Parmesan and Pesto Quinoa

It’s been forever. Forever and ever since I’ve posted. And well, SO many things have changed. I’ve moved to New York with Chris, he is now an orthopedic surgery resident (!) and I have a completely new job. After over a year of dramatic life changes, tough times (and great ones), I finally feel like I can sit down, take a deep breath and put all of my effort and attention towards what’s really important in my life.

One of those is definitely this blog. To kick off the new chapter in my life and Simple Eats, I’m bring you a delicious recipe that couldn’t be easier, thanks to a fantastic product I was graciously given to try out…

Flavor Bombs!

Each of these cups contains a different mixture of vegetables and spices, perfect for mixing into rice, pasta, soups, stews, dips, as a spread for sandwiches and in rubs/marinades for meat. Honestly, there’s not much you can’t do with this stuff!

I had already used the mirepoix Flavor Bomb (onion, carrot, celery) in a quick chicken noodle soup (which turned out so well); but this time, I wanted to make something a little bit different.

That’s when I thought of using the basil Flavor Bomb (basil, garlic, pignoli, cheese) to create a pesto dish with quinoa.

Plus, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice brightened up the entire dish. Yum!

Parmesan & Pesto Quinoa

  • 1 c. quinoa
  • 2 c. chicken broth
  • 2 T Basil Flavor Bomb
  • 2 T parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t ground black pepper
  • Juice of one lemon
  1. Combine quinoa and chicken broth in a medium/large sized pot and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Once quinoa/broth is boiling, lower heat to a simmer and cover with a lid. 
  3. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until liquid has absorbed and quinoa is cooked completely.
  4. Turn off heat and stir in flavor bomb, salt, pepper, and parmesan.
  5. Pour lemon juice onto quinoa and stir everything to combine.
  6. Serve hot, room temperature or cold.

 

Posted in dinner, recipes | 1 Comment

Frozen Brownie Batter Bites

Hello, hello!

Well, it’s been a LONG time. How many times have I said that? Probably too many. To the few readers I have left out there, I’m back! The blog is back in action and while I won’t be posting as much as I’d like (still, hopefully a few times a week), I’m definitely back for good.

So, let’s start out with something delicious, shall we?

I can’t believe I’m actually calling these a “recipe,” considering they’re pretty mindless to make, but they formed into something that has become one of my favorite quick and healthy (!) night time treats.

A few of these are usually accompanied by watching as many episodes of Dexter I can fit into my night before turning in. Also, if you haven’t watched Dexter, do it. There are 8 seasons in all, and I’m already on season 5! I’m not sure if that’s sad impressive.

Either way, these little bites of deliciousness will go with any TV show, movie, and I’m sure they’d make great pre-workout fuel.

These were actually a happy accident. I first concocted the “batter” for these bites when I was craving something sweet. Almond butter was my base and I pretty much threw in every chocolate thing I could find.

Let me say that this is equally as delicious warm, and when it’s warm it tastes like hot out of the oven brownie batter. Seriously. But for pictures?

…Not the most photogenic. Let’s just say trying to snap an appetizing picture of something that resembles dirt is far from easy.

SO…I rolled the batter into balls and froze them. And whaddya know, they tasted just as good frozen. The extra roll in cocoa powder didn’t hurt, either.

Bonus: these are vegan & gluten-free!

Frozen Brownie Batter Bites

(makes 6-8 bites)

-Place all ingredients into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 20-40 seconds, or until warm and chocolate chips are melted. Enjoy as is, or let mixture cool until room temperature to form into bites. Once cooled, roll into tablespoon-sized balls and place on a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze for at least an hour. Store in an airtight container.

Hope you enjoy these!

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The Market

I have a secret, and it’s something I’m not ashamed of at all to share on this little ol’ blog. I love grocery stores, always have and always will. There’s something so comforting and exciting to me about wandering the aisles, looking for new products and putting meals together on the fly based on what’s fresh and in season.

Well, imagine my utter excitement when I was contacted to see if I’d like to see what a lovely grocery store called The Market  had to offer!

This adorable and quaint store is located in Plymouth, Massachusetts, right near Cape Cod. The store is one of its kind and is part of the village of Pinehills, a living community. Open for about five years, The Market offers everything from fresh-baked goods and breads, to sushi made on-site and an array of local products.

When I walked up to the front of the store, I loved the fact that everything was already decorated for fall, and they even had a giant pumpkin in the entrance! I didn’t even begin to guess how much it weighed.

Once I walked in, I was hit with the wonderful aroma of freshly-baked cookies, among other lovely smells. Sue, the wonderful general manager, was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule and show me around the store. It was great to get a first-hand account of a store so unique!

Sue told me that all of the meats are fresh and hand-ground (like an old-fashioned butcher shop!); the produce and seafood are super fresh and delivered daily; and most of the baked goods are homemade!

I wanted one of everything.

Plus, take a look at this amazing cheese display- many of the cheeses have descriptions, which can help the customer choose which one to serve at a dinner party, or which one will go best in a pasta dish or with fruit and crackers.

The prepared foods section is run by an actual chef, Chef Dane Axon, who creates new and exciting dishes every single day. All of the salads and entrees are prepared fresh daily; there’s truly something for everyone. When I was there they had barbecue pork and macaroni and cheese! Oh, and don’t forget the handmade pizzas they bake in their stone pizza oven. And there’s even a woman whose sole job is only to make sushi!

The aisles are filled with freshly-made trail mixes, nuts and other goodies, and I loved the pour-your-own olive oil and balsamic vinegar stations!

The most unique aspect of The Market and the part that really touched near and dear to me was their partnership with Jordan Hospital and their program, Mass in Motion: Healthy Plymouth. Within their partnership, there are select products scattered all over the store that are labeled as healthier, in order to encourage and promote healthy living for Plymouth residents.

I also couldn’t help but want to purchase all of the yummy local and unique products I had never heard of. Pizza from a local cafe, creamy, local yogurt and gourmet chocolate bars? Yes, please!

I was lucky enough to leave with a few goodies of my own on behalf of The Market, and I must say, I loved absolutely everything. The Market was fantastic, and I just wish I lived closer so I could shop there! I have express my thanks again for the invitation, and if you ever find yourself in Plymouth, please go there!

 

 

Posted in New England Fun, travel, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Grilling Out with Applegate

Happy 5th of July!

Even though the 4th of July is over, there’s still plenty of time for grilling out in the hot summer months!

I was recently contacted by Applegate, which I have loved for such a long time. Their meats are organic and all-natural and most importantly, taste fantastic! You’ve probably seen or heard about their “Cleaner wiener” campaign and I love how clever it is. They’re really working on cleaning up America’s favorite meats!

Applegate was kind enough to send me a whole box of their delicious meat products, and there’s no better way to enjoy them than on the grill!

A few facts about Applegate:

  • Applegate meats are simple: just beef, water, sea salt and spices–and they have much less fat and sodium than other hot dogs
  • They’re made with meat from animals never administered antibiotics or hormones
  • Like all Applegate products, they contain no artificial ingredients or preservatives
So, let’s get grillin’!

These were my absolute favorite. I love hot dogs, and these had a smoky, apple flavor that was the perfect salty-sweet combo.

Once I grilled some of these, I only wished I would have bought crescent dough to make pigs in a blanket, but these were so delicious on their own.

And what’s the best accompaniment to hot dogs? Pasta salad and corn on the cob! Not just any corn on the cob, I slathered the corn with light butter, sprinkled it with chili powder and sea salt and placed it on the grill for 20 minutes. Perfection.

Perfect summer supper!

Disclaimer: The Applegate products have been provided by Applegate and my opinions are completely my own.

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Blueberry Citrus Muffins

My mom always has and still does cook everything from scratch. Homemade tomato sauce, soup, fried chicken (yum)- you name it and she can cook it. When I was younger, she would often make muffins on the weekend. I would run down the stairs, awoken from the scent of orange peel, butter and sugar lingering around the house. I knew this scent from a mile away, she had just baked her orange blueberry muffins.

I would sit down at the breakfast bar, and she would place a big muffin, bursting with fresh blueberries onto a plate in front of me. Where I would no sooner face plant straight into the muffin and devour it, ignoring the accompanying bowl of fresh fruit she had placed next to it. What can I say, I have my priorities in line.

She said the secret was the sour cream, which kept the muffin soft, and fluffy and her crumb topping was out of this world. The sweet, crunchy combination of brown sugar, oats and butter was my favorite part, and the bright specks of orange zest was the perfect addition.

Years later (as in last year), I was visiting my parents this conversation occurred:

“Mom, I could really go for batch of your blueberry muffins…You know, the ones with the crumb topping?”

Mom: “Ooooh, I haven’t made those in years. *rummages around pantry* Sorry honey, I don’t have a box of the mix anywhere in the pantry.”

My jaw dropped. “Wait, what? Those aren’t your own recipe?!”

Mom: *laughing* “Nope! I just always doctored up a boxed mix. I did have you fooled though, huh?!”

My world was over. Not really, but I was surprised. Leave it to my mom to never truly use something that isn’t hers. When it doubt, make it your own.

I had a hankering for those very muffins this weekend, and I came up with something pretty close.

So mom, here’s a muffin for you. Thanks for all of those yummy breakfasts when I was little.

Blueberry Citrus Muffins

-adapted from The Teacher Cooks-

makes 1 dozen

Muffins:

  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1 c non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 1/3 c canola oil
  • 1 t freshly grated lemon rind
  • 1 t freshly grated orange rind
  • 2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 T freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 1/2 c frozen blueberries tossed in 1 T all purpose flour

Crumb topping:

  • 1/2 c. oats
  • 1 T brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. In a large bowl, sift together flour and baking powder. Stir in sugar.

3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla, Greek yogurt, canola oil, lemon juice, lemon rind, orange juice and orange rind until combined.

4. Add wet mixture to dry mixture until combined and stir in blueberries just until combined.

5. Spoon into a lined muffin tin (I used a medium-sized cookie scoop and it worked well). Mix together crumb topping ingredients and sprinkle crumb topping on top of each muffin.

6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

 

 

Posted in baking | 2 Comments

Stuffed Mushrooms and A New Approach

Hello all!

I wanted to finally say hello again and bring you a new recipe. Speaking of recipes, I wanted to share with you all the “new” direction this blog will be taking.

Since I’ve started grad school, I’ve been completely immersed in all things food, and surrounded by “foodies.” While it hasn’t been the easiest trying to balance working full time, classes and a social life, it has been wonderful to be surrounded by people who enjoy cooking, eating and writing about food just as much as I do. I’ve learned new things and while I’m still on the path to discovering my next career path, I’m soaking it all in. All the while, I’ve completely neglected my little corner of the blog world. I think of myself as a pretty consistent, punctual person, so my posting schedule is not something I feel great about.

At the same time, while I do like the idea of a healthy living blog and I love living healthfully myself, I don’t always see my own blog fitting into that niche. What this time away from Simple Eats has given me most is perspective. I realized that what I love doing most is cooking and writing about it. So, Simple Eats will be simply that. I will create and share recipes I think others will like and instead of slapping them on a page and calling it a day, I want to focus on my writing more, as well. Writing, especially about food, has always been one of my favorite hobbies, and I want to re-discover it!

Simple. Delicious. Fun. That is the premise of the blog anyways, it’s in the name! I might share tidbits of life here and there, but simplifying and streamlining are sometimes the best ways to go.

On that note, here’s a recipe!

Last year, I was at a friend’s for dinner and for a side dish, she made two massive portobello  mushrooms stuffed with all kinds of yummy ingredients. This is my on that side dish.

The closest I usually ever get to stuffing is usually at Thanksgiving, with stuffing (dressing for some of you) being one of my favorite parts of the holiday meal. I always forget about stuffed mushrooms, though! Mushrooms are pretty substantial on their own, and once filled with other ingredients they can become a hearty side dish or the main course of a meal.

When I was stuffing these, I wanted to use a few ingredients that would enhance the smokiness and earthiness of the mushrooms, and I think the kale, turkey bacon and onions do just that. The feta adds a punch of tang and salt, which helps to cut through the rest of the flavors. They’re pretty messy, so they might not work for an appetizer stuffed mushroom, but let me tell you, the stuffing is good enough to eat with a fork.

…I wouldn’t know anything about that.

Stuffed Mushrooms

  • 8 medium sized portobello mushrooms or 2-3 large portobellos
  • 1/4 white onion, diced
  • 1/2 c. organic kale, chopped
  • 2 strips turkey bacon (you could use regular bacon, I just prefer turkey)
  • 1/4 c. crumbled feta
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
Preheat oven to 350F. In a small skillet, heat 1 T of the olive oil on medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook for about 5 minutes, then add kale and cook for another 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent and kale is wilted. Right before the kale and onions are finished cooking, cook the turkey bacon until crisp and chop into equal-sized pieces as kale and onions. When the kale and onions are finished, add the turkey bacon, garlic powder and  feta and stir until combined. Add a pinch of salt and pepper if desired. Set aside. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Clean the mushrooms and remove the stems carefully; clean out any gills to allow more room for the stuffing. Pour the other tablespoon of olive oil on the mushrooms and massage them into the outside of the mushrooms. Stuff each mushroom with about a tablespoon of stuffing. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until top is golden and mushrooms are a deep shade of brown on the inside rim.

 

Posted in recipes | 1 Comment

frush

Hey there, strangers! I haven’t been here in awhile (I’m working on coming back!), but I just wanted to pop in and share a product with you I’m quite excited about.

And no, that post title was not a typo.

I’m a yogurt fan. Flavored, plain, in smoothies, with fruit (but NOT on the bottom), I love it all. So, when the wonderful Tamara at frush  reached out to me about featuring the product on the ol’ blog, I jumped at the opportunity.

 Let me start off by saying, these are not like GoGurt. Remember those? Gross. I was a little apprehensive to try these only since I think of eating my yogurt as opposed to drinking it, but after one sip I was pleasantly surprised…and hooked.

 They’re not only delish, but each bottle delivers 50% of your daily value of calcium, a whopping 9 grams of protein, and 200 calories per serving. Plus, frush uses TruCal, which is a bioavailable milk calcium complex that is extracted from milk, which ultimately gives your body more calcium than regular yogurt smoothies, which contain calcium citrate.

Let’s get to the fun stuff, shall we?

The flavors!

First up- blueberry. This was the first one I tried, and it literally tastes like you’re munching on a pint of blueberries. Because we all know a pint of blueberries constitutes as a serving. It’s not too sweet, but perfectly creamy.

 Next, strawberry. Again, tasted straight out of a berry patch. I think this would be great added to a smoothie with a little bit of cocoa powder. Yum.

Third, strawberry banana. I loved that this was wasn’t overpowered by banana, and didn’t have that fake berry-banana flavor. This one was the richest of the group, almost like a dessert!

 Last, and my favorite of all, peach. This one is amazing. It straight up tastes like a bowl of peaches and cream. SO good.

 The best part? They keep you full for HOURS. No lie, even though the protein count isn’t as high as Greek yogurt, I had one of these before work and I was full for four hours. That’s unheard of for me. They must put magic in these pretty little bottles.

 Wanna try ‘em? frush is available at Hannaford, Price Chopper, Food Lion and Harris Teeter, among other retailers.

 

Posted in drinks, food | Leave a comment

Zucchini Muffins

Over the weekend, I bought reduced produce at the grocery store. Ever seen it? It’s usually all on a cart, wrapped in plastic tucked in the corner of the produce section. I’m not really a “coupon clipper” kinda gal, but after spending only .73 cents on three huge zucchini, I’m definitely going to start shopping in the sale section. Let’s be clear, I am not condoning avoiding the sale section in other stores. If something is not below $50 at the mall, I won’t buy it…most of the time.

Anyways, I’ve been stuffing myself with zucchini more than usual because it’s seasonal oh and because the three I have are fresh and about to go bad. This my friends, is the down side of reduced produce. You get a lot for a little but you have to shove your pie hole with said produce until it’s gone.

Unless you bake it into a muffin!

My mind tried to come up with other creative ways to use up my zucchini. Casserole? Nah. Frittata? Too fancy. Muffins? I always like muffins. And sweet things! We’ve been over this.

The thing I like best about these is they include a whole lot of one of my favorite things as of yet:

 

Everyone and their brother is in love with this stuff, and I can see why. It’s insane. It’s also $10.99. Why wouldn’t I check the price before I bought it?

When I first bought it, I tried to savor it and enjoy it in small amounts. Well, that went out the window quickly since almost half the jar went into these muffins.

It was worth it.

Zucchini Muffins

  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 2 egg yolks + 1 egg white
  • 1/2 c. nut butter (I used Justin’s Vanilla Almond Butter)
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated
  • 1 t pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 t cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F. Combined ingredients together in a bowl. Scoop into lined cupcake tins or a two mini loaf pans. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until center comes out clean.

Oh yea, and these are even better drizzled with honey. Do it.

Posted in baking, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Friday Favorites

Whoa. It’s been a long time since one of these, right?!

Instead of the normal Friday Faves, I wanted to share with you a few lovely blogs I’m enjoying right now.

Happy Friday and happy blog-stalking!

Minimalist Baker: I love everything Dana bakes and blogs about. Her other blog, My Little Celebration, is just as amazing. Click on anything and you will start drooling. Thai tacos? Honey and walnut spiced protein shake? Yum.

 Cookies and Cups : This site should be illegal. It is like baking porn. Shelly is a genius when it comes to anything buttercream/cookie/cake related. I literally don’t think there’s one thing on this blog I don’t want to bake. Warning: you might lick the screen.

Ginger and Jam: Jen is actually in the gastronomy program with me! She always makes the most amazing food and brings it to class and I sigh when I look down at whatever I’ve thrown into a tupperware and called dinner. She makes delicious, fresh dishes, with a side of heart-felt and honest writing. You can definitely tell this girl is a true foodie!

We Are Not Martha: I love these two! First of all, what a clever title. Secondly, they’re both Bostonians, so that’s a plus. All of their recipes look amazing and I love that they take a casual, no-frills approach to cooking…it’s refreshing!

 

 

Posted in food, reads | 2 Comments

Salted Almond and Caramel Cookies

Happy almost weekend!

I’ve had this idea in my head for awhile. I attribute it to a) always craving cookies and b) becoming a Trader Joe’s junkie (I know I’m not alone in this one). Although I wish TJ’s had a wider selection of produce, I still love wandering the aisles and trying out new things. Case in point:

Have you guys tried these? Almonds, covered in turbinado sugar, sea salt and drenched in dark chocolate. I die.

The next insane thing I’ve tried?

Yep, tastes just as delectable as it sounds.

So my idea was, why not combine the two into a cookie? I mean, if I could eat the caramel by the spoonful and polish off the almonds in a day, there’s no way a cookie with these two gems couldn’t be good.

I was right.

The key to a good cookie is the flour. Believe me, I thought white flour was the tried and true, one and only,  golden rule for cookies. Little did I know how much better the texture is once you use three different kinds of flour. Yep. Three.

I learned this when I made the New York Times best chocolate chip cookies. And seriously, they’re fantastic. A pain in the flippin’ butt, but fantastic.

When I created this recipe, I used my own chocolate chip recipe, switched up the flours and hoped for the best. I think Trader Joe’s, created the magic potion these cookies needed. Might I also add, Trader Joe’s  ”Must put crack in their food, it’s that good.” Oh, and I didn’t say that, my nutrition professor did. Truth.

So…make these. Don’t be shy, salt sprinkled on top makes them even better.

Salted Almond and Caramel Cookies

  • 1/3 c. cake flour
  • 1/3 c. bread flour
  • 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 c. packed brown sugar
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 c. Trader Joe’s Fleur De Sel Caramel Sauce
  • 1 c. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Almonds, coarsely chopped

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time and vanilla, until just combined. In a separate bowl, sift together flours, salt and baking soda. With beaters on low, add in dry ingredients, until well-combined. Fold in chopped almonds and caramel. Using small cookie scoop (these cookies will spread!), scoop dough and place onto greased/line cookie sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until done.

I wanted to just call these Trader Joe’s cookies, but then, maybe that wouldn’t sound as appealing?

No, it would. Everything in there has crack in it.

Posted in baking, food, recipes | 1 Comment