Monday, November 30, 2015

Minestrone Soup

The holidays are upon us. During the holidays, I tend to eat more sweets. Well, this year I'm going to try to be good. At least, it is my plan. Also, I have been cooking with the kids more. I made the pie crust and helped the kids make pies for Thanksgiving. The best thing is the kids have been cooking more since I have been cooking less. I love it. Since Thanksgiving is always a large meal, I like to make something healthier. I keep trying to make minestrone and finally figured what I was doing wrong. I needed to add less pasta. Also, I added more herbs. It was so good. My kids loved it. My daughters really liked it.This will be the recipe I will be using from now on when I want to make minestrone soup.
Minestrone Soup
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large zucchini, chopped
1 cup frozen green beans
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped fine
4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable broth
1 can (15 oz.) red kidney beans, drained
1 can (15 oz.) great northern beans, drained
4 cans (14 oz.) diced tomatoes   
2 Tbsp dried parsley
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 cups fresh baby spinach, sliced thin
1/2 cup small shell pasta

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. 
  2. Add the onion, celery, garlic, green beans, zucchini, and carrot. Saute for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the vegetable broth, tomatoes, beans, and spices. Stir and bring the soup to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat and allow the soup to simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Add the spinach and the pasta. Cook for 20 minutes or until desired consistency.
  6. Season to taste.
Recipe adapted from

One year ago.......................I made Garlic Knots.
Three years ago...................I made Honey Crostini.
Four years ago.....................I made Breakfast Potatoes.
I will apologize now but I will probably not be posting much until after the holidays. Then I'm going to bake more. I want to try more complex recipes. I will let you know the week before what I'm baking if anyone wants to give me some pointers. Since I have been blogging for many years now, my other plan for the blog will be to repost some of my recipes I really liked. I wish you a wonderful holidays!!!!
I love this girl!

                                                       Happy Holidays!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake

Since I haven't made many desserts lately, I asked my husband what I should make. Well, this was his pick. It really was a good pick. It is a heavy cheesecake but still creamy. I loved the crust which is a nice balance the cheesecake. The cheesecake was a hit at my house. I had purchased four small spring form pans and the remaining batter I placed into cupcake liners and baked. Also, the leftover cheesecake I'm going to try freezing. My brother in law is going to visit in a week and I'll share some with him. Also, I want to share some with my sister when she visits soon. She is a fan of pumpkin cheesecake too.
Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust
50 gingersnap cookies
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
6 Tbsp unsalted butter

4 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin 

  1. On the outside of the spring form pan, line with aluminum foil. Set aside. 
  2. In a food processor, pulse the gingersnaps until crumbs. 
  3. Add the brown sugar and pulse to combine. Set aside.
  4. Melt the butter in the microwave.
  5. Add the melted butter to the gingersnap mixture and pulse to combine. 
  6. Press the gingersnap mixture into a 9 inch spring form pan. 
  7. Place the crust into the refrigerator for 5 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  9. Place the crust into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. 
  10. Remove and set aside to cool.
  11. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese for 5 minutes. 
  12. Scrap down the sides when needed. 
  13. Add the brown sugar and combine.
  14. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and salt. 
  15. Add the cinnamon mixture to the cream cheese mixture. Mix until incorporated. 
  16. Add the eggs one at a time and then the egg yolks. 
  17. Add the vanilla and the pumpkin. Mix until incorporated.
  18. Pour the cheesecake batter into the crust. The batter will fill to the rim of the spring form pan.
  19. Place the spring form pan in the center of a roaster pan. 
  20. Add hot water to the roaster pan until the water reaches the middle of the outside of the spring form pan to create a water bath. 
  21. Place the cheesecake into the oven.
  22. Bake the cheese cake for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until the cheesecake is golden in color and the cheesecake only jiggles a little in the center when tapped. 
  23. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and carefully loosen the buckle on the side of the spring form pan. 
  24. Allow the cheesecake to cool at room temperature. 
  25. Cover and allow to chill overnight before serving. 
Recipe adapted from

One year ago...............................I made Creamed Pearl Onions.
Three years ago...........................I made Green Beans and Bacon.
Four years ago.............................I made Whip Cream.
Did you already know....................
-The word pumpkin is derived from the Greek word pepon which means large melon.
-Pumpkins are a fruit.
-The average pumpkin weighs 13 pounds.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Vegetarian Yakisoba

I will admit it. Lately, I just haven't been cooking. I only have so much time in a day so I have to pick clean or cook. Now, my kitchen tends to be clean which makes it easy to cook but there are other things I have to do like organize closets, file papers, and help with Science projects. So, I have to pick which activity to do. If you ask my husband, he will always pick for me to cook. Well, Science projects can't wait. I have to become more organize. In addition, I have been working out more which takes away more time from the kitchen. Then when I've been in the kitchen I have been making a lot of dishes I have already made. I really am trying to enter the new year with a more organized home. To help, I will probably only blog once a week. So, I just didn't want you to wonder where I went. To save some time, I have been trying easier recipes. I think it still is one of his favorite recipes since I've already made it twice recently. The first time I made this recipe I didn't add broccoli but the second time I did. My husband had requested no meat in the dish since it is how he would eat it in Japan. This really is a great recipe.
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
12 oz. pasta (Soba noodles, Udon noodles, Stir fry/ramen, etc.)
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 lb. broccoli, chopped
1 lb. Napa cabbage, sliced thin
2 large carrots, sliced matchbox thin
2 tsp ginger paste
3 scallions, chopped

  1. In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sugar. Set aside. 
  2. Cook noodles according to the package. 
  3. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside. 
  4. In a large wok or skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. 
  5. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the broccoli and cook for 3 minutes.
  7. Add the cabbage and carrots. Cook for 5 minutes.
  8. Stir in the ginger paste.
  9. Add the noodles and the soy sauce mixture.
  10. Gently toss to incorporate.
  11. Cook for 5 minutes.
  12. Serve immediately garnished with the scallions.
Recipe adapted from

One year ago.............................I made Honey Peanut Butter Cookies.
Two years ago...........................I made Roasted Green beans with Walnuts and Cranberries.
Three years ago.........................I made Lasagna Soup.
Four years ago...........................I made Roasted Chicken
Did you already know................
-Yakisoba is a fried noodle dish with vegetables and meat.
-Yakisoba is a popular dish sold by street vendors. 
      (In Japan, my husband would order this dish from a man with a cart.) 
-Some other garnishes for Yakisoba is seaweed powder, pickled ginger, or fish flakes.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I make cookies, I use the ice cream scooper. So, the cookies tend to be very large. The kids like it but I think it is a little much. I've tried several times to make mini cookies but I just couldn't get it right. I would burn the edges and the middle wasn't cooked right. Well, I finally figured it out. The kids were surprised they could eat the cookies in one bite. It didn't stop them from eating several of them. I love chocolate chip cookies so this recipe is great. Plus with Halloween here, it is great to eat less cookies.
Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup semi sweet mini chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. 
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 
  3. In a large bowl, cream the butter with the brown sugar and sugar. 
  4. Add the eggs one at a time. Mix until incorporated. 
  5. Add the vanilla and mix well. 
  6. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until incorporated. 
  7. Fold in the chopped chocolate chips. 
  8. Refrigerate for 1 hour.  
  9. Scoop the chilled dough into about 1 Tbsp balls onto the cookie sheet spaced about 3 inches apart.
  10.  Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. 
  11. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
 Recipe adapted from Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies.

One year ago..........................I made Seasoned Chicken with sweet potatoes.
Two years ago........................I made Pirate Cookies.
Three years ago......................I made Chocolate Brownie Cookies.
Four years ago........................I made Mummy Cake Pops.
Did you already know...............
-Almost half of Americans celebrate Halloween. 
-Americans will spend over $2 billion on candy for Halloween.
-Americans will spend almost $2 billion on Halloween decorations.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Apple Cinnamon Cookies

My oldest daughter went apple picking three times! Yes, three times. She does love apples. Unfortunately, I didn't make it. When we planned to go, we had bad weather. I hadn't realized how fast the year had gone. When we finally made it to the farm, we had missed apple picking by a week so we picked up so pumpkins and a bag of apples. I have been adding apples to everything. These cookies are very good.
Apple Cinnamon Cookies
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 medium apple, peeled and grated
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cinnamon 

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and oil.
  2. Add the sugar and cream until fluffy.
  3. Add one egg at a time. Mix well.
  4. Add the milk, apple, and vanilla extract. Combine well. 
  5. Add the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, and cinnamon. Mix until combined. 
  6. Refrigerate for 1 hour. 
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  8. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  9. Scoop about 2 inch balls of dough. 
  10. Space the cookies about 3 inches apart.
  11. Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden. The middle of the cookies should be soft but set.
  12. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe by Jen of Sweet Morris.

One year ago...............................I made Apple Cinnamon Muffins.
Two years ago.............................I made Chili Mac.
Three years ago...........................I made Mars Alien Cupcakes.
Four years ago.............................I made Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes.
Did you already know......................
-The first apple trees planted in the United States were by the pilgrims.
-In an apple, the pockets that hold the seeds are called carpels.
-Apples are grown in all 50 states.