Friday, January 15, 2010

Crockpot Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

1 large butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1" pieces
2 Tbl. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 large or 2 small apples, peeled and diced(any kind, gala or fuji best)
1 qt. vegetable stock
1 rounded tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. each: black pepper, white pepper, nutmeg, cardamom, and cumin
pinch of red pepper flakes or more to taste
1 cup plain almond milk(or milk/cream)

Preheat oven to 425'. Spread diced butternut squash on large cookie sheet lined with non-stick foil. Drizzle olive oil over squash to coat, mix with hands if needed. Bake for 15-20 minutes, just until some pieces are starting to golden up around the edges and pieces are all sizzling. While baking add the diced onion and apple to crockpot. When squash is done add to crockpot. Sprinkle seasonings over the vegetable mixture. Pour vegetable stock over crockpot ingredients and just give it a gentle stir. Cook on LOW 6-8 hours. Just before ready to serve, blend mix with an immersion blender(stick/handheld blender). Pour in almond milk and mix well. Serve in a mug or bowl. Top with toasted coconut, croutons, grated parmesan cheese, and toasted pine nuts on the side and soft garlic breadsticks or rolls.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Guilt-LESS Chocolate Fix

This is my favorite fix for a generous single serving of chocolatey goodness.

Spray a mug or bowl with non-stick spray. Dump in 4 Tbl. Chocolate Cake Mix(any kind), 2 Tbl. diet soda(such as Diet Pepsi, Diet Dr. Pepper, Diet 7-up, etc...), and 1 tsp. mini chocolate chip morsels.

Mix it all together well. Microwave for 50-60 seconds and let sit for 1 minute. Top with a little frozen fat-free whipped topping if you like. This hits the spot!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Shepherd's Pie

2 lb. extra lean ground top sirloin
Extra-light olive oil
1 yellow onion sliced thin and half-wise
1 lb. mushrooms, stemmed & quartered
1/2-1 cup red wine(non-alcoholic)
2 cups beef broth
2 Tbl. corn starch
1 lb. baby carrots sliced lengthwise & steamed
1/2 cup frozen peas
8 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 Tbl. fresh rosemary finely chopped
salt & pepper to taste

In a large saute pan brown ground top sirloin, breaking up pieces as it cooks. Drain any grease and set aside in a large bowl. With pan still hot, add 1 Tbl. olive oil and onion. Cook down onions until golden and caramelized, but not burnt. While onions are cooking, steam sliced carrots in microwave until al dente(approx. 4 minutes on high). Add carrots to beef mixture. Add onions to beef in large bowl when translucent. While pan is still hot, add additional 1 Tbl. olive oil and add mushrooms. Cook at high-med heat until golden on all sides. Add 1 Tbl. butter and cook additional minute. Add red wine and lower heat slightly, cook until wine reduces by half. Add salt and pepper and stir. Mix beef broth with 2 Tbl. cornstarch with wire whisk. Pour over mushrooms and stir until thickened. Turn off heat and pour mushroom/gravy mixture over beef mixture and fold until all ingredients are coated. Pour into greased deep 9x13" pan.

In a large pot, bring 2 qts. water and diced potatoes to boil, salt water and reduce heat slightly to avoid boil-over. Cook for approx. 20 minutes, until fork tender. Drain and return to pan. Add 1 stick of butter, 1/2 cup milk or sour cream, salt and pepper to taste, rosemary, and mash with potato masher. Spread potatoes over beef mixture. Bake at 375' for approx. 35-40 minutes, uncovered, until top is golden.

Restaurant Style Salsa

Rough chop and puree in food processor the following:

8 roma tomatoes
1/2 purple onion
2 scallions
2 cloves of garlic crushed
1/2 bunch of cilantro
a large jalapeno pepper(only de-seeded one half)
salt, black pepper, & white pepper to taste,
tsp. or so of sriracha sauce
a splash of lime juice
a splash of golden balsamic vinegar

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Last night we had 25 youth(including our 4) over for a New Year's Eve Party along with a presentation for the youth's new theme, which is Joshua 1:9(..."Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.) You can print up some great handouts, posters, bookmarks, etc... from . The handout below I found HERE.

We have such great kids between our two wards(church talk for congregations) and they are fun, friendly, and great to be around. They get along SO well too, no boundaries or issues when they get together. I hope everyone felt welcome and included, by the looks of things, everyone was having a great time.

We devoured a lot of goodies the kids supplied. Mr. D made crepes and the kids brought the fillings, some sweets and snackies. I really hope we didn't offend any French, I some with toppings probably more suitable for ice cream sundaes. But, oh well, it all looked good and disgusting at the same time. LOL

The adults gathered around the piano for some Boggle and games too. It looked like they were sitting around a piano bar, lol. Kept waiting for someone to come over and play something.

Some were playing Apples to Apples, after Curses, and before MAO(CRAZY!).

Always something to do.

At midnight we flew paper airplanes off the porch(remember this next year, because they are SO much easier to clean up than confetti and poppers). Then we watched a few quaint firework shows off in the distance. Thank you whoever put on the shows!