Friday, January 30, 2015

Ginger Asian Dipping Sauce

I am making tuna sandwiches and salad for dinner with a side of bacon-wrapped scallops (Archer Farms frozen appetizers). On the back of the box, they suggest dipping sauce.

So I mixed up:
- low sodium soy sauce
- maple syrup
- ground ginger
- sesame seeds 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Easy Pizza

A very snowy day as Juno sweeps into town...

I bought Archer Farm fire roasted thin crust pizza crusts and Classico pizza sauce since Target was having a special mix and match deal.

Tonight we got them out and child made one and I made the other.

Before cheese:

After cheese:

By the child:

Toppings included:
- leftover ham & pineapple
- leftover meatballs
- leftover kalamata olives and Bulgarian feta
- frozen spinach
- frozen three color peppers 
- cheeses: mozzerella, Parmesan, Gouda, romano 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Veg-full meatballs

I made these incredible meatballs tonight: 16 ping pong sized meatballs baked at 350 for about 45 minutes.

- 1 pound 80/20 ground beef
- about 1 cup chopped kale
- about 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
- about 1/2 cup diced peppers (mixed colors)
- about four tablespoons parsley
- about 1 teaspoon garlic pepper
- about 4 ounces crumbled Bulgarian feta

It was a little wet so I added 1/4 cup breadcrumbs. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Green ginger smoothie

This should be awesome:
- 6 ounces water
- 4 ounces Naked boosted green machine juice smoothie 
- 1 banana
- 1/4 nonfat plain yogurt
- 1 packet instant ginger honey crystals
- 1 scoop vanilla cream Pure Protein whey

Hot Grape Nuts Goop

I was shopping the other day and I found a coupon on Cartwheel for Grape Nuts. I used to eat hot Grape Nuts all the time! 

1/2 cup grape nuts cereal
A touch of honey 

Heat for 90 seconds in the microwave.

Today I added 1/2 cup fresh raspberries and some cinnamon. 

A great low fat breakfast full of iron, protein and vitamin C.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Evening snack: Hummus Brussel Sprout Wrap

I promised myself I'd eat clean today. I worked hard at the store, did a mild work out and ended up with 800 calories left if I intended to break even. Because I can't lose any more weight.

Yesterday I didn't reach my protein goal so I started today with a spirulina protein shake. Then at 9 a.m. I had breakfast/lunch: a small piece of zaatar bread heaped with very generous amounts of romaine and spring mix, some hummus, a touch of Bulgarian feta, and a little baba ghanouj. 

I punched out of work at 3 pm and got a nonfat unsweetened green tea latte (matcha in skim milk) for a snack/afternoon pick me up. I received a venti, so that means my calcium is in good shape today and the milk adds to my protein count.

Dinner was one serving ham, about a 1/4 cup tropical fruit (see previous blog entry) and about 3/4 cup boxed mac and cheese.

So for my snack I made Brussel sprouts. Put 12 of them in a six inch wrap with 1 ounce spicy gouda, less than 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan and-- get this-- 2 tablespoons hummus. 

It was so good. And I washed it down with a green apple Angry Orchard hard cider.

Easy tropical ham

Target had tropical fruit in juice on clearance for half price. It's two different varieties of papaya and pineapple. With a tropical tortoise in the house and a child who adores fruit, I bought them.


My mother-in-law brought a big old ham steak with the bone. I slapped it in the cast iron skillet and poured a can of the fruit on top. Sprinkled a pinch of ground cloves and here we are:

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Pecan Crusted Salmon

I'm not a fan of salmon. So I dressed it up. This I very much enjoyed.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease cookie sheet with olive oil.

Serve with side salad. Mine was Italian blend greens with dried cherries, onion straws, kalamata olives, feta and a blush wine vinaigrette.

Place three salmon filets on cookie sheet. In small bowl, mix equal parts (I used about two teaspoons):
- extra virgin olive oil
- local raw honey 
- lemon juice
- Dijon mustard

Brush filets liberally with half the sauce.

In a second bowl, mix:
- about 1 cup finely ground pecans
- garlic pepper
- about 1 tablespoon parsley 
- about 1 teaspoon paprika

Coat the top of the filets and drizzle remaining sauce on top. Bake about 20 minutes.

Strawberry cheesecake smoothie

- about 2 ounces cranberry pomegranate juice
- about 1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries
- a tablespoon cream cheese
- a tablespoon chia seeds
- a scoop vanilla cream whey protein powder
- enough water to lubricate it

Easy breakfast

I worked 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. after having 4 days off... I'm trying to eat cleaner after falling into bad habits (using all of my calories left for the day to eat food that doesn't exactly have nutritional vale-- like a beer or a chocolate or salty snacks).

I wanted to eat something before I got locked away in my little room... (Cash office at Target). 

So I toasted half an English muffin, spread less than a tablespoon of cream cheese on it, sprinkled on a little Bulgarian feta and topped it with a sliced medjool date.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Teavana delights

So at one point during the holiday season I ended up at the local big mall in search of matcha. I discovered Teavana. We drank our way through the samples and I thought I had found heaven. But, you see, I am fabulously and ridiculously cheap. 

So I left Teavana and their fancy $5 an ounce teas. But they do have matcha.

The salesperson there mentioned to me that Starbucks had purchased Teavana because they wanted to serve the tea in their stores.

Then I got an email that you could now redeem Starbucks Rewards for an ounce of Teavana tea. I'm probably losing some of you here as you think, "how cheap can you be if you go to Starbucks enough to have a rewards card?"

1. My daughter thinks it's cool to pay for her own Starbucks with her card, a card I gave her as a reward for learning her multiplication tables.

2. I work in a Target and we have our own Starbucks. So, I use my Starbucks Rewards in our store.

3. Often, at work, Starbucks gift cards are given to us an prizes. I registered my most recent one as a rewards card since I usually borrow my daughter's (which I have on the app on my phone).

My daughter picked the raspberry balsamic. I wondered how much tea you'd get in one ounce. Each glass is 1.5-2 teaspoons of tea. I made a French press full tonight. Which is three approximately 8 ounce servings. I used three teaspoons, the last one heaping.

I think I have enough left for two more pots.

The tea has an divine aroma, a very fruity and pleasant aftertaste, a truly beautiful color, and a mild yet zingy flavor. In the store, they mix this one with the limeade tea for an iced concoction.

I may need to work my way through the entire store.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Green pasta with beef kielbasa

This turned out awesome.

I sautéed a couple ounces of ricotta salada and kielbasa diced in large chunks in Papa John's garlic sauce diluted with a couple tablespoons oil.

Then I added about 1/2 cup frozen spinach, about 1/3 cup frozen kale and probably 2 cups peas (it all fell out of the bag at a rate I couldn't control.)

When that was all thoroughly cooked, I added cooked pasta (about four to five servings) and removed it from heat. I stirred it for what seemed like forever and then drizzled about two tablespoons cold pressed imported extra virgin olive oil.

Evening snack: butternut squash

Last night it got hungry. I took a cup of frozen butternut squash, sautéed it in a teaspoon of local butter and tossed in a tablespoon chopped pecans and a light drizzle of maple syrup and blackstrap molasses.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Nutty Chicken Salad

My family called this "peanut tasting" even though it has no nuts. Must be the sunflower seeds.

This isn't my best chicken salad, but the nutty flavor made it a little different. I prefer a fruitier chicken salad.

- 1 can chicken breast, which my husband mashed into shreds with a fork
- about 2 tablespoons light blue cheese dressing 
- about 3 tablespoons raisins
- about 3 tablespoons dry roasted sunflower seed kernels
- about 1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper 
- about 3/4 teaspoon paprika

Friday, January 9, 2015

Before school

School days are taking on tween drama in this house. The bus, scheduled to come at 7:29, really comes at 7:21. 

Child has started refusing our typical breakfast options or making those lovely faces of disgust. Plus she's now having dizzy spells-- something she inherits from her father-- from not drinking enough. It's always been a struggle to get her to drink in the winter. She's not hot & sweaty so she doesn't think she's thirsty.

Today, I let her have a bowl of Rice Krispies (leftover from making Christmas candy) and skim milk (which I bought to make myself matcha lattes). I served this on the side:

Apples with peanut butter, raisins & mini chocolate chips.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New banana protein smoothie

While smoothies and protein powder certainly shouldn't be the mainstay of the family diet, I need the supplements right now because the amount if protein I consume doesn't get close to what the guidelines suggest for a person trying to build muscle.

I bought Pure Protein vanilla cream whey powder at Target. Certainly not as wholesome as the products I've been trying from the natural food store but economical. I started blending it with skim milk and a banana, in part because I bought real cow milk to play with my matcha powder I got for Christmas.

I also started putting honey ginger crystals in my smoothie for some zing. 

Today I tried this:
- 1 cup (maybe 1 1/4, not sure) skim milk
- 1 banana 
- 1 scoop protein powder
- 1/2 serving Prince of Peace honey ginger crystals
- 1 heaping tablespoon matcha

The ginger level was almost perfect, maybe a tiny bit strong, and in my opinion the matcha could have been doubled but I love matcha.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Honey Drumsticks

My daughter loves dark meat. My husband and I don't. Here's our frozen drumstick in the crockpot concoction of the day:

- six frozen drumsticks 
- warm water (about 1/4 cup) mixed with about 1-2 tablespoons honey
- about 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice

Then coat the top of the chicken with
- about 2 teaspoons paprika 
- about 2 teaspoons parsley
- about 1/2 teaspoon ras el hanout
- about 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- about 1-2 tablespoons honey

As it appeared done, we turned the heat down and added frozen kale, butternut squash and carrots while rice cooked in the steamer. 

40 minutes later:

Very nice.

Update: Christmas dinner 2014

I haven't posted in a while because... Oh, does it matter? 

I cooked another Christmas dinner. This time for 12 and I kept the menu simple. I bought nearly 8 pounds of pork loin since the butcher at Wegmans suggested that would be cost effective and lead to leftovers. I'm glad I did because my family devoured close to seven pounds.

The only reason they didn't finish it is because I could only fit about 7.5 pounds in the crockpot.

The recipe was a variation of my standard pork with apples. I tossed the loin (or perhaps I jammed the loin) into the crockpot with most of a bottle of unsweetened apple juice. I sprinkled brown sugar over the top and tossed some apple slices and pear slices over that.

We cooked it on high about 5 hours and turned it down until dinner.

Meanwhile, because the crock pot was so full, I made the glaze in the skillet. I cooked about two cups of apple juice with about 3+ cups of mustard, various half used bottles from my house and my stepmom's. So I had equal parts brown mustard, yellow mustard, honey mustard and Dijon mustard. Added equal amounts brown sugar. Then when that dissolved into a sauce added slices of several apples (red delicious and Granny Smith) and pears.

When we sliced the meat, I poured this over top to serve. It all disappeared.

Sides included sweet corn that my mother-in-law purchased on a local farm this summer. My family thought it was the best corn ever and all I did was heat it. Buy local! It makes a difference!

I made two of my sweet potato pecan crunch casseroles, the same amount I did for last year's dinner for 20. They devoured those too. I experimented with one, adding dark brown sugar instead of light for the crumb topping and swirling blackstrap molasses over the topping. I love blackstrap molasses and it tasted like candy! 

My other vegetables were my roasted cauliflower that was a hit last year and I decided to make my roasted Brussel sprouts. I know Brussel sprouts are an unpopular choice but they are one of my favorites and I was the chef after all.

I wanted to make my "Buffalo style" sprouts for my dad because, like me, he likes spicy things. I think he took half the bowl. I also made a bowl of sprouts that weren't spicy.

A bowl of salad never seems to be popular in the midst of a big holiday meal so I made a tiny iceberg wedge salad for each person: a few carrot ribbons, radish slices and cashews on each, sprinkled with white sesame seeds, and topped with my homemade peanut-sesame dressing.