Friday, August 31, 2012

Foodie Pen Pal - August!

Happy Friday!! Today is reveal day for Foodie Pen Pal and I'm so excited to share what I've received this month! My package was sent by Sarah @ Zoe's Lunch Box. She is always coming up with an exciting way to make lunch look fun! Cute bento boxes that are balanced with fruits, veggies, protein and whole grains. Any kid (or adult) would enjoy these lunches! She has inspired me to take my lunch to the next level. I usually eat leftovers, sandwiches or salads - but I really love the bento box concept of having a bit of everything (and it being delicious to look at too). I'm going to make an effort to make awesome lunches and I'll post pictures and such. 

On to the Foodie Pen Pal Package... 
I love the fact that it was a bunch snacks! I am a notorious grazer, especially crunchy things - and portion control is key. 

Here's the breakdown of everything:

  • Can of Chickpeas
  • Seasoning for Chickpeas
  • Sunbutter
  • Veggie Chips
  • Cheese Crisps - Melting Romano
  • Wind & Willow - Pear & Pomegranate Mix
  • LaraBar- UBER Bananas Foster
  • 3 Granolas - Maple Pecan, Strawberry & Almond
  • Sanders Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel
  • 2 packets of individual Cocoa Roast Almonds
  • Pop! Gourmet Popcorn - White Truffle Bliss

I love that she sent me an awesome recipe to make roasted chickpeas (with her own seasoning blend) - I've never made these before! I've tried dried, flavored chickpeas and they were pretty awesome. But imagine - warm, crunchy, seasoned snackies? Oh yes, this is happening.... and soon. I'll post pictures once I make them.

Sander's Dark Chocolate Caramel was SOOO good. I love salty sweet combos and this was dead on. I shared the small piece with my husband because I wanted him to see how delicious it was. We are both hooked and now have another favorite chocolate (along with See's, Godiva, Chuao, etc). We appreciate great chocolate and this was just that. I checked their website to see what other varieties they have - OMG they have chocolate covered potato chips! I love these, but they are hard to find. I've already made it clear that I'd like a small box of chocolates and the potato chips for Christmas :)

OMG I love truffle ANYTHING!! I'm not sure how she knew... but she knew. I got a lovely container of truffled sea salt for Christmas from a great friend, and I sprinkle it on everything as a finishing salt. I especially use it when I make microwave popcorn bags (made simply with a brown paper bag, popcorn kernels and a little coconut oil). I can't wait to try this! Maybe I'll make it a movie night - watch a cheesy movie and munch on some tasty popcorn.

I'm so pleased to have gotten such an awesome assortment of goodies! If you are interested in participating, just click on the Foodie Pen Pal icon. It's a monthly program that gives you the chance to connect with others and try new foods. 

I hope everyone has a lovely Labor Day Weekend! My brother is arriving from New York tomorrow with his wife. It's going to be a fun up-coming week with the family! Tons of sight-seeing, hanging out at the beach and eating at our favorite restaurants. I plan to post a few pictures.  Enjoy the long weekend!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Broiled Tamari Ginger Salmon Steaks

I love going to the store and check out to see what looks fresh and delicious. I'm a big stickler on eating seafood that looks and smells fresh. I like to cook any seafood I bring home that day. While strolling along the seafood section at Whole Foods, I noticed no only is the salmon on sale, but it is a bright ruby red. Perfect. I knew exactly what was for dinner tonight! I made a simple marinade once I got home and let the salmon absorb the flavor for about a half hour. After marinating in the fridge, I place the salmon steaks on a well oiled cookie sheet and let them broil for a bit. A simple dish with simple flavors - but stellar turn out. I purchase the salmon in steak form, as they are much more appealing visually - at least to me. The parts that are charred looking were actually the tastiest (and fattiest). Tons of good fats in salmon (high in Omega 3's) and vitamin D. So don't be shy about enjoying the fatty crunch pieces, they are good for you. I split the piece in half and saved half of it for tomorrow's lunch. Planning on having a mixed greens salad with ginger dressing and the salmon right on top - YUM!

Be aware - salmon steaks usually have some bones in them, so be careful when you are eating. My salmon steaks we slightly less than an inch thick and cooked for 7 minutes. They turned out perfectly - not dry at all!  I left the skin on the outside of the steaks, which is optional. Also - Always try to buy wild-caught salmon, as it is the safest to eat (low mercury).  

Broiled Tamari Ginger Salmon Steaks

Cook Time: <10 minutes
Prep Time: < 35 minutes
Serves: 4 (5oz portions)

  • 2 tbsp Tamari
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • pepper to taste
  • 20oz of wild caught salmon steaks (approx 2 pieces)
  • 1 tsp of oil (for the pan)

In a shallow bowl mix the Tamari, honey, ginger and pepper. Place the steaks in the marinade and cover. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes or so. 

Once the salmon has marinated - Preheat the broiler and prep a lined cookie sheet with some foil. Grease the foil well with the oil. 

Place the salmon on the grease cookie sheet and broil for about 7-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the steak. 

Once the salmon is completely cooked, allow the salmon to rest a few minutes and then serve.  

Nutritional Info per 5oz portion:
Calories: 290 ; Fat: 13g ; Carbohydrate: 3g ; Fiber: 0g ; Sugar: 2g ; Protein: 37g 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Skinny Vegetarian Black Bean Tostada

Tostadas are usually very high fat and not exactly something you want to be eating if you are trying to lose the extra baby weight (Me!). I love the open-faced factor - It's like a mini Mexican pizza. Instead of frying the tortilla, I just warm it through. I used corn tortilla because they are much thicker and hold up better. I didn't want the liquid from the beans and eggs to break it down. I made these as a quick week night meal, but these would be perfect for breakfast as well. Since these are basically a just assemble-and-serve meal, you can customize it to fit your family's likes and dislikes. Topping ideas: shredded cheese, salsa, sour cream, hot sauce, lime juice, tortilla chips, fresh diced red onion, etc. Customize it how ever you'd like. I really like the avocado and tomato only. The heat from the egg softens the avocado, making it buttery and delicious. My husband added cheese, salsa and tortilla chips to his. With the yolk being slightly runny, I punctured the egg and let the yolk run all over the top of the tostada. OOOHH it's so good. 

The corn tortilla I got were green chile flavored - which was awesome. They were really tasty and 90 calories each. I purchased them at the Fresh Market, I'm not sure if they are available in other stores. It was the first time I had seen them. If you prefer to scramble the eggs, that would be good too. I've made these same tostada a million times, in a million different ways, and scrambled eggs are awesome. 

Sorry for the foggy/poor lighting photos, these were taken while tropical storm Isaac was hitting South Florida.

Skinny Vegetarian Black Bean Tostada

Cook Time: < 25 minutes
Prep Time: < 10 minutes
Serves: 8 tostadas


Black Beans:

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • jalapeno flavored hot sauce, to taste (optional)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups cooked black beans (or canned beans, drained and rinsed)


  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 haas avocado, diced
  • 8 corn tortillas, warmed
  • oil spray
  • 8 cage-free eggs, fried 
  • fresh cilantro, minced

Heat the oil in a medium pot, over medium heat. Saute the onions, peppers and garlic for about 5 minutes.

Add the vinegar, oregano, salt, pepper, hot sauce, tomato paste and black beans to the pot. Stir well, reduce heat and cover. Allow the beans to simmer for about 10 minutes or longer. 

While the beans are simmering, prep the tostada ingredients. Begin frying the eggs (in the oil spray) and cooking to your desired done-ness. (I did mine medium, I like to poke the yolk and let it run into the beans and veg). Salt and pepper the egg if you'd like. 

Warm the tortilla in microwave or on the stove top. If you are using the microwave, about 10 seconds per tortilla. On the stove, just heat the tortilla on a dry skillet until they are warm and loose.

To assemble the tostadas - Place the corn tortilla on a plate, top with 1/3 cup of black bean mixture, 1/8 of the diced tomatos and avocado (add a bit of salt and pepper if you'd like) and top with the fried egg. Sprinkle with a little cilantro. 

Serve piping hot and have a few toppings on hand for customizing.

Nutritional Info per Tostada:
Calories: 270 ; Fat: 9.5g ; Carbohydrate: 29g ; Fiber: 7g ; Sugar: 1g ; Protein: 16g