August 30, 2010

Salt, spice and cream - on a bagel

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Jalapeno Stuffed Olives - they are for more than just a martini!

I have found the "perfect" use for these olives sent to me by Barhyte Specialty Foods.  I'm working on a recipe for their contest - hope to have it done by this week - but I wanted to share with you what I did with some of these awesome olives!!

Most of my readers are aware that I am basically eating vegan/vegetarian while I am on my own.  I bought some Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese.  Yum, yum!  Even my son Christopher liked this cream cheese!  Said it really was better than cream cheese!  I had just received these olives which I promptly sampled - and started thinking about mixing some up with this tofutti!  A definitly delicious thought!  The salty olive, heat from jalapeno and smoothness of the tofutti - pefection on a bagel! 

I'm a Saucy Mama Jalapeno Stuffed Olive Tofuitti Spread
2 tablespoons Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese
4-6 I'm a Saucy Mama Jalapeno Stuffed Olives, chopped
1 teaspoon I'm a Saucy Mama Jalapeno Stuffed Olive juice - I wanted more kick if I could get it!

Mix together well and liberaly spread on a whole wheat bagel.

Eat, enjoy and start thinking about your next bagel! :)

August 27, 2010

Grumpy bought me a car and I am ME.

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No food today.  I haven't had much to talk about lately (food that is).  When you eat alone for the most part, it is easy to not cook or bake.  I eat a lunch with friends and then dinner isn't all that desirable!  I hope to cook up something good at some point this weekend, but our lives are very different right now and time is always short. 

I spent last weekend with Grumpy in our new haunts.  We looked at duplexes, did some shopping and looked at cars & suv's.  I was very tempted to buy a pilot last Saturday but ended up chickening out.  Today however, I am going to pick up a car that Grumpy bought for me.  I can hear it in his voice, how happy and proud he is that he was able to buy me a car.  I love him for that.  Not for the car so much as for the feeling it gives him to give me something he knows I need.  He is the best husband.

These few weeks without him around has give me plenty of alone time to think.  A majority of the time in my life I felt unaccepted.  I was "different".  Whether it was in my secular or religious life.  I didn't fit in anywhere.  I did what I did to feel normal.  I married, had children, went to church.  But it was all an act.  Something I "thought" I needed to do to be happy.  I know now, that I went about things all the wrong way - but when you are young, it is hard to say "I am me.  Like me, hate me, be indifferent with me.  I don't care because I am happy that way."  I can say that now.  Its sad that I have to be almost 50 to be able to say that, but at least I still have a few good years left to be happy. 

I love my children.  I love my husband.  They are the strongest points in my life.  They have always loved me for who I am.  Not who they think I should be or what they wanted me to be.  I have other people in my life who have treated me the same.  I especially think of my Aunt Marlene & Uncle Gary.  They are like my second parents.  They have loved me unconditionally and been there for me in ways that I never expected them to be.  They have my total loyalty for the rest of my  life because of this. While it took some time for my parent's to accept me for who I really am, they have come to do so and I can see that they would do anything  for me. These are the people in my life closest to me now who allow me to be me and love me no matter what.  I have to say I am at the happiest and much of it is thanks to them.  The rest is because I learned to accept that people don't have to like me for me to be happy.

So, in just a few more weeks, Grumpy and I will head out on a new venture in our life.  We will be away from this family but closer to other family.  A new experience that has promise and happiness in the picture.  An opportunity for the both of us to move on and make changes in our life that otherwise we may not have done if we stayed where we were.  I have apprehension because I am leaving a job I have done for so long but change has happened there too.  Its not the same.  Its not bad, but not the same.  It is only appropriate that Grumpy & my life changes now at this point in time.  He has a new and wonderful opportunity for him.  I have an opportunity to do something different in my career.  Whether I choose to do so or not - we will see.   Right now things are up in the air for me.  Everything else is stable, but I have decisions to make for myself.  I look forward to it though.   With anxiousness, excitement, and fear - but all in a good way.

I know this is long and probably boring - especially to my readers who come here for food - but if you made it this far it is because you somehow "know" me and are interested in what I have to say.  :)  When I have more definites in my life, I will certainly come back to share.  :o)

August 17, 2010

The "angel" cupcake

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What is an angel cupcake?  Apparently it is a cupcake that is "accidentally" found in the desk of a co-worker that suspiciously looks like a cupcake that Grumpy's Honeybunch makes.

The other day I received an email from a graduate student.  The email read:

"I accidentally saw a cup cake in Tomek’s desk…which Almost looks like the ones you make…. I’m just wondering what happened to my share….


I responded with "I don't know what your talking about?" ;o)
I heard back from him with "Ohhh I just got to know that Tomek’s been given a cup cake by some angels……. So its fair…."

Further conversation implied that Tomek was a good boy so he was blessed with a cupcake from the angels whereas Ahintha must be a bad boy because he didn't get one.  LOL  These are the types of things I am going to miss in the office!  That, and being told I can't leave until someone graduates....Well, I guess they all better be graduating by this December!

In any case, I am still wondering.  How does one accidentally see something in another person's desk?  ;o) 

I  made these cupcakes for a few reasons.  First being they were vegan and since I have chosen to eat that way as much as possible, I wanted to see if I could make a cupcake that would rise up with a domed top while baking and also be tasty.  I also wanted to share one with my vegan friend at the office.  :o)  I would say these are pretty darn good for a vegan cupcake and I would make them again for certain!  I will admit that my Nanny's Mayonnaise Cupcakes still remains my favorite and if I had to choose one over the other it would be that one.  I mean, I have been eating that particular recipe for at least over 40 years!  :-D  However, this is a great recipe to have on hand for my vegan diet!

I found the recipe for Chocolate Agave Cupcakes with Vegan Buttercream frosting on the Happy Little Vegans blog.  A great blog!  Check it out!  

P.S.  Thank you to my friend Jamie for pointing me in this blog direction!!.

August 16, 2010

Maple Cornbread Muffins

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My first vegan made muffin - and it turned out so good!  I'm totally impressed with how these are light, slightly crumbly - not heavy and dense, like many of my other cornbread muffin recipes seem to turn out.  Oh, and did I mention sweet?  Yeah, I'm a northerner.  I like my muffins on the sweeter side!

I made these to go with my vegan chili that I made to have this week.  Yes, I will probably be eating chili all week long - and these muffins.  I'd actually like to wolf another one of these muffins down tonight, but that wouldn't be good for my diet!  The recipe was very simple and it came from Vegetarian Times.  I halved the recipe so I would only get 6 muffins.  I certainly didn't need 12 muffins hanging around the house with me!

Next time your out of eggs - or if you just want to make this recipe (and you should because it is awesome!) try this out!

Maple Cornbread Muffins
adapted from Vegetarian Times

Makes 6 muffins

1/2 cup plain almond milk
1/8 cup smart balance margarine, melted
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup stone-ground cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh corn kernals (I cut them from the cob - you can use thawed frozen corn though)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line 6 cup muffin pan with paper liners.

Whisk together almond milk, margarine, maple syrup, and vinegar in small bowl.  Whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in separate bowl.  Stir wet mixture into dry mixture.  Fold in corn kernals.

Divide batter among prepared muffin cups and bake 20 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes in pan.  Serve warm - but great cold too!

August 14, 2010

Caramel Fudge Frosting

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Is that Halloween cupcake liners?  lol.  Sure is! It was all I had.  Time to visit Bake it Pretty!

I made these cupcakes for the "package boy" at work (what ya think of that title Scott!) to share with his co-workers in our shipping department.  It was his birthday the week before so I thought I would be nice since I harass him every day when he comes in the office.  I was lazy though.  I used a golden yellow cake mix.  However, I would not allow myself to be lazy on the frosting, so I made a homemade caramel fudge frosting to top it off.  Not beautiful by any means, but the frosting is a yummy frosting that makes you feel like you are eating candy.  Hmm, I wonder if anyone thought I put Halloween wrappers on those cupcakes to be a smarty pants?  lol.  Ya know, as in scary thought that my friend is getting old.  he he

So many changes are happening in our home and I am feeding only myself for the most part.  I also decided to make a conscious effort to eat vegan.  While I will not punish myself if I end up with a food that had some dairy in it (like salad dressing) I am doing my best to just leave all meat and dairy products alone.  What a difference it made in my weight loss this week!  You  can check my other blog to keep up with my diet.  I'll have a post up by tomorrow at the latest!

So what have I been eating?  I made some baked seitan and made a seitan tofu scramble from Vegan Yum Yum.  I also made the Red and White Cauliflower Bake.  The cauliflower dish is a definite winner as  Grumpy's first bite was "this is very edible" and then proceeded to eat seconds!  The tofu scramble idea I like but it was too salty for me.  I'm thinking I would use my own scrambled tofu recipe and add the beans, veggies, seitan to that instead when I make this again because I will make it - just my way!

So does the fact I am eating vegan mean this is going to become a vegan blog?  Not in any way.  My choice for vegan eating is health related.  It is my choice and of course I'm sure you all know its not Grumpy's choice!  While he has been a good camper lately and will try the dishes I make for the most part, he is a die hard meat and potatoes man.  It will be challenging for me (when he's around) to cook for both of us.  We will see how it goes!  My mind is very set on how I want to eat and I'm not too willing to change it.  So, you will continue to see what I fix for Grumpy and now for me.  If I'm lucky, Grumpy will like more of my food as the days go by! 

I also have been very unmotivated to blog much because I have nothing of my own that is exciting to blog about - unless you think instant oatmeal with peaches is interesting to you I'll refrain from posting.  :)  I hope to be back in a few days with Grumpy's favorite Chocolate Zucchini Bread recipe.  Maybe I'll experiment with some vegan cupcakes later in the week.  We will see how the week goes for me!  For now though, I will leave you with the yummy, caramely fudge frosting I made for Scott's cupcakes.  

Caramel Fudge Frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place the butter and brown sugars in a heavy medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil, about 2 minutes. Add the milk, stir, and let the mixture return to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat. Add the vanilla and confectioners’ sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Beat with a whisk until the frosting is smooth. Add  the last 1/2 cup of confectioners’ sugar, but not so much so that it thickens and hardens. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of frosting on top of each cupcake and spread it out with a short metal spatula or spoon, taking care to cover the top completely.

August 05, 2010

POM Wonderful Blueberry Banana Bread

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Remember that Blueberry POM Wonderful Maple Syrup I made?  Well, I found another use for it that turned out absolutely delicious!  I decided to make a banana blueberry bread with the syrup.  Because the syrup was made with pure maple syrup and POM Blueberry Juice, I decided to also do a Maple Walnut twist to the bread.  The results?  Oh so yummy, oh so moist Blueberry Banana Bread which went over very well at work.  So well that when one of the profs came in the office yesterday afternoon he stood and looked at me.  I asked him if he needed anything.....and he said yes.  Blueberry Banana Bread.  Ha.  Maybe Grumpy is right.  Maybe they do only like me for my baking!

August 04, 2010

Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club - A visit to Chinatown!

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For August, Val's choice for our Virtual Supper Club get together was to be a visit to Chinatown!  Of course I was all for this one as I love to make Asian meals!  I decided to go with Ma Po Tofu.  I've seen it around many times on the blogsphere but had never made it.  Since tofu is one of my favorite proteins, it made sense to me that I would make this!

Grumpy did eat this meal.  His only negative comment was "I could have done without the tofu in it."  ha ha.  Oh well.  I ate all the tofu anyway.  This was a very flavorful and simple meal to make and something I had been wanting to try for quite some time. 

Why don't you stop by the rest of the Cooking Light Virtual Supperclub Members to see what they cooked up and before you leave maybe you would like to share your favorite Asian meal?  Feel free to leave a link if you have one!

Sandi (Whistlestop Cafe Cooking) made Asian Turkey Cabbage Cups

Val (More than Burnt Toast) brought Salt-Baked Chicken

Patsy (Food, Family and Friends) made Pork & Stir Fried Veggies in Spicy Sauce

Jamie (Mom's Cooking Club) made Udon-Beef Noodle Bowl

Ma Po Tofu
Cooking Light

  • (1-pound) package reduced-fat firm tofu, cut into 6 slices
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • to 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce (such as Lee Kum Kee)
  • 4 ounces lean ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups hot cooked long-grain brown rice
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions

  • Place tofu slices on several layers of paper towels; cover with additional paper towels. Place a dinner plate on top of covered tofu; let stand 30 minutes. Remove plate; discard paper towels. Cut tofu slices into 1/2-inch cubes.
  • Combine broth, cornstarch, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and chili garlic sauce, stirring with a whisk.
  • Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork; cook 4 minutes or until done, stirring to crumble. Add ginger and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add tofu; cook 4 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently. Add broth mixture to pan. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute or until mixture thickens. Remove from heat.
  • Serve tofu mixture over rice. Sprinkle with onions.

August 03, 2010

Cinnamon Flavored Pancakes with Blueberry POM Wonderful Syrup

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Not too long ago I was contacted by Ryan of POM Wonderful wondering if I would be interested in a case of their Blueberry POM Wonderful juice*.  Well, of course!  The box arrived last week and I knew one thing I wanted to do was make a syrup with it. Hmm.  I wonder how he knew I loved Blueberry?  ;o)

From my many breakfast (and pancake posts) I am sure you realize by now that we are pancake people when the weekend arrives.  I'm not as plain Joe as Grumpy is though.  I like my food on the "fancier" side.  lol  I like plan Jane too, but I like to doctor things up often also!

Cinnamon Flavored Pancakes with POM Wonderful Blueberry Syrup and Mangos

1-1/2  cup  all-purpose flour
1  tablespoon  sugar
1/2  teaspoon  baking soda
1/2  teaspoon  baking powder
1/2  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
1/4  teaspoon  salt
1  ounce uncooked Cream of Wheat
1  cups  milk
1  tablespoon  canola oil
1/2  teaspoon  vanilla extract
1  large egg
1 mango, peeled and diced

POM Blueberry Syrup

1/2  cup POM Wonderful Blueberry juice
1/2  cup  pure maple syrup
2  tablespoons  POM Wonderful Blueberry juice
2  teaspoons  cornstarch

To prepare pancakes, lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and the next 6 ingredients (through cream of wheat) in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Combine milk, oil, vanilla, and egg; add to flour mixture, stirring until smooth.

Spoon 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto a hot nonstick griddle. Turn when tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked.

To prepare syrup, combine 1/2 cup juice and syrup in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Combine 2 tablespoons juice and cornstarch in a bowl; add to pan. Cook 1 minute or until thickened; remove from heat. Serve with pancakes topped with mango..

 *I received 1 case of POM Blueberry Wonderful juice to sample and experiment with.  In no way, shape, or form was I "required" to post about this product. 

August 02, 2010

Spicy Black Bean Burgers

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I never realized I was such a spicy girl until Grumpy told me I make everything spicy.  I guess he is really right. Well I have known for a while know that I'm spicy ;o)  lol.  In any case, that is what became of these black bean burgers and this is what has become my favorite version of all that I have tried, and I have tried several.  This version I adapted from one a friend gave me that I have posted about way back in the beginning of my blogging days.

I hope you will enjoy!  Spicy Black Bean Burgers can also be found on as I have submitted this as a personal recipe.  If you belong to the site, you can add this recipe to your recipe box there too! 

Spicy Black Bean Burgers

1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 Tablespoon olive oil, using more if needed as frying
1/2 medium red pepper, diced
1 ear corn (uncooked), kernels removed from ear
1 (15 oz) can Bush Black Beans, drained, rinsed, and mashed
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoon chili powder
1 Tablespoons minced cilantro
1/2 cup flour
Saute the onion, garlic, oregano and jalapeno in the oil until the onions are translucent. Add the red bell pepper and corn. Saute another 2 minutes until tender.
Mix the vegetable mixture into the mashed beans. Add the bread crumbs, cumin, salt, chili powder and cilantro. Divide up into 4 patties (each patty a little more than 1/2 cup mixture), coat each side in the flour. Cook on a lightly greased saute pan over medium heat until done. Serve as a sandwich or just as a patty (like I do!)
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