Archive for November, 2014

California Thanksgiving … This Is How We Roll

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

A picture from my friend Julie’s Thanksgiving bike ride.

I wish I could have been there!

Check out Julie’s Instagram for more awesome photos:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

Just a quick HAPPY THANKSGIVING – I have a house full of guests and have been busy, busy, busy helping to get things ready.

I hope you have the chance to get out on your bike today and enjoy this glorious Northern California weather today! I got in two short rides – one right as the sun came up and another a few hours later (after the turkey went in the oven!).

Photos later!


Rosemary Roasted Cashews

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

These are based on an Ina Garten recipe. The only modification I made was to use olive oil in place of the butter. They are positively wonderful! I am looking forward to serving these tomorrow – I am taking care of the appetizers for Thanksgiving this year.

This is a must try recipe! Sweet, salty, spicy, and delicious!

Work Bake Off!

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

This year’s Bake Off was on Wednesday. Here are a few photos of some of my submissions.

Chocolate Overload Brownies ... won "Best in Chocolate"

Almond Macaroons with Dark Chocolate Ganache

Lemon, White Chocolate Chip & Chia Seed Cookies ... won "Best in Fruit"

Peanut Butter Maple Oat Bites with Dried Cherries ... won "Best in Health"

Foodie Explorations: Spicy Almonds #3

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

Here is another version of the Spicy Almonds. I added garlic salt and just a touch of sweetness, but I forgot the lime juice. Next batch will be basically this with a squeeze of lime juice.

Spicy Almonds #3

1 cup raw whole almonds
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine nuts, olive oil, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and sugar and stir to mix well. Spread in a single layer in a baking dish. Bake for about 30-35 minutes. Watch your time and temperature carefully as nuts can go from perfection to burned in an instant.

Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Sprinkle with garlic salt and allow to cool a bit before eating.

Serve warm or cool completely before packing in an airtight container.

The touch of sweetness balances out the spiciness of the cayenne.

 I’ve got to get this down soon, because this will be on the appetizer table for Thanksgiving!

Foodie Explorations: Spicy Almonds #2

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

I made a few changes to the first recipe:

  • Increased chili powder and cayenne pepper to 1 teaspoon each.
  • Roasted for 30 minutes.
  • Salted after roasting, immediately after removing from the oven.

Spicy Almonds

These are too spicy for me. Next batch I think I’ll try 1 teaspoon chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne. Next batch I might add a bit of cinnamon to add just a hint of sweetness.

Foodie Explorations: Spicy Almonds #1

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

I’m gearing up for the holiday season and working on some treats that are flavorful and healthier than standard fare at most holiday feasts. These nuts are inspired by the spicy almonds served at Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards.

Spicy Almonds #1

1 cup raw whole almonds
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
squeeze of fresh lime juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine all ingredients in a dish and stir to mix well. Spread in a single layer in a baking pan. Bake for about 15 minutes. Watch your time and temperature carefully as nuts can go from perfection to burned in an instant.

A squeeze of fresh lime adds a fresh brightness that complements the spiciness of the cayenne.

Just a touch of spicy heat.

Foodie Exploration Notes For the Next Batch …

  • Bake a bit longer, probably 25 – 30 minutes to get more crunch.
  • Add the salt after the nuts roast, while they’re still hot.
  • Go a bit spicier!


Soup … the Ultimate Comfort Food.

Saturday, November 15th, 2014

As promised, here is the recipe for Chicken Vegetable Soup. This is a very homey and rustic soup recipe. You can use homemade chicken stock or your favorite brand of prepared stock.

Chicken Vegetable Soup

Serve piping hot garnished with a bit of Parmesan cheese

Here’s what you will need:

About 2 tablespoons of olive oil
3 carrots
3 stalks celery
1 medium onion
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
6 ounces fresh cooking greens, such as kale or Swiss chard, roughly chopped
12 ounces cooked kidney beans, rinsed and well drained
1 cup fresh or frozen peas and/or corn
1 cup chopped fresh Roma tomatoes
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup shredded chicken meat (optional)
4 quarts of chicken stock
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
2 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste
freshly grated Parmesan cheese to garnish

Assemble and prepare all of your ingredients. Wash, drain, and cut the vegetables and herbs. You can cut the vegetables into bite sized pieces, or a little larger, depending on your preference. Remember that larger pieces take longer to cook, and you don’t want them so large that they’ll make the soup difficult to serve or eat. If you are using baby greens, you may not need to chop them at all, but I usually give them a chop or two just to make sure I don’t end up with a stem falling off my spoon and making a mess while I’m trying to enjoy the soup.

In a large, heavy bottomed stock pot over medium heat, add about 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the onions and saute until softened. Add the carrots and celery, stirring to combine with the onions. Saute a few minutes, then add the mushrooms briefly. Cover and reduce heat to low. Allow to sweat a few minutes.

Click here for a culinary definition of “sweat.”

Remove the lid, give a good stir to the onion mixture. Add the chopped greens, beans, peas, corn, tomatoes, rice, and chicken meat.

Add the fresh greens, cooked rice, and beans.

Add the stock and give a good stir. Cover and bring the heat up to medium high. You want to watch this carefully because when it gets close to a boil, you’ll reduce the heat to low. Allow to simmer until all of the vegetables are cooked to your liking. This will take a good 2-3 hours on low heat. Add the fresh herbs in the last hour of cooking; this will help to maintain their fresh flavor.

Add the stock, bring to a gentle boil, and then set to simmer.

This soup is terrific with a hearty homemade bread, like this multi-grain bread.

This recipe is very flexible – you can adjust the amount of any of these ingredients, substitute different vegetables, use pasta in place of rice, omit almost any of the ingredients (except, of course, the stock!). Have fun with it – try different variations and combinations.

For my vegan friends, you can easily make this vegan by using a vegan vegetable stock and omitting the chicken meat. There will be plenty of protein from the rice, beans, peas, and corn.

Legumes and grains are complementary proteins. What this means is that pairing a grain with a legume will provide you with a nutritionally complete protein. For example, rice + beans, or corn + peas.

Coming Soon … CyclingFoodie on Pinterest!

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

This morning I Googled “cyclingfoodie” and saw that some of my pictures have found their way onto Pinterest. Wait a minute! I’m not on Pinterest … so who’s putting my pictures on Pinterest?!

So I signed up today. Haha! This will be fun. I have no idea what I’m doing or how to “Pin.”



Chicken Stock

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Homemade Chicken Stock

There are so many good quality pre-made stocks available at the store now, but they’re just not quite as comforting as a homemade stock.

I am fortunate that I learned at a very young age how to make homemade stock. My mother, who has always been very frugal, never let anything go to waste. Any time we had roasted chicken or turkey, she saved the carcass for stock.

This is a very rustic, homey recipe for stock.

To make homemade chicken stock from a leftover roasted whole chicken, first removed as much of the meat as you can from the bones. I like to remove the skin, if there’s any left, because it just adds fat to the stock. Set this meat aside for the soup, or to make a chicken salad or curry … whatever you like.

If you’ve saved the neck and giblets from the whole bird, you’ll want to add them, too. Don’t add the liver, though, as it will lend a bitter flavor to the stock.

Clean and trim a few large carrots, stalks of celery, onion, clove or two of garlic, a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, thyme, and parsley. Cut the carrots and celery into about 2-inch chunks, quarter the onions. I also like to add a couple of Roma tomatoes, quartered.

Place the carcass in a large, heavy bottomed stock. Add the vegetables and herbs. Add about 6 whole peppercorns. Cover with cool water. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer a few hours. How long you simmer is going to depend on a lot of factors, so you’ll go by taste and sight. The vegetables will be completely cooked and very soft after a few hours. I cooked this stock for about 4 hours before straining.

Allow the stock to cook a little, then with a slotted spoon scoop out as many solids as you can. I like to place the solids in a colander inside a large bowl so I can catch any liquid that drains from them. Strain the stock through a fine sieve, or if you desire through cheesecloth. Don’t skip this step – you want to be sure to capture any bone fragments that may have separated from the carcass.

Chicken Vegetable Soup

Depending on how much meat there left was on the carcass, you may want to pick through the solids and pick any remaining meat off the bones. You can add this to soup.

If you’re making soup right away, then set the hot stock aside while you’re preparing your soup, otherwise you will want to quick chill it and keep it refrigerated until you’re ready to use it. It will keep a few days in the refrigerator.

Soup recipe coming soon!