Thursday, December 3, 2015

Celebrating the new Kick-Ass Dr. with Christmas Dreams Cocktail

Dave and I went to Seattle and met with a new surgeon.  I did like him even though when I asked for a new robot body, instead of just replacing parts one at a time, he said no he couldn't do that.

"You are a doctor with awards, you should be able to figure that out." I informed him.
He just shook his head and awkwardly laughed.
Dave said I'm not allowed to talk to my doctors anymore.

The new hip plan is to fly to Seattle on Thursday, pre-op on Friday, dinner with the Curly haired boy and DIL on Friday night, Red Lobster on Saturday (Dave loves that place and basically the rest of his week will be shit just taking care of a whiney me, so he gets to choose this), Dinner with the niece and great-niece on Sunday, and surgery on Monday.

Some good friends lent us a walker.  It is a fancy one with a seat if you get tired walking down the hall to the bathroom, and a basket to carry stuff in, like a book, extra t.p., poo pourri, or what ever you need to carry down the hall to the bathroom with you.  Dave has a couple of things he needs to do at the house before we leave, and we have the sick room recovery room set up downstairs for when we return and I can't walk up stairs yet. So, we are all set.

You might wonder why I am calling this doctor, Dr. Kick-Ass.  I really do like him, he has more personality than the first guy we were scheduled with and I think if I tell him I think he is awesome and a Kick Ass doctor, he will give me that robot body after all.  I'll drink to that plan any day.

Christmas Dreams
makes 4 cocktails

1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup coconut cream
1/2 cup Blue Curacoa
1/2 cup vodka, vanilla or whipped cream vodka works well too (yes, I tried it more than once)
ice, as desired

Place all ingredients in blender.  Blend until ice is crushed and drink is slushy and cold.  Pour into 4 cocktail glasses and celebrate!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Crock Pot Chocolate Lava Cake

It is snowing, and snowing, and snowing!  The DIL is loving it.  She threw snowballs for the dogs to chase, built a snowman, and made a snow angel.  The weather is unusually warm and it is wonderful!
Tucker loving his snowballs!

I made this easy crockpot lava cake, so after the playing in the snow she could come in, have a hot cup of tea and a warm treat.  It was heaven on earth!

Crock Pot Chocolate Lava Cake
A Taste of Home online

1 chocolate cake mix, regular size
1-2/3 cups water
3 large eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
2 cups cold milk
1 pkg. (3.9 oz) instant chocolate pudding
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, water, eggs, and oil; beat on low speed for 30 seconds.  Beat on medium for 2 minutes.  Transfer to a greased 4 qt. slow cooker (I used a crock pot liner instead.  Clean up was so much easier!)

In another bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes.  Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft set.  Spoon over cake batter sprinkle with chocolate chips.  Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or until toothpick inserted in cake portion comes out with moist crumbs.  Serve warm.  12 servings

1 year ago:    Hot Spiced Rum Apple Cider
2 years ago:  Leah

November 25, 2015   Sunrise 10:00 am  Sunset 3:15 pm  Temp. H 28/ L 27°F

Monday, November 23, 2015

Crock Pot Steel Cut Oatmeal with Pears

The curly haired boy and the DIL are here for a week.  They will be here for Thanksgiving and then head home.  The original plan was they would be here to help while I was recovering, but now we will have a fun visit!

They arrived Friday night, Saturday morning at 12:30 and we welcomed them home with a hot buttered rum next to the fire, since I have the mix in my freezer, and then off to bed.  In the morning, this warm, wonderful oatmeal was ready.  I have a little syrup warmed for the top, some chopped walnuts and a drizzle of cream and breakfast is served.

It is a bit of a trick, they will think I am making wholesome, good-for-you meals while they are home...nope.  We are starting with these baby back ribs on Saturday, and eating our way through the week, culminating with our Thanksgiving dinner, and then sending them home Friday, fat and full!

Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oatmeal
1 1/4 cup steel cut oatmeal
5 cups water
1/4 cup brown sugar or more depending on taste
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 apples, peeled and cubed

Spray crock pot with cooking spray. Add all ingredients and stir.  Cook on low for 5-6 hours or warm for 8-9 hours.
I don't have a fancy crock pot with a built in timer so I have a timer I bought at the store.  I set the timer for midnight plug it in and let it go.

1 year ago:    Sourdough Potato Bread
2 years ago:  Apple Butter in the Crock Pot
3 years ago:  Brown Sugar Button Cookies and Grandma's Button Bag
4 years ago:  Whole Wheat Millet and Dried Fruit Bread

November 23, 2015     Sunrise 9:53 am  Sunset 3:21 pm   Temp. H 20/ L 18°F

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Ganache filled Chocolate Cupcakes and the Complaints from Family

I had been home exactly 3 days and my family started complaining...about me...really?  I made a mess on the kitchen table, I use too many dishes when I cook.  My husband came into the kitchen as I was in the middle of making these cupcakes and dinner at the same time and had the nerve to say, "I never had the kitchen this messy when you were gone, and I cooked every night.  I made some remark like, "Well, if you don't want me to cook you can do it all."  Then my son walked into the kitchen and said, "Wow, the kitchen hasn't looked this bad in three weeks!"

So, I am not going to share my cupcakes with them...there.

These are delicious.  The dark chocolate ganache filling is a special surprise inside the moist, tender cupcake.  They are the perfect treat.  Add the ganache frosting and it is over the top.  They are so good you will look for a reason not to share, even if your family doesn't complain about what a mess you are.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache Filling
from America's Test Kitchen 100 Recipes

2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar

3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
1/3 cup (1 oz.) dutch-processed cocoa powder
3/4 cup brewed coffee, hot
3/4 cup bread flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
6 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 tsp. distilled white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/3 cup sugar
2 large egg whites
pinch salt
12 Tbsp. unsalted butter
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1) For the filling:
Microwave chocolate, cream, and sugar in medium bowl until mixture is warm to touch, about 30 seconds.  Whisk until smooth, then transfer bowl to refrigerator and let sit until just chilled, no longer than 30 minutes.

2) For the cupcakes:
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°F.  Line 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil liners.  Place chocolate and cocoa in medium heatproof bowl.  Pour hot coffee over mixture and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.  Whisk mixture gently until smooth, then transfer to refrigerator to cool completely, about 20 minutes.

3) Whisk flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl.  Whisk oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla into cooled chocolate mixture until smooth.  Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.

4) Using ice cream scoop or a large spoon, divide batter evenly among prepared muffins cups.  Place 1 slightly rounded teaspoon ganache filling on top of each portion of batter.  Bake cupcakes until set and just firm to touch, 17-19 minutes, rotating muffin tin halfway through baking.  Let cupcakes cook in muffin tin on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.  Lift each cupcake from tin, set on wire rack, and let cook completely, about 1 hour, before frosting.

5) For Frosting
Combine sugar, egg whites, and salt in bowl of stand mixer and set bowl over saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water.  Whisking gently but constantly, heat mixture until it is slightly thickened, foamy, and registers 150 degrees, 2-3 minutes.

6) Fit stand mixer with whisk and whip mixture on medium speed until consistency of shaving cream and slightly cooled, 1-3 minutes.  Add butter, 1 piece at a time, until smooth and creamy.  (Frosting may look curdled after half of butter has been added; it will smooth with additional butter).  Once all butter is added, add cooled melted chocolate and vanilla; mix until combined.  Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light, fluffy, and thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down beater and sides of bowl with rubber spatula as necessary.  Spread 2-3 Tbsp. of frosting over each cooled cupcake.

1 year ago:   United Way Auction and Cranberry Shortbread
2 years ago:  Hasselback Potatoes and a Mouse in the House
3 years ago:  Ice Breaker Cocktail and Bonding with the new Sewing Machine
4 years ago:  Sweet and Spicy Smoked Salmon - the most requested recipe

November 18, 2015  Sunrise 9:36 am  Sunset 3:35 pm  Temp. H 0/ L -6°F

Monday, November 16, 2015

Home Again and Hot Buttered Rum

So I made it home from the last big trip.  If you remember from an October post I am due for hip replacement, and getting home was a welcome relief from traveling.  We had scheduled my surgery for Nov. 16, right after I returned, and knew that I had several months to recover before the big Spring Travel Push that starts in February.

I was sitting in my hotel in Kansas City and my cell phone rings.  It is the surgeon's office calling to let me know he is "in network with an exception" and they wanted me to give them $8,000 right then.  What?  I was so dumbfounded that I said, "I have to call my husband!  I'll call you back."

I called my husband, I said I wasn't going to pay that much, I am double covered.  I cried, I cussed, and then I called the office back and said we would find a surgeon in network.  The next couple hours was talking to the insurance company, the new surgeon's office, crying and cussing, and winding down to hiccups and a bad night's sleep.

So, in hind sight, it isn't that bad.  They did call us before, and not lay that bill on us after the surgery was done and we had no choice but to pay it.  This is not a life threatening issue.  We are meeting the new surgeon on Thursday and hopefully will be able to schedule in December (or I will have to wait until May), I am almost 75K with Alaska Airlines and this just might tip me over the edge (awesome for upgrades when I travel for work).  The downside is, I'll be in Seattle instead of Alaska (although I will get to see the curly haired boy and the DIL) and Dave will be stuck in a hotel for at least a week instead of the three days in Anchorage.  So, if you are reading this on the 16th, I would be in surgery right now - or finished if it is later in the day....nope.

So, that is my sob story.

Fairbanks is in full winter mode.  It is dark when I get home from work, it is cold and snowy outside.  Inside we warm up with a fire in the wood stove and I'm drinking a nice, steamy hot buttered rum.  It is the best thing to wash those pain pills down with.

Hot Buttered Rum Freezer Mix

1 lb. butter
1 lb. brown sugar
1 lb confectioners' sugar
1 quart vanilla ice cream
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg


Melt butter over low heat, add brown sugar and confectioners' sugar, stir until mixed well.  Remove from heat, add ice cream, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Stir to mix completely.  Pour into plastic container and seal.  Store in freezer.

To make 1 serving:
Place one heaping scoop of ice cream mixture into mug.  Add 2 oz. rum and 6-8 oz. of very hot water.  Stir and enjoy.

1 year ago:   Stuffed Port Loin
2 years ago: Pumpkin Muffins and a Skewed View of the World
3 years ago: Pretzel Turtles and the Start of the Season of Eating
4 years ago: Roasted Tomatoes

November 16, 2015   Sunrise 9:30 am  Sunset 3:41 pm  Temp. H -18/ L -26°F

Monday, November 2, 2015

Meeting the New Great Niece

I'm taking a weekend break in Kansas at my brother's house.  I got to meet my new great niece, Jayden.  She is perfect in every way!  I spend a week around Kansas and fly to Texas for the beginning of next week.  I hope it is done flooding before I get there.

This is the fourth birthday of my blog.  I had planned on doing some give-away or something, but it will have to wait until I get home and can organize something.  So, happy birthday to my blog, we'll celebrate later.

1 year ago:   My Glimpse of Raleigh
2 years ago:  Kentucky Kiss and the Sprained Ankle
3 years ago:  Flourless Chocolate Cake with Nutella Buttercream
4 years ago:  The Beginning

November 2, 2015   Sunrise 8:42 am  Sunset 4:26 pm   Temp.  H 27/ L 23°F

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Lessons from the Road - No bean Soup before the Airplane

So, for the next 3 weeks I am on the road for work.  I am traveling through Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas.  I kept saying I was going to be gone for about 14 days, then, just before I left, my husband made me count the days on the calendar and it turns out I'll be gone 19 days.  Suddenly the trip seemed soooooo long.  I liked the 14 day thought better.

Well I have learned a few good lessons from traveling like; when using the hotel shampoo wear your glassesif it's broke, leave it at home, and No sad books on the airplane (although sometimes that is hard 'cuz sometimes you just don't know).  Well this trip I learned, from a friend, yea a friend of mine told me this...

No bean soup before a 4 hour flight.  Just. Don't. Do. It.

I don't think I need to say anything more.

1 year ago:    Getting Wood Delivered
2 years ago:  Cranberry Liqueur and Crying at the Dentists Office
3 years ago:  Cowboy Cookies

October 27, 2015   Sunrise 9:22am   Sunset 5:47 pm   Temp H 36/ L 28°F

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Computer Crash and Three Layer Bars

My computer crashed.

Yes, you read that right, last year around this time this same computer crashed the day before I was leaving for Montana, and this year it was two days before I left for PA.  I stomped down to IT so they could fix it, left a note to my office mate to order me a new computer, and wondered what I was doing for this to happen to me AGAIN!  Why is it always MY computers?  Luckily, I really didn't need my computer for the trip I was leaving on, so I took my iPad and was just fine.  But, what the hell? (I'm really trying to clean up my language, so if you are offended by WTH, I'm sorry at least I didn't say WTF, which is what I usually say and only try to whisper it now.)

When I got back from PA, I went to IT to see if the computer was saved.  The helpful computer master grabbed the computer and said it all was in working order.  "Let's try it out," she instructs.  I turn it on, it makes it's nice little start up noise, I am feeling hopeful.  Then it takes a little too long to boot up and the spinning wheel of death...

"That doesn't look good." She mumbles...

So, still no computer at work.

Because I was feeling a little frustrated I decided I needed a little treat.  I've seen this combination on Pinterest for a couple of years now, and always thought "how ridiculous" well, my computer crashing again is ridiculous so I made these cookies.

I'm leaving for work again this week, and I really need my computer.  I hope the new one gets here fast or the old one can be salvaged for one more trip.

Three Layer Bars
Yes, you could do the same thing with homemade cookie dough and homemade brownies (you could even make your own Oreos) but this is all about instant gratification and frustration relief!

1 tube chocolate chip cookie dough
1 pkg. Oreo cookies
1 box brownie mix

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line a 9 X 9" pan with foil, lightly spray bottom of pan with cooking spray.  Press cookie dough in bottom of pan.

Place Oreos on cookie dough, pressing slightly into dough.

Make brownie mix according to box directions and pour over the top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.  Cool completely.  Remove cookies from pan and peel away the foil.  Cut into small squares and enjoy.

(Now aren't you glad I gave you those instructions because ANYONE can figure out how to make these, but if you are as frustrated as I am, you might not be thinking clearly...and the two adult beverages you drank before you made these might just impair your judgement.)

1 year ago:    The Missed Vacation and Dried Cherry Muffins
2 years ago:   Winter Fires and the S'moretini
3 years ago:   Death of a Sewing Machine and Vanilla Chocolate Martini

October 22, 2015   Sunrise 9:05 am  Sunset 6:04 pm  Temp. H 34/ L 23°F

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Festive Fudge Filled Bars and Visiting with an Old Friend

I was in Pennsylvania last week for work.  I also got to have dinner with an old friend, Nancy. We worked together one school year and became fast friends.  We were partners in crime, and boy did we stir things up.  As some point during that school year someone filled a pickup truck cab full of popped popcorn, someone saran wrapped a car, someone covered a pickup hood with dish soap so it bubbled all the way home in the rain, and someone kidnapped the wire man statue from the principal's office and took pictures of him all over town.

The Wire Man kidnapping happened by accident.  The principal had this wire man, that balanced on a stand, on his desk.  One day when I was in his office he had to move the man out of the way, otherwise I probably would never had noticed him the the very messy busy office.  Later that day he was gone, and I was still working.  I was working on a picture history of the school, or something like that, and was trying to figure out the old camera they gave me...a polaroid (It was about 15 years ago), so I grabbed the wireman as a model as I tried to work this old camera...and he spoke to me! Not the "I hear voices and have really gone off the edge" kind of speaking, but the inspired "he spoke to me" kind of speaking.  I took a picture of him with the camera outside the principal's door and wrote a note on the picture...something like "I'm tired of living in this messy office.  I'm going on a trip.  Be back soon."  Taped the picture to the office door and took the wireman - straight to Nancy.  We spent the next 6 weeks or so taking pictures of the wireman in different locations...the airport (for his trip you know), the local bar, in a bubble bath, on the bumper of the principal's car, at the museum...and mailing the pictures to the school to the principal.  And finally, we returned him with a couple little gifts from several of the places he visited.  I don't know if the principal ever really knew who did it..but he did suspect Nancy!

Oh, it was all in good fun and it did help break up the tension of dealing with middle school children and bus misconducts.  All in all, looking back, that was a fun year (although my husband does call it the year from hell).

So catching up with Nancy was a little perk of my job.  We visited, had dinner, caught up with the last 12 years since we have seen each other, remembered our 'adventures' and laughed.  It was a wonderful afternoon and evening.

Nancy knows how much I love cookbooks and she gifted me these two books from the area.   One is full of cookie recipes and the other is full of favorites from different cooks in the area.  What a fun treasure.

Festive Fudge Filled Bars
from Dutch Pantry Cookie Collection, submitted by Jill Wood

2 cups oatmeal
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter, melted
2 Tbsp. vegetable shortening
1.5 cups M&M's
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 375°.  Combine oats, flour, chopped nuts, brown sugar, baking soda and salt.  Stir in melted butter until it's crumbly.  Reserve 1.5 cups of the flour/oat mixture; press the remainder into a greased and floured 9 X 13" pan.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Melt shortening in a saucepan.  Stir in 1 cup M&M's, pressing until broken and melted.  Remove from heat and stir in condensed milk.  Spread over the baked layer to within 1/2" of the edge.  Add 1/2 cup M&M's to flour mixture and sprinkle on top, pressing lightly.  Bake about 20 minutes until golden brown.  Cool and cut into bars.

1 year ago:    Garlic Chili Chicken and my Saturday afternoon date
2 years ago:   Warm Brussels Sprout Slaw and and the Baby Boy Moving Home
3 years ago:   Posole because Winter is Coming

October 20, 2015   Sunrise 8:59 am  Sunset 6:11 pm  Temp. H 38/ L 27°F

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fruit Cake Martini and Early Christmas Shopping

This little hip issue I have will not go away.  We have done all we can do and have two options left: 1) live with pain or 2) get a new hip.  I really think we should have a third option: 3) get an awesome robot body.  I would choose one that worked like Data (on Star Trek the Next Generation (and if you don't know who Data is, I just don't want to know you)) and looked like 7 of 9 (again STNG).

So I chose option #2 since #3 isn't available at this time and #1 is about to kill me (and you need to feel very sorry for my husband).  Option #2 will take place in November, after I finish my fall travel for work.  I just have Pennsylvania, Oregon, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas left.  But after that, I'll have #2 and then be out of commission for about 6 weeks, which means I need to get my Christmas shopping done now!

So, I am trying to get Christmas done, get boxes in the mail, and feel oh so merry...

To help get me in the mood, I turn the Christmas CDs on, make myself this drink, and sing along as I wrap presents.  I am still going to ask Santa for that robot body, maybe I'll get lucky.

Fruit Cake Martini

2 oz. cake flavored vodka
1 oz. orange juice
1 oz. pineapple juice
sparkling cranberry juice
maraschino cherry for garnish

In shaker full of ice, add vodka, orange juice and pineapple juice.  Shake until very cold.  Strain into cocktail glass, top with sparkling cranberry juice, garnish with maraschino cherry.

1 year ago:     Citrus Cranberry Fizz and TGIF
2 years ago:   Roasted Chicken with Mushrooms and Peas and the Halloween Surprise
3 years ago:   Baked Nutella Doughnuts and less than 10 hours of Daylight

October 15, 2015   Sunrise 8:43 am  Sunset 6:29 pm   Temp. H 39/ L 30°F

Monday, October 12, 2015

Sudafed and Green Pea Soup

Everyone at work is sick.  This is a busy travel time for me so I am walking around with a Clorox wipe, disinfecting the door handles, my desktop, pens that I use and the coffee machine.  (You're welcome)  I wish they made Clorox wipe gloves and I would make everyone at work wear them so I don't get sick.  I'm thoughtful like that.

Despite my best efforts, Friday afternoon my ears plugged up.  I'm sure they are full of fluid and I was flying out next Sunday to Philadelphia.  I knew I had a long day ahead of me and I didn't want to be uncomfortable from pressure in my ears while I was flying.  So, at dinner, I took Sudafed.  I don't know about you, but Sudafed wires me up and I was awake all night!  I tossed, I turned, I could not sleep.  What was I thinking taking it so late at night?  Thank goodness the next day was Saturday, and I could take it easy.  I did get a good nap in Saturday afternoon.

That did remind me that I will be on the road for the next 5 weeks and airplanes are germy.  I wanted to stock up on cold remedies before there was a shortage like the year I thought Dave was trying to poison me and I wanted to have a stash in my travel purse.  At least I learned something from it.

It also reminded me that we need to eat better and boost our immunities.  I made this green pea soup for dinner and felt very healthy.  I will say that sometimes the idea of what dinner will taste like and the reality of it is a little different.  When I was making this soup Dave said, "That stuff is how the Ninja Turtles were made."  Nice...

I don't know what I expected, I know my husband doesn't like peas, so why I thought he would like this soup is beyond me.  It must have been the lack of sleep the night before. He took two bites and left the rest in his bowl.  Oh well, he can be sick while I'm gone, I'll be healthy!

Green Pea Soup
adapted from Ellie Krieger The Food We Crave

olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 12 oz. package of frozen green peas
3 cups chicken stock
1 tsp. dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan.  Add onions and sauté until soft and translucent.  Add chicken stock and thyme, heat to boiling.  Reduce and add peas, heat through, add salt and pepper to taste. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth or blend in a blender is 3 batches.
  Serves 4

1 year ago:    Banana Muffins and Blue Cougar Pills
2 years ago:   Autumn Fruit Tart and the Attitude Adjustment
3 years ago:   Gingered Pear and Brandy Cocktail and the Horseshoe Champion

October 12, 2015   Sunrise 8:34 am  Sunset 6:39 pm   Temp. H 34/ L 23°F

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Pasta with Spinach, White Beans and Chicken Meatballs and the Ruined Pedicure

Fairbanks got a huge dump of snow.  The first snow of the season is always very wet and heavy.  It was a little early this year and the trees hadn't even dropped their leaves.  Lots of houses were without electricity, some for up to 5 days.

We were very lucky.  We only lost power for about 7 hours and had the wood stove going the whole time so the house didn't get cold and we could cook on the wood stove.  We did have one limb of our tree break, Dave had to go out and trim it off, buck it up and haul it away.  You can see how deep the snow is in the front by how far down his legs are covered.
He made short work of the broken tree limb and then spent a lot of time moving snow around, off the driveway, the pavers in the back, the back deck, a path for my little dogs to get to the dog yard...
So while Dave was doing all this work, the Chick and I went to get a pedicure for her birthday.  We spend a nice afternoon getting a pedi and then shopping for new boots for her.  I thought we waited long enough after the pedicure to put our shoes back on, but apparently not!  I look like I have hairy toenails.  It is stuck!  I am so disappointed since I paid all that money for a pedicure and now I have to take the polish off.  Getting my leg into a position to take nail polish off is not very comfortable with my hip, but I don't dare ask Dave to do it since he worked outside in the snow and cold the whole time the Chick and I were pampering ourselves.
So I made pasta for him for dinner.  He loves pasta and I don't so I don't fix it often enough as far as he is concerned.  This was a warm, filling dish he enjoyed and it put him in a pretty good mood after all the snow shoveling...I might ask him to take the fuzzy polish off AND repaint the nails.  How do you think that will go for me?

Pasta, Spinach, White Beans and Chicken Meatballs
adapted from Ellie Krieger The Food You Crave

16 oz. Penne Pasta, save 1/2 cup pasta water after the pasta is cooked
olive oil
medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. chicken meatballs, homemade or store bought
8 cups fresh spinach
1 15-oz can cannellini or other white beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat the oil over medium heat in a large, deep sauté pan.  Add the onion and cook, stirring a few times, until softened, 3-5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook an additional minute.  Stir in the meatballs and cook until heated through and browned, about 4 minutes.  Add the spinach and cook until wilted, about 3-4 minutes.  Add the beans, 1 cup of chicken broth, and the red pepper flakes and simmer until the mixture is heated through and liquid is slightly reduced.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of water, and add it to the chicken-bean mixture, add pasta water and remaining chicken broth, toss well.  Season with salt and pepper.  Top with Parmesan and serve
Serves 4-6

October 8, 2015  Sunrise 8:22 am  Sunset 6:54 pm  Temp H 39/ L 30°F

Monday, October 5, 2015

Carrot Soup

I don't know what is going on with these ducks, but they have been in the yards on our street for the last week or so.  I think they must be eating the choke cherries or something that are falling off the trees.

It is really not a problem, except that they keep pooping on the cars in the driveway!  I don't know if it is when they fly over or what, but scraping snow and ice off your windshield is one thing, frozen (or worse yet - soft) duck poop is another thing.
I really think they need to fly back to the river and stay there, I stepped in duck poop this morning and I'm not very happy about it.  I did post this picture on Facebook and complained about the ducks, one of my Facebook friends said, "Forget about the ducks, what about all that snow!"  Ha, I guess it is all in your perspective.

I have a big bag of carrots from the carrot guy at the farmer's market.  I got a 10 pound bag and I love them.  This soup was part of our soup and sandwich night, it tasted like there wasn't any snow on the ground and the ducks were in the river, where they belong, not smearing my windshield with "stuff".

Oh happy Monday!

Carrot-Cashew Soup
adapted from Ellie Kreiger's The Food You Crave

4 cups chicken stock
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1-inch piece of ginger
1.5 pounds carrots
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 cup unsalted roasted cashews
2 tsp. honey
salt and pepper to taste

Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan.  While the broth is heating, chop the onion and mince the garlic and ginger.  Slice all but one-quarter of one of the carrots into 1/4-inch thick coins.

Heat the oil in another medium pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3-5 minutes.  Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute more.  Stir in the allspice and cook for 30 seconds.

Stir the carrot coins into the pot with the onions, then add the boiling chicken broth, cover and return to a boil over hight heat.  Lower the heat to medium, uncover, and simmer until the carrots are tender, 8-9 minutes.  Meanwhile, grate the remaining carrot quarter and chop 2 Tbsp. of the cashews to use for garnish.

Remove the pot from the heat, stir in the whole cashews, honey, salt, and pepper, and then puree the soup in 3 batches in a blender, or with an immersion blender, until smooth.

Serve garnished with the grated carrot and chopped cashews.

Makes 4 servings.

1 year ago:    Dark Chocolate Cake with Whipped Ganache and Raspberries
2 years ago:  Cranberry Shortbread Bars
3 years ago:  Chocolate Chip Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and the First Snow

October 5, 2015   Sunrise 8:12 am  Sunset 7:05 pm   Temp. H 39/ L 28°F

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Corn and Summer Vegetable Soup and the First Snow

I know most of you are still very warm.  We, on the other hand, are having a major snowfall.  Awesome!
As a matter of fact, while I was in Montana last week, it would get in the high 80s and even hit 90°, but Fairbanks was getting 6 inches of snow!
These two pictures are from my window last spring...

You can see the mountains in the back.

This is the view out my window today.

It is just awesome!

So, I understand you may not be eating a lot of soup right now but we have soup every Monday with a sandwich and watch football on t.v.  (Thank you Green Bay for that awesome win against Kansas City, I just won a bet with my brother!)

This soup is quick and a good use for your summer veggies.  Maybe you will have some cool evening with a little rain.  I doubt you'll get the amount of snow we are getting right now.

Corn and Summer Vegetable Soup

4 cups of corn, fresh or frozen work best
4 cups chicken stock
1 large onion, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
salt and pepper to taste
4 pieces of bacon

*You can add other veggies to beef it up, or add cooked shredded chicken and top with bacon and cheese.

Measure two cups of corn and two cups of chicken stock, place in a blender and process until very smooth, set aside. Using your soup pot, cook bacon until crisp.  Remove from pan and place on paper towel to drain.  Chop into small pieces.
 Remove all but about 2 tbsp. of bacon fat from pan, add onion and zucchini and sauté until soft.  Add corn puree, tomatoes, chicken stock, and salt and pepper to taste.  Heat but do not bring to a boil.
Serves 6

1 year ago:    Pizza Stromboli for the Blond Boy's Visit
2 years ago:   Rhubarb Meringue Bars and the Guard Goose
3 years ago:   Pecan Crispies and Saying Goodbye to the Back Yard Neighbors

September 30, 2015  Sunrise 7:57 am  Sunset 7:53 pm  Temp. H 34/ L 25°F