2014 in Review!

2015. That happened fast.

In the last year I graduated college, backpacked through Peru for 6 weeks, hiked Machu Picchu to the top in time for the summer solstice sunrise, moved from Richmond to Atlanta, started graduate school, got my own apartment, started hip hop classes, cut my hair three times, and ate a LOT of really good food.

It was a crazy year, a beautiful year, but a crazy one none the less.

In the midst of all that transition, I did my best to keep this food blog running, and am so grateful to all of you who kept coming back- all 21,000 viewers! I learned a lot, and am already excited for some of the recipes I have planned for 2015. It is going to be quite a delicious year!

In celebration of the last year, I thought I’d recap the most popular 20 recipes posted in 2014. Hopefully you saw these when they were posted, but if not, here’s your second chance!  Huzzah! I hope you enjoy these treats as much as I did. Happy cooking, and a very very happy 2015 to you.

With love, Sarah

Top 20 Recipes from 2014!

1. Mediterranean Tempeh with Apricots and Capers

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2. The World’s Most Delicious (and Easy!) Chocolate Cake

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3. Sweet Potato Crusted Spinach Quiche

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4. Sweet Potato Quinoa Cakes with Blackberry Salsa

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5. Pumpkin Spice Bread with Streusel Topping

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6. Hawaiian Quesadillas with Caramelized Onion, Roasted Mushrooms, and Spinach

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7. Creamy Pumpkin Pasta with Roasted Rosemary

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8. Spiced Pumpkin Pie Dip

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9. Baked Acorn Squash with Walnuts and Cranberries

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10. Black Bean Hawaiian Chili

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11. Easy Eggplant Parmesan

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12. Baked Sesame Tofu Sticks with Peanut Ginger Dipping Sauce

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13. Homemade Ginger Ale & Variations

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14. Gluten- Free Cranberry Apple Crisp

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15. Sweet Potato and Smoked Gouda Grits

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16. Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

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17. White Bean Hummus with Lime, Parsley, and Cilantro

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18. Chocolate Dipped Clementines with Sea Salt

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19. Homemade Chocolate Granola

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20. Healthy Mexican Sweet Potato Skins

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The Best Car Snacks!

For some reason, in my head, car rides equal car snacks.  The two just go together perfectly! Rarely will you ever catch me making a trip without making or baking a snack for the road before hand, even if the trip is only two hours long. It’s embarrassing.

Over time I have found some treats and recipes that work really great in the car, and others that don’t work nearly as well. So, I thought I would compile the good list and share it with you, my trusty viewers.

I will continue to update the list with every new and delicious car snack, so check back often, and happy travels!

– Sarah

From Top (Right to Left): 

  1. Holiday Trail Mix
  2. Chewy Chocolate Cherry Vegan Granola Bars
  3. Roasted Chickpeas
  4. Homemade Clif Bars
  5. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
  6. No-Bake Energy Bites*
  7. Homemade Wheat Thins
  8. Vegan Strawberry Oat Bars
  9. Baked Kale Chips
  10. Greek Yogurt Fruit Bites*
  11. Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal Cups
  12. Homemade Chocolate Granola
  13. Pomegranate Seeds

Requires (*), or would benefit (**), from a cooler on long rides!

Mozzarella and Basil Stuffed Eggplant Slices

 

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There’s something about Basil and fresh vegetables that just feels right for summer nights.  Usually when I am craving some fresh basil and veggies I’ll throw together some pasta or make a pizza- easy go-to meals.  A few nights ago however, I was in the need of something a little lighter, which led me to this delicious dish.

This dish has a lot of the flavors associated with pizza or pasta, but substitutes out the bread and carbs with delicious roasted eggplant, making this a nutritious and delicious gluten-free option.   You’ll feel like you’re eating a pizza with the delicious melted mozzarella, Italian seasoning, and basil, however your body will feel much better than it does after pizza.

Serve these eggplant rolls as an appetizer or as a meal for two, with a big bowl of fresh fruit and a toss salad.  Summer has arrived!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh chopped basil + leaves to garnish
  • 1 -14 oz. can of chopped tomatoes (with added herbs)
  • Italian herb seasoning mix (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400˚ F and lightly brush a baking sheet with olive oil.
  2. Slice the eggplant lengthwise into 8 thin slices.  For the slices on the end and that primarily have skin on one side, feel free to grate some of that off (the skin can be slightly chewy if not cooked long enough!).
  3. Brush each slice with olive oil, place on the baking sheet, and bake for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the eggplant from the oven and sprinkle each slice with mozzarella cheese and basil.  Roll each slice up and place in a single layer baking dish.
  5. Pour the can of chopped tomatoes over the eggplant slices and return the dish to the oven. Bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the sauce bubbles and the cheese melts.
  6. Remove the slices from the oven and garnish with additional basil leaves and a sprinkle of Italian herb seasoning mix on top.  Serve warm and enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Source: Easy Vegetarian Cookbook by Love Food
  • If you like this recipe, check out these other yummy dishes from ‘a rented kitchen!’:

 

 

 

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Roasted Eggplant with Tomatoes, Mint, and Goat Cheese

Filo-Wrapped Asparagus with Two Dipping Sauces

Filo-Wrapped Asparagus with Two Dipping Sauces

Tempeh Potstickers with Sesame Soy Dipping Sauce

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Ok. It turns out I really really like cooking Asian inspired foods. I don’t know why! I didn’t grow up eating homemade spring rolls or wonton soup, but now that I’m in my own kitchen, those are some of my go-to meals! Funny how life works, right?

I have tried several Asian-inspired recipes, but have never tried postickers, so I figured it was about time. Good news- they’re Awesome. So delicious. I made a big batch of these for my boyfriend and I on Valentine’s Day and we devoured them.

I had several left-over gyoza wrappers after Valentine’s Day, so last week I was made potstickers with anything and everything I could find in the house- rice, beans, cabbage, red pepper, you name it, it went in a potsticker.

I can tell you after a week of potstickers, that while all methods are delicious, my preference is steamed potstickers. These picture show my fried potstickers, however I found the steamed potstickers are more moist and a little softer. Whatever method you chose though, you cannot go wrong.

Happy cooking!

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Potstickers Ingredients:     

  • 2- 3 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 block tempeh, cut into thin slabs
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, diced small
  • 1 cup Napa cabbage, diced small
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 scallions, diced
  • 2 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Dash of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • Gyoza wrappers (circular!)*

Dipping Sauce Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1-2 teaspoons hot-chili sesame oil or 1-2 teaspoons plain Chinese sesame oil (I used plain sesame oil!)
  • 1 green onion, cut into thin rings

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet with a tight fitting lid, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Arrange the tempeh in a single layer and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  2. Sautee the mushrooms, cabbage, ginger, and olive oil with 1 Tablespoon olive oil.
  3. While the vegetables sauté, crumble the tempeh into small pieces.
  4. Add the tempeh, scallions, soy sauce, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes into the mushrooms mixture. Cook for one to two more minutes, remove from heat, and stir in the fresh cilantro.
  5. Place the wonton wrappers on a clean surface. Brush the edges with a light layer of water (this helps the potstickers adhere to themselves).
  6. Place about 1 Tablespoon of the vegetable/tempeh mixture on the center of each wonton. Fold the top half of the wonton wrapper onto the bottom half, and pinch closed. (I used a crimping method, which involves pleating one half of the wonton and pressing it onto the other half. It might take a few tries, but it really is easy once you get the hang of it!)
  7. Cooking option:
    1. Fry/Steam: Heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet (the same skillet you used for the tempeh will work!) Fry the potstickers for 1-2 minutes, or until they are dark golden brown on the bottom. Add 1/3 cup of water to the pan, cover with the lid, and continue cooking for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, remove the lid and cook until all the water is gone.
    2. Steam: Heat a large pot halfway full with water on medium-high heat. Place the pot stickers in a steaming basket or on a wire rack over the pot, and cover with the lid (if possible). Allow for the potstickers to steam for 5-10 minutes, or until soft.
  8. Sauce Directions: Combine all ingredients; check the flavor for a balance of salt, heat, etc. Serve on the side of the potstickers.

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Notes and Tips!: