VEGAN MONDAY BLACK BEAN CASSEROLE

After a week at The Ranch in Malibu I returned inspired to try and stick to a “vegan until dinner time” diet as well as eating a plant based diet one full day a week. My husband and son do not embrace my new found enthusiasm so the dinner I make on my vegan day needs to satisfy them as well….or maybe I should tell them to shove their opinions where the sun don’t shine considering that I’m the boss of the kitchen. But, OK fine, I’ll play nice. Here’s a wonderful Mexican flavored vegan dinner that requires very little time to prepare:

Black Bean Burrito Casserole (adapted from Gourmet Magazine, 1990)  Continue reading (258)

Quinoa Chia and everything else that will get stuck in your teeth Granola Bars

It’s been ten months since my last blog post. Forgive me reader (singular on purpose…Hi Mommy!) for I have just finished a massive one year renovation of my home, and was simultaneously training to climb Kilimanjaro (summited August 10th! Can you we say hell yeah!). But I am back in my home, Kili behind me and reenergized to share some of my favorite recipes with you.

Let’s talk granola bars. The store bought ones deserve all the bad rap they get. They really do. They are loaded with sugar, contain barely any fiber, have negligible protein and let’s face it are so antiquated since the advent of the ubiquitous protein/energy bar. But here’s the deal, if made by you they can really pack a nutritional punch because you get to choose what you want in them. The basic formula is: Continue reading (987)

Flycakes Fancy Fruit Salad Syrup

Picture this: You’re at a dinner party and the hostess places a fruit salad on the table, or you’ve brought one to a friend’s house as your healthy contribution to the night and all of a sudden you hear a sound. What is that? It kind of sounds like a stifled yawn. I’ll tell you what it is, it’s the sound of eyes rolling at the thought of another boring-ho-hum-who-really-wants-fruit-for-dessert-but-I-have-to-pretend-to-like-it fruit salad.

The recipe I am about to share elevates the usually completely average dessert to a whole other level and it really couldn’t be easier. It’s basically a tricked out (dare I say sexy) simple syrup that works gorgeously on mixed berries, melon, sliced oranges, grapefruit, pineapple chunks, even kiwi. So you know the peeled and prepared fresh fruit you buy at Whole Foods? Pick any of them, put them in a pretty bowl and pour this concoction over the fruit. Done. Continue reading (1792)

Quick Spicy Pineapple Salsa

Want to spice up you sex life? I mean dinner. Make this quick spicy pineapple salsa and serve it along side your simply grilled/broiled/roasted chicken/fish/fish tacos/pork. It’s so easy, can be made a day in advance and requires nothing other than a chopping board and a knife. I buy the cubed pineapple from Whole Foods. Yes, you heard me. It’s a huge timesaver but do not use canned!

This summer when you’re sitting outside grilling, you’ll think of me.  Continue reading (2957)

Lemony Roast Chicken On the Fly

If your family is anything like mine, when you roast a whole chicken, everyone eats the breasts, drumsticks and thighs but you’re always left with this unappealing carcass of wings and skin. Nope, I’m not going to tell you to ‘simply make chicken stock’ out of the leftovers because mine is not that kind of blog. You know, that blog that is so smug it makes you feel like a failure in the kitchen if you use (gasp) store bought broth.

My advice is simple: don’t roast a whole chicken and save yourself both the messy hassle of carving it and a lot of cooking time.

Serves 4 (three in my household)
Preheat oven to 400

4 bone in, skin on organic chicken breasts (they really are more tender and moist)
Juice of one lemon, remove pits
3 tbs EVOO or basil infused olive oil or lemon infused olive oil
3 chopped or crushed garlic cloves
1 tsp dijon mustard (if you have it on hand. If not, disregard)
Herbs de provence, salt and pepper to taste

In the bottom of a roasting pan whisk together all of the ingredients and coat both sides of the chicken well. Leave the skin on, it gives the chicken so much more flavor and you can remove it before eating if you’re watching your cholesterol.

Roast until juices run clear when you pierce the breast. 35-45 minutes.

Serve with my kale salad or raw cauliflower couscous salad and you have just made a simple and delicious dinner. Be proud!

Enjoy and always let your taste buds soar
Hugs,
Maria (1257)

My Sweet Mama’s Lemon Cake

I loved being pregnant. I mean REALLY loved being pregnant. I was that annoying, always smiling, belly rubbing, eye roll inducing, soaking it in kind of pregnant gal. Maybe it was the three miscarriages that came before, and maybe it was that I was so completely flipping grateful that THIS WAS IT, that my life long desire to be a mother was actually going to be fulfilled.

Those 40 weeks were some of the happiest of my life despite the 17 weeks of torturous 24 hour nausea and despite the twice self administered daily heparin shots. I was high, high, high on hormone marination. And just as soon as I got pregnant, I craved lemon and completely lost my appetite for chocolate.

You know the Starbucks Lemon Loaf? The one with that little coating of hardened lemony sugar glaze? I lived for that but being the crazy vain disciplined bitch that I am, I only caved twice. Yes, twice. In 9 months! So, every time I see that lemon cake, or smell lemon it brings me back to the blissful days of incubating my little boy. This lemon cake is my mother’s recipe. It’s simple, lemony, delicious, kicks Starbucks’ Lemon Loaf’s processed ass and wait for it…it’s made entirely in the food processor.  Continue reading (1546)

You’ll-never-buy-it-in-a-jar-again Tomato Sauce

As much as I love cooking, I am here to tell you that there are certain products I will NEVER make from scratch and will shamelessly continue to buy from a store because let’s face it, they are just so good. Spending hours in the kitchen replicating the original gives you bragging rights yes, but it also inspires people to want to punch your smug face and it will NOT taste better than the original.  So, peanut butter, mayonnaise, sriracha (sorry GP), Oreos, Ritz, Mallomars, Graham Crackers, flour tortillas, are perfect the way they are. Move on people.

But if there’s one product that with just a teensy bit of effort can be improved tremendously it is TOMATO SAUCE.  Now, listen readers and listen carefully. If you are having one crazy military operation kind of day and jarred tomato sauce is all you’ve got, then by all means heat that sucker up, boil some pasta and call it dinner. It certainly beats the drive thru at McDonalds or KFC. This is a no judgment zone. Continue reading (2115)

The Marinate Anything Marinade

To feel comfortable in the kitchen it really helps to have one or two basic recipes committed to memory. It just builds confidence. When you can make a quick marinade with just a few ingredients, one that pairs perfectly with fish*, poultry, pork and flank steak and also works on the grill, under the broiler or in the oven, you will feel like a rock star.

And it is so unbelievably easy.  Continue reading (1873)

Marathon Brownies

It’s marathon Sunday here in NYC and I am sitting at my kitchen counter, staring at my computer asking myself how I can pay tribute to and honor the unbelievable and awe inspiring physical feat that is the ING New York City Marathon.  I’ve cheered my friends on, gotten choked up at the sea of warriors refusing to give up, sent out all the congratulatory texts and emails, and have high fived runners walking home wrapped in their orange blankets. But what more can I do? Bake some kick ass brownies of course because that’s just what I do. Those who can’t run (this year) bake!

These brownies are easy, quick, require few ingredients, and elicit loud and wildly inappropriate moans from all who indulge. And to all of you who ran 26.2 flipping miles today…. INDULGE THE CRAP OUT OF YOURSELVES

Marathon Brownies

Continue reading (1345)

It’s (finally) getting to be turkey chili weather

Here we are with October virtually behind us and only now will day time temperatures dip below 60. Yeah, yeah, yeah everyone around me loves it and I just feel like I’m being cheated out of that perfectly crisp New York weather. It’s just not natural to go apple picking in shorts people! Fall weather to me means new boots, outdoor running, good hair, and turkey chili. This is a recipe I can comfortably claim as a Flycakes original. I’ve tweaked and adjusted it over the years and honestly I barely even measure the ingredients anymore. It’s simple, healthy, delicious, makes your apartment smell like a spice market and yields so much you can freeze the leftovers for a night when you don’t feel like cooking.

Flycakes Turkey Chili  Continue reading (1046)