Today I did two things I don’t normally do. The first thing I did was go see a movie that didn’t involve anything romantic or mythical.
I went and saw Lincoln.
It was incredible.
I was probably the youngest person in the theatre but I definitely think that it is a must watch for people of all ages. It really brought to life and helped flesh out the character of Abraham Lincoln. I realized that I knew very little about him besides for his involvement in the 13th Amendment and that he was shot in Ford’s Theatre. However, after watching this movie I feel that I can picture him in my mind the way he might have talked, walked and his family. I must say Daniel Day-Lewis did an incredible job and he deserves any recognition he receives for his role. If you get a chance I highly recommend seeing this movie.
Back to food.
The second thing I did today that I don’t normally do was eat a banana! I have avoided bananas ever since I went to the dentist office when I was little where I requested banana-flavored fluoride and promptly proceeded to swallow all of it instead of spitting it out. I then spent the next half an hour throwing up in the waiting room bathroom. It really is a sad thing because bananas are so versatile and can add a natural sweetness to smoothies, oatmeal and baked goods. Since today was a day of trying new things I decided to rediscover the banana.
I have seen this idea floating around on Pinterest for a while and decided to give it a try. Basically, you cut a banana in half stuff it with whatever filling you desire and bake for 10-15 minutes. I especially liked the idea of filling the banana with dessert-like ingredients because I thought it would help mask the banana flavor so I picked a Smores filled banana.
Smores Banana Boats
- 1 banana
- 2 tbsp of crushed graham crackers
- 2 tbsp of chocolate chips
- 8 mini marshmallows
- Optional: whipped topping
Leave the banana in the peel and cut the banana in half and open like a book. Fill with graham crackers and chocolate chips and top with mini marshmallows. Wrap tightly in foil and bake for 10-15 minutes. Serve warm with a dollop of cool whip.
The verdict? This recipe is so simple and a great way to get kids to eat fruit for dessert. I thought it was delicious (especially the filling) and managed to eat a few bites of the banana as well. So, while I still can’t manage a whole banana, I think that I am off to a good start. Baby steps 🙂
I was craving a sweet potato for lunch today. I guess it is the fact that Thanksgiving is right around the corner that has got me starting to think about them again.
Usually, I just pop my potato in the microwave and mash the insides with a Laughing Cow Light Swiss Cheese wedge. The cheese adds so much creaminess and really enhances the natural sweetness of the potato. However, since today was Sunday I decided to try my hand at making a nutrient and fiber-rich variation on twice baked potatoes.
Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Crispy Chickpeas (serves 4)
- 4 medium sweet potatoes
- 4 finely chopped scallions
- 4 wedges of Light Swiss Laughing Cow cheese
- 3/4 tsp of chili powder
- 1/2 tsp of kosher salt
- Optional: chili sauce, lime wedges
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Scrub and prick the potatoes with a fork. Place on the center rack of the oven and bake for 45 mins to an hour.
Meanwhile, lightly spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and saute the scallions until wilted and slightly browned. Cut the baked potatoes open and allow to cool slightly (leave your oven on). Scoop the insides of the potatoes into a bowl and reserve the skins. Add scallions, Laughing Cow wedges, chili powder and salt and mash thoroughly with a potato masher. Evenly distribute the mixture among the reserved potato skins and place on a baking sheet. Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle with crispy chickpeas and drizzle with chili sauce. Serve lime wedges on the side (or sprinkle with more chopped scallions).
To make the crispy chickpeas I followed this recipe by Lindsay over at the Lean Green Bean. They turned out perfectly with crunchy shells and creamy insides.
I loved all the flavors and textures in this dish and thought the chickpeas paired well with the sweet potatoes. Add a piece of maple-glazed tofu and you would have a light and delicious fall dinner.
Oh, btw did you know that today was the last day for Starbucks BOGO on their fall-flavored drinks? Since it was a beautiful 60 degrees in Ohio this afternoon, my sister and I decide to walk to Starbucks. We don’t get to hang out as much now that we are both either working or in college so it was great to catch-up over gingerbread lattes.
Hope everyone had an enjoyable Sunday as well!
Prepare to feel like a gourmet chef (and eat like one). When, upon opening your beautiful little parchment packets, you are witness to a perfectly cooked piece of white fish topped with a crunchy and lemon-laced almond gremolata all of which has slowly steamed over a bed of mixed bell peppers, onions, parsley and white wine.
Recently, I have been trying to incorporate fish into my meals at least once a week. I have always loved salmon. Due to its higher fat content it doesn’t dry out as easily as other varieties of fish and offers a rich sources of Omega-3’s. However, I have become interested in other varieties of fish and have been looking for some creative ways to use them. Which was the reason I was so excited, while reading the latest issue of Food and Nutrition issued by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, to discover a seemingly simple recipe for Barrimundi en Papillote with Almond Gremolata. I had never had Barrimundi (and still haven’t) because it doesn’t seem to be the easiest type of fish to locate in central Ohio. Therefore, I substituted Turbot but I think that any denser white fish would work very well in this recipe.
Fish en Papillote with Almond Gremolata (adapted from Food and Nutrition magazine) (serves 6)
- 1/4 cup of chopped toasted almonds
- 1/4 cup of finely chopped parsley
- 3 tbsp of lemon zest (about 2 small lemons)
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 1 cup of thinly sliced yellow onion
- 2 cups of mixed green and red bell peppers, thinly sliced
- 6 sprigs of parsley
- Six 5 oz fillets of white fish, skinned and boned
- salt and pepper to tasted
- 3/4 cup of dry white wine
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut parchment paper into 12 by 16 inch sheets and fold in half lengthwise. Trace a half a heart onto each piece (more instructions here) using the fold as the center of the heart. Cut along the traced edges and unfold.
Combine almonds, chopped parsley, lemon zest, and garlic. Stir well. In a separate bowl toss sliced onion and papers and place 1/2 cup of this mixture on one side of each parchment heart along with a sprig of parsley. Add a piece of fish, season with salt and pepper and top with gremolata.
To seal packets, fold the empty side of the heart over the food. Starting at the pointed end, make small folds along the outer edges of the parchment. As you approach the rounded top, add 2 tbsp of white wine to the paper pouch and finish sealing the edges. Place the packets on sheet pan and bake for 10-15 min. Serve with lemon slices.
This was delicious and so healthy to! I would definitely make it again (especially now that I have the packet shaping down). I served our fish with Delicata squash rings but I think that rice/couscous or quinoa would make this meal a little more filling and help soak up the juices and white wine. Also, there is very little clean-up. Always a plus on a busy weeknight 🙂
I think I am seeing an emerging theme in my recipes. I seem to favor endless combinations of pizza flavors. I am not addicted to pizza or anything but I do believe there can never be enough good variations on pizza. Which is exactly what we got to enjoy last night.
Last night, we attended a class involving the ladies from Brezel (a local german-style pretzel company). They told us a little about how their business got started. Basically, the owner was traveling in Germany and lived on the chewy dense pretzels sold on almost every corner (she is a vegan). After she returned home she tried to re-create what she had in Germany out of her kitchen. Fast-forward four years later and she now owns a thriving little spot at North Market as well as takes orders for her endless pretzel products. She makes pretzel buns, bread bowls, twists and pizza crusts!
We were fortunate enough to be able to create our own pretzel crust pizzas. Each of us was given out own (enormous!) individual crusts and we were allowed to customize it with a wide range of toppings.
I sauced mine with a spicy red tomato sauce and then topped with carmelized red onions, roasted garlic, smoked gouda shreds and parmesan cheese.
Before baking at 350 degrees for 10 minutes:
So delicious! The crust is brushed with lye to give it that characteristic pretzel exterior. It was salty, chewy and very crisp on the outside with a soft interior. I loved the creamy flavor the smoked gouda added to the mix. I would definitely add it to my own homemade pizzas.
Dessert was perfection. It was another pretzel pizza crust topped with cinnamon butter, toasted coconut, almonds and chunks of dark chocolate. When you bit into it you got all the sweet flavors characteristic of a hello dolly bar but with background notes of salty pretzel:
Not a pretty picture but who wants to take pictures when you have the world’s best dessert sitting piping hot in front of you?
Altogether it was a very enjoyable evening. I think I am going to be ordering some of their butternut squash pretzel twists sometime in the very near future (maybe for Thanksgiving?)
You can find Brezel/order their products at www.brezelpower.com
Warning: the recipe I am going to direct you to is absolutely amazing. You are going to want to put your face into the bowl and not come up for air until you have licked it clean. Enough said.
I love quinoa. I have used it once in a while in place of rice but I have only recently started trying to incorporate it into more meals. Quinoa is great because has a high protein content and is a good source of both iron and fiber. Not to mention you can be holding a warm, fluffy, perfectly cooked bowl in approximately 15 minutes (that is a third of the time that most brown rice takes to cook). The only downside I have found to quinoa? That it can be rather plain when served on its own. That is where this pizza-flavored recipe comes in handy.
Pizza Quinoa Casserole from Peas and Thank You
Ingredients (Serves 4)
- 1 c. quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 2 c. vegetable broth
- 1/2 t. oregano
- 1/2 t. basil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 T. dried minced onion (or 2 T. fresh)
- 1/4 c. nutritional yeast
- 1/4 c. raw cashews
- 1 1/2 T. yellow or white miso
- One 14.5 oz. can organic fire-roasted tomatoes, drained (reserve juice)
- salt and pepper to taste
- desired pizza toppings: i.e. vegan cheese, olives, vegan field roast sausages, veggie pepperoni, peppers and onions, pineapple, mushrooms, etc.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees, if baking immediately.
- In a pot, bring to boil quinoa and vegetable broth.
- Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and grains are fluffy.
- Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, combine oregano, basil, garlic, onion, nutritional yeast, cashews and miso.
- Add enough liquid from the canned tomatoes to get the mixture to blend smoothly.
- Then add the remaining tomatoes and pulse until combined but still chunky.
- Add the “pizza sauce” to the cooked quinoa and stir until combined. You can add salt and pepper to taste.
- Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and top is slightly browned.
- Here’s where the fun part comes in. Set out your pizza toppings.
- Serve up a scoop of the quinoa and top with toppings of choice. Enjoy!
I served our quinoa with peppers, onions, ground beef, cheddar cheese, mushrooms and black olives. So delicious yet not the most photogenic so I didn’t take a picture 😦 You will just have to take my word for it and add this dish to your regular rotation. One can never have too many pizza-related recipes.