What’s for Lunch #4 + #5

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So sorry for neglecting to post my lunch last Tuesday: Thanksgiving is my excuse! And my apologies for the ghastly photo – the only camera I had with me was on my phone.

Here’s what I had: Stuffed French toast (half filled with strawberries & cream cheese, half with apricot jam and Swiss cheese), and a curried chicken salad sandwich at one of my favorite coffee shops in town.

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Here’s what I had for lunch today: Spicy Thai Noodles, based on this recipe: {link}

I used cashews in place of peanuts, and I added some peanut butter, ginger, and red curry paste. Delicious.

What did you have for lunch today? Share your description or photos in the comments!

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Creamy Tomato Soup with Dumplings

Creamy Tomato Soup with Dumplings

It’s that time of year again: time to pull your warm clothes out of storage; time to cozy up in a fuzzy blanket with a good book and a cup of tea; time to look longingly at your skis; time to warm your chilly fingers by cradling a steaming bowl of soup in your hands.

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This soup is absolutely amazing. It’s so flavorful, yet so simple. The blend of herbs is perfect, and the dumplings add a little something special.

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This is one of Reuben’s favorite soups. I was introduced to it while we were getting to know each other. One evening his family invited me over for supper, and they served this scrumptious soup. Reuben requested that I make it for him, and his family very obligingly gave me the recipe. Here it is for you to enjoy!

Creamy Tomato Soup with Dumplings

Printable page | Serves 3-4

For the soup:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (I use demerara or maple syrup)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • dash each- garlic, basil, oregano, thyme.
  • 2 cups tomato juice or diced canned tomatoes (I use a cup of each)
  • 2 cups cold milk

1) Sauté onions in butter. Blend in the flour, sugar, salt, pepper & other seasonings.

2) Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the tomato juice. Return to heat & bring to a boil stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute. Stir hot tomato mixture gradually into the milk. Return to saucepan & heat to almost boiling.

For Doodles:

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • flour as needed (I used a bit over 3/4 cup)

Mix the ingredients together to make a very thick batter. Drop the the batter by teaspoonfuls into the almost boiling soup, coating the spoon with hot soup each time so the batter doesn’t stick to the spoon. Turn off the heat & cover until serving time.

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What’s For Lunch #3 + Food Photography + The Winners!

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Today for lunch I had a salad of organic baby greens and radicchio topped with cheddar cheese, pomegranate seeds, and honey french & blue cheese dressings. Absolutely delicious.

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Recently I acquired a few things that make food photography a pleasure: A new tripod, a couple sheets of card stock (one black and one white), and white foam board. I’ve been having fun experimenting with them. The card stock I use as backdrops, and the foam board for a reflector.

Here I demonstrate different reflectors. All photos were taken with the exact same exposure settings. The only thing that’s different is the reflector used. All photos SOOC (straight out of camera).

1. No reflector | 2. White foam board | 3. Silver reflector | 4. Gold reflector

I ended up using #2 for the final shot.

Now for the Giveaway Winners!

Commenter #33: Michele, who said: “I baked whole wheat buttermilk biscuits!”

and

Commenter #158 garysgirl, who said: “The last thing I baked was some delicious bread.”

Thank you so much to everyone who entered the giveaway!

Please share what you had for lunch today in the comments!

Dassant Baking Mixes Product Review + Giveaway

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I just love getting things in the mail, like baking mixes. Lovely baking mixes, like Dassant baking mixes.

I was lucky enough to receive four mixes for review. Now, I must admit that normally I’m pretty much averse to baking mixes – they’re usually filled with gross ingredients and taste very fake. Dassant baking mixes I found to be different.
Let me tell you what I think:

Packaging:

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Each mix is enclosed in a beautifully designed box with an illustration of the finished product. It also indicates the country/state of origin. For example, the pumpkin spice bread is from Vermont (there’s a little American flag that indicates the country).

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On the back, the ingredients are listed with cute little illustrations, and the directions are quickly summed up. There’s also detailed instructions for the perfectionist.

Many of the mixes include recipes to accompany the treat, such and the pumpkin icing pictured above. There are also handy suggestions for deciding when the mix is finished baking, how to make it into muffins, etc.

Taste

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I was privileged enough to try out four different mixes (Cinnamon Bread, Chocolate Cake, Pumpkin Bread, and Truffle Brownies). I must admit that each one was delicious and baked up perfectly.

But the real question is: Would I buy it?

Yes, I would buy these mixes as a gift. However, there’s still a place in my heart that’s against baking mixes, so I probably wouldn’t be buying them for myself. But it would be a wonderful Christmas present for someone special. I highly recommend the cinnamon bread mix. It was scrumptious.

Now for the Giveaway!

The folks over at Dassant have generously decided to give away four (4) mixes of choice to two (2) lucky Cooking for Seven readers!

Here’s how it works:

  • [Mandatory] Leave a comment on this post, answering the following question: What was the last thing you baked?

Rules:

You MUST include a valid email address in the comment form.

Only one comment per person.

US residents only, please!

If you are the winner, you must respond withing 48 hours with your mailing address or a new winner will be selected.

Giveaway ends Sunday, November 13, at 12:00 noon Central Time.

I will select two (2) winners using random.org.

Good luck!

P.S. Can’t wait until the giveaway ends to try out these awesome mixes? Here’s a coupon code just for you: Receive 25% off your order at Dassant by entering coupon code SEVEN

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

What’s For Lunch #2: Crostini with Side Salad + Restaurant Photography

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What I do for you guys.

Yesterday, I was out shopping at lunch time. I was pretty sure this would be the case, so I made sure to bring along my big ‘ol DSLR. I felt just a little silly bringing my boxy camera bag into the restaurant, but I wanted to share my lunch with ya’ll.
Know what? Photography in a restaurant is pretty difficult and a bit embarrassing. First, in a crowded restaurant, you have to move around until you find a table with good light. Then, you have to furtively take out your huge camera and pretend to casually take photos of your food. Everything within you cries out as you want to bend over your food, finding the best angle. But everyone around you would think you were crazy.

What I do for you guys.

Here’s what I had: Crostini (toasted baguette) with a cheese spread, topped with bacon and scallions, and a side salad (one of the best salads I’ve ever had at a restaurant). It was excellent.

What did you have for lunch today?

What’s for Lunch #1: Chicken and Black Bean Chili

What's For Lunch #1

I thought it might be fun to start a series on Cooking for Seven where I share a photo of my lunch on the same day each week. I’m not promising that I’ll be able to hit EVERY Tuesday. But I’ll sure try!

Here’s my lunch #1: Chicken, corn, and black been chili with cheddar cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips.

What did you have for lunch today? Describe it in the comments or share a photo!