Wednesday, September 22, 2010

WAKE UP! Breakfast

My breakfast tomorrow morning compliments of the sample of Ellie's Krieger's cookbook "So Easy:Luscious Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week" that I just downloaded onto my new Kindle. :)

Mocha Java Smoothie

1 Tbl sugar
2 tsp instant espresso
2 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 c boiling water
2 c milk
2 frozen bananas
1 c ice

Combine sugar, espresso, water and cocoa powder.
Combine coffee mixture with everything else and blend in blender on high until smooth.

I bet this will wake me up! :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

An applicance-heavy meal

We had tacos last night, and I couldn't believe how many kitchen appliances/gadgets I used to make one meal.

Pressure Cooker
I wanted to make refried beans. The recipe I use calls for 9 cups of pinto beans and takes about 3 hours. I didn't get home until 6:30pm. I couldn't wait 3 hours. In the pressure cooker, it took about 1 hour. I suppose this also includes the use of my stove, but that's a given.

Hand Blender
Once the refried beans were finished cooking, I used my hand blender to create the pureed with chunks texture it needs without transferring batches to the blender...or using a potato masher (that, funny enough, I don't even own).

I made Alton Brown's chili powder for use in the refried beans and to season the chopped beef. His recipe calls for chilies toasted with cumin, mixed with other spices, and powered in a blender. Also, I needed 1/8 c salt for my refried beans and only had corse sea salt on hand, so I used my blender to make my corse salt not corse.

Food Processor
I made Pioneer Woman's resturant style salsa to go with the tacos. I calls for dumping things in the food process and turning it on. It's easy and awesome! I haven't bought canned salsa since I first tried this recipe....for our LOST season finale party, I think.

I wish I could say that I used my salad spinner to wash the lettace, but I got it out of a bag....prewashed. :)

Ice Cream Maker
We had raspberry, vanilla ice cream with dark chocolate chips for dessert.

This applicance use seems to be a little much for one meal. But at least they aren't going to waste. And now I have 5 quarts of refried beans in my freezer for the next taco extraveganza (which, coincidentally, we don't have very often).

Do you have any kitchen appliances you just can't do without? Or any you really, really want?

Monday, August 16, 2010


I self medicate with food. When I'm bored at work and I can't bear to work on another mindless/overwhelming/difficult project, it's hot chocolate to the rescue. When I'm having a bad day it's lunch out. When Mark is gone for the weekend or the evening, it's my favorite food that he doesn't like. It's not always unhealthy food...but it's always food.

No wonder I can run 14 miles but can't seem to lose a single pound.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Shrimp Scampi

My mother-in-law was recently diagnosed gluten intolerant. Whenever she gets down about the things she can't eat, Mark reminds her that now she's forced to eat steak and crab legs instead of some lame pasta with a few specks of crab-like substance in it. :)

And he's right. This week I needed to make something for Mark's parents last minute. The two meals I had planned and had on hand were pizza with peppers, onions, and sausages and shrimp scampi. Shrimp scampi it is! :)

The recipe I used is another from Ellie Krieger. Her recipe doesn't use any butter (olive oil instead), and it includes artichoke hearts. It's not a classic shrimp scampi, but it was really good. And my mother-in-law who LOVES butter said she didn't miss it at all. Ellie, you are a genius.

(Not that I have anything against butter. But, you know, recipes that include whole sticks of butter should just maybe be a special treat rather than an every-day occurance.)

Buying this healthier food cookbook is growing on Mark (not that I need his permission). So far he's really liked everything....which is awesome cause he loves his comfort food. :)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Blueberry coffee cake

I've been eating cottage cheese with canned diced peaches for breakfast as much as possible. I know, shockingly healthy. But I love it, and I look forward to it every day. The problem is that it always leaves me a little bit unsatisfied and hungry again at approximately 10:15.

In an effort to fill the void, I tried Ellie Krieger's much healthier version of a blueberry coffee cake. She uses a little butter (2 Tbsp) and the same amount of canola oil instead of sticks and sticks of butter and yogurt instead of sour cream. She also swaps out half of the white flour for whole wheat flour.

I had pretty high expectations of this coffee cake since all the reviews said it was amazing and since Ellie grinned so much in the video (I haven't gotten over how annoying that grin can be. she's so....happy all the time!). And it did not disappoint. It was so good! I cut it into 16 pieces like she recommended, and one little square really does fill by breakfast void. Plus, even on day 3 (today), it is still moist. I'm not really sure how that happens without all of the fat/oil...but it happened.

Oh! And Mark, who complains when I put whole wheat flour in anything, though it tasted great and not "healthy." :) Bonus!

I highly recommend this coffee cake. It's part of a healthy breakfast that you can look forward to. Ellie comes through again!

P.S. After day 3 I froze the rest of the coffee cake in individually wrapped squares. I've been eating them out of the freezer ever since. I just thaw them for 20 sec in the microwave after I get to work. They defrost very nicely.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Curry Chicken Salad

I've been trying Ellie Krieger's recipes this week to determine if I should buy her cookbook. If you think that kind of thorough research sounds very unlike me, you'd be right. You can thank my patient and thorough husband or my lack of desire to go to the store for the fact that I don't have it yet.

Anyway, the first recipe I tried was her curried chicken salad, and I enjoyed it immensely. It does taste "lighter" in not as heavy...thanks to the yogurt (I'm thinking greek yogurt would make a big difference) and it had a great flavor. Even Mark really liked it (yeah, I'm ditching the lame sexy husband all know how he is). Even though I usually don't make changes to a recipe the first time I try it...or really ever...I did make 2 changes. First, I used walnuts instead of almonds because Mark doesn't prefer to eat almonds. Second, I used craisins instead of grapes because Giant Eagle seemed to be out of grapes.

If you're like me and you totally love chicken salad but can't justify all of that mayo on a regular basis, I highly recommend that you give this recipe a try.

Was it the best thing, or even the best chicken salad, I've ever eaten? No. But I really did like it a lot.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ice cream update

So I tried the ice cream, and I'm back to give you the update.

Sweetened condensed milk does make fantastic ice cream, but not the way I posted previously. If you use the previous recipe, which includes only 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 1 cup whipping cream, and 1 tsp vanilla, your ice cream will be incredibly rich and creamy....and way too sweet for us. After having tried that recipe for vanilla and mint chocolate chip with andies mints, I did a little more research. I discovered that most online recipes recommend something closer to a 3-1 or 4-1 ratio of whipping cream/milk to sweetened condensed milk. Unfortuately, the increased whipping cream/milk requires an ice cream maker, so I went down to the basement and dug mine out.

I have now made ice cream twice with this new ratio in mind. I use a 4 cup pyrex bowl, start with the sweetened condensed milk, and then add my other ingredients...whatever whipping cream I have on hand topped off with milk or, as was the case last night, pureed stawberries. Adding 1/8 to 1/4 tsp of salt also keeps the ice cream from freezing into a solid block.

It's still a super-easy process that doesn't require cooking or eggs. But, alas, you'll have to invest in an ice cream maker to give it a try......

And I highly recommend giving it a try.