Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Perfect Star

You can make a perfect star with only one cut.  Really!  Check out this link (bonus history lesson provided free-of-charge)!

I'm going to use it to make some lovely ornaments out of recycled (Trader Joe's) brown paper bags and Aleene's glue using the burnt brown paper bag method and some rubber stamps.  I've done it before and it works like a charm.  So easy and pretty quick too if you spread out the steps.  For best results make sure you're working with a candle (the soot helps the project like a lighter can't), and in a WELL ventilated area.

from: the vintage pearl

Monday, November 28, 2011

Chai Spice Cookies

I found this recipe in a hand-me-down issue of Better Homes and Gardens.  How could you possibly go wrong with chai spice tea and molasses?!  

I followed the recipe exactly the first time (stars) but just can't rationalize cut-out cookies in my schedule.  Pretty? Sure! Tastes just the same? Yup. 

So instead of rolling the dough, I made them like my Great-Grandma's refrigerator cookies and voila - my absolute favorite go-to cookie. 

Chai Spice Cookies
Prep: 25 minutes
Chill: 3 hours-3 weeks (or freeze)
Makes: 48 2" cookies
Bake: 10 minutes
Oven: 350° F

2 spiced chai-flavor tea bags, like Stash's Chai Green... mmm
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
(or 1/4 t clove, 1/4 t allspice, 1/2 t ginger, 1 t cinnamon)

1-1/2 cups salted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
2 T molasses

1 recipe Powdered Sugar Icing (below)

In large bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice and contents of tea bags, set aside.  The flour mix alone is intoxicating!

In Cuisinart (or large mixing bowl) combine remaining ingredients and beat until light and a little bit fluffy.  Add to flour (I usually end up mixing with my hands until I can create a ball of dough to work with.) Divide dough in half.   

Here's where I divert from the recipe. Roll each half of the dough into a long cylinder, about 2" diameter and wrap it up in parchment, then plastic wrap, and stow it in the fridge 3 hours, or a couple weeks.
When ready to bake, unroll the parchment and cut off enough to line your cookie sheet.  Then cut 1/4" slices of the dough and make round cookies.  Bake 10 minutes, remove to a rack to cool.  Drizzle in crazy pattern with icing.  They're beautiful (super yummy) and everyone marvels that I can have cookies ready at the drop of a hat!  

Powdered Sugar Icing: In medium bowl combine 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 4 teaspoons milk. Stir in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until piping consistency.

to store: Layer cookies between waxed paper in covered airtight container. Store at room temperature up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.

Updated: 12/12/10 (after making 7 consecutive batches in a Christmas baking marathon)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Confetti Mac & Cheese

Did you know you can make macaroni and cheese from scratch!?  I grew up on the stuff from a blue box... but after seeing Alton Brown make it - I had to try it out.  I've since modified and modified the recipe.  You'd be amazed at how healthy you can make it and it's SO MUCH YUMMIER! I add chopped cooked chicken most of the time and make this a one-bowl dinner. Yum!

Confetti Mac and Cheese
1 pound elbow macaroni or pipette, cooked according to package directions
1 pound frozen mixed veggies (you know, the cubes of carrots, peas, corn and greenie beenies)
Cook pasta according to package directions.  When you have 1-2 minutes of cook time remaining on the pasta, add the frozen veggies.  Drain and set aside.

Optional: 2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped

Cheese Sauce:
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon dijon mustard (I like Trader Joe's)
3 cups low fat milk
1 large or 2 small bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/3 c pureed carrots (this gives it that pretty orange color our children have come to expect)
16 oz (4 cups) regular or reduced fat cheese, shredded (sharp cheddar or any mix of cheese you have on-hand)
3 T parmesan cheese
salt and white pepper to taste (black pepper will do, I just like the white because you don't see flecks of black in the pretty orange)

In a large saucepan (or the now empty large pot you cooked the pasta in...) melt butter over medium low heat.  Once it stops bubbling, add the flour, dijon and paprika - whisk together to make a smooth paste, cook until this gets just a little darker, or thicker, or starts bubbling in the thin spots, about 3 minutes.  Slowly whisk in the milk, making sure all the paste dissolves.  Add the bay leaf and carrot puree.  Increase heat to medium and simmer to thicken.  Get some little bubbles going, but don't boil, about 5-10 minutes.  Think the consistency of gravy.

Add cheeses, stirring until all melted.  Salt and pepper to taste.
Add pasta with veggies and chicken. Stir well, serve hot.

Leftovers are especially awesome if you spread them in a casserole dish and top with breadcrumbs tossed in some melted butter and bake at 350F until golden.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


We ended up taking the sink back.  I know.  Phooey.  After the second one was damaged out of the box, we decided the claims it wouldn't scratch weren't worth the paper they were written on!  But, with the new faucet, I hardly notice that the sink is as shallow as it is.  Add to that a fully functional (read: not leaking) disposal and even a built-in soap dispenser... and I'm so excited about my re-vamped sink.

And, by deciding against the new sink, we have remaining in the budget funds for a new front storm door.  I'm excited about that too.  (oh, and those tomatoes came off our plants - we're finally getting yellow tomatoes. And, just like last year, I'm having to baby the plants through our first frosts hoping to glean enough fruit to make it worth buying the gallon pot in the first place - but they're SOOOO yummy!).

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I'm Getting a New Sink!

I'm getting a new sink! It started with the disposal going out, then the faucet started leaking... Stan went for those parts then called from the store to ask what sink I want!

Stay tuned for the "after" photos!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Salt Water Taffy

These taffy's from Trader Joe's are amazing! The swirly ones are red licorice flavor.  I think I'm chewing on the best red vine ever - but there's NO red dye!!!


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Orange Jicama Salad

My Mother-in-Law created this recipe after enjoying something like it at a restaurant.  It's crunchy, light and rather unexpected.

Orange Jicama Salad
3 cups jicama, cut into thin sticks
1 can mandarin oranges, drained (reserve 1/4 c juice)
1/2 c snipped parsley
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c juice reserved from mandarin oranges
1/4 c vinegar (I like rice vinegar best)
1/4 c oil (or a little less if using olive oil)
1/2 t salt

Combine jicama, oranges and parsley.  Mix together remaining ingredients.  Toss to coat.  Serve chilled.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pineapple Chicken with Black Beans and Rice

Here's a new favorite!  Quick and easy - especially when hubby will cook the chicken on the grill, and you make the rice in an electric steamer.

Pineapple Chicken with Black Beans and Rice

2-4 lbs BSCB (boneless, skinless chicken breast)

1 16 oz bottle BBQ sauce
1 22 oz can crushed pineapple, gently drained
1 16 oz can black beans (good additional source of protein)
1/2 t madras curry
2 t cinnamon (I may have been a little more generous with the cinnamon, but 2 t is close enough)
2 t dry ground mustard, or 1 T dijon mustard (like Trader Joe's)

3 c rice, cooked according to directions

Cook chicken and steam rice according to directions.  I used my favorite Calrose with a dash of wild rice blend.

While chicken and rice are cooking, combine all other ingredients in a medium pot. Simmer over low-medium heat for about 10 minutes. Let the flavors mingle. This has a fairly high sugar content, so you'll want to stir often enough you don't scorch the bottom.

Serve by making a bed of rice, with chicken on top, and pour a generous scoop of sauce over both.  We enjoyed a green salad on the side to round the whole thing out.  Yay for protein!

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Trader Joe's opens in Kansas City!!!  TOMORROW!  I'm so excited.  I will meet a couple friends (also die-hard TJ's fans) there and track down my already bulging list.  Here are some of the staples I'm looking forward to having:

Chocolate Chips
Dijon Mustard
Jarred Garlic (pureed)
Jarred Ginger (that isn't all stringy)
Sourdough Bread (Stan's favorite)
Shaving Cream (like Alba's, only less expensive)
Pink Sauce (no, not spaghetti, this is a creamy roasted red pepper spread)
Tortilla chips with Lime
Pepitas and other nuts
and did I mention Chocolate Chips!? mmm...

And I know there is a long list of other things I have forgotten.  Salad dressings and candies and vitamins.

I can hardly wait!

Meat Fork

This is one of my favorite tools. It's a simple meat serving fork by Oneida that I picked up at Target. It's great for serving meat, but it's even better for smashing bananas or scrambling eggs.

When I make Banana Split Muffins, I use this fork to scramble the eggs and smash the bananas in the same bowl with the oatmeal. In this case, I had 4 bananas to mash for banana bread, so I smashed them on a cutting board.

I'm sure you could use a potato masher - but I don't own one. I use an electric mixer to mash potatoes (in the same pot I cook them in). But, that's another post...

Sharpie Magic

This is so much fun!  Saw a tutorial on CraftGossip and had to give it a try.  So simple and very stunning.  

I started, then got called away, and found that the ink carries differently over already dried spots.  I could play with this method for a long time trying to master it, but the fun is - you don't have to!  I do, however, recommend doing this in a well ventilated area.

It washed up really great too.  I did heat-set it, with an iron and in the dryer for 30 minutes on high heat.  Then washed it in cold.  Next I'm curious to see if I can use laundry soap or crayons to create a batik-type relief for a pattern.  Could be very cool.  Stay tuned!

Summer Night

On the way home from Stan's 1st softball game.  It was beautiful outside!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Frog Eye Salad

I can't believe I hadn't shared this one yet!!  Frog Eye Salad is a favorite cool and creamy dessert.  It's also non-dairy (as long as you consider cool whip non-dairy).  And it has a fun name.  It takes some time, but you can break the steps out to prepare some of it in advance.

Frog Eye Salad
Prep. Time: approx. 2 hours
Serves: 16 (1/2 cup servings)

1 lb package Acini Di Pepe pasta - this is where the dish gets its name, when cooked these little pastas resemble little frog eyes.  "Mmmmm.... frog eyes."  Makes my son laugh every time.
2 eggs
1/2 c sugar
2 T flour
1/2 t salt
1 (22 oz) can crushed pineapple, drain reserving juice
1 (22oz can pineapple tidbits, drain reserving juice
1 (16 oz) can peaches, drained and chopped
1 (16 oz) can pears, drained and chopped
1 (15 oz) can mandarin oranges, drained
2 c mini marshmallows (optional)
16 oz whipped topping, thawed

Prepare pasta as directed, drain.

In heavy saucepan, beat eggs until foamy, whisk in flour, sugar, salt and reserved pineapple juice.  Cook on low heat until thickened - but do not boil.  A little simmer is ok, but if you over heat the eggs they will get grainy.

In a large bowl, combine pasta with pineapple sauce.  Chill 1 hour, or until cool. While pasta is cooling, chop up fruits.

Combine pasta with cool whip, mallows and fruits.  Serve chilled.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Gram's Lemon Apricot Cake

This is a good old fashioned cake.  I say that because it isn't "froofy" like popular cakes - it's humble looking and tastes spectacular.  My Gram Yoder made it while visiting us when I was just a child, it made such an impression on my taste buds that I called her as an adult to request the recipe.  Boy was I surprised to find it all started with a cake mix!  As Gram would say "Awesome!"

Gram's Lemon Apricot Cake
1 lemon cake mix
4 eggs
3/4 c oil (I used part vegetable and part olive)
1/2 c apricot nectar (Kern's or Jumex, you can freeze the other half for your next cake or drink it while baking)

1-1/2 c powdered sugar
3 T lemon juice
lemon zest (optional)

Mix cake mix, eggs, oil and juice on low for 30 seconds.  Beat on high for 2 minutes.  Pour into greased and floured 9 x 13 pan and bake at 300F for 35-45 minutes (or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean).  While still warm, prick top of cake all over with a fork and drizzle with frosting.  Yummy!

Calico Corn Salad

This veggie side is easy to make ahead of time.  Allow the corn to thaw in transit to a BBQ and the salad will stay nice and cold, even in the heat of summer.

Calico Corn Salad
16oz (1 bag) frozen sweet corn
2 medium zucchini, diced
1 large sweet red pepper, diced
4oz can mild chopped green chilies (I get the fire roasted ones)

Whisk in large bowl:
1/4 c vegetable oil (I use olive)
2 T lime juice
2 T apple cider vinegar (or what you have on-hand)
1 t chili powder
1 t ground cumin
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/2 t granulated garlic

Mix dressing in large bowl, add green chilies.  Dice zucchini and red pepper.  Combine chopped vegetables and frozen corn with dressing mix and stir gently. Allow corn to thaw and serve. Can be made ahead, keep chilled.  Serves 6-8.

When I double this recipe, I increase the corn to 3 bags, simply doubling the remaining ingredients.  I have also increased leftovers with additional corn on the 2nd or 3rd day.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Herbed Carrots

My Mother-In-Law found this recipe for my Brother-In-Law's wedding years ago... it's been a family favorite ever since.  It makes a great summer side for potlucks and picnics.

Herbed Carrots
3 cups (1 lb) baby carrots
4 T rice vinegar (or 3 T white vinegar)
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 t dried oregano
1 t salt
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/4 t granulated garlic

Steam carrots to tender-crisp.  I steam them in the microwave and like them a little more toward the soft side, but not mushy.  

Rinse with cold water, drain.  While carrots are still warm, drizzle on remaining ingredients and toss well.  Cover and chill, stirring occasionally.  Serve cold.

Monday, May 9, 2011

What's that?

24 muffins!?! Wow!!

I so rarely get a full 24 muffins out of a batch (even with an ice cream scoop, I'm a little extra-generous) so, I always feel like doin' a happy dance when I do!
Next... re-boot the laundry and prep snacks for t-ball practice tomorrow night. Then go to bed. I need my rest (and so do you)!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Moist Carrot Cake

Stan's favorite cake (excluding chocolate - that's evidently a class all its own).  An easy and fool-proof recipe, courtesy my friend Martha.  Omit the nuts for a toddler friendly version.

Moist Carrot Cake
2 c all purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1-1/2 t baking soda
1 T ground cinnamon
2 c white sugar
4 eggs
3/4 c oil
3/4 c unsweetened applesauce
2-3/4 c shredded carrots (or as much as you can smush into the batter)
1 c crushed pineapple, very well drained
1 c chopped walnuts
1 c unsweetened flake coconut

Preheat oven to 325F.  Grease and flour a 9x13 pan (I like glass for a crispy crust). Mix together the flour, baking soda, salt & cinnamon. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix sugar, oil, applesauce and eggs. Beat in flour mixture. Stir in pineapple, shredded carrots, chopped nuts and coconut. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.  Allow to cool.

Frost with Allspice Cream Cheese Frosting.

Allspice Cream Cheese Frosting

I've never been a fan of the traditional cream cheese frosting... too sweet and the butter is completely unnecessary (in my humble opinion).  I've always made an impromptu version with cream cheese, a little lemon juice, sugar and vanilla.  This one, however, is the new favorite.  I can't imagine anything more perfect with yummy Moist Carrot Cake.

Allspice Cream Cheese Frosting
16 oz low fat cream cheese
3/4-1-1/2 t allspice (to taste)
5 T - 1/4 c powdered sugar
1 t vanilla

In a medium bowl, blend all ingredients together.  If needed, add milk 1 teaspoon at a time until spreadable.
Generously covers a 9x13 sheet cake.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Steamed Artichokes

His = garlic butter
Hers = mayo

Ever steamed an artichoke?  It's easy.  First, a quick lesson on picking one out at the store:

Chose ones that seem heavy for their size.  Purple streaks aren't bad, they just mean the plant was exposed to a frost.  This can actually make them sweeter!  I found these beauties on sale for $1 each!!  I can usually find them, in season, as little as $2 each.  They are a treat for both Stan and I.

When you get them home, chop the stem close to the bottom of the globe.  You can keep this and use the flesh in recipes, but I don't bother.  Then, cut the tip of the globe off to make a flat that exposes the petals, like you see above.  I typically take of the top 3rd.  If you want to get fancy, you can get your a good pair of kitchen scissors and snip the pokey tip off each of the remaining petals, but I don't worry about it.  We're grown ups.

Rinse, pulling the petals toward the outside a little to loosen them up.  Place face down, snugly with other artichokes in a pot.  Put water, 1-2" deep in the bottom with 1 T crushed garlic, 1-2 T lemon juice, and 1/2 t salt.  Simmer on low-medium for 40 minutes, or until a butter knife will easily go thru the center of each stem.

These reheat well too.  I put them on a plate with a damp paper towel over, or heat in the zip top bag they were stored in.  Dip in mayo or melted butter with garlic.  Peel each petal off and scrape the flesh off the bottom of the petal with your teeth.  Discard remaining petal.  When you get to the choke, scrape it all off.  Discard.  Cut up and enjoy the heart.  The best part!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cheesy Chicken Pot Pie

A twist on the classic (but easier than ever)!  I like to make my own crust, if you have a food processor, it's a snap.  Give it a try, you won't regret the extra effort.

Cheesy Chicken Pot Pie
1 recipe Cuisinart Pie Crust

2 large cooked chicken breasts, cut into chunks (use leftovers or a small rotisserie chicken)
1 can Campbell's cream of mushroom
1 can Campbell's cream of celery
1 c shredded cheese
1 16oz bag frozen mixed veggies, partially thawed
pepper to taste (I like a healthy dose)

While you precook the crust, chop up the chicken and combine with remaining ingredients in a large bowl.  It will be thick because your veggies will freeze the soup concentrate.  Resist the urge to add liquid.

Carefully remove the pie shell from the oven, fill it, and cover with the other half of the pie crust.  You could also skip the bottom crust altogether, toss all the filling in a 9x13, cover it with the pie crust (tucking it in around the edges) and cook it just the same. For our little family, Stan likes the crust, so I make a traditional pie.

Cook approx. 45 minutes at 350F or until warmed thru and crust is a lovely brown.  (Because you're using pre-cooked chicken in this, you don't have to worry about done-ness for safety).

Allow to cool a bit, then slice up and serve.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

New Rolling Pin

Isn't it beautiful!?  And now that I've found a fool-proof crust recipe, it's being put to good use.  We had scrumptious cheesy chicken pot pie with these babies!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Dip

This one comes from a freezer cooking recipe book.  They would have you cook the chicken, then chop the chicken, then cook the sauce... too much.  Toss everything into the crock pot and walk away.  You'll have enough for a party plus leftovers for freezing.  Stan really enjoys zapping a 1/2 c serving at a time for a snack.

Buffalo Chicken Dip
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (still frozen)
1-1/2 c (12oz) Frank's Red Hot Sauce
32oz low fat cream cheese
2 c (16oz) low fat ranch dressing

Toss all ingredients in a slow cooker on high for 3-4 hours.  Push the chicken down and mush the cream cheese around if you think of it.  Mostly, just leave it alone.
Once the chicken is cooked (160F), pull it out and shred it.  Use this opportunity to whisk the sauce (or whip out your immersion blender like I did, made super-quick work of it). Stir shredded chicken back into sauce.

Serve hot with tortilla chips, carrot sticks and celery sticks. Makes 12 cups.

Freeze leftovers in 1/2 cup portions, frozen flat in freezer safe zip-top bags.  Thaw in fridge then heat, or microwave from frozen.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My love affair with eggs...

I love eggs.  They're inexpensive, have a long shelf life, and are insanely versatile. Scrambled, fried, omelet, hard-boiled, deviled, custard, strata, frittata, quiche - and now Souffleed Omelets.

I tried this for dinner (half recipe) with apricot topping and ate more than I probably should have. I'll admit, the returns were diminishing for the last couple bites. Serving this for company, I would likely add a fruit salad or maybe a compote or english muffins or biscuits, something to add a break in texture for your taste buds. But I ate it all. And I don't regret it. It was luxurious- and for what, 2 eggs, some apricot jam, and 15 minutes of cooking.  Try it sometime.  You won't regret it either.

Here's the description that hooked me:
"These impressive creations are made by separating egg and beating the whites until stiff, as you would for a souffle... A properly executed souffleed omelet has a lovely brown, firm, dry exterior enveloping a soft, creamy, airy center. With the added volume of the beaten whites, you get more servings from fewer eggs and 1 egg per person satisfies most appetites."

Souffleed Omelet (Basic Recipe)
from Joy of Cooking revised 1997
Preheat oven to 375F

Combine and whisk until thick and light:
4 large egg yolks
3 T sugar

In a separate bowl, beat until stiff but not dry:
4 large egg whites
pinch salt
pinch cream of tartar (optional)
***TO WHIP EGG WHITES: Start on low, until whites lose their transparency, then increase speed and move in back and forth motions to whip in as much air as possible.  Make sure your beaters and bowl (stainless or glass recommended) are clean and dry - this will ensure the best whip.  Don't over-whip, you want whites to hold their peak, but not be dry or they'll become grainy and won't fold in well.  Now you know.

Fold the yolk mixture gently into the whites with a large spatula. Melt in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat (I used my cast iron skillet):
1-2 T butter
When the foam from the butter has subsided, pour the batter into the pan, spread evenly, and smooth the top. Shake the pan after a few seconds to discourage sticking and then cover the pan with a lid whose underside has been buttered to prevent sticking (or a domed lid to avoid the issue altogether). Reduce heat to low and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove the cover and place the skillet in the oven until the top is set, 3-5 minutes. Either fold the omelet in half or slide it out onto a warmed plate and sprinkle with:
powdered sugar
Serve Immediately

Jam-Filled Souffleed Omelet
Prepare Souffleed Omelet, above, but before folding the omelet, fill with 2 T warm apricot jam mixed with 1 T rum or brandy, or 2 T raspberry jam mixed with 1 t lemon juice. (I spread the apricot mix on top of my omelet and ate it open-face. mmm...)


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Curried Lentil and Butternut Squash Soup

My dear friend Peggy invited me to an Ethiopian restaurant in Overland Park, The Blue Nile. (Let me just say now, for you skimmers, SO YUMMY! And they have a lunch buffet, so you can try a whole bunch of different things.) Anyway.  Since our ministry team returned, over a year ago, I'd been hearing the good (and bad) of Ethiopian food and was braced and very excited for my first exposure.  I love curry, and though I do not handle spicy well, I was ready to suck it up in the name of a wonderful shared experience with a friend.

Well, I loved it. All of it. The richness of the flavors, tenderness of the meat, the unique and yummy injera bread (that I will venture to make some day)... it was all so good.  For me, the thing that stole the show, was the soup!  Soup!  I found myself craving it the following day.  I attempted to ignore it but the craving persisted.  Time for a Google search: "lentil curry butternut squash soup ethiopian" and with a little tweaking, I came up with something close to what warmed us that day.  It probably would have helped if I had red lentils instead of just using the green and yellow that were in my pantry (I had lentils in my pantry! I was rather proud of myself).  And I used frozen butternut squash instead of preparing it fresh (those things are a serious pain in the butt to peel... I'll let the green giant do the work for me.)  If there's some secret, someone please share.

I took a bowl to Peggy and she said she practically inhaled it, so it's passed the 2nd party test!  Here you go - my quick and easy version.

Curried Lentil and Butternut Squash Soup
3 T olive oil
2 T butter (unsalted if you have it)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
16 oz bag frozen butternut squash
2 t crushed garlic from a jar or 2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 t crushed ginger from a jar or minced peeled ginger
1 T curry powder, Madras (yellow)
1 c red lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 quart (box) chicken or vegetable stock
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 t lemon zest (optional, but probably my favorite part)

Cilantro, chopped

Heat oil and butter in large pot over medium head, cook onion, carrot, celery, garlic and ginger until softened and starting to brown 15-20 minutes. Stir in curry powder, stir frequently for 2 minutes to heat curry through, then add stock, lentils, and partially thawed squash (let it thaw on the counter while you prep everything else).  Simmer, covered, until lentils are tender 20-40 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over steamed rice, sprinkle with cilantro and a dollop of sour cream or plain greek yogurt.

Modified from:

Friday, January 14, 2011

Taco Seasoning

Want to know why Lawry's Taco Seasoning is so much better than those other brands?

Cocoa Powder

Yup.  It's official.  Chocolate makes everything better.