Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

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Pumpkin bread is one of my favorite things. I don’t think I had ever made it before though! Usually I just ask my mom to make it when I come home to visit if I’m really craving it. Especially since Jesse doesn’t really love pumpkin bread, I just haven’t had the urge to try to make it myself. Until this week! I had been wanting some pumpkin brgetfileattachment-1-1ead, and asked Jesse if he would eat some if I made it. He said yes – only if I put in chocolate chips! So that I did!

I looked at a bunch of recipes and eventually decided on this one. I thought it looked yummy because it had Greek yogurt in it, which I thought would make it nice and moist. It also didn’t call for a ton of sugar, so I decided to give it a try! The only thing I did differently was use honey instead

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of coconut sugar. I used 4 tbsp (1/4 c) instead of 6 tbsp of sweetener.

It turned out delicious! Jesse really loved it, so much that I just baked another loaf for him. I like it a lot too. It’s not super sweet, but still tasty. The dark chocolate chips make it perfect. I’m thinking I may have to make a loaf or two to bring to my family’s Thanksgiving at the beach next month!

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Proof that Jesse liked it! 🙂

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Squash Blossoms

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 Over the weekend, Jesse and I ventured to the Farmer’s market. We have been so busy moving and with me starting my dietetic internship that we haven’t been in a few weeks! Naturally, we were hoping to find something new and exciting to experiment with. We came across squash blossoms, which are the flowers that grow on zucchinis. We actually had eaten these once before, in Florence. There, we had them fried and they were delicious! We researched how to prepare them and one method that seemed doable was to stuff and roast them in the oven.
These flowers were FRESH from the ground. Little bugs and all. We opened them up to take out the anthers and then washed them and patted them dry. It was quite the process.getfileattachment-2-1
I sauteed up a bunch of our usual go to vegetables including onion, zucchini, Swiss chard, and asparagus. Then, I stuffed the flowers and roasted them in the oven for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees. I broiled them a little bit at the end in an attempt to make them crisp up a bit.
We sat down to eat and let’s just say we probably won’t be making squash blossoms again any time soon. They came out so gritty tasting. Like we were eating dirt in every bite. We ended up taking the vegetables out of the flowers and just eating them with the rice and Parmesan. I think if I were to make them again, I would have to wash them like 5 more times and scrub them each a lot more. Oh well! Not every kitchen adventure turns out good, especially in my kitchen, but I wanted to share our experience!

Purple Cauliflower and Tahini Bowl

Purple Cauli Bowl Jesse (1) Home sweet home! Jesse and I just returned to Richmond, VA from a week long road trip down to Naples, FL. We had a great time soaking up the sun on the beach, but it’s also always nice to get home and settled in. This dinner was inspired by a recipe I stumbled upon a long time ago. I didn’t even actually look at this recipe last night, I just thought I would do something with purple cauliflower Purple Cauliflower Raw (1)(which I have been meaning to try!), rice, and tahini. I was also inspired by our friend who suggested adding spices to rice when you make it.

To make this dish, I simply prepared brown rice and added a few shakes of turmeric and cumin straight to the pot before it started boiling. Meanwhile, I roasted purple cauliflower and zucchini in the oven at 450 for about 20 minutes. I took a tablespoon of tahini and thinned it out with water until it reached a thin liquid consistency. I assembled it into a bowl and dinner was served! Jesse and I both really loved this dish. It was a different spin on a classic veggie-and-rice-bowl dinner that we make often, not to mention that the purple cauliflower makes the dish look so pretty! I really thought seasoning the rice was great and will probably start doing that a lot more often. I hope you try this one – seriously so easy!!

Shrimp Zoodles with Avocado Pesto

Version 2This has been a pretty crazy week for Jesse and me, with me working late at the mall and Jesse having meetings on the nights I didn’t have to close, we were finally going to be able to eat dinner together last night! I had the day off and wanted to make something delicious, but I could not decide what. I finally decided to make something similar to a dish I made last summer that was inspired by a recipe on the TODAY show. I couldn’t find that exact recipe, so I looked at another similar one, but ended up just sort of winging it. It worked out, because dinner was YUM!

First, I spiralized about two zucchinis and half of a yellow squash. I use this spiralizer that I bought at Walgreens a while ago. Way worth the investment! It is so awesome.

Then, I blended up about 2/3 of an avocado, 3 cloves of garlic, a handful of fresh basil leaves, the juice yields from about 1/3 of a lemon, and 1 tablespoon of pine nuts. As you can see I was not being very exact, just sort of throwing it together. Well I was definitely pleased with the results! I added water until I got a nice creamy, saucy consistency. When it was just to my liking, I tossed it to evenly coat the zucchini noodles.

After this, I used my grill pan that my mom bought me a while ago from Sur la Table to grill up fresh shrimp that I bought (on SALE!) from Whole Foods. I just seasoned them with a little salt and pepper, sprayed the pan with a little olive oil, and they were done in a few minutes.

Once I added the shrimp to the zoodles, I chilled it all in the fridge until we were ready to eat. I think this is definitely a best-served-cold dish, but you could try it warm! It was the perfect light, summery, fresh meal after a hectic week. You have to try this one!

Festive 4th: Burgers and Fries

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Happy 4th of July!! I hope everyone is having a great day off; I know we are! Jesse and I had been contemplating what to do for July 4th for the past week or two, and we thought of going to see the Flying Squirrels baseball game in Richmond or even the Nationals play in D.C. We decided against going to D.C. because I just got home from a big trip to Puerto Rico, and when we went to buy Squirrels tickets, they were sold out. We were pretty bummed, but we woke up to a rainy day and we had a nice relaxing day instead!

Jesse has been saying for months now (I’m not kidding you – MONTHS) about how he realllllllly wants to have a hot dog on the fourth of July. He kept randomly bringing it up and I knew we had to make it happen. We thought we’d be at a baseball game so it would be no problem getting him one, but change in plans! We were going to cook our own American meal at home. I am not a big fan of hot dogs, but have been wanting to attempt black bean burgers for a while. I made a batch about a year ago that were just not that good. They were crumbly, fell apart, and it was really hard to get them to cook all of the way through. The ones I made tonight were perfect! I mostly stuck to this recipe, except for I used Cholula hot sauce instead of sriracha and I left out the worcestershire sauce. I also “mashed” my black beans together with the spices in my food processor. I think this was the key step that made them perfect! They were soooo easy to form into patties and held together really well. I think that was a big reason that my last attempt failed. Thank you food processor!

This was also the first time that I have ever used a flax “egg.” If you don’t know what that is, it’s a substitute often used in vegan cooking where you mix ground flaxseed and water and let it sit to create a gel-like consistency that can be used to hold things together instead of eggs. It worked great! I hope to try using that in other recipes. I hesitated to even post about the flaxseed because now when Jesse sees that he is going to be freaked out, but it does not add a weird taste or anything! (Side note: he doesn’t like beans so has not tried my burger; however, he says these look pretty good and he may actually have one. Here’s hoping!)

I cut up a sweet potato for me and a regular potato for Jesse and tossHot dogs and homemade fries (1).jpged them with some olive oil, salt, and garlic powder and baked at 450 degrees for about 35 minutes. You can see that Jesse bought some festive poppers from the store! We both were extremely happy with our finished plates and cut up a watermelon for dessert. Who says you have to be at an All-American baseball game to really celebrate the fourth?! I’m pretty excited because making a batch of burgers means leftovers!!! Which means eating yummy, healthy food and not having to cook. The best. Okay, well happy fourth everyone! I hope you try out these awesome black bean burgers and enjoy them as much as I did!

 

Guest post: Jesse’s Ahi Tuna

Ahi tuna bowl

Since Anna has started a summer job before her dietetic internship begins, I’ve picked up some of the cooking responsibilities.

If you’ve read any other of her posts here you know Anna has made some very creative, tasty and most of all healthy recipes. Typically, the “dishes” I make are comprised of pasta, chicken, steak or something premade I can throw into the oven; so this was a challenge.

Anna and I went rifling through a few of her many cookbooks to choose something new and different. I got to make the final call, so I decided on the “ahi tuna poke bowl” from the 21 Day Sugar Detox Cookbook.

So when Anna went to work, so did I. The dish was seared ahi tuna over sliced avocado, carrots, and cucumber “noodles.” What made it great was the sauce I had to prepare which we drizzled over our bowls. Well, Anna drizzled, I poured. The sauce was like an Asian vinaigrette with lemon, lime, soy sauce and more.

This finished product was extremely colorful, and equally delicious. We both enjoyed it, and it inspired us to be even more adventurous next time!

 

A Jesse Feld Classic

Orzo.jpgI know it has been way too long since I have posted. In my defense, I had a post planned for last week but the meal tasted so badly I didn’t want to share. It did look beautiful, however! So it’s been another week and this post is extra special because the meal was made by none other than Jesse Feld!

Jesse and I both had off of work on Monday, so we decided to do a day trip to VA beach. We spent the afternoon laying in the sun, walking on the boardwalk, and eating the biggest rainbow sprinkle-covered-creamies I’ve ever seen. (I actually had to keep throwing away scoops of ice cream so I could get to the cone – which, if you know how much I love ice cream, says a lot!) By the time we got home that evening, we were both exhausted from being out in the sun and ready for a quick dinner. Jesse offered to make one of his favorites – spinach orzo! He wanted to add tomatoes, but I do not like raw tomatoes in my pasta, so I suggested he roasted them. Neither of us had ever roasted tomatoes before, so Jesse had to develop his own technique.

“Ah yes,” Feld said as he leaned back in his chair, scratching the stubble on his chin as if deep in thought. “We were hungry – so hungry that we didn’t have time to wait for the oven to fully heat. That’s when the light bulb clicked in my mind – I will set the temp to 450, quickly toss the tomatoes in a little EVOO and Italian seasoning and throw them in the oven.”

After this dinner we dubbed Jesse King of roasting tomatoes! He did it to perfection – they were delicious and tied the whole meal together.

He made the orzo and when it was done cooking, stirred in a bunch of spinach until it all wilted. We loooooove spinach so he kept adding more and more! Then we added in the tomatoes and topped with a bunch of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano  (not pictured). It was the perfect post-beach quick meal and I was so thankful that it was all prepared by Jesse while I got to wash all of the sand and sunscreen off of me. The only bad part is we have a general rule that whoever does the cooking doesn’t have to do the dishes after… But doing the dishes was well worth the meal prepared by Jesse!

We still have not found whole wheat orzo, but I know it exists and am looking to get some. Hopefully we can use that next time!