February 2010


Friday is here! And, surprisingly, the sun is shining in Boston. It’s going to be short-lived as the clouds and rain will come back later today but it’s sure nice to see the sun. Due to the rain storm last night, my gym lost power and of course I didn’t know it until I arrived at 6:30 am! I was forced to change my plans and run outside today but it was a nice break from the treadmill. I hadn’t run outside in months until today. Spring is on its way!

Anyway, I meant to post this yesterday but the day got away from me. On Wednesday, I mentioned a dinner party I was having with a little cooking club I’m a part of. This month’s theme was mediterranean food and we had quite the spread!

Our group went all out making pizza, stuffed grape leaves, moussaka, olive tapenade, barley salad, shrimp and feta pasta, gnocchi, homemade red sauce, rice, and Greek salad. Everything was delicious!

I did my part by making homemade hummus, which was super easy, and a spanakopita (or spinach pie). For the hummus, I followed a recipe from allrecipes.com (love that website!). I doubled the recipe which resulted in about 2.5 cups of hummus. If you have a blender or food processor, the hummus is so quick to throw together. (One tip: after draining the chick peas, I reserved the juice to help thin out the hummus when pureeing it. It worked out great.) I highly recommend this recipe.

The spanakopita recipe came from another favorite resource of mine, Cooking Light. This dish is typically made with spinach but this recipe called for swiss chard which is a heartier green. I really liked this recipe and it was also an easy one! One change I would make in the future is actually doubling the filling. I loved the flavor combination of swiss chard, feta and parmesan cheese and think the recipe would work even better with more of it. I’ll be making this again for sure.

What are your weekend plans? I am taking a cake decorating class tomorrow in Boston and also celebrating my friend Karen’s 30th birthday this weekend! Should be FUN!

Happy weekend!

How’s your week going? It’s been a busy one for me. I actually accepted a new job (!!!) so I’m working to transition everything from my current position. Lots to do! But it’s going to be a good change for me. 🙂 Now…let’s talk food.

I normally turn to carbs for breakfast. Cereal, toast, waffles, I love it all. It’s not that I don’t like eggs, I do, but I don’t crave them like I do carbs. Plus, eggs take a little longer to cook and I usually don’t have that time during the week. If you do have time to cook in the morning, I have a great oven scrambled eggs recipe for you.

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemakers Program, I was given the opportunity to try Eggland’s Best eggs for free. They actually gave us a coupon for a dozen eggs. I don’t know when the last time I bought a dozen eggs at a time was! I just don’t go through 12 eggs too fast. But now I have a reason to!

Eggland’s Best is focused on producing quality eggs and have strict standards for their business. Their hens are fed an all-natural, all-vegetarian diet. Eggland’s Best produces eggs of all sizes and offers cage-free and organic varieties. I like that.

I’m pretty basic when it comes to eggs. I like scrambled or fried eggs, omelets and egg salad. I also use eggs for yummy things like French toast (love those carbs!) and as toppings on salads.  Eggs are pretty versatile, no?

These scrambled eggs are super easy to prepare. You just scramble them up with a little milk and pop them in the oven. In 15 minutes, you have nice and fluffy scrambled eggs! Using the oven means you don’t need to watch the eggs on the stove top. It’s a nice change from the traditional method.

 Oven Scrambled Eggs

Servings: 1 (just double the recipe for two servings!)

Ingredients:

1 large egg (I used Eggland’s Best)

2 large egg whites (I used Eggland’s Best, just separated the yolks)

2 Tbsp. skim milk

Ground pepper, to taste

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 375*F. Spray small casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.

2. Combine, egg, egg whites, milk and pepper. Stir with a fork until well blended.

3. Pour egg mixture into the casserole dish. Bake for 10 minutes.

4. Remove dish from oven and break up eggs (scramble!). They will still be a bit wet.

5. Return egg dish to the over for another 5 minutes.

6. Add additional black pepper and enjoy!

These were delicious and a nice break from my normal weekday breakfast. Eggland’s Best eggs tasted great.

Are you a carb-craver like me when it comes to breakfast?

I’m having my cooking club over tonight for a Mediterranean feast. Be sure to check back for some yummy recipes tomorrow!

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I get my love of cooking and baking from the women in my family. For as long as I can remember, my mom, grandmothers, and aunts have been cooking delicious meals and baking from scratch. Since I’ve started this blog, I received more cookbooks and recipes than ever from my family and friends. They are funding my habit, I guess. 😉 

About every week or so, my grandmother sends me recipes she’s seen in magazines or newspapers that I might be interested in. It’s so nice of her and I’m grateful to have someone else on my “research” team. 

A few week’s ago, my grandmother sent me a recipe for Dorie Greenspan’s Peanut Butter Cookies that was printed in Parade magazine. Dorie Greenspan is a pretty famous baker and I’m a sucker for anything peanut butter so I baked these over the weekend. These are classic peanut butter cookies – soft in the middle anc crunchy on the outside. I can see myself making them again and again.

I followed the recipe are written except I didn’t chill the dough overnight but rather baked the cookies right away. What can I say, I’m impatient when it comes to baked goods.

Peanut Butter Cookies (from Dorie Greenspan)

Makes 60 cookies

Ingredients:

2.5 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 c. peanut butter (not natural)

3/4 c. sugar

3/4 c. packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

More sugar, for rolling

Preparation:

1. In one bowl, whisk together the flour, soda, powder, and salt. In another bowl, beat the butter, peanut butter and both sugars for 2 minutes. Gently blend in the dry ingredients.

2. Divide in half, wrap, and chill over night (I didn’t do this). Shape scant tablespoons of dough into balls, roll in sugar and place 2 inches apart on lined baking sheets. Press each with fork tines.

3. Bake at 350*F for 12 minutes, until cookies are golden. Transfer to cooling racks.

Chocolate Drizzle (optional but encouraged)

Because everything is better with chocolate, I had to incorporate it into this cookies. To do so, I melted about a 1/4 cup of Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips in the microwave (10 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until smooth). To the melted chocolate, I added about a teaspoon of corn syrup and stirred until the mixture was well blended. Using a fork, I drizzled the chocolate over the cookies and refrigerated them until the chocolate hardened (about 10 minutes). Delish!

On a side note, as I mentioned last week I saw the Valentine’s Day movie on Friday. It was cute! I enjoyed it and there were even a couple surprising scenes. I love a feel good movie, any day!

Happy Thursday, everyone! Even before writing this post I was thinking how obsessed my readers are going to think I am with yet another Ellie Krieger recipe. I know I need to switch it up but honestly, Ellie’s recipes are quick, healthy and tasty. What more can I ask for?

I’m going to get more creative, I swear. But, for now, Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta. And since Lent has just begun, this would be a great Friday recipe these next few weeks – if you follow Lent, that is. This dish was a hit!

This recipe comes from The Food You Crave and is a great weeknight meal. I bought all the ingredients ahead of time which included frozen shrimp from Trader Joe’s, canned diced tomatoes, feta cheese and fresh dill and parsley. I cooked the recipe as instructed, just incorporating a longer cooking time due to the frozen shrimp (vs. fresh).

I used one of my oven-proof Calphalon pans to cook the dish on the stovetop then in the oven. While cooking the shrimp, I boiled some whole grain pasta to complete the meal. All and all, it was easy to prepare and turned out great! I love the flavor combination of tomatoes and feta. The addition of shrimp created a restaurant-worthy meal (although probably a lot healthier).

This one’s a keeper!

We’re almost at the weekend! What are your plans? I am going to see Valentine’s Day Friday night, have you seen it? One of my favorite movies is Love Actually so I’m hoping it’s similar to that. I know, I’m probably dreaming!

Good morning! How is your week going? It feels nice that it’s already Wednesday. Even though I worked on Monday, the week is still moving along quickly.

I have a fun and easy recipe for you today. While I’m not participating in the Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe this week (due to my “fear” of tofu), I still have an Ellie recipe to share. The other night I actually fell into making Miso Glazed Cod (well, I used tilapia) and Sesame Stir-Fried Chinese Greens from Ellie’s first book, The Food You Crave.

I didn’t intend to make this recipe initially as I was actually searching for a recipe to mirror an awesome meal I had a few months ago. Back in the fall, my boss took my colleagues and I to Moonstones in Chelmsford, MA. I had been to Moonstones a few times before for lunch and was especially impressed by their burger. Surprising, right? Normally burgers don’t blow my socks off but the one at Moonstones was memorable (and it’s even served with shoestring fries! Bonus!).

For my work dinner, I ordered another memorable dish, an Asian-style halibut served with spicy bok choy and white rice. It was full of flavor and I just remember enjoying every bite! For a few months now, I’ve thought about trying my hand at a similar recipe. Over the weekend, I searched Google and the recipes from The Food You Crave came up.  I didn’t think to check my cookbooks first but I’m glad Google reminded me to. Ellie’s recipe was sure to be delicious and healthy!

I bought all of my ingredients at Whole Foods – baby bok choy, organic tilapia, miso paste and toasted sesame oil. I had never bought miso before so I didn’t really know what I was looking for – luckily, it was fairly easy to find. While I like to grocery shop, I don’t like wandering around cluelessly!

I don’t cook fish as much as I’d like to. I’m not sure why, actually, because fish has a lot of benefits. Healthwise, fish contains omega-3 fatty acids which can lower risk for heart disease. It’s also generally low in fat, low in calories and high in protein.  The American Heart Association suggests that we eat two servings of fish per week*. The FDA also recommends that pregnant women and children avoid fish known for the highest levels of mercury but consume 12 oz. per week of fish known for the lowest levels of mercury. Canned white tuna and shrimp are known to have low levels of mercury and both are pretty convenient to get your hands on.

This recipe was so quick to prepare! The fish cooked in less than 10 minutes and the bok choy took about the same time on the stovetop. A tasty and healthy dinner, ready in no time.

I have another seafood recipe for you tomorrow so come check back!

*http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4632

The weekend is so close, I can almost taste it. Do you have big Valentine’s Day plans this weekend? No romantic dinners for me this year. I am actually attending a Valentine’s-themed bar crawl on Saturday in Boston. It should be funnn!

Anyway, back to what really matters. Food. This week’s Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe was selected by Blair at Deliciously Golden and it was a good one. Marinated Flank Steak with Blue Cheese Sauce. I used to think chocolate made anything better then it was peanut butter, and now blue cheese. Blue cheese makes anything better. It’s just so sinful and tasty. Luckily Ellie’s recipes are healthy so didn’t over indulge on the blue cheese…besides taste testing the sauce, that is. 😉

I followed the recipe as written with just a few minimal changes. I halved the recipe to yield two servings (versus four) and replaced the radicchio with spinach. My local Stop ‘N Shop didn’t have radicchio. Weird? Is there a substitute? I didn’t know of one off hand when I was standing in front of the leafy greens. Instead of reaching for my Blackberry to do some research, I just grabbed an old favorite. Spinach. I love me some spinach so it worked. I really liked this recipe, it tasted gourmet-ish to me.

I even went the extra step and made a quesadilla the next night with my leftovers. I piled the steak, onions, spinach and blue cheese on a whole wheat tortilla and let it crisp up for about 5-7 minutes. Delish!

I’m weary of next week’s recipe for chocolate mousse. I’m not normally against anything chocolate but this chocolate mousse calls for tofu. I know I should be daring but I’m just not a tofu girl. Do you do tofu?

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When I was at work today, someone called me to see if I were snowed in and eating my last Ritz cracker in the dark. First of all, Boston hasn’t been hit with much snow (phew!) and secondly, I don’t think I’d EVER run out of food around here. Our cupboards are very well stocked. I guess I’m a closet foodie at work – some of my co-workers don’t know that I actually like to grocery shop.

I hope, where you are located, snow hasn’t come your way and you’re not eating your last cracker, either. If you need a snack tonight, I have a good one for you. 

Bread. I just love carbs and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Pasta, crackers, BREAD. While I tend to eat a lot of bread and pasta, I like to stick with the whole grains. I almost never buy white bread or pasta. I hope that doesn’t sound snobby.

When it comes to snack breads though, I consider it a treat. Pumpkin bread seems to be a staple food during the autumn. Cranberry bread reminds me of the holidays, and chocolate bread? Don’t even tempt me!

But there are plenty of ways to lighten these type of breads. I’ve made a healthy pumpkin chocolate chip loaf in the past and no one knew it was “lighter.” My Raspberry Pecan White Chocolate Loaf is another good example. It contains fruit, whole grains, egg whites and canola oil (instead of butter). It’s just sweet enough to be eaten for breakfast, as a snack or for dessert.

Raspberry Pecan White Chocolate Loaf

Makes one 9×3 inch loaf

Ingredients:

1 c. white flour

1 c. whole wheat flour

¾ c. brown sugar

1 ½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. Salt

2 egg whites

¾ c. Fresh orange juice

1 tsp. vanilla extract

½ c. Canola oil

1 c. frozen raspberries

½ cup chopped pecans, toasted (optional)

¼ c. white chocolate chips (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*.
  2. Spread pecans on single layer of a baking sheet and bake (toast) for 3-5 minutes. I did this in my toaster oven so I could make sure they didn’t burn.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Stir the flours, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt until well blended.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk eggs well. Add orange juice and vanilla extract to the eggs and mix well.
  5. Combine the wet and dry ingredients in the large bowl. Mix in oil and stir until combined.
  6. Add raspberries, nuts and chocolate to the batter. Stir until well combined.
  7. Spray 9×3 inch loaf pan with cooking spray
  8. Pour batter into the pan and spread evenly.
  9. Bake at 350* for 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into bread.
  10. Let cool before removing bread from pan and cutting.
  11. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite snack bread? I honestly can’t decide. This one is very good but I also love banana bread (with cream cheese) and pumpkin chocolate chip bread, too! Tough decisions, I tell you.

Have a good Wednesday night, everyone! I’m going to finish my Ritz crackers. Kidding.

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