Cheese Ravioli with Asparagus and Walnuts

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I love this recipe because it is delicious, quick, cheap, and easy….. That’s what she said!

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Cheese Ravioli with Asparagus and Walnuts

  • 20 frozen cheese ravioli
  • 1/2 bundle of fresh asparagus, lightly roasted in the oven
  • 1/4 cup English walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 1/8 cup pesto
  • Parmesan cheese to garnish

Cook ravioli according to package directions. Drain and return to saucepan. Add the asparagus, walnuts, and pesto. Toss to coat. Garnish with Parmesan cheese. Serves 2.

Lime and Ginger Popsicles

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The past few weeks I have eaten like a pig. A total pig. Steak and Shake, Mexican, pho, beer, a Brazilian steakhouse, delicious brunch, Southern food, a huge brownie with hot fudge and ice cream. Basically, if it was offered to me, I said yes. No big deal, right? Until I put on my jeans. Holy smokes! Those calories have caught up with me. It makes sense. One cannot consume endlessly without consequences. But I am not giving up my flavor. Sometimes I just want a pop of flavor without a load of calories. These popsicles are perfect for that. So delicious!

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Lime and Ginger Popsicles

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • Zest and juice of 2 limes
  • 10 cm piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

In a small saucepan, combine the ingredients and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and allow to cool to room temperature. With a slotted spoon, remove the chunks of ginger. Pour the mixture evenly into your popsicle molds. I divided mine evenly between 6 molds and then topped them off with more water. Stir each mold to be sure the syrup is evenly mixed in. Freeze until solid. Enjoy!!!

Collard Green Carbonara

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Carbonara is one of the easiest and most satisfying dishes to make, especially on a work night. I worked today, came home, made dinner, went to the gym and ran 2 miles, showered and read a bit. I am tired! There is nothing better than a satisfying meal at home when all the rest of the day is a rush.

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Collard Green Carbonara (from Southern Living)

  • 12 oz uncooked spaghetti
  • 6 thick hickory-smoked bacon slices, chopped
  • 1 medium-size red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups firmly packed chopped fresh collards
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 large  egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper
  • 3 cups freshly shredded Parmesan cheese

In a skillet, fry the bacon until browned and crispy. With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon, leaving behind the grease drippings. Add the onion to the bacon grease and saute until tender. Add the garlic and saute for another minute. Add the collards and saute for 5 minutes. Add the bacon; stir to combine. Remove from heat and set aside.

Fill a large pot with water and salt. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the noodles and cook until al dente.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the salt, pepper, red pepper, and cheese. Stir to combine.

Drain pasta and reserve some of the pasta water. Immediately pour the hot pasta onto the egg mixture and toss quickly to coat. The heat will cook the eggs. Add the collards and toss again. Serve with a garnish of Parmesan cheese. Serves 6 to 8.

New Year, New Me…

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2014 has been a rough year for me and for the blog. So many tears, so many changes. It hasn’t all been bad, though. My ex and I went to Alaska, one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. I have a new job that I like. My co-workers are really good to me and I am learning so much. I have been blessed with some amazing friends, who have been incredibly supportive. My brother moved across the state to live with me; that is love! Random acts of kindness from unexpected people have also blessed my life. The little things have kept me afloat when I thought I might drown. It has renewed my faith in humanity and encouraged me to increase my own personal compassion.

I hope 2015 is a year of rebuilding and improvement. Instead of making a resolution, I am going to make a list. A whole year is a long time and I have faith I can get a lot done. Cheer and Happy New Year!

A bad habit I am going to break: Negative, pervasive worry

A new skill I’d like to learn: How to be more handy around the house.

A person I hope to be more like: My boss, DJ. She is supportive and encouraging to everyone. Her kindness to me through these hard months has been amazing.

A good deed I am going to do: Buy the meal of someone behind me in the drive through.

A place I’d like to visit: Niagara Falls

A book I’d like to read: Too hard! I have 378 books on my Goodreads “To Read” shelf. I want to read them all!

A letter I am going to write: To my great aunt, Anna. To my OH friend Tom.

A new food I’d like to try: Marmite.

I’m going to be better at: Being more emotionally intelligent. Thinking before I speak.

Perfect Pecan Pie

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Sometimes pecan pie can be sickly sweet, overwhelming the nutty flavor. This pecan pie is our family favorite. My grandmother has been making it for years from her stained, tattered red gingham Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. You will appreciate the simplicity of the flavors and how easy it is to make.

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Perfect Pecan Pie

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cup pecan pieces
  • 1 prepared 9 inch pie crust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a mixer, cream together the sugar and butter. Add the syrup and salt, beating well. Beat in the eggs, one at time, until combined. Stir in pecans. Pour the mixture into the pie crust. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the filling comes out clean. Serves 8 to 10.

Easy Divinity

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Divinity is an old fashioned candy that I remember from my childhood. My grandmother used to make this every year. Be sure when you make this it is on a sunny dry day. The humidity should be below 60%. This is true of most homemade candies. Candy made on wet day will not turn out. Divinity takes a little effort but it is worth it!

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Easy Divinity (From the Southern Lady Cooks)

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans, plus more for topping

Combine the white sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt in a microwave safe bowl. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and microwave for 5 minutes on high. Remove from the microwave and stir. Microwave the sugar mixture again for another 5 minutes, uncovered. The temperature should reach 250 degrees or hard ball stage. Set aside to cool for 3 to 4 minutes.

In the bowl of a mixer, whip the egg whites to stiff peaks. While the mixer is still running on high, slowly pour the hot sugar mixture into the egg whites. Continue to beat the mixture on high until the mix looses it’s glossiness and holds together, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla and pecans. Spoon the mixture onto wax paper in teaspoon fulls. Makes approx 25 candies, depending on the size you make.

Sunshine Salad

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This salad is a flavor explosion in your mouth. It is the perfect antidote to the winter gloom. Top with chicken or shrimp for some added protein.

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Sunshine Salad

  • 2 cups romaine lettuce
  • 1/4 cup pineapple, chopped
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/8 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 avocado, diced
  • 5 to 10 slices of cucumber
  • Diced onions, to taste
  • Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Top lettuce with the fruit, nuts, and dressing. Serves 1.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

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One thing I have discovered- everyone likes good food, especially chocolate when they are stressed. These cupcakes got rave reviews from my ophthalmology clinic friends. And they had protein so they make great snacks on the go…. (ok, that’s a stretch but they are still super tasty)

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes (from Bunny’s Warm Oven)

Chocolate Batter:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Peanut Butter Batter:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
Topping:
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 18 regular-size muffin cups. In large bowl, mix flour, cocoa, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Add oil, water, vinegar and vanilla to flour mixture, stirring just until smooth (do not over mix). In another large bowl, beat egg, cream cheese, peanut butter and granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add powdered sugar; beat until creamy. Spoon 1 level tablespoon chocolate batter into each cup; evenly spread 1 level tablespoon peanut butter filling on top. Repeat layers. Sprinkle with peanut butter chips and chocolate chips.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (do not over bake). Cool in pan 15 minutes. Remove from pan to cooling rack; cool 15 minutes. Serve warm or cool. Makes 18 cupcakes.

Arugula Salad with Prosciutto, Pomegranate, and Feta

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I listen to the America’s Test Kitchen podcast every week. I love that show! Practical advice, interesting interviews, and excellent audience interaction. I always learn something I didn’t know. A couple of weeks ago, the Test Kitchen reviewed prosciutto, an Italian ham that is dry cured in salt for at least 9 months. Apparently not all prosciutto is the same. Some American commercially sold prosciutto has ingredients similar to salami, which of course alters the pure umami flavor. The Test Kitchen tried several different brands and found that the prosciutto with the least number of ingredients (two – pork and salt) were the best. Luckily, Boar’s Head, the only brand available to me, is made of just those ingredients. The saltiness of the meat and feta is offset nicely by the sweetness of the pomegranate, the spiciness of the arugula, and the buttery walnuts.

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Arugula Salad with Prosciutto, Pomegranate, and Feta

  • 2 cups of arugula
  • 2 slices of prosciutto, torn into bite size pieces
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1/8 cup feta crumbles
  • 1/8 cup toasted English walnuts
  • Pomegranate Vinaigrette

On a plate, lay out the arugula. Top with the prosciutto pieces, pomegranate arils, feta crumbles and the walnuts. Dress with pomegranate vinaigrette. Serves 1 but could easily be multiplied.

Mulled Wine

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Today is a gloomy, miserable day. I am going to cuddle up on the couch with my new John Grisham book and a glass of this delicious mulled wine. I can’t think of a better way to cheer up.

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Mulled Wine (from Gimme Some Oven)

  • 1 (750 ml) bottle red wine
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise

Combine all ingredients in a non-aluminum saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and let simmer for at least 15 minutes. Strain, and serve warm.