Aug 31, 2009

Spinach Salad with Peaches, Goat Cheese, & Walnuts...and Oatmeal Bread

This weekend was so busy, I only had time to make one thing. Friday we ordered Mustard Seed takeout and waited for B's friends to come in town. I had sesame crusted chicken with a raspberry soy sauce, sweet potatoes, and fresh veggies. He had the Pad Thai. It was delicious, as always, and I wish I took pictures for you guys. It wouldn't have been as pretty in takeout box though. We went out downtown and dragged ourselves out of bed the next morning to go to the beach. Later that night we all went to Brandon's Palmetto Society End of Summer Party. Then Sunday I finally got to make something!!

We made this salad before and I was obsessed with it. It came out just as good the second time. The dressing makes about 5-6 servings, so you can cut it in half. I wanted extra for the next day.

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tbsp olive oil
5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
5 tsp fresh lemon juice
5 tsp honey
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
salt & pepper to taste (I only added pepper this time)
90z bag spinach leaves -- about 3 servings
Leftover Rotisserie chicken
1-2 peaches, sliced into bite-size chunks
Goat Cheese

Mince the garlic, and whisk the next 7 ingredients together. Toss chicken and peaches over a bed of spinach. Sprinkle walnuts and crumbled goat cheese on top. Drizzle the dressing over all of it and enjoy!

You can't see his face, but we all know who the goat cheese addict is. Look at this mess! Guilty! As for his punishment (and my pleasure), I made him lick it all off! Wasn't much punishment for him though.

And now the bread...oh my stumpy little bread. I'd like to thank Erica from Itzy's Kitchen for posting this bread recipe! You can see hers here and laugh at mine below. I don't know what happened, but it looks like it didn't rise enough. I added flax seeds to my recipe and it tasted delicious. Half the stump was gone by the end of the night!

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Aug 25, 2009

My name is Christina and I'm addicted to basil...Do we need rehab?

Hi Basil, it's me, your girlfriend. I want to cook with you tonight. Come over around 7 okay? Thanks.

Apparently I'm not the only addict. Who am I kidding? All three of us have a problem. Brett's is saved for another post.

Super boyfriend had lots of reading to do, so I whistled for my other boyfriend, Hunley, to come with me to the grocery store. We made it all the way to Publix without him slamming my car into neutral. Success!! Publix isn't a fan of boyfriend #2, so he had to stay in the car while I shopped. Bummer. I came back to a lot of drool all over my car seat.

I was excited to find this chicken sausage that I had read about in Jenny's blog:

I bought those, a can of basil tomatoes, tomato paste, a box of Barilla whole wheat thin spaghetti, and some fresh veggies.

These are great for making home made pasta sauce:

Just like pancakes, I prefer to make my own sauce. I chopped up half an onion, minced 3 big fat cloves of garlic and added them to a pan with olive oil. I then added crushed red pepper and cooked for another minute.

I threw the tomatoes in the blender for a few seconds, then added those and the tomato paste to the pan. Finally, I added more fresh basil. So good!

I let that cook for a bit while I sliced up the sausage, which was also added to the sauce to enhance flavor.

After the spaghetti cooked, I spooned the chicken sausage & tomato sauce over it. We shared a side of broccoli & cauliflower.
The Barilla whole grain pasta was really good--not tough or odd-tasting like other whole grain/whole wheat pastas I've tried. A 1 oz serving is 200 calories, and packs 6g of fiber! It is also a good source of protein (7g), iron, and magnesium.

The Al Fresco chicken sausages were 140 calories per link and 7g of fat -- not bad for sausage! They were pretty tasty, although next time I'd like to try them without tomato sauce so I can really see what they're like.

Aug 24, 2009

My name is Brandon, and I'm addicted to goat cheese.

I crave tomato sauce a loooot. Not sure why--but whatever, bring on the lycopene. Bruschetta is a quick and easy appetizer. I took a can of chopped tomatoes and mixed in 2 cloves of garlic (minced), balsamic vinegar, crushed red pepper, fresh basil and fresh spearmint. I crumbled some goat cheese on the bread, added the tomato mixture and popped these babies in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350*.

For dinner, Brandon cooked chicken tenderloins with sliced zucchini and squash. He added a couple cloves of garlic, balsamic, and a sprig of fresh rosemary in the cast iron. Holy moly that thing is hot. Have I mentioned I burn myself nearly every time I cook? It's awful. My left arm makes me look like an unsuccessful suicidal disaster.

So the three of us were sitting at the dining room table (woah, fancy night), and all of a sudden Brandon asks me for more goat cheese. Seriously? It was rubbed all over his bruschetta, did he really need more? YES. So I go get the log. We were also eating canteloupe & honeydew, and he started crumbling it over that!

As we finished eating and were discussing school, work, and women, Brandon asked for the oatmeal toffee cookies I made the other night. Sure, sure, have something sweet for dessert. Then this conversation actually happened.

Brett: "Oh geeeezzzzz Brandon, are you gonna put goat cheese on that too?"
Christina: "NO."
Brandon, laughing: "I'll do it. It's goat cheese. It tastes good on everything."


And because one crumble isn't enough:

EWWWW B STOP IT!That is the face of an addict. He needs a goat cheese intervention. Brett is now worried that he's going to come home one day to find Hunley missing and Brandon passed out with goat cheese all over himself.

Suggestions of good therapists in our area are welcome.

Aug 17, 2009

Cilantro Lime Tilapia Tacos, Guac & Spicy Corn

Law School Orientation Day 1 down, 3 more years to go. For me? Oh heck no. For Brandon? Yes, please.

Girlfriend of the Week award -- I WIN! Awarding myself Girlfriend of the Year would be pushing it because 1)it hasn't been that long and 2) that's just outrageously cocky.

I made dinner allllll byyyyy myyyyyyselllllllfff. Brett's puppy, Hunley, helped too--by licking up everything I dropped on the floor. If you know me, you know how clumsy I am, and this is a lot.

In a bowl I mixed the following ingredients for the tilapia marinade:
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lime juice, plus zest
2 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp pineapple juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp cumin
salt & pepper

I put the tilapia & marinade in a ziploc bag and marinated it for almost an hour while I prepared guacamole (omg again, I know) and corn on the cob...that I sliced off the um, corn.

In a small bowl, I melted a pat of butter, then added a bit of lime juice, chopped cilantro, and cayenne pepper to drizzle over the corn.

I broiled the fish for about 10 minutes, turning once halfway through.

We placed the tilapia on top of warm corn tortillas, added guac, the pineapple/cabbage slaw from last night's dinner, and Greek yogurt. Can you tell whose plate is whose?

This was definitely a corn overload. Hello Potassium, Vitamin C and Fiber!

Aug 16, 2009

High Fiber Banana Muffins

I LOVE FIBER. I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT...and I cannot get enough! Well technically I can but...let's not go THERE.

Brandon starts Law School orientation tomorrow, so I wanted to make something for him to take with him. I thought about banana bread, but that was a big fat fail last time and it takes too long for my impatient bum to wait for. Muffins were a better option. They're cuter, they cook faster, and they're easier to grab & go in the morning. I found a banana bread recipe on Joy the Baker, changed a couple of things, and threw in an unnecessary amount of extra ingredients to make these precious little nuggets.

Ingredients:1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup uncooked old fashioned oats
1/4 cup flax seed
3 large ripened bananas
3 tsp canola or oil
1/2 cup Egg Beaters (or 1 large egg & 2 egg whites)
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat over to 350*. Grease a muffin pan or add liners. Don't do both.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, oats, and flax seed.

In a medium sized bowl, mash the bananas with the back of a fork or sturdy whisk. Add oil, eggs, honey and vanilla.

Gently combine the wet and dry ingredients. Do not over mix or you'll find little holes and tunnels in your muffins. Ew. Gently stir in raisins.

Pour into 10 of the muffin tins, 3/4 the way full.

Bake for 18-20 minutes. To test for doneness, stick a fork in the center of one of the muffins--if it comes out wet, stick them back in the oven until your fork comes out dry. Be careful not to over cook!

Greek Yogurt War

Greek yogurt is on my mind...pretty much all of the time.
Apparently, so is rhyming.

We blindfoldedly (ooh! new word!) taste-tested 3 popular Greek yogurt brands (all in Honey flavor): Fage, Oikos, and Voskos. I occasionally eat Chobani, but I couldn't find the Honey flavor at Publix or Whole Foods.

So we seriously rolled out of bed and I blindfolded Brandon...Ehhh this seems backwards...

We had three separate spoons so the flavors wouldn't mix, and I fed him a bite of all three and made him describe them. Then he blindfolded and fed me. Is this rated R content? I think so. If you're under the age of 18, please x out of this window and go back to playing on If you're over the age of 18, please admire the following photos:

NO, I don't share. Nor do I give out samples.I'm very pleasant in the morning:

Here's how we described the yogurts, in the order that we sampled them:
Oikos: thick, mild honey flavor, tangy
Fage: more honey, no tang, not as thick, less "Greek", sweeter
Voskos: honey tastes like applesauce, not thick but thicker then the previous, tangy applesauce

too sweet, not creamy, bad aftertaste, watered down
Voskos: not much honey, sweet, fermented rotten apples, more like regular yogurt, eww this tastes like old apple juice
Oikos: tangy, thick, creamy, slight/just enough honey


We refused to finish the Voskos -- gah it was awful! I'll give the brand a chance and try another flavor but ehhh that honey was disgusting.

I added some almond butter & strawberry jelly to an English muffin and we headed to the beach!=

Aug 15, 2009

The Guacamole Obsession Continues...

...all summer long.

We've made it oh, I'd say about 10 times this summer? No big deal. Well, the taste is. It's really easy, just kind of messy. Making your own guacamole is so much tastier and healtheir than the store bought "guacamole dips." Yeah, watch out for that word dip--that's just a nice way of saying they added a crap ton of sour cream or, even worse, mayonnaise. Ew. It hurt to type that. Soybean oil, I despise you. We usually make guacamole with mangoes butsince it's always a huge juicy mess, we tried fresh pineapple chunks this time...El guacamol fue fantástico! For all you non-bilingual losers, that means the guacamole was fantastic.

Guacamole essentials:

2 ripe avocados
1 medium tomato, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped pineapple, plus 1 tbsp juice
juice of 1 lime, plus a 1 tbsp lime zest
2-3 tbsps fresh cilantro, chopped
salt, pepper, cumin to taste

1. Using a big spoon, scrape out the inside of the avocado from the casing & pit.
2. Mash with the back of a large fork or a sturdy whisk.
3. Add tomatoes, garlic, pineapple & juice, lime zest & juice, and cilantro.
4. Gently combine ingredients.
5. Season to taste.

Using leftover corn tortillas from when I made Enchiladas Verdes last week, I made baked tortilla chips. I no longer want packaged tortilla chips in my mouth. These were awesome.
All I did was stack 3 tortillas at a time and cut them into triangles using a pizza slicer. They're soft, so I didn't need Brandon's bulging biceps to cut them, like I do with everything else.

Then I liiiiiightly brushed them with olive oil and sprinkled them with a bit of salt, pepper, and cumin. There's a few to the right I added flax seeds to, just for experimental purposes...I say that as if every single recipe isn't an experiment...The flax seeds didn't stick to the chips very well. Whoops. I baked them at 450* for 10-15 minutes, or until I was starving and tired of eating guacamole on a spoon. Yeah, I did that. It was sitting there looking beautiful, I couldn't resist.

Before going in the oven:
Out of the oven, nice and crunchy:
The beautiful guac:
Just slightly excited:

For dinner, we picked up two steaks so I could make Steak Madeira. It is in my blood to make Chicken Marsala, which I do quite often, so this was a nice change. Madeira wine is similar to Marsala wine, just not as sweet. While Brandon grilled the steaks, I made the sauce.

Madeira Wine Sauce:
Olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic
8oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 cup Madeira wine
1 cup Low-Sodium Beef Broth

1. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil to a large saute pan over medium-high heat.
2. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until softened and slightly brown.
3. Add mushrooms and cook for a few minutes until tender.
4. Add Madeira and beef broth.
5. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat just a little.
6. Reduce the sauce in half or until it has thickened.

I sliced the steak into thin strips, then added them to the broth to soak up the flavor while it continued to thicken.Giving Brett a sample:

To go with the steaks, Brandon whipped up some sweet potatoes with milk, a little butter, and maple syrup.

Breakfast Sandwiches

These are probably the strangest breakfast sandwiches you've ever seen. They aren't cute. You don't love them already--I can tell. It's okaaaaay. Because I know what they taste like. Until you do, don't judge them. They're chubby and have an unusual combination of ingredients. But they're healthy, and just one of these babies kept me full for hours.

With the unused ground turkey from last night's pasta dish, I formed little patties and browned them in a pan over medium-high heat. Brandon fried two little eggs and placed them inside toasted high fiber English muffins. We used Egg Beaters for this recipe, but feel free to substitute other eggs as desired.

So what's that white stuff on the top bun? And that red stuff on the bottom?

Goat cheese & home made strawberry jelly.

Don't laugh.

Don't run to the bathroom.

Just try it.

***Special thanks to Callie for helping me edit this post! :) Check out her hilarious blog!

Aug 13, 2009

Cheesy Ground Turkey & Vegetable Pasta

We're planning a trip to Italy right now, so I have pasta on the brain. This was really easy to throw together and bake. You've got your meat, your veggies, your carb, and, cheese! Getting calcium in the form of cheese is never a problem for us. We loved the orecchiette because they scoop up different flavors, so every bite you have is different!

2 2/3 cups orecchiette pasta
1/2 lb ground turkey
1 medium sized carrot, sliced and quartered
1 medium sized zucchini, sliced and quartered
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 14.5 oz diced tomatoes w/ garlic, oregano, basil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
fresh basil
shredded cheddar
crumbled goat cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350*.
2. Cook pasta as directed.
3. Cook ground turkey as directed.
4. Arrange cooked pasta and turkey into an 8x8 baking dish.
5. Add vegetables, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, fresh basil, and toss.
6. Add as much cheese as you'd like on top.
7. Bake covered for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Enjoy!

Brandon surprised me (or tried to, but I saw the bag before he could) with cupcakes! One was Red Velvet flavored and the other was Lemon Blueberry. Both of these are from Cupcake in Mount Pleasant. Check out the site and all the awesome flavors they have! We've been eating these a lot lately. Brandon's favorite is the Carrot Cake and mine is Peanut Butter Banana fluff.