Spring Green Asparagus Soup

There is almost nothing I like to make more than soup.  There is almost nothing I like to eat more than a smooth, pureed soup.  Maybe chocolate.  Make it vegetarian by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.  I like Better Than Bullion concentrated bases that come in a jar.

  • 2 T. butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 small leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced
  • 2 yellow potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 C. chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 large bunch of asparagus, about 1.5 pounds, diced
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 C. buttermilk
  • olive oil, optional

In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onion, leeks, potatoes, and celery.  Cook and stir for about ten minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften.  Add the garlic and cook for one minute.  Add the broth and bring to a boil.  Allow the veggies to boil for about 5 minutes.  Add the asparagus and cook until tender, about 6-8 minutes.

Puree with an immersion blender, until very smooth.  Stir in buttermilk.  Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed.  Serve with a little drizzle of olive oil on top.

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Toasted Coconut Energy Bars


If you regularly buy Larabars, Lunabars, or other energy bar, you should really try these!  They are easy and quick to make, and if you buy ingredients in bulk, you will save some money in the process.  At my local grocery store, I buy Larabars for about $1.25 a bar. This recipe makes 12 bars, and I estimate I spent about 7 dollars on the ingredients. Another terrific thing about these is that they are made completely without refined sugar, they are gluten-free, and naturally vegan, but they are decadently sweet and delicious. You need to look for a product called Earth Balance Coconut Spread. I found it at New Seasons. Do not substitute solidified coconut oil – it doesn’t have the buttery flavor we’re going for. You could try regular earth balance, but I think the coconut spread has amazing flavor.

  • 2 C. raw, unsalted cashews
  • 1 C. unsweetened, shredded coconut, I used the big flakes from Bob’s Red Mill
  • 1 scant C. pitted dates, loosely packed
  • 1 pinch of Kosher salt
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 C. Earth Balance coconut spread

Heat the oven to 300 degrees.  Spread the cashews and coconut on a parchment lined baking sheet and toast for about 5 minutes, or until they just start to turn golden brown. Set aside about 1/4 C. of the toasted coconut.  Pulse the nuts, the rest of the coconut, dates, salt, and cinnamon in the food processor until crumbled.  Add the coconut spread and process until a dough-like ball begins to form. Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper.  Press the mixture into the pan evenly. Sprinkle the reserved coconut flakes on top and press in lightly to adhere.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least two hours.  Cut into 12 bars.  Wrap the bars in parchment or wax paper individually so that they don’t stick together. Store in the fridge.




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Festive Aperol Spritz


Aperol, where have you been all my life? You delicious, bitter-in-a-good-way, orangey, golden-pink, teensy-bit-sweet, apertivo! If you like Manhattans, or other not-too-sweet and slightly bitter flavors, you will really enjoy Aperol.  It’s an Italian apertivo that’s made with bitter orange, and has the most incredible cantaloupe color, perfect for festive holiday mixing.  Makes 2

Combine the gin, Aperol, and bitters in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until the outside of the shaker frosts over, about 15 seconds.  Strain into a cocktail glass and pour the prosecco on top.  Garnish with an orange peel twist.


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Almond Apricot Amaretti


Hands down, my family’s favorite holiday cookie! Amaretti are traditional Italian cookies made with almonds, sugar, and egg whites.  If you buy amaretti they are usually quite crispy and crunchy.  These amaretti are soft and chewy on the inside and a bit crisp around the edges.  In Sicily these would have a candied cherry in the middle.  The dried apricots give them a really nice fruity flavor and chewy texture.  Adapted from Eat The Love.   They are also naturally gluten free!

  • 2 1/2 C. almond meal or almond flour (the ingredients should list only almonds)
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 chopped dried apricots (mine were soft and chewy, not too dry)
  • More sugar and powdered sugar for rolling

Heat the oven to 300 degrees.  In the food processor, pulse the almond meal and sugars until combined.  Add the extracts and egg whites and pulse until a dough forms.  Pulse in the apricots until combined.  The dough will be sticky- that’s ok.  Roll the dough into 1 inch balls.  It will stick to your hands, just go with it.  Roll the balls first in white sugar, then in powdered sugar.  Place the dough balls about an inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for about 24 minutes.  Let them rest for a minute before removing them to a wire rack to cool.  Keep these wrapped at room temperature, but they also freeze very well.  You will want to make a second batch of these, they are sooo good.

Posted in Dessert, Gluten Free, Holidays and Special Occasions, Italian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Holiday Leftover Recipe Roundup


Potato Chive Fritters

You have a fridge full of leftovers.  If you are like me, you made extra food on purpose so there would be a fridge full of leftovers.  Don’t pass up the opportunity to make a batch of stock with your turkey bones, ham bones, or beef bones.  Throw it all in a big pot with a few veggies and water and you’ll have stock in your freezer for months. Click on the chicken stock recipe link below for more details.  Here are some ideas for your leftovers!

Turkey Macaroni Bake

Ham and White Bean Soup

Ham and Egg Pies

Turkey Croquettes

Potato Chive Fritters

Savory Meatloaf with Leftover Stuffing

Creamy Cauliflower Bake

Making Chicken (or Turkey) Stock

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Here is a collection of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes for 2015. Enjoy! 


Apple Cider Brined Turkey



Turkey Roulade with Prune and Pine Nut Stuffing


Classic Brined and Roasted Turkey


Herb Marinated Turkey with Toasted Bread Salad


Holiday Turkey Roulade 


Vegan Mushroom Sage Stuffing


Herb Garden Stuffing


Wild Rice Stuffing 


Creamy Whipped Butternut Squash


Spiced Moroccan Yams 


Simple Cranberry Orange Sauce 


Balsamic Glazed Delicata Squash 


Spicy Caramelized Squash 


Spinach Salad With Oranges and Bacon


Orange and Fennel Salad 


Company Cashews


Freeform Apple Pie 


Classic Pumpkin Pie 


Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes in Mason Jars 




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Herb Marinated Turkey with Toasted Bread Salad


This succulent turkey starts out with an easy marinade of fresh herbs, oil and lemon. Next, it marinates for 24 hours and is then roasted, breast-side-down for extra juiciness. The best part?  It’s super easy to make!  Toasted bread salad is a lighter, earthier version of stuffing. Rather than being soggy, it has an irresistible, chewy texture a bit of crunch from toasted hazelnuts, and a bit of sweetness from dried currants. Make it vegan by substituting veggie broth for pan drippings.

For the Turkey:

  • 1 18-24lb. turkey, thawed, rinsed, and patted dry.  (It can take up to 5 days for a turkey to completely thaw in the fridge, so plan accordingly!)
  • 2 C. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 C. fresh dill, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 C. fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/4 C. fresh thyme leaves (a few stems are ok)
  • 1/2 C. fresh marjoram leaves
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 3 t. salt
  • 1 t. pepper
  • 1/2 C. olive oil


Prepare the turkey for the marinade by rinsing it all over with cold water and then patting it dry with paper towels, inside and out. Combine all the herbs, salt, pepper, and oil in the food processor and pulse it into a pesto-like consistency.


Use your hands to loosen and lift the skin that covers the breast and legs of the turkey.  Rub the marinade all over the turkey, under the skin, inside the cavity, top and bottom.  Use up all the marinade.


Place some of the herb stems, or any extra herbs you have, and the zested lemons, cut in half, into the cavity of the turkey.  Cover the turkey tightly with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge overnight. Bring the turkey out of the fridge one hour before roasting to bring it to room temperature.


Wipe the excess marinade off the top of the turkey so it doesn’t burn. Place the turkey, breast-side up, in a roasting pan with a v-shaped rack.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cross the legs one over the other and secure them with twine. Roast for 30 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.  Turn the turkey completely over, breast-side down.  Continue roasting for another 2-3 hours, depending on the size of your bird. The temperature of the breast should be about 165 degrees.  The problem is, that the turkey will continue to cook for twenty to thirty minutes after it comes out of the oven, so I usually take it out of the oven when the temperature is at 155 degrees. (please follow USDA guidelines if you feel more comfortable) When the turkey is done the legs will be pulling apart from the bird and the juices will run clear. Let the turkey rest, covered in foil for at least 1 hour before carving. Reserve the pan drippings for the bread salad.

For the Toasted Bread Salad:

  • 1 loaf of crusty Italian or French bread, day old
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 C. dried currants
  • 1 1/2 C. celery, chopped
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 T. dried sage
  • 1/4 C. marsala or sherry
  • 1/2 C. hazelnuts
  • 1/2 C. turkey pan drippings or veggie broth
  • 1/4 C. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3-4 C. fresh baby arugula

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice off most of the crust of the loaf of bread, then tear it into bite-sized chunks. Place the bread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until the bread is toasted but still chewy, about ten minutes.


Cover the currants with hot water to soak and plump while you cook the veggies. Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the celery, onion, and shallot until softened, about 8 minutes.  Add the garlic and sage and cook one minute longer. Stir in the marsala and cook until the liquid evaporates, about two or three minutes.  Remove from heat and place the veggies into a large bowl.  Toast the hazelnuts in a dry pan until they begin to release their oils and start to turn golden brown.  Remove from heat and coarsely chop.  Toss the bread with the veggies, nuts, drained currants and arugula. Pour the pan drippings and lemon juice over the bread and toss to combine.  Taste for seasoning.  Pack the mixture into a baking dish.  Give it one more drizzle of olive oil.  Bake until heated through and toasted and golden brown on top, about 15-20 minutes.










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