Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday: A Week of Eats

Hello helllo! Welcome back to yet another episode of What I Ate Wednesday, featuring the quirky and talented Jenn over at Peas and Crayons, and staring bloggers across the globe!!

Peas and Crayons

Today is the day. The day that food bloggers wait for each week to entertain their curiosity. Curiosity of the daily lives of their fellow bloggers. This curiosity is satisfied by peaking into a day of their eats!! I am obsessed with WIAW, and eagerly anticipate Wednesday mornings when I wake up and see hundreds of posts linked up to Jenn's site and get click through them all!!

Bulmer waits eagerly for WIAW just as eagerly as he waits for a treat :)
I have discovered so many new ways of cooking, baking, and combining foods just because of WIAW. So, thank you to Jenn, and thank you to all of YOU!! Where would I be without WIAW? Bored. I would be bored, and my daily eats would be boring. And on that note.... here is what you are all here to see, some fabulous breakfasts, snacks, lunches, dinners, and desserts from the past week!

Overnight Oats topped with fresh Organic Strawberries. Refreshing and delicious on a hot, humid August morning. God, I just cannot wait until fall. Enough of the heat! I can't wait until my breakfasts are steamy bowls of oats with HOT coffee!

Cereal Mix without cinnamon and with cinnamon. I had it both ways last week. These bowls include Kashi Heart to Heart. Trader Joe's Organic Raisin Bran Clusters, Banana, Truvia, Cinnamon, and Skim Milk.

Lunch of spring mix topped with quinoa, tomato, feta, avocado, and basil hummus.

Similar salad to my lunch the day before, but this spring mix is topped with a greater portion of quinoa, leftover whole wheat rotini, tomato, and basil hummus.

 Saturday brunch of a breakfast quesadilla with toasted cheesy goodness on the outside and then filled with a fried egg and Sargento reduced fat mexican blend cheese. Guac and salsa served on the side!

Ital-eek Bruschetta....I call it that because I used all of the classic ingredients for Italian Bruschetta (tomatoes, basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper), but then I add feta cheese into the mix which adds some greek flavor to the dish. This was an absolutely lovely combo. I will be posting a full recipe tomorrow, so stop back by and check it out!!

Snack Attack!! Granola, Raisins, and Dark Chocolate all mixed up for a gorgeous little mid afternoon treat :)

 Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Cookies. I made these bad boys Sunday and have been savoring them all week long. Click here to see the recipe and to read about how I am obsessed with Joy the Baker! Lovely spiced cookie. Probably more appropriate in the Fall/Winter, but delicious nonetheless.

Italian Pasta Dinner. Also made Sunday for my parents anniversary :) You can find my recipe by clicking here! It was yummy and wholesome.

I hope you all have an absolutely fantastic Wednesday!! I leave you with a gorgeous sunset in Philly from last weekend, and a few questions :)

What Fall foods are you most excited for?
Do your lunch time salads start to look the same?
What types of different cuisines have you mixed together? Was it a success?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am obsessed with Joy the Baker. I purchased her cookbook back in April, and have read it cover to cover probably 10 times. I recently discovered her blog and podcast and cannot stop listening to it. She. is. a. riot. I love that she is so real and goofy and honest. I want to be her friend. Joy...if you're reading this, I feel like we would really get along :)

After my Julia Child inspiration on Sunday, I decided to search through Joy the Baker Cookbook for something to bake. The first page I opened to was Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Ummm done and done, Ms. Joy. I just happened to have purchased a bag full of sweet potatoes on Thursday, so this was so meant to be.

As Joy instructs, pierce your sweet potatoes with a fork, place them on a baking sheet atop of parchment paper, and then stick them into a preheated 400 degree oven. Those bad boys need to roast for about 40 minutes, until tender enough that they fall off of your fork when you try to poke one and pick it up. After that, I ventured off Joy's cookie path of goodness, and got a little craaazyy with the ingredients. And when I say crazy, I mean not that crazy at all. I really mean whole wheat flour and a spice variation...that's really it.

1 cup of white flour and 1 cup of whole wheat flour for some hearty goodness.

Next, round up your baking essentials. 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon of ground allspice (Joy's recipe calls for 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves and 1/4 teaspoon of coriander...I had neither, so allspice it was!).

Pour all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, and mix!

Gather two large eggs (when I just wrote gather, I immediately pictured you all running out to your hen houses to gather eggs...unrealistic, but I still thought the photo was funny and ironic).

1 cup of packed brown sugar.

Measure out 1/2 cup of vegetable oil. Notice my amazing left handed measuring cup. Thank you for the heirloom, Mimi!

Start by whisking together those lovely, brown, organic, cage-free eggs. Everyone has super expensive eggs because they feel guilty about buying anything other than the organic, cage-free variety...right?

Dump in that gorgeous brown sugar.

Continue to whisk until it's thick and combined. It should be a tan color when you're finished. I whisked my mixture for about 2 minutes. Then add in the oil and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. Whisk until combined.

After forty minutes has passed, check on that sweet potato that has been roasting away in the oven. If it is tender enough (as described above), pull your pan out of the oven, and let the potato sit for about 5 minutes to cool. Then peel off the skin, and mash with a fork.

Mashed (sweet) potato, mashed (sweet) potato! Look at all the orangey goodness.

Dump the cooled, mashed sweet potato into your egg/sugar/oil/vanilla mixture.

Mix that all up with a spatula, and then dump into the dry flour mixture.

Fold the wet mixture into the dry mixture.

....and fold.....

...and fold....

...and fold until you can no longer see any strokes of flour. I decided to opt out of the chocolate chips for my first batch, simply on the grounds that I thought this cookie would be delicious enough without the overpowering flavor of chocolate.

Drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Stick the baking sheet into the oven at 350 degrees and bake for about 12 minutes. I found that as soon as the outside of the cookie started to brown, it was done. Because these cookies are more dense and cake like, it is important not to overcook them.

Out of the oven and perfectly browned. Let these rest for two minutes while you prepare the chocolate chip batter.

 I covered the rest of the dough with about 1/4 of Ghirardelli 60% Cocoa Chocolate Chips. End result?

A comforting cookie dripping with chocolatey morsels.

Holy good night. Enjoy with a big glass of milk or covered with vanilla Greek frozen yogurt as I have...the past two nights :)

Bon Appetit

Hellooo Work Week. Back to the office after a fun weekend. Lots of baking, cooking, drinking, shopping, hanging out with friends, and movie watching. Do you ever watch a film and feel thoroughly inspired? For me, it was Julie & Julia. It was on yesterday afternoon, and I fell back in love with the film. Not that I ever fell out of love...I just forgot how much I loved the story.

I read the book as well (which is much better by the way), but Meryl Streep is simply amazing as Julia Child. And who doesn't love Stanley Tucci? What a pair :) I can only hope that I, one day, have the drive and determination that Julia had to chase her dream of becoming a brilliant cook. I don't even know what my dream is anymore, let alone how to have the motivation and determination to chase it. I told my dad that I was going to choose a cookbook and cook my way through it, and he told me that I needed to have a social life. I said that Julie was able to do it and still find time for friends, but then he reminded me that she was already married and I'm not. So, that's that. A cookbook challenge doesn't seem like it should happen for this single chick any time soon. Welp...nonetheless I was still motivated to cook and/or bake something delicious after watching the film...and Paula's Home Cooking...and Home for Dinner with Jamie Dean (yeah I love the Dean Family, crazy butter laden dishes and all).

I baked Sweet Potato Cookies from the Joy the Baker cookbook (which I will post tomorrow) and created my own recipe for an Italian TBD.

Start by dicing up about half of a medium sized tomato.

Heat up a large sauce pan at medium-high heat. Once the pan is heated through, add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan. Then throw in your diced tomatoes. Sprinkle on a few pinches of salt and a pinch of pepper.

When I was looking through my cupboards for something exciting to throw in the dish, I found this! Trader Joe's Red Pepper Spread with Eggpland and Garlic. I threw about 3 heaping tablespoons of the spread into my pan.

I also added in a pinch of garlic powder.

Meanwhile, I boiled about two cups of whole wheat rotini. I added about 1/4 cup of the starchy pasta water to my sauce pan to add some extra body to the sauce.

Let that all simmer together to thicken up to a garlicky, tomato-ey, goodness.

Throw in the pasta, which has been cooked to al dente.

Mix it alllllll up.

I then decided to do something a little bit crazy. I have been to many Italian restaurants where chefs added breadcrumbs atop of pasta dishes to add a little crunch to the dish. If they can do it, why can't I? I was trying to be like Julia Child and forge my own frontier, wasn't I? So in the breadcrumbs went, with about 3 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese.

The end result was a thick, creamy, and cheesy pasta dish. The breadcrumbs didn't add the crunch that I was hoping for, but they did thicken up the sauce significantly. I want to make this again and add fresh spinach into the mix. I think that it would really add a little summin summin to the dish ;)

Bon Appetit!