Family · Holidays · Humor

How to cook a turkey…with a smile!

English: Oven roasted turkey, common fare for ...
English: Oven roasted turkey, common fare for Christmas and Thanksgiving celebrations. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m back but you may see more humor, sarcasm and random topics above and beyond food. Understand, food is one of my passions, but so is laughter. When I saw this post on Facebook, it brought a smile to my face. While I don’t cook with a glass(es) of wine, typically, the humor of it all just got to me.

Credit:  Paleo Cupboard/Facebook

Don’t stress out about the holidays and cooking. It’s truly a time to be grateful for every precious moment we have on this earth. Look for the humor and blessings in every moment.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Family · Garden · Gluten Free · New Favorite · Vegan

Easy Summer Quinoa

Summer vegetables and Quinoa is the perfect combination.  This recipe is from Iowa Girl Eats.  I follow her blog and love her recipes! Her blog name, alone, was enough to bring me to her blog…Iowa girls stick together!

I loved this dish and the wonderful summer vegetables.  I substituted roast red peppers for the sundried tomatoes with great results.  I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did!

EASY SUMMER QUINOA

1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup quinoa
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
pinch red pepper flakes
2 cups chopped kale
1 small zucchini, chopped
salt & pepper
2 ears sweet corn kernels (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes packed in oil, cut into strips (or roasted red peppers or both!)
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup peas
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
shaved or fresh grated parmesan cheese, for topping

  • Bring scant cup chicken (or vegetable) broth to a boil in a small saucepan. Rinse quinoa very well in a fine mesh sieve under running water (quinoa is coated in a natural, bitter coating that needs to be rinsed off) then add to saucepan, place a lid on top, turn heat down to medium-low, then cook until quinoa is tender and broth is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots then sauté until tender, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and red chili pepper flakes then sauté for 30 more seconds, stirring constantly.
  • Turn heat up to medium-high then add kale and zucchini. Season with salt and pepper then sauté for 2 minutes.
  • Add corn and sun-dried tomatoes then sauté for 2 more minutes.

  • Add white wine then scrape up brown bits from bottom of skillet with a wooden spoon. When wine is nearly gone, add peas then stir to combine. Add chicken broth and cooked quinoa then cook until broth is absorbed. Remove skillet from heat then add basil and stir to combine. Taste then add salt and pepper if necessary. Serve topped with freshly shaved or grated parmesan cheese.

Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

 

Family Favorites · New Favorite

Sangria, Mock and Not

Sangria reminds me of summer, tapas, and good times with friends.  It’s refreshing, light, fruity and delicious.  History states that Sangria was first served at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York.  While interesting, I truly expected Sangria to be the drink of Spanish Royalty (or something equally impressive).

Mock Sangria

Nonetheless, it’s delicioso!  This time, I made a mock Sangria (without alcohol) as well as the real deal.  I enjoyed them both.

 

SANGRIA

1.5L of chilled red wine
3 cups prepared lemonade
1 cup orange juice
4 tablespoons brandy
2 cups chilled club soda
sliced oranges, limes, lemons, apples

In a large pitcher, combine the wine, brandy, lemonade, and orange juice.  Add the fruit slices and refrigerate until chilled.

When ready to serve, add the club soda.  Garnish glass with slice of lime (or other citrus)

MOCK SANGRIA

2 cups orange juice
1 cup white grape juice
1 cup cranberry juice
1 liter bottle lemon-lime carbonated beverage
ice cubes
sliced lemons, oranges, limes

  • In a large pitcher, stir the juices together.  Chill.
  • When ready to serve, add the lemon-lime beverage and stir gently. Fill glasses with ice, then sangria then slices of fruit.  Enjoy!

Mock Sangria adapted from BHG.com

Family Favorites · Gluten Free · New Favorite

Hearty Minestrone…winter delight!

With the frigid cold this past weekend, it was the perfect time to make Hearty Minestrone.  My good friend, Maribeth, introduced this recipe to me several years ago and it is a winter delight!  Pair it with a crusty, hearty bread, a nice glass of red wine and you can please family and friends alike.

This soup freezes beautifully!  With our busy schedules, what a treat to be able to have this soup on hand for those crazy, busy days we all have.  If you are gluten-free, eliminate the noodles.

Mmmm…making me hungry for another bowl of leftovers!

HEARTY MINESTRONE

2 pounds chuck roast
1 teaspoon salt
4 quarts water
1 cup sliced celery
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
3 tomatoes, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
6 ounces tomato paste
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
16 ounce can dark red kidney beans
15 ounce can garbanzo beans
16 ounce can pinto beans
10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
3 small zucchini
1 pound Italian sweet sausage, sliced
8 ounce package kluski (homemade style) noodles

  • In a large kettle, combine chuck roast, 1 teaspoon salt and water. Cover and simmer for 3 hours or until beef is tender.
  • Remove meat from kettle and set aside. Remove fat from broth by letting kettle cool in refrigerator and then lifting hardened fat off top and discarding. Break meat into 1-inch pieces and combine with broth in a very large stock pot.
  • Stir in celery, onion, carrot, tomatoes, parsley, tomato paste, salt, oregano, basil, kidney beans with liquid, garbanzo beans with liquid, pinto beans, spinach, zucchini and sliced sausage.

  • Simmer, covered, until vegetables and sausage are tender, about 1 hour. Soup may be frozen at this point.
  • To serve, cook noodles according to package directions. Rinse, drain and add to hot soup. Sprinkle each serving with Parmesan cheese and crusty Italian Bread.

Yield: 8 quarts

Adapted from Creme de Colorado Cookbook 1987

Nicaragua

Nicaragua Butterfly Conservatory … and Spaghetti Nic style!

The tortillas were made and the coffee roasted. Now we were off to the 600 square foot Butterfly Conservatory on the FEV property.

The Conservatory is magical for visitors and is also used to teach local children about the lifecycle of the butterfly.  I thoroughly enjoyed it but my daughters would probably freak out…they aren’t big on any flying insects.

The foliage that surrounds us every waking moment is magical, as if we have arrived in a fantasy world.  Everywhere I look there are flowers more beautiful and unusual than the last.

Beehive Ginger (Zingiberaceae)

Beehive Ginger (micrófono in Spanish) is a spectacular plant.  The plant can grow 6 to 8 foot tall, beginning yellow in color, and turning red as they age, particularly if they are exposed to sunlight.

Pink Buds opening to yellow flower (name unknown)
Hydrangea growing wild at FEV

I was in awe looking at the Hydrangeas, thinking back to the white Hydrangeas that graced the tables at daughter Megan’s wedding.

Heliconia psittacorum

A busy afternoon and we were ready for dinner.  Spaghetti was on the menu, topped with a boiled egg, complimented by a glass of Tribu Merlot from Argentina.  I am curious about the egg on top of Spaghetti.  My web search has been futile so my theory is an egg adds protein to an otherwise carb-rich meal.  I call it Spaghetti Nic Style.

Spaghetti with Boiled Egg
Tribu Merlot, Argentina

The sun was down, the woodstove burning hot, and my head was ready to rest on my pillow in Tucan Lodge.

Buenas Noches. Hasta Manana.