Thursday, October 29, 2009

shun the outcast!

He's just too perfect.

Pictured: Pumpkin muffins topped (before baking) with a dollop of sweet n' spicy cream cheese sweetened with splenda and spiced with cinnamon.

Friday, September 18, 2009

another teaser...

Super Squash Cheesey Mac

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dark Chocolate Peanutty Nougat

Easy, peasy to make, easy, peasy to drop on the floor. But guess what! Not only do these babies have the power to withstand the 5-second rule (shhh don't tell Public Health), but if you really are concerned, the most "painful" thing about making these is unwrapping the kisses.

Here's the recipe for 1 nougat. Multiply to your heart's content!!! :)


1 pretzel (I used circle-shaped, but I hear the checker board or even usual twist type work fine)

1 dark chocolate Hershey's kiss (I think I may experiment with new kinds of kisses in the future... I was thinking mint might be yummy)

1 peanut (or walnut or pecan or m&m or whatever you fancy)

How To:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Unwrap your kiss.

3. Place pretzel on a baking sheet. Place kiss on top of pretzel.

4. Place baking sheet with your pretzel-kiss in the oven. Bake for 4 minutes.

5. Remove baking sheet from oven. Rather quickly (but no need to rush), carefully press down peanut (or item of your desire) down on top of the kiss, somewhat flattening it.

6. Let sheet cool. Place in freezer if you're impatient like me.

Savor your mini treat!!

Estimated Nutritional Information:

Calories: 28
Fat: 1.5 g
Sodium: 22 mg
Carbohydrates: 4 g
Fiber: 0.5 g
Protein: 0.5 g

Baked Tofu anyone can do!

Tofu is so flippin' cheap, I don't know why so many people don't fall in love like I do. $1.69 for a brick at Whole Foods, and I've got my protein source for a work-week's worth of lunches! Seriously, does it get any better? And when I make it like this, the cheapness and tastiness is just a wam-bam-thank you, sir duo. It can't be beat. Some (ahem, Jay, ahem) dislike the texture of tofu in general, but really it's nothing different than a soft cheese like brie, and I actually love the smooth creaminess. To all those haters, I say try this version of preparing tofu, and if you don't like it, try the tofu at Leona's (I'M SERIOUS IT'S AWESOME) and THEN I may accept your true (yet odd) dislike for delicious things.


1 container tofu (choose firm or semi-firm... it all depends on your taste. If you want your tofu more dense, firm is (obviously) probably more up your alley. You may also notice that firm is more concentrated in nutrients...)

italian dressing (whatever you fancy... I used Ken's Lite Northern Italian with Basil and Romano, and it was fabulous)

balsamic dressing (again, the brand is up to you! Feel free to try making it yourself (see my recipe in my recipe (woah redundancy) for Rainbow Salad)

any or all of the following spices: garlic salt or garlic powder (choose one), kosher salt (umm don't use this AND garlic salt, otherwise you'll be puckering your face and reaching for water) black pepper, coriander, onion powder, italian seasoning (salt free), a splash of nutmeg... the list is endless!

How To:

1. Slice tofu into 1/2-inch slices down the longest length of the tofu block. Place slices in a single layer in a colander and lay a place or some other flat surface (like a pie tin or cutting board) over the tofu. Pile a few more plates or random pieces of kitchenware on top of your base layer. I wouldn't put too much on there, although I do enjoy making my own leaning tower of bowls... :)

2. While you're tofu-towering (yes, that's a new verb), take a baking dish (I'm partial to a glass/ceramic, non-stick kind like my Corningware), and coat it lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Pour a bit of both dressings into the bottom of your dish so that it covers the entire bottom, and about 1/8 of an inch deep. Just know that you want enough so that the underside of your tofu to soaks of up the flavors! If you want to, swirl the dressings together, but it really doesn't matter.

3. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Once you've pressed the tofu (so that it's prime for absorbing your dressings and seasonings) for anywhere between 1/2 hour to 1 hour, remove your tower and place tofu in a single layer in your baking dish. Poke each brick about 5 times with a fork. I don't know if this really does anything, but I like to think that my poking helps the dressing penetrate into my tofu.

4. Douse your slices with dressing so that they're covered and maybe about halfway submerged in the dressing. You don't need so much so that it's swimming. Sprinkle with your seasonings of choice.

5. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes. Check your dish after about 30 minutes to make sure your oven isn't a slow-poke like mine. You'll be looking for tofu that has dressing encrusted in it's dressing and may have a hint of dark brown color at its edges (like my picture).

Slice up, dice up, and enjoy!

Pictured above: Jay enjoys his salad with baked chicken (made the same way as the tofu only without the plate/bowl towering) doused in ranch :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bulgogi a la Momo (the non-Korean beef barbeque)

This is one of those meals that evokes a rainbow of emotions within me, with the strongest pair being a sense of longing with a good dose of soothing contentment. My Momo would make this every now and then growing up, and a couple months ago when I made it myself for the first time, the pleasurable mixure of spices skipped around my brain, taking me back, and I wished Momo was there by my side to enjoy my success in mastering what will forever be HER dish.

Even though it's ridiculously easy to make, you can easily fool anyone you're cooking for that you really slaved in the kitchen pulling this one together--it's that good. I've found that referring to it as "Korean Barbeque Steak," as it is sometimes called, causes less upper-lip-raising (as in, "WHAT are you going to be serving??!?!"). Nevertheless, sometime the adverse reactions are funny and "Bowl-gog-E" is fun to say!

I like to serve this with my quinoa pilaf and fresh asparagus grilled (or broiled) in 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon miran (sweet rice vinegar), 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, 1 clove garlic (or garlic salt), and a sprinkle of ginger.

Yields 4 servings (serving size: 3 ounces)


1 pound top sirloin steak, trimmed (By this I think they mean trimmed of fat, but I've found that most of the times the steak is already trimmed. Sometimes there's a little bit that may be clinging on for dear life, but I tend to leave it on and trim after cooking because I'd rather not deal with the raw steak anymore than I have to.)

2 tablespoons brown sugar (I always use just one packet of splenda. Blame it on being a splenda fiend, or the fact that I never have brown sugar in my apartment... I find it goes hard too fast in my moist cupboards. Sad, I know.)

6 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine)

2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger (I used powdered and it still turned out magnificently)

2 teaspoons sesame oil 6 garlic cloves, minced (I often use the jarred minced garlic. If you don't have this much garlic on hand, no worries! Your steak will be yum-yummy no matter what!)

3 fresh scallions, whites and green cut into about 1/4 inch slices (I've actually used dried chives when I realized I had totally blanked on picking up scallions at the store... even though they're technically not the same, it still turned out delicious!)

How To:

1. Combine sugar (or sugar substitute), and next 6 ingredients (sugar through scallions) in a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal and shake up until well mixed. Drop in the steak (gently, now) and marinate in refrigerator for at least an hour, turning bag occasionally. I've found that longer marinatation times yield exponentially better, more flavorful steaks. So if you can, plan ahead. Easier said than done, right?

2. Once your steak has marinated to its (and your) heart's desire, prepare your grill (a.k.a. turn on that bad boy), or preheat broiler.

3. Carefully remove beef from bag, reserving the marinade. Place beef on hot grill or under a preheated broiler. Your cooking time will depend on the steak's thickness, so keep a careful eye on your beef. For a steak that was about 1/2 inch thick that I placed under the broiler (no need to flip it), I cooked it about 8 minutes. I think these are best cooked to medium or medium-well, and that timing made them perfect! If grilling, cook the steaks for about 4 minutes per side, again until desired level of doneness.

4. While the steak cooks, pour the marinade into a small saucepan and cook over medium to medium high heat, until it comes to a rolling, slow boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low. I usually boil it for about 5 minutes to make sure anything and everything that isn't supposed to be in your food is killed off. (Notice how I'm sensoring myself so as not to gross you out!!)

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 208 (33% from fat)
Fat: 7.6g (sat 2.7g,mono 3.2g,poly 0.7g)
Protein: 26.1g
Carbohydrate: 6.4g
Fiber: 0.2g
Cholesterol: 76mg
Iron: 3.1mg
Sodium: 457mg
Calcium: 19mg

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Britt's Blueberry Breakfast Scones

As some of you may know, my mother love, love, loves her blueberry scones. So, as a "thank you" for her running an errand for me, her car-less daughter, I baked a batch of these for her. Her review: "Scones were awesome!!"

I must warn you, though. Despite their non-fibrous taste, these do pack a bit of a punch and may get things moving... if you catch my drift :-D


3 packets high fiber instant oatmeal, such as that by Quaker, though I've seen generic versions (for this ingredient I didn't want all of the sugar these packets typically have, so I emptyed the 3 packets into a colander over my sink and gave it a good shake. A lot of powdery looking stuff fell through the colander, and I was left with the oats themselves. I wouldn't say shake it too much, because I'm not sureif there's bran in the packets, and that would be small enough to fall through. And we want that bran!!)

2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ (I have the "golden
crunch" version of that by Kretschmer, a Quaker brand)

2 heaping tablespoons protein powder (I u
sed the MLO Vegetable Protein Powder, though I'm sure any kind will work as long as it's mild tasting and not some wild flavor like chocolate... which is soooo wild, I know!)

a couple sprinkles of cinnimon

2 egg whites


non-stick cooking spray

How To:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a baking tray with your non-stick stuff of choice. Parchment paper works even better, but I've run out!

2. Strain the blueberries in the jar that come in the "lazy person's answer to homemade muffins" box. Set aside.

3. Combine the first 4 ingredients until well blended.

4. Add the egg whites and about 1/2 cup water, stirring until moist. I don't have a machine mixer, so you'll be fine using just a strong fork like I do. If you need to add more water, go right ahead. My batter was actually runny, probably the consistency of Mary Jeanne's mashed potatoes. :-D

5. Add the blue berries and give the batter another stir until they're interspersed.

6. Drop onto a greased pan in large mounds (maybe about 3/4 cup batter? Sorry I cook so estimatingly!). I was able to make 6-7 very large scones which I ended up cutting in half.

7. Bake in 350°F oven for 20 or 30 minutes (it all depends on the size you make your dollaps). Feel free to use the toothpick test to ensure they're fully cooked.

8. Let cool (or not) and ENJOY!!

I apologize for the lack of pictures of this delight... none really did my baking justice. Next time, next time.

Also, I'm looking around for my nutritional calculations, but in the mean time, I can tell you I remember that for a batch made with 7 scones, one-half of a scone had around 100 calories, 5 grams or so of fiber and around 5 grams of protein. I will keep looking or re-calculate so that you know these facts for sure (even though they're always estimates!)!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Nom-Nom Chicken with Balsamic Reduction Sauce

This is Jay’s FAVORITE, and I have to say it is most definitely one of mine too. It is pretty intense, especially if you’re busy trying to prepare multiple side dishes at the same time like I do. Nevertheless, all the dish-dirtying is SUPER worth it!

I still remember the first time I decided to make this… I was living at home with Mo and Mark after moving out of that crazy apartment with the crazy roommate, and I decided I wanted to try to make a “reduction” sauce. I had never tried it, and you know me; I like to challenge myself! Anywho, I’ll never forget those “mmmmms” from that oozed from M&M’s mouths!! And all I did was follow a recipe!

So this beauty comes from the glorious Cooking Light, where they called it “Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Vinegar Pan Sauce.” I call it mother-loving DELICOUS. I typically serve it with quinoa (you know, the Indian “mother grain”); I’ll post a little more about it later raving some more and giving some ‘tails about how I like to make it. This time you’ll see I served it with rice, brown basmati to be exact, which is probably my most favoritest rice in the whole world. When it cooks my whole mini studio smells nutty and delicious. I like to make it kind of pilaf style, with carrots and spinach, a twirl of extra virgin olive oil, some garlic salt, pepper, coriander, and onion power. Mmmm. Also, I must note, that my recipe doubles the sauce, because REALLY it is the BEST PART. Okay okay, enough jibber jabber. Let’s get to the goods!

The Cooking Light pros say, “To assure the chicken gets done, use breasts on the small side, about 4 to 5 ounces each. Serve with polenta or orzo to absorb the sauce.”

Yields 4 servings (serving size: 1 breast and 2 tablespoons sauce)


1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

1 cup balsamic vinegar

4 teaspoons honey (I usually use about 1 teaspoon honey and one packet of splenda)

1 tablespoon butter 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

enough flour to cover your breasts (chicken breasts… do I really need to clarify that? ;-)

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots (about 1 shallot, though I like these a lot so sometimes I’ll add two or so)

Chopped parsley (“optional” according to the original recipe… I’ve never used this!)

How To:

1. Combine broth, vinegar, and honey.

2. Melt butter and oil in a large nonstick skillet over low heat. (I think it works best to use a skillet that is not cast iron or very dark so that you can see when the butter browns in the step that follows.)

3. While butter melts, sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. (I always forget to season them, and it still turns out yum-yum yummy. Testament to how much you don’t necessarily need salt!!) Place flour in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour; shake off excess flour.

4. Increase heat to medium-high; heat 2 minutes or until the butter turns golden brown. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Add shallots, and sauté 30 seconds. Add the broth mixture, scraping to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by half (about 3 minutes). Serve sauce over chicken. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.

Estimated Nutritional Information:

Calories: 269 (27% from fat)
Fat: 8.1g (sat 2.7g,mono 2g,poly 2.5g)
Protein: 34g
Carbohydrate: 13.1g
Fiber: 0.2g
Cholesterol: 90mg
Iron: 1.7mg
Sodium: 331mg
Calcium: 29mg

Monday, August 24, 2009

Chicken n' Corn Chowda' Slim Style


12 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (I used two 4 oz. breasts, and it appeared to be plenty... and in other news... the recipe says you can use chicken thighs as well, but I prefer white meat)

4 fresh ears of sweet corn

1 32-oz. container reduced-sodium chicken broth (I used my favorite substitute, sodium free chicken stock powder. It's great if you want to control the saltiness of your dish... or add any garlic salt later without fear of over-sodiumizing your chowda :-)

1 small red sweet pepper, chopped (1/2 cup)

1 cup milk (there was no specification of type, but I used Skim and it seemed suitable)

1-1/4 cups instant mashed potato flakes

salt to taste (I used garlic salt... of course!)

ground black pepper

crushed red pepper ("optional," according to the original recipe... I didn't add it because I didn't want it super spicey)

a couple good shakes of dried, powdered coriander

1 tablespoon or so chives (I used dried, and just made sure I let the soup sit overnight to get them soft and let the flavors socialize)

1. In Dutch oven combine chicken, corn and broth. Cover; bring to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat. Simmer 12 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Remove chicken and corn to cutting board.

2. Add half the sweet pepper to broth in Dutch oven. Stir in milk and potato flakes. Shred chicken using two forks. Return chicken to Dutch oven. Using a kitchen towel to hold hot corn, cut kernels from cobs. Place corn in Dutch oven; heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle each serving with remaining sweet pepper and crushed red pepper. Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition Facts
These are the stats for the original recipe... I would guess the sodium would be less if you used the sodium-free chicken stock and the protein probably wouldn't be as high)

Calories 269
Total Fat 3g
Saturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 54mg
Sodium 721mg
Carbohydrate 33g
Total Sugar 7g
Fiber 3g
Protein 29g

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hearty, Smarty, Sesame Homemade Hummus

It's funny... I wasn't sure how this would go over, and people were laughing at my surprise at how well it was recieved. I guess that's what happens when you blenderize on a whim and have strange tastes to begin with. I liked it when I tried it, but I like almost everything, so that didn't tell me much. It wasn't until I served this to my more discrimatory critics that the delectibilitiy of this dish was solidified. Try serving with homemade pita chips made by cutting whole wheat pitas into pieces, spraying with a little olive oil spray, sprinkling with garlic salt and pepper, and baking in a 450°F oven for a couple minutes until crisp. (You could broil them, but then you run the risk of burning if you're like me and decide to wash your hair in the minute or two you have before they become burnt black wafers. I always forget to factor in the minute for brushing my hair...).


one 29 ounce can chick peas a.k.a. garbanzo beans a.k.a. cici in Italian (you can also use two 15 ounce cans! I’m a math major!)

½ cup jarred roasted peppers, with the liquid (I used what I had leftover. It had bits of garlic and other spices floating around in the liquid, so that’s why I say just dump in the whole kit-n-kaboodle)

1 garlic clove, or the equivalent in jarred or powdered garlic

½ teaspoon light sesame oil (this stuff is super powerful tasting, so a little goes a long way)

a few hefty shakes of ground coriander

a few squirts of lime juice

ground black pepper to taste

1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

water (okay, so I totally didn’t measure this… I like my hummus on the thicker side, so I added just enough water to blend everything and not throw my blender into overload)

garlic salt to taste

1. Throw all the ingredients up through and including the ground pepper into your machine of choice (or in my case, lack of choice). (My parents have a food processor which is steps above my blender in terms of hummus making abilities, but my Black n Decker still gets the job done with minimal whining.) Add a few tablespoons of water, and give ‘er a whirl. Add more water as necessary to get all those beans mashed.

2. While blending, add the 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Let it blend at least 5 seconds more.

3. Turn off your blender (you don’t want the added flavor of wooden spoons or fingers in your hummus) and taste your creation. Add more spices if necessary. Again, I’m partial to flinging in a bit of garlic salt, but you know me…

4. Enjoy your homemade delight!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ragin' Strombolis

Boy-approved, good ol' fashioned GINORMOUS deliciousness! (Yeah, I'm not kidding... they're pretty large. Feel free to be smart and make anywhere between 5 to 8 strombolis, because the 4 I made are like "Honey I Blew Up the Dinner"-style). Like a calzone, except pinched in the center and containing meat and only a little bit of cheese, these are pretty easy and super forgiveable (a.k.a. use whatever veggies/spices/meats you have on hand)!


1 lump whole wheat or multi-grain pizza dough (I bought mine at Whole Foods, but they sell this stuff at Trader Joe's if you have the ability to frequent the unique grocery store)

3 lb package of ground turkey (don't be a scaredy cat like my Momo--she thinks it smells bad--but if you are averse to this, ground chicken or ground sirlion are good substitutes)

1 bag frozen multi-colored pepper slices

2 tablespoons low calorie barbeque sauce (often disquised as "low sugar")

3 or so tablespoons ketchup

a good dousing of worchistere sauce

1 & 1/2 teaspoons coriander

1 teaspoon onion powder

a generous sprinkling of Italian seasoning

a light sprinkling of garlic salt

fresh ground black pepper to taste

4 ounces shredded reduced fat cheese (I used Mexican blend, which attests to the forgiveable-ness of this recipe, because I'm sure a good Mozzerella would be delightful)

1. Cook your meat of choice thoroughly.

2. Add defrosted bell pepper mix.

3. Toss in all remaining ingredients EXCEPT THE CHEESE and cook over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes uncovered.

4. While the flavors are cha-cha-cha-ing, divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Roll out each peice until it is about a half-inch thick into a circle or oval or square... it's up to you! (Side note: I don't have a rolling pin, so I simply pounded the dough into ovals... so don't fret if you're pinless!)

5. Remove the meat-pepper mix from the heat and spoon anywhere between 1 cup to a cup and a half into the center of each dough-shape (note how I didn't descriminate against the square-makers by saying "dough rounds"). Top each pile of meat n' peppers with about an ounce of cheese (you don't need much). Pull up the sides of the dough and pinch together so that the meat mixture is completely enveloped in the dough.

6. Place strombolis on a baking sheet. I sprayed mine with cooking spray and followed that with a few more shakes of the good ol' garlic salt. But that's just me...

7.a. Bake at 350°F for anywhere between 30 to 45 minutes, until the crusts on these gems are golden brown and delicious.

7.b. OR you can bake at 350°F for 20 minutes, pull them out, let them cool, and freeze them for when hunger strikes later!

ESTIMATED Nutritional Information
(really, these have to be a total guess)

Calories 434.5
Total Fat 16.8 g
Saturated Fat 4.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.8 g
Cholesterol 90.0 mg
Sodium 761.1 mg
Potassium 143.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 41.2 g
Dietary Fiber 4.0 g
Sugars 3.2 g
Protein 32.6 g

Aaaaamazing Carrot Pumpkin Yum Yum Yummy Muffins

Can you tell that I really like these babies? Be careful, they may cause excessive groaning with enjoyment! :-D


1 box carrot cake mix

1-15 oz. can of PURE pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

2 egg whites

about 1/4 to 1/2 cup water

1. Mix together all the ingredients until well blended.

2. Pour into 12 muffin tins.

3. Bake at 375°F for about 20 to 30 minutes. Testing with a toothpick kind of works, but the pumpkin makes the muffins very moist, so it may appear to be uncooked. I like to press on the top of the muffin, and if it feels hard, it's cooked. I'm so scientific, right?!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Provincetown Salad a.k.a. Rainbow Feta Pasta Salad


3-4 cups cooked pasta (penne or fusilli are good choices)

1 cup fresh green beans, trimmed, strings removed if necessary, and broken in half if very long

1 yellow or orange pepper, julienned or diced
(whatever floats your boat, matey!)

1 & 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved

1 to 2 tablespoons slivered fresh basil

Balsamic Vinaigrette (as much as you like... recipe follows)

1/2 cup crumbled feta

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (A very good coarse sea salt would be delightful!

1. Cook pasta to your liking. I recommend al dente (or as Jay likes to call it, "a la jente") because the pasta will soften as the fully prepared salad mingles and dances with the dressing in the fridge.

2. Steam green beans for 3 or so minutes, remove from pot and douse in ice water (or if you're like me and conveniently keep ice cube trays in the cupboard, unused, cold water works just as well).

3. Combine all the ingredients* in a large dish, give 'er a stir, and let it rest for a couple hours in the fridge!

*If you want the basil to maintain its vivid color, leave it out until just before serving.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 shallot, chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh basil

1 tablespoon dried italian seasoning

fresh ground black pepper (to taste)

1/2 cup water

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 to 3 tablespoons honey mustard (my substitution for adding Dijon mustard and honey separately)

2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Blend all the ingredients except mustard and oil. Slowly (and carefully!) drizzle them in separately
while the blender is on low. Add one tablespoon at a time, finger tasting as you go! Mmmm!

Estimated Nutritional Information

(for 4 GINORMOUS servings of rainbowness made with 3 cups whole wheat pasta and no added salt)
Calories 410.5
Total Fat 10.6 g
Saturated Fat 3.6 g
Polyunsat. Fat 1.0 g
Monounsat. Fat 4.6 g
Cholesterol 16.7 mg
Sodium 239.8 mg
Potassium 271.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 65.9 g
Dietary Fiber 7.9 g
Sugars 3.4 g
Protein 14.7 g