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Archive for December, 2008

Keen On Quinoa

Last night’s dinner was a combination of goodies I already had around the house.  It seems like I am forever on a quest to clean out my fridge and pantry.  I just keep on buying new goodies for us to eat … stuffing them in and then forgetting about them.  Anyone with me?

Quinoa with Sweet Potatoes, “Sausage” and Mushrooms

 

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup sliced + diced mushrooms
  • 2 green onions, sliced (separate white and green parts)
  • 1/8 cup diced onion
  • 2 Boca Meatless Italian “Sausage” Links, heated and sliced on the diagonal
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • S+P, to taste
  • 2 tbsp. chopped toasted walnuts

Preparation:

Prepare quinoa (using chicken broth, instead of water) according to package directions, set aside and keep warm.  While the quinoa is cooking, place a small amount of oil in a large skillet.  Add white part of scallion and diced onion to skillet; cook for 5 minutes, until slightly tender.  Add sweet potatoes, mushrooms, cayenne, S+P and a small amount of water to skillet.  Reduce heat slightly, cover and allow to simmer until potatoes are tender.  Add sliced “sausage”, quinoa and chopped walnuts to skillet and allow to heat throughout.  Garnish with sliced green scallion.  Enjoy!

 

I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year’s Eve!  My next post will be tomorrow since we will be at a friend’s house tonight and won’t be home until the wee hours of the morning.  Argh.  Grandma (meaning “me”) is in for a long night.  I better take it easy today to conserve my energy.  Ha!

Enjoy your day!

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Gotcha … FINALLY

Hello.  Got a little story to tell ya …

I made my normal rounds through the grocery yesterday, checking items off my list as I went.  I wasn’t in the need for any bread products, so I started to walk past that glorious aisle.  As I was doing so, I casually glanced over to my left …

 

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B: Ditto of yesterday ... to a "T"

 

Now, I’m not going to give away my “Gotcha” surprise that fast.  That’s just no fun.  I’m sure that once I brief you on the history of my challenge to find these, you will probably have it all figured out …

I started seeing these babies around blogs several months ago.  They looked right up my alley, so I started my search at all the local grocery stores.  I kept searching and searching, each and every time coming up empty handed. 

I continued to see them, day in and day out, being described in such mouth-watering detail by all my bloggie friends.  I started commenting on how delicious they looked and how I was having such a hard time finding them.  Maybe I thought the good fairy would go ahead and drop them in my lap.  You know, for being such a dedicated foodie and all.

At this point, I started to panic.  Where in the mad cow were they?!  It’s not like I live in BFE or anything!!  Argh.

So, what does any desperate women in my situation do?  She goes straight to the top.  An inquiry e-mail was sent directly to the company.

Here’s what I received in return, along with a letter stating they should arrive in Charlotte stores in mid-December …

 

Figure it out yet??

Figure it out yet??

 

So, that takes me back to my trip to the grocery yesterday … I casually glanced over to my left and saw these jewels, in all their glory –

 

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This girl sure loves her carbs.  Oh yeah.  I had to restrain myself from buying every single package on the shelf.  The kicker was that I didn’t even have my coupons with me.  Go figure.

 

Soup and Sandy ... Sandwich Thin with a leftover mini meatloaf in between.

L: Soup and Sandy ... toasted Sandwich Thin with a sliced leftover mini meatloaf in between.

 

My thoughts?  They were good.  Wished I would have toasted it a little bit longer since it was still kinda soft.  I like my bread really, really toasty.  I’m not thrilled about the enriched flour in the ingredient list, but I can overlook that in this case.  I feel I need a second tasting to give my final opinion … I’m such a HUGE fan of Trader Joe’s British Muffins that it’s hard to find anything that compares.

A big thank you to Arnold for actually taking the time to respond to my inquiry and sending me coupons.

I’m out for now.  I will be posting tonight’s dinner in the AM.  Have a fantastic evening!

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Grindin’ Me Crazy

Howdy.  How y’all doin’ today?  I’m doing good here.  No complaints.  Actually, that’s a lie … I do have one HUGE complaint.  Have you ever accidentally spilled brewed coffee grinds on the floor?  You know, you lift the filter from the basket and a little bit of the grinds spill out the side and splatter all over the place.

 

Warmed granola with sliced banana, pumpkin butter, flax, wheat berries and vanilla soy

B: Warmed granola with sliced banana, pumpkin butter, flax, wheat berries and vanilla soy

 

Well, I made that mistake today.  I’ve made this mess more times than I care to admit.  Every time, without fail, my audible sigh, plus a few choice words, fill the air in our home sweet home.  I don’t think I will ever understand how a pea-sized drop of coffee grinds can make such a mess.  I swear to you, people, it morphs and multiplies immediately upon hitting it’s destined surface.  No matter how many times you wipe, you will still find them hanging around.  They stick and don’t let go. 

 

Leftover soup, carrots and Ryvita crackers with crunchy PB

L: Leftover soup, carrots and Ryvita crackers with Maranatha brand crunchy PB

 

If you’ve done this, you know what I’m talking about here.  I’m sure I will find more little brown specs tomorrow … and the next day … and the day after that.  Gee, I’d hate to have to break down and wash the floors.  You know how I love that chore. 

 

Man-Lovin’ Mini Meatloaves

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup egg substitute (or 1 egg)
  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 cup fat free milk
  • ~1/3 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese (we used Havarti)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground mustard

Preparation:

Spray a 6-cup muffin tin with PAM.  Set aside.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix together all ingredients until well blended.  Portion mixture into muffins tins.  Bake for 35 minutes, or until thoroughly cooked.

 

On the side, we had Brussels sprouts with julienned carrots and toasted almonds.  I love Brussels and the addition of the sweet carrots was a nice pairing.  I seasoned the veggies with parsley, salt, pepper and dried minced onion.  C’est bon.

 

I think our dinner tonight must have been inspired by watching the Christmas day marathon run of A Christmas Story on TBS.  That is my fave Christmas movie and I love to tune in every year to Ralphie and his quest for an official Red Ryder carbine action two-hundred shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time.

One of the best scene’s of the movie includes brother, Randy, snorting over a plate of meatloaf and mashed potatoes, playing “Mommy’s Little Piggy.”  Good thing we didn’t have mashed potatoes … I may have been cleaning those up off the floor as well.  Ha.

Time for me to hit the hay.  It’s been a long day and I’ve got a lot more running to do tomorrow.  Make it a good night!

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Gallery Of Good Eatin’

Holla.  I believe I have finally recovered from all the holiday madness.  I have missed my regular blogging and expect to be back in full swing starting tomorrow.  I’ve done some catching up on blogs and wasn’t surprised to hear that everyone’s Christmas was merry! 

I realized that I haven’t shared much eats with you lately, so I thought a gallery would do some good …

 

 

Last night, we had dinner with Devin’s family … mom, dad, bro and sis-in-law.  My BIL and SIL flew back home today, so it was our last chance to spend extra time with them before they left.  The food was fantastic as always – grilled chicken, sweet potatoes and steamed crab claws.  Mmm mm.

Today, Dev and I were up and at ’em early once again to hit a different mall for returns/exchanges.  We are all caught up now.  Actually, the lines weren’t as bad as I thought they were going to be.  I wonder if that means more people were happier with their gifts … or … if people just didn’t buy as much this year so there isn’t as much a need for a return line?!

Changing the subject … ever had a cocktail grapefruit??  I picked one up at TJ’s last week and cut into it yesterday afternoon.  It’s closer to the size of an orange, has a green peel and certainly isn’t as lip-puckering as a regular grapefruit.  Close to being sweet even.  Good stuff.  I bet it would make a fabulous juice.

We did a quick in + out at Sam’s Club today and I grabbed a big bin of spinach, plus a 6 lb. bag of boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  As you can imagine, chicken will be centerfold in many o’ meals in the near future. 

Since I didn’t have time to put together the menu and grocery list before we left, I decided to postpone my trip to the grocery until tomorrow.  We had plenty of goodies hanging around the house (plus chicken) that would surely meld into something tasty for dinner …

 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

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Ingredients:

  • 1 extra-large chicken breast, cooked and shredded (the breasts we bought today are HUGE … I didn’t even know chickens could get that big!!)
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 reduced sodium chicken bouillon cubes
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ~1 cup frozen corn
  • ~3/4 cup salsa
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • Spices – 1 tsp. cumin, 1 tbsp. low sodium taco seasoning, dash of cayenne, 2 frozen cubes cilantro

Preparation:

Since I boiled the chicken, I threw the onion, celery and carrots in the pot with it.  If you are cooking the chicken another way, you may want to saute those three veggies to soften them up a bit.

The rest is easy peasy … throw everything together in the pot, allow to simmer for as long as you like and serve with plain yogurt and tortilla strips.

Tortilla strips – spray one whole wheat tortilla with PAM and season with chili powder.  Cut into thin strips with a pizza cutter and bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.

 

Well, the ‘boys lost in a big way today.  As you can imagine, the mood around here is a lil’ bit somber.  It will be A-OK though … we just don’t talk about it.  It burns him like a bad case of reflux.  As for me, I don’t really care – no skin off my back.  That’s not talked about in this household either.  I married into the fan club, so it’s better to just pretend. 😉

Okay, pretty people, I’m off to console … nighty!

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Hi there!  I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas holiday!  We certainly did.  It was fantastic to spend good quality time with our loved ones.  It was all hustle and bustle – no rest involved, but we loved every second of it.

We hosted Christmas day brunch at our house this year.  Here are the pictures to prove it …

 

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Our pre-brunch munchies included an appetizer tray with cheese, crackers, grapes, avocado-bean salsa, homemade tortilla strips, as well as Craving Ellie cookies (more on this below), spiced almonds, mimosas and a Bloody Mary bar.

 

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Our brunch included baked coconut french toast with a tropical fruit compote, mini quiche and fruit salad (supplied by my fab MIL!  Thanks Ma!!)

 

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The french toast was by far the most fabulous.  I used a Cooking Light recipe, found here.  I made a few changes to the original recipe, including the following:

  • Used multi-grain french bread
  • Less sugar all around – only 2 tbsp. of raw turbinado sugar in the compote and a scant 1/3 cup in the french toast
  • Added 1/2 tbsp. cinnamon to the french toast
  • Used frozen mango in the compote and substituted mandarin oranges for the papaya
  • I added raw sliced almonds to the top along with the shredded coconut

Trust me on this one … it was SO good.  Plus it’s a make-ahead recipe, so it can’t get any easier than that!

 

Cheesin' it up!

Cheesin' it up!

 

See my new Crock-Pot in the background … oh yeah.  A humongous 7-quart pot.  Mama’s got some cookin’ to do. 

 

Devin pretending he's excited about his new SOCKS!

Devin pretending he's excited about his new SOCKS!

Kitty ready to open her prez ... like the Scooby sticker?!

Kitty ready to open her prez ... like the Scooby sticker?!

 

And now to what you have all been waiting for, the CEiMB recipe o’ the week, Triple Chocolate Cookies, hosted by The Feast Within.  The link to Gabi’s site will also show you her modified recipe.  Her modifications included the addition of baking soda and baking powder.  Strangely, Ellie’s original recipe didn’t include either of these items.

 

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The only change I made was to substitute the 1/4 cup canola oil for 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce.  Yep, I was attempting to go for uber healthy with this one.

 

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The result was perfectly little puffed cake-like cookies.  Very soft and moist in the middle with a slightly crisp edge.  I  think the addition of applesauce is what made the texture cakey, but to me, it was a welcome change.  I thought they were pretty darn tasty … very, very chocolatey. 

 

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Alrighty tighty, time for me to motor.  We actually have a few things we need to exchange at the mall and since we are feeling brave this morning, we are planning to head out.  Hopefully the lines won’t be too long.  Yikes.  Makes me cringe in my skin just thinking about it.

Hope you are all doing well!  I’m going to do my bestest to catch up on everyone’s holiday to-do’s over the weekend. 

Have a great Saturday!

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Day Done Gone

Wow.  I can’t believe Monday is almost gone.  What happened to this day?!  I have nothing to show for my time today.  I don’t think I got much of anything accomplished.  I was kind of in my own world, I guess.

I putzed around on the internet for a good chunk of the morning, finalizing up my plan for Christmas day brunch.  I also made my trip to TJ’s and Lowe’s Foods for all the essentials.  I worked out.  By the way, I started a Weekly Workout page about 3 weeks ago and that’s where I’ve tracking all my workouts.  Just so you know. 

That’s it??  Well, I also made dinner, but that doesn’t really count.  What happened to the other 11 hours I have been awake?  Oh well.  ‘Tis the season, I guess.  Brain fart.

So, I’m gonna make the rest of this quick since I’m enjoying cuddle time with my fancy man.  He’s watching the game, but rubbing my feet.  I don’t let these times go to waste.  Feel me?  I love to have my feet rubbed.  Feels so good.

 

Pistachio-Goat Cheese Baked Chicken

With leftover potato gratin and poppy seeds rolls

With leftover potato gratin and poppy seeds rolls

So easy to prepare …

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slather both sides of boneless chicken breasts with Dijon mustard. Press crumbled goat cheese and chopped raw pistachios into one side of breasts. Place in PAM-sprayed baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

If you try it, hope you like it!

 

I’m off like a dirty shirt.  Have a great night! If you are traveling, travel safe!

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Countdown Starts … Craziness Ends

Wassup guys and dolls.  How is everyone?  Have a good weekend?!  I am happy to report tonight that as of today, I am done, done, done with searching endlessly for the perfect Christmas gifts.  I just had a  few small things to pick up today … I was in and out like a robbery, people.  I was amazed.  I must admit, I was a little worried that all the crazies would be out and about on the last weekend day before the holiday, but I really had no problem at all.  I had my nunchucks with me just in case.  Good thing I didn’t have to show ’em my mad skills.  Really.

Once home from my afternoon outing, I buckled down with a hot cuppa tea and wrapped every single present hanging around this house … except those for me.  I couldn’t find those.  Dev’s a good hider. 

It took me over two hours to put all the pretty paper and bows on each gift … while I sprawled out on the family room floor, I watched Rendition with Reese Witherspoon and Jakey-poo Gyllenhaal.  Good movie.  I recommend it.  I might have even shed a tear or two at the end. 

So, last night’s outing to watch the ball game was our rendering of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly …

 

I’ll start with the ugly:

 

NFL Boxscore – Baltimore at Dallas

Team 1 2 3 4 Score
Baltimore 3 6 7 17 33
Dallas 7 0 0 17 24

 

The bad:

 

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This was actually a tie with ugly. Spontaneous order of chicken nachos after drinking beer ... made our bellies hurt.

 

The good:

 

Feeling nutrition-empty, I tore into a strawberry Chobani with Go Lean and coconut when we got home.

Feeling nutrition-empty, I tore into a strawberry Chobani with Go Lean and coconut when we got home. Happy belly.

 

Since I don’t have our meal planned for Christmas brunch yet, I avoided the grocery store altogether today.  I’m a one-trip kinda gal.  I don’t have much to plan for as far as dinners are concerned either … just Monday night and possibly Friday + Saturday.  We have plans Tuesday, Wednesday, and, of course, Thursday.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy.  I’m thinking something light for tomorrow night … ho hum.

 

I dug deep in the freezer and pulled out leftovers from a dinner we had in October!  I didn’t see any visible freezer-burn so I figured it would be alright …

 

Spicy Chicken and Pumpkin Stew

 

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(Recipe can be found here)

 

It was and I actually think it was even better this time around.  It was very hearty and the flavors were perfectly meshed.  I only wished we had enough for seconds!

Alrighty tighty, I’m off to snuggle on the couch with my little furball, who has recently staked claim to new property …

 

On top of the cable box in our room ... puts off a lotta heat that she's luvin'

On top of the cable box in our room ... puts off a lotta heat that she's just luvin' like crazy right now.

 

See the foot hanging off – that’s her club foot.  Seriously.  Too cute + absolutely rotten.

 

Nighty night!  4 days to go …

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