Thursday, March 24, 2011

Warm French Lentils

Warm French Lentils:

I am loving spring and the Daffodils that Whole Foods is selling

And now to the recipe review:
ANOTHER fabulous Ina Garten Recipe. This recipe is from one of my go-to cookbooks by Ina titled "How Easy is That". I loved the flavor and I loved the simplicity of this dish.

Warm French Lentils:
Inspired from Ina Garten "How Easy is That"

2 Tbs plus 1/4 cup good olive oil
1 leek, white and light green parts, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup French Green Le Puy Lentils
1 whole onion, peeled and chopped
1 white turnip, cut in half
1 tsp unsalted butter
4 tsp dijon mustard
2 Tbs red wind vinegar
1 Tbs kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper

Heat the 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saute pan, add the onion, leek, and carrots. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute until the garlic speaks.
While this is cooking, place the lentils in 4 cups of water, add the turnip in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat after it boils, add the leek, carrots, and onion mixture and then Simmer uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes or until the lentils are almost tender. Remove and discard the turnip, then drain the lentils. Place them in a medium bowl, then add the butter.
Whisk together the 1/4 cup of olive oil, mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add to the lentils, stir well, and allow the lentils to cool until just warm. Serve with a piece of warm crusty bread.

This is a great lunch dish as well as a dinner dish paired with a green salad. Drink some french wine with it and dream of Paris!

In other news, Tucher went to the vet today. Last night he started limping which really upset me. He wouldn't put down his front leg. He milked it for all that it was worth, receiving an ice pack, treats in bed, water brought to him, and a lift in and out of bed! This morning I knew that he would be going to the vet and he continued to feel bad. Ryan loaded him in the car and when he got to the vet, Tucher jumps out of the car (which he never does) and RUNS and PULLS ryan into the office! Needless to say, Tucher was all of a sudden FEELING BETTER! Basically, he might have pulled a muscle, nothing broken, thank goodness! Now, he wants to play with the frisbee but he is NOT ALLOWED! If I spend money at the vet cause he feels bad, then he is not allowed to come home and play! We are resting his leg for a few days, despite this look that you get when you take him outside:

Yes, he is SPOILED rotten... he lives the "life"

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Chocolate Birthday Cake

Amazing Chocolate Cake!

My Nephew helping out his Grannie open her presents

The Lion at the Birmingham Zoo
Me and my favorite little guy
At the Zoo!

A while back my mom, brother, and nephew came to visit us in Alabama. Mom's Birthday was celebrated while she was here and I made her a homemade birthday cake. I love to cook, but don't love to bake. I don't know why, maybe it is because of all the flour that messes up my kitchen! However, the best part of baking is the smell that it leaves in your home. Better than any candle, that is for sure! I made this cake and everyone really enjoyed it, hope that you will too.
Of course we hit up all the favorite restaurants in Bham, including Chez FonFon, Gian Marco's, Jinsei... all in 2 days!

Beatty's Chocolate Cake


  • Butter, for greasing the pans
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee


Chocolate buttercream, recipe below

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

Chocolate Frosting:

6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (recommended: Callebaut)

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

1 tablespoon instant coffee powder

Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hummus Chicken Salad

I love love LOVE mayonnaise. I know that might have turned some people's stomach upside down (The Logan's!), but I love it! I once gave it up for 2 months and that was one of the hardest things ever! I can give up meat, no problem, but NOT mayonnaise. Now, that being said, I hardly ever eat it. Just too unhealthy, but if I have to choose between chocolate of mayo.... mayo it is!

Trying a chicken salad without mayo as the base was a little hard for me to do... But I am very glad that I did. I only made enough for 3-4 servings, but Ryan ended up enjoying it a lot, so I only ate one serving. It is really good, and as an example of its deliciousness, it is one of Kelly's from Healthified Kitchen's top 10 favorites- it wins for her favorite wrap!

Hummus Chicken Salad Wrap

Recipe inspired by Kelly's Healthified Kitchen, originally from Aggie's Kitchen

Makes 4 servings:

8 Tbs Sabra Hummus, classic flavor (or make your own)
4 Tbs finely diced celery (I used about 4 celery ribs, I like lots of crunch!)
2 Tbs fincely chopped green onion
2 Tbs finely chopped red bell pepper
salt and pepper to taste
20 oz chicken breast, diced
2 Tbs lemon juice, divided
1 1/2 ounce raw slivered almonds
Few handfulls lettuce
4 whole wheat tortillas

Heat a skillet to medium heat. Add the chicken and sprinkle with salt and 1 Tbs lemon juice. Cook until no longer pink and then shred. While the chicken is cooking, in a small bowl combine hummus, celery, green onions, bell pepper, almonds, salt and pepper. Stir to combine well. Add the cooked chicken and the remaining lemon juice. Place the chicken hummus mixture onto a wrap and top with the lettuce. Enjoy!

FYI-Ryan also just topped his "BIG Salad" (I love Seinfield!) with the hummus chicken salad and really enjoyed that as well. If you want to reduce the carbs this would be a great way to do that.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Grapefruit has never been one of my favorite fruits. However, I discovered these jewels while shopping at Whole Foods. They had samples and I was starving, so I thought, why not? Although I knew that they were going to be "bitter" I still grabbed one. WOW! Nice surprise when they were so juicy and sweet! I bought 3 that day. These particular ones that are perfect right now are from Texas, called Rio Stars. I love them, and have boughten about 5 more since that day.

However, I didn't have a grapefruit spoon.... I searched my kitchen high and low thinking that there has to be one somewhere in there. After exhausting looking in each drawer, I left to go find one. After going from Target to Williams-Sonoma to Pottery Barn to Macy's I was getting a little frustrated! Didn't these stores know that grapefruit season is here and I have this new obsession with this fruit! I FINALLY found spoons at the Cook's Store in Mountain Brook. I think that the ladies there thought that I had just won the lottery when I saw they had Grapefruit Spoons! Little things in life excite me, I know!

While there is no recipe for this post, please try to find you some Grapefruit that are as delicious as the ones the Pearce's Kitchen is enjoying! And, stock up on those grapefruit spoons, you never know when you might need one!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

BBQ chicken Pizza with Cream Sauce

My best friend, Sara, made this and I knew I had to make it right away. Instead of taking pics, I gobbled it down! The weather was perfect today and a grilled pizza hit the spot. We have used our Kamado Joe Grill twice in the last 24 hours! Love spring!

Picture stolen from Sara!

Click HERE for her recipe. And you can drool over her beautiful beautiful girls cause this pizza doesn't have anything on those girls!

The only difference that I did compared to sara was use leftover bbq chicken and used Bone Sucking BBQ Sauce. I also topped the pizza with a couple of jalepenos.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pappa Al Pomodoro.... aka the best tomato soup on the planet!

If you are looking for the best tomato soup then look no further! This soup rocked my world... so much that I was craving it for breakfast, snacks, whenever! I got the recommendation from 2 pilates clients that love to cook. After hearing them rave, I knew I had to give it a try. Of course, it is Ina Garten AKA Barefoot Contessa and her recipes never ever fail me (knocking on wood). Ryan loved it as well.

Think about making this soup while the weather is still chilly. Oh heck, I would eat this in the summer!

Pappa al Pomodoro
Recipe from Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa found on Food Network


  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onion (2 onions)
  • 1 cup medium-diced carrots, unpeeled (3 carrots)
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and medium-diced (1 1/2 cups)
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 3 cups (1-inch) diced ciabatta cubes, crusts removed
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans good Italian plum tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

For the topping: don't skip this part!

  • 3 cups (1-inch) diced ciabatta cubes
  • 2 ounces thickly sliced pancetta, chopped
  • 24 to 30 whole fresh basil leaves (another reason to cook in the summer time!)
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil, plus more for serving
  • Salt and pepper


Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, fennel, and garlic and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until tender. Add the ciabatta cubes and cook for 5 more minutes. Place the tomatoes in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process just until coarsely chopped. Add the tomatoes to the pot along with the chicken stock, red wine, basil, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and allow tosimmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the topping, place the ciabatta cubes, pancetta, and basil on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss well. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 25 minutes, until all the ingredients are crisp. The basil leaves will turn dark and crisp, which is perfectly fine. Reheat the soup, if necessary, beat with a wire whisk until the bread is broken up. Stir in the Parmesan and taste for seasoning. Serve hot sprinkled with the topping and drizzled with additional olive oil.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Kale Chips

I have talked before about the benefits of kale, but did you know they can turn into chips!!! Yes, you heard that right, CHIPS... To quote Ryan "These are like nothing I have ever had, but I like them!"

I had some kale leftover in my fridge and decided to see what the rave was all about for kale chips. The recipe is SIMPLE. As long as you have kale, olive oil, salt, pepper, and whatever other seasonings you would like, it is good to go!

So, before I continue to rave, let's get to the recipe!

Kale Chips

recipe from Kath Eats (one of my favorite favorite blogs.... she is a fellow RD, and she has a youtube video of her cooking these!)

1 bunch kale, stems removed and broken into "chip" sized pieces
2 tsp olive oil or cooking olive spray
salt to taste
sprinkle with parmesan cheese (or another type of cheese or seasoning)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Wash the kale and be sure that it is very dry (use your salad spinner). Place the kale on a baking sheet that is lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Be sure not to stack, you want them well spread out. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and a light sprinkle of parmesan. Bake for 15 minutes until the edges are slightly browning. You want it to be crispy when you remove it from oven.

I dipped mine in ketchup and tried them in marinara. I like them both, but I also like them just plain. Such a fun way to get crunch that is very healthy!

Let me know if you brave them and how you like!

And, please notice the new labels at the top of page! I worked hard to get these started for you to enjoy! I have finished the recipe index page, so if you are looking for a recipe that is your go-to place. I am working on the other labels, and I will likely change them up, but I just wanted to get some new stuff going. Hope you like!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Salmon and allergies

The blooms are beginning to pop out and that means allergies. I believe that a lot of allergies can be reduced by what we put in our bodies. Going back to fueling up a car with good gas versus just another fluid. You wouldn't put coke in your gas tank.... so why not put good food into your own body... get the flow? I wrote this article for our Pilates On Highland Newsletter so I thought I would share it with the HUGE fan base that I have on this blog... *insert sarcasm*

Help for Allergy Season --
Kelly's Kitchen

POH Instructor and Nutritionist: Kelly Pearce

Spring is coming which means allergy season is about to be in full bloom. Eating certain foods can help reduce the symptoms that are associated with allergies. Research shows that the benefits of fresh organic produce, fish, and nuts can help alleviate allergy issues. Consuming fish high in omega-3 fat such as salmon, tuna, or sardines are some of the best sources. White and green tea also offers a big flavonoid boost, which supports general immune function. Another recommendation to provide an additional reduction in allergy symptoms is to consume local honey in small amounts, just 1/4 teaspoon daily is all you need. Try one or all of these remedies and enjoy the fresh air that spring can offer!

Here is the Recipe that I shared that incorporates the salmon with local honey. It is a delicious recipe and I have made it several times. Tucher always enjoys the leftovers. I serve it alongside a brown rice pilaf or couscous.