Having a baby brings many wonderful things. Most parents know the overwhelming happiness of bringing home that little bundle of joy and all the gifts and well wishes that come too. But one thing our friends did for us that I wish every new mom could receive would be the fantastic meals that just seemed to keep coming.
For about three weeks we had dinner dropped off at our door most evenings. The offerings ranged from homemade pot pies and lasagnas to gumbo and other family favorites. And if someone wasn’t skilled in the kitchen or just too busy to cook, they brought takeout from their favorite restaurant. It was truly an unexpected blessing in so many ways.
Our recent cold weather has put me in the mood for soup. And nothing’s better on a frigid Sunday morning when you’re surfing facebook, than coming across a slow cooker soup recipe that doesn’t even require you to leave the house for ingredients!
It’s the last holiday weekend of summer and with this crazy heat, a priority of Labor Day entertaining is keeping your cool…..and maintaining a cool kitchen. So forget about turning on the oven or stovetop and, instead, mix up this simple yet satisfying dish for your guests.
A few weeks ago, I had both sides of the family over for a little gathering. Pressed for time and looking for a tasty creation to call my own, I once again leaned on Trader Joe’s. My secret ingredient was nothing more than a jar of the “Trader Giotto’s Artichoke Antipasto” spread. You just need a few simple ingredients and some grilled chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces. Mine was prepared in the deli department of my local grocery store, but leftovers work great or you can get it from a bag.
With the warm weather, beautiful flowers and bright springtime colors all around us, there’s a need for what comes out of the kitchen to match our surroundings.
For a recent family gather, I tried this recipe for a delicious Mango Quick Bread. I was pleased to serve up something a little “fresher” than your typical banana or zucchini bread. It was moist, delicious and full of flavor!
⅓ cup vegetable oil
1½ cups flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
½ tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, plus 1 yolk
½ cup mango purée (1 large pitted mango in food processor)
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 large very ripe mango, peeled, seeded, and cut into ¼” dice (about 2 cups)
½ cup chopped walnuts (can substitute almonds)
½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
Heat oven to 350°. Grease a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan with oil, and dust with flour; set aside. Whisk flour, soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl; make a well in center. Whisk oil, sugar, eggs and yolk, mango purée, and vanilla in a bowl; add to well; stir. Fold in mango, nuts, and coconut; pour into prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into bread comes out clean, about 1 hour 20 minutes.
More snowy weather in Kansas City as we officially enter spring and I’ve got just the right dish!
This time of year, I’m ready for bright, beautiful dishes with lots of color. But considering what I see outside, I’m craving a warm and hearty meal to eat by the fire. So my sweet potato and sausage hash has all the right elements.
Like so many others, I’m trying to get this year off to a healthy start by eating better. Fresh soups can be a great way to cut calories, eat fresh and warm up on a cold winter day.
Last night I whipped up a simple recipe I came across a few years ago while doing a detox. I am always amazed at the simplicity and the brightness of the flavors.
All you need is a sweet yellow onion, fresh basil, frozen peas and some chicken or veggie stock.
Saute half a medium onion in olive oil with a dash of sea salt until nicely browned, then stir in a bag of peas (frozen or thawed will work). After a couple minutes add 1.5 to 2 cups of stock and bring to a light boil for just about 1 minute.
Let this cool for a few minutes. Transfer the peas and broth into a food processor and add a handful of basil leaves (the plastic bag/carton from the produce section is about the right amount of leaves). Puree, then salt and pepper to taste.
Within minutes you have a bowl of hearty, creamy and healthy soup!
Well I must say, I’m a little sad not to be in my own warm kitchen this Thanksgiving morning to see the sun peek through the windows onto my overfilled holiday counters, and to smell the sweet potatoes and pumpkin bread baking in the oven. Instead I have a balmy Pacific breeze blowing across my face, warm sun on my feet and a view than can’t be described with words.
This year’s Thanksgiving morning view
I’m definitely not complaining about a relaxing trip to Mexico, but I have a little itch to get into the kitchen and make something deserving of this grand day. We will have a holiday dinner dropped off for the family later today. It was entitled “Thanksgiving with a Twist”. We’ll see what that means…..fingers are crossed for something tasty and fun.
It’s sometimes the hardest dish to make exciting. When I’m tasked with making the side dish for a dinner party, I always want it to be a step above. But sometimes adding too much to a quality vegetable, just adds calories and heaviness.
A few weeks ago, the menu was basic: steaks, salmon and twice baked potatoes. The side dish was up to me and I was on a search to find something simple yet superb.
We’ve all been there before – unexpected dinner guests or family coming to town with no time to stock up at the store. With every evening packed last week, it happened to me. But luckily one of my daily foodie news sources had perfect timing.
Just a day before my parents were to arrive in town, a recipe showed up in my inbox that sounded fantastic and all the ingredients were already in my pantry. I was volunteering until 7pm that night. But I knew with this awesome dish, I could have dinner on the table within 15 minutes of walking in the door.
Fall has definitely arrived in Kansas City, but don’t let the cool weather keep you from enjoying a fantastic cocktail with flavorful fruit.
You might think of punch as a libation reserved for summer cocktail parties by the pool, or maybe you have memories of drinking it out of a trash can in college. But this Oaxaca Punch recipe takes some of my favorite intoxicating ingredients to a whole new level.