Groovin' in the kitchen, dancin' in Missoula.

Month: September 2010

Grown Ups

Grown Ups

Remember when you were a kid, and your parents would have to force/bribe you to eat your vegetables?  Or practically spoon feed you your meatloaf?  I always remember thinking, “I’ll never eat this stuff when I’m a grownup!  Cake and cookies for me everyday.” Now […]

Apple Crisp Homecoming

Apple Crisp Homecoming

Eating apple crisp is kind of like coming home.  But coming home is not always like eating apple crisp?  Hmm…Nevermind. If you live anywhere in the vicinity of Griz Country, you’ll know that this weekend was Homecoming.  We take these traditions seriously around here, so […]



The quickest way to a man’s heart is actually…brinner!

I can’t exactly remember the first time I found this out, but I love the reaction I get every time I bring up the subject.  If I mention pancakes, french toast, or (dare I say it) bacon after 5:00 pm, the excitement becomes tangible.  “You mean, we can have breakfast?  For dinner, mama?” my son says.  “Did I hear you say brinner?!?” my husband exclaims.  “Yes, my darlings.  Breakfast for dinner,” I say as I don my apron and pearls.

Okay, so not really.  But it’s close!

The nicest thing about brinner is that it’s incredibly easy, it takes far less time to prepare than a fancy dinner, and yet it’s nutritious and delicious.  For those nights when we haven’t exactly planned dinner ahead of time, all you need to do is open the fridge, grab some stuff, slice and dice…

The CastChopped onion, red pepper, red potatoes, and eggs

Throw it in a pan with some heated olive oil…

Let that get all nice and steamy, then add some more stuff…


I added one whole egg and one egg white per person, then threw in some celery, for kicks

And while that’s heating up, grab some more stuff…

Beer Toast

Beer bread (whole wheat this time!) about to be toasted under the broiler

Now open the cupboard and grab some stuff from there.  I threw in some dried chives and basil.  Normally, I like things kinda spicy, and I would have added some cayenne too, but I had kicked up the cayenne in the latest batch of beer bread.  Trust me, there was enough spice to go around.

When the eggs are set and the bread is toasted, you’re ready to plate!

Brinner Time

Voila! Done and done.  You now have a meal that will make the menfolk sing (and let’s face it, I sang too).  I seem to be on a feta kick these days, plus I didn’t have any shredded cheddar or pepperjack, so I put some on right at the end.  If you have other kinds of cheese, add those in before you plate so that they can get nice and melty.  Since I only used a frying pan and a broiler pan, cleanup was super easy.  I love quick and easy meals!

What’s your favorite brinner entree?

Apple Pressing Party!

Apple Pressing Party!

Apple pressing is a fall activity that has sneakily become a tradition.  I say sneakily, because it wasn’t something we planned to do every fall, but it’s so much fun that we’ve done it for the last three years. Picking the apples, running them through […]

Spicy Chickpeas

Spicy Chickpeas

Hello again!  Sorry for the teaser on Friday.  It’s been a busy, awesome weekend.  I have a few recipes up my sleeve for those occasions when I have neither the time nor the energy to make an elaborate meal, and when it comes to taste […]



It’s been a crazy week around here!  Long on stuff to do, short on time.  Fortunately, my dinner plans for tonight are cheap, easy, and amazingly delicious!!  Oh, and feta makes it even betta!

I’ll get pictures and a recipe up sometime this weekend.  Until then, I’d like to leave you with one of my most favorite stress relievers.  Happy Friday!


Beer Bread!

Beer Bread!

I’m not a beer drinker.  I’ve dashed my husband’s hopes more times than I can count.  Each time he has a new kind of beer I’ll say, “Can I try it?” and he’ll hand me the glass/can/bottle, and I can see the hope in his […]

Missoula, how I love thee

Missoula, how I love thee

Very few things can beat summers in Missoula. In honor of the place that will always be home, here are a few of my favorite things: Being shocked to find a line in the Break Espresso on Farmer’s Market Saturdays, but waiting anyways because the […]

Summer Soup

Summer Soup




I’m not a huge fan of soup.  I feel like soup is a huge tease.  It tastes good, it fills you up for about ten minutes, but then you want more.

So when I say that this soup is good, and it’s filling, I totally mean it.  (BTW I hate cooked carrots!)

Much Onion

Start with an onion.  The whole shebang, please.  For an awesome tutorial on how to chop an onion, visit the Pioneer Woman.  (I always forget how to do it the right way, and I end up with varying sizes and shapes.  It doesn’t matter much in this recipe, but if you’re going for presentation, Ree won’t steer you wrong.)

Then you’ll need some summer squash and carrots.  Summer squash are small and yellow.  They’re a lot like zucchini in texture, and they give the soup a light flavor while providing lots of filling fiber.  I like to get my produce from the farmer’s market (do you know your farmer?) as often as possible.  Unfortunately, since we only get farmer’s markets on Saturdays during summer around here, I got these from Safeway.  The nice thing about Safeway is that they have a huge produce section, and for the most part, everything is pretty fresh.  Before you assume that farmer’s market produce is more expensive than supermarket produce, take some time to actually compare prices.  Then take some time to realize that by buying local produce, you are supporting the local economy, AND you’re getting the freshest produce possible.
The Stars!

I don’t bother to peel my carrots for this recipe. I do make sure they’re washed well, but since we’re going to be pureeing everything later on, it doesn’t really matter that the carrots have the skin still on. It’s also why it doesn’t matter if your onion isn’t chopped perfectly.  It’s kind of nice to be lazy in the kitchen sometimes.

When all your vegetables are chopped:

All together now

heat some oil in a large pot.  It really does need to be a large pot, because before your vegetables cook down, they’ll take up a LOT of room.  Add your onion to the heated oil and saute for a few minutes.  “A few minutes” and “some oil” are the types of terms that would have scared me to death.  How many minutes? How much oil?  I need my timer!! If you need a specific measurement for the oil, how about one tablespoon–ish?  You want the onions to be slightly opaque (transparent), but you want them to stay slightly firm.  About five minutes will do.

Add the squash and carrots to the onions, and then add 1 1/2 cups water.  The next part is kind of fun.  I’m the type of cook that will find a recipe that calls for chicken/vegetable broth, buy a can, use half, and then let the other half mold while trying to find another recipe that calls for chicken/vegetable broth.  That’s where Better Than Bouillon comes in!  It has the convenience factor of bouillon cubes without the salty taste.  And it looks a little bit like all natural peanut butter:

Better than Bouillon

It definitely doesn’t taste like peanut butter though. You can ask my husband about that sometime (he tasted it once, just to say he did.  He’s pretty daring that way)

All you have to do is add about 1 1/2 tsp of BTB to 2 cups of warm water.  Or, in this case, add 2 extra cups of water to the squash/carrot/onion mix and put the BTB right in the pot!  Like I said, it’s nice to be lazy in the kitchen sometimes.

After that, bring your mixture to a boil, cover with a lid, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  It will end up looking like this:


And then you’ll need these:

The Tool


A food processor and an empty pot.  Using a ladle, scoop the vegetables into your food processor and pulse a few times until chunky.  The original recipe says “pureed,” but I like to chew my food.  Pour your vegetables into the empty pot, and repeat the process until all your vegetables are gone.

Oh yeah

You won’t need all of the remaining liquid, but you can add as much as you want to get the desired thickness of soup.  Add some salt and pepper (amount depends on taste), and it should look like this:

Add some pepper

To add some creaminess:

Half and Half I love the bubbles!

Bring the full pot up to medium heat (just enough to warm the half and half and re-warm the soup).  Then add the best part:



Fresh basil! Nothing makes a dish complete quite like fresh basil. With all other herbs, I’d say that fresh and dried are pretty interchangeable. Not so with basil! You absolutely have to use fresh for this recipe, or all is lost. LOST I SAY!

The greatest part about this soup is that it’s equally good hot or cold.  We actually took this soup camping on the Smith River (I know, soup while camping?!?) and it was deliciously filling without requiring any fire or fuel to heat it up.  Pair this with a small sandwich or some spicy chickpeas (recipe coming soon), and you have an easy, filling meal.

So there you have it!  I hope you love it, but more importantly, I hope you make it your own recipe–with your own variations.  Let me know how you change it up in the comments section.


Yellow Squash and Basil Soup (adapted from Good Housekeeping)

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped (or not)
  • 8 small Yellow (Summer) squash, sliced
  • 3 medium Carrots, sliced
  • 3 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 tsp Better than Bouillon
  • 1/2 cup Fat Free Half and Half
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)
  • 1 cup loosely packed Basil leaves, shredded

Here are the original instructions

Disclaimer:  The folks at Cuisinart, Better Than Bouillon, Safeway and Pioneer Woman have no clue who I am.  I don’t get any royalties from recommending their products, I just happen to have them in my kitchen (except the Pioneer Woman. That would be sweet though!).

Learning to cook

Learning to cook

I love the kitchen.  I love everything about it–the smells, the tools, the way everyone seems to gather there…  But I’m definitely not a gourmet chef.  I won’t pretend that I’m completely original or that this blog will change your life, but I will say […]