Monday, January 29, 2007

Banana Crunch Muffins

These I got from Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) and have modified them a little. They are very yummy and sweet - best banana bread type thing I've had!

Banana Crunch Muffins - makes 24 regular size muffins

3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla
2 ripe bananas mashed
1 banana chopped
1 cup diced walnuts
1 cup granola (I used the banana granola from Whole Foods)
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut

350 - grease 2 12count muffin tins or use paper wrappers. But Alton says we are making muffins not cupcakes!
Melt butter in microwave and let cool. Combine all ingredients before the butter and then add the cooled butter. Combine the eggs, milk, vanilla, and mashed bananas. Combine with dry ingredients. Fold in additives. Do not overmix. Top with leftover granola.
Fill each muffin tin about 2/3 of the way and bake for 25-30 minutes or until done in center!

Enjoy these warm - they are much better! :) Even people who didn't like coconut liked them!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Chicken a la King

I cooked this last night for Claudia's b-day dinner. I had to live up to her Aunts and the school she grew up in - that was tough competition. But, she said it was good - so that is all that matters. I kinda took a Food TV recipe and changed it up some. That is what I like about cooking - you can do that. Baking is is not...

Chicken Ala King

1/2 stick butter
1 large shallot
1 container mushrooms, sliced.
6 heaping tbsp of flour
1 1/2 cans of chicken broth, low sodium
1/3 cup dry sherry
3 cups diced cooked chicken
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 box frozen peas
salt, pepper, red pepper
whole wheat egg noodles

Melt butter and saute shallots and mushrooms for about 5 minutes. Add in the flour to make a roux. Then add the sherry, broth, and chicken. Let simmer for about 20 minutes. Add in cream, seasoning, and peas. Let cook for about 10 more minutes.
Meanwhile - boil salted water for egg noodles. Cook till done.
Mix together and enjoy! :)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Green Minestrone Soup

This was fun cooking last night and then tasting the broth on a cold night in Durham. I have changed this recipe from a Rachael Ray recipe that I found on Food Network. It is quite yummy! :)

Green Minestrone Soup

Olive oil (pretty covered on the bottom of a big soup pot)
1/4 lb of pancetta (or proscuitto if you can't find pancetta)
1 med onion, diced
1 zucchini, quartered and chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 can each garbonza and white cannellini beans, well drained
2 boxes low sodium chicken broth
s/p, oregano, garlic powder
1 can of green beans OR 1 pkg frozen chopped asparagus
1 cup mini pasta
3/4 bag of fresh spinach

Heat oil on medium and add diced pancetta for about 2 minutes. Add onion and fresh veggies. Let cook down for about 5 minutes. Add beans and broth and spices. Bring to boil. Add in pasta and either beans or asparagus once boiling. Cook till pasta is done. Add in spinach right at the end. Serve and enjoy. Makes a big pot! :)

Asian Food Week

This week - actually the first half of this week - I had a ton of asian food. My only complaint really was that they only have white rice, empty carbs. Oh, well.

I went to Chai's on Monday with Kristin. We shared edamame - which their's is so good. I don't know if it is the cooking process or the salt - but they are great and healthy! Then I had the chicken rice bowl with Thai yellow curry. I love that stuff. We then got bubble teas - look below for a thought on those. I had my leftover Chai's yesterday for lunch - I actually think it is better warmed up and mixed all together. Flavor melding going on! :)

Tuesday for lunch was Shanghai's with Cortnee. It was ok - not the best Chinese food I've had. The soup was good - but I like Charley's (now out of business in Chapel Hill) corn egg drop better. This didn't have the corn in it. The fried things you put on top were good. I had the Kung Pao chicken with rice. It was good - but nothing to write home about.

Tuesday night I went with Anne to Bali Hai - a Mongolian place in the 9th street district here in Durham. It was very good. Great price, less than 7$ for dinner for a huge portion. You fill your bowl up with all the veggies and meat you could want (all raw) then you tell them what kind of sauce you want and they cook it for you. I had a bowl piled high of veggies and a little bit of meat with a combo sauce of sweet and spicy. I had it medium grade spicy on a scale of 1-10. I enjoyed it very much! It was great.

So, all that being said - I think I'm done with Asian food for a while - but it was good while it lasted.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Calvin and Food

Never thought my two blogs would merge: theology and food. Got this from another blog today

On the subject of food, the esteemed Calvin writes, “If we ponder to what end God created food we shall find that he meant not only to provide for necessity but also for delight and good cheer” (qtd. in Redeeming the Time by Leland Ryken).

Monday, January 22, 2007

New Adventures in Bubble Tea

Went to Chai's today with Kristin - mainly b/c I had to try the bubble tea. Kristin likes them and so did 2 former co-workers, but I had yet to try them. They weren't at all what I expected them to be. It was flavored ice-milk (I got strawberry, she got chai tea) with tapioca balls or "bubbles" on the bottom. It really tastes like a smoothie with gummy bears in it. It was actually quite good. They also had a jelly tea, which I've heard is like jello on the bottom of juice. Don't know about that, but what I had was good. I will plan on making one more trip there before I head out of NC. I don't know of Thai places that serve bubble teas in Lakeland or Orlando...
Thanks Kristin! :)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Grocery Shopping

Today was spent hanging out with my good friend Claudie...we had fun driving around Cary and Raleigh - neither being in a hurry and not afraid to take a wrong turn. We went to Whole Foods on Wade Ave in Raleigh. It is the best one in the area. We got fruit and granola and some turkey. We both raved over the fresh fruit - berries (black, rasp-, and straw-) and pineapple - all were fantastically seasonal and great! :) The best granola we found was a soy granola - with little soy kernels in them. It was so good!
Then we made our way into Cary to try the new Trader Joes - along with the rest of the town of Cary. It was great. My only other one was in Boston - this one was one level and not three. Good prices, much lower than the one in Boston. I found some good cereal, some Mojito sauce that Rach told me to try, and some shrimp. Can't wait to try everything.
I love grocery shopping when I just have time to go around and I'm not in a hurry. Try it some time - grocery shopping without a time limit or grocery list.

Monday, January 08, 2007

B-day week restaurants and food

Boy - it has been a week of eating and more eating (and not enough exercising). But, most of it has been worth it. This is where I went, what I ate, thoughts about it, etc. (Yes, I know I ate too much!)

Starting on New Years (so much for resolutions)...

Ruby Tuesdays - I love their salad bar and it didn't let me down. Craisins and their pumpernickel croutons. yummy! Now, the White Bean Chicken Chili wasn't near as good as mine - so I didn't eat it all. I would say the company was better than the food - the Crums as they traveled stopped to have lunch with me.

Elmos Diner - (pictures on other blog later). Went with my friends Kris, Tonya, Josiah, and Baby Girl/Boy Dixon. Had so much fun. Just a laid back (but busy that day) diner in the 9th Street District of Durham. Had the BLT, fries, and an Oreo Shake. The only thing worth it was the shake - and boy was it yummy!

Chai's Noodle Bar (Thai Food) - went here with Rachael as she couldn't be in town for my b-day (duty calls). We split the edamame - which is so good! I had the thai yellow curry with chicken and she had sesame chicken (not very Thai-y Rach). Mine was good, a little too spicy I think that night. Rach's was good and since she was going out of town I had some leftovers for the week. Melissa used to work here and that is how I know about it. I'm getting some Bubble tea there before heading out of Thai-food world!

George's Garage (across from Elmo's) was great. Vic loved the hummus and sandwich - what I always get (thanks for MG and CG for the suggestion. We also got 2 bites of chocolate cake each - dried out. So, I won't waste those calories. And I got a root beer - not diet. That was good too - very worth it! Vic even told her mother about the hummus - it was that good!

Outback Steakhouse - Man, it was great. I hadn't been to one in about 2 years - since I lived in Raleigh. I used to go there all the time. Claudia and I enjoyed a much shorter wait than expected, and great food. I got the outback special. I learned a while ago to ask for my steak medium well and butterflied (allows for more cooking since there is more surface space, but not as thick). It was so good. Had a salad and veggies. Two splurges were the apple cobbler - new and yummy and the cheese fries - amazing. Well worth the calories! There was protein in it too! Thank you Claudia!
I also went there in Richmond with Felicity this weekend. It was good too. I was a little better. Got a smaller steak (cooked the same way), salad, and veggies. No potatoes this time. While watching Colts Playoff Football - good game!

Rudinos - This is a great pizza and "grinder" place in Durham and the rest of the triangle. I found it after church one Sunday. Since it was Matt's and my b-day in the office we got that brought in for lunch. I had a New Mexico Chicken Grinder. It was good with cheese and peppers and the whatnot, bread was great - but it would have been better at the restaurant due to the hot factor of the sandwich.

The Cheesecake Factory - I wait all year for this. The Dulce Le Leche Cheesecake. It was well worth the wait and I ate every bit of it. Vern got the PB cup cheesecake - it was too rich. Kase got the Chocolate Mousse CK - it was better, but too chocolaty for me. Yummy! Pictures of this are on the other blog as well

Don Jose's Mexican Place - This was the whole trip to Richmond. We had great food (the white sauce is amazing) even though it took forever to get our food - we were scarfing down the chips. I had a chicken Quesadilla and beans - Felicity had a taco salad. yummy. Sorry - no website for this, but it is on Hull Street in Chesterfield VA (just south of Richmond). Well worth a 2 hour drive from Durham.

ColdStone Creamery - We had this as my b-day dessert on Saturday night after Outback. It was so good. I haven't had any of their ice cream in probably 2 years since before gallbladder surgery I couldn't eat milk products due to the pain. I had the french vanilla with strawberries and graham crackers in a waffle bowl - yummy. It was so good and the fact that it didn't hurt my tummy was worth it too!

Bodo's Bagels - Veronica has been telling me about this place for years, so I finally went. Gorgeous "grounds" of UVA is a perfect setting for soft, fresh warm (not chewy), high (not as big of round) bagels. I had the whole wheat with peanut butter and honey. It was worth the hour drive to Charlottesville (from Richmond) and I'm glad Vern told me about them.

So...after all I have to eat normal again and exercise. But - your b-day only comes around once a year - and 30 only comes around once in a lifetime! Live it up! To end it tomorrow (but healthier), but tonight is the game GO GATORS and tomorrow night is Red Robin sharing with Laura!