Monday, January 2, 2012

Pasta and Beans

It's a new year and we're trying a few new things. My goal into make more healthy dinners at home and try to have 2-3 meals a week with no meat. This recipe is one my Mom shared with us a few months ago that we love. It's super easy, we almost always have the ingredients, and it doesn't have meat.

1 cup chopped carrots
1 (16oz) can kidney beans
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 clove minced garlic
1 (16oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. cracked red or black pepper
2 Tbsp. vinegar
1/4 cup dry red wine ( or water)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup ditalini ( small pasta tubes)
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Place all ingredients except pasta and cheese in a large skillet. Cover and simmer 20 minutes. Stir in pasta and cook for 15 minutes ( or longer until pasta is tender).

Parsley and cheese are optional. We don't use cheese right now because I can't eat dairy, and I only add fresh parsley if we already have it.

**I often have to add a bit of water once I add the pasta.**

Serve with a yummy salad.


( Serves 4)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Banana-Oat Smoothie

I've been really into smoothies recently, but I always seem to make the same kind. So today I decided to look for a new recipe. Somewhere recently I'd come across the idea of a banana oat smoothie and so this morning, after a quick google search I came across this recipe. I often find when looking for new recipes that I have to go buy half of the ingredients at the grocery store before making it, hence why I seem to rely on the old standbys. This recipe surprised me, we had everything it called for, it was super easy to make, and delicious. Thanks Martha!
I left out the cinnamon because I'm not a huge fan. I did find another recipe that suggested adding a bit of vanilla and I thought about trying that instead, although, after drinking this one I might just leave it as is.

  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 banana, cut into thirds
  • 1/2 cup fat-free milk
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

So, if your looking for a healthy mid morning snack, make one of these delicious drinks and then sit down at the computer and search for another easy recipe that you can walk into the kitchen and make in 5 minutes. :-)

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Sea Cow

This post isn't something I made, but instead a long time tradition. I get this meal every year at the beach. There is a local restaurant on the island called The Sea Cow Eatery, and their signature dish is "The Sea Cow". A delicious sandwich . . . an open face toasted bagel with fresh spinach and grilled shrimp, drizzled with homemade ranch dressing. Yum! Here's a picture of this delicious dish for you to enjoy.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

I saw this recipe on one of my friends food blogs and it's been tempting me for weeks. Earlier this week I had a few minutes before I needed to start cooking dinner so I decided to make a batch. When I say a few minutes, literally, that's all it takes. They are super quick and easy, and a wonderful treat to pull out of the oven 20 minutes later!

The original recipe came from Annie's Eats, but here it is:


2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2/3 cup brown sugar
6 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
½ cup peanut butter
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
¾ cup chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 375°. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, peanut butter, eggs and milk until smooth.

Add in the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Divide batter evenly between prepared muffin tins, filling each to the top.

4. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

* I forgot to put in the sugar until the end and didn't have enough so I probably used only about 1/2 of the sugar the recipe calls for. I liked them a lot and didn't think they needed the added sugar (I don't feel as guilty eating them any time of day the way I made them). They would be a good dessert (peanut butter cookie imitation) if you added more sugar and sprinkle some sugar on top before cooking.*

Monday, May 2, 2011

Easter Dinner

This year for Easter Michael and Claire were here helping us get baby's room ready so we invited our friends Casey and Cheryl over and had a yummy dinner. We've made both parts of this meal and I think put together it might be a new Easter tradition. We had Grilled Meats and Vegetables with Saffron Orzo, and Gluten Free Carrot Cake (in our bunny shaped cake pan). The meal provides something for everyone and is great for a Spring/Summer day when it's fun to grill out and feed a crowd.
The boys grilling

Our Easter dinner table

The dinner dish was originally from the Food Network but we make some minor revisions. We usually add steak, and only use boneless skinless chicken breast (just for convenience). I also think adding onions (maybe pearl onions) and tomatoes would be an excellent addition to the vegetables but we never have enough room on the grill. We also made an additional serving of yellow rice to make the meal optionally gluten free. You can find the recipe on the Food Network link above or a previous post about this meal on the blog last June.

Food ready to go on the grill . . .yum yum!

The orzo cooking

The cake was modified from the best carrot cake I've ever had . . . it's in "The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook". This time we made it with All Purpose Gluten Free Baking Flour and it turned out great but it is also excellent in it's original form. Here's the recipe:

Cream Cheese Icing (make ahead of time and refrigerate as it is very soft).
2, 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

In a large bowl beat cream cheese and butter until smooth on medium speed with electric mixer (about 3 minutes). Add vanilla and beat well. Gradually add sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating continuously until smooth and creamy. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight to thicken.

Carrot Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs (at room temperature)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups lightly packed shredded carrots
1- 8 ounce can crushed pineapple in juice
1 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans (plus extra to sprinkle on top of cake)
3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut

- Preheat oven to 325.
- Toast pecans and set aside to cool.
- Grease and lightly flour two 9 x 2 inch round cake pans, then line bottoms with wax paper. (This time we used a bunny shaped pan but I've also made it the traditional way).
- In a small bowl sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl beat the oil and sugar on medium speed with an electric mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until light and thick (about 2 minutes).
- Add vanilla and beat well.
- Gradually add dry ingredients, beating until well incorporated.
- Stir in carrots, pineapple and juice, pecans and coconut.
- Divide batter between prepared pans and bake for 40-50 minutes (until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean)
- Cool in pans on wire rack for one hour.
- Remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack.
- When cake is cooled ice and sprinkle with toasted pecans as desired.

Here's our cute bunny, decorated by Claire.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Competition for McCalisters

picture courtesy of google images

Have you ever been to McAlister's Deli? It's a chain restaurant that has many different types of sandwiches but is known best for it's baked potatoes and tea. They have HUGE baked potatoes with many different toppings. Mark and I decided a few months ago that we'd have baked potatoes at home and make them like we'd order them from McAlisters.

To bake the potatoes I simply wash them, poke a few holes with a fork, rub a bit of oil and salt on them and individually wrap them in aluminum foil. Then they go in the oven for about an hour on 350.

We usually grill some chicken and cut it up into bite sized pieces. Then, each add our own choice of toppings which obviously are endless. I like a bit of butter, tomatoes, cheese, salt, pepper and sour cream. Mark likes butter, cheese and chicken.

Here's a picture of my potato from the other night. They are easy, hearty, and healthy (depending on your toppings). Yum yum!

So, what toppings do you like on your baked potato?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Danish Delicacies

Fresh bread, cheeses galore, amazing fish and meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, oh, and the desserts . . . the list goes on. I don't think I ever posted a blog about the wonderful food we had on our Scandinavia adventure this past summer. Now that just returned from Denmark I must tell you about the wonderful food I had there! If only I'd taken pictures of every bit of food I ate while I was there. . . I would have been taking pictures the whole time but I wish I had them to share!

Instead of having the pictures you have to use your imagination. It's still cold outside, there's ice on the the beach just across the road, but when you walk into breakfast at the hotel there are fresh tulips on every table, the room is filled with very modern Scandinavian decor, and there is more food than the eyes can take in.

Coffee and tea of course, 4 types of juice and a freshly made blackberry smoothie, sliced meats, hot meats, fresh bread to slice yourself (still slightly warm to the touch), eggs of all kinds, freshly sliced fruits and vegetables. Yogurts with granola, dried fruit, cereal flakes, honey and brown sugar as toppings. Oh yum!

After getting your first plate or two you sit down and enjoy this amazing feast overlooking the water with views of Sweden on the opposite shore. And this is just breakfast?

Every day I was there started this way, followed by wonderful "snacks" throughout our conference including the BEST macaroons I've ever had, crossiants, berry coffee cake . . . is your mouth watering yet?

Lunch was usually another buffet style spread with many choices, salads, fresh salmon (caught that morning), more breads, fruits and cheeses of course, the options seemed endless.

Dinner was a sit down meal and never included the ridiculously large portions we're so used to being served in the US, but we were NEVER hungry. It was always a perfectly plated, well balanced meal beginning with a small salad and then a meat and vegetable course. There were always options for vegetarians, or those of us who were pregnant and couldn't eat the fish.

The picture below is how my food experience started in Denmark. In a very delirious state after traveling for over 24 hours I went to the hotel cafe as I waited for my room to be available and was served this with a side of fresh bread slices of course.

Freshly made Tomato Gazpacho from the hotel cafe. Delicious! I would love to try to recreate it this summer, it would be a great meal on a hot summer evening.