January 31, 2011

Whole Wheat PB Pancakes

My previous pancake experience has been limited to a box of Bisquick and an overzealous hand (read: large, misshapen pancakes).  With ¼ cup of batter, these pancakes were the perfect size and completely manageable when it came to the flip.  The whole wheat flour adds some health benefit to an otherwise decadent breakfast (for mem at least).  Perfect for a lazy weekend morning!

Whole Wheat PB Pancakes
Serves 2 - 3

What You Need:

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 T. baking powder
½ t. ground cinnamon
1/8 t. fine salt
1 cup non-dairy milk
1 T. peanut butter
1 T. honey
1 T. raw sugar (optional)

What You Do:

1.    Whisk flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl
2.    Combine non-dairy milk with peanut butter, honey and sugar, if using (I did not)
3.    Mix bowls together and stir until combined
4.    Let rest for 10 minutes
5.    Heat skillet over low heat
6.    Spray skillet with cooking spray and pour in ¼ cup batter
7.    Cook until bubbles form, flip and cook on opposite side for 2 – 3 minutes more

What I Learned:

1.    I augmented this recipe by adding the peanut butter and honey in place of 2 T, of pure maple syrup, as I didn’t have any on-hand.  I was pretty proud of the result, considering I had no clue if the replacement would work.
2.    I would consider adding more peanut butter next time, as I couldn’t taste it at all.
3.    I burned the second pancake, not realizing that the stove was no longer heating up like it was on the first, but it was already very hot.  One casualty = lesson learned.

The Verdict:  The husband and I were both pleasantly surprised by the yumminess.  The bananas on top made them perfect!

Recipe adapted from The Happy Herbivore Cookbook.

January 30, 2011

Butternut Squash Apple Soup

Confession:  I am drawn to recipes that have limited prep steps. At this point in my inexperience, it simply makes me feel more confident going in.  Knowing that I’ll have something to serve my husband for dinner at night is always a plus.  When I saw this soup recipe I got excited because I hadn’t cooked with butternut squash before, but I have recently been loving the soup in the low fat V8 variety, as well as an extremely yummy Whole Foods version.  When I scanned the recipe and saw no heavy cream required, I was sold.

Butternut Squash Apple Soup
Serves 4 – 6

What You Need:

1 yellow onion, chopped
1 rib of celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 T. butter
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, chopped
1 green apple, peeled, cored, chopped (squash and apple should be at a 3 to 1 ratio)
3 cups vegetable broth
Nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste

What You Do:

1.    Combine butter, onion, celery, and carrot in large saucepan. Cook for 5 minutes.
2.    Add squash, apple, and broth. Bring to boil.
3.    Simmer for 10 minutes or until squash is soft.
4.    Puree.
5.    Add spices to taste.

What I Learned:

1.    It takes a LONG time to peel and chop a butternut squash! I wish I would have completed this step prior to placing the onion, celery and carrot to cook.
2.    I used 3 smaller green apples to get to the 3 to 1 ratio.
3.    I split the recipe and pureed in two rounds so as to avoid an explosion.

The Verdict:  This soup was very filling. The flavors of the apple and onion were such a nice compliment to the squash and really came through. In the end, we both felt like the soup was a bit thick, so if I make again I may choose to add some more broth or perhaps a little milk.  Wonderful dish for the Fall and Winter months.

Recipe from Simply Recipes

January 29, 2011

Chilaquiles Casserole

My first recipe for this blog would already be considered an “old favorite” of ours (and perhaps our one and only so far?).  With my growing urge to experiment in the kitchen, generally every recipe that I have been trying is a new one—but this one I have made 3 different times within these 3 months that I have actually been cooking (quickly earning that “old favorite” title).  It always tastes as good as I hope it will, and each time we seem to wish that there was a little more leftover!

Chilaquiles Casserole
Serves 10

What You Need:

1 T. canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 19 oz can black beans, rinsed
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 cups corn, frozen (thawed) or fresh
1 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. salt
12 corn tortillas, quartered
1 19 oz can mild red or green enchilada sauce
1 1/4 cups shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese

What To Do:
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in zucchini, beans, tomatoes, corn, cumin and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are heated through, about 3 minutes.
  3. Scatter half the tortilla pieces in the pan. Top with half the vegetable mixture, half the enchilada sauce and half the cheese. Repeat with one more layer of tortillas, vegetables, sauce and cheese. Cover with foil.
  4. Bake the casserole for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the casserole is bubbling around the edges and the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes more.

 What I Learned:
  1.  Adding a little garlic doesn’t hurt! Mmm garlic :)
  2. The bigger the skillet, the better.  If too small, a BIG mess will ensue.
  3. I found that you really don’t need all 12 corn tortillas.  In effort to cut calories and the more non-healthful part of the dish I quartered about 8 tortillas and found it to be sufficient. 
  4. Same deal with the cheese.  I used 2% skimmed cheese, but you could always use fat free.  I didn’t measure out the cheese and just sprinkled sparingly as I saw fit.
  5. For a stand-alone dinner, servings may be closer to 4 – 6.
The Verdict:   Healthy, Easy, YUMMY!

Recipe adapted from EatingWell June/July 2006 and eatingwell.com

The Freshly-Fed Newlywed . What to Expect

This is NOT a meat-and-potatoes kinda house.  The goal here is healthy, veggie-based meals.  And while I am happy to say that we are a health-conscious couple, I must admit, it makes for some tricky menu planning.  “Veggies with a side of veggies, anyone?” 

For now, dinner consists of many one-pot dishes: healthy soups, vegetable casseroles and some experimentation with tofu.  On a personal level, one of my goals for having this blog is to inspire me to step out of my comfort zone in the kitchen and try to cook things I may have never tried before. 

While most meals will be of the meatless variety, it’s not to say that you won’t see the occasional poultry of fish dish here.  We practice the philosophy of Weekday Vegetarianism in this house.  Sound funny?  Learn more here:

It’s worth noting that this simple idea has completely reformed my husband from his previous Ultimate Carnivore state.  I, myself, have not eaten red meat or pork in 10+ years and only brought the white meat back into my diet about 5 years ago. We simply feel better—in more ways than one.

For more information on the idea of weekday vegetarianism and other Ideas Worth Spreading please visit TED.

January 27, 2011


With so many beautiful food blogs on the internet and an entire television network (or 4) devoted to the art of a perfect plate, the urge to step into my kitchen and create one for myself doesn’t surprise me.  It’s the lack of know-how that stops me once I get there and I’m confronted with my stove top and appliances (courtesy of my wedding registry) that I may or may not know how to use.

So though I never quite learned how to cook, I can definitely read.  My school marks would show that I’ve always been good at following directions as well.  So… with recipes in one hand and a spatchula in the other, I prepare to go from newlywed novice to domestic goddess! How long this transformation will take???  Your guess is as good as mine.  

Along the way I’ll be penning my pursuits here.  Maybe there will be some other kitchen newbies out there to commiserate when my dish looks nothing like the photos on my favorite food blog.  Perhaps there will even be some experts to point me in the right direction…

Here’s to hoping that practice makes perfect and that dinner tastes yummy tonight!