Archive | August 2012

Marinated Portabella Saute, nom, nom, nom

Marinated Portabellas over pasta


My family is divided.  My 3 year old and I could be happy without meat, my husband and 15 month old are carnivores.  Every so often I try to sneak in some meatless dinners, this night I figured what better than portabellas!  They are meaty and delicious! I marinated them in a little balsamic, olive oil, garlic and Marsala then sauteed with onions, add a little stock, cream and YUM!  I am totally looking forward to eating the leftovers tomorrow.


1/4 cup olive oil

1/3 cup white wine

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 large garlic clove, minced

4 portabella caps

salt and pepper

1 med red onion, thinly sliced

2 cups stock, chicken or veggie

1/2 cup heavy cream



Combine olive oil, wine, balsamic vinegar, garlic in a ziplock or casserole dish.


Slice portabellas into 1/2 inch strips.  Combine mushrooms and marinade, allow to sit for about 20 minutes.

Add about 1 tbsp of olive oil to a large hot skillet.  Saute sliced onions until translucent.


Add marinated mushrooms to the onion and cook until most of the liquid evaporates.

Add the stock and cook down for about 20 minutes

BEFORE the stock was reduced by about 1/2

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream.  Serve on its own or on top of pasta, garnish with Parmesan and fresh basil.

Marinated Portabellas over pasta



I’m sorry Black bean soup, you are not the prettiest, but you may be the tastiest!

Cut up veggies, ready to start the soup!

For the past week, my house has been filled with sickness.   We all have one of those lovely colds, filled with congestion that makes you feel like your head is going to explode… and you kinda wish it just would, already.   I set out to make some soup, I wanted chicken but couldn’t muster the motivation to go buy a bird and roast it.  Lucky for me I had some black beans soaking,  and black bean is a very close second to chicken soup when I am sick.

I apologize for the lackluster images, although super yummy, black bean soup isn’t very exciting to look at.  After I took the bowl pic, I thought about grabbing some avocado and cilantro to dress it up, but I just wanted to eat my soup and veg.

This is a really easy soup!  I do use dry beans and re-hydrate them, but if you prefer you could use 4 (15oz) cans, drained and rinsed.  I prefer to re-hydrate by soaking the beans overnight, but you can also cook the beans to re-hydrate.


1 pound black beans, re-hydrated (or 4 – 15oz cans black beans)

1 tbsp coconut oil (or oil of your choice)

2 cups carrots, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

1 small red onion, chopped

2 bunches green onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp cumin

1-3 tsp chili powder

1/8 – 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

8 cups stock (veggie or chicken)

juice of 1.5 limes

salt and pepper to taste


Add oil to a hot stock pot.  Add carrots, celery, onion and green onion and sweat the veggies.  You don’t want to brown them , just soften them and allow the onions to become translucent.

My mother hates the word “sweat”, I wonder if she prefers to allow her veggies to perspire?

Add the garlic, cumin, chili powder and cayenne turning to coat the veggies.  Allow them to cook and meld for a minute or two.

Spicy, perspiring veggies

Add the black beans and stock, bring to a boil and then simmer covered for about an hour.  If you used canned beans or cooked your beans after an overnight soak, you will only need to simmer for about 10 minutes.

bring it up to a boil, cover and drop it down to a simmer

Add the juice of 1 and 1/2 limes.  To thicken the soup a bit, I use my immersion blender to puree some of the beans and veggies in the soup.  This wil give you a nice creamy soup without adding cream or flour.  If you don’t have an immersion blender you can puree a few cups in your blender – just be careful!!!  The steam likes to build up in the blender and blow off the lid.  If you find you like making soup, I’d buy an immersion blender – they are an awesome tool to have!

Add salt and pepper to your and you are done!  Enjoy your soup naked, if you are super impatient like me or you can garnish with cheese, sour cream, guacamole, avocado, fresh cilantro…..

Naked Black Bean Soup

Savory Key Lime Time

Key Lime Chickpeas with Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato over Quinoa

On a recent shopping trip, I fell in love with a bag of key limes.  They were so cute and tiny and only $1.99 for the pound, I had to have them!  I had visions of a key lime pie – one of my favorites, although I have never made one myself!  I came home and showed my husband my prize, when he informed me that he didn’t like key lime pie.  Hrmph.  I thought about making the pie and eating it all myself, but that would be a bad idea since then I would have to own up to it on my other blog, A Day in the Eats . Soooo, I had to come up with a savory key lime dish.  I still had a bunch of chickpeas in the fridge and a Butternut squash threatening to turn on me, it was time to experiment!

I decided to marinate and cook the chickpeas in a mix of lime juice, soy sauce and garlic, then tossed them with some sauted veggies and ate it all over some quinoa.  It was so good!  I love when a kitchen scramble of random ingredients is a success!


3.5 cups cooked chickpeas

1/2 cup key lime juice

3/4 cup low sodium stock (chicken or veggie)

1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp coconut oil (or oil of your choice)

3/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced

2.5 cups butternut squash, cubed

2 cups sweet potato, cubed


I juiced the fresh key limes with a fork – the little cone shaped juicer I have was too big for the limes.

Juicing these babies took some time…

Combine chickpeas, lime juice, soy sauce and garlic in a pot and allow to marinate for an hour or so.

Marinating Chickpeas

Add the chicken stock and simmer together wile you prepare the veggies.

Heat a large frying pan and add the coconut oil.  Saute onion, until lightly browned.

Onions in coconut oil, one of my favorite scents!

Add the cubed sweet potatoes and butternut squash, and cook, covered over medium low heat, stirring often.

Cook until fork tender.

Combine the chickpeas and liquid with the veggies.

Add the chickpeas and liquid to the pan

Simmer until the liquid cooks away.

Get ready to eat!

Add pepper to taste!


Here is the Nutritional Information, based on 6 servings:

Hummus among us

Cilantro Lime Hummus


Friday, I had plans to meet up with a friend and take our kids to see Alice in Wonderland, followed by a picnic in the park!  It sounded lovely, the boys would love it, we would love it – a musical, food and fresh air – what’s not to like!?!  However, Thursday night when I should have been preparing our picnic goodies I was exhausted and only thinking of bed.  I knew we had to be out of the house early, but I couldn’t bring myself to do anything, which meant Friday morning I’d need something quick, filling and tasty enough for toddlers!

Hummus to the rescue!  I had cooked a big batch of chickpeas a few days prior and had some cilantro that was beginning to wilt.

  Sad, sad cilantro looking for a home. 

I have been on this cilantro, lime cumin kick lately – why not in hummus?  I threw it together and it really was delish!  My friend and I loved it… the kids preferred Ken’s Blue Cheese dressing.  You can’t win ’em all!

Part of my picnic lunch, nom, nom, nom.



2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 can rinsed and drained)

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

juice of 1 lime (about 1.5 tbsp)

2 tbsp tahini

1 tsp cumin

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/8 tsp cayenne

1/4 tsp salt



Add chickpeas to bowl of food processor or blender.

Try to resist snacking on them before you process them…

Process for a bit, until they have a coarse texture, then add the chopped cilantro:

Process a bit more, add the remaining ingredients and process until you reach your desired texture:

About 2 cups of cilantro lime hummus



Cilantro Lime Hummus






Grilled Portabella yumminess

Poratbella Cap topped with cilantro-lime spaghetti squash and avocado

This morning I read this blog post for portabella sliders, for the rest of the day I was craving grilled portabella caps.  This craving started to grow and morph – cumin, I needed cumin and cilantro, lime  …oooh avocado.  Yes, I neeeeeeeed these things!!!!  I started to think of the onion straws on those oh so bad for you burgers and spied the spaghetti squash sitting on my counter.  I had a plan but lacked a few crucial ingredients  …like portabella caps and cilantro (if only my (really awesome) husband hadn’t confused parsley with cilantro when he planted the garden , ARGH!).

All day I tried to get to the store, but as often happens, the day did not cooperate.  I’m not sure what happened to the morning, I just remember looking up and it was lunchtime, Huh? How’d that happen.  Next the electrical inspector who was supposed to arrive between noon and 2PM, arrived at 2:30 and stayed forever! (But he did pass the electric on the pool!)  At this point, I had the kids outside and could sense if I tried to pack them up and go to the store I would pay for it dearly.  Then I realized something, my husband was home early!  “Here you go, Daddy! Enjoy the kids heat up the grill I am off to the store!”  Seriously, this is excitment in my world!  The real excitement came at dinner time when I got to eat these babies!


2 portabella caps

1 spaghetti squash

1 small red onion, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, mined

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

2 tsp cumin

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

juice of one lime

olive oil

salt to taste

1/2 avocado


Cut your spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.

Prepare the spaghetti squash

You can either roast the squash in the oven for 40 minutes (put cut side down in a roasting pan with 1″ of water and cook for 40 min at 400 degrees) or microwave them for 6-8 minutes (put them cut side down in a microwave save dish with enough water to cover the bottom of the dish and microwave on high for 6- min.).  Once the squash is cooked, allow them to cool for a few minutes, then using a fork scrape out the inside to form the beautiful spaghetti like strands.

Prepare your mushroom caps for the grill, rub a bit of olive oil on the tops of the caps, then flip them over and drizzle a bit more on the underside.  Sprinkle the caps with a bit of cumin, salt and pepper.

Waiting for the grill

Grill for about 3 minutes on each side, or until desired degree of doneness.

While the caps are cooking, add a bit of olive oil to a hot skillet.  Sautee the onions until they just start to brown.  Add the garlic,  cumin and cayenne pepper, turning to coat the onions in spice.  Add about half of the spaghetti squash (reserve the other half for another use, or just make 4 mushroom caps instead of two!).  Saute squash with onion and garlic until it starts to brown.

Add chopped cilanto, cooking for about 1 minute more. Transfer squash to a bowl add the juice of one lime and  salt and pepper to taste.

Top for portabella cap with the spaghetti squash mixture, as a few slices of avocado and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Grilled portabella caps with cilantro lime spaghetti squash and avocado

Nutritional information per cap, assuming you use 2 tsp of olive oil (between the rub and the pan)

Egg free, gluten free carrot cake

Egg free, gluten free, carrot oatmeal cake

Recently, my son watched an episode of Curious George where George makes a carrot cake.  He has been asking for carrot cake ever since!  It was a rainy and icky weekend in Upstate, NY – seemed like the perfect time to experiment! I have mentioned before that my son has several food allergies, his egg allergy is improving and as part of the “therapy” , we are supposed to give him baked goods with a small amount of egg in it.  I started out this recipe with egg, but was having difficulty with getting the baking time just right, as a result one of the test cakes resulted in a small allergic reaction.  He had one bite of a cake that contained one egg and ended up with hives on his back.  He didn’t seem to mind because it meant he got to hang out with Mom past his bedtime watching Shrek, while Mom made sure the benedryl was enough and the reaction didn’t get worse.  After that little episode I decided, no eggs in this cake!

Well, for this one it seems the third time was the charm!  We had a nice moist (and thoroughly cooked!) cake!  To top it off I added a lightened up cream cheese frosting, I reduced the sugar a bit and cut the cream cheese with nonfat greek yogurt.  My 3 year old happily licked the beaters, he didn’t seem to notice the change at all 🙂

So, here goes:

This cake can also be gluten free if you buy the proper oats.  Many oats are mixed with flour during processing there are some oats certified to be gluten free.


1.25 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup nonfat, plain greek yogurt

2/3 cups milk (I use 2%)

1.5 cups oat flour (it takes about 2 cups of rolled oats to make the oat flour)

2 tsp baking powder

1.5 tsp baking soda

0.5 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup finely grated carrots, packed (3-4 average sized carrots)

1 8oz can crushed pineapple, drained

1/4 cup mashed banana

1/3 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1 tablespoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the 1.25 cups rolled oats, yogurt and milk in a bowl and set aside to soak.

Mix them up and let them soak!

In another bowl, or large measuring cup, combine the oat flour (to make oat flour process rolled oats in a food processor or blender until they resemble a coarse flour), baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

Grate your carrots, using a fine grater.

In a third bowl combine the carrots, pineapple, banana, brown sugar, coconut oil and vanilla extract.  Add the carrot mixture to the soaking oat mixture and combine well. Next, add the oat flour mixture and combine.  The batter will be very thick.  Divide the batter between two greased 9″ round cake pans and bake for 20-23 minutes.

When the cake pans are cool enough to handle, turn the cakes out and cook completely on wire racks.

cooling cakes

Cream Cheese Frosting

This frosting is lighter and softer than your traditional cream cheese frosting.  To keep calories down, I chose to only frost the top and between the layers.  If you like more frosting on your cake you will want to double the recipe.


4 oz cream cheese at room temperature (you could probably use Neufchâtel  to lighten it up even further)

3 oz nonfat, plain greek yogurt

2.5 oz powdered sugar, sifted


I apologize for the lack of pictures here, just as we got to making the frosting my son heard his friend playing outside ….the baking pace had to be picked up a bit to get out and play!  Mixer shots, really aren’t all that exciting anyway 🙂

Add the cream cheese to the bowl of an electric mixer and whip until smooth.  Add the yogurt and continue to whip until well combined and smooth. Sift the sugar into the mixer bowl, starting out on a slow speed incorporate the sugar into the cream cheese mixture.  Once incorporated whip the frosting to desired texture.

Frost as desired!

Egg free, gluten free carrot oatmeal cake.

Here is the nutritional info for 1/12 of the cake:

and for 1/12 of the frosting recipe:

Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins

Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins

These muffins are a variation of the banana oatmeal muffins I posted recently.  I know I have mentioned pumpkin is a favorite in our house, well oats are another.  I go through a canister of oats every other week.  Even though it is still hot and humid here in Upstate, NY I am starting to think fall.  Soon it will be here, my favorite time of year!  What feels more like fall than a oatmeal and pumpkin, mmm.  These muffins make my 14 month old crazy, when I start to give him one, he starts jumping around in his chair!  I really hope it isn’t because these things are filled with natural stimulants; oats, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg are all stimulants.  On second thought, maybe I should feed him turkey and keep the pumpkin muffins for myself….

These guys can be gluten free is you buy the right oats.  Many oats are coated in flour during processing, however you can find gluten free oats if you wish.

Here goes!


1 – 1/4 cups rolled oats

1 – 1/2 cups oat flour (you can make oat flour by processing rolled oats in your blender or food processor)

1/2 cup plain greek yogurt, nonfat

2/3 cup milk (I use 2% because it is what the kids drink)

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1.5 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cloves

2 cups pumpkin puree

1/3 cup coconut oil (or your preferred oil)

1 egg

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

I use three bowls for this.  In your first bowl, combine the 1-1/4 cups of rolled oats with the yogurt and milk, set aside to soak.

Mix ’em up and let them soak!

Next, process your rolled oats in a food processor or blender until they resemble a coarse flour.

In a separate bowl (or large measuring cup) combine the oat flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices.

In the third bowl add pumpkin puree, brown sugar, coconut oil, egg and vanilla extract, combine well.

Mix until nicely combined!

Add your wet ingredients to the soaking oats and mix well, followed by the oat flour mixture.  Mix everything together and then allow the batter to rest for a minute or two.

Prepare 24 muffin tins with paper liners or a light coat of oil.  Divide batter between the tins; I like to use an ice cream scoop – it is quick and neat!  If you have an left over spaces in the pan fill them with a little water to help everything heat evenly.

Bake for 12 minutes at 400 and the allow to cool on a wire rack.  I make my muffins kid sized, you could divide the batter among 12 tins to make larger muffins.

and the nutrition info, per kid sized muffin 🙂


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