Category Archives: baked goods

Astronaut Muffins, BBQ Spaghetti & Rosemary Lasagna

Before this gets right into the eats, I want to thank those of you who shared links & your thoughts on yesterday’s quick post! I’ll be following up with that topic soon.

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The pumpkin muffins* I eluded to in Monday’s post are going quickly! I made one batch of “regular” muffins, and a half-batch of mini-muffins.

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*For this batch I used 1/4 cup canola oil + 1/4 cup Coconut oil, in place of the yogurt + applesauce. I also used 2 whole eggs.

Why make mini-muffins? Well, obviously because they’re much easier to snack on but only slightly less indulgent than the “big” one (which looks enormous compared to its pint-sized friends). And also because it gives me an excuse to share one of my favorite Jim Gaffigan quotes.

Have you seen the mini-muffins? How much denial are we in when we’re eating mini-muffins?… ‘Oh I’m just gonna have like one…or twelve…So small, they don’t really count. They’re like muffin vitamins. When I eat ‘em, I feel like an astronaut!’ ”
(View the whole skit here, or on YouTube.You’re welcome.)

But, really, it was because I’m too impatient to make one batch, let them cool, remove them from the pan, refill the slots with baking cups and then fill those up with batter.

Such a process.

The mini-versions are almost gone, the big ones have outlasted them and are acting as my post-lunch “dessert” for the week!

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In other marathon-week eats, I’ve discovered a new way to enjoy spaghetti squash & added a flavor kick to the vegetable lasagna mix.

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BBQ Tofu* & Broccoli Spaghetti Squash

2 cups spaghetti squash strands (or noodles, however you refer the insides)
1 svg Tofu, marinated & baked
(I used pre-marinated Italian-flavored Tofu from Trader Joe’s)
1 cup broccoli, steamed
~2 Tbsp barbecue sauce
1 tsp grated parmesan cheese
Pepper to taste

I’ve had a lot of marinara sauce in my meals lately (see Lasagna below!), so I wanted to switch it up with this one. We have a great smoky barbecue sauce in the fridge and it went to good use in this dish! The flavor mixed really well with the marinated tofu (*could substitute any lean protein of choice here; I think baked/broiled Mahi Mahi actually would’ve been a great alternative), and the broccoli and parmesan seemed to fit right in!

Spinach Mushroom & Rosemary Lasagna

I loosely followed Jenna’s recipe again (Spinach & Mushroom Lasagna). This time I omitted the garlic, cut the recipe in half (only cooking for two + leftovers!) and added my own herb into the mix. Taking the “leaves” off of a sprig of fresh rosemary, I added them into the ricotta cheese – mixing well before spreading onto the lasagna noodles. I also added carmelized red onion – an extra vegetable never hurts!

Spinach Mushroom Rosemary Lasagna
Vegetable Lasagna

I was pleasantly surprised by rosemary’s presence; that herb will not attend a party unnoticed! It mixed well with everything, without taking over the dish.

Thumbs up!

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What’s your go-to fuel-up meal? I’ve never been one to stick too closely to a routine or tradition, but am happy to include a few pasta dishes & will always add a pizza into the mix – it never disappoints.

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Filed under baked goods, dinners, following the schedule, MCM, recipes, things that make me Happy

Gluten Free Baking Simplicity

My first gluten-free baking adventure was successful! The bundt-turned-cupcakes turned out great, and were relatively easy to make. This baking gal does not survive complicated baking instructions; I live, and eat, by the philosophy that simplicity can taste delicious, too!

Using Ashley’s recipe, I only made two changes: no coconut flour (used an extra 2T of the rice flour instead – per her recommendation) , and no almond extract (used an extra 1/2t of Vanilla). The first was due to lack of supplies at WF, the second was due to forgetfulness at WF (oops).

All together, we have this:

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Gluten-free, in disguise! You would have never known, so tricky.

For a simple topping, I combined some peppermint chocolate, peanut butter & almond milk. Use a little microwave magic, and voila! Frosting!

Peppermint Peanut butter Frosting

~1/4 c Natural Peanut Butter (+/- 1T)
~1/4 c Almond Milk
3 small squares (i.e. one “row”) of Chocolove Peppermint Chocolate (found at WF)

Break up the chocolate into small pieces; microwave for ~10 seconds. Add pb & almond milk, microwave an additional 15 seconds. Stir everything together – add pb if needed for smoother consistency.

D asked if I could make more to just “have around” – I’m totally on board with this idea.

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Filed under baked goods, gluten free, new things!, recipes

Savory & Sweet: Tacos & Cookies

Because what’s life without the balance of those two?
I know, we won’t go there.

Let’s get over this hump day! Today, I bring you two simple recipes that refueled some yoga-followed-by-tempo-Run tired legs yesterday. Recovered: check!

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Chickpea & Mozzarella Tacos

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Chickpeas, mashed
Red Pepper Slices
Shredded Mozzarella
Spinach leaves
Blue Corn Taco Shells
Pepper & Cumin to taste (small sprinkles!)

In the shell: mashed chickpeas, topped with red pepper slices, seasonings & cheese. Bake at 400* until cheese is melted (~3-5 min). Remove & garnish with spinach. And maybe a side of salsa…Crunch and enjoy!

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Ready for dessert?

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
with buttah!

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Adapted from Jenna’s “Loaded Oatmeal Cookies”*

3/4 c Oats
1/2 c All-purpose flour
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 c Brown Sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp Butter (room temperature)
1/4 c Applesauce
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 c (+) Chocolate Chips
*I didn’t make any special high-altitude adjustments, and they turned out okay!

Preheat the oven to 375*. In one bowl, stir flour, salt, baking soda and chocolate chips together (see above). Separately cream together the brown sugar, butter & applesauce. Add egg & vanilla to the wet mixture. Add wet to dry ingredients.

Spoon ‘em out, makes ~16 cookies.

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Eat warm & enjoy the melted chocolate phenomenon. Delicious!

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How do you like to pair savory and sweet?

If I’m going dessert, I’d say peanut butter cups, no question.

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Filed under baked goods, food, lunches, recipes

The Easiest Homemade Bread

This recipe has circled the foodie world for a few years now, I must’ve been out of the loop. Either way, it’s time to let you in on this secret of simplicity: how to make the easiest homemade bread!

Texas 032Emily, thank you for the baking lesson! Jim Lahey, you’re a genius.

This loaf is made up of four ingredients: flour, salt, yeast & water. Yup, that’s it. And all you do is mix them together. I know.

You do need to have a little patience; this bread is easy, but not quick. Prep time is ~5 minutes, but the wait time is ~20 hours, total. Stick with me here…

No-Knead Bread, via Jim Lahey

3 cups All Purpose Flour (option: substitute ~1/3 – 2/3 Whole Wheat Pastry Flour)
1 1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Yeast
1 5/8 cup Water

Combine the flour, salt and yeast in a bowl. Add the water and stir until a dough forms. Cover this bowl with plastic wrap; let it sit and rise for ~12-18 hours at room temperature.

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…12-18 hours later:

On a floured counter, sprinkle the dough ball with flour and fold it over once or twice. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 15 more minutes.

…15 minutes later:

{We were a little lax with the recipe’s Step 3}. Cover the ball with a floured towel on either side and let it rise for another 2 hours.

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One half hour before the dough will be ready, preheat the oven to 450*, placing a heavy covered pot (i.e. Dutch oven or cast iron pot) in the oven as it heats.

…2 hours later:

It’s time! Place your dough in the pot, and bake for 30 minutes with the lid on.

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Remove the lid, and bake another 10-20 minutes, until the top is golden brown and flaky.

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Let it cool, and slice it up! You’ll never go store-bought again.

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Have you tried making your own bread before?

I was pleasantly surprised at how simple this process is! I’ve always been intimidated by the yeast and kneading – two things that are easy to screw up. But this could not be more fool-proof! It may test your patience, but the kitchen smell and fresh warm loaf are completely worth the wait.

Do you have a different bread recipe to share? Let’s see it! I’m open to the challenge.

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Filed under about me, baked goods, food, recipes

Vegetarian Gluten-Free Paleo Friendly Dinner Party Menu!

Would you even know where to start?

There are quite a few stipulations out there that can make planning a dinner fiesta a little more complicated than your traditional pot-luck. We happened to put some tricky ones in the mix for Wednesday night, but prevailed nonetheless! And it was delicious.

We started with Louisa’s salad creation – she’s loosely on a Paleo diet (I say loosely only because she indulged in one glass of Red wine ;) ), and extremely creative with savory food. Lucky for us…

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The picture doesn’t do it justice, but it looks pretty. 

I walked in to the delicious smell of sauteed (in a little bit of butter & salt) pecans; this could only be tasty.

Avocado & Fennel Arugula Salad*

Avocado – cut into bite-size pieces
Green Apple – cut into bit-size pieces
Dried Cranberries
Sauteed Pecans
Arugula
Fennel – shaved, using a peeler
Fresh parmesan – shaved (so you get the good salty slice)
Balsamic Vinaigrette

*amounts are up to you, and the size of the salad!

Ever flavor was complemented by the next; the dried cranberries added that slight element of sweet that balanced all the savory, and it was taste-bud satisfaction!

This was followed up by the main event, Vegetable Pasta-less Lasagna! Vegetarian, gluten-free and paleo-friendly! Nice work, Hostess Maddy.  Her inspiration came from a Rachel Ray recipe – who would’ve known Rachel could go meatless? This turned out very well, and comes highly recommended by all who dined:

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I know it included the following ingredients: Eggplant base (instead of noodles), whole roasted tomatoes, Ricotta cheese (egg yolk mixed in, optional), fresh basil leaves, onion and mozzarella. I’ll try to grab the full recipe for anyone interested (and you should be interested…just saying)!

All together now…

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Somehow we left room for dessert…I brought the Gluten-Free Brownies. Thanks to Whole Foods for providing a starter kit! The package ingredient lists were: gluten-free flour, cocoa powder and a leavening agent (Baking powder or soda). I added 2 whole eggs (beat for 2-3 minutes before adding flour mixture) and stirred in 1/2 cup applesauce (in place of butter), and topped the mix with chopped pecans.

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Gluten-free Brownie Success! They were slightly on the gooey side, with crisp edges and that savory nut crunch. No need to explain further, right? Yum.

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Have you planned / cooked for a selective dinner crew? Let’s hear what you came up with!

On another note, Happy long Weekend!  Any plans?  I’m picking up D from the airport at 8:30 pm (which cannot come quickly enough), and  that happens to be the same time our friends from DC are getting here!!

Then, we’re headed to the mountains. ‘Bout time, right? :)

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Filed under baked goods, dinners, Meatless Monday, recipes, weekends