My next vacation…

palm trees

The last vacation I took was in March. It is now August and 3-4 months is about my limit before I start freaking out and demanding to travel and vacate somewhere. Actually, I did go to Miami in June but it was only for 48 hours. 48 hours does not a vacation make. It was a tease.

Travel is such a release for me. If you’ve read about me, you know I often feel most at home in airports and that I am happiest when I’m traveling. Or eating. Really, eating while traveling. Unfortunately, my day job doesn’t allow me to go as often as I’d like but one also needs money to travel and, so, I stay and I work. And I save money for about 3 to 4 months and then I buy myself a plane ticket and book a room. And I go. Ideally, one day I’ll be able to work as a writer, for myself, or for someone else who doesn’t need me in an office, and I can travel more frequently. But until that day come, this is the routine. (more…)

Grilled eggplant and corn salad

grilled eggplant and corn salad

I feel like I’ve been cooking a lot with eggplant lately. Hopefully you’re not sick of it yet! It’s just so good this time of year and I can’t seem to get enough of it. I love it. It’s probably one of my favorite vegetables. Hence, the plethora of eggplant recipes. I also can’t get enough of the local sweet corn around here. It makes me sad to think summer is almost over and that a lot of the fresh vegetables and fruit I love so much will be out of season in a month or so. But, summer’s not over yet! So let’s enjoy it while we can and take advantage of all the delicious food this season brings. This grilled eggplant and corn salad is one way to do that.  The hot, grilled eggplant absorbs the tangy vinaigrette and the combination of that with the sweet corn is SO good. I wish I made two batches of the stuff because between my husband and I, it vanished in a couple of hours. (more…)

Sour cream marinated chicken

sour cream marinated chicken

Happy Saturday! It’s overcast and rainy in this corner of the world today, and, although I do love sunny days, there’s something about days like today that make me feel relaxed. I don’t know about you, but this week was a doozy for me and a relaxing, lazy Saturday feels SO good. So, in the spirit of lazy days, I have a super simple (aka lazy) recipe for sour cream marinated chicken for you. Marinades for meat are so great because, most of the time, you can prepare everything for the marinade in advance and let the meat sit in it until you’re ready to eat. Perfect for relaxing, lazy cooking because there’s really very little actual cooking involved. (more…)

Savory zucchini cakes with cream cheese

zucchini cakes

Zucchini and yellow squash are overflowing from local farms around here this time of year. If you read my last post, you know I bought a bunch of fresh produce during my most recent trip to the farm stand. Amongst that fresh produce, were a couple of zucchini and yellow squash. I’ve been cooking with zucchini all summer long. I’ve grated it and put it in pasta with mushrooms and parmesan cheese. I’ve chopped it up into bite size pieces and stir fried it with some corn (recipe to come). I’ve sliced it lengthwise, grilled it and drizzled it with soy sauce. There’s a lot you can do with zucchini. My mom sautees it with garlic and a can of diced tomatoes and it comes out delicious. But, out of all the ways to cook and prepare zucchini, zucchini cakes might be my favorite. (more…)

Salty, spicy eggplant stir fry

Eggplant stir fry

I’m obsessed with the produce from local farms this time of year. This past weekend I went a bit overboard and bought a little too much. Everything looked so fresh and beautiful and I couldn’t resist. I bought zucchini, yellow squash, onions, tomatoes, peaches, blueberries, and two GIGANTIC eggplant. Seriously these eggplants were huge. I probably should have stuck with just the one, but I do love eggplant. In an effort to use up all this produce, particularly the eggplant, I’ve been cooking a lot of meatless meals (sorry, Matt). Work was also crazy busy this week with client visits and lunch meetings and so, the office was inundated with all sorts of naughty food (i.e. birthday cake, Philly cheese steaks, pizza, etc.). So the meatless meals, full of veggies, were also part of an effort to counteract all the bad food I encountered (and ate) throughout the week. This easy eggplant stir fry was one such meal. If you don’t like eggplant and prefer to eat meat, you could definitely do this with chicken, or even beef, but I think the eggplant holds up really well in this dish and I didn’t miss the chicken at all (although I rarely do). (more…)

Trader Joe’s uttapam – fun food find

Trader Joe's uttapam with coconut chutney

I found a new favorite breakfast item today in Trader Joe’s uttapam with coconut chutney. Some people  might not want to eat these delicious little Indian pancakes for breakfast, but they are a perfectly acceptable meal for lunch or dinner (or a snack) as well. I happen to really enjoy them for breakfast, but I did grow up eating rice and fish for breakfast in Southeast Asia. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy an omelet or a pancake now and then though. Mmm…French toast too. I’m getting off topic here. Back to the uttapam!

A little bit about uttapam: Uttapam are oftened referred to as Indian syle pizza. However, I prefer to compare it to a pancake as opposed to a pizza because the dough is more spongy. Naan would be more suited for Indian pizza (in my opinion). The uttapam dough is made from fermented rice and black lentils, then topped with vegetables. Also, a little fyi, uttapam are gluten free and vegan. (more…)

Pasta with chicken, pancetta and vegetables

pasta with chicken, pancetta and vegetables

When I’m not sure what to make for dinner, my go-to is usually pasta because it’s quick cooking, easy and because it’s a great vehicle for using up other leftovers. Case in point, last night, I had one lone chicken breast in my fridge and some diced pancetta. Two people probably can’t make a meal off of one piece of chicken and some pancetta but combine that with some veggies and bulk it up with pasta and you’ve got yourself a pretty hearty meal, plus leftovers for tomorrow. (more…)

My thoughts on the movie Chef

Chef

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I’ve wanted to see this movie ever since I saw the trailer for it. It’s been out for over a month and I finally made it to the theater to see it and I’m SO glad I did. From the previews, I thought I would like this movie, but I didn’t expect it to resonate with me the way that it did. Not to mention, John Favreau gives a phenomenal performance.

Movie Synopsis (some spoilers): (more…)

Mindless Eating book Review

Mindless Eating

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I’ve totally fallen behind on my resolution to read 15 books this year but I’m climbing back on the bandwagon. I love to read and I really need to make more time for it! After starting it in March, I recently (read: finally) finished the book, Mindless Eating, by Brian Wansink.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. Brian Wansink is a Food Psychologist and his book explores the reasons behind certain food choices we make and why we often overeat. Some of his findings are truly fascinating and he includes tips and tricks for how to “mindlessly” lose weight instead of mindlessly gaining weight. Simple steps, like changing the clear, see-through candy jar on your desk at work to a colored, opaque jar can actually save you from eating a number of calories throughout the week. I liked this book because it focuses on small lifestyle changes as opposed to drastic diets, which, the author points out, almost always fail. The author points out many invisible factors that influence our food/meal choices and it has certainly helped to make me more aware of why I’m choosing to eat something. (more…)

Sweet potato hash with caramelized onions and sausage

sweet potato hash with caramelized onions and sausage

I need to make shopping lists before I go to the grocery store. If I don’t I almost always wind up forgetting something or buying something we already have. Case in point, we have three bottles of unopened Windex sitting on a shelf in our apartment. The good news is I won’t have to buy Windex for many, many years. Recently, I managed to do the same thing with eggs. I asked Matt to pick some up and he brought home a dozen. Then, a couple of days later, I forgot that we already had plenty of eggs and I picked up another dozen on my way home from work. I mean, honestly, it’s going to be really hard to eat 24 eggs between the two of us before they go bad. Unfortunately, unlike Windex, eggs don’t keep for years. So, needless to say, I’ve been trying to come up with recipes that incorporate eggs. This sweet potato hash with caramelized onions and sausage is one such recipe. (more…)

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