This happened this weekend. Happy Birthday Honey!
This needed to happen on this very gloomy Sunday. Not because its gloomy, it just needed to happen. I went a little overboard on the indulgences yesterday. After falling into the black hole of crafting, its time to shake off the dust and get serious. So I declared last week that it was time to shape up, mostly my diet, but still need to step up the workouts. I’ll probably be saying these same words my entire life, but its better than being complacent and letting it all go. Then I’d really be miserable… But doesn’t it always seem that as soon as you make such a declaration you are bombarded with obstacles and temptations?! Ayiyi!
- 1-2 Green Apples or Pears
- 1-2 lemons (one big, two small)
- 1 bunch of spinach
- 1/2 large cucumber
- Handful of Kale
- Pinch of Stevia if needed
Refrigerated produce is the best. Cut all the produce small enough to fit in the juicer shoot and start juicing. I have a Champion and just follow their directions for green juice. I rinse my greens in a big bowl of cold water and leave them in the water and add intermittently with the rest of the produce. I also re-juice the extracted pulp to get as much juice out as possible. The more fruit you use, the sweeter it will be, but will also have more sugar. Scrape off the foam that forms on the top. I find its impossible to get it all, but just get the big fluffy stuff. Best over ice, but I never have ice, so I suck it up.
This is a very flexible recipe, I usually add some fresh herbs like parsley and some add ginger. Anything that sounds good to you.
Let me know if you make some and how it went!
I have been MIA and with good reason… kinda… you know what they say about excuses… I won’t go there. I’ve been busy crafting and selling which I’ll fill everyone in on in another post.
But along the way I got to go to Joy the Baker‘s book signing. I convinced my mom to go with me since the book store was just down the street from where she works and that meant we could have dinner together afterwards. (For the St. Louis folk, that was Dressel’s, and the muscles were AMAZING) I’ve been following her blog for about a year. I honestly have not made any of her recipes per se, but I find them very inspiring and have taken many flavor ideas from her recipes and I cannot wait to dive into her cookbook and make a few things out there. If you haven’t checked out her blog its really great. You kind of feel like she’s your friend, but I guess that’s kinda creepy. We also share a soft spot for orange tabbies with attitude. It was really fun to hear her answer SO many questions from everyone and she was so gracious. I felt like all the women (and men) in the room could have been friends. They were all down to earth, creative and friendly and I think that speaks volumes about what kind of person Joy is to be able to have that kind of following.
She answered questions about cooking, blogging, and even a few personal ones. She had some great advice for people starting up blogs and I hope to be able to work some of that into what I’m doing here. Even if its just a picture, I should be posting a bit more regularly… cough… cough…
She also wrote a cute message in my cookbook, something about being crazy cat ladies. I was surprised how nervous I was meeting her, maybe it was the excitement, or maybe it was my Jewish mother trying to sell all my products to her friends… (picture me swatting her away while she moves my hair to show them my earrings, OY!)
Oh, that nerd part… Well I totally gave her a headband. I hope she likes it.
Sorry for the blurry picture… it looked clear on my phone. I think you will live.
I swear I have been doing things other than eating over the past few months… But I do love to cook and share it with people so I hope you enjoy. As I’ve mentioned before, I am always on the quest to eat healthy and find balance. Although I have told myself I will start eating less processed foods, I can’t help myself. Some of them are just too good and way too easy to keep around.
This breakfast sandwich has been my morning go-to for the past few weeks. I have had it literally 5 days a week for two weeks… I’m keeping Jennie-O in business, not to mention Laughing Cow… Oh well for farm fresh bacon and raw cheese. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do, on a daily basis.
(I have calculated that this is 5 WW pts)
Egg White and Turkey Bacon Sandwich
- 2 slices of light bread
- Cooking Spray
- 2-3 pc Extra Lean Turkey Bacon (I use Jennie-O)
- 3-4 egg whites
- 1 wedge Laughing Cow Light Swiss
- Cracked Pepper
- Drizzle of Sugar Free Maple Syrup
- Sprinkle of Chia Seeds (optional)
Toast the bread and reserve.
Spray a medium-large non-stick skillet and heat over a medium high flame. Cook the bacon until desired crispness. Remove bacon and add egg whites to pan (you might need another spray of cooking spray). Cook until done, flipping half way through. I prefer them to have crispy edges so I leave the flame higher than I would with scrambled eggs. Crack pepper over the eggs while the first side is cooking.
Spread the laughing cow cheese evenly between the two slices and drizzle with maple syrup. Assemble your sandwich. Sprinkle chia seeds if desired.
I mentioned in my Sweet & Smokey Chili post that I was trying to cheat and use a boxed mix to make corn bread. I was undermined by some pesky summer invaders and found our rogue box of Jiffy to be unsuitable. So what did I do? I called my mom. I was hoping she had a box of Jiffy but alas, she’s been cutting back on mixes and packaged food but she did have cornmeal. I wasn’t feeling great (hence the desire to cheat a little bit) so I walked over and grabbed the cornmeal, that beat the alternative of putting on real clothes and going to the grocery store. By real clothes, that means a bra and switching from sweatpants to yoga pants…
I’ve baked a lot of things in my short life, but cornbread from scratch was not one of them. I can’t believe I’ve never done this, its SO easy. Almost as easy as the box mix. With the addition of bacon drippings, it has to be better!
- 1 1/2c Cornmeal
- 1/2c Four
- 1 1/2t Baking Powder
- 3T sugar
- 1t Salt
- 1 1/4c Buttermilk, or milk with 1T vinegar
- 1 egg
- 2T Bacon Drippings or Butter, melted
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Whisk dry ingredients, including sugar in a bowl. Combine milk and egg and whisk. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
If using a cast iron skillet, heat bacon fat or butter on the stovetop until very hot. If using 8×8 pan, melt fat and add to pan. Add batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Adapted from Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything
Winter finally decided to show up and nothing screams winter like chili. I prefer most foods that incorporate some sort of sweet along with savory. A good friend introduced me to her grandmothers “Sweet and Sassy Chili” but it has a little too much fat and sugar for us to eat all the time. This is a tamed down version and with some added spices.
When I decided to make this, I was short on tomatoes and had no kidney beans. So this recipe is a little funny but add and modify for whatever you have in the pantry. I’d be lying if I told you that was my first bowl. It was so good I forgot to take a picture. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to have seconds.
I was going to throw together a quick cornbread mix but realized that our summer time issues with moths had rendered it useless, so I decided to venture to my parents and snag some cornmeal and make it from scratch. It was wonderful and I’ll post that recipe soon. Save some of that bacon fat if you remember
Makes 8 servings
- 1lb Ground Beef
- 1/2lb Bacon, diced (center cut)
- 1T Bacon Drippings Reserved
- 1 Large Onion, diced
- 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 3 Cans of Beans (Black, Pinto, White), drained and rinsed
- 28oz Canned Diced Tomatoes
- 1 can Tomato Paste
- 1c Marinara or Pizza sauce mixed with 1c water (I was short on tomatoes)
- 2T Smoked Paprika
- 2T Ancho Chili Powder (or to taste)
- 1T Cumin, ground
- 1T Mexican Oregano
- 1/4c Brown Sugar
- Maple Syrup (to taste)
- Salt (to taste)
Heat a med/large Dutch oven over Med/High heat and spray with non-stick oil, I use my Misto with olive oil. Brown the ground beef until it is no longer pink. Drain (if desired) the beef and set aside.
Add bacon to pan. Cook until brown and crisp. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and add to beef. Drain drippings except for 1 tablespoon. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender. Add tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add beans and tomatoes and/or tomato sauce. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan.
Add meats and all spices except for maple syrup and salt. Stir and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer covered for at least an hour, more is better. Taste for seasonings and add salt if needed (you might not).
To serve, top with a drizzle of maple syrup, cheddar cheese and sour cream (plain yogurt). Best with a piece of fresh corn bread.
By Kensington Button
I am undoubtedly a “Protein Breakfast Girl” but I LOVE my carbs. During the week I eat egg whites religiously and on the weekends I like to indulge in carbs for breakfast. They hardly ever keep me full and I even sometimes don’t feel great after I eat them, but I LOVE them. Yesterday I decided to have oatmeal and sprinkled some Chia seeds on them. I managed to stay full for hours. I’m not sure if this was the Chia or the fact that I was running around like a mad woman and didn’t have time to eat until I was “hangry” but either way. Something worked.
With my quest to become the world’s
fastest most adequate runner, I’ve been stalking running and fitness blogs. I’ve noticed that a few have been doing voluminous oats, and Courtney has been mixing honey and cinnamon with her PB2. So I took their lead and let my oats sit with chia and water (I’m out of soy/almond milk) and doctored up my PB2 with sugar free syrup and cinnamon. This bowl was amazing! I plan on trying out her voluminous oats recipe next.
For those of you who count those pesky points, this appears to be 6 pp.
- 1/2 cup Oats
- 1T Chia Seeds
- 1 cup Water or Milk (any variety) plus more as needed during cooking
- Pinch of Salt
- 2T PB2
- 2T Sugar Free Syrup divided + 1T Water as needed for PB2
- Pinch of Cinnamon
- 1 Banana Sliced (or smashed)
- 1T Fat Free half & half
In a med/small mixing bowl combine oats, chia seeds, salt and water. Let this sit for 1hr+, from what I’ve read, even over night. When ready, microwave on 50% power for 5 minutes. Stir. Keep cooking on 50% until desired consistency. You might need to add a little more milk or water at this point.
While oats are cooking, mix PB2 and syrup or honey in a small bowl. I added water to thin out a bit. Mix in cinnamon.
Once the oats are done, add banana and PB. I topped mine with a bit of FF half and half and a little more SF syrup.
We’ll see how long they last today. Lots of sewing and crafting to do! Hope you had a lovely weekend!
Tonight’s dinner was amazing. I’m not sure if it’s because I was super hungry or because I wasn’t expecting it to be so good. I’m new to using coconut oil and have been surprised by how much I like it. I actually don’t LOVE coconut. I like coconut milk in Thai and Vietnamese food, but no coconut rum or desserts for this gal. This was my second time using my Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil and next up is using it as a moisturizer.
I thought I would share. So here it is… Enjoy!
Broccoli Tofu Stir Fry
- 1t Virgin Organic Coconut Oil divided
- 4-8 oz tofu
- 1 crown of Broccoli, chopped
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 1 cup sliced carrots
- 2 tbsp minced ginger
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
- 3 tbsp tempura dipping sauce, (or soy sauce) or to taste
- 2 tsp fish sauce, or to taste
- 1 tbsp thai green curry paste
- Salt to taste, optional (likely not needed with sauces)
Prepare tofu by draining and wrapping in a clean towel and press excess water out. You can leave it pressed under a plate with a can on top for 30 minutes if you have time. If not a gentle squeeze will work, but it will take longer to brown. Dice to desired size.
Place 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil in non-stick pan or wok. When hot, add tofu. Cook until brown on all sides. Do not stir often, let each side brown before stirring. This will keep the tofu in tact.
Once brown, remove from pan and set aside. Add remaining oil, let melt. Add onions and let them cook to until lightly browned. Add broccoli and carrots and cook until they begin to turn brightly colored. Add garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes and tofu and cook until fragrant. Add sauces and green curry paste. Warm through.
Serve over quinoa, rice, or noodles.
I’m feeling under the weather and needed some soup. My good friend brought by some Matzo Ball Soup from the restaurant at the country club she works for. It was amazing! But now its gone and I need more soup. I’ve had a jar of 9 or 12 bean mix in my pantry. It was a gift to my dad from a woman at work. He gave it to me a while ago and I just never made it. After rave reviews from a good friend of mine (also received one as a gift but has made it many times since) I decide to make it.
This recipe could easily be adapted for anyone’s taste. Next time I might add more veggies and make it a vegetable bean soup. The ham can easily be omitted if you don’t eat meat, she doesn’t call for meat, so I’m sure it’s good without. I also figured out the Points Plus 2012 numbers, 8 pp for about 2 cups (8 servings). 4 pp is pretty normal for 1c of soup, but who eats only one cup of soup?! Pretty good for a nice big bowl!
I followed her recipe loosely, but here’s what you do:
Arizona Bean Soup
- 2-4 cups of beans. I didn’t measure, but it was a large Ball jar full.
- 6-8 cups of stock, any kind
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 onion chopped
- 12oz turkey ham (thats an arbitrary amount, it’s what I happened to slice off my hunk, you could use a whole pound or less if thats what the package comes in, or use real ham)
- 2 cans of tomatoes, any kind, stewed or diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin, ground
- Soak the beans over night. Then drain when ready to make soup.
- In a large stock pot saute the onions and garlic until fragrant. You could add other vegetables at this point as well.
- Add tomatoes, ham, bay leaf and spices and stir.
- Add the beans and stock. Cook until beans are tender, about 2 hours.
Recipe adapted from Diane Davenport and her delicious holiday gifts
Thanksgiving is a lot of work. I respect all those moms, dads, aunts, uncles, etc who do this every year. Especially those who cook for 20+ people. Phew, its done. But I loved it and will hopefully continue to do it every year. Here’s how it went down.
I made a spread sheet, yes I’m THAT lame, but it helped me organize my thoughts and what needed to be done each day. I also didn’t follow it to a tee (or t). Here is mine, I changed the font to something everyone has: Thanksgiving 2011 (if you like my font, its Print Bold)
Here were my recipes for quick clicking…
- Alton Brown’s Turkey
- Alton Brown’s Gravy, I added about 2 teaspoons of sugar, my wine was VERY dry.
- My own version of Stuffing, the back of the package plus mushrooms. Next year we’ll do something grand.
- Annie’s Eats Rolls. I make them smaller and leave off the seasame seeds. No one knew they were burger buns. I just love the taste of them. Especially warm with butter!
- Cranberry Sauce, I added orange zest and doubled.
- Mark Bittman’s Pumpkin Pie from How to Cook Everything.
- Mark Bittman’s Pie Crust from How to Cook Everything.
- Mark Bittman’s Apple Crumb Pie from How to Cook Everything, adapted a bit. I do not put nuts or lemon juice in the streusel topping.
- My own Brown Butter Almond Green Beans.
- Alton’s Mulled Wine, in a pot, my percolator stops percolating after its warm. Defeats the purpose.
- Home made vanilla cinnamon whipped cream, no recipe needed. Just whip it, and add some vanilla and cinnamon and sugar. Done.
- Mashed Potatoes, made by my lovely Mother-in-Law. She makes them very basic, aka tons of butter. They are amazing.
- Maple Sweet Potatoes with Apples, Cranberries, and Walnuts. Also brought by my Mother-in-Law. They were very good as well.
Some things about the dishes I chose. I was very happy with how everything turned out and tasted. However I would change how I did a few things:
- Do not stuff the turkey. I did not grow up eating a stuffed turkey, but my mother-in-law always does and it seemed to turn out fine and I was informed that this was an important component to the meal. It did not work for me. My turkey was done WAY early, this is probably due to how Alton has you cook it, starting at 500. The stuffing was absolutely raw. So I unstuffed it and put it in a casserole and baked it covered. Worked like a charm. I think as long as I give it lots of flavor and keep it covered, the in-laws will never notice the difference.
- The turkey does not take as long to cook as you might think. Alton is correct in his time estimate, don’t call his bluff. Start the turkey a little later.
- I would use Alton’s gravy recipe again, but skip the schmalz manee step. I didn’t think it added anything. Next year I will use the drippings and make a roux, and call it a day.
- My pie crust wasn’t perfect, I will need to make a few pies this year to practice
- Check your bread flour, mine was rancid, glad I bought another bag. I only realized this once I had made the dough and tasted it. I ended up trashing it and making a whole new batch.
- Check your thermometer. I have a remote digital that I love but I guess it broke since the last time I used it. It thought the turkey was done after 10 minutes. ARGH!!! I ended up using a normal meat thermometer and having to open the oven a few times.
- I wish I had a few more serving dishes.
Brown Butter Green Beans
- 2-3T of butter
- 1LB green beans
- 2-3 sage leaves
- 1/4c slivered or sliced almonds
- 1-2T lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste (I used my grey salt)
- Place green beans in a steamer or microwave. Cook until crisp tender. Do not over cook!
- Place butter in large skillet and cook until it turns golden brown, a few minutes. Add the sage and let them get a bit crispy.
- Add the green beans and almonds and stir to coat. Let the almnods toast a bit.
- Top with a squeeze of lemon and salt and pepper.
Even the hubby liked these. They were nice and bright and flavorful.
I wanted to add this photo of the pie steps. I am not very good at crimping crusts and I decided to add a braid to the edge of the apple pie. The pumpkin had leaves around the edge, but some didn’t stick very well so no pictures.
Overall, I was thrilled. Exhausted but thrilled. I wish I didn’t have to taste things as I went, I wasn’t as hungry as I wanted to be before dinner. I should have eaten a bigger lunch so I would have tasted less. But leftovers the next day were the best part!
I was thrilled to spend time with family, I of course wish I could spend it with more members but I’ll take what I can get! Very thankful for health, happiness and relative prosperity. I hope your Thanksgiving was as lovely as ours!