Friday, November 30, 2012

Smoky Potato Soup with Ham in the Ninja Cooking System

                                  Potato Soup with Ham in the Ninja Cooking System

It was an ordinary afternoon pumping gas at the gas station on our way to my daughters art class. The cell phone rings and she answers it. It's the call that you don't expect to get but it's kinda in the back of your mind if you shop online. You know, it's a possibility but you figure it's not going to happen to you. It was our bank asking if we made purchases in town and in London, UK today? Someone in England was attempting to book travel arrangements at a travel agency. Thankfully our bank declined the transaction, twice.  So to the dirt bag who is trying to take without earning (stealing) I say "shame on you"! May karma drift your way sooner than later.

Ok, rant over. Cozy soup recipe to warm your heart & mine to follow:

Potato Soup with Ham in the Ninja Cooking System:

  • 6 baking potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cups celery, diced
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups diced ham
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups milk, 2%
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup of cheddar cheese for garnish
  • parsley for garnish
  • green onions for garnish
  • pepper to taste

In the Ninja Cooking System, add butter and onions and fry on stove top medium for about 5 minutes.  Add potatoes, celery, chicken stock, water, salt & ham.  Cook on stove top medium for 40 minutes

Add milk and cream and cook on stove top medium for 5 minutes.

Serve and garnish with parley and green onions

Turn to slow cooker, low for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes the Ninja will set to warm. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lemon Coconut Muffins for Brunch

I've survived another day of surfer lingo and even had a few comebacks of my own. I must say, though, that I'm outnumbered and the slang isn't coming naturally for me. What does come naturally is baking.

I have some sort of sinus infection, head cold or allergy thingie going on. Since I refuse to go to the doctor I don't really know what kind of crud it is. What I know for sure is that it's not that bad and it will go away. To help myself feel better I started baking. It is a therapy for me, really. Playing around in the kitchen and hopefully creating a comforting & nourishing baked good for the family and of course for "yours truly".

What I like about this muffin is the soft and fluffy texture with the slightly crunchy tangy top.  It's not too sweet & there isn't any butter in the recipe so I felt a little less guilty as I polished off 3 of these cuties this morning.

How to:

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup lemon curd from a jar
  • 4 tablespoons toasted unsweetened coconut (for the topping)

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.

In a mixer, add egg, oil, cream & sour cream. Mix well. Slowly add dry ingredients. No need to over mix.

Spoon into a muffin tin lined with muffin papers/liners. Add about 2/3 or 3/4 full to each tin. Next, add a teaspoon size amount of  lemon curd on the top/center of the batter.

Bake on 375 for about 14 minutes.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle toasted coconut on top.

Yield: 12 muffins

*Update: These muffins are amazing fresh, please note that as the days go by they get kinda dry. So eat 'em quick!

What makes you feel better when you're not well?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ham & Sausage Lentil Soup Ninja Cooking System

Somehow my house has been infiltrated by surfer dudes sans the tropical beach, 80 degree weather and mai tais. It started off slowly with the introduction of "epic fail". It evolved to "he's such a noob".  Now all I hear around here is "dude" or "bro" "hey bra" or "yo".

It's giving me flashbacks to my own youth growing up on the beautiful beaches in Hawaii. But somehow it seems a little more acceptable to speak in surfer slang when you live in Hawaii than it does to do so living in Washington state. Or is it just that I'm getting old and turning into one of those "kooks"?

So who am I, really, to judge my families choice of slang. I suppose, if anything, I should be grateful that they are choosing something close to my heart and heritage.  Let's see if I can dust off the cobwebs and mommy pride and join the banter & go "hella" crazy with them.

In the meantime, here's a "righteous" soup recipe:

  • 1 pound of mild Italian sausage
  • 2 cups of cooked diced ham
  • 3 cups of lentils (I used red lentils from Trader Joe's)
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen spinach
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cups canelli beans
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste

On stove top medium, pan fry the sausage & onion until cooked (about 10 minutes).  Remove and drain the fat. 

Add chicken broth, beans, spinach, lentils, ham, sausage & onion.  Season with a little salt and pepper. Cook on stove top medium for about 35 minutes. Turn to slow cooker, low and serve.

Serves: 10 

Tell me your slang story, I know you have one!!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Hash Brown Cups with Bacon, Cheese & Egg

Did you have a relaxing Thanksgiving or were you hosting and working hard? Each year we celebrate Thanksgiving at my in-laws & this means I don't have much to do.  I make a few pecan pies and bring a few dishes then I get to relax & celebrate! It was a great holiday with good energy, tasty food and lots of enthusiasm.

With Thanksgiving behind us, a little black Friday shopping under my belt & a partly sunny day in the PNW I'm feeling ready to welcome the next holiday. My daughter turned on the radio and to our surprise there were Christmas songs sprinkled among the pop music we enjoy. I lit the "white Christmas" scented Yankee candle & began to remove the Christmas decor bins out of the crawl space.

So much progress around here really reminds me to appreciate the 4 days off of work that my husband has right now. The long weekend also gives us time to stay up to the wee hours of the night and sleep in later than the rising sun. Anytime our house begins waking up after 8am it means we get a brunch menu.

Maybe you'll offer these on your next brunch menu:

  • 4 cups thawed hash browns
  • 7 eggs, wisk in a bowl
  • 7 pieces of bacon, cooked and chopped in small pieces
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • Muffin tins
  • *green onions: see note at the bottom

Yield: 16 hashbrown cups

In a bowl, place hash browns, 3/4 cup cheese, oil, salt and pepper. Toss well.  Place mixture in muffin tins     ( I used standard size muffin tins but minis would work well for small hands.) Press down in the center to form a shape similar to a bowl. Bake on 400 for 15 minutes.  Remove.

Place a few tablespoons of egg in each muffin tin. Place a teaspoon amount of bacon on top of the egg. Sprinkle with a bit of cheese and place in the oven on 350 for 12 minutes.

Remove and serve with salsa or ketchup.

*Recipe modification: Hubby says this recipe needs a little green onion. I agree and recommend sprinkling on some of the muffins (unless your kids like green onions).

Are you prepping for the holidays or holding out until December?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Smoky Sausage Chowder in the Ninja Cooking System

There's nothing quite like the sounds of pattering feet throughout the house, music playing in the background, the latest and greatest version of Modern Warfare being played on two t.v.'s, the cat meowing because he's mad that it's raining and wants to go outside but doesn't want to get wet & the guinea pig squealing for more veggies. It's a semi- ordinary weekend when you sprinkle in birthday parties, a company holiday party, a basketball tournament, a Girl Scout function, cousin sleepovers & a sex ed class. My only revenge, this time, was to belt out 90's songs as they played on the radio. There's something really freeing about singing, especially when you can't hold a tune.

With a schedule like this we picked up pizza mid-day on Saturday & admittedly it tasted perfect. When evening rolled around and my husband asked what's for dinner I replied in a forced and my most unemotional tone "pizza".  By Sunday I knew I couldn't feed the family take out all day again, mostly because there wasn't any leftovers and I didn't want to feel guilty about feeding them more processed food.

I fired up my Ninja Cooking System that I received at the IFBC Bloggers Conference in Portland.  Since this cooking system is unlike anything on the market recipes are hard to find. Sure, there are lots of slow cooker recipes around but this cooking system can do so much more than a slow cooker and I really didn't want to wait 4-8 hours for a slow cooked meal.  I decided on a chowder, mostly because I happened to have the ingredients on hand.  It was way better than the pizza the day before and everyone in my family enjoyed it. A few had seconds too.

     In 45 minutes we had a wholesome, homemade chowder

Here's what you need:

  • One pound of new potatoes, diced
  • 6 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 1 cup of green beans, sliced in 1/2" pieces
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 14 ounces of smoked Kielbasa, sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese to garnish
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 8 cups Chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons Kirkland no salt seasoning or Trader Joe's 21 seasonings salute (no salt)
Serves 10

Place sliced Kielbasa in the Ninja & turn the dial to stove top, medium. Fry for 10 minutes. Remove & set aside. 

Place carrots, celery, potatoes and onions in the Ninja. Fry for 10 minutes on stove top, medium. Add all ingredients except the milk. Set Ninja to Oven 350 for 20 minutes.  

Add milk + half and half & set on Oven 350 for 5 minutes.

Turn Ninja to slow cooker, warm. Serve chowder & sprinkle with cheese.

How do you manage the chaos of a busy schedule?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Rice Bowl with Pecans, Green Beans & Oranges

 I was invited by a fellow blogger friend (you can find her at All Day I Dream About Food) last month to develop a recipe that's appropriate for a diabetic diet. You see, it's World Diabetes Day today & to raise awareness and ultimately support for a cure there are many of us developing recipes, taking crisp photos and sharing how diabetes has touched our lives.

My nephew, Austin was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was a preschool aged child. Our good friends son, Ben, was diagnosed as a preschool aged child too. That's the rough thing about this disease. It's touching young children and changing lives forever. My brave nephew and friend Ben have learned to monitor and live successfully. Their strength in the face of adversity is an inspiration. We are hopeful that a cure will come in our lifetime.

Rice Bowl with Pecans, Green Beans and Oranges:

  • 4 cups cooked brown rice
  • 4 cups fresh green beans
  • 2 oranges
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • Braggs Liquid Aminos to taste
  • Sea salt to taste

Remove ends from green beans and slice in half. Steam for about 5 minutes. Peel, slice and using a knife, remove the white skin from the oranges. Slice into bite size quarters.

In a bowl, add one cup of brown rice. Next, add one cup of green beans and oranges. Sprinkle with pecans, sea salt and Braggs Liquid Aminos.  Garnish with a whole pecan and serve. Kid friendly, tasty and not just diabetic friendly but it's easy on the budget too!

Our family supports JDRF, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation & Team Ben at "Beat the Bridge". Here's a photo from a few years ago:

                            What cause do you support? 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Killer Key Lime Cake

I know, it's not pumpkin this or nutmeg that.  To be honest, I'm kinda burned out on the seasonally appropriate foods. I needed a little break from the sweet potatoes and butternut squash recipes that are flying around the web. How 'bout you? Are you ready for something citrus~y & fresh? This recipe reminds me of our Florida holiday in February with the sun warming our skin, the sweet smells of magnolia and cotton candy and the sounds of laughter and amusement park rides.

I wish that I could say that I developed this recipe because it's really delicious. It's everything a cake should be; moist, flavorful but not too sweet.  I found this recipe on Pinterest. According to the blogger (Heidi Bakes), this recipe is courtesy of Trisha Yearwood.  For the recipe click here:

Heidi Bakes

If you have a chance to give this one a "go", I hope that it brings back tropical memories for you too!