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Category: Eat Well. Heal the Planet.

  1. Tuesday, October 1, 2013

    Chewy Chocolate Chip Homemade Granola Bars

    Since I first shared Catherine McCord’s chocolate chip granola bar recipe with you. I have made a lot of granola bars. We are going through them like water! I am loving it because they are cheaper than store-bought granola bars and I love that we aren’t throwing out a wrapper with every granola bar we eat, instead using our reusable Lunchskins pouches.

    homemade chewy chocolate chip granola bars |

    Catherine’s recipe is perfect just the way it is, but I still couldn’t stop myself from experimenting! The original recipe I shared is a nice combination of crispy and chewy. I actually think crispy is probably a good description, although it’s not crispy like a Nature Valley granola bar, so I hesitate describing it purely as crispy. ANYWAY…I wanted to see if I could make a chewier granola bar based on the recipe, and I did!

    homemade chewy chocolate chip granola bars |

    I think I  prefer the chewier version myself, but every time I quiz Cate and Nate about which one they like better, they can’t decide. So, this new version is not an improvement over the previous version, it’s just different. If you’re looking for a chewier granola bar, then this version of the recipe is for you!

    homemade chewy chocolate chip granola bars | thisweekfordinner.comClick here for a gluten free version of this recipe, which also contains less sugar, Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Granola Bars.

    Click here for another version of this recipe that is also gluten free and has even less sugar, Chocolate Granola Bars.

    Chewy Chocolate Chip Homemade Granola Bars
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
    I adapted this recipe from Catherine McCord's granola bar recipe, to make it more chewy and changed up ingredients just a smidge.
    Recipe type: Snack
    Serves: 24
    • 4 cups rolled old-fashioned oats
    • 1 cup brown crisped rice cereal (you can use regular crisped rice; I like brown because it’s a little healthier, I get it at Sprouts and Barbara’s Bakery is my favorite brand)
    • ½ cup shredded or flaked unsweetened coconut
    • ⅓ cup whole wheat flour
    • Generous ⅓ cup brown sugar
    • 1 cup chocolate chips (regular or mini)
    • Generous ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • ⅔ cup coconut oil (you can also use canola oil as a substitute, but the best texture comes with coconut oil)
    • ⅔ cup honey
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1. Preheat oven to 325º F.
    2. Combine oats, crisped rice, flour, coconut, brown sugar, chocolate chips and salt. Mix well.
    3. Combine oil, honey and vanilla. Whisk well. Add to dry ingredients and mix well (stir a lot...and then stir some more!).
    4. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Pour granola bar mixture onto the lined cookie sheet. Press mixture out into a large, uniform rectangle, about 9”³ x 13”³. If your hands are damp when you push the mixture into shape, it won’t stick to your hands as much.
    5. Bake for about 30 minutes until golden and dry to touch (watch out, it’s hot!). (I bake for 14 minutes, then rotate the pan, then bake for 14 minutes more.)
    6. If you use canola oil or your coconut oil was in liquid form, the bars may spread a bit during baking. As soon as you take them out of the oven, use a spatula to push all the edges back in, so you get your original rectangle.
    7. Cool on the baking sheet for 10-20 minutes until completely cooled. Slide granola bar along with parchment paper onto a large cutting board. Cut into bars using a long serrated knife - bars need to be completely cooled before you cut them.
    8. Makes 24 bars (8 rows, 3 columns). Bars will keep for several weeks in an airtight container.
    9. Tip: I use the parchment paper I cooked the granola bars on torn into smaller pieces to place between layers in the container I store the bars in.


  2. Wednesday, July 10, 2013

    Dole Taste of Spain Salad Summit

    One of my favorite places on earth is the coast between Big Sur and Monterey. When we lived in the Bay Area, the Monterey/Carmel area was our go-to weekend getaway spot and we have many fond family memories from those trips. Both towns are quaint and fun, but the coastline is what we really love. It is, quite simply, breathtaking. About a month or so ago I was invited by the team at Dole Salads to visit beautiful Carmel and attend the Taste of Spain Salad Summit with a great group of bloggers. Of course I had to go!

    dole taste of spain salad summit |

    The trip was really wonderful. I had the chance to connect and re-connect with some really lovely bloggers (see list here!), the Dole Salads team was wonderful to work with, and it was very interesting getting a peak into how Dole produces their food (more on that in a moment). Dole put us up at the Carmel Valley Ranch hotel (which was AMAZING) and fed us an abundance of Spanish-inspired food. It was heavenly!

    dole taste of spain salad summit |

    As I often mention, I am constantly thinking about how food production and food consumption impact Mother Earth. My new year’s resolution each year is always focused on that theme. When I say I’m constantly thinking about environmental issues, I’m not exaggerating. It’s maybe kind of an obsession.

    dole taste of spain salad summit |

    Over the years we’ve modified and cut back on our meat consumption in order to make a positive environmental impact. As a result, I’m always on board with getting people to eat more fruits and vegetables, no matter where the produce comes from. Produce always requires less water and energy for production than meat does, so by eating more of those foods we are automatically using less valuable resources.

    dole taste of spain salad summit |

    But I am still also concerned about industrialized farming and the increased use of monoculture over the past few decades. The concern with monoculture is that by growing one particular crop over a large area, the plants are more susceptible to disease, which in turns necessitates the use of pesticides (bad for our bodies and the environment) or GMO plants (which are engineered to be resistent to bugs – the jury is still out on the impact of GMOs on our health and the environment).

    dole taste of spain salad summit |

    Needless to say, I was very happy that Dole invited me on the trip and I couldn’t wait to see their farms and talk with them about how Dole produces food.

    dole taste of spain salad summit | | farmer

    We started our day driving to the beautiful Salinas Valley, where more than 80% of our country’s salad greens are grown. First we met one of the Dole growers (a.k.a. farmers). He was kind, humble and obviously loved his job. This particular farmer was growing iceberg lettuce. We learned that the crops are constantly rotated and that any food left behind during harvest is tilled back into the soil. We also learned the Dole does not use GMO plants but that they do use some pesticides. When we talked with the farmer about this, he mentioned how he lives on the farm and is raising his children there, so obviously he uses as little as he possibly can. He also said that if there was more business/demand for organic, he would gladly switch to that type of farming. It was really great meeting and talking with him and seeing the passion he has for his job.

    dole taste of spain salad summit | | harvest

    dole taste of spain salad summit | | harvest


    dole taste of spain salad summit | | harvest


    dole taste of spain salad summit | | harvest

    Once the lettuce is grown, Dole hires harvesters to pick the produce. The farmer actually has no part in the harvest of the food. His job is to grow the food and keep the soil healthy. We watched a crew of harvesters picking lettuce and sending it up the conveyer belt, to be delivered to the packaging plant nearby. There were tanks of chlorinated water nearby, which is sprayed on the lettuce was soon as it is harvested. (More on the chlorinated water in a moment!)

    dole taste of spain salad summit | | packaging

    Once the lettuce reaches the packaging plant, it is washed several times (in chlorinated and non-chlorinated water), cut, and packaged in super duper high-tech packaging that is designed to keep the lettuce fresh.

    dole taste of spain salad summit | | hairnets

    dole taste of spain salad summit |

    My big takeaways were as follows:

    • Safety is of the utmost importance to Dole. All along the process the food is kept safe with different rules and procedures, including hairnets for everyone at the farm!
    • Freshness is right up there with safety. From the way the food is handled to the packaging, every effort is made to deliver tasty, good-looking food to the consumer.
    • We asked specifically about the use of chlorinated water and were told that it is food-grade and used to keep the food safe. As a person who tries to eat produce as locally as possible and mostly organic, I must admit that the use of chlorinated water gave me pause. The thing is, there are a LOT of people to feed and we are demanding large amounts of the same types of foods, which necessitates these safety measures. I don’t think the chlorinated water used on this particular iceberg lettuce is necessarily hurting any of us on its own (and testing shows that it is safe), but I can’t help but wonder what the cumulative effect of all of the food we eat that is produced in this way has on our bodies and health, not to mention the environment. And I don’t know what the solution is. GMOs have not yet been proven to be harmful, but there are still big questions about their true impact. We know pesticides are no good, but if we aren’t using GMOs, we need the pesticides to produce large quantities of food. It really is a catch 22 and we just keep circling around and around. We need to feed people, that’s the bottom line. Right now, this is how it is done for the most part.
    • Dole tries to grow food as locally as possible. Obviously pineapples can’t be grown everywhere, but when they can,  Dole does grow food as close to the place where it will be bought as possible. Yes, it’s not true local farming, but it is a start and I appreciate a large corporation making that effort.
    • Dole also produces organic products. Let’s demand more of it so we can start to shift how our food is produced! We hold the keys to change!

    The trip provided a great deal of food for thought (pun intended!) for me. I’m really glad I had the chance to talk with Dole and see first-hand what they are all about. The company has a really positive vibe and I walked away from the weekend feeling good, even with the bigger questions about our food system bumping about my brain.

    dole taste of spain salad summit |

    Thank you to Dole for inviting me to attend the Taste of Spain Salad Summit. I am so happy they included me on the trip! Now, everyone go eat some salad!

    For Dole recipes and to enter the Taste of Spain giveaway (you could win a $40,000 trip to Spain!), please visit

  3. Tuesday, April 23, 2013

    Greener Lunchboxes

    As you know, I repeated the same new year’s resolution for 2013 as I had in 2012 because I did such a terrible job of cutting back on plastic and disposable items the first time around. It was a surprisingly difficult resolution! I’ve made a few specific goals to help me be more successful this year. One of the goals is that when I run out of paper napkins and plastic baggies, I’m not allowed to buy new ones and have to start using cloth and reusable containers. A couple of weeks ago I ran out of snack baggies. That day I went to Facebook for suggestions on good reusable lunchbox containers. I was flooded with ideas, on my blog’s Facebook page as well as my personal page.

    reusable containers for lunch boxes

    Today I wanted to share two of the products that I’ve tried out so far and really like!

    Little Green Pouch: I love the convenience of the applesauce pouches that have popped up in recent years and my kids love having them for snacks. BUUUUUT…the packaging is incredibly guilt-inducing for me. Those super-handy pouches are the perfect example of one-time use items that can’t be recycled, exactly the type of thing I’m trying to eliminate from my life. Enter the Little Green Pouch! I am beyond excited about this product. They are reusable pouches that are free of BPA and pthalates, freezer safe, and dishwasher safe. They’re perfect for storing and freezing homemade baby food, applesauce for snacks, and even yogurt (frozen overnight and thrown in the lunchbox for later that morning). I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am about these pouches! You can order the pouches here.

    little green pouch reusable pouch container

    LunchSkins: One product that was recommended by many of you over and over again was LunchSkins. I love them. They are dishwasher safe, free of BPA, lead and pthalates, come in three perfect sizes for various lunch foods, and they’re cute to boot! You can order LunchSkins online. Target has also started carrying LunchSkins2, which includes 1 sandwich and 1 snack bag.

    lunchskins reusable lunch bags

    P.S. I have many more products to try and will keep you posted on what I think!

    P.P.S. Big thanks to Little Green Pouch and LunchSkins for sending me product to try out. They may have given me the product, but all opinions are my own and I really do love their stuff!

    P.P.P.S. Stay tuned for some giveaways!

    P.P.P.P.S Be sure to check out my article on Babble yesterday fitting in with today’s theme: 11 Ways to Green Your Kitchen TODAY


  4. Thursday, February 21, 2013

    Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos {Sweet Potato Day with ONE}

    Before we get into the heart of today’s post, I need to whet your appetite. You do not want to miss today’s recipe. It comes from my sister-in-law Cora and is amazing. Appetite whetted? Good.

    Way back in the day, I was an International Relations major at Boston University, with a focus on developing countries. When I met the folks at ONE about a year ago, I was super excited to get involved and help support their work, especially since one of their main focuses is world hunger. My food blogging and international relations lives were coming together in a very cool way. The folks at ONE have been amazing to work with, too. Win, win, win!

    Today is Sweet Potato Day, a special day coordinated with ONE where a big group of loving, talented bloggers are all writing about sweet potatoes to raise awareness on the issue of hunger. Why the sweet potato, you ask? We are trying to make the sweet potato famous! It is nutritional and hearty and is saving lives in Africa, making it a worthy mascot for the cause! (Click here to read the Sweet Potato Day kick-off post I wrote for the ONE website.)

    As part of the big day, I am sharing a keeper of a recipe with you below. It is so so so so good. These Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos come from my culinarily-talented sister-in-law, Cora. The first night she made them, she called me simply to tell me how delicious her dinner was. I knew I would have to make it myself pronto! Each element of this “recipe” is great on its own: the black beans are deliciously sweet, the sweet potatoes are simple and flavorful with a hint of spice, and the slaw is fresh and has bite. When you put them all together, you get something really special.

    To support Sweet Potato Day, I hope that you will visit ONE’s website and see how you can get involved. There are two main issues I would love for you to check out. First, the budget. You can learn more on the budget issue and send a letter to your Congressperson on this page. Second, food. ONE has oodles of great info on food and hunger on this page, where you can also sign a petition to encourage world leaders to make hunger and food a top priority. We really can make a difference. I am blessed with abundance and want to do my part to help share the love. I hope you’ll join me!

    Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos
    • Roasted Sweet Potatoes (see recipe below)
    • Aunt Kathy's Black Beans (see recipe below)
    • Jalapeño Slaw (see recipe below)
    • Shredded cheese
    • Sour Cream
    • Flour tortillas
    1. Stuff all the good food above into your flour tortillas, eat, and enjoy!

    Roasted Sweet Potatoes
    • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
    • Olive oil
    • Salt
    • Pepper
    • Chili powder
    • Oregano
    • Cumin
    1. Spread cubed sweet potatoes on a large baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over sweet potatoes evenly, to coat. Sprinkle sweet potatoes with salt, pepper, chili powder, oregano and cumin. Mix and move sweet potatoes around on the sheet to coat with spices. Roast in a 350 degree F oven while you prepare the beans. Cook until soft then remove from oven, 10-20 minutes.

    Aunt Kathy's Black Beans
    • 2 (16oz) cans black beans, mostly drained
    • ½ cup water
    • ⅔ cup olive oil
    • ⅛ cup vinegar
    • ⅓ cup sugar
    • 1 tsp pepper
    • 1 bay leaves
    • 2 T fresh, minced garlic
    • 2 tsp salt
    • ½ tsp cumin
    • 1 tsp oregano
    • ⅓ onion, chopped
    1. Sauté onions. Combine all ingredients, including sautéed onions, in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 20 minutes.

    Jalapeño Slaw
    • ¼ cup lime juice
    • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
    • 2 teaspoons sugar
    • ¾ teaspoon kosher or coarse salt
    • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • ½ cup chopped cilantro
    • 1 16-ounce package cabbage and carrot coleslaw
    • 1 jalapeño, sliced thin and chopped (add more if you want it hotter)
    1. Mix all the ingredients except the coleslaw together in a large bowl. Add coleslaw and toss to coat.

    Be sure to visit the other blogs taking part in Sweet Potato Day! I have listed them all below. There is a lot of love and deliciousness in these posts. You will be well fed.

    Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burritos from This Week for Dinner
    Truffle Sweet Potato Frites from Savory Sweet Life
    Sweet Potato & Chicken Sausage Stew from Chefdruck
    Honey Sweet Potato Biscuits from Food for My Family
    Sweet Potato Burgers from Cutie Booty Cakes
    What’s Gaby Cooking and Sweet Potato Day
    The MIssion List and Sweet Potato Day
    World Moms Blog and Sweet Potato Day
    Go Graham Go and Sweet Potato Day
    Cranberry Sweet Potato Crumb Cake from Barbara Bakes
    Bourbon and Marshmallow Sweet Potatoes from Boston Mamas
    Documama and Sweet Potato Day
    Sweet Potato Bread Pudding from Eat the Love
    Lamb Shanks with Sweet Potatoes and Sausage from Kitchen Gadget Girl
    Sweet Potato Love To Help End World Hunger from Love That Max
    Celebrating Sweet Potato Day with Mom Trends
    Sweet Potato Chili from Righteous Bacon
    Cooking Sweet Potatoes for Picky Eaters from Rookie Moms
    Sweet Potatoes and Global Health from Third Eye Mom
    Indian Spiced Sweet Potato Kielbasa ONE Skillet Bake from Tickled Red
    Sweet, Dude, Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash from Helen Jane
    Oh My Sweet Potato Apple Bake from Bowl Licker
    Sweet Potato and Peanut Gratin from Non-Reactive Pan
    Sweet Potato Fries from When You Wake Up a Mother  (also found on Million Moms Challenge)

  5. Wednesday, January 9, 2013

    This Year’s Resolution: Use Less Plastic…Take Two!

    If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I firmly believe our actions in the kitchen have an impact on Mother Earth. There are so many things each of us can do every day with what and how we eat that can make a big difference in the environment. It’s empowering!

    Each year I choose a new year’s resolution to support those beliefs. Last year I decided our family needed to use less plastic and disposable items. I wrote a thorough post about the goal, with some information explaining what inspired my goal. And then, well, then life happened. And not much changed. And I didn’t reach my goal. This is not to say that we are over-users of plastic and disposables. I have always tried to be thoughtful about that. But things didn’t get any better than they were in the past.

    As I look back on 2012 I can honestly say that using less plastic and less disposable items is the hardest Eat Well, Heal the Planet goal I’ve made so far. Eating less meat was way easier than I thought it would be. Joining a CSA was a fabulous way to get our family eating more veggies and eating more locally. But less plastic? Less disposables? Oh my, it’s hard to do, especially in this throw-away, fast-paced society in which we live. It really takes effort. And I didn’t put in the effort I needed to.

    Instead of giving up and abandoning the goal, I’m going to give it another try! And I’m going to start with just a few specific goals and build from there.

    • We have a lot of paper napkins on hand in our house. Last year I had visions of using cloth napkins, which we did TWICE. Yes, just two times. Here’s the plan for this year. Use up all the paper napkins that we have already. While we work through that supply, I will build up my cloth napkin stores. I am NOT going to buy more paper napkins for our daily use. Once they’re gone, it’s cloth all the way!
    • I need to use less plastic baggies in my kids’ lunches. By the time school starts in the fall, I want to have transitioned to reusable metal containers, BPA- and pthalate-free plastic containers, and cloth pouches. I’m giving myself 9 months to make that transition happen.
    • I am going to find and try various snack recipes to replace the snacks I buy at the store…you know, applesauce pouches, granola bars, fruit roll-ups, etc. I’m not going to expect myself to give up those convenient snacks cold turkey, but I want to try to find a realistic way to try to replace some or all of them by making those snacks myself.

    That’s it for now. I’ll make more small goals as the year moves on and I will let you know what they are and how my progress goes.

    I’m curious, did any of you try to cut back on plastic and disposables last year? How did it go? Any great tricks you can share from your journey? I am very interested to hear your feedback and about your experience!

    Here’s to a more successful 2013, filled with less plastic and lots of pretty cloth napkins!

  6. Wednesday, June 20, 2012

    Organic Cane Sugar

    As you may know, for the last couple of years I have been slowly shifting to using organic products in our home. My ultimate goal with going organic is to help the environment, although I am also learning that there are some real health benefits as well, which is just an added bonus for me. But I must admit, there are a few things here and there that I’m just not sure will work if they’re organic. Sugar was one of those things.

    A few months ago I was at Costco and noticed the woman in front of me had organic cane sugar. I asked the Costco worker if he’d ever used it in place of refined white sugar and he was excited to tell me that he had and it worked great. Funny enough he had once worked at a sugar refinery. He said if I knew what they did to make the sugar white I would never eat it again.

    Now, I don’t know anything about the process or if there really is anything evil about the way sugar is refined, but I DO know that going organic is something I’m very interested in. Alas, I was chicken to try the sugar out. The crystals are darker and much larger than white sugar and I wasn’t sure how it would work in my regular cooking and baking.

    I finally bit the bullet, bought a bag and am TOTALLY happy with the sugar. I’ve used it in baking and with the homemade ice creams we’ve been whipping up lately. I honestly haven’t noticed a difference. Please note this is a very unscientific experiment. That’s how I roll, people.

    The Costco dude said when substituting the regular refined white sugar for organic, use a bit less than what is called for with white sugar. Again, I’m not sure how correct he is, but I’ve found that using the same amount or a bit less than the recipe calls for has worked great.

    So, go forward and enjoy your organic sugar with abandon!


  7. Friday, March 30, 2012

    Use Less Plastic Resolution…First Check-In

    The other day my friend Emily (she’s the blog’s godmother…you can thank her for the existence of TWFD!) emailed me and said the following:

    so….remember at the beginning of the year when your blog resolution was to get rid of using one-time-use plastic stuff?  well, i tried making the same one…but i’m failing miserably?  what are you doing?  what do you do about trash bags? lunch? etc….i would love to know…you always have good ideas.

    I responded with:

    yes, I remember my resolution…I think about it every day and how it is SO HARD.

    I went on to describe how I am not nearly far enough along with my goal as I want to be.

    These are my new, beloved food storage containers. I’ll get to them in a minute. Promise.

    Since I started making food-related new year’s resolutions that help the environment, I haven’t actually felt that challenged. Eating less meat turned out to be actually pretty easy. Joining a CSA was a simple and wonderful shift in the way I buy and use produce.

    Using less plastic? TOUGH. Plastic is everywhere. It is such a part of daily life. Which just solidifies my resolve to want to change that fact…but, yeah, 3 months into my goal and I’m not nearly as far along as I’d like to be. But sometimes change is slow…just so long as it is steady!

    I have taken a few steps to reduce our plastic and one-time plastic use. I wanted to share what I’ve done. And, of course, I want to hear how you are doing or what tips you might have. I’m also hoping that checking in with all of you will help re-light my fire and really get this resolution going!

    What I have done so far:

    • I almost never use little plastic baggies anymore. I’m not perfect, they still sneak in here and there. But they hardly EVER find their way into my kids’ lunchboxes and I am rarely using them to store food in the fridge, unless I just can’t find a container that works, and even then I try to use foil instead if possible (which I can then wash and recycle).
    • I replaced my plastic food storage containers (which were all recycled, by the way!) with glass containers. I LOVE THEM. I picked up the Rubbermaid Glass containers that they have at Target and my local grocery store. The plastic lids are BPA-free, the glass bowls are great sizes and shapes that are actually useful and, the best part, everything stacks and stores together SO WELL. Please note, I do not have any sort of working relationship with Rubbermaid. I looked around at different types of glass containers, thought these looked good, bought them and gave them a try. And I seriously love these containers.

    Next steps:

    • Buy a few more glass containers (specifically small ones) for storing food so that I don’t need plastic baggies for storing leftovers in the fridge.
    • Find some good, non-plastic storage containers for the girls’ lunchboxes. While I have stopped using plastic baggies in their lunches, the containers I’m using are still made out of plastic. I would love to find some alternatives.
    • Develop a system where I actually USE my re-useable grocery bags lying all around the house.
    • Buy more cloth napkins.
    • To address Emily’s question…what about trash bags? Hmmmmm….still don’t know the answer to that one, but am thinking long and hard about it.
    • I don’t buy much individually packaged foods…but we do buy granola bars and fruit leathers all the time for lunches. I am going to start a quest for homemade versions that the kids like!

    I’m going to stop there for now. I think that’s a long enough to-do list for now!

    This year’s resolution has made me much more thoughtful in my daily life. I think a lot more about recycling. I think a lot more about how to buy things with less packaging and often do so. The resolution has definitely gotten me on the right track, even if I feel like I still have a long way to go.

    Please share your own experiences with using less plastic. And tips are more than welcome!

  8. Friday, March 23, 2012

    Spinach Mushroom Panini with Feta

    Yesterday I shared my friend Natalee’s apple ham panini with you. Now it’s time to talk about the second panini flavor she shared with me, which was equally delicious.

    Enter the spinach mushroom panini with feta. This is a nice vegetarian option that is full of flavor. There’s a little prep work involved, but it’s still easy, I promise! And the flavors are all just so yummy together. Mmmmmm. Natalee made these paninis for our friend Ana, who is a total foodie. Ana said it was the best panini she ever had. Now that I’ve set your expectations really high…whoops…here is the recipe!

    Spinach Mushroom Panini with Feta
    From my friend Natalee
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Panini
    • around 2 tablespoons of olive oil
    • Sliced mushrooms (8 or 10 ounce package)
    • Small bag of spinach (6-10 ounces or so)
    • Crumbled feta cheese
    • Salt and Pepper
    • Sliced bread of your choice
    1. Sautee the mushrooms in olive oil in a large sautee pan, until moisture is released and mushrooms are cooked through. Add spinach, tearing up the leaves a bit as you add them to the pan (if you feel like you need another swig of olive oil added to the pan, go ahead and add it). Cook until spinach has wilted, then add feta to taste – we found adding a lot of feta was better. Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper, to taste, and stir.
    2. Use mushroom mixture as filling for the panini and cook paninis as you normally do, in a press or with two frying pans.


  9. Thursday, January 12, 2012

    I Jinxed Twinkies

    I have not eaten a Twinkie in, well, honestly, I cannot remember the last time I ate a Twinkie! I really think it’s probably been since middle school. Maybe even elementary school.

    So last week when I was shopping with the girls and spotted a box of Twinkies at the store, it’s not surprising a little nostalgia kicked in. And I actually bought a box. I couldn’t believe it myself. The girls hadn’t even heard of Twinkies and for some reason I just felt like I had to introduce them to this childhood treat.

    Two things happened.

    1. The Twinkies are still sitting in the box. (The girls are totally uninterested.)
    2. Hostess declared bankruptcy.

    Okay, I admit, I doubt the fact that I purchased a box of Twinkies for the first time ever jinxed the company. BUT…it does seem like a strange coincidence, no?

    Here’s the thing. When I bought the Twinkies, I actually felt guilty. They represent for me everything that is wrong with our broken food system. It’s processed food, packed with sugar and corn syrup and filled with something that can be described as “creamy” but not as actual “cream.” On top of that, each Twinkie is individually wrapped in plastic and then thrown into a cardboard box. So, yes, I felt guilty buying those Twinkies and I don’t think that guilt was necessarily misplaced. I mean, it certainly wasn’t supporting my New Year’s resolution.

    When I read a bit about Hostess’ Chapter 11 bankruptcy last night, I learned this is the second time in a decade that the company has declared bankruptcy. So, after failing once and having debts restructured and forgiven, they are doing it again. While I don’t want 19,000 people to suddenly lose their benefits or their jobs, I’m wondering if this is a sinking ship that should be saved. Their problems appear to stem more from labor costs rather than poor sales, so I don’t think this is a statement that people have exhibited less demand for their product. BUT STILL…something isn’t working at Hostess. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

    So, you may be wondering, was the Twinkie I ate after shooting this photograph any good? It was just how I remembered it. Which means it was okay. 😉 And for those of you who are interested, Nate and I are taking bids on our Twinkies. We will entertain offers of at least $100 per Twinkie. Okay, okay, you can still get Twinkies. But given their long shelf life, I think we’ll hang onto these puppies and cash in at a later date! 😉

    Update on our ‘Twinkies For Sale’ – Nate has decided that he’s not good at timing the peak, so he will be auctioning off 1 Twinkie every 10 years. Mark your calendars!