Do you Slowwwww Cook?
Dec06

Do you Slowwwww Cook?

I am obsessed with my slow cooker! I lie awake at night dreaming up things I could make in it… But it wasn’t always that way. In the (almost) eight years since I received it as a wedding gift, I had used it… oh… maybe five times tops! Probably because I used to keep it in the box in the garage, and the thought of schlepping it out, dusting it off, and then having to clean it after was waaaay more trouble than it was worth. But then the other day—while running around the block at Kellie Blackburn’s Bootylicious Bootcamp—my friend, Alisa, was telling me about the delicious chicken soup she made in her slow cooker—with a rotisserie chicken! I’m in the process of writing/releasing my first E-Book: 7 Steps to Permanent Weight Loss (COMING SOON!)… so I don’t even have time to shop for groceries—let alone cook something decent.  But Alisa inspired me to purchase a few chicken breasts and whatever pre-cut veggies I could find. (Zero washing or chopping required!) I bust out my crockpot—now conveniently located IN my kitchen—and literally dumped everything in the crockpot. Add some low sodium chicken broth, crushed tomatoes (San Marzano, of course) and some herbs and spices… and voila!   A few hours later I had a deeelicious home cooked stew/soup for my family. Well…um… that’s not completely true. I knew that hubby wouldn’t touch it, and my little one complained bitterly that she prefers granny’s soup—even though I used my handy-dandy Cuisinart Hand Blender (my other favorite kitchen appliance) to puree it for her. But… “I” LOVED it! And I now have a few healthy meals ready-to-go in the freezer. (Don’t you love that?) The chicken got so tender that I didn’t even need forks to shred it. And it couldn’t be easier: Dump Cook Eat   And this got me thinking about all the other possibilities… I think next on my list will be some kind of curry (you know I’m completely smitten with curried anything) and a ratatouille. Yum! I’ll be posting my recipes once I’ve perfected them, but in the meantime—if you don’t have a slow cooker, I highly recommend putting it on your Holiday Wish List!   This Cuisinart 6-QT Multicooker is fab, because you can brown your meat or saute your onions and develop flavor right in the slow cooker, and not have to dirty another pan! Only $129 on Amazon (4 1/2 stars from 559 customer reviews)     Click here to view the Cuisinart Cook Central 3-in-1 Multicooker on Amazon >>   You can even get handy Slow Cooker Liners so that there’s literally no washing. Click to...

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9 Great Gifts for Foodies
Nov20

9 Great Gifts for Foodies

This AWESOME iPad stand inspired me to put together a little Holiday Gift Guide. I hope you find something for yourself or your favorite foodie.  SWIVEL Kitchen iPad Stand     $36.95   My tech-genius hubby (you know… Sam, of Sam & Company) researched this before getting it for me, (we also tried two others) and I LOVE it! it rotates you can purchase extra bases and then move the stand around the kitchen (or remove it when not using it) looks way-cool in your kitchen also works as a cookbook stand!    Check out The SWIVEL Kitchen iPad Rack / Stand / Holder for all 7  – 10 inch tablets, e-readers and smartphones on Amazon >>   Minion Baker     $16.48   Great stocking stuffer for any-aged Despicable Me 2 fan! Mine sits on my kitchen window and it makes me smile.   See the cute little Minion Baker on Amazon >>   Sunbeam Cupcake Maker     $40 My hubby got us this last Hanukkah and it has become a favorite in this house! Great for summer cupcakes because no need to turn the oven on! Your littles will love it!   Check out the Sunbeam Cupcake Maker on Amazon >>   Trader Joe’s Swag Bag     $6.99 Stuff a super-cool (cool… get it?) TJ’s Insulated Bag with your favorite goodies. Your friends will love the personal touch. Some of my favs: Coconut Oil Spray (Fab on popcorn!), Trader Joe’s Seriously Stuffed Peppers with Olives, Capers and Garlic, TJ’s Everyday Seasoning, Dried Persimmons, Smoked Trout, Menage A Trois Wine Favs from peeps who posted on my Facebook page (thanks y’all for writing in!): fig butter, pumpkin coffee, mini gingerbread men (check OrnaBakes on Facebook for more ideas) Check my Trader Joe’s Shopping List for even more ideas >>    Post pics of your customized gift bags on my OrnaBakes Facebook page!   Oxo Cookie Jar filled with homemade cookies     $16.99 Try my South African “Crunchies” (oatmeal-coconut-squares-of-goodness) My most popular recipe—now shared 726 times on Facebook. (Thank you peeps!) But this awesome jar will keep any cookies fresh. Wrap it up in a bow and you’re done!   Check out the Oxo Cookie Jar on Amazon >>   Dutch Oven (Enameled Cast Iron Pot) My favorite pot to cook in. I started with a 5.5 QT red beauty, and just got this yellow 9 QT LeCreuset on sale from Sur La Table. Look around for deals. This is a great time to invest in one—trust me, it will bring you joy! Heats evenly and goes from stove to oven to table. Fab for making stews, soups, braises—you name it. ...

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Eight Great Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

#1 Social Networking for Seniors Fabulous Magazine: Info on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and more. Only $13.99 at Costco ————————————————————————————– #2 The Guilt Trip, with Barbara Streisand & Seth Rogan Gift Mom the movie on iTunes… and watch it with her. (If you dare!) Loved this movie! $12.99 on iTunes >> ————————————————————————————– #3 OXO Cookie Jar with homemade “Crunchies” or Oaty Chews Super-easy to make, and Mom will be touched by the personal effort and love the fabulous, air-tight container! Click here for the traditional South African “Crunchies” recipe >> Click here for Orna’s Oaty Chews with Coach’s Oats >> ————————————————————————————– #4 Gourmet Blends Balsamics and Olive Oils Mix & Match 4-pack (6 oz bottles), $65 on GourmetBlends.us >> My favs are Pomegranate Balsamic, Asian Dipping Oil (with a kick), Basil Olive Oil, and Vanilla Fig Balsamic. Click here for my post on Gourmet Blends Balsamics & Oils >> Or visit your local Farmer’s Market—or Cost Plus World Market (love that store!)—and make up your own gift basket. ————————————————————————————– #5 Food Network Magazine subscription My favorite magazine! A wonderful gift for foodie moms. $18 on FoodNetwork.com >> ————————————————————————————– #6 Cook’s Illustrated Magazine subscription Fabulous recipes with illustrations and detailed descriptions. $24.95 on CooksIllustrated.com >> ————————————————————————————– #7 Fabio’s Italian Kitchen, by Fabio Viviani of Top Chef fame I just got it at Costco—haven’t had a chance to look through it yet. $14.73 on Amazon >> If you’re in the LA area, treat Mom to Mother’s Day Brunch at Fabio’s delightful restaurant, Cafe Firenze, in Moorpark, CA. If you go for dinner, be sure to order the Braised Short Rib Ravioli with Taleggio Cheese Sauce. My mouth is watering as I type. Must go there soon! I’m sure that Mr. Smooth-and-Charming would be happy to sign her copy of his brand new cookbook! Orna & Fabio New Year’s Eve at Cafe Firenze, 12/31/12 ————————————————————————————– #8 Old-School Comfort Food by Iron Chef & Chopped Judge Alex Guarnaschelli $18.90 on Amazon >> Click here for my post on Meeting Alex Guarnaschelli >> I would recommend the book; I would NOT, however, recommend making the “Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting and a Caramel Top,” which I made this week for Sam’s birthday! Note to self: Next time you spend the entire day making a cake—while toddler  is at Granny’s, and you could have been out frolicking with pre-birthday hubby—rather pick a detail-oriented baker’s recipe; the likes of Martha Stewart or Rose Levy Beranbaum—in contrast with laid-back, nonchalant Chef Guarnaschelli. (Though I’d imagine she gets pretty fired up on Iron Chef!) I guess I was secretly hoping that I would also just throw it all together—all chill and...

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