Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Shameless Plug Part 1: Shauna's Etsy Shop, Green Alligators

All photo's on this page were taken by Shauna Martone

I know I usually don't post stuff that's completely unrelated to food (unless it's about my HOUSE!) but for a while now, I've wanted to start a series of posts that give a little shout out for some good people in my life who are trying to run their own businesses or get projects off the ground. Everyone knows I love to review stuff (see my profile at yelp) when I love it or hate it so why not give a little boost to some people I know that are out there doing a good job.
The first is an Etsy shop run by my little sister Shauna. She's always been into arts and crafts, and sewing but since she had her daughter Madelyn, she has a renewed interest in making children's clothing, bibs, booties and hair decorations. She's a working mom who is going to school to be a nurse and is still finds time to be creative. I'm exhausted just thinking about it!

Check out her shop on Etsy if you need a shower present for a friend or if you have a little one yourself. Her focus is primarily girls stuff but there are definitely booties, blankets and bibs for boys too! She's selling a lot of really cute items at very affordable prices. The shop name is Green Alligators, named after my niece's favorite song.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Is your Breakfast Getting a Little Boring?

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When I think of breakfast, I think of cereal & milk, yogurt & fruit, or traditional eggs and bacon. On weekdays my breakfast consists of a few cups of coffee and either an English muffin with cottage cheese and diced tomato & onion or Greek yogurt with fiber cereal. Weekends, I'll indulge in a savory bagel slathered with a ton of herb cream cheese or a veggie and cheese frittata (the weekend meal still includes copious amounts of caffeine). But I'm growing tired of all of it! How excited was I when I saw an email from ChowHound recently that linked to an article called 10 Ways to Reinvent Breakfast: Go Beyond Bagels and Bacon! Elated!

Best of all, their list did not include lots of sweet items. Those who know me, know that I don't usually do sweets in the morning (unless I'm in NJ visiting J's family where only pastries and cakes are available). Used to, but the blood pressure medicine I'm on completely wiped out my need for sweets and replaced it with a desire for all things salty, crunch and savory. Also, their list had a big focus on incorporating leftovers into your meal. Huge plus because I hate to waste food and am always looking for ways to throw out less food. I love the idea of the black bean cakes with eggs. I bet that would be delicious with fresh salsa!

Hope you find some ideas from this list as well! What do you eat when you need to change up breakfast?

All text and photographs (except where noted otherwise) © 2008, 2009 Food is to love / Andrea Quigley

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Zucchini Quesadillas with Chipotle Sour Cream

Random weeknight concoction that came out delicious! A coworker has been talking about a sweet potato and black bean quesadilla that she had recently and I realized I had the makings and then some at home! Love when that happens! The sweetness of the sweet potato combined with the tartness of the sour cream and spice of chipotle was awesome and really filling.


4 large tortillas
1 cup diced onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large zucchini, chopped roughly
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or more to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can black beans, rinsed well and drained
1 large sweet potato
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
sour cream
2 teaspoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce pureed
kosher salt and black pepper

Begin by washing the sweet potato and poking a few holes in it with a fork. Place in microwave and cook for 7-10 minutes or until soft (the amount of time it takes will depend on how big your potato is). While the potato is cooking, heat a pan and the olive oil over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the zucchini, cumin, chili powder and cayenne and cook for two minutes. Add the garlic and black beans and cook the entire mixture for 1 minute more. Season with kosher salt and black pepper and remove from heat.

Take your sweet potato out of the microwave and let it cool.

While the veggie and bean mixture is working on the stove, mix 2 teaspoons of pureed chipotle peppers in adobo sauce into a half cup of sour cream (I use light-gotta cut calories wherever I can!). Most grocery stores sell small cans of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I take the entire can and puree it in my food processor and then freeze portions in a plastic wrapped lined ice cube tray. Individually wrap when frozen and you have a ready burst of chipotle when you need it! If you aren't familiar with chipotle, add a little at a time to the sour cream and taste it. Otherwise it could be spicier than you like.

When your sweet potato is cool enough to handle, cut in half lengthwise and peel off the skin (or leave it on if you want a little extra fiber!). Dice or slice the potato into small pieces.

Heat another skillet (a little large than the tortillas) to just below medium heat. Place one tortilla in the dry skillet and top with 1/4 cup of the cheese, half of the diced sweet potato, half of the zucchini and black bean mixture and another 1/4 cup of cheese. Top with another tortilla and let cook until the cheese melts and the bottom tortilla is stiff when you slip a spatula underneath (it will take 2-3 minutes for it to brown and crisp up). Flip quickly and cook the other side for another couple of minutes, or until slightly browned and crispy.
Turn onto a plate and repeat the process with the other 2 tortillas and the remaining ingredients. Cut each quesadilla into six pieces and serve with the chipotle sour cream.

All text and photographs (except where noted otherwise) © 2008, 2009 Food is to love / Andrea Quigley

Mushroom Quesadillas on Foodista

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

HURRY! Restaurant Gift Certificates at 90% off!

I stumbled upon a fantastic deal today and wanted to share with you ( I know, I know, I said I wouldn't be blogging much until after my move! haha). Who can't stand to save a little $$$?

09.09.09 doesn't happen very often. To celebrate such a rare occurrence, Restaurant.com is running an unheard of special for 99 hours (I'm assuming it started at midnight on 09.09.09). Gift certificates on their site which are already normally priced at a discount are available at 90% off their value!! I purchased $175 worth of gift certificates for $7!!! Really! No joke! Totally legit.

Each restaurant has their own rules for using the certificates, for example, one $25 certificate I purchased (for $1) requires that I spend $35 or buy 2 entrees to use it. Easy to do though, because the entrees at that particular restaurant are between $25-45. Yes, I'll end up spending $11 to redeem $25 but I'm getting $25 for FREE!!!!! Looks like me and J have some eating out to do!

Go to Restaurant.com, search for restaurants in your area, add them to your cart and enter promo code NINETY at checkout and watch the savings add up!

All text and photographs (except where noted otherwise) © 2008, 2009 Food is to love / Andrea Quigley

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Farmers' Market Bounty and My Anniversary

Saturday was J and my 5th anniversary. Can't believe we've been together five full years! Never thought I would be able to commit to someone for that long. Haha! Luckily, we both still like each other a lot so 5 years has really only felt like 1. He's a keeper and I'm not going anywhere.

Since we're in the middle of packing and can't really concentrate on anything but (plus we had two dinner's out earlier this week with friends) we decided to be low key and hang at home. I got up early and hit the farmers' market and got a ton of fantastic veggies: red potatoes, roma tomatoes, couple of heirloom tomatoes, sunfire cherry tomatoes (mine aren't yielding enough), red leaf lettuce, leeks, zucchini, corn, nectarines, purple bell peppers, basil, eggplant and even some wild flowers for J. And I spent less than I would have at the grocery store. Yay and Yum! J was still lounging in bed with the cat.
Stopped by the Black Forest Bakery & Cafe in Amherst for a cake (again, we're not big on celebrating anniversaries but I do like to surprise him. It's more fun if you're not planning on anything and then get a surprise!). Decided to go with this cute little lemon cake. It was awesome! Super light and delicately sweet. I'm so not a cake person but this I could eat several slices of! I will definitely keep it in mind next time I need to bring a cake somewhere.
Came home and had a late breakfast with J and did a bit of packing (the apartment is overrun with cardboard boxes). Made a big batch of basil pesto, a caprese salad which we had for dinner along with some pesto rubbed ribeye steaks and corn on the cob. All delicious. Love using vegetables that were picked the day I eat them. I even took the remains of the caprese salad and used it in a frittata this morning. Going to use the rest of the pesto later this week.
Also baked a loaf of beer bread using my Mom's recipe. Unfortunately, I didn't let my beer get as warm as you're supposed to so the bread didn't rise as much as it should have. I'll post the recipe as soon as I bake another loaf like a patient person. This is why I've always avoided baking with yeast-I don't wait very well. I used Guinness for this and seasoned it with dill and dried minced onion. J and I kept thinking we smelled the Chinese food place down the street while it was cooking. It wasn't until I went into the kitchen to empty the dishwasher that I notified J that the Chinese food smell was my bread. Weird since neither dill or onion or beer make me think of Chinese food. It still tasted good even if it was a little more dense than it's supposed to be. I also substituted half whole wheat flower for all purpose flour since I'm a fan of adding fiber anywhere I can.
Hope all of you enjoyed your three-day weekend (those of you in the States anyhow!). I can't believe it is just about fall already!

All text and photographs (except where noted otherwise) © 2008, 2009 Food is to love / Andrea Quigley

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Wines I'm loving right now: 2006 Tommasi Valpolicella

First off, I apologize for being such a lame-ass with posting lately. Explanation as to why, at the bottom of my post.

Bought this on a whim and ended up really enjoying it so I thought I'd share! Especially because I drink more French and Spanish wine than anything else and haven't found many Italian wines yet that I loved (not saying there aren't many wonderful Italian wines!). And I'm always happy to find more to love!

Valpolicella is a lighter Italian red (a little like French Beaujolais or Burgundy) and you actually drink it at a slightly cooler temperature than you drink other reds. Pop it in the fridge for about 30 minutes or so before serving. You don't want it to be ice cold but it should be cool enough to enjoy on a hot day (not that we have many of those left here in NH!).

This Tommasi Valpolicella was light bodied, tart and had a lot of cherry flavor without being too sweet. It retails for about 16.99 but I got it on sale for $11.99. Score! It's surprisingly smooth so be careful you don't throw it back too fast! I definitely plan to grab a few more bottles of this before it gets too cold out.

I'm too distracted with the whole house buying thing to spend much time blogging. I'm not going anywhere or giving up this but until I move and get settled in, I'll probably be a little quiet. I hope you'll still come visit! It's looking like we might close on the house towards the end of the month and not on the 18th like we thought. I'm antsy and want to move in already! The apartment is filled with boxes and we're running out of room! I do have a couple of recipes I want to post but that might have to wait a few more days!

All text and photographs (except where noted otherwise) © 2008, 2009 Food is to love / Andrea Quigley