S’Mores Cupcakes!

Holy Schmoly do I have a treat for you...S’Mores Cupcakes!  That’s right people, bring that campfire treat into your home year round in the intoxicating form of a cupcake. And since we're right on the cusp of camping and s'mores season I thought it was the perfect time to share this amazing twist on an old classic.

To be perfectly up front, this is a relatively labor intensive cupcake to make, but I don’t bake very often so when I do I like to give it my all and this little piece of heaven is certainly worth the effort. Here is the recipe for Society Bakery’s S’Mores Cupcakes, which appeared in a 2011 Bon Appétit, but my photos and comments are shared below for a little added motivation to make these yummy treats.
Disappearing Zucchini Orzo with Grilled Shrimp

This is an oldie but a goodie that I found years ago when I read one of my now favorite books Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It is a super simple, healthy and delicious dinner.  Perfect for a warm summer night…particularly late summer when you're just starting to get sick of zucchini.  If you eat seasonally like we do, in the early summer it's hard to imagine you'll ever get sick of zucchini since it's been so long since you've had it…but it can happen!

So if it happens to you whip up this dish,  because as the name of it suggests, the zucchini kind of disappears within the orzo and it helps you use up lots of zucchini if you're lucky enough to have one of those neighbors who keeps bringing you baskets- full!  It's also a great dish if you're trying to sneak some veggies into the kids as I know you parents often need to do.

The original recipe can be found here, but I've also copied it below with a few very minor adjustments (including the addition of grilled shrimp).
Lemony Chicken Orzo Soup with Spring Peas

I know, I know...soup often isn't top of mind as we head into the warmer Spring and Summer months but this soup is so refreshing because of the fresh lemon that it really works all year long.  The original Bon Appétit recipe doesn't call for the addition of Spring peas but I think they brighten up the dish even more. I also made a few other small tweaks, so my adapted version is below:

SavoryGirl’s Favorite Mexican Dishes

Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone!  In honor of this fun, yet often American abused holiday I thought I'd stay away from the bars and instead share a collection of some of my past favorite Mexican recipe posts. If you've been following SavoryGirl at all you likely know by now that I think I may have been Mexican in my past life.  It's hard to go two weeks without one of my weekly dinner menus including something Mexican inspired and it's almost guaranteed that I am making some version of Huevos Rancheros for breakfast on the weekends.  So let's take a spin through SavoryGirl's Mexican past creations...

First up is my all-time most popular post...Eva Longoria's Chicken Tortilla Soup.  It's a little hard for me to swallow that a once in a blue moon recipe that I ripped out of a People Magazine while traveling has been the most popular post on my blog for the past 2  years, but I can indeed stand behind the recipe.  This soup is better than most that I have in great Mexican restaurants.
Huevos Rancheros Cups

Huevos Rancheros is one of my all-time favorite breakfasts...I honestly make it like 6-8 times a month.  But sometimes an old favorite needs a new twist. So I posted this picture of one of my random weekend breakfast creations on Facebook a while back and have been getting pestered by family and friends for the recipe ever since.  So while it isn't a formal recipe per se, it did turn out quite delicious so I thought I'd share...enter SavoryGirl's Huevos Rancheros Cups!

Serves 2

4 corn tortillas (mini slider-sized tortillas if you can find them)
4 eggs
1 can black beans
1 can chopped jalapeños
1 shallot, minced
¼ cup chopped cilantro
salt & pepper to taste
shredded cheddar or mexican-blend cheese
salsa, for serving


Move oven rack to upper third of oven. Preheat oven to 350°

Mix together black beans, jalapeños, minced shallot, chopped cilantro and salt & pepper to taste. Set aside.

Evenly coat the inside of four 10-oz ramekins with olive oil or spray oil.  Stack 4 corn tortillas on a paper towel and microwave for 15 seconds to soften.  Gently push each tortilla into a ramekin so it lines the inside like a muffin cup.

Spoon two heaping spoonfuls of the black bean mixture into each tortilla. Crack an egg on top of bean mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

Place in oven for 20 minutes or until whites begin to set around the edges. Sprinkle with shredded cheese to cover top of the egg.  Bake for another 5-7 minutes until white is fully set, but yolks are still soft.

Gently ease tortilla cup out of each ramekin with a spoon onto a plate. Serve with salsa, dig in and enjoy.  
The 2013 Whole Living Detox – Week 3 Update

Week three of the Whole Living Detox has come and gone and it was pretty darn delicious! As a recap, this detox is full of healthy, nutritious foods but it does completely exclude dairy, gluten, sugar, meat, alcohol, coffee, and all processed foods from your diet. While the first week is the most strict the second week you get to add back non-gluten grains and fish and during this last week we added back soy and eggs. To be honest, I wasn't really missing soy as a regular part of my diet but I was definitely excited to see the return of eggs!

So this first dish, above, was a simple dish of Poached Eggs with Rice and Edamame. So straight-forward and wholesome but really satisfying. The sautéed kale and red cabbage give it a nice crunch and the runny yolk of the egg brings it all together perfectly...although we did also add a bit of red chili paste to spice it up a bit.

This next dish sounded pretty bland, but was surprisingly good.  Spinach, Brown Rice & Baked Tofu. I think the genius of this dish comes from the great texture and flavor of the baked tofu.  It's really easy to make, but you can make it a couple of days in advance and refrigerate it until you're ready to use it. Nice umami...perfect for a cold winter night without getting weighted down by traditional "comfort" food (that often ends up making you feel the opposite of comfortable!)

The 2013 Whole Living Detox – Week 2 Update

The 2013 Whole Living Detox is still in full swing in the SavoryGirl household...two weeks down and one to go!  I'm still feeling pretty great...the turbulent tummy and headaches of week one are gone and I'm still sleeping really well. I'm not waking up naturally as easily and early as I did week one, but I guess it's to be expected that your body would adjust. I don't think I've lost any more weight but I have maintained the same weight since week one so certainly not gaining any back. Week two brought back gluten-free grains, fish and the sweet relief of real breakfast again which made me extremely happy.  Breakfast is by far my favorite meal of the day so the smoothie-only breakfasts of week one were a little tough!

The Cardamom Quinoa Porridge with Pears and Toasted Almonds shown above was really good and probably something I'll continue to make even after the cleanse is over. Kind of like oatmeal, but a bit lighter and more savory. Christian could practically live on pancakes so he was thrilled to see them included in this week's menu and these healthy Banana-Oat Pancakes with Orange Segments and Honey did not disappoint! Nice and crispy on the outside (which I love!) and fluffy on the inside.  The only thing we would likely omit next time around is the coconut...the unsweetened coconut flakes that we can usually find are just too large and firm so it kind of messes up the texture you're looking for in a pancake.

One of our first meals this week was this Baked Salmon in Coconut Broth served with brown rice and thinly sliced carrots, red onion and bok choy.  In theory this sounded delicious, in reality it was a bit bland. So we had to really season up the broth with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Once we did that it was quite tasty and clearly a very healthy and wholesome meal.

The 2013 Whole Living Detox – Week 1 Update

Week one of the three-week Whole Living Detox is behind us...no sugar, no coffee, no gluten, no processed foods, no dairy and no meat. Week one is the hardest and still, I have to say I'm feeling pretty great! Sleeping better than I have in years, waking up without an alarm every day at 6:30am...seriously, and I'm a big sleeper. I never wake up early on my own no matter how early I go to bed so this is a hugely noticeable difference and a pretty unexpected benefit. I will admit, however, that the first few days of  Week 1 weren't all easy. My energy levels were pretty low, I had more headaches than usual and the stomach was pretty turbulent for most of the week, but all of those early cleanse side effects have almost fully disappeared by now. And to top it all off, I've lost 4-5 pounds this week!  To be clear, I am not doing this to lose weight nor was I expecting to lose weight since this detox isn't calorie restricted at all and I'm working out less due to low energy, but it was certainly a nice surprise.

So, on to the important stuff...how has the food been? Honestly, completely delicious...not a dud recipe in the bunch. The one thing that was tough was having only smoothies for breakfast...left me pretty starving by lunchtime but I think that ends this week. But before we head off to Week 2 here's a run-down of some of our favorites from Week 1:
Toasted Coconut Trail Mix

So I'm only a few days into the 2013 Whole Living 3-week Detox and while I have been thrilled with all of the recipes so far, this one snack recipe is so easy and yummy I wanted to share.  I may never buy trail mix again! Since it is part of the cleanse it has no processed sugar and no gluten...just four simple ingredients.  Take less than 15 minutes to make, but make sure to make a double batch...it goes fast!

Original recipe can be found here, but I've also copied it below:

½ cup shelled, unsalted pistachios
½ cup chopped unsweetened dried apricots
½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted*
½ cup chopped unsalted almonds, toasted*

Mix all four ingredients together in a bowl and enjoy!  Can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

If you have a hard time finding unsweetened coconut or unsweetened apricots check your local health food store or Whole Foods.

*To toast the coconut and chopped almonds simply spread them out on a foil-lined pan and pop in the oven at 350 degrees for roughly 5 minutes.  Keep an eye on them...once the coconut starts to brown around the edges it's done but can start to burn quickly.

Roasting Red Peppers at Home

Roasted red peppers are one of those ingredients that immediately elevate a dish to gourmet. So sweet, so smoky and so amazingly delicious. The problem is, however, that we like to eat them quite often and the store bought roasted red peppers are quite expensive and usually soaking in oil. So a few years ago we tried our hand at making them at home and haven't turned back since. If you have a gas stove they're incredibly easy to make, much healthier, less expensive, and...bonus...make your house smell incredible.

So let's get started! Place a clean red pepper directly on the flame of a gas stove set to medium-high. Using heat-proof tongs, turn pepper as each side begins to burn and blister until entire pepper is blackened and crisp. Usually about 1-2 minutes per side or about 5-7 minutes in total.  Sometimes you need to use the tongs and hold the pepper over the flame at an angle to get in the crooks if it's a bit more more misshapen.

Once the majority of the pepper is blackened, take the blackened red pepper off the flame and immediately place into  a tightly covered dish (plastic wrap will do if the dish doesn't have a proper lid) or you can simply place the pepper back into your plastic produce bag and tie it closed. This latter option is good for less clean up if you're just doing one pepper.