Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies!

The other day as I was making oatmeal for breakfast and came across this recipe on the back of the Trader Joe’s Rolled Oats package. My empty afternoon turned into one where I was making these cookies.

I’m not one who preaches or swears by a gluten-free diet. In fact, I think is preposterous unless you ACTUALLY have a wheat allergy or Celiac Disease. My mom, Marcia Nelson who is a registered dietitian, wrote an article, “Deciding to go Wheat-Free?" on the gluten-free diet "trend" and how ridiculous it is (that is unless you can’t eat wheat). 

Anyway, the recipe happens to be gluten-free, so if you can’t have wheat you’re in luck, and for those who can eat wheat, well who cares because these cookies are good without it. 


3/4 cup white sugar (I used turbinado sugar) 

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup butter (I used unsalted)

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla (I doubled this because I always double the vanilla in cookies)

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

1 cup peanut butter ( I used REAL peanut butter where the only ingredient is peanuts. No salt, no sugar or other added garbage.)

3 cups rolled oats

6 oz chocolate chips

1/2 sunflower seeds or chopped walnuts (I didn’t have these around but I bet they’re good in the cookies)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine sugar, brown sugar and butter and beat until creamy. Add eggs, vanilla and baking soda and mix well. Add peanut butter and mix. Stir in oats, chocolate chips and nuts. Place teaspoon full of dough (I made mine bigger. Who likes to eat a small cookie?!) on a lightly greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly brown around edges. 

They were really quite good!


Black Bean Sweet Potato Burritos

This is one of my family’s favorite recipes from the Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites Cookbook.  My mom often modifies recipes (she hates when things are too oniony or garlicky) so the modifications/my notes are in bold italics.  

  • 5 cups peeled cubed sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons canola or other vegetable oil
  • 3-1/2 cups diced onions (I only did about 2.5 cups)
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed (only 3 small ones)
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh green chile (omitted these)
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 4 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 4-1/2 cups cooked black beans (three 15-ounce cans, drained)
  • 2/3 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves (omitted this- i hate cilantro no matter how hard I try to like it)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 eight-inch flour tortillas (I used wheat ones)
  • I add cheddar cheese to mine! 
  • Fresh tomato salsa or jarred (if you have it on-hand. i didn’t)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan with the salt and water to cover. (I prefer to roast the sweet potatoes. Just put about three of them in the oven- be sure to poke them with a fork- and roast them for about 45 min on 400 degrees. I do this ahead of time while I’m doing something else and then by the time I’m ready to make the burritos they are cool enough to peel and cut.)  Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. 

While the sweet potatoes are cooking, warm the oil in a medium skillet or saucepan and add the onions, garlic, and chiles. Cover and cook on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender, about 7 minutes. Add the cumin and coriander and cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and set aside. 

In a food processor (I used an Immersion hand blender), combine the black beans, cilantro, lemon juice, salt, and cooked sweet potatoes and puree until smooth. (You can also mash the ingredients in a large bowl by hand using a potato masher. The result will be a less smooth but nicely textured filling.) Transfer the sweet potato mixture to a large mixing bowl and mix in the cooked onions and spices. 

Lightly oil a large baking dish. Spoon about 2/3 to 3/4 cup of the filling in the center of each tortilla, (I add some shredded cheddar cheese) roll it up, and place it, seam side down, in the baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake for about 30 minutes, until piping hot. (I like to take off the foil halfway through so the tortillas are a little crunchy.) Serve topped with salsa. 

Yield: 4 to 6 servings (Mine made 8. I think it’s because I don’t use massive tortillas, but kinda small ones.) 


Vegetarian Lentil Stew

I’m a huge fan of soups and stews. They are super easy, filling, yield a lot of food and are fairly cheap to make. I usually don’t follow any sort of recipe but make it up as I go.

Here is a vegetarian lentil soup recipe I made a couple weeks ago. It is healthy and was super delicious. Lentils are a great source of fiber and protein and the sweet potatoes are high in fiber too. Let me know what you think and if you modified it in any way that you think is better. 


3 tbs olive oil

2 cloves garlic chopped (my knives are crap so I could only slice the garlic)

1 onion chopped

1 large (or 2 small) sweet potatoes peeled and chopped

2 carrots sliced

3 celery stalks chopped

2 tsp. cumin

5 cups organic low sodium vegetable broth

2.5 cups cooked lentils (I use Trader Joe’s pre-steamed lentils- they are already cooked and ready to go. This saves a ton of time! If you can’t find them, then follow the instructions on a bag of dried lentils and cook enough for 2.5 cups ahead of time.)

1 cup frozen corn


In a large pot, saute garlic, onion, sweet potatos, carrots and celery for 15 minutes or until until they are softening. Add the cumin and stir and additional 30 seconds.  Next add the vegetable broth and simmer for another 15-20 minutes. Next add the lentils and simmer until the sweet potatoes are fully cooked in the soup. (note: the sweet potatoes take the longest to cook, so when they are done, the soup is done). Add the frozen corn. Stir until warm. Add salt and pepper to taste. (note: if the stew is too thick, add more broth until you get the consistency you like). I topped my soup with some feta cheese and a piece of nan bread. 


Not lovin’ it. (Via MNN.)


Not lovin’ it. (Via MNN.)

Tags: McDonalds

Fregola Salad with Broccoli (attempt!)

I saw Giada De Laurentiis make this recipe for Fregola Salad with Broccoli and Cipollini Onions the other day of the Food Network. I made several modifications due to what I could find, what I had on hand and what sounded good. See her recipe below and my notes (in bold).

All in all it was ok. The pasta to vegetable ration was way off in my opinion (I like lots of veggies). I’m hoping to make it again the way the recipe is meant to be made. If anyone makes it the “right” way, let me know how it is! 



• 1 pound fregola or orzo pasta, or Israeli couscous (I only a bag with a blend of  isreali couscous , Orzo, baby garbanzo beans and red quinoa)

• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

• 2 cups (about 10 ounces) cipollini onions, peeled and halved, or quartered if large (I used yellow onions)

• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 3 cloves garlic, minced (I used 2 small cloves b/c I had a job interview in the morning!)

• 1 pound broccoli, cut into small florets

• 1/3 cup water

• 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (I had garbanzos in the cabinet, so I used those)

• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan



• 2 large lemons, zested and juiced

• 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

• 2 tablespoons honey

• 3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

• 1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided

• 1 cup (about 1 ounce) chopped fresh chives (omitted)

For the salad: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. (Instead I used low sodium vegetable stock, to give it more flavor). Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and place in a large serving bowl. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until golden and tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds until aromatic. Add the broccoli and sauté for 1 minute. Add the water and scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Cover the pan and cook until the broccoli is tender, about 4 minutes. Add the beans and cook for 1 minute until warmed through. Transfer the onion mixture to the serving bowl. Add the Parmesan cheese and toss with the fregola.

For the dressing: In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, honey, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Whisk until smooth. Stir in the chives.

Pour the dressing over the fregola and toss well until coated. Season with the remaining 3 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon pepper and serve.

(more pictures on flickr


American Dudes & Fast Food

I came across this Mashable article yesterday and can’t believe so many people are still eating this hideous crap. 

Flexitarians + vegetarians, what do you get if you have to eat at one of these places? I’ve driven across the country more times than I’d like to admit, and my go-to meal was usually a Wendy’s baked potato and a wilted salad (if not the crumpled bag of crushed Mary’s Gone Crackers at the bottom of my purse.) 

Infographic courtesy Lab 42, graphic by iStockphoto

Tags: Fast Food

Fish Tacos

After a long run around the Charles River, I made fish tacos for lunch. It’s healthy and pretty easy to prepare… and they turned out delicious. It even got the boyfriend approval.


• 4-5 tbs olive oil (Maybe more, maybe less. I just poured enough to coat the pan)

• 2 thin fillets of a white fish thawed ( I used Turbot) 

• 1 egg

• About 1 ½ cups Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)  

• 1/2 tsp salt

• 1 tsp pepper

• Small organic corn tortillas

• Toppings: lime juice, shredded cheese, tomato, avocado, etc.


Heat olive oil in skillet on medium heat. Make sure you have enough olive oil to thickly coat the bottom of the pan. Next, set up a small assembly line with your fish, a bowl with a beaten egg, and a plate with a bed of Panko crumbs seasoned with salt and pepper (just mix with fingers).

Take your fish and dip it into egg. Make sure it’s coated. Next, place you fish in the Panko mixture coating both sides in crumbs. Do this to both fillets. Place in skillet. My fillets were very thin and took about 4 minutes on each side. Yours may take longer. Pan fry until the outside is golden and the center is cooked.

Warm up your corn tortillas in a separate skillet. Fill your tacos with the fish and any toppings you’d like. I had some left over roasted sweet potato slices and they were wonderful inside the tacos along with some lime juice, lettuce, avocado and shredded cheddar.    

It made about 4 tacos. I had two and am now stuffed, with my jeans button… unbuttoned.  

(enjoy larger photos on flickr)


Polenta and Zucchini with Broccolini

So about every two months my refrigerator, thinking it’s hilarious, stops working. I think the person who designed the thing was seriously inebriated. See, the sensor that determines the temperature of the fridge is right under the freezer box. Now the area right under the freezer section is indeed cold with a 2-inch thick crust of ice on it, but the fridge toward the bottom where I keep all my veggies is room temperature, and my produce is getting fashionable fuzzy white sweaters of mold.

Anyway, so at this point I’m trying to use every last ingredient in my fridge, making up odd (and sometimes boring) things for dinner. Including the one below. But if you too are having fridge problems and happen to be stuck with polenta and zucchini, then this recipe will suit you just fine.

Polenta and Zucchini


• 1 tbs olive oil

• 1 package of prepared polenta sliced into ½ inch slices (note: I buy a polenta “log” from Trader Joe’s. It’s super convenient.)

• ¼ onion chopped

• 1 zucchini chopped

• 1 cup spaghetti sauce

Instructions: Heat the olive oil in skillet on medium heat. Sautee zucchini and onion until tender. Push the veggies off to the side of the pan and place the polenta slices in the skillet- no worries if they overlap. You may need more oil so the polenta doesn’t stick. Cook polenta until slightly golden on both sides. (As you can tell in the supplied pics, I was too impatient to wait until they were “golden.” When I made this last night, I was too tired, too lazy and too starving.) Next, pour the spaghetti sauce over the veggies and polenta and heat until warm. Top with parm if you’d like (I liked.)



• Broccolini

• Sesame oil

Instructions: For the broccolini, put a ½ inch water in the bottom of a medium saucepan with the broccolini drizzled with sesame oil and place over medium high heat. Steam until a bright green color and slightly crunchy. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 



The Plate vs. The Food Pyramid

Due to the confusion with the food pyramid, The USDA has now come out with an easy to digest (pun intended!) “plate” visual. The website is quite comprehensive and let’s you navigate the each section and explore new options. For more information here is a Wall Street Journal article.

What do you think? Is this easier than the pyramid? I think so!