Yum Peaceful Cooking

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Celery Soup with Potatoes, Leeks and Dill


When it's cold and rainy (a rare occasion here in Los Angeles) you have to take advantage of it and make yourself a good pot of soup!

Some of my most favorite soups can be found in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking Cookbooks, both volumes one and two. I haven't made one I didn't love.  True to Julia's style, there are a few steps. They are not hard steps but are worth it. 

Very much so. 

I did one thing differently. I added dill. I didn't have fresh dill on hand so I used a pretty amazing spice blend by WildTree called Dill Dip Blend. It does make a fantastically addicting dip but is equally delicious as a seasoning. 

Celery Soup with Potatoes, Leeks and Dill

Inspired by Julia Child

Celery and Leeks
3 cups sliced celery
2 Leeks, white parts only, sliced or 1 1/4 cups sliced onion
1/4 tsp salt
3 TB butter
4 cups broth, chicken or vegetable
1/3 cup uncooked white rice

3 cups potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 cups water (important to measure this as it will be added to the soup)
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups milk, heated
1/8 tsp sugar (pinch)
Salt and Pepper to taste (white pepper is recommended)

In a heavy bottomed 3 quart pot, melt the butter and slowly cook the celery and leeks with a 1/4 tsp of salt, covered, until tender but not brown. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Stir in rice and Dill Dip Blend, reduce to a simmer and continue cooking, uncovered for 25 minutes.

While that's going on, boil the potatoes with 2 cups of water and 1/2 tsp of salt. When tender, drain the cooking water into the celery and leeks. Puree the potatoes. I used a ricer and placed them back in the pan and whisked in the heated milk. If you're using a blender, beat along with 1 cup of the heated milk, place into the pan and add the remaining cup of milk.

Once the celery and leeks have cooked a bit, puree the mixture with an immersion blender, or in batches in a blender. Add the potatoes and whisk everything together really well.  Bring to a simmer and then beat in the pinch of sugar and season with salt and pepper to taste.

When serving, add a dab of butter to each bowl. Blend the hot soup into the butter and top with croutons. Something about that dab of butter that adds a bit of richness. You can skip it if you choose, but treat yourself and give it a try it. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Krusteaz Shortbread Pecan Pie Bars and Giveaway

I'm going to try and make this short and sweet....although I've never been able to accomplish that in the past.

But I'll try.

This is another Krusteaz Giveaway....with some really cool things

8 boxes of cookie mix!! (2 - Shortbread, 2 - Butter Vanilla Sugar, 2 - Snickerdoodle and 2 - Triple Chocolate Chunk), Then....there is a tote bag, an E-Z Deco Icing Pen, Edible Markers (SO COOL!!!) and a set of Christmas cookie cutters.

This set-up is perfect! Especially for kids. But since my kids are adults now, I had to borrow one, just to prove how much fun kids will have with this stuff. I let him do it all...start to finish (I did help with rolling out the cookie dough a little) and he was busy all day. Loving it. From mixing to icing to drawing with the pens.

And he did a great job!

Of course an adult would have loads of fun too. And I did, Only I made other things.

Like these Thumbprint cookies, using the Shortbread mix. The recipe is on the back of the box.

And of course I made the Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies but those didn't last long enough to photograph.

What I personally had the most fun doing, was making Shortbread Pecan Pic Bars.

Easy and delicious.

I started off by following the recipe for Krusteaz Shorbread. Instead of rolling it out and cutting it into rectangles, I placed the dough in a 13 x 9 casserole dish that was lined with parchment paper. I pressed it along the bottom, as evenly as possible, and up the sides a bit. This went into a 375' oven and baked for about 15 - 20 minutes, or until golden brown. 

What I didn't do...was prick the bottom with a fork. I didn't want holes that would allow the pecan mixture to escape through. Instead, once it was out of the oven, I let it cool some and then pressed the dough down. I does puff up....so in order to have a smooth surface for the pecan mixture...you will want to press it down with your hands.

But...make sure it's cool enough to the touch so you don't burn yourself.

Then I let it cool completely.

While the dough crust cooled, I prepared the filling:

Pecan Filling:

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 TB honey
2 TB granulated sugar
2 TB heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups pecan halves
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a medium sauce pan over high heat, combine the butter, brown sugar, honey, granulated sugar, cream and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

Boil for about 1 minute, or until the mixture coats the back of your spoon.

Remove from heat and stir in the pecans and vanilla. 

Pour into your crust.

Reduce the oven heat down to 325' and bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbly. If you want a crispier crust, you can bake it a bit longer. 

Allow to cool completely before cutting.

And *POOF* you have yummy little sweets to share with everyone. Along with all the other cookies you've baked.

Ok...now for the important stuff....

How do you get a chance at winning all these goodies? Look below and do what it says. The more entries, the better your chance! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to continental US residents only. This giveaway will run from Wednesday, December 7, 2016 through Saturday, December 10, 2016 (11:59 pm PT). A winner will be notified within 48 hours of the close of the contest and given 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. 

I was not compensated for this post, however Krusteaz supplied me with samples. They are also supplying the products for the giveaway.  
All opinions are my own.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Krusteaz Muffin Waffles & Giveaway

I know you've seen the boxes at the market. I mean, they've been around for longer than you and I have been alive.

(So glad I can say that. They may not card me at the market anymore, but I'm still younger than Krusteaz.)

Although, age is a huge plus when it comes to product. They must be doing something right.

Besides making a reliable product, they keep up with the times as well. They know what we like. They know that when the weather cools we like seasonal flavors such as pumpkin and cranberry.

They also know that we are more and more conscientious about what we eat. They have gluten free mixes as well as organic. Although I'm going to be specifically talking about the fun seasonal flavors, I did want to let you know that there are other options.

Not that long ago, a big ole package full of 10 boxes of Krusteaz mixes, a cool tote, an oven mitt and a selfie stick arrived at my door. Yes, I now own a selfie stick. I have to admit that I did need to read the directions to figure out how such a gadget works (another age reference? Hush).

Let me start by saying....it's been years since I've made pancakes. Everyone knows how good pancakes and muffins are and Krusteaz mixes are no exception. Simple, moist, fluffy....all those good things we expect. I had lots of fun making blueberry pancakes for breakfast. I only messed one of them up when I tried to flip the thing too soon, but we won't dwell on that.

What I really want to share with you is something totally cool! Did you know....that you can make waffles with muffin mix?

Ya!! For reals. You don't even have to do anything special to the mix. Simply follow the directions on the box and pour the mix into a waffle iron instead of a muffin pan.

How cool is that?!

What you see here is the lovely Cranberry Orange Muffin mix doing something so unmuffin like and she's totally loving it. A few minutes (3.5 - 4 in a Belgian waffle maker) and BAM! The aroma of sweet orange and tart cranberries begin to waif through the air and you find yourself counting the seconds until you can scoop her onto a plate.

Oh baby....let me introduce you to Mr. Maple Syrup.

Pumpkin Spice was just as nice. A side of basted eggs and bacon are a must. Next thing you know, you've got yourself a breakfast fit for a lumber jack because, of course, your eyes are much bigger than your stomach when you're anticipating something so delicious.

One bite....

Two bites....

Oh man. Such a fun Sunday morning breakfast.

Then.....if you have some of the mix left over? Just pour it into a muffin pan and bake them for later.

Nothing wasted. All's good in the world of Krusteaz.

(And I'm super stuffed!)

Now...you may have noticed the word GIVEAWAY in the title.

Guess what? You get a chance to try this out yourself. For free!

One lucky winner will receive the following Krusteaz products:

2 boxes of Buttermilk Pancake mix
2 boxes of Blueberry Pancake mix
2 boxes of Pumpkin Spice Pancake mix
2 boxes of Pumpkin Spice Muffin mix
2 boxes of Cranberry Orange Muffin mix
1 Krusteaz branded tote bag
1 Krusteaz oven mitt
1 Krusteaz selfie stick (it comes in instructions)

Just in time for the holidays!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to US residents only. This giveaway will run from Tuesday, November 1, 2016 through Friday, November 7, 2016 (11:59 pm PT). A winner will be notified within 48 hours of the close of the contest and given 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. 

I was not compensated for this post, however Krusteaz supplied me with samples. They are also supplying the products for the giveaway.  
All opinions are my own.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Tocha Taters

Tocha means Happy Tea

And I received 6 lovely canisters of very happy tea indeed.

The fact that Tocha Organic Tea is certified organic, pure, and blended to support a holistic lifestyle, is just the tip of the iceberg of reasons why I have fallen in love with this tea. Their philosophy not only encompasses your wellness, in mind and body (based on a belief that food and medicine come from the same source), but maintains a responsibility to mother nature and the earth as a whole.

Drinking tea is a very soothing experience in general, but after reading the story behind Tocha Tea, a sense of peace and wellness found it's way into my cup.

But I don't want to just tell you how good your cup of tea will be. Or how good you'll feel drinking it. That's your own personal experience to discover. I want to share an unusual tea experience,

Through food.

Through one of my favorite foods, to be more precise.

Let me introduce you to tea seasoned potatoes.

Yes, I used Tocha Green Defense Tea as a seasoning. Once ground up, the tea became a wonderful rub that added a subtle, slightly earthy flavor to my potatoes. I chose the Green Defense Tea based on its aroma. I wanted something that wasn't too floral or sweet. If I were using it in a dessert, such as cupcakes or something of that sort, floral would be perfect. What I needed was something more savory.

My recipe is lose in measurements and only uses a few ingredients, but I'll give you some guidelines. The rest is up to you, based on taste.

Tocha Taters

4 or 5 potatoes
2 or 3 bags of Tocha Green Defense Tea
1 or 2 tablespoons of oil (I used duck fat)
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375' F. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. I roasted mine in a cast iron skillet.

Remove the tea from the bags and place in a small food processor or spice-designated coffee grinder. Pulse and grind until the tea becomes a fine powder.

Cut the potatoes into chunks and place in a medium bowl. Pour the oil over the potatoes and toss until coated. Sprinkle desired amount the ground tea, tossing to coat evenly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Roast for about 30 - 45 minutes, or until golden brown and tender. Serve hot.

 And there you have it. Delicious and unusual potatoes seasoned with a a tea that is just as beautiful inside as it is outside.

I was not compensated for this post,  All opinions are my own.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Ginger Peach Freezer Jam for #SundaySupper

I have a thing for freezer jam. A lifetime love affair actually. If my taste buds had them, they'd drop to their knees with each bite. It's the fresh fruit flavor that gets me every time because freezer jam is never heated which means the fruit isn't cooked. You mash, dice, mix and pour. The only heated ingredients are the water and pectin.

And it's super easy to make. No special equipment needed other than your clean sterile jars.

Peaches are in season right now....juicy and bursting with flavor. Perfect for making jam. Add a bit of ginger and you've taken things to a whole new level. Fresh, sweet and zingy.

Did I mention easy? (just want to make sure that sinks in).

Wash and peel your peaches and you're ready to roll!

Here's a little ginger tip before you get started. Use the edge of a spoon to scrape the skin off your ginger.

Want another tip? Keep your ginger in the freezer. Not only does it prolong the life, but frozen ginger grates super easily!

Ginger Peach Freezer Jam

Inspired by: Sure-Jell Peach Jam

3 cups cubed fresh peaches (about 2 lbs fully ripe peaches)
2 TB fresh grated ginger
2 TB fresh squeezed lemon juice
4 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
6 tablespoons fruit pectin

In a food processor, pulse your peaches until the desired chunkiness. Don't puree it. You want some of those bits and pieces of fresh fruit. This is jam, not jelly.

In a large bowl, combine the peaches, ginger, lemon juice and sugar. Let sit for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
In a sauce pan, combine the water and pectin. Bring to a boil then stir while boiling, for 1 minutes.

Add the pectin to the peach mixture and stir for 3 minutes.

Pour into sterile jars within 1/2 inch from the rim. Put on the lids and let sit at room temperature for 24 hrs.

Store in the freezer for up to a year. Once opened, it keeps in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Spread a little yumminess over your bagel and cream cheese for a breakfast treat.

Besides the obvious toast or bagel application, this will be great as an ice cream topping, or used as a glaze for some grilled pork tenderloin.

Today is all about peaches and our Sunday Supper team has got a bushel of recipes where peaches are the star....

Sides & Salads:
Main Dishes:
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Southern Fried Squash #SundaySupper

Happy Father's Day!

I'm dedicating today's post to my daddy. He lives too far away for me to celebrate him in person so I've made a dish that represents him, and where he came from. A special connection that has always been important to me.

My dad grew up in a small town in Northern Alabama called Geraldine. He moved to California and pursued a successful music career and raised a family. Despite his claim to fame, he has always remained the down to earth, funny, and wonderful man that he was raised to be.

Some of you might recognize him

Growing up, my summer visits to Alabama made such a huge impact on me. Connecting with my dad's side of the family and his childhood, remains to this day a special part of who I am. I am, and will always be a daddy's girl. I am proud of my dad and proud to be his daughter.

Today, in honor of my dad and his roots, I am sharing a dish my grandmother used to make. The ingredients are simple and few. The quantities are subject to taste. So have at it, and enjoy a bit of soul from the south.

Southern Fried Squash 

2 yellow squashes
1/2 large onion
1/2 cup flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for cooking

Slice the squash and the onion.

Heat a couple of teaspoon of oil in a skillet, over medium-low heat and saute the onions until soft and just starting to brown.

While the onions are cooking, sprinkle the squash with salt and pepper

Coat the squash with flour

When the onions are done, remove them from the pan and set aside. 

Add more oil to the frying pan, and turn the heat up just a little. Place the floured squash in a single layer in the pan to fry, turning to brown both sides. Remove and set aside for the next batch. This will only take a couple of minutes for each batch.

Once the last batch is cooked, return the already cooked squash to the pan along with the cooked onions. Toss and cook for another minute to reheat everything.

This is especially good with fried chicken, or pork chops, and a little side of collard greens or black eyed peas.

I'm not the only one getting all nostalgic today. Check out the other 50+ recipes that bring back wonderful memories from our Sunday Supper crew!

Main Dishes
Side Dishes
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

Monday, May 30, 2016

South Side Fizz Cocktail with #VOSSWater #Giveaway

Spring is almost over and summer is approaching fast. This was supposed to be a spring announcement, that VOSS released two new flavors. But in my life, spring arrived and change sprung. My computer was sick as a dog, I sold my house, packed 29 yrs worth of accumulation and moved.

Now I'm in a new place, missing my old kitchen with all it's counter space, and adjusting to new things.

I'm not settled into my new home quite yet. Actually far from it. But to be honest with you, I needed to turn my back on all those boxes, even just for a little bit, and focus on something other than "where am I going to put this?!"

So, back to my purpose. VOSS Water and their new unique, refreshing, sparkling water flavors.

If you're not familiar with VOSS, let me just give you a brief introduction. VOSS Water comes from Southern Norway and was founded by 2 boyhood friends who recognized the purity of the water from their small yet environmentally pristine nation. They take their environmental sustainability very seriously through their holistic approach and their dedication at becoming a carbon neutral company. All this while bringing us a naturally pure water that is also low in sodium and other minerals.

And now they're bringing in the fun by adding a little fizz and flavor: Lemon Cucumber, and Tangerine Lemongrass.

I seriously had to fight off my daughters from consuming it all before I could get my hands on it myself. This was a hot commodity, I'll tell ya. And rightfully so. The subtle and refreshing flavor combinations are a natural attraction. And of course, being 'VOSS', I mean, honestly who wouldn't feel just a little special drinking it! I won't go into my Norwegian decent that stirs just a bit of pride in there somewhere.

Besides drinking this straight from the bottle, I was given a few cocktail recipes, which of course I could not pass up. I mean, for reals....why would I? A refreshing, cool, crisp cocktail that is a perfect summer go-to. And with that said, I would like to introduce you to the South Side Fizz. I had to change it up just a bit because I couldn't find (and had never heard of) cucumber soda. And because I love cucumbers, I added a slice to mine.

South Side Fizz

12 mint leaves (or to taste basically. I used fewer as I'm not a huge mint fan)
1/4 oz Gin
1/4 oz Cointreau
VOSS Sparkling Lemon Cucumber Water
Slice of orange
Slice of lemon
Cucumber spear
Sprig of ming

Muddle the mint in the bottom of a shaker

Fill the shaker with ice. Add the Gin and Cointreau. Cover and shake a few times. Strain into a glass filled with ice and top it off with the VOSS Sparkling Lemon Cucumber Water. Garnish with a slice of orange, lemon, the cucumber spear and a sprig of mint.

If this is calling your name, then you're in luck! I'm hosting a GIVEAWAY! One lucky winner will receive one bottle each of these new unique VOSS Sparkling Water flavors. All you need to do is leave a comment and tell me where you dream of drinking it.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to US residents only. This giveaway will run from Monday, May 30, 2016 through Sunday, June 5, 2016 (11:59 pm PT). A winner will be notified within 48 hours of the close of the contest and given 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. 

I was not compensated for this post, however VOSS Water supplied me with samples. They are also supplying 1 bottle each  of  VOSS Lemon Cucumber Sparkling water and Tangerine Lemongrass Sparkling water,  for the giveaway.  All opinions are my own.