Saturday, November 24, 2012

White Pumpkin Pie

Cooked White Pumpkins

I've been on a pumpkin pie kick lately. I've also been eating gluten-free. I'm not the biggest fan of gluten-free crusts, but I found a recipe for a pretty mean crust-less pumpkin pie.  I played around with the recipe a bit and my latest version is made with white pumpkin. That's right, they're not just decorative, white pumpkins are edible.


 2 cups of cooked white pumpkin (or 1 can of regular pumpkin)
1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut milk 
1/2 cup of condensed milk
3 eggs
1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice
4 tablespoons of flour (either gluten-free, rice, spelt, or regular)
4 tablespoons of maple syrup (or more if you like your pie super sweet)
optional: 1 small slice of fresh ginger (about size of top part of pinky finger)


If using a raw pumpkin, slice it in half. Remove the seeds and rise them in cool water.

You can cook the pumpkin seeds too --toss them with salt, pepper, and coconut oil and place on cookie sheet. They take about 15minutes to brown and crisp up and are super tasty!

Be sure to cook open side down so they don't dry out!

Pie Before Baking
Remove all the stringy parts and throw them out. Cover the pumpkin with oil or butter and place open side down on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for about 30-45minutes, until the pumpkin is soft and the skin peels easy. Remove the skin. 

In a high powered blender, mixer or vitamix combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour into greased pie pan.  Cook at 350F for 1 hour, turning once.

Cool & serve with fresh whipped cream.

Looks a little like cheesecake, but tastes like pumpkin!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Spring Rolls

Spring Roll with Peanut Sauce

I've never made spring rolls before, but we had some rice paper waiting to be used. 

Turns out, rice paper is a lot easier to work with than I had imagined. These spring rolls take about 20minutes to make, but if you're faster at wrapping than I am, it could probably be done in less time. This recipe makes eating raw cabbage actually enjoyable.


  • Rice Paper
  • Warm Water (in a pan)
  • 1/4 head of cabbage
  • 1/4 fresh mango
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped onion
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • splash of soy sauce
  • dipping sauce (peanut or sweet chili)


    1. Julianne the carrot, chop the onion & the cabbage.

      Julianne a carrot

      Combine carrot, cabbage & onion with soy sauce
    2.  Combine in bowl and toss with a splash of soy sauce. Set aside.

    3.  Slice avocado and mango into thin strips. 

    avocado and mango strips

    Rice Paper
    Dip rice paper in water

    4. Take the rice paper and dip into water. Keep under water for 15-30sec.

    5. Remove the rice paper from the water and place on a plate. Allow a few seconds for it to continue to soften & become a little sticky before adding your filling. Add a small handful of the carrot-cabbage slaw and then 3-4 slices of mango and avocado on top. 

    Add your filling in the middle

    Fold one side over
    Fold the two ends ups

    6.  Fold one side over, like in the photo.

    7. Fold the two ends up. and then fold the remaining side up and over like a package.

     8. Place on a plate in the refrigerator. 

    Prepared spring rolls can keep for a few hours in the fridge

     9. Serve with dipping sauce. I recommend either peanut (pictured) or sweet chili dipping sauce.

    Spring Roll with Dipping Sauce

    This recipe makes approximately 10 spring rolls. You can either eat immediately or store in the fridge for up to 24hours.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Plate, Ardmore PA

Plate Restaurant is tucked away in the heart of Ardmore's Suburban Square. With a dark wood interior and several rooms for dining, the atmosphere is cozy and inviting. If only the food were as nice.

On a recent Sunday, my brunchmates and I settled in for what we hoped would be an amazing meal. Thankfully we were in no rush, because while the place had maybe 4 other tables filled with people, it took almost an hour before our meals were served.

While we were waiting, our delightful sever brought us a basket of pastries to munch on. They ranged from delicious to not-worth-the-carbs  (Sorry, I forgot to take a photo but it was a random mix of mini cinnamon buns, chocolate chip scones, muffins and more).

House Smoked Salmon Omelet
 Deciding to try something a little different, I ordered the House Smoked Salmon Omelet ($12.95). It came with toast, hash browns, and cantaloupe. Sadly I found salmon and eggs to be a pretty terrible combination, not only while dining but a few hours later with heartburn as well.  The cantaloupe was delicious but the hash browns were a bit dry and unseasoned. I had requested no toast, but it came with some anyway.

Make Your Own Omelet

 One brunchmate tried the Make Your Own Omelet ($9.95 for 3 choices, $1.50 for each additional). He asked if he could add bacon to his omelet and was told "yes, for an upcharge" but something clearly was lost in translation because his bacon arrived on the side.

Egg White Omelet

Another brunchmate had the Egg White Omelet ($11.95), served with grilled veggies and a baby greens salad. I think the grilled veggies were inside the omelet, but I did not see the baby greens salad. It was "fine," but not better than what you could probably make at home.

While it may appear that omelets alone are the problem, another brunchmate tried the Orange Chicken Salad Sandwich ($10.95), served with red grapes, seasoned aioli, baby mache greens on a toasted brioche Le Bus roll.  It looked very pretty and the grapes were a nice addition, but the chicken salad was dry and lacked any hint of orange flavor. The bun was so small that only half the salad fit on it, and I gave my brunchmate my bread for the rest of it.  The chips, which took up most the plate, were oily and lacked flavor and the coleslaw was basic at best.

Orange Chicken Salad Sandwich

While the atmosphere was nice, the location delightful, and the service pleasant, unfortunately the kitchen at Plate will not have me rushing back anytime soon.  

If you go:
  • 105 Coulter Avenue  Ardmore, PA 19003
  • Phone: (610) 642-5900
  • They accept credit cards. 
  • Sunday Only Brunch
  • Plate Restaurant

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Tasting Table's Cocoa-Bean Smoothie

In the mood for something sweet but trying to eat healthy? Try this amazing Cocoa-Bean Smoothie recipe from the Tasting Table. It's so richly super chocolatey that it's hard to believe it's filled with beans!

For an added kick, add a teaspoon of chili powder before blending and a dusting of cinnamon on top.

  • 1 tablespoon Dutch-processed cocoa powder
    1 ripe banana, peeled (preferably frozen or semi-frozen)
    ½ cup canned black beans, rinsed
    ⅓ cup chocolate-flavored rice milk  (Brunch Philly used coconut milk instead)
    2 teaspoons honey
    3 ice cubes


In a small bowl, stir together the cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon water until smooth. To a blender jar, add the banana, black beans, rice milk, honey, ice cubes and cocoa-water mixture. Blend on medium speed to incorporate, then increase the speed to high and blend until smooth and frothy, about 2 minutes. Pour into a tall glass and serve. 
Calories per Serving: 327; Sodium: 34mg; Total Carbohydrate: 73g; Fiber: 12g; Fat: 3g

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

401 Diner, Conshohocken PA

Olympic Pride at the 401 Diner


It's been a long time since I last visited the 401 Diner in  Conshohocken. 

Last time I was there the staff was rude, the seats were sticky, and the food was sub-par. No surprise, it closed not long after.

But the 401 is back and better than ever. In fact, it is unrecognizable.  The sticky plastic booths have been replaced by wooden ones. Harsh florescent lights are now beautiful glass lamps over each table. And the staff who called you "hon" while spilling drinks on your friends have been replaced by one of the nicest and most thoughtful servers ever. 

And the menu. Well, let's just say that it's a foodies' version of your typical diner fare.

Veggie Burger

On a recent visit, I had a Veggie Burger ($10). While a little messy to eat, the burger was delicious in its own right and did not need to try and pretend to be fake meat. It consisted of quinoa and black beans along with a nice mix of veggies and just the right amount of herbs. It comes with a side salad or fries. I ordered mine on a lettuce wrap instead of a bun.

The burger pairs nicely with the super delicious Truffle Frites ($7), which are coated with a generous and tasty mix of parmesan, herbs and truffle oil.

Truffle Frites

Hummus Platter

My brunchmate tried the Hummus and Feta ($8), which was fine but the hummus lacked the typical punch of garlic. In fact, we couldn't taste any garlic at all.

Southwestern Egg Rolls

The Southwestern Egg Rolls ($8), filled with black beans, corn, pepper jack cheese, chopped peppers and onions, were good but needed more cheese.

Chocolate Milkshake

The chocolate milkshake (ordered off the menu) had a good chocolate-to-milk ratio, but its consistency was closer to chocolate milk than a true milkshake.

One thing that the 401 has plenty of is charm. From the beautiful realistic looking wooden roses at each table (and available to purchase by the dozen at the counter), to the amazing service, you cannot go wrong.

Our server even labeled the leftover boxes for us so that we knew what was inside and when it was from! Now that's a first.

If you go:

  • 401 Fayette Street, Conshohocken, PA 19428
  • Phone: (484) 351-8029
  • They accept credit cards.
  • 401 Diner Website

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cherry Chia Cereal

Cherry Chia Cereal

This cereal is super easy to make. The chia has a slightly nutty consistency to it. If Grape-Nuts and oatmeal had a baby, it might taste a little something like this. Well, this probably tastes better. But you get the idea.

Depending on the color of your chia seeds, your cereal may look be a different color, but the taste should be similar.


  •  1/4 cup of raw chia seeds 
  • 1/2 cup water 
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut butter. I used Artisana Organic Raw Coconut Butter 
  • A handful of dried cherries
  • other fruit & nuts as desired 
  • raw honey as desired
  • spices (sea salt, cinnamon) to taste 

Mix the chia seeds with the water and the coconut butter. Allow to sit for approximately 5minutes, stirring once or twice. Mix in the extras and enjoy! It's as simple as that. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Cantina Los Caballitos, Philadelphia PA

Cantina Los Caballitos
If you've ever walked along East Passyunk Ave, in the heart of hipster village, it is hard to miss the Cantina. Set on the northeast corner of Passyunk and Morris, just past where 12th street intertwines, it is the bright orange building with wooden doors that look like they came off the set of Man of La Mancha.  On nice days, there is usually a handful of people seated outside. For a recent brunch, the weather was just cool enough that my brunchmate and I decided to dine indoors.

The place was hopping, but someone quickly brought over some chips and salsa for us to munch on while reviewing the menu. It was a little difficult to concentrate on food decisions though, let alone a conversation, because of the music. If I can call it that.

The noise level was loud enough that you might expect that the band, with full blow-amps, had a stage set up at the end of the room. And the pounding hardcore album selection was most likely quite painful for anyone suffering a Sunday morning hangover.  Quite out of character for us, we asked the hostesses if it would be possible to turn the music down. She nicely replied, "I'm sorry. I already asked them for someone else, and was told 'no'."  I can only image whoever "they" might be. Clearly not someone who cared about the comfort of those dining. Perhaps "they" is an angry, jaded, line-cook stuck back in the hot kitchen. Upset because he had to get up at an unnatural hour to slave over a hot stove for "the man," and jilted by the cute hostess, his one bit of power and revenge left in the world is to refuse to let anyone touch the stereo until his album played out. "It's only fair man, it's my turn to pick..."

Chips and Salsas
Every time a song ended, my brunchmate & I breathed a sigh of relief. At last, we could actually hear the other side of the conversation! Only to be quickly crushed with disappointment when the silence did not last. Silence is not the right word. The conversational volume was already about as loud as your average early-morning commuter plane. But the decibel level of the sounds coming out of their speaker system were almost deafening. We honestly should have left. But for some reason we did not. Perhaps it was because the chips and salsa were quite tasty. Or perhaps it was because our braincells had shut down.

But enough about the atmosphere and onto the food. I ordered the Huevos Rancheros ($8),  two eggs served sunny side up on top of crispy corn-flour tortillas and black beans. Served on the side, there were crunchy breakfast potatoes and delicious, thinly-sliced, fried onions. I'm usually not one for eggs with beans, but they went together better than I could have imagined.

Huevos Rancheros

Raspberry Mimosa

On special was a raspberry mimosa. Very pretty to look at, it did not taste very much like raspberry or orange juice; in true Cantina fashion, it was mostly just alcohol.

My brunch-mate ordered the Breakfast Burrito ($9). The "perfect hang-over food," (for after drinking a couple of the mimosas) it is filled with eggs, jack cheese, rice, beans, fresh guacamole, pico de gallo.  Almost as large as a baseball glove, it too was served with a side of breakfast potatoes.

Breakfast Burrito

While the Cantina is still a top contender for happy-hour, dinner, and late-night gatherings,  I would pass on it for brunch. Unless, that is, it is nice enough weather to dine outside.

UPDATE (May7):  Received a nice note today from someone at Cantina apologizing for our recent obnoxiously loud dining experience. With such responsive feedback, one can only hope that it will now be safe for your ears to brunch there after all!

If you go:
  • 1651 East Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia PA 
  • Phone: (215) 755-3550
  • They accept credit cards.
  • Cantina Los Caballitos

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sabrina's Café @ Powelton, Philadelphia PA

Outside Sabrina's Cafe @ Powelton

 Sabrina's Cafe is known for their incredible brunch specials, generous portion sizes, and long lines. Sabrina's at Powelton may have long lines later in the day (or perhaps this location is still new enough to avoid the wait?), but thankfully our brunching party of eight was seated as soon as we all arrived on a recent Sunday morning!

Sabrina's @ Powelton has a distantly collegiate vibe. From the mahogany walls, Brontësque winding staircase in the front hall, and the large windows on the one hand, to the long "caf" tables and benches and the very un-brunch loud music on the other. 

Fresh Squeezed OJ

I ordered the Apple and Wisconsin Cheddar Omelette ($8.29) with a small fresh orange juice ($3.49). The omelet was delicious. The apples provided a satisfying crunch, with a surprisingly perfect dash of cinnamon that nicely balanced the cheddar's tangy sharpness. The side of fried potato with onions were perfectly crispy. 

Apple & Wisconsin Cheddar Omelette

Barking Chihuahua

One brunchmate ordered the  Barking Chihuahua ($8.99). A delicious breakfast burrito filled with eggs, black beans, red peppers & pepper jack cheese. The crispy tortillas that topped it added a satisfying crunch.

Buttermilk Pancakes

Another brunchmate tried the buttermilk pancakes ($6.59 for full stack, $4.99 for the short stack). Served with real maple syrup, these are traditional  & delicious.

The "White Hats" Egg White Omelet
Sabrina's specials change quiet often, and usually have a theme to them. This week the theme was Star Wars, with clever titles such as "Imperial Eggs Benedict," "The Long Walk Nachos," "Palpatine's Pumpkin Patty Cakes."  A brunchmate ordered The "White Hats" Egg White Omelet ($10.95), a unique combination of peas, onions, crimini mushrooms, and manchego cheese.  

Another Special That Looks Delicious-I forget which one it was.

Bagel with Lox Platter

One brunchmate tried the Bagel with Lox Platter ($9.99). Served with capers, fresh tomato, onion, calamata olives, and Sabrina's delicious cream cheese, the only thing lacking in this meal the bagel itself. Nothing wrong, per say, but it tasted store-bought and lacked the wonderful goodness of a New York bagel. 

A dish that is sure to please (though it may leave you in a bit of a carb coma), is Sabrina's renowned Stuffed Challah French Toast ($9.99). Thick, moist layers of fresh challah bread are filled with a tart farmer's cream cheese. Soaked in vanilla bean syrup and served with fresh bananas, it is hard to go wrong with this one.

Stuffed Challah French Toast

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

The one big negative that I would give, is that the child's meal, a Grilled Cheese Sandwich, was served well-after everyone else. The waiter apologized for the wait-- the chef had forgotten that the little one had requested it without tomatoes and apparently had to make it over, but at that point it might have made more sense for the waiter to ask the parents if the meal should have been sent back or if the tomatoes could have been picked off.  Leaving the youngest member of our party to wait for food was not very nice.  

Also, I believe that the sandwich was ordered off a special kid's menu. And if that's the case, it was proportionally quite large for your average young child. Despite that, when I asked for a review of the sandwich itself, this brunchmate's huge grin confirmed that the grilled cheese was thoroughly enjoyed.

This is one big kid's meal!

Drawbacks aside, Sabrina's newest location has a lot to offer with spacious tables and a large menu. There is surely something for everyone, even with a large group of brunchmates.

If you go:
  • 34th & Powelton, Philadelphia, PA 19104
  • Phone: (215) 222-1022
  • They accept credit cards.
  • Sabrina's Cafe

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Community Food & Juice, New York NY

 On a recent visit to New York, I had the opportunity to brunch at Community. Quite popular even on a weekday, there was a bit of a wait. While the atmosphere was a bit of a hustle and bustle, and nothing amazingly incredible, the food was fresh and delicious.

 I tried the Truffled Quiche ($14). The house-made crust was flaky and buttery, the truffled wild mushrooms had an earthy yet delicate flavor that paired nicely with the leeks and cheese. Served with a side of greens, it was filling without being heavy.

I also ordered a hot chocolate, which was good quality but too milky-sweet for me.

 A brunchmate ordered the  Biscuit Sandwich ($14),  scrambled cage-free eggs, chicken-apple sausage and Cabot cheddar cheese served with tomato jam and carrot hash browns. It was good but could have used a side of greens to complement the biscuit.

Another brunchmate ordered this delicious looking meal. I cannot for the life of me remember what it was--I think it may have been a special. The heirloom carrots were a nice touch and there were no complaints.

If you go: