Introducing Creativity To The Alternative Diet: Many of us have segued from traditional dietary lifestyle to alternative dietary lifestyles, i.e. Gluten free, Vegan, Grain free, Real food, etc. What are we discovering?? These recipes are NOT mediocre!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Broccoli Cheese Soup Review

I have one and a half recipes to report on... you know how the lamb meatball soup turned out at our house. I made the herb drop biscuits to go with spaghetti and turkey meatballs and they were so good! I made the recipe just like it says but I also added a couple cloves of fresh garlic as well. The biscuits were a real hit! Four thumbs up!

Now for the broccoli soup and sourdough. We LOVED the soup! I added more veggies than the recipe calls for, this is because I don't use measuring cups and because I always add more veggies anyway. For the soup, I had made the starter ahead of time. The first batch of bread wasn't that good. It didn't SEEM like sourdough. The second batch I left the sponge out even longer and it was a bit more sour but still nothing special. I don't feel as committed to it as Staci, wow that was impressive (five batches in a row). I did make the soup and put it in bowls on the second batch. I divided the dough this time and made four small bowls. Andy & I had our soup in two of the bowls and then served crab dip in one of the other small loaves for a Christmas party. When we had the soup leftovers I blended a little more than half of it to make it more smooth. I liked that best. All-in-all, I liked the bread but next time I want sourdough I will go buy it at a bakery from someone who has the recipe down. We loved the soup and will certainly be making that again! Four thumbs up!

Now I am caught up, YEAH!!! Bring it on Tisha!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Broccoli Cheese Soup

My review of the soup! I actually made this a long time ago but haven't gotten this out until now. I am so glad that we decided to hold off on recipes for the month of December. Anyone else feeling the same way??
The soup: Wonderful!
It was a great soup, I will be happy to make it again. As Alyssa said, I would most definitely half the cayenne because it was overpowering to me. I used sharp cheddar but I love the idea of using gruyere, so next time I will try it. I did not make the bowls because of the particular night I made it, I kind of decided to do it last minute. I do want to try the bread bowls though so next time its Gruyere and bread bowls!!

I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas! Stay safe and have fun!

PS: I made some Songe Candy from (otherwise known as seafoam) and it was SOOO easy to make and a really great recipe. It is a nice change from normal holiday candy and it does not take too long. If you have never had seafoam you really should try it, it is very unique and absolutely delightful. Just put in "sponge candy" and it comes right up. I dipped mine in melted chocolate and we had friends over who LOVED it. Let me know if anyone trys it I am curious to know what you think.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I'm so so sorry...

Hi girls....... I am truely sorry i've been gone from the website for a while. I'll do my best to try as many as the receipes as i can and comment on them. I've had some personal things going on that have kept me away. I've recently moved so I now have my own kitchen again which will make cooking even more enjoyable again in my own space. I have only two pans at this point, a "dutch oven" pot and a sauce pan so you can imagen how i'm greatful for the soup round ...hehe. I have been really sick the past few weeks and have missed quite a bit of work so i made some home made chicken noodle soup and decided this time i wanted it to be as healthy as i possibly could so I made a little visit to whole foods and every item I put in there was organic. I have to say...what a difference. it tasted so fresh and flavorful and healthy. If only I could shop there all the time. :) Well girls again I apologize for my absence for a while but glad to be back. Looking fwd to trying the soups. Have a wonderful day!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Lamb Puke

I know, not the title you would expect or hope to see on a COOKING BLOG! Well, unfortunately it is the bottom line. Here goes my story.
It was time to make the lamb meatball soup and I was having a dilemma as to whether I should use lamb or maybe ground sirloin because I don't really like lamb. I was encouraged by a couple people to just try it and against my better judgement I did. I really liked the soup base but couldn't get past the strong lamb flavor that influence the entire bowl of soup. Andy agreed with my opinion, Abigail wouldn't touch it after the first bite and AJ ate the entire bowl (no surprise). So that is how it went over. I decided that I would make the soup again when I had some ground sirloin on hand and try that because I really did like the idea of the soup.
(Two days later)
I was pulling out left-overs for lunch. Abigail wasn't really eating because she had been up the whole last night throwing up. So I ate something (?) and AJ ate lamb soup. Right after I put him down for his nap, a couple hours later, he started crying. Andy & I ran in there to find he had thrown up the soup all over himself, the crib and the floor. So that brings me to the bottom line. I do not like the lamb soup and unfortunately will not be making it anytime soon, even with ground sirloin. Sad.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Turkey Corn Soup turned Enchiladas

So I'm not completely sure why but my soup did not really turn out very soupy. I did not do turkey legs but just threw in all the leftover turkey, and even added some extra stock but it still turned out pretty thick and looked so similar to our Tortilla soup we make (which we had just had) that I just wasn't interested in eating it in soup form. :) So I drained out the little liquid there was and made it into enchiladas, it was really really good. I made a white sauce instead of red sauce to go with them and presto dinner was done. I liked the idea of this soup and it did not end up tasting like our Tortilla soup though it looked the same, so I think I may take some of the ideas from this soup if I'm looking to mix up or Tortilla soup standby.

I haven't made the peanut butter bread but it is on the To Do list for the week!

(Slowly trying to catch up!) :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Broccoli Cheese Soup

I was fortunate enough to make this yummy soup with Eva at her house. It was very good! We followed the recipe exactly. Well . . . we didn't do the bread bowls. It was just too much for us to do it all. AND she hadn't made the Herb Drop Biscuits yet, so she made those to go with it instead. My only comment (other than YUM) would be that next time I will use about half the cayenne pepper that we used. The soup was so good, but in my opinion the cayenne overpowered the tastes of the vegetables and the cheese. I'll make this again. Thank you!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

sourdough review

Well ladies, since I posted this I have made a loaf of sourdough everyday. The first loaf i did exactly as the recipe said, only by hand not mixer. It was okay but not quite what I expected (very little if any "sour" taste but very crusty outside and soft and chewy inside). The second loaf I followed the same directions but, this time instead of using the reccomended amount of flour I went by feel. I think I used a little less flour and kept the dough a tiny bit stickier than the first loaf. For those not familiar with bread making a dough should be smooth and elastic when the right amount of flour is added. If it gets rough or dry feeling dampen your hands and then knead the moisture off your hands into the dough to replenish the moisture. I thought this loaf too was good and more moist but still lacking a bit in the sour flavor.
So, for loaf 3 I made a "sponge" from my starter. Which basically means I took the starter out of the fridge the night before I intended to bake the bread and let it sit on the counter overnight to ferment a bit more. This loaf was much better. It had a slightly more sour taste and the bread was a little lighter and delicious. For the 4th loaf I again made a sponge, I also added about 3 teaspoons of sugar and a little more salt to the dough. This was my favorite yet. It had a better flavor and was so good it disappeared before I made dinner (000ppps!).
So, I gues my reccomendation would be to make the sponge overnight, add a bit of sugar and go by feel of the dough rather than specific amount of flour to use. I love how easy this bread is to make and the fact that ow that I have my starter I can make fresh bread any day as long as I have salt and flour in the house! I will continue to try new things and hope the starter gets a more complex flavor as it ages! I have done lots of reading on sourdough bread this week and would be happy to offer any suggestions or answer any questions you may have! I can't wait to see what everyone else thinks! Oh, well, I am off to start loaf 5! I am forseeing bread, starter?, and a soup in the jar mix as a great Christmas gift for my neighbors or friends!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Broccoli (veggie) Cheese Soup in Sourdough Bread bowls

So ladies, here is a classic yet very tasty soup I love! I used to just use broccoli but started adding the other veggies and love how great it tasted! As for the sourdough, well, I have always wanted to make it so here is our chance. I realize it may take a bit longer than other recipes but, Heck, I am the only recipe you have to do for an enitre month so I think we can manage! Here it goes......

2 Tb oil
1/2 c. each onion, bell pepper ( i like red in this) finely chopped
1/3 c. each carrot and celery, finely chopped
1 medium russet potato peeled, and diced into small cubes
2 Tb flour
1 1/2 cup good stock (veggie , chicken, turkey, NOT AS IN GOOD MEN!?!)
1/2 c dry white wine (more to sip as you cook always helps this recipe out)
a few good shakes of Wocestershire sauce- not quite a teaspoon but close I would guess
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or 1/4 tsp cayenne and 1/4 tsp white pepper)
1 1/2 cups. small broccoli florets ( I usually peel the stalk and dice it small to throw in as well)
1/2 lb extra sharp Cheddar cheese ( I have also used Gruyere or a combo of both and it is fabulous!!!)

Heat oil in stock pot until hot but not smoking (I find that heating slowly on Med. is better and less likely to make the oil burn or the veggies burn when added) and add first 5 veggies. Saute until soft and tender stirring often so as not to brown them. Sprinkle flour on top and DO NOT STIR for 1 minute to allow the gluten in the flour to relax. Then, after a minute stir flour into veggies and cook additional 2 minutes. Add in the stock and wine 1/2 cup at a time and stir in between to prevent the flour from becoming lumpy. Once all the liquids are in at the broc, worcestershire, and pepper, simmer 10-15 minutes or until broccoli is tender or cooked to your liking. Remove from heat and slowly stir in the cheese a little at a time. Salt and Pepper to taste and serve in bread bowls or with good quality croutons on top.

Sourdough Bread recipe from Emeril
Starter -
3 cups water (110 degrees)
1 1/2 Tb active dry yeast ( a packet is 2 1/4 tsp. )
1 tsp sugar
3 C. all purpose flour

In a large bowl combine water, yeast and sugar gently stir and let sit until very foamy (about 5 minutes) if not foamy then the yeast is bad and you must start over with new yeast.Add the flour and stir vigorously to work air into the mixture. Cover with a towel let rest in a warm, draft-free place (an oven with its pilot light or light bulb turned on works well) for 8 to12 hours. (The mixture should become very bubbly.) Use immediately or cover loosely with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
Preserving the Starter: Each time you remove a portion of the starter for a recipe, reserve at least 1/4 cup and replace the amount you have taken out with equal amounts of flour and water.
For example, if you remove 1 cup of starter, you must replace it with 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of warm water. Whisk these ingredients into the starter until blended but not completely smooth, cover loosely, and return to the refrigerator.
Also, the starter must be maintained by feeding it every few days. Refresh by removing 1 cup of the starter (give to a friend or discard it) and adding 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of warm water. Whisk until blended but not smooth. Cover loosely and return to the refrigerator.
If you plan to be away longer than a week, freeze the starter in a sterilized, airtight freezer container. Thaw the starter 2 daysIngredientsbefore you plan to bake with it. Refresh as indicated above with 1 cup each of flour and warm water. Cover and leave at room temperature 12 hours or overnight before using.
CAUTION: Never keep your starter tightly closed! The gasses expelled by the yeast will build up pressure and may cause the container (such as a glass jar) to burst!
Yield: 5 to 6 cups Prep time: 10 minutes Inactive prep time: 12 hours

2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 cups sourdough starter, recipe follows
3/4 teaspoon salt
In an electric mixer with the dough hook, combine the flour, starter and salt, and knead until it no longer sticks to the sides or bottom of the mixing bowl.
Place a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle lightly with flour and knead gently, removing any large air bubbles. Knead into a small circle, then shape into a tight ball, pinching the seams together underneath. Place on a well-floured board or baking peel, seam-side down. Cover with a kitchen towels and let rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat a baking stone, if available, on the bottom rack of an oven at 400 degrees F. With a sharp, serrated knife, cut a large "X" or cross-hatch pattern into the top of the dough.
Spray lightly with a mister and transfer to the baking stone (or place on a heavy baking sheet lightly dusted with cornmeal) and bake until golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom, about 60 minutes. (Sourdough should have a darker crust than other breads, so leave in the oven 5 minutes after you think it is done.)
Remove the loaf from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Soooooo far behind! Here's my wrap up!

I am so sorry for not keeping up! It has been a crazy month in the Cahill household but all is calming down we hope. Kat was in the hospital most of last week, I got a job, and all is looking up! I will post my recipes tomorrow! I know what I want to do and even where the recipes are but am too tired to do it now. Instead I will do my catch up!

Turkey Soup and PB Bread...
I must admit that I made this soup and thought it made my house smell like heaven! I was so eager to taste it and followed the recipe exactly (even adding beans that weren't listed) and couldn't wait to try it. Then, as it cooked Kat got sickand we went tot he Doc's. By the time we left and got done at the pharmacy i was starving to the point of feeling sick. When we got home the smell was amazing but my stomach was turning ( later that night I was sick as well) so i opted to save the soup for the next day. Well, after being sick and then smelling the soup again I ust couldn't bring myself to taste it and did the next best thing.... pass it on to my sister and her family. THEY LOVED THE SOUP!!!!!!! Apparently even the 4 1/2 yr old and 21 month old thought it was fabulous because it all disappeared! I can't wait to make it again when I am feeling great and taste it! I wasn't a fan of the PB bread. I thought it was ok but just had a hard time with my bread tasting of PB. Katrina loved it and I thought it was moist and a very good bread just not my style I guess. I think I will make this again when the whole family is in town cuz I know the kiddos will love it!

Meatball Soup and Herb Drop Biscuits
I love this soup! I have to admit I cheated on it and instead of using lamb I did a mixture of sausage and ground beef. I have a hang up with lamb and think I may have let the recipe down. I will have to try it again with the lamb soon! I am not much of a lamb fan and had never had the soup so didn't want to spend the money on it just for Kat and I to eat it when I wasn't sure. BOY WAS I WRONG!!! This is definitley a company soup and I will make it again with the lamb next time I have company!

I think that brings me up to date! Sorry for the delay and I will post new recipes tomorrow!!!!

YP and Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread finally! I found time to make this right before Thanksgiving and I liked it. I didn't love it as much as you all did though. I think that the reason for this is because I over cooked it. I didn't mean to and I think that if it had been more moist then it would be way better. So I think there is a possibility that I would make this again. I put some of it in the freezer so we'll have some later this winter. I did enjoy it with coffee in the morning.

The Yourvarlakia Avgolemono was so delicious! I have had it before but this is the first time I made it myself and oh! it is so good. I would say one of my favorite soups EVER. It is so easy too, and really the only thing to complain about is making those pesky meatballs. For meatballs it's not like they are hard to make it's just time consuming. but oh so worth it. Mark loved it, too. It is a very satisfying meal.