tomato basil bisque

An (extremely) favorite menu item, a la Harry’s Restaurant in downtown Manhattan, Kansas. Recipe featured a few years ago in a Kansas magazine when spotted by my mum.

Back a few months ago, my dear friend Sally came down to my little abode and we made a fabulous dinner. Homemade pasta ravioli with ricotta and spinach with basil pesto from last fall. What better to pair the pasta with than a delish tomato basil soup! Did I mention that basil is my favorite herb? Well its running a close race with rosemary, thyme, and ginger at least. Sure doesn’t hurt that it grows like a weed here in the hot Kansas summers.

We made the soup again about a week ago, during these strange cold, windy, and damp May days. I love the surprise of the science experiment in the middle (think 6th grade volcano).

I adore this soup. It’s what I’ve decided to ask for if I ever get really sick – with some freshly grated parmesan and a good glass of wine.  Enjoy!

sally’s ravioli!

adding pepper, basil, and flour to sautéed onion

simmering the tomatoes for the science experiment portion of the evening

adding the soda!

frothy soup. Soda added to acidic tomatoes to even out the PH before adding cream, cause it would curdle.


or half and half

enjoyed with a bit of fresh basil from the window sill

Tomato Basil Bisque

  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 3 tbl flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 3 cup chicken stock
  • 25 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 26 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream (i use half-n-half)
  • 3 tbl chopped fresh basil
  • oil to saute
  1. Saute onion and salt, pepper, dried basil, and flour.
  2. Whisk together, add stock, mix.
  3. Add tomatoes and stir.
  4. Cook 20 minutes over medium heat.
  5. Add baking soda and sugar.
  6. Simmer 15 more minutes.
  7. Add cream and fresh basil
  8. Serve.

Makes 9- 8oz bowls.


apple pie crispix

mmmmh. this one is a holiday tradition for my family.

Not sure why just for the holidays though, it is really easy to make and addictively tasty. Try it out!

the cereal

the card

mixture that weakens the nerve of all

baking in our big blue bowl

added in the apple chips

Apple Pie Crispix

  • 1 large box Crispix
  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar (i used raw sugar)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon or more
  • 2 pkg apple chips
  1. Melt butter, mix in sugar, cinnamon, walnuts.
  2. Pour mixture over Crispix cereal in large oven-safe bowl and toss until covered. 
  3. Back at 250*F for 45 min, stirring every 15 min.
  4. Add 2 pkg apple chips to baked cereal.
  5. Let cool and transfer to air tight container or serve immediately!

coconut macaroons

If you like coconut…. if you like chocolate…. if you like being happy…. then you will love these simple little cookies.

So yummy, I’ve made them several times already. Egg white mean they’re really healthy for us right? They are best within the first few days, so buy some coffee or milk and prepare yourself.

Coconut Macaroons_

mixing together dry ingredients,

special photocopy keepsake of Greta’s cookbook,

baking in the oven,

to a toasty brown!

After cooled, I dipped the cookies halfway in melted dark chocolate and cooled more on wax paper. :)

Based on a recipe from a friend’s Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. Thanks Greta!

Prep: 15 min – Bake: 20 min per batch – Oven: 325*F – Makes: about 30 cookies

  • 2 2/3 cups flaked coconut (7 oz.) – I prefer unsweetened, but sweetened works too!
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla or 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 4 oz. semisweet chocolate (optional)
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 325*F. Lightly grease a large cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper; set aside. In medium mixing bowl combine coconut, sugar, flour, and salt. Stir in egg whites, half tsp of the vegetable oil, and vanilla or almond extract.

2. Drop mixture by rounded teaspoons (or I think as big as you want, they will spread out) 2 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until edges are light brown. Rest on sheet for 1-2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

3. If desired, in small saucepan melt chocolate and shortening over low heat, stirring often. Dip half of cookie in melted chocolate or drizzle melted chocolate over tops in a criss-cross pattern.

Yummy! If you try it out, I’d love to know what you think!

risotto w/ mushrooms

First thing to know about risotto- It will be some work, stirring work to be exact, but its more than worth it. Prepare yourself for the results! Risotto is an incredible comfort food, creamy, savory, and can have an infinite number of flavor variations.

Second thing to know- You must use Arborio rice. Do not substitute long grain or anything else. Arborio is an Italian short grain rice, grown originally in the Po Valley, think Modena, Parma, and westward to Torino. The creaminess of the risotto comes straight from the rice starches and proteins, oh and the Parmesan cheese! 

Third thing- How I underestimated the flavor combination of thyme and mushrooms. From this recipe, I now always add thyme when sauteing mushrooms, even for Portobello mushroom sandwiches.

Fourth- I know many people are not giant fans of mushrooms. I, on the other hand, am a huge fan, and happened to find shiitake mushrooms on sale at the grocery store, prompting me to finally make the risotto I had been craving for months. Other variations might include using a vegetable or beef broth in place of chicken, adding basil pesto to the rice before Parmesan, or something else. Onion and garlic are nearly required, so don’t skip them.

sauteing mushrooms, herbs, onions, and garlic

stirring until broth is absorbed, many times

cooked risotto, pre-Parmesan addition

Risotto con fungi, 4 to 6 servings

  • 8 cups chicken broth, low sodium
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pkg shiitake, 1/2 small pkg button mushrooms sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped, or 2 tsp dried
  • 2 tbsp fresh italian parsley (flat leaf), chopped, or 2 tsp dried
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
  1. Heat all chicken broth in saucepan, keep warm over low heat.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in very large skillet over med heat. Saute 1/2 onion and 1 clove garlic until translucent, be careful not to burn garlic. Add fresh mushrooms, herbs, and butter. Saute all for 3 to 5 min until lightly browned and season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Heat rest of oil (2 tbsp)  Saute remaining 1/2 onion and garlic clove. Add rice and stir quickly until grains are well coated and opaque, 1 min. (cooks starchy coating and prevents grains from sticking). Stir in wine until nearly all evaporated.
  4. With ladle, add 1 cup broth at a time, stirring until absorbed into rice, then add next cup broth. Keep adding broth and stirring until each cup absorbs until rice is slightly firm and creamy, not mushy. Will use most if not all broth. Stir in mushrooms. Stir in Parmesan cheese, cook until melting, still stirring.
  5. Serve, top with any left over chopped herbs.

recipe altered from, Tyler Florence.