I know this wasn’t on the WHEEL OF RECIPES, but I happened to have both a pomegranate and an avocado on hand and decided to make this for lunch. Actually, this was supposed to be a side dish, but it was so good I totally ignored my soup and made this the main course.
Why do I have weird ingredients on hand so often? Because I am weak. I am a weak person who meanders through the grocery store and buys things that are pretty that I have no idea how to cook. That’s how I started eating avocados, and fancy cheeses, and mangos. Today at the store I bought fresh egg noodles, which I also have no clue what to do with. Hm. At least my weakness is usually delicious— except that time I bought swordfish on a whim. That stuff is gross.
Anyway. This recipe is based on THIS ONE from epicurious.com. I modified it slightly, but I’m sure it would be delicious either way. The nice thing about things like guacamole is you can just keep adding things till you get the taste you like.
Guacamole with Grapes and Pomegranate Seeds
- 1/4 white onion, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 2 California Haas avocados
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1/2 cup seedless grapes, halved
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
- one clove of garlic (or equivalent minced garlic, if you buy it pre-cut)
I put the onion in a food processor and minced it into tiny pieces, then added the grapes— don’t over-process once the grapes are in. Just a turn or two will do it. OR, of course, you can just dice these up with a knife.
In a separate bowl I cut the avocados, removed the seed and skin, then smashed them with a spoon. Add the lime juice, garlic, and salt, then stir in the grapes/onions. Add the pomegranate seeds and stir gently so they don’t burst. You’re done!
Don’t have a clue how to remove the seeds from a pomegranate? Well, you can buy the seeds already removed, OR you can just go to THIS WEBSITE and learn how. It’s not hard, and was a strangely satisfying process.
Don’t know how to select an avocado? You want the dark, mushy ones— but they shouldn’t feel hollow (that means they’ve gone bad). If they’re hard and bright green, they’ll ripen eventually, but it’ll take a few days. You can speed ripening along by storing them in a closed paper bag.
Would I make it again? Definitely, especially when pomegranates are in season. This would be an awesome and simple holiday party dish that would probably impress people. Not that you need to impress people, of course. But if you did, you’d make this. JUST SAYING.
Is it easy to make? Oh yes, totally simple.
Are they healthy? Yes! Avocados are full of healthy fats, and everything else in here is a vegetable or fruit. I paired it with the very delicious Food Should Taste Good brand Multigrain chips, but it’s your call— just know that what you pair it with will really determine the overall health value of the dish.
On a scale of one to chocolate cake, how delicious is it? 7.5. Easy, delicious…I suspect I’ll be sad when pomegranate season is through, and I’m eating regular old guacamole again.
Every so often, I get it in my head that I MUST LEARN HOW to make something. A while back it was macarons. Then the perfect steak. And most recently, cinnamon rolls. I kept using a recipe from The Pioneer Woman Cooks because, well, usually her recipes are awesome. Yet…I failed at her cinnamon rolls time and time again. Not only was her recipe a HUGE pain in the ass to make, but the cinnamon rolls always tasted kinda bland.
I complained about this to a close friend who laughed and told me that instead, I must use her recipe— or rather, AllRecipes.com’s recipe entitled “Clone of a Cinnabon.” I had my doubts, given my other cinnamon roll failures, but I decided to give them a shot since I had a free afternoon.
Here’s a few user submitted pictures of these rolls from the AllRecipes.com website:
They look good, don’t they? You know why?
Because they are the best cinnamon rolls on the face of the earth.
So, for starters: I do not own a bread machine, and that recipe calls for bread machine things. So for what it’s worth, I used regular active dry yeast (one full packet) instead of bread machine yeast. Then I replaced step one with:
Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl. Mix in the sugar, margarine, salt, and eggs. Add flour and mix well. Knead the dough like hell until it gets all smooth and pretty (at least 7 minutes) and forms a large ball— if it’s the tiniest bit crumbly you haven’t kneaded it enough. Put in a bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until doubled in size (I turned my oven on, heated it to 100 degrees, then turned it off and put the dough inside).
It took two attempts to get these right— the first time around I was afraid of over kneading and ended up UNDER kneading. The secret is that the dough should look like bread dough. Like a perfectly round ball. So perfect it looks like fake bread dough, the sort they’d stick in a movie star’s hands in a movie so she can pretend to be a baker. I’m looking at you, Julia Roberts.
I also used light butter, since I don’t like margarine, and neufchâtel cheese instead of cream cheese. I used extra cinnamon an a little less brown sugar for the filling. Whatever you do though, don’t substitute the bread flour. Not all purpose, not self rising, not pastry— BREAD FLOUR. That’s totally the secret to these being incredible. I also turned the dough out onto parchment paper (you could use wax paper), which made the dough MUCH easier to roll up and MUCH easier to clean up.
And in the end? These were INCREDIBLE. INCREDIBLE. I can’t say it enough. Wait, maybe I can. INCREDIBLE. Nope, still not enough. These were every bit as good as Cinnabon, if you ask me. This will forever be my cinnamon roll recipe. I have big plans to make several tins, freeze them, and have them ready to go for Christmas morning or special occasions here and there.
Would I make it again? If I could justify making them right now, I totally would.
Are they easy to make? Hm. If you’ve baked anything involving yeast, you can probably handle these. Even if you haven’t, you can probably handle these. They’re really not that tricky— thought I wouldn’t try these for the first time on a special occasion or anything. For what it’s worth, this recipe is much, much easier than most of the other cinnamon roll recipes I’ve seen.
Are they healthy? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA no. No, no they are not. One cinnamon roll, iced, is about 430 calories (that’s with my small substitutions). They are pretty big though. Still, definitely a special-treat-food.
On a scale of one to chocolate cake, how delicious is it? 10. Legit.
THIS IS PRETTY DAMN HEALTHY.
No, really. I just thought I needed to say that so those of you who are ultra health conscious didn’t run screaming at the words “bacon” and “cheese.”
Okay. Moving on.
I have never made a quiche before. Which seems odd, since I like quiche. I order it when I go out. It’s tasty. But it’s never something I’ve made on my own. This week, however, I happened to have a bunch of kale—I thought it looked pretty at the grocery store, so I bought it without a clue as to how I would cook it and fully expecting it to go bad in my fridge before I remembered it was there. Maybe the WHEEL OF RECIPES knew of my kale situation, and was fated to land on the perfect recipe to use it.
Or maybe not. Either way, I made this quiche for breakfast this morning. The recipe is from InErikasKitchen.com, as is the photo below. CLICK THE GRAY BOX! I hate your little gray boxes, tumblr…
Anyhow. I sautéed the kale with a little bit of water to keep it from getting crispy, and used white cheddar cheese since it’s what I had. Sautéed, by the way, means “put it in a frying pan and stirred it around with a spatula.” Just thought I’d throw that out there, lest any of you get heart palpitations at the prospect of cooking something, anything that involves a word with an accent mark. Like my boyfriend is.
Ahem. Moving on.
I also made my own pie crust. You can absolutely, totally buy some refrigerated pie crust dough at the store instead, but really, pie crusts are easy to make and if you make it yourself, you can use wheat flour and light butter and also be assured that a big sweaty man didn’t make the pie crust in a factory somewhere (unless, I suppose, YOU are a big sweaty man in a factory somewhere). I use THIS RECIPE for wheat pie crust. The secret though is to use Whole Wheat PASTRY flour. You can get it pretty cheap at Whole Foods (it’s about 2 dollars for a three pound bag). Seriously, it is VERY EASY to make. But…you can also buy some pie crust and it’ll be delicious too.
My quiche was done in 30 minutes, not 50, but my oven runs a little hot. It was very, very, very good. Very good. I loved it, even. And now that I know how to make a quiche, I’m not limited to kale/bacon. I can make it with veggies. Other meats. Fancy cheeses. OH THE POSSIBILITIES. Here’s a picture of my quiche:
Would I make it again? Without doubt.
Is it easy to make? Very easy to make. Basically: Cut up ingredients. Put in pie. Pour eggs and milk overtop. Bake. It DOES however take a little time to prepare, so for most people this is likely more of a weekend breakfast or a breakfast-for-dinner type food. I suppose you could make it, freeze it, then reheat it, but…that involves more thinking than I’m willing to do at this hour.
Is it healthy? Yes! Next time I’ll even use a little less cheese. If I used bacon again, I’d give turkey bacon a go. Basically, you can make it as healthy as you want it to be. I’ve even heard of some people making it sans crust, which…I would totally not do, since the crust is delicious, but if you’re counting carbs that idea might be up your alley. Assuming that you get eight slices per quiche, it’s 200 calories a slice. One slice is a good light breakfast, and two is probably very filling for most people; I ate two and a half today, mostly because it was Delicious and New. Quiche is also very protein rich and the kale made it a good vegetable choice.
On a scale of one to chocolate cake, how delicious is it? 8. Eggs. Milk. Cheese. Pie Crust. How could it not be good? I’m excited to try some variations on it with other veggies and maybe some crumbled chicken sausage.
I like salads. Really, really like salads. A friend and I are always talking about delicious salads. I order them often when I go out. I daresay the fact that salads are generally a pretty healthy choices has been something of a saving grace for dieting-me.
So, when this carrot salad came up as a random recipe to try this week, I was pretty pumped. Salad…but ORANGE.
Yeah, I know. It’s pretty easy for me to get pumped, I guess.
This recipe is from TheHealthyFoodie.net (which is a fantastic site, btw), as is the photo below.
I had to buy an unusual amount of stuff for this recipe. I didn’t have unsweeted coconut or pumpkin seeds, for example. I forgot to get parsley, so I didn’t use any, and I bought a bag of matchstick carrots instead of grating my own. In retrospect, that was a mistake— matchstick carrots are very crunchy, whereas grated carrots are thinner, softer and would probably have given this a more salad-like texture, instead of the coleslaw-like texture mine had. Plus, I always feel super healthy when I buy a bunch of whole carrots. Is that just me?
BUT all that said, the salad itself was pretty damn good. The unsweetened coconut really makes it, imo, and if you leave it in the fridge for an hour or so the flavors combine and it’s even better. Is it the best salad I’ve ever eaten? Well…no. It’s also much more of a side dish, imo, not a main course. But it WAS good, and I would make it again, especially as a unique dish to take to a party or the like, or as a side dish when I’m out of or sick of greens-based salads.
Would I make it again? Yes, but not all the time. It was a nice dish, not an OMG MUST EAT dish.
Are they easy to make? It involves some ingredients that aren’t commonly found in kitchens, like coconut, nuts, and pumpkin seeds. You could probably skip some of those, but I wouldn’t skip the coconut (and make sure it’s unsweetened!). As far as assembly though, it doesn’t get much easier. Throw ingredients in a bowl. Toss. Eat. Done.
Is it healthy? Oh yeah, without doubt. Very healthy, I’d say.
On a scale of one to chocolate cake, how delicious is it? 6— very good, but not so delicious that I suspect I’ll crave it. It’ll be one of those “Hm, I could throw together that carrot salad…” type recipes that I make from time to time, not one that I plan for.
Oh sweet Jesus.
Years ago, I was working a job full of horribly boring tasks and delightfully interesting people. One of these people was an intern named Maile. Maile was beautiful. Very thin and petite. She wore incredibly expensive clothes and drove a fancy car and owned a townhouse even though she was only twenty and oh YEAH, she was an unpaid intern. The clothes and car and general wealth were due to her parents being BBQ barons in Texas. No, really. They owned a giant chain of BBQ restaurants in Texas that were famous and featured on The Today Show or something. So she had things like Prada shoes and a rare puppy she had shipped in from China.
I kind of wanted to hate Maile, seeing as how she was the closest thing to a princess I’d ever see, but the truth is, she was nice. She was interning at our company because she wanted a break from culinary school, but she spoke to everyone, did her work on time, and was genuinely a pleasant person to be around. Also? She cooked. Baked, specifically. She made up recipes at home and brought them in to us so we could be her delighted and gracious guinea pigs. My absolute favorite of all time was lemon blueberry sugar cookies. I always meant to get the recipe from her, but then I left the company just as her internship ended and it occurred to me that much like a real princess, I didn’t know Maile’s last name and thus couldn’t track her down.
Anyway. All that’s to say that the combination of lemon and blueberry has forever held a special place in my heart, so I was pretty damn delighted when the WHEEL OF RECIPES landed on lemon blueberry scones.
This recipe is from The Pastry Affair, as is the photo above.
I’d made scones once before and they’d turned out pretty “meh.” Nothing special. I started these with the same expectation, and kept telling myself “if they suck, I’ll just make some cereal, no big deal.”
They didn’t take very long to make— maybe 20 minutes (tops) to mix the ingredients, and another 25 to cook. There aren’t even any unusual or difficult steps in this recipe— it’s basically just stir, flatten dough, cut, bake. I ended up trading in one cup of white flour for a cup of whole wheat pastry flour though. I also tried to add extra blueberries, which was a mistake— the dough will hold EXACTLY one cup of blueberries. Try to add a cup and a half and you’ll wind up with blueberries rolling to the floor and your excited dog eating every last one.
You’re supposed to wait till the scones cool to roomish temperature to add the glaze (DON’T skip the glaze, it totally makes the recipe!) but HA. I waited about thirty seconds and have no regrets. Because these things are AMAZING. AMAZING AMAZING. They were so delicious. They’re the sort of delicious where I would make them for family or guests or the queen because they’re just so damn good. I took two down to my building’s concierge, and when she didn’t dive right into them (which I’m pretty sure she’s not allowed to do, eat at the desk) it took willpower to not yell DON’T YOU KNOW HOW DELICIOUS THOSE ARE? YOU’RE IGNORING THE DELICIOUS!
Here’s a photo of my scones:
Would I make these again? Oh hell yes.
Are they easy to make? Yes. I advise using frozen blueberries— the recipe says you can use fresh, but I suspect you’d end up breaking a lot of them while mixing the dough.
Is it healthy? Um. Well. Not really. Though someone did make a healthier version using all wheat flour and replacing the heavy cream with Greek yogurt. Still, these contain FEWER calories than most fast food breakfasts, fewer carbs than a bagel, and more protein than most cereals (if you use some wheat flour). I ate two for breakfast this morning because they were New and Exciting, but in the future I’ll probably eat one paired with some fruit or yogurt for a more balanced meal. Paired with fruit and yogurt, btw, you’d have a very filling, natural, delicious breakfast for under 500 calories.
On a scale of one to chocolate cake, how delicious are they? Oh man, I want to leave room, so I’ll say these are an 8.
Here’s the thing about cooking, even cooking something “unhealthy”— because you’re incredibly aware of what went INTO it (how much butter, oil, fats, carbs, etc), I think it help you make good choices throughout the rest of the day (today, for example, I likely won’t be eating any of those Oreos as a snack, and will have a salad for lunch instead of something else carb-tastic). If I’d just picked up a donut from the grocery story, SURE, I could read the ingredients on the back, but it wouldn’t really be the same. Plus, I know that these scones are free of chemicals, high fructose corn syrup, additives, and preservatives. My point is: even “unhealthy” homemade food is, imo, healthier than anything store bought.