Quickles: How to Quick Pickle Any Veg
Recipes / January 30, 2019

Makes about 1 1/2 cups of sliced pickles 1 1/2 cups thinly slicked veggies 1/2 cup white wine vinegar 1 rounded tablespoon sugar 1 teaspoon peppercorns 1 bay leaf 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup water Put veggies into a clean, pint-sized jar. In a medium pot, bring vinegar, sugar, peppercorns, bay leaf, salt, and water to a boil, then lower to a simmer until salt and sugar are dissolved. Pour the hot brine over the thinly sliced veggies and allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, cover and store in the fridge for up to 5 days. My notes: Not a lot to say. I used cucumbers. They didn’t really turn into pickles. But if you like vinegary cucumbers (which we do), this is a yummy version. Adapted from Tasting Hygge by Leela Cyd.

Tasting Hygge: Joyful Recipes for Cozy Days and Nights
Cookbook Overviews , Cookbook Reviews / January 28, 2019

I picked up this little cookbook because it’s the time of year when I become obsessed with hygge. Hygge is a Danish word that basically means coziness, but seems to be describing a mindset or way of life that is enjoyed in Scandinavia. At this time of year, when it’s so cold and the weather is often terrible, all I want to do is stay wrapped in a blanket, drink some tea, and read a good book or watch some Netflix. But I still have to eat, and sometimes even see other people! So Tasting Hygge by Leela Cyd is full of recipes for that state of mind. Here’s my verdict: To Read: Yes. Just reading about these recipes made me feel cozy, even if I knew I wasn’t going to make most of them. The author describes the idea of hygge and has personal stories to go along with the recipes. She organizes the chapters into warm, spiced, smooth, calm, and bright. I don’t know if those categories make complete sense when describing recipes, but I think it gives you the sense that these are all important hygge concepts. To Look At: Yes. It’s a very pretty book, lots of…

Ma’s Wicked Good Zucchini Bread
Recipes / January 25, 2019

Makes one 8 by 4-inch loaf (about 10 slices) Spray oil1 or 2 small zucchini1 cup raisins, optional3 cups whole wheat flour1 teaspoon baking soda1 teaspoon baking powder1 teaspoon ground cinnamonPinch of salt1 cup unsweetened almond milk*3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce1/2 cup sweetener, such as honey, maple syrup, or date paste**1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped, optional Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly coat the loaf pan with spray oil. Grate the zucchini on the large holes of a box grater into a large bowl (about 3 cups). Stir the raisins into the zucchini and set aside bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, applesauce, sweetener, and walnuts. Add the milk mixture to the zucchini mixture and stir to combine, then stir in the flour mixture. The batter will be thick. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake until golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool completely. My notes: As I mentioned on Wednesday, this bread did…

The Whole Foods Cookbook: 120 Delicious & Healthy Plant-Centered Recipes
Cookbook Overviews , Cookbook Reviews / January 23, 2019

If I had tried, I couldn’t have picked two such completely different cookbooks to review for this week and last. In case you missed it, last week I reviewed Chrissy Tiegen’s Cravings: Hungry for More. That book is irreverent, with recipes that are full of flavor, but not guided by dogmatic nutritional rules. The Whole Foods Cookbook is all about nutritional rules. The ingredients that are not used in this cookbook include all meat, eggs, dairy and any type of sweetener (except fruit pastes, which I have questions about). Since this is the time of year when a lot of people (including me) are trying to up their game when it comes to healthy eating, I thought this cookbook by the founder of Whole Foods Market would be a good one to review. But TBH, this was not the easiest book for me to find recipes that I wanted to try. I have a few criteria for recipes. They need to be something that my family might want to eat (that they will at least try), and the ingredients, for the most part, should be things I would normally buy. Luckily, as I was flipping through the book, my oldest…

Cheesy Spicy Breakfast Hash
Recipes / January 19, 2019

Serves 4 1 1/4 pounds potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice1/4 cup vegetable oil1 large onion, cut into 1/2 inch dice6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced2 jalapeno peppers, diced (take out seeds and veins if you don’t want spice)Salt1/2 teaspoon black pepper1 teaspoon paprika1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth1 cup grated cheddar cheese6 eggs, cooked sunny-side upHot sauce, for serving In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the potatoes and 1 inch of water. Cover and cook on high until the potatoes are partially cooked, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain and set aside. Heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, and jalapenos and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and the peppers are softened, about 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, then stir in the potatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, the black pepper, and paprika. Pour the broth into the skillet and cook, stirring only once in a while, until the potatoes are cooked, the whole mess is golden and crispy things happen, about 15 minutes. Taste and add more salt if it’s not already super delicious. Sprinkle with the cheese, cover, and cook…

Sweet Soy-Glazed Pork Chops
Recipes / January 17, 2019

Serves 2 to 4 4 tablespoons soy sauce2 tablespoons canola oil1 tablespoon light brown sugar3 cloves garlicSalt and pepper4 thin-cut bone-in pork chops (4 ounces each)2 medium zucchini (about 5 ounces each), halved lengthwise1 small onion, cut into 6 wedges1 jalapeno, halved lengthwise and seeded2 tablespoons butter, cut into small chunks2 teaspoons white vinegar In a gallon-size zip-top plastic bag, combine 3 tablespoons of the soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of the oil, the brown sugar, garlic, and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Add the pork chops and smush them around to cover with the marinade. Pre-heat a grill pan or cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Brush the zucchini, onion, and jalapeno with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium and grill until the zucchini and onion are tender and charred on both sides, 7 to 8 minutes per side. While the vegetables are cooking, in a medium bowl, combine the butter, vinegar, and the remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Transfer the grilled vegetables to a cutting board and right away cut them into bite-size pieces. While still hot, drop them in the bowl with the butter-soy-vinegar,…

Cravings: Hungry for More
Cookbook Overviews , Cookbook Reviews / January 14, 2019

I was super excited to get a hold of Chrissy Teigen’s newest cookbook, Cravings: Hungry for More. Just to make sure everyone is up to speed, Teigen is married to the R&B singer John Legend. She was a model and still does some TV appearances I think, but she is now best known for her social media presence and her cookbooks. Her writing is very informal (yes, that means there’s some salty language), very funny, and very honest. I had read her first cookbook, Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat, but had never gotten around to actually cooking anything from it. But I had heard from lots of people that her recipes are actually really good. I was skeptical that a former model and wife of a celebrity was also an expert in the kitchen. Well, you should never judge someone by first appearances, because I have already made two recipes from this cookbook that were quite good. I also have put post-it notes on a bunch of other recipes. Right now I’m snowed in and flipping through the book to see if there any recipes I can make with what we already have in the house….

Weekend Reading and Recipes
Favorite Things / January 12, 2019

I hope everyone had a good week, and you are all getting into the swing of the New Year! The twelve days of Christmas are almost over, so I guess I’ll try to get all of the decorations put up this weekend. Wish me luck! Here is are some links to help us both procrastinate over the weekend! The Anxious Person’s Guide to Making Grocery Shopping Therapeutic: I don’t know if grocery shopping makes me anxious, but I can’t say I enjoy it. Will have to try some of these ideas. Master the Italian Hero and Be the Hero of Every Party: If I make these sandwiches, I am sure my boys would think I was a hero! The E. coli outbreak from romaine lettuce is finally over: Yay! I’ll probably still wait a week or two though, just to be safe. Mini BBQ Cheddar Meatloaves from Iowa Girl Eats: This is one of my family’s favorites. Be sure and roast the broccoli as she suggests. Also, add some mashed potatoes (store bought is fine!), and you have the perfect Sunday night meal. Oh, and I usually use ground turkey instead of ground beef. The Internet Famous Slow Cooker Hack…

Ruby Red Gin-Gin Mules
Recipes / January 10, 2019

Serves 4 1/2 cup sugar1/2 cup water1″ knob peeled fresh ginger, sliced into coinsIce cubes1 cup ruby red grapefruit juice3/4 cup ginTonic water In a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat, warm the sugar and water until the sugar dissolves. Add the ginger. Bring to a simmer and then immediately turn off the heat. Allow to steep for 10 minutes. To assemble the drinks: Add a few ice cubes to each of 4 glasses and pour in 2 tablespoons of the ginger syrup. Divide the juice among the glasses and top each with 3 tablespoons of gin and a liberal splash of tonic water. Stir and serve. My notes: The original recipe used blood orange juice, but I couldn’t easily get a hold of blood oranges. I think the grapefruit juice worked and still makes the drink look pretty. (Pretty is a criterion for a good cocktail, isn’t it?) Probably the most interesting thing about this recipe is the ginger-infused simple syrup. That was yummy and could be used in a variety of cocktails! Cheers!

Chicken Noodle Salad
Recipes / January 9, 2019

Makes 2 servings 4 ounces soba or spaghetti noodles2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce1 teaspoon sesame oil1/2 teaspoon sugar or honey1 clove garlic, minced3/4 teaspoon grated fresh ginger1 cup shredded chicken breast3 scallions, thinly sliced1/2 teaspoons sesame seedsSmall handful of cilantro leaves (optional) Cook the noodles according to directions, until they are tender yet still firm. Drain the noodles and immediately run them under cold water to stop any additional cooking. In a small bowl, whisk together the rice winter vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, garlic, and ginger. Place the noodles in a medium bowl and pour the vinegar dressing over them. Toss in the shredded chicken. Garnish with the scallions, cilantro, and sesame seeds. My notes: I have been taking this salad to work for my lunch. It’s refreshing after all the heavy food I ate over the holidays. Veggie spaghetti noodles work well in this this dish, and you could definitely use shrimp, steak, or tofu instead of chicken. I will be making this dish, or a version of it, a lot! Hope you enjoy it also! Recipe adapted from The Year of Cozy by Adrianna Adarme.

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