Monday, January 31, 2011

It's Snack Time!

Happy Monday, all! It has been a few days, and we wanted to share with you some of our recent pantry snacks that helped to get us through this past wintery week. You know we all reach for the cupboard and some late night munchies this time of year…. When it’s just too cold to deal with the elements, food is our go-to comfort spot. Check out these recipes for a jazzed-up weekly meal, side dish, or simply a comforting goodie to give your taste buds an uplifting vibe! What else do you like to snack on for a little weekday comfort??

Roasted Lotus Seeds

A very healthy substitute to your usual go-to snacks of potato chips or popcorn, this delicious roasted snack hits the spot! Crunchy, crispy and a slightly smoky taste…. That just happens to go very well with beer ;)! You simply roast the seeds in a wok or frying pan with one tbsp of oil (any kind you have on hand will do) and add salt and pepper to taste. Roast until they are crisp then snack away! Try it, you won't regret it!!

Oven Baked Sweet Potato Wedges

These sweet morsels of goodness are a perfect side dish to almost any meal, especially this time of year. Salty, sweet, and crunchy….. and hello, it’s a potato! Cannot go wrong. Check ‘em out! (The secret magical ingredient here, that you all have on hand but NEVER use… pumpkin pie spice!!!)

4 medium sized sweet potatoes, diced into cubes
1 tsp sugar
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
Pumpkin pie spice

Rinse off the sweet potatoes and pat dry. Dice then evenly into cube sized bites. Arrange evenly on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil (not too much, they’ll get all soggy on you in the oven!). Sprinkle with salt, pepper, tsp of sugar, and as much or little pumpkin pie spice as you want. Toss around with your hands to make sure they are all coated even with ingredients, and bake at 375 for roughly 20-30 minutes or until they reach desired crispiness!! We like our extra crispy, and you will notice they get to be a dark shade of brown when done. For a killer dipping sauce? Spice up some low fat mayo with garlic salt and a few dashes of the pumpkin pie spice. The perfect salty combo to go with your sweet side dish! 

Puff Pastry Pinwheels

As we scoured our pantry and freezer for snacks, we came across an unused sheet of puff pastry dough from a previous week’s meal. Along with some diced up veggies we had to put to use before they went sour on us, we decided to roll it all up and make a snack that not only pleased our tummies, but our eyes as well! Check out this easy technique to make a fun snack any day of the week! Fill these pinwheels with any ingredients you may have on hand! They can be enjoyed for a full week and stored in the fridge in an air tight container!

1 sheet puff pastry dough, defrosted
½ onion, chopped
½ green pepper, chopped
1 tofurkey sausage link, chopped
4-5 sun dried tomatoes, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste

Roll out the puff pastry dough onto a flat & floured surface so it doesn’t stick to your table and make a mess. Meanwhile, sauté whatever veggies & meats you have on hand. We used a leftover onion, green pepper, and tofurkey sausage link. Sun dried tomatoes added for good measure & salty kick! Once the filling is prepared, arrange horizontally across the dough in a thin, 1 ½ inch margin. Make sure to arrange 1-2 inches from the bottom side. 

Once the ingredients are placed, roll the dough from the bottom, up.  Once rolled, slice into ½ inch pieces, and place onto a baking sheet with one exposed side up. Sprinkle with cheese, if desired, and bake at 400*F for 15 minutes, or until the pastry is brown around the edges. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

‘Bean there, Not doing that’ Soup

As a special request from a follower, this week our spotlight is on a common leftover & overlooked pantry ingredient: beans. Beans are most likely stacked in your pantry, of various kinds. Pinto, Red, Pink, Kidney, Chick, Lima, Black Eyed, Yellow Eyed, Lentil…. You name it! What to do with the leftovers we cannot use? This recipe can easily accommodate any and all bean, pea, and lentil you may have on hand. We used dried beans in this recipe, as those were our leftovers, but if you have canned those can easily be substituted as well. This recipe is perfect on a cold winter night, as it has been lately in the Big Apple, when you just don’t have the energy to walk 3 blocks to the grocery store to make dinner. The woody flavor the dried rosemary brings to the salty and acidic broth will warm even the coldest of hearts. Enjoy with a dollop of your favorite creamy cheese, and a handful of tortilla chips, and cuddle up on the couch with your favorite blankie! Enjoy!


1 8 oz can tomato sauce
16 oz veggie or chicken broth (reduced sodium. If you don’t have broth, you can use the reserved liquid the beans previously cooked in. If canned beans are used, just add water.)
2 cups water
¾ lb of mixed beans of your choice
1 tbsp rosemary
1 tsp red pepper flakes & a few dashes of hot sauce- whatever you have on hand and however spicy you may want it!
dash of garlic salt
salt & pepper to taste

First, prepare the beans in a quart of hot water and boil until the beans are soft to the touch. Roughly 20-30 minutes. If you do not have broth, reserve this extra water for the soup to use later on.

In a large pot, add tomato sauce, broth, water, and beans and bring to a slow boil. Add rosemary, red pepper, garlic salt, salt, pepper, and hot sauce and reduce to a simmer. Let soup cook for 15-20 minutes and until the flavors have a chance to date and get married. Serve as desired with cheese & chips as mentioned, or even a side of crusty sourdough bread- whatever you have on hand that doesn’t require that trip to the store will do just fine! 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dessert Comes First…. Along with this post!!

To celebrate the birth of this blog, what better way than to begin with a bit of dessert? Something sweet always sets the mood right. With a glass of the cheapest yet sweetest strawberry champagne in hand, we have set off on the adventure to discover the absolute MAGIC that is…. Balsamic vinegar?! Who knew!!

And if you haven’t guessed the theme of our blog , or if you just don’t care to click on the “About Me” section yet (because honestly, we don't have the energy yet to write about ourselves in full on detail, food is clearly more important here)…. the goal with this culinary journey is to discover the subtle but overwhelmingly delicious secrets to  everyday, and not so every day, pantry ingredients.

This week we were inspired by that dark purple bottle that everyone seems to have and only ever uses as a salad dressing. Let’s be honest, balsamic vinegar by itself is a pretty damn strong flavor, but a delicious one at that. This simple ingredient can be transformed into something with endless possibilities… seriously people, our minds were racing after each bite, the ideas were just pouring in. 

As with everything in life, a gentle introduction to a world of possibilities is the best route. Here is a simple recipe to bring you into the wonderful world of balsamic vinegar. This is the best, and HEALTHIEST, substitute for chocolate sauce on any given day. You may never miss chocolate, well, ALMOST never….. check this out:

Holy Balsamic

½ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
   1 tbs maple syrup (if desired)

Pour the balsamic in a small sauce pan and simmer on low heat for 20-30 minutes or until a wooden spoon is easily coated and the sauce has reduced to a syrup-y texture. Let cool, pour over vanilla ice cream & sprinkle with strawberries, or whatever faves you have on hand given the time of year. Let mouth dance commence.

Holler back with any inspirational ingredients or suggestions regarding this recipe, or feedback in general. We may not care, or even read it because we love this recipe so damn much… but we can take the ‘hits.’ Watch out for more to come on this recipe…. Hint hint, balsamic CHEESECAKE anyone??!!