Category Archives: TJPTMIMOO


Sorry to do another post (and again without a recipe!), but I saw this earlier today, and realized that only you all could understand the joy that I feel knowing that our visa application is being considered, and that soon Alvaro and I will be in the land of TJs, and able to sample all of these products (TJ customers’ favorite products in 2013).


I’m confused about a few things- seriously, who is buying pre-packaged guac?  But some things, like goat cheese logs and that amazing looking kale and spinach yogurt dip, seem like no-brainers. I really love the caramelized onion cheese, and all of the spiced nuts. TJs, we’re coming for you (in 6 months to a year)!


Chile Relleno Casserole – or Chiles Rellenos for Lazy People

I looooove a good chile relleno, but making it at home is a little more work than I’m usually interested in doing. Roasting the chiles; peeling them; removing the seeds without damaging the chile; stuffing them without damaging the chile; battering them without making a huge mess – it’s a hassle. A couple weeks ago, it was pointed out to me that traditional chiles rellenos are completely keto-friendly. And then I happened upon the idea of making it into a casserole/lasagna. Perfect. This recipe removes some of the more tedious aspects of chile-relleno-making and it is really damn delicious.


  • 8-10 large chiles, poblano or anaheim. I used anaheim.
  • 6 oz pepper jack, shredded. Trader Joe’s jalapeno monterey jack worked great.
  • 4 oz cheddar, shredded
  • 6 oz cream cheese
  • chicken/chik’n, if desired. I used two Quorn chik’n cutlets.
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup cream or half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion and/or corn and/or tomatoes


  1. Roast and peel the chiles. If you have not done this before, here’s how. Heat oven to 350.
  2. Remove the stems and slice chiles lengthwise. Scoop out seeds.
  3. Lay half the chiles out flat in the bottom of a greased 9×13 glass baking dish. You want to more or less cover the whole surface. If this requires slightly more than half the chiles, that’s fine.
  4. Mix together the cheeses. Spread the mixture evenly over the chiles.
  5. Add protein and vegetables of choice. I didn’t think to add onion until it was too late, but I’m sure it could have only improved matters. Corn or tomatoes would also be good.
  6. Lay out the rest of the chiles on top in a single layer.
  7. Whisk the eggs and cream together until foamy. Pour over the casserole.
  8. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until egg mixture is set.

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I would also like to add some unrelated photos to show off the tarts I made for a friend’s bachelorette party tonight. The crust is made of almond flour with lemon zest and honey. The filling is a combo of whipped cream, coconut cream, mascarpone, lemon juice, powdered sugar, and vanilla. I topped them with toasted coconut and berries.

After taking this photo, I noticed that I’d missed a blackberry.


Salmon Poached in Green Coconut Curry


I had some salmon in the fridge that I was planning on throwing on the grill last night. But then I suddenly recalled one of the best salmon dishes I’ve ever had, from a sort of hip pan-Asian restaurant here in Tucson. The salmon was poached in coconut curry, and it was wonderful. After that was in my head, grilled salmon sounded pretty boring. I glanced at a couple green curry recipes, but basically just winged it. Here’s what I did so that you don’t have to wing it.


  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp grated lemongrass
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • Basil leaves (I probably used about 15, because that’s what was left on my basil plant after some enthusiastic pesto-making the other day)
  • 1 1/2-2 tbsp green curry paste
  • 1 can Trader Joe’s Extra Thick & Rich Coconut Cream
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cube bouillon
  • 2 green onions, cut into long, thin pieces
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, sliced
  •  2 (?) bell peppers, sliced thinly (I actually just used a couple handfuls of mini bell peppers, since that’s what I had on hand)
  • 2 small or 1 large carrot(s), chopped
  • 1/2 lb broccoli florets
  • 1 whole salmon fillet
  • Rice or cauliflower rice, if desired. We ate ours as a sort of soup.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Heat a pan on medium-low. Add coconut oil.
  3. Once the oil is heated, add the grated lemongrass, basil leaves, and ginger paste. Stir until fragrant.
  4. Turn the heat up to medium. Add the green onions, carrots and bell peppers, along with the curry paste. Stir. After about 2 minutes, add the onions and broccoli.
  5. Once the broccoli florets turn dark green, add the coconut cream, water, fish sauce, lime, and bouillon cube. Turn heat up to medium-high.
  6. Once the bouillon is dissolved and the mixture begins to simmer, place the salmon fillet in the bottom of a glass casserole dish. Pour the curry and vegetables over the salmon. You want the dish small and deep enough that the curry will completely cover the fish.
  7. Place in the oven for 10-13 minutes, or until salmon flakes easily. Serve immediately.

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This stuff is THE BEST. I put it in chia seed pudding, in protein smoothies, in keto cheesecake… basically, I put it in anything I can think to put it in.



Savory Sweet Potato Skins


This is a recipe I first made years ago. (Colin had no memory of ever eating them before, so I think it must have been pre-Colin.) They’re delicious, but I made so many at the time that I froze a bunch and was eating them for months, so it’s taken awhile for me to want to make more. Last night I decided the day had finally come for me to allow sweet potato skins back into my heart/mouth, so here they are. They taste super rich and creamy, but they’re really pretty healthy  — the small amount of cream cheese (less than half an ounce per skin) goes a long way.

The recipe is from Pinch of Yum, but here it is with my inevitable alterations made:

  • 5 medium or small sweet potatoes
  • olive oil, as needed
  • 2 shallots, chopped finely
  • 1.5 cups frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained
  • shredded cheese to sprinkle on top (the recipe calls for mozzarella; I had TJ’s Quattro Formaggio on hand, so that’s what I used. #TJPTMIMOO)
  • salt and pepper to taste (I like to add a fair amount of salt to counteract the sweetness of the potato.)
  1. Bake sweet potatoes at 350 for 45-60 minutes, or until fork tender.
  2. Cut sweet potatoes in half and let cool for 5-10 minutes. While sweet potatoes are cooling, saute the shallots with the olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Add spinach and heat for 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Scrape the sweet potato out of the peel, leaving a thin layer inside with the peel so that it can stand up on its own. Mash the sweet potato with the cream cheese and Greek yogurt. Stir in chickpeas, spinach/shallot mixture, and salt and pepper.
  4. Coat potato skins with a drizzle of oil and bake for about 5 minutes to get a crispier outside. Remove from oven and fill each skin with the sweet potato mixture and top with shredded cheese. Bake again for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and filling is heated through.

I once again have a bunch of leftover skins, but at least this time I have Colin around to help me eat them. Actually, I’m eating one right now.


Cranberry Mustard Saves The Day!


A certain recently married lady introduced me to the wonder that is cranberry mustard, and I’ve been itching to make something yummy with it! (Mine just arrived on Saturday due to some strange postage issues, so I haven’t had to wait too long.) I saw a recipe for a honey mustard quinoa salad, and it seemed like a fun riff on something I make all the time. I decided to run with the cranberry mustard and see what could work!

For the dressing, I didn’t measure anything (does anyone these days?), but I included:

-large part cranberry mustard
-small part rice wine vinegar
-medium part honey (I would decrease it next time)
-tiny bit olive oil
-garlic salt, salt, pepper

For the salad, I tossed together:
-steamed green beans
-diced Fuji apple
-diced red onion
-slivered almonds
-dried pomegranates (from Turkey)
-crumbled feta on top

It turned out really sweet, which is why the feta seemed necessary for the top. I would decrease the honey in the honey mustard dressing for next time, too. But definitely delicious, and a lovely use of the cranberry mustard! Thanks, Bri!

PS: I need an opportunity to brag about my breakfast the other day.  It was a perfectly poached egg on top of half of an English muffin drizzled with hot sauce, and gently topped with white onion.  The other half boasted my Nanny’s famous pesto sauce.  The meal was finished with Greek yogurt mixed with my Papa’s homemade crabapple butter.  Add a brand-new mug that I won in a gift exchange filled with some fresh-ground coffee, and I have the bragging rights necessary to post this photo of my phenomenal breakfast!


PPS: Anyone else using their cranberry mustard in delicious ways?  Tell me!

Hail Seitan

I know that I’m alone among the vege-bacon-tarians here in my passionate love of meat substitutes. But then, I’m probably also the one who loves meat the most. For awhile, my fake meat consumption dropped after I started eating fish and shrimp. I’ve been slowing down on the seafood, though, partly because it’s expensive, and partly because of the increasingly dire state of the oceans/fishing industry.

Fortunately, Colin is mostly fine with swapping out real meat for soy meat. Unfortunately, meat substitutes are also expensive. My favorites are the Gardein products, but they’re about $4 a bag, and the bags are pretty small. (Seriously, though, the mandarin orange chik’n is awesome – even better than the TJ’s version.) I also will chop up the Quorn naked chik’n cutlets to throw into a soup, pasta, or casserole. But again: expensive.

Last week, I went to a Vietnamese restaurant that has an extensive veg menu. I ordered a “chicken” curry. The “chicken” was incredible. I’m telling you, Asian countries are the best at making meat substitutes, since they’ve been doing it for hundreds of years. (Thanks, Buddhists!) Generally, they’re some form of seitan. So I decided to make my own.

Seitan, for the uninitiated, is made of wheat gluten, which is a great source of protein. And it turns out that it’s very simple to make. It is not, however, simple to make well.

There is a dizzying amount of variation in seitan recipes; in some, it’s baked, in others, simmered. I decided to try a baked-then-grilled version of BBQ pulled seitan sandwiches.

Here’s what I used:

  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic (A lot of recipes use tahini, which I didn’t have. Solution? More garlic, obvs.)
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
Bob’s Red Mill seems to be the standard. I had to go to a couple stores before I found this at the local co-op.
This is the only jarred garlic I have not found to be disappointing. Sometimes I am just too lazy to peel and crush my own garlic, especially since I don’t own a garlic press. #TJPTMIMOO

Here’s what I did:

  1. Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet in another.
  2. Drizzle the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients slowly, mixing as you go.
  3. Knead the dough lightly.
  4. Spread the dough out on a greased pan and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, throw together a coleslaw.
  6. Once the seitan is done in the oven (it should be browned), it could be eaten.
  7. But if you want more of a smoky flavor, slice it into cutlets, douse it in Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce, and stick it on the grill, set to medium-high.
  8. Grill about 10 minutes, brushing it with watered down BBQ sauce occasionally.
  9. Use a fork and knife to pull it into small pieces. Add more sauce as desired.
  10. Put it on a bun with coleslaw. Enjoy.

So, how would I rate my first attempt at seitan? Taste: Very good. Texture: Mediocre. It was a tad too chewy, and not very much like like the tender stuff from the Vietnamese restaurant. That seitan has a grain to it that’s very similar to chicken. So I’ve looked up how to make seitan less chewy, and I plan to make these modifications on my next attempt:

  • add more broth
  • simmer, OR bake submerged in broth
  • knead as little as possible
  • cut the vital wheat gluten with another flour
I made WAY too much coleslaw.
Here’s what they looked like coming off the grill.

The finished product: