Holidays · Tips and Tricks

Five Foodie Things

Happy Fourth of July week, everyone! Mark is going to be working on the Freedom Trail this holiday weekend, so we are staying close to home for BBQs and relaxation. Georgia’s day care is also closed this week for summer vacation, so we have some small excursions planned (if the Hurricane stays away, that is). I’m so glad the hot weather has come to Boston finally! (Mark, not so much).

What else am I excited about this summer? Well, for starters, Edible Boston’s Summer Edition is out:

The place where I work got featured in a nice piece in Edible Boston’s spring issue, which was hugely exciting for me! I always pick this up whenever I can find it around town, so to get a clip in there was tops.

2) Second, Special K and Morningstar Farms both just came out with tasty new breakfast sandwiches that are reasonably healthy, vegetarian, and easy on the budget, which I’m trying to watch better, especially with G in day care. I like the Special K one best, in particular their two vegetarian options (pepper jack egg & cheese with veggies, and deluxe egg & cheese). I buy them at Target; I’m sure they are widely available elsewhere, too.

3) Have you heard about this new Kickstarter campaign for Saladshots? These are basically like those portable squeeze pouches of baby food or applesauce, but for salad dressing. The flavors sound awesome: mint basil, citrus ginger, rose petal, and more. They are gluten-free, kosher, low sodium, and use only agave sweetener. If I can find these, I am going to try them!

4) Dunkin’ Donuts just came out with a frozen coolatta  version of the Arnold Palmer, one of my favorite summer drinks (see the other one here). I’m sure this is a sugar bomb, but I am dying to try it. I might spend too much time at Dunks. (At least one Dunks store in the Greater Boston area also started delivering, which is brilliant but pure trouble).

5) Speaking of beverages, can you guess what alcohol is making a comeback, according to BostInno? Personally I wasn’t aware this ever went away. It’s always been my trusted sidekick, especially for summer.

Finally, I’m on a campaign for Big Gay Ice Cream to come to Boston. They expanded to Philly. Talk about the least cool place on the planet! What do they even have there? The Phillies? Whatever. A river no one can even pronounce? Whatever! Come to wear it all started, the only cold-weather city where people eat ice cream outdoors all year ’round. I basically stalk Big Gay Ice Cream on Twitter whenever I accompany Mark to New York for auditions, and I’d love to be stalked in return. Gauntlet. THROWN. 

Enough with that other city. come to MINE.

Are you still looking for something to do on the Fourth?

Boston Vegetarian Society is hosting a holiday picnic at Winslow Farm, a loving sanctuary for abandoned and mistreated animals, from 12 to 4 p.m.  in Norton, MA (south of the city). Like No Udder will be providing vegan soft serve ice cream, and the cost of admission ($10 for adults, $5 for children 11 and under, free for kids younger than 2) will benefit the farm’s veterinary care and food costs. A worthy cause!

Karolina, an alpaca rescue living at Winslow Farm.

Have a great holiday everyone 🙂

Recipes

Shortcut Chili

Talk about easy! This is like “cheater chili” because it has so few ingredients and doesn’t have to cook for very long. You can use real beef or vegetarian meat crumbles. (I like MorningStar Farms vegetarian meat substitute).

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Shortcut Chili

INGREDIENTS

  • 1lb (approx.) lean ground beef or vegetarian crumbles
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 16-oz fresh salsa (from the refrigerated section of the store)
  • 1 15-oz can kidney beans

DIRECTIONS

Brown the ground beef or vegetarian crumbles with 2 teaspoons of chili powder in a saucepan (I used my favorite, the Le Creuset dutch oven).

Stir in the 16-oz container of salsa (mild or medium; I chose mild) and the kidney beans with their liquid. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes.

Optional: mash some of the beans with a spatula to thicken the chili. Season with salt and pepper and serve with sour cream or Greek yogurt and shredded cheese.

Thanks to Peg for the recipe!

Recipes · Tips and Tricks

Fun Brunch Ideas

Before the holidays, I had a brunch & jewelry party for a few of my friends and family. Not wanting to overwhelm people with food, I eventually scaled WAY back from my original menu, just serving some finger foods (chips & salsa, cheese & crackers) for those who get up early and would have already eaten breakfast, plus a mixture of brunch-y favorites for those in the crowd (read: people my age) who showed up HUNGRY. Even though I didn’t get to make everything I wanted to, I still had a couple hits, so I’m sharing them with you!

German Apple Pancake topped with a crust of cinnamon sugar. Mmm.

So what was on the menu?

  • Fresh fruit
  • Mimosas (both virgin and non)
  • Bagels with cream cheese & pumpkin butter
  • A vegetable quiche, courtesy of my mother-in-law
  • German apple pancake
  • Egg McMuffin casserole

What the heck is that last thing, you say? Glad you asked. It’s my new favorite for when you have to make a vegetarian-friendly breakfast dish for a morning potluck, or just want to have a grab-and-go option in your fridge for a busy work week. I won’t keep you in suspense any longer. Here it is:

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Egg McMuffin Casserole

adapted from Plain Chicken.

Ingredients

  • 1 package of Morningstar Farms Veggie Bacon Strips (or, you know, real Canadian bacon)
  • 4-5 English muffins, split (Bays work well but Thomas’s are good too)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (the sliced kind is great too)
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • salt & pepper

Photo Nov 03, 11 04 57 AM

Directions

Spray or butter the bottom of a square baking dish.

Cube the English muffins, tearing by hand, and layer half of them in the bottom of the dish.

Layer half the bacon and half the cheese on top of the muffins. Repeat all three layers.

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Mix together the eggs, milk, salt & pepper and whisk briefly; pour over the casserole and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least one hour or up to one day.

Bake at 325 for 45 to 50 minutes.

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We like it topped with maple syrup. And, of course, Mark prefers it with Canadian bacon just like at McDonald’s, but he admits the veggie stuff tastes almost as good!

If you are making this for the week, it will keep in the fridge for about 5 days. Reheat a square for 1 minute in the microwave and take it to go!

If I had a larger crowd than 10, or more time/ambition, here are some fun things I would have liked to serve:

Courtesy of Healthy Slow Cooking.

Slow Cooker Gingerbread Latte

Courtesy of Simply Scratch.

Crispy Garlicky Mustard Roasted Red Skin Potatoes

Courtesy of Healthy Slow Cooking.

Slow Cooker Caramel Apple Oatmeal

Let me know if you ever get a chance to try these! Happy Brunching.