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Chocolate Chip Macaroons

Usually I buy these, but now that I realize how easy it is to make them, I may do it more often.  It is super simple!  I have a coworker who is allergic to gluten, but with everyone bringing in traditional baked goods, I was sad that he couldn’t enjoy anything with us.  I also knew that unless I wanted to pay a lot, there is no guarantee anything at the store is truly gluten free.  Hence, the idea to make my own gluten free baked good was born.  These came from the Free People BLDG 25 blog, where they usually post very good vegetarian and often gluten free recipes!  For the few people who truly need a restricted diet, it can be a godsend.

Please click here for the recipe.   The only thing I did different was using dairy chocolate chips.  Oh, and I did not have parchment paper so I greased the pan with coconut oil.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Oh my goodness, life has been busy busy.  Between working full time and Christmas obligations and having  out of town company, it has been really hectic! I probably won’t have time for new recipes until January, so please, enjoy this recipe.  These are probably the best chocolate chip cookie bars I have ever had.  That  decadent mix of sweet and salty…  Mmmmm!

 

Find the recipe here.

What we ate…

Yeah, I meant to post our Thanksgivukah dinner on Thursday, but honestly, we got so excited and hungry that we didn’t pay attention to blogging! What can I say? We love to eat.  Nonetheless, I will share pictures of our dinner.  Please know that for the entire month of December, blogging won’t be as frequent. Believe it or not, this blog is time consuming, and with visits from family, friends, and other obligations are bound to disrupt things. But anyway, enjoy these pictures!

Below: Applesauce, latkes, sweet potato bourbon kugel, roasted turkey, and Challah rolls.

 

And the leftovers! The next day, I took some delicious bread from Whole Foods, topped it with turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy.  As much as I loved Thanksgivukah, I was happy to have some traditional foods too.

This Week in Honor of Thanksgiving

Hi guys!  This is not going to be a normal week.  I am actually saving most of my cooking for Thanksgiving, so I thought I would just share my menu with you.  Of course there will be pics on Thursday. :)

In honor of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah coinciding, we are doing a Thanksgivukah feast.  No, we are not Jewish, but it’s fun and will only occur once in my lifetime!  Here is what our menu is so far.  Not truly kosher, but again, we are not Jewish (well, Roger is part Jewish by blood only) just mixing a few dishes in for fun.

Golden Roasted Turkey
Potato Latkes with Cranberry Applesauce
Sweet Potato Bourbon Noodle Kugel
Challah Rolls from a local bakery
Dark Chocolate and Pecan pie from Whole Foods Bakery*

*You didn’t expect me to do everything on my own while working full time, surely. :P

Chicken Pot Pie with Cheddar Biscuits!

This. Is. Awesome. It’s chicken pot pie, but instead of a pie crust, it uses easy drop biscuits.  That’s right. Biscuits.  Because who wants to make pie dough anyway? You have to mix it, roll it out, clean up after… FORGET IT I already died from the agony.  But with biscuits, this is a rich casserole with enough vegetables to keep it healthy and keep your sanity.  Although the original recipe came from Ellie Krieger, I liked Erica’s biscuit adaption on Buttered Side Up.  Melting butter for the biscuits so I don’t have to cut it in? Yes please.  I would have loved to made sour cream biscuits, but Roger was adverse to trying that.  But you should!

Chicken and Biscuit Pot Pie
Lovingly adapted from Ellie Krieger and Erica Lea

 

Ingredients:
 
For the filling:
  • 3 large chicken breasts, chopped and grilled in a pan, or 6 chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 of a medium onion chopped fine
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or chopped fine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups frozen peas

For the biscuits:

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flower
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Splash or two of whole milk, (enough to reach dough-like consistency)
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
Directions:
For the filling:
Preheat oven to 375. In medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add onion and cook until translucent. Continue to add carrots and celery, cooking until tender. Add garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary, and thyme and cook for two additional minutes.
Gently stir in the broth and milk. Whisk constantly until the mixture comes to a boil.  Add the cooked chicken and peas. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Pour into a baking dish.
For the biscuits:
Mix together all ingredients. Spoon drop them into six lumps on the baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the pie is bubbly and the biscuits are golden.

 

Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic Soup

I guess I am still on my soup kick, though I think I might be done for a while after this week.  The rest of the family is getting bored with them.  But they are just so perfect for cold lazy nights!  This soup will totally make you rethink your hate for cauliflower.  I mean, many, many people list it as a vegetable they won’t eat, but even if you are that person you should still try this!  It’s creamy, full of flavor, and just overall delicious.  I mean, it’s enhanced by roasted garlic, after all. We couldn’t stop eating it, and my brother made me give him the leftovers for lunch the next day. It’s that good. Keep in mind that I used pre peeled garlic cloves from Trader Joe’s, so even though I am telling you how to roast garlic the right way, I totally didn’t do it.

Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic Soup
Adapted with love from Katie Goodman

1 whole head cauliflower
1 large whole head garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 stalks celery, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 tablespoon flour
4 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons fresh minced parsley
1/3 cup half and half

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut cauliflower into individual florets. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Transfer to a foil lined baking sheet for less mess. Unfortunately, I was out of foil. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

Cut the top off of the head of garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap with foil. Place wrapped garlic on the baking sheet. Roast the cauliflower and garlic for about 15- 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and slightly golden.  Remove the cauliflower from the oven.

Keep checking on the garlic Every 10 minutes of so.  If you used the pre-peeled kind, like me, then it will roast quicker. If not, it can take another 25 minutes.  It should be fragrant, golden, and tender when thoroughly roasted.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a soup pot of your choice. Add the onion, celery, and carrot and saute over medium heat for

Add the onion, celery, and carrots. Saute over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until they are mostly soft. Stir in salt, pepper, paprika, thyme, and flour and continue to cook for 2 more minutes.

Add the broth, a cup at a time, stirring well in between.  This should help the soup start to thicken up. Add the garlic cloves. Bring the soup to a boil, simmer for 10 minutes, and add cauliflower. Simmer 5 more minutes.

In batches, transfer soup to a blender and blend until smooth. When all soup is blended, return to pot. Stir in the half and half and parsley and continue cooking till just heated.  Serve immediately.

Simple Stracciatella Soup

Ok, so last week was kind of soup week. I love soups.  Roger, not as much. He did a juice fast last week so it became soup mania.  Last time I showed you a soup from my childhood.  Today I have another super delicious, cheap, and easy soup – Stracciatella!  It’s basically Italian egg drop soup, but with spinach, pasta, and delicious, melty Parmesan cheese.  It’s great when you need a light supper or something to warm you up after a trekking around outside in the winter.

Stracciatella Soup

  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 4 eggs, well beaten
  • 1/2 cup orzo or other tiny pasta (I sometimes add more for a heartier soup)
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 2 large handfuls of chopped spinach
  • pinch of nutmeg (optional)

Put broth onto boil, removing 1/2 cup cool broth beforehand. In bowl, vigorously whisk cool broth, eggs, and Parmesan for about two minutes.  You may want to wait until the broth has boiled as the mixture needs to be freshly whisked before adding to the hot broth. Once broth has boiled, add you pasta of choice, and cook half the time indicated on the package.  After the half time, add the spinach and freshly whisked egg mixture, stirring constantly until the rest of the pasta cook time completes. Add nutmeg if using.  Serve immediately.

Easy Pasta Fazool

Now for a picture from my childhood. My mother made this soup my whole life.  Apparently it is more commonly known as pasta fagioli, but mom always called it pasta fazool.  It reminds me of cozy afternoons on cold winter days.  It was always an easy and healthy choice.  Through the years, I have seen other variations.  Some include chicken broth instead of beef, others pancetta. I decided to make it how we used to because let’s be honest – food nostalgia is a good thing. I did add celery and some kale pulp leftover from juicing, so I have noted those as optional, though delicious.

Pasta Fazool

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced (optional)
  • 4 cloves garlic,  minced
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 32 oz can tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 – 15 oz cans of chickpeas(do not drain!!!)
  • 1 cup chopped kale (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 pound shell pasta

Heat olive oil in the pan and add onion and celery.  After a few minutes, add the garlic and red pepper. Saute until the onion is clear and pepper is fragrant.  Next, add tomatoes, broth, chick peas, kale, and herbs.  Season to your taste with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and add pasta. Boil according to the package.  Serve immediately and with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Chai Spiced Cookies

This is not as clean of eating for breakfast as my last post, but it’s still not nearly as bad as half of what you would buy at a coffee shop.  The whole wheat flour add more nutrition, and my addition of real chai tea leaves really enhances the flavor.  The best part? These are quick. Mixing everything together took less than 10 minutes. Roger request next time to add raisins for touch of fruity sweetness.

Chai-Spiced Cookies
Adapted from Whole Foods Market

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon chai tea leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • splash or two of milk

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a mixer, beat butter with sugar and vanilla until well blended. Stir in flour, spices, and salt until just combined. Add milk, one splash at a time, until mixture reaches a dough consistency.  It should ball up onto the beater.

Grease a cookie pan with butter.  Take spoonfulls of dough and roll them into balls.  Slightly flatten and place on the baking sheet.  Bake 15-20 minutes.  Cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a plate.

Carrot Cider Ginger Juice

I have been on the quest for clean eating breakfasts.  I don’t usually like heavy stuff, so I am always looking for lighter options, especially with the potential to get vegetables into my diet.  This recipe is perfect for fall, is light, can be made on the go, and gives you about 1.5 servings of vegetables for the day.  The cider marries well with the carrots,  and the fresh ginger really helps get your digestive system moving.  I am a total coffee person, but having ginger in the morning seems to make me need less, which I would consider a plus.

Carrot-Cider Ginger Juice

Ingredients

3/4 cup carrot juice

2 cups apple cider

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

Ice, if preferred

Mix all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into a quart Mason Jar.