no fat pants

i was browsing through a new cookbook*. and came across a recipe called no fat pants nachos.

how can that title not make you stop in your tracks. it’s a lightened up nacho recipe using  lots of veggies, “healthier” tortilla chips and refried beans, changing up the calories from regular nachos with over 800 calories, to 250 calories per serving… side note: these have no cheese, how can you have nachos with no cheese? but that’s off topic.

I thought how can i take these same ingredients and turn it into a dinner (tortilla chips are a weakness of mine i can’t eat just the serving amount, so those had to go.) This is what i came up with, and it even turned out super awesome and even pretty:

no fat pants tostadas


refried black beans (i used trader joes with jalapenos)

soy chorizo** (trader joes)


green pepper



green onion

shredded cheese (a tiny bit)

cilantro (from our csa box)

first, i heated up the chorizo on the stove, i took a tostada and put about 2 tbs of the black beans and smeared it on top, added a teaspoon of the cheese and placed another tostada on top (yes, like a mexican pizza) stuck that in the microwave for 30 seconds. added 1/4-1/2 of the chorizo to the top, then piled on green pepper, tomatoes, green onion, salsa, avocado, topped it off with some cilantro and another tsp of cheese. It was good, actually it was way better then good. i just can’t think of anther word, i’m too busy wanting to eat more of that tostada… i would like to try a similar recipe only with roasted veggies on top. i guess we have to see what will come in the next csa boxes that we can experiment with.

* i own 3 of trader joes cookbooks, skinny dish, the i heart trader joes one and dinners done one. i love trader joes, and it helps that i have one within walking distance to my house. i know not everyone is as spoiled as i am. you can substitute any of the ingredients with ones you think will work best.

** i am not a vegetarian, i just like this stuff…

if you own the skinny dish book, you MUST make the strawberry lemon tart! too good to be true. and if you don’t have any of the cookbooks check this out.

swiss chard and other csa things

i knew going into this whole csa thing, it would make us try vegetables we’ve never even  seen or heard of before. i decided early on to take this on as a challenge and hope for no fails. i have seen swiss chard at the market i buy produce at, i’ve seen people use it on cooking shows and i have seen it on menus, but i have never actually ate or cooked with it. so here goes nothing:

i made 2 dinners this week with swiss chard.

a veggie frittata

started by caramelizing onions, once a light brown color i added red peppers and zucchini, sauteed for a few minutes, then added the swiss chard to cook down a bit, only for a minute or so, then added the eggs (used a box of egg whites and 3 full eggs) and some fresh parm to the top, cooked until the eggs were pretty solid on the bottom and sides and then stuck it in the 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, served with whole wheat toast and was fantastic, i like the swiss chard how ever the onions were the total star of this dinner. (yes that is apple crumble in the corner, i will get to that… eventually)

crock pot bbq pulled chicken, with sauteed greens and corn bread muffins

this was that crock pot chicken with coke, i know not a healthy choice but i had a taste for it, so i made it, it is super simple and tastes awesome. i took a lb of chicken (breasts only) along with a bottle of bbq sauce (i used trader joes kansas style, i know i should make my own… i will get there… eventually) and a can of coke. throw it all in the crock pot 4 hours on high or all day on low, shred and serve. I usually serve this on whole wheat buns, but thought with the corn bread this would have too much carbs. i know those scary carbs….right?

speaking of the corn bread, i know, it looks weird, i used the white corn meal, and forgot to use baking powder, tasted good, but the texture was off. it wasn’t as sweet as cornbread i have had before, i did use a recipe that called for white corn meal, and it had an option to make it sweeter, i think i will do that next time. the greens- that is actually the swiss chard and tatsoi we got in our box this week. i thinly sliced 3 cloves of garlic, lightly browned them in a some garlic olive oil (did i mention we love garlic?) threw in the greens, cooked them down and added some fresh squeezed lemon. salt and pepper….. and some fresh parm too… mmmm parm…

may i recommend–DMK burger bar—lombard

dmk, the chicago location, has been featured on diners, drive-ins and dives. however this is not how i came to love this place. i was on 22nd street heading torwards yorktown mall when i noticed the big red DMK letters in between the starbucks and the jareds. so when i got home i googled (is that a verb yet?). and then saw the menu. i was sold, i had to go.

This was my third visit:

fried pickles & okra, a MUST

chili rubbed onion strings- very very good, but fried pickles always win my heart/taste buds over.

lots and lots of fries- the sweet potato is by far my fave, the others are awesome, and this was the first time i had fries with gravy, good but very rich

#13- crispy portobello, fontina cheese, arugla, marinated tomatoes & horseradish sauce= amazing

I have actually tasted many of the burgers there, my top three being the pastrami one, the patty melt and the one above. the bison and lamb are good but my top 3 are better.

i highly recommend making a trip out to this place, not sure if the one in the city is much different food-wise, i hope not though. the cocktails are unique and delicious, i had the backyard bbq and lemonade ones. the mac and cheese is so good i can’t even think of the words to describe it, i just start drooling. they also have homemade sodas and a decent beer selection. It is on the small side but on a friday at 7 we got seated in less then 20 minutes. staff is friendly, maybe too casual at times (our waitress was sitting down at another table and sometimes would take awhile to get/refill our drinks). and the nerdy design geek in me loves their logo, i kinda want a t-shirt.

second csa box

here we go-box number 2:

a day or few before pick up we get an email from our farmer, it contains what we will be seeing in our box along with happenings at the farm. i really enjoy this, it makes me feel somewhat more connected to our farmer, even if it’s just a story about a baby mole, snakes or even fertilizer. it’s definitly stories i’ve never encountered before. we also get a recipe idea from what’s in our box, haven’t made one yet, but saving for future use for sure.

so what’s in the box…

Tatsoi – anyone ever use this?
Green Garlic
Corn Meal
Swiss Chard
I’m linking up with inherchucks for what’s in the box. check out what others are getting in their boxes.
dinner tonight @ DMK burger bar– lombard! can’t wait!

i had a groupon: cakebombs

when a groupon for bleeding heart bakery popped up on my phone i totally jumped on it right away. i love bleeding hearts whoopie pies, barks and cupcakes. i didn’t even look at what it was for i figured i’d love it. yeah….. no. with the groupon you got a dozen cake bombs- 4 hazelnut, 4 double chocolate and 4 chocolate cherry. and had to order 48 hours in advance. ok.. cool ordered them for my birthday calorie splurge.

picked them up at the oak park location (which is closing in may i just found out). tried one out that night, the hazelnut… it was super sweet, could barely taste the hazelnut and they had liquor in them. tried a chocolate one the next day. just was not a fan, thought they were unexciting and not worth all the trouble it took to get them. they were on the large size like 4-5 bites and all the topping fell off as you were eating them. i was just plain disappointed, ended up leaving them out at a party for others to eat up. i still would go back for a veruca salt cupcake or peanut butter chocolate whoopie pie any day but won’t be getting the cake bomb bombs again.

birthday macaron

last weekend was my birthday, i indulged A LOT!  it’s going to take a few posts to cover all that. a good friend of mine got me fresh macarons from labriola cafe in oak brook. ever been?

it’s one of the only places i know of in the south west-ish suburbs that even has them. she got me chocolate, raspberry and pistachio, my favorite by far is the pistachio, runner up is the chocolate. if you’re there i recommend asking if they have been made that day, they are so much better fresh, after a day or two they get very crumbly and not fun to eat, they still taste good but the texture isn’t there.

i’ve been here for lunch only once, it was good, i’d go back eventually but i’d rather go to dmk across the street. i do recommend the pretzel bread though… just awesome.

note to self: learn to make these!

csa asparagus

as mentioned before we got aspargus in our last csa box. my favorite way to eat aspargus is wrapped in prosciutto with lemon and basil and then grilled. probably not the healthiest way to eat it, but that was not the question. i tend to just throw asparagus into things like stir fry, frittas, pasta etc.

here is one the super easy, super fast ways to make asparagus pasta:

cook pasta according to directions, for the last 2-3 min of the pasta cooking throw the chopped up asparagus in the pot with the pasta. once those 2-3 min is up, drain the pasta and asparagus, in the same pot i added a lug of olive oil and squeezed in a whole lemon, then added some frozen basil (fresh works best, but it was all i had, and i think the frozen tastes better then dried, ok that should be a post all on it’s own.) after that i threw the pasta and aspargus back in the pot added salt and pepper to my liking, then the best part i added the parmesean cheese, about a quarter cup mixed in to get slightly melty, i’m sure that’s a legit culinary term… then plated and added more parm of course.

i did use whole wheat pasta. we don’t mind it, so for an everyday dinner i go with it, if i was making pasta for company,  or people i’d need to impress, i’d go to standard market and get the fresh made stuff. i hope to one day to venture into the pasta making world, but i haven’t gotten those attachments for my kitchen aid just yet…

our first dinner with the csa veggies

we recieved our first box last thursday, it was filled with boc choi, cilantro, celeriac, dried cayenne peppers, apples, asparagus, oats and gold beets. of course i was too excited to go through it that i forgot to take a picture. and also we are sharing our share with my mom, so when we divided things up, she took the beets and i got the boc choi.

and this is what i did with it:

modified from this recipe. i used vegetable broth instead, also added a 1/4 cup of veggie broth to marinade along with some white rice vinegar, and used 1/2 the cornstarch, doubled the garlic and it tasted pretty damn good to me.

i am not an oatmeal person, i’ve tried, i feel like i’m eating chunky paste, i just can’t do it, so i made these. wasn’t quite sure how they’d turn out since i wasn’t using quick oats. so i cut the oats to 1 cup, which i regret, i should have still used the full two, i kind of liked the crunchy and chewy together.

i was totally puzzled when i saw the celeriac… i have some vitamix plans for it though.

and yes-i got a new phone, it takes much better pictures but you have to endure me experimenting with instagram and camera+, any one recommend any other iphone camera apps?

um happy pancake day

i was totally unprepared for today to be national pancake day… i didn’t know there even was one, but i should know better, there’s a day for everything.

i like pancakes, i almost never order them at restaurants i usually opt for eggs and bacon.

i do however make pancakes for dinner or breakfast or lunch at home, and i enjoy trying to come up with interesting pancake ideas. this one however takes the (pan)cake.

image source & recipe

never ever in a lifetime would i put avocado in my pancakes, must do this soon!

may i recommend…


image from wilde’s website

seriously you should go. this place is just plain awesome, super awesome in fact. my brother stumbled upon this place, and then declared we must go back for sticky toffee pudding, which is a date cake of sorts with caramelized sugar-butter on top. i like it and have made it before and it was good, theirs however is better then i could ever, ever imagine. like pure bliss on a plate.. i think i need some right now only if they had a location in the burbs. actually it’s probably better that there’s not. mmm sticky toffee pudding, it’s even fun to say…

the place is warm, cozy, welcoming. friendly, fun staff. just a cool place to hang out at, even if it’s not in the book nook by the fireplace.

if, you know, you actually want dinner too i can recommend the artichoke cheddar dip, wedge salad (with whiskey glazed bacon, pretty close to bacon candy), wilde mac & cheese (i would call this adult mac & cheese, tomatoes, onion and bacon included), chicken pot pie, meatloaf, the ruban, and even the fish & chips (i don’t eat the fish part, others have ordered it,  but they have malt vinegar to douse the chips in, and anywhere i can put a half bottle of malt vinegar on my fries is a winner in my book). i’m hungry….

bonus points: the sticky toffee pudding, there is brunch, there is gluten-free options, there is gluten-free brunch, there is a late-nite menu, they offer pretzel buns, decent beer & wine selection, and did i mention the sticky toffee pudding?