Monday, August 30, 2010

Pinkberry… and technology failures

So, months ago, dearest puppy chewed on my laptop power cord. The damage appeared to be nothing some electrical tape couldn’t fix but shortly after the repair was made, I found another place where the cord was falling apart. Well, it finally went… I mean, there were sparks shooting from it. Clearly dangerous, I unplugged it and it will not be up and running again until I get a replacement. The roommate’s laptop has a virus, so we are without a computer for the moment. I’m only fortunate enough to be blogging right now because our work network is down and that limits what I can get accomplished (as far as work is concerned).

I am excited to report that I went to Pinkberry for the first time last night. The first Pinkberry to come to the Boston area is located in Hingham at The Derby Street Shoppes. If you don’t know what Pinkberry is, it’s a frozen yogurt chain with a signature tangy yogurt. There are lots of topping options as well as sauces and seasonal flavors.

IMG00054-20100829-1700 I sampled the Passion Fruit flavor and decided to get a dish of that. For toppings (they’re included in the price!) I chose: diced pineapple, mochi (little “rice balls” – kinda have the texture of mini-marshmallows but a bit chewier) and, drum roll, FRUITY PEBBLES!

IMG00056-20100829-1706 IMG00057-20100829-1706 Ahhhhh! It was so good and tangy. I’m excited to try the other flavors and toppings, such as coconut topped with chocolate chips… and/or Captain Crunch. Is it bad that I want to go back tonight?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Happy Friday

As I write this, I am sipping on Pumpkin Spice coffee. Why, that’s a fall flavor and it’s still August, you say. I know. But it’s all I had ground and I was too lazy busy to grind any beans this morning. I hit my snooze button twice, one more time than I usually do. I was tired and my bed was extra comfy. But why were you so tired this morning Shannon, you ask? My enthusiastic reply: “Because I went to see Rodrigo y Gabriela last night!”

If you don’t know who they are, shame on you. Just kidding. Go look them up on youtube right now. They are amazing. For serious. They are a Mexican musical duo who specialize in playing fast, rhythmic acoustic guitars. This was my first time seeing them live and they were incredible. The show was at the Opera House and it was the perfect venue. Best part? The tickets were a surprise! I thought it was sushi and movie night and low and behold, I was whisked away to a great concert!

griffysleepingPuppy is here at work with me today and now that he’s made his rounds and visited everyone, he is taking his first power-nap of the day. Happy Friday!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cookies to Combat the Cold

I won’t complain about the rain. I promise. But I don’t like the cold, not one bit. I’m not ready and I blame the awesome summer weather we’ve had for that. Not that I dislike fall, but I like summer more… much more. But I don’t control the weather or the changing of seasons or the passing of time. If I did, it would be perpetually warm, never humid with an occasional refreshing rain. Oh, and once in awhile there would be need for hoodies, because I love them. But anyway… what a better way to accept (if that’s even possible) the cooler weather coming than with cookies!

IMG_2470 These cookies were awesome for so many reasons. 1. I made them. 2. They are peanut-butter, oatmeal, chocolate-chip! 3. I made them 4. Well, they are cookies!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen (thanks Joanne!)

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick butter at room temperature
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter (I used unsalted)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup golden brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup egg substitute (or 1 egg)
1/2 cup oats
1 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.

3. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar for about 3 minutes.  Mix in the vanilla.  Add the egg substitute and beat to combine.  Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated.

4.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in the oats and chocolate chips.

5. Drop the dough onto the cookie sheets about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 12 minutes or until the cookies are lightly golden.  Cool completely on the baking sheet and enjoy (with milk if you'd like)!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Chicken ‘N Waffles


At the SOWA Food Truck Festival a few weekends back, we spotted a truck offering chicken ‘n waffles. By the time we got there they were offering chicken and waffles.

With disappointment in our hearts and taste buds, we stayed on board for the mediocre fried chicken and various sides. It was decided that one day we would have chicken AND waffles. Saturday night was that occasion.

We went to the The Hen House on Mass. Ave and ordered a variety of sides in addition to our chicken ‘n waffles, of course. There was a sign that mapped the ordering process right out for me. First pick my waffle: buttermilk. Second, pick my butter: honey whipped. Third, my chicken: tenders, original recipe. And last, my sauce: maple syrup.

IMG_2462 There it is. Fried chicken tenders on a buttermilk waffle. Just a touch of maple syrup (I use it sparingly so as not to make my waffle soggy, I hate soggy waffles). And then there is the rest of our spread…

IMG_2463 Inside the tall container is buffalo chicken mac & cheese and in the small, collard greens. Between the two are some of the tastiest sweet potato fries I’ve ever had! So good, in fact, we made sure to polish them off despite being super full (fries just aren’t good leftover).

IMG_2464 Check out those collard greens!

The restaurant itself is super casual. It’s counter service and we waited about 30 minutes for our order (not fast food!). And if you need to be entertained while waiting, there are TV’s and umm, a prize claw machine!


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Weekend Wonderful


Last weekend mom made these Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes. Cute, huh? I slathered them up with boysenberry jam and chowed down (ears first of course)!

Keeping with the Saturday morning pancake idea, I whipped up some pancakes yesterday morning.



So mine weren’t shaped like Mickey Mouse, but they were yummy. I covered them in a thin layer of raw crunchy almond butter, yum!

These were made with yogurt and came out really light and fluffy!


Whole Wheat Yogurt Pancakes

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk 
  • 1 egg  (or 1/4 cup egg substitute as I used)
  • 6 oz. 0% fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp splenda granulated
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp regular salt

Beat egg, add all other ingredients, stir until just combined. Cook 1/4 cup batter servings on a medium hot griddle.

IMG_2457 Don’t those look so yummy? What’s in my cup?

IMG_2456 Starbucks Summer Blend



Puppy napped, per usual, until I woke him up for a walk at the beach. Luckily puppy likes to take walks even more than he likes to nap.




IMG_2459IMG_2460  What a beautiful day!




In my cup today, Starbucks Mexico Champas. A great start to Sunday. Now I must get ready for a party and then back to prepare for the work week, my vacation’s over :(.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pesto & Butternut Squash Pizza

So last night I made a pizza for dinner, it took longer than I anticipated and a late start didn’t help matters but I finally settled in with a couple of slices around 10 PM and it was love at first bite. I loosely followed a recipe I found on another blog and went to town preparing my butternut squash, pesto pizza. I was pretty psyched to use my newly acquired pizza stone (thanks to my mom)!

Here’s the recipe (makes one 15inch pizza):
Ball of whole wheat pizza dough
2 slices lean turkey bacon* optional
1 cup pesto prepared (or you can make your own... I was lazy)
4 slices provolone cheese
parmesan cheese (for grating on top)
olive oil
20 oz butternut squash (half of a squash or one bag frozen as I used)
1 can diced tomatoes (I used tomatoes seasoned with oregano and garlic)

1. Preheat the oven to 400. Toss thawed squash (or if you use fresh, dice it into cubes) with sugar (I used just a pinch) and olive oil (a quick drizzle). Roast for 20 minutes, stirring once half way through. *I cooked the turkey bacon in the oven at the same time*
2. Once squash is done, raise the oven temperature to 450. Roll out the pizza dough onto a floured pizza pan. Top with provolone cheese and tomatoes. Mix butternut squash with pesto and crumbled bacon and pour onto the top of the pizza. Top with oregano and parmesan cheese. Bake for 25 minutes.


Though I absolutely loved the end result, I’d make a few changes next time. I’d definitely make my own pesto (which was the plan but then time and hunger intervened) and use fresh butternut squash. Though the frozen squash held up well, it got a bit mushy during the mixing process and changed my pizza a bit aesthetically from what I was imagining. Oh well. I did think that the turkey bacon was a nice touch… I just added it because I had some in the fridge and welcomed the addition.



IMG_2449 IMG_2451 So it wasn’t the prettiest pizza but it was hearty and full of flavor. This recipe has inspired me to dream up other non-traditional pizza toppings!

Friday, August 20, 2010

I used to dislike vegetables

Yup, I did. Most all of them. Ask my mother. I’d eat canned green beans, corn and maybe cooked spinach. I never ate uncooked vegetables. Tomatoes? Yuck. I remember my dad plucking one out of the garden once and taking a bite, I cringed. It was really too bad because we had a great garden… it was massive and one of my chores was picking & snapping the beans that I refused to eat. My biggest vegemy (get it? vegetable + enemy?) was the pepper. I detested them, thought they were horrific and slimy when cooked. Then one day, it changed. It was a slow change, at first I just liked lettuce then I added others to the list, squash, zucchini, etc. Today, the only vegetables I do not care for are cucumbers and green peppers. Yep, that’s just about it. I promise I’m going somewhere with this…

Here it is… last night I had one of the best, bold statement – I know, vegetable dishes I’ve ever tasted. I’m kicking myself now for not taking pictures because in addition to being delicious, it was so pretty. The fabulous dish that was prepared for me was roasted red & yellow peppers sliced and laid atop fresh mozzarella and then drizzled with a home-made mustard vinaigrette. Ahh, so good. The rest of dinner was awesome too… couscous with sesame oil, tomatoes and toasted sesame seeds and panko covered baked chicken stuffed with cheese and pepperoni. As much as I love to cook, I love to enjoy the products of others creativity and last nights meal was a great example of just that.

In other news, I finally got my car back the other day!! This allowed me to spend some hours at the beach yesterday and run some errands today, including picking up some ingredients for the chopped salad I made for lunch and the dinner I have planned for this evening.

IMG_2439 My yummy chopped salad with romaine lettuce, tomato, blue cheese crumbles, turkey bacon and diced apples. I dressed it with a bit of leftover poppy seed dressing from a takeout salad I had the other day.

I can’t wait to make my dinner later on and I hope it comes out as awesome as I’m imagining so I can post about it tonight!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ginger-Orange Crunchy Chicken


On Sunday night I made dinner for my parents. I found a recipe for crunchy shrimp with a ginger-orange dressing and decided to make that but altering the recipe a bit. The biggest change I made? I made it with chicken, this substitution was due to an allergy but it worked out really well. The recipe makes about 4 servings.

Crunchy Shrimp Chicken with Toasted Couscous & Ginger-Orange Sauce (adapted from Cooking Light)


  • Sauce:
  • 1  cup  orange juice
  • 1  tablespoon  chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2  tablespoons  reduced-fat mayo
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons  fat-free, vegetable or chicken broth 
  • 1  teaspoon  grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1  teaspoon  fresh lime juice
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground cayenne pepper
  • Couscous:
  • 1  cup  uncooked couscous
  • 1 1/2  cups  fat-free, vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/2  cup  orange juice
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/3  cup  chopped green onions (I substituted for fresh chives from the garden)
  • 2  tablespoons  sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1  tablespoon  unsalted butter
  • Chicken:
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into long pieces
  • 1  large egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1/2  cup  panko
  • 1  teaspoon  chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2  teaspoon  grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/8  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  tablespoon  canola oil
  • 2  cups  trimmed watercress


To prepare sauce, bring 1 cup orange juice to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until reduced to 1/4 cup (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat; cool completely. Stir in 1 tablespoon cilantro and next 7 ingredients (through cayenne pepper); set aside.

To prepare couscous, place couscous in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; cook 3 minutes or until toasted, stirring constantly. Add 1 1/2 cups broth, 1/2 cup orange juice, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork; add onions, almonds, and butter, stirring until butter melts. Keep warm.

To prepare chicken, combine chicken and egg white in a large bowl, tossing to coat. Combine the panko, 1 teaspoon cilantro, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, and black pepper in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken to the bag, and seal and shake to coat.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; arrange chicken in a  single layer in pan. Cook for several minutes on each side or until done.

Place 3/4 cup couscous on each of 4 plates; top each with 1/2 cup watercress and several pieces of chicken. Drizzle each with 1 1/2 tablespoons sauce.

ginger You can’t see the cous-cous in this picture but it’s underneath it all! This was SO good, the sauce came out awesome. I definitely plan on making this again and again.

IMG_2418  IMG_2419

Puppy didn’t get to have any but he did enjoy exploring my parents yard!

IMG_2414 IMG_2413

IMG_2420 IMG_2412

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cory <3’s Topanga

That was a bumper sticker I saw this morning on the back of an old Toyota Camry. I wanted to snap a picture but driving in traffic and taking pictures don’t mix with me. I remember watching Boy Meets World on TGIF back in the day and then watching the reruns later on The Disney Channel. I had a crush on Eric and wished Mr. Feeney was my principal, sigh. Oh, and Topanga had great hair. At least I thought so since my hair has been forever stick straight…

Anyway, I am still carless and there is no word, yet, as to when I will be retrieving it from the dealership. I’m feeling a bit frustrated given the fact that this is my vacation and there are just some things I want to do that are not within walking distance. But my roommate let me borrow her car this morning to drive to the airport where my friend was arriving on the red-eye from San Francisco. We enjoyed a light breakfast and coffee in the North End before I dropped her off at South Station.


My current read, Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential… and my new coffee mug, straight from San Francisco!

I started the book last night and so far I’m enjoying his “no-frills” depiction of the restaurant industry.

Today is hot and humid and I have not a single complaint because the cool evening weather is making me think Fall and I’m not ready yet. However, I did enjoy my first Shipyard Pumpkinhead this weekend.




Hopefully this is the only taste of fall I have for awhile yet. I’ll take the beer as long as the beach weather sticks around!

Cross your fingers that I get a call about my car being ready soon! Until then, I’ll be reading my book.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Yay for a great start to Vacation!


We’re just settling in back home after a weekend up in Maine visiting my family and some friends. We are wiped out but had a great time.

We did a lot of napping relaxing, especially puppy. After enjoying some long walks along the river, he would gulp down some water and head to his spot on top of the couch for a siesta.IMG00014-20100814-0958 After a brief rest, he would resume his exploration of the woods surrounding my parents house. With every chirp of a bird or rustling of leaves, he would come bounding back into the house and reclaim his perch.

Pictured above, “Black & Blues” at the Seadog Brewery in Topsham.


We went for lunch and margaritas at a little Mexican restaurant called Buen Appetito in Waterville. The place is so popular with the locals and visitors to the area that there is usually a line out the door. It shares the building with a cinema that shows some new and some second-run movies in addition to indie flicks. They also have a film-fest every summer that brings in movie lovers from near and far. IMG00018-20100814-1511

Doesn’t my pomegranate and blueberry margarita look so good? It was so refreshing. The regular margaritas at this place are also fantastic. I could go for one right now. For my meal I enjoyed a HUGE grilled chicken and mango burrito with sides of rice and black beans. Everything tasted so fresh. Oh and they have the best house-made salsas and sauces. I couldn’t get enough of the spicy verde sauce. I probably dipped an entire basket of tortilla chips in that stuff.

IMG00020-20100814-1535(2) IMG00017-20100814-1503

More about our great weekend later, I’m off to unpack!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

This Used to be my Playground

IMG_2426 Ok, actually it used to be my high school. And not the actual building, but the site of my former high school is now the home of the World’s First Platinum-certified LEED supermarket and the first green designed supermarket in the state of Maine. What does that all mean? Well, Platinum designation is the highest rating a company can obtain from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Pretty awesome, huh?

This store consumes about half the energy of a normal supermarket due to modifications they’ve implemented in refrigeration systems. It also has a partial green roof, and energy efficient lighting (skylights!).


This is the best shot I could get of the “green roof”. This 7,000 square foot green area on the roof will reduce water runoff, help insulate the store and reclaim greenspace!

IMG_2428 When you enter, there is a whole learning center devoted to educating visitors about the green practices of the store!

As far as the interior goes, it was definitely super bright and had some unique features. One thing I found pretty cool? The lights in the freezers dim when the doors are closed to save energy. Good idea!

Way to go Augusta!

Friday, August 13, 2010

A new ignition?

It’s my first day of vacation and I’m already up and at ‘em. The car dealership called and informed that I will need a new ignition which means new programmed keys and all the locks in my car have to be changed. So I will NOT be driving to Maine today. Fortunately, mom wanted to see us badly enough that she is on her way down here to pick puppy and I up.

While we’re patiently waiting, I thought I’d talk about the awesome pizza from the other night. There were two pizzas, in fact, each one very different and tasty. The first was a roasted vegetable affair with a light brushing of olive oil and balsamic rather than a sauce. It was topped with green tomatoes, sweet peppers, onions, sundried tomatoes and a hearty portion of goat cheese. There are no photos because it just didn’t stick around long enough for that to happen.

Enter pizza #2. This one, a buffalo-sweet potato-blue cheese pizza, I discovered here. It was SO good. I essentially followed her recipe but I only used half a ball of whole wheat pizza dough.  This picture is a strong argument for my need of a new camera.


I’m off to pack for the trip and give puppy a quick bath!

Maine or, bust?

So, I’m just going to whine for a few and then I’ll be done with it. Tomorrow marks my first day of vacation, which I’m thrilled about. I’m also supposed to be leaving tomorrow for Maine to visit my family and some friends. But my car is not cooperating with that plan. They key will not turn in the ignition. What?! So my car is currently sitting at the dealership awaiting a diagnostic test which will hopefully reveal a minor problem that can be fixed quickly. And I can get on the road early relatively early.

IMG_2401 IMG_2402 IMG_2403

Puppy masks his disappointment by napping.

To take my mind off my present undesirable situation, I decided to make Key Lime Bars with a Coconut Crumble Crust. These were so easy, delicious and a perfect solution to using up my lime before I leave.


1/2 cup butter, (I used butter spread)
1 cup golden brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lime juice
Zest of 1 lime

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with PAM. In a bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until everything comes together in a crumbly mixture and flour is evenly distributed. Mix in oats and coconut. In another    bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, lime juice and lime zest. Use about 3/4 of crust mixture to coat bottom of pan. Press firmly so it's an even depth. Pour lime mixture on top and spread evenly. Crumble remaining oat mixture over the top of the lime mixture, covering it completely. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown.

Let cool completely before cutting into squares.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

I heart scallops

I returned the borrowed food processor last night. Sad face. But I had a delicious meal cooked for me. Happy face. And while dinner cooked, I got to sit there and babble on about my day AND drink wine. Perfect.

Now, about my meal... I love scallops. I don’t have them nearly enough. After having them last weekend at Ivy in Boston, I wanted more. So I was promised scallops for dinner and they were SO good. Melt in my mouth good. In fact, everything was awesome. The scallops were seared and garnished with crispy, diced bacon and onions and accompanied by couscous with tomatoes and basil as well as steamed broccoli with a yummy breadcrumb topping. Big, BIG happy face.

Sadly, I didn’t have my camera with me so this picture was taken with my phone.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010


This was tonight’s To-do list:

  • go to supermarket IMG_2319
  • do the dishes
  • take puppy on a long walk
  • make hummus
  • fold laundry
  • make pizza for dinner

I’d say I did alright. Though both of us could have used the walk, puppy is fast asleep by my feet and I’m not far from bedtime myself. Laundry hardly ever gets crossed off my list, I swear no matter how much I do, there is always more. Sigh.

Well, my first attempt at making hummus was a huge success. I asked one of my co-workers today if she had any advice for my hummus, her reply was “lots of garlic and lots of lemon”. Seemed like a standard recommendation, so I went with the experts. I have to admit, I was a bit surprised by the consistency of the Tahini. I see why they call it “Tahini Paste” now, it reminds me exactly of paste (not flavorwise!). Anyway, into the food processor went: 2 cans chick peas, 1/4 cup Tahini paste, juice of 2 lemons, 6 whole cloves of garlic and about 1 tbsp reserved liquid from the chick peas. In the end, I added a drizzle of EVOO and pulsed a few more times. It’s creamy but not too creamy and has a great, yet subtle, lemon flavor. I’m so excited to make this on the regular!

More on the pizzas another time!

Not-Fried Green Tomatoes


This is my haul from the farm stand yesterday. I could have gone crazy but they only take cash and all I had on me was $3. Yep, I got all this for $3.

Which one of these vegetables got to be the shining star in my dinner last night?

If you couldn’t guess by the title of this post, it was the green tomatoes. Finding them, so big and perfect, threw my previous plan for dinner right out the window.

I’ve never cooked with green tomatoes before. The only dish I think of is, of course, Fried Green Tomatoes. Yes, I’ve seen the movie more than once. Yes, I cried when… well, if you’ve seen it, you know. But by far, my favorite scene in the movie is when Kathy Bates wraps herself up in plastic wrap. I hope I’m thinking of the right movie. Anyway…

I thought, I could bread and oven-fry the tomatoes… but that didn’t really thrill me. Then I thought, hmmm, maybe I could bake them and do something with crumbs to give them crunch but not take away from their great flavor. So this is what I came up with…

Sweet & Spicy Crispy Baked Green Tomatoes


2 Large Green Tomatoes
Brown Sugar
Crushed cracker crumbs
Cayenne Pepper
Butter or similar spread (I used Brummel and Brown)
salt and Pepper
Cooking Spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut tomatoes in slices about 1/2 inch thick (about 4 slices to a tomato). Lay flat in baking pan sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add about 1 tsp of brown sugar to each slice. Sprinkle each slice with cracker crumbs. Drop just a dot of butter on top of each slice. Bake for 25 minutes.IMG_2377 Those are mine in the oven, I forgot to take a picture before I put them in. While those were baking, I made some Quinoa and while it was still hot, stirred in about 1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (I made 2 servings of Quinoa). I chopped up some of the remaining green tomato and threw that in with the cheesy Quinoa dish. What a yummy side!


There it is, the finished product. It smelled so great and tasted even better. Puppy wanted to sneak a taste so bad. Finally, he was distracted when I tossed him a rawhide and a cracker… which landed under the open dishwasher. He paid no notice.IMG_2374