Food Buzz 24, 24, 24: 12 hungry guests + 12 course meal = 24 great things!

I was so excited when Food Buzz chose me to be part of their 24, 24, 24 this month!  So for my meal, I decided to make a 12 course vegetarian meal inspired by the 12 Days of Christmas!  I invited a bunch of friends over and as soon as I got back to Los Angeles on Thursday I started preparing.

Keeping in line with my December Recipe Challenge, this meal was entirely vegetarian and tried to include any many vegetables as possible, while still tasting delicious!  I tried out new recipes and made up a few of my own!

Here’s how the evening went:

Thanks to the help of my wonderful sister, I set up the table to reflect the holiday spirit! Complete with decorative menus!

Then after the guests arrived, the first two courses were standing appetizers wine we all mingled.

12 Drummers Drumming: Vegetarian Drumsticks

Talia obviously is one of those 12 drummers!

11 Pipers Piping: Cheesy Puff Pipes

Tim knows how to work that pipe!

Then we were ready to sit down to dinner…

10 Lords A-leaping:  Leaping Lentil Salad

I wore many hats… cook, waitress, eater…

9 Ladies Dancing: Flamenco Favas

8 Maids A-Milking: Creamy Artichoke Soup

7 Swans A-Swimming: Spaghetti Swimming in a Special Sauce

6 Geese A-Laying: Quiche

5 Golden Rings: Pineapple Ring Salad

4 Calling Birds: Cauliflower Gratin

3 French Hens: Savory Crepe

2 Turtle Doves: Turtle Clusters

Of course no meal is without at least one mishap!  My caramel turned out a little bit too hard…

We all had a good laugh 🙂  Still tasted good and if you broke a tooth, you were in a house full of dentists!

A Partridge in a Pear Tree: Pears in Red Wine

A 12 course meal for 12 people made entirely by me!  I can’t believe I pulled that off!  That was definitely the ultimate recipe challenge!

It was a ton of work but totally worth it!  Thanks Food Buzz for this great opportunity!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Videos You Have to See

Hey everyone!  Sorry about the lack of updates.  I’m wrapping up the semester and going home tomorrow!  Since I haven’t had time to do a whole lot of cooking, I thought I’d post a few videos that every person needs to have seen because they’re hilarious.

What’s your favorite YouTube video?

Also, head over to Karin‘s blog to see her most recent December Recipe Challenge post! Italian Veggie Bulgur!

I’m also excited to share my exciting post on December 20th!  But until then, I have a land use plan to finish!

Have a great day!

December Recipe Challenge: Potato Gnocchi

I should probably preface this with the fact that this was a fail…

About a month ago, I bought a 5lb bag of potatoes for under $2.00.  Since it’s been a month I decided I should probably make use of them.  I also happened to have an open jar of pasta sauce that needs to be used.  Here’s the next addition to the December Recipe Challenge…  it seemed like a few ingredients, a little labor intensive but manageable!

Again I got this recipe from 101 Cookbooks, Heidi calls it How to Make Gnocchi like an Italian Grandmother.  I call it potato gnocchi.  Here’s my version, only 1 change (whole wheat flour for all purpose, which I think was the cause of fail):

Potato Gnocchi

2 lbs of potatoes
1/4 cup egg
1 cup of whole wheat flour

Boil the potatoes with the peel until tender, save the water.  Then lay the potatoes out on a large cutting board, peel and mash with a fork.

Leave it to cool a bit then add the egg and 3/4 of the flour.

Knead it very lightly, add more flour as needed.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces and roll each piece into a long worm shape.  Cut worm into 1/2inch – 3/4 inch pieces.

Shape them on the side of a fork (I can’t show this since I only have two hands).  Reboil the water and put gnocchi in the water until they float to the top.

Enjoy with olive oil and salt or some pasta sauce.

Sadly this wasn’t very delicious.  I didn’t even finish making the batch 😦  Not very delicious… In fact my dinner ended up being this:

Oh well.  We can’t win them all!

What’s your most recent recipe fail?

December Recipe Challenge: Vegetarian Lentil Burgers

As you may have gathered, I’m a huge fan of veggie patties.  I eat them all the time.  Unfortunately, they’re expensive and I’m broke.  So I was looking around for a recipe for some sort of patty that’s cheap to make that would fit the need of my December Recipe Challenge (aka healthy).

While perusing 101 Cookbooks, I came across this recipe for Vegetarian Lentil Burgers and decided to try it.  The recipe is really basic so I added a few things to it to spice it up.

Vegetarian Lentil Burger:

adapted from 101 Cookbooks

1 and 1/2 cup cooked lentils
2 eggs (or 1/2 cup egg beater type product)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 shake of cayenne pepper
1/2 onion finely chopped
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tsp olive oil

Ingredient, minus the onion because I forgot to include it in the picture 😦

I cooked some lentils (slightly undercooked since the recipe said to use black lentils which apparently are less mushy than the lentils I have), then put 1 and 1/2 cup of lentils in the food processor with the egg, salt, garlic and cayenne.

Then I processed it for a few seconds, til it looked like chunky hummus.  I wanted to have who lentils still in it, but you can probably process it more if you prefer.

Then I combined the lentil mixture with the onions and breadcrumbs in a bowl .

I formed the mixture into patties (I think I got 8 out of this, medium sized).

Heated the oil and cooked them (covered) for about 8-10 minutes.  On medium heat.  If you have a lid that’s great if not, use foil like I did.


These turned out pretty well!  I like them!  Next time I would add a little more salt or other spices to make them a little more fun. I still have a ton of lentils that I cooked so I think next time I’ll try making them with a Moroccan twist by adding cumin, corriander, cinnamon and lemon!

Also, don’t forget to suggest a cake!

December Recipe Challenge: Quinoa Mediterraneana

Ordinarily, when invited to a gathering, I bring a baked good.  I like to bake and I’m not too bad at it, so I figure why not.  However, I’m trying to break out of my comfort zone and get a little healthier.  So in the spirit of the December Recipe Challenge, I’m bringing Quinoa Mediterraneana to my department’s Dish-to-Pass Holiday Party today!

I found this recipe on Food Network.  I made a few changes and omitted pine nuts (because they’re just too expensive and they didn’t have any in the bulk food section so I couldn’t just just a handful) and parsley (because I’m not a fan so why would I waste 99 cents! Every penny counts!)

Here’s my version:

Quinoa Mediterraneana

adapted from Food Network Quinoa Mediterraneana

2 cups dry quinoa
3 and 1/2 cups water (The recipe calls for 4.5 and I used that but my quinoa turned out WAYYY too mushy, so try less water)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 canned artichoke hearts
1/4 cup or 1 small 2.25 oz can of black olives
1/2 bunch about 3 cups of chopped spinach (you can chiffonade–cut into strips– as the recipe says, fancy right??)
2 Roma tomatoes diced
Greek Dressing (recipe follows)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

First gather your ingredients…

Rinse your quinoa and put in a big big pot with water, salt and oil.  First I thought I was going to use my littler bit pot but turns out I needed the jumbo pot!

Bring to a boil and simmer for 15-2o minutes.  Let the quinoa chill for a bit while you do the rest.

Chop up your ingredients and set them aside

Then start making your dressing

Greek Dressing:

zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
Juice of 1 orange
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

To make the dressing:

Zest your lemon and juice squeeeze your orange juice.  You can use a zester or a microplane (I want one of these so bad but haven’t been willing to pony up the dough for it).  You can also use store bought orange juice(recipe actually calls for this).  I didn’t because I don’t like orange juice and it was cheaper for me just to buy an orange.

Combine all the ingredients and set aside.

Add the tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives spinach and dressing to the cooked quinoa.

Mix it up and top with crumbled feta!

It was pretty quick and easy to make, not mention colorful!

Enjoy!  I tried a little bit and I really like it!  Great flavor combination.  I just wish my quinoa hadn’t turned out mushy but that can be fixed next time with less water 🙂

I hope everyone at my party likes it 🙂

Have a great day!!

Raw vs Roasted

Almond Butter

It’s pretty delicious.  Last week, I was talking to a friend about almond butter, our favorite brands, cost, deliciousness, etc. He said he prefers raw almond butter.  So when I stopped by Trader Joe’s on my way home from Thanksgiving, I got a jar of raw almond butter to see which one I liked better.


I think I like the regular roasted Almond Butter better.  I mean they both obviously taste like almonds but the roasted one is smoother and has a more distinct taste. 

Are there any health benefits to eating it raw vs roasted?  Which do you prefer?

December Recipe Challenge Update:

Anna at Newly Wed, Newly Veg joined the December Recipe Challenge!  Check out her recipe for Barley with Mushrooms!

If you have a fun/exciting/healthy recipe, don’t forget to e-mail me so I can link you here!

P.S. This is my life for the next week…

Have a fantastic day!

December Recipe Challenge: Vegetarian Borscht

Today is day 1 of the December Recipe Challenge.

Since it was snowing when I went to class this morning, I decided upon something hot, delicious and FULL OF VEGETABLES!

I came across this recipe a few days ago and was instantly inspired!

Vegetarian Borscht

Inspired by Mostly Soup
1 Small Onion
1 tsp minced garlic (2 cloves)
1 Pound Beets (peeled and shredded)
1/2 lb carrots (shredded)
1 medium potato
1/2 cabbage (thinly sliced)
2 tbsp Olive Oil
4 cups of vegetable broth
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Sour Cream (optional)

Gather all your ingredients:

Wash your veggies, peel your beets…

Use a handy dandy food processor to easily shred everything

Then heat the oil, add the onions and garlic with some salt and pepper.  Sautee them for about 2 minutes.

Add the beets, carrots, and potato.  Cook for about 5 minutes.  In the mean time, heat up your vegetable broth.  When you slice your cabbage, don’t use a crappy knife… it sucks.

Add the vegetable broth and cabbage.  Simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Then add the juice of 1 lemon.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream and enjoy!  I had it with a slice of pumpernickel toast!  Mmm!

That was super fun to make!  It also helped that the lovely fella was there to take pictures and do the dishes!  I can’t wait to make another fun/healthy recipe!

What do you like to have on a cold day?

Anyone else make an exciting new recipe?