Tuesday, December 19, 2017

All in One Breakfast Smoothie from Valerie Bertinelli


I have been a big fan of Valerie Bertinelli ever since I was a young girl and I tuned into a funny 70’s TV show called “One Day at a Time”.  

So, when I got the chance to review her new cookbook, “Valerie’s Home Cooking”, I was thrilled.  I have followed Valerie’s career on TV over the years and I was so excited to see her showcase her cooking skills on her Food Network cooking show called “Valerie’s Home Cooking” for the past seven seasons. I love her cooking show so much that I have it scheduled to record on my DVR so I don’t miss an episode.

The recipes in "Valerie’s Home Cooking" cookbook are just as great as all the recipes she makes on her show.  This cookbook is absolutely gorgeous from cover to cover and full of mouthwatering photos inside.  The recipes are definitely fun and ones you will want to share with your family and friends.  Valerie’s cooking is just like her personality: friendly, fun and comforting.  She makes you feel comfortable in the kitchen because all the recipes that I tried were easy to follow and I could even get my kids to help me in the kitchen. 

Valerie shares a lot of family recipes that have been handed down from her grandmother and her mother. I love all the personal family stories and anecdotes because it’s like cooking in the kitchen with a good friend that you have known for so many years. The cookbook is not just full of wonderful recipes, but some of her great culinary tips and tricks as well.

The recipe I wanted to share with you today was one I tried out several times and is definitely one of my "go-to" recipes from now on for breakfast.  I always say the hardest meal for me to get excited about is breakfast because I am usually in a rush to start my day and I don't have time to sit down and eat.  A smoothie is a perfect option to get some great nutrition in fast and it keeps me satisfied until lunch time.  I simply love this “All-in-One Breakfast Smoothie”.

***Here is an excerpt from Valerie’s Home Cooking:

This is the perfect breakfast for when I’m in a hurry. I add all the ingredients, blend, and it’s ready in minutes. But the fresh, healthy way it tastes and jump-starts my energy level at the same time is the real luxury. It’s also efficient. I always have frozen bananas on hand. As soon as the bunch I brought home from the market starts to go dark (and I know I’m not going to make banana bread), I slice them up, store them in a baggie, and pop them in the freezer. Voilà, fresh bananas. Since I use coconut milk and almond milk in my coffee, they’re also staples in the fridge. The same goes for almond butter. And the coffee in this recipe? Just make an extra cup. You get the idea. This one’s easy, it packs a nutritious punch, and it’s great to drink on the go.

Photo Courtesy of Valerie’s Home Cooking
All-in-One Breakfast Smoothie

Serves 2  Hands-on 5 minutes Total 5 minutes

2 ripe bananas, peeled and frozen

1 cup ice

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/2 cup brewed cold-brew coffee

½ cup uncooked regular rolled oats

3 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons almond butter

2 tablespoons chopped chocolate-covered espresso beans

1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate-covered espresso beans,
for serving

2 mint sprigs, for serving (optional)

    Process the bananas, ice, milk, coffee, oats, honey, almond butter, chopped chocolate-covered espresso beans, coconut oil, and vanilla in a blender until smooth. Pour evenly into 2 glasses. Garnish with the chocolate-covered espresso beans and a sprig of mint, if you wish.

***Excerpted from Valerie’s Home Cooking by Valerie Bertinelli. Copyright © 2017 Oxmoor House. Reprinted with permission from Time Inc. Books, a division of Time Inc. New York, NY. All rights reserved.

Some photos from the book...

“Valerie’s Home Cooking” has over 100 recipes.   The chapters are perfectly organized from options to start your day, lunch, happy hour, dinner and of course finishing off with some sweet treats.  I have tried out several of her recipes so far and I can’t wait to try even more.   

 Some of the other great recipes in the book are:

·       Arugula, Apple, and Fennel Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette and Three-Cheese Crostadas

·       Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Shrimp with Cherry Cola BBQ Sauce

·       BLT Pasta

·       Individual Blueberry-Nectarine Crumbles with Honeyed Lime Yogurt

·       Brown Sugar Sriracha Bacon Bites

·       Hamburger Helpa

·       Lobster BLTs

·       Mom’s Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

·       Roasted Eggplant Pesto Pasta

·       Scalloped Potatoes

·       Slow-Cooker Pasta Bake

·       Slow-Cooker Sweet-and-Sour Chicken

·       Spicy Arrabiata Penne

·       Steamed Clams with Spicy Garlic Bread

I always knew I was a fan of this talented actress, but I think my may be an even bigger fan of her recipes.  This is definitely a beautiful cookbook and I am going to cherish it for years.

Photo Courtesy of Valerie’s Home Cooking by Valerie Bertinelli. Copyright © 2017 Oxmoor House

Disclaimer:  I was given a complimentary copy of from Valerie’s Home Cooking by Valerie Bertinelli to review.  All the opinions expressed here are my own.

 Copyright: All recipes, content, and images (unless otherwise stated) are the sole property of Kitchen Simmer formerly known as Curry and Comfort. Please do not use without prior written consent. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Sri Lankan Mulligatawny Soup


Mulligatawny Soup is a curried soup that is literally translated as "pepper water".   I love soups and a spiced up soup is perfect for the cooler days we are having lately. 

I have wanted to add a Sri Lankan Mulligatawny Soup to the blog after seeing so many westernized versions out there.  I talked to my mother about this soup and said the versions I have made with prepared curry powder are just not giving me the right flavor.   She told her recipe/method for Mulligatawny soup so I took that as my outline and made my own version here. 

I like this soup plain, but I also cooked some rice to go with this soup to make it a hearty meal for my family.  Actually, in Sri Lanka it's also served with something we call string hoppers (recipe for the string hoppers will be up someday soon). 

My kids were first not sure if they wanted to eat a curried soup, but I insisted that they taste just a little of it before deciding for sure.  I added some rice and gave them only a half bowl to try out first.  Soon they were bringing their bowls back to me and doing a total "Oliver Twist" by asking for more please.  The second helping was a nice hearty bowl of soup.

I saved a helping for my mother to try out so she could give me the official thumbs up or down.  She gave me a thumbs up, but said my broth base was not as thick as she makes her base.  My mother told me that she likes to add small diced potatoes to the soup and this helps thicken the soup more with the starch.  Since I'm more into low carb foods and I try to avoid too much starch in the foods I eat,  I opted not to put potatoes into this version.  Of course, if you like potatoes, add two medium peeled and diced  potatoes to your soup after you add the stock and chicken to the pot.  

Now don't let all the steps and the ingredients intimidate you from making this soup.  If you prep the stock the day before the soup comes together very quickly and it's mostly simmering on the stove until the final few steps. 

So add some peppered water into your life this fall... it will warm you from the inside out.    

Sri Lankan Mulligatawny Soup

by Curry and Comfort
Prep Time: 60 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
 (6-8 servings)
Chicken Stock:
  • 2-3 large chicken breast (skin off, with bone)
  • 10 cups of water
  • 1 inch stick of cinnamon
  • 1 medium onion (rough chop)
  • 2 stalks celery cut into large pieces
  • 1 carrot cut into large pieces
  • salt and black pepper
For Mulligatawny Soup:
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds (roasted)
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds (roasted)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (roasted)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds (roasted)
  • 2 tsp white rice (roasted)
  • 1/2 Tbs black pepper seeds
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger grated
  • 2 tsp fresh garlic grated
  • 1 cup finely diced celery
  • 1 medium onion (red preferable) finely diced
  • 1 cup carrots finely diced
  • 1 can (10oz) diced tomato with chilies (I used Rotel)
  • 8 cups prepared chicken stock with shredded chicken
  • red chili powder to taste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds pounded or fennel powder
  • 2 tsp lime juice or to taste
  • salt to taste
  • Rice
  • lime wedges
1. The day before, make the soup stock by placing all stock ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil.
2. Then lower heat down to medium and simmer for 1 hour. Strain stock and discard all ingredients accept chicken.
3. Shredded chicken off the bone and place back into the strained stock (discard bones).
4. Allow stock to cool to room temperature and place in fridge overnight so any fat will float to the top of stock and congeal.
5. The next day before making soup, skim the fat out of the soup and discard. Set stock aside until needed.

1. In a dry pan lightly roast on medium-low heat the rice, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds until fragrant. Careful not to burn spices. If the spices burn, redo this step.
2. Take the roasted seeds and add black peppercorns. Then either pound in a mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder until powdered finely. Set aside.
3. In a large soup pot, add 2 Tbs of canola oil. On medium heat saute the onions, celery and carrots with a little salt until they start to get tender. Then add ginger and garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.
4. Next add the roasted spices and saute for a minute with the aromatics. Then add the can of diced tomato and green chili.
5. Season with with turmeric and chili powder. Finally add the prepared chicken stock with the shredded chicken. Cook for 25-30 minutes.
6. To finish soup, pound or use powdered fennel and stir into coconut milk. Strain this fennel and coconut milk mixture into soup and stir well.
7. Turn stove off and add lime juice. Stir well and taste for salt and seasoning. Serve hot over rice if you like.
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Copyright: All recipes, content, and images (unless otherwise stated) are the sole property of Kitchen Simmer formerly known as Curry and Comfort. Please do not use without prior written consent. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.