July 30, 2012

Coconut Curry Lentil Soup

Flavorful and hearty, this soup makes an great meal any time of the year. The raisins are a nice sweet surprise and the coconut milk give it a super rich taste. Enjoy!

1/2 cup yellow split peas
1/2 cup red split lentils
3 cups water
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 TBS fresh ginger, peeled and minced 
1 1/2 TBS curry powder
1 TBS butter 
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup golden raisins
2 TBS tomato paste
7 oz coconut milk (not light)
1 tsp salt
fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp garam masala (optional)
cooked rice for serving (optional)

Rinse the split peas and lentils until they no longer put off murky water. Place them in an soup pot, add 3 cups water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the carrot and 1 TBS of the ginger. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the split peas are soft.

In the meantime place the butter in a small skillet over medium heat, add 3/4 of the green onions, the remaining ginger, and the raisins. Saute for two minutes stirring constantly, then add the tomato paste and saute for another minute or two more. Remove the pan from the heat and add the curry powder; mix well, and then add this to the simmering soup along with the coconut milk and salt. 

Simmer, uncovered, for an additional 20 minutes or so. The soup should thicken up. Serve each bowl of soup with a sprinkle of cilantro, some of the remaining green onions, and a dash or two of garam masala (optional). Great served over rice as well. 

Serves 3-4. 

July 28, 2012

High-Rise Breakfast Popover

I love popovers! The fluffy, "eggy" goodness that makes a popover is one of my favorite breakfast treats. I hope you agree :-)

1 egg
1/4 cup egg whites (or the white of one egg)
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 TBS unsalted butter
lemon juice and powdered sugar for serving (optional, but I suggest giving it a try)

Preheat the oven to 425. 

To make the batter whisk together the eggs through the salt just until combined. There may still be some small lumps, that it okay, don't over whisk it! Set aside. 

Put the butter in a 2 cup high-sided, over-proof bowl (I used a Pyrex glass bowl); place the bowl in the over until the butter is melted. Remove the bowl from the oven and slowly pour the batter into the center of the butter. Gently place the bowl back into the over. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until double the height of the bowl and browned on the top. Serve immediately with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkling of powdered sugar. 

Note: The popover will deflate a bit when you remove it from the oven. 

July 26, 2012

Coconut Blueberry "Muffin Tops"

Muffin tops are a fun way to switch things up. I love the combination of orange zest, blueberries, coconut and almonds. If you don't like coconut just leave it out - these would still be delicious. Enjoy!

1 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp orange zest
6 oz blueberries
1/2 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 egg

for topping—
1/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut
2 TBS slivered almonds

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, orange zest, baking powder, 1/4 cup coconut and salt together. Gently fold in the blueberries so that the berries are covered with flour. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the egg, beating until thoroughly combined. Add the milk and blend. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and toss gently, being careful not to crush the berries. Scoop the batter by 1/4 cup onto a lined (parchment or silicone pad) baking sheet, about 3 inches apart (they really spread out). Bake the muffins for 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, combine the remaining coconut (1/3 cup) and slivered almonds to make the topping. After the muffing have baked for 10 minutes sprinkle about 2 TBS or so of the topping on each muffin top. Bake for another 10-12 minutes until golden.  Let cool for five minutes on the pan. 

Yield  - 6 large muffin tops 

Original recipe from

July 24, 2012

Mango Lassi

Delicious and healthy, this drink is loaded with protein and flavor. It is a bit thinner than most smoothies, but tastes oh so good. Enjoy!

6 oz container of mango flavored Greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
3/4 cup soy milk (or any other milk of choice - cow's, almond, etc.)
3/4 cup mango, cubed (fresh or frozen)
1/2 - 1 cup ice

Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth. (If you are really feeling adventurous you can add a pinch or two of cardamom.)

Drink and be happy ;-)

July 22, 2012

Easy Apple Skillet Cake

Serve this super quick cake for dessert with a bit of whipped cream or for brunch in place of a traditional coffee cake. Enjoy!


1/4 sliced almonds
1/4 cup sugar
2 TBS butter
1 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 TBS flour

1 TBS butter
1 TBS brown sugar
1 - 12 oz tube buttermilk biscuits
1 1/2 cups apple, diced

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 

For the topping, combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it resembles large crumbs. 

For the cake, melt the butter and brown sugar in a 9 inch iron skillet or other oven-safe skillet. Remove the pan from the heat and place the biscuits in the pan in a single layer. Sprinkle the diced apple over the biscuits then sprinkle on the topping. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 375 degrees. The top may not look completely done or browned, but that is okay as the bottom browns before the top. 

July 20, 2012

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread

I love this quick and easy cornbread. I threw it together at the last minute to serve with a hearty beef and black bean chili (recipe to be posted soon). Enjoy!

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup egg whites (or 2 whole eggs)
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk with 1 TBS lemon juice)
4 TBS butter, melted
1/4 cup pickled jalapenos, chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the cornmeal through the sugar in a medium bowl, mixing with a whisk.  Gently whisk in the egg whites, buttermilk, and butter until combined; stir in the jalapenos and cheddar cheese, just until incorporated. Pour batter into a greased 9x9 baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until lightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs. 

July 18, 2012

Spicy Tequila Lime Chicken

This recipe has just the right amount of heat along with a great citrus and tequila punch.  You can serve the chicken alone or use it in tacos or fajitas. Enjoy!

zest of 1 lime
juice of 2 limes (~1/4 cup)
1/4 cup tequila
2 TBS triple sec (you can use orange juice if you don't have triple sec on hand)
1 tsp ancho chile powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne
3 chicken breast halves (~1.25 lbs)
Salt and pepper 

Create the marinade by whisking together the lime zest through the cayenne. Season the chicken with a bit of salt and pepper and place it in a shallow dish or Ziploc bag. Pour marinade over chicken; allow to marinate at least 4 hours, but up to 2 days, turning the chicken once or twice during that time.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and reserving the marinade. Cook the chicken in a grill pan set over medium heat, about 8 minutes per side, or until it is cooked through. Place the reserved marinade in a small sauce pan set over medium heat; cook until bubbly and thickened a bit. Serve over the cooked chicken. 

July 16, 2012

Easy Chicken Noodle Soup

I love simple, healthy soups and there is nothing better than a hearty chicken noodle soup. I just made this for a friend who recently had a much more comforting and cozy can you get?   I hope you enjoy it as much as she did!

1 tbs canola or olive oil
2 large carrots, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
6 cups chicken broth (or 4 cups stock with 2 cups water)
6 oz wide egg noodles (yolk-free is fine)
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen cut green beans

2 cups cooked shredded chicken
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Saute the carrot, onion, garlic  and thyme until the vegetables are slightly tender, about 6-8 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring the soup to a boil; add the noodles (and a bit of water if needed, 1 cup at a time) and cook over medium-high heat until the noodles are almost cooked, about 8 minutes. Stir in the corn, green beans, and chicken, cooking them just till they are heated through and the noodles are to your desired texture, about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

July 14, 2012

Pacific Rim - Sarasota, FL

We ordered take-out from here shortly after my daughter was born. The Green Curry was very good, but the  Pad Thai Noodles were quite boring -  mostly just mildly flavored noodles with the bean sprout, peanut and green onion sprinkled on as garnish. I definitely recommend trying a curry dish here, but recommend avoiding their noodle dishes. 
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July 12, 2012

Jambalaya with Shrimp and Andouille

I have tried a bunch of different Jambalaya recipes and this one is my favorite by far - the flavors are perfectly balanced, just be sure you don't over cook it or the rice will become mushy. I hope you it as much as I do ;-)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
6 ounces andouille sausage, sliced (or Chorizo)
1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic 

1/4 tsp salt
1 bay leaf
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 (14.5-ounce) can no salt-added diced tomatoes (I prefer petite diced)
1/2 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion, chopped bell pepper, minced garlic, and sausage; sauté 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Add rice and the next 7 ingredients (through bay leaf); cook 2 minutes. Add broth, water, tomato paste, hot pepper sauce, and diced tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Add shrimp; cook 5 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Serve.     

July 10, 2012

Main Bar Sandwich Shop - Sarasota, FL

Great traditional deli sandwiches (no "gourmet" sandwiches here, these are the real thing...think New York-style deli). The New Orleans Muffuletta and Hot Reuben are my favorites! 

Main Bar Sandwich Shop on Urbanspoon

July 8, 2012

The Broken Egg - Lakewood Ranch, FL

I have been to the other 2 and enjoyed my visit, but was not impressed with this location. The server was not familiar with the specials or the menu and was not attentive to drink refills. My Monte Cristo Sandwich was not very good - the french toast was soggy (heavy and greasy) and the raspberry sauce that came with it did not even taste like raspberries; it was better with maple syrup. Maybe it was just a bad day for the kitchen and the server, but I won't be going back to this location anytime soon.

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July 6, 2012

Simon's Coffee House - Sarasota, FL

Always a great choice for breakfast. Everything is fresh and tasty and prices are very reasonable. The berry crepes and the Paris breakfast sandwich are my favorite. Enjoy!

Simons Coffee House on Urbanspoon

July 4, 2012

Fresh Start Cafe - Sarasota, FL

Simple, yet good food. The pumpkin breakfast cake (aka a muffin) was delicious - it actually tasted like pumpkin, not just pumpkin pie spices, and was super moist. The Bureka served Israeli style was just okay...I didn't really taste the salted cheese, though it was served with a delicious herb "dressing." My husband's cilantro and jalapeno frittata tasted very fresh and the strawberry butter served with the toast was unique. Like others commented, the service was a bit slow (though friendly), but that seems to be fairly typical for Sarasota.  

I look forward to going back and trying some of their Middle Eastern lunch items. 

Fresh Start Cafe on Urbanspoon

July 2, 2012

Goose Feathers Bakery & Cafe - Savannah, GA

While the breakfast panini was unique (really just the panini oil) and fairly good, it all tasted mass produced. Also, the coffee was burnt and "dead." I can't recommend Goose Feathers nor will I be returning. 

Goose Feathers Bakery and Cafe on Urbanspoon