The Great Googa Mooga


I know what you’re thinking… the what? No, it’s not the name of my future-first-born child, it’s a monster food and music festival happening in Brooklyn this weekend! I’ll be live Tweeting the entire event @LaurenFoodE and will bring you full coverage at Yumm.com on Monday!

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To My Mommy

I just wanted to put up a quick post in honor of my beautiful mommy, Joanne Miller. Happy Mother’s Day to the woman who instilled a deep and spiritual love of baked goods in me; the woman who helped me cultivate my sarcasm and snark; the woman who is my biggest fan. I love you, ma!

PS: I was going to put a nice picture of our family up here but then I thought you’d get mad at me… so instead here are some pictures of your children.

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What Is a Meal?

Pancakes with bacon hidden inside, topped with apples

I have an ongoing discussion with my friend Nicole on what constitutes a meal. I vehemently defend anything I’ve ever posted on this blog, and she denies most of it.

Nicole: Macaroni and cheese is NOT a meal.
DISAGREE

Nicole: Pancakes are cake, NOT a meal.
DISAGREE

Nicole: A muffin is NOT breakfast, it’s cake.
DISAGREE

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I can pretty much call anything into a meal. For one solid week last year I ate nothing but chocolate cake and red wine for dinner. If it’s 6PM, and I eat a slice of cake and drink a glass of wine, and then I’m full, and then I go to bed… how come that’s not dinner? I’m not feeding it to my growing children, or even my hungry boyfriend. Nicole would probably argue that there is literally zero nutritional value in chocolate cake and red wine (except for all those antioxidants! what whaaaaat). And that’s her argument against macaroni and cheese, and pancakes, too. Zero nutritional value. Does a “meal” have to have a certain amount of nutritional value to actually be worthy of the name? I dare you to find a single, city-living lady who has never called cheese and crackers dinner.

What do you think, guys? What’s a meal? Are pancakes a meal if you add bacon? Or top them with apples? Why is spaghetti with sauce and garlic bread considered dinner, but not pancakes? Why is a bowl of Lucky Charms breakfast, but not slice of pound cake (FYI: they both have TONS of sugar). Is greasy Chinese takeout a meal even though it has endless amounts of MSG, fat, and oil? How about a pepperoni pizza?

I rarely ask outright for your comments, but this time I want them! Go ahead. Comment away. That’s right… I’m lookin’ at you.

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Lemony Goodness


One time I had a friend over for dinner and she offered to bring dessert. “What’s your favorite?” she asked. “Cake,” I answered. “In all its forms.”

To me, and George Costanza*, a muffin is just a piece of cake that’s acceptable to eat for breakfast. So I bake a lot of muffins. A. Lot. These are moist, delicious, and they have so much lemon in them that they’re actually a bit tart. Sunday was so sunny and spring-like that lemon muffins seemed like a no brainer.

On the menu:
Lemon Yogurt Muffins
Makes 12 muffins 

1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup plain yogurt
6 Tbsp butter, melted
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Glaze:
1/3 cup lemon juice (the juice from 2 lemons)
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp lemon zest

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium sized bowl, combine first 6 ingredients. In a separate bowl, blend egg, yogurt, melted butter, and lemon juice together with an electric mixer. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients, just until moistened. Fill lined or greased baking cups 2/3 full. Bake for 20 – 22 minutes, or until tops of muffins are lightly browned.

Let muffins cool for 5 minutes. In the meantime, in a small saucepan over low heat, combine lemon juice, sugar, and lemon zest until combined. Poke 6 – 8 holes into each muffin (still in the pan) and spoon 1/2 Tbsp of glaze over each muffin. Let cool for 30 minutes and then remove from the pan.

*”Anyway, so I was coming along here, and I felt like a piece of cake, you know? But then I thought, it’s morning, I should really have a muffin. I like those chocolate chip ones. Then I figured, well, they’re really both cake. So I, uh, I sat on that bench for a little while, twenty minutes or an hour, and then I figured, check and see what you were up to.” – Seinfeld

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Chicken Ragu with Tortellini


This is probably not news to anyone who knows me or reads this blog on the reg, but I love comfort food. I’m sure comfort food is different for everyone, but for me it’s cake, scrambled eggs, tomato sauce and pasta, macaroni and cheese… you get the idea. If it adds to your cholesterol, it makes me feel good.

In that same vein, ragu is probably one of my favorite pasta sauces. Ragu is defined as a vegetable-based sauce with meat in it, but in my mind I define a ragu as a tomato based sauce with shredded meat in it. Okay, so maybe culinary experts might disagree. Look at me give a care.

On the menu:
Chicken ragu with tortellini
Serves 4

1 28-0z. can crushed tomatoes
2 chicken breasts
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 black pepper
1 lb. pasta (I used tortellini but you can use any pasta you like)
1 honking loaf of garlic bread (optional… but really… is it?)

Pour tomatoes, basil, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper into a slow cooker and mix well until combined. Nestle chicken into the tomato sauce and turn on slow cooker to 275 degrees or low heat. Cook for 6 – 8 hours.

Cook pasta according to directions.

Remove chicken and place on cutting board, and then use 2 forks to pull apart chicken. Return chicken to slow cooker, add pasta, and toss. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with garlic bread. Impress your friends. Be full and happy.

Chicken ragu in the slow cooker

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Happiness

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ROCH! And things that I will eat when I’m there.

Rarely do I find myself this excited to go to a location in April that is currently experiencing snow… but Rochester is my home. I get to see my weirdo-but-awesome family, meet the newest dance girl baby, and indulge in some of this… Okay… LOTS of this.

It’s a garbage plate. And I can’t wait to bury my face in it. Have a happy weekend, kids!

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