Tuesday, May 26, 2009


First of all--Tammi got it right, and no wonder since I know we've both been making this cake for years! The green cake is made that way by the addition of Midori Melon Liquor. It's good stuff. The recipe also calls for a box of instant pistachio pudding. I forgot to add it and it was still good, just not as green as it normally is.

On to today's entry.


The weather is getting warmer. I'm yearning for more fresh vegetables. One of my favorites is the simple tomato (OK, it's really a fruit. I am aware of this). These days, it's difficult to find farm fresh tomatoes, which saddens me greatly! I am growing some myself this year. If that is a FAIL, my dad has some started that look incredible. At any rate, I took a gamble last week and bought a couple at my local grocery store.

Tonight, I coarsely chopped one of them, along with a peeled and seeded cucumber. I added a handful of chopped mint (that grows profusely next to my hosue), some basil, the juice of a lemon, the zest of half a lemon, toasted pine nuts, freshly ground pepper, and parmesan cheese. Heaven in a bowl!

If you are cooking for someone who needs a bit more protein, add some leftover chicken. Mix and match your herbs. I used mint and basil because that what I have, though I don't yet have much basil. Add some garlic or other vegetables. You can't really go wrong. I intended to use chickpeas instead of pasta, but realized I am out. I like the Barilla Plus pasta because it has fiber and protein in it and tastes good too. You could also omit the pasta and just make a veggie side salad to go along with your main dish. I love spring/summer and the bounty of fresh produce that comes along with this time of the year!

Here is the recipe.

Pasta, Tomatoes, and Cucumbers with Lemon and Fresh Herbs

Barilla Plus Rotini, 4 oz dried (2 servings)
Red Ripe Tomatoes, 1 large whole (3" dia)
Cucumber (peeled), 1 medium
Parmesan Cheese, grated, 15 grams
Lemon Juice, 1 lemon yields
Pine Nuts, .5 oz
Lemon Zest-from 1/2 of lemon
Basil, 8 leaves
Fresh Mint, handful
Freshly Ground Pepper

Peel and seed cucumber.
Toss with chopped basil and mint, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Run under cool water.
Toss with vegetables. Top with toasted pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and more herbs for garnish.

Number of Servings: 2

I even entered this into a recipe calculator. Not too bad. . .
Per serving:
Calories 329.6
Total Fat 9.6 g
Saturated Fat 1.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.0 g
Cholesterol 5.9 mg
Sodium 175.4 mg
Potassium 427.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 47.7 g
Dietary Fiber 6.1 g
Sugars 4.2 g
Protein 15.6 g

(I actually got 3 servings out of this--220 calories, 6 grams of fat).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


What could this be? Any guesses?

It's a GREEN cake! OK, this was back in February I think. Or March. Any guesses on what flavor it is? Why is it green?
I forgot to add one of the "green" ingredients, so it wasn't quite as bright as it usually is. The ingredient wasn't missed, so I'll omit it from now on.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

What Do You Get When You. . .

Mix 2.25 lbs of ground beef, 1+ lbs. of Italian sausage, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1 lb. of mozzarella, onion, 2 eggs, lots of garlic, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, and crackers for binding?

Homemade meatballs, which I made for my mom for Mother's Day today! I haven't made them in quite some time, and totally winged it, but they turned out pretty darn good. I put a tiny piece of mozzarella in the middle of each for a bit of cheesy goodness in every bite. Of course, I made about 100 meatballs (so it seemed). I was feeding six. We had plenty of leftover, so I brought home at least 2 more meals worth.

My only negative? I didn't have time to make the marinara. I used the jarred variety. However, it was good. Classico is my jarred brand of choice, for those time like today when there is no time to do it the old fashioned way. We decided on meatballs at 1, and still had to go to the store to get the ingredients.

This makes me want to make a big batch of meatballs here at home and freeze them. Of course, if I do that, I'll also have to make a big pot of marinara. YUM.

Oh, and I almost got enough protein today. Yes, I had a meaty dinner, but I skipped lunch because I was either driving or cooking.

At any rate, tomorrow I have leftovers, plus I bought more cottage cheese to dig into for breakfast.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Food Watch and More

So, I realized today that if I eat 1 cup of cottage cheese a day, I'll get almost half of my daily protein needs! I do like cottage cheese. Do I like it enough to eat a cup most every day? We'll see. Tonight I had it as my part 1 of dinner with a cup of pineapple chunks (drained). I had been working outside after running errands, and after I came in the house and showered, I realized I was shaking because I was so hungry. That was the fastest thing I could find (that was also healthy). Never mind that the cottage cheese was a full 8 days past its expiration. It passed the smell test, so I ate it.
The rest of dinner, after I scarfed this down? Two homemade corn tortillas, heated in a cast iron skillet until crisp, then topped with a very slight drizzle of melted butter and about 1/3 cup of avocado salsa each. Quick, easy, and very tasty. I had some salsa that I made last week-more like a hot sauce actually, in that it only has jalapenos that are boiled until tender, and processed with a can of fire roasted tomatoes with salt and garlic powder to taste.
The tortillas came from this little tortilleria in the old Capitol Hill neighborhood of Oklahoma City. They were hot when I bought them! Yum, so fresh. I also got some flour ones.
Anyone have any more ideas for how to eat cottage cheese? I also like it with salt, pepper, and fresh tomatoes. I've still got a bit of time before I'll have fresh tomatoes, and supermarket tomatoes just won't do (yes, I'm a "tomato snob"). I suppose I can try it with just s&p. But every day?

On another note, here is a super COOL website that Mark Bittman wrote about in his blog (see a link on the right side of this page for his blog). It's called Food and Water Watch. You visit a virtual supermarket, click on any food you like, and find out, for example, that processed garlic is just as likely to come from China than from the U.S. Avocado that you buy in the U.S. is more likely to come from Mexico--3 out of 5 avocados consumed here are imported. The odds that apple juice that so many kids love is from here in the U.S.? One in five. It's much more likely to come from China. Interesting stuff. I try to eat local as much as I can, but I know I don't do enough. And there are some things, like the pounds of apples I eat in a week, that I can't get local, and I am unwilling to give them up!

Thursday, May 07, 2009


I grilled a chicken breast for dinner tonight and managed to eat half of it. It was OK. However, I still ended up low for the day on protein. I forgot to take a picture of my dinner, but I'll describe it.
I pounded it as thin as I could, drizzled it with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and rosemary. I let it marinate for about 20 minutes. This was plenty!

I also cut up 2 zucchini and a yellow bell pepper. I also drizzled them with the same mixture, plus a touch of cayenne.

I grilled all of the above and tossed with 1 oz (pre-cooked weight) of Barilla Plus pasta and 1/2 oz. of Parmesan cheese.

Not surprisingly, the 2.5 oz. piece of chicken was the last thing left in the bowl. Sigh. But I tried. And I'll have the same for lunch tomorrow.

I did splurge on dessert tonight. My latest addiction is Ben & Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch. OMG, it is phenomenal! I could eat the whole pint (actually, I have before). I only had a small serving tonight. I have to stretch it out over at least a week. :)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Food Woes and other Musings

So I've been trying to drop a few pounds...watching what I eat (portion control), and have started going to the gym more.

Nothing seems to have changes over the last month, so I started tracking my food intake again, just to see what gives. After 3 days (one of eating out for lunch and dinner because of work), it looks like I am not eating enough! GRRRRR. Plus I am not getting enough protein. Really, this isn't a surprise. Last year when I tracked for most of 3 months, I struggled with that. I've realized that while I like red meat-there's nothing like a grilled steak cooked medium, I'm not crazy about many other meats. I like chicken--if it's fried. I like sausage. I LOVE bacon. You see where this is going? I'm not a fan of just plain white meat, the healthy kind. . . Sure, I'll eat it if it's there, but I don't crave it. I don't come home and cook it. So, I'm needing to step back and reevaluate my eating habits. Protein is needed to build muscle. Did I mention I've been hitting the gym? I'm actually enjoying the body sculpting class I've been attending. I like that for a few days after, I can feel the muscle group where we really focused (calves this week). I feel like I am doing my body good! However, if I'm not giving my body enough of what it needs to be stronger, then it's almost like I'm wasting those gym efforts!

I'm going to try and menu plan next week and incorporate chicken and/or shrimp into more meals. I'm not excited about it, but maybe if I surround the meat with yummy vegetables and delicious seasonings, I'll do my body good.

I also bought some weights and a stability ball today, so on those days when I can't make it to the gym, I can recreate some of our class here at home. For the first time, I am WANTING to work out at home! Now I just need to make sure they don't just end up just accumulating dust.

Oh, and I do think I can see a bit more definition in my arms. YAY me!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Shower Time!

Saturday was exhausting! I think I am still recuperating!
The big hit of the day was the cake, made by a friend of mine. Isn't it amazing?
Next up was the BL-Tea Sandwiches. I'll post the recipe at the bottom.

Look at the detail. You can see the stitching.

Yum-Sangria! Hiccup. I may have gotten a bit buzzed at the shower--that's a first for me!

The fruit bouquet my boyfriend got for the occasion. Awesome!
BL-Tea sandwiches. Half on marlbe rye and half on mini-wheat.

Cucumber sandwiches in the middle and chicken salad on the sides. I was disappointed in my chicken salad. I think I've lost my touch.

The other punch--orange-y, pineapple-y. I bet it's good with vodka.

Tortilla roll-ups

And the recipe, with my edits in red.

B-L-Tea Sandwiches

1 1/2 pounds of thick-sliced hickory-smoked peppered bacon (I didn't use peppered bacon. I used thick cut though and made more like 2.5 lbs)

24 (4 ounces) sun-dried tomatoes (I used a 16 oz. jar of tomatoes packed in oil, drained and patted as dry as possible. I then didn't have to soak them in hot water because they were already nice and soft).

1 cup homemade or prepared mayonnaise (yeah, I don't do the homemade!)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

24 1/4-inch-thick slices of rye bread

6 ounces lamb's lettuce (mache) or other baby lettuce leaves, enough to make about 2 loosely packed cups

1. Heat the oven to 375F with the rack in the center. Arrange the bacon strips in a single layer without touching on 2 baking sheets and bake, one at a time, in the oven for 10 minutes each. Remove and drain off the fat.Continue to bake until the bacon is crisp, another 10 minutes. Drain and let cool on paper towels. Crumble the bacon into small pieces, about 1/2-inch each. Set aside.
I cooked it in my cast iron stove top in 3-4 batches. I cut it up before hand too.

2. Meanwhile, heat 3 cups of water in a small saucepan until almost boiling. Place the sun0dreid tomatoes in a medium bowl and cover wih the very hot water. Allow the tomatoes to soak until they are soft, about 20 minutes. Drain, pat dry, and finely chop. Combine the tomatoes and the mayonnaise. Season generously with salt and pepper. (Hmmmm....think I forgot to add salt or pepper. Oops.)

3. Spread each bread slice with the mayonnaise mixture. Generously sprinkle half the bread slices with the bacon. Arrange the mache over the bacon, sprinkle with pepper, and top with the remaining bread. trim the crust. Slice each in half and serve. (oops. I only put the mayo mixture on one side of the bread. Like it matters :-) )

Makes 2 dozen.

From Martha Stewart's Hors d'Oeuvres Handbook (Clarkson Potter, 1999)

Friday, May 01, 2009

What I've Been Up To

I've been insanely busy with work, getting back into a gym habit, and just life.

The latest twist on this is a baby shower I am cohosting tomorrow-I am doing the food (I volunteered). Because of crazy work, I ended up doing 90% of my shopping for it today after work. Ugh. That's too much.
Anyhow, here is the menu. Recipes/pictures to follow later.

Fruity Punch
Spicy Tortilla Pinwheels

Trio of Tea Sandwiches:
Chicken Salad
Cucumber Dill

There will also be a fruit bouquet, vegetable platter, and of course CAKE.