Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy Birthday

My little guy turns 7 years old today. I can't believe my baby is growing up. How did that happen? You are such a funny, kind-hearted and loving boy. You bring so much joy and energy to our family. Happy 7th Birthday little one!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Daring Bakers- French Yule Log

So, this is the only element that came out from December's Daring Bakers Challenge. This month's challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il En Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux. They have chosen a french yule log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand. I unfortunately don't have a pretty yule log to show all of you. My almond dacquoise biscuit turned out nicely, but my mousse element was a disaster. I should have known better than to wait till the last minute and bake when I am distracted, but that is what I did. The recipe seemed daunting with all of its steps, but as I read the recipe the individual steps didn't seem too bad. I may try it again when I am not so distracted because it does sound sooo delicious. Check out the other Daring Bakers and see what they have whipped up. You won't be disappointed.

Christmas Recap

This was a very fun Christmas for our family, especially for our boys. We were able to surprise our kids with a Wii. We usually don't do big gifts for our kids, but last year was such a lean year for us with hubby just starting up his new business. Even with all the problems with the economy, we were able to budget and get the kids what they have been wanting for a long time. It was as much fun watching them open up their gifts as it was for them to actually receive it.

We love the Wii!

Nana and Papa surprised the kids with a ping pong table.

Dad and my Father in Law and Mom.

Hubby loves the Wii as much as the kids do.

My aunt sent the kids farting dogs. You got to love boys!

My sweet God daughter on the right and her big sister open up some belated Christmas gifts from us.

I have to include one recipe from our meal. This was really delicious. It was a stuffed turkey breast with prosciutto, rosemary and garlic. The recipe is from Trattoria Cooking by Biba Caggiano. I have made it many times in the past and it always come out wonderful.

Roasted Stuffed Turkey Breast

One 3 1/2 to 4 pound boneless breast of turkey
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 pound sliced prosciutto
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup dry white wine

Preheat the oven to 375 degree.

Ask your butcher to open the turkey breast and flatten it out. It should look like a large veal cutlet. Rub the garlic and rosemary on the inner side of the turkey and season with salt and pepper. Cover the meat with the slices of prosciutto. Roll up the turkey breast tightly and tie securely with string.

Heat the butter and oil in a large, heavy casserole over medium-high heat. When the butter foams, add the turkey and cook until it is golden on all sides, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until the wine is almost all reduced.

Place the casserole in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Baste the roast with its pan juices several times during cooking. Check the roast with its pan juices several times during cooking. Check the roast for doneness by piercing it with a thin knife. If the juices that come out are clear or barely pink, the roast is done. If the juices are visibly pink, cook it a bit longer.

Transfer the roast to a cutting board and let it settle a few minutes. Remove the string and slice the meat. Arrange the slices on serving dishes and serve at once.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


My baking this Christmas season is not going well. The first batch of cookies came out nicely for the kids teachers. The second round of cooking did not fair as well. The cookies above are the only ones that turned out. Each year I also make toffee to put in our goodie baskets to our family and friends. I made two different batches of toffee this year and each one did not turn out. After about 30 minutes of stirring, the toffee broke. The oil separated from the sugar mixture and turned into a clump of yuck. I couldn't believe it! So today I tried again and the same thing happened. I have made this recipe for years and it turns out wonderful each time. I am stumped! The cookies above are some old favorites. The cookies on the left are Russian Tea Cakes made with pecans. The ones on the right are Pine nut Cookies from Martha Stewart.

Russian Tea Cakes (from Stars Desserts by Emily Luchetti)

6 ounces pecans, toasted
6 Tablespoons granulated sugar
8 ounces (2 sticks) soft sweet butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Put the pecans and 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Finely grind the pecans and set them aside.

Put the butter and the remaining 4 tablespoons of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract. Combine the flour and salt and stir into the butter mixture. Add the reserved nuts.

Form the dough into 3/4 inch balls. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put the cookies on the pan 2 inches apart.

Bake the tea cakes for about 20 minutes, until light brown. While they are still warm, sprinkle them with powdered sugar.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I am really still here! Normally by now, I would have the whole house filled with gifts that I had made already packaged and ready to go. This is all I have been able to muster together this Christmas. I spent all day yesterday baking for my kids teachers. This will be their Christmas gift from our kids. I have been struggling this season with all the stuff in our lives. Not to bore you with the details, but I will say that my dear sweet mother is in a battle for her life and it has just taking ever ounce I have to keep moving forward as normal for my kids sake. Cancer sucks! It was nice to just escape a bit and do something like bake all day. What I did make yesterday where some traditional goodies mixed with some new recipes I wanted to try. The first picture are pistachio finger cookies. They are divine and still need a coating of chocolate to complete them. The recipe was given to me by my BIL girlfriend and has become one of my holiday baking traditions.

These yummy little loaves are lemon pecan bread. They are soooo good. I make these every year as well. The recipe is from an old William Sonoma catalog. They are so moist and delicious.

This is a new recipe. It is from Martha Stewart and is a truffle brownie. The flavor is really good, but my ganache topping did not set like I would have liked it to.

This is another new recipe for me. It is Penuche. It turned out nicely and is almost like a praline. Delicious!

Finally, I once again attempted divinity. The story behind this one is every year for the past five years I have attempted divinity. Every year I end of tossing it. This years attempt is okay and tastes more like marshmallows than divinity. My grandmother made the absolute best divinity. I still remember the taste and texture of it. She never used marshmallow cream, but made it with the traditional egg whites and boiled sugar syrup. She of course never wrote down a recipe and when she died over twenty years ago, the recipe went with her. I will keep searching to try and find the right one, but this was the most promising result I have had so far. The recipe is from the December Country Living Magazine. There version was peppermint divinity, but I just made this one with vanilla flavoring.

Pistachio Finger Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 package pistachio pudding mix

1 (6 ounce) package of semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon shortening

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter, sugar, cream cheese, egg and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Mix together dry ingredients and add a little at a time to creamed mixture. Chill minimum 2 hours.

Shape into balls or finger shaped.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until the bottoms are golden brown- tops will not be brown.

After cookies cool- place onto a wax paper. Melt chocolate with shortening and drizzle over tops of cookies. Let set until chocolate has hardened.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Lemon Pasta

This has been my favorite dish as of late. It is Gluten Free Girl's lemon pasta. I love the way she writes the recipe. It is one knob of this or one dollop of that. The recipe is really delicious. I have tried it with various types of pastas. My first try was with traditional farfalle pasta, then I tried it with quinoa pasta and lastly with the rice pasta that Gluten Free Girl recommends. I had a hard time finding the rice pasta she likes. I finally found it at Corti Bros in Sacramento. It is really pricey, about $9.00 for one bag. Although it was good pasta, I did not feel it justified the price. I liked it just as well with the quinoa pasta for gluten free and the traditional farfalle(bow tie pasta). I have tried it with regular lemon and Meyer lemon. The Meyer lemon is a real hit. I have added briny olives, grilled shrimp and grilled sausage. They are all delicious with this recipe. The above picture is with the grilled chicken apple sausage. You can click on the link above to see Gluten Free Girls recipe. I have also added my version of the recipe below.

Lemon Pasta (adapted from Gluten Free Girl, Shauna Ahern )

The recipe serves two, just adjust for more

2 Tablespoons of butter
zest of 1 medium Meyer lemon
juice of 1/2 of that lemon
2 Tablespoons of creme fraiche or sour cream
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 cup of cooked pasta

Slowly heat up the butter until it has melted, but not boiling. Throw in the zest. Add the lemon juice and bring it to a simmer. Add the sour cream and stir. Toss in the pasta and serve.

*Note: the original recipe called for a thickener of either potato starch or cornstarch. I didn't feel it was necessary.

Add your favorite topping to the pasta, like briny olives, grilled chicken or shrimp or sausage.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge- Caramel Cake

This month Daring Bakers challenge was a fun one. I even actually made the challenge earlier in the month, which seems to be a rarity lately. Our wonderful hosts for this months challenge were Dolores of Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity, Alex of Blondie and Brownie and Jenny of Foray into Food. These wonderful foodies had us make Shuna Fish Lydon's caramel cake with caramelized butter frosting. Yum! My cake came out quite nicely and the cake itself has a real subtle hint of caramel. The frosting was very sweet to me. It almost overpowered the cake. I did not use all the icing on my cake and I still felt it was too sweet. I think the cake would be perfect with just a little powdered sugar over the top or even a dollop of whipped cream. I think the next time I make this cake( and I would definitely make it again), that is what I would do. Part of the recipe is to make a caramel syrup. I have found the syrup to be very useful. I used to on my Gingerbread cake with Sabayon and on a apple pie I made recently. Check out Shuna's blog, Eggbeater. You can find the recipe here from Bay Area Bites.

There was an optional second part to this challenge. It was to make Alice Medrich's recipe for Golden Vanilla Bean Caramels. The recipe is from her book Pure Desserts (Artisan Press, 2007). The recipe is also at Dolores blog. I am usually pretty good at making candy, but I must have turn my head away to just a minute before the caramel got to temperature, because it turned out really hard. Not the soft caramel I was expecting. It tasted good, if you let is completely melt in your mouth and not chew, least a tooth or filling would fall out.

Thanksgiving Recap

Son #1 brushing the filo dough with butter

I love it when my sons want to cook. When I was planning out our Thanksgiving menu, son #1 asked if I would make tiropites. Tiropites are Greek appetizers that are filled with feta cheese and wrapped in filo dough. He was so jazzed about these little delicacies that he wanted to make them himself. So I got out the filo dough and he went to town making them. They turned out fantastic. They are easy to make, but very time consuming.

Tiropites (adapted from the Greek Food Festival Cookbook by the Greek Orthodox Community of Sacramento)

1 pound thawed filo dough
1/2 pound good quality feta cheese
8 ounces ricotta cheese
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 pound butter, melted

Crumble feta cheese into a large mixing bowl and blend in the ricotta and cream cheese; mix well.

Cut filo pastry sheets into 4 to 5 strips- there are approximately 20-25 sheets per pound. Take one set of strips an cover the remaining filo dough with wax paper and a damp towel to prevent drying. Brush one single strip with butter, put a scant teaspoon of filling on one lower corner of strip, fold over one edge to meet the other, (side over side like folding a flag) forming a triangle at the end of the strip. Lightly brush tops with butter and place on lightly butter cookie sheet and bake at 350 degree for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden.

Tiropites can be frozen before baking for up to 6 months. Layer between wax paper and these can be baked right out of the freezer.

We had a really nice Thanksgiving. It was filled with family and good friends. My good friend Peggy was traveling up north to be with her twin daughters, who are first year college students for Thanksgiving. So we had the rest of her family over to join us for the holiday dinner. The picture above is her oldest son, home from UCLA and her youngest daughter. Oh yeah, that's my boy on his back. They have 7 kids in all and the house was wonderfully noisy and joyous.

This beauty is what I look forward to after Thanksgiving. I love this soup! It is turkey noodle soup and I make it only once a year. I used most of my leftovers in this soup. It has turkey, mashed potatoes, some gravy and in years past even some dressing. You can see the bits of prosciutto on top. I stuffed copious amounts of rosemary, garlic and prosciutto under the skin of my turkey. When it is all done, you have these wonderful bits of prosciutto with your turkey.

Turkey Noodle Soup

3 quarts of low sodium chicken broth or turkey stock
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 medium celery stalks, diced
1 bay leaf
3 cups of diced turkey meat
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup of leftover mashed potatoes
1/4 cup gravy
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
1 package of thawed Grandma's egg noodles, (this really makes the dish for me. These noodles are fresh frozen thick egg noodles that add great texture and flavor to the soup. Omit for a GF version soup)

In a large soup pot, heat garlic cloves in the olive oil. Allow to lightly brown and then add carrots, celery and onions to the pot. Sweat until softened, about 7 to 8 minutes.

Add the chopped sage to the soup pot along with the broth and the bay leaf. Bring to a simmer. When simmering, add turkey meat, mashed potatoes, gravy. Bring back to a simmer. Add the thawed egg noodles to the soup and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or until desired doneness for the noodles. Serve and Enjoy!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Blessings

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Looky, Looky!

I was tickled when my friend came over for an afternoon of crafting, but I was caught totally by surprised when she brought over this adorable gift. The cookbook is too cute and features recipes from each state. It's called The All-American Christmas Cookbook by Georgia Orcutt and John Margolies. Each section features a little history about that state and a recipe that represents it. The California section is about the impact California agricultural has had in America. The recipe that follows is Fuyu Persimmon and Radicchio Salad. Each section also has vintage postcards. The dish towel was wrapped around the book and has a recipe for candy cane cookies. She got both of these cute gifts at a favorite local store called William Glen. It is a cross between William Sonoma and Crate and Barrel.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Craft Day

I had fun today with my dear friend Jamie(pictured). She came over to make Teresa McFayden's Advent Calendar. I made one last year and Jamie has been itching to make one of her own. She gathered up her numbers and cookie sheets and went to town. Her calendar is really cute. I don't have a picture to share yet, because she still has a few numbers to attach, but I promise I will take a picture of hers soon.

Holiday Cleaning

This is my challenge today! Hubby has been after me to clean up my craft areas. They do tend to get messy. I have taken over two closets in our house for my crafts. I would take three, but I thought that might be too greedy! I tend to just cram everything in my closets and then forget about them. I dream of having a craft room one day. I would love to have my work out where I could see it all. I get creative when I see a bead I forgot or some paper that catches my eye. When it is tucked away, I forget what I have. It's good to dream! So, my task today is to clean up before Thanksgiving. It will be interesting because our boys are off of school all this next week. I remember as a kid, we only got that Thursday and Friday off. It seems that school kids today get a lot of time off of school. I need to keep them busy, since hubby works out of the home. It can become very prickly with the kids home and hubby on a conference call. It's just not good for business when the kids are yelling and screaming in the background! I think one place I will take them is to the Crocker Art Museum. It is a really neat old museum in downtown Sacramento. The Crocker is the longest continuously operating museum west of the Rockies. It is housed an old Victorian mansion donated by Margaret Crocker. Right now they are exhibiting the art of Warner Bros. The art of Bugs Bunny should be right up the kids ally. It should be a lot of fun.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Getting Into The Season

Oh my, doesn't that look good? Gingerbread with Cider Sabayon, what's not to love. I was looking at several of my cookbooks on my bookshelf and started thumbing though the pages. One of the books I pulled out was Stars Desserts by Emily Luchetti. The binding is broken on the book and there are so many stains on the pages. I was given the book by a dear friend long ago when hubby and I lived in the bay area. It is even autographed by Emily. I have made many recipes from the cookbook and they have all turned out delicious. Her shortbread and Russian wedding cookies are always in my gift baskets at Christmas time. Since I was re-visiting her cookbook, I decided to pull out the whisk and make the gingerbread recipe. It turned out divine. I love the deep, complex flavor of the gingerbread. The sabayon was fantastic, but I thought my arm was going to fall off after all that whisking. Son #2 and I tagged teamed the whisking. Oh, but it was so worth it.

Gingerbread with Cider Sabayon (adapted from Stars Dessert by Emily Luchetti)

1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 ounces (1 stick)
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch ground cloves
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 recipe cider sabayon
A 9 x 13 inch pan

To make the gingerbread:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of the pan.

Bring the water to a boil in a small pot and remove it from the heat. Stir in the molasses and the baking soda. Set the molasses mixture aside to cool to lukewarm.

Combine the butter and the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. With the paddle attachment, cream on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Continuing to mix, add the eggs.

Sift together the salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, flour, and baking powder. Alternately fold the dry ingredients and the cooled molasses mixture into the butter and egg mixture on low speed. Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake the gingerbread for 30 to 35 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool and cut into squares and top with cider sabayon.

Cider Sabayon

8 large eggs yolks
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons apple cider
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Combine the egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a large stainless steel bowl. Whisk in the cider.

Fill a large bowl one quarter full of ice water and set aside. Place the first bowl over a pot of boiling water and whisk the egg mixture vigorously for about 5 minutes, until it is thick and tripled in volume. The sabayon should mound slightly when dropped from the whisk. Immediately put the bowl over the ice bath and whisk until cold(it is essential the sabayon be whisked over ice until it is completely cold).

Pour the cream into the bowl of an electric mixer. With the whisk attachment, whip on high speed until soft peaks form. Fold the cream into the sabayon. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Happy National Adoption Day

Today is national adoption day. It is a day to bring awareness to all the children that need a home whether in the foster care system or agency adoption. It is near and dear to my heart. We were blessed to adopt our three wonderful boys. We were lucky to connect with their birth moms early on and adopt them as newborns. I was even able to be at two of my boys birth. There are so many children, young and old that need good homes and loving families and there are so many families waiting to adopt. I hope this day will bring more awareness.


Monday, November 10, 2008


I know the pictures are not the best and most appetizing, but I really wanted to share these recipes with you. I have been really enjoying my crock pot for the last couple of days. I mean, what's not to love. You put your food in the pot and forget it until its done. With soccer weekends and all the activities, I think the crock pot is my best friend. Last night I cooked carnitas . I love how simple and versatile this recipe is. It also makes quite a bit, so it's great when feeding a crowd or for stretching your budget dollar. I can get 3 to 4 more meals off of this. I will use the leftovers in enchiladas, nachos, pork hash and sometimes I will add some barbecue sauce and make sandwiches with the leftovers. I also made some Mexican rice to go with the carnitas. Really yum-o.


1 pork butt
1 can reduced sodium beef broth
1 jar of your favorite jarred salsa
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 cup milk

Place pork butt, beef broth, salsa, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin and oregano in crock pot and cook on high until it falls apart and is tender, about 6 -8 hours.

When done, take meat out of crock pot and shred onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Pour 1/2 cup of broth from crock pot over pork and 1/2 cup of milk over pork. Bake in 275 degree oven for 45 minutes to crisp up. (You may omit this last step if time does not permit, they won't get crispy, but still taste great).

Mexican Rice (adapted from Rick Bayless' Authentic Mexican)

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup long or medium grain rice
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, peeled and finely diced
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon chili powder

In a 2 quart sauce pan with fitted lid, measure oil in pan and set over medium heat. Add rice and onion, and cook, stirring regularly, until both are lightly browned, 7 to 10 minutes. Mix in garlic and cook a minute longer.

Add the tomato sauce and chili powder to the rice and cook for one minute, stirring several times. Add the broth and salt to the rice and stir. Cover pot and reduce heat to medium low. Cook 15 minutes, then turn off the heat and let the rice stand 10 minutes, covered, until the grains are tender.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Remembrance Of My Son

I can't believe it's November. Why does the time seem to go so fast once we hit September. I don't feel that way with the rest of the year, but this time of year really zooms by. Today is All Saint's Day and it is a significant day for me. My oldest son would have turned 12 today! Twelve years ago when I was five months pregnant, we found out that he had a terminal birth defect. He was diagnosed with Schisis-association. A neural tube defect which is almost always fatal. Our son was born with an omphalocele and severe cleft lip and palate. The omphalocele is when the stomach wall doesn't form and the internal organs are encased in a sack outside the body. He was a twin but I had lost the twin early on in my pregnancy and didn't know that until later. I was able to carry him the whole nine months and had scheduled my c-section for November 1st. We had prayed and hoped that he would survive. Pray and our faith is what kept us going, and still does. Unfortunately, that was not in God's plan and our little guy died 4 days later. This is always a melancholy time of year for me. I guess I still need the world to know that our little guy was once on this earth. I know in my heart that he is always with me and watches out for his family. Happy Birthday my son!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge- Pizza

Mama Mia, our challenge for the Daring Bakers this month was Pizza! What a great challenge our host Rosa's Yummy Yums planned for the bakers this month. I was glad I was able to get myself together to make this challenge. I actually finished the challenge last night for my families dinner. The pizza turned out delicious and my family devoured it. I followed the regular recipe and it was very easy to make. On the first pizza, I just made a basic pepperoni pizza that my family loves. Nothing really exciting, but just really good. The last picture is my experimental pizza. I cooked the pizza dough first and then sliced it through the center. I spread a mixture of goat cheese mixed with cream cheese and topped it with prosciutto. I added the top of the pizza dough and drizzled the top with olive oil and shredded fontina, provolone and Parmesan cheese and more prosciutto. Oh boy, was that terrific. I am just happy I was able to complete the challenge with everything that has been going on in my life. Make sure you visit some of the other Daring Bakers and see what creative pizza's they came up with. Check out Rosa's blog for the recipe.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Great Soup Recipe and an Update

The calendar says its October so it should be cold. Here in Northern California the temperature hit 83 degrees today. I am still in the mood for soup, so I pulled out one of my favorite recipes and made Meatball soup with escarole and rice. I found the original recipe years ago in a Bon Appetit magazine. It is easy to make and highly adaptable. For instance, I forgot to buy the escarole at the store today, so I am omitting it from the recipe tonight. I also changed out the orzo pasta in the original recipe for rice. I precooked the rice and added about 1/4 cup to each bowl before I ladled the soup in the bowl. I will give you both recipes and you decide which you like best.

On another note- I have decided to stop my other blog A Gluten Free Journey. I am having a hard time keeping up with both blogs, so I think I will just post my recipes on Honey Pickles. My hubby and other sons don't eat gluten free (YET!) so I still have plenty of regular recipes as well as yummy gf recipes that I would love to share with all of you. Thanks for all the support!

Meatball Soup with Escarole and Rice (adapted from Bon Appetit)

1 pound lean ground beef
1 1/3 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 cup gluten free breadcrumbs ( or fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless French bread)
1 large egg
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

7 1/2 cups low salt chicken broth, divided
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 large celery stalks, chopped

For GF recipe: 2 cups of hot cooked rice
1/2 cup orzo
1 small head of escarole, coarsely torn

Blend beef, 1/3 cup cheese, breadcrumbs, egg, garlic, salt, and pepper in medium bowl. Using moistened hands shape meat mixture into 3/4 -inch meatballs. Heat 1 1/2 cups broth and oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and simmer until firm enough to hold shape, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer meatballs to bowl. Boil broth until reduced to glaze, about 6 minutes. Add carrots, celery and onion to pot. Stir until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add remaining 6 cups of broth, (pasta, if using) and meatballs with any juices. Reduce heat. Simmer until pasta( if using) is tender, about 10 minutes. Add escarole and simmer until wilted, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. If going gf, add 1/4 cup of cooked hot rice to bowl and ladle soup over rice. Serve with remaining 1 cup of cheese.

Note (10/26/08): I re-heated the soup today for lunch and instead of the rice, I added some mashed potatoes to the soup. It was a real winner. I think I like the soup best with the mashed potatoes. It gave the soup a creaminess as well as a terrific flavor.

Mixed Media

This is what I have been working on lately. I just don't like it. It has been sitting on my craft table for some time and I slowly have been adding to it. I liked the initial piece which was the old dictionary page that I stitched the heart to. I added that piece to some stretched canvas and it seems to have gone downhill from there. I first painted the canvas a bright blue and green and then I stamped all over it. That seem to look okay, but then I added paper that I just didn't like. I painted over that as well to try to cover some of the paper. The stitched heart was cute, but I don't think it fit the piece. The upper left of the canvas, I hand drew a tree and slightly smudged it. The tape on the piece with writing is some neat Washi tape I found. The last thing I did was add the glass tiles. I think I didn't edit well and I think my canvas was too big. I have been finding it hard to get back into my creative rhythm. Time will heal.

On another note, I found a great new stamp shop in Roseville. It's called The Stamp Art Shoppe and it has the neatest art supplies. She has the Tim Holtz line and all the Ranger products. I spent a lot of time looking around. Tim Holtz is going to be there teaching classes next weekend. How fun!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Apple Hill

We made our annual trek up the hill to spend a beautiful day in Apple Hill. Apple Hill is about an hour drive out of Sacramento on highway 50. It is a beautiful place to drive to and visit all the apple orchards. There are over 50 ranches from everything from apple orchards, berry farms, organic produce and Christmas trees. It is always a fun way to spend the day. We have our little routine when we go to Apple Hill. We always stop at High Hill Ranch first. The boys love to run around and roll down the hills there. They also have a trout pond where you can fish. There are lots of crafters with their wares for sale and of course all things apple. As we wind our way around the ranches we work our way to Rainbow Orchards. They have the best apple cider donuts. They are made fresh for you ! We also picked up fresh apple cider and of course apples. Since hubby was able to come with us, we had to make a stop at Jack Russell Brewery. The boys ran all over their grounds and played on their rocks will hubby was able to sample their brews. Overall, it turned out to be a beautiful day.
Posted by Picasa

Jelly Belly Tour

Posted by Picasa
The boys are off for fall intersession and its has been a challenge to occupy them. Hubby works out of our home, so it's crucial I keep my gaggle of boys out of the way. I took the boys on Tuesday to the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield. We have been on the factory tour many times, but heck who doesn't like jelly beans. We got a late start so once we arrived the first thing the boys wanted to do was eat lunch at the Jelly Belly cafe. Not my favorite place to eat, but I went with it. The boys love their jelly bean shaped pizza. After lunch we went on the tour of the factory. It was fun an usual and after the tour they fill you up with jelly beans. Not a bad way to spend the day.

Related Posts with Thumbnails