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Carrot Cake Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting March 29, 2011

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dessert, vegetarian.
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Carrot Cake Cookies

I got the urge to bake yesterday.  I’m not sure what got into me; this doesn’t happen very often.  I LOVE to cook but baking is not something I do regularly.  I had an almost-full container of New York Bagel cream cheese and some carrots on their last legs, and carrot cake seemed like the best choice for those ingredients.  I found a few carrot cake cookie recipes, and adapted one to make the cookies you see here.  I frosted half the batch and brought all of them to work today, where they received rave reviews from the early morning cookie-eaters.  If you are a fan of carrot cake, make these for sure!

Carrot Cake Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
(Printable Recipe)

Shredded carrots


1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 sticks of butter (1/2 pound), room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots (about 3 large carrots)
1 cup raisins (optional; add more carrots if you leave the raisins out)

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter, room temperature (cut into pieces)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Sprinkles, if desired


Beat sugars and butter together until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.  Add eggs and vanilla, and beat on medium speed until combined.

In a large bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger together.  Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture, mixing at a low speed until everything is just blended together. Stir in carrots, oats, and raisins (if you are using raisins).  Chill the dough in the refrigerator for an hour.

While the dough is chilling, you can make your frosting by putting the cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl. Using a rubber spatula, soften cream cheese. Gradually add butter, and continue beating until smooth and well blended. Sift in confectioners’ sugar, and continue beating until smooth. Add vanilla, and stir to combine.

When the hour is almost up, begin pre-heating your oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Prepare your baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat.  Spoon small balls of the chilled dough onto baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie.  Bake until browned, about 14 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool. When the cookies are completely cooled, frost the tops and add sprinkles if you wish.  Keep cool, if possible, so the frosting continues to set.

Broccoli Cheddar Stromboli March 29, 2011

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dinner, vegetarian.
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1 comment so far

Broccoli Cheddar Stromboli

I decided to do something a little different from our usual Green Pizza weeknight meal recently, and made a broccoli cheddar stromboli.  A stromboli is really very similar to a pizza, just rolled up and brushed with olive oil and spices, but it is a nice change from the norm.  Plus, stromboli is a fun word to say, and I could not help but tell Toby the dog about a dozen times “Toby, I make-a da stromboli!!” while I was baking it up.

Using a pound of pizza dough made a big stromboli that barely fit on a pizza stone (I had to wrap it around in a U-shape to keep it on the stone in one piece!) and probably should have fed 4 people, but we are a hungry household.  🙂

So, stromboli!  A nice change from a pizza pie!  Try one today!  Throw some different veggies in it, changes up the spices, sprinkle some cheese on top—it’s almost impossible to make a rolled-up pizza taste bad.

Broccoli Cheddar Stromboli
(Adapted from Pizza by Brigit Binns)


1 pound pizza dough (homemade or pre-made, like the kind you can buy at Trader Joe’s)
1 1/2 cup chopped broccoli (you’ll want to steam it before you put it in the stromboli; see below)
8 oz ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded or chopped cheddar (I used Vermont sharp white cheddar, yum!)
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup pizza sauce
Parmesan cheese
Olive oil (to brush on top)


Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.  Place your pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven to pre-heat at this time.

Fill a saucepan with one inch of water and bring to a simmer. Place broccoli in a steamer basket over the simmering water, cover, and steam for 5-7 minutes until crisp tender. Remove strainer or basket from saucepan and let cool. Coarsely chop the broccoli and set aside. In a large bowl combine the ricotta, cheddar, garlic, basil, and salt and pepper. Mix well.

Place a large sheet of parchment paper on a pizza peel or large rimless baking sheet and place the ball of dough in the center. Dust the top of the dough with flour and, using a rolling pin, roll out to a 9-by-12-inch rectangle of even thickness.

With the long side of the dough facing you, spread the cheese mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border uncovered on all sides. Cover the cheese mixture with the pizza sauce, and then scatter the broccoli evenly over the cheese and sauce, and season generously with salt and pepper.

Unrolled Stromboli

Starting with the long edge nearest you, gently roll up the dough, lightly compressing the filling. Crimp firmly to seal, but avoid pressing down too hard.  Brush the roll lightly with olive oil, cut a few small steam vents in the top, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Carefully slide the stromboli on the parchment onto the hot pizza stone. Bake until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.

Remove the stromboli from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Let the stromboli stand for 15 minutes then use a serrated knife to slice it crosswise into rounds.

Eating for Two March 24, 2011

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in uncategorized.

So, as I get close to the end of Month 6 of being pregnant and enter the last trimester, it’s probably time to write a little bit about what I have been eating, and how my diet has (or hasn’t) changed since getting pregnant. I was extremely lucky to not have ANY morning sickness (and hopefully I am well past that point!).


Baby, a few weeks ago!

If I ate what I really WANTED to eat, my diet would probably consist of toast with peanut butter for breakfast, pita bread pizza for lunch, and the Japanese Pan Noodles from Noodles & Co. for dinner. Every day.


Japanese Pan Noodles....mmmmm

But I know chowing down on a bunch of carbs does not make a healthy baby, so I’ve been doing my best to vary what I eat. Being pregnant means a lot of changes (obviously) but most striking to me has been how my body reacts to foods I had no problem with before the baby came along. To my dismay, it’s mostly healthy foods that I am having trouble with. Broccoli, oranges, tomatoes—all on the “tread with caution” list these days. The baby really just wants me to eat pizza and noodles all day! I was working my way through a 10-pound bag of oranges, because for a while, I loved them, but all of a sudden, my body turned, and eating an innocent orange would soon cause my heart to feel like someone was trying to squeeze it through my throat. Heart burn! Oranges can now only be eaten at certain times, and in certain order—they can’t be the last thing I eat, and I can’t eat too much before or after eating one.

Speaking of which, I try not to overeat in general, which is kind of hard for me. Anyone who knows me knows my appetite is probably way bigger than it should be, but now I really have to force myself to stop eating before I feel full and eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. There are times when I totally go against this, like on Tuesday, when I ate an enormous taco salad out of a mixing bowl at lunch and then finished the meal off with two pieces of pizza that appeared in the kitchen at work. It hurts now to eat that much, though, with the increasingly limited real estate inside me, so I try to pace myself with food and make good choices more often than not.

Being a vegetarian, I’ve definitely made a conscious effort to get enough protein and iron in my diet. I’ve been going through Greek yogurt like it’s going out of style, and have stacks upon stacks of canned beans in the basement, which make appearances in salads, pasta, dips, and more. My favorite lunch of late is the previously mentioned taco salad, made with chopped spinach, black beans, walnuts, chopped tomatoes, feta, cheddar (double cheese is the most important part!), avocado, salsa, hot sauce, and crunched up tortilla chips on top. It’s a lot of nutrition packed into a salad, and with all of the extras on the salad, I can get three good meals out of a can of black beans. Plus it tastes delicious, it’s an easy lunch to bring to work, and it is definitely healthier than pizza every day at noon.

I’ve been really good about exercising throughout this whole pregnancy (save for two weeks when I was too sick/cough-y/infected to go to the gym). I gave up running sometime around the beginning on Month 5, when I started growing and it just became too uncomfortable to run for any extended period of time. I traded the treadmill in for the elliptical, specifically the Precor machine with the adjustable ramp.

My best friend at the gym

I will go to the gym, do 300-400 calories on the Precor, lift some weights, stretch out, and head home. It’s not a KILLER workout, but I think it’s good enough to maintain a decent level of fitness. I’m not really sure how exercise will fit in once the baby is born. I am much more of a first-thing-in-the-morning exerciser, and I am pretty sure that is probably not going to work with having a newborn around who needs to wake up, eat, and be taken care of. I guess like everything else, it will just work out somehow once he is here. Maybe I’ll learn to love the gym at night, but I feel like that is just not in my bones.

All in all, I have been trying to stay healthy and not gain a crazy amount of weight that I will later have to struggle to lose. It is hard—pregnancy makes you ravenous at times, and I haven’t been holding back when I’m hungry. I figure the little guy has to grow, and because of that, so do I, as weird as it is to see my body changing shape by the week.

Spicy Pasta with Veggie Sausage and Peperoncini March 8, 2011

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dinner, vegetarian.
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Last month, I made a recipe from Bon Appetit for the Fly Trap’s granola.  Right under that recipe was another that sounded great to me—anything with peperoncinis, count me in! The original recipe calls for sausage and shrimp.  Gimme Lean vegetarian “sausage” is a great choice for making this meat-free, and I cooked a half-dozen shrimp on the side to add to Ryan’s portion.  We LOVE this—the first week I made it, we ate it two times that week and have had it at least weekly since then.

Spicy Pasta with Veggie Sausage and Peperoncini
(Adapted from Bon Appetit)

Pasta with Veggie Sausage and Italian Pepperoncini Sauce


1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 package of Gimme Lean sausage
1/4 cup sliced peperoncini, plus 1/4-1/2 cup liquid from jar
1/2 cup finely diced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 oz marinara sauce
1/3 cup half-and-half
8 oz pasta (a small shape, like penne, gemelli, or farfalle works best)
Grated parmesan or asiago for garnish
Shrimp, for non-vegetarian version


Heat oil in heavy large pot over high heat. Add Gimme Lean sausage; cook until browned, breaking into pieces, about 4 minutes. Add onions, cook until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add peperoncini, spices, and peperoncini liquid; stir until most of liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute. Add marinara and cream, and simmer for a minute or two.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in another large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring often. Drain, and transfer pasta to pot with sauce; stir to incorporate. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with additional cheese.

If you want to add shrimp, I usually cook a half-dozen or so in a separate small saute pan (with a little cooking spray and salt & pepper), and just add them to Ryan’s bowl right before serving.