Beef Tenderloin with Horseradish

Beef TenderloinMy friend Erin and I bought a cow last fall.
Well, we bought half a cow.
Since its only half, it only says “Mo” instead of “Moo”
Just kidding.
We just bought the beef from half a cow.
A beautiful, happily and humanely-raised, grass-fed cow.
I love knowing the farmers that raised this cow.
I love preparing, eating and serving this cow.
I thank you, Cow. My family thanks you too.

Beef Tenderloin with Horseradish Sauce and Sweet Potato
serves 6

3 Sweet Potatoes, scrubbed and cleaned
1 2-lb Beef Tenderloin
3 Tb Montreal Steak Seasoning
2 Tb Butter
2 Tb Olive Oil
1/4 c Sour Cream
1/4 c Mayonnaise
3 Tb Horseradish (If you like it spicy, add more)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 425F

With a fork, poke holes all over the sweet potatoes.
Place sweet potatoes in the oven for one hour.
Heat a Cast Iron Skillet for 30 mins over high heat. (YES! 30 minutes.)
Trim any heavy fat or silver skin off tenderloin.
Evenly rub the steak seasoning on all sides of the beef.
After skillet is heated, add oil and butter.
Place tenderloin in skillet and let brown on all sides. About 2 minutes per side.
Place beef on a cookie sheet and in oven with the potatoes for the remaining 40 minutes.
In a bowl, mix sour cream, mayo, horseradish, salt and pepper until smooth. Set aside.
Check meat temperature with 5 minutes remaining. As soon as beef hits 145F, remove it from oven.
Cover with foil and let sit for 15 minutes.
Remove potatoes from oven.
Cut each potato in half and scoop out pulp on to plate.
Slice tenderloin and place on top of potatoes.
Drizzle with horseradish sauce.

Scallop with Bacon and Sriracha Aioli

Scallop with BaconSometimes its good to get away with my girlfriends.
I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to do that a few times a year.
Yes, a few times a year may seem like a lot to you. It certainly does to my husband.
It’s a need though. Getting away with my girlfriends gives me so much.
Here are my top 10 reasons why getting away with them are so very important.

10. It’s time away from my job as a stay at home mom.
9. When I am away, I don’t have to talk about home or family issues if I don’t want to.
8. If I DO want to talk about said issues, I have unbiased ears listening and supporting. (Okay, maybe not totally unbiased. my girlfriends are almost always on my side.)
7. I get to sleep in. I usually can’t, but the opportunity is there.
6. Every meal I eat I is hot. I don’t have to get up and get anyone milk, or a new fork, or a napkin, or anything else.
5. If we go out, I don’t have to take anyone to the bathroom. (And since my kids ALWAYS have to poop at a restaurant, I don’t have to sit there and wait for anyone either!)
4. I can cuss up a storm and no one will judge me. Yep, sometimes I do.
3. I can laugh, cry, dance, eat, swim, and play just like I did back in college…just more responsibly. (I promise, Honey.)
2. Each time I leave I end up missing my family so much it hurts. So then I am READY to come home.
1. I come home more refreshed, more revived, loving my family and my life even more than I did while I left.

So, my advice to you is to take that girls trip one of your friends might have mentioned. If your significant other doesn’t want you to go, tell them those reasons why it is a win-win. It may be a hard sell, but it is totally worth it.

It’s best to have the conversation about going over a good meal like this one:

Scallop with Bacon and Sriracha Aioli
serves 2

4 Tb real mayonnaise
1 Tb Sriracha
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp garlic paste
4 slices bacon
4 large scallops
1 tsp salt
1 tsp butter

Cook bacon in a frying pan until very crispy.
While bacon is cooking, mix mayo, paprika, sriracha, and garlic paste in a small bowl. Add a small pinch of salt. Set aside.
Dry scallops with paper towel, then season with salt on both sides.
When bacon is finished cooking, remove from pan and set on paper towel.
Drain most of the grease, keeping about 1 Tb in the pan.
Heat the pan again until very hot, add butter and melt.
Add scallops.
Cook about 1 minute on each side.
Baste with butter then remove them from the pan.
Plate them on a spread of aioli and a sprinkle of bacon.

Roasted Chicken Breast and Vegetables

roasted chicken breast When I was younger, I was a thumb sucker.  Short of cutting off my hands my parents tried everything to get me to quit.  Medicine on the thumb, punishment, incentives; nothing worked.  I sucked my thumb for a long, long time.  Seriously.  A long time.

Thank goodness neither of my kids sucked their thumbs, but both of my kids loved their pacifiers.

I loved them too.  It provided them so much comfort.

And gave some moments of silence.

I have found that everyone has a different name their kids called their pacifiers.

Binkey, Dee, Nana, Fire.  This list goes on and on.

In my home we called them Blues.

My kids loved their Blue so much that we always had a stockpile of them on hand.

One in every room.  At least five in their bed.  Four more in the car.

I knew that the Blues weren’t great for their teeth, or great for developing speech.  I’m sure you can think of a myriad of reasons why they are not great.  But they made my kids happy.

And I didn’t want to take it away until they could remotely understand that they wouldn’t be seeing it again.  And there was no going back.  That they were quitting cold turkey.

Approaching age three The Great Husband and I would start the conversation.

It would go a little something like this:

“Did you know that there are kids in the world that can’t afford Blues?
Did you know that there is beautiful fairy that gives them a Blue?
The fairy comes to the home of kids who have blues but are too old to use them anymore and takes them in the middle of the night. Then she delivers them to the kids who are too poor to buy them.
I saw the fairy flying around our house the other night, which means its time to leave your Blues out so she can take them. Think about how happy you are going to make those kids she gives them to.”

Then that night we all would set the blues out on the the back porch.

The next morning they would be gone. (A la in the garbage.)

A note is left in their place.

“Thank you so much for giving me these blues.  You will be a hero to a baby.”

I swear to you that this worked without a hitch with both of my kids.

They literally never asked about them again.

Until a random one showed up under the couch.

blue

Then they never asked about them again.

Want to celebrate breaking the pacifier habit?

Make this chicken recipe.  You’ll be happy  you did.

Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

This recipe was inspired by a meal my cousin Becky brought me right after I had my son.
Thanks Beck!

4 bone-in chicken breast with skin

3 Tb Olive oil

1 Tsp Salt

1 Tsp Pepper

1 cup baby carrots

1 Medium red onion, sliced

1 large potato, cubed

1/2 lemon, sliced

1 Tb chopped thyme

1 sprig rosemary, cut into 3 parts

Preheat oven to 450F

Heat 2 Tb olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet on the stove, until almost smoking.

Add chicken and let sit without moving for 2 minutes over medium-high heat.

Flip chicken and let sit an additional 2 minutes.

When both sides are nicely browned, remove chicken and set aside.

Add remaining Tb of olive oil to pan.

Add onion, carrots, lemon, and potatoes.

Season with salt and pepper.

Let cook until slightly carmelized.

Add thyme and rosemary sprigs.

Nestle chicken within the vegetables and put pan into oven.

Cook for 30-35 minutes until internal temperature reaches 165F.

Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup

Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup

 

I started this blog 7 years ago when I had my daughter.

We were living downtown Chicago.  My husband worked a lot.  I had no friends with kids who lived in the city too.

I was lonely.  I was a little depressed.  I was a little lost.

Having left culinary school to stay home and raise this little baby had left me with my head spinning.

I decided to channel it all by writing and cooking.

If you look back at some my earliest posts, they so often talk about my daughter Quinn.

I can look back to stories and musings of her early childhood.

Then I got lazy and spotty with my blogging.  First I took off a few weeks.

Then a few months.

Then a few years.

During that time I had a son who has grown to be quite a kid.

Declan.

Declan is three now and I realized I barely ever talk about the kid when blogging.

Declan who was the sweetest most cuddly baby boy.

Declan who grew into a boy who has a hilarious sense of humor.

Declan who LOVES baseball, basketball, soccer, and hockey.  And High School Musical; One and Two.

Declan who cries until he shakes when he knows he has done something really wrong.

Declan who is not afraid to say, “I’m sowry, Mommy.”

Declan who loves to go work out with his dad.

Declan who still has chubby toes and thighs which I love to pinch.

Declan who has a best friend who is a girl and does whatever she tells him to.

This boy has added so much more joy to our home, just when we didn’t think we needed any more.

This family of mine makes me feel so lucky to be on this earth.

Yes, life is far from perfect in this home of ours, but it is our lack of perfection is what keeps us laughing, crying, growing, learning, and what keeps our love strong.

I am feeling a full heart this morning and needed to put that all in writing.  I hope you don’t mind.

With that, I have no segue into my recipe.

Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup

Serves 2

1 Tb butter

1 small sweet onion, finely chopped

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 1/2 cups vegetable broth (chicken broth can also be used)

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp cumin

In a medium pot, melt butter and add onion.

Cook onion until translucent

Add sweet potato, carrot, salt, cumin and ginger.  Stir until spices are evenly distributed.

Add broth.

Bring to a boil then simmer until potatoes and carrots are tender.  About 15 minutes.

Using and immersion blender or regular blender, blend mixture until smooth.

Serve hot with dollop of plain yogurt on top.

 

Slow Cooker Vegetable Curry

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People ask me if my kids eat gourmet food on a regular basis.

I wish I could respond with a strong, “Yes! They have amazing and refined palates.”

The truth is, they love just a few things;

Chicken Nuggets
Cheese
Ketchup
Ranch
Baby Carrots
Kraft Mac and Cheese
Dessert

That about sums up what they truly enjoy.

  I know, I know, I have control over what they eat. They only love these things because I exposed them to it.

It is a beast I am trying to tame.

I am getting better about just putting food that I made in front

of them and saying, “Here is your dinner. Enjoy.”

This has resulted in some gagging.  Also some tears.  Maybe some throwing.

But we are working on it. We are always working on it.

If you can understand where I am coming from, you know that it

takes energy. Lots and lots of energy to break the bad habits.

Here is a recipe that is healthy, delicious and easy, so you can

save your energy for these battles.

Slow Cooker Vegetable Curry

2 cans coconut milk

3 Tbl Red Curry Paste

1 Tb Thai Fish Sauce

1 tsp salt

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed

1 red pepper, sliced thin

1 medium red onion, sliced thin

2 cups broccoli florets

    In a medium bowl, mix coconut milk, fish sauce, salt and curry paste until curry is evenly distributed.
Place vegetables in slow cooker.
Pour curry and coconut milk over vegetables.
Cook 3 hours on high until sweet potatoes are very tender.
Serve over cooked rice.

Green Smoothie

 

Green Smoothie

I know it’s time to start controlling my weight again when I see that look.

That look from someone who’s eyes go straight to my belly.  Then what that person is thinking is written all over their face, “I wonder if she is pregnant.”

This may have happened to some of you.  It may have even been said aloud to you.  It was once for me.

I was in line for the bathroom wearing what I thought was an adorable baby doll dress.  The line was long.  The girl at the front of the line looked back at me and said, “Let’s let this this gal go.  She clearly needs to use the bathroom more than us.” Then she winked.

It took me a second to realize what was happening.  See, we were at a restaurant.  After the Kentucky Derby.

And I was a little drunk.

And not pregnant.

Not. At. All.

I looked down at my billowing baby doll dress.

I put my arms around my beer belly and smiled.  I winked at the woman and went into the stall.

Yes, I was mortified.  But I got to go cut in front of 4 people who thought they were doing a good deed.  It was kind of a win-win.

First step in my weight control is to add more vegetables to my every day eating.

First stop: Breakfast.

Don’t be alarmed at the color of this smoothie.  It is super delicious and a wonderfully easy way to get your first servings of veggies for the day.  You will taste the flavors peanut butter and banana.  Something even kids can get on board with!

Green Smoothie

1 1/2 c loosely packed baby spinach

1 frozen banana

4-5 cubes frozen mango  (Just a warning, if you replace this fruit with any type of dark berry your smoothie will be a funky brown, purplish color.)

1 scoop Green Superfood  (You can leave this out, but I like it because it is packed with whole food antioxidants. I bought mine on Amazon.com)

1/2 avacado

1 Tb PB2  (This is a fantastic natural powdered peanut butter.  A lower fat version of creamy peanut butter.)

1/2 c apple juice

Place all of these things in the blender and blend until very smooth.  Your smoothie will be frothy and wonderful.

You can buy the Superfood and PB2 directly from amazon by clicking the pictures below:

All thoughts and opinions expressed are completely my own.

5 Soup Recipes to Warm Your Bones for Winter

It is getting c-c-c-cold in these parts.

The kind of cold that can chill you to the bone.

The kind of cold that only a hot tub, and hot cup of hot chocolate with a shot of Bailey’s will take away the chill.

Or maybe a cup of soup.

Warm, comforting, delicious soup.

Yes, my friends.  It is soup season once again.

As they say so often in Game of Thrones, “Winter is coming.”

I am going to give you a round-up of my soup recipes from over the years.  I hope it inspires you to take out the chill.

Or if you are super nice, you can make it for someone you love.

Only if you are super nice, though.

Slow Cooker Italian Sausage and Vegetable Soup

Warm broth, meaty, and super easy because it’s made in your crock pot.

Slow cooker soup
 

Creamy Mushroom Soup

Earthy and wild.  Full of flavor.  If you are a mushroom fan, this soup is right up your alley.


Creamy Mushroom Soup

Root Vegetable Soup

Naturally creamy.  Served up with some crusty bread, it’s perfect for a wintry Meatless Monday. 

Root Vegetable Soup

French Onion Soup

Cheesy, oohy, gooey, goodness. Comfort food at it’s best.

french onion soup

Fresh Pumpkin Soup

You can do it.  You can use a whole pumpkin.  Don’t be scared.  It’s so worth it.

(You can always use canned pumpkin though.)

Pumpkin Soup

There you have it, friends!  Go warm up your bones.  Soup’s on!!

Let’s cook!