Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Split Pea Soup

Oh no, another abandoned post! My poor neglected blog. I guess you can see what takes a back seat when life gets busy. :)

So . . . I tried a healthified version of split pea soup. I don't know that it was really a healthier version compared to my other split pea soup but it definitely did not involve pureeing the cooked peas to make it the typical smooth, thick pea green soup. Also noteworthy, this version has no meat. Just in case you missed that it is split pea and not split pea and ham. That is somewhat noteworthy for me because I really like ham in my split pea soup. Besides that though it was an enjoyable dish. Enjoy!

Split Pea Soup
1 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 1/2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dried split peas, rinsed well
1/2 cup brown rice, rinsed well
1 bay leaf
7 cups water
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 potato, diced
2 tablespoons dried (or 4 tablespoons fresh) parsley
1 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/3 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sea salt

In a large pot over medium-high heat, saute the onion and garlic in the oil until the onions are translucent. Add the peas, rice, bay leaf, salt, and water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the carrots, celery, potato, parsley, basil, thyme, pepper, and salt. Simmer for 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

Makes 6 servings

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Peach Tart

Pinterest, the treasure trove of ideas! A photo of miniature fruit tarts in teeny mason jar lids caught my eye right away. How can you resist something so small and cute? Individual portions, an unusual baking pan. This one definitely got pinned on my board.

I just had to find the perfect time to bake it. I didn't want to bake a whole batch and have all of them for just my little family to eat. I didn't have time during the summer between all of our trips to here and there. How about in the Fall? How about a dessert for book club? Perfect!

While my picture is nowhere near as cute as the one on pinterest (and the original blog post), it was very, very tasty. I would definitely make these again. Enjoy!

Peach Tart in a Mason Jar Lid
Source: Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body

Pastry Crust:
Recipe from Ina Garten

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup ice water
Peach Pie Filling (recipe below - can be made ahead of time and refrigerated)

For the pastry, combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Add the butter and blend until it is in small bits the size of peas. Pour ice water and mix just until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or put it in the freezer for about 20 minutes).

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray your mason jar lids with nonstick spray. (I also used parchment paper between the crust and the lid.) Pull clumps of dough (about 2 tbsp for each mini tart) from the large dough ball and smoosh them into each lid. Push the dough so it covers the bottom and sides of each lid.

Prepare the pie filling, if not already prepared.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the pastry is browned and the pie filling starts to set. Rotate the pan once during cooking. If the pastry puffs up in one area, cut a little slit with a knife to let the air out.

Peach Pie Filling:

5 cups diced peaches
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 of a lemon, juiced

Toss all of the ingredients into a large pot; mix until the flour is distributed evenly. Allow to sit for about 30 minutes. Turn the heat on medium-high. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Bring mixture to a boil and lower to low/medium heat. Stir occasionally. Keep over the heat for about 30 minutes, until it begins to thicken. Pour into a container, cool, then store in the fridge until ready to use or pour into pastry crust.

*Can be made up to 2 weeks in advance and stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

Makes about 12 mini tarts

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Homemade Pesto and Pasta

First time ever making pesto from scratch! I'm pretty sure this may have been my very first time eating pesto. Ever.

I don't know why I've never eaten it before. I like the color green. I don't shy away from green foods. I guess I just didn't know what the flavor was going to be like.

That and I was a bit nervous seeing that steamed spinach was in the recipe. I can't seem to do steamed greens. Any kind of wilting for me just doesn't endear me to that food. I like crisp lettuce in my salads and I am picky with the veggies I steam.

The first serving was pretty good. The flavor was very mild, more garlic than anything. The next day though it was a bit stronger. I'm not sure if pesto gets stronger when it sits, but it definitely had more flavor. Flavor isn't a bad thing. Enjoy! 

Pesto Sauce with Pasta
1 lb. spinach, lightly steamed
1 large package fresh basil, leaves only
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large tomato or 2 Roma tomatoes
4 oz. Parmesan cheese, shredded
3 garlic cloves
salt to taste
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
22 oz. whole-wheat pasta, cooked
optional: chopped steamed vegetables (carrots, cauliflower, or broccoli)

Purée the spinach, basil, oil, tomatoes, Parmesan, garlic, salt, and walnuts in a high powered
blender. Toss with cooked pasta; sprinkle with extra shredded Parmesan
cheese. Add chopped steamed vegetables and toss.

Makes 8 servings

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Banana Bread

Isn't it funny how social media can take a fairly simple recipe and shoot it into stardom. I'm sure pinterest has launched more than one person into food blog success from such a posting. It was there that I ran across this little gem of a recipe.

I have made a few varieties of banana bread, some that have included chocolate chips, but I've never done dark chocolate or raspberries. It turned out to be very tasty and moist. My center had some trouble baking all the way through (the same as a few others) but it wasn't enough to distract from the deliciousness of the bread. My loaf probably doesn't look quite as beautiful as the original because I didn't add extra chocolate and raspberries to the top, but it still was a hit while we were on vacation to the happiest place on earth. Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Banana Bread
Source: Recipe Boy

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup granulated white sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)

1/3 cup plain low fat yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate chunks or chips
1 cup halved raspberries, tossed in 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.

In a separate large bowl, beat the sugar and butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the banana, yogurt, and vanilla; beat until blended. Stir in the flour mixture; just until moist. Don't over-mix. Stir in the chocolate chunks and then gently stir in the raspberries. If you want, you can sprinkle a few additional chocolate chunks and raspberries on the top.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan and cool completely on the wire rack.

Makes one 9x5 inch loaf

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Snickerdoodles are not one of those cookies that I often think of making but I'm usually so glad that I picked them to bake once they come out the oven. I don't know why we sometimes try to find complicated recipes that test our cooking and baking skills when we have some very delicious and simple ones to use.

I love how easy snickerdoodles are to make and how yummy they smell coming out of the oven. Truly a recipe worth keeping and using over and over again. Enjoy!

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix 1 1/2 cups sugar, butter, shortening, and eggs. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Shape into 1 1/4- inch balls.

Mix 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls in mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool on wire rack.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Blueberry Scones

These scones were delicious! For the life of me I can't remember what blueberry scone recipe I used. I'm thinking that you could google blueberry scones and find a great recipe. I made these at the beginning of August and neglected to bookmark the recipe site. Oops!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Vegetarian Chili

I'm not one to shy away from meat so I definitely did not go searching for a vegetarian recipe. In fact, you can probably say that I was a bit skeptical that this was really going to be like chili. Chili, with no meat, just doesn't sound right.

Surprisingly it was very good! In fact, so good that we have made it more than once. Imagine that! Enjoy!

Vegetarian Chili
2 cans pinto beans, rinsed well
2 C water, for canned beans
1 C brown rice, rinsed well
1 diced yellow onions
2 cans tomato sauce
2 - 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes, with juice
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1-2 bay leaves

In a large stock pot, combine 2 C water and canned beans. Add all the remaining ingredients, simmer for 1 hour, and serve.

Makes 8 to 10 servings

Monday, October 1, 2012

Triple Berry Smoothie

Another smoothie from our summer smoothie marathon! These remind me of the long summer days that were happening not so long ago. I wish I could go back in time just a few months because these long Fall days have already been long enough.

Triple Berry Smoothie 
1/ 2 cup water
1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup frozen unsweetened strawberries
1/2 cup frozen unsweetened blueberries
1/2 cup frozen unsweetened raspberries

Place all ingredients in blender. Blend completely.