December 31, 2007

OMG this lunch was amazing!!! I have to admit I ate before I was truely hungry, but the husband was eating and I didn’t want to wait!

Butternut Squash, Parmesan, Spinach Quesadilla


Basically I topped 2 tortillas with 6 oz of leftover roasted butternut squash, 2 handfuls baby spinach, and 15 grams grated Parmesan cheese (the expensive stuff!), plus a sprinkle of cinnamon. Then I cooked it on my pancake griddle for 5 minutes per side. Fantastic!!



Before sandwiching together:




You could also makes this with pumpkin or sweet potato – and add things like curry powder, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, or herbs.

My tortillas, 110 kcal each


On the side I had 4 oz plain yogurt with fresh mango and pom:


Total lunch calories: 504


Rosemary Foccacia

The husband was hard at work making this bread – it’s great!! Worthy of a bakery sale! I had half an oz for dessert. The husband sends the message that he will only type up this recipe if you PROMISE to actually make the bread and email us a photo!



We’re headed out on a walk. Wheeeeeeee!

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christy December 31, 2007 at 10:06 am

I'll so make that bread! Post up the recipe!


2 mags December 31, 2007 at 10:25 am


Did you have both of the quesadillas? So 2 tortillas? Just wondering how filling the quesadilla is. Looks delicious though!! How many kcals was the lunch?


3 the husband December 31, 2007 at 10:27 am

FOCACCIA RECIPE (barely modified from Alton Brown's book)

4oz water

9.5oz water (yeah you read that right)

1oz olive oil

38g cornmeal (1/4C)

500g bread flour (3.25C maybe?)

7g instant yeast

12g salt (2t?)

4T chopped rosemary

additional oil for drizzling

-Bring 4oz water to boil, add cornmeal and whisk until thick (a minute)

-add the rest of the water plus oil to the cornmeal mixture and allow to cool to just slightly warm (so you won't kill the yeast when you add it)

-in a large mixing bowl add half the flour, and all other dry ingredients

-slowly mix until flour is incorporated, then rest for 10 minutes (i used a stand mixer)

-slowly mix in the rest of the flour and knead for 10 minutes on 30%

-dust a flat surface with some flour, take out the dough and fold over 5 or 6 times

-place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel and let rise for 1 hour

-fold dough over once and roll out to large rectangle, approx .5in thick (the size of a jelly-roll pan)

-dust jelly-roll pan with cornmeal and place dough on, cover with towel and rise for 1 more hour

-preheat oven to 450*

-uncover dough and make small dimples in surface

-drizzle approx 1T olive oil across surface

-sprinkle with kosher salt

-bake about 20 minutes

Eat immediately! But actually, I find that all bread is best if you cover it with a towel out of the oven and let it sit for at least 15 minutes – cooking makes bread very hard and crumbly, which complicates cutting. If you wait just a little it will soften up.

This is the first time I've made focaccia and it turned out very flavorful and fluffy, but when I think of focaccia, I imagine a very crumbly texture. This bread has a pretty standard texture, so if I make it again I'm going to add at least double the cornmeal if not more. Also, I cooked my loaf for 23 minutes, which made it a little darker than I wanted, but the inside is still fine.


4 Shelley December 31, 2007 at 10:46 am

mmmm that bread looks so good! Question: is there a difference between bread flour and regular (all-purpose) flour?

Those quesadillas look super tasty too! I'm definitely going to have to try both.

Happy New Years!


5 Steph December 31, 2007 at 11:01 am

It seems as though you spend a lot of time preparing and cooking meals. Because you're off from work right now, I assume you and your husband have more free time. But what do you do once you're at school and he's at work? I have a hard time coming up with quick and portable lunches to bring to work. I end up relying on low-fat frozen meals or leftovers, but I'd prefer fresher foods for lunch. Any ideas anyone? I work full time, so my time is valuable!


6 the husband December 31, 2007 at 11:21 am

Bread flour has a higher protein content, meaning it forms more gluten, which traps more air bubbles as it rises and cooks. You could probably substitute AP for most things, but you might want to knead it a little more.

On the other end of the spectrum is pastry flour, which has a very low protein content. Pastries (cakes and cookies, etc) are leavened by air that is trapped in flour-coated fat-molecules. The expansion of steam and gas created by chemical leaveners would not be quite powerful enough to create uniform bubbles in glutenous bread. That's why you're supposed to fold the flour into pastry doughs, while you mix into straight doughs.



7 Karen December 31, 2007 at 11:34 am

I am really impressed with the husband's culinary skills. I am jealous of the husband's talent and patience in the kithchen!

I think my confidence level limits me to making the quesadilla. I love butternut squash. Kath – are you using full-fat cheese?

This blog is so much fun!


8 Kath December 31, 2007 at 11:36 am


Yes I ate two. I put them on top of each other. It was quite filling with the heavy squash and the yogurt on the side. See the post for the calories.


I hear ya!!! It's been really nice having some time off over these holidays. This year was crazy-hectic for me planning my wedding the first half and taking my evening nutrition course the second, plus my hour long commute (both ways, so it could have been worse) didn't make things any easier. I often came home grumpy and wish we had a solution to Charlotte's traffic problem. One of the reasons I'm thrilled to be going back to school is that I'll have more time at home. Although I will have to be studying, it will make things easier (I can roast a squash while I study chemistry!).

If you want advice on lunches to take, just look back at my posts from square one through Christmas. I always pack my lunches for the next day in the evenings while dinner cooks – while I have the cutting boards out and dirty and am in the kitchen anyways. Whatever you can get done on the weekends when you have an hour or so for BOTH lunches and dinners will help SO much.

Leftovers are great to have (double your soup recipes and freeze some) while sandwiches are quick to make and are always delicious. Tuna packets are easy to grab. I always tried to prep as much as I could on the weekends – cut up fruit in tupperware, measured out nuts and crackers in bags, put plain yogurt in containers, chopped veggies for salads, roasted some squash on Sunday afternoon.



9 Kath December 31, 2007 at 11:39 am


I usually have 2% or reduced fat sliced cheese on hand for sandwiches, but I certainly eat full fat! The Parmesan on this quesadilla was from a hard block (the good stuff!). I also cook with brie and bleu cheese, get full-fat pepperjack sometimes for sandwiches and LOVE goat's cheese. I was having goat's cheese (the spreadable kind in a pyramid shape) everyday this spring and then just switched things up. I LOVE cheese! The only way I think it's kind of a waste is just in block form. It's gone too quickly and it's too many calories for such a small amount, so I usually stick to using it to enhance other flavors and dishes.



10 Ana December 31, 2007 at 12:16 pm

i the husband needs to open his own bakery! it sounds like his bread is AMAZING and that he really enjoys cooking! i'd pay for a slice ^_^


11 VeggieGirl December 31, 2007 at 5:34 pm

oooh, the focaccia sounds lovely!! and I LOVE the butternut-squash combination in your lunch – two of my all-time favorite vegetables!! yum!!

happy new year, Kath!!


12 Amy January 1, 2008 at 4:41 am

Kath and husband,

Thank you for making the sweet potato fries video–I finally tried making them last night and they were DELICIOUS! Have you guys ever rinsed canned beans like butter or garbanzo and roasted them in the oven? They also make a delicious little meal…at 450 degrees for 20 min for a darker roast or 400 for 30 min with a little basil or thyme or anything & with/without a little olive oil. Anyway, happy new year and thanks to both of you!


13 Kath January 1, 2008 at 6:31 am


I roasted garbanzos before and they didn't turn out that great. I might try your recipe – perhaps I did something wrong in mine?




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