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pumpkin and white bean bisque with sage pesto

This year is flying by!!  Even my 18-year-old can’t believe it’s the middle of November already.  I think she is realizing that college move-in day is inching closer and closer.  Even though it will be a big change, we are all very excited for her.  She was accepted into the Honors College at WSU and will be a pre-vet student majoring in animal sciences.  School starts in August, so the countdown is on, especially for her 15-year-old brother, who will be moving into her room :)

Cooking Light had this soup in its latest Thanksgiving issue.  It would be a great first course to your Thanksgiving meal, or have it as a great autumnal dinner with some homemade bread.  This soup is very easy, since it uses pantry items, has a great texture thanks to the pureed beans and has a small amount of heat thanks to the cumin and cayenne.  The pesto puts it over the top, but of course you could omit it.  I made it vegetarian with vegetable stock, but the original recipe called for chicken stock.

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Pumpkin and White Bean Bisque with Sage Pesto

  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage, divided
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar

Sage Pesto

  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. water

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add onion, 1 Tbsp. chopped sage, and garlic to pan and sauté 4 minutes or until lightly browned.  Add ground red pepper and cumin, sauté one minute.  Stir in 1/2 cup vegetable broth and cook one minute, scraping pan to loosen any bits from bottom.  Combine onion mixture, 2 cups vegetable broth, beans, and pumpkin in blender and process until smooth.  Return to pan.  Stir in milk and salt.  Bring to a simmer, cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in vinegar.

To make pesto:  Combine 1 Tbsp. chopped sage, spinach, basil, pine nuts, Parmesan, olive oil and water in a mini food processor.  Process until smooth.

To serve, ladle 2/3 cup soup in a bowl and top with 2 teaspoons pesto.  Serves 8.

Recipe from Cooking Light, November 2013.

Using the Weight Watcher Recipe Builder for the soup:

8 servings = 2 Points Plus

for the pesto:

8 servings = 1 Points Plus

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2013 in soups, vegetarian

 

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chocolate-dipped peppermint marshmallows

I don’t do Facebook.  There, I said it.

If it had come into existence earlier in my life, I probably would have embraced it.  Not sure how much different this is from Facebook posting, but I do include a nice little recipe.   And lately, you can see how often I even want/find the time to do that (sorry Mom!  I’ll try to post more often).

That being said, I do have a Facebook account for the sole purpose of staying connected with my super good friend Tammy.  Tammy and her family moved a year and a half ago to Paris (sounds like The Life, but she assures me that after a while, it just seems like Puyallup)  I signed up for an account just so I can view the photos of their life and adventures.  Jet-setting to Belgium, Italy and England for kids soccer games….yah, that seems like Puyallup :)  I don’t post, I just look at her pictures, so it’s a little like peeking into her Parisian window.

It was on her Facebook account that I saw this little treat from Baking Hot Christmas.  So cute and easy!  I think it would be a nice school Christmas party hand-out for classmates, packaged in clear bags with a cute ribbon and stapled to a packet of hot cocoa.  Enjoy!

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Chocolate-Dipped Peppermint Marshmallows

  • mini candy canes
  • regular sized candy canes
  • large marshmallows (not Jumbo)
  • chocolate chips (any kind, I used dark chocolate)
  • shortening

Crush large candy canes into very small pieces.  If they are too large, they won’t stick to the chocolate.  Insert one mini candy cane into a marshmallow.  In a small bowl, combine about a half a bag of chocolate chips and spoon a teaspoon of shortening on top.  Microwave on 50% for increments of one minute, stirring each time, until melted.  Dip marshmallow into chocolate and wipe bottom across side of bowl (to prevent puddling when they cool).  Sprinkle candy cane chips/powder onto chocolate sides.  Place on Silpat lined baking sheet.  The chocolate will harden when cool.

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2013 in Beverage, desserts, snacks

 

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pumpkin cranberry bread

I am in my happy place when I walk into the grocery store and see the stacks of Ocean Spray cranberry bags in the produce section. I don’t understand why we can’t get frozen cranberries year-round!? Well this year, I will be shopping in my freezer until next November when the cranberries are back…I’ve already frozen a dozen bags :)

I will probably add more cranberries to the next batch I make.  I loved the tart bursts of flavor!

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Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 can (15 ounces) LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup chopped, frozen cranberries (I use a cuisinart to chop the frozen berries.  You could always use whole or thaw and then chop)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Coat two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans with baking cooking spray.

Combine flours, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in large bowl. In a stand mixer, combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil and juice. Beat on low until blended. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Fold in cranberries. Divide into the two pans and smooth tops.

Bake for 60 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove from pans to cool completely.

Recipe makes two loaves.

Recipe slightly adapted from meals.com

Using the Weight Watcher Recipe Builder, my friend Kristina calculated that each slice (12 slices per loaf) has 6 Points Plus per slice.

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2013 in baking, points plus, snacks, vegetarian

 

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fig and anise biscotti

What happened to the month of September?!  And half of October?!   It blew right on by.

The Washington State Fair was earlier last month, and this year I thought I’d try something different….only enter one contest! Last year’s six entries left me and my family a little crazy. So I pared it down and picked one. As the reigning blue ribbon winner two years running, I decided to try to keep the streak alive with a fig and anise biscotti.

The blue ribbon was not mine to be had this year, but I did win a white ribbon (third place). So now I have two blues, one red and one white ribbon in the biscotti contest. is it time to put my cookie sheet away? Only time will tell…. :)

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Fig and Anise Biscotti

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. anise extract
  • 1 Tbsp. anise seeds
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Vanilla Bean Sea salt from SaltWorks
  • 1 cup chopped dried figs soaked in 2 Tbsp. Port wine
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with Silpat silicone mats.

Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer until light.  Add anise extract and eggs, one at a time..  Mix together flour, baking powder, anise seeds and salt in separate bowl.  Add to wet ingredients.  Stir in figs (drain if any Port remains) and coconut

Spoon batter onto silicone mats in 2 strips, 10 ” long x 2 ” wide.

Bake for 20 minutes until golden.  Remove from oven and cool 30 minutes on a rack.  Cut loaves diagonally in 1/2″ slices.  Return to baking sheet.  Bake 10-14 minutes.  Cool.  Store in airtight container.

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2013 in baking, desserts

 

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grilled peaches with cinnamon yogurt and honey

I love zombies!!

I anxiously await Monday mornings so I can pay Amazon $1.99 to watch the previous nights episode of “The Walking Dead” (we don’t have cable t.v. :( ) I’m such a great fan, I’ve even read the graphic novel as well (Thanks Bill!).  I am also becoming quiet good (in the 43-year-old mom sense) at Call of Duty 2:  Black Ops Zombies.  Love it, love it, love it!!

So it was very exciting to watch Marc and Anna participate in the Run For Your Lives 5K yesterday.  The course was filled with slow and fast-moving zombies trying to capture the flags around their waist.  The runners had a great time dressing up for the occasion.  Marc decided to go with a “caught at work during the apocalypse, so now I’m forced to wear a tie around my head” and Anna went with a shirt that said “Chicks with Brains”.  They sprinted, dodged, crawled and swam their way to the finish line.

After watching part of the race, and hearing the screams and moans, I’ve decided that zombies should stay in books, t.v. and video games.  My pulse was way out of my comfort zone and I wasn’t even running the race!

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Here’s a quick dessert that you could cook over any smoldering post-apocalyptic wreckage :)  We used our gas grill.

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Grilled Peaches with Cinnamon Yogurt and Honey

  • 4 ripe peaches, halved
  • 1/2 cup 0% Fage Greek yogurt
  • 4 Tbsp. honey
  • cinnamon to taste

Place peaches cut side down on a preheated grill (medium heat).  Cook each side 4-5 minutes.

Combine yogurt and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Top each peach with a tablespoon of yogurt and drizzle with a half of tablespoon of honey.  Serves 4.

Recipe very slightly adapted from Skinnytaste.com.

Using the Weight Watcher Recipe Builder, each serving has 4 Points Plus.

For my grandpa:  skinnytaste listed each serving as having 31.7 gms carbs and 2.2 gms fiber.  She used fat-free honey flavored Greek yogurt, I used plain.

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2013 in desserts, points plus, vegetarian

 

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asparagus, red pepper, and potato frittata

This frittata is great (makes a very cute vegetable PacMan too :) )  And the nice thing is that you could totally change-up the vegetables to your liking.  My daughter thought it would make a very nice school lunch as well.  Yes, that’s right.  It’s already time to plan for back to school.  My senior starts next week!

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Asparagus, Red Pepper and Potato Frittata

  • 2 cups liquid egg whites
  • 1/2 cup light ricotta cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 cups hash browns (I used Simply Potatoes)
  • 1/2 lb. asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Mix together egg whites and ricotta until smooth.  Set aside.

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet on medium-high.  In a large bowl, stir together hash browns, asparagus, red pepper and mushrooms.   Add mixture to skillet and cook 5-6 minutes.  Flip potato mixture.

Pour egg mixture evenly over potatoes.  Cover, decrease heat to medium, and cook without stirring until eggs are set, about 12-14 minutes.  Invert frittata over platter and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Serves 6.

Recipe from Crystal Farms advertisement for AllWhites egg whites.

Each 1/6 wedge of frittata has 4 PointsPlus.

**and for my grandpa, each serving has 13 g of carbs and 2 g fiber :)

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2013 in points plus, vegetarian

 

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tofu mac and cheese

This recipe has been a favorite of my kids for several years.  I love it because it is super fast, I can pronounce all the ingredients, and it’s not day-glo orange.

The pot holder the bowl is sitting on was made by my step-mom.  She is a weaver and has been on several covers of “Handwoven Magazine”.

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Tofu Mac and Cheese

  • 12 ounces elbow macaroni, or other short shape
  • one package silken tofu
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups firmly packed grated Cheddar cheese (white, sharp, extra sharp…whatever you like)
  • salt and pepper

Puree the tofu in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Pour into a saucepan and add butter and cheese.  Slowly bring to a gentle simmer over medium low heat, stirring often, and cook until cheese is thoroughly melted.

Cook pasta until al dente, drain.  Combine pasta and sauce.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Recipe from The Vegetarian Family Cookbook.

Using the Weight Watcher Recipe Builder, if divided into 6 servings, each has 10 Points Plus (using 2 cups cheese)

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2013 in pasta, vegetarian

 

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