Blue Ribbon Cornbread

A few nights ago was a master cooking disaster. After valuable time and money was spent on meal creation, I found myself with a pot bottom so burnt that it is still soaking in my sink. I am not sure it is salvageable. My intention was a cozy fall dinner of spicy vegetarian chilli and cornbread muffins. I basically want to forget the chilli ever happened but oh my, the cornbread was divine. Turns out the recipe won big at the Iowa state fair and that works in my book. Crumbly, full of moisture and just sweet enough.

Makes 12

4 Tbsl Ground Flaxseed

12 Tbsl Water

2 Cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

2 Cups COrnmeal

3/4 Cup Brown Sugar

8 Tsp Baking Powder

1 1/2 Tsp Salt

2 Cups Soy Milk

1/2 Cup Canola Oil

Preheat oven to 425 and line 12 muffin tins. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan, add the flax and reduce to low. Let simmer fir 2 minutes or until thickened stirring occasionally and set aside.

Whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt until just combined. Add the flax mixture, soy milk and canola oil and whisk until just smooth.

Spoon batter evenly into tins and bake for 17-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Peanut Butter Banana Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know, long name. It has been raining for days in Boston and in an effort to embrace the weather as cozy and comforting as opposed to annoying and difficult, I made cookies. Really, really good cookies. These guys are so rich and satisfying they leave you wanting nothing more. xo

Makes 2 Dozen

3 Large Ripe Bananas, smashed

1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

1/4 Cup vegetable Oil

1/4 Cup Maple Syrup

1/2 Cup Crunchy Organic Peanut Butter

1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

2 Cups Rolled Oats

1/2 Tsp Salt

1/2 Tsp Baking Powder

1/4-1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Mix wet ingredients together with a hand mixer until smooth and creamy. Mix dry ingredients together until combined. Add dry to wet and mix. Fold in Chocolate. Spoon heaping Tablespoons of dough (will be wet) onto cookie sheets layered with parchment paper. Press down with a back of spoon to flatten slightly. Bake for 15-17 minutes. YUM.


Roasted Baby Potatoes with Garlic and Rosemary

Potatoes get a bad wrap. Sure it isn’t great to pound down the french fried variety on a regular basis but all potatoes are not so terrible. I love roasting the tiny red bliss potatoes with garlic, olive oil and some fresh herbs. A great summer time side dish and can even go a round two when you serve the leftovers chilled with some chopped veggies and a touch of mustard. I served these last night with lemon pepper haricot vert and pecan encrusted sole. For those of you that know me well, yes I ate the fish. I am really trying to give seafood a go to add a little variety to my life since I am not eating meat as of late. Just tweaking, trying new stuff.

Easy Peasey Roasted Potatoes – Serves 4

1 Bag Small Red Bliss Potatoes Cut to Uniform Size

2 Cloves Garlic Chopped

1/2 Small Sweet Onion Chopped

3 Tbsl Olive Oil

4-5 Sprigs Rosemary Chopped (or thyme or whatever herbs you have on hand)

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Mix everything together in a large bowl and let sit for a few hours if possible. Pre-heat oven to 375 and spread potato mixture on a cookie sheet. Cook for 25-35 minutes until a fork inserts easily.


Poblano Sweet Potato Corn Chowder

This week seems to be recipe week. Sorry for the monotony but this one could not wait. There was a happy accident that occurred during my first run at this recipe which resulted in less fat then my original plan. And it was more delicious than expected, way more. Imagine that. The accident was that I bought Hazelnut 1/2 and 1/2 instead of regular. Woops, hazelnut poblano sweet potato corn chowder was just not going to fly. So I subbed plain old almond milk (unsweetened) for the fattier liquid and never looked back. The potatoes break down so much that the soup is think and creamy enough to be your main course. I served it with a romaine salad with chopped red peppers, red onion, pepitas and my go to vinaigrette salad and a hunk  of whole wheat french bread. The bread was smeared with olive oil, salt and pepper and broiled open-face until bubbly and crisp. I highly recommend this for a light summer supper. Now run out and get some of those first ears of organic sweet summer corn.

Serves 6

2 Tbsl Olive Oil

2 Tbsl Butter

1 Medium Onion Diced

1/4 Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

2 Small/1 Medium Poblano Pepper Diced

6 Cups Vegetable Stock

2 Cups Milk (I used unsweetened almond with great results)

2 Sweet Potatoes Diced

4 Ears Corn

2 Tsp Salt

Pepper to Taste

1 Tsp Chili Powder

Saute onions in the oil and butter over medium heat until translucent. Add peppers and garlic for a few more minutes. Dust with flour and turn to coat. Add veggie stock and bring to a boil. Add potatoes, milk and boil for about 5 minutes. Cut the kernels off of raw corn saving as much of the “milk” as possible as this will add a nice flavor. Add seasonings upping the pepper or chili powder for a little more kick. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Albanian Pie

You know your blog has hit the big time when you have a guest blogger. Yup, its true. Big time. Actually, I begged my wonderful friend Rebecca to share a family recipe with you all. Thank you so much Rebecca!

“As an honorary Albanian via marriage, I was fortunate to share a family recipe that spans four generations. A versatile dish, my father-in law grew up enjoying this household staple for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Though the traditional recipe calls for homemade phyllo dough (a day-long commitment), most Greek specialty stores and grocery stores carry quality readymade phyllo dough—my favorite brand is Athens Greek Fillo Dough—making this traditional dish even more convenient and user-friendly.

The big surprise was how delicious a pizza that didn’t include cheese on its list of ingredients could be. How could a pie with just tomatoes and onions offer enough satisfying flavors? I was sorely mistaken. This dish is truly a testament to how simple ingredients can create a larger-than-life taste. After my first experience preparing Albanian pizza, I quickly changed my cooking mantra to “keep it simple and keep it fresh.”

Depending on the type of onions as well as the proportion of onion to tomato you can make this pie your own. Vidalia onions are the typical choice and, since my typical Irish constitution is so unlike my husband’s Albanian stomach of steel, I’ve found their sweetness to be the perfect complement to the tangy tomatoes. However, if you prefer a more biting, sharper taste, my father-in-law confirms yellow onions are a perfectly fine alternative. The sharper the onions, the longer they should cook to release their natural sugars and caramelize a bit.

My personal contribution to this dish is Pecorino Romano—though it’s traditionally a non-dairy pizza, I could not resist adding a touch of fromage. Freshly grated aged Pecorino Romano adds a nutty, saltiness that’s perfectly paired with dried or fresh basil and oregano for garnish.

Leftovers (as with most dishes) are even more flavorful. Even if you’re a fan of cold pizza for next-day breakfast, give this a try: The best way to reheat Albanian pizza is to pan sauté a slice with some olive oil and press it down with a panini press or hot cast-iron pan. The thinness of this pizza pie further melds the ingredients, bringing out a medley of fresh flavors.”

Albanian Pizza

Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Makes one casserole


  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large onions
  • 3 (14.5-oz.) cans stewed tomatoes, drained
  • dried or fresh oregano (to taste)
  • dried or fresh basil (to taste)
  • 1 package phyllo dough, thawed
  • Pecorino Romano, grated (to taste)


Preheat the oven to 375˚.

Peel and slice the onions into 1/2-inch rings. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet or saute pan over medium heat, then add the onions. Cook the onions until they are soft, caramelized and all moisture is evaporated, about 30 minutes.

Add the drained stewed tomatoes, and with clean hands or a wooden spoon, gently break the tomatoes apart into smaller chunks. Remember, this is a rustic peasant dish, so you don’t have to go nuts and break the tomatoes into tiny tomato chunks. Slightly larger chunks are fine—just make sure you have enough filling for multiple layers. Add 2-3 tbsp (depending on your taste) of dried oregano and basil to the tomato and onion ragout, and remove from the heat.

Generously drizzle and smear 2 tbsp olive oil to coat the bottom and sides of a 13″ x 9″ baking dish.

Unroll the phyllo dough and lightly cover with a damp paper towel or dishcloth to keep the phyllo dough moist. Be careful, as too much moisture can create a congealed mess. Phyllo dough can take a few tries to get comfortable working with it, so don’t fret, but be prepared to move quickly.

Build the base of the pie crust: gently place one sheet of phyllo dough at a time across the bottom of the baking dish, letting the phyllo drape over the sides of the baking dish. Once placed, brush the entire sheet gently with a generous amount of olive oil until completely covered. Let the olive oil seep in—every layer brushed with olive oil will further enhance the flavor of this dish.

Repeat until 5 or 6 sheets have been placed and brushed with olive oil. The base should be thicker than the remaining layers and will help support the entire structure.

Cover the base with 1/3 cup tomato and onion ragout, evenly spreading the filling so every bite has a taste of caramelized onions and stewed tomatoes.

Next, layer 2-3 sheets of phyllo dough, brushing with olive oil between each sheet, then topping with 2-3 tablespoonfuls of ragout. Repeat until you have 3-4 layers. The number of layers will vary depending on the depth of your baking dish and the chunkiness of the onions.

Fold the draped sides of the phyllo dough and roll inward to form a high-sided crust for the pizza pie.

Bake for 20-30 minutes, checking the crust after 20 minutes as phyllo browns quickly. When the crust is golden brown, remove and cool for five minutes before indulging in this savory dish.

Weekend Waffles

What else is there to do on a when you wake up to a rainy Saturday morning but make a decadent breakfast? This past weekend we (I) whipped out the belgium waffle iron so that I could try my hand at a super recipe from the King Arthur website. The recipe could not be simpler, and with a few healthy tweaks not so bad for you either. That is before drowning them in maple syrup and butter. Oh well, win some you lose some right? These waffles are light and fluffy and wonderful.

Makes 3 Belgiums

1 1/2 Cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

2 Tsp Baking Powder

1/2 Tsp Sea Salt

1 1/2 Cups Milk of Choice ( I used almond)

1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil

2 Tbsl Maple Syrup

1 Egg (I used a flax egg to up the Omega 3’s. Mix 1 Tbsl ground flax-seed and 2 Tbsl warm water)

Mix dry ingredients. Mix wet in a separate bowl. Mix everything together, batter will be slightly lumpy and that is just fine. Cook according the waffle iron’s instructions and enjoy!

Sweet Summer Strawberry Soup

It is the time of year when strawberries are that deep ruby-red. The gorgeous ripeness that lets you know they are going to be nothing but sweetness when you bite into one. While perusing one of my favorite food blogs yesterday, Oh She Glows, I saw this recipe and then scooted out to the store to pick up some berries. The result was far above and beyond my expectations. With only 5 ingredients and a blender as the sole kitchen tool, it could not be easier to execute. Plus you get to feel a little fancy eating or serving a “chilled soup”.

Serves 4

4 Cups Organic Strawberries

1/2 Cup Almond Milk (or any milk)

2 Tbsl Almond Butter

2 Tbsl Maple Syrup

1 Tsp Almond Extract (I expect vanilla would do just as well)

Wash and de-stem the berries. Toss everything into the blender and puree until smooth, using a spoon to push down the mixture if it gets stuck. When it can’t be mixed no more, transfer to a storage container and chill for a few hours in the fridge. Garnish with some sliced berries, crushed almonds or a dollop of whipped cream. Ahhhhhhhhh summer!

Reese’s Anyone?

On Friday Greg and I hosted a small going away party for one of my best friends. Owen, who also created the layout from this blog, is off to business school. We had pizza,  this caesar salad and probably a little too much wine. Another friend brought cupcakes from Lulu’s in the North End which were insane.  The last piece of the puzzle was homemade reese’s peanut butter cups from Alicia Silverstone’s cookbook, The Kind Diet. They are insane. You can go vegan or not depending on the dairy or substitutes used. I will tell you though, the vegan version pleased many a meat-loving palate.

Makes 12

5 Whole Graham Crackers

1/2 Cup Earth Balance Butter (or regular)

3/4 Cup Crunch Peanut Butter

1/4 Cup Maple Syrup

1 Cup Carob Chips

1/4 Cup Non-Dairy Milk (or Regular)

1/4 Cup Chopped Salted Peanuts

Line 12 Muffin Tin with Liners. Break the crackers into large chunks and process in blender until they are a fine crumb. Melt butter in small sauce pan over medium heat and stir in the peanut butter, graham cracker crumbs and maple syrup and mix well. Remove from heat and divide mixture  in muffin tin, about 2 Tbsl per cup. Combine chocolate and milk in another pan and stir over medium heat until melted and smooth. Spoon evenly over peanut butter mixture. Sprinkle with peanuts and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. They are also amazing frozen.

Dress Your Greens

Summer has finally hit Boston. Today is supposed to top out at a hundo. My Thursday night dock yoga clients are going to get some HOT yoga. Tanning bed, sauna and yoga class in one. I digress. With summer comes fresh, cold, crispy salads. In order to have a great salad, you need a great dressing. Something homemade, healthy and easy that will make you feel like won the lottery as you chomp away on your healthy veggies. While comparing lottery winning and eating salad may be a bit of a stretch, isn’t feeling good the best reward? Enter my go-to vinaigrette which is sweet, tangy and versatile. Double the recipe and store in a mason jar so you can whip it out as fast as you would the wishbone.

3 Tbsl Olive Oil

3/4 Tbsl Balsamic Vinegar

1 Minced Garlic Clove

1 1/2 Tbsl Maple Syrup

3/4 Tbsl Dijon Mustard

1 Tbsl Soy

Ground pepper to taste

Veggie Lasagna

Here is my take on an italian favorite. A little lighter, a bit more protein, and a few more veggies. Substituting the crushed soft tofu for the traditional ricotta is an easy switch that yields a reduction in fat and a boost in protein that no one notice unless you tell them. Serve this up with my favorite caesar recipe and you have yourselves a hearty and healthy italian feast. Mangia!

Serves 8

1/2 Yellow Onion Chopped

2 Medium Portobello Caps Chopped

1 Carrot Chopped

2 Large Cloves of Garlic Chopped

2 Handfuls Baby Spinach Chopped

1/4 Cup Chopped Basil

1 12 oz Package Soft Tofu

1 Package No-Bake Whole Wheat Lasagna Noodles

1 Large Jar Tomato Sauce of Choice

3/4 Cups Shredded Parmesan

1 Cup Shredded mozzarella

1 Tsp Salt

1 Tbsl Pepper

Heat 1 Tbsl olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions and saute until soft about 4 minutes. Add garlic, mushrooms, carrot and salt and cook until mushrooms have released their liquid that the mixture is dry. Transfer to a medium bowl.

Add spinach, basil, tofu and pepper and mix thoroughly.

Grease a large glass backing dish with olive oil. Add 1/4 jar sauce to bottom, layer a sheet of pasta, then use hands to add tofu/veggie mixture. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup parm and mozz. More pasta, more sauce, more filling, more cheese. Finish with pasta, sauce and the rest of the cheese.

This can be done up to 1 day in advance, cover well and refrigerate. When you are ready to cook, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cook for 40 minutes. Remove cover and broil until cheese bubbles for a couple more minutes.