Wednesday, June 30, 2010

An Amazing Thank You Gift!

So I walked in the door after work to find a huge Williams-Sonoma bag with this in it:

And in case you can’t tell from the picture, it’s big and HEAVY! Hello… I LOVE Williams-Sonoma & I LOVE wrapped gifts! But this??? It’s not my birthday, it’s not Christmas? What did I do to deserve such a treat?

Well as it turns out, this my friends it the sweetest thank you gift ever! Chad’s buddy Mike was our dinner guest for the Very Vegan Dinner. He was so appreciative of the culinary adventure we took him on that he felt compelled to find us some new hardware for the kitchen. What’s in the box you ask? Well, let’s just say, someone has been perusing some Random Musings, because he knew we not only loved us some W-S, but he knew we were lacking a certain appliance. My squeals of excitement could barely be contained when I tore off the paper to find this:

We have a Panini Maker!!! And not just any panini maker... an AWSOME one!!! No more line-less panini’s (like these)! I’ll have to make lots and lots of painis now. So tell me, what’s your favorite panini recipe?

Before I go… I just have to say Mike, you are too much! Thank you so much for your generous gift! I LOVE IT! There will be MANY more Very Vegan Dinners for you to come over & enjoy!

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Very Vegan Dinner…

Alrightie, so last Thursday we had the much anticipated vegan dinner. Yep, vegan... that means no meat, & no dairy! So, on the menu we had Black Bean Quesadillas with Corn Salsa, Spanish Style Quinoa (for more on quinoa see previous post) & a Simple Green Salad. Um, how do you
make quesadillas without the cheese/dairy product?? Well, I found these cheddar flavored “Veggie Shreds” (basically soy cheese) in the produce department over by the tofu and decided to give it a whirl. And what do you know, it wasn’t too bad. (Don’t worry cheese, you will always be my number one!) All in all this dinner turned out great! We were all exposed to new things. The quinoa very well may be my new BFF, the quesadillas were awesome & the corn salsa was too simple to be that good! And the best thing about this dinner is it doesn’t have to be vegan. We had a vegan dinner guest, but you can change it up to suit your tastes. You can for the real thing and toss on the Mexican blend real deal cheese! You could even add some grilled or shredded rotisserie chicken to the quesadillas. Also, if you aren’t ready for quinoa, stick to your favorite Spanish rice. Vegan, Vegetarian, Carnivore, how ever you like it, you can’t go wrong with this one! Enjoy!

Black Bean Quesadillas w/ Corn Salsa
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
2 cups chopped plum tomatoes (I used a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
4 (8-inch) flour tortillas (I used whole wheat, low carb tortillas)
3/4 cup (3 ounces) preshredded Mexican blend cheese (I used the Veggie Shreds)

1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1 red bell pepper, chopped (I used the roasted red bell pepper in the jar)
To prepare the quesadillas, preheat the broiler.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic; saute 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, 1/2 cup cilantro, and beans; cook 5 minutes or until liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Place tortillas on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Top each tortilla with 1/2 cup bean mixture and 3 tablespoons cheese; fold in half. (My tortillas were small, so I kept them round & just topped with another tortilla.) Lightly coat tops with cooking spray. Broil 3 minutes or until cheese melts and tortillas begin to brown. Cut each tortilla into 3 wedges.

To prepare salsa, combine corn and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve with quesadillas.
Calories: 420, Fat: 14.4g

As for the Spanish Style Quinoa, I turned to my favorite Sassy Little Chef and asked her for tips on how she makes her Spanish Rice.  Since this is how I used to make Spanish Rice.  But honestly, now that I know how easy it is to make it your self, I'll probably ditch the bag of ingredients I can't pronounce & stick with the real stuff.  Since it was also the night for the big Quinoa Experiment, I just substituted quinoa for the rice. It totally turned out & it was Fantastic!  So far, after experiment #1, it seems true that anything rice can do Quinoa can do better for you!  But if you want her recipe, you’ll have to ask her for yourself. ;)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


OK, so I'm more than intrigued.  I've been hearing the mention of this Quinoa stuff (pronounced Keen-wah) pop up here & there for a while now... Wolfgang Puck had me completely entranced on QVC as he was rather successfully selling me on why I should purchase his pressure cooker.  A counter full of brightly colored pressure cookers each filled with a great looking meal all made in front of my very eyes in like 7 min!  One contained Quinoa, hmmm, I think I've heard of that before, sorta looks like couscous, I love couscous - I need the phone! Where's my wallet?  Do I want the red one or the teal one... Thumbing through a cookbook, oh there's that Quinoa stuff again.  Then on Monday my hairdresser was telling me how much she loves the stuff.  She cooks with it all the time & It's her new favorite thing. 

Well at this point I was intrigued, I just had to investigate!  I even went I bought a box.  The more I'm reading about this stuff the more I'm learning of it's awesomeness!  I haven't even tasted it yet, but people seem to love it!  It may be new to me, but it has been around for like 6000 years.  The Incas held this this stuff sacred, and called it chisaya mama or mother of all grains.  Quinoa's protein content is very high (12%–18%). Unlike wheat or rice it contains a balanced set of essential amino acids, making it complete protein source. It is a good source of dietary fiber, it's gluten-free, wheat-free and considered easy to digest. (thank you Wikipedia!)

In addition to protein, quinoa features a host of other health-building nutrients. Because quinoa is a very good source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus, this "grain" may be especially valuable for persons with migraine headaches, diabetes and atherosclerosis. (the worlds healthiest foods)

And as for the taste... Quinoa has a light, fluffy texture when cooked, and its mild, slightly nutty flavor makes it an alternative to rice or couscous.  I read one blog that said, "Anything rice can do, quinoa can do better!"

So, who's intrigued?  Anyone else have any experience with it?  Do tell!  Favorite recipes you care to share with me?  I'm making it tomorrow night, so stay tuned...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Berry Patriotic Dessert!

So I've been on strike this week.  Well not really, but I have been completely busy & have not made dinner once.  Um, I don't think the 9 pm garlic provolone grilled cheese sandwiches that were burned on one side(yeah, kinda got distracted on the phone) count as an actual dinner or blog worthy, and they weren't healthy at all... but they were pretty tasty if you scraped off the burned side.  But I digress.  The actual point of this blog is to give you something to get you through the week and to let you know that I have not forgotten about you, the few & faithful!

With June almost behind us and the 4th of July coming up here shortly, I thought I'd dig through my archives and bust out with this little beauty!  The recipe was given to me by the mother-in-law of my bestie (who just so happens to be this Sassy Little Chef).  Carole is one of those great cooks who when I asked her for her recipe she said, oh I don't have a recipe, I just threw it together with this this & this!  I very rarely get that lucky!  She's awesome!  She gave me the list of ingredients, I gave it a whirl, it totally worked out & everyone loved them!  Enjoy!

Berry Delicious Mascarpone Cups
Won Ton Wrappers
Melted Butter
Cinnamon-Sugar Mixture

1 Package Mascarpone Cheese
Orange Juice

Fresh Berries (I used Strawberries & Blueberries)
Optional Topping*

1. Preheat oven to 350 F
2. Brush the individual wonton wrappers with melted butter on each side, sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture & place in mini muffin pan.
3.  Bake for approx 10 min or until edges are golden brown.  Set aside to cool.
4. Meanwhile, mix mascarpone with honey & OJ to desired taste.  (careful not to make it too thin) You can even add a little orange zest if desired.
5.  Once wonton shells are cooled, add a spoonful of cheese mixture.  Top with fresh berries and Topping of your choice.  *The first time I had it with whipped cream, even Cool Whip would be great.  In this photo I made it with a white chocolate drizzle for the patriotic theme (get it, the stripes.. red, white & blue?? yeah,  yeah, we get it! OK, just checking!).  You could even do a dusting of powdered sugar if you so desired.  The possibilities are almost endless...

Note:  Find wonton wrappers in the refrigerated produce section of most supermarkets.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fresh Corn Tomato Salad

So this is one of this recipes that I've made so many times I don't even really need a recipe for it any more.  I've made a couple changes to over the years, but it's basically remained the the same.  I believe it is a Bobby Flay recipe that I found it on the Food Network site.  If you are looking for a change from your usual green salad, this is super simple to make.  It is a wonderfully light and fresh summer salad.  I would only attempt to make this with fresh corn by the way.  This is one place that canned or frozen corn does NOT belong!  Enjoy!

Fresh Corn Tomato Salad

3 Tbls white wine vinegar
2 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup EVOO
6 ears fresh corn, husked
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1 bunch scallions (white & Green), thinly sliced
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into cubes
1 ½ cups fresh basil
½ bag fresh baby spinach
3 Tbls balsamic vinegar

Whisk the vinegar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil, starting with a few drops and then adding the rest in a steady stream, to make a smooth dressing.

Shear off the corn kernels with a sharp knife over a bowl. Toss in the tomatoes, scallions, and mozzarella. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat. Cover and let set for 15 minutes or up to 2 hours. Before serving, tear or chop the basil & spinach over the salad, drizzle balsamic and stir.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Turkey Antipasto Panini

Ok, so maybe it's not exactly a panini since I didn't have a panini maker.  Don't think I didn't contemplate going to Target and buying one just for this recipe!  But I decided that I'd make due with a regular pan, a piece of foil and a plate on top to press it down with.  Sure there were no pretty little grill marks, but it was delicious nonetheless!  They were beautiful, fun to make and wonderful to eat.  I drizzled a little balsamic vinegar on mine.  Enjoy!

Turkey Antipasto Panini
2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 teaspoons of pesto (I added this part)
8 (0.9-ounce) slices crusty Chicago-style Italian bread
8 ounces shaved lower-sodium deli turkey (such as Boar's Head)
1 (6-ounce) jar quartered marinated artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup moist sun-dried tomato halves, packed without oil and chopped
1/2 cup sliced bottled roasted red bell peppers
12 basil leaves, chopped
4 (1-ounce) slices reduced-fat provolone cheese (such as Alpine Lace)

1. Preheat panini grill.
2. Mix mayo & pesto, spread evenly over each bread slice. Top each of 4 bread slices evenly with turkey, artichokes, tomato, bell pepper, basil leaves, and cheese. Top with remaining bread slices. Coat both sides of sandwiches with cooking spray.
3. Place sandwiches on panini grill. Grill 3 to 4 minutes or until bread is browned and cheese melts. Cut panini in half before serving, if desired.
Calories: 361, Fat: 10g (this is the count without the added pesto)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Big Fat Greek Turkey Burgers

Hello flavor explosion in my mouth!  I've been wanting to do some sort of Greek turkey burger for a while now and these did not disappoint!  I took a recipe from the Cooking Light website & added a couple of things to it to come up with this.  This is in no way a boring dried out turkey burger!  Talk about a juicy & flavorful.  These are a must try.  And don't forget the Tzatziki sauce, it's too good!  Enjoy!

Mediterranean Turkey Burgers
1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon minced red onion
2 tablespoons commercial pesto
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground turkey breast
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives 
1/4 cup chicken stock or broth

2 cups arugula (I used baby spinach)
Sliced Roasted Red Bell Peppers in the jar
2 (6-inch) whole-wheat pitas, toasted and halved (we used the Earthgrains 100 calorie thin buns)

1.  Make the Tzatziki Sauce (below) and refrigerate.
2. Combine first 10 ingredients in a bowl; mix until combined. (at this point I put the mixture in the fridge to let the flavors do their thing for about 30 min.  Divide mixture into 4-6 portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty.
3. Heat a nonstick grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add patties to pan; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done. Top patties with sliced peppers, spinach & Tzatziki. 
Calories: 303, Fat: 8.8g

Tzatziki sauce: Combine 1/2 cup plain low-fat, Greek-style yogurt; 1/4 cup finely chopped seeded cucumber; 1/4 teaspoon salt; and 1/8 (or less if you don't want too much heat) teaspoon ground red pepper.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Trader Joe's You Make Dinner so Easy!

Since we made a trip to TJ's on Sunday I decided to take advantage of some of their tasty dinner options this week.  (Can I just mention how much it irritates me that we don't have one here in Lodi!)  Anyhoo, last night we had Mediterranean Stuffed chicken breasts.  You can get them prestuffed in the meat department at TJ's & they are GREAT!  So east to make too.  If you struggle in the kitchen & want to look like a genius you should give them a try.  About 40 min in the oven, and thats it!  I just served with a Mediterranean Spinich salad.  But you could add what ever you want.  A side of cous cous and some grilled veggies would be great! Enjoy!

Frozen Oatmeal??

So my dear friend Rachel has been telling for quite some time now that I simply must try this stuff.  It's pre  cooked Steel Cut Oatmeal from Trader Joe's.  If you've ever tasted Steel Cut oatmeal you know how much better than the regular mushy ole instant stuff it is & if you haven't, um, well you should!  Usually if you make it the old fashion way it takes like 30 min or something silly like that.  Now don't get me wrong, I don't mind spending 30 min or more on breakfast, but definitely not on a weekday, and definitely not on oatmeal!  So I usually opt for the good ole instant mush on my M-F word day breakfast.  However, I finally made the trip to Trader Joe's Stockton this weekend and was finally able to get my hands on a couple boxes of this stuff.  It's in the freezer section and has 2 individual servings for about $1.50.

Simply pop your frozen block-o-oatmeal in a bowl, toss it in the microwave & you're done.  You can spruce it up to suit your taste.  I sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on mine.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Quick & Easy BBQ with out the BBQ?

BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches... This dinner was too easy for words!  You could buy it pre mixed, heat it, add a dab of cheese & lightly toast a bun.  Or you could get a rotisserie chicken and a bottle of your favorite sauce, you pick.  Since we are trying to watch the calories I opted for those new thin buns that are only 100 calories.  Dinner in an instant & no cookbook required!  Enjoy!

PS: don't worry, I'll be back to dinners that actually require recipes later in the week.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Chicken w/ Rosemary Sauce

Doesn’t look like it came out of a Cooking Light cook book? Well I promise you, it did. Chicken in a rosemary cream sauce that was served over some multi grain angel hair pasta. Looks good huh… Well it wasn’t!  Yeah, I said WASN"T.  Such a bummer. I guess I jinxed myself yesterday, because this one was a stinker. (At least the steamed artichokes were good.)  But before you stop reading, it did have all the potential to be great. In fact, with my simple change it became great. The recipe as is however was just too watery and a little blah. Go figure. So, I’ll give you the recipe as is, then I’ll tell you how I changed it up (after the fact unfortunately – hey, at least the leftovers will taste good.)

Since my book isn’t with me, I pulled this recipe from the Cooking Light Website. It calls for half-and-half, instead of heavy cream which the cookbook calls for.  (I was wondering what on earth cream was doing in a “healthy” cookbook?)

Chicken w/ Rosemary Sauce
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup half-and-half

Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side. (I removed the chicken at this point, let it rest & sliced it)Add green onions, wine, and rosemary; cook 30 seconds. Stir in broth; cook 2 minutes. Add half-and-half (I added the chicken back at this point); cook 2 minutes.
Calories: 183, Fat: 6g

So I had this thought before I even made the dish & I should have gone with it, but I shut out my own instincts and listened to the darn cookbook. Next time I will ditch the cream/half-and-half all together and replace it with some low fat cream cheese and a dash of seasoning. I tried it out after dinner was over and it was way better! You could even try a little thickener like cornstarch or flour. That simple little change would have turned this stinker into a winner. I guess a healthy pasta cream sauce that tastes good is possible. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Grilled Chicken with Rustic Mustard Cream

I can’t believe I’ve made three healthy meals in a row, out of a cookbook, without spending tons of time on the internet reading reviews, without using tons of ingredients, and they’ve all been winners! Now I can’t promise this is going to keep happening, but for now, I’m enjoying it, and I’m pretty sure Chad is to!

Last night I made Grilled Chicken w/ Rustic Mustard Cream and Green Beans w/ Country Mustard & Herbs on the side. Yum, Yum, Yum! I’ve just recently started finding an appreciation for Dijon mustard, used to hate the stuff. So at first bite, I wasn’t sure about the chicken. But each bite I liked it more & more. By the end I was like, “I do believe this is company worthy!” I was wishing I had room for seconds! And the green beans were great & shamefully easy. All this time I thought green beans had to be loaded with bacon to taste that good! Not that I’ll forget bacon forever, just maybe for now. Both of these recipes were from the Fresh Food Fast cookbook and the whole thing took less than 20 minutes to make, including prep time. Enjoy!

Grilled Chicken w/ Rustic Mustard Cream
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon whole-grain Dijon mustard, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
3 tablespoons light mayonnaise (I forgot to buy light & had to use regular)
1 tablespoon water
Rosemary sprigs (optional)

1. Prepare grill.
2. Combine 1 teaspoon mustard, oil, and next 3 ingredients in a small bowl; brush evenly over chicken. Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 6 minutes on each side or until done.
3. While chicken grills, combine 1 tablespoon mustard, mayonnaise, and 1 tablespoon water in a bowl. Serve mustard cream with grilled chicken. Garnish with rosemary sprigs, if desired.
Calories: 262, Fat: 10g

Note:  Once again I didn't use the grill.  Just the hot pan, and a quick sear on each side.  Since I'm splitting my breasts in half and pounding them, they are much thinner making for a very quick cooking time.

Green Beans w/ Country Mustard and Herbs
1 (12-ounce) package trimmed green beans
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
2 teaspoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Microwave green beans according to package directions.
2. While beans cook, place butter and remaining ingredients in a serving bowl. Add beans; toss gently until butter melts.
Calories: 55, Fat: 3g

Leftover Makeover Idea:  Usually I just put leftovers in containers and we take them for for lunch the next day.  However, this time all we had left was two pieces of chicken and some sauce.  Not much of a lunch if you ask me.  What to do, what to do???  Well, I chopped the chicken up, added a little minced red onion and the remaining sauce... wallah, chicken salad!  Into a container, a couple slices of wheat bread in one ziplock & the rest of the fixins for a yummy sandwich in a few more & you've got the perfect lunch!  Enjoy!

What is House Seasoning??

I while back I was making a Paula Deen recipe for lasagna.  It soooo does NOT qualify as healthy cooking. But it does qualify as fan-freking-tastic (expecailly with my changes) so one day, when I splurge and make it again, I'll post it.  Anyhoo, I digress, back to the house seasoning... the recipe called for a "House Seasoning" (at least that's what she called it, so that's what I'll call it until I come up with something better.  Let me know if you have any ideas.) and had a simple recipe that followed for a blend of salt, pepper and garlic powder.  At first I thought, nah, I'll just wing it and add my own seasonings.  But then I found an empty glass jar with a lid in the cabinet and decided, why not?  My suggestion, do it!  I serously reach for that glass jar for EVERYTHING now!  I LOVE it!  It's a great all purpose blend that I use in everything, scrambled eggs, veggies, chicken breasts pasta sauce, you name it.  Enjoy!

House Seasoning (I'm pretty sure I doubled this):

1 cup salt (I use fine sea salt)
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Asian Chicken with Spicy-Sweet Broccoli

Ok, so this plate may look like a boring plate of chicken, broccoli & brown rice... but let me tell you, it was anything but boring! Wow, what a simple to make and uniquely delicious dinner we had last night. So much flavor packed into so few calories! I honestly did not know that was possible! The recipe was for Grilled Asian Drumsticks, but you know I had to change it up a bit (see my note following the recipe). The flavor in this chicken was out of this world! It's got a little heat to it, so if you are afraid of heat, go easy on the chile paste.

Grilled Asian Drumsticks
*8 chicken drumsticks (about 2 pounds), skinned
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste)

1. Preheat grill.
2. Coat chicken and grill rack with cooking spray.  Grill chicken 20 minutes or until done, turning once. (*See Note Below)
3. While chicken grills, combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan, stirring with a whisk.  Bring to a boil; cook 4 minutes or until reduced to 1/3 cup.
4. Transfer chicken to a large bowl or pan. Pour sauce over chicken, turning to coat.
Calories: 210, Fat: 4g

Note: Since we don’t care for chicken on the bone, I took the opportunity to save a little fat and calories and substituted the drumsticks for boneless, skinless breasts.  I split them in half and pounded them flat, turning 2 servings into 4… how clever is that!  Also, we weren't ready to fire up the grill, so I just seasoned them well with my "House Seasoning" and into a hot pan, no oil – just a little Pam sprayed in and wiped out, for a quick sear on each side until done.  This takes just a few minutes rather then the 20 the drumsticks would take on the grill, so make sure you have your sauce ready before hand if you go this route.

I followed the cookbook’s advice and served it with

Spicy-Sweet Broccoli
1 (12-ounce) package refrigerated broccoli florets
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1. Microwave broccoli according to package directions. Drain. Combine soy sauce and remaining ingredients in a small bowl.  Drizzle over cooked broccoli, toss to coat.
Calories: 62, Fat: 4g


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Chicken, Bean, & Blue Cheese Pasta Salad w/ Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette

Last nights meal was Chicken, Bean, & Blue Cheese Pasta Salad w/ Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette.  It's from the Salads section of the Cooking Light, Fresh Food Fast cookbook.  I already think this is going to be one of my favorite books!  But I'll talk more about the book after I've made a few more things out of it.  Dinner was so quick to make & it was delicious!  I bought a rotisserie chicken & just used the skinless breast meat. I also used whole grain pasta, added a handful of fresh baby spinach and a little more balsamic & water. Enjoy!

Chicken, Bean, & Blue Cheese Pasta Salad w/ Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked rotini (corkscrew pasta)
  • 1 1/2 cups (2-inch) cut green beans (about 6 ounces)
  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken breast (about 3/4 pound)
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled blue cheese (you can substitute feta or fresh mozzarella)
  • 1/4 cup Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette (see recipe below)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Add beans during last 5 minutes of cooking. Drain pasta and beans; rinse with cold water until cool.
2. Combine pasta mixture and remaining ingredients; toss gently to coat.

Calories: 315, Fat: 9g

Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped red onion
1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Stir in tomatoes, basil, and onion.

Cooking Healthy???

Since summer is pretty much here we’ve decided it’s time to trim down a little bit. That means working out & eating healthy. Now my typical style of cooking may be called many things… healthy, not really one of them. I’ve attempted “healthy cooking” in the past. Some good, some ok, and some down right ugly. (Not sure I’ll ever live down the tofu Caesar dressing.) I’ve heard rumors of delicious low calorie dinners, I've just had a little trouble making them. So, I got a few new cookbooks last week. A couple of them are from the Cooking Light series of cookbooks, which promises to change my mind about “healthy cooking” forever. (We'll see about that!)

Sunday night I went through them and planed out four nights worth of meals, made my shopping list & did the shopping. Got everything I needed for $70. This is not only four nights of dinners for two, but leftovers for us each to take for lunch the next day! Not too bad when you figure in the money and calories that we wasted on eating lunch out during the work week.

Now, in case you’re interested, I’ll share with you the recipes as I go. I’ll even try to remember to snap a picture of the finished product.

To be continued...

Friday, June 4, 2010

I finally got one!

So the opinions came in and they were overwhelmingly in favor of Mac in the "Do I get a Mac or a PC laptop?" debate…

Then, the heavens opened up and granted me a killer deal on a 17in Mac Book Pro! It’s a big one… Now I just have to learn how to use the darn thing ;)


Have Your Cake...

So blogging isn’t the only thing I took a hiatus from… I went on a Cake Making hiatus for the last several months.  Last weekend, I dusted off my cake pans, busted out a box of fondant and put my apron back on! I got a request for a graduation cake from a repeat customer.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to take it at first but she certainly laid on enough praise to entice me.

She sent me a copy of the invitation and requested the cake look just like it, with one layer or red velvet & one layer of white cake.
The Invitation

The Cake
There were moments when I remembered why I don’t enjoy cake making & moments when I remembered how much I love it! I spent more money than I actually made (mainly cause I had to replace a most of my supplies), but came to a conclusion about my cake making future…

I am not the girl to go to for a cheap cake.  If I’m going to spend 6-8+ hours of my weekend making you one of my creations, it’s going to be because you really want it & are willing to pay for it.  Also, cakes don’t have to consume my EVERY weekend… I can be selective about when I make one.  I can still have a life outside of cake!  I got burned out by doing freebies and would like to find a nice balance, because when all is said and done I do enjoy creating awesome cakes.


Yes, I’ve been quiet for quite a while but I’m back, with a new laptop & pleanty to talk about. Stay tuned...


Me :)