Good eats.

Hello all,
It’s strange – it’s late Sunday night and the thought of the Sunday blues is just now coming to mind, for the first time all day. Usually the blues hover over my head on Sundays, particularly in the afternoons. Not today. I’m not sure why that was the case today – I was literally at the library from noon until nine.

Yesterday morning I volunteered for the first time with a student-run organization called Kids Kitchen. It’s a nascent organization, and was originally created with the intent to bake with kids. Unfortunately, health regulations abound, so instead Kids Kitchen bakes goods for organizations like the Ronald McDonald House and Child Advocacy Center.
The theme for yesterday’s baking event was Maize and Blue. I helped make mini banana cream pies and sugar cookies. It was great – combining cooking with the high I get from volunteering was a wonderful experience. We cheated a bit and used pre-made pie crusts, but we did actually make the pudding. It was strange to see how Jello pudding is actually made; to watch lumps of flour, sugar, and salt turn into a smooth consistency when tempered with milk, butter, and vanilla. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, but the mini banana cream pies were adorable. We also made sugar cookies, which amped my anticipation for the holidays (I know it’s far away, but still), when mom and I will undoubtedly make batches of festively shaped sugar cookies. It’s one of my favorite holiday rituals.

My brother Joe and I worked together at the library today. He’s my go-to guy for any and all technology questions, and we brainstormed ways to make the blog better. During Fall Break (only two weekends away!) we’re going to do some major work, so stay tuned!

I made lots of new-to-me dishes on Saturday. It started at breakfast with Pumpkin Muesli. On Friday, I went to Meijer, and I made sure to buy two cans of canned pumpkin. This is not the pumpkin pie filling – it’s the real deal. I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do with all the pumpkin I now have on my hands, but it’s a good problem to have.
My first pumpkin dish was Pumpkin Muesli. I’ve never actually had Muesli before, so I don’t know how this dish compares to the original, but I enjoyed it.

Pumpkin Muesli

I used a recipe I found on Self.com. I altered it slightly to fit what ingredients I had on hand.
Pumpkin Muesli
Serves 1
INGREDIENTS
* 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
* 1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
* 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
* 2 tablespoons honey
* 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
* 1 sliced fresh strawberry
* 2 tablespoons slivered almonds walnuts

PREPARATION
1. Combine pumpkin and oats in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 20 seconds; set aside 10 minutes (so liquid will be absorbed). Mix yogurt, honey and zest in another bowl. Swirl in pumpkin mixture and top with berries and almonds.

The skinny: 377 calories per serving, 8.5 g fat (1 g saturated), 66.8 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 12.4 g protein

When I make this again, I won’t use so much lemon zest. As it stands, the lemony flavor overpowered, rather than enhanced, the pumpkin. Otherwise, I thought this dish was pretty tasty. I hope to experiment with different variations.

I also tried a new recipe at lunch. It too involved a microwave. Last year, I was wary of over-using a microwave. Perhaps it’s the connotations to frozen microwave meals – I don’t know. But I’m over that now. I use a microwave almost daily. I’m not sure if there are any health concerns associated with using a microwave. Does anyone out there know of any?
But back to lunch. Over the summer, my mom and I made a few killer frittatas. We found a recipe in a cooking magazine (the actual name escapes me) and made a potato, asparagus, mushroom, and goat cheese frittata. But we used a cast-iron skillet in the oven.

My frittata is definitely the college version – no cast iron skillets here. I found the recipe on Shape.com, and made some adjustments of my own.

Peppers, Corn, and Parmesan Frittata.

Easy Vegetable Frittata

Ingredients:

  1. Cooking spray
  2. 1/2 cup packaged egg whites (or 4 large egg whites) I used two eggs
  3. 2 t prepared pesto
  4. Coarse salt and cracked black pepper to taste
  5. 1 cup cut-up salad-bar veggies (such as broccoli, mushrooms and bell peppers)
  6. 1 t grated Parmesan

Preparation:
Lightly coat a shallow soup bowl with cooking spray. Pour in egg whites, pesto, salt and pepper to taste. Whisk with a fork to combine. Stir in vegetables. Place in microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove, stir once and cook for 1 minute more. Check for doneness. If the vegetables appear too raw, cover loosely with plastic wrap and cook an additional minute. Otherwise, cook uncovered for one more minute. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve immediately.
Here’s the scoop: I found it took closer to four or five minutes for the eggs to be completely cooked. I mixed frozen peppers and corn in, though, so that could be why. I thought this dish was delicious, and there are a lot of variations that can be made quite simply. This will definitely go into the rotation.
On the side, I had the other half of the acorn squash filled with yogurt and sprinkled with Kashi GoLean Crunch and a drizzle of honey, along with some strawberries. Yum.

Frittata + Acorn Squash + Strawberries

Good Eats.

The rainy, cold weather yesterday afternoon encouraged me to watch bad TV. Jackie, Lauren and I watched some of Georgia Rule, which was at the same time awful and compulsively watchable. Oh, Lindsay Lohan…

By the time the credits rolled, my mind was on dinner. I threw the acorn squash seeds in the often for twenty minutes while I prepped the other components of dinner. I bought couscous for the first time on Friday, and I love how simple and quick it is to make. I’m hoping to buy it in bulk next time, rather than in a pre-packaged, fairly expensive and small box. Does anyone have any good suggestions for what to do with couscous? I had an incredible couscous salad at a graduation party this summer. I actually took a picture:

Mystery couscous.

Last night, I tossed the couscous with sliced tomatoes, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and feta. It was nice and light.

Couscous with tomato and feta.

I also sautéed some mushrooms and threw those on a salad, dressed in my signature EVOO, lemon juice and balsamic mixture, with goat cheese. Once the seeds were toasted, I scattered those on the salad, too. It was delicious. Very autumnal.

Mushroom, Toasted Acorn Squash Seeds, and Goat Cheese Salad

Dinner is served.

Today’s been a day of scattered eats. The massive amounts of work I had took priority over creativity in the kitchen, so I had a carb-heavy breakfast.

Toast with PB and B

I packed a baby lunch for the library because I assumed I’d come home for an afternoon snack/dinner. That wasn’t the case, though.

Kashi Pumpkin-Pecan bar, Honeycrisp Apple, Smokehouse Almonds

A full review of the Kashi bar coming soon!

I ended up going out to dinner with my friend. We got sushi at Sadako, which is one of my favorite restaurants in Ann Arbor. I got my usual order: seaweed salad + sweet potato roll + the complimentary miso soup and house salad. Yum! I love going out to eat. I needed a little sugar fix after all today’s work, so I also got some frozen yogurt, topped with blueberries and granola, at Amer’s. And I forgot my camera! Sorry!

Okay, I’ve gotta go to bed. Early wake-up time tomorrow. Goodnight!

Mare

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