Hummus and the Hangry

Even though I am a snow-loving, northern girl at heart, I love all things Mediterranean.   Greek first press olive oil (it really does taste the best!), Dead Sea scrub from dad’s trip to Israel, hummus, San Marzano tomatoes, wine, Greek olives, Argan Oil for my “hello 40” face, feta, … I could go on and on.

We also tend to get a little *hangry* (that’s “angry from hunger”) around here so it’s good to have quick healthy meals that I can prep ahead and have handy.   And while we love eating out, I was looking for a recipe for Chicken Shawarma I could make at home. The hubs loves shawarma and it took a while but I finally found it.  It’s easy, healthy, and versatile.  You will love it.

I took this recipe and cut it in half.  Because we prefer white meat I used 1lb boneless thin chicken breasts and omitted the chicken thighs. For dinner I served it with hummus, pita, broccoli, and salad (with olives and feta of course!).  For a light lunch we rolled the chicken in little thin pita that I had cut into strips and dipped it in hummus.  It’s great both ways.  I have not made the sauce but that’s on our list for next time!

This made enough for 2 and with leftovers for another lunch or a couple of salads later.  Definitely do the extra step of sautéing in the olive oil at the end.  It takes 5 minutes and is totally worth it.

Now if only I were on one of those Mediterranean beaches…..





Grandma’s Cookies

Low-fat buttermilk has become a staple in the Musselman kitchen, mainly due to these cookies.  My hubby’s grandma used to make them and he and my father-in-law LOVE them.  My little nieces now BEG to make them when they stay with us and then convince us to let them have them for breakfast.  WHAT??  They are healthier than a donut.

While they are good fresh out of the oven, they are definitely one of those cookies that taste better when they sit for about 30 minutes.  The original recipe called for shortening and chilling and cutting with a glass.  Well let me tell you…I did that once and then decided that was way too much work.  So I added butter instead of shortening and turned them into a drop cookie.   And all of the cookie fans in our family loved them.  I’m hoping your family will too.

Grandma Musselman’s Buttermilk Cookies

Preheat oven to 350.

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup low-fat buttermilk (shake before pouring)

1 tsp good vanilla

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

4 cups all-purpose flour

In stand mixer cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs.  Once blended add buttermilk and vanilla.

In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients and *slowly* add dry ingredients (trust me, it will end up all over the kitchen if you aren’t careful!).  Once mixed drop about 2 tablespoons of dough onto a baking stone, wet your fingers with water and lightly tap them in the middle (so there’s no point from the spoon) and then bake for 8-12 minutes. I usually set the timer for 8 min, check them, and then watch carefully.  You want them a little undercooked (but still somewhat firm in the middle when you poke them).  Cool on a rack lined with foil.  Store in an airtight container.  Yum!  And you can have one for breakfast.  Go ahead.  I won’t tell.  ~s


Praises and Pie

So it’s been a long time since my last post. 10 months to be exact. (And it’s been longer than that since my last Magnum Bar.  ha!!) Sorry about that, but we’ve been a little busy with remodeling and a wedding!  It was a wonderful holiday wedding weekend and I want to thank everyone who made wedding flowers and crafts, brought food, kidnapped me and forced me to chill out with a glass of wine and much needed girl time, and sent texts and emails of love and offers of help over the past few months.  They say it takes a village to raise a child and I can honestly say it also takes a village to throw a wedding.  It was perfect and our sweet girl just glowed on her special day.  You know who you are and my husband, daughter and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  And to my book club girls, I promise to actually read the books in 2016.  Every.  Single.  One.

So, in honor of weddings and Thanksgiving, I give you the one recipe I was willing to make for Thanksgiving and two days before the wedding.  It is easy, quick, and foolproof.  And it is my amazing college roommate’s grandma’s recipe.  So many fun memories of making huge batches of apple pie in college and borrowing ovens in houses across the street and in neighbor’s apartments…because what 22 year old guys actually use their ovens on a Saturday afternoon?? I can tell you: ZERO!!! So Andi, in honor of your wonderful grandmother, this is our family tradition.  (Note:  you can peel all the apples but you can also buy the Pampered Chef Apple Peeler.  I highly recommend. Ask Santa. He also loves this pie. )

Apple Pie:

1 Pillsbury pie crust (box of two, use one)

6-8 cups granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup sugar

2 tbsp flour

Put one crust in the bottom of a pie plate.  Mix the rest of the above and pour into crust.  In a bowl, mix the following for the topping:

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup flour

1/3 cup softened butter (not melted)

Place crumble mixture on top of apples as the top layer (instead of a second crust).

Bake at 400 for 15 minutes then lower heat to 350 degreed for 45-60 minutes.  Watch carefully at the end as the edges may brown faster.  I use one of those metal pie rings for the last 20-30 minutes.  You want the top to have golden brown bits.

It is a family favorite and super easy.  Perfect for Christmas dinner. Or just because mama needs a treat.

Welcome back to the blog and I thank you for being patient with me! Here’s to a winter of fun and food and family!  Merry Christmas!



Tuscan Chicken and White Bean Gratin

Wow.  I am horrible at this blogging thing.  Has it really been a month since my last post?  I have a stack of recipes to try so hopefully the next month will be better!

Mary’s pretzels are at the top of the stack.  🙂

But alas, I cannot feed us JUST pretzels for dinner, so tonight it was a simple yet yummy new bean recipe.  I tried this one:

It. Was.  Amazing!!  And this is coming from the girl who is not a huge fan of beans.  I only used 3 cups of spinach and omitted the half cup of parmesan that was supposed to go on top.  Served it with baked chicken, which was just marinated for 4 hours in equal parts tuscan herb olive oil and lemon balsamic vinegar with italian herbs sprinkled on top and then baked at 350 degrees for 20 minutes and 400 for 20 minutes.

Simple.  Healthy.  Perfect for Company.


Favorite Things

Last night my book club had our annual Christmas “Favorite Things” party.  And it got me thinking about my favorite “things” for the kitchen and home.  Obviously our faith, family and friends are more important than “things”…I think that goes without saying for all of us. But it is the season of giving and sharing so I am going to share some of my favorite things in case some of you need some last minute gift ideas for someone on your list!  And if you are in P-town, some are local!

Olio & Vino:  I love their lemon balsamic vinegar and tuscan herb olive oil.  I do equal parts of both and marinade chicken breasts overnight.  It is amazing and my hubby, who doesn’t *love* chicken the way that I do really really likes it.  Healthy, easy, and since it only takes a little bit it’s fairly inexpensive.

Mississippi River Distilling Company:  My friend Stephanie is their chef and and I love love love their products.  Based in Le Claire, Iowa it is a local distillery that makes their products with ingredients from local farms.  Each bottle has a bottle number and a batch number and you can look up the numbers on their site and see which farms it came from.  I recommend the River Rose Gin (and I do not like gin but this is good!) and the Strawberry Vodka.  In Peoria you can get it at Friar Tuck.

Mullins Whey Protein:  This is the best protein powder we have EVER used.  It is unflavored so you can mix it with anything.  Try it.  It’s whey protein from Wisconsin (!) You will love it.

Amagansett Sea Salt:  Ok, so saw this on an episode of the Barefoot Contessa.  No surprise there.  But it was really cool to see how they “harvest” the salt so i ordered it.  It was amazing.

Thirty-one:  I love 31’s products, especially their large utility totes.  Perfect for vacations, laundry, storage, you name it.  I love the little utility bins for the pantry.  Great quality, great company, and my sister-in-law sells it so you can order here.

Josie Maran Argan Oil:  This has saved my skin, which is really really dry.  I love it.  Worth every penny. You can order on her website or find it at qvc or sephora or ulta. A little goes a long way so don’t be scared of the price.  I use it on my hair, under my eyes (hello 40), and on any dry spots before bed.

Lost & Found:  The cutest little gift shop in Peoria Heights, IL.  Lots of vintage and hard to find things.  Love it.

Woodwick Sea Salt Caramel Candle:  Our daughter came in the house one day and said Yum, I can’t wait for those cookies.  Plus it crackles like a fireplace.  Perfect.  🙂

Save Me San Francisco Wine:  The band Train has a winery and all the profits go to charity. It’s around $10 a bottle and really good.  And all the profits go to charity.  Did I mention all the profits go to charity?  Charity people.  In Peoria you can get it at Fresh Market or Hy-Vee. I haven’t tried Friar Tuck yet.  We have had the Chardonnay and the Pinot Noir.  Opposite ends of the spectrum and both are good.

Merry Christmas!!  Love to all!