Thursday, January 31, 2013

blue 42

It's almost that time of year. My husband's favorite weekend is almost here.
The Superbowl.

A self-proclaimed holiday in our house, The Superbowl is a day full of fun, football, family, friends and, our favorite F of all, food. (the commercials are a blast too, but that doesn't start with an F now does it)

We are big planners in our house. Well, I am. My husband just humors my OCD tendencies and goes along for the ride. But he was the one two weeks ago who asked, "So what's our superbowl food lineup going to be?"

As of now, we think we are doing
two kinds of pizza
large sub
meat free sub
homemade fries or homemade chips
7-layer dip with guacamole on the side and tortilla chips

We might add some healthy options with veggies and hummus, and a spinach/artichoke dip. I was going to make more cookies but I think a cake will be sufficient.

While our team (Giants) aren't playing this year, sometimes it makes the Superbowl much more enjoyable... you can relax, not scream at the TV, be able to breathe continuously, end the night with a normal blood pressure, not be kneeling in prayer position....

Not that any of this happened last year:

What foods are you including with your superbowl lineup?

Linking up 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

roasted vegetable soup

This winter I got into roasting vegetables. I also got into using my food processor (a wedding gift). I put the two together and created magic...

May I present roasted vegetable soup. So easy to make and so unbelievably delicious. Where have you been all my life?
This time of year I can't wait for spring to show its head, but a soup like this helps ease the pain that the streets are covered in snow, that my nose is a little frozen and that I have to wear socks to bed.

There are a couple variations I make of this soup and each one is delicious.

Roasted Vegetable Soup
serves 6

1 small butternut squash, peeled & cubed
1 extra large sweet potato, peeled & cubed
2-3 large carrots, peeled & chopped
3c vegetable broth, or more depending on size of vegetables
Olive oil

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Peel and cube butternut squash and sweet potato into large chunks (they shrink when they bake) and place in a bowl. Lightly coat with olive oil. Toss with salt, pepper, nutmeg and thyme.
  • Lay out butternut squash and sweet potato on baking sheet (I line mine with foil) so there is one even layer.
  • Peel and chop carrots and coat the same way the butternut squash and sweet potato. Place in a separate baking sheet. The carrots tend to cook faster than the squash and potato so I keep them separate. 
  • Bake for about 35-40 minutes, flipping half way through. When they are fork tender they are done.
  • Puree vegetables with vegetable broth in a food processor or high-speed blender. 
  • Add as much vegetable broth as you want to get the desired consistency. We don't like ours very soupy but not thick, either.
Nutritional Information (per serving): 141 calories, 3.7g fat, 4.5g fiber, 2g protein, 27g carb

We love this soup. It is chock full of nutrients and vitamins and a great way to get your vegetables for the day.

What are your favorite types of soup? Or what helps you get through the end of winter?

Linking it up 
Biggest Loser Blogger Edition 
Food link up!


Monday, January 28, 2013

a sweet ending to our weekend

It all started when I made our weekend pancakes. My husband was helping me by getting out ingredients and saw the mini m&ms and immediately wanted m&m cookies.
Twist my arm - fine - I'll make them.

I love cookies. Love them. I try to not make them often because if they are in the house, I'll eat them.
I am proud of myself, however, because I haven't made cookies since Christmas. Granted, at Christmas I made dozens upon dozens of cookies and consumed even more! But hey, a months a month, right?

We love these cookies because they are soft and chewy not hard and crunchy.

Trust me, you will not regret making these little guys.

Our Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from appleaday
Makes about 25 cookies depending on size of cookie

3/4c margarine, softened
3/4c brown sugar (I've used both light and dark)
1/4c granulated sugar
1 flax egg or regular egg
2tsp vanilla extract
2c all-purpose flour
1tsp + 3/4 tsp cornstarch
1tsp baking soda
1/2tsp salt
1c chocolate chips (or m&m's)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Make flax egg by mixing 1Tbsp ground flax with 3Tbsp water. Put in fridge.
  • In a stand mixer, cream together margarine and sugars until light and fluffy.
  • Add "egg" and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Mixture should be very light and airy.
  • Combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Mix in dry ingredients.
  • Stir in chocolate chips.
  • Drop cookies onto greased baking sheet or on a baking mat.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes until tops are brown (do NOT overbake)
I made a bit larger sized cookie and split the batter in half to make half chocolate chip and half m&m. I used this recipe at Christmas and made smaller cookies and could easily get 4-5 dozen out of a batch.
Nutritional Information (per cookie): 147 calories, 6g fat, 0.4g fiber, 0.3g protein, 20g carbs

They are delicious with a glass of milk and they go fast... enjoy!

I pretty much love any and every kind of cookie but always find myself coming back to a chocolate chip cookie. What's your favorite go-to cookie?

Linking up with Molly for YOLO Mondays

Friday, January 25, 2013

a cold winter's night

I tend to refer to myself as a sometimes runner. My job requires a lot of travel in the fall and that doesn't bode well for running. I also hate treadmills.
Right after fall travel season comes winter. Pushing myself out the door in the winter is hard - it happens - but it's tooough. There was a time when I would run in rain, shine, snow, freezing. Anything and everything. I would be out there. I miss those days. I'd love to get those days back. And still have a hope that I can.

Which brings me to my moment of crazy the other night. Most of you might also be experiencing the freezing temperatures that are going on. We're talking negative degrees. It's absurd. It's awful to go outside let alone need to move and function in it. But I had my mind set that I was going to run after work. The plan was to meet my husband at the gym after work and I was going to run on the dreaded treadmill. This plan crumbled when he was let out from the class he had to take nearly 2 hours early. I didn't want him to have to be at the gym for over 2 hours and then wait for me to do my instead... I did the absurd. I ran. Outside.

I told my husband when I got home that I was going for a run and he quickly said, "You're insane.... but I support you." There's really no way to fully prepare for the frigid outdoors without looking like I was going to rob a bank, so I used what I had and got layering...

two pairs of leggings
long-sleeved wicking shirt
lined waterproof jacket
two pairs of gloves
long thick socks
neck/face mask

I was ready.

It was cold. It started to snow. My toes went numb.
It wasn't a long run but it was peaceful. I'm glad I went.
..but I wouldn't mind that ski mask...

....and an extra pair of socks.

What's your winter workout motivation?!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

homemade cleaner - part two

About two weeks ago I mentioned my desire to make more things on my own. My first project was making a homemade all-purpose cleaner. The process is very simple and you can read more about it here.

After two weeks of watching my clementine peels soak in vinegar (and shaking the jar every few days) the time had come to make my mixture!
I started by removing the clementines from the jar (I actually squeezed some to get out as much vinegar from them as I could) and then strained the remaining liquid. Look at that color!

I mixed the cleaner in an all-purpose cleaning bottle I picked up at the Dollar Store earlier that morning. The concoction is a 2:1 ratio, water:vinegar.

The bottle held the entire jar perfectly! I added about 1.5c vinegar and 3c of water. Gave it a little shake and started cleaning... the walls. the trim. the bathroom. the counters.

it worked sooooo well. I was very impressed. It even worked on tough dog messes. I love it so much I am starting to save my clementine peels again to make another batch to have on hand when I use up this one.

My husband was 100% skeptical of this homemade cleaner. He did not want our house to smell like vinegar even if after a while it dissipates. While I was cleaning I asked him if he could smell the vinegar and he said that it only smelled a little citrus-y and that was it. To my surprise, I came home the next day and he told me, "You know that cleaner worked really well on the sink, too, and it smells good!"

He's sold. 

Has anyone made a cleaner like this one or any other kind?? How did it turn out?

Monday, January 21, 2013

eggplant parm

I don't know what he did but my husband made the best eggplant parm for dinner the other night. We are talking melt in your mouth eggplant parm.

I am a very lucky lady and there is not a day that goes by that I don't realize this and am entirely grateful. I am blessed to have a loving husband.. and more so, a loving husband who knows his way around the kitchen. We don't really have assigned "tasks" in our house - we help each other out. I tend to make meals just because my schedule allows it more so than his.  But there are days when he volunteers to take on the entire task of dinner and boy oh boy did he whip up something gooo-oood this time.

unforunately, did not photograph well... don't let that stop you. the taste is there...

Melt In Your Mouth Eggplant Parm
4-6 servings

1 medium eggplant
1 "egg" or egg (see Note below for replacement)
Parsely, dry
1/4c flour
Olive oil
2c sauce (homemade or jarred - use your favorite)
1.5c mozzarella cheese
1/4c parmesan cheese

1. Peel and slice eggplant. Generously salt slices of eggplant. Place in a colander with paper towel between each eggplant layer. Place heavy objects on top layer (we used a canister, coffee container and my jar of homemade cleaning solution). This will help press out the liquid. We left the colander on the counter and placed a towel underneath, but if you don't need your sink, you can place it in the sink. Press for at least 2 hours.
2. Meanwhile, you can start making your favorite sauce. Or, if using jarred, go for a run, play with the kids, walk the dog... you get the idea.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Wipe the salt off eggplant - squeeze eggplant very well. (Hubs even rinsed some eggplant because there was a lot of salt on them. This might seem counterproductive - but it works - trust me. Just squeeze at end so eggplant is dry (whether you rinse or not)).
4. Set up your station for breading the eggplant: on one plate or shallow bowl beat an egg or make a fake egg (like we did) using Egg Replacer; in a second plate or shallow bowl place breadcrumbs seasoned with salt, pepper, dry parsley and the flour.
Note: hubby made what would be the equivalent to one egg and ran out. He then just used milk to coat the eggplant. So if you don't want to use any egg or faux egg, you can use milk.
5. Dip eggplant in "egg" then breadcrumbs until all eggplant is coated.
6. Coat bottom of a large saute pan with olive oil. We did not fry the eggplant. Just fry it until both sides are crisp and set on paper towels to soak up any excess oil. Then place eggplant on a baking sheet and put in oven for 10-15minutes.
7. Once eggplant is done cooking, it is time to assemble. Layer sauce on the bottom of an oven safe dish. Layer eggplant on top of sauce, followed by some mozzarella. Continue to layer in the sauce, eggplant and mozzarella fashion. For the final layer, end with sauce on the top, sprinkle parmesan cheese and any remaining mozzarella.
8. Bake for 35-35 minutes in 350 degree oven.
We served with pasta and Italian bread

Eggplant parm is something we both love to eat - but we don't eat it too often - makes it more special, I think.
What's a favorite food or meal of yours that you have every so often?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

my secret love affair

I have a secret.
I have another love. Don't tell my husband.

But in all fairness, it's his other love, too.

His name is Moes
No, not that Moe
This Moes

Mexican food is easy enough to make and we typically have a Mexican night once a week. Although lately we have been slacking on this because of my new system (which I will hope to discuss at some point) to make my work week life easier.

But there is just something about hearing "Welcome to Moes" and having someone else make me a delicious, vegetarian burrito filled with seasoned rice, black beans, some cheese, lettuce, guacamole, pico de gallo, corn salsa AND a whole bar of other salsas to try, all wrapped in a warmed, whole wheat flour tortilla. Yum....

AND, I know it's not thee best thing for you ever, but they have a new soda machine that made my jaw drop the first time I saw it.... we try to not drink a ton of soda in our house, and lately when I do have soda I go for the full on sugar because I try to steer clear of artificial sweeteners (I also only drink soda that has no caffeine in it). This soda machine is A MAZ ING. I don't even know how many options there from which to choose.

I might have mentioned that my husband and I do not eat out a lot (Indian aside last week) but we do treat ourselves every now and then and last week was one of the thens. I failed to take any photo of our meals because we just tore right in... thankfully someone's birthday is coming up ::cough cough:: in three weeks so we will be back at Moes with my birthday coupon.... and photos to follow....

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Now those scones

In a previous post I mentioned I went on a baking spree to try to use up some products in my house before they went bad. Aside from waffles and pancakes, I whipped up a batch of scones (actually, two batches - we had a lot of Silk Nog).
No surprise, this recipe also is adapted from MamaPea over at

The mention of Eggnog Scones might have you making a face. No worries. I was a bit skeptical myself. Until I tried them.

Whenever I try any new recipe, I always halve the recipe. I don't want to end up with 24 cupcakes, 16 scones, or a giant tray of brownies that I end up just tossing in the trash. I hate waste! I also love to make foods that are very freezer friendly. This recipe delivered on both regards: easy to halve and pop in the freezer!

Don't be afraid - Eggnog Scones
(makes about 16 scones)

3/4 c eggnog (I use Silk Nog)
1 t lemon juice
2.5 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t cream of tartar
1/2 t salt
3/4 t nutmeg (I use pre-ground)
1/2 c margarine, sliced

1 c powdered sugar
sprinkle of nutmeg
1.5-2 T eggnog

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine eggnog and lemon juice in a small bowl.
  • While the nog "curdles", combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and nutmeg into a large bowl.
  • Cut the margarine into the flour mixture. If you have a pastry blender, use that. I do not and use my fingers. I add one pat of margarine at a time until the mixture looks course in texture. 
  • Add eggnog mixture - it should look curdled by now. Combine eggnog nixture and form a dough. If it is too dry, do not worry. If it is wet, I put a little flour on top so my hands do not stick to it.
  • Turn dough out onto floured counter top. Roll dough out into a long rectangle - a bit over 12 inches, and about 1.5 inches thick. Slice into ~16 wedges and transfer to baking sheet (I use a baking mat).
  • Bake for 20 minutes
  • For the glaze: combine powdered sugar, nutmeg and eggnog in a bowl. Whisk until smooth and desired consistency is reached. Drizzle over cooled scones.
My husband really, really loved these. He tried one before I told him the flavor and told me that he was glad he ate one before finding out the flavor or else he would have been turned off. It doesn't taste like you are biting into eggnog - it has a nice, subtle taste. If you have any leftover eggnog I highly recommend making these. I made two batches and froze over half of them - with icing on them.
What are some of your favorite go-to recipes to use up some ingredients?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Date with my husband

We love Indian food. Being vegetarian it's rare to go out and have a menu with so many options. Usually I peruse a menu online before going out to a restaraunt to see if there's anything for me to eat or see what I could potentially make/request vegetarian. So Indian food is a dream come true!

Fortunately we have an Indian restaurant about 2 minutes from our house. Back in 2012 there was a Living Social deal to spend $12 for $25 worth of Indian food. We naturally jumped on it. It could only be used for dinner on weekdays - as we found out one day after consuming our lunch buffet - so twist my arm, we had to go out for Indian again.

We had a very nice dinner out together and went for frozen yogurt after.
Indian food does not photograph well but below is Palak Paneer (green) and Navrattan Korma (yellow). We also got rice and naan. I have significant leftovers that I am very excited to eat.

After, we went not once but twice to the ice cream shop! The first frozen yogurt I ordered tasted very gritty and sandy so we want back to exchange it. They were very understanding about it and I returned with vanilla with rainbow sprinkles. Why fix what's not broken. I also have leftovers of that calling my name.

I really enjoy nights to just spend with my husband. He works longer shifts and is in grad school so most nights we only have a couple hours together - enough to eat dinner, clean up, watch a show and read/bed - and with school, some nights I'm on my own. We pretty much do everything we can together and a lot of the time it's not terribly fun things (though I do love a day of errands). And as cheesy as it sounds, we truly just enjoy being together regardless of what we're doing.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Waffles - Lesson learned

This past week quickly turned into "oh crap ___ is going bad soon". This baking/cooking escapade all started with a special request for pancakes. I am not one to turn down pancakes or waffles (I typically make them every Sunday). I haven't made them in what feels like foreeeeever - but this worked out perfectly since I had some bananas (ok a TON of bananas) and needed to start using them up.
I also realized my eggnog was getting close to its expiration date; egg nog scones were born
I had some silken tofu that was nearing its end; peanut butter banana pie (that was a two-fer with bananas too!)
Around 10 bananas all ripening at once; pancakes and waffles

I have a go-to recipe that I usually quadruple and freeze batches of waffles for us to have on hand each weekend. The only kicker: need a ripened banana. I usually try to keep one lingering banana around so I can make at least a double batch. Or I swipe them from my mom's when I'm over visiting.

The recipe is adapted from MamaPea from
I did slight tweaking from the original recipe

Sunday Waffles

1/2 overripe banana, mashed
1/2 c water
1/2 c milk (dairy or silk/almond vanilla)
1.5 T unsweetened applesauce*
1/2 T canola oil*
1 T sugar
1/2 t salt
1/2 t vanilla
1 c flour (I have all-purpose always on hand but sometimes do a combo with some oat or whole wheat)*
2 t baking powder

  • Preheat waffle iron (or griddle if making pancakes).
  • Mash banana in a large bowl. (I may own a baby-sized masher but a fork works, too)
  • Add water, milk, applesauce, oil, sugar, salt and vanilla. Whisk together.
  • Add flour and baking soda. Whisk until everything comes together. Do NOT overmix. 
  • Pour about 1/3 c batter into greased/sprayed waffle iron. I usually use a smidge less than 1/3 c because I hate cleaning it if there is runoff.
  • Cook until golden brown.

We like to eat our waffles with some fresh fruit. Feel free to add some chocolate chips to the batter as well.

*Note: original recipe calls for 2 T of canola oil. I tweak the oil amount depending on batch size. When I quadruple, for instance, I typically use 6-7T of applesauce and only 1-2T of oil. You can tweak to your liking. We do not notice the difference at all.
*When I make this into pancakes, I add a smidge more flour. Around 2T to get a bit thicker consistency so pancakes hold their form. 

Please note: apple was consumed before shooting.

Our waffles are always a huge hit! Two days after making pancakes with this recipe, I decided to make waffles.... and scones. As I was pulling out my first batch of waffles they looked, off. WAY too brown. They all ended up that way. We tasted them. I immediately said something was wrong. Then I remembered: I used baking SODA instead of baking POWDER. Major awful waffle. (Salute Your Shorts, anyone?)
Lesson learned.

Have you ever had a kitchen blunder where you used the wrong ingredient and instantly knew something was off? Or maybe omitted an ingredient? My husband is notorious for leaving out ingredients whenever he bakes. Especially bread.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Homemade Cleaner

There are many things I would like to accomplish in 2013. However I realize I am only human. Only one person. And can't do everything all at once. One thing I want to accomplish is to try to make as many things as possible from scratch.

Since 2010, when we got engaged, my husband and I really nixed eating out to save money for our wedding and began cooking pretty much everything at home. This, technically, was my beginning steps of "make it on my own" but I would like to take this a step further this year.
First task - homemade cleaner!

Has anyone heard about making homemade cleaners? One thing I really enjoy about cooking things from scratch is knowing exactly what I'm putting in my body - why not do the same with household products? It cannot be good breathing in all those harsh chemicals. Also, my dog tends to randomly lick things (read: everything) and I'd feel a lot more comfortable knowing what he's licking. My first homemade cleaner takes about 2 weeks to prepare so I got eating. Yes. Eating.

To make this cleaner it's quite simple:

fill a jar with the peels of citrus fruit - pack them in there (but not too 
packed that no vinegar gets in)
cover with vinegar
wait 2 weeks

Clementines happen to be my favorite fruit and they happen to be in season! Lucky me. Lucky you. So for the past week or so I have been saving our clementine peels in a sealed tupperware container in the fridge (so the peels didn't go bad). When I had enough to fill a jar I just poured vinegar over them until they were submerged. Now it sits pretty on my counter...

In two weeks I will have an all-purpose, wonderfully scented household cleaner. This is the concentrate, however. Dilute with water in a spray bottle before using (2:1 ratio, water:vinegar).

I will check back in in about two weeks to share how the concentrate came out, mixing in a bottle, how we like the cleaning power, smell etc. but in case you wanted to start your own concentrate, get eating and save those peels!!

For those of you who have made this before, how'd it turn out? 

There are many different scents you can make (lemon, orange, grapefruit etc.) try combining different peels - even with herbs too! I'm starting with a basic and will venture out from there...

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

new year new blog

I'm not much of a New Years Eve/Day kinda gal. I much prefer Christmas. There's just something about the lights. trees. wreaths. family. friends. hustle & bustle. I, for some reason, love the busy crowds at Christmas time. But this isn't about Christmas, this is New Years.

For some reason when the ball drops and a new year starts I get.. sad. I'm sure I'm not alone in this. 2012 was really good to me - I married my best friend. The most wonderful man who truly treats me like a princess. He actually really likes New Years (I think it's the food)

So this year instead of getting sad, I tried to just be happy with all the past year has brought and excited to see what the new year of 2013 will bring!
The hubs and I spent an enjoyable night home with good food, each other and the pup....

Happy New Year!!!!!
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