Roasted Tomato Soup


I love having lunch with my girl friends. I mean, hanging out and making exceptional food together and then eating like queens is what it's all about. 

This lunch was so fun and delicious. Sydney, my son's girlfriend, and I share the same love for food and the sheer bliss of the preparation of it. We love it so much, we're pretty sure the world is going to see our cute faces on the Food Network in the near future. My show will be with a slew of kids in the backdrop with a toddler crying at my legs and Syd's show will be professional, fun and perfect. Both shows will be sure to entertain and inspire; you won't want to miss. I promise. 

Ok, I digress... our lunch menu was a robust, roasted tomato soup and a caramelized onion and gruyere grilled cheese. The grilled cheese was even made with our rustic loaf bread, made from scratch. Um, yeah. So, whether you choose to forgo the rustic bread from scratch thing to make your lunch dreams come true or just use a rustic loaf from your nearest grocer, it will still be amazingly divine. 

Enjoy the close friendships in your life. Prepare, eat and enjoy good food together, share a wonderful time and make some memories. It's what life's all about.


Roasted Tomato Soup:

Ingredients:
3 lbs. ripe roma tomatoes cut lengthwise
good olive oil
1 tbsp. salt
1 1/2 black pepper
2 cups chopped yellow onions
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 28-oz. can of tomatoes with their juice
4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 quart chicken stock
1/2 cup cream



Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.

In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter, and the red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and the chicken stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Using an emulsion blender, make smooth to your liking--we enjoyed having some yummy chunks in there too. Add your cream and blend until incorporated.

Ladle into bowls and top with julienned basil and parmesan cheese.

Recipe adapted from Ina garden Food Network

Click here for the caramelized onion and gruyere grilled cheese HERE



Rustic Artisanal Bread


I have been implementing family Sunday dinner at my home and it's been delightful. This new tradition insures I get to see my two older kids that are out of the house and to create a tradition with all my children that Sundays are for family. Everyone is welcome: girlfriends, boyfriends, and sometimes friends, too, I don't care...the more the merrier. All I know, is that I can look around that big farm table and see all my babies. Every. Single. One of them. With kids, especially older ones with such busy schedules, my husband and I look forward to this time.

My first introduction into this amazing artisanal bread was from my son's girlfriend, Sydney, a beauty inside and out, who not only is an amazing cook and creative, but a wonderful friend. She had brought some baguettes fresh out of her oven to accompany my spaghetti and meatball, Sunday dinner and the crowd went wild!

Sooooo, we decided to make this for a lunch we planned to have together in a couple days and we decided that we deserved to eat like queens. And eat like queens we did! The menu proved to be classy and amazing-- gruyere and caramelized onion, grilled cheese using the bread we made and roasted tomato soup. Oh, we had a good time. We prepped this bread 2 days before our lunch and all we had to do was watch the dough rise and bubble for those 2 days. No touching it, no moving or having to feed or knead it, just watch--and maybe smell the deliciousness, too.  Insanely easy. Insanely good. Where has this bread recipe been all my life?

Sydney and I's lunch was the bomb. This bread had all the familiarities of a fine bakery's artisanal bread but the fact it was pulled out of our oven made it taste ever more sublime and made us squeal with excitement. To make something this exquisite was something to behold and celebrate. You can eat this alone, with butter, dunked in a balsamic vinaigrette---geeze, I don't need to tell you how to eat something, you'll know, just let your taste buds lead you.

Enjoy!

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Rustic homemade yeasted bread:

425g (15oz)bread flour
375g (14oz)water
1 heaping tbsp. course ground salt
1/4 tsp. dried yeast
semolina, optional

1. Put all your ingredients into a large bowl and mix until just combined. 

2. Cover with cling wrap and leave overnight for at least 8 but preferably 12 hours.

3. Form your loaf. Place a generous amount of flour on your kitchen counter. Scoop dough out onto the flour then sprinkle generously with more flour. Gently fold the edges from the outside to form a round loaf.

4. Place more flour on a clean tea towel. Place loaf with the rough top side down. Sprinkle with semolina, if using, or more flour. Cover. 

5. Place a large oven proof dish with a lid in the oven. I used my medium sized, dutch oven. Preheat oven and the pan to the hottest setting for at least 1/2 hour.

6. Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven. Remove lid. Sprinkle a little semolina, in the base of the pan. Gently place loaf in the pan inverted so that the rougher surface is now on the top. Don't worry about smoothing it out or having it centered--it will work itself out in the oven. Score the top of the dough with a sharp knife, making some slashes. You'll love the look of these grooves when baked.

7. Pop the lid back on and bake for 30 minutes.

8. Remove the lid and turn the oven down to 400 F bake for a further    15 minutes until the loaf is deep brown. 

9. Cool on a wire rack uncovered for at least 30 minutes.

Recipe adapted from TheStoneSoup.com

Check out the rest of our lunch: caramelized onion and gruyere grilled cheese and roasted tomato soup.


M&M Oatmeal Monster Cookies



These are the bomb! 

They are loaded with mini M & Ms, oatmeal and chocolate chunks, so that pretty much make these amazing. Crispy yet chewy...ya know, just plain amazing! What I love about making monster cookies is that they make a statement, like, "Hello, I'm pretty special you know...". 

Perfect for adults for after-dinner dessert, perfect for kids, perfect for anyone! Enjoy!

Makes about 2 dozen monster cookies. I use a large ice cream scoop.
Ingredients: 

4 sticks of softened butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla

2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
2 cups rolled oats (not quick oats)
3 cups flour

2-3 bags mini M&Ms (the 3rd bag is an extra bag for topping)
1 bag of chocolate semi-sweet chocolate chunks

Directions:

Beat the butter and sugars until creamy
add eggs and beat one at a time until well beat
add vanilla, mix.

Turn mixer off and add all the dry ingredients. Mix until well incorporated but do not over mix. Add candies and chocolate chunks, stir until all mixed in evenly.

Scoop onto large baking sheet (about 6 cookie dough balls) and press slightly with your palm. I like to press on a ton of extra M&Ms to give it that, "wow" appeal! 

bake-off for 8 minutes or until lightly golden brown. I like to keep mine on the cookie sheet out of the oven for a bit for carry-over baking. Cool onto cooling sheets and viola! Best cookie of your life!




the best low carb pizza crust EVER!



This low carb pizza crust is the BOMB!!! It's considered the holy grail of low carb pizza crusts and with one bite, you'll know why. I'm pretty sure the person that made this crust up is famous, if not, he or she should be. I've made other low carb pizza crusts using almond flour and tried the new trend of using cauliflower but nothing but this has tasted so good. It is made up of mainly cheese and that's what makes it so dang good! It's a crust you can pick-up and eat, it tastes even better the next day, believe me, you'll never miss eating pizza on the low carb diet with this pizza crust in your arsenal. Summer bikini body, here I come! Ha! Well, maybe...



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Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups shredded cheeses ( a mixture of mozzarella and cheddar is best)
1 dollop of cream cheese
3/4 cup plus or minus almond flour
1 egg

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Directions:
Place the cheese in a medium microwave save bowl and microwave until melted. Once cooled, add the rest of the ingredients with just a spoon and then using your hands form a ball adding enough almond flour to get the right consistency. 

Spread out onto parchment paper or an oil pizza pan or baking sheet. Spread out with your hands until fairly thin and even. Pop in the oven and bake till the edges start to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven, top with your favorite sauce, mine is the bomb, load with toppings  and put back in the oven until it's bubbly golden brown. 

Now give it a try! Insane isn't it? Let me know how you like it below...you'll thank me that I found this recipe. Your low carbing just got easier...

Adapted from Cooky's Creations



quick, no-rise pizza crust




This pizza crust is amazing and the best part is that it is quick, no-rise, and only a handful of ingredients. This pizza crust is also my go-to thin crust recipe. Crisp, chewy--delicious!! You're going to need this pizza dough recipe. It's the thin crust, easy, no-rise recipe you've all been waiting for! Pair with my easy and delicious pizza sauce and you're set!

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Ingredients:
3 cups flour
1 package of active dry yeast
2 tbsp. light olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar
1 cup warm water (You may need to add a little more warm water, adding a tbsp. at at time until you get a nice soft dough.)

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Mix all the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl, add oil and warm water and mix until it forms a nice dough ball.

Roll out thin and place onto your pizza pan or baking sheet, top with my sauce, your favorite toppings and place in your hot oven for about 12-15 minutes. 

There you have it. Dinner in minutes!!! And this crust? Amazing, thin, chewy and crispy; all you'd ever want in a pizza crust! 

Enjoy!
Adapted from AllRecipes

no bake peanut butter bars (low carb and gluten free)




These are by far the best low carb bars on the planet. I've tried a lot, from homemade to the Atkins bars, um yeah, you can tell they're low carb. But these??? NO. They are that good, my kids ate them all up because they had no idea. Now I need to hide 'em!

I'm so glad I found these. Try them, you'll thank me...

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Ingredients:

3/4 cup almond flour
3/4 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut
3/4 cup equivalent powdered sweetener (Use coconut sugar for Paleo)
1 cup + 2 tbsp. peanut butter (you can use any nut butter)
2 tbsp coconut oil
4 1/2 oz. dark chocolate

Instructions:

  • In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut, and sweetener.
  • Over medium-low heat (I just put the ingredients in a bowl and microwaved for 40 second increments until melted) melt 1 cup of peanut butter and coconut oil
  • Once melted, add the peanut butter mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well
  • Press the mixture into an 8 x 8 baking dish
  • Over medium low heat (or use your microwave) and melt together the 2 tbsp. peanut butter and chocolate, stir until smooth and pour over your peanut butter bars. Smooth out and refrigerate for at least 2 hours until set 
  • Cut into 12 even bars
No Bake peanut butter bars are 5.5 net carbs per serving




low carb & gluten free chocolate chip cookies


I'm on the low carb diet. Again. I do really well on it and lose the most weight when I watch my carbs. These cookies were such a hit my whole family gobbled them up. I tried not to be frustrated, after all, they are good for them, but come'on! I'm the one who can't eat sugar and wheat!!! Gimme a break! You're going to enjoy these...but you might want to hide them. 

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Ingredients:

3 eggs
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

3/4 cup sf. sweetener, I used erythritol that I found on Amazon, or you could use xylitol, or swerve or coconut sugar for my Paleo friends.
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/3 cup coconut flour
1 cup almond meal (found mine in the health market of my favorite grocery store
4 oz. dark chocolate

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix your eggs, butter, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg together in your mixing bowl and beat well. Add you dry ingredients and your chocolate chips and stir until incorporated.

Spray your baking sheets with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Spoon mounds onto baking sheet and press down slightly. Bake off for 12-15 minutes. 




And eat up! These. are. good. Enjoy!!

Adapted from Grass Fed Girl