Despite the variety of pumpkin dishes that I have made, some recently, I am actually not that big a fan of pumpkin. Josh is. There is, however, one pumpkin thing that I adore: the seeds. In fact, ever since I was a little kid, one of my favorite things about Halloween was carving my pumpkin and roasting the seeds. We did it every year, even after I got too told to trick-or-treat, and it’s a tradition I carry on now. I mean, sure I could do this anytime of year just by buying some raw pumpkin seeds from the store but that’s not nearly as fun. I mean, if you’re going to carve pumpkins for Halloween anyway, why let all those delicious seedy innards go to waste? No, no, that’s precious currency right there. However, it has come to my attention–namely through my husband Josh, who, before meeting me, had never roasted pumpkin seeds before–that there are actually people in the world that have never roasted pumpkin seeds before. And this sort of injustice cannot stand. How can I just ignore the sad, desperate pleas echoing out of the darkness from those who’ve never experienced the crunchy, salty, buttery goodness of a freshly roasted bowl of pepitos? Continue reading
So an apricot walks into a bar. Which would be funny if it weren’t so terribly sad, seeing that alcoholism runs rampant in the apricot population. It’s an epidemic. You can do your part to help quell this senseless march towards destruction by donating your dried apricots to a nobel cause: baked goods.
I love dates. I don’t get them often but they’re always nice. Oh, and the fruit too. The fruit is good. And I like to make date bars. Delicious, sweet, chewy. However, today I had a bag of dried apricots I purchased awhile ago and I figured, why not substitute them in place of dates in the bar recipe?
So I did. These bars are extremely easy to make, and fairly quick too. They’re also sweet, chewy and utterly delicious, with a nice crunchy crust. Oh, and alcohol free. Continue reading
I tried to think of a witty headline for this one but failed. Sorry.
I wanted to make Josh something for dessert. Josh loves bananas. I considered doing another batch of roasted banana bars but wanted something new. And simple. And easy. And cakey. And Josh loves cupcakes. So…well, that was that. However instead of putting the banana in the cupcake, I thought I’d try putting it into the frosting instead.
Because that works, right? Continue reading
This is going to be a short post.
I just had to share it with you.
First, a layer of French vanilla ice cream.
Then some pomegranate glaze (leftover from cheesecake!).
Then more ice cream.
Then a heaping spoonful of chocolate sauce (I use melted chocolate plus a bit of milk).
More ice cream.
Then pomegranate and chocolate together.
Sprinkle with nuts.
Stare at it.
So I continued my Adventures in Pomegranates tonight, using up more of the juice shipment I got from Pom Wonderful.
As you might recall, the last time we saw our intrepid heroine (uh, me), she had just conquered pomegranate molasses and used said molasses in creating homemade pomegranate barbecue sauce. Now join us for the next installment of this thrilling storyline as our heroine strives to harness the power of the pomegranate for good, or for awesome.
Speaking of awesome, cheesecake. Cheesecake. Yeah.
I wanted to create a dessert with the pomegranate juice and while the idea of converting my current strawberry tiramisu recipe into a pomegranate one was bandied about, I instead decided to make a pomegranate glaze. And the perfect conveyance for that glaze? Cheesecake. Delicious, delicious citrus cheesecake.
Now, granted, it didn’t come out quite the way I intended much at all, the cake part anyway, but that was mostly due to my own tiredness and inattention. Having made the cheesecake before though, I can indeed vouch that the flavors are fantastic. The citrus and vanilla really come through, and that pairs well with the sweetness of the pomegranate. A bit of unsweetened whipped cream could pull it all together nicely. Continue reading
I got a delicious shipment in the mail this past week: a case of Pom Wonderful pomegranate juice, from the Pom people themselves. My challenge? Use the eight little bottles of liquid pomegranate to come up with something interesting and delicious.
I found this fascinating, as did my friends, many of whom love pomegranate. Myself, I’d never really experimented with it. I once purchased a pomegranate to try out, messily cutting it open and excavating the seeds (arils), which I found delicious but then never bought another one. Still, the fruit somewhat intrigued me, as do most fruits from south Asia. Plus, they just look so funky. I’m a sucker for those swanky design spreads where hip decorators have created oh-so-chic-but-simple accents with giant hurricane vases full of fresh pomegranates. Sure I could never do that because my dog would probably think, “Wow! Balls!” but that’s not the point.
What is the point?
Barbecue. Barbecue is always the point.
At least, it was one of the first things that came to mind when I thought, “Gee, what can I do with 64 ounces of pomegranate juice? Barbecue!” That particular eureka was followed up with “Cheesecake!” which was a suggestion from a friend during dinner out the other night. Then another idea: add it to your granola bar recipe. Mix it with Greek yogurt and marinate chicken. And oh…imagine the drinks.
Well, the cheesecake, granola bar and chicken kabob recipes will be coming later. Today we’ll just stick with simple additions you can add to many meals. Continue reading
In honor of Josh’s birthday on Monday, I made pies. Little tiny pies. Our family is having a birthday lunch for him today and I asked him if he wanted a cake, cupcakes or miniature pies and he went for the miniature pies. Because let’s face it–everything is cuter when it’s tiny.
Now, I have to give credit for this to bake-tastic blogger Bakerella, whose Easy as Pie post gave me the idea and made me think, “Hey I could do that.” Normally, the thought “Hey I can do that” combined with actual baking is a dangerous, dangerous thing that just leaves my kitchen covered in flour and me swearing that I will never bake again and stick to what I do best, which is…well, as yet undiscovered, but will most likely be something covered in barbecue sauce. Continue reading
So this post is a shout out to Jill, of U-M’s Family Medicine Dept., who very sweetly gave me a book on cookies. No, no, the book on cookies. Better Homes and Gardens’ Ultimate Cookie book to be precise. 500 cookie recipes. Five. Hundred. Cookie. Recipes. Right now at this very moment, Cookie Monster himself is attempting to break down my front door. (“Cookies are a sometimes food” my butt).
So as a thank-you to Jill, I decided to (have Josh) pick a good looking recipe out of the book and make it, so that Josh could bring it in and Jill et. al could enjoy the deliciousness of the gift. And because thank-you notes are better dipped in chocolate and banana. Continue reading
So this lemon walks into a bar.
Bartender looks him over, thinks about it, says,
“You know, I like you. You got a lot of a peel.”
What do you call a benefit concert for sick lemons?
The local bar was so sure that its bartender was the strongest man around that they offered a standing $1000 bet: The bartender would squeeze a lemon until all the juice ran into a glass, and hand the lemon to a patron. Anyone who could squeeze one more drop of juice out would win the money. Many people had tried over time (professional wrestlers, longshoremen, etc.), but nobody could do it. One day this scrawny little man came in, wearing thick glasses and a polyester suit, and said in a tiny, squeaky voice, “I’d like to try the bet.” After the laughter had died down, the bartender agreed, grabbed a lemon, and squeezed away. Then he handed the dried, wrinkled remains of the rind to the little man. But the crowd’s laughter turned to total silence as the man clenched his fist around the lemon and SIX drops fell into the glass. As the crowd cheered, the bartender paid the $1000, and asked the little man, “What do you do for a living? Are you a lumberjack, a weight lifter, or what?” The man replied, “I work for the IRS.”
These were pretty quick to make and fabulously easy, which I appreciate. They were also very light and fluffy and soft, partially because I only had about half the granulated sugar I needed for the recipe, so I substituted powdered sugar for the other half (1 3/4 c. packed powdered sugar per 1 cup of granulated sugar needed). If you want a crispier cookie, use just the granulated sugar that the recipe calls for.
These cookies are like lemony clouds of deliciousness, if deliciousness were a cloud….wait, that doesn’t make any sense. Not that it’s ever stopped me before. Continue reading
I’ve said before that despite evidence to the contrary, I don’t really like to bake. I only do it because I like baked goods and so far as I know, you either have to bake them or buy them. And really it’s better if you bake them.
Well today I wanted to use up some buttermilk and I figured, might as well make something for breakfast tomorrow–after all, Josh will be back late tonight, he’ll want to sleep in tomorrow morning; might as well have breakfast waiting for him already. Muffins sounded about right.
Now, I am not the Muffin Man of this apartment. That would be Josh. Josh is the Muffin Man. He makes delicious blueberry lemon muffins and someday I’ll get him write a guest post on that. But he’s not here today. So the muffin making is up to me.
I have this recipe I’ve been wanting to try for a while–raspberry cream cheese muffins—from MyRecipes. Looked delicious AND they were healthy. I adapted the recipe a bit, though, to make it fit my style more. And by “fit my style more” I mean, “I added dark chocolate.” Mmmm. Chocolate. I also added the seeds of half a vanilla bean and a bit more of a nice rum-based Tahitian vanilla. But what’s really important here is the chocolate. Let’s not forget that. Continue reading
So I’m on my own again today. And still sick. It’s been over a week at this point and while I don’t feel terrible, I just can’t get the congestion, tiredness and fever to go away.
Well it’s moved on towards lunch time and I need to eat something. I don’t have a car today, which takes care of that pesky lazy thought of “Well, just go to Panera and get some soup.” And while, yes I do live just half a mile from a Panera–and 3/4 a mile from Whole Foods–my tiredness and the 83F took care of any inclination to walk someplace where I can simply hand over a credit card and some kind person will hand me a giant bowl of already prepared food. No, we’re on our own today. And since we’re tired and tired of being sick (and for some reason, speaking in the royal “we”), we want something that’s not just delicious but about as healthy as we can possibly stand it to be.
As luck would have it, I have a freezer full of chicken breasts and a fridge of nutritional goodies, so I can indeed accomplish this weighty task and I will not submit to the tiny voice in my head that says, “You could just order in Chinese.” Even though my favorite Chinese restaurant is simply around the block (near the Panera, y’know) and they not only deliver but deliver quickly and the delivery guy is great. But no. No, we’re cooking ourselves well today.
So this is what I put together: a salad. No, not just a salad. THE salad. An easy, delicious salad full of flavor, vitamins and antioxidants. In fact, there is not a single unhealthy thing on this salad. It is the exact opposite of certain other meals I have made while sick that may or may not have contained over an entire day’s worth of fat.
The great thing is that I made this with ingredients that I normally keep around anyway: chicken, fresh baby spinach, lemon, red onion (okay, I normally don’t but red onion, but I got some from the farm share this week), walnuts, olive oil, part-skim mozzarella, strawberries and basil. Little known fact about me: I bleed strawberries. It really freaks out the phlebotomist, but eventually they get over that when they realize I am made of deliciousness. (Ok I made that last part up.) Continue reading
I gained a new superpower in the last…oh, two hours or so. I mastered ice once. Now, I have mastered fire. Well, dry heat. The oven. Specifically bananas in the oven.
I know what you’re thinking. Okay, I don’t know what you’re thinking, but if I were you, I would be thinking, “Who the hell puts bananas in an oven? What kind of deranged Pop-n-Fresh monkey business is this?”
I’ll tell you: roasted banana bars.
I got the recipe from Cooking Light (that means it’s healthy! Okay, maybe not healthy. Light. Lighter. Light enough to not feel guilty) and immediately I added it to my Evernote, which is where I store all my recipes (I’ll write more on that another time), because Josh loves anything and everything banana. And this one is indeed bananariffic. That’s not really a word. But we’ll pretend it is. Continue reading
…in my freezer.
Seriously, there’s a whole comic book in the works and everything.
Tonight, it was a particularly useful skill–I mean, superpower–because it was 84F today and while I really wanted to fry some strawberry pies or bake a cheesecake, I just didn’t want to heat up the apartment and thereby waste the hard effort the air conditioner was putting out in order to keep Josh from melting into a puddle of human goo. Clearly what we needed tonight was a nice, cool dessert, a good compliment to the (grilled) dinner of barbecue pork sandwiches and (store-bought and therefore no cooking necessary) chips and raw (i like crunchy) carrots. So I fell back on one of my favorite healthy cold desserts: frozen bananas dipped in chocolate.
Wait a minute! You want to yell out in a classically drawn speech bubble with italicized, bolded AND uppercased letters. How healthy can a banana be dredged in chocolate?
Well, duh–it’s dark chocolate.
And coconut. And walnuts. So that’s like, calcium and healthy fat and antioxidants all right there.
Moving on (at the speed of melting chocolate, another of my superpowers), this dessert is one of the easiest ever to make, and less rich than say, my strawberry tiramisu and less formal than the semifreddo (mmmm semifreddo).
This recipe serves 6; I cut it down to just make one banana each for me and Josh, but I’m putting the full recipe (adapted from a Whole Foods recipe) below:
Chocolate Dipped “This Day is” Bananas!
Serves 6 Continue reading
Josh is out at the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival right now and so it’s just me and the dog for dinner tonight. I enjoy these rare occasions for a couple reasons: I feel less bad if I screw up a recipe, and I get a chance to try out recipes that either I know Josh doesn’t like or wouldn’t be a huge fan of. Since I’ve been wanting to make these chicken skewers for a while and Josh has seemed less than enthused, I figured I’d go with that. Besides, it’s a very simple recipe to make for one.
Making dinner for yourself is not always easy. Especially when you’re used to feeding more people. For a while, I was used to to cooking for three, then for two, and occasionally now for one, not to mention the occasions where we have company over and I’m cooking for 4-8. And generally when you’re looking at recipes, they feed 4 or more, which is great if you have a family or you really like leftovers. However, we rarely eat leftovers and somedays we end up hungrier than otheres and so it can be tricky to make just enough food. This meal worked out really well for just one, though.
I got the inspiration from an Ellie Krieger recipe for chicken and grape skewers, which I do still intend to try. She had it garnished with lemons though, which gave me an idea: why not just chop up lemons and put them on the skewers as well? I love the taste of lemon, especially with chicken, grilling lemons really brings out the sweetness in them, adding depth to a variety of dishes. And I reasoned that as the heat warmed up the lemons, circulating their juices, they would baste and moisturize the chicken wedged between them. And instead of just regular chunks of chicken, I would do meatballs. This idea I can’t claim; it was inspired by the grilled Vietnamese meatball sandwich recipe on SeriousEats. Only I would use chicken instead of pork and season it with my usual blend of spices, plus some basil, which goes fabulously with lemon. But what to go with it? I thought about whole wheat couscous, but rice seemed a better fit, and perhaps a bit of green–some steamed spinach thrown in. Perfect. The flavors were coming together in my mind–sweet basil, tart lemon, spicy ancho chile goodness, nutty rice and maybe a good sprinkling of salty parmesan. Deliciousness on all fronts. Continue reading
Josh is a fan of blueberries. A picky, picky fan of blueberries who will only eat fresh ones in season, never in pancakes, and who makes delicious blueberry muffins. Last summer we picked our own blueberries on a farm in West Michigan, near where Josh grew up. Because of that, we now have stacks of frozen bags of blueberries in our fridge. Stacks and stacks.
Flash forward to this summer. I know the cycle will continue. So I’m determined to use up some of those blueberry stores before Josh gets a hankering to go pick some more. That, coupled with a request for more baked goods for his office, divided by my desire to procrastinate from doing the video work I should be doing and multiplied by the inspiration of a cupcake book I picked up from the library today equaled one thing: blueberry crumble bars.
I like tiramisu. I like the idea of it even more. I don’t make the traditional version at home because I don’t keep coffee in the apartment (for anything, ever) and Josh doesn’t like the taste of coffee anyway. Also, it’s a bit indulgent and we wouldn’t want to eat a whole tiramisu ourselves. One summer I really wanted a lighter, fresher version of the dessert though and luckily, a few weeks later Giada de Laurentiis did a raspberry version on her show and then I found a recipe for a low-cal tiramisu in Everyday Food. . I thought, I could do something with this, with a bit of inspiration from FoodTV. I picked strawberries because they are one of my top three favorite foods (the other two being chocolate and barbecue), not to mention healthy and delicious.
And thus, the recipe below:
1 8oz package lite cream cheese
8oz heavy whipping cream
1/3 c. sugar
1 small jar sugar-free strawberry jam
1 c. fresh strawberries, cut
few pinches of powdered sugar
1 small baked angel food cake
Mix the cream cheese, whipping cream, and sugar until soft peaks form. Layer a little on the bottom of a large dessert pan or bowl. Cut the angel food cake into flat slices and layer on top of cream. Spread more cream on top of the cake slices, and then spread strawberry jam. Layer with more cake, and then cream and jam until almost all the cream is gone. Top the final layer with the cream mix, then top with fresh strawberries. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour and a half.
You will need:
1 quart fresh whole strawberries, washed and sliced
4 1-inch slices poundcake
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2-3 tablespoons vanilla sugar (or just regular sugar) Continue reading
Poundcake topped with macerated strawberries and homemade whipped cream!
I like to snack, and I like healthy but delicious snacks. So the other day at work, I made up this beautiful little concoction:
This is a delicious little yogurt parfait made with Fage 0% Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt, if you’ve never had it, is much thicker than the yogurt we normally pick up at the store, because it’s strained in order to remove the whey. The Fage yogurt has the consistency of say, warm cream cheese. It’s comes plain, but I would never eat it like that. It’s traditionally the base for tzaziki sauce, which is that great cucumber-dill sauce you often get on gyros or other Greek dishes. Here, it’s flavored with a couple tablespoons of my grandmother’s homemade strawberry jam and topped with the crumbles from my last homemade granola bars and the last few strawberries from my trip to the farmer’s market. The combination of the sweet strawberries, the chocolate and the coconutty crunch of the granola was excellent, if I do say so myself.
Try it out, and customize it…use raspberries, peaches, blueberries, apricots…after all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.