Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chana Masala

I’ve learned a few things this week. Coming back from vacation never gets easier. Labs don’t write themselves. Dogs will find food anywhere… even buried (and forgotten) in the bottom of a bag. And if something smells, well, check the bottom of your shoes.

DSC06075One (of the many) perks of visiting my parents is getting to raid the pantry. I made off with a couple of cans of chick peas and some tomato paste.

Oh hai there Chana Masala.

And bulgur wheat? It’s so nice to have met you. I love this stuff.

DSC06074 I used this recipe. The only changes I made were: a can of green chiles in lieu of a jalapeno & I used a full can of tomato paste.

It was so yummy it came with me to work today.

DSC06084 And I just might have it back tomorrow too.

Speaking of tomorrow, hopefully starting then I’ll be back to my regular blogging schedule. Adios!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

My Thanksgiving dinner contributions…DSC06042 Home-made cranberry chutney. It was the perfect accompaniment to mom’s delicious turkey.

wineA bottle of wine I brought back for my parents from Italy in 2005 when I studied abroad in Florence. We decided the festivities called for cracking it open.

DSC06046  Scalloped Sweet Potatoes with bacon and grated parmesan cheese. SO YUM.


Dad and I ran a 5k.

We ate. A LOT.

We napped. (Or at least I did…)

Then the boys (dad and my brother) played “golf”…

DSC06052 DSC06062

And puppy…

DSC06064 well, he made sure he was right in the middle of the action.

Hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was GREAT!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pumpkin Pie FAIL

We’ve arrived in Maine at my parents… DSC06025Mom dropped the pumpkin pie when she put it in the oven. Fortunately it was one of two pies she made. Thanksgiving is saved.

DSC06027 Griffy thought he spied an opportunity.


(Mom didn’t want anyone to see her dirty oven. Sorry mom.)

In related news, Dad is now walking the dog and I’m staying far, far away from the kitchen (for reasons that should now be obvious). Headed out soon to see some friends and spread some cheer. Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pumpkin, Cranberry, Pistachio & Coconut, Granola Bars


There’s a game we play in this house. It’s called, “What’s in Griffy’s mouth?”. It’s pretty much on-going. You see, even when the floor looks free of debris, he finds something. It could be a post-it, a piece of hair, dryer lint, tissue, etc. We just never know. Literally, sometimes we never know.

DSC06016 There’s no “5 second” rule. Even if he’s in the other room, his super-keen awareness that something “edible” has hit the floor propels him full-speed. At the present moment, he’s “digging” in my bed. Probably looking for crumbs. Or the M&M’s he hid under my pillow last week.

Bottom line is: Griffy approves of these bars. Which means absolutely nothing considering the list of things he’s eaten in his short lifetime. But when he hears the crinkle of the plastic wrap being removed, he comes running and watches intently for crumbs to drop. It’s actually a win-win because we don’t own a broom.

DSC06018 This recipe was inspired by Hangry Pants. But the recipe I followed came from Smitten Kitchen.

A list of the ingredients I used:

  • 1 2/3 cups Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup oat flour (1/3 cup of oats processed in food processor)
  • 1/2 tsp ginger salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, 2/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, 1/3 cup chopped pistachios
  • 5 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp water

I’d recommend using corn-syrup somewhere in there as in the original recipe, but I didn’t have it on hand. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dough Balls

I did not skip breakfast. I merely missed it. Something I do not recommend if you have these in the house…

DSC05995 I ate tw0 three four.

DSC06006That’s not even counting what I ate while making the balls…

DSC05999 Don’t judge.

DSC06001 These are all going to girls’ night tonight. Maybe…

The recipe is all Mama Pea's. I didn’t change a thing. These are seriously so addicting. So I do NOT recommend making them when you are a. hungry (having missed breakfast) b. alone (you know, without taste testers) c. disregard all of this… make them whenever. You’ll thank Mama Pea.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Buffalo Sweet Potato Soup

DSC05981 I was thinking about this soup all day. The idea came to me when I thought about the Buffalo Sweet Potato Pizza I made awhile back. Why not soup? And how about I top it off with some blue cheese crumbles?

But then, something happened. I came home from the gym and got super distracted became terribly busy. I had sort of already committed to making something with sweet potatoes because I had put them in the oven to bake. Then, despite the time, I told myself to stick with the plan and make my soup.

DSC05971 I was so glad I did. It was even better than I had hoped for. Super creamy, spicy and filling. You better believe I’ll be eating it again for dinner tonight. Probably in about 5 minutes to be exact.

Buffalo Sweet Potato Soup

  • About 1 lb sweet potatoes
  • 1.5 c vegetable broth
  • 1.5 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 c Frank’s Buffalo sauce
  • 1 tbsp Earth Balance (optional)
  • 1 jalapeno (chopped, seeds removed)
  • Blue cheese crumbles

1. Preheat oven to 350. Place sweet potatoes on rack and bake until centers are soft (about 45 mins). Remove from oven, let them cool then peel skins. After peeling, mash potatoes.

2. Add mashed potatoes to food processor with tbsp of Earth Balance (or butter or neither). Turn on processor and gradually add broth, hot sauce and milk to soup.

3. Check for desired texture. I did this many times as I wanted it smooth but not too liquidy.

4. Add chopped jalapeno and process for a bit longer.

5. Warm up soup in soup pan for a few minutes. (Or you could use an immersion blender and eliminate this step entirely.)

6. Pour into bowls and garnish with plenty of blue cheese on top.

Oh, and I want to share what I was distracted by…

beachballgriffyDefinitely a distraction worthy of having a late dinner. I’m sad to report though, the beach ball did not win and will be far far away tomorrow after trash pick-up.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gnu Bars – Flavor & Fiber

DSC05951This post has been a long time coming. About a month ago, Gnu Foods, sent me a box of their Gnu bars. They boast, “flavor & fiber: together at last”. Overall, they have pretty good nutritional stats…

  • 12g of fiber per bar
  • only 130-140 calories
  • made with whole grains
  • made with organic  whole wheat & kamut flours
  • Vegan
  • Dairy & Soy free

They come in 7 flavors (they sent me 2 of each flavor to sample*): Banana Walnut, Cinnamon Raisin, Chocolate Brownie, Orange Cranberry, Peanut Butter, Espresso Chip and Lemon Ginger. Now that I’ve sampled them all, it’s hard work I tell ya, I feel able to tell you what I like (and what I don’t).

My faves: Banana Walnut, Cinnamon Raisin, Peanut Butter

So-so: Orange Cranberry, Lemon Ginger

Ick: Chocolate Brownie, Espresso Chip

Clearly these are my opinions and let it be known I’m not the biggest fan of chocolate bars anyway… I’d definitely recommend trying them. They umm, taste good & do their job, if you get what I mean. What I mean is, all that fiber fills you up! According to the information they sent me, they are currently sold at The Vitamin Shoppe and other select grocery stores (including Whole Foods).

DSC05907 DSC05949 This morning I crumbled up half of a Cinnamon Raisin Bar and put it on top of my pumpkin yogurt (1/3 cup organic plain non-fat yogurt, 1/3 cup pumpkin puree, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice). Delish!


*These product samples were supplied to me at no cost, the opinions in this review are all mine and I received no compensation.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thai Chicken Pizza


I will sum up this pizza in one word: addicting. The kind of addicting where you’re full after eating two slices but go on to eat two more. Even after that, you’ll still be thinking about this pizza before you go to sleep. Anxiously waiting for lunch time tomorrow to eat the leftovers.

DSC05926You may even think to yourself (albeit briefly) “carrots aren’t so bad… when they are on top of an incredible cheesy, peanutty, pile of delicious". Yes, it’s true. My carrot-hating self didn’t even mind them on this pizza. I may have even enjoyed the crunch of them. Just a tiny bit.

DSC05930 Thai Chicken Pizza (adapted from allrecipes.com)

Serves 2-4


Pizza Dough

  • 2/3 cup warm water (120 degrees F)  
  • 1 packet pizza yeast
  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tsp sugar

Pizza Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons RF peanut butter 
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons lower sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame chili oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons honey

Pizza Topping

  • 1 boneless chicken breast half, cooked and sliced into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 small fresh green chile pepper, finely chopped  
  • 4 green onions, diced
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

  1. Make pizza dough according to yeast packet directions. I used a package of pizza dough yeast which does not require time to let dough rise. 
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Roll out or press dough on a floured surface. Place on lightly oiled pizza pans (I actually cooked my pizza on a pizza stone but use your preferred method).
  4. To make the peanut sauce, place peanut butter, rice vinegar, and soy sauce in a bowl. Add chili oil, ginger, and honey; whisk until smooth.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken, sesame seeds, paprika, chile peppers, salt, and 3 tablespoons of the peanut sauce. Mix until the chicken is evenly coated. Spread the remaining peanut sauce evenly over pizza dough. Top with chicken, green onions, and cheese.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned. Garnish with carrots and cilantro.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Parmesan Crusted Chicken and Creamy Tomato Orecchiette Pasta

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There was a serious sale on chicken a few weeks back and I went crazy. I bought about 5 pounds. And since I am the only one living here that eats chicken, or any meat at all, I froze each piece of chicken individually. Perfect for dinners for 1.

food2 050Did I mention I got a food processor for my birthday? Well, I did. And life hasn’t been the same. I made my own fresh breadcrumbs tonight. I took a slice of Nature’s Pride Honey Wheat and broke it up into pieces, threw it in and pulsed a few times. Oh, how exciting. And I did the same with my parmesan cheese because I wanted grated and all I had was shredded. Fancy. Big things are happening here.

food2 052It took me a while to figure out how to spell “Orecchiette” without looking at the box. This shape of pasta is great for catching sauce. Creamy Tomato sauce. So yum and so simple.

Parmesan Crusted Chicken (for one)

  • 1 chicken breast, pounded thin
  • 1/4 slice bread, processed into crumbs
  • 1-2 TBSP grated parmesan
  • Egg white
  • Cooking Spray

Preheat oven to 450. Dip chicken in egg white then dredge in bread crumbs mixed with parmesan. Spray both sides with cooking spray. Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until done (depends on thickness of chicken).

Creamy Tomato Orecchiette Pasta (for one)

  • 1/3 cup uncooked pasta (cooked according to package directions)
  • 1/3 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 TBSP whipped light cream cheese
  • 1 TSP dried basil

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Warm tomato sauce on stovetop. Put sauce into food processor with cream cheese and pulse until completely mixed. Pour sauce into pan with cooked pasta and mix. Enjoy.

food2 053 This meal had ALL of the taste of something that took a lot longer but didn’t take much time at all. And the chicken is perfect for soaking up every last bite of the creamy tomato sauce.

*Thank you to everyone that has voted for my recipe over at the Marx Foods blog. I really appreciate it! If you would still like to vote, please do!! The poll is open until Monday 11/15. Vote here.*

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Voting is happening NOW!

If you recall, a week or so ago I posted my submission to Marx Foods and Joanne’s (of Eats Well with Others) Recipe Impossible Challenge. Well voting was supposed to start on 11/1 but the poll wasn’t working. NOW IT IS! So please, if you like what you see, go vote and check out the other great entries!

Here’s a link to my original post: Pumpkin Wontons with Pumpkin Mascarpone.


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Monday, November 8, 2010

Good to be back…

food2 028

I guess that’s a bit deceiving because I haven’t been gone. My internet connection has just been really lousy and blogging has been impossible. It’s been super frustrating because one thing I enjoy doing on the weekend is catching up on blogs. Boo. Well I pretty much threw in the towel but gave my modem one more shot. And here we are. At a “normal” speed. Cross your fingers.

food2 029 My weekend was good. I enjoyed some time out with friends on Saturday night. And Sunday I was up and out early for a quick trip to the mall. But when I got there, the mall didn’t open until 11 and I had about 45 minutes to kill. Yay for Target being open. A new Target just opened in Braintree at the Plaza and they sell groceries. Like as in, meat and produce and I was psyched to score a 5 pound bag of sweet potatoes for under $3!

food2 031 When I got home I whipped up some sweet potato, spinach and onion “hash”. It was super delicious. I also made an egg & cheese (feta!) on a sandwich thin. It was a fabulous brunch. I was on such a high until I realized I forgot my new cookie sheet I bought at Target! Ugh. Bummer.

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Luckily I didn’t need it to make these guys. Chickpea Blondies. Yea, they sound weird. But they are yummy. And they are definitely complemented by the M&M’s I crushed on top. Can you think of a better way of using up that Halloween candy?

food2 041 There is really nothing to see in this picture other than Griffy sitting politely on the floor hoping that these are for him. Sorry pup. Oh my he needs a haircut.

Chickpea “Blondies” adapted from here

Non-stick cooking spray
15 ounces (1 can) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup strawberry or other all-fruit spread
1/4 cup crunchy natural peanut butter (or tahini)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup + 4 tablespoons AP Flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350°F . Lightly coat an 8-inch square baking pan with spray.
In a food processor, combine all ingredients and blend until perfectly smooth, scraping sides often.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Top with M&M’s (if you wish). Bake for 30 minutes.
Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool completely before placing in the fridge and slicing.

These came out super-moist. You cannot taste the strawberry spread in mine so don’t go too crazy with decided what kind of spread to use. Whatever you have is fine. And of course, the whole time I was thinking, “I bet I could put pumpkin in these…”

Friday, November 5, 2010

Carrot Cake Breakfast Cookies

Have I ever mentioned how much I detest peeling vegetables? Probably not. It really hasn’t been an issue here before. Last time I was visiting my parents I told my mom I don’t eat potatoes often because I hate peeling them. She sent me home with a peeler. Gee thanks. I still hate peeling vegetables.

food2 018Stirring? I can do that. Pressing the button on the food processor? I’m a pro. But anything that involves peeling, grating or the likes, I just hate doing. Do I do it? Of course. I love potatoes and cheese and I do what I gotta do for the things I love.

food2 019But sometimes I curse a lot when I’m doing said peeling and grating. For the record, peeling a single carrot for these cookies has left me with an orange left hand. The dog ran in my room and hid from me. It must have been the yelping and confetti like shreds of carrot flying through the air. Second thought, it was probably the yelping. The angry grunting. 

food2 021 And I don’t love carrots. So my dedication and determination to including them in their namesake cookie was pretty tremendous. For clarification, carrots are okay in things when they are the thing. Is that still vague? Further explanation. I can eat them raw WITH hummus or dip. I can eat them cooked WITH seasoning/butter/glaze. By themselves… ick.

food2 024 The idea of a cookie for breakfast is such a happy idea. Don’t you think so? I couldn’t even wait til breakfast to try one. It’s that quality control I always speak of. They passed. I’ll save the other 7 for breakfast. Tomorrow’s breakfast.

food2 026I picked a small one to try. Because it was 7 pm and not breakfast time. Long story short… if you hate peeling things, grating things, etc. make these. You won’t regret it. They are worth it. Even if more carrot ends up on your floor and in your hair and on your clothes than in your measuring cup.

Carrot Cake Breakfast Cookies

1 cup flour (I used 1/2 cup AP and 1/2 cup WW)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup natural applesauce (or 1/3 cup vegetable oil)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
1/2 cup oats, old fashioned
2/3 cup shredded or grated carrots
1/3 cup organic unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, thoroughly mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; set aside

In a large bowl, mix together the apple sauce, granulated sugar, dark brown sugar and vanilla. When well mixed, add the egg and beat for another 20-30 seconds. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and stir until flour is absorbed. Stir in oats, carrots, coconut and almonds.

Using a ¼ cup measure, scoop up big mounds of dough.

Place on ungreased or Silpat or parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake for 20 minutes.

Makes 8 big cookies

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sausage, Chickpea & Kale Pasta

Well, November brought with it my first nasty cold of the season. Literally. My birthday was Halloween and I woke up on Monday morning with a full-blown head cold. Luckily I had the day off anyway, though I had anticipated it involving activity rather than naps and tea. Though I am a coffee girl through and through, I did find a tea that I LOVE.

food2 002After days of tea and soup, naps and rest, I’m feeling much better. I was feeling so much better in fact, I welcomed the idea of dinner and a movie. And with Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage thawing, I knew what a portion of dinner would be. Then I stumbled upon this recipe. It sounded absolutely perfect; hearty, warm and a nice change from soup. (even though the pumpkin soup was super yummy!)

Sausage, Chickpea & Kale Pasta (adapted from Bitchin’ Camero)

food2 004 I started by removing the sausages from their casings. This was 8 links of sausage. When it was cooked through, I removed it from the heat and drained it. Set aside, I warmed my pan to medium-high heat. I also started my water to boil for the pasta. I then added about 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil and about 4 cloves minced garlic to warmed pan. Soon after I added back in the sausage and the chickpeas and cooked until they both started to brown (about 8-10) minutes. Meanwhile, I  Then in the pan went one can of fire roasted tomatoes (not drained) and about 6 cups chopped kale. Once the kale was mostly wilted, I added in the pasta (drained). I mixed everything together and kept stirring until the kale was wilted. I served it with grated parmesan on top.

food2 016 food2 010 Recipe (4-6 servings):

  • 1/2 box whole wheat pasta (I used penne)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 15 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 8 links Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage (removed from casings)
  • 1 15 oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups chopped kale (washed, stems removed)

Pecorino or Parmesan cheese for grating.