Bec’s Potato Chowder

I’ve grown fond of creating my own soups. The first one of the winter didn’t turn out so well, but today’s was delish. Here’s what I did… 

1) Into the crockpot, pour approximately 2 cups of chicken broth and 1-2 cups of water. Add desired amounts of chopped carrots and onions. Add chunks of turkey leftover from Thanksgiving. Sprinkle a bit of parsley and garlic salt. Turn to high, and then back to low because you just don’t know which is better. Cook for a few hours. 

2) Wander back into kitchen, sniff crockpot’s contents, then notice a few raggedy potatoes left in the sack. Peel and dice 4 potatoes, add to chowder. Toss in a can of corn. Wander out of kitchen. 

3) Two hours before dinnertime, begin checking recipe books so that you don’t destroy another batch of soup. Then add more garlic salt, pepper, parsley and thyme to the crockpot. Cut 1/2 lb of Velveeta into chunks and stir into chowder. Turn crockpot to high for good measure. After playing around with the idea of combining a few TBs of flour and a cup of 1% milk, discover about 1 cup of perfectly decent sour cream and add it to the soup.  

4) Give thanks and eat. And eat and eat and eat. (I’ve tucked away 3 bowls in as many hours.)  

Waffles and Yogurt

It’s as simple as the title implies — I’m always looking for easy breakfast ideas that don’t leave me feeling like I need to go take a nap.  This has become one of my faves, and I’ve found ways to use the yogurt on EVERYTHING because I like it so much.

Waffles (whole-wheat Eggos, Kashi, or homemade — I’ll get to in another post)
Dannon All-Natural vanilla yogurt (THE BEST!)
Fruit (bananas, blueberries, strawberries — whatever your little heart desires!)

1.  Prepare the waffles (toasting, etc).
2.  Slather on some yogurt.
3.  Top with some fruit (and just for instruction’s sake, you can slice the banana.. it might look strange and be hard to eat if you don’t).
4. EAT!

How simple (and yummy) is that?!

Bacon-wrapped dates

I know they sound weird, but I promise you, they are yum-o! So far for us, they’ve been a crowd-pleaser.  And I’d never had dates before eating them like this.. and I don’t think I’ll eat them any other way..

1 Box of dates
1 package of bacon (may not use it all)

1.  Open dates, take bacon, and wrap one whole piece around a date.  Secure the bacon by shoving a toothpick through the date+bacon.
2. Place dates on cookie sheet or in shallow pan.  Bake at 350 for however long (not an exact science, maybe 10mins? I don’t know.. keep checking them and don’t blame me if they burn), making sure to turn them over once (the toothpicks work nicely for this).
3.  Let cool for five minutes, and serve away!

Butternut Squash Soup

This recipe is an old favorite. Until Brook made up a batch recently, I had nearly forgotten about it because I’m on my own eating it in this household (ask Jason what he thinks about chickpeas).


  • 1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon (more or less) butter
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons cumin (maybe a pinch more)
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Microwave the butternut squash for 2 minutes (makes it easier to peel)
  2. Cut in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and gook (think pumpkin carving), and peel the outer skin off.
  3. Cut the squash into 1/2-inch cubes (should look like this).
  4. Meanwhile, sautee the onion in melted butter (while you fuss with the squash).
  5. When the onions are soft, add the remaining ingredients plus the squash.
  6. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the squash is tender, about 30 minutes.

Butter-Baked Masterpiece

Via Bad Banana Blog.

Caramel-Pecan Apple Pie

Caramel-Pecan Apple Pie

Though my favorite apple pie recipe is a delicious Sour Cream Apple Pie from, I found this recipe in the Oct/Nov Taste of Home magazine—and it turned out to be quite yummy. Happy early Thanksgiving!

Pie & Filling
1 unbaked pastry shell (9 inches)
7 C sliced peeled tart apples
1 t lemon juice
1 t vanilla
3/4 C chopped pecans
1/3 C packed brown sugar
3 T sugar
4-1/2 t ground cinnamon
1 T cornstarch
1/4 C caramel ice cream topping, room temp
3 T butter, melted

In a large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice and vanilla. Combine the pecans, sugars, cinnamon and cornstarch; add to apple mixture and toss to coat. Pour caramel topping over bottom of pastry shell; top with apple mixture (shell will be full). Drizzle with butter.

Streusel Topping
3/4 C all-purpose flour
2/3 C chopped pecans
1/4 C sugar
6 T cold butter
1/4 C caramel ice cream topping, room temp

In a small bowl, combine the flour, pecans and sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over filling.

Bake at 350 for 55-65 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is browned. Immediately drizzle with caramel topping. Cool on wire rack.

Yield: 8 servings.

Culinary Literacy

The James Beard Book Awards Committee has named the following 20 cookbooks as essential for building a culinary library:

American Cookery (BBS Publishing Corporation, 1996), James Beard
Authentic Mexican: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico (William Morrow Cookbooks, 2007), Rick Bayless
Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook (Better Homes and Gardens, 2004)
Classic Indian Cooking (William Morrow Cookbooks, 1980), Julie Sahni
Complete Techniques (Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 2001), Jacques Pépin and Léon Pererr
Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking (Macmillan, 1995), Marcella Hazan
How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food (Wiley, 2006), Mark Bittman
The Joy of Cooking (Scribner, 2006), Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker
The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion: The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook (Countryman Press, 2003)
Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1999), Maida Heatter
Martha Stewart’s Hors d’Oeuvres Handbook (Clarkson Potter, 1999), Martha Stewart
Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume One (Knopf, 2001), Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck
The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking: Techniques and Recipes (William Morrow Cookbooks, 1996) Barbara Tropp
The New Food Lover’s Companion (Barron’s Educational Series, 2007), Sharon Tyler Herbst
The Oxford Companion to Wine (Oxford University Press, 2007), Jancis Robinson
Rick Stein’s Complete Seafood (Ten Speed Press, 2004), Rick Stein
The Silver Palate Cookbook (Workman Publishing Company, 2007), Sheila Lukins and Julie Rosso
The Thrill of the Grill: Techniques, Recipes, and Down-Home Barbecue (William Morrow Cookbooks, 2002), Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby
Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (Broadway, 2007), Deborah Madison
The Way to Cook (Knopf, 1993), Julia Child