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lentil & white bean stuffed delicata squash 

oh my goodness… I don’t think I could fully express just how much I love fall!  

Everything is just so beautiful.  We started our day at our local farmers’ market yesterday 

Just look at that color! 


I scored a great deal on tomatoes

So that means it’s canning time!

I love the process of canning.. because it is a process. It also brings back nostalgic memories of my amazing Grandparents. Gosh, I miss them😓. 

I spent yesterday prepping the tomatoes, and started canning this am. 
My first jar broke when I put it in my canning pot 😂. I sputtered many not-so nice words. ( who meee?)

I tend to be very careful about following the proper procedures when I’m canning so I was really very upset when this happened. After doing a little research I actually think that I might put a little bit too much liquid in the jar before I sealed it either that or I filled it to tightly so I am currently waiting for my water to boil again so that I can try this again.
In the meantime while I’m waiting for the water to boil I figure this is a great time for me to share a recipe. Wayback in the beginning when this blog was brand-new one of the reasons that I started it was because we had joined CSA and there I had been introduced to a most amazing squash call Delicata.

I actually love all winter squash however the thing I love about Delicata is that the skins are edible making prep work next to nothing. 

This, my friends, is a delicata squash.  It is in season right now. You can find it at your local farmers’ market as well as most grocery stores. 

Lentil & White bean stuffed delicata Squash 

1 delicata squash

1/4 cup dried brown lentils

2 garlic cloves, peeled 

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup low sodium canned white beans, rinsed and drained 

1 tomato, chopped

About 1/4 cup parsley, chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tsbp olive oil

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese




Preheat oven to 325 degeees

Wash the squash, half the squash and remove seeds. ( I’m finding that a grapefruit spoon with serrated edges makes easy work of this) 

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast upside down on a baking sheet in the oven for 20-25 min depending on size. ( mine took about 22 minutes) 

It is done when a knife can be easily inserted into outer skin.


Using tongs, carefully flip squash over 

While squash is cooking, prepare filling.

Cook lentils according to package directions, adding the whole garlic cloves so that they soften.( I’m enjoying sprouted lentils, because they are easily digestible and cook quickly.. if you can’t find them dried brown lentils work just fine)

Once lentils are cooked, remove garlic clove and mash together with the white beans. Add back to pan and stir in tomatoes and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and squeeze the juice from the lemon into mixture. 

Divide mixture between both halves and fill 


Sprinkle the cheese on top,drizzle with the olive oil and return to oven for about 10 minutes or until the cheese melts

This makes a perfect make-ahead dish, take-away lunch or side dish for dinner! Enjoy!

Click here for another delicata recipe from a few years back
Keeeping Florida and all in the path of hurricane matthew in my thoughts.  Including my son and Daughter-in-law and 2 of my grandpups, and many friends in the area.  Please be safe! 

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buying and storing bulk foods

Good morning 😉

Since moving to Colorado, I’ve found that I have much more access to buying foods in bulk ( beans, nuts, dried fruit,rices, spices) <—  made a little rhyme for ya 😉

 

Not that I didn’t back in Plymouth ( most health food stores have bulk bins and for the most part, they are far more affordable than buying pre- packaged.

So you grab your plastic bag, scoop your ingredients , place a tag with the PLU of ingredient in the bag and write it on the tag

( I know you know how to do this…  but I have something cool to share that I just figured out yesterday .. grab a cup of tea and stay tuned)

 

bulk itemshere is Saturday’s haul

Yellow peas

White beans

Pistachios ( they were on sale)

Himalayan sea salt

Brown Lentils

Peanuts ( SOOO much cheaper than buying a jar! )

Golden raisins ( used in the kale salad that I made to go with this and that I’m making this

Slivered almonds

 

I have a huge infatuation with ball jars. It’s the inner 1950’s housewife in me.  I also love to reuse interesting jars from pre-packaged food.

I have actually purchased items in the past based on the fact that I loved the packaging and would re use the jar for years to come

 

strawberry-basil vinegarsee the jar that I used to store  Strawberry-basil home- made vinegar … that was a salad dressing bottle  ( I make my own most of the time ) but I seriously loved the jar and knew It would become part of my collection!

 

here’s my new Tip..  I usually try to empty the bags of goods the same way that I scooped it in, through the big wide opening.

Which is WAY bigger the the mouth of the ball jar, and most of the time ends with lentils and chick peas rolling all over the kitchen floor.

Until… I thought of this bulk itemsusing kitchen shears, cut a small triangle int the bottom of the bag. Place the hole into the mouth of your storage jar and it acts like a funnel and will filter down into your jar with no runaways!

 

The only thing that it didn’t work on were the raisins. They were tactile enough that they stuck to the inside of the bag. For those I just cut the bag down the center and using clean hands, scooped them into the jars.

ball jars storage

I’m really lucky to have an open shelving area in my kitchen; But this is not necessary. In my old house I had a bookshelf that I re- purposed to be my grains & beans shelf.beans and grains

 

so no recipe today, just a little tip that I figured out this weekend and i wanted to share.

 

speaking of sharing… allow me to share this amazing Colorado sunset with you!

 

colorado sunsetnamaste, friends 🙂

flashback…. Ali’s graduation party

Hello friends 🙂

Our youngest daughter, Alison graduated from high school just 2 weeks ago.. And since we were sooo busy I’m just not getting around to posting about it.

It was a very special time. Both my boys and my daughter in law, Amanda, flew In for this special event.

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And of course, Scott

It all went by so fast..

We had her party the day after graduation simply because everyone was in town. I spent many hours thinking about the kind of party that I wanted to have for her. ( which was really good for me because it helped to keep my mind focused on that versus my life changes right in front of me)

The weather was less than desirable. In fact, downright miserable. Scott had wanted to have the party at a hall, but Ali and I really wanted a big white tent in the backyard.

Having it at home was also important to us as we knew that only 5 short days after the party we would be completely moved out and that this would be the last time that we would get together with our friends and families in this home.

I ended up calling and having sides to the tent added once I saw the forecast.. And the morning of the party I called and ordered a heater.. ( it was in the 40s, damp, windy and cold)

The heater was the best decision EVER!!

Everyone seemed to have fun ! It was so nice to have the majority of our families there and so many of Ali’s friends and a few of mine

Here are some random pics..

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Yes.. Flat Dave was the first party guest… With my family, I’m not surprised at all

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Ali with a few of her friends

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My adorable niece, Kalli

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Lots of family, including Scott’s 102 year old grandmother!!!

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A lot of the food I was able to make ahead

I served

Baked ziti
Chicken broccoli Alfredo
Sweet and sour meatballs
Lemon orzo salad
Anniversary chicken ( chicken with bacon and cheddar cheese)
Homemade pickles
Southwestern bean salad

Lots of snacks and drinks including homemade sangria!

I have all of the recipes that I used in case you are interested. Everything was easy to make a head of time and came out great ( I think)

Of course, I have zero pics of the food, except for the cake and cupcakes 😉

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It was everything that I envisioned her party to be.. We are all so proud of her!!

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It may have been cold and raw outside but it didn’t matter… The love inside that tent was awesome… ( not to mention the fabulous heater 😉 )

Oxox

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veggie chili

Friends.

I’ve hesitated.

I have a veggie chili recipe that I have pretty much been making for years. And I love it. but  I have a really good friend who is sort of a chili making champion.  She lives in Texas and they take their chili VERY seriously.  IN fact.. I have had the pleasure of tasting her chili… it truly is out of this world… You should  can visit her at River Cat Chili.

She is just back form a very big chili challenge that I’m sure she will be telling us all about soon.. and I have seen some of the pics.. and trust me… you wont want to miss this.

Sharing my measly chili recipe has had me intimidated.  But today… I feel strong.  I am going for it!

So the other day I defrosted chicken and had to decide what to make for dinner. Given the fact that I had more then just 2 to cook for, I needed to get creative.

This is my favorite way to cook. I have always said that if I were ever lucky enough to have a cooking show.. that this would be my ‘spin’

Open the fridge… take inventory… combine with pantry items and come up with 3 possible ideas.. and make one.

Which is exact-a-lacktaly what I did.

so what did I come up with? my veggie chili .. cooking the chicken on the side for those who wanted it. It was perfect.

I started by chopping the veggies and adding all but he garlic to a pan heated with oil

season with salt and pepper ( avoid salting the mushrooms)  and let everyone get a nice little crust.

after about 5 minutes, add the garlic, stir together, turn heat off, add wine to deglaze.

Turn the heat back on… once the wine has evaporated add some veggie stock and jarred tomatoes ( these were second to the last batch from last summer.. *snif*)

Let the chili come to a boil, then reduce and let simmer until sweet potatoes are tender. Stir in beans. ( I used beans that I had made in the crock pot and froze.. just because I go throught them so fast, but feel free to use canned)

For the chicken, I cubed it.. tossed it in spices and sauted in oil over med high heat.  Then added chicken broth to deglaze , covered and let simmer until  chicken had reached 165.

At the last minute, stir in some chopped cilantro or Parsley…  I served it with the chipotle cream sauce and it was perfect. ( I added the cooked chicken on top of those who wanted the chicken.

This is easy, healthy and yummy 😉  I finished the rest of it for lunch today with 1/4 of a chopped avocado and some fresh lime juice. It is a perfect meal for a fall day 🙂

* a note on the ghost pepper salt*

I have recently REALLY gotten into finishing salts. I can thank Ryan for this. I make a few of them myself (Lavender salt, Rosemary salt) but I’m a sucker when come across different flavors.  I am lucky That Ryan goes to school near a fabulous little tea and spice chop.. and every opportunity that I have I visit and he and I try out the different salts.

and sugars

and spices

and teas

We came across this one last weekend.. and although the ghost pepper is UBER hot.. ( bought some powdered ghost pepper this summer…  you only need a spec.. this stuff is strong.) I knew I had to buy it.

I have used this every day. yumm..

it’s awesome. like you!

what am I thankful for today? for you .. my readers…  you make my day.. seriously.. it’s nice having y’all as my bffs 🙂

oxoox[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:4]

lentil love

I expressed a few weeks back about how much I truly enjoy LENTILS.
The bonus is that they are so GOOD for you! .. back in my previous life of being a cosmetologist, I had a client who was in her mid to late 50’s and looked AMAZING. Simply Amazing. I asked her how she did it… she told me that she ate a lot of lentils.. I know this sounds silly, but I swear to you , this is true.

I don’t think that I had really eaten lentils except for maybe in soup? They are readily available in just about every grocery store, there are many different kinds, they are quick and easy to make and if you live near a Trader Joe’s ( field trip there for me tomorrow… suggestion on what I should get??) you can buy already cooked lentil in the refrigerator section at Tj’s.

could it be easier? I think not.

My sweet, daughter in law, Amanda ( and future nurse:) *congratulations on Nursing School acceptance!* Started changing her diet earlier this year and has discovered a whole bunch of new foods in the process ( and also lost over 30 pounds in the process!) One of the companies that she discovered was Laurel Hill.

I bought a bag and….. I’m hooked. ( I found these at Whole foods) And as silly as this little recipe is, I feel the need to share this with you because I eat it 3-4 times a week. True love, I tell ya… true love ❤

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:3]

* side note…after an embaressing weight gain I am going to be re joining weight watchers… as soon as I do I will figure out the point plus info for this recipe and come back and edit it for those who are interested*

I have been using coconut oil for about a year now. This is some good stuff. Coconut oils had gotten a bad rap for many years, but researchers are finding that it has amazing health benefits

It can be a little pricey ( around 10 buck a jar) but it lasts a long time and I swear.. it’s worth every penny… I use it to cook my eggs & fry my tofu. If i had a must -have 20 item list in my kitchen, this would be on there 🙂

If you are new to lentils, I urge you to try them 🙂

don’t they look purty on my beans and grains shelf?

xooxox

~shel

Cooking in Colorado

yes. friends, I am here confessing to you.. I am in love with white beans.

it’s true. and on my recent trip to Denver I told you about a situation that I go myself into.

you see… I was able to use an entire kitchen to make dinner…except, other that appliances and cookware, I had zero food. I mean nada. zilch. less than nothing.

I did not even have salt or pepper 😦

We had stopped at the whole paycheck store the day before I decided to cook ( to buy apples and kombucha… I’m addicted to the booch.. Lord help me) when I saw a container of cooked white beans.

I kid you not when I tell you that I kept thinking about these beans.

I may have had a dream about them that night.

or not.

but probably.

like yes.. it’s true I dreamt about the dang beans

could I even MAKE this up?

So when Scott suggested that we cook in Sat night rather go out and deal with the crowds.. i was all over it.

Except that we were starting from scratch.

so I put my thinking cap on….. *psst… it’s pink 😉 *

I knew I had to have those white beans. I just had to ..

and white beans marry so well with greens. When I saw local spinach at the store, I knew I was onto something.. But Scott and Ali would want an additional protein… chicken thighs were on sale.. so I added that to the basket. and a lemon. I love lemons. Like maybe too much. I start most days with warm lemon water

I wanted fresh pasta, but at 8.99 a whack, I skipped it in favor of dried linguine.

and the smallest jar of oil that i could find.. which happened to be truffle flavored.. which is ok.. I was going to make it work.

and some light cream.. to round the dish out. and finally, frozen peas.

and since this is how I cook…. ( all willy- nilly, most of the time sans- recipe ) I give you

ingredient-challenged barefootgirl cooks in another kitchen white beans & greens with pan seared chicken thighs in a lemon garlic cream sauce sprinkled with peas.

my fingers just hurt even typing that..

so grocery list…….

cooked white beans

garlic cloves ( 3)

bunch of fresh spinach

a lemon

small jar of oil ( truffle in our case, but any heart healthy oil will do)

chicken thighs ( skinless)

light cream

dried pasta

parmesan cheese shreds

frozen peas

*pick up chicken stock. I’ll explain in a bit*

( I was hoping to find salt and pepper packets so that I didn’t need to buy salt and pepper to then have to throw out, but the register lady ( my hopefully someday job) told me to go to the salad bar and sprinkle s&p into a salad dressing container.

pure.

genius.

I started by draining & rinsing the beans and heating a saute pan with a bit of the oil… adding the beans, season them with salt and pepper, adding 1/ the chopped garlic and smashing a few of the beans.

I then added the rinsed spinach right on top

( don’t worry about the extra water on the spinach, it will help the steaming process).. add the spinach directly on top, cover immediately and remove from heat.

don’t peek.. you sneaky- peeker- you…

next. add oil to another saute pan, season thighs with genius salt and pepper and place thighs in pan, allowing them to brown.

Once browned on one side, using tongs.( not to self and all of you… oxo makes the BEST tongs. I unfortunately did not have those there.. I will be changing that very soon ) anyway.. using the tongs. flip the thighs over and allow to brown on the other side. add the remaining garlic and then I added the cream.

* now here is where I would make a change.. I would use chicken stock here instead, and add the cream at the very end. the cream started to curdle a bit.. it was still really good, but if you use chicken stock now to cook the chicken in.. you will be happy 😉 *

cover the chicken and allow to simmer until chicken is fully cooked.

this is an excellent time to cook the pasta in boiled salted water 🙂

add frozen peas once chicken is cooked.. allow peas to just heat through.

next remove the lid from the bean mixture

isn’t it pretty 🙂

and if you are feeling like it’s a wild and crazy night since you are in another city, mix in a bit of cream

and a squeeze of lemon juice. and just to take it over-the-top

some parm cheese

this.. was my dinner….

and this was theirs..

I topped each with a squeeze of lemon for freshness..

yum 🙂

now when all was said and done.. I added the leftovers to one pot ( cutting up the pasta) and made the base of a soup… all that you would need to do is add a bit of chicken broth and heat for a quick weeknight soup 🙂

going out in the city is nice, but every once in awhile, it is nice to just stay in and enjoy the view and the cooking…. and that is how this family spent our Saturday night. And not one of us would have changed it 🙂

enjoy this recipe.. now that I’m done typing, My tummy is rumbly and I’m on the hunt for the ingredients to make it again..

caio friends 🙂

psst.. if you haven’t read it on facebook.. congrats to Lynn on winning the hand knit socks! remember, mom is offering free shipping on any of her items for the month of Oct with 100% of her proceeds going to ward breast cancer research… thank you to all who have taken advantage of this.. I guarantee you… her fingerless gloves are the best!

oxoxo~shel

banish boring salads

well… maybe not banish but know that there are options out there.

You know how when you got to a restaurant and some of the fancier salads look sooo good… but you have a hard  time shelling out 13 bucks for a salad..

yeah  me too.  Here’s the thing.. you can make these at home!!  Now I know some of you are like, “duh? is she going to seriously walk us through salad making 101?”

yes. Because I have a few friends whose diets have changed and they need to add more fruits and veggies into their diet & want to show the amazing amount options that are out there. If you already know all of this.. I apologize…. just scroll to the bottom to help answer a question about my next giveaway.

WHOA!!! wait.. YOU!… get back up here.. I’m not done yet.

We’ll start with making a dressing….  yes.. making it is super simple.. and there are 17,000 combinations that you can create… just use a basic formula and add the flavors that you like!

you will need

1~ an acid.. either vinegar, lemon or lime juice, wine….  1/8 cup

2~ an oil…. olive oil, canola oil, sesame oil.. coconut oil ( my new FAVORITE! ) 1/4 cup

3~mustard… again… SO many flavors out there… play with it! 1 tsp

4~ honey.. or maple syrup ( the real stuff) or agave…. 1 tsp

5~ (optional) herbs.. fresh or dried… or sesame seeds, or crushed garlic….. 1/2-1 tsp.. depending on how strong you would like ( always start with less then add more)

6~ sea salt and pepper…..  I have a slight salt obsession as well…..  we’ll chat about this later 🙂 remind me if I forget.

simply add everything to a small ball jars

   put the top on the jar and shake….

you just made dressing 🙂

trust me.. you can’t get that out of a bottle…. anywhere.

I don’t like overly dressed salads, so I usually use about a tablespoon per salad.. if you like more, then add more… I mix it with whichever greens I am using so that they are coated, then place in serving bowl… top with toppings…

like the quiche ‘recipe’  ( are you starting to get my method of cooking… it’s always a formula, then playing with ingredients… because I am a firm believer in  play!  <—- please read this post, it’s one of my favorites 🙂

so.. you will want

1~ green of choice… baby spinach, arugula, mesclun, romaine, butter lettuce..

2~ dressing of choice

3~ ( optional.. ) protein of choice… ( chicken, beans, salmon, beef, tofu, edamame.)

4~ other veggies.. just pile them on!

5~ (optional ) cheese

6~ (optional) something for crunch.. croutons, sunflower seeds, pepitas, sliver almonds

7~ (optional) dried cranberries or apricots or mandarin orange wedges

and  you, my dear have just made a killer salad worthy of any restaurant.

here’s your 13 buckaroos back 🙂

This salad  has

baby spinach

basic vinaigrette

topped with edamame ( I used trader Joe’s ).. about 1/2 cup

black beans .. about 1/4 cup

1/4 avocado, chopped

1/4 cup cranberry goat cheese ( if you are vegan, by choice or m=by force, eliminate it…  the avocado give the same mouthfeel… and you probably wont miss it)

1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes

finish with sea salt and pepper..

I ate this for lunch yesterday and it kept me full all afternoon!  ( and peeps ask me all the time where I get my protein from 🙂  )

so be brave…. look beyond iceburg, cukes and tomatoes ( not that there is anything with it, it’s the only way I can get my kids to eat a salad, so I still make it… ) and have fun!!!!

NEEEEXXXXTTT…

I have fallen in LOVE with Greek Yogurt. Have you tried it yet? I buy the non fat plain and it tastes just like sour cream. I sub it out for sour cream all the time.  It is also a perfect base to make granola parfait but also… to make some ‘creamy’ sauces!  like this

Chipotle cream sauce

I used about 1/2 the can of peppers.. if you like it more mild, use less

about a cup of the Greek Yogurt

half a lime

I put them all in the magic bullet looking thing and blended

if you don’t have one of these babies, you could use a blender, just keep scraping down the sides.. or use a food processor.

that’s it folks… does it get simpler than that? I think not.

The girls had this on their tacos last night & I topped my tostada with it.

the girls’ taco filling is made with lean ground chicken, then when I add the taco seasoning ( only half the package… it’s so loaded with sodium.. a little goes a long way.. you also can make your own, considerably knocking the sodium down, but I had it so I used it) and when I add the water I add a can of refried beans. They blend in perfectly… it stretches the filling and boosts the protein 🙂 I’ve been doing this for years..

It also freezes and defrosts well, so you can make double the amount and have it in the freezer for a super quick dinner…. If you need to cook for one, make a batch and freeze it into individual portions…  again.. quick dinner for one

*if you have dinner for one, please do me a favor and do it by candle light.. you are special and should have a nice dining experience.. if you want you can face time me and we can eat dinner together 😉 *

My filling was chopped mushrooms, sautéed  in oil, then  I mashed some back beans and lime juice in, seasoned with sea salt, cumin & chile powder

I placed it on a small flour tortilla that I heated in my cast iron skillet ( I CANNOT say enough how much I love  cast Iron to cook with)

top with cheese ( if vegan, try the daiya cheese shreds.. it’s very good, melts and stretches like cheese and can be frozen.. It is on the pricey side ( $5 a bag) but it does freeze, and I just pull out what I need when I need it )

the I added avocado.. fresh salsa.. Chipotle cream sauce and some plain Greek yogurt..  YUM!  ( and sooooooo easy )

As far as the rest of the chipotle peppers ( I’ve never had a recipe that I’ve used the whole can ) I take a freezer bag & label it… place in a jar

then press out the air & seal

Whenever I need some for a recipe, or a burst of flavor, I just break a piece off! No waste here.. yo!

so now that I’ve made you hungry… I have a question for all of you.

I have a fun company that has offered for me to give away one of their products.  I have the choice…

1~ 1 big gift for one lucky recipient…

OR

2~ 10 small gifts ( of the same item) so that TEN of you can win….

so whatcha all think? 1 big winner or 10 smaller ones???

smooches friends!!  oxooxo

a sea of pink

Good morning friends!

( stayed tuned, I promise some food in this post 😉 )

For the last 3 years, my sister, Jodie & I have joined thousands of other women ( and men) to walk 40 miles over the course of 2 days  participating in the Avon Walk For Breast Cancer.

It is quite the commitment to participate. Not only do you need to train for months prior to the actual walk, but EACH individual walker needs to commit to raising $1,800.

Not small change, by any means…

It is truly an amazing experience, one that really cannot be put into words.

I’ve tried to share our experience with a Video Slide show

My sister, Jodie & I had were lucky enough to have our daughters born just  1 month & a day apart from each other. My niece ( and Goddaughter), Alexis & Ali have grown up being ‘sisters’. It’s been so wonderful to watch these two grow up together

they are looking out the window on Christmas Eve for Santa 😉

The girls & Scott ( as well as my Mom & stepdad ) have spent the last 3 years showing up at cheering stations , rooting us on & pushing us (sometimes, I wish physically) and being at the finish line waiting for us at the end of this very emotional experience.

Ali & Lex have been patiently waiting until they were old enough to be able to walk with us.

This winter the  girls each turn 16, meaning that they will be old enough to participate!!

My youngest niece, Mollie, still has many years until she will be able to walk with us in the Avon walk, but we found another walk this past weekend that she was able to join us in..

Making Strides against Breast Cancer..

so early Sunday morning, the 5 of us, donned in pink, headed to Beantown to participate in a 6 mile walk around The Charles River for breast cancer awareness.

at every mile marker, Mollie got a snack..

this was mile 1

like her Aunt, she loves food!
we need to find a cure….

these two walked arm & arm for most of the walk 🙂

After the walk we stopped one of my favorite restaurants, Rustic Kitchen, on the way home so that the girls could have some hot cocoa & Jodie & I could have a glass of wine… but when I saw the menu Pumpkin beer .. I just had to have my sister try it.

this is a horrible, distorted photo of us, but I wanted to share her first Pumpkin brew with all of you!!

NOW…  since this is supposed to be a food blog…   I give you

CHILI !!!

full disclosure… this is in no way shape or form nearly as professional as my friend Cecelia‘s award winning chili, but for a yankee girl, it didn’t come out that badly

(plus 😉 I was able to assemble it at 5 am & come home at the end of the walk to dinner waiting for me)

my recipe:

2 pounds ground chuck

2 teaspoons cumin

3 assorted peppers

2 large onions

a carrot

2 garlic cloves, peeled

2 large cans of tomatoes

OR

fresh tomatoes

( all of my veggies came form Plato\’s Harvest Organic Farm )

1 can of white beans, rinsed & drained

1 can of kidney beacons, rinsed & drained

chili powder ( to taste)

a few banana peppers ( feel free to omit if you don’t like thigns a little bit spicy..)

I started by browning up the ground beef, seasoning with salt & pepper & cumin.

before the cooked ground beef makes it to the crock pot, I pour it into a fine mesh strainer to remove excess grease

)))grease(((

once strained, put it in the crock pot

Place the onion, peppers , garlic & carrot in a food processor. Pulse until the veggies are about the same size as the ground beef crumbles. add to the saute pan & saute for a minute, picking up any leftover browned bits from the beef.

((love hiding me some veggies in a family meal ;)))

Have the veggies jump on in the crock pot with the beef.

add the tomatoes & chili powder;  Stir to combine, then place the banana peppers right on in the bathtub of chili… they’re going for a nice long steamy bath !!

( a special little treat for the spicy chef)

I cooked it on low all day long… adding the beans about an hour before we wanted to eat.

I view chili like I do oatmealmore oatmeal

the perfect base for TOPPINGS!!

it’s all about the toppings!

And look what Scott had waiting for me when I got home?

YUM!

I leave you with this picture of the girls’ arms locked together.

note the breast cancer symbol between them? Pure coincidence!!

Oh! I almost forgot.. the Avon Foundation’s Boston office asked me to give a speech at an introduction event tomorrow for future potential walkers!!

Wish me luck!! ( ahem. I’ve never actually spoken to a crowd in public before…)

Kale soup

mmm…. Kale…. one of my absolutely favorites. I don’t really know when this happened.. I don’t exactly remember eating kale as a child, but somewhere along the open road of life, kale & I met and  the rest is history..

So when our CSA share from Plato\’s Harvest Organic farm contained not only one, but TWO types of kale to chose from. I was a bit delirious

and leeks!!!

I could barely contain with the excitement of making kale soup!!

I’m serious.  this was possibly the highlight of my week.

my recipe..

1/4 cup olive oil

2 onions, halved & sliced thinly

6 links of Hot sausage, cut in half lengthwise & cut into half-moons

3 garlic cloves, smashed

2 quarts chicken stock ( I had one quart homemade & 1 quart reduced-sodium store bought)

large can of whole tomatoes ( or fresh prepared)

2 bay leaves

2 pounds potatoes, scrubbed clean & cut into quarters (I used baby potatoes.. if you used larger ones, cut in inch size pieces

1 large bunch of kale , rinsed & leaves torn form stems into bite size pieces

I parmesan cheese rind ( I save them when I get to to the end of the cheese & freeze them just for soups like this 😉

1 can each red kindney beans & white cannelloni beans, rinsed & drained

1 teaspoon paprika

cayenne pepper to taste ( I like mine on the HOT side )

salt & pepper

Heat oil over medium heat in large dutch oven; add onion, sausage & potatoes. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.

Allow to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally (everything will start to caramelize)

Add the garlic, stirring immediately then add the stock, tomatoes, bay leaves & cheese rind; bring to a boil.

Add the kale all at once and push down into the hot liquid. Add the remaining spices, reduce to a simmer & cover.

Cook until taters are tender.

Remove bay leaves  and enjoy!!


I served it with bread from our bread share…

and individual apple crisps for dessert

topped with whipped cream & apple butter

oh.

yeah.

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