September 6, 2009

Spiced Rubbed Salmon with Chickpea Salad

tonight's dinner

So tonight might be the night we officially say goodbye to summer round these parts.  As we sat down to eat, a cool breeze hit us and leaves fell all over the back deck.  At one point I contemplated getting a sweater, but I decided to savor this one last time eating outside at night.

Although, this is the Bay Area and we are known for our Indian Summers…so maybe this might be a lil premature. Either way, autumn is coming and I am super excited to start hibernating and make some comfort food!


To celebrate a beautiful day, I made a Sweet & Spicy Rubbed Salmon with a Chickpea Spinach Salad with a Cumin Dressing.

The orange dressing was PERFECT on top of the salmon.

adding the orange dressing on top

I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate!  Soo healthy, refreshing & tasty. I am looking forward to leftovers tomorrow!  I bet it will taste even better.

about to grill

Salmon with Sweet & Spice Rub

(recipe Ellie Krieger- The Food You Crave)

-Cooking spray
-2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
-1 tablespoon chili powder
-1 teaspoon ground cumin
-1/8 teaspoon salt
-1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
– 6- 5 ounce salmon fillets, skin & bones removed
– 1 tablespoon olive oil


Coat your grill with cooking spray and preaheat over medium heat.  While the grill is heating, combine the brown sugar, chili powder, cumin salt & pepper.  Brush each salmon filet with 1/2 teaspoon of oil then rub each fillet evenly with the spice mixture.

Grill salmon, flesh side down, until charred, 4 to 5 minutes.  Flip the salmon and cook for 5-6 minutes for medium doneness.  Transfer to platter and serve immediately.

Chickpea Spinach Salad with Cumin Dressing

(Recipe Ellie Krieger- The Food You Crave)

-1 15 oz. cans chickpeas drained & rinsed
-2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
-1/4 cup diced red onions
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-2 tablespoons lemon juice
-1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
-3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
-Pinch cayenne pepper
-Salt &  Pepper to taste
-3 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt
-1 tablespoon orange juice
-1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
-1/4 teaspoon honey
-2 cups lightly packed baby spinach leaves
-1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint


In a medium bowl, combine the chickpeas, parsley, & onion. In a seperate bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, oil, lemon zest, cumin, cayenne salt & pepper.  Pour the dressing over the chickpea mixture and toss to coat evenly. In another small bowl, stir together the yogurt, orange juice, orange zest, and honey.

Serve the chickpea salad over a bed of spinach leaves. Top with the yogurt sauce and garnish with mint.

September 5, 2009

current faves:

Every time I visit my dear friends up in Oregon, I always come back with great ideas, good organizing tips as well as cool new products to try.

My friend Jessica let me in on her lil secret.  Martha Stewart’s Lunch Cube.

I couldn’t find a link for one at Macy’s, but this is the brand that makes it.


inside lunch cube

lunch cube

It’s GENIUS. Look how it fits my items. And look how easy it packs up!

This will come in handy when Cooper and I are out and about and he’s at the sandwich eating stage.  I am really looking forward to it!  I bought one for myself for work.  At $4.99 each at Macy’s how can you beat that?

I spied these beautiful products over at my friend Erin’s house….and immediately fell in love with the packaging!  After doing dishes with the Dish Soap, I was convinced I NEEDED some.

J.R. Watkins Apothecary Home Care Dish Soap & Hand Soap

making kitchen prettie!

Imagine the scent of a lemon cake filling up your sink as you work on the dishes!

smells sooo good

It makes dish washing tolerable. That’s for sure! Now I don’t have ugly bottles sitting on my sink counter.

I just picked up this book from Amazon, and I am soooooo excited to work in the kitchen with it!

Super Natural Cooking, by Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks

sooo excited to use this

I’ve been wanting to expand my horizons in the kitchen- add more greens and more GOOD-FOR-YOU food. This will do just the trick!

Speaking of Healthy…..

I am also in love with Pop Chips.  The BBQ flavor is sooo tasty & there’s hardly any guilt to eating them!

Dear pop chips

And the other night I spent almost 4 hours working on a spreadsheet of my staples/favorites at Trader Joes.  I am happy to report that it made grocery shopping yesterday much easier!

It pays to have a game plan when you go grocery shopping.  It’s my new favorite.

About to errand

I also got some Butternut Squash from my neighbor.  It’s one of my favorite foods she grows!


butternut squash

How about you?  What are your current faves?  Let’s share!

September 1, 2009

my lil trip to portland:

portland driving

I just got back from Oregon.  I LOOOOOOOOOOOVE it up there.  I’m get nostalgic for Oregon as I went to college there waaaay back when.

I met up with a dear friend in Portland before my visit to Eugene and we had a lil food & shopping adventure!

We went to Pine State Biscuits!  I’ve been wanting to go FOREVER.

pine state!


August 24, 2009

Your first vacation, Cooper

You are almost 11 months old. Eek! That means we have to get a move on with your birthday party planning!  Yikes.


This past weekend was your FIRST OFFICIAL VACATION!

We went to Lake Tahoe with your Nana, Papa & Uncle Ryan.


August 18, 2009

You say it’s your birthday?

Isn’t it funny to see food items that expire on your birthday?   I started this glorious day over overindulgence by eating some greek yogurt that expired today. Today being my birthday.  It was meant to be eaten by the year older me.  It’s like that fancy little computer knew that I would enjoy it by my birthday- and they were right.  The year older Tracy added some blueberries & ground flax seed cuz I’m like totally wiser or something.  A year younger Tracy would probably not be such a smartie pants.

Today was filled with morning fog, afternoon sun (typical SF weather), silly voicemails, lots of loving texts & emails, number crunching, a million nibbles on my baby’s cheeks, a floral bouquet shaped like a birthday cake,  a scrumptious lunch with my dad, pound cake & strawberries from my coworker, a traffic free commute home, babysitter, a wonderful evening out with my husband, drinks, appetizers, pizza & the movies!!!

We saw Julie & Julia and I loved every second of it.

Happy birthday to me!

Turning 30 today totally rocked.

August 17, 2009

Greek-Style Stuffed Peppers

lone pepper

Last week, I checked out the cookbook The Food You Crave, by Ellie Krieger at the library and was pleasantly surprised at how many recipes I bookmarked.  I guess there are LOTS of foods that I crave. HAHA GO FIGURE!

This Greek Style Stuffed Pepper recipe was the first of many recipes I’ll be trying soon and I was pretty impressed with the results.  Thinking about all of the vegetables I put into one meal was totally awesome.  My meat and potatoes loving husband really loved the results too and so did my baby!

Next time I might add a little bit of feta in the filling because I am such a sucker for feta!  I will probably add a little bit of red pepper cuz I dig on spice!  I did add some chopped parsley because it was sitting around in my fridge waiting to be used.  Maybe I will knock it up with some chopped garlic too.  I have a feeling that this recipe could be improvised in many ways…  Here I am brainstorming….

Here I am mixing the filling:

making the stuffing

A peak at pepper assembly:


About to put them in the oven:

into the oven

Dinner- Served with a salad:

stuffed pepper dinner

Soo filling– that I didn’t end up eating bread!

dinner last night

Coop would like to share his first bite of the filling for you.  “See guys, I’m eating it!”

And YES! I loved it.  I ate the filling of TWO peppers last night!

Greek Style Stuffed Peppers

(recipe Ellie Krieger)

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 medium zucchini, coarsely grated (about 2 cups)
  • 1 small onion, minced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup bulgur
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 red bell peppers, halved lengthwise, cores and ribs removed (I used 4)
  • 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans low-sodium stewed tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl combine the beef, spinach, zucchini, onion, bulghur, egg, oregano, salt and a few grinds of pepper. Mix until thoroughly combined.

Arrange the pepper halves cut side up in a 9 by 13-inch baking dish and fill each pepper half with the meat mixture. Pour the tomatoes over the peppers and sprinkle with the feta cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until the meat mixture is completely cooked and the peppers are tender, about 25 minutes longer.

August 12, 2009

Baked Falafel

nom you very much

At least once a week, I like to make something vegetarian for us. I am always looking for some creative ways to do so! So when I spied these falafels at Chow Vegan a few months ago and knew I had to try them! They are BIG on flavor and HUGE on taste! I could seriously eat all 10 that I made…and then some!

They satisfy that protein craving and they are perfect for someone who is watching their waistline!

(ahem, moi)

EXTRA PLUS: They were a snap to make!

I started with some canned garbanzo beans…

rinsing beans

Mashed them up with a potato masher- it’s easier!


Lined them up on an oiled cookie sheet

piles of falafel

I made a greek cucumber yogurt dip with lemon zest, yogurt & cumin

making a dip

Here they are!

hello there!

I served them with pita, hummus, cucumber yogurt dip, lettuce & tomatoes from our garden.

what it was served with

I had feta, but I didn’t think remember to put it in and totally didn’t miss it.

It’s soo good when you slather a bit of chili sauce in the pita pocket!

especially good with some chili sauce

You won’t be disappointed!

you tasted gooood

I am sooo gonna make these repeatedly!

Baked Falafel

(recipe Chow Vegan)

Makes about 10 balls

1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans
1 small onion, finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans. Put in a medium sized bowl and smash with a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Form into small balls, about 1 1/2? in diameter and slightly flatten. Place onto an oiled baking pan.

Bake for 15 minutes on each side, until nicely browned (since it’s baked, only the part actually touching the pan will be browned and crispy).

Serve with mini pita pockets, hummus, tahini sauce, tomatoes, lettuce and/or cucumber.