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Thanks to Deena for this recipe! It is so great!

Wonderful as breakfast, a snack or even dessert. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
2/3 C shortening
2 2/3 C sugar
4 eggs
1 can (16oz) pumpkin
2/3 C water
3 1/3 C all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
2/3 C chopped nuts (optional)
2/3 C raisins (optional)

Heat oven to 350.  Grease bottoms only of 2 loaf pans (9x5x3) or 3 loaf pans (8.5×4.5×2.5).  Mix shortening and sugar in large bowl.  Add eggs, pumpkin and water.  Blend in flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and cloves.  Stir in nuts and raisins.  Pour into pans.  Bake until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hr, 10 min; cool slightly.  Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove from pans.  Cool completely before slicing.

ZUCCHINI BREAD:  Substitute 3 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 med) for the pumpkin.  Blend in 2 tsp vanilla with the cloves.  Decrease baking time to 60-70 min.

photo(2)I love to take comforting foods and switch them up a bit and make them more interesting. This is my version of Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese.

This recipe makes enough for two people with some soup left over. The leftovers make a delicious lunch the next day!

For the Soup…

Slice 2 pieces of applewood smoked bacon into chunks. Saute in a dry pan until the bacon is crispy and brown. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon and place on a plate with a paper towel to drain. Set aside. Saute 3 sliced shallots in the bacon grease until tender. Add 3/4 cup of white wine, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and let the alcohol burn off – about 5 minutes. Add 1 large can of whole San Marzano tomatos, a handful of torn basil, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 tablespoon sweet paprika, salt, pepper, a few dashes of chipolte hot sauce (or you can use regular hot sauce), tablespoon sugar. Let boil for about 15 minutes. Use an immersion hand blender (like this one) and puree the soup until it’s smooth. Stir in about 1/3 cup of cream. Reduce to simmer until you are ready to use.

For the Grilled Cheese…

The key to making a grilled cheese great, is having quality bread and good cheese. My sandwiches always start with Balthazar bread. Slice whole grain bread into about 1/2 inch thick slices. Place a thin layer of Dijon mustard on one side of the bread. Top with shredded sharp cheddar cheese, then thinly sliced tomato and watercress. Next place shredded Gruyere cheese on the sandwich and top with the other slice of bread. In a pan heat up a little bit of butter. Place sandwiches in the melted butter. While they are browning on one side, smear some butter on the side of the bread that is not in the skillet — This way when you flip the sandwiches you don’t need to put more butter in the pan. Flip sandwiches and cook until golden brown on the other side.

Slice sandwiches in half. Serve with tomato soup topped with the reserved crumbled bacon and torn fresh basil. Enjoy!


Friday Breakfast….A Sigma tradition.

At my office, each Friday someone brings in breakfast for the entire office. We rotate, so you only have to supply breakfast about once a year. This year I took it as a challenge to spend as little money as possible (recession special) but still put together a really nice breakfast for everyone to enjoy!

On the menu:

  • Egg casserole with turkey sausage, peppers, onions and potatoes
  • Egg casserole with spinach, feta and tomato
  • Egg casserole with cheddar cheese
  • French Toast (made with Balthazar Bread…of course!)
  • Apple & Cinnamon Compote to go on top of the French Toast
  • Cantaloupe
  • Strawberries / Blueberries
  • Greek Yogurt and Granola
  • Brownies
  • Orange Juice

It’s hard to believe, but by “shopping the sale rack” at the grocery store, I was able to feed 50 hungry employees for only $85! Eggs on sale for 99 cents / dozen…Cantaloupe 2/$3…Apples for 99 cents / lb. – the list goes on! I formulated my menu around what was on sale – and it worked!

photo(2)

I made this dip this weekend for a family BBQ and it was a hit! Everyone has been requesting the recipe…so here it is! Serve with the pita chips below or with sliced veggies. Either way, it’s addictive and just delicious!

Roasted Red Pepper Dip

1 jar of drained roasted red peppers

1 small container of marscapone cheese

big handful of parsley

1 tbsp capers

juice of a 1/2 of lemon

salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil

Put all of the ingredients into a food processor. I love my Cuisinart mini-chopper for this job! Pulse until everything is mixed and to your desired consistency. I like to leave the dip with a little texture.

Pita Chips for dipping

Whole grain flatbread sliced into wedges

Olive oil

Cumin

Coriander

Salt and Pepper

Lay the pita wedges on a baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Sprinkle a pinch of the cumin and coriander on each wedge. Bake at 400 until golden brown.

I was in the mood for some good bread for dinner. I decided to make a salad with a twist. I stopped by Balthazar Bakery and picked up a baguette – cheap and delicious!

Toss cubed bread with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake at 425 until golden brown.

Cube up 2 baby eggplants toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs de provence. Bake at 425 until tender.

In the meantime, cube 2 vine ripe tomatoes and put in a bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk together red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Slowly stream in olive oil as you whisk until a nice dressing is formed.

Toss the tomatoes, eggplant and bread with the dressing. Let sit for about 15 minutes. Before you serve toss with chopped basil and small cubes of fontina cheese. Eat alone as a great vegetarian dinner, or serve with lemon and mustard baked chicken (that’s what I did). Make a simple marinade of lemon juice, dijon mustard, fresh thyme, salt and pepper. Bake off the chicken until it’s cooked through. Just delicious!

About Me

My name is Ashley and I'm a self taught cook. Getting home from work, popping open a bottle of wine and cooking up dinner with my boyfriend is my favorite part of the day. I want to show you that making dinner can be fun and easy. I have some great tricks for the young professional...like me, that I know you will love! Follow me and I'll make you the talk of all of your friends! You won't believe the things you can whip up in the kitchen that are...Just Delicious!

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