vegetable chicken wrap

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It becomes difficult to make healthy decisions when you don’t have adequate time to cook. The cheez its in the pantry and the left over mashed potatoes in the fridge are often the only food quick enough to keep you from passing out.

The past few weeks have been a little crazy while preparing for my first job since having our son which was promptly followed by a long weekend trip to Tahoe. I have needed to be quite efficient with my time while juggling an infant and a never ending to-do list, always doing my best to keep my body fueled with real, honest food. So, now that O is napping in his crib, I have been using some of that time to prepare some fast, healthy meals for times when I need to just grab something and I don’t have more than 5-10 minutes to spend in the kitchen.

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If you have some time in the evening (or during nap time), prepping the veggies ahead of time would make this wrap a two minute meal. Just warm the tortilla, slice an avocado, sprinkle on some feta, salt and pepper and you’re set. I tossed the julienned vegetables in a bit of spicy pesto, and added some roasted chicken for a square meal.  A variation of this wrap has become a staple for lunch time around here. Usually, it’s filled with whatever protein we have left over from the night before as well as the remaining bits of veggies that didn’t make it into our dinner salad.

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September 10, 2013. Tags: , , , , , . chicken, quick and easy, salads, summer, Whole Wheat. Leave a comment.

summer tomato tart + some exciting news!

This could turn out to be the most exciting summer of our lives. There have been so many changes around here that I don’t think our heads have stopped spinning. We have been through a whirlwind of travel and will continue to be dictated by the jet stream well into the beginning of fall. It has been such a glorious couple of months, most of which I hope to share with you sooner rather than later. For me, this time has been marked by a whole lot of soul searching and healthy doses of reality. I mentioned recently that I tend to jump right to the most extreme reaches of a situation and need to feel the pull of my tether (whom I warmly refer to as my husband). Thankfully, he keeps me grounded when the world is rushing around us.

There is actually one piece of news I would love to share with all of you, and since I tend to be a little impatient with all this good news rolling around in my head, at least this one can slip out, right? Well, come this September, I will be teaching cooking classes! This is something I am deeply looking forward to. They will be held in my home to begin with and will hopefully branch out to others homes, as well as new, inspiring venues. We will start by focusing on the basics of every day cooking and will eventually move on to more intensive subjects like tackling the always cumbersome Thanksgiving menu. My hope is that people who are not as confident as they would like to be in the kitchen will leave our home feeling well equipped in front of their own stove. Our first class will be Monday, September 10th at 6:30pm. We will be learning how to season food. Although that sounds simple, it is quite possibly your most powerful tool in the kitchen. I am always amazed by what a little salt can do.

If you are interested in taking a class, please contact me at odetogoodness@gmail.com and I will put you on the list to receive a calendar when one becomes available. Our first few classes will have limited space, so sign up soon if you’re interested. We are going to have a great time!

Now, on to this summer tomato tart. Normally, I try to avoid turning my oven on during the warm summer months. I do my best to plan meals around dishes that don’t need much cooking, or can be cooked outdoors on the grill. Our apartment has no air conditioning and it’s on the top floor. Just by putting two and two together you can imagine that equals a toasty home on really warm days. Adding the heat of a 400 degree oven usually doesn’t make it into that equation. However, I had some tart dough that was defrosted in the fridge that needed a filling, and well, there were these amazing little tomatoes at the market and raw tart dough is quite unpleasant to eat even with amazing tomatoes, so on went the oven…

This little tart comes together in no time flat as long as you have chilled tart dough ready to go. A purchased pie crust will work beautifully here as well if you don’t have any dough lingering in your fridge. If you plan ahead though, you might want to try making the crust at home. The recipe makes enough for two of these tarts, so freeze one and the next tomato tart you make will come together rather quickly.

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August 1, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . baking, quick and easy, summer, vegetarian, Whole Wheat. 18 comments.

double chocolate chip cookies

There is a good chance I’ll never be famous for anything. That ‘s not meant to be self-defeating, in fact, I don’t know that I’d like all the attention. I mean, who wants people to follow them around taking pictures of their cellulite, bad hair days and unfortunate run-ins with the law? I’ll stick to my quiet life in which my transgressions (cellulite related or otherwise) are kept mostly under wraps.

For some, fame isn’t a choice, it shows up on it’s own, often uninvited, knocking at your door whether you wanted it to or not. In the case of Diane Smith and her infamous chocolate chip cookies, the news was impossible to contain. After making these cookies for years, in massive amounts, satisfying many a sweet tooth, the probability of this secret staying in the recipe box was as likely as an orange tree producing apples. My guess is, “Can I have this recipe?” is the single most common query she receives. For young brides, mastering these cookies is a rite of passage into their matrimonial duties, and for the single men looking to impress a lady, successful execution could be the very thing that changes their relationship status forever.

Over the years, I have had the delectable pleasure of eating many more of these famous confections than one ever should, but had never made them myself, probably for good reason. Months ago, I baked through a batch with the legend herself, as she gave me tips along the way. On paper they look like any run of the mill chocolate chip cookie, but out of the oven they are nothing short of amazing. The cookies I share with you today are an adaptation of the original but still hold the elements that make this one of the best cookies I’ve ever had. I hope Diane doesn’t mind those photographers hiding in the bushes waiting to see her with chocolate on her face. I’m sure they are just hoping that she carries a dozen of her cookies in her purse at all times. (more…)

June 24, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , . baking, chocolate, cookie, dessert, quick and easy, vegetarian, Whole Wheat. 23 comments.

cherry tartlets

Remember when you were 13 and the last person on earth you wanted to confide in was your mom? According to my adolescent logic, my mom had no idea what kind of life I had to live or what sort of choices I had to make. She was put on this earth to irritate me and meddle in my very important business. There was no advice, no insight, no knowledge she could offer me that I didn’t already know, after all, I knew everything.

It wasn’t until I became an adult that I began to realize the humanity of my mother. I imagine the vast majority of us, even my own mom, have gone or will go through this very process. As I began to live on my own, do my own dishes, pay my own bills and make real life altering decisions, I realized, I needed my mom. I needed that advice I never took as a teenager and I needed her learned perspective. Finally understanding that she had lived through all of these things years before (not too many years mom, I know) helped me see what a resource she could be in my life, and that maybe we would begin to see each other not on different teams, but on the same one, together.

My husband lost his mom when he was 18, years before we met. I’m not sure if he ever made it to the stage where he appreciated her point of view and began to see her as a friend, but I know that if she were here now, he most certainly would. As we are now on the path to starting a family of our own, I think he would really love to sit down with her and ask what it was like for her to try to get pregnant, and how it felt when she finally did. I’m certain he would like to know if the feelings I have are in fact normal and what ways are best for showing his support of me.

This rolling pin belonged to her. As I was rolling out these small pastry shells I was wondering what it was like for her to feel a similar butter speckled piece of dough under her hands, rolling them out into petit circles. I wondered if we would bake together and if we did, what we might say to one another to pass the time. I’d love to ask her what Jon was like as a small boy, maybe gaining some insight into what our kids might be like one day. Most of all, I would have liked to find in her a friend, a confidant, just like I have in my own mother. From what others have told me, our personalities would have matched perfectly.

I believe every mom looks forward to the day when their children cherish them and their opinions. Though it’s a hard road traveled, I’m sure the destination is a great reward. If you’re a mom, thank you for fighting the good fight and when you’re in the thick of it, remember your children will grow up and one day they will call on you for your advice and will, I hope, find in you a faithful friend. (more…)

May 31, 2012. Tags: , , , , , . baking, dessert, fruit, vegetarian, Whole Wheat. 9 comments.

quick comfort

Some days a quick and wholesome breakfast is essential, for instance, today. I am suffering from what we like to call the common cold. I’m convinced my boss lovingly passed along his germs to me through his violent coughing attacks, during which he refused to cover his mouth. In all fairness, I’m not sure how much that actually prevents the spread of said germs but it makes me feel a whole lot better none the less. Wherever I contracted these tenacious little organisms matters not as the fact of the matter is, I’m at home with tissues piling up around me and I’m worried I might never be found under the ever growing mountain.

After finally rolling out of bed at 11am this morning, I forced myself to bathe. While I was using the shower as a steam treatment, I was pleasantly surprised to have a bit of an appetite. Knowing I can only manage to stand upright for about 15 minutes at a time, I’d have to make breakfast quick if I wanted something more comforting than cinnamon toast crunch. The most creativity I could muster was to take cereal one step further, to the hot variety. Steel cut oats are certainly healthier and offer more sustainability than a sugary cousin. I’m not exactly sure when I’ll be able to pull it together enough to get up off the couch and feed myself again, and sadly my husband is gone all weekend so I’m hoping extreme hunger will be enough to counter act the just-got-run-over-by-a-truck feeling, even if just for a short microwave cycle. (more…)

March 2, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , . breakfast, gluten free, quick and easy, vegan, vegetarian, Whole Wheat. Leave a comment.

the cookie to end all cookies

I am a strong believer in the power of a cookie. It’s a different type of dessert than say, a cake or a pie. A cookie feels different. Not too fancy or showy, just down to earth, like a friend you can really be you with. You can hold it with one hand, dunk it in milk if you’d like and you can bake two dozen of them in 20 minutes, start to finish. For me, this is the holy grail of cookies, the creme de la creme. With a crunchy outside and a soft center, every few bites giving way to a warm, gooey chocolate surprise. Now add in peanut butter and it’s just about the last cookie I’ll ever need.

There have been many famous cookie recipes floating around for some time now. The New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe is a good example. I have yet to try them, but they have become quite a cult classic. I’d like to take these two head to head and see who wins. I would put my money on the peanut butter all the way.  (more…)

February 22, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , . baking, chocolate, cookie, quick and easy, Whole Wheat. 8 comments.

berry pie with whole wheat crust

When I know that I should do something, every fiber in my being wants to avoid that thing as if my next breath depends upon it. It’s an immediate reaction stemming from somewhere I’m unsure of, but it really tends to get in the way for me. I wish I could get it right on the first try and act out of reason with the end goal in mind but if I’m completely honest, I lack things like reason.

I’ve been offered a great opportunity for a little side project and although I’m super excited about it, I’m also dragging my feet. It could be because the first recipe I tried to develop was a total flop, but it could just as easily be that I feel the pressure to perform and it all feels a little reminiscent of stage fright. Either way, today I finally pulled myself from behind the proverbial curtain, out onto the stage and did the very best I could. My mother always taught me that when you’re on stage, you’re going to get applause no matter what because they’ll either clap to congratulate you or they’ll clap to get you off the stage. I’m happy to report that this performance garnered applause for the former reason, and even summoned an encore, from everyone. I’d say that’s a win.  (more…)

October 24, 2011. baking, dessert, fruit, vegetarian, Whole Wheat. 1 comment.

wheat drop biscuits with marjoram + black pepper

I feel like I’m finally back in the groove. For awhile there, I couldn’t bring myself to cook anything at all. In the middle of summer, when we decided to move south, I just couldn’t find time with the many 4o mile trips back and forth between apartments to make anything even resembling food. Unfortunately, I never really regained consciousness until now. The coolness of fall has roused me and I’m back to finding flour in my hair every morning. Even if that’s inconvenient (and weird), I’m happy to be feeling like me again.  (more…)

October 9, 2011. baking, bread, breakfast, quick and easy, sides, Whole Wheat. Leave a comment.

roasted cauliflower

News flash: roasted cauliflower is amazing! Yes, I’m sure that statement isn’t exactly ground breaking, but here at our house it is. This stuff is good. So good that I could eat buckets of it and not even feel a tid bit of remorse. In fact, I had a difficult time getting any of it into a proper dinner-worthy dish. Go ahead. Try it, and then tell me you had self control. I won’t believe a word of it.

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April 26, 2011. quick and easy, spring, vegetarian, Whole Wheat. 3 comments.

birthday dinner: farro and a fresh spring salad

Birthdays are my favorite. They hold such joy and evoke beautiful things like gifts, love notes and good food. Growing up, our family always made our birthdays into large productions. We were conditioned at an early age to expect great things on our special day. Although I feel bad for those responsible for the birthday plans in my adult life (because it’s truly hard to live up to the expected hype) I would not trade those celebrations for anything. My mother however, has resigned to the quieter variations. I’m not sure if that’s due to the fact that it’s more fun for her to dote on us, or if it’s that she is trying to divert attention from her age. She doesn’t want all of her friends to find out that she has been 29 for the last 24 years. They’d be jealous.

This year, Mom’s request was a steak dinner with just the girls. We honored her request and hosted a small dinner, just the four of us, on my sister’s deck in the middle of the forest. It was wonderfully simple and I hope, the perfect way to show our love for her.

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April 20, 2011. quick and easy, sides, vegetarian, Whole Wheat. 8 comments.

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