Savory Butter Bean Soup

It's November 13th and when I woke up this morning, it was 7 degrees with a below zero windchill.  PEOPLE - THIS IS NOT OK!  Even for sturdy Minnesotans, this is WAY TOO EARLY for winter to be digging in its heels.  I keep forgetting we haven't had Thanksgiving yet.  There is snow on the ground and I am heading straight for Christmas. The only problem is, my mums are permanently frozen in their pots.  Apparently, I missed the one day window between summer and frozen.
In addition, I had to go to the dentist today.  For some, this is no big deal.  For me, this is a HUGE deal.    These are my three top fears in order: SNAKES, DENTISTS, HEIGHTS. Or maybe, DENTISTS, SNAKES, HEIGHTS.  I'm still deciding.
So 5 hours after my dentist appointment, the left side of my face is still numb and I'm trying to find my happy place. Here it is. You guys. You guys and soup.  After two years of blog silence, I realized that rambling on my blog and cooking this amazingly comforting soup m…

The Story Behind National Donut Day

Today is National Donut Day and lest you think this is just another marketing ploy to sell more sweet fried bits of heaven, think again.

The idea for Donut Day began on the battlefields of France during World War I when Salvation Army workers served coffee and donuts to soldiers in the trenches. Rations were poor, so the donut idea was conceived as a means of bringing the soldiers cheer. Donuts were not the main reason Salvation Army workers were in the fighting zones of France. Those men and women were there primarily to give spiritual aid and comfort to the American soldier and his allies. They were there to be a link with home and family.   National Donut Day commemorates the "donut lassies," female Salvation Army volunteers who provided assistance to the soldiers by writing letters, mending clothes, cooking home-cooked meals, and of course, frying small batches of donuts for soldiers on the front lines.

During the Great Depression, The Salvation Army started National Donut…

Happy Pi Day! 3.14.16

Happy Pie Day!  (Or Pi Day, if you're into math.)  You know, that magic number....  3.14.16. Usually I'm not much of a pie person.  I'd rather eat cake. Or cookies. Or brownies.  But in honor of Pi(e) Day, and to celebrate southern cuisine, I thought I'd make a Peanut Butter Pie.

This recipe is a vegan recipe, which means that it doesn't contain the usual dairy or eggs.  It's not that I have anything against meat (or dairy or eggs), it's just that after being told that I have an allergy/sensitivity to dairy and eggs (WAAAHH!!), I thought that incorporating a few vegan recipes into my existence would allow me to enjoy some of the things that I love in a new and more healthful way.

In this recipe, tofu takes the place of cream cheese and whipped coconut milk takes the place of whipped cream.  But don't worry.  It has absolutely no tofu-ey taste at all.  Really.  I promise.  And since you just added tofu to the pie, it pretty much qualifies as lunch.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls

About a year ago, I rekindled my love/hate relationship with the gym.  I supplemented that with regular jog/walks around the lake and the net result was this:  The dog lost 8 pounds.  I'm not joking.

Going to the gym in the morning always presents me with this dilemma; what to eat.  If I don't eat anything, I get light-headed.  If I eat the wrong thing, I feel like I'm going to throw up.  Finally, Travis the Trainer suggested these protein balls.  They not only taste good, but they seem to get me through his workouts!

These Peanut Butter Protein Balls have just a few simple ingredients and will easily last you a week in the fridge.  I found this dairy-free protein powder at Costco which is super chocolatey and very delicious.  Yep.  Just one more reason to love Costco.

Just combine all the ingredients in a bowl, or, better yet, use a food processor if you have one, which I don't.  Believe it or not. Don't forget the chocolate chips, because I wouldn't ask you …

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

I recently saw this on The Today Show and I thought, how great would it be if eating your vegetables could be like eating pizza?

To start, you don't even need to chop up a head of cauliflower, although you could if it made you feel better.  Cauliflower is now available all chopped up for you in a microwaveable bag.

Just steam it in the bag and let it cool on some paper towels.

Put the cauliflower in a bowl and add all the other ingredients.   Beat it with a mixer until it all comes together.

Shape the dough on a piece of parchment into a 10" - 12" round. Place the parchment and dough on top of a cooling rack which is sitting on top of a baking sheet. You need to get some air circulation around the dough so the crust gets crispy.  A crispy crust is key.

Bake the crust at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes.  Like I said, you want the crust to get crispy.

After the crust cools, slide the crust, which is on the cooking rack, off of the cookie sheet and put down a clean piece …

Rice Krispie Trees

These Rice Krispie Trees were the favorite of everything we made this year.  We made them even simpler by taking the shortcut of buying the GIANT pre made Rice Krispie Bars at Target. We made these with both the high school girls and the little girls. We served them at the high school kids party, the homeless shelter, and, tonight, for Christmas Eve.

Cut a giant Rice Krispy bar into three inch strips.Cut each strip into triangles, making sure to eat the end scraps.  (We cut 35 trees out of each sheet.)Insert a stick into the bottom of each tree.Dip one side of the tree into melted chocolate wafers.Drizzle accent colors on top. So Easy!  So cute!  So delicious!
Wishing you all a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!

3-Ingredient Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Pancakes

It was a dark and stormy night (well, technically, early morning) when I had to wake the kids up for school today.  It was the kind of morning when nothing could really persuade you that getting out of bed was a better option than staying in it. In a heroic attempt to get the kids out the door in time to catch the bus, I reached deep into the pantry and rustled up the three ingredients needed to waft aromas of autumn to the stratospheres of the second floor: Krusteaz Buttermilk Pancake Mix, canned pumpkin pie filling and chocolate chips.  These three pantry staples, combined, create the sapidity of fall.  Even my non-breakfast eater managed to down a short stack!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

3 cups Krusteaz Buttermilk Pancake Mix
2 cups water
1 cup Libby's Canned Pumpkin Pie filling (not pureed pumpkin)
1 cup chocolate chips

Mix first three ingredients until just combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Heat a greased, nonstick skillet on medium.  Pour 1/4 cup of batter porti…