Sunday, April 13, 2014

2014 Food Blog Challenge - Half Baked Harvest

This week's challenge - Half Baked Harvest!

I had my bro bro and cousin over Sunday for a yummy dinner.

Swordfish Sandwiches with Spicy Curried Mayo and Fried Egg
and Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Those were some good sandwiches!  They looked so good on the blog that I broke my no meat rule and went for the fish.

For breakfast, we had some fun intersting treats.

First up was Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cereal.  Basically mini chocolate chip cookies.

Other breakfasts included a kale, mango and grape smoothie with greek yogurt, granola and banana.  This was my first time making granola (Brown Butter Pumpkin Seed Espresso Glazed Big Cluster Granola, to be exact) - and the result was so awesome that I am currently making my second batch for this week right now :)

Other dinners included:

"Friday Night" Pasta Dish
Fake veggie brats instead of pepperoni.  This was ok.

Kale Wild Rice Casserole
Cheesy!  Probably not very good for us, even though there was 2 bunches of kale in here.

Siracha Lime Cashew Fettuchini
This was not so great...probably because I tried adding more veggies to it to make us feel better about ourselves.  The leftovers are still in the fridge haunting me.  We ate far too much pasta this week...

This next dish is by far the winner of the week.  Good enough to go on the keeper list, folks! Josh asked me where this hypothetical "keeper list" is and then called it the "dungeon of recipes".  He makes a good point.  I have this keeper list with all the best of the best recipes on it....but I have yet to make any of them again!  There are far too many other recipes out there that I have not tried yet to go back and make something I made before  ;)

Spicy BBQ Chickpea Polenta Bowls with Asparagus and Ranch Hummus
So many different flavors and so fresh, healthy and beautiful.  Truly got the taste buds dancing!

Then Saturday, we had a dinner party.  Oh how I love cooking for people!

Let me present: Crispy Quinoa Burgers Topped with Sweet Potato Fries and Beer Carmelized Onions served with Goat Cheese Guacamole Stuffed Mushrooms

I even made the bagel buns from scratch!  I learned that bagels are boiled before they are baked... They turned out awesome.  Josh says the homemade buns made the sandwich.

For Dessert: Meringue Encased Chocolate Mousse Smore Cakes

I had Josh put on an after dinner show by toasting the meringues with his blow torch.

I wasn't quite impressed with these.  Especially for how much effort they took.  Meringue just has this eggy smell - they are eggs after all - but it just grosses me out a bit.

1 Week till Easter ya'll!  We had a great weekend here.  Beautiful weather.  Josh and I went on our first mountain biking ride and the trails were perfect.  I hear that this week will dip below freezing again though  :(  At least we had one good weekend!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Hot Pot Dinner Party + 2014 Food Blog Challenge

What a crazy past couple weeks it has been!  I have learned that my house is a great place for entertaining  :)  Josh had a co-worker come in from Korea and his other co-worker decided to have a Hot Pot Chinese Dinner.  Only issue being that she needed a space big enough to host everyone - enter our beautiful kitchen  :)

We had a fun time eating, drinking and taking many photos.  What a great group of people!

As for my food challenge, we ate some food from Pinch of Yum, but I was lacking motivation and took zero photos.

We ate Creamy Squash Curry Quinoa, Moroccan Salad with Cilantro Orange Dressing, Sweet Potato Wild Rice Arugula Salad & Crockpot Mexican Chicken  (<- made with the chicken that has been in the freezer for I-Have-No-Idea-How-Long)

Last week, my photo snapping motivation picked up as we enjoyed recipes from Hello Veggy.

Peanut Butter Soba Noodle Bowl with Tofu

Quinoa Citrus Salad & BBQ Baked Tempeh

Another good way to eat tempeh!

Vegan Chili & Cornbread

Had my SWE ladies over for our EC meeting.  Crockpots are awesome and the cornbread came together quickly!

Lentil Balls & Broccoli Salad

These looked good, but were not so good...  :(

Stuffed Peppers

Same with these...they looked neat, but I could only eat half of one.

To brighten your Monday, I leave you with a photo of some cute monster hats I made for last weekend's baby shower.  Twins!!!

Here's the link to the pattern.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

2014 Food Blog Challenge - Fat Free Vegan

When I first made the menu plan based on Fat Free Vegan I was a bit skeptical.  I was worried the food would not taste good.  I was proven wrong, luckily :)

Chili Mac

This was not the healthiest entree, but it was good.

Chickpea and Broccoli Bowl

I think this was my favorite of the week.  Steamed carrots and broccoli with a yummy sauce and rice.  Has all the elements of healthy, creamy and filling.

Cashew Kale and Chickpeas with Quinoa

This stuff was quite amazing too!  Nothing like a creamy kale with chickpeas.

Cherry Walnut Banana Bread

For breakfast, I made this loaf of bread.  I need to start making more of these in the winter as a nice hearty bread with a slather of coconut butter is yum.

Overall, I was impressed with the recipes - they were healthy and flavorful.  The one thing I could not get over was no oil.  Most recipes start with "brown the onions in the pan"....well...they don't quite brown without oil...more like burn..hahah  Besides being out of my element and not starting every dish by sauteing onions and garlic with oil, I was pleasantly surprised by all the recipes.  I will be back :)

2014 Food Blog Challenge - Oh She Glows Cookbook!!!!

Well, to say that I have been slacking on cooking is definitely an understatement.  The week we returned from Chicago was my 28th Birthday.  Happy Birthday to me!

Joshua and Snoops even sung happy birthday to me.  I insist on having an icecream cake every year for my birthday.  I think next year we will have to get a smaller one, or have more people around to eat it!

Since it was my birthday, I bought myself the Oh She Glows Cookbook.  Ok, I would have bought it regardless of if it was my birthday or not :)

In short, the cookbook is amazing!  I love everything in it and want to make it ALL.  Here is a snapshot of what we ate this week.

Then on Saturday I had my good friend and her boyfriend over for an Oh She Glows Dinner Party!!!!

Oh how I love making food for people  :)  I made this super awesome citrus dessert with mint sugar on top and used the leftover pieces of oranges and grapefruit to make a flavored water.

It looked a whole lot cooler than it actually tasted, sadly.

For food, I made a Tex Mex Casserole and Kale Salad.

And then tried to do my hair in a fun special hair do.

Which went from this...

To this....

Kinda neat - kind of like dreadlocks....


If you are looking for some awesome healthy vegan recipes, go buy Angela's book!

You will not regret it one bit :)

Sunday, March 9, 2014


Last weekend was my first time in Chicago since I ran my one and only Marathon.  That trip lasted 1 day and consisted of arriving, eating dinner, sleeping, running marathon, eating lunch and driving home.  For this trip, we got to stay a little longer ;)

We started Friday out by eating at Lou Malnati's Pizzeria for lunch.  We got the deep dish!

We then hit up the Chicago Cultural Center because it was free.  Very beautiful building.

Then we walked out to Navy Pier which was the worst idea of the weekend.  It was cold, windy and the entire place was under construction.  The highlight of Navy Pier was the tropical forest inside.  You would think that they would say someting about construction on their website...not that we could have gone and played in the snow out there, but who wants to even think of visiting when EVERYTHING except the shops inside are completely torn up?

Once we got checked into the warmth of our hotel, the fun began.  We got dressed up all nice and headed to dinner at Lockwood.  I got the Winter Vegetable Sampler Entree - it was not a large entree but all the different veggies and the presentation were neat.  I did not take a photo in order to appear less "foodie hipster", but I did get a photo with my bloody mary  :)  Bacon + peppered vodka...yummm

After dinner, we headed to the main attraction - Phantom of the Opera!

I was proud of my outfit :)  And Josh looked pretty good too ;)

The show was fun.  We had good seats.  

Saturday, we started the day off right with breakfast at Wildberry Cafe - Highly Recommended!

I don't think I have ever walked so much in one day!  From breakfast we headed to the Field Museum so I could see Sue the T Rex, among other things.  We walked around there for 5 hours but could have easily stayed the whole day.

We left the museum to head over and have Afternoon Tea at Russian Tea Time.  Some windows were broke at the front of the restaurant which took away from the ambiance a bit, but the tea, scones, mini sandwiches and desserts were awesome.  It was fun to eat little finger foods and drink an absurd amount of tea.

We ended the day by taking the Train up to the North Side to see Second City Chicago.  Funny stuff.  Before the show, we went to a bar with some interesting paintings on the wall - of which I cannot post photos of..hahah

Oh, and of course, we could't leave Sunday without going to Wildberry again for breakfast  ;)

Overall, I loved Chicago!  I liked being able to walk everywhere and the public transportation.  Plus there was always something going on.  The city just had this lively energy.  Hopefully we can go back sometime when the temperature is above freezing so we can explore and enjoy the outdoors a bit more.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

2014 Food Blog Challenge - Foodie Crush

Funny that I didn't realize this until after my week of cooking, but Foodie Crush is a blog about food blogs!  It also produces eBooks and an online magazine.  Go get lost in one of the online magazines  :)

Here is what I made last week.

Tortellini Soup with Artichokes

Butternut Squash Lasagna

This recipe receives a gold star for sure!  Would make a great freezer recipe.

Spinach and Artichoke Grilled Cheese & Bloody Mary Gazpacho 

Avocado Taco

I did this one differently from the recipe - since I was feeling lazy.  I made the spicy sour cream, but just piled on the rest of the ingredients.  Got use out of the taco shell dish too :)

What have a I realized?  I need to start covering truly vegetarian and vegan blogs.  I really wanted to cover this one, but it was so hard to find recipes with no meat!

This week I have been making random things and eating stuff from the freezer...  feels strange to come home from work and not spend 1hr+ in the kitchen.  Nice break though I guess.  Until next week!  Adios!