It is possible to whip up a salad in under 30 minutes and have it be both healthy and fun. Try this roasted pear, parmesan & spiced pecan salad.
Last month for the Secret Recipe Club, JJ (84th & 3rd) was assigned to my blog and she made her own version of my bagel for one recipe which looked even better than mine. Shortly afterwards I received the next month’s assignment and lo and behold I was assigned to JJ’s blog this month! After reading her “about” page more she sounds like someone I can relate to: thinks about lunch while eating breakfast, loves to travel, practices yoga, runs, and does both in order to eat cake. I’ve always said that I work out not because of what I eat, but for what I want to eat!
That being said, I do try to eat healthy outside of my dessert fetish and am always looking for fun recipes which are also healthy. Guess it was meant to be that I would be paired up with JJ this month because she really does know how to make even healthy food fun with things such as vegan salted caramel truffles, 5 minute chimichurri sauce, and ombre key lime popsicles. And this salad was anything but boring. A bed of baby spinach and arugula topped with sweet roasted pears, salty Parmesan cheese, and spiced pecans. The sticky spiced pecans are pure gold.
One year ago: Potato Nachos
These flapjacks (pancakes) have all kinds of surprise ingredients from pecans to cornmeal, dubbing them as surprise flapjacks! It is no surprise however that they are quite tasty.
I started off my week with a phone interview, only to receive a rejection letter for the same job the very next day. I am still waiting to hear back about my in person interview supposedly happening this month, which I’ve been planning on since May. I e-mailed them 2 weeks into July to which I received a reply saying they would be in touch. It’s been over a week since then and July is coming to a close. I’ll give them 2 full weeks before I follow up again. Hopefully they are truly sorting things out and not blowing me off. With that kind of apprehension, how about we end this week with some pancakes?
I am not sure why these flapjacks (pancakes) were dubbed as “surprise” other than the slew of surprise ingredients such as corn meal, oats, and chopped pecans. Makes me think that “compost flapjacks” would have been more appropriate. But no matter what the name is I am certain you will be calling them “delicious”. All of those ingredients come together for one hearty and tasty breakfast. I thoroughly enjoyed the texture the pecans added.
Two years ago: Strawberry Malted Pancakes
Slices of dense and flavorful almond-poppy seed cake coated with a lemon glaze and sandwiched around a lemon-Neufchatel. Hold on to your taste buds!
This month for Pass the Cook Book Club, Julie (White Lights on Wednesday) picked three recipes from Emeril’s Kicked-Up Sandwiches: Almond-Poppy Seed Pound Cake with Lemon Neufchatel, Turkey Waldorf Sandwich, and Beef Shwarma with Tzatziki Sauce. The shwarma originally struck me but when I looked more closely at the pound cake recipe, the slices sandwiched around lemon-Neufchatel seemed like a fun presentation.
The cake itself is an almond-poppy seed pound cake but is infused with lemon flavor by a lemon glaze brushed on all sides and served with lemon-Neufchatel (or cream cheese). Unfortunately I did not think to reduce the temperature for baking in a glass loaf pan and the outside browned while the inside was just short of being fully cooked. But it did not deter my taste buds for one second. I even served it with freshly picked blueberries! My dad picked 9 pounds of blueberries the other day – we might have an addiction.
One year ago: Birthday Cake S’mores Cookies
Turn canned SPAM meat into a tasty and fun weeknight dinner. Tacos! Stuffed in a crispy corn tortilla shell along with all your favorite taco toppings.
You read that correctly, SPAM-freaking-tacos. My dad and I actually made these together. He did all the prep work and all I had to do was fry it and assemble. Such a great sous chef! I can always depend on my dad to be game for fun/kid-like foods, movies and activities. Oddly enough I didn’t ever appreciate SPAM as a child but now that my taste buds have been refined I find it to be most acceptable. Especially when fried and stuffed in a crispy taco shell along with avocado, corn, black beans, tomatoes, lettuce, and cheese. What could possibly be wrong about that?
If you thought fruit crisp topped with ice cream was good, try mixing it all together. Sweet and crunchy black cherry-peach crisp layered throughout vanilla ice cream.
The affliction of living with a food blogger is waiting to devour the food until all the photos have been taken at all possible angles. Waiting to be given the go-ahead to eat that gorgeous plate/bowl of food is just as torturous for you as it is for us, I promise. But how do you know for sure when the photo shoot has been completed, particularly for multi-step recipes such as ice cream? Without asking it’s a risky business.
Yes, this ice cream was dug into before I was finished (photo evidence above). It’s my fault for not stressing this fact to my parents but I was still upset to find a large chunk already scooped out, especially when it was not even completely set yet. Normally I don’t bother with pictures of ice cream in the container but I purposely used a loaf pan this time to get all stupid-food blogger on you by putting ice cream in a baking pan and then taking aerial shots of it being scooped out. Like those first steps in pristine just-fallen white snow. I’ll just have to make more ice cream soon – darn.
Thankfully the flavor of the ice cream did not suffer from it’s premature scooping. My parents’ inability to wait just shows how much they could not wait to try it. It starts out simple enough with a vanilla base which is then layered with bits of black-cherry peach crisp (notice those beautiful chunks of crisp topping in the post-churn/pre-freeze photo above). I baked a crisp just to turn it into ice cream. Which means this ice cream tastes just like a black cherry-peach crisp a la mode. Cannot really blame my parents, can I?
One year ago: Greek Yogurt Everything Bagels
This creamy peanut chicken packs a lot of flavor into a quick and east weeknight meal. Serve it over rice and you’re ready to dig in.
Coolest thing that happened over the weekend? My team and I won Harry Potter trivia on Saturday night! With 21 teams, we were convinced we would be trailing after missing 4 of 32 questions in the first half. As we listened to them counting down the top 15 teams we began to get worried as they neared the top 5 and we had not yet heard out team name – could we really have been worse than #15? 5 – not us, 4 – still not us, 3 – could we really be in the top two? 2 – yet again not us. Low and behold we were rocking the #1 spot! Tension rose for the second half as we fought to retain our throne of nerddom and despite missing a few more questions we the reigning champions in the end. To make it even sweeter we won half of money collected to participate ($5/person) which amounted to $200 or $50/person. Who knew Harry potter knowledge could earn money? We proceeded to bar hop around the Knoxville Market Square-area to celebrate.
Coolest thing that you should cook this week? This creamy peanut chicken made with coconut milk, peanut butter and just a little kick thanks to some garlic-chili paste. Lots of flavor for a quick weeknight meal.
One year ago: Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
If you have spent a decent amount of time baking then you are likely aware of these things called silicone baking mats. They are a great little invention as they save time and money by eliminating the need for non-stick sprays, oil, parchment paper, foil, and other items frequently used to prevent sticking to baking pans.
I have used several brands over the years and the only complaint I’ve ever had was only having one size. Thankfully the manufacturers have listened and companies such as Kitchen Executive Chef have come out with 3- pieces sets. This particular set includes three silicone baking mats designed to fit your toaster oven, jelly roll pans and cookie sheets.
Some info about the Kitchen Executive Chef 3 Piece Silicone Baking Mat Set:
- Most silicone baking mats vary in thickness from 0.4 to 0.75 mm. Kitchen Executive Chef’s are 1.0 mm making them more durable and ensuring that they lay flat.
- Silicone baking mats usually have a border that is 1-inch wide, losing over 20% of the useable area of the mat. Kitchen Executive Chef mats have an edge that is just under 1/2″ wide (11 mm to be exact), allowing you to bake more each time.
- Safe for use up to 500 degrees F, dishwasher safe, and backed by a lifetime guarantee.
Hearty chicken, veggie, and whole wheat orzo soup with a refreshing lemon broth seasoned rosemary and parsley. Comforting but not too heavy for the summer.
Homemade soups usually hit their prime during the fall and winter months but who says you cannot enjoy soup during the summer? This lemon broth based chicken and whole wheat orzo soup is comforting yet light enough to enjoy despite the heat outside.
In family news my nephew Luke has been exceptionally good with his new little brother Griffin. He actually requested to hold him one day and has been showing him how to do tummy-time. Sounds like he’s going to be a good big brother! Hopefully I will get an opportunity to venture out there soon and then will shower you all with photos sweeter than any cookie photo you’ve ever seen.
One year ago: Slow Cooker General Tso’s Chicken