Category Archives: Salad


After my recent scone misfortune, I luckily had some kitchen success today…starting with this morning’s omelet.

I figured out a better omelet making plan, because normally mine suck.  They taste just fine but they look horrendous (broken, gooey messes).  This morning I sauteed diced onion in some olive oil for a minute or two, then added some orange pepper for another minute, then finally added diced tomato and some mixed greens.  Then in a bigger pan I poured an egg and two whites (whisked with some milk and a grind of salt) and threw a cover on it until it looked crepe like.  This could be an extremely wrong way of omelet making, but it worked for me.  I will say that it wasn’t big and fluffy, and really did turn out a bit crepe like since there wasn’t a whole lot of scrambling.  I also melted some cheddar in there too.

Thank goodness this turned out well, because before breakfast, I spent five minutes scraping chewed gum out of a machine at the gym  to realize the tv on it didn’t work.  Lesson learned: bring an ipod.  Speaking of ipods…  there was a girl at the gym today that blasted her music (awful song choices to boot) from her phone so the entire gym had to listen to it.  Why. no. headphones.?

I hadn’t used the food processor in a while, so I went crazy with it today.

For lunch I made an entirely processed meal.  We’ll call it preparation for when I get my tonsils out next month.

I topped some greens with a couple of lemon wedges, some edamame hummus, carrots, celery and a red bean hummusy dressing (really technical lingo here) that consisted of red beans, greek yogurt, dijon, parsley, salt, pepper and lemon juice.  No real dressing needed.

Later I had an artichoke.  Artichokes are super bizarre.  I don’t care what anyone says.

When we were little, Dad used to cook us up artichokes with lemon butter … there was something so fun about the process of eating them.  Now it seems like a pain in the arse.

THEN… more processing.

My mom’s cousin Rhonda dropped off 3 sugar pumpkins the other night, and I decided to bake them up and make my own puree.  It proved to be a lot easier than I thought it would.  I chopped the pumpkins in half and put them in a 400 degree oven for about an hour in an inch of water (face down).

Make sure to scrape out the goo! Then process away.

Maybe I’ll put it under Anna’s pillow.

While Anna was at work doing real people things, Liz and I did tandem laundry and baking.

Liz made her classic chocolate chip cookies.

And I made pumpkin oat bars… with chocolate!

Wooo. Wooo. Success!  It even got the coveted Liz seal of approval.

Thankfully, I got this baking endeavor right.

Here’s the rough (seriously estimating) recipe:

-2 Tsp. vanilla

-1 egg

-1 cup sugar

-3/4 cup pumpkin puree (fresh!)

-1/4 promise

-1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

-3/4 cup steel cut oats (any oats would do)

-2 Tsp. baking powder

-1 Tsp. cinnamon

-1 Tsp. Pumpkin pie spice

-1/8 Tsp. salt

Topped with processed almonds (probably 1/2 cup?) and dark chocolate kisses (12 of them?)

Baked for who even knows how long at about 350.  Sorry I don’t do precise.

Cakey, sweet, remotely healthy.  I would definitely make this one again.


So excited for all of our visitors this weekend!


Here’s the latest signature: Siena’s Chicken Riggies

Tomorrow morning: interview at a fish market.  This should be interesting.


Royally Blown Scones

When my parents stay in hotels up here, they like to smuggle out individual tea bags, bananas, oatmeal packets and individual peanut butters for me.  So with my insane amount of massive hotel bananas (for some reason they look more like plantains), yesterday morning I had an almond butter and banana sandwich for breakfast.  On the side I had one of the smuggled yogurts with more banana and chia seeds.

Before dinner I did an interview about a death by chocolate cake at a “dessert and wine bar” downtown called Bittersweet.  It’s starting to become a little comical asking an extensive amount of questions about a singular food item like it’s a celebrity and I’m speaking with their PR person, but I don’t hate it.

I’d love to go back to Bittersweet after dinner downtown sometime… If we’re really feeling classy.

Check out their menu: Bittersweet Eats

Since the interview ran pretty short, I met up with a friend for tea at Recess.  They were out of my go-to lemon ginger, but I had some sort of fruity-something that was still great.  Plus we were there for coffee bean roasting time (which oddly smelled a little bit like popcorn).

Before I left to go downtown, I marinated some salmon in a mango-coconut sauce that I just bought.  Sooooo goooood.   On the side a salad topped with pepper, apple and carrot.

Post dinner I had some Greek yogurt with pumpkin puree, pumpkin butter, cinnamon and graham bumpers (and some chocolate too, duh).  Speaking of the Greek stuff, last night I interviewed Michael Sansolo, a retail food industry consultant, about Greek yogurt.  He essentially solidified the fact that Greek yogurt isn’t just a fad, and that even though it’s pricier than standard yogurt, consumers buy it for it’s more “vibrant taste” and health attributes.  Interesting.

And later last night, in true senioritis style, I chose to bake instead of do work.  My kind of productivity.

Here’s the lovely mess I created.

So I had some problems.  Here’s where I admit to my sister that I do in fact screw up when I don’t use recipes.

Let me tell you about my scone woes.

The first speed bump I hit was my “fresh” cranberries.  Admittedly, I don’t even remember when I bought them.  When I took them out of the bag, they didn’t feel, smell or taste right.  I think they fermented.  Gross.

So much for pumpkin cranberry scones.  Fine.  Instead I chopped up an apple.

May I also inform you that I have never made scones.

Second speed bump, okay so it’s no secret that I try to “healthitize” recipes.  Sometimes this works beautifully, other times it fails miserably.

Here’s a rough estimate of what went in that giant glass mixing bowl:

-a scant amount of almond milk

-an egg white

-1/2 cup pumpkin puree

-1 diced apple

-dash of salt

teaspoon of baking powder

-teaspoon pumpkin butter

-1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

-2 teaspoons coconut oil

-some greek yogurt (see I don’t even know how much)


-some lemon zest and juice

-pumpkin pie spice

Sidenote: This ingredients list also shows my haphazard kitchen approach in that normal recipes list ingredients with dry first and then wet.  I just threw things together.  It failed.

My pumpkin apple “scones” baked into bland pumpkin apple bread.  Ooops.  I had a triangle last night, trying to convince myself with each bite that the taste was growing on me.  Nope.

This morning I saw the dopey circle sadly residing on the stove top and attempted to reinvent a section.  One last attempt.

Faux Scone French Toast:

Better, but dammit… still pretty sucky.  I ate it anyway so it wouldn’t feel bad.

Next time: Sugar! Real sugar! more salt and real butter.

Full Fridge

There’s nothing better than those first few meals post grocery store visit.  Except I generally don’t know where to start.

Here’s one.

Cheddar, Turkey, Apple Samich.

And another.

Sick of frozen veggies, I piled as many fresh ones on a plate as possible last night.

Mixed greens with funny little mini squash and zucchini, tomato, very roughly chopped almonds, lemon wedges (like Gram does), parsley, edamame hummus, and goat cheese.  I used to hate goat cheese and now I can’t get enough of it.  All topped with raspberry walnut dressing.

This morning I scrambled up an egg and some whites, topped toast with strawberry jam and threw a few red potatoes in a skillet with tomatoes, peppers, s&p, chili powder and red hot.  I wilted some greens, too.

And last night when I was avoiding writing a paper, I prepped some slow cooker chicken noodle soup.

May I interrupt your regularly scheduled programing for a snippet of the paper — a personal essay for my magazine class. Made me miss Australia, even though our house got pretty disgusting.

…Sand coated the floating wood floors along with a stratum of glass shards.  The boys blew out a window with a rugby ball just days before — the same rugby ball that left peacock blue and green smudges along the white walls of our bowling-ball-alley of a hallway.  Mike’s Shakeweight and men’s Ugg slippers served as our resident trip hazard in the way of the door.  Onionskin thin rolling paper lay scattered along the coffee table next to a small plastic pouch of pot, pursed open with its contents spilling into a neat little mound.

I gazed at the army of cereal bowls containing small pools of rancid milk and oversaturated puffs, situated between empty metallic wine sacks, and silently prayed the mess concealed the illegal sight that would easily pass for an anti-drug PSA with the slogan, “Pot depletes your cereal supply.”

Our hexagonal 5-gallon fish tank, the one Garrett snatched from the side of the road, sat fish-less on the corner of our clutter-ridden kitchen table.  Directly in front of the tank, our goldfish Skippy hovered along the surface of a murky-water filled jar.  Dead.

And having just traversed the Uggs, the owners of our beachfront home stood inside, taking in the damage of the 8 filthy mongrels that occupied it.

Their eyes darted from my sweaty face to Liz’s beet red one, back to the dead fish, and then across to the busted window.  The Aussie Carmen Sandiego look a like, with her shiny blown out dark hair, black pumps and red lipsticked lips, rattled off a series of questions about the property, while the significantly shorter man kept his eyes glued on Skippy, who had clearly been belly-up for days.

Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner popped by unexpectedly to check on the alleged leaky roof.  They claimed they “were in the area.”   We had no choice but to grace them with our sweaty, smelly post-run bodies, in our smelly, dirty home, that was really theirs.

They asked to see the kitchen.  Above the sink, laden with crusty dishes and stagnant water housing scrambled egg buoys and cooked pasta boats, hung a sign reading “Thank you for keeping this kitchen spotless at all times.”

Artificially colored pre-workout powder dusted the top of the microwave.  Strands of spaghetti that Garrett flung at the wall weeks before dried into the plaster.  Wet grass and mud sat in clumps along the gray tiled floor, tracked in from Marcos’s rugby cleats.

Miss Glamazon and her debonair counterpart scanned the indecent warzone.  “May we see the bedrooms?”….

Back to beach-less Syracuse.

Here’s my funny crock pot I got for free by transporting a friend’s friend’s furniture in my old truck.

Last night I tossed cut up chicken breasts, onion, carrots, celery, parsley, dill, meyer lemon wedges and an insane amount of pepper into some chicken broth and water, and popped the vat in the fridge overnight.  Then this morning I let it sit on the counter while I went to the gym before I put it on heat (I’m always afraid I’ll blow something up or break something if I stick extreme cold next to extreme hot).  It cooked on low for about 6 hours.  Once I got home I cooked up some noodles to toss in.

Panera “you pick two” style, I had a salad with red beans, mustard and goat cheese with a bowl (or two) of soup.

Then for dessert I melted down some hershey’s dark chocolate and almond butter and topped it with cereal.  Odd but fantastic.

Tomorrow I HAVE to eat CAKE for work.  (We’ll pretend I didn’t ask my editor if we could feature a dessert in the paper).  Death by chocolate in mah belly.

Pastries for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

So even though I spent over 2 hours today driving to and from interviews, one ended with baked goods, and the other ended with a hug.

This morning I visited Patisserie in Skaneateles to interview Lisa Troup about her apple stix for next week’s signature item for the Post Standard.

And I walked away with a box of heavenly baked goods.


A blueberry scone, 3 apple stix, a berry gallette, and some sort of outrageously good cheesecake chocolate muffin and a (still warm) loaf of Italian stretch bread.

Then I sat by the lake and tried every single one of them.  The scone was my absolute favorite.

Anna’s fav: apple stix

Liz’s fav: bloob scone

Molly’s (our upstairs neighbor) mom even drives a half hour just to get Patisserie’s bread.  It’s literally that good.

Needless to say, the goodies satisfied me until dinner, and made certain that I have to go back in the very near future.  But before dinner, I drove to Cazenovia for another interview.

I met Joan Green at her house to talk about her massive cookbook collection — she just donated 2,000 of them to SU’s library.  Her house was insane… completely decked out in souvenirs from all of her travels with her husband of almost 63 years — tribal masks, books, figurines, crocheted animals.  I could have looked around that house and talked to Joan for hours.

Her favorite Food Network chef: Anne Burrell (who grew up in Cazenovia). She also agreed with me that Ina Garten has a fantastically soothing television voice.

Don’t want to give away the whole story, but sitting down with someone like Joan actually made me enjoy my major.  And she called me adorable and hugged me… doesn’t get much better than that.

For dinner I threw some roasted veggies (squash, onion and turnips), goat cheese and pistachios on top of mixed greens.  Some stretch bread from Patisserie on the side and a dressing of apple sauce, balsamic and honey mustard.

And for dessert: I obviously tackled more of the pastries.

Some Minor Mishaps

This morning I had salad for breakfast.  Sounds weird, right?

Well the French do it.  So there.

When we were in New Zealand a few months ago, we grabbed breakfast at a French restaurant and bakery one morning… and lightly dressed greens accompanied our eggs.  Seems a little odd, but I liked the egg and greens combo, even sans ketchup.  I mean I do throw a fried egg on salads every once in a while, so I guess it’s kind of the same.

But seriously… how stinking cute is this place?  I would die to go back there and order everything on the menu.

For lunch I had a minor mishap.  Just the first of many today.  My sister recently asked me why my baking and cooking experiments tend to fail so rarely.

Not true, Jillian.

Today I hastily mixed up a can of tuna, some red beans, diced onion, and that crazy good chipotle mustard I bought yesterday.  With the kind of pasty quality (that sounds nasty) of the beans, and the high moisture content of the tuna, plus the glue-like effect of the mustard, I thought I could form patties worthy of grilling.


I should have added egg and breadcrumbs.  But I didn’t.  So instead my concoction made for a mess on the grill and two crumbly excuses for tuna burgers.  Well now I know.

Sooooo instead I threw the reject tuna into a pita with some lettuce.  It still tasted good, so at least I have that going for me.

Then I sipped on a massive mug of minty green tea.  Full bodied, yes.  Pleasing, yes.  Comforting… maybe a little.  I just like the minty mouth feel.

And (here is an abridged version) since I was planning on interviewing for a story (due tomorrow) until about 8:30 tonight, I roasted this squash up so I could have it with dinner when I got home.

But, I ran into a major writer’s uh oh.  Long story short, the story fell through (no one’s fault, just an emergency)… So now I’m mildly (very) screwed.  Again, nobody’s fault, but I better have some sort of plan B epiphany sooner rather than later.  Luckily there are far worse things in the world, and it’s one of those little reminders that sometimes deadlines simply can’t be met… or that a plan B,C, or D needs to be employed.

Boyz II Men = Disgusting II clean

After such a stellar presentation I gave today on an outrageously compelling slave trade narrative (i’m being facetious) I treated myself to a little grocery shopping break.

And dinner looked a little something like this:

A hodge podge of sorts:

Turkey Burger — turkey, an egg white, crushed cereal (can you tell I had no bread crumbs?), blue cheese, salt and pepper AND this….

This mustard ended up being incredibly spicy but I want to slather it on everything.  They got it right when they said “terrific on burgers.”

The rest of the salad consisted of cukes, red onion, sauteed parsnips, tomatoes and elbows with parm.

My mouth was on fiiiiire.

And here’s my pre-grocery-run breakfast:

I defrosted a slice of the banana-pumpkin bread from last week (freezing makes it so I don’t devour an entire loaf in one sitting), a scoop of peanut butter chia oats with walnuts on top and an orange I nabbed from the gym … allegedly massive bowls of free fruit at the gym every Monday promotes healthy eating all week.  Well, I’ll take the free fruit anyway.

And so carried on another manic Monday.  I dislike Mondays.  Mondays mean no lunch.

After dinner though, instead of writing the essay that I waited to start until tonight (due date: tomorrow) Liz and I scurried around the apartment and scrubbed the premises until it was no longer disgusting… all the while singing screaming various Boyz II Men, 98 degrees, Christina Aguilera and Mariah Carey hits.  Sorry, neighbs.

Tomorrow and Wednesday I have a bajillion interviews lined up for the paper and for school… but they all look like they’ll be fun.

Preview: Some of this, a bakery and the home of a chronic cookbook collector.  More to come.

Can’t wait to try this at the gym tomorrow.  So excellent.

Baking Success + More Baking

Okay, so no horrendously awful failure with the pumpkin-banana bread.  In fact, it turned out pretty darn good and super moist.  This morning I lightly buttered it and let it hang out in a hot pan for a few minutes.

They served banana bread everywhere in Australia.  It was always best buttered and toasted.  Our roommate Garret morphed into a banana-bread-making pro by the end of our stay.

Some nuts and apple sauce on the side.

Then I interviewed Chef Robert Smith at Limestone Grille in Fayetteville.  After a lengthy photo shoot of the food, I sat down with the photographer to share coconut sea scallops – sauteed in white wine, brandy, coconut milk and red curry and topped with tri-colored peppers and onions… all served on house rice.  Seriously soooo good.  The chef sanctioned off a separate room for the shoot and interview so it was nice to just chat with him in a quiet area while the photographer did his thing.

Then I arrived home to the smell of cookies! Liz whipped up no less than 100 of them for a class she’s taking.  Luckily since I shared some banana bread, she shared some dough and cookies.

And look at this! What domestic roommates I have!

Anna created this fancy-shmancy sandwich for her dinner tonight.  Even some banana peppers are lodged in the middle.  Anna is also the world’s best popcorn-on-the-stove maker.  I avoid it at all costs because I burn half of it while the other half refuses to pop.

And then while making dinner, I unfortunately happened upon a massive stink bug on our kitchen window:

Obviously Liz snapped a shot while I suited up for battle… just like the other night when I balanced on a kitchen chair on top of her bed to take care of a nasty-arse spider and she took a picture of me instead of holding the chair steady.

See that piece of wood connecting the cabinets above my head?  Well my voluminous bun got stuck on it when I tried to jump off the sink.  The lengths I go to to protect my children.

For dinner I made a salad with honey-mustard red beans, grilled onion, blue cheese, roasted cauliflower and butternut squash, and pineapple plus a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Almond milk and a cookie for dessert.

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