Thursday, October 27, 2011

Healthy spin on Cream of Mushroom and Celery Soup

Cream of Mushroom and Celery soup
5 servings
10 medium cremini mushrooms ( Costco pack)
1 medium onion
2 tsp
mince garlic
2 tsp seasoning salt
1 small pack celery chopped
2 cups of chicken stock
1 cup of fat free Greek yogurt
Tbsp. Evoo
1 ½ tsp
dry thyme ( you can use fresh too)

In a Large pot (Dutch oven) put oil,
mushrooms, onion, and celery. Cook over medium heat for 8 minutes. We want the
celery soft but not mushy. If you need to cook longer go ahead. Next add all seasonings and mix ** I
personally am a lover of garlic and according to family put a little too much
garlic in it *GASP* (no such thing as toooo much) **. Then add your chicken
stock **I use trader Joes low sodium from concentrate and it is the only
chicken stock I have tried that taste like it is homemade.** Let the soup
simmer for about 10 minutes. Next slowly
add the Greek yogurt (I also like Trader Joe’s Brand… can you guess where I do
my shopping??). Final Process put the
soup in blender or food processor and bam!
There ya go homemade cream of mushroom and celery soup. You can add more yogurt to make it creamier
if you like. What’s awesome about this soup besides the flavor, simplicity, and
serving of veggies is it really is not too high in fat or calories. According
to myfitness pal it’s about 90 calories. There are about 5 servings and that is
large servings. So there you go it’s a perfect
soup for a cold day where u need some comfort but don’t want to blow your diet
or go overboard on a fat creamy soup.
Hope you enjoy J

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Testing...and new

Hi Everyone!!!
Im not sure if this is working so im doing a test .... also just introducing myself so your not like ... hey who is this random person. MY name is Marly. I live in the south bay which is how I know Sarah ( we went to school together for many a years and lived a block away). I never liked to cook..always perferred to eat. But when I became a mommy and moved out on a budget I QUICKLY picked it up...and fell in love. I cook most nights ( I work 2 nights a week so those are left over or breakfast nights) not everything i cook is great ( i enjoy experimenting) but hey isn't that what cooking it all about?? I also am spoiled.... I have a 2 year old who will eat just about anything ...tofu...broccoli... all fish...mashed cauliflower..... and I trained him so he tells me everything s delicious..
anywho Im excited to share some of my cooking tips and recipies with all of ya'll. Cooking is my passion and I dream of the day I can open a cafe or gourmet food truck.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes with Sea Salt Caramel Butter Cream adorned with a Chocolate Apple

Cake: Prep: 10 minutes Bake: 20 minutes
1 Trader Joes* Yellow Cake Mix
3 eggs
1 c (two sticks) Melted Butter
1 c Trader Joes Apple Cider
3 big Green Apples (I also got these from Trader Joes)
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon

Preheat Oven to 350 F
Core and peel apples, chop to desired size, the smaller the better.
Mix eggs and cider in mixing bowl, after butter has cooled from melting add it to the mix on low speed. Add the cake mix and turn to medium speed until combined, about a minute and a half. Then add cinnamon and apples.
Spoon into lined cupcake pan and bake for 20 minutes. I got 38 cupcakes doing this.
Cool in teh freezer for 5 minutes (just enough time to make the frosting!)

Frosting: Prep: 5 minutes
1/4 c. Trader Joes Sea Salt Caramel Topping
1 c (two sticks) Butter, softened NOT melted
5 c Powdered Sugar
1/4 c Heavy Cream

Cream butter and 4 cups of sugar in mixer. Add caramel topping and half the cream. Beat on medium high until well combined and the mix fluffs up, alternate the rest of the cream and sugar until you get to your desired consistency. You dont have to add all of it, thats just the amount that I used.

Chocolate Apple Topper: Prep: 2 minutes Shape: 10 minutes Dry: overnight
Half a bag of White Melting Chips
1 tsp of no taste Red Food Coloring
1 Tb of Green Melting chips
1 Tb of regular Chocolate Chips

Melt white chips and food coloring int he microwave for 30 second intervals stirring between each one until the food coloring is combined. This will create a mushy red concoction which will feel like hardened play dough.
After letting it cool for a minute, take about 1 teaspoon of this stuff and shape it into a ball tapering to a dull point at the bottom, lightly smash the bottom tapered part to a piece of parchment or wax paper so that it sits without toppling over.
Then take a toothpick (or the Wilton fondant shaping tool #4 smooth side) and carve a little hole in the middle of the top by sticking the toothpick in and tilting it while turning the little apple, then smooth it out with your finger.
(hopefully i will get some photos of the steps soon so i can post them)

Take the green and brown chips and place them into their own ziplock baggies making sure to squeeze all the air out and close securely.
Then place them into a cup of hot water or under the hot water faucet.
Squeeze the bag every few seconds to make sure all the chips are melting.
When the chips have melted, cut a TINY hole in the corner of the GREEN bag and squeeze out onto parchment or wax (i prefer parchment because they stick on the wax a little) into the shape of a small leaf.
With the brown chips, cut a TINY hole in the corner of the bag and squeeze in the shape of a 1/4 inch long line with a little bump on the top for the stem.
Let these dry overnight

Assemble the Apple
Take the apple body, squeeze some melted chocolate into the hole, place the stem in the hole. Squeeze some melted chocolate onto the top of the apple body near the stem and place the leaf onto it, let it dry for a few minutes before adding to the top of the cupcake.

* I use mostly trader joes ingredients because they are my favorite, they are the cheapest healthy stuff and they taste super good. You can really use any brand of ingredients.

♥Happy Baking!!♥

Friday, September 16, 2011

Home Made Beef Jerky

Prep: 10 minutes Bake: 12 Hours


1 lb Carne Asada (thin Beef steaks)
1 cup Soy sauce
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp Garlic powder (or 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced)
1/2 tsp powdered Ginger (or 1 tsp grated fresh Ginger Root)

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F
Place steaks in baking pan single layered (do not overlap). Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl and pour generously over steaks, rub all over the steaks to make sure the flavor is evenly distributed.
Bake at 200 F for 12 hours!
store in an airtight container in your fridge. (at our house the jerky does NOT last long enough to worry about going bad!)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Chocolate Sandwhich Cookies

Prep: 5 minutes
Bake: 10 minutes
Finish: 5 minutes


2 boxes of Dark Chocolate Cake Mix (preferably Duncan Hines)
4 eggs
2/3 c. of vegetable oil (or butter, or substitute)

heat oven to 350 F
Mix all ingredients until well combined. drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet, bake for 10 minutes. Allow cookies to to sit for a minute on the cookie sheet so they can harden enough to be moved. cool on wire rack.

8 ounce package of cream cheese
1 stick (or 1/2 c.) of butter
4 or 5 cups of Powdered Sugar
2 Tablespoons of milk for texture

Cream the cheese and butter in a mixer and slowly add sugar incorporating well. Add milk if the frosting is too thick. you want it kinda thick because your putting it between the cookies and you dont want it to squish out!

Assembling the Sandwich:
If youre like me then you made all your cookies a different size! So partner your cookies as much by size as you can! Then drop a spoonful of frosting on the flat side of one and squish the other one on top with the flat side down! (the flat side is the side that was on the pan while baking, you get it, right?)

Hawaiian Poke

This is a DELICIOUS recipe I found online on this Hawaiian website!

Poke is one of my favorite Hawaiian foods! When my sisters lived on Oahu, they took us to this little market ont he North Shore called the Kahuku Superette and we bought this stuff called Poke (pronounced poh-kee, or poh-kay) It is basically a raw tuna salad marinated in local seasonings. Very easy, very fast to make, and VERY delicious over a cup of hot white rice!

Warning, this dish is for adventurous eaters!

Prep: 10 minutes

2 lbs. Ahi Tuna, cubed into 1/2 to 3/4 inch squares
3 oz. Chopped Green onion
3 oz. Diced Onion
2 oz. Chopped Ogo (fresh seaweed)
1 tsp. Red Chili Flakes
2 tbs. Soy Sauce
2 tbs. Sesame oil
Hawaiian salt to taste

Secret Ingredient: Kukui nut

Combine in mixing bowl; add dry ingredients and chill.

i like how it tells you to chill at the end, lol just kidding.

I pretty much followed this recipe to a T, although I put SWEET onion instead and I did not add the kukui nuts, because there arent any where im from, but it was still good.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Trader Joes Guacamole Kit

Prep: 20 min


2 Ripe Avocados
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Shallot
1 Lime
1 Jalapeno Pepper*
1 Ripe Roma Tomato

Cut avocado in half, scoop into bowl.
Mince the garlic and shallot, place on top of avocado.
Chop tomato and jalapeno pepper. *if you want it less spicy make sure you leave out as many seeds as you can. Place in the bowl with the other ingredients.
Cut lime in half and squeeze juice into bowl.
Stir it up and enjoy with chips or as a garnish for enchiladas, nachos, tacos, etc.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

First Things First

Hello everyone, my name is Alise Lawrence. For those of you unfamiliar with me, I have known Sarah for...oh man, 18 years. For reasons I won't go into (sheer unadulterated laziness), I have been the silent / missing collaborator of this blog... until now. I have always enjoyed cooking, and so in October of 2006, I decided to enroll in and attend a culinary school named Kitchen Academy in Hollywood Ca. When I finished, I realized that the cooking repertoire of the home chef might potentially benefit from my own ideas and personal experiences gained from school and being a home chef myself. It is the sincere intent of myself, Sarah, and this blog to do exactly that, to give home chefs a leg up in the kitchen through techniques and inspiration.

Now that the introductions are out of the way, first things first: Aside from imagination, a chef can only be as creative as their tools and ingredients allow them to be. Not having all the necessary ( I say necessary because certain things like colanders or strainers, while nice to have, aren't detrimental to most cooking processes) tools can stop you from accomplishing even the most basic of tasks in the kitchen. That said, here is a list of things personal experience has taught me are handy to have in a kitchen. Most of them are probably already in your kitchen. Anything in parenthesis are good to have, but ultimately up to your discretion.


  • Kitchen / Chef's knife

  • Paring knife

  • Bread knife

  • (Filet / Boning knife)

  • Whisk

  • Mixing spoons

  • Spatula

  • Measuring spoons

  • Measuring cups, wet and dry, there is a difference

  • (Rubber spatula)

  • (Colander or a strainer)


  • Onions

  • Garlic

  • Rice

  • Potatoes

  • Pasta

  • Flour

  • Butter

  • Chicken, beef or vegetable bullion

  • (Carrots, celery...even I don't have these all the time)

  • (Canned or frozen vegetables)

  • Any spices of your choice (i.e. rosemary, thyme, basil, parsley, sage, bay leaves, pepper flakes.....)

Sorry this post was so long, but I felt that I had to make up for lost time...J/k. I'll be back soon with another couple of posts discussing basic stock making, and general ingredient substitutions in recipies. Always, Alise.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Slow Cooker Barbecue Pork

I dont usually do slow cooker recipes but since they are so easy and quick to assemble and cook all day long, It is sometimes faster than preparing everything all at once in the evening!

Prep: 1 minute Cook: 8 hours

1 - 28 oz bottle of your favorite BBQ Sauce (or homemade)
1 - 5lb pork loin

Make sure your pork fits into the slow cooker, cut it if you have to. Pour Bbq sauce onto pork. cook on LOW for 8 hours. Serve on a bun or eat it straight out of the slow cooker!