Archive for January, 2014

Winter usually demands a few pots of soup or stew in our house.  (Even if it is in the mid- to high-60s outside, as it has been this week.)

Cooked in the slow-cooker, this recipe is substantial and perfect for the nights we come home from a full day of school and activities and are in a rush to bathe, eat, and get the kids ready for bed. Perfectly filling and delicious as is, my family prefers the soup with some sweet potatoes or pasta thrown (precooked or thrown into the slow cooker with 10-15 minutes to go), or some crusty bread on the side.

Chicken, Quinoa, and Kale Soup

  • 1 1/4 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs (raw)
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 medium onion)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (about 3 stalks)
  • 3 carrot sticks, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup dry quinoa (any color)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth, store bought or homemade
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups packed kale, roughly chopped (thick ribs chopped and discarded)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice


  • Add chicken to a 6 or 7 quart slow cooker, then add onions, celery and garlic, and olive oil. Add quinoa and thyme and pour in chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook on HIGH 3 1/2 – 4 hours or LOW 7 – 8 hours.
  • Remove chicken, let rest 10 minutes then cut or shred into bite size pieces and return to soup. Add kale and lemon juice, then cover and continue to cook on HIGH heat another 15-20 minutes.

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Our First Bakeoff

It’s been a few months since I’ve popped my head in.  We’ve done a lot of cooking, as usual, but a lot less baking. Turns out, a family must eat meals, but not necessary sweets. Hah! Just kidding.  Must eat meals? Yes.  Must eat sweets? Also, yes.  But for me and FHE that comes in the form of cookies (always of the oatmeal pudding variety these last several months).  And for my ever-growing children? That comes in the form of still-uneaten Halloween chocolates and various forms of dried, dehydrated fruit.

Our meals have mostly consisted of the things we enjoy most: various cruciferous greens sauteed in olive oil, salt and pepper served alongside simply prepared proteins (salmon and white fish and chicken are the favorites), which, to my disgust (sorry) often get dipped into Rice Kernel’s favorite condiment: ketchup.  Nothing too remarkable to post about, but remarkable enough to keep our family’s tastebuds happy and satiated.  Sadly, my children haven’t expressed enough interest (or had enough time, in the case of my older one) to cook with me of late.

A few months ago, though, Rice Kernel’s school had their first-ever bakeoff. I took it as a sign to rope him into the kitchen for some cooking nostalgia, and to start in on the lesson of “trying your best.”  What can I say, as a mother these topics are never far from my mind.

Bakeoffs always intrigue me: I read about them in print and I salivate over them when televised.  But I rarely have the desire to concoct something new. For one, it takes too much planning!  After I convinced Rice Kernel to join me and submit a recipe, we scratched our heads for days.  He was stuck on cookie dough. And then brownies.  Somehow we settled on cakepops with cookie dough in the center, brownie on the outside, and covered with chocolate.  They were a bit of a mess to make. And quite a production. But fun, nonetheless. Rice Kernel formed all the cookie dough balls and I had the messy job of wrapping 2 by 2 inch chunks of brownie around the balls. In the end, we only lasted about 15 balls – more than enough for the judges, thankfully.

The result was deliciously sweet. Chocolatey smooth and creamy, with speckles of crunchy mini chocolate chips. Did I mention they were sweet? 

We got a ribbon. Well, everyone did. And Rice Kernel was very proud of himself.  Now if only I can find that ribbon……

bakeoff bakeoff2

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