Monday, May 2, 2011

Breakfast Cereal Bar

Week one at my new job: done. I haven't gotten up this early, this consistently, since high school. College has made me soft! (And spoiled with a meal plan). Prepping for the grave loss of my meal plan in two weeks, I'm collecting recipes I can use for weekday breakfasts and lunches. 

I'm a big fan of batch cooking. It's a lot easier to cook on Sunday and have healthy meals ready to grab the rest of the week. This is my breakfast for the week.  

Bonus: This recipe has no added sugar.


1/2 cup nut butter
2 bananas, mashed (the riper the better)
1/2 cup whole nuts (choose your favorite)
1 ½ cup total of dried fruits (cherries, cranberries, apricots, raisins, coconut, etc.)
1 cup rolled oats
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
Pinch cinnamon (optional)
1/4 cup pumpkin or sunflower seeds (optional)
yield: 12 bars

Get Cookin

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Using a food processor, coarsely chop nuts and dried fruits. Mix nut butter and bananas until a paste forms. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix.

Spoon into lightly greased muffin cups, bake for 15 minutes. Store in refrigerator for 5 days (perfect timing for the work week).
For one breakfast bar = 190 calories, 8.4 g fat, 26.7 g carbohydrates, 5.4 g protein, 3.1 g fiber, 52 mg sodium, 5 PointsPlus

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Benefits of packing your lunch

I listened in to a teleseminar this morning that featured Jim Beverly sharing financial planning advice for young PR professionals, sponsored by PRSA. Although it was targeted to new pros in the PR industry most of his advice could easily be applied to anyone just starting off on their first job.

He directed us to The Nest for some great tips on finances and budgeting, check it out! While I was reading the site today I found an amazing statistic: The average working professional spends nearly $1500 on restaurant and fast food lunch. 
photo from here
I'm trying to pack my lunch at least four days per week to save some money and ensure I'm eating healthy. It's challenging to force yourself to pack a lunch before heading off to work, but I challenge you to try! At my house it works best to make it the night before.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Smashed white bean & avocado sammich

Another delish sammie recipe. I like this because it's packed with protein and is so portable to pack in a lunchbox.
photo and recipe from here

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Red Wine Sangria

I can't stop thinking about swimming and laying out by the pool. On Sundays during the summer Jesse and I spend the entire day in the backyard--it's perfect. And, what's a Sunday outdoors with out sangria?

This recipe is from Cooks Illustrated. I like it because it's easy and doesn't require a million ingredients. But, we always switch up the fruit we put in our sangria, depending what we have around the kitchen.

2 large juice oranges, washed; one orange sliced; remaining orange juiced

1 large lemon, washed and sliced
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup Triple Sec

One 750 ml. bottle inexpensive, fruity, medium-bodied red wine, chilled

Get Cookin'
1. Add sliced orange and lemon and sugar to large pitcher; mash gently with wooden spoon until fruit releases some juice, but is not totally crushed, and sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Stir in orange juice, Triple Sec, and wine; refrigerate for at least 2, and up to 8, hours.
2. Before serving, add 6 to 8 ice cubes and stir briskly to distribute settled fruit and pulp; serve immediately.

Servings: 4

Note: It's best to make sangria a day before enjoying it to let the flavors mix together. If that's not possible, give it two hours in the fridge.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

22 healthy lunch ideas

I love peanut butter sandwiches, a lot, but sometimes a girl has to mix up lunch. It's hard to find exciting, healthy options to pack for work, but Cooking Light has come up with 22 unique lunch recipes that are perfect for to pack for work.

I've had this Vera Bradley lunch box for almost a year and it motivates me to pack my own lunch (so I can show off my cute lunch box). Sounds silly, I know, but if it gets me to eat better quality food, I'm all for it. There are almost 30 patterns to choose from--Jesse's mum has a teal and brown one, too.

Now, back to the contents inside the lunchbox: food. 
Some of my favorite from Cooking Light's lunch recipe round-up:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Honey-toasted fruit muesli

I landed a PR job! As a result, I'm scouring my favorite blogs for yummy breakfast recipes that will keep me filled while I work my first 8-5 job. I've tried making big batches of granola and cereal bars from scratch, they're always much more wholesome than those at the store. However, I haven't found one that I love. I feel good about this one.

photo and recipe from here

Fruit Salsa & Cinnamon Chips

This weekend my friends had a bbq at Canyon Lake planned. However, the weather had other plans. The temperature never got about 60 degrees--unheard of for Arizona in April! So, what should have been a sunny, fun at the lake day turned into a Wii tournament and indoor picnic, which was totally okay with me.
photo from here

One girl brought fruit salsa and cinnamon chips. I was apprehensive to try the combination (I was expecting a mango salsa like the kind commonly used in fish tacos). But everyone kept raving about the salsa so I finally tried it. Good thing I did--it's amazing (anod nothing like mango salsa for fish tacos) and I can't wait to share it with everybody! The recipe is originally from AllRecipes.

I think this would be a great substitute for syrup on pancakes, or to put in oatmeal or yogurt.

  • Ingredients

  • 2 kiwis, peeled and diced
  • 2 Golden Delicious apples - peeled, cored and diced
  • 8 ounces raspberries
  • 1 pound strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fruit preserves, any flavor
  • 10 (10 inch) flour tortillas
  • butter flavored cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar

Get Cookin'

In medium bowl, mix all fruit, sugar and preserves. Cover and chill in refrigerator until ready to serve. 

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. 

Spray one side of tortilla's with cooking spray and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Cut into wedges/strips. Spray again. Arrange on baking sheet and cook for 8-10 minutes. 

Cool on cooling rack.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Romaine Pesto and Egg-Stuffed Tomatoes

Haven't had a chance to experiment with this recipe yet, but, as Smitten Kitchen explained, "It's calling to me." I can't wait for next weekend to try this recipe!

Photo and recipe from here

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Starbucks Cake Pops

Thesis countdown: four days! It's finally inching up to the big day! What's a good thesis without tasty refreshments? Let me assure you, readers, I've picked out the cutest post-defense treats for all my guests.

The menu:
    Pink Lemonade
    Starbucks Cake Pops
 photo from here

 Jesse and my dad even made me a custom cake pop stand! Photos to come after the defense. I got a vintage 7-Up crate that all the drinks and food fit into perfectly. My mum isn't sure what I'm more excited about: cake pops or the actual defense.

 Custom cake pop stand made from a 1960s 7-Up soda box. Thanks Dad & Jesse!

Have you had the new petite pastries from Starbucks? They're all under 200 calories and perfect for parties and events (and thesis defenses, apparently). My cousin is using them at a baby shower she's planning, too. Here's an interview with the man who created the recipe and concept for Starbucks' three cake pop flavors from the Starbucks official blog.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Quinoa and Grilled Zucchini Recipe

photo from here
My thesis defense is a week from tomorrow, so I've been pulling some all-nighters to get everything perfect for the big day. I've been cooking big batches of food that will save for the week so that I don't have to spend time cooking while I continue my never-ending edits.

I made this quinoa salad last weekend and have been eating it for lunch all week--it's amazing. The recipe is from 101 Cookbooks and can be found here. The only change I made was using feta cheese instead of goat cheese, since I already had it in the house. Heidi always has new, creative recipes that only use wholesome ingredients--it's one of the first places I go to for new spins on healthy ingredients.

Monday, March 7, 2011

I think this is what Heaven looks like

How awesome is this photo from the Chicago International Housewares Show?! There are even some new colors (but where's the pink one you ask? See below). Spy on more awesome photos from the show on's Facebook fan page. I always tell my friends I'll know I've arrived at success when I have the pink KitchenAid mixer. :)

photos from here

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Happy birthday to my Daddy today! We started out with brunch at Painted Mountain Golf Resort with the whole family and then migrated back to my parents house for a Sunday full of board games (my favorite game, Apples to Apples) and birthday cake in the form of a homemade cheesecake.

My mum's cheesecake turned out beautiful! See the birthday candle? :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Breakfast Pizza

Emily over at Cupcakes and Cashmere has me craving breakfast pizza (not the cold slices from last night's dinner). You could really add anything on top of a basic pizza crust and call it breakfast, but the fried eggs and chives looks divine from Smitten Kitchen's version of a breakfast pizza.

photo from Cupcakes and Chashmere

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cheesy Bacon Biscuits

Jesse loves bacon. Add bacon to any recipe and it's better tasting for him. I'm not the biggest bacon fan, but these pull apart biscuits sounds delish. Thanks to Picky Palate for the recipe!

I made these for breakfast with scrambled eggs. I had two--they are amazing.

Photo from Picky Palate


2 tablespoons melted butter
One roll refrigerated biscuit dough, 8 count
6 thin slices fresh mozzarella, 1/4-inch thick
1 cup cooked, crumbled bacon
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Get cookin'

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and brush a 9-inch cast iron skillet with melted butter.

Unroll biscuits from can and place into bottom of skillet.

Top with slices of mozzarella cheese, bacon crumbles then shredded cheddar.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and biscuits are cooked through. Serve warm.

Update: Mine cooked for almost 25 minutes (and my oven typically cooks fast).

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Heart-Shaped Boiled Eggs

I've been sick since Valentines Day with strep throat and the flu. Jesse and I had to change our Valentine plans, his birthday plans and our trip to Sedona, Ariz., but I'm feeling 100 percent better now.

Since I missed out on celebrating Valentine's Day this year, I'm catching up by sharing these adorable heart shaped boiled eggs. I'd love these for breakfast in bed! Thanks to Gizmodo for this photo tutorial!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Taco in a Bag

During the freak freeze in Arizona my co-baristas at Starbucks were craving chili to warm us up (which I made this weekend and will share soon). One of the baristas added walking tacos to the cold weather food list. I'd never heard of them. He explained that they were taco fixings thrown into a bag of chips so that the diner could have a portable taco. (Because normal tacos aren't portable...?)

Today on Smart Dish their cooking segment featured Tacos in a Bag. It's destiny. I need to make these as soon as possible. Here's the video from the show:

  • Several individual size bags of Dorito's and/ or Fritos corn chips
  • 1 lb. ground hamburger
  • 1 bag of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 med. size bowl of chopped iceberg lettuce
  • 1 med. bowl of chopped tomato
  • 1 can of black beans, drained
  • (Any taco toppings you like)
Get Cookin'

Smash the chips with the bag still closed. Cut open the bag, pour in all the taco fixings. Eat (preferably while on-the-go).

Friday, February 4, 2011

Valentine's Day Desserts

I'm digging the pink & red love in all the stores and bakeries this week. Some of my favorite Valentines sweets from around the web this year:

X and O S'mores (internet exclusive from Williams-Sonoma). 
Each batch is made from scratch in San Francisco at Two Hearts Bakery.
Perfect surprise for a special someone who's far away this Valentines Day.

Heart shaped sprinkles: Yes please.
Buy them at for just 99 cents!
Photo from here.

Get a tutorial and recipe from I Am Baker to make 
this hidden heart cake.

This Valentine's Party is full of love! Check out the dessert
bar behind the kids! :) See more pictures of this

What are your plans for Valentines Day? Jesse and I are celebrating a day early since we've got classes all day on Monday. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I love blueberry muffins and blueberry pancakes...and blueberry oat bars. (And most other blueberry cereals, grains and other treats). However, according to an article in the Washington Post's Lean & Fit newsletter this week, those "blueberries" in packaged food may not be blueberries at all. Yuck.

"Those blueberry impostors turn out to be lumps of sugar, corn syrup, starch, hydrogenated oil, artificial flavors and artificial food dyes."

According to a study by the Consumer Wellness Center, blueberries containing artificial food dye blue No. 2 and red No. 40 are easier to find in foods than the antioxidants we think we're getting when eating a blueberry muffin.

Want some yummy recipes featuring real blueberries? Check out 10 recipes from I especially like the blueberry salsa.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hawaiian Veggie Stir Fry

As promised, the veggie stir fry that I made to go with the crockpot pineapple chicken recipe. This was a perfect addition to the meal-we all loved it. I'll be making this again very soon.
Photo from Hub Pages

sliced onions
sliced green peppers
sliced carrots
broccoli flowerets
1 small can water chestnuts
1 small can sliced mushrooms
sauce ingredients:
1/2 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch

Get Cookin'

Combine all sauce ingredients together, mixing until cornstarch is dissolved. Set aside.
In a large frying pan (or wok)  heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, peppers and carrots. After 3-4 minutes add broccoli, cauliflower and water chestnuts. In another 2 or 3 minutes add the mushrooms. Pour in the sauce, stirring, until it is thickened and the veggies are glazed (about a minute).

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Polka Dot Cheesecake

My mother scored a legitimate Italian cheesecake recipe from an Italian woman that's in her TOPS chapter. The coveted recipe is rich, creamy and delicious. However, I might have to cheat on that recipe and try this polka dot cheesecake on The Baker's Daughter. It's so prep cool and well, my style!

Photo from The Baker's Daughter

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Kitchen Art

I daydream about my future kitchen a lot. And shop for it, a lot. I'm tired of dorm kitchens and hand-me-down pots and pans. But, I think of it as motivation to keep on track for graduation and starting my career.
My newest obsession: this art print.

How many of the books in this print do you own? Me: three.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Pita Jungle

Jesse and I met in Tempe for an early dinner date this afternoon since I'll be staying at my dorm over the weekend. Since we're not in Tempe for dinner very often, I was so excited to go back to Pita Jungle, an Arizona treasure.

I wanted to be back at the dorms early, so we ate at 4pm, which ended up being great because we got to hit up their happy hour. (They also have reverse happy hour, 9pm-close). Beers were $2, wine $3. Their tapas were amazing, too. We got the hummus trio (only $1), but there's a large selection of other great starters like baba ganoosh, dolmades (my favorite) and garlic sauce for pita.

Jesse got the gyro and I ordered the lentil fetoosh salad (what's a fetoosh?). Lentils and rice cooked with carmelized onions, over mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, sumac, toasted pita chips and lemon vinaigrette. It was superb. And, did you know that lentils + rice = complete vegetarian protein?

Another location just opened up in downtown Phoenix, walking distance from the downtown ASU campus (eek!). I have a feeling I'll be eating more than my fare share of dolmades and hummus with a closer location.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pineapple Chicken

Have you ever seen the Broadway show Caberet? It's a beautiful show about Germany in WWII. One song from the show is when a produce vendor brings his sweetheart a fresh pineapple, virtually impossible to find during the war. The seranade about the pineapple is precious and sweet and I always sing it when my dad brings home a fresh pineapple from the store. :) Which, brings us to tonight's dinner: pineapple chicken.

Here's a video of the pineapple song, featuring the Broadway revival cast. I couldn't help but share.

Back to dinner...

enough chicken for 4
20 oz can of pineapple chunks
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 t red pepper flakes

Get Cookin'

Throw everything in the crockpot, (pineapple juice, too). My chicken was completely frozen and it still cooked super fast. I suggest cook on low for 4-6 hours or on high for 3-4.

I served this with brown rice and a vegetable stir fry.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Lucky Black Eyed Peas

We usually make the same recipe for black eyed peas every New Years Day. None of us especially enjoy it, but it was tradition, so we continued to make them annually. This year, the Early Show on CBS had a segment featuring "lucky foods" to cook on New Years Day that included this recipe. Its the  best version of Hoppin' John we've ever made. It's lucky, too, since (so far) 2011 has been a great year.

Tip: Be sure not to cook the black eyed peas too long--they'll get mushy and soggy and make the dish more like baby food than a lucky meal to kick off the new year!

1 tablespoon EVOO
1 medium onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 15-ounce cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, minced
Cooked rice
Hot sauce (we used Frank's brand)

Get Cookin'
1. Heat EVOO in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, red bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.

2. Stir in black-eyed peas, broth, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to low; cook 10 more minutes. Stir in green onions and parsley.

3. Serve on top of cooked rice and add hot sauce.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup

During the winter my family always makes noodles from scratch, it's a tradition. It's a lot of extra work, but the flavor is so worth the labor. We still had some ready to cook and I wanted to make something that would really feature the noodles: chicken noodle soup (from scratch!).

2 tablespoons EVOO
1/2 white onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves
4 carrots, chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped
2 quarts chicken stock
1 1/2 cup of chicken (shredded or chopped)
1 handful of fresh parsley, chopped (don't substitute dried parsley in this recipe, the fresh stuff really makes it great)
salt & pepper
1 tablespoon thyme

8 ounces of noodles (homemade or from the store)

Get Cookin'

Add everything except for the noodles into the crockpot. Cook on low for 8 hours, or until dinner time. About 30 minutes before eating, add in noodles, if store bought. If using homemade noodles, add the last 10 minutes of cooking.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Yesterday I finally went to the Hotel Valley Ho Spa in Scottsdale to redeem my massage gift certificate that I got from my birthday. I was saving it as a reward for finishing up the semester--so worth it. When I arrived I was offered a cup of white tea to help me relax. When I was given the tea, I fell in love with the tea bags--look at how unique they are!