Monday, February 20, 2012

In the eye of the beholder! & a little food along the way!

In my day to day life, I work as a Chef/Food Service Director for Lutherlyn! I have the distinct pleasure of working with and meeting fabulous people. I know each of you will appreciate the photo below.
Okay, so if you are familiar with Lutherlyn then you know that our entrance looks a little different. I can't resist this picture! The pine trees on the left side are gone completely as well as the two trees in the front on the right. Last summer these trees were destroyed by a microburst! Though the beauty these trees brought to the entrance is gone... the beauty of Lutherlyn will never fade! If you have not already checked out Lutherlyn, do so today! Lutherlyn's beauty shines in all the seasons of the year!

I am always on the lookout for something new to try! I was over at The Armenian Kitchen the other day! She always has intriguing recipes. Let's face it, the American diet varies from house to house! What I consider to be American food may not be to someone else! Food in America can be different to everyone. It is so great to be able to experience foods from other cultures. My honey was recently given a diagnosis that has changed his eating habits drastically! So, I am trying to find some new things to incorporate into our meals. Give him something to look forward to. I may also be seeking new menu items to use for specific retreats at Lutherlyn.

Ok. Ok. On to the food! Khashlama to be exact! This dish would be similar to a beef stew of sorts. A little lighter though!

The original recipe is slated to use lamb. Lamb is not a selection we use, so I substituted beef. I am not must for beef. Just not a flavor that I enjoy. Of course I love chicken and turkey and My honey loves beef. He generally wins on this front. I can always make something else for my self. For this meal, I did venture and have this meal with the rest of the family. I loved it! I am not sure how the younger kiddos would feel about having it again... I think I would cut the vegetables up much smaller. I sometimes lose my mind as to who I cam cooking for... hide the vegetables! In all fairness, they eat most vegetables without much arguement. However, large chunks of onion and peppers, probably pushed the envelope a bit. So, the question is will we have it again? Yes we will! For 2 reasons: 1. To really love something, sometimes it takes a second try. 2. I adjusted the recipe some to what I had on hand... Nothing major though. I used oregano in place of the marjoram. I didn't realize I did not have the marjoram on hand. Also, I think I will cook the beef a little longer in addition to looking at a different cut of meat. (and no, I don't remember what I purchased)
Check out The Armenian Kitchen! Imparticularly, the Khashlama! Give it a try! I have also used theses other scrumptious recipes from The Armenian Kitchen... If you check out Quantity Foods, you will find all the other recipes that I have prepared for our retreats.
What is nice about many of the recipes that I have seen / used from the The Armenian Kitchen, they are all very versatile. Go check it out! In addition to providing a great recipe, Robyn shares a history/story with so many of her dishes.
Khashlama! (My version)

Keep passing it on Robyn! Thank you for helping me improve our menu selections at Lutherlyn.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Hot Chocolate Back to basics!

Hot chocolate is timeless! Folks young and old enjoy a cup of hot chocolate. I have never been a fan of the powdered mixes.
Well no more mixes...I found some inspiration!

Hot Chocolate Meltaway Squares
Adapted from Tokyo Terrace
Yield 24-30 servings
2 cups Bittersweet Chocolate
2 cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 peppermint candy canes (or flavoring of your choice - plain is great to)

1. In the top of a double boiler, melt chocolates together.
2. Once melted add the cocoa powder. Mix until fully incorporated.
3. Allow chocolate to cool slightly before putting in molds.
4. Portion chocolate into molds. Fill mold half way. Add a small amount of the crushed candy canes, fill with chocolate.
5. Allow to set - Set in refrigerator for 5 minutes.

Similar to the featured blogs above you can also place sticks in the chocolate which would give you something to stir the chocolate into the warmed milk. I tried this...but I found I like just the square of chocolate to drop in my pot with the milk.

Directions to prepare! The best part!
Using a small saucepan, heat 8 ozs of milk, once heated add 1 hot chocolate square. Using a whisk incorporate the chocolate into the milk. If needed, keep pan on a vary low heat. Add whipped cream and enjoy!


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Start the day right!

How do you start your day? My children love a good breakfast. Our main selection is a farm fresh egg, piece of toast and fruit. However, some days we change it up.
I am always on the look out for a fun idea. Anything to hep my children along on trying new and fun foods. I will save my favorite new item for last.... Mmmmmm!

Egg n' toast! I always loved this meal as a child. Thankfully, my children love it as well.

Banana Bread French toast! Pretty much anything with banana is adored in our household.

Fresh made English muffins! I was not over ally impressed with this formula. However, they did taste good.

Sooooo.... Here it is! By far this is my favorite new breakfast meal!

It is extremely simple to make as well. The roll is hollowed out. Fill with scrambled eggs and cheese. Place in a hot oven. Top with salsa and green onions. You can cook some bacon and add it to the eggs while cooking.

The original recipe I created this from cracked a raw egg into the roll. It was then topped with bacon, salsa, and green onions.

What is your favorite breakfast meal?


Monday, April 4, 2011

Having more than one...

If you have more than one child you will understand.... I love being with my children. It is rare that Hannah and I ever have time to be just us. Billy and I have regular one on one time, of which I/we appreciate and look forward to. He is the youngest, the baby really. I know he is six... but please keep that between us. Does he really need to know?!

So, on Saturday, Hannah and I had about an hour. What are we to do with an hour.... why not make cookies, right! So we did!

We teach our children lessons everyday! This day was not only about passing on the flavors... but it was about me letting my daughter learn and be a part of what I love to do! Cook.

In addition to making cookies... Hannah had a math lesson. How great is that? 1/2 cup here, 1/4 cup there, a teaspoon over there!

So, not only did we get quality one one one time, but we incorporated learning and having tons of fun!

Such a precious time with my daughter! We laughed and had lots of fun. As precious and sweet as she can be... believe you me... she is just like all other 7 almost 8 year olds. But it was great to leave all the drama out of the kitchen and just be us.

What a great time we had... and we get to enjoy the fruit of our labor!


Monday, March 21, 2011


No, this is not a post about St. Patrick's Day, but it is about lots of green.
With Spring arriving, I cannot resist the urge to start gardening. Hannah and I decided we would build the cold frame Sunday. So, off we went to scavenge the things we would need from our stock of well used, but not fully exhausted items.

We found......



And of course.......

Off to work we went......

And then the end result......

Now, patience must be found...... The soil has been stored outside all winter... so it was pretty wet and cold. We will wait, but I am ready to plant lots of greens to fill our need to eat fresh grown food. The soil needs to dry out a bit and of course warm slightly.

In the meantime, I will leave you with this......


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Vegetable Beef Barley Soup

I love vegetable soup! If only my children would love it as much as me..... someday!
The great thing about vegtable soup is it is very versatile. If you prefer potatoes to the barley, go for it! If you prefer different vegetables, go for it! Generally, this is a soup that always tastes better the second day.

1 pound cubed beef
1 medium onion diced
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small zucchini
1 small yellow squash
3/4 cup diced carrots
3/4 cup diced celery
4 garlic cloves
1 quart chicken/beef/vegetable stock
1 quart water
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup tomato paste
salt/pepper to taste
3/4 cup barley
3 1/2 cups chicken/beef/vegetable stock

In a small saucepan combine the barley and 3 1/2 cups of stock, season with salt. Bring to a boil. Simmer till barley is tender.

In a large stock pot, add vegetable oil, heat, add beef and onions. cook for 5 minutes. Add red wine. Simmer and let the liquid reduce by half. Add remaining vegtables, tomato paste and salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes on medium heat. Stir frequently. Add remaining stock and 1 quart of water. When Barley is tender add to the soup (add cooking liquid as well). Continue to cook the soup until it reduces by 1/4 - 1/3.
If you prefer the broth to be thicker you can add cornstarch to thicken.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Chicken w/ Cous Cous and Spinach Soup

Soup is a wonderful item to pack in our lunches each week. I made Tomato Bisque for Monday, a hearty beef Chili for Tuesday and for Wednesday Chicken w/ cous cous and spinach.

I literally just threw a bunch of things in the pot and let it cook!

1 quart chicken stock
1/2 quart water
2 cups chicken cooked and shredded
1/2 cup carrots small diced
1/2 cup onion small diced
4 garlic cloves
3/4 cup cous cous
3/4 cup spinach
1 tsp thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Heat chicken stock and water to boiling. Reduce heat and add remaining ingredients except spinach. When cous cous is cooked add spinach and season to taste.