Category Archives: casserole


You can take one look at my breakfast and know something was up:

Strawberry-Banana So Delicious yogurt with protein powder, banana, chia seeds and a bran muffin.

What’s cool and soothing for a scratchy throat?


Yep. My condition deteriorated rapidly last night, and I had to resort to crawling in bed, hardly able to breath, at hardly 8:00. This was difficult for me because the Bs were playing the Habs last night – always a good game.

My efforts to fall asleep early were a bit of a joke, however, as I intended to watch the game as I dozed. When you hear things like “Score!” every 30 seconds and then announcers excitedly narrating fights, going to bed early just isn’t a priority anymore.

I suppose combining a bran muffin with strawberry-banana yogurt is a bit odd...but luckily I couldn't taste much anyway.

I just knew I was going to wake up with a scratchy throat and a pounding head, and I did.

I kept telling myself I deserved to get sick for once, after dodging all the illnesses that float around my workplace. Missing out on swine flu is my proudest moment, you know.

Luckily (if you can call it that,) I think it’s more of a pesky sinus-y type thing that I’ve got. I slept just about all morning, and finally started to feel somewhat normal after lunch. I’ve got a little bit of a headache still, but I think I’ll make it 😉

Let us not forget the reds 8000 I chugged this morning.

Extra precautions.

So it seems a lot of people, when they are sick, lose their appetite.

I am the exact opposite.

In fact, all that is appealing to me is just eating more in efforts to make swallowing less painful.

Carrots, hummus and applesauce were all of equal importance today.

Not together, obviously. But I think I ate a whole bag of carrots and a good cup of hummus as well as many bowls of applesauce. What can I say?

And when I began to realize I wasn’t going to die from the plague like I initially thought I was, I realized I was a-okay to get some baking done. I took extra precautions to make sure the baking wasn’t infected, I promise.

Remember my Birdseed bars?

I baked some up for a certain someone, but tweaked the recipe again. This might be my favorite version yet! I love how the “bar pans” (mini loaf pans) allow each bar to get crispy edges, too.

I kept it simple for dinner though, as I was beginning to feel a little lethargic again. It’d been a while since I had a baked sweet potato though, and I decided one was imperative to my well-being.

Luckily, I had just read Mandiee’s mention of the magical numbers: 425* for 45 minutes. Remember that. Don’t ever forget it. It is the key to ooey, gooey sweet potatoes. There will be no more haphazardly throwing sweet potatoes in the oven at a temperature anywhere from 400* to 450* from me.

Paired with a hummus-quinoa casserole idea taken from Vive le Vegan. I just layered cooked quinoa, then a mixture of hummus and tomato sauce and then some roasted veg.

I bet you guys didn’t know that I love frozen peas. I don’t eat them frozen, obviously, but I think they’re the one vegetable I’d rather have from frozen than from fresh. Probably because the fresh ones are so much work and I can be kind of lazy…but whatever.

What’s your favorite “sick food”?

Is there any food you prefer packaged/frozen/what-have-you over fresh?


Filed under baking, breakfast, carrots, casserole, chia seeds, cooking, dinner, food, healthy living, hummus, sweet potato, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian

Welcoming Vegan MoFo

I welcomed Vegan MoFo by making, quite potentially, the biggest baking blunder I’ve made in quite some time.





I got as far as spooning the batter into cupcake tins, licking the spatula, ad immediately spitting it into the garbage ad licking a paper towel to get the taste off my tongue.

Okay, maybe I wasn’t quite so dramatic. But almost.

Why? I forgot the sugar. The wording of the recipe confused me, so I didn’t see it instructing me to even add sugar. Being that I usually don’t add much sugar anyway, I didn’t think twice.

I. was. gutted. I didn’t know what to do, but I was certain the scooping the batter out of tins and back into the bowl, to mix with sugar was not a viable option.

It got chucked.

I’m still gutted. I don’t throw food away. In fact, my mom (a tapioca lover) noticed those tapioca cups still in there, and asked if I was eating them.

“They’re not very good, but I’ll eat them.” I replied.

“Can I try one?” she bravely asked, only for me to respond, “Try them all” in a bit of a challenging voice.


Oh, these are terrible! Why don’t you throw them out?!”

“There’s starving children in China. I’ll eat them.”

“The reason they’re starving is because they don’t want to eat those.”

There are two morals to this story:

  • read your recipes carefully. chances are, they need sugar.
  • anything with a brand name of “SoYummi,” is probably a lie.


Oh, right, before I went off on that tangent, you were wondering why I was calling myself a Vegan MoFo.

Well, Vegano MoFo is not actually anything profane, but rather the Vegan Month of Food. Unfortunately, I’m not actually officially participating in the Vegan MoFo as I missed the deadline to “enroll,” but I’ll still celebrate. And celebrate is just what I did today, starting with breakfast.





And these pancakes did not disappoint. They were the “Raspberry Cornmeal Pancakes,” as seen in Eat, Drink and Be Vegan, though I made them with what I had on hand:

  • peaches instead of raspberries
  • graham flour instead of spelt
  • added nutmeg

I had grandiose plans of making peach-ginger cornmeal pancakes, or peach-coconut, but then decided to just follow the recipe first.

This. was. delicious. I loved the texture and taste! I will surely be waffleizing or at least keep pancake-izing. Or something like that.

That’s date molasses you see on top, which definitely took them to a level of epicness that cannot be messed with.

And then, this happened:






Oh, surprise, surprise – another ED&BV recipe. This time, Polenta Casserole. Because, as you know, I like casserole, as evidenced by the past…month.

I was really excited to bust open my Bove’s sauce, too. It’s local and seen on Food Network, as well as the only sauce I could find with no added sugar.

And it’s delicious! I will definitely start being more picky about the sauces I use. Of course, I should have just made my own when I had tomatoes out my ears this summer, but I had too many scalloped tomatoes for that to happen!

Anyways. For the Polenta Casserole, I ended up using frozen broccoli instead of frozen corn, and instead of mixing the grated polenta with grated imitation cheese, I mixed it with hummus and nutritional yeast.


And yeah, yeah, I just talked about Vegan MoFo, but I wasn’t about to pay $2 for a single yogurt and not eat it. Although I would have been better off…I should have listened to everyone that said they were unimpressed with Siggi’s – because I wasn’t impressed, either. In fact, I was a little grossed out and left most of it for my  mom. It had a weird texture, and not much “orange and ginger” flavor to speak of, either.

But, speaking of yogurt, I was a featured blogger on Chobani yesterday!! Go check out Emily’s write-up on me…I was practically blushing Winking smile

What’s been your biggest kitchen “whoopsie”?

Are you participating in Vegan MoFo?


Filed under breakfast, casserole, dinner, pancakes, recipe, vegan

Waffle With Me

Has everyone seen or heard the new Dunkin’ Donuts commercials advertising their waffle sandwich? I swear I hear it every ten minutes – but tt makes me laugh every time. Why? Because, well…I waffle on a daily basis. I even use the term waffle. So when I heard waffle all over the radio I felt a little cheated. Here is a days worth of waffles for you.

Fortunately, this mornings breakfast was almost waffle free due to this cool chica’s mention of carrot cake ice cream. I read this comment at 1 am during my nightly “I need to stop drinking so much water” moment – and immediately realized it’s been far too long since I’ve had carrot cake oats. You’d better believe I had difficulties falling asleep when I could hardly wait for morning. Just the thought made me have a nightly rendezvous with the kitchen involving nuked puffins. Luckily, morning finally came.

I love you, carrot cake oats. And this bowl was especially stellar, for what reason I am unsure. Possibly because this was the first time I’d had it with oat bran? Possibly. It was much fluffier than usual. Or maybe I just forgot how fluffy bananas make oats?

I suppose one of my breakfast waffles occurred just moments ago, trying to narrow down my breakfast photos. Apparently, I went a little overboard this morning. I was enamored.

In the Mix was oat bran, spelt flakes, barley & wheat bran, brewed coffee & almondmilk, ~1/4 sliced banana, vanilla, goji berries, pineapple, 1/2 carrot, grated, ground clove, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon

On the Top was chia-acai icing, flax, crystallized ginger, a chopped walnut or two, strawberry-pom jam, coconut butter, and 1/2 grated carrot sauteed with maple syrup, coconut, raisins, pineapple, cinnamon, and a splash of water.

The waffle appeared when it was time to chose coffee. I think my problem is that I give myself too many choices. So many nut butters, so many jams, so many veggies, so many fruits, so many breads. Hey, variety is the spice of life, right? As long as I’m not wasting anything, I’m content.

Rain Forest Nut eventually won over, and I waffled about what I wanted to make for my birthday dinner while enjoying a cup of that and my cake. I love waking up early.

Next waffle: hurr. I’ve been having major hair dilemmas. I really need to cut it. But I don’t like paying someone $20 to take half an inch off my hair. That can be spent on fun food finds or new bowls, you know.

the usual, except usually I pouf it more. It's growing old.

reunited with my hair straightener: still pouffed on top.

the new? or too susie home-maker?

After all this waffling, it was time to pack the lunch-age and head to class. First, I waffled as to what I wanted for my drive in snackage. The rest of the nanner had apparently been eaten by a Henry-monster, so banana was out of the question. English muffin, or nuked Puffins?

puffins-1. english muffin-0

If you haven’t done this yet, you should do it now. 1/2c. original puffins, 1/4 c. almondmilk, drizzle honey-apple butter, and cinnamon. Nuke for 30 seconds. Enjoy. Yum.

Next up? Yogi Moroccan Spice – for the words of wisdom – or Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride – for the pure bliss?

sugar cookie sleigh ride - with almondmilk, vanilla, and honey.

I have a rapidly growing honey obsession.

Driving in to class I encountered a major waffle. Did I really want to waste this beautiful morning by going to class? I won’t say which waffle I toasted, but I will say sometimes…ya just gotta appreciate the beauty around you.

And right on time, hunger came knocking, and I gladly answered. There was no waffling here:

Rite Aid parking lot.

Nature valley Nut Clusters – I make sure I ration these out, or I’ll just nom down the whole bag. So good. These were the peanut ones. I’m tempted to try making something similar myself.

I just realized I ate a lot in my car today.

And sesame rice crisps. Fueling before my second class & a quick Rite Aid pit-stop. This was a good snack – the clusters held me over quite nicely!

After my second class I participated in a grueling workout that involved a pretty drastic makeover. Are you ready for this?

Gertrude. Don't think she stayed that clean for more than ten minutes.

This messed up my hair, made me freeze, and made me more than ready for lunch.

There was slight waffling involved in lunch: I was homeless! My mom was MIA and I didn’t feel like eating by myself at a random location on campus. Everyone has classes when I don’t, and vice versa 😦 I finally decided on just going to the welcome center because I was going to need to buy some hot water or coffee, anyways. I wanted to go to the lake lookout – but didn’t think I’d have time to do that and get tea/coffee.

lunch was packed last night, as usual.

Turkey Meatball pita-panini w/ ranch, dijonnaise, sundried tomatoes, red pepper, red onion, spinach, and a pickle. Oh and parmesan, of course!

And I'll never turn down a naranja.

Deee-vine. Loved the homemade ranch-dijonnaise combo. And the pickle. Oh, dill pickles. You make sandwiches complete.

Did I want a bar, too?

I ended up passing – I was quite content – but decided to take Clif with me, for his whole grains and vitamins – to my Photo class. I definitely made everyone jealous. If you’ve had a Blueberry Z Bar before, you know how deliciously blueberry – y they smell!

I munched half in class, and half driving home so I didn’t eat the kitchen once I got there. There was much waffling about exposures, negatives, and chemicals while in photo – but I won’t bore you. There was also much stress/frustration. Everyone kept asking me all these questions about what to do, how to do it, what to mix, etc. I get really stressed out when I’m asked too many questions about stuff like that when I’m trying to do it, too. I’m trying to get stuff done, too – and I probably only know as much as you! I know that sounds awful, but it’s just part of me. I could never be a teacher. The worse part is – I’ll even get frustrated if it’s even people I know really well.

I had already had a general idea for dinner planned, but I waffled the entire way home as to specifics. I’ll reveal the final product, first.

Bulgur-Chickpea Casserole

Did I want chickpeas, turkey meatballs, or shrimp? Chickpeas. Did I want sweets-meets-savory by including an apple? No. But next time for sure! Did I want to make it all neat and layered only for it to be messed up upon serving, anyway? Sure.

Classic Jess fashion.

Did I want to use nutritional yeast, feta, or parmesan in the veggie layer? Nutritional yeast. Parm on Top!

This was good! Chickpeas were the right waffle. Next time I’d love to try it with some chopped apple and sweet potato!

Dessert was waffle free:

you betcha!

Told you so: new obsession/old obsession meet.

I guess you could say I tend to get stuck in food ruts. I’ve actually been flipping through Clean Eating mags at breakfast and re-discovering some great recipes that I saw and wanted to try – but didn’t make note of…and completely forgot! I’ve been feeling rather uncreative, so these are definitely helping and I’m brewing some good ideas. I still openly admit to finding one snack and latching on to it, however. Oh, well, I guess.

I hope everyone toasted lots of waffles today – decisions are good! Do you like to have decisions, or have things laid out for you? When you do have decisions – are you indecisive, or black and white?

Do you pack your own snacks when you know you’ll be out and about, or just hope you’ll find something?

And lastly – do you tend to get stuck in “food ruts” ever?

I hope everyone has a great night – just think, tomorrow’s friday already!


Filed under all natural, almond milk, apple, banana, beans, breakfast, broccoli, bulghur, bulgur, carrot cake, casserole, chia, chia seeds, coconut, college, cooking, dinner, food blog, foodblog, health, health blog, health food, healthy cooking, healthy eating, healthy living, lunch, meatballs, nut butter, oatmeal, oats, panini, photography, pineapple, pita, recipe, snack, TVP, vegetable, vegetarian, veggies, vermont, whole grains

Subliminal Messaging

Did everyone else get to enjoy beautiful weather today? Vermont was certainly graced with some beautiful sun and warm temperatures! Given the time of the year it is I should be crying that it was nearly 40*. Lately all I’ve been wanting is snow, snow, snow. We have none! But since beautiful sunshine came along with the warmth, there was no way I could complain.
I should have known it would end up being a beautiful day after seeing the subliminal message in this ridiculous bowl of banana cream pie breakfast:
Anyone else see the heart?!Not intentional.
This craziness involved the usual whipped banana bowl of grains, topped with more banana, coconut, walnuts, raisins, and whet germ. The chia-seed yogurt icing had some mashed banana, too! And almond butter and a maraschino cherry, just for good measure, of course.
I thought I’d died and gone to heaven after eating this.
I grabbed the buffalo turkey wrap out of the fridge that I’d made for lunch last night, an orange, a carrot, and a Z Bar and made my way to school for classes.
After my first one I learned of two amazing facts: 1. Int. to C.J. was cancelled, and 2. Photo would just be a “work day” if we so chose! Luckily I learned both these things in e-mails, so decided to do my own photo class by driving round Rutland and finding sketchy places to take photos. Strangely, I’ve never just walked around downtown with my camera with the intent to take photos. I learned that sometimes you overlook some of the neatest places!
I’ve got quite a few photos to go through to keep me busy tonight, tomorrow, and the next day! Hopefully I got one or two good ones. 
While I was in town, I took advantage of the time to explore our co-op! I’ve never actually been in there – another shocker, right? I told myself I wouldn’t buy much. And I did great until I got to the bulk section, where everything…uh…sort of added up. There’s so many fun things, and still feel like I hardly got as much as I wanted! haha. Finds included goji berries, other dried fruits and nuts, almond “mozzarella,” oikos, applegate farms turkey hot dogs, some bars, and some cookies! What I really wanted to find was coconut butter, but no such luck. My other stop was my favorite little organic deli/cafe, the Back Home Again. I about lived there all summer long, until I started school. (Then “Jess’s Budgeting Act” cut-off so much buying of meals, and encouraged the making & packing of meals. It’s ridiculous how much I spent a week buying lunches rather than packing my own!)They make amazing breads, and I needed some Spelt bread. They also sell yerba mate and mate energy bars, which are amazing. So I picked some of those up as well. Bliss. 

By the time I was done spending money and taking pictures, it was around 1:45 and I had only eaten all my snacks. They held me over so luckily I wasn’t so tempted by any of the delicious wraps and sandwiches at the BHA and decided I’d just enjoy my wrap grilled once I got home!
Look familiar? It hasn’t gotten old…but I’m almost out of those meatballs! I do miss hummus and veggie wraps though, so it’s all good 🙂
Dinner was to incorporate one of my interesting co-op finds!
I had planned on just getting some really good marinated mozzarella when I went grocery shopping this weekend (I am picky about my mozzarella. Go big or go home. No skim over here.) but was quite fascinated when I saw this! Never even heard of it before, so of course I had to give it a try. I’m not lactose intolerant, vegan, or anything requiring me to avoid real cheese, but I was quite intrigued. And it’s quite good! But we’ll get to that.
On the agenda tonight was a Sausage Polenta Bake. I’d been tossing ideas around in my head all morning, and initially wanted to do sausage-apple, but wasn’t sure what veggies I had that would go well with that.
So, for 1-2 servings (my mom and I shared it but each had another sausage & sauce on the side) I prepared the bottom polenta layer with:
1 Pesto-Chicken Bilinski Farms Chicken sausage, diced
1/3 c. polenta/corn grits
1 c. water
minced garlic
diced scallions, red pepper, and yellow pepper.
garlic salt, pepper, and basil
I just prepared the polenta as usual and when it was beginning to pull from the sides I added everything in. Poured and spread into a mini casserole dish, and baked at 400* for 20m.
Then I decided on a middle veggie layer:
baby spinach – 1 c.?
broccoli crown, chopped
1/4 c. cream of broccoli soup
minced garlic
dijon mustard
salt, pepper to taste
Sauteed in a pan until cooked down & soup about evaporated. By this time your polenta should be about done, so go ahead and put this layer on top.
Top with some sort of marinara/tomato-based sauce on top, and then some mozzarella shreds. (or, in my case, almond mozzarella)
I initially thought I was going to have to make my own “sauce” with diced tomatoes and seasonings like I usually do, but my mom actually had a pot of spaghetti sauce on for some pasta and sausages she was making, so I just stoled some of that. Convenient!
Pop back in the oven until your cheese is melted, and dig in! (Caution: Contents Hot)
Basic, but good 🙂 I still like my sausage-apple polenta casserole idea, though. Soon!
Now, however, it is time for dessert round 2 (round 1 was a mate bar!): chia seed pumpkin pudding!
If you have a local co-op, what’s your favorite find there? 
Or, if you’re grocery shopping, do you end up trying way more new things than you went there with the intention of purchasing? 
I know I’m guilty of having a grocery shopping new-foods problem!
‘Night everyone!


Filed under banana, breakfast, casserole, co op, digital, dinner, foodblog, hdr, healthy living, italian, oatmeal, organic, photography, polenta, recipe, sausage

Tuesdays are for Eating

That’s the conclusion I’ve come to: Tuesdays are for Eating.
Delicious eating, that is.
Too bad the food that ends up tasting the best, always looks the worst.

And it’s a good thing, too: Learning about family violence for nearly three hours does a number on your optimism. Especially since you all know how cheerful and in love I was just prior to it! 
It’s such a difficult thing to grasp, too: I’ve been fortunate to never have to deal with an issue so troublesome personally, and have never even been witness to such things. I live in Vermont: there was one documented murder in 2008. [enter C.J. class from earlier today! hah] so I think part of why I find social problems so fascinating is because I can’t quite comprehend the mindset of someone who would intentionally harm others: especially young children and elders.
But anyways, I won’t send such thoughts your way, too. You’re not here to get depressed.
I bet no one guessed I made a Tex-Mex Sweet Potato Pie while I was home earlier for dinner!
It. was. divine. If you like your sweet potatoes savory, like I do, then you’ve gotta try this 🙂 Here’s how I did it!
Cubed and boiled a sweet potato while having a love affair eating my lunch.
[we won’t mention that due to the love affair I may or may not have over-boiled it slightly…]
Mashed the potato with half an onion, cream of broccoli soup, chili powder, cumin, franks, salt and pepper, and spread half in the bottom of a casserole dish.
Topped with a serving of pink beans and sprinkled with cumin, garlic powder, pepper, and chili powder.

In a separate, microwaveable bowl, I combined Quorn Chik’n Tender and 1 cheese wedge, and microwaved until cheese was melted. Then added chopped red and yellow pepper and salsa. Seasoned with pepper, garlic salt, chili powder, cumin. Spread on top of bean layer.
Spread remaining mashed sweet potato mixture on top, and sprinkled with paprika, parmesan, real bacon bits, chili powder, and pepper.
Threw it all in the fridge while I was away, got home and baked for…30m? at 415*.
So, that’s what I did…and it was great! Loved all the flavors together. BUT! Next time I would either: nix the bottom sweet potato layer and just put it all on top, OR! Bake the bottom sweet potato layer until it firms up, and then continue the layering process, and then bake again. 
Obviously it was all cooked through, but the beans were a little soupy, so the bottom portion got a little soupy, rather than firmed up. It didn’t bother me any, but it might be a nice added touch.
I also would “jazz up” the bean layer – maybe some cilantro and corn, and maybe a cheese wedge? But I didn’t want to go through all that prep, and it was nice simple, too.
Paired it with an amazing salad. I love simple salads with minimal dressing…and remember that raspberry honey mustard I picked up last week? Well, I still hadn’t used it…haven’t been sure what to use it on! And then it clicked that it would make a great salad dressing!

So, that got drizzled over some romaine, red and yellow pepper, pickles, and feta. Carrots were added after – forgot about them!
Overall, a successful day 🙂 I am so full right now…Not digging the whole “eating dinner at 7:45” thing, but I’d rather enjoy a nice hot meal at home than eat in class. I draw enough attention to myself when I start mowing down on dried veggie crisps. [true story. those things are loud. I can hardly hear the lecture…needless to say, I stopped and opted for the clif z bar in my pocket. what can I say? I’m always prepared. I always have food in my pocket.]
What was your good eats of the day??


Filed under beans, casserole, foodblog, health food, healthy living, mexican, pie, salad, sweet potato