Archive for October, 2010

tools of the trade

You don’t need much to cook. Something to heat with, a knife, a pot and a pan should suffice. But I can never resist the siren song of a kitchen gadget. Remember how much easier making pie crust was when I got a pastry mixer? Best five bucks I ever spent.

So when I decided I was going to make Jessica’s potato and kale soup from a while back, I knew I could easily slice potatoes super thin for the broth.

Or I could get a mandoline.

What a handy little tool! All my potato slices came out in neat, uniform size. I would recommend using the little spiky tool that comes with the thing, though, otherwise some of your thumb meat is going to be in a neat, uniform slice in your dish, too.




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So, picking up where I left off, I am feeling the spirit of Adventurous Breakfasts!

I’ve been curious about people who juice up a bunch of weird vegetables and fruits into a big, green, mess and chug it down. This interest most likely developed after I read about Martha Stewart’s Daily Routine, and she mentioned that drinking a big glass of “green juice” was part of her daily routine. I do like vegetables, but I am somewhat lazy about them, and I really LOVE beverages. This seemed like a great idea. I even asked my boyfriend to bring his juicer back from Michigan so I could play around with it. From time to time I will pick up a bottle of Bolthouse Farm’s Green Goodness and pour a little cup with my breakfast, but I always suspected this option was a bit more Juice than Green.

I mentioned in my last post that I’ve recently begun following a slew of super-healthy, marathon-running, inspirational bloggers. They all seemed to eat crazy bowls of morning oatmeal, so I tried it out. Success! I also noticed that many of them indulged in what they called a “Green Monster,” which looked like a green smoothie, but nobody mentioned what was in it.

Flash forward a week or so, and I FINALLY chanced upon the true meaning of the Green Monster, and I thought “Hmm… that sounds kind of like that green juice I’ve always thought about making,” and then I mentally tossed the idea into the back burners of my brain (where my great ideas usually just catch on fire and disappear in smoke, I think). But something made me take ONE MORE CLICK to the recipes page…. and, lo and behold, I had all of the ingredients already in my apartment.

So I took a dive.

And holy crap, I’m not turning back.

Virgin Green Monster

from Angela at  Green Monster Movement


1 cup of milk (I use Trader Joe’s Vanilla Rice Drink)

1 banana

1 tbspn of flax meal

2 cups of spinach

ice to taste

That’s it. Blend. Drink. Enjoy. It tastes nothing like spinach. I mean, if you really want to stick your nose in your cup and focus, you can tell something is up in there, but it really tastes like a banana smoothie and nothing more.

This isn’t strictly a breakfast drink, but I’ve made it for breakfast twice this week because

a) It’s delicious


b) It gives me something to quell my stomach pains while I wait for that gd oatmeal to finish cooking.

And it’s so infinitely tweakable. There are a lot of other Green Monster recipes on Angela’s website, but you can pretty much throw whatever in there. On Tuesday morning, I blended one up to fill my “Something Sweet With Whole Wheat” category, but I was worried about the whole-wheat aspect. In my infinite resourcefulness, though, I threw in a handful of quick cook oatmeal! GENIUS! Just gives it a little crunch, nothing more. I’m also thinking about picking up some vanilla protein powder – this could easily become a satisfying meal on its own!

Anyway, everyone should try this, but be prepared to go through a lot of spinach. I made my first smoothie on Monday – I quickly ate through one bag, had to pick up another on Tuesday night and now it’s almost gone! Agh! And somehow, my boyfriend and I together are eating about 10-12 bananas a week.

Additionally: my roommate and neighbors now hate me for using my extremely noisy blender before 7 a.m. Sorry!

So that’s about all I have to say about breakfast. FOR NOW…. be warned, it will definitely come up again because I get all excited thinking about it, I really do.

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Food blog, I’m sorry. I haven’t forgotten you. I’ve just been eating alternately like a pauper and a queen, and it’s been a busy time.

Let’s talk about vegans, shall we?

Since moving to our nation’s fair and great capital, I’ve had the pleasure to come into the company of a lovely group of vegans, vegetarians and veg-sympathizers. Team, we all know I am as meat-loving as the Motor City Madman himself, Ted Nugent. But I understand the deliciousness of fruits, veggies, etc.

I’m still learning. The proud vegans were not so pleased with my jalepeno cornbread (they liked the taste but weren’t thrilled that I veganized a Paula Deen recipe). They did not say anything to me, but were not so sympathetic when I asked if they ate honey (most did not).

This time, I figured I would be OK, because I even got vegan wine to make this month’s recipe: Wine-poached pears.

You’ll need:

-A pile of pears (I used Asian pears and while they are adorable, they are not as permeable as I wanted them to be. A softer pear (anju maybe?) would be better), peeled.
-One bottle of red wine (I used Our Daily Red because it is vegan, and its label is hilarious)
-1 1/2 C sugar
-3 TBSP lemon juice (you could throw a little zest in too if you’re feeling zesty)
-4 tsp cinnamon
-4 tsp vanilla

Put everything except the pears into a pot on the stove. Stir for a bit to start dissolving the sugar, and bring everything up to a boil. Once it’s boiling, bring back down to a simmer, and plop the pears into the mix. Let ’em cook for about 10-12 minutes, then rotate them so they get nice and reddish-purple all over (about another 10 minutes). Remove and let cool on a plate (you could keep ’em warm in the oven, too; that would be yummy). Once all the pears are cooked, bring the mixture back up to a boil until it’s reduced by half or more. It’s going to bubble like crazy, so you can bring the temp down to check. Drizzle the glaze over your pears and enjoy!

Vegans, I love you and your tasty dinner parties. I’m going to go eat a burger now, but I’ll be back next month for more.



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Can we talk for a minute about breakfast?

Easily my favorite meal of the day. I love waking up hungry and knowing there are yummy things waiting for me in the kitchen. I have always been a Breakfast Person. I’m talking about Everyday-Breakfasts right now – needless to say, a proper weekend brunch sends me into spontaneous cartwheeling bliss.

Past favorites, in semi-chronological order:

  • Pop-tarts (Brown Sugar, Strawberry, or S’mores… mmmm s’mores…)
  • Toaster strudels
  • The toaster strudels with egg and cheese that everyone else hates
  • Leftover desserts
  • Bagels with cream cheese
  • English muffins with butter and honey
  • Cinnamon toast
  • Apples
  • This maple pecan coffee cake you can only buy in Mansfield, Ohio
  • Doughnuts from Hinkley’s Bakery in Jackson, Michigan.
  • Egg and cheese sandwiches, sometimes with bacon
  • Peanut butter and jelly toast
  • Banana & soymilk smoothies with espresso
  • Cinnamon roll bread from Trader Joe’s

And two years of 45 minute commutes left me with a few on-the-go favorites, as well:

  • Starbucks banana-chocolate Vivanno smoothies with added espresso
  • McDonalds Egg McMuffin
  • Panera breakfast sandwiches
  • Panera Cobblestone muffin (droooool….)

I would still enjoy any of these options, if I woke up hungry, but lately my breakfasts have consisted of three items, one from each of the following categories:

Something savory and egg-based

+ 2 fried eggs

+ goat cheese omelet

+ scrambled egg sandwich with American cheese

Something sweet with whole grains

+ Go-Lean Crunch with soy or rice milk

+ oatmeal

+ whole wheat cinnamon toast

+ homemade granola

Something caffeinated

+ Starbucks Doubleshot in a can (which I used to get from a magical vending machine)

+ Nonfat mocha

+ Diet Coke (not WITH breakfast, necessarily, but before lunch)

Anyway, since I’ve been monitoring my calories, I’ve been thinking a little more critically about my beloved breakfast. You see, despite taking in a HEARTY amount of food (especially compared to the average person who can’t bear to eat in the a.m.), I tend to get REALLY hungry at around… oh… 9 a.m. And I can’t eat any MORE food, otherwise I will just explode: I’m very full after breakfast, even if  get hungry again quickly.

So what’s something healthy, something tasty, something SUPER FILLING that I can eat for breakfast that will eliminate the need for morning snacking?

Enter: Steel-Cut Oats

Oh, buddy.

On the first day of my experiment, I made a double serving, assuming that like most breakfast choices, I needed to hedge my bets. Adapting the infinitely adaptable recipe from Kath Eats Real Food, I threw in some walnuts, dried fruit, and honey for good measure. The pile of oatmeal barely fit into my bowl, and barely into my stomach, but…

I didn’t want to eat anything until close to 2 p.m. This is unheard of!

Magic oatmeal, I tell you.

It takes a long time to cook, which sucks, and I get a little STARVED sitting around waiting for breakfast to be ready, but holy cats, I haven’t looked back yet. It’s just as delicious as a S’mores Pop Tart. Really!

While I was stuffed to the brim, I added up the calories for my particular dish: 700 calories.

Well no wonder I wasn’t hungry until 2!

Anyway, I usually make one serving now, but I throw in some add-ins to bulk it up, and it usually gets me clear through to noon. What a concept! I have even started dropping the egg component of my breakfast, because there’s only so much kitchen-cooking I can handle on a weekday, and this fills me up anyway.

Jessica’s Killer Oatmeal

(the not-so gut-busting version)

Makes a hearty single serving.

1) Boil 1+ cup of water in a small saucepan. (1 cup is standard, but I find that such a small portion of oatmeal dries up, so I add a little extra)

2) When it comes to a boil, add 1/4 cup of steel cut oats. Cook at a boil for 5 minutes, stirring a little. It will get thicker.

3) Turn heat down to low, cook uncovered for 25 minutes.

4) If the oatmeal is looking a little dry at any point, I add up to 1/8 cup vanilla rice milk.

4) Add 1/2 banana, sliced. As the banana cooks, stir the oatmeal vigorously to liquefy/incorporate the banana. It will disappear into the oatmeal!

5) Stir in 2 tbspn canned pumpkin and 1 tbspn flax meal. Cook until heated to desired temperature.

6) Dish into a bowl. Top with cinnamon, nutmeg, and 1 tbspn almond butter.

7) Eat! Enjoy! Add whatever else sounds good, take out what doesn’t.

Stay tuned for more breakfast ramblings later this week!

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It’s neither winter nor summer right now, but the shift has occurred.

For all of August and September, we ate succulent sandwiches.

Iggy’s baguettes, farmer’s market tomatoes – heirloom or juicy&red – lettuce, goat cheese, mayo.


But the tomatoes are gone now, it’s getting just cold enough to break out the hoodies and put away the flip-flops, and it’s time for warm foods.

This taco soup is good. I omit the ground beef (go figure, right?), and add a can of black beans instead. And if you think I am going to buy 7 kinds of spices and mix them all together in various proportions, you are very wrong. I just buy the taco seasoning.  And I’m also kind of opposed to using half-packets of spices, (although I might reconsider that now that I have ziploc bags in my kitchen) so I typically over-season my poor soup. We all survive. It tastes fine. It also makes a TON of soup, and is sure to last all week.

It soothes the aching in my heart, somewhat.



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brown baggin’ it

I eat lunch at my desk four days a week.

Brown baggin’ it.

My other options are trucking a half mile to Panera or Chipotle, or the School Cafeteria. One is expensive, fattening, and a pain. One is expensive and kind of disgusting.

I also have a confession to make today:

I am counting calories. I am trying to lose 10 pounds or so before I go home for Christmas so that

A) I can resume fitting comfortably into the clothes I already own


B) I can successfully buy a pair of jeans with my Christmas money without damage to my ego


C) So my parents and relatives won’t ask me any sidelong questions about how much walking and running I get to do in Boston.

For now, I’m sticking to 1600 or 1700 calories a day, which makes my brown bag lunch both essential and difficult. Gone with the cheesy, dressingy salads, gone with the crunchy delicious snacks, gone with the handfuls of delicious trail mix. It’s definitely a departure from my usual eating habits, but not necessarily in a bad way. I’ve been trying to cook more low-cal dinners (less cream of mushroom soup casseroles, more soups and roasted veggies), so leftovers join fruits and cut veggies most days, maybe a wrap with hummus, a Larabar.

Today’s lunch:

Last night’s leftovers: Moroccan Lentil Soup, snagged from Tastespotting

Which actually tastes better today, microwaved, than it did last night!

My tweaks: doubled the potatoes and used two 14 0z. cans of tomatoes, omitted the cumin, cinnamon, and peas because apparently I’m bad at following a recipe. And now I have a bag of frozen peas in my freezer to deal with…

A Pear

Which are really quite good, right now. I’ve been grabbing a few from the grocery every week. I had some bad luck with a couple mealy ones a few weeks ago, but then I had one that was kind of red that was good, so now I’ve convinced myself that the only ones that will be good are the red ones. I am weird.

For later, I have

* Celery with this wicked salad dressing we picked up from Whole Foods

* An apple (Cortland, maybe? After eleven thousand of those little paper apple bags, I finally got sick of Macintosh)

* A mozzarella cheese stick

It will get me through to 7:00 p.m., but I will

most certainly

be hungry for dinner!



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Dear Food Blog,

I have not forgotten about you! It has been a month since I posted anything here, but it has not been a month since I have eaten anything or cooked anything. And as long as I am eating and cooking and occasionally snapping pictures, I thinking about you!

I promise!

I just have trouble with the “getting pictures off my camera” and “writing about cooking and eating” part.

But I will make amends.


Not right now, thought. All I have to eat right now is

an apple


an Odwalla bar

Yum, I know.

I’ll be back, though.

Sincerely yours,

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