Both of my siblings worked part time at a local restaurant, in an effort to save money for college.  They would come home tired, completely worked out, and sometimes—now and then—they would come home with the most amazing, ooey gooey, cheese ‘n’ veggie filled quesadillas.

For some reason I was craving those same wonderful quesadillas today, and that is why I set out to make my very own.  Only healthier.  Fresher.  And hopefully even more delicious.

At first I toyed with the idea of sauteeing the green & red bell peppers with the onions and mushrooms, all in one big frying pan.  Because—well—it’s easier (and faster.)  But let’s be honest.  You can’t reinvent the flavor of a roasted veggie unless you actually roast the veggie.  Nothing compares.  There was no skirting the issue: the vegetables had to be roasted.

While the veggies crisped and caramelized in the oven, I threw the whole wheat tortilla wraps on the griddle.  I like cooking these over medium heat.  Just enough time to let the cheese melt and just enough heat to give the wraps that crispy exterior.  Perfect.

Once the veggies were nicely blackened, I pulled them out from the oven and threw ’em on top of of the wrap, which was now all melty and lovely from the cheese.

I like to serve these with a warm bowl of vegetarian soup on the side.

Plus a scoop of homemade guacamole.

Just as wonderful as I remember.  Only healthier.  Fresher.  And even more delicious. 😀

Roasted Veggie Quesadillas
Serves 3

  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 onion, sliced thinly
  • about 10 mushrooms, sliced thick
  • 3 whole wheat tortilla wraps
  • 3/4 c. mozzarella or sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Heat oven to 425.  Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and place veggies in a single layer.  Bake for 10 minutes, flip once, and cook for another 10-15 minutes to desired doneness.

Meanwhile, heat nonstick pan to medium.  Spray with cooking spray.  Place tortilla wraps on top and place about 1/4 c. of cheese on half of each wrap.  Fold wrap in half and press down lightly.  Cook until browned on underside, flip, and cook the other side until browned and crispy.

When veggies are done, open up quesadillas and fill with the roasted vegetables.  Cut in half and serve.  ENJOY! 😀

Question: Have you ever “healthified” a favorite restaurant meal?  What was the result?


cheese snob

Sometimes, it’s okay to have chocolate for breakfast.

This is one of my favorite recipes, but I haven’t made it in ages.  I’m a huge fan of unsweetened cocoa powder, especially when it’s naturally sweetened through fruit.  For a meer 10 calories per tablespoon, cocoa powder provides you with 2 g. fiber, 1 g. protein, and 4% iron.  And you get your chocolate fix.  What’s not to love?

Chocolate Coconut Cookie Drops

  • 1/2 c. uncooked oatmeal
  • sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 T. almond butter
  • 1/2 banana (super ripe), mashed
  • 2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 T. wheat bran (optional)
  • 1-2 T. soymilk
  • 1-2 T. sweetened coconut
  • 5 almonds
  1. Combine all ingredients together (except for coconut and almonds,) and mash with fork. 
  2. Separating the “dough” into roughly 5 cookies, roll gently with hands and form into small drops.  Roll through coconut and top each cookie with an almond.
  3. Refrigerate overnight. 

Enjoy with a fork and a glass of milk.  And coffee for us coffee drinkers. 😉

Morning Snack: cored red delicious apple, sandwiched with a smear of chunky peanut butter

I was pretty excited for lunch today.  Fresh greens.  Buttery white beans.  Garden fresh tomatoes and cucumbers.  EVOO and sea salt.  Chopped carrots.

Extra sharp cheddar cheese.

I love cheese.  I do.  In fact, I think I might even show a little too much excitement when the employees of Whole Foods talk to me about all their different kinds of cheese, while I sample my way through cheese after cheese after cheese.  They’re overjoyed that I’m so excited and interested in the variety of cheeses that they have on display (we have some serious foodies at my whole foods, I’m telling you!)  And I’m overjoyed that they know so much about cheese.  Oh, and eating my way through brie, goat, and blue cheese isn’t such a bad thing either. 😉

Unfortunately, these pleasurable experiences have also turned me into a bit of a cheese snob.  I can’t help myself.  I loved this salad, I really did.  But having shredded cheddar cheese just didn’t cut it for me, and I felt as if I needed to take a ride to whole foods to redeem my lunch.  I’ve tried to revert myself, but to no avail. 

That being said, however, I still love cheesesticks and an American styled grill cheese now and again, so I’m not a complete cheese snob quite yet. 😉

My lucnh has consisted of kashi crackers for carbs and crunch…

…plus a sweet, juicy orange for dessert.

Minestrone soups are great for this time of the year, when zucchini and squash are making their last triumphant appearance, while bell peppers are saying their last goodbyes.  It’s the soup filled with promise of autumn (because I’m totally into that sort of thing lately), while reminding you that summer is still holding on.  Fresh.  Brimming with tomatoes.  Comforting.

I highly recommend this soup.  It’s easy to throw together and it’s easy to ‘tweak,’ based on what you might have on hand.  Since it’s still summer and all, I like to serve this soup lukewarm with fresh black pepper and a squirt of fresh lemon juice.  😀

Recipe available online: Minestrone Soup (it’s from my most treasured cookbooks: Moosewood Cookbook)

Mom is the bread master in the family.  This whole wheat bread is my absolute favorite of the breads that she makes.  Especially when toasted and spread with a smidgen of butter. 😀


Today is basically my Friday, but I plan on using tomorrow as a “homework day.”  I have a lot to finish before Monday’s presentation and preclinical training. 😀 

Question: Are you a cheese snob?  What are some of your favorites?

Running with Sneakers

Such a fun-filled day!  

First things first…

  • 1.5 c. Kashi Heart to Heart–Warm Cinnamon
  • 6-oz. plain yogurt + 1 T. crushed flax
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 T. almonds

You know how I always say that cereal doesn’t keep me full in the morning?  I’ve discovered that this is only true when it comes to having milk with my cereal.  If I mix in yogurt, nuts and fruit, then it keeps me as full as a bowl of oats would.  And I’m lovin’ Kashi’s Warm Cinnamon hearts. 😀

My usual cup of coffee this morning was so. very. frothy!  And I have no idea why.  I think it was the splash of soymilk. 😀

 With a belly full of breakfast and coffee, I wanted to sneak out for a quick workout before the day officially began.  I considered a bike ride, but my throat is still feeling soupy.  Then I considered yoga, but I knew my head wouldn’t be good for staying focused.  I decided to throw on my running gear, head out for a walk, and see how my foot felt.  I was out walking/running for 4 miles without much pain!  I’m knocking on wood, stretching my calves, and icing my foot—all in hopes that my foot is on the mend.  I ran like a granny the entire time, with three footfalls per second (I’m discovering that this is a good idea for staying clear of many injuries…it worked for my shinsplints and achilles tendonitis too!) but I honestly could have cared less how I looked.  What mattered was that my foot didn’t hurt and I was out loving every second of every step. :mrgreen:

Stretch…ice…rolling my foot over a tennis ball…shower.  Time to pack up my lunch and go! 😀  I made a veggie sandwich with whole wheat sourdough bread, 1/4 c. vegetable hummus, and some tomatoes + spinach. 

I also snagged an apple and some carrot sticks to eat along the way.

I always look forward to stopping by a shoe store and picking up some new running sneaks.  But I think I was even more excited today after my morning walking/running galavant.  😀

I stuck with the same exact brand as my current sneaks, the Asics Gel 2150.  Why mess with something that works?  They’ve taken their share of abuse and miles, and I love the support that they offer.  And I also love the color.  :mrgreen:  My other pair was blue & silver, but these with their hot pink and hot colored tie dye interior make me feel so girly.   

I also decided to make an extra splurge and bought some insoles for my current–albeit, worn out–Asics.  This cost me $20, but I figured it was worth it.  I still plan on wearing them for walking or running in bad weather, so I’d like a little extra support.

(p.s. these really do feel much more supportive then my current, worn out pair!  I went for a short walk in them, and felt as if I were walking on a cloud—super spongy! 😀 )

I honestly could have spent all day looking around at the running gidgets and gadgets.  In the end, it was my grumbling stomach that drew me away. :mrgreen: 

Digging around in my purse resulted in finding a stashed pack of almonds (about an ounce.)  These can be such a lifesaver when hunger strikes!

There was also a small latte lite involved in my afternoon excursion.  I hope Starbucks doesn’t see this, because I’m still devoted to their lattes and coffees over DD’s. :mrgreen: 

Aside from a new pair of sneaks and a latte, I also enjoyed meandering my way through a favorite farmstand.  They have an awesome selection of cheeses, produce and breads.  It’s such a feast for the eyes (and nose!) to walk around in there.  My family used to go all of the time, when we were on our way home from a road trip. Usually we’d make a meal out of an artisan bread, juicy grapes, and a block of extra sharp cheddar cheese.  It was heavenly to enjoy a meal like that while driving home.  I think that’s when my love affair for good breads and Paris first began. 😉

Straying away from the norm, the extra sharp cheese was left behind!  But a delightful block of Alta Badia cheese came home.  I sliced a few cubes with half a pear for a snack, and it was unbelievably tasty.  So smooth and soft, with an earthy flavor that had just a hint of fruitiness.  Mmm…

When I came home, my head was starting to feel stuffed up again.  I headed straight for the bubble bath after grabbing a handful of fresh pea pods to snack on.

Dinner was so quick, easy and delicious.  You could make it vegetarian by subbing tofu or tempeh for the chicken.  Or, if you enjoy seafood, you could sub in shrimp.  The possibilities are endless.  Have fun mixing in different veggies too (or even fruit, such as pineapple!)

Stir-fry Chicken and Broccoli 

This time we added red bell peppers, snap peas, and onions to the mix.  Major yumminess! 😀

So. Very.  Happy. that I have tomorrow off from school, since Tuesdays follow a Monday schedule after holidays.  This will give me another day to recover and focus on homework.  Plus we’re getting snow (and supposedly lots of it!) so I’d rather spend my day cooped up indoors where its warm. :mrgreen:

QUESTION:  “LOST”…love it or hate it (or don’t ever watch it)?  My sister and her husband stay up to date with all the current episodes, and they let us borrow the seasonal episodes as they come out on DVD.  So I have no idea what’s currently happening, but I’m deeply engrossed in season 5. :mrgreen: