Saturday, April 3, 2010

Where did the time go?!

One and a half years has past since I started blogging... and I hate to admit it, but I'm sure you are clearly aware that I have neglected this project. I guess my only excuse is that life happened.

An update in fast forward about what has been going on in my life the past year and a half.. Started my junior year in my new apt, met a boy, fell in love, moved in together, moved to a new apartment (much bigger kitchen, yay!), started my senior year, got a kitten, about to graduate, applying for jobs, moving to a new city, and through it all cooking food.. some good, some bad and sometimes (heaven forbid) from a box or can.

Now about my roommate of almost a year....My boyfriend is a true country boy; steak, potatoes and gravy (don't forget the butter) always make him a happy camper. The first dinner he made me included fried chicken that almost burned down his apartment. Needless to say our tastes don't always match up, especially when it comes to vegetables! To him he doesn't like the texture of most veggies, so it definitely took negotiation and mostly me sneaking them into our meals for a compromise to occur.

The meals I will share include a mixture of collaboration from him and me (he has already explained I HAVE to include his famous tator tot casserole recipe). Plus recipes that are a continuation of my experimenting from past entries.

Oh I forgot to mention, the boyfriend is a hunter and fisherman, so you will get to see my attempt at taming wild game in the kitchen (please pray for me).

Recipes are to come, soon (I promise this time)! But until then a picture of Felix the kitten...

Felix at 2 months old when we brought him home and was still a timid kitten. Now at almost 9 months old his is the most rambunctious little cat I have ever met yet around me he is still a little momma's boy that just wants to cuddle.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

perfection in a summer's afternoon

The pacific northwest is going through a heat wave this week, and Ellensburg is definitely in the middle of it. With temperatures reaching 110 degrees, doing anything feels like a chore, including eating. An easy summer lunch or dinner idea, which not only tastes and looks gourmet, it takes just a few minutes to make and can be adjusted to any one's palette.


this salad idea really doesn't need a recipe just some basic blueprints.

to start out it uses a basic pizza dough. (I love trader joe's pizza dough because it tastes great and I can bring it home, weigh individual portions out and store them in the freezer for quick fix meals.) A serving size is about 2 ounces (57g) so for this lunch I double the size to 4 ounces. (A scale really helps out when trying to measure out portion sizes, and knowing just how many calories you are consuming. The one I use is from Bed Bath and Beyond, and it works perfectly!)

Pre-heat the oven to the temperature on the dough directions. Stretch out the dough to a fairly thin circle, at this time you can add cut up vegetables that you want roasted. Spray with Pam, and cook on a pizza pan or stone for about 6-8 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned.

While the crust is warm spread on any toppings you like, for lunch today I was in a summery Greek mood, so I spread fresh hummus over the warm crust. Other yummy ideas are soft goat cheese, olive tapenade, or pesto. From there add your greens, chiffonading the leaves makes it easier to eat and adds a unique texture to the meal. All you have to do is layer the greens (tender leaves work best like arugula,spinach or basil) on top of each other and roll into a log, take a knife and cut fairly thin strips, that resemble ribbons.

On top add anything your heart desires..try not only mixing flavors like salty, savory and sweet but mixing textures. I love adding seasonal fresh fruit along with dried fruit, cheese, fresh vegetables, nuts and a little protein, this way not only is your stomach satisfied but your mouth is too.

Lastly top with a light dressing, or go without, let the ingredients shine on their own

For my salad, I added some roasted zucchini, hummus, spinach ribbons, some golden raisins, crumbled feta cheese, diced watermelon, chopped kalamata olives and drizzled the top with just a little aged balsamic vinegar.

The way you eat it is just as creative as when you made it, either eating it like a salad, or folding the bread over and eating it like a sandwich.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Maybe we can sleep in, I'll make you banana pancakes, pretend like it's the weekend now...

OK the title is deceiving (no pancakes today,) but the comfort is still there...

YUM! Perfect with a glass of milk!

I woke up early this morning and it was overcast and cool, not the sight I’m used to when day after day since the start of summer it’s been in the nineties starting at nine a.m. I enjoyed the change, instead of feeling like I was bogged down by the heat I felt energized to finish my never ending to do list. However, at the same time I just wanted to curl up with my exciting chem book and a cup of tea and relax on my window seat having Jack Johnson play in the background (Aaaw...)

Summer classes are coming to a close, and the stress of coming out strong on my finals is starting to grow. I don’t know what it is, but when I’m stressed I always resort to the kitchen for comfort, it's a huge reliever of tension, especially baking. Perfect timing, since the bananas I had bought a few days ago were now tar black thanks to the heat, (nice appetizing image, i know.) As you could guess I had the idea to make banana bread, hence the only reason you intentionally keep bananas that long.

The only time I buy bananas is when I have the urge to make banana bread, because any other forms of bananas are not personally enjoyable. This distaste went as far as telling people I was allergic to bananas as a child, so I wouldn’t have to encounter the odd fruit. I was not a picky kid when it came to fruits and vegetables, but somehow the smell and taste that tickled my throat as I tried it, was not pleasing. I never thought I would acceptingly come across any form of banana unless it was against my free will, (to me that would be a horrible torture,) until I tried a piece at a local coffee shop. The combination of the fruit being in an over ripe stage and breaking down during the baking process turned the once unpleasant fruit into a sweet moist ingredient in an almost-pound cake-like dessert.

Most recipes I’ve read have the basic ingredients of flour, sugar, vanilla, butter and the star of the show, way too ripe bananas. Now, this is a fine start, and has turned out nice tasting breads, but that’s what they tasted like, dry-crumbly-holds up to it's name sake-bread. The bananas added moisture, but the butter seemed to dry it out (even with the fat content) and turn it into a dense sweet bread with a crisp crust. Finally I found a recipe from MyRecipes that tasted more like a cake, and was packed with moisture, but knowing myself, I always find ways of improving recipes. This recipe was already considered low-fat with 187 calories a slice, but after looking over the recipes I found better ingredients to both replace the existing ones, and add flavor, yet keep the moisture.

For the reason that this cake really is a cake and over exceeds the expectations of bread, the name has been changed accordingly.

Gooey Indulge-Away Banana Cake
Adapted from

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
½ cup clover honey
4 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
2 egg whites
4 large ripened bananas (mashed)
1/3 cup non-fat plain yogurt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup malt sweetened carob chips
Cooking Spray

Yields 1 loaf, 16 servings (1 slice is 140 calories)
Pre-heat oven to 325°F

In medium size bowl, whisk or sift dry ingredients (salt, flours, and baking soda) together.

In separate large bowl, blend together applesauce and sugar. Spray measuring cup with cooking spray and measure honey (for easy removal), add to bowl and continue to blend. Add eggs and whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add yogurt and vanilla. Add bananas and blend until desired texture,(I like to leave the bananas slightly chunky for a bigger flavor.)

Slowly Incorporate dry ingredients into wet batter, after fully mixed fold in carob chips until evenly distributed. Pour batter into 8 ½ by 4 ½ inch loaf pan that is coated lightly in cooking spray, and bake on the middle rack for 45 minutes. Check after 30 to make sure it is browning evenly. Once a tooth pick comes out clean the cake is done. Cool for 10 minutes, and remove from pan, cool another few minutes and eat, or store wrapped in cling wrap in the refrigerator to hold in the moisture.