Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Creamy Avocado Pasta

I have been on a bit of an avocado kick lately.  It is just so yummy and versatile.  Last week I came across a guest post by Angela from  Oh She Glows for Creamy Avocado Pasta.  I remember reading the post, but I can't find it anymore, so I apologize.  Anyway it was the perfect thing to make because I had and leftover half of a lemon and some basil I needed to use ASAP and  I was glad I remembered the post and found the recipe.

This recipe is super yummy and so easy to make.  If you need a quick meal for two, I highly recommend it.  Just remember that since it is avocado, the leftovers do not really heat up well or look very edible either.  I don't have a food processor, just a blender and there was not enough liquid to throw it in there, so I just finely chopped everything and mixed it with a hand mixer to get it all creamy.  I did not or do not care that the recipe is vegan, so I added some cheese.  And really, can you go wrong with Cheese?  I think not. 

This does not do it justice. I promise it's good.
  • 1 medium sized ripe Avocado, pitted& cut into chunks
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced + lemon zest to garnish
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Basil, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 servings/6 oz of your choice of pasta (I used angel hair spaghetti)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese 
  1. Bring several cups of water to a boil in a medium sized pot. Add in your pasta, reduce heat to medium, and cook until Al Dente, about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make the sauce by placing the garlic cloves, lemon juice, and olive oil into a medium bowl.  Mix with hand mixer until smooth. Now add in the pitted avocado, basil, and salt. Mix until smooth and creamy.
  3. When pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse in a strainer and place pasta into the bowl of sauce.  Toss until fully combined. Garnish with cheese, lemon zest and black pepper. 
  4. Serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Time to Celebrate!

The past couple of weeks have brought some great reasons to celebrate.  First, I was given the clearance to start riding my bike again, my elbow is all better.  Second, I finally got my Architecture license! Whoo hoo!  Third, my very great friend, Megan was in town for the weekend on her way to a conference.  Fourth, summer is officially here, this is probably reason enough.  Melissa reminded me that I have had a bottle of champagne that my boss gave me three years ago that I still had not opened.  It was time to pop open that bottle and celebrate, so that's exactly what we did this weekend.
Time to Celebrate!

I had been wanting to host a small dinner party on the roof for some time now, so that's exactly what I did.  The menu was Avacodo Dip, Spinach, Red Onion & Cherry Craison Salad, Summer Squash Ribbons with Lemon & Parmesan, Lemon & Basil Roasted Chicken and last but not least a tasty Fruit & Pudding Trifle Megan whipped up (so good- we must beg her to post it up).  Everything was gluten free and absolutely tasty.  Everything was super easy to make time so that everything was ready when needed.  Megan made the desert before everything else so that it could set up in the afternoon.  I prepped the chicken and put it in the oven.  I mixed up everything else while it was roasting.  First the avocado dip, the salad dressing and salad and finally the summer squash just before the chicken was done.
I have made two of these recipes before, but I have three to share with you today.  I followed most of the recipes pretty closely, maybe adding more or less of this or that to some of them.  I highly recommend the Sweet Paul Magazine that I found the Avocado Dip and Lemon & Basil Roasted Chicken in.  There are so many more recipes that I need to try from it.

Avocado Dip
The avocado dip was gone in an instant & look at that chicken!
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (I used one whole lemon)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Peel the avocado, and mash the meat in a bowl with mayo, lemon and garlic. (I tossed it in the blender for a bit to get it nice and smooth)
  2. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Serve with chips  or other tasty dipping snackers.
Summer Squash & Zucchini Ribbons with Lemon & Parmesan
Delicious ribbons of squash!
  • 1 medium summer squash
  • 1 medium zucchini 
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan, shaved
  • kosher salt and pepper
  1. Cut the squash and zucchini into long, thin strips using a vegetable peeler (discard the seedy cores). Place in a large bowl.
  2. Add the oil, lemon juice, Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss gently to combine. Serve immediately.

Lemon & Basil Roasted Chicken

Read for the oven.
  • 1 large chicken
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 lemons, cut in half
  • 2 pounds small potatoes
  • 2 or 3 carrots cut into 2" chunks
  • 8 cloves garlic, left whole
  1. Preheat oven to 450ºF. 
  2. Remove the gizzards and liver if inside the chicken cavity and rub chicken well with 2 tbsp olive oil.
  3. Lift up the breast skin gently and place a bunch of basil in the “pocket”. 
  4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper & Place in an oven-proof dish with potatoes, carrots, and garlic. 
  5. Fill the cavity of the chicken with two lemon halves. 
  6. Squeeze the remaining lemon over the chicken and drizzle with olive oil. 
  7. Roast for 20 minutes, take it out and baste it and put it back in at 350ºF for about another 45 minutes (mine was in for 55 minutes)
  8. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving.
We didn't even make it to our seats to eat we were so hungry & it was so good!
Take it all the to roof and Enjoy! 

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Best Way to Use Brown Bananas

Whenever I buy bananas, I rarely make it throw the whole bunch and have one that gets over ripe and ends up in the freezer.  Every few months I have a stock pile and have to throw out a number of freezer burned ones, there are usually enough left over for one of my favorite baked goods ever. Ever.  My mom started this frenzy, but she doesn't stock piles the bananas in the freezer forever.  It's on par with her cinnamon rolls.  Every time it's a wonderful treat. 

Baking wise, I'm pretty sure you can't screw it up.  You can use new bananas, but the more mushy they are the better.  Mom typically mixed this up with the last bananas of the bunch.  I have a habit of forgetting the walnuts until the frosting is done and have to sprinkle them on top.  This time I remembered and put them in the batter and in the frosting.  And naturally, I did have some shortening but I didn't open it to see how much so I didn't buy anymore.  In the middle of mixing things up I went to three different delis in the yucky rainy weather before finding more.  Still so yummy and worth it. 

Any guesses to what it is?   
The most amazing thing ever.

Banana Cake! 

  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 mashed bananas
  • 1/2 milk
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups powdered sugar (more or less)
  • 1/2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. In an large bowl cream together the sugar and shortening.  Add the vanilla and eggs.  Beat until fluffy.  Add the bananas and milk.  Mix until combined. 
  3. Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl.  Slowly add to the banana mix.  Mix in walnuts.
  4. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. 
  5. Cool well before frosting.
  6. To make the frosting mix everything except the sugar. Slowly add the sugar in cup by cup and stir until smooth.  Mix until spreadable but not runny.   Add in walnuts.  Spread over cooled cake.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Monster Cookies!

My favorite coffee shop recently found a new baker, (whose name is also Jennifer).  Among the many tasty treats are monster cookies.  I believe hers are vegan and they are so good with my afternoon latte.  Those cookies made me go hunting for my old monster cookie recipe that I had back in college.  

The recipe I have makes a massive batch of cookies.  I used to half it and that still required six eggs.  The cookies were also huge, at least four inches in diameter.  I remember they were delicious, but I just didn't feel like making such a massive batch or dividing it down into a smaller batch again.  I turned to the good old internet for a smaller recipe and found one from Paula Deen and The Pioneer Woman.  I went the recipe from Paula Deen because I love peanut butter in cookies and I didn't feel like buying a box of rice krispies.  Someday I will have to try the other recipe though because it did look yummy and had pecans in it. 

I added something in the picture that doesn't belong... only in the picture

These cookies are great and super quick to make up.  I think I was working for less than and hour and a half between mixing and baking.  They are not huge cookies like the ones made in college, but I probably don't need to eat multiple massive cookies in one day either.    

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 12-ounce jar creamy peanut butter
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup plain m&m's
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4 1/2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal (not instant)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats. 
  2. In a very large mixing bowl, combine the eggs and sugars. Mix well. Add the salt, vanilla, peanut butter, and butter. Mix well. Stir in the m&m's, chocolate chips, baking soda, and oatmeal. 
  3. Drop by tablespoons 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Do not overbake. 
  4. Let stand for about 3 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool. When cool, store in large resealable plastic bags.