Sunday, November 29, 2009


You are probably asking, what are jammies? Pajama parties? Music session? The answer is muffins! I made JAMMIES for Mr. Sexy Veggie and I for breakfast this morning.

These were easy and delicious. A batter made from flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, egg, butter and milk is blended, and a little is put into each muffin cup. A teaspoon of jam is placed on top of the batter (I used jam from Mom Veggie!), and the remaining batter is put on top.

The muffin tin is put in the preheated oven, and baked for 20 minutes. After cooling for a couple minutes, they are ready to enjoy.

These were very good. The batter was sweet and tasty, and the strawberry jam in the middle was a lovely treat.

Stir-Fried Szechuan Tofu, Broccoli, and Mushrooms

The local natural foods store carries wonderful tofu in bulk, and I jump at any chance I get to use it in a recipe. Last night I used fresh veggies and tofu in STIR-FRIED SZECHUAN TOFU, BROCCOLI, AND MUSHROOMS.

This is a very easy recipe! Before starting to cook the ingredients, the recipe calls to prep all the ingredients. This includes dicing the tofu, chopping the broccoli, slicing the mushrooms, and cutting the carrots. The tofu is sauteed in oil until golden brown, and then removed from the pan. The mushrooms, carrots, and broccoli are cooked until tender, and then a sauce made from cornstarch, water, chili paste, soy sauce, sherry and sugar is stirred in. This warm mixture is served over rice.

This was so good! The flavors were fresh and bright, and the sauce was a little spicy. The leftovers were equally as good. I will make this again--many times!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Butternut Squash and Cider Soup

For the starter course for Thanksgiving, I decided to make BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND CIDER SOUP. I thought this warm dish would be a great start for a special meal.

It is a very easy soup to make. You peel and dice one butternut squash, saute garlic and leeks in butter until tender, then add the squash, water, apple cider and curry powder to the pot. The mixture is simmered for thirty minutes. At this point, the mixture is transferred to a food processor and pureed until smooth and creamy. Reheat a little, and it is ready to eat!

I did not care for this. It tasted too much like apple cider, and very little like butternut squash. I really liked the idea of the soup, and might try it again with a smaller amount of apple cider. It was very pretty, at least!!

Flaky Pie Crust

Yes, I know it is not very fair to show a picture of a chocolate pie and talk only about the crust, but that is the recipe this post is about. For Thanksgiving, Mr. Sexy Veggie likes a chocolate pie, and I made a FLAKY PIE CRUST to hold the delicious chocolate filling!
The process begins by mixing flour in sugar in a food processor, and blending in flour until it is crumbly. Oil, cold water, and cider vinegar are added, and it is blended until the dough becomes pliable.

The dough is then wrapped and plastic wrap and chilled for 20 minutes. At that point, it is ready to be rolled out into the appropriate size. Once rolled, the dough is wrapped around the rolling pin and transferred to the pie plate. It goes back into the refrigerator for 30 minutes, and then is ready to bake!!

This crust was great!! I will admit I am not good with pie crust, and usually go for one that requires no rolling. I was very pleased with the ease of this one, the consistency and workability of the dough was nice. The flavor was nice, crispy and flavorful. I will be making this again!

Baked Mexican Style Rice and Beans

I'm back! After a fun trip to New York City and a little bit of recovery time, I am back into my cooking groove. Tuesday night I made BAKED MEXICAN STYLE RICE AND BEANS!
I wanted an easy and flavorful meal to make, and I picked this filling casserole. Basmati rice is cooked until tender, and then mixed with tomato sauce, chilies, beans, and chili powder. The filling is layered in a casserole dish with monetary jack cheese and sour cream, and baked for 30 minutes until the cheese is bubbly!!

This was a very favorable, comforting, and filling dish. The flavors melded together very well, and the cheese gave it a nice and creamy consistency. Served with corn on the cob and tortilla chips, it was a great dinner!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ten-Minute Chilaquiles

I love Mexican-style recipes. They usually incorporate 3 of my favorite ingredients.........tomato sauce, beans, and cheese. This recipe used all three!!
TEN-MINUTE CHILAQUILES (Layered Tortilla Casserole) is a very easy and satisfying dish. For the sauce, salsa, tomato sauce, water and kidney beans are mixed together. This is poured on the bottom of a casserole dish, and topped with crumbled tortilla chips. The chips are covered with sour cream and Monterey Jack cheese. The layers are repeated, and then the casserole is baked for 35 minutes.

Yum! This was so easy, and delicious. It was warm, spicy, and flavorful. The leftovers were even better the next day!! I will be making this again-Mr. Sexy Veggie will love it!

Ravioli with Broccoli and Red Peppers

On Sunday evenings, I usually take ingredients for dinner to Mr. Sexy Veggie's house. I prefer quick and tasty recipes, and many pasta recipes fall into this category.

This Sunday I made RAVIOLI WITH BROCCOLI AND RED PEPPERS. This meal is easy to prep and cook. One red pepper, sliced, is sauteed in oil with garlic until tender. Meanwhile, frozen ravioli is cooked in water until done. Broccoli is added to the boiling water for 3 minutes. All of these ingredients are mixed together, and sprinkled with Parmesan before serving.

This was great! Very easy to prepare, and pleasurable to eat. Leftovers were great for lunch the next day too!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mixed Berry Smoothies

Today is a beautiful, sunny Sunday in southwestern Virginia. It was a perfect day to start with MIXED BERRY SMOOTHIES for breakfast!

This unbelievably easy recipes combines frozen berries, orange juice, sugar and ice in a blender. The mixture is blended until smooth!

These were wonderful! A delicious and nutritious way to start the day!


Classic Fresh Salsa and Chocolate Glazed Almond Cookies

Last night, I made one of my favorite recipes that I have preciously made out of the cookbook-the roasted sweet potato and black bean quesdadillas. I made classic fresh salsa and chocolate glazed almond cookies to round out this meal.
The CLASSIC FRESH SALSA was an easy and beautiful dish. Ripe, fresh tomatoes, red onion, jalapenos, cilantro, garlic and lime juice are chopped and mixed together to create this festive dip.

The CHOCOLATE GLAZED ALMOND COOKIES were also easy. Butter, sugar, ground almonds, flour, egg, and almond extract are mixed together to form the dough. The dough is dipped in sliced almonds before being placed on a cookie sheet and baked until golden. After being removed from the oven, the cookies are glazed with melted chocolate chips.

Both of these recipes turned out very well! The salsa was very fresh and good, I can't wait to make it again next summer with ingredients from my garden. The cookies were good-very similar to pecan sandies, only with almonds. The chocolate glaze was perfect touch!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mushroom Pate, Crostini, Spinich Salad with Pink Grapefruit and Avocado, and Upside Down Gingerbread Pear Cake

Last night I cooked with my sister (, and we made a great dinner. I used four recipes out of the cookbook for the evening.

The first was an appetizer, MUSHROOM PATE. This simple topping is made my pulsing portabella mushrooms in a food processor a few times, and then sauteing the mushroom pieces with garlic and thyme until tender. Once cooled to room temperature, it is enjoy with bread. I served it with CROSTINI-french bread sliced, coated with olive oil, and baked until crispy.

Our salad for the evening was SPINACH SALAD WITH PINK GRAPEFRUIT AND AVOCADOS. This salad is simply fresh spinach topped with sections of pink grapefruit, and slices of ripe avocado. (picture at top of post)

Dessert was delicious......UPSIDE DOWN GINGERBREAD PEAR CAKE. This cake has a caramel type topping drizzled on the bottom of the baking pan, and pear slices are placedon top of the caramel. A simple cake batter that incorporates molasses is poured over the pears, and then baked for 30 minutes.

These recipes all turned out well. The mushroom pate was more like caviar--it was not smooth and spreadable as I had expected. It was tasty though, very earthy and a good contrast to the crispy crostini. The salad was wonderful-very fresh and light! The dessert was perfect--rich, moist, and tender. I would recommend all of these dishes!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Zucchini and Red Pepper Gratin and Sauteed Kale

This was a side item spectacular meal! I made two recipes from the side dish chapter of the cookbook tonight.....zucchini and red pepper gratin, and sauteed kale.

The SAUTEED KALE dish was very easy to prepare. The kale is chopped into bite size pieces, added to a pan that has olive oil that has been heated, stir in some water, cover, and steam for about 7 minutes. Balsamic vinegar is stirred into the greens right before serving.

The ZUCCHINI AND RED PEPPER GRATIN was another easy side dish, but this one took longer to prepare and bake. Zucchini, red pepper, and onion are thinly sliced and coated with olive oil. Then they are transferred to a baking dish, and they bake for an hour. Breadcrumbs are scattered over the top of the dish during the last fifteen minutes of baking.

These dishes were good, but not great. I am not a fan of greens, so the kale didn't impress me too much. It was slightly bitter and tough-but I don't think that was the recipes' fault. The gratin was very good, fresh, and tasty. It makes a great dish for a side item, and I will make it again!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pumpkin Pancakes

Breakfast is my hardest meal to plan for. I usually have cold cereal during the work week, so that doesn't require much effort. On weekend, usually I will make some scrambled eggs and toast, or sometimes French toast. This cookbook has quite a few breakfast and brunch recipes, and I am grateful that they will help me break out of my breakfast rut!

This morning I made PUMPKIN PANCAKES. This was a simple pancake recipe with canned pumpkin added. The batter was thin, so it cooked quickly on the hot skillet. Cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg were added to the batter to give it a great autumn flavor. Served with butter and hot syrup, these quick pancakes were a great treat!

These were very good. As I was making them, I was worried they would taste too much like pumpkin pie with the addition of the spices. Luckily, the pumpkin and spice flavors were light, leaving the pancakes with just a hint of pumpkin. These are great for a fall breakfast, and I will be making them again!

Cheese Scones and Large, Soft Ginger Cookies

Last night, I decided to make potato soup for dinner. The soup recipe is not from the cookbook, but I chose two recipes from the cookbook to accompany the soup. The first was cheese scones, and large, soft ginger cookies for dessert.

The CHEESE SCONES are an easy quick bread to make. Butter is mixed with flour and baking powder, and eggs, milk, and cheese are added to the dry mixture. The wet dough is placed on a baking sheet, cut into six sections, topped with more cheese and baked until golden.

The LARGE, SOFT GINGER COOKIES were also easy to make. Flour, baking powder, salt and spices are mixed with molasses and eggs to make a dark and tasty dough. After chilling for an hour, the dough is rolled into balls, rolled in granulated sugar, and baked for 15 minutes.

Both of these recipes turned out well. The scones took longer to bake than I expected, but I think I did not pat them out thin enough. They were very good though, moist and flavorful, a perfect side to the potato soup! The cookies were very good, gingery and soft.

Beer Pizza Dough

For my pizza night this week, I decided to try a BEER PIZZA DOUGH for the crust. This very simple recipe combines flour, baking powder, salt and beer. When mixed together, this sticky dough is ready to be rolled out on a baking sheet and baked until crispy!

This pizza crust was very dense and heavy. It was good, but not the best choice for a light cheese pizza. The cookbook recommends using this crust for a caramelized onion pizza, and I think the heaviness of the dough will go well with the intense flavor of the caramelized onions. I look forward to trying that, but I will probably not use this recipe for my usually weekly cheese pizza again.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Classic Hummus, Garlic Pita Chips, and Greens, Potato, and Feta Cheese Pie

Tonight, I got a bit brave and decided to make 3 new recipes. Not only that.....2 of the recipes were things that I was very unsure about. I have had bad luck with making homemade hummus before, and most vegetable and cheese pie type dishes are usually not my thing at all.

Luckily, I my preconceptions of this evening's meal were wrong! The CLASSIC HUMMUS,a simple mixture of chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, salt and water, was excellent. The GARLIC PITA CHIPS, simply pita bread cut into triangles and coated with garlic oil before baking, were a great tool to carry the hummus to my mouth!

The main dish, the GREENS, POTATO, AND FETA CHEESE PIE, was a warm pie with a bread crumb crust, and potato, spinach, and feta cheese filling. This was very good. Like I mentioned above, this type of dish I usually do not like. However, this was very good! It was tasty and light, and I enjoyed it very much!