Cream of Chicken with Poblano

DSC_0098This soup is like the best  chile rellenos you’ve ever had, in a bowl with extra cheese.
5 poblano peppers

2 tbsp butter

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp ground cumin

4 cups chicken bone broth

3/4 cup 1% milk

Salt and pepper to taste

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

4 ounces 1/3 fat cream cheese

2  cups shredded cheddar cheese

DSC_0069Broil your  poblano peppers until skin is charred and blistered. I broiled mine for about 5 minutes per side.

DSC_0070Place poblanos in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let cool, then rub skin to remove as much as possible.

DSC_0081 Pull of your tops and cut out seeds then place in a food processor or blender to finely chop. I added around 1 cup broth to the poblanos to make sure they became very fine texture wise.  Set aside.

DSC_0079In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, and poblanos and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.

DSC_0091Stir in chicken broth and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.


DSC_0096 Add cream cheese, cheddar and chicken pieces and continue to cook until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. At the end I had a few pieces of cream cheese that hadn’t fully melted so I place my immersion blender on the top to make it fully blended.

DSC_0101This soup is delicious and so simply to throw together ingredient wise. This is one of my new favorites just in time for snow.



Harvesting Seed from Mexican Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia Mexicana Fabaceae)

s-l1600Mexican bird of paradise produce seedpods during the summer. The seeds may be collected and germinated to produce new plants.

DSC_0058The easiest way I have found is to take your seedpods and place them in a dryer bag with a  zipper on it.  I hang mine outside for a couple of months and allow the local weather to assist in splitting my seed pods for me.

DSC_0057When the pods split a good majority will start to curl and trap your seeds.  You will need to take open the curl with the tip of another seed pod in order to release your seeds.

DSC_0060This bag of seeds is off of two of my bushes that are around 3 years old now.  As you can see there is plenty to share with neighbors and other gardeners.

Once you are ready to plant your seeds you will need to sand or abrade the outside of the seed to remove the shine and make the seed coat thinner. You can use sandpaper or a fingernail file.

Next you can place in water overnight or boil some water and drop the seeds into the hot water for about three minutes. Then add cold water to drop the temperature of the water to around 110 degrees Fahrenheit and let the seeds sit overnight. The seed coat and membrane will peel off and you can plant the seed in potting soil. New plants should emerge in about a week. Do not over-water or the seed may rot.

Tropicranberry Granola

DSC_0093I love all things tropical. One of my favorite combinations is pineapple, toasted coconut and pecans.  So I couldn’t help but try this combo in granola.

4 cups old fashion or steel oats
3/4 cup wheat germ
3/4 cup oat bran
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup pecans
3/4 cup walnuts
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup dried pineapple
3/4 cup dried unsweetened coconut flakes
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup raw sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup coconut oil



Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine the oats, wheat germ, oat bran, pecans, and walnuts, dried pineapple, unsweetened coconut flakes, and cranberries in a large bowl.

DSC_0069Stir together the salt, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, oil, cinnamon, and vanilla in a saucepan.

DSC_0071Once it melts it should look like this.

DSC_0073Bring to a boil over medium heat, then pour over the dry ingredients, and stir to coat.

DSC_0076Spread the mixture out evenly on the baking sheets.

DSC_0084Bake in the preheated oven until crispy and toasted, about 45 minutes. Stirring every 15 minutes.

DSC_0096Cool, overnight on your counter and you will wake up to a wonderful aroma throughout your house.  Add some vanilla yogurt and enjoy a healthy tropical parfait.

Trader Joe’s Eggplant Wrap with Spicy Tahini

DSC_0068Let’s make this! I’m addicted to the Spicy Eggplant Wraps at Trade Joe’s.  Here is breakdown of the ingredients they use to make theres.


3 Eggplants (peeled and sliced)
1/4 Teaspoon Paprika
1/4 Teaspoon Oregano
1 Lemon
1 Tablespoon Salt
1/8 Teaspoon Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 Cup Canola Oil

Naan Bread (I didn’t have any and use Pita Bread which was nice and soft)

Napa Cabbage (sliced)
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic
1/8 Cup Canola Oil
1/2 Lemon Juiced
1/8 Teaspoon Parsley
2 Green onions (chopped)

Spicy Tahini Sauce
3/4 Cup Tahini
1 Teaspoon Garlic (minced)
1/2 Teaspoon Parsley
1 Tablespoon Red Pepper Flakes
1 Lemon Juiced
1/2 Cup Water

DSC_0050Peel and Slice your Eggplant.

DSC_0051Then sprinkle with your salt and allow to sweat for around 20 minutes.

DSC_0052Blend your spices and oil to slather your eggplant.

DSC_0054This is how it will look going into your oven for 20 minutes per side at 350 degrees.

DSC_0060When it’s fully cooked you will slice it into thin slices.

DSC_0055Now shred your cabbage. I chose Napa but regular would be fine. Add your oil, lemon and parsley to taste then set aside.

DSC_0056I would recommend hand blending your tahini sauce.  I placed mine in my Ninja and it became to thick.  Save your water for last and add as much as you need.  Since I had blended mine and it became so thick I needed 1/2 cup of water.  Just take all your ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  The peppers will need some time to kick in heat wise.  If you could make this sauce a day prior it would add to the overall flavor.

DSC_0059Here is how your sauce will look.


DSC_0064I used all of the ingredients listed on the Armenian Joe’s wrapper. You may want to adjust your heat levels.  I felt it needed more heat but don’t I always?


Boy Scout Derby Car Cookies

DSC_0069My son joined the Cub Scouts this year, and tomorrow night is Derby Night.  How can you properly celebrate Derby Day without a Race Car Cookie?

Here is my standard roll-out cookie recipe.

Nordic roll-out Cookies

2 sticks unsalted butter
1 ¾ cups raw sugar
¼ Cups Agave Nectar
4 cups Unbleached flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cardamon
½ orange Tablespoons orange zest/oil
½ scraped vanilla bean
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
Preheat oven to 350

For complete step by step instructions for my Nordic Roll out cookies and icing follow this link:


Royal Icing

2 Tablespoons Crisco
2 Tablespoons Light Karo Syrup
7 Cups Powdered Sugar
4 Tablespoons Meringue Powder
1/2 Cup Water
Flavoring of your choice
Color of your choice

Now that are cookie dough and icing is made it’s time to really get to work.

DSC_0049Let’s get to rolling, cutting, baking, decorating and bagging shall we?

DSC_0054Dough is rolled out to 1/4 inch thick.

DSC_0056Once I cut them I place them on parchment paper and throw the into the freezer for 10 minutes.

DSC_0055Fresh out of the oven.

DSC_0057I like to dry mine on a rack to ensure the cookies are dry and don’t stick to the parchment when I’m decorating them.

DSC_0050Here’s our color choices and the bottles I prefer to use for decorating.

DSC_0060I didn’t waste a lot of time with making sure the flow was perfect.  I flooded them and then brushed the sides with a wet brush.

DSC_0064The wheels were made out of reversing my frosting caps.  You don’t have to have a steady hand but being creative sure helps.

DSC_0066I drew a small white line across the window and brushed it to give the allusion of a reflection.

DSC_0067Just a small dot for the center of your wheels.

DSC_0069We chose Red, Blue and British Racing Green.

DSC_0073Lets bag these cars!

DSC_0076Good luck boys, especially mine…

Note* If you have a preferred cookie or icing recipe than use it….I’m not in your kitchen!

Whiskey Rolls



2 eggs
3/4 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter

DSC_0067Beat the eggs in a small bowl. Add the warm water and yeast. Stir to combine and then refrigerate the mixture for 10 minutes.

DSC_0070In a large bowl, whisk together the salt, flour, and sugar. Using a fork or pastry cutter, cut the butter until it’s in coarse lumps. Pour the egg and yeast mixture into the flour mixture and stir to combine.. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a dap tea towel, and let rise until doubled.
1 1/3 Raw sugar, divided
1 tablespoon molasses
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Tennessee Fire Whiskey
4 tablespoons butter, softened, divided
2 tablespoons cinnamon


DSC_0075In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, cook 2 tablespoons of sugar until the edges turn amber. Add the remaining sugar and stir until it all turns amber and melts but doesn’t burn.

DSC_0077Take the pan off of the heat and carefully pour in your cream. It will bubble up.

DSC_0082Just let the bubbles die down, then add the salt, whiskey, molasses and 2 tablespoons of the butter and stir until smooth.

DSC_0086 Set aside to cool and thicken.

DSC_0087Take the risen dough and roll it out on a lightly floured surface to a large rectangle, about 1/4-inch thick.

DSC_0091Spread the remaining 2 tablespoons of softened butter over the dough and sprinkle with the cinnamon and brown sugar.

DSC_0093Spoon and spread the thickened caramel sauce over the dough. Starting with the edge nearest you, roll the rectangle lengthwise into a long log. Cut for roll with dental floss.

DSC_0098Place the slices carefully into a greased 9-inch round cake pan or a square baking dish.

DSC_0099Let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

DSC_0101bake in a preheated 350° F oven for around 20 to 25 minutes.

DSC_0103Should we frost them?  Yes, yes we should.

For my frosting I used the recipe below.

1 package 1/3 fat cream cheese (softened)
1 stick of unsalted butter (softened)
3 teaspoons of Tennessee Whiskey
3 cups powdered sugar
Place all ingredients above in a mixer until smooth.

DSC_0105Frosting them was the right thing to do!


Island Rum Ham

DSC_0065We have made this dish for over 20 years.  It’s a great crowd pleasure.  Works well for Super Bowls or grab and eat gatherings.


1 can Pineapples Chunks
Whole cloves
1/4 cup Bacardi Rum (yes you can substitute other types)
1 cup raisins
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Allspice
1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch

DSC_0060Trim fat off of your ham and cross score it with rather deep cuts. Then Place Pineapples in and around your ham but not the juice.

DSC_0056Now take your brown sugar, cornstarch, pineapple juice and start boiling until it thickens.

DSC_0061Once it looks like this add your raisins and rum and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes.

DSC_0064The pour over your ham trying to get a good portion of your sauce between the cuts. Then place your whole cloves in the scored parts of your ham.

DSC_0074Place in an oven cook for 30 to 45 minutes depending on your oven and size of ham. Make sure to baste every 10 to 15 minutes. Remember your ham is already cooked so you’re just glazing your ham and trying to absorb as much sauce as possible.





Butternut Squash Queso Dip

DSC_0099I had some reservation when making this dish. I do have to say it’s great way to sneak some squash in,  and I doubt your guests will be able to detect it’s squash.  Our guests thought it had Chorizo in it vs. Squash.

1 teaspoon canola oil
¾ cup diced red onion
1½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsalted chicken stock
10 ounces frozen butternut squash puree, thawed
1/2 half of a can of chipotle chile in adobo sauce1 Tablespoon red pepper flakes
1, 7 ounce package of Mexican cheese
3 tablespoons sliced green onions
2 tablespoons thinly sliced jalapeño pepper
30 light tortilla chips

Heat oil in a medium cast-iron skillet over medium heat.

DSC_0083Add  onion; cook 5 minutes or until softened.

DSC_0086Add flour; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

DSC_0088 2Add stock, squash, chipotle, and adobo sauce; bring to a boil.

DSC_0093Puree squash and adobo sauce in blender then return to pan.

DSC_0096Reduce heat to medium-low; add your cheese until it starts to melt.

DSC_0097Preheat broiler to high.

Broil 2 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned. Top with , green onions, and jalapeño. Serve with chips and celery sticks, if desired.


DSC_0100Note: This dip is better the following day and adds even more heat.

Crunchy Croutons

DSC_0095Here is my standard crouton recipe.  I often will take my spare Artisan bread and toss it in the freezer whole.  Then when I know guest are coming I pull the loaf out and cut it up for croutons.  It’s a great way to use that portion of Artisan bread that didn’t get consumed.


4 to 6 cups bread cut up in pieces
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon White Pepper
Can I use other ingredients? YES, of course you can. Sometimes I do pepper flakes or cheese depending on what soup or salad I’m making.


Preheat over to 400 degrees


DSC_0092Toss all ingredients above into your bowl of bread pieces.

DSC_0088Place on Baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.  Checking once during baking process.


Moist Bran Muffins


DSC_0170I love Bran muffins, especially when I can find a moist one.  Here is my moist muffins.  I incorporate the applesauce with the nuts and fruit which helps plump up the raisins.  I also use walnut oil to give the muffins some depth.
1 cup wheat bran
1 1/2 cups regular flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins (or other small or chopped dried fruit)
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup molasses
3 tablespoons honey
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup applesauce
2 tablespoons walnut oil

DSC_0145Preheat the oven to 400° F.


In a large bowl, whisk together the wheat bran, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

DSC_0146Stir in the fruit, nuts, and coconut with applesauce then add to the flour mixture.

DSC_0154In a medium bowl, mix together the milk, molasses, honey, eggs, and walnut oil.

DSC_0161Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

DSC_0163Place 12 paper cups in a muffin pan, or grease the cups. Divide the batter evenly between the 12 cups.

DSC_0165Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.