Category Archives: Recipes

Balsamic Portabella and Red Pepper Wrap

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This portabella and red pepper wrap is inspired by a wrap that I got at a nearby bar & grill.  The only difference is that they use roasted red peppers, plain goat cheese, and garlic mayo.  My version doesn’t taste exactly like theirs, I’m assuming due to the garlic mayo, but I decided I could do without it.  I’ve made this several times now and it makes for a great lunch at work.

You want to start with a large portabella cap and a small red bell pepper.  In my case, this is the opposite, because it’s what I had to work with.  And make it work I did.

The other star of the show is Trader Joe’s goat cheese with kalamata olives.  Has anyone else tried this yet?  It’s delicious in all of its salty and creamy goodness.

Balsamic Portabella and Red Pepper Wrap

  • balsamic vinegar
  • goat cheese
  • 1 large portabella mushroom cap, cut into strips
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • spinach
  • 1 large wrap

1.  Pour about 3 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar in a nonstick pan.  Add the bell pepper and cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat.  I like to cook the bell pepper first because they take longer to cook than the mushrooms.

2.  Add the mushrooms, garlic, and about 3 Tablespoons more of balsamic vinegar.  Cook for about 10 minutes more, or until the vinegar has cooked out of the pan.

3.  Spread as much goat cheese as you like on the wrap, add a handful of spinach, the mushrooms and peppers, and then wrap it up.  The key to wrapping without it falling apart is to use the extra large wraps!

Happy Noms!

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Baileys Irish Cream Brownies

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Valentine’s Day can be overrated, however, it is a great excuse to make something sweet!  I firmly believe you should make these for your honey this Valentine’s Day.  I’m sure he would love you for it; Vee loves these things.

Baileys Irish Cream Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup Baileys Irish Cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 cup all purpose flour

1.  Mix the butter, brown sugar, Baileys, and salt until well blended.

2. Add the egg and mix until well blended.

3. Add the cocoa powder and mix until well blended.

4. Add the flour and mix until just blended.  * The batter will be insanely thick!

5.  Pour into a greased or lined 8×8 baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

These brownies are fudgy, a little chewy, and you are guaranteed to go into a sugar coma.

HAPPY Vee-DAY

Charlie says to exercise after you eat them, okay?

Whole Grain Chocolate Chip Cookies

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My absolute favorite cookie to get at Earth Fare is the Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie.  I love the sweetness and texture of these cookies.  It’s a little crumbly, dense, chewy, and super filling.  I decided to take a photo of the ingredients listed and see if I could create a copy cat version at home.

Look Ma! No eggs!

Although I do love eggs, these cookies don’t require them.  I used agave nectar instead of maple syrup and I used Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips.  I think a more appropriate name for them would be whole grain chocolate chip cookies.

Whole Grain Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup almond meal/flour  (you can find it at Trader joe’s or ground some almonds in your food processor)
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut – I used sweetened shredded coconut. (To toast – spread evenly on a baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 min or until light brown.)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

1.  Combine the dry ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup almond meal/flour  (you can find it at Trader joe’s or ground some almonds in your food processor)
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut – I used sweetened shredded coconut. (To toast – spread evenly on a baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 min or until light brown.)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Mix until all ingredients are well dispersed.

2.  Add:

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil

Mix until the dry ingredients are all wet.

3.  Fold in the chips.

* The mixture will not be sticky like regular dough and you will not be able to mold the cookies by hand.

4.  Take a 1/3 of a cup measuring cup and fill it with the mixture; pressing and packing the mixture into the cup.  Lightly tap the mixture onto a lined baking sheet.

5.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  *The cookies will not rise or spread.

Makes 10 cookies.

I’m really proud with the way these cookies turned out and they taste very similar to Earth Fare’s version.  I thought these cookies seemed pretty healthy, but don’t be fooled.

1 cookie =

  • 354 calories
  • 16 grams of fat
  • 8 grams of protein
  • 17 grams of sugar

I suppose it’s still better than a regular cookie made with butter and white flour.  And using agave is better than white sugar since it has a low glycemic index.  You could use unsweetened coconut and use 1/4 cup of chocolate chips chopped to make them a little healthier.  Although really, the point of this was not to make healthy cookie, but a delicious sweet treat.  Mission accomplished.

Weekdays Made Easy

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The freezer is a wonderful invention.  It makes my weekdays a whole lot easier.  I rarely have time to “assemble” my lunch before work, and I would rather not go out to eat because it takes up too much time, money, and calories.  I make it easy on myself by taking one day on the weekend or a weeknight to prepare most of my meals for the work-week.

I did some major cooking and baking on MLK Day since I had the day off from work!  I decided to make winter veggie burritos and used Jenna’s method for slow cooker black beans.

 Winter Veggie Burritos

  • black beans (canned or slow cooker style)
  • cheese
  • roasted sweet potatoes
  • steamed kale
  • super sweet corn
  • salsa

Roll all of the ingredients up in a tortilla.  During the summer I use zucchini and yellow squash in place of the sweet potatoes and kale.

Once you’re done rolling, you can wrap them individually in foil and place them in a bag in the freezer.

I ran out of tortillas, so I used brown rice instead.  Brown rice freezes nicely; you just cook it, let it cool, and then it’s ready to go in the freezer.

You can take them out the night before to thaw, or you can take it out in the morning and put it in an insulated lunch bag.  Mine is still frozen 4 hours later, without refrigeration.  It usually takes about 3-4 minutes to warm in the microwave.

Lunch is not the only thing you can prepare ahead of time.  I made blueberry muffins for my breakfast all last week.  The recipe comes from The Cupcake Calendar that my sister-in-law gave me (Thanks Ellen!).  It’s a neat little daily calendar that has a cupcake/muffin recipe for everyday.

I left six out for Vee and I to eat over the next couple of days and wrapped the rest individually in foil and put them in the freezer.  Just unwrap and nuke the muffin for 30-45 seconds in the microwave and you’re good to go.

Snacks can be frozen too!  I made hummus and put it in small freezer safe containers that hold about two servings each.  You can put the container in the fridge overnight to thaw.  Assuming that you freeze it right away, it will last two days in the fridge.

All in the name of time. Amen.

Do you any have meal-time saving tips?

Miso Soup

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I always thought miso soup was a Japanese soup that is made from a blend of spices. Well, the Dr. Oz Show proved me wrong! It is actually a paste that is produced by fermented soybeans. This was a shocking and exciting revelation to me. I began scouring the internet to figure out where I could buy it and what the benefits were.

  • Miso paste may decrease cholesterol and prevent cancer.
  • It contains living enzymes that aid in healthy digestion, but it is important to never boil the paste, as it will kill the beneficial living enzymes.
  • Contains significant amounts of zinc, manganese, and copper.

I found it at Earth Fare in the refrigerated section.

Miso paste can be made from rice, barley, and chickpeas also. The paste can range in color from light to dark. The lighter the color, the more mellow it will taste while the dark paste will have a more intense flavor.

To make miso soup, boil some water with your choice of vegetables and tofu. Some choices could include:

  • mushrooms
  • carrots
  • wakame
  • scallions
  • cabbage

Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.

Add 2 teaspoons of miso paste to your bowl and stir until dissolved.

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins

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Who would ever think that these green veggie things would make such a wonderful dessert?

zucchini from Barbee Farms

My go to recipe is from The Better Homes and Garden Cookbook.  The recipe is actually for zucchini bread, but they make great muffins too.

I only change a few things from the original recipe.  I use half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat, and I use raw cane sugar instead of white sugar.  The raw cane sugar gives the tops of the muffins a bit of a crunch, while the inside is still soft.  I’ve used raw cane sugar in brownies and they didn’t turn out so well.  They tasted gritty, but it seems to work for these muffins.  I also replace the nuts with semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins (adapted from the The Better Homes and Garden Cookbook)

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup raw cane sugar
  • 1 cup finely shredded,  peeled zucchini
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a muffin pan with 12 muffin liners and spray with a non-stick cooking spray.

2. Mix together in a large bowl:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3. In a separate medium-sized bowl, mix together:
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup raw cane sugar
  • 1 cup finely shredded,  peeled zucchini
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
4. Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture.  Stir until just mixed (do not over mix).  The batter will be lumpy and that’s OK.  Fold in chips.
5. Fill cups 2/3 of the way full.  Bake 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
The best way to eat zucchini in my opinion.

Vegged Out

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I think a more appropriate name for this blog would be “Veggie Queen.”

I managed to cook turnips, yellow squash, butternut squash, and bok choy tonight from my Barbee Farms CSA.

I’m not really familiar with cooking turnips, but I have had them raw.  They’re OK.  I figured I couldn’t go wrong with roasting.

To Roast Veggies:

  1. Peel the butternut squash and turnips.
  2. Chop the butternut squash and turnips, along with the yellow squash.  
  3. Toss them with olive oil in a bag to coat, and spread them on a non-stick coated baking sheet.  
  4. Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, and Garlic Gold and bake at 425 degrees for 30  minutes.

In the meantime, I prepared the  bok choy.

Bok Choy

  1. Wash and chop one head of bok choy.
  2. Pour about 3 Tablespoons of soy sauce in a non-stick pan, and cook the white part of the bok choy for about 5 minutes on medium heat (since they take longer to soften).
  3. Add the rest of the bok choy and cook until the leaves are just wilted.
  4. Take off the heat and drizzle a little bit of toasted sesame oil and sprinkle with red pepper.
So, the yellow squash turned out beautifully.  It melts in your mouth and the Garlic Gold gives it a slight crunch.  The turnips were a little bitter and firmer.  Maybe they needed to cook longer…I don’t think I’m a fan.  Maybe I just don’t know the best way to cook them.
The bok choy was awesome.  I can’t believe it cooked down so much.  To give you perspective, what is on my plate is the whole head of bok choy (with the exception of a few stems).  This is probably about a cup of bok choy.
I made soup with the roasted butternut squash.

Butternut Squash Soup

serves  4

Ingredients

  • 2 small butternut squash – peeled, chopped and roasted.
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 Tablespoons of butter or Earth Balance
  • 2 Tablespoons of 100% pure maple syrup
  • 32 ounces of chicken or vegetable broth, or Trader Joe’s butternut squash soup.
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 – 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup of corn, frozen or fresh
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 dashes of nutmeg
  • pinch of white pepper to season
  1. Saute the onion with the butter for 5 minutes over medium heat.
  2. Add the maple syrup to the onion and cook an additional 5 minutes on low heat.
  3. Add the black beans, corn, roasted butternut squash, and seasonings.
  4. Add the broth and water and turn to medium heat.
  5. Wait for the soup to come to a boil and then turn heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
I ate one bowl and then froze the rest in freezer safe containers, so that I can take them to work for lunch next week.
I promise something sweet tomorrow!