Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last Day of 2011

It's officially the last day of 2011.  Whoo-hoo! Are you ready to party like the Kennedys?

Yeah, we're SO not partying.  In fact our plans to ring in the new year...Sit down and watch The Walking Dead.  I know, someone needs to calm. us. down.

But I've never seen it and the Hubs got the first season on DVD for Christmas.  Others have told me it's really good so I'm jumping on the bandwagon and giving the show a chance. :)

Don't get me wrong though.  I'm not jumping on all his shows' bandwagons.  I'm still not ready for American Horror Story.  I'm not saying that one's not good. I believe it really is a great show.  It just looks really disturbing and I'm already afraid of ghosts.  Do I really need to feed my fears?  No, I do not. 

And I gave King of Thrones* a chance but I'm clearly not their target audience.  Give me ABC Family original programming any day. lol!

* Update:  I've been informed that the show is called Game of Thrones, not King of Thrones.

So The Walking Dead it is.  Along with some Salt & Vinegar Pop Chips and a bit of Red Velvet Cupcake Wine (bought at the recommendation of my sister in law).   And who knows, we may even break out scrabble or dominoes!

P. A. R. T. Y.  ANIMALS!!

As for our last meal of 2011.  Well let me just say we ended the year on a serious high note!

Last week the Hubs decided he wanted me to make pizza, but about halfway through the week he threw "french bread" into the mix.  Man, we haven't had French Bread pizza since our college years and that was always the frozen pizza...not exactly top quality.  The Hubs had every intention of just buying a loaf of French Bread at the store.  Does he not know me at all?  I decided I'd MAKE our French Bread. :D

(I admit, I have no clue what makes bread "french".  In my mind if it's long and firm it's French Bread)

1 1/2 C Warm Water (Hot enough to activate the yeast but not kill it)
1 1/2 T Honey
2 Packages/Envelopes Yeast
3 1/4 C Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
Large Pinch of Salt

Gently stir together the water, honey & yeast so that it's all dissolved together.  Let sit for approximately 5 minutes until a foam forms on top of the water.
Stir together the salt & flour.  Pour the yeast mixture into the flour mix & stir until combined.
Kneed for about 5 minutes.
Divide dough in half and roll each half into a rectangle.  Then roll-up the rectangle into a long "log".  Set each log on a pan and cover with a towel.  Let rise for 30+ minutes.
Slice the top of the bread longways (see picture below) so that it gets that Fancy French Bread Look. :)
Pre-heat oven to 450°.
Place the bread in your oven.  Add a cookie sheet of water on a lower rack.  Bake for 8 minutes.
Spritz/brush the top of each loaf with butter and bake another 8 minutes until golden.
Remove from oven and let cool.

Yeast mixture

Pour the yeast mixture in with the flour and Mix

Switch to your dough hook and kneed for 5 minutes.

Roll into a rectangle.

Roll-up the rectangle.

Place on baking sheet.

Cover and let rise.

One slice down each loaf makes it "Fancy"

All Baked & Golden Brown

Be Cool, Man.  Be Cool.
So once I had the French Bread the pizza part was REALLY easy.

I sliced 1 loaf in half so I had 2 long "crusts". 

Each one was topped with some Olive Oil, Dried Basil, Dried Oregano, Dried Marjoram and Minced Garlic.

Then add your favorite toppings...

Can you tell which one was mine and which was the Hubs?  I know, we're polar opposites when it comes to food!  His had tomato sauce and pepperoni.  Mine had tomato sauce, red onion, sliced tomato, sweet peppers and spinach.

Then both were topped with some shredded Mozzarella cheese.

And into the oven it went, at 450°.  

Once the cheese was nice and melted I turned on the broiler so that the cheese would brown. :)

Now that's a meal to end the year!

Hope you have a fun and safe New Year's Eve and a good start to 2012!  

And here's hoping the Mayan's were wrong and we make it to 2013.  I'm not too worried about it.  I think a year from now I'll be thinking, "What a year it was!" :)

Friday, December 30, 2011

"Filling" Wraps

Only a few days until the new year.  I'm not ready.

I have no idea what my new year's resolution will be; I have no clue what I'm going to make for our meal; AND I have no idea what I'm going to wear.  

I had hoped to find a new outfit when I went shopping yesterday but Kohl's was crowded and messy and I didn't have the patience to browse through all the clearance and sales.  So in the end I left with a new sweatshirt/jacket and a pair of Boot Toppers (aka Leg Warmers).  It was a $70 value that I got for all of $2 thanks to clearance pricing, a 15% off coupon and $20 in Kohl's Cash.  Cha-ching!

Of course my fantastic deal finding doesn't really help my new year's prep but it did make me feel really good. :)

I'll figure out a resolutions eventually (maybe it should be to procrastinate less?).   For our meal I'll incorporate some cabbage or something like that for luck, wealth, prosperity, etc.  And I'm certain I'll find something in my closet to wear...I always do. :)

So maybe I am ready for the New Year.  Whoo-hoo!!

Any who...

Breakfast yesterday was an Apple Pear and some left over doughnuts.

I left lunch totally up to Kai so we had... Green Pancakes!  It's vacation - Pancakes for lunch is TOTALLY acceptable!

And then around dinner time I FINALLY pulled out my camera. ;)

The Hubs wanted chicken wraps so I put a frozen chicken breast on the George Foreman grill and got that to cooking.  

Then I started making up my "FILLING"

I started by sauteing:
1/2 chopped onion
1/2 package of pre-sliced/cleaned mushrooms
1 peeled & chopped sweet potato

After about 8 minutes I added:
1/2 Cube of Lime Juice (approx 1 T)
1/2 Cub pre-cooked black beans from my freezer
5 sliced sweet peppers

Then I put the lid on, turned down the heat a bit and let it sit until the sweet potatoes were cooked (approx 10-20 minutes)

Once that was done we all assembled our wraps.

On a Whole Grain tortilla I laid my "filler" from above, some spinach, some Nutritional Yeast and some left over Avocado Spinach Sauce.  Then I added a side of Chips and Salsa.

The Hubs and Kai had wraps of chicken, lettuce and cheese, and then Kai picked some of her favorite parts of my filling off my plate. lol!

And the best part?  There's enough of the "filling" left over that I'll be able to mix it with some scrambled eggs for the perfect breakfast today. :)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom!!

I woke up this morning ready to call my mom to wish her a Happy Birthday, but I had missed a text.  It turns out that in the middle of the night one of my Bestest Friends in the whole world had a little boy!!!  So now my mom has to share her birthday with Little John!  :D

Do you have any idea how hard it is to focus on yesterday's meals when all I want to do is go see him??? 

Anyway, I DID take photos yesterday so lets get to it.

Lunch started with a roasting of some tasty veggies:  Brussels Sprouts, Potatoes & Red Cabbage with a spray of Olive Oil and a sprinkling of salt.  Chopped into big bite size pieces and cooked at 425°.

While those roasted I ate an Apple Pear.

And a spoonful of Almond, Peanut & Cashew Butter.

Eventually the veggies were done...

Like my new oven mitt?  :D

On to the FUN stuff yesterday.  We made Birthday Doughnuts!!  For the most part I followed this recipe, but with some minimal tweaks.

1 C Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1/3 C Organic Sucanat (substituted for sugar)
1 1/2 t Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt
3 T Coconut Oil (heated to a liquid)
2/3 C minus about 2 T Almond Milk
1/2 t Apple-Cider Vinegar
1/2 t vanilla
1 egg

Whisk all the dry ingredients together.  In a separate bowl mix the melted oil, milk, vinegar and vanilla.  If your milk is cold you may have to heat the mixture in the microwave because when coconut oil gets cold it hardens.  Mix your dry and wet ingredients.  Add the egg and mix a bit more.

Pour your batter into a doughnut pan.  To do this I made myself a pastry bag using a ziplock bag with the tip cut off.  It made it MUCH easier to not over flow. :)

Bake at 350° for 12 minutes.

To frost them I pureed 1 banana and a splash of almond milk until smooth.  Then we dipped each doughnut into the "frosting".

Dry & wet ingredients in my NEW mixing bowls.

Kai and I fill our "Pastry bag"

Gotta get every last drip. :)

Into the pans it goes

Ready to bake

Out of the oven.

And onto the cooling rack!

The "Frosting"

Dip, dip, dip

Last night my dad babysat Kai for a few hours while we met up with some high school alumni so my plan was for my dad to take this home so that my mom would see it when she got home around midnight, just in time for her birthday to start!  Unfortunately, it didn't get to their house so I'm off to my mom's soon so she can finally enjoy her Birthday Doughnuts! :D

Happy Birthday Grammy!!
And one more Happy Birthday Little John!  I know you won't be eating doughnuts any time soon but when you are ready Kai and I will be here to make them for you!! :D

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Kitchen Gadgets!

We woke up to snow this morning...

My feelings on it? Sorry Mother Nature but it's a little too little, too late!  If I couldn't have a white Christmas then why on earth would I want a white New Years?!?

Oh well, Kai's excitement was priceless.  She was walking around all day trying to eat the snow. :)

I found celebrating my mom's birthday was MUCH more exciting than the snow.   Her birthday actually isn't until the 29th but since she'll be working that day we decided to P.A.R.T.Y. today.  We had lunch at Ruby Tuesdays, where I once again got the 3 Sides + Salad Bar to split with Kai.  I get the grilled zucchini and Kai gets the mac and cheese and we split the steamed broccoli.  AND she picks off my salad plate - tomatoes, chopped egg, cucumber and of course, the most delicious croutons ever baked!  

Then it was off to my parents house for gifts and some Euchre. My mom and I teamed up against the boys and won one out of three hands.  Of course the Hubs turned up a bower EVERY time he dealt so I'm calling a Shenanigans on him and claiming the entire bout a tie. lol!

As for the presents, my mom got a new Cordless Dremel from my dad and an accessory from us...

Watch out woodwork, here she comes!

oooh, the PERFECT accessory!

After a fun time visiting we headed home and I got caught up on some work (not everyone had today off, lol!)  Then it was FINALLY time for dinner which meant I got to break out some of my new toys. :D

The Hubs and Kai just wanted Campbell's Soup and Grilled Cheese so that's what they got.   BORING!!!

I wanted something more substantial so out came my new Salad Spinner...

Complete with an "emergency stop" button?
And one of my new fruit scoops...

And my new measuring cups and spoons...

I made a Avocado Spinach Pasta Sauce...

Large Handful of Spinach - cleaned then dried in a fancy salad spinner :)
1 Avocado - flesh scooped out using a fancy scoop (or just a spoon if you don't have a new fancy scoop)
2 T Lime Juice - Last Summer I juiced a bunch of limes and froze them in an ice cube tray so I used 1 cube, nuked so that it was melted.
1/4 t Minced Garlic - measured using a fancy red measuring spoon. :)

Add everything to the food processor and blend until smooth.

Of course if you're making pasta sauce you'll need some pasta.  BUT who would want to get out a little pot to make pasta for just one person?  Certainly not me.  Fortunately I got a Wolfgang Puck personal cooker for Christmas so I didn't have to!  Into the little cooker went 3/4 Cup Whole Wheat Rigatoni and 1 Cup of water.  Then I just turned it on and after about 10-20 minutes (I didn't keep track at all of how long it took) the light changed and it was done.  No need to strain it or anything. :)

The perfect amount
Then I stirred some of my sauce, pasta and some Nutritional Yeast together...

I may have licked the bowl when I was done...

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas, Day 2

Well the good news is I did take some photos. The bad news is the only food shot I got was of the left over soup that I had made.  Oh well, next week things should start to get back to normal and we'll get some real food reporting going on again. :)

In the mean time, lets just embrace the photos I do have...

Ready to open some presents!

Kai's cousins know what they're doing!

One of her gifts...Matching PJs for her and her baby doll.

Among other things, I got a One-Size-Fits-All-Shirt, lol!!
And the left over soup...

I know, at this point it's really not much to look at, but it was tasty!  Sauteed Onion, Celery, Sweet Peppers and Mushrooms + Kale, Veggie Broth, Kidney Beans and Wheat Berries.  I made up a crock pot of soup since I knew the meal was going to be KFC take out. :)  Of course, I probably didn't need to make anything considering the amount of sweets there were!  Cookies, Chocolate Bark (one of my weaknesses), Cheese Cake and Dip (Velveeta + Tomato & Chili)...Oh, and a Gourmet Chocolate Covered Apple!

Seriously, I could easily have just eaten desserts all day!

And now it's evening and another Christmas is done with just one more left to go.  That's not until January first so for the next weeks we're just going to relax and play with all our new toys.  For me that means lots of time in the kitchen, for the Hubs lots of time in front of the TV and for Kai...well her toys are spread out ALL OVER the house.  :)