Thursday, February 26, 2009

All By Myself

Jake's in Iowa City for the annual Journal of Gender, Race, and Justice (the journal he was on in Law School) symposium so I have the house to myself tonight; it's taking me back to the days of living on my own and having to cook supper for only one person, which, in my opinion, is hard to do. I had quite a collection of veggies in the fridge so I decided to roast some up (my favorite thing to do with veggies) and throw them over a bed of spinach, arugula, and quinoa. I really love arugula but have a hard time finding it around here. Luckily, Dole began making a really great arugula and spinach mix that is now available at my local grocer! I don't think I've mentioned arugula in any previous posts so here's the down low on the stuff: high in vitamins A and C and contains barely any calories (2 calories/half cup!) PRetty SUPER! P.S. It's a great addition to pesto!!

After posting, I realized I've never given a good SHOUT OUT to quinoa (quickly becoming a kitchen favorite in our household). While doing my food research I found that quinoa is a seed that is a relative of leafy green vegetables. Who would've thought? We always have a bag of quinoa on hand. It's easy to cook, it taste wonderful--nutty, and creamy and crunchy at the same time--best texture ever! Find out more about this magical little seed by clicking here.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Texas, Y'all

The beautiful River Walk in San Antonio. Every city with a river should have something like this.
El Mercado. I so wish I would've bought one of the dogs. How great of a conversation piece would that have been?!

Dancing in the oldest dance hall in Texas located in Gruene (the cutest little Texas town)
Outside of a great pottery store in Gruene. I bought a clay bird there.

The restaurants in Texas are all big and decorated with all sorts of great stuff.

Someday when I have lots of money saved I'm going to open a restaurant like the one above; antique store/restaurant.
More of the antique store/restaurant. Everything in this pic is for sale(except the table)

A Texas sirloin. YUMMY. Obviously, my SUPERfoods diet was not sustained on my trip to Texas.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Honey Bears, Mac and Cheese, and Soup

This little honey bear always makes me smile.
He was a perfect compliment to Whole Wheat Flax'n 'Nana Muffins.
I found the recipe for these muffins on the back of my Hodgson Mill Flax Seed box. They are really, really, really, really, really good. Doesn't hurt that they are really good for you.
Smear the muffins with some peanut butter and drizzle with honey and you are in for a treat.
Whole Wheat Flax'n 'Nana Muffins (Hodgson Mill Recipe-altered)
1/4 cup flax seed
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
2 bananas, preferably brown, mashed (the recipe suggest using apples, which would be good too)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk (I ended up using about 1 cup for more moisture)
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Blend dry ingredients together in a bowl. In a seperate bowl; combine egg, vegetable oil and milk. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture and stir until just blended. Fold in banana and nuts. Fill well greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until top springs back when touched.
I made this soup for supper tonight. Tonight I altered it by adding Indian spices (curry powder, cumin, and cinnamon) and it tasted even better than the first time I made it.

Last night I had a major craving for mac and cheese (the best comfort food EVER!) I used this recipe and this recipe as inspiration and came out with a bowl of this:

Mac and Cheese with a healthy kick! The spinach and mushrooms were a great add-in and the recipe I followed for the cheese sauce was made without butter. I also used the Barilla Plus pasta.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Next Time I Bake...

I'm making these. The blog author claims they taste similar to the Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies. I love Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies.

The Boastful Baker

P.S. Cool new website find! Click here for major food porn.

Valentine's Weekend

Oh, Valentine's Day, not a day I've ever gotten too terribly excited about. I'm not a cold-hearted romance hater, I just could never get giddy over the entire holiday. I do make an attempt to celebrate it and this year's celebration was simple and relaxing. We spent time at a resort-style hotel with Jake's parents and family friends and I went to a casino (I HATE casinoes). Despite my hatred of casinoes we had a very lovely weekend.
On Friday night I sauteed some chicken breast, made mango salsa, and cooked up some yummy black beans and rice. The mango salsa was really yummy and made a great addition to our cumin and cayenne pepper seasoned chicken breasts.

Mango Super Salsa (all measurements are estimates)
1 mango, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1 half red onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, seeds removed and chopped
1 half tomato, chopped
1 tablespoon honey
Adobo seasoning
Salt and Pepper (all spices are to taste)
- Mix all ingredients together and serve.
My mother-in-law and me being goofy. Like always. :-)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Being a Nurse

My beloved husband had an accident this weekend. While snowboarding in Iowa (yes, in I said in Iowa) on a small ski hill he fell and broke his arm, a clean snap all the way through. The poor dude is in a full arm splint and in quite a bit of pain. This is where you realize marriage is quite wonderful even when things are looking a little down. I've enjoyed playing nurse; wrapping his splint, bathing him (we laughed for about 10 minutes straight during this), buying him the first two seasons of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and cooking him a yummy meal. He visits an othapaedic surgeon on Tuesday where he will get a cast (which I heard goes quite well with suits).
For dinner this evening I wanted to use bok choy so I made a stir-fry that was inspired by this recipe on Cuisine Nie. Lots of bok choy, mushrooms, red peppers, and tofu served over brown rice. HEALTHY, HEALTHY, HEALTHY!

I really enjoyed this meal except that I suck at cooking tofu. I've yet to master frying it and this time was no different. In the pic below things aren't looking too bad...yet.

However, once added to the veggies my tofu fell apart into tiny little pieces and made the stir-fry a little mushy. I think I'm gonna stick to baking tofu unless one of you as some good advice for me.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Taco Salad Done Healthy

Taco Salad Done Healthy
Lean Meat (Venison), Avocadoes, Purple Onions, Tomatoes, and a little bit of cheese rest on top of a cup and a half of fresh spinach.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

SMART Girls and Ice Cream...HOORAY!

I know that I brag often about how much I love my job. I want to present you with further evidence as to why I love my job sooooooo gosh darn much. I run a program at the Club called SMART Girls. Yesterday the SMART Girls learned about science by exploring careers in science and learning about women who are scientists. To celebrate our new found knowledge we conducted our own little science experiment by making ICE CREAM!!!
The girls worked in teams to shake their bags of half and half, vanilla, and sugar.

The final results were really tasty (especially after we added in M&Ms and Sprinkles!)

Homemade Ice Cream in 5 minutes

1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup milk or half & half
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons rock salt
1 pint-size plastic food storage bag (e.g., Ziploc)
1 gallon-size plastic food storage bag
Ice cubes

-Fill the large bag half full of ice, and add the rock salt. Seal the bag.
Put milk, vanilla, and sugar into the small bag, and seal it.
Place the small bag inside the large one, and seal it again carefully.
Shake until the mixture is ice cream, which takes about 5 minutes.
Wipe off the top of the small bag, then open it carefully. Enjoy!

Monday, February 2, 2009

QQQQuinoa and a Kitchen Cart

In order to recover from my Super Bowl binge fest I decided I would eat lots and lots and lots of vegetables today. Tonight's bowl featured quinoa, chickpeas, brocoli, zuchini, red and green peppers, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, red onions, and yellow carrots.

I toasted the chickpeas with some garlic, pepper, and salt to give them a little kick.
I put olive oil, salt, and pepper on the vegetables and roasted them for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

I tossed the quinoa, chickpeas, and veggies together.

COMING SOON! Pictures of my new KITCHEN CART!!!


I have to start this post off with a picture of my cute pregnant friend Amie. She's rockin' the 5 month belly and lookin' good.

I made some hot wings. Just frozen wings, baked at 400 degrees for 25 minutes with lots of Frank's hot sauce smothered all over them. Not good for you at all, but OH SO GOOD!

I also made some really good mac and cheese. According to Martha Stewart this was supposed to be Perfect Macaroni and Cheese. I wouldn't call it perfect but I would call it really darn good. I omitted the white bread from the below recipe.

Perfect Macaroni and Cheese (Martha Stewart, 1999)
6 slices good-quality white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for dish
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 1/2 cups (about 18 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar
2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated Gruyere or 1 1/4 cups (about 5 ounces) grated pecorino Romano
1 pound elbow macaroni
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place bread pieces in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour butter into the bowl with bread, and toss. Set the breadcrumbs aside. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.

2. Slowly pour hot milk into flour-butter mixture while whisking. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.
3. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyere or 1 cup pecorino Romano. Set cheese sauce aside.

4. Fill a large saucepan with water. Bring to a boil. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 fewer minutes than manufacturer's directions, until outside of pasta is cooked and inside is underdone. (Different brands of macaroni cook at different rates; be sure to read the instructions.) Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.

5. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar and 1/2 cup Gruyere or 1/4 cup pecorino Romano; scatter breadcrumbs over the top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes; serve.

The whole crew in our 3-D glasses.