Stocking Up

A few weekends I ago I got wild and made 3 different frozen meals to have on hand for when my bandwidth for a home cooked meal is stretched in a few weeks (one more week than I probably would like honestly).   

I made split pea soup, beef stew, and smokey turkey mole.  I wanted to make one easy recipe (split pea), one meal by itself (beef stew), and one option where you can cook some rice, defrost meal and be set (mole).  I also made butternut squash and pumpkin soup for Thanksgiving, froze it, and will bring to my in-laws. 

My split pea recipe is a homemade one, I have been making split pea for years.  An all-time fave.  I started to use beef broth as it gives it such a rich yummy flavor.  You could switch out chicken or vegetable stock easily. 

Split Pea Soup:

2 T olive oil 
1 bag dried split peas (picked though)
3 carrots, diced into small 1/2" pieces
3 celery stalks, diced into small 1/2" pieces
1 yellow onion, diced into 1/2" pieces
6 cups (or more) beef broth 
1-2 bay leaves
Salt and cracked pepper
1/4 t red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 slices bacon (optional) 
hard cheese rind (optional)

If using bacon, cook it in a large pot/dutch oven on medium heat until crispy.  Remove bacon and add chopped onion, carrot and celery.  Cook until soft, roughly 10 minutes.  Add salt and pepper while stirring.  Add split peas and let toast for 2 minutes with the vegetables.  Add garlic cloves and red pepper flakes.  After 1 minute add broth, bay leaves, and rind.  Bring heat up to high and once it reaches boil bring soup down to medium low, cover pot with lid half way and cook for 45 to an hour. Check the doneness of the peas and the liquid level.  If needed, add more broth or water to pot while soup simmers.  Once peas are cooked use an immersion blender to blend approximately half (this is my preference) of the soup, leaving some of the texture as well.  

Let soup cool completely (I leave it overnight on the stove, hasn't killed me yet) and then put into medium freezer safe containers.  Good up to 6 months or so. 

A word on containers - eye your freezer and buy containers that will most economically fit your freezer space.  Also unless you have a family of 4-6, buy containers that are on the smaller side so you can defrost portions for 1-2 meals at a time instead of living off a vat of soup for a week exclusively. 

Beef and Guinness Stew 
Adapted from Cooking Light 

3 T canola oil, divided 
1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
2 pounds boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes 
5 cups chopped onion (about 3 onions) 
1 T tomato paste 
4 cups beef broth 
1 (11.2-ounce) bottle Guinness Stout 
1 T raisins 
1 T all spice
1 t black pepper 
1 1/2 cups (1/2-inch-thick) diagonal slices carrot (about 8 ounces) 
1 1/2 cups (1/2-inch-thick) diagonal slices parsnip (about 8 ounces)
1 cup (1/2-inch) cubed peeled turnip (about 8 ounces) 

Heat 1.5 T oil in large dutch oven.  Meanwhile coat all pieces of beef in flour.  Add 1 T of salt and pepper to flour if you would like a bit more flavor.  Take half of the beef and brown on all sides in dutch oven.  Remove beef once browned and add other 1.5 T of oil and other half of uncooked beef to brown.  Remove once cooked and place all beef in bowl/plate for later use.  Add chopped onion and cook on medium for 8-10 minutes, until soft.  Stir in tomato paste, broth, and beer, using a wooden soup to loosen all brown bits from bottom and sides of pot.  Put meat back in pot with raisins, all spice and pepper.  Add any salt to taste.  Cook uncovered for 45 minutes on low.  Then add carrots, parsnips, and turnips to pot, cover and simmer on low for 20 -30 minutes.  You want the veggies to cook through but not be too mushy.  Then remove lid and cook an additional 10 minutes uncovered if veggies are not too overdone.  If they are done, you can skip this step.  Cool completely and put in freezer containers.  

Smokey Turkey Mole
Adapted from Cooking Light
1/2 cup roasted almonds 
1/2 t vegetable oil 
2 dried Anaheim chiles, stemmed, seeded, and chopped (found at Whole Foods)
1 cup chopped onion 
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 7-ounce can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (this is what gauges the spiciness of the dish, adjust accordingly to preference)
1 1/2 cups fire-roasted crushed tomatoes 
1 T sugar 
1/2 t ground cumin
1/4 t salt 
1/4 t ground cloves
1 1/2 cup corn tortilla chips 
14 1/2-ounce vegetable broth 
1 T white vinegar
3 cups chopped cooked turkey breast
Cilantro sprigs (optional, for serving)

Place almonds in a food processor; process until smooth (about 2 1/2 minutes), scraping sides of bowl once. Set aside.  Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add Anaheim chiles; sauté 1 minute or until softened. Add onion and garlic; cook 4 minutes or until onion is lightly browned. Add half of contents of adobo chile (peppers and sauce) to pot. Add tomatoes and next 6 ingredients (tomatoes through broth); bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spoon mixture into food processor; process until smooth. Return mixture to pan; stir in almond butter and vinegar; cook 1 minute. Stir in turkey.  Let cool on stove and put into freezer containers.  I used ziplock bags for this for individual portions. I lay them flat so they would freeze that way for maximum storage potential. 



Well I have been back and forth about getting back into posting things for a few months now. This year has been a whirlwind of change, good change. We moved to back to Chicago, switched jobs, bought a place, and are waiting upon a new addition scheduled to show up in early December.  We are grateful for this time in our lives.

I wanted to attempt to restart sharing a few things with my little readership.  Holidays are almost upon us.  I relish in being back somewhere with four seasons (even though one is a bit too long and cold, cannot have it all).

Here are a links for this Friday.  Have a nice weekend!

These one room challenge reveals could take a few days to look over in a procrastination daze. So wonderful.  (I LOVED these sconces from one of the bathroom reveals.)

I am again in charge of soup for Thanksgiving.  This year I'm going classic with Ina and this recipe. I will make it this weekend and freeze it (omitting the cream and adding that when we reheat on Thanksgiving day). I make a few tweaks in adding more spices and garlic, will try to post when I make it.  

Just bought this book.  My friend just read it and I asked if I had.  No, and I like a good cult classic. A little dark, a good read I hope!

Next week a small group will launch an articles club via A Cup of Jo.  I will update on how it goes.   Everyone was so relieved to be in something with not as much of preparation commitment, we have a fun group of ladies and I will make good dips with wine on hand.  Not much else you need for a weeknight success I think/hope.

Images via 1, 2


Recipes on the list - spring theme!

Warning: if you hate peas, come back to this blog another day.

I'm not sure if everyone knows my love for peas.  I have a bag or two of frozen in my freezer at all times.  They are sweet, add such nice color to dishes and are cute.  That cute comment is a serious one. Peas make the composition of dishes look much better, and I love the taste.  Fresh peas in spring are a real treat.  Here are a few pea recipes I will be making in the coming weeks.  Let me know if you try one and what you think!

Toast with lemony pea mash from Bon Appetit  magazine.  I cannot WAIT to make this. Also something you could make ahead for a party/cocktail spread which is nice.

Springtime frittata from Yummly.  Frittatas are a great weeknight dish.  Scrambled eggs in a more civilized form.  This also makes a great leftover lunch on its own or served on top of arugula with a little vinaigrette.

This Minty Pea Soup from Bon Appetit looks so light and springy.  Reminds me of a dish served at a bridal or baby shower, ladies lunching in the best possible way.

Ina's Pesto Pea Salad is amazing.  My mother in law made it a few years ago and I still remember it.  A great spring/summer side dish with grilled chicken or by itself for a light dinner maybe even enjoyed while sitting outside!

All images from links provided.


Spring doors

Spring is not really kicking into the gear at the pace desired (so I hear).   I wanted to post a few doorways with a spring theme as a mini pick up for this Tuesday.  

Here's to wishing for little buds blooming as soon as possible!

All images via my Pinterest


Weekend recap

Happy almost spring!  It happens Thursday!

I'm off a great weekend, my dad and stepmom came into town.  We went to our favorite treat Miami spot for dinner and then crossed off a Miami bucket list activity on Saturday.  On Saturday night we went to Whisk, our cozy neighborhood locale for an easy, tasty dinner or brunch.  Their avocado BLT, Pimento cheese toast, and BBQ chicken salad are my faves.


Images via and.


On my Spring list

For Spring I am eyeing a few things I might nab. They are....

New makeup brushes.  I have this Sephora brush (great for gym bag/travel) and one Bobbi Brown eyeliner brush, then applying everything else with my fingers.  It may be time to refresh this.  These brushes from Target are right on the price.

These shoes are adorable.  I saw them first on Sequins and Stripes and the more I see, the more I want to have!  Great shoes to pair with all my solid clothing....

These linen tops from Old Navy look much more expensive than they are.  I have the blue, but think I the black and white will be a solid staple update.

Images 1 2 3


Recipe recap - mango salsa

It is Spring in Miami.  It is like everyone puts on a fresh pair of contacts each morning.  The air is free of humidity.  It is clearer, crisper, and what everyone loves about South Florida this time of year.

On Sunday I made fish tacos for dinner.  I found another Trader Joe's staple, their corn taco shells.  I like the texture of a corn soft tortilla.  Here they are in case you want to try - 

Onto the tacos. I sauteed some white fish in a pan with cumin, salt and pepper, served with shredded cabbage, black refried beans (another pantry staple in our house), feta crumbles, and a fresh mango salsa.  I winged the salsa recipe, it turned out quite nicely.  I thought I would share - 

Mango salsa 

2 mangos - not too firm, not to ripe, just right if you can...diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced into small pieces
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced into small pieces
1/2 red onion, diced into small as you can get pieces
1/2 cup cilantro chopped and destemed
salt to taste

This made a lot. I have been eating it as a salad dressing on a fish taco salad of sorts for lunch yesterday and today.  You could half this recipe if it was for two people and still have leftovers for sure.  

Tortilla image via, all the rest via my iPhone.