Sunday, June 30, 2013

My husband ate it all....

Hope you all had a splendid weekend!

Mine was husband-less and rainy.. Friday was lookin' promising and was about to dust the cob webs off my bike, and next thing ya' know, it comes pourin' down.  Until next time little bikey.....

I did get the house cleaned and tidied, so it wasn't completely unproductive weekend... just for the poor pups who have been itchin' to go on a walk but the weather has been rainin' on our parade plans!...  but the week ahead is lookin' swell, especially since I'll have the hubby to help (walking both dogs by yourself is quite a challenge....)

Now.... onto the food.... It's no mystery to those who know us that my Alex has a mighty large sweet tooth.  When he does the grocery shopping, it usually ends something like....

Alex: I bought some ice cream, BUT I got your favorite flavor!... I bought it for you!

Me: Oh, thanks hunny!  (I really do appreciate the thought, but know from experience his sweet tooth had a say in this purchase...)

Me (1-3 days later grabbing it from the freezer when my 'rare-once-per-week' sweet tooth rolls around): "Hunny... how much ice cream have you had?!

Alex: Well... not THAT much really... I just thought you didn't really want it that much.....

Me looking down at said ice cream carton with barely one scoop left...

(Pause, crickets)
........Commence his incessant apologies.....

End scene.

Since I was 16, I've always cooked (thanks to the beloved Food Network Channel and my amazingly step-dad/chef!).... Entrees, appetizers, breakfasts, casseroles, etc.. Now baking.... well, not so much.  It was and always has been very foreign to me..... Basically, let's just put it out there... I just plain stink at it!  Considering I have a husband with a sweet tooth larger than Mount Everest, I came to terms and was almost grateful for this until the very memorable day I was introduced to Pinterest in January 2011.

Now all of the sudden, I found myself immersed in bulges of droolingly, good-looking baking recipes I was determined to conquer!... After many failed attempts (not enough sugar, too much flour, over-baked... and did I mention I loathe our oven!).. until NOW!

I did it my friends thanks to a Friday Favorites find, and since it was more healthy than not, I didn't feel tooooo bad that it was eaten (within 5 days I mean, 3 days) with my servings being a the one and only "test bite" when it first came out of the oven thanks to my sneaky husband. Let's hope he doesn't get used TOO used to this now!

Apple Banana Bread
Serves 1 loaf
Slightly adapted from The Keenan Cookbook

In the line up folks!
- 2 very ripened bananas, mashed
- 1 large apple (whichever you like), peeled, cut around the core and then diced
- 1 3/4 cup flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extra
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup applesauce
(I had sweetened on hand, thus added less of the regular and brown sugar)
- 3 Tablespoons milk, I used skim

Coach's Orders!

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Peel, core and chop up a large apple of your likin'!

2. In a small bowl, mash the banas however ya' like, I just used a regular ol' fork to do the trick (will depend on how ripe/mushy your bananas are).

3. In a separate bowl, add dry ingredients: sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, flour, salt, & cinnamon and mix together.

4. To the mix, incorporate the wet ingredients: eggs, applesauce, milk, vanilla extra & oil.  Stir to combine all together until it has to the consistency like the picture on the right.

5. Add chopped apples and mashed bananas stir them into the batter.  If you like bigger chunks of apples, chop em' bigger, or if you like the flava' minus the chunks, dice those babies up smaller.

6. Add mixture into a 9" greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes-60 minutes, stirring half way in between to evenly brown on all sides.

Best hour of your bakin' life my friends... the house smells of cinnamon, Alex asking how much time is left, my nose keeping me checkin' on it every 2 minutes hoping it's done so I can dig in!

Test that baby out by using a toothpick or a knife and dive straight down into the middle/thickest part of the loaf and remove... If it comes out gooey, that baby needs some more time, but if it's clean, take er' out and chow down let cool down.

Once cooled, remove from baking pan and slice er' up while still deliciously warm on the inside... I think some lightly sprinkled powdered sugar on sugar would really make this perfect!

 The apples were perfectly cooked, oozing with cinnamon and sugary goodness but still added a slight crunch that really put this bread over the top! Couldn't have turned out betta' my friends, and truly, even if you're a die-hard traditional banana bread lova', try this baby out!

SO versatile.  I'm pretty sure Alex ate it so quickly because it acts as an a) Perfectly light & hearty breakfast, b) Light & sweet dessert, c) Snack for the road on our way to visit my in-laws 

Try this baby out ASAP and it'd also be a great potluck dish to bring or a gift during the Fall season (hence the apples!).... I'm tellin' ya', no losing with this WINNER!

Alright my friends, I'm off to continue ruminating on the dozens of recipes I have in my indecisive head to make for hubby's "Welcome Home" dinner tomorrow evening... My appetite is totally run by the weather (and since it's a dinner for him, something he'd like of course!) so I better check the forecast and remove any meals involving long noodles, Asian flavored, mushrooms or bland pasta sauces!)...

... But really, who wants to eat a pipin' hot panini on a 90+ degree day vs. something light and refreshing?! Not this lady! Stay tuned for what I decide on :)

Have a great week & I'll be rollin' out some 4th of July recipes I'm considering... Supposed to be perfectly warm & sunny round here, thanking the weather Gods!

..... and yes, I'm already on the beginning of Season 7 of Gilmore Girls for the zillionth time .....


You can find me on Twitter: 
Instagram: IndysVeggieFix

Friday, June 28, 2013

Happy Friday + Friday Favorites!

Happy Friday Everyone!

.... Although not that happy for this gal who just had give the babes a kiss goodbye as he'll be out of town in Chicago this weekend for business :(

.... The only upside to this is my opportunity to cook "Alex would hate this" meals (i.e. long noodles, Asian-infused, etc.), I've already started ruminating on hundreds (legit) of ideas, but my indecisiveness will create an anticipated battle :\

That being said, no definitive plans for me except a change in my hair.... I know, I know... I have a problem... But just like cooking, gotta love that you can control what direction you decide to go with and VOILA :)  Will probably swing by and see my parents, catch up on their vacation through Italy while complaining that I was taken along in their suitcase and swim at some point since it's almost July 4?!... and I haven't even taken a dive into their pool yet?!... Shameful.

Any fun plans for the 4th of July we keep low key since our dogs are both terrified of fireworks, whether the big bombshell shows or just fire-crackers that kids around the street play with, so we'll spend the day hopefully gettin' the dogs on a walk and heatin' up the grill before things get too rowdy and we're hunkered inside trying to prevent them shaking out of their own... Poor babes :(

For now, let's focus on the positive.... Best parts of my week :)

1. Catching up with friends always brighten my week, especially when they involve rib-cracking laughter thanks to this lovely lady on the left :) Apparently, catching up with friends also usually includes beer.... Whoops? I think not.

2. It finally stormed at night when I wasn't already asleep where I could really listen, the dogs were quiet and the darkness really brings in the beautiful lightning. So.Peaceful. 

3. One of my staff members sent me a text that warmed my heart to pieces on Tuesday.  Seriously? How sweet is that? Poor thing has been battling pneumonia all week, but glad to hear she's getting better everyday :)

4. This put a HUGE smile on my face... even though it probably means nothing, still kept me smilin' :)

I'm off to see what errands I can run and plans I can make sans my hubby.  Been a year since his last business trip and I remember not likin' it, so gotta keep it upbeat this go around! Wish me luck and any suggestions welcome!


Now for some of my favorite finds from around the WWW.  Click on the link to take you to the original source!

Favorite Food: Spinach & Artichoke Melt This will be filed under the must-make-ASAP.  It looks so unbelievably cheesy & oozingly delicious and a perfect twist on classic favorite!

Favorite Place: Trolltunga, Norway Alex is Norwegian, which is usually accompanied by a confused face and HUH? Are you sure? considering he's most often asked if he's Italian, Greek, Arabic, Native American, etc. etc.  End scene. His Grandpa immigrated to Argentina when my father-in-law was young so he has family there, but we've always wanted to take a trip to Norway.  Someone want to donate to the Katie-and-Alex-Go-To-Norway fund?! 

Favorite Dessert: Strawberry Angel Food Cake These are three of my very favorite things in the entire world.  Alex has a sweet tooth that no amount of eating everything under the sun can tame, while I am really not too into sweets/desserts.  This looks like heaven in a jar though my friends, and SO perfect to top of our upcoming 4th of July meal, eh?! Plus, angel food cake is so light that while my husband will probably devour about 10 of these, it's definitely a healthier dessert option + strawberries are lookin' SO delish right now.  Hopefully I can find some good ones at the Farmer's Market tomorrow!

Favorite Show: Arrested Development (although a close tie with Kitchen Nightmares).  I'm one of those slow to come around to shows kind of people because let's face it, I'm stubborn as can be and want to keep watching episode after episode of Gilmore Girls, but then I'll catch a peak of a show while snugglin' with my babes at night that's he'll be watching on Netflix and can get hooked super fast + while never had seen this show, I didn't get the whole hub-bub around it, but after watching the first 2 episodes. I. have. been. hooked! Weird, funny, quirky... an a character for everyone!

Favorite Must-Have: Gas + Charcoal Grill This will be in our backyard at some point this summer.... I hope.  When we first moved in, we bought a $30 winky-dinky camping charcoal grill so that broken in several places and just ain't workin' anymore.  We really want a dual grill for the ease of a gas grill that you can just start her right up and control the heat, but have the option of charcoal when you really want that flava'! WIN-WIN!

Favorite Outdoor Space: Outdoor Entertaining Though we Alex has taken big strides in beautifying our backyard, we still don't really have that backyard space grill entertaining, which is a must-have in our future home! After our neighbor built a deck, we've been really toying with the idea to get us that space + it'd add value to the property but I just love this surrean feeling of being able to sit outdoors and eat dinners with friends or just together.  Right now, we have resorted to our gross tiny table on our front porch and after seeing our friend's HEAVENLY backyard last Saturday, my thoughts are endless for the days of my dream-backyard!

Hope you have a wonderful, fun, safe and exciting weekend and a great 4th of July! :)

Link up with Lauren for High Five for Friday!


You can find me on Twitter: 

Instagram: IndysVeggieFix

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Chik'n Salad (AKA: Food Heaven) Sandwiches!

First things things my friends....

Alex has been doing our bulk style shopping at Sam's Club  (i.e. dog + cat food, cat litters, nuts, delicious sandiwch wraps, etc.).

Regardless of whether I beg on my hands and knees to stick to the list so we don't go over-budget, he comes home with....
.....Well let's just not go into that unpleasantness...

PS: Good thing I'm writing this now as he's immersed in an intense Kitchen Nightmares episode ;)

Regardless, one of Alex's favorite, meat eating items is Chicken Salad that he always accidentally drops in his shopping cart comes home with a huge batch after a Sam's Club trip (note: even as a 5-year solid vegetarian, I find myself craving Chicken Salad way more than I'd like!)

After months of putting away his massive Chicken Salad as we unload groceries when he gets back from the store and watching him bite into every delicious looking morsel of Chicken Salad goodness...

Mission: I need some "Chicken" Salad in ma' belly... ASAP... Somehow... Someway....

Thus, this recipe was born....

Quorn Chik'n Cutlets came to my rescue!

Chik'n Salad
Serves 2-3 Sandwiches
Adapted from Add a Pinch

*- 1 package/4 Quorn Chik'n cutlets
- 1/2 cup grapes, halved
- 1/2 cup celery, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped almonds
- 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
- Dashes of salt & pepper
- Croissants (or any bread you prefer if you're eating it sandwich style!)
-  1 teaspoon extra light mayo for the croissants

*These Quorn Chik'n Cutlets are vegetarian friendly, but not vegan as they do contain eggs

  Coach's Orders!

1.  Coat medium sized skillet with a copious amount of non-stick spray over medium-high heat.  Also spray cutlets and add dashes of salt and pepper and let cook for 10-15 minutes, flipping a bit until brown on both sides.

 2. Continue baking Chik'n for 8 minutes at 400 degrees on each side to brown and cook through.  Remove from oven and let Chik'n cutlets cool on a cutting board or whatever you have on hand.  Once cool, cut Chik'n into whatever sized cubes you prefer.

3. Plop the cooled & chopped Chik'n into a bowl and add 1/2 cup halved grapes, 1/2 cup chopped celery, 1/4 cup chopped almonds and some dashes of dried dill (a little goes a long way) and give that baby a mix!

4. Last, add 1/2 cup (or more if you prefer a heavier coating) of light mayo (see below) and stir all together until deliciously covered :)

Oh my gosh, why did I not think of this sooner?!?!!?!?!

I was tempted to let it cool and marinate the flavors overnight for extra deliciousness, but once I mixed in that mayo and saw THIS:

Commence mouth-watering......

  ... No chance.... CHOW DOWN TIME!

While I was waiting for the Chik'n to cool though, I whipped up some roasted carrots for the side since we need to use ours up soon and still had a full bag of baby carrots! Thus was born:

Balsamic and Agave Glazed Carrots
Serves 2
Slightly adapted from Budget Bytes

In the line up!
- 1/2 pound baby carrots, sliced diagonally in half
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
*- 1 teaspoon agave nectar
- 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon margarine or butter

*Agave is a lower glycemic sweetener that I prefer to use in place of honey or sugar products. 

 Coach's Orders!
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Slice 1/2 pound baby carrots diagonally in half and place on a sprayed sheet pan.  Add the extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with some salt and pepper and get your hands in there to make sure everyone's coated up!

2. Cook carrots for 20 minutes, then stir and toss around to get them evenly coated again and cook for another 20 minutes until browned on the outside, with still a slight crunch and warm and yummy on the inside!

 3. While carrots are a cookin', mix agave nectar and balsamic together in a small bowl.  Add in margarine/butter and I just heated this baby up in the microwave until melted and stirred everything together to incorporate the margarine/butter throughout!

4.  Once you the carrots are done cookin', take em' out of the oven and drizzle with this DE-LISH glaze to serve with your sandwiches!

..... I used to HATE cooked carrots in any fashion (steamed, roasted, grilled)... No, I was a rabbit-eating kid who demand RAW, COLD & CRISP carrots... but I guess over the year's and the invention of Pinterest... AMAZINGLY GOOD recipes like this you just can't pass up!

Do you have any idea how hard it was to take this picture before I face-planted my mouth into this mouth watering sandwich?!... VERY!

Commence chow-down time!

I added just a little extra mayo to my croissants, which really rounded out this sandwich so it wasn't overly sauced, the grapes add a nice sweetest, the celery added a much needed crunch, the dashes of dill were PERFECT in really bringing this baby home!... And yes, croissant's are definitely on the naughty list if you're watching your waist-line, but hey, it's been 5 years sans Chik'n Salad so I had to do it right folks!

Thank you to Quorn Chik'n Cutlets for makin' this gals vegetarian dreams come true!!!!!

.... and hey if my regular-chicken-salad-eating-husband liked this, how bad could a veggie version be, eh?!... And a lot healthier and PERFECT for a summer picnic or outing!

Quorn products have such a great meat-like flavor and texture which is not always found in a lot of meat alternative products so that really made this dish as heavenly as it was!  I found me a winner here! :)

Now I'm off to finish my assignment for the evening and cuddle up with my babes before he's headed off to Chicago on a business trip for the weekend :(


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Instagram: IndysVeggieFix

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Jockamo's-Style Pizza Primavera!

How was your hump day?!
Hope your made it through without too many bumps or bruises!

.... Speaking of bumps, guess who is head-to-toe covered in mosquito bites?!.... ME naturally :(

Perhaps we shouldn't have taken the dogs on an impromptu walk around my in-laws property on Saturday...

After calling Alex at work from seeing the massive amounts and size of mosquito bites that kept scratching in my sleep, apparently, he's in pretty bad shape too, which resulted in a "yes, we're that weird couple" kind of conversation:

Me: Hunny, I have freakin' 19 mosquito bites on my legs, several on my back, and 2 on my stomach...

Alex: Wow, I thought I was in bad shape...

Me: .... And I just found another one on my side...

Alex: Maybe we should rub some cortisone on each other when I get home...
(Pause... Crickets)
... that sounded a lot dirtier than what I meant....

So apparently, tonight we'll be lathering up in cortisone before I scratch every piece of skin off of my body from this craziness!... and investing in some bulk sized bug spray that I will carry at all times!


Sorry to jump from mosquito bites to food, but hey, there aren't always perfect segways into new topics, right?!

Alex got home late from work and starving and I had completely lost track of time, so I needed to whip up something fast while he watered the lawn. Thus:

No, not the frozen kind and no delivery... this baby is homemade me friends!

Jockamo's is a local pizza place down the road that is absolutely to-die-for-delicious! Perfect crust, great location(s) and superbly fresh ingredients... whether you choose one of their specialities pizza or (as we do), a "Create Your Own" with such a variety of ingredients to choose from, you're truly in for a flavorful treat locals, so check it out if you haven't already... it's simply a must have if you live or visit the the Indy area!

.... They do have a location now in Greenwood, IN also so perhaps with their growing (and well deserved!) reputation, they can expand further outside Indiana! Their crust truly is un-matchable, I'm tellin' ya!

Oh and vote Jockamo's BEST PIZZA in Indy if you can!

As much as we love to dive our faces into Jockamo pizza, having eaten out more in a week than we do in 1-2 months, I tried my own version of a "semi-homemade" (sans any Sandra Lee reference!) at-home, seasonal version of a Jockamo Specialty Pizza.

... and hey folks, give this lady a break for cuttin' some corners here.... A gal's gotta do what she can in a time and $$$ pinch with a hungry hubby!!! :)

Serves 8 slices/12" medium pizza
My version of Jockamo's Pizza Primavera

In the line up!

For the sauce:
- 1 (14-ounce) jar pre-made pizza sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Coach's Ordes:

1. Heat pre-made pizza sauce (or homemade, but like I said, hungry man waits for no one!), but then I jazzed it up a bit for some extra flavor by stirring in the dried basil, dried oregano to really bring out the dominant flavors of traditional red pizza sauce and some red pepper flakes for a kick instead of adding it on top of the pizza.

Insert Katie anecdote: I love the kick/spice of red pepper flakes, but they never evenly distribute on the top of a pizza, so one thing you're biting into a delicious piece of pizza, and then the next bite, you're mouth is burning from the too many pepper flakes that landed in that vicinity.... Thus I added it to the sauce.  PERFECTION! .

....End of rant...


For the PIZZA!
- 1 pre-made pizza crust (Borboli or local store brand)
- 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 Tablespoons red onion, thinly chopped
- 2 Tablespoons cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1 Tablespoon brocoli, chopped, hard ends removed
- 1 Tablespoon orange pepper, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon carrot, thinly chopped
- 1 Tablespoon jarred roasted red peppers, chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- Grated Romano cheese ~ 1 Tablespoon (enough to slightly coat the top at the end of baking)
- Grated Parmesan cheese  ~ 2 Tablespoons  (enough to slightly coat the top at the end of baking)
- 3 large fresh basil leaves, thinly chopped (to add at the end of baking)

Now for the magic to begin!

 First off, while this homemade version was super darn yummy, Jockamo's is known for their crust (So.Very.True.), so I can't beat them in this area no matter how hard I try!

That being said....

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (this isn't what the package stated, but I'm a picky pizza cooker & tend to do my own thang!). Start off with a pre-made pizza crust (or again, homemade if you like) and slightly mist in olive oil/canola/non-stick spray.

2. Liberally cover the crust with your warmed and jazzed up sauce.  I used pretty much the whole 14-ounce jar, so it worked out perfectly.  Evenly cover all areas of the crust as much as you can.

3. Next liberally cover the crust with 8 ounces of shredded mozzarella cheese.  I usually like to use a mix, but again, what I had on hand and a hungry man waitin'!

4. Try to evenly add all the chopped veggies: roasted red pepper, red onion, orange pepper, brocoli, carrots and grape tomatoes.

5.  Place on top shelf of heated oven and cook for about 5 minutes (when you see the cheese melting and the veggie slightly browning) before turning it around or else the back portion of the pizza will get much crispier, so this helps it cook evenly!

6. After the pizza cooks for another 5 minutes, heat up the oven to 450 degrees and sprinkle the chopped basil, parmesan and romano cheese evenly around the pizza and pop that baby back in for a about 3-4 more minutes to let cheese melt and brown the crust and veggies to perfection!

7. Keep your eye on it at this point cause' pizzas can burn on ya' in the blink of an eye, then pull it out when it's perfectly browned and let cool on the stovetop before cutting into slices.


Alex wasn't feelin' the cool down period, so I sliced into this baby a little sooner than usual, but once I lifted that slice and saw that deliciously melted cheese... What's that sound?! Oh yeah, my grumbling stomach....

Well hello there gorgeous ;)

Perfectly cooked crust, all the veggies were cooked but still had a great crunch, and even Alex said his favorite part on the pizza was...


I was glad he was outside while it was baking because I was so certain he'd see me making pizza and see brocoli and beg me to only put it on "my half"...

I guess you really do learn new things everyday!


I think this was my third second almost gone slice :)

We devoured to this baby with only 1 slice to spare... Whoops! The smell of the pizza was stronger than our portion control, what can I say?!

Hats off to you Jockamo's, a perfect ingredient list for a quick homemade dinner with seasonal veggies that makes pizza still cheesy, buttery goodness, but with a perfect blend of veggies to make it healthy and summery!

... Plus it's homemade, so the buttery portion is largely scaled back than at a typical pizza chain restaurant where usually the crust is made and then dowsed in butter which makes it crazy heavy and greasy, which this was none of :) Jockamo's has a perfect balance of healthy and just lightly heavy, so if you don't try this, try Jockamo's for that perfect mix!

If we weren't covered in mosquito bites and afraid to attract more, I'd suggest an evening stroll to help soothe our pizza-coma, so I think we'll lounge in our cortisone cream before headin' to bed!


You can find me on Twitter: 

Instagram: IndysVeggieFix