Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Samoa Trifle

It's the second most wonderful time of the year....Girl Scout cookie time! As a Girl Scout mama to a dear Brownie and our troops "cookie mom" I found it fitting to develop a recipe for the second annual Girl Scout cookie contest. This recipe pays homage to one of my favorite Girl Scout cookies, the Samoa.

The many layers of the Samoa trifle lead to intrigue and surprise. The sweetness and full flavor of the cookie is beautifully balanced by the strong and crunchy cocoa nib while the halved peach and raspberry compliment the lightly sweetened whipped cream.

When & where might one get the delicious cookies you ask?  Sales begin on March 1 and go through March 17th.  The clever folks at Girl Scouts even created a cookie finder, just for you! Click here for the Locater.  If you like your apps as much as I do click here for the cookie locater app.  These handy dandy tools will be updated closer to the times of the cookie sales so be sure to check back near March to find out where a sale is happening near your neighborhood.

Samoa Trifle
4 servings


  • 12 Girl Scout Samoa cookies
  • 4 canned halved peaches (I prefer Trader Joe's
  • 3 tablespoons canned peach juice 
  • 4 tablespoons roasted cocoa nibs (I prefer Theo cocoa nibs) 
  • 1 3/4 cups fresh or frozen raspberries (I used frozen and thaw for about 15 minutes prior to assembly)
  • 8 teaspoons unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 16 ounces heavy whipped cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 glasses or parfait dishes, 8 ounces (1 cup)  in size
*Optional, as a garnish
  • chocolate syrup for garnish
  • caramel for garnish
  • pastry bag and star tip to pipe whipped cream on top of trifle

Place whipped cream in an electric mixer. Add vanilla, canned peach juice, and powdered sugar. Whip on high for about 3 minutes or until the whipped cream has formed peaks. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of whipped cream on the bottom of one serving glass or dish. Sprinkle about 8 pieces of cocoa nibs on top of the whipped cream.

Chop 10 Samoa cookies into small pieces and place about 6 small pieces on top of the whipped cream layer. Halve the remaining 2 Samoa's and set aside.

The third layer will be whipped cream. Place about 2 tablespoons of whipped cream on top of the Samoa cookie pieces.

The fourth layer contains the fruit. Place one peach halve on top of the whipped cream. Add 4-5 raspberries, a sprinkle of cocoa nibs (about 8 pieces) & a teaspoon of coconut.

Spoon another layer of the whipped cream into the glass.

Next, place about 6 small pieces of Samoas cookies in the glass.

Last, pipe in the top layer of whipped cream in a circular motion to achieve a decorative look. Sprinkle coconut, cocoa nibs and syrups as garnish. Place a halved Samoa cookie piece and one raspberry on top. **If you are using frozen berries as I did you'll want to add the raspberry garnish just before serving as the juices from the berry may begin to run a bit.

Repeat the layering on the remaining 3 glasses or dishes. Serve and enjoy Samoa Trifle

Please click here to visit the Girl Scout Cookie contest to vote for the 5 finalist beginning February 19th.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Chocolate Fudge Caramel Sea Salt Dot Cookies

Ahh the Super Bowl....the dust has settled at our house from a great family gathering of far too much food and fun. In usual style, I've managed to miss some of the commercials but of the ones I did watch I laughed out loud at the the Taco Bell and Pistachio commercials while The Dodge commercial honoring farmers tugged at my heartstrings.

But in typical style of viewing my broad based friend network via my Facebook newsfeed, I'm reminded that it's not all food, fun and laughs during a Super Bowl. The Super Bowl is the single largest human trafficking incident according to the US Attorney General.  There are vulnerable minors being brought in from other locations to cater to the mostly male appetite of the sex trade. It's outrageous and sick. So much so that even  some in Hollywood are taking action with their "Real Men don't Buy Sex" campaign.

You can report a tip or get assistance at the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-877-373-7888, a non-profit resource center.

Chocolate Fudge Caramel Sea Salt Dot Cookies

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 12 ounces semi sweet chocolate
  • 2 sticks of butter, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
2 Topping choices:
  • 30 caramels
  • 3 ounces of white chocolate or almond bark

Preheat oven to 300. Grease baking sheets

Melt semi sweet chocolate on low over the stove, stirring constantly. Remove and let cool a bit.

Mix flour, baking powder, cocoa and salt in a large bowl. Set aside

In an electric mixer, add butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Add chocolate. Mix again. Add flour mixture and mix well.

Using a 1" cookie scoop place drops on the cookie sheet and bake for 15-17 minutes. Let cool for a minute or two then remove and allow to cool on a rack.


Set aside half of the cookies. Place white chocolate or almond bark in a bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring each time until nearly melted.  Drizzle over the cookies

Place caramels in a pan on the stove on medium low, stir until melted. Using the remaining half of cookies, drop a teaspoon full caramel in the center of each cookie. You will need to use your finger to shape nicely.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Italian Sausage, Bean, Farro and Veggie Soup in the Ninja Cooking System

Have you heard of Vine? It's an app that the folks at Twitter developed & features 6 second videos. I set up a Vine profile today and linked it to my Twitter account. I even went so far as recording a video of this recipe. I will say that I think the app is pretty neat.  I know that we already have a video based app in You Tube. I think where You Tube falls short Vine shines.  Vine caters to those with short attention spans (don't be offended, I have one of those too).  When I imagine waiting in line at the grocery store or waiting in line to get fuel or waiting for my child's bus to arrive I think that Vine will entertain me nicely. The news feed sorts by category & the short videos could fill the gap in time nicely. Just sayin'.

 I discovered the hard way, though,  that there isn't a way to edit a post (video). My tags were #soup & #ninjacookingsystem.  Which sounds great except that it's such a new app that the category for my post should actually be #food.  Living and learning in social media, or as my son would say "NEWB".

Italian Sausage, Bean, Farro and Veggie Soup in the Ninja Cooking System

  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  •  4 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup quick cooking farro (I used a 10 minute cook sold at Trader Joe's)
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup kale, torn into quarter size pieces
  • 1 cup or 3 stalks of diced celery
  • 10 dashes of Franks hot sauce
  • 6 dashes of worchestire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of no salt seasoning
  • 2 cans of butter beans (purred in a blender or food processor)
  • 1 cup tomatoes (purred in a blender or food processor
  • 4 cups of water
  • 3 chicken boullion cubes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • basil to garnish

In your Ninja Cooking system on high add olive oil, Italian sausage and onion. Saute for about 10 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients and cook on high for 10 minutes or until boiling. Stir and reduce the heat to stove top low and allow to cook for 20 minutes.  Set to slow cooker low until ready to eat!

Garnish with fresh basil

Easy, healthy & yummy!

Serves: 10 people

By the way, if you would like to see the video of this recipe please visit and view my profile: @purpleovenmitt 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Creamy Pasta with Chicken, Mushrooms, Basil and Sun Dried Tomatoes in the Ninja Cooking System

My quads are still on fire. My son is quoted as saying to me  "If I had a nickle for every minute I waited for you I'd be rich".   Spending 3 days at Mt. Baker over a 9 day time frame is not for the timid. I'm not sure which is worse, the fact that I can't keep up with my kids on the slopes or that even if I could keep up my body laughs at me in rebellion for even trying. The Baker bug has infected this family. Any free day on the calendar is penciled in for the pilgrimage to "go east".

We pack our lunches & vita waters in the National Guard camo backpack & plan a dinner meal to be warm and ready upon return. A creamy pasta with chicken, mushrooms, basil and sun dried tomatoes in the Ninja Cooking System  it is. With the addition of Shiitake mushrooms this meal is earthy and nourishing.

  • 1 pound of chicken, diced
  • 1 pound of pasta, cooked and drained
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup of fresh basil
  • 12 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 cups heavy cream or milk
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt and pepper

Cook pasta according to directions. Drain, rinse and toss in a tablespoon of olive oil. Place in a container in the fridge.

Place chicken, garlic, onion powder, chicken broth, salt and pepper in the Ninja Cooking system on Slow Cooker, Low for 8 hours. Once the 8 hours is up your Ninja will set to keep on warm.

About 30 minutes before dinner time, set the Ninja to stove top medium. Add fresh basil, mushrooms, red pepper flakes & sun dried tomatoes to the cooked chicken. Cover. Saute for about 10 minutes or so.

Add heavy cream, cheeses & cooked pasta. Toss well & cook for a few more minutes. 


Serves: 6

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Beef Barley Stew in the Ninja Cooking System

Hi friends, I've got a mild case of writers block today.  It's been explained to me by numerous writers and academics that the best thing to do is to step away, take a break and come back later. My problem with this advice is that later can turn into much much later and that's just not how I roll. I'm all about production and results & later doesn't yield results. (You love me anyway, even if I'm a driver, right?)

So what's causing this said writers block you ask?  Writer's block happens to me when I have stuff to talk about but I put a filter on and decide that I can't share my entire life with the world. 

It's seems as though the stuff I want to write about is floating around the front of my mind like a dark cloud floats low in the sky on a spring day.I want to push the gray clouds out of the way and frolic in the flowers and bask in the sun.  So, for now, I will share with you a beef barley recipe that my kids like. A home cooked, healthy meal can be my way to bask in the sun, for now :-)

Beef Barley Stew in the Ninja Cooking System
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery ribs, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 cup barley
  • 2 boullion cubes
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Pan fry the hamburger, onion, garlic, salt and pepper on stove top medium for about 13 minutes or until fully cooked. Remove and drain.  

Place carrots & celery in the Ninja Cooking System on stove top medium (no need to add oil as you will have ground beef grease residue). Saute for about 5 minutes. Add water, boullion, parsley, barley, brown sugar & tomato sauce. Mix well.  Add hamburger mixture and cover with the lid. Turn to stove top high for 10 minutes. 

Last, turn the dial to slow cook, low and set the timer for 2 hours.

Serves: 6

What do you do when you get writers block?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Greek Quinoa Salad

Purple Oven Mitt
It's a new week full of possibilities! Although our Seahawks didn't make it past the Falcons & we are still unsure if a Sonics team will materialize I do have great news; my sister may be flying into town this week. I always feel hopeful in times like these.

I'm focusing on gluten free cooking today as both of my sisters avoid gluten.  One of my favorite things about Quinoa (other than I can finally say it properly-ha) is that it's filling and I don't feel stuffed or bloated after eating it.

Greek Quinoa Salad

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water 
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup sliced Kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup Greek salad dressing (I like Trader Joe's brand)

Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Place in a bowl.

Toss all ingredients together. Add quinoa and serve! Easy. Healthy & Gluten Free.

Serves: 4 

"Let us be grateful to people that make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls bloom"  ~Marcel Proust

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Salmon Chowder in the Ninja Cooking System

Purple Oven Mitt

Last week I took a little detour from my usual grocery store haunts & made a pit stop to a little discount place.  While there I stumbled upon an old staple of ours.  Little did I realize that later in the week I would be watching my kids drag each other across the living room trying to get the last bag.  

This discount place has mini shopping carts that haven't been cleaned in a decade or more and the aisles have room for one in a half carts and one in a half customers, at best. But,  they tend to have super cheap prices on expired products, so how could I go wrong? HA!

As in all conflicts a resolution usually follows. I watched  them counting out pieces in order to make a fair and equitable distribution, with a cock a roach (on wheels) as their witness. Seeing the mild violence, negotiation and ultimate child led resolution of a white cheddar smart puff lunch size bag would warm any mothers heart. These are the everyday joys of family life, my friends. I love my kids so very much and it's in these random moments that I forget my worries and let my heart happy.

Salmon Chowder in the Ninja Cooking System

  • 1-1/2 pounds of wild salmon
  • one leek, sliced
  • 2 cups corn
  • 2 celery ribs, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • half a lemon, juiced
  • 10 cups water, divided
  • 2 bouillon cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
  • a few dashes of red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons dill
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound of red potatoes, cubed
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup flour

Place 4 cups of water in the Ninja, add the steamer basket and salmon. Cover with the lid and cook on stove top high for 20 minutes (If you have a thick filet of 2" of more) If you have a thin filet steam for about 15 minutes. Remove.  If your filet is thick in the middle like mine it will be a bit raw. Don't worry, it will cook more later.  Remove steamer basket but leave the water that was used to steam the salmon in the Ninja. 

Add the remaining 6 cups of water,  leek, celery, garlic, bouillon cubes, dill, paprika, red pepper flakes, potatoes, hot sauce, salt, pepper & lemon juice to the steamer juice in the Ninja. Cook on Stove top medium with the lid on for 15 minutes.  

In a saucepan on the stove, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour, gradually. Turn the heat off. Stir until a paste is formed. Add paste to the veggie mixture in the Ninja. Stir until mixed.

Remove the skin from the wild salmon and flake it using forks. Remove and discard any bones. Give any salmon scraps to your cat :-)

Place the salmon and heavy cream in the Ninja and reduce heat to Slow Cooker low.  Turn the timer to 30 minutes. Once 30 minutes has arrived your Ninja will automatically set to warm.  Allow to warm for up to 3 hours and your chowder will thicken beautifully. I took the photo above right after I added the salmon and heavy cream before the chowder had a chance to thicken because we were racing off to drop off my sons friend, bring my son to basketball practice and catch my daughters basketball game! Busy times :-) whole family loved this Salmon Chowder & I hope yours will too!

Serves: 10