Tag Archives: recipe

Boys will be boys? Part 2.

After Adrian finished cleaning the bathroom I noticed the toilet gloves on the table. Then later in the evening I went into the bathroom and noticed this. 🙂 Poor Adrian. He actually did spend a long time cleaning the bathroom. I’m not sure really what he was doing in there all that time, but I gave him credit for the effort. He asked that I mention he at least put the toilet gloves on his side of the table, and he does know it’s gross but he wasn’t paying attention because he was just “living life.”

In other news:

I’m being a big whiny butt, sitting on the couch with my arms crossed. I’m sad today:

I’m so tired of wearing a jacket every. single. day.  BOO HOO. Call the waaaaambulance …

Maybe some more of this will cheer me up?

I almost didn’t get a picture because my hand was on its way to deliver this straight to my mouth while I was snapping the pic

It’s strawberry basil pesto sauce over wheat pasta, a recipe I got from Daily Garnish, by Emily Malone. Her recipes are fantastic! I’ve also made her cornbread and broccoli cheese soup and polished both asap.

This recipe is basically just fresh strawberries blended with lots of fresh basil, sliced almonds, olive oil and lemon juice. You pour the mixture over whole wheat pasta, and top it with diced cucumbers, more strawbs and more basil! Definitely check out her recipe for full instructions because it’s super healthy, easy and totally worth making.

And how can this not help one forget it’s horrid outside?

I had to go buy two new basil plants because I completely killed the one I had. It’s death was a long time coming, though. I put basil in everything!

Look how pretty they are! (Except my dead plant. Kinda hoping he’ll regenerate, but not too hopeful)

After dinner I made Adrian’s favorite blueberry Greek yogurt pot.

Now it’s off to see Harry Potter 7 part 2 again!

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iPizza

Adrian got a new friend this week.

Every day since then he’s asked me if I’d played around with it yet. No. I just can’t get too excited about it! It’s cool, but I don’t have a burning desire for it so I kind of forget it’s there. I’m sure I won’t be saying that when I go home this summer because it seems like the perfect 9-hour flight companion!

I also had some fun in the kitchen. When I was younger I used to love going to Pampered Chef parties because they’d always have free food. For some reason I went a couple that had cool veggie pizzas and I absolutely loved them because they’re so good, light and refreshing. I’ve never made one myself until this weekend and I’m so glad I did. I always thought it seemed complicated, but I didn’t even need a recipe! I’ve already made two.

Eventually I’ll make my own pizza base, but for now I used the one you bake for 10 minutes and it’s ready. I mixed a heaping tablespoon of mayo with about 3/4 cup of cream cheese. Brits aren’t too big on Ranch, which I knew was generally a key ingredient in this mix. I Googled a recipe for Ranch seasoning, hoping it was something I could make myself and turns out it’s dead easy. Just a few shakes of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, parsley, dill, salt and pepper. I have to admit I did a little jump of excitement when I tasted it.

I shredded a large carrot, sliced about 4 green onions and diced 1/4 of a medium cucumber. In all It made a little more than a cup of vegetables to spread on top. I had also bought fresh broccoli for the occasion, but I didn’t remember it until I was eating. To be honest I think I’d just skip the broccoli next time. Why mess with what’s perfect?

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Flowers and food

I had every intention of walking along the Southbank today and taking some fun pictures. Due to a sandwich that turned extremely soggy overnight I had to eat out for lunch which meant I couldn’t go on a photoshoot. I did manage to snap a couple pics of some flowers on the way back to work. I’ve been really interested in flowers lately so I’m thinking of potentially making it a new hobby. I feel like I’d be prettaaay, prettaay, pretty cool to be able to name any flower on the spot. When you’re a grandma that kind of thing is expected, but when you’re 26 it’s like “how do you know that?”

I found such a refreshing, healthy looking recipe at Broke Ass Gourmet’s site, and I couldn’t wait to try it myself. It’s a garlicky butter bean puree spread with freshly chopped basil, lemon juice and olive oil. It’s spread on a straight-out-of-the-oven baguette and topped with rocket, watercress and thinly sliced parmigiano reggiano cheese.

Does anything smell better than fresh basil? I have a basil plant on my window sill and I pick up the whole plant every day and sniff it.

Put one can of butter beans, two garlic cloves, a handful of basil leaves, juice from one lemon, and 1/4 cup of olive oil in a blender or food processor. I blended mine only enough to have a good mix – I left a few chunks of bean because I wanted a bit more texture.

Spread over half of a baguette and top with salad. The only thing I’d do differently next time is drizzle a bit of olive oil and lemon juice over the salad. Then top with the shaved parmesan. I was so pleased with how this turned out. It’s the kind of meal that tastes as good as it looks, and you feel great about eating it because it’s so healthy.

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Halloumi baguettes

For some reason my mom doesn’t agree with having sandwiches for dinner. I know I’ve said before that her being right always ends up being the case, but I can’t see that happening about this particular matter.

I don’t know about you, but any meal I can pick up with one hand and stuff in my mouth is fine by me. I love sandwiches. They’re easy to make and easy to eat.

If you haven’t had halloumi before, I strongly suggest you try it. It’s a salty cheese from Cyprus that you grill or pan-fry, and it’s just so good.

Halloumi baguettes
– 1 pack of halloumi cheese
– 2 medium baguettes (One for each person. I buy the half-baked kind so it tastes fresh out of the oven.)
– 1 jar of sun-dried tomatoes
– 1 jar of kalamata olives (pre-sliced if you can’t be bothered)
– 1 jar of pesto
– Fresh spinach
– Red onion, thinly sliced

Slice and cook the halloumi until it’s slightly browned on both sides. No need to oil or butter the pan first. Cook your baguettes if you’ve bought the half-baked kind. Once both are ready, it’s as simple as assembling the items you want in the quantity you want. Don’t add too much pesto because it’s a strong flavor. I’ve also found that soaking the red onion slices in water while you’re preparing the meal takes the edge off but still leaves the sweet onion flavor.

You could also try making this with fresh mozzarella, which is what I’m going to do tonight! 🙂

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Meatless “chili with meat”

I made an excellent vegan chili con carne and told my parents about it on Facebook only to have my snob-o-saurus rex sister pipe up and say, “You do know con carne means ‘with meat,’ right?”

Karen thinks she’s cool because she studied abroad in Mexico, learning Spanish and playing with reptiles.

What else should I call it? Chili con bean?

It’s hard to imagine chili with no cheese or sour cream, but I guessed I probably wouldn’t miss it in the slightest if I made a fresh batch of simple guacamole. I was sooo right. The fresh guacamole was a much stronger, fresher taste than gooey sour cream and it took only a couple minutes to make. Definitely worth it.

Chili Con Bean

Serves 4

– 1 can of red kidney beans

– 1 can of black beans

– 1 can/box chopped tomatoes

– 1 medium onion, red or white

– 1 or 2 cloves of garlic

– 1/2 cup of water

– 3 tbsp red wine vinegar

– 2 tsp brown sugar

– salt

– pepper

– 1 tbsp cumin (or to taste. I normally just dump a bunch in)

– 1 tbsp mild or hot chili powder (same as above, I normally just shake until it looks like roughly a tablespoon)

– enough rice for 4 servings. I used Camargue red rice, and it was really nice because it kind of blended in with the chili, but any would work.

For the guacamole

– 2 ripe avocados

– small handful of red onion

– sea salt

– pepper

– tbsp of lime juice

– tbsp of lemon juice

Heat the tomatoes until they are simmering and add all the spices. In the meantime, rinse the beans, chop the onion and garlic and add everything to the pan. Add the water.

Let simmer for 30 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure it doesn’t get too pasty. I didn’t want a soupy chili, so I added only enough water every now and then to make sure it didn’t get dry.

At around 20 minutes you can try tasting it to see if it needs any other spices. I don’t like to try it before then because I always find the tomatoes are still too sour and haven’t sweetened yet.

The guacamole is really simple. Cut them open and scoop everything (minus the pit of course) into a medium sized bowl. Add the red onion, salt, pepper, lemon and lime juices and mash until you have your desired consistency.

After you try it it’s perfectly acceptable to say “great success!” in a Borat voice.

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Not your average chocolate chip cookie!

When you read the name of the cookies I just baked, don’t shy away! They taste like regular cookies and Adrian gobbled up so many that he didn’t have room for dinner, which was sad because dinner was delish.

My sister found a recipe for vegan cookies, and I was hesitant, but she was right. Definitely worth it. If for nothing else, it’s cheaper to make these than regular cookies because you don’t have to buy milk and eggs. Sorry, I should have said if for nothing else make these because YOU CAN EAT THE DOUGH!!

Vegan cookies = yummy edible dough. Who doesn’t like to eat cookie dough?

I don’t know about you, but I love eating dough that won’t give me salmonella. 🙂

Happy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

click here for original recipe

*Please note: I just copied and pasted the original recipe. I used regular flour because I didn’t have unbleached. Dark chocolate is generally vegan, so I bought a dark chocolate bar and chopped part of it with a knife. I also bought a small carob chocolate bar that I got at Whole Foods and chopped it.

Ingredients:

2 cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
cinnamon, to taste, optional
handful vegan chocolate or carob chips
1 cup raw sugar (turbinado; sucanat works too, but sucks up a lot of the moisture)
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup water

Directions:

1. Very important-make sure all ingredients are at room temperature. It will work if they’re not at room temp but it works much better if they are. Also while your oven is pre-heating put the cookie sheets you are going to use on top of the oven so they get preheated as well. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir in chips. Make a well in the center and set aside. In a medium size bowl, add together sugar and oil; mix well.

3. Add the vanilla and then add the water; mix well.  Add the wet to the well in the dry. Mix it well but be careful not to overwork it.  Add more chips if you need to.

4. Spoon onto ungreased cookie sheets.  Put them in the oven.  Bake for 5 minutes and then flip and rotate the sheets (top to bottom and 180 degree rotation). Bake another 4 minutes and check them. The cookies are done when they seem a little bit softer then you want them to be. They will harden up some as they cool. I usually go in 2 minute increments from here until they get to where I like them.

5. Take them out when they are done and move them to wire cooling racks. If they split or come apart when you try to remove them let them sit on the pan for 2 minutes before transferring them to the racks.

Makes about 2 dozen. Prep time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 10-12 minutes.

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I’m going from desk to 5K!

Here’s a picture of me at my job, and chances are this is what you look like too.

No offence to my job, it’s a good job. But any job where you spend 8 hours a day staring at a computer screen will lend itself to physical atrophy. After my first full year of life in the real world I didn’t feel the excitement I thought I’d feel. For making it through the year I was awarded a very nice pen with my initials engraved on it, but all I could think was, “This is all I have to show for a year post-college? A pen?” Sure, the pen is nice and it’s great to be recognized. But my problem isn’t with the pen. The pen was just a reminder of the fact that I spent the whole year learning nothing on my own.

The workforce is full of people who graduate, start working, and then just let life happen to them for the rest of their career. You see people who have been working for 20 years and they are completely dead inside. I always said that was NOT going to be me, so I worked really hard and enthusiastically last year. I did the best I could do and I ended up being the top performer for the year, but I was still really disappointed and I couldn’t figure out why. Now I know it’s because I worked really hard for the company but I didn’t do one thing to better myself.

In addition to still trying my best at work I’ve been involved with several objectives for self-betterment:

1) I’ve been teaching myself HTML and CSS, and I finally learned how to change the CSS (colors, fonts, etc.) on my blog. There will be changes happening in the next few months! I have a cool new blog name and have purchased the URL, so I just need to wait until I’m confident enough in my skills to possibly self-host my blog and get a new theme which I can CSS the heck out of.

2) I bought Adobe CS5, and I believe this will go hand-in-hand with my developing Web skills because I’ll be using Photoshop, Dreamweaver and eventually learning Flash. I also recently got a new camera, so now I’ll be able to edit my photos!

3) My body was wasting away so I’ve decided to try the Couch to 5K program. I prefer to call it the Desk to 5K program, because most of my time is spent at my desk at work rather than on my comfy couch playing Fable II. Basically the Couch to 5K program slowly but surely builds you up to being able to run a 5K, which I plan to do this summer. I’m on week 2, woo hoo! I’ll let you all know how it works out, but so far I’m really happy with it.

4) I’ve worked hard at changing my diet so I’ll feel better, and it’s working!  I’m eating almost no processed foods or meat now. For example, there is a trend going around of making “green monster” smoothies, so today I decided to make a green monster salad.

I’ll sign off with pictures of the fresh organic spinach salad with avocado, sauteed asparagus and a light lemon/olive oil dressing. The warm asparagus tasted so nice on top of the cool avocado and spinach. Yum!

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Too-tasty-to-share blueberry lemon muffins

It turns out baking isn’t too hard!

When I first took a bite of these blueberry lemon muffins I knew I had to share them with people. I envisioned taking them to all my friends at work, then realized I wouldn’t have enough for myself and they were way too good to give them all away.

“Well, maybe I’ll give them only to the people I really really like,” I thought.

But then I looked down at my little pot of muffins and thought, “Well, maybe I’ll just give one or two to my very favorite people.”

No, I just couldn’t do it. They’re too tasty to share! 🙂

Give a boy a plate full of muffins …

Good thing I have a whole box left in the kitchen! Now do you see why I couldn’t share with people at work?

I’m not a baker because I don’t like following recipes strictly by the book. I made these muffins the same way. I mostly followed the ingredients, but I didn’t at all follow the mixing instructions. Mine turned out great, and my way is also a lot easier. If you want to see how professionals do it, click on the recipe link below. Otherwise, take it easy and try my way!

Blueberry lemon muffins

Largely taken from this recipe on Foodnetwork.com

2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp fine salt
1 tsp lemon zest, finely grated
1 1/2 cup blueberries, rinsed and dried
2 medium eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I subbed oil for butter)
Paper cupcake/muffin holders

Preheat the oven to 375 F or 190 C.

Mix the wet ingredients (egg, milk, oil) together with a fork. I substituted vegetable oil for butter because it was too much of a hassle to wait for the butter to soften, and also I don’t have a mixer!

Mix together the dry ingredients (baking powder, flour, sugar, salt) and grate the lemon zest in the bowl (I also squeezed a bit of juice into the mix!). Combine both bowls plus the blueberries and mix, but be careful not to overmix. I mixed it until most of the ingredients were combined and there wasn’t much flour or dry ingredients still showing.

Using heaping tablespoons drop the mix into the cupcake/muffin holders in your pan. I filled mine up about 3/4 of the way, and in some cases all the way just to see what would happen. I got some very tall muffins, and some normal looking muffins! All delicious!

I baked mine for 20 minutes, but the recipe online says 25 minutes. My oven is a lot hotter than normal ovens it seems, so I’d go with 20 first and see how it’s going. Good luck!

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My new favorite healthy snack that I can’t stop dreaming about

How have I been missing out on Greek yoghurt my whole life?

Yesterday for breakfast I went to a little cafe and tried a bowl of Greek yoghurt with honey, granola and fruit and it was so good I was thinking about it the entire day. After work I went straight to the grocery and bought the fixin’s to make my own!

All you need:

Greek yoghurt
Honey
Fruit (I used strawberries, but I would have liked to have added blueberries if they’d had good ones)
Granola

Wash and chop the strawberries, then pour a little honey on the bottom and sides of the dish.

Fill with a couple heaping spoonfuls of yoghurt then top with granola. The granola I bought was lightly baked in honey and had various seeds added in (including pumpkin seeds – my favorite!).

Top with the chopped berries and you have yourself a healthy, tasty treat! I ate this for breakfast yesterday and dessert last night. Then I had it again this morning. I know, I’m obsessive.

My dinner last night was also tasty and fresh. I made a spinach salad with olive oil and lemon juice, then topped it with fried red bell pepper and fresh calamari that had been marinated in black pepper, red pepper and sea salt. It was from Marks and Spencer!

I felt like Spring after this meal!

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Toasted almond and white chocolate granola bars


These bars mark the first time I’ve officially baked, although I’m not sure how much granola bars count in the realm of baking!
They are SO simple.

Toasted Almond and White Chocolate Granola Bars

1 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup chopped almonds
Handful of almond slices for topping
Pinch of salt
4 oz white chocolate

Preheat your oven to 325 F. Line the pan with baking paper.

In a medium-sized pan melt the stick of butter with the 3/4 cup of honey and 1/2 cup packed brown sugar. You’ll need to stir continually for about five minutes until a caramel syrup forms. Stir in the oats and almonds and add a pinch of salt. Stir for another minute or two, then remove from the heat and add the white chocolate, which will easily melt into the hot mixture.

Once the chocolate has melted, pour into a square pan and top with the sliced almonds. Your mixture should look something like this:

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the edges are browned. You want the edges to be browned and the almonds toasted. It’s important to let the bars cool if you can because they don’t harden into proper granola bars until they’ve cooled. I had an extremely hard time letting mine cool once I had a little taste!

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did!

These bars are based on Food & Wine’s Sticky Oat and Pine Nut Bars

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Fried pickles and iced Earl Grey

Fried pickles aren’t found in England (that I’ve ever seen) because you’d have to call them fried gherkins, which to me sounds like a mix between “burp” and “gurgle.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to eat anything that sounds like burp and gurgle.

When the English say “pickle” they are talking about a chunky brown matter that you spread on sandwiches, crackers or cheeses. It’s pretty good, I just think it needs a new name so the word “gherkin” can be eradicated. (I get that they are actually called gherkins and the process to make them taste how they do is called pickling. Still.)

Anyway, what I’m saying is that I brought a little of the US into England yesterday. I finally satisfied my craving for fried pickles, and I’ve provided my recipe because it’s really too simple. Also, what better way to wash it down then with some iced tea? I made mine with Earl Grey and lemon because I’ve taken a strong liking to both.

If you can find pickle chips, use those. I couldn’t find them so I had to use long slices which I just cut in half. For the traditional kind of fried pickles, use kosher dill pickles. They didn’t have those so I had to use pickle slices that were sweetened and had mild spices, which were good, but not traditional.

In a bowl combine flour and cornmeal, equal parts, then add a little salt and pepper. I didn’t have a lot of pickles so I didn’t use much. This is one of those recipes that you don’t really need to stick to a strict recipe, just eyeball it. You’ll need enough to lightly coat each side of the pickle.

Place the slices in very shallow hot vegetable oil. Only pour enough in to meet the top of the slices. Let them fry on each side about three minutes, or until golden brown on both sides. Be sure to flip them while cooking.

Lay the pickles on a couple paper towels to soak up excess oil, then chow down! If you forgot to add salt and pepper to the flour/cornmeal mix, while they are still hot is a good time to add it.

Make some iced Earl Grey and you might almost be able to pretend it’s summer …

Fried pickles

1 jar kosher dill pickles

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup cornmeal

salt & pepper

vegetable oil

Iced Earl Grey

Place one tea bag at the bottom of a tall glass. Pour about an inch of boiling water in the glass and let it set for 2-3 minutes. Fill the glass 3/4 with cold water, then remove the tea bag. Fill with ice, a teaspoon of sugar and top with a fresh lemon slice.

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