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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Tortellini Soup and Garlic Bread

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Earlier this week I made the best tortellini soup. I’ve tried to make tomato and tortellini soup in the past, and I’ve got to say, it never worked out. The Tortellini need to be eaten day of otherwise they absorb the liquid as they’re in the fridge and turn into a mushy pasta. Not the case with this recipe.

I adapted the soup from The Eccentric Cook

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1 package of cheese tortellini (in the pasta isle, not the fresh ones)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, grated
1 onion, finely cohpped
about a cup of chopped/ sliced mushrooms
5 large sausages – cut into pieces ( I used boarhead)
1 can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes (the 14.5 oz)
1 can tomato sauce (about 14.5 oz)
about 5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
dried oregano
dried basil
garlic powder
onion powder
salt and pepper to taste
paprika, to taste
chili powder, to taste
2 dashes soy sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
parmesan cheese
In a large pot, heat the oil and add the sausages, onion and carrots. Saute them until they get soft. Season with salt and pepper. After 7 minutes, add in the mushrooms. Stir occasionally. Sprinkle them generously with the oregano and basil, garlic and onion powders, and paprika and chili powder (if using). Cook for another 5-7 minutes.
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Pour the broth and tomato cans on them. Bring the soup to a boil. Add more seasonings.
When it comes to a boil add in the brown sugar.
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When the soup is simmering, at this point, you can add  beans (cannellini or garbanzo) for added protein and texture and add the tortellini to the soup. Cook as long as the package indicates. Add soy sauce and stir until desired consistency is reached.
Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top and garlic bread
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The garlic bread recipe I followed exactly, except I used more garlic, of course. The recipe was taken from Drizzle and Dip and is by far my favorite quick and easy garlic bread recipe.
  • 1 loaf of ciabatta bread or a large baguette (2 small)
  •  2 large tbsp butter softened to room temperature
  • 1 tbsp of kosher salt
  • a small handful of coriander leaves finely chopped (about 2 T), or dried oregano
  • 5 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 2 cups of finely grated Parmesan cheese (an d a bit extra to sprinkle over the loaf)
  • (a squeeze of lemon juice if desired)

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Mix all of the above ingredients thoroughly to combine. Slice the bread loaf into desired slices, ensuring that you don’t cut all the way through. I like fairly thick slices. Spread the butter mix fairly generously between all the cut slices, without overdoing it, you don’t want to land up with dripping oil-soaked bread. Sprinkle the extra Parmesan over the bread and wrap in foil. Bake for 20 minutes and then open the foil and bake for a further 5 minutes to brown the loaf.

It was an amazing meal!

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What I Did for Valentine’s Day

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I’ve had quite an eventful weekend. This was the first weekend where I forced myself to do homework, tons of homework, after work  and throughout the week, instead of waiting for the weekend. This was because Friday, February 15 was my Valentine’s Day. I haven’t had a chance to really hang out and see Boyfriend the past three weeks or so. And I know there’s a chance I won’t be seeing him this weekend either (thanks odd work schedule). So we decided to be indulgent, and extravagant, and lovey-dovey (sort of), and have a Valentine’s Weekend.

Not so much because we’re lovers of the holiday (and I’ve read plenty of blog posts about how Valentine’s day should be every day, and why should men assume that they can be awesome this one day, and completely romantic and the rest of the time be completely ignorant in the ways of love) but because we haven’t seen each other in a long time, and we haven’t been alone in a long time, and just, couple-y, therefore Valentine’s way the perfect excuse to go over the top.

That being said, I was so happy with how our plans turned out that I, sadly, didn’t take many photos (being so lost in the many moments). My apologies. I did take a few photos. And I hope to be better in the future about it, however, there are recipes that I made (even though two photos are missing), that were completely amazing, and I can’t wait to make them again!

But first, say hello to my three new Otto fishes. I could only get a shot of two at a time, so you’ll have to imagine the third 🙂

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First recipe up, is this lovely Molten Chocolate Cake. 

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This was my first time making this recipe, so I followed it to the T, except for used two larger ramekins (to serve two, obviously), and adjusted the cooking time to 15 minutes. The original recipe follows.

4 pieces (squares) Bitter-sweet or Semi-sweet or just plain sweet Chocolate (this is a matter of preference)*
½ cups Butter, chopped into several pieces
1 cup Confectioner’s or Powdered Sugar plus an extra 1-2 Tablespoon for dusting, separated
2 whole Eggs plus 2 Egg yolks
6 Tablespoons Flour
*I actually used chocolate chips, and eyeballed what I thought 4 squares would be. It really doesn’t matter here how much chocolate you use. I think mine was roughly 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chips.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease/spray about 4 custard molds/cups or small ramekins with a non-stick spray and then place them on a baking tray (cookie sheet).The next step requires melting the butter and chocolate. You can use the microwave, in 20 second increments till the butter is melted and the chocolate is softened. Or, you can use a double boiler. (I used the microwave. It’ll look scary with all that butter surrounding the chocolate, at least it was scary for me, however you have to keep stirring, and it’ll all work out).
Add 1 cup powdered sugar then whisk together until smooth.
Add the 2 eggs and the 2 egg yolks then whisk together again until smooth. Stir in the flour till just combined. Divide the batter into the four (or two) ramekins you’re using.
Bake until the sides and top are firm, but center is slightly wobbly and gooey. Let sit for 2 minutes (no more and no less, I MEAN IT), and serve by inverting to a plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or top with whipped cream.
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Next recipe comes without a photo. This one came from Add A Pinch, and was really an amazing recipe. The only thing I can say I followed was the gorgonzola butter and improvised, to taste, the rest. Below is my rendition of the recipe, but you can follow the link to view the original.
Skillet Steaks with Gorgonzola Butter
2 Ribeye steaks
Salt and pepper
Herbs de Provance
1/2 cup cognac
Gorgonzola cheese, about 4 tbsp
4 tbsp butter, softened at room temp
Pat dry the steaks to they are free from blood. Take a fork and liberally stab the steaks throughout, on both sides, and by the fat areas. Season with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the steaks in a ziplock bag and add the cognac. Close the bag and refrigerate for about 30 minutes, and up to several hours.
Next, season your cast iron skillet* and heat it over medium heat. Take out the steaks and let them come to room temperature (about 10 minutes) while the skillet is heating up. Dry the steaks again, when taking out of the cognac marinade. Do not do this liberally. I did because I was so hungry and in a hurry, and my steaks did not brown as well as I would  have liked.
Place in skillet, and cook about three minuets each side. I started off with two minutes a side, but had to turn mine about two and a half times because they were thick .
While the steaks are cooking, mix the butter with the gorgonzola cheese, and place in fridge, to wait for the steaks.
When the steaks are ready, sprinkle top with herb de provance and let sit for three minutes before plating. When placing on plate add a generous tbsp of the gorgonzola butter to melt and ooze around the meat.
Serve with potatoes, salad, bread, and good wine.
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Lastly, this recipe has been in the making for a while. I added more cheese than the recipe called for and added my own spices to the mix, however, the recipe basics were thanks to allrecipes.com.
This recipe too, was too good to be photographed. I even forgot to photograph this while writing up this post, when eating leftovers. So Sorry!
Baked Ziti
1 lb dry ziti pasta
1 onion, chopped
1 lb gound beef
2 (26 oz) jars of your favorite pasta sauce (I used tomato and basil flavor)
1 tbsp salt and pepper (or to taste)
1 tbsp herbs de provance
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp grouond garlic and ground onion powders
dash of liquid smoke
1 1/2 cups sour cream
6 oz of provolone cheese (sliced)– again, I used I believe 8 oz, a full Sargento bag of sliced provolone
6 oz of sliced mozerella—again from sargento, and I used the whole bag
1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain.
In a large skillet, brown onion and ground beef over medium heat. Add spaghetti sauce, and simmer 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F . Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish. Layer as follows: 1/2 of the ziti, Provolone cheese, sour cream, 1/2 sauce mixture, remaining ziti, mozzarella cheese, provolone cheese, and remaining sauce mixture. Top with remaining mozerella cheese slices and grated Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted.
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Lastly, I want to say Happy Valentine’s Day again to all those that celebrate or enjoy the lovey stuff that comes with the holiday. The photo above has become a standard dessert treat I’ve been making myself after working out and a light dinner. I’m feeling great and happy, and I must say, nothing makes me feel better than strawberries, chocolate sprinkles, and whipped cream.

Chicken and Dumplings for a Not-So-Rainy Day

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Today was one of those days were the weather started out being sort of dreadful and cold, and got lovely and sunny. However, my internal mood was one that related only to the morning weather.  Basically, I was in a funk.

So I did what any adult would do. I ignored that feeling and worked on homework and work notes all day. Then, went to the mall and got myself a new bra.Finally, I went home and worked out.

After a nice (and for some reason, short) shower I decided I had to do something before I started up on my homework again. This whole weekend is basically going to be me cooking and indulging Boyfriend and mine’s tastebuds. I’ll attempt to post of these recipes within hours of making them, but since it’ll be this weekend, you’ll have to save the love for next Valentine’s Day. Or a Birthday, or whatever weekend/day. Doesn’t matter.

I’m rambling.

My point is that I was in the cooking mood, and I figured that I could use a warm up recipe, like running a few miles before a marathon the next day (not that I know specifically how that would work, I’ve never run more than a mile, and a low one at that).

This recipe came into mind simply because the weather felt cold, for me, and I wanted something comfortable, yet delicious. I’ve been eating and working out regularly, and eating everything I want, in moderation, and I’ve been pretty successful. I think I’ve lost 3 lbs since my last weigh in, and why not give myself a lovely lunch tomorrow?

This was my first time making chicken and dumplings, and my FIRST TIME TRYING THEM! And after this recipe, I’m a fan. I’m sure it’s not the best, but it’s pretty awesome in my opinion. My dumplings ended up being a bit “Freeform” in size, but that made me love them even more.

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Recipe adapted from here (I cut my recipe in half)

2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp herbes de provance
1 tsp dried basil
2 tsp black pepper (or more to taste)
1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast- roughly one
1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots (I used mixed veggies)

Dumplings:
1 cup flour
1/2 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp butter (softened)
1 cup milk

In heavy bottomed Dutch oven or large wide pot, over medium heat, add chicken broth, water, butter and all seasonings. Cover and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, cut chicken breast into bite sized pieces. Add to soup mixture, (at this point, I also added some lemon juice for a bit of zing, if you’re not a fan of zing, by all means omit it). Stir to combine and cover.

In a sealable container combine flour and milk. Seal tightly and shake vigorously to combine well. You will create a smooth flour mixture for thickening your sauce called a slurry. Slowly pour the slurry into broth, stirring constantly. Add frozen vegetables. Cover.

Combine dumpling ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix well with a fork. Remove cover from stew and stir well. Drop dumplings into stew one tablespoon at a time, use a 1 tablespoon scoop to make it even easier.

Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes

Walnut & Pear Jam Cookies and What I Did With My January

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Hello All!

It’s been a very, very long time. As my friend pointed out earlier today, it’s been about a month since I’ve lasted attempted at making anything delicious (well, I have, like ribs, but sadly I haven’t really attempted to chronicle the occasion).

Today was the day. I’m procrastinating pretty hard today when it comes to homework. I’ve been cleaning, baking (obviously), and working out. Doing anything I can not to think about the hours of work that’s ahead of me. I’m even going to be a perfect, model student and meet with a classmate to work together and study. That’s right, about 7 hours worth of study and ABA terminology for my Saturday. How fun.

Mostly, I’m excited to get work over with, and just sleep in past 7 am.

In the meantime, I get to enjoy these lovely cookies. They were adapted from Home Cooking Adventure and I couldn’t be happier with the way they smell, and taste.

The only thing that I changed really, was that I didn’t add walnuts on top of my cookies (and that was explained below) and I used pear jam I got from a trip to Yuciapa for apple picking. I know, funny how I got pear jam when I went apple picking. But I got enough apples that I thought I’d be making my own (secretly).

It turned out amazing, and since I’m trying to be healthier overall, I did a little calorie count for y’all: these cookies are a smooth 90 calories each! Which means I get to enjoy them as I’m typing this up AND when I’m done working out. Win win, indeed.

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Walnut and Pear Jam Cookies

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup pear jam
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • walnuts for top (I omitted this, as I prefer to have more walnuts IN my cookies than ON TOP of them)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until well mixed. Beat in the egg.

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Add apricot jam, almond extract and vanilla extract and stir well to incorporate. Stir dry ingredients together,  flour and baking powder and add into butter mixture.

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Fold in the chopped walnuts.

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Using a tablespoon or your ice cream scoop take small balls and place on prepared baking sheets with distance between them. Top with chopped walnuts and bake 15-17 minutes in the preheated oven or until golden brown. Remove from sheet to a cooling rack. Cool completely.

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Now that I’ve got you hooked on the cookies, I can discuss where the rest of my January went.

I’ve been eagerly (and frighteningly) preparing for my first ever visit to Cal ABA. For those of you that don’t know. Cal ABA is a California based conference for professions and students (and affiliates and parents and everyone) that discusses future and current research in Applied Behavior Analysis. My company will be going there, as well as my University program. Not to mention a few of my classmates will be presenting their research there– I couldn’t be more excited.

In other news… I accomplished one of my 2013 goals already! If you all remember, I wanted to purchase an item from Agent Provocateur , just for myself, not for anything special, or for a birthday (or Valentine’s Day). So basically, instead of that store, I chose another, based out of New York, Called Journelle.

As soon as I got this pretty package in the mail I knew I’d be happy.

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In my humble opinion, I think that Journelle is a lot better (price wise for the same quality) and it’s more versatile  I can wear it for a romantic night out, or under work clothing (and not feel filthy).

I purchased about 5 different styles (bras with undies to match), and they all fit perfectly, true to size and quality to boot! Absolutely wonderful! Aaaand free shipping~

I know that January is a long month, but that’s basically all I’ve been doing with it.