Archive | March, 2013

Meat-Free Fridays: The Incredible, Edible Egg

22 Mar

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Ovo-lactos, I’m afraid today’s meat-free menu is reserved for those of us who love nature’s little bundles of protein and goodness: Eggs! Eggs can be the center of a meatless meal with little to no effort on the part of Y-O-U. Rich, sometimes decadent, simple and delicious — how can you go wrong?

Today I’ll share 5 meatless meals that feature eggs as the main dish. Some are straightforward and traditional — scrambled, or in an omelette — and others are a bit more inventive. Have fun with eggs; their healthy qualities (good cholesterol, protein) and versatility make them pretty ideal.

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Food Shopping: Trohv in Takoma Park, MD

20 Mar

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Fun times on GKG today! A few weeks ago, I visited one of my favorite stores in the DMV, and took a slew of pictures to capture my adventures. THT was good enough to come along and explore Trohv in Takoma Park, MD (their sister store is in Baltimore, for any Charm City readers out there!) one afternoon.

Trohv is something of a hipster / mid-century modern / stylish & contemporary home goods store. Some items are high-style. Some items are cheeky and fun. Some are for kids, some are for a grown-up’s inner kid. Overall, the vibe is funky and fun. And the kitchen goods? Delightful. While there isn’t any actual “food” in this food shopping post, their decor de cuisine is just plain fun.

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Dinner in 10: 5 Quick Meals for Busy Weeknights

15 Mar
Image sourced from diligogames.blogspot.com.

Image sourced from diligogames.blogspot.com.

Ever gotten home itching for dinner … only to see that it’s 8:30, nothing’s cooked, and your stack of takeout menus looks awfully appealing?

We’ve all been there! And while I’m a big advocate for meal planning when you grocery shop to avoid these kinds of “Egads! What the heck can I eat??” moments, time crunches, schedule shifts and last-minute snafus are inevitable. Who knows when you’ll have to stay late at the office, attend a last minute meeting, or hit traffic on your way home? And with a growling stomach, it’s a wonder we don’t have an epidemic of hangry* Americans on our hands.

Image sourced from etsy.com. Yup, that's me at about 5 pm every day.

Image sourced from etsy.com. Yup, that’s me at about 5 pm every day.

* Hungry + Angry. You know what I mean. 🙂

For these nights, I’ve whipped up this list of 5 Quick Meals for Busy Weeknights. Don’t worry, they aren’t just PB & J (well, one of them is — with a twist!); instead, they’re hearty, healthy meals that you can put together in about 10 minutes flat. Wallet-friendly, healthy food in less time than it takes to wash your hair. Win.

Tex-Mex Egg Scramble: Spray a microwave-safe cereal bowl with Pam or other cooking spray. Crack two eggs into the bowl, mixing lightly with a fork. Add 1 tsp of salsa, a sprinkle of chili powder, and a dash of garlic salt. Microwave in 40-second spurts until mostly cooked through. Scramble again with the fork and microwave for one final 20-30 second stretch. Serve over salad greens with a sprinkling of Mexican-blend cheese.

Deluxe ABJ: Toast two slices of whole-grain bread. Spread one slice with 1-2 tbsp almond butter. Spread the other slice with 1 tsp peach or strawberry jam. Sprinkle the almund butter slice with ground flax seed meal, and slice 1 banana to add to the sandwich.

Spicy Tuna Wrap: In a small bowl, mix 1 drained can of albacore tuna with 1-2 tbsp mayonnaise, a dash (to taste!) of Sriracha chile sauce, a dash of garlic salt, a dash of ground black pepper, and 1/2 tsp parsley. On a whole grain wrap, spread tuna mixture; top with chopped tomatoes and cucumbers. Add a slice of cheddar or Swiss cheese (optional). Roll into a wrap or burrito as you prefer.

Quesa-Quicka: On a whole grain tortilla, sprinkle 1/4 cup Mexican blend cheese. Add 1/2 cup drained and rinsed black beans. Mash the beans slightly with a fork. Top with 1-2 tbsp salsa of your choice, chopped tomatoes (optional), and 1/2 a chopped jalapeno (also optional!). Fold in half. Toast under a preheated 500° F broiler for 5 minutes, or until tortilla is brown and cheese has melted, flipping once. Cut into wedges and serve with salsa and sour cream.

Microwave Croque Monsieur: Toast a piece of whole grain bread. While the bread is toasting, set aside a slice of Swiss cheese. Spray a microwave-safe bown with cooking spray. Add 1 tsp water and 1 whole egg. Cover with Saran wrap or other plastic wrap. Microwave in 30-second spurts until the egg appears cooked to your liking. Place slice of Swiss cheese on toast; top with fried egg. Season with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of Sesame oil for an Asian twist on a classic French sandwich.

The possibilities for quick meals are pretty much endless, but these are among my favorites when I’m feeling like a hungry-hungry-hippo at the end of a work day. What are your quick and easy go-to meals for busy weeknights? If you folks are vegan (i.e. no tuna, cheese or eggs, as I make liberal use of in these recipes), what are your solutions for quick meals? Happy eating!

March “Make-It-From-Scratch” Madness: Almond Cranberry Granola Bars

11 Mar

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Hi everyone! After a week’s vacation (to lovely Las Vegas, Nevada — post pending! It involves Celine Dion, drinks on the 64th floor, and taking a cab through the In-N-Out burger drive-through. This one’s gonna be epic, kids.), I’m back and ready to mangia with you! Here’s to my March Blogging Resolution: To recreate my favorite goodies and childhood dishes from scratch, with a healthy twist.

Today’s nominee? Granola Bars! I love a good, chewy, nutty granola bar as much as the next semi-healthy home cook. They’re great for mid-afternoon snacks to stave off my “hangry” episodes. (“Hangry” = hungry + angry. It ain’t pretty, folks.)

But I’ve noticed that a lot of commercial granola bars have … a LOT of sugar. Like, 20% of your daily value — whoa! And while I’m not jumping on the “Oh my gosh, not sugar: Isn’t it POISON???” bandwagon / train / other vehicle of transportation, I’m still aiming cut my consumption of the sweet stuff.

… which is why, on Pinterest and elsewhere, I’ve been hunting for homemade granola bar recipes. Why not try it? The worst that could happen might be … some really sticky granola. Oh well. There are worse tragedies in the world. (Like if Cool Ranch Doritos didn’t exist. Or lemons. *Shudder*)

These Almond Cranberry Granola Bars get their sweetness from honey, while the dried cranberries and chopped almonds add substance and a fruity tang. Yum! Enjoy them as much as I did — THT and I consumed that entire plate within about 48 hours.

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Almond Cranberry Granola Bars — adapted from Andie Mitchel’s recipe at www.canyoustayfordinner.com. (Check out her blog — so inspiring and delicious!)

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats (not instant)
  • 1 cup chopped or sliced almonds
  • 1 cup Rice Krispies or brown rice cereal
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped (you can also blend raisins and cranberries.)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (kosher or table are both fine)

Here’s what you do:

  • Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 13″×9″ baking pan with foil and spray liberally with Pam or other cooking spray.
  • Toss the oats on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring once or twice, until browned. Remove the oats and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Stir in almonds, Rice Krispies & dried fruit. Reduce the oven temperature to 300° F.

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  • Combine the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla extract and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for about 1 minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.

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  • Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Press the mixture firmly and evenly into the pan; you may need to wet your fingers slightly with water. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the bars appear to be golden brown. Cool for about 2 hours before cutting into individual bars.

Mmm! So chewy and good! Enjoy these bad boys, as hopefully the first of several March “Make-It-From-Scratch” Madness recipes and dishes. Have all y’all ever made your own granola or granola bars? How’d they turn out?

Meat-Free Fridays: 6 Vegetarian-Friendly Pasta Dishes

1 Mar

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Fun fact: Pasta + veggies = a vegetarian and vegan-friendly feast.

No, but seriously! Any combination of sauce, veggies, pasta and protein / fat can be a fabulous meal, particularly for a Lenten Friday when you’re scrounging around the pantry. The above recipe for Sesame Chick Pea Pasta is only one example. In this post, I’ll share an easy template for vegetarian pasta dishes that work for Lenten Fridays or any old weeknight. Mangia!

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