Category Archives: eating experiment

mushroom ravioli & recipe fails

Just when I start to think that someday I’ll be a good enough cook to be a personal chef in LA, I have a huge recipe failure and I’m swiftly brought back to my Minneapolis (and winter) reality.


Take the sun-dried tomato & mushroom alfredo I made recently. It wasn’t horrible, but it made me want to add mushroom ravioli to the menu the next week just so I could redeem myself. I thought I was being creative and heath conscious as well as finally getting around to using the Hoosier Mushrooms from Lori and the Buitoni Ravioli I received as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program. It was all going perfect in my mind – a nutritionist-ed alfredo sauce made with ricotta, sun-dried tomatoes and dried mushrooms over mushroom ravioli…

But when I tasted the sauce it needed something. So we added some 1/2 & 1/2, a few more spices and it tasted ok. I should have just given up then. Nixing the whole sauce idea all together would have been a good decision. But it was a decision I didn’t make and so mushroom ravioli with sun-dried tomato & mushroom alfredo it was.

When I tried the ravioli plain, I realized that it didn’t need ricotta, sun-dried tomatoes or more mushrooms. It would have been perfect with a drizzle of olive oil and some fresh parmesan cheese.

So I picked up some more Wild Mushroom Agnolotti, this time knowing it needed nothing but a sprinkling of cheese. And it was delicious with just that.

Sigh. I guess part of being a good cook is knowing when to leave good things alone – something I’ll be working on.



Filed under cheese, eating experiment, mastering the art of, pasta, product review, Recipes, Uncategorized

a better nacho

This summer at Camp Endeavor I will be leading a lot of cooking classes and I couldn’t be more excited! Last year we made Spring Rolls and they were a big hit, I love seeing kids try new foods and enjoy things they don’t think they will. I wanted to test out some new recipes before camp starts and this one is so delicious I had to share!

After watching Food Revolution, I was really inspired by Jamie’s addition of vegetables in everyday dishes like sloppy joes and nachos. In a quest for healthier alternatives to kid favorites I thought that nachos would be a great meal to have the kids at camp prepare as well as a recipe that they could then prepare for their families once they returned home.

The mission: Make nachos into a healthy meal and include as many vegetables as possible.

The result: A filling, well-rounded meal that is stuffed with vegetables and enjoyed by everyone – kids and adults.

Beef & Veggie Nachos – 4 servings

  • 16 oz grassfed beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 4 oz mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 can fiesta corn, drained
  • seasonings: cumin, cayenne pepper, salt & pepper
  • tortilla chips
  • shredded cheese
  • toppings: chopped tomatoes, green onions, black olives, lettuce, salsa and sour cream
  • 1 can refried black beans

Heat large pan. Add beef and onions to pan, cooking for about 4 minutes. Add zucchini, mushrooms, peppers and seasonings. Let simmer until no pink meat remains, about 4-5 minutes.

Heat can of refried beans or black beans and turn on broiler. Layer tortilla chips on pan. Top with beans, beef mixture and top with a sprinkle of cheese. Broil until the cheese has melted, about 3-4 minutes.

Serve nachos with additional toppings and napkins. 🙂


Filed under beans, cheese, eating experiment, great meals, lose weight, protein, Recipes, Uncategorized, vegetables, whole foods, whole grains

update: operation clean-out

Hey Guys!

How did I do on my eating challenge?

Well….. I did PRETTY well I think! I do have a few confessions that I will start with, but I also realized that this challenge forced me to get creative in the kitchen towards the end as well as realize the over-abundance of food that I had/have. With so many hungry people out there, I really took a step back and realized I was kind of living a life of excess. Now I still love food and cooking but I’m going to work on being a little more mindful in my grocery shopping. An on-going challenge!


– Some trail mix from Tar-jay that was calling my name

– Happy Hour sushi…trying to come up with a good excuse…nothing is coming to mind :/

-And some of this….because I love it and had to go to the Co-op for a “work-related” trip…

But here are some of my successful clean-out meals:

Pesto Pasta (with some chicken for the taster)

Grilled Shrimp with salad and bread

Crostini (recipe coming soon, SO good!)

Roasted Veggies (Brussels, sweet potato, red onion and zucchini) and Bacon-wrapped scallops
Check out this fridge!!! I’m so happy that I *somewhat* succeeded because today we head out of town for the next week and a half and there will be no spoilage in that fridge!

Have a fabulous Friday friends!!!!


Filed under eating experiment, eating local, great meals, ice cream, restaurants, salad, scallops, seafood, sushi, vegetables, whole grains

Operation Clean-Out

No, I do not have 8+ children a la Jon & Kate. (And no, I don’t have the famous hair either) All of this food is for 2 people. So I decided that another eating experiment was in store for me and my fridge. Could I not go to the store for over a week and a half???

I stocked up at Whole Foods last Sunday and the taster got a bunch of veggies from the farmer’s market (sometimes I wish I worked in a HUGE office that had their own farmer’s market…) but anyway, we have a full freezer as well. Should be easy, right?

Note to self: Do NOT send the taster to the meat counter at Whole Foods when trying to follow a budget…It never ends well.

So I’m thinking fresh pesto with pasta, shrimp & bread (freezer), peanut-sauce stir-fry, Amy’s frozen goodnesses, Sunshine burgers, etc.

Confession: I might have to hit the store for lettuce however…I don’t think I can go that long without some greens in my life…

I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

PS. I think we’ll have plenty of condiments as well…


Filed under antioxidants, eating experiment, eating local, farmers market, frozen meals, salad, vegetables

Eating Experiment: Part 2

So far so good! I didn’t make it home Sunday for dinner so I am actually down to 2 dinners, 3 lunches (out of the office tomorrow) and 4 breakfasts. I know it doesn’t seem like that many meals and considering that I already have some of the ingredients for 1 of the dinners I do kind of feel like I’m cheating…
Anyway, the taster was a dear and actually went to the store for me since I was out of town (which also could have helped to only get the necessities) but the grand total was… $30.44!!! Yay!
My budget meal last night was a curried quinoa salad that was inspired by the Salad Girl dressings- Curry & Fig that I tried last week.

– red inca quinoa
– garbanzo beans
– 1/2 chopped cucumber
– 1 chopped green pepper
– chopped red onions
– 2 Tbsp salad girl curry & fig dressing
– 2 Tbsp olive oil
– splash of hot sauce
– salt and pepper
Served over greens and an extra dose of hot sauce for me, it was perfect for a HOT, muggy, summer night!


Filed under eating experiment, gluten-free, great meals, Recipes, salad, vegan, vegetables

Eating Experiment

As my grocery trips have started getting more and more expensive I wondered how I could reign it in a bit – I know people do this all the time – my parent’s called it an “austerity program” and I didn’t even have the slightest clue on how to spell that, so that tells you how many “austerity programs” I’ve been on in my adult life.  😦  Sorry Dad, I really am trying this time!!!

My problem? I LOVE the grocery store, high-quality, organic food, trying the newest and greatest foods, and oh yes, my love of expensive cheese. So, could I possibly spend $50 a week on breakfast and lunch (for myself) and dinner for two? I will start off easy (Sunday night – Thursday night) so 4 breakfasts, lunches and dinners (only 4 days because I’m at camp on the weekends) and I’m cheating a bit because I already some dinner ingredients that I didn’t use this week. So I’ll aim for $40!
I would love any grocery store budget tips if you have them!


Filed under cheese, eating experiment, great meals