Thursday, April 30, 2009

Now that's what I call dinner!

Holy S@#@! (Am I allowed to swear in my own blog?!?)
Dinner was awesome tonight. I have been in such a food rut lately, just fixing the same old thing over an over. I could tell the kids were appreciative of it as well. The all actually ate everything that was offered to them.
I owe my inspiration to the ginormous flat of strawberries that I bought at Costco. They are super sweet and perfect.
Dinner consisted of:
Strawberry Pork Loin
Sauteed Carrots with a Maple Butter Glaze

Wait for it.....

Homemade Strawberry Applesauce

Now I must warn when you link to the recipes, that I made everything up on the spot tonight and didn't really measure. All measurements are approximate... I was pretty proud of my creativity tonight. It made cooking fun again!
What does everyone else out there in blog land like to do with their strawberries?

Tilapia spinach salad

Busy day today. I have to get all my computer work and phone calls done, plus the school pickups. Started off the day with some yogurt, and a piece of bread with honey. I had my lunch planned out, so it was a carb based breakfast today.
In between the school pickups I had a total treat! I got a full-fat vanilla latte from Beans and Brews.
It was sooo good. I have really been fooling myself with the non-fat skinny latte crap. When at home I only put 1% milk in my coffee, no sweetener, but with a latte I really need something. It was such a treat, and it is a good thing I don't live close to a coffee house.
Got home and was ready for lunch. I made a salad from our leftovers last night. It was spinach, tilapia, strawberries, feta, and light ranch. I know, I know, strawberries and ranch? They actually complement each other well.
Now its off to work! (at home) I am so behind on the emails and phone calls I have to do today.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tilapia with roasted tomatoes

This is a total go to recipe. I make it often during the summer. Tilapia is a very mild fish, that really doesn't even taste much. This time I did use my oven because my barbecue broke :( , but I will warn you the oven will make the fish wetter tasting in the end.
Tilapia fillets ( i prefer fresh over frozen)
Tomatoes (i used Campari this time)
olive oil
lemon pepper
Layer fillets on foil. Season with lemon pepper. Add sliced tomatoes and salt. Drizzle with olive oil. If baking bake for about 40 minutes at 350, then broil for 10. If using the barbecue you just need to watch the fish, the tomatoes will roast on their own.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

You are going to see a few posts about strawberries, due to the fact that I got a HUGE thing at costco and have to think up ways to use them!
Baby spinach
sliced strawberries
rasberry vinagarette (or vinagarette of your choice)
Toss together.
I am way into simple food that looks pretty and doesn't call for a ton of ingredients and spices. Most of my meals consist of 5 ingredients or less. Once in a while I will make an actual recipe, but usually just throw together a meal of whatever I have on hand.

Snacking, and cool new food from Costco!

In my quest of being "naturally thin" (bethenny frankel), I am on the lookout for healthy snacks. My snack to day was an orange and a handful of almonds. Fine, but kind of boring to me.

And the coolest new food from Costco! They had Hummus in individual servings. I love hummus, but I am the only one who really eats it, so I hate buying a full container. This is the perfect serving size, and came with like 16 of them for 5 bucks. Awesome! I had some hummus and whole grain crackers, and some chicken, apple, gouda sausage for lunch.
I very much heart costco! They make natural and healthy eating so much easier!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Comfort food! (insert husband typing obscenely at me from work, yelling like Will Ferrell in Wedding Crashers demanding some meatloaf)
Just had coffee for breakfast and some leftover pulled pork that my friend Cami made and shared, with some black beans for lunch.
But we love meatloaf around here, so it was a good old comfort food night, of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and buttered and salted baby peas. It was delicious!
2 lbs. ground beef (i have four kids!)
1/4 sweet onion, chopped
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/4 C. Bread crumbs
1 egg
Dump everything in a large bowl and mush up with your hands. You don't want to over mix it though.
Flatten into an 8X8 pan, and cover with remaining tomato sauce in the can.
Bake at 375 for 45-60 minutes.
You can also add more tomato sauce later, but we like it to not be too tomatoey? Even though tomatoey is not a word.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Busy Saturday!

I took zero pictures of my food today. But this is how it went! I started with a joyous cup (or two) of my fabulous eight o'clock brand coffee. (Which I am going to send a bag of to the blog stalker , in hopes of an honorable mention so I can increase some traffic around here!! :) ) I have been out for a few days and was making do with a crappy half caf blend that I didn't like at all! So that was very exciting to have a nice columbian blend this morning.
Hubby made me breakfast, consisting of one piece of toast, one piece of bacon, and one over easy egg.
I didn't eat lunch. I know I should have, but I had to go show houses and was out on the road, but I made up for it at dinner. I picked up take out from Bajio. If you have never eaten there I highly recommend it. I had the Green Chile Chicken Quesadilla's and husband had the mesquite lime chicken salad. Delish!
My friend Cami just got here and we are going to share a bottle of red wine, while my husband goes to their house and plays video games.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Nicoise Salad, done light

Honestly I have never eaten a real Nicoise salad, and I have no clue what goes in one, but this was my take on it for lunch today. I have been balancing my diet like a bank account (Naturally Thin, Bethenney Frankel), and had oatmeal for breakfast so I knew I needed to have a protein based lunch. plus I had been cleaning all morning and was really hot, so I wanted something cool. I couldn't decide between tuna, or a salad so I combined, and then realized duh! It looks like a Nicoise salad.
1 can Chicken of the Sea tuna
2 Campari tomatoes (from costco)
2 baby dill pickles
2 tsp. capers
juice from half a lemon
2 Tbs. light mayo, with olive oil
matchstick carrots
Spring Greens ( costco also)
Mix everything but the greens together. Put over greens. Super easy and healthy, and really these are approximate measures... I didn't measure anything.....
It was delicious, and had just the right balance between protein and vegetables.
I am trying to think of what else I could add that would be good... any suggestions?

Soft Chenin Blanc

Thought I would throw in a wine review for a change. But don't think that that means I know anything at all! I don't! I promise!
I like to experiment and try different wines, so I will troll the aisles of the local liquor store and buy what looks good and is on sale!
I ended up being pleasantly surprised by this one. At 5 bucks a bottle I didn't have very high hopes. ( It was originally about 8 bucks I believe.)
This is not a wine that I would want all the time, or would serve as a generic white as it is very sweet! It is not as sweet as a moscato, but still sweet. From the first sip I could taste a definite something and it took me a while to place a finger on it. It was honey! It had a definite honey taste to it. To me that was really the only discernible flavor. I know I am supposed to be able to taste all the subtle nuances, but I never can!
So Ste Chapelle Soft Chenin Blanc I would definitely drink again, but wouldn't go seeking it out.
If anyone out there in the blog world has a wine to recommend let me know! I will see if I can find it here in Utah!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Boring Food + A restaurant review

We have had such a boring food week! I haven't made anything fun and exciting.
Last night we had baked potatoes for dinner, the night before tacos....
Although on Saturday night my husband and I got take out on my way home from work. There is an old time restaurant in the city next to us, so on my way home we decided to see if they do take out. This restaurant is know for their steaks, but I couldn't really imagine eating a steak to go, but they were doing a special on buffalo burgers. They were awesome! Big and juicy, and the buns were really fresh. ( There is a bakery a few doors down, they probably get them there) Very simple side too. Mine was literally just a small potato cut into 1/4's and fried. That was it. Simple but very tasty. The restaurant is Porter's Place and I really recommend it to anyone going through Utah. Also if you are traveling with kids they do have kids meals for $1.95. That is half the cost of most restaurant kids meals. The buffalo burgers normally run about 6 bucks, but I think they were on special for 5. So it can be really affordable too, and is fairly close to the freeway in Lehi.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Balsamic Grapefruit Salmon

Quick and easy!
1 long salmon fillet (you can use any kind of salmon you wish)
1/2 large grapefruit
salt and pepper to taste
good balsamic vinegar to taste
All you do is lay the salmon on some foil, salt and pepper it, then top with grapefruit slices and drizzle with as much balsamic vinegar as you like. I tend to not use too many spices or too much flavor, because I like the flavor of food. I keep things very simple.
You then top with another piece of foil, and seal the edges, and bake at 350 for 40 minutes. This would be super easy with the bbq also.
On the side this time I started with a base of a frozen stir fry mix (kirkland brand). I sauteed in a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper. After the vegetables were cooked through I added some balsamic vinegar, honey, and the juice of half a grapefruit and cooked another few minutes.
Served over brown rice!
This is a delicious recipe and is healthy too.

Easter Brunch

Finally able to get the pics up from Easter Brunch on Sunday. The menu consisted of Creme Brulee French Toast, a honey baked ham, and chocolate covered fruit.
I mad the french toast. It was really good, and it was pretty, but i forgot to take the picture before we got into it.
My mother in law brought the honey baked ham and it was soo good!
And my sister in law, ever the creative one, made the chocolate covered tuxedo strawberries, and chocolate covered grapes. It was a great family gathering with great food. A really nice day!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Been absent for a few days

Sorry about the absence the last few days. I got busy with the Easter holiday and things snowballed from there.
Easter brunch was fabulous and I will post the photos from that tomorrow. Brunch consisted of the following: creme brulee french toast, honey baked ham, chocolate covered fruit, and different juices/milks. It was so good and the perfect mix of too much sweet (the french toast) and the salty (the ham) and a good mix on the fruit since dark chocolate was used.
No lunch since brunch was so late, but dinner! Dinner was a mish mash kind of. It was hosted at my grandmas house and everybody brought something different. For appetizers there was a veggie tray, and I brought imported brie from France and really good crackers. I split the cheese between two ramekins and broiled them in my toaster oven, it was delicious! Then the main course was a saltrock wrapped prime rib. Then there were various side dishes and salads. Funeral potatoes (a utah thing), pasta salad, baked beans, and others I am sure I missed. Dessert consisted of carrot cake and strawberry shortcake ( I didn't have either.)
It was a fun busy day that led into a busy week. Tomorrow I will post the photos from easter brunch and the recipe for the french toast, and later in the week I am going to make my mother in laws recipe for Chili Verde!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hard Boiled Eggs

I probably shouldn't admit to this, but last night I finally hard boiled eggs correctly for the first time.... I know, I know, how had could it be right? WRONG! lol.
Over my 10 years of having kids every year we break out the old eggs and coloring kit. And every year I turn to different instructions for boiling eggs. I have tried different methods of bringing to a boil and simmering to taking off the heat and leaving covered. For some reason nothing ever really worked. I finally resorted to buying a hard boiled egg cooker machine. (Which isn't surprising to anyone who knows and loves me since one whole wall of my walk in pantry is appliances and gadgets! I love them!)
Well alas, last night I gave it another go. The problem was that I needed to do a few dozen, and my machine only does 8 at a time.
I did do them in a batch of a dozen at a time but followed the directions I found exactly! Of courseo ne or two cracked, but it gave me the chance to try them and they were perfectly cooked, not rubbery, and the yolk stayed completely yellow.
Basically I took room tempature eggs and set in the bottom of a pot. I only did a dozen at time to allow room for the eggs to move around without cracking. I covered with cold water by about an extra inch, and covered the pot and set on med-high. I watched very closely and as soon as the water came to a complete boil I removed from the heat and added 1 tsp. salt. I then recovered and let sit for 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes I added the eggs to an ice water bath for about 15 minutes.
So yes, after 10 years this housewife can finally boil an egg!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Black beans with Sausage

Simple cooking at it's best!

6 sausage links (i used chicken, provolone, sundried tomato ones from costco, the have a kick!)
2 cans black beans (only drain one)
1/2 large sweet onion, sliced
1/2 small bag shoestring carrots
2 tbs. butter
GOOD balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Saute onions and carrots in butter until the onions are translucent. Add sliced sausage and brown. Add both cans black beans and warm. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar to taste, and salt and pepper.
You could really subsitute with this meal with whatever vegetables you have on hand. I think it would be fantastic with some roasted peppers or tomatoes in it.
Serve over any grain. I used brown rice and it gave a really nice texture in contrast to the crunchiness of the carrots.

Perfect coffee? I think so.....

I am always looking for the way to make a perfect cup of coffee, and I LOVE appliances.....
I really think for me, that I have hit upon the perfect mix of coffee and maker to make the perfect cup with what I have.
We had a cheapo coffee maker that made the absolute best coffee! Unfortunately the carafe broke, and it wasn't replaceable. (that's what we get for buying an off brand, christmas special that isn't a brand that is even heard of)
I searched high and low for what to replace it with, tried precolaters, french press, everything. We finally settled on a Mr. Coffee brand automatic drip coffee maker. The difference in this is, that I can pick the brew strength, and it drips into a thermal carafe, that doesn't break!, and keeps it warm without sitting on the heat. That was a big draw for me, because I like my coffee fresh.
The mix....
After countless brands we have decided on the Eight O'Clock coffee columbian. I don't grind my own beans either.
My coffee maker is a 10 cup, and I measure exactly 1/3 cup of beans. That would maybe be a little too weak for some people so play around a little, but that is what is the perfect mix for me. I also use fresh filtered water, and I let me carafe soak with hot water for about 5 minutes before so the coffee stays hotter longer. I love the fact that I can go to my pot at 2 o clock in the afternoon and it is still fresh and hot! No sitting on a hot plate getting burned.
I highly recommend the stainless steel carafe for anyone who likes to have a cup later in the afternoon without making a whole new pot. I have cut down on so much waste!
The columbian blend has just the right mix of flavor... and actually just won the consumer reports taste test. I always hesitated to try 8 o clock since it is so cheap, but it really is the best I have tried.

Monday, April 6, 2009

no pictures today

No pictures today. Sorry. Hasn't been a very exciting food day. I didn't feel like breakfast, but then was hungry for an early lunch, so I had half a sandwich on wheat. It was ham, tomato, and fresh mozzarella. It was pretty good.
Tomorrow I should be posting about my love of coffee! See you then!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Perfect Pancakes

My husband is the greatest. I made the coffee this morning, and went to get a paper while it brewed. When I got back he had the kids making pancakes. He let them help and even made them from scratch, not a mix. They were fabulous. Perfectly cooked and browned, and then topped with boysenberry syrup.
Mixed with the perfect coffee made for a really nice breakfast.
Later this week I will be talking about coffee..... I search long and hard for the perfect coffee maker and coffee and right now am at a pretty good mix I believe!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Our april fool's dinner

Surprised the kids with "cupcakes" for dinner on April Fool's day. It is just meatloaf with mashed potatoes on top, but they loved it!
I couldn't get the mashes potatoes quite the right consistency though. It doesn't quite look like frosting, but that's ok. Any tips would be appreciated!

Homemade Chicken Stock

I have really become to believe in homemade stock. I made it for the first time last week. Husband was feeling crappy, and I decided to be domestic :) and make him some homemade chicken noodle soup. Since then I have made more broth for another soup and I am hooked!
This is a twist on a recipe that I submitted for a pasta contest, and instead of pasta I threw in a can of black bean that had been drained and rinsed.
I believe that homemade broth just has a certain something that I have always been missing in the store bought variety. It is my plan to make a HUGE pot of broth very soon, and portion and freeze it so I will always have it on hand.