Spicy Ratatouille

Filed Under (Supper) by Lisa on 29-05-2009

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Recently my boyfriend has been taking about egg plant quite a lot. Ever since he went out for a Greek dinner with his parents, and had mussaka for the first time. All his talk of egg plant inspired me to make something that I have been wanting to try for a while ratatouille (which also has egg plant in it). I searched the internet and found a recipe that seemed appealing at: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Ratatouille/Detail.aspx
I modified the recipe as usual and it turned out really well. The only thing I got a little carried away with was the cayenne pepper. I was sprinkling away when I realized what spice I had in my hand. Opps. Despite this the ratatouille turned out very well. To tone down the spices with the left overs I made the ratatouille into a pasta casserole with a whole large container of low fat cottage cheese.

Here is the ratatouille recipe with my modifications.

Spicy Ratatouille

Olive oil
3 cloves of garlic minced
3 tsp dried parsley
A few shakes of dried basil
A few shakes of dried oregano
1 large egg plant cut into small pieces
Salt (desired amount)
Rosemary (desired amount)
Thyme (desired amount)
Black pepper (desired amount)
Cayenne pepper (desired amount, I would go easy on this)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup feta cheese
2 medium sized zucchini sliced
1 large onion
1 ½ -2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms
1 red pepper
1 can of diced tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat the bottom and sides of a large casserole dish with olive oil. Heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan or skillet over medium heat. Cook the garlic until lightly browned. Add the parsley, basil, oregano, salt, and egg plant. Cook until the egg plant is soft (about 10 minutes).

Place the egg plant mixture into your casserole dish in an even layer. Sprinkle with a few tbsp of parmesan cheese and feta cheese (and more of the same herbs if desired). Spread zucchini over top. Salt and sprinkle with more cheese (and herbs if desired). Continue layering like this with the rest of the vegetables (except add the tomatoes last).

(ratatouille before baking)

Bake in your preheated oven for about 45 minutes.

(ratatouille after baking)

I served the ratatouille with some garlic bread, and spicy sausages. It can also be served with pasta or rice.

( ratatouille on warm garlic bread yummy:P )

(ratatouille pasta dish (with the leftovers)

Banana Coconut Muffins

Filed Under (Breakfast, Muffins) by Lisa on 24-05-2009

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The other day I noticed that our bananas were getting fairly dark. Since there were still quite a few left just eating them plain was not really an option. Instead I decided to whip up some banana muffins.

The muffins turned out very well. They make a super sized medium muffin. The are fairly moist. The banana and coconut flavors go well together, and the chocolate chips take the muffins to a whole new level of yummy.

The recipe I used was one of my own with modifications ( here is the original) http://www.lisaopolis.com/?p=130 This is the resulting recipe that I came up with.

Banana Coconut Muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup all purpose (white flour)

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsp white vinegar

1/2 cup skim milk

¼ cup olive oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp rum extract (or the real thing)

1 cup lightly packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

½ cup of unsweetened shredded coconut

½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

3 medium sized bananas or about 1.5-2 cups banana pieces (fresh or frozen)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tins. In a large bowl combine the flours baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well. Add the coconut and chocolate chips and mix well. In a blender add the bananas, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and rum extracts, and olive oil. Blend until smooth. Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and mix until smooth. Spoon batter into muffin tins. Bake until slightly golden on top and a toothpick comes out clean (about 25-35 minutes).

Pear Spice Oh So Nice

Filed Under (Cakes) by Lisa on 14-05-2009

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Yesterday I was in the mood for dessert. However I didn’t want to have something that “unhealthy”. I decided to search for a pear recipe since we have a lot of pears in the freezer from the fall. I found a recipe for pear cake, and decided to give it a try. I morphed the recipe quite a bit. The original recipe can be found at: http://southernfood.about.com/od/pears/r/bl50221b.htm
Here is my version.

Pear Spice Cake

4 cups chopped pears
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup of chopped walnuts and pecans (mixed)
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ cup olive oil
¾ cup skim milk
2 large eggs
1 ¼ cups brown sugar
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp rum extract
¼ cup sultana raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees C. In a large bowl add the flour baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix well. Add the nuts and raisins. and stir well. In a blender add the pears, eggs, oil, vanilla extract, rum extract milk, and brown sugar. Blend until smooth. Now add the pear mixture to the flour mixture and mix until smooth. Pour the mixture into a greased 9X13 cake pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a the top is golden and a tooth pick comes out clean.

The cake turned out super yummy. Its soft and moist with a little crunch. Best if served warm. 30 seconds in the microwave will achieve this once the cake has cooled.

A Feast For Mom

Filed Under (Pear Crisp, Uncategorized) by Lisa on 11-05-2009

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I hope all the mothers out there had a lovely Mother’s Day yesterday. I am not a mom, but I did do some things for my mom for Mother’s Day.

First I went out and bought some ingredients for a lovely lunch. I purchased some French bread (still warm), monetary jack cheese, onion sprouts, Tuscan ham and Cajun chicken (from the deli). I combined that with the mozzarella cheese, marble cheese, tomatoes and spinach and many other condiments already in the fridge and created a lovely feast for my mom’s lunch. She was delighted. My dad who ate lunch with her was equally pleased with the menu.

While my parents were having their lunch I whipped up a pear apple crisp. I used a recipe that I found at: http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes for bourbon baked pear crisp. I altered the recipe as usual and made it my own. Here is my version.

Pear Crisp

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup all purpose flour
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup ground almonds
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp allspice
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp brandy extract
¼ cup olive oil margarine
3 pounds of pears, peeled, cored and sliced
½ pure (no sugar added) apple juice
½ tsp nutmeg
½ cup raisons

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine: flour, oats, brown sugar, ground almonds, baking soda, ½ tsp nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice. Mix well. Crumble in the margarine. Spread 1/3 of the mixture in a glass baking dish of your choice. (I used 9X11).
Save the rest for the topping. Combine the apple juice, pears, raisons, and ½ tsp nutmeg in a large bowl. Add the brandy extract and stir well. Spread the pear mixture over the crumb mixture in pan. Top with remaining crumb mixture. Bake for about 50 minutes or until the top is lightly brown.

This recipe was a big hit at our house. Everyone enjoyed it. I served it with vanilla frozen yogurt. The only thing I would do differently when I made it again would be to add some salt to the recipe. I think this would make the flavors more bold.

After lunch I helped my mom with the dishes and we discussed dinner. We ended up making pizza together. I would have made it myself but I had a very sore ankle and foot so we did it together and it turned out super yummy.

My First Pomelo

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Lisa on 26-04-2009

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A few days ago I was shopping at Save-On-Foods and I spotted something that caught my eye in the vegetable section. It was the pomelos. I had never had a pomelo before so I decided to buy one. It seemed like an okay deal for an exotic fruit it came to $2.29.

This afternoon my mom and I shared the pomelo. At first I want to peal it, but after a few attempts with my peeler as well as a knife it became evident that pealing it was not going to happen (the peal was way to thick/hard). We then tried to get into it by cutting it down the middle. That was also quite difficult, but with enough effort we were able to get into it.

I tried to eat my half like a grapefruit but came to realize quickly that it was not the best way to eat it.

In the end I ended up eating it by making a slit to remove the peal and then cutting away at triangle shaped segments and eating those.

The pomelo had a lovely light citrus smell.

Taste wise my first impression was that is had a very mellow and light citrus flavor. The flavor does resemble a grapefruit but is more subtle.

I’m not sure I would buy another pomelo but it was an interesting taste experience.

It’s A Wrap

Filed Under (Lunch, Quick Meals) by Lisa on 18-04-2009

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I have always been a huge fan of wraps of all kinds. I use to eat them often but haven’t had one in quite a few months.

A few days ago I decided to make myself a wrap for lunch. I used my left over cajun chicken breast, a whole wheat tortilla shell, marble cheese, ranch dressing, and romaine lettuce. It turned out super yummy. Here is a photo.
Wrap unrolled

Stouffer’s Cheese Cannelloni For Lunch

Filed Under (Review) by Lisa on 19-03-2009

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The afternoon I was not in the mood for cooking. I decided to make a frozen meal for lunch. I made a package of Stouffer’s Lean Cuisine Cheese Cannelloni.

The package describes the entrée as cheese cannelloni with 6 cheeses (the cheeses are ricotta, cottage, part skim mozzarella, parmesan, asiago, and boliviano) and a delicate tomato sauce. It also says that there are no preservatives in the food.

Here are my thoughts on this pasta.

The directions on the package state to microwave the cannelloni for 3-5 minutes. I cooked my cannelloni for 4 minutes in the microwave and that seemed to be the perfect amount of time for it. I was impressed with the relatively quick cooking time.

Taste wise the cannelloni is very yummy. The cheeses blended together create a delightful flavor. The tomato sauce is also very good. It contains real pieces tomatoes and onion.

My only criticism of this cannelloni is that there is way too much sauce for the amount of pasta. My suggestion to Stouffer’s would be to just use less sauce (it would be just as good with less) or add one more cannelloni in the package (there seems to be room) and increase the price if you have to. I know I would still buy this frozen meal even if it was more expensive.

Heath wise this entrée scores well in my books. In the tray (pasta and sauce) there are 240 calories (that is a pretty nice number). There are also 5g fat (8% of your daily intake), 15 mg cholesterol (not so good, but you can’t win everything), 650 mg sodium (27% of your daily intake), and 25% of your daily intake of calcium! The amount of calcium in the meal alone has me sold on it.

Stouffer’s Cheese Cannelloni is a tasty quick meal idea. It is filling enough for a meal, and fairly low in calories. It is also high in calcium.

I would recommend this frozen entrée to all pasta lovers who need a quick meal.

Champagne Truffles Anyone?

Filed Under (Review) by Lisa on 17-03-2009

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Today I was in the mood for chocolate. Since I still have a lot of the chocolate my boyfriend gave me for Christmas I decided to have some of that. I chose to have a Mister Booja Booja Organic, Dairy Free Champagne Truffle from the Chocolate Trading Company.

Before tasting my truffle I cleared my mouth with some cool filtered water.

These chocolate truffles are made with dark chocolate (cocoa solids 56%, cane sugar, soy lecithin, vanilla), coconut oil, corn syrup, and organic French champagne (9%).

Here are my impressions on these truffles.

Upon opening the box I smelled rich dark chocolate. Visually each truffle is lightly dusted in coco powder. Upon tasting a truffle I tasted pure luxurious dark chocolate. The texture is silky smooth. As the chocolate gradually melted in my mouth I tasted the pure champagne. The champagne was a distinct yet not overpowering flavor. It was the perfect amount of champagne to tantalize the taste buds.

The experience of sampling a Booja Booja Champagne Truffle was that of pure ecstasy.

Its was like taking a trip to a world of sensuality. It’s melt in your mouth joy.

I would recommend these truffles to all truffle lovers! If you are a lover of chocolate with a hint of alcohol of any kind you will likely love these amazing truffles.

To learn more about these truffles check out this website www.BoojaBooja.com

Indulge your senses in a little taste of heaven.

Kiss Smartie Cookies

Filed Under (Cookies) by Lisa on 16-03-2009

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Lately I have been in the spring cleaning mood. I had been thinking about cleaning out one of the cupboards (the cookie/cracker treat cupboard) for quite awhile. There were a few small Halloween size boxes of Smarties from Halloween and a few Hershey’s Kisses that had been in the cupboard for a least a year. Since no one in our house likes to waste anything unless it is moldy or otherwise compromised, I decided to search for a recipe to turn the Smarties, and Kisses into some cookies.

I found a recipe on this website www.cooksrecipes.com/cookie/super_smarties_cookies_recipe.html.

I modified the recipe only slightly. I added some rum extract for extra flavor, I also used more vanilla extract then the recipe indicated. With the smarties I cut each one in half (since I don’t like big chunks and I had very few smarties), I also used Hershey’s chocolate kisses. I cut the kisses into small pieces. I used a total of 1 cup of smarties combine with kisses.

The cookies turned out very well. The are soft, and a little bit chewy from the oatmeal (in a good way). They also have a small amount of crunch from the smarties. The combined textures make a very delightful cookie.

Here is my modified recipe:

Kiss Smartie Cookies

1 ½ cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 cup olive oil margarine

¾ white granulated sugar

½ cup lightly packed brown sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp rum extract

3 large eggs

2 cups rolled oats

Smarties (desired amount)

Kisses (desired amount)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl combine the margerine, vanilla and rum extracts, and eggs. Beat well. Add the sugars and beat well. Add the flour, salt and baking soda. Beat until smooth. Now prepare the smarties and kisses (cut to desired size). Add the oats and the smarties/kisses mixture. Blend. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 12-13 minutes in your preheated oven. Enjoy.

This recipe makes about 50 medium sized cookies.

TGI Friday’s Potato Skins-A Quick Simple Appetizer

Filed Under (Appetizers, Quick Meals, Review, Snacks) by Lisa on 09-03-2009

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A few months ago I was at Costco browsing in the frozen food section. I found some potato skins by TGI Fridays that seemed appealing so I bought them. They have been sitting in the freezer ever since.

Today I decided to give them a try.The box directions said to bake them in the oven for 11-12 minutes. I was impressed with the quick baking time.

The potato skins are stuffed with cheddar and bacon. I had a few hot out of the oven. They were slightly crispy on the outside and nice and soft in the middle.

I had them with some mild salsa. However even with salsa they seemed like they were missing a “zing” to them. Maybe I just thought they would be more flavorful then they were. Maybe if I had eaten them with a medium salsa that would have given me the “zing” that I was hoping for.

Nutrition wise the potato skins have 70 calories in each potato skin or 210 calories in three skins. They also have the following (in three skins): 12 g fat, 25 mg cholesterol (ouch), 15% sodium 360 mg, and 10% calcium ( I thought this was a very good thing for me).

Overall I did enjoy the potato skins, however since they were missing a “zing” in flavor that I was hoping for I’m not sure if I would buy them again.