Product Placement

Hi! My name is Busy.

I hardly have any time for you, blog-a-boos, but I ate a deRicious dinner and we should talk about it.

It started with "Not Vegan Vegan Caesar Dressing" adapted from OhSheGlows, the very best blog on the internet. The recipe started off vegan, but I have a cheese addiction, so... Yeah.

It went like this (visually), cause I don't have time to italics and bolds and bullets and all that jazz.

In a food processor (or a Ninja!), emulsify 1/2 c. water, 1/3 c. fresh lemon juice, and 2 tbsp EVOO.



Add in a heaping 1/2 c. raw cashews, 1 clove of garlic, salt, pepper, and 1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese.

Then stick it in the fridge for about 20 minutes. It will thicken up from the cashews absorbing the moisture.

I really loved this dressing, and it made a TON of dressing. Leftovers! Probably won't keep that well for long, though.

Here's the thing. I'm still getting into this grad school swing of things. Yeah, I'm busy. I work 30 hours of week. Luckily my very short commute only takes about 2 maximum hours total a week. I have 9 hours of class a week, plus 2 hours total per week commuting there and back. I try to exercise at least 5 hours a week. At least. I like to sleep 8 hours a night, or 56 hours a week. I eat three meals a day. That's 11 hours per week of eating. At least! (Ps. maybe I should workout more hours than I eat... just a thought?) My dog needs 2 walks per day. I totally short her and take her on sad fifteen minute walks. That's about hours a week. It takes me half an hour to get dressed and do my makeup in the morning. You should see me before that routine... That's about 4 hours. I require showers in the evening. They take at least 1 hour a total per week. I once read that the average woman spends 1.5 hours a week using the... ahem... facilities. I drink a LOT of water. Let's make than 2. Too much?

That leaves roughly 42 hours a week to do what I want. That sounds nice. If I'm productive 6 hours per days on the weekend, that leaves 30 hours during the week for me to get stuff done, or 6 hours per day. Yet somehow I end up with like 3 hours a day MAX to get my life in order. Can someone explain how that works out, please? Where did those precious hours go?


Back to product placement.

Sometimes you have to accept help where you can get it. And tonight, mine was in the grocery store.

This Tofurky Italian sausage was "amazeballs". I'm tired and saying stupid things.

Getting crispers!

If you haven't tried that version of the Giada pasta sauce, (I got it at Target), you need to go buy it NOW. It is yummmyyyyy!!!

I'm going to go do homework now and lament over how much I miss you, my little blog of mine. My, my time flies when you're having fun!


Garfield's Choice

Word, Garfield. Lasagna IS good. A theme you may be noticing is that I like to make customizable food. This is why you don't catch me baking that often, and if you do, it's something that I can customize like scones. Lasagna is another one of those foods that you can do one bazillion ways. That is, after all, the key to cooking. Cook what sounds good to you . . . and it will be good. 

 I made lasagna for an army of eight last night, so though my photos may reflect food preparation for an army, the recipe is written for one tray of delicious lasagna.

Low Fat Spinach Lasagna


  • Cooking spray
  • 12 No Boil lasagna noodles (Thank you Trader Joe's!)
  • 28 oz. of marinara sauce (TJ has a good canned one that is low in fat)
  • 15 oz. fat free ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. low fat milk
  • 1/2 bag frozen spinach, thawed and moisture squeezed out in towel or fine strainer
  • 2 1/2 c reduced fat shredded mozzarella
  • 3/4 c grated parmesan
  • 2 tsp each: dried basil leaves, italian seasoning, onion powder, and granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp each: salt and pepper 
  • 1 package hot or sweet italian turkey or chicken sausage
  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Sausage fest: remove sausage from casing and brown on the stove
  • Mix ricotta, egg, spinach, 1 cup of mozzarella, 1/4 c. of parmesan, milk and spices
  • Spray a large glass baking dish for your lasagna
  • Layer like this (listed bottom to top):
    • Thin layer of marinara
    • One layer of noodles
    • Cheese mixture about 1/4" thick
    • Sausage
    • 1/2 c of shredded mozzarella
    • 1/4 c of parmesan
    • Marinara to cover
    • Layer of noodles
    • Remaining cheese mixture
    • Remaining sausage
    • 1/2 c mozzarella
    • Layer of noodles
    • Remaining marinara
    • Remaining mozzarella
    • Remaining parmesan
  • Bake uncovered for 45 minutes
  • Let cool for about 5 minutes before serving!

Assembly line: assemble!

Before oven.
 In forty five minutes you will be savage just like Garfield.

After oven.

helloooooo, leftovers!
Now, I don't think I need to state the obvious, but you could do this with any meat of your choice, any sauce of your choice, any veg of your choice, any cheese of your choice. I've done this lasagna with zucchini  onion, and mushroom instead of meat and a goat cheese/ricotta mixture. You could use a white cheese sauce. I've read tasty looking recipes with white sauce and butternut squash. Yummers. Just not quite as figure friendly as my super low fat version. 

Have a wonderful Sunday, friends!


Hippity Hop

Wow! I have been busy like a bunny!

Yeah, like that.

New job, school, keeping doggy entertained, trying to fit in workouts, homework and oh, sleep!
I love sleep. Siggghhhhh....

I work at 7:30 which is early for someone like me who likes to wake up early, take the dog for a walk, COOK breakfast, watch a little bit of the Today show, drink 2-10 cups of coffee... And then it's GO GO GO til about 10 PM! This is probably a reality for 95% of people, but i'm just coming down from a stint with unemployment, so bear with me, peeps.

Luckily, I found a quick and easy breakfast that keeps me full and energized and is also portable! I tend to see smoothies as a big waste of calories because I end up hungry in an hour, but not this one! PS- protein powder is NOT an option: 1. I don't work out enough to warrant protein powder and 2. It makes my tummy hurt.

This smoothie will transition well into Fall because of the pumpkin flavor. Yum!

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Cocoa Power Smoothie


  • 1 banana, cut into 1" slices and frozen (<--- preferred, but fresh works, too)
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp creamy natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 tbsp agave syrup to less to taste
  • 1/4 c. pure pumpkin puree (not pie filling!!!)
  • 1 c. soy milk
  • 1/2 c. ice
  • dash of cinnamon
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • water as needed to thin out smoothie
  • Put all ingredients in blender
  • Blend . .  .
  • . . . until you don't hear ice chunks
  • Pour in wonderful to-go cup
  • Drink
  • Yummmm

Today I made it with no cocoa and extra pumpkin and cinnamon for a super pumpkin-y flavor. This smoothie has lots of fiber from the banana and pumpkin, protein from the PB and soy, and tons of vitamins from all of the above. You could further superfood it up by stirring in a tablespoon of chia seeds. I do NOT recommend blending with chia seeds unless you want to scrub gummy little chia seeds off of your blender blades. Personal experience. Still annoyed.

And now I must read read read! I have not gotten to the oven baked chicken that I bought corn flakes for three weeks ago. And I have not had time to make a cocktail for cocktail time. I pay people to do that for me.

It's only been three days of my new schedule, so I'm getting used to it. Hopefully recipes will be flying out of my butt more rapidly soon!!!

Night Night Sleep Tight! yeah, it's 8:52. what.


Crab Risotto and a Clafoutis (rhymes with booty)

There are few one-pot-wonders as delicious as risotto. Even spaghetti and meatballs requires more than one pot. I suppose a casserole would count as a one pot wonder, but sometimes you need to mix ingredients in a separate bowl and then you suddenly have a sink full of dishes and a broken dishwasher.

Anywho, risotto is great because it can be done one billion different ways. Change up the stock, the veg, add protein, different cheeses, etc. All you need is the basic technique and the liquid to arborio rice ratio and you are golden!

Crab, Mushroom, and Artichoke Risotto


  • 2 tbsp smart balance
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 c dry white wine
  • 4 cups fat free chicken stock, warmed (nuke for 2 minutes!)
  • 1 medium white onion, finely diced
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 can of artichoke hearts (in water) drained and halved
  • 12-16 oz. crab meat (claw or $ lump $, depending on your budget and how much you like), warmed 
  • 1/3 c. 2% milk
  • 1/4 c. shaved parmesan/asiago blend
  • Salt and pep to taste


  • In a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium heat, melt smart balance.
  • Soften onion and mushrooms
  • Once starting to brown, add rice and stir continuously unti grains are coated and turning translucent 
  • Add wine and cook until absorbed into grain
  • Add one cup of stock and stir and cook until absorbed into rice
  • Continue this method, adding 1/2 - 1 cup at time (will take about 15 minutes)
  • When you add your last bit of stock, add in the artichokes and stir delicately (you don't want to obliterate them)
  • Once all liquid is absorbed and rice is soft, you are ready to start flavoring and adding cooked protein!
  • Add milk and cheese and stir until melted
  • Once milk is absorbed into the rice, add the crab
  • Stir to incorporate and remove from heat
  • Serve immediately with a crispy salad
  • This would be great topped with freshly chopped flat leaf parsley

crabby, mushroomy, artichokey, cheesy. yum!

The next time I make risotto I am going to try it with a tomato sauce/fish stock broth to make a red seafood risotto. I should probably cool it on the cheesy rice dinner for a couple weeks though....

We are still drowning in figs over here so I found a tasty and SUPER SIMPLE dessert to make with them: clafoutis!

I heard about clafoutis through Skinnytaste, then saw a chef make it on Chopped. I figured it was meant to be, so I googled a basic recipe. Surprise! The top recipe on Google came from Julia Child! Not to get all Julie & Julia on you, but . . .

I pulled out my cooking bible!

Clafoutis! I subbed egg whites to cut the fat and cholesterol a ton.... and it turned out GREAT. Like risotto, the clafoutis could be adapted by changing the fruit! Cherries are traditional, but apples, peaches, blueberries, raspberries, or apricots would all be fabulous. Or a mix! The batter comes out like a pudding-like custard and is sweet and vanilla-y. It's a great dessert for summer or winter.

Fig Clafoutis


  • Cooking spray
  • 8 equally sized figs, washed, trimmed, and split in two
  • 1 1/4 c. 2% milk
  • 1/3 c. white sugar
  • 3/4 c. 100% liquid egg whites
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c white flour
  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Spray a round glass baking dish (a square casserole dish would work too)
  • Place figs flesh up in the dish. The idea is that each bite will have fig, so ideally they will be fitting snugly in the dish.
  • In a BLENDER (<----so freaking easy) blend all dry and wet ingredients for one minute at full speed
  • Pour over figs, being sure to get a bit of batter inside the figs
  • Bake uncovered for an hour
  • Dust with powdered sugar and serve hot

So very very good.

Happy Labor Day! Starting my new job tomorrow morning! Yippeeeee!!!!


When I Grow Up

Like most kids, I went through a lot of phases as a kid trying to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up. Unlike most kids however, my phases were cyclical and actually practical (I never wanted to be a fireman or president). At an early age, like elementary school, I remember wanting to be an architect.

I wanted to build big pretty fancy houses for my family and me to live in. I don't know where that urge came from, but I watched a LOT of Bob Villa as a kid, so I blame him.

I don't know when I got over Bob Villa wanting to be an architect (the first time) but I started watching more Food Network. The Food Network was awesome in the 90's (it launched in 1993) because there weren't stupid competitions or reality shows or show downs. Sorry Bobby Flay, you're kinda a butt head.

Anyway, the Food Network had shows like Two Hot Tamales, Ready Set Cook, Two Fat Ladies, Malto Mario, Sarah Molton, and The Dessert Show (with Mrs. Fields herself!). I watched all these shows and LOVED them. Yes, I watched a lot of TV as a kid. Whatever.

Anyway, I decided that I wanted to be a chef, too. In middle school/early high school I seriously looked into the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and became obsessed with their admittance process. I cooked dinner for my family as a high schooler, though I didn't really invent or create. I just made the things my mom would make, like stir fry or pizza or sloppy joe's. Fancy stuff.

Other than the Food Network, I think my Grandma had a lot of influence on my desire to be in the kitchen. When I was a kid she was always cooking southern classics like biscuits, bacon, chicken fried steak, gravy, peach cobbler (MY ALL TIME FAVORITE) and other things that contributed to my childhood obesity. Luckily I do not cook like that or eat like that (neither does she! she is the queen of vegetable soup!)  or I would weigh 375 pounds, easy.

this is what my grandma's cobbler was like, sugary, doughy, sticky sweet. i almost licked my computer finding an image.

If I would have stuck with it, I could have beaten Rachael Ray to the punch. But, around 10th grade I decided I wanted to be an architect again.

I think this switch was motivated by money. I wanted to be fricking rich, so I picked a top profession that didn't involve medical school, law school, or business school. (Life is funny sometimes).

I took it super serious this time, cause college was just around the corner. I took physics instead of easy science in high school. I interned with an architect and visited clients, drew CAD plans, and helped remodel kitchens. I went to Cal Poly's architecture summer workshop for four weeks during the summer before senior year. This was awesome because I got college credit. I had a GREAT time at what I later called "Architecture Camp". I made some great friends and made even greater memories. In the end I designed a house and got to build a model, too. I built a small home for my grandma and grandpa. It was bright yellow and had a tin roof. There was a room for my grandma to paint and a workshop for my grandpa to tinker around and build things. There were big windows and a hypothetical floor made from recycled materials. The model hit the trash a couple years ago. Sadly, I don't have any pictures of it. I have pictures of all the other projects, like this one of a covered pool structure. This one was cool because we were given a site orientation and had to make sure there was sun at certain hours and shade at other hours over a lap pool.

I made a lot of other ugly shit, too. But you won't be seeing that.

So I applied to Cal Poly with early decision priority. I ONLY applied to Cal Poly. It was the 2nd best school in the nation (next to Harvard) for architecture, and the only place I wanted to go. If I didn't get in then I would do community college in San Luis Obispo until I could transfer. Luckily, I got in.

However, one year into the program, I loathed architecture. I hated having no free time, not being skilled at drawing, not having a passion for building, and not being creative like my peers. I threw in the towel during my first quarter of second year. I had no clue what I wanted to do, but I knew that it wasn't architecture. I wanted to remodel kitchens and build houses, not sketch and create emotive spaces, or build experiential bull crap in CAD software. Not. into. it.

So I switched to a major that I knew little no nothing about. I figured one thing I liked about my arch classes was making the poster presentations using InDesign, and I knew I could keep doing design and layout in Graphic Communication. So I switched and took the intro class. It was about printing. Wait, what? There are DOTS on this paper? NO shit. Totally love printing. Still do!


Unfortunately, printing is not quite a booming industry. And I don't always want to work in production or manufacturing. But I'm young and I can change that now, so I am. And that's why I'm going to school for my MBA - so I can work in more industries than just printing and I can have the basis to be an effective upper level manager in whatever industry I wind up in. Let's just hope I don't rewrite this blog in one year from a culinary school.  :)


Beet It

One perk of unemployment is watching the Today show like a stay at home soccer mom. I drink my coffee, throw a toy around for my hyperactive dog, and hang out with my "friends" Al, Ann, and Matt. The other day, they had another one of my "friends", Giada, on for labor day recipes. She made Beet, Apple, and Cheese Pizzettes. I had some candy striped beets in the fridge, so I made my adaptation of the recipe with whole wheat dough, no apple, add rosemary and goat cheese.  Delish!

Rosemary, Beet, and Goat Cheese Pizzettes

  • Pre-made wheat pizza dough, divided into eights and stretched out into 5" pizzettes (thank you trader joe's!)
  • Cooking spray
  • 8 oz. goat cheese, cut into 1 oz. pieces
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 4 beets, peeled and sliced 1/4" thick
  • Preheat oven to 400 F
  • Placed peeled and sliced beets on cooking sheet sprayed with cooking spray
  • Roast for 10 minutes, or until softened but still a bit al dente
  • Spray another cookie sheet with cooking spray and place pizza dough
  • Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp rosemary on each pizza
  • Par cook for 4 minutes
  • Remove from oven, top with 2-3 slices of beet and 1 oz of goat cheese
  • Return to oven for 5 minutes
  • Remove from oven, serve while piping hot!

Fresh from the garden!

like candy!

I served the pizzettes with a simple arugula, asparagus, and tomato salad with lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper for the dressing.

Lemony Asparagus, Arugula, Tomato Salad

  • 2 bunches of asparagus
  • 3/4 bag of arugula from trader joe's (precise, huh?)
  • 2 tomatoes of your choice, cut into wedges (I used yellow farmers market tomatoes)
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • Pot of boiling water with 1 tsp salt
  • Ice bath
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • Trim woody ends off of asparagus (I leave the rubber band on and just move it to the end so I don't have to pick up all the tiny pieces of asparagus. Then put a rubber band around the good parts off the asparagus for easy handling while blanching.)
  • Blanch the asparagus in salted boiling water for about 10 seconds. It will turn bright green. Immediately remove and shock in an ice bath to stop the cooking.
  • Cut cooled asparagus into 2" pieces.
  • In a large bowl, toss asparagus, arugula, and tomato with lemon juice, EVOO, salt, and pepper to taste

Leave the rubber band on when cutting off 

Weirdest lemon ever.

Re-rubber band for easy handling in the hot water.

Left: blanched. Right: raw. See the diff?

I squeeze over a fine strainer to avoid seeds.

Fresh and flavorful!
This salad is a great compliment to the sweet and creamy pizzettes. Arugula is spicy and bitter and the lemon juice was perfect with the asparagus. I suggest this meal with a large glass of wine :)

Clearly we hated the entire meal:

To the dog park I go! Happy Friday!