Roasted Chickpeas

I first found roasted chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) last year and, although I really enjoyed them, after a couple of batches, I forgot about them….until a few months ago.  I was reading the newest issue of “Whole Living” magazine, and ran across a recipe for honey-sesame candied chickpeas.  Needless to say, my mouth was immediately watering.  A combination of the little honey- sesame stick candies with the crunchy wholesomeness of chickpeas– I’ll take it.

It took me a couple of batches and adjustments to make this recipe work, but when it did, the results were great.  These are a great alternative to chips or nuts at a party (especially if you have guests with nut allergies on the invite list) and they are healthy to boot.  The chickpeas are high in protein and fiber and at 270 calories per cup, you can have quite a few before worrying about the caloric impact. Note: these make a cute hostess gift when wrapped in a decorative tin and tied in a pretty kitchen towel or with cute twine.


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The More Than Reluctant Paleo

Okay, so that title might be a little misleading, but hear me out…

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Paleo Snickerdoodle Cookies

It can be hard to be on a diet, whether it’s by choice or because of allergies.  Feeling like you are missing out or that the choice of what you eat is not under your control, can be very difficult.  I also believe that this restriction can make you crave things strongly…even things you don’t normally enjoy that much… or maybe have never even tried!  So as the last few days of January, and therefore the paleo challenge, linger cruelly, I thought I would try to curb one of those cravings with a batch of snickerdoodles. Mind you, this is a grain-free, vegan, no sugar added version of the cookie, but it’s also guilt free and can be adjusted to make them a little more indulgent and to fit a variety of diets.

VLUU L210  / Samsung L210

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And another year begins…

With the holiday season finally behind us, things are slowly, but surely returning to normal.  I am excited to find what new opportunities and challenges 2013 holds, but right now, I’m even more excited to get some blogging in!

I’m not one to make new year’s resolutions other than to try to live my life better than I did last year.  I do, however, embrace to do lists and I’ve already started mine for this year.  Two of items on my current list pertain to my blog.

1) I aim to log at least 100 entries on modern kitchen maven in the coming year.

2) I am planning to run a half or full marathon this year– any race suggestions greatly appreciated (leave them in the comments section).

Okay, so the second item isn’t directly food related, but as I train for a race, making sure I’m eating healthy, nutrient rich food to fuel my runs will be essential and I’m excited to share some of those recipes here.

As always, I’m also open to suggestions so whether it’s something you’ve tried at a restaurant and want me to recreate it or you need ideas for a dinner party or birthday dessert, please don’t hesitate to send me requests. I will do my best to oblige.

I hope the recipes I post here and my love for healthy food helps to inspire your cooking this coming year.

HAPPY 2013!


Obsessed, Ed. 5 “Vitamix Amazement”

Vitamix “Blender”

I don’t even know where to begin with this post, but hopefully my frenzied, excitement over this appliance will show through in my writing and win you over…

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Pumpkin Yeast Bread

Once the nights begin to cool off and the leaves start to yellow and fall, it’s amazing how quickly I begin to crave hearty fall foods and flavors like chili….roasted veggies….

….and squash!  All forms of squash really with very few exceptions.  I feel indulgent when I cube butternut squash, saute it  and add it to salads in place of croutons.  I love the creaminess that turban squash adds to stews and chili.  And the presentation of an acorn squash stuffed with quinoa and veggies and then baked in its own shell always puts a smile on my face– it’s so easy and yet so elegant!

But, the one squash that first comes to mind each fall is pumpkin!  Of course it’s great for carving, or for adding to your fall decorations, but in my opinion, it’s still shines the most when added to food.

I know what you’re thinking, “Woo hoo, it’s pumpkin pie time!”  But, in all honesty, that’s my least favorite pumpkin dish.  Instead, I usually opt for adding it to savory dishes. It was this hunt for savory pumpkin recipe options that led me to this delicious yeast pumpkin bread.  This recipe isn’t your typical sugar-laden, dense, dessert-style pumpkin bread.

It’s a yeast bread that makes great dinner rolls or sandwich bread (I can imagine it would be wonderful with turkey and cranberry sauce the day after Thanksgiving for all you meat-eaters). The pumpkin flavor is prominent, but not overwhelming and although the bread is hearty, it has a slight sweetness with a hint of cinnamon and ginger that balance all the flavors nicely.  It’s also relatively easy to throw together quickly– especially if you have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer on hand.

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Mexican-Spiced Polenta Patties

These little patties are a great alternative to soft polenta.  They are great served with eggs (think mexican “Benedict” with polenta patties in place of the english muffin and Pica de Gallo instead of hollandaise sauce), chili, or barbecued tofu.  I make a large batch and freeze the extras for a quick side for the days I’m too busy to cook.  These patties are also extremely kid-friendly.

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Un-Fussy Polenta

Polenta (the Italian version of corn grits), is a versatile grain which can be eaten plain, but it’s also the base for many recipes.  If you have tried it soft, you might have been won over by its creamy consistency, but you can also grill, saute or bake with it creating a satisfyingly delicious crunchy crust on the outside.

You may have noticed prepared polenta in the grocery store next to the pastas in a sausage style tube. But the dry polenta can usually be found in the bulk grain section or the flour section of your grocery store (it might be labeled as coarsely ground corn meal).

Many people don’t make their own polenta and opt instead for the prepared version because they are under the assumption that it is time-consuming, but with these easy cooking instructions, you can prepare it at home with only a few minutes of hands-on prep time….I promise.

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Spanikopita Triangles

I love the flavors of Greek food.  And I LOVE spinach.  So, last year when I went to a Greek-themed get together Spanikopita (Greek spinach pie) seemed like the perfect dish to make.  Instead of sticking with the traditional preparations for this dish, I began brainstorming fun, cute ways to make and serve it easily at a party. I came up with making handheld pies.  A quick search on Google confirmed that I wasn’t the first person to come up with this idea (darn), but it was nice to find examples of what I was imagining before heading to the kitchen. This version, rather than being made in a 9 x 13 baking pan, is folded up into individual, appetizer-sized servings.  These little cheesy spinach “puffs” in no way fall under my Healthy eating lifestyle, but life is all about balance.  And that means sometimes straying from your everyday eating style and indulging.  And, when you do, these bite-sized spinach pies are a delicious way to do it!

These are great for parties and entertaining.  And, although they are time consuming to assemble, you can make a lot and store the rest in a Ziploc to be quickly baked for surprise guests or a last-minute get-together.

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Banana “Gelato”

I was recently reminded of this healthy and delicious dessert by my brother–thanks, Jordan!  It is amazing in its simplicity and how closely it resembles gelato in texture.  Yet, it is as healthy as eating whole bananas and therefore doesn’t have to be reserved for special occasions. It does taste like bananas (not a bad thing in my book), but if you prefer to disguise the flavor a bit, add your favorite extract or fruit to the bananas.

Bananas are a go-to food for me.  Not only do they taste great and go well with peanut butter, but they also offer a serious punch of energy and potassium which helps me recover from workouts faster and get back out there!

This “gelato” is delicious plain, but playing around with different add-ins keeps the dessert fresh and offers a little more room for those times when you truly want to indulge.  Banana gelato is on my list as a top pick when I get a dessert craving!

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