Sunday, August 23, 2009

Calamari Stew & Banana-Blueberry Oatmeal Cookies

Today was a "comforting food" day beginning with breakfast all the way through to my dessert after dinner... First of all, I wish I had captured a picture of my oatmeal this morning.. just a hint of sweetness from the real VT maple syrup, a sprinkle of cinnamon & nutmeg, a few slivers of almonds and it just melts in your mouth and sticks with you longer than anything else, which is why I became such a fan of it on days when I'm racing back and forth all through the afternoon and won't have time to eat or even remember lunch... like today.

An interview after breakfast (which I aced, by the way) led me to Panera Bread which was in the same plaza as the company so I of course needed coffee by this point and sprinkled a little cinnamon in that too with just a splah of skim milk. I'm not sure what it was about that batch of coffee but it tasted perfect... just made, not too strong, and gave me a nice little pick me up.

And the Bridgewater Fair was in town so I of course needed to go to that with my mom, stepdad, and my Grandma. It was actually too hot out today to be TOO happy to be there unfortunately. I was getting dizzy spells every so often and it was not pretty... I did see the largest albino pumpkin I've ever seen before...

The other downside of the extreme humidity is the affect it has on my hunger. I was cranky and couldn't even think about eating any of the steaming roast beef sandwiches piled with horseradish sauce, giant 1/2 BBQ chickens, burgers, pizza, etc. But I happily settled for a delicious and refreshing snack of pineapple on a stick, a few pretzels with some homemade dips (like Chardonnay yum yum), and a piece of real Vermont cheddar cheese.

Now dinner was another story... I took Giada's recipe for Calamari Stew and tweaked it just a bit to add even more comfort elements. For me that includes onions, garlic, and a perfect sauce for dipping bread in. I also threw in a littel parsley for color. The sauce ended up a little spicey for my liking but a glass of good wine was all I needed to fix that ;) It was filling, with intense flavors, and satisfied my need for something almost home-y tasting.

Giada's Calamari Stew: (usually serves 6 - this is the recipe halved)
-1 tbsp. olive oil
-2 cloves garlic, cut in half
-1/2 one small onion
-1 c. good marinara/tomato sauce
-1/2 c. dry white wine
-1/2 tsp. fresh chopped thyme leaves
-1 pinch red pepper flakes (I substituted a dash of cayenne pepper)
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1/2 tsp. black pepper
-1 cup thinly sliced rounds of drained and cleaned calamari

  • Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan on medium heat & add onions and garlic until onions become slightly translucent
  • Remove the garlic & onions from the pan
  • Add the tomato sauce, wine, thyme, a couple chopped parsley leaves, red pepper, salt & pepper
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer
  • Add the calamari and onions/garlic back into the saucepan and cook another 5 mins or so.
  • Serve with toasted garlic bread

Next came dessert... I've made these moist and chewy cookies before with the original recipe but because our house is overrun with fresh blueberries, I decide to sub out the chocolate chips and throw in the blueberries instead. This recipe comes from a book I consider my Bible... Naturally Thin by Bethenny Frankel. Its full of healthy, easy recipes (some vegan options and organic substitutions included) that just about anyone can handle... I've already cooked my way through the majority of the book and I've gone back to this recipe today to retry it with fruit rather than chocolate.

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip (or Blueberry) Cookies:
-1-1/2 c. oat flour
-3/4 c. rolled oats
-1/2 tsp. baking powder
-1/2 tsp. baking soda
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1/2 c. raw sugar
-1/3 c. chocolate chips (I used a little more than 1/3 c. of blueberries... give or take an extra small handful)
-1 tsp. canola oil
-1/3 c. soymilk or 1%, 2%, etc.
-1/2 c. banana puree (about 1 medium banana)
-1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl & combine all wet ingredients in a seperate bowl
  • Mix the dry and wet ingredients together until well combined
  • Fold in the chocolate chips (or blueberries) to the batter
  • Using a medium-sized ice cream scoop, scoop batter onto a cookie sheet covered with wax paper
  • Bake for 12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking, or bake until the edges of the cookies are light brown.


  1. I am loving both recipes but the calamari stew is calling my name. It looks really tasty.

  2. Its delicious! And the perfect choice if you need something quick and easy on a weeknight and dont know what else to make.. :)


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