Oh my gourd!

Don’t you love vegetable humor? :D

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The summer garden has finally come to a close. This is an assortment of ornamental gourds (the warty guys), pumpkins and spaghetti squash. Funny thing is that none of these were planted (except for the one spaghetti squash plant I found at Lowe’s) so they must have appeared from 2009’s old trashed pumpkins.

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If it weren’t for such a dry summer, and my neglect, I’m sure these pumpkins could’ve gotten a lot larger. I just hope they last until my talk with the kindergarten students about pumpkins. I want to show them what I grew in my very own garden!

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Would you like to know my go-to recipe for spaghetti squash? Well, alright then, here it is:

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 Tbsp canolive (my 50/50 blend of canola and olive oils)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (~ 2 cloves)
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 2 chopped roma tomatoes (or canned, whatever is on hand)
  • 1 cup 1% cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan
  • 3 Tbsp seasoned bread crumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Wash squash. Cut in half lengthwise, remove seeds.
  3. Place face down in baking dish, add 1” water and bake 30 minutes. When tender, carefully scrape out the “spaghetti strands”
  4. Put cooked spaghetti squash aside
  5. Heat oil in skillet over med-high heat. Cook garlic, onions, basil 4 minutes to soften. Add tomatoes and cook 3 minutes.
  6. Mix bread crumbs and parmesan. Set aside.
  7. In a very large mixing bowl (preferable vintage pyrex), combine the squash with all other ingredients
  8. Pour into greased 9×13 baking dish
  9. Top with crumb mixture
  10. Bake for ~30 minutes, until hot and bubbly

Delicious! I think Harmo would like it :)

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Back for a relaxing 2 weeks

The dogs and I are back, everything is unpacked, everyone is fed, and we’re eagerly awaiting the Olympics closing ceremony.

It’s been busy with back-to-back road trips these last few weekends! I’m looking forward to staying up for a while until my upcoming spring break trip with the family in Arizona. I just hope we’ll get to experience some warm weather! The newspaper here showed that Knoxville’s February was the 11th coldest in history, with an average temperature of less than 35 degrees!! Not cool!

Of course, being me, I already have clipped coupons from the paper, made my grocery list, planned this week’s dinner recipes, scheduled my errands/chores for the week, and planned this weekend’s outings. Am I Type A or what?? haha

Recipes planned for this weekend include:

Did I mention that the weather this weekend is forecasted to be in the 50s and 60s!!? So exciting! I have a hike planned at House Mountain with a local dog group through Meetup.com – should be a great time!

Since tomorrow is official March 1st, I am taking the new month to get back on track with my “healthy living challenge” (which I believe our workplace is starting up this week).

  • I got my pedometer up and running again, and will be wearing it daily, aiming for 10,000 steps.
  • I will be working to achieve the recommended 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week (split up however I choose to do so :) )
  • My water bottle will become my new best friend as I aim to really focus on getting 8-10 cups of H2O daily. I feel like I’ve been quite dehydrated as of late, which has definitely not helped my incredibly dry and itchy skin.

Happy March to all of you!

 

So many recipes… so little time

I will admit that one of my hobbies is perusing the food blog world for new recipes to try. If you ever find yourself bored, just head on over to Tastespotting and allow yourself to drool over the gorgeous food blogging photography for a few minutes. Always perks me up :)

Everytime I come across a recipe to try, I bookmark it (in my recipe bookmark folder that is growing exponentially). I thought I’d share the most recent 5 recipes to be starred by me.

  1. Cheddar Corn Chowder – a modified recipe of Ina Garten, from the blog “Ezra Pound Cake”. I’d obviously be making this without the bacon. Would be nice on a cold winter day!
  2. Casserole of Roasted Mushrooms – this looks absolutely wonderful. I’ve always been a sucker for wild mushrooms, pasta and ricotta, so this looks perfect.
  3. “Scary Chocolate Drizzle Pumpkin Scones” – holy cow these look amazing. I fully intend on baking these for my upcoming intern reunion here at the farm. From the blog “Bodacious Girl
  4. DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte – I believe I already blogged about this cheap alternative to Starbucks. I may still whip one up for a weekend treat, but for now I’ve been content with my Dunkin Donuts coffee and Pumpkin Pie Spice creamer :)
  5. Chocolate Pumpkin Muffin Tops – OK, not everything I look at is pumpkin-related, but it is October afterall, so I’ve been a little obsessed. I have already made these, and they are the most amazing fat-free desserts ever! Deelish!! From the “Bake-Off Flunkie” (great idea for a blog!)

Weekend Good Eats and Cupcake Memorabilia!

Hi there!

I’m writing this post Sunday morning, but it probably won’t be posted until tomorrow, Monday, when I get to Charlotte and can find wireless for my laptop. I have some photos to share, and the dial-up connection here at the farm just won’t cut it for that.

I hope everyone has had a fun and relaxing weekend! We had some guests for the weekend – my mom’s best friend from college (and a Registered Dietitian!) and her teenage daughter (a vegetarian!). Not surprisingly, the weekend was full of good eats :)

My mother was inspired by a trip to a local bakery (Sweet Celebrations in Maryville, TN) to make a lemon chess pie for their arrival. It was pretty delicious. Apparently she was quite the pie baker back in her youth, but after one unfortunate dough incident, she never baked another pie. We’re glad this one was the return of Kitty’s pies!

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The weekend’s meals have been full of trusted, old favorites. Friday night I made my Faux Crab Cakes – a recipe that we’ve had at least once a week while we’ve been here. Great for those who are overwhelmed with a large summer supply of zucchini! As many of my friends know, crab cakes is one of the few items that I have dearly missed since becoming vegetarian. Luckily, these babies do the trick! The cakes are easy to put together:

  • 2 cups grated zucchini, pressed of excess water
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (I use half panko, half italian seasoned)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp light mayo
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning (the secret ingredient!)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • 1/4 cup diced bell pepper (color of your choosing, red looks pretty)

You just mix it all together, form 8 patties, then fry them up in a little canola oil, and voila! We serve them with homemade cocktail sauce, but you could use whatever you want. Sorry, no picture :(

After dinner, I was presented with a "Congratulations for passing the RD exam!” gift from our guests. It’s a beautiful cookbook charm – complete with a cupcake on the front, and my initials engraved on the back “ES, RD”. Glad the comma is there and people don’t think I proudly promote End Stage Renal Disease. hahahaha

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Isn’t it cute? Thanks guys!

We stopped at TJMaxx on our way to the movies Saturday afternoon (went to see Time Travelers Wife – a little confusing to follow, and could’ve been better with Bana’s aussie accent.. haha), where I picked up my latest happy bowl for hot breakfasts/beverages. Check it out!

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 I can’t wait to use it soon! This morning’s breakfast was a cup of earl grey tea, and the remnants of the delicious cinnamon raisin friendship bread that our weekend guests brought. In the words of my sister: om nom nom nom!

Speaking of my sister, she recently moved into her first apartment, and is about to start her second year of college next week. Word is that her and her roommates enjoy reading my blog – so a shout out to you girls! From what I’ve been hearing, there are going to be many good eats coming from that apartment this year. Maybe I can visit someday :)

Our post-movie dinner was at The Tomato Head, our favorite restaurant in town which has become a weekly event for us. I love their vegetarian friendly menu and haven’t had better tofu anywhere else! This time I left with one of their t-shirts. Maybe if I wear it during my next visit I can get a free dessert? Their vegan cookies have looked quite intriguing….

OK, the oven is calling my name. I’m baking my famous (well, in my family..) Black Bean & Sweet Potato Enchiladas for a nice hearty lunch before our guests hit the road. And then I’ll be busy this afternoon getting ready for my road trip and interview! Wish me luck in Winston-Salem!

Success with Black Bean Burgers!

Finally! I have conquered the art of black bean burgers. So long mushy, loose, ‘burgers’ that fall apart. Tonight I have mastered you.

stp82131Soooo good. Now of course, I referenced a few recipes, but in the end made it up, without measuring anything, so now I have no way to replicate this meal. Such a shame. But here’s my best guess as to what I did:

  1.  Sautee 1/4 cup diced onions with 1 minced garlic clove for 3-5 mins, then add a dash of cumin.
  2. Add 1 cup black beans (drained and rinsed from can).
  3. Transfer everything to food processor and pulse until combined
  4. Put this sticky mixture into a bowl and add 1/4 cup or so of breadcrumbs. Mix until it forms a nice ball and isn’t sticky.
  5. Divided into 2 burger patties
  6. Dredge each patty lightly in flour 
  7. Dip in egg wash
  8. Dredge in breadcrumbs
  9. Place in hot skillet with 1-2 tsp EVOO and cook 2-3 mins per side.
  10. Serve on bread with dijon mustard, lettuce and tomato. 
  11. Eat and enjoy!

They really were good! Of course, like most vegetarian burgers, still soft inside, but I think the flour/egg/breadcrumb crust really helped it all stay firm and unified. Nothing like a nice crusty black bean burger…. mmmmm.

I forgot that I had bought hamburger buns specifically for this meal… but when I realized that I would now be making 2 burgers, I decided to make it like an open-faced sandwich and save on the carbs. Plus… I may be eating cookie dough later tonight… so I’m saving a few calories for that little splurge…. if it even happens :)