June 20, 2013

Pine State Biscuits - Portland, OR

Amazing biscuit sandwiches! The biscuits are oh so buttery and they don't skimp on the fillings (feeling the bacon love?). Their biscuits with gravy are mouth watering as well. It can take a while for me to order since there are so many delicious options. It is a "must visit" when in PDX. Pine State Biscuits has been added to my favorite list and I can't wait to go back...again and again!

Pine State Biscuits on Urbanspoon

June 17, 2013

La Magie Bakery - Bend, OR

Great selection of fancy, delectable dessert in a neat old building downtown. However, I was not impressed with their breakfast items. I had the marionberry french toast, which while the toast itself was very good, the filling was overly sweet and still a bit cold, and it was served swimming in a bowl of syrup (I think it was typical pancake syrup...not even real maple syrup). The dish was just overly sweet and not executed properly.  My husband's chicken and pumpkin waffle had a nice mild pumpkin flavor and the chicken had a slight spice to it which was a nice compliment to the waffle. However, at $12.50, we felt it was overpriced for what you got. I recommend sticking to their baked goods.

La Magie Bakery on Urbanspoon

February 5, 2013

Spiced Cranberry Muffins

These muffins smell and taste like fall - though don't wait that long to make them - they are too good for that. The ginger, cinnamon and cranberries compliment each other wonderfully and the canola oil lends to a super moist muffin. I hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoons ground ginger
3/4 cup milk (or milk alternative - soy or almond)
1 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cranberries (leave some whole)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted 
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Line 10 muffin cups with paper liners. Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the milk, eggs, and melted butter. Stir quickly just to combine. Add the cranberries, walnuts, and both sugars and stir just to distribute the fruits, nuts, and sugar evenly throughout the batter.

Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each one about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until browned on the top and a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean.

Adapted from:

February 1, 2013

Espresso Kissed Brownies

These brownies are amazing! Great chocolate flavor with just the right amount of coffee to bring some intensity to the chocolate. One of my tasters called it a chocolate brownie dream and added that she was eating it slowly so that the taste wouldn't leave her mouth. Now that is a compliment if I have ever heard one. Hope you enjoy them as much as she did!

Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
1 packet Starbucks VIA Instant Coffee
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips


Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 8-inch by 8-inch pan with cooking spray. 

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat (or double-broiler style). Add the sugar and stir until the mixture is hot, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in cocoa, instant coffee, vanilla, salt, and baking powder until well mixed. Stir in eggs until blended. Stir in flour and chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until the edges are set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs, 20 to 24 minutes.

Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares and share the love!

Adapted from:

January 28, 2013

Red Lentil and Squash Curry Soup

Most red lentil stews I have made don't incorporate many vegetables, but with both squash and greens in this one it is a keeper in our house. Not to mention the great flavors that I spices lend to the stew. If you are looking to make this dish a bit richer and creamier, try adding some coconut milk - I used 1-2 tablespoons per serving. Enjoy!

1/2 TBS Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 tbsp curry powder 
1 tsp garam masala (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
4 cups low-sodium broth
1 cup red lentils
3 cups cooked butternut squash or pumpkin, pureed
2 cup greens of choice (I used spinach)
salt & black pepper, to taste

In a large pot, heat the EVOO over medium heat; add the chopped onion and minced garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes. Stir in the curry powder, garam masala and ginger and cook another 1-2 minutes (this really livens up the spices so don't skip this step). Add the broth and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in the squash puree and greens. Cook over medium heat for about 5-8 minutes or until heated through and the lentils are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 3-4, depending on how hungry you are ;-)

Adapted from:

January 24, 2013

Crock-Pot Balsamic Chicken

I love the fresh tomato flavor of this dish - no tomato paste taste here. However, I did find the "sauce" a bit thin to serve over pasta, so I recommend draining the diced tomatoes in an effort to make it a bit thicker. Otherwise, it was a delicious change from your standard tomato-based pasta dinner and super quick and easy to prepare. Enjoy!

2 lbs boneless, skinless, chicken breasts or thighs
28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 medium onion thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp each: dried oregano, basil, and rosemary
1/2 tsp thyme
ground black pepper and salt to taste
Cooked angel hair pasta for serving

Pour the olive oil on bottom of slow cooker, add chicken then salt and pepper each breast. Place the sliced onion on top of chicken then put in all the dried herbs and garlic. Pour in the vinegar and top with tomatoes. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours (until the chicken is tender and cooked through and the sauce has thickened a bit), serve over angel hair pasta.

Serves 4-6

Minimally adapted from:

January 21, 2013

Creamy Chicken Soup with Vegetables

Super quick, healthy and delicious, this soup is a great addition to my weekday recipe box. The curry flavor is fairly mild, but if you are not a fan of curry just leave it out. We enjoyed it with some rustic bread for a filling supper. Enjoy!

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 large carrots, diced
1/2 large onion, diced
2 cup cooked chicken, shredded
1 tablespoon mild curry powder
3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup coconut milk (full-fat) or half-and-half
2 teaspoons cornstrach
1 cup frozen baby peas
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over moderate heat. Add the carrots and onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Add the curry powder and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the stock and season with salt and pepper. Simmer over moderate heat until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

Dissolve the  cornstarch in the coconut milk to make a slurry (a fork works best here). Stir the slurry into the soup along with the peas and corn and simmer over low heat until slightly thickened, about 8 minutes. Add the chicken and cook just until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the parsley and serve .

Adapted from:

January 17, 2013

Turkey Tikka Burgers

This is one of my favorite Rachel Ray recipes and is my go-to turkey burger recipe. They are fairly spicy (if you don't like spicy use a mild curry paste), juicy, and have a wonderfully unique combination of flavors that my family and I love. Enjoy!

1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 lbs ground turkey
2 scallions, chopped
2 inches ginger root, grated (no need to peel it!)8
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons chopped red bell peppers
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1 tablespoon McCormick's Montreal Brand steak seasoning
1/2 cup plain yogurt
olive oil (for drizzling)
4 whole wheat buns, split
mango chutney
lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and sliced cucumbers

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.

Mix the turkey, scallions, ginger, garlic, bell pepper, cilantro, curry paste, grill seasoning, and yogurt together. Form into 4 large patties. Cook the burgers in the hot skillet, approximately 5 minutes on each side.

Place burgers on bun bottoms; spread mango chutney on bun tops. Top the burgers with lettuce, tomato, and sliced cucumber; set bun tops in place.

*Note: I find it best to keep my ginger root in the freezer so I always have some on hand and it is much easier to grate when it is frozen. 

Original recipe by Rachel Ray, 

January 13, 2013

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

I always think of biscotti as taking so much work and time, but with this recipe they are super easy and quite delicious. I gave these out around Christmastime and everyone loved them. I also made a version using toasted almonds instead of the pistachios and dried cranberries in place of the chocolate chunks. Both were savored to the last crumb. Enjoy!

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks (I use the 365 brand ones that are dairy free)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup shelled pistachios
1 egg beaten with a little warm water (for egg wash)

Preheat the oven to 325.

Combine the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix with a wooden spoon or slightly damp hands until all the flour is incorporated. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead for a minute until smooth (don't over knead as that will make them tough).

Divide the dough in half and form each half into a long log, about 10-by-2-inches. I find it is easiest to do this on a lined (parchment or silicone mat) baking sheet rather than trying to move the logs to a baking sheet once formed. Brush with egg wash.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool for 10 minutes, and then carefully slice the logs diagonally with a serrated knife into cookies. Place each cookie cut side down back on the baking sheet and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes or until golden, flipping cookies over halfway through.

Makes approximately 2 1/2 dozen biscotti. 

Slightly adapted from:

January 10, 2013

Mini Flourless Chocolate Cakes

I made these cakes for my daughter's first birthday party and everyone loved them! They are super rich and chocolaty. The original recipe called for frosting as well (I used a Chocolate Buttercream instead), but they didn't need it. The frosting actually takes away from the flavor of the cake. They are best completely cooled (or chilled) and dusted with cocoa powder or powdered sugar. Enjoy!   

6 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups semi-sweet or bittersweet (or a combo) chocolate chips
5 ounces butter

Preheat the oven to 350.

Melt the chocolate and the butter together over very low heat. Set aside to cool slightly. 

While that’s melting, whip the eggs with a mixer at high speed until they start to become thick and pale, then add the sugar slowly. Continue whipping on high until the mixture is thick, pale and ribbony (this takes a little while - be patient it is worth the wait).

Slowly pour the melted chocolate into the egg and sugar mixture while gently folding with a spatula. Be careful not to stir, only fold, because that will cause the batter to lose it’s air.

Pour batter into mini-muffin tins that have been lined with paper cups. Bake for 9-11 minutes or just until set and let cool in the tins for another 10 minutes before gently popping them out of the tin.

Makes approximately 36-40 mini-cakes, 18 cupcake-size cakes, or 2-regular round cakes. 

Adapted from:

January 7, 2013

Vegetable Quinoa Soup

I was a bit concerned that this soup would not be flavorful enough for myself and my husband, but we really enjoyed it. He kicked it up a bit by adding some heat to it (chipotle or cayenne pepper). 

The soups was surprisingly filling and had a great fresh taste. You can mix it up by changing/adding the vegetables - maybe add some mushrooms - and by changing the type of beans - red kidneys instead of garbanzos. Enjoy!

1 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 1/2 cups frozen green beans, broken or cut into 3/4-inch pieces
32 ounces vegetable or chicken broth 
1-15 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tsp dried basil
2 cups cooked red quinoa*
1-15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in large, heavy-bottomed stockpot over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the carrots, zucchini, and green beans and continue to cook for 4 to 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the broth, diced tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, and basil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the vegetables are fork tender, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the cooked quinoa and garbanzo beans and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve warm.

*Note: To cook the quinoa, rinse 1 cup quinoa under cold water. Add quinoa, 2 cups water, and a pinch of salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.

Serves 4

Adapted from: