Sunday, December 7, 2008

Jarlsberg Omelet Delights!

This morning, we awoke to a further sprinkling of snow atop the already generous spread left by yesterday's weather system. Besides having to take the dog out, it's a wonderful view to wake to. As I let myself and the fluffy-monster back in, the smell of fresh coffee floated through the air. The boy was making breakfast. Most excellent.

Twenty minutes later, I was greeted with this lovely eggy creation. After a single bite, I decided this particular piece of breakfast history needed to be marked down for good. So here it is, in all of it's glory.

You'll want to try this omelet for yourself. I can assure you that it is just as delicious as it looks. Of course, like all omelet creations, a little improvisation doesn't hurt. Feel free to substitute as needed. The only necessary ingredients are the Jarlsberg cheese and spinach.

Jarlsberg Omelet
serves 2

What You'll Need:
A good nonstick skillet

4 large eggs
1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
15-20 leaves fresh cilantro, shredded
1 handful spinach leaves, shredded
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and Pepper to taste
3+ tablespoons Jarlsberg cheese, finely shredded

In a medium sized mixing bowl, crack eggs and add in heavy cream. Beat vigorously until well combined. Add in garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Mix well. Stir in cilantro and spinach.

Into a greased, slightly pre-heated skillet, pour your mixed ingredients. Cook gently on medium heat. Make sure heat is high enough to cook eggs, but no so high that they overcook on the bottom or cook unevenly. If the eggs begin to get tough on the bottom, your heat is too high.

Continue to cook until eggs are nearly cooked through (about 5 minutes). Using a spatula, carefully flip eggs over to finish cooking on other side. Onto newly exposed cooked side, add shredded cheese in an even layer. Allow enough time to finish eggs on other side (about 1 minute). Turn off heat and carefully fold omelet in half, encasing the layer of cheese inside.

Serve and enjoy immediately!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Completely Unrelated :: Stationary Enterprise

My, my, my. Finding a job is certainly getting more difficult by the day, isn't it?

What's that you say? It's nearly impossible?

I know!

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you ... my sorta brilliant entrepreneurial idea (sorta brilliant like a MagLight being used to unpack a box of lamps). Are you ready?

I want to start an artistically-personalized, environmentally-friendly, stationary business.

*Braces for Backlash*

Okay. Settle down, ya'll. Here's what this means. I want to use my design and photography skills to create cards for people (like all of you!). The idea is to create appealing designs to customer specifications and print them on budget-friendly 100% recycled paper. I want to help make environmentally-friendly and stylish available to everyone at a price they can afford. (I also want to finance my GINORMOUS grocery bill, of course.)

This is the plan (and right now, it's very much so still an initial plan). I need to contact The Guys (yay printers) for printing costs/to catch up, I need to price and check what the break-even would be, and I need to sketch out some prelims (and mock them up to, you know, pitch them!).

Here's where I need my (oh, so wonderful) friends. In order to get started in a freelancing business, you need clients. So, I guess what I'm saying here is, um, I need clients. I want you guys to brainstorm. What kinds of stationary would you be in the market for? See below for examples:

Graduation Announcements • Party Invitations • Marriage Announcements • Greeting Cards • Personal Stationary • Letterhead • Business Cards • Save the Date • Birth Announcements • Note Cards • Recipe Cards • Anniversary • Envelopes • Misc Other Note Cards

You get the idea. Would you be in the market for something like this?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Pan-Cooked Pears, With a Marsala Orange Sauce

Hello All! I hope your Thanksgiving was as great as mine. Surprisingly, with the extreme food extravaganza we had going on here, not one person took a picture. Not of the people OR the food! What a travesty.

Luckily, I believe I have enough time and photos to pass on some of our Thanksgiving delectables to you guys. Keep posted, I'll be at it soon.

As for today .... With the colder temperatures and holidays closing in hell-a rapidly, I have another blissfully delicious, warm and somewhat healthy dessert for you all!

Pan-Cooked Marsala Pears are a treat many people have heard of, but never tried. Why is this? They are so easy and utterly to-die-for! In this recipe, you'll find an impossibly easy (really, just try it!) way to create a dessert that feels 4 star (well ... maybe). The addition of a little orange peel completely revitalizes the sauce, so I wouldn't leave it out, but feel free to adjust. Other additions might include cranberries, lemon zest or another strongly flavored fruit. Keep your imagination jumping!

Now, enough stalling. Onward to the recipe!

Pan-Cooked Pears, With a Marsala Orange Sauce
serves 2

What You'll Need:
1 medium saucepan with a lid

2 slightly ripe (Not mushy, but please not rock hard!) pears
1/2 cup Marsala wine
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 slices of orange peel, about 2 inches long

Take the pears and cut off the bottoms, so that they will stand straight. Remove the peels from the pears (a potato peeler works well with a firm enough pear). Set aside.

Into the medium saucepan, pour the marsala, water and vanilla. Into this, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon. Add in orange peels. Bring this to a slight simmer. Place pears on their sides into the mixture. Cover.

Cook at a slight simmer for 15-25 minutes, turning the pears so that each side gets a chance to pick up the cinnamon and sauce. Finish with the pears sitting on their bottoms. Continue cooking until the pears are soft enough to easily pierce with a fork. For firmer pears, this may take up to 30 minutes. When done, remove pears from pan and place on serving plate.

To finish, simmer the marsala sauce until it reduces. Do not let sauce completely caramelize. If
the sauce gets too thick, add water by the tablespoon. Cook until you get a sauce that is the consistency of warmed honey.

Pour this sauce over the top of the pears, and serve.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Italian Style Pesto Soup

Yesterday, Christian's mother mentioned politely how cold it is beginning to get up in Minnesota. She mentioned how lovely soups are during this time of the year, and I completely agree with her. When there's frost on the ground, is there anything better than settling down to a steaming bowl of herb soaked vegetables and other goodness? I don't think so (unless Mulled Wine is an option of course!).
As my basil plant has, verily, exploded this last week, I was planning on making a pesto dish. Now, my thoughts turned to a pesto soup. But how to manage the delicate flavors ... Chicken broth and leeks would form the base, I thought. I would add in other vegetables for the main flavor. I'd try to keep things tame, so the pesto would shine.

I had a second helping, but you tell me if I succeeded ...

Italian Style Pesto Soup
rves 5-8 (with leftovers)

What you'll need:
A large stock pot
A food processor/mortar pestle
-- a knife and cutting board work just fine, if more work.

Soup Ingredients:
4 chicken breasts, de-fatted
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pint chicken stock (unsalted, if you can)
1 leek, chopped
6-7 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons red pepper flakes (optional)
3-4 tablespoons dried basil
6 russet potatoes, quartered
3 carrots, roughly chopped
4 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1/2 lb asparagus, roughly chopped
1 stalk broccoli, roughly chopped
1/2 lb whole wheat penne
Pepper, to taste

Pesto Ingredients:
1 large handful fresh basil leaves
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
3 handfuls spinach leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons whole pine nuts
3-4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons olive oil
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

In your large pot, place chicken breasts and coat with olive oil and pepper. Cook on medium heat until nearly cooked (still pink on the insides, about 15 minutes). Be sure to turn breasts regularly to ensure even cooking.
Over partially cooked chicken pour 3 quarts of water and add in chicken stock. Bring to a rolling boil. Chop leek (discarding the top quarter of green section and rinsing throughly to avoid mud), and add into stock. Add chopped garlic, potatoes, carrots, dried basil and red pepper flakes. Cook at a simmer over medium heat until potatoes are soft.
(Hint: While your soup is simmering, take advantage of the downtime to make your pesto- instructions below.)
Once your potatoes are soft, add in asparagus, broccoli and celery. Continue to simmer for another 5-10 minutes, then add your penne. Cook until pasta is al dente.
Pepper to taste (try to resist the urge to salt, your pesto will have plenty).

Using a very sharp knife (or scissors) chop basil leaves into small pieces. Combine basil with other ingredients in to mortar/pestle or food processor. (If using a knife and chopping block, chop all ingredients finely and mix together in a large bowl.)
Add olive oil to moisten and continue to mix until ingredients begin to break down (you want a chunky consistency, not smooth, so don't over do it).
Salt and Pepper to taste.

To Serve:
Dish up into individual portions and serve with a large spoonful of pesto on top. Before eating, mix pesto into soup and enjoy!

  • Pesto will store in the fridge for a couple of days, beyond that it will freeze nicely.
  • If you are sensitive to garlic, try oven roasting it first, this will mellow the taste.
  • Feel free to substitute different vegetables due to season or location. This soup needs fresh veggies to be at it's best, so use what looks good. (Some further suggestions include: winter squash, artichokes, zucchini, onions, eggplant ... )
  • You can add the pesto directly into the soup pot, as opposed to on individual portions.
  • Instead of penne, try using an Orzo type pasta or rice.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Twisted Mac and Cheese

A good friend of mine once challenged me to a Macaroni and Cheese-off. We then proceeded to try her amazing recipe; however, I never managed to make mine. Nicole, consider this my entry!

I learned to make Macaroni and Cheese from my mother. As one of the simplest recipes, I could make it unassisted fairly reliably ... and without burning myself. This early recipe was almost overpoweringly cheesy. Calling for pats of butter and slices of Kraft American Cheese, it was the classic homemade American macaroni recipe. I loved it. Kraft-in-a-box had nothing on this stuff.

I can remember my mother trying to make additions to the "tried-and-true," and I hated it. If she used anything but American cheese, I found it unpalatable. American gave such a smooth texture to the sauce, how could I ever eat a substitute?

Luckily, as I grew up my tastes evolved. Today my macaroni and cheese recipe has a couple of twists, as well as a spicy bite. It also rarely uses macaroni (a pasta style we don't often have on hand). I have my mother to thank for the process of this recipe, though the ingredients vary fairly far from the "American Original" of my childhood.

As Autumn comes on stronger and stronger, try this mac and cheese to warm you up!

Twisted Mac and Cheese
(serves 2-3)

What You'll Need:
A medium saucepan
A cheese grater

1/2 lb whole wheat Rotini pasta (any style pasta with notches/holes to collect sauce will work)
1/2 cup roughly grated Colby/Jack cheese
1/2 cup roughly grated Habanero (or other spicy peppered) Cheddar
1/4 cup roughly grated White Cheddar
1 1/2 cup skim milk (may use other fat % as desired)
1 teaspoon whole wheat flour
2-3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3-4 fresh basil leaves (or a teaspoon dried basil)
Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Boil pasta in well salted water until nearly al dente. Refrain from "finishing" the pasta. If left slightly uncooked, it will "finish" cooking while you are making the cheese sauce. This will save you from lifeless noodles that fall apart.

Drain water from pasta. If you removed the pasta to drain the water, place pasta back in the saucepan. Over a medium heat, toss rotini with 2-3 tablespoons of Olive Oil (enough to coat all pieces of pasta). Add in milk. Heat milk until it begins to bubble, stirring occasionally to prevent scalding.

Into milk, slowly stir in grated cheeses. Stir constantly to avoid excessive burning or sticking. Add in flour, and stir well to combine. Stir in basil, red and black pepper, as desired. Continue stirring until cheese is well combined with milk.

To ensure the proper consistency of sauce, add grated cheeses slowly. Creamier sauces will use less cheese, while a thicker sauce will take more.

Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

European Style Self-Saucing Chocolate Pudding

Don't be confused by the title. This chocolate pudding isn't like the kind you find in the Jello Brand pudding cups. This kind of pudding is a cake-like fluffy dessert covered in a dark chocolate sauce, which is easily created as the dessert bakes.

Are you intrigued yet? Oh my, you should be.

Just think ... you want a delicious and rich chocolate dessert, but you don't feel like spending ridiculous amounts of money for one at a restaurant or spending hours mixing carefully in the kitchen. Instead, you can toss this baked deliciousness together and sit around with friends while it does all the hard work for you. Perfect? Perfect.

All the mixing and preparation took me about 15 minutes, and it was well worth it. The hardest part is waiting for the dessert to finish baking, I suggest not peeking through the oven door. The beautiful vision inside might just drive you nuts with anticipation.

I adapted this recipe slightly from a great baking resource I picked up in the Border's Bargain Books section. While a European cookbook, the dishes are well worth the time it takes to convert the recipe measures into American. I've since found out that this book is difficult to find in the US, but more easily obtained from

European Style Self-Saucing Chocolate Pudding
--adapted from Baking, A commonsense guide
serves 6-8 (or 4 if you're really greedy)

What you'll need:
A 6 cup capacity soufflé dish (or any high sided baking dish), greased
A medium mixing bowl
Something to boil water in (such as a bowl and a microwave)
Ice Cream, to serve

3/4 cup milk (room temperature)
1/2 cup sugar
2.5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg (room temperature)
1 cup whole-wheat self raising flour (*see note at bottom for preparation technique)
1/3 cup Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa, divided
1 generous handful roughly chopped dark chocolate (we used Ghirardelli 60%)
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, beat egg. Add in milk, sugar and melted butter and whisk together vigorously. Once well mixed, sift in flour and half of the cocoa powder. Add chopped chocolate and mix well. Pour this mixture into the greased soufflé dish.

In the mixing bowl, pour in brown sugar and cocoa. Over this, carefully pour boiling water. Quickly mix together and pour over top of mixture in prepared dish.

Place dish in middle of oven and bake for approximately 40 minutes. When done, the pudding will be firm on top, though some of the sauce may be peaking wetly from the side. Don't fear, as long as the top has a firm crust, the dish is done.

Remove from oven and generously serve warm with ice cream. We used strawberry swirl ice cream, and it was delicious. Also excellent when drizzled with mint chocolate Bailey's Irish Cream. Try both!

* To make self-raising flour, mix 2 teaspoons of baking powder per 1 cup of flour. This works fine with regular all purpose flour or whole-wheat all purpose. If you use white flour, expect a lighter, fluffier consistency. Whole-wheat tends to be heavier with a denser bite.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Roasted Cauliflower

The other day, a friend of mine mentioned a slight food problem to me. It's hard to eat all the produce he buys before it goes bad. With the price of produce skyrocketing, I think this is a pretty big problem. For example, I really dislike finding that I have throw away a bunch of asparagus due to neglect issues. It makes me feel like a bad Queen of the Refrigerator. It also makes me feel like I am throwing away part of my food budget.

To help, I am posting a delicious recipe that can help you guys use up a whole head of cauliflower (or less, if you wish). This recipe can be replicated with broccoli as well, so get out there and buy that produce!

Roasted Cauliflower
serves 5-7 as a side, or one very hungry person as a dish

You will need:
A baking dish (preferably a 9x13 brownie pan), coated with cooking spray
An oven, preheated to 400°.

1 head of cauliflower, chopped into medium florets
4 cloves of garlic, minced finely
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2-4 tablespoons grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix together cauliflower and olive oil until cauliflower is somewhat coated (don't drench it, you just want enough for the cauliflower to hold the spices). Toss with minced garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Place in baking dish and bake for 20 minutes, or until cauliflower begins to brown.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with grated cheese. Serve.

This makes a delicious side dish, or a great lunch/snack item. It refrigerates well, and can be eaten cold.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Candy Corn Comfort Food

As I sat down this morning and opened the payment schedule for my student loans, I felt an inexplicable need for comfort food. Caffeine too. Something about the phrase "variable interest" caused my stomach to call out for something both full of sugars and fats. Luckily, we had just the ingredients on hand to create a snack that was both fulfilling, as well as a little better for me than a butter scone.

I recommend pairing this delectable, Halloween-time snack with a strong sweet coffee (I used the Highlander Grog from Java Haute). A little heavy cream in the coffee and you are good to go.

While not technically a recipe, I feel this snack needs to be shared ... just in case there are those out there who are not partaking.

You will need:
A large bowl

Brach's ® Autumn Mix (or a mix of Indian Corn and Regular Candy Corn)
Honey Roasted Peanuts

Mix peanuts with candy in a large bowl. A ratio of approximately 3 peanuts to 1 candy corn works best. Enjoy liberally alongside coffee.

Caution ... eat in moderation. Will cause a stomachache.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Apple Crumble

The time has come for warm deserts slathered in vanilla ice cream (vanilla bean please!). The best warm desserts I know of are pies, but I am not much of a pie person (cherry pie, yuck!).

Baked apples though ... those speak to me. Oh geez. They don't just speak, sometimes they raise their voices in a mightily building crescendo. Each tender apple slice melding its voice together with that of the nearby cinnamon, brown sugar and butter. Each piece simple, but adding to the glorious music of dessert. Wow. I mean, wow. Baked apples. That's the way to go.

This crumble was inspired by a wonderful Plum Crumble recipe in the GI High-Energy Cookbook. I changed a few things, and baked the whole thing in a 9x9 brownie pan. How delicious!

Apple Crumble

serves 4

What you will need:
A 9x9 baking dish (I used a glass Pyrex dish, this probably affected my baking time. Remember to keep an eye on your dishes as they bake)
1 medium mixing bowl

6-8 small Macintosh apples (or any other type of baking apple)
3 tbsp light brown sugar
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (may use all purpose)
1/4 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp butter, room temperature
3 tbsp additional light brown sugar
2/3 cup rolled oats (not instant)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 c water

Peel and core apples. Then cut into chunks and place in bottom of baking dish. Sprinkle 1/2 the water over the top of apples, and mix in brown sugar. Mix until brown sugar is evenly distributed.

In separate mixing bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Using your hands, mix together the flour and butter. The mixture should eventually become very crumbly, almost like breadcrumbs. At this point mix in the brown sugar, oats and spices. Add water sparingly and mix with a fork to create larger clumps.

Spoon crumble mixture over the top of apples. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Serve warm with ice cream.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Penne Arrabbiata with Mushrooms and Chicken

Italian food is my specialty. There is just something comfortable for me about boiling pasta and mixing together a sauce. It's easy, and it's delicious. Plus, I get to make things as spicy or garlicy as I want without altering the original recipe, which is particularly nice.
This arrabbiata sauce is one that adapts very well to being spicy and filled with garlic. Plus, it's so simple it can be thrown together in no time at all and can use just about anything you might already have in your fridge, which makes it great for those evenings where every minute seems to be scheduled for something other than dinner. Of course, it's a little slower than just microwaving a pizza, but if that's what you wanted ... why are you here?

Penne Arrabbiata with Mushrooms and Chicken
Serves 3

What you'll need:
a pot for steaming vegetables
a large saucepan (large enough to toss pasta and additions with the sauce)

For Sauce --
Olive Oil
1-2 tsp chili powder (we used hot)
2-4 dried red chilies (number will dictate spicy factor of your sauce), finely chopped (may use red pepper flakes)
4-5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/4 c finely chopped sweet onion
4-5 fresh basil leaves or 1-2 tsp dried basil
4 Roma tomatoes, finely diced
Salt/Pepper to taste
For Additions (may be substituted at will) ---
1/2 package (1 lb box) penne
2-3 cups chopped broccoli
2 Portobello mushroom caps, diced and cooked
3 small breasts chicken, cooked and diced

In a large saucepan, drizzle about 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. Add chili powder and red chilies, and cook on medium heat until olive oil turns brown (only a minute or so). Add in garlic, basil and onions. Make sure not to burn, and cook until onions are softened. Stir to coat garlic/onions with the infused olive oil.
Once the onions are soft, add in the tomatoes and cover. Simmer gently until tomatoes are easily broken up with a spoon (about 15-20 min).
While your tomatoes are cooking, cook your pasta and steam your broccoli (or just toss your broccoli in for the last minute your pasta is cooking). Also make sure your chicken and mushrooms are cooked and diced. We grilled ours with salt and pepper, but you could bake or sauté your own.
Once the tomatoes are done, use a spoon to break them up into small bits. Toss in the pasta, vegetables and chicken and continue to cook, mixing well. Cook for another minute or so, until flavors are well combined.
Remove from heat and serve, garnish with a little Parmesan.

For a more traditional arrabbiata, serve with pancetta (Italian bacon) instead of chicken. Arrabbiata is supposed to be spicy, so make sure to dial the spice to your individual tastes!
This entrée goes well served after a light spinach salad with a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Oooh, I just love Italian!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Spicy Mid-Afternoon Hummus

Imagine this: It's midday Sunday, and you are craving ... something. No, scratch that. You are craving something light but full of invigorating flavors. You want something that will keep your day just as awesome as it was before, but not weigh you down. Wow have I the recipe for you.


I know what you are thinking. "But, hummus is hard. And, doesn't it involve ingredients I can't pronounce? I don't even think I've seen those ingredients in a store."

Well slow down there! I have a couple of things to say about that.

First of all, hummus isn't hard. I wouldn't expect it to have the greatest of textures if you are without a blender/food processor, but you can still make it.

Second, while most hummus recipes call for the traditional tahini (which is sesame seed butter), you can really use any sort of nut butter in it's place. This recipe, for example, uses peanut butter. If you don't like peanuts (or are allergic) you could use almond butter instead. Almond butter doesn't have as much of a taste, and is also a little bit sweeter. This makes the hummus milder.

Other than tahini, ingredients are fairly straightforward. In fact, I would bet that most of you have the majority of ingredients in your pantry right now! One of the great things about hummus is the ease in which it can be modified. Don't like the specifics of my recipe? Substitute to get the flavors you want! Make it sweet instead of spicy, or with a hint of basil instead of cilantro. You get the idea ... and they are endless.

For those of you out there (and you are a very few) who don't like hummus, try this recipe anyway. It's a little different than most, and you might find you enjoy it.

Spicy Jalapeño Hummus (closely adapted here from Gluten-Free Goddess)
makes about four servings

You will need:
a food processor / blender
a small bowl

1 15oz can chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans), drained and well rinsed
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 tablespoons peanut butter (the stuff without sugar works best)
2 medium jalapeños, diced
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 handful fresh cilantro leaves
Juice from one lime
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt / Pepper to taste

In a food processor, combine chickpeas, garlic, peanut butter, jalapeños, red pepper flakes, cilantro, oil and lime juice. Use the 1/2 cup of water to smooth the processing and help create the right texture. When everything is chopped and mixed to your personal liking, taste and adjust. Salt and pepper as needed.

Serve in a bowl alongside freshly cut vegetables, toasted pita bread, olives, or tortilla chips. Hummus is also great spread on bread for sandwiches. Try it all kinds of ways!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pumpkin and Spice Pancakes

Wow does it feel like fall this morning. Last night we were able to sleep with our windows open and wake to the smells of turning leaves. Even my morning run was reminiscent of times much later in the autumn season. That's why I decided to pull together some lazy Saturday pancakes with a hefty taste of fall. Gee, I gotta tell you. These soft and delicious pumpkin pancakes just did the trick!

We used canned pumpkin, light brown sugar, whole wheat flour and low-fat vanilla yogurt to create these delights, but if you wanted to use fresh pumpkin puree, dark brown sugar, and buttermilk in place of yogurt, be my guest! Instead of whole wheat flour, you might use a white flour or a cake flour.

You will need:

2 large mixing bowls
1 hot and greased griddle

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup low-fat yogurt (We used Dannon's All Natural Vanilla, but you could use plain)
1 cup pumpkin puree (1/2 a 15 oz can)
2 eggs
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp ground flaxseed (optional)
1 cup chopped almonds (optional)

In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking power, salt, spices and flaxseed. Make sure to evenly mix, so that the baking soda and powder are well spread throughout the flour mixture.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until well combined. Add in yogurt and beat until well mixed. Add in the pumpkin and once again mix well. Add in oil, vanilla, brown sugar and milk and mix well. Make sure the brown sugar is fully dissolved so there are no lumps.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Into this depression, pour the mixture of wet ingredients. Mix until just combined. If mixture is too heavy (it should be on the drippy side) add more milk to adjust. Fold in almonds.

Pour small amounts of batter onto hot, greased griddle. Fry on each side until cooked through (about 3-5 minutes).

Serve with powdered sugar or maple syrup.


Alcohol fuels bad choices.

I love to cook, really love it. Keeping this in mind, why did the boy and I find ourselves perusing the "baked goods" area of our local grocery store late Thursday evening? What were we thinking letting our fingers dance over packages of mystery-filled danishes and silkily glazed muffins?

I know what we were thinking. One word: Vodka. Two good drinks and we were ready to throw all of our devotion to our own kitchen aside and cheat on her good and hard with these lard-packed delights. And we profess such love. Shameless.

In any event, we headed home that night with a $4 package of a dozen glazed pumpkin doughnuts. They sounded harmless enough, and they certainly looked and tasted heavenly. However, a morning-after inspection led to a horrifying realization. Not only had we neglected our kitchen, but we had eaten food worthy of tempting Satan himself.

Look at these babies ....

... don't you just want to eat them? Well, don't. These innocent and delicious looking baked goods pack 300 calories into three itty bites. That's right.


Good god ... what do we do with the remnants of the package? Surely we can't eat them ...

Remember kids, friends don't let friends drink and purchase baked goods.