Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cream of Celery Soup

It was an interesting Thanksgiving around here.  My daughter had started out the week with a stomach bug.  And several people came down with it throughout the week.  It was a bummer.  When you are hosting Thanksgiving and having people stay at your house- the last thing you want is for everyone to get sick.

Then I tried the recipe of doing the turkey in parts.  It sucked.  I may try it again with a small turkey at some point because I really feel like it should have worked.  I wonder what I did wrong.  Really my brined turkey is MUCH better.  Maybe it was the fact that there was so much in the oven.  Maybe it totally messed up the cooking times, etc.  I kept taking the birds temp.  I had the white meat in one roasting pan and the dark in another. 

I did try my friends idea of making the mash potatoes early on in the cooking process and keeping them warm in a crockpot.  The only thing is- is that you can't keep them in there too long before dinner.  I would say an hour, max, because the moisture comes out and they begin to harden up.

All in all I feel like the only thing I loved about the dinner was my cranberry relish.

But I remain very grateful for all my blessings- family being the greatest of them!

So, while I don't have any rave reviews of my Thnaksgiving dinner- I will say this soup is pretty good.

Cream of Celery

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 medium onion chopped
1 quart celery broth (see note)
6 stalks of celery
1/2 cup instant mashed potatoes (optional for thickening)
1/2 cup half and half

Melt butter in a stock pot.  Add flour once butter is melted.  Cook the butter for about two minutes.  You want it to be golden.  Add celery broth, whisking constantly to incorporate flour into liquid.  Add the chopped onions and celery.  Bring to a boil.  Cook for 30 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup of half and half. Heat until just before it boils.  Blend soup and strain.  Add instant mashed potatoes if a thicker soup is desired.

Note:  I used some hard celery ribs that had a very strong celery flavor.  I had bought some celery root and the stalks were still attached.  I boiled them in water for about an hour with some celery. I ended up with about a quart of broth.

*This is a very delicate flavored soup.  I might try adding some celery seed the next time I make it.  I would put it in tea bag or coffee filter - tied up so I could pull it out when I was done with the cooking process.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

I wanted to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.  For those of you who are not American, I 'd like to wish you a happy day.  I will be celebrating with friends and family.  A bit of a reunion of sorts.  A family who has long needed to come together will be together this weekend.  I am very grateful for that.  For my husband who I love dearly - who continues to amaze me each and every day.  We are not perfect, we have had our ups and downs like everyone else, but I must say that here in our tenth year of knowing each other we have come to some kind of good ground.  I am thankful for that too.  I am thankful for all the things in my life really.  My children, my home, my family, my friends, the opportunities that have been presented to me.  I wish each of you the same today and every day.  Even if you find yourself in a bad spot.  Look for something to be grateful for- whatever it is.  Start focusing on it and more and more may come to you.

What am I doing for our meal?

Cranberry Orange Relish- but no cinnamon or walnuts this time
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans
Turkey- roasted in parts which will be something new for me.  I will let you know how that goes.
Mashed Potatoes
Relish Tray- pickles, olives, dilly beans, etc.
And dessert-
all pies, My Mom will be making an assortment

I will not be doing much posting over the next couple of days.  I will be enjoying our company. Cheers.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Celery Root with Curry Yogurt Dressing

When I finish a head of celery, I take the little knobby end and cut the sides off- the yucky parts- and I am left with a little white square.  I love to eat that "heart" of the heart.  Celeriac or celery root very much reminds me of that flavor.  And that makes sense because they are all a part of the same plant.

When I bought the celery root, I was walking through the market with them, their stringy celery tops and leaves flailing all over the place.  In the other hand I had a bunch of beets with their tops flailing all over.  I found it a little humorous.  They asked if I wanted them to cut off the top, I said no way.  When I got home I boiled the tops in water, making a celery broth.  Those pieces of celery were very strong.  I am going to experiment and see if I can make a nice cream of celery soup with that.  If it goes well, I will share it with you.

Celeriac with Curry Dressing

3 cups pf celery root, diced
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
curry yogurt dressing (recipe following)

Saute celery root in oil until lightly golden.  Add turmeric, salt, pepper and lemon juice.  Cook for thirty minutes.  Pour some dressing over the cooked celery root and serve.  Sprinkle with cilantro if you really want to kick it up a little.

Curry Yogurt Dressing
Adapted from this recipe at Martha Stewart

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 large garlic cloves, minced (2 1/2 teaspoons)
1/4 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 whole allspice berry
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 cups low-fat plain yogurt
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar

In a skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add ginger, onion, and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until softened and beginning to turn translucent, about 9 minutes.  Add cumin, coriander, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, and allspice.  Cook until they become fragrant.  Remove from head and place in a food processor with turmeric, yogurt, salt, lemon juice, and sugar; process until smooth.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Weight Watcher Wednesday: Pecan Waffles

Yup- pecan waffles.  Fabulous and delicious.

I made a batch on Sunday last week when my daughter had a friend sleeping over our house.  The next morning I made these waffles.  They were gobbled up pretty quickly. 

I made them again on Monday so I could freeze them for some quick toaster breakfasts for the week.  I realized when I went to make them on Monday that I completely omitted one major ingredient... butter.  Yeah, I know.  Like a stick of it.  Yup.  They were good without it.  Toasted up nice so I made the second batch without it too- this time on purpose.  With a stick of butter being gone, it completely changed the calorie count.  They are about at 95 calories a piece.  Depending on how big your waffle iron is.  We ended up with 13 of them.  If you used the stick of butter- it almost doubles the calories.

Pecan Waffles

Based largely on this recipe from King Arthur Flour's Baking Companion. 

1 3/4 cup all purpose, unbleached flour
12 ounces ( 1 1/2 cups) buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup pecan meal

Mix dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients.  Mix the two together.  Pour by half cup fulls into waffle pan.  Mine took 3.30 minutes to get done. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Turkey Mulligatawny

I have wanted to make mulligatawny for a few years now.  Finally.  Man, this is good soup.With some turkey on the horizon, this is something wonderful and different to have with some of that leftover broth.

Turkey Mulligatawny Soup
The recipes I used came from Epicurious and The Kitchn and a book called 400 SOUPS, publisher: Hermes House.

Turkey broth
Two turkey legs and wings
1 large onion, quartered
1 inch fresh ginger, about 1 ounce
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
water to cover
black pepper corns

The Soup
turkey that has been removed from the bones
1/4 cup red lentils

1 tablespoon garam masala
4 cups chopped onion
3 carrots, sliced
3 large garlic cloves
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
freshly crushed black pepper

Separate the turkey wings into individual joints, and place in a stockpot and cover with cold water. Quarter 2 onions and stir into the pot. Add in unpeeled fresh ginger and garlic cloves, smashed.  Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cook at an extremely gentle simmer for 1 to 2 hours.

After at least 1 1/2 hours of cooking at a gentle simmer remove from heat.  Take the turkey pieces out of the broth.  When cool enough to handle, strip off the skin and discard. Shred the meat from the bones and cut into small pieces. Discard the bones.

At this point you can cool your broth in the refrigerator overnight, allowing you to remove excess fat from the top.

Now to make the soup with your fine soup:

Saute onion in butter and oil. Add carrots and garlic cloves.  Cook one minute and add the remainder of the ingredients except for the coconut milk.  Add in the coconut milk after about twenty minutes.  Heat five more minutes. 

Cilantro goes well and/or a little lemon juice served in each bowl. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Red Beet and Orange Salad

If you don't like beets, boy are you missing out.  As a child I never liked beets.  As an adult, I love them.  My husband can not stand them.  I eat my beets alone.  Gladly.  I don't have to worry about him eating my beets. 
There are a lot of recipes for orange and beet salad. You don't have to get fancy for it to taste good.  All you need is some oilve oil, cider vinegar, salt, and of course an orange and beets.  Oranges are about 70 calories a piece and 1/2 cup of beets are 37 calories. It makes a great lunch.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Seriously pumpkiny, seriously cheesecake-y.... seriously loved this.

It was my Mothers birthday, so of course I had to make cake.  And I did.  I have been wanting to make cheesecake for a long time.  Pumpkin is always fetching to me this time of year- why not?

No calorie counts for this one.

Pumpkin Cheesecake
Adapted from this recipe at

4 - 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, room temp
4 eggs, room temp
1 cup sugar
15 ounces canned pumpkin
1 tablespoon pupmin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups finely crushed ginger snaps
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix crumbs and melted butter right in the 9inch springform pan.  Press down and up the sides a little all around.  Bake in oven for about five minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl beat cream cheese and sugar.  Add in pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla. Once combined add eggs, one at a time.  Pour into prepared crust and bake for one to one and a half hours.  Remove when center is still a bit jiggly.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Weight Watcher Wednesday: Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Poor:  When you have too much month at the end of your money.

Love that. I found it on Pinterest, filed under funny.  I can SO identify.

And that goes for counting calories.  Hungry:  When you have too much day at the end of your calories. I hate when that happens.
The following recipe may seem shocking to you as a low cal soup.  How can it have 3 tablespoons of oil?  Don't skimp on it, really, put it in.  It will satiate you and it gives the soup more flavor- especially the butter.  The regular oil helps the butter to not burn. And use real butter please, it will make a difference in taste.  Something about things fried in butter- it ups the flavor quotient tremendously.  With 135 calories per cup- how can you go wrong.  If you had two cups for lunch, along with a couple of saltine crackers, you would have a filling, tasty meal for 300 calories.  Not to mention nutritious.

Butternut Squash and Apple Cider Soup

1 pound (about 2 cups) of onion, skinned and chopped
4 pounds (about 1 larger size squash) butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 pound (about 2 1/2 apples) apple, any are fine, I used a Granny Smith and a Honey Crisp
2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
1 tablespoon canola or safflower oil
salt to taste
2 cups cider
4 cups water or broth - like vegetable or chicken
1 teaspoon of adobo sauce 

Roast the squash in the oven at a temperature of 375F.  While the squash is roasting, saute onion in butter and oil.  Add the remainder of the ingredients once the onions have become golden.  Add squash when it is lightly browned.  Cook for about 40 minutes.  Puree and serve.

135 calories per cup.