Monthly Archives: February 2012

RECIPE: Pumpkin Butterscotch Cookies

This recipe I got from one of my favorite blogs called Cook.Bake.Eat.Love besides me loving the blog name (a homage no doubt to one of my favorite books Eat, Pray, Love) which I wish I would have thought of I love Kara’s recipes and writings. You should check her out sometime at http://cookbakeeatlove.wordpress.com/

I found her recipe for Pumpkin Butterscotch Cookies here and I immediately had to try them because I too had left over pumpkin that I just didn’t know what to do with and also they were a cookie that I didn’t have to hid from my other half who just shouldn’t have anything with caffeine like chocolate and admittedly most of my deserts would be chocolate if I didn’t have someone like him to taper my use. 🙂

I made the cookies exactly as written (I know…call Guinness right?) EXCEPT for the fact that I used my own pumpkin that I had slaughtered myself rather than the canned variety. It’s fresh, healthy and was lurking in my freezer.

These cookies were delicious. They are a cakey cookie rather than crispy like a chocolate chip cookie or something of the like but it was really nice. You can’t even tell that there’s pumpkin in them at all. To me they just tasted like really good butterscotch cookies so those of you who are looking for ways to slip your children a vegetable ‘mickey’ this would be an acceptable way to do it. 🙂 They’ll never know what hit them.

So go ahead. You know you want to try them. See you next week!

RECIPE: Goat Cheese-Asparagus Crustless Quiche

I love goat cheese. I love quiches. I love asparagus. Therefore, I knew this one would be great. I found this recipe in the January/February 2011 issue of the Vegetarian Times. It’s called Goat Cheese-Asparagus Crustless Quiche.

The ingredient list is really simple for this recipe so there’s really no worries about it coming out good or not. Simple ingredients, simple quiche, great food! What more can I say.

The goat cheese (yummy!) and shallots give this recipe just enough flavor to satisfy and delight your senses. I served this with a green salad and wine that to be honest I can’t remember and I forgot to write down. Sloppy of me, I know, but it’s the truth. 🙂

Try this recipe. It’s a great tasting, simple recipe that is satisfying and light.

RECIPE: Chicken Barley Soup

I created this whole recipe out of lack of having anything substantial in the fridge, having left over barley and the need to make something wholesome and hearty for Matt and I to eat. It is strictly what happens when I have a little bit of this and a little bit of that in my pantry and fridge and the delight I get from using it all up before going grocery shopping again.

Ingredients:

8 cups of broth (I used my usual Rapunzel bouillon cubes)

4 stalks of celery, diced

4 carrots, sliced

1 Vidalia onion, diced

2 cups of cooked barley

2 veggie chicken patties (I used Gardien Chick’n Scallopini)

1 cup of fresh spinach

2 medium tomatoes, diced

Now basically all I did was bring the broth to a boil and added all the ingredients with the exception of the spinach and the chicken patties and let everything simmer for about 30-40 minutes.

In the meantime I cooked the veggie chicken patties in some olive oil until slightly browned and heated throughout. I then sliced them into small bite sized pieces and added them to the simmering soup.

In the last five minutes or so I added the fresh spinach and simmered until it was wilted but still a really nice green color.

I really enjoyed this soup. The smell was great and filled the house with warmth and happy thoughts and the taste was very enjoyable and satisfying. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

RECIPE: Avocado And Quinoa Salad

Okay, I don’t even know where I got this recipe. I tend to read magazines and pull recipes out and through them on the pile of ‘must try’ and usually at the bottom of the page it will say where it’s from so I don’t make any effort to write where I got it on the recipe. This is definitely the exception because it did not state where it’s from so we’ll just let it be a mystery then, shall we?

I was drawn to the idea of this salad because in my ever widening search for healthy but tasty meals I’ve been wanting to incorporate more quinoa in our diets. For those of you who don’t know quinoa is an ancient grain that used to be served to Egyptian royalty long before any of us were thought of or even know it existed. It’s really high in nutrients particularly vitamin C and is high in fiber and lots of other great things. Look it up and check it out.

Now quinoa can be found at health food and nutrition stores but it is now popping up at grocery stores usually in their ‘green’ or health sections. It is a bit pricey but the nutritional bang for your buck that you get from it is worth the price. Trust me on this one.

Quinoa is also a grain that absorbs the flavor of whatever you pair it with so it’s slightly nutty flavor can be mixed with just about anything you want to. I’ve even made cheesy quinoa before when I was looking for an alternative to the mac and cheese I was craving and it worked wonderfully well.

Ingredients:

2 organic avocados, cut into pieces

1 cup of red quinoa (I didn’t have the red variety so just used the regular white variety)

1 medium tomato, cut into pieces

1/4 cup diced red onion

2 fresh basil leaves, crushed (I actually shredded them instead)

Dressing Ingredients:

1/3 cup organic extra virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 garlic clove, minced

juice of two limes

sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, bring two cups of water to a boil and add rinsed quinoa. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until water is absorbed. Cool and set aside.
  2. Mix the dressing ingredients together in a small mixing bowl. Mix all the other ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and then add cooled quinoa.
  3. Toss with dressing. Chill and serve.

I really liked this recipe. It was totally healthy and the avocados when mixed with everything created a creamy consistency that really appealed to me. The flavors were bold but individual and not over-powering to me. I served it with vegetarian Nature’s Burgers. Definitely a recipe that I’ll try again.

WINE REVIEW: Bota Box Merlot 2010 – Manteca, California

From the box: ‘The flavor is in the box. Our Merlot has rich aromas of blackberry and plum that perfectly complement full bodied flavors of black cherries, plums, currants, and a toasty oak finish. Try it with prime rib, steak, or your favorite pasta with a rich, meaty tomato sauce.’ 

I never thought I would actually try these wines in the box, new fangled thingies but curiosity got the best of me. I picked up a Bota Box Merlot 2010 and set up to give it a try. “Gee” I thought as I drove home “I really hope I at least can tolerate this wine because it is the equivalent of four 750 ML bottles of wine”.

I’ve been intrigued by the idea of the wine box for awhile now. Yes, it doesn’t have a cork like I like it but it is more ecological in some ways. They use recycled paper and 100% post consumer fiber to make the packaging. It’s also bonded with corn starch instead of glue and utilizes soy-based inks. There’s also less waste because of the vacuumed sealed spout and container there’s no rush to have to finish a bottle of wine because it might go bad on you.

Now I did have a bit of reluctance to try these boxed wines for many reasons. First, there’s the snob factor. I will admit it. I can be a little bit of a wine snob sometimes and I traditionally like corks in my wine not nozzles. The boxed wine thing kind of reminded me of a college keg party. Now, ladies and gentlemen, we have kegs of WINE!

Secondly, there was fear. I had never had this wine before and I worried that I would get stuck with a LOT of wine that I didn’t like. Easy enough to get rid of if you have lots of unknowning, wine drinking visitors but alas we do not so it would mean I would have to drink it all or throw away $17 worth of wine. Neither was appealing to me.

Thirdly, it’s SQUARE! Who drinks wine from a SQUARE bottle. Have I no standards? What will the neighbors think? Will I be ostracized from the wine drinking community for a crime such as this?

Well, I figured if I was going to try it now was as good a time as any. I did like the idea that I could have it in my refrigerator (yes, I live in Florida people and room temperature is just too hot most of the year to drink even red wine at) and have a glass of wine anytime I wanted without worrying about leaving a half drunk bottle of wine to go bad. Though recently I’ve taken to buying those little four packs of wine in order to have a glass on hand but you don’t get a lot of choices of brands that way either. It works though.

So I had my first glass of my Bota Boxed wine and was relieved to find that it was a decent wine. I am not saying it’s great like a nice Bordeaux but I think it has it’s place in society. It was fruity and had hints of plums and blackberries and had a nice smooth finish as well.

My overall impression is that it’s a great thing to have on hand for those times when you just want one or two glasses of wine without the worry of what to do with the other half of the bottle once you open it. It would also be good for those times when you have a bunch of people over for a party or get together and they aren’t too discerning over what they’re drinking. I don’t think you’d want to whip this box out when you have a real wine snob visiting or say royalty or famous people milling about. (What? You don’t have royalty and famous people visiting your house regularly? Hmmm…that’s interesting!)

Anyway, I would give this wine a rating of 84. It’s a nice wine for every day or when you don’t want to try something new and just want a glass of wine.

If you’ve tried any of these boxes of wine please tell me what you think. What brand did you try and what’s your opinion of it?