Sunday, March 1, 2015

Happy March and Garden Vegetable Quinoa Chili

According to our local meteorologist, we officially survived the coldest month on record since 1857. The official average temperature for February 2015 was 7.2 degrees, crushing the old record of 9.2 degrees set back in 1857.  Not only was it the coldest winter ever on record, February 2015 came in at the third snowiest winters with 40.4" of snowfall. The ski resorts are very happy.
I welcome March with open arms.

We have been trying to eat healthy {and stay warm}. I've been using Bob's Red Mill products forever, especially the dried garbanzo beans (chick peas).
We make hummus twice a month using the recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook, and we love it on these Greek salad sandwiches. I soak the garbanzo beans before going to bed, and make the hummus in the food processor in the morning. Easy peasy.

When I was asked if I would like to review Bob's Red Mill Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook I immediately said yes since my good friend Donna has celiac disease. 

I've been cooking gluten free for our dinner parties with Donna for over eight years, and am always interested in trying new gluten-free recipes.

The recipe I chose from the cookbook included quinoa which I use on a regular basis. It is classified a super-food by nutritionists and a “super-crop” by the United Nations. The National Academy of Sciences calls quinoa “one of the best sources of protein in the vegetable kingdom.”

{This recipe will be on our menu on a regular basis. It was that good.}

Garden Vegetable Quinoa Chili, page 129
Courtesy of Bob’s Red Mill Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook by Camilla V Saulsbury, 2015 © Reprinted with publisher permission.
Makes 8 servings

112 tbsp vegetable oil                 
2        zucchini, diced                   
1        red bell pepper, chopped        
1        green bell pepper, chopped       
112 cups chopped onions               
4        cloves garlic, minced            
3 tbsp   chili powder                  
112 tbsp ground cumin                  
1 tsp    hot pepper sauce              
2        cans (each 14 to 19 oz)
         red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1        can (14 to 19 oz) black 
         beans, drained and rinsed
1        can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes 
1        can (14 to 15 oz)
         tomato sauce
112 cups hot cooked quinoa
         Fine sea salt and freshly ground
         black pepper
Suggested Accompaniments
         Plain Greek yogurt
         Lime wedges
         Fresh cilantro leaves
         Chopped green onions
         Chopped radishes

1.   In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add zucchini, red pepper, green pepper and onions; cook, stirring, for 8 to 10 minutes or until softened. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin and hot pepper sauce; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
2.   In a small bowl, coarsely mash half of the red beans with a fork. Stir mashed beans, whole red beans, black beans, tomatoes and tomato sauce into the pot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, for about 30 minutes to blend the flavors. Stir in quinoa. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with any of the suggested accompaniments, as desired.

If using the larger 19-oz cans of beans, you may want to add up to 12 cup water to thin the chili.

Storage Tip
Store the cooled chili (without any accompaniments) in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or in the microwave using the Defrost function. Warm chili in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.

Now it's time to choose a menu for our Key West Party.  Thank you for stopping by!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Some of My Favorite Things


It's a balmy 28 degrees here today, and I just cleaned my mirrors and windows with club soda and a lint free cloth. Works great.

My mom's Pyrex bowl {my favorite} is being used to bake bread.  

I have been using this tin container (for bread flour) for a decade.

My favorite green glass measuring cup takes up residence in the flour.

A geranium in bloom! I brought it indoors for the winter and it has started blooming. Spring is just around the corner.

I use this when I forget to wear gardening gloves :-)

I found this on AOL this morning....

We will paint flowers on the snow to get us through this long winter in New York!

Sweet gerber daisies from my son for Valentine's Day.

I made a few of these mason jar vases for our upcoming Key West dinner party to warm up our friends :-)

MacKenzie-Childs has done it again.
I ADORE these new cupcake containers.

Yes please!!!

Sweet, sweet paper napkins ;-)  I think I'll be tucking one in my lunch tote from time to time. 

I love this idea. Three of my friends and I will be sharing our travels with the "Traveling Tote Series."  {soon}

Thank you for stopping by! I am joining Share Your Cup Thursday.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day

 I am still swooning over these heart shaped sugar cookies with my favorite Magnolia Bakery buttercream frosting that I make every Valentine's day. If I could keep only one buttercream recipe, this would be it. Every time we go to New York City, I have to stop at the Magnolia Bakery for a cupcake ;-)

World Famous Paradise Bakery Sugar Cookies with Magnolia Bakery Buttercream Frosting

Cookie Ingredients:

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
2 cups vegetable shortening
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg, beaten
3 1/3 cups cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1) Preheat oven to 375°.
2) In a medium bowl, cream together the sugars and shortening using an electric mixer.
 3) Mix on slow speed 30 seconds, then scrape down the bowl with a spatula.
4) Increase speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes.
5) Slowly add vanilla and beaten egg while mixing.
6) In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl, mixing on slow speed until just blended. Do not overmix.
 7) Scoop with an ice-cream scoop if decorating with sugar only
8) Place directly on cookie sheet.
9) Bake at 375° for 9-10 minutes. Cookies are done when small cracks appear and are pale golden. Ideally, the edges do not brown.

If making cut out cookies form dough in to two balls, chill dough in refrigerator for at least two hours covered.

Roll out dough on floured surface and cut out cookies with desired shaped cookie cutters.
Place directly on cookie sheet. Bake at 375° for 9-10 minutes. Cookies are done when small cracks appear and are pale golden. Ideally, the edges do not brown.

Decorate with Buttercream Frosting or Sugar (See recipe below).

Magnolia Bakery Buttercream Frosting Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 to 8 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Thank you so much to all of you who have sent kind condolences on my mother's passing. It is truly appreciated. My creative spirit will be back soon.

I am joining Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A January Wedding

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
We attended a beautiful January wedding (East Coast) for my cousin's son, and even though it was my first January wedding, I hope it won't be my last. Loved everything about it, and the temperature in the room at the reception felt tropical. LOL I think they wanted to make sure the bride was warm. 
Loved the bride's pine cone wedding bouquet! Don't worry, she didn't didn't toss it ;o)
My cousin's daughter made the wedding cake, and I loved the bride and groom topper made of pine cones. 
The winter white candles and pine branches made a stunning centerpiece for each table. 

Thank you for stopping by!

Saturday, January 31, 2015


a wonderful mom
is like counting the stars--
just when you think
you've found all the reasons
to thank God for her,
your realize you've just begun.
Holley Gerth

Words cannot express my loss, but the beautiful memories of my mom throughout the years and knowing how much I did for her when she needed me the most, have brought me much comfort. Mom suffered from Parkinson's and is now in a better place.

My loving and beautiful mom passed away on January 22 at age 78. Mom needed me most the last two years of her life, and my memory will always be etched with the fun things we did. Each Tuesday, we picked her up for dinner and brought her to our home (al fresco dinners on our deck were the best), on Thursdays I took mom to choir practice and on Sundays we explored antique stores, thrift shops, photographed owls, visited friends and relatives, relaxed at our camp and the list goes on.

My Mother's advice will always be etched in my heart.

What's the best advice you've ever received from your mom?

My mom told me to always look for the sunshine in my life and count the blessings.
Taught me respect.
Stay close to the Lord and everything will be alright.
And the Golden Rule was very popular in our household....
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

I fell in love with this recipe on Bake at 350 blog last year. It may have had something to do with the two jars of Trader Joe's cookie butter that I had in my pantry and wanted to use. These Speculoos and Chocolate Button Cookies ended up being one of mom's favorites, and every time I make these I will think of her.

If you try these cookies, I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do. I am looking forward to getting back to blogging soon.