Category Archives: Eat Me

Camp Mom: Smoothies & Popsicles

What says summer more than popsicles!?  I have a ton of recipes pinned and I’d like to try out a lot this summer.  I finally got all my equipment in order & I’m ready to go!

First things first, I needed to get a popsicle mold set.  My last one was trashed due to BPA concerns.  I was looking at a stainless steel set, but it was a little phallic for my liking.  I got this instead.

Next, I was in need of a new blending instrument.  Ok Ok, “NEED”, isn’t really the correct word.  I WANTED a new blending instrument.  I have a Magic Bullet that I’ve had for years, and it’s great.  But I really wanted something with bigger capacity, and I didn’t have room for the bullet AND a regular blender.  I found this new Bullet with the blender option, but then I found THIS!

It has all the functionality of the Bullet, with the added Blender attachment, plus a couple things that push it over the top for me.  First, the mugs are designed as travel mugs, which is great for those mornings that we are in a hurry and want to take a smoothie on the road. And let’s face it, anything that can minimize the amount of goop spilled is great on a day to day basis, regardless if we are leaving the house or not. And can’t you just taste a homemade frappe in this!?  Yum.  The other added plus for me is the look!!  I know, I know.  Stupid.  But I really like the look of this unit SO much more!  So much that it might be staying on the counter for awhile.

But enough about all of that.  Let’s get to the yum!

We make a lot of smoothies around here.  I don’t do it to get veggies in or anything.  B is pretty good about veggies on their own, so for us it’s just a yummy filling treat.  Either a big snack or a light breakfast.  I do keep it to just fruit, a little juice, yogurt (plain greek), and either soy, almond, or regular milk.  No added sugar.  Here’s a shot of what we had on hand & used today.

Greek Yogurt (we did not use the fruit jam), frozen fruit (strawberries, blueberries & peaches), frozen bananas (on plate), Almond Milk, juice in a box (100% from TJs)

In honor of our new blender, we decided to do smoothie pops as our first pops of the summer.  And of course we each had a smoothie while we waited for the pops. I always have frozen fruit in the freezer, ideally organic.  And I freeze all our uneaten bananas when they start to get to ripe.  (peeled, and either sliced, or halved)

Normally I just let B add whatever fruit he wants, and then we add some yogurt, a little juice & milk-type-liquid.  Today it was blueberries, peaches, strawberries, bananas (all frozen), a little Tropical Juice (in a box from TJs), and some almond milk.  To get a nice thick, yet drinkable consistency I add enough liquid to come to the top of the fruit.

Blend until it flows into a nice little funnel like this.

For the pops, I filled the molds to about 1/2 inch from the top & then popped them in the freezer. Which is easier said than done in my overstuffed freezer.

While waiting we enjoyed our smoothies & I enjoyed my messy faced, still in his PJs boy.  I LOVE SUMMER & I LOVE THIS KID!!

And the pops?  SUCCESS!  It’s funny how the smoothies we drank just a few hours before seemed to taste so much treat-ier in pop mold!  In all honesty, they are a bit bigger than I would like, but I love the cool retro look.

Stay tuned because we plan on trying all sorts of pops recipes this summer.  Some healthy….some NOTSOMUCH.

This Kid and Foodiephile: Worlds collide

The other day I posted on facebook about my kid requesting a party where I could make his friends Vanilla Steamers & scones. The part I left out is that he actually requested a “Beyblades” party serving these items. I left it out because I didn’t want to explain beyblades, and I still don’t (feel free to go to this link). I hate beyblades. The end.
But it brings up something very important about this kid. He is well rounded to say the least. He loves him all the “boy” stuff that Daddy enjoys- football, heck sports in general, a scary obsession with the SDSU Aztecs, running & throwing & wrestling…..etc, etc.
But he also appreciates the finer things in life that Mommy enjoys. Namely food related stuff like tea, scones, pretty food, farm fresh produce, dark chocolate & crostinis of goat cheese & honey.
This morning I told B that I would take him to breakfast. It’s his favorite meal of the day & some of the fun has been taken out of it with his new early morning routine. I was thinking something simple. He was not. He told me that he would like to TAKE ME, to Extraordinary Desserts. Which he referred to as the “tea pot & scone place across the street”.
I’m combining this “This Kid” post with a new category I’m calling “Foodiephile”. It’s about food. duh. So here it goes.
Extraordinary Desserts is this fancy slash amazing restaurant here in San Diego. And we live LITERALLY across the street. Nuts right? We don’t eat there all that much, it’s pretty pricey & always packed in the evenings. But we eat there enough for B to know what it is & that he really likes it. They have other menu items that are amazing, like gourmet grilled cheeses, salads & other stuff. But clearly the desserts are the stars. We usually do them to go.
But B & I also enjoy their weekday Morning Rush Hour special. For $7 you can pick a breakfast pastry (scones/muffins/coffee cakes) and a coffee (single cap/single latte/reg coffee). And they let us substitute tea for B.
They also have a European Breakfast on Sundays, which is served buffet style. Though not buffet like at all. There’s not a chafing dish in sight. They simply lay out pretty displays of food on the bar (which I didn’t snap a picture of- shoot!). I’ve always wanted to go, but I don’t think the husband would be a fan, so I was excited when B suggested it since John wasn’t around today.
It’s not the typical American breakfast. No eggs, or bacon, or sausage or pancakes. And it starts at 11AM! And it was delicious. We took our time. Enjoyed our food & chatted. It was a great time.
First we started with a pot of tea for B. Berry Monsoon. It is the prettiest bright pink color. He loves that he gets his own little pot. And he gets about 3 cups worth. And for mommy, a individual french press of coffee. They also make great espresso drinks, but I took B’s lead on having my own pot to enjoy throughout the meal.

Brayden loves the suger. It’s like rock candy & I let him spoon it into his tea himself (with in reason of course).
Brayden decided against the Euro spread & ordered his usual. The Strawberry Raspberry Scone. Here he is displaying his awesome table manners & sucking on his fingers. We’re working on it.
My first course. House made granola (has bits of dried fruit & pumpkin seeds), with vanilla bean yogurt (with actual vanilla bean specks! love it) & fresh strawberries. YUM.

Second course. Fresh Breads & smoked salmon with various yumminess to play around with. Obviously there are the typical accompaniments, like tomato, onion, cream cheese, cucumbers, & capers. But also, cranberry mayonaise, roasted yellow tomatoes, caramelized onions & pesto.
I love playing around & finding the perfect bite.
Final Course. (Of course you can go back as much as you want, but I was trying to be good.)
A wonderful spread of cheeses, jams, chutneys & desserts. And more fresh & yummy breads.
It was all wonderful & I am looking forward to going again. And my boy might be rubbing off on me. Between eating, snapping pictures & chatting, I was sneaking glances at my fantasy football scores. We’re complex over here, yo.

What We’re Eating: Breakfast Cupcakes

My brother in law makes this yummy-licious Breakfast Cake (bt-dub, how lucky is my sister?). It’s essentially a savory breakfast casserole. And it’s amazeballs. Both straight out of the oven & reheated. Which got me thinking. Maybe I could make it in a more portion ready size & freeze it. DUH! Cupcakes!

Breakfast Cupcakes
  • 3/4 to 1 lb Breakfast Sausage
  • 1 cup Baking Mix (or TJ’s Baking Mix)
  • 3/4 cup of Milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 oz of sour cream
  • Grated Cheddar Cheese (about 1/2 a pkg)
First, a note about the sausage. I used the chicken breakfast sausage from Trader Joe’s. It’s about 1/2 the fat of regular Jimmy Dean, and it tastes exactly the same. You could also use the reduced fat Jimmy Dean if you wanted. But regular is great as well.
Preheat oven to 375. Prepare a 12 cup muffin pan by spraying with cooking spray or a light coating of oil.
First, brown the sausage & drain extra oil. Set aside. In a bowl mix the baking mix with milk & 1 egg. Set aside. In a separate bowl combine sour cream & an egg.
To assemble, start with batter. The recipe will make EXACTLY 12 cupcakes, so start small. Pour less than you think is needed in each cup (less than halfway). You can go back & fill further with any leftover batter. Layer with sausage, then sour cream, and finally cheese, using the same method.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the sour cream mixture is set up (not wet looking or “jiggly”). Leave in the pan for another 10 minutes and then remove to cool fully. Once they are cooled completely you can freeze them. I wrapped them in a paper towel & microwave for about a minute.
As a side note, you could just make the original recipe by following all the same ingredient amounts & prep instructions. Just layer in the same order in a glass casserole & bake at 375 for about an hour.
Sorry. No process shots with this one. It’s super easy.

What We’re Eating: Lemony Blueberry Pancakes

First off, let me say, it’s good to be back. August was such an insane month for us. A camping trip, throwing my nephew’s 1st birthday (post coming soon!), a trip to Nana’s, a trip to Detroit for a wedding, and lots of prep for school & last minute summer fun. I feel like I’ve been in survival mode for the last month. And when I look around the house I realize I haven’t survived well. While things are getting back on track, I still have camping junk that is yet to be unpacked, a car full of party decorations & donation items to be dropped off. But we’re getting there!

Anyway. School has started & our mornings come EARLY!!! I’m up between 5:30 & 6:00 am, and we’re out the door around 7:00am. It’s important to me that B starts the day with a good meal, but I’m not interested in cooking a big meal before my coffee sets in.
This week I’m trying to make a breakfast each day, after B is at school, that can be frozen/refrigerated & reheated in the mornings.
For cooking I find inspiration everywhere. Magazines, TV, blogs, and of course Pinterest. This is a modification of two. One from PW, and one I found on Pinterest.
I modified PW’s recipe so that I could use baking mix (I use TJs mix, but Bisquick would work too) and frozen blueberries. I would use fresh berries if I could find them in organic, but the frozen work great. Then I made them small to save me from having to cut up pancakes for B in the morning. I’m totes lazy before my coffee. (Ok all the time.) The small ones seem to freeze better also, and it’s easier to control portion them out with less waste.
The “recipe” is more a few simple steps to liven up a mix. So, here it is.
Lemony Blueberry Pancakes
  • Dry Baking Mix (Trader Joe’s or Bisquik or your favorite)
  • All ingredients called for in your mix
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • frozen blueberries (fresh if you have them)
My recipe is for the smallest amount that your mix gives you instructions for (10-12 pancakes for the TJs brand). You’re going to follow the instructions almost exactly. The only change is that before you measure your liquid, squeeze one lemon into the measuring cup. Add the the vanilla & zest the whole lemon into the measure. Then fill up the measure the rest of the way with the liquid that is called for in your instructions. For example, my recipe calls for 1 cup of water. Once I squeeze the lemon & add the vanilla & lemon zest, I have almost a 1/4 cup. I fill the cup up the rest of the way with water. Then I add my egg (which is called for in my mix).
I used a pastry tip to get the small size, but you could easily just put your batter in a ziploc & cut the corner for a make shift pastry bag. I find that it’s easier to get a small round cake this way.
I cook them on a griddle (large pan is fine), on med-high heat. Once they are cooking I sprinkle a few berries on the uncooked side.
Flip once the sides are set up.

Let them cool & then put them in an airtight container or ziploc bag & place in the freezer. I reheat them in a paper towel for about a minute. Enjoy!

Summer Tomatoes: A Love Story

Possibly one of my favorite things about summertime is tomatoes. Over the last few years I have tried to stick to local & organic for most of our produce. This also means mostly seasonal eating. Now, I’m not perfect. I do by a few here & there through the colder months, but they always disappoint. And every time I realize the benefit of waiting. The reward is SOOOOOOOOO worth it.

I buy them mostly at the farmers market and sometimes at Trader Joe’s. But for some reason nothing comes close to the ones picked yourself, straight from the vine. Unfortunately we live in an apartment, without even the benefit of a balcony to try our hands at urban gardening.
Thank God for my Dad & The Compound. That’s my affectionate term forthe large property that was my grandparents & is now where my Dad & his lovely wife reside. They have the most amazing garden & HUGE amounts of tomato plants.
When I was there this week I took the liberty of shopping. Unfortunately I was too enamored by the peppers, chilis, herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, etc, to think about taking pictures.
The first thing I did when I got these babies home was make a tomato sandwich. My ultimate taste of summer.
Here’s what I did.
Lightly toasted wheat bread. Thin layer of mayo. Thick slices of tomato (thing of beauty!). Kosher sea salt. Fresh ground pepper.
Cheese (gouda & swiss because that’s what I had). Arugula drizzled with olive oil & a little more s&p.
DELICIOUSNESS!!!!
So here’s the deal. You can leave the cheese off, change the bread, toast or not toast, lettuce instead of arugula, whatever you want.
There is only one rule that I must insist on. You HAVE to use the tomatoes room temp. I know, I know. They go bad too quick out of the fridge. Since I have so many from The Compound I have mine in the fridge too. But you need to take one out in the morning to get it to room temp before using it. The taste doesn’t even compare. The cold dulls the flavor. Promise me you’ll do this? thanks. you rock.
I got a bunch of other stuff too. I’m hoping to make Pico with some of these beauties & the jalapenos I picked up. And some Refrigerator Pickles with the mutant cukes (stay tuned).

Popcorn Treats

If you don’t like Rice Krispie Treats, then you should just stop reading this blog now. Because clearly we’re not friends. Because I am not friends with crazy people. Ok, I am….most of my friends are nut jobs. But not THAT nuts.

To continue the theme of Pinterest, here is a recipe that I found. I originally planned to make it over the 4th of July weekend. I thought it fit the wacky dessert theme that was started with the Snicker Salad. Yeah, that was a big winNAR as well. Seriously. It sounds ca-RAY-ZEY. But it rocked my socks. And dontchya know, a certain preggo lady loved it too. Oh, and the 5 year old. shocker. It actually tastes like a light summery dish. Which clearly it IS NOT.

So here’s the original post. But I changed it up a bit. First of all, I halved it, because the kid & the hubby ate half of the m&ms and some of the marshmallows, before I had a chance to make it. Speaking of m&ms, I switched to peanut ones. Cause I’m crazy. I doubled the butter. Why not? Actually it’s because I made that mistake years ago when making Rice Krispies & I have never gone back. I formed them more like Krispies too, and not like the original recipe. And lastly, I changed the way I cooked the butter too. I let it brown just a tiny bit. It adds a toasty flavor, like a roasted marshmallow to the end. It comes out a bit more “cream” colored than the “bright white” that it would normally be. It is not crucial that you do this, but it is crucial that you don’t overdo it, otherwise it will taste burnt.
With out further ado, here is my version.
Popcorn Treats
Ingredients:
1 bag of microwave popcorn (I used butter lovers)
1 cup of pretzel sticks, broken up, but not crushed
1 cup of peanut m&ms
1 stick of butter
8 oz of mini marshmallows (4 cups)
cooking spray for pan
Pop your popcorn & separate the popped kernels from the unpopped kernals (say that 10 times fast). I found that the easiest way to do this is to pour it into one bowl, shake the bowl & then grab handfuls to transfer to another bowl. The shaking helps get the unpopped kernels to the bottom.
Prepare your pan by spraying the bottom & sides with cooking spray (or coat with butter). I used a 9×9 glass pan.

Combine popcorn, pretzels and m&ms in a bowl. Set aside.

In a medium sauce pan, melt butter on med-high eat. Once it’s melted, you can continue to cook until it gets slightly browned, but watch carefully because it can burn quickly. You can also skip the browning step & just add the marshmallows.

Once marshmallows are in, turn the heat down to med-low & stir constantly until fully melted & butter is completely combined. This works best if you use a heat resistant spatula.
Pour over popcorn mixture & quickly stir to combine.
Once the popcorn is fully coated, pour into the prepared pan. You can use your spatula or spoon to press the mixture down, compacting as much as possible. I also like to spray my hands with cooking spray & use my hands to press down. I do this with Rice Krispies as well. Cover with a top or foil & cool.
You’re supposed to wait an hour. I think we lasted 20 mins.

Well worth the wait. Yum.

Obsessed

I tend to get obsessed with “stuff”. Blogs (other peoples, obviously not my own), Pinterest, facebook, kitchen tools.
My latest obsession is the Bodum Bean Ice Coffee Press. I lurves it. It is perfect for warm summer days. But it also makes the BEST coffee around that can be heated when the mood strikes. It’s perfect for people that have a problem with the acidity of coffee. Apparently, cold brewing is the most gental, pure way to make coffee. And I am a believer!
Today I made Vietnamese Iced Coffee. I was inspired by this post. You don’t read PW?!! You’re missing out!
Anyways. I didn’t follow her directions for brewing, but you certainly can. I just brewed using my Bodum and used her instructions for the mixing.
Actually, a true Vietnamese coffee just uses Sweetened Condensed Milk (SCM). Nectar of the God’s, I tell you. But P-dub (as I call her….you know, we’re tight like that), mixed half & half with the SCM. More fat? sold.
You need to stir it well to get the SCM in there real good. I used a jar (formally for holding pasta sauce). Side note: Jars, another obsession. I have a truckload of them. I use them for EVERYTHING. Food Storage, craft storage, toy storage, flower vases….you get the idea.
Fill your jar with ice.

Add Coffee.

Add half & half. (this is real scientific. just use your own tastes as a guide & leave some room at the top of the jar for adjustment)
Don’t cry over spilled milk (or half & half, as it were). It’s hard taking a picture & pouring, yo.

Add SCM.

Shake it up. Don’t be a dumbass like me & start the process without finding the matching lid first. I had to make do & transfer to 2 smaller jars to get the job done. duh.

Enjoy. (another great reason to use a jar. perfect for transport to the beach.)

No Time to Cook Dinner: Pasta Abruzzesi

My first video! Thank you to Cousin Tony Pinto & his site NoTimeToCookDinner. Check out the video & visit his site. Lots of fun food stuff going on over there! It’s like facebook for foodies! Or in another word, HEAVEN!

Deja Vu: Day 2 of 3 (Simple Lemon Chicken)

We’re two days into a 3 day flatten your chicken run. This wasn’t intentional. I had planned to make last night’s meal ahead of time, and today I was craving citrus so I decided to make Lemon Chicken. Then, in planning for dinner guests tomorrow, I was looking for a way to make Gardein for a Vegan guest. So tomorrow it will be Chicken Marsala. Stay tuned for that experiment.

This recipe is my simple version of Chicken Picatta. It really isn’t Picatta, since there are no capers, but it hits the spot & it’s EASY!

Simple Lemon Chicken

  • 3-4 Chicken Breasts
  • 1/2 cup Flour
  • 1/2 tsp each salt & pepper
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup white wine (optional)
  • 1 cup broth or stock
  • Juice of one lemon

You’re going to follow the first couple steps from yesterday’s post. Flatten the chicken, dredge it in flour/salt/pepper mixture. I’m not reposting the same pictures, but I will show you that even a 3 year old can do this. This is becoming B’s go to kitchen task. (Save the flour! You’ll need it again.)


Melt 1/2 tbsp of butter & 1/2 tbsp olive oil in a pan with the garlic on med-high heat. Cook the chicken about 2 minutes on each side, just enough to cook the outside & give it a little color. Remove from pan.

In the same pan, melt the remaining 2 1/2 tbsp of butter & 1/2 tbsp of olive oil. Add broth (or stock), wine (you can omit this, just add extra broth), & lemon juice. Add about 1 tsp (more if needed) of the flour mixture. This will help to thicken the sauce as you bring it to a boil. Stir to make sure the flour is evenly distributed. A whisk works well here. Return the Chicken to the pan & turn heat down to medium. Cook through & until the sauce is thickened & reduced to about half of it’s original volume (about 5 minutes).


I served with a Green Salad & Parkerhouse rolls.


Bottom Line
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Make ahead: none, needs to be cooked right before serving
Cooking time: 10 mins
Servings: 4 (easily adjustable by adding more chicken)

Chicken Margherita

(I finally have pictures!! Woot Woot!!)


As the spelling suggests (margherita vs. margarita), this recipe is inspired by Margherita Pizza. Well, that & a Prego advertisement. Whatevs.

So, I saw this idea in a stupid ad, but I have changed it completely. First to go? Prego. This is super easy, crowd pleasing & quick. Oh, and yummy! That’s important too.

Chicken Margherita

  • 3-4 Chicken Breast halves
  • 1/2 cup flour (I use unbleached, white whole wheat)
  • 1/2 tsp each salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup Marina (I used TJs Organic Marinara, but just use your favorite)
  • Whole Basil leaves (about 6)
  • 3/4 cup shredded Cheese (I used TJ Quattro Formagio, but Mozzarella would work fine)
  • 1 med Tomato, sliced into thin rounds
  • 2 tbsp Grated Parmesan or Romano (optional)

On a cutting board place a large piece of plastic wrap. Place a chicken breast in the middle & fold the plastic wrap over the top. Using a mallet pound the chicken until it is thinned out. Start from the inside of the breast, working out & flip over to pound the other side. If you don’t have a mallet, you can use the bottom of a wine bottle or a rolling pin. Repeat with all the chicken.

In a pie plate combine flour, salt & pepper. Lightly coat each breast with the mixture and set aside.


In a large pan, (if you have one that goes from the stove to the oven, you can eliminate dishes, otherwise, you need to transfer to an oven safe dish after this next step), melt butter & olive oil together over med-high heat. Place the chicken in the pan & cook for about 2 minutes on each side. You are only looking to cook the outside & to get a little color on it. Don’t worry about cooking it through. Take out of pan & set aside. Remove pan from heat.


At this point, if you are going to use a different pan for the oven, you want to make the switch now. Place the sauce in the pan & place the chicken on top.

Place the basil leaves on top of the chicken, using two leaves on the bigger pieces. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top & then finish with the slices of tomato. Place the whole pan into a preheated 350 degree oven.


Bake for about 10 minutes, until cheese is melted & bubbly. Take it out & sprinkle with Parmesan. Place under the broiler (on low) for about 5 minutes, until the cheese is a little brown.

I served it with Gnocchi, tossed with butter & Parmesan, and grilled eggplant & zucchini (courtesy of TJs).

The finished meal:


Bottom Line
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Make ahead: You make everything up until the point that it goes into the oven, up to the morning of. You’ll have to adjust the baking time a bit (I would add 10 mins), to account for the chilled dish.
Cooking time: 20 mins
Servings: 4 (easily adjustable by adding more chicken)