Monthly Archives: September 2010

Are you ready for it??

It’s here!!!  It’s time!!! Are you ready for it???

For what you ask….?

The returnnnnnn of the Spicy Pumpkin Soup! 😀

After spotting this beauty back at World Market for the fall season, I was almosttttt happier than when I found this surprise on our front porch this afternoon!

Thanks friends at Chobani – ya’ll seriously rock my worlddddd! 😀

I definitely ‘might’ have dove right in for a refreshing peach afternoon snack, just sayin’!

Well if you’ve been following the bloggie for a while now, you’re probably pretty familiar with my somewhat neurotic obsession  slight obsession with World Market Spicy Pumpkin Soup.

And may just remember the 4,392 times few times I made it last year 😉

And if you’re a newer reader (heyyyyyyyyyy!) – let me introduce you to delicious!

This time around, instead of the usual half n’ half substitution, I stuck with the heavy cream.  But only used about 3 tblsp instead of the over 1 cup the package calls for…. (I know, crazy, right???)

And ya know what?  Still awesome-tacular! 

It definitely doesn’t need that much heavy cream/half n’ half/etc. in my humble opinion.  The flavor and consistency is so spot-on that just a lil’ goes a long way with this soup 🙂

To go with our soup, of course there were sammies!

Ham & mozzarella sammies to be exact…

P.S.  Obsessed with this mini-bamboo cutting board I scored at Marshalls for a mere $3.00!!!

All roasty toasty for this torrential downpour of a night (please bring the sun back, mmmkay weather man?)

Mmmm-tastic!

Served with a side of Get Him to the Greek and you got yourself a fabulous Thursday evening…

(With some Grey’s Anatomy and Jersey Shore for dessert of course :P)

TGIAF!!!!

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Chicken & Plantain Stew

Gloom and doom – that’s what I’m going to call today…

Well, actually… that was before I came home! 😉

After being sick and missing two days of work this week, let’s just say that my work was cut out for me upon arrival today.  Add in a late departure tonight plus a cold & rainy evening… yada yada you get the picture.

But then I walked through the door of our house to scents of apple cinnamon and pumpkin spice, and my oh my was this girl’s frown turned upside down!

Don’t you just love when someone knows the perfect thing to do to cheer you up?  Well today that was The Man, and today that was coming home to a clean house complete with lit candles to warm up the downstairs.

>3 All the troubles of the day just melted away ❤

So. Very. Lucky.

And as they say, no good deed goes unnoticed now does it?  (okay okay, this isn’t exactly that case now is it 😛 )

So you know that I had to whip up something yummy for dinner to say “thank you.”

Chicken & Plantain Stew

Inspired by Cooking Light

On a cold and rainy night what is better than a warm bowl of seriously delicious food?  Not much my friends.

So that’s what I was set out to do!  And with some plantains that had hit their perfect stage for this type of dish, I just couldn’t wait to make it happen 😀

I used this recipe as the inspiration, however did modify it quite a bit based on what we like & what I had on hand.

Anyways, who says you can’t make a recipe even if you don’t have all the ingredients?  I say just take it as an opportunity to “make it your own!”

First up, the veg chop:

Onion.  Green Pepper.  Jalapeno Pepper. Garlic.

Sauteed in olive oil until they start to get golden.

Now the tomatoes.

All into the pot!  Veggies plus chicken stock plus spices/S&P.

While this gets happy, cook the chicken and prep the plantains.

I know what you’re going to say, these look like overrrrrr ripe bananas silly Fanatic?!

And yes – you would be right 😛

But friends, bananas they are not.  They are plantains, and the blacker they get the sweeter they become!  So at this stage they were at the perfect stage to add a beautiful sweetness to this savory dish.

If you’ve never seen one, you’ll notice that they deceivingly look like their friend the banana 😉

But these are firmer & lower in sugar, eaten cooked and often used much like a potato.

We love them in this house!

And tonight was no exception.

In went the chicken (which I had shredded once done cooking) plus the liquid used to cook said chicken.  I let this simmer over medium for about 15 minutes.

Then the plantains.  Covered the pot and let simmer for another 20 minutes.

And here you have it!

Top with fresh parsley and hot sauce if desired and you’ll have yourself a pretty fabulous meal!

Hearty chicken + sweet plantain + spicy hot sauce = partayyyyyyyyyyyyyy 😛

Perfect for a cool, rainy night I might add!

Chicken & Plantain Stew

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 small green peppers, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds & ribs removed, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2 chicken breasts, boiled & shredded (reserve 4 cups cooking water)
  • 2 cups chicken stock (homemade if you got it!)
  • 2 plantains, sliced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tblsp olive oil

Saute onion, green pepper & jalapeno over medium heat until they start to turn golden – seasoning with salt & pepper.  Turn heat to low and add garlic, stirring to avoid burning.

Meanwhile, bring about 5 cups water to a boil and add in chicken breasts, cooking until done.  Remove from cooking liquid (save!) and shred using the 2-fork method.

In a large pot, combine the chicken stock, onion/pepper mixture, tomato, cumin and dried oregano.  Allow to simmer for a few minutes while the chicken finishes cooking.

Add in the shredded chicken, 4 cups of the chicken cooking liquid and salt/pepper.  Allow to cook over medium for about 15 minutes (or until it has the consistency you like).

Last go the plantains, into the pot and simmered over medium-low (covered) until they become tender and done — about 20 minutes.

Serve with fresh parsley and hot sauce if you like!

Hope you friends enjoy 🙂

New Kitchen Gadget!

Where has she been..?!

Well that’s a great question friends, and so sorry for bailing on ya’ll for the start of this week…

But unfortunately, I’ve been a bit under the weather 😦

And as such, the eats around here have consisted of gourmet items such as chicken soup, ice cream, cereal?… you know, the typical “sick foods” 😉

But before things took a turn for the worse, I did have a chance to whip up a decent meal using a fun new kitchen gadget I won a few weeks back from my girl Erica!

I present to you:  the Tofu Press

This thing is a dream in the kitchen, I couldn’t believe how much easier it made my tofu cooking experience! 

And if you’ve ever cooked with tofu before, perhaps you can relate to the “2 plate pressing method” I may or may not be referring to 😉

Check out how much liquid this sucker pressed out in just a half hour’s time in the fridge!

Then I used the same container to marinate the ‘fu — it comes with a perfect lil’ lid for doing so.

I simply cubed the pressed tofu and let marinate in the following mixture:

  • 1 tblsp coconut oil
  • 2 tblsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp grated ginger

This is a recipe “theme” that I use often on tofu, but tweak depending on my mood / what I have on hand (check out the original tofu adventure here!)

Once it had marinated for about a half hour, I simply placed it on a baking sheet and put into a 400F oven for 30 minutes – flipping halfway through.

Perfection.

Every time 😀

Served simply with brown rice topped w/ buttah and steamed broccoli, this was the last “normal” meal I have had in the recent past 😛

But it sure was a good one!

Now I’m out, there’s lots of sleeping & resting to be done so I can get back to work tomorrow… and perhaps some more ice cream eating since breakfast and lunch may have not been enough?! 😉

Not-So-Chorizo Soft Tacos

How is everyone’s weekend going?!  Good I hope 😀

I’m so glad ya’ll like the peanut butter banana chocolate cake-cookie recipe too – mmmmm yummmm!

Well after a quick stop yesterday afternoon at ¿Qué Pasa?, a local Latino Festival, we spent the evening like this in la casa de Fanatic 😉

She so has a career in show-bizzzz, don’t ya think?  LOL.

P.S.  Tasted some Goya Coconut Soda as well as lime icecream there which were more than refreshing on a 98F September afternoon!

For dinner, I whipped up a Mexican inspired recipe that was an idea of one of my best friends Kristine – who I always trust when it comes to cooking, she can make some great food ya’ll! 

And seriously, I would have never thought to make this but I’m so glad I finally tried it! 🙂

Not-So-Chorizo Soft Tacos

We had to make a quick stop off for the ingredients, and since ‘you-know-who’ isn’t the most patient with grocery shopping we just had to stick with this Aidells Cajun Style Andouille in place of chorizo since a stop at another store just wasn’t in the cards…

Hence the “not-so-chorizo” title 😛

I was cool with it though since these bad boys are made from pork raised without hormones, plus tasted great.

I simply sliced and browned them stovetop until warmed though, skins removed.  While they were cooking I chopped up all the veggies.

Served taco-bar style with soft flour tortillas, lettuce, tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, salsa, shredded cheddar and hot sauce of course 😛

These were such a different take on the soft taco and both The Man and I loved them!

Mine.  All mine.

His. 

The Cajun andouille was a great spicy stand-in, but next time I’m going to be on the hunt for some authentic chorizo to make these bad boys!

As a side dish I cooked up some of the fresh farmer’s market green beans I had gotten earlier in the day.

Steamed in a saucepan (covered) using chicken broth with some onion, jalapeno and tomatoes (add at the last minute) plus salt & pepper, this was a lovely side dish!

Not one to dive into the first bowl of green beans I see (I’ll admit they aren’t my #1) – this batch o’ beans I got at the market was top notch and I actually ate them for both lunch and dinner yesterday?!  Who am I?!

Topped off with a glorious 9 hours of sleep and awoken by raindrops on the window (we haven’t had rain in weeks) it was definitely a most relaxing weekend 🙂

Hope ya’ll had a good one too!

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Cake-Cookies

Say that 3 times fast?? 😉

Well after dinner last night The Man informed me that we had no dessert left…  *gasp* the horror!

Being a mandatory after dinner event in our house  Friday night and all, I decided, why not whip up some homemade cookies with some things we had on hand… couldn’t be that hard right?!

Well luckily, I was right!  And the results were just lovely 🙂

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Cake-Cookies

  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 3 large spoonfuls peanut butter
  • 4 tblsp sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tblsp butter, melted
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 mini Hershey milk chocolate bars, broken

Like I said, this recipe couldn’t have been easier!

1.  Combine banana and sugar in a medium size bowl.  Mash using a fork (the sugar helps to get it really really mashed).

2. Add in peanut butter and stir until the peanut butter softens (mine was refrigerated since it’s natural) and incorporates fully.

3.  Then add in the butter & egg white, continuing to stir with fork until stirred in and kind of “whipped” (this made the cake-cookies fluffy I think).

4.  Dump in the flour, incorporate fully but don’t stir too much or the dough will start to get tough.

5.  Lastly, break up your chocolate pieces (or use chocolate chips, go for it!) and fold half of them into the batter. 

6.  Spoon dough onto a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray, topping each one with a chunk o’ chocolate.  I made 4 big cookies out of this, I would recommend keeping them big as well so they get that cake-like “fluff.”

7.  Bake at 350F for about 15 minutes until the bottoms just start to brown/crisp up.

EATTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!

Verdict?

Flavor was spot on.  Texture was awesome, the inside was fluffy & light just like a cake and the outside had that cookie-like quality with a slight crisp to hold it all in.  The random chocolate chunks were such a delight too!

I’d highly recommend giving these a whirl if you’re addicted to desserts and find yourself scrounging around the cabinets for something sweet a peanut butter & banana fan!  I promise you won’t be sorry 😉

Farmer’s market and ExerciseTV workout on the agenda this morning, I better get hoppin’!

Yay for Saturdays 😛

Shrimp Curry in a Hurry!!

… I’m sure I”m not the first one to ever say that one before, now am I?! 😉

Well first off, thanks for all your fabulous & sweet comments on my last post.  It never ceases to amaze me just how supportive this blogging community is and I’m thankful for that everyday!  You know you friends will be some of the first to know once it all shakes out 😀

Secondly, I am lovin’ all your tasty beet suggestions, I definitely have a few dishes on the “to try” list now!

And speaking of tasty dishes, what-do-ya-say about a super-fast yet mega-flavorful dish for tonight?

Okay, good.  Then I’m your gal 😛

Shrimp Curry in a Hurry!!

After arriving home later than usual tonight I was totally ready for something easy but also super delicious… and I had a few ideas in mind based on cuisine type (Indian, Mexican and Italian were swirling around in my mind) so I had The Man helped me decide.

What resulted was an Indian-Italian merge of flavors!

With a minimal amount of ingredients, a most fabulous dish was “born”…

Coconut milk, onion, garlic, jalapeno, Muchi curry.

Chopped.

Want to know what my new favorite kitchen tool is these days?

Yep.  You got that right.  All this pepper choppin’ I’ve been doing finally called for some hand protection!  Those suckers are spicy, and if you’ve ever experienced the “wrath of the jalapeno” then you know what I’m talkin’ about 😉

Into the wok with some coconut oil went the onion… then the jalapeno… lastly the garlic.

About 5 minutes were all they needed to get nice & soft with a slight brown.

Then the shrimpssssss.  These were the pre-cooked frozen ones leftover from the other night.  Made my life super-easy tonight 🙂

Lastly, a sauce of coconut milk and curry powder was added along with some cooked fettucine.

I covered this up and let it soak up all the flavors for about 10 minutes on low heat before serving.

And the final dish was topped with some fresh mint! 

The verdict?  Flavor was excellent.  The pasta really soaked up all that coconut curry goodness and was so much better than the original-rice-plan I had going. 

Plus the jalapeno lended the most fabulous spicy kick, but not too overbearing, just enough to tickle your tongue!  And the fresh mint had the best “cooling effect” to finish it off.

Quotes from The Man tonight on this:  “I just ate 2 entire bowls of this stuff” followed by an “I was VERY pleased with this meal” 😉

I was actually surprised that it got such rave reviews, I knew I would love it but this is not something I thought he’d devour in quite the way he did… so pleased!

Shrimp Curry in a Hurry!!

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds & ribs removed, chopped
  • 1 tblsp virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 14oz. package pre-cooked frozen shrimp (100-150 count)
  • 1/2 tblsp Muchi curry powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 1/3 package fettucine

Heat up a wok or  skillet to medium-high.  Add coconut oil and onions, cooking for about 3 minutes & stirring constantly.  Add in jalapenos for another few minutes then the garlic.  Veggies should be nice and tender once done (about 5-7 minutes).  Season with salt & pepper.

Add in frozen shrimp and cook until they warm though.  Then in goes the coconut milk and curry powder, stirring. 

Meanwhile cook fettucine according to package directions.

Once the sauce has combined, add the cooked pasta to the wok/skillet, lower temp and cover – allowing all the flavors to make friends and the fettucine to soak up all the sauce.

Serve with fresh mint if desired! (so recommended 😉 )

Hope ya’ll enjoy! 

Happy Grey’s Anatomy & GTL night to all 😀

Return of the Roasted Beet!

Happy Wednesday everyone!

I must tell ya’ll that today has been one of the most exciting days of my life, and I can’t wait to share all the details with you friends as soon as possible!!!!! 😀

And just to clear this one up: (1) no, I am not engaged and (2) no, I am not pregnant 😉

And since the temps rose to a “comfortable” 94 degrees today, this first day of fall (??), we thought why not prolong the summer and grill out tonight to celebrate?

Alrightttt!

Barbecue Chicken – always a classic.

To go alongside our grilled chicken I had my eye on some sort of roasted beet dish, which my mouth hasn’t seen since last winter!

But not just any ol’ roasted beet dish, this one was going to be something different…

Roasted Beets w/ Yogurt-Garlic-Mint Sauce

After washing my farmer’s market beets & removing their stems, I placed them (wrapped in foil) into a 400F oven for 45 minutes to roast.

Then I gathered up the ingredients for the sauce!

  • 1 container plain Chobani yogurt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • fresh mint (about 20 leaves)
  • sea salt (about 1 tsp)
  • black pepper (about 1 tsp)
  • 1 tsp olive oil

This sauce was easy peasy!  Just give the garlic a quick mince then smash up using some sea salt to release all the wonderful flavors.

Before:

After:

Juicy 😉

This definitely released some “garlic fury” but oh wow was the taste superb!  As long as you like garlic that is 😛 

If lotsa garlic and repelling vampires isn’t your thang, then lay off the garlic a bit and go with perhaps 1 clove or half a clove!

Then combine the yogurt, garlic, sea salt, black pepper, olive oil and chopped mint – give it a stir.

The thick Chobani Greek yogurt makes a wonderful creamy sauce!

Once the beets finish roasting, open up the foil and let those suckers cool a bit before easily scraping off the skin with a knife and slicing thickly.

Top with your yogurt garlic mint sauce and prepare to transport yourself to food heaven.  I’m not even kidding.

First reaction:  eyes crossed because it was so outta control good.

Second reaction:  repetivitively stating how outta control good this was.

Third reaction:  eating the entire bowl.

Go make this.  Go make it now.  By far one of my favorite vegetable dishes ever.  The strong tang of the garlic with the cool mint balanced out with the creamy yogurt was just a playground for the tastebuds… who knew a beet could be so good?!

“Rounded out” with some organic mac n’ cheese this meal was so good that The Man and I were literally in silence eating / enjoying every single bite.

Well, almost in silence… if only I could shut up about those beets haha 😉

Yum.

Do you like beets?  If so, what’s your favorite way to prepare them?