Tag Archives: cookbooks

Summer Sun and I’m Feelin’ Fine

Happy Monday!

I am truly sorry for taking a week hiatus from the blog, but I think (I hope) you will like some of the changes and the new direction this blog will go. I’ve got a couple ideas in the works and I will explain those more in detail later as I finish them….BUT in an effort to whet your whistle and give you a little glimpse into what’s to come…here are some things I am working on:

>> Travel Tips <<


One of my most FAVORITE things to do is travel. When Jay and I plan on taking a trip, I am a MAD woman when it comes to picking restaurants, finding fun places off the beaten path and scoring major $$ deals along the way. I think either on a weekly basis or bi-weekly basis, I’ll feature a different destination, give basic travel tips, highlight sweet food spots and more. My hope from these posts is that you get inspired, get on the ROAD and take a vacation from the hum-drum of normal life.

>> Cooking Challenge 2.0…Recipes on a WHOLE New Level<<

any excuse to wear a fun apron:)

I really have had a great time trying new recipes for Foodie Fridays. I think for the summer, I am going to up the ante (if you will) and challenge myself (and YOU) a little more. If you’re anything like me, you have a collection…quite a LARGE collection of cookbooks. In the digital age that we live in today, it’s just SO easy to go to GOOGLE to find recipes to make…it actually has become quite a challenge to bring myself to crack open one of those books that I actually PAID for.

So…(I really like elipses obviously) I am going to pick a cookbook (or two) and make ALL the recipes in the book. I have yet to decide which one but it’s looking like either my newest cookbook, “Super Natural Living Every Day” by Heidi Swanson OR the one I’ve been dying to actually use “I Like You. Hospitality Under the Influence” by Amy Sedaris. Either way…I’ve got approximately 60 days or so in my “summer”, so I will try to choose a book that has close to that many recipes.

Whether you feel inspired to do the same thing OR are perfectly happy watching me drive myself a little recipe crazy, please stick around and maybe join me by making some of the recipes I end up featuring.

SHAMEFUL PLEA: And for the love, please leave a comment for goodness sake. It always helps to know folks are “in it to win it” when it comes to reading your blog:)

>> A Book Club <<

I'd do a book club with this hottie...anyday!

Confession: I hate to read.

Okay, maybe “hate” is a little too strong…but for me, I can’t just crack open a random book and get lost…or get anything for that matter. I do read, occasionally, and by occasionally I mean average about 1-2 books A YEAR. (don’t laugh!) Now, I have been known to get sucked into certain book series (which may or may not have dealt with vampires and werewolves) that I manage to read in a matter of DAYS.

All this to say, I want to read more. When I do read a book and I LOVE it, I can get lost in it. I like that feeling. I want to read more, so I am putting together a summer reading list. I don’t want to aim too high, so I might pick 2-3 books for right now to put on said list. “Bossypants” by Tina Fey is definitely on the top of my list so far.

I’ve never actually participated in a book club before, but I would love to try it. So if you want to join me, let’s pick a book and read/review/discuss here on the blog. {again, this would require you to leave a comment…just sayin:) }

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So those are the three areas of focus this summer for Uglyspots. I really hope you will join me by participating in one or all three areas. I’m no “mommy blog” so I don’t have a “top this” or “top that” community to get votes or meet new web-friends, but I would definitely appreciate you passing Uglyspots along and recommending to your friends…or if you want to be super nice, even linking to Uglyspots or putting our button on your blog. Thanks again and stay tuned for fun times ahead…

Foodie Friday + Last Day to Enter!

Good morning! Today is the LAST day to enter the drawing for your very own copy of Heidi Swanson’s newly released “Super Natural Every Day” Cookbook. Click the button below to enter (remember – 3 ways to enter!!)

I thought it only appropriate to choose today’s Foodie Friday recipe from the actual book. I don’t know about you but as a working woman on-the-go…all the time…I often find myself scrambling for light, healthy lunch ideas. I work at a school and am very lucky to work at a school that strives to serve a somewhat healthy variety of food. Sometimes I find a healthy lunch here, but most of the time I try to bring my lunch. Jay and I both have found ourselves eating more and more vegetarian options as of late, but as far as my recipe collection goes, it’s pretty skimpy in the delicious lunch items realm. If that makes any sense at all…

So flipping through this beautiful cookbook {not even kidding…the photography in this book is AMAZING!} I stumbled on a delicious lunch salad that I wanted to share:

Chickpea & Dandelion

Chickpeas & Dandelion Greens
w/ Red Pepper Flakes & Hot Olive Oil Dressing

Ingredients

2 C {10oz} cooked Chickpeas or 1 can of Chickpeas {rinsed/drained}
3 T Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
4 Cloves Garlic {finely chopped}
1/2 t Red Pepper Flakes
Fine-grain Sea Salt
3 or 4 Handfuls of Young Dandelion Greens {stems trimmed}
Grated Zest of 1 Lemon

Delicious!

Directions

– Put chickpeas in a medium bowl
– Using a large skillet – while it’s cold –  add olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and 2 big pinches of salt
– Stir over medium heat until garlic starts to sizzle, it should NOT begin to brown
– Toss the dandelion greens into the skillet and stir until they begin to wilt
– Stir in the lemon zest

– Pour greens over chickpeas and toss. Taste and add salt as needed.
– Transfer to platter and serve warm or at room temperature.

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My friend, Nicole, and I visited the Matthews Farmers’ Market last weekend. Farmers are required to grow or produce their goods within a 50 mile radius of the Town of Matthews in order to sell in the market, so everything is legit locally grown. There was a CUTE elderly couple with the most beautiful romaine lettuce I have seen in a long time and they had a basket full of dandelion greens, so I’ll have to go visit them again tomorrow morning so I can make this recipe next week. You should try it out too and we can compare notes.

Thank you, Heidi, for producing such a BEAUTIFUL cookbook filled with gorgeous photography and delightful recipes. I can’t wait to try them out AND I can’t wait to announce the winner of this amazing cookbook tomorrow morning. Stay tuned and enter away!

Foodie Friday | Dang Quesadilla & a Sweet Giveaway!

2004 was a great year! This was the year that I met my husband, I graduated from the University of South Carolina (go gamecocks!) and Napoleon Dynamite hit the big screen as one THE funniest movies I have EVER seen. So in the spirit of “Go Make Yourself a Dang Quesadilla” – today I decided to feature one of my favorite go-to lunches/snacks…whatever…

the Quesadilla

My most favorite quesadilla is made up of simply a whole grain tortilla, shredded queso and parsley. I can eat it any time of the day…literally. But for today’s post, I thought I would push the envelope a little further and showcase the most creative and delicious variations for quesadillas…challenging you (and myself) to try something new…and most likely, healthier.

Spinach & Goat Cheese Quesadilla
via NYTimes.com

Spinach…garlic…goat cheese…enough said, this sounds AMAZING and at 272 calories and only 8 grams of fat, you’re looking at a healthy lunch in a matter of minutes.

Broccoli & Red Onion Quesadilla
via NYTimes.com

I haven’t tried this one yet, but Jay LOVES broccoli so I might be able to blend his favorite and my favorite to make a super healthy and delicious MIX.

This is Heidi Swanson’s quesadilla recipe featured on her website 101 Cookbooks. This is my Foodie Friday challenge for you and myself. This quesadilla is made up of corn tortillas – unda style, a bit of cheese, fresh herbs, and a dollop lemon-zested greek yogurt or creme fraiche.

Quesadillas

by 101 Cookbooks

This recipe makes a single quesadilla, feel free to scale it depending on how many you’d like to make.

Ingredients
zest of one small lemon
a generous dollop of creme fraiche, sour cream or Greek yogurt
fine grain sea salt

2 heaping tablespoons capers
small splash of olive oil

1 small egg
1 corn tortilla, room temperature
a bit of freshly shaved Parmesan
chopped fresh chives or marjoram

Directions
Whisk the lemon zest, yogurt, and a pinch of salt together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Now, take the capers, rinse them, pat them dry with a paper towel, and pan fry them over medium-high heat in a small splash of oil until browned and crinkly. Remove from pan and set aside. The should get a bit crunchy as they cool.

Beat the egg and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Beat the egg really well, so it’s uniform in color.

In your smallest skillet, over medium heat, add a tiny splash of oil. Let it heat, then add the egg to the pan let it set for just 10-15 seconds. Place the corn tortilla on top of the egg, the top of the egg should still be a bit runny, so it should attach itself to the tortilla as it sets. When you feel like the egg has set enough not to run, flip everything. Sprinkle with Parmesan, and some of the fresh herbs if you like. Cook until the cheese is melted and the tortilla is nicely browned.

Fold the tortilla in half, top with the yogurt, the capers and more herbs.

In addition to checking out Heidi’s quesadilla recipe, I encourage you to enter this week’s giveaway to receive a copy of her newest cookbook,

That’s right! This book hit the shelves THIS WEEK! One lucky winner could be one of the first to have a copy of
Super Natural Every Day: Well-loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen

Here’s the skinny on this beautiful book via Amazon.com:

Heidi Swanson loves to cook and it shows: her newest book, Super Natural Every Day: Well-loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen, is a delight. Beautiful photos and terrific descriptions of the recipes and how to prepare them (often with stories and helpful cooking tips) reading this book will inspire you to try many of the recipes.

Most of us wear about 10% of what is in our closet…same with cooking–we make a handful of our favorites over and over again. For this book, Swanson recorded her everyday meals for a couple of years and voila–simple and delicious dishes to enjoy daily.

To Swanson, natural food cooking means an abundance of fruits and veggies–local (and organic) whenever possible. Swanson loves to cook with whole grains.

You don’t have to be a vegetarian to love this book–it is literally filled with healthy and interesting recipes that anyone would love! Plus, if you do eat meat and are looking for ways to cut down, this book is a terrific starting point.

3 Ways to Enter:

1. Leave a Comment – You can enter every day!

2. Tweet the Giveaway! (be sure to @uglyspots so I can track)

3. Facebook the Giveaway! (same – be sure to link back to Uglyspot Studio so I can track)

Contest runs until Friday, April 15

Good luck!!