Cooking

The Kitchen Aid Ice Cream Attachment: Frozen Treat Fun at Our House

Boy, have I been slacking in the blogging department! February? Really? In my defense (justification), I did finally make my freelancing a legitimate business (J Peterson Marketing) and while B is now more independent, he is also more likely to get himself into a jam!

 

81Mnf-0GeEL._SL1500_Speaking of B, he’s sort of what got me back on the blogging bandwagon. For Father’s Day (yes, I know it was a few months ago), we gave Jeff a Kitchen Aid ice cream attachment and we are totally addicted. While we haven’t made actual ice cream yet, we have made sorbet all summer long. Strawberry – check. Blueberry – check. Watermelon (my personal favorite) – check. We tried frozen yogurt and it was tasty but while fresh fruit is bountiful in the Midwest, we’re sticking with sorbet.

 

The Kitchen Aid ice cream maker is super easy to use. Just puree some fruit, add some simple syrup or honey, put it in the frozen bowl (this is what takes the longest – the bowl has to be completely frozen to work), let it go for 7-10 minutes, and – voila! – sorbet (or frozen yogurt or ice cream)! B loves that he can make “sorvet” as he calls it and I love that it’s not chock full of chemicals.

 

If you’re a frozen treat fan and you have a Kitchen Aid mixer, then I highly recommend this attachment.

 

Hope you’re having a wonderful summer. Thanks for reading Bright-Yellow.

A Year of Slow Cooking – You Can Make Anything in a Slow Cooker

9259050_BG2We have a slow cooker or crock pot (I really don’t know the difference) which we purchased because Jeff wanted it and had memories of yummy dishes in one growing up. The slow cooker/crock pot collected dust for quite a while. Then we had Baby B (who I need to stop calling baby but I can’t yet!) and I realized that I needed to learn to love the slow cooker/crock pot.

WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG TO LOVE THIS THING?!?!?!

Seriously, the slow cooker/crock pot has made my life so much easier. I use it at least once a week and I love just throwing a bunch of things in the pot and a few hours later having a yummy meal.

Someone out there loves her slow cooker/crock pot much more, though. Meet Stephanie O’Dea who literally cooked in her slow cooker/crock pot every day for a year, blogging about it along the way. The result is a site chock full of recipes and “gee, I didn’t realize you could make that in the slow cooker/crock pot” realizations. I have made a number of Stephanie’s recipes and highly recommend the site. Check it out HERE.

What are your favorite slow cooker/crock pot recipes?

Does anyone know the difference between a slow cooker and a crock pot?

Thanks for reading Bright-Yellow!

Popping and Pop-Tarts

Yes, I know, Bright-Yellow seems to have been on a bit of a hiatus. Those who know me in person know that there is a reason… baby Bright-Yellow is on his way (yep, it’s a boy) in October and my mind has been pretty occupied with trying to learn about the big changes in store for us! This, combined with my inability to drink, eat large portions of food, and sleep, has made me kind of boring and not full of “you must check this out” items (unless you count my new constant reading of “Baby Bargains”).

My few pregnancy cravings have included grapefruit, potatoes, and… Pop Tarts! The Pop Tarts craving, though, was more a result of the power of suggestion after my friend, Deb, told me that she ate the best thing ever – a home-made Pop Tart! From there, it has been Pop Tarts on the brain almost every day.  I have only indulged in the store-bought version once (thanks to the office vending machine). Then, a few weeks ago, when we visited our friends James and Jeanne in Washington, DC,  I got to taste the version that Deb had and now nothing else will do!

These fabulous creations come from a small bakery/restaurant called Ted’s Bulletin in the Capitol Hill area of DC. They are A-MAZING! I stuck to classic strawberry but husband Jeff (and friend James) also enjoyed the peanut butter and bacon version. These pop tarts are not overly sweet like the store-bought kind and the pastry part melts in your mouth and tastes kind of like yellow cake. Truly fantastic!

Deb came across a recipe from Smitten Kitchen for making pop tarts.  Neither of us have tried making them yet and, honestly, Deb is a better baker so I’m waiting for her to try the recipe. Hurry up Deb! 🙂

Has anyone else made pop tarts? What about other home-made version of classic store-bought products?

Thanks Capitol Spice for letting me use your photo of the awesome Ted’s Bulletin pop-tarts and thanks to you for reading Bright-Yellow!

Winter Warm Up – Chicken & Wild Rice Soup with Mushrooms

I haven’t posted a recipe in a while (even though I have been cooking quite a bit).  Here’s one that I made with left over turkey at Christmas (even though it calls for chicken).  It’s from Whole Foods (but you can get the ingredients anywhere) which means the recipe is healthy and this one actually won’t break the bank! Enjoy and thanks for reading Bright-Yellow!

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup with Mushrooms

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (8-ounce) package sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped onion
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into (1-inch) cubes
3/4 cup long grain wild rice or wild rice blend
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add mushrooms and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 7 minutes. Add broth, chicken, rice, garlic and bay leaf, cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until rice and chicken are cooked through and tender, about 45 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf then stir in parsley, salt and pepper and serve.

Welcome to Chicago’s 43rd Ward

DSC02299It’s time for another tour of the 50 Wards of Chicago.  I have been a little lax on this as I have started working but I promise to make my 50 wards tour a higher priority!

A couple of weeks ago, Jeff and I visited the 43rd Ward.  Like many Chicagoans, this was not our first visit to this ward – this ward is Lincoln Park.  Alderman Vi Daley and her staff had some great suggestions for us and, indeed, Jeff and I saw some new places!

We started with a trip to the Green City Market.  My first job in Chicago was DSC02296with Meals on Wheels which had an association with the restaurant industry and chefs.  Because of this, I remember when the Green City Market opened over ten years ago (as I recall, Gale Gand was a driving force for this) over by the Chicago Theater as a way for Chicagoans to enjoy the same local, organic produce, cheese, and meats that chefs (yes “Top Chef Masters” fans, this includes our beloved Bayless) choose from all the time.  A few years ago, the Green City Market moved to Lincoln Park (by the Lincoln Park Zoo) in the summer and the Notebart museum in the winter.  In addition to expanding to include a winter location, the Green City Market now runs 7AM-1PM on both Wednesdays and Saturdays.  And yes foodies, chefs still do a bunch of their shopping there – and some demos, too!

My word of advice – the expanded Green City Market has a ton of food vendors as well as samples at about every booth so come hungry!

DSC02303After loading up on peaches (remember my post about the yummy Eli’s Cheesecake Peach Cobbler?), veggies, and bread, Jeff and I hit the road and searched for The Bellinger Cottage (2121 N Hudson) which survived the Chicago Fire.  The cottage is adorable and, honestly, the house on the street where I told Jeff I’d like to live (before I realized it was the Bellinger Cottage)!

I admit to a little bit of cheating on this ward visit (look for this in future visits too!) because I have spent so much time here.  Alderman Daley’s office also recommended visiting the Lincoln Park Zoo (one of the last free Zoos in the country – I add to this that in the summer, try to go to a Jammin’ at the Zoo concert and in the winter, don’t miss the Zoo Lights!), the Caldwell Lilly Pool right by the Zoo (Cannon and Fullerton), check out the architecture in the ward (YES!), and the Chicago History Museum (I’m spending my birthday doing one of their new walking tours – can’t wait!).  I’ll add to this that the Notebart Nature Museum is fun for those with kiddos, the Lincoln Park Conservatory is a welcome winter escape, and the neighborhood is full of great eating (Twin Anchors), drinking (well, I’m too old for Lincoln Park drinking), and shopping (Lill Studios!) options!

If you have never been to Chicago, when you do visit, a trip to the 43rd Ward will definitely happen and if you live in Chicago, give the 43rd Ward another visit – I’m sure, like me, you’ll find something new to love there! Hey Chicagoans – got any suggestions to add to this?  Post them in the comments section!

Thanks for reading Bright-Yellow!

Peach Cobbler – from Eli’s Cheesecake

Remember a few weeks ago when I visited Eli’s Cheesecake and their fabulous Farmer’s Market?  Well, I neglected to mention that while Eli’s primarily makes cheesecake, they also make a lot of yummy, delicious baked goods (and savory goods, too!).  Jeff went back with me to visit the Farmer’s Market and I learned that his “most favorite dessert” is peach cobbler – perhaps because the peach stand was offering this Eli’s/Wright College recipe for it.  Well, I decided to be a nice wife and have now made this recipe twice – both times successfully!  Jeff has declared it his favorite dish I make which, while a compliment, makes me feel like all of those other, more complicated efforts were a big waste (because this is so easy).

It’s still peach season so grab some peaches and enjoy! Thanks Eli’s and your partner Wright College for this recipe.

Eli’s/Wright College Farmers Market Peach Cobbler

1 stick (4 oz.) butter, melted

1C. plus 3T. granulated sugar, divided

1C. all-purpose flour

2tsp. baking powder

1/4tsp. salt

1C. milk (skim is fine)

1tsp. vanilla extract

3-4 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, thinly sliced

1/2tsp. cinnamon

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Pour melted butter into a 2-quart baking dish (11×7 or 8 inch square). In a mixing bowl, combine one cup of sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt; stir to blend.  Stir in milk and vanilla until blended.  Pour batter over melted butter. Toss peaches with remaining 3tsp. of sugar and 1/2tsp. of cinnamon.  Arrange the peach slices over the batter. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.  Top will be browned and cake will begin to pull away from sides of pan.

Serves 6

BTW – I took a photo of our partially eaten cobbler to insert in the post.  Jeff said the photo looked like chicken instead of cobbler – well, he does like meat!

Thanks for reading Bright-Yellow!  Don’t forget to subscribe on the upper right hand corner (that way you won’t miss a day of Bright-Yellow!) and share Bright-Yellow with others!

Cooking Not Take Out

With money tight for everyone, more and more of us are cooking at home. If you’re like me, you quickly have run out of recipes (because you used to eat out all of the time!?!?). Thanks to my friend, Kim, I have discovered NoTakeOut.com.

NoTakeOut.com provides a daily recipe every day Monday – Friday and you can subscribe to the newsletter so the recipes come right to your mailbox. The recipes feed a family of four and NoTakeOut.com gives you a shopping list, a pantry list, tools you’ll need and wine and dessert suggestions! Since Chicago has become Seattle as far as weather is concerned, today’s recipe is for a new fangled (in a good way) chicken soup. The recipes are quick and easy and the instructions are very specific so anyone (and you know who you are) can cook!

Past recipes are listed on the site as well as interesting pieces about food and the food industry. I love that NoTakeOut.com embraces meatless Mondays (now if only Jeff would. too!). Did you know that at the international summit on global warming, United Nations emissaries cited meat production as a primary source of greenhouse gas? Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change called eating less meat “one of the most important personal choices we can make to address climate change.” And, it’s good for you, too! By skipping meat one day per week, the average American can lower his/her saturated fat intake by 15%! To learn more about Meatless Monday and to find more meatless recipes, just click here.

Thanks for reading Bright-Yellow and keep the suggestions coming!