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Well, another weekend has come and gone.

Yes!

I love Mondays.

I’m so glad this Monday is finally here after that pesky break in the work week on Saturday and Sunday.

And yes, that is sarcasm.

We played hotel last night for my in-laws and their two pups. They are making their way to Florida to escape the snow and cold for the next month.

I think they are the smartest people on the planet.

Their destination has a forecast of 78 degrees.

Our forecast has another snow storm coming. Boo!

So, this morning as I gear up for the week ahead, I give you a short and sweet recipe.

I’m roasting again.

Because as I have said before, life does not get much better than roasted veggies.

Today, on the menu is roasted carrots, parsnips, and pears.

I started with Ina Garten’s recipe for roasted carrots and parsnips, and then I remembered another dish that my friend Emily makes- Pork, Potatoes, Parsnips, and Pears.

I decided to merge the two recipes, and that is what I’m sharing today.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Here is what you’ll need:

Serves 4 people:

3 carrots

3 parsnips

2 firm pears (if they are extra ripe, you will have a very hard time working with them)- I like the Bosc (brown) pears, but any variety will work

Olive Oil

salt and pepper

Peel and chop your carrots. Then, do the same to your parsnips. And, slice your pears (removing the core as you chop them).

There is no rule on how you cut them. The only thing I recommend is to get them all to be similar sized.

That way, they’ll need to cook about the same amount of time.
Lay them all out on a non-stick sheet pan.

Give them a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

2 Tablespoons should be plenty. You just need enough to lightly coat all of the vegetables.

Now, a sprinkle of salt.

Salt makes my life.

Holla if you hear me.

Add some pepper.

I will take this moment to remind you that I strongly recommend freshly ground black pepper.

And I still haven’t figured out how to capture a picture of me grinding pepper.

I think I need a third hand.

Then, use your hands to rub the olive oil, salt, and pepper all over the veg.

Pop them into the oven for 15-20 minutes. I almost always let my vegetables go the full 20 minutes because I like when they get dark brown and caramelized.

That is when the roasting has helped your food reach it’s true potential, in my humble opinion.

Don’t those look delish?!?

The pears are sweet, the parsnips have a unique spiciness (not hot at all, just a more pronounced flavor), and the carrots are sweet and savory at the same time.

I served up our roasted vegetables with The Pioneer Woman’s, Cube Steak Sandwich.

Never in my life have I cooked with cube steak. I was very nervous that it would taste as unappetizing as it looks. However, I was blown away. Cube steak is delicious. You heard me… delicious. I highly recommend you try this recipe.. especially if you have a carnivorous husband. Or if you are a carnivore.

Oh, and as an extra bonus, cube steak is really affordable.

This whole recipe is pretty gosh darn cheap to cook and get on the table.

I think that is reason #341 you should try it.

Some day, I will list out the other 340 reasons.

There is one thing missing from my plate. I got shutter happy with the camera. I think I served this up with some sliced pineapple. But slices of tomato or cucumber would be deelish too with just a sprinkle of oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Thanks, as always, for stopping by.

XO,

Leah

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Why can’t February 22 hurry up and get here already?

Hmph.

Do you know what February 22 is?

It is the release date of Adele’s new album, 21. And I, for one, CAN. NOT. WAIT.

I’m sure by now, you have heard this song… please say you have, and that you are madly, madly in love with it. I dare you to crank this on your way to work and not have it wake you up from your fingers to your toes.

*For whatever reason, you have to click on the “Watch on YouTube link for this video”. How annoying.

And then, there is Set Fire to the Rain.

Sigh, my few favorite.

You know, when I’m in my car singing to Adele I swear to you…

I sound EXACTLY like her.

Bahahahahaha.

If you need a song you already know and love to get you in the Adele mood, listen to this one.

If you don’t love her, we’re broken up as friends.

In other news, Uncle Karl was back in Paris with his Chanel Haute Couture show on Tuesday.

Somehow, I must have missed his invitation in the mail. So, rather than sit on the runway with the likes of Diane Lane and Vanessa Paradis I had to review his line from the comfort of my couch.

I will never claim to know a whole heck of a lot about fashion. I just know what I personally like.

And I LOVE Chanel.

And I love this collection.

Here are some of my favorites (please feel free to buy me any of these):

I’m a sucker for the classic Chanel collar, and this pretty pink.

I think this next one is my hands-down favorite of the show. Why? Because it is unique and beautiful, but it is still wearable. OK, maybe not the silver booties, but I’m dying for everything else.

And this is my favorite gown. Please invite me somewhere fancy.

And then give me this dress.

I’ll be a happy, happy gal.

Finally, I’m having dinner tonight with three dear friends that I haven’t seen in far too long. 6:30 cannot get here soon enough!

Hope you all are having a great week.

Tomorrow is Friday! Woop! Woop!

XO, Leah

What is it about delicious food?

Food, for me, is not only a source of nutrition and energy, it is a major source of joy. I love to cook, entertain, and (of course) eat.

So, on this cold evening in January I went back through the archives to show you the recipes that I think you have to make. Today. Right now.

OK, if not today… Please make them this week. Or this weekend.

These are chosen for different reasons, but mainly because they are easy, delicious, and filling.

Easy Peasy Spinach

I make this recipe about once a week. It truly is as easy as can be. It is nutritious, and most of all- it is a delightful way to enjoy spinach. I promise that you will like this if you try it. You. Will.

Change Your Life Burger

I must admit, I don’t think of making burgers very often in the winter. However, I plan on making an exception this week. I’ll be either popping these guys into a skillet or onto my stove top griddle. I dare you to stuff a burger with bacon, cheese, and onion and not fall in love. It cannot be done.

And I mean it when I say that this burger will change your life. And it will change it for the better.

Strawberry, Blueberry, Banana Bread

Ooooh, another good one. It also happens to remind me of summer. I only ever think of making banana bread when I look at our bananas and realized they have gotten all soft and brown and otherwise inedible. That happened to me this week, and I was happy to have strawberries and blueberries on hand to make this loaf of yummy goodness.

Oooo-eeeee. It is good!

Greek-ish Spanikopita

This is my all time, hands-down favorite vegetarian meal. I could eat an unbelievable amount of this stuff if given the opportunity. I love it fresh out of the oven. I love it cold for breakfast. I love it toasted up as leftovers. Oh. My. I think I am going to have to make this myself this week. I’m currently crossing my fingers that I have all of the ingredients on hand.

I posted the more greek version with onions and feta for this recipe, but truth be told I like the cheddar cheese version myself.

The Perfect Breakfast

This make ahead crock pot steel cut oatmeal can coax you out of bed even when a cup of Joe can’t. Imagine waking up to the smell of warm apples and cinnamon. I’m telling you… you will be jumping out of bed to greet this goodness for breakfast.

If you read this blog regularly, you know I LOVE a make ahead breakfast. So, to have a warm bowl of cereal awaiting you is perfection.

And the Perfect Pairing for the Perfect Breakfast

I also love a little savory for breakfast. So, make this quiche in the evening. Allow it to cool for a bit after you pull it out of the oven. Then, slice it and cover it and pop it in your fridge.

In the morning, grab your oatmeal and a slice of the quiche. Microwave your quiche for about a minute and enjoy!!

Because I’m usually not hungry at 7:30 in the morning, I love to wrap up a piece of quiche and pop some oatmeal into a small Tupperware container and bring it to work to heat up there. You shall make all of your coworkers jealous while they smell your deliciousness cooking.

Game Day Treats

I hear there is a big football game coming up. Save yourself some time, energy, and money, and make these little guys for your game day celebration. Even if you aren’t into football (like me), I am into football food!! That works out nicely for both me and my man.

Crock Pot Chili AKA Go-To “I’m working all day and I don’t want to come home and cook” Dinner

I completely underutilize my crock pot. I’m the first to admit it. However, my crock pot has lovingly cooked and warmed this delicious and SUPER DUPER EASY chili time and time again. And, the cheese bread? Fuh-get-about-it.

Frozen Key Lime Pie

Brownie Pudding

These recipes are not my own. I do not excel at desserts at all. My idea of a good dessert are those break and bake cookies you can buy at the grocery. I also love peanut butter chocolate chip United Dairy Farms ice cream. And from time to time, I’ll make some sort of dessert  using someone else’s recipe! That is the case with these guys… Ina Garten is my idol. She can cook and bake and entertain. And she has the most amazing kitchen in the Hamptons I have ever seen. I want to be her friend.

And when we’re friends, she’ll make me these desserts herself. And then I will eat them. We’ll walk through her herb gardens talking about our latest trip to Paris while we nosh on lobster. It will be magical. For now, I’ll just enjoy my replications of her masterpiece recipes.

Picture of Frozen Key Lime Pie Recipe

Picture of Brownie Pudding Recipe

Hope you are all having a fabulous week so far.

XO,

Leah

Well, MORE SNOW came last night.

I would give you my left pinky toe if you could make it all melt and then warm up the city of Cincinnati.

I am ready to see the green tips of tulips poking up from the ground.

I am ready to wear less than 32 layers when leaving the house.

I am ready to not have to burrow under a blanket to stay warm in each room of our house.

Unfortunately, we have at least another two months of this cold and snow and ice.

That being said, will you help me?

I’m looking for ideas for a vacation or a long weekend get away.

Here is my wishlist:

-Warmth

-Not all inclusive

-Outdoorsy activities- hiking, biking, water fun (if your suggestion has a beach)

-Good restaurants nearby

-Flight from Ohio to destination 4 hours or less- that means anywhere in the states excluding AK and HI, and we could also make it to most Caribbean destinations

And, that’s about it.

So, PLEASE help me out. Throw out a suggestion or two!! Even if your favorite place isn’t warm, I’d still be interested in hearing where you recommend.

How good does this look right now?

or

or

or even

So, give me your suggestions. Please and thank you!!

Happy Monday!

XO,
Leah

 

Hi Friends!

Guess what!?!

It’s snowing again!! YAY!!!

Yes, that was sarcasm.

I’ve seen enough of the white death, thank you very much.

Want to know something pathetic about me?

I was VERY disappointed (dare I say angry?) that my beloved Oprah was preempted by “Winter Storm Watch 2011”. What I really want to know is who sits around watching the 24 hour snow updates? It makes me batty.

Thank you for listening to me.

I feel better now.

I was trying to decide what we should chat about today.

And I decided I should round out the week with another vegetarian dish option… this time for breakfast or brunch. I threw in a side dish for all of you carnivores too. I’m posting this on Friday so you have a chance to gather up the ingredients prior to the official start of your weekend.

Brunch makes my life.

Holla if you hear me.

Today, I bring you crepes.

Don’t go away!! Don’t be scared!! They are easy!!

Here is what you’ll need:

A blender

1 cup of flour

2 eggs

3/4 cups milk

1/2 cup water

3 T. melted butter

Put it all into a blender.

And then pulse it. Pulse it. Pulse it. Pulse it.

That is 4 pulses at about 5 seconds a piece.

And this is what it looks like all blended.

Crepe batter is very similar to a pancake batter except much much runnier.

Because I was making a sweet breakfast crepe, I decided to add a t. of vanilla and 1/4 c. of sugar to the batter at this point.

Your crepes will still be delicious if you leave that out. If you were making savory crepes, you could add a little salt, pepper, and any herb you like.

Crepes are very versatile.

And they are also pretty bubbly immediately after blending.

So, to get the bubbles to subside and to make your crepe making easier, pop that whole blender into the fridge for an hour or so.

This step isn’t completely necessary, but it makes the batter a little easier to work with.

Truth be told, I don’t really do the refrigeration step.

But I feel I should tell you the way that crepes are SUPPOSED to be made so that someday if you have a French crepe master in your home, you’ll know every bit as much as he or she does.

Er. Something like that.

Here is the one thing that you will absolutely need for crepe making success… a nonstick skillet.

And a little bit o’ butter.

Put your skillet and butter over medium heat.

I like to use a 9″ in diameter non-stick pan because the crepes come out the perfect serving size.

For a 9″ skillet, I use approximately 1/4 c. of crepe batter for each crepe.

The recipe above made about a dozen crepes.

They are supposed to be a very thin treat.

So, pour in your first 1/4 c. (doesn’t have to be precise) of batter.

Quickly, lift the pan up to coax the batter to thinly coat the entire bottom of the pan.

Allow the crepe to cook only about 30 seconds.

Then, give the crepe a flip.

After another 30 seconds, remove the crepe onto a dry flat surface to cool down to room temperature.

Continue on with this process until all of your batter is gone.

I want to warn you… the first crepe you pour into the pan almost always is disastrous. I have no clue why this happens, but I have made several batches of crepes, and the first pour always ends up not spreading evenly and being weird. So, DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED. It is normal to have your first try go awry.

And, if you happen to have success with your first pour, please don’t tell me.

I’ll probably develop a complex.

Why doesn’t my first crepe come out perfectly?

What is wrong with me?

I guess I’m just not good enough to make the perfect crepe.

Anywho, after allowing all of your crepes to cool, stack them up or pack them up.

Cooked crepes can last in the fridge for 2 weeks when stored in an airtight bag or container.

You can freeze them for up to 6 months. When you want to use them, simply pull them out of the freezer and set them on your counter until they thaw. Then have at them!!

Here is what I topped my Sunday Brunch Crepes with…

1/2 c. of strawberry jam

1/2 c. fresh strawberries, shopped

1 kiwi, chopped

1/2 c. fresh blueberries

I popped all of that into a small saucepan, and turned the heat to medium.

I stirred it up.

And watched it cook.

Do you have any idea how good this smells?

Like candy.

I let it bubble a bit around the edges, and then I turned the heat as low as it would go to keep the sauce warm until I was ready for it.

I also chopped up another round of fresh berries, kiwi, and blueberries.

To make my crepe, I put one glorious crepe onto my plate.

And I topped it with the chopped fresh fruit.

Then I added a drizzle of my fruity syrup that has been warming on the stove.

Then I folded it up.

And then I looked at that big ol’ plate, and thought my crepe looked a little lonely.

I thought and thought about what would complete my brunch while staying within the French breakfast theme.

And this came to mind:

Croissants

1 T. of Dijon mustard per croissant

Black Forest Ham

Gruyere Cheese (the best melting cheese on the planet)

I cut my gloriously buttery croissants in half to start to build my French breakfast sandwich.

I slathered the bottom half of the croissant with the dijon mustard.

Then, I drooled a little as I piled on some of that ham.

And then I drooled a little more as I shredded the gruyere.

I seriously, seriously have a cheese problem.

I think I need an intervention.

Now, you have a couple of options. Pop those bad boys into the oven at 350 for 5-7 minutes (until the cheese gets melty) or you can pop them into a toaster oven like I did.

I wrapped up the tray that I had them on in foil so that I had one less kitchen item to clean.

Oh sweet sassy.

My dear Gussie.

Look at these mamas when they came out of the oven.

Help me.

Now, pop the lid on your sandwich.

Drizzle a little more of that fruity syrup on  your crepe.

Oh, hey there whipped cream.

You’d like to go on the crepe too?

You got it!

Top off the crepe with the slightest dusting of powdered sugar.

That is joy on a plate if you ask me.

Sure joy is full of lots and lots of calories. But, it’s brunch! And it’s the weekend!

And this meal made my morning so gloriously lovely.

And I know it will do the same for you.

Brad has been having crepes for dessert this week with the leftovers I have stored in the fridge. He pops out a crepe, puts it on a plate, spreads a thin layer of cream cheese down the center, and then tops that with some strawberry jam. He puts the whole kit and caboodle into the microwave for about 10 seconds.

I tasted his treat last night, and it is GOOD!

I just feel like before we go, we should look at that food again.

Ah.

Lovely!

And delicious!

And I think I have thoroughly forgotten about the 6 inches of snow on the ground.

Finally, I will leave you with this… my dogs have the smelliest gas on the face of the planet.

They have accosted me the entire time I have written this post.

You are welcome for that little piece of information.

It’s Friday, people!

Have a great weekend.

XO,

Leah

I was a picky eater growing up.

Can anyone relate?

I think I have shared this before, but my mom was a rockstar cook that made dinner every night of the week (usually taking a weekend night off to go on a date with my dad).

Dinner ALWAYS consisted of a green salad, a protein, a starch, and then a vegetable.

I, like many kids (and well, some adults I know too), would eat my favorite item on the plate first.

Then, I would move on to the second favorite.

Ultimately, I would be stuck with some inevitably lukewarm protein left on my plate.

I have always loved anything green, but meat and I did not become friends until later in life.

Even now, meat can still sometimes gross me out.

You know, I cook a meal that I’m completely excited about only to go to take bite of the meat and be a little less than excited.

Chicken is usually the worst offender.

Dr. Freud, what does that say about me?

The problem for me in my house growing up was that there was no dessert for any kid that didn’t finish their dinner.

So, usually my sister Jessica and I would be stuck still sitting at the table long after the rest of the family had finished.

She had a pile of vegetables on her plate.

And I had a pile of meat on mine.

Eventually, we hatched our ingenious plan…

Wait until Mom was long gone, then quickly switch plates, scarf down what was left of each other’s cast offs, and happily move on to a “dessert” that usually meant a “sweet cereal” (you know, like Honey Nut Cheerios). Did I mention we grew up in a pretty health-centered family?

My love for vegetables continues to this day.

Seriously.

I know this may be weird, but I love broccoli or asparagus or zucchini or carrots or whatever. And I like them in large quantities.

I also know that this is not normal, and that for a lot of people vegetables are gross and scary.

And that is why I’m brining you this post.

I want to win over every last person that doesn’t groove on the vegetables.

You see,  I have a fool proof method to making any vegetable absolutely delicious.

Roasting.

Roasty, toasty, caramely, delicious veg.

And they are easy.

And they are the perfect side dish.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Start by chopping up your vegetables. They should be larger, but still bite sized.

Lay them out on a sheet pan with sides.

Give them a drizzle of olive oil.

When I say a drizzle, I mean approximately 1 T. per every cup of chopped vegetables.

Then sprinkle on some salt and pepper.

I have been known to also add cayenne pepper or red pepper flake if you like it a little spicy. You can add cumin if you like it a little smoky. A little bit of thyme on mushrooms is delicious and woodsy. Experiment to discover what YOU really love.

But if you want to play it safe, start with salt and pepper.

I would say about 1/2 t. of salt and 1/4. t. of pepper for every cup of vegetable on your pan.

Now, use your hands and give the vegetable an oil, salt, and pepper Swedish massage. Try to coat all of he vegetables.

Then pop them into the oven. Set your timer for 15 minutes, and leave them alone.

After 15 minutes (less if you are cooking only a small quantity, and keep them in longer if you are cooking a large quantity), pull them out of the oven.

They should look like this…

Still very much a bright color with perhaps a bit of caramelization, and they may be slightly wilted.

Perfect.

I like to top off my veg with the lightest sprinkling of parmigiano reggiano.

Pop that onto a plate with a side of crusty parm and garlic bread, and you have a super simple side dish.

Or even a super simple healthy afternoon snack.

I promise.

Your vegetables will never taste better.

Happy Wednesday!

XO,

Leah

Hello my long lost friends.

I have missed you over the weekend.

I had a glorious three-day weekend that was lovely and relaxing. My poor husband has been a shut-in as he recuperates from PRK surgery, so we did a lot of hanging out at home which for me meant lots of time spent in the kitchen.

Last week, when it was cold and miserable (well, that has been pretty much every week since November), I had a hankering for tomato soup and grilled cheese.

As I have mentioned before, I’m obsessed with soup in the winter. However, I just can’t stomach that canned condensed nonsense that some people sell as soup. It is watery and salty, and I personally just don’t dig it.

I won’t judge you too much if you happen to enjoy the stuff.

So, on a cold day, I decided my take on this comfort food meal was a necessity.

Please believe me when I say that ANYONE could make this recipe successfully. If you are nervous in the kitchen, try this recipe out. Because you will meet with success, and it will increase your confidence.

I actually really love to entertain with simple meals like this. Everyone loves comfort food, and serving food like this creates a casual and relaxed atmosphere.

Here is what you’ll need for the tomato/shrimp/crab bisque (AKA fancy ‘mater soup):

For two people with enough for leftovers:

2 T. butter

1/2 of a white or yellow onion, chopped (or in my case 2 large shallots, because that is all I had!)

3 cloves of garlic, diced finely

28 oz. of tomatoes (I used whole San Marzano tomatoes, but you can use whatever you want!)

1 to 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock

1/2 t. salt

1/4 t. pepper

1/4 t. crushed red pepper

6 large peeled/deveined UNCOOKED shrimp

4 oz. of lump crab meat (my grocery store carries this by the seafood counter- they were out the day that I was shopping for these ingredients, so I subbed it out for a can of white crab meat)

1/2 c. of cream

Start by melting your butter over medium heat. I like to use a medium sized pot.

Toss in your onions. You want to cook these slowly so that they get all translucent and sweet. If you cooked this over high heat, the onions would caramelize and turn a little brown. That won’t be the end of the world; however, I prefer a slow cooked onion.

Do what you like.

After the onions have cooked for about 4 minutes, drop in your garlic.

Stir it up.

Let that cook for about a minute.

Oops, onion are getting a little caramely.

I’m such a hypocrite.

Add in your canned tomatoes.

Stir it up.

Immediately after adding your tomatoes, feel free to drop in your stock.

I like stock because it is more flavorful than broth. If you only have broth, it will certainly do the trick!

Once you have added the broth and stirred it in, add your salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.

Stir that up as well.

Now, for the fun part.

I used an immersion blender to get all of the chunks of tomato broken down and smooth.

If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can transfer your soup carefully to a blender and mix it up. Then, pour it back into your pot.

If you have neither an immersion blender or a regular blender, do not be discouraged!!

All that you need to do is use canned crushed tomatoes (rather than diced or whole tomatoes). Your soup will have some texture, but it will not have giant tomato piece.

So, no excuses!! You can and MUST still make this soup.

Bring your soup to a boil. Let it boil for about a minute.

Then, turn your heat down to medium while you add in your final ingredients.

Get your shrimp ready.

Truth be told, I don’t love shrimp. However, in small quantities I enjoy it.

So, I only used 6 large shrimp. If you are a shrimp lover, go ahead and use more!

Peel and devein your shrimp if you couldn’t purchase them already prepared.

I must insist that you purchase uncooked shrimp (these are available at the fish counter). You see, when you put cooked shrimp into a pot to cook some more, they become over cooked and slightly rubbery.

Yuck.

If you buy the uncooked shrimp, you toss them into a pot  and in three minutes they are cooked perfectly.

And the texture is much more palatable.

Chop your shrimp into bite sized pieces.

And add it to your soup.

After a minute, add in your crab.

Again, the lump crab would be perfection, but the canned crab was pretty darn good!

Finally, turn off your heat.

Add in your heavy cream (look for heavy whipping cream in the dairy aisle).

And stir it up.

Soup is ready to go!!!

Now, while that soup is about as lovely as it comes, it will be taken to over-the-top delicious if you make a grilled cheese sandwich to go with it.

And by grilled cheese sandwich, I don’t mean a slice of Kraft singles between pieces of white bread.

I purchased a loaf of ciabatta bread at the grocery store, but any light and delicious bread would do (sourdough, french bread, etc).

I think a grilled cheese must have at least two cheeses, and I take the cheese selection very seriously.

My grocery store has a cheese counter where you can try a bite of a million different cheeses to see what floats your boat.

For this sandwich, I chose a sharp cheddar (the yellow cheese) and a smoked gouda (the white cheese).

Mozzerella is a great mild cheese choice.

Gruyere is a salty and sharp flavored cheese that melts like magic.

Goat cheese offers a stronger sharp flavor with a soft consistency.

Havarti is a good melter, and is mild in flavor.

Truly, you can’t go wrong. Experiment.

That is your assignment for the day.

Make a grilled cheese with at least two cheeses.

And try a new cheese.

You will love me forever for giving you this assignment.

Put a non-stick skillet over medium to medium-low heat (a good slow cook is key to allow the cheese to melt).

Put butter in the skillet.

Then pop in your sandwiches.

I like to cover the pan with a lid so that the steam allows the cheese to become sufficiently gooey.

That is a technical cooking term.

After the bottom of the bread gets lightly golden, give the sandwiches a flip. I would estimate 5-6 minutes per side. If your sandwich is getting too brown prior to the cheese melting, turn down your heat.

This is a good meal to practice making two things at once (soup and sandwich), because they are pretty easy to time up the completion. And if either the sandwich or the soup has to sit for a minute while the other item finishes cooking, they will still be dee-lish.

And here you have it:

Tomato, Shrimp, and Crab Bisque with Cheddar and Gouda Grilled Cheese

Let’s have a moment of honesty.

That meal blows the canned soup out of the water. True? True.

Enjoy my friends!!

Oh, and if you don’t dig seafood, this dish can obviously very easily become 100% vegetarian. Just leave out the shrimp and crab step.

Sigh.

I love a versatile recipe.

Hope you all are having the loveliest of Tuesdays.

XO,

Leah

So, today was a first.

I whisked Bradley away to have PRK surgery. For those of you that have no clue what that is, PRK is a vision correction surgery. For some reason, Brad’s eyes wouldn’t respond well to Lasik, so PRK was his only option.

Fun fact: fighter pilots receive PRK not Lasik, so Brad is pretty much a fighter pilot now, right?

I’m not sure what Brad’s issue was that prevented Lasik, but perhaps this photo provides some insight.

I’m a pretty supportive wife, right?

Instead of lavishing him with encouraging words and holding his hand, I’m snapping pictures of him while he crosses his eyes in this get up.

So, here is what I loved about today.

I got to watch the whole procedure.

The doctors office has a private observation room for the family of the patient.

It has a window into the surgery area.

Not only that, they projected Brad’s giant eye onto a TV screen.

So, in very clear detail, I could see the step by step process.

Fascinating.

Best part? They served refreshments in the observation room. Score!

Kinda like going to a movie.

I know the picture doesn’t show much, but on the TV is Brad’s eye.

Brad was laying down off to the left.

I only had my iPhone with me so none of the pictures are great.

I really wish this last picture came out because the big blue eye was like Big Brother looking down on me.

So strange.

The whole time I was observing (while enjoying some treats), this is all that I could think of:

And that was my day today.

The end.

 

It is snowing here in Cincinnati.

Again.

I’m starting to think this whole Global Warming thing is a hoax. Because this winter has been so. so. cold.

I have a few standby defenses against cold weather.

1. A fire in the fireplace

2. A hot beverage- coffee, tea, hot toddy, hot chocolate… I’m not picky, just as long as it’s hot!

3. A big blanket. I have at least one throw blanket in every room of my house (except the kitchen), and I am constantly burrowing myself under them.

4. Slippers or shoes. I never go barefoot as a rule. I grew up in a house with my dad, a podiatrist. After hearing the horror stories of various items getting lodged in the bottom of peoples’ feet (and sometimes even getting to see a slide show of such incidents- lucky me), I learned to protect my piggies. Even in the summer, I prefer shoes. And in the winter… shoes keep my toes nice and insulated and warm. And, of course protected- thanks Dad.

5. Soup. I’m obsessed with soup in the winter. I particularly like a spicy soup for it warms me doubly. So, with the snow falling, I whipped up a batch of Spicy Sausage, Potato, and Kale soup.

I first had a soup similar to this at my friend Heidi’s house a few years ago. A group of girls got together regularly for book club. At some point, those pesky books were getting in the way of our imbibing and socializing. So, we became a wine club. Pretty smart, huh?

Anyhow, during weather similar to what we are having now Heidi whipped up this spicy delight and I have been hooked ever since.

I should mention Heidi moved to Rochester, NY. And that is far too far away.

Here is what you’ll need for the soup (if you want to serve 6-8):

1 lb. of sausage- I bought the links because I wanted hot sausage, and they didn’t have that in the bulk packages. If you aren’t into the spicy foods, go for some mild Italian sausage. If you aren’t into pork sausage, go for a turkey or chicken sausage. Right in the regular grocery store there are a plethora of sausage options.

4-5 pieces of bacon, all chopped up

1 onion- I used yellow, but a white or red onion will do

3 cloves of garlic

6 cups of chicken stock

1 1/2 cups of water (oh, I hope you can find this ingredient- it can be a toughie)

4 small potatoes- NEW DEVELOPMENT: I recently read an article that told me that non-organic potatoes are one of the top 10 worst foods to ingest. So, guess what? I switched exclusively to organic, and in my Kroger store they are the SAME price as non-organic potatoes. You really have no reason not to switch.

1 cup of heavy cream

1 bunch of kale

Salt and pepper and possibly some red pepper flake if you are feeling crazy

Start off by browning your sausage. I like a good non-stick pan for this job. It leads to easy clean up, and easy draining of excess fat.

If you are using chicken or turkey sausage, you may need a tablespoon of olive oil to help brown off the meat.

While that is browning in a skillet, pull out your soup pot and put the heat on to medium-high. Drop in your chopped bacon to get that on its way to crispy deliciousness.

Back to the sausage.

Drain off the excess fat. I drain mine into an empty can (usually found right in my recycle bin).

Put your cooked sausage on a plate lined with paper towels. This should grab even more of the excess fat.

Now, back to the bacon.

It should be looking pretty good and browned. Drain off the excess fat… why do I feel like a broken record?

Again, drain the fat into a container and not your drain. You will thank me when you don’t have to call a plumber to come unclog your sink.

Side note: To avoid calling a plumber, you should also never attempt to shove an entire burned lasagna down your garbage disposal. It will most certainly clog your sink. Only an idiot would do something like that.

Chop your onion.

And drop it into the pan. Stir it up.

Then, add your chopped cloves of garlic.

I seriously love my Pampered Chef garlic press.

Stir it again, and let it soften for 5ish minutes. I turned down the heat a bit at this point to medium. I wanted the onion and garlic to soften, but I didn’t necessarily want them to caramelize.

Once softened, add your chicken stock (or broth).

I prefer stock because it has a bit more depth of flavor than broth.

I also added about 1 1/2 cups of water. If you use broth, give the soup a taste. If it doesn’t taste overly salty, go ahead and skip the water step.

Now, crank up the heat to get all of that liquid boiling.

And dice your potatoes.

Now, just imagine that I remembered to take a picture of the potatoes.

And then toss those taters into the boiling stock.

Toss them carefully!

I diced my potatoes pretty small, so they were done in about 10 minutes. The larger the chunks of potato you have, the longer they will take to cook.

I think the best method of testing doneness is actually scooping out a potato and tasting it.

Now, we shall prepare the kale.

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know that I have a mad love affair with kale.

It is so so good for you, and it is hearty and delicious.

Kale comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, and any of them would work in this recipe.

Kale is extremely high in fiber (good for keepin’ ya regular-I’m just saying!), high in Vitamin A, and high in calcium. Love it.

Rinse it off.

Then pull most of the leafy part off of the stem.

Grab the stem with one hand, and then pull off the leafy part with the other.

The key is to get the bottom, more woody part of the stem off of the veggie.

Once de-stemmed, give it a rough chop.

Right before adding all of that glorious green kale into your soup pot, turn your heat down to medium.

And add in your sausage.

And then, add in your cream.

I ended up using about 3/4 of a cup (because that is all I had left), and it was just lovely.

Doesn’t that just look purty?

Time to toss in the greens.

Mix it all together to incorporate the greens to the pot.

Soup is done!! I turned the heat down to very low while I prepared a little crusty side dish.

I had a ciabatta roll, some salt (again the red clay kind), pepper, a garlic clove, butter and parmesan.

Split your roll.

Slather it in butter. The more the better.

Cut your garlic clove in half.

And rub the cut side of the garlic all over your bread.

Give them a light sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Add some shreds of parmesan.

Put it on some foil, and pop it into the oven on 400 degrees until the cheese gets melty.

You’ll have to imagine the melty delicious bread because I was pretty drool-y by the time it was done. I was ready to eat!

This soup will warm you right up on a snowy winter day. It is comfort food at its best.

And may I humbly suggest ending the meal with a Light-ish piece of Chocolate Cheesecake accompanied by some raspberry sorbet?

You should make this.

I found the recipe on Bake at 350.

It is making my life these days.

Happy eating friends.

XO,

Leah

The main man and I have not stopped eating crustless quiche on a regular basis. I have just failed to share my quiche creations with you.

Because I’m selfish like that.

I learned a new fact recently. Want to hear it? Here goes… breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

So maybe that isn’t a new fact, but I do declare that it is still true.

There was a time in my life (namely most of high school and college) where I went without breakfast. Sometimes if I was feeling motivated in the morning, I would have a piece of cinnamon toast. But man, breakfast was not my thing. I regularly found myself opting to snooze for 10 more minutes rather than wake up and eat something.

Then I’d slip on my oversized J. Crew sweater and Doc Martens and head off to school where I remained grumpy until my blood sugar finally rose after the lunch hour.

I have no clue how I survived.

Now that I’m an old lady, I can’t make it until 9:15 without feeling like I’m going to pass out if I don’t eat breakfast.

For me, a small bowl of cereal or a bagel does not stick to my ribs enough to carry me through until lunch.

I need me some protein.

Holler if you hear me.

So, in my constant pursuit of an easy-peasy breakfast, I find myself reinventing the crustless quiche.

It is kind of a fun little challenge.

What do I have in my fridge today? And could those items make a delicious quiche?

This little self-imposed challenge has led to a few less-than-sharable quiche recipes.

However, this most recent creation is quite delectable.

I might even go so far as to call it Gooo-oood.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Here is what you’ll need:

Let’s see…

4-5 slices of bacon

1/2 c. chopped turkey breast (I just use good old deli meat)

1 tomato

1/4 c. chopped cilantro (more or less can be used depending on how much you love the stuff)

4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese (that is 1/2 c. for those of you that don’t speak ounce language)

6 eggs

Splash of cream

2 heaping tablespoons of salsa

salt n’ pepa

Start by frying some bacon until it is crispy. I almost always buy Center Cut Bacon because it has less fat, and is slightly healthier for ya. Note: I said slightly.

Now, chop up your turkey, your tomato, your cilantro, and shred your cheese.

I also almost always buy cheese in a brick rather than pre-shredded in a bag.

Why?

Pre-shredded cheese is coated with an additive that keeps the cheese from clumping.  I don’t know exactly what that additive is, but I don’t like it.

Cheese is not meant to be separate little shreds. It is meant to clump because of its milky goodness.

Yes.

And yes.

Now, crack your eggs.

I almost always buy organic free range eggs.

Do this experiment for me… buy non-organic eggs and organic eggs, and have a taste test.

I kid you not, non-organic eggs have a fishy flavor. Sick.

Plus, this is where non-organic eggs come from:

And here is where organic free-range eggs come from:

Yes, organic eggs are more expensive. But, they have been proven to have a healthier nutritional profile.

You, my friends, are free to do whatever you desire (much like the free-range chickens) when you make your egg purchase.

I’m just trying to use my powers of blog persuasion to support a happy little chicken lifestyle.

Anywho…

I digress.

Crack 6 eggs into a bowl.

Add in a splash (about 1 T.) of heavy cream.

Then, add in a pinch of salt.

Yep, that’s salt. It some fancy stuff from our travels to Kauai. It has a red color because it is sea salt that is harvested in an area where the shallow sea salt meets the red clay land.

Put in about 1/2 t. of pepper.

Drop in your chopped turkey, cheese, tomato, and cilantro.

Mix it up.

Now, put 2 heaping tablespoons of salsa into the bowl.

I like my salsa hot, but you can use whatever floats your boat.

Whisk it up.

Chop your bacon and add it to the fiesta.

Then pull out your pan.

I use a quiche pan, but an 8 or 9 inch cake or pie pan would work just fine.

Give it a coating of non-stick spray.

And add your filling.

Pop it into your oven for 20 minutes.

You’ll know that it is done when you give it a  little shimmy shake and nothing jiggles.

If the center still has some significant movement when you shake the pan, pop it back into the oven for 3-5 more minutes.

Now, as much as I love some protein for breakfast, I feel no breakfast is complete without a sweeter or carb-ier accompaniment.

So, I whipped up a batch of my blogger-friend, Geni’s, Pineapple Coconut Muffins.

These guys are amazing.

I’m thinking that my spicy South of the Border quiche and sweet tropical muffins are going to be the perfect start to every day of my cold and snowy work week.

Give them a whirl… you’ll be glad you did.

XO,
Leah

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