Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Garbanzo, Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Salad

Easiest salad ever.
End of story.
It's got some freshness, it's got some protein and some interest with fresh basil.  Enjoy.
If you want to keep it Vegan, then substitute the honey for agave syrup.

Serves 3-4

1 15oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
11/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup basil leaves, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp honey, or agave (optional)
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

First thing, mix up the dressing in the bottom of the bowl by mixing the garlic, lemon juice, honey and olive oil together with a whisk.  Add Salt and pepper. 

Toss with the cherry tomatoes, chopped basil and the drained garbanzo beans.  Chill for a couple hours and serve. 

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Saturday, October 15, 2016

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Maple Topping & Crust

Pumpkin and Maple.  It says FALL.
I struggled with the depart of Summer, I always do.  I prefer the sun and fun.
Bu, now that Fall is truly here, I can welcome the pumpkin and maple back into my life.

I used the Trader Joe's maple cream cookies, but you could use graham cracker crumbs instead.  Just add the syrup and butter to those, and press into the pan.  But, I do recommend the maple cookies.

Please excuse my messy picture above... I was pressed for time before a brunch with friends.  I should have removed the big crumb on top of the slice, LOL, oh well.


1 package maple cream filled cookies (about 2 cups of crumbs)
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp butter, melted

3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For crust:

In a food processor, pulverize the cookies until quite fine. Add the syrup and the melted butter.  Mix well. Press down flat into a 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes in the 350 oven.  Let cool while you prepare the filling.

For filling:
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, eggs, sugar and the spices. Add flour and vanilla. Beat together until well combined.

Pour into crust. Spread out evenly and place in oven for about an hour.  The cheesecake should only be slightly giggly in the center. 

Remove from heat, mix sour cream with maple syrup and sugar, pour over cheesecake and bake another 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours, or overnight.
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Monday, October 10, 2016

Tangy Lentil & Chickpea Soup

This soup has so many great flavors and variety of textures that I don't think anyone will figure out that it is meatless! This one is nice and hearty, perfect for a Fall Day.

Serves 6

2 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
2 medium yellow onions, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 cups, 5-6 small yellow potato, diced
1 tsp. mild curry powder
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 can (28 ounces) diced plum tomatoes , with juice
4 cups of water 
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup dried lentils (preferably red)
1 cans (15 ounces) chickpeas,  rinsed and drained
Salt to taste (might need 1-2 tsp)
Juice of lemon
1 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro 
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped

Place olive oil in large pot over medium heat; sauté celery, onions, and potatoes, along with curry powder, and turmeric, 5 to 8 minutes. Add canned tomatoes and 8 cups of broth/water and the lentils, chickpeas, and salt. 

Bring to a boil, then simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour (check that there is enough liquid; add 1 extra cup of water if necessary).

Just before serving, add lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and cilantro, if using.

Original recipe from Oprah Magazine

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Saturday, October 8, 2016

Herborn- Cuteness overload in this little German Village

The town square looks like a scene from Disney's "Beauty & the Beast".
Okay, okay, I know that town was supposed to be in France, and this town of Herborn is in Germany.  I love, love, love it here; there is something so charming and delightful about this place.
However, I've noticed over the years that very, very few people have heard of this little town about an hour north of Frankfurt. So weird, as around every turn, this place is C-U-T-E!

A couple restaurants line this square, and we ate outside at a very yummy Italian restaurant.  While none of us spoke German, one of my co-workers spoke Italian which made ordering a breeze.

I'd been here before on business about two years ago, however, the weather was a bit more grey and rainy last time, and lucky me, this September trip felt like summer to me!

What I like so much in Herborn, besides the darling tudor houses in amazing colors like red, orange, black and brown, is the fantastic thin slate shingles that line the tops of some of the houses. So neat, orderly and sturdy- like those Germans themselves! LOL, I hope they don't mind me saying that. 

All the little roads (more like lanes) meander through the town, eventually all leading to the Marktplaz (above).  All these roads have great flat cobblestones that look clean and lie flat, very much the easiest cobbles I have ever walked on.

Just a random caste tower spire peeking over the roof tops.  These cuteness overload moments were everywhere, I tell you!
Here's the main street running just off the main square with the fountain.  It reminds me of York, England with all the tall Tudor houses leaning in over a narrow lane.

Little businesses were tucked into the shops along the street, with apartments and condos above.

Hotel Schule is a very small place near the center of town with a limited number of rooms surrounding a courtyard and a darling and delicious restaurant too.

Pretty much the best Weiner Schnitzel I've ever had.

A random blue mail box in the main square area.

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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Chicken, Spinach & Artichokes Baked in Foil

Simple and super delicious
Baking the boneless chicken breasts with the spinach, artichoke hearts and cheese makes a fantastically tasty combination of flavors.  Plus, all the juices from the spinach, chicken and tomatoes combines with the cheese to make a rich and delicious sauce.  This dish tastes far more complex than the sum of its parts.

Sorry, there is no picture of my ingredients as I wasn't planning on blogging this until I figured out this was going to be really, really good.

Serves 2 (easy to double)

2 chicken breasts, boneless
4 cups fresh spinach
1 Tbsp Olive oil
4 canned brined artichokes hearts, cut into quarters
6-8 cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
1/3 cup mozzarella, grated
1/4 cup feta
Salt & pepper, or Greek Seasoning

Other ideas for add-ins:
- Capers
- Kalamata olives

Preheat oven to 375

On two large pieces of foil, layer in the following order- spinach, uncooked chicken breast, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, feta, mozzarella.

Here's the two I made, side by side.

Crimp edges, put packets on a baking tray.  Bake for 30 minutes.  
Serve in low bowls with some rice, or cous cous, or just some crusty bread.

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Here's a close up of this dish before I popped it in the oven.