Home / 2011 / October

Turnip Gratin

Words can not express how excited I am to host Thanksgiving for the first time on my own.  Part of that preparation means making things ahead of time to practice!  I was planning on Turnip Gratin being a Thanksgiving dish.  After making it, I can say it will definitely go in my frequent rotation of sides to make!  It’s absolutely delicious.  The turnips add fantastic flavor, and the gruyere complements it perfectly.

I love root veggies in the Fall!


-4 Turnips, scrubbed and peeled, thinly sliced
-4 Cloves Garlic, chopped
-2 Cups Gruyere Cheese, grated
-2 Tablespoons Butter
-Heavy Cream
-Black Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375F.

Peel and thinly slice the turnips and chop garlic.  (I forgot to include a pic because I sliced my finger open!  Ouch!)

Grate the Gruyere cheese.
In a skillet on medium heat, melt half of the butter.  Place a thin layer of turnips on the bottom.
Next, sprinkle garlic, pepper, cheese, and the rest of the butter on top.  Repeat with another layer of turnips.  Top again with garlic and cheese.
Add a splash of heavy cream over top- around 2 Tablespoons.

Put it in the oven for around 20 minutes, until the top is golden and bubbly.  Stunning!
Serve hot out of the skillet and enjoy!

Prep Tip: Potatoes

I’ve had some busy and long days this week, but didn’t want my dinners to suffer because of it.  I decided to make Shepherd’s Pie for the first time, but knew if I did it all in the evening after work, we wouldn’t be eating until late.  I decided to do all of my prep work beforehand.  It saved me a lot of time!

Potatoes can be peeled hours (or even days) beforehand.  Although, if you leave the potatoes peeled as-is, they’ll turn brown, which isn’t exactly appetizing.  If you cover them completely in water and refrigerate them, they’ll be as good as ever!

This would be a great “trick” to use to save yourself time on Thanksgiving day!

Scrub potatoes well.

Then, peel them.  You can also cube them if you’d like.

Place in a bowl of cold water, making sure that potatoes are totally submersed in the water.  Put in the fridge until ready to use.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles

Growing up, Sunday was always Waffle Sunday.  I’d actually drag myself out of bed as a teenager at a reasonable hour on Sundays and have “Gary’s Famous Waffles.”  A couple of years ago for Christmas, my sisters & I all got the recipe, along with the secret ingredients that went in the waffles (From Penzey’s, nonetheless!)

While I wouldn’t dare share Gary’s Famous Waffles with the world, I’ll share with you the next best thing:  Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles.  You won’t feel guilty about eating them, either.  They aren’t too sweet, and aren’t so sluggish so that they’ll slow you down for the day.  (Don’t you hate that?!)

-1 Cup Milk
-1 Large Egg
-1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree
-1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
-3 Tablespoons Canola Oil
-2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
-3/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
-1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
-2 teaspoons Baking Powder
-1/4 teaspoon Salt
-1 teaspoon Pumpkin Spice (or 3/4 teaspoon Cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg)
-Cooking spray, as needed

Mix milk, egg, pumpkin, oil, vanilla, and brown sugar in a medium bowl.

Add flours, baking powder, salt and spices.

Gently mix, until just incorporated.  (Over mixing causes flatness!)

Spray a quick shot of cooking spray on a heated waffle iron and add 1/2 cup of batter.

Close the lid and allow to cook for about five minutes, or until you see the steam stop rising from the waffle maker.

Carefully remove from the waffle iron and serve hot with powdered sugar, nuts, and real maple syrup!

Broccolini With Garlic Chips

I love broccoli.  I love broccolini even more.  Why?  It looks fancy.  To be honest, it tastes the same to me as regular broccoli (although it is said to be sweeter.)  It has long, thin stems that are tender, unlike broccoli’s stems.  And unlike broccoli, the stems do not need to be peeled first.  Why not try it?


-1 Package Broccolini, ends trimmed
-3 Garlic Cloves, sliced thin
-1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
-Salt & Pepper to taste

In a large pot, boil salted water.  Boil broccolini for two minutes, and then plunge into an ice bath.  This will keep it a rich green color.

In a medium skillet, heat olive oil on medium high heat.  Toss garlic cloves in skillet until a deep golden brown, like so:

Remove from the skillet with a spatula and drain on a paper towel.  Leave the remaining olive oil in the skillet and saute the broccolini in the skillet for 5 minutes, until tender.  The olive oil in the skillet is important because it will be infused with delicious garlic flavor.  Serve with garlic chips on top, and add salt and pepper if desired.





Pesto Pizza

If you haven’t noticed yet, I just love homemade pizza!  There’s nothing better than a healthy alternative to take out (or delivery) that can be made and ready to eat in 45 minutes.  Seriously, how can you beat that?

This pizza is packed with delicious pesto, mozzarella, and fresh tomato slices.  Top it off with basil if you want even more flavor!

-1 Recipe of No-Rise Pizza Dough
-3-4 Tablespoons of Pesto
-1 1/2 Cups of Shredded Mozzarella
-1 Tomato, sliced
– Fresh Basil, optional

No-Rise Pizza Dough
-1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp yeast)
-1 teaspoon white sugar
-1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
-2 1/2 cups flour- I used white whole wheat
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 450F. In a bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water (about 110F.) Let stand 10 minutes until frothy. Add flour, salt, and olive oil. Stir well and let sit for a few minutes if it is hard to work with.

Roll or toss dough into a thin round. Place on an oiled baking sheet with cornmeal if available.

Spread a thin layer of pesto over the dough, leaving room for crust. Put down mozzarella cheese and tomatoes on top. Bake for 12-15 minutes until cheese is golden brown and bubbly. Allow to cool for five minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

Cheesy Hasselback Potatoes

I’ve had Hasselback potatoes on my radar for awhile.  They look so fancy and done up!  Not your ordinary baked potato.

Fall is a great time to bust out your favorite root veggies.  Obviously the regular ‘ol potato is pretty accessible to most out there, being cheap, easy to find, and tasty.

Give this fancy schmancy version a try- and get a whole new view on the potato.

Feel free to adjust this recipe for how many you’re serving, but this serves two.

-2 Large Russets, preferably an oblong shape
-4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
-Slices of cheese (any will do)

Optional Toppings:
-1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
-Shredded Cheese
-Sour Cream
-Salt & Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425F.

Slice your potatoes, not all the way to the bottom.

Slice your cheese of choice into small slices that will fit into the potato slits.  Cut cold butter into thin slices, and then in half.
Alternating between slits, stuff in a piece of cheese or piece of butter.
Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes.
Remove the potatoes and top with additional cheese.  Bake for another 5 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

I’ve been craving something pumpkin spice since the weather has gotten chilly.  And I’m not talking about just Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks.

There’s a local diner here that serves French toast stuffed with strawberries and cream cheese and it’s always a delicious treat.  I usually regret getting it after I eat a plate of it because it’s so darn sweet.  When I woke up, I thought about this diner.  And I thought about pumpkins.  And this is how this recipe was born.


For the Egg Mixture:
-2 Large Eggs
-1/2 Cup of Milk
-1 teaspoon Pumpkin Spice
-1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

For the Filling:
-1 Loaf of Fresh Bread
-1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree
-4 oz. Cream Cheese, softened (I used low fat)
-2 teaspoons Pumpkin Spice (Adjust to your liking)
-1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup, Optional

Tip:  Allow adequate time for your cream cheese to soften, up to a half hour.  If it isn’t soft it’ll be lumpy in the mixture.

In a medium bowl, add pumpkin puree, cream cheese, and pumpkin spice.

Optional:  Add maple syrup to mixture if you’d like it sweeter.
Stir well, until smooth and creamy.

Now, let’s prepare the bread.

Slice your fresh bread into two inch slices.
Slice a small slit in the top of the bread, like so:

Gently separate the bread, being careful not to tear it.

Use a butter knife to put the filling into the slit in the bread.

Do this to the loaf of bread until all used up, except for the ends.

Prepare the egg mixture.  Put milk, eggs, vanilla, and pumpkin spice into a shallow glass dish.

Melt butter in a skillet on medium heat.

Coat both sides of the bread in the egg mixture.

Cook each side until golden brown and no longer eggy.
When done with each piece, place on a sheet in the oven on warm.
Top each piece with powdered sugar and pecans or almonds.  Drizzle maple syrup on top, if desired.
Dig in!

This French toast is absolutely heavenly- try it this Fall season!

New Kitchen Wish List

Having a new kitchen is amazing!  I have everything all situated where it should be.  I feel like it’s all logical, minus some minor items.

Here’s what I’m craving to fill my new kitchen with!

A DIY chalkboard.  I have a magnetic notepad I used to keep on the fridge that helped me remember what I had planned for the week.  Now, I enjoy clutter free fridge doors.  I have a wall next to the fridge which is looking pretty bare.  This would be amazing!  Check out the tutorial here.

An ice cream maker.  I know, so impractical.  To most!  I love simple, creamy homemade ice creams.  It’s nice knowing what’s in what I eat.Let me dream, here.  I’d love to try out a copper skillet.  And I might be vain in saying, one (or a set!) would look amazing hanging from my pot rack.  I have a beautiful pot rack and none of my Calphalon Stainless Steel pots/pans fit on it due to the hole size in the handles- I’m heartbroken I can’t use it!

Here you can see a glimpse of the rack:Wouldn’t this pan just fit in so well?!

A kitchen scale.  One cup of flour to me might be one cup of flour different to you.  Did you sift it first?  Did you pack it?  Did you level it?  Did you spin around and clap your hands twice before pouring it in?

Cute artwork.  I don’t even think I have any space for it.  But I want it.

Organizers.  Pottery barn has a cute collection called “Daily System.” I only want the letter bin and office organizer (the one with the key hooks.)  Although, I also like the linen pinboard.  At $54 each, I’ll have to think about it long and hard.

So, what’s on your kitchen wish list?

Skillet Cornbread

The first thing I wanted to break in my cast iron skillet with?  Cornbread!  I figure what better way to get to know each other.

I’m the kind of girl who always grew up on Jiffy cornbread.  It’s an awesome cheap cornbread mix.  It’s fun to add things to it to make it your own, too.  Check out my own version here.  I finally found a good recipe thanks to Epicurious.  Slightly modified by me.


-1 1/2 Cups Yellow Cornmeal (preferably stone-ground)
-3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
-1/4 teaspoon Salt
-2 Large Eggs
-1 3/4 Cups Well-Shaken Buttermilk
-1/2 Stick Unsalted Butter, softened
-1/4 Cup Honey

Preheat oven and cast iron skillet to 425F.  Place the skillet in the middle of the oven to heat.
Mix dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.  Add in buttermilk and honey.
Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and put butter in the bottom.  Stir around until skillet is evenly coated and melted.  This includes getting butter onto the sides of the skillet so you don’t get any sticking!
Pour the batter mixture into the hot skillet and return to oven for 20-25 minutes until golden.  Allow to cool before serving.  To serve:  you can either flip the pan over onto a plate, or gently (and carefully!) cut the cornbread out of the pan.
Enjoy!  This would go so well with a bowl of hot chili!  Check out my chili recipe!

Swanson Health Products Review

A few fellow bloggers had written some reviews for this company, and I wanted to get in on it too!  They shipped me a few products for free to try out, in exchange for unbiased reviews of the items sent.

Here’s what I tried out!

Organic Sesame Oil

This is a great oil and has a very low price.  I used it in two Asian-inspired dishes instead of olive oil.  Hoisin Chicken and Asian-Style Beef Short Ribs.  While this is a good quality oil, the packaging is poor.  It has a basic plastic cap with a hole, but when done pouring the oil runs down the side of the bottle every time.  It’s a bit annoying to have to wipe up the side of the bottle after every use.  Otherwise, I would recommend this sesame oil!

Organic Onion Powder

This is a nice basic onion powder.  When you don’t have onions on hand, or don’t feel like chopping up a little onion to add flavor, this stuff is nice to have on hand!  Use sparingly, because this stuff is pure & potent!

Organic Poultry Spice Blend

I used a little bit of this spice blend when I made my Rosemary Lemon Chicken.  Normally I don’t add any additional spices or seasonings but this was a nice subtle addition.  I was nervous reading the ingredients and seeing cinnamon in there, but I couldn’t taste it.  A very good blend to have on hand, especially for how cheap it is!  Can’t hurt to try!

Thank you for reading my reviews! Swanson Health’s products can be found here.  They have thousands of products- happy shopping!