Monday, November 26, 2012

My Favorite Thanksgiving

We had an awesome Thanksgiving this year! Although there was no chicken slaughtering this year, a Pittsburgh tradition with our friend Nathaniel, we enjoyed another fabulous spread with my family!

Here are a couple of my favorite recipes this year-

Arugula Salad with Caramelized Figs and Toasted Pepitas, published is the
Market District November 2012 newsletter

12 dried figs, quartered
¼ cup sweet red wine such as Chianti or Port
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 shallot, finely chopped
¼ cup Market District™ fig-infused white balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp. Market District™
Arbequina or Picual extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
5 oz. Natures Basket™ baby arugula
⅓ cup roasted pepitas

⅓ cup crumbled Cotija or feta cheese

Preheat oven 400˚F. Place figs in a microwave safe bowl and add about 1½ cups water. Microwave for 2-3 minutes; let sit for 3 minutes to soften. Drain well and transfer to a medium baking dish. Add wine, sugar and thyme; mix well to coat. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring once, until caramelized. Set aside to cool.
In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, shallot and vinegar; add oil in a slow steam, whisking briskly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place arugula on a serving platter and arrange caramelized figs over top. Sprinkle salad with pepitas and cheese; drizzle dressing over top or serve on the side. Makes 6 servings based on 1 heaping cup of salad.

Nutritional Information (Per serving):
Calories 230, Fat 13g, Sat Fat 3g, Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 5mg, Sodium 230mg, Total Carbohydrate 23g, Fiber 3g, Sugars 17g, Protein 5g, Vitamin A 15%, Vitamin C 8%, Calcium 10%, Iron 8%

The salad was a hit! I used mixed greens instead of Arugula this time-nice mild lettuce is usually a hit with the younger ones.

That is little jar is the Market District Cranberry Orange Sauce- My baby! also featured in MD Newsletter above (with recipes!!) 
My beautiful mom Fanny and cousin Maggie
Side Dishes: Pumpkin Mac and Cheese, Grilled Corn and Glazed Ham of course!

Apple Blackberry Pie- Yup, that's a homemade crust.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Ginger Cookie Crust and Cinnamon Cream-to be featured in a GE publication next year!

For the crust
10 oz. ginger cookies such as ginger snaps (about 70),
plus more for garnish, optional
6 Tbsp. butter, melted
For the cheesecake

4 8-oz. packages Giant Eagle cream cheese, room temperature
1¼ cups sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
2 tsp. Giant Eagle vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
¼ tsp. salt
4 large eggs
1 cup canned or fresh pumpkin puree
2 Tbsp. Market District pumpkin pie spice
For the Cinnamon Cream

¾ cup Giant Eagle heavy cream
3 Tbsp. Giant Eagle powdered sugar
¼ tsp. cinnamon plus more for dusting

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Place cookies in a food processor; pulse until finely ground. Add butter and pulse a few more times to combine. Press mixture evenly into a 10-inch spring form pan. Bake for 10 minutes; remove from oven and set aside. Turn oven to 325

In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese, sugar and flour. Add vanilla and salt; beat until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down sides of the bowl after each addition. Pour ½ of the batter over baked crust. Add pumpkin puree and spice to remaining batter in bowl and mix well. Pour mixture over plain filling and smooth with a knife.
Bake for 55 minutes, until center is just set. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack; run a paring knife along the sides of the cake to loosen edges; this will help prevent cracking while cooling. Cool on rack for about 1 hour. Next, loosely cover and chill in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

Just before serving, whip heavy cream with sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl until soft peaks form, about 1-2 minutes. Remove cake from pan and spread or pipe whipped cream over chilled cheesecake. Lightly dust with cinnamon and garnish with additional ginger cookies of desired.

Nutritional Information (Per serving):
Calories 450, Fat 31g, Sat. Fat 18g, Trans Fat 10g, Cholesterol 135mg, Sodium 290mg, Total Carbohydrate 36g, Fiber 1g, Sugars 28g, Protein 5g, Vitamin A 45%, Vitamin C 0%, Calcium 10%, Iron 6%

Garlic-mostly whole wheat monkey pull apart bread! Homemade gravy too.
This thanksgiving, Chris and I had something extra wonderful to be thankful for;)! A huge thanks to the family for driving out from Virginia to share this special day:)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with Dark Chocolate Chips and Cranberries

Tonight, I just wanted to make good ol' pumpkin cookies (with chocolate chips as requested by the hubby) without  having to draft a recipe and hope that it works out. So I turned to my good friend google and found this fabulous recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod!

Since I am a semi-clean chef and dietitian, I swapped out the AP flour for white whole wheat flour and the semi-sweet chocolate chips for the dark chocolate variety! You know me, gotta have the whole grains and antioxidants in my treats!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with Dried Cranberries & Chocolate Chips

Yield: 3 dozen cookies
Cook Time: 12 minutes



2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon all ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup pure pumpkin puree
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and salt. Set dry ingredients aside.
3. In a large mixer bowl, beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla extract. Beat until combined. Gradually add flour mixture and mix until ingredients are incorporated.
4. Stir in oats, chocolate chips, and dried cranberries. Drop cookie dough by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet.
5. Bake cookies for about 12 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Cookie Monster!!!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

PDA Mentoring Mixer and Fondue Fun

To kick off the year (better late than never!), Jessica (Career Services Chair)  and I (Mentoring Chair) of the Pittsburgh Dietetics Association (PDA) decided to host a networking mixer! This allowed for a comfortable environment where the students and dietitians could get to know eachother. We had a wonderful turnout and lots of fun! We enjoyed tasty not-so-clean treats  (FONDUE Fun!) and played a  "speed mentoring" game to get to know eachother. The fondue and the unexpected dip-Ables were a work project; I had a chance to gather lots of feedback on what actually tastes good together. To my surprise, some favorite combinations included chocolate/pickles, chocolate/ peppers, asparagus/chocolate, and actually almost everything. 

Left ro right: Sam Calderone, Erin Long, Erin Pover, Leeann Hessler, Elizabeth Smith, Jessica Dugan, Kristin Meyer, Julia Gilbert, Marla Jacobs and Allison Ballina.

Brie and Prosecco Fondue with Multigrain tuscany bread, salami, mozzarella, tortellini, grapes, cocktail weiners, olives, pretzels, and asparagus

Roasted Fall Veggies

Cheese of course!
Dark Spiced Chocolate Fondue with bacon, potato chips, pasta, pepperazzi, cubanelle peppers, pizzelles, chocolate chip cookies,  and turnips
Here we are again- I'm in it this time (Julia kindly volunteered to take the pic!)
Fabulous Spread
And more chocolate dippers: asian pears, persimmons, orange segments, blackberries, pickles (yes, dill pickles!) strawberries and melon

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Puffed Quinoa in my Treats

I grew up eating this tasty Andean grain/seed; mom made it into Sopa de Quinoa (Quinoa Soup) or simply cooked it up like pilaf! Yum. When I was a kid, my aunts in Bolivia would send tasty little sweet quinoa cakes; like rice crispy treats! I’ve always wanted to make something similar to these. This weekend, my friend Julia made trail mix-like quinoa balls to share; they were delicious, and soft like cookie dough. This got me thinking about the little Bolivian treats I never quite figured out.
I’ve never thought about puffing quinoa. I suppose if corn can be puffed, or maybe I should say popped, so can quinoa. Since quinoa is much smaller than a corn kernel, the size of the popped seed does not increase in size very much. Instead, a fun, crispy texture develops, with a toasty nutty bite!

Try these...they remind me of my childhood, my Bolivian family and of course my mom!

Puffed Quinoa and Cherry Cakes

½ cup quinoa
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
3 Tbsp. PB 2 plus 2 Tbsp. water (or 3 Tbsp. peanut butter)
¼ cup dried cherries
¼ cup chopped dried apricots (or cherries)
¼ cup sliced almonds
Coat a 12 cup mini muffin tin with cooking spray. Use a spoon or cookie scoop to press mixture evenly into cups. Bake for 18 minutes.
Follow package directions for washing quinoa; some varieties have a bitter coating and require washing and some do not. Dry well or allow to dry in a low heated oven.
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Heat a heavy skillet or Dutch oven (will need a lid) over medium high heat. Place dry quinoa in skillet and cover with lid. Heat for about 3-4 minutes, shaking skillet (use oven mitts to hold), until quinoa begin to pop. Quinoa with be nicely browned and have a crispy texture (yes, taste it with caution, as it will be hot!).
Remove from heat and cool slightly. Add maple syrup, pb 2, dried fruit and almonds. Stir well.
Coat a 12 cup mini muffin tin with cooking spray. Use a spoon or cookie scoop to press mixture evenly into cups. Bake for 18 minutes.
I actually decided to bake these last minute, once I saw that they would not stick together unless the maple sugar carmelized a bit. It was a learning experience.

I am pretty proud of the end result! Crunchy and chewy at the same time!