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Friday, November 22, 2013

Pumpkin Coconut Curry Soup

Pumpkin Coconut Curry Soup | Leesh and Lu's Recipe Box

We had some family stay with us this past weekend and my sister-in-law, Alissa, thought that we would love this soup.  So we rounded up the ingredients and made some naan to go with it. It was sooooo good.  Last fall I had attempted a pumpkin coconut soup and really didn't like it, but she said this one was good, and I can trust her taste!  The one I made last year had lime juice in it and it totally ruined the flavor (we ended up getting a pizza or something cause we couldn't even gag it down).  But this soup was a total hit for the whole lot of us at the house last weekend!  It has a slight hint of heat from the turmeric and red pepper flakes, which seemed to really make the soup.  I really loved cooking the onions in coconut oil too, it added so much flavor! 

Since it's pumpkin season and soup season I thought this was the perfect recipe to share! I hope you'll enjoy it as much as we did!  Thanks for introducing us to this soup, Alissa! It will be a family favorite from here on out.

Pumpkin Coconut Curry Soup | Leesh and Lu's Recipe Box 
Pumpkin Coconut Curry Soup

¼ cup coconut oil
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups veggie or chicken broth
1 teaspoon curry powder (I use yellow)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon turmeric
pinch of Saigon cinnamon
1 (15 ounce) can 100% pumpkin puree
1 cup coconut milk


Heat the coconut oil in a stock pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Mix in the veggie/chicken broth, curry powder, salt, coriander, crushed red pepper flakes, turmeric, and cinnamon. Cook and stir until the mixture comes to a gentle boil, about 10 minutes. Cover, and boil 15 to 20 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Pour this portion of the soup into a blender, filling only half way and working in batches if necessary; process until smooth. Return to a pot and whisk in the pumpkin and coconut milk. Cook another 5 minutes to heat through before serving.

Recipe Source: my sister in-law, Alissa. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Spider PB & Banana Sandwich

So this isn't technically a recipe, but it's a fun thing to do for your kids lunch around Halloween!  We made these today for lunch and my daughter had fun eating his legs so he couldn't crawl away, and proceeding to eat the rest of him as she evil-ly laughed "bahahaha, I'm eating you, spider!".  

She is pretty camera shy, but she was so excited to eat lunch today! Which was refreshing, sometimes meal time is a battle at this house.  

Happy Halloween! 

Spider PB & Banana Sandwich

2 slices of bread 
Peanut butter
2 raisins (for eyes)
1/2-1 banana (depending on how long of spider legs you want)
Circle cookie cutter 

Spread pb on bread and top with honey or jam.  Place 2nd slice of bread on top and then cut through the sandwich with the circle cookie cutter.  Place on plate and top with raisin eyes, and banana legs.  


Friday, October 18, 2013

7-Layer Bean Dip {Halloween Edition}

To be honesty Halloween hasn't ever been one of my most favorite holidays. But in the last few years since we've had kids, we've made fun out of it.  This year I'm hoping my 3rd child isn't born on Halloween.  do love a fun family Halloween party, and we've had a few of those in the last few years.  I made this 7 layer bean dip 4 years ago for our first family Halloween party!  It was a hit! And 7-layer bean dip is a favorite at our house, so it was a win-win.  This was our first time dressing up as a family for Halloween, we were pirates! I think my almost 1 year old made the cutest pirate of all time!  

This bean dip recipe comes from my sister in law, Jayna! I'll indicate the order I generally layer the bean dip, and then also let you know what I did so that they spider web and olives would work for a Halloween-oriented bean dip. And this recipe really doesn't matter how much of each layer you have, just be generous with the layers and use whatever size dish you want and it will be great!

7-Layer Bean Dip {Regular or Spider Web Style}
Printable Version

1) Refried beans, 1-2 cans
2) Guacamole (one recipe listed below, you can double if you want more)
    2 avocados
    ½ lime, juiced
    ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
    ¼ teaspoon onion powder
    ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
    ⅛ teaspoon cayenne (optional, but I don’t think it makes it hot, just adds flavor)
3) Sour cream (optional mix ins are: cayenne or taco seasoning to taste)
4) Cheese, grated (cheddar, sharp, colby, Monterey)
5) Chopped tomatoes (or salsa if you don’t like tomatoes)
6) Olives, sliced
7) Green onion, finely chopped


I prefer to make guacamole cause it’s so easy and doesn't taste like preservatives.  To make it use 2 ripe avocados.  Start by smashing them into a small mixing bowl with a fork.  Add lime juice, garlic salt, onion and garlic powder and cayenne.  Mix until smooth and set aside until you are ready for it in the layers.  

Prepare the other layers of refried beans (open the can), grated cheese, chopped tomatoes, sliced olives and green onion.  You can layer this in a 9x13, 8x8 or a large platter.  There aren’t really any amounts listed because you can’t mess this up as long as you have all of the layers, you can do as much or as little of whatever layer you want.  

For Regular 7 layer dip the layering is listed above in the recipe.  1 being the bottom layer and 7 being the top layer.

For Spider-Web style bean dip this is the order.  
1) Refried beans
2) Green onions, reserve some for the border
3) Cheese
4) Tomatoes or salsa
5) Olives, a few reserved for cutting like spiders
6) Guacamole
7) Sour cream

For the spider web style, spread onto a metal or glass platter.  Spread refried beans and then layer with most of the green onion, reserving a few for garnishing the top outside border.  Then sprinkle with cheese, tomatoes or salsa, and most of the olives (save a few to cut like spiders. Cut one one olive in half lengthwise and use for a spider body, use the other half to make 4 legs and then cut another olive in half for 4 more legs - you can make as many or as few spiders as you want - just save them for the very top layer.).  Spread guacamole on top of the other layers. Bag your sour cream in a zip-lock bag (cut the corner to make a frosting like tube) or frosting bag and make circles on the top layer, starting small in the middle and getting bigger toward the outside.  I made a zig zagged edge on mine so that I could put more sour cream on the dip.  Use a butter knife, chopstick, or something similar to drag out the spider web, connecting the circles together.  Garnish edge with extra green onion, and then place spiders on the web as desired.  

Serve with tortilla chips.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Baked Mac & Cheese

This has become a favorite comfort food at our house.  Quick, easy, cheesy. Need I say more?


Easy Baked Macaroni & Cheese


8 ounces elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups milk
½ teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I like mine extra sharp, but use your favorite)
½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs


Prepare pasta as directed on package.  Preheat oven to 400.  Spray baking dish (8x8-ish size) with non-stick cooking spray.  
Melt butter in a large saucepan.  Add flour mixed with salt and pepper, using a whisk to stir until blended.  Cook for a minute or so and pour in milk gradually, stirring constantly.  Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, still stirring constantly.  Reduce heat and cook (stirring constantly) for 10 minutes.  Gradually add shredded cheese and simmer an additional 5 minutes or until cheese melts.  Turn off flame.  Add cooked macaroni to the saucepan and toss to coat with the cheese sauce.  Transfer macaroni to a buttered baking dish and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.  Bake 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown.  Serves 4.   


 - I like to mist the top of the breadcrumbs lightly with cooking spray before I put it in the oven to help the breadcrumbs brown evenly and get extra crispy.  
- It's also super yummy with 1 cup chopped ham stirred in with the cheese sauce.
- If you want a creamy mac and cheese, skip the baking and the breadcrumbs.

Recipe Source:

Back of Reggano Macaroni Box

Friday, September 6, 2013

Granola Bars {w/ 5 suggested variations}

I've been seeing recipes for homemade granola bars a lot lately. I hadn't really thought much about making them until I tried these at my friends house a few weeks ago! And they were sooooo good. I'm not usually a huge granola bar person.  But these are something else!  They taste so pure and wholesome and I love making them because I know what goes into them (I can pronounce all of the ingredients) and they are adaptable to whatever taste you want to get out of them.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Lime Slushies

I kind of really feel bad that I haven't shared this recipe before! We love to make these lime slushies in the summer, and I think we've been making them lots more this summer since I am one hot prego lady all the time.   I love how light and refreshing they are! They can satisfy my sweet tooth as well as cool me off and refresh me!

It's still summer, so don't delay! Enjoy a lime slushie today!  (I love it when I rhyme.)

Lime Slushies


1 lime (half the zest and all the juice)
⅓-½ cup sugar
3 cups ice cubes
1 ½ cups cold water


Place lime zest, lime juice, sugar and ice in the blender. Pour cold water over and blend til smooth. It’s best with no big lumpy ice chunks.  Blend 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately!

Recipe Source: Diana K.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tuna Salad {Summer Meal with NO-OVEN}

Why, hello! It's been a while.  If you want to hear my excuses, they are: 1) I'm pregnant and 2) we just moved to New Mexico. With those 2 factors life has been crazy for the last several months to say the least.  But I still love doing this recipe blog, and am determined to be back at it again weekly.  Enough about that.  

The real reason I'm here today is that I've been on a quest to not turn my oven on this summer.  I'm sure several of you feel like this is an important thing too during the heat of the summer.  We are living in New Mexico now and the heat isn't really much different than Utah, but we are on a swamp cooler system now vs air conditioning.  So far I'm not a huge fan of the swamp cooler.  I mean, I'm happy that I have it, cause nothing would be worse. But I used to turn the A/C to like 68 or so, and bask in my frigid cold house, and now that is not so much a possibility.

So as I was brain storming some NO-OVEN meals. This tuna salad came to mind. My mom made this for us growing up and I have always loved tuna!  This salad comes together quick, about 30 minutes and is best chilled. I usually make it while I'm eating/making lunch and then let it sit until dinner time in the fridge so it's nice and cold.  And I had everything on hand in my barely moved into house, except for fresh celery.  So you probably have all the ingredients on hand too.

I don't really have exact amounts on my recipe. But I recorded what I did yesterday when I made this.  It's really a flexible salad, you can add more or do less of anything.  So easy! Enjoy!

Browse our recipe index for other NO-OVEN meals!

Tuna Salad

2 heaping cups of pasta, cooked & drained (I like mini shells, elbow, or mini rotini)
1-2 small cans tuna (light tuna or albacore)
2-3 stalks of celery, diced small
¾ cup kosher dill pickles, diced (I like Vlasic brand)
4 hard boiled eggs, diced
¾ + cup mayo (pick your dressing scale, I like it light)
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash seasoning (or other saltless seasoning blend)
¼-1/2 teaspoon celery seed
Fresh ground pepper to taste.  


Cook pasta, drain and rinse.  Add to a large bowl with lid (or that you can cover with plastic wrap). Boil 4 eggs til done (I boil them in white vinegar, water and salt for 10 minutes).

Add all ingredients to the same mixing bowl and mix until combined.  Chill for 3-4 hours for best result.  

I usually like to make this at lunch time so that it can be very chilled for dinner.  If I’m short on time I just cook the noodles and eggs and put them along with 2 cans of tuna in the fridge (all the other ingredients besides the seasoning I already have refrigerated), so everything will be cold for mixing right before serving.


We serve with artisan bread and fruit salad.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Crispy Oven Baked Chicken {Any Cut}

Let's not talk about the fact that it's been just over 2 months since our last  post. Ahhh!  Life has been busy for both Leesh and I.  I didn't just have a baby, but I have some excuses, but I won't bore you with them.

Anyhow, let's cook!  I spotted this recipe on pinterest a while back, made a few tweaks, made it for dinner tonight, and am posting it tonight.....that's how good we thought it was.  I had to share!

You can use this coating for the chicken on any cut of chicken. We chose legs, which take a bit longer time to bake, but they were OH.SO.TASTY!  I served them with Whole Wheat Dinner Muffins (if you haven't tried these yet you've got to, no yeast and seriously as yummy as a fresh roll), and a green salad with feta, dried cranberries, and Italian dressing. Yum-o! 

This was so easy to throw together and gave me time to clean the kitchen and make muffins and salad while the chicken baked.  It was perfect. You dip the chicken in an egg/milk mixture and coat it in a mixture of crushed corn flakes, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, pepper, and Bon Appetite seasoning salt (by McCormick).  The bon appetite was the tweak I made, the original recipe called for a ranch seasoning packet. 

Let's bake some chicken!


Crispy Oven Baked  Chicken {Any Cut}
Printable Version

8 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into strips - {I used 8 chicken legs}
1 cup crushed corn flakes
¾ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 ¼  teaspoon bon appetite seasoning salt (McCormick brand) OR 1 package hidden valley dry ranch dressing mix
1 cup milk
1 egg


Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13×9 inch baking dish with aluminum foil and spray with spray grease (easier clean up).  In a shallow dish combine crushed corn flakes, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, black pepper, and  bon appetite seasoning salg (McCormick) OR dry ranch dressing mix. In a small bowl beat together eggs and milk.

Dip each chicken strip into the egg/milk mixture and then roll in the crushed corn flakes/ranch dressing mixture. Repeat until all chicken strips are well coated.

Place onto a greased baking sheet and bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through (the internal temperature has reached 165 degrees). If doing legs/drumsticks bake for 50-60 minutes or until internal temperature is 185 degrees, and cover for at least 30 minutes of the baking to avoid over browning.  

(Makes 6 Servings)

Recipe Source: via pinterest


Friday, February 8, 2013

Heart-Shaped Pan Cookie {Giant Valentine Cookie}

My mom.  I wonder how many of my posts start out like that.  Obviously she has heavily influenced my cooking and baking. mom used to bake up lots of these giant cookies for friends, neighbors, and my dad every year for Valentine's day.  It was a such a fun tradition and how could you not love someone who made such a cute, delectable treat for you?  So when I saw a heart-shaped pan at Ross last weekend, I had to have it for obvious reasons.  

I'm not sure if I'll ever grow out of making Valentines for my friends.  I guess it makes me still feel like I'm in 3rd grade, which I kind of miss some days.  Something about this holiday just gets me in the baking/crafty mood.  Last year I was in Utah for Valentines Day and my mom and sister and I made these fun little chocolate boxes.  Last week, the little man and I stapled together this fun heart garland.  Last night, when I asked little man to come help me make dinner, he started crying and said, "No.  I make cookies right now mommy."   I don't really like when he pulls out the right now on me, but I had to laugh because I don't know that many 2-year-olds that are so insistent on making cookies regularly.  This little man is a cookie monster just like his mama.  While our chicken was in the oven, we whipped up one of these babies.  It was fun and nostalgic and the little man tasted the cookie dough a few too many times to give this one away, so we kept it.  And we've been eating it all day.  

Heart-Shaped Pan Cookie {Giant Valentine Cookie}
Printable Version


1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 ½ - 1 ¾ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided


Preheat oven to 375 (350 If using a dark, glass, or nonstick pan).  Grease and wax paper-line 8 1/2 or 9-inch heart-shaped pan (or use a round or square pan if that’s what you’ve got).   
Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in egg. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in 1 cup morsels; spread into prepared pan.
Bake for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and leaving a border around the cookie, immediately sprinkle remaining chocolate chips in a heart shape.  Allow chocolate chips to get shiny and melty for 2-3 minutes before spreading over cookie.  (The back of a spoon worked great for my spreader)  Add any fun or festive sprinkles, if desired, while chocolate is melted.  Allow cookie to cool and chocolate topping to set up before removing from pan (this will take several hours).  


If you are worried about getting your cookie out of the pan or need to use the pan again before the chocolate is completely set up then follow the original recipe directions for cooling and the chocolate chip topping:
Let cool in pan for 10 minutes; remove to wire rack to cool completely.  Microwave remaining morsels in small, microwave-safe bowl on MEDIUM-HIGH (70%) power for 1 minute; stir. Morsels may retain some of their shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring until melted; spread over cookie.

This would also be super cute with these valentine morsels in the dough. Toll house used to make a raspberry semi-sweet swirled morsel that it is really tasty with as well. Maybe they are just seasonal or something, but I haven't seen them lately.  

Recipe Source:

My mom, via Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, February 1995. Also available here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Skookie Cheesecake

Last week I introduced you to one of our favorite desserts....Skookies. And then this week shared with you another favorite, Lion House Cheesecake {New York Style}. My husband recently had a birthday and was really trying hard to decide between a Skookie or a Cheesecake for his birthday dessert, when I decided I could combine the two into what we now call Skookie Cheesecake. I think it's one of my best inventions yet!  I'd seen recipes for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake, but to him that wasn't going to hit the spot. He wanted a Skookie and cheesecake, and this dessert satisfied both those wants! I don't usually feel like a wife-of-the-year, but after this I kinda did!

I didn't think baking a cookie on top of the cheesecake was a good idea, so instead of that, I baked a Giant Cookie and the Cheesecake (minus the topping) separately and combined them! It turned out lovely!  My mathmatical skills of the cookie dough spreading to a 10 inch circle were just about 1/2 inch off, so we cut the cookie a little (and gobbled up those scraps), and it fit the cheesecake just perfectly!  I also added whipped cream around the outer edge of each slice of Skookie Cheesecake, and then topped it with ice cream to truly make it Skookie style!  That's my kind of cheesecake!  It was pretty rich, a little slice was plenty to satisfy!  

I thought this was a fun and a bit fancy dessert to share just in time for Valentines Day! I'm thinking it would satisfy just about any cheesecake-loving sweetheart!  

Happy February! 

Just a note: This recipe looks super long, but it's basically the Lion House Cheesecake recipe (minus the sour cream topping), and a Giant Cookie. I just re-worded a few things from both recipes so that it made sense for this particular confection! 


Skookie Cheesecake

Printable Version
Serves 8-12

For the Cheesecake:
    1 ½ cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs
    3 tablespoons white sugar
    6 tablespoons butter, melted
    3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
    1 cup white sugar
    3 eggs
    ¾ teaspoon vanilla
    2 teaspoons lemon juice


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Prepare crust: To crush graham crackers place in a ziplock bag and roll with a rolling pin, or blend/food process in blender or food processor.  Thoroughly mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Press firmly onto bottom and sides of a 9 or 10 inch springform pan (or pie pan if you don’t have a springform pan; set aside while preparing filling. I like to press it down by placing my hand it a plastic bag so I don’t get the butter all over me.

Filling: In a large mixing bowl (or stand mixer bowl, like BOSCH), beat (with BOSCH whips or hand mixer) cream cheese until smooth; add sugar a little at a time. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in vanilla and combine thoroughly. Pour into crust; fill to within half an inch of top to allow room for topping. Bake 55 to 60 minutes, until set or when the pan is gently moved, the center does not move. Cool completely. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Refrigerate for 24 hours before serving for best taste!  
A few tips:
-Make sure your cream cheese really is softened to room temperature or it’s hard to get a smooth cheesecake with no lumps. Let it sit out for 4-6 hours in the foil packaging on the counter.  

-You don’t want to over whip the cream cheese mixture. You want it smooth, but if you over whip it will have lots of bubbles in it.  

-To let cheesecake cool, just turn the oven off and open the door, this way it doesn’t cool as quickly as on the counter and is less likely to crack on the top.  Make sure you don’t have any small children or animals that will touch the oven! :)

-If you use a springform pan, consider wrapping the bottom and up the sides with aluminum foil. Some springform pans don’t have a tight seal when done up and the grease from the crust will leak through into your oven. You could also just place a cookie sheet or something underneath for a mess free bake job.  


For the Giant Cookie:
½ cup white sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup butter, melted and cooled
1 egg
½ teaspoon soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cup flour
½ cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium-sized bowl, cream together the brown sugar, white sugar, and butter. Add the egg and vanilla and mix to combined. In a separate bowl, combine soda, salt, and flour and mix well.  Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and mix to incorporate.  Then stir in the chocolate chips.

Line a large (11x17 inch) cookie sheet with foil. Using about ¾ of the cookie dough, press the cookie into a circle and place in the center of the cookie sheet. I press my cookie into a 7-8-inch circle, about ¼ to ½ inch thick. When it bakes, it spreads to about 10-10 ½ inches. Make one other cookie with the remaining ¼ of the dough, or freeze for a fresh baked cookie for later!

If desired, top the cookie with M&M’s or any other candies or garnishes. Bake for 12-16 minutes until the cookie is lightly golden brown. When it’s done baking, place the cookie sheet on a wire rack and let the cookie cool completely on the pan - this helps it stabilize and set so it can be easily lifted off the pan. Once cool, gently use the foil to lift the cookie off the pan to a cutting board. Measure your pan and the cookie, if it's too big then place the cookie on a cutting board and cut around the edges until it will fit inside your springform pan. Place cookie on top of cheesecake up to 3 hours before serving.  If the cookie is a little too small use whipped cream to fill in around the edges and make pretty!  

Slice to serve and top with vanilla ice cream for your truly Skookie style Skookie Cheesecake! Enjoy!

Recipe Sources: Skookie Cheesecake - A Leesh & Lu's Recipe Box Original.  Lion House Cheeseacake is from LDS Living Magazine. And the Giant Cookie recipe comes from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.