Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Perfect Summer Salad!

I feel like I am on repeat with my past posts.  I'm sorry I haven't been posting because my internship and Master's classes have been taking up all of my spare time.  Good news is that my internship is nearing its end and I cannot wait to immerse myself in creating recipes and writing about them.

I have finally reached my clinical rotations and I FINALLY feel like I have found where I want to be within my field.  Right now I am working at a small area hospital and it seems to suit me... although I haven't worked in a larger hospital, but I will in a couple weeks.  Each patient is a puzzle.  I have to figure out what diseases are largely impacted by diet and make the appropriate recommendations.  I love this puzzle.  I love talking to each patient.  I have found my calling.

When the weather changes from cold to warm hot, my appetite decreases and nothing sounds good.  Some of my favorite foods are comfort foods, the kinds that are usually made when the weather is cold.  This transition is difficult for me, but when Gina at Skinny Taste posted this recipe a couple weeks ago I knew it would be the perfect meal for me to get used to the warmer weather.  It is filling without being too heavy.  It is easily adaptable, which is what I did.  Also, it is pretty!  I love how the yellow of the mango pops against the darkness of the red quinoa and black beans.  Sometimes when I just need to have meat at a meal, canned tuna (packed in water) or a flaky fish is the perfect addition.  Chicken would work too...

Quinoa, Black Bean, & Mango Salad
Adapted from Skinny Taste

1/2 cup uncooked Red Quinoa, cooked to packaged directions
2 Anaheim Peppers
1 (15 oz) can Seasoned Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup Frozen Corn, thawed
1 Large Mango, chopped (I love mango so I used two)
1/4 cup Red Onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh Cilantro, chopped

1 medium Lemon, juiced
1 medium Lime, juiced
3-4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 garlic cloves, pasted (I used 1 tbsp of this garlic paste)
1 tsp Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp Ancho Chili Powder (or 1 tsp regular Chili Powder)
1/4 tsp Ground Turmeric
1/4 tsp Salt
Heavy pinch of Cayenne Pepper

  1. Turn the oven to broil.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  Wash and dry the anaheim peppers and place on the baking sheet.  Cook until all sides are charred, will need to rotate the peppers halfway through. When blackened, remove from oven and wrap using the foil on the pan.  Allow to steam and cool.
  2. Cook the quinoa according to package directions.  When cooked, add the bowl with the onion and mango mixture.
  3. Prepare the dressing. Set aside.
  4. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the onion, mango, cilantro, and corn.  Combine in a bowl.
  5. When the peppers have cooled to touch, remove the charred skin and the seeds (throw these away).  Chop and add the mixture.
  6. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well.
  7. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Makes 4-6 servings

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

It's My Birthday!!

It's my birthday. Even though I'm only 24, I feel like I'm at the age where I have to think about how old I am when someone asks me. Yep, it's pretty pathetic. But it's all made up by the fact I get to have my all time favorite cake. I've been having this cake every year for the past 14 years. I don't get tired of it. Ever. The best part of this cake is the frosting. It is to DIE for! My sister and I fight over the beaters and the bowl and the spoon.

This cake is extremely easy to make. (Shhh ... It's made from a box mix.) For the cake itself, you will need a box of your favorite devil's food cake mix. Instead of using the amount of water it calls for, you will need the same amount of double strength coffee. Mix and bake according to the package directions. When you make the coffee, make sure you brew enough for both the cake and the frosting (it has coffee in it too!!).

Chocolate Coffee Cake with Coffee Frosting

1 box Duncan Hines Devils Food Cake Mix
1 cup Double Strength Coffee
1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
3 Large Eggs

Coffee Frosting
3 cups Confectioners Sugar
5 tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
4 tbsp Double Strength Coffee
1 tsp Vanilla

  1. Prepare cake according to package directions. (Ingredients above are as listed on the cakemix box). Instead of using water, use double strength coffee. Divide the batter into 2 round cake pan. Bake as directed, until a toothpick comes out clean. 
  2. For the frosting, combine the ingredients. Mix until smooth. 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

January Foodie Pen Pals Reveal Day

I've been a bad blogger...  I haven't been posting as much as I would like.  I'm afraid my internship is getting the best of me.  I've started my food service rotation and it has kept me pretty busy.  I am really enjoying my placement.  They've implemented new menus for both the patients and the cafeteria, and because of this, my fellow intern and I have plenty of projects and studies for the 7 weeks we are there.

The Lean Green Bean

....But it's that time of the month!  Foodie Pen Pals!!  This month I received a goodie box from Kellie from Life As A Redhead.  And when I say goodie box, I mean goodie box!  She sent me some wonderful items.  Here is a list of the items she sent me:

  • PB 2: This is a jar of powdered peanut butter.  I was very intrigued.  Never have I seen powdered peanut butter.  Tried it.... tastes like peanut butter!!  I cannot wait to use it in some recipes.  I don't have want make the usual PB&J.  I'm thinking cookies, smoothies, oatmeal, pancakes.  The possibilities are endless!
  • Near East Roasted Garlic and Olive Oil Couscous: Couscous is one of my favorite go-to staples I keep in my pantry at all times.  I usually buy a bulk container and season it myself (way cheaper), so this was a treat for me!
  • Ancient Harvest Inca Red Quinoa: I do enjoy making quinoa, but I don't usually keep it in my cabinet.  (Bad RD to be!).  It is a great substitute for bulgar, which is not a fave grain of mine, and I like to use it when I make tabbouleh in the summer.  It is packed full of nutrients and has all of the essential proteins! 
  • SunRype Fruit Strips: I must confess.  When I think fruit strips, I think of those sugary roll-up "fruit" treats.  And I do still buy them periodically.  And I may or may not consume them within one two three days of purchasing them.  Tried these.  LOVE THEM! Sadly, I have yet to find them in stores around where I live, but the search is on!!
  • Homemade granola: And without tree nuts!  I have such a hard time finding granola and granola bars that don't have tree nuts in them.  And I haven't taken the time to make my own granola.  Kellie was so considerate of my allergy to make some and send it, with the recipe, too! (THANK YOU, KELLIE!!)
  • Spice mixture with dehydrated orange, fennel, and fleur de sel.  Good on seafood, poultry, and veggies.  Or so it says on the label.  I had some tilapia the other night for dinner and completely forgot I had a new spice to try out

What is Food Pen Pals you ask?
  • On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
  • You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
  • The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
  • You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
  • Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
  • Foodie Penplas is open to US, Canadian & European residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. Same with Europeans. We've determined things might get too slow and backed up if we're trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 
If you’re from the US or Canada and are in participating for November, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by February 4th as pairings will be emailed on February 5th!

*If you're from Europe, please CLICK HERE to signup.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

What a wonderful holiday and school break it has been.  For 2 of the 3 weeks I have been off from school and my internship I have been sick with this crud that is floating around.  Stuffy nose, sneezing, cough.  It's the crud.  It has been a wonderful Christmas and New Years.  Wonderful spending time with loved ones, exchanging stories, and poking fun at one another.  Such wonderful fellowship.  Minus this crud of course.

This past week of being sick has been the worst.  Coughing.  Hard, loud, painful coughing.  Makes it difficult to eat sometimes.  Nothing too hard.  Nothing that takes too much chewing.  Pretty much soup, ramen noodles, and soft foods.  Not so bad as long as I don't have to venture out in this cold, but empty pantry because being home for the holidays.

I like to keep homemade frozen meals on hand at all times.  It makes cooking and eating for 1 much more enjoyable.  Don't I don't have to mention it adds more variety to my meals.  With being sick and it being cold outside, I want my roasted tomato soup, which I try to keep on hand during the winter months.  Too bad I already ate my stores.  I guess have to make more!  I'm not much of a soup person, but this recipe is warming and satisfying.  I prefer it smooth.  Others may prefer it chunky.  Tasty either way.

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
Makes 6-8 servings

1 1/2 pounds Tomatoes, quartered
1 medium Onion, chopped
1 medium Carrot, chopped
3 Garlic Cloves, chopped
10 Basil Leaves, chopped
1 (28 oz) can Whole Tomatoes or Diced Tomatoes
1 tbsp Dried Thyme
1/2 - 1 cup Chicken or Vegetable Broth
4 tbsp Olive Oil, divided
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.  In a casserole dish, combine fresh tomatoes, salt, pepper, and 2 tbsp olive oil.  Roast for 40 minutes.  You want to use a dish with sides because you want to catch all of the delicious juices.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion, carrot, and garlic.  Cook for 10 minutes, until soft.
  3. Add roasted tomatoes plus juices, canned tomatoes, basil,thyme, salt, pepper, and chicken broth.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat to low, simmer for 40 minutes.
  4. Using a blender or immersion blend, blend until smooth.
  5. Taste for seasoning.
  6. Top with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.  Serve with grilled cheese sandwich.