1/23/20

Pomegranate & DIY Leather Earrings


For something a little different, I wanted to share with you my new hobby: making leather jewelry! It all started when my friend Kate bought a pair, and then my twin bought a pair, and then I thought about buying one, but instead made my own!!

Here are a few other examples:



The ones above are made from recycled leather from a wallet! All the earrings have sterling silver hardware and are very light in weight, but big in their presence.

I've had a lot of fun making these and sold a few to friends and a boss's boss's boss!! If you want your own, check out my Etsy page ;)

1/13/20

Turmeric & Black Pepper No Knead Bread


Oh hi first baking project of the year! If you've been somewhere without internet for the last few years, you may have missed the craze of no knead bread. It's a method of baking bread where the stand mixer does most of the work, and you then bake the bread in a cast iron Dutch oven with stunning results.

Last Friday I thought I should make the no knead bread again, but with a twist!

What twist may you ask? Turmeric and black pepper!

I followed this Le Creuset recipe, but added a few pinches of turmeric and about 2 teaspoons of black pepper to my dough.


You should have smelled the aroma of the bread as it was baking. The crust was incredible! The inside of the bread was a gorgeous sunflower yellow color, and I definitely tasted both the turmeric and the black pepper.

The loaf sliced beautifully for toast, and I froze about 2/3 of the slices to avoid eating the entire loaf all at once. 


1/9/20

Chili With Cornbread Croutons


Want to simplify your life? Meal prep will help you with that task. For example, this past Sunday I made a large amount of chili and a cast iron skillet cornbread.

The chili had onions, celery, green pepper, ground beef, cumin, chili, salt & pepper, chickpeas, cannellini beans, pinto beans, defrosted corn, and canned tomatoes. The cornbread started with a Jiffy mix, but I added defrosted corn, sliced jalapeno, and sliced scallions.

I made enough for dinner that night and enough leftovers for 4 lunches. I highly recommend you immediately divide the leftovers into their containers and stack them in the fridge. Each morning it's so easy to grab a container of chili and a small bag with a piece of cornbread to take to work.

Top yours with sour cream and cheese, sliced scallions, and if you want to be extra, diced avocado and fresh salsa.

To make leftovers a bit more fun, if lets say you are working from home, cut the cornbread into bite-size pieces and brown in oil in a cast iron skillet. I slightly burned mine. It happens.

1/7/20

Quick & Easy: Salmon Shakshuka


I debated posting a recipe for Quick & Easy: Salmon Shakshuka because the photo turned out somewhat fugly, but then decided to just go ahead and write about it because the flavor was phenomenal. Yes, I'm not exaggerating.

It all started Saturday morning when I was watching The Kitchen on The Food Network. Michael Symon was the guest and showed his version of shakshuka. Instead of poaching eggs in the tomato sauce, however, he poached white fish!

I thought it was a brilliant idea, and thought I can do something similar with a piece of salmon I had in the refrigerator. I gave my recipe a Mediterranean flavor profile. 


Quick & Easy: Salmon Shakshuka
Serves 1

Ingredients
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 small onion, sliced
1 orange pepper, sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 Serrano pepper, sliced
14-15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
salt & pepper
4-6 ounce salmon filet, skin removed
1-2 tablespoons capers

Directions
1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add onions, pepper, garlic, and Serrano pepper, and saute for 7 minutes until the vegetables have softened.
2. Add crushed tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Nestle in the salmon filet, and continue to simmer, with a cover on, for 5 minutes.
4. Add capers. Serve.

This dish was fresh and spicy and so satisfying, but without making me feel heavy. I highly recommend you give it a try!

Options: you can add olives instead of capers. You can also add other vegetables such as zucchini.

1/2/20

Open Face Turkey Meatloaf Sandwich With Pineapple & Sriracha


Happy 2020! I'm excited to share with you a recipe for Open Face Turkey Meatloaf Sandwich With Pineapple & Sriracha, but first, I need to tell you about the turkey meatloaf.

Back in 2019, lol, I bought a pound of ground turkey and decided to make Gina's, aka Skinnytaste meatloaf. Alas, I was out of Worcestershire sauce, did not have marjoram, and had only 1 pound instead of 1.3 pounds of ground turkey.

I added celery and chiles in adobo sauce, and used low sodium soy sauce in the glaze. The results were great!

Turkey Meatloaf

Ingredients
for the meatloaf
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup ketchup
2 chiles in adobo, minced
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

for the glaze
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce

for the topping
black sesame seeds
chopped fresh cilantro

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. In a skillet, heat olive oil, then add onion and celery and saute for 5 minutes. Allow to cool.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine cooled sauteed onions and celery with the rest of the meatloaf ingredients.
4. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and form a loaf on top of it.
5. In a small bowl, mix ketchup with soy sauce and brush on top of the meatloaf. Bake for 55 minutes.
6. Allow the meatloaf to rest and sprinkle with black sesame seeds and fresh cilantro.



This was such an easy recipe!!! I divided the meatloaf into 4 portions. The first 3 I had with roasted cauliflower and chickpeas.



The last one, I turned into an Open Face Turkey Meatloaf Sandwich With Pineapple & Sriracha.

1) Slice pineapple and meatloaf and saute in olive oil until golden brown. You may sprinkle a bit of sugar onto pineapple to help it caramelize.
2) Toast a slice of whole wheat bread. Spread the toast with mayonnaise and top with thinly sliced white onion.
3) Top with meatloaf, pineapples, sriracha, and cilantro.
4) Serve with a few pickles

This sandwich requires a fork and a knife and a napkin!

12/30/19

Meatless Monday: Creamy Cauliflower & Potato Soup With Cashews & Chili Oil


Do you need a reset from all the holiday eating you've been doing? Are you craving a bowl of soup that's creamy with a bit of texture and spice? Then you should definitely make my Creamy Cauliflower & Potato Soup With Cashews & Chili Oil.

Last week I saw Ellie Krieger's recipe for Creamy Cauliflower Soup With Mushroom and Hazelnut Topping, but did not have shallots, mushrooms, hazelnuts, parsley, or sherry vinegar. I KNOW!!!

I decided to use what I did have and make my own version of the soup.

Creamy Cauliflower & Potato Soup With Cashews & Chili Oil

Ingredients
olive oil enough to cover the bottom of a soup pot
1/2 red onion, diced
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
1 large red potato, peeled, diced
4 cups vegetable broth
salt to taste {you'll need WAY more than you think}
black pepper to taste
toasted cashews, chopped
fresh cilantro, chopped
chili oil to taste

Directions
1. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot. Add onion, cauliflower, and potatoes and saute for 10 minutes on medium heat.
2. Add vegetable broth, season with salt and pepper, increase the heat and bring to a boil.
3. Lower the heat and simmer the soup, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes until the vegetables are fork tender.
4. Using an immersion blender, carefully puree the soup.
5. Taste and adjust for salt.
6. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with cashews, cilantro, and a drizzle of chili oil.

The soup reheats really well!

PS I made that bowl!!!

12/20/19

Weekend Motivation: Flower Friday


TGIF!! Wanted to share a photo of a flower arrangement I created with gorgeous blooms I won from Darling and Daughters!

12/17/19

Raspberry & Chocolate Star Bread


I can't tell you how many times I've seen photos of King Arthur Flour's Star Bread and thought I should try to bake it.

Well, this past weekend I finally did! Major thanks to my friend Lorelei for her encouragement and to King Arthur Flour's twitter people for answering a zillion of my questions!

Because I pretty much followed the recipe, I'm not going to retype it. Instead, I'll share with you the changes I made and my thoughts about the final result.

1) Who has dried milk in their house!? Not me ;) I listened to King Arthur Flour's twitter helpers and used actual milk instead of water and dry milk powder.

2) I only had regular yeast and not instant yeast, so I first bloomed the yeast in warm water. I had to reduce the volume of added milk by the amount of water (about 1/4 cup) I used.

3) Also, who has potato flour? Lorelei told me to use instant mashed potatoes and turn them into powder...I have such awful memories of my mom making instant mashed potatoes, but they worked well in this recipe.

4) Instead of layering with sugar and cinnamon, I used layers of raspberry jam (after putting it through a fine mesh to remove all seeds) and shaved dark chocolate.

Before



After



The dough was relatively easy to put together with the help of my KitchenAid stand mixer. There were no issues with the rising process or the rolling process. My friend Sindy came over and helped me bake and eat this beautiful bread.

The twisting process was rather simple, but after looking at the final photos of the original recipe, I realized we did not pinch the dough quite right. Still...not a bad star: ours looks more like a star inside the circle.

We baked this bread longer, and it was still a bit doughy probably because of the moisture content in the jam and chocolate.

Next time I think I'll try the savory version!

Overall, I'm really glad I finally tried this recipe! 

PS scroll all the way up and see a mini star bread my friend made :)

12/11/19

Meal Prep: Albondigas Soup


If you love meal prep, leftovers, and not having to think what will I have for lunch or dinner today, I highly recommend Albondigas Soup from Carlsbad Cravings

I followed the recipe pretty closely, so will not retype it here. 

I was surprised by the spices and herbs used in the meatballs, mint in particular. Turns out, the Spanish albondigas I've made before are quite different from the Mexican ones in this soup.

Reasons this recipe is a keeper:
1) double carbs: the soup has potatoes and rice
2) great leftovers (I bet it freezes well too): I've been eating this soup for lunch 4 days in a row and still have two more portions
3) the rice in the meatballs reminds me of the Russian hedgehog meatballs from my childhood
4) anything topped with an avocado is a winner in my opinion

The one change I'd make would be to use leaner type of meat. The 80/20 ground beef is a bit too fatty in this case because you cook the meatballs directly in the soup, making it difficult to skim the extra fat.

Oh, and I'd probably add corn next time for a bit of a crunch!

What's on your meal prep list?

12/9/19

Breakfast For Dinner: Baby Bella Toast With A Fried Egg


Sunday morning, after not being able to sleep in once again, I decided to treat myself to something other than an overnight oatmeal for breakfast and created Baby Bella Toast With A Fried Egg.

There's really not a recipe for this toast: it's more of an idea, but I think you'll like it, and it'll be perfect for a light Meatless Monday dinner.

My friends at Seasonal Roots send me a produce basket once a month and in return, I create a fun recipe and tell you all about it. If you've not tried them, you can use mangotomato code to receive a discount on your membership fee.

Last week's basket included baby bella mushrooms which inspired this dish.

1) Thinly slice bella mushrooms and onion.
2) Heat a swirl of olive oil in a large skillet. Add mushrooms and onions and saute slowly until they have browned. Don't overcrowd the pan. Don't rush. Don't burn the mushrooms. 
3) Season with salt
4) Meanwhile, fry an egg.
5) Toast a slice of olive oil and rosemary bread and smear it with hummus
6) Top with sauteed mushrooms and onions, a fried egg, a bit more salt, and chopped parsley.
7) Drizzle with green chile hot sauce.