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!