Saturday, January 21

Baked Kale Chips

Trolling around on Pinterest, I found {THIS} amazing recipe. It is a very simple recipe for baked Kale chips, using only 3 ingredients. Most of us are on Pinterest to try new recipes, and all types of new things. If there is any recipe that you are looking to try, you have got to try this one. It really was amazing. It seems really weird, I know. I felt the same way. But I do not regret trying this one.

3 Cups Kale
1 Teaspoon Oil
Desired Seasonings (Salt, Pepper, Garlic Salt, etc.)

Start by washing your greens, and removing the stem from each one.

The easiest way to remove the stem is to fold the leaf in half..

And then score along the edge to cut the stem out.

This is what a stemless green looks like!

Now slice the greens into strips, and then again into chip sized chunks.

Place your greens into a bowl..

And toss with 1 teaspoon of oil.

Lay your greens out on a baking sheet, and sprinkle desired seasonings. I used only Garlic Sea Salt.

Bake at 300 degrees for 15 minutes.

They still look like soft greens, but were surprisingly crispy!

This honestly turned out amazing. I feel like you MUST try this recipe, if you're going to try any of these recipes. (Plus, if you make homemade Zuppa, you'll have leftover Kale! What an excellent way to use up that extra!)

These chips turned out so fantastic, that my husband and I sat down and ate the entire bowl in less than 15 minutes. If I were to eat a whole bowl of potato chips in 15 minutes, I'd be miserable.

I feel absolutely amazing that I ate that whole bowl of "chips". I was really skeptical about how these would turn out. Because I'll tell you right now, the greens stink. They do not smell pleasant at all. But the taste.. I can't even explain it. It's kind of like a salty potato chip, but crispier. If only I could substitute all unhealthy snacks with fresh vegetables, I'd be set for life! I really do hope all of you will try this one. Please, let me know what you think too! Did you end up hating it, or did you absolutely love it?

For a printable version of this recipe; {Click HERE!}

Sunday, January 15

Copycat Zuppa Touscana Recipe

My husband and I decided to make a copycat version of Olive Garden's Zuppa Touscana soup. We looked online and found THIS recipe from We found that the instructions were a little vague, so we will go a little more into detail to explain what he and I did. It turned out pretty darn amazing!

Zuppa Ingredients

1 Pound Italian Sausage (Sliced if you chose to use whole)
2-3 Large Russet Baking Potatoes (Sliced into 1/4 inch slices)
1 Large Onion (Roughly Chopped)
1/4 Cup Bacon Bits
2 Garlic Cloves (Finely minced)
2 Cups Kale (Chopped)
16oz Chicken Broth
4 Cups Water
1 Cup Heavy Cream

DirectionsPrep your vegetables before starting the cooking process. Roughly chop the onion.

Roughly Chop Onion

After washing the potatoes, slice them in half lengthwise.

Slice Potatoes

Then, cut the potatoes into 1/4 inch wide slices.

Slice Potatoes

Peel your 2 garlic cloves.

Peel Garlic

Finely mince your 2 garlic cloves.

Mince Garlic

*These 3 ingredients will go into the pot at the same time, so I put them into a large bowl and set them aside together. Next, wash your greens, and cut the large stem out of the center.

Cut Kale

Now, I've never cut any type of green before, so after cutting the stem out, I rolled them together and sliced them lengthwise.

Sliced Kale

Then chop into rough squares.

Chopped Kale

You will only need 2 Cups of Kale, and we ended up with about 5 Cups chopped.

2 Cup Kale

Because we used fresh bacon instead of store bought bits, we started the bacon.


While the bacon crisps, brown the sausage (ground or sliced) in your soup pot.


The bacon was done right around the same time as the sausage!

Finished Bacon

Place the bacon on sheets of paper towel to drain, and set aside until dry.

Dry Bacon

With the bacon aside, add the 4 cups of water, and 16oz of broth to the sausage inside the soup pot and stir to combine.

Add Water/Broth

Once stirred together, add the bowl of potatoes, onion and garlic.


Turn the heat to MEDIUM and cook until the potatoes and onions are fully cooked.

Medium Heat

On medium heat, it took 25 minutes to completely cook the potatoes.*With 25 minutes to spare as the soup cooks, if you chose to use fresh bacon, this is the time to mince it into bacon bits!


Chop the bacon into bits, using 1/4 Cup of bits.

1/4 Cup Bacon

After the potatoes are done cooking, between 20-40 minutes, add the bacon, and salt and pepper to taste if you wish. (We used about a tablespoon of salt and a teaspoon of pepper in ours.)

Add Bacon

Let the bacon, salt and pepper simmer for 10 more minutes; Then add the greens and 1 Cup of the cream.

Add Cream

Turn the heat all the way to LOW and warm until cooked through. (About 10 more minutes)

Finished Zuppa

Stir, serve and enjoy! *Maybe let it cool for a few minutes or so before enjoying.. I took a bite right from this photo and burnt my little tounge. Ouchy!

Zuppa Touscana

This Olive Garden Zuppa Touscana (Copycat) was absolutely phenominal. Thank you so much to for this recipe, and I hope my overly detailed explainations can help someone else out in the future! My ONLY complaint about this recipe is it is quite concentrated. I felt like there was too many ingredients vs. the amount of liquid soup. I think WHEN I make this delicious soup again, I may add a little bit more of the liquid ingredients to even out the proportion. Enjoy! :)

For a printable version of this recipe; {Click HERE!} 

Saturday, January 14

Homemade California Sushi Rolls

I feel like my husband Chaz and I made Ellsworth HISTORY today! Okay, I am overly dramatic. But, I sure never thought I would ever be able to say that I would have homemade sushi rolls in my own kitchen! About a year ago Chaz and I discovered this really wonderful Chinese buffet in Rapid City, South Dakota called The Golden Fortune. It took me 4-5 times to ever even attempt to try a California Roll, but this place had me hooked. (To this day I've never had "sushi" with raw fish in it, and in my stubborn ways I'll tell you I never will!) ..Anywho! After realizing how far away we had to travel to get our sushi fix, we sat down and did the research on how to make this "sushi" from home. We stumbled upon THIS sushi making website, and decided to give it a try. *SPOILER ALERT* They're fantastic.Without being entirely too obvious, sushi has speciality ingredients like nori, (seaweed) sushi rice, and rice vinegar, that you may need to go to your local Oriental market to pick up. Being Military, our Commissary on base had literally everything we needed. When we went to Wal-Mart, they only had rice. Sadface.

Sushi Ingredients

Essential Ingredients for 3 Rolls (About 24 Individual Rolls)
3 Nori Sheets (Seaweed Wraps)[The pack we purchased came with 8 sheets]
1/2 Cup Rice Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Sugar
2 Teaspoons Salt
1 Cup Jasmine Rice
Sushi Rolling Mat
A non-metal bowl
A non-metal spoon

Really, what you fill it with is completely up to you. We decided to go quite "traditional" with a Cali Roll and use an english cucumber, an avocado and artificial crab sticks.


Start out by measuring out one cup of Jasmine (or Sushi-Meshi) rice.

Measure Rice

In a strainer, rinse the rice for 1-2 minutes under cool water until all of the starch is clear from the draining water.

Rinse Rice

Gently place the rice into a medium saucepan. Add just a little bit more water than to cover the rice in the pot.

Add Water

Turn your burner to HIGH heat. Stirring every 1-2 minutes to avoid the rice from sticking, bring the rice water just to a boil, then turn the heat all the way to LOW, cover, and DO NOT TOUCH for 6-8 minutes. Peek open the lid, if the water is gone and the rice is puffy, it is done. If there is still moisture, STILL DO NOT TOUCH, and continue to cook another 3-5 minutes. [PS. 8 minutes was not long enough for our rice. Crunchy sushi was a bit of a disappointment, but still amazing.]*While you are not touching your rice, measure 1/2 Cup Rice Vinegar.

Rice Vinegar

Measure 2 Tablespoons Sugar, and 2 Teaspoons Salt into a small saucepan.


Add 1/2 Cup Rice Vinegar to the sugar and salt in the small saucepan.

Vinegar Sugar

Heat on MEDIUM heat until all solid particles become liquid.


Right about now your Jasmine rice should be done cooking. Lets check!

Jasmine Rice

If your rice is done (turns out mine wasn't fully done yet..) place gently into anything but metal bowl. Wooden is preferred.

Plastic Bowl

Once your Rice Vinegar/Sugar mixure is combined, slowly add it in small amounts to your white rice. We only used about 1/2 of this Rice Vinegar mixture for our rice. *Use a non-metal utensil to very gently mix the rice and liquid. Wooden is preferred.

Wooden Spoon

Once your warm rice has been gently combined {with a non-metal utensil, of course} with the warm liquid, set aside to cool. Now to start prepping your filling. In my case, it is cutting the vegetables and crab meat.


For cucumber, slice lengthwise only. I chose to "gut" it and remove the seeds.

Gutted Cucumber

Slice the cucumber into long, thin, strands. Slice the avacado into thin strands as well. (If you've never peeled an avacado before, HERE are instructions on how to do so.) I choose to slice my avacado inside its skin before I scoop it out.


Take your time preparing your fillings. The rice stays hot for entirely too long.


After my cold veggies were sliced, I just sliced the imitation crab sticks into long, thin, strands as well.

Crab Meat

Once all of your fillings are prepared, lay your Nori rough side up and smooth side down, onto the sushi rolling mat.


Next, grab a small bowl of water and have it close by. Dip your hands into the water to get them damp. Grab some of the cooled sticky rice with your damp hands and spread an ample amount onto the Nori, leaving about 1/2 inch from the far edge, and about 1/4 inch from the edge closest to you.

Rice On Nori

Once your rice is down, start arranging your fillings about 1/4 inch from the edge.

Crab Wrap

Try to keep the fillings as close together as physically possible to get the best circle.

Cucumber on Wrap

Rolling is much easier than it appears. Do not let it intimidate you! You can do it! Roll the sushi mat over itself making almost like a triangle.

Rolling Sushi

While standing over it, tuck that 1/4 inch flap left under the fillings.

Roll Sushi

Once the flap is tucked in, roll that little wrap into a cute little circle!

Rolled Sushi

The first one might not look quite perfect, and might be a little loose.

Loose Sushi

But, your second one will probably be much better! :)

Tight Sushi

Do a little quality control to make sure everything looks super sushilike from the sides.. Looks pretty good to me!

Side View

Okay, now stop wasting time, since it obviously looks fine from the side, and run some lukewarm water. Your very sharp knife which can be metal! should stay rinsed and moist with every single slice. We sliced each of these rolls into about 8 sushi rolls.

One Sushi

And a finished California Roll is what you will have waiting for you! As a heads up, the 2 ends on each roll are not pretty. But, don't worry about displaying the ugly ends, because you just must eat them to ensure perfection before serving to your friends, of course.

Ugly Sushi End

And there you have it. We just made California Rolls from our tiny kitchen on Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota! Whaat!

24 Cali Rolls

You can put them all fancy on a plate like so, or you can smother them in soy sauce and eat them before you have the time to display them. I decided to display them just for you. You're welcome.Thank you to for walking us through how to make these sushi rolls, and to The Golden Fortune of Rapid City for introducing me to sushi in the first place! Enjoy! :)

For a printable version of this recipe; {Click HERE!}