Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Veggie Wednesday: Giveaway WINNERS, Vegan Chik'n Noodle Soup and Organic Style Magazine

We have winners! Thank you to everyone for reading and commenting, I'm sure to have another great giveaway in the near future, so please keep checking back.

Here are the five winners, according to, of last week's Veggie Wednesday giveaway - Congratulations!

1. Ranae from Cornbread & Cookies
2. Ben from What's Cooking?
3. Meghan from Meghan's Mindless Muttering
4. Linda in St. Louis
5. aBookworm of A Bookworm's Diary

Winners, PLEASE email me at irishones7 (@) ASAP for details!


From Caroline Kligge, one of the fearless leaders of the Greater Reading Vegan Society. Caroline says, "Last night I made this soup and it was so delicious so I thought I'd share it with everyone, since a lot of people seem sick with allergies right now and could use some soup."

Vegan Chik'n Noodle Soup

2-3 T Olive Oil
2 carrots- peeled and diced
2 parsnips- peeled and diced
1 small onion- finely diced
4 scallions- diced
2 stalks celery- diced
6 cups vegetable broth (I love Imagine No-Chicken Broth, it's the best)
pepper to taste
1-2 cups textured vegetable protein chunks (can be found at Echo Hill Country Store, and beyond)
1/2 lb eggless flat noodles (try Light n Fluffy macaroni dumplings)
1/2 tsp dried dill weed

Heat oil in a large pot, and add carrots, parsnips, onion, and celery. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Add broth, pepper, scallions, and bring to a boil. Add the TVP chunks and noodles, return to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until noodles are tender. Add dill. Enjoy.

Check out this awesome online magazine geared toward all things green:

Organic Style Magazine features Julia Butterfly Hill, Denis Hayes and Amma for fresh perspectives on love, life and a sustainable future

San Francisco (April 22, 2008) – The Spring issue of Organic Style magazine highlights visionaries who have taken courageous, inspiring action in pursuit of humanitarianism and environmental justice.

The cover story features Julia Butterfly Hill who lived – for 738 days – in an ancient redwood tree to save it from the lumber mill. Now, Hill’s non-profit Engage Network works with groups across the nation on building community and undertaking social and environmental action, to help them, as Hill says, “at finding their own trees.”

Also in this issue:

Green Pioneer

Earth Day Pioneer Denis Hayes, who helped launch the celebration, weighs in on today’s environmental movement, from the phony to the practical to the world-changing. Page 42

Embracing the World

If there’s a world record for hugging, surely it’s held by Amma (“Mother”), the Indian-born spiritual teacher who once hugged 45,000 people in a 21-hour marathon and who is reported to have embraced more than 27 million people around the world. For Amma, compassion for all begins with the simplest, most basic act of human affection. (p. 55)

Vegetarianism saved my life!

Best-selling co-author Rory Freeman (Skinny Bitch and the cookbook Skinny Bitch in the Kitch) owes a lot—vibrant health and a clearer conscience—to vegetarian living. (p. 19)

Welcome Home

Designer and author Jagatjoti Khalsa guides readers to transforming the front of the home into a temple of calmness, including an online video walkthrough. (p. 13)

Grape Expectations

Ceago Vinegarden, a model of biodynamic farming, is a lovely getaway north of San Francisco, as told by Mia Ljungberg, Organic Style’s resident eco-travel expert. (p. 22)

Dutch Touch

5th generation Dutch flower farmer Hans Brand describes his path to growing sustainable flowers in America. (p. 33)

Dogs just wanna have fun

In her new book, PETA founder and president Ingrid Newkirk presents a light-hearted way to show your concern and love for pets. (p. 39)

Plus: beauty tips, eco-fashion, organic gardening, video news, music and the Organic Style Boutique Catalog featuring dozens of eco-luxury products.

About Organic Style Ltd.:

  • Organic Style Magazine is a leading resource for sustainable living. The magazine is published by Organic Style Ltd., the umbrella brand for leading eco-luxury products that uphold the well-being of the planet and humankind, including:
  •, an online eco-boutique;
  • Organic Bouquet, America's pioneer of organic and certified sustainably-grown flowers;
  • Organic Style Magazine;
  • Coyuchi, America’s leading organic and fair trade brand for premium bed and bath products; and
  •, the wholesale floral division serving upscale retailers, hotels, spas and florists.
  • Tuesday, April 29, 2008

    Last Chance!

    Today is your last chance to add a comment to last week's Veggie Wednesday post for your entry to win my fabuloso GIVEAWAY! You have until 10 PM EST tonight, so go there and leave a word or two.

    Tomorrow is the last day to get an entry in the LOK/CWA Cooking Challenge for April. HERE is the link with all the info you'll need for that. Remember, this month's entry does NOT need to be accompanied by a photo.

    Sunday, April 27, 2008

    April Daring Bakers' Challenge: Cheesecake Pops

    This month's Daring Bakers' Challenge, hosted by Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasms and Deborah of Taste and Tell, was these loverly little Cheesecake Pops from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor.

    The cheesecake itself was absolutely delicious, but the pops were difficult for me to make. I just couldn't keep the cake from sticking to the melon baller no matter what I tried. So, I went with the few that I was able to scoop and dipped and decorated. I think they're cute and I really liked the smaller one. The larger ones were too hard to handle and the little guys were the perfect "bite size". Check out either of the blogs above for the recipe!

    Saturday, April 26, 2008

    Angel Hair Carbonara with Green Beans

    I'm on a big pasta kick lately, obviously. I love how versatile it is. It takes minutes to toss pasta with some of my favorite ingredients, and that makes it very appealing to me, as well.

    I had this for lunch two days in a row and I excused myself for it by using turkey bacon.

    Angel Hair Carbonara with Green Beans
    Printable Recipe

    1/4 lb bacon - diced fine
    2 cloves garlic
    2 Tablespoons olive oil
    1 pound angel hair pasta
    1/2 pound fine green beans - cooked and kept warm
    2 large whole eggs - beaten
    1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

    1. Dice bacon and cook in a skillet with olive oil until browned. Add garlic and cook for several minutes on low heat until fragrant.
    2. Cook pasta until al dente - this takes 4-5 minutes with angel hair. Drain well and toss in skillet with bacon and garlic.
    3. Mix egg and cheese together well. Remove pan from heat and add egg mixture while pasta is still very hot. Toss quickly so eggs do not scramble. Add green beans, toss until well combined and serve!

    Wednesday, April 23, 2008

    Veggie Wednesday: Product Review and Giveaway!

    Wish-Bone has a brand new set of salad dressing unlike any I've ever had. They're not your usual soupy dressing, they're full of chunks of vegetables and fruits and absolutely delicious.

    The idea is, instead of adding dressing to your salad, these are full enough to build your salad around. The first thing I did with mine was to make black bean salsa. Usually that means several bottles and cans, but this time I added one full bottle of Wish-Bone® Bountifuls™ Simply Santa Fe Dressing to two cans of black beans and that was it. I served it up at lunch to my mother-in-law (isn't that the truest taste-test there is?) and she loved it so much that she asked specifically which dressing I used. When I gave her the recipe she was unconvinced that it was only two ingredients!

    It does look good, doesn't it?

    The rest went into plain ol' salads, except that they weren't plain ol' anymore! I can see the Berry Delight going very well with a salad of spring greens and flank steak (shhh - I know it's Veggie Wednesday) or the Tuscan Romano Basil shoring up a great Greek salad filled with feta cheese and kalamatas. Mmmm.

    The website has flavor-specific recipes that you don't want to miss, so make sure to check them out.

    All of these dressings are so delicious that I can't begin to tell you which to choose first, and FIVE of my lucky readers won't have to make that choice at all - I have 5 sets of all four flavors to give away, and all you need to do is to leave a comment before Tuesday, April 29 at 10 p.m. EST! I'll run the numbers through the ever nifty and post the winners on Wednesday, April 30th.

    Now, GO and leave me a comment!

    Monday, April 21, 2008

    Earth-Friendly Choices

    Today marks the 38th anniversary of Earth Day. Bet you didn't know it was going on that long, did you? I know I wasn't fully aware of Earth Day until my 20's. I'm hoping that nobody else is that far behind, though, because this World could surely use a little attention, and not just on Earth Day.

    Here are a few things I've come across this year that I think are right on when it comes to being Earth-Friendly.

    360 Vodka - Alcohol!? Well, yeah. I don't usually drink, I mean I think I could count on two hands the drinks I've had since I got married, and I'm hypoglycemic so it's not exactly a smart choice for me, but I really enjoy cooking with wine and spirits. I like the flavor that alcohol imparts to certain foods and I'm not above a very weak mixed drink if the atmosphere is right.

    360 Eco Luxury Vodka is totally earth-friendly. I was sent a bottle to check out and so I made a single cocktail to share with my mother-in-law when she came for lunch on Sunday and later, a recipe of penne with vodka sauce. The first thing I noticed was the envelope attached to the bottle with twine. When I opened it up it reminded me of the envelopes that come with printer ink cartridges; you know, the ones you recycle your old cartridge in. It's for the bottle top! It's called the "Close the Loop" program. You release it from the bottle when it's empty and pop it into the envelope and send it back. It's then reused to lid other bottles of 360.

    All the labeling is recycled material, the bottle itself is 70% post-consumer glass and the distilling process they use saves tons of resources. Check it all out, including great recipes, HERE and I'll wait 'til you get back... Now, that's responsible drinking - in more ways than one.

    Once that bottle was open, I made a pitcher of 360 Breezes - grapefruit juice, cranberry juice and 360 vodka. They were really good and light. I was surprised at how smooth it was, honestly. Vodka can be very strong to me, so this drink was perfect. After that I made a recipe of Lidia Bastianich's Penne Alla Vodka from Epicurious. Delicious!

    Next up is Working Mother Magazine's 2008 Best Green Companies for Children. I am proud to say that The Walt Disney Company is on this year's list! They share billing with such companies as Hanna Andersson, Nike, Kohl's, Stonyfield Farm, UPS and Hewlett Packard to name a few.

    Don't forget about Earthbound Farm. They were true pioneers in organic farming and shaped so much of what we now purchase as organic produce today. Myra Goodman's cookbook, Food to Live By, is a must-read, as well.

    One last little thing (I could go on and on about what we all can do for our environment!) check out reusable grocery bags at GreenSak. One small step for man and all that.

    Whatever you do today, make sure to do at least ONE THING to help our earth to help sustain us!

    Friday, April 18, 2008

    New Cooking Challenge

    Cooking with Anne and Lots of Kids have teamed up to bring you a brand new family-friendly monthly cooking challenge! Check it out HERE and join in!

    Since this first challenge was not up until halfway through the month, you do NOT need to have a photo for your entry!

    Thursday, April 17, 2008

    Angel Hair Pasta with Chicken and Tapenade

    There's the "t" word again. I can't ever get enough tapenade and seek out ways to enjoy it more than as its lovely self spread on French bread. Today's lunch found it tossed with pasta and chicken. Nothing else was needed at all. Beauty in simplicity indeed.

    Wednesday, April 16, 2008

    New Today: Tea-Over-Ice from Tea Forté

    Available today, April 16, 2008 from Tea Forté, innovators of the contemporary tea experience , is their creative new idea for iced tea, Tea-Over-Ice. The pots are made of heat resistant glass and have a unique shape that makes them perfect for at-table service and guaranteed engaging conversation. I imagine a spring brunch or summer tea on the patio would be the perfect setting for this.

    Tea-Over-Ice comes in 4 flavors:

  • White Ginger Pear: A light, refreshing blend of white tea and Japanese pear, delicately balanced with Ginger

  • Raspberry Nectar: A full-bodied herbal iced tea with the essence of raspberry and hibiscus

  • Pomegranate Blackberry: An invigorating blend of to of the most luscious and popular fruits of the moment.

  • Ceylon Gold: This iced tea offers serious refreshment and raises the bar on a well-loved classic.

    Purchase yours today at select stores or online at Tea Forté.

    *This is not a paid advertisement.
  • Tuesday, April 15, 2008

    Royal Foodie Joust: My UN-submission

    My last post was the recipe I submitted for this month's Royal Foodie Joust using the ingredients cardamom, brown sugar and mango. I had so many ideas running around in my head that I couldn't stop with that one entry. I can't enter twice, but there's nothing stopping me from posting my other ideas here.

    These are Mango Egg Rolls with Cardamom Devonshire Cream, my Oriental/Hispanic/European idea; talk about fusion!

    I had egg roll wrappers leftover from the Chicken Cannelonni I posted at Cookies to Caviar and when the ingredients for RFJ came up, I knew I had to use them somehow. There's no recipe here, just strips of mango sprinkled with brown sugar and rolled up in egg roll wrappers. I fried them like usual and made Mock Devonshire Cream with a half teaspoon of ground cardamom stirred into the powdered sugar.

    Oh, and the kids? They devoured them and clamored for more!

    Saturday, April 12, 2008

    Sweet Chicken Curry with Mango and Kumquats

    Sweet Chicken Curry with Mango and Kumquats
    Sweet Chicken Curry with Mango and Kumquats

    This came from a food challenge in which the ingredients were cardamom, mango and brown sugar.
    I know most jwere thinking along the lines of baked goods, but I'm more pulled to the savory side of life.

    Here's what I made:

    Sweet Chicken Curry with Mango and Kumquats
    Sweet Chicken Curry with Mango and Kumquats

    Sweet Chicken Curry with Mango and Kumquats
    Serves 4

    1 lb. chicken breast - cubed
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 tablespoon minced shallots
    1 clove garlic - minced
    1 small onion - diced
    1/2 cup each red, green and yellow peppers - diced
    1/2 cup pineapple bits - drained
    1/2 cup halved  kumquats -remove visible seeds if desired
    1/2 cup diced mango
    1 cup chicken stock
    2 tablespoons sliced green onion
    1 -2  Tablespoons curry powder (the cardamom is in the curry!)
    2 Tablespoons brown sugar
    2 cups cooked jasmine brown rice


    1. First toast the curry powder in a dry pan over medium heat until fragrant and just turning darker. Remove from heat and set aside.
    2. Cook chicken cubes in a large skillet with salt and pepper in oil until no longer pink. Set aside.
    3 In the same pan, cook shallots,  garlic and onion until translucent. Do not brown. Add peppers, pineapple, kumquats, mango, stock, curry and brown sugar. Simmer for 10 minutes or until peppers are tender. Stir in reserved chicken and simmer for another 5 minutes. Serve over rice.

    Thursday, April 10, 2008


    This definitely looks like fun! I'm not sure if I'll get the time to cook something up and enter for myself, but I know that several of my readers are up to the challenge. You have from April 15th through May 31st to enter. Give it a look and see what you think.

    Thanks to Jillian McMenamin of GolinHarris for giving me the "heads-up" on this!



    Acclaimed Washington State Winery to Sponsor Contest on with World-Renowned Chef

    Paterson, Wash. (January 24, 2008)Columbia Crest Winery, in conjunction with Chef Bobby Flay, today announced the upcoming launch of the “Flayvors of Washington” recipe contest. The month-long contest, which launches April 15, 2008, will be hosted on the Food Network Web site. The contest is part of a partnership between the Washington-based winery and Flay that highlights the unexpected rewards of dining with Columbia Crest Grand Estates wines.

    The “Flayvors of Washington” contest challenges food and wine lovers throughout the United States to create and submit an original recipe inspired by Columbia Crest wines and utilizing ingredients from Washington state. As one of the leading agricultural producers, the state offers an abundance of flavorful and fresh ingredients from which to draw culinary inspiration. The entries will be reviewed and the top-10 recipes will be narrowed to a selection of five finalists by Columbia Crest Winemaker Ray Einberger and Seattle Times restaurant critic and local NPR food commentator Nancy Leson. Flay and Food Network Executive Chef Robert Bleifer will then judge the top-five recipes and select a first-, second- and third-place winner.

    “As a chef, I understand how pairing the right wine and food can enhance the overall dining experience,” said Flay. “I use regional ingredients in my cooking, so I’m eager to see what recipes and pairings people will create using the flavors of Washington.”

    The winner of the contest will enjoy a trip to New York City, where he/she will have the opportunity to cook his/her winning dish with Flay and then enjoy a special dinner at one of his restaurants, featuring wine pairings from Columbia Crest.

    “We encourage fans of Bobby Flay and Columbia Crest, as well as anyone who is passionate about food and wine, to explore all the delicious and inspiring flavors Washington state offers,” said Miles Johnson, senior product manager for Columbia Crest.

    In May 2007, Columbia Crest and Flay announced their partnership to demonstrate how simple it is to have a great food and wine experience, everyday. In addition to the contest, the partnership includes a Columbia Crest Grand Estates print advertising campaign starring Flay, as well as holiday and spring menus created by Flay to be featured on the Columbia Crest Web site, and wine pairings that he will develop exclusively for the winery.

    The contest will begin on April 15, 2008, and all entries must be received by midnight on May 31, 2008. To submit an entry or find out more about the “Flayvors of Washington” contest, please visit beginning April 15.

    About Columbia CrestIn 2008, Columbia Crest Winery celebrates 25 years of winemaking in Washington state. Columbia Crest has grown from a small winery in a relatively unknown wine region to one of the most significant wineries in the United States and a major force behind Washington state’s emergence as a world-class wine region. In 2007, the Grand Estates Merlot was selected from a field of 15,000 90+ rated wines as one of the “Top 100 Wines of the World” by Wine Spectator, marking the 14th “Top 100” placement for Columbia Crest in the past nine years. More information about the winery can be found at

    About Bobby FlayChef Bobby Flay’s critically acclaimed restaurants include New York’s Bar Americain; Bobby Flay Steak in the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City; and three outposts of his famed Mesa Grill in New York, Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, and The Cove Atlantis in the Bahamas. A graduate of the French Culinary Institute, Flay also shares his enthusiasm for food through his cookbooks, most recently The Mesa Grill Cookbook, and a variety of national programs on the Food Network including the Emmy-winning “Boy Meets Grill.” Flay regularly informs audiences about seasonal, fresh dishes and ingredients as a food correspondent for “The Early Show” on CBS.

    Wednesday, April 09, 2008

    Veggie Wednesday: Linguine with Baby Spinach and Almonds

    Linguine with Baby Spinach and Almonds
    Linguine with Baby Spinach and Almonds

    This is very reminiscent of pesto and so good even the two littlest at home with me at lunchtime today loved it! Simple and delicious.

    Linguine with Baby Spinach and Almonds
    Serves 2
    Printable Recipe

    1/4 pound linguine cooked al dente
    1 cup baby spinach leaves - whole
    1/2 teaspoon dried basil - crushed
    1/2 clove galic - minced
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 tablespoon sliced almonds

    Toss together until heated through and spinach is slightly wilted. Salt to taste.

    Monday, April 07, 2008

    Leftover Sausage and the Sausage Sandwich Tart

    *Disclaimer: These photos are really bad. My poor old camera is not doing so well, I guess, but a new one is absolutely out of the budget for now. Hey, it still looks like food, right?*

    My mother brought over the mammoth of all sausages - a full 3 1/2 pounds from her favorite butcher. I have no idea why she thought we needed that much, but she was thrilled that they still use real butcher paper and tape, and so, I humored her and told her how fabulous I thought it was. In truth, I still get meat from my own butcher in real butcher paper, but I let mom have her moment.

    I cooked all of it at once, knowing we would never eat it all in one sitting, and set aside what we didn't eat with homemade waffles and thought on what else I'd like to make. I had a bit of puff pastry leftover and some lovely red and green peppers and a very nice yellow onion. I really enjoy a good sausage sandwich and decided a tart based on that would be pretty darn good. I was right.

    I pressed the pastry into a 10 inch round baking pan, caramelized the peppers and onions and sliced the sausage thinly and layered it all together. I think it baked for a total of 30 minutes at 400 degrees F and it was far prettier than my photos captured. Far more delicious, too!

    Friday, April 04, 2008

    Puerto Rican Rice and Beans

    Puerto Rican Rice and Beans
    Puerto Rican Rice and Beans with Green Olives
    I learned how to make Puerto Rican Rice and Beans about 15 years ago. I was in the throes of my culinary education and my husband and I and two small daughters lived next to a lovely Puerto Rican family. Carmello and Brauli were parents to 3 kids of their own and we spent a lot of time trying to bridge the cultural divide. We would teach them English and they would teach us Spanish. Brauli sent food over to us and we would treat them in kind.

    They would often have large numbers of family over to visit and each time there was a huge undertaking in the small kitchen they had. Women would converge there - aunts, mothers, cousins, daughters, grandmothers - and they would each take up something that contributed to the large meal they would all share.

    The men would head outdoors to play horseshoes or stay in to watch sports on TV; no cultural divide there!

    On one of these occasions, Brauli invited me over so I could watch her make rice and beans. There were many questions from me, which she and the other women would try to answer (in between trying to over stuff me on various dishes) as she went along.

    The ingredients were not ones I had heard of before and they tried to explain as best they could. My laments of "Shouldn't you stir that?" were met with giggles and choruses of, "No! No! Just put the lid on. Don't touch." Once it was finished, Brauli promised to come to my own kitchen and help me make it there.

    I gathered the ingredients as best I could and Brauli came by to show me how to make it for myself. I still had a hard time not stirring, but I got over it quickly.

    Other friends of ours, Jose and Henriquetta, made beans and rice with the same method, but different ingredients. Jose always preferred green olives and never used pigeon peas (which were the only beans Brauli used). My daughter Megan's best friend's mom always uses kidney beans. I had a conversation in the ethnic aisle recently with a very sweet Puerto Rican woman who told me she's as shocked as I that certain ingredients are just not available here unless you seek out a small grocer tucked in a side street nearby. We also agreed that the sofrito being sold on the supermarket shelf is not the "real deal".

    The one thing that cannot be left out of this dish is sofrito. Sofrito is a sauce used heavily in Hispanic cooking, although it varies from cuisine to cuisine and is used in the Mediterranean, as well. The Mexican version is not the same as the Puerto Rican version, etc. It's also one of those things that everyone has their own recipe for. I can tell you that the Sofrito sold in jars by Goya is not the one you need for this. The sofrito sold in plastic containers in the freezer section is far closer to what is most commonly used - at least here in Pa where we have a very large Hispanic population.

    This is the recipe as taught to me by Brauli. It's the one I use time and again, adding ham or shrimp sometimes or tossing in green peppers. I haven't made it with olives myself, but Jose's version was really delicious with them added.

    You need a good heavy pot for this. My friends all had calderos (literal meaning is cauldron) for theirs - the aluminum type - but I have a heavy Calphalon aluminum pot I love that works just fine. Make sure you have a tight-fitting lid, as well.

    Puerto Rican Rice and Beans
    Printable Recipe

    2 tablespoons oil
    2 tablespoons sofrito
    4 oz tomato sauce
    1 packet Sazon (the orange Goya packet - con culantro y achiote)
    1 can green pigeon peas - gandules verdes
    1 small green pepper - chopped (optional)
    1 cup rice - rinsed
    1 cup water

    Heat the pan over high and add oil. Add sofrito and stir for a minute. Add tomato sauce and stir again. Toss in Sazon, beans and pepper, if using. Now is the time to add other things like olives or ham. Stir in rice and water and cook, stirring often, until the water has almost evaporated completely. Once the rice is dry enough, mound it all in the center of the pot. Turn the heat down as low as possible and put the lid on firmly.

    Leave the rice this way until done, about 20 minutes. Do NOT remove the lid to check every 5 minutes or the heat will escape and it will take forever. When the rice is done it's not fluffy like whit rice, it's very al dente and oftentimes a lot of it will stick to the bottom of the pot. This is totally normal! Scrape it up, if you like and serve it. It definitely shouldn't be burned at all, though, so make sure your flame is turned as low as you can get it.

    Oil, Sazon, sofrito, tomato sauce and beans.
    Added rice.

    Added water and green pepper.

    Cooked dry and mounded in the center of the pot.

    After cooking.

    The best part; Ready to eat!

    Thursday, April 03, 2008

    Must Read

    I have a food post ready, and I'll get to that later, but for now I'd like if you would stop by A CF Husband's Blog to visit with Nate and Tricia and Gwyneth Rose to read their amazing story.

    Gwyneth Rose was born 15 weeks premature to her mother, Tricia, who was waiting for a double lung transplant and daddy, Nate, keeps tabs on all of it and updates everyone with such love and courage. Tricia received her lungs early this morning (!!!!) and that little family could sure use your prayers to help them continue on this amazing journey.