Friday, December 16, 2016

Friday's, Feasting with Friends Featuring Wendy Haas

"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'

Today's featured guest for Friday's, Feasting with Friends is my dear friend and fellow Babywearing International of Cleveland educator, Wendy Haas.  I have been attending meetings and then teaching with Wendy for what feels like ages and I love being able to share that part of my life with her.  There is a special bonding that comes with helping caregivers to wear their babies. I'll never forget the meeting that we were co-teaching, and chitchatting a bit while setting up. We discovered that we were both Art Historians- not a profession that you encounter very often! It is so fun to find your people in the least expected places. I worked at Harvard University Art Museums in Cambridge, MA directly out of college.  It was an amazing experience and one that very much formed me into who I am today. But holy cow, that was TWELVE years ago. It feels like a lifetime with so much that has happened in those 12 years- marriage, three children, moved 4 times, bought two houses, became a Stay at Home Mom; big life changes that make life pre-kids and marriage almost seem like a distant dream.  So having the opportunity to reconnect to that part of myself again through Wendy is a breath of fresh air. She is a wonderful conversationalist- be it art, music, politics, kid's, LIFE, it's good meaningful stuff. We went on a road trip together this summer to the International Babywearing Conference in Atlanta, GA and those many hours in the car flew by filled with wonderful conversations. That's what road trips are made of! Wendy has the loveliest little girls, they are such a delight, plus a sweet husband completing their little family.  She is a kindred spirit and I am pleased to introduce you all to her.  Enjoy.  

 Wendy Haas

What is your occupation?
Professor of art history

What is your favorite thing to cook?
Fried rice

How about your least favorite thing to cook?
Anything time-consuming.  I don’t MIND cooking, but I don’t really love it, either.  I want the things I make to be healthy, tasty, and EASY.

What is your favorite local restaurant and what is one you are dying to try out?
Mustard Seed has great vegan options for us (also, Melt and Aladin’s)!  We’d love to spend more time exploring the near West side and Tremont, trying places like Cleveland Vegan and Helio Terra Vegan Cafe.

Music and food go together so beautifully. You are hosting a dinner party, what would be on your playlist?
Beatles, probably because it’s the only request my children make!  Depending on the mood, I’d choose Paul Simon’s Graceland or Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Areoplane Over the Sea, for myself, because they pair well with everything.

What would you choose to be your last meal on earth?
Gnocchi?  Not something I want to contemplate!

What are you currently reading?
Oh, Crap! Potty Training is on the list for the holidays, but I’d really like to finish Justin Cronin’s City of Mirrors first!  After that, I just got Confronting Racism in the Arts, which I hope will give me plenty of food for thought going into the spring semester.

What is your favorite Kitchen Gadget?
No contest!  Immersion blender!

Do you have a signature go-to dish?
I make a mean vegan spinach artichoke dip!

What is your favorite thing about the Cleveland area?
Low cost of living, excellent park system, world-class arts and culture...!  There’s so much to love about living here.

Do you have a favorite meal from your childhood and do you cook it today?
Nope!  I was a pretty picky eater and my parents, while good cooks, tended to prepare pretty generic fare most of the time.  Since going vegetarian in college and vegan a few years ago, almost all the recipes I use are new to me and my family.

Top 3 Movies of all time?
Star Wars, Indiana Jones (I’m partial to Temple of Doom, but love them all), Romancing the Stone

What was your happiest moment in life?
Hard to pinpoint.  I loved traveling alone, and found the freedom intoxicating!  Seeing monuments and museums I’d only ever studied was powerful and deeply moving.  But I also look fondly back on the first few weeks of my kids’ lives, the haze and fog of new love, and think that’s really what it’s all about.

Where do you do your grocery shopping?
Mostly Costco and Giant Eagle.  Some vegan ingredients are easier to come by at specialty stores; our local one is Krieger’s.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure when it comes to food?
Peanut butter, I think.  I eat it straight from the jar and get annoyed when my husband or anyone else uses it, even for the kids.  They have their own!

Do you have Culinary Resolutions that you would like to accomplish this year?
Not really.  We’re always working toward more efficient meal-planning, and wasting less food.  That last one may be nearly impossible with toddlers, but we can certainly be better at batch cooking and freezing things!

One word that best describes you is:

And now for your favorite recipe:

Fried Rice with Tofu and Veggies
Adapted from 15-Minute Vegetarian

1 c. veggie broth (I use one bouillon cube dissolved in hot water for extra flavor)
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. oil (I use canola)
Minced garlic at your discretion (I probably use a tablespoon or more!)
1 tsp. Ground ginger
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Stir-fry veggies (I use about a pound or a pound and a half of a frozen mix that includes onion, peppers, water chestnuts, baby corn, green beans, broccoli, etc.)

1 package of firm or extra-firm tofu, cubed (I usually press it for a half hour to an hour before cubing)

3-4 c. cooked rice (I tend to use brown rice, but recently tried this with cauliflower pearls and it was okay, too!)

  1. Stir together broth, soy sauce, canola oil, ginger, garlic, and cayenne.
  2. Heat a wok over medium-high heat for a minute or so, then pour in about a third of the broth mixture and add the veggies.
  3. Stir-fry for a few minutes (usually 4-6) until soft.  
  4. Add the tofu and another third of the broth mixture.  Stir-fry for another few minutes.
  5. Add the rice (or cauliflower!) and the remainder of the broth mixture.  Stir and toss until heated through (about 3-4 minutes).

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Bone Broth

One of the best things you can prepare in your own kitchen instead of purchasing in the store is hands down homemade stocks and broth.  Sure it is convenient to grab a box of chicken or beef stock at the grocery store when your recipe calls for it, but the nutrient-dense stocks that you can cook at home with very little effort and very minimal cost outweigh any convenience!  The main ingredients to any stock or broth are water, bones from animals (chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, fish, venison, bison, pork, etc.), a few vegetables, and spices. You put all your ingredients together in a large stock pot or crock pot and allow to simmer (about 45 minutes to an hour for broth, 3-4 hours for stock and 24+ hours for bone broth), strain and then serve or store for future recipes.  And what you get in return is not only delicious and pure- no strange preservatives, MSG or additives added in like the store bought counterpart, but jam-packed with nutrition. There is a reason chicken soup is suggested to help beat a cold!  Sure it is warm, comforting and easy on a sore throat but it is so much more than just that.  It is super high in protein, full of minerals that your body craves; gelatin, calcium and potassium, all which support healthy skin, hair, nails and bones, and teeth.  It is a basically a powerhouse of nutrition!  The longer you cook your bones the more minerals and nutrients you are pulling out of the bones. If chicken stock that has been simmered for 45 minutes is thought to be good for a cold, can you imagine the dense health benefits a bone broth that has been simmered for 24 or more hours can do for your body? The stuff is pretty amazing.

Broth and stocks can be sipped as a tea, used as a base for soups, braising vegetables and meats, and to replace the water in most recipes (rice, sauces, gravies, etc.) to not only add the health benefits but also boost your flavor!  Try making a simple rice using just water and give it a taste.  Next make that same rice but replace the water with stock.  You will never want to use water again, it's a game changer!

You can purchase your bones at the butcher or the meat counter of your local grocery store for about $2 a pound.  You will then want to roast them in the oven (30 minutes at 350 degrees) to bring a richness in flavor but also to remove any bitterness the raw bones can add to the stock. But really the easiest method in my opinion is to simply reserve the leftover bones when you roast your meat- chicken, turkey, a pot roast, etc.  If I don't plan on making my bone broth within a few days I will store them in the freezer in a resealable plastic bag until I'm ready. You will almost always find a chicken carcass or two in my downstairs freezer!

Turkey carcass, vegetables, herbs and seasoning

If I am cooking a quick broth or just a simple stock that only takes 3-4 hours then I make it on my stovetop in a heavy bottomed stock pot or dutch oven.  But when I am doing a chicken or turkey bone broth that needs to cook for at least 24 hours or a beef bone broth that will go for 48 hours then I prefer to utilize my crock pot. I just feel safer going to bed or leaving the house during that time without an open flame on my gas stove.

On Thanksgiving I am just as excited to save my bones after my (very handsome!) husband carves the turkey, as I am to eat the meat itself!  Ha! Our turkey this year turned out so fantastic (thank you Alton Brown! Your Brined Thanksgiving Turkey recipe never fails!) that I knew the bone broth was going to be incredible.  So after carving, the bones went back into the roasting pan, covered and into the fridge until the following day.  For a bone broth you want to pick off the majority of the meat.  A little bit is ok, (think the meat left on the neck or the little bit that is adhering to the bones) but our focus are those beautiful bones.

Scott carving up our Thanksgiving turkey

Snow is falling, temperatures dropping and Winter is upon us. Which means one thing- cold and flu season is here.  So if you haven't started making your own bone broth and stocks now is the best time. Let's build up those powerful immunities and make staying healthy our top priority! Here's to a healthy You!

Turkey Bone Broth after 27 hours in the crock pot, before straining

Bone Broth

2 lbs or more, roasted bones (about 2-3 chicken carcasses, or 1 turkey carcass)
1 onion cut into fourths
2-3 large carrots, cut into thirds (if organic no need to peel)
2 celery stalks including the leaves, roughly chopped
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 bay leaf
1 Tablespoon whole peppercorns
2 garlic cloves, smashed
Optional: bunch of fresh herbs (since this was thanksgiving turkey stock I wanted to go with those flavors so I used parsley and rosemary)
salt, about a teaspoon

Place roasted bones in the bottom of your crock pot. Add the vegetables, vinegar, bay leaf, peppercorns, garlic and herbs. Add enough cold water to cover the bones.  Cook on low a minimum 24 hours.

When finished cooking the bones should crumble when pressed lightly between your fingers.  This means that all the minerals and nutrients have been pulled out of the bones and into your bone broth. Turn off the crock pot and allow to cool slightly.  Strain the broth using a fine mesh sieve to remove all bits of vegetable, herbs and bones.  I like to lightly press the solids with a wooden spoon in the sieve to remove all the broth. Discard all of the bones and vegetables. Season with salt.

To skim or not to skim? You can enjoy your bone broth as is, but if you choose to have less fat in your broth, then you will need to skim the fat that accumulates at the top.  Skimming off most of the fat is more important if you’re using bones from animals that are conventionally raised, like those found at your traditional grocery store.  But fat is your friend and if you know the animals that you get your bones from are grass-fed then you can skip the skimming step. The easiest way to skim the fat is to place your bone broth into the refrigerator for several hours until a milky looking layer has formed on the top of your broth.  This is the fat.  You can then just scrape this off and discard.  

Store in fridge for up to one week or freeze.  You can freeze flat in quart-sized freezer bags, freeze in icecube trays and then transfer to freezer bags for more individual servings, or in mason jars. If using glass mason jars be sure to allow at least 2" of space to allow for expansion.  If you don't leave space and over-fill your jars they will crack and you will be left with a mess and no broth. Terribly tragic! Allow to cool completely before freezing.  Will store in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Friday's, Feasting with Friends Featuring Angie Forkapa

"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'

My guest for today is my friend and neighbor Angie Forkapa. Hands down the hardest thing about moving to a new home was having to leave our wonderful neighbors behind.  I was heartsick about starting over, building new friendships not only for my children but myself as well.  We were truly blessed in our first home, surrounded by good, kind people who cared for my family. How could we possibly find anything that could compare?  Well God provides!! Our new neighborhood is again filled with amazing neighbors, instant family friends and playmates for my boys.  Angie and her family live across the street from us and her youngest son Keegan was the welcoming committee when we first came to our new home.  And that is just a perfect example of the Forkapa Family. They are welcoming, kind, and have a ways about them that makes you feel like you have known them for years.  Angie was my first friend here on Deep Cove and I will always treasure how she made us all feel at home in our new neighborhood. Thank you Angie for just being you.  

Angie Forkapa
Angie and her amazing Bernese Mountain Dogs, Gunner and Daisy

What is your occupation?
I'm a stay at home mom for the most part although I do rock a hairnet twice a week in the cafeteria at my children's school.  

What is your favorite thing to cook?   
Hmmmm that's a tough question. I like to cook things that I can prepare all at once and pop in the oven or cook quickly on the stove. I don't enjoy cooking meals that take hours to prepare. Mostly because I am not the most patient person. I would say right now my favorite thing to cook is a copycat version of Panda Express's Orange Chicken.  I made a gluten free version and it was a big hit with the kids and easy to make too which is a bonus.  

How about your least favorite thing to cook?
Fish! I like to eat all types of fish...except sushi...but I am not a fan of cooking it. I think it is more that I don't really know how to cook fish. All I ever do is bake it which is rather boring.  

What is your favorite local restaurant and what is one you are dying to try out?   
Cleveland has so many wonderful restaurants! Blue Point is at the top of my list. I love a good steak and have heard great things about STRIP in Avon and would love to go there.  

The Forkapa Family

Music and food go together so beautifully. You are hosting a dinner party, what would be on your playlist?
Both my husband and I have a pretty wide range of musical tastes. He likes to put on music that represents the food we are eating. If it's taco night, he puts on the Mexican music. An Italian dish, then Italian dinner music. Amazon Music has a great selection of dinner music.  

What would you choose to be your last meal on earth?
Surf and Turf! I love a good steak and have always loved shrimp and lobster….dripping with butter of course.  

What are you currently reading?
I love to read and the book I currently have on my Kindle is Almost Dead by T.R. Ragan.  It's the 4th book in the Lizzy Gardner Series.  A crime/who done it/suspense. My favorite book series have been Harry Potter and also the Outlander series. I have read both series more than once.  

What is your favorite Kitchen Gadget?
Not really a gadget, but we recently bought a cast iron skillet. I have been cooking EVERYTHING in it. I wish we had bought one earlier. My grandmother swore by hers and I can fondly recall her at the stove cooking many delicious meals.  

Do you have a signature go-to dish?  
My kids love when I make roast beef and mashed potatoes or oven roasted chicken and mashed potatoes. My son was just home from college and he requested both of those along with flank steak.  

What is your favorite thing about the Cleveland area?
Cleveland has so many things to offer! Picking one favorite thing is so difficult. I love our park systems, the islands, restaurants and museums. My favorite though would be the Lake Erie islands.

Do you have a favorite meal from your childhood and do you cook it today?
My mom, hands down, made the BEST roast beef. It was something that she was frequently asked to make for parties in large quantities because it was that good. Even though she taught me how to make it, I just have not been able to duplicate hers.  

Top 3 Movies of all time?
Gladiator, Gone With The Wind and Elf.

What was your happiest moment in life?
When each of my children were born.  Nothing can possibly top that.  

Where do you do your grocery shopping?
I like to buy as much organic as I can and do most of my shopping at Heinen's. However if I am in the neighborhood I will always stop at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. I recently joined Costco and have been impressed with their organic food selection also.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure when it comes to food?  
French Onion chip dip! So bad for you, but oh so good. If I'm invited to a party and they have french onion dip...that's where you will find me.

Do you have Culinary Resolutions that you would like to accomplish this year?  
Over the past few years I have tried to go as organic as possible. Also limiting the amount of processed foods my family eats and making most meals from scratch. My ultimate goal would be to be proactive enough to put a menu together a week ahead of time and then grocery shop for it so I am prepared each day rather than deciding that morning what's for dinner based on what I have available.  

One word that best describes you is: Loyal.  

Well actually the first word that really came to mind was Sassy. Lol.  Loyalty is extremely important to me when it comes to my friends and family and I am fiercely loyal to those close to me.  

And now for your favorite recipe: Since it has been such a big hit with the kids recently I will share the Gluten Free Orange Chicken I have been making.  I most definitely did NOT come up with this recipe myself, but found it on Pinterest.  I use Gerber’s chicken which can be found at Heinen's and my cast iron skillet.  I serve it over organic white rice.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!  

Gluten Free Orange Chicken

  • 2 pounds chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces (I used chicken tenderloins)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch, plus 1 tablespoon, divided
  • 1/4 cup oil, approximately
  • 1/4 cup tamari gluten free soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • green onions, to garnish, optional

  • Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Place the cornstarch in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper, add the chicken on top and toss until evenly coated.

  • Add just enough oil to coat the bottom of the hot skillet and then add the chicken. Cook stirring occasionally until all the chicken is cooked through and golden brown.

  • Meanwhile whisk together all the remaining ingredients in a small bowl.

  • Once the chicken is cooked through and golden brown remove it from the skillet. Pour the contents of the small bowl into the hot skillet and simmer and stir until thickened. Remove the skillet from the heat, add the chicken back in, and toss to coat.

  • Garnish with some green onions if you want, and enjoy. You can serve it with steamed rice if desired.

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



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