Chewy Granola Bars

Obviously: happy halloween! Tonight, we made granola bars -- perfect for tomorrow when we anticipate vomiting at the sight of candy (Alex's mom sent up a HUGE bag, and too many pieces are gone already).

As granola bars nuts (haha), the realization that we could make them ourselves was very exciting. See, we have a habit of becoming obsessed with a variety of bar for about two months, then tiring of it and switching to another. But now, we'll be able to switch ingredients in and out depending on season and mood, and never again have to assume the stressful task of picking a new brand! Except, I literally have three boxes of TLC Honey Almond Flax bars waiting for me in my pantry, and I love them too much to abandon completely.

In any case, this recipe is remarkably easy; It onlytook about five minutes of active cooking time. And though ours didn't look super pretty, they tasted great -- almost like oatmeal cookie bars. We used smart balance but you can use butter, and I imagine that adding coconut would be great as well. Also, feel free to add or substitute your favorite nuts, dried fruits, etc.

4 1/2 cups oats
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup smart balance
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups raisins
1 1/2 sunflower seeds

Preheat the oven to 325. In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients together (we used a mixer, though you could probably do it with a fork and a lot of effort). Lightly press the mixture into a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Bake them for about 20 minutes, until golden brown. Let them cool for 10 minutes before cutting them into bars, and let them cool completely before removing them.


Double Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

Lord almighty, these cupcakes are superb. I'd been searching for an autumny cupcake recipe to crown my meal, and I was so excited when I found one on a blog that I have recently been reading obsessively, Pinch My Salt. Now, ordinarily, I would have had to modify a recipe like this one to cut fat, but here it was already done for me! In the spirit of Halloween, I topped some of them with these hilarious googly-eye gummy candies, and the rest with candy corn, as the recipe suggests.

Here are some wonderful things about this recipe:
1) The cake part is not too crumbly and dry; thanks to the canned pumpkin and yogurt, it is moist and soft and chewy
2) The pumpkin flavor: subtle, unexpected, pleasing
3) Best frosting ever
4) Easiest frosting ever
5) Chocolate

I'd say more, but I think we'd all rather look at the pretty pictures. Click here for the recipe!

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

First and foremost, I'd like to thank the Academy -- I've been dreaming of this moment since I was a little girl. Wow. Where to start? Oh, let me just get out this list here that I've tucked into my dress. Okay, here we go: Thanks to Orangette, whose blog post inspired the proportions and ideas of my soup. Thanks to Peter for testing the recipe first and providing me with such constructive feedback. Thanks to Alex and everyone in production for their incredible blender work. Of course, thanks to my mom for suggesting such great flavors and for providing me with incredible moral support when I call you frantically from the grocery store. Thanks to my soup pot, you are my rock. And finally, thanks to everyone who tasted it and ate it and asked for seconds -- I don't know where I would be without you.

6 pounds butternut squash, chopped into 2-inch pieces
12 gala apples, chopped into 2-inch pieces
2 granny smith apples, julienned, or cut into very thin strips (for garnish)
3 cups onion, finely chopped
3 quarts chicken stock
3 cups apple cider
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

Heat about 3-4 tbsp olive oil in a large pot. Add the onions, and saute until soft and slightly browning. Add the butternut squash and gala apples, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes. Next, add the apple cider and bring it to a boil for a few minutes. Afterwards, reduce the heat to medium and cook partially-covered under the squash is soft, about 30 minutes. Transfer batches of the soup to a blender, and blend until smooth. Return everything to the pot, and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with a few slices of the granny smith apples.

Tangerine and Avocado Salad with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Full disclosure: Alex and I used to be editors at the Daily Pennsylvanian, Penn's independent student newspaper. For 40 hours per week for one year we served as Senior Photo Editor (him) and City News Editor (me). Because we harbor such strong love for our former co-workers, who will surely post comments after reading this, we have a weekly gourmet club in which each of us takes turn cooking a meal for the others. Tonight was my turn, so this recipe and some of the ones that follow it were cooked for the lovely occasion, themed for Halloween.

This salad is of mostly of my own invention, with help from numerous recipes online. Because most of my meal involved serious flavors, I wanted to start especially light. The toasted pumpkin seeds were a must, but I kept second-guessing my decision to go citrus. Still, I wanted something unexpected and, in the end, it was perfect. It was tangy but grounded by the salt of the pumpkin seeds, and I was very pleased with the dressing. This works beautifully as an opener to a very fall meal.

Ingredients (serves 10 as an appetizer):
1 bag baby romaine
1 bag spring mix
3 avocado, slices
4 tangerines, peeled and sectioned
10 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp tangerine zest
salt and pepper
pinch of sugar.

To toast the pumpkin seeds, I let them soak overnight in salt water and them roasted them at 400 for about 30 minutes, but there are millions of ways to do it. For the salad, combine the lettuces on plates. Top with slices of avocado, tangerine sections, and about a tbsp of the pumpkin seeds per serving. To make the dressing, wisk the olive oil, lemon juice and tangerine zest together, and season with salt and pepper, and a pinch of sugar.

Sweet and Crunchy Pumpkin Seeds

We've heard some folks complaining about Halloween falling on a Wednesday this year. To these individuals, we would like point out that this "inconvenience" is actually awesome, because it allows for the maximization of celebratory days. Because Halloween doesn't belong to a particular weekend, we can arguably celebrate it both weekends -- which means 4 nights out PLUS an entire week in-between of Halloween festivities. Boo-yah.

Opening ceremonies began yesterday with pumpkin carving followed by pumpkin-seed roasting. While I'd always had them simply salted and toasted, we thought it would be fun to experiment by carmelizing them. They came out great, and made a perfect, crunchy snack.

pumpkin seeds (we had about 3 cups, so modify accordingly)
3 tbsp melted smart balance, but you can use butter or whatever
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
spinkles of apple pie spice (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400. When the pumpkin seeds are washed and dried, coat them in the smart balance, add all of the additional ingredients, and mix well. Spread them on a baking sheet and roast them in the oven for about 30 minutes, until they are puffy and crunchy, but be careful not to let them burn.


Savory Crepes and Lemon Crepes

In my family, there is such a thing as having "Malke's." The term is a reference to a story, Malke's Secret Recipe, in which a man tries to duplicate a recipe for potato latkes that taste as light as clouds. When he recreates them, however, they taste like ordinary latkes. Thus, when someone remembers something (particularly a food) as being better than it is, we say that they have a case of Malke's.

Enter crepes with lemon and powdered sugar. Once upon a time, many years ago, I ordered them at the Original House of Pancake, my hometown's token breakfast establishment. Like the latkes of Malke fame, they were as light as clouds. I remember sinking into the soft, chewy crepe, and feeling the powdered sugar escape from the inside and melt over my tongue. For years, I've dreamed of making them myself, but I always feared that I was just having Malke's, and that any attempt would dissapoint me.

Last night, I toughened up, and we made crepes -- first savory, then with lemon and powdered sugar. And guess what? It wasn't Malke's! We didn't have a crepe pan, we didn't use real butter, and the ordeal lasted under 30 minutes, which leads me to conclude that either Mark Bittman is in cahoots with my pancake house, or crepes prepared that way are simply unbelievable, possibly even impossible to ruin! Oh the relief.

And she lived happily ever after. The end.

1 1/4 cups milk
2 eggs
2 tbsp butter or butter substitute, melted
1 cup flour
pinch of salt

(savory filling)
2 chicken cutlets, sliced into strips
2 cups broccoli, cut into small pieces
2 cups mushrooms, cut into small pieces
4 cups spinach
1 cup onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 lemon
2 tbsp dijon mustard
sherry cooking wine
feta cheese (optional)

(sweet filling)
powdered sugar
butter or butter substitute

To make the crepes, simply wisk the batter ingredients together in a large bowl until smooth. Take a large, non-stick pan, or spray a large pan with non-stick spray, and turn the heat to medium high. Using a 1/2 cup dry measuring utensil, scoop up batter and pour it into the pan. Move the pan in a circular motion so that the crepe assumes a nice, circular shape. Once the top of the crepe is no longer liquid (about 30 seconds), turn the crepe over with a spatula and cook for about another 15 seconds, until it is light brown.

For the savory filling, we sauteed the garlic and onion together in a teeny bit of oil, then added the chicken until it began to brown, then added the other vegetables. Then we squeezed the juice of one lemon over the mixture, followed by the mustard and a splash of the cooking wine. We covered it for a few minutes to let the vegetables steam, and then turned off the heat. If you use the feta, add it in when you are filling the crepes.

For the sweet filling, simply squeeze fresh lemon juice over the crepe. Add a bit of smart balance or butter, then sprinkle powdered sugar. Roll up the crepe, and repeat on the outside. It sounds simple, but it tastes amazing.


Roasted Beet Salad with Many Toppings

Warm, fruity, nutty salads. So many varieties to love. Here's what we composed this evening:

The warm: roasted beets
The fruity: chopped asian pears
The nutty: toasted walnuts
The savory: marinated onions
The salad: mixed greens

The most wonderful thing about this type of salad is that it really doesn't matter what you put in it, as long as you get the basic elements down. For example, a version with warm chicken, grapes and pecans would have been just as lovely. But we found local beets and our farmer's market this afternoon, and the rest fell into line. Some recipes online called for adding scallions, but marinated onions worked superbly as well. We loved it.

Ingredients (serves 4):
6 small beets
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
2 cups walnuts
2 asian pears, chopped
mixed greens

2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 wine vinegar
1/3 balsamic vinegar
pinch of sugar

Preheat the oven to 425. Cut the beets in half, and place them in a roasting pan, dressed with about 2 tbsp of olive oil and dashes of salt and pepper. Roast them for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until soft. Meanwhile, make the dressing by mixing the olive oil and vinegars, sugar and some salt and pepper. Let the onions sit in the dressing. Toast the walnuts, and put them on the mixed greens with the pears and the cheese. When the beets are ready, wait until they are cool enough to handle, then peel them and slice them. Place them on the salad, add the onions, and dress it.


Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins

Remember this? It's kind of how we feel right now.

I found this recipe on Baking Bites, a super yummy blog that is among my most recent obsessions. Now, no one loves peanut butter & jelly like I do. Though my mom wouldn't let me or my brothers pack PB&J for lunch because she deemed it too unhealthy, she would sometimes let us eat it for dessert on whole wheat, and I remember going nuts over it (ditto Captain Crunch, which was NOT a breakfast food). Clearly, the apple is sitting obediently at the base of the tree.

The muffins came out beautifully. They were moist and soft and very muffiny, as in not too sweet, but so so good. I'm writing out our recipe here, because we modified them by subsituting whole wheat flour and smart balance. I actually really enjoyed the warm, wheaty taste, and the consistency was perfect despite the lack of butter. We even used reduced fat peanut butter. These are simple and delicious -- much like the sandwich that inspires them.

Ingredients (makes about 12 muffins):
2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup brown sugar
6 tbsp smart balance, melted and cooled
1/2 cup reduced fat crunchy peanut butter
2 eggs
1 cup skim milk
about 1/3 cup jam or jelly

Preheat the oven to 375, line muffin pan with paper liners. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar. In a medium bowl, combine the smart balance, peanut butter, eggs and milk, and wisk them together until the mixture is smooth. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and stir into a batter. For each muffin, fill the tin halfway with batter, then add a heaping teaspoon of jelly, and fill to the top with more batter. Bake for about 17 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean. Serve warm with a tall glass of cold milk.

Philadelphia Food Bloggers Unite!

We've been invited to a Philadelphia food bloggers dinner/meet-up! We are unbelievably excited and flattered that the bloggers whose sites we've stalked and admired for so long consider us legitimate.

The invitation is open to anyone who considers themselves a Philly food blogger. So, if you would like to join the group for this event and others in the future, please send your name, blog URL and email contact to taylorhigh24 (at) hotmail (dot) com. An invite will follow with event details.

Also... it's potluck! We can't wait to taste everyone else's concoctions, but we're flipping out about what to make ourselves! Suggestions? Please help!


Roasted Chestnuts

Nothing says fall like _______.

I love this game. For me, it's caramel apples and wool socks and roasted chestnuts.

We picked up a bundle of them at Reading Terminal Market this weekend. Absolutely no skills are involved in preparing them, and though my fingers are torn to pieces from shelling, it's 100 percent worth it. They are sweet and the texture is great -- kind of fleshy and chewy. Also, they look like miniature brains.

We prepared them for post-dinner, pre-dessert snack, but they are really perfect for munching at any time. Recipes for the best way to roast them are all over the internet, but we performed the method described in our lovely Bittman book.


Preheat the oven to 450. Take a knife, and cut an "x" across the flat side of each chestnut, so that it doesn't explode when heated. Assemble the nuts on a baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes. Serve warm. P.S. You have to peel the shell off first, this should be relatively easy once they are cooked.

Roasted chestnuts


Peeled, like brains

Curried Lentil and Spinach Soup

hearthy [har-thee]
-adjective, hearth-i-er, hearth-i-est
1. heart-healthy
2. warm and cozy, like the feeling you get when sitting around a hearth
3. filling (syn. hearty, as in a stack of pancakes for breakfast)

We had to invent this word because no other so accurately describes tonight's dinner. Curried lentil soup is extremely hearthy -- lentils are proven to lower cholesterol, and the dish is satisfying and filling despite being low in calories. Still need convincing? Here are the stats:

Cost: $20 (we doubled the recipe, which intends to serve 4)
Calories: 479 per serving, and it's pure protein
Time: about an hour, start to finish
Difficulty: Easy

Check out the recipe here on Epicurious. We threw some chicken bullions into the water to add flavor, as per the advice of the reviewers. Also, be sure to add enough salt.



After tasting some delicious gnudi during brunch at Philadelphia's London Grill on Sunday, we decided to attempt a re-creation.

Gnudi? You may be thinking. What IS that? A google search links to a thread on Chowhound.com entitled "gnudi- what is it, exactly?" and answers range from "I don't know, but gosh it sounds like fun" to "A dish that is precisely ravioli without the pasta wrapper."

We're still confused. Even while eating them, we likened them to mozarella sticks, dumplings and spinach cookies. But here's what we've devised: Gnudi are essentially dough balls of cheese and spinach. The recipe we found online called for boiling them, but skeptical, we divided the batch and baked half in the oven with far better results. These would make a great appetizer, but preparing them for dinner left us slightly wanting. Also, we dunked them in pasta sauce, but you could also dress them with pesto.

We found our recipe from the food network, but there are a few others floating around the interwebs as well. If you do use this one, instead of boiling the gnudi, bake them for about 30 minutes at 350. Additionally, to get the beautiful, round shape, put the each piece dough into a wine glass with a bit of flour and shake it around until it forms a ball. Happy gnuding!

Gnudi dough (egg, cheese, spinach, spices)

Forming gnudi in a wine glass...

Well-shaped gnudi, ready for baking

The final product! Crispy, savory gnudi


Dear Two Fat Als: A Thank-You Note

I am pleased to announce that a TFA recipe has facilitated the hook-up of a dear friend and loyal reader. The friend concocted our peanut-butter brownies, posted earlier this month, to top off a meal prepared for a potential suitor. Needless to say, he was swooning.

Read on for excerpts from the gchat:

dear two fat als
Sent at 11:21 PM on Sunday
Lilian: i'm writing to thank you for including the wonderful peanut butter brownie recipe. Without it, i don't know what I would have done last night
me: can I write that it helped you "get ass"?
Lilian: i was attempting to prepare a knockout meal in order to seduce a friend of mine/get some ass after two months of hanging out on a regular basis and not getting it on.
of course
me: thanks
Lilian: although we didn't get to the brownies (so perfect with the ganache!)
me: what?!
Lilian: until the very end of the meal
me: oh phew
Lilian: the aroma of the deliciousness permeated the entire evening
me: nice
Lilian: as you can guess, i got what i was looking for
thanks for helping to end my sexual frustration

Woot, woot!


Fig and Oat Scones

People fall in love with odd things sometimes.

Once, I read about a woman who married a snake, and I've witnessed my roommate become dangerously enamored with a pair of white Marc Jacobs pumps. I scoffed them, but now I fear I've joined them. I confess I've fallen utterly into love with a scone.

It wasn't love at first site. I was tentative of the commitment (the recipe calls for day-before prep work, and letting the dough refrigerate overnight), and I even doubted our compatibility -- I mean, I like figs, but I'm no enthusiast. But when we began to prepare the scones last night, I began to feel that "something" -- just a bit when I sampled the dough. By the time we arranged them so neatly on the trays this morning, I knew it was love, and tasting them with jam made me want to pronounce my vows then and there: Until death do us part, you will be my favorite scone.

Special thanks to the Metropolitan Bakery Cookbook for introducing the happy couple.

4 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar, plus some to sprinkle
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
grated zest of two lemons
3 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups (4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 1/2 cups dried black mission figs, stems removed, chopped
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tbsp heavy or whipping cream

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, lemon zest and oats. Add the butter and toss. On a low speed, beat the butter into the flour until it becomes a coarse meal. Stir in the figs. Add the buttermilk and mix (we used a spoon here) until it comes together as a dough. Scoop the dough onto a floured surface and press it together into a ball, then divide it in thirds. Press each third into a 3/4-inch disk, wrap each one with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (we left it overnight, which is recommended). After refrigeration, pre-heat the oven to 375. Unwrap the disks and cut each one into 6 equal wedges, place them on a greased or nonstick baking sheet (you will need two), keeping the scones 2 inches apart. Brush the cream over them, and sprinkle some more granulated sugar. Bake the sheets one at a time on the center rack for about 25-30 minutes, until lightly golden. Serve slightly warm.

Spinach and Cheese Strata

It's Homecoming at Penn! And since there is no superior way to celebrate than with a pre-Big Game brunch, we decided to host one. Go Team.

I tricked Alex into agreeing to the idea via text message Thursday ("Oh my god I have the best idea let's have a brunch Saturday please please please!"), and upon his consent, I became obsessed with executing the perfect meal. I feverishly consulted the blogs and all of my cookbooks for recipes, changing and revising the menu hourly. Alex was scared.

Eventually, I settled on a Spinach Cheese Strata for the main dish, accompanied by scones (will post next!) and the vanilla mint fruit salad that we wrote about earlier. Plus mimosas. Now, we are not shy about complimenting ourselves on this blog -- sometimes deservedly, and sometimes not. But today, we really were awesome. Everything tasted delicious, and we polished off every last bite.

The recipe for the Strata is on Epicurious, but it was my mother who suggested it. And as per her recommendations, we doubled the spinach and the nutmeg. Also, we used fresh, local spinach from the market instead of a frozen package. If you do that too, just be sure to chop it. Also, because we were slightly pressed for time, we turned up the heat and cooked it for slightly less time -- it became so golden and delicious that I totally recommend it. This dish is perfect for crowds and it really really tastes amazing.

Whole Wheat Pizza, Two Ways

We wanted something easy to serve to a few friends before heading out to a concert, and you can't get any more classically collegiate than pizza and beer.

But, in typical Als fashion, we couldn't let it be that easy. We decided to make our own whole wheat crust, and settled on two varieties: mushroom leek and sun-dried tomato with fresh basil and pesto. We found the crust recipe online at All Recipes, and though we had doubts about our ability to pull it off, the dough came out great. Our only regret was that we perhaps did not knead it enough. Still, came out nicely chewy, and the whole-wheatness did not overpower the toppings at all.

Also, though both were yummy, the sun-dried tomato version was the superior pie. We used our own homemade pesto that we had frozen a few weeks ago. So if you have to choose one, that's it.

Ingredients (Sun-dried Tomato and Fresh Basil Pizza with Pesto):
pizza dough (enough for 2 pies)
1 1/2 cups sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 cups basil, chopped
1/2 cup pesto
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded (so good fresh from the market!)
tomato sauce

Preheat oven to 425. Stretch and flatten the dough over a large pan. Spread tomato sauce over the dough, leaving about an inch around the edges. Sprinkle cheese, and top with basil and tomatoes. Drop dollops of pesto across. Bake for 16-20 minutes, until lightly brown.

Ingredients (Mushroom and Leek Pizza):
pizza dough (enough for 2 pies)
1 1/2 cups mushrooms
1 1/2 cups leeks
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
tomato sauce
olive oil

Cook leeks in about 1 tbsp of olive in a large pan, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for another two. Spread tomato sauce over the dough, leaving about an inch around the edges. Sprinkle cheese, and top with mushroom/leek mixture. Bake for 16-20 minutes, until lightly brown.


Apple Bread

We met Alex's parents in New York this weekend, and they spoiled us like crazy: fancy brunch, a shopping spree at Zabar's, a case of awesome wines... it was paradise. But the gift that truly set our hearts aglow (besides their wonderful company!) was the bag of fresh Connecticut apples.

We wanted to keep some of them for snacking, but a few begged to be baked into a delicious dessert, so we obliged. Of course, we turned to Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything and his apple bread recipe did not disappoint. We made it our own healthier version with the usual whole wheat flour and smart balance substitutions. Moist and nutty, warm and aromatic, sweet and easy to bake, this could even work as a side dish or toasted for breakfast.

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted smart balance
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups skim milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup apple, peeled and grated
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, milk and butter together. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients, apples, and walnuts into it. Using a spatula, mix everything the batter together. It should be pretty lumpy. Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake it for about an hour, until a knife comes out clean. Let it cool, then serve.

Chicken Portabello Caesar Success

We are so redeemed right now.

Alex's Caesar salad is one of his classics -- it's perfect. The recipe, a secret until now, has been passed down in his family for at least one generation. We'd made it a few times before, but this time we added balsamic-marinated portabello mushrooms to balance tangy lemon dressing with a touch of sweetness. All of the components are important -- the chicken, mushroom and crutons, but the beauty of this recipe is in the dressing. Keep tweaking until you love it.

This recipe is absolutely one of our best. We feel much better now. And much fuller. I've divided the recipe into its components here, and recommend making the baking the croûtons first, then making the dressing and leaving it in the bowl. Toss in the lettuce in with the dressing before you serve, and top with everything!

1 french roll
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic

Cut up the roll into small chunks. Drizzle the olive oil over it and toss, adding in crushed garlic and salt. Roast on a baking sheet at 325 for about 20 minutes.

2 tbsp light mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic
2 lemons
worchester sauce
salt and pepper

In a large wooden salad bowl, crush two cloves of garlic into kosher salt and rub it all over the bowl. Then, dump it all out. Put in the mayonnaise and squeeze the juice of two lemons over it and wisk it together. Add a few dashes of worchester sauce and season with salt and pepper. You can also add anchovy paste here if you want.

(sautéed chicken and portabellos)
4 chicken cutlets
3 portabello mushrooms
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Wash the portabellos and slice them. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over them, and let them sit. Meanwhile, sprinkle salt and pepper on the chicken and cut and sauté it in a pan. We used non-stick spray instead of olive oil. Transfer to a plate, let cool, and slice. Then, sauté the portabellos.

3 heads of romaine
Parmesan cheese

Cut up and toss into dressing, sprinkle with cheese!


Cauliflower Catastrophe

It was gross. We wanted to make cauliflower puree, basically a low-cal version of mashed potatoes. The spaghetti squash had subbed in for carbs so well that we thought we were golden, but we were wrong. We even found the most beautiful yellow and purple cauliflower in at a farmer's market in Brooklyn this morning. They were so lovely steamed, but we ruined them in the food processor and by adding wasabi and ginger flavoring. Never again.

We weren't even going to post such a disaster, but smitten kitchen botched her latest attempt too and inspired us to fess up.

Also, the photos are too pretty to waste. Maybe we'll post some peanut butter fudgies later to compensate.


Cinnamon and Walnut Sweet Potato Waffles

Breakfast for dinner: We may be converts.

Sweet potato adds a savory element to a typically sweet dish and the cinnamon and orange rind add a tinge of spice. The flavors blend so smoothly, and they come out a beautiful rusty orange. I love when our food makes the apartment smell like flavored candles, except it's the real thing. That happened.

Also proud because we quasi made up the recipe, i.e. compiled it from various similar ones on the interwebs. Love these, and freezing them for Sunday brunches.

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1/4 cup smart balance (butter, butter substitute, whatever)
4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp apple pie spice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1 tsp orange rind
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sweet potato, cooked and mashed
maple syrup and bananas for topping

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and apple pie spice in a large bowl. In a small bowl, wisk together milk, eggs, sweet potato, orange rind and melted smart balance. Pour the liquid batter over the dry mixture. Mix in walnuts. Pour the batter into a lightly greased waffle maker, and cook until slightly brown -- about 5 to 7 minutes. Top with sliced bananas and maple syrup.


Pesto Spaghetti Squash with Chicken

There's something alluring about deceptive foods -- purple peppers, white eggplants, and now spaghetti squash.

What to say about this carbohydrate imposter? It's kind of weird, kind of awesome. Only 142 calories per 155 grams. It tastes like whatever you dress it in. It's in season, according to the kind Amish boy at Penn's farmer's market.

We decided to go pesto. Armed with a bunch of basil from the market, we decided to make it oursleves, a "classic pesto" a la Epicurious. Added some chicken to the mix, and poof: way lower calorie pasta pesto with chicken.

2 spaghetti squash
4 cups basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup parmesean cheese
4 chicken cutlets
1 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350. Halve each squash and place the pieces face down on a greased baking sheet. Bake them for about 30 minutes, until it feels tender when you stick a knife in it. Meanwhile, make the pesto by blending (in a blender or food processor) the basil, oil, pine nuts, cheese and salt. It makes about a cup, and freezes well. Throw some salt and pepper on the chicken, cut it into strips, and cook it in a pan. After the squash has cooked and cooled slightly, remove the seeds from the middle, then use a fork to scrape out the flesh -- it should come out in little spaghetti strips. Throw the chicken in with the squash, and mix in about 3-4 tbsp pesto.