Monday, April 16, 2012

Blueberry Cake

I found this recipe, created by Donna Hay.  I'll be honest, I'm not really 100% sure who she is, but apparently she is a simple, classic baker. 

I needed a recipe last week to use the blueberries I had on hand and nothing else that I didn't have...  I basically had nothing but, well the basics.  And blueberries. 

So I found this muffin recipe, but honestly, it looked kinda bland. I didn't really think it would wow me, or anyone else.  So I made a few tweaks to the recipe and turned it into a cake. 

Here is my version of the cake.  It is tender, light and flavorful.  Enjoy!

Blueberry muffin cake
adapted from Donna's Modern Classics

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup of sugar
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
2 eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup melted and cooled salted butter
1 1/4 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Sift flour and baking powder together.  Add sugar and combine. 

Mix yogurt, 2 eggs, vanilla and butter together.  Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined.  Coat the blueberries in a little bit of flour and fold into the mixture. 

Pour into a greased 9 inch cake pan. Sprinkle with raw sugar turbinado sugar and bake for 40 minutes. 

Let cool completely before serving. 

I loved the cake as it was, but I have to say it would have been great with a nice vanilla glaze drizzled on top.
The cake was soft and buttery and full or delicious, juicy blueberries.  It was very yum as it was, but a glaze would have just made it that much better.  I'll def make one next time, maybe even make it a mixed berry cake w/ strawberries and raspberries too.  :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Donut Cake

I love Williams Sonoma.  I have a tendancy to buy a lot form their sale/clearance page on their site, and in store.  So when I saw their Giant Donut Cake Pan on sale, of course it was added to the cart!  They don't have it available anymore, but you can look for one on Amazon- they have a bunch!

Who doesn't like a huge donut? 

Here's the thing.  You are supposed to make both halves and then sandwich them on top of each other to make a round donut.  Well, the thing was huge! I know cake donuts from Dunkin Donuts are round all the way around, but I don't care!  That thing was really giant.  I figured that two donuts would work out better anyways since it was for a kid's birthday party. 

So I prefer a chocolate cake donut over the plain cake donut, so I made this one chocolate.  It was not extremely chocolately, which worked, but I wouldn't have minded more chocolate too.  But it did have a nice light chocolate flavor. 
The cake itself was surprisingly not like a cake donut, you know, dry.  This was soft and had a delicate crumb. 

I have to admit I was being super lazy for the glaze.  Super lazy.  I used the Duncan Hines Glaze, vanilla flavor.  It was soooo simple and easy to use.  I had MORE than enough for both cakes.  I'm sure I could have found more than enough easy to make glazes, but I was amking a lot that day, so I went with even more simple.  Pre-made ;)

I will definitely be making this again and I am not afraid to use the glaze again either!  :)


3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 sticks butter
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten

All ingredients should be at room temp.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour both halves of the donut pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt. 
In a small bowl, combine the milk and vanilla. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer with a flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 30 seconds.  Add the sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, stopped the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition.

Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk mixture and beginning and ending with the flour.  Beat each addition until just incorporated, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. 

Divide the batter b/w the greased pans.  Tap the pans on the countertop to eliminate any air bubbles.  Spread the batter up the sides of each pan so the sides are higher than the center.  Bake until the cakes begin to pull away from the sides of the pans and a toothpick inserted unto the center comes out clean, 40-45 minutes.  Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let the cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes. 

Set the rack over the cakes, invert the pans onto the rack and lift off the pans.  Let the cakes cool completely, at least 2 hours, before assembling and decorating. 

Once you are ready to assemble, flip one cake, round side down.  The other cake will go right over that onecut side down (of course). Or you can do as I did and place the cut side down of both cakes on a cake plate and decorate both. :)
Then pour the glaze over top.

It cuts kinda messy, but delicious!!!  I had to put sprinkles on top cuz who doesn't like sprinkles!  Especially on a donut! 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Zuppa Toscana

So I know that for a foodie, admitting that I love Olive Garden is pretty bad. But I can't help it.  I don't love it all, but I do love some of their dishes.  You get a lot of food with a decent price and I always end up with lunch the next day.  And let me tell you, I hate when you get a cream sauce dish and bring it home and the next day, the cream has separated from the oil.  It's sooo gross. Olive Garden's cream sauces don't do that, so it makes me feel a lot less grossed out about cream sauces.  Thankfully, we don't go there often, mainly b/c the food is not healthy at all!  The Mixed Grill isn't too bad, sans the sauce.  W/out the sauce it is justmeat, squash and potatoes.  Not too unhealthy :)

Anyways, one of my sweetie pies favorite soups is Zuppa Toscana.  I was anti soup there, mainly b/c I loved the salad and b/c I never bothered to try them.  But then I had a soupful of his soup one day and I was hooked.  It is sooooo good.  Really.  Yumm.

So I set out to find a good recipe to make it at home.  I wanted a heartier version, with more kale and meat.  I found this recipe on The Pastry Affair and I knew this was the one I would try. 

Try it, you'll like it!!!

Zuppa Toscana
adapted from The Pastry Affair

1 1/2 lbs of hot Italian sausage
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 large white onion, fine diced
4 cloves garlic, mashed
10 cups chicken stock
5 medium Russet potatoes, sliced into disks
1 cup heavy cream
Couple of bunches of kale, torn into bite sized pieces, I used about 10 big leaves all together. 
Salt and Pepper to taste


In a large pot, saute the ground sausage, paprika and crushed red pepper ujntil the meat is browned, Drain excess fat and remove from the pot.  Set aside.
Use some of the fat to saute the onion and garlic until softened, about 10 minutes.  Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
Add the sliced potatoes, cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender.  It took about 45-60 mins.  Add the
cream, kale and sausage and cook until heated thoroughly.

Serve hot with some crusty Italian bread, or garlic bread sticks. 

To make really easy garlic breadsticks, purchase plain half baked breadsticks (we find them at the Wonder Bread outlet).  Melt salted butter and add a few shakes of garlic powder to the butter.  Brush the melted butter onto the breadsticks before baking.  Shake a little extra garlic powder onto the top.  Bake as directed on the package.  Serve warm. 


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Roasted Banana Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes

Remember the Apple Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes I made last year, based off Andie's recipe from Can You Stay For Dinner?

Well, I changed it up this year and used a roasted banana filling instead of an apple cinnamon filling. 

The only thing I changed was the filling.  It was AMAZING people.  Seriously, I love bananas and roasted bananas are even more awesome.

Take 4 ripe bananas and slice them in a casserole dish.  Add 1 cup of dark brown sugar, 3 tbsp cinnamon and half a stick of butter, cut into pieces.  Toss it all together before putting the dish in the oven, and roasting at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes, or until it looks like these:

Mash up the mixture so it looks like this:

Finish them off like the apple cupcakes.  Since there is so much cinnamon in the banana, you don't need to add more... unless you are like me and you want to.  I sprinkled some more cinnamon sugar over the roasted banana mixture. 

I made the same cream cheese frosting, but a little more this time and a little thicker, so it was more like frosting than icing. 

I used the edges to make a small batch of cinnamon rolls too, since they were too small for cupcakes and I also ran out of cupcake tins. 

They were so soft and banana-y and yummy.  My cousin's girlfriend raved over these too.  I really liked her after that!  :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sweet Potato Bundt Cake with Caramel Glaze

I have been craving sweet potato lately, actually the last couple months.  So I've been making lots with it.  I never really liked it before, but since I've had it at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, I've been hooked.  So I have been putting it in lots of different stuff.  I originally saw this recipe in the book, Eat Cake.  It's a cute story, and it comes with a whole bunch of recipes for cakes that are featured in the book.  

This recipe was slightly different in the book, but I wasn't entirely too keen on the rum part.  And I didn't really want to add dry raisins, so I changed it up a wee bit to make it a simple sweet potato cake.  It was a hit with the family.  My cousin's girlfriend had the first slice and she was in heaven.  I like her now  :)

Sweet Potato Bundt Cake with Caramel Glaze
adapted from Eat Cake

2 large sweet potatoes
4 large eggs
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
4 tbsp salted butter
3 tbsp heavy whipping cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a 10 inch bundt cake pan with Bakers Joy baking spray with flour.  Peel and quarter the sweet potatoes.  Boil the quarters in salted water until tender.  Drain the pot once they are done and mash them to an even consistency.  Measure out 2 cups of mashed sweet potatoes and set aside until needed. 

While the sweet potatoes are cooking, beat the eggs with an electric mixer just enough to break them up.  Add the sugar until the mixture is thick and pale, about 2 minutes.  Add the vegetable oil and vanilla and beat to blend.  Add the mashed sweet potatoes until thoroughly combined.  You will need to scrape down the sides, unless you have the beater attachment for your KitchenAid that has the scraper on the edges, these things are awesome!!!!

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Add the flour mixture to the sweet potato mixture in three additions, alternating with the heavy cream. Start and end with the flour mixture.

Pour into the bundt cake pan and bake on the center rack for 1 hour or up to 1 hour and 20 mins.  Use  a wooden skewer to check for doneness after 1 hour.  If it comes out w/ small crumbs, but not wet, then it is done and take it out!

Let it sit for 10 mins in the pan and then invert onto a cooling rack with a lined baking sheet underneath to allow the excess glaze to drip down.  (I didn't do this-don't be like me!!!!  I have a pool of glaze in the middle!) 

For the glaze, combine the brown sugar, butter, and cream in a small heavy bottomed sauce pan.  Bring to a boil until the mixture thickens somewhat, about 3 minutes, stirring often.  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. 

With a long wodden skewer, poke holes all over the cake, concentrating on the top.  Spoon half of the hot glaze over the warm cake and let the cake and remaining glaze cool for 10 more minutes, until it has thickened slightly. 

Pour the rest of the glaze over the cake, letting it spill over the sides.  Allow the cake to cool completely before cutting and serving. 

The cake will be thick and dense the first day, but even more so the next day. 

Look at all that thick delicious glaze in the middle!!!  We took a spoon and poured the excess over each piece as we were serving.  It was sooooooo good.  :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Meyer Lemon yumminess

I always makes me happy when Meyer Lemons are around.  They are such a nice bright addtiion to recipes in the winter time.  Makes me feel like there is a bit of sunshine peaking through all of this dreary winter darkness!  Well, not today anyways; the sun is so bright today, I cannot believe it in the beginning of January!  And it's not sun reflecting off of white snow; it's just straight snow! :)

Anyways, these cookies were inspired, sort-of, by Trader Joe's Meyer Lemon Thins.  I didn't want them to be crisp and as thin as those, I wanted them to be soft, buttery and substantial that 2 could be enough (but really, are two cookies ever just enough?)

They turned out to be just perfect, a hint of lemon with a nice balance of buttery sweetness.  I actually think they could have used a bit more lemon and they would have been knock 'em dead perfect.  The recipe below was adapted from a regular lemon cookie recipe I found a long time ago in a magazine.  This was pulled from the days before I started to pay attention to what I was doing, so I couldn't tell you for sure what magazine it was, but probably Taste of Home or Woman's Day or something.  The only magazines I never cut out of were Gourmet and Bon Appetit. I still have each and every one, will never cut those up!

Meyer Lemon Rounds

1/2 cup Meyer Lemon juice (I'll probably add another 1/4 cup to this next time)
1 1/2 sticks of butter, softened
2 1/2 cups AP flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 cup white granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Optional-zest of 2-3 lemons.  I don't like zest much, but the recipe used it, so I'm sure it's fine. 

Sift flour, baking soda and salt together. 

Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together.  Add in the butter and lemon juice (and zest, if using).  Add the flour mixture until just combined. 

Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and refridgerate for at least 30-40 minutes.  You can roll the dough out and use a cookie cutter to make the rounds or any other design, but I chose to roll them into logs like my thin mints.  I was making batches of cookies over a few days for Christmas celebrations, so it was easier to just pull the log out of the fridge and cut as opposed to rolling out dough.  Since you will be using your hands to roll these, once you have them rolled into their logs, you'll want to re-chill them since your boyd heat will soften them up again.  So chill then for at least another half hour, but no more than 2 days.

When you're ready, preheat your oven to 350°F.  Slice your log in 1/4 inch thick rounds.  Place them on a foil lined (shiny side down), about  one inch apart.  Bake them for 8-10 minutes, until the egdes are slightly golden brown. 

Let them cool on the baking sheets for about 10 mins before you transfer them to a plate or cooling rack. They are going to be very delicate, so they will sink thru the grate of the cooling rack if you put them on there too soon. 

Bright sweet, lemony-buttery goodness right there :)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!!!! Let's eat more cookies!!! :)

So I have been doing lots and lots of stuff the last few months- remodeling a house with my love, working, working, working, getting myself together to open a bakery, and enjoying life.  So I haven't really been on here much, both in writing and posting and reading some of my favorites blogs. 

I would like to say that the new year will bring more time for me to be here, but I am going to guarantee that won't be the case, but I definitely will get there and check in with everyone more often.

For now, I leave you with a cookie recipe that is now my most favorite recipe in the WORLD!!!  I know, that's a bold statement.  I won't say these are the best cookies in the world b/c of course it is all about preference, but really, these are so yummy.  I loved them and so did all of my friends and family who tried them. 
They are my version of a Thin Mint cookie, but not covered in chocolate, although you certainly can do that!  I prefer them without b/c there is so much flavor in the cookie alone, you don't need to add the extra bit of sugar that hurts my teeth!  And they can be baked until just done, so they aren't crunchy, or you can leave them in an extra 2 minutes to get the crunchy cookie without burning them.  :)

3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder-Dutch-process is the best for these cookies
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 sticks salted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
cup sugar
2 large egg
3/4 cup Andies Mint chips


Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in vanilla extract. Beat in sugar slowly. Add egg and beat until blended. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and salt in medium bowl. Add the dry ingredients and Andies chips and beat just until blended.  The dough will be very sticky. 
Divide the dough in fourths.  Roll each fourth in plastic wrap.  Roll it into a freeform log.  The log would be easier for later, but it'll be hard to make a perfect one, so just do what you can and fix it after it's been refridgerated some. 
Refridgerate for at least 2 hours or up to a day.  Once completely chilled through, take out of the fridge and shape better into a smoother log shape.  Slice 1/4 inch thick rounds.  Place the rounds on a lined cookie sheet (I use foil, shiny side down), about an inch apart.  Place the cookie sheet in the oven, preheated to 350°F.  Bake 12-13 minutes for softer cookies, 15 mins for crunchier cookies.  

This recipes makes about 6-7 dozen, depending on how big the diameter of the cookies are.  I never end up rolling the same size logs, so that's the reason for the variance in how many this will make! 

If you love chocolate and mint, these are for you.  The dark chocolate flavor with the hint of mint from the chips... omg, these are definitely addictive.  So be careful with them!!!You can also easily halve this recipe.  I've done it before when I didn't need as much, but around Christmas time and having at least 3 different houses to go to, I always make a full batch!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Banana bread, one recipe, altered for three different flavors.


I love banana bread.  Love love love love love it.  I could eat this every day.  I could make bread pudding with it, french toast, panini’s, everything and anything. 

Base Recipe:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups walnuts, chopped coarse (optional)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 salt
4 very ripe bananas, mashed well
1/4 cup vanilla Greek yogurt, fat free
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350°F degrees. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan with Pam.

2. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

3. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and walnuts together in a large bowl; set aside.

4. Mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl. Lightly fold the banana mixture into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combined and the batter looks thick and chunky. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan.

5. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 60 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. (The bread can be wrapped with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.)



For a slightly healthier version, substitute the all purpose flour for whole wheat flour.  You can also use a white whole wheat flour.   It is a 100% whole wheat flour that’s lighter colored, milder tasting, and a somewhat finer grind than standard red whole wheat flour.

White whole wheat (milled from white, rather than red wheat berries) is WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR, not a white flour, but it has all the fiber and nutrition of traditional whole wheat, but acts much more like white flour in baking. You just have to remember with whole wheat flours, there is a higher liquid to flour ratio.  If you are using a whole wheat flour, you will need to increase the liquid. 

I say slightly healthier b/c in all honesty, I wouldn’t substitute the butter for canola oil.  The butter adds a beautifully delicious depth to the flavor.  The richness of the butter is not something you want to leave out of this one. 

You can do it though.  You can also substitute the sugar for honey.  I did that for one of the breads I made.  I called that one Elvis bread.  ;)

For the Elvis bread, I used whole wheat flour instead of white flour.  I added a 1/2 cup peanut butter, which isn’t exactly an additional liquid, but it was an addition that helped the moisture in the end result.  I also used a full stick melted butter and substituted honey for the sugar .  I used the same amount of honey as the sugar, 3/4 cup. 

Elvis bread:

2 cups whole wheat flour

3/4 cup organic honey

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

4 large very ripe mashed bananas

1/4 cup vanilla Greek yogurt

2 large eggs, beaten lightly

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 stick melted butter, cooled

1 tsp vanilla extract

Sad, but I forgot to take pictures of this bread before it was devoured.  I actually wish I added more honey, or maybe even used a honey roasted peanut butter., like Skippy’s honey roasted, Jason’s all natural honey peanut butter or Peanut Butter & Co. Bee’s Knees peanut butter.  Any of the above would have been a good addition. 

This bread is especially good for a peanut butter and honey panini… 

The final bread I made this night is was a peanut butter and chocolate chip bread.  For this recipe, I used the above, but instead of honey, I used light brown sugar and added a 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips.  That was yummy bread.  But then, isn’t anything with chocolate yummy??



Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cinnamon Cheesecake


I’ve disappeared from the blogging world for some time, I know.  I can’t even guarantee that I’ll be more consistent from here on out.  But I’m still here, cooking and baking b/w everything else, including working, working out, remodeling a house, trying to plan and open a bakery, spending time with my love, my family and friends.  I don’t juggle it all well, so I am hoping that I’ll learn soon.  But one of the reasons why I’ve disappeared is b/c I’ve been having a hard time juggling everyone and everything. 

Anyone with any advice would be super! 

On to more important things…


Cinnamon Cheesecake


1 box of carrot cake or spice cake box mix

1/2-3/4 stick of butter, melted

1 tsp cinnamon extract

4 (8 oz) pkgs of cream cheese, softened to room temp

1 1/3 cups organic white sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon extract

4 large eggs, at room temp

1 1/3 cups naturally flavored vanilla Greek yogurt


Spray a 9 inch spring form pan w/ non-stick cooking spray. Wrap the bottom of the pan w/ 2-3 layers of heavy duty aluminum foil. Set aside.
Mix 1/2 stick of melted butter and cinnamon extract with the cake mix.  Mix together until the batter becomes a thick, not crumbly "dough".  If it is too dry w/ only the 1/2 stick melted butter, add in another 1/4 stick of melted butter.  Try not to use too much more than this, or else it will be too greasy.

Press the "dough" into the greased pan.  Press it into an even layer on the bottom circle, but also press some up the sides, at least an inch up, or all the way up the sides. 

Beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it is soft, about 4 minutes. While the mixer is running, add the sugar and ground cinnamon and continue to beat about another 4 mins, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla and cinnamon extracts. Add the eggs one by one, beating a full minute after each addition. Reduce the speed to low and add the Greek yogurt.

Pour all of the cheesecake batter into the pan over the crust.  Place the pan inside of a large roasting pan that is on a rack in the oven, like a bain marie.  Pour hot water in the roasting pan so the springform pan is surrounded by hot water.  You can boil some water in a pot or, if you have a good hot water heater in your house, you can use hot water straight from the sink. 

Slowly and carefully push the rack into the oven and bake the cheesecake for 1 1/2 hours.

After the cheesecake has finished backing, turn off the oven and prop open the oven, just enough to let the air escape.

Take the cheesecake out of the roasting pan and allow it to cool to room temperature on a cooling rack. Once it has reached room temp, place the cheesecake in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, but overnight is preferred. 


This is my favorite cheesecake recipe.  I love using the base recipe and changing it to make different flavor combinations.  However, this is a cheesecake that is NOT fun to make the day of.  My best recommendation is to make it the night before.  If you need it for the same day, start first thing in the morning.  It takes a while to come to room temp on the counter and then completely cool in the refrigerator. 


Yum. There is some creamy dreamy deliciousness right there.  Mmmmm….

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Chicken Souvlaki and how essential protein and carbs are


Protein is an important component of every cell in the body. Hair and nails are mostly made of protein. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.  Protein is also essential for your muscles to help rebuild themselves and keep from hurting and cramping after a good workout.  Oh, and water.  Water is important for that as well.  And stretching.  Can’t forget that. 

Along with fat and carbohydrates, protein is a "macronutrient," meaning that the body needs relatively large amounts of it. Vitamins and minerals, which are needed in only small quantities, are called "micronutrients." But unlike fat and carbohydrates, the body does not store protein, and therefore has no reservoir to draw on when it needs a new supply.

But it is also important to have enough carbohydrates in with your protein.  I’ve learned balancing both is essential to not only to keeping your muscles strong, but also to help lose weight. 

Carbohydrates provide fuel for your body in the form of glucose or sugar. There are two types of carbohydrates -- simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are sugars, such as the ones found in candy, fruits and baked goods. Complex carbohydrates are starches found in beans, nuts, vegetables and whole grains.  You generally want to keep away from the simple carbs, but fresh fruits are simple carbs.  However, they contain vitamins and fiber too.  So sometimes it’s ok to have those simple carbs. 

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t plan on giving up dessert anytime soon.  But I know that one cookie is enough, or half a slice compared to what everyone else is getting is ok.  It’s ok to have a little bit b/c in all honesty, more than that is just indulging myself a bit too much.  I don’t need to keep having more and more to remember that feeling of bliss on the first bite.  B/c really, is the second bite ever as good as the first?

I’ve become somewhat of a chicken fiend lately.  My ideal dinner (prior to a workout) is a grilled or broiled chicken breast, seasoned with some dried herbs and pepper, with a small side of brown rice and some roasted or steamed green veggies.  If I am eating later, after a workout, I usually nix the rice. 

So back to the chicken. It can get boring after a while.  Sure there are tons of other ways to get protein.  Eggs, nuts, tofu (not a big fan of that stuff, sorry!), soy, etc, etc, etc…

So b/c it can get boring and I still crave it a lot, we have to cook it differently, mostly because my family cannot stand having it over and over again…  haha.

This is one of my favorite chicken dishes, the simplicity of it is baffling considering how delicious it is. 


Chicken and rice is so common a dish…  but not this way. 

Souvlaki (or shish-ka-bob or brochette) is delicious, but a bit time consuming.  And easy.

Depending on how much you want, cut up the raw chicken breast into chunks.  Put them in a large bowl pour a bottle of a sweet red wine into the bowl, covering a quarter of the chicken.  We use a Greek wine called Mavrodaphne.  Then I add olive oil, lemon juice from 1-2 lemons (depending on how much chicken you have in the bowl), dried basil, dried oregano, dried parsley, black pepper, garlic powder and sea salt (not too much sea salt). 

Let it sit for a couple of hours, at least.  The longer you let it sit, the stronger the wine flavor will be.  I don’t mind it too much, but it can make the chicken taste dramatically different. 

Skewer the chicken chunks with different raw veggies.  Mom only likes onion, so mostly we do that, but I like to add red peppers and tomatoes too.  Alternate them of course, and keep it to four pieces of meat per skewer. 


Grill or broil them until they are completely done.  This will take different times for different sizes…  But if you are unsure, keep a meat thermometer with you to check the temp on the thicker pieces. 


The rice. So make rice like normal.  That’s the easy boring part.  But how we really love our rice is with sautéed onion. 

Chop an onion (or more, if you’re feeding a crowd) and sauté them with butter in a pan until they are browned. 


Then toss them into the cooked rice and mix as evenly as you can.  DSCF1969

And you have deliciousness.  If you are grilling, get some nice fresh corn on the cob and coat them with olive oil and sprinkle pepper and garlic powder around them. 


Grill them until you can see the kernels separate a bit and the outside is charred and yummy. 


So this is an especially yummy dinner for a nice spring day.  It’s about time spring got here to enjoy it!!!!