Busy Holidays!

Pardon the radio silence….I’ve pretty much been boycotting the kitchen since cooking my first Thanksgiving dinner. It was fun and went well, but I think I met my cooking quota for the…month? year? decade?  Hard to believe, I know. Meanwhile, craziness has ensued at school because the kids are all pumped up for vacation. So, to bridge the gap before more fun holiday cooking, here are some great cookie recipes (I haven’t tried them yet, but know they’re great because they come recommended by my friend who is the queen of Christmas cookies) …

…and a funny picture of my dear husband enjoying our turkey to make you smile!

Do you have any holiday cookies that you can’t live without?


Getting Ready

Well, folks, winter is on it’s way and with it, the end of the CSA season.  We still have five more weeks to go with our late fall share, but in anticipation of the vegetable shortage, my husband and I made a day of it getting things ready to freeze. I’ve never gotten into canning, though I’m sure it’s in my future; for now, the freezer will have to suffice. Not everything freezes well and some things we definitely wanted to eat right away, but our freezer is looking pretty well stocked now! I found a great website called Still Tasty that has basic info about the best way to freeze a whole variety of food. Through that website and some additional research, we were able to put up quite a bit of food.

The whole bunch!

Raw Frozen


We washed and chopped a variety of green and hot peppers. We did one bag with seeds still in the hot peppers, for my husband, and one bag without seeds for me. These are ready to be used in stir fries or any other recipe with peppers.


This is a great techniques that can be used with any leafy herb. Simply wash and chop up. Then divide the herb equally in an ice cube tray. Add a little bit of water to each well (just until you can start to see it) and freeze for 24 hours. After the herb cubes are solid, seal them in a freezer bag and, voila, portioned out parsley!

Blanched then Frozen

Carrots, Turnips, and Beet Greens

These veggies are blanched first to preserve their color and texture. Wash the veggies first and peel and chop the carrots and turnips. To blanch, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, make a large bowl of ice water. Add the veggies to the boiling water for 2 minutes and then plunge immediately into the ice water. Once cool, remove from ice water and let dry thoroughly. Seal into freezer bags and place in the freezer.

Cooked then Frozen


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash your beets thoroughly and cut off the greens and roots. In a large baking dish (I used a 9×13 in Pyrex), place the beets and add about 1/4 inch of water. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 50 minutes or until fork-tender. Plunge the beets into ice water and rub off the skins. Chop or slice and freeze in bags.

Sugar Pumpkin

{Full disclosure, we did the pumpkins another day}

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the pumpkin in half and discard the stem. Scoop out the seeds and cook those separately (slow roasted at 300 degrees with olive oil and salt is my personal favorite). In a jelly roll pan, place the two pumpkin halves cut-side down. Add a little water and cover the whole pan tightly with aluminum foil. Roast for about an hour, until the flesh is very tender. Once the pumpkin cools, scoop it out of the skin (if it’s cooked enough, this will be really easy) into a large bowl. Puree with an immersion blender if you have one. This makes an incredibly smooth puree and you don’t need to strain it. Freeze in bags. We did four pumpkins at once and have enough for several pies and other delicious pumpkin treats.

Are there any veggies that you like to preserve for winter?


Breakfast For Dinner

Growing up, breakfast for dinner was always a special treat! My mom often made it when my dad was away on business (I don’t think it was enough food for him!) and my sister and I loved it. Usually, it consisted of scrambled eggs, toast, and some sort of vegetable. (If you want to see what we looked like then, take a look at my other source of internet fame…yes, seriously. I’m the one with the bowl cut!)

Lately, I’ve been on a bit of a breakfast for dinner kick as well. It’s an easy way to throw together a satisfying and relatively guilt-free meal. Tonight, I’ve got two of my “grown-up” breakfast for dinner favorites. One has no pictures and one has no real recipe, so bear with me. We’ll go for the no-recipe version first. Of course, both of these meals are great for breakfast or lunch, too.

Easy Eggs Florentine-ish

This is such an easy meal. It literally took me 15 minutes, fridge to table. Not bad for a yummy dinner!

Take a bunch of spinach (like a whole bunch, spinach cooks down SO much) and wash it thoroughly. Heat a little bit of olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the spinach and cook down over medium heat.

It will quickly go from this:

To this:

Once it looks about like this, add a splash of half & half and continue to cook for about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, fry up an egg to your liking in a tiny bit of olive oil and toast a delicious slice of multigrain bread. To finish the spinach, add a scant tablespoon of cream cheese and a bit of pepper. Cook until the cream cheese melts and serve it up!

And there you’ve got breakfast for dinner! I love that this serving here has an entire bag of spinach in it and I ate it in about 5 minutes. Yum! (In the background, you can see my current reading material, The Lotus Eaters. Has anyone else read it? I’m really enjoying it so far.)

And now for the recipe portion. My husband and I made this on Sunday night, but I didn’t get any pictures, you we’ll just have to make do with the recipe. This is the second time we’ve made it this month, so it’s definitely in our regular rotation. This is from the same great cookbook as this meal from earlier this month.

Sweet Potato and Barley Hash

Adapted from Simply Organic by Jesse Ziff Cool

  • one large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4 in cubes
  • one small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • salt & pepper
  • as many eggs as you want (at least 1 per person)

In a medium saucepan (I used the one in the pictures above), toast the barley dry over medium heat, tossing frequently, for about 5 minutes. They’ll start to brown and smell delicious and nutty when they’re ready. Remove from the heat and put the barley aside. Wipe out the saucepan, and put it back over medium heat with the two tablespoons of olive oil. Add the sweet potato and onion and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the barley and broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer for about 40 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the barley is soft enough. I’d check it after 30 minutes just in case. Meanwhile, cook up one or two eggs per person any way you prefer. I like to cook them over-medium so the yolk can seep into the hash and make it even more delicious. Serve it up with eggs on top and a salad on the side.

Do you have any favorite childhood meals that you’ve recreated?