Happy National Ice Cream Month! Now go make and/or eat some ice cream!

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Ice Cream (adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz)

2 cups half-and-half

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup sugar

pinch of salt

1/2 cup smooth natural peanut butter

Whisk together the half-and-half, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt.  Heat mixture, whisking frequently, until it starts to foam up.  Remove from heat and add in the peanut butter.  Whisk until blended.

Chill mixture thoroughly before adding to ice cream maker.



Sicilian Seafood Stew

Originally uploaded by Creatively Motivated


For the best winter warmth there is always soup. Well, I eat soup all year round because its easy to make, delicioso, and I just like to eat!

Recipe adapted from Easy Soups and Stews Cookbook

1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped green sweet pepper
3/4 cup chopped red sweet pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 28-ounce can tomatoes, cut up
1 8-ounce bottle clam juice
1/3 cup dry red wine
1/2 pound fresh scallops, rinsed
1/2 pound fresh peeled and deveined shrimp
2 tablespoons lemon juice

1. In a dutch oven , cook onion, celery, and sweet peppers in olive oil over high heat until tender. Stir in garlic, basil, oregano, marjoram, and crushed red pepper. Reduce heat, cover, and cook for 2 minutes. Add undrained tomatoes, clam juice, and wine. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

2. Add scallops and shrimp to Dutch oven; cover and cook about 3 minutes or until the scallops and shrimp are opaque. Stir in the lemon juice.

3. Serve!

Although the flavors were more pronounced the next day, I recommend that you eat all the soup (or share if you must) on the first day. Seafood does not reheat well.



Sicilian Seafood Stew

Almond Chicken Soup

Originally uploaded by Creatively Motivated

Well I guess I should change the name, because there were no almonds involved in the making of this soup. I forgot all about the almond butter! Technically I guess I could have made my own, but I didn’t make plans to do it, so I just went without. The soup was still delish! I wasn’t sure about the whole sweet potato thing at first, but it plays nicely with ginger, onion, and garlic.

(Recipe from http://www.wholeliving.com)

4 cups chicken stock
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 minced garlic clove
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced (2 cups)
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup smooth almond butter
1 cup collard leaves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lime, cut into wedges

1. Combine the stock, onion, garlic, and sweet potato in a stockpot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the chicken, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the almond butter and 1/2 cup of the soup mixture into a thick paste. Add the collard leaves and ginger to the soup and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir in the almond butter paste. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Ladle the soup into bowls, and squeeze with lime wedge.

I didn’t use the almond butter or the lime. And I used probably about a 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger. I was afraid of it being too much, but I could have added more.



Almond Chicken Soup

Curried Butternut Soup

I don’t usually like to blog without a picture, but I don’t have any for the preparation of this soup.   

This was the first time I tried Butternut squash and I must say, it was quite delicious.  I served this with a green salad and a rustic loaf of bread.

Curried Butternut Soup (from 2003 Cooking Light Annual Recipes)

8 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 2 pounds)

Cooking spray

1 tablespoon butter

2 cups chopped peeled Granny smith apple (about 3/4 pound)

1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion

1/2 cup thinly sliced celery

1 bay leaf

2 teaspoons curry powder

1 garlic clove, minced

3 (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated extra-sharp white cheddar cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.  Arrange squash in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until tender.

3.  Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add apple, onion, celery, and bay leaf; sauté 10 minutes.  stir in curry powder and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add squash, broth, and salt; stir well.

4.  Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes.  Discard bay leaf.  Partially mash mixture with a potato masher until thick and chunky; stir well with a spoon.  Top each serving with cheese.  Yield: 4 servings (serving size; 1 1/2 cups soup and 2 tablespoons cheese)

Calories 270 (27% from fat); Fat 5.7g (sat 3.1g, mono 1.6g, poly 0.4g); Protein 5.7g; Carb 39.5g; Fiber 2.6g; Chol 39mg; Iron 1.8mg; Sodium 349mg; Calc 1.5mg

**ETA** I added an extra step to puree the soup and liked that texture better than the chunky.


Curried Butternut Soup

Pan Bagna

This was surprisingly good

Pan Bagna (Recipe as seen in The Big Book of Vegetarian by Kathy Farrell- Kingsley)

1 French baguette, about 16 inches long

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 large, ripe tomato, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2 green onions (white and light green parts), chopped

2 tablespoons chopped black olives, preferably kalamata

1 tablespoon drained capers

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon dried

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Slice the baguette in half horizontally.  Remove some of the interior of the bread to create a hollow space for the vegetables.  Transfer the crumbs to a blender or food processor and process until finely  chopped; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic.  Stir in the reserved bread crumbs, tomato, bell pepper, green onions, olives, capers, and thyme.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Spoon over the bottom half of the loaf.  Cover with the top half.  Slice and serve.


Pan Bagna

Yellow Buttermilk Cupcakes

Originally uploaded by Creatively Motivated


In an attempt to gain more weight (no, not really) I’ve (Nizzy) decided to cook my way through Martha Stewart’s Cookies and Cupcake Cookbooks. I’m not giving myself a time limit or a certain number of items to make per month, I just want to have some fun doing something fancy. And we all know that Martha Stewart can get fancy! Not to mention I get to enjoy some sweets on occasion!

Anyways, I started with the Yellow Buttermilk Cupcakes and Fluffy Vanilla Frosting. I’m not going to tell you what’s in it, because it might scare you to death, but they are delicious, simple, moist, fluffy, and the frosting is sweet without being overly so. Mouth watering, yet? Don’t you worry…I’ll share.

And in other news…I’ve been working with my lil sis L. on a few things for a fashion show that I will post after the show is over at the end of this month. It’s all a kind of last-minute thing, but I’m just happy to have the chance to work my craft and learn a lot in the process.


Yellow Buttermilk Cupcakes

Brussel Sprouts…Yum!

I (Nizzy) made the most delicious dish of Brussel sprouts last night.  As a child, I didn’t care much for the veggie, but over the years my tastes have certainly changed…and for the better!  I’m more open to trying new things and retrying things I didn’t like as a kid.

This is what you need: 

1 garlic clove, sliced

olive oil

1 strip of turkey bacon, diced

Brussel sprouts, quartered

Apple cider vinegar

Sauté  the sliced garlic and bacon in the olive oil.  Add in the Brussel sprouts and continue to sauté until they are done to your liking.  Remove from pan and toss with just a bit of apple cider vinegar.

I’ve never liked brussel sprouts so much!  The smokiness from the bacon really made this dish.  I’ll try to add a picture before they are all gone.

Brussel Sprouts…Yum!