Monday, November 30, 2009

Muffin Monday: Choco-nana Nut Muffins

Choco-nana Nut Muffins

1 cups cake flour
3/4 cup old fashion oats
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 each bananas, ripe, mashed (about 1 cup)
3/4 cup whole milk
3 tbsp canola oil
1 egg
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup chocolate chips

1. Heat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In large bowl, combine cake flour, whole wheat flour, oats, wheat germ, 1/2 cup brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg; mix well.

3. In small bowl, combine bananas, milk, oil and egg; whisk until blended. Add to dry ingredients; stir about 20 strokes or just until dry ingredients are moistened. Add walnuts and chocolate chips. Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups.

4. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until muffins are golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 1 minute; remove from pan. Cool on wire rack or serve warm.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday Gravy

OK Tony Soprano fans. I'm not going to post this recipe, because I really think you should get the book and besides, I would be typing all night!!! I laughed when my husband said he saw a good recipe in The Soprano Family Cookbook. We can't remember if the book was a gift, since my husband was a big fan of The Sopranos, or if one of the morning shows plugged the book and we went out and bought it...hmmm. Anyway, we love the book.

My first introduction to The Soprano Family Cookbook was years ago when my son, Tyler, cousin, Melissa and I tagged along with my sister, Maria and brother-in-law, Ravi to go skiing. We have all grown up skiing, but on this particular day, I tried Snowboarding. Whatever. Thank God, the instructor was pretty strong and was able to pick me up and turn me around so my butt wasn't always pointing down the mountain. Well, we all had fun!!!

When we got back to our house, my husband had made a nice big pot of Sunday Gravy, pasta, and garlic bread. YUM. Subsequently, Maria and Ravi liked the Sunday Gravy too. They went out and got the book and we enjoyed it again the next week...YUM.

I made a big batch of Sunday Gravy a few weeks ago and froze some it. Once again, we love Sunday Gravy. Supper easy dinner. Just add pasta and garlic bread. Perfect post-Thanksgiving meal! We are so sick of turkey and ham, aren't you?

Here's the recipe...(get the book-you won't regret it!)

Get everything ready...

olive oil, garlic, Italian peeled tomatoes, basil, ground pepper,

pork spareribs, Italian sausage, veal stew meat...

simmer, simmer,

add the meatballs and EAT!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

San Francisco Stuff: Citrus-Cranberry Sauce

I've been holding on to this recipe since I was in college. I lived in a cool San Francisco studio in Lower Haight and depended on the San Francisco Chronicle to satisfy all my culinary curiosities. I didn't have a lot of cash in those days, so I didn't eat at all the cool SF eateries all the time. However, my friends and I often got together and had dinner parties. We all loved food and learning about new wines and other "Stuff". Anyway, one Thanksgiving, I made this cranberry sauce and I've made it every year since.

I have shared this recipe with many friends and family members. This is fresh and a 100% better than anything that might crawl out of a can!!! This sauce is great with turkey, but I put a little on pumpkin pie and sometimes make a quick appetizer with crackers and Manchego cheese. YUM.

Holiday Fitness Program: Week II

Fitness Trainer Tim Koffler
Sunday: Rest
Tuesday: 30 Cardio/ spin
Wednesday: Power Walk w/ my friend
Thanksgiving: Resistance Training
Friday: 30 Cardio/ Step Mill
Saturday: Resistance Training
I feel like I should have done more cardio because of Thanksgiving, but I didn't pork out on Thanksgiving, so no biggie! My husband did resistance training both times with me this week, so it went by quickly. Next week, he'll only get to workout with me on the weekend. OK, all the business travelleres on my Christmas list...Stocking Stuffer!!!

Ending Sunday, November 22, 2009
Holiday Fitness Program: Week 1
Sunday: Resistance Training with Trainer

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Cardio-Arc Trainer/ 30 minutes

Wednesday: Cardio-Step Mill & Row/ 30 minutes

Thursday: Resistance Training

Friday: Yoga

Saturday: Cardio-Row & Elliptical/ 30 minutes

Overall, I feel good about the week. This week will be challenging with Thanksgiving on Thursday and cooking/baking all week.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Having a Cocktail: The Sunset

Brr... The cold nights are back. Not quite in the Holiday mood yet and missing Summer. Perfect cocktail for today, The Sunset. A taste of Summer with the warm taste of dark rum. CHEERS!


1 part Meyers Rum

1 part Orange Juice

1 part Pineapple Juice

1 splash Grenadine

Garnish: Orange & Cherry

Tyler's Favorite Side: Broccoli Casserole

I started making Broccoli Casserole years ago when my son was young and he wasn't a fan eating anything green. Although I would prefer that he had vegetables raw, steamed or sauteed in olive oil, sometimes, kid won't eat that stuff. If you're familiar with Paula Deen on the FoodNetwork, you know butter, mayonaise and sour cream are her friends. Fine, however, not the healthiest way to eat. These days, we only have Broccoli Casserole once or twice a year and when I make it, I make enough to share.
Yummy, but not to be eaten too often.

Somewhere in this spoon is a bite of broccoli!

Broccoli Casserole
adapted from Paula Deen's Broccoli Casserole

2 (16-ounce) packages frozen chopped broccoli
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
2 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups crushed crackers
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with vegetable oil cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, combine broccoli, mayonnaise, cheese, soup and eggs. Place the mixture in the prepared baking dish. At this point, I put the casserole in the fridge and finished the next day, just make sure to bring the casserole to room temperature before baking. Top with the crushed crackers and pour the melted butter evenly over the crackers.

Bake for 35 minutes or until set and browned.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Side: Lee's Sweet Potato Casserole

I don't remember where she got the recipe, but both my sister and I make my sister-in-law, Lee's "Sweet Potato Casserole" every year for Thanksgiving. Many years ago, my sister-in-law lived with us here in Washington. At that same time, my youngest sister Maria, then still a student at UW, would spend a lot of time at our house when she wasn't at school. Anyway, one year I hosted Thanksgiving and we had Cornish Game Hens instead of turkey (huge mistake). Lee & Maria helped make all the side dishes. I can hardly remember the whole menu. Lee found a recipe from somewhere, I thought it was David Letterman's Mother's cookbook and John thought it was from Naomi Judd's book - both wrong, for Sweet Potato Casserole. YUM.
I don't remember ever really reading the recipe Lee used, but I re-created it every year from memory. My sister later moved to London, and then Amsterdam and when she and her expat friends got together for Thanksgiving, she would always make Lee's Sweet Potato Casserole.
This year I used a recipe from the Southern Living Holiday cookbook, which was similar to Lee's recipe. I have added cinnamon and candied pecans, other years, maply syrup. I know my sister has her own version too. However, Lee emailed the recipe to me, so here's the original recipe adapted from Randy Travis' wife.

Sweet Potato Casserole
4 cups sweet potato, cooked and mashed*
1/2 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup butter
1/2 to 1 cup finely chopped pecans

1. Combine sweet potatoes, sugar, eggs, vanilla, milk and melted butter.
2. Beat with an electric mixer till smooth.
3. Spoon into a greased 2-quart baking dish.
4. For topping: combine brown sugar, flour, butter and pecans.
5. Sprinkle over top of casserole.
6. Bake in a 350°F. oven for 30 minutes
*I had peeled and steamed the sweet potato and the final dish was a little loose. I would usually roast the potatoes, but since I was doing so much other baking, I decided to steam the potatoes instead.
**I would double the recipe for tht Topping, more is better in this case.

Travis Sweet Potato on Foodista

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Baking: Marbled Pumpkin Cheesecake

I made these cute little babies for my good friend Jin and her family. Thought it might be easier to serve individual cheesecakes instead of having to cut a big one. Aren't they so cute! I had made a 7" cheesecake and a couple tester-sized cheesecakes the other day. I froze and sent the first cheesecake overnight to my sister in Virginia. I hope she got it.
My family loves these! You know something funny? I am not a big fan of traditional cheesecake and my husband hates pumpkin pie, but guess what? We Love Pumpkin Cheesecake!!!

Marbled Pumpkin Cheesecake
Makes 1 - 9" cheesecake or 12 individual

1 cup crushed gingersnap cookies
1 cup crushed graham crackers
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a medium bowl, mix together the crushed gingersnap cookies, pecans, and butter.
Press into the bottom, and about 1 inch up the sides of a 9 inch spring form pan or in 12 lined muffin cups.
Bake crust 10 minutes for spring form 5 minutes for muffin cups in the preheated oven.
Set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, and vanilla just until smooth.
Mix in eggs one at a time, blending well after each.
Set aside 1 cup of the mixture.
Blend 1/4 cup sugar, pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg into the remaining mixture.
Spread the pumpkin flavored batter into the crust, and drop the plain batter by spoonfuls onto the top.
Swirl with a knife to create a marbled effect.
Bake 55 minutes in the preheated oven for spring form, or 20 minutes for muffin tins, or until filling is set. Check halfway through suggested time for doneness.
Run a knife around the edge of the pan.
Allow to cool before removing pan rim.
Chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

TWD: All-in-one Holiday Bundt Cake

Stumped and don't know what dessert to make for Thanksgiving, put old standbys into the vault for awhile! This dessert puts all the Thanksgiving flavors in to one yummy bite. Pumpkin, pecan, apple, cranberry, cinnamon, nutmeg and my little addition of maple...YUM. Seriously!

Dorie Greenspan has come up with a clever combination of every Fall favorite. I will be making this for family & friends, you know who you are, this Thanksgiving and for years to come! Super easy recipe and at this time of the year, all the ingredients are available everywhere.

This week for Tuesdays with Dorie, Britin of the Nitty Britty, chose the All-in-one Holiday Bundt Cake.

Obviously, this bundt cake did not make it to Thanksgiving, but it was perfect with a cup of Darjeeling!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Night Bites: Pumpkin Custard Pie

Shocking, but the other night we had nothing for dessert. Gasp! I could have had a handful of chocolate chips, but blah. I have been gathering ingredients for my upcoming weeks of baking, so we had everything needed for something SWEET. I didn't want to make one of the recipes on my holiday list, after all, it's late. I didn't feel like digging through my cookbooks or my pile of recipe cards and clippings. Thank you God for Google. I typed in Pumpkin Custard Pie and the rest is history. I clicked the first choice, read it, looked to make sure I had everything I needed...Voila!
Pumpkin Custard Pie
adapted from
1 (9 inch) pie shell
1 cup pumpkin puree
3 eggs
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, sifted well
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups milk

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2. In a large mixing bowl combine pumpkin, eggs, flour, brown sugar, white sugar, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and milk. Beat until smooth. Pour into pastry-lined pie plate.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes, or until set in center.

Here's my late Night Bite. I had to sneak this piece after everyone was asleep...shh!

Holiday Fitness Program: Week 1

Sunday: Resistance Training with Trainer
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Cardio-Arc Trainer/ 30 minutes
Wednesday: Cardio-Step Mill & Row/ 30 minutes
Thursday: Resistance Training
Friday: Yoga
Saturday: Cardio-Row & Elliptical/ 30 minutes

Overall, I feel good about the week. This week will be challenging with Thanksgiving on Thursday and cooking/baking all week.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

In the Bowl: Vegetarian in Seattle

I love it when I can share "Fun Fridays" with friends. A last minute change in my schedule made it possible to spend time with my friend, and former business partner - and still friends, Andrew. We met at his cool Capitol Hill place. He and I did yoga together. His living room looks out to the park, so even with our Seattle rain coming down, down, down, we had a great time doing yoga...indoors. I told Andrew I went vegan for a day, of course he chuckled and rolled his eyes. Andrew is a vegetarian and I am the Queen Carnivore! Well, I let Andrew choose the place we'd get a snack, so he chose In the Bowl.
We walked a couple blocks to In the Bowl, right where Olive meets Denny. Hole in the wall, but YUM. Andrew chose the entrees, we both love food, so whatever he chose was going to be great.
Grilled Eggplant Salad: red onion, grilled bell pepper, lemongrass, lime leaves, basil, and chili sauce tossed with grilled eggplant and crispy shredded tofu. This salad was very complex, but in a good way. As many Asian entrees, there are many layers of flavor. The eggplant salad is complex and fantastic.

Spicy Coconut Milk Noodle: wide rice noodle with vegetables and a dash of coconut milk.
I loved this dish. I have been staying away from carbs, so I kept away from the noodles at first. After my first bite, I couldn't stop taking more and more bites.
As I was finishing off the last cup of green tea, the lovely black bean-corn dessert arrived. YUM. I love unexpected surprises and this was sweet, creamy, and delicious.

I hope to have another Yoga Friday with my dear friend Andrew. I hope to go to In the Bowl again!!!

In the Bowl on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 20, 2009

mmmm... Pumpkin Pancakes

I make Pumpkin Pancakes all year round. My family and I love them!
Pumpkin Pancakes
Most of the ingredients for pumpkin pancakes are usually in the pantry, even pumpkin...canned.

2 cups cake flour

2 T wheat germ

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 tsp pumpkin spice

1 1/4 cups skim milk

1/4 cup lowfat vanilla yogurt

1 cup canned pumpkin

4 eggs, slightly beaten

1/4 cup butter, melted
Mix together dry ingredients. Combine milk, eggs, margarine and pumpkin. Stir into dry ingredients until just blended. Pour about 1/3 cup on to a hot griddle. Cook until top bubbles and turn and cook other side.

I always use my favorite Calphalon crepe pan, well, my only crepe pan. A wedding gift. Thank You Kari.

Mix the batter by hand, don't over mix, lumpy is ok.

Add butter and REAL maple syrup. YUM.

Slow Cooker Stuff: Pot Roast

Thumbs up to this recipe!!! John loved it and he's a total critic. Ty had a friend over and the boys loved the potroast too. I served Mashed Potatoes, horseradish, and sour cream on the side.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast adapted from
Marie's Easy Slow Cooker Pot Roast

3.5 pounds chuck roast
salt and pepper to taste
1 packet dry onion soup mix
1 cup water
3 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 stalk celery, chopped

1. Take the chuck roast and season with salt and pepper to taste. Brown on all sides in a large skillet over high heat.
2. Place in the slow cooker and add the soup mix, water, carrots, onion, potatoes and celery.
3. Cover and cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Vegan-4-A-Day: The Last Supper...PHEW!

I think I'm done for the Vegan-4-A-Day. Overall, not bad. I was going to make sushi for dinner, I just didn't eat the fish. Also, I make either hummus or edamame dip all the time so edamame was the protein of choice. I use Alton Brown's recipe for Edamame Dip, and add a little more garlic and a bit more red chili paste, VERY GOOD.
I also made some plain rice rolls with seasoned seaweed. I usually sprinkle some "yamaiso", seasoned seaweed & sesame seed, on plain rice rolls, but at closer inspection of the ingredients, found dried bonito (fish) and shrimp in the mix. Hmmm...I didn't know that! I had a handful of toffee almonds for dessert. That's it!
Well, that concludes my Vegan-4-A-Day. I didn't starve and I survived a day without eggs or cheese! Kudos to both EatingJourney and SillyTaterTot for dreaming up Vegan -4-A- Day.

Vegan - 4 - A - Day: Lunch

OK, I keep questioning my food choices, since I didn't really prepare to go Vegan-4-A-Day. I usually grab a cheese stick before my workout, but NO...not Vegan. I had half a whole grain bagel, some almonds, and an OceanSpray Cranergy.
I made Garlic Chick Peas and Greens and Vegetable Couscous, both from Rachel Ray. I used water instead of chicken broth and everything tasted great
Thanks again to both EatingJourney and SillyTaterTot for creating Vegan -4-A- Day.

Vegan -4-A- Day: Breakfast

Today, I am participating in Vegan 4 a day. I am so thankful to both EatingJourney and SillyTaterTot for creating Vegan -4-A- Day, should be FUN!
First challenge, no cream in my coffee. Hmmm...I switched the coffee for a nice cup of Darjeeling.
Second challenge, I have been loosely following a low glycemic diet, but no eggs on a vegan diet. I haven't had a banana for weeks, but today looks like a banana day.
Vegan Breakfast "Ants on a log"
I sliced a banana in half, slathered with peanut butter and topped with Goji Berries. YUM.
So far so good. I'll be working out later today, so I'll pack some almonds in my gym bag. I should be fine.
Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What the Pho?

OK, there are tons of Pho places around, but the name of this Pho place is funny. I've eaten here a few times before and the pho is not bad. The menu is huge for a mainly lunch place. Service is fast and friendly. Water comes with lemon, isn't that funny? OK, it's the marketing people at What the Pho who get an A+ for coming up with this name. Catches you eye, right. Come on, it's funny.

What the Pho does a great business in downtown Bellevue and is packed by 11:25 am Monday to Friday. Not super clean, but not dirty. No great decor, but not too tacky. It is what it is and I keep going back.

I always get the Taro Bubble Tea with tapioca: Flavored tea blended with ice and non-dairy creamer. Not a low carb choice, but I like Bubble Tea.

I usually get Pho when I eat at What the Pho. Today, I went light and ordered the Goi Cuon Spring Rolls: Vietnamese pork ham, shrimp, lettuce and vermicelli noodles rolled in fresh rice paper served with peanut sauce. Another carb loaded choice, but light, refreshing and yum.

My husband ordered the Thit Nuong: Charbroiled Marinated Pork . Ironically, he hates Pho. Not a soup guy unless it's creamy tomato with a grilled cheese sandwich.

What the Pho on Urbanspoon


Blog Widget by LinkWithin