Friday, September 30, 2011

Fresh Broccoli Salad

As a bride-to-be I made the horrible decision of buying a dress that is zippered instead of laced over a year ahead of my wedding.  As a precautionary measure I have started to decrease my carbs (good bye meals consisting only of bread and olive oil...) and increase my vegetable intake... by like 10x my normal amount.  Granted, my lifetime average of veggie servings is usually ~1-2 a day (generally on top of a pizza).  Most of us go on to live our lives thinking that vegetables can only taste good when they are seasoned beyond recognition or are dunked in a questionable white sauce.

I am no raw foodie by any means, but that doesn't mean that I can't appreciate that uncooked food has higher nutrition levels than their roasted and sauteed counterparts.  I am trying to get away from my former opinion that raw food is snooze-worthy, and this salad definitely helps.  It provides an overall sweet flavor with a satisfying variety of textures in every spoonful.  This salad does get mushy after a few hours- be warned!

Rating 8.5/10

Recipe adapted from Running to the Kitchen
3 heads of broccoli
2 large carrots
1 sweet apple- chopped
1/2 cup of dried craisins
1 lemon- juiced
extra virgin olive oil
sliced almonds
Salt and pepper (optional)

Shred your broccoli and carrots in a food processor in manageable batches, or hack into smithereens with a knife.
Combine the broccoli, carrots, apple and craisins in a medium sized bowl.
Drizzle the lemon juice and a to-taste amount of olive oil over the bowl and stir everything up.
Top with the sliced almonds.
Have a toothpick ready for any green clumps that might appear in your teeth if you shove this salad into your mouth without any control (like I did).

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Grilled Tomatoes

I came home from San Francisco expecting to find dead tomato plants and rotten tomatoes lying everywhere.  Instead I found dead tomato plants with gorgeous tomatoes still attached.  Oh, and my basil plant is still kicking.  Life is rough sometimes like that.  This recipe is sooo good, and it might have been even better without the basil topping.  Definitely a great 5-minute snack or meal!  Rating 9/10.
Recipe adapted from For the Love of Cooking

4-5 medium tomatoes- sliced in half and sprinkled with salt and pepper
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove- minced
1 tbsp basil- finely chopped

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and spritz with a light coat of PAM
Start to prepare the marinade while you grill the tomatoes by combining the evoo, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, and basil.
Place tomatoe halves flat side down and cook for about 2 minutes or until you have some nice char lines going.
Flip the tomatoes and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.
Serve up the tomatoes on a plate and douse with the basil mixture.

Coconut Balls- moderately healthy

I don't really have an eloquent title for this, and Al's was not the most appropriate.  He created this masterpiece today, but I didn't know what he was doing until he had already thrown a bunch of stuff together- so this isn't a precise recipe and I had to guess the measurements based on how much of the ingredients were leftover, but it seems pretty hard to mess up. These are good.  So good that I thought that I should show it off for Al.  I ate five today for dinner.  Rating 10/10.

Recipe by Al
Approximately 3 cups dates
1 cup walnuts
1.5 tbsp honey
Approximately 1 bag of chocolate chips- melted
Approximately 1 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut

Combine the dates, walnuts and honey in a food processor.  Adjust ingredients so that they clump together but aren't overly sticky.  Honey= stick and dates= substance.
Roll the date mixture in your hands to create balls into desired size.
Plop the date ball into the melted chocolate and thoroughly coat with chocolate
Use a spoon to transfer the date ball into a bowl filled with the shredded coconut and do your best to coat it with coconut.
Transfer all of the coconut balls to a covered bowl and refrigerate.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Zucchini Cheddar Bread and a Review

I still have too much Big Bertha-sized zucchini piled on my counters, and I finally don't feel guilty about giving some of them the heave-ho into the compost pile.  However, I used up approximately 1/2 of a giganto zucchini in this bread recipe.  Be warned- the bread tastes like cheezits when it comes out of the oven.  Next time I manage to have a block of aging aged cheddar and a whomping zuch around, I'll make this with all purpose flour to make the cheese stand out more after it has cooled to room temp.

Alex really liked this bread, my dad didn't get it, and I thought that it tasted great smothered in butter.

Recipe from Naturally Ella- check it out

On to the review!

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a representative of asking me if I would be willing to review their canvas prints.

Obviously I said yes, and here is my review!

The process of ordering a print is easy peasy.  You get to choose your own photo to have printed (assuming that its resolution is high enough) OR you can choose one of their art prints.  You can choose a canvas size anywhere from 8x8 to 40x40.  There is a meter that indicates whether or not your photo quality is high enough to be printed.

The canvas is wrapped around a wooden frame that is about 1" thick.  You can choose to have the photo extend to edges of the canvas that hit the wall, or have a solid color "framing" your photo.  I personally think that having the imaged wrapped around the edges is what makes this service worth it, otherwise why bother with it at all?  3D photo displays are the best.

One issue that I had with is that they charge for color finishing (aka changing your photo to black and white or to sepia), I suppose this is a valuable service for those rare people who lack iphoto or any other software that can do this for $0.  As far as I know they won't charge you if you upload a photo that is already B&W, so do so if you want a B&W print.  However, I do think that it is nice that they will retouch your photos for a fee (and you can give them instructions on what you want done).

Onto what I ordered!  I had a hard time deciding what to get printed.  I figured maybe I would want one of these studs to grace the canvas
But I decided that in the end I wanted something impersonal, since I can just print out those photos at a Target, slap them in a frame, and call it a done deal.  Having a glossy photo of something completely random framed is a little weird, but I figured that it would be perfect for a canvas print.

Those are mangosteen by the way.  I figured that since I was contacted through my food blog, that my product should somehow relate to food, and I love mangosteen.  They are gorgeous in addition to being addicting.  The only problem is that I have no idea where to hang it, hence it just leaning against a wall waiting for its perfect home.  We're currently living in limbo at my mom's house while it is on the market while working on our future "apartment" in my dad's basement.  

Having a photo printed on canvas is a great present for whomever has a special day coming up, whether it be a mother's/father's day present, birthday, housewarming, wedding, ANYTHING!

Because I am a cheapskate, I inquired about any discounts that I could offer you should you decide that you must have one.  Now that I have one, I wouldn't let anyone pry it away from my dead fingers.  Just so you know.  I figured that there would be a cute blogger discount available for around 15% like you see EVERYWHERE, but I can do you one better.

If you check out Easy Canvas prints on Facebook and "like" them, you can get 50% off of your order and free shipping.  Neato?  Yes.  If you like spending money or shun social networking sites, they are currently running a 25% off and free shipping deal without having to like anything on Facebook.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Guilt-free Reeses Soft Serve

If there is something that I can get behind 100%, it is a healthy, natural, and wholesome treat that tastes like the stuff that I used to devour before I understood what a calorie was.  Anyway, this "ice cream" is healthy AND you make it without an ice cream maker.  You DO need a food processor or a super blender.  Oh, and you don't need dairy.  Adjust the ingredients to your taste, but this recipe is a great starting point (and finishing point, in my mind).

Rating 10/10

3 bananas- chopped up and frozen
1 heaping tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp cocoa powder

Combine ingredients in a food processor or super strength blender and blend for several minutes until the banana is completely blended and has the consistency of soft serve ice cream.
Serves 2

Tomato Soup

Ahhh, I'm running late on posting!  I made this soup over a week ago, but I can still remember how satisfying it was to craft my own soup vs. dumping something out from a can.
Onto the soup!
Recipe adapted from Spelonca
12 medium tomatoes- you can skin them if you want.  I didn't.
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp dried basil
2 cloves garlic- minced
1 tbsp fresh basil- minced
2 tbsp fresh oregano- minced
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp sea salt

Chop each tomato in half.
Line a tray with tin foil and place the tomatoes with the seedy part facing up.
Top with olive oil, dried basil, and 1/2 tsp sea salt
Roast at 300 for half an hour.  Flip and roast for an additional 30 minutes.

Place the tomatoes (don't add the juices- this will make your soup quite thin) into a blender and blend.

In a medium pot heat up the coconut oil and the garlic.  After 10 seconds add 1/2 tbsp fresh basil and 1 tbsp of oregano.
Reduce the heat and add the tomatoes.
Add half of the remaining fresh  herbs and the rest of the salt.
Add water if the soup is too thick, continue to simmer if the soup is too thin.
Add the remaining fresh herbs before serving.

Serve with grilled cheese, because that is the only way to fully enjoy tomato soup.