Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Returning soon..

The past week and a half have been a trying time for our family, and we have not been doing a lot of cooking consistently- and our kitchen seems to be in a perpetual state of baking chaos otherwise. Tuesday, December 14, 2010 my dearly beloved grandfather {KK's great grandfather} passed away after battling with & being diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis. He will be greatly missed, and will always be loved by us- he was an amazing man, who always had answers for us. Stories. Experiences. Smiles. We have not quite had a normal past few weeks- but we are healing & grieving. We are remembering we have family we love and cherish close to us.

Until today, KK hadn't wanted to do cooking projects- along with everything else, we have been extremely busy as well. KK finally asked to make gingerbread houses, so the royal icing is drying over night on her little graham crackers houses, and will be ready to decorated and photographed tomorrow.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sushi, and Popcorn, and {almost} CHRISTMAS.. OH MY!

Not our usual post, but alas.. we still have things to blog about! KK & I were going to venture out and try our hands at sushi making, but after KK took one look at the ingredients, the set up on the counter for making the sushi and smelled the kitchen, she chose that wasn't for her {which turned out good, since I had NO idea what I was doing or if it would be difficult or not}.

I made California Rolls with real crab & Philadelphia Rolls.. happily, all my ingredients were organic, and my crab was sustainably caught.. those things mean a lot to me, and I always feel much happier knowing where my food is from. KK didn't realize until AFTER sushi that she'd eaten seafood.. I should've asked before dinner if she knew, I didn't. Mid-meal she sort of caught on. She wasn't as devastated as she could have been... she says, "No more meat tomorrow!" {which brings up, she'll be with her Grandmother this weekend.. I should provide vegetarian dinner options so there isn't a repeat of Thanksgiving where she wouldn't eat turkey}.

We also received our Whirley Pop from my Uncle & Auntie today! Over Thanksgiving, while chatting over food likes, dislikes, preferences, etc.. popcorn was brought up. My uncle graciously said he would purchase a Whirley Pop for us! Just... WOW! WE LOVE THAT THING! What a simple little invention, that is so fun & easy to use. It came in a huge box, which KK sat on her lap all the way to Grandma's house.. then all the way to the store, and finally.. hours later mind you.. home. She refused help to carry the box inside, hauled it in, and opened to find the box perfectly wrapped with green ribbons. This evening we made popcorn for snack, Xander was too scared to turn the handle for fear of getting oil somehow spilled on him from the covered pan.. but KK stepped up and had no fear {earlier this week she had shown me with pride, her [very] small little scars from cooking incidents}. They thoroughly enjoyed the Whirley Pop!

Lastly, I just want to mention how wonderful it was to see my brother and his family today. I didn't realize just how much I missed him until I was able to give him a huge big hug today. Being with everyone was a great feeling, and the kids didn't even act like it had been forever since they last saw him.. it was as if we'd seen them only a few days ago the way they picked up talking to him. Here's to hoping he's closer sooner to family again, than later. And very lastly... my baby sister made a variety of Christmas cookies this year.. it was like stepping back into my childhood years when my grandma and mom would make the same cookies every year... they tasted just same as grandma and mom's did. Hope she enjoys making them for the next few decades for me! I'm including a recipe for these delicious cookies! Enjoy!


Russian Tea Cookie Ingredients

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 flour
3/4 cup finely chopped nuts
1/4 teaspoon salt

Powdered sugar
  1. Heat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Mix butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and the vanilla in large bowl. Stir in flour, nuts and salt until dough holds together.
  3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
  4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set but not brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool slightly on wire rack.
  5. Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar; cool on wire rack. Roll in powdered sugar again
source: Betty Crocker Russian Tea Cookie's Recipe

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Shrimpies & Garlicky Noodles

We weren't planning on doing a blog post today.. but the recipe I found via Steamy Kitchen seemed so beyond fool proof, and KK wanted to help per usual.. so, here we are. I had pre-cooked tail off shrimp, so that part was easy. Prepped the veggies for KK and let her at cooking.. no measuring, just pour! toss! stir! mix! eat! It was SO easy, and SO delicious. I kept a mental note of about how much we used of each ingredient. Like I said... this recipe couldn't be more simple.. and sometimes, those are the best dinners!

Note: KK wanted me to make SURE to include the fact she did not eat the shrimp in this recipe, and after photos were taken, she picked all the shrimp out of her bowl & added some raw snap peas in their place. We respect her decision to be a full vegetarian.. who also happens to be about 95% vegan as well, by choice. We make sure she gets her fat, protein & all other nutrients and vitamins in other places.

  • 6 ounces thin spaghetti noodles
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, deveined- tail off, cooked
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 5 cloves finely minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup snow peas, sliced thin on diagonal
  • 3/4 cup matchstick cut carrots
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine
  • 1 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoon sesame seeds

  • Bring a stockpot of water to boil. Add sea salt to water and cook spaghetti, according to package directions. Drain. While spaghetti is cooking, rinse the shrimp well and pat dry.

  • In a large skillet, heat oil on medium. Add the snow peas, carrots & garlic. Saute until the carrots and snow peas are near tender, about 3-5 minutes. Add the soy sauce and rice wine. Turn heat to high and add the drained spaghetti noodles and shrimp. Toss well to combine. Let cook for 2 minutes, until heated through. Toss with sesame oil and sesame seeds. Enjoy!
  • Serves Four!

This recipe was adapted from Steamy Kitchen's Long Life Fertility Noodles with Happy Shrimp recipe.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sopa de Tortilla

It was a long... LONG week last week. It felt like we hardly cooked, yet all our food is mysteriously gone & all but one of our recipes was made, and no take out was ordered... so, we obviously cooked in there somewhere.

Yesterday, we made one of the kids' favorites... Tortilla Soup! A wonderful woman, by the name of Vanessa runs the site Pure Hunger where she makes some delicious meals & treats-- and where we found, what is now, one of our family recipe staples! She recently, also, had KK as guest blogger on her site. Check out her site, there is sure to be an array of different recipes you'll love to try!

This recipe required me to do all the before hand prep, but this also made it MUCH easier for KK to cook this recipe "on her own". This recipe was adapted from Pure Hunger's Sopa de Tortilla recipe! I highly suggest heading over to Vanessa's site if you are wanting a chicken version, as ours is a vegetarian version!

Sopa de Tortilla Ingredients

1 dried Ancho Chili
1/2 cup boiling water
2 Tbs Olive Oil
1 medium Onion, Chopped
2 Carrots, Sliced
2 stalks Celery, Sliced
3 cloves Garlic, Sliced
2 tsp ground Cumin
6 cups No Chicken Broth OR Vegetable Broth
1 28oz can diced Tomatoes
1/2 cup Cilantro leaves
6 Corn Tortillas
Vegetable oil for frying

For Garnish

  • Avocados, sliced
  • Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • Lime wedges
  • Cilantro
  • Sour cream
  • Place chili in small, heatproof bowl; pour boiling water over and let soak 30 minutes. While chili is sitting, slice all the vegetables and placing them in a bowl together. Once chili is done, drain, remove stem and seeds. Slice into 1/2 inch strips and set aside.

  • In heavy bottom pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion, carrots and celery {Mirepoix} and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring often until vegetables have softened.

  • Add garlic and cumin and cook an additional 2 minutes.

  • Add broth, tomatoes, reserved chili and cilantro and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

  • With your hands, tear 3 tortillas into 2-inch strips and add to the soup. Stir & continue to simmer for 15 minutes.

  • Take soup off heat and with an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth {or puree in small batches in a blender or food processor, as we did-I have on good authority we will be the proud owners of an immersion blender after Christmas- Hooray for awesome family members!}

  • Slice remaining tortillas into 1/4 inch strips. In small sauce pan heat oil until very hot. Fry tortilla strips until crisp, about 1 minute, turning often. With a slotted spoon, removed strips to a paper-towel lined plate and optionally you can season with salt {as previously mentioned, our poor cupboards are bare as it was end of the week & the day before grocery shopping day, alas, we were out of sea salt! This part was also done by Dad for us!}

Serve soup in bowls topped with tortilla strips and any or all of optional garnishes! Enjoy friends!


KK & Brooke

Note: This makes A LOT of soup, about half this recipe feeds all five of us comfortably- but, it is SO good there is never a need for us to make a half recipe because we CRAVE the leftovers! But, if you have a smaller family- you may want to cut this in half!

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