This flat-bread was actually one of those happy accidents that you can encounter in the kitchen every now and then. We were home on a Saturday afternoon but didn’t have any lunch plans so I had the challenge of coming up with something based on what we had in the refrigerator. I admit I was tempted to just go out or pick up lunch somewhere but the guilt of not wanting to spend money and knowing that we had some produce that would risk going bad soon kept me in, and so glad I did. Plus, I was feeling creative.
The ‘Mediterranean,’ inspriation actually comes from the ‘secret’ ingredient hummus; such a simple spread and yet gave it such amazing flavor! I had some whole wheat flat-bread pieces and a random assortment of produce, deli meats, and cheeses and initially I thought ‘easy, I’ll just make a couple sandwiches.’ However when it came to putting it together I really was not in the mood for sandwiches so I decided to make a flat-bread instead! As I was about to pull out a jar of mustard I spotted a jar of home-made hummus I had made just a couple nights ago and decided hey why not? It could work. I highly recommend you try making your own hummus sometime, it comes out so good and it’s cheaper than store brought. I make my hummus as smooth and creamy as possible with a lot of garlic and tahini so it gave the the flat-bread a delicious kick of flavor.
This seriously took less than ten minutes to make, it’s healthy, and it fulfills pizza cravings without the added calories of pizza. You can choose whichever meats you like, and if you’re a working gal (or guy) like me you can easily pack the ingredients and pop it into a toaster oven for a couple of minutes for your work lunch (suffice to say that my co-workers were very jealous).
INGREDIENTS (makes two servings):
1 Piece of flat-bread (I use 100% whole wheat lavash)
4 tablespoons hummus
2 slices of deli turkey
4 slices of hard salami
1/2 cup fresh arugula
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes cut in halves
1/4 cup low fat mozzarella cheese
Spread the hummus evenly on the flat-bread. Rip up the turkey into smaller pieces and spread over bread followed by salami slices. Drizzle the cheese over the flatbread and top with tomato slices and arugula. Pop it in the oven and broil for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the bread toasted. Then, eat it all because it’s too good not to!
That title is a mouthful – but so are these pumpkin muffins! I’m training for a 1/2 marathon and prepping to go wedding dress shopping in two months (eeek!) so indulging in holiday treats isn’t that much of an option for me right now. Leading a healthy eating lifestyle is one of my priorities and indulging every once in a while is fine, but if you’re looking for a healthy fall treat (that tastes like a cheat) I would highly recommend these! I was so pleased with the results; they were moist, not too sweet, and rich with pumpkin and autumn spice flavors. It was a great mid-day weekend treat that we enjoyed with some fresh french pressed coffee.
1 cup of pumpkin puree (I used the Trader Joe’s organic canned version and it was great)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup of honey (I’ve read using just honey works well too – just double the amount to replace the brown sugar)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)
1 tablespoon coarse raw sugar for topping
Pre-heat oven to 375F.
In a bowl mix the flour, pumpkin spice, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and brown sugar. Sift the dry ingredients together and add the pumpkin puree, oil, eggs, honey, and chocolate chips. Mix all ingredients together with a spoon until thoroughly mixed.
Line a muffin pan with paper liners and scoop the mixture evenly into the pan. If desired, sprinkle a little bit of coarse raw sugar over each muffin – it will give the top a sweet crunch and it looks pretty.
Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (as all you bakers know all too well).
Autumn is hands down my favorite season. I’m a New England girl who got accustomed to the crisp air, colorful leaves, and that ‘back to school’ feeling. Well, now I live in Los Angeles and finished my education over three years ago but I still love the change of season and everything that comes with it. You do still find that the weather shifts to just slightly chilly mornings and brisk air. To embrace the seasons even further we like to have a visual transition in our home as well. With just some simple changes you can emote the autumn spirit. Instead of adding in new pieces as decor I replaced common household items with season appropriate ones. For example, I replaced our summer table set that consisted of cool blues and cream colored plates and napkins with table pieces in oranges, browns, and yellows. I used typical table pieces such as this table runner we got from our trip to Guatemala, owl salt and pepper shakers, an orange vase to hold utensils at the table, and pretty yellow napkins with a light leaf pattern. Our lovely table and kitchen hatch have some fall coloring on its own, which certainly helps.
For the living room I went with a more subtle approach as most of our furniture is already dark brown. I purchased some flowers that lean toward autumn colors instead of going for the bright pinks and reds that I love for summer.
Yes, clearly I have a thing for owls, and I find them just right for this season. Can’t wait for fall recipes, hot beverages, sweaters, and apple picking!
Apparently I’m on a zucchini kick lately. I’ve made this dish several times and love coming back to it with new ingredients. This time instead of ground beef I decided to use ground turkey. If you’re looking for low fat meat options and/or avoiding red meat turkey is a great alternative. My fiance isn’t crazy about turkey burgers, but in this dish he doesn’t even notice the difference. I use zucchini instead of pasta making this a low carb/gluten free meal. I can honestly say that I like this better than regular lasagna, and I’ve had friends who agreed just after tasting it.
2 large green zucchini
2 large yellow squash
1/2 white onion
1/2 cup sliced crimini mushrooms
1 pound ground turkey
2 cups tomato sauce
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon peper
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 cups low fat shredded cheese
Pre-heat oven to 350F.
Chop the onion and mushrooms and add to a pan with a little bit of olive oil. Saute until the onions are a little translucent.
Add the ground turkey to the pan and using a wooden spoon separate the meat while it’s cooking.
While the turkey is cooking slice up the squash into long flat slices.
Add the tomato sauce once the turkey has mostly cooked through on the outside (it will finish cooking in the oven) along with the salt, pepper, thyme, and fennel seeds. Let the meat soak in the tomato sauce and spices for a couple of minutes on the stove-top. In a large flat baking dish lay the squash flat to create the bottom layer of your lasagna.
Then simply layer it with meat, followed by cheese, then squash again. Your top layer with be a final layer of squash topped with a layer of cheese.
Put in 350F oven for about 15 – 20 minutes for the meat to finish cooking and the cheese to melt. That’s it! It’s easy and it makes plenty. I can’t wait to have this for dinner again tonight. Leftovers are just as good.
I am not actually a vegetarian but I often tend to lean in that direction. I enjoy meat as many do and am not willing to completely give it up, but I find myself craving vegetable based dishes more often than not. I also love finding ways to swap out ingredients in dishes in favor of making it healthier. There are many veggies that work so well to replace starches such as eggplant lasagna or spaghetti squash so taking a cue from the latter I decided to try making ‘noodles’ out of zucchini. I am so excited with the results. I flavored it as I would a light pasta salad and served it warm which was a perfect light and comforting meal for these early autumn nights.
5 zucchini (I used green, you can of course use yellow squash as well)
1 1/2 cups cooked chick peas
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 corn husk
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 orange bell pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
Goat cheese for sprinkling over
Cut your zucchini long ways in half and carefully make thin long slices from each half. I laid the zucchini flat on my cutting board and make horizontal slices to get thin flat slices. If you have a mandolin this process should be much easier, I had to use a knife. After you’ve cut all your thin slices slice the zucchini into thin long strips. You can make them as thick or thin as you would like, the idea is just to emulate spaghetti; keep in mind that zucchini shrinks when it cooks. On a griddle (or in your oven on a piece of aluminum foil) roast the corn until it is evenly cooked. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and sprinkle a little bit of olive oil and salt just enough to lightly coat them. Add tomatoes to griddle and let them roast for a couple of minutes. I used tongs to keep them moving so they would grill from both sides.
Add the zucchini to a pot and cook until they are slightly tender but not soggy. Mix in the other vegetables and add remaining olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve with little dollops of goat cheese. You can have this hot or cold, it’s yummy either way.
This past weekend I decided to use my brand new skillet for the first time by making an egg breakfast. I love our cast iron griddle but this is my first cast iron skillet and I’m so in love with this one too! Breakfast/brunch is my favorite meal of the day but having a steady job means I often don’t have time to cook up what I would want to each day. I always cook with real ingredients and as organically as possible so this fits the bill if you’re looking for a healthy egg breakfast. They may look like fried eggs (and taste even better) but these were actually cooked in the tomato sauce in the oven!
And yes, they were super easy to make and you can adjust as you see fit. Next time I would love to add some mushrooms or some crumbled bits of chorizo.
INGREDIENTS (makes for four eggs):
2 cups tomato sauce (I used the Trader Joes Puttanesca sauce which has olives, capers, and anchovies that give it a great flavor)
1/2 large white onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pre-heat your oven to 350F.
In a medium sized skillet I decided to saute some chopped onion before adding the tomato sauce to give it even more flavor. I love the combination of onion and egg. After sauteing onions in the olive oil until they’re lightly browned on the stove top, add the tomato sauce and let it simmer for about a minute. When the tomato sauce is evenly warmed up crack your eggs right into the sauce. You can make little ‘pockets’ in the sauce before adding your eggs so they can submerge into the sauce a bit more. Lightly salt for taste and put skillet into oven for about 2 minutes for over easy eggs and about 5 minutes if you want the yolks to cook through. I quickly learned that it may continue to look like the yolk is soft, but it cooks very quickly using this method!
We ate this with some toasted corn tortillas, but with bread or alone it’s just as delicious.
We spent last weekend in Quebec city. We’ve taken several long weekend trips this year for various reasons such as film festivals and weddings. This trip to Quebec served a few different purposes. We first thought of this trip a little over a year ago so that James could take some footage for work related tasks but decided to do it in mid September as a birthday/anniversary/engagement trip. We were able to practice a little bit of our French (which I’m committed to working on this year before the honeymoon), and even though we only had a couple of days we were able to walk through everything we had aimed for. It was a perfect and romantic weekend getaway. Here are just a few of the many many pictures we each took.
This was our hotel room. It was a small bed and breakfast type of hotel and it was beautiful. Every piece of furniture was unique and every detail ornate. This was me after a full night of travelling.
At the boardwalk outside Le Chateau Frontenac. Luckily the hotel has a few stores and such so we were able to go inside.
I like to find souvenirs that aren’t typically marketed toward tourists. We found a book shop on the outskirts of the city where I found a children’s book with classic Quebecois stories (all in French/Quebecois of course).
The food was mostly pretty good. I loved that every place had cafe au lait, which I needed a couple of times to keep me awake and going through the day.Apparently this is a classic Canadian dish – poutine. It’s something that I’ve eaten before without realizing it had an official name. It’s french fries, gravy, and cheese – and it’s as good as it sounds.
We found some vending machines for these ‘Emanuelle’ gummy candies while waiting for the ferry. It was a short inexpensive ferry ride across the river that I would definitely recommend it to any visiting the city.
The city looked just as beautiful at night as it did by day. This is me at the boardwalk as we were making our second round through the whole city.The boat symbol used throughout the city at the window of Le Chateau Frontenac.
We decided to have drinks and dessert at the bar at Frontenac on the night of my birthday to celebrate. We ordered the creme brulee – and we got three different flavors. I can’t tell you which one was the best because they were all too good.We each had a Bellini as well. Our favorite champagne cocktails are actually Italian 75′s but these are also delicious.
They may seem small, but I love all those simple things and moments that can add something special to your day. Here are some that are making me happy today. Oh and the fact that it’s Friday and my birthday weekend!
My new London Fog weekender bag. Finally found the perfect bag size and look that I wanted for all our fun weekend getaways.
I’m not a huge Halloween fan (it’s fun but it’s no Thanksgiving), but I am a huge Disney villains fan. What an appropriate day for the Halloween festivities to begin at Disneyland – can’t wait to see all the villains unleashed in the park in the upcoming month.
My lunch box – yes, I’m an adult with a lunch box and I love it. It’s so convenient! It all stacks up into one and has three different compartments. If it weren’t for this lunch box I would have to pack multiple separate containers all the time – this is brilliant. The tin is so much more appealing than plastic and not as heavy as glass. Win.
James and I will often have a cocktail after dinner to unwind after a full day of work and just enjoy the rest of our evening together . Unwinding with a cup of coffee seems counter intuitive, but I like to reserve coffee for relaxing weekday nights and easy going lazy weekend mornings. I’m a tea girl, but every once in a while I crave that stronger coffee punch and complimenting good coffee with a splash of Irish liquor doesn’t hurt the unwinding process. I always make coffee with a French press, it looks more appetizing and it tastes freshest; I also find it the easiest process for coffee making.
As you can see the coffee wasn’t too strong, didn’t want to overdo it so close to bed time with the caffeine. I used a flavored coffee (caramel toffee) that could compliment the sweetness of the Irish liquor and feel like a dessert drink after a good dinner.
Having cats doesn’t hurt the unwinding either. Cuddling up with them always helps ease any troubles away. True to their breed, these guys always want to be wherever the action is.