Saturday, June 29, 2013

Grilled Open-Face Turkey Burgers - recipe

It's officially summer, and nothing's better than a grilled meal.  Don't think that grilling means you have to make greasy burgers that you eat with potato chips.  It's just as easy to make a healthier meal. 

For dinner last night, my husband and I had grilled open-face turkey burgers with a mixed green salad.  The grilled tomatoes added a real pop of flavor. 

Here's the recipe for the Open-Face Turkey Burgers served with a Mixed Green salad (2 servings).


26 grape tomatoes
8 ounces ground turkey
2 slices whole wheat bread (make your own bread with this recipe)
1/2 tbsp TexJoy
4 cups mixed greens
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp crumbled goat cheese

For the Mustard Vinaigrette:

3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp spicy brown mustard


Heat up your grill.  Meanwhile, form the ground turkey into 2 4-ounce patties and sprinkle each with TexJoy.  Make the patties as flat and wide as possible.  Meat shrinks while grilling.  Split tomatoes onto 2 skewers, or more if necessary depending on the size of your skewers and the size of the tomatoes.  Brush tomatoes with 1/2 tbsp olive oil.  Brush whole wheat bread with the remaining 1/2 tbsp olive oil. 

Make the vinaigrette by adding all ingredients to a small container with a lid.  Shake well to combine.

Head back to the grill with your turkey patties, tomatoes and bread.  Place the turkey patties and tomatoes on the grill.  Grill about 6 minutes.  Flip the turkey patties and remove the tomato skewers.  Place the bread on the grill.  Grill until the meat is cooked through and the bread is slightly toasted.

To serve, place a piece of bread on each plate.  Top with the turkey patties.  Place 2 cups mixed greens on each plate and top with goat cheese.  Remove tomatoes from skewers and put about half on the salad and half on the burger.  Drizzle everything (salads and burgers) with the Mustard Vinaigrette.

Happy eating!

Think outside the bread pan!

Here's a quick update on my first and second attempt at bread making.  This is an update referring to my previous post Homemade Whole Wheat Bread.  For reference, here is the recipe I used:

As far as the first attempt, the bread held up really well, although it was so delicious that my husband and I went through about half a loaf a day.  We used it to make fried egg sandwiches and toast, but my favorite was topping an untoasted slice with Nutella.  It's seriously more delicious than a doughnut topped with chocolate frosting, and I'm sure it has more nutritional value (more fiber, less sugar) than the doughnut.

A few days ago I made my second batch of this bread, but this time I had enough whole wheat flour on hand that I was able to make it 100% whole wheat.

This recipe makes 2 loaves of bread, so for this experiment, I made one loaf of bread as usual (great for sandwiches), but I decided to make "dinner rolls" with the second loaf.  I have a mini-loaf bread pan that I thought about using but decided against it (too obvious).  Per my husband's suggestion, I tried using a muffin pan, and per my suggestion, I also freeformed some round balls and baked them on a cookie sheet.  

The results weren't very surprising.  The dough in the muffin cups resembled muffins, and the dough on the cookie sheet looked more like dinner rolls.  We both decided in favor of the cookie sheet option for the future.  I split the amount of dough you'd use for one normal-size loaf of bread into 12 muffins/rolls, and they only took about 15 minutes to bake at 350 in a preheated oven.  

Next time, I might try flattening down the "rolls" a little to make them more of a hamburger bun size.  They'll be great with all our grilled meat this summer. 

The moral of the story?  Be encouraged that this recipe works for any size or shape bread you want to make.  Think outside the bread pan!  You could even make fun shapes for a summer party.  Bread doesn't have to be boring.

Happy eating!


A Meal for Meatless Monday

Ever since my husband and I gave up meat for Lent this year, I haven't eaten meat as much as I used to.  We don't really practice "Meatless Monday," but we do sometimes go half a week without eating any meat and not really noticing.

A couple nights ago, my husband was at a meeting during dinner and I was left to create a meal for one.  I made a delicious flatbread pizza and salad combo that's completely meatless, very flavorful and pretty healthy.


1 Flatout Italian Herb Flatbread (you could use another brand of flatbread, but I love this one)
1 tbsp Frank's Red Hot hot sauce
6 peperoncini slices cut in quarters
10 grape tomatoes cut in quarters
1 ounce shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp ricotta cheese
1 tsp Parmesan cheese
2 cups mixed greens
2 tbsp fat free balsamic vinaigrette (I love the one at Trader Joe's)
1/2 ounce goat cheese (crumbled)

For the pizza, preheat oven to 350.  Line a cookie sheet or baking pan with parchment paper (this makes for easier cleanup).  Put the flatbread on top of the paper and spread hot sauce evenly on top.  Sprinkle with the peperoncinis and half of the tomatoes.  Dollop the ricotta evenly on top.  Then sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan.  Bake for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is golden-brown.

Meanwhile, make the salad.  Fill a bowl with the mixed greens.  Top with the remaining tomatoes, vinaigrette and goat cheese.  Stir or toss to mix evenly.

When the pizza is ready, cut it in 8 pieces and transfer it to a plate.

Voila.  You have a light, filling, delicious, meatless meal for one.

Happy eating!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts (inspired by Cleo)

If you've ever tried the Brussels sprouts at Cleo in Hollywood, you know how good Brussels sprouts can be.  As is my habit when I discover something awesome at a restaurant, I want to try to recreate it at home.  I surfed the web for recipes for Cleo's Brussels sprouts and found one that sounded good but said to deep fry them.  I'm sure that's delicious, but as is also my habit, I like to try to make things semi-healthy at home.  I searched the web again for a recipe to pan-fry Brussels sprouts.  After combining inspiration from a couple recipes, I came up with a new recipe that indeed makes Brussels sprouts taste delicious (although they're better at Cleo...probably because they're deep fried!).

Brussels sprouts after just adding them to the skillet
This recipe is perfect as an appetizer or a light vegetarian meal for 2 people.

Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts

15-20 Brussels sprouts
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 shallot (thinly sliced)
2 tsp Parmesan cheese

fully cooked Brussels sprouts after adding marinade
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp capers
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes


Remove the leaves from the Brussels sprouts.  It's easier if you cut them in half and core them.

Add olive oil, garlic, shallot and Brussels sprout leaves to large skillet.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until leaves start to brown and crisp.

Combine all the ingredients for the marinade.  Remove skillet from heat and pour marinade into skillet.  Stand back; it'll sizzle.  Stir to combine.

serving suggestion
To serve, spoon Brussels sprouts mixture into 2 separate serving bowls.  (I lined mine with coffee filters like they do at Cleo.)  Sprinkle 1 tsp Parmesan cheese on top of mixture in each bowl.

Happy eating!

Homemade Whole Wheat Bread

Updated 11/21/13

What follows is today's journey in bread making:

Ever since I realized just how much sodium is in store-bought bread, I've been on a mission to find a delicious yet easy recipe for homemade bread.  I love bread.  Sourdough and French were my original favorites, but lately I've been liking more flavorful breads full of whole grain.

With the idea of making the bread fairly healthy, I really wanted to find a 100% whole wheat bread recipe.  I did multiple searches online, but I couldn't find any that didn't include 50% all purpose flour or that didn't look like a super-dense bread.  I wanted it to be fluffy and great for sandwiches.

My husband offered to look, and wouldn't you know that he found exactly what I was looking for.  Here's the link to the recipe:

(For ease of use, or in case the recipe is ever removed from the link above, I've copied the recipe at the end of this post.)

I've been meaning to make this recipe all week, but today, Saturday, I finally decided it was time.  I made the recipe as directed for the most part.  I'm new to making yeast breads, so I didn't want to make any drastic changes.  I didn't have any molasses on hand, so I used equal amounts of honey to replace it.  I'm sure molasses would be good, so maybe I'll try it that way next time.  Also, you know how I said I wanted 100% whole wheat bread?  Wouldn't you know I didn't have quite enough whole wheat flour.  I ran out at 6 cups, so I ended up using about half a cup of all-purpose flour at the end.  Whole wheat flour is now on my grocery list.

Thanks to my mixer, this whipped up pretty quickly.  I "think" I added enough flour, but I guess we'll find out.  It probably takes practice to know when you've added enough flour but not too much.  I didn't want to over-mix it because the recipe warned that the bread would be tough if it were overmixed.  I stopped adding flour and let the dough rest.

That's where I'm at right now: bread resting in the mixing bowl on the counter as directed.  I usually put bread in a "warm place" like a "warm" oven or even outside to rise, but the recipe said to leave it in the bowl, covered, so that's what I did.  It's in the low 70s in my house right now, so I guess we'll see how it turns out.  Worst case, I just wasted a little flour and honey.  Fingers crossed.

Status update: The recipe said the bread would get larger but didn't need to double in size.  I think mine doubled.  It filled the mixing bowl!
bread going into the oven

The bread is now in the oven, and it smells so good!  There's a faint honey smell, but overall the smell is just warm and comforting.  There really isn't anything like the smell of fresh baked bread!

My husband's at a meeting, and should be home anytime.  I hope he gets home soon so that he can smell this delicious bread!  I don't think I'll be able to resist cutting a slice as soon as it comes out of the oven.

bread coming out of the oven
Status update: The bread looked perfect when the oven timer went off.  That was such a relief!  I texted my husband to see if he was on his way home yet. He didn't respond within a few minutes, so I broke down and ate an end.  I mean, what else could I do?

The verdict?  It's perfect, if I do say so myself.  It even tastes good without anything on it, but it's even better with butter.  What isn't?

the first slice

I can't believe how easy it is to make homemade bread!  I'm looking forward to trying it again with molasses and 100% whole wheat flour.

If you're looking for an easy, delicious, homemade, 100% whole wheat bread to make for your family, this recipe is certainly a winner!  It's everything I hoped it would be!

Happy eating!

100% Whole Wheat Bread

2 3/4 cups hot water
1/3 cup olive oil, any oil is fine
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon salt, Sea Salt is good
7 1/2 cups of 100% whole grain wheat flour
2 tablespoons dry active yeast

Place the first five ingredients in the bowl and mix.

Add: 2 Cups 100% Whole Grain Wheat Flour. (to cool the water and end up with warm dough) Mix then add 2 Tbs of Dry Active Yeast. If your not sure about your yeast proof it in a little warm water first.

Add: 4 Cups of 100% Whole Grain Wheat Flour.

Mix until the consistency is some what even. Then continue to slowly add flour 1/2 Cup at a time until the dough quits sticking to the sides of the bowl. It should be tacky to the touch. The trick is to have enough consistency to stand up with the least amount of flour so the bread will be fluffy. It will most likely be 6 1/2 cups but in any case do not exceed 7 1/2 cups of wheat flour. You can trade one cup of wheat flour for one cup of all purpose white if you wish. Don't over mix or the bread will be tough.

When your dough is finished, leave it in the mixer, cover the bowl and let it rise for about 30-45 minutes. The dough will be larger but it doesn't need to double.

Grease two bread pans with Crisco. You can also flour the pans to reduce sticking.

Mix the dough again just enough to knock it down at least close to the original size.

Drop the dough on a floured surface so you can work the dough and shape it. Shape it with your hands to make a nice ball getting enough flour on it so it isn't sticky. Divide the ball in half and do it again. Shape the loaves by turning the dough under it's self over and over. When the dough is shaped the sides and ends will be sealed and all you will see is a nice oblong shaped loaf with smooth sides and top. Drop the loaves in your bread pans and let them rise until almost doubled. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 36 minutes. If you forgot to preheat 41 minutes. (gas oven).

When done turn the bread out of the pan to a rack to cool. You can eat it right away (a great time for real butter) don't wrap it until completely cooled. (Condensation will make it soggy) Put in tinfoil to store on the counter. If you put it in the refrigerator it will turn into a brick. Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Cuban Pork and Cuban Beans

My husband and I often get inspired for new meals to prepare at home after eating out at great restaurants.  We get inspired by great food.  When we were dating, my husband (then boyfriend) lived in El Segundo, and one of our favorite places to eat was Versailles.  We loved the flavor of the pork and the buttery bread they'd bring to the table.

Having moved away from that part of town, we decided to try to recreate what we loved most at home.  What has become our usual is easy-to-make Crock-Pot Cuban pork served with Cuban beans.  We usually eat both items mixed together in one bowl.  The flavors blend so well.  It's especially tasty when served with sliced french bread which can be used to soak up extra broth. 

A bowl of Cuban Beans topped with Cuban Pork

Crock-Pot Cuban Pork

Following is the recipe for Crock-Pot Cuban Pork:


1/2 c lime juice
1/4 c water
1/4 c lemon juice
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 bay leaves
3 lb pork roast


Pierce the pork in several places, and place it in the Crock-Pot.  Combine all other ingredients in a bowl and pour over pork.  Cook on low for 10-12 hours or on high for 5-6 hours.  When fully cooked, the pork will fall off the bone and almost shred itself as you pull it apart.

Cuban Beans
Following is the recipe for Cuban Beans:


1 15 oz can black beans
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp garlic powder
1 small onion (or half of a large onion) diced
1/3 c fresh, chopped cilantro


Drain black beans.  Combine all ingredients except cilantro in a medium-size pot over medium heat.  Stir to combine and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.  Add cilantro.  Let simmer for another 10 minutes.  Serve hot.

Happy eating!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Pineapple-Lemon-Gelico - Cocktail Recipe

2 ounces Limoncello
1 ounce Frangelico
1 ounce pineapple juice

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.  Strain into a cordial glass.  Enjoy!

My husband named this one.  It's a nice tropical twist on the Lemon Cake cocktail recipe in my last post.  It's perfect for summer sipping.

Happy drinking!

Lemon Cake - Cocktail Recipe

2 oz Limoncello
1 oz Frangelico

Pour Limoncello in a cordial glass.  Top with Frangelico.  Enjoy!

I don't think anyone would argue that Limoncello and Frangelico aren't both delicious enough on their own, but the nutty hazelnut flavor of Frangelico is a surprisingly delicious compliment to the sweet and sour taste of Limoncello.  Together they remind the taste buds of a sweet yet not too sweet, chewy yet crumbly lemon cake.  For best results, stick the Limoncello in the freezer to get it really cold.

I seem to particularly love Italian liqueur and wine.  I don't know what it is about Italy, but they know how to make a tasty drink.

Happy drinking!

Holiday Comfort Food

When I'm sad or depressed or super-hungry, I usually crave things like ice-cream, french bread and pizza.  That's counterproductive comfort food since eating is following by guilty feelings about indulging in unhealthy food.

Comfort food doesn't have to be unhealthy.  A week ago, my mom had my husband and I over for dinner.  She made several dishes including more traditional comfort food, but what I enjoyed the most was a pot of greenbeans with ham.  It tasted like the holidays to me, like Christmas dinner in a bowl.  It was just a couple cans of green beans boiled in chicken broth with canned, sliced mushrooms and some pre-cooked ham cut into chunks.  It almost should've been the least impressive item on the menu.  Somehow it was my favorite.  It conjured up memories of eating leftovers after unwrapping presents.  The flavor reminded me of how all the flavors of holiday food kind of become one warm, peaceful flavor.  It was comforting.

My mom gave me the leftovers to take home, and they sat in the refrigerator until tonight.  Somehow it didn't seem tempting when there were more "delicious" things in my refrigerator to eat.  Then tonight, wanting something quick, I remembered the "holiday comfort food" feeling the greenbean and ham mixture gave me the first time I ate it.  That's what I needed tonight.  And, there's no guilt afterwards.  It was delicious.  It tasted like Christmas after the presents are unwrapped.  I can almost hear laughter and holiday movies.  It makes me remember happy times.

I pretty much inhaled the leftovers without stopping to take pictures, but it really is just a couple cans of green beans boiled in chicken broth in a pot on the stove.  Add some canned mushrooms and pre-cooked ham cut into chunks.  Add your favorite seasoning (for me it's TexJoy).  Except for the sodium content, this is a healthy side dish or even a main meal.  It'd be excellent served on top of mashed potatoes!

Happy eating!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Emeril's Roasted Vegetable Frittata Recipe

We slightly modified the following frittata recipe for dinner last night:

We used a different cheese (and more of it) and slightly different veggies (just what we happened to already have on hand).  It was okay.  I'd make it again, but I'd add way more seasoning and try the cheese and veggies Emeril recommends.  It was pretty quick to make and would go great with a fruit salad or field greens salad.

frittata in our Lodge cast iron skillet before inverting

inverted frittata with an extra sprinkle of cheese

I like the idea of frittatas because it's similar to quiche but quicker and without a crust.  I've been making crustless quiche for years, so I might as well just make a frittata.  Now that we have our new Lodge cast iron skillet, it makes for easy transfer from stovetop to oven as well.  That was definitely our best purchase so far this summer.  Cast iron is so versatile.  I would definitely recommend buying a cast iron skillet if you don't already have one.  It's great for the stove, the oven, the grill, and of course, it's great as a weapon (did you see the movie Tangled?).

Happy eating!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Goat Cheese

Goat cheese is definitely my new favorite cheese.  I'd probably eaten it before, but I never really appreciated it until I went to Maui a month or so ago.  It was kind of a business trip for the video website my husband and I run,  While on Maui, we filmed some videos at a goat farm and sampled the cheese.  It was interesting to taste the different flavors.  I noticed that a lot of the restaurants on Maui used goat cheese from this goat farm.

After returning home, we recently bought goat cheese at our favorite grocery store, Trader Joe's.  We decided to try the sampler pack with three types of cheese.  They're all so creamy and delicious.  The consistency of goat cheese almost reminds me of cream cheese.  I particularly love it on salads.

Here's a simple salad recipe:

A bunch of mixed greens, a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette and some goat cheese sprinkled on top.

You can also add your favorite grilled meat (chicken/fish/steak) and/or grilled vegetables (onion/mushrooms/peppers/squash).

Sometimes simple is best.  I could eat this salad everyday.

So, if a couple days ago I was saying "chimichurri on everything," today I'm saying "goat cheese on everything"!  It doesn't hurt that the fat, calorie and sodium content is lower than that of cow cheese.

If you want to learn more about goat cheese and where it comes from, check out these videos at CareerSighted:

Milker at a Goat Farm
Truffle Maker (These truffles are made with goat cheese instead of cream!)

Happy eating!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Meatloaf Chimichurri Pizza - recipe!

What's for dinner tonight?  Meatloaf chimichurri pizza.  I told you chimichurri is good on everything!  This recipe is the perfect way to use up leftover meatloaf.  I happened to have some leftover Paula Dean Cheeseburger meatloaf in the refrigerator, so that's what I used.  You can use whatever meatloaf recipe you like.

Here's what you need:

1 whole wheat pizza crust (get an easy crust recipe here)
12 oz leftover meatloaf
1/3 c chimichurri  (get an easy sauce recipe here)
1 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1 c shredded monterey jack cheese
2 tbsp parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 425.

Crumble meatloaf in frying pan and cook until browned.

Roll out crust and place on a pizza pan.  Spread chimichurri evenly on crust.  Top with crumbled meatloaf.  Then add shredded cheese. Then sprinkle with parmesan.

Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden and crust is slightly browned.

Happy eating!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Chimichurri on everything!

Okay, so I know I've been absent for a few days, but I found a recipe for Chimichurri sauce in Sunset magazine, and I've been eating it on everything!

The recipe in Sunset was for Bison Tri-Tip with Chimichurri.  We made the tri-tip (beef though; we couldn't find bison) and made the sauce.  The tri-tip was okay, but the chimichurri was amazing!
Chimichurri on Tri-Tip
It's pretty thick, a little spicy and very flavorful.  It's kind of a pestoish color and consistency, but it tastes earthier and more appropriate for summer BBQs.

So, I'm sure your burning question is, what else can you put Chimichurri on besides tri-tip?

Chimichurri on Grilled Cheese
1. Salad - Great as a salad dressing or in addition to a vinaigrette.

2. Grilled Cheese - That's right!  Use whole wheat bread and monterey jack cheese.  Just brush the sauce on the bread after grilling, or you can brush the sauce inside the bread before grilling.  I've tried it both ways, and it's great either way.

3. Fried Egg Sandwich - Similar to grilled cheese (just add fried egg).

4. Pizza - Yup, spread a thin layer on the crust instead of sauce.  See my Shresto Pizza recipe.  You could totally use Chimichurri instead of Pesto.

I'm sure there are a lot more great ways to eat Chimichurri.  For example, I know it'd be great with any meat.  Leave a comment if you have a suggestion about what else to eat it with.

Oh, and lest I forget, here is the Chimichurri recipe, courtesy of Sunset magazine:

In a food processor, pulse 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup packed parsley springs, 7 garlic cloves, 1/3 cup packed fresh rosemary leaves, 2 tbsp. fresh oregano leaves, 1 tbsp. lemon juice and 1 1/2 tsp. each red chile flakes and sea salt to coarsely chop.  While pulsing, pour in 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil.  Let sauce rest at least 1 hour; or chill up to 3 days, then bring to room temp.

Happy eating!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Grilled Wedge Salad

When the weather heats up, I love grilled food that goes beyond the ordinary hamburgers and hot dogs.  I love recipes that include grilled vegetables, but how about a grilled salad?

When I think of a wedge salad, I think of iceburg lettuce and a few basic yet delicious toppings like bacon and bleu cheese.  Well, here's a summer version that has better lettuce (romaine) and healthier toppings (veggies).  Plus, the ingredients get extra flavor from the grill.  This is the perfect summer meal.  It's great as a stand-alone entree-salad, but it also pairs well with whatever meat you happen to be grilling (fish, steak, chicken...even hamburgers and hotdogs).

I hope you enjoy this surprisingly easy Grilled Wedge Salad!


3 ears corn (husks intact)
3 hearts of romaine (sliced in half lenthwise)
1 cup grape tomatoes (quartered)
1 cup diced chives
1 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 tbsp olive oil

For vinaigrette:
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vineager
1 tbsp spicy brown mustard
1/4 tsp garlic powder


Soak corn in a large bowl or pan of water for 1 hour.

Heat up grill.

Place corn (still in husks) directly on grill and turn it about every 10 minutes.  Grill for about 20-30 minutes or until kernels are soft. Remove corn from grill.  Dehusk and cut the corn off the cob.

Put corn, tomatoes and chives in a large bowl.

Combine ingredients for vinaigrette in a small bowl and mix to combine.  Drizzle about a third of the vinaigrette onto the veggie mixture in the bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Brush romaine with olive oil and place cut-side down on grill for about 3 minutes or until leaves are slightly wilted.

Plate the romaine.  3 servings for large entree-size salads or 6 servings for a side-dish.  Drizzle remaining vinaigrette over romaine.  Spoon veggie mixture on top of the romaine.  Sprinkle goat cheese on top of veggies.

Happy eating!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Shresto Pizza - recipe

What is "shresto"?  Shrimp and pesto, of course!  This pizza is especially delicious with my whole wheat pizza crust recipe, but if you're short on time, you can always use a store bought crust.


1 large whole wheat pizza crust
1/4 cup pesto
1 cup grape tomatoes (cut in half lengthwise)
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
20 medium-large shrimp (raw, deveined, no tail and chopped into 4 pieces)
2 tsp garlic salt
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese 
1 tbsp Chipotle pepper flakes


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Roll out the pizza crust and place
it on a large pizza pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Spread pesto evenly over crust.  Top with 1 and 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese.  Use a spoon to place even dollops of the ricotta cheese on top of the mozzarella.  Sprinkle the shrimp and tomato pieces evenly on top of the cheese.  Sprinkle garlic salt on top of the shrimp and tomatoes.  Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese on top of the pizza.  Sprinkle the Parmesan and Chipotle flakes evenly on top of everything.

Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the shrimp are pink, the cheese is golden, and the crust is slightly brown.

Happy eating!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Greek Yogurt Parfait

I first tried Greek yogurt a year or so ago and just couldn't understand the craze.  It tasted awful.  I don't remember what brand I tried, so maybe it was just a certain brand or flavor that didn't win me over.

I can thank Public (one of the restaurant's at the Hollywood Roosevelt) for getting me to try Greek yogurt again in the parfait on their brunch buffet.  It was probably just plain or vanilla flavored Greek yogurt, but it was topped with granola and a couple berries.  I loved it.

With this parfait idea stuck in my mind, I decided to try a Greek yogurt parfait of my own.

Greek Yogurt Parfait:

1 tub Yoplait vanilla flavored Greek yogurt (5.3 ounces)
1/4 cup Kellogg's Special K Vanilla Almond

Pour the cereal on top of the yogurt, stir and enjoy.

I hardly consider this a recipe since there are only 2 ingredients, but if you're like me and didn't like Greek yogurt the first time you tried it, this just might win you over.  At only 137 calories for the combination above, it's a protein-packed breakfast or snack.  You can experiment with yogurt flavors and types of cereal, but the combination above is definitely a winner.  The yogurt is super packed with protein (13 grams!) and low in sodium (only 55 grams!).  The cereal is one of my all-time favorites.  It's whole grain, and delicious with real slivers of almonds. 

My dad used to mix cereal with Cool Whip for dessert.  In college, some of my friends would mix cereal with soft-serve ice-cream in the dining halls.  Really, Greek yogurt with a little vanilla almond cereal is just a healthier extension of the same idea.

Happy eating!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Public (at the Hollywood Roosevelt)

A couple months ago, I bought a Travelzoo voucher for Sunday Brunch at Public, one of the restaurants at the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel.  I had visited the hotel for a Christmas party a couple years ago and loved the old Hollywood flair.  I was excited to see what they had to offer for brunch.

The voucher included the brunch buffet for 2 and a bottle of Prosecco (sparkling wine).

The only hurdle we had in the entire experience was making a reservation.  The restaurant accepts reservations through OpenTable.  Yesterday, I went online to make a reservation for brunch today at noon, and OpenTable told me that no reservations were available within 2 hours of my requested time.  We decided to call and see if we could make a reservation over the phone.  We called around 10:50am yesterday (a Saturday), and it went to voicemail with a message saying to leave a message and they'd call us right back.  We left a message with our phone number, and at 8pm last night, they still hadn't called us back.  My husband tried calling last night, and it immediately went to voicemail.  He hung up, called right back, and finally got a live person on the phone.  In the end, they were able to make a reservation for us to have brunch at noon as we requested.

The reservation issue was really the only complaint besides how slippery the tile floors in the restaurant are.  Ladies, make sure you have traction on your shoes.  I was wearing kitten heels, and I almost fell about 3 times when I stepped on the parts of the floor composed of little, tiny tiles.  Eventually, I had to make a point not to walk naturally on those sections of floor and to firmly step down with the ball of my foot instead.  I always prefer carpet when I'm wearing heels.

We arrived about a half-hour early, but they had no problem seating us right away.  We had a table in the back by the windows.  I liked that it was out of the way.  There was a long delay before our waitress visited our table, so long in fact that another waitress came over to tell us what was included with the voucher and show us where the buffet was.  She also got water for us.

The buffet had a nice variety of food.  Everything from fresh fruit to eggs cooked with veggies to delicate little desserts.  Everything was good.  I particularly liked the yogurt and granola parfait, the meat and cheese selection, the fresh fruit, the chocolate dipped strawberries and the mini-cupcakes that had a whipped cream frosting on them that tasted like strawberries.  My husband particularly liked the lemon tart and the fresh fruit.

The Prosecco was okay.  I wouldn't order it.  We probably only drank half the bottle.  There was also watermelon and grapefruit juice up at the buffet, but we didn't particularly love either one.

I really liked the atmosphere at Public.  It has the old Hollywood classic glamour, and at the same time, it seems rustic and earthy with all of the plant life.  We both really liked visiting the hotel.  It was fun just to have an excuse to walk inside again.  There's so much history here.  If you're visiting Hollywood, or if you live in L.A. and want to step back in time, I suggest meandering off Hollywood Blvd and into the front door of this historic hotel.  You can wander around the lobby and walk up the stairs.  Take a peek outside by the pool and maybe order something to drink at the bar.  But, this isn't a review of the hotel...

I don't think I would come back to this particular brunch buffet.  Other restaurants that have brunch buffets have omelet stations, waffle bars, and overall, just more selection for about the same price as this brunch buffet.  That said, there was plenty offered here for a very filling meal.  It's a little overpriced for what you get, but everything is delicious, and it's the atmosphere is wonderful.

Happy eating!