Eating and Cooking

I woke up feeling not quite myself this morning.  But—at the same time—I didn’t really feel sick either.  It was as if my body couldn’t quite make up its mind, with my immune system trying to decide if it could fight this thing off or if it should just hold up a white flag and surrender.  The battle of the flu.  Boo.

Thankfully, my appetite is still in full swing.  And so is my desire to cook.  So I proceeded to eat and cook away the afternoon.  I’ll spare you from having to witness my breakfast, snacks and lunch though.  They weren’t anything to brag about (i.e., when I’m not feeling like my normal self, strange cravings come into play.)  However, dinner was simple but kind of special, so I’ll tell you all about it. 😀

Brazilian Black Bean Soup and Fresh Veggie with Mozzarella Quesadillas

You’ve seen the black bean soup before, and it was just as tasty tonight as it was the first time around.  Or maybe even better?  It freezes really nicely and seems to come out thicker and spicier than when I originally made it last week. 

The Fresh Vegetables with Mozzarella Quesadillas are completely new and original though.  As an aside, I considered calling these the “Last Veggie Standing Quesadillas” since they quite literally contain the last of my refrigerator’s veggies. 😉 But I didn’t want the thought of limp old veggies to deter you from trying this, because it’s super fresh, earthy and very satisfying.  I happened to make this with zucchini and carrots because it’s what I had on hand at the time.  But don’t be too uptight with this recipe.  Your imagination—and your veggie drawer—is the limit!  Mix it up and try something new—you may surprise yourself (and your lucky tastebuds!)

Fresh Vegetables with Mozzarella Quesadillas

  • 1 whole wheat wrap
  • fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced about 1/4 inch thick and then diced and scattered over the wrap
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced thinly
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • handful of boston lettuce (or other green: lettuce, kale, spinach, etc.)
  • red onion, sliced thinly
  1. Spread mozzarella over whole wheat wrap and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in pan over medium-heat and add zucchini and carrot.
  3. Once zucchini is cooked to preferred tenderness, add lettuce and onion and reduce heat to low.  Stir and take off heat.
  4. Add vegetable mixture to flat wrap and fold in half.  Place on hot, nonstick griddle over medium heat.  Once browned underneath, carefully flip over and cook other side until cheese is melted and wrap is crispy.

Slice and enjoy!

This afternoon, I also had an ample amount of time to make a fun dessert bread.  I have been waiting patiently day by day, watching the bananas become speckled with age spots, as they slowly became the perfect candidates for a banana bread.  This is a rare occasion in my house—bananas are almost always consumed before reaching this state of sweet perfection.  But when the situation occurs, I’m ready.  And today, with a new banana bread recipe in hand, I got right to work.

I am anything but a banana bread purist.  Add in those walnuts, the raisins, the coconut, the chocolate chips!  Smear a warm slice with peanut butter.  Add a bit of cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves to the batter.  While I like to keep my meals simple and fresh, my banana bread likes to explode with flavors and fillings.

That being said, this one was actually kind of simple (I know, I know…totally contradicting myself here.)  This time, I stuck to one simple addition–dark chocolate chips.  I cut back on the sugar a bit to compensate, but it’s still super sweet (I bet you could even cut back a little more on the sugar without even noticing a difference!)  This is truly a terrific recipe.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Banana Bread—courtesy of Cooking Light and lovingly tweaked along the way. 

  • 1 c. mashed ripe banana (about 2-1/2 medium)
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 large egg
  • 1-3/4 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1-1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c. hershey’s dark chocolate chips (or semisweet chocolate chips if preferred!)
  • cooking spray
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl with a whisk until smooth.
  3. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups and level with a knife.  Combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Add flour mixture to banana mixture and stir just until moist (do not overmix).  Fold in chocolate chips.  Spoon batter into an 8×4 inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray.
  4. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack, remove from pan.  Cool completely on rack.

You’d never guess this was made with whole wheat flour, by the way.  It’s moist, sweet and full of flavor.  Delicious!

Spending the day cooking, baking, mowing the lawn, going for a 3-mile morning run and running a few errands has resulted in a very tired girl.  So on that note, I think it’s time for me to relax.  😉

G’night!

Question: Are you a banana bread purist or do you like it with all different toppings and mix-ins? 

(a) (b) (c)

I didn’t realize until after making breakfast, that all my toppings and mix-ins were of the same color.  (a) oatmeal = brown, (b) peanut butter = brown, (c) pumpkin = brown/orange.  Oh well.  At least the flavors were far from boring. 😉

  • 1/2 c. raw oatmeal
  • 1/2 c. canned pumpkin
  • 1 small mac apple, diced
  • 6-oz. plain, nonfat dannon yogurt
  • cinnamon, nutmeg and clove + splash of vanilla
  • topping: 1 T. Teddy’s chunky peanut butter and 1 T. Galaxy Granola (“very vanilla” flavor)

Super creamy! 😀

Pre-walk snack: orange and a handful of salted, dry roasted peanuts.

I forgot how much I love peanuts in a shell.  They’re (a) filled with filling protein, (b) fun to crack open and (b) make for a tasty snack. 😀

Yesterday I double batched the Black Bean Soup which means I basically have enough to either (a) feed an army, (b) feed the entire family lunches for the week, or (c) freeze for future use.  I don’t think the family would appreciate (b), and I’m really hoping that the soup freezes well because it sure would make for a quick lunch option next week. 

(p.s. I double most soups, especially when they’re some of the more time-intensive ones to make.  It makes life easy when you need it to be. 😉 )   

I cut up some more of the cornbread which I served on the side.

I’ve been eyeballing Voskos Greek Yogurt on other blogs for a while now, so when Allison from Voskos volunteered to send me some to sample and review, I was more then excited.   I normally use Dannon as my yogurt of choice because it’s (a) cheap (as in “40 cents cheap”!!) (b) pretty creamy for nonfat, plain yogurt and (c) free of gunky additives.  But—at heart—I will always be a greek yogurt kinda girl.  😉

There are five flavors (aside from plain) to be sampled, and the first one that instantly leaped out at me was the Exotic Fig.  This was wonderful!!  Not quite as creamy as other greek yogurts I’ve tried in the past, but the flavor was unique and delicious.  It reminded me of a fig newton (it even had little fig seeds that gave a fun little crunch :mrgreen: ).  I topped mine with walnuts and chopped dates. 

So yes, definitely recommend this flavor.  Can’t wait to try the other flave-ahs; thanks Voskos! 😀

In a desparate attempt to finish off some meat from the freezer, I defrosted some already grilled burgers and reheated them in a pan with sauteed onions (with a bit of EVOO.)  Talk about easy.  And I do love eating a good burger now and then.

Stepping aside from the traditional hamburger bun, however, I used a slice of toasted whole wheat sourdough bread which I loved.  I could eat this bread with everything.  Not even kidding.

On the side, I made a larger-than-life salad complete with black olives, broccoli, feta cheese, and a splash of balsamic vinegar and orange.

Off to spend the night with the fam!!  😀  We have a campfire planned since it’s too gorgeous outside not to have one. 

HAPPY THURSDAY!

Question: What is your yogurt of choice?  (a) Plain, non-fat Dannon for when I need a daily yogurt fix (b) fage 2% when I can make the extra monetary splurge 😉 and (c) chobani pineapple when I can make the monetary splurge and when I want it to be flavored.