Crunchtime Food Blog

chicken vegetable soup

Another chicken soup recipe, right? Wrong. This chicken vegetable soup delivers a low cal, satisfying complete meal that conquers the food pyramid while fulfilling our cravings for something that just tastes good.  The difference from typical chicken soups – this one’s loaded with savior-like vegetables that don’t preach down and dense with savory chicken that won’t grease up.  Topped with a devilish cheese crisp that adds sinful flavor, but wholesome enough to keep us out of confession.  Hallelujah.

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fish tacos, sweet slaw, avocado crema

I prepared these fish tacos on a weeknight trying to use fish, fish for which I had another ambitious plan until it became too hot to grill.  When did LA become biosphere? I have mushrooms growing in my yard at a time-lapsed movie pace. Pulling inspiration from many sources, I relied only on available ingredients.  Expectations were low.  But, the result was so good that I had to share it with you and commit it to internet permanence along with this journal entry to remember every precious moment.

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sesame crusted carrot cake

I struggle with home baking as a crunchtime solution until I realize that the time we devote at the onset, for the right recipe, pays us back with ready-made breakfasts and cinnamon baking kitchen aroma, signaling either fall is here or we’re staging our home for sale.  Although we can purchase baked goods faster (driving included),  baking at home ensures that all the ingredients are good and no preservatives are added.  Would we even know how to add preservatives?

This totally vegan, totally scrumptious carrot cake comes to us…

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spaghetti carbonara

Not until I saw a waiter in Rome crack eggs into bowl of warm pasta, did I realize that the simple old world preparation for spaghetti carbonara did not include cream or peas or bacon.  And not until I ate that carbonara this summer on a repressively hot day in the city of Eternal Love, did I understand why I don’t eat much pasta at home.  Al dente noodles coated with a silky light sauce that carried cheese happiness to every inch of every strand, heightened with salty bursts of guanciale and confirmed in the mouths by pepper granules, pinched our tongues in belief that we just ate a perfect bite of pasta. Five ingredients, five accessible ingredients , when mindfully combined in the right moment can give us restaurant quality, no make that Italian restaurant quality pasta, in our own kitchens.  This comes together in a moment. Hey, if I can do it…

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sloppy joes

I was told this week, by my 15 yearold son, that he needs more protein in his diet and hearty meals to feed his strong hunger brought on by grueling basketball practices and weight training.  I like to think we’ve aided his growth all along.  He’s 6’4″, an anomaly in our family, which I attribute to mostly to a genetic perfect storm, but an entire year breast feeding without formula (strong-armed by lactation nurses in California) and some healthy home cooking along the way, also helped.  The new plan for protein-rich, hearty meals that I can live with will be lots of fish, poultry and even meats, but prepared fairly clean and then add on a hearty element as a side.  Like last night, in addition to grilled swordfish with corn salsa, and grilled asparagus, we had thick grilled sourdough made into the Spanish favorite, tomato bread – a meal I totally ripped off from a US Open chef.

Tonight, Sloppy Joes with a healthy change-up that I’m hoping will go undetected.   Thanks to inspiration from America’s Test Kitchen,  this favorite savory meat dish becomes turkey-based without losing any of savory meaty flavors.

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