Sunday, April 13, 2014

Weddings

You might not know this about us, but we love weddings.  What is more fun than an event with food, drinks, music and friends and/ or family celebrating love?  I personally think that people should hire us to come to their wedding.  Are people not dancing?  We will get them to dance.  And keep them dancing.  Contact me if you are interested in our services.

We had a lovely and exciting weekend celebrating and eating and be merry.  Today is a day of domestics and recovery and getting ready for the new week.  It was 81 degrees yesterday and it felt like we emerged from a cocoon.  We went into the city and had sushi with some lovely friends and were reminded of how wonderful Chicago is the in the summer.  Now it is raining and they are calling for a little snow tomorrow.  So the spring goes.

Tonight I am making these mustard chicken thighs.  I love this recipe that my dear friend Vanessa introduced me to.  I do, however, hate the name of the recipe.  (Is this 1950?)  I am making them with Ina's roasted potatoes and roasted cauliflower.  I recently started roasting all veggies in the oven as my preferred method of cooking.  Slathering their little veggie bodies in olive oil and salt and pepper and roasting in a baking dish with a lid on.  How did I ever do anything else?  One of the best veggies roasted in olive oil is broccoli.  Trader Joe's also sells a lovely mix of kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and other veggies that is so good roasted.  Never boil or steam your veggies again!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Shrimp and Avocado Salad

I feel like Monday is the day of the week that I want to eat the healthiest meal.  The week gets progressively less healthy until the next weekend, when it's time to indulge.  I also get home earlier on Monday, so I am usually up for trying a new or more complex recipe.  Tonight I am making Giada's Shrimp and Avocado salad over quinoa.  The "Frico" chips online were not a part of the cookbook recipe, so they were not included.  (Have you ever heard of Frico chips?  I have not.)

Now that I think about it, tomorrow is not the second healthiest day of my meal week this week.  I've prepared Ina's turkey lasagna to be thrown in the oven tomorrow.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I usually get home around 9pm, so I try to leave some easier things for my lovely husband to make.  If only we had a personal chef.  Who would clean our house.

This lasagna recipe did remind me of a little kitchen tip: saving tomato paste.  I hate buying a whole can (even though it's a tiny can) of tomato paste to only throw it away.  There are also tubes of it at some stores, but I still end up throwing most of those away.  I have started dividing the can up in tablespoons and freezing them.  Then I just throw in as much as I need for the recipe.  I do the same thing with cans of chipotle peppers.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Chicken Saltimbocca

First wold problems: I need vin santo for a chicken saltimbocca recipe!  (Actually, for a recipe that Jim is making me while I lounge with glass of wine.)  The tense should be "needed" as after driving thirty minutes to Binny's, I found out a half bottle of the sweet wine is $25- $30.  During the course of this trip, I found out fun facts from the wine man at the store such as Thomas Jefferson loved Madeira.  In the end, we are going with the marsala wine we had in the pantry.  It may not be the same, but I don't think I'll ever know as I'll mostly be devouring the cured pork that envelopes the chicken cutlets.  Not everyone has the pocketbook of Mario Batali.

It feels like spring might be here (although it did snow a tiny bit while I walked the dog yesterday.)  I think it climbed into the lower 50s and people were outside running, walking, biking, eating ice cream, and being happy.  We opened the windows at home and could hear the birds singing all day.  It was a long, hard winter, but we seem to be emerging!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Spring


Confession: I bought these daffodils at Trader Joe's.  Do not think that they are growing in abundance outdoors.

I received a message from a lovely lady that she misses my blog.  Thank you!  My goal is to try to revive the blog.  My list of blog excuses includes working a lot, being busy, not having much to write about, blah, blah, blah.

Life seems to be (finally) thawing after a cold and snowy winter.  Our first winter back was a good wake up call.  The Midwest is home to a hardy people.

Our little family is doing quite well.  I've been cooking yummy things as usual.  Yesterday I made the Pioneer Woman's Spicy Shredded Pork.  It's a great way to make carnitas or pulled pork.  Last night I served it as tacos with home made guacamole.  It was quite divine.  

I hope you all are having a lovely spring!


Monday, January 6, 2014

Arctic Vortex

I think that's what the news said we are in.  An arctic vortex.  Sounds scary, doesn't it.  We are in the midst of a winter weather/ wind chill advisory.  When I awoke, my phone said the temperature was -18 and the news said the wind chill was around -42.  Luckily, my employer cancelled our evening classes and I was able to stay home for the day.  Trooper has been dozing away and I have stayed busy with reading, crafting, cleaning and yoga.  Although I like to go to work, a bonus day off isn't bad every once in awhile.  By tomorrow, I am sure I will have ants in my pants and cabin fever and be glad to get back to work.

These are days when it's nice to be thankful for our warm and cozy apartment, our little fireplace and big cozy couch, leftover soup for dinner and defrosted gingerbread for snacks.  And a puppy friend to keep me company.  Stay warm, dear friends!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Mini Egg White Fritatas

As most of you know, we are hungry people.  I have started making egg white mini fritatas again, as I did when I was training for the marathon last year.  Luckily, they have not induced PTSD.  Yet.
They are super easy to make and a good way to add a lean protein to your breakfast or for a snack.  Jim crumbles his over his oatmeal in the morning and tops all of it with salsa.

Mini Egg White Fritatas

Ingredients:

One container egg whites (I buy Trader Joe's 16 oz cage free) or the equivalent in egg whites (a great way to use any yolks to use in aiolis!)
Any fillers you want!  Last week I heated up a cup of frozen spinach and diced a tomato.  I have also use broccoli, onion, etc., etc.Shredded cheese (optional)
Crushed Red Pepper

Preheat oven to 425

Line muffin tin with liners (if you opt to not use liners, you'll have quite an annoying clean up!)
Divide veggie fillers evenly among cups
Divide egg whites evenly among cups
Sprinkle with cheese and crushed red pepper

Bake for 15 minutes or until egg whites have set.

Keep in fridge and enjoy!

I noticed on 100 Days of Real Food that they reposted their mini pledges for the year.  They are great reminders and ideas for eating for 2014!  One of my goals is to eat less sweeteners.  I try to never eat artificial sweeteners (unless I'm cornered or hoodwinked) but I feel I could even reduce the amount of real sugar in my diet.  On that note, I'll probably bake a large pan of brownies in the next week.  Yolo, I guess.  (Sorry,  pancreas.)

My other issue: no deep fried foods is on the list.  Ha!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Crock Pots

Do you use your Crock Pot?

I will be honest, we don't use it too much.  There are a few reasons.  First of all, I have an irrational fear of leaving it on while we aren't home.  Rather silly, as the whole point of a Crock Pot is that you can leave them unattended.  However, I was reading reviews of Crock Pots online and someone said there's shorted and sparked and caught fire.  Maybe that review as from Communist Russia circa 1080, who knows.  I also don't like to leave it on when the dog is home alone, as I feel it's cruel and unusual punishment for him to smell delicious meats cooking all day.  One of the other reasons I don't use it too much is because all of the food sort of starts to taste alike after while.  And if you aren't careful, all of a sudden you have a weird witch's brew on your hands with chicken tibias floating to the surface.  I did have someone suggest to me that I could cook in the Crock Pot at night while we are sleeping and then just reheat the food for dinner.  I am open to that.

But I do like Rachael Ray's crock pot recipes.  They are usually tasty and involve putting"toppers" on when you serve, giving your food a fresher taste.  Tonight I made her Asian Pepper Steak.  The directions make it seem like she cooks the rice in the Crock Pot (the picture doesn't seem that way) but I do cook it separately.  I also added cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, and a cup of water to keep everything submerged while cooking.

Otherwise we had a lovely little Sunday.  We took the doggie to a near by forest preserve and went on a long walk in the woods.  I took a bath and was in my jammies by 2pm!  I spent a lot of time reading (currently reading The Lowlands by Jhumpa Lahiri) and Jim spent a lot of time yelling at the Bears.  We both have Tuesday and Wednesday off and I am only working an hour on Thursday.  Should be a nice New Years week.