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12.31.2011

Chez Chopin CD and Recipe Review / Giveaway





Wow, this year is almost over, can you believe it? There is so many things that have happened this year but I do not have the time to show you everything that I have accomplished. I love reading other people's year-in- review-posts through my Droid in the middle of the night when I am feeding baby girl. Yes this is how I catch up for sure!


One of the things I purposed this coming year is to be able to review my favorite compact discs (CDs) of classical and opera. Even though these past years have focused on recipes, life, and my singing, I hope to focus more on my singing and the challenges of having a baby. I love the fact that I can introduce music to my beautiful baby because I do not know how it will influence her as she grows up. 


Which CD will I start reviewing? Well, Delos Music was generous enough to introduce me to Evelyne Brancart playing Chopin in her CD called Chez Chopin which means Chopin's home. How did Delos Music know I liked Chopin? My grandmother used to play Chopin to us and we would listen to it on records. I fell in love. 


This CD was created by the pianist with 24 etudes and 24 recipes. The CD comes with 2 discs. One disc has all 24 pieces performed by the pianist while the second disc has a program that plays the piece with the recipe that is featured. Ms. Brancart explains how each recipe is like the piece and describes each with much color.


I cannot wait to try two recipes. All her recipes have French titles with a translation. The recipes are very gourmet but not at all complicated. As the new year approaches I am excited to get back into the kitchen a little more. My almost-2 month old baby girl is growing up fast and finding ways to include her in the kitchen is becoming real fun.  Here is a preview of the recipes I will be trying:






Check out Ms. Brancart's work on Delos Music's website:

This CD would make a great gift for a foodie who loves music, or just any foodie!


A new update!


Delos Music wants 3 of you to win a copy of this CD.


Here is how to enter:


Answer this question:

1. Which of these genres of music do you like best? (Leave a comment letting me know)
  1. Classical
  2. Rock
  3. Pop
  4. Opera
  5. Country
2. Follow Opera Singer in the Kitchen on Facebook
3. Follow OSIK on Twitter
4.Follow my blog on Google Reader
5.Follow Delos Music on Twitter

Winner will be announced Friday, January 6th. Open to US readers only.

12.25.2011

Merry Christmas!!

Hello everyone! Hope everyone has had a blessed day. 

Have a wonderful Christmas! We are enjoying our time in Texas. Cheers.







12.14.2011

5 weeks and Traveling

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 Hi there! I wanted to update you on our lives here in our cozy newborn-way-of-life. We have had lots go on in the last couple of weeks. We have seen our little girl change and becoming a strong little human being. It is pretty amazing how it all works!


Last Wednesday we had our 1 month appointment. Before I knew we were headed out I was surprisingly nervous. All I could think about was how Julianne might not be healthy or maybe be weighed and not have gained enough. I have a frequent preoccupation that I do not have enough milk production which I really just try to stop thinking about it because worrying and anxiety CAN produce less milk production. Well not only that but those negative feelings can pass on to the baby as I feed her and I try to stay positive and leave my health in God's hands.


Our pediatrician is super nice. He came recommended and seems to be very wise! He is in his mid 80s but he looks like he could be in his 60s. He listened to all our questions and he took his time with us. It is pretty incredible because it does not seem to be like that for any medical appointments that I have had of recent.


Julianne gained 2 1/2 pounds and she grew from 21 inches to 22 1/4. She is growing and is very healthy!!


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The only thing I am not quite sure of is the Vitamin D drops the pediatrician told me I should be giving Julianne. Some mothers I have spoken to DO give the drops and others DO NOT.


What have you heard? I am still trying to find time to research this new idea so it seems. I thought perhaps since I am taking my prenatal plus an additional vitamin D supplement that it would not be necessary but he said it was.


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Did I mention that Julianne was a doll at her appointment? The doctor asked whether she was alert and if she was following us with her eyes. She was doing that at 3 weeks already! He tested her and she smiled at him and he mentioned how smart she already was! :D Don't mothers want to hear that all the time??


After the appointment we went to Panera. Can I tell you how stir crazy I have gotten? We tend to be busy at home that I do not go on errands with Julianne especially if Ryan is home, but being with myself and the baby for too many days cooped up can get slightly daunting. Well, in a sense that I do not feel human. Going to Panera and seeing people and being out in the world with Julianne brings a little normal back in my life.


I think Ryan and I mostly feel afraid that she will be unhappy and crying all the time and we will not be able to enjoy our outing but in reality she has done well with our outings.


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This past weekend Ryan had his Christmas concert in Holland with the Holland Chorale. Even though Ryan REALLY wanted me to be a part of the concert I did not feel comfortable with it. First of all, everyone I knew in Holland was singing that night so I could not leave her with just ANYONE. Second of all, the mother of a newborn was not happy leaving her quite yet. Am I wrong?


Even though there were 2 concerts, one in the afternoon and one in the evening, we opted going to the evening because it would be close to Julianne's bedtime. I fed her, burped her, and placed her in my Moby wrap. I was very prepared to sit in the back of the gorgeous church so I could walk out in case she started crying. She was awake for 10 minutes and then she fell asleep for 1 1/2 hours. The WHOLE duration of the concert folks! She did not wake up with the clapping, the loud orchestra, or when the whole audience started singing carols. She was a princess and people were impressed. I thanked GOD! Ryan also had a composition being premiered so I also wanted to be there.


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 Before I go, any advice for me? We will be traveling with a newborn by airplane. What should I know? Can I wear my Moby wrap through security? We are not taking anything with us, like car seat, stroller, or bassinet because it will all be provided.


Thanks for your help!!

12.10.2011

Manna Bread Giveaway winner



Thanks to all who entered the Manna Organic Bread giveaway.

Tanya from Eating Kale won the giveaway! Please email me your home address and phone number so the company can send your yummy treats!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Noelle

12.07.2011

Roasted Butternut, Portabella and Barley Pilaf

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Last night I was inspired to make this yummy meal for us. It was VERY quick to make and filling too. Ryan mentioned that he was glad I had made barley. I believe it is a grain that I have never prepared before and I realized how sorry I was that I had never prepared it before.


I have been using a lot of kale lately since I have been staying away from broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. These happen to be some of my favorite veggies but for a time I have to set them aside for my baby's health. In the meantime it has caused me to focus on my leafy greens.


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Last week I made a soup with leftover turkey using curly kale. It was quite delicious but the flavor is usually a little more bitter when eaten raw. For this dish I used dinosaur kale, which Ryan happened to like a lot better than the curly kale. It is a little more like spinach but coarser but not bitter.


I roasted butternut squash for almost an hour then in the last 15 minutes I added chopped portabella caps. I boiled pre-soaked pearl barley and once the roasted veggies were cooked I tossed them with the cooked barley in a large bowl. I added raw chopped dinosaur kale and dried sweetened cranberries.


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If you are looking for a new side dish for the holidays this is definitely a colorful and delicious dish. Hope you try it! Now back to my little one! :-D


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Roasted Butternut, Portabella and Barley Pilaf

makes 6 servings

2/3 cup pearl barley
1 medium butternut squash (about 4-6 cups chopped)
2 large portabella caps, chopped
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 Tablespoons grapeseed oil or coconut oil (divided)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups packed dinosaur kale, chopped
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries

In the morning soak the barley in water or soak for an hour before preparing dish. Drain the water from barley after soaking. Add barley to a medium pot and cover with water and cook for 20 minutes. Drain and let cool while preparing the roasted veggies.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss chopped butternut squash with balsamic vinegar,2  Tablespoons grapeseed oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Spread evenly on baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, add the chopped portabella caps and toss with the squash. Bake for another 15 minutes.

Once veggies are cooked, add them to the bowl with barley. Add the chopped kale and toss in the cranberries. Add a little more balsamic, oil and salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

12.05.2011

Secret Recipe Club: Vegan Banana Oat Bread

Banana Oat Bread


It's that time of the month! It is Secret Recipe Club for the month of December and I am working it! I have finally baked something and this something was GOOD. 


Secret Recipe Club

Okay, so wait. I am lying. I baked on November 21st. I baked in 2 day increments and made German Chocolate Cupcakes for Ryan's birthday. Yes. I made the frosting on one day and the cupcakes on another day when I had the time between taking care of the baby.


Cooking and baking has been a little challenging and not as important to me since having Julianne. Although I feel hungry very often, due to breastfeeding, I have no desire to cook or bake.




Even though I took this December task as a challenge it turned out not to be so hard. As I get a hang of a schedule with the baby, I work on tasks that are important. If I feel I can bake after the most important things are out of the way then I will. Sometimes, baking allows me to do something fun than keeping up with all the chores in the house.


In comes this yummy Oat Banana Bread. When I found out I was assigned Itzy's Kitchen, I was excited. I follow Erica's blog and really like all her posts especially all the details about her pregnancy and now her newborn. She is a great inspiration especially since she looks amazing since having her baby. She seems to have gotten a hold of a schedule at her house. You go Erica!


She loves to workout and teaches classes at her gym. She even worked out up until giving birth to her daughter. If you have been keeping up with my blog, Erica and I have lots of things in common. I just hope that once I am able to get back into my exercise routine that I can shed all my unwanted pounds.


Banana Oat Bread

 As I perused Itzy's Kitchen I came across a yummy recipe for banana bread. I have had a hankering for banana bread so much so that I kept sniffing my husband thinking he smelled like banana bread. I knew I had to make some instead of thinking that people around me smelled like bread. LOL


Erica found the recipe on The Motherload and then added chocolate chips to her bread. I decided to leave out the chips and I made it vegan. How about that? Inspiration all around. The other unique thing about this recipe is that it called for oats and buttermilk instead of sour cream or yogurt.


This banana oat bread was DELICIOUS! It baked perfectly and browned so elegantly. Can bread brown elegantly? It did for me! It was very moist and even though I used coconut oil, I could not taste it. I used flax seed meal to substitute for the eggs and I made buttermilk using coconut milk and apple cider vinegar. 


You too can make this healthier banana bread and maybe even make them in 4 smaller loaves and give it to friends. I decided to keep my loaf and eat it with my husband. Hee hee.


I am glad I took on December challenge because it was great! Thank Erica for the recipe!


Banana Oat Bread

  Vegan Banana Oat Bread

Adapted from The Motherload, found through Itzy's Kitchen



1 1/2 cups whole wheat white flour

2/3 cup agave nectar

1 1/2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup mashed banana (2 bananas)
1/3 cup buttermilk or (1/3 cup So Delicious coconut milk + 2 tsp apple cider vinegar)
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs or 2 flax "eggs", beaten (2 Tbsp flax meal + 6 Tbsp warm water)

Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a 8 x 4 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

Combine dry ingredients together in a large bowl. 

Make flax "eggs" in a small bowl and set aside for 3 minutes.

Combine banana, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and "eggs" in a small bowl. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir gently just until the dry ingredients are moistened. 

Spoon batter into the prepared pan and bake for 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

Cool on a wire rack, in the pan, for about 15 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan after 15 minutes and cool thoroughly on the rack.


Banana Oat Bread

12.02.2011

Manna Organics Bread Review and Giveaway


Hi there! I hope everyone is having a great start to their weekend. Here it is Friday evening and even though it has been a slightly rough day, I find myself blogging instead of sleeping. Sometimes being online is more relaxing than sleeping.

A few weeks back I was contacted by Manna Organics seeing if I would like to sample their products. Manna Organics is best known for their sprouted and yeast free bread. Their breads also have no salt, no oils, no sweeteners, and no leavening agents. Manna is a moist and delicious, high in protein and fiber. I really like sprouted breads and I have read that sprouted grains are better for the body because they are more easily digested. Their bread is a lot denser than regular breads and is more cake-like in texture.

The company sent me 4 of their most popular flavors.


Cinnamon Date Bread was delicious and a nice treat. I liked it toasted in the oven and then with a little crunchy peanut butter accompanied with some hot tea. It was a nice breakfast. Here are the delicious ingredients: Sprouted organic wheat kernels, filtered water, organic dates, organic cinnamon, organic oatmeal.

Millet Rice Bread was very simple yet tasty bread. Yet again, I prefer the bread toasted. Ingredients:Sprouted organic wheat kernels, filtered water, organic millet, organic brown rice.

Fig, Fennel, and Flax Bread was a delicious combination of sweet and savory flavors. It makes a great sandwich bread or as an accompaniment to a big green salad. Ingredients: Sprouted organic wheat kernels, filtered water, organic black mission figs (diced figs, organic out flour), organic flax seeds, orgainc fennel seeds, organic poppy seeds, organic pumpkin seeds, organic sunflower seeds, Organic Sesame seeds.


Bavarian-Style Sourdough Bread was my FAVORITE. My mother was in town when I received the bread so I got to share it with her and get her opinion of it. She really liked it as well. It reminded me of the dense bread served in Germany. YUM! I had 2 slices of it with an omelette. So filling indeed!



Now even though I only got to try 4 of their breads the company has 5 MORE different breads to offer, like Carrot Raisin, Banana Walnut Hemp, Fruit and Nut, Multigrain, Sunseed, and Whole Rye. They sell their breads in health food stores, in most Whole Foods Markets, or even on their website!

Do you want to try Manna Organics breads? Manna Organics has generously offered to give 4 loaves of bread to one giveaway winner. The winner would be able to pick their own flavors and they would be shipped directly to the winner. 

This giveaway is only open to continental USA addresses only.

Here is how you can enter:

Mandatory entry: 

1. Which Manna Organic Bread would you try?

Extra entries:(leave a comment for each)

2. Follow this blog on Google Reader or Subscribe to Feed
3. Like Opera Singer on Facebook
4. Follow Opera Singer on Twitter
5. Follow Manna Organics on Twitter
6. Like Manna Organics on Facebook
7. Mention this giveaway on Facebook or on own blog
8. Tweet the following message " Win 4 loaves of all-natural sprouted #vegan breads from @MannaOrganics on@singerinkitchen 's post. #giveaway #food http://bit.ly/rV7HiA "

Giveaway will close on December 8th at midnight EST. I will announce the winner on December 9th.

Good luck!
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