Avocado & Tomato Salad

Ripe tomatoes, assorted colors, sizes, types


Fresh Basil Leaves

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Balsamic Vinegar

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Pepper


Arrange tomatoes and avocadoes on plates, add torn basil leaves, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.  Let stand for about 5 minutes.  Enjoy.




Easy Cinnamon Quick Bread




This bread was so easy to make it made we wonder why I don’t make quick breads more often. The house smelled divine. My friend came over for afternoon “merienda” which is like an afternoon tea and I served this cake with Earl Gray Tea while I practiced my Spanish with my friend. We had the rest for breakfast the next day.

1/3 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup white sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
In large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and 1 cup sugar. Add egg, milk, and oil to flour mixture.
Stir until just moistened.


Pour half of the batter into pan.



Sprinkle a layer of cinnamon and a layer of sugar.

Cover with remaining batter.
Top with more cinnamon/sugar if desired.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean.
Link to original recipe. Found on pinterest.

Easy Tomato, Basil, Bean and Pasta Soup

This is my slightly Tex-Mex version of Minestrone soup or Pasta Fagioli. It is easy, quick, wholesome and delicious. A perfect summer lunch for my family served with salad or warm bread. I love the “shells” because they are hearty and don’t disintegrate or get soggy as quickly as macaroni and I think they are fun too and remind me of childhood.


Hearty Soup


3 carrots, peeled and chopped

1/3 cup white onion, chopped

Olive Oil

1 26/48 pack Pomi Tomatoes (Strained)

1 15 oz can Eden Organic Black Beans, rinsed

16 oz vegetable broth

1/2 of a 12 oz bag of pasta shells

2 cloves of garlic

1 cup fresh basil, rinsed and chopped

1 cup half and half

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

cayenne pepper (optional)

chipotle powder (optional)

avocado slices for serving


In a dutch oven or saucepan, saute onion and carrot in olive oil on medium high heat for 3 minutes. Add broth, Pomi tomatoes, and black beans, garlic, salt, pepper and dried chipotle powder (optional) Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Bring back up to boil. Add pasta. Boil for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in half and half until heated through. Toss chopped basil into the soup. Serve with fresh avocado slices. Serve with warmed baguette or your favorite bread.



Vegetarian Fajitas


I have a childhood  memory of driving to Austin, Texas for my dad to compete in the state Fajita Cook-Off. He won in our area of town, hands down. While I don’t know his exact recipe, I know that he used a ton of spices, flavorings, and seasonings and had a special way of making the skirt steak become so soft, it melted in your mouth. He was runner up in the state cook-off .We all know he really should have won because the winner actually made theirs out of chicken. Chicken fajitas were new back then (or new to us) and we considered chicken fajitas to be a misnomer. We knew our dad should have won. Oh well. We knew his were the best anyway. Not that chicken fajitas are not good. They are and I used to make them frequently before I became a vegetarian.

Fast forward to 2012. If chicken fajitas were a misnomer, then what are Vegetarian Fajitas? I realize vegetable fajitas are far from traditional, but what is a die-hard Fajita-loving, Mexican-American, vegetarian, child of two great cooks to do? This will have to suffice because I love the idea of fajitas so much. I love the flavors and the corn tortillas and the sizzling pan. I love the grilled onions and the smokey scent that lingers in the house for a few days. (Really I do.)

So here is my recipe for Vegetarian Fajitas. I like to serve them with pinto beans, corn or flour tortillas, salsa, and avocado or guacamole. Also, you can add shredded monterrey jack cheese if you wish or a spoonful of sour cream.









3 zuchinni (sliced longways in 1 inch thick slices

3 red, yellow or orange (or all three) sliced in thick slices

1 white onion, cut in 1 inch thick slices

Grapeseed Oil

Balsamic Vinegar



I usually make to batches. One for the bell peppers and zuchinni and one for the onions. Coat vegetables in grapeseed oil and stir until coated. In a separate bowl, coat onions in grapeseed oil. Place vegetables in a grill pan, (cast iron or regular pan) on medium high heat. Saute vegetables. Drizzle balsamic vinegar during cooking process. Add salt and pepper. Continue stir-frying until vegetables are caramelized but still crispy about 10 minutes. I served them with mashed pinto beans here but sometimes I just add the vegetables with all the “fixings” and have the beans on the side.Vegetarian Fajitas

Hummus Bacon Arugula Sandwiches

My husband had a sandwich epiphany this morning.  I was able to put these together pretty easily and they turned out great!

LaBrea Tuscan Loaf



Baby arugula, dressed lightly with olive oil and kosher salt

Dijon Mustard

Olive Oil

I bought the “Bake at Home” Tuscan Loaf so the bread (8-10 minutes in the oven) was so fresh and delicious.  Spread mustard on a slice of bread.  Put a layer of hummus on the bread, top with arugula and slices of bacon. 


Tomato Basil White Bean Soup



I love tomato basil soup. I love to serve it with grilled cheese sandwiches or panini. Or it is delicious with warmed bread or salad. I decided to add mashed white beans to obtain a creamy texture and to add more protein and nutrition. I use an immersion blender which really makes it a snap to make homemade soup. Feel free to add more or less pepper or hot sauce to your taste. We like our food a little spicy in my family.

1 pack of Pomi tomatoes (26.46 oz) (strained)

2 cups vegetable broth

1 15 oz. can of cannelini beans (rinsed)

1 cup of half and half

2 cups chopped, fresh basil

Kosher Salt
(sprinkle to taste)

freshly ground black peper (1 teaspoon)

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

dash or dashes of hot sauce (Tapatio, Cholula, or Tabasco)

Place tomatoes and broth in a medium or large saucepan or dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Add cannelini beans. Mash beans with potato masher. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add basil and half and half. Remove from heat. Puree soup with immersion blender or transfer to a blender (be careful, because contents are hot).  Garnish with fresh basil.



Corn with Cilantro-Lime Salt

I recently bought a fantastic cookbook called Ripe, by Cheryl  Sternman Rule and photographs by Paulette Philpot.  It caught my eye in the bookstore due to its bright red cover with a big nectarine on it.  The recipes are arranged by color and in addition to the great recipes (I’ve tried a few already) it also has suggestions “simple uses” for each fruit or vegetable that are great jumping off points for new recipes.  

Corn with Cilantro-Lime Salt


Fresh, bright, and summery, this simple side perks up sweet corn with classic Mexican flavors.  Be sure your cilantro leaves are completely dry before mincing them with the lime and salt.  You don’t want them to clump up.


Serves  4


4 ears corn, husks and silks completely stripped and cleaned

¾ Cup (28g) loosely packed cilantro leaves (no stems), rinsed and pat completely dry

1 lime (zest & juice)

½ tsp. kosher salt

1 Tbs. melted butter


Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Boil the corn until tender, 3 to 5 minutes, depending on its freshness.  Drain.

Mound the cilantro leaves on a cutting board.  Zest the lime so that fine shreds fall directly on the cilantro.  Sprinkle the salt on top.  Using a heavy knife, mince the cilantro, zest, and salt together.   Scrape into a small bowl. 

When the corn is cool enough to handle, cut the kernels from the cobs. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Drizzle the butter over the corn. Sprinkle with the cilantro-lime salt and squeeze with lime juice to taste.  Toss to coat.  Serve immediately.


Lentil Tostadas: A variation on tradition


Lentil Tostadas


I love traditional Mexican food. I grew up with it. Fajitas were always beef. Migas were never in a taco. (Migas tacos must be a Tex-Mex thing and am I ever glad those were invented! Yum.) As a vegetarian, I have to vary from the traditional methods sometimes in order to create vegetarian versions of my favorite foods. I feel this has made me a more creative cook.

Although tostadas or “chalupas” as they are also called, are absolutely perfect and delicious with mashed pinto beans or mashed black beans, I had all these leftover lentils from a soup/stew I had made that needed to get used up. See recipe:


So I drained as much of the liquid out of the soup, placed the lentils in a pan, mashed the mixture with a potato masher and they were perfect for lentil tostadas. I also love making a meal, having enough for two meals, but finding a way to vary the meal slightly from the day before. With this dish, I was able to accomplish that and it made for a perfect summer meal.


Baked Tortillas/Tostadas (I found baked ones at HEB)

mashed lentils or bean of your choice

shredded greens/lettuce

diced avocado

diced tomato

pickled jalapenos

shredded cheese (monterrey jack or cheddar)

fresh cilantro

lime juice

Spread mashed beans or lentils on tortilla. Top with favorite toppings. I like to let my family build their own tostada. Squeeze lime juice on top of tostada. Enjoy!


It’s fun to let everyone prepare their own!


I found these at HEB. They are baked, not fried.



Serve with lime wedges!


Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Raspberry Sauce


Great variation to regular pancakes


I found this recipe on pinterest but was inspired to make these to replicate an amazing dining experience my husband and I had in San Francisco on our wedding anniversary! It was cold summer day (Having spent most of my life in Texas, I don’t think I have ever uttered those words before). After a quick trip on the BART, we found this amazing street, Cole Street. We walked along looking for a place with great coffee and a great breakfast and we found it. When I tried these pancakes at Zazie’s, I was determined to recreate these at home. I turned to pinterest and found this recipe (link below). I adapted it by adding lemon juice and lemon zest to the pancake mix and I didn’t use the lemon curd but instead made my own raspberry sauce. Let me know what you think. My family enjoyed this as a summer meal on a warm summer evening in Texas. And it was equally good. As you can see from my previous post (https://twostatesoneplate.wordpress.com/2012/06/29/lemon-poppyseed-cake-heres-to-family-reunions/ ), lemon is my new favorite flavor.
For the pancakes:
1. Mix the following into a small bowl:
   3/4 cup flour
   1/2 teaspoon baking powder
   1 and 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  pinch of salt
2. In a large bowl, mix
1 cup ricotta cheese
3/4 cup of milk
3 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 and 1/2 teaspoons of lemon zest
juice of two fresh lemons (medium sized)
3. In another large mixing bowl, beat 3 egg whites with mixer until stiff peaks are formed.
4. Mix flour mixture into ricotta cheese mixture and stir until well blended.
5. Gently, fold in the egg whites with a spatula.
6. Cook on greased (with butter, spray, or oil) griddle for 2-3 minutes on each side. Store on a cookie sheet at 200 degrees until all the pancakes are cooked. Serve with powdered sugar and raspberry sauce if desired.
For the Raspberry Sauce
In a medium saucepan, add 1 cup frozen raspberries, 3/4 cup of water, 2 tablespoons of maple syrup or honey. Bring to a boil on high heat. Add more water if mixture dries out too quickly two tablespoons at at time. Lower heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.