Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mediterranean-ish Veggie Pizza

This is an everything-in-the-fridge pizza, so you can just leave things out if they aren't in your fridge or add in things that are. I happened to have a lot of Mediterranean-y things in the fridge and so they all go together very well! This would also be great just with the garlic, cheese, olives, and roasted red peppers for a much simpler 'za. Maybe with roasted garlic! I love this pizza recipe with roasted garlic and ricotta.

Roasted red peppers are the best. To make roasted red (or any color obviously) peppers, slice a pepper in half longways and clean out the ribs and seeds. Put it on a baking sheet lined with foil and coat in olive oil. Then broil on low for about 7-8 minutes or bake at 450 for 10-15 minutes. Then put the peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let them sit for about 15 minutes. Then peel the skin off and rip into strips or slice with a knife.

"I'm so sick of winter."


Pizza dough
1 cup tomatoes, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp lemon zest
olive oil
salt & pepper
1/2+ cup ricotta
1/2+ cup provolone or mozzarella - or feta if you want to go more Mediterranean with this
1/4 cup pitted olives
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, sliced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup red onions, either raw or sauteed
1/2 cup artichokes
dried basil & oregano

1. Mix the tomatoes, olive oil, lemon zest, garlic and salt & pepper in a small bowl and set aside.

Coconut Chicken Fingers

I wish I had taken a better picture! We were in a hurry to start eating. These chicken fingers were kind of messy but very tasty, with good texture. I fried these ones up just a little before baking to make them crispy, but you could also spray with cooking oil and just bake them on the baking sheet for a couple extra minutes. 

Coconut, almond and panko breading mix

Adapted (a lot) from Stay for Dinner

3 chicken breasts, cut into relatively even strips, or tenders
1 cup buttermilk*
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup toasted, chopped almonds
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup panko (or breadcrumbs)
salt & pepper to taste
chili powder to taste
1 egg, whisked
2 tbsp oil for frying

Marinate the chicken "fingers" in the buttermilk and honey for at least one hour or up to overnight. I usually put the chicken and marinade in a plastic storage bag and then put that in a bowl to keep in the fridge. 

Mix together the panko, coconut, almonds, salt & pepper and chili powder.

Preheat to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper and wire rack. Take the chicken out of the marinade. Dredge the chicken first in the eggs then in the panko/coconut/almond mixture until well-coated. Cooking in batches, fry in oil in a skillet for 2-3 minutes on each side or until it starts crisping up. Then arrange on the baking sheet transfer to the preheated oven for another 10-12 minutes. Be careful not to overcook since they're pretty small pieces of chicken.

Dip! I like honey mustard (half honey, half mustard) or mayo-mustard (3/4 mayo, 1/4 mustard). 

*Remember that you don't have to go out and buy buttermilk if you don't have any - mix one cup milk with 1 tbsp vinegar and let it sit for a few minutes.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Limoncello Macarons

Macarons are a French cookie made with almond flour so they are gluten free! They come in many different flavors and they are absolutely delicious. They are pretty labor intensive to make traditionally so when I saw this simple recipe on 101 cookbooks, I had to try making them. Check out the site for much prettier pictures. Macarons are absolutely addictive though-I'm warning you now!

14 ounces almond paste (found at Whole Foods)
1 large egg white
1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more for shaping cookies
1/4 tsp pure almond extract
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tbsp limoncello
1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt

I used 2 tubes of Odense almond paste. I will definitely be looking up how to make it myself though. The almond paste is thick, so I recommend using an electric mixer.

Back to the directions. First, blend the almond paste with the egg white and the powdered sugar until creamy. The mixture will be thick. Then add the almond extract, lemon zest, limoncello, and salt until thoroughly mixed.

Fill a small bowl with powdered sugar. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or wax paper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. The author rolled out the dough into logs and then sliced them to make little pillow shaped macarons, but I just dropped a teaspoonful of dough into a bowl of powdered sugar to coat it. Then, making sure your fingers are covered with powdered sugar, pinch the dough into a pyramid shape. The cookies can be placed closely together since they don't really expand while baking.

Peanut Butter and Honey Kettle Corn

I was very impressed by idea of mixing honey and PB with popcorn when I saw this recipe on Warm Vanilla Sugar. I figured the only way to make it better was to make it with kettle corn! But if you're using microwaved or air popped popcorn, you can stick with normal popcorn and I'm sure it will still be amazing.

Adapted from Warm Vanilla Sugar

~1/2 or 3/4 cup popcorn kernels + 1 tbsp veg oil + 2 tbsp sugar + 1 tbsp salt = ~5-6 cups popped kettle corn
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Baked Buffalo Chicken Rolls

By far the hardest part of this very simple recipe was finding egg roll wrappers at Giant Eagle today - turns out they keep them between the carrots and parsnips in the refrigerated produce section. My sister loves buffalo chicken, so I'm making these easy egg roll-type wraps to snack on during the Oscars. 

For more traditional egg rolls that are still baked instead of fried, try Michelle's veggie ones.

From Stay for Dinner (check it out for good step-by-step pics) 
Makes 12-14 rolls
12 egg roll wrappers
1 cup cooked and shredded chicken
1/2 – 2/3 cup Frank’s Red Hot sauce
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 cup broccoli slaw or cole slaw (dry)
blue cheese dressing, for serving
If you're starting raw chicken, cook it - I boiled 2 boneless chicken breasts with a bay leaf for about 15 minutes. Cool until you can shred it with a couple forks or your fingers. Give some to your dog before it becomes too spicy. In a bowl, mix the chicken and the hot sauce until all chicken is saucy.

Preheat the oven to 400. Prepare a baking sheet by covering with parchment paper and putting a wire rack on top. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

Even when I'm trying to be healthful and more health conscious, I still crave sweets. Chia seeds (as in the seeds used in the chia pets) are great way to satisfy my sweet tooth while still getting lots of omega-3's, fiber, and even protein. I got this recipe from Deliciously Organic, which also has a couple different variations of the pudding.

1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk (I used flax seed milk)
1/3 cup chia seeds
3 tablespoons honey
2 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Follow these directions to keep the seeds whole (they are like little tapioca pearls this way): Whisk all ingredients together and let sit for about 2 hours in the refrigerator. Then serve with some dried fruit on top!

To blend the seeds: Whisk all ingredients together and let sit for aobut 1 hour. Then blend until smooth. Add chocolate chips and dried fruit if desired!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sweet Potato Corn Chowder

I have decided that Lent is a good time for soups.  Somehow it seems a little easier to go meatless when there is a pot full of colorful veggies simmering on the stove and making the house smell SO GOOD.  Plus, there's nothing like a hot bowl of soup on a cold day.  In an attempt to have a more intense Lent this year I'm trying to be vegan every other week... I know I couldn't make it for the entire 40 days, but maybe next year!

2 cups vegetable broth (I used veggie bouillon.  Someday I vow to actually make my own broth!)
2 small sweet potatoes
a handful of baby carrots
1-2 celery stalks
1/2 of an onion
1-2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup milk or soymilk
1 cup of corn, canned or frozen
salt and pepper

Spicy Sriracha White Bean Dip

I really love dips, and this is a good one. I made mine pretty spicy but that could easily be dialed down to just a nice kick of spicy flavor in this creamy, Asian-y white bean dip. Eat it with pita chips, raw veggies OR, if you happen to have fresh Honey Wheat Bread in the freezer, with toasted slices of that. Or on a sandwich!

Twilly is suffering a really bad beard-hair day.
Just FYI, the next blog post will be the 100th!!


Adapted from White on Rice Couple

1/4 lb dried white beans (save the cooking water) 
2 bay leaves
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1-2 tsp soy sauce
1-2 tbsp sriracha 
1-2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 cup bean cooking water if you want it smoother/thinner
1 tbsp lime or lemon juice
crackers, pita chips, veggies, toasted baguette slices,etc.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Black Bean Empanadas

These are my favorite snack food so I make them every few months and keep them in the freezer. There is so much you can do with these - change the filling or the dip and it's a whole different thing. I've made them once with a beef filling and a few times with chicken, and this time it's black beans.

I'm watching the special features from "Matilda," and I have some food-related trivia for you: the director (Danny DeVito!) had Bruce Bogtrotter eat those huge bites and then spit out the Trunchbull's cake between each take so he wouldn't throw up. 

sleeping in
So now go make these empanadas! They are VERY similar in assembly to the Strawberry Chocolate Hand Pies I posted about last week, so if you make them both it's like developing a skill... I'm making the Honey Wheat Bread again today, too, so I'm hitting two of my favorite hurry up and wait and then freeze it recipes for President's Day!



from Laylita's Recipes

3 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1 egg yolk (save whites for later)
3/4 cup to 1 cup warm milk

Combine the flour and salt in a food processor. Then add the butter and mix. Then add a bit of the yolk and milk in turns, mixing between each addition, until crumbs form (like for pie crust). Turn it out and form two balls. Cool until ready to use.

Banh Xeo (Vietnamese Crepes)

When my mom makes these, they are perfectly thin and crispy with the perfect balance of flavors. Traditionally they are made with fatty pork and fried in a caste iron pan with bean sprouts and green onions. In Vietnam, this is the best street food! I got this recipe from a vegetarian cookbook called Plenty that I got for Christmas and this version has a thicker crepe. I made these on Sunday for Nick's family. It was their first time trying this food and I think they liked it!

Makes 4 thick crepes
For the crepe batter:

1 1/3 cups brown rice flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
1 3/4 cup coconut milk (from a can)
1 bunch green onions, green and white parts chopped

Mix the dry ingredients with a wire whisk.

Then add the coconut milk slowly, stirring to incorporate. Then add in the chopped green onions.

Mix the batter and set aside to rest. While preparing the filling.

Vegan Nori Rolls

In my current post-cleanse state I've been super motivated to eat well and cook delicious and nutritious meals and snacks (point of the cleanse has been achieved).   Yesterday I made this recipe as well as two others that I will post on here soon.  Along with the first of many healthy recipes I'm trying, this is also the first recipe from Pinterest (yeah, I'm one of those) that I've made, pinned from this site.  I cheated a bit on the recipe by using out of season veggies and pre-sliced peppers from the store.  Needless to say this recipe will be much more delicious in the summer. 

Raw Vegan Nori Rolls

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Lemon Cornbread Cupcakes

I made these cute little lemony cornbread cupcakes to bring over to the grandparents' for dinner tonight (before the season finale of "Downton Abbey"!!). I'm a big fan of cornbread, so this seemed like a good way to make it for dessert. And of course anything with lemon shoots to the top of my baking to-do list!

The original recipe suggests a lemon glaze, which was fine, but next time I make these I think I'll make a cream cheese frosting or just drizzle with honey. Usually I like a citrusy glaze, but it didn't do much for the cornbread. But the actual cupcakes were really good!

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cornmeal (preferably coarse ground)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk, room temperature
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced (should yield 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest and 2 tablespoons lemon juice)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Rice Noodles, Fried Egg & Stuff

I LOVEEE Tram's Kitchen in Bloomfield and pretty much every time I go there I get #16, vermicelli noodles. Everything I've had there has been amazing but... #16!!! Sometimes when I get a Tram's craving I try and make something along the same vein as that dish. It's a good recipe to adapt to just use stuff in your fridge. 

This time I had chicken (marinated in orange zest & juice, soy sauce, fish sauce and mustard), cucumbers, carrots, bok choy (sauted with creamy peanut butter, soy sauce and sesame oil), and an egg. Drop the rice noodles (very cheap at Lotus in the Strip!!) in some boiling water for just a couple minutes, drain and load stuff on top, including nuoc mam cham, hoisin sauce, and sriracha. 

Topping ideas:
  • cucumber and carrot
    • julienne or use a peeler to make thin strips
  • grilled or broiled chicken pieces
    • cut up chicken thigh, marinate then skewer & grill or broil
    • or use tofu or whatever meat you have around
  • baby bok choy 
    • clean and saute (I like it with some peanut butter, soy sauce and sesame oil)
    • side note: add some chicken or tofu and rice and this is another great quick meal!!
  • lettuce
    • shredded
  • bean sprouts
  • fried egg
  • at Tram's they add cut up egg rolls!!! so good!!
  • crushed peanuts
  • nuoc mam cham (see recipe below), hoisin sauce, and sriracha

Friday, February 15, 2013


The word ribollita literally means reboiled. Nick, Brittany, and I were pondering the meaning of the word last night while I made this hearty Italian soup. Then I finally gave in and looked it up at work today on Wikipedia. Also, according to Wikipedia the soup consists of inexpensive vegetables, white beans, and stale bread. All of which I had plenty lying around the apartment. The original recipe is from 101 Cookbooks.
I made this soup on Valentine's day because I was impatient while waiting for Nick to come over and make me a surprise dinner (French lentils). It worked out because I didn't have any celery and convienently Nick did. He even brought fresh thyme--better than flowers. We ended up having 2 main courses instead which was ok with me!

3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 small carnival squash, seeded, peeled, and chopped (carrots could be used instead)
1 medium red onion, chopped
1/3 head small red cabbage, sliced thinly
1 entire head garlic, minced (I still have a ton of garlic from the Pittsburgh Project Farm)
1-26 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 can cannelini beans
1 can garbanzo beans
4-5 slices stale bread (I used super stale spelt bread that was way in the back of our refrigerator)
7 large leaves of lacinato kale (dinosaur kale), sliced thinly
grated lemon zest
fresh thyme

In a large soup pot, combine the celery, winter squash, red onion, and cabbage and drizzle with olive oil. Let cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes until softened and more translucent.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Vegan Lavender Earl Grey Cupcakes

This recipe is from a website that has a ton of vegan recipes for those that follow the Orthodox Lenten tradition, which basically means eating vegan for 40 days. For lent this year, I decided to follow the Orthodox lifestyle (except for I'm still eating eggs). Anyways, I could not find the website where I originally got the recipe from so I could not cite it. Sorry whoever you are! You have really good recipes, especially this cake!

Makes about 30 cupcakes or one large 9x13 inch cake.

2 cups earl grey tea
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup applesauce
2 tablespoons vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons culinary lavender
3 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda

Brew 2 cups strong earl grey tea (or even better earl grey lavender tea, found in the strip district!!!) and let cool.

Meanwhile, either chop the lavender or use a mortar and pestle to crush the lavender.

Sometimes if I don't feel like chopping the lavender, I just throw it in whole. Just expect lavender chunks then if you go that route. Then combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and lavender) and mix with a wire whisk until thoroughly combined.
Combine the oil, applesauce, and vanilla. Then add the earl grey tea and vinegar. Add the dry mixture slowly, bit by bit, to the wet mixture while stirring gently. The vinegar makes the batter foam, so don't worry if that happens.

Once the cake batter is combined, divide evenly into lined cupcake tins. I filled the cupcake tins about 3/4 of the way.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. If making a cake, grease a 9x13 inch baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes instead.

I like to make a white icing for this cake using powdered sugar, almond milk, and coconut cream.

Baked Vegetable Egg Rolls

While I was attempting to make Kate's butternut squash stuffed ravioli, I discovered that I had bought egg roll wrappers not wonton wrappers. So the wrappers sat in the refrigerator for a couple of days while I pondered what to make out of them. The answer was obvious yet it took me awhile to figure it out- egg rolls! I don't have a deep fryer, so I went with the baking option. Healthier but still delicious. I found a recipe that I liked on For the Love of Cooking but I didn't have some of the ingredients it called for. Therefore I made a good amount of substitutions.

You will need:

Egg roll wrappers
2 cups shredded red cabbage
2 cups shredded carrot
2 cups shredded various radishes (daikon works great)
7 shiitake mushrooms, chopped
3 scallions, chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and diced
3 large cloves of garlic, diced
3 tablespoons Hoisin Sauce
Sweet and Sour Sauce (I made mine from sweet chili sauce and honey)


Prepare the vegetables. Chopped various radishes:

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sesame Kale Salad

After yoga, my friend Rachel made me this salad and it was so refreshing. I know the recipe is from online but I could not remember where from. I added some roasted sweet potatoes for some extra flavor.

1 bunch lacinato kale leaves, sliced thinly
4 carrots, grated
2 shallots, sliced thinly
2 sweet potatoes, cubed
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
Bragg's liquid aminos to taste
salt and pepper

Spread the cubed sweet potatoes over a baking tray and drizzle with sesame oil. Then season with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top. Bake at 375 degrees until a fork can be inserted into the potato pretty easily. Let cool.
Mix the dressing together and chop the vegetables. Toss the salad together and enjoy! We served this with sunny side up eggs for some extra sustenance.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Downton Abbey Tea Sandwich Extravaganza

Laura always makes me delicious food so today I wanted to make her something. I combined the two things she loves most: Downton Abbey and sandwiches. So I embarked on an epic Downton Abbey themed tea sandwich extravaganza. 

I decided to make four kinds of sandwiches: Coronation Chicken, Spicy Tuna, Cucumber, and Salami. I also made an English Trifle for dessert.

Coronation Chicken was by far the most time intensive and the most delicious! I started by preparing the chicken. I combined cooked breasts with sour cream and curry powder, poured the mixture into a bowl, and let the flavors combine in the fridge over the afternoon. Then I started preparing the mango chutney I'd add later. In a saucepan I combined distilled white vinegar, sugar, mango, raisins, garlic, mustard, crystallized ginger, and onions.

Then I started chopping the ingredients while the chutney bubbled. I sliced a cucumber in thin slivers and added some salt to dry them out a little.

Then I checked on the chutney again. Looking good!

Then I made the filling for the spicy tuna sandwiches. Pictured is diced sweet pickles, red onions, and Sriracha. 

Then I checked on the chutney again. The chopped mango and raisins looked more vibrant in color.


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