Tasty Tips

Maybe you weren’t so lucky to see my speedy marinara the other day? If not, you should go look! I have a couple little speedy tricks/ideas that aren’t really recipes on their own, so I thought I’d just make one post for all.

1. As told about in my speedy marinara post, adding baking soda to a marinara sauce sweetens it. This is an easy way to not add sugar, but still take the sharp, vinegar flavor out of the tomatoes.

2. I love lemonade, especially in the summer. I make mine with fresh squeezed lemons and sweeten with agave, mmm! What I don’t like, however, is how sour it can be. A trick someone told me a long time ago is to add sweet basil (otherwise known as basil) to the agave and lemon mixture before adding water. The basil takes some of the sharpness out of the lemon, but still leaves a great lemon flavor. I’ve played with other types of basil (thai and mint basils), and other herbs. They are a great way to spice up lemonade without adding fruit or more sweetner.

3. Caprese is one of my favorite meals! It’s a wonderful, fresh, summertime salad. However, many people are hesitant due to the calories in mozzarella, or they don’t eat cheese due to dietary restrictions. I love caprese so much though, I want everyone to be able to enjoy! Thus, my Mom (so proud of her) came up with a great subsitute- avocado! The flavors blend excellent and it’s a great healthy fat.

I hope you enjoy these tasty tips!

Do you have a magical substitute or tip to make a common recipe different? Share it!

Speedy Marinara


You know when you get home after a long day and all you want to do is relax. But oh, you have to make dinner too. Some days I wish I didn’t mind processed food as it would make the time from fridge (or freezer) to table so fast! Then again, YUCKY! Have you read what’s in frozen meals?! Even “healthy” ones can be scary. That’s why I make meals like this. Okay so the tomato is from a can, but it’s organic, healthy, and FAST!

Speedy Marinara
(Servings: 5)

  • 1 tablespoon(s) olive oil, extra virgin
  • 1 tablespoon(s) garlic, minced
  • 1 15 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup(s) balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon(s) basil (use freshly torn leaves if possible)
  • 1 tablespoon(s) oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon(s) baking soda
Heat olive oil and garlic on medium heat until garlic starts to brown.
Pour tomato sauce and balsamic vinegar, basil, oregano, and baking soda into pot. You will notice baking soda starts to bubble and mixture will taste acidic. Allow to cook for 15-20 minutes over low to medium low heat.
Over time, the baking soda will cause the sauce to sweeten naturally and will stop bubbling due to it’s interaction with vinegar from the tomatoes.Serving Suggestions:
Pour over pasta or use as a pizza base. This quick and EASY sauce is so simple and good with everything!
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
Calories 65
Total Fat (g) 2.85
Saturated Fat (g) .4
Cholesterol (mg) 0
Sodium (mg) 535
Total Carbohydrates (g) 8.45

Kohlrabi with Flair

Kohlrabi….that thing that comes every week in the CSA. It’s not exciting, nor particularly tasteful. It’s just kohlrabi. It’s suppose to be easy to grow in almost any environment…and I believe it. Have you gathered I’m not quite a fan of this root vegetable? Maybe it’s because everyone seems to roast it and throw some spices or cheese on it. Call it a day at that? Maybe the first time I ate it. But you can only roast a root vegetable like that so many times…..so I decided to try spice.

What’s the one genre of food that is always full of spice and flare? Indian! Yes, what about a Kohlrabi curry?

Kohlrabi Curry(servings 2)

  • 1 large kohlrabi, cut into half inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon(s) olive oil, extra virgin
  • 1 small onion, sweet, diced
  • 1/8 cup(s) water
  • 1 teaspoon(s) cumin seeds
  • 1 15 oz. diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon(s) curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon(s) chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
Roast at 450F for 20 minutes diced Kohlrabi.
In a pan over medium heat, heat olive oil until warm. Add water and cumin seeds. The cumin seeds should begin to shake in
the heat. This is called tempering and allows the flavor from the cumin to release.
Add the onion and cook till soft.
Add the rest of the ingredients (tomato and spices) and stir until combined. Cook on low to medium low for 5-10 minutes
allowing the spices to combine and bloom together.
Serving Suggestions: Serve with rice or indian flatbread.
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
Calories 101
Total Fat (g) 3.26
Saturated Fat (g) .29
Cholesterol (mg) 0
Sodium (mg) 918
Total Carbohydrates (g) 14.97

It tastes so much better than plain old roasted kohlrabi! I promise you! When you eat this veggie curry, you’ll have to think about all the others who still just roast their Kohlrabi.

Is there something that you find bland and boring because you only know how to cook it one way?

What’s your most hated item to see in your CSA?

Stuffed Mushroom Caps

I love, love, love stuffed mushrooms! Mushrooms are a great meat substitute due to their rich texture and savory taste. Unlike mushrooms stuffed with sausage though, these mushrooms are light and relatively healthy. I won’t claim they’re the best way to get your vegetables since the spinach is combined with dairy, but veggies are always better to eat than sausage!

Stuffed Mushrooms

(Servings: 5)
  • 10 small Portobello mushrooms, stems removed (baby bellas)
  • 9 ounce(s) spinach, (1 large bag), washed
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 4 ounce(s) mozzarella cheese, a ball of mozzarella works best, not shredded 
  • 1 tablespoon(s) olive oil, extra virgin
Turn on oven to 350F.
Heat olive oil and garlic on medium low until garlic begins to sizzle and toast. While waiting, dice mozzarella into small cubes.
When garlic is lightly browned and sizzling, add the spinach. Regular stirring allows spinach to cook evenly. Once cooked, add the mozzarella cubes and turn heat to low. Mozzarella should lightly melt, but not liquify.
When mozzarella is completely softened and mixed into the spinach, fill each cap with the mixture. Make sure you ovetop the mushrooms as the spinach mixture will settle slightly while cooking.
When all the mushrooms are filled, place on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. I chose to line mine with aluminum foil because the mushrooms will release water during cooking. I sprayed lightly with olive oil to allow easy removal of the mushrooms.


Nutrition Facts (per serving)
Calories 128
Total Fat (g) 8.01
Saturated Fat (g) 3.41
Cholesterol (mg) 18
Sodium (mg) 128
Total Carbohydrates (g) 6.27

I really tried to make sure there was some cheese on the tops of the caps to brown nicely. This also helped to make sure the spinach didn’t burn.page1image19840



Remember, the mushrooms will release water. Don’t be surprised by the liquid under them when you remove from the oven.

Last, these make a great side dish or a party dish. Eat up and enjoy!

What I Ate Wednesday – Upcoming Posts

You’ve probably noticed I’ve been MIA lately. So sorry about that! I have been pulled away from my job and normal life the past few days. I’m back though and ready to posts all of these recipes that I meant to post sooner! Look for changes to this post throughout today (Wednesday) as I create links to the pictures you see here.

As always, the lovely WIAW party is hosted by Jen at Peas and Crayons. You should check out her blog if you haven’t already!

Hopefully I can also posts some breakfast pictures. I had two bananas this morning, does that truly count as breakfast? Yeah, didn’t think so. It’s okay though because I will have amazing breakfast pictures soon. Anyways, the pictures of food that I keep meaning to post…..

Kohlrabi Curry

Speedy Marinara  (Don’t judge the picture, I played with lighting forever)

 Stuffed Mushrooms (click for recipe)

Of course it is June and we are focussing on sensible snacking. My snacks this week haven’t been perfect as I haven’t been in my normal daily activities. I have however been snacking on carrots dipped in homemade BBQ sauce! I know it sounds weird, but trust me. It’s my trade off for not eating fattening BBQ potato chips!

My “unhealthy” snacks lately are larabars and energy “waffles”. It’s not so much that they’re unhealthy, but they’re not my normal fresh, non-packaged snack.

Promise, promise, promise to start posting recipes and linking them out from here tomorrow! Sorry for my lack of ability to post lately, it was not due to my planning!

Weekend Getaway and Big News

It’s the weekend! TGIF!

I wasn’t sure this weekend would get here. It’s here though! J and I are going away for the weekend too! It’s finally a celebration gift for becoming a doctor! (wow, every sentence has ended with an exclamation mark so far)

No posts this weekend, but be on the lookout for am Indian curry and bok choy stir fry early next week. Oh, and great getaway, celebration pictures.

The big news for Crags and Veggies is a MAKEOVER!! I’m ready for a new style and venue- yep a new .com site too. It’s going to take a few weeks to get everything sorted out, but I’m positive you’re going to love the new look. It should be easier to navigate too.

Have a great weekend! What are your plans?


Broccoli goes Jiaozi (potsticker)

As I opened up my CSA box yesterday, two thinks peaked out at me. Broccoli and cauliflower. These two babies have shown up lots this year already. I like cauliflower when cooked, especially in Indian dishes. But when it comes to broccoli? Well, I’ll eat it covered in cheese or ranch dressing- neither of which are particularly healthy for me when you take into account the quantity. So I thought, and I thought, what could I do with broccoli that would make it yummy and exciting? And then it came to me, I love potstickers! They’re so much fun to eat and are easy and cheap to make. Done…broccoli potstickers. (Jiaozi, is the traditional word for chinese potsticker.)

These little guys are tasty and easy to make! Since I only had one small broccoli, I also used my veronica cauliflower in my CSA. You could use one large broccoli or one large cauliflower if you wanted to. Add an onion, pepper, some sunflower oil, and potsticker wrappers and done….meal achieved.

No seriously, that’s all it takes to make these babies!

Broccoli Cauliflower Potstickers

Servings: 5

  • 1 small broccoli
  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 1 medium Serrano green chile 
  • 3 teaspoon(s) sunflower oil
  • 1 small onion, sweet
  • 1 small wonton wrapper
Wash and cut broccoli and cauliflower into flourets. Steam until tender.
Carefully remove the seeds from the serrano chilie and disgard. Chop the chilie finely into small pieces. Over medium heat, add 1 teaspon of sunflower oil and cook the onion and chilie until the onion is slightly browned and clear.
Place steamed broccoli/cauliflower and onion mixture in food processor or blender. Add one teaspoon sunflower oil and process until mixture is homogenous and finely chopped.
Place small teaspoons of mixture on the center of wonton wrappers. Wipe water around square edges and fold over into a triangle shape. Push into base of triangle to make the wonton “pinch” shape. (You can do whatever shape you want, I just choose this one because it usually keeps all the goody inside.)
Heat the last teaspoon of sunflower oil over medium high heat and drop wontons in to brown. Flip wontons regularly to make sure a light brown color appears on most sides. When all wonton sides are lightly crisped, add a spash of water. I do it by eye sight, but around 1/8 a cup. Cover the wontons for one minute with a lid and then remove. If you added too much water by accident, don’t worry as you can allow the water to steam off.
Remove wontons from pan when most of the water has steamed away and let cool.
I enjoy with some light sodium soy sauce. The choice of dipping sauce is completely up to you though! ENJOY!


Nutrition Facts (per serving, these might be slightly off due to my program not understanding wonton wrappers)
Calories 91
Total Fat (g) 3.14
Saturated Fat (g) 0.24
Cholesterol (mg) 1
Sodium (mg) 41
Total Carbohydrates (g) 11.17 

Summer Squash Red Thai Curry

It’s that time of year again! Are you ready for summer squash out the wazoo? I love summer squash, especially zucchini. Honestly though, how much zucchini bread with crazy twist-ins can a girl make? I know there’s only more summer squash to follow….till the end of the summer, so when these babies showed up in my CSA I decided to think outside the box.

J and I love Thai food. And when I say love, I mean really love. We almost always go out to eat Indian or Thai. When it comes to Thai, while we love our noodle dishes, we adore curries. The spice soup with a cool aftertaste due to the coconut milk is just what our tongues desire. Not to mention the loads of vegetables and hot, steamy rice. Sadly though, as a poor postdoc and graduate student, we don’t get out much. Thus, we have learned to make curries at home! And to be honest, we’re pretty good. This recipe was more an improv than anything else. I don’t claim it to be traditional, just very tasty!

Summer Squash Thai Red Curry (4 servings)

  • 1 tablespoon(s) olive oil
  • 3 tablespoon(s) curry paste
  • 1 15 oz. coconut milk
  • 1 small basil, fresh, chopped, Use Thai, it will make the flavor pop 
  • 1 small lemon, juiced (Okay Kaffir lime leaves are true Thai)
  • 1/4 cup(s) water
  • 1  tablespoon(s) soy sauce
  • 2  teaspoon(s) brown sugar
  • 1  tablespoon(s) red pepper flakes (Thai dried chilies are best, but traditional work fine)
  • 2  large summer squash squash, or four small
  • 1 large container of baby portobello mushrooms


Cut squash into bite size pieces and roast in oven until tender. My squash took 25 minutes at 350F. Clean and slice mushrooms while waiting.

Place olive oil in pan and heat on medium high. When oil is warm, add curry paste and mix until oil and paste become homogenous. Slowly pour coconut milk into curry paste mixture, stirring to integrate the sauce.

When all coconut milk is integrated into the sauce, add the basil, lemon, water, soy sauce, brown sugar, pepper flakes, squash, and mushrooms. Cook, stirring regularly, for 5 minutes.



Serve wtih rice and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
Calories 295
Total Fat (g) 26.71
Saturated Fat (g) 20.65
Cholesterol (mg) 0
Sodium (mg) 267
Total Carbohydrates (g) 9.93


WIAW – with Vacation!


It’s finally hump day! This has been a long week after my great weekend with J! I had my first Maryland blue crab fest, and it was excellent! I loved it so much.

I promise we had more than crab! See- coleslaw, soup, potato salad, and beer (cider for some of us). What could be better?

There was so much crab left over that we picked the rest of the meat and J’s dad made us crab cakes the next night. Because J’s sister and I require gluten and yeast free, these crab cakes were…crab! What an amazing concept, huh?! They were awesome with just a bit of cornmeal to bind them.

Vacation has been so wonderful, now I have to get back into work though and make my own meals. Guess I forgot to say above, J’s dad makes the most amazing cappuccinos and eggs (coddled, they’re amazing) every morning. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself on Monday when breakfast wasn’t made for me. J’s parents are the best! So to make up for having to make my own breakfast, I’ve been enjoying overnight oats. Flavor:  chocolate and strawberries. You should try them, they’re healthy!!! (This has been my snack food too, I seriously have been eating on average three jars a day!)

Which is good because I’m eating it all the time, even for dessert! I’ve been pairing oats with lots of fun juices for my juicing challenge. Lately, I’ve been on a peach kick, with carrots and or kale.

For lunch today I had some wonderful sautéed bok choy with a ginger, soy sauce marinade and crunch sliced almonds. Stay tuned, recipe coming soon!

 And for dinner, what could be better than a spicy thai curry? Just to kick things up a notch! This simple red curry with squash and mushrooms was not only tasty, but filling and great as a quick, light dinner in the summer. This makes the second recipe I owe you, promise it will be up by the end of the day!

It has been difficult adjusting back to normal life haha! But as you can see, I’ve been treating myself with great food! Two recipes to be published today, so wait and see! Thursday will be a big post with exciting news for cragsandveggies, make sure you stop by to hear what it is!

Do you have vacation blues when you come back to real life?

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Oats

Yes, you heard that correctly! Chocolate covered strawberries for breakfast! What if I told you it was healthy too! No really, it is. And it’s super easy for those of you who are like me and don’t really wake up in the morning.

This is a reason to wake up though! I promise you. Sweet, velvety chocolate. The tang from a nice piece of fresh strawberry. Not to mention, you’re getting amazing amounts of protein and omegas from the chia seeds. Did you know chia seeds are also great at reducing sugar bursts and blood pressure changes? These little powerhouses are great!

If you’re vegan or dairy free, just use your favorite non-dairy yogurt and milk. It will still work the same, I promise!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Overnight Oats

  • 1/4 cup old fashioned oats (not instant and not steel cut!)
  • 1/4 cup yogurt (I use plain or vanilla flavored)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of chia seeds (find at your local health food store)
  • 1 tablespoon agave
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened chocolate powder
  • 1 small handful of washed and cut strawberry slices
Place all ingredients in a container. I prefer a glass jar for portability, but an open bowl will work just fine. Stir together (or shake!) and let sit overnight in the refrigerator.  Slowly throughout the night, the oats and chia seeds will swell and make a yummy, creamy mixture! In the morning, grab a spoon and chow down! With chocolate….for breakfast!
Don’t be scared before mixing.
Because it will change once you mix it. Don’t worry though, you’ll devour it quickly- as you can see that I did.