29 June 2012

carrot and flaxseed muffins

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Confession:  It has been ten days since my last blog.  I've been feeling guilt, disconnect, and at a loss of words.  I also have been working in a blistering hot bakery in the depths of summer.  But today, I rest.  

I will lounge in bed in the AC drinking coffee all morning while I browse pinterest.  I'll take the afternoon to go to the grocery store and TJ Maxx.   I might even indulge in a well deserved, Friday night cocktail to celebrate that I have tomorrow off, too! 

Downing the contents of my french press has been my only accomplishment so far today.  I'm awfully proud.  I've also managed to finish off the last of these carrot and flaxseed muffins.  These little gems have single handedly gotten me through the past few days.

 I initially made them for Brian, but I managed to eat the majority of them myself in the mornings on my drive to work.  I usually don't like things like muffins for breakfast: too high in sugar, too low in nourishment.  BUT, one of these muffins could fill me up and last me a good five or six hours before even thinking of being hungry.

Recipe for Carrot and Flaxseed Muffins
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups ground flaxseed
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots (I used the leftovers from my juicer! ha.)
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F.  Combine flour, flaxseed, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in large bowl.  Add sugar, carrots, raisins, and nuts one at a time until thoroughly mixed.  In separate bowl, whisk eggs, milk, and vanilla.  Add wet ingredients to dry and fold together until just barely mixed.  Scoop into lined muffin tin and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until firm.

Now, what else does this day have in store for me?  I'm thinking of taking up dog grooming and becoming a professional skype-er.  What do ya think?

19 June 2012

chicken n' beans: yes this is real

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I love chicken.  I could eat it five times a week for dinner and be totally satisfied.  Roasted with veggies, shredded in tacos, grilled on top of salad: it's the perfect filler-upper and my body loves it (sorry vegetarians).  

This recipe has moved to the top of my go-to chicken list.  Not only is it amazingly delicious, you get an awesome extra protein punch by serving it with white beans instead of rice or potatoes.  It's also incredibly fast and easy, almost less than ten minutes to throw together, and your entire kitchen will smell as if you've been cooking all day. Pour yourself a glass of wine and sit back and relax with your family after a long day of work!  Ahhh.... life.  So effortless.

Recipe for Chicken with White Beans, adapted from Real Simple

2 cans Cannellini Beans, rinsed
1 pint cherry tomatoes
6 springs fresh oregano
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
4 garlic cloves, smashed and cut in half
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups fresh spinach
2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 6 pieces)

Preheat oven to 425F.  Toss together all ingredients besides chicken in a large baking dish.  Pat chicken dry and lay on top of beans.  Drizzle with a little extra olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper.

Roast until the chicken is cooked through (about 30-35 minutes).  Serve with fresh oregano leaves.

What are your easy and delicious go to meals?  I need more ideas!

15 June 2012

friday favorites

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1.  I'm so addicted to carrot juice.  It's out of control.
2.  This girl is insane.  I wish she could be my friend.  OMG.
3.  I bought this pumpkin and honey face mask.  I like!
4.  I totally want to make these beet and bean veggie burgers.  Maybe this weekend??
5.  If you ever had dreams of eating your books, check this out.   I don't know if I love it or hate it.
6.  This website is pretty awesome for finding awesome jewelry and design-y things.  They make you do a free sign up, though.  Worth the hassle?  yes.
7.  How totally sweet is this hamburger gift wrap?  Perfect for man gifts.

Okay... now, what am I going to make for dinner?

13 June 2012

Spinach and Pecan Pesto

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It's real.  I can officially keep my herb garden somewhat alive.  The key is to water frequently.  It is just like taking care of a dog, but way easier.  No baths.  No walks.  No expensive gluten-free food. Way less frequent haircuts.  OH, and you get to eat them and they're totally cool with it.  They encourage it, actually.  

This is a cheaper version of the classic pesto, nixing pine nuts for pecans and adding a little spinach to bulk up the basil.  We also added a healthy dose of shaved parmesan and chicken sausage to man up the meal a bit.

This is perfect summer night food.  A glass of chardonnay?  Yes, please.

Recipe for Spinach and Pecan Pesto

1 lb papperdalle pasta, cooked and rinsed
4 chicken sausage links, sliced and browned in skillet
1 cup fresh basil
1 large garlic clove
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
parmesan, shaved

While boiling pasta, toast pecans in large fry pan on medium-high heat.  After about a minute, or nuts get super aromatic, add pecans to food processor with basil and garlic.  Add sausage to skillet and begin to brown.

While pasta and sausage are cooking, pulse basil, garlic, pecans, salt, pepper, an olive oil together in food processor until it is like a spread.  Add extra olive oil if necessary.  When noodles are cooked al dente (about 10 minutes), rinse and throw into skillet with chicken sausage and pesto.  Toss together and serve with parmesan.

The best part about this dish?  It's amazingly good cold if you want to bring it to work or get a lunch fix on a hot day.  Spinach pesto.... why I love you so?

11 June 2012

A Weekend in Pictures: The Eastern Market + DC drive-by's

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It's totally weird when your trip to the farmer's market includes driving past the Washington Monument...

07 June 2012

maryland crab cakes

Pin It It's officially been a week that we've been in our new place.  Maybe it's because we've moved a few times in the past two years, but I hardly feel phased.  Our apartment is pretty much set up, the kitchen is in full effect, and even the dogs seem at ease.  I've even survived a few 4 AM wake up times for work.  Moving to DC = total success so far.

One total perk of living here is the seafood.  I know, we don't live at the beach, but we are pretty darn close to the Chesapeake Bay.  AND it's definitely way closer to sea life than the Midwest or central North Carolina.   I'm taking this and running with it, k?

Enter: Maryland Crab Cakes

You can bake crab cakes, but they are so much better fried in a little bit of oil (shocker). You get the browned bits and extra crunch and completely avoid the risk of dryness.  We ate them on romaine to balance out the whole scenario.

Recipe for Maryland Crab Cakes

1 pound crab meat, picked of shells and rinsed
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup onion, diced
1/4 cup green pepper, diced
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons mayonaise
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
pinch of chili powder
pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Form into 3in patties and place on baking sheet.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes (this helps them to stay together when cooking).  After 30 minutes, heat a drizzle of canola or vegetable oil in a pan on medium high heat.  Place two or three crab cakes in pan and cover.  After a few minutes, or bottom sides begin to brown, flip and cook uncovered until both sides are browned and crispy.

Serve on salads with a side of remoulade!  My cheater tip?  I like to add about a teaspoon of garlic chili paste to a cup of mayo.

Seriously, how much more summery can you get than a dish like this?

01 June 2012

guacamole head

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There are few things that I like in this world more than spicy food.  I'm also a crazy avocado lover.  Guacamole is like a total match made in heaven.  Spicy food, meet avocado.  You guys are meant to be.  

This guacamole is what kept me from eating all of the charred tomatoes out of this fajita fiesta I was making for dinner.  Believe it or not, this was my first time charring something on the stove.  I've done it in a super hot oven, and definitely on a grill, but never on the stove.  It was pretty dang successful, if I do say so myself!

I think this MAY be the key to adding super restaurant-y flavor to your at home fajitas.


Recipe for Charred Tomato and Chicken Fajitas
2 tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges
8 oz boneless chicken, cut into 2 inch strips
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp canola oil, divided
1/2 white onion, roughly cut 
2 jalapeno peppers, diced (remove seeds for less heat)
lime juice from 1 lime
2 tbsp cilanto, chopped
6-8 fajita sized tortillas
queso fresco and guacamole for garnish

Bring skillet to a very high heat.  Add tomatoes to dry pan and let char.  Toss occasionally until tomatoes are blackened, about three minutes.  Reduce heat to medium.

Add 1 tsp of oil to medium heat skillet.  Add chicken.  Season with salt, pepper, and cumin and toss together.  Let chicken cook through and transfer to plate.

Add the other tsp of oil to medium heat pan and add onion and peppers.  Cook until softened.  Add chicken and tomatoes back to pan and toss with lime juice and cilantro.  

Spoon into tortillas and top with crumbled queso fresco and guacamole.  Ooooh yeah.