on eating well

Ever since February I’ve had a bit of a shift in my eating habits.  After the binge that is the holiday season and a semester of classes that interfered with my exercise I reluctantly got on the scale and just about melted when I saw what number was looking back at me.  I know it’s not just about a number, but I had noticed that even my “cookie pants” were quite tight.  I even started realizing that I wasn’t wearing certain items in my closet because a.) they looked terrible and b.) they weren’t fitting!  Frustration and shock started to set in.  It had to change — and right then.  OK, so maybe it wasn’t a total lightening strike moment, but it was a wake-up call.


eat this tonight

We made this on Saturday (thanks to Brad’s boss) and we absolutely loved it.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, so I was needless-to-say, pleasantly surprised when this medley of flavors melted in my mouth.  We roasted the peeled squash (first tossed in a bowl of EVOO) in the oven for about 40 minutes; sauteing the kale took only minutes because I’m not a fan of completely wilted greens.  While the kale finished cooking I added the squash and immediately added a generous portion of Manchego cheese.  With just a little S&P to taste, it was perfection!

the perfect (and easiest) summer dish

Some recipes are just so delicious and so easy that you can’t not share them.  That’s how we feel about Mango Shrimp.  Seriously, it is the freshest and lightest (yet satisfying) dish I know how to make.  And it seriously takes 15 minutes max!  (Well, only as long as there are two people chopping those ingredients — that mango can hang you up the first time!)  I’ve put together a simple, visual how-to:

But just in case you can’t see the .GIF here is the recipe for Mango Shrimp (serves 2)

Raspberry Blush Vinegar, Agave Nectar, 3 Green Onions, 1 Mango, 7+ Cherry Tomatoes, Cilantro (to taste), 1 lb Fresh Shrimp.

While sauteing the shrimp, chop all other ingredients into bite site pieces.  (Here’s a great tutorial on how to slice a mango if you need a little help.) Add everything into a big bowl (including your hot-from-the-pan-shrimp), then just drizzle a bit of agave and a touch of the raspberry blush vinegar, toss and serve.  Done!

(Thanks to my sis for introducing me to this dish first!)

P.S.  If spicy shrimp is more your thing, then here is a great recipe too!

I guess it’s not technically summer yet; but seeing as how it’s been consistently in the 80s here, I’m calling it summer!

shrimp with spicy chili and beer sauce

I made this for the hubs on Saturday.  It is a dish my mother-in-law makes very well (and she’s not even southern!)  It is a VERY SPICY dish and similar to gumbo just sans extra broth.  I personally can’t take the heat (although I wish I could) so I cut the pepper ingredients in half.  But I was thinking of substituting chicken for shrimp some time.  I would just have to adjust the cooking time a little since the chicken won’t cook nearly at quick as the shrimp.  But it was just too yummy not to share.

{iphone photo!}

6 TBSP (3/4 stick) butter
6 Large Garlic Cloves — Chopped
2 TSP Finely Ground Black Pepper
2 TSP Dried Thyme
1 1/2 TSP Cayenne Pepper
30 Uncooked Large Shrimp (peeled & deveined)
2 C. Jamaican Lager (or other lager beer)
6 C. Low-Salt Chicken Broth
1/2 C. Worcestershire Sauce
1 TBSP Honey
Freshly Cooked Rice

Melt 6 tbsp butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chopped garlic, black pepper, dried thyme, and cayenne pepper and stir 1 minute.  Add shrimp and saute 1 minute.  Stir in beer.  Using slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to large bowl.  Add chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, and honey to skillet and boil until sauce is reduced to 1 1/4 cups and coats spoon thinly (about 45 minutes.)  Return shrimp to sauce and simmer until shrimp are just cooked through, about 3 minutes.  Season to taste with salt.  Serve with rice.

Recipie via Bon Appetit, January 2003

sunday best

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Overcast, cool and damp.  That was Sunday.  But rather than baking something a little more seasonal, I decided on a classic.  These Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies are the most delicious of the chocolate chip variety! They are found in the Williams & Sonoma Essentials of Baking Cookbook (page 118).  And they are so good I can’t not share:

1 1/4c. Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 c. Unsalted Butter (room temp)
1/2 c. Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
6 Tbsp. Granulated Sugar
1 Large Egg
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 c. Semisweet Chocolate Chips
3/4 c. White Chocolate Chips
3/4 c. Milk Chocolate Chips

Oven: 350 degrees

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar.  Beat on Medium speed until smooth.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat on low speed until well blended.  Slowly add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed just until incorporated.  Mix in the chocolate chips.

Drop dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart.  Bake (one sheet at a time) until the bottoms and edges are lightly browned and the tops feel firm when lightly touched, 10-13 minutes.  Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack.

what a peach!

you would think it’s fall around these parts.  with highs only in the low 60’s i have been getting the itch for autumn flavors and smells… and the kitchen has been my outlet.  on sunday Brad and I made an apple pie from scratch and tonight before we headed over to a friend’s house for dinner i whipped up a peach cobbler that was oh-so-yummy if I do say so myself!  i got the recipe from this book which i have mentioned before.  and i couldn’t not share this delicious comfort food goodness.  peaches are in season here so get to your local farmer’s market and make something wonderful.  if it’s hot where you are a sherbet or sorbet might be in order, but on this rare summer day i had to go with something warm.

Double-Crust Peach Cobbler
8 cups sliced fresh peaches (about 5 lbs)
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter
pastry for double-crust 9″ pie

Stir together first 4 ingredients in a dutch oven; set aside until syrup forms.  Bring peach mixture to a boil; reduce heat to low,  and cook 10 minutes or until tender.  Remove from heat; add almond (or vanilla) extract and butter, stirring until butter melts.

Roll half of pastry to 1/8″ thickness on a lightly floured surface; cut into a 9″ square.  Spoon half of peaches into a lightly buttered 9″ square pan; top with pastry square.  Bake at 475 for 12 minutes or until lightly browned.  Spoon remaining peaches over baked pastry square.

Roll remaining pastry to 1/8″ thickness, and cut into 1″ strips; arrange in a lattice design over peaches.  Bake 15 to 18 minutes more or until browned.

Yield: 8 servings (or 4 very hungry gluttons!!)

Peach Cobbler

{Post Script I totally cheated on the lattice top because my pastry was too crumbly to weave.  I used a recipe that used only shortening for the pastry and I would NOT recommend it.  I had better luck on Sunday with one that used butter.}

it’s the little things…

…that I enjoy so much.  Today I sent a note to a friend and included a lovely little poem about spring.  I also made a recipe card for a different friend.  I’ve been doing that a lot lately.  On Saturday we made the most delicious Cavatappi dish and so I snapped a photo of it cooking.  I then used that photo as a watermark for a recipe card.  I think I’m going to try to do a series of those for a family member that’s getting married in May.  Too bad for me that I will now need to make my favorite meals and then print out the recipes.  Looks like I’m eating good in April!

The Trees -- Philip Larkin

Cavatappi Recipe Card

I came home to this?!

I can’t believe my husband sometimes. Not only did he spend all day checking off the rest of our punch list, but he also managed to squeeze in a little baking. After a long day of work I was greeted by two dozen “Brownie Cookies”. If you can’t decide between cookies or brownies, then this is the sweet treat for you! Death by chocolate is not a bad way to go…I’ve come close. The recipe is from my always wonderful “All New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook.”

1/2 cup butter
4 (1oz.) unsweetened chocolate squares, chopped
3 cups semisweet chocolate morsels, divided
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine butter, unsweetened chocolate, and 1 1/2 cups chocolate morsels in a large heavy saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until butter and chocolate melt; cool.
Combine flour baking powder, and salt in a small bowl; set aside.
Beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla t a medium speed with an electric mixer. Gradually add dry ingredients to egg mixture, beating well. Add chocolate mixture; beat well. Stir in remaining 1 1/2 cups chocolate morsel
Drop dough by 2 tablespoonfuls 1 inch apart onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool slightly on baking sheets; remove to wire racks to cool completely. yield: 2 1/2 dozen