Monday, February 28, 2011

My vegetarian month at a glance

28 days....

Fruit protein smoothie

Sweet Potato and Warm Spinach Salad

Home-made naan veggie pizza's

Breakfast Cookie

Curried Butternut Squash soup and salad

Black bean dip and home-made flaxseed tortilla chips

Whole wheat pasta with roasted egg-plant

Brown rice and veggie stuffed portobello mushroom

Black bean and veggie burger with Tabouli


Roasted Sweet potato Quinoa

Corn and Black bean Salad

Veggie Quesadilla

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Breakfast Cookie

In the food blog world this recipe is well known thanks to the Fitnessista. There are few blogs I have read that have not tried this recipe once or ate these regularly. So naturally I finally decided that I needed to see what the hype was all about.

So last night I made the famous Breakfast Cookie. It's pretty simple to make, add oats, a nut butter, whey protein powder, milk and any added mix in's you choose.

I added milk, oats, raw almond butter, vanilla protein powder, dried cranberries, a pinch of sugar, some oat bran (because I have a ton of it and don't know what to do in the slightest with it without having muffin tins to make oat bran muffins) and cinnamon.

Mix it all up and then spread on a plate evenly. And refrigerate over night. I was a little nervous because mine was quite runny but it did harden over night.

I topped it with vanilla Greek yogurt from Trader Joe's.

I wasn't a huge fan. The oats had softened and it had ok flavor but the texture was difficult for me. I probably should have known because I do not like oatmeal so soft oats aren't my forte to begin with but since I do like oatmeal cookies I thought maybe this would be the same, right? Nope.

I ate 1/2 of it before giving up. I just couldn't get past the texture being so soft. But honestly I would try this recipe again, maybe I added too much milk and maybe it needed to stay out longer than I did.

Try it and let me know what you think.

Breakfast Cookie:

~by the Fitnessista

1/3 cup oats

1 Tablespoon nut butter

1/2 a scoop of whey protein powder

1/8 cup milk

anything you want to mix in for flavor

Mix oats, nut butter and protein powder until crumbly. Then mix in milk until fluffy.
Then add in your favorite flavors i.e. chocolate chips, dried fruit, banana, raisins, cinnamon etc.

Spread on a plate and let "harden" over night.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

S'more of that

I finally caved in.

My boyfriend has been showing me a Pioneer Woman recipe for puff pastry s'mores for awhile now and each time I shrugged it off and said "sure, I'll make it sometime". Well last night was sometime.

This recipe is really easy. All you need is graham crackers, chocolate, marshmallows, and puff pastry.

I got a little over excited and made these large and in charge things. I found that you have to experiment with shapes and sizes until I found what worked.

I wrapped them up like a little chinese dumpling because he asked me too

The one issue that arose was the fact that these need to bake for 20 minutes, so in that time the marshmallows melt and then seep out the sides of the puff pastry. The end result? Puff pastry with chocolate and graham cracker and no mallow. So to remedy this I added a litlte marshmallow on top like a pat of butter at the end.

I think these would go to a whole new level if nutella were invovled.
Just saying.

They were definitely tasty and I got much praise from the boyfriend, I think he even took some to work today.

Puff Pastry S'mores:

~Adapted from The Pioneer Women

1 box of frozen puff pastry

1 bar of chocolate

1 box graham crackers

1 bag of marshmallows

1 egg

Thaw your puff pastry and roll out until thin. Cut your pastry into whatever shape and or size you would like. Add a "small" or according size of graham cracker, chocolate and marshmallow.

Beat an egg with some water and brush it on to the edges of the pastry. Then close however you would like. Press the edges with a fork to keep them shut.

Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until golden.

Add extra melted marshmallow on top.

I know, I'm aware my instructions are vague. But just test it out.

I have a bunch of puff pastry dough left so I will have to experiment. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Figuring it Out

I'm really getting into this vegetarian thing.

It honestly just took some time to get use to not eating meat and the feeling of "loss" of satisfaction. With this new found sense of acceptance and accomplishment, I've been thinking outside the box (a little) for meal ideas. Also with the help of my little vegetarian guide from Shannon.

Today, while sitting at my desk surrounded by a velvet pink zebra print drag dress and a sequin purse and of course I had just gotten off the phone with a very nice drag queen, this idea/recipe came to me and I will pat myself on the back because this was a great idea.

Yes, I have a very interesting job. Would it make more sense if I told you the dress is for our director and he is a straight middle aged bald man?

Didn't think so.

Anyway, the meal idea: Brown rice and veggie stuffed portobello mushrooms with a roasted sweet potato and spinach salad.

I chose this mainly because I had most of the ingredients on hand and because it sounded pretty darn good.

Apparently I am really productive at work.

My boyfriend was even satisfied with this dinner which is saying a lot for a meat lover. He's been a pretty good sport about my vegetarian eating and has joined me most dinners.

You should probably try this.

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms:

Serves 2

2 Portobello mushroom caps

1 cup cooked brown rice

1/4 cup onion chopped

1/4 cup bell peppers chopped

Handful of fresh or frozen then thawed spinach

1 minced garlic clove

1/4 cup shredded cheese


Cook the rice according to your package instructions.

Marinate the mushroom caps in marinade of choice- I used Wegmen's rosemary Vinaigrette marinade. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees.

Meanwhile in a frying pan sautee onions, peppers, garlic and spinach in cooking spray until soft. When rice is finished pour into frying pan and toss with veggies and salt and pepper

Scoop rice mixture into mushroom caps generously and top with cheese. Broil for 5 minutes until cheese is browned and melty

Roasted Sweet potato and Spinach Salad:

1 sweet potato peeled and cubed

2 Hand fulls of fresh Spinach leaves

1 teaspoon sunflower seeds

1 teaspoon dried cranberries

Peel and cut sweet potatoes into cubes and coat in olive oil, minced garlic and salt and pepper. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes until crispy and browned.

Meanwhile toss spinach leaves with lite balsamic vinaigrette. Add Sunflower seeds and dried cranberries.

Top with cubed cooked potatoes

Then eat up!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Granola bars

I had off of work today so what better to do than make granola bars?

I used a recipe of Jenna's as a base for my granola bars. But I put my own little spin on it.

Here is what I had to work with:

I have heard about the health benefits of chia seeds, they are high in omega-3's,and fiber! But I wanted to know if they even taste good. So I decided to try this super food in my granola bars.

And some sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, oats, and almond butter...

Pressed into a pan

And cut into bars

The verdict? Good!

They were sweet, chewy and filling. And the chia seeds don't have a really distinct taste, so they went well with everything else in the bars.

Granola Bars:

3/4 cup honey

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4th tsp salt

1/4 cup raw almond butter

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup oat bran

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

3/4 cup dried cranberries

1/2 Cup Chia seeds

Combine honey, almond butter, vanilla, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Bring it down to a simmer for 3 minutes

In another bowl combine all other ingredients

Add the honey mixture to the dry ingredients until combined. Grease a 9-inch pan and press the granola into the pan. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.

Then cut into bars!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Belated Valentine's Day Recap

Valentine's Day this year was pretty low key but pretty great.

Indian Food + Flowers= happy me!

And I have the sweetest best friend ever! Look what she sent me, a care package for valentine's day.

The contents included:

-Chocolate because who doesn't like chocolate.
-The cutest home-made card that said it had a HUGE hug inside.
-Easy vegetarian recipes!!

Shannon you are the best!!

Look out for some sweet new veggie recipes in the future!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Keen on Quinoa

Quinoa is a pretty amazing grain not to be confused as a rice or pasta. It is gluten free and considered a complete protein because it possesses 9 essential amino acids. And lucky for me I love it!

If you've never tried quinoa because it makes you nervous or you just don't know what to do with it, have no fear. It is really easy to make and I personally really like the crunchy little sprouts.

First get yourself some quinoa. Doesn't matter what type, black, red, or plain.

Just know that a little goes a long way with qunioa so you get a bang for your buck. Boil the quinoa in water and then simmer until it absorbs it all up.

I decided to add some black beans to mine.

And some roasted sweet potatoes

I mixed up a little vinaigrette and tossed it all together. It was delicious and I will definitely be making this exact recipe again.

Maybe with some fresh cilantro and spinach because it needed a little fresh kick.

So go ahead and experiment with some qunioa. It is a blank canvas and I love that about it. And it really is that easy and can have so many uses. Add some lemon juice, cucumbers, and tomatoes, or pesto with chopped tomatoes etc.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quinoa:

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

1 sweet potato peeled and chopped

2 Tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper

1/2 cup rinsed black beans


3 Tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves minced

juice of one lemon or lime

salt and pepper

Peel and cut sweet potatoes. Place on a sheet pan with olive oil and salt and pepper and toss. Bake at 425 for 15 to 20 minutes

Rinse and drain black beans and set aside.

Mix olive oil and lemon juice with a whisk. Add minced garlic and salt and pepper. Set aside.

Add water and quinoa to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Then bring down to a simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the quinoa has absorbed all the water. Put quinoa in a large mixing bowl and add vinaigrette while still hot. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add roasted sweet potato and black beans.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Blondes Have More Fun

It's been busy for me lately. I finally found an apartment and signed a lease this week! It's been over a month of trying to find a place to live and I can finally breath a sigh of relief.

However, today was a really long day at work. I literally found myself driving around in circles, no really in circles, Dupont circle to be exact. I am terrible with directions and after driving and dropping off items to restaurants for 4 hours I needed a pick me up.

Solution? Blondies of course.

I read Jenna's post on blondies and I have been thinking/dreaming about them since. Tonight was the night.

You can't go wrong with toffee, I adore toffee.

Toffee and cookie dough

Chocolate, toffee, salty baked goodness

Can you really resist?

You should make these now. It could turn your whole day around.

Salted Toffee Blondies:

~adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 stick butter

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract (or the seeds of one vanilla bean)

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup chopped heath bar

Salt for topping

Cream the butter with the brown sugar until a smooth paste. Add the egg and vanilla extract. Add the salt and flour until all is combined.

Add the health bar pieces!

Bake at 350 in a greased baking pan for 25 minutes.

Add salt to the top and let cool.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Little Something Vegan

When I started my vegetarian month I mentioned trying some vegan products as well as sticking to my plain no meat diet. Well I did just that.

First: Masala veggie burgers from Trader Joes

These frozen gems are so tasty. I could eat these all the time but they definitely do not fill you up. The ingredient list is easily readable and normal. I give them a B+

*Fun Fact: Emily at the DailyGarnish even made her own version on these burgers and they look even better!

Second: Larabars
These are vegan, non-gmo, dairy free, gluten-free and kosher...holy crap

These taste okay, but I won't lie they are weird. The ingredient list is super small, the main ingredients in most of the bars is dates and nuts. Therefore they are a bit heavy but not completely filling. My favorite flavors are apple pie and peanut butter cookie. *Gag Warning stay away from the cashew cookie flavor, it tasted like a block of cement mixed with a weird floral taste.

Basically these are hit or miss. I give them a C

These products are definitely interesting and worth a try, I plan on trying some more. And maybe even venturing into gluten free items.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Holy Guacamole

I love guacamole. What could be better than avocados, cilantro, lime juice, garlic and tomatoes?

That's right, nothing.

So naturally I made some today. Hurray for healthy mono-unsaturated fats! That's fat you can be happy about.

Cut and smash avocados

Mince some garlic

Juice some limes



So easy and delicious.

Now off to eat "some" guac.


2 avocados

2 garlic cloves minced

1 medium tomato chopped

1 1/2 limes, juiced

Hand full of fresh cilantro chopped/torn

generous amount of salt and pepper

Smash the avocados (I like mine somewhat chunky) and add lime juice. Mix in minced garlic, tomatoes, salt, pepper and cilantro.

Scoop up with chips and eat up!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Things you don't know about me II

I am having a love affair with Michael Pollan's books right now

I named my computer Nilly because she is white like vanilla, wait not everyone names inanimate objects? oh

I laugh at most everything

I don't drink milk

I may or may not have eaten most of those chocolate apricots in one sitting

I hate the sound of people scrapping ice off their car windshield

I have taken a shower in the rain before

When I was young I sucked on my pointer finger, not my thumb

When I worked at a farmers market my sister's mean high school art teacher came in to buy bread and I over charged him 50 cents

Thai ice tea is one of my favorite things in the world

My philosophy in life is give, live, love

You know I'm comfortable with you if I sing to the radio in your car

I hate blue cheese

Only a few select people consistantly call me Brookie

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Vegetarian Blues

This vegetarian thing is much harder than I anticipated. I had this idea that this cleaner eating would make me feel more energized, healthy, less bloated, socially responsible and satisfied. The one I may feel most is healthy but I am struggling.

My biggest problem is staying full. I will eat a meal and less than an hour later I am ravenous. I try to get a lot of protein in my diet with black beans, hummus, cheese, flax seed and nut bars and greek yogurt but nothing is working. I am tracking fats and protein and I am getting plenty.

Perhaps I am use to the feeling of being overly full or uncomfortably full? But at the same time I would like to feel staisfied and or full at all. I even had a dream that I ate a cheesebuger the other night...this lets me know I'm feeling a little deprived. I don't even eat cheeseburgers that often.

Please help!? Any advice on how to stay full without snacking 24/7?

I can't be that crazy person longly staring at someone elses turkey sandwich or standing in the refrigerator section eyeing chicken breasts and or glorious strips of bacon! I may need to have some seafood soon.

Last night was the first meal that I finally felt satisfied for over an hour. The menu: homemade blackbean burgers with veggie tabouli.

Don't judge my pictures...I was too hungry to take clear and awesome pictures

The black bean buger was hearty and had lots of flavor and next time I would even add more veggies to the mix.

The tabouli was light and fresh with lemon juice, cucumbers and tomatoes.

I definitely reccommend these black bean burgers! They even yield 4 hefty size patties which means Left Overs!

Black bean Burgers:

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces

1/2 onion, cut into wedges

3 cloves garlic, peeled

1 egg

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon Thai chili sauce or hot sauce

1/2 cup bread crumbs

Rinse and drain the black beans. In a bowl mash them all up.

In a food processor add onions, garlic, and the pepper until pureed.

Add the pureed veggies to the black beans and mix. Add the egg and spices (feel free to use whatever spices meet your fancy, you can't go to crazy on flavor)and mix. Then add the bread crumbs.

Form into patties.

Heat a saute pan with some olive oil and cook the patties until brown on both sides.
Then transfer patties onto a sheet pan lined with tin foil and bake at 350 for 5-10 minutes.

Viola! Serve on a bun or on a bed or rice/tabouli!

Wish I could say I made the tabouli from scratch but it came from a box but I added lemon juice and fresh veggies.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Strawberries and Chocolate Oh My

I decided to make a tart again this past weekend. I am in a tart making mode, once you start to make them you can't stop. They taste too good.

This time I bought the dough because I wasn't going through that melting buisness again.

I chose to do a chocolate tart, something I have never attempted before but I figured what better time than the present.

Strawberries and can't go wrong here folks.

Melt the chocolate in some heavy cream and add some eggs

pour in the crust and bake

decorate with whipped cream, strawberries and more chocolate


I was surprised how light the chocolate mixture was once baked. It was smooth, mousse like and custard like all at the same time. But don't let that fool you, it is still very rich, and if thats wrong...I don't want to be right. Not one bit.

Plus strawberries are healthy right?

Chocolate Tart with Berries:

1 Frozen/ pre-made pie crust

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup milk

10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

~adapted from Tyler Florence

In a sauce pan, simmer milk and cream. Once warm, add the chocolate and stir until dissovled. Add sugar and mix again until dissovled. Take off of heat.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs and then add 1/3 of the chocolate mixture to the eggs stiring constantly. Then add the egg chocolate mixture back into the sauce pan and stir.

Pour the chocolate into the tart pan with unbaked pie crust and bake at 325 for 50 minutes. Let cool.

Add whip cream to top and cut strawberries to top and decorate.
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