Thursday, October 22, 2009

Unexpected packages...

Look what arrived on my doorstep a few days ago. The great folks at POM Wonderful sent me a sample of the two new flavors that they've developed.  Kiwi and Nectarine pomegranate juice will be coming soon to a grocery store near you. Both of the flavors are very tasty but I really like the Kiwi.
This is the second time I've gotten a box from POM. The first box contained 6 small regular bottles of POM Wonderful pomegranate juice. I used some of that to make Pomegranate gelato. I just went basic and simple with this juice and added a big splash to some sparkling water. Very refreshing!
Thanks POM it's always fun to get an unexpected package containing a wonderful surprise!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pumpkin Latte

I will be the first to admit that I've got a slight ummm make that a major addiction. My drug of choice?? Coffee. The idea of starting the day without a mug of steaming hot coffee makes me shudder. Most days, just the thought of that mug of coffee is what motivates me to rise from the warm nest of my bed. Waiting for the pot to brew is the longest ten minutes of my day, but ohhh it's so worth the wait! That first sip aaahhh, nothing like it. Bring on the day!
I love the smell, taste, pretty much everything, about coffee. No love isn't to the right word, I adore it. Really coffee holds a special place in my heart.Generally I'm not a fan of flavored coffee. I want it straight with a splash of milk/cream. No sugar or flavored creamers, just plain ole coffee for me. This is still true in the morning. DO NOT mess around with that first cup of the day.
A couple of years ago I discovered (along with millions of others) Starbuck's pumpkin latte....oh my... Wow! Pumpkin and coffee ingenious! This was a flavored coffee that I could get into. However at five bucks a pop and more calories than I want to know, I didn't indulge very often. I decided to try to duplicate the flavors of the pumpkin latte at home. While not this is not quite a coffee shop style coffee, it's a pretty good knock off that is easily made at home, with no special equipment required. Drink up!!

1 cup very strong coffee or espresso
2/3 cup evaporated milk(regular or fat free evaporated milk)
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 to 2 Tbl maple syrup (or use granulated sugar, if you prefer)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or ground cinnamon

Combine coffee, evaporated milk, pumpkin, sugar and pumpkin pie spice in a small saucepan. Heat until very hot over medium-low heat and stir occasionally. To make a foamy top to your latte. Carefully transfer hot mixture into blender container; cover with lid and then hold down lid with folded towel or potholder. Blend for 1 minute.Take care when blending hot liquids!  I used an immersion stick blender. It made a nice foamy top.Carefully pour into mugs and sprinkle with cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Carrot Soup with Rosemary Apple Bread

Yet another reason to love Autumn...the return of soup! Unless it's served cold, not much soup gets eaten around here during the summer month's. So I always look forward to cooler temps because I enjoy making soup, all kinds, almost as much as I enjoy eating them. The pot of goodness gently simmering on the stove. The whole house scented with the smell of its promise of warmth and comfort. It's like curling up in a warm blanket.
In the last week or so we've had temps that dropped into the 40's at night and I started craving a good bowl of soup. Carrot soup has long been a favorite of mine. As with most soups, carrot soup is open to your interpretation. A variety of herbs and spice can be used to flavor carrot soup. Use you imagination. This is my favorite way to make carrot soup. The secret to this soup is the apple, it lends a wonderful hint of sweetness to the carrots. This soup is wonderful the day you make it but even better a day or two later. It holds up to a week when kept refrigerated, so make a little extra!
Looking back at my past few posts, I guess you could say I've been on a bit of an apple roll! I've had a plethora of apples as of late and have been looking for ways to use them all. I came across this recipe for rosemary apple bread and thought it would be the perfect companion to my carrot soup. They were so good together, I decided to post both the recipes. This bread delicious, the hint of rosemary is wonderful with the apples. Don't be scared away because it's a yeast dough. You won't believe how simple it is to make, it's almost disaster proof.

Carrot Soup


1Tbl. butter
1 Tbl. extra virgin olive oil
1onion, peeled and chopped
1sm clove garlic chopped
1 small green apple, peeled and chopped
1 small russet or other starchy potato, peeled and chopped
1 1/4 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander
6 cups water
dash of freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup (or more if you want it richer),whipping cream
Salt and pepper


In a 6-quart pan, over medium high heat, add butter, garlic and onions sprinkle with a little salt and cook, stirring often, until onions are soft. Add water, carrots, apple, potato coriander and ginger (I add a little salt and pepper here too. This helps you to achieve great layers of flavor). Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender when pierced 20- 25 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to cool. Transfer to a blender or using an immersion blender, blend until smooth.  Be careful when blending hot liquids as the mixture can spurt out of the blender. Return to the pan and add cream, stir over high heat until hot. Add salt and pepper and nutmeg, to taste.

( Print Recipe)

Rosemary Apple Bread 


3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 package quick-rise yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
1 cup diced peeled Granny Smith apple (about 1 small)
Cooking spray
2 teaspoons butter, melted


Combine 2 3/4 cups flour, salt, rosemary, and yeast in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add water, stirring until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands. Cover and let rest 5 minutes. Knead in apple. Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°.

Shape dough into a loaf; place dough in an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Gently press dough into pan; cover. Let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Bake at 375° for 45 minutes or until bread is lightly browned and sounds hollow when tapped. Brush top with butter. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack. source: Cooking Light, Nov. 2003

Saturday, October 3, 2009

rumbly in the tummy..time for some sweet potato chips

"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"
"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"
"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully.
"It's the same thing," he said.

Pooh is very wise for a "Bear of Very Little Brains" but much like Hubs, food is never too far from his thoughts. I recently came across this quote from Pooh and laughed at how much it sounds like a conversation between Hubs and me. It usually starts out with something like "what do you want to do, have planned for today", and ends with "what do you want to do for lunch or dinner"(whichever meal is next).

I can't tell you how many times I've walked in the kitchen only to find hubs searching through the cupboards. When I ask what he's looking for, his usual response is  "looking for a snack. I'm a little hungry." Much like Pooh, Hubs gets a little rumbly in the tummy and needs a snack! In an effort not be become "all stuffed with fluff" I haven't been buying very many snack foods. Potato chips in particular have become somewhat of treat in our home.So recently, since the cupboards were bare, (just of junk foods) I decided to make sweet potato chips to ward off the inevitable "rumbly in my tummy."

Sweet Potato Chips

Vegetable oil, for frying
2 large sweet potatoes, washed (peeled or not whichever you prefer)


In a large heavy bottom pan or skillet, heat oil to 350 degrees F.
Thinly slice potatoes into round disks, about 1/4-inch thick. Fry for 1 1/2 to 3 minutes, turning frequently. Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel. 
I sprinkled them with a spicy mixture of cumin, cayenne, salt, and pepper while they where still hot and then squeezed a little fresh lime juice over the top. However you could top these with just salt and pepper, or add almost any herb that you had on hand. Rosemary would be especially tasty!

* note- I cut my sweet potatoes very thin with a mandoline slicer. I did mine length wise but decided after I started frying them that they would have cooked more evenly if they were cut into thin rounds, so that's what I put in the recipe.

Great for husbands with a rumbly tumbly