Showing newest 7 of 17 posts from June 2010. Show older posts
Showing newest 7 of 17 posts from June 2010. Show older posts

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chocolate Ganache Tarts!

Morning!! Today is my second day of summer and I've mastered the position of sitting on the couch with coffee, computer and the TODAY show! Where was I yesterday you ask? I was very busy on my first day of summer. I woke up nice and early Danny's fault to get the day started right. I went to kickboxing at 9:30, which I haven't done since last summer.

*Mini rant: I find it to be very annoying when the instructor is late to class. Someone from the front desk of NYSC came up to tell us she was running late because she missed her train. She ended up being 15 minutes late and ended the class 5 minutes early. Not only that but she was majorly distracted and ran out of the room twice while telling us to "run it out". I've taken this class many times and she usually is late, but not this late. I don't mind if it's once in awhile but everyone in her class was complaining she's like this every week. Okay I'm done. :)

After kickboxing I came home and started on some dessert. My mom asked me to cook for her impromptu mini dinner party she was having.  She kind of just threw it together quickly and I offered to help. So I came up with the menu Monday and then yesterday my sister and I went to the food store to get everything and spent the entire day cutting, chopping, assembling and cooking. 

The menu was:
- mesclun salad with feta, cherry tomatoes, avocado, cucumber, and walnuts
- grain salad (Trader Joe's Harvest grain mix - couscous, orzo, quinoa) with small white beans, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and parsley, corn
- stuffed mushrooms
- Dreena Burton's artichoke dip
- traditional and olive/garlic hummus
- chocolate ganache tarts
- fruit platter
- marinated grilled chicken

It took us all day but everything came out wonderful. I will be sharing the recipes throughout the week because it's WAY too much to post all in one day! 

Chocolate Ganache Tarts (raw and vegan)

Nut Crust
- 1 cup almonds (soaked for 2-3 hours)
- 1/2 cup cashews (soaked for 2-3 hours)
- 5-6 dates
- 1/4 cup cacao powder (I used Ghiradelli's cocoa powder)
- 2 tsp agave nectar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse to combine well. 
Scoop into paper or silicone baking cups. Freeze for about 10-15 minutes.

Chocolate Ganache Topping
- 3/4 cup cacao or cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbs coconut oil
- 3 tbs maple syrup
- 1 1/2 tbs agave nectar
- a pinch of sea salt

Combine all in food processor and pulse until smooth.

Put the ganache in a icing bag (or ziplock like I did) and pipe onto tart crusts. Place a raspberry or strawberry on top.

Chris HATED these....hah, right.

Alternatively, I made some with just chocolate shells. I used 1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips and 2 semi sweets bakers squares. I melted them in the microwave and then spooned then into the silicone baking cups. Freeze them for about 20 minutes until hard, then pop them out of the cups.

I also used the chocolate ganache on top of these. 

Bailey approved.

Honestly, I think this is the best dessert I ever made. No guilt, 100% satisfaction! :) Thanks for all your help Chris and Jess. More on the party planning recipes to come!

Off to finally cooled down!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Salad Pizza!

It's here! Summer's here! It's been long awaited, but now I have 10 glorious weeks off! What do I plan on doing, did you say? I plan on doing as much or as little as I want to do. I plan on baking,cooking, beaching, reading, spending time with friends and family and anything else my heart desires. I plan on trying out new workouts, going into the city, making new treats and maybe even cleaning my apartment once in awhile. 

The end of the school year was HOT. I finally finished moving classrooms today, which involved me telling my students to go up to my new room and put things like leftover paper towels and books whenever they saw fit. This may make my August/September a bit scary, but I can't begin to think about it right now. Today was the hottest day yet, so I really wasn't motivated to do much. 

With all this hot weather, the kitchen is the last place I have wanted to be. I usually HATE turning on the air conditioner but with this heat, I have no choice. I can already envision my electric bill being sky high for this month.  

Since I am trying to stay out of the kitchen, friday night I decided pizza would be perfect. I wanted to use some of the chickpea flour I got from Bob's Red Mill so I went to the twitter world to see if anyone knew anything about it. Erica got back to me and helped me out.  

I wanted to make something cool and refreshing, so I decided to make salad pizza. 


For this dough I used:
- 1 cup water (80-90 degrees)
- 3/4 tsp honey
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1/4 cup spelt flour
- 1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour
- 1 3/4 tsp yeast

Put ingredients in bread machine in the order listed. Start to make dough on pizza dough cycle.
When dough finishes, roll out on pizza stone. Cook at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, depending on desired crispiness. 

Salad topping
- mesclun blend
- 1 tomato (cut into slices)
- 1 cucumber (chopped)
- any other toppings you'd enjoy (black olives, feta, mozzarella, goat cheese)
- balsamic vinaigrette

In a large bowl combine all salad ingredients. Toss with dressing and spoon onto pizza dough. Cut into slices and enjoy like pizza!


* Danny would eat salad pizza, but would rather a more traditional pizza. This is a perfect way to make 2 meals at one time. Sometimes I make a little something different for him so he isn't always forced to eat what I want to eat. Even though most of the time he likes it, this is one of those times he would prefer his own pizza. I separated the dough into thirds and made his pizza with 2/3rds of the dough and mine with the remaining 1/3rd.  Making two meals when the base of the meal is the same is a very easy way to satisfy everyone. 

His pizza had fire roasted diced tomatoes, fresh basil and parsley and mozzarella cheese topped with sea salt, black pepper and pecorino romano cheese. (Baked at 400 degrees for 35 minutes.)


This way everyone is happy! 

What's your favorite pizza topping?
Have a good night everyone!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Race Recap: Achilles Hope and Possibility 5 miler!

Hellooo Sunday, you come around so fast. This weekend has been scorching hot and humid and our race today was no different.  I have 1/2 day left at school then it's a nice 10 weeks of summer filled with the beach, books, blogging, working out, shopping, weddings, traveling, eating, etc. 

Yesterday I woke up ridiculously early at 5:45 and was raring to go. Danny wasn't surprised considering I fell asleep basically while it was still light out. That's what a couple days of waking up at 5:00 am does to me. We hopped in the car, got some iced coffees and sandwiches and headed down to the beach. It was so hot there, we only stayed for around 3 hours and then went to visit my grandma and aunt. It was a packed day even though it doesn't seem like we did that much. 

This morning I slept in and woke up around 6:30. I woke up put some things around our apartment away and had a pre race breakfast. I had a power muffin and a banana with peanut butter. We left around 7:30, which wasn't really early enough. The race was in Central Park, the Achilles Hope and Possibility 5 mile run. It brought together disabled and abled bodies runners and walkers. It was really inspiring seeing people who with disabilities come out and complete the course. Everyone was cheering for them throughout the course. Prince Harry was there to run and support the race. I didn't see him but Danny did, he tried to point him out to me but his 12 inches of height on me really allow him to see things I can't. I tried to be one of those people who totally stopped in their tracks to see him, but there were so many people it didn't really work. 

For me, this was a very hard race. It wasn't the longest or the shortest I have done, but it was just so hot and humid out. I especially struggled on mile 3, which felt like it was all up hill. I slowed down my pace to 9:10 for that mile, but the 1st,2nd and 4th mile were all around 8:30-8:45 and mile 4 was 8:13. I just wanted to get done when I passed that mile 4 marker, plus it was all down hill so that helped me pick up my pace. We finished in around 43:30, I'm not sure of the exact time because I didn't start my watch at the exact second because I was trying to see Prince Harry haha. 

At the finish I didn't feel that good (or that bad) but I definitely needed to walk around after to just bring my heart rate down. Walking for 5 minutes and eating an apple helped me to feel better. They handed out metals at the end, which I was pretty excited about! 

After we went to breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien again and I had a mushroom and asparagus egg white omelette. Danny branched out and had an avocado, mozzarella and tomato omelette. That was really adventurous for him, I was proud! I love this place because it's all organic food with the same prices as anywhere else, which makes me wonder why every where else is so expensive and not organic??

I am proud of our race time since it was SO hot. There may be yoga on the schedule for later to stretch out. Now we're off to a graduation party....see you later! Enjoy your hot Sunday!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

I Just Can't Help Myself...

I just can't help Trader Joe's. I find myself walking up and down aisles and just grabbing my good old reliable items that I never, ever, ever want to run out of. Almond butter? Have it, have over half a jar of it, but need another one to sit in my pantry and wait until that day I go through half a jar of it in one sitting. Heaven's forbid I go half a day without it...scary thought. Another thing to add to my list? Frozen fruit. They practically give it away at TJ's, so I MUST stock up on Very Cherry Blend and Mixed Berries....and frozen organic blueberries too. Then then list goes on...frozen wild fish...crackers...cheeses...and then whatever else I may find that I haven't tried before, like this...

I figured why not? Who doesn't like broccoli slaw? I had this as a little snack when I got home with some balsamic dressing. 

Anyways, since I hate running out of makes my pantry look like this...

and my freezer look like this...

Don't tell my mom....(or my father in law...)

Eventually Danny gets sick of looking at this and reorganizes everything...this usually happens once a month and then the cycle begins again. 

Please tell me some one else has this problem too? I just hate running out of things, it makes me nervous, so therefore I must stock up on things.
Have you tried these? This aveeno body wash, pomegranate + rice = AMAZING. (Thanks to Jess for helping me pick it out!) And the Avalon Organic cream shave makes my legs way less itchy after shaving (and only for $4.99 at Whole Foods). 

 This stocking up thing isn't just for food, it goes for body wash, shampoo and conditioner, lotions, makeup, etc. I think it's my mom's fault....

Tell me you have this problem...or another one very similar at least. Have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Field Day Success!

How was your day yesterday? Mine was hot, sweaty and involved a lot of running around but it was a ton of fun. We decided to have our first ever 4th grade field day at school with the 5 classes on our grade and it was a huge success. I was a little weary but it was forecasted for be 90+ degrees out, but we found some shade and the breeze did slightly pick up in the afternoon.  

The kids had a blast. We let them have some free time and then we had some organized races. We did an over-under ball game, tug of war, egg pass and a water balloon toss. They were so well behaved and it was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed taking them outside to run around and get some exercise, outside of daily recess they don't really get to do that. Plus when they go home most of them (not all, but most) sit in front of the TV watching some show, or playing with some entertainment system. I wish organized games were a daily part of the classroom; it's so important to teach them good sportsmanship and get them involved in team building activities where they actually have to work together to reach a common goal. Look at how much fun they had.

As hot as it was, no one got sick, they were all well behaved and we had a great time. Field day success!

When I got home I was wiped! Between putting up bulletin boards in an almost 90 degree room and doing field day the couch was calling my name. Danny had basketball and wasn't coming home till late, so I decided to help myself to a senior citizen an early dinner. I also didn't feel like cooking anything (again) so I decided to reheat corn I made 2 nights ago and throw together a bunch of things. Basically I had about 1 pound of hummus and Mary's Gone Crackers and then I had all of this. Hi, I have a hummus addiction. 

Did you know you can just throw corn in the oven like this and bake it?? I didn't until I saw it from Averie.

- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put corn in the oven with the husk on. Bake for about 40 minutes and it's done! That's it!  

It's SO easy and SO sweet and tasty.

This was my sad dinner for one, all leftovers. I also ate half a box of Mary's Gone Crackers with hummus....I'm just not as motivated when it comes to cooking for one, especially when it's super hot out. 
Did anyone see Top Chef last night? They were trying to come up with new ways to add veggies to school lunches with a budget of $150 to feed 50 kids. They had some really innovative meals, I didn't get to see the entire thing, but I really hope school lunches come closer to looking like this. If we offer good, wholesome meals, kids will eat it! What do you think?? 

My sister's coming in today to help me with my classroom, I'm bribing her with lunch, iced coffee and maybe even some fro-yo. :)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summer Salad!

Happy Wednesday to you! This week has been a whirlwind...have you ever moved a classroom before? No? Well imagine moving a small apartment and that's basically what it's like. I am SO grateful that I teach 4th grade and I have 27 worker bees willing to help me clean,organize and move any time I need help. They are so cute and just want to help do anything, come to think about it, I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact when they help me, they aren't actually doing any school work. Nooo, can't be, they just want to help, right??

Rewind to yesterday, Danny and I got up to run. It was pretty warm out already at 5:30, so it was shorts and a t-shirt for me. I was feeling kind of iffy because I had baaaaaadddd acid reflux Monday night. Apparently onions are no longer my friends and my mother's digestive system has caught up with me. For so long my mom and sister would say how they can't even touch onions and I would be all, "oh no, not me..." gloating...well last night that all was done and it was payback. As much as I LOVED those veggie burgers, I can't eat anymore of them because of the onions...what a shame. Anyway, we had a strong but slow 45 minute run. I didn't talk much because I was just having an inner dialogue with my stomach to please be okay the entire time. 

So you all know how much $$$ I spend at the food store. I buy all organic meats, get an organic delivery box and I guess just buy expensive food? I'm not really sure...but I'm trying to be consciously better at it. I was out of control for a couple of weeks and I'm pulling back the reins. I really should try to meal plan more, which maybe I can do over the summer because lately I've been flying by the seat of my pants with dinner. 

When I made my veggie burgers Monday night I made extra barley and cannelloni beans. I wasn't sure what to do with it and then I thought I'd throw together a quick salad I could take for lunch one day this week. 

White Bean Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/4 cup white beans/cannelloni beans
1/4 cup barley (cooked)
1 tomato, chopped
1/4 red onion, chopped (which I will be taking out)
4-5 leaves basil chopped
small handful of parsley

Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Add sea salt and black pepper to taste. Mix well. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette. 
* I would even add corn to add more color and taste to this salad. This is perfect for a hot summer night where you don't feel like cooking anything!

What's you favorite thing to (un)cook during the hot summer??

We just signed up for the Achilles Hope and Possibility 5M run on Sunday, which brings together athletes with and without disabilities. Is anyone else doing this?? 
Today we have field day and it's supposed to be scorching, wish me luck!

Monday, June 21, 2010

White Bean and Barley Burger!

I'm baaaackkk! After an almost week long hiatus from blogging and a couple urges from family, I got back my blogging mojo. It was nice to take a break, especially since last week I was very busy with real life activities. Last week I went to dinner with the girls, out to dinner with Dan and went to the James Taylor and Carole King concert and that was all during the week. Who am I? Danny and I got invited to see James Taylor and Carole King by one of my friends whose parent had extra tickets. Five of us went and it was an amazing concert. With all the did last week, I barely cooked and then we left for Jersey Friday night until Sunday, which left little to no time for blogging, obviously. 

We had an amazing Father's Day weekend with Danny's parents down on the shore. We walked, ran and sat on the beach and his parents took us out for an incredible dinner at the Lobster's Shantey in Point Pleasant. I also bought some of these juicy New Jersey tomatoes. 

After work today I came home, did a little Summer Shape Up workout and a quick 20 minutes of Yoga Detox from Then I had to plot dinner. I haven't cooked in what feels like ages, but it felt good to get in the kitchen and make a ginormous mess. 

I ate one of them just like this with a little sea salt sprinkled on top. They are THAT good. 

After opening my pantry and seeing what I had available to me, I went with a veggie burger. I started looking things up online, but I just went with it. I bought too many vegetables this week, so I knew I had to get going with those. I started chopping away at an onion, 6 button mushrooms, 2 carrots, and 2 roasted red peppers.
All the veggies chopped up.
Next, I threw them in the food processor and pulsed away. 

This is the veggies, beans, barley and flax "eggs" all mixed together. It actually could pass for raw meat.
White Bean and Barely Veggie Burger

3/4 cup cooked white beans (cannelini beans)
3/4 cup dried barley
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
5-6 button mushrooms, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
2 roasted red peppers (from a jar) sliced
2 tbsp light soy sauce
4 fresh basil leaves
2 tbsp flax eggs (2 tbsp flax seeds, 2 tbsp water, let sit for 5-10 minutes)
1 handful fresh parsley
1 garlic clove chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 cup spelt flour
sea salt and black pepper to taste

Cook barley on stove in 2 1/4 cup water. After barley is cooked, set aside. In the food processor, add all of the chopped veggies and pulse 2-3 times. Add the cooked cannelini beans, garlic, basil and parsley. Pulse in the food processor until well combined. Place veggie and bean mixture in a large bowl. Next, add the barley, soy sauce, cumin, flax eggs,sea salt and pepper and mix well. After everything is combined add 1/4 cup spelt flour.  

Spray a skillet with olive oil spray and set on medium-low heat. Make burger patties with the bean burger mixture and add to skillet. Flip after it is browned on first side, about 6 minutes. Cook through and serve on top a bun, salad, spaghetti squash, etc. 

Danny's plate with sweet potato fries. 
These buns were courtesy of Foodbuzz as part of their Tastemaker program. The buns are 100% whole wheat and are delicious! I will write more about them in another post, but they are Nature's Pride brand and have no high fructose corn syrup, a short ingredient list and taste very fresh. 
My plate, served over spaghetti squash with brussel sprouts, served x2 for me. 

So there it is! Thank you for being so supportive through my much needed time off from blogging/cooking/baking. It is so amazing to just unplug and live life with worrying about snapping photos or remembering recipes. It was a refreshing week, but I'm glad to be back! 

What are you favorite burger options for right now?

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