Saturday, June 16, 2012

Simple Cracker Dip

To make a short story long...
The other day I was at work and, as I didn't have any work to do, I was reading The Journals of Sylvia Plath (so good!). At one point she happened to mention cream cheese. So, of course, my mind started wandering...I started daydreaming about that wonderful, smooth, deliciousness. It occurred to me that it could be really delicious to take cream cheese, add fresh chopped herbs, and make a dip out of it (I know, I'm soo creative and original!).
So, when I got home, that's what I did.
The first time, I just added thyme, and I ate it right away, so it wasn't very strong. The second time I added thyme and basil and then let it sit for 15 ish minutes before eating it (I had to walk away to maintain my self control), and it was delicious! But I will warn you - that basil stuff is strong. Don't add too much, or it could be overwhelming. Unless you really like which case, you might like a ton.

Cream Cheese and Herb Cracker Dip

  • Cream cheese 
  • Fresh herbs
  • Crackers - I recommend Wheat Thins

Cut a chunk of cream cheese (I used about 1/4 of a cube for myself ). If you wanted to take the lazy way out (or if you were in a hurry), you could microwave the cream cheese for a few seconds to soften it up some. Chop up your herbs and stir them into the cream cheese. Let sit for 10 minutes, and enjoy. Chill leftovers in the refrigerator. 


Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Today we make aubergines! Also known as eggplant, which is a lot less exciting sounding. Someone else told me that they think "aubergine" sounds very pretentious, and they are right. However, I grew up thinking that eggplants would be revolting because...I mean, really. Eggplant? Gross. It's a terrible name. If, when I was growing up, my mom had told me we were having aubergines for dinner, I would have been okay with it. Instead, she said eggplants, so I never liked them until this year. I was missing out on so much! Anyway, I intend to call them aubergines so people won't get grossed out and will be more willing to try them when I cook them.

Moving on.

I found this recipe from My New Roots - an amazing site if you haven't checked it out yet.

Obviously, I didn't follow the recipe exactly - I never do. I will tell you what I did, but you should definitely look at her recipe, though, and follow it as closely as you can.

Cut your aubergine/eggplant in half. Cut diagonal lines in the fruity part - MNR says this helps to let out the steam, but if you cut it deep enough, it will make eating easier later on. Place the slices on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and bake for about 40 minutes at 400.

1/3 C. tahini,
Red pepper flakes/ceyenne - to taste
1 1/2 Tbs. lemon juice
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. honey
Water to thin - Don't forget this! I did at first and it made it much more difficult to make.

Mix all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. If you don't have a food processor - which I don't ('s a really tiny/sucky one, so it hardly counts), just stir it. You'll live. Add as much water as you want - I didn't add too much because I didn't want super thin sauce, and I was afraid of losing the flavor of the sauce that I had already tasted and liked :)
Once I did all of this, I added some leftover almond pulp (from when I made this almond milk) to my tahini to add extra nut flavor.

The finishing touches
Once your aubergine halves are done roasting, toss on some feta cheese (MNR says use goat or cow feta...I don't even know what cow feta is. I just used regular feta...unless that's cow feta...whatever), and toss it back in the oven for a few more minutes. When the cheese is melted, pull out your aubergines and drizzle on some honey and some tahini sauce.

MNR adds a lot more to her aubergines, but I didn't have all of the stuff she added, so if you want to know all the extra stuff, check it out here.

Anyway, I loved this stuff so much that I had to eat the whole eggplant. Er...aubergine. I felt kind of gluttonous, was so good that I didn't care. If you try it, let me know what you think!


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Kale Chips

This is basically the easiest snack ever. It takes about ten minutes total - that's my kind of food!

Found here. I think this is the original. 

They're so delicious! Here's what I learned from making them:

  • Use small leaves of kale, or cut up the big leaves into smaller pieces - it's kind of difficult to eat them without stuffing the whole thing into your mouth, because they crumble, so you want pieces that you can stuff into your mouth without looking barbaric. 
  • Personally, I don't like sea salt - I've had some bad experiences. I just used the tiniest bit of regular salt and it was plenty. 
  • Check your teeth when you're done eating. Kale chips are much more clingy than other kinds of kale, and you probably don't want to be walking around with green teeth. You are welcome.

I ate them way too fast to take any amazing pictures. 


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Southwestern Style Lunch with Sweet Cornbread

I saw this recipe on Bleubird the other day and was so excited to try it. Today when I finally got to it, though, I decided not to follow the recipe and just use the same ingredients. I think what I did is probably pretty similar to Miss James' recipe. The one thing I definitely did differently was the sour cream - I just left mine plain. Don't be frightened by the huge ingredients list - it looks like a complicated recipe, but it was really easy. Except for the beans, it only took about half an hour, and that's because I was still making it up. Anyway, here's how it goes. 


  • Bell peppers 
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Cumin powder - 1 tsp. 
  • Curry powder - 1/2 tsp.
  • Salsa - I used about 1/2 cup for two servings. 
  • Black beans - if you're using fresh beans, be sure to start these in advance!
  • Avocado
  • Lemon juice 
  • Shredded cheese - I recommend cheddar or pepperjack for an extra kick
  • Sour cream 
  • Corn bread - I used this recipe for sweet corn bread, and it's my favorite so far. 

First, chop up the peppers, onion, and garlic (or get a spoonful from the jar, if it's not fresh - that's what I did). Toss them in a pan with some olive oil, cumin, and curry powder, cover, and let steam. 

While your veggies are sauteeing, cut up your avocado and toss it in a bowl with some lemon juice to keep it from browning.
Once your veggies are tender, toss in salsa and black beans. Let them sit over the heat for a little while longer to soak in the flavor. 

To put together your meal: Place your [preferably hot] cornbread in a bowl. Toss in your bean/veggie mixture,   top with shredded cheese and let it melt for a minute or two. Then add some chopped avocados and sour cream. Enjoy! 


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Caprese Salad

The first time I had caprese salad was when my uncle made it for our family last year. I didn't think it'd be much - I mean, it's tomatoes and vinegar. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised when I tasted it. I love caprese salad because it's a simple, summery dish that's delicious and guilt free - not that I usually feel guilty about anything I eat.

  • Tomatoes
  • Balsamic vinegar/vinaigrette 
  • Cheese (mozzarella or feta) 
  • Fresh basil 

1. Dice the tomatoes.
2. Chop up the basil.
3. Toss tomatoes, basil, and preferred amount of cheese together in a bowl.
4. Top with balsamic vinaigrette.

I had five diced tomatoes and half a cup of balsamic vinegar and I know there will be a lot left over. Less is more when it comes to vinegar! If the vinegar is too tangy, feel free to add some sugar.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sweet Potato Fries - Remix

For the past...two months? my go-to snack has been sweet potato fries. They're super easy, plus I've always loved sweet potatoes. Today I tried to mix it up some. I'm really fond of contrasting flavors, so I normally put red pepper flakes on my sweet potato fries. But today I made them sweet, instead.

I was definitely thinking of this Pioneer Woman recipe (here) when I made them. I didn't go too in depth, though. I sliced my sweet potato, tossed the pieces in olive oil, laid them on the pan (lined with foil so I wouldn't have to wash it later), and sprinkled on rosemary and brown sugar. I baked them at 400 for 20 minutes. 

I hope to come up with several ways to serve (and eat) sweet potato fries this summer - an easy and healthy snack!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Fancy Salad

For my mom's birthday she wanted spinach salad. So I made spinach salad. I had my doubts about it - I mean, it has lemon poppyseed dressing, which, frankly, sounds gross. However, I tried it, and it's pretty freaking amazing. 

First, make this lemon poppyseed dressing. Recipe here

Next, chop up delicious things like cucumbers and strawberries to put in your fresh spinach. 

I highly recommend being a dork and making your little sister take pictures of you with cucumbers on your eyes. All the cool kids are doing it. 

Mix up your spinach, strawberries, and cucumbers. If you want to be extra fancy, add things like walnuts, craisins, or Salad Toppings (my personal favorite). 

Pour in some lemon poppy seed dressing and devour. 


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Poke Chops and Appleshaush

I was going to make muffins, but we didn't have applesauce.
We always have applesauce, but when I try to make muffins that include applesauce as one of the ingredients, we don't have any. So, rather than figuring out a way to leave out the applesauce and keep the muffins from being super dry, I just decided to make applesauce. It was way easier than I thought it'd be!
I found this recipe online - I just googled an applesauce recipe for Granny Smith apples, because that's what I had. I've used this site before, so..I picked it. In case you wanted to know the whole thought process behind the recipe.

Basically, you peel and cut up x amount of apples, depending on how much applesauce you want to make. Then you toss the apples in a pot with lemon juice, cinnamon sticks, and sugar, and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. Once they are soft, you mash them up. You can eat it hot, or chill it in the fridge or freezer. My family's tradition is to eat frozen applesauce, but I actually like it better hot.

Enjoy! Or, if you have leftovers, maybe you can make these muffins.


P.S. If you're going to make applesauce, or if you didn't get the title, you should really watch this clip.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Garlic & Cheddar Biscuits

These are SUPER easy. I finished throwing the dough together before the oven finished preheating, which rarely happens for me. The whole process, including baking, probably took about twenty minutes.

I used this recipe. I added some garlic salt to the dough to ensure a strong garlicy flavor. The only thing I might do differently is add more seasonings next time - maybe dried onions, onion powder, or chives. You could also probably get away with doing 1/4 C. butter in the dough, which would make them a little less greasy. Not that I mind butter, of course.
Oh! I also baked them longer than the recipe says. I ate one after 6 minutes, but I thought it seemed a little doughy - I think it was evenly cooked, but it was too soft for my liking.

These are great for a snack or as an addition to your evening meal.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Snacks: Pizza on Pita

I found my inspiration for this recipe here. That particular recipe is vegan, and...I'm not. So I made non-vegan pizza on pita, and now I'm going to share [the recipe] with you.

Tomato Sauce
This is how I make almost any tomato product - spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, or tomato soup. I just season them differently, and make them thicker or thinner, depending on what I'm making.


  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tbs. sugar, to cut down on the acid
  • Seasonings (garlic salt, oregano, basil, etc.)  use whatever flavors you like
Place all of your ingredients in a blender and blend to desired thickness. Done! 



  • Pita* bread or sandwich thins
  • Tomato sauce 
  • Pizza toppings -today I used mozzarella and cherry tomatoes. You could also use feta cheese, garlic salt, pepperoni, peppers, onions, mushrooms, leftovers (barbecue chicken, anyone? - Except me. I'm vegetarian), etc.
While you wait for your oven to preheat to 400, place your pita on a piece of foil. Place a couple spoons worth of your sauce onto each pita and top with cheese and other toppings. Bake for about 10 minutes. 
If you prefer crispier crust, prebake your pita for five minutes.



* Not to be confused with Peeta.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sweet Potato Fries

I found this recipe for spicy sweet potato fries a long time ago. I've been interested in trying it for a while, but either didn't have sweet potatoes to use or was discouraged by my family, who thought the spicy part sounded weird. Well, I proved them wrong. I made them last week and they were delicous. Even the skins, which my family was also worried about, tasted fine. They weren't very spicy - I'll probably add more red peppers next time - and I left out the fennel seeds because we didn't have any.

I highly recommend you try them. Recipe here.
You can find the recipe for the feta green beans here.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Poaching an Egg

Dear First Egg I've Ever Poached,
 I thought you were going to be very difficult, especially after having watched Julie & Julia numerous times, but you were actually easier than any other egg I've made. You were also the most delicious egg I've ever eaten in my life - and I don't even like eggs that much! But you were so smooth and creamy and wonderful. I expect I'll be seeing you very frequently from now on. 

Love, Scout

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Chicken Pasta

I love pasta - it's so delicious and so easy to make a meal out of. A couple weeks ago, I made white cheddar and chicken pasta for dinner. This was before I decided to try a vegetarian challenge.
This stuff is so amazing. I'm not really a fan of cheddar cheese, so I was afraid I would take the time to make the meal and then hate it, but the combination of flavors was just so good.

I used this recipe. This was a couple weeks ago, but here are the changes I remember making:

  • I added red bell pepper. You definitely need to do this. 
  • I left out the white wine - we didn't have any. I think I added extra butter to make up for it. 
  • I didn't add hot red peppers or parmesan because I forgot about. Let me tell you, those are probably good additions, but it doesn't need them at all. 

I'm making myself hungry writing about this - and looking at the pictures here and with the recipe. Maybe I'll make it for dinner, and cook the chicken separately.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Banana Bread

I love banana bread. And it must have walnuts or pecans - some people don't know this, but that is the first rule in the unwritten banana bread rule book (the only exception is allergies). So, last week when we finally had pecans, I had to make banana bread. I spent a lot of time online searching for the perfect recipe. I ended up using this one.

Isn't it pretty? I think it's the prettiest bread I've ever made. I would have made baby loaves, but we only had large loaf pans. It was pretty good, though the middle was a little softer than I'd like.
Here are some of the other recipes I found - let me know if you try any!


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A New Take On Chili

As I'm on a vegetarian challenge this month, I can't eat just any ol' chili. So, I took advantage of this and made a chili recipe I'd been wanting to try for a while: sweet potato chili. It was so easy, and so delicious. The hardest part was cooking the beans, mostly because I hate cooking beans (canned ones have too much salt).

Basically, you throw everything in a crock pot and you're done. I didn't even change that much with this recipe! I used all diced tomatoes, because I didn't have crushed, and I left out the salt. That's only two things! I think that's a new record for me.

This chili was delicious. It was very rich and had a hint of sweetness - it doesn't even require cheese or sour cream! Actually, I think cheese wouldn't match the flavor very well, but sour cream could add a nice touch of creaminess, if you roll that way.

Recipe here. Let me know what you think!


Monday, February 20, 2012

Avocado Pasta

I have only recently discovered my love for avocados. In October I had guacamole for the first time ever. Last week I made avocado pasta.

I, for one, love pasta and pasta salad. This was no exception. I used this recipe, only, as usual, I adjusted it.

  • I left out the cilantro because I think cilantro is gross. 
  • I added an extra 1/2 of an avocado because I made a lot of pasta. 
  • I left out the salt because of my dad's next-to-no salt diet.
It was still creamy and delicious. However, I think this could easily be turned into a whole meal (at least, what I would consider a whole meal) by adding:
  • black beans
  • southwestern seasoning or cayenne pepper - something to add a little spice
  • fresh, diced tomatoes
  • chopped cucumber (a great addition to any pasta salad, in my opinion)
  • corn

If you like avocado, you'll like this pasta. It's very simple and tasty. Let me know if you try it, especially if you alter the recipe any to add your own touch.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Maybe Kale Isn't So Bad

Until this year, I only had one memory of kale: I was at my aunts house and she made kale for dinner. I was excited because I love spinach and I figured they'd taste pretty much the same.
They did not. The kale was crunchy and weird and took forever to finish chewing. I was definitely okay with never having kale again.

This year, my mom made soup that had kale in it. I tried it and liked it, so I decided maybe I'd open my mind up to kale one more time - every food deserves a second chance, right?

So, since we had a crisper drawer of kale left in the fridge, I decided that now was the time. That same night, I was making orange chicken for my family, so I decided to go with a more Asian flavor. That, and I had no idea what else I should do with it.
Can you believe I disliked something so pretty?

Here's what I did:
1. Put some butter and garlic (preferably fresh, of course) in a pan to melt and simmer.
2. Chop up some onion and toss it in the pan. Cover and let them cook for a few minutes while you wash the kale. The goal is for the onions to be clear and pretty. (I like onions).
3. Wash and chop up the kale. I chopped the stems off because I was already nervous I wouldn't like the kale and didn't want to bother with stems, too. I think they'd taste fine, though, if you want to eat them.
4. Toss the kale in the pan, add a teaspoon or two of soy sauce, cover, and let simmer.
5. Every couple of minutes, check on the kale and stir it around some. It's ready whenever it's as steamed as you want it. I left some of mine a little crunchy and I thought it was delicious.
6. Eat!


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Easy Snack

This is one of my favorite snacks. It's super easy and, of course, delicious.

Toast with cream cheese and strawberries. It's also great with

  • cream cheese and cinnamon
  • cream cheese and cucumber slices (to go with your tea, of course)
  • cream cheese, peaches, and cinnamon


Friday, February 10, 2012

Weird Pizzas

I've mentioned before, I've decided to eat a vegetarian diet for this month. Because of this, I've spent extra time online looking for recipes. One of the things I got hung up on was making pizza. This one, in particular, caught my eye:

Oh. Man. It still makes my mouth water to look at it. Mine looked nothing like that, though. I think the main difference was that I didn't add half as much cheese. The recipe calls for feta, provolone, and parmesan. I only used feta - we didn't even have provolone, which actually made me pretty sad. I mean, look at that pizza. The cheese is what makes it look so amazing.

Anyway, the sauce, found here, was really good. It included two surprising ingredients: carrotsh and cinnamon. I was making two different pizzas, so I left the cinnamon out of the sauce, which still ended up being delicious. When I made the apple pizza, I just sprinkled some cinnamon on the dough.

Last tip: Prebake your crust! I did not, because whatever random recipe I found online did not tell me to. In the end, the top of the dough was...doughy. It was definitely thoroughly cooked, but you couldn't tell because the top of the crust was mushy under the sauce. Trust me, you don't want to suffer through that.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Bean Burgers

Oh man, you guys.
I made black bean burgers today.
I know what you're thinking. Just give me a chance.

I found this recipe a while back and was interested in trying it - the list of ingredients definitely sounded appealing. However, it's still a bean burger, and I'd still have to cook beans (my family doesn't usually have canned beans because of the salt content). I hate cooking beans. It takes so. freaking. long.

Anyway, I recently decided that I would try to not eat meat, at least for this month. I've been reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer and decided it might be healther. And besides, it can't hurt to eat more veggies. So, given my recent decision, I figured that now was the time to try the bean burgers.

They are so good.
They don't taste like meat, so don't be expecting that, but they are so delicious and rich in flavor.
I followed the recipe almost exactly - I added some extra veggies, because I chopped more than 1/4 c. and didn't know what else to do with them, and I didn't add the bread crumbs because we didn't have any. I also forgot to add the salt because my mind doesn't really work that way anymore - I've been training for almost a year to cook without salt.
You know what, though? It totally doesn't need it. The "burgers" are so flavorful already. Maybe salt is more important if you have bread crumbs.

Ingredients waiting to be mixed.

Okay. Now it's your turn. Don't think of it as a replacement burger, because it's not. Just think of it as a delicious sandwich that you need to try.
Click me for the recipe!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Almost Spinach Alfredo

This isn't exactly alfredo, but I don't know quite what it is. I guess we'll just call it spinach and chicken in a creamy white sauce. I'm really creative when it comes to names - can't you tell?

Chicken broth
Half & Half or heavy cream - even milk would work
Onions - fresh or dried
Cayenne pepper
Parmesan cheese

1. Cut up some chicken into bite size pieces and cook in a pan with olive oil and pepper (or another kind of oil, if you'd prefer). Start cooking your pasta while you are cooking your chicken.
2. When chicken is done cooking, remove it from the pan.
3. Pour in 3 c. chicken broth, 1 c. half & half or heavy cream, whichever you have on hand. Stir.
4. Stir some cornstarch into a bit of cold water and add it to the broth/cream mixture as a thickener.
5. Toss in some seasonings - I used a smidgen of cayenne pepper, garlic, and dried minced onions (I was too lazy to cut up an onion). Add 1/4 Parmesan cheese, or more if you'd prefer. Stir.
6. Add spinach. We had frozen on hand, but of course fresh would be delicious. Depending on how much time you have, you might want to cook the spinach before adding it to the sauce.
7. Let sauce sit until spinach is cooked. Stir occasionally.
8. Add chicken to sauce, add some sauce to your noodles, and enjoy.