Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Pasta with White Beans and Escarole

Ooh this was yummy! Very easy to prepare; light and refreshing; full of flavor.....what else can I say about this quick and simple weeknight pasta dish?!

Well, actually, there is one thing.... I wasn't able to find escarole at Whole Foods (and if I can't find it at Whole Foods I don't bother trying to find it anywhere else). So, with help from the store's "foodies" I settled on Earthbound Farm Organics Deep Green Blends Zen Mix. It was an Asian greens, spinach and kale mix. It was great! All that to say, if you can't find escarole, other types of strong greens will suffice.

This recipe comes from the pages of Prevention magazine:

2 tsp minced garlic  

1 1/2 cups vegetable stock  

Salt & Pepper to taste 

Prepare 8 oz whole wheat farfalle or other pasta per package directions and drain. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 cups sliced onion and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add 2 tsp minced garlic, and cook 1 minute longer. Transfer to plate. 

To skillet, add 6 cups (7 oz) chopped escarole, 1 3/4 cups cooked or rinsed and drained canned white beans (15 oz can), 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock, and 1/4 cup (1 oz) chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Simmer until escarole is just tender, about 3 minutes. Add pasta, 1/4 tsp red-pepper flakes, and salt and black pepper to taste. Toss until coated and well combined. Serve topped with reserved onion mixture.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Hierloom Tomato Pie

I made this tomato pie recipe for dinner last week. It was delicious, just absolutely, down-right delicious!!!! The flavors were rich and complex. The meal felt fancy (especially for a regular ol' Wednesday evening) and would make quite a statement if served to guests or brought to a party. I used two store bought, pre-made crusts and made two separate tomato pies, each in their own 9" pie pan (the directions call for making one large pie......I liked making two....we ate one and I gave the other away; you could always freeze it). I served this savory pie with a side salad and some good quality wheat bread. Enjoy!

This recipe comes directly from the pages of House Beautiful magazine:


2 pounds mixed heirloom tomatoes, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
1½ teaspoons salt, divided
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, halved, then sliced thin
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup homemade mayonnaise
1 cup fresh basil leaves, firmly packed
3 sprigs fresh parsley
1 medium shallot, peeled
1 green onion
1 cup grated Gruyère cheese, firmly packed
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, firmly packed
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 1 tablespoon for topping
1 to 1½ tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper


1. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan, and preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Place the tomato slices on a rack. Salt both sides, using 1½ teaspoons salt total. Let the slices drain for at least an hour to remove excess water.
3. Roll out the pâte brisée or premade crust, and press it into the buttered pan. Poke it all over with a fork, and bake until brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
4. In a heavy skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. When the foaming has subsided, sauté the onions until slightly soft, a couple of minutes, and then add the garlic. Continue to sauté until the onions and garlic are translucent, approximately 10 to 12 minutes total.
5. Place the homemade mayonnaise, basil leaves, parsley, shallot, and green onion in the bowl of a food processor, and blend until the mixture is green and fully mixed, approximately 1 minute.
6. In a large mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise mixture, Gruyère, cheddar, and ½ cup Parmesan, stirring thoroughly.
7. Spread mayonnaise-cheese mixture evenly over the cooled crust.
8. Place sautéed onions and garlic evenly on top of mayonnaise mixture, and arrange the drained tomato slices in a pretty pattern on top of everything.
9. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Parmesan and coarsely ground black pepper, and bake for 50 to 60 minutes.
10. Let pie rest for at least 30 minutes. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold with additional basil mayonnaise.

For the Perfect Homemade Mayonnaise

Yield: 1 cup
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
¾ cup neutral-tasting vegetable oil


1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine all ingredients except the oil.
2. Process ingredients until the yolks are thick and sticky, about 2 minutes.
3. Continue to process, adding the oil slowly in a steady stream through the opening in the top of the processor, making sure it is getting fully incorporated. Once all the oil has been added, the mayonnaise should be thick, luxurious, and fully emulsified.

For the Pâte Brisée

You can buy ready-made crust, but this is my standard, foolproof recipe, the exact quantity for a 9 × 13 baking pan.
2 cups all purpose flour
½  teaspoon salt
½  teaspoon sugar
8  tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
3  tablespoons tasteless vegetable oil
5  tablespoons ice water


1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse all ingredients together until coarse crumbs form. Do not over-process, or the crust will be tough.
2. Pour crumbs out onto a floured surface, and knead a couple of time to bring them together.
3. Roll dough into a ball, and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rest for at least an hour in refrigerator, before rolling out to desired thickness.
4. Prick with a fork, and bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes until golden brown, and let completely cool before filling.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Quinoa with Corn, Scallions & Mint

Over the weekend my husband and I took the kids to an orchard where we picked peaches and corn. I have never plucked an ear of corn off a stalk before.  It was actually hard work which required a lot of elbow grease; those ears were on there pretty tight! We picked a copious amount of corn for a family of five!!! But, the corn is sweet, white, and bursting with flavor, so I'm not too upset about the amount we have (not to mention my children love corn on the cob! Have you ever seen two seven year old boys, both missing their two front teeth, attempt to eat corn on the cob? It's pretty comical, let me tell ya!).

My friend, Gina, shared this Epicurious recipe with me. It is very light, of course yummy, and would make a nice side at a BBQ! Enjoy!!
  • 4 ears corn, shucked
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon mild honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups quinoa (about 10 oz)
  • 4 scallions, chopped <aka green onions>
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
Put corn in a 5- to 6-quart wide pot, then add water to cover and bring to a boil, covered. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Transfer corn with tongs to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, cut kernels off cobs with a large heavy knife.
Meanwhile, whisk together lemon zest and juice, butter, honey, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until combined.
Wash quinoa in 3 changes of cold water in a bowl, draining in a large sieve each time.
Cook quinoa in a 4- to 5-quart pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in sieve, then set sieve over same pot with 1 inch of simmering water (water should not touch bottom of sieve). Cover quinoa with a folded kitchen towel, then cover sieve with a lid (don't worry if lid doesn't fit tightly) and steam until quinoa is tender, fluffy, and dry, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand (still covered) 5 minutes.
Add quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed, then stir in corn, scallions, mint, and salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Heath(ier) Almond Joy Cookies

I LOVE these cookies; no, seriously, LOVE THEM! I do happen to have a coconut obsession, as well as an almond obsession.....and I do love me some healthy eats! So, when I saw this cookie recipe on My Whole Food Life I was immediately smitten. They are crumbly and yummy and I don't feel quite so guilty eating three of them at once. A glass of milk is recommended. Enjoy!!!

1 1/2 cup oat flour <I found oat flour at Whole Foods>
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut <I used sweetened coconut because it was all I had>
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 egg OR flax egg replacer
1/2 dark chocolate bar roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl. (You can actually grind up some rolled oats to make oat flour). In a saucepan on med heat, combine the almond butter, coconut oil and maple syrup and stir until smooth. Let mixture cool. Once it’s cooled add it to the dry ingredients and also add the vanilla, egg and almond extract. Once everything is well combined, fold in the dark chocolate. Drop cookies onto a greased baking sheet <I pressed my cookie balls into a flat-ish shape because these cookies do not flatten as they bake>. Bake for about 12 minutes. I got about 12 good sized cookies out of my batch. Store them in a jar if they will be eaten quickly. For longer storage, keep them in the fridge or even freeze them.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sunny Green Juice

I think this is my new favorite juice!! I loved it from the first sip to the last and was sad when it was gone (I never shared any of it with my husband....I completely hoarded the entire batch). Spinach has a much milder taste than kale.....so, this juice tasted like it was just fruit! A delicious, sunny cup of happiness. Enjoy!

3-4 large handfuls of organic spinach
1 organic cucumber
2 organic apples
2 oranges
1 lemon
1 handful of mint
1 small nub of ginger (optional)

Put all the veggies/fruit through the juicer. Re-juice the pulp. Drink within the day or store for up to one day in an air-tight glass container.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Chocolate Oatmeal Cake with Frosting

Okay, so I have to be honest, I never actually tasted this cake (I'm trying not to eat sugar, hence my lack of baking posts recently)....oh boy did it look good, though! The batter looked delectable (I summoned up all of my will power) and the cake smelled incredible as it was baking in the oven. I sent the finished product into my husband's work. I love sending in yummy treats to his office (don't you think a well-fed workplace is just a happier place all-round?) and I have been feeling very bad about neglecting them with goodies (and neglecting to post baking recipes!!!). Anyhow, my husband was told to tell me by the office gals that I needed to post this recipe STAT (which makes me assume this cake must be quite delicious). So, Carol et al., this one is for you!

This recipe comes straight from my newest fave blog Pinch of Yum:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten with fork
  • 1¾ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats*
  • 1¾ cups boiling water
  • 1 12 oz bag chocolate chips, divided (go for the Ghirardelli*)
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ½-3/4 cup chocolate chips (Ghirardelli again, please)
  • ½-3/4 cup mini marshmallows*
  1. Preheat oven to 350. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars. Add the eggs and mix well.
  2. Add flour, soda, salt and cocoa and mix until just incorporated. The batter will be very thick.
  3. Add water to oatmeal and let stand for a few minutes. Once oats are soft, add oats/water mixture to the batter and mix well. Stir in half of the bag of chocolate chips (6 ounces).
  4. Pour into a greased or buttered rectangular 9×13 cake pan. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the rest of the bag of chocolate chips (6 ounces).
  5. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes or until the surface springs back lightly when touched and your house smells amazing. Do not overbake. Let cool completely.
  6. For the frosting, melt the butter, sugar, and milk in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring to a boil and boil for 30 seconds.
  7. Reduce heat to low and add chocolate chips and marshmallows. Stir or whisk until frosting is smooth. Pour immediately over the cooled cake. The frosting crystallizes almost immediately as it cools so it’s important to get it on the cake while it’s still piping hot. Allow the frosted cake to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Or… not.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Chipotle Sweet Corn Fettuccine

This vegetarian pasta dish had a rich creamy flavor (minus all the cream of a typical Alfredo-type sauce). The fresh corn had a subtle sweetness that paired well with the spicy chipotle (add more if you like it spicy -  I found one pepper to be very mild). I used fresh fettuccine from Whole Foods, too (gosh, do I love their fresh pastas).

I am seriously loving the blog Pinch of Yum from whence this easy to make dinner came. Check her out! She has a ton of vegetarian dishes (which I love) and lots of other yummy recipes, too.


  • 4-6 ears of fresh sweet corn
  • 1 lb. uncooked fettuccine noodles
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup half and half
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup water (the stuff that you boiled the corn in is best)
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt – I used Chobani plain low fat
  • 1 single chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
  • cilantro for serving
  1. Corn: bring a large pot of water to boil. Place the ears of sweet corn in the pot, cover, and remove from heat. Let the ears “cook” for a few minutes before taking them out and letting them cool. (This helps partially cook the corn so it’s not so raw, but this step is optional.)
  2. Corn: Cut the corn off the ears. Place the corn kernels in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat with no oil or butter. Let the corn sit for a few minutes with stirring. Stir once, and let it sit again so that the outside of the corn gets roasty-looking. When the corn is as browned as you want it, remove from the heat.
  3. Pasta: Cook the pasta according to package direction. Keep a little bit of the pasta water.
  4. Sauce: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Add the garlic and saute until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Don’t burn the garlic – it will taste bad. Add the flour and stir for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk, half and half, salt, and corn water until the sauce is smooth. Finally stir in the Greek yogurt and the chipotle pepper. Combine the sauce, pasta, and corn in one large pot. Add extra Greek yogurt or pasta water to get the desired consistency for your sauce. Sprinkle with cilantro for serving. Basil would be nice, too.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sweet Veggie Juice

I can't tell you how proud I am of my MANY friends and family who have recently started juicing!! SO proud! I am inspired by these friends to keep posting new juice recipes. This recipe comes from the book The Healthy Juicer's Bible by Farnoosh Brock. This book has some very interesting recipes that include ingredients I would never think to juice. For example, raw garlic, which this Sweet Veggie Juice contains. It is actually so delicious and brings a great zing to the juice.

One of my BFFs, Gina, who is brand-new to juicing, texted me yesterday and said, "Is it me or is juicing theraputic?" And I responded, "YES!!" And in many ways, it really is. It gives me that same calming feeling that baking does, however, it yields a much healthier product than a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

This veggie juice is deliciously sweet (although, technically, tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers are all fruits- but, since they have a more "savory" flavor and are low in sugar, they are often grouped in the vegetable category). The garlic and ginger give it a great pop! I'm seriously loving this recipe and will be making it often in the future.


4 large carrots
2 tomatoes
1 large cucumber
1 yellow or red bell pepper
1 small chunk of ginger
1 clove of garlic (optional if this makes you nervous)

If you have not bought organic fruits, you need to use a veggie wash to remove the chemicals from the skins. It is also a good idea to remove the waxy skin of a conventional cucumber. So, spend the extra $2 and buy organic! You are worth it!

Put all fruits through the juicer. Re-juice the pulp. Drink juice within the day or store in an air tight, glass container for no longer than 36 hours.