A Lenten Addition- Clam Chowder

I got this recipe off of the "All Recipes" site and changed it a bit to suit our preferences. This is my version. Really good and really hearty!


2 cans (10 oz. each) whole baby clams
1 bottle clam juice
1/2 cup carrots
2 large potatoes cubed to bite size
1/4 cup minced onions
3 cloves minced garlic
2 cups milk (2% or skim, whatever you have, even whole is fine)
2 cups half and half
3/4 cups butter (stick and a half! eek!)
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt
pepper to taste


Cut up all veggies, mince garlic and onion. Add all veggies to a big pot with a lid. Drain juice from clams over the veggies, also add in the extra clam juice (as much as desired, I use about a third of the bottle) and add water as needed to cover the veggies fully. Put on the lid and heat/boil on high for about 15-20 min. or until veggies are tender.

While veggies are cooking, melt butter in large skillet, wisk in flour until smooth. Continue to wisk in the 2 cups of milk and 2 cups half and half . Continue to wisk until completely smooth. When veggies are done, add the flour and cream mixture to the big pot. On low heat add salt, pepper and vinegar. Lastly add in clams, stirring on low heat until soup is heated through. Do not let soup boil, the clams will get tough. Serve hot.

I would taste the chowder before adding salt, taste after adding salt, taste after adding vinegar. I dont like my foods very salty at all so you may prefer more salt or vingear.

For the non-seafood lovers out there. Add diced chicken to the veggies pot, use chicken broth instead of clam juice. And leave out the red wine vinegar and otherwise follow the directions exactly the same and you have a great chicken chowder.

Recipe Update

Awhile back I posted a recipe for Very Easy Quesadillas and I wanted to report that kind of by accident last night I figured out how to make them even easier! I had plans of making shredded chicken tacos and kind of just threw a bunch of leftover stuff with 2 (frozen) chicken breasts in the crock pot. I had a green chile salsa, rotel, mexicorn and a tupperwear of leftover diced tomatoes and black beans from a dinner last week. I think there was even a little wild rice in there, not sure. The end result was an even more flavorful mixture for quesadillas that only required me to scoop into tortillas and bake 20 minutes before we ate. I even used cheddar cheese because that's all I had. I have a lot leftover too for tacos or soup or whatever. I am finding more and more these days that I can stretch 4 chicken breasts into at least 2 meals. Enjoy!

Chewy Granola Bars

This from (where else?) Smitten Kitchen. She advertises these as super chewy and they are. I usually am not a granola fan due to how hard and crunchy it can be, but this is just right. This recipe is amazingly adaptable and easy to substitute. I left out a lot and switched some things around. This is also a great "kid helper" recipe. Caroline helped pour and mix almost all of it and it was a lot of fun to make together! For the oat flour I used whole wheat and intended to mix some wheat germ or flax in but completely forgot. I also used a mix of honey and maple syrup because we were getting impatient waiting for the honey to pour out and I really think the corn syrup is completely optional. We used dried cherries, almonds and a handful of dark chocolate chips in ours.

1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats
1/2 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar (use more for a sweetness akin to most purchased bars; use less for a mildly sweet bar)
1/3 cup oat flour (or 1/3 cup oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor or blender)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 to 3 cups dried fruits and nuts (total of 10 to 15 ounces)
1/3 cup peanut butter or another nut butter (I used almond butter) (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional, namely because I was not convinced that the flavor came through)
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup honey, maple syrup or corn syrup
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon water

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8″ x 8″ x 2″ pan in one direction with parchment paper, allowing it to go up the opposing sides. Lightly grease the parchment paper and the exposed pan, or coat with a non-stick spray.

Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, melted butter or oil, liquid sweeteners and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry (and peanut butter, if you’re using it) until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan. (A piece of plastic wrap can help with this, as you press down on the back of it.)

Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges — don’t be afraid to get a little color on the tops too. They’ll still seem soft and almost underbaked when you press into the center of the pan but do not worry, they’ll set completely once completely cool.

Cool the bars in their pan completely on a cooling rack. (Alternately, after about 20 minutes you can use your parchment “sling” to lift and remove the bars, and place them in their paper on the rack to cool the rest of the way. This can speed the process up.)

Once cool, a serrated knife (or bench knife) to cut the bars into squares. To store, wrap the bars individually in plastic or stack them in an airtight container. In humid weather, it’s best to store bars in the refrigerator. They also freeze well.

*Suggestions: Dried cranberries, apricots, pecans, sunflower seeds, coconut, walnuts, sesame seeds, pepitas, dried pples or even chocolate chips. Her mix: 1/2 cup wheat germ, 1 cup dried cherries, 1 cup walnuts, 1/2 cup pecans and 1/2 cup dried unsweetened coconut flakes. Because my pieces were all pretty coarse, I pulsed them in the food processor a few times to break it up a little, though this isn’t necessary if you don’t mind yours chunkier


When-Harry-Met-Sally Rolls

When Harry Met Sally is a classic in my book. From the quaint little vignettes of "well-seasoned" couples scattered throughout to "too much pepper on my paprikash," I could watch it again and again. Even if you haven't seen the movie, you may be familiar with the movie's most famous (and infamous) clip, the scene in the dinner where Sally takes Harry's sexual confidence down a notch or two over a few bites of pie. All of this to say, I've been a little deceptive. "When Harry Met Sally Rolls" is not, in fact, the name of this recipe, but more on that in a minute...

My first semester of college, a friend and I roadtripped down to San Marcos to visit friends at what was then Southwest Texas State, now Texas State University. We visited this area quite a lot. It's right on the Eastern edge of the beautiful Texas Hill Country, along the banks of the San Marcos river. While we were there, our friends introduced us to this wonderful, crazy-simple dessert. It wasn't "When Harry Met Sally Rolls," but ______ Rolls, where ________ is something that rhymes with schmorgasm. That's my way of being honest with the title, while attempting not to offend a mixed crowd, or myself for that matter. It must be the cradle Catholic in me. I can't even watch a movie with my mom if people start getting a little randy. I'll always find an excuse to leave the room. I. Just. Can't. Do. It.

Anyway, back to the rolls. These are incredibly simple, economic, and wonderful. They'd be great for Valentine's Day. They're rich and decadent, but also light and unassuming. "I'll have what she's having," indeed!

Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 pint strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
    2 T white sugar
  • 6 croissants (or 12 mini ones) - don't try to pull a fast one and use cheaper Poppin' Fresh crescent rolls, or you may find them a little, ahem, "lackluster."
  • 3 chocolate bars - we always used Hershey's because we were poor college students, but if you've got some Valrhona or Scharffen Berger burning a hole in your pantry (wha??), knock yourself out.
  • Whipped Cream - again, we always used the canned stuff because we were on a college budget and most of us didn't have a Kitchenaid at that point in our lives, but by all means, whip yourself up homemade if you want

1. Combine the strawberries and sugar and set aside. Obviously, you want to macerate these puppies, so it can be done ahead of time.

2. Turn on your broiler

3. Slice each croissant lengthwise, as though you're going to make a sandwich, and place cut side up on a baking sheet.

4. Break up the chocolate bars and distribute evenly along the bottom part of each croissant.

5. Pop the croissants into the oven and broil until the choclate starts to melt/get shiny and the croissants start to brown and toast Be careful, as this can happen quickly. It usually takes mine anywhere from 1 - 3 minutes, depending on where my oven rack is set that day. This can be a tricky variable, so be vigilent...

6. Remove croissants from oven and top the chocolate covered bottom pieces with strawberries. I use a slotted spoon so I don't have crazy amounts of juice dripping everywhere.

7. Top the strawberries with whipped cream.

8. Place the top half of the croissant on top and enjoy.

Eat like a sandwich if you don't mind the mess (our friend in San Marcos said they're titled as such because they cause intense euphoria and can sometimes be messy - such a jokester!), or if you're a little more prim and proper, use a fork and a pretty dessert plate.

Happy Valentine's Day!