A warm day in winter… 2nd January Recipe test with Anna!

Last Saturday was a beautiful sunny day in the 50’s here in the Midwest in the dead of winter. It was so great to have a feeling of spring in the air, if only for the day. Ironically I chose my menu of recipes anticipating a cold January day. Tomato Tortellini Soup, Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Parmesan & Cilantro, and Soft Almond Sugar Cookies.

The cast of characters for the Soft Almond Sugar Cookies:


Mixing the ingredients:


The cast of characters for the Tomato Tortellini Soup:


The cast of characters for the Sweet Potatoes (Yes, I cheated and used store-bought french fries. Apparently Target doesn’t sell sweet potatoes!):


Adding olive oil to the fries. Probably unnecessary if you are cooking with store-bought fries.


Adding basil to the tomato soup:


Chopping the fresh cilantro for the french fries:


Rolling the cookie dough in the sugar in the raw:


Adding the tortellini to the soup:


The finished french fries, yum!


The finished cookies, YUM!


It was a great meal, I really liked everything, and these cookies will definitely be made again soon! ūüôā

IMG_2350 IMG_2354 IMG_2355

Somehow I managed to ‘zorro’ the ketchup all over my hand:


A fun day shooting my January photoshoot outside with Anna- which I’ll be posting soon- and watching ‘The Hunger Games’ after dinner!


Baked Sweet Potato French Fries with Parmesan & Cilantro
4 sweet potatoes
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/3-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
A handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
Salt and Pepper, optional

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Peel, rinse and dry the potatoes.

3. Now, you can either:
a. Use the proper blade on a mandolin to create ‚Äėfrench fry‚Äô shape or
b. Cut it by hand. Depending on the size of the sweet potato, you may wish to cut it in half lengthwise but if it is small/short, don’t worry about it. Take a half of the sweet potato and cut it into large slices about 3/4 inch thick. Then cut them lengthwise at about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick.

4. Toss them into a bowl, drizzle with the olive oil and mix well so that they are coated evenly. Bake them for 20-25 minutes depending on their thickness and how you prefer your fries.

5. Place the fries in a bowl and sprinkle on the cheese and cilantro. Season with salt & pepper if necessary.

Tomato Tortellini Soup Recipe

  • Prep/Total Time: 25 min.
  • Yield: 10 Servings


  • 1 package¬†(9 ounces) refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 2 cans (10-3/4 ounces¬†each) reduced-sodium condensed tomato soup, undiluted
  • 2 cups¬†vegetable broth
  • 2 cups¬†2% milk
  • 2 cups¬†half-and-half cream
  • 1/2 cup¬†chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon¬†onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon¬†garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon¬†dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon¬†salt
  • 1/2 cup¬†shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Additional shredded Parmesan cheese, optional


  • Cook tortellini according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, combine the soup, broth, milk, cream, tomatoes and seasonings. Heat through, stirring frequently. Drain tortellini; carefully add to soup. Stir in cheese. Sprinkle each serving with additional cheese if desired. Yield: 10 servings (2-1/2 quarts

Soft Almond Sugar Cookies

1 1/2 C white sugar

2/3 C butter (cold)

2/3 C shortening (room temp)

2 eggs

2 tsp almond extract

2 3/4 C cake flour

1 C all purpose flour

1 Tbsp cornstarch

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

sugar in the raw (I like raw sugar for this, but any coarse sugar would work)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare baking sheet.

Cream sugar, butter and shortening.  Stir in eggs and almond extract.  Combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt and add to butter/egg mixture.  Use electric mixer to ensure dough is thoroughly combined.

Chill dough in fridge for 30 minutes.

Roll 2 tsp of dough (I used a small cookie scoop) into a ball and roll in raw sugar.  Place on prepared pan.

Bake cookies for 7 minutes.  Remove from oven and gently press rounded tops of cookies flat with the back of a spoon while the cookies are still warm and pliable.  The cornstarch will keep the dough from spreading, so this step just makes them look better!

Return remaining dough to fridge in between baking each batch.

Allow to cool on pan for 1 minute.

Remove to cooling rack.  Allow to cool completely.

A tip:

~DO NOT bake longer than 8 minutes!!  They may seem under-baked, but when they cool they will firm up.


2 responses to “A warm day in winter… 2nd January Recipe test with Anna!

  1. cookies were sooo good. thanks did you get a new mixer?

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