Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Cocoa Powder Cookies with Peanut Butter Chips

 Cocoa Powder Cookies with Peanut Butter Chips

I have a favorite chocolate cookie recipe that I have been using for years from Betty Crocker’s cookbook “Baking Classics” copywrite 1979. It was a gift from my friend
Margie when Doug and I got married. This recipe “Chocolate Drop Cookies” has been a family favorite for years, of course with a few changes, this recipe includes 2 ounces of unsweetened chocolate, melted.

Last year I was out of chocolate bars but had cocoa powder, so I went in search of a cookie recipe with cocoa powder as an ingredient. The recipe that I found is on FOOD.com and is by wannabe runway model, posted on July 22, 2007.

The new family favorite and here’s Kary’s take:
Kary’s way                                    Original Recipe
½ cup butter                                 ½ cup butter
¼ cup brown sugar                         ½ cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoon sugar                       ¼ cup sugar
1 egg                                            1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract              1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flower                 1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup cocoa powder                       ¼ cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda                 ½ teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt                            1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup peanut butter chips

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Make sure the butter is at room temperature, I usually put it in the microwave for 15 seconds to soften.

In a large mixing bowl beat together butter and sugar until creamy, crack the egg in a small bowl, add along with the vanilla and stir until well mixed. Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt, mix in until well blended. Fold in the peanut butter chips.

I usually chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes, it just makes the dough easier to work with. Using a teaspoon place the cookies on the cooking sheet, I line mine with parchment paper or use a Silpat to cover the cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes, I have a convection oven so this is the perfect time for these cookies in my oven. Also, I like a chewy cookie, hey it’s your cookie so bake it your way just don’t burn them!

What’s your favorite cookie recipe? Just cook something! Cheers! Kary~

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Goat Cheese, Sundried Tomato & Spinach Chips

Goat Cheese, Spinach and Sundried Potatoes

Have you heard of the Lays Potato Chip Challenge? If not check it out dousaflavor contest which I entered.

I was thinking about how I would make these chips without a fryer or the help of the lays kitchen.

Hmmm I haven’t made these yet but plan on giving them a go this weekend. If you have any ideas I would love to hear them.

Here’s what I am thinking:

1 large russet potato, herbed goat cheese, sudried tomatoes and fresh spinach
Olive oil

Clean, scrub, peel then thinly slice the potato. Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet
Fry the potatoes, then keep one layer of cooked potatoes in the skillet, top with spinach, sundried tomatoes and goat cheese. Add another layer and repeat.
Turn on the broiler, place the cast iron skillet in the oven and broil for 2 minutes Watch closely so they don’t burn! Remove and I think they will be yummy.

Check back next week for the results or make them and share with all of us!

Just cook something! Cheers! Kary~

Monday, March 13, 2017

Asparagus Soup with Coconut Milk

 Last month I posted my take on a recipe for Kitchari Soup from” First for Women’s” magazine January 23, 2017 edition, yep the actual magazine that I picked up at my local grocery store. This edition also included some other recipes, and one page that caught my eye was “FIRST’s top 10 slimming soups”. The “BLOAT BUSTER” Asparagus Dream soup was the first one that I wanted to try. 

Per the magazine “Enjoying Asparagus soup can shrink the belly fast. Credit goes to a compound (asparagine) in the veggie, which prods the kidneys to release trapped fluids from cells for an instant slimming effect.” I did a little research on the web and asparagus acts as a directic which flushes fluids from your boday, here is a great link.

The recipe called for 1 lb. each of green and white asparagus, I had what I thought looked like about 2 lbs. of green asparagus so that’s what I used. When the soup was done, we could really taste the coconut milk, so maybe I had about 1 ½ lbs. of asparagus, because I think if it was a full 2 lbs. the coconut milk would not overwhelm the flavor of the soup. The soup was bland at first but grew on us as we ate it. We shall see how it turns out next time…

Here’s my recipe compared to the Asparagus Dream Soup I found in the Magazine:

What I had on-hand:                                       “First for women Ingredients”
6 Green onions, diced                                      6 shallots
Olive Oil                                                          Olive oil
2 lbs. chopped asparagus                                1 lb. each white and green asparagus
4 cups low sodium veggie broth                       5 cups veggie broth
2 Tbs. lemon juice                                           2 Tbs. lemon juice
¼ cup coconut milk                                          ¼ cup coconut milk
Salt and pepper to taste                                 Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. garlic powder

In a large cooking pot sauté the diced onions about a Tbs. of olive oil until they soften, add the chopped asparagus and veggie broth. Bring to a boil then simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until the asparagus is cooked. Remove about ¼ cup of the cooked asparagus and set aside. Blend the soup, if you are using a regular blender be sure to let the soup cool, hot soup expands and will blow the lid off your blender.
Add the lemon juice, coconut and cooked asparagus to the soup, heat and serve.

If you’re not familiar with shallots, they look like a small onion and have a slight garlic flavor, if the green stems are attached they look a little like a green onion.
You can use sweet yellow onions if that is what you have in your pantry, a little stronger than shallots so maybe use ½ of a yellow onion.

Let me know if you make it and what you think.

Just cook something. Cheers! Kary~ 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Book Club Picks 2017 from "Have you read the book, book club"

In January, we gathered at “The Stuffed Olive” Bar and Grill in Waxhaw, NC to kick off the year and figure out our strategy for 2017 and choose which books we will read.

Seems like everyone keeps getting busier so we decided to meet every other month, and rather than host the book club at each of our homes to meet at our favorite local restaurants. 

If you just stumbled across this post and our book club you will quickly realize that we are a very flexible group, hey that’s why we are called the “Have you read the book, book club”.

The books open us up to new worlds, cultures and they take us on journeys we never could imagine. And through reading, discussion and sharing some of our most inner thoughts we get to know each other on a level I could never have imagined, I love you ladies!  

We are off and running, make sure you check back, we love your comments!

Our first gathering is in March at "The Stuffed Olive" and first up is a carry-over from last year: “The Nightingale” by Kristen Hannah
May 3rd “Before the Fall” Noah Hawley
July 5th- “The Nest” Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
September 6th “Dark Town” Thomas Mullen
November 1st “Mister Owitas Guide to Gardening” Carol Wall 
December ~ Christmas party!

Just Cook Something or on occasion dine at your favorite local eateries. Cheers! Kary~

Monday, February 6, 2017

Kitchari, Mung Beans and Quinoa

Every once in awhile I pick up a copy of “First for women” and in last months issue I came across Kitchari soup. This article was about Detoxing the lymph system and losing 9 lbs in 4 days!  You can find the complete article in the January 23, 2017 magazine, they also have several great soup recipes. "This process is suppose to remove lymph-clogging wheat, processed fats and heal your gut."

The recipe uses mung beans…hmmm I wasn't sure what these were so off I went to google mung beans and Kitchari, and down the rabbit hole I went…Kitchari is an Indian dish that and Kitchari means mixing, usually two grains. 

I found some interesting and educational sites along with several recipes :
Kitchari Healing Stew, Ayurvedic Kitchari Cleanse 
Ayurveda a Science of Internal Healing

Here is my first try, which cooked up like risotto not soup….and as I later realized I only used 4 cups of broth not the 8 that was recommended. I just grabbed a 32 ounce box of organic vegetable broth not thinking about the fact that this was 4 cups. I stumbled across this great link by author Katie Workman Julie Childs Quotes  and as Juila Childs use to say "The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude."

Kitchari, Kary’s way, I used organic because after all it just makes sense. 

Here’s what I used:
4 cups low-sodium Organic Vegetable Broth- I used one 32 ounce box of broth so this batch was not soup like at all, thick like risotto but still delicious
1 cup split mung beans, found these at Earth Fare and really like the flavor
1 cup Organic Quinoa
2 tsp. ground turmeric
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. fennel seeds, next time I will use ½ tsp. If you’re not familiar with fennel it has a licorice taste next time I will use ½ to 1 tsp.
1 tsp. smoked paprika, this is a current personal favorite
1 tbsp. Olive oil
Non-traditional your choice to add: ½ sweet yellow onion and 2 fresh garlic cloves, crushed, more if you like

In a large cooking pot add olive oil and heat over medium heat, add onion and sauté until the onion starts to become translucent, add crushed or chopped garlic and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, do not burn the garlic!

Add the vegetable broth, beans, quinoa and stir in turmeric, cumin, fennel and paprika.
Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 30 to 35 minutes. Using the ingredients in my recipe this did not turn out as a soup, more like a risotto and it was delicious, yep it was. 

Do make it your own and Just Cook Something! Cheers! Kary!

Original Recipe First for women, January 23, 2017 magazine
Kitchari soup
In a large pot mix and simmer for 45 minutes
1 cup of split mung beans
1 cup basmati rice,
8 cups veggie broth,
1 Tbs. grated ginger
2 tsp. each turmeric, coriander and cumin

Friday, February 3, 2017

Super bowl snacks 2017

Food favorites for the Super Bowl  

The count down begins...Ready, set, hike! 
Mac and Cheese

Turkey Chili

 I am sure most of you in the US are aware that Sunday is “Super Bowl Sunday” so unless you are living under a rock, have been on another planet or off the grid, this Sunday many of us will enjoy chicken wings, pizza, beer and many other assorted snacks and beverages all while watching the big game. Or maybe you will be socializing while the game is on just waiting for the next commercial. Oh come on and admit it, we all love to watch those commercials! 

This year we are spending it with our bestie's Karin & FW. Here's our weekend menu & some other fav's:

Gumbo, Mardi Gras Salad & Crusty French Bread

Mac & Cheese

Paplano Peppers with Cream Cheese and Bacon 

 Shrimp Marinated Lulu’s Awesome Recipe  ~ The shrimp is so delicious as a appetizer or try my Shrimp Pasta Salad, Mardi Gras Style always a fan fav!  

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Turkey Chili

Some days a bowl of chili is the only thing to ward off the chill, so as we head towards the first day of Winter and Christmas Day here is one of my family favorites. I love to use green peppers, they are tasty but just look so pretty!

Turkey Chili
·         1 lb. ground turkey~ you can always substitute with ground chicken or ground beef
·         1 medium sweet yellow onion, peeled and diced. You can use a yellow onion I just like the sweet or sweet Vidalia onion from Georgia
·         1 large green pepper, remove seeds and dice
·         2 garlic cloves minced or one tablespoon of garlic powder
·         28 ounce can diced tomato with liquid
·         1 15-ounce tomato sauce
·         15 ounce can light red kidney, drain and rinse
·         15 ounce or 1 ½ cups of corn, if canned drain or you can use frozen
·         15 ounce can black beans with juice, I use low sodium or no salt
·         1 teaspoon cayenne or red pepper ~ this can be hot so I add more after cooked if we need more heat, or serve with hot sauce, everyone’s heat tolerance is different, me I like spice not hot
·         2 small hot peppers, slice in half, remove seeds ~ Optional, if I have these on hand I toss them in
·         Cooking Instructions:
·         Using the stove top, add diced onions to a large cooking pot cook the diced onions for 2 to 3 minutes, add the turkey to the pot cook until the turkey begins to turn brown about 10 minutes. Drain grease from cooked ground turkey
·         Add the garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, kidney beans, corn, black beans, chili powder and peppers
·         Bring the chili to a boil and simmer on low for 60 to 90 minutes, the longer you simmer the chili the more flavorful the chili
·         Crock Pot Option: cook the turkey, drain then add to crock pot along with all the other ingredients, I cook on low for about 6 to 8 hours, depends on your crock pot/slow cooker
        Everyone's taste buds are different so I usually add enough spice to provide a great flavor, each person can add additional hot sauce depending on how spicy and hot they like their chili.
       Salt and pepper to taste, start with ¼ tsp each 

 Makes four to six servings or two if you are really hungry! Double the recipe and freeze a portion to have on-hand when the craving for chili hits again.

What is your favorite Chili recipe? Just cook something! Cheers! Kary~