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Vegan Spring Rolls

_MG_0421-1_edited-1GraphicSpoonCMYK-01When I was pregnant with Archer, I just couldn’t get enough of the Vietnamese Chicken Salad Rolls from Pei Wei.  I’ve had on my “Kitchen Bucket List” to make some version of them at home for a while now, and noticed the rice paper at the store and decided to give them a try, and I’m so glad I did!  These might be eaten at least once a week from now on.  Not only are they super healthy, they’re so colorful you can’t help but be happy eating them.  The other great thing about these is that you can’t go wrong with the filling!  These are vegan, but they’d be fantastic with some chicken or shrimp in there as well.  Or even diced boiled egg!

The paper is delicate, but after the first wrap, I figured out how full to fill it and how tight to wrap it.  If this is what your first attempt looks like, don’t worry, you’re not alone:

_MG_0436-1And hey, that one still made it in my belly just fine!

These are the ingredients I went with: purple cabbage, cucumber, carrot, mango, avocado, bean thread noodles, cilantro, lime juice (not the whole slice!) and peanuts.  You can use anything you want, but try to get as many different colors as you can in there- that’s half the fun!

_MG_0345-1The bean thread noodles and rice pancake sheets are found at most grocery stores in the Asian food section.

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Julienne all your veggies, and have them ready to go when you’re ready to fill and wrap the rolls, as the rice paper needs to be handled quickly.  Dip each sheet in water for about 20-25 seconds, then carefully lay it flat on a clean wet dish towel.  Fill it one layer at a time with your fillings, then roll it up like you would a burrito: one flap up, then the sides tucked in, then roll all the way.

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Again, it may take a try or two before you get the hang of how tight and full to fill them, but you can open the paper up and start again with a new sheet.

Plain Jane is delicious, but my favorite dip for these is a mix of sweet chili sauce and chili garlic paste (love the sweet & spicy with this combo of flavors).  A peanut sauce would be great too, or even simple soy sauce.  Three of these rolls are so satisfying without leaving your belly heavy.

I hope you make them soon!  Let me know what you fill yours with!

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Grilled Cheese Tomato and Pepper Soup

 

 

_MG_0094-1GraphicSpoonCMYK-01This, guys.  This!  I’ve been imagining this in my head for a few weeks now, and the end product did not disappoint.  I know this is the second soup in a row I’ve posted, but it’s that good.

I like french onion soup.  I do.  But when I’m being honest, the whole reason I like it is because of the toasty, melty, oozy cheesy cheese toast on top.  And I thought “Why does french onion soup get to have all the cheesy fun?!”  Tomato soup is a perfect candidate for this because of the classic tomato soup and grilled cheese combo we all know and love.  But it’s not just a “grilled cheese and tomato soup” flavor.  It almost tastes like deep dish pizza.  Just trust me and make this soon, please. I know you’ll enjoy it.

I don’t like my tomato soup very brothy (it needs some body to hold up the toast), but simply add a bit more broth if it’s too thick for you.  Homemade broth is a special treat to use for soup if you have some in your freezer.  And don’t forget to salt this without abandon.  Tomatoes beg for salt, and it just won’t taste right if you don’t use enough.  I used a mix of smoked provolone and smoked cheddar on top.  If you can’t find smoked cheese, regular will work, but try to use smoked if you can.  It makes it special (as does the smoked paprika vs. regular paprika, and those sun dried tomatoes for added earthiness).  Another important note is to use a good crusty bread (no plain ol’ sandwich bread!), and make sure to toast it nice and dry so it won’t turn to mush.  Using a cast iron isn’t necessary- any oven safe bowl will work (but how cute is this personal size cast iron)?

The recipe is linked at the bottom of the post!  Enjoy!

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 VIEW AND PRINT RECIPE HERE!

 

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Butternut Squash Soup with Crispy Sage and Bacon

 

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GraphicSpoonCMYK-01This was my “Okay Fall, I’m giving up on Summer- I’m all yours” meal.  We had the best summer, browsing the farmers markets, picking berries and peaches until my freezer filled, staying up late, and waking up slow.  I love Fall, but this year it has some big shoes to fill with how great our summer was (my daughter Violet started full-time pre-k last year so you could say it was our first “official summer” and we took advantage of the fact that it was to end)!

This soup certainly reminded me that Fall has it’s perks.  Even though here in Central Arkansas we don’t many year-round farmer’s markets, the grocery stores around me always do well with getting fresh seasonal produce, we have a great “you pick” apple orchard, and a pecan grove that lets you keep half of what you pick for free!  I’ll finally admit, I’m ready for winter squash, and I’ve already broken out the can o’ pumpkin stash from last year.  Fade my tan and fill my belly!

This soup is so easy and comforting!  I adore bacon occasionally, but so rarely cook with it.  This soup is one of the few dishes that I would strongly recommend using just a few slices.  If you really don’t want the added calories or want to make it vegetarian, use chopped sun-dried tomatoes (and fry the sage in olive oil).

Scroll down for a printable link to the recipe! I hope you give it a try!

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Click here for the PRINTABLE recipe! 

 

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Welcome to my blog!

GraphicSpoonCMYK-01Hi! Come on in. Stay awhile.

I feel like since we may have just met, I should introduce myself! My name is Kerry. I started this blog because I love cooking, photographing, writing and sharing. I love the way I feel when I feed my loved ones. I love the way it feels when someone says “that was the best <insert whatever they ate> I’ve ever had!” I love the way it feels when I get in the kitchen, get to work, and everything else in my head takes a rest while I focus on creating dishes that may cheer up a sad friend, help celebrate a festive occasion, or calm a new mom by giving her one less thing to do.  Food does so much more than feed our bellies.

I’d been in the restaurant business (in some way) since my first job at 16 (which entailed being part of the opening crew for a new restaurant-  a priceless experience). Even though I’ve always loved to cook, my jobs were always in the Front of House, waiting tables then eventually management, but I always tried to learn everything about the food, the way it was made, and why it needed to be made that way (I did prep some and learn a lot about catering while managing at a local favorite restaurant here in Little Rock). It’s hard not to develop a passion for food when you work so closely with it. Now fast forward to today, where I’m happily and passionately focusing about 99.99999736% of my time and energy into my two kiddos, with a side portrait photography gig forcibly nudged in there somehow to protect some semblance of a Self other than Mom. I’ve always shared food related posts casually, and kept a Blogspot blog on and off, but I plan for this site to be a much deeper effort to organize myself somewhere in the culinary world, because I feel like I’m home here.

I chose “Steal My Recipe” because I want you to take them. Take them all! But then, when you’ve made it, I want you to change it somehow (use a different fruit, a different flour, a different cooking method, etc). Make it your own, and put your name on it. That’s the joy of sharing our recipes so freely online- we can be inspired by each other and come up with better, more creative dishes that way. I don’t know about you, but that sounds great to me. I’m here to share what I have to give, and hope that it proves useful and delicious to you!

Thanks again for visiting. I hope to see you here often!

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