Posts Tagged ‘Uncategorized’

It was one of the most exciting days of my childhood… Next to getting a dog and going to Staples every September for new pencils and erasers. In fact I think it was even more exciting for my dad, the day we got a BBQ.

I don’t know what it is about “grilling” but most people tend to go a little “grill crazy.” Well my dad definitely did not fall short on that feeling…Having grilled his fare share of fish and vegetables, he was ready to get those grill marks on anything in arms’ reach. Pizza? Ohh ya! Christmas dinner with all the fixin’s? You bet! Eggs? Well ya, after learning that a pan was necessary. Our dog? Okay, no; too far.

Snow or no snow, my family, or rather my dad, grills all-year-round. I, on the other hand, don’t like scraping off the food remnants let alone snow from the grill so I wait till there are clear blue skies, sunshine, and well high temperatures…. Say 28 degrees?

This past week with the thermometer hitting nearly 28 degrees, I decided it was time to go grill crazy…With portabello mushrooms.

Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms


3-4 portabello mushroom caps
25 g soft ripened goat cheese
2 medium sized firm tomatoes, chopped
1/2 red onion, diced
1 bunch of basil, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. dried oregano
Salt and Pepper, to taste


1. Preheat the BBQ. Meanwhile, wash and cut stems off mushrooms to make a bowl-like shape.

2. Combine chopped vegetables and garlic with basil. Add in olive oil and vinegar and stir until saturated. Add spices to taste.

3. Grill mushrooms top side down first for about 10 minutes or until juicy and darkened. Flip over to their bottoms and spread goat cheese on to the “bowl’s” insides. Scoop a hefty amount of tomato mixture on to each portabello and then crumble on a little more goat cheese. Grill uncovered for about 5 minutes, and then cover for the last 2 to allow the cheese to melt a little. They are finished when those grill marks appear on the bottom!

3. Serve with a grain, like quinoa or brown rice, and possibly a side salad.

Get your grill on and enjoy!



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Getting a soft-boiled egg for breakfast was always more exciting than it should have been…This could be attributed to not having to choke down yet another bowl of porridge or it could just in fact be the sing-along that came with it.

With each strike to the side of the egg my mom would say in her singsong way “chip, chop off goes this old man’s head.” It seems quite morbid thinking about it now and if I was her I probably would have looked further into my daughter getting a high from the act of guillotining…But nevertheless, it was a ritual (passed on from her mom) that I looked forward too!

To this day eggs for breakfast excite me…However, I have ventured far from my chopping head fascination…I guess you could say it has matured — into the need for a perfectly cooked medium over-easy egg.

One’s ‘ideal’ egg comes with time which is why knowing how someone likes their eggs is a fine indicator of how close you are to him…

Having recently attached myself to a man who much prefers a soft-medium POACHED egg, I have put it upon myself to perfect it. Sure I could just know how he LIKES them, but true closeness comes from taking the time to show that I care about the whole process.

So I made some sacrifices the other day and made poached eggs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner…By the time dinner came around the idea of yet another egg was no longer exciting…

And then I remembered about a dish my girlfriend had told me about earlier that week: Shakshuka. Having little to no Israelis background in me, the dish was clearly foreign to me. But I was not going to let that get between me and my poaching perfecting so I put it to the test…By taking the beaten track off a recipe I scrounged up from the Internet.


* Serves 1 (Can easily be double, trippled, etc.)

** Adapted from AllRecipes

Olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup zucchini, chopped
1 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup corn kernels
1/4 raisins
2 tsp chia seeds
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg
2 tbsp Goat cheese, crumbled
A few diced jalapeño peppers, garnish
1 whole wheat tortilla (or pita, rice if gluten free, etc.)


1. In a sauce pan on medium heat, saute the garlic, onion, and zucchini in olive oil until tender.

2. Add the crushed tomato, corn, raisins, chia seeds, and spices.  Simmer on low heat until slightly thickened.

3. Crack the egg into the sauce, and turn the heat on high so that the sauce begins to bubble.  Cover for about 1 to 2 minutes until the top of the egg whitens.

4. Remove the egg from sauce with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Top a warmed-up tortilla with sauce, and place the egg on it.  Crumble goat cheese all over and garnish with jalapeno peppers, if using. Serve with a side salad.

After much anticipation, I cut into the egg…and it was ALMOST perfect.  Next time I will poach the egg just a little bit longer to ensure that I meet those soft-medium standards!

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We’re all in the thick of it.  Crunch time.  Or the time when that person, who you really just met a little over two months ago, wants to strip you of everything you have to offer in this world…ie. He wants those projects, essays and exams you were forwarned about back in September. 

Every September I say to myself “I’m going to read every night; I’m not going to leave things to the last minute; I’m going to put forth all my effort; I’m going to win the lottery…” Okay, maybe not the last one.  But I do reiterate those other statements each year.  And each year I do the exact opposite.

You’d think that by the time I hit fourth year I would have figured out all of the keys to success, but quite frankly that time flew by so quickly.  And thus, I’m still searching for those keys.

Thankfully, I have others to drown with as most students are in the same boat.

I think the only thing keeping me alive and well is the thought of good comfort food.  And what better way to get through a draining study sesh than with a bowl full of fries…Sweet fries.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

**Slightly adapted from Natural Noshing


1 large sweet potato

1 egg white

1 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. Italian spice (a mix of marjarom, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and basil)

sea salt and pepper, to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Peel and slice sweet potato into strips.  This is where you get to control how thick the fries are…Do you like them shoestring or wedge-like?

2. In a large bowl, beat the egg white until a foam forms.  Add the garlic, Italian spices, and pepper.

3. Add the sweet potato sticks to the egg white mixture and toss to coat.

3. Spread out onto a non-stick baking pan (mine turned out NOT being non-stick…I had some problems) making sure none of the fries overlap. Sprinkle with sea salt.

4. Bake for 15 minutes.  Then, give the fries a flip and bake for another 10-15 minutes. 

5. When the fries have become golden brown, reduce the heat to 225 degrees to get the crunch you crave.

6. Serve plain, or with any kind of dipping sauce you like.

I made a chipotle aioli sauce but wasn’t very pleased with it as we only had Miracle Whip in the fridge.  WHAT is that stuff. Remind me to not even touch it with a ten foot pole.

So instead I dipped them in ketchup, and PBF sauce, clearly.

Happy and healthy studying!

What comfort food would you like to “healthify” to get you through hectic times?

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Staring at a computer screen all day has a way of really making me anxious — It might be that luminescent glass faceplate reflecting back at me, or it could be the fact that blank word documents will still be blank if all you’ve done is stared.

I think it’s the latter.

Being a student  journalist, this tends to be the case but usually I just pull through (maybe stare harder) and some sense(less) thing appears on the screen.

But, yesterday my writer’s block was really getting to me…It’s not that I don’t have anything to write about, it’s that I now have too much information. Too much information that is struggling to find a home….

So I left mine  for a little grocery store therapy…Mmm…therapy.

After wandering up and down the aisles for close to an hour, I forced myself to the register.  I still wasn’t clear on what I was going to make…But that’s an issue a little wine can solve.

Wine in hand, I threw together an array of ingredients — with fingers crossed, minus the ones around the glass— and came up with a nicely complimenting meal.  Beets and green beans from the farmers market with crumbled goat cheese, spinach salad with Dijon vinaigrette, quinoa spiced with basil, oregano, and thyme, and panfried marinated tofu.

Sure I could tell you how to boil a beet, but for goodness sake, Google it. 

I’m here to tell you NEVER to buy a marinade from the shelves of a grocery store again…And I mean why would you?? YOU don’t know what’s in it, and I for sure don’t.  With a little creativity, they’re so easy to make at home.  Even if you’re one wine glass deep.

Tahini Apple Marinade

* Makes about 1/2 cup

1 tbsp. miso paste

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1-2 tbsp. Tahini

1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce

a couple splashes of soy sauce, or tamari

1 tsp. sesame oil

garlic powder, to taste

chili flakes, to taste


1. One by one, stir in each ingredient in a small bowl.

2. Take a finger sample. If you think it needs more chilis, add more chilis, more tahini? Add more tahini.

I used this marinade for tofu, but it can be used for anything you desire. 

It would even be good for a dip…My finger can confirm this.  I marinated the tofu for about half an hour, but obviously the longer the better.

If you pan fry, make sure you put down a little oil so that it doesn’t burn and stick to the bottom.  Baking should be fine without though.

This marinade can keep from 3 to 4 days refridgerated; you just might need to stir it each time to deal with seperation.

I was quite impressed with this, but I think I’ll add more tahini next time as it was more sweet and salty than nutty.

What condiments do you make from scratch?


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Trying to find a substantial granola bar that isn’t laden with high-fructose corn syrup and preservatives in the supermarket is nearly impossible.  However, being a university student I am always in need of a quick pick-me up to get me through the last hour of class or a sporting event.  So instead of falling for the pretty packaging at the grocery store, I decided to make my own energy packed bars at home. 

And what better ingredient to use at this time of year than pumpkin, right?

Pumpkin Molasses Bars

* Slightly adapted from Have Cake, Will Travel


1 cup pumpkin puree

1/3 cup molasses

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup old-fashioned large flake oats

1 cup kamut flour

1/2 tsp. ground cinammon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp of fresh ginger (I grate mine from frozen)

1/2 tsp. sea salt

a large handful of dried cranberries

a large handful of chopped pecans


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a small rectangle pan with parchment paper.

2. On medium heat, combine pumpkin, molasses, sugar, and vanilla in a sauce pan.  Stir until smooth.

3. Transfer to a large bowl, add oats, flour, and spices.  Fold in cranberries and pecans.

4. Smooth into pan and bake for 25 minutes.

5. Let cool, and cut into whatever sized bars you prefer!

I packed one with me to my volleyball game and it was the perfect bit of energy to get me through the last two hours of our crazy four hour slot last night. 

And I may or may not have been nibbling on them all day…



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Just Add Water

It might be because I am young (and helpless)  or because I am a student, but when it strikes tummy-rumbling time (aka dinner) I always hope for it to just appear right in front of me.  Don’t get me wrong — I love cooking, but sometimes convenience is slightly more appealing…

After a long day of school work, the last thing I wanted to do today was 1. plan dinner, and then 2. prepare it.  I needed something that was almost as easy as pressing a button…Notice how I said almost.  I refuse to press a button (on the microwave) for any meal.  My mom may have brainwashed me into thinking that it zaps the nutrients out of food, but to this day I believe her…or the Russian scientists who studied the effects of it.

Anyways, when I discovered a falafel mix at the bulk food store today I was sold.  Just add water? Yes please.


1 cup dry falafel mix

1 1/4 cup water


1. Add water to mix and let sit for 15 minutes or until thick consistancy is reached.

2. Heat about 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pan (the instructions said to do 2 INCHES of a lighter oil…I clearly didn’t follow that to make them lighter and they still worked) and form small patties with the mix.  (It’s pretty wet to form into a patty so they turn out pretty morphed, but oh well.) 

2. Drop into oil and fry for about 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.  Place on paper towel to soak up the excess oil.

I served these with lemon tahini dressing, roasted vegetables, and salad.


I roasted the broccoli, onion, and carrots in a mixture of 1 tbsp. agave nectar, 1 tbsp. olive oil, 2 tbsp. water, garlic powder, and salt & pepper for about 20 minutes.  At the very last minute, I broiled them in order to brown and crisp up.

This was one quick delicious dinner…Kelly even went so far to say that “they’re better than the ones you get at the store.”  I told her that I did get them at the store and then she clarified by saying “the place where you actually get them in a pita with all the fixings.” Okay, I’ll take that.  They outdid the ones you find at a restaurant specializing in Middle Eastern cuisine. 

Do you ever use mixes for convenient dinners? If so, which ones?


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In the past month I have developed what one would call a “common-law” relationship with my roommate…The only thing we haven’t done is open a joint bank account and quite frankly, I think it should stay that way.  Especially after seeing the Ikea bill she racked up yesterday.

But she assures me all of those boxes were necessary.

Anyways…I find myself mid-day suddenly concerned about whether or not Kelly found something for lunch in the fridge or what on earth I am going to make us for dinner.

Today was no exception…Especially during my 6 hour lecture that went from being about photography to largely about the prof, himself. 

While he spoke on how great he is, I had lentils on the mind, and I was determined to find the perfect lentil loaf recipe.

Six hours later I knew exactly what I was making for dinner…

That was until I received the text “U home? I’m pissed. And starving.”

There was no time for any sort of loaf preparing and I was back to the drawing board…With lentils as the star ingredient.

Hungry family members? I give you Tomato Lentil Pasta Sauce.

Tomato Lentil Pasta Sauce

* Makes about 2-3 servings

* Inspired by Angela’s Olive Oil Pasta with Walnuts, Lentils, and Red Peppers


2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup diced sweet onion

1/2 cup cubed zucchini

1/3 cup chopped broccoli

1/3 cup chopped pepper (I used orange)

1/2 can of cooked lentils

1/2 can of whole tomatoes and its juice, roughly chopped

2 tsp. chia seeds

2 tsp. Italian seasoning

sea salt and pepper, to taste

chili flakes, to taste


1. On medium, drizzle olive oil into a large frying pan.  Add garlic, onion, zucchini, broccoli, and pepper.  Saute until tender, about 10 minutes. 

2.  Add the roughly chopped tomatoes, and about half of the juice from the can.  Then add the lentils. Simmer.

3. Sprinkle on the chia seeds and spices.  Continue to simmer until the sauce has thickened up (thanks to the chia seeds.)

4. Taste. Enjoy!

I served the sauce with brown rice spaghetti and a salad.

Feed the vultures before they feed on you.

Good night!

What do you make for a fast dinner?

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