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When the pregnant birthday girl wants sushi, she gets sushi.
Right around my birthday I got hit with a MAJOR pregnancy craving for sushi. Of course my one major craving of the entire pregnancy so far had to be a big no-no for pregnant women everywhere. Miserable!

 

Then inspiration struck one evening while browsing Pinterest: I can make my own pregnancy-friendly sushi!

 

I scoured the internet for tutorials and spent more time watching sushi-making YouTube videos than I care to admit, then we invited a bunch of our friends over to have a make-your-own sushi night for my big 2-7!

 

The idea was that each couple brought enough fillings of their choice to fill 3 sushi rolls. Chris and I provided the nori (seaweed wrappers), sushi rice and photographic inspiration for restaurant-style sushi. We set out everyone’s fillings and then each couple designed, created, named, and plated 3 rolls each. Then we had ourselves a sushi feast! Seriously…so much fun. Everyone was a bit intimidated by the idea at first, but as we got going they all got way into it and we ended up with some creative and delicious maki rolls! Just looking at these photos makes me want to have a repeat ASAP!
We used about every dish we own setting out all the fillings and plating all the rolls! Our kitchen and dining area could barely contain all the sushi!

 

Here is the recipe for the sushi rice we used. I definitely still need practice to make it like the pros (apparently professional sushi apprentices can take 10 years+ to perfect their sushi rice technique!), but I think it still turned out yummy :)

 

Fillings we used:
carrot
avocado
cucumber
mango
crab sticks
cream cheese
tempura fried shrimp
sushi-grade Salma salmon (for all the non-pregger people)

 

Toppings and sauces we used:
avocado
mango
kiwi
black and white sesame seeds
Eel sauce (apparently not actually made with eel)

 

Plus, some useful links and recipes to make your own:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This “Sweet Roll” made by Barrett was one of the biggest hits of the evening! Sugary, fruity, and desserty!

So fun, so delicious, so craving-satisfying and basically the best 27th birthday ever!

 

Sharing Recipes and Mushroom Bisque

I have a confession. I have become a hoarder. A recipe hoarder to be specific. It’s a bit insane.

Although, I do think I have a pretty good excuse. Because eating out is so expensive ($50 for a single pizza!) and because almost nothing in the grocery store is pre-made (no Rice-a-Ronis, Hamburger Helpers, etc), I am on a constant search to find delicious things we can make at home using the fresh ingredients we can find here in Stavanger. Chris and I have found quite a few winners so far, so I decided it is high time to start sharing them on our blog so everyone can enjoy delicious food. Because really, what’s the point of discovering something amazing if you don’t share it with those around you? :)

SO. Without further ado, I present MUSHROOM BISQUE!

I came across this recipe one cold and wet day when I suddenly came down with a serious craving for Zupas‘ Wild Mushroom Bisque from back in Utah. I happened to find beautiful chanterelle mushrooms at the outdoor market that day and it just spiraled out of control from there. In desperation, I found this recipe on foodnetwork.com and adapted it to fit the crockpot (because really…with the cake shop about to open I have no time to cook soup all day). I’m not sure how close it is to actual Zupas since I don’t have the chance to compare and contrast, but it’s rich, creamy, SUPER simple and it sure hit the spot!

(Although, just as a side note, I learned that it is not technically a true bisque. Bisques are bisques because they are made with a strained crustacean broth with cream added. Creamy soups made with vegetables (like this here mushroom soup) are often called bisques because of the creaminess, but this is a misnomer. So now you have learned something for the day! If any of you happen to stop by Zupas in the near future would you please inform them that their Wild Mushroom Bisque is inappropriately named and should actually be called Wild Mushroom Cream Soup? Muchas gracias.)

First, find some beautiful mushrooms. I used a mix of chanterelles and button mushrooms because that’s what I could find that day, but I’m sure any combination of mushrooms you use would be delicious!

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Clean and chop said beautiful mushrooms. Add them to crockpot along with chopped onions and chicken broth/stock.

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Cook for 4-5 hours on low.

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Puree the cooked stuff to desired chunkiness with a blender, immersion or normal. (I pulverized mine silky smooth because I don’t like chunky mushrooms, but it’s all up to you and your preference!)

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Make a roux of butter and flour, add half-and-half, and incorporate into the soup as per the directions below. Cook for a little while longer.

Add some of your favorite hot sauce and VOILA! Smooth, creamy, flavorful mushroom bisque for your cold winter’s day!

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Pictures like this result when you have become crazed with comfort food cravings. It’s a sad, sad state.

 
Prep time
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Ingredients
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 lb. assorted fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 8 tablespoons half-and-half
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • White pepper
  • Hot sauce
Instructions
  1. Add onions, mushrooms and chicken broth to slow cooker. Cook on low for 4-5 hours.
  2. Roux:
  3. In a frying pan, melt the butter, then add the flour. Whisk until evenly incorporated. Continue to whisk while slowly adding half-and-half to the roux. Add bay leaf and stir constantly until the sauce is thickened and smooth. Remove the bay leaf and discard.
  4. Add a ladleful of mushroom broth to the roux and stir until evenly incorporated. Add the entire thing back into the slow cooker and cook for another 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Using an immersion blender (or regular blender), blend it all up to desired chunkiness.
  6. Season with salt, pepper and hot sauce, to taste. Serve immediately.

 

Christmas Eve Pizza Night

On Christmas Eve we gathered the fam together for a homemade pizza night. I contributed my friend Anna’s famous spinach pizza and Shannon made BBQ chicken and chicken-bacon-artichoke pizzas. I feel a new Christmas Eve tradition coming on!

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“They see me rollin’…my pizza…”

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Draining the tomatos for the spinach pizza.

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A little brush of melted butter and a sprinkle of garlic salt makes the crust oh so good!

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Even Tian helped make his own allergy-friendly personal pan pizza.

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Saucy!

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Shannon’s genius trick of spreading the sauce all the way to the edges of the rolled-out dough and then rolling it up inside the crust. Try it next time you make homemade pizza. I dare you.

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Nice and brown and bubbly! ::Drool::

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The BBQ

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The Spinach

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The CBA (Chicken Bacon Artichoke)

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Mmmmm…. :)

Now… it would be just plain mean if we showed off all of these yummy photos without providing a way for you to enjoy them yourselves! So the recipes for the dough and all three pizzas are below. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

 

Pizza Dough
 
Creator:
Ingredients
  • 3 cups Flour
  • 1 package Active Dry Yeast, (0.25 oz)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon White Sugar
  • 1 Cup Warm Water
  • ½ tsp Garlic Powder, (or fresh garlic)
  • 2 tsp Pizza Seasoning, (make sure it has marjoram in the seasoning. If not, add in a bit)
Instructions
  1. Combine flour, salt, sugar, pizza seasoning, garlic, and yeast in a large bowl.
  2. Mix in oil & warm water.
  3. Spread out on large pizza pan or stone.
  4. Top as desired.
  5. Bake at 375℉ for 20-25 minutes.
Notes
If you have time, let it rise in a warm place for an hour or two. If not though, the dough is still great un-risen! Recipe for Homemade Pizza Seasoning: 2 T oregano 2 T basil 2 T marjoram 1 tsp garlic powder

Anna's Famous Spinach Pizza
 
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Meatless and utterly delicious!
Creator:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Ingredients
  • 1 Store-bought pizza crust, (or homemade)
  • 1 Tablespoon Pesto Sauce
  • 1 clove Garlic, pressed
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 2 small tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 ball buffalo mozzerella, sliced
  • ½ cup pre-shredded mozzarella
  • 1 large mushroom, thinly sliced
  • ¼ medium red onion, sliced
  • 1 bag spinach, chopped
  • garlic salt
  • parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Spread sliced mozzarella and tomato slices on a piece of paper towel to draw out the extra water. (The spinach contains A LOT of water so draining the tomato and cheese will help keep it from getting soggy). Sprinkle mozzarella with a good amount of salt.
  2. Preheat a pizza stone in a 250℃ oven.
  3. Remove pizza stone from oven and form pizza crust onto the stone in a circle. Brush with a few drizzles of olive oil, pesto, crushed garlic, pepper, and a generous dash of Italian seasoning.
  4. Place tomatoes evenly spread out onto crust.
  5. Cover entirely with chopped spinach.*
  6. Place mozzarella slices on top of spinach (evenly spaced). Sprinkle liberally with pre-shredded mozzarella.
  7. Top with onions and mushroom slices.
  8. Cover with LOTS of grated parmesan cheese on top.
  9. Brush the crust edges with melted butter and sprinkle with garlic salt.
  10. Sprinkle entire pizza with more fresh cracked pepper and salt.
  11. Bake at 250℃/480 F for approximately 10 minutes until cheese is brown and bubbly. The cheese needs to be quite browned to make sure the crust is fully cooked.
  12. Tilt pizza to check for water build up. If there is some, soak it up with a paper towel and bake for a minute or two more.
  13. Cool for a few minutes, slice, and enjoy!
Notes
Makes enough for 2 slices per person for 3 people. *You will use more spinach than you think you'll need. It shrinks quite a bit in the oven. It is recommended that you follow these cooking instructions, despite what your pizza dough recipe calls for. The high heat and short cooking time allow for the correct amount of moisture to evaporate from the spinach. Otherwise you might end up with a soggy pizza!

BBQ Chicken Pizza
 
Prep time
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Creator:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Ingredients
  • 1 Pizza Dough
  • 1 bottle BBQ Sauce
  • 1-2 breasts Grilled Chicken , (or 2-3 thighs) cut into bits.
  • ¼ Red onion
  • 1.5 cups Mozzerella Cheese
  • Cilantro, chopped
Instructions
  1. Roll out pizza dough. Spread BBQ sauce to taste on top of dough all the way to the edges. Roll up the edges around the sauce to form the crust.
  2. Top with half the cheese, all the toppings, and then the rest of the cheese. Top it all off with cilantro.
  3. Bake at 375℉ for 18-22 minutes until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly

Chicken Bacon Artichoke Pizza
 
Prep time
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Creator:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Ingredients
  • 1 Pizza crust, unbaked
  • 1 jar Alfredo sauce
  • 1 cup Mozzerella cheese
  • 1-2 Grilled Chicken breast, (grilled with oil and salt)
  • 1 can Artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 slices Bacon, cooked and cut into pieces
  • handful Spinach
  • 1 Green onion, chopped
  • 2-3 small Mushrooms, sliced to preference
Instructions
  1. Roll out pizza dough flat. Spread a layer of alfredo sauce (to taste preference) all the way to the edges of the dough. Roll up edges of dough (around sauce) to form crust.
  2. Top with ½ of the mozzerella cheese. Add all the toppings. Add the rest of the cheese.
  3. Bake at 375℉ for 18-22 minutes until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly.

 

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

It’s Sunday, and a bit past the time of Thanksgiving for most of you, but we celebrated our Thanksgiving yesterday instead of Thursday so it’s still pretty fresh for us :) Chris doesn’t get American holidays off of work, so we opted to do Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday instead of trying to fit it in on Thursday after work. It was a good thing we did too because I ended up getting 5 last minute cake orders so I was up to my neck in frosting on actual Thanksgiving Day!

Thanksgiving was definitely a different experience for both of us this year. For one thing, we BARELY managed to squeeze 13 lbs of turkey into our tiny European oven! We did it though and luckily it still turned out! It was also a little sad not being home for Thanksgiving this year. We definitely missed the family gatherings and all the fun that goes with them and we discovered that it is A LOT of work to prepare Thanksgiving dinner with just 2 people cooking! We had lots of fun doing it together though, and to compensate for the lack of family we had a bunch of friends over instead :) It was a mix of Americans, Norwegians, and a Dane and it was fun to be able to share our traditions with our Norwegian friends since they’ve been sharing so many of theirs with us!

 

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Skittles helping pick out Thanksgiving treats.

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The Pie

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The Feast

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The Food

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The Friends

It was an adventure coming up an entire Thanksgiving menu all on our own for the first time! We came up with lots of ideas…and had way too much food. But leftovers are half the fun of Thanksgiving right? I tried to use as many local ingredients as I could from the farmers market downtown and for the most part I was pretty successful!

Here was the lineup this year:

Garlic-Rosemary Turkey with Mushroom Gravy

– The. Best. Turkey. Chris (a turkey fiend) has requested that we never ever use another turkey recipe. It was delicious! Definitely make sure to brine it if your turkey doesn’t already come pre-brined. It makes for a super moist, fall-apart turkey!

Chive & Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Rutabaga with Caramelized Onions and Apples

Butternut Squash Crumble

Paula Deen’s Sweet Potato Casserole 

 – You can NEVER go wrong with Paula!

Maple and Rosemary Glazed Carrots

Stuffing from Food Network Magazine.

-I wish I had a link to a recipe, but it was a “Mix & Match” feature in the magazine. We used wheat bread, leeks, onions, celery, bacon. Comment or email me if you want a more specific recipe, because it was yummy!

Josh’s Mom’s Pineapple Bread – Gluten-free version brought by Josh

Plain ol’ normal salad

Pumpkin Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream

We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving too!