Friday, December 2, 2016

Fridays, Feasting with Friends Featuring Kelly Morse

"One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating. And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends."
~Laurie Colwin 'Home Cooking'

I am so excited to to revive a feature of my blog called Fridays, Feasting with Friends.  This is where each Friday I will feature a different friend, family member, and other foodies, chat with them a bit in a little interview and then share one of their favorite recipes.  This was easily my favorite day of the week here in My Retro Kitchen and I am thrilled to get this going again. 

Today's guest is my very talented friend Kelly Morse.  I first met Kelly when Aaron, my youngest, was a newborn.  I was looking to have booties made to match one of my beloved woven wraps and admired those belonging to a mutual friend on Instagram.  She told me that Sew Crunchy was the absolute BEST and pointed me her way.  

teeny tiny Aaron in his perfect little shoes

Not only is Sew Crunchy amazing but Kelly is probably one of the sweetest ladies I have had the pleasure getting to know! I often find myself grateful for social media.  It has repeatedly offered me so many ways to connect with people from all over that I may not have met otherwise.  The internet is such an incredible place!  And now without further ado, I bring you Kelly Morse.  

Kelly Morse

What do you do for a living?
I am officially a stay at home mom. But I also own my own business, Sew Crunchy, where I make soft sole kids shoes and a few other things. I've recently also became a consultant for Perfectly Posh, a naturally based pampering company. So between my kids and two home businesses, I'm very busy!

-->What is your favorite thing to cook?Anything my kids will eat without a fuss :P But truthfully I don't love to cook. I might like the end result, but the planning and clean up is what kills my cooking mojo. I usually cook things that my husband likes, (he works so hard at his job so a good meal is what I like for him to come home to) so I usually do more comfort foods, creamy soups, breads and casseroles.

-->How about your least favorite thing to cook?
-->Anything involving RAW chicken. Ick. I'm usually picky and buy boneless skinless chicken breasts or cutlets, so the touching is minimal.
What is your favorite local restaurant and what is one you are dying to try out?
We live in a small town in northwest Indiana. My favorite local restaurant is called Mi Ranchito. It is a family owned Mexican restaurant that has the best chips and salsa plus margaritas of course! We have an upscale restaurant called McVey's that I'd love to try and have a date night with my husband there sometime.

Music and food go together so beautifully. You are hosting a dinner party, what would be on your playlist?
Themed music. A lot of my events focus around holidays or birthdays. So Christmas events will have Christmas music, and so on. If it's just me cooking, I'll have praise music on.

What would you choose to be your last meal on earth?
Everything on the menu at any mexican restaurant, a pizza buffet, baklava, a dessert table, donuts, iced coffee, bread and butter, spinach and artichoke dip, buffalo chicken dip.

What are you currently reading?
I don't read :P It's true. Between three kids, two businesses, and a very active gym life, I hardly have time to sit down. If there's ever quiet time, I'm usually found browsing Pinterest.

What is your favorite Kitchen Gadget?
My favorite kitchen item is my kitchenaid mixer. I love to bake desserts and am recently starting to make bread so when I bought it a few years ago, my cooking life was forever changed.

Do you have a signature go-to dish?
Tacos, haha. It sounds super basic but I usually have all the items I need to make it between my pantry and fridge. Just brown up some ground turkey, start some black beans, cut up the toppings and it can be done in half an hour.

What is your favorite thing about your hometown?
I live in Lowell, Indiana. What I love most is the small town feel. We don't have any huge chain stores, so it's not at all congested and I love that.

Do you have a favorite meal from your childhood and do you cook it today?
My mom was a very good cook and involved me and my sister in the kitchen a lot. She never used recipes, just sort of always winged it. The meals I make now that reminds me of my mom is lasagna and meatloaf. She always could throw those meals together pretty quickly and on a budget, so I love to cook both for my family.

Top 3 Movies of all time?
Matilda, Bring it on and Enough.

What was your happiest moment in life?
The birth of each of my three children. All I ever wanted to be was a mom, so it's such a great pleasure to have my babies and to be able to stay home and raise them.

Where do you do your grocery shopping?
I do all of my shopping at Aldi and Costco. Aldi is mostly for weekly items, dairy, produce, fruit. Costco is about once every 3-4 weeks and we stock up on dry goods and meat.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure when it comes to food?
I love dips! Spinach artichoke, cheese dip, spinach dip, all of them! I can't hardly control myself at holiday parties with all the yummy appetizers.

Do you have Culinary Resolutions that you would like to accomplish this year?
I definitely need to add a few different meals into our rotation. Sometimes I get in a cooking rut and just rotate the same few meals. My family doesn't complain, but I know they'd like some different things.

One word that best describes you is: BIG!

Let me explain. I do everything over the top. Whether it's gifts or decorating or kids parties, I go big always. I don't really have a slow down or minimal mode.

And now for your favorite recipe:
My favorite recipe is a copycat of an Olive Garden soup. I also like to sub cheese tortellini for the gnocchi.
Olive Garden's Chicken Gnocci Soup
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
coarse salt and fresh black pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken broth
1 + 1/2 cups half & half
2 cups cooked white meat chicken, shredded or cut into small bites
1 pound potato gnocchi
3 cups fresh baby spinach, stems removed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
fresh grated Parmesan and/or Romano, for serving
  1. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven heat the butter and oil together over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook until tender over medium-low heat about 10 minutes, stirring often.
  2. Sprinkle the flour into the pot and stir into the vegetables, cook 3 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the chicken broth 1 cup at a time, followed by the half & half.
  3. Add the cooked chicken. Bring up to a simmer and maintain for 20 minutes stirring often. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cook the gnocchi separately according to package directions. Add them to the soup along with the spinach. Simmer until spinach is wilted. Stir in basil. Serve with grated cheese.

Notes: recipe Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Rustic Beef Stew with Butternut Squash, Sweet Potatoes and Cabbage

This has been the most beautiful Autumn here in Ohio.  It is the middle of November and I am sitting outside watching the boys play as I type, no jackets needed. I am sure it won't  be lasting but I am enjoying every second of it while I can!  I know I have been a stranger around here for some time, but life has FINALLY begun to settle down.  Between my broken leg, pregnancy, a new baby and moving into a new home I have felt like I could hardly catch my breath. It was a whirlwind for sure! Well this year both Jackson and Owen are in school full time leaving me with just one little guy running around.  I forgot how easy having one child was- or actually it was probably never easy when I only had one. But now in comparison to three, one is a piece of cake... at least most of the time. Haha! We have settled into a routine of storybooks, daily hikes in our woods, and lots of make believe.  I have been enjoying my days with Aaron so much. It has been wonderful having this one on one time together, just me and him.  He is such a joy!  But now it is also time for me to get back into doing those things I enjoyed in my spare time way back when I actually HAD free time. And that includes blogging again!  I have missed it so much and am beyond excited about reviving My Retro Kitchen!

This recipe came about on accident (but isn't that how some of the best recipes are created?!) I started out prepping the makings of my favorite stew, browning meat, chopping veggies, when I realized the bag of potatoes I thought I had in the pantry were actually used a few nights before.  Aaron was napping so there was no running out to the store, I needed to make due with what I did have on hand- a couple of sweet potatoes and a butternut squash. And as a matter of fact, they sounded delicious!

This recipe not only turned out fantastic but I knew it would be the perfect recipe to bring My Retro Kitchen back to life again.  I was dying to share it with all of you! It is hearty, satisfying and a perfect meal on these crisp fall evenings.  Be sure to serve it with some warm, crusty bread and lots of butter. You're going to want it to sop up the delicious broth. Enjoy!

Rustic Beef Stew with Butternut Squash, Sweet Potatoes and Cabbage

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 large carrots, 2 diced and 2 cut into 3/4-inch
4 celery stalks, 2 diced and 2 cut crosswise into 3/4-inch slices
2 sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
1/2 head of cabbage (about 6 cups), halved and then sliced into strips
2 lbs beef, cut into 2-inch chunks (chuck steak or bottom round works well)
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 fresh sprigs of thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup red wine
8 cups beef or chicken stock

Sprinkle the meat with a generous amount of salt and pepper.  Place the meat into a gallon-sized plastic bag with the flour and seal shut.  Shake well to coat all the meat in the flour.  Heat a large dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Coat the bottom of the pot with the olive oil and heat. Working in batches, add the beef to the pot, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. You want to brown the meat, not steam it!  Brown on all sides, about 8-10 minutes, then transfer to a plate.  Repeat until all the meat has been browned.

Add the butter to the pan and melt. Add the onions, garlic, diced carrots, and diced celery.  Cook on medium-low heat until just beginning to caramelize, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the tomato paste and the thyme sprigs and cook for 2 more minutes.

Turn the heat up to high and slowly pour in the red wine, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden or silicone spoon picking up all the wonderful browned bits stuck to the bottom. This will give your stew a nice, rich flavor.  Return the meat to the pan and add the broth to just cover the beef. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for two hours.

Add the butternut squash, sweet potatoes, cabbage, carrot and celery chunks to the pot with the meat and cook until tender, about 30 minutes.  Remove the bayleaf and the stems of the thyme (or do as my mom would do while I was growing up.... keep them in and whoever got the bayleaf was the lucky one to do the dishes! Ha!) Taste the broth and add more salt if needed.

Serve with lots of crusty bread and butter to sop up all the delicious broth.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Raspberry Almond Brown Sugar Muffins

Wow, this pregnancy was a rough one for me in regards to wanting to do anything in the kitchen.  Just the mere thought of doing any sort of cooking or baking made my stomach turn.  I would do it because well, my family had to eat.  But it wasn't the wonderful, enjoyable hobby that I have had my whole life.  And unfortunately for that my blog posts suffered as well.  I am sorry and hope that you will all welcome me back with open arms! 
Now that our sweet Aaron is here, my aversion to all things "kitchen" are finally gone!  Halleluiah!  Last week as a part of International Babywearing Week we went to Rosby's Berry Farm and picked the most beautiful raspberry's!  
The harvest was bountiful and the berries sugary sweet.  I picked three quarts of them!   So today I celebrate with Raspberry Almond Brown Sugar Muffins.   These muffins are so amazing.  Seriously, they have the best of everything- sweet-tart raspberries and the crunch of the almonds and brown sugar topping make for the most perfect muffin. Being a nursing mom made it totally acceptable to have two this morning right?! 
Raspberry Almond Brown Sugar Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup shaved almonds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease or line with paper baking cups (makes 12-18 muffins).

In a large bowl, blend together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, almonds, and salt.  In a medium bowl, beat the egg and brown sugar together until thick.  Beat in the butter, milk and vanilla extract.  Combine the two mixtures, blending until the dry ingredients are just moistened.  Gently stir in raspberries. 

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each 3/4 full. Sprinkle the Streusel Topping (recipe follows) over the tops of the muffins.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick come out clean.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5-7 minutes.  Serve warm, or transfer to the rack to cool completely. 

For the Streusel Topping
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until crumbly.  Alternately you can mash the ingredients with a fork.  Sprinkle over muffins immediately before baking.

Streusel Topping recipe courtesy 

Friday, March 28, 2014

New Day Cleveland Apperance- Good Morning Idaho!

Yesterday was back in the studio for my 8th time- can you believe it?!  I'm not exactly sure how I scored such an awesome little gig, but I am loving it!  New Day Cleveland is a lovely show, and has seriously the nicest people. 
For my segment yesterday we were planning for Lent- Meatless Meal for a Family of 4 for under $20.  Challenge taken!  Breakfast for Dinner is an awesome way to stretch the bank, and who doesn't love it?!  My boys would eat it every night if it was up to them. Good Morning Idaho is a recipe that takes a fun twist on the traditional eggs and hash brown breakfast. 
Here I am prepping for the show- we go live in half an hour! 
My sister came along for some moral support and to help me out getting things together before the show.  She is one of my favorite people in all the world and I am so lucky to have her not only as my sister but also best friend favorite Partner in Crime!  Here we are hanging out in the Green Room backstage waiting for the show to begin.  Perfect opportunity for a Sister Selfie! 

Here is a link to my clip, if you were unable to watch live!  Aside from a stubborn potato that refused to come off my cast iron skillet, everything went incredibly smooth.  I think I am beginning to get the hang of this....

Oh, and at the 5:21 mark you get to see a perfect shot of my very pregnant belly :)  So now I have two children that have made an appearance with me! lol.  Love it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I get to be a TV Star tomorrow!

Set your DVR's, I am back on New Day Cleveland tomorrow morning at 10:00am (I will be the first one up, so tune into the very beginning!) This week they gave me a new challenge for Lent- Meatless Meal for 4 for under $20. Our family LOVES breakfast for dinner and I am sharing a favorite of ours- "Good Morning Idaho", which is eggs baked in a potato! It is a fun twist and not to mention completely delicious! See you tomorrow on Fox 8 News!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hearty Vegetable Beef Soup

My mom makes the best soup.  Seriously, she should go into business selling it- everyone would go crazy over it!  There isn't a soup that comes out of my mom's kitchen that isn't amazing.  Her Vegetable Beef Soup is a huge family favorite.  Super simple to make, but jam-packed full of flavor, it is comfort food at it's best.  This one is nice and hearty due to the large chunks of beef and loads of veggies.  My mom always serves the large chunks of meat on the side, giving you the option of putting some in the soup and the other enjoying with good mustard, making it a satisfying dinner with just a hunk of butter bread.

With the ridiculous Polar Vortex we have been experiencing here in the Midwest, this is exactly the kind of food you want to be eating.  Put the pot on the stove in the afternoon and just let it simmer away throughout the day.  By dinner it will fill your home with the most wonderful smells and make your kids and husbands asking for dinner the moment they walk in the door from work and school.  if you are unable to stay home to keep an eye on your pot of soup, a crock pot on low for the day works just as nicely.  A nice hot bowl of soup says "I Love You" in the most snuggly, delicious way.

Hearty Vegetable Beef Soup

2 32-oz Beef Stock (or 32-oz beef stock AND 2 tablespoons of beef bouillon dissolved into 4 cups of water)
1 beef chuck roast (1.5-2 lb) excess fat removed and cut into very large chunks
1 bay leaf
1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
3 stalks of celery, chopped
3 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 1 cup)
1 cup corn (frozen or canned is fine)
(you may add any other veggies you like or have on hand, green beans, peas, cabbage, tomatoes...)
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

In a large stock pot combine the beef, stock, chopped onion and bay leaf and allow to simmer over medium high heat for 45 minutes. Add the rest of your veggies, and a good sized squirt of ketchup- I know crazy ingredient! But it rounds out the flavor of the soup perfectly.  You can also use 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, but trust me, ketchup is the secret ingredient!  Allow to simmer for at least an hour, stirring occasionally. 

Taste and season accordingly with salt, pepper and additional ketchup if desired.  The longer the soup simmers the more it will thicken.  I prefer a heartier soup, almost like a stew, making it a bit easer for my children to eat by themselves.   But if it reduces a little too much for your liking or if you prefer a thinner soup, add a bit more water until you get the desired consistency.

Serve the meat alongside the soup with a good mustard for dipping.  One of my boys likes his meat all on the side with loads of mustard and ketchup.  My other son likes his meat totally in his soup.  My husband and I like some in and some out!  Enjoy with crusty bread slathered in butter. 


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