Friday, October 27, 2017

store bought favorite: tj's harvest blend herbal tea

This herbal tea is delicious.  Normally I don't think of tea as being delicious but this one is fall-in-a-cup.  Pour in a little milk or half and half and you have creamy-fall-in-a-cup, even more delicious.   I need to go stock up!  Just in time for those chilly (way too chilly) mornings.

store bought favorite: trader joe's harvest blend herbal tea
ingredients:  cinnamon, ginger, hibiscus, natural cinnamon and apple flavors with other natural flavors, chamomile, roasted chicory, orange peel

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

delicious cheese sticks

We got home from dance this evening and my oldest had these made about 3 minutes after we walked in the door.  I rarely eat fried foods but these are delicious! One of my weaknesses is cheese.  The more cheese the better!  We enjoyed these with homemade salsa.  I asked her if she found this idea on Pinterest and she said no- she saw some egg roll wrappers that had been sitting in our fridge for weeks so decided to try this out.  Brilliant!

delicious cheese sticks
12 string cheese sticks
12 egg roll wrappers
water to seal the edges

Roll up each cheese stick in an egg roll wrapper.  Seal the ends with a little water.  Pour enough canola oil in the bottom of a pan to coat the bottom.  Heat to medium.  Cook the cheese sticks until light brown and bubbly.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

stuffed pork chops with butternut squash and figs

Hall of Fame.  Seriously!  It's been killing me that it's taken so long for me to post this after making it and enjoying it so much.  Posting delicious dishes sort of seals the deal for me; makes it official.  Will life slow down?  No.  It just speeds up and gets more complicated.  That's okay if you can slow down long enough to enjoy a dish like this.  Thanks, Erin, for the great recipe!

stuffed pork chops with butternut squash and figs (my friend Erin K found it at skinnytaste, slightly adapted)
3 thick boneless pork chops
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small white onion, chopped
1 1/4 cups diced butternut squash, 1/2-inch diced (I used 1/2 package from Trader Joe's)
5 black mission figs, chopped (I picked out 5 from bulk foods section)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup baby spinach
3 fresh sage leaves, chopped (next time I'll add a few more)
1/4 teaspoon crushed black pepper
cooking twine
cooking spray

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil.  Add onions and saute for 2 minutes.  Add squash and 2 tablespoons water and cover; cook on low for 10 minutes.  Remove lid and add figs, garlic, spinach, salt, sage and pepper and cook for another 3-4 minutes.  Set aside to cool.
Cut a pocket into the sides of the pork chops, careful not to cut all the way through at the ends.  Season the inside and outside of the pork with salt.
Stuff each with about 3/4 cup of squash mixture. Cut cooking twine long enough to tie each with twine.  Cut off extra twine.
Preheat oven to 375.  In the skillet over medium-high heat, carefully sear each pork chop on each side- 3 sides.  If your skillet is oven-safe, cover with foil and place in the center of the oven.  If not then transfer to baking dish and cover with foil.  Place skillet or baking dish directly into the oven and cook for 30-35 minutes.  Allow to sit 5 minutes before cutting off twine.  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

green tomato salsa verde

I love my backyard but there are two "problems" if you want to grow anything.  The first is the deer.  Our yard is the home to many deer who absolutely love our property.  They love the lichen that drops from our 100 foot tall, 100 year old beautiful oak trees that block the sun which is the other problem.  I love the deer and the trees but it's hard to grow anything edible or beautiful.  My very determined husband secured a garden area but those oak trees don't let a lot of sun in.  Thanks to his persistence and creativity we ended up with a lot of tomatoes very late in the season but many never turned red.  He asked if I could make some salsa verde so here it is!  My kids absolute loved it.  My husband will get to try it when he gets home.

green tomato salsa verde (adapted from
3 pounds green tomatoes, cores removed and quartered
2 large onions, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 jalapenos
1/2 cup cilantro
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon salt or to taste
6 cups water

Place tomatoes, onion, garlic and jalapenos into a big pot.  Add cilantro, cumin and salt; pour in water.  Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the tomatoes are soft, 10 to 15 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables into a blender in batches.  Puree until smooth.

Monday, September 18, 2017

really easy and delicious vegetarian chili

It's unlike me to post vegetarian main dishes and now I've posted two in a row!  My oldest wants to eat less meat so I'm trying some new recipes.   This looked easy and had great reviews so we gave it a try.  My family loved it!  Two family members ate theirs before the rest of us got home.  When I asked if they had pulled out the shredded cheese, cilantro and sour cream they said it didn't need it!  This is good stuff.  And SOOO easy.

really easy and delicious vegetarian chili (adapted from
1 onion, diced (I used 1/2 red onion and 1/2 white)
1 (28 ounce) can pureed tomatoes
2 (15 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
2 can great northern beans, drained
2 cans chili beans with spices, undrained
2 cans kidney beans, drained
2 tablespoons taco seasoning (or 2 packets)
1 packet ranch dressing mix (I found one without MSG, it was store brand)

toppings: shredded cheese, cilantro, sliced green onions, sour cream (all optional)

In a big pot saute the onions for a few minutes.  Add the tomatoes, beans and spices.  Bring to a boil and cook until thoroughly heated.  Enjoy!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

slow cooker indian-spiced lentils

First of all this dish is outstanding!  Second, it was exciting because I don't recall ever buying red lentils so I got to try something new.  My kids looked at it and were unsure but ate it up. Then asked for more!  My husband said it tastes a lot like what we'd get at Evergreen, our favorite Indian restaurant downtown.  I was excited to try this recipe because my teenager wants to eat less meat.  Not only is this recipe full of lentils but also an enormous bag of spinach!  This recipe is very healthy with lots of protein and iron and other good stuff I'm sure.  A big thank you to my friend Mandy for passing this recipe along!

slow cooker indian-spiced lentils (my friend Mandy found it at Our Best Bites, slightly adapted)
2 cups red lentils
10 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
15 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
4 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon mustard seeds (I omitted this)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon lime juice
handful of chopped cilantro plus more for garnish
serve over cilantro lime rice- it was delicious!

Combine all ingredients except for the lime juice and cilantro in the pot of a slow cooker.  Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours.  Before serving add the lime juice and cilantro.

cilantro lime rice

This is my new favorite rice.  I discovered how versatile it is when I used it for Mexican bowls one night,  Thai chicken another night and last night withIndian-spiced red lentils (a recipe you have to try!).  It complements so many dishes really well.

cilantro lime rice
2 cups brown basmati rice
5 cups water
1 tablespoon chicken broth granules
big handful of cilantro
1/4 cup lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

Put rice, water and chicken broth granules in a rice cooker.  Turn on and allow to cook.  When it's done cooking add cilantro, lime juice and salt and pepper.  Stir well to combine.  That's all!