Friday, July 29, 2011

*5 Ingredient Friday*

Happy Friday everyone! Hope you all had a lovely *quick* work week :)

It's time for another round of 5 Ingredient Friday! If you missed last weeks post, you can click on the link here & read all about my new series.

This Friday, I figured there was no better way to end the work week than with a dessert. A Granita to be exact. If you are unfamiliar with what a Granita is, it is a Sicilian semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water and various flavorings.

The only thing with granita's are that they tend to be a bit time consuming. So make this on a day off..when you plan to spend your day at home :)

Coconut Chai Tea Granita

1 can coconut milk, preferably full fat
4 chai tea bags
2 +1 c water
1 c sugar

*Place 1 c water + 1 c sugar in a small sauce pan. Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Set aside & allow to cool.

*In a medium sauce pan bring 2 c water to a boil. Once water has reached the boiling point turn off the heat & place tea bags in water. Cover with lid & allow to steep until cool.

*Place glass baking dish in freezer while everything cools. ***Size DOES matter :) I would choose a bigger dish~More surface area=quicker freezing time!

*Once simple syrup & tea are cool, combine with Coconut Milk in baking dish and place in freezer.

*Check after about an hour to see if ice crystals have started to form. If so, rake through mixture with a fork to help separate.

It will start like this...

And eventually look more like this...

*Repeat this process every half hour to 45 minutes for about 4.5-5 hrs (depending on the size of the dish). I believe mine was 9x13 and I felt like it took FOR-EV-ER! Eventually, it will resemble what we know as italian ice..When it has reached this stage, it's ready :)

*Scoop it into your dish of choice and enjoy!

Slightly Creamy. Coconut~y. With a hint of chai. Mmmm

Definitely cooling and palate cleansing!

This will stay good in the freezer for a couple days, just rake it through with a fork before serving.

What's your favorite frozen treat to keep you cool during the summer?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A VERY late What I ate Wednesday!

I was having too good a time last night to post....more on that later. Here's my eats.....

Strawberries & Plain FF Greek Yogurt

Apple & Peanut Butter

Pretzels...these were SO good (And no, I did not eat the whole bag at 1 sitting..though I could)

Raisins, Cranberries & Sunflower Seeds



A snacking kind of day. And I happen to love that!

Anyone else ever just like nibbling throughout the day?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My 7 Links

The lovely Diana at Veggie Next Door tagged me to participate in the newest blog tag "My 7 Links" :) This is my first time hearing about it and I am so excited to be asked to participate! So thanks again, D.

Here’s some info on the game if you haven’t heard of it yet!

To unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint endeavor to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again.

1) Blogger is nominated to take part

2) Blogger publishes his/her 7 links on his/her blog – 1 link for each category.

3) Blogger nominates up to 5 more bloggers to take part.

4) These bloggers publish their 7 links and nominate another 5 more bloggers

5) And so it goes on!

6) They’ll be sharing the best posts from participating bloggers on our blog and everyday on Facebook and Twitter at #My7Links

Let's get started!

Most Beautiful: My much needed mini-getaway

Honestly, if being surrounded by nature isn't beautiful I don't know what is?!?

Oh wait, maybe this....also featured in this post :)

Most Popular:
4th of July Eats (pt 2)

I can't blame anyone, I love carbs just as much as the next person :D

Most Controversial:
Watch This Video

Sadly no one saw this video...or at least noone commented on it. Watch it. Tell your friends too.

Most Helpful: Finding Mama Pea

Now, while this post isn't really dedicated to her, It was the first time I tried any of her recipes. And I was completely shocked that vegan food could taste good. And should. If you've been living under a rock and for some strange reason don't know who she is you can check out her blog here. Or better yet, take my word for it and buy her *new* cookbook here.

Surprise Success:
Homemade Veggie Burger

It was so easy, I don't know that i'll ever need to buy the frozen ones again!

Not Enough Attention: The BEST "bolognese" EVER!

Who doesn't love a hearty, comforting bowl of Italian goodness?

Most Proud: My very first blog post

I don't consider myself a writer. At all. So making a choice to start a blog was not an easy one. But I do love food, love to cook, and love to *meet* new people :)

So thanks for stopping by and I hope to *see* you again soon! Feel Free to link your "7 links" in the comments below :)

Here's Diana's post!

Who I tag:
Jenny @ Fitness Health & Food
Danielle @ Weights and Measures
Danielle @ The Scoop By Danielle

And anyone else who reads this that would like to participate. Still working on building my Blog Friends list but I honestly would love for anyone who stops by to share :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

*5 Ingredient Friday*

I love Claire Robinson from Food Networks "5 Ingredient Fix". She makes such amazing food using 5 ingredients (or fewer!). Salt, pepper & water are "free" ingredients i.e. they don't count towards the 5 ingredients in the recipe.

Can you see why I love it?!?

As we all know, it's so easy to get carried away & spend far too much to add this or that to a recipe.

So, in an effort to save desperately needed money (who doesn't need to do that?), I decided to start a series of my own.

Starting with dinner. Tonight :)

I have had this delicious beauty sitting in my fridge for far too long.

Tonight we end that :)

Beans & Greens (keep it simple~in all areas of recipe creating)
Serves 2-4
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed & drained
1 bunch of swiss chard, removed from stems & sliced* (about 2 cups)
1 can of diced tomatoes
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, whole
1 T minced garlic in olive oil

*1 c water, salt & pepper (to taste)

Heat large saute pan over medium heat. Add 1 T minced garlic & some of the garlic oil to the pan and cook for about 1 minute. Add chard & toss with garlic. Add diced tomatoes, whole rosemary sprigs, beans, water, S&P to pan. Cover pan and cook over medium high heat for about 25 minutes.

Serve with a hunk of crusty bread & call it a meal.

My meat loving man did :)

It was seriously SO good. It honestly tasted like Olive Garden Minestrone soup. Phil should know, he used to work there :)

I am seriously so excited about this series...and I hope you will be too :)

Now, for some more ideas....
~No chard? Sub in (fresh or frozen) spinach or kale.
~No fresh rosemary? Use 1 T dried (or to taste..I really love rosemary)
~Sub black beans for the cannellini beans, spinach for chard & dried cumin for the rosemary OR kidney beans & chili powder. Serve with tortilla chips or cornbread.

*Note~the stems are perfectly edible..I just let my chard sit too long & they were too soft so I added them to the compost pile*

Have you ever watched "5 Ingredient Fix"? Do you have a favorite 5 ingredient recipe?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What I ate Wednesday

Join the party!


Leftover Indian Spiced Roasted Vegetables w/Couscous & Sunflower Seeds
Carrot Chips
Sundried Tomato Hummus


Diet Pepsi (Bad Habit)
Nuts (mmmmmm)

Spinach Quesadilla
Cheese Enchilada
Refried Beans
*note-I did not eat this entire plate of food haha*

Chips & Cheese Dip

MARGARITA (in my official margarita plastic cup :D )

Truly a phenomenal day of eats :) Hope you all had a good day too!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Quite possibly the best $20 ever spent.

(grr, blurry photo)

I am not kidding.

I have to admit I was feeling a bit jealous after seeing these gorgeous fresh produce posts here & here. And i'm sure that's only a few among the millions of bloggers.

Unfortunately, the produce markets here are as similar as a trip to the grocery store minus having to get up at the crack of dawn so as not to be left with slim pickings. Oh yea and the humidity.

Now, I have no problem with the grocery store produce section except for those times when I pick up something that looks so good. So fresh. Only to get it home & have it COMPLETELY lack in flavor. Cause yea, grocery store produce is usually picked underripe & gassed to ripen on the journey. mmmm.

I think that's why i'm so addicted to carbs. They taste exactly as they should. Everytime.

Ramble. But what I am MOST excited about is this gem right here.

Do you see that?!?
SWISS CHARD!! It's like Christmas. Literally, red & green :)

I could not be more happier. I have been searching for weeks. Last time I checked there was supposedly a problem with the crop.

I'm still jealous of all of you with farmer's markets.

At least I have the Chard.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Better late than never....

I’ve had a busy (3 day!!!) week. I have a friend in town from Canada. Haven’t cooked much since they’ve been here….SLACKER ☺

Anyways, here are my long overdue (Grilled) recipes from 4th of July.

First up is the Grilled Corn with Basil Garlic Compound “Butter”
Serves 2
2 ears of corn-husks still on…just remove the stringy things (don’t know the real name of the fibers)

Compound “Butter”
1/3 c softened earth balance
1 T chopped basil (about 12 leaves)
½ T minced garlic
cracked black pepper
sea salt

This is SO simple. Hardly a recipe.

In a small bowl, mix ingredients for compound “butter”.

Spread 1/3 of mix on each ear of corn.

Cover with husks and refrigerate about 30 minutes or until grill is ready.

Heat grill on high. Oil grates lightly and place ears of corn on grill. Cook for about 20-25 minutes turning corn every few minutes to get even cooking. When finished cooking, remove husks and spread remaining compound butter on corn. Enjoy!

Grill-Baked Italian Sweet Potatoes ala Ashley
1 lg sweet potato, scrubbed & cubed
1 T dried basil
1 T dried oregano
¼ t red pepper flakes
Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper, to taste

Mix oil and spices in a medium bowl. Add sweet potato cubes & toss to coat~allow to “marinate” for about 15 min or until grill is hot. Place cubes on foil sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Crumple up edges to “mirror” a baking sheet.

Once grill is hot place sweet potatoes on and cook 30-40 minutes until tender stirring every few minutes to avoid over/under cooking.

Hope everyone is having a fabulous Wednesday!
Buon Appetito!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

Hope everyone had a fun (safe) 4th of July!

A burger is undeniably one of the best 4th of July eats. So what does one do when they aren’t eating meat? Buy frozen veggie burgers? Nah, make your own! Because the holidays are all about experimentation aren’t they?

Well, mine always are anyways.

Initially I wanted to try making a gluten free burger. However, my local health store had gluten free breadcrumbs at an outrageous price and I decided I’d just use regular breadcrumbs and skip the bun.

Brown Rice & Veggie Burgers, makes 8 patties
3 c cooked brown rice
1 ½ c mixed veggies (I used: 1 med carrot, 2 med portabella mushrooms, 1 green bell pepper, ½ c cooked chopped spinach & 6 sun-dried tomatoes)
3 T soy sauce
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T minced garlic
1 ½ T fresh rosemary, chopped
1 ½ c fresh breadcrumbs
1/3 c golden flaxmeal
1/3 c nutritional yeast

~Pulse veggies (except spinach) in a food processor until finely minced.
~In a small bowl mix soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, garlic, rosemary & pepper.
~Mix brown rice & veggies in a large bowl until incorporated.
~Add soy sauce mixture & toss to coat.
~Next, add breadcrumbs, flax meal & nooch.
~Form into 8 patties and chill until ready to cook (or pop in freezer for at least 30 minutes).

Preheat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Once heated, place patties in 4 at a time (or in 2 different sauté pans) . Cook 8 minutes, flip & cook another 8 minutes.

At this point they are done. Add your fave toppings and eat.

But I took them a bit farther.

Balsamic Onions (recipe to follow) & Gorgonzola Cheese. Oh Yes.

Preheat oven to 400. Place patties on a pan sprayed with cooking spray. Top with balsamic onions & cheese and cook until cheese starts to melt.

Since I had to pan cook these I HAD to grill the side items. The 4th of July is all about grilling!

(oops, didn’t get a chance to photo the sides on the grill).

Here they are all together.

“Burgers” + grilled corn on the cob w/Garlic Basil Compound “Butter” + Italian grilled sweet potatoes (both recipes to follow).

Not bad for my first homemade veggie burger. The BF did not ask “Where’s the meat?” I think he is finally getting it!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Summertime...and salad's easy...

Cheesy title. I know. Know what song I am referring to here?
Sublime :) One of my all time favorites....

Anyone else’s appetite seem to whittle when the temperatures start to soar? Or is it just me? Enter the salad. I sorta have a love/hate relationship with salads. See, they are the perfect quick meal: toss some lettuce in a bowl, add your favorite toppings, mix some dressing in….instant meal. Other times the thought of “rabbit food”, as it is sometimes referred to by my peers, for a meal leaves me feeling like a chump. Seriously, what kind of person wants to eat foliage for their meal?

Well, when it looks like this, I’d have to answer, this person right here!

Spinach, fruit & nut salad w/Pomegranate vinaigrette (so simple~this is hardly a recipe)
Serves 1

Strawberries, sliced
Blue cheese crumbles (optional)
Nut/seed of choice (I chose sunflower seeds because i’ve been obsessed with them lately!)

3 T pomegranate red wine vinegar
1 t agave nectar (or sweetener of choice)
LOTS of cracked black pepper (it really makes the difference)

In a bowl combine dressing ingredients & whisk until blended (normally you would whisk while you add your EVOO but I can’t be bothered to do that most days). Add spinach, toss to coat. Add fruit, sunflower seeds & cheese. Eat.

And if eating “rabbit food” leaves me room to eat one (or 10) of these, bring it on :)

What salad combo are you loving lately??