Shrimp & Broccoli Rice Noodles with Peanut Coconut Sauce

Often times I will go through my cupboard and grab random jars, cans, and ingredients, laying them out on the counters; wondering what the heck is going to become of them. This particular meal was an off-shoot of one of those nights. I found a package of rice noodles, defrosted some shrimp, and voila- a very basic but delicious, Asian inspired, noodle dish.

I had begun making my own peanut sauce about a year ago and much to my surprise it was accepted very well by other members of this household.  It’s very simple, the key being not to overcook the sauce, as it will burn and you’ll think you ruined your nice pan that you got for your wedding and you have to spend at least 25 minutes scrubbing it. Not that I’ve experienced that.

Anyways, you can add any type of meat, tofu, or seafood to this recipe. I used shrimp because it is what I had on hand, but chicken has been successful as well.

My peanut sauce is a little less peanut-y than what you will find in an authentic Thai restaurant; if you’d like add a smidge more peanut butter or some sweet and sour sauce.

Ingredients:

1 lb. rice noodles

2 tbsp. chopped garlic

2 lb. peeled and pre-cooked shrimp, defrosted

2 c. washed and chopped broccoli

1 c. coconut milk

1/2 c. peanut butter, smooth

3 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. cumin

1 tsp. chili pepper

1 tsp. ginger, fresh & chopped or powdered

sprinkle of salt

1 fresh lime

1/2 c. chopped peanuts

Method:

In a large sauce pan over medium high heat, toss shrimp, olive oil, and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add ginger, chili pepper, salt, and cumin. Lower heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes.

Add peanut butter, coconut milk, and juice from about half of the lime. Bring to a high heat and right before it reaches a boil, reduce to simmer. Now, cover and add broccoli, allowing to simmer in it’s own juices for about 10 minutes.

Cook noodles according to package directions; I stir often for about 3-4 minutes.

Drain noodles and let cool for about a minute. Then add to large saucepan and thoroughly coat with sauce.

Garnish with a slice of lime and crushed peanuts and serve immediately, as it tastes the best when piping hot!

Ciao,

K

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Born Hungry Mag Submission

Hey there!

This morning I was pleasantly surprised to see my rhubarb recipe was posted up on Born Hungry Food Magazine, an online food magazine for home cooks. It is run by Nicole Jones, who is one of the nicest pen-pals; I was super excited when she said she loved my submission! The pictures are by the contributing photographer, Colin Price. Love his work. Please check out their magazine, “like” them on Facebook, and tell everyone you know.

Happy Monday!

Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

 

I participated in Cupcake Wars. No, not the show on Bravo that I watch religiously every Sunday at 8 p.m., but the Cupcake Wars that we put on at my place of employment.  I had grand plans for my participating cupcake; I went from choosing a vanilla latte flavor, to Nutella, to settling on strawberry cheesecake with cream cheese frosting.

I was ready, I had all the ingredients, even extra cream cheese in case there was a frosting snafu.  The preparation was easy, everything looked great…but…the presentation, well, let’s just say it was sub-par. The cakes fell in, all the way to the bottom of the muffin tin. The crust was too moist and did not cook correctly, and the strawberry swirl looked more like a strawberry blob.

After I had a brief moment in the kitchen, I started debating whether I would just try and cover up the shrunken cupcakes with frosting and just call it good, or completely begin again from scratch.  I rifled quickly through my Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook, straight to the cake section, and found a yellow cake recipe. Unfortunately, it made 24 cupcakes, which was not desirable at 10 p.m. at night.

So, I halved the ingredients, which has rarely turned out well for me. But hey, it’s now 10:15 p.m. and I’m fading.

Recipe:

Loosely adapted from Better Homes & Gardens’ Yellow Cake Recipe

Prep time: 50 minutes

Bake time: 15-20 minutes

Makes exactly 12 cupcakes

 

Ingredients:

2/3 c. butter

2 eggs

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. sugar

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 tbsp. lemon juice

1/2 c. bluberries, (fresh or defrosted ones)

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Leave butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for about half an hour. Grease and lightly flour one regular sized muffin tin.

In a medium sized bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt.

With a stand or hand mixer, beat butter on medium to high speed for about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides with a spatula and mix for about 10 more seconds. Slowly add sugar, about a 1/4 cup at a time, and continue to mix together. Scrape sides once more and continue to beat for about 2 more minutes. Add eggs one at a time, then beat in vanilla flavoring and lemon juice.

Add in the flour mixture and beat on a low speed, but be careful not to over mix; beat until only just combined.  Spoon about 3-4 tbsp. for about each cupcake. Press 4-5 blueberries into the top of the batter.

Bake for about 15 minutes and check. Continue to cook if cupcakes are not completely done; feel free to stick a toothpick in and check. A clean toothpick means cooked through! Take cupcakes out and let cool for about an hour on a cooling rack.

Frosting:

8 oz. cream cheese

1 little squeeze of fresh lemon juice

4 tbsp. butter

1 c. powdered sugar

Now you’re at the fun part! Making the frosting is quick and super simple. Beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium high speed until smooth.  Add the lemon juice and the powdered sugar, about a 1/4 cup at a time.  Let chill in the refrigerator for about half an hour.

Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes, and I promise you won’t be disappointed. Just remember to share with others!

Urban Family Public House

About a week or so ago, the husband, pup, and I went to Seattle to see my family and spend some time in the (rare) Seattle sunshine. We went to the Ballard Farmer’s Market, a plethora of fresh produce, handmade jewelry, talented street musicians, and just about anything you would want to see.  The Ballard Farmer’s Market is the quintessential example of why I love Seattle down to my very core. If a stranger ever asked me for the perfect Sunday morning activity, I would tell them: first, a latte at Caffe Vita and then stroll along the street, past the boutiques, the hotcakes shop, and the antique stores to the farmer’s market. Oh yes, and follow it up with a cupcake.

As we ended our foray into the market, after making about three loops past the Danish pastries, the bunches of vibrant flowers, and the hand crafted necklaces, we stumbled across a chalkboard sign inviting us to eat and relax on a deck… with our dog. Now, I know that Seattle is down with the doggy friends, we’ve been to Norm’s and have wanted to check out Shorty’s in Belltown, if it wasn’t for our mutual fear of the clown decor. But nevertheless, the opportunity to sit back, savor the sunshine, and grab a bite with our four legged friend is something we will not pass up.

And that’s how we found the Urban Family Public House. Snugly tucked in beside Staple & Fancy on Ballard Avenue, the pub was the perfect setting for some quiet conversation, a filling and tasty sandwich, and of course, a cold IPA.  When we ventured in, we asked the bartender (because maybe someone had made a mistake) whether dogs were indeed allowed in. He said “sure, inside, outside, wherever!” Magic to our ears, my friends, magic to our ears.

We promptly ordered two prosciutto paninis, which were accompanied by a cannellini bean salad, a match made in heaven in my opinion. The prosciutto was crisp and salty, the pesto warm and smooth, and the cheese, well I cannot say enough about the cheese.

While we were there, we nodded hello to a few other patrons, also overjoyed to be sitting outside, on a deck, in Seattle. Keep in mind this is not something that happens very frequently. It truly is like Christmas. A sweet middle aged couple sitting next to us were doing exactly the same thing, closing their eyes and munching on their paninis in between sips of an ice cold IPA.  And of course, our dog was there the whole time.

Urban Family Public House, 5329 Ballard Ave. N.W., (206-783-BEER) or www.urbanfamilypublichouse.com)

*Farmer’s Market picture courtesy of The Kitchn

Fourth of July, Desert Style

…yes, that’s “desert”, not “dessert”!

Well, I know you were all so very anxiously awaiting this post. I know that you were laying awake, staring at the ceiling, wondering “what in the heck did that little blogger make for the Fourth of July?” Did she go classic hamburgers & beer? Did she make cupcakes? What. Did. She. Make?? Well, my friends, the answer is, she made a completely self made recipe of bean, pepper, and and mushroom pizza squares. *Sounds weird, I know. And, because I am patriotic, not because I am obsessed with blueberries*, made a blueberry cheesecake.

My sweet husband and I were graciously invited to my friend’s house, allowing us not only to eat and drink until we felt like napping, but to have a simply wonderful time out in the desert sunshine.

Some of you may know my very dear friend, who blogs over at Sippy Cups and Prada. Her blog is growing in popularity, and is very inspiring, as the woman has two children, a husband, two dogs, and a very steady, meaningful job at my office. Needless to say, I’m impressed. And the important thing is that she looks good doing it!

As for the barbeque, we had grilled salmon, ribs, deviled eggs, homemade tortillas (which she has blogged about, people!), mango salsa, not to mention beer, and a very strong, slushy, pink drink, thaat apparently had a lot of champagne and sugar in it. Oh yeah, and they were in mason jars, so obviously that makes everything a bit more trendy!

On a sidenote, I am not sure if the husband, myself, and our pup, Molly may get invited back again, as Molly promptly “fell” into their pool, and caused quite a ruckus. She’s been known to cause a scene at barbeques before. Anyways, on to the food; there’s my cheesecake and pizza squares on the right!

…delicious mango salsa.

…and ribs.

There’s Husband, slicing into the delicious ribs. He’s clearly being hilarious.

Here we are, having a stimulating conversation!

My darling friend, Y.

And, here are the slushies!

Now, on to my pizza squares.

1 pre-made pizza crust dough, or home-made. I prefer whole wheat dough when cooking the dough on the pizza stone, it turns out nice and crispy.

½ can of non-fat, vegetarian, organic refried beans (there is such a thing!)

1 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese

½ c. of black beans

½ c.  finely chopped red, orange, or yellow pepper, but definitely not green, ick.

¼ c. sliced mushrooms

¼ c. sliced olives

1 small handful of cilantro, chopped

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. The assembly of ingredients is just like a regular homemade pizza, however, I like to bake the raw dough on the pizza stone for about 5 minutes so that it won’t turn out mushy and fall apart in your hand, not that it’s happened to me!

Spread the refried beans on the crust just as you would marinara sauce on a cheese pizza. Top with ½ the cheese and sprinkle with black beans, peppers, olives, and mushrooms. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until the crust turns golden at the edges. Let cool for about a minute and sprinkle with the cilantro.

I think you will love this dish; it’s tasty, simple, and best of all, husband approved!

Ciao,

K

Strawberry Rhubarb Parfaits

Are you sick of hearing about rhubarb yet? I’m not, so get out your granola, yogurt, honey, and lemon. To be honest, the previous ingredients are pretty much my staple breakfast, perhaps I should broaden my breakfast horizons. But for now…

This is pretty simple, but so yummy, especially with a warm cup of coffee and your newspaper.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 c. non-fat Greek yogurt

1 c. strawberry rhubarb sauce

1 1/2 c. granola (either store bought or home made)

1/8 c. honey

2 tbsp. lemon juice for drizzling

Layer the ingredients however you like, just be sure to do at least 2 layers, then you’ll fully experience the flavors of your parfait!

Try it tomorrow before work, to sweeten your Monday morning; I know I will.

Sweet Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

This week was all about summer fruits. I made a  lemon yogurt olive oil cake, adapted from a recipe by Molly Wizenberg.  For the cake I used my kitchenaid spring form pan my sweet friend Sarah gave us for our wedding. I’ve recently learned that you truly can’t beat quality pots and pans, especially when baking. It sounds so simple, but they are essential.  For the topping, a strawberry rhubarb compote made with lemon juice and honey… Say it with me … yummmmmm. The fantastic thing about compotes is that you can put them on pretty much anything.  I layered the compote with greek yogurt and granola for a delicious breakfast parfait.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote:

2 long stalks of rhubarb, sliced thinly in small pieces

10 frozen or fresh strawberries

1/2 c. sugar

1/4 c. honey

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 c. lemonade

Combine all the ingredients in a small pot on medium high heat. Allow to boil for about 4-5 minutes, then bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes on medium to low heat, stirring occasionally. Compote will be done when strawberries are completely soft and broken down, and the rhubarb is mostly broken down and slightly transparent. There should be plenty of red juice but the chunks of fruit is what gives it some delicious texture. Serve warm over yogurt, pancakes, waffles, cereal, it would be delicious as a syrup in your favorite cocktail, a la my Raspberry Cocktail. It’s also tasty just by itself, just sayin’.

Happy Saturday!

Love, Kathleen

Grilled Peaches & Plums with Honey Yogurt Sauce

Tonight was a warm, blustery evening. All day I’ve been thinking about making some yummy low(er) carb dinner and dessert. Well, I did well with the dinner, but in traditional Kathleen style, let’s do dessert first!

This is sounds so very simple, but in all honesty, about a year ago, I wouldn’t have put all the earthy and sweet flavors together. Being married and cooking for two has opened up all sorts of opportunities for my cooking flair. I’m much more adventurous and rather than heat up a Gardenburger and some frozen yogurt and call it good, I’ll spend more time planning and developing a meal. While I’ve always loved baking, cooking was truly something I didn’t spend as much time on. But just give me some protein, a carbohydrate, and some salt, and you never know what I might come up with. I love that cooking allows me to feel creative just by creating edible art. At least some people might call it art.

These grilled peaches & plums remind me of summer and lately my obsession with greek yogurt has led me to plop it almost everything. So hence, the inspiration.

Since we aren’t allowed to have a barbecue grill on our deck, something about “fire hazards” (pshhh), I just warmed up our George Foreman, and you have all the benefits of grilled fruit in a jiffy.

Ingredients:

2-3 firm peaches, sliced, washed & unpeeled

2-3 red plums, sliced, washed & unpeeled

Honey

Greek yogurt

Lemon juice

First slice the fruit in small, medium bite sized pieces. Douse with a little honey, about a teaspoon. Shut the top of the grill and let sit for about 10 minutes.

Let the grilled fruit sit in it’s juices for a little while, then spoon some greek yogurt on the side. Drizzle with honey and fresh lemon juice. Feel free to enjoy during a warm sunset.

Upcoming Recipes to Try

Image

What beautiful evenings we’ve been having! Perfect for long walks or sitting on the deck. But tonight, I’m feeling a little lazy. I’ve been perusing the internet for some tasty future recipes. I hate to tease you, but yesterday I made rhubarb mini muffins, and some regular sized ones with honey and greek yogurt frosting. Yup, they were really delish. And the half-hour they lasted at work is testament to that. I’m planning (emphasis on planning) to make some more tomorrow evening. The frosting was so absolutely creamy, and I have a hunch there’s more left in the refrigerator. But anyways, back to business. Check the following out, and let me know if you make them!

In a very traditional Kathleen standard, let’s start with dessert first:

Boozy Berry Cups

Gluten Free Strawberry Banana Cupcakes

French Yogurt and Olive Oil Cake

Mango Lassi

Entrees:

BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad

Shrimp Tacos

Corn Stuffed Tomatoes

Mushroom Sliders

Carnitas Pizza

Are you noticing a trend here?… Protein!

Breakfasts:

Homemade Granola

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Healthy Eats/Workout Bars:

No Bake Peanut Butter Bars

Chocolate Peanut Butter Road Trip Bars

Raw Triple Berry Crisp

Healthy Snack Ideas

Well, now after looking at all those yummy eats, I think I need to go do this nutrition plan. Actually, I think we’re staying the course, minus our frozen pizza night…that was tonight…

Ciao!

Berry Much in Love Cocktail

As some of you may know, the husband and I celebrated our very first year of marriage this past Monday! We had a glorious weekend of hiking, playing outside, and enjoying each other’s company while cooking together.

The appetizer was one reminiscent of our Italian honeymoon, a basic caprese salad. We ordered it basically at every meal, excluding breakfast, in every city and village we visited on our adventure. It was perfect for the warm spring evening on our deck.

Our main course was a beef pasticcio, we added a copious amount of red wine to the sauce, which cooked the mushrooms to a perfect texture…This heavenly goodness was contained in a 9×13 pan, and it gloriously continued to feed both of us in the next few days. Even though our meal was simple, it was filled with the rustic and fulfilling flavors that we enjoyed on our vacation.

And dessert…well, that goes without saying…our wedding cake top. The entire, blessed top of our cake made by the most wonderful pastry chef I’ve ever dreamed of.  In case you were wondering, yes, our wedding came together quite perfectly, and our cake is only one of the shining testaments to this.

Of course, what meal would be complete without beverages. I’d been itching to use our cocktail shaker and this occasion certainly called for it! The end result of my concoction is raspberry goodness, not only does it taste divine, it looks purdy too. Trust me, they’ll have a second one.

Ingredients (makes 2 cocktails)

 1/3 c. fresh raspberries, rinsed and dried

1 tbsp. light brown sugar

1 tbsp. fresh lime juice

Gin

1/2 c. ginger ale

Ice cubes

A few extra raspberries for garnish

Place 1/3 c. raspberries in cocktail shaker, add lime juice and sugar. Mash and muddle violently on the bottom with a spoon or some sort of kitchen tool, preferably a pestle.

Once all the ingredients are combined, include about 3-4 ice cubes into the mixer, tighten the top, and shake. The shaker will begin to chill on the outside; continue shaking until the inside looks like a syrupy raspberry jam. Then, add the gin, about 2 – 2 1/2 shot glasses worth. Shake for about 30 seconds. Add a few extra ice cubes and a 1/4 cup of ginger ale , to each cocktail glass, and carefully pour the raspberry goodness into the glasses. Garnish the glasses with a few extra raspberries and give to someone you love.

Cheers!

-Kathleen