Posts made in February, 2015

Let’s Move or Dance?

Posted by on Feb 27, 2015 in Asian and Vegetarian | 2 comments

Created in partnership with Michele Obama’s, Let’s Move campaign, Creamy Polenta with Mushrooms, Chickpeas, and Olives requires special ingredients and time a busy mom dreams of.   Mise en place speeds the cooking.  Directions for sautéing and combining the mushroom medley seemed rushed to me, not allowing each element to reach its flavor peak.   Prepare this dish for a relaxed evening with someone to join in chopping and stirring.  Use 4 cups of water when making the polenta; cook it while you are prepping mushrooms, onions, etc.  That way you are right there to give it a stir now and then, as it bubbles.









Saute the onion in oil for a couple of minutes; then add the garlic and thyme to soften.  Season with salt and pepper as you go-- Pour in the white wine (if using) and the balsamic vinegar; stir and scrape up the brown bits and reduce to a simmer.








When liquid is reduced by half, add mushrooms and broth.  Simmer until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Taste and season.








Add the garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and cook until heated through and slightly thickened.















To finish the polenta, add half of Parmesan cheese (I used the real deal). Scoop the polenta into a serving dish and top with mushroom medley, chopped olives, parsley, and more cheese.

I suggest buying the olives at a market olive bar; you only need 12. In that way, you can pick and choose-- eliminating costly bottles of olives parked in the fridge.  Dry thyme is fine as well. Bump the broth up to 1 1/3 cups if you are omitting wine, using the 1/3 cup in place of the wine.  Serves six.  No way.








In the end, it was a satisfying scoop of slightly cheesy creamy long-simmering polenta with tasty earthy mushrooms, and briny olives— MP and I danced (moved) to Jack Mack and the Heart Attack while we simmered and bubbled.



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Enter with an Open Heart

Posted by on Feb 25, 2015 in New | 1 comment

Be still in the lavish garden of his love;

it prevails like a skyscraper towering high above your perception of provision and grace.

It is sufficient for now.

 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.

Psalm 56:3 ~ NIV


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Secret Ingredient Chocolate Cake

Posted by on Feb 23, 2015 in Desserts | 4 comments

Japanese mayo with a paper-doll baby on the package is trending with chefs for its heavy-handed industrial strength bond of egg yolks, sweetness and rice vinegar acidy. Therefore, when Cole was raving about the stuff, I was dubious of its “Hello Kitty” vibe.








Southern Living in due time offered a recipe for Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake.








In an unusual way, all brown sugar and eggs are blended for 3 minutes before








adding the mayonnaise in lieu of butter or oil.








The dry ingredients and hot water








(I used hot strong coffee) produce a thin batter.








In a potluck manner, the cake, baked in a 9x13 inch pan is frosted as it stands.








A whole 2-pound bag of confectioners’ sugar teams with pure butter, cream cheese, and heavy cream creating a thick pale frosting on top.








The award for the kind- of-best secret ingredient in a cake goes to, Kewpie Mayonnaise.







The tender moist cake with a hint of cinnamon is a church-lady winner!


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Ginger Miso Dressing

Posted by on Feb 20, 2015 in Salad | 0 comments

I am a salad dressing snob—in a good way.  I have not purchased prepared dressings in a couple of decades. By choosing clean, quality oils to marry with zippy vinegars or pure citrus creates a natural veil for salads, vegetables, grains, glistening strands of pasta and more.  It takes no more time than wrestling bottles of gummy dressing that taste of smugly of shelf life.  One of my favorite new dressings creates high notes of sweet and sour emulsified by mystic Miso umami-ness.








Here is the team line up.








The wild cards, Miso, and Gochujang are easier to find than you think. Miso (light soybean paste) is found refrigerated in the Asian section and Gochujang (Korean hot sauce) can be substituted with your favorite spicy and sweet blend.








Load the food processor with the ingredients and zizz it together; adjust the elements to taste and bottle.








It solidifies after chilling so give it a good shake before glorifying pretty much anything!






















You might also like:

Real Ranch

Blood Orange Vinaigrette

Yogurt Cilantro and Lime

Ginger Miso Dressing


  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh limejuice
  • 2 Tablespoons white Miso
  • 1 Tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon grated peeled ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Gochujang (Korean Chili Sauce)


  1. Combine the ingredients in a food processor and pulse; then process until smooth. Adjust flavors and refrigerate.
  2. © Copyright 2015 Peggy Barrett Lunde
  3. All Rights Reserved




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Lenten Soup

Posted by on Feb 18, 2015 in Soup | 0 comments


Christian holy, Ash Wednesday is marked today; traditionally beginning 40 days of personal refrainment and spiritual reflection.  A period described in the book of Matthew contrasts Jesus’ test and sufficiency in the wilderness with Satan, the great liar.  Fasting, penance, and abstinence take on diverse approaches in Christian denominations.  Some restrict meat and fowl on certain days as we approach the resurrection of Christ on Easter.



Because I am ill with a rotten cold and because soup loaded with beans, greens, and a rainbow of root veggies seems what I need and want; you may too.








A farmers’ market elixir of goodness clears the way for a fresh season of inspiration.

Begin a quick saute of onion and garlic before adding celery, giant carrots, potatoes, fennel and oregano. Season well.








Pour in water and tomato sauce; bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and allow the veggies to meditate.








When the carrots and potatoes are tender, plop in the greens.  Cover and allow the chard and kale to wilt-- happily.








Then the time arrives to stir in white beans and few extra ones pureed with water which thickens it ever so slightly.








When the seasonings are adjusted to your taste--spoon it into a rimmed bowl with a drizzle of Balsamic vinegar and scatter freshly shaved Parmesan cheese with or without discretion.

Ash Wednesday Lenten soup for supper ~

Enter His holy human moments on a dusty trail with Jericho in the rear view mirror; that cross prophetically placed in the everlasting gap.

Image result for images of Jesus on the road to jerusalem to the cross

photo source:

“Tis wise to march into Jerusalem with the promise of God in your heart.” And the Angels were Silent—Max Lucado

White Bean Soup with Swiss Chard and Kale


  • 2 (14-ounce) cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium russet potato,
  • peeled and cubed
  • 6 cups water, divided use
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped
  • (about 4 cups)
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped (about 4 cups)
  • Kosher salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Balsamic Vinegar, to finish
  • Parmesan cheese


  1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until softened, 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add carrots, celery, potato, 5 cups water, tomato sauce, fennel seed and oregano. Cover and simmer 15-20 minutes until potato and carrots are tender.
  3. Remove center ribs from chard and kale and discard. Coarsely chop the chard and kale; stir into soup. Simmer another 5-7 minutes or until wilted.
  4. Add half of the beans to the soup and puree remaining beans with 1 cup water; add to soup. Adjust seasonings and heat through.
  5. Drizzle with Balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese to serve.
  6. Serves 4-6
  7. © Copyright 2011 Peggy Barrett Lunde
  8. All Rights Reserved

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