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Sunday Supper Movement

What's_Baking_BadgeAs I mentioned a few weeks ago, I feel like I just joined the What’s Baking? group, so I was completely surprised when it was suddenly my turn to choose a theme. In an effort to continue the healthier lifestyle my husband and I have tried to adopt this year, I knew I wanted to do something more savory. Quiche was immediately on my short list since its great for a light appetizer or for a more substantial brunch.

I was really impressed with all of the great recipes that the What’s Baking? crew put together for the theme this month. I’m loving the seasonal and veggie packed quiche recipes some of the bloggers came up with, and was floored to see some of the more creative recipes (venison sausage! kelibasa! pizza quiche!). Check out the recipes below.

What’s Baking? Quiche Round-Up

I made mini zucchini quiche – light and crustless. This recipe hides the vegetable (great for picky eaters) and lets the fresh herb shine. We had them for brunch but the individual servings make the recipe great for appetizers for a crowd as well.

Mini Zuchini Quiche

Eva from Eva Bakes made Crustless Spinach and Mushroom Quiche. I know some people aren’t mushroom fans, but I sure am. Between loving mushrooms and having a brother who is a vegetarian, I know that I’ll be making this one in the near future!

Crustless Spinach and Mushroom Quiche from Eva Bakes-001

Jaida at Sweet Beginnings made a quiche that made me want to call my father-in-law and ask for some venison sausage. She made Crustless Zesty Italian Venison Sausage, Spinach, and Red Pepper Quiche. Yum!

Crustless Zesty Italian Quiche from Sweet Beginnings

Coleen from The Redhead Baker was one of the few to make a quiche with a traditional crust this month – a Spring Veggie Quiche packed with veggies. I was drooling a little over Coleen’s quiche. Between her quiche and Eva’s, I resolved not to wait for my brother to visit, but instead to work on converting my meat-loving hubby to a Meatless Monday participant so that I can try some of these recipes in the near future.

Spring Veggie Quiche from Redhead Baker-001

Heather from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks made a Crustless Kielbasa, Pepper, and Asparagus Quiche. With the keilbasa and pepper jack cheese, I bet my hubby won’t even notice the veggies.

Crustless Kielbasa, Pepper and Asparagus Quiche from Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks-001

Nichole from A Cookaholic Wife made a Crustless Caprese Quiche. Caprese salads are one of my favorites, particularly during summer months with all of those fresh tomatoes. Yum!

Crustless Caprese Quiche from Cookaholic Wife

Cookies on Friday made a Pepperoni Pizza Quiche. Think it will fool my toddler into thinking it’s pepperoni pizza?

Pepperoni Pizza Quiche from Cookies on Friday

Finally, Kate at Kate’s Recipe Box made a Ham and Cheese Quiche, which she served for Easter brunch. I love the idea of having a “traditional” Easter ham for brunch instead of dinner. Off to bookmark this recipe for next year..

Ham and Cheese Quiche from Kate's Recipe Box-001

I hope you all enjoyed this round up. Come back in a couple of months to see what What’s Baking? will be cooking up next!

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What's_Baking_BadgeI feel like I just joined the What’s Baking? group and all of a sudden, it was my turn to choose the theme. Since my hubby and I have been trying to eat well (in other words, avoid the sweets) and we’ve been spending a lot of time entertaining around brunch time, I knew immediately that I wanted to go with quiche.

Unlike a frittata (my other go-to type of dish for brunch) which starts off being cooked stove-top and then is finished in the oven, a quiche is baked entirely in the oven. Quiche frequently are baked with a crust, but this time, I went with a crustless quiche, for something extra light. The zucchini was really not noticeable, making this a good recipe for picky eaters (my 3-year old daughter) and uses whole wheat flour for a nutritional boost. The star of this recipe is really whatever herb you choose to use in this recipe.

Come back next Wednesday (April 27) to see what other quiche recipes the What’s Baking? group has cooked up this month!

Mini Zuchini Quiche

Also pictured: fruit salad with mint and poppy seed vinaigrette (recipe to come!).

Side Note: Quiche are also a wonderful, light option for a savory appetizer. I like to make mini quiche when entertaining a large crowd. Simple make ahead of time and warm in the oven before serving.

Mini Zucchini Quiche

Adapted from Weight Watchers

Makes 3-4 dozen mini quiche

Ingredients:

  • cooking spray (optional, depends on your muffin tin)
  • 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 small zucchini, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 c. fresh basil or rosemary, finely chopped
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 375°F. If you have a silicon muffin mold, use that, placed on a baking sheet. Mini Zucchini QuicheIf not, spray mini muffin tins with cooking spray and set aside. (May need to cook in batches.)

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cheese, baking powder, sugar, salt, and black pepper. Add diced zucchini, onion, and herbs, tossing to coat in flour. Set aside.

In a small bowl, gently whisk together eggs and olive oil just to combine. Stir into dried ingredients until just incorporated.

Portion into prepared muffin cups – a heaping tablespoon per muffin cup.

Bake for 15 minutes, until quiche are golden brown and quiche are cooked through. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before removing from pan.

Serve hot.

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In the Kingdom of Ice{Book Review}

In the Kingdom of Ice:

The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette

By Hampton Sides

Emerging from the Civil War in the late 1800s, the new United States was eager to prove itself on the international stage. In an effort to show its military might, its power as a player on the international stage, but in a peaceful way – supported by citizens in both the north and the south – the U.S. entered the quest to discover the North Pole and the “open polar sea.”

In 1879, Captain George Washington De Long and a crew of roughly 30 men set sail from California for the Arctic. A Navy expedition funded by The New York Herald newspaper owner James Gordon Bennett, the crew expected to reach the North Pole and return within 3 years, perhaps discovering (and claiming for the U.S.) a new island or two along the way. De Long did discover a few islands on the expedition, but he never made it to the North Pole. Instead, after being ice-locked for what felt like an eternity, he and the crew were forced to abandon the sinking Jeannette and make their way through ice and water – on whaling boats they had to carry over the ice – south to Siberia, and then on to a Siberian village where they could finally seek help. This book is the story of all of this, and more.

Review/Recommendation: I picked up this book on a whim, after seeing it while standing in line at the grocery store. I had read Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides years ago, and still remember what a wonderful book it was. That memory set the bar pretty high for In the Kingdom of Ice, and the book did not disappoint.

The story behind this book was fascinating. Unlike the description on the back of the book – which would have you believe the book was almost exclusively about De Long’s journey from shipwreck to Siberia – the book detailed De Long’s entire expedition, beginning long before he stepped foot on the Jeannette. It begins with the origins of De Long’s obsession with Arctic exploration and the myth of the ice-locked open Arctic sea, and then details his research into the Arctic, his efforts to get the journey approved and funded, the search for a suitable ship and crew, and the journey the Jeannette took from the East coast to the West, where it would finally begin its voyage to the Arctic. It concludes with the crew’s slow retreat from it’s northern most position, back down to Siberia, after abandoning ship.

Despite the huge amount of research Sides undoubtedly conducted in the writing of the book, In the Kingdom of Ice is both engaging and interesting. Sides does a wonderful job weaving the facts into the personal stories of De Long and the other crew members, showing their humanity and their bravery in the process. While the focus was De Long, the reader was treated to a snapshot of almost everyone one of the crew members, each one a hero of the expedition in their own way.

I can’t recommend this book enough.

Grade: A

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Tomato Asiago Frittata

One of the things I love about frittatas is that they’re great brunch food. Pair with a side salad for an elegant but light lunch-like brunch, or with some fresh fruit and a little sausage or bacon for a more hearty breakfast-like meal. They’re also super easy to prepare – only taking 10-15 minutes of hand-on time in the kitchen, making them a great choice for entertaining.

Note: My version is just about double the original recipe, with a couple of adjustments.

Tomato Asiago Frittata

Adapted from Cooking Light, July 2015

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbs. half-and-half
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 large eggs
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. thinly sliced shallots
  • 2-3 oz. Asiago cheese, grated (about 1/2 c. grated cheese)
  • 2 c. halved cherry tomatoes
  • sprigs of thyme, for garnish

Heat a 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium heat.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together half-and-half, thyme, salt, pepper, and eggs. When pan is hot, add oil, swirling pan to coat. Add egg mixture, cooking until eggs are partially set, about 5-8 minutes.

As eggs are cooking, preheat broiler to high.

When eggs are partially set, sprinkle frittata with half of the cheese, top with tomatoes, and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Transfer pan to the preheated oven and broil until top is lightly browned and eggs are set, about 5 minutes.

Remove pan from oven. Cut frittata into 8 wedges and garnish with thyme springs.

Serve hot.

Want more eggtastic recipes? The Sunday Supper tastemakers have almost 4 dozen for you to choose from!

Appetizers & Sides

Main Dishes (Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Brinner and Dinner!)

Desserts

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.

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Invitations and Thank you Notes

Last month, we celebrated my daughter’s third birthday. It’s crazy how over the past year, she went from a toddler – sweet and cuddly – to a little girl – opinionated, sassy, and smart as whip. She’s no longer stringing a few words together but speaking whole sentences, learning to write her letters, and learning what sounds each of the letters make. We’re beyond impressed.

It’s been a busy couple of months, so we held a joint birthday party with my daughter’s best friend. We kept the menu simple and mostly store-bought, and instead spent our time and creativity on the small details. We chose to go with a Frozen theme, since the girls love the movie. (Sophie now has an Elsa and an Anna dress. She takes turns wearing them every day after school, with an expression of pure joy on her face. “Mommy, look at me. I’m so beautiful!” I might be biased, but she is the cutest little Elsa/Anna I’ve ever seen.) Anyway, we couldn’t have picked a better them for our little princesses.

Menu

A Frozen Birthday Party

Brunch

Bagels & Cream Cheese
Chicken Nuggets
String Cheese “Snowmen”
Carrots and Dip “Reindeer Food”
Fresh Fruit

Frozen Birthday

Sweets

“Snow & Ice” Rice Krispie Treats
Powdered Donut Hole “Snowballs”
“Elsa’s Magic Wands” White Chocolate Covered Pretzels
White Chocolate Covered Oreos
Birthday Cake

Frozen Party Snacks

Frozen Birthday 4

Beverages

Coffee
Orange Juice
“Melted Snowman” Water
Honest Juice Pouches

For decorations, I made an Olaf wreath for our front door. We had assorted balloons through the house, a couple of balloon trees (no photos though!), and a Frozen birthday banner.

While the kids mostly ran wild playing with the assorted loose balloons, we did have a few activities for them.  We downloaded some free printable coloring pages with scenes from the movie, had a Pin-the-Nose-on-Olaf game, and a Build-a-Snowman station where the kids could build a snowman to eat or take home out of marshmallows, pretzels, mini chocolate chips, and decorating gel/icing.

Frozen Birthday

Frozen Birthday 3

For favors, we gave each child a small Frozen coloring book, a pair of Frozen socks, a couple of Hershey kisses with Frozen stickers on the bottom, and two Frozen stamps.

Considering it’s been almost a month since the party and my daughter is still talking about her party (almost every night at bedtime, she asks that we talk about it), I’d call it a success!

Vendors:

Invitations: TicketParty Etsy Shop
Thank You Notes: Styles with Charm Etsy Shop
Goodie Bag Items: Amazon and Michaels Crafts

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Night of Cake & Puppets{Book Review}

Night of Cake & Puppets

Daughter of Smoke & Bone 2.5

By Laini Taylor

This novella falls between the second and third books in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy. It is the story of how Zuzana (Karou’s best friend) and Mik officially meet and get together. You see, both had had a crush on each other for quite some time, but both were too timid to make a move. That is, until Zuzana decided it was all or nothing. She sends Mik on a scavenger hunt full of riddles and puppets (and just a little bit of magic, compliments of Karou). Zuzana waits for Mike at the end, where the two talk for the first time and share their first kiss.

Review/Recommendation: While the story was cute, I ended up being disappointed by the novella. It just didn’t measure up to the high bar set by the trilogy. There was some of Zuzana’s quirky trademark personality, but overall, the characters did not feel like the same characters in the books. Zuzana was overly dramatic – which was her personality – but here it felt off, maybe because it was kind of an over-the-top-obsessed-and-in-love sort of drama that just irritated me. Mik – who narrated about have of the novella – also came off as a wimpy sap. I liked him a lot more in the trilogy than in the novella.

That being said, it was a quick read (or in my case, a few hours listening while I was working out) and I wanted to know how the two got together, so I don’t regret reading it. It did complete the story for me, despite falling short of what I had expected and hoped for.

Note: I had a hard time finding this book in print. I ended up listening to the audio book, available at Audible.

Grade: C+/B-

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This week, Sunday Supper is all about pies – sweet and savory. I don’t often make sweet pies, but believe it or not, this version of a chicken pot pie that has become one of my favorite ones to make during the week. It’s a crust-less pie (no fussing with making pie crust and rolling it out) and utilizes precooked chicken (hello, leftovers!), veggies that can be bought frozen or prepped at the grocery store, and crescent rolls for a pretty easy 30-minute weeknight dinner.

Weeknight Chicken Pot Pie

This recipe is adapted from a Weight Watchers recipe, that I’ve bulked up a bit with a little more veggies and chicken – for those of us not tracking points – and fresh thyme.

Enjoy!

Weeknight Pot Pie

By Books n’ Cooks

Ingredients:

  • cooking spray
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bag (approximately 2-2 1/2 cups) diced carrots and peas
  • 4 c. shredded or diced cooked chicken breasts
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. evaporated milk
  • 1 tube crescent rolls (4-6 for recipe; bake the rest to serve along side pot pie)

In a large cast-iron skillet,* heat oil and butter oven medium heat. Add onion and Weeknight Chicken Pot Piemushrooms, sauteing until onions are translucent and mushrooms begin to brown. Season with thyme, salt and pepper. Add chicken broth, vegetables, and chicken. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

While mixture cooks, preheat oven to 350F.

Stir in flour and 1/4 c. evaporated milk, stirring constantly for a few minutes until beginning to thicken. Add remaining evaporated milk, stirring for a few more minutes, or until mixture reaches desired consistency.

Unroll crescent rolls and lay them around the edges of the skillet – 4 for a smaller skillet or pie dish, 5-6 for a larger skillet. Bake in oven until crescent rolls begin to brown, about 6 minutes.

Remove from oven and serve hot.

*Alternatively, use a large skillet, and transfer mixture to an oven-safe Pyrex or pie dish for baking.

Check out these other great recipes from the Sunday Supper crew!

Weeknight Chicken Pot Pie

Sweet As Pie

Mealtime Pie

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

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Smirnoff Ice Cosmo

Do you all know what day it is?  Valentine’s Day. That day of the year where getting into a good restaurant without a reservation is next to impossible. But that’s alright, because the babysitters are booked months in advance anyway, if they’re available to watch the munchkins at all.

But seriously, even before we had kids, my husband and I rarely went out on Valentine’s Day. We typically preferred to celebrate at home – in our comfy clothes, eating a fancier-than-usual homemade meal (Cornish game hens and my hubby’s favorite crab cakes are among previous dinners) and sharing a good bottle of wine.

This year is a bit unusual for us. My parents are in town, so we’re taking advantage of the free(!) babysitters and are going out for dinner. When Taylor Strategy asked if I would be interested in creating a cocktail using Smirnoff Ice®, I jumped at the chance to create a new take on my favorite cocktail – the cosmo. Instead of pre-dinner drinks at the restaurant tonight, my hubby and I will enjoy the Smirnoff Ice Cosmos I created – a light cocktail featuring Smirnoff Ice® Original.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Smirnoff Ice Cosmo

Smirnoff Ice® Cosmos

By Books n’ Cooks

Yields 1 drink.

Ingredients:

  • scant 1/2 c. ice
  • 4 oz. cranberry juice, chilled
  • 4 oz. Smirnoff Ice®, chilled
  • splash of fresh lime juice
  • frozen cranberries (optional, a compliment to the ice to keep the drink cold without diluting it)
  • a thin slice of lime for garnish

Fill a mason jar – or the glass of your choice – with ice. Add cranberry juice, Smirnoff Ice, and splash of lime juice. Stir. Top with frozen cranberries and garnish with a slice of lime.

Serve immediately.

Disclaimer: This recipe was created on behalf of Smirnoff Ice but the opinions and recipe are my own.

Smirnoff Ice Cosmos

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I have friends who are obsessed with muffins. Any time, any time of day, they’re happy. Not for me. I have pretty high expectations for muffins – they have to be really something special for me to get excited. From first bite, I was excited about these muffins.

I first made these muffins for the teachers at my children’s daycare for a holiday breakfast. I received so many compliments that I made them again only a few weeks later. The muffins are moist and super flavorful – the raspberries are a burst of brightness and are complimented by the slightly more savory dark chocolate.

Raspberry Dark Chocolate Muffins

Raspberry Dark Chocolate Muffins

Adapted from Valerie’s Kitchen

Makes ~18 Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. vanilla Greek yogurt (may use plain Greek yogurt or light sour cream instead)
  • 6 oz. raspberries, rinsed and dried
  • 1/2 c. (heaping) dark chocolate chips

Raspberry Dark Chocolate Muffins

Preheat oven to 400F, and line two muffin tins with liners.

In a large bowl, lightly whisk eggs with a fork. Add sugar, and continue whisking with fork until sugar is incorporated. Whisk in oil and vanilla.

Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir in salt, baking soda, and 1 c. flour until just barely incorporated. Stir in Greek yogurt, again until just barely incorporated. Stir in remaining 1 c. flour, and finally, fold in raspberries and dark chocolate chips.

Portion batter into prepared muffin tins. Each cup should be about 3/4 full.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for a few minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Raspberry Dark Chocolate Muffins
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The Red Scarf{Book Review}

The Red Scarf

By Kate Furnivall

Men and women taken to Soviet labor camps in the early 1930s endure day after day of manual labor until they cannot physically work anymore. It was a terrible fate for many, including Sofia. But unlike so many of the women in camp with her, Sofia remained hopeful and dreamed of freedom. She had her friend and fellow prisoner, Anna to keep her positive. Anna told story after story of her childhood filled of parties and her childhood love for a revolutionary named Vasily.

When Anna’s health suffers to the point where she must escape or would die the next winter, Sofia plots her escape. Sofia is successful and makes the long, hard journey halfway across Russia to the village where she believes Vasily lives, in disguise. There, she is adopted by a gypsy family and gradually becomes integrated into the town, earning the trust of (and falling in love with) the man she believes to be Anna’s Vasily. Her ultimate goal is to convince Vasily to return to the came with her to rescue Anna. (And that’s where this summary will end, so that I don’t give anything away.)

Review/Recommendation: I picked up this book after a friend and fellow fan of Russian historical fiction recommended the author to me.  I have sort of a mixed opinion about the book. One the one hand, it was a decent story and kept me engaged. It was a very optimistic and fantastic view of communist Russia. I mean, not only do you have a malnourished girl escaping from a Soviet labor camp, but she survived a trip of hundreds of miles and becomes more or less accepted into a town fairly easily, despite being such an unknown person. I don’t want to give away the ending, but let’s just say that it was even more incredible than what I just described. Oh, yeah, and there was a bunch of magic in there too.

But this is where the realist in me comes in. I know the story is completely historical fiction, but it just seemed way too incredible, too far from the plausible for me, as a someone who studied Russian history a pretty good bit. I can appreciate a good historical fiction, but something difficult to articulate nagged at me a bit about this book.

Overall, the book was entertaining and a pretty good read. I’ve got another of Furnivall’s on my bookshelf that I’ll definitely read – it’ll be interesting to see if the same “plausibility” factor bugs me the way it did in this one.

Grade: B

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