homemade whole wheat pasta

my mother is, in one word, amazing. last thursday she sent me a text that showed a picture of a pasta maker with the magic words “surprise gift was delivered today. ready for pick up.” needless to say, i hightailed it to my parent’s house to pick up my “surprise gift.” she had found them online for sale, so she got one for my sister-in-law, one for herself and one for me.

before today, i have never made pasta from scratch making my new toy perfect for sunday funday.

to make the pasta, i used 10oz whole wheat flour, 3  farm fresh eggs and a scant amount of water; mixing it all together until completely combined. i then kneaded the dough on a lightly floured surface. following my mom’s advice, i let the dough rest for about 10 minutes before cutting it into small dough portions to feed into shiny new pasta maker toy.

i really wanted to highlight the fresh pasta taste, so the ingredients for the pasta dish were kept really simple. using only turkey bacon (real bacon would have been better, but for the sake of husband and my blood pressure, i used turkey), sliced mushrooms, kalamata olives, fresh basil, a thin drizzle of olive oil and topped with chicken cooked by husband.

the flavors were fresh and so delicious. husband put it simply “this is really, really, really, really, really good.”

making the the pasta was easy and delicious and i will never buy store bought pasta again.

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forbidden rice pudding

and finally an update… in my defense i have been, much to my dismay, too busy to cook and to write. buy all apologies aside, here i am with a new post.

today included a trip to whole foods to meet a friend for lunch. after good conversation over sushi, we took a stroll through the grocery store. i swear, ever time i go into that store, there is a force that pulls me and makes me look at and touch everything. today the force took me almost directly to the “forbidden rice” in the bulk section. black rice… how can i resist? i couldn’t.

i was so happy with my purchase, it got stored in my purse for the rest of the day. you carry a wallet and chapstick? well… i carry rice.

as soon as i got home, the rice came out and a rice pudding was made. it was very simple and the cook times were long enough that i could put it on to cook and walk away to take care of the other things that have been pushed aside while i’ve been so busy. like checking the mail. and cleaning off the dining room table.

forbidden rice pudding


2 1/2 cups water
1 1/4 cups uncooked forbidden black rice
1 (14-ounce) can regular or light coconut milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup chopped peeled and pitted mango
3/4 cup peeled and chopped kiwi (i omitted this)


put water and rice into a medium pot, cover and bring to a boil. reduce heat to low and simmer until all of the water is absorbed, about 45 minutes. uncover and stir in coconut milk and sugar.bBring back to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes more.

to serve, divide rice pudding among bowls, top with mango and serve.

the result was a delicious, nutty, not too sweet rice pudding that i am having to make deals and promises of new shoes to save myself from eating the whole thing.

the sweet nutty was cut so nicely with the tangy sweet of the mango. the resisting is futile.

cut & nutty,
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blackberry cobbler

a good friend of mine asked me to make a berry cobbler (a favorite of her beau’s) for a birthday surprise. never one to back down from a challenge, i accepted and promised myself that the cobbler would be kick ass.

i had never made a cobbler before, so it was perfect for sunday funday. i knew i wanted to make a blackberry cobbler, so i started by comparing recipes i found in my cookbooks. i finally settled on a modified version of mark bittman’s how to cook everything. 

she was planning a romantic picnic under the stars, so i wanted a cobbler they could sweetly share in a pretty little ramkin.

blackberry cobbler

12oz fresh blackberries
1/2cups sugar
zest of one sweet lemon
juice of one half of sweet lemon
one stick of unsalted butter
scant 1/2cup all purpose flour
1/2tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 large egg
pre heat over to 375degrees. combine blackberries with 1/4cup of sugar, lemon zest and a generous squeeze of lemon. spread berry mix between 2 16oz ramkins. combine other 1/4cup sugar, flour and baking powder in a food processor and pulse once or twice. add butter and process until the mix is well blended. by hand beat in the egg and rest of lemon juice. drop the mix onto the fruit by tablespoonfuls (do not spread it out). bake until golden yellow and just starting to brown for about 30min. serve warm. 


it was planned that i would go to her condo, pick up the picnic supply and set up the picnic blanket spread, complete with warm blackberry cobbler so the picnic surprise was ready for the birthday boy. my mission accomplished, i scurried home in complete hopes of blackberry cobbler success. a little later i got my hopes validated in a text from my friend thanking me with “was lovely-thank you, Faith!!!! xxxxx DELICIOUS cobbler”

here’s to many more,
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& finally… my 7th way with lentils

so far i have made (in no particular order), lentil balls, dal, bread, pancakes, stir fry, burgers and now… inspired by my magic trick brownies, i made butterscotch brownies. the result? sticky, sweet warm goodness and my 7th way with lentils.

following the basic premiss of the black bean brownies, i combined cooked, rinsed and drained red lentils, brown sugar, egg, butterscotch morsels, vanilla and canola oil in a food processor and baked until the top set and gave way to a surprising sweet treat.

finally... my 7th way with lentils.

red lentil butterscotch brownies

15oz prepared red lentils, drained and rinsed
3 large eggs
1/3 cup canola oil (plus some for the baking dish)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup cane sugar
1/2 cup butterscotch chips

preheat oven to 350°F.

grease an 8-inch baking pan. place the lentils, eggs, canola, brown sugar, salt, vanilla extract and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth. remove the blade and gently stir in the butterscotch chips. transfer mixture to the prepared pan. bake the brownies for about 35 minutes, or until just set in the center. cool before cutting into squares.

the brown sugar caramelized so beautifully and messily on the bottom of the pan. and each bite was a little mouthful of sweet, sticky heaven.

as i write about my 7th way with the red lentil, i reflect and come to realize how diverse and ready to take on a different role than just little magical legume it only appears to be. now i need to find another seemingly bland ingredient and find 7 more ways. i am open to suggestions.

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magic trick brownies.

i love making apples out of oranges. you take one thing that is amazing by itself and then turn it into something so amazing and so completely different. it is magic.

so for my magic trick… this evening, i made brownies from black beans.

the result was surprising. they were moist, chocolaty and perfectly brownie like. if i had been served blindly, i would not have been the wiser.

i got the recipe from whole foods.

black bean brownies

1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added black beans, drained and rinsed
3 large eggs
1/3 cup melted butter, more for the baking dish (i used canola oil)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cane sugar
1/2 cup gluten-free semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts (i used sunflower seeds)

preheat oven to 350°F.

butter an 8-inch baking pan. place the black beans, eggs, melted butter, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla extract and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth. remove the blade and gently stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts. transfer mixture to the prepared pan. bake the brownies for 30 to 35 minutes, or until just set in the center. cool before cutting into squares. ***i also added a little bit of chocolate syrup when i poured the batter into the pan***

after reprimanding me for making “all this delicious food” while he is “dieting,” husband gave me the a-ok to make theses again.

this evenings brownies gave me an idea for my 7th way with lentils (you thought i had abandoned the lentils, didn’t you?) so be sure to stay tuned.

and now for my next trick,
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watermelon agua fresca

ever since my last tasty heist, i have been day dreaming about watermelon agua fresca.  you take watermelon, mash it all up, add a little bit of sweetener, a little bit of citrus and bam. you are done… pour it in a glass and sip the goodness of watermelon; it is like cold, refreshing sunshine in your cup.

i have never attempted agua fresca before, so for reference, i found a recipe/guide on whole foods website to follow as a guide. their recipe served 6-8, my batch was much smaller and instead of using lime, i used orange and didn’t add mint (only because i don’t have any on hand. otherwise, i think it would be a delicious addition).

watermelon agua fresca

small seedless watermelon
1cup cold water
1 orange
1tbs agave nectar
combine watermelon and water in a food processor or blender, pulsing until smooth. stain watermelon into a pitcher, add orange juice and agave nectar. stir. pour into a glass and enjoy!

sipping on my agua fresca while husband finishes up laundry has been a great way to wrap up this sunday funday.

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veggie tacos and outlaws

i call my dining partner in crime my partner in crime because we both share the same passion for good food. somewhere in between figuring out where to eat, what to eat and getting our food we turn into ruthless outlaws, fighting for what may be our last meals. silently we stuff our faces and grunt intermittently “mms,” “hmms,” and “thisisgoods.” after our plates have been cleaned of every morsel, our runaway appetites are always hungry for more. more good food, more good drink, more good beer. last night was no different from any other time, other than i have written proof of our planned attacks.  hopefully it will be just as funny to you as it is to me.

we started out with a list of places in our neighborhoods/close by and slowly, meticulously wittled each choice down.

Simplicity Wine and Eats (cheap)I really like this place; cool atmosphere, small plates/tapas so you can get a lot of different things
Apothecary (don’t know) want to try it at some point, but looks a little classy for after the gym
Blue Star (moderate) good, but, there really are more cooler/better/more interesting options
Sarah’s Market (cheapish) would want to eat lamb. Lamb isn’t quite vegetarian
some new pizza place that doesn’t look all that wonderful (don’t care)
Torchy’s (cheap) I actually have never eaten a Torchy’s taco. Torchy’s=amazing, but I don’t think it’s cheap, honestly. I think it’s cheapish. But definitely worth going to
Phi’s Ice House (cheapish) good and affordable, but tons of kids
two Mexican food places that I can’t remember the names of (one looks like the prices would be lesser than the other) is one of them checkos? Because that’s a no.
The Parlor (affordable) have been there too many times, wanting to venture out.
Thunderbird (cheap) too many other good options
Central Market (meh) too many other good options
Ezs (meh) too many other good options
Taco Deli (don’t know)  will be closed
a sushi place next to Ezs (bonsai?) (affordable) because it’s sushi
Draught House (cheap) i do want to try this place, just not tonight I guess. some BBQ place that just opened (don’t know) don’t want a meal of just sides, unless it is tapas.
Hat creek burger (affordable) don’t think they have veggie options
Billy’s (don’t know) because I don’t know anything about it except that it is next to Julio’s
Julio’s (ish)
New world deli we’ve both been there. and because I have to narrow down. ha.
Chipotle too many other good options
Chilis = bleh to make faith’s life better (this made me laugh)
Ave b grocery = meh boring
Vino vino, they have food right? $$ plus limited food selection? Not limited food selection, just instead of $, it is $$
Trudy’s (maybe a little far for walking, but still, walking distance) isn’t Thursday college night?
Posse east (same as above) see above comments
24 Diner very reviewable not as cheap as the others think I need cheaper than $$
Whole foods (tons of options) don’t know if I can consider it reviewable, but can definitely be swayed if you really want to go
Screaming goat (I’m willing to try this place again because I think I didn’t order the right thing the first time I went there) most of what we have is walkable, so lets do something within walking distance
Zocalo interested because it is called Zocalo ha. it’s quite good and has good aguas frescas and good atmosphere. You may have sold me on the aguas frescas… do they have veggie? They do have a variety of veggie options… different things with fish in them I think, and other just great meatless versions of regular dishes… and jicama salad that can’t be beat… sooo gooood.
Veggie heaven haven’t been in forever and was already on my mind see screaming goat
Mothers not totally opposed to mothers, but veggie heaven is cheaper so I’m going to vote in that direction on the vegetarian/vegan restaurant
hyde park bar and grill good, but I think there are better places
some Mexican restaurant that I can never remember the name of obviously not memorable enough
the daily juice atmosphere and menu is never exciting for me don’t like the hippies
Jason’s deli too many other good optionsquiznos too many other good options
galaxy café
which wich jon said he shas a bunch of coupons for this place… next to the other options, I’m kind of thinking, eh, some other time. I’ve never been there but jon said he liked what he got when he went. So… sometime soon, I will try it.
mandolasmandolas is mandolas… I like it but I rarely choose to go there.
flying saucerbecause it has a tendency to get busy and fratty. And it’s really all about the beer there, which I’m not against, but ya know…
some nasty discotheque posing as a Mexican restaurant obvious reasons (this made me laugh. For obvious reasons)

through all of our cross outs and debates, we ended up eating at zocalo, a tucked away neighborhood restaurant that served us incredibly fresh and uniquely healthy mexican food. i had veggie tacos, she had chicken enchiladas, we shared a jimica salad and each had a glass of watermelon agua fesca. we were both in outlaw heaven. my tacos were served on whole wheat tortillas, the veggies were grilled to the perfect al dente, served with avacado and fresh salsa… i couldn’t ask for more. until i had a sip of the agua fresca. it was exactly like drinking watermelon. (i’m going to attempt making my own on a very soon sunday funday).

i’m sorry i don’t have any photos, granted that would be disclosing the scene of our crime.

adios amigos,
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