chocolate-covered banana popsicles.

August 30, 2013 § 1 Comment

Because it’s Friday and all, we’re celebrating with CHOCOLATE-covered banana popsicles.  This state-fair inspired treat is so easy, it’s hard to call it a recipe.  Nonetheless…


What you need:

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 12 oz. bag of Hershey’s dark chocolate chips (or your favorite brand)
  • Sprinkles
  • Handful or two of chopped mix nuts
  • Skewers or popsicle sticks

What to do:

Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Peel your bananas and cut them into three pieces.  Pierce each piece on a skewer or popsicle stick.

Melt your chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave.  Be very careful to do this in 15-20 second intervals, stirring the chocolate as you go.  This will help prevent burning.

Dip each banana in the melted chocolate, turning slowly to cover.  Place dipped banana on the parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with sprinkles (ha!) and/or some chopped nuts.

Pop the tray in the freezer until the chocolate sets, then enjoy!



zucchini quinoa fritters.

August 21, 2013 § 1 Comment

This has been the summer of giant zucchini (all from my boyfriend’s garden).  Do you also have an abundance?  Wondering what to do with it all?  Make these zucchini quinoa fritters!  A healthy, light, cheesy meal.


What you need:

  • 2-3 zucchini (I used 2 large)
  • 1 C quinoa
  • 1/2 C (or more) freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 eggs
  • olive oil
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt

What to do:

To start, you need to peel and grate your zucchini.  I hope you are ready for some serious arm exercise.  I used a cheese grater.  Watch your fingertips!  Grate, grate, grate!


Once you have a pretty bowl full of green stuff, sprinkle it with a teaspoon of salt.

Next up—and this is pretty important—you need to drain as much water as possible from the zucchini.  My “method” was to put the zucchini in a metal strainer over a bowl.  I then took a wooden spatula and pressed and squeezed out the water.  I repeated this several times before I got tired was satisfied.

Set the zucchini aside, and cook 1 cup of quinoa per package directions.  I used Trader Joe’s red quinoa and it was tasty.  Make sure you cook the quinoa until all the water has been absorbed.

In a large bowl, mix your zucchini and quinoa, and add your garlic powder, Parmesan, and 2 eggs. Image

Heat a generous drizzle of olive oil in a large griddle or skillet.  Make sure the pan is HOT (but be careful).  Put small scoops of the mixture on the pan and cook for about 4-6 minutes, then flip, and cook several more minutes.  The edges of the fritters should be browning and sizzling and smelling very wonderful.

Don’t be too worried if your fritters crumble a bit—no one will mind. (I know from experience.)

I served these fritters with a simple dip:  ½ cup of light mayonnaise, 1 cup of low-fat sour cream, a tablespoon of lemon juice, 2 minced fresh garlic cloves, and black pepper.


The next morning, we cooked up the leftover batter & ate the fritters with an over-easy egg for breakfast.  Delicious!

*Note: It’s hard to judge the serving size of this recipe.  I do know that the batter will keep in the fridge for 1-2 days.

dining out @ Cooper’s Hawk (Columbus)

August 18, 2013 § Leave a comment

Last week, I had dinner with my sister and her fiance at Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant, a recent addition to Easton Town Center in Columbus.  I was a little nervous that my expectations were too high, but we had a great visit, due in large part to our fabulous server, Josh (if you are reading, you rock!).   After we expressed an interest in their fruit wines, he brought us many generous samples–even some we didn’t request!  I particularly enjoyed the blueberry, but settled on a full glass of the sparkling moscato – “sweet with flavors of candied lemon, ripe melon, and spiced pear.”

It seems like the general philosophy of Cooper’s Hawk is to offer guests a comfortable, relaxed experience.  Try anything you’d like, and if you don’t like it, they’ll find something that you’ll love.Image

One major plus?  When you are seated, they ask if you’d like a complimentary loaf of their pretzel bread.  And you, of course, immediately say, “Absolutely!”


Yes, the pretzel bread deserves two pictures.


Imagered wine mustard short ribs, served with roasted vegetables, crispy onion strings, and mustard beurre blanc over mashed potatoes. This was my entree, one I chose that morning after lots of Yelp-research and then daydreamed about all day.  The dish was pure comfort food and the short ribs had amazing flavor.  The only bad thing is now I will never order anything but this.

Imagesoy ginger salmon with wasabi whipped potatoes and asian slaw.  My sister ate nearly every bite of this entree so I can safely give it an A+.

Imagesliced beef tenderloin sandwich with provolone, dijon mayo, and crispy onion strings on toasted ciabatta.  My sister’s fiance ordered this sandwich on the recommendation of our waiter, along with a side of “Betty’s potatoes,” shredded potatoes with white cheddar and scallions.

The verdict:  Tasty food that feels worth the price tag ($20-$25 for an entree) and very helpful waitstaff (at least in our case).  Crazy good pretzel bread!  Last but not least–complimentary wine samples galore!  Check it out.

chicken makhani (Indian butter chicken).

July 24, 2013 § 1 Comment

Indian cuisine is something that I haven’t really explored.  I think I’ve been hesitant due to the spice and the flavor of curry, something I’m just now getting a taste for.

But then I had this amazing dish – Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken) a few weeks ago at my friends’ house, and loved it!  I decided to try it for myself, and read several different recipes online before settling on this one.  The flavors are mild, and you can easily adjust the spiciness to your liking.

I might add that this dish was officially Boyfriend Approved.  Enjoy!



What you need:

  •  2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 T butter
  • 1 tsp. curry
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp. minced ginger
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 C low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • Handful of washed and dried spinach, sautéed in olive oil

What to do:

In your slow cooker, place the chicken, onion, and garlic, and cover with all of your dry spices.   Then, drop in the butter and tomato paste.  Pour in your coconut milk and lemon juice.  Cook on low for 8 hours (or high for 4), until chicken shreds easily.  Before you serve, stir in your yogurt.  I also seasoned with salt, black pepper, and a generous drizzle of honey, for added sweetness.  Then, I stirred in my sautéed spinach.  Serve over brown rice.


mexican street corn.

July 20, 2013 § Leave a comment

I returned from vacation craving this Mexican street corn I had at Taco Boy in Folly Beach – a spicy, flavorful ear of singed corn with a decadent creamy sauce.  Then, I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Love and Lemons, and saw a recipe for Mexican Street Corn Salad.  I decided to do my own take on this dish, and served it to my parents, sister, and her fiancé – my Dad remarked that it (along with some yummy pork carnitas – a post for another time) was the best meal he’d ever had at my apartment.  That’s some high praise for what is truly a simple dish.

This was my take on Mexican street corn.

What you need (this is what I used):

  • 1 large bag of frozen sweet corn, thawed
  • 1 cup (more or less) of feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup of green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of mayo (I used Hellman’s light)
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves, whole
  • 2 limes
  • Smoked paprika
  • Salt
  • Pepper

What to do:

Heat a drizzle or two of olive oil in a non-stick skillet.  Wait for the skillet to get HOT and then add your corn and garlic cloves.  Sprinkle corn with salt and pepper.  Once corn is browning, lower the heat.  Add your sliced green onions, mayo, and lime juice.  Cook for a couple more minutes, then remove from heat.  Once corn is in serving bowl, top with cilantro, smoked paprika, and your feta cheese.Image


dining out @ Poogan’s Porch (Charleston, SC)

July 3, 2013 § Leave a comment

My family and I just returned from our third vacation in Folly Beach, South Carolina, a laid back surfing beach just a short drive from historic downtown Charleston.  While we are there, we enjoy a week of fabulous cuisine.  My absolute favorite restaurant?  Poogan’s Porch on Queen Street, a beautiful home that even has its own ghost story.  I’m kind of obsessed.  We ate there twice, the bookends to a great week.

Here’s a sampling of our delicious eats:


biscuits. Each meal at Poogan’s begins with the arrival of fresh baked biscuits with butter.  Lots of butter.  And guess what?  If you ask for more biscuits, they bring you more.


fried green tomatoes with pecan encrusted goat cheese and peach chutney.


pimiento cheese fritters with green tomato jam.


I mean, look at this cheesy goodness!  Going to try to replicate this.


plantation fried chicken, stuffed with smoked gouda, spicy collards, and country ham. served with mashed potatoes and some greens!


shrimp and grits.  served with tri-colored peppers, vidalia onions, spicy sausage, Tasso ham and blue crab gravy.


calabash style seafood combination platter.  this is my dish!  i substitute more oysters and shrimp in place of flounder.  lightly dusted, super fresh, tender, and flavorful.


pimiento cheese slaw.  the perfect accompaniment to the seafood platter, along with housemade kettle chips.


chef isaac’s she-crab soup.  with a spicy kick of chive oil!


macaroni and cheese.  a generous serving for a side dish.  pretty much perfection.

I will look forward to my next meal at Poogan’s!

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