Monday, April 30, 2012

Secret Recipe Club: Pumpkin Granola

It's Secret Recipe Club time again!  This month I was assigned Life and Kitchen, the lovely blog written by Lindsay.  I had a great time exploring Lindsay's blog and it was so touching to read that she writes her blog for her daughter, so that one day she can look back to see what their life was like and have recipes to try. So cute!  In terms of recipes, there were a lot of delicious ones to choose from.  I ended up picking pumpkin granola.  I know that pumpkin is usually associated with the fall, but I had been looking for a good pumpkin granola recipe since last fall, so I couldn't resist.  
The granola made my house smell amazing while it was baking and it turned out well.  I cut down on the sugar a bit (using only 1/4 cup - it says a 1/2 down below in the recipe, and Lindsay used 3/4 cup), and I think I regret that decision.  I think a little extra sweetness would have put this granola out of the park.  If you make it, use more sugar!  Thanks to Lindsay for the recipe.

Pumpkin Granola

5 cups rolled oats
1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup pure pumpkin puree
¼ cup applesauce
¼ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup unsalted, roasted almonds
¼ cup flax seed

Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine oats, spices, almonds and salt. Mix well.

In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract.  Whisk until smooth.  Pour wet ingredients into oat mixture and stir until the oats are evenly coated. They will be moist. Evenly spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and stir. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the granola is golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and stir in dried cranberries. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Serve granola with yogurt, milk, or enjoy plain.

Source: Life and Kitchen, who adapted the recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Foodbuzz 24x24: Playoff Hockey Party

You may not know this, but along with food, one of my other passions is hockey!  I was born a hockey fan and throughout the years I've grown to truly love the sport. The very first hockey game that I attended was a playoff hockey game... when I was one-week old!  I've had a chance to cheer for many different teams throughout my life - the Calgary Flames, Quebec Nordiques, Vancouver Canucks, San Jose Sharks, Washington Capitals, and Toronto Maple Leafs.  Once, I even got to drink champagne out of the Stanley Cup!

As a lifelong hockey fan, the Stanley Cup playoffs are the ultimate cause for celebration. The playoffs are full of excitement and some of the most exhilarating moments in sports.  From April to June, teams battle to get to the finals for a shot at winning the Stanley Cup.  It is said to be the most difficult sports trophy to win, and the teams definitely put on an amazing show for their fans as they attempt to win the 16 games necessary to be crowned Stanley Cup champions!

Every month,  Foodbuzz hosts an event called 24x24. The idea is that 24 bloggers host a food-related event all on the same day. Unfortunately, for as long as K&K Test Kitchen has been a Foodbuzz Featured Publisher, I've always been busy on the 24x24 date. But, this month, I was not only available, but I also had an idea for a party - a playoff hockey party, with food you'd either find at the hockey arena or in the home cities of the teams that were playing on the Saturday of the party.  I wanted to celebrate hockey and the excitement of the playoffs.

The difficult part of the idea was that I didn't know who would be playing on Saturday night until Friday morning!  The playoffs were so exciting that 3 teams took the full seven games of their series before a winner emerged.  So all week, I cheered for teams not based on whether I liked the team, but based on who I felt had some of the most delicious food. In the end, we had two hockey games to watch on Saturday:  New York Rangers vs. Washington Capitals and St. Louis Blues vs. L.A. Kings.


Stanley Cup Champagne Punch
Chili Dogs
Homemade hot dog condiments - ketchup and relish
Stanley Cup-cakes
NY Style Cheesecake
Caramel Popcorn

A huge thank you to Foodbuzz for sponsoring the party! And many thanks to N for his artistic decorating skills and to my friends for helping with some of the final food prep and clean up!

I will share the rest of the recipes later this week!  For now, here is the cocktail recipe!  The top of the Stanley Cup is actually a punch bowl made of silver that was gifted by Lord Stanley in 1893 to the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association.  These days the Cup has grown and is engraved with the names of the players on the Championship team, and players often drink champagne in the locker room after they win it!  So, I made a champagne based punch fit to drink out of the Cup!

Stanley Cup Champagne Punch

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Zest from three lemons (peeled, rather than grated)
3/4 cup lemon juice
1-1/2 bottles Champagne (or Brut Sparkling Wine)
1-1/2 cups vodka
600 ml Ginger Beer

In a small saucepan, stir together sugar and water, then bring it to a boil.  Cook it until it reduces by half.  Add the lemon zest to the syrup and let it cool.

In a large punch bowl or pitcher, mix together syrup, lemon zest, lemon juice, ginger beer and vodka.  Stir well, then slowly pour the champagne into the mix.  Serve in champagne flutes.

Adapted from Martha Stewart

Friday, April 27, 2012

5 Meals Under $50: Asparagus and Chicken Quesadilla

chicken and asparagus quesadilla recipeThis meal was the least planned of the five meals under $50 series.  I changed my mind about what I would make a few times, but when I had to buy a package of 10 tortillas for the turkey and black bean tacos, I knew that I would make quesadillas.  I wasn't sure how well the ricotta would work, but it was actually quite good since it is usually pretty creamy.  I personally really enjoyed the simplicity and freshness of these quesadillas, but I did have the sense that they were missing something, but I couldn't put my finger on what that might be - maybe a sauce?

So we have another round of 5 meals under $50 completed.  It was a week full of delicious, and mostly easy, meals.  We will do a third round sometime in May and I'd love to hear what you'd like to see during that week.  Perhaps a fully vegetarian week?  Or gluten-free? Or a week of pizza?  Let me know and I'll see what I can do!  (See the shopping list for April with links to all five recipes and also the March version).
Asparagus and Chicken Quesadilla
Takes 35 minutes
Serves 2

6 flour tortillas
1 chicken breast, cooked and slice thinly*
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces
300 gram container skim ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic
Zest from one lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Stir lemon zest, minced garlic, salt, and pepper into the ricotta cheese.  Squeeze a bit of lemon juice onto the asparagus spears.  Lay the tortillas on a baking sheet.  Spread the ricotta onto the tortillas and arrange the chicken and asparagus on top.  Then, bake the dressed tortillas for 30 minutes.  Remove the tortillas, then place one tortilla on top of another, with the cheese sides together.  Cut in half and serve.

*I cooked the chicken when I made the Soy-Ginger Noodles.  This dish is much quicker if you've already cooked the chicken.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

5 under $50: Turkey and Black Bean Tacos

turkey and black bean taco recipe

These tacos are so simple, yet they pack quite a tasty punch.  The chipotle lends a smoky, deep flavor to the turkey and beans.  I usually find that ground turkey can be a bit bland (and saying bland reminds me of George-Michael's girlfriend from Arrested Development), unless you really douse it in spices, but the chipotle and a little bit of BBQ sauce did the trick here.  The tomato and avocado "salsa" topping was inspired by the breakfast wraps that I made over Easter.  It is seriously good enough to eat on its own.  And the tomato and avocado made it so that I didn't even miss using cheese or sour cream at all (though feel free to add these if you think you won't survive without them).

Turkey and Black Bean Tacos

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
225 g turkey
1/2 can of black beans
1 chipotle in adobo
1 tablespoon adobo sauce
1 tablespoon BBQ sauce
2 roma tomatoes
1/2 avocado
Juice from 1/2 a lime
4 flour tortillas

Cook ground turkey in a skillet over medium-high heat.  When the ground turkey is mostly cooked, about 5 minutes, add the black beans, chipotle, and sauces.  Stir well and cook for an additional 3 minutes or until the beans are warm.

Stir together diced tomatoes and diced avocados. Season with salt and pepper, then squeeze the juice from one lime over the mixture. Stir and set aside.

Heat up your tortillas, I like to either use the oven or if I'm in a hurry, the microwave (with damp paper towels between the tortillas for about 30-40 seconds).

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

5 Meals Under $50: Soy-Ginger Noodles with Roasted Vegetables

Lately, I have been on a kick of eating foods that are a combination of hot and cold, or foods that are sort of lukewarm.  It doesn't sound terribly appetizing, but let this quinoa salad be one example and let these soy-ginger noodles be a second example of how amazing lukewarm can be (granted this salad is awesome straight out of the fridge too - aka amazing lunch leftovers).  The roasted vegetables in this salad give it a bit of extra flavor - green beans roasted with soy sauce are seriously my favorite.  And the ginger kicks this salad to the next level.  This one makes a bit more than two servings, and I definitely enjoyed having it for lunch and an "appetizer" for my dinner the next night.  As mentioned in the shopping list post, you'll see that I've recommended soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar for your pantry.  I love having these on hand to add some depth of flavor to vegetables or to make quick stirfrys or marinades for meat.

Soy-Ginger Noodles with Roasted Vegetables
Takes 40 minutes
Serves 2-4

1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
1 cup green beans, cut in pieces
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 of a 375 gram package of smart linguini (leftovers from the Turkey Meatball recipe)
2 chicken breasts (you will only use one for the salad, but I recommend cooking both)

2-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 375F and put a pot of water on the stove to boil.

Salt and pepper your chicken breasts, place them in a glass baking dish,  and put them in the oven.  Cook the chicken for 30 minutes, flipping it over half way through.

Toss sliced carrot and green beans in honey, soy sauce, vegetable oil, and sesame oil.  Spread the vegetables in a large glass baking dish or on a rimmed baking sheet (covered with parchment paper).  Put them in the oven after the chicken has cooked for about 10 minutes.

Boil water to cook the linguini and then cook the linguini until it is al dente.  Drain the pasta and place it in a large bowl.

While the pasta cooks, whisk together the dressing ingredients.  Once you've put the cooked pasta into a large bowl, pour half the dressing over the noodles and place it in the refrigerator while you wait for the chicken and vegetables to finish cooking.

Once the chicken has cooked, cut it into small pieces and add it, along with the roasted vegetables and diced bell pepper to the noodles.  Pour on the remaining dressing and toss to combine.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

5 Meals Under $50: Turkey Meatballs and Linguini

turkey meatballs with linguini recipe

Here is the second recipe of the 5 meals under $50 series.  Not a whole lot to say about this one, just your basic spaghetti and meatballs, except a tiny bit healthier with ground turkey.  I'm trying to stay excited about blogging, especially since I had a lot of fun with the 5 meals under $50, but I'm in a bit of a slump.  I hope you'll stick with me as I try to work through this one!  There actually isn't much time for me to mope since the blogging schedule is JAM packed for the next week: 3 more 5 under $50 posts, a super special post on Sunday for Foodbuzz, and a Secret Recipe Club reveal next Monday.  So let's barrel through this and have as much fun as possible!  So while I pull up my boots, you should go make some meat-a-balls and enjoy some delicious carbs.

Turkey Meatballs with Linguini
Takes 25 minutes
Serves 2

1 tablespoon olive oil
225 grams lean ground turkey
1 small bakery roll
1 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons fresh basil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 of a 375 g package of "smart" linguini
1-1/2 cups Marinara sauce (I cheated with a jar, option to make your own sauce)

Rip the roll into pieces and place it in a food processor.  Pulse until the bread turns into crumbs.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Prepare a glass baking dish, so you can transfer the meatballs easily once you've formed them.  Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom of the pan and set it aside.

In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs, turkey, egg, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.  Mix the ingredients together.  Roll the mixture into 8-10 small meatballs.  Place the meatballs in the glass baking dish and put the dish in the oven.  Bake the meatballs for 20 minutes at 400°F.

While the meatballs bake, boil salted water and then cook your linguini for about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta.

In a large skillet, heat the Marinara sauce, then add the cooked pasta and meatballs and toss to coat everything with sauce.

Monday, April 23, 2012

5 Under 50: Quinoa, Sweet Potato, and Black Bean Salad

quinoa, sweet potato, and black bean salad with chipotle-lime dressing recipe

Let's kick things off with a little bit of spice!  The second round of 5 meals under $50 starts off with a "Meatless Monday" dish that may just be one of my favorite recipes yet.  I had a lot of fun making up the menu and the recipes for this 5 under $50.  I spent a good portion of my flight home from vacation (and it was a long one), scheming up a list of ingredients, thinking about flavors, and then putting them into combinations.  I was definitely the most excited for this quinoa salad, and when I finally made it, I was immediately smitten. The salad is sweet, spicy, and creamy.  It will definitely be making an appearance in my kitchen again.  If you don't like spicy food, I suggest that you use half of a chipotle pepper and that you try to make sure you don't get any of the seeds in the dressing.

Quinoa, Sweet Potato, and Black Bean Salad
Takes 35 minutes
Serves 2

1/2 cup quinoa, dry
1 medium sweet potato, diced
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 can black beans
1/2 avocado

Preheat the oven to 425°F.  Dice the sweet potato and drizzle it with olive oil.  Roast sweet potatoes on a baking sheet (I put parchment paper down) at 425°F for 25 to 30 minutes.

Add one cup of water and the quinoa to a small pot.  Bring the water to a boil.  Once the water has started to boil, turn the heat to low and cover the pot with a lid.  Cook for 15 minutes.  Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork.

Mix the sweet potato, quinoa, black beans (rinsed), and diced avocado in a bowl.  Add the Chipotle-Lime Vinaigrette and toss well.

Chipotle-Lime Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 chipotle in adobo, minced
1 tablespoon honey
Lime zest

Whisk the ingredients together and let the dressing sit for a few minutes before adding it to the salad.

quinoa and sweet potato salad

Sunday, April 22, 2012

5 Meals Under $50: Shopping List (v.2)

I'm back with another 5 meals under $50 series!  I really enjoyed the process of creating a menu for a week's worth of meals the first time around, so I'm so excited to share round 2 with you!  In my opinion the April version was even better than the original from March!

Remember, the idea behind this is to improve my menu planning skills and budgeting.  I know it is possible for 2 people to eat for much less than $50 a week, but I wanted to maintain variety with this menu.  And as with the first version, I actually spent less than $50.  April's expenditure was closer to $45, so a bit more than March.  The reason it was a bit more expensive was that I wasn't as well prepared and ended up having to go back to the store, oops!

The Menu:
1) Quinoa Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Black Beans
2) Turkey Meatballs with Linguini
3) Soy-Ginger Noodles with Roasted Vegetables
4) Turkey and Black Bean Tacos
5) Chicken and Asparagus Quesadillas

Here is your shopping list:

2 boneless chicken breasts*
450 grams lean ground turkey
1 package whole wheat or "smart" linguini
1/2 cup quinoa (try to find this in the bulk section)*
1 package of 6 inch whole wheat tortillas (10 tortillas)
300 gram container skim ricotta cheese
1 bunch asparagus
1 yellow bell pepper
1 avocado
1 large carrot
2 Roma tomatoes
1 lime
1 garlic bulb
1 lemon
1-1/2 inches fresh ginger root
1 sweet potato
150 grams green beans
Basil (I got a basil plant for $3)
1 jar Marinara sauce (you could make this yourself with 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes, olive oil, basil, and garlic)
1 can chipotle peppers in adobo
1 can low-sodium black beans
1 whole wheat bakery bun (bulk)

*I bought my chicken and quinoa at Costco, chicken was about $6 for 2 breasts and the huge bag of quinoa that I bought was $9 (not pictured). I also didn't end up using the sour cream pictured in the photo.

Other pantry items that I used:

Vegetable Oil
Soy sauce
Sesame Oil
Rice wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
BBQ sauce

Friday, April 20, 2012


The nice thing about having two generations posting on K and K is the variety it offers.  Kelsey has more daring tastes and is willing to try different spices. I, the mom, try to fill in with seafood and bbqing as they are hard to cook in Kelsey's small apartment.   But the best bonus for me is sharing in my daughter's passion.  So thanks for following K and K, when we add new followers, it makes Kelsey's day.

So it is time for some seafood......I first had this dish, Prawns Saganaki at a Grey Cup Party ( the Super Bowl of Canadian football for our US and worldwide followers).  It was served as an appetizer with warm pita and it was wonderfully delightful and really was a standout favorite at the party.  This is the recipe that inspired me to buy the Whitewater Cooks with Friends cookbook.  I, finally,  made this on the weekend for a group of my friends and they all asked for the recipe which is a sure sign of a keeper.  We all decided that next time, we would make it and serve it as a main dish with rice.  Serves 6-8 as a hardy appetizer (4-6 as main meal).


1 kilo prawns (thawed, peeled, and head & tail off, and deveined)…. BC spot prawns are best
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon chili flakes
6 medium tomatoes, iced
½ cup Ouzo  (licorice flavored liquor)
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 lemon, juiced
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup Saganaki Cheese  -  OR grated mozzarella
1 package pita bread – cut into quarters and heated in oven


1.     Heat oil in oven-proof wok or sauté pan
2.     Add onion, garlic red & yellow peppers
3.     Saute until soft (about 5 min)
4.     Add chili flakes & tomatoes sauté another 2-3 minutes
5.     Add Ouzo & cook until slightly reduced & thick --- about 10 min.
6.     Add basil, oregano, pepper, sale & lemon juice.   
7.     Place prawns in saucepan, stir to combine.  
8.     Mix in crumbled Feta cheese (I got goat instead of feta by mistake but it worked out)
9.     Top with grated Saganaki cheese (or mozzarella)
10. Place in 350 degree oven   15 minutes, or until prawns are pink & cheese is slightly melted
11. Remove from oven, set on cutting board & serve HOT, right out of dish – surrounded by warm pita quarters --- AND kalamati olives.

source: Whitewater Cooks, with Friends

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Chimichurri Sauce

A friend invited me out to a birthday party on Saturday night.  Of course, I saw it as a great excuse to have her come over before the party so that I could cook up a few new recipes for the blog.  I don't think she minded either!  Besides a great meal, we also had a really fun night, dancing away to a live band playing country music (yes, I love it!).

For dinner, I pulled out some flank steak that I had picked up at Costco a few weeks ago. Since I bought it right before I went to Phoenix, I had to put it right into the freezer, but I had been dreaming up ways to serve it.  To go with the flank steak*, I decided to make a chimichurri sauce.  I had been dying to try the lovely green sauce, and let me tell you, I have found my new favorite condiment.  This stuff is heavenly. It has a bright, fresh flavor and is slightly spicy.  I also served smashed potatoes (pictured) and a simple cucumber, tomato, and bell pepper salad (I will throw those recipes up on the K&K Test Kitchen Facebook page later!)  The smashed potatoes were crispy and just plain awesome.  The salad is one that my family has served for ages and has always been a favorite of mine.

Chimichurri Sauce
Adapted from Serious Eats and Chow

1/2 cup parsley
1/4 cup fresh oregano
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil

Pulse the parsley, oregano, garlic, red wine vinegar, red pepper flakes, and salt in a food processor until the parsley and oregano is very finely minced. Add in the olive oil and pulse briefly, just to combine.  Let the sauce sit, covered in the fridge for at least 15 minutes, but up to overnight before serving. (The leftover sauce, if there is any, will keep for a week in the fridge.)

*I cooked my steak in a hot skillet, with only salt and pepper for 7-8 minutes on each side.  You could grill yours, but keep it simple so that the sauce shines through! (It looks overcooked in the picture above because I reheated it to take pictures the next day!)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Oat Bars

starbucks oat bar recipe

Hi, my name is Kelsey.  I'm addicted to Starbucks Oat Bars. They are so simple, yet so delicious.  There may or may not have been a time this winter where I ate an oat bar almost every day.  It was a giant waste of money and I knew it.  So I quit, not quite cold turkey, but I definitely cut back.  Unfortunately, I was out doing errands on Saturday afternoon and hadn't eaten lunch.  The only thing close by (besides the movie theater and their tempting popcorn) was a Starbucks, so I had an oat bar.  Then I decided it was finally time to make my own oat bars.  Luckily, everyone and their brother has tried to recreate Starbucks' treats, from frappacinos to pumpkin scones, so it was easy to find a recipe.  This version is really simple.  I was surprised that they weren't baked at all, so don't think you're missing something below when it doesn't provide an oven temperature.  The next time I make these, I will try skipping the water as using the 1/4 cup made these bars almost sticky.

So, do you have a coffee house treat that you love?

Oat Bars
From Genius Bread Recipes Blog

1 cups large flake oatmeal
2 cup quick cook oatmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup liquid honey
1/4 cup water (optional - use for tender bar, use less or none at all for stiffer bar)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.  I only had large flake oats, so I pulsed 2 cups in a food processor for 30 seconds before mixing with the remaining cup of large oat flakes.

In a large non-stick pan or pot, melt butter over medium heat, add the honey, syrup, vanilla, water, and brown sugar. Mix and allow to bubble gently.

Add dry ingredients to pan and mix thoroughly. Stir over medium heat for a few minutes. Do not allow to burn.

Press into an 8 x 8 inch pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Compress the mixture evenly using the back of a flat metal spatula.

Using a knife, score the top of the oat mixture into bar shapes to make cutting easier.

After the bars have cooled slightly, cut the bars through while still in the pan.7. Allow to cool thoroughly and enjoy!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Miso Roasted Asparagus

miso roasted asparagus recipe

I'm sorry if you think vegetables make for a boring post.  Unfortunately, all I have for you is some asparagus today.  But luckily, it is exceptional asparagus.  Nothing like boring old steamed asparagus. No, this is much different, full of umami and goodness.  Miso paste may not be a normal thing to have in your kitchen, but it keeps well for a long time in the fridge and it can be used for a wide variety of sauces, soups, etc.  It lends an irresistible flavor to the asparagus.

So it is just asparagus today, but this recipe will spice up the life of your side dishes.  And next week, I will hopefully have lots of good things for you, plus the week after that will be another 5 meals under $50 (see the March version here).  I wrote out recipes (all my own!!) for the 5 meals on the airplane yesterday and I'm pretty excited about them!

Miso Roasted Asparagus
From Big Girls Small Kitchen

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
1 garlic clove minced
2 teaspoons white miso
2 teaspoons white wine
1 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
Pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Combine the minced garlic, miso, white wine, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and a pinch of salt and mix well.

Line a baking sheet with parchment to protect your pan since the marinade sometimes burns in the oven.  I used a glass baking dish and still lined it.

Place the asparagus on the parchment and drizzle the marinade across. Toss to coat all the spears.

Roast the asparagus for about 20-25 minutes, tossing once, until they are tender and browned. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

PS just for giggles, this is my regular asparagus recipe: 

Lemon Roasted Asparagus 

1 bunch asparagus
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice (or more if you'd like)
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

Preheat the oven to 425.  Trim the asparagus by snapping the ends off and put them in a glass baking dish.  Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.  Season with salt and pepper.  Toss to coat the asparagus, then bake for 15-20 minutes.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Breakfast Wraps

egg and sausage breakfast wrap recipe

Hello from sunny, beautiful Arizona!  We are having a lovely time down here so far.  I'm still open to suggestions for dinner places in the Scottsdale area, as I still need to choose a place for my birthday dinner later this week (so if you have one leave a comment please!).  We rented a condo so we've been able to do a little bit of cooking, though we have learned that it takes some creativity since we don't have nearly all the supplies that we would have in our home kitchens.  These breakfast wraps are a delicious result of that creativity.  They didn't require too many special tools or spices, instead getting their spice from the chorizo and some simple salt and pepper.  We had to go back to the grocery store of course once we remembered that we didn't have a way to grate the block of Monterey Jack cheese I picked out, but luckily the store here had the most ridiculous selection of shredded cheese ever.  In the end, these wraps turned out so well that I ate the entire "photo shoot" version, the wrap that had a little bit extra stuffed inside for the purpose of taking a picture. Hope everyone had a lovely weekend and is looking forward to a great week!

Breakfast Wraps

2 tomatoes, diced
1 avocado, diced
1 clove garlic
Juice of one lime
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 ounces beef chorizo sausage (or another spicy sausage)
6 eggs
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup blend of Mexican cheeses
4 flour tortillas

Stir together diced tomatoes, diced avocados, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, then squeeze the juice from one lime over the mixture. Stir and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 250F. Cook the chorizo sausage until it is done on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Place the cooked chorizo on some napkins on an oven proof plate or container and put it in the oven to stay warm while you cook the eggs. Wet some more paper towels and layer the tortillas in between paper towel layers. Put the tortillas on a baking sheet and put them in the oven to warm up while you cook the eggs.

Whisk together the eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a large non-stick pan. Add the eggs. Cook the eggs as you prefer when you scramble them. Toward the end of the cooking time add in the sausage and cheese and cook just until the cheese melts.

Assemble the wraps: scoop some egg and sausage mixture and put in the center of a tortilla. Spoon the tomato and avocado on top, wrap it up and serve. You could also add salsa or hot sauce depending on your preference.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Strawberry-Blackberry Breakfast Cake

I told you that I had a treat coming your way on Friday.  This is a cake.  That you are allowed to eat for breakfast.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Breakfast Cake.  I even swapped out the regular flour for whole wheat flour so you can feel a tiny bit better about this.  And it is packed with delicious berries.  I'm just looking out for you guys.  And for myself.  And my friends.  Little did they know that I would force them to take cake home with them after they agreed to go to a barre workout class with me.  I couldn't let the cake go to waste, and I certainly couldn't eat it all myself. Life as a food blogger is tough like that.  Anyways, you should make this cake.  You can eat it for breakfast or for dessert.  You could freeze slices for later.  You could serve it to your guests for brunch.  It is crumbly and sweet and full of juicy bites of berries.  Heaven!

Strawberry-Blackberry Breakfast Cake
Adapted from Two Tarts

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspooons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup softened butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup skim milk
1 cup strawberries
1 cup blackberries
Zest from one lemon

Crumble topping
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour (I used regular since I used up all of my whole wheat)
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt.  In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugars.  Add the egg and vanilla.  Once the egg is combined, alternate between adding the flour and the milk.  Continue mixing, scraping the sides down with a spatula until the dough is mixed together.  Stir the berries and lemon zest into the batter with a spatula.  Pour the batter into a greased 9 inch round cake pan.

Stir together the butter, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon.  Spread the crumble mixture evenly over the top of the batter.

Bake for 55-60 minutes at 375°F.  Allow to cool before serving.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Roasted Chicken and Portobello Focaccia

I would say that last weekend was a highly successful weekend, both in terms of productivity and in terms of food!  First I made these amazing quinoa cakes, then I made these roasted chicken and portobello focaccia sandwiches, and on Friday, you'll see a delicious breakfast cake!  I had to cram a bunch of cooking in so that you all would have some yummy treats to tantalize you while I head off to the sunshine and 80-90° weather (in Scottsdale).  If you have any restaurant suggestions or lovely and fun things to do or see there, please let us know!  I'm very excited for my trip because I'll get to hang out with Mom and Dad, and Grandma.  I'm looking forward to reading books by the pool and relaxing big time.  We will also be doing some cooking together.  And celebrating Easter and my birthday!! Yay!

As I prepped for vacation, I was trying not to undo too much of my hard work at barre class*, so I turned to The Best of Clean Eating for a meal idea.  These sandwiches probably aren't the absolute most figure flattering, but I can't turn down a sandwich on focaccia bread. (Though I did eat the leftovers as a salad with quinoa and added arugula to the sandwich).  The sandwiches were a great choice!  They were full of flavour and I got to add a new mushroom to my repertoire.  A version with just portobellos would be a tasty vegetarian option!

Roasted Chicken and Portobello Focaccia
Serves 2
Takes 25 minutes

8 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast
4 oz portobello mushroom (1 medium)
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 pieces of focaccia bread
4 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
1 large tomato, thinly sliced
1/4 cup basil
1 cup arugula

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.  Slice chicken into half-inch strips, and place in a large bowl.  Slice mushrooms into slightly thinner strips and add to the chicken.  Sprinkle with rosemary and thyme.  In a small bowl, stir together oil and vinegar, then drizzle over the chicken and mushrooms.  Spread mixture out on prepared pan, not allowing strips to touch, an roast for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through.  Remove from oven to cool slightly. 

Slice focaccia horizontally, and toast slightly under the broiler.  Assemble the sandwiches with slices of mozzarella, chicken and mushroom mixture, tomatoes, basil, and arugula.  I drizzled a little bit of extra balsamic on mine.

*I'm obsessed with barre workouts.  The past 2 months have yielded fantastic results and I can't say enough great things about the studio that I go to - Inside Out Studios. I highly recommend trying a barre class!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Quinoa-Zucchini Cakes with Feta Yogurt Sauce

quinoa zucchini cakes with feta yogurt sauce

By now you may have noticed that I love quinoa (exhibit 1, exhibit 2).  Like the kale bandwagon, I'm inviting you all to join me on the quinoa bandwagon if you haven't already!  I think you'll like the ride ahead.   Especially if you start with these little quinoa-zucchini cakes.  They look a bit like a crab cake, but they are vegetarian and packed with protein. I had a feeling that the quinoa cakes would turn out well, and they definitely surpassed my expectations.  The cakes are crunchy and the tangy feta yogurt sauce is a perfect complement to them.  The best part is that these are filling enough to serve as a meal (I had 3 cakes).  If you feel like you'll still be hungry, add a green salad.  Now go make them!  I know you want to!

Quinoa-Zucchini Cakes
Makes 12 cakes
Takes 40 minutes

2 cups cooked quinoa (about 1 cup dry, I used red quinoa)
1 cup zucchini, grated
1/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chives, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil (or 1 tablespoon fresh basil)
2 eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed

Cook the quinoa according to the directions.  When it is done cooking, fluff it with a fork, then let it cool slightly.

Mix the quinoa with the grated zucchini (drain it a bit if you need to, to make sure it isn't too wet), breadcrumbs, cheese, chives, garlic, and basil.  Season with salt and pepper and taste.  Beat the eggs slightly, then add the eggs to the quinoa mixture.  Stir to combine.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop out the quinoa mixture.  Pat it down slightly and then place it into the skillet.  Cook for 3 minutes per side.

Feta Yogurt Sauce

1/2 cup fat-free Greek Yogurt
1/3 cup feta, crumbled
1 tablespoon chives, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Stir together the sauce ingredients.  Serve with the quinoa-zucchini cakes!

Source: Cakes adapted from Super Fancy Chef, sauce from Bon Appetit
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