Thanksgiving plate

Food for the Soul Shared on Thanksgiving

Today’s Daily Prompt is perfect for the month of November. I have always believed that food is nourishment for your soul just as much as it is for your body. The love that is shared and passed on through food is never more apparent than during the holiday season when people gather to cook and share together. Thanksgiving is only 17 days away and I eagerly look forward to joining my mom in the kitchen again to create a wonderful meal for family and friends.

To give you an idea of the delicious dishes that grace our table, here is what our food for the soul from Thanksgiving 2011 looked like.

The First Course

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

The other day I was looking in my cupboard. Both a can of pumpkin purée and multiple bags of chocolate chips were sitting on the shelves. For the past week or so the thought of making cookies had been on my mind – it is cookie making season, after all! And I had the thought “why not pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.”

Of course, I am not the only one to have thought of this wonderful combination. There are many recipes for this cookie, and all seem to be slightly different. A number use vegetable oil instead of butter (which is a breach of the cookie commandments if you ask me), and some use baking powder while others don’t.

For experiments sake, I decided to make two batches. My base recipe for all chocolate chip cookies is, of course, the Toll House recipe I learned to make cookies from when I was a young girl. I found two different recipes that sounded like they would work out pretty well.

The first recipe uses baking powder and only one egg. Instead of all the different spices, I just used All-Spice, and I forgot the cinnamon. The result? A cookie that has a cake-like consistency. It tasted pretty good. But, this was not quite the cookie I was looking for.

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LOS Veggie Burger

Favorite Places to Lunch in Philly

During the week, I try to bring my lunch to work with me, whether it’s leftovers, a sandwich, or maybe some lettuce wraps. But, sometimes I don’t feel like eating what my kitchen has to offer, and I am left with the decision of deciding where to eat. Many times, my co-workers and I eat lunch together and that is always the first question “So where are we eating?”

Philly has a wide variety of places to choose from, but I generally stay within the same radius between JFK Boulevard and Walnut Streets, and 18th to 16th Streets (with rare trips to the Reading Terminal Market). When I don’t eat at my work’s cafeteria, here are some of my favorite places to eat (not in any order of preference).

Jimmy John’s
44 S. 17th Street
This is where I go when I’m in the mood for a sub. I always get #6 – Vegetarian. What I love most about this sandwich is the avocado cream. No other sandwich place makes avocado cream like JJ’s does. It’s also a great place if you don’t have time to wait for lunch, and I don’t ever remember waiting more than five minutes to get my sandwich. If you have a gluten allergy or are watching your carb intake, you can also make any sammich into an Unwich (a lettuce wrap).

HipCityVeg
127 S. 18th Street
When I’m craving some healthy food that is 100% plant-based, this is where I go. My favorites (so far) are the Ziggy Burger and the Fajita Wrap, as well as a side of sweet potato fries served with a cilantro-black bean dip. The Jerk Cesar Salad is quite tasty as well. But, make no mistake, the food portions are just as hearty and you will never be able to complain of still being hungry after your meal.

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Losing faith in our food system

This post has been sitting in my drafts section for the passed four months or so. I have been meaning to share it for awhile, but was (and slightly still am) very concerned with making it ‘perfect.’ This month, I have decided to take part in NaBloPoMo (or National Blog Posting Month), which involves publishing a post every day of the month, so I decided it was finally time to share this with the world. 

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I love food. I always have and always will.

When I was a kid, one of my favorite places to enjoy food was at Mickey D’s. I loved the Happy Meal box the food came in – I think I preferred nuggets over the hamburger – and of course the best thing was the prize. Somewhere in storage, I still have a box full of the toys I collected. The only ‘toy’ that truly lives is the evergreen tree that we planted next to my grandparents’ two-story house and is now (about 20-ish years later) significantly taller than the house.

McDonalds tree
The one in the middle is my McDonald’s Tree.

Back then, I didn’t give much thought to food, I just enjoyed it. I trusted that what this place served to me wouldn’t harm me in any way. And so did my mom. Other staples from my childhood are peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Kid Cuisine meals. I always loved the penguin on the box and the way each serving was separated into its own compartment.

But now, my experience with food is slightly different. I still love it, but sometimes I feel as if my enjoyment of it is tainted. This is mostly because I do not trust the majority of our food suppliers. My awareness of food now includes the knowledge of added chemicals, hormones, pink slime, and ‘ingredients’ that are carcinogenic. It’s almost enough to make anyone want to stop eating altogether. Continue reading “Losing faith in our food system”

raw ravioli

Eat the sauce, hold the pasta – misadventures in pasta making

Do you have one dish or type of food that just doesn’t seem to work when you make it? For me it’s dough, more specifically pasta and empanada dough.

While I have made empanadas before, I can’t say they were mouthwatering good. And just this past weekend, I planned a three-course dinner that included lamb/fennel/mint ravioli in a roasted red pepper sauce. The sauce was delicious, and the filling was on point. However, the vehicle of delivering said filling was a complete disaster. I followed a recipe I found on a blog that used the ratio: 3 oz. flour, one egg, splash of olive oil, and kosher salt per person. So, I just multiplied that by four to make sure I had enough dough. I don’t have a pasta maker or pasta attachment for a Kitchenaid (one day I’ll have both), so I rolled out the dough with a rolling pin (which I finally purchased especially for this project). I cooked the ravioli in boiling water for four minutes.

raw ravioli
The yet uncooked ravioli.

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