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DIY Deli meat

February 27th, 2013 No Comments

Roasted Turkey Breast


I don’t know if it’s because I’m being silly or not, but I wont’t eat “deli meat” anymore.  Like Boar’s Head, for example.  I just don’t trust it.  First of all, no animal I know comes in a perfect “ball,” and secondly, whatever they use to preserve it in the fridge will preserve it in my body (or that’s my thinking anyway).  Instead I usually buy “in-house” roasted meat at either Whole Foods, Central Market, or anywhere else that does it.

These days since we grill on The Big Green Egg so much, I buy a half turkey breast and cook that up to eat for the rest of week.  It tastes SOOO much better and there is no denying it’s fresh.

Here’s what you do:

  • Buy a half turkey breast with the skin on, bones in.
  • Make a marinade of grape seed oil, oil oil, minced garlic, fresh rosemary, Organics “garlic ‘n herb” seasoning from Whole Foods, salt, black pepper, squeeze of lemon.  You can really marinate it in anything you want: sauce, pesto, bbq, you name your flavor.
  • Rub marinade UNDER the skin and all over.
  • Take fresh thyme springs and insert under skin and under turkey when you lay it in glass baking pan.
  • Grill or roast in oven at 450 until done (every bird varies, just keep an eye on it)

As far as cost goes, a half breast will run me about $9 at Trader Joe’s, which is about 1.15 pounds of fresh grocery store meat.  I can’t say if I get MORE meat, but it tastes better and lasts me all week.

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Mom’s easy bake oven dinner

February 21st, 2013 No Comments


When I was growing up, my mom was rarely in the kitchen.  The woman hates to cook! So when she did light up the oven, I knew baked chicken would be on the table within the hour.  Her concept was so simple I had forgotten about it until now. I guess I saw it as a cop out while I have been trying to work my way through Bon Appetit recipes and impress my BF.

But sometimes I just don’t have the time (or patience) to go through a lengthy process.  One night last week when I was scrambling to put something on the table, Mom’s old faithful baked chicken came to mind.  I took out two boneless, skinless chicken breasts, covered them marinara sauce and baked those babies for about 3o minutes.  Voila, a delicious dinner.  Two nights later I did the same thing with Goode Company BBQ sauce.  Same dish, different flavor, new dinner :)

You can pull this off with ANY sauce, soup, or spread you want.  Mom loved doing it with Campbell’s mushroom soup. I can’t think of anything that wouldn’t work honestly.


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Super Bowl Party Snack List

January 31st, 2013 No Comments

As I’m preparing for my own little get-together, I have to pick a list of dishes to make. Below is a list of everything I’ve been considering. Some are old favorites, others I just found.

The most popular recipe I’ve ever posted is one of them: Baked Avocado Fries. Unfortunately you can’t make these ahead of time, but the rest of them you can.

As for the meat we’ll probably just do a beer can chicken and burgers on The Egg.

Or I could just bring home Goode Company BBQ, the best in Houston, and definitely on my top 10 of all time…That would be so easy…and special…hmmm….

Hope you have a fun Super Bowl sunday. If you make something amazing I hope you’ll come back and share the recipe in the comments so we can use it for summer parties!

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NO MORE LETTUCE! Alternative salads you can munch on all week

January 17th, 2013 No Comments

I’m so bored with salads. Lettuce lettuce lettuce and more lettuce. So in the last fews weeks, we’ve been making alternative salads you can make once and enjoy throughout the week. When there’s no lettuce wilting, you get a lot more mileage out of your veg :) Here are our three favorite recipes thus far, going from least to most ingredients.

Brussels Sprouts and Pomegranate Salad


  • 1 bag shaved Brussels sprouts
  • red quinoa (cooked according to package)
  • toasted walnuts
  • shaved Parmesan cheese
  • pomegranates
  • deli sliced turkey
  • Briana’s blush wine vinaigrette dressing
My boyfriend came up with this delicious concoction so we don’t have exact measurements for you. I’m sure you’ll figure it out.

Savory herb quinoa salad with chicken

Inspired by recipe from Sprouted Kitchen, by Sarah Forte


(more to come from her, Rhelda gave me her cookbook for Christmas!)
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 zucchini diced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/3 red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup Chopped fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup light feta cheese
  • 2 T red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Grape seed oil
  • Roasted or grilled chicken
Cook 1 cup quinoa in 2 cups water, bring to boil, cover with lid and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Heat some grape seed oil and garlic in a pan to sautee zucchini and red pepper until tender and edges are brown. In a large salad bowl, mix quinoa, sauteed veggies, basil, red pepper, feta, and vinegar. Toss and add salt and pepper to taste.

Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad

Btw, it’s much more interesting than it looks!
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large bunches of Tuscan kale (about 1 1/2 pounds total), center stem discarded, leaves thinly sliced
  • 12 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed, finely grated or shredded with a knife
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/3 cup almonds with skins, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup finely grated Pecorino

Combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper in a small bowl. Stir to blend; set aside to let flavors meld. Mix thinly sliced kale and shredded Brussels sprouts in a large bowl.

Measure 1/2 cup oil into a cup. Spoon 1 tablespoon oil from cup into a small skillet; heat oil over medium-high heat. Add almonds to skillet and stir frequently until golden brown in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer nuts to a paper towel–lined plate. Sprinkle almonds lightly with salt.

Slowly whisk remaining olive oil in cup into lemon-juice mixture. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Dressing, kale mixture, and toasted almonds can be prepared 8 hours ahead. Cover dressing and kale mixture separately and chill. Cover almonds and let stand at room temperature.

Add dressing and cheese to kale mixture; toss to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Garnish with almonds.


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DIY Granola

January 10th, 2013 No Comments

I’ve been wanting to make my own granola for years now.  Bagged granolas have so much extra crap in them that load in fat and unnecessary sugar.  Finally, I came across a healthy home-made granola at Roots Juice Bar in Houston; it was a little sweet, a little crunchy, with a hint of cinnamon, and very light.  Thankfully, Rebecca O’Brien, the genius vegan chef who created it, was happy to share her recipe for “Kitchen Sink Granola.”  The name basically means that after you make the base of oats, you can add whatever else you want to it.

I’ve posted her recipe exactly below, but that’s not the way I ended up making it.  I couldn’t get a syrup to form with coconut oil and sugar so I subbed in maple syrup instead and it worked out great!

After I made the first successful batch, I instantly knew that this would be my holiday treat for friends and family.  I sent in bags and mason jars with Avery labels I bought at Office Depot and designed online to say “Merry Munch – a healthy holiday treat.”  I am glad to say it was a huge success; most of my friends emailed me and said they had eaten the whole mason jar in a day!



from Rebecca O’Brien, Roots Juice Bar, Houston, TX


You won’t need this much stuff, I was making granola for a lot of people!


Base Ingredients

Yields about 9 cups or 3 mason jars.

  • 6 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup coconut sugar, or other sweetener of your choice.
  • 2 T cinnamon
  • 1 t vanilla
  • Parchment Paper
  • Big baking pans with sides (Glass is best, but metal will do)

**MR NOTES: I used chopped almonds instead of pumpkin seeds, maple syrup instead of coconut sugar.


  • 3/4 cup any dried fruit
  • 1/4 cup crystallized ginger (optional)

**For the additions I made these combos, all chopped up:

  • Apricot + Hazelnuts
  • Peaches + Hazelnuts
  • Dried and flatted bananas – sliced
  • Pistachios (just the meat)
I didn’t measure any additions.  You just have to make sure not to put in too much. This is a too much:


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

1.  Mix your rolled oats, coconut, and seeds in a large bowl.

2. Heat the coconut oil and sugar/maple syrup in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until a syrup forms.  Careful not to burn it! Remove from heat and stir in the cinnamon and vanilla.

3. Add syrup to the dry ingredients, making sure every last bit is coated. (MR note: I could just eat this raw!)

4. Spread evenly on 2 or 3 baking pans lined with parchment paper.  Bake 15 minutes, pull your trays out and move the granola around with a spatula.  Return to oven for another 15 minutes or until golden brown.  (MR note: you really need to watch it carefully after you mix it.  It goes from brown to burned pretty quickly.)

5. Remove from oven and immediately mix in your additions.  Allow to cool, then transfer to a large jar or container and enjoy for up to a week!

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A delicious dish for meat lovers

January 3rd, 2013 No Comments

Without any meat!

In this case, that’s a good thing because beef bourguignon is a b!tch to make.  Smitten Kitchen’s mushroom bourguignon that is just as rich and delicious takes about an hour! Plus, you really can’t go wrong with Deb Perlman’s recipes; I’ve been making them for years.

Some of you might remember me tweeting about my attempt and epic fail making Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon for Valentine’s day one year.  My BF said he loved it, it wasn’t terrible….it wasn’t great.  But I did set the fire alarm off – twice – trying to control the heat on his glass-top stove.

Anyway, this recipe is much easier and perfect for cold January nights.  Definitely a great one for a dinner party because you can prepare ahead. It doesn’t have any protein so you’ll have to prepare that separately.  We paired it with a chicken grilled on The Big Green Egg, but it really wants steak on the side.   I also served it with eggs and toast for a “Steak and Eggs” breakfast; such a welcome change from our usual omelets.

Smitten Kitchen’s Mushroom Bourguignon

*Serves 4, lasts about 4 days in the refrigerator.  I made it exactly as directed except I used wheat flour and a little more than 2 tablespoons.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 pounds portabella mushrooms, in 1/4-inch slices (save the stems for another use) (you can use cremini instead, as well)
  • 1/2 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup full-bodied red wine
  • 2 cups beef or vegetable broth (beef broth is traditional but vegetable to make it vegetarian; it works with either)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup pearl onions, peeled (thawed if frozen)
  • Egg noodles, for serving
  • Sour cream and chopped chives or parsley, for garnish (optional)


Heat the one tablespoon of the olive oil and one tablespoon of butter in a medium Dutch oven or heavy sauce pan over high heat. Sear the mushrooms until they begin to darken, but not yet release any liquid — about three or four minutes. Remove them from pan.

Mushrooms before and after

Lower the flame to medium and add the second tablespoon of olive oil. Toss the carrots, onions, thyme, a few good pinches of salt and a several grinds of black pepper into the pan and cook for 10, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for just one more minute.

Add the wine to the pot, scraping any stuck bits off the bottom, then turn the heat all the way up and reduce it by half. Stir in the tomato paste and the broth. Add back the mushrooms with any juices that have collected and once the liquid has boiled, reduce the temperature so it simmers for 20 minutes, or until mushrooms are very tender. Add the pearl onions and simmer for five minutes more.

Mushrooms stewing down

Combine remaining butter and the flour with a fork until combined; stir it into the stew. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 more minutes. If the sauce is too thin, boil it down to reduce to the right consistency. Season to taste.

To serve, spoon the stew over a bowl of egg noodles, dollop with sour cream (optional) and sprinkle with chives or parsley.

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Make-ahead meatballs

December 13th, 2012 No Comments
In Hilary’s list of holiday survival tips, she mentions making meals and snacks ahead of time so you can eat them quickly when you’re in a festive frenzy.  This recipe below fits that bill as well as being a great source for lean protein (which will keep you full and energized throughout the day).
Subtract the spicy and it also looks like a great option for kids!

Spicy Turkey Meatloaf Muffins!!

from Nicole Landress at BLAST900
Prep Time : 10 min
Cooking Time : 45 min
Number of Servings : 12

  • 2 packs Jenni-0 Extra Lean Ground Turkey
  • 1 cup dry quick cook oatmeal
  • 3 Egg Whites
  • 1 1/2 cups red onion (diced)
  • 1 1/2 cups zucchini (shredded or diced)
  • 1 – 2 Jalapeños
  • 2 garlic cloves or 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp. yellow mustard
  • 2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: any veggies you want!


Preheat oven to 375*

Spray a 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray and place to the side.

Mix all dry ingredients together. I like to place the oats in a food processor for a second or two.

Next dice the onions, jalapeños, and garlic. Shred your zucchini using a cheese grater. You can really add any veggies you like, spinach is very good in this recipe!

In a large bowl, combined the turkey, eggs, veggies and mustard.

Add in your dry ingredients and mix well.

Make 12 muffins that are slightly smaller than a baseball and place directly into muffin pan. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper if you like a little spice!!!!

Bake for 45 min or until the inside is no longer pink and Enjoy!!!

Nutritional Information : serving size 1 muffin
Calories : 140
Total Fat : 2 g
Sat Fat : 1 g
Carbs : 8 g
Protein : 24 g
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3 Easy and Impressive Desserts

November 29th, 2012 No Comments

With all of the holiday cooking, dessert can either be your favorite thing to prepare, something you have to throw together, or an afterthought.  These three recipes are super easy and fast so you don’t have to stress to impress.  They’re also easy to serve in small, individual portions.

Should you make the cobbler or chocolate in a large dish, try serving in a martini glass.  It’s unique, unexpected, and makes your efforts look grand!

Drop-Biscuit Fruit Cobbler

Adpated from Bon Appetit August 2012



  • 1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons wheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons and 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 tablespoon agave
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt
  • 6 cups of any berries you want
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest

** Serves 6.  You can cut in half or thirds.


1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add butter; using your fingertips, incorporate until only pea-size lumps remain. Gently mix in yogurt. Knead in bowl until a biscuit-like dough forms, 5–7 turns (over-mixing will make dough tough).

Combine remaining 1 cup sugar, remaining 3 tablespoons flour, berries, juice, and zest in a large bowl. Toss to coat. Pour into an 8x8x2″ glass baking dish or divide among six 6-ounce ramekins. Tear biscuit topping into quarter-size crumbles; scatter over berries.

Bake cobbler until juices are thick and bubbling and topping is cooked through and deep golden brown, 20–25 minutes for ramekins or 45–50 minutes for baking dish. Let cool for at least 1 hour.

Pot Du Chocolate

From my friend Alexandra



  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups scalded light cream (Alex: I use heavy cream)
  • 2 egg yolks (Alex: I don’t use them)
  • 3 tblsps. cognac, rum or bourbon (Alex: I use less but up to the cook!)

** Serves 6.


1.  Scald creme by heating until just below boiling.

2.  Put all ingredients in the blender and liquefy.  Small servings are best since it is quite rich.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

** This can be made several days in advance.

Optional – My Homemade Whipped Cream

I brought it with my dessert and we added it to hers.  I like how it cut the richness of the chocolate.

  • Heavy cream – 1/2 or whole small carton
  • Vanilla
  • Agave (keeps cream smooth unlike sugar)

1.  Put beaters and metal or glass bowl in freezer for at least 20 minutes.

2.  Beat cream until it starts to stiffen.

3.  Add a little vanilla, like 1/2 teaspoon.  Add a squirt of agave.  Beat and taste before peaks form.  Add more agave and vanilla to taste and beat until peaks form.  Do not over beat.  Lasts only two days.


Almond Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

My friend Jenn via Cooking Light Magazine



  • 1 cup unsalted almond butter (chunky or creamy)
  • 3/4 sucanat or 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 oz dark chocolate (bar of 70% cocoa or greater)
  • Parchment paper (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the first 5 ingredients.
  3. Chop up chocolate and stir it in.
  4. Make little dough balls and place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet (or coat the sheet heavily with spray).
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until browned.
  6. Cool on a wire rack.

MR Additions to make bigger cookies: 1 tspn maple syrup, 1/2 over-ripe banana, mashed.  Stir in until smooth in batter.  These will spread so place only 6 on a sheet and decrease baking time to 9-10 min.

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