Easy Sushi Rice

DSC_0093

Back in college I tried sushi and fell in love. While I don’t eat anything too adventurous, I’ve grown to eat more and more. The problem is between marrying someone who dislikes seafood, being pregnant twice, and having kids that can’t or wont eat it, my opportunities to eat sushi have dwindled. I’ve thought about making it at home, but I always figured it would be too much of a hassle to prepare for just myself. So, I leave it for a special treat that I get maybe once every couple of years. Kind of sad, huh?

DSC_0079

Well, SushiQuik contacted me and asked if I’d like to try their very easy SushiQuik kit. I jumped at the chance. The kit looked pretty painless and it was time I gave making sushi at home a go. The first time I prepared some I got everything I figured my daughter would also eat. She loves cucumbers, carrots, and shrimp and I added some avocado in there as well. I prepared the first roll and it was pretty easy and the results were good. My roll was tight, but not perfect. The second time I let my four year old daughter give it a go. She did everything from spreading the rice and placing the ingredients. I helped roll the mat and the cutting. Her rolls came out perfect! It’s so easy a kid can do it, and sometimes even better than an adult. Don’t worry, I went back and did another and mine was perfect as well.

2015-03-01 12.01.56-1

We will definitely be making more sushi in our future and wont be saving it for special occasions. I love the idea of being able to whip some up at a moments notice and playing around with different ingredients. While my daughter couldn’t get behind the nori, even after I told her she may become a mermaid if she ate seaweed, I know that the more exposure she has to it the chances are that I can have someone who will eventually eat sushi with me! Plus, she had so much fun making it that soon I’ll have her preparing it while I do the cleaning!

DSC_0082

Making sushi is pretty east, just use ingredients that you already like. As I mentioned, we went simple with matchstick sliced cucumbers, carrots, avocado, and cooked shrimp. I skipped the wasbi and pickled ginger since I don’t care for it anyways. Then, pour a little soy sauce in a dish, dip, and enjoy! Below is a very easy recipe for sushi rice. It made enough to make 5 rolls, with a little extra.

SushiQuik provided the SushiQuik kit for my use, but as always the opinions expressed here are solely my own.

DSC_0102

Easy Sushi Rice

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sushi rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

Rinse rice in a strainer until the water runs clear.

Add rice and water into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Rice should be tender and the water should be absorbed. Cool until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine he rice vinegar, oil, sugar, and salt. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Cool, then stir into the cooked rice. When you pour this in to the rice it will seem very wet. Keep stirring and the rice will dry as it cools.

Source: SushiQuik

 

Chicken & White Bean Chili

DSC_0716

We’ve been clear sailing this winter so far with snow storms so naturally, just shy of a week before we leave for vacation we are going to get hit with a few storms. A blizzard tomorrow, no less. So, in honor of crazy cold weather, lots of snow, and the Super Bowl coming up, I wanted to share this awesome chili with you. We love it because it’s a little different than the normal, ground beef, chili. It packs a punch, is hearty and comforting, but it’s actually pretty healthy! Yup, low carb and gluten free. So, I can feel like I’m indulging with a warm bowl of chili and not feel guilty when I got for an extra handful of tortilla chips!

Keep warm and enjoy the game everyone!

Chicken & White Bean Chili

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 tsp vegetable or olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  •  7 oz. diced green Anaheim chiles
  • 4 cups chicken stock or canned chicken broth
  • 2 cans (15 oz.)  cannellini beans
  • 1 tsp. chicken flavor base

Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a non-stick pan, add chicken and saute until the chicken is cooked through and barely starting to brown. Set aside to cool.

While chicken is cooking, heat the other 2 teaspoons of oil in a heavy soup pot, then saute onions until they’re softened and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and saute about 1 minute more. Add the ground cumin, oregano, and ground cayenne pepper and saute for 1 to 2 minutes.

Add green chilies, beans, chicken stock, and chicken flavor base and let simmer for 30 minutes. While the chili simmers, shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. after the chili has simmer for 30 minutes, add the chicken and simmer 10 to 15 minutes more.

Serves 6

Slightly Adapted from:  Kalyn’s Kitchen

 

White Bean and Roasted Mushroom Soup

DSC_0669

This month is our major decompression month. We are relaxing from the past few months of holidays, birthdays, and other things that have made this past fall quite hectic. We’re also gearing up for a vacation, which will be the first time flying as a family of four, so I’ve been busy trying to keep my sanity while trying to think of the many ways to make it go as smoothly as possible!

My husband and I also decided to do a little challenge, seeing who could lose a percentage of weight first. A little friendly competition and seeing each other’s results on MyFitnessPal always gives us motivation. The big thing about trying to eat healthier in the winter, I find, is that you crave comfort foods that keep you warm and fill your belly with goodness so you can forget about just how darn cold it is outside. Holy cow this winter is frigid too!

I love so many things about this soup. By roasting the vegetables you get that amazing flavor, but it also warms up your kitchen a bit. Bonus! It’s relatively quick to make, it has amazing aromatics, and it’s good for you! Yes, it is low carb, can be vegetarian, and is gluten free. It’s also very filling. It’s also a no fuss soup, no real kitchen finesse required so my daughter did a lot of the prep work.

While this wasn’t the way to his heart, the husband doesn’t do many soups, it was for me since it filled me up for a few days with all of the leftovers and was low calorie.

White Bean and Roasted Mushroom Soup

Ingredients

  • 16 oz mushrooms, halved or quartered
  • 1 large sweet onion, quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves, slightly crushed
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 8-10 fresh sage leaves
  • 8-10 stems + 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, divided
  • 48 oz chicken broth (substitute with vegetable broth for vegetarian option)
  • 3  15oz cans cannellini beans
  • Additional salt and pepper for seasoning

Pre-heat oven to 450 F.

Toss mushrooms, garlic, and onion in olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Spread on baking sheet. Add sage and stems of thyme. Roast in 450 F oven for 25 minutes, tossing halfway through.

While the vegetables are roasting, add broth, beans, remaining salt and pepper, and thyme leaves to a large stock pot over medium heat and simmer.

When vegetables are done roasting, let cool slightly. Separate mushrooms from other roasted vegetables. Retrieve 2 cups of the white beans and 1 cup of broth from the stock pot. Add to a blender along with the roasted onions, garlic, and herbs. Cover and blend until smooth.

Add pureed bean mixture back to stock pot, whisking in until smooth. Add roasted mushrooms to soup. Salt and pepper to taste.

Warm over low heat until ready to serve.

Serves 8

Slightly adapted from she wears many hats

2014 Year in Review

2014YearinReview

At this point, I know everyone is cruising right along into the new year, but I’ve been enjoying a bit of a slow down period after the holidays. We had nothing to do and nowhere to go for another week and I enjoyed hanging out with my family. While I am getting back into things, I have realized that my resolution is to take things a bit slower. I’m going to try and not rush everything and let things happen a bit more organically. For you readers, that may mean that there is more of a delay in recipes or that may mean that my brain will have a bit of a chance to relax and I can actually have some more fun in the kitchen and churn out some more recipes!

This year has been a whirlwind as we figured out life as a family of four and dealt with other things that life has thrown our way. In the end, we made it and we are no worse for the wear. Everyone is still laughing and smiling and that’s what counts.

Having fun and showing you what goes on in my kitchen on a regular basis is what this year is going to be all about. I’ve missed some of the commentary that used to happen via each blog posts comment section, but it seems that Facebook is the way to communicate nowadays. Of course, Facebook has noticed and now wants to charge Page owners to reach out to their follows, SO the best way to keep up is to subscribe to my RSS feed. I know, the loss of blog readers has also made this idea less interesting, but you can choose to receive emails of new posts as well!

So, no surprise that the recipes that got the most traffic this year were mostly older ones. Ones that continue to be favorites no matter what else I put out there. I am honestly happy about that, it means they have staying power. I know they do in my kitchen! I also included five of my favorite recipes of this year and the reasons why I chose them. So, take a look and see if you see anything new and interesting or revisit a favorite of yours as well!

Thank you so much for following my blog, joining me on Facebook, and all of the emails that I receive. What went from a recipe index to a fun place to chat about food with others makes this stay-at-home mom smile.

I hope you all have a wonderful 2015!

6197763413_44125d6aaa

Ah, these Mexican Stuffed Shells. These really made my blog take off and introduce me to so many new readers. They also opened my eyes to the dark side of the internet and content theft! But alas, these are still the top favorite for you all and are still a winner in my house as well.

7443474772_c113d45072

The second highest post makes me smile because I love this Japanese Steakhouse Mayo Sauce and miss this restaurant SO much! Copycat recipes have always been a favorite and I hope to bring some more to you this year.

DSC_0797

This Super Easy Crusty Bread made life in my kitchen a lot easier and all of you as well! I love all of the pictures and comments you send me, whether you are making bread for the first time or simply enjoying a simpler way.

DSC_0441

This Lemon & Thyme Pan-Seared Cod has only been on the blog for a few weeks but it’s definitely getting a lot of attention. It’s definitely become a favorite of the fish eaters in my household. It looks to be a favorite so far among you all too, it was even highlighted on MyFitnessPal as a Must Try for 2015 for under 400 calories!

DSC_0694

You guys get me and are just like me. You love appetizers and you really love cheesy ones! This Baked Ricotta Dip with Garlic & Herbs was your favorite of the year.

2014-01-26 11.06.24

This Chocolate Souffle was on of my favorites for the year because, well, I masted the souffle! That’s been one of my goals in the kitchen and I finally did it.

DSC_0036

Another goal of mine was to prepare more tasty pies for my husband. While I have yet to perfect a pie crust, that is my number one goal this year, I did make his tummy very happy for many nights last summer feasting on this delicious Grilled Skillet Strawberry Pie.

6

This Chipotle Quinoa Chilli was a nice addition to my dinner arsenal and made my life easier a lot of nights. Feeding my family quickly with warm, satisfying meals is important and making them healthier is a winning factor.

DSC_0203

I deemed this the year of cucumbers in my garden, letting tomatoes take the backseat. I really wanted to expand my canning and pickles were the easy choice. We go through a ton in my house! Between these Bread & Butter Pickles, the Refrigerator Dill Pickles, and the Pickle Dip this year I found out that many of you readers are fans of them as well! Stay tuned because this year I’m going to up the ante when it comes to cucumbers!

2014-02-22 10.16.20

And finally, these Pretzel Muffins with Chocolate Chips were just a lot of fun to make and eat. Fun creations like these are really why I started doing more in the kitchen and taking pictures of my food :)