Monday, June 27, 2011

Ricotta, Spinach & Bulgur Stuffed Shells

I am so behind in posting, it's ridiculous. I have several recipes just waiting to be organized, edited and published. But, life keeps getting in the way. I have my sister and nieces visiting from Oregon for 2 weeks! Which is fun...but, not very conducive to getting a whole lot done. My mother is also planning a big move out West...which, is a whole 'nother that I will share more about at a later date.
Of all the meals I've been cooking, and preparing to share here....this recipe wouldn't have been the first I would have chosen {not because it isn't delicious, because it is!}. Mainly because, who the heck wants to make stuffed shells right now?! It's nearly July!
The thing is, up until this past week, it's been unseasonably chilly in New England. We've had loads of rain, wind and thunderstorms. That works out well for making comfort casserole dinners, like this one. I also knew that with my sister in town, the leftovers would be eaten {which happened with remarkable swiftness}.
I've been wanting to make this since I first saw it in Whole Living magazine a few months ago. I was intrigued by the idea of adding bulgur wheat to the filling...something I've never seen done before. I love bulgur wheat. For those of you not familiar with the grain, it's a type of whole wheat...which has been parboiled, dried and ground. It has a great texture and a nutty, slightly sweet flavor. Because it's parboiled, it cooks very quickly, with little effort and has a high nutritional content...being high in fiber, protein and B vitamins.
One of the benefits of adding it to a recipe like this one is that it helps add nutrition to something otherwise not all that good for you. It also lowers the fat content by substituting some of the cheesy filling without sacrificing great flavor.
I, however, added some of the fat right back in by using my favorite tomato sauce recipe instead of the one recommended. I'm addicted to that sauce, and so is my family. Of course, you can absolutely use the sauce of your liking to keep it more low-fat. I also made a few other changes to the recipe, based on what I had in my, substituting crushed tomatoes for whole, adding some fresh mozzarella on top of the shells instead of Parmesan, and cutting back on the quantity of spinach. I was very happy with the results, so I think I'll stick with this.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Cowboys & Cowgirls

I've put together a few collections of photographs from our recent vacation to Jackson Hole, Wyoming that I'd like to share here. I took approximately 1000 pictures of the trip...which, once edited down ended up being more like 300. But, still...way too many to share here!
This first one, Cowboys & Cowgirls, is a taste of our Wild West that my boys got to share with all their first cousins on my side of the family. It doesn't often happen that my siblings and I are all together in one place...especially, when joined by all of their spouses and kids. My Mom {known as Mima to the grand kids} was also with us on the trip. It was a family reunion that happens once every couple of years, if we're lucky.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Coleslaw with Fresh Dill

I had hoped by this point I would have some photos up of our vacation to Jackson Hole, WY. But, between the exciting week we had last week and tons of stuff going on this week, I have yet to find the time to go through them. I did, however, manage to get this post together for you.
I made this coleslaw on our very last night of the trip. I grilled some dinner for my brother and his family, along with a friend of my Mom's {hi Kathy!}, who let us stay at her gorgeous house our last night in town. I was inspired to make this because a few weeks earlier, I was shopping at Fairway and had some of their coleslaw. I actually had it on a turkey panini sandwich and was blown away by how good it was! The whole time I was eating the sandwich I was trying to figure out what it was about it that made it so had something unusual about it...something I wasn't used to tasting in coleslaw.
The little sprinkles of green in there gave it was fresh dill. I googled the recipe when I got home and found it right away. The actual recipe uses a ton of sugar, and I didn't remember it tasting overly sweet when I had, I cut way back on that. Otherwise, it pretty much tasted exactly how I remembered it.
While cooking that evening, I had an unexpected 2 yr. old nephew, Nicholas. I put the bowl of dressing down to take a photograph, and he walked right up, grabbed the rubber spatula and started stirring away. It was as if he had just graduated from culinary school, the way he stirred that dressing! He carefully and methodically wiped the contents along the side of the bowl into the center, as if he were folding egg whites. Then, when satisfied with the consistency of the dressing, he tapped the spatula on the edge of the bowl to get every last bit in. I was blown away!
Now, this is coming from someone who's boys help in the kitchen all the time! But, even my 7 yr. old and 9 yr. old don't stir with that expertise. My brother is a chef, who now owns a Deli in Jackson Hole and my sister-in-law told me that he helps her make pancakes all the time. They have certainly trained him well!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Frigidaire Kids' Cooking Academy Event

This past Thursday, my boys and I were lucky enough to be part of a fun-filled event that helps support Save the Children. The event was sponsored by the folks at know, that company that makes great appliances? {I own one of their dishwashers...have I ever mentioned that I love my dishwasher?}
Along with Frigidaire, this event was lead by Jennifer Garner {lovely actress, philanthropist & mother of two} and Adam Kaye {chef/kitchen director at Blue Hill at Stone Barns Restaurant & a pioneer in the Farm-to-Table movement}. It's purpose was to teach families about the seasonality of food and gain first-hand experience preparing just-picked ingredients.
It also denoted the beginning of Frigidaire's partnership with GoWalla, the mobile "check-in" app for people on the go. In an effort to give more children access to fresh foods, every time you "check-in" to your local farmer's market using GoWalla, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save the Children, as part of their $500,000 commitment to the cause. For more information on how to do this, you can visit Frigidaire's Make Time for Change facebook page.
Not a mobile app kind of person? You can still help the cause and trigger a donation, by visiting the Make Time For Change website to commit to eating fresh this addition to the $1 donation, you will also be entered to win a Frigidaire Gallery French Door Refrigerator.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tea Collection Giveaway!

Frequent readers of The Parsley Thief will know that I love outfitting my kids in clothing from Tea Collection. I wrote about their versatile & well-made spring clothing here...they were one of my sponsors this past month...and, now they're offering THREE of my readers a free {boys or girls} graphic tee of their choice!
This giveaway is part of "The Tea Liking Spree" where visitors of their website can "like" their favorite graphic tee & reduce the price...the more likes your favorite style receives the lower the price goes!
To Enter the Giveaway:
Simply visit The Tea Liking Spree Page, then leave a comment here on The Parsley Thief stating which graphic tee is your favorite. As an extra bonus, you can enter this giveaway multiple times by sharing it with the public, through twitter, facebook, or your own blog. For each shout out, you can enter your name again, in the comments section of this post...just provide a link, showing how you shared it.
The winners will be chosen at random on Monday June 13th.
Psst...for any of you that just can't wait to pick up some of their designer duds...their Semi-Annual Sale with savings of up to 40% off started June 7th!
Some Updates:
Based on some feedback I've received from readers, I have some clarifications. The graphics tee's shown in the image above are not the only ones available in this giveaway. There are also some adorable designs for girls! Simply follow the link above for the Tea Liking Spree Page to see the whole selection. Also, a comment on Tea's website does not give you an entry in this must comment here to be entered to win!
THE WINNERS ARE: Comments #5 {Patti}, #14 {Lauren H.} & #22 {Catherine}
Please contact me @ theparsleythief{at}gmail{dot}com to collect your prize!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Edamame & Fennel Salad

Edamame & Fennel Salad
We arrived home from our vacation in the wee hours this morning. I'm functioning on very little sleep at the moment, but it's been so long since I've posted that I really wanted to get this recipe up!
We had an amazing trip! I know my kids will be remembering all of the adventures they had for a lifetime. It was hard coming home and being thrown back into reality. I have so much to share, including about 1700 photos {and one recipe I did manage to photograph}, but it may take me a bit to get most of it up here!
In the meantime, I'm sharing a recipe I created for the website, Babble. You may remember they included me in their Top 100 Mom Food Blogs of 2011...which was so nice of them! More recently, they asked me to create a recipe for their Meals for the Family section, which features 50 recipes from many of the Mom Food Bloggers on the list.
This salad was my contribution. The recipe happened sort of by happy accident, and was inspired by a local Asian restaurant I love, that steams their edamame with a piece of star anise thrown in. I've ordered their edamame many times, but never knew what made them taste so darn good until one day when I saw the little pod of star anise in there.
I figured if star anise was such a nice compliment to edamame then it must be equally delicious with some fennel. The verdict? Yes, it is! The only regret I had was not making twice as much. My kids aren't big fennel fans, but it was easy enough to pick it out of their serving {they were happy eating their Parmesan coated edamame}. I found this salad so addictive that I ate it at every meal for a few days following.
Star Anise