Friday, January 29, 2010

Menu Week: Feb 1

Wow - birthday month is finally over and life can go on. We are already in the second year of the new decade! Time flies.
I will still have some leftovers from previous week: I love how stews and soups last forever! Red Wine Beef Stew and Curried Vegetables will continue to be on the menu this week.
Monday I will hopefully be having Pei Wei leftovers from my dinner in Brentwood on Sunday night - can't wait, it will be my first time!
We have a faculty meeting this week so I have something to bring goodies to: Salted Peanut Bars from Quick and Easy Recipes.
I'll be eating salads, soups, and easy breakfasts.
Saturday I am having dinner with a sweet family. Sunday another lunch with a great young family doing good things in ministry.
Then, for the Super Bowl (GO COLTS) a friend and I are getting together with good food. I have the NFC so that means I have to cook something related to New Orleans. Instead of copping out and just going by JGumbo's and picking up bourbon chicken, I found a recipe for it - so I'm going to make my own! Lorrie has the AFC and is bringing Orville Redenbacher popcorn and oreos (for the Mannings/Trump commercial). We are also having salad (me) and rice (lorrie) with our bourbon chicken. Should be a good night: who can pass up popcorn and oreos?
What is your favorite Super Bowl food?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 5 of Oats: Pumpkin Cranberry White Chocolate

I think I saved the best for last. This was yummy - reminded me of fall. Oh, I like fall much better than winter - but so be it! At least I can remember warmer temps with my bowl of goodness in the morning!

1/3 cup oats
1/2 plus a little more cup water
2 tsp white chocolate wonderful (PB&CO)
10 dried cranberries
1 T pumpkin

So good! Enjoy!

Product Review: Ciao Bella Sorbet

Love. This. Stuff.
Whole Foods comes through in little individual containers of yummy goodness!
Ciao Bella is a gelato place in NYC (they have some great stuff don't they) - and they send their sorbet to my Whole Foods here in Louisville.
I tried the Sicilian Blood Orange flavor of sorbet. For 100 calories - amazing. I felt like I was eating a blood orange with a spoon. I also put a scoop of free cool whip and a sprinkle of coconut on top - just for textural and temperature changes (important in my consumption of cold things).
1. With this, I don't have to wait till the oranges are in season
2. I don't have to be in Florida to get good oranges when I have this stuff.
3. It was cold - which felt good on my sore throat
4. It was better for me than ice cream.
5. I will be trying other flavors.

Yum - hey Ciao Bella people - got any coupons?

Red Wine Beef Stew

I made some yummy and healthy beef stew this weekend. Its good when you are sick, having company over, need something to last you all week, and to use up some yummy Sweet Red wine that is in the fridge. I picked up some good stuff at Trader Joes last weekend and this was a good use for it.

1.5 lbs lean beef chopped for stew
8 cups broth and wine combined (I used 7 cups chicken stock and 1 cup red wine)
1 onion, chopped
3 lbs red potatoes, chopped left skin on
2 carrots, chopped
5 celery stalks, chopped, plus leaves
2 T dried italian herbs
2 T worcestershire sauce
s/p to taste
Sear meat on both sides. Simmer in 4 cups of stock for 1 hour. Add all veggies, herbs, and rest of stock and wine. Let simmer for another 1 hr to 90 minutes. Eat with some bread.
We had 5 grain bread from Plehns (nearby bakery), a strawberry, walnut, feta, salad, and oreo cheesecake (bday celebration) for dessert. Then I went out and walked 2.5 miles!

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Chocolate Pepita Muffins

I needed to use up a bit of a can of pumpkin so this was a great recipe to do it. I was a little doubtful when these came out of the oven, but the chocolate really made these!

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 T raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds, you can find in bulk bins at Whole Foods)
3/4 60% Ghiradelli chocolate bar, chopped

Combine wet. Combine dry. Add wet to dry. Fold in chocolate. Put in 12 greased (I use silicon liners) muffin tins. Sprinkle pepitas on top.
Bake at 400 for 18 minutes.
Serve warm. I'm sure Dark Chocolate Dreams would be amazing on the top of these (instead of butter). These are going to the office too!
220 cal, 10 fat, 1.5 fiber

Orange Molasses Cookies (2010.4)

I love healthy cooking magazines that don't always use the light version of everything. I want healthy stuff - not fat free or "light stuff". Eating Well is that magazine for me. A lot of their ingredients are either less of stuff or natural stuff. I like it. I love these cookies. I halved the recipe and changed it a little bit, but these are so good. I am glad these are going to the office tomorrow.

3/4 cup oats - put in a blender and ground semi-fine
2.5 T unsalted butter, softened
1/6 cup sugar
1/6 cup brown sugar
zest of one naval orange
1/4 cup molasses
3.5 T all natural applesauce
1/2 large egg yolk (scramble egg yolk, then just pour in half of it)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp soda
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg (I didn't have any ginger)
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp allspice (I added more of this and left out the pepper)
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/8 cup whole wheat flour
Turbinado sugar to roll cookies in

Cream wet ingredients. Add in dry. Roll cookies in turbinado sugar. Bake at 375 on greased sheets for 9 minutes.
I love the orange flavor that comes out in the first bite - wow - orange! :)
About 76 calories a cookie, 2 fat, 1 fiber.

Chocolate Cherry Pistachio Oatmeal Cookies (2010.3)

Bon Appetit comes through again for this week's recipe. I really love their cooking magazine. I halved the recipes and made it my own by adding some chopped pistachios - and the review I got "These are great, just what I needed, something a little sweet". The only thing that puzzled me about these were the timing. I couldn't get it just right - but they were still good. This version of the recipe makes about 2 dozen.

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla (I upped it some from original amount)
1 egg
1 cup oats
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup dried cherries (next time I would chop these before putting them in)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pistachios

Cream the first three. Add in egg and vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients. Fold in the additions.
Bake on greased cookie sheets at 375 for anywhere from 10-13 minutes, just watch them so they don't burn.
These were good. I would make them again.
118 cal, 6 fat, 1 fiber

Curried Vegetables

I found a similar recipe in food blog land, and tweaked it to fit my kitchen today! This will be a very healthy bowl of yummy goodness all week for lunch or dinner.

1 large baking potato - chopped (I left skin on)
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 carrot, diced into pennies
1 zucchini - cut into half moons
1 squash - cut into half moons
1 onion, chopped
1 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup blush wine
2 T curry powder
1 tsp sriracha sauce
1 tsp evoo

Add all to a big skillet and let go for about an hour, stirring every so often, on a high simmer - till all veggies are done.
Serve as is - or over spaghetti squash, couscous, anything you want.

Sauteed Beet Greens

I love it when you get two side dishes out of one ingredient! And I love the colors that God brings us in his own creation!
These were delicious. A tad bit bitter, but so good and healthy!

1 bunch of beet greens, chopped - stems and all
1/2 onion, slices
1/2 cup blush wine
2 tsp evoo
1 garlic clove

Heat evoo and onions. Add in garlic (finely chopped or use a zester). Add in wine and let simmer. Add in beet greens and cook on medium for about 7-10 minutes.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Week of Oats: Day 4 - Chocolate Banana

Since I am definitely feeling under the weather I went for a tried and true recipe this morning as I dragged myself to work.

1/3 cup oats
1/2 cup water
2 tsp chocolate peanut butter dreams
3/4 of a banana (the other 1/4 of it was bad)

So good - especially laying on my new couch while eating it! Washed down with a glass of water and some vitacraves gummy multivitamins.

Check back for my last day of oats tomorrow.

Menu Week: Jan 25

I am excited about this week in cooking and eating. Pretend like this is being written on Monday morning (but I am writing it now so I can go grocery shopping on Saturday afternoon):
Coming off a great weekend of baking and getting some rest (I'm in the midst of a cold) - I am grateful that I have an office of professors and co-workers to bring yummy treats to. I promise I am not breathing on the food!
Orange Molasses Cookies
Dark Cherry Pistachio Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Pumpkin Chocolate Muffins
I will be eating leftovers this week: beef stew, pinto bean stew, curried veggies, salads.
Breakfast (coming off my delicious week of oats) will be vegan spiced banana pancakes all week - YUM!
I am taking dinner to friend's of mine who just had sweet baby Noah: chicken pot pie, salad, Best of Fall cookies (by request).
Recipe of the week is the afore mentioned Orange Molasses Cookies
Weekend will be in Nashville suburbs of Brentwood and Murfreesboro with new and old friends. I'm bringing with my Ghirardelli's Chocolate cookies for my friend who is pregnant. And get to eat out with some cool people while I'm there - so definitely check back after next weekend for my review of what we find!
The next couple of weeks will be spent clearing out the freezer because money will be tight. I have to pay my car tax - fun, huh! :) But, thankful to God I don't have to dip into savings to do it!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 3 of Oats: Apple Peanut Butter Oats

A few months ago I bought a bag of dried apples at Whole Foods for some granola I was making. After many little snacks of the leftovers, I finally had about a tsp left in the baggy. Not wanting them to go to waste, I thought of my morning bowl of oats. This bowl may even inspire a cookie!

1/3 cup oats
1/2 cup water
1 tsp dried apples
1 T crunchy salted Trader Joe's pb.

I liked it a little thicker this morning. It was good. Even being sick...
4 points. - under 200 calories

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Week of Oats: Day 2 - Egg White Oats

One thing about reading food blogs - you make things you would never even DREAM of making. I tried a new bowl of oats this morning. Honestly - it wasn't my favorite - but I might try it a little different at least one more morning.

1/3 cup oats
2 egg whites
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup pumpkin
1 1/2 tsp pb (from Trader Joes - crunchy salted. Just nuts and salt. Good stuff! Actually tastes like peanut butter)
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Cook oats/eggs/water for about 1.35. Stir well the other ingredients into it. Eat. These are filling. Just not sweet enough for me. We'll see... Any tips? These are very healthy too:
227 cal, 6 fat, 6 fiber = 4 points

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Taste of Chicago - Grand Lux Cafe

We thought the bags looked pretty familiar when we walked in - we were right - this place is owned by the same folks who own Cheesecake Factory. You know its going to be good. And it was next door to Ann Taylor - so how bad could it bed? And it had a wait at 4pm? We only waited about 15 minutes and when we walked out - it was about an hour wait. Glad we got there early!
I was not anticipating a sit-down nice restaurant when I heard about this place from a friend just based on the name alone. I'm so glad we stopped there.
We had their bread - very good. I took lots of photos. I dropped my knife and fork - silly me. The tables were completely on top of each other, but people know how to dine. I couldn't tell you what the other folks were talking about at their table. Most of the time people talk so loud at restaurants. Our first waiter wasn't all that, but halfway through they changed shifts and our waitress was much better.
To start off with - the Edamame: stir fried with Spicy Szechwan Sauce. SO GOOD! Better than Chais in Durham (gasp!)
Then, Janel got the soup of the day - a chicken chowder with veggies. I took a bite - good and warm on a cold day.
I got the mini goat cheese and mushroom pizza. This was not mini (about 7 inches by 3 inches) and was only 4.95 and was AMAZING. I would go back there every time and order this.
For dessert (and take home): New Orleans Beignets Served Warm with Three Sauces (a creme anglaise (close your eyes and savor the warmth and richness good), chocolate, and raspberry. They were warm and yummy. Thanks Kathy for the suggestion.
This place was definitely the best place I ate all weekend and I would gladly go there again! :)

Pinto Bean Soup

I got inspired for more soup - and a cooked bag of pinto beans that I needed to use.
So, I threw this together last night when I got home from Chicago and look forward to eating it this week - and I froze a tub of it too.

5 cups cooked pinto beans (or however many you like)
2 cups chicken broth (a cool whip container of homemade broth)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 can of stewed tomatoes
red pepper flakes
sea salt
1 cup medium picante sauce

Mix all and heat through till boiling. I took a potato masher to it to make it a little thicker. Pretty good. You can add some hot sauce or some sausage would be a good way to change this soup up. Cheap, healthy, good.

Week of Oats - Day 1

This week I'm trying something I did last week with smoothies - week of oats - where I eat oats every day this week for breakfast and see how it makes me feel. Just saying that I feel like the pit of despair in the Princess Bride. Do you know what I mean?

Anyway, first day:

1/3 cup oats
2/3 cup water
1 T dark chocolate pb
1/2 banana

SO GOOD! Filling - hmmm, we'll see. Maybe I'll try some steel cut oats or maybe egg white oats...

Day 5 Green Smoothie and Recap

Ok - here is my last smoothie for the week of smoothies:

1/4 apple
1/2 banana
1/2 cara cara orange
1 1/2 tsp ground flax
1 1/3 cup water
1 cup spinach
3/4 cup kale
3/4 cup frozen strawberries

Mix all.
Very good - not too sweet.

I like the low-cal, heavy fiber, portability of green smoothies.
I like the quickness of them in the morning.
I like all the veggies and fruits you are getting first thing in the morning.
I would like more protein in mine - I usually pair it with pb on a thin or something. PB in the morning is so good.
Now, for the week of oats.

Taste of Wheaton: Butterfield's Pancake House

Love the internet. It created a safe haven for Janel and I to venture into suburbia for lunch after church. Though it didn't disappoint, it didn't exceed my expectations. It was good. Not fabulous.

Janel got the hash with chorizo, tomatoes, avocado, potatoes. It was good - there was other stuff in it too. She said it could have used less chorizo and more tomotoes. Came with an english muffin - which I had.

I got the acclaimed heart heathy Caramalized Banana Steel Cut oats. A huge bowl - massive. Good, but very sweet. Basically - a big bowl of steel cut oats - which I love. With a banana chopped up on top, sugar blowtorched on it - with a runny caramel sauce below. Good, sweet - filling.

Do I need to go back if I'm in the area - no not really. Good for lunch on a Sunday afternoon - yes. Very quick service and cheap (under 10$). So there you go.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Menu Week: January 18

Since I am going to be out having fun this wknd in the Chicago area with my friend, I thought I would go ahead and post the menu for next week.
I am doing good so far. Spending less money on food. Cooking more legumes. This week I am doing well at the start of cleaning out the freezer work that I will need to do in the next 2 months.
So, here goes:
Leftovers: hummus pancakes (yum!)
Monday: brunch in Chicago with Janel and then probably a hummus pancake on an arthur's thin when I get home.
I am housesitting all next week for some friends so I want something easy and portable that I can just grab or eat in bowls.
All breakfast: oats - saving money, healthy, and filling (and versatile) - T-Friday. Saturday will be tea and muffins I think with a friend over a book review
Lunch: curried vegetables from a recipe that I am adapting from Crostini and Chianti. Yummy and healthy - even without the couscous. Just give me a bowl
Wednesday I'm hitting the salad bar at Jason's Deli with a friend of mine - taking a break from work and I haven't been to the new one yet.
Saturday - beef stew from The Kitchn - using some steak and roast that I have in the freezer - full of veggies. And my friend is bringing a late bday offering - oreo cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory. Yes, there will be some running after that meal. And I have some bread in the freezer we are going to use to sop up all the goodness in the beef stew.
Recipe of the week is from Bon Appetit - Dried Cherry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies. I am halving the recipe - and it will still make a lot - plenty for a plate for the office.
I am looking forward to picking up a few good finds in Trader Joes on Sunday - and dreaming of the day when I live within easy shopping distance of a TJ again!

Day of Green Smoothie - 4

This one was so quick this morning - and yummy and healthy - because I woke up late. Already drank half of it before leaving the house (with oats in a jar/ 1/2 banana) and sipping on the other half in my SBTS insulated tumbler.

1/4 red apple
1/2 naval orange
1/2 banana
2 small pieces mango
3/4 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup spinach
2 stalks kale
1 1/2 cup water

You know what to do. Blend away! Enjoy!
150, .5, 7 fiber = 2 points, and a ton of veggies!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Blueberry Orange Scones (2010.2)

My friend Sarah and I went to a bummer of a cooking show last year. Neither one of us were impressed. The two best parts of the evening were the free magazine subscription and eating out at Old Spaghetti Factory that night in dtown Ville.
One of the recipes I got from Healthy Cooking over the summer was this one. Here are my thoughts: healthier than most scones, easy, doesn't look at all like the picture, not too muc orange flavor, love the picture that I took. Pretty with blueberry layers! I overcooked them a bit, but SBTS PhD students didn't seem to mind and they are all gone.
2 cups flour
3 T sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp grated orange peel
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp soda
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 stick cold unsalted butter, chopped up
1/2 cup skim milk (I didn't feel like making buttermilk, so this worked fine)
1/4 cup fresh squeezed naval orange juice
1/2 cup frozen blueberries (I picked these this summer)
Mix all dry. Cut in butter. Combine juice and milk. Fold in berries. Knead a little. Cut into 8 triangles and cook on greased cookie sheet for 12 minutes at 425. Take out and enjoy warm.
200 c, 6 fat, 1 fiber (use whole wheat flour if you want more).

Chickpea Burgers

These really should have a different name. I considered Hummus Pancakes or something fun like that, but ok - I'll leave it at that.
Always skeptical, but I shouldn't be. I love chickpeas. What I really love about these is their nutrition benefit and healthiness, the green onions, and their simplicity.
I got inspired by the recipe on Heather's blog - thanks for the recipe!

Makes 8 patties - 8 servings

2 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
4 scallions, chopped
1 egg
3/4 cup water
2 T flour
scant 3/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
spray olive oil (instead of regular - saves fat and calories)

I start with dry beans. Last week I took the time to cook (and mostly peel) a bag of dry garbanzo beans. Takes over night soak (no hands on time) and about 80 minutes to cook them. I really like that I can choose how done I want them. With cans, you worry about doneness and sodium.
Put all ingredients into a food processor. Let it go till combined. Spray flat griddle with olive and using a ice cream scoop - scoop these out and shape into "burgers".
Flip them after a few minutes - you'll know when they are ready - and then keep checking doneness.
These are really good and I'm going to have my first one (not just sampling) tonight for dinner.
235 calores, 4 fat, 11 protein - so filling!

Day 3 of Green (Blue) Smoothies

This morning my smoothie ended up being blue - blueberries are potent! Mine was thick and sweet. The blender seemed extra loud to me this morning, so I didn't mix it as much. Still so good - and I cranked it all into a calculator - 145c, .5 f, 6 fiber! I also had a pb thin which was good and so I'll be full for a good bit!

1/4 red delicious apple
1/2 banana
1/2 naval orange (I used the juice of it last night for some scones, recipe coming later)
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1 1/2 cup spinach
2 small stalks kale
1 1/4 cup water

Mix all. Enjoy.

Since I forgot the ground flax seed - I sprinkled some on my pb thin this morning - added a little texture!
Happy Breakfasting no matter what color your smoothies!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 2 of Green Smoothies

I am trying Green smoothies for 5 days in a row this week. So far, yesterday, I was fuller all day (which basically means I needed less to fill me up once I got hungry again - if that makes any sense at all).
Here was my smoothie this morning
1/4 red delicious apple
1 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 small banana
2 small branches kale
1 1/2 cups spinach
2 tsp ground flax
1 1/2 cups water

Not as sweet as yesterdays, but good - and healthy for me.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My first green smoothie

Actually, it is just my first time making it in my own kitchen. I had one back in November from my friend Rachael in Wake Forest, then I made one for my Dad over Thanksgiving. But, I used my brand new red black and decker blender I got at Kohls after Thanksgiving for 27$. Much cheaper than a VitaMixer for right now.

My friend Becca was coming over. This thing is so healthy and good for you and filling and low in points (if doing weight watchers). I've also listed the health benefits of what I threw in:

1/2 large red delicious apple:

1 cara cara orange from tree in parents yard:

1 small banana:

3/4 cup frozen strawberries (picked from Huber's this summer and frozen):

1/8 cup cut mango:

2.5 stalks of kale:

3 cups fresh baby spinach:

1/2 cup water:

1 T ground flax seed:

I blended the water and apple first, then did it all in that order till it was ready to go! My blender worked fabulously!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Menu Week: Jan 11

Another week starts - and after everything I ate yesterday I feel like I never wanna eat again - but I already had breakfast so that didn't last very long.
Here we go:
Smoothies for 5 days for breakfast - green ones. Can't wait. Starting it off tomorrow morning with one with Becca.
Tonight is arthurs thin with pb and banana (unless I eat my banana early and then it will just be plain).
Tuesday is lunch with my friend Brandi - I just don't know where yet. Should be yummy no matter what it is!
I won't be able to get to the grocery store until tomorrow night (Tuesday), so will be doing leftover soup or Progressor Soup till then.
Heading to Bux tonight with a friend so I think I'll just do water and maybe 1 dark chocolate graham, we'll see how the day goes.
Recipe of the week out of a magazine is orange blueberry scones - make them for some doctoral students at my work. They should enjoy them.
W-F dinners will be egg white omelette salads with other yummy veggies or beans on them.
I will try making these chick pea burgers probably Wed night. Can't wait to try them.
Sat and Sunday (Lord willing no 8-9 feet of snow), I'll make my way to Chicago and Wheaton to hang out with Janel! Whoohoooo! :) I've been praying away the snow - at least a lot of it. Good eats up there. If I go, there will be a run down of Chicago eats! If I don't go, no, we won't even speculate!
Enjoy! What are you making and eating this week?

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Apple Barley Breakfast Cereal (2010.1)

2010 has arrived in full fashion. This year is the year of using all those recipes that I clip out of magazines - I have a TON! So, this week was something for breakfast (or I made it for breakfast).

1/2 cup barley - quick cooking
1 cup water (just follow directions on box)
1 apple (I used braeburn)
1 tsp unsalted butter
sprinkle of cinnamon
1 T lemon juice
1/8 tsp sugar

Cook barley. Saute apple in butter (chopped, I left peel on), sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and stir in lemon juice. Mix all together.
I eat mine cold with 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt on top and some cool whip. Good.
Unfortunately, not very filling which I'm surprised. But, good none the less and relatively healthy.
This recipe came from Cuisine At Home magazine. This definitely wasn't a keeper - but one to try nonetheless. And gets me trying new grains. And I had everything on hand as well.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Birthday Eats

no wonder I have a few pounds to shed after a 2 weeks of celebrating my birthday. Look at all the yummy stuff that was put in front of me! :) All was very good. But, my body doesn't perform well after all that eats - just taught me more lessons!

Baked Ziti, garlic bread, Publix yummy desserts and ice cream (Blue Bell frozen yogurt)
Red Robin
Lynn's Paradise Cafe

And may or may not have had any york peppermint patties or dark chocolate covered cherries that are in my house! :)
But, you only turn 33 once. And I've already dissed all those extra pounds - from the bday).

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Progresso Souper You Giveaway

Welcome to the first giveaway of the New Year. And if you are like many of Americans that make "health" resolutions at the beginning of every new year, then this giveaway is for you!
Progresso is doing a contest and here is their description of it:
Celebrate the New Year and a new you with Progresso Light and 100 Calorie Soups because from January 4 through March 15th, you and your readers can visit to enter the Progresso “Souper You Debut” contest for the chance to win a full makeover in New York City.

My Blog Spark is hosting a giveaway for blog readers! Yesterday, when I got back in the office, I had a huge box waiting for me. It had 15 cans of wonderful, yummy, healthy (some vegetarian), Progresso Soups. I don't have to buy lunches for a long time (which definitely helps out the checking account)! It also came with a beautiful blue Progresso Soup mug that had a nifty handle that fit one's thumb perfectly (for quality gripping when you are serving up a hot bowl of soup). Also included, to help with those fitness goals, was an automatic jump rope (which counted the turns for you and other information).

So, if you would like to help out your menu planning, check book, activity calendar, anything, just leave me a message saying what your fave soup is (and if it homemade, please share a recipe, because I love soups). You could win all that was mentioned above. I'll randomly pick a winner by Sunday night at 9pm. Thanks!
And, while you are on this blog, look over to the right and scroll down - I've got some yummy soups on there (I love soups year round!)

Thanks - and happy Soup-ing!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Menu Week: Jan 4

First menu week of the new year! Happy 2010. I am excited about continuing with my menu planning. Though I don't stick to it perfectly, it does help with the costs of food. It will also help me with eating more of a vegetarian diet and not wasting as much food. Up for more challenges during 010!
Monday: Birthday (hint: not vegetarian): Red Robin (not lowfat either). But, I only go 1-2 times a year, I enjoy it, I eat healthy the rest of the day, and I exercise. I don't feel bad about it. Bring on my free birthday burger!
Thursday: lunch with a friend, but in order to save some money, I'll be bringing my leftovers to enjoy.
Saturday: coffee out with a friend, or maybe dinner.
Sunday: in E-town all day so will be enjoying lunch with friends.
Here is what I am making this week: and leftovers I have:
Leftovers: Easy Ranch Can Chicken Chili (also not vegetarian, but lean chicken and mostly veggies), chopped chicken, mustard greens
What I am cooking: bran cran-apple muffins, garlicky pinto beans (from Real Simple and Carrots N Cake), sweet potato fries.
To supplement: greens, fresh cara cara oranges from the home in Lakeland, the last asian pear, oats, more veggies I can find on sale at Walmart and WF, carrots and probably some hummus I will make (must buy tahini as I had tahini explosion in my suitcase).
Love a new beginning - new sense of direction and optimism and time of detox after eating way too much for the holidays. More pictures coming this week too. My internet at home will be spotty now till the end of March, so you'll have to bear with me - pictures may be slow in coming, but they will come - I promise!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Easy Ranch Can Chili

This is a great recipe for a cold night, busy night, for those of you who like to cook, but don't like to cook. I altered this recipe from the Butterfly Garden Cafe cookbook (a tea room/restaurant here in Louisville). You can easily make this vegetarian by just omitting the chicken.

a knife
a cutting board
a big pot
a spoon
a can opener

spray pam (or for more fat - evoo or butter)
1 onion, chopped
1 can each: pinto beans, black beans, kidney beans. All undrained
1 can each: diced tomatoes, rotel (if you want it hotter - get hot rotel)
1 can corn, drained
2 cups cooked diced chicken
2 cups water
1 pkg each: ranch salad dressing mix, 1 red-sodium taco seasoning mix

Saute onion for 3-4 minutes. Add rest. Let cook together for about 30 minutes. Serve with your favorite taco toppings: cheese, sour cream, corn chips, tortilla chips, salsa, avocado, etc.
Makes a ton - at least 12 1-cup servings, probably more. So easy, freezable, healthy.

2010 Food Blog Goals

Here it comes. My State of Food's 2010 Blog Goals. Last year, I wanted to go through each of my cookbooks and make at least one recipe from each. I did well until the middle of December when life got busy, holiday parties, wanted to make tried and true recipes. And I got more cookbooks during the year. This year I have similar goals: here they are...
1. I have many subscriptions to cooking magazines. I need to use them. I tear out recipes every where I go and out of every magazine that comes in my mail box. This year, I will indeed make one recipe from a magazine each week. It will be fun and it will keep challenging me with new foods.
Someone asked me this past year if I ever make the same thing twice. Yes, I do. But, I also like to challenge myself and keep improving recipes, trying new ones. I have a fave blueberry muffin recipe, but that doesn't mean I'll never try another one because who knows, that one might be better. You can always grow as a cook and a baker. I will never arrive. I must keep striving to be better!
2. Sort through my cookbooks. I have about 80 cookbooks, not including the collection in FL at my parents' house of all the Southern Living ones. I need to cut those down. I don't need to have that many - they are just collecting dust. I need to stick with 25-30 on my shelf. If I get new ones during the year, than I need to purge again the next year. Now...there is a difference between art cookbooks (more pictures), old cookbooks (for saving). I am meaning pure cookbooks. I also have great cookbooks that will make wonderful coffee table books. Maybe I'll do some giveaways of the ones that are still in GREAT condition.
3. This one is probably the hardest. I read TONS of blogs. I love them. I've eaten a lot of new foods throughout 2009 because of them. But, as i was thinking how I wanted to change my eating this year, I had to think of what I wanted to do, not be confused with what everyone else was doing. I want to eat more vegetables and fruit, go to a mostly vegetarian lifestyle. Now, you may think I tried that last summer. I did. But, I've also learned more since then and want to try it again. Now, I think I mean just eat more whole meals with mostly fruits and veggies. I don't mean I have to give up meat (because I am having chicken chili this wknd and a hamburger at Red Robin for my bday on Monday). I will never give up meat (as long as it is up to me), but I know my health is better when I eat greens and plants and veggies and seed based foods and local ones at that (I was reading Gen 1-2 today and that was a wonderful reminder of all that God has given us). So, I will keep trying to improve my variety and my vegetarian cooking. Any vegetarian sites out there that I might now know about?
4. I want to improve my food photography. There are some sites like this one that I love to look at her photography because it is just gorgous! There are two books that I would like to get (I do have a bday coming up if anyone needs ideas for a bday gift): this one and then this one. That means I will need to learn my camera more. I like my Canon Powershot but i would love a step up from that or a Rebel - that's something i'm saving for and will be glad to take gifts... :)

So, there they are. I would love to hear your thoughts. What are your food/cooking goals? Head on over to the other two blogs: Thoughts and Interval for the other goals - they will be there by 830pm on Jan 1.
Thanks for reading. I appreciate all your thoughts!

2010 New Year's Meal: Greens and Cornbread

Happy New Year. This is my food post for the new year, the food blog goals for this year will be coming later today. But...had to post my lunch (sans pictures because I am away from my own kitchen).
I am definitely Southern. Most people would argue whether Florida is a southern state. I guess it all depends on your perspective and how you were raised. I was raised by a Dad who was born in AL and a Mom who is from (her family) S. GA. I was born and raised in the middle of the state in Polk County. I moved from there to St. Augustine for about 5 years, then moved to North Carolina. I do not consider my current place of residence (louisville, KY) a southern city. But, today, for my new years lunch - I cooked Southern.

Greens and Cornbread

2 bunches fresh mustard greens
6 slices ham or bacon
1 onion

Saute onion and pork product in olive oil. Tear greens away from inner light colored stem. Rinse very well. Cook in a big pot, cover greens with water, boil for about 25 minutes. Put the onions and bacon in there too. You can even drink the liquid.

Southern Cornbread (not sweet)

1 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 cup self-rising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
3 1/2 T unsalted butter, melted
1 T unsalted butter
8 in cast iron skillet (better to use 9, but I didn't have it, so not all of batter would fit)

Mix dry. Combine wet, stir together. Take 1 T butter, heat skillet over medium heat - until butter is melted. Make sure all of bottom is covered.
Bake in 375 degree oven for about 28-30 minutes (if 8 inch).
Serves 8.

Take a bowl. Place cornbread in bottom. Take big scoop of greens and place on top. Eat. Yum!
Happy New Year!