Brownies and the French

July 14th was Bastille Day.

I’m not French.

I know that, but I’d take any excuse for a party and baking.

Some friends had a party, Sara and I made Champagne Brownies

and I tried to look French because obviously a black dress with a sassy look and an odd hairdo screams Je suis française!

But really, Champagne, we can call that French, right?

I’m not sure we should call these brownies brownies though.  They should probably just be called fudge.  They’re dense and bittersweet and intense.

Champagne Almost Fudge Brownies

adapted from Couture Cupcakes

1 lb of unsweetened chocolate (i.e. baker’s squares or coco powder+oil)
12 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar (omit if you use sweetened chocolate)
4 eggs
3/4 cup flour
1 cup champagne

Preheat oven to 325F.

In a large pot on low heat, melt together the chocolate and butter.  Remove from heat.  Add the salt, sugar and vanilla.  Stir together to combine.  Stir in 1 egg at a time until just combined.  Add the flour stirring until just combined.  Add the champagne and stir until incorporated.  Transfer to a greased 9 x 13 baking pan.  Bake about 40 minutes.  Allow to cool completely (I would even say you can chill them), cut and serve (with ice cream or on its own).

So rich!

I kept up with the French theme this morning (two days later).

Omelets are French.

Zucchini Goat Cheese Omelet

1/2 tsp olive oil
3 tbsp diced onion
1 small zucchini, diced
1/2 cup chopped chard or kale
1/2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley or basil
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup egg substitute  (or 3 eggs, beaten)
1 oz goat cheese

In a small skillet, heat oil, add onions and zucchini cook for a few minutes until zucchini is almost tender.  Add chard and cook an additional minute or two.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.  Spray a medium skillet with cooking spray and put on medium/low heat, add eggs, cover and cook until eggs are pretty much cooked through (no longer jiggle when shaken) about 4 minutes.  Carefully flip the egg using a spatula, sprinkle with goat cheese and vegetable filling, fold over and transfer to a plate.

Sprinkle with a little more parsley and serve with a slice of homemade oatmeal bread.

Very light and tasty.

This omelette only has 200 calories, must be why French women don’t get fat.

We’ll just forget about the brownies.

The Pros and Cons of a CSA Share

Hi friends!  Hope your day is starting out well.  This morning I went to a TERRIBLE spinning class, but we won’t talk about that.  Instead, let’s talk about vegetables.

I’ve had my CSA share for about a month now.

Overall I’d say it’s been great.  Here in Ithaca, having a CSA share is pretty common, but I know in other places it’s not.  So why not do some pros and cons. Feel free to chime in with some comments!

Cons:

1. My salad spinner is my new best friend.

With a CSA you don’t have the luxury of packaged/pre-washed vegetables.  Preparing things takes a bit longer as everything has to be washed, trimmed, chopped, etc.

2.  No more green monsters everyday.

I haven’t gotten any spinach in my share so I’ve been going through green monster withdrawal.  I actually went to the grocery store at one point this month ONLY to buy spinach so I could make a green monster.  I tried it with JUST kale, it was NOT good.

So sometimes you miss certain vegetables.  I also haven’t had a carrot since May even though I used to have one every day.  But I have plenty of other vegetable options.

3.  Eat cautiously.

Because the veggies are so fresh and haven’t traveled far, I’ve found my fair share of worms in my lettuce.  Some would see this as horrible, but I don’t think it’s that big a deal.  If anything, it’s a marker of freshness.

Added bonus: helps me slow down (as I tend to eat very quickly) when I have to inspect each bite 🙂

4.  Somewhat pricey?  I’m torn on this one.  My share ends up costing $19 per week.  For that amount, I have unlimited local organic vegetables.  For one person, that might be a lot but I think if I bought the same stuff (entirely local and organic) at the grocery store it would probably cost more.

Pros:

1.  Supporting local agriculture.  You can feel good about yourself… or something.

2.  Plenty of organic vegetables!

Having a CSA share has definitely made me increase my vegetable intake.  Since I don’t have the heart to throw anything away, I eat a huge bag of vegetables each week usually something to the effect of: 2-3 bunches of kale, 1 head of lettuce, a kohlrabi, some broccoli and a cucumber.  Kind of a lot.

3.  Forces you to get creative.  A lot of times, you’ve never heard of a vegetable that’s in your share (check out my first experience with kohlrabi).  But a lot of times you don’t want to eat the same vegetable prepared the exact same way for weeks on end.

So you try to get creative, like this:

Vegetable Polenta Bake for One (or Two)

1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1 small yellow squash, thinly sliced
1-2 cups greens (I used kale and chard)
1 cup pasta sauce (jarred or homemade)
1-2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1 oz mozzarella (I used 1 string cheese)
1-2 tbsp grated paremesan/pecorino romano/asiago cheese
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 cup water
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt

Heat oil in a pan, add onion and cook for a few minutes (until translucent), add garlic, zucchini and yellow squash and cook for a few minutes (it shouldn’t be cooked all the way).  Next add greens and stir around until they start to wilt.  Add pasta sauce and stir until greens have cooked down.  Turn off the heat and stir in the parsley.

In a small pot or sauce pan, combine cornmeal, water, garlic powder, onion powder and salt.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Once cornmeal starts to thicken (aka polenta), keep stirring until the polenta starts to come off the sides.

Take a small baking dish,  spread half of the sauce/vegetable mixture in the baking dish, then on top of that spread half of the polenta.  Next top with half the string cheese/mozzarella and half of the parmesan.  Repeat.

Bake in the toaster oven for 20 minutes.

Allow to cool.  Either eat it straight from the dish for another single lady (or gent) meal or serve on a plate with a simple green salad.

Ingredients from CSA in this dish: zucchini, yellow squash, kale and chard, parsley. + side salad with lettuce and cucumbers from CSA as well.

4.  Less trips to the grocery store!   Since I pick up at the Farmer’s Market once or twice, I make less frequent trips to the grocery store.  As a result, I spend less on things I don’t really need.  Because let’s face it, who actually sticks to their shopping list when they go to the store?

5.  It’s fun!  If you’re like me, vegetables are probably one of the most exciting things ever!  You get fun new ones every week!

Do you have a CSA share?  Consider getting one?
Any Pros or Cons I missed?

Naturally Nutty Zucchini Muffins and a Wine Trick

A few nights ago, my roommate and I were talking about muffins.  Yesterday morning after my nap (at 10:30am!  Isn’t that nuts!??!  I’m ridiculously tired these days) I was inspired.

Naturally Nutty Zucchini Muffins

1/2 cup Naturally Nutty Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup egg substitute (or 1 egg)
1/2 cup milk
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 small zucchini, grated (about 1 cup)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cream together the sugar, sunflower butter, egg and milk.  Add whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, and baking powder  and mix together.  Fold in grated zucchini.  Place in greased muffin pan and bake for approximately 20-22 minutes.  Makes 10 muffins.

I have to confess the whole reason I made these up was because I wasn’t a fan of the Naturally Nutty Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter.  I got two jars a while back from one of Kath’s Open Sky deals.  While it tastes okay, I’m not a HUGE fan of it on its own.

However, baked into these, it tastes good!  If you don’t have Naturally Nutty Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter on hand you can use 1/2 cup of any nut butter + 1/2 tsp vanilla + 1/2 tsp cinnamon!

These aren’t the sweetest thing in the world but they’re tasty enough for a baked treat.  Definitely not bad for about 150 calories. But honestly, not what I was  expecting.   The batter tasted a million times better than the baked product.   Oh well.

A few days ago my friend sent out this video about opening a bottle of wine with a shoe. I can’t insert it here for some reason but watch it! It’s nuts!

So we tried it.  Here’s the recap.

We rewatched the video (tools ready).

Tapped the bottom.

Hit it against a wall and nothing.

Tried a door frame.

Hmmm maybe it has to be a real cork not a synthetic cork.  Good thing we have another bottle.  Start over.

Brick outside maybe?  Still looking for other hard surfaces.

Hmm maybe it’s the shoe.  Let’s try a cowboy boot (his, not mine, in case you were wondering).

Nothing. We’ll try again later.

We’re thinking maybe it has to do with the bottom of the show. We’re going to try with one of my hard bottom leather boots instead of a rubber soled shoe.

Isn’t that video nuts!?!?  Anyone speak French who can tell me if I’m missing something?

Baked Falafel

Today was much better than yesterday.  I was still pretty lazy but not NEARLY as much as yesterday.

I got my butt to the gym as soon as it opened (12:00pm, isn’t that crazyyy late?!?).  I did a FANTASTIC interval work out inspired by this lady.  Actually I wrote this work out plan on a little piece of paper with the intention of taking it to the gym with me, but left it at home as I often tend to do.  Instead, I made up my own on the spot.

5 min warm up
3 sets: (9 mins)
1 min 6.0
1 min 7.0
1 min 4.0

3 sets: (9 mins)
1 min 5.6
1 min 8.0
1 min 4.2

3 sets: (9 mins)
1 min 6.5
1 min 7.5
1 min 4.5

3 sets: (9 mins)
1 min 7.0
1 min 6.0
1 min 4.0

3 sets: (9 mins)
1 min 8.0
1 min 6.5
1 min 4.2

5-10 min cool down

LOVED IT.  I was a sweaty mess at the end.  The work out just flew by!  Probably helped that I was listening to an old school playlist that I hadn’t listened to in a million years.  I hate to admit it but I like running on treadmills.

I’m excited to do this again sometime this week.  Next time, I’ll do her actual work out.  Definitely recommended!

Then I came home and made the most magical lunch ever!

Baked Falafel

adapted from Epicurious
1 cup dried garbanzo beans
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons flour (I used sorghum flour, so I think they were gluten free)

Soak beans overnight in plenty of water.  The next days, put the garbanzo beans and onion in the food processor and pulse to roughly chop.  Next add remaining ingredients and pulse until combine.  Refrigerate mixture for a few hours (this is when I went to the gym and did the above mentioned fab work out).

After the  mixture is chilled, pre heat your oven to 375 degrees.  Form garbanzo bean mixture into 20 walnut sized balls.  Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.  Turn and baked for another 15 minute.  Serve on lettuce with cucumbers, tomato and yogurt tahini sauce.

Yogurt Tahini Sauce

1/4 cup greek yogurt
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp water (more or less depending on how thick you want it)

Stir together in a bowl and drizzle over falafel.   This recipe makes enough to serve 4 or 5.

In case you’re curious, this is the nutrition information for each ball:

Pretty tasty!  I will say that they can be rather messy to eat, God forbid I use silverware!

Of course after lunch I watched the World Cup Final.  Big surprise (I’m sure you’re tired of hearing about it, but it’s over now).

Spain won! I’m pleased!

Alright now back to my book!  Have a great night!

The Thought Process of the Laziest Day Ever

I woke up and looked at the clock. 7:09am.  That’s a reasonable hour to be awake on a Saturday morning.   Sat up and looked out the window and wondered what I’m going to do today. Hmm I can go to the gym, it opens at 10am on Saturdays.

In the meantime, I’ll have breakfast. I hop out of bed, make coffee and waffles.  Blog a bit.

10am comes around.  Hm I’m still full.  I’ll wait it out a bit.  Oh wait, maybe I should go to the farmer’s market real quick to pick up my CSA share since they recommend going before 12:00pm.

So I go to the farmer’s market, pick up my share and I’m home by 11:30.  As I put away my CSA veggies, I have a bright idea to make something with some of last week’s veggies. They’re going to go bad, obviously they can’t sit in the fridge an hour longer while I go to the gym.

I made some Cilantro Lime Slaw.

Cilantro Lime Slaw

adapted from Epicurious

1/4 cup greek yogurt
zest + juice of 1 lime
few shakes of cayenne
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt (more or less to taste)
black pepper
3 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
1 small head of cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 an onion, thinly sliced

Combine all the ingredients together and mix well.  Refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

Then since it was sitting in front of me, I ate some Cilantro Lime Slaw.  Who else is going to eat that plate I just photographed?  I mean it can’t go back in the bowl that’s going in the fridge! I thought it was delicious!  When I was little my mom used to make cabbage with lime and salt, nothing else.  This tastes like a spicier, better version of that.  What can I say, I’m easy to please (…not true at all).

While I was at it I had some chips that my old roommate who moved out left behind.  Hmm now I’m too full to go to the gym.

Guess I’ll clean up a bit in the meantime.  As I clean, I see a bag of bread flour and have a bright idea!  Oatmeal bread!

Oatmeal Bread

adapted from King Arthur Flour

3 cups bread flour
1 cup oats
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp molasses (or honey or sugar)
2 tsp dry active yeast
1 1/4 cup milk, warm (microwaved it 30 seconds)
extra flour for dusting kneading surface

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.  In a small bowl combine butter, milk, yeast, and molasses.  Let sit for a few minutes until it gets foamy.  Then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together.  Once you can’t mix it any more, turn onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes.  Place dough in a greased bowl and put in a warm place to rise for an hour.  After the dough has risen, put it in a loaf pan and let it rise for another hour.  Once it has risen about an inch or so over the rim of the pan, bake at 350F for about 40 minutes.  Allow to cool completely before slicing.

So I started making that.  As the dough rises, I peruse the internet and look at the clock.  It’s about 1:30.  Oh the Germany vs Uruguay game is at 2:30, this gym doesn’t have a TV.  I better not go now, plus I’m still full.

Instead I took a nap while my bread was rising.  At 2:20, I woke up repositioned my bread into a bread pan and let it proof one more time.  Perfect timing the game is going to start!

At the half time, I put my bread in the oven.

45 minutes later.  Germany wins.  I’m bummed but life goes on.  My bread is ready.  I should probably take pictures of it.  In that process I ate two pieces (the rest is now in the freezer).  Again too full to exercise. And damn the gym closes at 5:30pm.

Around 6:00pm, I finally gave up.  Forget this, I’m not exercising today. Instead I took a shower and went to the mall for two reasons.

To watch this by myself:

and to buy this:

I’m a lonely, midwestern housewife. Don’t tell.

Eclipse was terrible.  No two ways around it.

Sure, Taylor Lautner was pretty, but the movie was horrible.  I laughed out loud a few times (not always at intentionally funny parts).  I’m glad I went alone, I think I would have been terribly embarrassed if I made someone go see that with me, especially a boy (not that I have one to go with).  There were a fair number of men in the theatre surprisingly.  You know I’ll still see the next one anyway…

So it looks like I have a date with my bed and the above mentioned book (10th Sookie Stackhouse book, I can’t say no).

I must confess: I love cheesy books.  They make me so happy.  Sookie Stackhouse fills that need for me.  For the record, the books really aren’t that much like the show.

This is the perfect example of why I need schedules (activities and meal times) and planning ahead.

I overspent both my monetary entertainment budget and my calorie budget.

Tomorrow will be a better day.

Edamame Hummus

I have about a million things I want to bake.  But it’s not happening.

It’s 90 degree out, 50% humidity.  I walked to and from the farmer’s market and was basically a sweaty mess.

So instead of baking, I made…

Edamame Hummus

1 1/2 cups shelled edamame (I thawed the frozen kind)
zest and juice of 1 1/2 limes
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic
2 tbsp tahini
1/4- 1/2 cup water (enough to reach a consistency you like)

Throw it all in the food processor.  Start with only 1/4 cup of water stream more in if you want it smoother and not as thick.  I used about half a cup.

Then came a cucumber, edamame hummus and cheese sandwich.

Not bad.

A few hours later, I was going stir crazy from sitting around all day working on my computer.  For some reason, I thought a run would be a good idea.  I made it maybe a little more than a mile before I stopped and walked home.  Way too hottttttt.  Honestly, I probably could have kept going but I just plain wimped out.

Note to self: early morning gym sessions will resume tomorrow morning due to the heat.

Have a great (sweaty) night!

Lentil Chili over Sun Dried Tomato Cornmeal Waffles

Ever since my friend Liz left me her waffle iron for the summer, I’ve had waffles on the brain.

It sits in the living room next to my basil plant and mini rose bush, because there’s no where in the kitchen to put it.

I basically think about waffle ideas all the time. In the shower.  On runs.  During movies.

Today was no exception.  It was kind of cold out today (low 60s), something warm and tasty was in order.

Lentil Chili

1 onion, diced
1 tsp garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 can of diced tomatoes
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne
1 cup lentils
2 cups water or vegetable broth
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1 smart dog (or real hot dog if you eat meat), diced, optional
1/2 bunch of kale (about 7 leaves), cleaned, stemmed and finely chopped

Heat oil in a pot.  Add onions and cook for a few minutes.  Add garlic and cook for an additional minute.  Add can of  tomatoes, spices, lentils, water and corn.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add kale and smart dog and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until lentils are tender.

Serve over savory sun dried tomato cornmeal waffles

Sun Dried Tomato Cornmeal Waffles

1/4-1/3 sun dried tomatoes (about 10 pieces), rehydrated or packed in oil
1 cup buttermilk (or the old trickeroo 1 tbsp of vinegar + enough milk to fill up 1 cup, let sit for 10 mins)
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 egg white
3 tbsp olive oil

Blend together rehydrated sun dried tomato and milk until smooth.  Add eggs pulse.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking soda, baking powder, salt, parmesan cheese.  Gradually pulse in dry ingredients until just combined and smooth (make sure to scrape the sides of the blender).  Pour into a hot waffle iron, bake for 3 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.  Makes 2 huge belgian waffles and probably a few regular waffles.  Enough for 4 people.

Honestly, this might be one of the best things I’ve ever made.  Sort of like a better version of corn bread and chili, right?

Who knew savory waffles could be so good!

Not only was it ridiculous quick and easy, it’s pretty healthy!  The lentil chili is vegan and all sorts of healthy (because I put kale in everything) and the waffles… well we all need a little bit of carb and fat in our life.  We especially need sun dried tomato!  You could probably blend in some spinach or kale to sneak in some more vegetables.

You can also freeze the waffles if you have leftovers then pop them in the toaster oven when you’re ready to enjoy them again!

Try it.  You won’t regret it.

Well, I’m headed to the middle of nowhere NY to do some stuff for my internship then I’m headed out of town for the weekend!

Have a great 4th of July!!