Tomato and Mushroom Soup with Barley

November 16, 2014

This is a simply, earthy soup that is perfect for the fall. D and I just got back from getting married, and we returned to a crisp day that demanded soup. We didn’t want anything that took too long to put together. This was the perfect solution!

20141116 Mushroom Barley Soup 01

You will need:

  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced thin
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 16 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 T dried thyme
  • 1/2 c sherry (or white wine)
  • 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
  • 4 T miso paste
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T red wine vinegar
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with their juices
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 c beef stock (or whatever stock makes you happiest)
  • 1/2 c barley
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Then you will…

  1. In a large soup pot, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium-low heat.
  2. Add the onion and garlic, stirring to coat.
  3. Allow to soften about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the mushrooms and thyme to the pot. Cook until the liquid is evaporated, and the mushrooms are lightly browned. Stir occasionally.
  5. De-glaze the pan with the sherry or wine. Scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan; allow some to cook off for about 3 minutes.
  6. Mix in the tomato paste, miso, and the vinegars.
  7. Stir in the diced tomatoes and beans.
  8. Add the stock and bring to a bubble.
  9. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Stir in the barley and allow the soup to simmer until the barley is tender (about an hour).
  11. Serve with warm, crusty bread.

Maple Pecan Cake

October 11, 2014

This is a perfect dessert for the fall with lots of maple syrup and pecans. It’s not overly sweet, so I recommend serving it with a little spiced whipped cream. You could also mix some bourbon into the batter for an extra treat!

You will need:

  • 1/2 c unsalted butter
  • 1/3 c + 2 T brown sugar, divided
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 pinches of salt, divided
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground cloves
  • 1/4 t ground nutmeg
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1 1/2 c pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 c maple syrup
  • 2 t cornstarch
  • 1/2 c boiling water

20140928 Maple Pecan Cake

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch souffle pan.
  2. In a large sauce pan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove from the heat.
  3. Mix in 1/3 cup of the brown sugar. Stir in the egg, flour, a pinch of salt, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, vanilla extract and milk.
  4. Fold in the pecans.
  5. Spread in the prepared pan.
  6. In a large bowl, stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons of brown sugar with the maple syrup and cornstarch.
  7. Stir in the boiling water.
  8. Pour over the cake batter. It will look like a lot but it will all work out. I promise!
  9. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until set in the middle.
  10. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before spooning out to serve.

Sage Cornbread

October 5, 2014

D and I made this cornbread as a side dish for some chili. It comes together really quickly, and I loved the unusual taste from the sage. There’s a small bit of honey in the dough too, which makes it slightly sweet.

You will need:

  • 1 c cornmeal
  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 3 T chopped fresh sage
  • 1 c milk
  • 1/2 c honey
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place a 10-inch cast iron skillet in the oven to warm up for 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and sage.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, honey, egg and melted butter.
  4. Stir the egg mixture into the cornmeal mixture.
  5. Spread the dough into the skillet.
  6. Bake until browned on the edges and set in the middle, about 20 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool in the skillet for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

20140921 Sage Cornbread


Slow Cooked Apple Oatmeal

September 29, 2014

I love warm breakfasts. I really like having it ready when I wake up, like this oatmeal. You mix everything together in the slow cooker the night before, turn it on, and have yummy oatmeal ready to eat when you get up the next morning! Magic!

20140915 Slow Apple Oatmeal

You will need:

  • 1 c steel cut oats
  • 1 1/2 c milk
  • 1 c apple cider
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground nutmeg
  • 3 T maple syrup
  • 4 apples, cored and chopped into bite-sized pieces

Then you will…

  1. Lightly grease the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Mix together the oats, milk, cider, water, cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup and apples in the slow cooker.
  3. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 hours.
  4. Serve with chopped nuts and a little extra milk.

Italian Meatloaf

September 21, 2014

Meatloaf is a very versatile dish. There are variations on meatloaf that can be found on menus across the globe, and there are even recipes going back to ancient Rome! Using a blend of ground turkey and beef makes it a little bit lighter than some versions you might find. You will add in lots of Italian herbs and some cheese to balance it out. Not sure that this one is your style? Check out one of these other versions: Caroline’s meatloaf, vegetable meatloaf, yummy meatloaf, or roasted tomato meatloaf.

You will need:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 c breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 medium onion, grated
  • 1 t dried basil
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1/2 t dried thyme
  • 1/4 t ground pepper
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 t Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 c shredded Italian cheese blend, divided
  • 1/2 c tomato sauce, plus extra for serving

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil to catch any drips.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the beef, turkey, eggs, breadcrumbs, onion, basil, oregano, thyme, pepper, salt, Worcestershire and 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese. Be careful not to over mix; this will keep the loaf from being too dense and tough.
  3. Lightly press the meat mixture into the loaf pan.
  4. Top it with the tomato sauce.
  5. Place the loaf pan on the lined baking sheet. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until cooked through and delicious.
  6. Top with the remaining cheese and return to the oven until the cheese is melted.
  7. Serve hot with some warmed tomato sauce.

20140914 Meatloaf


Rum Cookie Bars

September 16, 2014

This is a simple recipe for blondie cookie bars. I added some spices and dark rum, which is particularly scrumptious with all of the caramel goodness from the brown sugar. The batter comes together quickly, and it’s based on ingredients you likely have in your pantry right now. What are you waiting for?

You will need:

  • 1 c packed brown sugar
  • 8 T unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t salt, scant
  • 1/4 t ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 t ground cloves
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 2 T dark rum
  • 1 c whole wheat flour

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment or tinfoil and lightly grease.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar and melted butter until smooth.
  3. Mix in the egg, vanilla, salt, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and rum.
  4. Stir in the flour just until mixed together.
  5. Spread in the prepared pan.
  6. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden and set in the middle.
  7. Allow to cool 15 minutes before removing from the pan.
  8. Continue cooling on a wire rack before enjoying with others!

20140806 Rum Blondies


Lemon Chocolate Banana Bread

September 10, 2014

20140826 Lemon Chocolate Banana Bread

Here’s another sweet variation on banana bread. It’s got a few interesting twists like lemon zest and dark chocolate. I also used olive oil instead of butter or vegetable oil. The result is a banana bread that is a sweet surprise!

You will need:

  • 3-4 ripe bananas, lightly mashed
  • 1/4 c Greek yogurt (I had vanilla on hand, but plain would work too)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 c dark chocolate chips (or coarsely chopped)
  • 2 c flour
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 3/4 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 t salt

Then you will…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the bananas, yogurt, eggs, olive oil, lemon zest and vanilla.
  3. Stir in the chocolate pieces.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  5. Add the banana mixture to the dry mixture. Stir until just combined.
  6. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until golden and just set in the middle.
  7. Allow to cool 15 minutes before removing from the pan. Cool completely on a cooling rack.

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