Saturday, June 30, 2012

June Foodie Penpal Reveal

It is the end of the month and that means I can share with you the wonderful goodies I received for the June Foodie Penpal program from the adorable Adriane. 

After exchanging food preferences Adriane went all out and got me a lovely assortment of snackable food.  She did extra research from my blog too and found my love of lobsters.  Do you see the cute little bibs?  She had my heart with her written note on card with the Eiffel Tower. 

There was Biscoff; I am already finished with the jar between making cookies, spreading it on graham crackers and eating it with a spoon.

Mr. J and I nicely split the two mini Nutella spreads but were so cordial when it came to the Tabasco chocolates.   Thanks so much for all your thoughtful treats Adriane!

The Lean Green Bean

If you are interested in joining Foodie Penpals here are a few of the details about what the program is all about:

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.

-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!

-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!

-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)

-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.

-Foodie Penplas is open to US and Canadian residents. Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We've determined things might get too slow and backed up if we're trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 

If you’re interested in participating for July, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.
You must submit your information by July 4th as pairings will be emailed on July 5th!

Friday, June 29, 2012

3 Years of Blogging

It has been three whole years since I started blogging. I cannot even believe that much time has passed. For me, cooking, photographing and posting have become second nature at this point. 

Of course the first year I had no idea.  I was randomly posting whenever the mood hit.  Who knew if anyone other than my mom actually read most posts. 

Now I care about who, when , what people are saying on my blog as well as what they are doing on theirs.  It really is a little community.  I love it.

To celebrate I made cookies. Two to be correct. I probably should have done three, one for each year. Mr. J and I would have fought though over that lonely third with no home.


Chocolate chip.

Amazing.  Perfect for celebrating an anniversary. 

They didn't last long. I had mine 10 minutes after it came out of the oven.

Now the good news is that you can have some of your very own. I am going to be contributing these to an online auction this Sunday for Kisses from Katie.  

Kisses from Katie is 501(c)3, non-profit organization dedicated to honoring the life of Katie Manning by providing resources to critically ill children, their families, and the people who are dedicated to caring for them.

Since our inception in 2009, the organization has grown to service 5 hospitals in the Northeast with 8 different programs. By educating parents, easing the burden on children, and improving the delivery of services by nurses, we believe that we are improving the health and welfare of all involved. We realize that we cannot directly change or remove the harsh medical realities of children in pediatric ICU's, but we also know that we CAN make a significant difference by "taking the edge off."

There are few things in life that that render a family more debilitated than that of a critically ill child. It feels as though the natural order of life has been challenged- young children are supposed to be fit and active. Parents are supposed to protect their child. A sick child challenges both precepts. Kisses from Katie is committed to relieving unneeded, unwarranted, and unnecessary burdens, allowing people to focus on the most important thing- finding peace and happiness for the sick child.

Please visit Kari's blog on Sunday and bid away.

Biscoff Chocolate Chip Cookies

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients (12 cookies)
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup creamy Biscoff
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, cream together the butter, Biscoff, and brown sugar.

Add in the egg and vanilla. Combine.

Add the flour mixture and mix until smooth. Fold in mini chocolate chips.

Roll the mixture into 1/8 cup ball then press down lightly.

Bake for 10 minutes. Cool the cookies on a wire rack.
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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Black Bean Quiona Mexican Bowls

This is one of the most perfect summer recipes.  It requires little prep work. It is warm and hearty but you don't have to turn the oven on.

I have been using quinoa left and right lately. Mr. J doesn't seem to mind it as long as it is jazzed up with bold flavors.  This dish certainly meets that requirement.

Inspired by Chipotle and a ripe avocado on the counter I decided I wanted a burrito for dinner.  But they can be heavy and it was like a million degrees outside. Instead of a burrito I opted for a  rice bowl and then I realized we had quinoa.  Quinoa bowl it was...

Topped with lots and lots of salsa. I realized now that my salsa collection is starting to rival my nut butter collection. You can customize this for any taste with varying the amount of seasonings and toppings.  I loaded on the hot stuff.  And then had a nice cold beer.

Mexican Black Bean Quinoa Bowls

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can corn kernels, no salt added
  • 1 can diced green chilies
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red peppers
  • shredded cheese of your preference
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • sour cream
  • salsa
Cook quinoa according to directions with water.

Mix beans, corn, chilies, tomatoes, garlic and spices in bowl. Combine until well blended.

Put layer of quinoa in serving dish. Top with equal amounts of black bean mixture. Layer with cheese. Melt in microwave till cheese is melted, about 30 seconds.

Top with avocado, salsa and sour cream.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas Snack and WIAW

Its that time of the week again. Wednesday.  The day I get to share my food intake.  It is hard for me to believe the week is half over. I am looking forward to Friday this week in a big way. I have a huge project for work on Thursday and I am ready to be done.

Monday was the longest day ever...lots and lots to do and it still felt like the day would not end.  There were some massive thunderstorms in the morning which puts fear into all those that rely on technology for the work.  If the power goes out I literally cannot do a thing.  I was saving like a mad woman as well just in case.

Tuesday I had to run up to Albany for the day to visit a school for a campus tour.  3 hours up, 3 hours for a tour, 3 hours back.  That was my day.

Here are my eats...

Breakfast was a cinnamon scone from Panera.  There was lots of coffee involved.  The first was a hazelnut coffee with chocolate soy milk.  The second was a skim milk latte.

Lunch was a salad topped with Spicy roasted chickpeas.  Best. Snack. Ever.  Pop them plain or add to a salad.  Delicious.  

The grill made an appearance for some salt and pepper pork loin and Parmesan asparagus.  No dishes except our plates.  Best. Dinner. Ever.

Dessert was 1/2 cookie from Red Rooster, chocolate chunk and coconut.  I made it healthy with some strawberries. 

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 1 can chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) that's about 1 2/3 cups
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon real salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat oven to 425.
Make sure the chickpeas are well-dried. Lay in a single layer on rimmed baking pan and roast for about 10 minutes.

Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl and added cooked chickpeas. Stir until well coated.

Again, spread chickpeas on a baking pan and bake for about 10 minutes.

Remove and shake pan so the chickpeas rotate. Continue baking for another 8-10 minutes, or until chickpeas are crispy. Serve warm.
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Make sure you bake them until cooked through.  The chickpeas should start to split.  The longer you bake, the more crunchy the chickpeas will become, almost like nuts.

Mr. J, who really does not like chickpeas, liked them a lot.  He even said he would have them again.  Plain. As in a snack.  Crazy.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bar Harbor Restaurant Finds

Last night my husband watched the Zookeeper from Netflix. I blogged. We both enjoyed our respective activities. Quality time. After all we were next to one another on the couch.

For those of you who have seen the Zookeeper.  He liked the bear scene. A lot. Giggle ensued.

I forgot to post about our best breakfast the other weekend when we were in Bar Harbor.  It is a bit passed due but I still wanted to share.  You should go here if you are ever in Bar Harbor.

Mr. J loves breakfast but we haven't gone on a regular basis for a while. Breakfast out makes his day, week, month, I swear. 

Two Cats.  Get it? Mr. J liked his new friend.

My number one priority when traveling is the food options.  Big surprise right?  I do research in advance.  This weekend though we had lots of our meals already set with the wedding activities.  We also got breakfast at the hotel so I wasn't planning on going out at all.   

My stomach got the better of me though once I was in the cool Maine coast air.  It was calling out to me blueberry pancakes.  Maine blueberries are amazing. 

Without preparing I wasn't really sure where to start, so I started asking people.  Locals.  Store owners.  Nature guides.  The nature guides really weren't helpful.  They, and the chamber of commerce volunteers, would NOT give recommendations.  Finally we cornered a few people and they all said Two Cats.

I could not have asked for a better breakfast menu. There were so many options, all made fresh with local and organic ingredients.  When I saw the breakfast burrito the blueberry pancakes went out the window.  I satisfied my sweet tooth though with a maple latte.   I ended up with two lattes and half a burrito.  Mr. J finished the other half.

The star of the show was the homemade biscuits. They were sweet and butter.  Very moist.  Biscuits aren't my favorite but I skipped the burrito and went for the biscuits.  They are served with homemade strawberry butter. More strawberry than butter.  Perfect compliment to the biscuits.

130 Cottage Street • Bar Harbor • Maine • 04609
207.288.2808 or 800.355.2808

Monday, June 25, 2012

Spinach and Cheese Quinoa Casserole

The planets just align in a perfect way at times when you couldn't have wished for a better coincidence.  Right around the time when I was trying to find good, hearty, meatless dinners for Mr. J and I Jenna posted this wonderful Spinach and Cheese Quinoa Casserole recipe.

Think Mac & Cheese made with quinoa.  The casserole is even more healthy with a dose of spinach, red pepper and onion.  Red peppers happened to be on sale for $.99.  Yes, the planets were in perfect alignment.

Did I mention yet it is super easy?

I made the dish itself in the morning before work and then just had Mr. J through it in the oven at night.  Team effort.  The only question here is who does the dishes.  Mr. J claimed he made dinner since he was the last one in the kitchen. Dishes were left to me.

Now this picture isn't as pretty but we took the leftovers and made stuffed peppers.  I had gotten a bag of green peppers at the store and suddenly it was green peppers every night for dinner.  Well, if you roast them for 20 minutes and then stuff with this yummy quinoa mixture you have a second dinner that is just as fabulous as the first. 

This time around Mr. J insisted on some protein with a fried egg.  Little does he know quinoa is a miracle grain that happens to be a complete protein as well. 

Go check out Spinach and Cheese Quinoa Casserole.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Weekend Edition: Another Wedding

What another busy weekend!  This weekend we were off to Jersey City for a good friend's wedding. We lucked out once again with fabulous weather, great company, and lots of yummy food.

Congratulations Laura and Alex!

And in case you missed it, here is what I was up to this week:

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