Go ahead, eat with your eyes today!

 

I’m just throwing pictures at you today … enjoy this buffet for your eyes!

 

ImageImage

 

Here’s a perfect party food.  I made this as a snack while my husband and I watched the Penguins during their (miserable) playoff run. It’s a really easy Trisha Yearwood recipe that I remembered seeing on her show.  We used the pulled out bread center to then dip with, chips and veggies (carrot & celery sticks) were options as well.  Here’s a hint for buying 6 oz of corned beef – head to your deli counter and ask them to slice thicker pieces and you can dice them up at home.  Pretty fancy looking, right? Make this and it’ll be a show stopper at your next gathering! Or make it for yourself and your husband … who says you have to share 😉

ImageImage

 

These next two recipes are courtesy of Ree Drummond, surprise surprise!!! She’s always in our weekly menu.  First up is a pepperoni pizza burger … how fun is that?! I figured this would be the perfect dish to make plenty of, so my husband would have leftovers while I went out of town for the weekend. I made 5 patties (I used a full pound of the ground Italian sausage); they are yummy reheated … I had the last one yesterday 🙂 Love having leftovers of my creations! It’s a one pot meal, hello! I mean, you mix the meat and whatnot but everything is cooked in 1 pot! It will get smoky cooking the burgers on the stove so throw that fan on & open a nearby window if possible.  My healthy swaps: ground turkey and sandwich thins.  No excuses that you can’t do a “grill out” if the hubby isn’t home; whip this dinner up on the stove and have an indoor BBQ.

Second in line is a simple foil pasta dish. I thought it was weird but went with it anyway. Follow the directions and TIGHTLY wrap that foil package or the shrimp WILL NOT finish cooking.  Trust me. I experienced this firsthand with my husband’s dinner. I made mine first – which turned out perfectly. When he came home I threw his foil bundle in the oven however I clearly didn’t pay attention when I wrapped up the pasta, there was a hole at the top which let the steam out … the shrimp were partially cooked 😦 We threw it in the microwave – IN A BOWL – NOT IN THE FOIL!!! The shrimp finished cooking just fine then.

Image

FISH STICKS! HOME MADE! I can’t believe that when I put this on my menu board my husband literally thought I was buying frozen Gorton’s Fishermen … WHAT?! I got so mad! Seriously, all of my cooking adventures and he thought I was buying frozen nastiness.  ROAR! He also kept calling them an inappropriate name; I won’t write it.  There was a dipping sauce included in the recipe and it was GROSS – Giada, what were you thinking? Were your taste buds not working when you made it?  Ok so I bought 2 BEAUTIFUL-FRESH salmon filets, my husband pulled the skin away, cut each in half, then length wise to create “sticks”. The breading was crunchy and the parm cheese had that nice salty flavor. Usually cheese and seafood don’t go together but this one worked (unlike the sauce, ha!). Oh fortunately I had some pesto (also needed for the veggie bake) in the fridge and that was a great choice to dip the fish sticks in.

Onto the veggie bake that you see … courtesy of Instagram! YES! A fellow military spouse posted a chicken casserole she made topping the chicken with artichoke hearts, fire roasted tomatoes, roasted bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms. I drizzled pesto over the top, tossed the veggies, and put it in the oven maybe 20-30 minutes BEFORE the fish sticks; I used the same temp to make planning easier. Total cheat: I bought all canned/jarred items for this veggie bake. Sorry but not sorry, ha! I will try this again and absolutely make it with chicken breasts, maybe even on the grill. Yummmm imagine those flavors!

 

Image

Last but not least, straight up simple salmon filets in a yummy brown sugar/honey/mustard glaze – thank you Bobby Flay.  Halved potatoes so they cook faster … add a salad – DONE!

 

Bon Appétit!!!

 

Advertisements

Brinner!

It’s not a term that IHOP made up for their newest commercial… It’s a term clearly made up by college students that when the cafeteria didn’t have anything tempting for dinner, you went directly to the cereal bar. How can you go wrong with cereal? It’s seriously a life saving creation and clearly needs its own triangle on the food pyramid. So you get aquatinted with ‘brinner’ but after 22 y.o. it seems unacceptable to eat only cereal for dinner (my husband will tell you I’m full of lies) … Introduce the frittata. It’s like the rich uncle to a scrambled egg. You can add whatever you want, I picked (actually, Martha) ham, fontina cheese, green beans, and chives.

It’s like a quiche but minus a crust. It’s like an omelette but minus the flipping and folding. It’s way better than scrambled eggs, and it just makes for a hearty meal. Whip up home fries and voila! Brinner is served.

Martha will instruct you to cook using a cast iron skillet but I haven’t made that purchase yet. It’s not necessary so no excuses to not make this… I sautéed everything on the stove and while that was going on, I popped a casserole dish in the oven to heat up. Throw the cooked mixture into the casserole dish, pour in eggs/cheese and it will turn out perfect. Promise*

20140216-130303.jpg

20140216-130250.jpg

It’s pretty funny to see the difference in Josh’s plate vs my plate. That boy eats so much food! His doctor reminded him that he needs to keep up his carb intake because diabetics need that for their brain. Carbs = brain food, in moderation of course. That’s why I chose regular potatoes and made a huge amount of the home fries (more leftovers while I’m out of town). I got on this shopping habit of ‘no carbs’ but that’s what doctors are for, to keep you in check.

As usual dinner didn’t happen on Thursday (hopefully the ingredients are still good for Tuesday!) … We ordered pizza, which I felt bad about since my husband’s friend was over again. Although we didn’t just call Papa John’s, we kept it classy with BJ’s and got 2 yummy pizzas. One they messed up (ordered the 5 meat and asked for jalapeños to be added to 1/2… Yeah well only half got meat and the other only jalapeños. Really?!) we also got a buffalo chicken pizza and it was definitely spicy. It was no Frank’s Red Hot but it was still good.

I’m in Vegas for one more night, I return tomorrow… Back to the daily grind and figuring out my weekly menus. I’d have to say that I’ve enjoyed having a few days off from cooking but I sure do miss it. We all need vacations and while you may think it’s for one reason, it can easily inspire you for another.

Disclaimer
* if you can’t even boil water than this guarantee is void.

20140216-130244.jpg

20140216-130235.jpg

swapping THIS for THAT

A surprise update! Well Josh is at work still and I really don’t care about the Super Bowl (this year), so I finally got to cooking Friday’s dinner and decided to blog-post right away.

First off I’d like to figure out what the heck is up with the double standard that girls can’t go out alone. Not ‘out-out’, just to a restaurant to grab a bite to eat and a few beers. I’ll digress a bit but this is why Friday didn’t get a meal:

1) Josh worked til 9pm so it was only me

2) I was done teaching at 4:30 with an usually free evening (not complaining!), the beautiful weather was begging for me to enjoy a few beers outdoors

3) I had planned on 1 beer but it became 2 and now I needed food in my belly

While relaxing at BJ’s patio, drinking a yummy hefeweizen, and texting with a friend – I got some glares, even people ‘whispering’ about my solo status. WTH? It’s not like I was sitting at the bar hitting on every guy in the place. I was at a table by myself, 1 beer, 1 appetizer, 1 cell phone (If you didn’t read that in a Kevin Hart voice, you suck 😉 ).  Even the hostess was a little rude, asking me if I was sure I wasn’t expecting a friend. I felt like I was Jason Segel’s character in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. This part is the best, I can’t make it up … an elderly lady caught my eye upon entering the restaurant – I thought maybe the door was too heavy for her to open; I looked up thinking I should go help her, she smiled at me and gave me that look “poor thing being alone” AND THEN she came to my table, leaned over and said “God bless you” … done, walked away. I had no come back, I was shocked.

So what gives … Do I need my husband connected to my hip in order to enjoy a nice evening? People are J.E.R.K.S. Or maybe they were jealous that I have the confidence to go out alone.

Moving on … Friday’s meal became a plan for Saturday. Yeah that didn’t happen either so I made sure it’d be cooked tonight!

And it was.

So easy and it will be replacing mac n cheese (considering how that makes my tummy feel, lol). Ham, onions, cream of mushroom soup, noodles, and cheese – that’s it! It’s a Campbell’s Soup recipe: Pennsylvania Dutch Ham & Noodle Casserole.  25 minutes from start to bowl, c’mon it can’t get any better!

Image

Cube the ham, dice the onion, pour in the soup, melt the cheese, add the *already cooked* noodles, add more cheese, and ENJOY!

Image

Happy Sunday!

To give thanks … part 2

Thanksgiving has come and gone. Phew-wee! It couldn’t have been easier, honestly. May I suggest frying a turkey for anyone reading this blog.  My dad is cringing as he reads this, he is the ultimate grill master. I never recall a Thanksgiving where the turkey was indoors. In fact, most meats were grilled… mom was in charge of sides and dad took care of the protein.

Anyway, we set the turkey to brine on Wednesday night and just let it sit for 16 hours (Thank you, Alton Brown). DONE. Washed it off at 3pm (the next day), let it get to room temp & then off it went to the oil. 40 minutes and it was done. What? No 8 hour cooking time in my oven so I can’t cook anything else? Not this year! It was the best thing EVER!!!

You’ve already read “part 1” of this blog so you know what I cooked up.  Here’s the order it all went down.

Bake the sweet potatoes at 9am, cooled and then prepped as the recipe called for.  I opted to not do the twice baked part; I turned it into a regular casserole. I was having issues not tearing the skin while scooping the “meat” out. Hey, last minute changes are okay.

Start the green beans at 11am, cook the beans and mushrooms and prep entire casserole.  Let it cool then into the fridge it goes, it’s ready!

My only ‘last second’ dish was the grits/mushroom/cheese casserole … for fear the grits would get soggy if prepped ahead of time.

Chelsea had the mac n’ cheese already done upon arrival. She whipped up her famous crab dip for an appetizer (took 20 minutes: 5 minute prep & 15 minutes to cook, easy & yummy!!!).  Stuffing would be made right before dinner and O.M.G. was it delish!

Two cooks in this kitchen was no issue at all and having my oven turkey free, it made for a calm afternoon. As the turkey took an oil bath we started the oven for reheating.  Since the turkey would only take 40 minutes we had to add in “cool down” time, another 20-30 minutes. You must let meat sit before cutting or carving so the juices don’t run out. No one likes dry meat.  We put all the sides in the oven at 300 for almost an hour. Yes, my oven was able to hold 5 large casserole dishes. I could literally hear the heavens above singing in glory.

What do I hear you chanting…. <we want pictures, we want pictures>  HERE THEY ARE!

DSC01011 DSC01012 DSC01013 DSC01014 DSC01015 DSC01017 DSC01018 DSC01019 DSC01020 DSC01021 DSC01022 DSC01024 DSC01027 DSC01028 DSC01029 DSC01031 DSC01032 DSC01034 DSC01036 DSC01037 DSC01038 DSC01045 DSC01047 DSC01051 DSC01052 DSC01053 DSC01055 DSC01056

(yes I carved the turkey… after all, I sat at home watching many MANY episodes on the Food Channel as to how to carve a turkey.  I did pretty good!)

I actually forgot about another appetizer that Chelsea made and it dawned on me why … we ate it so fast that our brains didn’t have time to process the info but our taste buds sure loved it.  Melon wrapped prosciutto, is there anything easier than that? Take a cheat, buy pre-cut melon and this can get made in about 5 minutes (which is what Chelsea did). No one will shake their finger at you for not buying a whole melon and if they do, then ban them from the dish 😉

Also for dessert I bought pecan tarts and sugar free vanilla ice cream. Walmart had sugar free sweet potato pies and that’s about it, made for a sad shopping trip. So I opted for personal tarts which were 36g of carbs; again personal portions means no over indulging.

Overall it was a successful holiday … minus Hines Ward saying he was thankful for the Macy’s day parade (I’ll chalk that up to him getting hit a few too many times).  I hope you had a fantastic and stress-free Thanksgiving. As tradition for me at least, I started my day with the Thanksgiving Day Parade followed by the dog show. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

To give thanks … part 1

Author’s note: I wrote this on Thanksgiving Eve … we’re without internet for a few more days but I was feeling the urge to blog.

———

How do you prep for a diabetic Thanksgiving and keep traditions going?  I’ve gotten some grief for changing recipes you’d typically see on the table.  My gut feeling tells me that once you actually see what I’m doing, you might be inclined to change your eating habits for next year … or why wait, try it for Christmas.

1 carb count (1 dose of insulin) = 15g of carbs … be shocked as you read some of this info.

Green bean casserole … you know, the one drenched in cream of mushroom soup.
My spin on it: green beans, low sodium vegetable broth, sliced mushrooms, flour (to thicken), and top with a light sprinkle of crunch onions
Classic: 1 carb count/161 calories (per serving)
Diabetic Friendly: 1 carb count/98 calories (per serving)

Sweet potato casserole … you know, the one covered in candied pecans and marshmallows.
My spin on it: twice baked sweet potatoes – brown sugar, cream cheese, and various spices.
Classic:  3 carb counts/326 calories (per serving)
Diabetic Friendly: 2 carb counts/under 200 calories (per serving)

Cream corned / any kind of “gratin” dish / some kind of overloaded veggie with cheese
My spin on it is a huge stretch actually: cheesy mushroom casserole – grits, sliced mushrooms, and topped with shredded cheese.
Classic: creamed corn – 4 carb counts/376 calories … gratin dish – 2 carb counts/360 calories … veggie & cheese – 2 carb count/295 calories (all per serving)
Diabetic Friendly: 2 carb counts/235 calories (per serving)

So those are the sides that I’m whipping up and to keep people from going back for 2nd and 3rd helpings, I’m making 4-6 servings for each recipe (there will be 4 adults eating).  That’s the easiest way to cut your intake – if it’s not there to eat then how can you over-indulge?  My partner in crime (Chelsea) is taking on the task of mac n’ cheese, stuffing, and a few appetizers.  She’s also keeping in mind the 4-6 serving limit and is swapping out some bad ingredients for better choices.  Just to give you an idea: the stuffing calls for apples which are a complete no-no for diabetic folks. She opted for apple & chicken sausage; it calls for sausage anyway so by doing this she cuts out the ground beef too. You might be wondering about the mac n’ cheese; there’s no way to cut corners on this dish.  It is what it is and Josh will only be able to have a spoonful. Not everything can be improved!

At the end of the day Thanksgiving isn’t all about food, we need to be thankful for our family, friends, and health.  The last thing takes on a bigger meaning in this household.  I am thankful for the night I saw a diabetes commercial and forced Josh to see a doctor. I am thankful for my friends who we get to be with on this holiday but I’m also thankful for our long distance friends.  It’s hard to maintain friendships when hundreds of miles separate you but I think we’re all doing a pretty good job. I am thankful for our family, that no matter the distance our parents find a way to visit and they understand (with Josh’s job) it’s easier for them to come to us. Trust me, we sure do wish we could visit Florida and Pennsylvania but give us a few months and we’ll be able to make that happen. 

And to end on a lighter note, please, for the love of God … I hope you watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Not the Macy’s Day Parade (unless the Pilgrims had Macy’s, then by all means…).

Tis the season for figgy pudding

With Halloween over we are officially in “Holiday Season” – time to indulge in food, drink, and good cheer … in small doses.   We had guests for the last two weeks which gave us a reality check that we really do need to be careful with how much food we intake.  While all meals were not horribly unhealthy, we just ate a lot of it; we also went through a few more six-packs if you know what I mean.   Restaurants were frequented as well, usually we have 1 date night per week but we went out maybe 2 times each week.  Even though we went on living our daily lives as normal it was hard to not have fun with our friends who just moved here. Yes we have 4 years to enjoy their company but we’ve really missed them the last year, it was good to catch up and hang out like old times.  Those old times are haunting us now, lol!

Josh’s sugar levels were all over the place, some reached 200.  He hasn’t seen those numbers since first diagnosed; he typically sits in the low to mid-100’s.  So even though I kept saying “we’ve been eating bad” – I got the cold shoulder.  I meant ‘bad’ with the concern of his sugar levels, not necessarily greasy or fast food ‘bad’.  This was a good lesson because it’s the first time we’ve had guests at our house [since the diabetes diagnoses] and it really showed us that with the holiday season fast approaching, we do indeed need to be more aware of what we eat while entertaining.   My family will be here for Christmas so you better believe I will be hounding Josh about what he eats; I’ll also do a better job of making just enough food so no one will be tempted with 2 or 3 servings!

On to the goodies we indulged in … man they were delicious.  I don’t regret the flavors of any meal but I sure do regret the amount I ate!

IMG_4247IMG_4248

Who doesn’t love a pretzel bun? It’s pretty much a trend right now and I completely understand why.  A giant soft pretzel that you can put your choice of protein (cheddar sausages for us) on. Hello! You can’t resist. Top that with American cheese, sauerkraut, and ketchup/German mustard, sign me up! We probably could have swapped out the tots & onion rings for a salad … but we didn’t. Talk about carb overload.  Now that we know where to buy these buns, I’m sure they’ll meet our dinner table in the future but making sure Josh doesn’t eat FIVE of them. Yepp.  *This recipe was a revamp courtesy of Chelsea – I’ll def. make it again; a great party/finger food sammie!  Originally planned were hot dogs/whole wheat buns, sweet p tots, and salad. As I started looking in my freezer I decided to clear it out and bake whatever we had.  Hence the salad getting cut, ha.
IMG_4245 IMG_4246

 

Next on the line up: shrimp scampi pizza, 2 crusts: white & wheat. Another meal that doesn’t seem ‘bad’ but with all the butter for the sauce: fat turns into bad sugars.  How can one turn away butter though. I mean, it’s butter. It’s golden brick stature attracts people from afar. Of course you look at Paula Deen and what’s the first thing she cut from most of her recipes when diagnosed with diabetes – BUTTER! The sauce was amazing though, it had so much garlic I actually scared away one vampire that came to trick or treat 😉  No really, you could smell the garlic from our garage door before even entering the house. I loved it.  I’ll need to figure out a way to lighten up Chelsea’s recipe because we need that pizza in our lives.

Speaking of trick or treat … I have never seen so many parents driving along while their kids walked from house to house. Again, San Antonio is the most obese city in AMERICA for a reason. Get out and walk!!!!!

 

This was my Sunday activity:
IMG_4308IMG_4309
IMG_4310IMG_4311
HOMEMADE PIEROGIES.  100% homemade in every definition possible.
I personally mashed the potatoes, diced the red onion and mushrooms, hand mixed the dough (Josh had to jump in and finish that), hand rolled the dough, hand cut the pierogi circles, and stuffed almost 3 dozen pierogies.  Josh boiled & pan fried them, kept them warm in a crock pot.  Was the 3 hours worth it to create these little boogers? YEPP!  Yes you read that correct – 3 hours.  I had packed my mixer and I don’t own a pasta thingy. Hey if you want something bad enough you gotta do what you gotta do!  So do you need a $300 Kitchenaid? Nope.  The mixer I have would have worked fine (old school Cuisinart that belonged to my mother); I could have used a hand cranked pasta thingy though, rolling took forever to get it thin enough and the consistency just wasn’t there [from pierogi to pierogi].

After all of that work I asked Josh how come bakers weren’t thin considering the amount of elbow grease goes in to baking … his response: because they eat everything they make. LOL 😉

 

 

 

 

I don’t care; I love it!

Sometimes your body needs to indulge on some bad decisions … like pizza balls & blue cheese fries.

It’s a known fact that I take the weekend off around here.  I work my butt off during the week and prepare 5 decent meals … I use the weekend to relax and clear out whatever leftovers may be in the fridge.   Weekend meals usually get thrown together without rhyme or reason, but food is food and stomach’s don’t judge.

This weekend was no exception.

IMG_3712 IMG_3753

This gem of a “recipe” came from Carl’s Jr – we stopped there on Friday after having a FOUR HOUR meeting with our loan officer.  A warning would have been nice from that guy, “hey, this meeting will be more than 2 hours” … We figured, pop in, go over our stuff, be out in an hour-ish, and we’ll  go to lunch. After sitting in a small and frigid office for FOUR HOURS we decided to start off the weekend right with fast food.  Just to note, it’s not like we do this everyday. I had 45 minutes to get to a lesson (we were 30 minutes away), desperate times call for desperate measures.

Okay okay – I ordered this from Carl’s Jr:

download

 

and then I realized I could make this at home. OMGosh.  Bad decision #1 figured out for the weekend (yes, I ate this 2 times in 3 days … leave me alone). You need three *maybe 4* items: blue cheese crumbles (I suggest mixing it with salad dressing as well, to turn out like the Carl’s Jr version), buffalo hot sauce, and waffle fries.  Layer like nachos and you’re done!

Bad decision #2 is next in line … as per a request from Josh.

IMG_3754 IMG_3751

 

 

PIZZA BALLS! I made this a few years ago; Josh saw the recipe on his FB news feed via a share. So of course he tags me in the post and that is my cue to make it at some point.  He forgot about all of that so it was time to make them again.

IMG_3750IMG_3710

Josh even helped!  I can’t stand opening biscuit packages so he got that duty. He then insisted on becoming a professional “dough tosser”. You are more than welcome to try this in your kitchen however it won’t work. Flatten the biscuits on a cutting board 🙂

Before baking, spread on the egg and sprinkle on the 3 seasonings (I don’t make a butter mixture… it turns out fine my way).

IMG_3752

20 minutes would have been fine in the oven; some of the cheese oozed out at 25 and the lower rack burned (on the bottoms only).

—-

This little diva is going to make it difficult to keep typing!

IMG_3771