A Tuscan Soup & Baguette Recipe

How wonderful it is that nobody need to wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

-Anne Frank

Hello, sweet friends…

I hope you are hungry today because this post is all about food…










Keto Tuscan Soup

I had to laugh when I received the recipe for this soup. It was shared by a new friend whom I met in an online bible study. There were no measurements just the ingredients. That being said I sort of experimented with how much to measure. Also…my friend is Italian and I’ve never met an Italian that isn’t a natural chef. btw.. this soup was fabulous!

INGREDIENTS

Hot sausage or just regular ground pork (I used 4 hot Italian veggie sausage links)

onion (I didn’t use)
garlic (3 diced cloves)
chicken broth (I used about 8 cups)

frozen chopped spinach (or fresh chopped spinach) I used 1 box frozen

sun-dried tomatoes (I used 1 jar)

cut up cauliflower (I used about a cup)

heavy whipping cream

Parmesan cheese (I used half of package)

Italian herb seasoning (to taste

Brown sausage in a Dutch oven or soup pot. Add the onions & garlic as the meat is almost cooked. While the sausage is browning steam the spinach. Cook for a minute or two before stirring the broth into the mixture. Add the tomatoes, spinach, more broth (if necessary) and Italian seasoning. Add cut cauliflower for more texture. Continue to simmer for 15 minutes. Then add the heavy whipping cream and Parmesan cheese… measure as needed (I used almost the entire creamer) Stir until melted… simmer until ready to eat, or turn off the heat and cover until ready to eat.

Homemade Baguettes

I’ve become quite efficient at bread making so I decided to give baguettes a try. They are actually a bit trickier…not really sure why. However, they were fun to make and I’m sure I’ll be baking them up again soon!


Ingredients

6 cup flour  (depending on a brand, you may need to add more flour)

3 cups  lukewarm water

2 tsp yeast

2 tsp salt

The night before, combine all ingredients together. First mix the dry ingredients together and then add water. Mix the ingredients until the dough comes together. Cover it with a plastic wrap and let it sit for 12-20 hours on the countertop.

The following day, the dough should be wet, sticky and bubbly. Generously flour your hands and the baking sheet.

Take the dough (if it sticks, apply more flour to your hands) and form a baguette shape. Place it on a baking sheet and sprinkle a generous amount of flour on it. Cover it with a towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 450 °F. You will need to have 2 shelves in an oven. Fill a deep cooking sheet with 2 cups of hot boiled water, and place it on a lower level, inside your oven. This will make the bread crispy on the outside. Place the bread on the top rack. Remove water from the oven after 10 minutes. Keep on baking the bread for another 30 minutes or until golden crispy brown.


Naturally I had to add a bit of decorating…

Marcia
Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Put Your Heart Into It…A Recipe For Hearts

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4

Hello, sweet friends…

I’ve been a crafty gal this week…

playing around with 2 ongoing projects kept me joyfully occupied…

the first one was a prayer journal…


the second was…

a Valentine tree….

Creative expression has always been important to me…

I have found it helpful in releasing thoughts and emotions that sometimes don’t find expression.

I’m grateful for the many ways to create…Painting…music…dance…writing

it’s taken many years to realize I don’t have to be “perfect” at creating …

the most important thing I’ve discovered…

is that by exploring ways of being creative…

I learn more about myself and this helps me grow…

my creativity allows me to just be me…and that, dear reader, is the sweetest powerfully creative experience there is.

CANDY HEARTS

During one of my excursions to JoAnns I came across these candy melts.

I thought it would be fun to make little heart shaped candies… So I purchased one bag and picked up a cute silicone heart tray. These candies are so easy to make…

All you need to do is melt the candies in the microwave or in a small pot over the stove…

stir them around and then pour the melted mixture into the little cavities of the tray.

Refrigerate them for 10-15 minutes then voila!

You have the sweetest hearts ever…

Marcia
Posted in A Quarantined Life, Coastal Living | 8 Comments

Welcoming in 2021…

For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

Hello, sweet friends…

It’s Thursday early afternoon as I write this week’s blog post…the first week of 2021 has been lived…

most of the Christmas decor taken down…

lovingly tucked away…

wanting to maintain a cozy vibe…

I decided to keep 2 trees up…

transitioning the main tree to a Valentine’s tree. I told Joe that my Valentine’s tree will become our new Christmas tree. (giggle)

The point being that this year Id like to build a whole beautiful life from the smallest of moments making each day count the most.

What’s Cooking?

Often on Sunday I prepare a salmon dinner. I’ve experimented with several recipes and this simple yet delicious recipe seems to be our favorite.


INGREDIENTS

Creamy Dill Sauce

  • ▢ 1 large side of salmon or 4 to 6 4-6 ounce salmon fillets
  • ▢ salt and pepper, to taste
  • ▢ 1 lemon, thinly sliced, plus juice of 1 medium lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
  • ▢ 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • ▢ 4 tablespoons honey
  • ▢ 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ▢ 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • ▢ 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • ▢ 1/3 cup mayo (i use reduced fat)
  • ▢ 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ▢ 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill, plus additional for topping
  • ▢ 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • ▢ milk to thin, as needed

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a large baking sheet with nonstick foil. Season salmon generously with salt and pepper on both sides and place on prepared pan. Fold foil up around the sides slightly to create “walls” around the salmon to keep the juices from running out.

In a small bowl whisk together melted butter, honey, juice of lemon, garlic, and dried dill. Pour sauce over salmon. Add sliced lemons over salmon. 

Bake for 15 minutes, then broil for 3-5 minutes until edges begin to darken.

While salmon is baking, prepare the sauce by stirring together greek yogurt, mayo, lemon juice, dill, and pepper. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until mixture is very smooth.

When salmon is finished cooking, spoon sauces from the pan over the salmon. Serve pieces of salmon with creamy dill sauce and garnish with additional black pepper, lemon wedges, and fresh dill.

last but not least for my first blog of 2021 I thought I’d do a mini vlog sharing a bit of the first week. I apologize for the sound…I’m a newbie at editing…anyway, I hope you enjoy it and that it makes you smile. Let me know what you think!


Marcia
Posted in A Quarantined Life, What’s Cooking? | 2 Comments

2020…The Year We All Stayed Home

There are two ways of getting home…one of them is to stay there…the other is to walk around the whole world till we come back to the same place.” -Chesterton

Hello, sweet friends…

Having recently celebrated another trip around the sun….

AND…

being a gal who never volunteers to share her age or weight…I do admit that this past year has made me years wiser not older…(wink)

2020 has been quite the year…still, good things did happen. Things have changed…and perhaps some things will never come back. Our homes became the great theaters where the drama of our daily lives were played out. When the world seemed to grow darker the desire for me to create a sanctuary grew stronger…and, I discovered to slow down in life. 2020 would have a silver lining… a deeper appreciation for life…not to take anything for granted because one day all I will have are sweet memories.

👩‍🍳

What’s Cooking?

2020 was a year of cooking and baking memories

I now want my own cooking show! Just kidding… however, I just have to share this fabulous lasagna I served for Christmas… substituting plant based meat for the sauce and preparing the sauce a day ahead allowed for all the ingredients to really mix well together. It was deliciousness times two!


Ingredients

3/4 pound lean ground beef (I substitute a plant based)

1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage (I substitute a plant based)

1/2 cup onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

two 6 ounce cans tomato paste

two 6.5 ounce cans canned tomato sauce (or one 15 oz. can)

1/2 cup water

2 Tablespoons sugar (optional)

1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided

12 lasagna noodles, regular or no cook. I usually use no cook noodles.

16 ounces ricotta cheese

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded

3/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

In a large Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until cooked through and browned.

Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water, and stir everything together.

Add sugar, basil, fennel seeds (if using), Italian seasoning, 2 teaspoons salt, pepper, and 2 Tablespoons parsley, and stir to combine.

Simmer, covered, for at least 1½ hours, stirring occasionally. ( I actually prepared the sauce the day before)

If using regular lasagna noodles, cook according to package instructions and drain.

In a bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, egg, remaining parsley, and ½ teaspoon salt.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

To layer the lasagna, spread 1½ cups of the sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange a single layer of noodles over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with ¼ cup Parmesan cheese.

Spoon another 1½ cups meat sauce over the cheese. 

Add another layer of noodles, the rest of the ricotta mixture, half of the remaining mozzarella, and another 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

Add another layer of 1 1/2 cups of sauce and a final layer of noodles.

Top with another 1 1/2 cups sauce and the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.

Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes.

Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Marcia
Posted in 2020, A Quarantined Life, Cooking, Together Apart | 10 Comments

A Christmas Tea 2020…

🎄Be truly glad…there is wonderful joy ahead.🎄

-Peter 1:6

Hello, sweet friend…

Merry Christmas!

Recently I asked Joe what he would like for Christmas…he said he didn’t need or want anything…that all my cooking during this pandemic was the biggest most wonderful gift of all. He went on expressing gratitude for my efforts in preparing meals while also creating a beautiful cozy home for us. Honestly, I was a bit gobsmacked! I thanked him and while handing him my Christmas wish list (giggle) I knew just what to give my charming husband…

I would surprise him with a Christmas Tea!








👩‍🍳

What’s Cooking…

Along with a variety of simple tea sandwiches such as egg salad, smoked salmon and cucumber… I also baked semi-homemade scones using a can of mandarin oranges with a handful of chocolate chips. I baked Krusteaz lemon bars and pulled out a few sugar cookies I had baked earlier. The mini quiches were a perfect size & I thought any leftovers could be used for an easy go to breakfast during the holidays. My absolute favorite quiche recipe is linked here. A Christmas Tea 2017

Mini Quiche

INGREDIENTS

1 pie crust

6 large eggs beaten

1 cup heavy cream

Salt and pepper

pinch cayenne pepper

1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Instructions

spinach chopped

broccoli chopped

mushrooms cleaned and diced

onion diced

garlic minced

Preheat oven to 375º F.

Spray mini muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray, set aside.

Using a small round cutter, cut pie crust and place into indentations of muffin tin and place in the oven to pre-bake for about 15 minutes.

(Alternately, you can place each of the premade phyllo cups into the muffin tin. For a crustless mini quiche, simply omit.)

Whisk together eggs and heavy cream until light and fluffy. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper until well-combined.

Stir in cheese. Pour into pie shells and top with add-in options as desired…(bacon, ham, or shrimp) Bake for for 15-25 minutes until the egg mixture is set.

Remove from the oven and let rest about 5 minutes before serving.

Serve warm.


Marcia
Posted in A Quarantined Life, Coastal Living, Our Cottage, Together Apart, What’s Cooking? | 7 Comments