This time it was actually The Professor who suggested changing things up in a recipe.IMG_5154 (1280x851)

After discussing my need to actually buy “normal sized” sweet potatoes at the farmer’s market* so I could peel and use them for the Curried Sweet Potato & Kale Soup recipe I had clipped from Chickpea Magazine‘s free Winter 2014 preview…

*As opposed to the baby-sized, two-bite ones I tend to buy.DSC4013_winter_2014_1024x1024

…he said, “Why don’t you just roast them and squeeze them out of the skin?”IMG_5109 (853x1280)

I, of course, pretended that’s what I’d been planning to do the whole time, but in truth, the recipe didn’t call for that, and although I think I subconsciously had in mind  a puree-type soup, there was no photo with the recipe…


…and it didn’t sound like it was supposed to be so roasted, mashed tater bisqu-ey.*

*Sounds like risque. (With an accent.)IMG_5116 (1280x853)

But, in the end, he was right made a good point.IMG_5121 (1280x853)

Taking advantage of the natural, succulent syrup that comes with a slow-roasted-until-it-squishes sweet potato would add an even heightened level of sweetness to the spicy heat of the original recipe.IMG_5131 (1280x853)

Not that I left out the maple syrup that was called for in the original.IMG_5147 (1280x853)

Or missed the opportunity to add just the smidgiest smidge of coconut milk for a little “something extra my tastebuds cannot pinpoint.”IMG_5143 (1280x853)

I have no idea what this was SUPPOSED to look like (and it definitely had kale, not spinach), but this certainly tasted as divine as I imagined it would.

IMG_5136 (1280x853)

But the heat was a bit more than I imagined: The Professor had to blow his nose a few times because of the sinus-clearing abilities of the chipotle. Oops. [Don't let that scare you away...the chipotle makes it. Just be cautious...maybe used half at first.]IMG_5159 (1280x853)

In another exciting turn of “The Professor is getting the hang of this experimental cooking thing.” he even went ahead and stirred his spinach straight into the soup..although I gave him the option to do without.IMG_5168 (1280x853)

[That might have just been to cool it off a bit and save some Kleenex though. :) ]IMG_5156 (1280x853)

Curried Chipotle Sweet Potato & Spinach Soup

(Serves 4)

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo (or just 1 if you can’t take the heat)
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 4 cups mashed, roasted sweet potatoes
  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut milk (optionl)
  • squeeze of lime juice
  • 10 oz. spinach, chopped (6-8 cups)
  • s + p (to taste)
  1. Saute onion, ginger, and garlic in olive oil over medium heat in a sauce pan or Dutch oven for about 3 minutes, until softening and fragrant.
  2. Stir in chipotle pepper. Cook 2 more minutes or so, mashing pepper to start breaking it down.
  3. Add sweet potato an curry powder, stirring well. Cook another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Remove sweet potato mixture from heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
  5. In two batches–to avoid overflow–process sweet potato with vegetable broth.
  6. Return soup to saucepan and bring to simmer.
  7. Stir in maple syrup, coconut milk, and lime juice.
  8. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Just before serving, stir in spinach (or serve with spinach on top and allow your diners to stir themselves).IMG_5097 (1280x853)

Red Lentil Spaghetti (Sauce)

by Sarah on December 15, 2014 · 2 comments

One of my favorite dinners from The Bachelor days of yore is the Spaghetti with Red Lentil Sauce that my friend Andrea makes. It’s always so satisfying and just what I wanted without usually knowing it.IMG_5042 (1280x853)

(I have a picture of hers somewhere, but if a quick inner-blog search doesn’t find it, then I’m not going to try to remember where I buried it.)IMG_5029 (1280x853)

She graciously sent me the recipe last week, and, of course, I had to make a few (minor) alterations, based on previous red lentil tomato sauce experiences, and The Professor’s hatred of mushrooms (but not, thankfully, girls from The Mushroom Capital of World).IMG_4962 (1280x853)

I may give The Professor grief about his food choices, but he’s really very good about trying most of the weird* food that I come up with.

IMG_4981 (1280x853)

*Anything vegan, anything involving soy products or beans, anything with “creative” flavor profiles, or anything I try to make that is Italian. (Basically, this whole dish, id you consider the balsamic and soy sauce for added umami.)IMG_5007 (1280x853)

So even though when I told him I wanted to make “Andrea spaghetti” and that it involved orange pink red lentils, he looked mighty skeptical…IMG_5001 (1280x853)

(Please note, his pasta, while delicious, involves the thinnest coating of tomato sauce and nary an added ingredient other than basil, garlic, and black pepper…so he questions anything too “busy.”)IMG_5019 (1280x853)

…..he still came home and ate his whole plate.IMG_5037 (1280x853)

I mean, the whole serving.

Not the plate.

Now  THAT would be weird.IMG_5051 (1280x851)

Red Lentil Spaghetti (Sauce)

Serves many, depending on how saucy you like to be…

  • 1/4 sweet onion, finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup yellow crookneck squash, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup dry red lentils
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 Tbsp. oregano leaves
  • 1/2 Tbsp. rosemary leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. basil, finely chopped
  • red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • salt + pepper
  • 1 8-oz. can no salt added tomato sauce
  • 1 14.5-oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp. liquid aminos, tamari, or soy sauce

spaghetti, cooked according to package directions (for serving)

Parmesan or Romano cheese (optional, for serving)

  1. Saute onion, pepper, garlic, and squash over medium heat until soft and fragrant, about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Stir in red lentils, allowing to ‘toast’ for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Pour water into the pan, stirring well.
  4. Add oregano, rosemary, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
  5. Once most of the liquid has been absorbed–about 5 minutes–pour in tomatoes, stirring well.
  6. Add balsamic vinegar and liquid aminos to the pan.
  7. Bring to a simmer and cook until lentils are soft and tender.
  8. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  9. Stir in fresh basil.
  10. Serve over pasta with a sprinkle of cheese, if desired.

In addition to the dozen bananas and three types of peanut butter in one jar I came home with from Thanksgiving, I somehow also ended up with Mama Smart’s leftover road-trip snackin’ California raisins.

IMG_4841 (1280x853)

Perfect timing, really, as I have been mulling spices over a holiday recipe using California raisins as a natural sweetener to enter in the Recipe Redux sponsored Naturally Sweet for the Holidays with California Raisins contest.recipereduxRAISINS

(And yes, I did add that Santa hat to Mr. Raisin. Because I am awesome. And procrastinating.)

“By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Raisin Marketing Board and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”IMG_4853 (1280x853)

This is a perfect recipe for any time, but especially the holidays.

It’s clean and healthy, and would serve as a quick meal in the midst of all the “busyness” or a satisfying side dish for a number of holiday mains. It would also keep the vegan, gluten-free, or otherwise  guests happy at your home.IMG_4879 (1280x853)

You can use any greens you like. I always buy the giant blend of baby kale, spinach, and chard from Sam’s Club that is just so inexpensive, but also just so much…IMG_4818 (1280x853)

…until you cook it down, of course.IMG_4870 (1280x853)

Moroccan spices have a natural warmth and subtle heat that are perfect for  the cooler, wintry temperatures (that you experience if you live anywhere but  here in Alabama).IMG_4825 (1280x853)

As alarming as this many spices being thrown around the kitchen might seem* you probably have all of them in either your “commonly used” or “holiday baking” spice sections. (Which obviously you have….right?)

*There is a reason I didn’t make this while The Professor was around. He might have had an anuerysm. IMG_4856

You could use lemon juice instead of OJ, but OJ is more cost-effective and/or requires no squeezing (unless you want to get fancy), pairs beautifully with the sweetness of the raisins–which are common in sweet savory Moroccan dishes.

[Also, can we talk about the addictive nature of cooked, plump raisins, y'all. What is it? Totally underrated.]IMG_4876 (1280x853)

Orange, walnut, and raisin with all of those sweet and spicy seasonings? All-natural holiday perfection.IMG_4881 (1280x851)

I’m guessing this would serve 2-4 people, but would easily double, triple, or even quadruple for the number of people with whom you are dining.

In my case it was one. So it served one. :) IMG_4887 (1280x853)

“Sweet Heat” Moroccan Spiced Greens

(Serves 2-4)

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 12 cups, loosely packed baby greens (kale, spinach, chard, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup California raisins
  • 3 Tbsp. orange juice (no pulp)
  • 6 Tbsp. water
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Ras El Hanout:

  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriande
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or less, if desired)
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  1. Whisk together orange juice, water, and Ras El Hanout spice blend in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.
  2. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil over medium low heat until beginning to soften.
  3. Add raisins and continue cooking until onions are translucent, adding a bit of the orange juice mixture if needed to deglaze the pan.
  4. Add greens to the pan a handful at a time, stirring well in between.
  5. As greens begin to wilt, pour orange juice mixture into the pan.
  6. Cook until greens are wilted, stirring constantly.
  7. Remove from heat and garnish with chopped walnuts.
  8. Serve as a side dish, or add some chickpeas and couscous for a main dish!


My attempts at using up leftovers turned out astonishingly well this time.IMG_4924 (1280x853)

Give me half a jar of cherry grape preserves, a Tupperware of leftover couscous, and a green apple I stole* from the hotel in New Orleans, and I will give you some magic.

*Not stealing if it’s a free continental breakfast though, now is it?IMG_4929 (1280x853)

(Just don’t let your own culinary “powers” prevent you from keeping an eye on the toasting walnuts…)IMG_20141204_163434

Who would have thought that a dish I created solely to empty my fridge would be the hit of the potluck?IMG_20141204_183303_523 (1223x1223)

Although I guess with four–count ‘em FOUR–veggie trays, it was bound to stand out. :) IMG_20141204_183008_002 (1280x721)

“Sarah..did you make the salad? What do you call it?”

[Blank stare.]

When you don’t know what to call it…just list all of the ingredients, right?IMG_4940 (1280x853)

Apple Walnut Couscous & Spinach Salad w. Cherry Mustard Vinaigrette

(Served small portions to about 8-10 people…)

  • 1 8-oz. package spinach, well chopped
  • 2  cups cooked couscous (preferably seasoned with salt, pepper, onion powder, thyme, or other herbs–I used leftover boxed couscous made with half the seasoning packet)
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, finely chopped (at least 1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup toasted walnuts, chopped


  • 1/2 cup (or so) cherry grape preserves (I used Crofter’s Superfruits)
  • 2 Tbsp. spicy brown mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • water, to desired consistency
  1. Combine salad ingredients in a large serving bowl.
  2. Whisk together “vinaigrette” in a separate bowl or container.
  3. Pour dressing over salad, tossing until well coated.

Months ago, when an under-the-weather Professor told me he would love soup for dinner, and I concocted a lemon-pepper broth based soup full of roots and greens and healthy healing goodness. The Professor responded, “Butternut would have also been good.”IMG_4724 (1280x853)

Not once, but twice, I have taken advantage of some MyPanera discounts and come home with the ever-addicting Autumn Squash Soup. I may have shared one small bite, but really, those cups of soup are SO SMALL, don’t you think?IMG_20141115_182708 (1)

Of course, when The Professor bought the containers of Autumn Squash Soup at the store, and told me to “go ahead and finish it,” he was probably just being nice…or was it a subtle hint that he was tired of waiting on me to make him some soup?IMG_4751 (1280x853)

Roasting squash and pears and onions and serving them with a pile of rice and even MORE vegetables was sort of a “yes you are dating a vegetable obsessed freak” tease (born of laziness, I assure you).*

IMG_4712 (1280x853)

*Getting out the food processor just requires so much effort…IMG_4765 (1280x853)

Anyways, I finally followed through, turning that side dish into silky soup. [The saffron isn't necessary, of course, but I've been fixated on actually using my stash since the saffron broth consumed on Anna Maria Island.]IMG_4792 (1280x853)

The Professor probably would have been happier if I left out the pears…and the saffron…and the side of maple-balsamic-previously-frozen-but-I-swear-they-are-still-good Brussels…but he ate a giant bowl of it anyway.IMG_4799 (1280x851)

For his sake, though, I’ll keep it even simpler next time thyme. :) IMG_4769 (1280x853)

Roasted Butternut & Pear Soup

  • 4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed/chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups ripe, firm pear, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup sweet onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. dried rubbed sage*
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cumin*
  • s + p*
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme leaves*
  • pinch of saffron threads (about 1/2 tsp.)*
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth or stock

*All spices should be adjusted to taste.

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine butternut squash, pears, onion, and garlic in a mixing bowl.
  3. Drizzle olive oil over vegetables. Add seasonings.
  4. Toss everything until well coated.
  5. Roast vegetables for about 1 hour, covered,  until soft.
  6. Allow to cool 30 minutes or so.
  7. Put roasted vegetable mixture into a food processor. Process until smooth.
  8. Add vegetable broth in 1/2 cup increments, processing in between each addition.
  9. Pour soup into a medium saucepan, adjusting seasoning as necessary.
  10. Heat slowly over low to medium heat, watching for bubble bursts! :)

Thanks & Giving

by Sarah on November 30, 2014 · 5 comments

Pulling in through these gates always makes my heart beat a little faster…IMG_20141129_145437_069 (1280x720)

…because it means that time of year when the table is filled with my extended family, and we spend the week(end) eating, drinking, talking, hunting, and pretending we aren’t competitive when playing board games.IMG_20141127_122433_770 (1280x720)

That’s what lack of internet will do.

Although, to be fair, we’d do it even if we HAD internet 24-7.

And that makes me truly happy.IMG_20141126_204415

But, let’s be real, go ahead and cue Meghan Trainor, because this year, my excitement was all about that bass babe!IMG_20141128_170203

You know I’m all about that bass babe,IMG_20141126_165227

’bout that bass babe–IMG_20141127_103339_784 (1280x718)

–no treble turkey!IMG_20141127_143111

All about that bass babe,IMG_20141127_103911

’bout that bass babe–IMG_20141127_204544

–no treble turkey!*

*The egg on leftovers was pretty genius though. Genius enough to eat TWICE.IMG_20141127_204337

OK, I’ll stop now.

(But I can’t help it if my brother and sister-in-law produced the cutest baby in the world.)IMG_20141127_142925

While I may not have had turkey, after declaring “it’s not the meat I have issue with, it’s the meat industry,” I dug into some venison chili that couldn’t get more local than being shot across the road.IMG_20141126_204508

And there were some pretty seedy  back alleys rolls to contend with at the country club….IMG_20141129_200027

…along with some extra peppery (read: delicious) grilled shrimp and grouper, with a fall salad featuring roasted butternut squash and praline cashews.IMG_20141129_204606

Eaten during the one night of the year I become a football fan. (ROLL TIDE!)


Also cookies.IMG_20141127_140753_447 (1280x720)

Lots of cookies.IMG_20141128_170414

But, aside from that, we pretty much sat around and stared at the baby. :) IMG_20141128_134033_964 (1280x719)

(And I ended up bringing home a dozen bananas and jar filled with three types of peanut butter. It’s probably best just to let that go, though.)IMG_20141129_085637


Conferencing in New Orleans

by Sarah on November 21, 2014 · 1 comment

I mentioned in my post about Anna Maria Island that I was hesitant to go partially because of the quick turnaround to attending my own (much more legitimate…) conference.IMG_20141116_141801

THrough a series of Limony Snickett-type events that I somehow profited from (at least in terms of time) I not only ended up with enough hours to hit up the farmer’s market for persimmon stockpiling…IMG_20141116_125557

…but also wander through the spectacle that is Alabama tailgating…IMG_20141115_140020

…before breakfasting on the road to New Orleans.*

*If only the oatmeal I ate in the car looked half as delicious as this (not at all) similar version I ate the day before.IMG_20141116_074228

And while a conference in New Orleans SOUNDS like we should all be screaming “PAAAAARTY!” at the top of our lungs, I think the most wild and crazy we got was sneaking one too many pralines at the Public Health Education & Health Promotion Social.IMG_20141117_183555_116 (1280x719)

OK,my friend Christine and I DID take advantage of our “buy one get one free” drink card in the hotel bar, where we discovered what had the potential—if we were different kind of gals in a different situation–to become the most dangerous drink in the city.

57 Chevy: Southern Comfort, Crown Royal, Amaretto, Pineapple, and CranberryIMG_20141116_184003

Thankfully, the rain that threatened never came, and the cold front held off until Monday, so I was able to walk to get my gumbo fix the first night in town. Gumbo that’s truly gumbonot the gumb-faux I make that doesn’t have anything that even resembles a freckle on a roux’s face–is UNREAL. Served with an entire loaf of crusty, warm French bread? Perfection.IMG_20141119_101410

My dinner was rather un-photogenic, but luckily Christine shared some of the much more beautiful (if fuzzy*) pepper-jelly glazed Brussels (and beets) she ordered. :)

*In the picture. They were mold-free.

But, in all honesty, conferences in cool locations are almost a let-down, because you see more of the inside of a hotel or conference center than you do the lovely city. I think there should be a campaign on behalf of Podunk, USA to start earning revenue by bringing conferences there.

I kid. I kid.IMG_20141117_090449

If only because there aren’t epic hotel complimentary breakfasts in most podunk towns, and y’all KNOW the complimentary breakfast also turns into complimentary snacks (and even replacement lunch) with strategic food selection* and a well-sized purse.

*I brought the veggies with me.IMG_20141117_173227

Luckily, the conference catering also provided a rather swanky spread at the aforementioned social, featuring a number of NOLA inspired goodies (not least of which was a chili white corn hush puppy with apricot jam that was AMAZING….).IMG_20141117_195502

One of my professors also utilized my ability to rapidly organize through text to take all of the doctoral students in attendance out to dinner, where the portions were generous and I gorged on cornbread muffins (and, due to an upset stomach–not from the muffins– saved most of  a spicy cajun mixed grill for later).IMG_20141118_225634

While I didn’t eat enough Cajun cuisine, I did still manage to brand yourself as “that funny session moderator” and talk somewhat intelligently about the poster I presented.IMG_2019

Speaking of posters and research,  if you don’t hear from me for awhile it’s because while the city may be calm, my life is not. Back to PhD life and due dates all before Thanksgiving! Hurrah!

But for the moment, think about what it might be like to watch a highly sexualized version of Twelfth Night set in 1920s New Orleans where the actors break out into the contemporary songs rewritten for the themes of the play.

Because that’s what I came home to.IMG_20141119_191917_737


(Vegan) Banana Cumin Cornbread

by Sarah on November 18, 2014 · 3 comments

On one of my (not frequent enough) trips to visit my dear friend Brittany, I helped her make cornbread for her husband. [Not pictured. This is mine.]IMG_4431 (1280x853)

The recipe was easy, quick, tasted great, and when I made the North African Black Eyed Pea Stew  a few weeks ago, I thought that some cornbread would be just the side dish I needed.IMG_3814 (1280x854) (1280x854)

Luckily, in our contemporary world, recipes don’ have to be mailed or scribbled on the backs of scraps of paper at dinner parties,* but instead can be sent almost immediately as a photo to one’s phone. (No wonder I rarely open my cookbooks.)IMG_4226 (1280x853)

*Not that I was really ever old enough to go to a dinner party on my own before the interwebs, but I did hand write a number of my aunt’s and grandmother’s recipes years ago.IMG_4232 (1280x853)

As usual, I didn’t have quite what I needed, so I thought, “Why NOT use corn FLOUR instead of corn MEAL?” and “Why NOT use a banana instead of applesauce?”IMG_3772 (1280x853)

This is why I shouldn’t be  baker.IMG_20141011_193900

Luckily, I found the original flavor delicious and The Professor was too nice to tell me–probably for the 100th time–that he wished I’d just stick to the old fashioned way of doing things. :)


Not to be outdone, I tried again. This time, with much more satisfying results.

IMG_4239 (1280x853)

As a pair to my Baked Bean Chili, the bread was much more crumbly, although still dense, and the addition of cumin made the sweetness of the banana a subtle, but untraceable, hint of something ‘extra.’IMG_4428 (1280x853)

It’s not your typical cornbread, that’s for sure,* but it IS a crumby stew or chili topper, effectively soaks up the remnants on the bottom of the bowl, and also tastes quite satisfying on its own.

*Or the to-die-for blue cornbread I had in New York in September….IMG_4418 (1280x853)

I’m also fairly certain The Professor STILL has no idea there was banana in there. :) IMG_4425 (1280x853)

 Vegan Banana Cumin Cornbread

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup masa harina (corn flour)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/3 cup mashed banana
  • 3/4 cup water or plain almond milk
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Mix together dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Mix together banana and water/almond milk.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients, stirring until thick, almost cookie-dough consistency.
  5. Spread into an 8″ square pan coated with baking spray.
  6. Cook 20 minutes, or until browned and cracked on the top.

A(lmost) M(issed) I(it): Anna Maria Island

by Sarah on November 15, 2014 · 2 comments

When someone offers you a trip to Florida, you shouldn’t hesitate to take it.IMG_20141112_074756

Of course, I had to waffle back and forth over it for a good couple of months, wondering if I could get my classes covered, work done, and successfully complete a 24-hour turnaround to head off for my OWN conference* immediately after The Professor’s little boondoggle.

*Still TBD.IMG_20141114_090915

boondoggle: work or activity (i.e. “engineering workshop”) that is wasteful or pointless but gives the appearance of having valueIMG_20141113_083602

But it’s a good thing that everyone I talked to–and I asked a LOT of people–said that work would get done, classes would get covered…IMG_20141114_113922

(Even if you do spend some of the time you are there studying. At least you are studying at the beach?)


…and everyone–even especially PhD students–needs a vacation now and then.IMG_20141112_114106_181

Or, as one of my colleagues put it: YOLO.*

*Literally. That was her response.IMG_20141114_091042

I’m glad I listened to other people for once instead of trying to be a martyr for PhD students everywhere, because I would have missed a lot of pretty wonderful meals things:IMG_20141113_183115

Sunsets, for example.IMG_20141113_183547



(And if you think I didn’t respond to the waitresses query of if I wanted them tail on with, “I like to get dirty,” you’d be wrong.)IMG_20141114_091219

Two incredibly inspiration salads, one of mixed greens, Gorgonzola, candied walnuts, and mango, and the other of edamame, cranberries, basil, and feta cheese.IMG_20141114_191424

The discovery of a store that should be called “Purveyor of All Things Wonderful,” selling coffee, wine, vinegar, olive oil, cheese, fresh pasta (by the pound)…and offering free Marcona almonds for the sampling.IMG_20141112_112008

Grouper with pineapple mango salsa.IMG_20141112_211513

Calamari with a fry on it like I’ve never tasted and couldn’t describe…but just trust me, it was incredible.IMG_20141114_191144

My new favorite restaurant, with the directive moniker of Eat HereIMG_20141114_090954

…and a kitschy menu complete with phonetic spelling of quinoa and a “whatever we feel like” salad, aptly named serendipitous.IMG_20141113_210922

Did I mention I repeatedly requested an entire bowl filled with the saffron tomato “zuppa” broth in which this mahi mahi was poached?IMG_20141113_220903 (1)

So, you know, all things considered, I’m pretty sure that peer pressure, in this case, is a wonderful, wonderful thing.IMG_20141113_221149

Of course, now I’m requesting my breakfast served poolside every day, so The Professor may not agree on that front. :) PhotoGrid_1415977231442


Most of what I make in the kitchen is an accident.


IMG_4646 (1280x853)

I’m pretty sure I’ve written the post one hundred times, where I say, “I just needed to use up this…” or “I wondered what would happen if I ______.”IMG_4586 (1280x853)

And so it goes.IMG_4590 (1280x853)

This time? The Professor had once again not consumed the yogurt I bought for him, and so I was busily trying to make my way through it. And maybe, just maybe, yogurt could substitute for butter?*IMG_4603 (1280x853)

*It can. But you are truly supposed to only replace half. Oops.IMG_4615 (1280x854)

Perfectly timed with this situation was my pumpkin-loving friend Amanda’s birthday, and the discovery of Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Blondies.IMG_4644 (1280x853)

The resulting sweet treat is 30% of your daily Vitamin A in the form of cinammon sugar glazed, pumpkin pie filling, soft enough to be chewy, but firm enough to pick up with your hands. No crust required.IMG_4649 (1280x853)

You’re welcome.IMG_4642 (1280x853)

Cinnmon Sugar-Glazed Maple Pumpkin Custard Bars

[Makes one 8"-square pan]

  • 1/2 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tsp. maple extract
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or 1 1/2 tsp. apple pie spice + 1/2 tsp. ground ginger)
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line 8″-square baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together yogurt and egg.
  4. Whisk/beat in brown sugar, pumpkin puree, and maple extract.
  5. Add pie spice and flours to the bowl. Mix well until batter forms.
  6. Spread batter into pan.
  7. In a separate small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over uncooked bars.
  8. Bake 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bars comes out clean(ish).