Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Ravings: So I know I’ve been a bit absent again, but I promise I’ve been saving up all the recipes. Work has just been so unbelievably hectic and Jason has been sick since Thursday, and we all know what men are like when they are sick, right? So you know how my weekend/week has been going.

I wanted to come up with a cute blog post about this little boy I saw walking into the grocery store with his mom, but I haven’t had the time, so I’ll just describe it to you and you can conjure up your own sweet images of childhood.

Sunday was a weird weather day here in Cleveland. I know, I know, I say that like its some unusual occurrence, but Sunday was a bit strange. It was nice, but cold, all morning as I was doing some housework, creating my weekly meal plan and writing my grocery list. That last item entails walking to the basement umpteen times to check if we already have an ingredient because I can’t get organized enough to do it all at once. Someday! So it was 2ish when I was finally ready to venture out and sat down with Jason for a minute and he says “Holy cow, look at it snow.” So now I’m dreading the trip to the store and all the jockeying of cars that has to be done before I can leave. Jason helps me move the cars, after some whining of course. He is sick after all. I did take this opportunity to remind him of the time he came home from work to find me curled up asleep in bed with a nasty stomach flu, only to wake me up and ask me what we were having for dinner. I think that’s why he helped me move the cars. He comes back in the house and announces “You aren’t going to the store now.” I look outside and the driveway and street are completed covered in snow already and it looks like a blizzard. It’s only been snowing 20-30 minutes!

So I take my shoes off and get sucked into the cheesy horror movie he’s watching. When it’s finally over (it was pretty bad!) I look outside and the sun is shining and the roads are clear. I’m off to the grocery store. Now it takes me about 5 minutes to the regular grocery store and before I am there it’s a blizzard again. Super fun! But I’m already out so I just keep going. Grocery shopping will have to be its own post one of these days. It’s always so eventful in my neighborhood! On my way back out to the parking lot, it’s still snowing although now quite as heavily, there is a mom and a little boy (probably about 4-5 years old) walking in. He’s all bundled up, coat, hat, scarf, boots, and can barely walk from the weight of it. The mom is holding his hand and trying to rush his tiny little legs along because it’s fairly cold out. He is completely oblivious to all of it, and is totally absorbed with catching snowflakes on his tongue. It was the sweetest scene, like in a movie (and not a bad B horror movie). It seemed like time stood still for a second and made me pause to remember to enjoy the little stuff. I smile the whole way home and even noticed the shape of the snowflakes as they hit my windshield.

Ravings: I have several recipes to share and am not sure the best way to go about it, but since I tend to write the blog in chronological order, I think I will just do the same for the recipes.

Friday: Despite being sick, Jason stayed late at work to participate in their monthly after work poker game, so I was on my own for dinner. I got to eat my edamame salad in peace.

Edamame Salad

1 cup shelled edamame (I had to use a mix because it’s all I could find at the grocery store, so mine has
          edamame, broccoli and spinach, which was still good.)
1 cup corn
½ cup cut up green beans
1 tomato, chopped
½ red onion, chopped
1 tsp each of lemon and lime zest
Juice of one lemon
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
¼ cup good olive oil
Salt and pepper

Mix all the vegetables together in a bowl. Wisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over veggies. Enjoy!

I served this with a few slices of a prosciutto and mozzarella roll that was on sale and a dollop of jarred pesto. Oh and glass of red wine, of course!

Saturday: I love all things barley, and since we were cooped up in the house all day watching movies in our pj’s I decided comfort food should be on the menu. I am calling this a stew because I made it on the thicker side. I could easily be a soup.

Beef Barley Stew

1 lb stew meat
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp dried sage
1 Tbsp dried rosemary
1 Tbsp dried oregano
4 cups beef stock
½ cup red wine
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup barley (I had to use the rest of the quick cook kind, but I would recommend pearled)

Brown the meat in a dutch oven, add the onions and cook until softened a bit. Add the garlic, sage, rosemary and oregano and cook for another minute. Then add the liquids and the veggies. Turn the heat down to low and let cook for a few hours until the meat is tender. I added the barley just minutes before I was ready to serve because it was the quick cook kind. If you are using pearled, I would add it about half way through the cooking time. So warm and comforting.

Sunday: Since Jason was still feeling pretty crappy. And making it known! I decided some Chicken soup would help. It’s so similar to the beef barley recipe, I almost feel like I’m cheating. Almost!

Chicken and Spaetzle Soup

2-3 cups shredded chicken (I had this left from the massive roast chicken I did a while back)
4 cups chicken stock
¼ cup dried onion
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup diced carrot
1 Tbsp dried oregano
½ Tbsp dried tarragon
½ Tbsp onion powder
1 package spaetzle (you could make your own or use noodles, but we have a place in our town that makes
          these and sells the fresh packages at the grocery store so why not)
Parmesan cheese to garnish

Mix all ingredients except spaetzle in large pot and cook on low for about an hour. Add spaetzle or noodles and cook for another 10 minutes or until your noodles are done. Serve with some parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. My grandma swears this is the ultimate cure all, and who argues with grandmas?

Monday: In all fairness, I gave Jason three choices for dinner and he chose the eggs. I think he would have liked them, except that I snuck in the last bit of the smoked salmon. He originally gave me the “we don’t have to have this again” line, but then did concede that we could have it again if promised not to put fish in it! I have to agree, it would have been way better with bacon. But we all know how I feel about bacon. I am trying to sneak him some omega-3’s any way I can. If only bacon had omega-3’s. As an I’m sorry gesture I made him a gooey chocolate dessert. It made me feel better too.

Baked Eggs (from The Year in Food, found on Pinterest)

8 large eggs
1.5 cups diced leeks, white and pale green parts only
1.5 cups chopped arugula, plus a little extra for garnish
4 ounces smoked salmon, cut into small cubes
2/3 cup grated Manchego cheese, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

4 eight-ounce ramekins or oven-safe bowls

Note: because the Manchego and the smoked salmon are both salty, err on the side of caution when adding salt. It may not need much at all!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Warm a saute pan over medium-low heat. Add the oil or butter. When hot, add the leeks and saute until just soft, about 4 or 5 minutes. Turn heat off, but keep the leeks in the pan. Add the arugula and stir, allowing the greens to wilt.

Grease the four ramekins. Divide the leek/arugula mixture evenly between them. Repeat with the salmon, adding about one ounce to each container in a thin layer over the greens. Next, divide the Manchego amongst the four, also in a thin layer, over the salmon.

Carefully crack two eggs into each ramekin, taking care to not break the yolk. Atop the eggs, sprinkle a touch more Manchego and finish with a few twists of the pepper mill. Place the ramekins on a shallow baking sheet and bake until the whites have set, about 12-15 minutes. When they are ready, let them rest for a couple minutes- they’ll be too hot to eat immediately! Garnish with a little more chopped arugula and serve.

Chocolate Cobbler (from Becky Bakes, also found on Pinterest)

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoons salt
7 tablespoons cocoa powder, divided
1 ¼ cup sugar, divided
½ cup milk (I used soy)
⅓ cup melted butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
1-½ cup hot tap water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, 3 tablespoons of the cocoa, and 3/4 cup of the white sugar. Reserve the remaining cocoa and sugar. Stir in the milk, melted butter, and vanilla to the flour mixture. Mix until smooth. Pour the mixture into an ungreased 8-inch baking dish.

In a separate small bowl, mix the remaining white sugar (1/2 cup), the brown sugar, and remaining 4 tablespoons of cocoa. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the batter. Pour the hot tap water over all. Do not stir! Bake for about 40 minutes or until the center is set. (My note: It never really seemed to set, it was just gooey and bubbly. I didn’t have any ice cream, so we just sprinkled it with powdered sugar.)

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Ravings: One of the side effects of missing a week of work is that you are completely swamped, I would even dare to say drowning, when you return. And thus has been my week. I didn’t have time to post or even write yesterday, and I ate crackers for lunch because I was so busy. We all know it’s desperate if I’m eating crackers for lunch!

Jason and I went out for dinner last night, which sounds awesome. But it wasn’t. We had been hoping to get some time for a real date night and that just didn’t seem to be happening and since yesterday was such a stressful day at work, I decided that was a good night to go out to dinner. Notice I said “I” decided. I tried to call Jason at work, but he was also swamped and didn’t see that I called. He ended up staying late at work while I sat on the couch in an almost vegetative state waiting as patiently as I was capable with my stomach screaming at me. The crackers only lasted an hour, so I was starving by 3pm. He got home just before 6pm, so we headed straight out. I had decided I wanted Bonefish, which isn’t too far from our house so we arrived in the parking lot by about 6:15. There is an Outback next door to Bonefish so we had that option too. The buildings are actually attached and they share one big parking lot, which we drove around desperately seeking a parking spot. There was not one single spot available. And I was in no mood to wait and getting crankier by the minute. So we headed across the street to Winking Lizard, which has a bit smaller of a parking lot, but still fairly substantial. It too, was completely full. There were even cars parked in non-spaces!

I was driving so I couldn’t go completely bat-shit, at least not outwardly. I did wonder aloud if ANYONE was eating at home on a random Wednesday night. If I was at all paranoid, it would have been super easy to convince me that this was a conspiracy. Everyone in a 50 mile radius has created a phone chain to block me from dining out. It could happen! I was that crazy in the moment. I was also pissed at every single one of them and would have stopped to wreak some trecherous revenge on all of them, but I so desperately needed food that I couldn't be bothered with conjuring up some appropriate consequence for blocking my date night.

We had passed a new Irish pub on the way and knew that its parking lot was also jam packed. I wonder now if that should have tipped me off. But remember I was starving. Starvation does bad things to your ability to think rationally. So we ended up at a local Mexican place, Cozumel. I think Jason was afraid of what would happen next and threw out the first suggestion that popped in his mind. I don't blame him, really. I had the crazy eyes going on. The food is good, but it just wasn’t what I wanted and I ended up eating two baskets of chips and salsa. I am so not counting this as date night!

Cravings: Since I didn’t cook last night but I hadn’t posted the day before I still have a recipe to share. This is what we had for dinner Tuesday night. I had intended to make a edamame salad with it, but I got distracted and we ended up with just the sandwiches. I think it was the smell of cooking bacon. MMMMM bacon! See, distracted again. As you know I’ve been trying to incorporate more fish, so I splurged on some smoked salmon, which I love but Jason said was just ok. I think he got distracted by the bacon too though and would have just eaten that if I’d let him. Anyway, (see what bacon does to you) I made Smoked Salmon BLT’s. They were so yummy!

Smoked Salmon BLT’s

Sliced Tomato
Lettuce (we used arugula)
Crème Fraiche (you could just use mayo or cream cheese, but I had this on hand)
Bread (we used Ezekiel bread)

I cook my bacon in the oven. Just cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil, lay the pieces out and cook at 350 for about 15-20 minutes until it’s browned and crispy. Toast the bread and assemble.

Confession time: We each at two sandwiches. I regretted it later but it was so good I couldn't help myself.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I'm back!!!

Ravings: So I owe you all a huge apology for being gone so long. You know sometimes life just happens and before you know it a week has gone by. That’s what happened to me. Overestimating my abilities and underestimating how things would play out.

So here’s the scoop. My father has been dealing with some back problems for about 4-5 years. He has now had 4 back surgeries. This final one is what took over my life for a week. The first one was just a botched job all the way around. He had a second one by the same doctor to fix the screw ups from the first one. That never really worked. His pain was not relieved. In the mist of all of this, while he was one medical leave recovering, his position was illuminated from the trucking company he was working for. At that point, he’s a 62 year old man who has worked in the trucking industry his entire life and he has a back problem. Would you hire him?

He decided to take early retirement and apply for social security. He’s been denied twice now, so he’s had to wait to turn 65 to be eligible for Medicare. He went those years without medical insurance, paying out of pocket for pain meds so that he could function at all. Last fall he found another doctor and scheduled yet another surgery to fix the still present problems causing all his pain and limiting his ability to even walk. He went in for surgery just a few weeks after my wedding. Without going into too much medical detail, he and his doctor decided that fusing two vertebrae together was his best option. The surgery went well as far as we could tell and he spent just shy of a week in the hospital recovering and gaining enough strength to make it into his house. Looking back, we all realize it was too soon, and he fell climbing the front stairs to his house. When the back pain didn’t get much better and a deep shooting pain developed in his right leg (he described it as an electrical shock), we headed back to the doctor. An MRI revealed that a screw had broken loose and was hitting a nerve, causing the pain in his leg. It most likely happened when he fell. Don’t believe for a second that my sister and I didn’t take full comical advantage of being told that our father had a screw loose!
After a nerve blocker shot that worked for less than 24 hours, we scheduled yet another surgery. This one simply to fix the loose screw. Sounds simple enough, but with our family history, Danni (my sister) and I prepared for the worst. We planned out time off for the rest of the month, planned who would be at the hospital and at home with him. And then he was up, out of bed six hours after surgery. The hospital was prepared to send him home the day after surgery, but he decided he wanted one more night to be sure. He doesn’t want to fall again and is being cautious. I’m actually kinda proud of him since he’s normally bullheaded and refuses to follow doctor’s orders. We then had to scramble around re-arranging our schedules and I spent the rest of the week at home with him. He’s now doing great and is getting around really well and is saying he is pain free…..well, other than the huge slice down his back.

That’s my really long explanation for not posting over the past week. Oh, and I’m sorry.

Cravings: As a way of sucking up for being absent for a week, I have two recipes to share. We finally got some venison (from Jason’s brother who split his deer with us) so I made Beanless Venison Chili. It was a bit spicy, but so good. I adapted the recipe slightly from Endofthevine blog, which was adapted from Field and Stream Magazine.

Venison Chili

5 slices thick cut bacon, cut up
1 sweet onion, rough chopped
1 cup mushrooms (which I had sliced and frozen)
1 bottle roasted red pepper, chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 dried hot pepper (not sure what kind it was b/c my sister dried some out of here CSA box)
4 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 lb venison, chunked and canned (so it’s already cooked)
¼ cup honey
2 Tbsp molasses
1 bottle beer
½ cup red wine
2 cups diced tomatoes

In a heavy bottom pan, cook the bacon over medium low heat to render the fat and brown the bacon. Add the onions and cook until becoming translucent. Then add the mushrooms and red peppers, and just begin to cook them. Then add the garlic and vinegar and cook for a couple minutes. Add the spices and the venison and cook for a few more minutes, making sure everything is coated with the spices. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cook for 30-45 minutes. I garnished it with a dollop of Greek Yogurt and some shredded cheddar. We had plenty left to throw in the freezer.
Last night I made quinoa cakes with Greek inspired salad. Everyone loved it! I mistakenly bought quick cook barley a while back (I had intended to buy pearled barley) so I decided to use that as the flour in this dish. This also ended up being very wet. They cooked fine but were pretty delicate to flip. I think next time I’ll up the barley a bit.

Quinoa Cakes
1 cup quinoa
1 ½ cups water (you could also use broth)
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
1 Tbsp olive tapenade
½ cup ground quick cook barley (I used a coffee grinder)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried rosemary
¼ cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs

Cook the quinoa in the water or broth. While that’s cooking, sauté the onions until soft. Let the quinoa and onions cool a bit and then add everything to a bowl and form into little patties. I pan friend these in about 2 Tbsps olive oil in batches. I’m going to try doing them in the oven next time.
For the Greek Inspired Salad I just mixed some arugula and mixed greens and had the rest of the toppings self-serve since everyone in my house doesn’t like something. You could really use whatever salad you like.

Greek Inspired Salad
Greens (arugula, mixed greens)
Tomatoes, cut up
Red onion, sliced/chopped
Cucumbers, sliced/chopped
Kalamata olives
Feta cheese
Annie’s Goddess dressing (because I can’t get enough!)
Fresh Parsley to garnish 

Friday, January 13, 2012

I'm sorry Mother Nature!

Ravings: I am completely convinced that Mother Nature hates me! As you know, I made the trip to the grocery store, and it was raining. Again! It seems to rain Every. Single. Time. Seriously?? Grocery shopping is unfun all by itself. Add rain and it’s akin to torture. Why does she do this to me? I’ve done nothing to her, or at least not on purpose. I’m green; I recycle, I eat organic, I upcycle as much as I can, I love the outdoors (when it’s not raining, of course), and I don't litter.

Here's my theory: I have threatened way too many times that I am going off the grid. I think she took me seriously and is mad that I am still a part of conventional society. It could be the SUV, but it is the smallest one available and gets pretty good gas mileage. I mean, it really could be worse.

She knows I hate unbrellas, and even if I didn’t how can I be expected to carry an umbrella while I’m pushing a grocery cart to my car? Someone please tell me what to do to make her love me?

Cravings: Given the above rant about my trip to the grocery store, which by the way, is on the complete opposite side of Cleveland, but they keep luring me in with these amazing coupons. Given the rain and the travel time, oh and the time it took Jason and I to unload and put away my restocking haul of groceries, it was 7pm before I even began to think about dinner. Ok that’s not entirely true, I thought about picking up something from the premade section at Earth Fare, which is incredible, and they let you sample whatever you want and however much you want. My sister and I did this the last time we were there. It was raining that day too, just so you know. However, it was Kids Eat Free night (storing that bit of info so that I can avoid grocery shopping on Thursday nights), and I couldn’t even get down the aisle that has the premade foods counter, so I quickly gave up that idea, thinking that I would come up with something to eat on my way home. That didn’t happen because I find it impossible to drive without making all my much needed phone calls (You could call this dangerous or you could call it clever multi-tasking. You decide.), so it became pizza night. I know, I know. It’s been a bad week for healthy eating at my house, but I did put a pork roast in the crock pot for tonight and my plan is to use that for 2 meals, so cut me some slack.

I did make a yummy smoothie for breakfast that I can share.

Pineapple-Coconut smoothie

2 scoops protein powder
1 cup frozen pineapple
2 cups coconut milk
Handful of mixed greens and spinach

Blend until smooth. Makes 2 servings.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sneaky dog

Ravings: Laundry. I hate laundry! And it seems like it’s never done. This might be another one of those ways Shadow tortures me when I’m not home. I really need to get that nanny cam so I will have proof that he turns into Mischievous Dog when no one is looking! So besides cluttering up my dining room table, I think he might be putting perfectly clean clothes into the hamper.

                                                    He just looks way too innocent!!!

Cravings: I still haven’t been to the grocery store, so we are pushing the limits of my creativity. As of last night my selection of fresh produce consisted of a couple lemons, a ½ bag of cranberries, 4 carrots (on the soft side), 3-4 green onions, and a ½ head of green cabbage. Not much to work with, right? The task of creating a healthy dinner seemed daunting, even to me, but my girlfriend, Leslie, had recently brought some leftover Stuffed Cabbage Casserole to work for lunch and raved about how good it was. I had cabbage. I have ground beef. I have diced tomatoes. Dinner was saved, and super yummy!

Some food notes:

  • We buy grass fed beef and keep it in the freezer. I try to use red meat only once per week, so it lasts a long time. We purchased 1/4 a side of beef (171 lbs) in June and still have at least ½ of it left. We also purchase Boy Scout chickens, although I only have whole chickens left at this point, so I sometimes need to supplement those. We are hoping to split a hog with my dad and sister when we can find an organically raised one for a good price.
  • I have decided to eliminate canned goods from our pantry because of the BPA that leaches into the food from the lining of the can. I have read that tomatoes are the worst thing to store in a can because of the high acidity. I used the last can of diced tomatoes in this recipe. I found Pomi tomatoes that come in a carton and purchased a case on Amazon, but I recently found them at our new Earth Fare supermarket.
  • I think I’ve already mentioned that you can freeze beans, so I’ve also eliminated canned beans from the pantry. And because my sister is a prize winning gift giver, she gave me a ton of beans all prepped and frozen for Christmas.
  • I try to buy primarily organic produce, but it can get really expensive. If you are anywhere near Cleveland, Oh you have to check out The Basketeria at the West Side Market. Cheapest organic and locally grown produce I have found. Often the prices are better that the non-organic produce at the grocery store. I don’t always make it there so I have to suffer through the high prices at the grocery store. If I have to pick and choose what to buy organic, I follow the Environmental Working Groups Dirty Dozen and Clean 15, and buy organic of what we eat the most.

On to the recipe:

Stuffed Cabbage Casserole

1 cup brown rice
2 cups beef stock
1 lb ground beef
1/8 cup dried onion (only because I didn’t have any onions)
1 Tbsp granulated garlic (also didn’t have any fresh garlic)
1 Tbsp dried thyme
1 can diced tomatoes
½ head green cabbage, chopped
2 small cans v-8 juice (leftover from my mom’s visit)
Parmesan cheese
Fresh parsley

Boil the rice in the beef stock. While the rice is cooking, sauté the ground beef until just before cooked. Add the onion, garlic, thyme, and diced tomatoes. Chop the cabbage. Once the rice is done, mix it into the ground beef. Spread about ½ one can of v-8 juice into a casserole dish. Add a layer of cabbage, then a layer of beef mixture, another layer of cabbage and another layer of beef mixture. Cover with the rest of the V-8 and sprinkle top with parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 for about 30-40 minutes. I served it with a bit more parmesan cheese on top and sprinkled with some fresh parsley. We had a ton leftover, so it got thrown into a freezer bag for a rainy day meal!

Note: The cabbage was still be fairly crunchy, but we liked it that way. If you want the cabbage to be soft, I would suggest boiling it a bit before assembling your casserole.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Take that, life!

Ravings: My husband is amazing! And not the, awe isn’t that sweet kind of amazing. More like the, did that really just happen or am I dreaming kind of amazing. Last night was spent fighting the lemons that life has decided to hurl at us. He didn’t make lemonade. He most decidedly demanded to see life’s manager (from Portal 2 video here)! It was kind of fantastic to witness.

My husband is a bowl full of awesome!

And as I’ve mentioned previously, a total hotty.

Cravings: One would think I could have whipped up some creamy lemon dish given the above post, but since I was busy feeling sorry for myself, while my husband was busy saving the day by going to pick up Chipotle, I have no dinner recipe to post. I am, however, convinced that I can replicate the barbacoa, so I’ll be working on that!

So that I wasn’t a complete failure at all things domestic, I did make some baked oatmeal that we had for breakfast. I got the recipe from through Pinterest. I made it last night and then put it in a bowl with some milk and microwaved it for 30 seconds this morning.

Peanut Butter Baked Oatmeal
(adapted from

3 cups rolled oats
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup milk
2 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp butter
½ cup almond butter
½ cup raisins

Mix all ingredients through vanilla together. Melt butter and almond butter together in microwave for 30-45 seconds until mixable. Then mix it in with the other ingredients until well combined. Stir in raisins. Spread in 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. (We totally overcooked this and it was still really good)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

And wham!

Ravings: You know how life just sometimes smacks you right in the face? It feels like when you are a kid playing on the playground and out of nowhere a ball that feels like it could hold its own in a race against a jet plants itself firmly against your nose. Yes, I had that happen and can still remember the feeling. You are sort of numb at first, unsure of what just happened. The actual pain hasn’t registered with your brain and you just stand there confused. That is how I am feeling today. Dazed.

The worst part is that it’s not something I can even talk about (read: blab to the world in my blog).

Rest assured, I will deal with this with wine and chocolate. Amazingly yummy gourmet chocolate that my sister brought me as a thank you gift from New York for watching her kids. My sister rocks at gift giving! I wonder how long I would have to babysit to get a hot tub??

Cravings: I did manage to whip some relatively healthy and delicious food together for dinner last night, given that I haven’t been home since Thursday and can’t even remember the last time I was at the grocery store. I did have some leftover mushroom, lentil, barley soup in the freezer, so I warmed that up. This soup was made pre-blogging, so I don’t have the recipe, but it was yummy so I’ll make another one and share when I do. I added to that some sautéed Italian sausage with onions and apples. I just sliced some onion and apples and sautéed it a bit in olive oil. I then added the cut up Italian sausage and cooked that through. I added a few Tbsp of beef broth at the end to deglaze the pan. I served that over the lentil soup.

I also made some beer bread that I adapted from a recipe I found on The only changes I made were using ½ all purpose flour and ½ whole wheat flour, and I cooked it in muffin cups, which cut the cooking time in half.

This is a good lesson in freezing your leftovers. Especially if your family is like mine and refuses to heat anything up out of the fridge!

Yesterday's post. It's late!

Ravings: So I took an unexpected holiday. I was scheduled to watch my nieces for the last 4 days, picking them up after school on Thursday evening to start, but I wake up Thursday morning to a text from my sister saying that the 5 year old (We call her P2) is sick. I immediately call my sister, who is in the process of cancelling her trip. I talk her out of it, and head over to stay with my niece for the day. Thankfully, I have tons of time off. One of the benefits of working for a non-profit! I spend all day Thursday laying in bed watching Barbie movies. They are actually not as bad as you would expect. Don’t rush out to snatch one up, but being forced to watch them wasn’t the torture I was expecting. By Friday she was feeling better and we were able to maintain our Saturday plans for Build-a-Bear and a movie. We did skip lunch out as I wasn’t sure she was ready. They were fine with PB&J, since they were excited to set up their Build-a-Bear habitats at home. We took them for walks and bike rides, and to the pretend vet. There was even a play with a sick princess (she had pneumonia and cancer, gotta love the imagination), and a good fairy who could cure the cancer by making the princess have bad dreams. It was all very entertaining….and exhausting.

So when my sister and her husband arrived home yesterday evening to a grand celebration with welcome home banners and tons of hugs and kisses, I had mixed emotions about leaving. While I really missed my husband and wanted to sleep in my own bed, I loved being with them. I cried a bit on my drive home and couldn’t really pinpoint why. Was it about missing them and our time together ending or was it that I was feeling that old grief coming to the surface again? Probably a little of both. I just hate when it hits me on the highway!

Cravings: I vaguely recall having a life before this weekend, and I’m fairly certain it didn’t involve PB&J sandwiches, chicken nuggets, frozen peas (yes, they eat just a bowl of peas, still frozen!), or any unidentifiable sticky substance that just seems to appear out of nowhere. I miss my kitchen!!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Ravings: So I’m finally getting around to posting the pictures from our photo shoot. You know…the one with the sweater, which by the way fits me after one washing where it took a trip in a high heat dryer! I think I’ve already mentioned, although it’s worth repeating, Jason didn’t even take his coat off! (Reminding myself that he doesn’t really like the spiced nuts and molasses sugar cookies I’m still obsessing over.)

It was such a fun day, and our photographer was amazing. His name is Joe Boyle, and I’m linking to his web page here, and his Facebook page here. Be sure to check out his work. It’s truly incredible. Anyway, here are a few of my favorites.

We think this one should be his first album cover!

And this is a rare smile. He wasn't happy to be doing this photo shoot, but he was such a good sport about the whole thing!

This is the one shot without a coat on Jason, but aren't we adorable!

My husband is a total hotty! I hope he doesn't figure that out.

Cravings: Last night was a “It’s ok if you don’t make this again” night. I love how he says that. Like he’s doing it for me. So cute. I think the problem was the chicken. It was the leftover, frozen chicken that I shredded off the citrus roasted chicken I made a while back. He’s not a fan of cooked citrus, so I think he might like this more if I used plain chicken. I’m calling it Thai inspired soup. I served it with candied figs over Greek yogurt.

Thai Inspired Soup

2 Tbsp sesame oil
1/4 onion, chopped
1/2 cup matchstick carrots
1 Tbsp red curry paste
2 Tbsp fish sauce
2 cups coconut milk
4 cups water
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tsp lemongrass
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp peanut butter
1 cup green cabbage, chopped
2 cups shredded chicken
handful of rice noodles
Fresh basil to garnish
Sliced green onions to garnish

Saute the onion in the sesame oil until softened in a soup pot. Then add the rest of the ingrendients and simmer until the noodles are done. Garnish with basil and green onion.

Candied Figs over Greek Yogurt

4 figs, quartered
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinammon
Greek yogurt

Saute figs in butter, brown sugar, and cinammon for a few minutes, until brown sugar melts and blends with butter. Serve over Greek yogurt. I like the tang of plain, but you could also use vanilla or even honey.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year

Ravings: Happy New Year everyone. And by everyone, I mean the five people who read this blog! (Hi Mom) I hope everyone’s holiday season was as fun and filled with love as mine was.
Now comes the task of getting back to normal life. I didn’t officially take any time off over the holidays, but because of where I work, we tend to have very light work hours over the holiday seaspm. We worked ½ days or just beyond ½ days for the entire 2 weeks. It is amazing and I’m certainly not complaining, but it leads very quickly to complete lack of motivation to accomplish anything work related when you return to your normally scheduled life. So here I am, sitting at work, averting my eyes from the long To Do list, most of which was due sometime last year, thinking longingly about red wine, spiced nuts, and molasses sugar cookies. Yes, my amazing friends and family were there too, but I see them all the time. Oh, and my whole life revolves around red wine, so I’m almost always thinking about red wine. So really, it’s just the spiced nuts and the molasses sugar cookies.
As I type this I can’t help but think how simple that seems. I am that easy to please? Why wasn’t I snatched up a long time ago??? Oh well. I think I just knew somewhere deep down inside that Jason would come along someday if I could have enough patience. The best part, he doesn’t really like the spiced nuts or the molasses sugar cookies, so I get them all for myself. I really do love him!
Cravings: Besides the molasses sugar cookies (found here), which I may secretly make another batch of, there are just too many delectable things to report on, so I will try to work them into the rotation of normal meals. Last night was my first night back to regular cooking and eating at home, and after all of the holiday indulgence I was craving something healthy. Quinoa is one of my favorite grains. It’s so easy and yummy and packed with goodness. Pair that with some broccoli and throw in some cheese for gooeyness and you have a easy and good for you meal.
Quinoa Broccoli Cheddar Bake
¾ cup quinoa
1 ½ cup water
1/3 Cream of Whatever soup mix (recipe found here)
1 ¼ cups water
1/3 cup mayo
2 bunches broccoli, chopped
½ mushrooms, chopped
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2cup parmesan cheese
Cook the quinoa in 1 1/2 cups water. While that's cooking prepare the rest by combining the cream of whatever soup mix, water, and mayo. When the quinoa is finished, stir it in with the broccoli, mushrooms and the cheeses. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the cheddar and 1/4 cup of parmesan. Put broccoli mixture in a casserole dish. Pour the cream of soup and mayo mixture all over it and top with the remaining cheeses. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.
I served it with some really good crusty bread, topped with butter, garlic salt and some more of the shredded cheddar cheese, that I baked for the last 10 minutes of the quinoa casserole.