Tag Archive for 'Dirt & Noise'

Hearty (Heart + Healthy) Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

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Thanks to my friend Illina, banana chocolate chip cakies have become a house hold favorite over the past few years. With the combo of banana and chocolate chips at the top of the ‘regulars’ chart this recipe is a new twist on a family favorite. One of the things I love most about this recipe is that it is diabetic friendly and dairy free.

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Hearty Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Muffin Ingredients

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1 cup Almond Coconut milk (or can substitute vanilla almond milk)

2 eggs** (vegan substitution below)

1 TBS baking powder

3 cups old fashioned oatmeal

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 TBS sugar, optional

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (vegan variety are dairy free)

Muffin Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix together all ingredients except the chocolate chips. Allow to rest for 10 minutes, then mix in chocolate chips.

Coat muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray or use liners.

Fill 12 muffin cups to the brim.

Bake 20-30 minutes, until the edges start to brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. If using cooking spray, loosen the muffins from the pan by tracing around the edges with a blunt knife to release. Serve warm.

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Vegan Egg Substitute Adaptation:

Flax seeds contain properties that are ideal for replacing eggs in vegan baking. It is important to use GOLDEN flax seeds which are the light colored ones as the brown flax seeds will alter the color of baked goods. If you are just looking to mix it up a bit and are not necessarily vegan here are some flax seed 101 facts on this alternative goodness: the seeds contain protein, fiber and are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids which makes this binder a healthy alternative to other egg replacers. Below are the ingredients to make the equivalent of 1 egg. (Remember for THIS recipe you will need to double the amounts below.)

Flax Seed Meal Ingredients

3 TBS water

1 TBS golden flax meal (to make meal follow directions given)

Flax Seed Meal Directions

Using a blender, food processor or a spice grinder, grind the flax seeds into meal. If opting to grind a larger amount it can be stored in an air-tight container, in the freezer, for up to one year. Equivalents: 1 cup of flax seeds equals about 1 1/3 cups of flax meal.

Add the water to a small bowl, then add the flax meal combining with a whisk or fork. Let the mixture set-up for 5-10 minutes so it develops a raw egg-like consistency. If trying to expedite the process, warm water will speed things up.

Cinco de Mayo

I am not sure WHEN it happened but I do know WHERE it took place. While I’ve always enjoyed Mexican food it wasn’t until I went to school in San Diego that my inner ‘cinco de mayo‘ became revealed. Coming from a family steeped in traditions at every holiday – there are two holidays that I have claimed as my own – the fun filled fifth of May celebration and Halloween. There are a whole lot of other sentimental reasons that I love this day (despite that I am not of Hispanic origins or currently living in Mexico) and if you really know me, well then you’ll know why this is one of my favorite days of the year – good food, good drink and good fun – and yes, there IS more to that story but that’s the beauty of a cliff hanger. You just keep wanting more.

To whet your appetites, and get this party started, I am posting my second recipe from ‘Taste This’. It is not too late to put this one together to go with your evening cervesas…Chicken Tinga. Enjoy it with a glass of White Sangria! Ole! (See story below the Chicken Tinga recipe for the hidden bonus treat in this post).



Chicken Tinga

Ingredients

1 large tomato, chopped big
½ large yellow onion, sliced length-wise
1 garlic clove
1 chiplote
1 can tomato soup
1 TBS water
1 lb chicken breasts
2 tsps salt
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups rice, cooked

Directions
In a large pot, bring water to a boil and add in chicken. Cook until the chicken floats to the top. Remove from water, set aside to cool.

In large pan, heat vegetable oil on high heat, add the onion (SET TWO SLICES ASIDE FOR THE SAUCE) and cook, stirring until translucent, approximately 3 minutes.

In a blender add and mix together:
– tomato soup
– garlic
– 2 slices of onion
– chiplote
– water
– salt

Shred the meat and add the onion into a large-size pan and cook on medium-high heat. When onions are softened, add in the tomato and cook for 5 minutes. Add in liquid contents from blender and bring to a boil. Do not let all of the liquid dissolve. Serve over rice prepared according to package directions.

Serves 5-6.

Note: If you don’t have time to boil and shred three chicken breasts you can by a pre-cooked chicken and shred it.


BONUS: Oh, and did I mention it is great with a glass of White Sangria? I’ve co-posted with Ilina Ewens, Dirt & Noise, who does my favorite 5:00PM Friday’s drink posts to give you a second recipe from ‘Taste This’. This is a day that deserves a good drink. Click on over– I know you’ll enjoy her post and her blog. (Shhh- don’t tell her that it is really not Friday yet, with enough of this beverage you just might think it is!)

Drink to the New Year

This guest post is from the friend I’ve yet to meet in person. We speak to each other nearly daily via Facebook and Twitter – we share laughs, recipes and stories and we talk about spending time together when our lives finally collide. Until then, she honored me with her gift of words and mixology. This mystery woman – Ilina Ewen writes a wonderful blog called Dirt & Noise and can often be found on Twitter at @ilinap.

Thank you Ilina, for helping me drink this new year away with illusions of beach-side naps and fruity blissful beverages!

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I haven’t yet met this fellow foodie and cocktail maven on the left coast, though I count her among my friends. I have a hunch that when we meet we could very well gab for hours on end whilst shopping and sipping, leaving little room for breaths and pregnant pauses. Gina perks me up, makes me chuckle, and whets my appetite. I’m dying to pull up a barstool in her kitchen and nosh and toast and laugh.

I imagine Gina has a lovely kitchen. I bet she has really cute aprons too.

A little bird, known as Facebook, told me that Gina will be blowing out candles on a cake this week. Nevermind just how many candles. Since she’s the one who inspired me to start baking from scratch (I’m telling you, her blueberry muffins are sinfully delicious.), I’m pretty sure she’s indulging in a damn good cake. Let’s just say that I’m a better mixologist than a baker. I’ve concocted a little birthday cocktail for my friend Gina.

I’d whisk her away to a blue hued sea with white sand beaches and red pedicures if I could. We’d eat fresh fish, succulent pineapples, and sweet coconut juice. This must sound like a romantic rendezvous to some, but for mothers who work work work, paradise is a beach replete with libations and girlfriends where no one calls us Mommy.

So to toast Gina on her big day, here’s my little taste of paradise. Cheers!

Gina Bina Bobeena

Ingredients
1 ounce dark rum
1 ounce coconut rum
1 ounce banana liqueur
5 ounces pineapple juice
splash of grenadine
pineapple wedge and banana slice for garnish

Directions
Pour first three ingredients over ice in a high ball glass. Add pineapple juice and an ever so slight dash of grenadine. Skewer a pineapple wedge and banana slice to plop in as garnish.

Happy Birthday, Gina!

What do ya love? Keys to a Successful Bowl-en-tine Meal


So much to love in the next few weeks. Do you love the Super Bowl? Do you love the romance Valentine’s Day? Do you love the one your with? Whatever it is that you love, there are some fun days to prepare for and food is key! Yes- you need to make sure that you have your food ready to go. A fun way to ring in either of those days is to go red, get fired up or go home!

I pulled together a few recipes from the blog to get your Bowl-en-tine juices flowing:

Hot Mess Spiced Nuts
(great name, easy to make, just do it!)

Savory Drumettes (a crispy juicy treat –SEE RECIPE BELOW)

Fondue Pasta
(Cuz Cheese is a Crowd Pleaser)

Red Velvet Cup Cakes (for the romantics)

or if you need to connect w/your inner chocoholic and need a serious dose of caffeine to offer your guests…..skip the mini cake and opt for these amazing brownies with a twist.

The Ultimate Cappuccino Brownie (chocolate = Good)

Lemon-aid Blur (get the party started, featured drink for party of 2 or 20)

The key here is that all of these things can be done ahead of time. For a Super Bowl you can serve the mac ‘n cheese in small ramekins for easy individual servings; for the V-day meal serve the mac ‘n cheese along side a nice salad.

Whichever event you do – make it memorable. Incorporate cool serving ideas and make 90% of it ahead of time so that you can kick-back and enjoy the meal ….and the beverage!

Sue’s Sumac Drumettes

The best part about this recipe is that there are only three ingredients besides the chicken: seasoned salt, sumac and pepper. To find other delicious dishes from Sue go to www.justforlicks.com

Photo: www.justforlicks.com



Savory Sumac Drumettes

Ingredients

2 pounds chicken drumettes
2 ¼ tablespoons sumac (available at any Mediterranean market)
1 ¼ tablespoons seasoned salt
½ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
Flat leaf parsley for garnish

Directions

Preheat oven on broil at 500 degrees.

Rinse chicken drumettes in a colander. Set aside. Line a 12 x 18 baking sheet with aluminum foil, covering the sides. This makes for easy clean up and protects your baking sheet from scraping any stuck-on chicken.

Line up the drumettes on the baking sheet making sure they do not touch.

Using half of your ingredients, sprinkle drumettes evenly first with seasoned salt, then sumac, then pepper. For even coating, it may be easier to use your fingers. With tongs, flip them over and repeat on the other side.

Broil on the second level from the top for fifteen minutes – depending on the heat of your oven. They should look dark brown and crispy. Take out of the oven. If there are any fatty drippings on the baking sheet, drain them off in the sink. Turn the chicken over and broil for ten more minutes until dark golden brown and crispy.

These drumettes do not have the texture of buffalo wings, which are slightly gooey. These are crispy and juicy. They are so flavorful that there is no need for any dipping sauce.

>Personal Gina commentary – These drumettes are great as an appetizer or to accompany another dish, like mac ‘n cheese. Just be sure to have your napkins ready because your digits will be messy. WARNING: once you have ONE drumette, you’ll have FIVE more. Just. That. GOOD! <

Cremas- A Haitian Indulgence


While we are nearly mid-way into 2010 I have surprisingly not had the time to post any of my recent cooking adventures- that said, many of the new ‘concepts’ have not been what I would deem as worthy successes. Happily, this morning when I logged onto email a post from my Twitter pal @ilinap hit me as the perfect post. I reached out to her and asked if she would share her thoughts/words/philanthropic outreach/recipe with all of you. Graciously, she said ‘yes!’.

This post is more than just a fun recipe, this post can help a group of people. Each comment on her site earns a dollar to help Haiti and you get to learn a bit more about a wonderful, sweet local beverage. What you may not know is that ‘Dirt and Noise’ has a regular Friday feature called 5:00 Friday where Ilina posts a fun new drink recipe. This week she took that concept and blended together (pun intended) a way to use her Friday indulgence to help others.

A bit of Ilina’s excerpted post:
I grappled with posting today. I mean, I feel kinda lousy throwing back a cool cocktail while millions of people are struggling for a simple glass of water in Port Au Prince, Haiti. It is hard to belt out a guffaw and embrace glee while I know so many people are hurting in the throes of despair. There’s not enough hyperbole to go around to adequately explain the situation down there. A mere 90 miles from our shores.

Today I’d like to use 5:00 Fridays to give a nod to Haiti’s culture. With this drink, you’d better make a couple batches and invite over the neighbors. Better yet, invite the neighbors and collect a cover charge at the door. Donate the cash to the people of Haiti. I’ll even donate a buck to UNICEF for every comment on this post.

This drink is like a delectable milkshake without the hassle of a blender. What I love is that the Haitians like to serve this rich concoction with pastries or cakes. I’m all about indulging my inner sweet tooth (and outer love handles).

Cremas

2 (12 oz) cans of evaporated milk
4 (12 oz) cans of sweetened condensed milk
1 (15 oz) can cream of coconut (NOT to be confused with coconut milk)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 anise star
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1 lime (zest and juice)
1/5 80 proof rum (You read that right. A fifth. The whole bottle)

Mix all ingredients together in a large pot and pour into tall glasses filled with crushed ice. Sprinkle with a bit of nutmeg to fancy it up.

I raise a glass to the people of Haiti and all those reaching out and flying in to help them. Peace. Click her to

Thank you Ilina for your post. Friends and family, please click here to comment and donate (at no cost to you) one dollar to Hati.

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And if you want to do more- there are many ways to contribute (as taken from both Ilina’s site ‘Dirt & Noise‘ and Jane Maynard’s “This Week For Dinner‘:

Unicef

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
: (Text “HAITI” to “90999” to donate $10 to the Red Cross.)

Haiti Reborn: An local organization accepting donations to help earthquake relief efforts http://www.quixote.org/earthquake

Doctors Without Borders: Another organization already in Haiti and working directly with victims of the earthquake http://doctorswithoutborders.org

Partners in Health: Based in Boston, Partners in Health (PIH) have been working in Haiti for many years to establish rural health clinics http://www.pih.org for more information

Yéle Haiti: Wyclef Jean’s organization. They have many directly-linked projects to community groups in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas. (You can text “yele” to 501501 to automatically donate $5 to the éle Haiti Earthquake Fund. The 5 bucks will be charged to your regular cell phone bill. It doesn’t get any easier than this.) or you can visit the website http://www.yele.org

It’s A Pisco Party

A delightful alternative pisco beverage

A dlightful alternative pisco beverage

I have the honor of being the celebratory guest blogger for my good Twitter pal and birthday gal Iliana Ewen. That in mind, this drink comes with wishes for another great year ahead. Should she wish to hide from her special day, this tasty beverage is certain to erase her memory when combined with laughter, friends, family and a bit of cake!

Three years ago, I met a young gal from Peru named Rosa. We became friends and through that friendship she introduced me to all things Peruvian. While the cuisine is amongst my favorites I must also confess that I have often indulged in the native alcohol — pisco [prounced PEES-KO]. You should know, I have a soft spot for both Rosa and pisco. These two key instigators blended with my Italian heritage are responsible for this seemingly innocent concoction.

But like all bar drinks, this one must have an interesting story and that story is rooted in the origins of pisco.

Pisco- Drinkology 101- facts to impress your friends while under the influence:
– Pisco is both a city and an important port on the Peruvian coast.
– The name originates from the Inca word for a ‘bird’
– Pisco is made from a special grape in the Andes Mountains and dates back to the 1500s
– It is a South American brandy-like liqueur distilled from grapes and is 45% alcohol
– Both Chile and Peru claim pisco as their national drink and are still fighting over who has sole ownership (Rosa says it is Peru that owns it!)
– Most common pisco drink is a pisco sour (but that’s a whole ‘nother story!)

In conclusion, pisco is some serious stuff.

Lemon-Aid Blur
Note Secret Measurement: 2 parts liquid K.O. Be sure to read over both ingredients lists.

Lemon Simple Syrup Ingredients

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
12 strips of lemon zest (approx 2 lemons)

Lemon Simple Syrup Directions

Use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest (or peel) off of lemons before juicing them as directed in the remainder of the drink recipe (called The Blur- see below).
In small saucepan, on medium-high heat mix together sugar, water and zest. Stir occasionally until sugar dissolves. Let stand 20 minutes, until cool. Syrup can be refrigerated up to one week – and is also good over berry flavored sorbets.

The Blur Ingredients

¾ cup lemon simple syrup
¼ cup pisco (or ouzo), chilled
½ cup + 1 TBS fresh lemon juice
4 lemons
6 sprigs basil (or mint for the less adventurous)
ice, crushed

The Blur Directions

Stir together the simple syrup, pisco (or ouzo), and the fresh lemon juice.
Fill six small glasses with ice, fill to the brim and add a sprig of basil.

Foodie Mama Ilina Ewen- Discovers Taste This!


Ilina took the book in like it was her own creation- she prepared and sampled THREE recipes from the book:
* Chicken Jerusalem
* Parmesan Crisps
* Needle in the Haystack

Some stories behind the recipes:

I remember eating Chicken Jerusalem for the first time at my friend Sue’s house. There was always a delicious something brewing at her home – and this dish is still a favorite of mine on a regular basis.

The Parmesan Crisps were my Grandmother Ginny’s favorite ‘keep on hand’ appetizer for those unannounced drop-by guests. If you are organized (I am not often in this category), you can make them before hand and keep them ‘ready to go’ in the freezer. They are featured on the front cover of the book and they are a MEGA CROUTON waiting to be devoured.

Needle in the Haystacks are just something I loved to eat growing up. No deep dark story here except for the variety of chocolate you use. Total salty-sweet combo. Wish I could whip some up now.

So what did Ilina have to say? I’ll share an excerpt from her review:
I have been a cooking fiend the last few days. I serendipitously received a new cookbook on my doorstep last Friday. I generally read cookbooks like they’re novels. I pore over them in the bookstore, thumb through dogeared pages among the racks at used bookstores, and spend hours gazing at recipes online. On rainy days, I curl up with a cup of Tension Tamer tea and browse through a stack of cookbooks. I clip recipes from the likes of Cooking Light , Food & Wine , Cookie , Bon Appetit , and Southern Living, all of which arrive in my mailbox monthly. You know what? I never make a single recipe. I use cookbooks, recipes in general really, as inspiration. I don’t measure a thing and am fond of substitutions when the recipe calls for something I don’t have on hand and can’t manage a trip to Harris Teeter. I joke that I am the queen of “kitchen sink cooking;” I can muster up a great meal with a dash of this and a dollop of that, whatever lurks in the back of the pantry or in the bowels of the freezer are fair game. I consult a recipe just to get ideas for spice blends, cooking times, food pairings, or menu options. It is rare that I cook with a book propped open.

Until I discovered Taste This! by Gina Von Esmarch.

If you want to know her detailed recap of the recipes, you must read her article, Taste This!.