Chez Us https://chezus.com She cooks. He devours. Wed, 16 Jan 2019 10:05:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.3 Herbed Chicken Soup https://chezus.com/2019/01/16/herbed-chicken-soup/ https://chezus.com/2019/01/16/herbed-chicken-soup/#respond Wed, 16 Jan 2019 10:05:28 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=33286 Traveling to new places and trying new restaurants definitely inspires me back at home in the kitchen. I was in Montreal for business this past December and found a lovely cafe near my hotel and they made the best soups. I ended up eating lunch there, three times, and have not stopped thinking about it. [...]

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Traveling to new places and trying new restaurants definitely inspires me back at home in the kitchen. I was in Montreal for business this past December and found a lovely cafe near my hotel and they made the best soups. I ended up eating lunch there, three times, and have not stopped thinking about it. One of the soups I enjoyed was this Herbed Chicken Soup as it was warm and comforting and the flavors were amazing. I immediately got to work in the kitchen upon returning.

Even though it was below zero outside when I walked into this cafe this bright and fresh, almost springtime inspired bowl of soup warmed me perfectly. It was loaded with simple carrots, celery, and leeks, along with a rich chicken broth that was seasoned perfectly with an array of fresh herbs. When I asked the waitress what was in it, she replied that whatever was left in the kitchen. What really grabbed me was the fresh green peas floating on top; not overcooked but bright green and crisp with each bite.

I used the same approach with I came home and began trying to mimic the same recipe. I used whatever herbs I had in the kitchen. I am a big fresh herb fan! I did poach a chicken and used some of the meat in the soup, and used the poaching liquid for making my homemade chicken stock. Homemade stock is so much better for so many reasons, the flavor being the top. I tried a few different kinds of pasta but felt that the bucatini, which they used, was too thick. The bucatini we have here is not as thin as the one they used. Instead, I used fregola which I felt was the perfect size pasta for this soup recipe.

If you are short on time feel free to use store bought stock as well as a roasted chicken. I just wnat you to make this soup and enjoy it as much as I did.

Herbed Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup leeks, thinly sliced

1 cup carrots, peeled, small dice

1 cup celery, small dice

2 teaspoons thyme

1 bay leave

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

kosher salt to taste

6 1/2 cups homemade or store bought chicken stock

2 cups shredded chicken – used what was left from poached chicken – you can also use leftover roasted chicken

1/3 cup fregola

handful mixed fresh herbs – I use oregano, mint and parsley – finally minced

frozen green peas – rinse under warm water and then let sit in the colander until time to serve the soup

How To:

Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium low heat. Add the leek and cook until soft; about 3 minutes.

Add the carrots and celery to the leeks, stir and cook for another 3 minutes.

Add the thyme, bay leave, pepper and salt. Stir. Then add the chicken stock along with the shredded chicken. Stir.

Cook over medium low heat for at least 30 minutes – I like to push it to 45 as I find the flavors blend a bit more.

Stir in the fregola and cook for 6 minutes.

To serve – place some soup in a bowl and top with a handful of herbs along with a heavy hand of green peas.

Serve.

Eat.

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Sugar Topped Molasses Spice Cookies https://chezus.com/2018/12/21/sugar-topped-molasses-spice-cookies/ https://chezus.com/2018/12/21/sugar-topped-molasses-spice-cookies/#respond Fri, 21 Dec 2018 10:05:58 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=33264 Dorie Greenspace is my baking goddess. I trust all of her baking recipes as they are always right on, plus they taste amazing. This recipe for sugar topped molasses spice cookies has been one of my go-to holiday cookie recipes since her book Baking From My Home to Yours came out. That my friends was [...]

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Dorie Greenspace is my baking goddess. I trust all of her baking recipes as they are always right on, plus they taste amazing. This recipe for sugar topped molasses spice cookies has been one of my go-to holiday cookie recipes since her book Baking From My Home to Yours came out. That my friends was in 2006, and yes I have been making them for that many years.

When we started our video production company many years ago we started the tradition of giving our top clients home baked clients every holiday season. The past two weeks I have made dozens of these little spicy cookies which I hear from my clients they LOVE. I also keep an extra batch in the refrigerator for those last minute bake sessions such was when Lenny says we should give so and so some cookies!

The only changes I have made to this recipe is that I add a little more allspice as well as black pepper; we like them spicy. I also have used light as well as dark brown sugar, it kind of depends on what I have on hand. I also like to add edible sparkles in with the sugar for dusting.

Make a batch and keep on hand the next few days before it gets even crazier. The dough lasts up to four days in the refrigerator so you can bake a couple or even a dozen at the last minute. Warm cookies are the best holiday treat!

Sugar-Topped Molasses Spice Cookies

** recipe posted with permission from Dorie Greenspan

Ingredients:

2 1/3 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

1 cup light brown sugar – packed (sometimes I use dark if that is all I have)

1/2 cup molasses – not blackstrap

1 large egg

about 1/2 cup coarse sugar for rolling – I had some sparkly sprinkles too

How To:

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices.

Using a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment or with a hand mixer and a large bowl, bet the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy.

Add the brown sugar and molasses and beat for 2 minutes or so to blend, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Add the egg and beat for 1 minute more.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing until the flour and spices disappear. If flour remains on the bottom of the bowl, to avoid overbeating the dough, mix in the last of the dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula. The dough will be smooth and very soft.

Divide the dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Freeze for 30 minutes, or refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

Put the sugar and sprinkles if using in a small bowl.

Working with one packet of dough, either evenly divide into 12 pieces or do as I do and make smaller cookies but rolling about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough into a small ball.

Dip into the sugar, place on a baking sheet and using the palm of your hand lightly press down.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 – 14 minutes – depends on the size of the ball of cookie dough.

Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes, then remove with a spatula and place on a rack to cool.


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Nut Free Toffee https://chezus.com/2018/12/20/nut-free-toffee/ https://chezus.com/2018/12/20/nut-free-toffee/#respond Thu, 20 Dec 2018 10:05:49 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=33258 I cannot imagine the Christmas holidays without making my grandmother’s toffee. Unfortunately for the past few months, nuts and I do not agree. I did make a few batches to give out to clients and then I decided it was time for me to be able to enjoy some as well. Hence this quick and [...]

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I cannot imagine the Christmas holidays without making my grandmother’s toffee. Unfortunately for the past few months, nuts and I do not agree. I did make a few batches to give out to clients and then I decided it was time for me to be able to enjoy some as well. Hence this quick and easy recipe for Nut Free Toffee was born.

Toffee cannot go without some crunch along with every bite. I tried using some dried fruit but the end result was not the crunch I was looking for. Then I stumbled up on some nibs in the pantry. It was a Christmas miracle as now I can enjoy some toffee that is almost like my grandmother’s but still is equally as good. The nibs add not only a bit of crunch but also extra chocolately flavor.

Nut Free Toffee

Ingredients:

3/4 cup cocoa nibs

1 cup brown sugar – I use light or dark

2 tablespoons water

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter

1/2 cup finely chopped chocolate – I use dark

How To:

Butter a 9″ x 9″ pan.

Sprinkle half of the nibs over the bottom.

Place the brown sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan, gently heat over medium low heat for 2 minutes. Stir often to prevent burning.

Add the water and water, stir and cook over medium-low heat until light brown, bubbly and the temperature reaches 285 degrees.

Pour over the nibs in the buttered pan.

Sprinkle the remaining nibs over the top along with the finely chopped chocolate.

Cool.

Break into pieces.

Serve.

Eat.

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Gift Ideas https://chezus.com/2018/11/25/gift-ideas/ https://chezus.com/2018/11/25/gift-ideas/#respond Sun, 25 Nov 2018 22:02:46 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=33202 I am excited about this holiday season as it is the first time in thirteen years that we will actually be home for most of December.  Usually, we have client events until a week before Christmas.  This leaves me stressed as I try to cram in all my holiday shopping, baking, hand-writing out holiday cards [...]

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I am excited about this holiday season as it is the first time in thirteen years that we will actually be home for most of December.  Usually, we have client events until a week before Christmas.  This leaves me stressed as I try to cram in all my holiday shopping, baking, hand-writing out holiday cards and last minute entertaining.  This year is going to be so different as we wrap up the last project of the year the first week of December, and then the rest of the month is all ours.  I have so many gift ideas which I think are spot on this year since I have had time to really think about it.  This is not sponsored either, and no affiliate links at all.

Gift Ideas

I am not the kind of person who can buy a gift just to buy a gift.  I would rather not buy one for the sake of Christmas and gift throughout the year instead.  I keep notes on my phone for gift ideas all year long and this helps when it is time to shop.  The past month I have kept a pretty detailed gift idea list and want to share it with you!  As I said above there are no affiliate links, these are merely things I love!  Most of the sites are offering sales through Monday, November 26, 2019.  Happy Shopping!

Stocking Stuffers

Beauty Counter Mini Lip Glass Kit – I am going to buy this kit and break it apart for each stocking for the ladies in my life.  I just started using this lipgloss and LOVE it.  It adds a sheer bit of color and is minty and tingly when you put it on.  Not goopy or overly sticky like more glosses.

Leather Card Case – I love these little card cases for going out.  I put my ID and what credit card I need for the evening and toss it into a small purse.  I got this one but also like these two for the holidays.

Socks – I love stashing socks into Christmas stockings but not ordinary white or black ones.  Instead, I pick out fun ones that the person receiving may not ordinarily buy for themselves.  J Crew, as well as Target and Madewell, have fun holiday socks for everyone.

Smudge Sticks – A friend gave me one a couple years ago for Christmas and I loved starting the new year by burning it throughout the house to cleanse of bad spirits or juju from the previous years.  Bonus, they smell so pretty.  Madewell and Anthropologie both have some pretty ones.

Mini Facial  Globes – I discovered these when I was getting a facial a while back, and I fell in love.  Came home, bought and now we both use.

Magnesium Tropical Oil – I read this post on sleep this year and grabbed a few of the items for Lenny as he does not sleep well.  I started using the Magnesium oil and love it.  Not only do I sleep better but it is also good for people who get leg cramps.

Soaps – I popped into Anthropologie two weeks ago to grab mascara and found so many cute items for stockings.  I am planning on stocking up on a few items and especially these cute little soaps.  Perfect for the stocking.

Microplane – I am not into kitchen gadgets at all but this is one item I use all the time for everything from citrus to turmeric.  Suprise the home cook in your life with one.

Halo Nail Polish – for the little girls in your life or even for you.  Super fun.

French Girl Lip Scrub – this has become part of my weekly take care of myself routine.  It is minty fresh and makes my lips so soft and kissable.  I also love their Le Lip Tint in Cerise too.

Loaded Questions Game – I always like to tuck a game or two into the stockings and this sounds not only fun but thought-provoking too.

Chattering Teeth – because they are just too funny.

Incense Sticks – these smell so good.  We use the calm in the bedroom and refresh in the kitchen.

My friend Bree has a great post on stocking stuffers – I want them all!   I wrote about Travel Necessities which would for some great stocking stuffers too.

Him

MeUndies – I got Lenny a pair for Valentine’s Day, and love him in them so much that I am getting more for Christmas.  The fabric is soft, the fit is sexy and the prints are very fun.

Power Bank – this is one of those things you guy probably talks about and never gets.  Power and charging are always topics around our place especially for traveling.

Men’s Society Kits – these are great gift ideas for men as they are tailored to their likes.

Flask – kind of a classic gift here.  This one is great for the working man, the outdoorsman, and something a bit fancier.   If you throw in a bottle of their favorite whiskey this is a golden gift.

Soft Sides Portable Coolers – this is the perfect tailgating gift.  We use ours all the time!

Her

Bathrobe – my friend Tami got this robe while on a get-away, and I am crushing on it big time.  Is it a bad thing to buy me another gift?  If color is not your thing this is another robe that will make that special lady feel cozy.

Facial – Treating a special woman in your life to a facial is heavenly, and she will love the me-time.  If you live in Oakland, Bertie’s Beauty is amazing.

Brooklyn Candle Studio – my all time favorite candles.  I have been buying these since they came out, and I have not used any other brand since.  They smell amazing (and lasts) as well they are made from 100% soy wax that is sourced from American farmers and phthalate-free perfume oil.

Body Scrubs – I really got into body scrubs this year, and they make my shower time even yummier.  These three brands are my favorites as they are made with natural ingredients;  Third Day Naturals, Beauty Counter and Herbivore Botanicals.

Paperwhites – I give these bulbs every year to special friends as well I use as a hostess gift during the holidays. They are so beautiful and smell great once they bloom.

Home Cook

Le Creuset Dutch Oven – I use this all the time for everything from braising meat to making stews or soups and baking bread.  I cannot imagine life without it.  I use a 7 quart one.

Mauviel Carbon Steel Pans – this year I swapped out all the toxic nonstick pans in our kitchen with carbon steel.  I LOVE them!  Not only do I feel I am making change by using products that are safer in our home but they are a dream to cook with.  You can go from stovetop to oven, and they look great.

Duralex Mixing Bowls – my favorite bowls to use for prep and mixing when not using a stand mixer.  The set is perfect for the beginning home cook.

Kitchen Aid – I have the silver Classic Plus 4.5 Tilt Head.  I love this mixer and use it all the time.  It is so durable and has lasted me twenty years.  Every year I wonder when it will fail me, and only because I want a new color.  I also own all of the attachments that go with it and enjoy using all of them.   When I have something small to mix up I do use their Hand Held Mixer which is perfect from small jobs.

Butcher Box – for the meat lover in your life this is a great gift idea;  sustainably raised beef, chicken and pork.

Lava Lake Lamb – another great idea for the meat lover, especially the lamb lover.  The lamb from Lava Lake Ranch is amazing; we especially like the ribs and leg of lamb.  Their beef is also fantastic and is grass-fed.

Wooden Spoons – a good set of wooden spoons is a lovely gift, you don’t want to buy the cheap ones from the dollar store as they never last and they hold odors.

NY Shuk – if the one you are giving to loves Middle Eastern spices they are going to go crazy over these.  I use all of them!

Spices – it may seem silly to buy spices from Greece but these are the BEST dried spices I have ever used.

Bushwick Kitchen – big fan of all of their products, we really do use everything from syrup to honey to their hot sauces!  These would also make great stock stuffings.

Measuring Spoons – I use two sets of measuring spoons.  These All-Clad are my go to but am thinking of adding these copper ones or these copper ones to the mix because they are fun.   I also use the measuring cups from All-Clad, the steel ones as well as the copper ones.

For the Adventurer – traveler, photographer, and camper

Travel Guides – I am always on the lookout for unique travel guides that offer ideas besides the traditional hot spots in a destination.  I am digging these guides:  Cereal City Guides, Wild Sam, Paris in Stride, and The Little (r) Museums of Paris, and Not For Tourist’s guides.

Camera Bag – I switched camera bags two years ago and have not looked back.  This bag fits perfectly on my bag, is waterproof and I can fit my DSLR, lenses, and drone in it.

Candle Lanterns – no batteries required.

Campfire Games – cards and dice games, a must have with camping gear.

Camping Blanket – we are so in love with these blankets as they keep us cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  Such a great addition to our little van life.

Where Chef’s Eat Book – a great resource for traveling and looking for places to eat at.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pumpkin Doughnut Holes https://chezus.com/2018/11/19/pumpkin-doughnut-holes/ https://chezus.com/2018/11/19/pumpkin-doughnut-holes/#comments Mon, 19 Nov 2018 10:05:14 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=33155 Are you a doughnut or a doughnut hole kind of person?  I think I have become more of a doughnut hole kind of gal.  When I decide to hit a local doughnut shop I seek out the doughnut holes first, and then if I do not spy any I will hope for the big guy. [...]

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Are you a doughnut or a doughnut hole kind of person?  I think I have become more of a doughnut hole kind of gal.  When I decide to hit a local doughnut shop I seek out the doughnut holes first, and then if I do not spy any I will hope for the big guy.  I have been craving these magical pumpkin doughnut holes for months.  Not sure why I didn’t get in the kitchen when the craving hit instead I felt the need to wait for November to roll on in.  Last week I got in the kitchen and made them not once but twice.

Pumpkin Doughnut Holes

This recipe is basically my traditional doughnut hole recipe but I swapped out this and that and mixed in some pumpkin as well as spices to jazz it up.  They are so damn good.  While I was shooting the recipe I had the brilliant idea of dipping them into warm dark chocolate and that was brilliant too.  Then I took some sugar and spiced up it up with more pumpkin pie sugar and rolled hot buttery doughnut holes in it and another brilliant idea came to life.  This recipe is brilliant all the way around.

Lenny does not say things just to say things so when he said more than once that I make the best-baked doughnuts and now doughnut holes I knew he was serious.  Even when we hit the trendiest of doughnut shops he always leaves saying, “you really make the best doughnuts”.  Guess what, you should probably make a batch or two of these zippy little pumpkin doughnut holes to nibble on while making Thanksgiving dinner.

Pumpkin Doughnut Holes

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

pinch of kosher salt

2 eggs

1 cup pumpkin

3/4 cup whole milk buttermilk

2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

TOPPING OPTIONS

Sugar Topping:

4 tablespoons melted butter

1/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

OR

Chocolate Drizzle

2 ounces dark chocolate

1/2 teaspoon coconut oil

How To:

Preheat oven to 350.

Lightly oil a baked doughnut hole pan with some baking spray.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice along with the pinch of salt.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl whisk together the pumpkin, buttermilk, melted butter, and extract.

Add the wet mixture to the dry and using a fork mix together.

Scoop the batter into a large Ziploc bag.  Snip off a small corner end of the bag.  Pipe batter into each cavity of the doughnut hole pan.  Only fill up each doughnut hole halfway or you will have acorn shaped doughnut holes instead of small round ones.

Bake for 12 – 15 minutes;  until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and let cook for 3minutes, then remove from the pan.

If you want to coat with pumpkin pie spice sugar – mix together the sugar and pumpkin pie spice.  Using a pastry brush, brush each doughnut hole with some butter then roll in sugar.

If you want chocolate drizzle – melt the chocolate and coconut oil together, then lightly drizzle over the doughnut holes or dip the doughnut hole into the chocolate.

 

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Easy Pumpkin Ricotta Gnocchi https://chezus.com/2018/11/12/easy-pumpkin-ricotta-gnocchi/ https://chezus.com/2018/11/12/easy-pumpkin-ricotta-gnocchi/#comments Mon, 12 Nov 2018 10:05:02 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=33143 I warned you that I cannot get enough pumpkin.  Three weeks ago I was cleaning out my cookbooks when I decided to flip open my favorite go-to book for Italian recipes, The Collection by Antonio Carluccio, and immediately turned to my favorite gnocchi recipe.  I could not shake the thought of a big bowl of [...]

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I warned you that I cannot get enough pumpkin.  Three weeks ago I was cleaning out my cookbooks when I decided to flip open my favorite go-to book for Italian recipes, The Collection by Antonio Carluccio, and immediately turned to my favorite gnocchi recipe.  I could not shake the thought of a big bowl of gnocchi for dinner and particularly pumpkin ones.  I went into the kitchen and began playing around with a ricotta gnocchi recipe and before I knew it I was enjoying a big bowl of these easy pumpkin ricotta gnocchi.  Honestly, this recipe is so easy, that I had dinner on the table within 60 minutes.

Easy Pumpkin Ricotta Gnocchi

When I make gnocchi I tend to make a day of it and use a potato-based recipe which I love.  When in a pinch I will make a batch of ricotta cheese gnocchi that has a hint of nutmeg.  During the fall I adore a bowl of pumpkin gnocchi with some sage butter along with a nice glass of red wine. If I see it on the menu I definitely order it when out. Now, that I have this recipe down, I cannot wait to enjoy it more often than not.

Easy Pumpkin Ricotta Gnocchi

After trial and error, I found that the recipe comes together easier when I used whole milk ricotta as it is less watery and the flavor is richer.  I also strain the pumpkin to remove any excess moisture.  Lastly, I typically always use 00 flour when making pasta, gnocchi, and even pizza dough as it is lighter and not as dense as all-purpose.  I have tried this recipe a few times and sometimes I may have to add a little more flour.  The key is to make sure the dough holds up when boiled.  If I am scooping the dough by spoonfuls into the water I don’t mind it being a bit tacky but if I want to roll is as I did here I add a little more flour until I can roll it.  Different altitudes can also produce a different dough so keep in mind when making.

Easy Pumpkin Ricotta Gnocchi

I am so happy with how the ease of this recipe that I cannot wait to try making it this winter with different winter squash as well as beets.  I am not big on freezing food but I did toss some into the freezer to see how they hold up.  My thinking was that I would love to have fresh pumpkin ricotta gnocchi at the drop of a hat.  I will keep you posted on how it works out.

Easy Pumpkin Ricotta Gnocchi

Easy Pumpkin Ricotta Gnocchi

Ingredients:

1/2 cup pumpkin

1/2 cup ricotta, whole milk

1/2 cup parmesan

1/2 cup +3 tablespoons 00 flour (this was for rolling out and cutting the gnocchi – when I used a teaspoon I used 1 tablespoon of flour along with the 1/2 cup)

1 egg

kosher salt

black pepper

semolina flour

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

8 sage leaves

How To:

Place the pumpkin in a fine sieve and let sit for thirty minutes to remove any moisture.

Mix together the ricotta, pumpkin, egg, and flour with a fork.  Add the parmesan cheese and season to taste with some salt and pepper.

Clean your work surface and dry well.  Lightly sprinkle a little 00 flour over the surface.  Working quickly, roll the dough into a large 1/2” rope, then cut into 1/2 inch pieces of gnocchi.  After cutting the dough you can opt to use the tines of a fork or a gnocchi board to make grooves into each piece.  I prefer not too.  Completely up to you.

Set the gnocchi pieces onto a baking sheet that has been lightly covered with semolina flour.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Add the gnocchi to the boiling water when they rise to the surface, let cook for another minute or two, then remove with a slotted spoon.  I lay them onto a paper towel.

In a large frying pan melt the butter medium-low low heat and add the sage.  Cook until the sage is fragrant then add the gnocchi to the pan and lightly cook until they are golden on each side but do not burn the butter.

Serve.

Eat.

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Creamy No Cook Pumpkin Mousse https://chezus.com/2018/11/07/creamy-no-cook-pumpkin-mousse/ https://chezus.com/2018/11/07/creamy-no-cook-pumpkin-mousse/#respond Thu, 08 Nov 2018 03:00:33 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=33136 I love eating anything pumpkin.  The last two months I have been going a bit crazy with using it in everything from breakfast oatmeal to stirring it into a big bowl of mac and cheese.  This recipe for Creamy No-Cook Pumpkin Mousse came about one evening when I needed something to feed my sweet tooth.  With [...]

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I love eating anything pumpkin.  The last two months I have been going a bit crazy with using it in everything from breakfast oatmeal to stirring it into a big bowl of mac and cheese.  This recipe for Creamy No-Cook Pumpkin Mousse came about one evening when I needed something to feed my sweet tooth.  With not many options I turned to a recipe that I make often in the summer my no-bake strawberry cheesecakes.  I always have a stash of pumpkin in the cupboard and decided to make it seasonal delicious for autumn.

Creamy No Cook Pumpkin Mousse

I was telling a friend about my creation the next day and she tried to talk me into making it a keto recipe but, to be honest with you when I want a little sweet in my life the last thing I want to use is an unnatural sweetener.  Yes, I know Stevia is derived from a plant but it also tastes like sucking on a dirty penny.

When I started changing our diet, even more, I started researching natural sweeteners that actually tasted good and are less processed.  A recent favorite has become sucanat.  Have you heard of it or used it?  Sucanat is the least refined cane sugar outside of nibbling on a cane stalk.  It is crushed, the juices are extracted and then it is heated creating a rich dark syrup.  It tastes similar to molasses but not as strong.  It definitely adds some oomph to this creamy pumpkin mousse.  Feel free to use regular sugar too.

I have made this a few times and have used all cream cheese as well as mascarpone cheese as below.  Personally, I like the tanginess that the mascarpone adds to the recipe.  When made with only cream cheese the recipe will taste more like cheesecake and will be a bit thicker.  Make both ways and then you decide which you enjoy more.

Creamy No Cook Pumpkin Mousse

Creamy No-Cook Pumpkin Mousse

** serves 4

Ingredients:

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature (or you can omit and double up the cream cheese)

1/2 cup cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not seasoned or sweetened), let sit in a fine strainer for at least ten minutes to release moisture

1/4 cup sucant, or coconut palm sugar or regular sugar (if you want to be keto use what sweetener you would)

3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

How To:

Place the mascarpone cheese, cream cheese, and heavy cream into a large mixing bowl.  Beat until smooth.

Add the pumpkin puree, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla extra.  Mix until light and very fluffy;  about 3 minutes.

Serve individually or in a pretty serving bowl.

You can garnish with a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice or sugared pumpkin seeds or praline which is what I used here.  Whipped cream is also an option.

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Mexican Cauliflower Rice https://chezus.com/2018/10/22/mexican-cauliflower-rice/ https://chezus.com/2018/10/22/mexican-cauliflower-rice/#comments Mon, 22 Oct 2018 10:05:25 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=33076 Who knew that for the past ten years of my life I have been making “cauliflower rice”.  All this time I thought I was using leftover cauliflower, chopping it up, mixing it with other stuff and calling it leftovers.  I have so many different versions of greatness using cauliflower leftovers that I am not sure [...]

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Who knew that for the past ten years of my life I have been making “cauliflower rice”.  All this time I thought I was using leftover cauliflower, chopping it up, mixing it with other stuff and calling it leftovers.  I have so many different versions of greatness using cauliflower leftovers that I am not sure where to start.  This recipe for Mexican Cauliflower Rice seemed like a great place.

Mexican Cauliflower Rice

Since we have been trying to eat more of a vegetarian diet cauliflower has become an important staple in our kitchen.  I use it all the time as it basically goes with all seasonings from Mexican all the way down to barbeque.  The rice part of cauliflower is something I have been doing forever.  Usually when I cook cauliflower I save about a fourth of it to use with breakfast the following day.  Usually, I am chopping it to resemble rice and then mixing with whatever else I can find.  The seasoning depends on my mood.

I kind of feel like I have been living under a rock as I just recently learned that cauliflower rice is a thing.  Kind of like when a French friend of mine made the comment when we were cooking together last summer in France, about how American’s suddenly think a one-pan dinner is a thing;  she has been making them her entire life.

Here we are, after making this recipe a few times to nail the ingredients and measurements instead of just tossing in a pan, I have my version of Mexican Cauliflower Rice to share with you.  I should mention that I accidentally used cayenne pepper in this recipe and about burned my face off.  If you opt to use cayenne start with 1/8 teaspoon and work your way up.  It was a huge mistake, trust me.  I prefer using guajillo powder as it is more flavorful than just heat.

And I just found out from a friend is has become Keto that this is Keto.  So all you Keto lovers will love calling this Keto Mexican Cauliflower Rice.  What???

We eat this recipe all the time now. With tacos as well as roasted meats and fish, sometimes in a bowl by itself.  I always save extra to toss an egg or two on for breakfast the next day.  It is so good.

Mexican Cauliflower Rice

Mexican Cauliflower Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 pound cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground guajillo powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3 very ripe plum tomatoes or dry farmed tomatoes – make sure ripe and juicy, washed and chopped
  • 1/4 bunch of cilantro, washed and roughly chopped
  • 4 green onions, washed and cut into slices
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste

How To:

  1. Remove the stem from the cauliflower and wash.  Break into florets then place into a food processor and pulse until it has the texture of rice.
  2. Preheat a medium-sized frying pan over medium-low heat on the stove.  Add the olive oil and then the onions.  Stir and cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, stir and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the cauliflower to the onion mixture.  Stir and cook for about 5 minutes over low heat until slightly tender and a little crispy.  We like it to have some texture and not be mushy.
  5. Add the spices and the tomatoes.  Stir.  Cook for another 5 minutes over low heat.
  6. Stir in the cilantro and green onions.
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve.
  9. Eat.

 

 

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Ratatouille https://chezus.com/2018/10/14/ratatouille/ https://chezus.com/2018/10/14/ratatouille/#respond Sun, 14 Oct 2018 10:05:12 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=33080 My ratatouille recipe is anything but pretty or fancy like the ones you see on Pinterest.  Instead, my recipe is exactly as it was the first time I had it in France.  It is wholesome and rustic.  This time of the year is the perfect time to make this French Provencal stew vegetable recipe by using [...]

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My ratatouille recipe is anything but pretty or fancy like the ones you see on Pinterest.  Instead, my recipe is exactly as it was the first time I had it in France.  It is wholesome and rustic.  This time of the year is the perfect time to make this French Provencal stew vegetable recipe by using up all of the squash and summer tomatoes from the farmer’s market.

Ratatouille

When I decide to make a batch of ratatouille I am thinking about a meal that will last us for a couple of evenings with the possibility of a breakfast too. I am also looking at an abundance of late summer produce waiting to be eaten.  Basically, I chop, sautee and stew.  Sometimes I only use yellow squash and other times such as this time I mix in some green zucchini.  If Jimmy Nardellos are not available then I use red peppers.  If fresh tomatoes are not looking so great then I use canned.  Otherwise, it is a super easy recipe to throw together.

Ratatouille

Sometimes I serve it on its own other times I serve it with old-fashioned egg noodles.  I love egg noodles.  As I mentioned before it is great for breakfast too, just toss a poached egg on top and pass the toast.

Ratatouille

Ratatouille

** serves 4 – 6 depending on serving sizes

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 cup yellow onion, roughly chopped

3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 1/2 pound eggplant, cut into bite-sized pieces

8 ounces Jimmy Nardello peppers or red pepper, diced

12 ounces of yellow zucchini or squash, cut into bite-sized pieces

12 ounces green zucchini, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 pound dry farmed or plum tomatoes, make sure they are super ripe and juicy or 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes

2 teaspoons Herb de Provence

How To:

Place a dutch oven over medium-low heat and preheat.

Add the olive oil and the yellow onion.  Stir and cook for three minutes over low heat.

Add the garlic, stir and cook for 1 minute.

Add the eggplant to the onions, stir and cook over low heat for 8 minutes, stirring over until lightly golden and soft.

Add peppers, stir and cook for 3 minutes over low heat.

Add the yellow and green squash, stir and cook over low heat for 3 minutes.  Stirring often.

Add the tomatoes and the herb de Provence.  Stir and cook for about 15 – 30 minutes.  The vegetables will be tender but not mushy.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve.

Eat.

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Travel Necessities https://chezus.com/2018/10/09/travel-necessities/ https://chezus.com/2018/10/09/travel-necessities/#comments Tue, 09 Oct 2018 10:05:12 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=32157 If you are a regular reader you know how I am on the go all the time.  I get asked all the time how I do it, and what are my main travel necessities.  I finally realized when we had to fly last minute for a family emergency that I had everything perfectly ready to [...]

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If you are a regular reader you know how I am on the go all the time.  I get asked all the time how I do it, and what are my main travel necessities.  I finally realized when we had to fly last minute for a family emergency that I had everything perfectly ready to go at a moment’s notice.  It was seamless and actually made traveling at a mere moment so much easier.  Here are my top travel necessities that are ready to go all the time.  I keep them handy in a bathroom cabinet, and when I need to pack, I grab and go!

Travel Necessities

This is definitely something that did not just come to me one day.  I have been traveling since my teens, and my routine has evolved over the years.  I have tried every bag and brand I can think of, and these items are fail-proof.  At least in my humble opinion, they make my life easier and I feel good about recommending them to you.  By the way, no affiliate links here, just some honest sharing of stuff I love!

A Classic Leather Tote – over the years I have used the same style of bag to throw my laptop in as well as books, files I may need to work on, a makeup bag, travel blanket, and other little things I might want on the plane.  I have also tried different brands from no-names to Coach.  They always fall apart.  I purchased this super cute Cuyana tote about 3 years ago and it is still going strong, and I stuff it when I fly!   The leather is buttery!  I love that it has a zipper so my stuff is not flying out everywhere, and there is an inside pocket that I can put my phone in. I always have my media kit with me which is a small pouch with phone chargers, as well as a portable charger and other electronic chargers I may need, headphones, card readers, etc..

Leather Travel Set – I have owned this for 5 years and I wish it would fall apart only so I could get a new set in a different color.  Their colors are so sexy.  I have a gorgeous teal set which is perfectly fine, I just would love to have another color but feel guilty as it is still perfect after 5 years.  I use the larger one for my toiletries and the smaller one for my makeup.  Again, amazing quality and luscious leather!  I always have it full of the products I use daily, deodorant, toothpaste, dental floss, moisturizers, and toothbrush.  Though I am looking at replacing the one I have with this one.  When I travel I wear Bon Parfumeur and Madewell carries travel sized ones which I love.

GoToob Containers – when I say I have tried all the TSA approved travel containers, I mean I have tried them all.  They always end up breaking or getting manky after a few months.  I purchased these a couple years ago and love that they are going strong still.  I no longer hoard hotel shampoos and conditioners.  Now I keep my favorite shampoo and two different types of conditioner in these handy containers.  I rinse them out every month to keep them fresh.  Then I refill.

GoTubb Containers – I use these smaller containers for hair product as well as facial soap.  They are big enough to hold enough product for two weeks.

Kellie Little Voyager Hair Brush – I never thought I would love a hairbrush but I do.  This is the best hairbrush ever.  I have wavy/curly hair and use to flat iron it every day to make straight.  Since I have used this brush, over 7 years, I have not used the flatiron.  It is truly magical and small enough for traveling.

Hair Dryer – I never risk a hotel having a hairdryer in the room or even a good hair dryer in the room.  I always carry a travel hairdryer.  I like this Conair dryer as it is 1875 watts and dries my hair fast.

Trench Coat – During all seasons except winter months, I travel with this coat.  It folds up compact enough to fit in the outside pocket of my suitcase so it is handy to grab when I land.  It doesn’t wrinkle either and always looks sharp from day to night.

Notebook and pen – I keep these in my purse, travel bag as well as camera bags.  Cannot live without.

A good book or magazine to read – I am a junkie for books in print and always stop at the bookstore at the airport to grab a couple that I may not have already.  I am a sucker for foreign magazines so when overseas I stock up at the airport.  They always fit nicely into my large tote.

Flipflops – I always have a pair that I can use around the hotel room but stylish enough to wear to the pool or out to a casual dinner.

Berocca – I had a roommate from Australia who introduced me to this supplement some twenty years ago.  End of story.  I always travel with it as it keeps me alert and helps combat sniffles.

Pure Magnesium – this is a new to me add-in for my travel musts.  I have been using for three months now and I just sleep better when I use this oil.  Helps make travel away from home a bit easier too.

Eye Drops – Flying and air-conditioned hotels really dry my eyes out as does new environments that may include dust, smoke or even changing seasons.  Like like these drops as they are gentle on my eyes.

Avene Thermal Spring Water – a lovely quick pick me up after long or short flights.  Hydrates and makes my face feel fresh.  Their travel sized ones get through security and pack up nicely in my tote.

Travel Makeup Bag – Love this cute little bag that my friend Julie gave me.  It fits perfectly in my purse and fits everything I might need for a quick refresh.

Stowaway Makeup – I started using their foundation as well as powder a couple years ago and love it.  The product goes on really well, and the small containers make it easy to carry on.

Travel Blanket – this is mostly used for flights overseas as I am always cold and it is nice to have something to snuggle up with from home.

Cashmere Wrap – I get cold on flights and this is a stylish way to warm up plus it looks stylish with everything.

21″ Carry-On – I became a fantastic packer when I worked at a travel agency twenty years ago.  When we flew on free airline tickets we could not check in bags.  I became very creative with what to pack and wear.  Now I can pack a carry on suitcase with enough clothes for two weeks to a month.  If it is for a month I do end up doing laundry.  I am currently using an American Tourist bag but am looking to replace as after 10 years it is finally taking a beating.

Do you have a great travel necessity that makes your life easy for traveling?  I would love to hear about it as I am always looking for ways to make life easier.

 

 

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Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Figs https://chezus.com/2018/10/05/roasted-pork-tenderloin-with-figs/ https://chezus.com/2018/10/05/roasted-pork-tenderloin-with-figs/#respond Fri, 05 Oct 2018 10:05:37 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=33073 I always keep a pork tenderloin in the freezer for those nights when I am not sure what to make or for when I am hungry for pork.  This time of the year there is always a bowl full of figs on the counter as well.  I love figs, all the figs I love.  I [...]

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I always keep a pork tenderloin in the freezer for those nights when I am not sure what to make or for when I am hungry for pork.  This time of the year there is always a bowl full of figs on the counter as well.  I love figs, all the figs I love.  I guess you could say this recipe for Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Figs kind of collided together with a few things that were in the kitchen.  Or maybe it was a match made in heaven.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Figs

I wish I had a witty or sentimental story to share how this recipe came about but I don’t.  It really happened by accident.  I was getting ready to travel and when that happens I go on a major cleaning of the pantry and refrigerator.  I had a little of this and that and this happened.

Most likely I was also enjoying a last of the summer rose and listening to music.  Browning the pork tenderloin as I got it ready for the oven and wondering what to add along with it.  I found a leek and decided to use it.  The original plan was just a leek, then I deglazed the pan with some balsamic vinegar and then I spied the figs. Why not toss them into the mix and see what happened.  Delicious happened and it was so good that I came back from my trip and made it again, and then again so I could share it with you.

Gosh, I love this recipe as it comes together so quickly and it is really good.  I served it with wild rice that I added some sauteed shallots too.  The pork roasts nicely with the leeks leaving little brown bits in the pan with the balsamic and the figs are warm and jammy.  Really lovely mixed together with the wild rice.  You might want to make some wild rice too!

Enjoy!

**The National Pork Board recommends cooking a 1 – 1/2 pound pork tenderloin to an internal temperature of 145 – 165.  I prefer medium-rare so I remove at about 140 and cover with foil for 5 minutes as it will continue cooking.  Comes out perfect every time.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Figs

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Figs

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon pork lard or olive oil

1 pound pork tenderloin

1 medium leek, rough green top removed, washed well to remove any sand, sliced thinly

1 tablespoon balsamic

10 figs, cut in half

kosher salt, to taste

black pepper, to taste

How To:

Remove the pork tenderloin from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking to bring to room temperature.  Lightly season with some kosher salt.

Preheat oven to 375.

Preheat an oven-proof skillet on the stove over medium-low heat.

Add the lard or olive oil to the skillet, then brown the tenderloin on all sides.

Remove the tenderloin from the skillet and set aside.

Add the leeks to the skillet and cook over medium-low heat for 3 minutes.

Add the balsamic vinegar, stir and cook for 1 minute.

Turn off the heat of the stove and remove the skillet

Add the tenderloin to the leek mixture, then scatter the figs over the top.

Slide into the oven and cook until a meat thermometer reaches 140 for medium rare.  If you like your pork cooked more then continue cooking until you reach the desired wellness.

Remove from the oven.

Cover with foil and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing.

Place the leeks and figs onto a serving platter.  Top with slices of pork tenderloin.

Serve.

Eat.

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Peach Turmeric Oatmeal https://chezus.com/2018/09/26/peach-turmeric-oatmeal/ https://chezus.com/2018/09/26/peach-turmeric-oatmeal/#respond Wed, 26 Sep 2018 10:05:55 +0000 https://chezus.com/?p=32866 Ever since I discovered that turmeric is a fantastic spice to use beyond Indian food, I have been grabbing it more often than not to use in my cooking.  I have been adding fresh turmeric to water.  Sprinkling the dry spice over roasted vegetables and even adding it to macaroni and cheese.  One recipe I [...]

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Ever since I discovered that turmeric is a fantastic spice to use beyond Indian food, I have been grabbing it more often than not to use in my cooking.  I have been adding fresh turmeric to water.  Sprinkling the dry spice over roasted vegetables and even adding it to macaroni and cheese.  One recipe I have been making all the time is this one for Peach Turmeric Oatmeal.

Peach Turmeric Oatmeal

I have been meaning to share the recipe since peaches appeared in the market but I keep eating it before I shoot the piping hot bowls of oats.  I finally set aside time to make it, shoot it and enjoy for lunch.  Yep, lunch.  I do not even know where to start but I will say that every time I make this for breakfast I feel like I have done something great for my body.

I should also tell you about the type of turmeric I have been using.  When I say sprinkling it on everything, I am actually sprinkling Sunshine Dust.  I discovered this tea brand Big Heart Tea from my friend Christina.  I drink their tea and really enjoy, so I decided to try the Sunshine Dust which is a spice blend.  It is loaded with turmeric, lemongrass, ginger, and peppercorns.  It is warm, comforting and slightly spicy.  Turmeric may seem a bit trendy but after some research, I found out how good it really is.  For instance, it is a natural anti-inflammatory and it helps with headaches.  The interesting thing is that in order for it to really work for your body it has to be combined with black pepper.  That is what makes Sunshine Dust even more lovely, it includes black pepper.  No, this is not a sponsored post I just really love the taste and the warmth it adds to my bowl of oatmeal.

I use steel cut oats for this recipe.  I promise it is not as hard as you think to cook steel cut oats.  Why do people become so afraid of recipes with steel oats?  Friends, this oat tastes so much better and has great texture.  Halfway through the cooking time, I add peaches to the oats and continue cooking, this slightly sweetens things up.  While everything is cooking, I warm up more peaches with a little coconut palm sugar to bring out the natural juices and then I add sunshine dust.  It smells so heavenly and tastes amazing.  I cannot wait for you to try it.

Peaches are still in the markets so rush out and grab a few to try this amazing breakfast treat!

peach turmeric oatmeal

Thank you for joining us at the Chez Us table;  we love having you here.

Have you made this recipe?  Please share what recipes you are enjoying from our site with us – we’d love to see them.  Use the hashtag #chezuseats on social media channels, then we can pull a chair up to your virtual table and share with our friends.

Peach Turmeric Oatmeal

** serves two

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cups steel cut oats
  • 2 2/3 cups of water
  • 2 large peaches, washed, pitted and cut into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon coconut palm sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sunshine dust or turmeric – more or less depending on your tastes
  • heavy cream – optional

How To:

  1. Place half of the peaches into a small bowl with the coconut palm sugar and set aside.
  2. Place the oats and the water into a large saucepan.  I find it cooks better having some room to boil and move around the pan.  Don’t use a small one.
  3. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a low simmer.  Stirring often.
  4. 10 minutes into the cooking time add the other half of the peaches to the oats and stir.  Continue cooking until thickened;  about 10 more minutes.  I like the oats to be cooked but with a little bite or crunch.  This takes about 20 minutes total cooking time on our stove and where we live.  Different altitudes can affect the cooking time.
  5. While the oats are cooking place the peaches that have been sitting with the coconut palm sugar into a small saucepan and gently warm over low heat. Stirring often until lightly caramelized.
  6. Stir the sunshine dust into the warm peaches.
  7. Once the oats are finished cooking evenly divide between two bowls.  Top with the warm peach/turmeric mixture.
  8. If you like dairy then add a splash of heavy cream.
  9. Serve.
  10. Eat.

 

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