supremely minestrone

I saw this recipe across a crowded room and it was love at first sight. We had finally made it across town to try out this new barbecue place. We were chowing down on some seriously delicious pulled pork sandwiches when Ina Garten caught my eye on the television. After trying to figure out why in the world they would be playing the Food Network at a restaurant, I found myself caught in that very trap– drooling over food on tv while subsequently stuffing my stomach full of another delicious food (because America!). I scribbled down the name of the recipe and ‘barefoot contessa’ so I could look the recipe up later. I think it was the allure of the giant pot, full to the brim with chunks of veggies. And the most brilliant and delicious little tip I learned while watching Ina work her magic—-I saw her RUB a garlic clove across the tops of the toasted french bread. The heck with garlic salt. It half grated, half melted itself into what I would soon learn is the most delicious main course topping for a hot soup on a cold day. You know, those cold cold, snowy Florida days.

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better than bakery buttercream

There is something you need to know. It’s a secret way to make almost any butter cream icing better. It’s the magic little trick that you need to bring your sweets to the next level. And once you know, there’s no turning back. Are you ready?? Are you sure?

Cream cheese.

I don’t care if it’s vanilla, chocolate, cookie butter (yes, this IS an icing flavor and go—make it now), as long as it’s a butter cream it will be better with cream cheese. The magic is, it won’t mess up your recipe and it will improve the texture to help make it creamy and thick. Just 4 ounces of cream cheese isn’t noticeable enough to make it “cream cheese icing”, but adds the extra ‘mmm…’ to keep people wondering.

This is a wonderful vanilla butter cream recipe that is perfect for piping that perfect bakery swirl. It isn’t overly sweet and is easy to adjust for different occasions. Add a little peanut butter, nutella, or cookie butter (yeah, I’m bringing that up again!) in at the end for your own special twist. 

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spectacular salmon

So… I never liked salmon. And by that, I mean that I am pretty sure I never even tried salmon until about a year ago under the assumption that I wouldn’t like it. It’s easy enough to avoid. With a swift “Oh, no thanks, I don’t like salmon” a lifetime can fly by (because I am so old ; ) where you have never even taken a bite. I don’t know why, I guess it’s the pink color that reminds me of under cooked chicken. So about a year ago I took the plunge. I like fish. People like salmon. I like most people. And it was good! And I was happy. And I was a little sad for all the times I had turned it away. But I assure you, we have probably made up lost times times two. The best part is that this salmon recipe takes 8 minutes and four ingredients. And to top it off, paired up with whole wheat cous cous and steamed green beans, the entire meal is easily multi-tasked together in 10 minutes (or see the above variation of brussel sprouts and quinoa-brown rice). It’s my new, healthy go-to meal when I hit the 5 o’clock meal panic after work. Enjoy!

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