Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Pickled Pineapple Two Ways #fijchallenge

Pickled Pineapple
We are now in the fifth month of our year-long food preservation Mastery Challenge hosted by Marisa of the popular canning blog, Food In Jars. This month we are focusing on cold pack preserving. Also known as raw pack, to cold pack something simply means the food is raw when it's packed in the jars. Hot liquid is added and then jars are put in a bath of boiling water or steam. The purpose of this challenge is to expand our skills while preserving a food ingredient that we will actually use. This time I pickled pineapple using two different flavor profiles.

Pineapple might sound like a crazy thing to pickle, but think about it in a salad or a sandwich and all the flavor it can bring. Also imagine the dimension this would add to a cheese plate, or any meat or veggie dish. Since we are in between seasons in the PNW, I found that pineapple is an easy and convenient ingredient to bridge winter and spring produce.

The first batch I made was a spicy pickled pineapple which was very spicy and tangy. The heat comes from thin slices of jalapeno peppers and their seeds. The tang is from rice wine vinegar and fresh lime juice. My only concern was the acidity of the rice wine vinegar which was 4.2% as everything I’ve been reading says you need 5% for food safety. This recipe is good for 2 weeks stored in the refrigerator.

This recipe has been slightly adapted from Running To The Kitchen.

yield: 3-1/2 pintsprint recipe

Spicy Pickled Pineapple


  • 1/2 pineapple cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cup rice vinegar 4.2%
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 large jalapeno, sliced into thin circles, including seeds
  • 1/2 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • Juice of 2 limes


  1. Place the vinegar, sugar, salt and lime juice in a small sauce pot. Bring to a simmer stir until sugar dissolves, remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
  2. Place the pineapple and jalapeno into prepared jars. Pour the vinegar mixture over the pineapple, it should just cover the top slice.
  3. Seal and refrigerate at least 24 hours before eating. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
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The second style was a refrigerator style sweet pickle. For this batch I used whole cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon sticks and apple cider vinegar. After 24 hours we tasted the juicy wedge-like pickles and were not disappointed. They were everything I thought they would be, sweet, tangy with the wonderful earthy and floral flavors shining right through.

This recipe has been slightly adapted from Edible Milwaukee.

yield: 3 to 4 1/2 pintsprint recipe

Refrigerator Style sweet Pickled Pineapple


  • 1/2 pineapple cut into 1 inch wedges
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 stick cinnamon, broken
  • 1/8 of a whole nutmeg, smashed
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon whole cardamom pods


  1. Combine brown sugar, vinegar and pineapple juice in a large stainless steel pot. Place spices into a cheesecloth, tie corners into a pouch; add to pot. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Add pineapple to pickling solution; simmer until hot throughout. Remove pineapple pieces from pot and keep hot. Heat syrup to a boil; remove spice bag. Pack hot pineapple into warm jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Ladle hot pickling solution into jars over pineapple, leaving ¼ inch head space. Remove air bubbles.
  3. Wipe clean and processed jar rims, place lids on top and screw on bands. Cool to room temperature then place in refrigerator for storage. keep jars stored in refrigerator for approximately 2 months.
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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms #SundaySupper

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
This week for Sunday Supper, we are taking some of our favorite recipes and making them miniature. For me portabella mushrooms and crab legs are some of my all-time favorites so I decided to combine the two. I added a little cream cheese, panko, herbs and Old Bay seasoning. As you know mushrooms have a lot of water in them so when they are cooked the water will seep out. I put a little drizzle of olive oil in the baking dish to start but let them cook until most of the liquid had baked away, then I knew they were done. These crab stuffed mushrooms are better served warmed. No need to worry about the temperature as they won’t last  long enough to get cold.

This week the host of the #SundaySupper Movement group is Christie Campbell of A Kitchen Hoors Adventures, thank you Christie! Today’s event is all about fancy appetizers.

yield: 3 to 4print recipe

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms


  • 12 small to medium creminis or white button mushrooms, caps and stems, divided
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 6 ounces crab meat
  • ¼ cup whipped cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon green onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon Old Bay
  • 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350º
  2. With a slightly damp paper towel wipe mushrooms cap and stem. Place mushroom caps onto a rimmed baking sheet. Take the mushroom stems and roughly chop, set aside.
  3. In a medium sized skillet on medium heat; add 1 tablespoon of olive oil; then add mushroom stems and shallots. Sauté until tender about 5 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, let cool.
  4. Combine crab meat, mushroom stem and onion mixture, cream cheese, parsley, green onion, cheese, old bay, panko and salt and black pepper in a medium bowl. Spoon into mushroom caps.
  5. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the mushroom has become tender and juicy and the crab stuffing has warmed throughout. Serve warm.
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Sunday Supper Small Bites Recipes for Entertaining

Small Starters

Pint-sized Protein


Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Spaghetti with Butternut Squash, Spinach, Red Onion and Goat Cheese and Another Recipe

Spaghetti with Butternut Squash, Spinach, Red Onion and Goat Cheese
Looks like we are in for rain the next few days. For that reason my husband and I decided to tackle an indoor project, one that we have been putting off for quite some time.  A few years ago we removed the wall paper from his office and have not done a thing to it since. The plan is to re-texture the walls and then paint. It will be my first time using wall mud but it can’t be that tough right? Anyway, it’s fun to have a project and we certainly have our share around here.

Since we still have plenty of the organic butternut squash that was purchased from Costco; I decided to make a veggie pasta dish. So began the peeling, cutting, scooping and roasting. Which is probably the most relaxing part of cooking for me, there is something about chopping vegetables, the sound, the movement, the repetition, it’s all good. Anyway this dish is fairly easy to put together and any combination of vegetables would be delicious. Pasta water and Parmesan cheese create a light sauce here and I like to drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the dish right before serving. This dish is colorful, tasty, economical and somewhat healthy. This is a fairly rich pasta dish so I served it with a light mixed green salad with vinaigrette. The addition of a spicy sausage would be delicious.

Spaghetti Pie
The next day I took 4 eggs and gave them a quick whisk and added them to the pasta from the night before. Everything was poured into a lightly greased baking dish and then baked like a quiche. The texture was surprisingly wonderful; and a great way to re-purpose leftovers. My husband added hot sauce to his and just like that we had another meal.

yield: 5 to 6print recipe

Spaghetti with Butternut Squash, Spinach, Red Onion


  • 1 ½ to 2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cubed and roasted
  • 1 red onion, sliced into thin slices, roasted
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) goat cheese, crumbled, divided
  • 4 cups spinach leaves, washed, spun dry
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • Olive oil, for drizzling


  1. While the squash mixture is cooling, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Drain and reserve about 2 cups of the pasta water. Put the pasta, ½ of the goat cheese and 1 cup of pasta water in a large serving bowl. Toss until the cheese has melted and forms a creamy sauce. Add the squash, onions and fresh spinach. Toss until spinach has wilted. Add more of the pasta water if needed. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Garnish the rest of the goat cheese, parsley and Parmesan. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and serve. Enjoy!
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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Lightened-Up Shrimp Scampi #SundaySupper

Lightened-Up Shrimp Scampi 
A small part of me still misses having my kids at home. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they are healthy, happy and thriving because that’s what you want your kids to do. They are at the age now where they have their own kids and responsibilities. My role for the last 12 years has been to love and enjoy my grand kids; and what fun we have. I see my daughter and daughter-in-law handle their children, their households and careers with such grace and determination, I am so proud.

Today we are celebrating Mother’s Day at the #SundaySupper club. Our Tastemakers are bringing you their favorite special Mother’s Day meal that they would like to be served. When I think back to what my mom would like and then “my daughters,” and myself; my Lightened-Up Shrimp Scampi would be the “one” meal. Some of the recipes on-line actually used one to two sticks of butter, I used one tablespoon along with a little olive oil and this was delicious.

This week the host of the #SundaySupper Movement group is Amy from,  "MyWorldSimplified", thank you Amy! Today’s event is all about making a special meal for “Mom”.

Happy Mother's Day!

yield: 3 to 4print recipe

Lightened-Up Shrimp Scampi


  • ½ pound spaghetti, or your pasta of choice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 10-12 large shrimp, cleaned and deveined about 1 pound
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1⁄3 cup dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1⁄4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese


  1. Cook the pasta per package instructions, making sure to season the water with sea salt. Retain 1 cup of the pasta water for the sauce. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp, sauté 1 minute, add garlic, sauté 1 minute.
  3. Stir in wine, salt, and pepper, bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cook another minute or so until shrimp are done.
  4. Remove from heat, add pasta and half the water. Gently toss, Add parsley and lemon juice, toss well to coat. (add more pasta water if needed).Garnish with Parmesan cheese and a light drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy!
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Sunday Supper Mother's Day Food Ideas

Chocolate Treats


Sides and Salads


Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Banana Cake for Mother's Day

A Banana Cake for Mother's Day
The morning air was crisp and cool as the sun broke through the clouds. Along the path there were Sitka spruce, Western hemlock and Douglas-fir. I could smell the trees and the dirt. It felt good to be out in the forest again; hiking along the Cummings Creek trail.

Cummings Creek Trail
Fresh seasonal fruit is hard to come by in the PNW in early May. My favorite time of the year is the berry and stone fruit season which is still a few months away. In the meantime organic bananas will be used and have a place front and center. If you’ve ever given organic bananas a chance you know exactly what I am talking about; the flavor is deep and rich. I made this cake specifically for Mother’s Day. It’s a cross between banana bread and a cake. The texture is moist and has flecks of the banana throughout much like the bread. The frosting is a cream cheese frosting that I could literally slather on anything. If you have a chance, make this………it is decadent enough to celebrate and rustic enough for breakfast.

This recipe has been slightly adapted from Food.com.

yield: 12 - 14print recipe

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Celebrate Mother’s Day with this moist and delicious Banana Cake. It is decadent enough for a celebration and rustic enough for breakfast. You could also garnish the top with walnuts or pecans.


  • 1 1⁄2 cups ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 3⁄4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups organic cane sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1⁄2 cups buttermilk
  • 1⁄2 cup butter, room temp
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, room temp
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 1⁄2 cups icing sugar


To Prepare Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 275°. Grease and flour (2) 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. In a small-bowl, mix mashed bananas with the lemon juice; set aside.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, sift flour, baking soda and salt, set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then stir in vanilla.
  5. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Stir in banana mixture.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for approx. 45 minutes to one hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
To Prepare Frosting
  1. Cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in vanilla.
  2. Add icing sugar and beat on low speed until combined, then on high speed until frosting is smooth. Spread on cooled cake.
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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Thai Coconut Curry Salmon with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach

Thai Coconut Curry Salmon with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach
I’m sitting in the dark looking out the big front window. There are shadows and stars and a small fishing boat with its light shining out in the sea. The weather has been cold and I’m feeling a bit confused by my feelings. Like many I am ready for sunshine and time outside. Ready to leave the windows open to let in the rays of sun.

Palo Verde Tree Phoenix Arizona
Living in two different states can be wonderful and exciting. A few months ago the trees around the city of Phoenix were blooming and I was going to farmers markets buying produce like asparagus and strawberries. Now that I’m in the PNW spring is tentatively emerging and the trees and plants are starting to blossom.

Pine Tree Yachats Oregon
Yesterday we spent the day in the town of Newport running errands and grocery shopping. Last night dinner preparation found me opening up cupboard doors and then the refrigerator. Ugh, nothing looked good……a little voice reminded me, you just went grocery shopping. I ignored that voice as we drove into town. We parked in front of the Luna Sea Restaurant and walked up to the counter and bought fresh wild PNW salmon. Now I could prepare dinner and this is what I made.

yield: 2 to 3print recipe

Thai Coconut Curry Salmon with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 to 1 ½ cups coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste
  • 2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of fish sauce
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3/4 pounds of salmon, cut into 2-fillets
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice


  1. Heat oven to 400 °.
  2. In a large skillet (one that is oven safe) turn temp to medium-high heat, add canola oil. When hot, add red onion, ginger and garlic. Stir often so garlic does not burn until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in coconut milk, curry paste, soy sauce, fish sauce and sweet potatoes.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Turn off heat. Rub the salmon fillets with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Add salmon to skillet and place in oven. Cook approx about 8 to 12 minutes, depending on the thickness of fish.
  4. Stir in spinach and lemon juice. Enjoy! *note this would be great with rice or noodles or even a slice of bread.
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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Butternut Squash Ravioli With a Kale Spinach Pesto and An Update

Butternut Squash Ravioli With a Kale Spinach Pesto
Butternut squash ravioli might sound a little crazy for springtime but we are now officially living in Oregon and it is cold……. Two shirts, two jackets and a pair of tights under my jeans are becoming part of my daily outfit. But it’s so pretty here, the rhododendrons are starting to bloom and the vegetation is oh-so green, totally worth it.

Lucy at 11 weeks
Lucy our chocolate lab puppy is now eleven weeks old and very… shall we say “active”. My husband and I keep saying to each other “what were we thinking?”. She has a wonderful disposition and she learns quickly; now all we need is time. Will start working on the garden in a few days, the ground may still be too wet but at least I can remove the weeds.

Today’s recipe came to me in the normal way, I had roasted a butternut squash that was purchased at Costco. (They had large organic butternut squash, 2 to a package). After roasting one for a pasta dinner I still had a cup and a half left over and that’s that.

yield: 3 to 4 (approx 18 to 22 ravioli)print recipe

Butternut Squash Ravioli With a Kale Spinach Pesto

Butternut squash ravioli is a great way to use up leftover roasted butternut squash. For a twist gyoza wrappers are used instead of pasta to make these ravioli incredibly easy.


Ingredients for Kale and spinach pesto
  • 2 cups kale, wash and remove from stems, rough cut
  • ½ cup spinach
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ lemon, juice only
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • ¼ to ½ cup water
Ingredients for butternut squash ravioli
  • 1 ½ cups butternut squash, peeled, cubed and roasted
  • 1/4 cup whole milk ricotta
  • 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 package of round gyoza or wonton wrappers


To prepare kale and spinach pesto
  1. Pulse the kale, spinach, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, hazelnuts and Parmesan cheese, in a food processor and process until somewhat smooth. Add water a little at a time to obtain the right consistency.
To prepare butternut squash ravioli
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  2. Combine roasted squash, ricotta, Parmesan, olive oil, nutmeg, in a food processor. Pulse until smooth and creamy. Consistency should be fairly thick.
  3. To assemble place 6 wonton wrappers at a time on a piece of parchment paper. Place 1 heaping teaspoon of the filling in the center of each wrapper. Brush just the edges with beaten egg. Place another wrapper on top, sealing tightly around the edges. (I had extra wrappers left over)
  4. In a larger pot add water and bring to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt. Turn heat down a little you want the ravioli to boil gently. Cook in small batches about 5-8 minutes. Remove from pot, drain and then place on serving platter. Top with pesto, add Parmesan and drizzle with olive oil.
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