I love gazpacho this time of year, which is a little odd since I’m not really a fan of hot tomato soup or tomato juice (unless it’s also got vodka, lots of horseradish, and celery or olives in it!). But something about the combination of cucumbers, tomatoes, celery salt, onions – mmmmm.  So a couple of weekends ago, I tried (and forgot to post about) this recipe from Barefoot Contessa.

I realized when preparing it that my red wine vinegar was really old. REALLY old. But I decided to give it a try anyway. Which was probably not the best idea, because the vinegar had gotten stronger over time, and it totally overpowered the other flavors in this soup.

I definitely plan to try this recipe again, because I liked the flavors a lot OTHER than the strong vinegar taste. Hopefully with fresher vinegar, it will be a hit!

Trying another new one today – Fauxtisserie Chicken from Our Best Bites.It took very little time to prepare – I slipped rosemary from our garden and some garlic slivers under the skin, and coated it liberally in Lowry’s Seasoned Salt. Now we just wait for 8 hours while it cooks in the slow cooker. It would be great to have a good rotisserie chicken option that I can make at home for chicken salads, quesadillas, etc – so i’m hoping it’ll turn out well!


A little more on the vegan recipes…

So the wheat berry salad was delicious!  It’s sweet, but not overly so, and the textures are great. I will be making it again very soon – I think it would be great to take to work for lunch.

The butternut squash soup was very good too. I think I would try it again with different spice combinations or more curry – I would have liked it to have a little kick or a bit of crunch or something.

Vegan Visitors

My newlywed nephew and niece are coming tonight to stay with us for a few days. I knew they were vegetarians, but I have a few vegetarian dishes in my repertoire, so I wasn’t too worried… until my husband called to tell me they’d texted to share that they no longer eat dairy either. Crap. Other than your standard garden salad, I basically have no recipes that have no meat OR cheese and/or butter. I’d planned on a pasta with butternut squash sauce recipe (ours with chicken sausage, theirs without) but it had butter as well as parmesan cheese. PARMESAN CHEESE! Who can give up parmesan cheese?  But I digress…

Anyway, thank goodness for the internet!  With a quick trip to the market, butternut squash pasta turned into butternut squash soup with coconut milk and curry.  I found the recipe here:

And I had some wheat berries in the pantry and some slivered almonds and apricots in the cupboard, so we’re also going to be enjoying (hopefully) Apricot and Toasted Almond Wheat Berry Salad.

They’ll be here soon, and I’ll update sometime over the next day or two with the verdict. Wish me luck!

Starting fresh

One of my goals for 2013 is to try at least one new recipe a week. As a full-time working mom with an almost 5-year-old who prefers chicken nuggets to all other foods and a husband who has discerning tastes (I didn’t say picky!), I have fallen into a rut of cooking the same stuff week after week. Putting something new on the table only to have it panned or totally avoided (Charlie) is a bit discouraging, but I’m ready to start fresh and force the issue – at least once a week!

I’ve also been struggling to find a way to save the recipes I like.  I tried one of those pinning websites for about 5 minutes, but the social networking aspect was overly distracting. I just need a way to log what I’ve tried, whether it’s worth making again, and any changes I’d make.  A recipe blog seems like a good way to log my successes and failures, so here goes!

Recipe #1 – Caramelized Brussels Sprouts from Eat, Live, Run:

Last night, George was out and Charlie wanted leftover pasta – so I could try something just for me. I’m trying to up my vegetable intake and eat a little less meat, and this recipe seemed hearty enough that I could skip the main course.  A dinner of sides works for me!


  • Chopped sprouts!  I realized I far prefer brussels sprouts chopped.  Sometimes the whole or halved ones can be a little mushy in the middle, even when roasted – but these were fresh, green and crisp.
  • They were hearty – they’d make a very filling side course, and were great on their own. The pecans added good protein and a nice crunch.

Cons: They were far too sweet for my taste.

Make again?  Yes, definitely.

Recipe variation?  Next time I will be cutting the sugar in half – and I expect to love the result.