Monday, October 25, 2010

Wish list: Cookbooks

Hello, blogosphere friends. It's been awhile.

'Rock'tober is coming to an end, and thank goodness because I've been working like a dog. When you last heard from me, I shared the funniest thing I've ever subjected myself to, which was appearing on local television as Marie Antoinette (in promotion of a high-end bridal show). 
Oi vay.

Yes, that surely ranks up there as one of the funniest and most ridiculous things I've ever done. Perhaps another time, I'll share photos from the actual event. Hint: it included my first and only jaunt down a fashion runway.

Anyhow, as noted it's been an insane month with a packed work schedule (full of great concerts, so I'm not complaining), three weddings, a marathon (I didn't run it - but I volunteer as the marketing manager), and - oh - trying to live. Most meals have not been worth recording. I think I've done two loads of laundry since October 1st. And workouts? We just won't go there. All great excuses for being a 'bad' blogger (NOT). To top it all off... writer's block, like a mofo. 

So, when inspiration struck earlier tonight, I made a beeline for my laptop. And here we are!

Tonight's idea: The Holidays are right around the corner, and I'm sure you all are starting to brainstorm the perfect gifts for loved ones. 

Here are my top five cookbooks, for the foodies on your shopping lists:

1. Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That? 
by Ina Garten
First off, Ina Garten is a foodie goddess. Every time I catch her show on TV, it never fails, a full 30 minutes of drooling ensues. Second, Her recipes are elegant yet wholesome, and her style is timeless. 
Ina's new cookbook (in stores tomorrow - Oct. 26) promises "Fabulous Recipes & Easy Tips!" and I'm sure it will deliver.

2. Babycakes: Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from New York's Most Talked-About Bakery  by Erin McKenna
I've never been to Babycakes in N.Y.C., but their reputation is enough to make me want to purchase this book for my sister, who loves cupcakes. 

3. In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan
Okay, so this isn't a cookbook. However I have heard it's a must-read, as the author takes a very candid look at the American diet and trends. Practical advice offered: "Avoid food products that are A) unfamiliar, B) unpronounceable, C) more than five in number, or that include D) high-fructose corn syrup." It would surely make for an interesting gift.

4. The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl 
by Ree Drummond
If you haven't heard of Ree's blog, The Pioneer Woman, you must have been living in a hole. Go there. Now. 
Ree uses real butter, and she's not meat-shy (she lives on a cattle ranch). Her recipes are homestyle meets gourmet. She's like a funnier, wittier and more cosmopolitan Paula Deen. 

5. Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook by Kim Barnouin
The Skinny Bitch books aren't for everyone (read: a profane, tough-love style) and I haven't had a chance to review this new one (it just came out Oct. 19). If you were a fan of Skinny Bitch in the Kitch, I am guessing that this will be a great addition to your collection.

There you have it. Now, go shopping!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dinner in 1, 2, 3

I finally made myself a dinner worth sharing!

I put it together in three easy steps. 

1. Black beans 
(canned, rinsed, about a half cup)

2. A little barbeque sauce... this stuff is great. 
I added maybe a teaspoon to the beans, then heated up.

3. And the STAR ingredient... roasted butternut squash!
All together... 
With a spinach, chopped heirloom tomato, homegrown carrots and pine nut hummus.
Totally delicious and full of antioxidants. And... vegan? I don't see any dairy, do you?

Dessert was in honor of Zak's upcoming camping trip - S'mores!
(not vegan)

I am off to edit some photos from this weekend. Didn't this one turn out nice?
Have a great evening :-)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fear the beard!

Disclaimer: This has absolutely nothing to do with food or fitness. I happen to be a San Francisco Giants fan and have posted in the past about the team. 

Thanks to some expert pitching from Brian Wilson, the Giants happen to have just won their series of games against the Braves. They have advanced to the National League Championship Series. Which effing rocks. Fear the Beard!!!

Since my home team (yep, I am not even gonna type their name) didn't make it to the post-season, the Giants have given me something to get excited about. Plus, who doesn't find humor in the beards?

When I actually visit San Francisco in a few weeks, I hope to pick up a World Series commemorative t-shirt. Go Giants! Fear the Beard!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Pumpkin protein yogurt with pumpkin spice granola

Gooooooooooooood morning!

Today's breakfast was epic, thanks to two new recipes. 

1. Peanut Butter Fingers'-inspired pumpkin yogurt. 

I started the recipe with the intention of making Julie's recipe for her pumpkin pie 'cheesecake' breakfast bowl, but alas - we were out of cottage cheese. Wah, wah. I wasn't about to give up as her recipe sounded too good to miss. I subbed in some plain yogurt, and we were back to 'game on!'

In the mix: 
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 scoop Sun Warrior vanilla protein powder
about 1/2 tablespoon of maple syrup (the star of the show)
splash of soy milk
generous sprinkling of pumpkin pie spice

Mixed together with an immersion blender, I set this in the fridge to chill overnight.

The next morning, I pulled it out (isn't it pretty?) and topped it off with...

2. My awesomely delicious homemade Pumpkin Spice Granola featuring Nature's Pride bread (check out the post here if you missed it the other day!). This stuff is addictive, I had to hide the rest from Zak! 

This topped off the pumpkin yogurt beautifully, and added great texture and flavor. Not to mention nutrients! 

All in all, this was a great breakfast. I think that the pumpkin yogurt could make for a fall-themed healthy dip as well, served with sliced apples or graham cracker pieces at a party. 

Question of the Day - What are your plans for the weekend?