Thursday, September 30, 2010

Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies

Yes, you read that right. Peanut butter. Bacon. Cookies. Together.

I don’t know what’s gotten into me lately. All this baking, what’s it about? Must be the threat promise of fall weather approaching. It’s not like you’d know… yesterday I was sweating by 8:30 AM.

But anyway, tonight I baked. This recipe combines two of my very favorite things. Peanut butter, of course. And bacon, of course. I just ate four, of course.

Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies

(Recipe via Littlegirlshinyworld via Joythebaker)
  • 1 cup all-natural chunky or smooth peanut butter (I used chunky)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (I used Splenda)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • about 6 slices of bacon, cooked, cooled and diced (used turkey bacon)

In a skillet over medium high heat, fry up bacon until cooked through and let cool on paper towels until cool enough to dice. Dice up and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment & set aside. In a mixer combine peanut butter and sugars until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add egg and baking soda and mix for another 2 minutes. Fold in cooked bacon. Roll into large walnut sized balls and create a cris-cross pattern with a fork. If you’d like, roll the dough balls in granulated sugar before making the cris-cross pattern. Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on a baking sheet for five minutes, then transfer to… your mouth.

IMG_2650 Clearly I liked them, like I said… I ate four, however, next time I’ll use smooth peanut butter. Between the crispy bacon and chunks of peanuts, I had an extra crunchy cookie. Not a bad thing, probably just a preference thing.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Comfort Food: Sesame Chicken


That’s how I felt about today.

Just, yuck.

So how did I turn my day around?

IMG_2642 I poured myself a big glass of vodka! Just kidding. It’s sparkling water, I swear.

I made some comforting Sesame Chicken for dinner, that’s what I did!

IMG_2651Did it work? You bet. It’s amazing how food does that. At least for me. It was good timing too because I had just started cursing at my coffee carafe. No joke.

Sesame Chicken (serves four): courtesy of We Are Not Martha

  • 3/4 cup brown rice
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed or finely chopped
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 2-inch chunks
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 pounds broccoli, cut into large florets

I’d suggest starting your rice first (if not using instant) since rice takes awhile. I pulled out the rice maker so I could multi-task without burning anything.

IMG_2640 Then go ahead and make your sauce. In a bowl mix honey, soy sauce, sesame seeds and garlic. Give it a good stir. [Mine looks like a bowl full of sesame seeds… but I swear it’s the sauce… and it’s gooooood!]

IMG_2638 Cut your chicken into chunks. In another bowl, mix your egg whites and cornstarch with a whisk. Use those muscles. Then put your chunks of chicken in it, make sure they all get covered.

IMG_2641 Heat oil in large skillet. Add half the chicken and cook until golden. Remove and put chicken aside on another plate. Repeat with remaining chicken. Once all of the chicken is cooked, add it back to the pain along with the sauce and scallions. Make sure all of the chicken gets coated with the sauce.

IMG_2645 Meanwhile, cook your broccoli. I cooked mine in boiling water for about 5 minutes. It was a tad bit softer than I would have liked, but it worked.

If your rice is done, serve it all up on a plate and enjoy!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones

Today the rain came. I had intended on having a productive day but my sleeplessness last night changed that. I woke up late, had a busy morning and afternoon at work and forgot my gym clothes under my desk. On the way home I got stuck in traffic, “lost” in Target (not a bad thing) and couldn’t find the motivation to start my intended tasks.

Of course, though, I had the motivation for a walk in the fresh air with puppy.

IMG_2617 “I’m ready!”

IMG_2619 IMG_2621 Too entranced by the scattering leaves to look at me for a picture…


When we got home, puppy was wet and I was hungry. We played in the kitchen for a bit before I cooked up some homemade gnocchi I had in the freezer.

I enjoyed a Magic Hat Hex with a side of Jeopardy. It’s their autumn brew.

IMG_2623After dinner, I was inspired by Tina’s recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones from carrotsncake

Makes 8 scones


  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar (I used 1/4 cup granulated Splenda)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I used 1/4 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice)*
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt  (I used Greek because it’s what I had)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips


  • Preheat oven to 425.
  • Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon*, and salt.
  • Add in pumpkin, yogurt, butter & chocolate chips, mixing as you go.
  • Form dough into a ball, place on a greased baking sheet and pat down into a circle about 1/2 to 1/4 inches thick.
  • Cut into 8 segments.
  • Bake at 425*F for about 20 minutes or until edges are slightly crisp and the top is lightly browned.

IMG_2626IMG_2627IMG_2633 These are so very delicious! And EASY! I won’t even get started on how great my kitchen smelled while they were baking. Of course we had to try them right out of the oven, nom nom nom.

IMG_2637 Now I suppose I should tackle one of the many things on my To-do list… sorting through the stack of reading material that has piled up on the side of my bed. I’m debating between school reading and pleasure reading… which do you think will win?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tequila Lime Tofu

For some reason brainstorming Halloween costume ideas led me to thinking about burritos (don’t even ask me what the correlation was) and I decided that’s what I wanted for dinner. Tired of veggie burritos, and not having any thawed chicken, I remembered a block of tofu in the fridge. Tofu burritos? Sounds good. Then I started thinking about how I wanted to prepare the tofu. This somehow led my mind to the bottle of tequila in the freezer, and the idea was born: Tequila Lime Tofu. I searched for a recipe and found one that sounded great and easy. (Easy was very important as it is Sunday after all).

Tequila Lime Tofu (adapted from veggievixen)

  • 15 ounces of drained (extra) firm tofu
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro (or 4 tsp dried)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup tequila
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano

Remove the excess water from the tofu before marinating. Place the tofu on a firm surface and put a baking sheet on top. On the baking sheet, place four 15 ounce cans. The weight on the tofu should be enough to cause the sides to bend outward slightly, but does not squash the tofu. Wait one hour to allow the fluid to drain out of the tofu. Take drained tofu and cut into ½ inch thick slices. Combine lime juice, lemon juice, cilantro and olive oil in a bowl to make marinade. Place tofu slices, side by side, in a large baking dish. Pour marinade into container, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Turn the slices over after the hour and marinade for another hour. Preheat oven to 375 and place tofu slices on baking sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes on each side (total 30 to 40 minutes). Serve warm or let cool and store in sealed container no longer than 3 or 4 days.IMG_2613This tofu was amazing. Marinating them for 2 hours really gave them great flavor and even though I cubed a few pieces to put in my burrito, it is great all on its own.

IMG_2614My BIG open-faced burrito. In the mix was: tofu, corn, black beans, red peppers, mushrooms, cumin, chili pepper, cayenne pepper and cinnamon (?) – Funny story: I did a couple shakes of what I thought was chili pepper and realized it was cinnamon… oops! It actually tasted pretty good in there though!

And on top: shredded cheddar, salsa and sour cream. I was able to roll it up into a burrito-like apparatus but my fork came in very handy for scooping up stray veggies.

About yesterday’s low-fat, sugar-free brownies, the secret is IN THE BEANS! The water, oil and eggs are all replaced with one can of pureed black beans! Sounds strange? Well it is… but the brownies are not! They taste like those Little Debbie Fudge Brownies of my childhood, I swear!

Directions: drain and rinse one can of black beans, rinse out the can and dump beans back in. Fill can to top with water. Add can with beans and water to a food processor/blender and puree! Pour mixture into bowl with brownie mix and when well mixed, transfer batter to baking pan and cook according the package directions. It’s that simple! Do it.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Summer, is that you?

Whoa, we are back up in the 90’s, whaaat?! Well, after all, this is New England. Beach weather in late September and, maybe snow in October? Just kidding, sort of. I think it snowed before Halloween when I was a kid, in Maine. The cold fall temps made dressing up tough sometimes, who wants to go Trick or Treating in a bulky winter jacket?!

Anyway, I haven’t yet mentioned that I am planning on running my first ever road race of any kind, in November. On Thanksgiving to be exact. A 5K. Here’s the map…

If you know me, you probably think you just misread. It’s true. I don’t like to run, at all. But it’s a goal and I have been pushing myself to train so I can at least make it across the finish line. With that said, I really wanted to get outside for some jogging today but it was too hot. Not to mention, I refuse to turn my AC back on (much like I refuse to turn the heat on before November), so I opted for the air conditioned gym over sitting in my hot apartment.

Prior to that, I made some delicious, fudgey brownies!


And wanna know what is awesome about these brownies?! They are low-fat and sugar-free. I know you are probably thinking, “yea right… they can’t be any good”, but I swear to you… they really are. And I’m not going to take all of the credit, they are from box. Don’t judge!

But the real secret is in the preparation… too be disclosed later!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Bar Review and Pizza Night

It felt like a long week. I had a ton of work to do and I finally feel caught up. I needed a boost this afternoon while working on a tedious lab assignment…

IMG_2598Oh, hi there SOYJOY sample! I have to admit, I’ve tried their bars before and was not wowed but this supposedly new and improved bar was pretty good!

IMG_2599It was banana flavored and sort of reminded me of banana bread. The texture of SOYJOY always takes me a few bites to get over, but the flavor was real tasting and not artificial.

After submitting my lab (!) and taking a little powernap (hey, I deserved it!)… it was time for pizza!

IMG_2600 IMG_2602IMG_2601 IMG_2604Not one, but FOUR blurry pictures of my pizza… grrr!  In real life, it was a good lookin’ ‘za, I swear!

I roasted 2 cups of chopped butternut squash coated in olive oil, garlic powder and cayenne pepper in the oven for 30 minutes at 425 degrees. While that was happening, I rolled out a ball of Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Pizza Dough. I brushed on a few tbs of Roasted Garlic EVOO and when the squash was ready (slightly browned), spread it over the dough. Then came the sprinkling of crumbled feta (about 4 oz.) and some freshly grated parmesan, 1/3 of a chopped red onion and some crushed red pepper. I baked it on a pizza stone at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes.

It was incredible. So much flavor… if it wasn’t for the fact that I got sucked into Sons of Anarchy, I probably would have devoured the whole thing!

So glad I didn’t, now there’s some for lunch tomorrow! Night!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Stuffed Sunburst Squash

IMG_2590I picked up this guy at the farmer’s market this past weekend. I had never seen, nor heard of, Sunburst Squash before. Upon doing a little research, I discovered that the Sunburst squash is a varietal of the Patty Pan squash. But I had never heard of Patty Pan before either. I liked the name though. It’s sing-songy and fun.

IMG_2591Here he is again. Looking more yellow in this picture. He has no idea what his fate will soon be…

So I preheated the oven to 350 degrees. On the stove top I set about an inch of water to boil. Once boiling, I put in the squash and covered… letting him soften for about 10 minutes.

In another pan, I cooked up a few slices of turkey bacon until browned and removed.

When the squash was done, I carefully sliced off his top half (like you would if carving a pumpkin) and used a spoon to dig out his insides. You need to be extra careful not to pierce his side!

So sorry I’m referring to an inanimate object with personal pronouns, it is seriously only Wednesday?!

Put insides in pan that was used to cook bacon, crumble bacon back into pan, add soft breadcrumbs, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Stir around on medium heat until squash pieces are warm. Put all the stuff back in the squash shell. Top with cheese of your choice, put his top back on. Then stick him in the oven for 15 minutes on a pan or oven safe dish.

IMG_2592He will look like this. You’ll “oooh” and “ahhhh”. He will smell damn good. Even puppy sat for this one. Sorry pup, he’s all mine.

Okay, now this is getting weird. I’m sure squashes don’t have sexes. Or maybe I’m wrong. I’ll have to ask my dad. He knows a lot about plants. FOCUS SHANNON.

IMG_2594  Inside, he will look like this, but with your camera probably more in focus. Seriously, I was concerned it wouldn’t fill me up but it did! The blue cheese stuffed slider I made on the side helped too. Before I could take a picture my camera battery died. Oops!

Pick yourself up one of these guys, you won’t regret it. And please bear with my madness, I’ve been listening to/watching powerpoint presentations for the last 3 hours. Night!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Veggie Cocoa Quinoa


Last time I was up visiting home (Maine), my grandparents gave me their steamer/rice cooker.

I’ve never used one before, thought about using one before, or really even known what one does with a steamer/rice cooker. Well okay, the name makes it kind of obvious but I’ve always steamed my veggies on the stove and cooked my rice in boiling water. Why mess with something that works just fine?

Did you know you can cook chicken in this thing? Yup. It says so on the box.

So, here’s the deal, I knew I wanted to make this tonight. I had fully intended to make it stove-top but when a rice cooker was mentioned I thought, I have one of those.

After ripping the box open like a child on Christmas morning, I discovered that there were no instructions. After some serious google-ing, I found a pdf file of the manual, phew. There was nothing about quinoa so I did some more searching and found a site that said to cook it for 20 minutes in the rice cooker. Well, it took mine nearly 40 minutes to absorb all of the liquid and I used the 2/1 ratio instructed. So keep that in mind…

Anyway, into my rice cooker went 1 cup red quinoa (rinsed), 2 cups vegetable broth, one cinnamon stick, 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/4 tsp chili powder, 1/4 coriander and 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper.

IMG_2576 These are the add-ins. Black beans, yellow onion and super sweet baby bell peppers.

IMG_2581 While my quinoa was taking its sweet time in the rice cooker, I cooked up the onion (chopped) and the peppers (also chopped) in about 1 tbsp Roasted Garlic Olive Oil. I cooked the onions until golden then added the peppers. Since the quinoa was still cooking, I removed them from the heat and set aside. I also rinsed the black beans and set those aside too.

IMG_2589 Once the quinoa is done (liquid is completely absorbed and you can see the grain), add it to pepper and onion mixture. Then add the black beans. Salt and pepper to your taste and if you want, add a dollop of plain Greek yogurt.

This dish is SO hearty. If you don’t like things that have a bit of a kick, reduce the cayenne (though I thought there was the perfect amount). Next time I will also be going back to my stove-top method…

But, I’m sure the steamer/rice cooker will get put to good use in the future. Chicken perhaps?

Quinoa on Foodista

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pan to Plate in 15 minutes

Can someone tell me why it is that after a relaxing weekend, I still feel so wiped on Monday?

I swear, my mind was on overdrive at work today. My stream of consciousness went something like this: hmmm, what am I going to make for dinner tonight? Should I stop and buy an onion at the farm stand? I don’t really need an onion, do I? I really need to write up my observation reports. And that paper too. Ugggh, I have so much laundry to do. Wow, it’s going to be 80 on Wednesday? I wonder if I should skip the gym and bring puppy for a walk at the beach. Did I give puppy his frontline this month? I need to make him a grooming appointment. Did I check my voicemail today? I should find a recipe using my new squash…

It went on, and on, and on like that alllll dayyyyy longggg. Obviously there were relevant work matters sprinkled in too. Well, how did my day pan out? I came home, put in a load of laundry and headed out to a rock show and got home at 8:30 to cook dinner and bang out masterfully complete some school work.

So this is my “clean out the refrigerator” Monday night Madness meal. Ready in just about 15 minutes flat. Win.

IMG_2571  15 Minutes from Pan to Plate Pasta

  • whole wheat linguine (enough for 1 person)
  • 2 strips turkey bacon
  • white wine
  • spinach
  • cherry tomatoes
  • garlic powder
  • fresh ground black pepper

I cooked my pasta according to the package.  Meanwhile, I fried up my turkey bacon in a pan with a spray of Pam. When the turkey bacon was good to go, I threw in the spinach and cook in the juices. Shortly after, I tossed in a handful of chopped cherry tomatoes, garlic powder and some ground black pepper. When the pasta was ready, I put that in the pan… poured a few glugs of wine into the pan and heated til there was no liquid left.

I then plated it and sprinkled on some freshly grated parmesan. There you have it, 15 minutes from pan to plate.

Here’s to a week full of fun recipes I’m excited to try and share! Night!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cute Petite Calzones


I felt like a “comfort” meal tonight. Why? Because it was 50 degrees this morning when I went out the door. 50! Weren’t the temperatures just in the 90’s?

I made a pot of pumpkin spice coffee and drank it HOT. Mark it. It’s my first hot coffee since the spring.

So there I was, decided on “comfort” food, yet I had these heirloom tomatoes kicking around. Hmmm. And then I saw a recipe for calzones. With blue cheese. And spinach. Sounds good to me. But I made changes. I used tomatoes instead of onions and mushrooms. I didn’t have an onion and I forgot to add the mushrooms. But I did like the pre-made dough part. That part I kept.


This is one of those premade pizza dough rolls you find in the dairy case. Mine was a little mutant so I had to do minor surgery. A pizza cutter works wonders.

Cut it into quarters. Sprinkle on some chopped garlic. Again, laziness prevailed and I used the jarred stuff.

Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet or use parchment paper as I did. Mostly because I was afraid of the disaster that might occur if I tried to move my calzones.



On top of the squares put tomatoes (I diced ‘em), spinach and blue cheese crumbles. Fold in corners so that they meet in the middle. Aren’t they adorable?

From here on out I will call them: cute petite calzones. Because that’s what they are.

Transfer them to your pan (if you didn’t assemble them on one) and pop in preheated oven for about 12 minutes.

Pour yourself a glass of beer. Oh wait, that’s what I did…



Narragansett Fest. In a fancy glass. It’s alright. Described as a beer to celebrate “Oktoberfest”, it has a slight sweetness.

And who doesn’t love a beer that comes in 16 ounce cans? Cans that are orange. It’s Thursday. I’m allowed.

You can’t even drink 16 ounces of beer in the 12 minutes it takes to cook cute petite calzones. It’s great.



IMG_2562 After a very short 12 minutes, you have this beauty. I mean cutie. So tasty and light yet comforting at the same time. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes (if you like) and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Veggie Enchiladas

I took a look through my pantry this morning to find dinner inspiration. There it was, hiding behind a can of Rotel, green chile enchilada sauce. With no meat thawed, I decided on a quick and easy dinner of veggie enchiladas.


Into a pan went: white corn, mixed bell peppers. I then added the can of green chile enchilada sauce and a can of black beans. Oh, and of course, cheddar cheese.

I let the whole thing simmer for a bit, pretty much as long as it took for the sauce to thicken a bit and the cheese to melt.

Meanwhile, the oven was pre-heated to 400 degrees and a baking pan was sprayed with cooking spray.


With the filling ready to go, I divided the filling (about 3 cups) between 6 tortillas. I used whole wheat, high-fiber tortillas. I covered the enchiladas with some shredded cheese and put it in the oven for about 15 minutes.

IMG_2546 IMG_2550 IMG_2551 I plopped a bit of sour cream on top and devoured. The best part? Between all the veggies and the high-fiber tortillas, these two enchiladas filled me right up.

Okay, so I’m not so filled up that I can’t enjoy some Ciao Bella Blood Orange Sorbet while I do some more studying. Goodnight!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Spaghetti Squash Love


Don’t say I didn’t warn you. I’m super excited about the arrival of winter squash. I like the summer kind, but I love it’s winter cousin even more. Yep.

Yesterday at the supermarket I snatched up a spaghetti squash. I was so excited to bring it home and make it into something delicious. Sometimes different. Something unique.

So, I cooked it, scraped it into a bowl and ate it like… spaghetti. And I loved every single second of it. For real.

In the defense of my creativity, I did make a sundried tomato pesto to drop on top. That was an adventure. The mini processor was making some crazy noises. Puppy ran for cover. I almost did too. But it worked, phew.

So, I tell you. Go. Now. Buy a spaghetti squash. Cut it in half lengthwise. Clean the seeds and icky stuff out of the middle. Throw it in the microwave, cut side down, in a casserole dish filled with about 1-inch water. Heat on high for 8 minutes or so. Then scrape your “spaghetti” out. Enjoy. I know you will.

That’s all I have for tonight because I’m wiped out. Goodnight!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Spicy Garlic Lime Hummus

It was a lazy, fallish Saturday. We slept in a bit, had hot oatmeal and iced coffee. And by we, I mean me. Puppy basked in his spot on top of the couch, enjoying the sun and breeze simultaneously. After, we napped and we cleaned. The floors were so dusty, gross.

While I was taking one of my many mini-naps today, this came crashing through the mail slot.

IMG_2531Perfect timing considering I just finished Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations the other night.

In the early evening, we decided to make hummus. A different hummus. One that didn’t have lemon juice in it, as most do. Why? Because all we had was lime juice, and were too lazy to go to the store feeling innovative.

Well, the final product was delicious and a nice twist on the classic hummus we made last time.

IMG_2530 Sorry this picture does nothing for the hummus. And yes, it is in a Sabra hummus container. I cleaned it out and put our hummus in to reuse the container, I swear. For dipping, we toasted some whole wheat pitas and lavash in the oven for about 5 minutes. The toasted lavash had awesome crunch.

Spicy Garlic Lime Hummus

1 can chickpeas drained, reserve 2 tbsp liquid
2 tbsp tahini
4 cloves garlic
2 tbsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp olive oil (we used Persian Lime)
A few dashes hot sauce

Add garlic to food processor first, mince it. Then add all other ingredients. You may need to add more of ingredients to your taste. We added a bit more hot sauce and cayenne as we went along but we like a lot of spice.

Oh right, and after eating lots o’ hummus, we cracked this bad boy open…

IMG_2529A growler of Dogfish Head Raison D’Etre. This is straight from the brewery in Delaware. The roommate brought it back from her recent vacation.

YUM. As described on the Dogfish Head website, Raison D’Etre is “a deep, mahogany Belgian-style brown ale brewed with beet sugar, raisins, and Belgian-style yeast.”

IMG_2533IMG_2532 Now I think I’ll follow puppy’s lead and call it a night. Goodnight!