Thursday, June 25, 2009

CEiMB: Vegetable Cheese Strata

This week's Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe is from Jen at A Mid Life Culinary Adventure. I think this recipe was a great pick! Granted I did change it a bit (swapped ingredients and halved the recipe), and didn't quite follow the exact directions (go figure), but it had great flavor!! So this was the extent of my plan... I was going to go to the store and buy all of the necessary ingredients (mushrooms, fresh broccoli, and parmesan). Turns out I'm on my way home and I have no time to go to the store because I'm going to a seminar at Wight's Nursery at 7pm for a talk about garden pests. Ya.. a seminar at 7pm, it's Thursday (the day I'm supposed to post) and I haven't even started! I failed to read I was supposed to let the dish set overnight for 8 hours.. oops (I guess some others had this same problem). In the end, it tasted great! I've included the modified recipe after all of the pictures - happy eating!

I didn't quite press all of milk/egg mixture into the bread cubes.. I think this was actually better because all of the pieces sticking out that hadn't absored the mixture was nice and brown and crunchie.. yum! A wonderful contrast to the soufle like center.

I decided to use a 9 1/2 inch pie dish.

Mmmm.. I only let it sit for 3 mintues before I ate some, lol!

Compliments of Ellie Krieger in "The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life".
Vegetable Cheese Strata
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced (about 5 cups)
3 cloves garlic minced (about 1 tablespoon)
8 ounces white mushrooms sliced (about 3 cups) [didn't use b/c I didn't have any]
Cooking spray
1 whole-wheat baguette cubed (about 5 cups) [sub. white bread]
8 large eggs
8 large egg whites
2 cups nonfat milk [sub. 1% milk]
1 tablespoon Dijion mustard [sub. stone ground mustard]
10 ounces broccoli, steamed until tender but still firm, cooled and chopped [sub. frozen broccoli pieces]
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese [sub. Mexican shredded cheese blend for both cheeses]
4 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (1 cup)
1/2 cup thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes (non oil-packed), soaked in hot water until soft, then drained [didn't have any]
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme ... used some from my garden!!
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened and beginning to brown 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute. Transfer the onion mixture to a medium bowl and let cool.
Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat and cook the mushrooms, stirring a few times, until their water evaporates and they begin to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
Coat a large baking dish (9x13 inches) with cooking spray. Arrange the bread cubes over the bottom. In a large bowl, beat the whole eggs, egg whites, milk, and mustard together until incorporated. Add the mushrooms, onion-garlic mixtue, broccoli, both cheeses, the sun-dried tomatoes, thyme, salt, and pepper and stir to incorporate. Pour the mixture over the bread, making sure the liquid saturates the bread. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours. I only let it sit in the refrigerator for 2 hours while I was at the garden show.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the plastic wrap from the strata and bake until the top forms a light brown crust, 60 to 70 minutes.
On another random side note.. Kyle passed his CPA!! Whoo Hoo! Congrats babe, I love you! And so.. I decided to grill a congratulatory rib eye steak (see below). It looked great and had great flavor, but was a medium-well :(
We like medium-rare. Anyone have any tips? I followed the grilling recommendations on the Weber grill book. I need to learn how to do the "touch test", but oh well. I seared on direct high heat for 3 minutes on each side.. and then I grilled for 2 minutes on each side on indirect heat.. (maybe I was supposed to turn it down??).

Thursday, June 18, 2009

CEiMB: Jambalaya with Shrimp and Ham

This recipe got great reviews on CEiMB, so check out what everyone thought. I really was planning on making it, but then thought it would be a good night to garden. I ended up mowing the front / backyard, edging and weeding! It was 4.5 hours of hard work, but definitely worth it. Kyle was in charge of dinner tonight. He decided to go to this pizza place that got really good reviews called Sorelli. He brought home one pizza and I'm not kidding you, it weighed a good 10lbs.!! It was a deep dish, meat lovers pizza. Trust me, 1 slice is the equivalent of 3! I won't mention the one pizza cost ~28 bucks.. geesh! It was good and after just getting in the house at dusk (9pm) it was nice to know Kyle had taken care of me. If you're looking for a good eat, try Sorelli. It's full of calories I'm sure, but definitely worth it.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Warm Spinach & Artichoke Dip

This artichoke spinach dip was so good! I'm bringing it to Danielle's baby shower tomorrow night, but had to put one serving in a ramekin so I could test it out. It's packed full of flavor with the onions, garlic, spinach, artichoke, sour cream, cream cheese, mayo, and cheese...mmmm. I only wished I had browned the cheese on top a little more. I have the rest of the dip sitting in a dish in the fridge ready to bake tomorrow just before the shower starts. I'm going to serve my dip with multi-grain chips and whole wheat pita slices. The recipe can be found on Food Network and a 1/4 cup of the dip is 100 calories (not including chips or pitas). So enjoy!

Note: Paula Deen's recipe for this dip uses a 1/2 cup of mayo when Ellie Krieger's (the one I made) only uses 2 tablespoons.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

CEiMB: Double Chocolate Pudding Pie

This week's Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe is from Tessa at Handle the Heat. It's a wonderful, decadent, double chocolate, more healthy than a normal chocolate pie, pudding pie. To see the complete recipe, please visit Tessa's blog. I've been looking forward to this recipe for the last week now. Anytime you have a homemade graham cracker crust with dark chocolate and it's all under 300 calories per slice - you can't go wrong. This pudding pie is also pretty firm. It held up to a knife and I'm sure it would hold up to a circular cookie cutter (for mini individual desserts). I read the reviews and noticed a lot of people thought the graham mixture wasn't enough. I decided to pat the crumb mixture (graham cracker, butter and water) into a springform cake pan. If I was making this for some sort of get together I would have re-plated onto a *pretty* platter, but let's be honest.. I wanted it all for myself.. and maybe the few people (other than the hubby) who got half a piece.. tee hee. I followed the recipe's exact measurements, but decided to decorate with whipped cream and strawberries, yum! I thought this added some bright, juicy red flavor and it definitely brightened up the dish. The one weird thing about the pie is the texture. I'm kind of a big texture person (probably why I didn't like cold pureed cucumber soup), but this pie was great. Thanks Tessa! The filling is a little jigglie though and reminded me of an old woman waving her arms yelling "Bingo!!"... not to be offensive to anyone, but it made me laugh. Back to the strawberries.. it was a nice balance to the dark chocolate. I plated and added some chocolate syrup swirlie things (I couldn't resist). So far I've done good keeping to one piece a day... for now. To check out other Double Chocolate Pudding Pie posts, visit CEiMB. Cheers!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Nutty Update!

Ellie's Nutty Granola recipe is so good the crows even wanted to try some!! I was getting ready to putt today and noticed something flapping on my cart. It kind of looked like a book with its pages flapping in the wind.. nope, it was a dirty, nasty, black crow. Eeeekk!! I ran after it and scared it away. Lukily they didn't get into the Nutty Granola I packed, but they must of smelled it!

CEiMB [Rewind]: Nutty Granola

I've been wanting to try Ellie Krieger's Nutty Granola recipe for awhile now. I noticed it was something CEiMB already hosted in a prior week so I decided to make it for our golf day today. I'm always looking for a healthy, filling snack and this definitely does the trick. It's packed with a lot of good things - walnuts, pecans, almonds, oats, cinnamon, dried cherries (I substituted them for raisins) and 100% pure maple syrup. Everything gets mixed together and bakes for 30 minutes. This recipe rocks for many reasons: 1) It tastes great! (I eat it by itself, with milk, or with fresh fruit and yogurt), 2) It's simple (throw everything in a bowl, mix and bake on a cookie sheet), 3) It's healthy (1/2 cup rolls in around 280 calories), and 4) It makes your house smell SOOOOOO good! I'm not kidding. Next time I have company over (maybe for the Mystery Garden Tour coming up at my house on June 20th....) I'm going to make this. The smell of cinnamon and maple.. reminds me of the holidays and all the yummy pies baking in the oven. Another bonus, Kyle liked it. It's super hard finding snacks that he enjoys that aren't sugary. He's not a fan of granola bars (from the store), he doesn't eat fruit, and he doesn't eat yogurt or string cheese. So, when we are both trying to eat healthy it's hard helping him think through what a healthy snack would be. One downside... pure maple syrup can be quite expensive (a 12 oz. bottle set me back 10 bucks at Whole Foods). I guess it costs to eat healthy because you don't get those crummy ingredients you can't pronounce. When you think about it.. if you're not healthy then you'll really pay in the long run - obesity, pills, diabetes, etc. I'm not about to waste my money on those things. I love to cook, and I'm not going to let 'wanting to eat healthy' stop me. I love Ellie Krieger's "The Food You Crave" cookbook because her food tastes so good and it's good for you. I can't wait for her new book, "So Easy" in November. I already pre-ordered it on Amazon!! Whoo Hoo. Take care everyone, I need to go get ready to golf.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

CEiMB: White Gazpacho with Grapes and Toasted Almonds

Hi Everyone! This is my first official CEiMB post. This week's Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe is from I'll Eat You. Please check out her blog for the complete recipe. Initially I wasn't going to try this recipe. Everytime I thumbed through Ellie's cookbook, I passed the picture of the White Gazpacho and always thought, that looks so good, but then I would remember it had garlic, cucumbers, and grapes. Yes, garlic and grapes. So weird. Needless to say, I spent some time scouring through everyone's posts for the recipe today and saw some pretty good reviews. I stopped off at the market on the way home, grabbed enough to make half a recipe and went to work. First step, toast the almonds. These smelt heavenly! I began to think of brownies and everything chocolatey that goes with almonds (biscotti maybe), but then remembered I was making a cold, cucumber soup. I kept on. In the end, it came together nicely. I served it in a goblet glass and put it in the fridge until dinner was ready. In the meantime, I grilled scallions (used Ellie's recipe) and marinated steak strips (it was a Tomato, Garlic and Basil seasoning mix). Everything I grilled turned out awesome. I set the table and told my husband it was time to eat. He sat down, we prayed and then we dug in. Kyle was the ambitious one and took the first spoonful. He proceeded to say... it's ok, if that's your cup of tea. This isn't the response I was going for. I took a bite. Then I took another. And then I decided it was ok. I took another bite and couldn't even stomach another. I don't know what it was.. I can eat tomato gazpacho, and I occasionally drink a tomato v8. So weird. Something about the sweet grapes made the garlic after taste aweful. It was gorgeous to look at though. Maybe it's because I love sweets. Glad to hear a lot of people liked it, and thanks I'll Eat You for picking it. It's something I would have never tried unless I was a member of this blog. To check out posts (and fantastic pics) from others members, visit the CEiMB site.

I definitely need to learn how to take better pictures. I think the majority of it is the camera - it can't take close up shots.
It was gorgeous to look at!!
On a much sweeter note....
I decided to grill some peaches for dessert. I love grilled fruit. I love fruit. I love anything sweet. LOL. I plated the grilled peaches and drizzled some maple syrup on top (so good). I had to try the 100% Organic maple syrup I bought from Whole Foods today. I plan to make the Nutty Granola and Energy Bars sometime next week for snacks at work. I may have gone a little too heavy on the syrup. Nahh.
Thanks everyone for the good reads.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I just joined the group Craving Ellie In My Belly (CEiMB). Ellie Krieger is a nutritionist who has a show on the Food Network called Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger. I love this show. I actually DVR it and look forward to the Saturday 8:30 am re-runs. I know. Anyways, this group is full of members who love to cook Ellie's recipes. To be a member you have to commit to making two recipes a month. Each week there is a host. The host picks a recipe from Ellie's cookbook that everyone will try and essentially blog about. I was excited to join this group because a) I already have her cookbook and b) I already cook a lot out of the cookbook. The two recipes I'm making this month are the Double Chocolate Pudding Pie and the Jambalaya with Shrimp and Ham. Kyle totally benefits from this btw. He's familiar with me trying new recipes, but this will be different in that I'm going to try things I would never think to test out. I'll be posting the recipes and pictures so be on the lookout.

Enjoy the boiling weather everyone!