Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sammie Saturday: Sweet, Spicy and Scary

You all saw yesterday in my fabulous package from Allison, those famous flattened bananas. I always think they look so interesting on her blog--all rolled up in a peanut butter blanket. Yum! I have been so excited to try them. Of course I chomped on one free form and they were delish----but I was struck with a brilliant idea to use them in a sandwich. Now, I think this sammie could almost have qualified for FFF yesterday. But since today is Sammie Saturday, and also Halloween, where all freaky things are appropriate, I wanted to save it for today.

In my scary sammie:
Fluffy whole wheat bread, chunky peanut butter, sweet and spicy ginger preserves and, the star of the circus: flattened banana.Sadly, this was not as amazing as I'd hoped, but still quite an interesting blend of flavors! The ginger gave the sammie quite a spicy little kick, but the banana was almost invisible against the stronger flavor. Too bad, but it wasn't awful--you can't mess up peanut butter all the way!

Not to be deterred, I tried another little concoction with the same sweet, spicy and savory combination in mind:
Sandwich thin with PB2 and chili mango!
Hee hee. Kind of looks like a hamburger!

This was actually the better of the two, and I would totally try this again using regular pb instead of the fake stuff. I liked this creation because neither flavor really overpowered the other, and they melded quite nicely. I imagine this is what my coveted spicy peanut butter tastes like, but for now I can only guess :)

It has occurred to me that I eat a lot of sandwiches because I always have multiple items to post on Saturday. It's kind of nice to have a lot of material to choose from!

Today, though, I also wanted to share a different type of creation with you. My sister reads my blog and is a big proponent of food adventures and experimentation with me. She tries raw food with me, brings me stuff for FFF and generally encourages me not to be a stick in the mud with Ed. She is the bomb.

She was also quite intrigued by my pumpkin CCC I posted a few weeks ago, thanks in part to Miss April, who originated the breakfast pie idea. Well, Sis gave it a try, and I think it's safe to say she loves it just as much as I do, because she put her own spin on it and made a desert trifle as a variation! She even took it to a couple pot lucks this past week, so watch out world--the CCC is catching on!

I promised her I'd share the recipe--there's even a family secret in there :) Here's her email to me after her experimentations:

Just in case you wanted an "official" recipe for those parfaits.

1 24 oz (I think) container of cottage cheese

1 15 oz can of pumpkin
3/4 cup brown sugar
cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to taste ('cause I like cloves)

Blend together (I did the CC first, then added everything else and it turned out much better than when I threw everything in together on Sunday).

I layered that with
Grandma Brown's Cream Puff Fudge Sauce:
1/4 cup butter

1 1/2 squares of bakers chocolate plus 1/4 cup cocoa

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup of cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Melt butter and chocolate
Mix sugar, cocoa, add to mixture. Stir until smooth. Add cream slowly, stir, bring to boil slowly, and then add vanilla. Remove from stove and let cool. (I made a double batch, and had some left over. Its a hardship.)

Layer pumpkin concoction and fudge sauce in pretty glass, garnish with cute graham crackers and serve. I got 8 servings out of this, but they were pretty generous (like, I was the only person to finish mine ) if you can find smaller cups you could probably 12 servings.
That's all! Have a good night.
Love you,

Isn't she sweet? And you guys all better feel cool and loved, because our Grandma Brown's Cream Puffs are the stuff of legend in my family, and the sauce is definitely the best part! (P.S. I do think you ARE cool and I DO love you).

She sent me a pic to go along with her creation--even though it's just from her camera phone and a little blurry, I can still see the deliciousness!
Anyway, glad she tried it out and dubbed it good enough for company!

You guys cracked me up yesterday with what you'd be if you were what you ate. Yog messes, gooey globs and perfect peanuts...I think we would all be yummy, that's for sure!

Part of this post published earlier today due to a silly error, so sorry about that! I hope you all have a wonderful and fun Halloween! Are you going to have little trick or treaters? If so, what are you giving out?

I'm so excited to see all the little ghosts and goblins (and princesses and superheros) this year in our new house! I decided to give out cans of kid-friendly pop like rootbeer, orange soda and Sprite. I always thought that stuff was so cool when I was little. Hopefully it's still cool and I'm not dreadfully out of touch! I mean, they already get enough candy--they need something equally cavity-causing to wash it down, right? Plus, that way, I don't have any leftover bags of candy staring me down all week. It's a win/win. xoxo

Friday, October 30, 2009

You are what you eat..and FFF #11

With all Low's talk about tomato overdoses on her post the other day, it really got me thinking about the old adage "you are what you eat..."

If that's true, than I must be....


CCC with baked apples, raisins, typical cereal trio and maple almond butter. Mmmm.

warm and comforting
Cheater Beef Stew:
  • make a pot roast with potatoes and carrots (and onions, obv) in a slow cooker for Sunday dinner--add two cups of extra water to your roast as it cooks to make broth
  • reserve leftover potatoes, carrots and onions in broth, chop leftover beef and return to broth
  • add 1 package frozen green beans or other veggies plus additional 1 c. water, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, s&p to taste
  • bring to a low simmer, remove from heat and refrigerate--I find it easiest to do all of this right in my crockpot--less hassle and cleanup
  • When ready for some warm, home-cooked goodness, remove from fridge, skim any fat left on top (mine was super lean, so I didn't really have to do this), and pour into a large pot
  • Bring to a rolling boil and then add 1/4-1/3 c. flour, dissolved in 1 c. water
  • Whisk in slowly and return to boil until stew reaches desired thickness
  • Ladle into bowls and serve with thick pieces of toast slathered with pumpkin butter...perfect fall/winter/snows in October meal
sweet and exciting
I was so thrilled to spot this on the shelf at my local WF the other day. Usually, we don't get stuff like this, or it comes around really late. I mean, we STILL don't have the pineapple chobani (c'mon peeps, what are you waiting for??). Just like the container says, it was very smooth and creamy. But also very sweet and semi-sticky. I loved the spice, but the pumpkin flavor was kind of vague. I think I would much prefer my own version of pumpkin pie yogurt with greek, real pumpkin and enormous amounts of cinnamon :)

Ok, I know this just looks like a regular sandwich, but in reality, it was a food adventure, fear conquer and craving satisfier all in one. This is, in fact, the new (ish) Buffalo Chicken Sub from our love/hate chain Subway. I loveeee me some buffalo flavor, and I have been dying to try this forever.

Of course, when I really want something different from the ush, Ed likes to throw a big temper tantrum. But I threw one right back--after all, it says it's for a limited time only! I don't want to miss out! I ordered mine on toasty whole wheat with onions (duh), spinach, ridic banana peppers and sweet onion dressing (should have gotten the honey mustard--oh well, guess I'll just have to hit it for round two ;) ). It was pretty good, pretty spicy and pretty satisfying for a not-so large meal, which was the big shock. I guess that's what happens when you actually eat what you want.

full of love and friendship

This part of the post has been a long time coming. A while ago, I received a package from everyone's funny friend and way-cool bloggerista, Allison from Green Dog Wine.

I was seriously flabbergasted by how much neat-o stuff she sent me! Pictured above: goddess dressing, yummy blueberry bars, PUMPKIN BUTTER, the famous flattened bananas and mini pb cups (!!!).
Don't you think those would be perfect in a bowl of oats? I know a couple of ladies who would love the pb combo and the candy for breakfast bowl!

spicy and exotic
Allison was also rad enough to include something extra special for my Freaky Food Friday this week:

Aye aye aye! My brother in law spent some time in Mexico for a couple of years and would totally dig this stuff. He came back with an obsession for mole, and luckily, I am able to share the adoration of chili-licious sweet stuff.
These chunks of mango are perfectly juicy and absolutely coated with chili powder. I love 'em!
Definitely a little salsa dance on my tongue :)

Of course, if I was really what I ate, I might be cottage cheese and baby carrots, but I prefer to think I have at least a few of the attributes listed above. Thanks again to Allison for her lovely and incredibly generous package and all my fun new finds. Certainly an ideal way to kick off a weekend full of tricks n' treats!

How about all of you? What would YOU be if you truly were what you eat? I know you'll have great answers for this one! xoxo

Oh, P.S.! I just updated my blogroll with some new love--if I missed you, please let me know! Also, make sure to welcome back Deliciously Fit Lainie, who has some very exciting news!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fall Things

Well, even though it snowed yesterday (grrr!) and I've been sipping my holiday themed gingerbread tea, I am still in the mood to savor the things of fall.

Some good ones I've been enjoying:

Raking leaves. I actually love seasonal chores like this. Plus it is a FANTASTIC upper body workout. I feel ripped after raking both my front and back yard. I had no idea how big they are, or how many leaves would fall! See all those piles??

Football. I have never been to a live football game in my life, but somehow I got talked into going to my first one last weekend. My hubby's college roommate is way into the University of Utah's football and they were playing Airforce, so we couldn't miss it :) It RAINED on us for about an hour, it was freezing and they went into overtime. Ugh. Evidently I am a super fan now, too, because I tolerated and sat through the WHOLE game and I didn't even complain once. What a good wife. (jk babe) Of course, I've been getting some great fall time eats in, too! Still sitting in bazillions of apples, so what's a girl to do?

Get cookin!

Inspired my Susan's homemade applesauce the other day and Lauren's instruction, I whipped up a batch of the sauce myself.


After Easiest thing ever. Apples, water, cinnamon and vanilla. Delicious. My only mistake? Not making enough! Luckily it's so simple, I can do it any time I've got an extra hour or so for the apples to simmer on the stove.

This thing:

In all my leaf raking and yard prep the other day, D and I discovered these watermelon radishes that we planted in some pots this summer. So pretty! Pink and green is one of my favorite color combos, so I was all about this. They tasted just like regular radishes, except perhaps not as spicy. Great with hummus!

More apples. This time in the form of some struessal-topped Dutch Apple bread from Eating Well.
This recipe was suggested by a couple of you readers during my apple giveaway. Thanks guys! I seriously loved those suggestions--so creative! I'm still going back and checking them for more ways to use up my apples.
The streussal was the best part of this bread. It turned out kind of dry which was disappointing, but is definitely better second or third day.

Also, I don't know if you guys can see, but the weirdest thing is happening to my apples when I put them into baked goods with the peel on! There is some sort of strange oxidation or something occurring during the baking process because the RED peels are turning slightly purple and then bright GREEN! It kind of makes the apple chunks look like onions--weird! Anyone know what's up with that?

Oh, and a lot of you were anxious to know where I'd picked up that Gingerbread Chai mentioned in my last post, and above. I understand your excitement for sure! I almost peed my pants when I saw it :) I just got it at my local Smith's store. It's a Kroger brand chain, so hopefully you all can find it in your neck of the woods(s).

Have a great Wednesday everyone! Almost to the weekend again! xoxo

Monday, October 26, 2009

Return of the Sweetener Smackdown!

Laaaadies and gentlemennnnnn! It's time for the eagerly-anticipated return of...Sweetener Smackdown!

Ok, well, whether you've been eagerly anticipating it or not, here it is again! You can check out previous episodes here, here and here.

The contender in this latest edition:
NuNaturals NuStevia powder. My pal Janetha B. was almost as sweet as this stevia, and brought some over for me to sample a couple of weeks ago. THANK YOU babe!

I wanted to wait until I'd used up the sweeteners I had before I tried this out, so it's taken me just a bit longer to get to it than I wanted.

The first hing I noticed about his was the difference in texture. The NuStevia had a very fine grain to it, quite unlike the SunCrystals I have taken to of late.
And the next thing I noticed was how SWEET this stuff is. I have been using just half a packet per cup of tea, CCC, yogurt or whatever else I'm sweetening for the most part, and that has been perfect. Half a packet of this stuff, though, is like licking the bottom of a Frosted Flakes bag. Wow. Anyway, so I've been trying just a third of a packet (jeez louise, is THAT ever difficult to portion out!).

I also find this product to have the slight aftertaste that turns so many people off to the use of stevia on a regular basis. It doesn't taste bad necessarily, but it does kind of give a lingering licorice-y effect.

One thing that I really like about the SunCrystals is that there are only two ingredients, very clearly defined as raw cane sugar and stevia. the NuNaturals stevia is a little more vague:
I mean, yes, I'm glad it has stevia in it, but why the maltodextrin? And what other "natural" flavors are they talking about? Isn't it just supposed to be flavored like stevia?

For the most part, it's not bad, and I will probably continue to use of my stash before returning to the SunCrystals. I am such a creature of habit! Luckily, it's no longer "THE habit" of sucking down dangerous and chemically altered blue devil packets.

Especially grateful to have a teensey bit of sweetener available for this gem:
You know, I don't even care that they start putting our the Christmas stuff before Halloween if it means that this gets to make an appearance,too. Delicious. Well, I guess I still care a little bit... What are your thoughts on that whole thing? Does it just bug ya to death to see all the glittery ornaments and plastic Santas before the pumpkins are even out of the way?

I totally believe that each season and holiday should be enjoyed to the fullest. thankfully I have selective tunnel vision and can enjoy browsing the aisles of ghostly Halloween goodies with turkey feathers tickling my nose and red-nosed reindeer breathing down my back ;)

By the way, thanks for encouraging my pathetic poetry on Friday, and I was glad to see that many of you got a laugh at the his and hers plates--I knew you would be able to relate!

Hope your week is off to a glorious start (or at least a start, right? I take what I can get. lol) xoxo

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Two-fer Sammies

Hello! It's Saturday, and you you know what that means! Well, maybe you don't, but for me, that means sammies! I get excited about it :)

This week I have another two-fer for ya. Everyone agreed that fresh figs are the BOMB, so I just wanted to share an award-winning (yes, I'm the judge and I give my food awards) combo that has been making an appearance at my breakfast table--open face whole wheat bagel with whipped cream cheese, sliced figs and gooey honey drizzle...

My picture turned out kind of blurry and blah, so I jazzed it up a little in photo shop. I think this image much better represents the symphony of flavor going on in this bite. Yum.

This next idea comes straight from Sophia of Burp n Slurp. Thanks girl, this one was rockin!
Whole grain toast spread with laughing cow and pumpkin, topped with ham and eventually crowned with a little brown sugar pecan mustard.

Although Sophia suggested it with cottage cheese, I was trying to branch out a little the day I ate this--I think I had already had some sort of CCC twice at that point!

This sandwich was really good and certainly warrants a repeat! I am so used to eating pumpkin in sweet combination, that I was a little weary of trying it in a savory sandwich, but this rocked! I loved how the pumpkin added a whole different dimension of flavor to the standard ham and cheese.Obviously, I will be preparing this a l'original with cottage cheese sometime soon :)

I thought it would be funny to post his and hers plates.
I'll give you a hint--the one with the open bag of Doritos is NOT mine! Ha ha.

As you can see, I try to "sneak" veggies onto D's plate. I figure if I put them on there for him, he'll eat them up. Usually I am right. So he's got a lovely grilled ham and cheese sandwich with a side of carrots and featured on my plate is a pile of delectable veggies and hummus with a side of sandwich.

Hope you all are having a great weekend! xoxo

Friday, October 23, 2009

Freaky Food Friday Round Nine aka Green Tea and Me

Ahem (clears throat). An ode to green tea:

Green tea and me, we go back like old friends
my consumption of this, it just never ends
two cups in the morning, and at least one before night,
If you took it away, I'd sure put up a fight

I think that green tea is the best beverage by far
if it was miles away, I'd get in my car
I'd drive long and wide
to have this by my side
and I wouldn't stop until I had arrived

Green tea cold or hot
I like it a lot

I do. 3 cups a day minimum. It is my addiction, and my reason for getting my sweetener smack on. I love anything green tea flavored. I remember when we were in Hawaii, D and I happened upon a gourmet sweet shop that sold green tea cream puffs. Those were to DIE for.

Anyway, you can imagine my pleasure when I was contacted by POM, makers of the uber-tasty pomegranate juices, to sample some of their flavored GREEN tea. Of course!!!

Ode continued:

Those peeps down at POM
they sure are the bomb
I loved their mixed tea
it was perfect for me!
the first flavor up
I poured right in my cup
POM Lychee Green Tea??
I shouted, "Yippee!"

the pomegranate flavor
was easy to savor
It was naturally sweet,
the hint of fruit was a treat
It was made from green tea,
as refreshing as can be!

Thanks to Blue, and the rest of the POM team for hooking it up. Loves it!

And now on to more green tea adventures, and this week's Freaky Food Friday! I have been hunting high and low for some super-slippery kelp noodles that I saw on cool-girl (of course she's cool--we have the same name!) Emily's blog, but I don't think Utah is the best at stocking sea-vegetable related items, so I haven't found them yet.

Instead, my sis helped me out with yet another tea-licious find:
Green tea noodles! Holla! Who even knew they made such a thing? Well she did, and she knew I'd love them, so she picked some up for me. In return, I fixed us both some dinner.

Green Tea Noodles with Ginger Peanut Sauce

More poetry:

There were no instructions in English,

I just had to guess,
but lucky for me, they didn't wind up a mess!
With noodles of course,
you must bring them to boil
and while doing that,
you can heat up some oil

My thanks to Janetha
for that little treat
nothing rhymes with your name
but I sure think you're neat!

I chopped up some mushrooms, and onions of course
and added some slaw without any remorsesome more random veggies I found in the freeze
garlic and PB2, a little more please!

A dollop of ginger that came in preserve
and then extra water I had on reserve
the mixture was creamy, I'll say that hands downMy sis and I ate it with nary a frown

For my own little meal, I ate all alone
With a side of Real Simple, no one else was at home
And as for my sister, she gave her review
it's sweet, she said, and the spices on cue
nice balance of flavors and hint of the nuts
she'd eat it again, no if's and's or buts!

It may look a kind of scary
and a little like slime
but it sure tasted yummy
and didn't take too much time

the tea flavor was slight
but added a bit
to the collection of tastes
that made this a hit!

this poem is over,
I'm sure that you're glad
I know that my rhyming
gets kind of bad

But I hope that you liked it
and laughed maybe a smidge
Hurray for the weekend
and good food in the fridge

Three cheers for my readers
you all are so sweet
I'm so glad that we're friends
and we all like to eat!


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Gettin' Figgy With It

Last weekend, my sis and I stopped by the final Farmer's Market of the season. It was interesting to see how much the offerings have changed as the season has progressed. From juicy peaches and bruising tomatoes in July, to carrots and onion in August, and now TONS of apples (no thanks--I've got that one covered!) and winter squash. There was also a new find I scoped out:


I was so excited to snap up some extra plump and dark fresh figs. I have never seen them or tasted them in non-Newton form! I was so surprised to find that figs au natural taste absolutely nothing like they do when they are smashed into a sugary jam and covered with cakey cookie-ness.

I expected them to have a grainy texture, since that's the dominant feel in Fig Newtons, but they were actually very smooth, and definitely sweet enough on their own without any added sugar.

Of course, I have been including them as often as possible in my eats...

Perfect with peanut butter.

And what better way to jazz up a CCC than with some of these babies?

In the mix:
  • 1/2 c. cottage cheese
  • cinnamon
  • vanilla
  • 1/2 packet SunCrystals
  • Kashi Cinnamon Heart to Heart
  • Quaker Oat Squares
  • peanut butta
  • FIGS

This was so good! Call me crazy, but I continue to love my cottage cheese, and any possible creation that contains it! Lovin the jiggy figgies, too. How would you guys eat the figs?

Happy Thursday! It's my Friday, and you better believe I can't wait for the weekend! Stay tuned for a tea-riffic Freaky Food Friday tomorrow! xoxo

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Doughy Delight aka Apple Cheddar Scones

Well, you guys are probably sick of all the apples by now, but I've still gotta eat 'em, so I guess you'll still have to look at 'em :) I am kind of on overload, but it's not so bad--particularly when I get to make things like this: Apple Cheddar Scones!

This creation was inspired by a lovely suggestion on the giveaway post by Ellie of Inside I'm Still Dancing. Great idea sister! She suggested a couple of recipes, but I ended up using a hybrid of this one and another one that has now mysteriously disappeared from Cooking Light. With alterations, of course. Really, recipes are just guidelines, right?

So, modifications included, here is MY scone recipe and a bazillion pictures.
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 packet SunCrystals/Stevia
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tsp herbs de Provence
  • 2 tablespoons BUTTER, chilled
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (see substitute below)
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 c. shredded reduced fat cheddar
  • 1 medium apple, chopped
First of all, chop up your apple because other wise it will be in your way, all rolling around everywhere and set aside.

Spoon flour into measuring cups and mix with sweetener, baking powder, baking soda, salt and herbs de Provence.

Next, dice butter into smaller pieces and cut into the flour mixture using a fork, or your hands. I find that fingers work best for mixing most things. From hours of Food Network knowledge, I have learned that it is very important that the butter be CHILLED. Just ask Ina Garten. I have also learned that after cutting the butter in, the finished product should look like little pea-sized clumps. Comme ca:

Then combine your wet ingredients. Most recipes I saw called for buttermilk. But if you're like me, it's just not the type of dairy you have hanging around the house. I bet you could make an amazing swap with plain yogurt, but I was being cheap (ahem I mean frugal) and hoarding mine. If that's the case, it's super easy to create a sub using regular milk and a couple of drops of vinegar. Make sure to let it sit for about five minutes, and then it's ready to use.

Mix buttermilk/buttermilk backup with egg whites and stir into dry ingredients until just moistened. Fold in most of your cheese, reserving some for garnish, and then add diced apples.

The dough will be very sticky, but don't worry, it will work up as you knead it. Turn sticky dough onto a floured surface and knead about 4 times.

Pat dough into a circle and transfer to a cooking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, and score into 12 wedges.

Bake at 400 degrees for approx. 18 minutes or until it starts to brown.

I served these along side a deliciously velvety bowl of butternut squash soup for the most delightfully autumnal meal. So good. I am remembering my love for soup-especially when there is some sort of doughy carb-goodness to dunk in it :)

I can picture so many yummy variations on this recipe. If I hadn't had cheddar in the fridge, I would have used feta and combined that with walnuts and the apples. Miss Ellie also suggested roasted red pepper and Parmesan or spinach and feta as well. Fantastic!

What kind of scones would you make?

Have a great day everyone!