Tuesday, December 16, 2014

White Bean, Kale & Sausage Soup

I can't tell you the last time we've seen the sun here in PA. It's really depressing and makes me want to make hearty soups and stews...and this recipe will not disappoint. It's a super easy recipe to make and takes less than 30 minutes to make. Perfect for dinner during the week!

This soup was a winner for everyone....no complaints except from Cooper who picked out the beans and threw them across our dining room. He's been quite the little troublemaker lately! Dinner is usually hit or miss...there's no in between. I know he's figuring out what he can get away with, but any times on how to deal with a picky toddler, I'll take them!



1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
12 ounces smoked turkey sausage, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
5 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups chicken stock
8 ounces kale, stems removed and finely chopped
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4 - 15 oz cans of Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
couple dashes of hot sauce
salt and fresh ground pepper

In a Dutch oven, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and add the sausage. Brown both sides, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the browned sausage to a paper towel lined plate. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and cook the minced garlic for one minute. Pour in 4 cups of chicken stock into the pot and add in the kale, and garlic powder. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Using a hand immersion blender, puree a third of cannellini beans with 1 cup of the stock. When the kale is tender, add in the remaining whole beans, pureed beans, sausage and the remaining 1 cup of stock. Season with hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Stir together and allow to simmer until the soup is heated through. Scoop out into bowls and serve with a hunk of crusty bread.

Source: Five Heart Home

Monday, December 15, 2014

Cranberry Vanilla Shortbread Cookies

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2014This is my second year participating in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. It's so much fun and I love that we partner with Cookies for Kids Cancer to help support this amazing non-profit!

Once you've signed up to participate in the swap, you're assigned three other food bloggers and send each one a dozen cookies. Then you get three dozen cookies in the mail! My kids were loving this and came home each day waiting for our swap cookies to arrive. The one requirement is that we're to make a cookie that is new to us. I searched high and low and found a recipe for pistachio shortbread cookies. Well...after seeing the price of pistachios (holy sticker shock!) I decided to take the base recipe and make a few modifications to use common ingredients that I always have in my pantry - dried cranberries and ground vanilla beans.


These cookies are easy to make and modify to whatever flavor you want! They would be great with fresh orange zest or lemon zest instead of the vanilla....the possibilities are endless!

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup dried cranberries
1/4 tsp ground vanilla bean

In a bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy and light. Add in the vanilla extract and mix. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch and ground vanilla bean. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients with the butter-sugar mixture until a dough forms. Stir in the cranberries by hand.

On a foot long piece of plastic wrap, form the dough into a log about 9 to 10 inches long, about 2.5 inches thick. Wrap the dough and place in the refrigerator for at least three hours, preferably overnight.

When you're ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Slice the dough with a serrated knife 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick and place on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your cookies. Allow to cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

After packaging up the cookies, I sent a dozen off to:

A Zesty Bite
Dang that's Delicious 
Cooking with Curls

I received cookies from the following bloggers:

The Freshman Cook sent me the cutest Gingerbread Men. The kids gobbled them up!
Susan from A Less Processed Life sent delicious Billionaire Bars..I devoured these!
The Toasted Sprinkle sent a dozen Cris Kringle cookies. My husband loved these!

Shortbread cookie recipe slightly adapted from The View From the Great Island



Biscoff Blossoms - SRC Cookie Carnival

I know you're confused why I'm sharing another Secret Recipe Club post this month, but we decided it would be fun to do a cookie carnival. Just like regular reveal days for the SRC, I received an assignment, but this time I had to pick only a cookie recipe from Fantastical Sharing.


Sarah runs the SRC, along with her blog, her two (soon to be three) kids and everything else that comes with life as a military wife. Sarah and I both started our blogs the same way - sharing our recipes with friends and family and tackling the continuously growing pile of recipes we've been saving. Definitely check out all the recipes Sarah has posted - you'll get so many great ideas for new meals to make.

So after looking through cookie recipes, I decided on the traditional peanut butter blossoms, but with a twist. The only reason there's a little twist is because we're almost out of peanut butter (which is a tragedy if that happens!), so I made a substitution and used Biscoff.


1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup Biscoff cookie spread
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 egg
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
Hershey kisses

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside. In a small bowl, place 1/4 cup sugar. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the shortening and Biscoff. Add in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and baking soda, Mix well and then add in the egg, milk and vanilla. Slowly mix in the flour until the batter forms. 

Using a tablespoon scoop, scoop out small balls of dough. Roll the dough into the 1/4 cup sugar and place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the cookies are lightly golden brown. Remove the oven and immediately place an unwrapped Hershey kiss in the center of the cookie. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to completely cool. 


Monday, December 8, 2014

Holiday Pomegrante Lime Spritzer - Secret Recipe Club

Welcome to December's Secret Recipe Club! I can't believe this is the last reveal for my group this year. 2014 has flown by! This month my assignment was Learning Patience. I've been following Corey's adventures for some time since we've been in the same group for SRC. One thing I love about Corey's blog is I live vicariously through her travels around Trinidad and now London - it gives me a little sneak peek into life in another country. London is one of the places I want to visit one day.

Today's a big day for me. I start my new job! I'm a little nervous leaving a more than 12 year career in electrical engineer, but I'm excited to take my marketing experience to help build a local company's brand. To celebrate this weekend, I decided to make Corey's recipe for holiday pomegrante lime spritzer. It was easy to make and so light and refreshing. I also wanted to test the recipe for a holiday open house I'm hosting for my business next Sunday. I think all my guests will love it!


4 oz white wine (I used Yellow Tail Pinot Grigio)
lime wedge
2 Tbsp pomegrante arils
2 oz sparkling water

In a glass, muddle the pomegranate ariles with the back of a wooden spoon. Add in the wine, sparkling water and squeeze in the lemon. Add a few ice cubes and drink up! 




Saturday, December 6, 2014

New England Style Fish Cakes

I've made a couple different varieties of fish cakes before - salmon, cod and tilapia - but this time I wanted to try a New England style cake using haddock. I had bought two fillets of haddock a couple weeks ago while at Costco and needed to use it up because it was taking too much space in my freezer. I decided against just broiling it, knowing my kids would turn their noses up. I knew if I could get them to eat it by making it into a cake and then pan-frying it. 

This recipe was easy to make, it's a little longer than I would usually spend on dinner during the week but I'm currently off a couple days before starting my new job on Monday, so I had some extra time. My kids both gobbled it up and my husband raved about it. Success! I prefer cocktail sauce with my fish cakes, while my husband likes tartar sauce - they're both great regardless of which on you prefer! 


1.5 pounds haddock fillets, skin removed
1 1/2 - 2 cups breadcrumbs (I used a mix of Italian style and plain panko)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 eggs
3/4 Tbsp dried basil
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Chop the fish into two inch chunks and pulse in a food processor until the fish is broken down into smaller pieces. Transfer the pureed fish into a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix until combined. 

In the bottom of a Dutch oven, heat about a tablespoon of canola oil over medium-high heat. While the oil is heating, use a ice cream scoop to make small fish cakes. Flatten slightly before carefully placing in the hot pan. Allow to cakes to cook on one side for 5 minutes and then flip over to cook for an additional five minutes. Once cooked, removed from the pan and place on a paper-towel lined plate. Repeat with the remaining mixture and add additional oil if necessary. 

Adapted from: Tasty Kitchen

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Oatmeal Lace Cookies #FilltheCookieJar

This month's Fill the Cookie Jar group is all about Christmas cookies! I had a hard time picking a cookie for this month's theme. I've been making a lot of cookies recently and running out of ideas, so off to Pinterest I went. I did a generic search for Christmas cookies and found a recipe for oatmeal lace cookies. This was a new recipe for me and have never seen them before.

The recipe was super simple and it made the most delicious crispy, chewy cookies! They're also buttery, sweet and reminded me of caramel. I sent the majority of them with my husband to work... they would be dangerous if they were left at home with me all day!



2 sticks unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
2 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
2 1/4 cups rolled oats
3 Tbsp flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. 

In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter and brown sugar over medium heat. Stir the mixture together often until its combined and smooth. Turn off heat and add in the remaining ingredients. 

Scoop the batter out by teaspoons onto the prepared baking sheets. Leave two inches between cookies and they will spread. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes until they're golden brown. 

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 1 minute on the baking sheet. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. 

Source: Add a Pinch 


Friday, November 28, 2014

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

Every time I ask my kids what they want me to make...it's muffins! Of course the next question was...what flavor? After going through a couple different options with Madeline, she settled on peanut butter chocolate chip. I knew these would make a great morning snack for her during the school day.


2 cups whole wheat white flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips
1 cup milk
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking tins with paper liners and set aside.

In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix until just combined. Fill the prepared muffin cups 3/4 full.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from tin and place on a cooling rack to completely cool.

Source: The Frugal Girls