Tag Archives: cook

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

I eat oatmeal for breakfast anywhere from 2 to 7 days a week. I never get sick of it. I think that’s because I have tried so many different variations and loved almost all of them.

Since it’s Autumn, and I look for any excuse to eat dessert instead of a “real meal”, I whipped up pumpkin pie oatmeal.

You will need:
1/2 cup dry oats
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup pumpkin purée
Ground. cinnamon
2 splenda packets ( or sugar, stevia, equal, whatever)
A few walnuts
Maple syrup or agave nectar

Measure out your oats then put them into a small pot.

Measure and pour in your milk and water.

Cook over medium heat. When it starts to bubble, add in the sweetener, vanilla, pumpkin, and cinnamon.

Stir until fluffy.

Top with maple syrup and walnuts if you like.

Cheesecake Stuffed Cinnamon Sugar Pastry

First of all, let me apologize for the lack of blogging around here.  If you follow me on Twitter, then you peeped this:

Our 2 month old computer got hacked.  We were without our anti-virus software for literally ONE DAY!  I won’t get into another sobbing about our computer drama post, but I wanted to apologize to the readers that check in every day and keep seeing the same jute wreath staring back at them.

On to the good stuff…

I posted a few of the many drool-worthy dessert recipes I’ve seen on Pinterest a few days ago. Sunday we had a few friends over for a dinner party, and it was time to whip up a new dessert.

Here’s the original recipe:

-3 cans pillsbury butter crescent rolls
-2 (8oz) packages cream cheese (softened)
-1 cup sugar
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1/4 cup butter (melted)
-Cinnamon & sugar

Unrolled and spread 1 & 1/2 can crescent rolls on bottom of un-greased pan. Combine softened cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Spread mixture over crescent rolls. Unroll and spread remaining crescent rolls over mixture. Spread melted butter over the top and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.


If you’ve read any of my posts about attempting to test out a new recipe, then you know that some things have been changed.  I forgot my shopping list at home (again!) but I pretty much knew the ingredients I needed, so I winged it.

Here’s what I did…


1 package puffed pastry dough sheets ( I grabbed the wrong thing at the store)

1 pkg low-fat cream cheese

1/2 c white sugar

1/2 coconut extract (we had no vanilla)

1/8 c butter (melted)

cinnamon & sugar for sprinkling


Heat the oven to 350F.

Mix cream cheese, sugar, and extract in a bowl.  I didn’t soften the cream cheese, so it looked like this at first:

Just keep stirring until it looks nice and smooth  like this:

Place the puffed pastry sheet in an ungreased glass baking dish.

Spoon your cream cheese mixture onto the pastry sheet.  Don’t spread it too close to the edges, because it will creep out during the baking process.

Next,  place (or in my case fold) the puffed pastry sheet over the bottom sheet and mixture.  I sliced the dough into squares.

At this point, I should have pinched the edges closed with a fork (like sealing together 2 pie crusts or ravioli).

Coat the tops of each square with melted butter, cinnamon & sugar.

Bake for  20 – 25  minutes.  Your house will smell amazing!

It’s funny how people look at me when they don’t know that I blog about food.  Their facial expressions when I whip out the big boy Nikon, and start snapping shots of their dessert is priceless!

Serve warm & try not to eat them all! Good luck, I ate THREE!

Tilapia Got ME Published

If you know me personally, you know that I am bad with surprises.  If I have a surprise I can’t hold it in!!  Christmas is a tough time for my “condition”.  While I’m on my way home from shopping, I call my sister and ask her if I can pleeeeease give her her give early?!  Early meaning now.  

A few months ago I received an email from Oxygen magazine telling me that they want to print my recipe!  Last year my Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe was published on their website and I was sooooo excited!   Here’s the link :  http://www.oxygenmag.com/Nutrition/Articles/Clean-Chicken-Tortilla-Soup.aspx.

A couple of months after they put it online, Oxygen revamped their website.   This update included deleting recipe creators’  photos.  I have to admit, it was a really awful photo of me.  The day I actually read my email (I used to be really bad with checking emails …now I obsessively check it.  What a weirdo.) I saw the 4th notice from Oxygen telling me that they needed me to send in a high res photo of myself by 5 o’clock or they wouldn’t publish it. 

That particular day, I had a long meeting after school and skipped washing my hair.  It was raining, I stuffed it under a hat.  It was not pretty.  When I came out on the website I didn’t care how greasy I was.  I was happy about it anyway!  I love to cook and I consider Oxygen to be a true fitness and healthy living magazine. I was honored for them to acknowledge me doing something that I love to do…cook!  Here’s the screengrab before they changed their website if you’re curious…

Actually, when it’s really small like that, you can’t tell how gross it really was.  YAY!  Hahhah!  

Well, let me get to my point. I was going to wait until November or December to tell you guys. My secret that I can’t keep is I’m going to be in the December issue of Oxygen, like,  in print!  Like if you go to the store and the magazine, you’ll see me next to this tilapia recipe!

I had a similar experience with the photo this time too. I guess I’m not used to the publishing deadline thing.  They needed me to sign & fax some papers and send them a hi res photo by 5 (again!) or they were going to use the greasy one!  Well, the greasy one was fine for the online recipe, but in print?!  I don’t think so.

I realized that I am not camera-shy.  Nope.  I am camera awkward.  I ONLY have photos of myself

A)  in strange poses


B) with weird/creepy props


C) smiling reeeally big with my eyes closed. 

Plus, all other options for older pictures are gone from our last computer crash and are someplace on some disc or jump drive.  No time for that.  I had to settle for old faithful.  The bathroom photo shoot.

  I had 30 minutes from the time that I got home from work & had to leave for my bff’s graduation (WooHoo Yay Jackie!).  This meant 3 things.

1. I had to make do with the frizz attack from me straightening my hair on the rainiest day ever

2. I couldn’t be picky with the photo since I was pressed for time.

3. I have to take the picture myself.

I ended up with this one.

Yes.  That’s my shower curtain in the background.  I didn’t have time to crop it.  I don’t have Photoshop on this computer yet. Such is life.

Look for my cheezin face in the December issue 🙂

If you’ve made it this far in the longest winded post, I love you.



Cacio e Pepe

Thursday,  I was feeling under the weather, so I took a sick day.  Mindy’s sick day looked like this:

 *wake up

* running late to the doctor’s office so I skip coffee & breakfast

*get lost & stuck behind 15 school buses during my rush.

*see doc

*head home

*eat english muffin with natural peanut butter & Nutella

* Tweet that I want to marry Nutella & change my name to Mintella

*watch No Reservations Rome episode that I recorded on demand

*think (okay, daydream complete with drooling) about dinner…

*drive to the Italian market and purchase an obscene amount of imported cheeses

Anthony Bourdain hits up this hole in the wall restaurant and orders the special.  Rome is known for it’s Carbonara (I’ll test that recipe out next week) and it’s Cacio e Pepe.  This dish got me going.  Nothing cures like carbohydrates right?  Tonight’s din will be pastastic. 

 I scoured the net for the most authentic sounding recipe, and found a kindred spirit!  “A Food Lover’s Oddessy” is a blog about, you guessed it, travel & food!   Here’s the recipe from the blog.  The red type is my wacked out commentary. 

Cacio e Pepe alla Roma Sparita

(Serves 2 people)

Half pound spaghetti

About 6 cups well-salted boiling water

For the “sauce”:

About 1 1/2 cups (2 large ladles) boiling pasta water

1 tablespoon freshly, coarsely grated pepper, plus more for garnish

2 tablespoons butter

1 3/4 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for garnish

For the Parmesan bowl:

3/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

This dish is served in a parmesan bowl.  Like the moon is made of cheese, only it’s a bowl.

Like that.  To make the Parmesan bowl, spread a very thin layer of the cheese onto a slightly warmed non-stick pan in the form of a circle, about six inches in diameter.

Here’s my attempt.

 (The cheese should slowly start to melt when you place it into the pan). Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling. Using a spatula, slide the cheese circle out of the pan and onto a turned over bowl. (To create a pretty bowl like that at Roma Sparita, it’s best to use a mold/bowl that’s not higher than 2 inches, letting the excess fan out with creases at the edges.) Use tongs to press the cheese, only while it’s hot, down or out, as you like. Cool while you make the pasta.

Or do what I did.

Then dump it down the garbage disposal and turn the kitchen fan on.  Burnt cheese stinks. Well, at least I tried to get fancy. Cook the pasta according to the directions for that brand. When the pasta is not quite cooked, about 3 minutes before you would normally take it out of the water, Get a large pan, and add the boiling pasta water, the butter and the pepper to a hot saute pan.

Add the drained pasta to the pan and toss through the water mixture until the pasta absorbs almost all of the water.

Remove from the heat, and add the grated cheese to the pasta.

No.  We aren’t doin’ low fat up in Casa FSL tonight.  When Mama is sick, I eat what I want 😉  Quickly stir the cheese into the pasta. Place into the Parmesan cup and garnish with more grated cheese and freshly grated pepper, to taste.  I added a sprinkle of garlic powder for an extra kick. Buon Appetito!

 Simple, always in season, a bit creamy, a bit cheesey, pastaliscious, and peppery.  Hopefully, next summer, I’ll be able to gush about how amazing this dish was when I ate it in Rome (not in my small Connecticut kitchen).  Until then, this recipe will have to send me away, well maybe just my tastebuds.

What’s your favorite pasta recipe?  Share it with a sistah so I can road test it, then blog about it (obviously 😉 ). 



Chickpea Chicken Soup

In case you’ve never checked out the sidebar category “Link Love”, you should probably do that… go ahead, I’ll wait.

Jessica over at How Sweet It Is (or How Sweet Eats) is a recipe superhero.  Her photos are vibrant, her recipes are tasty, and her humor keeps me going back to her blog to see what she’s up to in the kitchen.

I was trying to figure out what the heck I was going to make for dinner last Thursday, so I did what I do best.  I scoured the internet for recipes with ingredients that I already had because I’m lazy and didn’t want to go food shopping. I found a bunch of boring recipes for chicken and lots of pork loin dishes blah blah blah. I was craving something different. The weather in Connecticut is cooling off and feeling very autumnal.  In other words, I wanted soup. 

I scoured Jessica’s recipe page until I found one that I

 A) had most of the ingredients for

 B) Sounded good

C)  Wasn’t a 10,000 step process to make

I ended up making her Chickpea Chicken Soup recipe. It is made with bacon.  Enough said.  Click the link to see her page for the original recipe.  I tweaked it just a little bit. My changes and weird commentary are in red 🙂

Chickpea Chicken Soup

serves approximately 6-8, depending on your serving sizes

4 slices thick-cut turkey bacon, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 red pepper, chopped didn’t have any peppers

1 cup mushrooms, roughly chopped Mr. FSL surprised me by cooking dinner the night before and used the mushrooms. They never made it into the soup, but I’m sure they would be fantastic in it!

2 cups  1 whole bag raw baby spinach

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon smoked paprika – I just had the regular kind.

1/2 teaspoon cumin

2 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 teaspoon seasoned salt I forgot to add this in because my brain is fried by the time I’m cooking dinner.

1 cup bag chopped baby carrots

2 3 celery stalks, chopped

1 25-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed I never rinse them because I’m lazy 😉

24 ounces 4 cans  low-sodium chicken stock

1 can of corn (drained)

2 chicken bullion cubes dissolved  in 2 cups of very hot water

Crushed red pepper

Plain old salt & pepper to taste

Preheat a large pot on medium heat. Add chopped bacon and fry until brown and crispy.

While bacon is frying, chop vegetables and cook chicken. I didn’t read this part first, so 1/2 way though, I was cooking all of the chicken.  If you have cooked chicken hanging around your fridge, use that. You have 3 options for the chicken – you can either bake it while the bacon + veggies are sauteing, you can pan-fry it while the bacon + veggies are sauteing (I did that & it took a while), or you can use pre-made/leftover shredded chicken in the soup…um yeah.  That’s the best option. Either way, take the time while the bacon is frying to get the chicken ready. Here’s what my crazy operation looked like!

Once bacon is done, remove and drain on a paper towel. Be careful on this part to have self-control. While waiting for the chicken to cook, I ate all of the bacon … don’t judge. 

 Once I chopped up all of the veggies, I realized that I’m going to need a bigger pot (and make more bacon **blushes**). I tossed new turkey bacon into my Big Mamma stockpot.  I failed to realize that it is NOT nonstick.  Yeah.

 Keeping heat on medium, add onions, mushrooms and peppers to bacon grease and saute until soft, about 5-8 minutes.

 Add garlic, spinach, paprika and cumin and stir for 60 seconds.

Turn heat down to low and add chickpeas, celery, carrots and chicken.

Dump in the chicken & corn.

 stock and simmer for 30 minutes. My carrots were still too firm, so I boiled it for an other 10 to 15 minutes until they were softer.

Right before serving, add bacon back into soup. My bacon was in teeny tiny pieces and at this point since I clearly don’t read the directions when I cook, realized that the bacon was boiling in the pot this entire time along with everything else.  What can I say guys, I’m a genius 😀  Garnish with parmesan cheese and serve with toast if desired. Season with salt and pepper if needed. I found I needed no extra salt.  I served mine with cheesy garlic bread & discovered that this soup is even better without grated cheese.  I NEVER think food is better without cheese, but this soup is.


Well, there ya have it.  An epic fail in the recipe following department, and the soup still turned out frikkin delicious!  I ate it for lunch for the next 3 days and Mr. FSL kept saying “MMMM, this is really great broth!”.  Thanks Jess.  This recipe was so good, that I royally effed it up and it still was amazing!  Imagine how good it will be if you follow the real directions?!