Applelicious Cupcakes

Applelicious Cupcakes

Channeling June Cleaver

Channeling June Cleaver

Monday, December 16, 2013

Red Velvet Kiss Cookies



I love Red Velvet cakes, cupcakes, and cheese cake, anything red velvet.  So I said why not take one make these delicious Red Velvet Cookies and top them with a Hershey's kiss.  My Red Velvet Kiss Cookies was born! So good, so festive for your holiday cookie tray.  Did I mention easy too!

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, I like Ghirardelli
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 3/4 cup flour

In a large mixing bowl beat butter and shortening with a electric mixture on medium speed for 30 seconds.  Add sugar, cocoa powder, and baking powder.  Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, milk, vanilla then red food coloring until combined.  Stir in flour mixing until flour is all mixed in and batter is red.  Chill for about 1 hours to make dough is easy to handle.

Preheat over to 350.  Shape dough into one inch balls.  Place balls 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes until edges are firm.

Immediately press a Kiss candy into the center of each cookie. Transfer cookies to a wire rack, cool.

Store cookies between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container.



Sunday, December 8, 2013

Savory Mediterranean Cheesecake




Everyone loves Cheesecake!  Instead of a sweet cheesecake I made this savory dish for a book group meeting and it was a big hit.  This cheesecake is extra savory with 10 cloves garlic and fresh herbs. (You can use dried too!)  Oh did I mention tangy feta cheese? Cheesecake savory or sweet is very, very rich so just eat a small slice with this deliciously creamy texture so satisfying.  And you can change up the ingredients very easily to match the season. For Christmas try I'll use sun dried tomatoes or in the summer use sauteed vegetables

 
Savory Mediterranean Cheese Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare Parmigiana crust.
Parmigiana Crust:
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1 cup toasted Panko bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

Mix cheese, bread crumbs, rosemary and butter in a small bowl.  Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the spring form pan.  Chill.

Prepare Cheesecake Filling

Savory Filling:
10 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1/4 cup olive oil
3 packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream or 8 ounces of creme fraiche
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
3 eggs
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh chervil
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 cup chopped kalamata  olives
2 egg whites, at room temperature
Additional slice olives for decoration



Place the unpeeled cloves garlic in small ovenproof dish and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until soft.  Set aside to cool.  Reduce the oven temperature to 325 F.
Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the skins and mash with oil to a puree.  Combine garlic, cream cheese, sour cream, feta cheese, eggs, and flour in a mixture. Beating for about 2 minutes.  Add herbs(if you don't have fresh herbs use 1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence), beat 1 minute.  Stir in olives.
In a clean bowl, bead egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into cream cheese mixture.

Pour cheesecake batter into the chilled crust.  Use additional olives to decorate the top of the cheesecake batter.

Place cheesecake in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes.  When done the cake will have risen and the center will be almost set.  Turn the oven off.  Let the cheesecake remain in the oven for 1 hour longer.  Remove the cheesecake and set on a rack for an additional 1 1/2 hours.  After cooled remove the outer ring of the spring form pan. 
Serve at room temperature or cover and refrigerate overnight.  Remove cheesecake from refrigerator for at least two hours before serving.

Enjoy!



Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Quick and Easy Kaleslaw



Sometimes you just want to make something that is quick and easy.  Fast to the table but still healthy full of delightful flavors.  My quick and easy Kaleslaw is a family favorite that I can get on the table without any fuss or bother.  What I love about this dish is that you can change it up to fit what you have in your pantry or to your personal taste.  Don't want to use Chinese noodles, then use unsalted, shelled roasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds.  Want to add snow peas to the blend, go right ahead.  Experiment with different taste and textures.  I like to make this differently each time!

Kaleslaw

4 ounces chopped kale, washed and dried
1 package(14 ounce)  classic coleslaw
1 bunched sliced green onions
1/2 cup finely snipped Italian parsley
1 can(15 ounce) Mandarin Oranges, in light syrup, reserve 1/2 cup light syrup
1 can(15.5 ounce) Garbanzos beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup Chinese noodles or unsalted roasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds

In a large bowl combine kale, coleslaw, green onions, parsley, mandarin oranges and garbanzos beans. Set aside. Combine reserved light syrup, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.  Shake well. Pour over coleslaw.  Toss with chinese noodles or seeds.  Chill before serving.


Enjoy!


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Loving everything about Christmas I hope that like Scrooge people say of me "It was always said of her, that she knew how to keep Christmas well!"

My earliest memories are of my love of Christmas and the Holiday Season. Our family tradition growing up was that while we children sleep, Santa came bringing us our presents piled up under the biggest Christmas tree that I ever saw, we had twenty foot ceilings in our home. After we went to bed our parents would work into the early morning decorating our tree and putting together all our toys so that we awoke to a magical Christmas morning.  
As a young child I could not contain my excitement anticipating waking on Christmas morning to the joy that filled our home.  My parents were just as thrilled as we children to share our happiness on that special day.  After opening our presents, having breakfast, we piled into the family car off to visit all our grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, finally returning home for a Christmas feast that my mother loving prepared.  Thus started my love of Christmas and Christmas traditions.  
Even as I grew older I was the sibling that gravitated to carrying on family holiday traditions.  I helped my mother bake cookies, decked the halls, and wrap all the presents, even my own, I didn't peek!
When I got married, fortunately or maybe not so surprising the man I married love the Christmas holiday and we started our own family traditions that have lasted all these years later.  
So today for me marked the start of the Christmas Season, this year a little earlier than normal. Instead of the Sunday after Thanksgiving, today, I remove all my regular china from my dinning room cabinet, replacing with my Christmas China.  First I clean the glass china cabinet, then washed all the Christmas china, cleaned the crystal and silver before loving placing in my clean china cabinet. Next the dinning room crystal chandelier is cleaned until it just sparkles even without the lights on!  Ah, the start of another Christmas Season fills me with joy knowing that we, my family, will celebrate with joy the beauty and love of this wonderful time, all together again!
Next week the heavy duty decorating starts.....



Monday, October 28, 2013

Sunday Bistro Dinner, Delicious and Easy!



Sometimes you just want to shake things up. So tonight instead of a big Sunday dinner I opted for a casual, easy Bistro dinner.  It was so delicious and simple to make I have to add to my list of favorite quick meals.

Mussels, cheese plate, steamed artichokes and french bread. Oh I almost forgot Stonewall Kitchen Fig and Ginger Jam.

Mussels
Two pounds mussels scrubbed and de-bearded,  I love P.E.I mussels, so sweet!
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, chopped
12 rainbow heirloom cherry tomatoes
1tablespoon chopped fresh thyme.
1tabelspoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1/4 cup dry white wine



Saute olive oil, garlic and shallot for 5 minutes, don't brown. Add tomatoes and fresh herbs continuing to saute for another five minutes. Add wine,  cook on low for another five minutes.  Add mussels, stir, cover, continue cooking on low for ten minutes until until mussels open.

Artichokes
4 sprigs parsley
4 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
2 lemons, cut in half
1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups water
1/2 cup white wine
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 whole artichokes

Put the parsley, garlic, bay leaves, lemons, wine, oil and broth in a large pot and bring to a simmer. Season the liquid with salt and pepper. In the meantime prepare the artichokes.

Wash artichokes under cold water. Using a heavy stainless steel knife, cut off the stems close to the base. Pull off the lower petals that are small and tough. Cut off the top inch of the artichoke and rub with half a lemon to preserve the green color.  If you wish, trim the thorny tips of the petals with kitchen shears.
Place the artichokes in the steaming liquid, bottom up. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. The artichokes are done when a knife is inserted into the base and there is no resistance.

Cheese Plate
You can add to the cheese plate, sliced fresh figs, nuts, etc.  Tonight I just made a simple plate of Brie, Roquefort and Parmesan.  Serve with  Stonewall Kitchen Fig and Ginger Jam and french bread.



A simply wonderful dinner!

Enjoy!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

One Classy, Glamorous, Wedding in Shimmery Gold and Cream at the Fairmont Copley Plaza with out the normal Wedding drama!


How do I start to write about my daughter Mandi's wedding.  One year and a half in the planing plus putting all my heart and soul into creating just the right wedding to fit the couples personality and the venue. The wedding had to be dramatic, classy, fun, young, traditional with a modern flair.  Wow!  A gigantic task but I was more than happy to tackle the project.  
First, a little background: Mandi and Dan are two young actors living in LA pursuing their dreams of making it in the entertainment industry. Mandi is beautiful, bright, fun loving, wacky at times, with an iron will that can overcome all obstacles. Dan is handsome, smart, caring, the straight man to Mandi, so focused and supportive of their goals. Their love beautifully glows radiating out into the universe. Mandi and Dan met while attending Boston University with one of their special memories of their early romance attending the BU Ball at the Fairmont Copley Plaza. Having their wedding in the Grand Ballroom at the Fairmont Copley Plaza was meant to be!  

The Fairmont Copley Plaza is the grand dame of hotels in Boston.  Just over one hundred years old this elegant stately hotel is a breath taking jewel sparkling with a birthday renovation that while updating the rooms and public space preserved the 1912 ambiance. The gold and ivory gilded grand ballroom shimmers with the original Waterford Chrystal chandeliers reminiscent of the era the hotel was build. Think Edith Wharton's the Age of Innocence! I can see Newland Archer and Ellen Olenska waltzing across the dance floor.
I knew from the beginning that the venue would be the focal point of the wedding theme. The hotel and grand ballroom dictated that the wedding be classic, elegant, stately but not over the top. There is a fine line between just the right touches and taking to the point of being too much.  That was my job to walk that fine line with all the details coming together to create the theme of the wedding, classic, elegant, glamorous infused with lively personality of the bride and groom!  I was in my element.

We started the process by working with Heidi Jimenez of Zenadia Designs.  Heidi is the creative genius behind this custom one of a kind invitation company. She designed a gorgeous save the date that set the classic elegant theme for the wedding  along with a with a glamorous invitation invitation that invoked old style Hollywood elegance.(Fitting for two young actors!)
 Since Mandi and Dan lived in LA and the wedding was in Boston timing was crucial to facilitate all the pieces coming together just at the right time! Next on our list Mandi's wedding dress.  Her dress had to convey the theme of classic, elegant, timeless, with as I like to call it the Mandi touch! Who else could we turn to but Vera Wang! Mandi found the perfect dress on our second stop, a simply elegant mermaid style dress Vera Wang dress of tulle, french Chantilly lace, just absolutly perfect!


Mandi knew she wanted her bridesmaids to wear long elegant gold dresses that were glamorous, elegant, classic fitting in to her formal wedding. We found the perfect dresses at Bella Bridesmaids on Newbury Street in Boston.  At note here all the girls had the dresses tailored to fit perfectly!  Let's face it bridesmaid dresses regardless of the price need to be alter to fit all different shapes, heights and sizes.  One of the bridesmaids was eight months pregnant with the right alterations her dress looked like a custom maid maternity dress.


 Most important to any wedding once you set your feel, carry it through in all aspects of the wedding.  That feel is what set your wedding apart!  Gives it an individual personality that is your wedding alone.  Go with it, embrace it, feel it! Make it your own!
Next I start working on all the details for the wedding, flowers, program, place cards, favors, gift bags and more.  Anything to do with paper I go directly to the Paper Source. Not only is their paper, supplies the best quality, their staff is the best, creative, helpful, knowledgeable and just down right nice!  I used their shimmer gold, naturally, which I hand stamped and embossed with gold, accenting everything with crystals.


Program
Using a tri-fold template which was really simple allowing me to three sides for printing all the information to be shared with the guest.

 Place Cards
Just purchased these place cards at the Paper Source. The staff sent me the template that they made to use with these place cards and it was so easy to print from my home computer!  Again I stamped, embossed in gold finishing off the look with crystals. Easy, simple, elegant!



Menus made with the same shimmery gold paper from the Paper Source, so easy and fun to make.  I purchased all the stamps and embossing materials there and printed on my home computer.  I am not a big tchotchke lover so I wanted simple, elegant favors reflecting the feel of the wedding.  And I wanted something for the groom cause face it sometimes the groom is lost in the big picture.  Dan the groom loves old fashion retro candy, bull's eyes, gummy candies, jellies. So we filled elegant gold boxes with an assortment of his favorites, put a sticker inside indicating that this was his favorite candy and sealed the box with a simple gold ribbon.  So perfect!
Weddings are so stress less when you  pick a theme that fits the couple and venue, carry it throughout, letting you just relax enjoying one of life's beautiful celebrations.   



So easy to order this birdcage, spray it to color coordinate to your theme, in our case gold, then decorate with hand stamped and embossed label. A beautiful accent to any wedding.


The day of the wedding was fun, stress-less, a wonderful celebration of two wonderful people.


Did I mention the cake!







Happily Ever After......

Monday, October 14, 2013

Savory Fruit and Nut Stuffing for Thanksgiving turkey





I love to add fall fruits to my holiday stuffing to capture the smells and flavor of the season. My Savory Fruit and Nut stuffing combines apples, pears, and cranberries with toasty pecans.  A wonderful addition to my stuffing favorites. You can either stuff the turkey or bake to serve. 

Savory Fruit and Nut  Stuffing

1/4 cup butter
2 cups chopped onions
1/4 cup celery
2 apples
2 pears
1cup fresh cranberries
12 cups dried bread cubes
4 eggs
2/3 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh snipped thyme
2 teaspoon dried sage or 2 teaspoons fresh snipped sage
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2/3 cup pecans, chopped and toasted

In a large skillet melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and celery; cook about 5 minutes until tender but not browned. Add apples, pears and cranberries; cook for 5 minutes more until apples are tender. Remove from heat.
In an extra large bowl toss together onion mixture and bread cubes. Let stand 10 minutes.
In a small bowl stir together eggs, broth, salt, thyme sage and pepper. Drizzle egg mixture over bread, tossing lightly to combine.  Fold in pecans.
Use to stuff turkey or you can bake uncovered at 375 for 20 minutes.

To make ahead: Prepare as directed and can be refrigerated for 1 day.  Let stand a room temperature then bake as directed.

Enjoy!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sneak Peek at a simply elegant classic old Hollywood style Glamour Wedding!

A sneak peek at my blog about planning my daughter's wedding, a year and the half in the making.  So worth all the time, effort, and care to make Mandi and Dan's wedding just perfect.

The Bride:





The Groom:
The Ceremony:

The Bride and Groom:
The Wedding Party:
The Reception:

Happily Ever After:

More details to follow!



Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Tribute to my Grandparent's Sunday Dinner Tradition

Sunday Dinner a cherished Family Tradition



As long as I can remember my family celebrated Sundays together feasting on delightful homemade food and baked goods.  My grandparents immigrated to American from Italy leaving their family behind.  No other members of their family left the mountains of Abruzzi to come here to start a new life.  Having just each other as soon as they started to have a family they began their Sunday tradition of bountiful family dinners.  My grandmother started cooking early in the morning before the family left for church.  On their return from Sunday Mass cooking started in earnest.  My Grandmother fried home made pizza dough then dusted each piece with powered sugar, to her grandchildren delight, for our snack until dinner was ready. Big vats of tomato sauce brimming with sausage, meat balls and pork ribs simmered on the stove.  My grandfather’s specialty pans of veal and peppers cooked in the ovens all ready for us as we all descended on my grandparents.  In the summer tables were set up outside where we would spend the whole day together eating and enjoying our family time together.  All the grandchildren love playing on the swings and running under the grape arbor.  As I got older I helped in the kitchen developing my cooking and baking skills.  The highlight of the day was when all the food was cooked and we gather around the tables to savor the amazing feast that was lovely prepared by my grandparents.  As long as I live I will never forget those wonderfully special Sunday dinners with my family. Magical is how I remember dinners at my grandparents.
After my grandparents passed my mother continued the Sunday dinner tradition with our family which grew over the years with many new additions of in-laws and grandchildren.  My mother as talented a cook as her parents set out a lavish feast for all of her family.  The memories of these wonderful family gatherings flow freely as I sit and write now.  I cherish the times that I spend sharing my mothers fabulous food and hospitality. When I married and started having a family I picked up the family tradition of Sunday dinners; never did I think for a second that I would not have large gatherings with succulent dishes for the whole family to share and enjoy.  My cooking differs from my grandparents in that I cook a wide variety of dishes not just Italian to reflect my love of all types of food.  What hasn’t changed is that I still cook from scratch using the freshest food and spices I can find.  Oh, and you never go home hungry or without a plate of left overs. 
Although my family heritage is all about cooking, gardening and entertaining, what is the underlining theme is the importance of family, and gathering all the family to celebrating life together. The food and dinner is just the vehicle to celebrate together as a family. As my family continues this tradition with every new generation I am grateful to my grandparents who gave us the love of food and family bringing us all together to bask in their love.  My grandparents two very simple people who were so wise in what is important in life, love of family and family tradition.  I thank them every day!

One of my Sunday dinner favorites!






A picture is worth a thousand words or so the saying goes.  Looking at the picture of my Tiramisu cake I think that is so true.  A light angel food cake soaked in coffee and liqueur with a mascarpone filling frosted with whipped cream, need I say more!

Enjoy!

Tiramisu Cake



1 Angel Food Cake 8-10 inch, homemade or store bought
1 8-ounce container mascarpone cheese or 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened (I used mascarpone cheese)
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
3 tablespoon coffee liqueur or Godiva chocolate liqueur which I really like
2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoon coffee liqueur
3/4 cup strong black coffee
1/4 cup coffee liqueur
chocolate fudge sauce

Chill a medium mixing bowl and the beaters of an electric mixer

For filling, combine mascarpone or cream cheese,  1/2 cup powdered sugar and 3 tablespoon liqueur in a large mixing bowl. Beat with a electric mixer on medium speed until blended and smooth.

Combine whipping cream, 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 2 tablespoon liqueur in the chilled mixing bowl.  Beat till stiff peaks form. Fold in 1/2 cup of the whipped cream mixture into the mascarpone mixture.

Using a serrated knife to cut the angel food cake horizontally into three layers.  Poke holes in the top of the three layers with metal or wooden skewers. Combine coffee and liqueur in a small bowl; slowly drizzle over each cake layer allowing the coffee mixture to soak in the cake layers.

To assemble cake, place one cake layer on serving plate. Spread half the mascarpone filling. Add second layer and spread remaining filling. Add the third layer. Frost with remaining whipped cream.

Heat 1/4 cup chocolate fudge sauce till warm in a small sauce pan. Stir in enough liqueur(1-2 tablespoon) to make sauce easy to drizzle.  Drizzle over the top and down the sides of the cake.


Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Mandi's Bridal Shower Tea Party

The Beautiful Bride  






When my daughter got engaged I knew that her Bridal Shower would be an elegant Tea Party.  She and I have been going to high tea since she was a little girl continually finding wonderful tea houses to visit during our travels. Living in the Boston are I found the perfect venue in the Soiree Dinning Room at Upstairs on The Square in Harvard Square.  The whimsical gilded designed dinning room looks like Alice just fell through the looking glass! I found my dream location for a fanciful Tea Party.
Next I went to work with my daughter-in-law Jackie to make the perfect invitations to compliment the look and feel of the Soiree Dinning Room.  We didn't need to look any further than The Paper Source with Nicole helping us pick out the perfect invitations to make.  Gold polka dot invitations mounted on hot pink paper with a hot pink envelope finished with a sparkly gold liner.  Bright, fun and beautiful!

Next onto the favors.  I am not a tchotchke/knick knack person so I like to have the favors be something that not only matches the theme but can be used by the guest.  For Mandi's Tea I made tea bag shaped cookies dipped in white chocolate sprinkled with gold sugar crystals. Along with the cookie I order tea bags with the bride and groom's name and the date of the shower.  I packaged these items in an cream favor box finished with hot pink and gold ribbon.

A perfect remembrance of the day. Oh and delicious I might add!  The Soiree Dinning Room is so visually vibrant and colorful that I just had to add the right touch with flowers.  Being a passionate gardener I didn't have to look any further then my own backyard or as this case front yard.  Just in time my pink and white Peonies bloomed especially for Mandi's shower adding just the right amount of color to the room.
All was left was for the guest to arrive and the sumptuous tea to be served.
I chose to serve the Tea with a glass of champagne and also offer Mimosas,
Bellini's, Sangria and more.  Upstairs on the Square served the tea on beautiful three tier tea trays.  One tier for delectable sandwiches, another for savory pastries and finally luscious deserts.  Finally a beautifully decorated pink icing cake with a raspberry filling completed the elegant tea!  Everything was just as I envisioned, a elegant beautiful tea with flamboyant flair for a beautiful actress bride. 
Fresh from the Garden!
So delicious!


Sinfully good!













The perfect Tea Party Cake!


    








  
The mother of the bride, bride and sister-in- law wearing their Tea Party Finery!
“Yes, that's it! Said the Hatter with a sigh, it's always tea time.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Love the Peplum look!



I just had to shot out to the Peplum look.  So lady like, so elegant, so Good Dinner Mrs Mellen!  My style perfectly designed for my classic retro look with a flair.  So I have to admit I am going a little crazy with my purchases but I just can't help it! Oh I've bought two dresses, one Alice and Olivia, one Banana Republic.   Did I mention the three tops that I bought, one long sleeve black knit from Banana Republic, two short sleeve, one black, one red from Alice and Olivia.  I'm now on a hunt for a great little peplum jacket, I could do a whole wardrobe out of peplum.  I know enough! Obsessed much!
What is it about the peplum that drives me to buy so many.  For me it is the classic lady like silhouette just fit my petite body type.  Anyone who is petite knows that fashion is not always flattering on petite woman.
Let me just caution woman that the peplum isn't for everyone.  Use fashion sense and a good mirror to make sure you look good.  Hint, hint. A peplum is a boom for thin woman creating curves where there were none!
How do you put the look together.  Wear peplum top with a longest straight skirt.  Or pull the look together with skinny jeans with high heels or leggings and boots.  So many possibilities.  Just make sure that you wear the peplum top or jacket with a narrow bottom be it a skirt or pants.

Check out this link http://www.polyvore.com/peplum_jacket/shop?query=peplum+jacket
for my peplum jacket!

Work the look girls!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Garlicky White Bean Soup with Truffle Oil and Croutons



What do you do during a blizzard that blankets over 24 inches at your home?  You make soup: Lots of soup.  I love creamy soups without using cream that adds fat and calories.  In this soup I used a head of cauliflower as the base to create a creamy texture with out using cream or half and half.  I have to say that I love this garlicky richly flavorful soup that I added a drizzle of white truffle oil and home make croutons.  So good and so easy to make.


Garlicky White Bean Soup with White Truffle Oil and Croutons

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion chopped
1 cup chopped leeks, white and pale green parts only
8 cloves garlic, chopped
2 boxes(32 ounces) vegetable broth
1 head cauliflower, use the florets
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 cans(15.5) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

White Truffle Oil for drizzling

Heat oil in a large pot.  Add onion, leeks, and garlic: saute until tender, about 6 minutes. Add vegetable broth bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, add cauliflower, thyme and rosemary. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is very tender about 1 hour.
Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth.  Return soup to pot, add beans, cover and simmer for half hour.  Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup in to bowls, drizzle with white truffle oil and top with croutons.

Homemade Croutons

1 loaf french or Italian bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 cup(1 stick butter)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 400 F.Melt butter in large pan.  Add garlic sauteing for 2 minutes just to release the flavor.  Add cubed bread stirring to cover with butter and garlic.  Continues stirring for about 2 minutes until all the butter is absorbed in the cubes.  Transfer croutons to baking pan and bake for 2 minutes. Turn croutons over in pan and bake for another 2 minutes until croutons are crunchy and golden.
Dry croutons for about 1 hour,  Croutons can be stored in an air tight container for 1 week or frozen for 2 months.

Enjoy!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Best Ever Guacomole!




3 Haas Avocado, halved, seeded, peeled
1 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
3 Tablespoon prepared Salsa, I used medium salsa
1 clove garlic, minced

Mash Avocado in medium size bowl. Add remaining ingredients until combined. Serve with Nacho chips.




Spicy Lentil Chilli perfect for cold winter day!




I love anything that is healthy and taste good.  My Vegan Lentil Chili is a perfect example of a so good for you tasty meal! I eat this filling yet light chili after a hot power yoga or on a cold snowy day.  Combining lentils with chick peas adds protein and fiber to the vegetable mix. I make a batch freezing individual serving for later eating!

2 boxes(32 oz) organic vegetable broth, I like Full Circle organic
1 medium onion, chopped
l large red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
1 cup sliced baby carrots
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 teaspoons salt-free chili powder
1 (16 oz) package brown lentils
2 cans(15 oz) cans no salt added diced tomatoes, I like Del Monte petite cut
2 cans (15.5 oz) Chick Peas, I like Goya Premium
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Bring one cup broth to simmer in a large pot over medium high heat.  Add onion, pepper, carrots and garlic cooking about 8 minutes.  Stir in chili powder cooking 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add rest of broth and remaining ingredients except cilantro.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer covered for 30 minutes until lentils are almost tender. Uncover and cook 10 minutes longer.  Stir in cilantro and serve.