BAKING SODA

 LASDI©

LASDI©

Oh my GOODNESS!  And I do mean GOODNESS.  I made my annual Irish meal for the St. Patrick's holiday.  This year it fell on a Saturday so I decided to make it a Sunday Supper the following day, since that is our reward day and carbs are allowed!  So I went SOOOOO cabacious!!  The meal started with appetizers.  Sweet LAWD!  Home made pretzels, beer cheese dip, cream cheese dip, and creamy mustard dip.  OUTRAGEOUS!  Next we had a shamrock salad - with REAL SHAMROCKS!  It also had almonds, crunchy celery, Swiss cheese, and was tossed in a home made white wine vinegar-vinaigrette.  Main was pulled home made corned beef, cabbage and red potatoes, side of from-skrizzatch Irish soda bread (soft, wonderful, and AMAZING slathered with Irish butter!), and for dessert - grasshopper pie, minus the grasshoppers!  

Though I outdid myself - if I do say so myself, and I DO - my kitchen looked like a tornado had blown through it the next morning.  But ask me if it was worth the clean up.  GO on, ASK ME!  Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaasss!

Below, I have the recipe for the Irish soda bread.  So easy you will want to make it way more often than just for March!  Slainte! ('to your good health")

IRISH SODA BREAD

4 cups flour

4 tbs  sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 tbs baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter, super-softened

1 cup buttermilk (I make my own!  See notes below!)

1 egg

FOR BASTING:

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and butter. Stir in the one cup of buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round of sorts and place on prepared baking sheet (see notes). In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk; brush the top of your round loaf with a little of the buttermilk / butter mixture. Use a very sharp knife to cut an "x"; into the top of the loaf round.  Bake about 45 minutes, or until golden brown, brushing the loaf with the buttermilk / butter mixture every fifteen minutes or so until it's gone.

NOTES:  To make my own buttermilk, I pour two tablespoons of white vinegar into a measuring cup and pour milk over it until it reaches remaining one cup.  Need more?  for each cup of milk you add two more tablespoons of vinegar.  Let sit at least 20 minutes.  It's so easy and you don't have to buy buttermilk and then wonder what to do with what's left over!

SUFFERING SUCCOTASH!

 LASDI©

LASDI©

When most people hear, "We're having succotash with dinner", they don't get too excited, and feel they have to suffer through that part of the meal.  I DO get excited.  Now that it's March, and my color-themed OCD has been set to 'green', I couldn't WAIT to make this green-themed side.  It went with our oh-so-succulent sage and brown butter cod.  So we had succulent and succotash.  And it.  was.  WONDERFUL.  It was RICH.  It was ER'THANG. 

SUFFERING SUCCOTASH

extra virgin olive oil (evoo)

1 medium onion, diced

1 clove elephant garlic (or two cloves regular), minced

1 bag frozen lima beans, thawed

2 medium zucchini, diced

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp white pepper

1 tsp cumin

2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 cup white wine

1 large handful frozen sweet peas, thawed

chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

In a heavy pot (I use my cast iron Dutch oven!), sprinkle enough evoo to cover the bottom and let it heat for about two minutes on medium high.  Carefully add the onion and garlic cloves and stir into the evoo.  Let cook without stirring anymore for about two minutes, or until just-brown around the edges of the onion.  Add the lima beans and stir to blend with onion and garlic clove mixture.  Let cook without stirring anymore for five minutes.  I know.  This sounds like it's hard to do, but trust me - it makes for SUCH good succotash because it caramelizes your beans a little.  Once you see the beans browning, add zucchini and stir with onion / garlic clove / bean mixture.  Add seasonings and wine and stir.  Let cook another two minutes.  Remove from heat, add sweet peas and stir.  Garnish with parsley.  And stop eating it all while you're cooking it so as to save some for the others!

 

YOU SAY POTATO

 LASDI©

LASDI©

It's been COLD in Texas!  Said practically no one ever.  Nonetheless, cold it has been.  And of course, there is nothing better than hot soup to warm your bones on cold nights.

It was Sunday and the week had been so busy that I had not planned out our Sunday Supper.  GASP!  I only gasp so dramatically because Sunday is carbs-allowed day and I had not planned accordingly!  

So of course, I rummaged through my pantry and fridge to see what I could drum up. 

This was fast, easy, delicious, and a carb-loaded reward.  And it was even better the next day for The Hubster's lunch!  

LOADED BAKED POTATO SOUP

4 large potatoes, scrubbed and chopped into 1-inch cubes

4 tbs extra virgin olive oil (evoo)

1 tsp sea salt

1 tbs black pepper

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 package bacon, chopped

1 tsp white wine

1-32 oz box chicken broth

1 1/2 cups sour cream

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

2 tsp white pepper

1 tbs butter

In a heavy pot (I use my cast iron Dutch oven!) on medium-high, heat evoo for about one minute and then add potatoes.  In a small frying pan (believe it or not, I use my tiny cast iron skillet!) heat onion, garlic, and bacon on medium-high heat for five minutes or until bacon is cooked through, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and add white wine.  Stir and scrape any "bits" from the bottom with a wooden spoon or spoonula and set aside. 

Meanwhile, stir potatoes and add sea salt and pepper.  Let them sit in the pot, untouched, for about five minutes or until crisp and brown on bottom.  Stir and add chicken broth, then bring to a boil.  Once boiling, add bacon mixture to the pot, lower the heat, cover and let simmer for thirty minutes.  Bring heat back up to medium and stir in sour cream, cheese, and white pepper.  Let cook another three minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat, add butter and let melt, then stir and serve.

NOTES: For garnish, you can sprinkle a little more shredded cheddar or some chopped chives on top.  This smelled so good that no garnish made it to the bowl before it was devoured!  For some crunch I added a few raw veggies and some rice crackers.  For a healthier take on this meal, I use organic ingredients and uncured bacon  But it is what it is.  And it is DELICIOUS!!

DROP IT LIKE ITS HOT

 LASDI©

LASDI©

It is SO HARD during the holidays to eat healthy, isn't it??  What is it about the season that makes us (me included!) think that it's a free-for-all?  Well this year I have been super-intentional about making sure The Hubster and I don't constantly indulge, but rather try to make healthy foods that taste rich and delicious; like we're not missing out.

So for Meatless Monday (which does NOT sound rich and delicious, does it?) I decided to make something souper-rich (see what I did just there?) with an Asian flare.  And this low-almost-no carb meatless dish did NOT disappoint!  Hot soup on a cold day!  PS  This is so easy it shouldn't taste like the indulgence we experienced!

CARAMELIZED ONION AND EGG DROP SOUP

1 onion, halved, both halves sliced thinly

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil (evoo)

1 tsp sea salt

pepper

32 oz box chicken broth

1/4 cup soy sauce

3 green onion, chopped coarsely

3 eggs

1 tbs water

2 tbs sesame oil

Sprinkle evoo into a soup pot and heat on medium-high for about one minute.  Add onions, stir, and let them cook, untouched, for about three minutes.  Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper to taste, stir, and let them cook, untouched, for another three minutes.  Stir, and let cook, untouched for another five minutes. or until caramelized and brown.  Pour chicken broth and soy sauce over onion and bring to a boil, add green onions then turn heat down to low.  Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes and turn heat back up to medium.  Whisk eggs and water in a separate bowl until well-blended and a little frothy.  Slowly pour into the soup mixture, whisking the soup as the eggs go in.  Cook an additional minute or two.  Turn off heat, add sesame oil and gently stir.  Serve with garlic sesame not-bread sticks. 

NOTES: I garnished with chopped parsley, but cilantro would also work here, or no garnish at all would still be yum!

GARLIC SESAME NOT-BREAD STICKS.

(a variation of Fat Head Dough)

3/4 cups almond flour

2 tbs cream cheese

1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella

1 tbs garlic powder

pinch of sea salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 egg

1/4 cup sesame oil

sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a bowl, add almond flour, cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper.  Microwave for one minute.  Stir and microwave another 20 seconds.  Add egg and stir until egg is blended into dough.  place between two pieces of parchment paper (see notes) and shape into a rectangle about 1-inch thick.  Remove top piece of parchment paper and bake for about fifteen minutes or until just golden brown.  Spread sesame oil over top of baked dough, sprinkle with desired amount of sesame seeds and bake another five minutes.  Take pizza cutter and slice into bread sticks.  DIP INTO CARAMELIZED ONION AND EGG DROP SOUP!!

NOTES: Parchment paper is key here.  I've tried this with foil and it is sorely disappointing.  PARCHMENT PAPER.  Trust me.

This combo is PERFECT and comforting for this cold holiday weather as well!  Merry Christmas!

 

 

Do It For Peanuts!

 LASDI©

LASDI©

The Hubster and I had a most-wonderful opportunity to visit the home of some of our besties, The Bollingers (Holly Bolli, and J-Bolli – and the Bolli Kiddos) with Links International for a night of vision for their sweet missionary friends from Africa (to learn more, click HERE).  Holly decided to hire Life As She Does It to create some yummies for everyone's tummies; but the huge hit of the night was my African Chicken Peanut Stew.  Americans and Africans alike loved this dish!  I have been asked over and over for the recipe since then (thank you!) but had to work on sizing the recipe down a bit since the pot I made was full of enough for an ARMY.

I had THE BEST time and I learned SO MUCH from our (yep!  They are OUR friends now, too!) African missionary friends.  In the meantime, trust that even though we didn’t get the very best photo of the stew, it was SO DELICIOUS.  AND SO COMFORTING.  It is also rather healthy, whether you like it or not!  For vegetarians, leave out the chicken.  This is hearty with it or without and is PERFECT for the autumn or winter weather!  It’s perfect to freeze and reheat, too!  ENJOY!!

AFRICAN CHICKEN PEANUT STEW

¼ cup peanut oil
1 red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced finely
4 tbs minced ginger or 2 tbs ginger paste
1 pkg chicken thighs, chunked
1 pkg chicken breast, chunked
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbs garlic powder
2 boxes chicken broth (or vegetable broth if going vegetarian)
2 small yams (or sweet potatoes), peeled and chunked
1 can rotel
1 ½ cups collard greens or kale, chopped coarsely
1 1/2 cups chunky peanut butter

Heat the peanut oil in a large soup pot (I use my cast iron Dutch oven!) over medium heat for about a minute or two; add onion, garlic, and ginger and cook until softened, about four or five minutes. Add the chicken, stir, and leave it alone without stirring for about two minutes so as to caramelize like CRAZY.  Stir and leave another two minutes.  Add seasoning, stir and let cook one more minute. Pour the chicken broth over the chicken and add the yams. Stir and bring to a boil.  Turn down the heat to low, cover (leaving a slight crack for air) and cook for thirty minutes.  Add the tomatoes, collards, and peanut butter into the soup and stir.  At this point, you should make SURE to get a spoonful of peanut butter into your mouth.  You know you want to.  Partially cover the pot again and continue cooking on low, stirring occasionally, for about another fifteen-to-twenty minutes.  Have plenty of tasting spoons nearby for “quality control”, which in my kitchen, means it tastes so good I can’t stop tasting it!

LIFE'S A BEACH

 LASDI©

LASDI©

This particular catering gig was in June, so being the Themer-Girl I am, it only made sense that the summer menu was called Beach Party Roast.  It consisted of roasted salmon, roasted mini-sweet peppers loaded with green onion, cream cheese, and shredded cheddar, roasted asparagus, roasted beach bread, and sandy beach parfaits that I found a recipe for from a Texas-girl blogger.  With all of that yumminess, the peppers got quite a bit of attention.  I had the opportunity to pop a few in my mouth, and could completely see why they were so addictive!  Plus they're easy to make and low-carb!!  Shout out to The Daughts for the cute-and-appropriate title to this post!

MINI SWEET PEPPER POPPERS

1 bag tri-colored mini sweet peppers (about 20) seeded, and cut lengthwise

1 block cream cheese

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 bunch green onion, sliced thin (both green and white ends)

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp pepper

Combine cream cheese, shredded cheddar, green onion, sea salt and pepper in a bowl.  Microwave for 15 seconds.  Mix well with a spoon and let stand about a minute or two.  Scoop a mound of cheese mixture into each pepper and press into pepper, careful not to over-mound so your cheese doesn't leak out during cooking.  Refrigerate for about an hour.  Heat oven to 400 degrees and bake peppers for 20 minutes; switch oven to broiler and broil peppers until cheese is brown and bubbly - about five minutes.  Let rest five minutes before serving, then pop a few in your mouth before putting them on the table because they go quick!!

NOTES: These are great for your Vegetarian Friends.  For you Meat Eaters, and for extra flavor, you can crumble some bacon into the cheese mixture, or just about anything you like!  I know an entire bunch of green onion seems like a lot, but it really lends an herbaceous, chivey taste to these loves.  For July, and some added heat, I use jalapenos in place of the sweet peppers for hot pepper poppers!  These are great served warm or room temperature and make a great side or appetizer.  

Potatoes, Patatas

 LASDI©  (Photos by Adrian Garcia)

LASDI© (Photos by Adrian Garcia)

Another tapas night with friends.  I ALWAYS look forward to those nights because we put our heads and cooking prowess together and come up with a tornado of tapas!  While The Hubster and I waited for our sweet neighbors to arrive, we went ahead and snapped some pics of what we put out for our half, and ohhhhhhh, BOY!  This stuff was BEYOND BUENO!

I made mushroom-, pine nut-, and cheddar cheese-stuffed puff pastries, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, mini-Reuben sammies (it IS March, after all!), a quite-lovely cheese board with the sharpest cheddar and GORGEOUS artichoke hearts (stems included!).  All those hyphened menu items!  But to be as authentic as possible, I made a legit tapas called patatas bravas.  I, of course put my own spin on it and they were delcioso!

Go on and spend a night with community and each of you bring a prize!  Call it tapas night or call it whatever you want - just bring THESE to the table with you!

PATATAS BRAVAS

4 - 5 butter gold potatoes, scrubbed, dried, and sliced lengthwise into 8 wedges

1 1/2 cups canola oil

sea salt

pepper

1/4 cup prepared horseradish

1/4 cup sour cream

paprika

1 can ro-tel for dipping

4 green onions or scallions, sliced thin

Heat canola oil in heavy skillet (I use my cast-iron, of course) on medium-high heat for two minutes.  Place potato wedges from one potato carefully into oil.  Let cook for five minutes.  You will be tempted to turn them over before then.  Don't.  After five minutes, flip them and let them cook another five minutes.  You will be tempted to pull them out before the five minutes is up.  Don't.  Carefully take them out one at a time and lay them on a cooling rack with paper towel underneath (see notes).  Sprinkle them liberally with sea salt and pepper.  Repeat cooking with the next potato and directly before removing them from the oil, lay the first batch on whatever tray or plate you would like to use for your display. While the next batch of potatoes are cooking, mix the horseradish and sour cream and drizzle (prettily!) over the potatoes on the platter.  Sprinkle with paprika and then a bit of green onion.  Repeat with each layer of potatoes, crisscrossing each layer over one another for an authentic look. 

Notes: Any heavy skillet will do as long as it is deep enough to fit the oil.  For crispy potatoes, use the cooling rack.  If you don't have one or want softer potato wedges, simply dry them on paper towels laid on a plate or platter.  I use a condiment squeeze bottle for the horseradish sour cream drizzle.  I put the ro-tel in a cute bowl next to the potatoes for people to pile on top of their bravas if they like.  Hora de comer!!

 

BREAKING BREAD

 LASDI©

LASDI©

You won't believe this.  I mean, it took me a few blank stares and lots (and lots!) of tastes to believe it myself!  

As you know, I'm the low-carb girl of the family, and quite often cook that way without The Hubster even noticing.  Well, this is another sneaky-not-sneaky way of getting our low-carb on without allowing him to feel like he is missing out on anything.

For Superbowl Sunday,  he wanted wings and turkey burgers.  So of course I made them instead of buying them because that way I can control the ingredients.  For the burger buns I made cauli-bread.  Yes, I know.  That doesn't sound like the appealing direction I was taking when you first started reading.  But trust me here - this was OUTSTANDING!

I took a few recipes that I found along with some that were sent to me, added my own flare and touches, and came up with what I think is the best "bread" you could ask for!  This recipe is for flat, round buns.  And it was beyond delish!

CAULI-BUNS

1 head cauliflower, "riced" (Or if you can find it pre-made in a bag, PERFECT!) (see notes)

3 eggs

1 cup mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1 tbs sea salt

1 tbs pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (this is CRUCIAL for the success of these "breads").  Place mounds of the cauli-mixture into whatever mold suits your purpose.  In this case, it was the same round mold we used for the turkey burgers so they would fit perfectly.  Bake for about 20 minutes.  here's the thing: if they are not golden brown on top, WAIT UNTIL THEY ARE.  Flip for 5 more minutes.  Let rest for a minute or two before removing from the baking sheet.

NOTES:  Don't use frozen cauliflower or froze riced cauliflower, as there will just be too much moisture.  The other thing about this recipe is you can litch-rah-lay do whatever you want to make it INTO whatever you want.  For example: add lots of Italian seasoning and plenty of garlic and shape it into a long mound and you've got breadsticks!  If you want, you can add fresh sage and a tiny bit more sea salt and you've got hasbrown bread!  If you like, you can add cheese at the very end and heat until melty and you've got cheesy bread!  This is also SHEsTox-friendly for Week Three!  I promise you this, you will NOT believe how "bready" these things are.  It's delicious INSANITY without the carbs!