Saturday, October 24, 2015


   Green is the first color Christopher learned and it's his absolutely favorite so far. He loves green veggies, green foods, green crayons, green trucks, and everything else that is green! We got a little bit tired of eating broccoli and asparagus (his favorite veggies) all the time, so I came up with a new green dish that hit the spot - pasta with a creamy spinach/kale sauce. Have you heard of a kid that loves spinach and kale? Well, mine does and I'm very happy about it! I blended them into a sauce since leafy veggies might be tricky to eat for a two year old, but he ate it all and demanded more! Here is the recipe:


* 12 oz frozen chopped kale
* 6 oz fresh spinach
* 1 large onion, chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 3 tbsp butter
* 1cup 2% milk
* pinch of nutmeg
* salt and pepper
* 1 13oz box of whole wheat pasta


1. In a large skillet, melt butter and saute onions with a little bit of salt until translucent (4-5 minutes).

2. Add minced garlic, fresh spinach and frozen kale, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and saute everything together for 10 minutes.

3. Transfer the mixture to the blender, add 1 cup of milk and blend until think and smooth. You might need to add a little bit more milk, depending on how thick you like the sauce to be.

4. Return to the skillet, bring to boil, add cooked pasta and mix until all the pasta is nicely coated with the sauce.

   How pretty is that? Creamy and saucy pasta with a hint of umami - a real treat that couldn't be healthier. One recommendation - don't wear white shirt while eating it... just trust me on that!


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Cream without the cream!

   Yet, another soup on my blog! Well, I can't help it that we (Christopher and I) eat a lot of soups, but with the weather getting "Autumn-y", I know many of you will make more and more soups as well. So just in case you are looking for a new recipe, I have one! It was kind of an experiment, especially the addition of the cheese, but it worked out perfectly. I don't really know how to call it, it could be cream of cauliflower with potatoes, or cream of potatoes with a cauliflower, but however you call it, it is creamy and delicious without the need for any cream or butter. Yes, it does have cheese, but it's pure protein anyways, right? Here is the recipe:


* 1 cauliflower head, cut into florets
* 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
* 1 large baking potato, peeled and cubed
* 3 carrots, peeled and cubed
* 4 cups chicken or veggetable (for vegetarian option) broth
* 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
* salt and pepper

Optional garnish:
* green onions

* turkey bacon


1. In a large pot, combine all the veggies, add chicken (or vegetable) broth and if necessary, add some water to make sure that all the veggies are covered.

2. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and cook for 40 minutes.

3. Remove pot from heat and blend everything with the immersion blender until smooth.

4. Return the pot to the heat, add cheddar cheese and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper to your liking and serve garnished with crisped turkey bacon and green onions.

   The garnish is really optional and can be changed for something else. I just happened to have green onions in my fridge and I thought they would look really pretty on the top of a yellow soup and as for the turkey bacon...  I needed to put something in the dish that would "seduce" Justin and bacon definitely did the job!


Monday, October 12, 2015

Old Fashioned Guest!

   Yes, that's right, today's post is written by a special guest blogger, who tends to be a little bit old fashioned and who likes an old fashioned drink! Ladies and gentlemen, meet my husband Justin, who will tell you all about his favorite drink - Old Fashioned! 

   Few drinks exemplify "Classical" like the "Old Fashioned".  I recall reading in Jan Swafford's "The Vintage Guide to Classical Music", a very handy definition of what "Classical" is:

"something that endures as a model because its elements are so poised as to represent the miraculous illusion of perfection"

The "Old Fashioned" does bear some similarities to the works of Haydn and Mozart in that the beauty is in its simplicity and that the performance or crafting of that simplicity can make or break its enjoyment. In short, the "Old Fashioned" is a Cocktail that everyone should find cause to enjoy and is truly a "Classic".

My preferred recipe for this drink is as follows:

* 2 dashes of Bitters
 * 1/4oz Simple Syrup
 * 2oz Rye Whiskey

 1.  Stir with ice
 2.  Strain over a large ice cube
 3.  Garnish with an Orange Twist

 2 Dashes of Bitters - Bitters are in some ways the "salt and pepper" of cocktails.  They are characterized by a bitter, sour, or bittersweet flavor.  A dash is a fairly imprecise culinary measure (e.g. pinch or smidgen), but a dash is generally considered to be 1/8 tsp.  Most bottles have a restricted cap which automatically will dispense a dash when tilted into the glass.

1/4oz Simple Syrup - Traditionally the Old Fashioned is made using a sugar cube which is muddled (i.e. mashed and mixed) with the bitters and a few dashes of water.  I use syrup for added convenience when mixing and it also reduces the need for additional utensils such as a Cocktail Muddler.  Using simple syrup also ensures that you won't have an unsweetened drink with a shot of sweet gritty sugar waiting at the bottom of the glass.  Muddling the sugar by hand does allow for certain artistic variations such as using brown sugar, as some people prefer, as finding brown sugar syrup is somewhat difficult.

2oz Rye Whiskey - This Cocktail can be made with a various types of alcohol including Bourbon, Rye Whiskey, Cognac, and Rum.  However, the common practice 200 years ago when the Cocktail came to prominence was to use either Bourbon or Rye Whiskey.  I prefer to use Rye Whiskey because it has a milder and smoother taste than bourbon, but both are great to use in this drink.

Stir with ice - Often a few dashes of water is explicitly prescribed in an Old Fashioned recipe, but the water picked up from the ice when stirring the bitters, syrup, and rye accomplishes this.

Strain over a Large Ice Cube - I recommend using a single large ice cube with this cocktail.  This helps to ensure that the drink remains cold, but does not become watered down towards the end of its consumption.

Garnish with an Orange Twist - Using a peeler, remove a strip of peel from an orange.  Next twist the peel to extract the oils from the rind and place the twisted peel in the drink with the colored side facing outward.

Note: If you make this Cocktail with Bourbon a Lemon Twist is traditionally used

   Those of you who have had occasion to order this drink when at a bar may have had the unfortunate experience of receiving the cocktail with mashed fruit.  This is a modification that came about in the early 1900's  and sometimes if you order an Old Fashioned at a bar you will get this.  The only way to avoid this is to tell the bartender "No Muddled Fruit" when ordering the drink and hope that they make the drink simply using bitters, syrup, rye, and a twist.  You probably won't have this problem if you are at a fine restaurant or a place that makes Craft Cocktails (i.e meaning every element of the drink is handmade or tailored specifically to the drink).  The specific origin of this practice is somewhat nebulous.  However, one theory I have heard is that during prohibition a lot of traditions fell by the wayside and people started to apply different variations to many different cocktails.  Unfortunately, some of these Cocktail variations such as this have gained traction over time.

   In any event, this is a drink that is sure to impress your friends when hosting parties with its simplicity and presentation.


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Like mother, like son.

   Christopher might look like my husband, but he definitely inherited my palate. He is a very good eater (me!), he is willing to try everything (me!), and his favorite things to eat include meat, pickles, olives, fruit and soups (me, me, and me!!!). Oh and coo-coos (aka cookies), too. But seriously, ask my husband - Christopher and I could eat soups 24/7! We love Polish soups, American, Italian, Indian... you name it, we will eat it and it makes me super happy that now I have somebody to share my soup obsession with! With the weather getting colder (and with the rain we had for the last 8 days) we needed something warming, comforting and delicious, so what could be better than Indian-inspired red lentil soup. Full of spices, flavor and comfort. Here is the recipe:


* 2 cups red lentils
* 1 16oz can diced tomatoes
* 1 large onion, chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 large carrots, grated
* 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
* 2 tbsp vegetable oil
* 3 tbsp butter
* 1.5 tbsp mustard seeds
* 1.5 tbsp cumin seeds
* 2 tbsp turmeric powder
* 1 tbsp garam masala
* 1 tsp smoked paprika powder
* 1/4 tsp cinnamon
* 1/2 lemon, juiced
* 1 chicken bullion cube (optional)
* salt

* oyster crackers (optional)


1. Wash the lentils at least 4-5 times, cover with excess water and let them soak for at least 2 hours.

2. In a large Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil until almost smoking, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds and cook for 1 minute, covered (to avoid all the oil splashing).

3. Add onions, garlic, carrots and cilantro and cook with a little bit of salt for 2-3 minutes (stirring). Add butter, turmeric powder, garam masala, smoked paprika, cinnamon,  bullion cube and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

4. Add around 6-7 cups of water, canned tomatoes (juice included), reduce heat and cook covered for 45 minutes, stirring from time to time.

5. Add lemon juice, adjust seasoning to your liking, cook for 2 more minutes and it's ready to serve. If you want to be rebellious you can serve it with oyster crackers!

   The recipe makes a huge pot of soup, but believe it or not, I wish I had more! Yes, it's that good! You don't really need the oyster crackers on the top, but my husband loves them and since he already "sacrificed" himself  and ate a soup for dinner, I wanted to reward him a little bit. It actually turned out pretty good and Christopher and I also put some crackers in our soup!