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  • Valentine's Dinner Anyone?

    Posted on Saturday, January 28, 2012

    Hard to believe, but in just a couple of weeks, it will be Valentine’s Day!

    What are you all planning?  A “theme” meal with everything in shades of red/pink?  A “heart” healthy meal?  Perhaps you‘re thinking ultra romantic and using a human plate? (okay, I may have gone a tad far on that one!)

    If you’ve got kids at home, do you recommend them leaving for the evening?  Decide to have a party?  Maybe you pull out the stops and dress provocatively (maybe a sheer apron in red hearts over nothing?), make a romantic meal and rent a Valentine’s movie?

    So many options-who knows, I’m all about the cooking/baking and homespun fun, but perhaps you make reservations at a special restaurant?

    Well, unfortunately for us, now that dh has gone back to the “sales floor“, he’ll be working until 9:30 at night.  Yes, because we all know that on Valentine’s Eve everyone’s thinking-hmmm, let’s go by a new piece of furniture.

    Whatever.

    I’m not bitter, really.  Glad he has the position.  Luckily, my love doesn’t have to be at work until 12:30, so I’m planning a bit of an upside down celebration this year.

    Brunch.  So what if it’s Tuesday.  I’ve decided on:

    Heart-healthy 9-grain waffles with fresh strawberries and maybe I’ll fire up the grill and crisp up some turkey bacon.

    I’ve decided to drizzle some melted dark chocolate over the entire plate-yes, even the bacon.  Depending on my mood, I might just chop up the bacon and stir it into the waffle batter!

    Did someone say coffee?  Found some Godiva Double Chocolate (I believe that’s the flavor anyway) beans.

    I’ll send him off with his lunch box filled with some romantic meals-he will be there for lunch and dinner after all.

    Since we will have only returned from AZ the day before, I’ll have to probably go to the market while he’s on the treadmill, but I’m thinking a package of his favorite sashimi pack, with salmon and ahi and some spinach salad with cranberries and a weight-watcher dessert that we’ve got out in the pantry (they sent them to me to try and I’m allergic to the entire array!).  Dinner will probably be a sub of some sort with a personal crudite tray.

    When he gets home, I’ll have something special to add-heart healthy and calorie free.

      tongue out


    6 Replies
  • Strange Food Items

    Posted on Sunday, January 22, 2012

    As you all know, I just spent a week in AZ with our dd and family.  Our daughter has been on the HCG diet-the one where she injects herself with the pregnancy hormone and eats a lot of protein and veggies.

    So far, so good-she’s lost 18 pounds.  One night I went with her to my personal favorite food hang-out:  Sprouts.

    Besides a lot of lean proteins, she has to eat a lot of veggies and Sprout’s has a fantastic selection of them, fruits and all kinds of speciality diet/nutritional fare.

    Sarah wanted to check out the selection of program accepted products from Walden Farms.  They are supposed to have calorie/fat/sugar free items.

    They did:  salad dressings, BBQ sauces, chocolate syrups, jams and other dessert toppings.

    I’m not opposed to such items-I do use some of them.  But this array got me to wondering:  How exactly does one create items with “0” calories and no nutritional items apparant in these products and still call them food?

    Take the “0” calorie marshmallow creme-how can it be true?  even if you use a no cal sweetener, egg whites have some calories.  And even though cocoa powder is very, very low in calories and fat- it still has some.

    How can a fruit spread have no “sugar” or calories if it has fruit in it???

    My daughter says the Bacon Ranch dressing is to “die for“.  Still wondering here-how can it be “free“, what do they do-encapsulate the smell of the bacon and somehow push it into the fake buttermilk???

    Amazing what can be done with edible chemicals, isn’t it?


    7 Replies
  • I'm Going to AZ

    Posted on Saturday, January 7, 2012

    Since I’ll be going to visit the grandkids for a week-I’ll give you a couple of recipes to try.  With all the food my husband procured over the last two weeks thanks to his bonding with a coupon-I’ve got way too much in my freezer.  

    With that said, I took out a big package of baby back ribs and dry rubbed them with  Montreal Steak Seasoning and cinnamon, yes-cinnamon!

    For a change-I took them out early (okay, truth be told, they fell on my foot when I tried to get something else out)and I let time defrost-then I gave them a good massage with the rub.  Now don’t be shy with the seasonings!  You don’t want bland ribs-even if you love to coat them later on with BBQ sauce.

    Once rubbed and covered-I let them hang out in the fridge for 24 hours.  I then baked them in the oven at 300 for about 1-1/2 hours.  I also soaked about 3 cups of applewood chips for an hour.  Drained them and put them in a smoke box.  I had dh put the box under the grates in the middle.

    Start up the BBQ and let it warm up to about 450.  After about 20/25 minutes-you should see the smoke.  Turn down the outside burners until they‘re pretty low-you want to grill the ribs “indirectly“-it will take about a half hour or so.  If you really must put the sauce on before you take them off-only do so for about 10 minutes.  Make sure the sauce compliments the cinnamon and spices!

    To go with the ribs-try this easy Thai peanut cole slaw:

    This started out over at allrecipes, but I adapted it.

    3 Tbsps balsamic vinegar
    3 Tbsps oil
    2-1/2 tbsp chunky peanut butter
    1-1/2 tbsp soy sauce and brown sugar
    1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
    2 tsps minced garlic
    1 tsp toasted sesame seed oil

    1 bag of cole slaw mix.  3 green onions chopped-if you’d like.

    I used a blender to mix the dressing-put “everybody” into the pool and blend until smooth.  If you think this is a bit thick-add a tsp or so of water.  Mix into the veggies no more than 30 minutes before serving.  

    And now-have fun trying new foods, new recipes and enjoy January.  I’ll be back with some new ideas by the 22nd.


    4 Replies
  • Welcome to My 2012 Kitchen

    Posted on Monday, January 2, 2012

    Happy 2012, officially!

    Since my husband’s birthday is on the second, we start off my celebrating his special day.

    This year, since we got a great deal on a ribeye roast, that’s what he chose for me to make for dinner.  He also loves popovers (mini-yorkshire puddings) and steamed broccoli.  

    Being untraditional-and having procured a free platter of cheesecake slices-he didn’t want a cake, he wanted to have his candles stuck in that.  I made a batch of dark chocolate peanut butter brownies to add to that.

    Here are some great hints for those of you who haven’t made a standing rib roast before or haven’t done so in recent times:

    Make sure and defrost it and put the dry rub on for a couple of days.

    I don’t have the hands for scrubbing a roasting pan or a rack-so I try to have disposable foil pans in my outside larder.  For the “rack“-I like to use whole carrots and celery and I toss in some onions around it as well.  Just cut a small slice of the carrots to stop them from rolling around!  I love to crust the outside in Montreal Steak seasoning and put some slivers of fresh garlic on the inside of the roast.

    Since my backyard has a huge hedge of rosemary-I also put a few sprigs into the bottom of the roaster.  Put the entire pan on a good cookie sheet for support.  

    And yes, you can serve those veggies up!  They‘re delicious!

    Now for the roasting.  Pre-heat your over to 425.  Yes, 425.  Take the roast out of the fridge and let it “warm up” while the oven comes up to speed.  Now I love my digital thermometer-so I stick the probe in the middle, avoid the bone and the fat!  I set it for 165.

    Roast the meat for about 25-30 minutes at the high temp.  This is what gives it the nice brown crust.  Then lower the oven temp to 350.  I’m lucky enough to have an oven that does both conventional and convection cooking (I even have one that does specifically convection meat roasting!) so I use that.

    Remember to let the roast rest for about 15 minutes-covered.

    The “secret” to perfect popovers:

    It may sound different, but after the roast is out-crank the oven to 425-450 (depending on your favorite recipe).  For flavor-I use about a tsp. of the roast fat to put in the bottom of my non-stick muffin tin.  Heat the tin for 5 minutes-or until you literally see smoke.

    This is important because it’s that heat that promotes the batter to puff up!

    Another handy hint-make the batter up, cover it and let it “rest” for a minimum of 30 minutes-45 is better.  Give it a good whisk and then fill the tins 3/4’s full and bake.

    For added flavor-I like to add a tsp. of minced garlic and 2 tsp of minced fresh rosemary.

    Serve immediately-it’s the norm for them to start collapsing minutes after they come out of the oven.

    Last-I am going out of town next Wednesday to visit our daughter and family for a week, so I’ll be back with more food and fun after the 19th!


    3 Replies