Cold day = soup

So this was the view from my front door last week:

So there is nothing else I can do but make soup.  A good hearty one preferably.

Martha Stewart's Sausage and Kale Soup looked like the perfect soup for the day....yet there was one problem:

No chicken sausage.
No kale.

But I gotta have soup...didn't you see that picture above, how can I not have soup on a snowy day like that?  So plan B: substitute (because there was no way I was getting out in THAT!)  So one look in the refrigerator and I had my alternates...turkey Italian sausage and baby spinach.  That settled that...soup was back on the menu boys! 

Turkey Sausage and Spinach Soup
adapted from Martha Stewart

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
5 waxy potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
3 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) chicken broth
12 oz (approx.) baby spinach
12 ounces (about 3 links) Italian turkey sausage

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook approx 1 minute. Add potatoes and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

In a skillet over medium heat crumble and cook turkey sausage, minus the casing, until brown and no redness remains.  Set aside.

In a blender, puree half the soup. Return to pot; add sausage and spinach. Simmer until spinach is wilted.


Wendy's Natural Cut Fries-A Review

As a Foodbuzz featured publisher you get perks.

What kind of perks you ask?  Well occasionally you get picked to try something new.  I like this perk - a lot!  I love trying new things.  I love that moment right before you try it, the expectation, the anticipation, the excitement.   Sometimes it is fantastic and you can't wait to try it again and sometimes you really wish you never tried it at all!

Well I received a perk a couple of weeks ago.  Wendy's recently revamped their menu, they are striving to get back to what counts - the food.   Real food the way it should be instead of the mass produced fast food we are all used to seeing (and perhaps indulging in in moments of weakness).

The first menu item to get a make over was their fries.  To be honest Wendy's fries pre-make over were never really my favorites; my favorites have always been Arby's curly fries - I like my fries on the spicy side.  So I wasn't really expecting much from this product review.  But I thought I would keep an open mind and just dive in. 

The new Wendy's fries are advertised to be natural cut russet potatoes with skins on and a sprinkle of sea salt.  Sounds great right?  Well in fact I was pleasantly surprised by them.  They actually tasted like potatoes, honest to goodness fresh potatoes.  The sea salt enhanced the flavor just right and for me was just enough.  Overall I liked the new fries but moreover what I liked most was that fast food is making an effort to bring back real food.  This is a trend I hope to see continued and broadened because it is important to remember that food should be not only great tasting but good for us too and that can only happen if we stick to what is real! 

I suggest you go out and try these new fries and let me know what you think, I don't think you will regret it!


Shimmering Snowball Cookies

Ah...the Christmas holidays!  Let the baking begin!!!

Every year in my kitchen I have the same dilemma; there is so many things to be done and NEVER enough time to do them in.  But from years of rushing, stressing and maybe even a little crying, I have learned that it doesn't matter, because Christmas will always turn out great.  Which for yours truly is quite ironic seeing as I am a perfectionist!

To be a bit more specific, when I say "things" getting done I am talking about food "things" (surprise surprise).  This is my favorite time of year.  I break out my notebooks, cookbooks, and assorted sheets of scrap paper - anything that might contain a recipe.  Some tried and true, some traditional, and some off-the-wall crazy!  Then I just sit back with a mug of hot tea and plan out my holiday cooking/baking list.

Now I must warn you my goals are totally unrealistic...there is just so many yummy recipes and I want to make them ALL.  I just can't say no.  (Am I the only one with this problem??)  This year, of course, is no different-10, 20, 100 recipes have all caught my attention at one point or another in the last month or so.  Each one making me giddy, excited and running to the store for more ingredients. 

First up, these fantastic little white mounds that I am re-naming (the name on the recipe was super cheesy) Snowballs. 

This came into my possession via my mom.  To make a long story short (or at least I will try to),  every year my mom gets these holiday books from various publishers.  Some contain crafts, some decorating tips, and most are filled with holiday cooking ideas.  Everything from Christmas Eve dinner to easy to make gifts from the kitchen.  I know what you are thinking..."how fantastic, I love those books"...yeah me too.  But my Mom...she HATES them.  Don't get me wrong she is not an anti-Christmas Scrooge.  She is, however, anti-cooking.  Spending countless hours in the kitchen is not something she is interested in.  So after she has complained to me about receiving ANOTHER holiday book, she offers it to me!  Woohoo...more recipes to add to my collection...ah...the possibilities!!!

It was in one of these books that I found these little jewels.  They are wonderfully cute, versatile and have a melt-in-your-mouth texture that will surprise you.  I am not kidding when I say they are a breeze to make, everything is done in a food processor!  No mess, and not complicated!  They can be decorated in a variety of ways: vanilla sugar, cinnamon sugar, heck..any type of sugar, or maybe even a delicate glaze!  I like white on white decorating during the holidays so I opted for powdered sugar and a clear sparkling sugar.  Next time I may attempt a flavored sugar....(ohhhh dangerous!  ha)

Snowball Cookies
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 1 cup cold butter, cubed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In the bowl of a food processor combine flour, powdered sugar, and cornstarch.  Pulse several times until combined. 

Through the feeder tube add several cubes of butter at a time, pulsing several times in between additions.  Add vanilla and keep pulsing until the dough starts to cling and form a ball. 

Shape the dough into 1 1/4" balls.  Place on parchment lined cookie sheets about 2" apart.  Bake for 12 minutes or until the edges are brown.

Roll warm cookies in sugar, or dust in powdered sugar. 


Cinnamon Ricotta Cookies

Have I mentioned recently that Ricotta Pancakes are fluffy little clouds of goodness?

Oh I have?  Well...what if I said that you can have all of that in a cookie too?  A cookie that is not-too-sweet and fluffy-soft like a down comforter.  In fact I have it on good authority that they have often been referred to as "cookies from heaven", they are that unforgettable.

One may say that that is too good to be true, and normally I would agree.  I mean, how can something be THAT good?  But this time I am telling the truth-no exaggeration, pinkie swear! 

After saying all of this I am pretty sure that it won't be too hard to believe that I had a monster craving for these cookies.  I knew I had to make them, pronto, like do not pass Go-do not collect $200 kind of pronto. 

But there was one thing I wanted to add to them.  I know what you are thinking, why change something that is supposed to be so perfect?  And in the back of my mind I was saying the same thing,  "if it ain't broke don't fix it".  But seeing that it is fall and all I hear about are pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and fall-inspired recipes, how can I ignore that??  I had to personalize them for the fall season.

How so?  Easy.  As much as I love lemons in the summer, I love cinnamon in the fall.  The smell of cinnamon wandering through the house on a cool day/night is heavenly.  As the fall sets in so does my longing for cinnamon.  So the decision was easy, add cinnamon to these lovelies and let perfection get perfected!

So I set out to combine my two cravings and came up with these little bundles of joy.  As I sit here and think about them, I am finding that the warm fuzzy feeling that they create, is coming over me yet again.  Hmmm...might have to bake some up soon...

UPDATE:  A wonderful food blogger that goes by the name Spicie Foodie, find her here, has set up a really cool interactive monthly link up.  Your Best Recipes is a way to share with others the best of the month.  This was the first month, October, and the response is really great.  I encourage you to stop by her page and participate dangit!  And for any readers that are here because of YBR, welcome!  Feel free to comment, linger and follow!  Happy Halloween everyone!!

Cinnamon Ricotta Cookies
adapted from Giada De Laurentiis 

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • Milk, amounts vary
  • Cinnamon, to taste
  • Vanilla extract, to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Put aside.

In a bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese and continue beating until combined. Stir in the dry ingredients.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the cookie dough (about 2 tablespoons per cookie) onto the baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Side note: The bottoms of these cookies brown much faster than the rest of the cookies so do not rely on just looking at the tops to see if they are done, I usually turn over one cookie and see how brown the bottoms are to determine doneness.  If they get a little too dark, don't worry the flavor is not damaged and they will not taste burned.  Remove from the oven and let cool.


I winged this glaze so this recipe is not as precise as I usually post on here.  Basically it goes a little something like this...

In a medium sized bowl measure out the powdered sugar.  A little at a time add in milk and stir until you get a pourable consistency.  Add vanilla extract and cinnamon to taste.  I like mine pretty cinnamon-y so I added several teaspoons.  Just keep tasting and adding as you see fit.   Spoon about 1/2-teaspoon onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread.