Meatless Monday: Tomato Jam

What do you do when you have waaaaay too many tomatoes?img_1540

Jam out!

With just a quick simple search: tomato jam, you can find TONS of recipes.  Here’s the one that I liked best.  It is from The New York Times.  I also have some limes that are almost on their way out so that was helpful too.

1 ½ pounds good ripe tomatoes (Roma are best), cored and coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh grated or minced ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 jalapeño or other peppers, stemmed, seeded and minced, or red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste

  1. Directions:
    Combine all ingredients in a heavy medium saucepan, Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture has consistency of thick jam, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, then cool and refrigerate until ready to use; this will keep at least a week.

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The time is finally here…

I’m 40.  And with a history of breast cancer in my family, it is necessary that

by Joan Lunden

by Joan Lunden

I get: a mammogram.  October, as you may know, is breast cancer awareness month, and with my annual exam coming up in a couple of weeks the referral to get my first mammogram will surely be placed in my hand and scheduled.

I hate to say it is a right of passage for us ladies.  But, it is nothing to be afraid of right?

It is a preventive measure that could potentially save my life.  My grandmother died of breast cancer in 1990 so my family history suggests that I should be acutely aware of what I need to do.  In addition, I have known several people who have bravely battled breast cancer and are healthy and in remission.  Thanks to early detection and quick logical treatment it doesn’t have to be a death sentence.  But you have to go!

From descriptions I’ve heard, the process can be uncomfortable: imagine placing your lovely lady part in a vice grip and start cranking.  Ewwwww.

In the last couple of years there has been discussion if women really need to obtain a mammogram starting at age 40.  Well, if you go to the American Cancer Society website, you can assess your risk level and get some answers to questions you may have.

In addition, I just found an article that I found interesting about over diagnosis.

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Meatless Monday: Cauliflower Soup

America’s Test Kitchen is unparalleled in their quality and precise testing of recipes.  After getting oneimg_1534 of their magazines: Cook’s Illustrated for years, I still refer to my back issues for the interesting articles and beautiful back covers.  In addition, if you haven’t heard their radio show on NPR, check it out.

Soup is amazing for many reasons.  This soup is outstanding.  It feels and tastes indulgent.  But, when you look at the ingredient list, you’ll see that though there is butter in it, it is a simple wholesome recipe that will feed your body and your soul.  And, dare I say, it could be a very impressive 1st course for your next dinner party.

Cauliflower Soup


1 head cauliflower, (2 pounds)
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
1 leek, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced thin, and washed thoroughly
1 small onion, halved and sliced thin
Salt and pepper
4 ½ – 5 cups water
½ tsp sherry vinegar
3 Tbsp minced fresh chives


1. Pull off outer leaves of cauliflower and trim stem. Using paring knife, cut around core to remove; thinly slice core and reserve. Cut heaping 1 cup of 1/2-inch florets from head of cauliflower; set aside. Cut remaining cauliflower crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices.
2. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add leek, onion, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt; cook, stirring frequently, until leek and onion are softened but not browned, about 7 minutes.
3. Increase heat to medium-high; add 4 1/2 cups water, sliced core, and half of sliced cauliflower; and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add remaining sliced cauliflower, return to simmer, and continue to cook until cauliflower is tender and crumbles easily, 15 to 20 minutes longer.
4. While soup simmers, melt remaining 5 tablespoons butter in 8-inch skillet over medium heat. Add reserved florets and cook, stirring frequently, until florets are golden brown and butter is browned and imparts nutty aroma, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and use slotted spoon to transfer florets to small bowl. Toss florets with vinegar and season with salt to taste. Pour browned butter in skillet into small bowl and reserve for garnishing.
5. Process soup in blender until smooth, about 45 seconds. Rinse out pan. Return pureed soup to pan and return to simmer over medium heat, adjusting consistency with remaining water as needed (soup should have thick, velvety texture but should be thin enough to settle with flat surface after being stirred) and seasoning with salt to taste. Serve, garnishing individual bowls with browned florets, drizzle of browned butter, and chives and seasoning with pepper to taste.

NOTE FROM THE TEST KITCHEN White wine vinegar may be substituted for the sherry vinegar. Be sure to thoroughly trim the cauliflower’s core of green leaves and leaf stems, which can be fibrous and contribute to a grainy texture in the soup.

NOTE FROM QUIN: If you need heat, like my husband does, you can swirl some hot sauce or chile oil on top before serving.

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I Don’t Want to Get Political…

My friend Leah’s Boys and Chase with the packed bags at Emerge!

The boys are on Fall Break this week.  Filling the days hasn’t been too difficult now that the weather isn’t 108 degrees every day.  On Monday, I took them with me to drop off something called “blue bags” to a great shelter from Domestic Violence here in Tucson called: Emerge!  With October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I wanted to shed some light on an issue that needs to be addressed.  Blue bags are given to kids when they are removed from their homes (often with just the clothes on their backs).  They contain a change of clothes, jammies, clean underwear and socks and some simple toiletries.  As part of an online group that finds worthy causes to which we can contribute, we coordinated with Emerge! to put together these bags for tweens/teens.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence or abuse and need to talk with someone, call the number below and know that though you feel alone and isolated, you have the support of the community around you whether you know it or not.


or go to

I don’t want to get political so I’ll just say that with this political season and being a mother of boys I want to ensure that they respect all people regardless of their gender, station in life, religion cultural heritage or political affiliation.  We all have our own story and having the ability to empathize with others is a true measure of character.

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Meatless Monday: Butternut Squash Apple Soup

I roasted the LARGEST Butternut squash I’ve ever seen.  So with over 5 cups of this beautiful stuff I img_1491

started looking up recipes to use it all!  I’ve already posted a butternut squash vegan mac and cheese and it was delicious!

This week, Fall is in full effect in this house with mini pumpkins and gourds on the table and cooler temperatures, I feel inspired to enjoy the flavors the season brings.  As a note on this recipe, because I had already roasted the butternut squash, I set aside the amount of squash I needed and continued the recipe with the apple and carrot.

I’m totally in love with a blog I just found called: Veggie Inspired Journey .  After the luck I had with the mac and cheese I thought I would give this one a try.  Enjoy!


4 cups cubed butternut squash
3/4 cup chopped carrot (about 2 medium carrots)
1 apple, chopped
1 3/4 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp salt
dash of pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp yellow curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 cup cashew milk (or other creamy plant milk)
1-2 tsp pure maple syrup (plus more for drizzling on top if desired)
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds*, for garnish, if desired

  1. In a soup pot on the stove, add the squash, carrots, apple, broth, salt, pepper, cinnamon, curry powder, and turmeric and bring to a boil.  Turn down to medium, cover and let simmer for 25-30 minutes until the squash and carrots are very tender.
  2. Remove from the heat and add the cashew milk and maple syrup.  With an immersion blender**, purée the soup until silky smooth.  Or, place all ingredients into a high powered blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  (I don’t have an immersion blender so I used my food processor and returned the soup into the pot and popped it into the fridge until dinner!
  3. Serve immediately garnished with roasted pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of pure maple syrup, if desired.

*To roast pumpkin seeds: 1/2 cup raw shelled pumpkin seeds, 1/4 tsp oil, 1/8 tsp salt. Roast in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet at 325 degrees F for about 20-25 minutes, shaking the tray half way through. All ovens are different, so keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn.

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Meatless Monday: Butternut Squash Vegan Mac and Cheese

Sounds awful right?  The whole point of mac and cheese is the warm comfort of creamy cheese and noodles.  I’m trying to eat less dairy so when I saw this recipe while perusing Butternut Squash recipes, I found this Butternut Squash Vegan Mac and Cheese and thought I might as well try it.  It comes from the blog: Veggie Inspired Journey.  This is the first recipe I have tried from this site, so I’ll keep you posted on the others that I find.

Butternut Squash Vegan Mac and Cheese


1 1/2 cups butternut squash, cut in half and roasted at 350 for an hour
1/2 large sweet onion, peeled and chopped
16 oz package small macaroni noodles, cooked according to package directions (use gluten free noodles, if desired)
1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid (from the squash/onion or the noodles…either one will work)
1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp nutmeg


  1. Add onions to a 12″ sauté pan with EVOO and sauté until tender.
    Meanwhile, cook macaroni noodles according to package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking liquid once noodles are done cooking and before draining. Place noodles back in pot and set aside.
  2. Once onions and squash are cool, add them to a food processor or high speed blender with the cashews, lemon juice, salt, dijon, garlic powder, black pepper, smoked paprika, turmeric, nutmeg and reserved cooking liquid from either the noodles. Blend until completely smooth.
  3. Add butternut squash sauce to the macaroni noodles and stir, making sure every noodle is covered in sauce. Warm through if needed.

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Meatless Monday: Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Tacos

Let me explain…Taco Tuesday is a thing in our house.  Every.  Single. Tuesday.  While the boys are img_1448good with variations like: Turkey, Steak, Bison etc. I sometimes long for more exotic additions like plantains, cauliflower and…BEETS!  The boys are pretty adventurous eaters but, they are purists when it comes to their tacos.

I was excited to find plethora of delicious and easy recipes for Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese tacos.  However, each recipe had something I didn’t want in my taco.  So, I created my own.

img_1447A note on tortillas.  For the longest time, I wasn’t a fan of corn soft tortillas.  I found them to be bland, mealy, and they often fell apart.  However, I have found a delicious brand that is full of flavor,  thick, slightly sweet, and absolutely delicious.  Most importantly, when you roll them they don’t break apart in your hands.  Success!!!  They come in white corn as well as flour and several different sizes.

Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Tacos

2 bunches ruby beets, with the greens

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 oz of goat cheese ( I used a garlic and herb version)

1-2 avocados (optional)

hot sauce

1/2 tsp ground cumin


sea salt

freshly ground pepper

street taco style corn tortillas

quick pickled onions (slice onions and cover with apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper for an hour)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Rinse beets and greens.  Cut greens from beets and set aside.  Place beets on rimmed baking sheet and cover with aluminum foil.  Roast for 45-60 minutes. Remove from oven.  Leave oven on.
  2. Meanwhile, rough chop beet greens.  Then sauté the greens in EVOO over medium heat for 5-6 minutes.  Add minced garlic sauté for about a minute and then remove the pan from the heat.
  3. Once the beets have cooled, peel and cut into a 1″ dice and place in bowl with EVOO, cumin, salt pepper and toss to coat.
  4. To assemble: on a cookie sheet place desired amount of tortillas on sheet and drizzle a small amount of EVOO on each side and place in oven for 2-3 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Fill your tacos by placing sautéed greens, diced beets, crumbled goat cheese and pickled onions in modest amounts.  Don’t overfill your tacos!  Add sliced avocado hot sauce if desired and enjoy!


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2nd Breakfast

This is an observation.  It will not include a recipe. I know.  Surprise!

A recent phenomenon has been observed in my house as of late.  2nd Breakfast.  Have you heard of it?  Experienced it?

At approximately 7:57 am each morning as I am walking out the door, the boys say (and sometimes whine): “Mom, I’m hungry!”

Me: In my head: F@#K!  You just ate breakfast!  We’re walking out the door!  Do you have a tapeworm?

Me: To My Children: Well, we’re walking out the door and you just finished breakfast.

Children: But I am hungry. Can I have a snack?

Me: You’ll have to eat it in the car.  What would you like?

Luckily, they don’t ask for anything complicated, but it is the principle of it all.  We are literally walking out the door, they have just eaten breakfast and they are asking for food!!!

I have also experienced the whiny voices in chorus declare that they are hungry at about 7pm.  “Mom, can I have a snack?”  We just finished dinner and apparently they need even more food?  Are you kidding me?  The best one yet is Andrew will often and the end of dinner ask if he can have a snack before he has even left the table.

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I’ll Be Back!

Not in the way Arnold came back.  But in the way you expect me to come back: with recipes, venting and information on how to stay sane as a mom.

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Meatless Monday: Twice-Baked Potatoes with Broccoli, Cheddar and Scallions

I’m always looking for meal ideas to send in the boys’ lunches.  Their school is vegetarian and nut-free, so that can get tricky.  In addition, there is not a microwave or manner in which they could warm up their food so, a cold lunch is always on the menu.

I can always count on Cook’s Illustrated to provide tested and delicious recipes, often with multiple options!  Below is the most recent one I’m going to try.  I’ll add a picture tonight after I make them.

Twice-Baked Potatoes with Broccoli, Cheddar and Scallions


4 Russet Potatoes

Vegetable oil

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

6 cups broccoli florets (cut into 1 inch pieces), stems discarded

Sea salt

1 tsp lemon juice

1/4 tsp powdered mustard

6 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)

3-4 scallions, sliced thin (about 1/2 cup)

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup half and half

ground black pepper


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven 400 degrees.  Scrub, dry and lightly rub them with vegetable oil.  Bake potatoes on foil-lined baking sheet until a skewer can be inserted into an removed from potatoes with little resistance, 60 to 70 minutes.  Cool on Baking sheet 10 minutes.
  2. While potatoes are baking, heat 2 Tbsp butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until foam subsides; add broccoli and 1/2 tsp salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.  Add 2 Tbsp water, cover and cook until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Uncover and continue to cook until water evaporates, about 1 minute.  Transfer to bowl and stir in lemon juice.
  3. Halve each potato lengthwise.  Using a soup spoon, scoop the flesh from each half into a bowl, leaving about 3/8″ thickness of flesh.  Place shells cut-sides up on the baking sheet and return to oven until dry and slightly crisp, about 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, mash potato flesh with fork until smooth,; stir in melted butter, 3/4 tsp salt, powdered mustard, 1 cup cheese, scallion, sour cream, half and half, and pepper to taste, then stir in broccoli.
  5. Remove shells from oven; heat broiler.  Mound filling into shells; sprinkle with remaining cup of cheese and broil until spotty brown, 6 to 10 minutes,  Cool 5 minutes and serve,

Other flavor combinations:

  1. Bacon, cabbage and cheddar
  2. Ham, Peas, and Gruyere

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