Monthly Archives: May 2012

Balsamic Chicken Sandwiches

Hello! It’s Melissa.

This is a recipe stolen from my mom, who got it from a friend (so not sure what it’s original source is…).

Matt made his sandwich on Ciabatta rolls and I made mine on Udi’s Gluten Free bread and they were delicious and held up pretty well.  I didn’t put any cheese on my sandwich, but it is a delicious addition, so it is pretty easy to make this GF, DF.  And of course, you can always omit the chicken if you want a vegetarian sandwich!

Balsamic Chicken Sandwich (GF)


1 pack of chicken

1 Eggplant

3 Portabella Mushrooms

2 Red Onions

2 Red Peppers

(Or whatever veggies you choose…Zucchinis are good too!)

Oil and Salt for the veggies

Havarti Cheese (optional)

Ciabatta Buns or Udi’s GF Bread



1 cup oil (olive or canola)

1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar

1/4 cup Molasses

3 cloves of garlic

Salt and Pepper


Chop up the garlic and blend the marinade together using a mixer of sorts until emulsified.

Clean the chicken and marinade in 1/2 or less of the dressing for a couple of hours.  Grill/BBQ/Bake the chicken until cooked (we grilled it on the grill pan) and then cut into little pieces (at least, I like my chicken in little pieces in a sandwich.  But you don’t have to do that…)

Slice the veggies, oil and salt them, and grill/roast them until they look delicious (we did ours on the grill pan as well…).  Like the chicken, I like to slice the roasted veggies into bite size pieces for the sandwiches.

Grilled Vegetables

To assemble the sandwiches, put a little balsamic marinade on each piece of bread, and stack with ingredients as you like.  The easiest way to cook the sandwich is in a panini maker, but we don’t have one, so we put the sandwiches on the grill pan and put a heavy pot filled with water on top to squish it down.  Probably could be tasty in the toaster oven as well.

Surprise surprise, I think the sandwiches are delicious with a little extra marinade for dipping!

Matt’s Ciabatta Roll Sandwich



Curried Lentil Soup

Leslie W.

Curried Lentil Soup. Perfect for a day like today, rainy and dreary. I think I can even say this is my favorite soup of all time. I came across this soup in bon appetit only to discover a few months ago it was created by one of my favorite cooks, Molly Wizenberg, writer of the blog Orangette and owner of the pizzeria Delancy. Both of which I highly recommend! The only changes I ever make to this soup is adding a carrot or two or using Earth Balance instead of butter. Otherwise, I highly recommend making it as close to the recipe as possible. Though, last time I made it in the crock-pot instead of the stove and I think it worked out magnificently. Here is the original link:


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped, divided
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) curry powder (I tend to add about 2 tbsp more after it cooks for a while)
  • 1 cup French green lentils
  • 4 1/4 cups (or more) water, divided
  • 1 15- to 16-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter


Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion and carrot; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add half of chopped garlic; stir until vegetables are soft but not brown, about 4 minutes longer. Add 2 tablespoons curry powder; stir for about 1 minute. Add lentils and 4 cups water. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Increase heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, puree chickpeas, lemon juice, 1/4 cup water, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and remaining garlic in processor. Add chickpea puree and butter to lentil soup. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional curry powder, if desired. And as I mentioned above if you make this in a crock-pot, I recommend sauteing the vegetables on the stove and then transferring to the crock-pot. After transferring, combine all of the rest of the ingredients, including the garbanzo bean paste and cook on high for a few hours.

*The picture on the website is much more beautiful!

Crack Pie-don’t judge me because I am ugly……..

Leslie H

First of all, let me start by saying this recipe is NOT gluten free, dairy free or any other freedom word we may use. This little bit of deliciousness is what my trainer  politely calls “job security”. I needed to bring a dessert to an event tonight and knew I had all the ingredients in the house to make it.  So I cut a piece,  plated it and shot a picture of it for you and put in back in the pie dish! I found this recipe in Bon Appetite last summer; it is from a restaurant in New York called The Milk Bar, and anyone who has taken a bite knows why it is named this way.Once you start with this rich, salty-sweet pie you wont be able to stop. Like I said…..job security!


oat-cookie crust

9 T. butter, room temperature and divided

5 1/2 T brown sugar, divided

2 T. sugar

1 egg

3/4 cup oatmeal

1/2 cup flour

1/8 tsp. baking powder

1/8 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt


3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 T. nonfat dry milk powder ($7.89 at the grocery for 1 T. but necessary!)

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup butter, melted

6 1/2 T. heavy whipping cream

4 egg yolks

1 tsp. vanilla

powdered sugar for dusting


cookie crust:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13 x 9 pan with parchment paper and coat with nonstick spray. Combine 6 T. butter, 4 T. brown sugar and 2 T. sugar in medium bowl and beat with mixer until light and fluffy, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, about 2 minutes. Add egg; beat until pale and fluffy. Add oats, flour, baking powder and baking soda and salt and beat until well blended, about a minute. Turn onto prepared pan and spread as thin as you can. I used wet hands and pushed it around not quite filling the pan. That is ok, you will see what we do with it later. Bake 17-18 minutes until light and golden. Transfer to a rack to completely cool.

Using hands, crumble oat cookie into large bowl; add 3 T. butter and 1 1/2 T. brown sugar. Rub in with fingertips until mixture is moist enough to stick together. I ended up pulsing it a few times in the Cuisinart for a finer crust. Transfer mixture to a 9 inch pie dish and press “dough” evenly onto bottom and up sides of pie dish. Place onto a cookie sheet.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all filling ingredients together until well blended. Pour filling into crust and bake 30 minutes. Reduce temperature to 325 and continue to bake pie until filling is brown in spots and set around edges but center still moves slightly when gently shaken, about 20 minutes. Cool pie 2 hours on rack and place in refrigerator uncovered overnight. Dust with powdered sugar when serving. Serve cold.

Phyllo Wrapped Huevos Rancheros

Leslie H

This is the perfect brunch food and can be adapted to all tastes-except gluten free.  The assembly is pretty last minute but the results are delicious. I also doubled the recipe which is why you see two packets.


2 T. butter or coconut oil for DF

2 eggs, slightly beaten

6 sheets of phyllo dough, defrosted overnight in refrigerator

1/4 cup of butter, melted or coconut oil

1 (14 oz.) can of black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup of jack cheese, grated

Ranchero Sauce:

3 T. olive oil

1/2 onion, diced

2 T. garlic, minced

1 (15 oz.) can diced fired roasted tomatoes

1 (4 oz.) can diced green Anaheim chilies

1 Chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. salt and pepper to taste

1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped for garnish


2 ripe avocados, halved, pitted and flesh diced

1 lime, zested

2 limes, juiced

2 T. chopped cilantro

1 tsp. each salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Add 2 T. of butter to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the eggs and stir with a rubber spatula until halfway or a little more cooked. (the lower the temperature the more tender your eggs will be) Remove from the heat ( the eggs will finish cooking in the oven).

Lay the phyllo dough out and cover slightly with a damp towel. Take 1 sheet of phyllo and brush with melted butter. Don’t worry if it tears, it is very forgiving and won’t show once it is baked. Put another piece on top and brush with butter. Repeat with remaining phyllo sheets.

Working lengthwise, spread eggs onto the phyllo dough leaving an inch or so on each border. Sprinkle with cheese and top with about 1/2 can of the black beans. Fold in sides and roll up like a jellyroll.

Brush the entire log with melted butter. Place on a cookie sheet with a  silpap  and bake until nicely browned, about 12 – 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

Ranchero sauce:

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the oil. Stir in the onion and garlic and cook until softened. Add tomatoes, chiles and chipotles and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the spices and cook until well incorporated and slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve room temperature.


Mix all ingredients well and adjust seasonings to your tastes.

To Serve:

Slice the baked phyllo into disks and arrange on serving platter. Top with sauce and guacamole. Sprinkle with a few black beans around the plate and serve.

Tofu and Rice Salad (and a mediocre strawberry recipe…)

Hello! It’s Melissa.

This is the “recipe” for one of Matt’s favorite lunch foods I make – a tofu and rice salad. I say “recipe” because I made it up and I make it different every time; no specific quantities are required and it’s perfect for tailoring to your preferences. The ingredients I used make a decent sized salad – usually 5 or so meals, so adjust as needed.

Tofu and Rice Salad


1.5 Cups of Uncooked Rice

2 Packages of Extra Firm Tofu/Oil/Salt (or…just buy the pre-fried tofu at Uwajimaya’s that is super delicious and way easier, and cheaper…)

Baby Carrots

Frozen Peas

Sesame Oil

(Mushrooms, cabbage, and green onions are also good additions…)

For the Sauce:

Tamari (GF Soy Sauce)

Sesame Oil

Brown Rice Vinegar (Doesn’t have to be brown rice, that’s just the kind they sell at TJ’s)

Sweet Chili Sauce

Hot Chili Oil

Brown Sugar (usually I would use honey, but we were out, and this was still tasty)


1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

2) Rinse the blocks of tofu and wrap up in a towel to soak up the extra water (let sit about 10 min…)

3) While you’re waiting, start cooking the rice.

4) Chop the tofu into cubes, and arrange on a baking pan that has a silpat or was coated in nonstick spray.

5) Drizzle oil (I used olive, sesame would be tasty too..) over the tofu and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

6) Bake in the oven until the tofu is crisped to your preference (usually 20 minutes on each side…)

7) While the tofu and rice are cooking, chop the baby carrots into disks and defrost the peas by heating them in sesame oil in a pan.  (Sometimes I cook the carrots a bit with the peas and some Tamari to add a little flavor, not this time though…)

8) Combine the rice, tofu, carrots, peas (and whatever else you like) into a big bowl.

9) Make the dressing:  Unfortunately, I don’t have any exact measurements for the dressing, but I’ll tell you the process.  To make a delicious Asian sauce, you need a balance of salty, spicy, sweet and tangy.  I start with a base of Tamari (salty) which is the ingredient that I put the most of in the sauce.  Then I add a couple of glugs of Rice Vinegar (tangy) and a little Hot Chili Oil (because I don’t like too much spicy).  Then I add a little Sweet Chili Sauce (sweet).  I’ll add a little sesame oil to give the sauce some depth.  Then I taste – What does it need?  If it feels a little bland, maybe it needs a little more Chili Oil.  If it’s too heavy tasting, it needs a little more rice vinegar or some lime juice for zing.  This time, I needed a little more sweet, so I tossed in some brown sugar (a little bit of a random choice for sweet, normally I do honey, but we were out…).  Just continue adding ingredients little by little to the dressing and keep tasting until you like it – and then it’s perfect!

10) Dress the salad and taste!  Being the sauce lover I am, I usually drizzle a little Sweet Chili Sauce on each individual serving I eat.

11) I like my salad warm (but maybe that’s just me…), but it’s tasty cold too!

(I apologize for the not-that-appetizing photo…it’s not a very pretty salad, and I haven’t mastered the art of food photography yet…)

A couple weeks ago, Kaitlin and I found a recipe for Balsamic Candied Strawberries on pinterest (Here’s the link to the recipe:

We were intrigued, so we decided to try them.  They were….interesting.  They weren’t balsamicy enough for my taste, and they kind of challenging to eat (the strawberries disappeared and the candy coating became a big chewy blob).  Because the Strawberries were so sweet, within an hour, they had dissolved the candy coating, so they were just sugary, slightly tangy strawberries. Now, Kaitlin and I are no expert candy makers, so their lack of perfection could have been entirely our fault.  We had some extra candy coating, so we toasted some pecans and coated them in sauce.

However, we (Kaitlin) took some beautiful photos of the process.  So while I wouldn’t necessarily recommend making them, it’s still fun to share the pics:


Dipping the Strawberries

Balsamic Candied Strawberries (and Pecans)

Crispy Chickpeas


Hi all! I am excited to be positing my first recipe!

I have seen these roasted garbanzos pop up all over the place, but the recipe I used was from my great friend Ilana’s blog: (P.S. her blog is bomb and has awesome pictures so it’s definitely worth a look!)

It’s a super simple recipe and makes for a great protein-packed snack.

What I did:

  • Drain 1 can of Garbanzo Beans into a bowl
  • Coat with EVOO, Salt, and Pepper
  • I added a little Cayenne and Cinnamon, too, but you could put whatever you want!

Bake at 415 degrees for about 20-30 minutes, giving the pan a good shake every 5-10 minutes. I think mine took about 25 minutes total, but I could have done more to make them even crispier.

That’s it!

Spring Rolls

Hello! It’s Melissa!

This is a fantastic recipe my mom originally shared with me and it’s the recipe that inspired me to start the blog because I thought it was so great and I wanted to share it with everyone.

It is originally from

Wintery Spring Rolls

It takes a few steps to make each of the components, but once you make them they are easy to assemble and delicious to eat.  These are my adjustments with how I made it, so it’s a little different than the website.

Ginger Onion Paste:

2 green onions, finely sliced
1 shallot
1 tablespoon grated, peeled ginger
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
6 tablespoons sunflower oil

Brown Sugar Tofu & noodles:

(I would do 2x the amount of tofu and 4x the amount of rub)

12 ounces extra firm tofu
3 medium cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
4 teaspoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons sunflower oil

Cellophane noodles, 1 bunch from a package

Spring Roll Wrappers

Dipping Sauce:

(This is my own addition to the recipe, but I thought a little extra sauce to dribble in was a nice isn’t an exact recipe, just the basic ingredients)

Equal parts honey and tamari, a couple glugs of brown rice vinegar, a little hot chili oil (based on your preference).

For spring roll assembly:

Ginger Onion Paste (above)
Brown Sugar Tofu noodles (above)
crisp, crunchy lettuce (baby gems / romaine)carrot ( I just used sliced up carrot pieces)
1 small bunch fresh cilantro or other herbs, well washed / dried (I didn’t use cilantro…)
~1 dozen rice paper wrappers

Make the ginger onion paste: Place the onions and ginger and rest of ingredients to cuisinart and pulse until blended, not completely smooth.

Make the tofu & noodles: Rinse the tofu and thoroughly dry it.  Cut the block along the width into three slabs (I found this size was the easiest to rub and cook).  Mix 2x the rub recipe (garlic, salt, sugar and oil) into a paste.  Use your hands to slather and genly coat each piece of tofu in the rub, being quite thorough.  Set the bowl aside, leaving it dirty.

Cook the tofu in a single layer in a large skillet over medium-high heat until deeply golden on each side. I’ve found I don’t need any addition oil here. Remove from the pan, and when cool enough to handle, slice into pencil-thick pieces, and salt to taste.

In the meantime, toss the noodles (that have been rehydrated) gently (but well), in the residual marinade left in the tofu bowl. I also added 2x more of the brown sugar rub into the noodles – beware though, you might want to do minimal amounts of garlic, because you’ll really taste it (and feel it on your breath hours later!) Transfer to a bowl or platter.

Assemble the spring rolls: In bowl of hot water, dip each rice paper wrapper for just 3 seconds, or until slightly soft. Resist over-soaking, even if the paper is a bit stiff it will continue to absorb water as you assemble the wrap. Place on a flat work surface.

(I’m going to try and describe how to assemble them…I apologize if this makes it more confusing.  Basically, it’s like rolling a burrito).  Put down a generous smear of ginger onion paste in a horizontal line. Then a lettuce leaf, tofu, noodles, and carrots in the same horizontal line.

It looks like this:


Fold over at the parenthesis and make sure they stick shut.  Then, pull the bottom over and tuck tightly and roll.

Add a little drizzle of sauce as you eat if you want!

Banana and Oatmeal Pancakes

Leslie H

Remember I was telling you about my breakfast rotation? This recipe has joined the family. Ellen DeGeneres personal chef has a new cookbook out: Vegan Cooking for Carnivores and I love it. When I buy a new cookbook I will usually sit down and read it page by page like a novel, highlighting with post- it notes the recipes I want to try. This book already has too many post -it notes that I may just be trying them all! This morning’s recipe can easily be converted into a Gluten Free recipe with almond or rice flour. I halved the recipe and it was still plenty for a couple meals or two people. This is the full recipe.  Instead of maple syrup I used almond butter for an added protein boost!


1 1/2 cups nondairy milk

1 cup oatmeal

2 medium size bananas

1/2 cup flour (can use GF)

1/2 tsp. salt

1 T. + 1 tsp. baking powder

coconut oil for pan as needed


In a blender, puree all ingredients except the coconut oil until smooth. Let rest 10 minutes. Heat a non-stick pan with a bit of coconut oil over medium heat. Scoop 1/4 cup fulls of batter for each pancake. When small bubbles appear on the tops and the bottoms are browned, flip the pancakes and cook until golden on the other side. Enjoy with your favorite topping.

Snacking on Almonds

Leslie H

Being a vegetarian who doesn’t eat dairy is sometimes a tricky balancing act to get enough protein in my diet and not too much fat. These nuts whether they are almonds or walnuts are my go- to snack these days. I will make a big batch of them and make sure I always have a snack bag in my car or purse.


2 lbs. raw organic almonds

2 T. kosher salt


Place almonds in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Stir in 2 T. salt and let sit for approximately 24 hours. The next morning drain the almonds and place on a cookie sheet and bake in a 150 degree oven for 24 hours. Let them cool a bit and taste them; they should have a “hollow” crunch to them with a hint of saltiness, if not, put them back in the oven. I have had to cook them for as much as four hours more. Enjoy!

Coconut Chicken with Apricot Dipping Sauce and Cous Cous

Leslie W

This is a new recipe I tried last night and loved! Will definitely be adding it to the rotation. The recipe below was adapted from:

Not the best picture!


1 egg
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/3 cup flour
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 boneless chicken breasts (flattened)
2 tbsp Earth Balance
1/4 cup apricot & pineapple preserves
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard


The recipe calls for baking the chicken for about 30-40 minutes at 400˚F. I did not want to wait that long so I decided to cook the chicken on top of the stove which turned out with a nice crust on it and still juicy inside.

Lightly beat the egg and garlic in a medium bowl; set aside.  Mix the coconut, flour, salt, and pepper in another bowl.  Pound chicken breasts into thinner pieces and dip each piece in the bowl with the beaten egg and then coat with the coconut mixture.  Melt 2 tbsp of Earth Balance in a frying pan on medium heat. Cook the chicken about 5 minute on each side until cooked through.

To prepare the apricot sauce, mix the apricot & pineapple preserves (good find at Bartells! The original recipe called for just apricot but I liked the addition of the pineapple) and the Dijon mustard in a small bowl.

Serve chicken with apricot sauce on side for dipping, a side of Israeli Cous Cous, and a good salad. Made for a great, quick meal – only about 20 minutes from start to finish. The original recipe also notes that the chicken is good to freeze and reheat later on. I might try making a larger back next time and doing this.