Monday, October 31, 2011

Waking up hungry and NaNoWriMo

It is almost NaNoWriMo time!!!!

What is NaNoWriMo? It is a crazy event people commit to every November. Everyone that enters tries to write 50,000 words by the end of the month. 

50,000 words = about 200 written pages.

Yes, it is a pretty insane endeavor - but it is also really fun. 

I have been doing it each November for the last 3 years. If you have the time and inclination I encourage you to try it.

But back to the important thing - my breakfast:

Breakfast coleslaw with hard boiled eggs, jasmine tea and half of an orange.
Some mornings I am not that hungry but this morning I woke up ravenous. I don't know about the rest of you but when I get that hungry I know I need a big volume meal.

My easiest big volume breakfast I make is coleslaw with chopped up hard boiled eggs. 

All I need to do is measure out 2 cups of pre-made bagged coleslaw, toss it with some yogurt, mayo, vinegar and sugar. I almost always have some hard boiled eggs sitting in the fridge so I just chop up one whole egg and a couple of egg whites.

Easy protein slaw

Serves 1


2 cups of pre-made coleslaw mix
1 whole egg and 2 eggwhites, chopped
1/3 cup of chopped apple
1/2 tsp of rice vinegar
1 tsp of Greek yogurt
2 tsp of Vegenaise
1/8 tsp of sugar
1/8 tsp of dijon mustard


Mix all the ingredients together and enjoy. This slaw is also wonderful made the night before and eaten in the morning because the flavors get a chance to really meld together. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mantu that turned into chips

I was frustrated yesterday and today by not being able to find ground lamb at any of my local markets.

I could find lamb shanks and other lamb bits but zero ground lamb.

I did buy most of the other ingredients. 

So, until I get the rest of the stuff and I am able to try making mantu - here is a look at the breakfast I made when I was craving potato chips.

I am perpetually confused with the whole sweet potato vs yam business. I will show you what the sweet potato/yam that I used looked like:

I used the whipped egg white technique that worked out well from the recipe I used for my eggplant parmesan and added in some other spices (recipe to follow).

So, here is the downside to disliking sweets and craving the savory: If you are a sweets person you could easily go to the store and buy a big bag of potato chips and eat a handful and be done with it. But I, for one, cannot do that. I would go to the store and buy a large bag of chips and proceed to eat them all in one sitting. 

And for all of you that wondered - I totally get the whole 'I could eat a whole bag of gummy bears' thing - only for me it would be potato chips. 

So, to make sure the 'eat an entire bag of chips, be covered in potato chip bits and have the dogs stare at me like they want to jump me and scavenge off the crumbs' scenario didn't happen, I made my own chips.

And I made a great dip of greek yogurt mixed with dried parsley and Frank's Red Hot sauce for dunking.

 Yes, this turned out incredibly delicious!

Yam or sweet potato oven chips

Serves 1


1/2 of a yam or sweet potato, peeled and sliced 1/4" thick

1/2 cup of bread crumbs

2 Tbsp of nutritional yeast

1 tsp of paprika

1/2 tsp of garlic powder

1/2 tsp of onion powder

a pinch of salt

cracked black pepper to taste

2 egg whites whisked till they are frothy

2 tsp. of olive oil


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with tinfoil and brush with olive oil.

Peel and slice the yam or sweet potato. Whisk 2 egg whites until they are frothy (not too much - you don't want it so whipped it creates peaks).

Combine the bread crumbs with the nutritional yeast, paprika,  garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper and place on a plate.

Dip the slices in the egg whites and coat well with the bread crumb mixture.

Cook the slices in the oven for 8 minutes and then turn them over and cook another 4 minutes. Cooking times will vary according to the thickness of the slices but what you are aiming for is for the slices to be golden brown on each side.

When the chips are done, pull them out of the oven and let them cool a bit. Serve in a small bowl lined with paper towels and a second bowl filled with your dip of choice.

Optional: Combine 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt with 2 Tbsp of dried parsley and a sprinkle of Frank's Hot Sauce for your dipping sauce.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Eggplant Parmesan for one

Eggplant Parmesan with a side of quinoa.

For the record, I love Eggplant Parmesan. I usually stay away from it in restaurants because it is usually heavy on the fat content.

Now, I am not saying this is a low fat recipe but it is lower in fat than most. I found this great recipe here. I did a bit of tweaking and it turned out amazing!

I sliced up one small Italian eggplant, dipped the slices in whipped egg whites and then coated them with bread crumbs. 

I also made a simple tomato sauce using canned tomatoes, basil, oregano, garlic and onion powder.

When the eggplant came out of the oven I started with the assembly:

A little bit of sauce.

The first layer of eggplant.

Some more sauce.

A layer of mini-mozzarella balls, sliced.

The last of the eggplant slices.

And this last step is the reason why I love my micro plane grater - I get to eat what looks likes 3 cups of shredded Parmesan but is really only about 3 Tbsp.

The dish was complete after a sprinkle of dried parsley and some black pepper.

What I liked most about this recipe is that it was heavy on eggplant and sauce and fairly light on fat and cheese. 

And while my last eggplant dish turned out to be a watery mess (yup, I didn't bother to tell you about that one) - the eggplant in this dish was perfect - it had a nice meaty texture while still being tender.

And since this dish contained 1 eggplant and was made in a 6" round Pyrex dish - you could eat the whole thing without too much guilt.

And, yes, I did eat the whole thing:-)

Oh, and my first attempt at mantu will be up later today...

Eggplant Parmesan for one

Serves 1-2 (depending on serving size)


1 Italian eggplant, peeled and sliced about 1/4" thick
2 egg whites, whipped
1/2 cup of bread crumbs seasoned with black pepper
2 tsp of olive oil
1 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes
4 mini-mozzarella balls, sliced
1/2 tsp of sugar
1/2 tsp of dried basil
1/2 tsp of oregano
1/4 tsp of garlic powder
1/4 tsp of onion powder
3 Tbsp of finely shredded Parmesan
2 pinches of salt
1 cup of chicken broth


Put the tomatoes, chicken broth, basil, oregano, onion, garlic and sugar into a sauce pan and let that simmer while you continue with the eggplant.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Peel the eggplant and slice into 1/4" rounds. Line a sheet pan with tinfoil and brush with the olive oil. Dredge each slice in the egg whites and then into the bread crumbs (be careful to shake off any excess bread crumbs).

Cook the eggplant for 10 minutes then carefully turn them over and cook for another 8-10 minutes.

When the eggplant is golden brown on each side - remove it from the oven and set aside to cool.

At this point the tomato sauce should have reduced a bit. Remove the sauce from the heat and using an immersion blender or regular blender - puree the sauce. Make sure to allow the sauce to cool a bit before blending and be very careful about any splatter.

Ladle some sauce into the bottom of a 6" Pyrex bowl.  The layering should be done in the following order: sauce, eggplant slices, sauce, mozzarella, sauce, eggplant slices, Parmesan cheese.

You can alter the order of the layers to include more mozzarella cheese if you prefer.

Place the dish into a 400 degree oven and cook for 15 - 20 minutes. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of the eggplant slices. Mine were pretty small so I ended up cooking the dish for 15 minutes.


Friday, October 28, 2011

High hopes for a new restaurant

When Vallesol restaurant on Murphy avenue closed - everyone I knew was disappointed. It had a great casual atmosphere, great prices and even better food.

When my friend mentioned that a new Mexican restaurant had opened in the same place I had high hopes.

This should have been a warning sign (pun intended):

Instead of having a sign with the restaurant's name they just had a generic sign out front.
The chips and salsa were a disappointment. The chips were cold and seemed like they were straight out of a bag and the salsas seemed like they were poured out of a jar - yuk.

I ordered the tostada salad which was OK but not great. 

And the veggies that were in the salad were an odd mix of peas and carrots which I imagine was from a frozen bag mix...

The best part of the tostada salad was the shredded beef which was warm and nicely seasoned.

My friend ordered the cerviche.

My friend said she enjoyed this dish and that there were plenty of shrimp. Her complaint was about the side of rice and beans she ordered. 

I took a taste of the beans and they were very bland and without a hint of heat. My guess is the beans were dumped straight from a can and then doctored up with cumin - not a great dish.

She also commented that the rice seemed dry - like it had been sitting out for hours.

I really hope this restaurant turns it around. There are tons of great restaurants on Murphy Ave. This new restaurant will definitely have to step up its game if they hope to compete with the rest of them.

On the plus side, the prices were very reasonable but again - this does not really work in their favor since there are a lot of cheap taco places in the area that make everything from scratch.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Savory pomegranate quinoa bowl

Savory quinoa with pomegranate, basil and celery.

The star of breakfast this morning was this beauty:

 A beautifully ripe pomegranate.
I cooked up 1 cup of quinoa with some chicken broth. When the quinoa was done, I put most of it away in the fridge for another meal and kept 1 cup of the cooked quinoa in the pot.

To the quinoa I added 1 Tbsp of nutritional yeast, 1 tsp of greek yogurt and some cracked black pepper. 

I let the quinoa warm through and then added 3 fresh basil leaves, chopped fine. As soon as the basil was fragrant, I tossed in a couple of handfuls of pomegranate seeds and one stalk of celery, chopped fine. 

Then it all went into a bowl and quickly into my tummy:-)

It was an interesting dish - I liked the hint of cheesiness of the quinoa and that paired well with the cool crunch of the celery and the citrusy bite of the pomegranate and the occasional herbal burst from the basil.

I have been in what I can only describe as a 'dull' mood since I returned from my trip. 

This morning I decided I needed an exciting goal to pick up my spirits. I have decided to select some of my favorite dishes from local restaurants and remake them at home.

The first dish on my list? Mantu. 

Dumplings filled with ground lamb and onions and topped with yogurt and vegetable sauce.
I posted here about enjoying a meal of afghan food at Kabul restaurant a while back. The other day I realized that they have a restaurant in my town. Yay!

So, tomorrow I am heading over to enjoy some mantu and then I will try remaking it on Saturday. Wish me luck!

I hope everyone is having a great Thursday!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Some like it hot

A mostly egg-white omelet with basil, tomato, mozzarella and a sprinkle of Frank's Red Hot sauce.  

I woke up just as the sun was rising and headed out for a nice and slow 2 miles before the day started to heat up.

When I got back I was craving omelets and apples. 

Oh, yeah, and hot sauce.

So, I grabbed what I had in the fridge:

Eggs, basil, diced tomatoes, Frank's Hot Sauce, olive oil, black pepper, parsley and mozzarella.

I did take pictures of the cooking process but for some reason all of the photos I take in my kitchen end up turning out really yellow.

Maybe it is the lack of natural light??

Someday I will figure out the rest of the nifty features in  Lightroom so that I can tone down or remove color saturation.

I only used one whole egg the rest was egg whites. So, it was a fairly trim omelet even though I added in some cheese.

And since you are probably wondering - Yes, Frank's Hot Sauce does taste pretty yummy on granny smith apples:-)

I am going to try my hand at making eggplant Parmesan later today.

Happy Tuesday all!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Seasoned turkey breakfast patties

Seasoned turkey breakfast patties.
This morning I woke up and realized I had some ground turkey I needed to use up in the fridge AND that the dogs were pretty much out of kibble.

So, it was turkey patties for all!

No real recipe for this one but I did combine:

1/2 tsp of Sage
1/2 tsp of Thyme
1/2 tsp of cracked black pepper
2 pinches of salt
1 Tbsp of Heinz chili sauce
1 pinch of garlic powder
1 Tbsp of dried parsley 
1 tsp of maple syrup
3/4 lb of ground turkey

I mixed everything together and made patties. I made bigger ones for me and smaller ones (about half the size of mine) for the dogs.

They went into a pan with a bit of olive oil and cooked on medium heat for about 15 minutes.

I enjoyed mine with a simple tossed salad.

I was going to go see my friend's agility run this afternoon but then it occurred to me that right before I left for the trip I got a citation because one of my break lights was out.

So, I will have to head across the street to the local garage and have them fix it so I can drive over to the police station so that they can sign off that the light has been fixed.

Bleh, not the most fun thing to do on a Monday...

And if you were wondering about the running bras I bought while I was in NYC here they are:

Size XL to hold in the girls.
It was made with some wicking fabric which would have felt great if I didn't need to layer another bra on top.

And the shelf bra I bought one size smaller for that extra holding power.

If you imagine this is a comfortable running solution you would be wrong. I pretty much ended up with shelf bra being so tight around my ribcage that it was tough to take a deep breath.

But I would definitely opt for the semi-gasping option than the pain of trying to run without proper support.

Yeah, it was a trade off and it goes to show you what pains I will go to so I can get a run in:-)

I am going to have to throw on my backpack later and hike to the local market for dinner supplies - which, of course, means the dogs will be getting another home cooked meal for dinner.

I am sure they will not be complaining about that))

Happy Monday, all!!


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Spicy turkey egg rolls

Ground turkey, Shitake mushroom, scrambled eggs, celery and spices in a lettuce wrap.
I am finally starting to get over the jet lag. 

This morning I wanted lettuce wraps. I know - my hunger is strange lately. 

I got in 2 miles this morning. Two miles in a shambling semi-zombie pace but it felt wonderful.

No meals beyond the one each day. Also very strange.

What made the meal was the spicy avocado salsa that I had on hand thanks to El Pollo Loco. 


Friday, October 21, 2011

Ceasar salad

I did have a craving for Caesar salad when I woke up this morning. I don't know whether it was a craving for the anchovy/fishy thing or the strong garlic flavor in the dish.

But it all started off with this:

I coddled the eggs by boiling some water and then gently placing two eggs in the pot ( I always have one for a backup) - take them off the heat and let them sit for one minute.

Then I filled the pot with cold water and assembled the rest of the dressing.

The garlic, anchovies, salt, pepper, olive oil and Parmesan went into a bowl. I peeled one of the eggs and scooped out the still runny yolk. I whisked all together in a bowl.

Then I tossed in the romaine and blended everything together with my fingers. It works best that way.

Then a little grated Parmesan.

And some black pepper.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Welcome home meal

I don't know why jet lag is worse when you travel from the east coast to the west coast.

I have been tired beyond belief for the last 3 days.

I did pick up the dogs the second the kennel opened.

And I made them a wonderful beef stew.

We definitely have a routine when I pick them up from the kennel.

They get a rubdown with baby wipes. They are not truly dirty but just a bit dusty from the kennel and they adore the attention.

They moan and groan and twine between my legs and just revel in being home.

Then I start cooking. Usually they are standing at the doorway to the kitchen and are eager to watch my movements as the pots get pulled out and I start chopping ingredients.

But when they get home from the kennel, as soon as I start cooking, they curl up on the bed and sleep soundly. They know a great meal is coming soon.

Yesterday I made beef stew for the dogs and myself.

And yes, they were a bit excited before the cooking began and they lapsed into a coma.

The ingredients in the dogs stew:

1/2 pound of beef (stew meat) browned
1 carrot, chopped
1 cup of frozen collard greens
3 cups of beef stock
1 bay leaf
1 tsp of rosemary
1 cup of sweet potato, chopped
1 cup of frozen peas
1/2 cup of shitake mushrooms, chopped
1/8 tsp of Worcestershire sauce

The ingredients for my stew:

1/4 pound of beef (stew meat), browned
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 cup of frozen collard greens
2 cups of beef stock
1 bay leaf
1 whole garlic clove
1/4 of a chopped yellow onion
1/2 tsp of rosemary
1/4 tsp of paprika
1/2 cup of sweet potato, chopped
1/4 cup of frozen peas
1/4 cup of frozen corn
1/4 cup of marinated artichoke hearts, chopped 
1/4 cup of shitake mushrooms, chopped
1/2 tsp of Worcestershire sauce

For the dogs meal I put in a bit of cooked rice -

 And then a generous helping of stew.

And I added a bit of yogurt with some Kyo-Green.

They woke up as soon as I started spooning the stew into their bowls - gobbled it down and went straight back to sleep with many contented groans and sighs.

I enjoyed mine with a bit of yogurt and a sprinkle of parsley.

Yup, the first home cooked meal you have when you arrive home from a trip is the best:-)