Disaster Meal

The problem with food blogging for me is it that it always makes me hungry! Perfect example, last night I was trying to pick something to write about, and instead I ended up looking up recipes on other Word Press blogs! My first mistake was choosing to pick a new delicious topic right at dinnertime, and after pouring over the endless mouthwatering blog posts several hours later, I came across a recipe that looked both delicious and affordable!  The Winner you ask? Portobello Avocado and Spinach Burritos from Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide

Portobello Avocado and Spinach Burritos

  • 2 portobello mushrooms cut into 1/4″ thick slices
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 6 oz frozen chopped spinach
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 2 cayenne peppers minced
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 avocados sliced thinly
  • feta cheese
  • burrito sauce
  • cheddar cheese
  • flour tortillas

Melt butter in a frying pan and saute onion over medium heat until golden. Add mushrooms and saute until browned. Add peppers and spinach and cook until heated through. Season with cilantro and set aside. In a tortilla spoon a tablespoon burrito sauce, two large spoonfuls spinach mixture and enough avocados to cover the filling. Crumble on some feta and roll up tightly. Place each burrito in a greased baking dish. When out of filling, cover tops of burritos with more sauce and grated cheddar. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is bubbly, about 10 minutes. Do not overbake or the avocado will get too warm and mushy.

“Looks easy enough” I thought and set out on yet another culinary adventure. The thing about culinary adventures however, is that you never know how it’s going to turn out, but I guess that’s half the fun. Unfortunately for me it did not go so well. The main feature that attracted me to this recipe is it appeared quick, easy and most importantly, inexpensive.  I think the problem first arose when I veered away from the recipe right from the get-go, when I got to the store and remembered I am not a huge fan of Portobello mushrooms (a main ingredient), so instead I went with baby bella mushrooms (a more regular purchase for me).

Second mistake arose at the next main ingredient, tortillas. I personally am extremely picky when it comes to store bought flour tortillas and instead found really good corn tortillas as an alternative, but I knew when I purchased them that they were small my burrito adventure were going to end up more taco-like then burrito. The third dilemma arose after going to two different stores with the sole purpose of finding burrito sauce, which just so you are aware, cannot be found anywhere! After staring at the verity of salsa substitutions at the local organic market I saw Fajita sauce; cilantro and lime-spicy it read, “Perfect” I thought. Sadly, it was anything but a perfect addition to my meal, a realization that didn’t occur until after I cooked up all my veggies taken my first bite.  The only thing I won’t be using again from this recipe is the Fajita sauce, but as for the rest of the ingredients they will be used in my next adventure somehow.

Unfortunately, as a college student I do not have the luxury of trying out as many recipes as I would like, because if they all turned out the way this one had, I’d spend endless time in the kitchen with little reward and ultimately very hungry.  So I implemented a new rule in my culinary adventure handbook, always, always look at the ingredients first, and if the majority of things required are ingredients…

1. I have never heard of or tried myself

2. That can only be used in this one recipe

3. I cannot pronounce

…Then choose to skip the recipe and find another!  Though my adventure did not go as planned I had to laugh at the hilarity of the whole process.

Looks easy enough I thought and set out on yet another adventure. The thing about culinary adventures is you never know how it’s going to turn out, it’s half the fun. Unfortunately for me it did not go so well. The main attraction to the recipe is it looked quick, easy and most important inexpensive. As a collage studphoto

The thing about culinary adventures is you never know how it’s going to turn out, it’s half the fun. Unfortunately for me it did not go so well. The main attraction to the recipe is it looked quick, easy and most important inexpensive. As a college student I do not have the luxury of trying out as many recipes as I would like. That is why when I set out on an adventure I looked at the ingredients. If the majority of things required are ingredients…

  1. I have never heard of or tried myself
  2. That can only be used in this one recipe
  3. I cannot pronounce

 

 

Would you like some cake with your butter?

For my roommates 21st birthday she asked me to make her a vanilla cake. After searching and searching I came across a recipee that I knew she would love: Vanilla cake with brown butter buttercream frosting!  The cake turned out wonderful and she loved it. The only downside to the culinary adventure was she is the only roommate that likes cake and baking from scratch can be expensive. Needless to say a girl can only eat so much cake.  Thus a lot of it sadly got thrown out.

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The moral of my story? Make sure when baking for a friend it is something everyone can enjoy, that way you do not feel like you wasted money on one piece of cake. Though birthday s is the one exception-she loved it and that was worth it!

Vanilla Cake. 
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*makes two 8
inch round layers

125g butter soft
200g sugar
3 eggs
1
tbsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 tsp salt
300g all purpose flour
2 tsp
baking powder
160ml buttermilk

350F oven. Butter and flour two 8 inch
cake pans.
Cream butter and sugar until pale and very fluffy.
Add in
vanilla bean paste and salt then eggs one at a time.
Whisk the flour and
baking powder together in a separate bowl.
Add half the flour mix to the
butter mix. Mix until combined.
Add half the buttermilk. Mix until
combined.
Then the remaining flour, the remaining buttermilk.
Do not over
mix.
Divide evenly among pan.
Bake until lightly golden on top and set
through, 25 minutes or so but really it depends on your oven, so always check
it.
Remove from pans onto a rack and let cool completely.
poto 3
Brown Butter Buttercream.                                       
*might make a bit extra
frosting, but isn’t that always a good thing?

226g butter
1 tsp
vanilla bean paste
1 tsp molasses
pinch of salt
750g powdered sugar,
sifted
118ml milk
photo 4 (2)

Place butter in a pan over medium heat. Cook until
the butter becomes a rich amber color and little brown flecks appear at the
bottom of pan. Stir quite often as to not burn it. Pour into a bowl, scraping in
the little brown flecks, and let set in the refrigerator until it is the
consistency of softened butter.
Beat the butter, vanilla bean paste and
molasses until combined. Add in half the powdered sugar and half the milk. Beat
until combined. Add in remaining. Beat until very fluffy. You may need more milk
or sugar depending on how stiff you want it.

Eat Colorfully

I recently read an article from Health magazine by Melissa Roberts on ways to enhance and improve your diet. Her suggestion? To go for color! “Fruits and veggies of all shades contain phytonutrients—plant compounds that work together to protect your health.” Phytonutrients are what give produce its vibrate color and are full of antioxidants such as carotenoids and anthocyanins which studies have shown to be a huge help in fighting off age-related diseases that includes cancer and heart disease. The associate professor at Tufts University explains in the article why eating more color such as, green, orange, and red can be extremely beneficial for your health.

My Sweet Potato Pie

My Sweet Potato Pie

In winter it is important to keep your immune system strong, especially if you are college student running around and being in constant contact with others. One way to power up and boost your immune system is with vitamin A, commonly found in orange and yellow foods. Lucky for us most orange and yellow foods are seasonally winter vegetables such as squash, sweet potatoes and carrots.

Starting with green the article points out that almost all green fruits and vegetables are filled with lutein and zeaxanthin, classified as, “carotenoids that protect against eye diseases and may lower your risk of heart disease and skin cancer.” My favorites are the leafy greens such as kale, spinach, chard, arugula and so on. They are an excellent source of folic acid and foliate which are considered to be natural energy boosters. They are also inexpensive and have unlimited recipe possibilities.

Lastly the article suggests turning to red for long-term strength. Red vegetables and fruits are rich in cancer-fighting lycopene and anthocyanins, which studies have found may be linked to helping lower the risk of heart disease and strokes, says Roberts . My nominee for a red veggie goes to beets. Beets are not only in season, cancer-fighting but they also help detoxify the liver. Canned beets are very inexpensive and so are fresh beets. They are also super easy to make. I boil mine and let them cool. Sometimes I eat them by themselves, and other times I make a beet salad.

Beets

Overall just remember, go for color, live strong and be healthy.

How to Buy Organic Without Overspending

       Buying organic has many health benefits. However nowadays just about everything and anything can be bought organic. With so many organic options out there it can be difficult to know what is actually beneficial for both your health and the environment vs. what is just pricier. Last semester, I took a nutrition class at Salve Regina that I loved and I learned some tips on when it is worth spending a little extra on organic foods. Here are my tips on how to eat clean and save more:

photo 1

1. An organic cookie is a cookie

If it comes in a package and has preservatives chances are it’s not that much better for you, just more expensive. My rule of thumb is if you can make it yourself, do it. If you can’t live without your processed cheesy snacks, then go for Goldfish instead of spending the extra two dollars on Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies.

 2. Fill your freezer

Knowing when to buy organic is important. One thing I learned in my nutrition class is if a vegetable or fruit is out of season, it is actually better to buy them frozen. The price of produce that is out of season is healthier because it has to be imported. Frozen fruits and veggies also have more nutrition locked in them vs. the imported, out-of-season options.

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 3. Know what is ok to buy nonorganic

Go by the rule that if it has skin that you eat like an apple, bell peppers and so on, then it should be organic. Each year the Environmental Working Group comes out with a new Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 List (these are the fruits and vegetables that you should, or should not buy organic). The list is determined by which foods have the highest and lowest pesticide residue. In an ideal world, we all could afford to purchase organic fruits and veggies. The EWG’s 2012 Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 Lists, help shoppers save money and reduce their pesticide intake.

 4. Supermarket vs. farmers’ market

Support your local farmers! Buying local produce means the produce is in season and that you are receiving real value. Although you may think fairs or farmer markets are more expensive, in reality foods sold during their seasonal peaks tend to be cheaper. Also, that fresh from the earth quality is simply irresistible.

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