Friday, December 25, 2009

Peanut Butter Cookies for the Dark Side

This is my second installment of "Cookies for the Dark Side."

Peanut Butter Cookies for the Dark Side

1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 c smooth peanut butter at room temperature
1/2 c sugar
3/4 c lightly packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tbs milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 dark Reese's cups, coursely chopped

In medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl beat butter and peanut butter until fluffy. Add the sugars and continue beating until fully mixed. Add egg, milk, and vanilla extract and beat well.

Mix in half the flour mixture until combined, then fold in remaining flour and beat until well combined. Fold in Reese's. Cover batter with plastic wrap (leaving no air in between) and chill dough 24-36 hours.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Roll about a tablespoon of dough at a time into 1 to 1 1/2" balls and place onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving a couple inches of space between drops for expansion. Lightly press each cookie with either a fork (making those ubiquitous criss-cross marks), back of a spoon, or your fingers.

Bake 8-10 minutes (they will look underdone, but this is important in making a soft cookie!).

Cool cookies on cookie sheet a few minutes before transferring to another surface. Keep cookies flat at least 15 minutes so that they retain their shape. Makes 24-32 cookies, depending on size and how much raw dough is eaten ;).

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Egg-less Apple-Cranberry-Almond Muffins

I've mentioned before that I do not enjoy baking. It's too rigid, and I can't play with as many ingredients as I prefer. But, as with the Cookies for the Dark Side, sometimes I want a freshly baked item. Typically, I turn to the oldest offspring for that task, but this morning I wanted to do something for the girls.

My immediate thought was fresh muffins for breakfast....and since I had a Golden Delicious apple that had been sitting in my fruit bowl for some time now, that was the logical choice. The plan was coming together. I happily measured and mixed away (making substitutes that I knew would work in the world of baking). Then I opened the fridge to grab the one lonely egg needed for the recipe.

Frak. No eggs. No egg substitute. Not even an empty carton to taunt me.

A tumbleweed blew through my kitchen.

My mind raced. After all, I had already ground the oats, measured the dry goods, and grated the apple. I reasoned that apples have pectin, and that is some sort of stabilizer, so in theory that would help. I needed something else, however, and I didn't think cornstarch would do the trick (the batter was too dry). I looked at my little cartons of yogurt and made a snap decision. Lemon seemed the least offensive flavor, so I measured a quarter cup into the batter and mixed. Things were still too dry for my taste, so I added another quarter cup. The batter at least looked like muffin batter at this point, so I decided this was do or die time: I spooned the batter into the muffin pan and placed it into the oven....and the Almighty Baking God's hands.

For whatever reason--my intuition, the alignment of the planets, or just plain old luck--these muffins turned out delicious. They are a denser sort of muffin, yet not so heavy that you can't enjoy two or three at a time. The lemon yogurt seems to have enhanced the apple flavor very nicely. All in all, I'd say it's not a bad effort for a non-baker such as I.

Egg-less Apple-Cranberry-Almond Muffins

1 c unbleached white flour
1 c oat flour
1/4 c white sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 c canola oil
1/2 c lemon flavored yogurt
1 c grated apple
1/4 c dried cranberries, chopped
1/4 c almonds, ground
additional slivered almonds for topping

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line the muffin pan with liners or grease. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.

Mix in the oil and yogurt until well-combined. Add the grated apple, cranberries, and ground almonds; mix well.

Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full and top with slivered almonds. Bake 20-25min until golden brown or till a tooth pick comes out clean from it. Makes 12 muffins.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Vegetarian/Vegan Chili

Sometimes a girl just needs a nice hot bowl of soup. I was craving such a thing last night, and yet despite my greatest efforts, soup did not magically appear. Instead, I took stock of what I had on hand in the kitchen and threw together this vegetarian chili (vegan, if you use peanut oil instead of butter). This is a spicy, filling soup packed with veggies. A one-cup serving is 250 calories and loaded with vitamins A and C. I think this would be perfect to ease the pain of cold and flu season: The jalapeno really clears the sinuses!

In the photo, I topped the chili with shredded pepper jack cheese and some whole wheat flat bread to round out my meal. These additions are not included in the calorie count listed above.

Vegetarian/Vegan Chili

4 tbs butter or peanut oil
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 c onion, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 tsp each salt and fresh ground pepper
1 jalapeno, diced
2 cloved garlic, minced
1 tbs cumin
1 tbs chili powder
1 tbs fresh minced oregano
1 tbs fresh minced thyme
1 tbs minced fresh basil
1/2 tbs fresh minced sage
1 15oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 15oz can kidney beans, drained
1/2 c dark beer
1 tbs red wine vinegar
1 bay leaf

In medium pan over med-high heat, melt butter (or heat oil). Saute carrots, celery, onion, and bell pepper until onion is translucent (about 5 minutes). Add salt, pepper, jalapeno, and garlic and saute another 2 minutes. Stir in spices and herbs; add tomatoes, kidney beans, beer, vinegar, and bay leaf and mix until combined. Lower heat to med-low and simmer covered about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serves 4.

  • If using dried herbs, cut the amount to one-third to one-half.
  • Decrease or skip the jalapeno depending on your heat tolerance. One jalapeno (seeds included) makes a decently spicy chili.
  • If you don't have beer on hand (teetotaler!), don't drain the beans; the liquid they are packed in will make up the difference.

Almond Chicken with Cranberry-Balsamic Sauce

This meal was requested by my oldest daughter. She wanted something with cranberry sauce and chicken, so I obliged with this meal. Although I don't typically bread chicken, I wanted to include more almond than the sprinkling I placed across the top. Plus, a little crunch never hurt anyone!

Almond Chicken with Cranberry-Balsamic Sauce

1 c rice of choice (I used jasmine rice)
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1/2 c panko
1/3 c unblanched almonds, coarsely ground
1/2 tsp each salt and fresh cracked pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 tbs light olive oil or peanut oil
2 chopped shallots
1/2 c dry red wine or vegetable broth
1/2 can whole cranberry sauce
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1 tbs minced fresh rosemary
1 package (9 ounces) fresh baby spinach
2 tbs sliced almonds

Prepare rice according to package directions with 1 sprig rosemary added whole during cooking time.

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the bread crumbs, almonds, salt and pepper. Add chicken, one piece at a time, and shake to coat.

In a large nonstick skillet, cook chicken in 1 tbs oil over medium heat for 4-5 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Remove and keep warm.

In the same pan, cook shallots in remaining oil until tender. Stir in the wine or broth, cranberry sauce, vinegar, and minced rosemary. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5-6 minutes or until thickened.

Meanwhile, steam spinach 5-8 minutes or until spinach is wilted; salt/pepper to taste. Remove rosemary from prepared rice. Serve chicken over bed of spinach and rice; top with sauce and sliced almonds. Serves 4.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hummus....Just the Basics

Today is one of those days I'm just not meant to sleep. I'm not entirely sure what is happening in the apartments around me, but there is a ridiculous amount of hammering and drilling happening. Work tonight will be a real bitch....

Since I'm not sleeping, I decided to whip up a batch of hummus. This is a very basic recipe that can have almost anything added to it. For instance, stir in chopped basil or roasted red pepper to add some color and extra flavor. I typically eat this with fresh veggies (you can see my snack in the picture!), but it's also good with pita or flatbread. I've even used it as sauce on a Mediterranean-style pizza.

Tip: To roast such a small amount of garlic, I don't bother with heating the oven. My faster method is to toss the garlic cloves (with the skin on!) in a small skillet over med heat. Cover the pan, and give the garlic about 5 minutes on each side to thoroughly roast.

I may be working on little to no sleep tonight, but at least I have my 2:00am snack all set to go!

1 can (15.5oz) chickpeas, drained/rinsed
3 tbs tahini
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
zest and juice from 1 lemon, or 2 tbs vinegar of choice
3 cloves garlic, roasted and peeled
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
additional olive oil, water
salt/pepper to taste

In food processor, puree beans, tahini, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1/4 cup of water, lemon zest, juice, garlic, cumin, and cayenne to a medium-fine texture. Add about half a teaspoon each of salt and pepper to start.

While blending on medium speed, slowly add equal parts oil and water until paste smooths to desired consistency.

Transfer to a bowl, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve. Makes about 2 cups.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Creamy Garlic Dipping Sauce

Here is one of my favorite side dishes. I created them after having a deep-fried version at the local Renaissance Festival. Instead of breaded and fried, these "fries" are baked. They are good with or without the creamy garlic dip. A Thai peanut sauce would go well with these for someone of the vegan persuasion.

The dipping sauce is a tart, cool contrast to the sweet potato. My original recipe used sour cream as a base, but this last time I subbed in plain yogurt in an effort to cut down on the calories. Honestly, I couldn't tell the difference; hence the final recipe is made with non-fat plain yogurt. This sauce is also very good on fish and chicken. I've dipped both proteins in it before baking with rave reviews.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

2 medium-sized sweet potatoes
1 tbp rice (or white) vinegar
2 tbs light olive oil
1 tsp fresh thyme, very finely minced
1 tsp fresh basil, very finely minced
2 tsp fresh parsley, very finely minced
1 tsp cumin
salt/pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Slice potatoes into strips about 1/4" around. In a large bowl whisk oil, herbs, and cumin together. Toss potato strips with oil mixture until thoroughly coated.

Arrange evenly on baking sheet, not touching. Bake 15 minutes, flip, and bake another 18-20 minutes (or under caramel brown and crisp on the outside).

Remove from the oven and salt/pepper to taste. Makes 6 servings.

Creamy Garlic Dipping Sauce

1 c low fat plain yogurt
3 tbs mayo
1 tbs horseradish
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
2 tbs light or extra virgin olive oil
2 clove garlic, very finely minced
3 tbs parsley, very finely minced
salt/pepper to taste

Whisk together all ingredients until well-combined. Refrigerate at least an hour before serving. Serve chilled. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Improv-erish Red Beans & Rice

It was one of those nights tonight. After a mere four hours of sleep and some middle school-style drama from the oldest offspring, I wasn't in the mood to hit the grocery store. I've been craving red beans and rice lately, and the thought of minimal clean-up after a one-pot wonder was appealing.

For some reason I thought I had several cans of kidney beans. I was lonely 15 ounce can rested in my cupboard (surrounded by six cans of mandarin oranges....what the--?). So, I killed off some veggies to round out this one-pot meal (using a pot to make the rice would bump the pot count up to two, of course).

3 tbs butter
4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
4 stalks celery, sliced
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs dried thyme
1 tbs dried parsley
1 tbs dried marjoram
salt and pepper
Chipotle Tabasco
14 oz smoked turkey sausage, sliced
1 15oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
8 servings rice, prepared according to package directions
several green onion stalks, sliced

Heat wok or large skillet over med-high heat. Melt butter in wok and saute carrots, celery, and onion for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add garlic and dried herbs and saute another two minutes, stirring constantly. Season to taste with salt/pepper and Tabasco.

Push veggies to edges of the wok, clearing the center. Lay sausage in middle and allow to brown about 5-7 minutes (avoid moving the sausage much during this time so it browns properly).

Mix the contents of the wok together and add beans. Stir to combine, and turn heat to low. Cover and allow flavors to meld about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasoning as desired.

Serve over hot rice and garnish with green onion.

Serves 8.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Italian Sausage and Spinach with Pasta

Tonight's meal was what I call a clean up meal in that I had some random items that needed to be used fairly quickly. Coupled with a lack of motivation to go to the grocery store, I had all the ingredients necessary to make a simple meal.

I had two different types of sausage leftover from two separate meals past, a bag of spinach I had forgotten about purchasing last weekend, and barely a fourth of a carton of vegetable broth sitting in the fridge. The rest of the ingredients are items I typically have hiding out in my kitchen.

Italian Sausage and Spinach with Pasta

13.5oz box whole wheat penne pasta
2 tbs light olive oil
1 pound sausage
1/2 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 c vegetable broth
1 10oz bag spinach leaves
8oz fresh (aka real) mozzarella, cut into small cubes
salt/pepper to taste
fresh basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the liquid.

Meanwhile, crumble and brown sausage over med-high heat in olive oil. Add onion and saute about 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent. Add garlic and saute another minute.

Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Stir in spinach leaves until just wilted. Add reserved pasta water and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Toss with pasta.

Right before serving, toss with cheese and fresh basil. Serves 8.

Cookies for the Dark Side, part one

"Come to the Dark Side....we have cookies."

"Well, what kind of cookies are they?"

This conversation sparked my creativity and a rare desire to bake. I don't enjoy baking, personally. I think it's boring. I like eating baked goods, of course, but the entire chore of measuring, mixing, rolling, baking, and cooling simply does not appeal to me. I prefer a freer form of cuisine.

But, sometimes a girl just needs a really good cookie. The flavor profile mimics that of one of my favorite low-cost wines: Mirassou Cabernet. The dark chocolate is the first taste perceived against the brown sugar background, followed by the tartness of the dried cherries. The key here is to use good chocolate; the bitterness is necessary to offset the sweet.

Chocolate Chip Cookies for the Dark Side

2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c butter, room temperature
1 1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla (not imitation)
12 oz (2 c) bittersweet 60% cacao chocolate chips
1 c dried cherries

In small bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt.

Beat butter and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl until well-blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth. Add flour mix to butter mixture a fourth at a time and beat until well mixed. Fold in chocolate chips and cherries.

Cover cookie dough with plastic wrap, leaving no air in-between, and chill 24-36 hours.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Drop dough in 2-tablespoon portions, 2 inches apart, onto lightly greased baking sheets. Bake until cookies are lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes; if baking more than one pan at a time, switch pan positions halfway through baking.

Cool on pan 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to racks to cool. Makes about 30 cookies.

While it isn't necessary to chill the dough, it's a trick most people who actually enjoy baking swear by. After some research, I found that it allows the wet ingredients to soak into the dry ingredients and produce a better melding of flavors. See this article for a very good explanation.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mahi Mahi with Mango Salsa

This is probably one of the most common dishes prepared at my house. My kids have been fans of mango salsa their entire lives and will eat it on pretty much anything. Fish is quick to prepare, so it lends itself to a weeknight dinner easily. In theory this meal should serve 4, but there are rarely leftovers between myself and the two girls. I'd suggest doubling it if you intend to feed 4 hungry mouths!

Mahi Mahi with Mango Salsa

1 cup rice
12oz mahi mahi
fresh cracked pepper
2 tbs tamari
1 tbs peanut oil
1 lime, cut into quarters

Prepare rice according to package directions. While it is simmering (or in the rice cooker, should you be so lucky!), prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Crack pepper over mahi mahi and place in bowl. Drizzle with tamari, peanut oil, and juice from THREE QUARTERS of the lime. Allow to rest at room temperature while preparing the salsa (recipe below).

Heat grill pan to med-high heat. Remove fish from marinade and place in pan skin side up and cook 3 minutes. Flip fish, pour marinade over, and cook an additional 3-4 minutes.

Place fish on bed of rice and pour marinade from pan over fish. Top with mango salsa and serve.

Mango Salsa

1 c mango, diced
1/2 c red onion, diced
1/4 c red bell pepper, diced
2 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 c cilantro leaves, finely chopped
zest of 1 lime
dash salt
pinch cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Combine above ingredients with juice from the remaining 1/4 lime and allow to rest at room temperature while cooking the fish.

  • The mango is best when fresh. If you don't like the way the mangos in your grocery store look, I've subbed in the jarred version (usually available in the refrigerated produce section) with success. Because it's jarred in light syrup, I rinse the slices with water first. If you prefer a sweeter salsa, then you may opt to keep them as is.
  • My rice of choice with fish is jasmine rice. It has a more delicate flavor that compliments seafood very well.

Baked Potato Soup

As the weather cools, I start craving soup. It's warm, it's easy, and it can be made from pretty much anything. Not to mention, leftovers are very easy to deal with (when there are leftovers, that is!). This soup combines traditional favorite potato toppings into an easily portable meal.

This soup is also easily adapted to your own favorite toppings. Like ranch dressing? Mix a packet of seasoning into the sour cream. More cheese? Go for it. Broccoli? A pound of steamed florets will do the trick. Half the fun of cooking is making a recipe your own, so don't be shy!

Baked Potato Soup

6 baking potatoes
6 tbs butter
1 carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloved garlic, minced
6-8 oz bacon, diced
2/3 c white flour
1/2 tbs salt
1/2 tbs pepper
4 c milk
2 c vegetable broth
8 oz shredded sharp cheddar
8 oz sour cream
chives, finely chopped

Prick potatoes with fork and bake ~40min in 400F oven. Remove from oven. When cool enough to handle, scoop out flesh and mash with fork.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter over med-high heat. Sautee carrot, celery, and onion until tender. Season with salt/pepper. Add garlic and saute another minute. Remove from heat.

In 4 quart pan saute diced bacon over med heat until crispy. Remove bacon bits with slotted spoon and drain on paper towel, leaving remaining fat in the pan. Add remaining 4 tablespoons butter and melt. Slowly wisk in flour and cook about a minute. Add salt/pepper.

Wisk in milk gradually, stirring constantly until thickened. Stir in vegetable broth.

Set aside 1/4 c bacon bits, 1/2 c cheese, 1/2 c sour cream to use as garnish.

Add sauteed vegetables, potatoes, bacon bits, and cheese. Cook until thoroughly heated. Stir in sour cream and heat. Adjust seasoning to taste. Garnish with set aside sour cream, cheese, bacon bits, and chives. Serve with crusty bread.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Mushroom-Leek Soup

This recipe had been conceptualized while discussing soup with my vegetarian sister. There are many vegetable-oriented soups that are NOT vegetarian due to the use of beef broth. This hardly seems fair. In messing around with the idea of making a French onion soup my sister could eat, I came up with this warm offering. Not only did my sister absolutely love it, but it is also offspring-approved (my offspring, not The Offspring).

I like to add a pinch of cayenne or habanero flakes to my individual bowl for a little touch of heat. A simple tomato salad, slice of French bread, and glass of pinot grigio would make this the perfect light supper for an autumn night.

Mushroom-Leek Soup

4 c vegetable broth
1 leek, sliced into thin rings
1/4 yellow onion - very finely chopped
3 oz brown cap mushrooms
3 oz white cap mushrooms
4 tbs unsalted butter
2 tbs lite olive oil
1 ripe tomato - peeled and very finely chopped
2 sprig fresh thyme
1/2 c bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste

2 cloves garlic - peeled
3 almonds - toasted and unpeeled
1/4 tsp salt

shredded parmesan (optional)
fresh chives, finely chopped (optional)

Wipe mushrooms clean with a dry cloth. Remove and discard the mushroom ends. Slice the mushrooms into fourths or halves, depending on the size of the mushroom.

Heat butter in a deep pot over medium-low heat. Add olive oil to melted butter.

Add the chopped mushrooms and sautee for a moment. Add the onion and stir. When the onion has turned golden, add the tomato and leek and stir-fry for 8 minutes.

Add the broth, reserving 2 tablespoons for later.

When the mushroom soup begins to boil, add the bread crumbs and thyme. Season to taste.
Simmer for 15 minutes on medium-low heat.

In the meantime, prepare a thickener by combining the garlic, almonds, and 1/4 tsp salt in a food processor. Once these form into a thick paste, thin with reserved broth.

Drop the garlic paste in the cooking pot. Let it boil for an additional 3 or 4 minutes, adjust the salt if necessary, remove from heat.

Garnish with parmesan and chives, if desired, and serve hot.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Edamame Salad with Roasted Cabbage, Red Pepper, and Noodles

This salad started as an "oh shit" moment when I realized I forgot to (1) buy green beans and (2) make the rice one night while cooking for myself and the offspring. I didn't catch on to this until the pork loin I was roasting was about 15 minutes from its egress from the oven. A mad flurry ensued as I combed the fridge and cabinets for something acceptable to fill the role of "vegetable" in our dinner. The red cabbage was something I needed to use, and I had a container full of edamame leftover from my last venture out to a sushi restaurant. Honestly, this salad came together because I thought the contrast of the light green and the dark purple was pretty. Sometimes I'm shallow like that.

Recipe Notes:
I like to vary the types of oil and vinegar I use. It adds an extra depth to the flavor, I think. If you don't happen to have multiple options, however, this dressing will taste quite good with one or the other type oil and/or vinegar.

The edamame can be prepared from fresh or frozen. Pick whichever tastes the best from your favorite grocer. The same goes for the roasted red pepper. You can roast your own from fresh if they are in season, or you can cheat (which I am a big fan of doing!) and use jarred peppers.

Soba noodles are also a good choice for this salad.

Edamame Salad with Roasted Cabbage and Red Pepper

1 red cabbage, cored and chiopped into 1-2 inch pieces
1 tsp light olive oil
salt and pepper

16oz shelled edamame
1 roasted red bell pepper
4oz lo mein noodles

2 tbs olive oil (light or extra virgin)
1 tbs sesame oil
1 tbs stone ground mustard
2 tbs grated ginger
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
2 tbs rice vinegar
juice of 1/4 lemon
pinch cayenne (more if you like it hot!)
salt and pepper

about a tbs each worth of fresh chopped thyme, parsley, and chives
2 tbs coarsely chopped toasted almonds

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread cabbage on baking sheet in a thin layer. Very lightly drizzle with 1 tsp light olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Stirring often, roast cabbage in oven about 15 minutes until dehydrated, but not brown.

Boil or steam edamame to desired doneness. Slice red pepper into thin strips.

Wisk together dressing ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare lo mein noodles according to package directions; leave noodles in the water until it is time to toss them with the rest of the ingrediants.

Toss cabbage, edamame, and red pepper with dressing, herbs, and almonds. Drain the noodles and immediately toss with the salad.

Serve warm or chilled.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Introductions are in Order

Good day. My name is Hillary, and I am the Anti-Chef.

I have no formal qualifications as far as cooking and food preparation is concerned. What I do have is a fairly good palate, an adventurous nature, and a complete inability to follow a recipe. To me, recipes are more akin to guidelines....every dish is as malleable as a handful of plastic clay until it is served. I like to play with the boundaries of what can and cannot be accomplished in the kitchen. This blog's purpose is to document my successes.

I am a single mom to two daughters. One daughter was born in 1996, the other in 2001; you can do the math. I am also a registered nurse, working three nights a week at a hospital. I enjoy fantasy, science-fiction, and science-fact. I think that sums up my life.

Many of my culinary creations come about because I am too busy/tired to go to the store, and I am trying to use up the ingredients I already have in my kitchen. Other times I have my kids each pick two ingredients, and the rule is I have to make a meal with all four items. Then there are the meals that I plan out because I have a specific vision in mind....

Welcome to my recipe blog. I hope you enjoy what you find here.