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Monday
Feb282011

Parmesan-olive wedges

This tasty, olive-y treat was one of my favorites from Ebby's and my Bloggy Day a few weeks ago. I'm a total sucker for olives. They are one of my all-time favorite foods. As with The Mushroom, I will never understand my husband's dislike for them. It perplexes me.

For those of you in my camp, the olive-loving one, you really must try this recipe. It is delicious.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and generously coat it with cooking spray. Remove one crust from a 15-oz. package of rolled refrigerator unbaked pie crusts. Unroll the crust into an 11-inch circle and place it onto the greased aluminum foil. Allow it to stand according to package directions.

In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add to the skillet:

1 cup chopped leek (white parts only)

1/2 cup chopped fennel

Cook for 5 minutes, or until tender.

Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in:

3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

3/4 cup pitted and chopped Kalamata olives

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

Spread the mixture onto the center of the pastry, leaving the outer 1 1/2 inches uncovered. Fold the uncovered pastry up over the filling.

Bake for 30-35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the crust is golden brown. Cut into 8 wedges and serve warm.

Mmmmmmm, olives..

Click here for a printable recipe!

Thursday
Feb242011

Spicy bloody mary

I think the thing I love most about the Bloody Mary is that it provides a good excuse to eat cheese and pickles and celery and olives and delicious chunks of meat. What other drink comes standard with snacks and beer? My husband and I, in our pre-child days, frequented Green Mill for the sole purpose of drinking their Bloody Marys. They are served with a ridiculous amount of snacks loaded into them. Plus, along with every BM purchase comes a tote filled with ingredients/condiments that can be added. We loved to load up our drinks with anything that contained spice and then we would feast and slurp away.

Now that we have two little ones, we don't go to Green Mill to drink BMs anymore. In fact, we really don't drink BMs much at all. But since discovering the magic of bacon and pepper infused vodka, I could not pass up the opportunity to create the ultimate Spicy Bloody Mary!

Now, there is one prerequisite for making this drink. You must have a love for peppery spiciness. Oh, and you need to enjoy consuming Bloody Marys.

If the above applies to you, then make this! It will not disappoint!

Make a batch of bacon & pepper infused vodka (this process takes 1-2 days).

Fill a celery-salt-rimmed glass with ice and add 1.5 shots of your infused vodka. Pour bloody mary mix over the top (use a mix that isn't heavily spiced or flavored..the flavors in the infused vodka take care of everything) and leave about 3/4 of an inch at the top of the glass.

Add 2 tablepoons of pickle juice and about 6 or so dashes of Worcestershire sauce. Stir with a stir stick.

Garnish to your desiring. Here are a few suggestions: celery, chunks of salami, olives of any variety, chunks of different types of cheese, celery, pickles, pepperoni, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, bacon, banana peppers. And last but not least, add a beer chaser, if that's your thing.

Yum! Enjoy!

Click here for a printable recipe!

Thursday
Feb242011

Nut butter Jesus

Experiencing a few weeks' worth of anxiety surrounding my son's medical issues has turned me into a crazy woman. Last Wednesday evening, the night before Elijah had a procedure done on his heart, I was in a sad state. I was constantly fighting back tears. I was anxious and filled with fear about what the next day would bring. I sat down in front of my computer and opened up Lightroom in order to lose myself in a little photo editing. The first image that popped up was of the nut butter I made a few weeks ago. But nut butter was not what I saw. Jesus was looking at me! I sent it to Ebby and showed it to my husband and neither of them saw him right away. I could see him, though. He was there! And just when I needed him.

Do you see him? Don't try too hard. Think Small Nut Butter Jesus.

Wednesday
Feb232011

Crab and avocado toasts

This is Week #8 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2010.

I frequently find myself eating imitation crab meat straight from the package as I stand in front of the refrigerator, door wide open. Another thing I frequently find myself doing is eating the flesh of an avocado with a spoon, straight out of the peel as if it is my little bowl. So, yes, I'm a bit barbaric when it comes to eating. I'm not ashamed. When I snack, I don't want to waste time with bowls or plates!

While I prepared this super simple appetizer, it was hard for me to keep from snacking on its main ingredients. But I held back! Once it was done, though, some serious devouring occurred.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly brush a baking sheet with olive oil.

Place 8 slices of thin white bread on a cutting board. Using a biscuit cutter, stamp 4 rounds out of each slice. Or, do what I did, and cut 1 round out of each slice with a scissors. I liked the idea of a bigger, bruschetta-esque snack.

Place the rounds on the baking sheet and lightly brush them with olive oil.

Toast in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until the bread slices are lightly golden and slightly crisp.

Use a fork to mash the flesh from two Hass avocados in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

In a different small bowl, stir together:

4 oz. lump crabmeat, picked over

1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

Spread the mashed avocado on the toasts and top with the crab mixture.

Serve immediately!

Click here for a printable recipe!

Tuesday
Feb222011

Healthy breakfast muffins

My friend Maren read this post of mine, and, as a fellow non-breakfast-breakfaster, she sent me this recipe of Martha's. I instantly fell in love with the healthiness of it, plus it has raisins, bananas, carrots and oatmeal. Yum! I am a sucker for all of the above.

I made my first batch on a Sunday and ate one for breakfast each morning that week (I froze and then thawed half). This is huge for me! The last time I ate breakfast seven days in a row was probably in 1995 and it most likely consisted of greasy scrambled eggs and hash browns from our college servery.

These muffins will be a new a staple for me. There is zero guilt, and they keep my hunger at bay until lunch time. And they are easy to make. So, so easy.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and coat a muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (I bet they would also taste great with cinnamon in place of nutmeg!)

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Stir until there are no lumps.

Stir in:

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup raisins

Add:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large egg

1/3 cup skim milk

4 medium carrots, shredded

1 medium ripe banana, mashed

Stir until blended.

Fill 12 muffin cups with 1/4 cup each of batter. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 23 to 25 minutes.

Happy guilt-free breakfasting!

Healthy Breakfast Muffins

A totally healthy way to enjoy breakfast! (source: marthastewart.com)

Serves: 12

Total time: 40 min

Healthy Breakfast Muffins


Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 4 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1 medium ripe banana, mashed
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg and salt until there are no lumps. Stir in oats and raisins. Add oil, egg, milk, carrots and banana and stir until blended.
  2. Fill each muffin cup with ¼ cup batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, 23 to 25 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. To store, keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.