Two New Favorites

Yesterday was a whirlwind cooking day for me. Not only did I make two soups so I could enjoy them for the week, but I made my morning smoothies and froze them, snack pack trail mix to aid in my mid-afternoon snack attack where I tend to reach for chocolate, a granola and my dinner which was a recipe from Gourmet that I didn’t like very much.

Two new favorites from my test kitchen are both from Cooking Light – hello Molasses-Almond Granola and Two-Bean Soup with Kale. I had the granola for a snack, or should I say meal almost, because it was that delicious. I also know a few lovely ladies in my office enjoyed it too!

The Two-Bean Soup with Kale is perfect. As you can tell from this blog, kale is my new obsession and as my dietitian friend and co-worker Allison said, “that’s a really great thing to be obsessed with!”. I seriously do love the stuff and it really sings in this dish. I didn’t add black beans because for my other soup option I made a black bean soup, otherwise I followed this to the tee and it is excellent. Here is a handy dandy video to demonstrate how to make the recipe, if only I looked this good when cooking!

Go try these two now, I think you will enjoy them as much as I did.

Angel Nachos

You know you know them, and loathe them. The food devil on your left and food angel on your right. As you know from this blog, I love satisfying both, especially if it’s in a dish like NACHOS! I’ve made my love for anything Tex-Mex or Mexican food evident here as well. Enchiladas, tacos, refried beans and chips and salsa make me weak in the knees and fat in the hips. When I was perusing the October issue of Cooking Light, I stopped and beheld this Pork and Pinto Bean Nachos recipe. “How perfect!” I thought to myself, “not only is it College Gameday, a perfect day for nachos, but I can enjoy these and not feel too guilty.”
After watching the number two Texas Longhorns own UTEP on Saturday, and see Colt McCoy FINALLY be the talented quarterback that we all know he is, I floated on my cloud #9 into the kitchen and started on these nachos. First, the juicy pork was a perfect, healthy protein choice for these nachos. Second, the beans, dear goodness. I loved the silky pinto beans with the added spice of the chipotle in adobo sauce, lime juice and bacon…I repeat bacon. Finally, the fresh, delicious salsa of tomatoes, crunchy jicama and creamy avocado was perfect. Obviously, since this is just for one person I paired it down for just me and it was the perfect size and serving for a healthy spin on nachos.
On a side note, my Fellow Foodie Blogger’s Tour (FFBT) fell with a sad ker-plunk due to well, life getting in the way. I was set to test two recipes on my final day, one from my lady in food crime and fellow foodie team member Jodi from Tasty Touring and Nicole from Feast Your Eyes, who I have never met but I love her blog! I will revisit the FFBT soon and I promise to test the recipes I wanted to try toute suite. In the meantime ladies, thanks for the continued inspiration.

I Heart Portland (Maine that is)

Can I share a vision in my mind with you? I envision Portland, Maine as this super duper gentle place full of delicious food and chilly, fall days with beautiful coastlines. I know they have summer but shushie we are in my vision. Maybe something like this…

Now, I have never been to Maine, let alone Portland (someday lambs, someday), but I am still quite happy for the city to receive the honor of America’s Foodiest Small Town 2009 from Bon Appetit. I kind of hate that word foodie or foodiest but that’s another story, because I would go there in a heartbeat after reading about the food.

Wanna hear why? An excerpt from the magazine article to tickle your tastebuds:

First, it’s got great product, from oysters to fiddlehead ferns. Second, the town has attracted stellar chefs who know how to turn these resources into great food. Third, it even has a signature meal, breakfast, that turns the first fare of the day into a celebration of all this bounty. And finally, it has citizens who expect a lot, and get even more.

They had me at breakfast.

The magazine featured this absolutely bonkers recipe from a local restaurant in Maine called Cod with Mussels, Chorizo, Fried Croutons and Saffron Mayonnaise. I say bonkers because wow you guys did I pick a lengthy recipe for the week night or what? What was I thinking? I’ll tell you exactly what I was thinking, I had to try this now and nothing was going to stop me. I also use the word bonkers because the combination of these ingredients was intense, just look at the title of the recipe to paint your own mental picture.

Yes, there was a lot going on here but it all really came together for me to truly love it. From the creamy, saffron mayonnaise and delicious, moist cod that has been roasted in clam juice (hold on it’s not bad) and white wine (see I told you) to the spicy chorizo and succulent mussels with their delicious broth plus the fried sourdough croutons that soaked up said broth to absolute perfection. Wow.


I’ll pack the bags you go start the car.

(Recipe photo from Bon

That Cover Recipe

Behold a recipe discussion between Apron Adventures and I the weekend after we had both read the new Bon Appetit.

AA: “Did you see the new Bon Appetit and that cover recipe?”

Me: “Yes, I think I marked half the magazine. I love this time of year!”

AA: “Yeah, but did you see that Beef Short Rib recipe on the cover?” Cue AA’s look of pure love when she has a new recipe in sight that’s something like this…

Me: “Yes I might try that soon along with the other recipes.”

AA: “Emily you have to try that Beef Short Rib recipe!”

I agree with Apron Adventures that cover recipe of Braised Beef Short ribs with Red Wine Gravy and Swiss Chard does look absolutely amazing, in fact so amazing that I most certainly did have to try it this weekend. There is nothing like beef short ribs sitting and braising in the oven for hours while the delicious smells fill your house and hungry tummy.

This was a great recipe and you can tell how badly I wanted to try it even though I didn’t have one piece of required equipment – a food mill. Now, I’ve always wanted one of these gentle appliances but everytime I think I want to spring for one I question how much I would use it. Of course, I then choose recipes like this that I HAVE to make and end up kicking myself for not just going ahead and getting one (and an immersion blender and a candy thermometer). This was a very simple recipe to assemble and when it came time to food mill the sauce I just strained it through all of the yummy carrots, celery, sun dried tomatoes and garlic and reheated per the instructions.

Sigh, that I couldn’t really test this recipe to its full potential but I wanted to post here because it was amazing. The flavors of the short ribs were delicious and even without going through food mill land, the sauce was great. I served this over the suggested sauteed chard and also made mashed sweet potatoes that had been mixed with a little bit of maple syrup and some cinnamon. How fall-ish and wonderful this meal was!

If you have tried this recipe in its full glory please leave a comment or a link to your blog to let me know what you thought.

My Own Apron Adventure

A Fellow Foodie Blogger Recipe Tour wouldn’t be complete without trying a dish from my fellow food team member/blogger/bestie Lindsay from Apron Adventures. For those of you who don’t have the pleasure of knowing Lindsay she is a walking ray of sunshine. No seriously. Ivette and I joke that Lindsay wakes up in the morning like a Disney princess with birds and mice and bunnies helping her get ready for work while she hums and whistles about – I know Lindsay is lauging right about now.

The other thing that I love about Lindsay is her true passion for food and cooking. The two of us can sit and talk about recipes for ages and never get bored. She is truly a creative, talented cook and of course I love reading her blog to see what she will come up with next.

Lindsay loves goat cheese and pesto, I know this for a fact, so I was dying to try something that combined her two favorites. Enter Lindsay’s Chicken Pesto Panini. Now I tried this recipe as she suggested, no freebies just because we are besties, and Lindsay this was totally awesome. I loved the flavors together and I ate this in about three minutes. I mean really this rocked.

Thanks for the continued inspiration and can’t wait to talk about this recipe tomorrow!

Coconut & Lime’s Chunky Vegetable Chili

Emily: So, this Fellow Foodie Blogger Recipe Tour is going quite well. I love trying delicious recipes straight from my favorite blogs!

Emily: Yes, especially after that amazing Chunky Vegetable Chili recipe you tried last night from Coconut & Lime.

Emily: Yes, especially after that.

Emily: But it has eggplant in it. You hate eggplant remember?

Emily: Well, umm, yes but I really liked it in this chili and am slowly embracing the lovely fruit. Can you believe it?

Emily: You realize I can never trust anything you say again right? Next you will be saying you love ricotta.

Emily: Oh shut it and go eat your delicious chili leftovers, that recipe rocked!

Emily’s Cat: You realize you are saying all of this out loud? My mom is crazy.

Day Seven

I feel like I should have some sparkles, confetti or dancing unicorns since I made it a whole week. Honestly, I’m not trying to sound that pathetic (and yet I am), but a week of hardly any processed foods, bread, cheese, sugar/sweets and caffeine can make a food lover like me crazy.

I didn’t get to start my last day with a smoothie because I woke up too late, but I had an apple and later had some fresh mango and blueberries. For lunch I had some steamed asparagus and the leftover kale and broth mixture my from my recipe trials last night…yummy still. For dinner, ummm well, I tested a recipe from a fellow food blogger to continue my tour and let’s just say it didn’t work out. It’s not from any blog I’ve tried so far or one that I will try the rest of the week so there. Basically, I had a pork bolognese with whole wheat pasta and it was ok.

Anyhoodles, I got a little reflective today on what this past seven days has shown me (sniffle) so let me share with you.

First, I learned what I guess you could call mindful eating. I paid attention to every food item I consumed and if you do this on a regular basis, well then good for you. Me, I was kind of robotic in my motions at times. I would come into the office, get settled and then go to the kitchen to have my first cup of coffee and then my second about an hour or two later. Just like that. The first day of my trial week, I walked straight to the coffee machine without even thinking and had to stop myself. These little moments occurred the rest of the week, and I hope to take that mindfulness with me even when not being so extremely focused like I was this past week.

I also learned how to easily consume more fruits and veggies with just a few simple choices throughout my day and with a little careful menu planning for the week, such as my daily smoothie. I also learned I can go without caffeine, 100-calorie snack packs – which I used to love the Cheetos kind – and lots of sugar or processed food items that I used to consume. Things I cannot and will not go without: cheese, bacon, bread, red meat or a little dark chocolate some time. I think, however, moving forward I will try more moderation in my efforts and vegetarian options, except on vacation and holidays. Nothing is getting between me and my Mom’s cooking on the holidays!

Finally, I feel really, really good and can’t complain about my week long experiment one bit. Thank you for listening to me whine and now let’s get back to my regularly scheduled programming…kind of.

Day Six

Yippity skippity, day six! As the trend has been the past six days, I started my morning with a frozen peach smoothie and slices of fresh mango.

As I mentioned, I’m unofficially starting my Fellow Foodie Blogger Recipe Tour and for lunch let’s travel to our gentle neighbors to the north, Canada! I love the blog Sea Salt With Food based in Vancouver. Her photography is gorgeous and I love the cultural variety of her recipes. Just looking at her blog today she goes from a Tom Kha Gai Soup to Carrot Spice Muffins to Sausage Rolls. I have been dying to try something of hers and to stay with my diet plan I tried this Roasted Tomato Soup recipe. This mix of roasted garlic, thyme, yellow onion and roma tomatoes was fantastic. The real kicker to this? You add one diced chili in adobo to the soup and then blend the whole thing. I loved this spicy addition to the soup and think you will too.

For dinner, I went with one of my other favorite bloggers and Bon Appetit contributer, Molly Wizenberg aka Orangette. Once again trying to stay on my diet track (with a fried egg, cheese and bread…sure Emily whatever you like to tell yourself) I chose her Boiled Kale with Fried Egg and Toast. I have to say, this recipe name does not do this dish justice. The boiled kale – which is amazing – is ladled on top of a piece of toast and then you place a fried egg (fried in olive oil) over the whole thing and then top with Parmesan cheese. Goodness gracious, this was so simple and perfection in a bowl. I have a feeling this will be a good cold night staple I will turn to time and again.

(Photo from

Day 6 is in the books lambs! More blogger recipes for the rest of the week to come and thanks to Sea Salt with Food and Orangette for the beautiful recipes and continued inspiration.

Day Five

Wow y’all, still no caffeine, sugar or processed foods but I do have to say since it is Saturday, I am enjoying a teeny glass of Pleiades wine after my awesomely, delicious dinner – more on that in a minute.

So this morning I had a frozen peach, blueberry and almond milk smoothie. Can I just stop here for a moment and say that I recently discovered almond milk and almond butter and I am a huge fan now. Let’s put it this way, if you love almonds you will love these two, healthy additions to your grocery lineup.

For lunch I was in the mood for a big salad and came across Darlene’s Healthy Salad, a featured reader recipe in Cooking Light (congrats Darlene!) and decided to give her a try. This salad was simple and really good, plus it’s loaded with good-for-you-stuff including, avocado, red onion, cucumbers and radishes. I like how you assemble the whole salad, set it in the fridge and then drizzle the dressing over it to finish. Simple and delicious.

For dinner, I unofficially started my Fellow Foodie Blogger Recipe Tour today while still keeping with my health goals for the next few days. So while roaming my favorite blogs I came across this Redfish and Shrimp with Coconut and Lime Sauce recipe from the lovely, lovely blogger Lisa is Cooking from right here in Austin. I simply adore this blog. First of all, the photography is beautiful and Lisa’s dedication to cooking is admirable. I swear we need to get together so we can swap our favorite recipes since it seems like we share a similar addiction.

It’s quite cold – 75 degrees – here in Austin and this dish hit the spot perfectly for a snuggly, rainy night. I followed Lisa’s instructions exactly and the sauce was so simple and absolutely amazing. I honestly did scoop and eat the last of the creamy, spicy sauce with a spoon. Two notes, I used lite coconut milk to keep on my diet track and I couldn’t find redfish but used mahi mahi instead with the shrimp. This was just fabulous and delicious and fabulous.

Thanks Lisa for the great recipe and I always love reading your blog to see what you’ll do next. More of my favorite fellow foodie blogger recipes are to come.

Day Four

Almost there little lambs! Since today was my vegetarian day, I decided to enjoy two items I cut out of my diet for most of the week which was dun, dun, duuuuun…bread and cheese.

First, for my morning smoothie. I blended sliced mango, half an avocado, light coconut milk, a little bit of spinach and some honey with ice. Trust me, sounds gross, tasted good. For lunch I had Pan-Crisped Tofu with Greens and Peanut Dressing from Cooking Light. I have to say for a tofu dish this was pretty good, although I’m not sure I would revisit this one again. To clarify, up until this week I have never cooked with tofu at home so I’m still exploring what it has to offer and as I’ve come to learn, is a lot.

You can probably also imagine my shock when the recipe’s instructions ask you to slice the firm tofu and then wrap it in paper towels and more paper towels and then placed under a heavy skillet. Ummm whosimicalzit? Needless to say, I’m glad I wrapped the tofu well because yes, as you guessed it, a lot of moisture came out. I couldn’t find soybean paste so I threw a teaspoon of red chili paste in for good measure which gave this a nice spicy zing. I would love to hear from a true tofu expert their thoughts on this dish, please leave a comment if you have.

On to dinner with the these Sugar Pumpkin, Feta and Cilantro Quesadillas from Bon Appetit. Yay cheese! Yay tortillas! The recipe calls for a sugar pumpkin or a butternut squash which as you guessed I had to use a butternut squash since I couldn’t find sugar pumpkins. This was super duper simple to assemble and I served with a side of black beans. My only critique was that I thought this could use some sort of spice maybe cumin or cinnamon or something along those lines to give it a little more pizazz.

I’m menu planning now and we’ll see what comes up for the next three days and next, I’m doing a week of recipes from my favorite food blogs out there. Can’t wait!

Photos from and