Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

Community Breakfast

It’s a beautiful thing to see a community of individuals come together for a purpose. Even when that purpose is simply eggs, a cup of coffee, and a good laugh.

It seems that most small towns are fading off the map, yet New Providence, Iowa, my hometown, has found its niche. New Providence is a small community of 200. The school consolidated and closed down years ago, there are no restaurants, no gas stations, and being a predominately Quaker community no bar. Beyond zip code most of the common shared experiences that tie a community together had left or died out. That was until a little over 5 years ago.

Monday morning breakfasts started out small as omelets over a portable burner and coffee brewed fresh. The idea was simple, give people a meeting place and a reason to come. And as it turns out, that was all that was needed, attendance would range from 30- 60. Soon they started serving pancakes, biscuits and gravy, and cinnamon rolls, and a volunteer wait staff  would make the rounds filling coffee cups and picking up plates.



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Butternut squash soup

Adam is a good sport when it comes to trying new recipes. He will try almost anything I prepare (with the exception of hummus and couscous, but I’m working on him). That said, he had a bowl of this, but I knew the rest was going to be up to me to eat (and freeze!).

I’ve made butternut squash soup before and loved it, but it’s one of those recipes that is more labor-intensive than what I normally have the energy for on a week night. A friend brought me 3 beautiful squash from the garden and proceeded to tell me her recipe for butternut squash soup. She used coconut milk instead of chicken broth and curry paste to give it an extra kick. I knew I wanted to try it.

When it comes to cooking, I’m the kind of girl who likes to follow a recipe. I’m getting better at experimenting with ingredients, but for the most part, I stick to the recipe. I guess I’m not confident enough in my cooking abilities, or just don’t have the time or patience for experimenting. So this recipe was a step into new cooking territory for me. I didn’t have a written recipe to follow. Only verbal instructions. And it actually turned out good! So I’ll share a rough recipe with you, but feel free to experiment with it!

Butternut squash soup
1 onion, diced
olive oil
1-2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 butternut squash, pealed and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 can coconut milk
curry paste
salt and pepper

Heat oil in Dutch oven and cook onions and garlic until they are translucent. Add cubed butternut squash and fill with 1-2 cups water. Cover and let simmer until the squash starts to get soft, about 30 minutes. Use a fork or potato masher to mash the squash (you could use an immersion blender, but it’s not necessary and I don’t have one!). Add coconut milk and let simmer for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add curry paste 1 teaspoon at a time until it tastes good. Serve with crusty bread. (more…)

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About this time of year I start longing for the fresh produce we enjoyed all summer long. This is a great recipe that has a nice fresh feel with veggies that are easy to find year round.  I’ve made a few tweaks to accommodate our household but you can find the original submitted by Nuclear Rich at All Recipies.com

  • Dressing:
    1/2 cup mayonnaise
    1 large seedless cucumber peeled
    1 tablespoon honey
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    ground black pepper to taste

    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into thin strips
    1 cup thick and chunky salsa

1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 (10 inch) flour tortillas
1 (10 ounce) bag spring mixed greens



  1. In a food processor finely dice 1/4 of the peeled cucumber.
  2. In a small bowl mix together the mayonnaise, cucumber, 1 tablespoon of honey, 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and black pepper in a bowl until smooth.  Set aside for later.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet on medium-high heat, and cook chicken breast strips until they are about half way done, about 4 minutes.   Stir in the salsa, 1 tablespoon of honey, and 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, continue cooking until the chicken is no longer pink on the inside or is at 180 degrees.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors have blended, about 3 minutes.
  4. Spread each tortilla with 1 tablespoon of the cucumber-mayonnaise mixture, top with a layer of baby spinach leaves, and arrange about 1/2 cup of chicken mixture on the spinach leaves and top with slices of cucumber.
  5. Fold the bottom of each tortilla up about 2 inches, and start rolling the burrito from the right side.

Serves: 8

* photo from Jenni =] at allrecipes.com



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