Monthly Archives: October 2008

Sumptuous Sunset Sangria

In celebration of our beautiful new apartment and our first dinner party here, I mixed together a sangria. The sunset setting over the ocean (Yes, we have an ocean view!) was so gorgeous, I was simply inspired.

This sangria calls for three types of Italian liquers. Don’t be intimidated, you can easily find them at your local Beverages and More. The final flavor of the cocktail is suave, weighty and delicious. Perfect for a party!

Tuscan Sangria (From Food and Wine Magazine)

1 bottle of Tuscan wine like Sangiovese

3 cups fresh orange juice

3/4 cup Tuaca (vanilla-and-citrus liqueur)

1/3 cup Punt e Mes (Italian vermouth)

1/2 cup lime juice

1/2 cup Limoncello

1/4 cup sugar

Orange slices for garnish.


Mix everything in a pitcher. Serve over ice!

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Posted by on October 28, 2008 in Wine


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Quick Cookies, Muffins and Pancakes, Oh My!

I have recently become a huge fan of the Trader Joe’s Multigrain Baking and Pancake Mix (don’t live near a Trader Joe’s? Don’t fret — many health food stores have a similar multi-use baking mix on their shelves). Yearning for some healthy chocolate chip cookies? Want some pancakes or waffles on Sunday morning?

This mix makes baking super simple. It’s like using a pre-made cake or cookie mix, but because you add some of the ingredients, you can control how much sugar and fat you’re using. Plus, you control the mix-ins!

Thus far, I’ve made chocolate-chip oatmeal cookies, a multigrain fig quick bread, a blueberry coffeecake and chocolate-chip banana pancakes. Yes! All with one mix!

Here’s the deal: The mix includes flour, oats, baking soda and baking powder, a little oil, buttermilk, oat and wheat bran, a little sugar and salt. The basic ingredients for many healthy baked goods. You only need add a little more sugar, some butter/oil/applesauce for moisture and the goodies!

Here are some of my favorite recipes using this mix:

Blueberry Walnut Coffeecake

1 cup soymilk

Juice from one lime

1 egg

2 Tbsp Spectrum Spread or butter

2 and 1/2 cups of Trader Joe’s Multigrain Baking Mix

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 and 1/2 cups frozen blueberries

1/2 cup walnuts


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and coat an 8 by 8-inch pan with cooking spray.

2. In a small bowl, add the lime juice to the soymilk until it curdles (if you don’t like soymilk, you can skip this step and just use 1 cup of buttermilk).

3. Stir the egg, melted butter/Spectrum Spread, and sugar into the soymilk mixture and mix well.

4. Add the Multigrain baking mix and stir until the flour mixture is barely moistened.

5. Fold in the blueberries and walnuts.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle of the pan comes out clean.

7. Allow the pan to cool for at least 15 minutes and serve!


Chocolate-Chip Banana Pancakes

2 and 1/2 cups Trader Joe’s Multigrain Baking Mix

1 cup soymilk

2 eggs

2 Tbsp melted butter or Spectrum Spread

1 mashed banana

1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

1 cup chocolate chips


1. Preheat a saute pan or griddle on medium heat and lightly coat it with butter or oil.

2. Mix of the ingredients together, being careful not to overbeat, lest you want tough pancakes!

3. Using a spoon, carefully ladle about 2-3 Tbsp of batter into the pan to create a nice, round pancake. Keep the griddle on medium heat so that the pancakes don’t burn.

4. When a few bubbles appear on the top surface, flip the pancakes over. Your pancakes should be lightly golden brown and cooked on the inside. If you still have raw batter on the inside, cook a little longer before flipping.

5. Serve warm!


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Is eating in cheaper? Depends on who’s doing the cooking

With the looming economic crisis at hand, the boy and I have decided — er, rather the boy has decided — that we are going to eat in more often.

“It saves money,” he says. “This is a time to be frugal.”

I grumbled something that sounded like an agreement, but as I trekked to the grocery store for the second time this week, I got to thinking: Is it really cheaper to eat in? People around the country are skirting restaurants and instead laying out the silverware at home, but let’s think about this from pure economic terms.

The truth is, women still do the majority of the cooking in the household. Although we don’t spend the 44 hours a month in food preparation that our American foremothers once did, women are still responsible in most households for preparing the grub. (Learn more about the role of women and household chores by taking a look at this Economic Research Service study).

As we well know, the work that women do at home is not often valued in the same economic terms as the work done in the office. If families had to pay someone for cooking, cleaning and childcare (traditional women’s roles), the costs would be astronomical, particularly because women often work “overtime” all the time.

So now let’s think about the average cost of a meal if a woman, let’s take me as an example, was actually paid as much as I could make outside of the home.

At my old job, I made approximately $28 an hour. With benefits, let’s say I made around $35 an hour.

It takes me approximately, from start to finish, 45 minutes to an hour and a half to get dinner on the table (this takes into account everything from getting out the ingredients to putting the plates on the table). To make this calculation easy, let’s round it to an hour.

We start with $35

Although the boyfriend does the cleaning, there is often some cleaning to do (taking out the dishes, wiping the kitchen clean, etc), so let’s add another hour to clean the kitchen per day.

We add $35, so already, we’re at $70 per dinner.

I go to the grocery store 2-3 times per week, which takes about 2 hours per trip, counting the time it takes to get there, park, shop, pay, drive back, and put the groceries away. Add the gas money.

Let’s add $25 per day if we include all of these tasks.

Plus menu planning, which takes about 1-2 hours per week.

Add $5 per day.

Plus the cost of food, which let’s say is about $5-$10 per person, depending on what we are eating.

Grand total — if I was paid fairly for my time, our dinner would cost $105 – $110.

Compare this to the cost of a sushi dinner which we had recently — $45. Looks like it is actually cheaper to eat out, depending on where we go, of course, than it is to pay women fairly for their work.

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Posted by on October 2, 2008 in Food Reads


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