Wednesday, December 22

Midnight Mocha Marshmallows (AKA: Mmm Mmm Mmm)

I feel like I need to add the word 'marvelous' in the title, but that is just simply too much, however, no amount of mnemonic or affirmative vocabulary gives these yummy puffs justice.  Quadruple-M just sounds weird anyway. 

In a late-night marshmallow-making adventure, my friend, Ericka (beautiful red head in the Starbucks apron), came up with these AMAZING treats!  My goal was to teach her the basic marshmallow recipe and we flexed our creative-culinary muscles to create a one-of-a-kind marshmallow!

Start by allowing gelatin to absorb into water in mixing bowl and begin boiling the sugar mixture . . .

When ready SLOWLY pour hot sugar mixture into gelatin with mixer on medium . . .

In addition to 1/2 tsp vanilla add:
1/4 tsp pure peppermint extract
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp flavored ground coffee
Beat for 12 minutes . . . QUICKLY transfer to pan sprayed with cooking spray . . .

Press in 1/2 c coarsely chopped chocolate chips, 1 tbsp ground coffee & green sprinkles . . .
 Use a piece of parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray to press down marshmallow goo and make them as even as possible.

After 2 hours, cut into 1-2" cubes with scissors sprayed with cooking spray.  Instead of cornstarch and confectioners sugar to dust the outsides and de-stick by dropping them in a mixing bowl with 1/2 c hot cocoa mix.
Close your eyes and sink your teeth into one of these babies.  It is as if you are drinking a peppermint mocha  . . . coffee, chocolate, peppermint, and hints of vanilla swirling around on your palate.  The smooth, creamy texture of the marshmallow is reminiscent of the whipped cream gracefully perched on top of the drink, and the slight crunch from the chocolate chips and sprinkles enhances the experience and provides a sweet surprise.   I can almost hear "Baby it's cold outside" by Frank Sinatra in the background . . .  MMMMMMMMMMM.........

Basic Marshmallow

After realizing that I would need to rewrite a recipe for all the variations of marshmallows I like to make, I decided to add the basic marshmallow recipe to the arsenal and you can tweak them anyone you please.


2 packets unflavored gelatin
1/2 c cold water
2 c granulated sugar
2/3 c light corn syrup
1/4 c water
1/4 tsp coarse kosher salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 c confectioners sugar
1/4 c cornstarch
whatever you want to use to decorate
*keep your cooking spray handy!*


-Lightly spray a 11x14 glass dish with cooking spray 
*NOTE* The depth will determine the size of your marshmallow.

-In a mixing bowl sprinkle gelatin on top of 1/2 c cold water and allow to sit.

-In a medium saucepan mix together sugar, corn syrup & 1/4 c of water over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil.  Boil rapidly for at least 1 minute.

 -Mix gelatin and water at a medium speed while slowly pouring the hot sugar liquid into mixing bowl.  Add salt & vanilla and beat on high for 12 minutes.  
You will notice that the mixture doubles in size.
*NOTE* This is where you can vary the recipe by adding a different flavor extract.
- Use a rubber spatula (sprayed with cooking spray) to QUICKLY transfer marshmallow goo from mixing bowl into glass dish.  Once you stop the mixer, the marshmallows will begin to set and you will have a minute or two at the most before they become too stiff to spread nicely!
 Decorate as desired.  Lick your fingers and spatula!
 *TRICK* Spray a piece of parchment paper with cooking spray and press on top to smooth out and make the thickness of the marshmallows more even.   Leave parchment paper on and let set for at least 2 hours.

When ready to cut, set out another mixing bowl with 1/4 cup confectioners sugar & 1/4 cup cornstarch. Spray a pair of kitchen shears with cooking spray and cut marshmallows into squares, placing them into the mixing bowl as you go.  I used to use a big butcher knife but I feel like I have more control when I use scissors, must be a have been all those years cutting hair.  The marshmallows will be super-sticky so gently roll them in the cornstarch & confectioners sugar mixture to un-stick them.   The ones to the right are just jazzed up with green and yellow food coloring - GO DUCKS!

Peppermint Marshmallows

This has become a staple holiday treat that I have given out at Christmas so many times our friends and family have grown to expect them.  Previously I have used 2 egg whites in the recipe, but I found that texture and flavor is exactly the same if not better without the eggs.

There is nothing more tasty than popping one of these puppies on a cup of hot chocolate and snuggling up on the couch!


2 packets unflavored gelatin
1/2 c cold water
2 c granulated sugar
2/3 c light corn syrup
1/4 c water
1/4 tsp coarse kosher salt
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
red gel food coloring & red sprinkles, or whatever you want to use to decorate


-Lightly spray a 11x14 glass dish with cooking spray 
*NOTE* The depth will determine the size of your marshmallow.

-In a mixing bowl sprinkle gelatin on top of 1/2 c cold water and allow to sit.

-In a medium saucepan mix together sugar, corn syrup & 1/4 water over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil.  Boil rapidly for at least 1 minute.

-Mix gelatin and water at a medium speed while slowly pouring the hot sugar liquid into mixing bowl.  Add salt & peppermint and beat on high for 12 minutes.  Add a few drops of food coloring and blend for just a second to swirl the color through.
-With a rubber spatula QUICKLY transfer marshmallow goo into glass dish.  Decorate as desired.  

*TRICK* To make marshmallows as even as possible, spray a piece of parchment paper with cooking spray and gently press and smooth the top of the marshmallows-leave parchment paper on top and let sit overnight.


Thursday, December 9

Super Easy Homemade Chocolate Doughnuts

A new guilty pleasure . . .

2 packages refrigerated biscuits-makes approx 20
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup half & half
4 tbls butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract 
2 cups powdered sugar

Take a package of refrigerated biscuit dough and separate & spread them out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Poke a hole in the middle and pop them in a deep fryer or hot oil in a pan.

 In a separate pan on LOW heat mix together semi-sweet chocolate chips, butter and half & half. 

 Once the sauce is thickened and doughnuts have cooled slightly, use a fork to dip each in the glaze and set aside to cool.  We dipped ours twice because the first coating was too thin.


No school snow day potato stoup (1/2 soup, 1/2 stew)


Today we awoke to a beautiful layer of snow illustrative of an image Paul Bunyan could have created by sifting powered sugar over the city while we slept.  And that is all it takes to shut down Eugene!  We took the opportunity to warm up with an everything but the kitchen-sink spin-off of a potato soup. 

Here is what we used  . . .
7-10 russet potatoes- peeled & cut into 1-inch cubes
1 onion-diced
2-3 cloves of garlic
5 stalks of celery-chopped
10-12 slices of bacon-chopped
6 cups chicken stock
bay leaf
salt & pepper

In the pot you intend to make the stoup in cook bacon on medium-when bacon is down reserve 2/3 of it off to the side for topping.  Drain fat but leave the brown bits at the bottom-that is where all the flavor is!  Leave the pot on the burner and add the onions . . .

Once the onions have started to sweat add everything else in no particular order & season to your liking, stirring as needed to bring up flavor from bottom of pan and prevent anything from sticking.  Bring to boil and reduce heat to a simmer-cook until the potatoes are done. This process will vary-in total I think we let ours go about 30 minutes.

It smells amazing!

Sophie can't wait for a piece to fall on the ground.

The drool is accumulating . . .
Once the potatoes are soft carefully pour about half of stoup into a blender an let cool for a minute.  After most of the steam dissipates blend until mixture is smooth.

And pour back in pot . . .

Serve with garnish of bacon, sour cream, shredded cheese and chives (which I didn't have but will definitely next time!)

Sunday, November 14

If a funnel cake and a quiche had a baby . . . . AKA: Grammy Kay's German Oven Pancake

This is the best way to start a Sunday morning except for the pumkin scones which come in at a close 2nd place.  But this German oven pancake is much easier to make!  Little Trevor (5-years-old) can pretty much do it all himself, minus the oven work.

In a glass pie dish place 2 Tbls of butter and throw into a cold oven.  Turn oven on to 425 degrees.

In the meantime, in a large bowl mix:

6 eggs
2 Tbls melted butter (this is separate from the 2 Tbls already in the pie dish)
1 cup milk (any milk works fine but contributes their unique flavors; we have used soy, rice, hemp and cow's milk)
1/2 cup unbleached bread flour
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
**For flours, we like King Arthur's or Bob's Red Mill brands**

When butter in pie dish is melted (approx 5 min) carefully pour batter into hot pie dish and put back in oven.  Bake for 18 minutes.

You can top yours with lemon and powered sugar (shown in pictures), fruit or maple syrup.

We cut ours into fourths and everyone gets one quarter.  This is technically a double batch so feel free to adjust as necessary.  This seems to be a perfect batch for a family of 4!

If a funnel cake and a quiche had a baby . . .

Thursday, August 12

Red Coconut Curry garnished with Walla Walla Onion Rings and Cilantro over a bed of Coconut Jasmine Rice

Let me start by saying that I have really never explored curry because the first time I had some it was way too spicy! And I'm kind of a wimp. But my husband loves curry and so I am trying to get used to it. The sweet walla walla onion rings perfectly balanced the spice of the curry with their delicious crunchy texture and sweetness. And the whole thing over a bed of jasmine rice infused with coconut milk. mmm mmm.


2 cups jasmine rice-we cook ours in a rice cooker
1 can of chilled coconut milk-divided between rice and curry--1/4 cup solid coconut milk goes into rice, the rest into the curry

1 lb of firm organic sprouted tofu-drained and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 bag of frozen peas
1 cup chopped carrots-we used carrot chips coarsely chopped
a bottle of Trader Joe's Red Coconut Curry sauce

6 russet potatoes
sprinkle of cumin, coriander, turmeric, salt & pepper

First, I chopped the potatoes and drizzled them with EVOO (yeah, go ahead and make fun, I say it like Rachel Ray), then sprinkled them with cumin, coriander, turmeric and salt & pepper, popped them in the oven and baked them at 425 degrees for 45 minutes in a casserole dish.

The jasmine rice was done in the rice cooker as usual.

Next, since we don't have a deep-fryer, simply because if we did my husband would try to deep fry everything. So instead we use our wok and basically get the same effect, of course he'll argue it's not the same! Everything in the kitchen is vulnerable to his culinary mastermind and oil-hot-tub discretion, and every now and then I see him setting random things aside to deep fry. A straggler potato chunk here, a slice of dill pickle there. As I sit aside and preach how horrible deep fried foods are for us, he begins to throw in the walla walla sweet onions we cut up earlier. This time was different. They came out like shoestring potatoes but oh-so-sweet! I fell in love. They quickly began to disappear. By the end, what once was a side dish, became a tug-of-war garnish. And we each barely had enough, and bummed we didn't have anymore onion to fry.

After dumping out most of the oil, but leaving a couple tablespoons worth in the wok we threw in the tofu and fried it until golden brown. Then the carrots, peas, coconut milk and red curry sauce get thrown in. This usually cooks for about 10-15 minutes.

Now it's time to plate everything . . . rice, potatoes, curry, onion rings and cilantro . . . mmmmm

Thursday, August 5

and a BIG napkin

People often make the assumption that eating a plant-based meal isn't satisfying. And as I write this I am realizing that there is no amazing recipe to attach. I wonder if this is a waste of my time and yours, and then . . . I look at the pictures. This meal was so filling and delicious, even the most ravenous carnivore would be crazy to turn down this feast. The baked beans were sweet and scrumptious. The sweet potato fries were the perfect balance between sweet and salty, and a little burnt, but I like them that way . . . better than soggy I say! The corn was an organic yellow and white variety that didn't even need the usual roll in the butter. The buns were from the Market of Choice bakery, baked fresh that morning. It all came together so nicely I thought I would share.

To enjoy this All-American feast you need:

hamburger buns-what ever floats your boat
Morningstar Farms Chik Patties Original
whatever you like on your burger
Trader Joe's sweet potato fries
vegetarian baked beans
organic corn on the cob


Tuesday, July 27

Cherry Almond Cobbler

I bought 2 lbs of local sweet dark cherries from the farmers market today and could not wait to do something fun with them. Cherries have amazing anti-inflammatory and pain relieving qualities and are flat out yummy. After carefully weighing the options, and a highly democratic voting process, my husband and I decided that cobbler was the winner this time. I did not want to go cherry only, but I wanted to stick to a mainly cherry theme. Then I found it, nothing quite pairs with cherry quite like almond, which served as an amazing undertone for this cobbler. Both kids jumped in on the creation with Cali helping stir the cherry filling, and Bubba helping mix the crumble, both had a blast! The entire 25 min in the oven the entire kitchen was filled with a wonderful cherry almond aroma that made it hard to make it through dinner. I think it was only out 10 min before we broke into its golden crusted top and began to devour its warm sweet gooey goodness. Every bite was like taking one step closer to heaven... AMAZING!


1 1/4 sugar- we used organic raw sugar, next time I am going to try agave nectar
1 cup self-rising flour
3 tbls cornstarch
1 tbls sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
4 cups fresh organic cherries
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk - we used Living Harvest Organic Hempmilk
3 tbls shortening


Preheat overn to 400 degrees. Mix 1 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, almond extract and cherries over medium high heat stirring constantly until boiling. Boil for one minute and put in an ungreased 2-quart casserole dish, keep hot in oven while preparing the topping.

Cut shortening into mixture of flour, 1 tbls sugar, salt, flour. Stir in milk. Drop by spoonfulls onto hot cherry mixture. Bake until golden brown 25-30 minutes.

Monday, July 26

Cali's Cool and Refreshing Coleslaw . . . perfect for any hot summer night

I will be honest . . . I have NEVER liked coleslaw! But as of last night I have officially changed my mind. As a way to get away from heating up the kitchen, I was desperately searching for something to make that was cold. I found some left over cabbage in the fridge . . . and because I hate when I forget about produce in the fridge and it goes bad, I chose to make coleslaw. Actually, Cali made it! It was beyond easy and so delicious. It was the perfect sweet and tangy flavor. Even our son, the pickiest eater, loved it!


1/3 cup mayonnaise - we used Vegenaise, it tastes exactly the same and is dairy & egg FREE
3 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp agave nectar
2 tbsp rice milk
1/2 - 1 whole head of green cabbage - whatever you have on hand, next time we are going to use red cabbage as well
1 cup shredded carrots - we cheated and used Bunny Luv Organic shredded carrots
salt and pepper to taste


Mix everything together in a bowl! Voila!

Saturday, July 24

Herb Crusted Tofu . . . aka The Faux Chicken Nugget

If you have a young child who LOVES chicken nuggets, try this recipe. Our son is a chicken nugget fanatic and since he was 3, if you asked him, he would tell you without hesitation that his favorite food is chicken nuggets. As a healthier alternative, we have started making these and even my super-skeptical husband has admitted this is the closest chicken flavor and texture we have made. This simple recipe has become our favorite way to make tofu.

I was first introduced to herb crusted tofu at The Farm Restaurant in Portland a few years ago. Since we don't have the luxury of living close to them anymore, we have come up with another version. We paired it with steamed broccoli and garlic mashed potatoes. Normally I would have made the mashed potatoes from scratch but today was like 100 degrees and I had no desire to make the kitchen hotter than it already was, so I cheated and used Alexia Foods Garlic Mashed Red Potatoes. They were so easy and delicious!


1 block extra firm tofu
1/2 cup cooking sherry
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup water

1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

vegetable oil for pan-frying


1. First rinse, drain, and press the tofu. Slice tofu into ideal shapes, I cut mine into 12 triangles.

2. Put tofu in medium bowl and pour in cooking sherry, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and water. Put in fridge and allow to marinate for 30 minutes. Tofu acts like a sponge, the longer you marinate it, the more flavor you will get. You can adjust the marinating time and ratio of ingredients to suit your palate. While the tofu is marinating, prepare herb crusting and set up a skillet with vegetable oil.

3. In a shallow dish mix panko bread crumbs, flour, thyme, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Carefully dredge tofu cutlets into mixture and place in skillet with hot oil. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes on each side, or until a dark golden brown.

*A fantastic benefit to cooking with tofu is that it does not carry any nasty bacteria like salmonella in chicken, you can cook it to your liking and visual expectation. Essentially you can eat in its most raw form, so don't panic if you are worried about cooking it long enough.

Thursday, July 22

Don't have ricotta? . . . use this instead

This ricotta stand in was perfect for our lasagna last night, and as you can see this was so much fun for my sous chef to make. No utensils required, just hands for squishing!

Stick all of the ingredients in a bowl and squish with hands, that's it!

1 pound firm tofu, pressed and drained
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
handful fresh basil leaves, chopped fine
dash fresh black pepper

You can use this in any Italian recipe that calls for ricotta; lasagna, stuffed shells, etc. We put it right into the lasagna (sorry there is no pic, the camera ran out of batteries last night), or you can pop it in the fridge and use it up to a couple days later.