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Hungry Heart: June 2011

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Boilermaker Mile

I feel like I have been eating nothing but leftovers this week! Probably because I still haven't made it to the grocery store. After work yesterday I opted to bake cookies before the gym instead of restocking our fridge.

Healthy(er) Oatmeal Honey Cookies:

Excellent with my morning coffee. I'll post the recipe for them this weekend.

For dinner yesterday I had leftover grilled pizza that we made on Sunday night.

On the side: a salad of tomato, cucumber, onion, arugula, and balsamic.

Mine had ricotta with herbs.  Jerry's was a BBQ pizza. He put leftover smoked pork butt and BBQ sauce on his, along with onions (of course!) and Monterrey jack cheese.
Sadie clearly preferred his pizza.
We finished the salad for lunches this week, but last night I reheated two slices of the white pizza. I chopped them into bite size pieces and I ate them like croutons over a bed of baby lettuce covered in hot sauce. I forgot to take a picture before I inhaled it.

Tonight Jerry is running in the Boilermaker Mile. It is a one mile invitational race that covers mile 4-5 of the Boilermaker 15k. He is hoping to better his time from last year (just under 5 minutes, on a slightly different course).
I'm off to cheer him on and then meet some co-workers for a beer at Nail Creek Pub and Brewery. And I have no idea what we are having for dinner. I am letting my speedy husband pick tonight!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Miscellaneous Pasta

It is hard to make a healthy dinner when you haven't been to the grocery store in a week. Planning our meals and sticking to a grocery list not only helps me stick to a food budget, but helps me make healthier choices. When my fridge is full of fresh veggies, I am less likely to order takeout or go out for dinner.
Last night presented a bit of a dilemma in this regard.  I had a fridge full of random bits and pieces, and a time crunch, since I was at TurboKick class until 7:15. We did stop at a farm stand on Sunday and pick up an eggplant and more peas. So I decided to throw all the miscellaneous veggies in the fridge into some sort of pasta sauce.

  • 2 small carrots, sliced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 small eggplant, chopped
  • 2/3 cup fresh peas, shelled
  • 1 1/2 cups canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup broccoli (this was leftover, already steamed)
  • 1 cup zucchini, chopped (also leftovers)
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • parsley and chives, chopped
  • 1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 pound penne pasta
I added the carrot, onion, and garlic to the saute pan over medium. When they were soft I added the eggplant and tomatoes. (You could saute the eggplant in the first step, but it will absorb a lot of the oil and get a little mushy). I added a pinch of Italian seasoning and salt and pepper. I let that cook on low for 15 minutes. Then I threw in the fresh peas, and the leftover veggies. Once the peas were tender I added parsley and chives. Then I tossed it all with the pasta and about 1/2 cup of the pasta water, since it looked a little dry.
I mixed some parsley, chives, and black pepper into the ricotta cheese and served it on top of the pasta.

This was good (and healthy!) for a bunch of random leftovers and 40 minutes of effort. You could probably make it in 30 if you didn't have to shell your own peas. Or if you didn't eat half while you were shelling them.....

Monday, June 27, 2011


I assume I am like many people, and hit the snooze button a few times before I get up in the morning. I am not joking when I say my husband hits the snooze 15 times. Minimum. Seriously.
He sets three alarms. The first is an annoying tone, the second is the opening riff from Born To Run, and the third is the LOUD oldies radio station.
I looked at him this morning and said, "Why do you set three alarms and then not get out of bed?"
His response was to hold up four fingers. Great, there is second annoying tone I couldn't even recall.
Is five alarms too many?
At least I have Overnight Oats to wake up to. And coffee! My snooze button-loving husband always sets the coffee maker to be done when we get up in the morning. I think I'll keep him :)
Rolled oats, yogurt, soy milk, chia seeds, blueberries, sunflower butter
Come to think of it, I must correct myself. We don't have five alarms. We have six. And this one doesn't have a snooze button!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Waitin' On a Sunny Day*

Where did the sun go?! It has been raining and cloudy for five days straight. I have my fingers crossed for today, but it is completely overcast right now.
The weather was not great for the Oneida County Public Market yesterday, but Jerry, Mom, and I made the most of it.

There were about twenty vendors there, selling everything from food, jewelry, crafts, honey, and produce. It is still early in the growing season around here, and I am hoping as the summer continues there will be a little bit more produce. But I did pick up some peas in the pod and some peaches (not local).
One of my favorite booths was the Jones Family Farm. The goat cheese was amazing! You could also order eggs, chicken, and goat meat.
Mom and I both tried a sample of the chevre and loved it. Mom had gotten some of their plain from the Foodshed before, so she got a fig flavored one. I got the  Lemon Thyme. I haven't tried mine yet but my brother and I inhaled the fig flavored one yesterday. Mom barely got a taste! I loved the tangy cheese and the sweet fig together. And it was so creamy. Can't wait to try mine.
Next we stopped at Wild Mountain Apiaries from Cold Brook, NY.  As soon as I tasted their Honey Balsamic Dressing I knew I had to have it.
Can't wait to try this on a salad!
We tasted a local wine from Domhnall Vineyards in Herkimer. I may have to buy their Vignoles next time I am there. Our final stop was at the Ingles Maple Products booth where I got some Hot Maple Mustard. Then we made a beeline to the car in order to avoid the rain.
For it's first week in operation, I would say it appeared to go pretty well. There was a decent crowd and a variety of vendors. With better weather and more produce, this will be a great weekend market. 

I ate about 90% of those peas as soon as I got home yesterday. I love fresh, crunchy peas!

Today we are headed to Brooks House of BBQ in Oneonta for lunch with the Tylutkis (my first time to Brooks! Will try to take photos). Then we are headed to the Cooperstown Dreams Park to watch some baseball. My godfather and cousin are up from Delaware to play in a tournament there all week. I love when Sundays are full of family!
Fingers crossed for the sun to make an appearance!

*I know a few of you will appreciate the Boss reference! ;)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Start the Weekend Off Right

With breakfast and a farmer's market!
This morning's breakfast looks a little familiar....
Strawberries, blueberries, Greek yogurt, chia seeds
Heidelberg French Peasant, spring mix, egg, Sriracha

The bread is hiding under the jungle of greens!

I have a lovely Saturday planned. First stop is the Oneida County Public Market at Union Station. Today is opening day, and I am so excited to have a farmer's market so close to home! I work in the building that houses the train station, and I have been watching them prep for the market all week. So stop by from 9-1 today at the train station and see what it has to offer!
Next stop today is to visit my friends Nick and Melissa. They welcomed their first little bundle of joy, Josephina, to the world yesterday. Congratulations, Guys! Can't wait to meet her!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Mocha Blondies

I haven't been baking as much as I used to. Maybe it is the warmer weather?
Last week I was looking for an easy recipe that wouldn't take long and that definitely included chocolate. I had bookmarked a Blondie recipe from Smitten Kitchen ages ago, so I decided to try it. I think Deb at Smitten Kitchen has some of the best recipes of any food blogger out there. She adapted this Blondie recipe from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman (food columnist for the NY Times). I'm already planning for How to Cook Everything to be my next cook book purchase.
To me, Blondies are like chocolate chip cookies but better. They are more dense, moist and chewy than a cookie. And I love that this recipe for Blondies gave suggestions for other additions at the bottom. Here is how my Blondies went:

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch salt
1 cup (4 3/8 ounces or 125 grams) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup toasted sliced almonds
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 Tbsp espresso powder
  1. Butter an 8×8 pan
  2. Mix softened butter with brown sugar – beat until smooth. Beat in egg and then vanilla (and espresso powder).
  3. Add salt, stir in flour. Mix in any additions.
  4. Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 350°F 18-22 minutes, or until set in the middle.
Toasted almonds

Espresso powder, egg, vanilla
Dough, chips, almonds

These were so chewy and dense! They got two thumbs waaaay up. Especially from Jerry, and the people at my office.
I think that toasting the almonds is a necessary step. The crunch really provides a contrast in texture. And next time I would use two tablespoons of espresso powder. I will definitely be trying this with other additions.

What is your favorite baked good?

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Well so much for being able to walk the dog this week! It rained all day and looks like it is going to stay that way for the next few days. In fact, the dog refuses to even go outside. She goes over to the door to be let out and when you open the door, she changes her mind. Sadie must dislike 'wet dog' smell as much as I do.

Since it is cool and rainy, I thought stuffed peppers would be good for dinner. They are something I have made many times, and one of Jerry's favorites. For a new twist I decided to make creamy polenta on the side. I have never made polenta so I was excited to try it.
I usually put ground beef or turkey in the peppers. I used beef for Jerry's, but I used tempeh for mine.

Tempeh is made from soy beans, but doesn't really taste like tofu. It has a firm texture and tastes almost nutty. It crumbles well, so it made a good substitute for ground beef.
I had planned on stuffing peppers, but I also had an eggplant and two zucchinis. Why not stuff those, too?

One zucchini and half the eggplant got chopped up and added to the filling. So did the tops of the peppers.

Stuffed Peppers:
  • half an eggplant, peeled and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 2-3 Tblsp olive oil
  • 4-6 bell peppers, any color
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (drain if using canned)
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef (or 1 package of tempeh)
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese (Romano, parmesan, etc)
  • 2 eggs
  • ~10 basil leaves, chopped
  • 3 Tblsp chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I used panko)
Saute first four ingredients in olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Depending on how soft you want your veggies, it could take up to 20 minutes. Then stir in your tomatoes and cook a few more minutes. Brown your ground beef in a separate pan, season with salt and pepper. Let the filling and the meat cool, and then combine them in a bowl. Once cooled slightly, add your breadcrumbs, herbs, grated cheese, and eggs (I used one whole egg and one white) and mix to combine. It is easiest to stuff peppers with your hands. Be sure not to pack down the filling.  Bake in a casserole dish at 350 for a minimum of 30 minutes, uncovered. This will result in slightly firm peppers. If you would like the peppers to be more tender, add 10 minutes.

I feel as though I must warn you that I ended up with too much filling. I have made these 6 or 7 times and only once did I end up with the correct amount. I took the leftover filling and filled three 6oz baking ramekins. Then I topped them with the polenta. They will make great leftovers!
For the polenta I loosely followed this recipe by Alton Brown.
As usual, I made a few modifications. I used less salt, 1/2 cup grated cheese, I used 2 cups milk and 2 cups water, and I added 1 tablespoon of chopped rosemary to the sauteed onions. I also used less butter. I chose to cook it on top of the stove instead of the oven.
The polenta was so creamy and salty. And I loved the rosemary. It was a great side dish. I would use this recipe instead of mashed potatoes any time.

We had a bottle of 2005 Casa Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Syrah with dinner. I forgot how intense Syrahs can be. It looked almost black! This was a very full-bodied wine. It was a little spicy and slightly oaky. I was surprised I enjoyed it as much as I did. I usually stick to "crisp" wines.
Jerry and I finished the bottle while watching The King's Speech. It was excellent, but I fell asleep! I'll have to rush home from work on Thursday to finish it. Then we are off to Saranac Thursday. Say a prayer that is doesn't get rained out!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Breakfast and Rest

My inspiration for breakfast was fresh strawberries and Kath at KERF. She calls it a Dough Boy Smoothie.
Basically, you put your overnight oats in the blender to make a smoothie. I added strawberries and half a scoop of chocolate Amazing Meal to my overnight oats (1/2 cup each of rolled oats, almond milk, and Greek yogurt).

The result was a soft pink soup/smoothie in my new oatmeal bowl. I added some crunchy granola and a few more berries.
I loved the texture of this. Soupy, but a little chewy from the oats. You could probably drink this from a straw, but then you miss out on adding your toppings. Best part!

Despite my yummy breakfast I am pretty bummed after my trip to the chiropractor yesterday. I have been dealing with tailbone pain for quite a while now, which basically prevents me from sitting and sleeping comfortably. The good news is that the doctor thinks he can relieve the pain. The bad news is that he thinks it will take 40 visits over the course of the next year! He also said the only exercise this week should be spinning and walking. He didn't like the idea of running or TurboKick, and said no strength training for a couple weeks. I am a little nervous that I will fall of the exercise bandwagon. But....
Time to think positive! Hopefully the rest will help, and it will give me a chance to take Sadie for a few more walks this week. And maybe I will be able to sit on the couch soon!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Potted Bliss

I do not have an ideal yard for planting anything that requires a lot of sun. Our house faces south, so the front gets morning sun and the backyard only gets afternoon sun. Plus, our back is surrounded by trees, only one of which is ours. The middle of the lawn gets a lot of sun but that is about it. The middle of the yard would not be an ideal place for an herb garden. 

There is also not much in the yard that Sadie won't trample. I have two smashed hydrangea bushes and numerous hostas to prove it.
So my herb garden is relegated to containers on the deck. This year is the largest it has ever been. The pots are taking over the deck!

In the back is the cilantro and the parsley. Then there is a jalapeno, spearmint, and peppermint. In the front is rosemary and thyme.

On the other side of the steps I have more parsley and cilantro, and two basil plants.
Basil, cilantro (back), more basil,  parsley.
Next to the grill I have six more jalapeno plants and some arugula.

The arugula just got planted, but I am hoping it takes off soon!
Finally, I planted my chives in the flower beds next to the deck.

Chives are a perennial, and they get pretty, round purple flowers. I hope they work out well there.

After some gardening and then receiving some expensive news from my chiropractor, I made my favorite summertime pasta salad; Tri-Colore Orzo (courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis).

I only modified the recipe slightly:
  • 1 pound orzo (pasta shaped like rice)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup toasted almonds
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • juice of 3 lemons
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
I would definitely recommend upping the lemon. The recipe only calls for 3 tablespoons, and I don't think that is nearly enough. And I always add feta, and I was disappointed to I found out I didn't have any. It still tasted great. Light and lemony and a little peppery from the arugula. But it was missing the tangy salty bite of the feta, so I will buy some and add it to the leftovers.
What is your favorite summer salad?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

Happy Father's Day Folks!

What a busy weekend! I have to do a better job of blogging when I am busy!

Friday: Friday dinners at our house in the summer are usually grilled pizza. But first Jer and I took Sadie for a walk on the SUNY IT campus. There are some great walking trails up by the soccer field.
When we got home I decided I would make my own dough. I found a delicious recipe here.
I made the dough in my Kitchen Aid mixer. I halved the recipe since it was just the two of us. I threw in one tablespoon of fresh chopped rosemary, but I wish I added more. When the dough came together it was time to knead. Remember to take your rings off, or you will be picking goo out of them for a week!

I kneaded for a few minutes until I had a lovely dough ball.

Then it went into an oiled bowl to rise. While I let the yeast do its magic I cooked some turkey sausage and grated some mozzarella. I cut back on the cheese in the pizza and used arugula for the lettuce.

Yum! Arugula is my favorite green, but Jerry doesn't love it. He did like it on a pizza as opposed to a salad. This was a winner, I would definitely make it again.

Saturday: Was kind of a blur of strawberries, sun tea, and baking. I picked more berries with Mom and repeated the washing/freezing process.

Another 9 pounds!
And I made sun tea. I'm not sure if everyone knows what sun tea is, but in my family it is a summer tradition. You basically fill up a glass container with water, add some tea bags, and leave it in the sun for a few hours to brew. As a kid I remember my Mom making it in glass Byrne Dairy milk jugs. I made mine in a two quart Ball jar. It was orange pekoe with a few sprigs of fresh mint and a cut lemon.
Hour 1
Hour 2
Hour 3

I finished off Saturday by making my Dad his favorite dessert, Boston Cream Pie. I love to bake, but I normally stick with simple things, like cookies, breads, and bars. Cakes are tough! I spent what felt like hours in the kitchen, but got some excellent results.

Sunday: Busy! Spinning at 7am, then off to watch Jerry in the Summer Sizzle road race at 8:30. He came in 3rd and ran five miles in 29:33! So proud of him.

Then we were off to Norwich, NY for a family graduation/birthday/Father's Day party with Jerry's family. Then it was back home for cake and a baseball game with Dad.

I hope you all had a wonderful Father's Day!