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Favorite Simple Chicken Stock

Hi friends,

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Warning: this is not a glamorous post. I’m literally about to talk to you about broth. Not even soup! Broth. Good ol’ broth. Chicken stock is among my favorite things in the universe–that is, when it is made well. It makes my tummy happy, it feels like an elixir of life when you’re sick, it makes your whole house (nay, apartment) smell awesome…essentially it’s just the best. I have my mama to thank for my broth-making tendencies.

Now, making your own chicken stock is not for the faint of heart. For some reason or another, my past two roommates have been vegetarians and I always feel extremely guilty when they are/were present for my meaty excursions. Chicken broth is probably among the worst undertakings for a veg girl/guy to watch. I literally dig my hands into a bowl of steaming chicken bones and pick all the goodness off with my fingers. You can’t even really be a squeamish meat-eater to do this, ladies and gentlemen. But believe me, it is beyond worth it if you can stomach the process.

1 whole chicken carcass (rotisserie/roasted/previously cooked in some way), most of the meat removed
Chicken giblets, if you have them and have not thrown them away yet (yum!!!! …trust me, okay?)
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 yellow onion, diced
1-2 carrots, coarsely chopped
A couple sprigs of fresh rosemary (optional, but if you have any this is a lovely addition)
A hearty dash of salt (himalayan pink salt or celtic sea salt, preferably) and pepper

Put your ingredients all together in your stock pot and fill with water until the entire chicken is covered. Turn the heat to medium-ish (lower is better, higher if you are not so patient) and wait until it comes to a light boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover for a loooong, long time. We’re talking around 6+ hours. The longer the tastier, but 3-4 hours will do if you must. Once your home smells unbearably delicious and you cannot wait a moment longer, remove from the heat and pour the entire contents of the pot through a metal colander into another heat proof container (I use a metal bowl, but another pot would work if you have one). Now here’s the fun/gross part. Pick all the meat you want (or can bear to before you get too grossed out) off of the bones that are sitting in your colander and toss it into your stock. Be careful of your fingers–it’s going to be suuuper super hot! I’ve burned my fingers many a time doing this. Once you’ve meat-picked to your heart’s content, transfer to your storage containers (I use mason jars) and some to your soup-sippin’ mug to try your creation. Delicious. Now you can toss all the bones and icky stuff left behind and enjoy the yumminess you made.

You can use this stock as the base for tons of soups or on its own–just reheat on the stove and simmer some veggies in it or whatever you’d like! It’s a good recipe to have in your homemade arsenal. Seriously, store-bought stocks don’t even begin to compare. This should stay good in the fridge for up to about a week. If I’m not going to use it within 5 days or so, I usually freeze it. It’s always nice to have some on hand.

Aaaand just like that, it’s October. My absolute favorite month. Happy October, fellow fall-lovers.

Love,
Emily

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Turmeric Eggs

Dear lovelies,

May I present to you: the perfect hangry meal! A legitimate, breakfast-for-dinner meal in less than 10 minutes. Such a beautiful thing to behold. It’s not gigantic but certainly filling enough for your hangry needs (thank you, butter). In my case, the feed-me urgency was related to a later-than-usual dinnertime caused by a yoga class.

The turmeric-egg combo is something I’ve been doing lately in hopes to take advantage of my turmeric supply, purchased on a whim one day from a fancy shmancy spice shop. Not only is it a beautiful color, it’s also supposed to be awesome for you! I’m all about awesome. I put it on a bed of greens to get some raw action in there, and I mixed in some broccoli to add some cruciferous-ness in the mix. Without further ado:

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Dash of milk (or non-dairy milk)
Salt/pepper to taste
1/4 tsp. of turmeric
Small handful of broccoli florets, chopped/torn into small pieces
1 Tbsp-ish of butter (unsalted, grass-fed preferable)
Handful of organic greens

I’m sure you don’t need to be told how to make scrambled eggs, but I’ll tell you anyways! Crack your little eggies into a bowl, add salt, pepper, turmeric, and your milk and whisk with a fork until nice and scrambled. Heat a skillet on medium-low until warm and add your butter. Once the butter is melted and coats the pan, add your eggs. Grab your handful of broccoli and toss it in with your eggs. Cook a couple minutes, scrambling with a spatula however you like until your eggs are to your doneness liking. I like ’em with a bit of beautiful browning here and there. Yum. Put your greens on your plate, scoop the eggs on top, and eat! Garnish with whatever you desire. Cheese, for example, would be awesome. Cheese makes everything awesome.

Happy hump day. Until next time, friends. Hugs!

Love,
Emily


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Basil Feta Burgers

Hi you guuuys,

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Yeah yeah okay, another post for today, I know. I cook and bake a lot pretty regularly but I always get lazy about posting. It’s the photo uploading that gets to me. Anyways, these actually happened for dinner today, so this is an uncharacteristically timely “make and post” situation. And guys. It’s REAL FOOD that I COOKED for once, not dessert-y baked things! (Gasp!) It’s been a while since I’ve done anything like this, huh? Exciting stuff. Well aaaanyways, these are mega-yummy. And *MAN APPROVED* from my dad and brother. It’s really hard to get the approval of my very picky, very athletic, very jaded 16 year old brother. That’s how I know these were good.

Mkay. Now, I’m going to take this moment to rant about the importance of organic-ness for a moment. (Don’t you dare roll your eyes at me!) For all of you organic non-believers (I’m talking to you, eye-rollers), just hear me out, kay? The label of “organic” gets such a bad reputation for being unnecessary, trendy, and expensive, and while that’s semi-true (minus the unnecessary part), there are plenty of reasons you should actually consider it. Buying organic meat is especially important because: it’s healthier (the animals aren’t fed pesticides!), leaner (healthier cows = better quality meat), sustainable (factory farming…noooo thank you), not to mention just generally better tasting. For all of you who are put off by the price, think about it as an investment for your health. Honestly now, you’re putting this stuff in your body. Wouldn’t you want the highest quality possible? The only reason it looks so expensive is because we compare it to the extremely low prices of factory farmed, soybean-fed, mass-produced beef (ew ew ew ew ewww). You don’t want to eat that, do you? So do yourself a favor, and if you can afford it, buy organic grass-fed beef. Your taste buds and your body will thank you!

16 oz. ground beef
1/3 c. feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 c. almond meal
1 large egg
1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
6-7 large basil leaves, chopped (or to taste, really)
1/4 tsp. cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients well in a medium bowl. Definitely use your hands if you don’t mind getting ’em dirty; it helps a lot with the mixing process for sure. Form into four burger patties and grill on medium for about 5 minutes on each side (or as desired depending on how rare/well done you like your burgers). Enjoy!

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‘Tis the season (for grilling)! Teeheeheeeeee

Love, Emily


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Pumpkin Ground Beef Casserole

Hello friends!

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Okay bear with me. I tried to make the title of this post the least repulsive I possibly could, but this clearly proved difficult. I hate the word “casserole”. It grosses me out. I always associate it with heavy, creamy, chunky, lumpy, processed, Campbell’s-soup-based dish–not the most appealing. Unless you’re into that. Which I am not.

Okay let me take this opportunity to go on a rant for a minute: I absolutely HATE it when I come across a recipe somewhere that claims to be “only 3 ingredients!” or “so simple!” and it involves a mix or a premade ingredient. That cake is not made of 3 ingredients. It is made of the 8297 creepy ingredients that no one can pronounce in the cake mix you bought, plus the other 2 you add yourself. If you’re baking/cooking something from scratch, COMMIT, people! Come on! It’s one thing to use a stock something, but to make a casserole with a whole can of cream and mushroom soup and claim that it’s “homemade” just makes me sad.

Anyways! This is the perfect, cozy winter dinner. If I were to live in any given casserole, I would choose this one. It was nice to have an dinner all in one pan. Veggies, protein and bread–all together!

Filling:

1 lb. lean ground beef

1 yellow onion, diced

3 large carrots, chopped

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1-2 cups mixed vegetables (I used corn, peas and green beans…frozen…shh)

2 c. beef stock

1/4 c. pumpkin puree

Pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, and cayenne pepper

1/4 c. cornstarch, dissolved in water

Topping:

1 1/2 c. flour

1 c. beer of your choice

1/2 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons melted butter

Heat the olive oil in a pan on medium and cook your onions until they turn clear. Drop in your ground beef and cook until it’s nice and browned. Set aside. In a saucepan, bring your beef stock and veggies (carrots and whatever mixed ones you choose) to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Let this cook for about 10 minutes until the carrots are tender. Once the veggies are done, separate them from the broth–you can put the veggies in with the meat and leave the broth in the saucepan. Add your water-cornstarch mixture and your pumpkin puree to your beef stock, bring to a boil, then back down to simmer again. Stir constantly until thickened, about 5 minutes or so. Season with a generous pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, and cayenne pepper. At this point, you should probably preheat the oven to 350 in preparation for the baking of the bread-top. For your beer bread topping, fold all ingredients (except for the melted butter) together in a bowl until combined. Easy as that. Once all your separate parts are done, put the meat and veggies into an 8×8 square pan. Pour the gravy on top, making sure it’s evenly dispersed throughout the whole pan. Spread the beer bread batter over the whole thing with a spatula, pour the melted butter on top, and stick it in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. I would suggest putting a foil-lined cookie sheet under your pan just in case–my casserole was very close to overflowing. Remove from the oven and prepare for the ultimate comfort foodie meal.

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Okay so yeah, this took a while. It’s just a lot of steps. But it was definitely worth it! I’d make it again. Also, it makes surprisingly good leftovers. So yeah.

OH also: MERRY CHRISTMAS, foodies! Hope you consumed plenty of deliciousness these past few days (I know I did). In fact, I probably consumed enough cookies for several people my size. Yeah, actually, I definitely did. Without a doubt. That’s what the holidays are about though, right (…)? Recipe for my holiday dessert to come!

Love, Emily


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Quinoa Sweet Potato Chili

Hello friends!

Goodness it’s been a while. Sorry, guys. I’ve been really lagging. I’ve been cooking (kinda), but nothing really worth posting. I’ve been SOOO busy and overwhelmed lately and I haven’t really taken any time to do my favorite things (aka cook, bake, photograph, and blog) but I’ll have this weekend and the entirety of Thanksgiving break to catch up! Yay. I made some super special birthday cookies for a friend that I’ll post about tomorrow, but for now, my soup.

Oh my GOD this soup was so yummy. This chili is loosely based off of this recipe (although obviously not vegan, since I used chicken stock and put chicken AND cheese in mine…I don’t do vegan). I made a huge pot of it and none of my roommates wanted any, so I have it all to myself. I’m not complaining. I put half in the fridge and froze the other half after I ate a hearty bowl. Can’t wait to have awesome leftovers for this weekend/whenever I choose to thaw my frozen batch. Ugh yum. Is there anything better than soup in the fall? Honestly? As far as dinners go, at least (I can think of quite a few desserts I’d rather have than chili, but that’s another story), it’s the absolute best. It’s so cozy and warms you up from the inside out and your tummy is all warm and everything is just great. I love eating soup.

OKAY yeah yeah I know I don’t have a picture. I know. What on earth is a food blog post without a series of beautiful food porn photos? I’ll update it soon, but I’m currently at work so access to my camera is nonexistent. I promise, it looks as good as it sounds. Meanwhile, here’s the recipe:

1 tablespoon olive oil

32 oz. chicken stock

4 oz. tomato paste

1 onion, sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 15 oz. can black beans

3/4 c. quinoa (dry)

Tabasco, salt, and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a soup pan over medium high heat. Brown the onions for about 10 minutes until they get soft, then add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, cumin and chili powder and combine, cooking for about another 2 minutes while constantly stirring. Add the chicken stock, beans, and sweet potatoes, mix well and cook for about 5 more minutes. Add your quinoa, bring your mixture to a boil, then down to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until your chili gets thick enough and your quinoa is fully cooked.

I garnished mine with some cheddar cheese and leftover shredded chicken. It was perfection. I highly recommend you do the same.

Have a wonderful weekend, lovelies!

Love, Emily


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Hello lovelies,

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This was an experiment. It turned out rather beautifully, if I do say so myself! My one complaint: these were not super solid. In fact, they were rather crumbly, which was unintentional, but unavoidable. Allow me to explain. I had been waiting for a few days until I had time to make something delicious with my sweet potatoes and was shocked and upset to discover upon opening their little bag that I’d been stashing them in that two of them were moldy! I don’t understand why, seeing as they were in a nice, dry spot in my cupboard but apparently that wasn’t good enough. Hmph. (Can you tell I’m bitter?) Anyways, I salvaged two scrawny sweet potato babies, but the two heftier ones were not so lucky, hence my slightly crumbly quinoa cakes. I’m going to write the recipe as I intended to do it and hopefully it will work out better for those of you who might try it. When I make these again (which I certainly will, they were yummy!), I’ll update this post as needed if I alter the recipe. Sound good? Good!

1/2 c. cooked quinoa

1 c. uncooked spinach (once cooked, it will wilt down a ton)

2 cloves garlic

1 large egg, lightly scrambled

1/4 c. pine nuts, toasted

1/4 c. almond meal (or bread crumbs, if you’re feelin’ it)

1/4 c. parmesan cheese

2 sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed

salt and pepper to taste

1-2 Tbsp. olive oil

First, cook your quinoa and set it aside to let it cool. Saute your spinach in a little bit of olive oil on medium heat until it’s wilted–this should take about 5 minutes. Add your minced garlic and cook for another minute or so. Throw your garlic and spinach into your quinoa pot and get ready to toast your pine nuts. I wiped out my pan with a paper towel and just used that to dry toast them on medium-low heat until they were lightly browned. Throw those in with the rest of your cooling ingredients. Next, peel and dice your sweet potatoes and place them in a pot of water. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, cooking them for about 10 minutes until they are tender. Drain the water, place them in a separate bowl and mash them up with a fork. Add this to your quinoa pot also. Make sure everything is cool before you move on, you don’t want to cook your egg! Add your parmesan, almond meal (or bread crumbs), egg, and salt and pepper and mix well. Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil on medium heat in a skillet and form patties with your hands (I made 4!). Cook each quinoa cake for a few minutes on each side (mine took 5ish minutes per side) and enjoy!

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Ugh I’M SORRY my pictures are horrible. I’m getting increasingly frustrated with my broken lens issue. Although apparently not frustrated enough to get it fixed. The time will come soon.

Oh and on another, more relevant note, I have a confession: I ate my quinoa cake with a rather weird condiment. And by rather weird I mean very weird. Please don’t make fun of me…….I spread pumpkin butter on top……..I KNOW IT’S STRANGE I don’t even know what possessed me to reach for it when I was surveying my options in the fridge. But I must say…it was oddly delicious. I was super into it. I’d recommend it to you, but most people probably aren’t as weirdly pumpkin-obsessed as I am. Whatever, guys. It was yummy.

Love, Emily


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Quinoa and Eggplant Stuffed Peppers

Hellooooo friends,

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Today, I was downtown and stumbled upon this AMAZING ethnic food specialty grocery store kinda thing. I spent probably 15 minutes just looking at all the awesome things before I even picked anything up; when I finally did, I ended up buying crystallized ginger, pine nuts, and peach preserves. Don’t ask me why, it just seemed right. I had been craving pine nuts lately, so I really really needed these. They turned out to be a wonderful addition to my stuffed peppers, so thank goodness for this chance bulk pine nut discovery.

Ohhhhhhh my goodness. I was so so happy with these. I got some red bell peppers from my co-op, as well as a bunch of funny-looking (but delicious!) mini eggplants and I figured combining them would be nice. Stuffed peppers are so fabulous. I enjoyed every bite of these. I didn’t want them to end. In fact, I ate all four halves; no shame. They were so delicious.

 ALRIGHT SO: I made this recipe for just me, so it was just enough filling to stuff inside 4 halves. If you want more, you could very easily double the recipe or whatnot.
2 red bell peppers, cut in half and de-seeded
1/3 c. quinoa
2/3 c. chicken stock
3/4 c. (ish) eggplant, diced (I used one medium sized “mini eggplant”)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c. pine nuts
1/4 c. (ish) goat cheese for on top
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
First and foremost, preheat your oven to 350. Next, toast your pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium-low heat until they’re nice and toasty. Make sure to keep moving them around so they’re evenly toasted! On a separate burner, cook your quinoa in the chicken stock. I did this so the quinoa was more flavorful, and I’m glad I did. If you don’t have chicken stock, you can always use water, it doesn’t make that much of a difference. Bring the chicken stock and quinoa to a boil, then turn the heat down to low and simmer, covered until most of the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is fully cooked (about 10-15 minutes). Once your pine nuts are done, set them aside and use that skillet to cook your eggplant. Heat the olive oil in the skillet and throw in the garlic. After about a minute, add your eggplant and cook until soft–about 5 minutes or so. Season with salt and pepper. Once your eggplant and pine nuts are all ready, add them to the quinoa and mix together. Spoon the mixture evenly into the halved bell peppers and place on a baking sheet. Cover with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes, then take them out and add your cheese. Sprinkle your goat cheese on top (I pushed mine in a little bit so I could get as much as possible in there without it falling off the sides), drizzle lightly with olive oil and place back in the oven without the foil for another 15 minutes. Cheese should be lightly toasty-looking and peppers should be crinkly and soft. Remove and enjoy!
I ate my peppers while sitting on the floor in my bedroom, watching Breaking Bad in the dark and I do not regret this one bit. It was a great end to a long weekend.
Happy Columbus Day! GO STUFF SOME PEPPERS RIGHT NOW, I insist.
Love, Emily