Thursday, October 14, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
Plantains, black beans, sweet potato & kale - OH MY!
& the other is chocolate cake that is waiting at home for me!
Everyone dreams of chocolate cake now & then right?
This one at least is packed with a veggie boost added in there. One of my favorite parts of fall is pumpkins & I will try anything almost if you tell me it has pumpkin in it. When a friend mentioned that she tried a great recipe for cake that used pumpkin, I had to give it a shot. I am so glad I did. Now I feel a little less guilty having a slice knowing that I am getting something nutritious as well in each bite. Plus it adds a richness that hides the simplicity of the recipe.
Start with a standard box of devil's food cake mix.
Add in one can of pumpkin (the small can of pumpkin, not the big can of pumpkin pie stuff!) and one cup of water. Mix away & toss into a prepared pan or cupcake pans.
Use the box directions to determine the heat of the oven & how long you should leave it in, but be careful. The pumpkin will add some time. Use a toothpick to determine if it is ready or not. The toothpick shouldn't come out with a smear of wet batter on it when inserted in the middle. The texture of this cake is more fudgy than typical but you want fudge not soup.
Allow it to cool & then dive in!
I opted for just the cake itself, but I'm sure a good dusting of powdered sugar or icing layer would be splendid as well. Still I wasn't going to add on calories I didn't need. When something is good, it doesn't need extra to make it work. Then again sometimes by adding a dash of pizazz you can make a star go from shine to sparkle!
(They also blog & you can check them out here & here...good stuff! She is GlutenFree & he is working on a project to get school based health centers.)
Before the wedding I explored a Trader Joes & noticed a place call Evos. I had never heard of the place but by the time I left I was chatting with the owner & begging him to open one in Wilmington! Basically its a fast food chain that does things a bit differently - for the better. The food is incredible. The packaging is recycled/recyclable & they offset their energy cost with renewable energy. Sustainable & no deep fried anything! LOVE IT.
Only thing I didn't like is that the food is so good, you WILL crave it later & living a few hours away can be an issue. :) I am STILL craving that Spicy Thai Chicken Wrap!
The wrap's description "All natural chicken breast, hormone-free, spicy peanut & chili pepper dressing, long grain rice, organic field greens, crispy rice noodles, spinach herb wrap" makes my mouth water!
So what better to try to recreate?
I found a recipe from Rachel Ray for Thai Chicken Wraps. Seemed like a great place to start!
Didn't have the crispy rice noodles or rice, but also sounded great.
I decided to skip a few steps & grab a bottle of spicy thai peanut sauce. As I have said before, sometimes I see recipes as suggestions more than step by steps. This is the case for this one.
Begin by warming the grill pan & preparing the chicken. I live alone so I used a 3 pack of boneless chicken breast. I froze one for later, grilled one for later & used one for the recipe - which was enough for 3 wraps.
I chopped the chicken breast up to help it cook faster, then tossed it in a steak grill rub, a couple of splashes of soy sauce & cooking oil. Then tossed it on the grill to get its nice tan going.
While it was browning up, I washed and chopped up some veggies.
I went for cucumber, red pepper, carrots & basil. Thinking almost any vegetable would be good with this! Also thinking I ate a lot of those mini carrots trying to get the parrots to try them. I swear I have the strangest birds. Most others would go for carrots, mine - not happening.
After the chicken finished up its thing & was fully cooked, I chopped it up into bite sized pieces. Then I tossed the chicken & the chopped veggies with the spicy thai sauce.
Starting to look yummy!
Next I got out whole wheat tortillas & topped it with a bit of baby lettuce. I added the chicken, veggie mixture.
Thought I had made enough for dinner & lunch, but turns out that was WAY too much for one wrap! So ended up being two wraps & then another to take to the office!
So I ate one with a side of baked apples for dinner...
& ate one at work, with some more sliced veggies & left over baked apples! :D Guess living solo is going to make this a bit easier due to the leftovers. But still an adventure. I actually think the one for lunch was even better. Might be due to the fact that I loved it the night before & was ready for another serving or could be contributed to everything having more time to mingle together. Either way this is certainly a keeper of a recipe!
What too make next....
So one of the things I decided I wanted to get back into was blogging. I miss the chance to express my random thoughts & like being able to look back on them later.
A second thing I wanted to work on is my eating habits. This past year has been a mess eating wise. I had to basically rely on anything that didn't require cooking beyond a microwave or something that could easily be lifted with one hand only. Due to several surgeries & gaining back use of one of my hands, cooking just seemed like too much. In crept the fast food diet (& the bills & pounds that go along with it!). Convenience was just too tempting.
Now that I am using both hands much better, quick & easy doesn't have to go by the way side but I miss the flavors of freshly made, home prepared meals. I want to have it my way by DOING it my way.
Working away from home in an office presents its own set of challenges in eating. Stepping out for lunch isn't an option due to the nature of my job & the benefit of being able to bring my side kick Baxter to work with me each day. So lunch has become less than something to look forward to most of the time.
Why not challenge myself to healthier lunches... & blog about it?
Sure there are plenty of blogs out there about recipes, health, food, etc. but as is the way for many things in life, there is always room for one more - if its good!
Look for new post coming soon & if you have a recipe, blog or website you think would help me in my quest for better lunches for one leave me a comment with the link. :)
Tomorrow begins the journey....
Monday, September 14, 2009
This weekend I got some craving for a favorite meal & it was perfect since it was just too hot to cook since the AC went out (AGAIN!).
So I got the ingredients & when I woke up Sunday I started the dish.
You will need a pound (or more if you want more, this one is easy to play around with servings) of cubes of beef. Not CUBED BEEF but actual chunks of beef around 1 to 2 inches.
Also you need a packet of onion soup mix and a can of cream of something soup (take your pick I have tried them all & all are good).
Finally you need red wine. This is a good way to get rid of any cheap stuff you have been given as a gift or leftovers from the night before (do people have those?).
Plop the beef into the slow cooker, add the soup & soup mixes & pour on the wine. I used to think I needed to add a can full of wine, but I just add as much as covers the meat. This is the liquid it will be cooking in. YES this is going to make it taste LOVELY! Stir it all up well. Then turn the cooker on.
This will take around 6 hours depending on the size of the beef cubes & if you put it on high or low. Typically I will start on high then turn it down to low for the last few hours. If I make this on a workday, I just turn it to low & then 8 hours later I am greeted at the door by the smell of it beckoning me inside letting me know it is ready to eat. You will know its ready when the beef is easily smashed. It will basically fall apart.
NOW here is where I made my mistake. I forgot to check to see that I had rice in the house!
Typically I serve this over rice & the juice is a gravy to go along with the beef. I sprinkle a dash of fresh grounded pepper on mine, but its your bowl, your choice!
This time I tried it with spaghetti pasta since it was the only pasta in the house (& I was having a lazy, not about to get dressed & go to the store for rice kind of day!).
I had my doubts, but it was great!
Thursday, September 3, 2009
By this I mean I can now get a Pumpkin Spice Latte with no problems. This makes me one happy girl! (& that is an understatement!)
I also have discovered that I can make them at home, perhaps.
Thanks to fellow blogger at a Year of Slow Cooking, for providing a recipe for this deliciously decadent divine piece of fall!
I plan on trying these this weekend with my parents!
2 cups milk (I used 1%)
2 T canned pumpkin
2 T white sugar
2 T vanilla (not a typo. it asks for tablespoons)
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice OR 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp cloves, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, and a teeny tiny pinch of ground ginger
1/2 cup brewed espresso or 3/4 cup strong brewed coffee
garnish with whipped cream (optional) (SHE SAYS OPTIONAL, I say go for it!!!)
This will make enough for 2 people to have a big mug with a bit leftover. If you are having friends over, adjust the recipe accordingly. I used a 4-quart crockpot, but as small as a 1.5 quart will work with these amounts.
Add the coffee/espresso and milk to the crockpot. Whisk in the pumpkin, spices, sugar, and vanilla.
Cover and cook on high for 2 hours if everything is cold. Whisk again.
Ladle into mugs, and garnish with whipped cream and additional cinnamon. I added a cinnamon stick to be fancy.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Tonight I ventured back into balsamic territory.
With a recipe found at Blisstree.com for Balsamic Chicken Pasta Salad.
The picture alone had me drooling, so I sent it to a fellow foodie who made it & published her pictures on her blog, which made me crave it EVEN more! Lady gluten may hate you, but my stomach loves the encouragement!!! Seriously the asparagus addition, great call!
So here is my version of Balsamic Chicken Pasta Salad!
3 cups uncooked bowtie pasta
2 cups cooked, cubed chicken breast
1 10oz. container grape tomatoes, roasted lightly in oven under the broiler
handful of fresh brussel sprouts, sliced thin & roasted lightly
4 oz Gorgonzola cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup minced fresh basil (or a handful as I call it!)
1/4 cup fresh spinach (again I like to just grab a bunch & rip it up a little)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tb brown sugar
1 tsp chopped garlic (I minced 4 cloves)
1/4 tsp garlic salt (dash to taste)
1/4 tsp pepper (dash to taste)
grated Parmesan cheese (tried a blend of asiago, parmesan and mozzarella)
Cook pasta, drain then rinse with cold water. In a large bowl, & I mean a big one!, combine the pasta, chicken, sprouts, tomatoes, and Gorgonzola cheese.