Monday, June 29, 2009

refreshing twist and some experiments

100_3476 I cannot wait for my car to get done at the auto shop; it seems like it’s been forever!  I returned the rental car on Friday because I didn’t want to keep paying for it, but now I feel bad bumming rides from people.  It’s tough not having a car here.  I would take public transportation, but that is pretty much non-existent here in Vegas.  When we went to Portland, their public transportation system was amazing and we could get pretty much anywhere in the city really quick.  It normally only takes me about 20 minutes to get to work, but if I took the bus system here it would take 2 1/2 hours!  No thank you!

I made some granola bars this weekend with the recipe from Angela at Oh She Glows.  I just love her blog, and she has some great, healthy baking recipes.  She also just opened up her own bakery (how cool!) in Canada, and is working on getting her products distributed here in the US.  While I can’t reveal the recipe, all I can tell you is that I can’t wait to order some of her goodies!  I didn’t have some of the ingredients, so I substituted and added some other things.  I also baked them for a bit to help harden ‘em up.  Wow, they are sooo good!  Really just like granola bars you would get at the store, chewy and yummy.  I foresee I’m going to be tweaking my own recipe again :)  Thanks Angela!


I also made another batch of Gina’s Granola.  I just can’t get enough of this stuff!  I tweaked it a little bit too just for fun to experiment.  Here’s what I put in this time . . .

  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups oats
  • ¼ cup ground flaxseed
  • ½ t. baking soda
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon and 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 3 tbsp brown rice syrup (you can also use honey)
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • ½ cup chopped mixed, roasted nuts
  • if you want to add dried fruit, add it after baking 

Simply combine the first 6 ingredients, through the spices in a large bowl.  Combine the last 5 ingredients (except the nuts) in a microwave safe bowl or small pot, and heat slowly until melted.  Combine the dry with the wet; mix well and stir in the nuts.  Place on a flat cookie sheet and press down.  Bake at 325 for approximately 20-25 minutes (I like mine crunchy!).  Let cool and break apart to enjoy on pretty much anything!  Yum!


During the summer there is nothing like a refreshing dinner to make you feel satisfied, yet not overly stuffed.  Gazpacho is just the thing!  It’s surprisingly filling because it is mostly fluid and packed full of nutrients.  Not to mention it is so easy to make and only about 100 kcals per serving!


Watermelon Gazpacho

(adapted from CookingLight)

Yield:  6-8 servings


  • 6  cups cubed seeded watermelon, save 1 cup for the end
  • 1  cup chopped peeled English cucumber
  • 1/2  cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1/3  cup chopped green onions
  • 3  tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1  tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4  tsp salt
  • 2 small shakes of cayenne (careful, this can be hot!)
  • 1  garlic clove, minced100_3505
  • 3/4 cup cranberry juice
  • 1/4 cup sweet Riesling, optional (we had a glass with dinner too!)
  • greek yogurt or goat cheese for topping


Combine first 10 ingredients. Place half of watermelon mixture in a food processor or blender, and pulse 3 or 4 times or until finely chopped.  Or you can use an immersion blender to blend to desired consistency directly in the bowl (such a good tool!).  Add the blended soup back to the rest of the soup.  Stir in cranberry juice, Riesling and last 1 cup of diced watermelon.  Chill well.  Top with yogurt or goat cheese when ready to serve.

100_3507Oh man, this was really good and refreshing!  There was a nice kick from the cayenne and all the contrasting flavors blended very well.  It filled me up pretty good surprisingly.  I also decided to have some sautéed chicken potstickers on the side with the help of good ol’ TJ’s.  I definitely want to make this again because I don’t think our weather is going to be cooling down anytime soon ha!  I think it’s already gotten to 106.

I like my soups chunky.  I was wishing I had some avocado too, because I think that would work very well :)


On top of the potstickers I drizzled some peanut satay sauce.  It was about a tsp of peanut butter, tbsp of hoisin, tbsp soy sauce, glug of rice wine vinegar and a tinzy bit of toasted sesame oil, yum!



Is public transportation accessible where you live, and if so, do you use it?






Thinspired said...

Hi Kristen! I have about four posts of yours to catch up on, but it looks like you have been cooking up a storm! I really want to try the Glow bars, too. Were they pretty easy to make? I worry that mine would end up more like granola...all in pieces!

Gina said...

Yeah for granola!! Those bars look great too, I'll have to check out that blog.

The gazpacho looks interesting. I've never been one to like cold soups, but that actually looks and sounds quite nice, especially for the 90 degree weather!

We don't have great public transportation here in Ohio, just the bus system. I use the buses all the time! They are wonderful.

Peanut Butter Swirl said...

wow it looks like your granola bars came out fabulous :)
mm your dumplings look amazing girl!

Tyler said...

Wow, I've never heard of watermelon gazpacho, but it sounds delicious!! I think you're right that avocado would be a great addition!

The only public transportation in my town is buses, but I generally ride my bike most places. If I ever move to a big city, good public transportation would be a must! I hate driving in traffic! (I grew up right outside of Atlanta, and I would never want to work there unless I could live within walking distance of work. TERRIBLE traffic!!)

Emily said...

I always hate waiting for my car to get fixed. I had a lot of work done on it last year, and it was so annoying to have to ask for rides everywhere.

Love the granola! I haven't made any recently, but I really should. I love it on top of oats or on yogurt.

The watermelon gazpacho sounds really good. I bet it would be perfect in hot weather!

Susie. said...

I've already told you this, but I live in Portland hehehe :) And yes, our public transportation system is WONDERFUL. Did you ever ride the Street car through downtown Portland while you were here? It takes you to Pearl district. Our streets are very bicycle friendly, too!

Nutritious is Delicious said...

Those potstickers look great and I love homemade granola bars!

Anonymous said...

public transportation here sucks. I hate it. I wish I lived in NYC, where the majority uses public transportation! That granola looks great and crunchy!

bHealthier said...

I used to have a view of the city where I lived - so the 4th of July was always totally cool to watch the fireworks from where we lived!

Have fun at your friends!

Susie. said...

Hi Kristen :) I've never been to Park Kitchen, I'll look into it. My bf's bday is coming up, do you think it'll be a nice place to take him? I was born and raised in Portland and love it here. Sure, I want to go away for grad school, but I am definitely coming back here to work. It can get a bit rainy and wet sometimes, but the spring and fall are sooooo beautiful and there are so many outdoorsy activities to do during the summer. Not to mention lots of mountain/snow activities during the winter. We did have like a two week snow/ice storm this past winter (not to scare you off), but with our wonderful public transportation system it worked out ok. :) My only comparison for you is my family immigrated here from Cambodia and Vietnam where it's pretty hot, and their fair well here now. hehe :)

Anonymous said...

I love those potstickers! Yum!

There is no public transportation where I live, which was hard for my daughter when we moved here 9 years ago - she was used to walk everywhere before, then all of a sudden she needed a ride everywhere!

But she's 17 now and has a car, so all is well!

Anonymous said...

your watermelon gazpacho looks amazing!

I do live near public transportation (near DC), and I sometimes use it - not too often though because I don't really need to go into the city

Sprouted Kitchen said...

did you get a new camera??? your pictures look so great!

Astra Libris said...

I love how you put Riesling in your watermelon gazpacho! Gorgeous! I hope your car is able to emerge from the shop soon... I completely sympathize with the necessity of a car - we live 20 miles away from the nearest public transportation, and all the groceries and other such necessary shops are well outside of biking or walking range, too... Sigh... Ah, to live in Portland! :-)

Michelle said...

Oh yes we sure do use public transportation. We don't even own a car! Also thx for the granola recipe, my husband loves making granola but the recipe he uses has a lot of sweeteners. This looks better :-)