Tag Archives: yum

It Ain’t Easy Being Green, Spring Stir Fry

Sometimes desperation comes in the form of “I don’t want to go to the grocery store or farmer’s market today.”  And so, this modification of a 101cookbooks.com recipe was born…from the stuff I already had in my fridge and herb garden.

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Green, Spring Stir Fry

  • toasted sesame oil
  • 8 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into slices thick as a pencil
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • scant 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (peeled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 # asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • a couple big pinches of fine-grain sea salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • a few handfuls of chopped kale
  • zest and juice of one lemon and one lime
  • 2 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
  • 1 small handful fresh mint, slivered
  • 1 small handful fresh basil, slivered

When you are frying, stir-fry, the biggest advantages you can give yourself to combat ending up with a soggy-fry is to have all your ingredients prepped and within arms reach of the stove AND a smoking hot pan ready to dump them in to…sometimes a non-stick wok is not the best for this…but do the best you can with what you have.

Heat a splash of sesame oil in a large pan, or well-seasoned wok over medium high heat. When it is hot, add the tofu, and cook until golden – a few minutes. Remove the tofu from the pan and set aside.

Add another (generous) splash of oil to the pan and, as soon as it is hot, add the onions, ginger, red pepper flakes, asparagus, and salt. Stir fry for about a minute, then add the garlic, kale and stir-fry for another minute, or until the spinach wilts. Return the tofu to the pan. Stir in the lemon zest and juice and the Hoisin sauce. Cook for another 10-20 seconds, stirring all the while.  Serve immediately.  My favorite way to serve this is over cold Soba noodles.

Rummaged Flatbread

Some nights I just don’t feel like cooking.  Really.  Yes, even me.  Which is why I’m thankful that I am competitive enough to make a game out of what I can scavenge from the fridge to pull dinner off.  Mr. Wonderful loves anything in the family of pizza.  So naan is a great quick pizza crust and Costco has the best deal on naan in the free world.  Enter naan from freezer and let the creative juices flow.  The most difficult part about this recipe is the patience it takes to caramelize the onions…chop them up and toss into a fry pan over very, very low, for a very long time.  You can vacuum, do dishes, watch some YouTube videos in the mean time.  Hell, get crazy and read a real book.

Here’s a quick flatbread recipe as rummaged from the fridge/freezer/pantry:

Grilled Asparagus, White Bean and Caramelized Onion Flatbread

  • 1 very large onion, any type, chopped finely into half circles (approx 2 C raw)
  • 1 bunch asparagus trimmed and washed
  • 1 C Provolone cheese, grated (goat or gorgonzola cheese would be better here, but none in the fridge, alas)
  • 4 C white beans, cooked or 2 cans, drained-reserve this liquid in case your hummus is too thick and you can drizzle some in (I pulled these from my freezer-reserve 3/4 C to sprinkle on TOP of flatbread, the rest will be used for “hummus” for the sauce on the flatbread)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2-3 T Tahini (or just use a little of the juice from the beans if you don’t have this in your cupboard)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano or a handful fresh
  • 1/2 tsp dried cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried chipotle or red pepper flakes, omit if you are not pro-heat
  • 2 T lemon juice, fresh squeezed preferred, but that little plastic lemon kind won’t kill you here
  • salt to taste, this will take more than you think…white beans have little flavor
  • EVOO
  • 2 pieces commercial naan bread

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Cut up onion, toss in hot frying pan with a swig of EVOO, then turn way, way down to low.  Here is where the patience comes in…now, wait.  Stirring every 15 minutes or so.  Caramelized onions take TIME.  Like, an hour or so.  Good news, you don’t have to do anything to them except poke around at them every quarter hour….seriously quit your complaining.
Take the following ingredients and zap them in the food processor until smooth:
white beans (minus 3/4 C for topping of flatbread)
lemon juice
garlic cloves
pinch of salt
You just made white bean hummus which is the “sauce” for the flatbread.
Asparagus should be washed, trimmed and tossed with a splash of EVOO, then turned out onto a hot grill, or in a grill pan until just warm, they should be crispy, semi-raw still, they will be cooked again in a hot second.
Fire the naan for a few minutes in a 400 degree oven to crisp it up just a little.
Now assemble:
Apply “sauce” to naan bread, then onions, reserved white beans, asparagus and top with provolone cheese.  Toss back into hot oven until cheese melts.   Season with a bit of black pepper.

An Inspired Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Stout Cake with Peanut ButterCream Frosting

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Adapted from Donna Hay

#author’s note: you will need a small scale to measure some of these items, I converted to US measure where possible.


  • 1 C Guinness or any other stout beer
  • 225g butter, chopped into small pieces
  • ¾ C cocoa, sifted
  • 2 eggs at room temp
  • 2/3 C sour cream, light is okay
  • 2 C plain, all-purpose flour sifted
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda, sifted
  • 2 C superfine sugar

Peanut ButterCream Frosting:

  • 1 C confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 C smooth peanut butter
  • 80g butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 C heavy whipping cream


Preheat oven to 325. Place the stout and butter in a saucepan over medium heat and stir to dissolve butter.  Remove from heat and whisk in cocoa.  Set aside.

Whisk together the eggs and sour cream.  Add to the stout mixture with the flour, soda, sugar and whisk to combine.  Pour into a lightly greased loaf pan lined with non stick baking or parchment paper.  Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.  Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the peanut butter frosting, place the sugar, peanut butter, butter and vanilla in an electric mixer and beat for 6 minutes or until light and fluffy.  Add the cream and beat for a further 2 minutes.  Spread the peanut butter frosting over the cake and then serve.

You can also make these as cupcakes.  Cook for approximately 20-30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

Faux Chicken BBQ Pizza

I’m not a huge faux meat fan.  I don’t eat meat because, I don’t want to, not because I want to eat something that tastes like it, but isn’t it.  Did that make sense?  At any rate, there are a few things I do miss about being vegetarian:

1.  Bacon

2.  Chicken Hot Wings

3.  Tuna Steak

4.  Barbecued Turkey

I discovered this product at Whole Foods on my last jaunt to Ann Arbor, and thought I’d give it a try.  That trip was about 5 months ago, so it keeps well in the freezer although I think it was sold in the fresh case, by the lunch meat etc.

Mostly, gardein bbq pulled shreds tasted like, well bbq sauce.  The “meat” didn’t have flavor, in fact, after I ate it, THEN I went back to see what it actually was, you know like any responsible consumer-vital wheat gluten, or Seitan in the veg world, which I can make at home.  All-in-all, not an offensive product.  I think it gave Mr. Wonderful his bbq pork/chicken fix for a little while and it was a quick dinner after a long day.  I love this idea of “pulled pork” or whatever and think next time, I will try my own homemade bbq sauce which is much lower in sugar and “pull” my own Seitan.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

Faux Chicken BBQ Pizza

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat up bbq shreds according to package directions, from frozen it took just 3 minutes on high.

Put naan directly on oven grate for 1-2 minutes until a little crisp.

Add bbq shreds, onion, grated cheese onto the naan then pop back into the oven until cheese is melty and naan is crispy.

Don’t forget your napkin.

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When life gives you over-ripe bananas, find an egg replacement and add a few walnuts to make Vegan Banana Bread

I’ve been a vegetarian for quite some time now, and I have always had strong feelings about going vegan, as in, I’d really love to and then I start thinking…of cheese, eggs and Greek yogurt.

Confession:  I am a dairy whore.  The thought of not eating Habanero Mango Cheese from Horrocks ever again frankly makes me nearly faint.  Like most things, jumping in to a vegan lifestyle with both feet is so scary, so I will make small changes where possible and hopefully will get there someday.

My friends Kolene (@suckahpunch) and Jon (@jon_dunn) however, have basically jumped in head first.  I’m so proud of them.  They began a Twitter group Vegan GR (@vegangr) and a website where they scope out vegan friendly restaurants and vendors around GR and basically run around doing good all day long.  I’m serious.  Case in point, Kolene’s birthday wish is raising money for Carol’s Ferals a non-profit feline organization which performs TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) services in Western Michigan and Jon works for Best Friends Animal Society  where he is the wizard behind their online presence.  I know, right?  You want to hate them, but you cannot help but love these people!  I don’t even LIKE cats and I gave to Kolene’s birthday wish.  They are compelling people for the case of a vegan lifestyle.  Lots of give in those two.  They inspire me to try, at least sometimes, to foster a vegan diet and so perhaps with their help, I will kick my dairy habit and become a vegan too.

I’ve posted vegan baked goods on this blog in the past (Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles) from PPK’s Isa Chandra, but this recipe I took from this little cutie named Claire who runs this blog called Vegan Cooking.  Check her out and while you are at it, bake a vegan dessert like this one I’m giving to Kolene for her birthday.

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Vegan Banana Nut Bread

  • 1 3/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Cup Demerera Sugar (I subbed brown sugar)
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans or Walnuts
  • Equivalent of 2 Eggs Using Egg Replacer (I used 1T Golden Ground Flax Seed Sprinkles which I picked up at TJ Maxx of all places for about $3, mixed with 3T tap water)
  • 2-3 Ripe Bananas Mashed
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 tsp Fresh Ground Nutmeg


Preheat oven to 350°F.
Sift together dry ingredients. Stir in nuts, egg replacer, bananas, oil and vanilla. Mix well.
Pour into greased loaf pan and bake for 45-60 mins (until knife comes out clean). Cool for 5 mins before removing from pan. Cool on wire rack.

Celebration Sunday!

This is a two for one blog post today.  Last minute plans had Mr. Wonderful and I running to Lansing for the weekend to celebrate his kid sister FINALLY (as her father puts it) graduating from MSU, Mother’s Day, Mr. Wonderful’s mother’s birthday, and my new job.  Whew!  Nice to celebrate!

I’m going to air a little dirty laundry, The Wonderful Family is a little bit difficult to pin down in terms of actual PLANS, so late Friday night we decided on brunch at the Wonderful’s Farm (#walterthewonderdog loves it there).  My portion of brunch was relatively painless and I made it ahead.  Goat Cheese & Asparagus Strata and Paula Deen’s Baked French Toast Casserole.  Win-win.

Warning these are not healthy recipes!


  • 1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons Splenda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Dash salt
  • Praline Topping, recipe follows
  • Maple syrup

Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. (Use any extra bread for garlic toast or bread crumbs). Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla,cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.


  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons light agave nectar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Makes enough for Baked French Toast Casserole.

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Goat Cheese Asparagus Strata

Adapted from Epicurious.com’s Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Strata

  • 18 slices firm white bread (original recipe calls for English muffin bread crust free, I used French with crust)
  • 1 # asparagus tips, chopped
  • 8 ounces Dancing Goat, goat cheese from Dogwood Farms in Byron Center , crumbled
  • 4 ounces provolone, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 6 T thinly sliced fresh basil or 3 T dried
  • 6 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced*
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 c half and half
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 T butter, melted

Line bottom of 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish completely with 1 layer of bread, cutting some slices to fit. Arrange half of prosciutto evenly over bread. Sprinkle half of goat cheese and half of provolone over. Sprinkle with half of green onions and half of basil. Top with second layer of bread. Layer remaining prosciutto, goat cheese, provolone, green onions, and basil atop bread. Cut remaining bread into 1/4-inch cubes. Sprinkle over top.

Whisk eggs, milk, mustard, and salt in bowl. Season with pepper. Pour egg mixture over strata; press down on bread with spatula. Drizzle melted butter over strata. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Uncover strata and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Bake until center is set, about 1 hour. Remove from oven. Preheat broiler. Place strata under broiler until top is golden, about 30 seconds. Cut into large squares and serve.

*for your meat-eating friends

Macaroni and Love, er, I Mean Cheese

Many requests for this recipe.  Lori got it from Martha and made some changes, then I’ve made some changes.  I hope you decide to make it your own too.

Macaroni & Cheese

Adapted from Martha Stewart and Lori Peterson

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ C Panko bread crumbs
  • 5 ½ C skim milk
  • ½ C flour (any type)
  • 1 T Braggs Aminos (could also use Soy Sauce)
  • ½ tsp Coleman’s Ground Mustard
  • Pinch of fresh ground Nutmeg
  • Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
  • 6 oz sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 6 oz white Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz smoked Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz light or ff cream cheese
  • 4 oz Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 pound whole grain pasta, cooked al dente

Heat oven to 375.  Butter a large, deep casserole dish.  If you use a 9 x 13 pan, make sure when you bake it, you put a jelly roll pan with sides under it, the pan will overflow and you can save your oven.

Melt the butter, reserve 2 T with Panko breadcrumb in small dish and set aside.

In medium saucepan, heat milk.  Add rest of melted butter from above, and slowly whisk flour into this mixture.  Stir until becomes bubbly and thickens a little.

Remove pan from heat and stir in spices and all cheeses, MINUS the Parmesan.  Stir in cooked pasta, transfer into your prepared dish/pan.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and Panko.  Bake until brown and bubbly, approximately 30 minutes.  Cool slightly and serve.

#author’s note:  just about any combination of cheeses will work here.  I love Applewood Smoked Cheddar or Colby Jack in this as well as Havarti, Gorgonzola, etc.  Create your own cheese flavor profile.  Just follow the approximate measures above and do not sub for the cream cheese, you need that one.

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Milk Chocolate Banana Peanut Pancakes

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Alright, this recipe doesn’t need a fancy narrative, it just needs you to take your sweet self into the kitchen and make it now-yes, you can eat breakfast for dinner.


  • 1 1/2 C all purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 tsp baking POWDER
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 1/4 C milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 very ripe banana cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 handful milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 handful peanuts or walnuts (unsalted)
  • 3 T melted butter (optional)
  • 1 T vanilla (optional)

whisk together dry ingredients.

make a well for wet ones, gradually add wet to dry ingredients

poor by 1/4 C onto hot (375 degree) griddle

drop sprinkles of banana, chips and nuts into batter

flip just once after tons of bubbles appear

slather with butter, dust with powdered sugar if you are a diva or syrup like Mr Wonderful does and inhale

with leftover batter, for Walter the Wonderdog, I put just bananas and peanuts in the pancake…Bagels like Walter love pancakes too.

My new guilty pleasure: Horrocks

I’m sure this is old new to most of you, because I haven’t shut up about Horrocks for about 3 weeks now since my first visit to the grocer in Kentwood. My best find to date, besides their seed packets that are 40% “basically every day” according to the butcher in line behind me, is the Michigan grown lentils, peas and beans.

Horrocks carries Michigan grown and packaged dried items from Carlson-Arbogast Farm in Howard City (that’s 49329 for those of you keeping track). They even have a video on YouTube under the Michigan Farm Bureau Channel:

So what in the world do you do with dried beans?  Well, you soak them on a Saturday night over night, then get up on Sunday and cook them about 70% done (while you are ironing or doing laundry) drain, dry, cool and freeze in bags to add during the work week to delicious stoups, soups, stews, tacos, casseroles, curries, etc.  They will finish cooking in the pot of whatever delicious finished item you create.  Why do this?  Less sodium, a better quality, whole bean in your dish, AND they are CHEAP!  From one bag of great northern beans, dried, I got 9 ziploc bags of cooked beans (2C per bag) to enjoy.

Now if you will excuse me, I’m off to make a lentil stew with white beans from a local grower, surely by this time, you know who I am referring to.  Eat. More. Dried. Beans.  Save a few bucks, help a local grower, and serve a higher quality product.  Oh, and cross your fingers that Horrocks will hire me part-time this summer to feed my foodie addiction; I applied today.

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Tried and True. Asparagus Stir Fry.

In an effort to get Spring to hustle up a little, I bought asparagus today from my new fave food store Horrocks on 44th and Breton in Kentwood.  It’s not quite Whole Foods or Trader Joes, but it is a fine substitute.  When I saw asparagus was on sale, I started dreaming of my fave stir fry recipe from Heidi Swanson at 101cookbooks.com.  When I think of stir fry, I think of this recipe. Salty, sweet, crunchy, tart, easy to add ingredients to, a great clean out the fridge starter recipe and very, very pretty, super green.  It just reeks of good for you.  And if you serve it over soba noodles or brown rice, it will net you 2 dinners and 2 lunches.  Enjoy!

Asparagus Stir Fry

  • toasted sesame oil
  • 8 ounces extra-firm tofu, cubed 1/2″
  • 1 cup shelled edamame
  • 1 hand full pea pods
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped ginger (peeled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 bunches of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • a couple big pinches of fine-grain sea salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 big handful of toasted cashews, chopped up a bit
  • a few handfuls of spinach, or chopped kale, or chopped chard
  • zest and juice of two limes
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 small handful fresh mint, slivered
  • 1 small handful fresh Thai basil, slivered

Have all your ingredients prepped and within arms reach of the stove. Heat a splash of sesame oil in a large pan, or well-seasoned wok over medium high heat. Alternately, you can do this in a dry non-stick pan – one of the few occasions I still use non-stick. When it is hot, add the tofu, and cook until golden – a few minutes. Remove the tofu from the pan and set aside.

Add another (generous) splash of oil to the pan and, as soon as it is hot, add the onions, ginger, red pepper flakes, asparagus, edamame and salt. Stir fry for about a minute, then add the garlic, cashews, and spinach and stir-fry for another minute, or until the spinach wilts. Return the tofu to the pan. Stir in the lime zest and juice and the hoisin sauce. Cook for another 10-20 seconds, stirring all the while.

Remove from heat and stir in the mint and basil. Taste and add a bit more salt if needed.  I like to serve this over soba noodles or brown rice.

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Lentil. Loaf. Love.

I have pounds upon pounds of lentils lining the shelves of my kitchen.  No time like the present to cook up a lovely lentil loaf.  I searched high and low for a loaf that didn’t look like meat so much as it did a healthier version, grainy and textured.  Finally, after much loaf searching, I stumbled upon the blog:  eat me, delicious which really is clever and has a ton of really great recipes.  This week I will be cooking from that blog beginning with this loaf.

Lovely Lentil Loaf
Makes 4-6 servings

  • 3/4 cup dry red split lentils rinsed well (until no longer cloudy), cooked in 1 3/4 cups of veggie broth or water until just tender, not mushy
  • 1 cup oats-not quick cooking (or leftover rice, millet or bulgur) I went for Bob’s Red Mill brand, it was on sale at Meijer tonight.
  • 1 cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce (tomato sauce or salsa-I used Tastefully Simple’s Bayou Bourbon Sauce)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce or Tamari
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour mixture into a loaf pan or casserole dish, lined with foil and lightly oiled.
Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

As you can see with this formula the possibilities of add ins, etc are basically endless.

Your final product will be a firm, yet not heavy loaf that tastes delicious over smashed sweet potatoes…just sayin’.

Now get out there and love on some lentils!  This is Walter The Wonderdog approved.

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Math for comm students: hot + chocolate = Vegan Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles

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Math is basically why I don’t bake.  I suck at it.  Measuring, estimating, etc not exactly my strong points.  You should know that Communications students do not adhere to traditional mathematical principles.  Instead you get spicy sweet cookies.  Lucky YOU!  Don’t worry, they are Mr. Wonderful approved.

I’ve adopted Isa Chandra Moskowitz as my patron saint of all things food.  So this is from her website (www.theppk.com) and her best-selling book Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.  So, for Valentine’s Day, I give you:  Vegan Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles.  Love, cayenne, vanilla, cocoa and sugar…perfect.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles

Makes 2 dozen Cookies (I doubled it with ease in one KitchenAid Mixer bowl)

A beautiful crackle topped chocolate cookie with a spicy cayenne kick and a sugary cinnamon coating.

For the topping:
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the cookies:
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons almond milk (Or your preferred non-dairy milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon chocolate extract (or more vanilla extract if you have no chocolate)
1 2/3 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili pepper powder (find it at Penzey’s Spices)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Mix the topping ingredients together on a flat plate. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, use a fork to vigorously mix together oil, sugar, syrup, and milk. Mix in extracts.

Sift in remaining ingredients, stirring as you add them. Once all ingredients are added mix until you’ve got a pliable dough.

Roll dough into walnut sized balls. Pat into the sugar topping to flatten into roughly 2 inch discs. Transfer to baking sheet, sugar side up, at least 2 inches apart (they do spread). This should be easy as the the bottom of the cookies should just stick to your fingers so you can just flip them over onto the baking sheet.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, they should be a bit spread and crackly on top. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

I put that shit on everything…

Dear Frank’s RedHot,

Thank you for choosing simple ingredients and powerful flavors to create your sauce.  I eat that shit on everything, for real.  Here’s my Super Bowl Sunday dinner:  grilled sharp cheddar/swiss cheese on home baked bread with a side of Frank’s Red Hot.  That is all.

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Salt + Chocolate = YUM

I was doing some housekeeping of  my Google Reader, getting rid of stuff I don’t actually read, feeds I don’t care about and more importantly setting up my RSS feeds for Craigslist items I need around the house, when I happened upon a delicious blog I have neglected for 49 posts (sorry!) called Bake or Break.  Zipping through the posts, the first thing that caught my eye was Salted Fudge Brownies and the first thought I had was Must. Make. Now.  And so I did.

Keeping true to my inability to actually just make a recipe without changing stuff, I made them a little spicy.  I am sure the delicious factor was increased and not sacrificed.  🙂  Enjoy.

  • 1 & 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, letting the excess hang over the edges. Lightly butter the foil. 

Melt butter and chocolate on low heat on the stovetop in a saucepan or in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl. Remove from heat or microwave. One at a time, whisk in cocoa, chipotle powder, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and flour. Pour into prepared pan. Smooth the top of the batter. Sprinkle salt over top of batter. Using a butter knife, swirl salt into brownie batter.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until edges are set and center is a bit soft. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out with a little batter coating it.

Cool at room temperature for an hour. Then, cool in refrigerator for an hour or until firm. Remove from pan and foil. Serve at room temperature.

Brownies can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for a month.

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Yahtzee! Red Pepper SALE=Spicy Red Pepper Soup

Some like it HOT.  I for one, basically drink Frank’s Red Hot. It has some kind of hold on me.  A sale on red peppers is like hitting 3 or 4 numbers in the lotto, not the full monty, but you still get an excellent monetary reward…especially at D & W.  So when I saw red bell peppers, 10 for $10 dollars and sprinted to the produce shelf, leaving poor Mr. Wonderful in the dust returning with 20 red bell peppers, he had no idea what had just happened.  Since he knows better than to actually ask about such things, he agreed to just wait for the finished product which we lapped up 2 days in a row and several lunch servings later.

This recipe was adapted from the klutzychef at her blog; check her out she is cute and honest…and talks about burning Rice Krispie treats, my kind of gal.

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

serves 4 people as a main meal


  • 8 red bell peppers, roasted (no, it does NOT taste the same if you use canned-just roast them in your oven..super easy)
  • 1 baked medium russet potato, smashed
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 2 medium chopped onions
  • 6 garlic cloves peeled and left whole
  • 2 tsp roasted red pepper flakes (half of this for a milder soup)
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder (omit for mild soup, I like to hurt myself eating soup like this…)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes (16 oz)
  • 1 3/4 cups reduced-fat coconut milk (or whole fat, whatever)
  • 2 cups veggie broth or water


  1. Bake your potato, set aside to cool.  Roast your peppers, whole, washed and then coated lightly with EVOO or canola oil on a foil-lined (you will thank me later for this step) jelly roll pan at 400 or so until they are black, yes, black.  Set them aside in a tightly covered bowl to cool and then stem, seed, and peel them.  This is not hard, suck it up and do it.  Seriously, the taste is worth it.
  2. In a covered non-reactive pot, heat oil in a dutch oven on medium-high heat.
  3. Add onions, carrots, salt, pepper flakes, chipotle powder, and garlic.  Sauté on medium heat for 15 minutes or until onions are soft and translucent.  DO NOT INHALE DEEPLY when you put the flakes and powder to the oil.  You might want to turn on the fan for a few minutes or suffer for about an hour.
  4. Remove the pot from heat and add canned tomatoes, red peppers, coconut milk, smashed potato guts, half/half and broth/water.
  5. Mix together so ingredients are fully integrated.
  6. Now, in batches, add the soup to a blender or food processor to mix all together.  An immersion blender works beautifully here as well since you can just throw it right into the pot.  If you have a dish towel to spare and are using a standing blender, you may want to put the towel under the cover to prevent hot soup from spilling out the top.
  7. Keep warm until ready to serve on stove over low.
  8. Top with Frank’s Red Hot (I know it’s too much, but it’s soooooo good).

Simple Split Pea Soup

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You know it has been too long since last you blogged, when you can’t remember the login or password to your WordPress account.  Sorry friends.  I have a few backlogged items to share with you in the next few days and then hopefully next week some new cooking (I have a few new cookbooks, shocker).

This easy and super cheap soup comes to use via my fave Heidi Swanson of 101cookbooks.com.  You can pre-order her newest and greatest cookbook on Amazon right now SuperNatural Every Day.  If not for the recipes buy it for the food porn pics.  She is as good a photog as she is a veggie chef.

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (I used Fustini’s Meyer Lemon)
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups dried split green peas, AND 1/2 cup dried split yellow peas, picked over and rinsed.
  • 5 cups water
  • juice of 1/2 lemon (reserve the zest)
  • a few pinches of smoked paprika
  • more Meyer Lemon olive oil to drizzle

Add olive oil to a big pot over med-high heat. Stir in onions and salt and cook until the onions soften, just a minute or two. Add the split peas and water. Bring to a boil, dial down the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the peas are cooked through (but still a touch al dente). Using a large cup or mug ladle half of the soup into a bowl and set aside. Using a hand blender (or regular blender) puree the soup that is still remaining in the pot. Stir the reserved (still chunky) soup back into the puree – you should have a soup that is nicely textured. If you need to thin the soup out with more water (or stock) do so a bit at a time. Stir in the lemon juice and taste. If the soup needs more salt, add more a bit at a time until the flavor of the soup really pops.

Ladle into bowls or cups, and serve each drizzled with olive oil and topped with a good pinch of smoked paprika and a touch of lemon zest.

Serves 4 to 6.

This froze well, and all my work friends were jealous when it was beef on noodles day again in the cafe’ and I was eating a bowl of spring yum.  Also pictured with the soup was home-baked (from a freezer loaf) bread topped with chili sea salt and Meyer Lemon EVOO.

Fancy Nancy Visits: Pad Thai Salad with Peanut-Lime Dragon Dressing

I used to live with a good friend of mine, JT or “Fancy Nancy” (it’s a long story).    We shared living space, dog duties, a desire to cook dinners in nearly every night, good olive oil, and obsessive relationships with size 9 pumps, Glamour Magazine and beauty products.  Yeah, I miss her a lot.  I’ve lived in my new place for a while now and it was time for her to see the house, and for Walter the Wonderdog and her dog Max to have some play time.

What girl isn’t watching her weight?  I mean, even the super skinny ones that I want to force-feed veggie burgers to, are watching their weight.  I hate those girls, I have never and will never be what one might label as skinny (and I never want to be skinny-I, like Fergie, like my lovely lady lumps).   I digress…my fave veg cookbook author Isa Chandra (Moskowitz) just released a “fast and filling, low fat” vegan cookbook called Appetite for Reduction (hat tip to Axl Rose) and it is totally FAB.  There isn’t a single recipe that I don’t want to try, honestly.  So, I randomly opened the book to the salad section and tried this one:  Pad Thai Salad with Peanut-Lime Dragon Dressing.  Ohhhhh, ahhhhh.  I know, right?!  I particularly LOVE this cookbook because, I sometimes am not really satisfied with 1 C of anything…so if you eat 2 C of something in this book, you aren’t really gonna pay the piper in terms of calories.  It’s still lower than an entree eaten out.  Isa does a great job with nutritional content and zippy tastes from common ingredients.  I used a couple of recipes from the book to make this dish, Pad Thai Salad and Peanut-Lime Dragon Dressing.  All fast, and easy.  Enough talk, let’s eat.

Pad Thai Salad

  • 8 C chopped romaine lettuce
  • 4 C bean sprouts
  • 1 small red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 recipe Peanut-Lime Dragon Dressing *
  • 1/4 C roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 C lightly packed fresh cilantro
  • lime wedges for serving

In a large mixing bowl, toss together the lettuce, sprouts, red onion, and carrot.  Add the dressing and toss to coat.  Distribute the salad among four bowls.  There will most likely be dressing left over as it is fairly thin.  Distribute the dressing among the bowls.  Garnish with roasted peanuts, cilantro, and serve with lime wedges.

Peanut-Lime Dragon Dressing

  • 1/2 C roasted peanuts
  • 2 T chopped shallot
  • 1/4 C squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 C water
  • 2 T agave nectar
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Sriracha

Pulse 2 T of the peanuts and all of the shallot in the food processor, just to chop everything up.  Add the lime juice, water, agave, soy sauce, and Sriracha, and blend until smooth.  Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides a few times.  Now add the remaining 2 T of peanuts and pulse for a bit.  These shouldn’t be blended smooth, just chopped up small.  The dressing will be thin.  Adjust the seasonings to your liking.  Keep refrigerated in a tightly sealed container until ready to use, up to 5 days.

In this photo you will see Red Thai Tofu as well, but we will save that recipe for another day.

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Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad with Grilled Tofu

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I had a little hiatus from blogging due to my first cooking injury.  Good thing Mr. Wonderful bought really sharp knives or I might be down a finger, instead I just filleted myself a little bit.  You would not believe how incredible the combo of super glue and liquid bandage are in avoiding a visit to urgent care and stitches. I digress, on to the recipe.

I’m officially obsessed with Isa Chandra now that I have her newest cookbook Appetite for Reduction.  I mean, I loved her before with her Post Punk Kitchen (PPK), Vegan Cookies Invade the Cookie Jar and her Veganomicon, but this book is her best and healthiest yet (um, can we get more pics in the next book please?).  Here is the first recipe Mr. Wonderful and I tried from the book.  Just try it, don’t let the ingredients scare you. Most of them are readily available at the “normal” grocery store in the ethnic aisle.  If you want a deal on the price of these items venture to your local Asian grocier, just don’t freak out about what you might see in the freezer section.  You have been warned.  Now you have no excuse NOT to get to know chili garlic sauce as a binder for a delish dressing.  Even Walter the Wonderdog got in on the cooking action this time.

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad with Grilled Tofu

Serves 6 – Active Time: 30 minutes  Total Time:  40 minutes

(Can be made gluten-free if using GF tamari in place of soy sauce)

Cook’s Notes:

1. I used my heavy duty cast iron grill pan & it made gorgeous, “grilled tofu”.  Get a grill pan at Bed, Bath, & Beyond for 20% off.

2.  I used Nasoya light firm tofu to cut the fat.  My nutritional info, therefore, differs from Isa’s in the book.

3.  You can sub walnuts or cashews for the peanuts if you like.


  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar (or honey..heck you could use maple syrup)
  • 3 tablespoons chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 2 limes, depending how juicy your limes are)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt, optional


  • 12 ounces extra-firm tofu
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce (low sodium)
  • 1 (8-ounce) package of thin rice noodles (vermicelli)
  • 1 medium-size cucumber thinly-sliced half-moons (1 heaping cup or 6 ounces)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2 handfuls of bean sprouts (I’m all about bean sprouts right now)
  • 4 ounces string beans, sliced into 1-inch pieces (about 1 cup)  These stay raw!
  • 1 small red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup bean sprouts (this I added because I’m obsessed with them)
  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced mint leaves

Peanut-Mint Gremolata (I used walnuts):

  • 1/4 cup peanuts
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped mint
  • Zest of 1/2 lime


1.  To make the dressing, mix all its ingredients together and stir vigorously.  Set aside.

2.  Slice the tofu into eight equal pieces widthwise, then slice those rectangles corner to corner to form long triangles.

3.  Place in a single layer on a large plate and pour 6 tablespoons of the dressing over the slices.  Also drizzle 2 teaspoons of soy sauce.  Let marinate, flipping occasionally, while you prepare everything else.

4.  Cook the rice noodles according to the package directions.  Usually they say to boil water, turn off the heat, and soak the noodles for about 8 minutes.  Once cooked, drain in a colander and run the noodles under cold water for about a minute until they are fully cooled.  Set aside to drain while you finish prepping everything.

5.  Mix all of the vegetables and the mint leaves into the noodles. Just use your hands–it’s messy, but the best way I found to incorporate everything.  Mix the dressing into the noodles and toss to coat.  Refrigerate while you prepare everything else.

6.  Combine the gremolata indredients in a small bowl.

7.  Now grill the tofu.  Preheat a non-stick grill pan or a cast-iron grill pan or a non-stick skillet over medium high heat.   Do not spray a non-stick pan with oil–it will ruin it!  The tofu will not stick! If you only have a cast-iron pan you will have to spray it or the tofu might stick.  Grill the tofu on each side for 4 minutes, or until grill marks appear.  If using just a regular pan, cook it for 3 minutes on each side.   Add the excess marinade to the noodles.

To serve: Scoop the noodles into six pretty bowls.  Wedge two or three tofu peices on the side of each bowl.  Sprinkle with the gremolata and serve with lime wedges and extra chili garlic sauce.

Doing The RIGHT Thing!! Leading By Example: Cooking Day With Molly

My friend Julie is crazy.  Like in all the very BEST ways, crazy.  I’m so proud of her latest post to Facebook it nearly brought me to tears, I was forced to drop everything and brag about her in this post.  But first, a little health education, as if you actually thought I could write about this topic and not go all geek on you!!

In case you have been living in a cave for oh, say 50 years.  We are in the midst of an obesity epidemic. In ancient historic times a person’s weight was the gauge of their social standing. A thin person often meant poverty and a plum family equated to the fact that they were doing well enough to have plenty to eat. This is not the case now. Our culture is producing the first generation of obese children with the highest risk factor of developing diabetes. The National Institutes of Health estimate that over sixty five percent of Americans are either overweight or obese and the number is climbing. With the rise of obesity, the diagnosis of type-2 diabetes has also been increasing.

We are a nation obsessed with all the wrong types of foods and are constantly being marketed to buy and consume copious amounts of junk and fast food. The American Diabetes Association has been expressing alarm at the fact that approximately twenty one million people have diabetes with a potential of around another fifty four million diagnosed with pre-diabetes (an increased elevation of the blood glucose levels but not at a level to be officially diagnosed as type-2 diabetes). The  are alarming.

Diabetes is a dangerous disease, however, type-2 diabetes has been related as a lifestyle disorder. This means it can start at an early age with a high fat and high sugar diet that lends to the disease progress. By the time of later adult hood, the body functions are set in place to have type-2 diabetes.

Here’s what all the fuss is about:

Over two thirds of the adults in the United States twenty or older are considered to be overweight or obese-
All adults total: 68 percent; Women: 64.1 percent. Men: 72.3 percent

About one third of the adults in the United States twenty or older are considered to be obese-
All adults total: 33.8 percent; Women: 35.5 percent. Men: 32.2 percent

5.7 percent of adults in the United States twenty or older are considered to be extremely obese.

There has been a steady increase in obesity in all ethnicities, genders, ages and education levels. The prevalence of obesity in the United States has increase from 13.4 to 35.1 percent in adults age 20 to 74. Since 2004, while the prevalence of overweight is still high among men and women. There aren’t any significant differences in documented rates from 2003, to 2004; 2005 to 2006 and 2007 to 2008. There hasn’t been any change in obesity prevalence in women from 1999 to 2008; 2009-2010 official statistics have not yet been released, but I’m predicting an increase.

The increase in obesity in children in a 2003-2006 study showed 12.4 percent of children ages 2-5 and a 17 percent of children aged 6-11 were overweight.  Most studies show that there is an increased mortality rate associated with obesity due to all sorts of preventable diseases and recently, even the National Cancer Institute links obesity to CANCER!!!!

If we as a community and a culture are going to encourage a healthy life for future generations, and change these alarming statistics, we have to stop buying prepackaged and premade products from manufacturers that really don’t care about us.  Their job is to sell us product people!  We need to pull the junk food from the schools and replace it with healthier choices (this I could talk about for hours-vending machines in schools still selling regular soda!!? It’s an outrage and a totally separate blog rant later).  We also need to begin learning to eat right and less in volume, no matter where we are.  Lastly, we need to cook at home with our kids!!!!!  I applaud you Julie ( you too Molly! ) for taking steps in the positive direction for change.  I love that you begin with a very humble and also misunderstood veggie, Brussels Sprouts.  Listed below is Julie’s note from FB, keep up the good fight gals!

(Statistics not immediately sited in text were taken from the Centers for Disease Control website:  cdc.gov).

Julie:  So, I’ve been inspired by Cooking Light Magazine and their “12 Healthy Habits of 2011” program (check out their website…it’s a pretty cool thing they’re doing!)  January is the month of adding more vegetables into your diet.  Clearly this will only benefit my effort of weight loss (and my SparkPeople program) so I went to the store today with a mission to get some veggies, try a NEW veggie, and prepare some stuff that will get me through the week.

My new veggie:  Brussels Sprouts.  Yes, Erin, I’m trying Brussel Sprouts.  (I know…you’re tearing up 🙂  I’m linking the recipe that I’m going to use.  (I’m hoping that the link works.)


And, Molly and I created a Three-Bean Vegetarian Chili.  It has butternut squash in it.  Which just happens to be one of my FAV veggies 🙂  Here’s that recipe.


It’s going to be a veggie filled month, I just know it 🙂

(If I tag you, it’s because you’re either a foodie or a diet buddy, or just b/c I adore you.)

Holiday Leftovers Take I

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I’m terrible when it comes to leftovers.  They typically end up in the garbage.  This dish however, began as stragglers, so not technically leftovers as in cooked and saved, this was mostly the stuff that didn’t get made and that would normally rot in my fridge.  As there isn’t really a recipe, here is what I did:

1.  Roasted the squash (in cubes) and brussels sprouts in a few teaspoons of EVOO at 400 until sprouts were caramelized and squash was done.

2.  Warmed up some leftover Basmati (my fave) rice from a previous stir fry.

3.  Stir fried extra firm tofu with lemon juice, orange juice and the zests of both until the tofu was caramelized and the juice made a little sauce.  Then I tossed in a little soy for salt, it created a little glaze.

4.  To assemble:  tofu on rice, with side helping of veggies roasted and topped with pom seeds from the fridge.  We enjoyed this with some leftover French bread and smoked cheddar cheese.

Nom nom.  🙂

Christmas Day with The Wonderfuls

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On the veggie menu:

  • Cranberry Crostini
  • Apricot Crostini
  • TLT Open Faced Baby Sammies
  • Sweet Potato Chipotle Gratin/Casserole
  • Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries
  • Chocolate Mallow Fondue with Dippers

Cranberry and Apricot crostini are this simple:  toast a French baguette, slather a little goat cheese on it, top with dried fruit and honey if you so desire.  For the cranberry crostini, I used cinnamon/cranberry goat cheese, topped with whole dried cranberries, and for the apricot crostini, I used honey goat cheese, topped with chopped apricots and lavender honey drizzle.

The TLT sammy recipe was adapted from Heidi over at 101cookbooks.com.


  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 pints tomatoes
  • 2 packages fakin’ bacon tempeh
  • 1 clamshell mixed baby lettuce leaves
  • 1 small package regular plain goat cheese
  • 1 French baguette, sliced and toasted
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • EVOO

The night before, preheat the oven to 400, toss the tomatoes with EVOO and roast until sweet and caramelized.  Save these for the next day in the fridge.  Day of, mash the avocado with the lime juice to make a make-shift-guac, this will go on the crostini at assembly.  Prep the fakin’ bacon per the package instructions.  To cook a bunch of it at a time, I cut the strips in half, put on a baking sheet and tossed into the oven for a few minutes until warm and crispy.  Next, assembly is easy:  take a crostini, top with a schmear of goat cheese, lettuce, avocado numminess, fakin’ bacon, and tomatoes.  Or whatever order your OCD compells you to assemble this tasty bite.

So as not to lull you into submission or boredom with the length of this post here are the other recipes I made.

Smokey Chili Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberry Brown Butter

Chocolate Marshmallow Creme Fondue (use the creme so it’s veg friendly, sans gelatin)

Clean Out Your Cupboard Mexican Sopa

I really, really wanted to go out and get half-off sushi at XO in downtown GR tonight, it’s just simply too cold to leave the house, really!  Typically Mr. Wonderful and I eat at XO for lunch on Tuesdays, because can you really pass up a 9 dollar stuff your face with sushi lunch?  No way.  Today however, I had a lunch and learn speaker session to attend and could not go to half-off sushi day. I was crying on the inside, really.  Instead, while listening to a charming and informative session put on by AMA West Michigan, I ate a crappy warm mixed greens salad without dressing (it looked gross), limp and flavorless “veggie pad Thai” (or my translation for the table was peanut butter spaghetti for white people-gag) and starchy, clumpy COLD rice, with a stale dinner roll.  I pushed my plate forward and covered it with my napkin for a proper burial after I ate the greens and then waited to get home to eat my leftovers from last night’s Pineapple Tofu dish.

While I am known on occasion to exaggerate (I know you are surprised by this revelation), I have to get this out of my system as I work in a catering department of a very well-known west Michigan establishment and hotelier:   food at other venues is shit compared to what we produce at my beloved place of employment.  Yes, really, shit.  I mean, I cannot emphasize enough, what an outstanding team of chefs and talented staff we have on our team.  A luncheon on our turf, would NOT leave you wishing for your leftovers at home, this I assure you.  I even passed on, are you ready for this…the Christmas sugar cookie.  The Pillsbury cut and bakes I can buy in the refrigerated section  are more desirable than the floury mess with butter frosting.  Honestly people…and you call yourselves professionals?

Sorry about that distraction, I’m still mad that while my $40.00 paid to attend the session today was in my eyes a donation to the organization, approximately $0.00 went to the food bill.  I feed my dogs better quality meals than I received at that country club, and not to the detriment of the host organization, this is all on the country club, 100% #epicfail.

On to the recipe.

As I wasn’t about to brave the cold, I took what I had and made “stone soup” or as I have dubbed it, “clean out your cupboard Mexican sopa”.  Proof you can take normal stuff from your cupboards, toss it in a pan, add some broth and have a dinner in under 20 minutes.  Mix it up people, your only limitations are what you currently have in your pantry or freezer.  Good luck!


  • 3-15 ounce cans diced or whole tomatoes, zapped in the food processor to make your base
  • 3-15 ounce cans black beans drained, or 4 cups cooked black beans, one cup zapped with tomatoes above for base
  • 6 cloves garlic, zapped in food processor with first two ingredients
  • 1 large sweet onion diced
  • 1-15 ounce can whole corn kernels
  • 1 can or 2 cups great northern beans drained
  • 2T cumin, ground
  • 1T ancho chili pepper, ground or your fave chili powder blend
  • 3T chipotle en adobo, less if you don’t like spicy, play around with it beginning at 1T to taste
  • 1tsp epazote, ground
  • 4 C veggie broth or water
  • Juice of 4-5 limes

Really sophisticated directions here folks:

1.  In a dutch oven, cook onion on medium high until translucent or browned whatever you like.

2.  Dump into onion the base as described above with first 3 ingredients.

3.  Next toss in whole black beans, whole northern beans, whole kernel corn, spices, veg broth, lime juice and chipotle en adobo.

4.  Bring to boil, turn down to simmer, add salt and pepper to taste.

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Serve over baked tortilla chips or rice, sprinkle with cheese, top with avocado, sour cream, squeeze of lime, and chopped red onion.  Freezes like a champ.

Baby, It’s COLD Outside!!

Mr. Wonderful and I were out and about this evening, picking up some groceries, etc when I realized my car outdoor temp registered 17 degrees!!!!!!! Tonight was a toss up, eat poorly and grab some pizza on our way home from shopping or take a marginal amount of effort, 20 minutes and make a real dinner. If I had lost at Weight Watchers this week, I would have absolutely scarfed down some pizza, but since I only maintained, it was this delicious Pineapple Tofu Stir Fry that made me think of an island get-away.  Luckily, I had everything except the ginger on hand, so stopped quick at Family Fare on the way home and whipped up this stir fry with some lovely Basmati Rice. Honestly, chopping and all, took me about 25 minutes. I doubled the recipe which is written to feed two as I had the tofu already cubed, and love this kind of thing for lunch the following day. Mr. Wonderful says “what kinda rice is this? It’s fancy, and tastes good.” Yes dear, it is fancy.

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PineApple TOFU Stir Fry


  • 1 8-ounce can pineapple chunks or tidbits, 3 tablespoons juice reserved
  • Juice of one orange
  • 5 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 7 ounces extra-firm, water-packed tofu, drained, rinsed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (See Tip for Two)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch (I needed 2 1/2 tsp when I doubled the sauce recipe)
  • 3 teaspoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (I used 2 T of garlic, I love garlic)
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 1 large bell pepper, cut into 1/2-by-2-inch strips (I used half a green and half a red leftover from my veggie tray)


  1. Whisk the reserved 3 tablespoons pineapple juice, orange juice, vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup and sugar in a small bowl until smooth. Place tofu in a medium bowl; toss with 2 tablespoons of the sauce. Let marinate for 5 minutes. Add cornstarch to the remaining sauce and whisk until smooth.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Transfer the tofu to the skillet using a slotted spoon. Whisk any remaining marinade into the bowl of sauce. Cook the tofu, stirring every 1 to 2 minutes, until golden brown, 7 to 9 minutes total. Transfer the tofu to a plate.
  3. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil to the skillet and heat over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add bell pepper and cook, stirring often, until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in the sauce and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 30 seconds. Add the tofu and pineapple chunks (or tidbits) and cook, stirring gently, until heated through, about 2 minutes more.


  • Make Ahead Tip: The tofu can marinate (Step 1) for up to 30 minutes.
  • Storing Tofu: I doubled this recipe so I didn’t have leftover tofu, but if you don’t double it consider this tip:  rinse leftover tofu, place in a storage container and cover with water; it keeps up to 4 days in the refrigerator if the water is changed every day or 2; freeze tofu for up to 5 months. (Freezing tofu yields a pleasingly chewy result that some people prefer. Don’t be surprised if the frozen tofu turns a light shade of caramel.)
  • Uses: Crumble and use instead of the meat in your favorite tuna or chicken salad recipe; dice and add to a vegetable stir-fry; add leftover silken tofu to smoothies.


Per serving: 263 calories; 12 g fat (1 g sat, 5 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 34 g carbohydrates; 10 g protein; 4 g fiber; 368 mg sodium; 549 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (280% daily value), Vitamin A (50% dv), Calcium (25% dv), Magnesium (18% dv).  With rice this was 10 WW points on the new program.

This recipe adapted from my new fave website http://www.eatingwell.com.

Meatless Any Day of the Week

When I discuss being a vegetarian with people, usually they say things like “I could NEVER live without eating meat”.  I would never be so bold as to say, everyone should be a vegetarian or vegan, but perhaps you could find it within you to give the “weeknight vegetarian” concept a try.  Shoot for 2-3 nights in the regular week, to go meat-free.  This might be a practice you observe currently and just don’t really recognize it.  Why don’t you give it a shot?  Start with this simple and fast weeknight recipe, Sesame-Honey Tempeh & Quinoa Bowl.  You won’t miss the meat AND you can incorporate that “quinoa  stuff” that you bought a while back after seeing it on Oprah, into this meal.   Recipe courtesy of Eating Well Magazine.  Mr. Wonderful says: “WOW, that red quinoa sure is nutty.  Is that sesame?”  Why yes it does, and yes it is.  Mr. Wonderful approved.

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There are two components to the recipe a slaw and the tempeh:

Sesame-Honey Tempeh & Quinoa Bowl


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed (I prefer the red quinoa, but any will do)
  • 2 cups grated carrots (about 3 large)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted (see Tip)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce


  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 8-ounce packages tempeh (see Note), crumbled into bite-size pieces
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 scallions, sliced


  1. To prepare quinoa: Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add quinoa and return to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer, cover and cook until the water is absorbed, 10 to 14 minutes. Uncover and let stand.
  2. To prepare carrot slaw: Meanwhile, combine carrots, rice vinegar, sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon soy sauce in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. To prepare tempeh: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add tempeh and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown, 7 to 9 minutes.
  4. Combine honey, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add to the pan and cook, stirring, until the sauce has thickened and coats the tempeh, about 1 minute.
  5. Divide the quinoa among 4 bowls and top each with 1/2 cup carrot slaw and 3/4 cup tempeh mixture. Sprinkle with scallions.


  • Tip: To toast sesame seeds, place in a small dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.
  • Ingredient Note: Look for tempeh near refrigerated tofu in natural-foods stores and many large supermarkets.

Per serving: 536 calories; 27 g fat (5 g sat, 9 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 53 g carbohydrates; 13 g added sugars; 28 g protein; 5 g fiber; 588 mg sodium; 899 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (182% daily value), Magnesium (46% dv), Iron (32% dv), Folate (27% dv), Potassium (26% dv), Calcium (21% dv), Zinc (19% dv).

Stuff An Acorn Squash, Not A Turkey

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I launched this mini “save the turkey” campaign via my Facebook page last week wherein I actually paid $20.00 to adopt a turkey, which equates to sponsoring a month of food for the poor little guy to offset what he might have sold for at the market to become someone’s dinner Thursday (yikes take a breath!).  This brought on the usual slew of “what are you gonna eat for dinner if not a turkey?” commentary from people who think that vegetarians/vegans only eat lettuce.  Oh, and for this behavior, I was basically called a Communist by one of my Republican friends.  A Communist, really?  Huh.

While Mr. Wonderful and I basked in the yum that is Chipotle tonight, chasing a Costco expedition high that ended with the purchase of more wine, cheese and bread than two people should even contemplate purchasing, we discussed what parts of Thanksgiving we liked best and it was hand’s down:  sides and desserts. Mr. Wonderful maintains that basically you eat like 2 pieces of dry turkey out of obligation and then head right for the stuffing, cranberry chutney, potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, 7-layer salad, sweet potatoes and dinner rolls.  I don’t disagree.  As long as I can remember I headed right for the scalloped potatoes, the spinach gratin, sweet potato casserole, corn pudding, and of course, the homemade yeast rolls.  Top it off with a little pumpkin pie, and…oh, I forgot to mention the endless precursors to Thanksgiving dinner, where you stuff yourself before you stuff yourself with as many gherkins that will fit in your mouth at once, black olives you wear on the tips of your fingers and nibble off that taste like the tin can they fell out of, little cubes of cheddar “fancy” cheese where the serving size is a fist-full, along with all you can eat Wheat Thins and Triscuits, I mean, seriously, this is Americana at it’s finest.  Who needs a turkey? Not us.  Oh, and keep those little wieners in bbq sauce to yourself too. Sick.  Sick.

Here is my “main dish” for Thanksgiving, it mixes a few of my fave sides all into one delish, not to mention beautiful dish.  Give it a try, I bet you will serve more of this than that Turkey Lurkey.  I have yet to go home with leftovers.  Consequently, if you do have leftovers, you can wrap these individual portions in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 weeks, defrost in fridge and warm back up in the oven to rehash their goodness when you need a quick bite to eat, post food coma day.

Quinoa and Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash
  • 6 small acorn squash, halved and seeds removed
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cup uncooked wild rice (), rinsed
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 tsp EVOO, optional
  • 4 green onions (white and pale green parts), chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/3 cup chopped granny smith apple tossed in a bit of lemon juice to keep from browning
  • 1 T fresh sage
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped and toasted pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh-squeezed tangerine or blood orange juice
  • Salt to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange squash halves cut side down in baking dish or roasting pan. Bake until tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make filling. In large saucepan, bring 4 cups water to boil. Add wild rice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until rice is tender, about 40 minutes. Drain if necessary.
  3. In another large saucepan, bring remaining 2 cups of water to boil. Add quinoa. Reduce heat and simmer until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 12 minutes.
  4. In large, deep skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add green onions, celery, apples, and sage, and cook, stirring often, until vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add dried fruits and nuts and cook, stirring often, until heated through. Using a fork, fluff quinoa and wild rice, then add both to skillet. Add juice and mix until heated through. Season with salt.
  5. To serve, remove squash from oven and arrange on serving platter. Spoon filling into each squash cavity and serve.

More pics to come.  This recipe adapted from Vegetarian Times, 2007.