Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Microwave Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Cake (in a mug)

Microwave Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Cake
(in a mug)

Do you have 3 minutes?

If you said no, I guarantee your sweet tooth will argue with you after seeing this post.

3 minutes. Seriously, that is all you need. 1 minute for prep, 1 minute for cooking, 1 minute for eating. 

Although I could argue that it only took me 5 seconds to eat it...but for consistency lets stick with 1 minute. 

It's the middle of the week and I usually need something to get me over the hump. And so like most wonderful people out there I turn to sugar! But heck, I don't have time for baking and fussing and calories on a Wednesday! Luckily, I've devised this quick fix for my warm-baked goodness cravings. 

Microwave Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Cake
(in a mug)

2 Tbsp Flour
1 Tbsp Quick Cooking Oats
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/8 tsp Cinnamon
Pinch of Salt
1 (heaping) Tbsp Canned Pumpkin
1/2 Tbsp Honey
1 Tbsp Milk
1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 Tbsp Chocolate Chips

Mix dry ingredients until blended. Stir in remaining ingredients. Microwave until firm on top (depending on your microwave this could be anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute). Enjoy!


If using sugar instead of honey, add a little extra milk.

If you want to remove cake from the mug, spray mug with a small amount of cooking spray before microwaving. I even added a little vanilla frosting and made it into a cupcake!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Chickpea Tacos with Spicy Pumpkin Barbeque Sauce

Chickpea Tacos with Spicy Pumpkin Barbeque Sauce

I fear I may lose some followers with this post... 

...but alas, I must admit that I am a thief. 

Yes, I said it, a thief. A thief of what you ask? 


I know its not technically stealing because they are free, but still a small part of me twinges with guilt every time I walk out of a fast food restaurant with some ketchup in my pocket...

BUT! Stealing condiments does have its perks! Especially when you're cooking for one most the time. It simply does not make sense budget wise to buy a whole jar of mayonnaise. 

And so I have Chick-fil-A to thank for their lovely BBQ sauce that made this recipe possible.

Chickpea Tacos with Spicy Pumpkin Barbeque Sauce
Makes 2 Small Tacos

Taco filling:
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup of purple onion, chopped
1/2 cup of canned chickpeas
2 corn tortillas

3 Tbsp canned pumpkin
1 Tbsp BBQ sauce
1 Tbsp water
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Sour Cream

Mix all sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until lightly browned. Reduce heat to medium low, add chickpeas and sauce. Simmer mixture for 5 minutes. In another skillet, warm the tortillas. To serve, lightly coat tortillas with sour cream. Spoon mixture onto tortillas and top with cilantro and lime juice.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Lovin' your greens: Leeks

Lovin' your greens: Leeks

Rule #1 of living beautifully on a budget: make the most of what you have.

This rule doesn't just hold true in cooking though. Every aspect of our lives can benefit from valuing what we have instead of longing for something we don't. However, this stand within reason...for instance I'm not one of those crazy people that will try and use every little bit of something, even if it tastes horrible or just shouldn't be eaten in the first place. 

Don't worry, I will never try and make something out of chicken hearts or onion skins or that cockroach crawling across your apartment floor...

What the heck is a leek anyway? It's usually one of those things in the wall of produce at the grocery store that you always think looks cool but has no real purpose. I am proud to say that I finally took the leap of faith and bought one for the first time this week! I soon found out that leeks are basically just a glorified version of a green onion. 

To my dismay I quickly learned that most the world only uses the white part of a leek...and I simply could not bring myself to throw the rest of it out! 

So here's the game plan I used to make the most of this interesting vegetable:

Slice the leeks leaves lengthwise along the crease. Stack leaves and cut into 1 inch pieces. Melt 1/2 Tbsp butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saute pan. Saute leeks for 5-7 minutes over medium-low heat until wilted and slightly browned.

I paired my leeks with a gooey egg and tomatoes for a breakfast of champions! Yum. I'm looking forward to using the rest of them in recipes later this week though! Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Spicy Peanut and Sweet Potato Soup

Spicy Peanut and Sweet Potato Soup

Are you tired of eating PBJ's day after day after day?

Me too.

However, I am definitely not tired of eating peanut butter. Peanut butter is one of those glorious foods from God, that just doesn't quite compare to anything else. I eat it with EVERYTHING. From carrots and celery, to dark chocolate and ice cream, or simply (my personal favorite) straight from the jar. Peanut butter will forever hold a special place in my heart.

That being said, I jump at any new food to pair peanut butter with. This recipe may seem weird at first glance, but TRUST ME, it is worth trying. The sweet potatoes and peanut butter combined make that perfect rich and earthy taste and texture that is so sooo yummy. Plus, the ingredients are super easy AND inexpensive. So trying it won't hurt you one bit.

It serves 8 but it was so yummy I plan on eating all the servings myself (not all at once though...). This also helps with the budgeting. All the ingredients totaled about $10 (which could vary depending on whether you already have peanut butter or should). This means only $1.25 per meal! If you don't have the spices, go to the bulk section of your local grocery store (HEB is amazing) and it should only cost you 8 cents for all of them. They aren't necessary but sure do make it that much better :)

Spicy Peanut and Sweet Potato Soup
Adapted from For the love of Food
Serves 8

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow/white onion
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced (or 1/4 tsp ground ginger)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
3 Tablespoons peanut butter (i used crunchy)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
pinch of chile powder (less than 1/8 teaspoon)
3 medium sweet potatoes, chopped
1 cup canned garbanzo beans (optional)
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
garnish with peanuts, chopped

Heat oil in a pot over medium heat.  Add onion, ginger and garlic and sauté for about 3 minutes, until fragrant.  Stir in tomato paste, peanut butter, turmeric, cumin, paprika, and chile powder; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly (it'll get sticky!).  Add sweet potatoes, garbanzo beans, and vegetable broth.  Simmer over medium-low heat, partially covered, about 20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender.

Blend the soup by using an immersion blender or regular blender. I recommend letting the soup cool and blending in smaller batches.  Add a bit of water if the soup is too thick.  Serve garnished with chopped peanuts.