Zuppa Toscana // AsAVerb.com

Zuppa Toscana

It’s happening. Winter is at my heels. Talks of snow, rain drops freezing, needing gloves, & the degrees just dropping. It’s just getting so so so cold. & from what I hear, this is just the beginning.

What’s a girl to do? I mean, aside from layering up. But how do you layer with skinny jeans? I’m not really sure. This cold weather thing is new to me. & honestly, I’m not digging it. Gimme some Phoenix sun again.

Okay, okay. So I can’t really bring the Phoenix sun over here. But what I can do, is put some warm soup in my belly. & that’s kind like a little Phoenix sun. At least, this soup, is like a little ray of sunshine on a cold dreary day. The creamy goodness. The spicy heat. It sure warms a girl up.

 

What You Need:

  • 1 lb Italian Sausage
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 3-4 large russet potatoes, sliced
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes  (depending how spicy you like it)
  • Salt + Pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 pint half & half

What You Do:

  • In a large stock pot, cook the sausage into fine crumbles. Set aside.
  • Use some of the grease to cook the onions & garlic. Then add the red pepper flakes, salt, & pepper.
  • Add the chicken broth, water, potatoes, sausage, & kale.
  • When the potatoes are nearly cooked through, add the half & half.
  • Allow everything to come together & cook for about another ten minutes.
  • Serve & enjoy!
Deviled Egg Salad on Rye // AsAVerb.com

Deviled Egg Salad on Rye

Okay let’s be real here. What’s one of the best party foods? You know, that go to thing that never misses the mark. That one you always watched your mom make. That one where you when you see them you thinks “oh, yes!” & pop it in your mouth? (that’s what she said).

Deviled eggs. They are classic, easy, & oh so good. But don’t worry, I’m not thinking about re-inventing the wheel, I’m just thinking of putting a little spit-shine on it.

So I present to you a little mini deviled egg salad on rye. Er, I present to you a bunch of them. Because let’s be honest, you can’t eat just one.  & what I mean by that is I had a really hard time cutting myself off. So you should probably put a little warning label next to them . Just saying.

What You Need

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon worcestershire
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions (or chives), save some for garnishing
  • Salt+Pepper to taste
  • Mini rye toasts (I found these at the grocery store but you could just take regular rye & cut down smaller pieces).

What You Do 

  • In a saucepan, cover the eggs with cold water and bring to a rolling boil.
  • Cover, remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes. Then drain & run under cold water until cool.
  • Peel the eggs,cut lengthwise, & separate the yolks as you would for traditional deviled eggs.
  • Mix yolks with mayo, buth mustards, worcestershire, green onions, & salt & pepper until smooth & creamy.
  • Chop eggs whites & then combine with mixture. You may find that you need less mixture than you have so it’s not overkill with the egg whites.
  • Soon on top of mini rye toasts (I found some in the grocery store, but you could easily just cut some bread down, or heck, just make a regular sammich).
  • Garnish with a bit more green onions & paprika.
  • Serve immediately or cover & refigerate.

Tip: When the eggs are finished, immediately drain them and gently shake the pan to lightly crack the shells. Fill the pan with cold water and shake lightly to loosen the eggshells. This makes it SO much easier to peel. Which, if you’re like me, is SERIOUSLY frustrating.

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Street Tacos

Crockpots. Slow cookers. Make-my-house-smell-good-machines. Whatever. They are the best. The bomb dot com. The cat’s meow. The bee’s knees. Bees have knees?

In all seriousness though, I don’t know why I haven’t really utilized this bad boy before. There is just something so magical about putting a bunch of crap in a pot, turning it on, & not worrying about it. For hours. & then it’s all delicious. Like magic.

You know what else is like magic? Tacos. Okay not really, I just didn’t have a good segway. Okay wait, I take that back. These tacos are a little bit like magic. I mean they’re just chillin there all cute & simple & yet so delicious & filling & with that satisfying crunch. Like magic. Harry Potter magic. You know, the best kind of magic.


Slow cooker shredded beef. Warm corn tortillas. Fresh made pico de gallo. Crunchy reddishpurpleviolet cabbage. A little bit of crema. Oh, & a squeeze of lime.. . Magic.

 

What You Need: 

  • 2 pounds of top round beef
  • 1 large white onion, loosely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato bouillon
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon steak seasoning (optional, you could use salt & pepper instead)
  • Enough water to cover the meat inside the pot
  • 1 cup of chopped cabbage
  • Corn tortillas
  • Crema or sour cream
  • Lime wedges
  •  2 jalapeño, seeded & finely diced
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 5 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bunch of cilantro

What You Do:

For the Beef:

  • In a slow cooker place top round beef with white onion, garlic, tomato bouillon, soy sauce & steak seasoning & add water until half of the beef is submerged. Let cook for 3-4 hours on the simmer setting or until meat can be easily broken apart with a spoon.

For the Tacos:

  •  Dice the tomatoes, jalapeños, cilantro, red onion & mix together in a bowl to make the pico de gallo.
  • Finely shred red cabbage.
  • In a pan add a dash of oil & cook the beef until the tips are crispy.
  • FINALLY get your warm corn tortilla add some beef, red cabbage & pico, drizzle some crema & squeeze some lime juice. ENJOY!
Sammich Wraps // AsAVerb.com

Sammich Wraps

The day finally came. I never thought it would, but alas, it did. I purchased a Microsoft product. Gasp. You see, I’ve been an Apple girl all my life, from when I played Oregon Trail on my little Macintosh that went “EEEP!” to the Powerbook I saved all my money for after high school graduation. I am loving & loyal. There is just this one little eentsy weentsy teeny tiny issue I have. Apple TV just will not support HBO GO. & it drives me bonkers. So the day finally came that I broke down & bought an xbox.

Let me tell you how I bought this xbox though. I’m not very big on “cheating the system” but I wasn’t too keen about blowing two hundred bucks on a device I would use purely for DVDs & HBO. So for the last couple months or so, the Microsoft store out here has had that smartphone challenge, to see if your phone is faster than their Windows phone. Just for participating in it, you got $25, win or lose. They also ran a Bing vs Google challenge that also churned out $25 gift cards. So I began taking a challenge here or there, & collecting gift cards. & I managed to get an xbox for a hundred bucks. SO worth it.

The day I went to get it, there was a little party happening at the store, with a bunch of tournaments benefitting charity. They had pretzels, drinks, & these delicious little sandwich wraps. I know they are everywhere, it’s the easiest party food ever. But they are just so good! I had one & I just wanted more. Literally. So I hit up the grocery store & bought all the ingredients. & then I had them for lunch the next three days. I think it’s the cream cheese. These can get a bit soggy if you leave them overnight, so I definitely recommend only a few hours. Also feel free to mix it all up, add pepper or olives or cucumber. Use a pesto or hummus instead of cream cheese. Have fun with these, it’s party food! Or in my case, lunch for the next three days.

What You Need: 

  • Tortilla Wraps (regular, whole wheat, spinach, sundried tomato — variety is your friend)
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Tomatoes, julienned (easier to roll)
  • Deli sliced meat of your choice (I did roast beef, turkey, & chicken)
  • Deli sliced cheese of your choice (I did colby jack, probolone, & perp per jack)
  • Cream cheese (switch it up, I used an herb cream cheese)

What You Do:

  • Spread the cream cheese around on the tortilla.
  • Lay the meat out in a flat layer. Feel free to rip it so you get even coverage.
  • Layer the cheese on next. Same goal of even coverage.
  • Next, layer the shredded lettuce, then add the tomato.
  • Rop up really tightly & then wrap with plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate for about 3-4 hours. Then slice & serve.
Pretzel Bites & Beer Cheese Fondue // AsAVerb.com

Pretzel Bites & Beer Cheese Fondue

Three words: Cards Against Humanity. If you don’t know about it, you should probably go learn about it. It’s like an adult version of apples to apples? I’ve never played apples to apples, but that’s what I hear it compared to. So when I say “adult” I clearly mean the most awesome sophomoric humour imaginable, intertwined with current trends & events & people. An anything goes, unending laughs kinda time. You know, the best kinda time. I played it for the first time at a potluck last week, & immediately ordered the game & expansions packs that evening. It’s a great ice breaker too, when it’s a mix of people that don’t all know each other. Which is what happened at this potluck, & totally reaffirmed my belief that good food & laughs bring everyone together.

When we started planning this potluck, we wanted to theme the food & we did with the best one possible: all appetizers! This put me at a very difficult decision: what on earth would I bring? The possibilities were never ending & I wanted to bring everything. Which.. . I sorta did, completely going overboard. I brought my favorite bean dip, which I feel must always be a given everywhere I go because everyone should taste this deliciousness. & then I wanted to bring a sweet, so I brought the strawberries & (banana) cream, because we all know how obsessed I am with this sauce/dip right now. But of course this was the perfect excuse to venture into new territory & I wasn’t going to lose out on that opportunity. Which brings me to pretzels. & cheese.

Did I mention the cheese? The delicious oooey gooey cheese that’s perfect to dunk these soft chewy pretzels (& crunchy tart apples) in? It’s beer based which practically  assumes it’s deliciousness. But I don’t want you to lose sight of these pretzels. These babies turned out so perfectly, everything a pretzel should be.

I don’t want to brag or anything, but there weren’t any of these darling little things left over.

What You Need:

For the Pretzels (from Two Peas & Their Pod):

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • Vegetable oil
  • 3 quarts water
  • 3/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
  • Coarse sea salt

For the Cheese Fondue:

  • 8 ounces of beer (I used a local unfiltered wheat)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dry mustard powder
  • A little bit of liquid smoke (optional)
  • 4 tablespoon flour
  • 16 ounces grated/shredded cheese (I used two bags of Kraft triple cheddar, feel free to experiment with types of cheese, I’m thinking a pepper jack next time)

What You Do:

For the Pretzels (from Two Peas & Their Pod):

  • Combine the warm water water, sugar, yeast, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Add the salt and flour and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands.
  • Oil a bowl with vegetable oil, add the dough and turn to coat with the oil.
  • Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Bring the rest of the water to a boil in a small roasting pan over high heat and add the baking soda.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.
  • Roll each piece into a long rope.
  • Cut the dough into one inch pieces to make the pretzel bites.
  • Boil the pretzel bites in the water solution in batches, for about thirty seconds.
  • Remove with a large slotted spoon.
  • Place pretzel bites on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray, make sure they are not touching.
  • Brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with the salt.
  • Place into the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.
  • Remove to a baking rack and let rest 5 minutes before eating.

For the Cheese Fondue: 

  • On a double boiler, combine beer, worcestershire sauce, mustard powder, & garlic.
  • Mix together shredded cheese with flour until well coated. The flour helps to thicken it up.
  • When the beer mixture is warm, begin adding the cheese in. Whisk very well.
  • Once it’s incorporated, add in more cheese.
  • Continue doing this until all the cheese is combined, & the mixture is smooth.
  • Serve immediately
Strawberries & (banana) Cream // AsAVerb.com

Strawberries & (banana) Cream

When I was a freshman, my mom did one of the very best (& quite possibly, the worse) things ever for me. She took me to London. I am sure I don’t need to explain why it is one of the very best but perhaps you are drawing a blank about the very worst. Pretty much since that visit, I have been obsessed with visiting & trying to figure out how to eventually relocate there. But I digress. So this trip, my freshman year, it was over Christmas. We went to a fancy pants place for a big European style Christmas dinner. Truth be told, I don’t remember a single thing about dinner. But let me tell you about dessert.. .

My cousin & I decided to order berries & cream for dessert. Her dad leaned over to make sure that we knew it wasn’t ice cream. We nodded like duhhhhh we know that.. . uhm what? What else is there? Berries & cream, that’s what else is there. Out came a shallow bowl of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, & blackberries sitting in some sweetened cream. It was as if angels were dancing on my tastebuds. I savored every bite & just wish for it to never end. That moment has stuck with me since.

Since then, I have a staple dessert that I absolutely love: raspberries & homestyle vanilla ice cream. If you have never tried it, you ought to. It is honestly my hands down favorite, nothing rivals it. Until now.

Allow me to introduce to you strawberries & (banana) cream. It’s exactly that. The banana thickens the cream creating a much more dip-esque feel, but don’t let that hinder you. Drizzle it, pour it, let be dunkable, there’s no science to this deliciousness. Just pure enjoyment.

What You Need:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 8oz heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon light agave nectar
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries (oh my!)

What You Do:

  • Blend together cream, banana, vanilla, agave, & cinnamon until smooth.
  • Dip, dunk, & drizzle with your fruit.

 

Warm Potato Salad // AsAVerb.com

Warm Potato Salad

Okay, I’m just goona say it. It’s kinda weird but, here goes: I have been craving corned beef & cabbage like crazy. People look forward to Thanksgiving food & Christmas food — but I am all about St. Patty’s Day food. Seriously. I have an unnatural love for for corned beef. With cabbage. & potatoes. & mustard. Mmmmmm

Do you know how hard it is to find corned beef when it isn’t March? Okay, I’ll admit, I don’t look that hard for it. I give the meat aisle a quick once over. Okay, I mean I give a glance at the direction of the meat section. Okay.. . I almost never do any of that, I usually just go get my fix at a pub. But this time was goona be different. I decided to go about combining these flavors a little bit differently. & by differently, I mean in salad form. Okay that’s really different. & it’s not really a salad. There’s not even any lettuce. But I’m still calling it a salad. There’s a dressing, so it totally qualifies :)

& of course, it’s so easy, & there’s hardly any real “cooking” going on. Cut up some potatoes, I actually cut mine uneven intentionally because I like for some to be more crispy than others. Toss in some olive oil & throw them in the oven for like twenty minutes. Or toss them in a pan & pan fry them. You know those pre cooked sausage things at the store? Yeah, I totally love those, it’s a childhood thing. Anyway you cut that up & sauté it in a pan, with some cabbage & onions & garlic. You could probably just eat that. Buuuuuuuuut you could mix up some mustards & vinegar to make the dressing that bring it all together, & toss it all with those crispy potatoes.

It’s not quite corned beef & cabbage but ohhhh, will it do the trick.

What You Need:

  • About two pounds of red potatoes, quartered (or you know, in pieces)
  • One whole pre cooked sausage link, cut in slices or halves of slices – chunks.
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • One onion, diced
  • A quarter of a cabbage, about two cups, cut up
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions (optional)
  • Olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon mayo

What You Do:

  • Toss the potatoes in a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Lay them out evenly on a tray & roast for about 25 minutes at 375°. Or  pan fry them.
  • Combine both mustards, mayo, & vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
  • Sauté the sausage pieces with the garlic & onion. When onions are translucent & the sausage picks up some blackening, add the cabbage & sauté until it begins to “wilt.”
  • Combine potatoes with cabbage & sausage mixture in a large bowl. Add about six tablespoons of mustard dressing (or less depending on how tangy you like it)
  • Garnish with green onions & serve immediately.
Chocolate Chip Coconut Banana Bread Muffins // AsAVerb.com

Chocolate Chip Coconut Banana Bread Muffins

I am a terribly hypocritical morning person. I absolutely love being up early & starting my day & being productive & feeling like I totally carpe diem-ed my day. But the truth is I freaking hate waking up. & even more than waking up, I really freaking hate actually getting up. Sometimes I have laid in my bed literally yelling at myself to just get the eff up. & yet.. . somehow my body cannot move. Okay okay, let me put it to you this way: I actually set my alarm about fifteen to thirty minutes before I actually need to get up purely because I know I will tap the snooze button two to three times. Still not getting it? I’ve actually “snoozed” for over an hour because I couldn’t motivate myself to get up. & that’s happened more than once. *hangs head in shame*

Okay so moving on from my hypocrisy problem, this refusal to get up often causes me to be late & I have to just quickly grab something on my way out the door. So what do I turn to? Chocolate chip coconut banana bread muffins of course. Say it six times in a row, I dare you.

When Spoon Fork Bacon released this recipe, I don’t know if they knew what they were doing. I was instantly hooked. I’ve made loaves, mini loaves, muffins, mini muffins & repeat. They are just too too good.  My favorites are in muffin form. & in conclusion, my favorite on-the-breakfast-fly.

From: Spoon Fork Bacon. If you make muffins, it’s about 45 minutes in the oven. If you make mini muffins, it’s about 30 minutes.

What You Need:

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 medium (over-ripe) bananas
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons buttermilk (regular milk is fine)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup shredded coconut, toasted

What You Do:

  • Preheat oven to 325°F.
  • Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together, into a mixing bowl and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, mash bananas with milk. Set aside.
  • In another mixing bowl cream together butter and sugar, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of the bowl and add mix in eggs, one at a time.
  • Stir in the vanilla, followed by the banana mixture, until just combined.
  • Stir in flour mixture until just combined and fold in chocolate chips and coconut.
  • Grease a 9 inch loaf pan (or mini loaf pans) and add batter.
  • Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the bread.
  • Allow bread to cool in pan for about 20 minutes before removing and allowing bread to cool completely. Slice and serve.
Breakfast Quinoa // AsAVerb.com

Breakfast Quinoa

I’m sure you’ve seen it. You should, it’s amazing. The coconut milk breakfast quinoa by How Sweet It Is. I’m pretty sure I made it the day after I saw it. & the day after that. & the day after that. & probably the day after that one. It’s delicious & filling & you feel good about all of it. & it’s good to feel good about it. Especially when it comes the morning after a night filled with beer & fried food. Which felt good at the time.. . but later.. . not so good.

But this.. . this is good.

So I took it, & twisted it up & around & finally settled on my own personal staple version of it. I skipped the coconut milk & used light vanilla soy because well, I am a fan of light vanilla soy milk. Oh, but I am a huge fan of coconut, so I toasted some & threw that in. & what’s my favorite things with coconut? Almonds. So, you know, those are in there too. & a banananananana duhhh. Cuz that’s pretty much the best part of it. But also some dried cranberries. I throw them in the last minute the quinoa is cooking so they break down & soften just a bit. I also throw in some chia seeds. Cuz they are good food you. & this is, you know, good.

Adapted from How Sweet It Is. This serves two. & you can add, subtract, or substitute pretty much anything you’d like.

What You Need: 

  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup light vanilla soy milk + more for drizzling
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (or less depending on how much you like cinnamon)
  • 1/3 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/3 cup toasted coconut
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 banana, sliced

What You Do:

  • In a small pot add quinoa, soy milk, cinnamon, vanilla & chia seeds & bring to a boil.
  • Let simmer for 5 minuets & add in the cranberries
  • In a small pan lightly toast the coconut flakes.
  • Separate in two bowls & drizzle some extra soy milk
  • Sprinkle the coconut flakes & almonds. Enjoy!

 

Baked Nutella Bites // AsAVerb.com
Baked Nutella Bites // AsAVerb.com
Baked Nutella Bites // AsAVerb.com
Baked Nutella Bites // AsAVerb.com
Baked Nutella Bites // AsAVerb.com

Baked Nutella Bites

I don’t know if you’ve ever bought a package of wonton wrappers before but my goodness are there a ton in there. So instead of trashing them or throwing them into the freezer (which, in my kitchen, is a little like trashing them) I decided to try to use them up. & I was craving something sweet. So why not plop some nutella in them? Who doesn’t love nutella? Who doesn’t love bananas & nutella? That’s what I thought. Buuuuut I was still bored with it. I’m a big condiment dipping sauce person. You know Edward Norton’s part of Fight Club in the beginning when he talks about his fridge full of condiments? That’s how mine would be too. I always want to dip something into something. So I decided just to throw a few things together & somehow I created the most brilliant cream sauce ever. I literally just wanted to drink it. Or turn it into ice cream (TBA.. .) I mean it would not have been an honest question to ask if I wanted some nutella bites with banana creme sauce. Nutella bites what? Okay, okay, I might just be a wee bit exaggerating buuuuuut seriously, this sauce is good. You should skip the nutella bites & just dip strawberries into it. See, the sauce overtook my post.

What You Need:

  • Nutella
  • Wonton wrappers
  • 2 bananas (1 for slicing on top, 1 for the creme sauce)
  • 8 oz heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp light agave nectar
  • dash of cinnamon

What You Do:

  • Preheat oven to 350° & grease a cookie sheet
  • Put about a teaspoon of nutella on each wonton wrapper, fold corner to corner & seal.
  • Bake for about ten minutes, until golden brown.
  • Puree banana down in a blender or food processor.
  • Combine cream, vanilla, agave, & cinnamon. Then add the pureed banana until thoroughly mixed. I actually threw the whole combination back into the processor.
  • Allow nutella bites to cool for a couple minutes then top with sliced banana & cream sauce. I also added a bit of toasted coconut.
  • Serve & enjoy!
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