Category Archives: sausage

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.
Pre-baking:
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!

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

Super Strata

mmm….the smell of gingerbread in the morning!
Gingerbread Oats, that is!
Thinking about a gigantic bakery gingersnap cookie my mom brought home with her the other day, yet left me with just a tease of a taste, I decided I could make my own gingersnap cookie this morning! I love how I always make my favorite desserts into breakfast, haha. And I think I may just like them better – because oats are involved!
To make this yourself, just replace your water with brewed coffee (if I was really on-the-ball, I would have brewed some of the Green Mountain Gingerbread coffee I have. I didn’t think of it ’til after!), whip in half a banana (more for sweetness and volume – you can’t much taste it)lots of cinnamon, ginger, and ground clove, splash of vanilla extract, and 1 tsp dark molasses. Top with crystalized ginger, raisins, chopped walnuts, banana, and Chia-Seed Yogurt “icing”. I added a teaspoon of organic light brown sugar, as well…I thought it would need the added sweetness, but it turned out being unnecessary, lol. 
Another winning bowl! Next time I’m adding even more ginger, though 🙂
After getting ready for work (Involving packing an amazing lunch involving a sundried tomato & feta turkey meatball wrap, an orange, carrot sticks, oat bran pretzels, and a kashi bar) I was so on the ball that I prepared tonight’s dinner! 
Any guesses what I made? Anyone? Anyone?
Turkey Meatball and Apple Strata!
If you’ve never had strata before…you’re seriously missing out. Seriously
It’s funny, because up until now, Strata has always been a once-a-year occasion: Christmas morning. In my mind, Strata=Christmas Brunch. Nothing else! My mom has always made up a huge, cheesy, sausage breakfast strata. This year was the first year I joined the fun, and made up a healthified version to go along with hers! Our “showdown” was tons of fun, but none of us could choose between the two. The traditional was, of course, delicious (be it greasy!) and mine was healthy and delicious. 
It’s funny because it’s not necessarily as much as a holiday meal as my mind has ingrained it to be. And after seeing Brandie make it so many times recently (re: not a holiday, Jess!) I realized I, too, should be enjoying this delicious dish during the week! Preferably multiple times 🙂
My favorite thing about strata is how versatile it is. You could make it differently every time, but my favorite – which I just discovered this past Christmas, during my mom and I’s strata showdown – incorporates sausage and apples, and feta! Another awesome thing about strata is that while it easily can be a “guilt” meal, it doesn’t need to be. It’d be great to bring to a get-together. No one would be any the wiser! (Okay, that, and – how cool is it that I could throw this together in 15 minutes before work, refrigerate for the day so the bread soaks up the egg, and just call home when I left work for mom to pop it in the oven? Pretty cool…)
Sausage and Apple Strata for One or Two

Ingredients:
-2 slices Spelt bread, lightly toasted and cubed (or whole wheat, day old french, etc. Use what you’ve got!)
4-5 Sundried Tomato and Feta Turkey Meatballs, crumbled (alternatively, it’s very good with chicken sausage)
-1 apple, chopped
-1/4 c. scallions, diced
-1/8 c. red onion, diced
-1/8 c. red pepper, diced
-crumbled feta or shredded mozzarella
-2 eggs or 1/2 c. egg beaters
-1/3 c. almond milk/soy milk/milk
-salt and pepper
-garlic powder
-1-2 c. baby spinach leaves
-raspberry dijon mustard, 1 tsp or so, to drizzle on top
Destructions:
In a large liquid measuring cup, combine milk, eggs, cubed bread, scallions, red onion, red pepper, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and spinach.
Pour this mixture into a greased mini-casserole dish.
Over this, crumble your meatballs or other pre-cooked sausage, followed by the chopped apple, and then the feta/cheese of choice.
Garnish with a few dices of scallion and drizzle with some raspberry dijon mustard.
Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight/over”work”.
When ready to bake, bake at 350* for 30m covered, then uncover and bake at 425* for an additional 10m.
Oh. mah. gaw. So good! Just like Christmas morning 🙂 haha.
I had half with a biiiig salad. Tomorrow’s my late night at school, so this will be the perfect leftovers! It reheats quite well – might just get better with age!
If you don’t care for feta, it would be really good with provolone or mozzarella, I bet. Some nutmeg in there with the spinach might have been nice, too.
And I am now enjoying a delicious bowl of pumpkin yogurt chia pudding. Greek yogurt + pumpkin + chia seeds + cinn & nutmeg + almond milk + cheesecake pudding mix = amazing. The end.
In addition: It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Fun Flickr Photo Feature!


Check out Rowena R. on flickr!
Amazing use of lighting, and I love the color and post-processing. Subtle but effective – sometimes “over photoshopped” images run rampant these days, but it’s all in how it’s handled! 
She is undeniably talented…definitely something to strive for – amazing motivation in her stream. So, take a look-see!
Alright bloggies. That is all from this end of the world…but not before I thank you all for another FoodBuzz Top 9! Too cool…I hope everyone makes that French toast now 😛
Question? Do you have any meals that remind you of certain occasions or holidays, yet aren’t necessarily widely received as such when you really think about it?

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Filed under apple, brunch, foodblog, gingerbread, health food, healthy living, meatballs, oatmeal, recipe, sausage, strata, vermont