Saturday, December 24, 2011

xmas eve football spread

 happy day before christmas! i hope everyone is with friends/family.we got homemade nacho cheese, homemade bread and breadsticks (thanks, s4) and some cheese, apples and salami. we also got a malaysian noodle dish that was tasty!
ravens vs. browns worked out perfectly w/ most of the family home. and we got some snazzy food laid out for the game (preparing for tomorrow's feasting...haha). we got lots of different cheeses from costco (the spicy buffalo something made a great nacho dip). the picture above is baked brie, absolutely delicious with some fresh baked bread (stay tuned for more pics of bread baking). take the brie (we cut our large costco size wheel up) and drizzle honey over the cheese. sprinkle with black pepper and nice garlic cloves, wrap up in aluminum foil and bake for about 15-20 minutes at 350 F. Spread onto some bread and enjoy! go ravens!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

what's cooking thursday- salad!

not just any old salad! here's some more "lets use stuff in the kitchen and be healthy when we can" kind of salad :) i had to go to the grocery store for the avocado and the roma tomato but everything else was in the house. each salad includes: a handful of mixed greens, arugula, 1 roma tomato, 1/4 of an onion (sliced), avocado (i tossed the chopped avocado in lemon juice to keep the color, hopefully!), carrots, crumbled blue cheese, and a hardboiled egg for each.
all the pretty salads ready for munching.
gobble gobble! i usually don't like raw onion but it really worked with giving the salad a nice kick. finals start so didn't get a chance to cook anything but some baked sweet potato fries, half a cheesy sandwich or warm soup would have been perfect! next time. happy thursday!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

what's cooking thursday- lentil burgers and glazed carrots

long time no see, i've forgotten a green bean casserole entry and not sure i'll ever put it up since i had to toss most of it as compost (it's hard trying to feed people who like korean food so much)

around the holidays there always seems to be an excess of delicious foods- baked goods and rich creamy warm-you-up and make you feel toasty and happy foods. but there’s something to be said when you just work with what you have. which usually i never do, but watching Chopped has sparked some creative juices for me, so today’s meal includes only ingredients i could find already in the kitchen (which required a lot of adapting of recipes…). happy thursday!

Lentil burger (adapted from Food and Wine)
1 cup uncooked brown lentils
2 ½ cups water
About 1 tsp garlic (mine is already pureed and kept frozen)
1 tsp ground cumin
Sprinkle of red chili flakes
Handful of walnuts (about 8 or 9?)
4 slices of whole wheat bread, toasted and made in bread crumbs
1 Tbl dried parsley
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Ground salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
Splash of olive oil (and more for cooking)
For the dip
1 cup plain non fat yogurt
½ squeezed fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp garlic
Dash of parsley

Bring lentils and water to a boil in a saucepan, then reduce heat to simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until tender. Drain well. In a food processor, puree lentils, walnuts, garlic, cumin, and red chili pepper flakes (some of the lentils can still be whole).  In a large bowl combine the lentil mix, bread crumbs, parsley, eggs, olive oil, salt and pepper. Line a baking sheet with foil and brush it with olive oil (I pour some on the pan and use a spoon to spread it around). Form ¼ cup size burgers (I got 11 patties total) and place them on the baking pan. Brush the burger with olive oil (it says to brush both sides but I forgot the bottom side). Baked at 425F for 6-7 minutes on each side (make sure the aluminum foil is well coated with oil so the patties don’t stick for the flipping part. You can also broil for about 3 minutes on each side.
For the dip- mix the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic and parsley. Serve the burgers hot with the yogurt sauce on the side.  

*as the recipe had, the onions and such would have probably added a nice moist and flavorful kick, unfortunately there were absolutely no onions in the house (i think i used the last one in the wasted green bean casserole...that'll teach me)

Glazed carrots (adapted from Vegetables by Ann Bonar copyright 1986…this book is older than me!)
1 lb (6-8 medium or 4 very large) carrots, trimmed and peeled
2 Tbls/1 oz butter
½ Tbls brown sugar
Dash of salt
Sprinkle of dried parsley for garnish

Put the carrots whole in a pan of lightly salted boiling water, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until just tender. Drain. Add the butter and sugar to the pan, then the carrots. Cook over gently heat, turning the carrots, until evenly glazed. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, to serve.

*if you want to save some time, cut the fat carrots in half and halve all the carrots to be shorter.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

what's cooking thursday and well, socks

have a cakebite tasting today so no real food cooking, but lots of baking goodness, which to me is much tastier.
cranberry banana walnut bread from joy the baker. here are the changes i made:
- no butter, add another banana (bringing our total to 5 bananas)
- in place of 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour: 1/2 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup quick oats to bump up the nutritional value
- didn't have any bourbon (unfortunately)
- handful of chopped walnuts
- i think we only added at most the 3/4 cup of brown sugar as well.

the bread was moist and tart from the fresh cranberries (it's been rather difficult getting rid of the costco bag of fresh cranberries we got for thanksgiving.

pumpkin cheesecake puff pastries
i can't remember where the recipe came from for the cheesecake but it was
8 oz of softened cream cheese
1/4 cup of sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/4-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
blend the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth then mix in the remaining ingredients. we spooned the cheesecake into buttered phyllo dough pressed into a muffin pan and baked in a 350 F oven.

eummm, just looking at this cheesecake makes me want more- kraft 3 step cheesecake with cranberry sauce topping. the recipe was on the box of the kraft cream cheese which was of course unbelievably easy but also tasty. we (s4) and i made the cheesecake in a leftover ready made pie crust which also is easy peasy and yummy. we took leftover cranberry sauce and topped it for a tart and pretty kick.
this is just silliness, can you tell i'm ready for winter break? but really, the paw print hole in her sock was not on purpose

Sunday, November 27, 2011

i am piggy, hear me roar...

or just trod about in a permanent food coma. here's the best post of the year- thanksgiving recap. i'll swing through dinner real quick and then get to the main event. a lot of the main foods were repeat favorites from last year but i will insert links to the ones that are new that were based on recipes.

the main meal
the vegetarian's plate (aka, me, the rest of the carnivorous fam had hunks of turkey on their plates). the great thing about being the thanksgiving meal planner is that i get full reign on what people eat :)

- rosemary butter roasted turkey: rub the butter and rosemary under the skin of the turkey, no need to cover or put on new butter!
- smashed potatoes: half of it made up of pureed roasted cauliflower with laughing cow garlic cheese
- roasted brussels sprouts: toss in olive oil with salt and pepper
- roasted autumn squash: chop it up, use a vegetable peeler to take off the tough exterior then chop, olive oil, salt, and pepper and bake in the oven for about 20-30 minutes (flip the pieces every so often)
- rosemary bunny biscuits
- tart cranberry sauce: we used lemon juice instead of orange juice this time, delish!
- corn casserole: eum eum good. corn tastes so much better when it's loaded with cheese, i used yogurt in place of the sour cream. you can go ahead and assemble this (w/o the cheese) earlier in the day or the night before and then pop it into the oven. i also made a thin layer of cheese in the middle of the casserole.
- green beans
- cornbread stuffing
- mushroom gravy: this year we took out the soy sauce, it tastes much better. and try to get some low sodium broth- veg or chicken

i have a slight adoration for pioneer woman, so many of these came from her. i started baking pies wednesday afternoon (i should have made the pumpkin cream pie wednesday and saved one of the pies best served warm for thanksgiving day)
- nantucket pie: the crunchy topping with the tart cranberries is so yummy! i didn't add the 2/3 cup of sugar on top of the cranberries as our family really likes the tartness of cranberries, in place of the almond extract i put in 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract.
- apple pie: i realized in my quest to make a million pies that it would help to actually have pie pans...which i didn't until later when i walked to safeway and bought another. but before that happened i really wanted to bake and baked this pie in a cake pan, which meant the crust was soaked under the bubbling apple juices and never developed a crispy crust...but, heavy cream and apple mix is delicioussssss. so next time, making this in a pie pan
- sweet potato pie: i didn't use any grated orange peel and had korean sweet potatoes
- pecan and date pie: first time our family had anything close to a pecan pie, not my favorite but it was still tasty. the dates give the pie a nice texture difference with the nuts. i just used a pillsbury pre-made pie crust instead of making the one in the recipe. i also didn't have dark corn syrup so i used light corn syrup which i think still looked pretty.
- pumpkin cream pie: probably my favorite for the year. i processed gingersnap cookies and then mixed with melted butter to make the crust. man, i wish i had more...

whoosh, gluttony is probably not very becoming, especially when my pants probably don't fit anymore. i also didn't realize how much i baked until i typed it all out.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

tday menu

i believe this is the final menu for tomorrow's dinner! (i will post links with all the recipes once the food pics go up)

rosemary butter roasted turkey with mushroom gravy
mashed potatoes with roasted pureed cauliflower and cheese
roasted garlic brussels sprouts, green beans, autumn squash
cranberry sauce
cornbread stuffing
kale chips
corn pudding

dessert (the most important part!)
pecan and date pie
nantucket pie
apple pie
sweet potato souffle
pumpkin cream pie

i might be missing some items but don't worry, it will still end up in my tummy

T-1 day!

even though we aren't celebrating thanksgiving until friday doesn't mean it isn't pie baking time! stay tuned for some yummy treats (including a pecan and date pie that's baking right now)

Friday, November 18, 2011

i heart pesto

i highly suggest making extra servings of the broccoli and walnut pesto or any pesto for that matter and keeping it in the fridge or some frozen for later use, such as lunch the next day- whole wheat toast with pesto spread, topped with tomatoes and a fried egg. yum yum. happy friday!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

w.c, thurs- broccoli and walnut pesto pasta w/ tofu

happy thursday! this week has been disaster after disaster at school but once i finally get home on thursday i know that means cooking a real meal and de-compressing from the "real" world. this week's menu included broccoli and walnut pesto pasta with tofu and roasted acorn squash (impulse buy at the korean grocery store b/c the autumn squash looked strange).

we recently bought a Bella little food processor thing (which i used to make persimmon cheesecake...i will have to update on that one day...). suffice it to say i did not enjoy making the cheesecake w/ the Bella but the recipe book that came with the machine said it would work. but i decided to give it another go. i was making a couple of servings (i can't resist toasted walnuts, they are addictive) so i figured i would process all the ingredients separately and then mix it all together in a bowl. lets just say everything at the bottom of the processor keeps getting grinded (have you ever tried walnut butter...i can now check that off my's also not too bad). the same thing happened when i tried to grind the broccoli up, so then i just gave up and whipped out our regular food processor and all was right in the world again.

the recipe comes from 101cookbooks which i haven't used in ages. i cooked my broccoli in a skillet with a splash of olive oil and two small scoops of frozen garlic (we food process up the fresh stuff and freeze tons of it). i forgot to buy a lemon so no lemon, chard/spinach and olives so we were short of that but i didn't mind the loss. i also didn't really measure how much i was making but i did have 2 heads of broccoli and about 3/4 to 1 cup of toasted walnuts. i kept splashing olive oil into the food processor waiting for a more liquidy pesto but after awhile gave up and figured i would be healthier with less olive oil :) the tofu was my "meat" for the dish so i could get a very nice well rounded meal. the tofu was cooked in a skillet with just a bit of olive oil.
if you run out of pasta (which i did after M & D gobbled all that) you can spread some of the pesto between the tofu and top with parmesan and broccoli (totally delicious!)

the acorn squash were looking mighty cute at the korean grocery store so we took one to try it out. tossed in some olive oil, salt and pepper the squash tastes good but it doesn't get that baked fry kind of texture i was looking for. probably excellent for a puree of some sort.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

slow starts

juggling school and three jobs hasn't left much room for those slow mornings that i love- reading the free Sun that comes (confession: i always skim through the coupon booklets knowing it's not worth it but wanting to buy those 3 cans of whatever to save 45 cents just because i can), sitting down and eating real food, and enjoying a hot cup of tea. but occasionally, a morning comes around where it all comes together.
 it's amazing how my diet and running suffers when my schedule is such chaos but hopefully i'll get into the swing of things and be able to have more of these kinds of mornings, at least for the weekends. even on 4 hours of sleep i had enough energy to go on a nice long run this morning and then put together a breakfast (it helps to have a late starting work day). Two slices of whole wheat toast, 1 egg (runny! i love dipping toasted bread into runny egg yolk), and a nice handful of arugula salad with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. the apple will most likely be a snack later in the morning maybe before work or on the way home from work.

i'm bundled up in my house in multiple layers and drinking some black tea with a splash of skim milk. it feels good to be healthy after days of interesting and late night food choices (i.e. my love affiar with peanut butter and spinach and artichoke dip at 11 at night on thursday come to mind).

i even packed a colorful lunch (persimmon, sweet potato and a banana). i think i'm missing something so i will probably throw in some almonds and walnuts or a Kashi bar, but it's challenging thinking of foods that are easy to eat in a couple bites while i'm working behind the desk and tourists come in.

and for everyone out there, it's 12 days until my favorite holiday! i've got to start researching foods for this year early and i'll try to post the links as i find them. here's some delicious looking pie recipes. anyone ever tried an olallieberry pie?