“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand - and melting like a snowflake.”
- Francis Bacon

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Wonderful Hearty French Onion Soup

It's the New Year. It's hitting the single digits in my neck of the woods. It is so cold that the snow creaks when you walk on it sounding like similar to the leather rubbing on a saddle when you are riding.

So, with that in thought in mind I'll be sharing some of my favorite soups with you. There's just something about the chopping and stirring and bubbling and aroma of a good soup when the weather is cold. Almost like it feeds you twice. Once for your soul and once for your body.


2 teaspoons olive oil
4 cups thinly vertically sliced Walla Walla or other sweet onion
4 cups thinly vertically sliced red onion
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 cups beef broth
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
8 (1-ounce) slices French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
8 (1-ounce) slices Swiss cheese


Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions to pan; sauté for 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in sugar, pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat to medium; cook 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Increase heat to medium-high, and sauté for 5 minutes or until onion is golden brown. Stir in wine, and cook for 1 minute. Add broth and thyme; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2 hours.

Preheat broiler.

Place bread in a single layer on a baking sheet; broil 2 minutes or until toasted, turning after 1 minute.

Place 8 ovenproof bowls on a jelly-roll pan. Ladle 1 cup soup into each bowl. Divide bread evenly among bowls; top each serving with 1 cheese slice. Broil 3 minutes or until cheese begins to brown.

Friday, January 01, 2010

♫Happy New Year♫ Out with the old and in with the new☺

Wishing all of you a blessed New Year filled with loving family times and memories that will warm you when the cold winds blow throughout 2010.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

♥Easy as pie Savory Yogurt Cheesecake with Carmelized Onions♥

As fussy and fancy as it looks, this is basically a low-cost ricotta cheesecake nestled in a pie crust (store-bought works fine) and topped with sautéed onions. Bake the cheesecake in advance and caramelize onions on the day of the party. I ♥ this recipe because it isn't the same-old-same-old that you see on a buffet surrounded with crackers. This will not only gain you compliments it will be gone in a heartbeat so you'd better make a couple to serve your hungry guests.

Serve with crackers or toasted baguette slices. Prepare the onions while the crust bakes.

Yield: about 10 servings (serving size: 1 cheesecake wedge and about 2 tablespoons onions)

1 (32-ounce) carton plain low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup (4 ounces) block-style fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg yolk

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup ice water
Cooking spray


1 teaspoon butter
8 cups sliced onion (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme


To prepare filling, place colander in a 2-quart glass measure or medium bowl. Line colander with 4 layers of cheesecloth, allowing cheesecloth to extend over outside edges. Spoon yogurt into colander. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; refrigerate 12 hours. Spoon 1 3/4 cups yogurt cheese into a bowl; discard liquid. Place cream cheese in a bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add the yogurt cheese, ricotta cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and egg yolk. Beat at low speed just until blended.

Preheat oven to 350º.

To prepare crust, lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Place flour, cornmeal, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and dash of pepper in a food processor; pulse 3 times or until combined. Add 2 1/2 tablespoons butter; pulse 4 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal. With processor on, add ice water through food chute, processing just until moist (do not form a ball). Press cornmeal mixture into bottom of an 8-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350º for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

To prepare onions, while crust bakes melt 1 teaspoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion; cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover and cook 25 minutes or until browned and tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in thyme.

Spread the yogurt mixture into prepared crust. Bake at 350º for 35 minutes or until almost set. Cool on a wire rack. (Cheesecake will continue to set as it cools.) Serve at room temperature. Cut cheesecake into wedges, and serve with onions.

Have a great time tonight, everyone but remember NEVER, EVER DRINK AND DRIVE!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

♥Sparkling New Year's Eve Cupcakes♥ Start 2010 with a touch of class!

Champagne frosted cupcakes bring in the New Year with sparkle! Dress up your favorite flavor of cupcakes adding a little bit of sparkle to end the old year and to bring in the new. Display on your buffet or dining table with a few of these cutie pies sitting atop a few of your martini or wine glasses. Use edible glitter to bring out their best side as you ring in 2010. (Non-alcoholic champagne can be purchased at Walmart, Sam's Club and a variety of other well known stores.)

Champagne Frosting

3/4 cup shortening (Crisco vegetable shortening works the best)
3/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons champagne (non-alcoholic champagne is easily found at a variety of stores)
4 1/2 cups XXX powdered sugar

In a bowl beat shortening and butter until combined. Beat in champagne. Beat in sifted powdered sugar.

If necessary, beat in additional champagne to make frosting spreading consistency. Add strawberry, orange, or vanilla flavoring if you wish. Top frosted cupcakes with edible glitter! What a great way to usher out a decade that, by all accounts, really fell flat!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Enjoy only 240 calories in a slice of Blood Orange Cake

Sure, this takes a little time but you've just spent the past two months running around and working in the kitchen and planning with paper and pen for EVERYONE BUT YOURSELF. Make this for YOU. You deseve something not only absolutely delicious but beautiful all at the same time. Share it if you must - but keep most of it for yourself!☺After all, you've just made a resolution to lose weight next year, right? This cake will help you keep on goal.

Blood oranges are used three ways in this dessert: syrup made with fresh juice is brushed onto the cake's layers; chopped sections are tossed with mint as a filling; and whole sections garnish the top of the cake. You can make the layers ahead and keep them frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature and then assemble. This cake is best served within 2 hours of assembling.


Cooking spray
4 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted

1 (16-ounce) carton plain yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
5 cups blood orange sections (about 3 blood oranges)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

1 cup blood orange juice (about 2 blood oranges)
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Mint sprigs (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°.

To prepare cake, coat an 8-inch round cake pan with cooking spray; line bottom of pan with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray.

Combine eggs, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, and salt in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at high speed 2 minutes. Gradually add 1/2 cup granulated sugar, beating until egg mixture is thick and pale (about 3 minutes). Gently fold flour into egg mixture, 1/4 cup at a time. Spoon batter into prepared pan.

Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

To prepare filling, place a colander in a 2-quart glass measure or medium bowl. Line colander with 4 layers of cheesecloth, allowing cheesecloth to extend over outside edges. Spoon yogurt into colander. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; refrigerate 12 hours.

Spoon yogurt cheese into a large bowl; discard liquid. Add honey and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla to yogurt, stirring well with a whisk.

Combine cream and powdered sugar in a medium bowl, and beat with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Gently stir one-fourth of the cream mixture into yogurt mixture; gently fold in remaining cream mixture. Cover and chill 15 minutes.

Arrange blood orange sections in a single layer on several layers of paper towels, and let stand 5 minutes. Reserve half of the sections; roughly chop remaining sections. Combine chopped orange sections and chopped mint. Cover and chill.

To prepare syrup, combine juice and 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a small saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a whisk. Reduce heat; simmer until reduced to 1/4 cup (about 15 minutes). Remove from heat; cool.

Split cake in half horizontally using a serrated knife; place bottom layer, cut side up, on a plate. Brush with 2 tablespoons syrup. Spread with half of yogurt mixture, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Sprinkle chopped blood orange mixture.