Friday, September 28, 2012

Chopped Salad Party - New York Style

Recipe from Ree Drummond - The Pioneer Wife

I made a salad last Friday that was inspired by some scrumptious and enjoyable salad bar experiences I’ve had during recent trips to New York City…where my older daughter and I happen to be visiting this week.
Here’s how the New York salad bars go, and maybe I need to get out more, but I just think it’s miraculous: There are different selections of greens, then basically any and every salad topping you can think of: kidney beans, avocado, mushrooms, olives, tomatoes, etc. Like, at least fifty toppings.
Then the guy/gal behind the counter says “What greens do you want?” And you tell them the greens you want. And they grab some of those greens with tongs and throw them into a clean stainless bowl.
Then you basically go up and down the rows of toppings, shouting out all the goodness you want them to add into the bowl, which is everything if you’re me.
Then the guy says “What kind of dressing do you want?” And you tell him “blue cheese” if you’re me, and he plops some of that into the bowl.
Then he tosses it like nuts, then he asks you one final—and very important—question:
“Do you want it chopped?”
And you say yes. A thousand times yes.
Posted by Debi

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Homemade Organic Chicken Stock

The best thing about this recipe is it is a freebee :)  I always make a batch of chicken stock after cooking a whole chicken in my slow cooker.  Recently Publix had their whole organic chickens for only $1.99 a pound which is a steal when you consider not only do you get meat, but you get a whole bunch of chicken stock!

3 to 4 lb organic chicken (cooked and then meat removed)
1 large organic onion, roughly chopped
2 to 3 organic stalks of celery, leave the leaves on, roughly chopped
3 to 4 organic carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
12 cups of water

After you have cooked your favorite chicken recipe, I will post mine later, take all the meat off of the chicken and throw all the bones and skin leftovers back into the slow cooker.  Put all the other ingredients in the slow cooker and put on low.  I cooked mine overnight after we ate dinner.  Cook for 8 to 10 hours.  In the morning you strain the stock into a large pot or bowl.  And that is it!  I poured mine into large mouth mason jars.  They hold 3 cups each.

This enhances any soup or dish that calls for stock.  It is so much richer than any store bought brand!

*you can freeze these easily in the mason jars.  Just make sure you do not fill them to the top with liquid, leave some room for expanding or else you will have a mess in your freezer.
*you can add salt if you prefer, but I think it is salty enough from the juices of the spiced chicken.

The Best Granola

There is nothing better than eating granola.  I love it as cereal, in yogurt or just grabbing by the handfuls.  The only depressing thing about it is the price, it is ridiculously EXPENSIVE!  So I have searched for the perfect homemade granola and I am happy to say, I have found it.  Actually, I didn't find it, my sister-in-law shared it with me.  And I am so happy to say this is my "it" recipe for granola.  It is cheap "ish", super easy to make and it makes a ton (16 cups to be exact).  Trust me, this is a recipe everyone should try.  You really cannot mess this one up.  Plus, there is plenty of room for creativity, which I love.  Enjoy!

10 cups old fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
2 cups raw sliced or roughly chopped almonds *TIP: I usually stock up when Publix does B1G1 free on Blue Diamond Almonds.  I get them natural, not roasted or salted.  Makes it only $3.36  for 12 oz!
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds 
1/4 cup flax seeds
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (I like to add a little extra!)
1/2 t. kosher salt
3 T. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
3/4 cup grapeseed oil (you can use canola or coconut or even extra virgin olive oil!)
1 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 T. vanilla extract
1 1/2 t. almond extract (I didn't have this so I just added extra vanilla)

  • Preheat oven to 250.  Position racks to the top and bottom position.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Combine oats, all the seeds, the almonds, coconut and the spices in a large bowl.  Mix it up really good.  In a separate bowl whisk the oil, syrup, brown sugar and vanilla/almond extract together until well combined.  Pour this mixture over the oats and stir until everything is coated.
  • Spread out the granola onto your 2 baking sheets and place in the oven.  Set the timer for 30 minutes. Switch pans from top to bottom/ bottom to top and stir the granola around.  Do this 30 times for a total of 90 minutes.  
  • At the end of the 90 minutes your granola is technically "done".   However, you can leave it in the turned off oven for up to 6 hours for added crisp.  You will notice this granola is not clumpy like most store bought brands...but don't let that discourage is still SO TASTY.  
*You can store it in an airtight container for 3 weeks or in the freezer for 6 months.  
*Add dried fruits to it once it has baked for added flavor and personalization
*Have fun with the seeds and nuts!  The sky is the limit to what you could add :)

Recipe adapted from: The Homemade Pantry
My changes are in italics

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Carrabba's Herb Mix (for dipping bread)


1 t. rosemary
1 t. Italian parsley, minced
1 t. fresh basil, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t. dry oregano
1/2 t. crushed red pepper
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. black pepper


Combine all ingredients in a shallow dish and mix together using the back of a spoon.

Take one teaspoon of paste and place in dipping bowl. Pour Borges 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil, First Cold Pressed over herb paste.

Serve with fresh, hot bread.

Posted by Debi Walter