Cherry Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I just wanted to share an alternative to this White Chocolate Cranberry cookie. Just follow the recipe the same way, but substitute chopped up dried cherries for the cranberries and semisweet chocolate chunks for the white chocolate. It makes for a really yummy flavor combination!

Food on the Table

To me, white chocolate and cranberry are food soul mates. They just belong together. And they make for perfect Christmas treat bedfellows. You can make just about any dessert white chocolate-cranberry and not only would people love it, but it would look super festive on any table or cookie tray.

These are just a twist on a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe which I usually adapt from Nestle.

Fun Fact: The chocolate chip cookie was invented by a woman named Ruth Graves Wakefield in 1938. She owned a restaurant called the Toll House Inn. During WWII, soldiers from Massachusettes (where the Toll House Inn was located), shared the chocolate chip cookies from their care packages with other soldiers. Soon they were requesting them from their families who then inundated Ms. Wakefield with requests for her recipe! After her recipe became so popular, she contacted Nestle and struck a deal: they…

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Citrus Roasted Cod

I was never much of a fish eater growing up. My mom wasn’t a huge fan, so we just didn’t have it often. Occasionally, but not often. 

We still don’t eat very much fish, but that’s slowly been changing over the years I’ve been cooking. As I’ve grown up and expanded my food horizons, I’ve found that I really like most whitefish (cod, halibut, barramundi, specifically), and I LOVE salmon. I mean, really, salmon is sooooo good! And of course, I’ve always been a fan of shrimp and crab.

I recently picked up some cod from the store and decided to roast it. I’m going to consider this one of my No recipe Recipes, because it is so stinkin’ easy to put together! Fish takes almost no time at all to cook so it makes for a really fast weeknight dinner. And when my kids have tae kwon do, ballet, and baseball… and I have kickboxing… and my husband has softball, I need dinner to be the last thing to worry about.

I would feel like was doing you a disservice if I didn’t also mention how HEALTHY this meal is. There are approximately 15 grams of protein in 3oz of cod, 70 calories, and .6 grams of fat. It is an excellent source of B vitamins and potassium, and like many fish, a good source of healthy fats. It makes for a very light meal and will take on just about any flavor you add to it because its own flavor is very mild.

For this meal, I just sliced up 1 orange and one lemon and lay the sliced on a parchment lined baking sheet. Save a little bit of the lemon end to squeeze over the top of the fish.

I placed the cod filets on top of the citrus slices. I drizzled each with olive oil (I used my favorite garlic infused olive oil from Trader Joe’s but regular will work). Then I sprinkled each filet with some garlic salt, pepper, and marjoram. Finally, I squeezed the last little bit of lemon over the top. NOTE: you could use any mild white fish here if you don’t have cod.


I put the sheet in a 400 degree oven for about 13 minutes.

That’s it. So simple, but so yummy. It was actually pretty refreshing, which is nice for the warmer spring weather we’ve been having. I served mine with some roasted asparagus, which was easy too since I put the asparagus (coated in olive oil and garlic salt) in the oven about 10 minutes before I added the fish. Both trays came out at the same time.

We will definitely be having this more often!

Roasted Garlic and Beet Soup 

So a couple months ago I signed up for Farm Fresh to You. I like it. I don’t know how much longer I’m going to keep it, but it’s pretty cool. I’ve been able to try more veggies than I probably would have on my own, like beets. I don’t think I would ever just pick up a beet in the grocery store and make something with it, but since it was coming in my delivery anyway, I figured what the heck? Why not give it a try.


Since I’ve never had a beet before, I thought it best not to try out a recipe on my own and go with a pro. Enter: Martha Stewart. I found a recipe that seemed simple enough to follow with our soup cleanse and it was actually pretty tasty.

I had read many places that beets sort of taste like dirt. Even after roasting them and combining them with the other ingredients, I can totally see why someone would say that. They were VERY earthy. But the roasted garlic and the leeks really combined nicely with the beets.

Would I make it again? I don’t know. I didn’t love it that much, but it wasn’t hard work at all to peel the beets, though they are very messy. Beets are super healthy, so maybe someday I’ll be inspired to repeat the recipe, but we’ll have to just see.

Roasted Garlic and Beet Soup

Adapted from Martha Stewart

3 medium beets

1 head of garlic

1 leek

1 tsp fresh thyme

2 cups vegetable broth

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

Lemon juice

Remove the greens from the beets and wrap them in parchment and foil with a drizzle of olive oil. Roast at 400 degrees for about an hour. Cut off about a ¼ to ½ inch of the garlic head and wrap that in foil too with some olive oil. Roast that for the last 30 minutes of the beets.

Meanwhile, saute the leeks and thyme until softened.

Let the beets cool enough to handle them and wipe the skin off with some paper towels. It should just rub off very easily. Add the beets to the blender.

Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the cloves into the blender. Add the sautéed leeks and thyme, vegetable broth, and salt and pepper. Blend until well combined. It really helps to have a high powered blender such as a Vitamix, Ninja, or Blendtec.

Add a squeeze of lemon juice and taste to see if you need more salt or pepper.

 

The color of this soup is out of this world gorgeous, but be careful because beets can stain.

Creamy Veggie Soup (without the cream!)

I think I’m really getting the hang of this soup thing, you guys! I love coming up with new combinations of veggies and flavors that complement each other to whirl up into delicious soups. I am also LOVING my Vitamix more and more. I can whip up these soups on the soup setting and the result is a creamy, velvety soup that doesn’t have any dairy in it at all. It’s so mind boggling; every time I take a bite, I can’t believe there’s no cream or dairy in the soup.

The only thing I need to start working on is making bigger batches. Just when I think there’s going to be enough, it only makes about 3 servings, maybe 4 depending on how much you eat in one bowl.

So far this little makeshift soup cleanse we’ve been on has been very successful. We are getting all our veggies in and we still feel full after a bowl of soup. And the hubby and I are both down to below our pre-vacation weight!

 

Creamy Veggie Soup (without the cream!)

½ red bell pepper, cut in half

½ orange bell pepper, cut in half

1 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise

1 poblano pepper

1 cup frozen corn

3 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 cup vegetable broth

Salt and pepper to taste

Place all the peppers and zucchini on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.

When the veggies are done, place the bell peppers and zucchini in a blender. Put the poblano in a zip top bag and seal it. After about 5 minutes, remove the poblano and peel the skin off. It should just pull right off. Cut it in half (carefully because it will be hot), and remove the stem and scrap out the seeds. Add the pepper to the blender.

Add the rest of your ingredients to the blender and let her whirl until done.


Taste to see if you need to add more salt.


I had some avocado I needed to use up so I topped mine with avocado. I didn’t do it this time, but it would probably be yummy to add more corn pieces as well, to off-set the texture a little bit.

Corn and Yellow Pepper Soup

Here’s another souper easy (see what I did there? Funny, yeah?) soup recipe for you. I’ve got a couple more coming in the next week or so.  These are all experiments, so whenever they turn out as good as these last couple have, I get really happy. I even have one in the works using beets! I mean, seriously. BEETS! I’ve never even had a beet before. I also know that they are really messy. The recipe is inspired by the one-and-only Martha Stewart though, so hopefully that will help things!

Anyway, I am always up for more ways to get more vegetables into my family.

Corn and Yellow Pepper Soup

3 yellow bell peppers, cut into quarters
1/2 bag of frozen corn

1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into florets (or 1/2 bag of cauliflower florets) 
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 4oz can green chiles
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Pinch of cayenne *optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

On a parchment lined baking sheet, lay out all your cut up peppers and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast at 400 for about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute the onions and garlic in a pan with some olive oil and a little salt until softened and fragrant. Set aside.

Also, steam your cauliflower florets until softened. This will help add a nice smooth, thick consistency to your soup.

In a blender, preferably a high powered one like a Ninja or a Vitamix, put in the onion/garlic mixture, the thyme, the bell peppers, the cauliflower, the corn, and the green chiles. Blend until smooth. I didn’t need any liquid to get a perfect velvety consistency, but if you do, add some vegetable broth as needed.


Taste for flavor. Add some cayenne if you want a touch of heat. Add more salt and pepper if you want. Whatever you want to do to make it taste like what you want it to taste like!

Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

So the hubby and I were recently on our second trip to New Orleans. We had such a great time last year that we just had to go back for our vacation this year. When we went the first time, we hadn’t yet started our journey to getting fit and eating healthier, so the food was just enjoyed and we came home and continued on with our lives.

Well, this time was different. We have been eating so well, so clean, that when we were there, our bodies weren’t used to the heavy and rich foods of New Orleans. Don’t get me wrong; the food was still delicious! And we ate and drank plenty, but now that we are back, we have to get back on track.  We decided to try a sort of “soup cleanse.” I know there are official programs you can follow, but I just went to Sprouts and stocked up on a ton of veggies. The idea is to put my Vitamix to use and blend up some yummy soups to get all our veggies in. We will definitely be eating our colors!!

So I’ve made homemade tomato soup before but I have to say, this one is WAY better! No offense to Tiffani Thiessen. Making tomato soup is actually really easy and when you read the side of a soup can and realize that you can barely pronounce the ingredients on it, you just may become a DIY tomato soup person as well.

Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

3 pounds roma tomatoes (that was about 12 for me), cut in half lengthwise
2 medium red bell peppers, cut into quarters lengthwise
4 sprigs fresh thyme

1/2 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Handful of fresh basil, torn
1 teaspoon honey
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the tomatoes and bell peppers cut side up in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place 4 sprigs of fresh thyme on top. Roast in the oven for 1 hour.


Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, add some olive oil and saute your onions and garlic until soft. Add a pinch of salt while sauteeing. Set aside.

When the tomatoes are done, discard the thyme stems. At this poing you can easily remove the skin of the tomatoes. Let them cool just a bit so you don’t burn yourself. I flipped them over with some tongs and just grabbed the loose skin with the tongs and it will pull right off.  You can also leave the skin on, but I like the smoother texture I get with the skin off.

Add the onion/garlic mixture, the torn basil, and the honey* to the blender. Then add the bell pepper, and peeled tomatoes. The tomatoes will let out a lot of juice, so make sure that gets in the blender as well. Mine gave off so much juice, I didn’t even have to use any stock, broth, or water.


Blend everything until smooth.  If it’s too thick, you can add more liquid. Mine was perfect as-is. Using a high power blender like a Vitamix will produce a very creamy texture without having to actually use any milk or cream, which is great!

*Quick note: this can be made vegan if you agave syrup instead of honey.


We ate ours as-is, but feel free to add any toppings you like or even serve it with grilled cheese, which is one of the greatest food combos of ALL TIME.


I wasn’t sure how this was going to turn out, but I gotta say, I loved it! The taste was just phenomenal. My husband was more or less speechless. Hopefully the rest of our “soup cleanse” recipes are just as successful!