Does anyone mind if we just turn this blog into a recipe, stories and book club post for the day? 📕 2020 has been the year of the audio book for me. I'm averaging 3 audio books a week and now I'm wondering why it took me so long to jump on the audio download game. I work from home and I spend a great deal of time doing somewhat menial tasks in my kitchen. So why not listen to someone read me a book while I chop vegetables?
Thanks to COVID, I've learned to use Libby as my source for my audio downloads. I love it. Some of my most favorite books lately have been Dream Big (Bob Goff), Present over Perfect (Shauna Niequist), That Sounds Fun (Annie F. Downs), Eat a Peach (David Chang), Forgiving What You Can't Forget (Lysa TerKurst), Dial A for Auntie (Jesse Q. Sutanto) and Death By Chocolate Milkshake (Sarah Graves). 🤣 (I can't resist a good culinary mystery.😅) I enjoy reading memoires and I really like inspirational and Christian non-fiction books. This is where the book club part of this post comes in - I need you to send me your book suggestions. What have you read lately that you just couldn't put down?
I'm naturally drawn to books about food. My family considers it a form of torture when we're on a long car trip and I turn on an audio book at describes food and the experience of eating in great detail. 🤣 You know the books that I'm talking about. The books that have ridiculously lengthy descriptions about a particular food or the process of preparation. The ones that have recipes at the end of each chapter. I LOVE those books but my less food-focused family members believe that listening to those books has a negative effect on them - it makes them far too hungry. And to their credit, maybe being trapped in a car for long periods of time, with pretzels as our only snack, isn't the best scenario for a good culinary mystery book. 🚙 🤣
I've been inspired by books to cook all sorts of different recipes. I made homemade Ramen after I listened to David Chang's memoir. And Banana Cream Pie Murder and Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder had obvious consequences. 🤣 After I listened to Fanny Singer's memoire, Always Home, I was inspired to make Fisherman's Pie. Her chronicles of travel, food and family that she experienced growing up gave me all the comfort food vibes. So here is my Springtime comfort meal - Fisherman's Pie.
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
1 Tablespoon salt
3 Tablespoons butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 egg yolk
12 ounces jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined, cut in half crosswise
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
4 Tablespoons butter
1 onion, sliced thin
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/3 cup dry white wine
3 Tablespoons flour
16 ounces clam juice
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound skinless cod fillets, cut into 1" pieces
1/2 cup fresh parsley
Place pie under broiler and cook until golden and crusty.
Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
I can't help but wonder what other kinds of fish I could add to this Fisherman's Pie now. I'm thinking that scallops might be a nice addition. I'll keep you posted on that trial. 😅
In case you were wondering - I am fully aware that my phone number is associated with the words "cupcake lady" and "cookie girl" in a lot of peoples cell phone contact list. 📱I'm not offended. I'm actually quite flattered to be associated with such sweetness. Although I would like to suggest "dessert diva" and "ganache guru" be added to the list of affectionate titles that are attached to my phone number. 😅
I make a living baking butter and sugar laced confections so I feel like I earned those badges honestly. 😂🧁And as much as I love making and creating delicious, artful creations out of sugar, I do have pangs of guilt about promoting such unhealthy ingredients.
Despite what the daily photographs of delectable treats on my instagram account might lead you to believe, I actually eat a primarily plant based diet. Most of those glamorous goodies that get posted on my social media get delivered to clients, friends or neighbors.
My intention is not to shatter your perception of a glamorous bakers life - just trying to keep it real. 👩🏻🍳 Even though we might want to - "pastry purveyers" don't actually eat brownies for breakfast every day. 😂
I have my own (very unscientific) theory that spending an excessive amount of time in the presence of sugar actually makes a person crave the opposite of sugar - salt.🧂 At the end of a day spent with buttercream up to my elbows, there's nothing more appealing to me than a giant bowl of warm (sugarless) soup and salty crackers . 🍲 This Pearled Barley and Turkey Soup was exactly what I was craving on a busy baking weekend - especially on a weekend of unseasonably cool temperatures in Georgia.
Pearled Barley and Turkey Soup
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion , finely diced
1 large carrot, sliced thin
2 celery stalks , sliced thin
8 ounces baby bella mushrooms , cut into quarters
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp fresh thyme , chopped
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground fennel
1 dried bay leaf
1 3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup pearl barley
8 cups chicken stock
4 cups turkey, cooked and chopped
1 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
Stir in turkey to warm.
Soup is easy to make. It's filling It's an easy way to pack more vegetables into your diet, and soup (usually) freezes well. It's the perfect weekend fare - especially on chilly days. 🍲
There's snow in the forecast for the weekend so like every other good Southerner - I'm stocking up on supplies and preparing to be snowed in the house for at least a month.❄️😂 The chances that we'll see actual snow this weekend is fairly low but that doesn't stop Georgia residents from emptying the grocery store shelves. It's possible that we're all just using this wintery forecast as a good excuse to buy carbs and beer, but either way - we're prepared. 🍞🍺
The first thing Southerners do when snow is in the forecast is head to the grocery store. 🥛The second thing we do is run outside with our camera phones to document the event. 🤳🏻And lastly, we eat all of the aforementioned food. 😅
Snow or no snow - it'll be all hot chocolate and warm soups in our house this weekend. 🍲 This chicken and vegetable soup is one of my new favorites. I would call it a tortilla soup/vegetable soup fusion and it's delicious.
Chicken and Vegetable Soup
1 pound ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered
1 large onion, quartered
6 garlic cloves, smashed
1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems and leaves chopped separately
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 pound bone-in chicken thighs
2 quarts chicken broth
1 1/2 cups long grain rice
2 medium zucchini, quartered and sliced into 1/4" thick slices
12 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2" pieces
1 ripe avocado, chopped
1/2 cup queso fresco
Season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup over rice.
Top each bowl with avocado, cheese and remaining cilantro leaves. Serve with lime wedges.
Stay warm out there friends.
Christmas with this crew never disappoints. There is no shortage of jokes, belly laughs or exceptionally competitive family game nights, when we all get together. 🤣
This year we packed all of our family activities into one adventure filled week. We visited a winery, the Toledo Zoo, had a Western theme day, prepared and enjoyed the feast of seven fishes, decorated a Gingerbread barn, built 3 giant jigsaw puzzles, went to the movies, baked cookies and bundled up and took some very cold walks. 🍷🐯🤠🦐🍿🍪❄️ We accomplished a lot in a short amount of time but more importantly, we were all together - at least for part of the time.
Christmas 2022 was one for the books but the moment that we got back home, I felt an overwhelming sense of urgency to get the Christmas decorations put away. Who would have guessed that the best way for me to recover after a 12 hour road trip was to stay up until midnight - un-decorating a Christmas tree? 😂
Why is it that the very decorations that I love and adore right up until a holiday, suddenly feel like clutter as soon as that day passes? I'm one of those weird people who actually enjoys un-decorating after the holidays. 🤷🏻♀️ I think it's because the putting away of holiday decorations inevitably leads to the cleaning out of other areas of the house. The closets gets a good clean out, the laundry room gets a once over and the pantry gets an overhaul.
My most recent pantry clean out produced some very interesting finds. 😅 I couldn't even remember why I had bought two cans of clams in the first place but there they were - just waiting for me to make them into chowder. I had no choice.
1 3/4 pounds small white potatoes, cut in half or quarters
2 (6.5 ounce) cans chopped clams
2 cups chopped onion
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
2 (10 ounce) cans whole clams
2 cups half and half
2 Tablespoons butter
Bring to just simmering just around edges of pan. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper and serve with oyster crackers.
Stay warm out there friends.
Last month when it was 90 degrees and 99% humidity - I was inmy kitchen sweating over a giant batch of Italian Wedding soup.🥵 #Myfamilyhadquestions 😅 But now that the temperatures are a bit cooler and I don't have the means to cook dinner anymore - I'm super thankful for those containers of Wedding soup that I've been able to pull out of my freezer and reheat for dinner.
Even more important than the fact that our dinner is on the floor, in the crock pot, is the fact that I'm one step closer to having a fully functioning kitchen again. I have cabinets!!!
I honestly don't know how I'm going to be able to sleep tonight - I'm too excited and I'm already organizing each and every cabinet and drawer in my head. #organizationjunkie I can hardly wait to start filling them up. Filling being the operative word. 😅
Sadly, I'll have to wait just a little longer because there will be no cabinet loading until the floors are refinished in a few more weeks. Until then, we'll be enjoying our Italian Wedding soup in our newly cabineted kitchen. (Is that a word?)
Italian Wedding Soup
1 pound ground turkey
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
¼ cup Parmesan Cheese, finely grated into a powder
3 cloves garlic, finely diced
1/3 cup fresh Parsley, roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon oil
1 ¼ cups carrots, sliced thin
1 ¼ cups yellow onion, diced
¾ cup celery, sliced thin
1 garlic clove, minced
8 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
¾ cup small dry pasta
8 oz. fresh spinach
Stir in spinach.
Garnish with fresh parsley and parmesan cheese if desired.
Even though I made my meatballs out of ground turkey - you could certainly use beef. It's just a preference. Either way - I think you're going to like this hearty Fall favorite.
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