Tagged: recipes

Fun with Blenders: Boozy Milkshakes

It’s still a little chilly out to be eating ice cream, but a little wishful thinking never hurt anyone. Maybe this strawberry banana milkshake with a splash of rum will make some nice warm weather arrive a little faster. Confession: I whipped up this boozy shake twice in 3 days, first for a movie night with an old friend over the weekend, and then just because it was Monday. (Both reasonable occasions, IMO.) I did us a real service, though, because at least now there’s no more ice cream in the house…


My lack of photography skills makes this look like a gross Ensure shake or whatever, but I assure you: it’s ice cream, rum, and rainbows.

Boozy Strawberry Banana Milkshake

Basically serves 2, but if you want a mega serving like you’d get when ordering a milkshake at a diner, feel free to drink the whole thing by yourself. I won’t judge. Much.


  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1/2 pint strawberry ice cream or frozen yogurt
  • 8-10 fresh or frozen strawberries, hulled
  • 1 medium ripe banana
  • *Optional* 2-3 oz rum (or more, ya lushes)


  1. Place all ingredients in blender.
  2. Blend for about 30 seconds.
  3. Imbibe, and then please leave me a tipsy comment about how much you loved this milkshake.

magical daniel day-lewis

Eating our vegetables: Spicy Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts

This weekend I realized that I’ve pretty much fallen off the wagon when it comes to eating healthy foods. I’ve been averaging about 0 to 0.5 servings of produce each day, which is not great, since I really enjoy being alive. Um. Anyway, in an effort to not be such a nutrition fail, we decided to cook up some leafy greens with our dinner tonight, in the form of roasted Brussels sprouts.

Like every other yuppie couple around, Boyfriend and I have recently discovered an ardent love for these cruciferous orbs of delight. We’ve made them a few times at home in the past with middling results– they’ve been edible but haven’t come close to being restaurant-caliber. However, that all changed tonight when I devised an extremely lazy version of this wonderful-sounding dish from TakePart. The original recipe looked great and all, but I had neither a shallot nor a fresh chile pepper, and I wasn’t about to go in search of either one. That would require grocery shopping!

Seriously though, don’t worry if you don’t have a shallot or a chile either. Who needs a classy recipe that uses fresh ingredients? Well, we all do. But whatever, because these Brussels sprouts, seasoned entirely with stuff that already happened to be in my pantry, were awesome. We tore through the whole pan’s worth in about 5 minutes; Boyfriend, ever the chivalrous gentleman, showed remarkable restraint and let me have the last one. (I tried to pretend like I didn’t really care about it that much, but OMG gimme.)

They taste 10,000 times better than they look.

Right before we attacked…

Spicy Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts for Lazy People


  • Brussels sprouts, preferably fresh. Our supermarket sells ’em in a 10 oz package, or about 15 sprouts, which is perfect as a side dish for two or as the main course for a lonely vegetarian.

 I can’t really give you quantities for the rest of the ingredients because I didn’t measure anything. I just poured what looked like the right amount of oil and seasoned it all to taste. So… happy guessing. Sorry!

  • Extra virgin olive oil — I refuse to call it EVOO — enough to make a base to roll all y’alls brussels sprouts in
  • Maple syrup — the real stuff, not Aunt Jemima! — to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Garlic powder — and/or a minced clove of garlic, if you have it around — to taste
  • Red chili pepper flakes, to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Mix all non-Brussels sprout ingredients in a small bowl; I actually used a ramekin.
  3. Remove stems and outer leaves from each Brussels sprout. Cut sprout in half; cut the monster ones into quarters if so desired. We did.
  4. Roll each sprout piece in the olive oil/maple syrup/spices mix until it’s thoroughly coated with delicious oily goodness. You can coat stray leaves in the stuff, too.
  5. Arrange sprouts flat-side down on baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 15-20 mins (longer, if you’ve got a ton of sprouts), flipping halfway through.
  7. Put all of the brussels sprouts in your face.
  8. Try not to be too sad when it’s all over.
No more Brussels sprouts.

The aftermath.

Bad at planning, but pretty okay at smoothies.

A spate of less-than-frigid weather, combined with our latest FreshDirect delivery of goodies, has made me more amenable to whipping up some smoothies this week.

Tonight I fully intended to make a blueberry-banana smoothie with some spinach thrown in for good measure, but I didn’t realize that the bananas were already eaten until I’d dumped half of the ingredients into the blender! I knew I still wanted to add a little sweetness and creaminess to the smoothie. My options were to either add some vanilla rice milk, or use half of an avocado. I opted for the former (since I know Boyfriend is itching to turn the avocados into guacamole sometime soon).

Blueberry-spinach yum yum smoothie.

Not too sweet, and not too thick. A just-right blender creation.

Forgive my fugly food photography, please! In person, the smoothie is a lovely dark amethyst hue and is tasting mighty good alongside leftover Thai curry and quinoa.

Anyway, I present to you…

The “Crap, I ran out of bananas!” Healthy Blueberry Smoothie

5 ice cubes
1 cup baby spinach
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup vanilla rice/hemp/almond milk (only after you realize the bananas are gone; otherwise, 1/2 or 1 banana)
1/4 cup orange juice

1. Put ingredients in blender.
2. Blend until smooth. (There will probably still be little pieces of spinach that won’t completely dissolve. I hope we can all be okay with that.)
3. Drink that bitch!

Breakfast for dinner

Tonight I got home and wanted to eat anything BUT the delicious roasted root vegetable stew I made two nights ago (recipe forthcoming), so instead I made some breakfast for dinner– always a good thing! I paired cheesy, garlicky scrambled eggs with some leftover mashed sweet potatoes and a honeycrisp apple for a filling pre-yoga class meal.

Scrambled eggs with gorgonzola

Looks like vomit, tastes like heaven…

Scrambled Eggs with Gorgonzola


  • Extra-virgin olive oil, or your choice of pan-greaser
  • 2 large eggs — I like brown, omega-3 fortified eggs, but that’s just me
  • 2 tbsp gorgonzola cheese — although I probably used more…
  • Splash of skim milk (optional)…wow, I was really giving the finger to my lactose-intolerant side tonight.
  • Garlic powder, black pepper, and sea salt to taste


  1. Heat oil in pan.
  2. Whisk eggs in a bowl, then add milk (if desired) and seasonings.
  3. Add eggs to hot pan; stir/flip/scramble with spatula so you don’t end up with a weird omelette thing.
  4. When eggs are nearly cooked, add gorgonzola.
  5. When gorgonzola is nice and melty, remove from heat.

Staying warm with veggie soup

After a decadent, spendy summer– full of exercise, mind you– Boyfriend and I found ourselves back in the kitchen with a new resolve to improve our cooking skills and preserve our bank accounts.On a chilly fall night a few weeks ago I realized we had some butternut squash and garnet yams on the verge of going bad, so I decided that the best thing to do was toss everything into a pot, then puree it all in the blender. (I have been loving my Breville Hemisphere Control ever since I got it this summer, and although it makes quick work of fruits and veggies for smoothies this was my first time using it for a creamy soup…luckily, it worked like a champ!)

This soup fed us for a whole week and never ceased to be delicious. And it couldn’t be easier!

Butternut squash-yam-apple soup


Easy Fall Mélange Soup, aka Vegan, Gluten-Free, Butternut Squash-Yam-Apple Mashup


  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cups butternut squash – peeled and cubed
  • 3 garnet yams -peeled and cubed
  • 1 large apple (I like honeycrisp) – cored, peeled, and quartered
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • To taste: Ground ginger, thyme, sea salt, and black pepper


  1. Combine all ingredients in a large pot or saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Let simmer until veggies are tender and soft, i.e. easily pierced/smashed with a fork– took about 45 minutes for us.
  3. Remove from heat and ladle pot contents into blender (in whatever size batches your blender can handle).
  4. BLEND!
  5. Re-season, if necessary.
  6. ENJOY!

Baking for Many: Dual-Chocolate Chip Cookie Edition

Dual-Chocolate Chip Cookies ready for their closeup

My department at work does a weekly rotating snacktime, and when my number came up, my co-snack-bringer and I agreed to bake cookies. After briefly considering buying prepackaged cookies or slice-and-bake dough, I decided to sack up and break out my recently acquired hand-mixer for some chocolate chip cookie goodness. While in the grocery store I was overcome with the urge to get weird and buy both white and semisweet chocolate chips. As a result, my cookies ended up being extra awesome tonight.

I modified the classic Nestle Toll House recipe slightly to include an extra egg yolk. I think that the cookies came out fluffier and chewier as a result. I also omitted the walnuts, because I forgot to buy them. Finally, I changed the brown-to-white sugar ratio because I thought I remembered reading about that somewhere.

Sugar in mixing bowl

Brown sugar reminds me of wet sand.

After taste-testing, Boyfriend said “we should keep 3 dozen of them,” which is a good sign– hopefully my colleagues won’t hate these babies!

Recipe and more photos after the jump.

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Meals I have made that have not given us food poisoning

Between 2007 and 2009 I subsisted on a near-constant stream of pizza, Lean Cuisine, chicken nuggets, and Annie Chun’s noodle bowls for dinner– and those were on the nights that I “cooked at home.” However, I luckily ended up with two great cooks for roommates while I was getting my master’s degree, both of whom were far healthier than me. It was while living with them that I explored the wonders of winter squash, went vegan for a month, and cooked vegetarian chili for the first time. My next roommate was also far more skilled than me in the kitchen. Now that I don’t have roommates to mooch food from anymore, I’m slowly becoming more brave in the kitchen.

While attempting to cook our way to Sweden, Boyfriend and I have been trying our hands at several dishes, most of them new to us. They all rank super-low on the difficulty scale, but pretty high on the “nom” scale. They include:

There are others, but those were the best of the best. Boyfriend and I are often paranoid that we’re going to accidentally undercook our food or ruin it in some other way, and attempts at these dishes have resulted in high fives all around.

The best thing to come from making an honest effort to cook more is that I’m becoming less reliant on takeout. And Lean Cuisine-type meals are officially a thing of the past for me.

We're not friends anymore.


Cooking for One : Leftover Pasta Edition

Tonight I was determined to cook for myself while Boyfriend was meeting a friend for drinks, especially in light of the fact that I spent an exorbitant amount on Pad Thai and apple-lemon-ginger juice at lunch today. I also wanted to start using the pre-made pesto I bought at the Fancy Market around the corner from Boyfriend’s apartment. Making some pasta and slapping a tablespoon of pesto on it is one of the few dishes within my culinary reach.

When I took the box of whole wheat rotini down from the cabinet and shook it, it sounded suspiciously rattly. A peek inside confirmed that barely a single portion remained. I opened the fridge to see if there was anything else that would go marginally well with the pasta and found lunchmeat, some Swiss cheese, and–voila– a whole box of mixed baby lettuces. Boyfriend and I are terrible at finishing any green produce we buy; we’ve wasted an embarrassing amount of perfectly good fresh veggies. However, we are extremely skilled at eating carbs. Hence the imbalance in our stock of pasta vs. greens.

I’ve also been trying to eat fewer raw vegetables lately, per the orders of every acupuncturist I’ve seen in the past couple of years, outside of the green juice with ginger I’ve been drinking a few times a week. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, raw veggies and certain other foods are considered “cold,” and if your digestion is weak, they mess with you, and…some other stuff I can’t remember right now. Anyway, because of that, and also because I’m terrible at eating my vegetables, I was pretty sure that a big ol’ salad was not my first choice to supplement my meager ration of pasta. Then I wondered if I wouldn’t be able to cook the greens in the pot after I drained the pasta, like I do with an egg for carbonara.

First I Googled “pasta wilted salad greens” to make sure I wasn’t just making up this idea. I do that a lot when I’m not using a recipe. It’s comforting to know that other people have done similar stuff before me. It also reassures me that whatever dish I’m making probably won’t kill me. I’m trying to build more self-confidence about my cooking, but it’s a process. For now, I have Google.

Having just finished eating, I would call this experiment a success. The slightly cooked greens give a nice freshness and some texture to the pasta. Read on to learn how to make it.

Rotini with Wilted Greens and Pesto



  • The dregs of a box of whole-wheat rotini…or fusili, penne, what have you. (Probably about 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup, for one person.)
  • A few handfuls (1 c.) of mixed baby lettuce leaves
  • A hasty spoonful (1 tbsp.) of store-bought pesto, or for those of you with more motivation and time than me, homemade pesto.
  • Pinch of black pepper


  1. Bring water to boil in saucepan/small pot; salt if you remember to.
  2. Add pasta, cook until al dente.
  3. Remove pasta from heat and drain in colander.
  4. Return pasta to pot and add greens, toss over low heat and add pesto and black pepper.
  5. Enjoy all by your lonesome, and be proud that you’ve cooked another meal without setting the kitchen on fire.