July 31, 2011

Red and White Cauliflower Bake

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This is some yummy stuff.  So yummy that Grumpy ate what I would consider 4 big serving sizes for dinner tonight.  The amazing tihng about that?  It's made with tofu and completely vegan.  I also didn't serve anything else with it, so I can't blame him for eating so much!  I mean, it IS good!

The recipe comes from Lauren Ulm's Vegan Yum Yum Cookbook.  Its been a while since I have cooked from that cookbook, but there isn't a thing from that book that doesn't look delicious and isn't a thing that I have made that isn't good.  Its one of my very favorite cookbooks I own!  If your looking for  a healthy meal and like vegan dishes such as this one, then do, go ahead and make it!

Red and White Cauliflower Bake
adapted from Vegan Yum Yum

Printable Recipe

1 head cauliflower, chopped and steamed until crisp tender

Tofu mixture:
1 block firm tofu, pressed and crumbled
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

White Sauce:
1/4 cup earth balance margarine
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup almond milk

Red Sauce:
1-14.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes, blended
4 cloves garlic
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon vegetable better than boullion (or any vegetable broth powder/concentrate)

-Press tofu between heavy plates wrapped in paper towels to absorb moisture.
-Steam cauliflower.
-For red sauce, saute dried spices and garlic in olive oil 2-3 minutes.  Add blended tomatoes and simmer about 10 minutes.
-For white sauce, melt margarine, whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute.  Add tahini, lemon juice, and almond milk, whisking constantly until flour mixture is smooth.  Pour over top of steamed cauliflower and toss to coat.  Set aside.
-For tofu, crumble pressed tofu and mix with lemon juice, nutritional yeast flakes, salt, pepper, italian seasoning,

To assemble:

Press tofu mixture in bottom of square glass baking dish.  Top with cauliflower that has been tossed with white sauce.  Lastly, top with tomato sauce.  Bake in 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit at least 15 minutes to set.  Enjoy!

July 30, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad

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I can always count on Dawn to have some amazing food ideas and recipes.  Last night I asked my Facebook friends for different picnic side dishes than the norm.  Grumpy and I are heading to the Saratoga Race Track today to attend an event sponsored by his workplace and we are to bring a dish to share.  Of course, Grumpy wants me to impress and he suggested I take something different from the normal macaroni or pasta salad.  Here came Dawn to the rescue along with several other awesome ideas from other FB friends.  I flew with Dawn's because I love buffalo flavor and I have an addiction to Franks Red Hot sauce.  Just the smell of it makes me swoon!  I also wanted to spin off of Dawn's recipe and make a pasta salad!

I made the salad first thing this morning along with a Chocolate Sheet Cake.  I had to be safe and have something else ready that was tried and true just in case I messed up the salad!  I can honestly say that Grumpy's co-workers are going to get two awesome treats today.  If you need  a different pasta salad to take to a reunion, picnic, or just to eat at home alone, then definitely give this a try.  Especially if your a wing fan.  Its not too spicy, has just a bit of a kick, and is different enough to impress!

If you haven't seen Dawn's blog, Vanilla Sugar Blog, then you should definitely take a trip over there and check it out.  She always has amazing food, photos, and recipes.  I also have to say she has recipes that are out of the ordinary that will blow you away and make you think "why didn't I think of that?".   You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

I am also submitting this dish to Presto Pasta Nights.  I used to participate quite regularly in this event but with our move and everything I got out of not only that event, but pretty much everything I did do.  I'm getting back into the swing of things again and since I love this event and I love this salad I have to share!  Head on over to Ruth's blog on Friday to see the round up of pasta dishes!

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad
adapted from Vanilla Sugar Blog's Buffalo Chicken Salad

Printable Recipe

8 oz dried rotini pasta, cooked according to package directions
2 stalks celery, diced
1 green onion, thinly sliced, including green top
1/3 cup roasted red pepper
2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
1/2 cup Hellmann's Mayonnaise
2-3 tablespoons Frank's Red Hot Sauce (use according to taste)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon roasted red pepper brine (the juice the peppers are in)
2 tablespoons crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

Mix pasta, celery, onion, roasted red pepper and chicken in large mixing bowl.  Set aside.

Mix together Mayonnaise, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper brine and crumbled Gorgonzola cheese.  I went with 2 tablespoons of the hot sauce as I would be feeding others and I didn't want to hurt anyone.  Turned out perfect.

Toss mayo mixture with pasta mixture and chill.  Enjoy!

July 28, 2011

My Best Friend and the Love of My Life

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He's my best friend....to me more of a legend than Nike will ever be.

My heart will love him forever and for always.  Even though he tells me it already feels like forever.  ;)

We've been through a lot of tough times together, The Grump and Me.  However, those tough times are what makes the good times seem so good.  We finally have some peace in our life after having it turned upside down almost 2 years ago and have been settled in our new home and new life 9 months already.  

We recently were able to take a trip to Maine.  A place so close to us that it  was insane that we had never gone.  We went to Boothbay Harbor and took in the beauty of the Northeastern Coast.  

We enjoyed drinks on the deck of The Rocktide Inn (where we stayed for 3 nights) and took in the beauty of the harbor.  

We went on a Whale watch - something else we had never done before - and it was amazing.  Seeing the huge and seemingly graceful whales spout and then later rise above the water to show us their fin and back.  

We did a bit of shopping and Grumpy tried on several different hats....and even posed for photos. 
Darn he's so sexy.  

He thought we should get this sign but I told him a photo would have to suffice.  That although I was happy he thought I was the best, I didn't need a sign around telling everyone that I was an "old hooker".  

We ate at The Lobster Dock.  We had to try the crabcakes that beat Bobby Flay in the throw down.

and they were one of the BEST things we ate that weekend.  Now I'm on a search to make these along with the sauce so we can enjoy them at home.

Last, but not least, Grumpy decided we needed our caricature done.  I just wonder about the heart.
We didn't tell the artist to put it there.  Maybe he was inspired by my jewelry but I like to think that he saw the true love there between Grumpy and Me.  

Grumpy.  He's my best friend.  He always will be.

July 27, 2011

Chocolate Bundt Cake with Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Drizzle - Good meets Bad

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I felt like chocolate, I felt like peanut butter, and I felt like salted caramel.  So, I said to myself.  "Don't you deserve a treat Shelby?" , "Don't you think you shouldn't deprive your self all the time?", "Don't you think you should find a chocolate cake to drizzle some of that yummy Peanut Butter Caramel sauce all over?"  Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce and it was awesome!  Kinda like Grumpy and me.  You know....bad boy meets good girl and it is awesome?  he he  I couldn't help make that comparison.  I don't lie to you.  Its ALL true.  :o)
Chocolate Bundt Cake with Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Drizzle
So I did. Healthy Chocolate Bundt Cake met sweet, sexy caramel sauce with a little salt sprinkled on top for some more kick.

Why don't you make a little bit of good and mix it with a little bit of bad too?  I don't think you would regret it anymore than I did!

Other recipes with some chocolate-y or caramel-y goodness you may enjoy:
Caramel Cappuccino Cupcakes - The Chef Next Door
Salted Caramel Shortbread Cookies - Renees Kitchen Adventure
How to make Homemade Caramel Sauce -  Life Tastes Good
Mocha Birthday Cake - The Love Nerds
Butter Rum Bundt Cake - Kitchen Dreaming

Chocolate Bundt Cake with Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Drizzle
cake recipe slightly adapted from Cooking Light
Printable Recipe
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup Hershey's Cocoa Powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 cup Almond Breeze Original Milk
1 packet (I would say its a heaping tablespoon) Nescafe Taster's Choice instant Coffee
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Cooking spray, flour for dusting or use the Pam cooking spray with flour for baking
Fleur de sel to garnish (optional)

Be prepared!  This makes a small bundt cake.  Would probably work well in mini bunnt pans but I didn't want to chance it after my last disaster!

Preheat oven to 350.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup and level with a knife.  Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

Mix together wet ingredients; butter, egg and whites, milk, coffee and vanilla extract.  Mix wet ingredients with dry on low speed until incorporated and then mix on medium speed for another minute or two.  

Pour batter into a bundt pan coated with cooking spray and flour dusting.  Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool on rack in pan for 10 minutes, then remove cake from pan.  Drizzle with Peanut Butter Caramel Drizzle if you wish - or your favorite frosting drizzle!

July 26, 2011

Stuffed Jalapenos

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I love poppers.  You know, those deep fried jalapeno's with cheddar or cream cheese in them?  :o)  I just don't love the calories.  I've been eyeing the recipe in Cook This, Not That for Stuffed Jalapenos.  They looked so appealing in the book I had to make them.  I knew Grumpy probably wouldn't eat them but I still wanted to make them.  However, these were not as spicy as I expected....if spicy at all!  Maybe my heat tolerance just keeps getting stronger.  The peppers before cooking had heat but after they were cooked, I just couldn't feel the heat like I did before cooking.  The filling?

 Oh my goodness.  It is amazing.  Grumpy and I were literally eating spoons of the filling that was left over after stuffing the peppers.  He said the filling was awesome but he still wouldn't eat a pepper, even after I told him they weren't hot.  I think he didn't believe me.  ;o)
These were definitely worth heating the kitchen up for however you could probably cook them on the outdoor grill also.   I traded heating the house up some rather than being outside in the heat.  At least I have AC and could go to a different part of house to keep cool - or stand near the AC vent!  I would definitely make these again.  I have never used chorizo in cooking although every time I would watch Rachel Ray use it I would think I need to try this stuff!  This recipe was my chance.  I looked for two weeks before I finally found it though.  I literally found a vegetarian version before I found the real thing!  Chirozo is some good stuff!  If you can't find it, you could use any other type of sausage...turkey sausage would work and you can use any flavor sausage (like the Buffalo Chicken Sausage..yum!) you like in my opinion!

Cook This -->Stuffed Jalapenos
Printable Recipe
4 oz. fresh Mexican Chorizo, casings removed and crumbled
1 cup cremini mushrooms, diced
1/4 onion, minced
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
1/2 cup whipped cream cheese
Salt and black pepper to taste
12 Jalapeno Peppers, split in half and seeds removed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cook the chorizo over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until oils begin to release and sausage starts to crisp up.  Remove chorizo from skillet.  Place mushrooms and onions in skillet and saute until waters release and onions become transparent.  Return chorizo to skillet and stir to combine.  Remove from heat.

Measure out cheeses and add sausage mixture, stirring to combine.  Stuff each pepper with a spoonful of the cheese mixture and bake 15 minutes.

4 servings, 250 calories, 19 grams fat, 620 mg sodium
Compared to:  Not That-->On the Border Firecracker Stuffed Jalapenos with Original Queso - 1,950 calories , 134 grams fat, and 6,540 mg sodium in one serving!

Making this recipe saves 1700 calories!

July 24, 2011

Fig and Gorgonzola Bruschetta with Balsamic Syrup

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Fig and Gorgonzola Bruschetta with Balsamic Syrup
I love snacking.  Actually, I snack more than I eat a meal or I consider my snack a meal!  I also love to read my foodie magazines.  I read several of them but the one that inspired me today was Every Day with Rachel Ray.  

Rachel has really gotten where I wish I could be....in a way.  I am a good talker and I love to eat...but to stand in my kitchen and talk and cook - that I don't think I could do.  When I cook, I want to be left alone.  I don't want people hovering over me much less do I want to have to be "scripted" in anyway. However, a show like her Tasty Travel's show....now that I could do!  Give me food someone else has made and let me talk about it - I'd be awesome at that!  Probably most of my family, friends and co-workers that I've carried on conversations with would tell you how my topic of conversation always goes to food!  I was certainly blessed with the gift of gab.

With all that said, I was going through the August 2011 issue of Every Day with Rachel Ray and saw an article titled "Bruschetta - 9 ways"  Immediately I had a craving for crusty bread with spreadable cheese and fruit.  While my combination was not one of the 9 ways in the magazine, its a twist on a couple of the ways.  I finally, for the first time ever, found fresh figs in a grocery store.  I also was craving some gorgonzola and of course, I had that yummy balsamic syrup that I used on my Caprese Panini that I knew would go well with my bruschetta.  So, for lunch today, this is what I had:

Fig and Gorgonzola Bruschetta with Balsamic Syrup

Fig and Gorgonzola Bruschetta with Balsamic Syrup
Inspired by Everyday with Rachel Ray

Thin slices of crusty baguette
Butter Spray
Gorgonzola Cheese
Fresh Figs, sliced in half (I used black mission figs)
Balsamic Syrup

Spray slices of baguette with butter spray and place on cookie sheet.  Broil until lightly toasted, flip and toast other side.  Keep a close eye on your baguette slices as they will burn quickly if you decide to not pay attention to them!

Remove baguette slices from oven and spread a small amount of Gorgonzola cheese over warm slices and top with 1/2 fig, drizzle with Balsamic Syrup.....enjoy!

July 21, 2011

Peanut-Sauced Chicken Pitas

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I must admit it.  This recent issue of Cooking Light is a good one.  Perfect for warm weather food ideas....like the Caprese Panini!  This sandwich was different but delicious!  It has taste of "Thai" with the peanut sauce and the cilantro and wee bit of heat.  I am pretty sure this could easily be rolled up in a rice paper wrap and dipped in the peanut sauce.  Yummy :)

I was leary about whether Grumpy was going to be willing to eat this.  Anytime I make something "different" or anytime I mention sandwiches for dinner, I will hear a groan.

 He didn't have a lot of choice tonight as by the time he arrived home, I already had dinner started.  I put these together, snapped my photos and handed him the plate.  Grumpy actually liked these!  I didn't hear any groaning; he may have known if he did he would be warming himself up a can of soup!  I actually heard a "wow, you gave me the plate you photographed."  LOL.  I loved this so much that I mixed up another batch and put it in the fridge to take to work for lunch the next day.   There is nothing bad about this sandwich in any way!  If you try this one, you won't regret it :)

Peanut-Sauced Chicken Pitas
adapted from Cooking Light magazine
Makes 2 servings, 1/2 pita and 1/2 mixture equals one serving

Printable Recipe

1 cup cooked chicken, torn apart (I used chicken tenders I had on hand.  CL lists rotisserie chicken in their recipe)
2 tablespoons thin red bell pepper strips
1 tablespoon finely chopped sweet vidalia onion (they use green onion - I didn't have any)
2 tablespoons cucumber, cut into thin long strips (CL suggests mung beans - I couldn't find any so used cucumber - worked awesome)
2 tablespoons carrots, cut into thin long strips
2 tablespoons peanut sauce (I probably used more than 2 Tbsp 'cause I'm a saucy kind of girl!)
1/8 tsp chili paste (I use sambal olek - more or less according to your hotness factor)
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro (I probably use more than this also since I am a cilantro freak)
1-6 inch pita bread (I used a low carb one - tofuyan)

Combine all ingredients, divide into 2 servings between pita halves.  Enjoy!

**Note-CL does tell you to mix the chicken, pepper, onion, peanut sauce and salt and then assemble the sandwich with the remaining ingredients.  I just threw it all together - much easier when putting in a half a pita bread.

July 20, 2011

Caprese Panini

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Its so hot.  I'm not complaining....I'm just sayin'.....it's SO hot.  ;-)  Seriously, I don't mind the heat.  Maybe its because I sit in air conditioning all day at work and even when I work out at the gym its air conditioned.  I can come home and my house is air conditioned.  So, that could be why it doesn't bother me too much.  I really don't mind.

July 18, 2011

Almond Cake Balls with Toasted Coconut

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When the cake fails.....make cake balls!  At least, that is what I did!  :)  
Dark Chocolate Cake, Coconut Flavored Frosting, Lightly Salted Chopped Almonds all dipped in either dark or white chocolate and topped with toasted coconut flakes.....this was very sinful!
It is that time of month again.  The time when all the members of the Secret Recipe Club finally reveal who's blog they have been stalking and cooking/baking up a storm from!  This month I was paired with Ria of Ria's Collection.  Ria definitely likes to bake and of course I do too!  I haven't been baking a lot lately because I have been being a good girl and exercising and eating healthy - for the most part!  However, I decided that it was time for some chocolate and I knew my neighbor had been craving it too.  So, I went looking on Ria's blog to see what she had for cake.  I found a cake that Ria's husband had made for her (wasn't that just sweet!).  He made Finnegan's Chocolate Cream cake and it looked really chocolatey and yummy.  I had to make it.

July 10, 2011

Grilled Porterhouse with Oozing Maitre d' Butter

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Every day, for the most part, Grumpy and I have been going to the gym.  I seem to go a little more often than Grumpy, but I'm also a morning person so its easy for me to go on weekend mornings when he's still asleep and then he tends to not go later.  On the weekend the gym opens at 7 AM.  I get there sometime around that time or a little after.  I always watch Food Network TV when I'm there exercising and I most always leave wanting to eat really, really bad!

July 07, 2011

The Jalapeno Cheeseburger that is good for you!

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While my mom and I were in Indianapolis to stay with my nephews, we decided to make these burgers.  I brought my cookbook - Cook This! Not That! with me so I could look through it and decide what to make that week.  I showed Austin different photos from the book and we decided this burger was one we would make while I was there.

July 04, 2011

Mango Peach Mojito

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Last summer I made "Frosty Cool Peach Mojitos" and while they were really yummy, they were somewhat time consuming because you would use fresh peaches.  Eventually Grumpy and I moved on to having "Sex on the Beach" which was a whole lot easier and quicker to make.   (I can just hear the peanut gallery right now!  ha ha)

July 01, 2011

Summer Rolls with Shrimp and Mango

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Summery, fresh, crisp, and flavorful.  That is what these rolls are.  Somehow eating a fresh spring roll doesn't seem the same when eating one any other season.  These seem meant for warm weather eating.  My first experience with fresh spring rolls was at a Thai place back home.  I fell in love with them and easily can make them a meal.  I then decided I had to make the spring rolls from Veganomicon - Butternut Squash Spring Rolls - and those were SO awesome that I continue to look for other versions.  So, when I saw this recipe, I knew I would try it.

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