October 21, 2014

More to Come!

The last time I posted, my daughter was a little over a year. Now, at two and a half - she's independent enough where I can devote some time to my love of food, writing and photography.

Thank you for your patience while I get myself back in to the swing of things.

May 27, 2013

Morning Power Muffin

It's been a year and a half since I last posted. A lot has happened in that time, including my husband and I welcoming our beautiful daughter, Eliana. I also regretfully have not had the same inspiration since not many people were reading the blog - I sort of felt bored of writing just for me.

Now that my daughter is 13 months old and I have recently committed to eating healthy and working out, I have a new drive for blogging again. I am always looking for healthier breakfast foods and I came across a unique muffin here: http://www.nwedible.com/2011/06/oh-what-glorious-morning-muffin.html 

I love that it has zucchini and carrot in it - which makes me feel good about it. I added protein powder to my muffin to give it that "power" for the mornings but you can certainly leave it out. The raw millet is my favorite part. It's what gives this muffin its uniqueness and addicting crunchiness. For those of you who may not be familiar with millet, it is a grain that has a sweet, nutty flavor. It is also gluten free, high in fiber and rich in B vitamins. 

I use apple sauce in place of oil and it does a wonderful job at keeping it moist. The spices make it taste like you are indulging in a decadent carrot cake but this muffin is only 140 calories per serving!! (information via myfitnesspal.com see below)

Here is my version:

Morning Power Muffin
Serves 30

Dry Ingredients:
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 scoop gaspari myofusion protein powder - vanilla1 cup millet, raw1 tablespoon baking soda1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/8 tablespoon cloves

pinch salt

Wet Ingredients:
3 medium eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup applesauce

The Chunky Stuff:
2 cups shredded carrot
2 cups shredded zuchinni (squeezed gently)
1 cup mixed raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and fill 30 muffin tins with cupcake liners. No spray is needed.
2. Whisk together all the dry ingredients in a very large bowl. Set aside.
3. Whisk together all of the wet ingredients in a medium bowl. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture       and stir to just combine. Add in all the chunky stuff. (experiment here) 
4. Bake muffins in the preheated oven for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the muffin   
    comes out clean. Enjoy!

January 16, 2012

Vegetarian Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce


Despite the name, these are a great light snack that you can eat at any time of year. They can be filled with almost anything but I chose to just add vegetables. Forming the rolls takes some finesse, but with practice - you will be making tons of rolls ahead of time ( a day at most) and slicing them when you're ready for a nutritious snack.

The peanut sauce is a nice addition which adds a punch of flavor. As someone who doesn't really use recipes - I only started with this one as a base to get it going. I then added a little more of this and a little of that to get it to my liking. You should do the same.

Peanut Sauce
1/2 cup natural-style creamy peanut butter (I had chunky and just pureed it)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce (I didn't have any so I just added some more of the other ingredients)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 small garlic clove, mashed to a paste
1 teaspoon chile-garlic paste (Also didn't have this so I just added red chili flakes)
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
Juice of 1 lime (didn't have, so I used a lemon and rice vinegar)
1/4 cup water
Salt to taste

Mix all ingredients together to your liking. Add more water if necessary to thin out the sauce. Keep in mind it tastes different on its own than it does with the rolls, so if you make the sauce ahead of time (which you should) taste it with a piece of lettuce or something instead of on the spoon.

Vegetarian Summer Rolls
Spring/Summer roll wrappers - Rice paper
Bean thread noodles (mung bean or glass noodles)
Lettuce leaves (romaine, bibb, iceberg)
Cucumbers - sliced into strips (julienne)
Red cabbage - shredded
Green apple - sliced into strips (julienne)

With the bean thread noodles, you need to soak them in warm water for about 10 -15 minutes. Because they are so thin - you don't really cook them but rather reconstitute them in the water. Meanwhile, prep your vegetables and have another bowl of warm water nearby. Once ready, align all your ingredients and place one of the wrappers in the water until it becomes pliable - 15 to 20 seconds.

Next, lay it down on your work surface and add all your ingredients on the wrapper. Fold the bottom of the wrapper over the filling, fold in the sides totally covering the filling and then fold the wrapper upwards to form a neat roll shape. Depending on your ingredients - you could deep fry it at this point but this is the fresh, raw version.

You can slice it into smaller, bite size pieces like sushi - in which case you need a very sharp knife and I would wet the blade with some water; or you can also just slice it in half. Either way, when served with the peanut sauce, it is delicious and refreshing.

December 11, 2011

Pine Nut (Pignoli) Cookies

Pine nuts are the edible seeds from pine trees. Though typically known for their unmistakable flavor in pesto, they go very well with a myriad of dishes.They have a delicious creamy and buttery flavor which is highlighted even more when they are gently toasted. It is no wonder that they go perfectly in this light, buttery cookie which has a wonderful anise (licorice)  flavor from its fennel seeds. They are sliced thin and are baked to an addictive crunch. If you like biscotti, you will certainly enjoy these pine nut cookies which pair well with coffee or tea.

When I thought to make these very different - but very delicious cookies, I knew to order the pine nuts from OH NUTS! They are my favorite online store for nuts, seeds, dried fruit and even gift baskets. I love that they give me reviews, nutrition information and a detailed explanation on the product I am interested in purchasing.

1 stick unsalted buttter (room temperature)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup pine nuts

-In a bowl, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, fennel seeds and salt in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Add the flour and mix just until blended.
-Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap. Shape the dough into a log. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours.
-Preheat the oven to 350F. Cut the dough log crosswise into 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick slices. Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets, spacing evenly apart. Press the pine nuts into the cookies. Bake until the cookies are golden around the edges, about 15 minutes.

December 1, 2011

Not Overly Sweet Pecan Pie

I don't understand why someone would go through the trouble of making their own pie dough when you can find a perfectly good one ready to go? Maybe I say this because I am not much into baking. When it comes to cooking however, I rather do most things from scratch. Either way you go, here's a great recipe that makes an easy (and not so super sweet) pecan pie.

Yes - I use store bought dough. I ordered my pecans from my favorite online store OH NUTS! because I love that they package everything in a resealable bag and I get my order rather quickly. Their website gives me all the nutritional information I need and did I mention, they have way more than nuts? Dried fruit, candies, chocolate and even gift baskets. I urge you to visit their site for the upcoming holidays. You won't be disappointed.

1 9-inch pie shell
1 3/4 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp melted butter
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line your pie plate with your dough and crimp the edges with whichever style you like. Spread the pecans on the bottom. 
In a small bowl, mix all other ingredients together and pour over pecans. They should float to the top. Place on a sheet pan or cookie sheet to make it easier to take in and out of the oven. Bake the pie for approximately 45 minutes. 20 minutes into it, the crust should be golden. At that point - use foil to cover the sides of the crust to prevent burning.

Allow the pie to cool for a little while and then place in the fridge so it can set. It tastes great alone or with vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

November 18, 2011

Homemade Chicken & Broccoli

The reason I really like this meal is because it's an easy weeknight meal, and by making it homemade - it is fully customizable (no MSG, extra broccoli...etc) I look at ginger, garlic and scallion as the "mirepoix" of Asian cookery. Mirepoix just means a flavor base - usually onions, carrots and celery, but can vary widely depending on the cuisine. Here, the flavor base will perfume your kitchen with the smell of a wok.

This is an adaptaion of the food network's recipe.

1.5 pound chicken breast
  • 4 scallions, whites for marinade - green for garnish
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 inches of ginger, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons of light soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons of honey
  • 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 Tablespoons of sherry wine
  • 2 Tablespoons of toasted sesame oil
  • 2 heads of broccoli, florets only
  • Red chili flakes, to taste
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of hoisin sauce
Tip: slice your chicken in strips first and then on the bias (on an angle). I find that slicing them this way instead of cubing is better for browning the chicken and also helps keep them moist and tender!
  1. Slice chicken and season lightly with salt. In a bowl, mix all ingredients except hoisin, broccoli and chili flakes. Pour this marinade over chicken and allow to soak for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook your Jasmine rice. Heat a skillet with oil and saute broccoli with chili flakes until bright green - then remove and reserve. (Add a little water if necessary to prevent burning)
  3. Get the skillet hot again and add the chicken and allow to brown on all sides and to cook through. Add hoisin sauce, return broccoli to pan and heat through.
  4. Garnish jasmine rice with scallion greens and serve with chicken and broccoli.

October 18, 2011

Split Pea Soup

It has been a while since I wrote last. I am back with some news.....my husband and I are expecting our first baby in April 2012! We are very excited. Perhaps through all the changes going on, I needed a break from blogging.

I figured that soup was a good comeback for early fall. This is a vegetarian version and it is really simple and delicious for lunch or light dinner.
1 pound split peas
1 large onion, diced
3 celery ribs, diced
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tbsp lemon zest ( from one lemon)
1 tsp Hungarian paprika
1 tsp nutmeg
salt & pepper to taste
1.5 quarts water

-Sweat the vegetables until soft and add the split peas and spices.
-Cover with water and bring to a boil, then simmer until peas are soft.
-Once soft, puree using a hand blender and add zest and check for seasoning.
-Serve with paprika and a little drizzle of olive oil.