Tags: Carrots, Celery, Chicken Salad, garlic, Greek Yogurt, Onions, Roasted Peppers, Sandwich, Tuna Salad, Wraps
I wrote a long preface to this post, but was told to ditch it. Too personal, too revealing, too much apologizing and explaining, they said. So, I gave in and ditched it. All that matters is that the end is finally here, so let’s celebrate with sandwiches, or wraps. Did you just hear the dull, hollow thud after I said that? Yeah, it’s there, an apropos response to sandwiches after 8 months away from blogging, not counting my last post and my brief appearance to pay tribute to my dear late friend, Lis.
Sloppy and blurry, but oh so good.
For my second post back, I wanted to make something spectacular, and I tried, and I failed…twice. It was the most disgusting thing I’d ever put in my mouth. Then I felt sick again, so I gave up and made an easy chicken salad, which really isn’t much of a recipe, but it’s the best I can do for now. Plus, I can sit and chop, so win-win.
Tags: blueberries, Blueberry Lemon Cake, Coconut Oil, Greek Yogurt, Lemon, Wallaby's Yogurt, Yogurt
I forgot to add the baking powder. This is why the loaf cake you see, which I made about a month ago, is flat on top. It was still delicious and moist, but not something I wanted to put up here. If you recall, I mentioned ‘so-so potential posts’ in my last post. This is one of them, but it’s such a delicious cake (or quick bread, since the method is similar), I didn’t want to hold it back based on aesthetics and making it again just for aesthetics (the last thing I need is more cake lying around – no willpower here.) would have been ridiculous. We all make mistakes in the kitchen, and this is one of mine.
I annihilated my left wrist last week. I’m okay outside of pain, a feeling of uselessness, and typing with one hand (poke typing). If I hadn’t annihilated my wrist, you would be looking at and drooling over (one can hope, right?) a gorgeous, multi-layered cake loaded with texture and cool flavors – and topped with a candle, to celebrate 5 years of blogging. Well, 5 years plus two or so weeks of blogging. I can’t even be on time for my blogiversary.
Apparently, it was not to be, and now it’s my 5 year and three or so week blogiversary, so just one yipee. Celebration over. I’m sorry, but I’m in pain and I’m pissed. I’m constantly injuring myself in such stupid ways and not being able to cook or bake is always a bummer.
Tags: brown sugar, First Love, fruit, Greek Yogurt, Heavy Cream, Jam, Jelly, Milk, Overnight Oatmeal, Overnight Oats, Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter Oatmeal, Preserves, vanilla
I don’t usually go for fads, trends or follow rules when it comes to food. In fact, I don’t abide by any rules when it comes to food. I’ve been known to bake pumpkin pies in June, and I know some people may argue this, but there is NO discernible difference between using fresh roasted pumpkin puree and canned. I’ve tested it many times over the years..and no one..I mean NO ONE, could tell the difference between the pumpkin pie using canned pumpkin and the pumpkin pie using fresh pumpkin. As long as the canned pumpkin is pure, with no additives, it’s fine.
There..I said it, and I didn’t want to wait until Fall to say it.
By the way, did you know most canned pumpkin puree is actually Butternut or Hubbard squash. or a variety of squash, not named pumpkin? Yes, this includes the one that starts with L.
Back to trends and fads in the food blogosphere. I have seen overnight oats all over the place for months now. Normally, I’d steer clear, because, again, I’m not a trendy person. However, I need quick breakfasts because I don’t eat breakfast anywhere near as often as I should, and I’m sick of cheerios, toast or smoothies, when I do.
After seeing Barbara’s (of Barbara Bakes) overnight oatmeal with berries, I decided I really needed to give this a shot. I also decided to blog it because I didn’t bake or cook anything for the KA Stand Mixer winner announcement, and Part 13…ummm…13A. I don’t like putting up posts without something tasty and visual in them.
This is a food blog..well, food/story journal, you know.
I can’t believe I put this photo up. Yeah, I know what it looks like. In fact, artificial light is most definitely not kind to oatmeal in photography. But, a jar tipped over throwing up oatmeal is pretty shitty food styling.
That said, no pretty jars for these overnight oats, because you will be using up the peanut butter at the bottom and around the sides of an almost empty peanut butter jar so everything goes into the almost empty peanut butter jar. If you want to make it look nice for serving to someone(s), spoon it into pretty glasses or bowls..like I did for photos. BUT, off of my blog, it’s getting eaten straight from the jar, then bye-bye jar – into the recycle bin.
Below are a few ways to serve it, some outside the breakfast box.
Double Chocolate Oatmeal with melting chocolate shards
With Cocoa Nibs
On top of soft chocolate ganache 2
Swirled, or mottled, rather, with raspberry jam
This is not a completely healthy version, but if you want to add protein powder, flax, chia seed. hemp, swamp goo, motor oil..or whatever, go ahead – no rules. You can also cut down the calories and make it healthier by choosing the Greek yogurt option and skim milk.
Well, there is one rule, but it’s a general rule to get the right consistency..and that rule is 1 part oats to 2 parts liquid, plus extras of your choice. If you want it thicker, add more oats.
Here’s my version.
Overnight Refrigerator Peanut Butter – Brown Sugar Oatmeal with Jelly or Chocolate
About 2 servings
1 almost empty jar of peanut butter (about 1/4 cup peanut butter left in jar)
1/2 cup old-fashioned or quick cooking oats (I tried both and preferred the quick oats, but if you like more ‘chew’, choose the old-fashioned oats)
2 to 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/2 cup whole milk or any milk you prefer (skim, soy, rice, almond etc)
1/2 cup vanilla bean Greek yogurt or 1/2 cup heavy cream steeped with vanilla bean scrapings and pod (pod removed after steeping, of course)
fruit or jam/jelly/preserves of your choice and/or chocolate chips, chunks (optional). I even added chocolate ganache to the bottom of one glass. No rules! You can go healthy or decadent, or both!
1. Dump the oats in the almost empty peanut butter jar. Sprinkle the dark brown sugar evenly on top of the oats. Stir together the milk and yogurt or steeped cream, then pour on top of the oats and dark brown sugar. If you’re adding chocolate chips or chunks, add now. Put the cover back on the peanut butter jar, tightly, and shake it vigorously. You’ll be stirring it come morning, so this is just a preliminary ‘shake’ to get the oats soaked and dissolve the brown sugar.
2. Put the covered jar in the fridge overnight, The next morning, open up the jar and stir it all together, digging the peanut butter up from the bottom and around the sides. Stir in fruit if you like – raspberries would be great, or swirl your favorite jam, jelly or preserves into it. If you prefer your oatmeal warm, give it a nuke in the microwave for a minute or two. Grab a spoon and dig in! Throw out the jar when you’re done..my favorite part next to eating it.
Note - I stirred extra peanut butter into the oats after they soaked overnight, only because I’m a peanut butter freak. It doesn’t need extra, but it doesn’t hurt if you’re a freak too. Also, I topped it off with some fresh, whipped cream and chocolate. If you want it topped, but healthier, use Greek yogurt.
Double Chocolate Overnight Oatmeal
1/2 cup old-fashioned or quick cooking oats (I tried both and preferred the quick oats, but if you like more ‘chew’, choose the old-fashioned oats)
1 to 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar (taste)
1 cup whole milk or any milk you prefer (skim, soy, rice, almond etc)
1 tablespoon dark cocoa
1/4 cup chopped chocolate
1. Stir together milk and cocoa powder until uniform.
2.In an empty jar..like a mason jar, dump in oats, dark brown sugar, chocolate milk and chopped chocolate. Shake the jar vigorously and set in fridge overnight.
3. Eat right out of jar. I like to microwave it for a few seconds to melt some of the chopped chocolate. Enjoy!
KitchenAid Professional 600 Series 6-Quart Stand Mixer! I really wish I could give everyone who entered one of these mixers. I promise, there will be more great giveaways coming soon! Thank you all for entering!
The Random Number Generator decided that Candace, who’s comment is #224, is the winner!
Congratulations, Candace! I will be sending you an email so you can choose a color and give me your mailing info. As soon as I get it, it will be sent out to you ASAP. If there is no response from you within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen.
One more thing – I’d like to thank Bonnie, of Bonnie Banters, for nominating me for a Food Stories Award! Again, I’m incredibly flattered! Since I was nominated late last month, and have already passed on 5 nominations…I’ll throw in another random fact about me.
When I was a child..having had the luxury of seeing several Broadway shows and listening to my father’s collection of Broadway soundtracks..I decided I wanted to be a Broadway singer. I used to stand on my front door step and belt out tunes like Tomorrow, Memory, One etc. There was one small problem, I couldn’t sing. My poor neighbors.
Tags: Chicken Breasts, Chicken Fingers, Chile Garlic Sauce, Cilantro, coconut, cooking, Dessicated Coconut, garlic, Ginger, Greek Yogurt, Lime, Panko, Soy Sauce
For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned the blog, Edesia’s Notebook (love the name) authored and photographed by Lesa. For the first time since I joined, I didn’t have the urge to grab some gorgeous dessert, which Lesa has plenty of, and play with it. Instead, the same thought kept going through my head.
You don’t often see posts where I just make dinner, nothing fancy, nothing outrageous, nothing you would only make for a special occasion. It’s not that I don’t have a decent amount of simple recipes, but I just felt the need to cook dinner and blog it. I chose her Crunchy Lemon Chicken.
Of course, I ended up futzing with it, because I truly believe it’s nearly impossible for me not to futz with recipes. I cut each breast into strips, used limes instead of lemons, and added soy sauce and garlic to the marinade. I also added dessicated coconut to the panko bread crumbs and beat the eggs with coconut water for the breading station. Add to that a few other minor alterations, like the baking time and temperature, and there you have it.
Otherwise, it’s just dinner, and it was delicious. I think these are the crunchiest, most delicious baked chicken fingers I’ve ever had, and kids would go absolutely berserk over these. Just my completely unbiased opinion..I swear.
Even though they were flavorful enough as is, I decided to made a dip to go with them – what I call a garbage dip, where you rummage through your fridge and cabinets and just throw something together. It was interesting and tasty, (it looks kind of gross in the photos..like Thousand Island dressing that sat out too long, doesn’t it?), but, again, the chicken fingers had so much flavor, it really wasn’t needed.
That said, I hope you try these little delights of crunchy chicken, and I hope you enjoy them!
Crunchy Coconut Lime Chicken Strips or Bites
Adapted from and Inspired by Lesa from Edesia’s Notebook
Yields about 4 servings
2 limes, zested and juiced
1/4 cup light olive oil
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped finely
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 chicken breasts (About 1 lb) cut into 1-inch wide strips. Cut each strip in half to make ‘nuggets’.
1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
2/3 cup dessicated coconut shreds
3/4 cup flour
salt and pepper to season flour
2 eggs, beaten with 4 tablespoons of coconut water (you can use coconut milk if you can’t find coconut water)
Oil spray, doesn’t matter what kind
1. In a bowl, stir together lime juice, zest, light olive oil, ginger, light soy sauce, garlic and salt. Add the chicken strips and stir until they’re completely coated with the marinade. You can also pour the marinade with the chicken strips, into a ziplock bag, which is what I did. Marinate for 4 to 5 hours at the most..stirring the strips in the bowl of marinade or squeezing around the bag every hour to an hour and a half to insure even marinating.
2. Line a large baking sheet with foil sprayed lightly with oil. Mix the flour, salt and pepper in one bowl, the beaten eggs and coconut water in a second bowl, and the panko and dessicated coconut in a third bowl. Remove the chicken strips from the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
3. Lift up each chicken strip and shake off some of the marinade so it isn’t overly-saturated (I just ran two impeccably clean fingers down each strip, sliding off the extra marinade). Coat each chicken strip in flour, knocking off the excess, then dip and coat well in the egg mixture and then dredge it in the panko - dessicated coconut mixture, pressing it onto each strip. Place each chicken strip on the oiled baking sheet and continue until all chicken has been coated.
4. Lightly spray some oil on the breaded chicken strips, then bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. IMPORTANT – Do not let them sit on the baking sheet once out of the oven. Transfer them to a rack if not eating within a few minutes, or the bottoms will get soggy.
Spicy Yogurt Dip
1 cup greek yogurt
2 to 3 tablespoons Asian chile-garlic sauce
1 small handful cilantro leaves, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1. Mix all the ingredients together, then cover and refrigerate for a few hours to let the flavors blend.
If you get a chance, please click on the blue frog below to see all the amazing dishes recreated by Group A of The Secret Recipe Club. Also, click on over to Edesia’s Notebook for some fantastic sweet and savory recipes!
Tags: baking, Berries, berry swirl cake, blackberries, Cake, Dannon yogurt, Greek Yogurt, pound cake, raspberries, Yogurt
Yes, that’s an equation, an equation for something that just might blow your mind. It blew mine.
Before we moved from Manhattan to the town I grew up in, we spent a few years in another town while our new house was being renovated. We lived in a huge apartment complex surrounded by vast, beautiful meadows, streams filled with tadpoles, froggies, fish, and all things cool to a curious, young, nature loving girl. I won’t regale you with the huge highway overpass that roared above us over the parking lot, or the main roadway with a constant barrage of passing cars less than a mile away. Instead, I will keep us in the place where nature loomed and bloomed with not much time left.
My fondest memory of this garden apartment complex of Eden, nestled within the asphalt, was the wild blackberry and raspberry bushes hidden in one small area tucked between the pussy willows, cattails, and thick brush. We would sit in the middle of this circle of bushes and pick plump, juicy, berries for hours, our lips, fingers and shirts stained purple and red. I took this for granted. Surely there’s wild bushes like this everywhere, right? When we moved into our new house, I figured I’d have a whole backyard of them!
Unfortunately, the beautiful meadows and streams were eventually mowed down to build a modern, state -of-the art high school and more apartment complexes, but we were already moving out when this began. Once we moved into our new home, I forgot about wild berry bushes. I loved cooking, but basic stuff since I was too young to think about or dabble in preparations calling for berries, outside of fresh berries topped with cream.
Cut to several years later. Once I hit the big 1-4, I’m baking and cooking on a pretty regular basis, thanks to a few cookbooks gifted to me by my grandmother. Within a year or two, I’m inhaling all cookbooks like oxygen, pouring through gourmet magazines, reading a few chapters of Larousse Gastronomique nightly, and watching hours upon hours of Jacques Pepin showing me every cooking technique known to man (at that time). I watched numerous cooking shows, but Jacques was the man.
I was falling madly in love with all things food, all things sweet and savory, all things plated and lovely.
This food exploration renewed my intense love of two berries with a deep fervor, two berries that I used to hang with and know very well, raspberries and blackberries. I wanted to bake with them, cook with them, make sauces with them, jam them, jelly them, you name it. However, no wild and free berry bushes to be found. My berry passion led to many trips to the market, but was diluted with pints of mediocre, somewhat squashed berries in plastic containers with holes. If I didn’t act quick, they’d morph into plastic containers of white, green or gray fuzz, forgotten in the back of my refrigerator fruit bin.
You never know how good you had it until you want to cook and bake with it.
Like snowflakes, no two berry swirl cakes are alike
Cut to present. A friend of mine attended a wedding in Seattle last summer. One morning he called at the end of his daily workout and run. As he was walking through the parking lot of the hotel he was staying at, he let out an audible ‘wow’ type of gasp. He told me there were tons of wild blackberry bushes around the parking lot, loaded with some of the biggest blackberries he’d ever seen. He took a photo with his cell and sent it to me. I let out an audible ‘wow’ type of gasp as I listened to him eat those gorgeous berries in the photos.
“Wow, theesh are the jooshiest blackberriesh I’fe ever tayshted in my life!” He exclaimed, his mouth full of berries, pissing me off jussst a little because I wanted a bush to pick off of!
This was one of the photos he sent me. Nice lookin’ Seattle wild blackberries!
The rest of his trip led to occasional phone calls and texts about how wherever he went, there were always blackberry bushes close by.
I contemplated a permanent move to Seattle, but only for a second. Although it’s an awesome city in a beautiful and bountiful state, I need a little more sunshine in my life. My ‘Seattle Me’ image contained tons of buckets in lieu of a purse, picking blackberries from every bush I saw, so much so that I would have to balance an extra bucket on my head, not unlike the Chiquita chick and her naners.
My history with yogurt is a bit different. Okay, a bit is an understatement.
I hated it.
Yogurt, to me, was a bunch of annoying, little plastic containers that dominated our fridge since my mother ate it every.single.day. They would come tumbling out and hit the floor while I was reaching for sandwich fixings or pudding cups, some cracking open on impact – white, fruity goo all over the floor. I would actually gag while I was cleaning it up. I hated, Hated, HATED how it smelled.
“How could she eat this crap?”, I’d mutter faintly under my breath while cleaning up the mess.
Don’t let these skinny swirls of berry fool you, because…..
My freshman year of college, there was a little truck on campus one day that was just giving yogurt away - Dannon yogurt. One late night, craving something sweet, but nothing but our free Dannon haul in our mini-fridge, I had no choice but to confront my yogurt demons. I was so hungry, I didn’t care..I was going to eat it. One spoonful and BOOM, an explosion of creamy and tangy with sweet strawberries swirled throughout, sort of like pudding or custard, and I love puddings and custards.
Yogurt, why did I hate you so for so long?
Well, now I’m obsessed, and I eat a container almost every day, and bake with it quite often. As mentioned above, it’s in this cake, the Greek style, which has been my new favorite for a while now.
When I decided to take advantage of an abundance of gorgeous, plump blackberries and raspberries I found at the farmer’s market, I started with a blackberry swirl pound cake recipe I’d bookmarked at Martha Stewart’s site (wow, Martha is making a lot of appearances on my blog as of late).
Naturally, I wasn’t going to leave raspberries out and, of course, I was probably going to change something. That something was my former foe, yogurt, yogurt instead of the sour cream called for. I had the urge to experiment, and I did, I mixed each berry puree with some of the cake batter prior to swirling them in, hoping for the best. Wow, this gave me thick ribbons of berry, instead of thin strips of berry, within the cake, exactly what I was hoping for. Success!
Make this cake..I promise you will love it, even if you don’t like berries and/or yogurt. I converted someone who hated both, that’s how good it is.
….when you mix some of the batter into the berry purees before spooning it on and swirling it into the batter, then cut into a slice vertically, this is what you get. Thick ribbons of berry.
Double Berry Ribbon/Swirl Yogurt Pound ‘like‘ Cake
adapted from Martha Stewart, with my revisions
Makes one 9-inch by 5-inch loaf cake
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan (or 1/2 cup neutral oil, like canola or coconut)
3 ounces blackberries (about a scant 3/4 cup)
3 ounces raspberries (about a scant 3/4 cup)
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup Greek Yogurt, room temperature
NOTE: I split the berry puree-batter mixes in half, using half of each for swirling into both layers of plain batter. I did this to make two cakes. Using all the berry purees in one cake is ideal, but either way is delicious!
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and line with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides; butter parchment. In a food processor, puree blackberries with 1 tablespoon sugar. Wipe out processor and puree raspberries with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Pour/scrape into separate bowls and set aside (you can strain them into the bowls if you don’t like the light bite of seeds that do not break down). In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.
2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together butter (or oil) and 1 1/4 cups sugar until light and fluffy, 5 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat to combine, scraping down bowl as needed. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with Greek yogurt, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
3. Stir two to three tablespoons of the cake batter into the bowl with the blackberry puree until uniform. Stir two to three tablespoons of the cake batter into the bowl of raspberry puree, until uniform.
4. Pour half the plain batter into the pan and dot with 1/2 of the blackberry puree -batter and half the raspberry puree-batter. It will seem like it takes over all the plain cake batter, but don’t worry, it all works out in the end. Swirl/marble lightly using a skewer or knife. Top with remaining plain batter and dot with remaning raspberry and blackberry batter as you did with the first layer. Again, swirl the puree-batter mixes into the plain batter – pushing a skewer or knife all the way to the bottom for a full marble.
5. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 1 1/4 hours. Let cool in pan on a wire rack, 30 minutes. Lift cake out of pan and place on a serving plate; let cool completely before slicing.
This cake is entered in the #cakelove bloghop! Come VOTE and/or enter your cake!
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