Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A week of homemade goodness

awaiting a bake

french(ish) bread

Double Lentil Sausage Soup

Used Emeril's Jambalaya seasonings and added some shrimp to the beef kielbasa I had bought at the Easton Farmer's Market this past fall. It was excellent. Slow cooked it but again, didn't do it long enough. Ended up using the pressure cooker setting for 10 min after adding the brown rice. Then changed to browning and cooked the shrimp and spinach.
Valentine's Day Dinner (done Friday) - chicken w/ port, mushrooms, prosciutto, and spinach. Shara found she now loves roasted asparagus again.
Actual valentine's day dinner - made sweet potatoes into heart shapes. Served with burgers and steamed broccoli.
Sweet potatoes, mixed potatoes, and parsnips - roasted with just olive oil, salt & pepper. Set off the fire alarm but got them crispy!

Friday, February 08, 2013

Crisis mode

So i didn't think it would be worth it to drive in the storm and break the governors order for some cornmeal. Luckily I'm able to substitute instant polenta. I don't think it's going to be a big deal though. I only had to use a few tablespoons.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

A good understand for bad service

A friend of mine shared this article on facebook, F**k You if You Don’t Tip Your Server and I had to pass it along. There was one time that we had horrible service and we left a penny so the waitress would know that we didn't just forget. Had I read this article before that bad experience, I wouldn't have been so narrow in my thinking about situation. It could be that the waitress was having a bad day or there was another unknown issue. I like to think of myself as more enlightened now anyway, but sometimes when I'm in the midst of an unhappy situation, it's hard to step back and see the big picture. Hopefully I won't have another bad service experience, but if I do, I want to remember to have compassion. And I've found that feeling compassionate is a much better feeling than anger.

The book below was approved by the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly in 2011 as a Statement of Conscience.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

More pizza

BBQ chicken pizza with onions. Super yummy and I live the Jim Lehey quick pizza dough recipe. This photo is prior to baking. Afterwards it looked like all my other pizzas. Let's just say there were only two pieces left over.
While the pizza was cooking I made the base for a chocolate ice cream. I've been experimenting with making my own since it must be healthier than Edy's. Don't get me wrong, I love Edy's light but I think I love it way more than I should. I have two additions that need to be controlled - cool whip (boo) and going through about a container of Edy's a week.

A few days ago I made this chocolate banana ice cream. It tasted good but the texture was too icy and it was hard. Today I found this chocolate one that I adapted for what I had in the house. Here's my version:
3 cups coconut/almond milk
1/4 cup dark chocolate morsels
1/4 cup Karo corn syrup
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp. confectioners sugar - already had this mixed with the cocoa powder
2 tbsp. corn starch
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla

This made a pudding that I ended up thinning out with some more milk, bringing the total to about 3 cups. I let it cool while we ate dinner and then froze it in my Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker. I've had it for at least twenty years but if I didn't have one, I'd get this one:
  The ice cream was good but it had a pronounced coconut taste that I thought was mint for some reason. Alan said it tasted like coconut so I guess that's what I was smelling/tasting but it may have been a combination of flavors. Either way it does taste good and I figured out it has 4 weight watches points per 3/4 cup serving.

Recent Dinners

I lasted as long as I could and finally broke down last week and we got takeout - pizza, subs & wings. It was a busy weekend and it did make sense, but it would have been nice to be able to wait longer. The bad thing about takeout is I seem to loose control with all the yummy salt and fat, but I did extra exercising and don't think it caused too much damage. Then this week we went out for lunch at work and I got extra and more fat and carbs. This time it was Thai and that meant yummy rice. At least it was brown. But that doesn't mean I didn't make some good homemade meals too. Here are some I remembered to take pictures of.
Hummus was on sale and we've been enjoying it for many meals. The one on the left is a baked portobello with a little rosemary, sliced and put on a Joseph's Lavash with garlic lover's hummus and a little shredded light cheddar. It's then browned on a griddle until crispy. These were really yummy. The night before we had these with shredded BBQ Chicken breasts done in the slow cooker, a bit of the cheddar cheese and some jarred spiced peaches.
These are German Sour Cream Twists, made with a couple of church members and Shara. We had a lesson last Saturday and boy were they buttery, crispy goodies! Shara finished them last night, after we crisped them up in the toaster oven. We still have half the dough in the freezer.
These were from a PIN I found that appeared to be made for me. They're called Crash Hot Sweet Potatoes. They reminded me of Tostones as far as cooked, smashed and crisped. I made them with butternut squash as well as a couple of sweet potato pieces I had in the mix. The topping was a bit heavy on the Cumin. I love the idea of these and will try again but I think the pieces need to be bigger and maybe I'll try using maple sugar instead of the brown sugar.
This picture looks awful but the meal was very tasty. We tried farro and mixed it with steamed butternut squash and I had mine on a bed of spinach. This wasn't heavily spiced, but I added garlic to the farro as it cooked.
How can you go wrong with pizza? I had lost confidence in my homemade crust until we had friends over a couple of weekends ago and they all seemed to like it and Shara did as well. She is my biggest critic, but I passed the test and had to make it again. The one here is portobello, mozzarella and onion with a pesto drizzle. On each I put on a thin layer of tomato paste (we didn't have any tomato sauce or small enough cans of tomatoes in the house!) I think it's the best way to have the pizza and I'm reluctant to go back to tomato sauce.

This pizza is just a basic cheese with the pesto sauce and I may have added some artichoke hearts too. The past couple of weeks we mostly ate spinach, hummus, eggs, and pizza. I can't forget the lentil, barley, vegetable soup done in the slow cooker (it was ok, too tomatoey, but really easy.

So what's next?
Tomorrow will be another pizza - bbq chicken and we could easily turn it into buffalo. I'd like to make another batch of the banana chip muffins we can't seem to get enough of, something with butternut squash because we have 1/2 of one left, also have kale and broccoli we need to use. If it weren't for my addiction to cool whip, I don't think I'd have to go to the market this week, but until I find a substitute, I'm at it's mercy.