Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I've been TAGGED

Michelle tagged me with the blogging game of 8 factoids about yourself.

1) Michelle and I actually not only went to the same college but were also floormates freshman year and suitemates sophomore year. I think we were both business students too - no? I think she spied me on one of the nest boards since. Funny how you reconnect with people! I have also reconnected with... sheesh... 4 ish people from High School on my local. Gotta love the nest for bringin people together ;)

2) I hurt my calf running a month or two ago and was icing it and managed to give myself what I fondly refer to as "iceburn" as opposed to sunburn. Felt like and looked like a sunburn. Eventually it blistered and peeled like one too. Luckily, did not need to amputate.

3) I was a competitive runner for most of my life and ran Div 1 in college. I was finally getting back into shape and doing a few local rorad races with non-embarressing times when I got hurt. Still nursing the injury... annoying!

4) Nothing makes me happier than wearing a cute skirt and heels. Dates back to being the kid who would wake her parents up for easter at 6am, already dressed in easter best - from the bonnet to the white gloves to the mary janes.

5) Cooking related: my husband has on multiple occasions said that if I ever died he would have a hard time remarrying since he would have to find someone willing to pack him a good lunch every day and make him unique new interesting meals for dinner. Ill let him continue in the assumption that I am a very rare breed ;)

6) One of my earlier memories is of baking peanut butter cookies with my mom and 2 best friends. We would line up taking turns putting ingredients in the mixer, standing on a little wooden stool. Then we would take the whole batch downstairs to eat while we watched either the wizard of oz or mary poppins (our two favs)

7) Though I rebelled against it for years, healthy eating was brainwashed into me: early cookies and cakes and whatnot that I was served were all homemade, with whole wheat flour and using honey instead of sugar. After 4 kids, my mom loosened up significantly.

8) Ill bet I could eat the following meal every single day for a week straight and be perfectly happy: sesame roasted asparagus, Balsamic onion Salmon, Rosedales Super Sweet Corn, and of course dark chocolate. Im OK with a lack of variety but I think Ryan would kill me!

TAGS (im tryin to hit the newbies)


Monday, August 27, 2007

Rosedale's Farm Share Week 7

I think I missed a week... darnit! This week we got: 8 ears of corn, peppers (green, white, and long and skinny), a small pot of mums (we got maroon ones), a couple peaches and some baby plum-ish but miniature fruits, some lettuce, some tomatos - regular and cherry, potatos maybe?

Blueberry Peach Crumble

I had a bunch of eh looking blueberries left, plus some peaches and put them together into a crumble like the blueberry cherry one I made before. I dumped in a loaf pan: about 1 pint of past-their-prime blueberries and 2 peaches, chopped into smaller-than-bite-sized pieces. I didnt bother with peeling the peaches. Mixed them up and topped with a layer of: oatmeal, brown sugar, cinnamon and finished with some slices of butter. Baked at 350 for about 25 min or until starting to brown on top. It was great! I didnt have time to combine the topping elements but you really couldnt tell the difference so I wont bother with that step in the future.

Garlic Roasted Broccoli

This was a huge hit! All I did was take about 5 cloves of garlic and slice them (relatively) thin. tossed with broccoli and a little EVOO and spread out on a chookie sheet. Cooked at 450 for about 15 minutes, tossing once halfway. SO good! The garlic 'chips' were interesting and it was a yummy different way to eat a superfood!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

RR Chicken in Mustard Tarragon Sauce

This recipe is from Rach Ray's 365: No Repeats Cookbook (which Ryan was nice enough to surprise me with last week!). This is recipe number 296 in it, and it was AWESOME. I basically followed the recipe, changes noted.

4 Chicken Breast halves (I used 2 then cooked up one more to have for ryans leftovers with the extra sauce)

1 T fresh Thyme (I used dry)

juice from 1 lemon

Salt and Pepper


3/4 cup chix stock

3 heaping TB dijon mustard (I used spicy brown since its what we had)

1/2 cup heavy cream (I used low fat sour cream - again, what we had)

3 shallots finely chopped (forgot these at the store, used 1 onion instead)

1 I flour

3 T fresh tarragon (I used dry)

1 pound asparagus

Hmm. I guess I did do alot of edits huh!

Season chicken with: salt, pepper, thyme, lemon juice. Heat a large nonstick pan over med high heat with EVOO (i used a regular SS pan), Add seasoned chicken to pan and cook 5-6 minutes or till cooked through (definitely takes longer than 5-6 per side). Chicken gets a nice brown crust :) Remove from pan and cover with foil. Add shallots to pan plus extra EVOO and cook stirring for 2 min. Add flour and cook another minute. Add chicken stock, mustard and thicken. Add cream, tarragon.

Meanwhile bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a pot and add the asparagus. Steam until just done, 3-4 min.

Sreve the chicken over the asparagus, and top with sauce!

We finished with the dieters version of a summer dessert... watermelon! Marshall from Rosedales gave me a baby watermelon last week and said we would like it, and we sure did... look at that color!

Strawberry Salsa with Fish

Ages ago, I saw a recipe for strawberry salsa with pork and I starred it to try later. I decided to have it on salmon (for me) and tuna (for Ryan) instead though.

It was really good, different, but the flavors worked together really well!


Diced Strawberries (approx 1/2 pint)

Diced Papaya (a little less than there are strawberries)
diced red onion (1/4 to 1/2 onion)

chopped Cilantro
juice from 1 lime

Mix and let sit.

I just cooked the salmon without anything added but it probably would have been good with lime. I felt there would be enough flavor from the salsa.

My salmon cooking method:

Put a little EVOO in a non-stick pan and heat to medium high. Add fish and cook on either side about 2 minutes to golden and crispy. Lower heat to med-low/medium and cover. Let cook about 10-15 minutes or until done through. I usually turn it at least once through the process to ensure even cooking.

Tuna cooking:

I just peppered the tuna steak, then seared each side in a hot pan.

This was really very good. I think we will try it again for sure! Highly recommended.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ultimate Summer Berries

This didnt require much prep on my part but the berries were so gorgeous I couldnt help but post photos! I bought a pint of raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries at Rosedales. Mainly because the blackberries were the biggest and most beautiful I have EVER seen in real life. Literally - some were 2 inches long! I served raspberries and Strawberries in the salad but I saved the Blackberries for dessert, along side the remaining raspberries. On a whim, I saw I still had a little whipping cream in the fridge so I whipped that up with a tiny bit of confectioners sugar and vanilla to dip the berries in.

What a perfect summer dessert!

Summer Berries and Shrimp Salad

Let me preface this by saying that I am NOT a salad person. I never order dinner salads at restaurants. I like the side salad I make at home, but mainly I eat is because it is good for me. I tend to have great disdain for meat of any sort on a salad.

That said: this week (yesterday) we got our farm share from Rosedale's Farm and it included 2 different kinds of lettuce. I had not yet made my menu for the week and was feeling very uninspired for dinner and asked ryan for ideas. I got the usual "whatever" response at first, and after pressing him, he came up with a dinner salad with seafood, chicken or steak on it (he IS a salad person). So I decided to do it - after all, what better way to highlight some good lettuce than in a big salad?

I decided to go with shrimp since I had a few bags of cooked frozen shrimp in the freezer. Thawed it and shook it up in a container with the little honey we had left (about 1/4 cup) and about 1/3 cup of Orange Juice. I then put it all in a large hot skillet. After about 2-3 min i poured the excess liquid off and cooked the shimp another minute or so (so a couple edges looked slightly brown).

In the meantime, I washed and tore up the lettuce in a big bowl. I tossed the lettuce with some honey roasted Almond Accents (LOVE them, all the flavors are great in salads) and a small bit of Good Seasons Italian made with Pear White Balsamic (went very light on the dressing). I plated the salad and then topped each with the shrimp and fresh raspberries and sliced strawberries that I bought from the farm and some of the blueberries than came in our share.

And the verdict from this non-salad person? ABSOFREAKINLUTELY FABULOUS! Honestly, it was a great summery meal - light but filling. The fruit was a great addition, and the shrimp had a nice sweetness. We both honestly thought it looked like something we would see in a restaurant. It was a beautiful presentation and so colorful! I may not be converted into a total salad-phile but I will definitely make this meal one more time before the summer is over, I now have a dinner salad that I love :)

Mojito Chicken Bowls

I got this recipe from Jessy's Blog

I made it one other time and Ryan descibed it as "better than Christmas" so needless to say, I knew to make it again :) I saved it for when my sister and brother came over since it makes a ton... but then I ended up doubling it anyhow!

1.5 pounds of chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces.

Cook these in a skillet seasoned generously with Carribbean Spice Blend (the first time I used more of the spices and think I will use more next time) and with a generous splash of white rum. I added more rum as they cooked - it made the chicken nice and tender. When the chicken is fully cooked, remove it from the pan.

In the same pan, sautee 1 onion, chopped, and 3-4 cloves of garlic with a tiny bit of EVOO. When they are nice and browned, add 1 can of black beans, drained, and 1 can of corn, drained. Heat through and then add 1 jar of Cuban Mojito Sauce from Trader Joes. Mix the chicken in, and serve over rice.

It was a huge hit! We also had rice (I just used the caribbean seasonings - my sister has a wheat allergy and all the store bought mixed contain wheat or something else she is allergic to) and leftover guac and tostitos, salad.

Sesame Roasted Brocolli

As always, I love any veggie roasted, and brocolli, my arch-nemesis from childhood, is no exception. Really simple: cut of pieces of the broccoli and toss with EVOO and a little kosher salt. Roast for about 10 min at 450. pull out and toss with sesame seeds. Roast an addl 5 minutes. Voila!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Fajita Night

I decided to do healthy Fajitas tonight. This is an entree that I typically order at mexican restaurants since I like the veggies and meat with guac, minus the tortilla, but I can easily serve Ryan's wth a tortilla.

First, I made some guac.

3 Avocados, pitted and peeled and diced

1 tomato, diced

1 red onion, diced

small handful of cilantro

2 limes, squeezed

Sprinkle of Kosher Salt

Mash together with a fork (I prefer my guac chunky but you certainly could make it smoother if you prefer). It was so good! Ryan isnt a big avocado fan and even he liked it (since they were so flavorful from the limes and cilantro etc).

Next, pico de gallo (funny story: told my mom I was going to make some pico and got the resonse "whattttt?!?!?!?! is that?!?!?!" heh heh heh).

Couple tomatos, diced

1 red onion, diced

generous handful of cilantro

3 (I think) limes, squeezed (to taste)

sprinle of kosher salt

For the Fajitas themselves, I bought some steak at the store (saved by getting a big pack and splitting it, freezing 1/2 for another time). I let the steak sit in the fridge with the juice of 1 lime and a little EVOO. Not sure if that did anything for it really though. Cooked the steak on a really hot pan to get it nice and dark on the outside and medium in the center. Cut cooked beef into bite size chunks.

In a separate pan, I cooked some peppers (green white and orange) and onions with a tiny bit of EVOO in a hot pan till cooked through with some crispy dark edges.

Ryan got a couple whole wheate tortillas to put his together with and I just ate mine on the plate. Really good meal, definitely added to the rotation!

Broc/Cauliflower/Parmesan Soup

Of all the soups I have made lately, I think this one is the best. Very flavorful, yummy, AND healthy. Not too hard to make, and quick (relatively). Ryan and I both loved it, and it made a ton, so the frozen leftovers will be great to have :)

Again, from Recipes from the Night Kitchen by Sally Niremberg (love this cookbook!)

1 T olive or canola oil (I used EVOO)

1 onion, chopped

6 cups stock

2 cups water

1 potato, unpeeled, diced

1/2 head of broccoli woody stems removed, florets chopped (i used a full head)

1/2 head cauliflower, cored, chopped (I used a full head)

2 T dried basil or 1/3 cup chopped fresh (I used fresh)

1/3 cup grated parmesan (I used more like a cup with a little for topping)

heat oil in stock pot, add onion, cook till golden. Add stock, water, potato. Bring to boil. Add Broc, cauli, basil. Return to boil. Reduce to low, and cook until broccoli is tender, about 15 min. (authors note: important not to add broccoli until after stock, etc reaches a boil)

Remove solids and put in blender/food processor, gradually adding remaining broth and cheese (I had to do this in 2 batches). Do not puree, should be chunky.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Farm Share

This week we got:

2 peaches

2 nectarines

2 plums

8 ears of corn

1 green pepper, 1 white pepper and one long pepper (???)

a few tomatos

1 yellow tomato

2 regular potatos

3 red potatos

1 mini loaf of blueberry crumb bread

3 Sunflowers

:) 2 more days till the next set!

Roasted Red Peppers

This recipe came to me from my mom, and from my aunt and uncle before here. I am usually not a huge fan of roasted or cooked peppers but these are really yummy, and ridiculously easy.

I used 4 peppers for the two of us, and had leftovers. Cut into slices, and toss into a hot pan with EVOO (orig recipe says to use regular olive oil as EVOO is too strong but I use EVOO in everything and it was fine for us :) ). Keep pan hot and stir often adding splashed of Red Wine Vinegar throughout. When the peppers are dark in spots and soft, they are done. If the rest of the dinner isnt ready yet, they do fine on low heat. Overall takes 30 min or less. Right before serving, add pine nuts (a generous handful), oregano, and some kosher salt.

Ryan loved them and wants them made all the time ;)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Creamy Triple Tomato Soup

YUM! This is from my soup cookbook, "Recipes from the Night Kitchen" by Sally Niremberg. This was a hit, the leftovers in the freezer will be great later in the year on a snowy day.

1 T butter

1 large onion chopped

1 clove garlic

1 stalk celery (I forgot to get this and therefore omitted)

1/2 tsp of curry (I eyeballed it and used more than this)

1 28oz can of italian plum tomatos (I used plain)

4-5 cups stock

1 tsp of dried or 1 T fresh chopped basil (I used fresh)

1/4 tsp brown sugar

5 sun dried tomatos

10 cherry tomatos (I used a few more than this)

Cook butter, onion, garlic, celery, curry in stock pot over med heat, covered until veggies are tenger (approx 20 min).

Add plum tomatos and their juice, stock, basil, brown sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook partially covered for 1.5 hours (you house will smell FAB)

Remove solids and place in food processor plus sun dried tomatos. Process to smooth, and add remaining broth.

Slice and float cherry tomatos on top (instead, I added some towards the end of the cooking process and others went straight into the food processor)

Variation that I used: decrease stock by 1/2 cup and add 1/2 cup heavy cream. I meant to do lowfat yogurt but was out.

Lemon Garlic Shrimp

I ran out of time and didnt make this in quite as planned but it came out great so I guess it was a happy accident! I have had trouble with shrimp in the past (overcooking) but am slowly getting there. I bought shrimp (the 20ish size) raw - thawed and peeled them completely.

In a large pan, i squeezed 3 lemons and added a generous amt of crushed garlic (about 1/2 a head) and a generous splash of white wine (Luna di Luna Char/Pinot Grigio). Heated it up, then dumped all the shrimp in, plus about 10-20 cherry tomatos, sliced. Cooked over medium heat stirring often and watching carefully.

Towards the end, I squeezed one more lemon in. Really, SO good. This is definitely on the make-again list. Would be good with some wilted spinach, too and/or pasta. Ryan suggested making it as surf n turf sometime, too.

Corn Basil Soup

I made this ages ago but havent felt like blogging it for some reason (maybe because the pictures arent as exciting as other dishes? I dunno.) It was very good, I think I would have liked it with a little milk, or maybe blended more to make it creamer but overall it was really good, light and healthy.

Recipe is from "Recipes from the Night Kitchen" by Sally Niremberg

1T EVOO or Canola

1 small onion, chopped

1 garlic clove pressed or minced

6 large ears of corn, kernals scraped or cut off (or 2 17 oz cans)

5 cups stock

2-3 T dried basil or 3T fresh chopped (i used fresh, hey its summertime :) )

pinch sugar

Heat oil, onion, garlic in a stock pot over low until golden (10-15)

Raise heat to medium, add corn, stock, basil, sugar, and cook partially covered for 25 min.

transfer 1/2 the solids to food processor and puree. Ret puree to pot, sitr and serve.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

OK, ready for FALL

Confession: I am ready for fall I think. All of a sudden... it hit me. And I have been SO good about enjoying summer this year too! The awesome produce being the main reason since I can't say its from our beautiful yard and flowers (that the deer ate) ha. I think it started with seeing mums are S&S yesterday (yes... MUMS. The harbinger of fall). Then, I saw the word "pumpkin" somewhere. Not sure where (cooking related Im sure) but now its in my head... pumpkin bread.. pumpkin soup... nutmeg... cinnamon... apple picking... foliage... the build up to xmas... ahhhhhhhhhhh! I cant.freakin.wait.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Platinum Chef 4 (I think?)

This PC Challenge included the following ingredients: Sweet Potato, Garlic, cilantro (yay!), yogurt and Chocolate. I made a summer sweet potato soup and a fruit dessert with a chocolate-yogurt dip. Both were yummy but the soup was maybe a bit TOO flavorful - I would make it again, with less (or no) ginger and less cilantro.

Cilantro Pumpkin Bisque:

In a large stock pot add about 1-2 TB EVOO, 2-3 cloves garlic, minced, and 3 small teeks (whites only, rinced well, chopped). Cook till softened. Add 4 cups of Chicken Stock, 2 large sweet potatos (peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes) and 3 carrots (peeled and chopped). Cook on med high stirring occassionally until potatos are soft through (about 30 min). Add 1 inch fresh ginger, minced (again, I would omit or use less) and cook for another minute or two. Adda handful of Cilantro, minced (I woudl keep but use less as it is a strong flavor). Immediatly, strain and add the solids to food processor and run until smooth (do in batches as needed). Add in the liquid and run till combined. Add juice from 1 lime. Pour out and add 1/2 to 1 whole large container of fat free plain yogurt (to taste). Serve topped with fresh chopped cilantro. Voila!

Cilantro Lime Chicken
Just for the heck of it, our protein fits too. I used my usually method for chicken - 1+ pounds of CHicken Breast (tenders cut) in a sealable container. Add a healthy dose of Tequila (maybe 1/2 cup?) a little bit of EVOO, 3 limes, squeezed, about 3 cloves of garlic, minced, and a handful of cilantro, chopped. Seal the container and shake well. If you have time, let it sit but the flavors will be imparted if you dont. Cook on a hot pan about 4- 6 min per side (should be brown and crispy)

Rummy Banana's with Chocolate Yogurt Cream:

In a baking dish, add 4 bananas sliced in 1/2 lengthwise and again widthwise. Top with a mixture of: Dark rum, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla. Top with thin slices of butter (about 2 TB). Broil about 15 min (turning bananas halfway).

In mixer, beat 4 oz of heavy whipping cream with a little sugar (1-2T) and about 1/2 cup of cocoa powder until stiff (note: fabulously yummy at this stage!!!).
Stir in about 1/2 to 1 cup of vanilla yogurt. At this stage, I felt it needed to be more chocolatey and added another 1/2 cup of powder. Overall it was V good! I think I woudl have been happy with the Chocolate stuff on its own - the yogurt gave it a nice 'bite' and it was almost like a soft mousse.

Time out for Flowers

None from the Farm Share this week so I cut a few from our yard... one of the few lilies that the deer didnt eat, and some pretty hydrangea - the hydrangeas are covered in buds which is FAB since I love them! Thankfully the deer (orthe bear that was in our yard Saturday...) don't like the hydrangeas or didnt find them!

Using Up Summer Squash via Chicken

We have had a ton of summer squash from our farmshare - which is great! But I was getting tired of always eating it one way. So tonight I cooked two chicken breasts in a pan with a can of diced tomatos with some dried herbs (oregano and thyme) and some chopped up fresh basil, plus a couple chopped up summer squash. Cooked covered till the chix was done (I added a little water with the tomatos were looking a little dry). REALLY easy REALLY healthy and REALLY yummy :) This is a case of tastes prettier than it looks though ;)

Ill bet it would taste good with a little parmesan on top too!

Friday, August 3, 2007

When the cat's away, the mouse shall...

...eat avocado! :) Ryan puts up wiht avocado now and then as long as it isnt the main star but I have been on such an avocado kick lately myself. So when he went down to PA to help a friend move, I took the opportunity to eat avocado :) I amended the Martha stewart dish I made, below. Sliced the kernals off an ear of corn and cooked them in a teeny bit of oil until soft. The mixed in: 1 tomato, diced, a small handful of cilantro roughly chopped, 2 limes, squeezed, about 1/2 a red onion, diced, and 1 avocado diced. Mixed together and topped a steak with the avocado mixture. Served along with another fav of mine that I could eat daily that ryan DOES like... just not as much as me - asparagus roasted with kosher salt and sesame seeds (recipe earlier in blog). Throw in some Luna di Luna Char/pinot Grigio and finish it off with an Edy's Slow Churned Cookies n Cream ice cream bar (omg so good and ONLY 150 cal!!!!)


Part two:
I made a ton of the topping and I remember how good it was after sitting int he fridge overnight (flavors mingled). I cooked up some chicken breast (tenderloin cut) and topped them with the same mixture. Served with an ear of fabulous corn and a tiny summer squash sauteed with onion, garlic oil, and parmesan. And of course the vino! I was so satisfied after this meal that no ice cream was necessary (!!!). Good thing about this: I have leftover topping and chix which will be today's lunch.

Better thing: these dinners were both super healthy and with my sensible bfast and lunches, exercise, etc... as of this morning I am down another pound :)

Farm Share Week 5!

We sure got a ton of great stuff this week! 9 ears of FABULOUS corn (the "super sweet" hybrid they grow), a head of iceberg (gag), a green and a white pepper, blueberries, peaches, yellow squash, basil, 2 huge tomatos, cukes, beets, and a cantelope! No flowers but they made up for it with all the other yummy stuff! Luckily my Hydrangeas are almost ready to cut so I can still enjoye some flowers inside :)