: approximately 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups brown lentils (washed and picked over if needed)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced small
  • 1 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1 cup carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) petite diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 tablespoons Greek Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups packed baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice (or a little less if you’re not that into lemon)
  • crumbled Feta Cheese for serving (optional, but good)
  • pepper to taste

Directions:
1.  Place lentils in colander and rinse with cold water.

2.  In a large stockpot, heat oil over medium heat, saute onion and garlic for 3 minutes.
3.  Add chopped celery and carrots, cook another 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.

4.  Next add in lentils, vegetable broth and tomatoes.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
5.  Add in Greek seasoning, thyme, oregano and salt.  Simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until lentils are soft.  You can adjust the stock after lentil are done depending on how thick you want the soup.

6.  Once lentils are done, remove from heat and stir in chopped spinach and lemon juice.

7.  Place servings into bowls, pepper to taste and top with crumbled feta.

Adapted from:  kalynskitchen