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Polenta Pizzette

DSC_0146I whipped up this pizzette recipe in my head, and then in my kitchen, and it is a winner winner pizzette dinner. Although I finally mastered making polenta on the stovetop, I still like the prepared polenta that comes in a tube. Call me lazy, but it’s one less pot to scrape clean after a night of cooking. I had my tube of polenta on hand, some pizza sauce, soy mozzarella, and some sliced portabella mushrooms so I whipped up little baby polenta pizzas, or pizzettes!

DSC_0149First I preheated the oven to 350 degrees. I sliced the polenta about1/3” rounds and placed them on a greased pan. Next I put on about a tablespoon of pizza sauce on each round, and a slice of soy mozzarella. Then I popped these pizzettes in the oven.

Meanwhile, I sautéed my sliced mushrooms til they were nice and soft, about 10 minutes. Once they were done, I brought my pizzettes out of the oven and topped them with the sautéed  mushrooms, and kept cooking them for another 20 minutes (30 minute total cook time). 

DSC_0150They came out perfectly, with the cheese starting to toast and turn golden colored. The polenta acts as a “crust” but is still soft, unlike pizza crust, and more like solid mashed potatoes. You’ll just have to try it for yourself to taste!

A Homemade Life author Molly Wizenberg

The other night Jess and I went Brookline Booksmith to hear a favorite author, Molly Wizenberg, speak and do a reading from her book A Homemade Life. I read this book within the last year and while I was reading, felt like I was chatting with a good friend in her kitchen over a cup of tea. I would read a few pages before bed and 9 times out of 10 wound up having a dream about food and would wake up hungry! I love how Molly was encouraged to start a food blog (called Orangette) by a friend of hers, back when food blogs were a lot less common, and it spiraled into a best selling book.

Here is a blurb from Amazon.com about her book:

In A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, Molly Wizenberg recounts a life with the kitchen at its center. From her mother’s pound cake, a staple of summer picnics during her childhood in Oklahoma, to the eggs she cooked for her father during the weeks before his death, food and memories are intimately entwined. You won’t be able to decide whether to curl up and sink into the story or to head straight to the market to fill your basket with ingredients for Cider-Glazed Salmon and Pistachio Cake with Honeyed Apricots.

The bookstore was packed with fans. Jess and I had to stand in the back! Molly read a chapter from her book about her father and potato salad and I remembered reading that chapter, craving a mayo-drenched potato salad. And I hate mayo drenched anything, but Molly makes it sound so mouth watering. She answered great questions about her book, her new restaurant, and her favorite restaurants in Seattle. Afterwards she signed books and I decided to buy one too. This goes to show how much I really loved her book. I rarely buy books (unless it’s a nerdy nutrition book) and I never read a book twice, but this book I plan to. It was that good. Have you read it? Here’s a sneak peak at one of my favorite parts: Molly met her husband through her blog. Awww love at food sight.


My favorite thing that Molly said was that food does not exist in a vacuum. You can’t look at food alone. Food has everything to do with the people you eat with, where you are, how you feel, what you cook, and the experience of it all. I couldn’t have said it better myself. For all you food lovers, this is a must read.

Sweet Potato Bar

Many of my clients are looking for quick, family-friendly meal ideas. One idea I go back to over and over with them is the idea of a bar. Think taco bar, pasta bar, sweet potato bar, etc. Kids can choose which toppings they enjoy and feel like they have control over their meal, which also makes them more likely to eat it. Also, if one family member loves jalapenos in their taco, and the other can’t take the heat, the meals can be customized and everyone is happy with their creation.

On Friday night Funk and I enjoyed a sweet potato bar together at home. I started by cooking two sweet potatoes in the microwave for about 8 minutes to get them soft. Then I cut them in half to get the taters ready for all the toppings:

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  • Vegetarian Refried Beans
  • Peach Salsa
  • Shredded Soy Cheese
  • Guacamole

Those Trader Joes (veg) refried black beans with jalapenos were incredible! They were so flavorful, lightly spicy, and made a great topping on the potatoes. I’ll be buying these more to use interchangeably with hummus as a sandwich or cracker spread.

A lot of people think potatoes are a “bad” food. Wrong! Potatoes actually have more potassium than a banana and hold much of their nutrients, including loads of fiber, in their skin. Sweet potatoes are stuffed with vitamin A. So enjoy your potatoes – stick with a small-medium sized tater – with the skin on.

We topped the potatoes and put them in the toaster oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese, then scooped some guacamole I had made on the side. It was a delicious complete meal, easy, and easy to please.

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A Veggie Wonderful Belated Birthday Treat

I know, I know, my birthday was almost a month ago and I already posted about it. But I just have to share this adorable and thoughtful gift I received from my Don’t (White) Sugar Coat It friend Elizabeth.

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She surprised me with this supremely adorable [veggie] tote with a broccoli floret right on it. So cute! Anything food related makes me so happy, so this tote clearly did the trick. It is from Food Tee, which I had actually seen featured in magazines. Check out some of the other clever items they have. I love the [stalker] design with a celery stalk. Ha! What’s your favorite?

I also got a jar of natural peanut butter from Iceland! That’s right – Elizabeth took a trip there this month and I have the creamy + crunchy peanut butter to prove it! I already tasted a scoop and it’s fab. I can’t wait to put it in my morning oats.

Thank you Elizabeth! If you want to check out just how awesome she is, head on over to her blog.

Mushroom Mozzarella Panini

DSC_0021With Passover starting this week, we decided to use up some bread that was taking up space in the freezer. So Sunday night I whipped up some grilled Mushroom Mozzarella Paninis for a quick dinner.

I started by grilling portabella mushrooms on our grill pan for a DSC_0023 few minutes on each side. Next I spread some BBQ sauce on either side of the bread, topped it with some fresh basil leaves, and a thin slice of soy mozzarella. When the mushrooms were  soft and grilled, I placed them in the sandwiched which I then grilled whole for a few minutes. Voila! I enjoyed this sandwich paired with a spinach salad, while Funk ate it in the other room in the midst of his Fantasy Baseball draft. He did yell from the living room, “This is awesome!” Simple success! DSC_0026

I dined while reading Jillian Michael’s Master Your Metabolism book, which was recommended by my friend Nicole. I love Jillian Michaels, but was skeptical because she’s no dietitian, and I haven’t agreed with everything she’s said about food on the Biggest Loser. Here’s a little blurb about her book from Amazon.com:

Michaels (Making the Cut; Winning by Losing), the strength trainer for television’s The Biggest Loser, here addresses the influence that hormone balance—affected by estrogen, insulin, testosterone, cortisol, epinephrine, leptin, and others—has on weight loss. Various internal and external influences can cause hormones to over- or underproduce, resulting in not only weight gain but serious illness. Michaels’s plan emphasizes natural foods, organically grown and unprocessed. She describes which foods affect which hormones and how plastics and pollutants in our air and water and additives in many different products can also cause imbalances. She makes a good case for not using bioidentical hormones.

I’m just about finished the book and it is very informative, blunt and realistic, and has some darn good information about taking the crap out of our diets. It’s made me more aware of all the lurking plastic, hormones, and junk in our diets. Even my whole mushrooms I bought for the sandwich were wrapped in plastic on a styrofoam tray. Unnecessary! I’d recommend this book to anyone looking to clean up your diet, get your hormones in check, and all-around eat better. 

Pulse Cafe, Somerville

A few months ago I learned about a new vegan restaurant called Pulse Cafe that opened in Somerville’s Davis Square, and have had it on my “must visit” restaurant list ever since. Reading a recent article on Hegans (he-vegans) in the Boston Globe reminded me about this restaurant so Funk and I headed there for a Saturday night date. The small restaurant was packed but we were seated quickly.

We started off with the Incan Salad which was loaded with quinoa, black beans, roasted corn (which didn’t seem roasted to me), and poblano chiles (don’t remember anything spicy) on a bed of romaine with an agave-lime dressing and a few tortilla chips. The ingredients in the salad were good, but the dressing was barely there. We were famished, so we scarfed it down. DSC_0015

I ordered the Barbecue Seitan which came with mashed potatoes and green beans, while Funk ordered the Chimichana. We were were surprised to see this was pretty much a burrito filled with ground seitan, refried beans, shredded cashew jack, brown rice, peppers and onions, served with sour cream (vegan) and kale. Funk and I typically order two dishes we both want, eat half, and then swap plates.

The seitan was delicious and made right in the restaurant. I loved the tangy, zesty BBQ sauce and felt like I was having a typical meat n’ potatoes meal. I don’t typically gravitate towards mashed potatoes, but these were good. The green beans were…plain. Don’t get me wrong, I eat my veggies plain all the time, but when I go to a restaurant I expect a little more than veggies that were merely steamed. I also think if you’re going to try to entice people to eat meat-free meals, you have to make the vegetables – the “meat” of the meal – delicious! DSC_0016

Funk’s chimichana was good. I didn’t care for the sour cream but he did. And I was so excited for the sautéed kale, which once again, was plain. It was tough even for me to enjoy naked kale. DSC_0019

We started to notice people coming in to eat and then promptly leaving. After this happened a few times, we heard it was because the restaurant ran out of food. At 8:45pm! Kudos to them for having such a large crowd, but ouch. Bad business. When we asked for the dessert menu, we learned the were out of the sweet stuff too. Bummer! 

I don’t typically give negative food reviews on this blog. I guess I had very high expectations for this restaurant and was so excited for the new vegan hot spot on the block. I think it has a lot of potential in Davis Square, which is swarming with Tufts students and unique restaurants. I do plan on returning, especially when Pulse Cafe opens its doors for Sunday Brunch, but I do hope they jazz up their veggies a bit and make sure they are prepared for a crowd before then! 

WordPress is my new home

Hello! This is just a test. I’m switching from Blogger to WordPress and am just fiddling around, getting my bearings here. Thanks!

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