Archives for July 2011

The Secret Recipe Club and Meatless Monday!!!







Happy Monday all,
A while back I applied to be a member of this little thing called The Secret Recipe Club through Amanda’s Cookin blog (such a sweetie, and what an fantastic concept…props to Amanda). The Secret Recipe Club consists of food bloggers from all over the country, whether you are from Texas or Brazil, any food blogger can apply to become apart of The Secret Recipe Club. Now, the way the club works is, each month members are “assigned” a participating food blogger to make a recipe from. It’s a secret, so you can’t tell the person whose food blog you are assigned that you are making something from their blog. So, you can only imagine how nuts I have been going just waiting to reveal my secret food bloggers site. Now, I can justifiably scream it at the top of my lungs, the food blogger whom I was assigned was CANELA KITCHEN! The moment I entered this blog, I knew I had entered another world of cuisine. The voice behind Canela Kitchen is Gloria, a mother from Santiago, Chile. Yes, I said it, she is from Santiago, Chile!!! That is definitely a hop, skip, and jump away from my stomping grounds here in Texas. I was super ecstatic knowing that I was being given the opportunity to connect with a blogger from halfway across the world. One thing that I liked most about her blog is that Gloria blogs each post in English and in Spanish…so awesome. So, needless to say I was brushing up on my Spanish skills while reading her recipes. Now, being a Chilean woman, you might assume that Gloria’s food blog is all about Chilean food. Well, think again! While Gloria does post scrumptious Chilean recipes, she keeps her blog versatile, creating recipes from all different types of cuisine, from Peruvian, to Oriental, to Italian food, this woman does it all! Lucky for me I had a wide range of recipes to choose from. After giving each recipe careful consideration, I decided to make something that is near and dear to my heart and that surprisingly I have never made before, a Zucchini Mini Frittata. Now, I had to make this recipe my own, so naturally, I altered a few ingredients. Gloria’s original recipe uses 1 c. of sour cream, which I replaced with 1/2 c. of Fage Greek yogurt. I also used three whole eggs and five egg whites instead of six whole eggs for a healthier approach on the frittatas (you know me, gotta have some protein). Lastly, I substituted 1/4 c. of chives with 1/4 c. of fresh basil (only because I am Italian and I am biased + I love, love, love basil). The zucchini works perfectly in this recipe, making the frittatas super moist, while the egg whites give the frittata a light and airy texture. Add that tangy Greek yogurt, fragrant basil, and freshly grated Parmesan and BAM, you have perfect mini frittatas. These mini frittatas are perfect for taking on the go for breakfast or for a mid-morning snack. Thank you Gloria for the great recipe, I hope my followers enjoy it as much as I did. I suggest that you all follow Gloria’s blog, Canela Kitchen , and make these mini frittatas a.s.a.p. I am telling you, this woman knows her food and you won’t be disappointed. Also, if you are interested in becoming a member of The Secret Recipe Club, you can join here. I hope y’all enjoy this recipe, which also happens to be meatless, so here is to The Secret Recipe Club and a yummy Meatless Monday!

Zucchini Mini Frittatas:

Ingredients:
3 large eggs
5 egg whites
1/2 c. Fage Greek yogurt
1/4 c. fresh basil, roughly chopped
300 grams (about 2 c.) zucchini (washed, dried, and freshly grated)
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
2. Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
3.Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs, egg whites, and Greek yogurt together until well mixed.
4. Add the basil, grated zucchini, and the Parmesan cheese and mix well.
5. Fill each muffin tin with the zucchini batter.
6. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
7. Allow the frittatas to cool completely before turning out.
8. Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt and garnish with fresh basil leaves.

MANGIA!!!

Remembering my Grandfather and a recipe for Almond Macaroons

Peeps @ age five

Early family photo

Army stud

Grandparents and Grandchildren (minus a few)

A Loving Grandfather

What a “G”: Looking fly in his tux and cowboy boots

Dad and Peeps

Peeps and Mamaw




Happy Sunday all,
Today I would like to remember a special member of my family, my grandfather, William Harvard Ethridge II. It was seven years ago today that my Peepaw (or Peeps to his grandchildren) lost his battle with leukemia and not a day goes by that I don’t think about him. I feel as though it was just yesterday that I was chatting with him over a bowl of pasta as we sat around my grandmother’s kitchen table. One of my favorite memories is spending the night at my grandmother’s house and waking in the wee hours of the morning to watch the television show “Cops” with Peeps. He was an avid fan of the show…I think it had something to do with being a police officer himself for several years. Even today I will wake up at 5 a.m. to watch re-runs of the show. I was looking through an old box of pictures the other day and came across the program from my grandfather’s funeral with a beautiful excerpt that went something like this: William Harvard Ethridge, born, February 7, 1935 in Lovelady, Texas. Named after his grandfather, he spent the early years of his life in a small home at 1132 Panama Street, north side, Houston, Texas. He was the second child, first son of William Clifton Ethridge and Pauline Dobson Ethridge. His older sister CliffaJean, sister Joanne, brother Robert, and sister Shirley. He attended school in Houston at Jeff Davis and entered the military at the age of eighteen. A veteran of the U.S. Army, her married my grandmother, Georgia Anne Matranga on July 20, 157, at Holy Name Catholic Church. They had nine children and twenty-two grandchildren (at the time…now I believe it is somewhere around twenty-three or twenty-four). His children called him Pops, his grandchildren called him Peeps, his siblings called him Rooster, and his friends called him Bill and my grandmother called him Honey. He was by all accounts a mans man, a “John Wayne” persona, big, tough, fearless to his enemies, righteous to His God, the ultimate protector of his family. His love for family could never be measured, only experience by those affected. He chose in life, the road less traveled, and for him that meant, selfless giving, unconventional sacrifice and steadfast loyalty to his wife, children, and grandchildren. Raising a family that size is a testimony of his greatness. My grandmother and he wrote the original “survivor” episode. The introductory trailer would preview the following…, “One man, one woman, nine children, these parents will do the unthinkable, feed, clothe, educate, pray, love, laugh, fight, and forgive, all the while remaining true to one another for many decades.” (That’s our reality (this was written by my Dad for the funeral)) This is our life, brought to us by a man who never wavered from his beliefs and his love for his children. Much like the gift God gave us through his son Jesus, my grandfather gave us the most precious gift, his undying love. Never sugarcoated with materialism. Just plain ole homemade vanilla love. My grandfather began fighting cancer over four years ago (from the date of his funeral). Known as CML (Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia), a silent battle against an enemy with no face, his only defense, his faith in God. Like a scene from a movie, he enters his battle, never knowing the enemies strengths, not visible are the next moves against him. All his trust and faith in God, this was his testament of God’s love for him. As the battle progressed, the wounds became visible, slowing his steps and blurring his vision. He prays silently, knowing all the while that God is with him. Throughout my grandfather’s life, God has tested his faith many times. It is this faith in God which protects him through these battles. Each day, he prays silently to himself, he asks the Lord for divine mercy. His children surrounded him. They could see the physical signs of the disease taking hold of him. He always said, “I feel fine, except for my legs hurt, my back is stiff, my eyes are cloudy, outside of that, I feel fine.” There were days when the pain became so great, bringing him to tears, motionless at times, slumped over in his chair, his heads in his hands, silently asking God to forgive him. We have lost the greatest father, husband, grandfather, and friend. He is gone to be with our Lord and Savior. He will suffer no more, his battle won, his victory is salvation, his blessings are many, his gift is God’s love. We will never forget you Daddy, Pops, Peeps, Rooster, Billy, my friend, we will carry your memory with us each day, in our words, our actions, our faith, and we trust that the Lord has mercy on you. Even though my grandfather is physically gone, I know that his spirit is still with me, and the rest of my family every day of the week. On another note, I have made a simple and sweet (like my grandfather) Almond Macaroon. I’m sure if he were here I would bring these to him and we would share them together. With that said, I love you and miss you Peeps. I hope you enjoy the recipe for my Almond Macaroons.

Almond Macaroons:

Ingredients:
1 egg white
1/4 c. agave nectar
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
2 c. blanched almond flour
1/8 tsp. sea salt

Instructions:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.
2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. In a large bowl, whisk the egg white to stiff peaks with a handheld mixer.
4. Whisk in the agave nectar, lemon zest, and vanilla extract.
5. Fold the almond flour and salt into the wet mixture.
6. Spoon the dough 1 tablespoon at a time onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving 2 in. between each macaroon.
7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden.
8. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 1 hour, then serve.

MANGIA!!!

Clueless about Kabocha Squash?




Happy Monday all,
I hope your weekend was swell! Mine was just dandy! Any plans for this week? I will be heading to Austin on Wednesday for an exciting job interview on Thursday so I thought I would post as many recipes as I could before my brief hiatus. Now, I was originally saving this recipe for the fall and winter months, however; it has become my ultimate weekly recipe and it would be unfair to my lovely followers if I went another day without sharing it. If you didn’t already know, I am an absolute squash fanatic, I love all kinds of squash: summer squash, pumpkin, zucchini, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, so, naturally today is all about my love for my new favorite squash, kabocha squash. Now, you might ask, what is kabocha squash? You may have spotted it at your local Whole Foods (because I have yet to find it offered at any other food markets), or at your neighborhood farmer’s market, if you are lucky. The first time I saw a recipe for kabocha squash was in Alicia Silverstone’s fabulous cookbook, The Kind Diet. I suggest you also visit Alicia’s awesome blog, The Kind Life, if you are clueless about kabocha (haha, get it, clueless?). Well here is my summary about kabocha squash: A relative newcomer to the US squash scene, Kabocha squash (pronounced kuh-boh-cha) is a hard winter squash available from late fall to late spring. Its hard, dull, bumpy dark green shell is marked with pale celery green striations. It’s rather heavy for its size (usually 2-3 pounds) and has a stumpy grayish colored stalk. Kabocha squash has a brilliant yellow-orange flesh, like a pumpkin’s. Both the texture and flavor of Kabocha squash is similar to a sweet potato: the soft, moist, fluffy flesh is surprisingly sweet and slightly nutty. Kabocha squash is a centuries-old variety of Japanese squash that in Japan is often referred to as a Japanese pumpkin. Apparently it was brought to Japan from Cambodia by the Spanish in the 1500s and is used in dishes ranging from soup to sushi. As its rich orange flesh indicates, Kabocha squash is high in beta carotene, a powerful health-promoting antioxidant. One 3/4’s cup serving of cooked Kabocha squash is only 30 calories yet provides 30% of your daily recommended vitamin C and a whopping 70% of vitamin A. It’s also high in dietary fiber, especially if you eat the skin, which turns soft when cooked. Now, kabocha squash is so delicious (I mean, seriously, it’s like candy), that you can eat it simply roasted and unadorned. But I have taken it one step further with my original recipe: Sweet Kabocha Squash Casserole. I am telling you now, I created this recipe a while back and I cannot stop eating it!!! It’s definitely my new addiction. I roast the kabocha squash in the oven with a sprinkle of brown sugar and a drizzle of olive oil. Then, I scoop the sweet and tender filling into the food processor for a quick whirl. I add a bit of sugar, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, Mexican vanilla, and cinnamon for that “Christmas-like”, comfort food taste. All of these flavors together really enhance the kabocha’s inherent sugary goodness. I hope you all enjoy this recipe, it is truly your go to Thanksgiving fix for the summer (in fact, I would definitely serve this in place of your traditional sweet potato casserole for your next Thanksgiving sha-bang)!

Sweet Kabocha Squash Casserole:

Ingredients:
1 Kabocha squash, cut in half, and seeded
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. brown sugar
1/4 c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 Tbs. Mexican vanilla extract
1 Tbs. cinnamon

Instructions:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 F.
2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place each halve of kabocha squash on the sheet.
3. Spoon 1 tablespoon of brown sugar into each of the halves and drizzle each halve with evoo.
4. Bake for 1 hour or until a spoon inserts easily into the skin of the squash.
5. Allow the squash to cool for 30 minutes.
6. Peel the skin from the squash and place the flesh or filling into a food processor.
7. Puree the squash in the food processor until well blended (I usually puree the first squash halve before adding the second, just to make the pureeing process easier).
8. Add the sugar, almond milk, Mexican vanilla, and cinnamon and puree until fully incorporated.
9. Sprinkle with a dash of cinnamon and serve immediately.

Optional: For a quick snack, I spread the squash on a slice of turkey breast and roll up. It’s like Thanksgiving all over again!

MANGIA!!!




How do you Edamame?

EDAMAME!

Parsley!

YUM

YUM

Happy Friday all,
Whoo-hoo! The weekend is here! Yes! Now that I have that out of my system, today is all about Edamame. Now, usually I find myself grubbing on a bowl of these yummy green soybeans at any Asian restaurant. Edamame is usually the only thing I order because I am not a big fan of Asian food (I never really got into the fried orange chicken thing (I doubt that dish uses oranges), nor am I a fan of chicken fried rice (I’d rather have chicken fried steak)). On a positive note, now that I am done bashing Asian cuisine, I do love spring rolls, sashimi, and of course, edamame. I love eating edamame with a sprinkle of coarse sea salt and maybe some soy sauce for dipping. While edamame is traditionally found in Asian cuisine, today it is getting a serious Italian face-lift. Now, I know you are asking yourself, “What has little miss Chelsy done now?” However, I assure you that this is an excellent idea for edamame, especially when you have had a bag of frozen edamame lurking in your freezer for a month, hidden behind the gallon of Blue Bell homemade vanilla, just screaming “Eat Me!” I know ice cream and edamame probably wouldn’t taste as good, so instead, I whipped up a quick, easy, and healthy Edamame Pesto Dip. BAM! Now that is taking Asian, and going Italian!!! I serve mine with these Baked Lentil Chips that my mom discovered at a local health food store. This pesto dip would be great served at your next party or any special occasion. Enjoy!!!

Edamame Pesto Dip:

Ingredients:
16 oz. bag frozen edamame, defrosted in the microwave according to manufacturer’s directions
3 whole cloves of garlic
1 bunch of Italian flat-leaf parsley
1/4 c. chopped walnuts, unsalted
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbs. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. sea salt

Instructions:
1. Defrost the edamame in the microwave (I defrosted for 6 minutes), allow edamame to cool for five minutes before opening the bag.
2. Using a food processor, blend the edamame, garlic, and parsley together for about 3 minutes.
3. Add the walnuts and blend once again, stream in the olive oil.
4. Fold the Parmesan into the edamame mixture using a spatula, sprinkle with salt and mix well.
5. Serve immediately.

*Note: You can also serve this edamame pesto dip after chilling it in the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving. Don’t forget chips. If you are looking for something healthier, I would suggest a veggie tray.

MANGIA!!!

Blogaversary, 4th of July, and GF Strawberry Almond Cupcakes!!!

Picturesque: Makes me think of a roadside stand in California

Naturally Sweet

Take One

Take Two

Fresh from the Oven

I Love

Homemade Whipped Cream

O.M.G.

Can’t get enough!

And again…

The.End.

Happy Sunday everyone (and a Happy early Fourth of July),
Today I am celebrating something special, Mangia’s birthday!!! On this day, one year ago, I put up my first blog post and entered the exciting world of food blogging. How insane is it that it has been an entire year already? Absolutely ridiculous, if you ask me! So ridiculous that I almost didn’t even realize it. Last week I had just finished dinner and was going through my after-dinner routine: eat a bowl of frozen yogurt + fruit, check email, check facebook, check twitter, check blog comments, stalk Craigslist: beginning with a job search under every possible heading (i.e. salon/spa/fitness, food/beverage/hospitality, customer service, etc.), moving on to look for a one bedroom apartment in Austin, and just for fun, ending with a gander at the pets for sale and/or adoption (I always dream that I will one day have my own place with a little basset hound named Gus Gus…if only), finally I end my computer time visiting my favorite food blogs. As I was gazing at the tantalizing pictures on one of my favorite food blogs, Joy the Baker, I reverted back to why I began a food blog in the first place…not only because of my passion for cooking and baking, but because of people like this that create dishes like this, and people that photograph food like this that inspire me to reach for my “little” foodie dreams. Suddenly I had a panic attack and what follows is an internal conversation that I had with myself: O.M. Gosh, it’s July. Did I miss my blogaversary? When did I start my blog? It was definitely before the Fourth of July, wasn’t it? Ugh…why can’t I remember…better take a look through my blog archives. Ugh, why is my Internet so slow? Here it comes, scroll…scroll…click…click. There’s a post about my grandfather, not that one, but yes, there it is my Bada Bing Shrimp and Sauce was the first one…saved by the bell. July 3rd. Need to make a mental note and put it on my phone calendar, or I will for sure forget! Blogaversary is Sunday!!! If you have learned anything about me over the course of the past year, you can bet that missing this day would have been absolutely, positively tragic. This is because I am a person who loves to CELEBRATE. From my dog’s birthday, to Thanksgiving, and Christmas, any place, any event, any time, anywhere. Tell me the occasion, and you can rest assure that I will be at your front door bearing a homemade dessert and a bottle of sparkling wine! Honestly, I celebrated last night. After all, Fourth of July is something to be celebrated all by itself, and let’s be honest there’s no chance these Strawberry Almond Cupcakes are going to make it through today. I really wish I could have a huge party and celebrate with all of you, especially my friends and family (who are either on vacation at the moment, working, or celebrating Fourth of July)! This past year has been a whirlwind of emotions for me, with a few rough patches here and there, but most of all, this year has been exciting, without a single dull moment. I have really enjoyed getting to meet all of you, and when I say meet, I mean personally (if you are a friend or family member), or by tracking my blog stats. I cannot tell you how many times I have found myself rolling with laughter from your blog comments and emails. Not to mention, the times I have found myself blushing when people say that they love my food blog…I guess I feel as though my blog isn’t as great and I still have a long way to go, so to get praise is an ah-mazing feeling. Anyway, it really bums me out that we couldn’t celebrate together, but you can think of this recipe as a little token of my appreciation for all of you, thank you all so much supporting Mangia and I, we really think you all are absolutely stellar followers! These Strawberry Almond Cupcakes are absolutely delightful, not to mention, gluten-free, with a subtle sweetness, and a simple homemade whipped cream topping that is light and airy. I would suggest making some right away and bringing them to your Fourth of July cookout! I look forward to spending the next year with all of you…I cannot wait to begin an exciting new food blog journey with new recipes, new friends, and hopefully a blog makeover! Wishing you all a very merry Blogaversary and an even happier Fourth of July!!! God Bless America!

Strawberry Almond Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Frosting (Gluten-Free):

Ingredients:

Strawberry Almond Cupcakes:
1 1/2 c. almond meal
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
4 large eggs
1/2 c. agave nectar
1 Tbs. Mexican vanilla extract
1 c. finely chopped strawberries

Whipped Cream Frosting:
1 c. heavy whipping cream
2 Tbs. agave nectar

Instructions:

Strawberry Almond Cupcakes:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Line 12 muffin cups with cupcake liners or spray each muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.
3. Using an electric mixer, combine the almond meal, sea salt, and baking soda.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, agave, and vanilla.
5. Blend the wet ingredients into the almond meal mixture using an electric mixer.
6. Fold the strawberries into the cupcake batter.
7. Scoop 1/4 c. of the batter into each prepared muffin cup.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 1 hour.

Whipped Cream Frosting:
1. Place the cream and agave in the bowl of an electric mixer, and beat using the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form.
2. Pipe the whipped cream over the cupcakes using a pastry bag with a piping tip or by transferring the whipped cream to a sandwich bag and cutting a tiny hole at one corner of the bag for easy distribution.

Note: Garnish each frosted cupcake with one strawberry, sliced into three or four vertical slices.

Makes 12 cupcakes.

MANGIA!!!