Christmas Chicken

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I actually didn't make this on Christmas, and no one will arrest you if you make it at a different time of the year, but I figure any recipe that's ingredients are mostly green and red, deserves a special name.

I was inspired to make stuffed chicken when my friend, Erin, told me about a recipe she made one night. I asked her for it and assumed I'd make the same exact one for a Christmas party I attended, but as I read the recipe, a few other ideas popped into my head and it morphed into something completely different.
Fast forward a few days later...
I needed a recipe for a cheese party (insert your cackles here.) So, what does one non-cheese eating girl and her non-cheese eating bf bring to a cheese filled Christmas party? Why chicken, of course. I've made this recipe one other time since and both times it was a huge success. For the party I actually baked feta on top of the chicken, 1. because I can tolerate feta 2. it looked pretty and 3. I felt I had to contribute some kind of cheese if I wanted to be allowed into the soiree. I also cut the chicken in half after I cooked it because there was so much food at the party. If you serve it as the star for dinner you don't need to halve them.
In any case, Christmas or not, try this dish if you're looking for something a little festive to do to your chicken...serve it with creamy mashed potatoes and your peeps will be kissing you under the mistletoe all night (even in July).

Serves 4-6
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 bag fresh, raw spinach, o 2 small bunches
1 bottle julienne cut sun dried tomatoes, drained
8 oz pesto, store bought or fresh
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
4-6 oz feta cheese, if desired.

Preheat oven to 325.
In a skillet, saute garlic and olive oil, add spinach in two batches, until it's soft and wilted, but not mushy. Do you really want mushy spinach? I didn't think so.
While spinach is wilting, make a slice through the middle of chicken breasts- like you're butterflying them. You want to stuff the chicken, so don't cut it all the way through, or you'll turn your 4-6 breasts into 8-12. However, if your slicing doesn't go according to plan, calm down, drink some wine, or leftover Christmas cookies, and get over it.
When spinach is cooked, turn off the stove and throw in the drained sun dried tomatoes to the spinach mixture. Divide the mixture into equal parts and shove in teh middle of your chicken. If you have some chicken causalities, just lay the mixture between each half of the chicken, like you would for a sandwich.
Place the chicken in a casserole dish, roasting pan, etc. Brush pesto on top of each breast- liberally. You want it well coated- not a spot of chicken should be seen.
Place in oven for 35 minutes.
If desired, add feta cheese after 35 minutes and throw the pan back in the oven until cheese is soft and slightly golden.
If you're an uncommon folk, I love you, and keep your chicken in the oven, without cheese for 45-50 minutes. I chose to cook the chicken at a low temperature because it was moist and tender. This means, depending on the thickness of your chicken, you may have to cook for upwards of an hour.

A Book Review: The Non-Marathoners Guide for Women

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A healthy breakfast recipe is still coming your way. I got lazy and cold these past few mornings and decided to either have a pear (exciting, I'm aware) or oatmeal- neither are blog worthy.
Instead I bring you the first ever book review on this blog. I know these posts are all about running and cooking, but you should know that my other not so secret love is reading. If you know me at all, you're rolling your eyes and adding an emphatic, "duuuuh." You will rarely see me without a book- at work, the gym, on my nightstand, in my purse, my car...and I will read just about anything (Except for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, apparently- WHY can't I make it through?!). Lately, I've been so overwhelmed with school that this cranium of mine has little desire for any "heavy" reading...maybe I just answered my own question.
My dear friend, and running inspiration gave me this book a few weeks ago.

It was just what I needed: For one, I've been in sort of a running slump as of late (anyone else suffering from it's dark and cold and leave alone-itis?) and secondly, I haven't read a really great book recently (by recently I mean in the last month.)
This book really hit the spot. I can't even tell you how many times I literally laughed out loud.
Whether you're a hard core runner, a runner who aspires to be hard core, or somewhere in between, I swear this book can connect with everyone at some point or another If you decide to pick of this gem of sarcasm and wit, please remember it is just that- a book full of sarcasm. She will definitely provide you with a dose of motivation, inspiration and a little gushy, "you can do it, reach for the stars" Girl Scout type philosophy, but her true gift is inspiring you to run based on her own hate/hate relationship with running. You'll sit there thinking, "if a girl who never even ran to the bus stop can run a marathon, I can certainly get my lazy butt outside for a 2 mile run."
Whether you're running, reading, eating or doing something less happy today (like working)...find a moment in your day to thank your body for all it does for you- even on those days when it's raining so hard that you can't muster up enough gumption to put on your shorts and hit the pavement.

"Sin"amon Rolls

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I will warn you right now...these cinnamon rolls are not healthy. But, tomorrow I will have a breakfast recipe that is the epitome of healthy, and still tasty. But for now, I will tell you how unhealthy these are: I didn't even bother to use wheat flour because 1. I didn't think it would make a bit of difference and 2. I wanted these to be so perfect, I was scared the wheat flour might mess something up.
As of late, I've become obsessed with the pioneerwoman blog. I'm sure some of you already know what it is. I live under a rock and didn't know about it until a couple of months ago.
I modify a lot of her recipes and don't bother to make the rest (she cooks with a lot of cheese and beef), but I'm addicted to reading everything she writes. She's funny, quippy and her pictures are some that I will never ever be able to aspire too...sigh. (This is not me being pessimistic, but realistic, thank you.)
In any case, a couple of months ago I made her cinnamon rolls. Then I died and realized that life was complete. Then I made them a second time the other weekend and they turned out even better.
My recipe follows hers almost to a T, but I made a couple modifications, or decreases, actually. She would probably kill me if she heard this, but I decreased the amount of butter and sugar- just way too much for me. In this recipe I've also halved her original, which makes about 4 dozen cinny rolls. My halving makes about 2 dozen. It is wise to make the entire batch because you can freeze them and trust me, you'll want them later. But, sometimes, we don't want that temptation lying around, frozen or not. Plus, I advice you to go to her recipe anyway and see her cinnamon roll post. Then explore her whole site. Finally, feel free to never come back to this blog again because looking at her blog is like eating a homemade cinnamon roll and comparatively, mine will "taste" like that store bought kind. Again,not pessimism, just fact.
Let's get on with it, shall we?

Combine 2 cups whole mike (I'm still experimenting with using low fat.), 1/2 cup canola oil and 1/2 cup sugar. Scald the mixture (get it almost boiling, but not all the way- otherwise the milk will create this weird crusty film thing on the top. Why is milk so weird?!) Then, let the mixture sit on the stove until it's lukewarm. The type of pot you use will determine how long it takes to get to this point. The outside of the pot and the actual liquid should be warm, not hot to your touch.

When the mixture is warm, add 1 packet of active dry yeast.

Let this sit for a minute while you scoop 4 cups of all purpose flour and dump it into the pot.

Cover this concoction and let it sit for an hour while you play on facebook, pay your bills, or go for a run. (I encourage the last one- helps with the guilt you'll feel later.) And while we're on the topic of running, soon I'm going to post a book review on a book about'll love it.
Where was I?
Oh yeah, 1 hour later...

Add 1/2 cup of flour, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir it up!

Generously flour a board, lovely granite counter top, etc. Grab your rolling pin, and flour it. (Let's pause for a funny story: The second time I made these I did it at work. I had no granite island and no rolling pin- I thought everyone owned a rolling pin. I did this on an oversized cutting board and used a drinking glass to roll the dough. It was ridiculous. However, where there is a will, there is a way. Cinnamon rolls are worth this.)

Break the dough into two balls and roll one out into a long rectangle. This is sort of a rectangle. Yes, I did actually learn my shapes in kindergarten.

You want it pretty thin, but not so thin that the dough starts to become transparent.

Now for the delicious part #1...drizzle 1/2 stick melted butter and 1/3-1/2 cup sugar onto the rectangle. Next, sprinkle cinnamon all over the dough- you can use as much or as little as you want...don't get all freaked out because i didn't give you a measurement. Roll with the freedom, my little chefs.

Grabbing the long end furthest from you, roll the dough towards you, like a jelly roll. Make sure it's pretty tight. Next, cut the dough into 3/4 inch pieces.

Repeat the rolling, sprinkling, cutting with that second ball of dough.
Place the little cuties into a well greased circular, or square baking dish. Yoiu can use glass, metal, or disposable. I like to use the disposable ones (you can get them in the baking section of the store) for two reasons. First, they usually come with lids and second, they make them easy to freeze and give away.

Let them rest for 20-30 minutes (put a towel over them, if ya like.)

Then, bake these guys at 350 for about 18 minutes, depending on how many are in there and how large they are.

We're not done yet!
While they're baking, mix 1/2 bag of powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, 2 tablespoons melted butter and 1/4 cup of milk. Make sure all those lumps are gone and when your rolls are cooled, drizzle on that frosting. can freeze the rolls before you bake them, take them out when you decide you need a fix, and hen bake them and frosting them.
I know this seems like a lot of steps. Okay, it IS a lot of steps, but some of them are not time invasive, and hello, they're cinnamon rolls...totally worth it.

Mini Turkey Bacon-Sweet Potato Quiches

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I am alive, I swear. I also promise that I've been running and occasionally cooking something that doesn't consist of throwing something packaged in the oven and tossing together a bagged salad. We are in the final week of school, people, and sacrifices must be made. That includes me never having enough time to get creative with meals and even less time (or brain cells) to remember to photograph what I make and then actually write about it here. See, when the only thing your classes want you to do is write...for hours on end...about your feelings, other people's feelings and the lack of everyone's's tough to muster up enough urge to go into the blogging world and, well, write .
But let's give it up because today is the LAST day of school (until January that is.) Let's celebrate that with the first of many posts headed your way.
Last weekend I co-chaired a cookie exchange- ever been to one?- for my volunteer club. This was a simple, no volunteering, "let's just have fun" event, but I had the pleasure of making a lot of the food for it.
I served two types of french toast casserole and mini turkey bacon sweet potato quiches.

Aren't they cute?
One of my major cooking problems is my issue with pie crust. I have the worst time getting it laid out and into the pie plate nicely and anyone who saw me try would take away my cooking badge and realize I am a huge fake. So, I thought, why can't I just make these quiches mini and make my life a little easier?
I can and I did.
DId I mention how cute these are? Or how cute any food is when you miniaturize it.
As if you would expect anything else from me, I did not put any cheese in these. I know, you're shocked. If you felt so inclined, I suppose you could put in some gruyere or maybe a smoked white cheddar. But, please, whatever you do, if you must add cheese, for heaven sake do not add cheddar. I think it would ruin the whole bacon sweet potato thing...these were a hit. 25 people said so.

Makes 24-28 average muffin sized quiches
The Pioneer Woman's pie crust
1 sweet potato (roasted in a 400 degree oven until tender)
1 pkg turkey bacon
1.2 onion, finely chopped
16 eggs
1/2 cup milk: you can use any kind, and/or a combo of half and half
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dill

Cook turkey bacon until slightly brown. Remove from pan and add diced onion. Cut turkey bacon and sweet potato into bite sized pieces.
Meanwhile, butter/spray your muffin tins. Take your chilled pie crust dough and form them into mini quiche cups, just like you would a large pie plate.
In a large bowl, mix up eggs, milk and seasonings. When cooled, add bacon, potato and onion to eggs. Mix well.
With a measuring cup, pour eggs into crusted muffin tins.
Bake at 375 until eggs are fully set and crust is golden, about 20 minutes.

Serve immediately with fruit salad and breakfast potatoes, if desired.

Butternut Squash soup

Friday, November 5, 2010

There are certain things I will never ever be able to get my sister to eat. Butternut squash (in any form) is on that epic list. Even doused in ranch I think she’d turn me down. On nights like this where I say, “I don’t care that she has a pallete of an 8 year old” I direct her to the frozen mac and cheese and I serve butternut squash soup to everyone else. I hadn’t made it until last year and I cannot imagine life without it. I am blessed with a Vitamix which makes this recipe easier than heating up mac and cheese. I’ve modified the recipe from my Vitamix recipe book and the flavor is great. I’ve tried a few other canned and boxed soups and I have yet to find one that doesn’t make this recipe worth my time.
The secret and the key: a roasted apple. Just do it. Then make some apple cinnamon bread, slab it with honey and soy butter and remind yourself why you’ve progressed from the taste buds of an 8 year old...not that we all don’t need the occasional mac and cheese (a vegan, cheeseless one will be here soon- go ahead and get all 90‘s on me and say I’m trippin’).
1 apple (honeycrisp, fuji, gala preferred)
1 medium to large butternut squash
1 large carrot
1 medium yellow or sweet onion
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 box broth- veggie or chicken

Preheat oven to 425.
Cut squash into large chunks. Cut carrot, apple and onion in half. Leave garlic whole. Place in a large rectangular baking dish.
Sprinkle with olive oil and salt and pepper.
Roast until squash is tender.

Place all roasted ingredients in Vitamix or food processor. Add broth. Set on high and blend until smooth.

My comfort cookie

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ahhhh...pumpkin cookies. Feel free to text me right now and tell me how much you love me so I’ll feel compelled to send you some. Not that there are any left- I need to make another batch. That’s how it goes around here every October/November...I’m constantly baking single batches of pumpkin cookies because i never ever want them to go to waste, In reality, I could probably quadruple the batch and they would still disappear.
These cookies are definitely one of my top 5 “things i grew up with that remind me of everything good about being a kid.” My mom used to make the with raisins, which to me, are a sin in cookies. Many years ago we jumped on the trendy bandwagon and stopped using raisins and used dried cranberries. And hello, there is no other way to do it. Plus with the orange zest you’re gonna put in the cookies and the squeezed orange you’re going to put in the icing (yes, icing)- there will be no topping that combo.
I advise you to make these cake like cookies for any type of function you’re bound to attend. They come together quickly and I think I’ve only met one person in my whole life who hasn’t liked them. I don’t think I'm friends with them anymore.

Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

I have about five recipes begging me to post them. And every day I told myself I would do it, but then I'd leave my camera at home...every single day. See, when you leave the house at 6:15 am and it's still dark outside, you forget things; your camera, lunch, running shoes for the gym, half your brain, etc. The camera happened to be on that list all week.
My apologies.
Let the string of Fall recipes begin now...

I don’t know if you’re aware, but October is finally October around here. The bbq is currently collecting dust and my sister is cursing me for going into a baking frenzy; supplying her with a bounty of cookie stones and casserole dishes to clean. (At least she gets to eat pumpkin cookies when she’s done- those will be up here tomorrow!)

I started the week deciding that rain and cold weather put me in such a nesting mood that I should make all the dinners for the week. I am sure glad I did because meetings, studying and, eh hem, the World Series (Go Giants) are keeping me busy.
Monday night brought us this classic Chicken Noodle Soup and dumplings. I will tell you the dumplings are straight from a box of Heart Healthy Bisquik. Yes, you heard me. I have a tendency to get all June Cleaver and decide that I should make things from scratch when in reality, it is the biggest pain in my butt and I could be doing a million other things. Then I cut corners in other places when in reality they would only take me an extra few seconds. Would you like an example? On a normal day I would roast my own chicken for this soup to create homemade broth, plus i would hunt for a recipe for homemade dumplings. On the other hand, I would say, “screw peeling these carrots, I’m going to leave them looking ugly and throw them in.” Insanity. A pre roasted chicken was $1 less than an uncooked one. Now I know I wasted plastic on that pre roasted chicken and I am all about making stuff from scratch because it’s calming and lovely and better for Mother Earth, but sometimes we have to cut a few corners to make our lives run a little smoother. I’m patting myself on the back for recognizing this and buying a free range organic pre roasted chicken. I peeled those carrots, which took about 12 seconds and the soup turned out great. I modified this from a Tyler Florence recipe I’ve been using since I first started making chicken soup when I lived in Portland with my lovely friend Megan and we would eat soup for days because 1. it wasn’t fast food and 2. it was cheap.
Some notes:
Feel free to use whatever broth you have lying around- I highly recommend buying that stuff whenever it’s on sale.
Also, I really, really, really like the fresh thyme, but you could use dried. I used chopped dried bay leaf, but you could use whole ones.
Finally, this original recipe did not call for garlic, but seriously why isn’t garlic in every recipe? Except maybe apple pie...stick some in the soup.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1 teaspoon dried, chopped bay leaf
2 boxes of pre made chicken stock
8 ounces dried wide egg noodles
1 roasted or boiled chicken- shredded and cut into bite sized pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place a soup pot over medium heat and coat with the oil. Add the carrot first and let sit for a couple of minutes. Then add the onion, garlic, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Cook and stir for about 6-8 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Pour in the chicken stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the noodles and simmer for 5 minutes until tender. Fold in the chicken, and continue to simmer for another couple of minutes to heat through; season with salt and pepper. You can leave this on low for about an hour to really let it set. This soup freezes well.For dumplings, follow the recipe on the side of the Heart Healthy Bisquick box, or be awesome and find your own recipe.
Serves about 6-8

Fake Fall is here to stay.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

One of these days the weather around here will actually match the season it's supposed to be in.
Until then...
You can make, or just look at, this chicken pasta Caesar salad that I really think is one of my favorite meals. It satisfies those who wouldn't qualify a salad as a meal (with the meat and pasta additions) but is still light enough to serve on a 90 degree October day. (Unbelievable)

Cook between 1/2-3/4 a box of swirly corkscrew pasta (whole wheat preferred). Make sure to throw a dash of oil and salt into the hot water so that the pasta doesn't stick together and has flavor. When cooked, throw it into a LARGE bowl (large enough for the whole salad) and put it in the fridge to cool.

Now you're going to want to get two free range organic chicken breasts out of the fridge (yes I am using passive aggressive blogging to get you to buy REAL chicken- not the kind they fill with hormones) and tenderize/pound it. Sprinkle it with a little oil, salt, pepper and dried basil (just use your eye here, people) and throw it onto your hot barbie.

Hello there, pretty little chicken. (It takes about 15 minutes total to get to this point.)

While that chicken sits on a plate underneath some foil for 10 minutes, chop up two bunches of romaine lettuce (or cut open a bag) and toss it with your beautiful cherry tomatoes that are still growing like it's August. You can just toss in a pack of cherry tomatoes, or two regular tomatoes if you don't have any tommys basking in your garden.

Now, cut (into cubes) up 1/2 loaf of good sourdough/french/some other kind of delicious bread. Ya know how when you cook with wine they say to never use one you wouldn't drink? Same is true for these fab croutons you're gonna make- use a bread you would eat. with lasagna, baked chicken, olive oil and balsamic...mmmm. Anyway, cut those chicken breasts while you're at it and at the lettuce, tims and chicken to that big bowl of pasta.

In a large skillet, heated on medium high, drop in 1-2 tablespoons butter or olive oil (some people like there croutons a little crunchier, so use more "fat") When the "fat" completely melts, toss the cubed bread into the pan- they should not overlap: give that bread some space to breathe, and heat and get all pretty and delicious.

Leave these alone- don't touch them and let them get golden- this takes several minutes.

Now for the final touches: put everything into that giant bowl and add one jar of julienned sun dried tomatoes, drained. Toss this all around and add Caesar dressing. You want to start with 1/4 cup and add more depending on if you liek to slightly taste your dressing or if you are the kind who likes to taste the dressing and say "hmmm, is that lettuce in here somewhere?"

And there you have it, a Summer Dinner, fit for Fake Fall.

Run: October 2010 #1

Monday, October 4, 2010

What's with the #1 in the title?
And you're now thinking, "um I didn't even realize there was a #1 in the title. I never read your titles...or your posts. I just look for pictures of food."
It's okay, I'm not judging.
However, the #1 is there for a reasons. I'm running 3 races this month. Yes, 3. don't even ask me how much money this month is costing me.
If you'll recall, I lived up the slacker status in July and didn't do a run, so one of those runs will make up for that and the third run this month is for no particular reason. Well sorta. It's a mud run. How could I even begin to pass up that?!

In any case, this past weekend I ran the Urban Cow- what a fun race! The beauty of it is the fact that there are a 5k, 1/2 marathon relay and 1/2 marathon. My faithful local running buddy, Erin, and her mom, along with one of Erin's friends, and I split ourselves into two relay teams. If you're trying to do the math, that's 6.55 miles per person.
I realize I've run a lot more than that at one time- 6.55 miles more, but I was SCARED for this race. Really scared. On Saturday night I acted like a 5 year old, whining and complaining about getting up early and running that far. What a pansy!
Nevertheless, running is not like riding a bike and you do, or at least I, totally lose my running momentum if I don't stay with it. My runs have been hit or miss this summer and never more than 4ish miles- pathetic for someone who ran a 1/2 marathon this year. I won't give you the list of excuses, but I'm trying to promise myself I will never ever go that long without running 6 miles. I'm not gonna lie, mile 5 kinda killed me and I could not get my mind over my negative thought hump. I was doing so well; loving life, thinking of all the fab things I was doing for my bod and how lucky I was and then I just lost all that positivity in a sea of negative thought trash. Lesson learned.
All in all, gorgeous morning, great course, cool shirts, ridiculous cowbell souvenis and a burrito coupon from Chipotle- not too shabby of a race.

Hello, Fall

Friday, September 24, 2010

Welcome to Fall.
Yes I am excited, despite the fact that it will be 90 something degrees this weekend- so not Fall.
I am ready for sweaters, hot coffee, boots; oh how I missed my boots, CROCKPOT!, butternut squash soup, an excuse to bake because pumpkin is in season, changing trees, heated mattress pads...I could go on.
Please remind me of this list when I have to replace my windshield wipers and my backpack is drenched on the way to class and I'm tired of eating soup for dinner and I've gained 5 lbs. because I can't run in 30 degree weather, get sad about it and shove 1200 pumpkin muffins into my face all day long.
But that is later.
For now I am sharing my first fall baking experience.
Yesterday I made chocolate chip banana bread with a special ingredient (I'll share in a couple of days) and Pumpkin scones. Yeah you read that correctly and they are as good as they sound.
I got the recipe from my favorite recipe blog, but I used whole wheat flour instead of all purpose, and low fat buttermilk.

I also turned them into complete magic with a topping. I debated drizzling a powdered sugar/squeezed orange icing on them, but opted for this instead:cinnamon sugar glaze.
Soften 1 tablespoon of butter and mix with 1 tablespoon table sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. (You can play with the ratios, depending on what you like.) Mix with a fork and spread over each scone with a knife. When you're ready to eat, put the scone in the microwave for a bit- 15 seconds-ish, so the scone will get warm and soft and the butter-sugar combo can melt a little. Helloooo, Fall.

Eggplant Hummus

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Apparently all I eat is hummus, which is not true (I have a pasta salad recipe on Friday to disprove that), but here I go with a hummus recipe, nonetheless.

My neighbor gave me some homegrown eggplants and green peppers; the latter were used for chicken fajitas on Monday- yum! I reserved one eggplant (Chinese variety, I think?) for a grilled eggplant sandwich and used the other for this hummus.
The one down fall: I made this at work, with a blender from 1999, and it just doesn't work like my fancy schmancy vitamix. I honestly will never make this hummus in a blender again because the eggplant is just a little too tough to pulse it's way through that blender blade. And really, how can you top that smoothness the glorious vitamix gives you?

Nevertheless, follow my same ingredients from the zucchini hummus, just use an eggplant instead, and this time I added a little red pepper flake, which really hit the spot.

Slice that lovely eggplant and prick every slice with a fork.

Then, add it to a baking dish and drizzle it with some EVOO. (Roast the eggplant at 400 degrees until it is brown an)d slightly soft.

Then, use these lovely ingredients to make the hummus.

Run: September 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I did not do a run in July (gasp!) Life got busy and I have no other excuse. I forgot to take pictures of my race in August, but I swear I did one.
Then came September and I actually did a race AND took a picture to prove it. Well, technically this is just a pic of Erin and me before our race, but we really did run.

The race benefited the Me: One foundation, which provides camps for families afflicted by cancer. The best part is that the race was 2 blocks from Erin's house- that never happens!

It was a 5k, with a really profound and motivational speech before the race. As we ran in the hot Sunday morning weather, with more hills than I expected, I tried to think of how lucky I am to have a body that lets me run, day after day anytime I want. And what's more, one that lets me take a break and eat bad food, drink wine, go to bed late, wake up early, sit in comfy chairs with bad posture and watch tv like it's good for thankful for what your body does for you.

Me: 1
Cancer: 1 (that's the little slogan)

Grilled zucchini hummus

This is zucchini.

And it's grilled.

Please say hello.
It is from a beautiful garden, sliced, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and cooked on the grill until soft and tattooed with those lovely grill marks.

This is zucchini hummus.
It deserves a bigger hello than that plain zucchini.

How do you make it?
Drain 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)- does anyone know why they have two names? And toss them in a blender/food processor/vitamix. Add a good squeeze of fresh lemon, one clove garlic, salt, pepper and about 3 small grilled zucchini, or one monster one. If it's a really large zucchini, eat some of it while you're making the hummus- there is little better than grilled summer veggies enjoyed right off the cutting board.
If you have tahini, add about a tablespoon, but I didn't have any and it turned out just fine. Grind everything together and add a stream of olive oil until it reaches the consistency, and flavor, you like. This is an art, not a science. Taste and decide when it's ready.

Then, throw it on veggies.

And place it on a plate with a grilled portobello mushroom topped with basil yogurt sauce. (More on that later in the week.)

Easy Caprese

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I can't believe I went this long without a post...again. But school just started and the last couple of weeks have been a lot of "I already posed that on my blog" and "this isn't real cooking" meals, so anyway, those are my excuses.
This is a traditional caprese salad.
Yes, that is cheese. Real cheese. And when I say real, I mean real. Not that crap mozzerella they give you in plastic and try to pass off as real, despite how salty and firm it is. REAL mozzerella is sometimes packed in water or at the very least its packaging isn't as airtight- you can feel it is a little slippery and it is pretty soft.
I don't eat a lot cheese when I have this, but I usually fancy a little slice becuase it is pretty darn good. I reccommend using tomatoes and basil fresh from your garden, but we all can't be lucky enough to live with our parents and have a mom who will plant us an endless supply of those things, but at least get them from a Farmers Market. This salad is so simple that you really do need quality ingredients.

Caprese Salad
serves 4

3 roma or regular tomatoes
12 basil leaves
1/2 ball of mozzarella cheese
3 tablespoons EXTRA VIRGIN olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a medium skillet. Place vinegar in and stand back- the smell is strong. Let heat until it bubbles and turns into a syrup- you'll know what I mean. You can skip this step, but it really makes this salad special.

While the vinegar cooks, slice the tomatoes and cheese (you want the cheese pretty thin).
Roll the basil leaves like a cigar (like I know how to do that?! That's just what everyone always says) and chiffonade. Here's a demonstration:

Place tomatoes on a serving platter and top with thin slices of cheese.
Sprinkle basil on top.
Drizzle EVOO and balsamic syrup.
Throw on a dask of salt and pepper.


Bello Burgers

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sorry, sorry, sorry! I am a terrible blogger. I promise I will have a couple new recipes this week.

Here is a portobello veggie burger I tried two, three (?) weeks ago.

It's from I gotta say, those magazines have a lot of recipes in their monthly editions and online. I highly suggest browsing them if you need a quick and simple meal, or even some ideas to stimulate your creative brain so you can create your own recipes.

See this link for the recipe. I used olive oil instead of canola and omitted the paprika because, well, I didn't have any. I served these on whole wheat buns (duh).

Wedding Weekend

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I thought I would share a few food highlights from my trip to Boise. This past weekend marked the celebration of Maddie and Caloub's wedding...I cannot believe the special day is over and that one of my best friend's is married!

Without a doubt, we had no trouble finding delicious food to munch on this's a smattering for you.

The beautiful rehearsal dinner set up.

The kabobs for the rehurs din

Purple potato salad and pasta with chickpea salad

Tiramisu, Lemoncillo and Chocolate Mousse

California Eggs Benedict and

Orange Caramel French Toast from La Vie en Rose (love this place)

Smoked Chicken Sandwich from a new fav, Focaccia