Thursday, September 22, 2011

Inside the Fridge of a College Student

The world was on my side today when it started pouring this afternoon. I didn't have to defend my laziness to anyone! It was wonderful. I did some reading and enjoyed some more tea.

I made a seriously good dinner tonight and it was super easy. Grilled chicken, roasted zucchini squash, and a salad. Yum. I thought it'd be fun to show y'all inside the fridge of a college student while the zucchini roasted! Lets do this.

Jimmy Johns menu front center, naturally. And that handsome guy there on the top right? My pops. He says I may as well have a picture of him as a baby on my fridge since it's so old...I ignore him and put a picture of my nephew up there instead.

We've got some carrots, leftover tomato cream pasta, pickles, feta, leftover black beans, applesauce, synergy I need to finish, salad dressing, apple, strawberries, goat cheese, homemade salsa, half a zucchini.

yogurt, tomato paste, bacon grease, farm fresh eggs, red onion, last slice of banana nut bread, more bread, olives and random stuff hiding in the back, salad mix, milk, cream, leftover rice, random cheeses.

On to the freezer!

Some morning star crumbles and bacon, sunshine burgers, black bean and cheese taquitos, edamame in the back, tilapia fillets, chicken, vegetarian black bean enchiladas on the bottom, kerr jar of walnuts.

The door is boring...couple bags of frozen fruit, ice cream, cooler packs, and beer glasses...obviously.

Now onto dinner!

My freezer is ALWAYS stocked people. Because I'm thrifty :)

I started by butterflying and pounding out chicken. My mom calls this method "the Rachael Ray"

This little guy turned into THIS little guy

<3 my grill pan. This is my mothers...I have a cast iron one that is wonderful, but I have electric stoves here so things didn't work out. My mother is happily grilling now though.

So, so good. I think the roasted zucchini was my favorite thing...but of course I adore any roasted vegetable.

For the chicken I just seasoned it with salt, pepper, and cayenne.
Zucchini was just tossed in olive oil, salt, and pepper.
The salad was my usual: greens, balsamic, and feta.

Now I've got a date with my TV. The Community, Parks and Rec, The Office, and Whitney ALL start tonight. ALL in a right now.

Night all!

Michael Pollan Interviews

This morning I slept in and a big comfort brunch was calling my name. I made my favorite tea before I got cooking. I brew some earl grey, add a splash of milk and a little bit of sugar....I'm addicted. 
the last of my second cup :(

So on to brunch! I looked in my fridge and this is what I came up with.

Everything in the Fridge Scramble

1/2 yukon gold potato, diced
little bit of red onion, diced
2 small jalapenos, diced
2 mushrooms, chopped
1/2 zucchini, chopped
3 eggs
salt and peppa

Pan fry the potatoes until they're soft and crispy and set them aside on a paper towel to chill out. Saute the onions, jalapenos, and throw in some salt cook for a minute and add the mushrooms, season, let them get soft and throw in the zucchini. Only cook 30 seconds or so then add the eggs and let em scramble! 

I threw on some leftover black refried beans from some black bean taquitos I made last week because i was starving! Quite a delicious brunch I must say. The beans made it tex-mexy and made me feel like I was sitting at Magnolia Cafe in the comfort of my PJ's =)

For class (and pleasure really) I'm reading The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. It's extremely eye opening and I can barely put it down. I just watched this interview he did with Bill Moyers. It's a little dated but still very interesting. It's a two-parter. Check it out.

Here's a few of his books on the topic that are definitely worth reading if you're interested in the food industry and where your food really comes from.

- Food Rules
- In Defense of Food (I just picked this up at the library to read next)
- Omnivore's Dilemma 

Have a good Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Easy Creamy Tomato Pasta

Today was the longest day. I was on campus from 7:30am to 4pm. In between nutrition classes, labs, and cranking out a research paper before its deadline I barely had time to think or much less eat. Before I left the house this morning I had two scrambled eggs, some strawberries, and hot tea. Later in the day my stomach met a banana and that's about it. So you can only imagine by the time I got home at 4:30 I only had food on the brain. But I'll tell you what....I made the most amazing pasta ever. Seriously. Real life. 

After ACL this weekend, I can only scrape together what I have in my pantry and fridge for food this week. So that's what I did.

Introducing...Creamy Tomato Pasta!

This was the only picture I was a mad frenzy in my kitchen once I finished making this.

Here's the recipe:

Creamy Tomato Pasta
Loosely adapted by memory from PW

1/2 lb. rigatoni
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 8oz. cans of tomato sauce (I had roasted garlic)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 grated parmesan 
red pepper flakes
pinch of cayenne (optional) 
salt and pepper

Boil the pasta while you saute the onions until soft, then add for garlic for about 30 seconds. Add tomato sauce and red pepper flakes. Cook on low-medium for about 20 minutes. when pasta is almost done add the heavy cream to the tomato sauce. Cook for a minute and add the parmesan then season with cayenne, salt, and pepper. Reserve some pasta water just in case you need to smooth out the sauce and add the pasta. That's it!

If I had some basil I would totally throw it in at the end.

P.S. This is the only picture I got at ACL this past weekend...figures.

friends and family love.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I didn't think we'd see rain for a long time here in Central Texas, but it's currently thundering and storming right now! After the recent fires in the surrounding areas and our dangerously low rivers, it's seriously a blessing we're finally seeing some rain. All that aside, I'm glad I got to the farmers market this morning before it started! I love going every Saturday morning to pick up a loaf of bread, some fresh eggs, and a few select produce. I'm slapping myself right now for not getting pictures while at the market, but I got some of what I came home with!

I left with a loaf of french bread (best in town), 2 zucchini squash, my favorite onions, farm fresh eggs, and an impulse $1 bag of jalapenos. 

My purchases today inspired me to make a version of my favorite jambalaya recipe, but this time leave out the sausage and replace them with extra veggies. It was a very, very good idea.

The french loaf was eyeing me so I made my usual quick salad to eat some with before I got cookin' the jambalaya.
Here it is half eaten. Delicious bread, perfect for soaking up dressing.

Now onward to the jambalaya! I used Jenna's recipe over at her site Eat, Live, Run. Her creation has been my go to recipe. Jambalaya is hands down one of my favorite things to cook (and eat!) along with mac and cheese of course. This time I replaced the sausage with a large carrot and one of the huge zucchini's from the farmers market. Here's the modified recipe.

Spicy Jambalaya
serves 3-4
1 tbsp canola oil
1.5 tbsp flour
2 baby onions (1 large), chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 jalapenos, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 roma tomatoes, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

1 large zucchini, chopped
1 cup long grain brown rice
2.5 cups water
2 heaping tbsp of tomato paste
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne
Heat oil in a large pot and add the flour to the oil. Make a dark roux by cooking the flour over medium high heat until golden in color, stirring continuously with a rubber spatula. Add the chopped onions, celery and jalapenos to the roux and toss well to coat. Cook for about six minutes or until the onions are soft. Add the garlic and cook for thirty seconds more.
Add the water, tomatoes, tomato paste, carrots, zucchini, rice, salt, pepper and cayenne. Stir well and bring up to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about one hour. (Adjust your rice to water measurements and cook how ever long your rice needs.)
Before serving fluff jambalaya with a fork and add more hot sauce to taste.

*Next time I'd probably throw in the zucchini when the rice is about half way done so it can retain some texture once the rice is finally soft. It was still good though.
You should definitely get some of this! 

This jambalaya is perfect for football season and your veggie loving friends. Cheers!

UPDATE! I forgot to include that I'm going to the ACL festival tomorrow for the very first time! I finally decided this year that I was willing to fork over the money to go. I'm super excited and will be returning with some pictures especially of the food ;) The headliners I'm mostly looking forward to are: Arcade Fire, Hayes Carll, Ryan Bingham (gotta love that Texas country y'all!), Fleet Foxes, and Broken Social Scene. Definitely looking forward to hearing some new music. I truly love Austin, Texas.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Conquering Eggless Brownies for My Sanity

All right guys. I know I said I was signing off for the night, but after I finished an online organic chemistry quiz (boo) I began thinking…about brownies. Don’t ask, it’s natural. It’s just how my brain works. Lemme give you some background info. You see, two nights ago I had a mad hankering for some chocolate. And not just the chocolate chips I keep stashed in my fridge door, I wanted a big ole brownie. I ventured to my fridge and realized I was out of eggs, of course!

“Wait! Google will have the answer,” I thought. Ah ha! A million eggless brownie recipes came up so I chose the one that looked the best and got to cookin’.  Now I understand we all have major fails in the kitchen, especially when it comes to baking. But nothing could prepare me for what was going to come out of my oven 25 minutes later.

EPIC. FAIL. Like bad. Real bad. The batter was delicious so I never saw it coming, but the brownies didn’t even rise...they actually kind of melted? I re-read the recipe over and over and I did everything right! I still have no idea what went wrong. I even took a picture; do I dare show it to y’all? I guess I should.

Here are the pathetic things sitting in my sink. Ugh.

This was my first epic fail at brownies and tonight I was determined to conquer them…vegan brownies that is. So I poured myself another big girl glass of wine and strapped on my new big girl apron and got back in the kitchen (thanks to anthropologie online sale!)

Isn't it adorable? $14.95! I can't wait to wear it in my food labs.

Riley waiting for the brownies to cool...still thinking she can eat chocolate.

The verdict? Absolutely delicious. They taste almost mouse-like. Light, super moist, but dense. I’ve finally found the perfect eggless brownie recipe. Try it!

Recipe from Crumbs and Cookies

Almost Fat-Free Fudge Brownies
slightly adapted from

3/4 cup plain flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup applesauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 8 x 8 inch pan with aluminum foil. Lining the pan is a very crucial step to getting your brownies out of the pan humanely. Please don't skip this.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the first 4 ingredients.
In a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips. Stir in applesauce, brown sugar and vanilla extract.
Add the dry ingredients into the chocolate mixture and mix until just combined. Add in the water until it comes together looking like a cake batter.
Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, erring on the side of underdone. Remove the pan from the oven and let the brownies cool in the pan for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove them from the pan and cool completely on a rack

My First Post!

Hello all!
Today started out rough with my 8am food science class. Although I enjoy it, I look around in disbelief every morning that everyone looks alert and awake. How do they do it!? I'd love to walk in happily with a coffee every morning, but who am I kidding? I barely have time for that.

Anyway, breakfast today started with a pear and my favorite Kashi bar. Both of which I grabbed running out the door. My delicious pear is not pictured because I ate it like a mad woman while I took Riley out before I left.
Speaking of Riley, say hi to the crazy pup! She thinks she can eat chocolate. Poor baby.

The rest of the day was a lot of running around trying to fit in lunch breaks between my labs and other classes. I somehow managed to make it home between them all AND get pictures. For lunch I had:
  • One medium baked yukon gold potato topped with some roasted homemade salsa
  • Huge mixed romaine salad topped with feta and light balsamic dressing
My last classes were very uneventful, we went over measuring different ingredients and defined different cooking methods. Something I do daily obviously. So we'll skip right on to what I just inhaled for dinner and I'll get back to my Chemistry homework and watching Food, Inc. for an upcoming research paper. Yay! I love that movie. And by love, I definitely don't mean what it shows about our food industry, but what it exposes about our food industry :) ignorance is not bliss after all people. Anyway, dinner looked like this:

  • Panko and parmesan crusted tilapia that I baked at 350 for about 15 minutes, then cranked up the broil to brown the parmesan
  • Leftover homemade spicy mac and cheese (delicious!)
  • A smaller version of the salad I had at lunch minus the feta
Very delicious. Especially the giant glass of wine that I'm still enjoying. Oh, and immediately after I snapped this photo, I smothered the fish in sriracha....what can I say? I LOVE the heat. And definitely not the weather. It was 105 degrees here in Texas today. Seriously!?

I'm signing off for the night folks! It's time to be a slave to the school work. Here's my go to salsa recipe. I usually always have some stocked in the fridge.

Roasted Salsa
16 roma tomatoes, halved
25-30 serranos, halved (or as much heat as you'd like, you can use jalapenos too!)
2 yellow onions, peeled and halved
1-2 red bell peppers, halved
9 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 bunches of cilantro, chopped

Cut romas, serranos, red bell peppers, and onions in half and lay on a baking sheet. Peel the garlic cloves and throw them on there too. Cover everything with a thin coat of olive oil and a little bit of salt. Roast at 350-400 for about 35-40 minutes until the tomatoes and onions are soft and everything else is sort of blackened. Just watch them after 30 minutes! Let everything cool a bit then blend it all up in two batches with the cilantro. Season with salt to taste. Make sure you taste with chips!


P.S. Bear with my pictures for the moment! I'm working with my iPhone before I can afford a fancy shmancy camera. You understand.