Quick-to-Fix Favorites: from Icy Orange Juice to Croutons

WARNING: This is a quirky, random post.  The common denominator of all of these 4 recipes is that they are EASY, recipe-less and favorites!  You know when you try a recipe and it is so simple and great you just have to tell someone? I feel that way every time I make each of these.  I have a magnetic dry erase board on our refrigerator where I write foods I want to try, menus for the week and a running list of things I have made that I want to post on this blog to share with you.  These items have all been on the list for a while and I have been deliberating about how/when to share these simple treats.  I want you to try them! They aren’t really recipes, but rather instructions. They are 5-minute-prep-kind-of-foods. WHO doesn’t love those?? – Icy Orange Juice, Sopas, Garlic Edamame and Homemade Croutons

Icy Orange Juice 
a childhood tradition that lives on in my house

I’ve had a long term relationship with Icy Orange Juice.  It was the special treat mom made when we had sleep overs and she would make homemade biscuit donuts and this special breakfast drink.  It’s just a can of frozen orange juice concentrate and ice water blended together, but it makes a thick, icy, slushy orange juice drink.


If you are my age, you might have grown up with Orange Julius shops in your world.

There was one at the mall when I was a kid.  This is reminiscent of it, minus the milk…which you CAN add if you are going for a creamsicle type of treat.
What you need:  1 large can frozen orange juice concentrate, ice, water, a blender and a pitcher
Because a blender is too small for all three cans, you have to do this in 2 batches.
and smile

Place the concentrate in the blender, fill the empty can with ice and then water. Pour into blender.  Follow instructions on the can as to how many cans are needed – simply use ice and water instead of just water.  Usually it calls for 3.   In that case,  I add 2, blend until smooth, and then pour  ½ of the liquid into a pitcher, and then add one more can of ice/water to the remaining o.j. and blend.

Then pour in pitcher and stir together.  Pour into glasses and drink immediately.  It lasts a bit, but begins to melt and separate after a while.


Sopa a made up/new fangled treat

warm it up

This is a made-up recipe.  One day this winter, I was getting my hair cut and decided to take my new Super Natural Everyday Food cookbook by Heidi Swanson that I got for my birthday along with me.

I really love talking to Audrey when she cuts my hair, so I don’t want to stick my nose in a book the whole time.  However, it’s such a rare treat in my life to have an hour in a chair, when I’m not falling asleep and can read, and when she dries my ridiculously thick hair, we can’t talk anyway, so I can’t resist taking some kind of reading material. That being said, cookbooks are my material of choice! You can flip and look and mark the pages, and even discuss recipes with your stylist and swap ideas, while still being engaged in conversation with her (or him).

As I read Heidi Swanson’s beautiful ideas and thought about what to fix for dinner when I got home, I became inspired. It was a cold, dark, February night and I wanted something warm and savory and super fast to prepare.  She has creative ideas with unique cheeses and nuts and honey that I was consistently drawn toward.

When I got home I pulled out tortillas, honey, pistachios and the tub of  mascarpone [CLICK the link for the correct pronunciation of this word that we often butcher in the south].  I had mascarpone on hand, because my colleague, Debbie, had given it to me along with some European cheese and butter for my birthday!

I decided to create a sweet/savory treat to go with my green salad.   And thus was born a Sopa! I named it Sopa, because of the likeness to a Sopapilla.

We all loved it. Since then, it’s become a breakfast favorite. It’s like having pancakes without having to make pancakes! They are great for a breakfast treat and as a savory/sweet accompaniment to a dinner salad.
smear with a dab of mascarpone

To make a Sopa:
Place a tortilla in a skillet, on a burner turned to medium heat.

Let cook for about a minute, check for goldenness on the under-side.
When to your liking, flip.
Then scoop a spoon of mascarpone on the tortilla and as it starts to melt, swirl it around to spread it evenly. When it is almost completely melted, tilt the pan to slide the “sopa” onto a plate.  Drizzle honey in streaks across the mascarpone.  Top with chopped nuts (if you want).
Cut into slices, like a pie.  Enjoy!
drizzle with honey– Lainey’s favorite part
slice and enjoy

Garlic Edamame
a savory recreation of a restaurant favorite

sauteed garlic
I don’t know if you like Edamame, but it’s a favorite at our house.  I love that my kids devour something that is green and from a pod.  I buy them frozen and we steam them (edamame that is…not my children). I oftentimes steam them in the microwave and then sprinkle with kosher salt, or dip in soy sauce.  Several months ago, we went to a local Sushi/Thai restaurant and ordered their garlic edamame.  We all went crazy and devoured it! I decided we could recreate it, and it was ridiculously easy and so delicious.
Simply steam edamame for a few minutes until tender.
Heat 1 Tbsp. of olive oil in a skillet.
Add 2 Tbsp. of soy sauce. Swirl together.
Add 4 cloves (or so) of minced garlic.
Sautee until golden.
Add edamame and sautee until warm, well-coated and delicious when tested.


the shells left behind

the loveliness of repurposing

After reading An Everlasting Meal this spring, I wanted to try making croutons.  I have made crostini for bruschetta many times, but it’s been a long time since I have made croutons.  Since reading this thoughtful book, I’ve been putting any stale crusty bread in the freezer sealed in a ziplock bag labeled “STALE”.  So this week I let it thaw on the counter and coarsely chopped it and made some croutons.
They are so very easy, YUMMY and resourceful.  It feels good to make something lovely out of trash.

cut or tear
toast and sprinkle with coarse salt

Cut bread into pieces
Toss bread in olive oil – I drizzle a little over the bread or use olive oil cooking spray, as it coats more evenly.
Place in a 400˚ oven for 10 minutes or until golden.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with kosher salt.
Keep in an airtight container and you have tasty croutons at your fingertips to add to a salad.

So, this is my random September mix.
I know sometimes when I am reading food blogs, I get bogged down with MORE recipes to put on my “to try” list, or pin on my food boards, or print in hopes of remembering to make.
I thought it might be nice to just share some winning and accessible “to fix” favorites from my kitchen to yours.

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