Saturday, August 30, 2014

Beef stew

Today we're making some beef stew. I pulled some beef cubes from the freezer and coated them with garlic pepper, barbeque rub, parsley and Italian seasoning. I poured the a few dollops of oil and some strawberry basil vinegar into the bottom of my cast iron skillet.

I seared the meat on high heat and then added some tomato and store bought beef broth. I transferred it to the crock pot, added more broth, and dumped in about 3/4 pound of baby carrots.

After a few hours, my husband will probably lower the heat and add peas.

I don't have red wine to really do it right.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


My daughter has never had spam. I don't think this is a bad thing. For cultural reasons, I felt it necessary to expose her to this processed American classic. 

I noticed it at Bottom Dollar and grabbed it. I bought the generic version because I was too cheap to spend the extra fifty cents.

She loves it. Tried it cold and hot.

I served it fried with a side of zucchini.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


My husband realized that we hadn't had our grill out this summer... We both had a hankering for hamburgers so...

We made this masterpiece.

Local corn, silk removed, soaked in ice water 15 minutes than sprinkled with A1 dry rub and put on the grill for about 25 minutes. Turning frequently.

Hamburgers from the freezer. My husband had made hamburgers the last time he bought ground beef. We have a small charcoal grill, and he didn't expect them to cook so fast so dinner was 4 pm.

Local zucchini. Sliced. Marinaded in balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing and also sprinkled with the rub.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Child's chicken marinade

My ten-year-old daughter is marinating drumsticks for dinner. 

She has selected for her sauce:
- 1 part extra virgin olive oil
- 1 part balsamic vinaigrette 
- 1 part maple syrup

For her spices:
- generous amounts of parsley
- curry
- paprika
- ras el hanout
- ginger

Will let you know how it turns out.

Verdict: cooked at 375 for an hour, then broiled on high for five minutes.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Peanut butter banana smoothie for two

This peanut butter banana smoothie turned out to be a delight.

For two people, throw in the blender:
- two bananas
- about four ounces coconut water with pulp
- about two tablespoons peanut butter
- about one cup plain yogurt
- one packet carnation breakfast essentials vanilla

Friday, August 8, 2014

Peanut Sesame dressing

I had a Thai chicken salad from Wawa Friday which inspired me to make my own peanut sesame dressing.

I think I have decided on:
- 1 part extra virgin cold pressed olive oil
- 1 part pure sesame seed oil
- 1/2 part apple cider vinegar
- ginger
- 2 parts peanut butter
- sesame seeds and crushed red pepper for the actual salad

Fitness, Fitbits and coconut water

I have not been indulging in much cooking lately because I have been eating boring items as I bring my weight and general health back into line.

Salad, fresh fruit, lots of water and no more sweets have been the norm. And it's worked. I've shed between ten and fifteen pounds. Now my goal shifts to gaining muscle, strength, endurance and flexibility. I have health issues and I'm not getting younger.

So, I started walking, biking, doing 20-minute yoga routines, stretching and doing my physical therapy routines, lifting weights and punching the bag in my garage... Something... Every day.

Having a child helps this. When you say, "What are we going to do today?" you get ideas & someone to hold you accountable.

I use myfitnesspal to track my calories, mapmyfitness for cute little maps of distance activities, talabata lite to time intervals, freepedometer to track steps during housework & my job and I have a weight lifting one too. But I thought this was getting neurotic of me.

So I made myfitnesspal my "homebase," linked my mapmyfitness and bought a fitbit flex. Yup. A fitbit.

After that crazy breakfast and sending my daughter to her grandparents, I suited up with my laptop and my wallet for a morning walk. I planned on stopping at the corner market for sparkling mineral water as a bribe for myself and at the library. I had to head to the library to sync my fitbit as I don't have internet at home and my iPhone 4 is a dinosaur with no 'low energy Bluetooth' capabilities.

Coconut water starts here...

I headed to the corner store and they didn't have sparkling water as the neighborhood is more Hispanic than European. I tried coconut water, as coconut water has calcium just like mineral water. 

My friend Gayle has a fitness challenge where she pushes herself to try new things, I may start a food challenge...

I gagged after the first three sips. Lightly syrupy yet water with chunks of coconut and sweet yet not... Weird. But I kept walking and got thirsty. Tried another sip. Not appealing but not bad.

I continued this every five minutes for a half an hour.

Verdict: weirdly refreshing and staved off dehydration. Still don't like the chunks. Spit them out. Would certainly do it again for something different and not fake like sports drinks. Cannot chug it. 

Would be delicious as a smoothie base... Or with pineapple juice and light rum...

A little bit of everything thing

Last night I walked to the neighborhood "corner store," a place full of candy and oddities.

I got a soursop smoothie that child and I split as part of our massive but healthy breakfast before she heads out to the amusement park with her grandparents.

This coupled with big glasses of water and the following constituted our "this might be all the fruits and veggies you get for the day" breakfast:

- medjool dates 
- half a banana, sliced in banana split fashion to serve as bread for peanut butter and imported Turkish "crushing nuts" with honey (crushed nuts = pistachio, hazelnut, apricot kernel and peanuts)
- salad tacos, both with one six inch flour tortilla and about 1/2 cup of iceberg garden salad mix and 1/2 cup green and crisp salad mix and about 3/4 ounce Bulgarian feta. Hers had Annie's Goddess dressing. Mine had hummus.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Garbage Pail Pasta

I wanted spaghetti with meat sauce so we made this crazy pile of pasta where half the noodles are farfalle and the other half are elbow.

The sauce started as about six to eight ounces ground beef, three chopped garden tomatoes, canned plain tomato sauce, garlic powder, freshly ground black pepper, basil and Italian seasoning.

But then I threw in leftover julienne carrots, artichoke hearts, and a handful of kalamata olives.

Topped the whole mess with crushed red pepper.


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Armchair traveling via ethnic food

It's no secret that I love food. Part of the reason you haven't seen much activity on this blog recently is because I'm trying to break some bad winter habits, primarily too much eating, too much eating calorie high and nutrient low and practically no exercise except walking the kid to school...

So I've lost about 10 lbs and starting biking, walking, doing yoga, punching the Everlast bag, and lifting weights.

Meanwhile, my daughter went to Girl Scout camp. 

While she was gone, I really wanted Turkish food so we went to Aci Halal in Allentown. 

First course was a spicy vegetable dip that tasted primarily of red pepper. And Turkish pita.

My husband and I both got lamb dishes. Mine turned out to be like a meatloaf.

And can I just tell you how much I love that little bit of lettuce with cilantro and spices? I could eat a pound of it.

But I was really dying for good coffee.

Enter Turkish coffee, "medium." And a bubble gum soda to take home for the child.

Dinner (without tip) was $39. 

But I didn't stop spending. I bought a couple things in the grocery dept.

Pressed dates for baking. Plain halva, which the Mediterranean Deli calls halawa. It's a sugared sesame paste almost like fudge. But lighter.

The pretty jar is "crushing nuts with honey." It's a combination of various nuts with honey so dense that the calorie counts resemble candy. I put a little in my plain yogurt.

My husband picked out the cookies-- light chocolate wafers with marshmallows between layers dipped in chocolate.

Now today I finally stopped at the Mediterranean Deli. I needed my imported cold pressed extra virgin olive oil from Beirut.

Bought half the store.

Fig & nut jam. Dried cherries. Big bag of sesame sticks. Dried strawberries. Dried kiwi. Dried cantaloupe. Medjool dates. (I plan on making homemade fruit & nut bars before school starts.) hummus. Three bags of zaatar bread. One bag of mini pita. One pound kalamata olives. One pound Bulgarian feta. A big hunk of Armenian string cheese. A soft homemade cheese in olive oil and zaatar spice. Cucumber and yogurt dip.

I think that was the whole $85.