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Showing posts from January, 2018

Buffalo Chicken Sliders

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Recipe courtesy of Jeff Mauro
Total: 20 min
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 10 min
Yield: 12 sliders
Level: Easy

Ingredients
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup hot sauce, such as Frank's Red Hot
12 small rolls, such as Hawaiian or Parker House rolls, buttered and griddled
Ranch dressing, for serving
1 cup blue cheese crumbles
Tomato slices, for serving
Green leaf lettuce, for serving

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the oil. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with salt, pepper, the brown sugar, paprika and cayenne. Sear both sides of the chicken until golden, about 4 minutes. Add in the hot sauce to the skillet. Bring to a simmer and then place in the oven to finish off, and the chicken registers 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.

Let the chicken cool, and then pull the meat w…

Pressure Cooker Beef Stroganoff

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Pressure cookers take the pressure off you, making it easy to cook long-braise dishes for weeknight dinners. This beef stroganoff uses lean beef chuck for a high-protein feast.

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total: 40 min
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 30 min
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds lean beef chuck, cut into 1-inch piecesKosher salt and freshly ground black pepper1 tablespoon olive oil1 medium onion, chopped1 cup dry white wine1 tablespoon Dijon mustard1 tablespoon all-purpose flour1 cup low-sodium beef broth1 pound whole white button mushrooms3 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch chunks2 stalks celery, chopped1/4 cup neufchatel cheese1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley12 ounces whole wheat egg noodles

DirectionsSpecial equipment: Pressure cooker

Toss the beef with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 4 minutes. Add the onions and cook, sti…

Life is Full of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Quote of the Day

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Quote of the Day

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New Filter On Acceptance...

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I’ve been struggling with the question that Brené Brown asked her therapist, Diana, in her book Rising Strong. She asked her, Do you really think people are doing the best they can? Brené asked the question during a session about a roommate that triggered many emotions in just minutes after meeting her. Brené was booked for a speaking event and was notified that she’d have to share a room with another speaker. She didn’t want to book the event, to begin with, and now she had to share a room with a stranger. She went against her better judgment and agreed. When she got to the room, the woman was on the couch eating a cinnamon bun, when she finished eating it, she wiped the remaining icing left on her hands on the couch—she dismissed her behavior by saying, It’s not our couch. Brené was grossed out and speechless at the woman’s behavior, which was followed by the woman smoking in the non-smoking room's balcony. Brené said, The entire hotel is smoke-free. Plus, the smoke is…

Best Tomato Soup Ever

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Recipe courtesy of Ree Drummond

Total Time: 40 min
Prep: 25 min
Cook: 15 min
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
1 medium white or yellow onion
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
Two 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes
One 46-ounce bottle or can tomato juice
3 to 6 tablespoons sugar
1 or 2 tablespoons chicken base, or 3 chicken bouillon cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup sherry, optional
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Directions
To begin, dice the onion. Melt the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven. Throw in the onion and cook until translucent.

Now dump in the diced tomatoes and stir to combine. Add the tomato juice. Next - and this is important - in order to combat the acidity of the tomatoes add 3 to 6 tablespoons of sugar. Now, you'll want to start on the low side, then taste and add more as needed. Some tomatoes and juice have more of an acidic bite than others. (For what it's worth, and I realize it's not worth m…

Buffalo Chicken Subs

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Recipe courtesy of Jeff Mauro
Total: 1 hr
Prep: 40 min
Cook: 20 min
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
For the subs:2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighsKosher salt and freshly ground black pepper1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar2 teaspoons paprika1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper1 tablespoon vegetable oil1 cup Buffalo wing sauce, such as Frank's RedHot, plus more if desired2 medium carrots, diced2 stalks celery, diced2 tomatoes, seeded and diced1 36-inch loaf soft French or Italian bread1 cup crumbled blue cheese

For the ranch dressing:
3/4 cup mayonnaise1/4 cup buttermilk1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic1/2 teaspoon minced fresh dill1/4 teaspoon honey or agave syrup1/4 teaspoon dijon mustardKosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions
Preheat the broiler. Season the chicken with salt and black pepper; sprinkle with the brown sugar, paprika and cayenne. Warm the vegetable oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Cook half of the chicken in the skillet …

Grilled Steak with Greek Corn Salad

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total: 20 min
Active: 20 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano and/or mint
1 teaspoon honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 English cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small red onion, diced
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)
1/3 cup pitted green olives, sliced
2 ears of corn, shucked
1 1/4 pounds cube steaks

Directions
Preheat a grill to high. Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, herbs, honey, 3/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper in a medium bowl. Remove 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette to a large bowl; set aside. Add the cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, feta and olives to the bowl with the remaining vinaigrette; toss to coat.

Grill the corn, turning occasionally, until charred in spots, about 8 minutes; remove to a cutting board. Meanwhile, season the steaks with salt and pepper. Working in batches if…

Life is Full of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Quote of the Day

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Quote of the Day

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Walking Each Other Home...

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Author Elizabeth Gilbert is a badass, inspirational woman. I heard about Elizabeth via her 2006 book, Eat, Pray, Love. I was awestruck by her story of travels to different countries in search of spiritual awakening. Twelve years later, I’ve become a bigger fan. Elizabeth shares the most intimate stages of her love story with humanity in every book and social media post. Her writings have made me cry, laugh, vulnerable, and created a great environment for wisdom and growth to be seen as an everyday way of life. Elizabeth has a way of describing her joys and heartbreaks with infectious courage. And just two weeks ago, her fierce courage was seen again when Elizabeth lost her life partner. I stood in solidarity--cried, and rejoiced for the love she shared with Rayya. Here’s a recent tribute she wrote on social media:

Dear Ones:
It's been two weeks since I lost my beloved partner Rayya. I wanted to reach out in thanks to all of you — friends, family, and "strangers" (whatever …

Udon with Tofu and Asian Greens

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total: 17 min
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 7 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
1 8 -ounce package udon noodles
4 tablespoons roasted peanut oil, or 3 tablespoons sesame oil mixed with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 12 -ounce package firm tofu, cut into 12 pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 11 -ounce package Asian cooking greens or baby spinach
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced diagonally
Large pinch of red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons soy sauce
Pinch of sugar

Directions
Cook the udon noodles as the label directs. (Don't overcook or they will get mushy.) Drain, reserving about 1/3 cup of the cooking water.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Pat the tofu dry and season all over with salt and pepper. Add the tofu to the skillet and sear until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Set aside and keep warm.

Add 1 tablespoon oil and the greens to the skillet. Cook, tossing, until just wilted. Add the scallions, red pep…

Chocolate-Almond Torte

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total: 1 hr 20 min
Prep: 40 min
Cook: 40 min
Yield: 8 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
1 1/4 cups blanched, sliced almonds
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced, plus more for greasing
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, separated, plus 3 egg yolks
Grated zest of 1 orange
1 tablespoon dark rum
1/2 teaspoon salt
Confectioners' sugar, for garnish
Whipped cream, for garnish (optional)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toast the almonds on a baking sheet until lightly golden, 6 to 7 minutes. Cool slightly, then pulse in a food processor until finely ground, but not pasty.

Melt 12 tablespoons butter and the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let the bowl touch the water). Stir until the chocolate is smooth, then remove from the heat and cool slightly. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with butter and coat with the breadcrumbs,…

Life is Full of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Quote of the Day

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Quote of the Day

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Buffalo Fried Shrimp

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen Total: 40 min
Prep: 35 min
Cook: 5 min
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons Buffalo hot sauce
2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
1 heaping tablespoon chopped dill pickle
1 heaping tablespoon minced shallot
1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
Peanut or vegetable oil, for deep-frying
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup lager beer
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined (tails intact)
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced diagonally

Directions
Mix the mayonnaise, 1/4 cup hot sauce, the mustard, pickle, shallot and parsley in a small bowl; cover and refrigerate.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Heat 2 inches of peanut oil in a large wide pot over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 365 degrees F.

Meanwhile, whisk the flour, beer and the remaining 3 tablespoons hot sauce in a large bowl; add the shrimp and toss to coat. Working in batches, remove the shrimp from the batter with a slotted s…

Even Through Natural Disasters, We Remain Inseparably One With All That Exists

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It’s been almost two months since the wildfire that engulfed the mountains of the cities of Ventura, Montecito, and Santa Barbara. That devastating fire is now the largest in the history of California! But just as the fires were contained, a two-day storm created a terrible situation for the burned hillsides. The hills turned into muddy rivers that crashed down on homes and streets in Montecito and Santa Barbara. My family visited Santa Barbara exactly two weeks ago. We drove through the streets of Montecito and Santa Barbara, we know exactly what it looked like before the mudslides and now the aftermath, it’s devastating to see the comparison. I’ve heard people tell their stories of survival and I can’t imagine what it’s been like to go through, two, life-changing natural disasters in the past two months.

I heard a radio interview on Press Play with Madeline Brand about Kathi King who described what it was like at 2 am in her neighborhood in Montecito. She and her husband loaded up th…

20-Minute Chicken Thighs and Couscous with Dill

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Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

Using boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of breasts is a smart way to make sure the meat stays moist and flavorful. And we love the way grape tomatoes soften under the heat of the broiler, adding more juicy goodness to the chicken. Lots of lemon, plus dill and oregano, give the dish a Greek feel.

Total: 20 min
Prep: 5 min
Cook: 15 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
Kosher salt
1 1/4 cups couscous
1 cup loosely packed dill fronds, chopped
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
1 cup grape tomatoes, each pierced halfway through with a paring knife
Zest of 2 lemons, plus juice of 3 lemons, plus 1 medium lemon, cut into 4 wedges
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
2 medium Persian cucumbers, quartered and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1/2 cup 2 percent Greek yogurt

Directions
Position an oven rack about 4 inches away from the broiler heat source, and preheat. Bring 1 1/2 cups water…

Angel-Hair Pasta with Shrimp and Greens

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Recipe courtesy ofFood Network Kitchen
Balance out carbs with shrimp: A dozen shrimp is just 85 calories, plus shrimp is packed with protein and selenium, a powerful antioxidant.

Total: 30 min
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 15 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Ingredients
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
Kosher salt
8 ounces angel-hair pasta
8 cups chopped escarole, kale and/or Swiss chard
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
Grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

Directions
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs, adding the greens to the water. Drain and rinse under cold water; transfer to a large bowl.

Combine the shrimp, red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper in a medium bowl. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until golden, about 1 minu…

Life is Full of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Quote of the Day

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Quote of the Day

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Shrimp Gumbo

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Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown

This spicy Cajun gumbo, a stew originating in Louisiana in the 18th century, gains much of its flavor from the dark roux and its characteristic thickness from file, an herb made from the ground leaves of the sassafras tree. Onions, celery and green peppers, the "holy trinity" of both Creole and Cajun cooking, add flavor and substance to the thick shrimp and sausage stew, which is served over a heaping portion of white rice.

Total: 3 hr 30 min
Prep: 1 hr
Cook: 2 hr 30 min
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Intermediate

Ingredients
4 ounces vegetable oil
4 ounces all-purpose flour
1 1/2 pounds raw, whole, head-on medium-sized (31-50 count) shrimp
2 quarts water
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced green peppers
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 cup peeled, seeded and chopped tomato
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves
1/2 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1/4-inch…

Changing Roles...Part of The Process!

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Many people toast the end of a year with champagne and noisemakers—I, come up with harder than hell conclusions about my life as a parent and as an individual. Hence, this past weekend's realization that I'm using my role as my children's caretaker as a refuge, a way to shield myself from pursuing my passion for writing. Through the many years of raising small children, I've honed the craft of using them as shields, so I don't have to embark on a new career. Every excuse I have for not moving forward with my writing is tied to my "poor" children. They can't handle me being busy with anything else. The notion that they need me so much that it's impossible to raise them and pursue a career is nonsense.

Our family took a short vacation to Santa Barbara this past weekend while the kids are on winter break. I spent a lot of time planning our vacation in hopes of making it enjoyable for everyone. They had a different idea of how they wanted to spend th…

Three Kings Bread: Rosca de Reyes

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Recipe courtesy of Ingrid Hoffmann
Total Time: 2 hr 15 min
Prep: 35 min
Inactive: 1 hr
Cook: 40 min
Yield: 8 servings
Level: Advanced

Ingredients
1 (1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup dried figs, cut into strips, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup candied orange peel, cut into strips, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup candied lemon peel, cut into strips, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup chopped candied cherries, plus more whole for garnish
2 tablespoons light rum
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, divided
Water

Directions
In a small bowl, combine the yeast and warm water; stir to blend. Let stand until the yeast comes alive and starts to foam, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Put all of the candied fruit in small bowl and drizzle the rum on top. Let stand for 15 minutes to 1 hour to infuse the flavor.

In a small pot, warm the milk over medium heat. Add the…

Life is Full of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3

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Happy New Year!!

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