Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween! I hope you are having a wonderful weekend. It’s been a fun weekend so far. It’s the first Halloween that the toddler really “gets.” He is a bit scared by some of the costumes out there (and even by a “harmless” pumpkin book that has a few scary characters). So we’ll keep the trick-or-treating to a minimum. We already went to the pumpkin patch, two Halloween parties at school, and a quick trick-or-treat trip to the mall. And hubby “stole” the “good” candy from the toddler (which is fine with me as I don’t want him to eat very much candy, but eating it while he was sleeping seemed very wrong…) Sorry for calling you out hubby!

Halloween 2010 02 

Halloween 2010 01

Question: What’s you favorite candy? Mine is snickers, but I can’t really digest peanuts, so I can have one fun-sized one max.

Happy Halloween!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sweet Temptations

A few days ago, I picked up a cinnamon infused broom from Trader Joe’s. I put it near the front door and whenever I step into the house, it smells like sweet cinnamon. The smell is quite strong, but it works great in our downstairs space. It’s my little  guilt-free “sweet fix.” Having part of the house smell like cinnamon made me realize how important smells are and that they can really affect your mood…

The cinnamon flavor always reminds me of the pumpkin ice cream I also picked up at Trader Joe’s.

Such a nice treat, but not quite as guilt-free. Winking smile My mini ramekins really help with portion control though… Smile

Question: What are some of your recent sweet temptations? 

Be well,

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Double Salad Day

Things have been busy. And the toddler hasn’t been sleeping well for the past few days (which means I haven’t been sleeping well…). Most days I try to tell myself that I look “young,” but when I don’t get enough sleep there is truly no denying that I look old(er)… Smile

Because things are hectic, meals have been easy. Yesterday’s lunch were two salads:

Caprese Salad

Easy Greek Salad

Easy Greek Salad
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Onions
  • Basil (just because I had some)
  • Trader Joe’s Greek Style Feta Dressing
The toddler refused to take a nap yesterday afternoon, and when hubby got home from work, I truly didn’t feel like cooking what I had planned. So we decided to go to a salad place and get some more salad. I didn’t take a picture of my salad, but I took a picture of the toddler’s tray (which we had to pay for for the first time since he just turned 3!), my pho (I LOVED all the cilantro I put in it), and my baked potato. I haven’t had a baked potato in a long time, but I really wanted one, and it tasted very good and was true comfort food for me… Smile

Questions: What comfort food(s)have you had lately? I LOVED the baked potato! Smile What’s your favorite salad at the moment? I really like making different types of “Greek salads” with Trader Joe’s Greek Style Feta dressing.

Be well,

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ramen with Rapini, Cilantro, and Basil

I remember a time when I had very little money and many meals consisted of instant ramen… Unfortunately, instant ramen often has a lot of sodium and is a bit carb-heavy and doesn’t provide many nutrients. So when I made ramen the other day, I only used one-third of the flavoring packet and tried to pack the meal with protein, veggies and flavorful herbs.

Ramen with Rapini, Cilantro, and Basil

Ingredients (Serves 2-3)
  • One packet ramen noodles and 1/3 of the flavoring packet
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 eggs
  • Rapini (one bunch, which is a lot!)
  • Cilantro (3-4 stems, finely chopped)
  • Basil (10 leaves, chopped)
  • Garlic (2-3 cloves, minced)
  • Salt-free “everyday seasoning blend” to taste (a few “shakes”)
What To Do:
  1. Bring two cups of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, add one-third of the flavoring packet, the noodles, rapini, cilantro, basil, garlic, and salt-free seasoning blend.
  2. Cook everything for about 3-5 minutes (until the veggies and noodles are almost done) and then add 2 eggs. I like to cook the eggs without breaking them up for about 3 minutes. That way, I can have the runny yolk coat the noodles.
  3. Serve with more cilantro on top.

We really enjoyed this simple meal. It was a nice reminder that sometimes the simplest, “forgotten” meals are truly the best…

Questions: Do you like ramen? Does it bring back any memories? What do you like to add to your ramen? 

Be Well,

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Another CSA Box, Birthday Celebrations, Tasty Leek Soup and More…

On Friday, we got another CSA box.

We got:
  • Apples
  • Plums
  • Oranges
  • Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Green beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Radishes
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Spinach
  • Rapini
  • Cilantro
I used the spinach, peppers, and radishes right away in a salad, which I simply dressed with olive oil, Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar, salt, and pepper. I also added half an avocado to the salad. It tasted very fresh and good.

We also celebrated the toddler’s birthday some more over the weekend. 

Bday 02

At his party, we had a balloon artist. His favorite balloon was a dinosaur, which he “rode” all over the restaurant… Smile Balloons 01

He also had fun playing in the indoor play structure. 

Bday 01

On his birthday, I got to spend the day at preschool with him. I wish I could be a preschool student again… We had SOOO much fun! 

Paint 01

We finally got the first rain of the season on Sunday and managed to find some puddles...

Rain 01

Colder weather means soups to me, and I used the leeks, potatoes, and some of the cilantro from the CSA box to make a soup.

Leek Potato Soup with Cilantro and Blue Cheese

  • Leeks (I used 3)
  • Potatoes (I used about 5 small ones)
  • Garlic (I used 4 cloves)
  • Cilantro (about 4 or 5 stems)
  • Vegetable stock (about 6 cups)
  • 2 Blue Cheese Laughing Cow Cheese wedges (I didn’t have any other cheese, but they worked great and added just the right amount of kick)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
What To Do:
  1. Cut leeks, potatoes, garlic, and cilantro (keep some to garnish the soup) into small pieces and sauté in olive oil for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add vegetable stock, and cook veggies for about 15 – 20 minutes.
  3. Puree soup with immersion blender and add blue cheese wedges. Puree some more.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with some cilantro.
  5. Enjoy! Smile 

I served the soup with grilled cheese sandwiches.

Questions: What’s your favorite soup? I love pretty much all soups, but tomato soup made with homegrown tomatoes is probably my favorite. What are some of your favorite things you have been eating lately? I’m still obsessed with pumpkin…

Be well,

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Birthday Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

A few weeks ago Foodbuzz invited Featured Publishers to submit smoothie recipes made with LACTAID milk. LACTAID Milk is real cow’s milk, but without the lactose. I have several friends who are lactose intolerant, and I have always been curious about lactose-free milk and was excited about the possibility to try LACTAID Milk. If you want more information or have any questions about lactose-free milk, check out the brand-new website

When I read the call for recipes, I had pumpkin on my mind. I immediately thought about the pumpkin pie syrup in the fridge, the can of organic pureed pumpkin, and the jar of pumpkin pie spice in the cupboard – the idea of a pumpkin spice smoothie practically appeared out of nowhere and I quickly submitted my proposal.

I was very excited when I was notified late last week that my recipe had been chosen to compete for a chance to attend the Foodbuzz Blogger Festival in November in San Francisco. I also received a coupon for a free half gallon of LACTAID Milk. I chose fat free LACTAID Milk. I poured myself a little glass before getting started on the smoothie and really enjoyed the taste of the milk.

But now on to the smoothie. As I mentioned, the “recipe” practically “flew” into my head, and I was a bit nervous when I actually made the smoothie. Before starting, I said the following words to hubby: “What if it tastes like feet?” He laughed and said nothing I have ever made tasted like feet… And, luckily, the smoothie did not taste like feet but turned out truly delicious. I can honestly say that I’m quite proud of myself as I hardly ever make smoothies…

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie
  • One cup fat-free LACTAID Milk
  • One frozen banana (cut into small pieces before freezing)
  • 1/4 cup organic pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie syrup (if you like a stronger, sweeter flavor, add a bit more)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

I poured the smoothie in pretty glasses, just in case it didn’t taste good… But, as I said before, it is really good.

Now, you may be wondering why this post is called “A Birthday Pumpkin Spice Smoothie.” Well, I was instructed to post the recipe today (not earlier and not later), and today happens to be the toddler’s birthday. I couldn’t help but think that must be good luck as it’s one of my favorite days of the year… Winking smile

And, yes, the toddler liked the smoothie, too! Smile

Questions: Have you ever tried LACTAID Milk? What’s your favorite smoothie recipe? Are you as obsessed with pumpkin right now as I am? 

Be well,

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Spaghetti Squash Bake with Mushroom Blue Cheese Sauce

  • One spaghetti squash
  • Crushed tomatoes (I used Pomi)
  • Mushrooms
  • Olive oil
  • Three Laughing Cow blue cheese wedges
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning
  • Cilantro
What To Do:
Cook the spaghetti squash. I microwave it. The squash I bought at Trader Joe’s had a sticker with instructions on it. Since the squash was very big, I had to microwave it for about 18 minutes.

Sautee the mushrooms in some olive oil and season them with a little salt and pepper. Once the mushrooms are soft, add three wedges of blue cheese Laughing Cow wedges.

Cut the cooked squash in half and remove the seeds.

Use a fork to “make spaghetti.” It’s like magic… Smile

Put a layer of the spaghetti squash in a greased casserole dish. Season with salt, pepper, and everyday seasoning.

Sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese.

Add a layer of tomatoes followed by a layer of mushrooms.

Continue with layers of squash, Parmesan cheese, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Finish with tomatoes and Parmesan cheese.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

Sprinkle with cilantro or any other herb you like. Basil would go nicely with the dish, but we love cilantro and had some leftover from our CSA box.

Enjoy! Smile

Questions: Do you like spaghetti squash? What is your favorite way to cook/eat it? 

Be well,