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Archive for the ‘recipes’ Category

Thank you What Did She Do Today? and husband for the eggs that you surprised me with this afternoon!  It was so thoughtful and they are much appreciated!  In honor of the fresh, local eggs (both duck and chicken) that are sitting in our fridge now I’m going to talk about eggs today.

In one of my weight loss episodes along my journey, I tried South Beach.  Of course, I did South Beach within the confines of Weight Watchers POINTS because I have ‘drank the splenda sweetened cool-aid’ and can’t look at a piece of food without seeing a points value floating above it.  It’s just my frame of reference.  In the first two weeks of the South Beach plan you cut out all carbs, which meant that I was basically eating tuna on salad, chili, veggies, cheese, and eggs.  Do you realize how many breakfast foods have carbs?  Pretty much I just ate eggs every morning.

And it worked for me.  I did the South Beach plan for about 4-6 weeks and I lost over 7 pounds to get me down below my goal.  However, my theory as to why it worked was this:  I was paying attention to what I ate.  Sure, I bet the cutting out all the bread in my diet helped some, but I think the fact that I was thinking about what I was eating, tracking my points, and making healthy choices is what really made the difference.

Since I was single at the time, and had to be to work early, I used to make up a batch of eggs and portion it out into little containers for me to grab and zap in the microwave on the way out the door.  Here is how I prepared my eggs when I was on South Beach:

  • 4 eggs
  • 4 egg whites
  • veggies – as much as you want.  I used frozen chopped onions and peppers, broccoli, and tomatoes.  The more veggies you use, the bigger the servings will be. 
  • 1/4c ched cheese (optional)

Whisk the eggs and egg whites and then just throw everything together in the frying pan and mix occasionally as it cooks.  Easy-peasy.  Makes 4 servings.  2pts per serving without cheese, 3 pts per serving with cheese.

I think I’ll be adding this recipe to my morning routine this week!  (Especially since I’m falling behind with my Losing It goals for this week.)

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This recipe is adapted from a recipe that a friend gave me for Quinoa Chili.  When I went to make it today, I realized that I didn’t have any quinoa so I tried couscous instead and it worked nicely!  You can replace the couscous with quinoa and have an equally yummy meal!  And it is a low POINTS meal, too!

couscous chili

  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 t sea salt
  • 1 pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 t cumin
  • 1 t italian seasoning
  • 1/8 t cinnamon
  • 1/8 t cayenne
  • 3/4c couscous (or 2/3c quinoa)
  • 1 c corn
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes (or 1-2c diced tom or sauce)
  • 1 1/2 c water
  • 3 c beans (I used 2 c kidney, 1 c black)

Saute veggies and spices.
Add the rest of the ingredients.
Simmer until done.
Makes approximately 8 servings (1 cup each).  My rough estimate of points (which changes depending on what beans you use) is 3 POINTS per serving (1 cup).  I have to eat at least 2 servings…it’s so good!

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I’m linking up to ohamanda for Top Ten (Tuesday)!  What is your Top Ten today?

Have you ever heard of Shrove Tuesday, also known as Pancake Tuesday?  It is the Tuesday before Lent begins (on Ash Wednesday).  Here are 10 things to learn about the tradition of Shrove Tuesday.

1. Shrove is the past tense of shrive which means ‘to go to or make a confession’.  Historically, Christians would go to confession to prepare themselves for the season of Lent.

2. Shrove Tuesday began in the Middle Ages.  It was noted in history dating back to 1000 AD.

3. In many countries, especially the United Kingdom, Shrove Tuesday is known as Pancake Tuesday.  It became known as Pancake Tuesday because people had to use up all the food that was ‘forbidden’ during Lent which included eggs and dairy products.  Pancakes became the popular choice to use up all these ingredients.

4. The Pancake Day tradition tells the story of a housewife getting ready for Shrove Tuesday.  She was cooking up all her pancakes and lost track of time when she heard the ‘shriving bell’ ringing, calling her to church.  She raced to church in her apron with her frying pan still in her hand.

5. Pancake Races are held all over the world on Shrove Tuesday especially in England.  Women dress up in their aprons with their frying pans and a pancake and race through the town to church when the bell rings, all the while flipping their pancakes.

6. The most famous Pancake Day Race is held in Olney, England.  This is where the original housewife ran to church with her frying pan in 1445.  The race happens each year on Shrove Tuesday and begins at 11:55am and participants run 415 yards dressed in the traditional costume of a housewife with a skirt, apron, head covering, and frying pan.  Participants must have lived in Olney for at least 3 months.

Olney pancake Race 2007

7. Here are some traditional pancake recipes.

Pancakes-b

8. Shrove Tuesday has become a day of indulgence and revelry.  Although it originally began as a day of confession to prepare yourself for Lent it has become a day of overindulgence and partying … ‘getting it all in’ before you deprive yourself during Lent.

9. Other traditions for Shrove Tuesday are Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Carnival, Malasada Day,  and Fasnacht.

10.  Shrove Tuesday is 47 days before Easter.   The Lenten season is 40 days before Easter, however they don’t count Sundays because those are considered ‘mini-resurrection days’ to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection.

We’re having pancakes for dinner tonight… anyone else?

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So last week I was going to try to only spend $25 on groceries to even out my spending from the prior week.  Yup.  It didn’t work and I went over.  Then I realized that one of the weeks was in March and one was in April.  So this weekend I was looking at my receipts from March and April and decided to re-adjust my goals.  In March I spent $217 on groceries, $17 over for the monthly budget.  So, I put that $17 on my tab for the first week of April (last week), and now I’m only $4 over for last week.  I am confident that I can spend $46 this week on groceries to get back on track.  Although, there is a big sale on Kashi products…

Menu
Monday – Ham, bk pot & veg (I got a 6lb ham a few weeks ago for $.99/lb so I’m going to cook it up and freeze the leftovers for future meals)
Tuesday – Grilled Chicken on Salad
Wednesday – Mac & Cheese with Ham & Brocolli
Thursday – Leftovers
Friday – Pizza

Market Basket Deals (not too much that intrigued me but take a look at the circular to see the other deals)
Kashi Go Lean Cereal – 2 for $5
Kashi Heart to Heart Cereal – 2 for $6
Kashi Cereal and Granola Bars – 2 for $5
Kashi Oatmeal – 2 for $5
Florida Natural OJ – 2 for $5

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Yesterday was a day for bread… I went to the new Panera Bread in Dover for lunch and I made homemade bread last night.

Panera Bread was super crowded but the food was great!  I used to go to the Portsmouth Panera all the time because it is my dad’s favorite place for lunch and we would often meet there.  In fact he has most of his meetings there… we joke about how Panera is his Portsmouth office.  Erik even met my parents at Panera to ask for their blessing to propose (to which my dad responded – do you realize she is really messy?… another story for another day).  Yesterday lunch was good and I even splurged for a cookie.  I also saw my friend from What did she do today? who I haven’t seen in a long time so that was an added bonus.

Panera is also donating their day old item to our church food pantry on Wednesdays and Sundays.  They give us a TON of bread each time that we can’t give it away fast enough before it goes stale and hard as a rock so there is always an extra loaf for me to grab and stick in the freezer.

Last night I felt inspired (don’t ask me why) to make bread in the bread machine.  I think that I might start making our bread this way instead of buying it.  I can make whole wheat bread for about $1 per loaf and it is not loaded with extra junk like the $1 bread in the store is.  Just whole wheat flour, brown sugar, salt, yeast, and water.  Since my bread machine did all the work is was pretty low maintenance and it made my kitchen smell delicious.

Question: Do you think homemade bread (even in a bread machine) is better than buying it from the store?

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This weekend I peeled a 1/2 bushel of apples (by hand, no fancy apple peeler gizmo), and one of the things I made with them was applesauce.  I wanted to make a no-sugar applesauce but I couldn’t really find a recipe that would work for me.  I found several recipes but they called for things like “3 pounds of apples”.  This didn’t quite work for me because I had no idea how to figure out how many pounds of apples I was working with at the time.  How was I supposed to do that?  So I just kind of gleaned what I could from recipes that I found and things friends and my mom had told me and I made it up as I went along.  My biggest fear was that I wasn’t quite sure what the water to apple ratio should be when I was cooking them.

This tends to happen to me a lot.  Especially when it comes to cooking and crafting.  I want to make or create something but I don’t always have exactly everything I need so I change the recipe or pattern.  My mom would say it is the ‘artist’ in me but I wonder if it is just the ‘lazy’ in me… or maybe I’m just being a ‘maverick’ when it comes to this stuff.  Is it that I’m rebellious and don’t want to follow the rules?  I usually end up trying to do it my way by substituting items or just making it up as I go along.  I made pesto with almonds instead of pine nuts (creative?), I have attempted endless knitting projects with the wrong needles and never checked my gauge (lazy), and I combined about 5 recipes for butternut squash soup because none of them seemed just right (maverick).

Often this routine works out ok for me… but there are times that it is just a disaster and I renew my commitment to following the rules.  I think that the applesauce turned out ok, it didn’t seem too watery to me and I just ended up tasting it until I liked the spices… and I didn’t have to use any sugar (yay!). 

Here’s my recipe (could it be more vague?):
-a pot full of peeled & cored apple slices
-about a 1/4 pot full of water
-shake in cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumkin pie spice until you like the taste
-bring to a boil for a while and then mush with a potato masher

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labor of love

Yesterday I picked a million apples.  Ok, I only picked 1/2 a bushel of drops and 2 pecks for eating.  I spent the afternoon peeling half of the drops and making an apple pie for my dh.  Apple pie is one of his few desserts of choice (when he is not eating lettuce).  Let me tell you… it is an ordeal!

I planned on making a one crust apple crumb pie but as I was making crust (originally from a tutorial I found at Musings of a Houswife but later found in my Betty Crocker cookbook), I added too much salt because I was looking at the recipe for 2 crusts.  Anyway, I switched to making a traditional 2 crust apple pie.

It took forever!  Peeling all the apples (I used the rest to make applesauce..another story), rolling out the crust, etc.  My kitchen was a disaster when I was done.  But I survived (and did the dishes before Erik got home) and as you can see I think it came out looking ok in the end.  And I think it tasted ok, too.  However, when I had my piece, I wanted ice cream with it but we only had chocolate ice cream… and I learned that chocolate ice cream doesn’t really go all that well with apple pie.  Maybe I’ll pick up some vanilla today and do another taste test.

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