Friday, January 27, 2012

Baked Eggs Florentine

It seems like we don't eat a whole lot of breakfast these days, which is a total shame because I miss our Sunday morning bacon. But by the time I get home after a night of work I'm usually in the mood for something small and sweet, and lately we've taken to sleeping in 'til 11 on my days off which is, of course, lunch time. But my sister is staying with us this week, and she is a total morning person. Like an up-at-7-am every. single. day. morning person. So even though it's been a tough adjustment, I've taken the opportunity to get back into my breakfast-making routine and to try some new things that have been on my to-make list for a while.

Baked eggs is a concept that I've seen floating around the net for a while, but have never tried until now. And now that I've tried it I have to ask... why did I wait so long? For one, it's pretty simple to throw together. It's basically a deconstructed omelette... put your other ingredients in the ramekin, crack an egg on top, and bake. And the result is outstanding! The consistency of the egg is heavenly... you get the runny yolk of a fried egg with the light, creamy white of its poached brethren. I could eat the baked egg all by itself and be happy! But the addition of smokey Canadian bacon, pungent, wilted spinach, and flavorful sharp cheddar truly take the whole experience over the top. Serve with a piece of buttered toast and a cup of hot coffee and you've got yourself the perfect morning meal.

Megan and I loved these, and I'm sure you will too! Have a great weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Chocolate-Hazelnut Cake

Guess what guys? It's my birthday! It's pretty awesome, if I may say so... I love birthdays! Birthdays are an awesome excuse to do all kinds of fun things, like drink gratuitous amounts of wine with your friends and have a nerf gun fight in your basement. And also cake. Birthdays are a great excuse to eat cake.

Everyone thought I was crazy for making my own birthday cake. In fact, everyone kept offering to buy me one, like it was sad that I had to make my own. But, sick as it sounds, I actually enjoy making my own birthday cake! If I make it myself I know I'll get exactly what I want... plus, in case you haven't noticed, I kind of like this whole cooking/baking thing.

For a while I was totally set on making a German chocolate cake, but then I ate a Ferrero Rocher truffle out of my Christmas stocking and I knew... this year's birthday cake had to involve chocolate and hazelnuts. I've always been a fan of the chocolate-nut combination, but hazelnuts and chocolate are simply irresistible. So I set out to find my perfect cake. I knew I wanted a rich, dense, chocolate cake with just a hint of hazelnut... check. And a creamy, chocolately frosting, heavy on the hazelnut flavor... check. The result was out of this world. Exactly what I wanted. And so good my friends were begging for the recipe the next day... you know, after they recovered from all the booze and nerf gun fighting.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sesame-Ginger Pork with Soba Noodles

These days, I'm almost always in a hurry.

But, of course, so are you.

We're all busy.

And busy people like us need fast food.

And not just fast food... but good food.

Food that tastes good, and is good.

Food to keep us going, so we can stay busy.

Hello lovely.

This bowl of goodness is just what the doctor ordered.

It's fast... takes less than 30 minutes, in fact.

It tastes good... really good, actually. Toasty sesame oil, spicy ginger, fresh cilantro, salty, succulent, irresistible sauce over totally slurpable noodles and juicy pork... hungry yet?

And it is good. At only 415 calories per serving, it'll fill you up without slowing you down. You know... so you can stay busy.

Make it. Eat it. Love it. Go!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cranberry-Almond Muffins

I am fresh off of a four-night, 12-hour shift work binge, and I am ready to share some food! As anyone who's worked nights knows, your eating schedule is anything but normal when you're nocturnal. Do you eat breakfast at 6pm and dinner at 8am, or the other way around? And when do you eat "lunch?" It may seem dumb that something as simple as eating can be so complicated, but sadly, on night shift, it kind of is.

It's taken me some time, but I think I've finally developed an  eating pattern that works best for me. Usually, I eat a normal dinner with Dane before I leave for work, lunch is around 2am, and when I get home at 8, usually hungry but exhausted, I prefer to eat something small. Small... and usually sweet. Like a muffin. Like one of these muffins.

Now, I realize that cranberries are so last month, but seriously... this is a must-try recipe. These muffins made me wonder why I don't bake with cranberries more often, because they are so tasty! I'm a total sucker for the sweet but slightly sour effect that fruits like cranberries and blueberries give, and it lends itself wonderfully to this hearty muffin base and the crunchy almond topping. And don't tell anyone but... these muffins are actually almost good for you. Whole wheat flour, antioxidant-rich berries, healthy almonds, and only 170 calories per muffin. See? Totally resolution-friendly. So no excuse not to make 'em. :)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Rigatoni with Squash and Shrimp

Forgive me for yet another 2 week hiatus friends. I promise... this will not be a regular occurrence. You see, the problem is, I've been feeling a little less than inspired these days. The desire to cook is still very much alive and well. I've cooked many inspiring meals in the last couple of weeks, in fact. But with life being busy as usual and with daylight only sticking around until 4:30 or 5 these days, photos don't always get taken and posts don't get written, and well... the rest is history. And I won't lie... there are many other projects with my new house - and my newfound freedom from academia! - that I'd rather be working on. But sometimes you just have to push through, right? Blogging is good for me, and I'm not ready to give it up yet.

And this recipe is a great place to draw some inspiration. Just when winter food begins to feel heavy and stale, this dish takes winter produce and gives it a refreshingly light spin. The butternut squash transforms into a luxurious, velvety sauce that seems 10 times more decadent than it actually is. It gives the illusion of creaminess without the caloric punch, which is, especially this time of year, a huge bonus. Even my self-proclaimed squash-hating husband loved this dish! Of course, I didn't really tell him it had squash in it until he had finished his whole plate, but whatever. Feel free to let your picky eaters go on believing that it's cheese sauce... they'll never know any better. :)

If you've been following TLC for a while you've probably noticed that I don't cook a whole lot of seafood. That's because neither the boy nor I are huge fans - Dane more so than myself. I do happen to love shrimp, so I went ahead and prepared this dish with the shrimp as directed for myself, but I served his pasta with grilled sirloin steak instead and found both ways to be very satisfying. And either option is still diet-friendly! But if red meat or seafood aren't your thing, feel free to sub in some grilled chicken or forego the meat altogether. Trust me, you won't be disappointed!

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