Saturday, March 24, 2012

Birthday Pies!

I am so blessed to have a sister and husband that enjoy cooking and good food as much as I do. So, last night was the eve of my birthday and they treated me to a dinner of pies. I love a good Lenten fish fry as much as the next guy, but, maybe the nice weather had inspired us to try something a little more on the healthy side. Pizza Pies! These weren't any old pizzas..... we made smoky vegetable pizza and classic Margherita pizza on the grill(the famous green egg).
So, she bought already prepared pizza dough from Earth Fare and topped it with the following ingredients:
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 bunch broccoli rabe
  • 1/2 sweet red pepper
  • 4 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced

First, sautee all the above vegetables in some olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Next, spread 1 cup of marinara sauce on the rolled out dough. Then sprinkle 2 cups of shredded, smoked mozzarella cheese over the sauce. Lastly, scatter the above vegetables on top of the pizza.

Bake (or grill) on a pizza stone at 500 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes.
Heavenly Goodness..
Equally as delicious is the pie pictured below which we did not make. It is cherry and peach called the Sunshine Pie(very appropriate for the weather this week). It is from Greyhouse Pies in Westlake, Ohio. Words cannot express...... I think we will be fighting over this last piece today.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Zucchini Enchiladas

Its February and the flakes are finally flying here in Cleveland. And the only positive thing I have to say about that is that it draws me into my warm kitchen. I am trying to incorporate more plant-strong cooking into my weekly meals. Its tough when you have a family of 4(especially when your 16 year old eats enough for 3) but we are taking baby steps towards it.

This recipe is from Cooking Light and I was really impressed with it. Everyone loved it and the meat was not missed. There is some cheese in this recipe but I think you could substitute a soy based cheese to make it vegan. The dairy has been the hardest thing to eliminate when incorporating plant-strong cooking. I'm sure it just takes some getting used to like everything else in life.

So, I'm not sure why this picture is sideways but this is the enchilada sauce cooking. The recipe for this is as follows:

Enchilada Sauce:

1 tsp canola oil

1/2 diced red onion

1 tsp minced garlic

1/2 organic vegetable broth

1 T chili powder

1 T honey

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes

Next, for the filling. Saute 2 cups of chopped zucchini and 1 10oz package of frozen corn for 5 minutes or until tender.

Then add a 15 oz can of black beans. I also added a handful of cilantro which was not in the recipe. I love cilantro in anything!

Next, you spread 1 cup of your enchilada sauce on the bottom of the pan. The recipe calls for whole wheat flour tortillas rolled. I went with the corn tortillas(since this is what was in my frig). I had to stack the corn tortillas like you are making lasagna. So, you sprinkle some shredded cheddar(8 oz total) on each of your tortillas and then top with about a 1/2 cup of your filling on each. Then I topped with another layer of corn tortillas.

Finally you spread evenly over the top with the remaining 2 cups of enchilada sauce. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Take a square and enjoy!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Paula Deen Should Eat more Oats!

Gasp! Paula Deen has Type II Diabetes! Are we all so shocked by this? Really? Ahhhh, the media really does know how to pour it on thick. They almost give her a criminal-like quality.

Paula, being the positive person she is, will turn this into another million dollar opportunity. So, don't feel sorry for her. She is a brilliant business woman who will turn this "tragedy" into a fortune. She has already teamed up with the pharmaceutical company, Nova Nordisk. It is just a matter of time until her new diabetic friendly cookbook comes out(if it hasn't already). And yes, I'll check it out. In fact, Paula, if you need a dietitian to colaborate with on this book, I am available.

The truth is that famous chefs and other TV food personalities seem to be regressing these days in terms of promoting healthy cooking. And we eat it up(literally). Do they feel any sense of responsibility? Last night, I watched the Cleveland celebrity chef on his newest TV show venture(won't mention names). So, he cooks smashed potatoes and deep fries them in bacon fat. Ok, I was already drooling. Some might say that he could have stopped there, but no. He went on to toss them in a spicy aioli(mayonnaise) sauce. No one can deny that
this stuff tastes good. Doesn't anything that is cooked in bacon fat?

Ok. I'm done bashing. It is a snowy morning in Cleveland so I want a warm bowl of oats(even though I didn't actually eat those potatoes, I am imagining them in my arteries).

Did you know that soluble oat fiber has blood sugar-lowering abilities? For those of you who want to know why, keep reading. The rest of you can skip the science mumbo jumbo and go down to the pictures.

Oatmeal has a huge amount of Magnesium, a mineral that acts as a co-factor which interacts with certain enzymes involved in the body's use of glucose and insulin secretion. Anyways, it is founds to be extremely helpful in lowering blood sugar levels in diabetics.

It is also very valuable in lowering cholesterol. A bowl of oatmeal contains 3-4 grams of soluble fiber. If eaten daily, this will help to lower your bad cholesterol by 8-23%.

So Paula, eat your oats. She can probaly come up with all sorts of interesting ways to serve it up. I just hope she leaves out the bacon and butter. Here is my morning concoction.....


I cooked 1 cup of steel oats in 2 cups of 1% milk and 2 cups of water on low heat

for about 30 minutes.

I prefer dried fruit(especially dries apricots), but didn't have any on hand. So, I added some fresh chopped pear.

And apples....

and chopped walnuts....

Here we go! Not sure if Emeril feels the same, but this makes me "happy, happy".

Thanks to Tina( The Wellness War) for getting me blogging again this morning.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy New Year 2012!

I am about to join the legions of other bloggers to recap 2011 and some of the resolutions I had set last year at this time. It just needs to be done. I must come full circle and evaluate how I did..... And Yeh! I think I achieved a lot! I am pleased with myself and I hope anyone that is reading this is feeling hopeful and refreshed now that a new year is starting. I love that we get another chance every year to better ourselves. I am ready to let go of past disappointments and fears. The new year is a time to move forward with new aspirations and reach for them.... even if it means falling down a few times.

So, here's my recap...... I promise to be brief.

1. To continue to cook often and with a focus on good health and locally purchased ingredients. Check. I still love to cook. My explorations this past summer of local farmers markets was so inspirational!
2. To learn to take better pictures for my blog. Well..... not so much. BUT, I just got a Bloggie camera for Christmas which should improve the picture quality and efficiency(I hope).

3. To explore different types of exercise. I continue to love and make progress in my yoga practice. I joined Inner Bliss Yoga studio which I can't say enough about. The instructors there have really helped me to connect with the spiritual aspect of yoga. Making that mind-body connection has made it more meaningful for me. Living in the present(even if its just for that 1 hour) has brought more stress relief and serenity into my life. Also, I tried cross-country skiing. It was my goal to try to find something fun about winter. I live in Cleveland. The snow is not going away, so, might as well embrace it. I can't wait to try some new trails this year!

Also, helped to organize a walking club with some co-workers which culminated at the American Heart Association walk last August.

4. Spent some great quality time with these guys. My son is now towering over me and has doubled my grocery bill with the amount he eats, so my time with them is growing shorter. We had some great trips! We ate our way through Savannah. See us below chowing on low-country boil.

We hiked and white-water rafted in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania!

5. I also made more of an effort to become more financially secure. This is scary territory for me but I took steps to improve my financial future and was able to put some money into home improvements which included my entryway below. The wallpaper before was not pretty. Now, the foyer feels like my own little art gallery complete with Cleveland photography from Local Girl Gallery in Lakewood.

6. Worry less. This will always be an ongoing process for me. I come from a long line of worriers. But, as long as I try to fill my life with good people and the things that I am passionate about. There will be less space for the negative.

7. Volunteering. I fell down on this one, but, I am still hopeful!


It feels like our world has become so much more complicated over the last couple years. I have noticed that many people are keeping things simple when they discuss their new year's goals. And I am totally on board with that. My biggest aspiration for this year is just To Be More Kind. I want to be more kind, not only to strangers in the grocery store, but, mostly to the people that our closest to me. This will make the greatest difference.....


to cook with this thing..... the Green Egg. Our new Christmas present.

It is amazing and it is going to help my husband and I combine his love of grilling and my love of healthy cooking.

Here is the first creation of 2012. Bourbon glazed salmon from Earth Fare taken on my new bloggie camera(how did I do?)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Going Bananas in Cleveland

It was a wonderful Thanksgiving in Cleveland. I ate in and I ate out. I took a moment to enjoy all the beauty which can be found in our city. All the while I felt grateful for my family, the delicious meal we shared, and the fun and culture we have at our fingertips living here in Cleveland.

We spent Thanksgiving at my house. This meal takes a lot of preparation, but, it is so gratifying for me to be able to do this for my family once a year.

Some tasty snackies prior to dinner......

B's delicious smoked turkey.... so glad it didn't rain.

Pear, Gorgonzola, and toasted pecan salad.... my favorite side dish.

On Friday, the weather was unsusually nice for this time of year(last year at this time we had a blizzard). So, we took a break from eating and walked off that Thanskgiving meal at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens. Here are some pretty pictures......

I hate to say goodbye to fall but these Pointsettias are helping me to warm up to the idea of Christmas. This is what its all about.

As others were fighting it out in Walmarts around the country over "Black Friday" deals, I gazed up to see blue skies and this guy.

My sweet teens taking a break from their cell phones to actually speak to each other. It is the little things that warm my heart over the holidays.

Nothing makes me feel more happy than a room full of butterflies! I will make it to Costa Rica one of these years.

And to top off a great weekend, I ate at a fantastic Tai restaurant in Ohio City called the Banana Blossom!

More pretty pictures.....

We started off the meal with some Edamame lightly steamed and salted.

My sister had the Lemongrass Chicken. The chicken was marinated with lemongrass and grilled. It is served over vegetables and topped with spinach.

Although I am curious about curry dishes, I must confess that I usually shy away from curries because there are so many different types. I just wasn't sure how each of them differs. This menu has a "create your own curry" section which was complete with detailed descriptions of each type. They have 5 different curry sauces as follows: red curry, yellow curry, green curry, Massaman curry, and Panang curry. I chose salmon and vegetables simmered in the green curry. It was amazing... It was much sweeter than curried dishes I had tried in the past. The waiter even had the chef prepare the salmon the way I like it. And check out the carrot garnish( a bird shape) below.

Overall, I completely enjoyed this restaurant. It gets a 10 for service, creativity, and flavor. The menu is quite expansive, so, there are about 10 other things I would like to try. They are open for lunch and seemed to have a busy "take out" business. You could say I've gone "bananas" over Banana Blossom. Ha, ha.... time to end this post.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Trader Joe's Saves the Day!

I went through 10 years of catholic school, so I am very familiar with guilt. We have had some really busy weeknights these last few weeks in my house making it difficult to have family dinners. It is so much easier to pull up to the Chick Filet drive thru. However, the guilt of not making a healthy dinners kind of gets to me. That's why I am so grateful to have Trader Joe's for their simple but healthy sauces and dinner kits. This meal took 10 minutes to make and was really flavorful thanks to this tasty sauce below...

Step 1: Stir fried my already cut-up vegetables from Trader Joe's. I like to stir fry using vegetable broth instead of oil

Step 2: Added my chopped chicken breast to the pan along with the Tai Red Curry sauce.

Step 3: Served over Trader Joe's already cooked Jasmine rice(found in the refrigerated section). They also had this in brown rice which would be an even healthier choice.

Serve to your fam- guilt free!

Friday, October 14, 2011

La Petit Triangle- Oooh baby!

I have never been to France but, I would imagine that its cafes look something like the scene above. I read about La Petit Triangle in a local newspaper doing an article on good happy hour places. This struck me as an usual pick for happy hour, so I have been intrigued ever since. Unfortunately, I haven't made it for happy hour, but, I did meet my sisters and mom there for a mini baby shower. My sister is due any day now with baby boy #2. Yeh!

Anyhow, this quaint Ohio City restaurant is warm and cozy and a great place to spend a rainy afternoon. Or a sunny one out on the sidwalk patio. It has the wonderful aroma of French roast and crepes in the air. You can see the chef above working her magic on the crepes. I have a hard time making crepes so I am more than happy to sit back and watch her make them for me. She was so calm and collected preparing crepes solo for the entire restaurant.

We started off our lunch with some bellinis and the soup of the day. Bellinis are a peach nectar drink with champagne. AMAZING! There was also a nice selection of french wines(will definitely have to go back). The soup was a roasted pork and vegetable soup.

Next, onto the entrees... this was a tough decision. There are a number of crepes and omelets both sweet and not. There are some classic French dishes such as Croque Monsieur( grilled ham and Gruyre cheese) and cassoulets. We had a chicken cheddar buckwheat crepe with a mango chutney. A side couscous salad was equally good.

There are a lot of options for vegetarians as well. My entree was a spinach, tomato, and chevre omelet with Lyonnaise potatoes. Also delicious.

But, the highlight of the meal was this pumpkin latte! This probably should not be on a blog called skinny eats as it definitely was not. It was the best tasting coffee drink I have ever had. I'm guessing there was lots of cream involved. Maybe come and have with a salad? Anyhow, we had great service on top of good food so I will definitely come back. The hardest decision will be.... do I go back for wine and apps, coffee and dessert, or breakfast and bellinis? You can't go wrong with any of those options, so give it a try. Bring out your inner Parisian!

Congrats to my sis on her upcoming little one! We can't wait to meet him.