My clicks

carameappleflavourscraftberrybush

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Now that I’m spending more time with a little one around, who is always saying “Let me see” and “Let me help” in the kitchen, I want to make things she can help with. I think she’s going to love this Caramel Apple Bar. I think we’re going to love them, too, honestly.

I find it fascinating to see What Kids Around the World Eat for Breakfast. Now, I want to eat what the kids in Istanbul are eating, but I’m sure as a kid, I would have loved breakfast in Amsterdam.

You know how we talked about tonics and healthy things to drink last week? Well this Ginger & Turmeric Honey Bomb Is definitely in the rotation. I love this stuff!

I need to make this Apple Peel Bourbon pronto and then start making Indian Summers with it.

Thanks for reading.

My clicks

COPPER-POTS-2

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I don’t hate to cook. I still found An Argument for Never Cooking Again to be a really good read.

I’m getting into health tonics. This time of year, my allergies are the worst. I’m pretty much medicated 24 hours a day. Elderberry syrup has nothing to do with allergies, but it may help us fight the upcoming cold and flu season. I recently bought a bottle, but the next step is to make it.

Speaking of confronting cold and flu season head on, and health tonics, I made fire cider about 6 weeks ago (it has to steep for 4 weeks) and we’re pretty addicted to it. If addicted is the right word. This stuff is pungent, but it will grow on you. That’s a shining endorsement.

All the comments on every recipe blog made me laugh and roll my eyes. They’re all so true. What is wrong with people?

Thanks for reading.

Three soups for you

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(photo c/o CookingLight.com)

All I want to eat lately is soup.

Let me rephrase that: All I’m eating lately is soup.

Within the past week, I’ve made three big pots of soup. Lunch at work every day this week has been leftover soup and my favorite Fall salad (which I can share with you another day, if you’re interested). Soup every day sounds boring, I know, but it’s not. Most soups/stews taste even better the second day – or fourth, in my case – because the flavors have had time to settle in and get comfortable.
Here are links to the three soups I made this week. They’re all really easy to make and have a ton of flavor. Enjoy!

North Woods Bean Soup: I buy whole carrots and chop them into bite-size pieces (think the size of  a chickpea)  instead of using baby carrots.
Autumn Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup: I roast the carrots, sweet potatoes and apple instead, but I’m sure the recipe as is, is great, too.
Split Pea Soup: I use this recipe for smoked turkey lentil soup, but use green split peas instead. It’s an easy substitution.

Curried Roasted Vegetable Farro Salad

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Grain + vegetable + protein = an amazingly easy, tasty and healthy salad.

I make a lot of these types of salads. I even blogged one not too long ago. I hesitated sharing this one, but it’s so good, SO GOOD, that I just had to share.

The thing I love about these salads is that they pack a lot of flavor. They’re also full of vegetables, so I feel good eating a big bowl. Or two. And they’re easily adaptable. Use what grain(s) you like. Use what vegetables you like. Add chopped chicken for protein or garbanzo beans to make it vegetarian or quinoa to make it gluten-free.

There are two tips to make these salads really stand out. The first is to season everything as you go. The second is a well-seasoned vinaigrette. Please make your own. The vinaigrette I use for this salad comes from Giada De Laurentiis. Many, many years ago, I watched her (on Everyday Italian) make a curry vinaigrette to top a carrot and pear salad. While that particular fruit/vegetable combination didn’t knock my socks off, the vinaigrette did. If you’re not a fan of curry, this vinaigrette is not for you. If you are a fan, you’ll love it and want to use it all the time.

So here’s another salad recipe. This is the combination I used this time, but I’ve made it before with other ingredients. I often make it with whole wheat couscous for the grain. Sometimes, I’ll chop a cucumber and throw it in there. Oftentimes, I use golden raisins for a little sweetness. One big thing I did differently this time was roasting the vegetables first and, wow, was that a good idea. It’s not necessary, but if you have 20 minutes, I recommend it.

Enjoy!

Curried Roasted Vegetable Farro Salad

Cook 1 cup of farro according to package directions, drain and place in a large bowl

2 carrots, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 cup garbazno beans

1 small handful of cilantro, chopped

1 small handful of dried cherries

salt and pepper

Curry vinaigrette*

Preheat the oven to 450. Toss the carrots and red pepper in a bowl with oil (whatever you have. I like to use neutral oils when roasting such as grapeseed), about a 1/4 teaspoon of curry powder and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Roast on a baking sheet for 20 minutes, turning once or twice.

While the vegetables roast, make the vinaigrette.

When the vegetables are done, add to the bowl with the farro, toss in 1 cup of garbanzo beans, a handful of dried cherries and the cilantro. Pour the vinaigrette over the mixture and stir to coat.

Refrigerate or serve at room temperature (I like it at room temp).

*Curry vinigrette

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon curry powder

1/2 a small shallot, chopped

2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a blender combine the white wine, curry powder, shallot, honey, salt and pepper and blend to combine. With the machine running add the olive oil.

Freekeh salad

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Freekeh salad

2 cups cooked freekeh (or quinoa, farro, brown rice) (cooled after cooking)

1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup diced English cucumber

1/4 cup golden raisins

1 pint of roasted grape tomatoes*

1/4-1/2 cup feta cheese (omit the feta cheese for a vegan salad)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 red onion, diced

2 cloves minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon of cumin

A pinch of oregano

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Juice from 1/2-1 whole lemon

Toss the first 7 ingredients in a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper.

Pour the vinaigrette over the freekeh mixture and toss gently to combine.

Sprinkle the juice of half a lemon over the salad. Taste and add more salt, pepper and/or lemon juice to taste.

Keeps for several days.

*Roasted tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the tomatoes in half and toss with a teaspoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. Place the tomatoes on a baking dish lined with parchment paper. Roast for 20-30 minutes until the tomatoes burst and start to shrivel.

Want to know more about freekeh? Freekeh is young green wheat that has been toasted and cracked. It’s a healthy whole grain food, much like bulgur wheat and other whole grains.

Golden Potato-Leek Soup

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Once fall arrives and the temperature drops below 65 degrees, I’m in full-on soup mode.

There are a few recipes that I turn to time and time again, including smoked turkey lentil soup (make it now!) and this Golden Potato-Leek Soup. This soup is delicious and so simple. Seven ingredients and 30 minutes. That’s it. The result is a warm, creamy (without any cream) soup that’s great as a starter and even better served with crusty bread or cornbread for a full meal.

Golden Potato-Leek Soup

Slightly adapted from Cooking Light

1 tablespoon butter or olive oil

3 cups thinly sliced leek (about 3 medium)

6 cups cubed peeled Yukon gold potato (about 2 1/4 pounds)

2 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

2 (14-ounce) cans organic vegetable or chicken broth

2 thyme sprigs, leaves removed, or 1 tablespoon of dried thyme

Melt butter or oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add leek; cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally (do not brown).

Add potatoes, water, salt, broth and thyme. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes or until potatoes are very tender.

Turn off the heat. If you have an immersion blender, blend everything in the pot until smooth. Stir in the pepper and add more salt to taste.

If using a regular blender, transfer the soup, in batches, to the blender and puree until smooth. Return the soup to the pot, stir in the pepper and add more salt to taste.

Southwest Stuffed Peppers

Inspiration can come from anywhere.

Sometimes I’m inspired by a meal I’ve eaten in a restaurant. Sometimes I’m inspired by other blogs or magazine articles. Sometimes I’m inspired by ingredients already in my kitchen. And sometimes I’m inspired by friends.

A friend inspired these stuffed peppers.

I’ve been wanting to make stuffed peppers for ages, but they always took a back seat to other meal ideas. Then a friend showed me a picture of stuffed tomatoes and that was it: I finally had the motivation to make these stuffed peppers.

They’re as easy as … I was going to write pie and then I realized that pie isn’t so easy. But these? Super easy. And very tasty. I stuffed these with couscous, corn, black beans, red bell peppers, cilantro and smoked Gouda. The possibilities are endless. I think next time I’ll try orzo, sun-dried tomatoes, chickepeas, basil and mozzarella.

Have fun. Play around with flavors. Be inspired.

Stuffed peppers

4 bell peppers (I used red and yellow)

1 cup of cooked couscous (or quinoa)

1 cup black beans

1 cup corn

1/2 bell pepper, diced

1/2 red onion, diced

1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped

handful of cilantro, chopped

handful of shredded smoked Gouda

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon (smoked) paprika

dash of cayenne pepper

salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Prepare the peppers: Chop off the top of the peppers (or slice them in half) and scoop out the seeds and ribs. Place the peppers in a microwave safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 5 minutes.

For the filling: Mix all the other ingredients, except the cheese, in a large bowl. Taste the filling and adjust your spice levels as needed.

Assemble the peppers: Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Place the peppers in the dish and stuff the peppers with the couscous mixture to the top. Top with cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes, just until the mixture is heated through.