Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I have decided to complete this meme, simply because it sounds fun. After much thought and deliberation in my kitchen, the following things are officially "must eat before death" in my book.

1. Eggs Benedict. Hands down, my favorite food. I love them traditional style, or with spinach and asparagus. Just smother it in rich, lemony hollandaise sauce, and I will be your BBF.

2. Gooey Bananas. Check this, okay? Melty vanilla ice cream topped with over-ripe bananas that have been cooked in a crockpot with cinnamon, vanilla, and melted caramel. Oh my God, heaven has arrived!

3. Buffalo Hot Wings. Yeah, I know...everyone has eaten these, right? Wrong. In parts of the United States, people have never HEARD of this New York-inspired dish. Crispy chicken wings, drenched in buttery hot sauce and served with blue cheese and celery. (Side note: The best place to get these is ALWAYS at a local bar and/or pub.)

4. Maryland Hard Shell Crabs (and crab cakes). Did you know that west of Ohio, Old Bay does not exist. It's true. Try to find it in the grocery store, and you will come across things like "crab boils," but not THE genuine staple of an Inner Harbor dining experience. Also, you will never find a breaded crabcake labeled "Maryland Style." It must be broiled jumbo lump with a dash of Old Bay seasoning (served with lemon wedges of course!), or it's not what I consider "from the Bay." Once you go Maryland style crab, you won't go back.

5. Creamed Chipped Beef (with hard boiled eggs) over Bread. I grew up with this Pennsylvania Dutch goodness, and feel it's the cause of probably 80% of my weight issues. I love it, just the same. You take chipped beef and fry it in Crisco, adding enough flour to make it "pasty." You then turn your burner down, stirring in milk until the paste substance becomes gravy. You serve immediately over bread, and top with chopped hard boiled eggs. It sounds gross, but is one of the yummiest (and artery clogging) breakfasts I've ever had.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Vacation, Lovely Vacation!

We are leaving for South Carolina on Friday for (count them) SEVEN days! I am so excited to be getting away, not to mention seeing Matt's family. I cannot wait for them to spend time with the baby, who is growing like a weed as of late. I picked up a new bohemian skirt today, in honor of "going away" for $20, which was a steal! It's also pouring outside, which always makes me happy. Too much sunshine makes me gloomy. HA! This evening I am going to be completing the "5 things one must eat before death" meme that's been circulating around. I would do it now, but I only have 3 of the 5 foods. More thought, and I'll have them posted. I will leave you with a photo of the munchkin and hubby, intently watching Baby Einstein. Heh.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Veggie Time!

The above picture was the mixture of vegetables I used to make crockpot beef vegetable soup a few days ago, which turned out really well! I am so ready for fall, and all that it brings. Soup, scarecrows and the changing of the leaves. *sigh* I am READY!

So this year, I decided to plant a few veggies. I planted what I "thought" was green beans, and cucumbers. Below is the fruit of my labor. A teeny tiny cucumber that was tres yummy with Gazebo dressing, and a snap pea. Uh huh, I said snap pea. The vines that I thought were pole beans were actually snap peas, to my obvious surprise. It also only produced one little pea. *grin* So much for a big harvest... :)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Holy Updates Batman!

So yesterday the baby rolled over for the first time ever! We left him on his belly on the living room floor, so Matt could come take a picture of my garlic monkey bread (photos to follow), and when he went back to the living room, the baby was laying on his back with a VERY stunned look on his face. I tried desperately to catch him rolling with the video feature on my digital camera, but the little stinker wouldn't perform for me.

Above: Thomas being cute.
Below: The pre-rolling pose.

Last night, I had the hankering for mac and cheese, but with a twist. I started cutting up some very ripe tomatoes and I mixed them with some diced onion, garlic, oregano and salt. The tomato mixture was FABULOUS, and I couldn't compromise its light summery-flavor by throwing it in a baking dish with cheese. I reserved some rigatoni, and tossed it with the tomato mixture. Yum! I am definitely going to try this with smaller noodles, some feta and basil and chill for a new pasta salad recipe. *doing a happy dance* I love it when a new recipe comes together...

I also got creative with the bread machine, and decided to make cheesy garlic monkey bread. I made the dough in the bread machine, then chopped it up and rolled it in a mixture of garlic, cheese and rosemary. I'm not a big rosemary fan, and this recipe felt like it was floating in little green twigs. I followed the recipe anyway, to be sure I didn't screw anything up. Well, the rosemary was a bit much. I ended up trying to scrape it off the bread, but there was just too much! I am going to try this recipe again tonight, but with cinnamon and brown sugar instead of garlic and cheese. *fingers crossed*

Above: Tomato Garlic Pasta Goodness
Below: Cheesy Garlic Monkey Bread

Monday, August 14, 2006

And we fondly referred to it as, "Ham and Lentil Mush."

So my stew started out well enough, as the above picture speaks for itself. Ham, red lentils, cabbage, carrots, and an onion to be set on low for 7-9 hours in the crock pot. At hour 4, I decided to lift the lid and check out the progress and was surprised to find NO LENTILS in my stew! Instead, a very thick yellow-ish broth that reminded me of butternut squash and tasted like beans. My lentils had dissolved, along with the cabbage and onions, leaving only ham and carrots as the non-mush substance. I went to work trying to fix the soup, and ended up adding potatoes and some leftover turkey from another dish I made over the weekend. The end result? A soup that tastes just like ham and bean, but lacking any obvious beans. I am planning to try the recipe again with a more substantial green lentil, but until then...I am faced with a mushy potato and ham soup.

On a positive note, I FINALLY got a bread machine! I bought it at a yard sale for $3, and have already gotten my money's worth. I made a vanilla almond granola bread with honey and oatmeal. Oh my God, the excitement of watching the dough whirl around the blade! You were supposed to wait a half hour before cutting the bread, but we had it sliced and buttered within seconds of that final beep. *giggle* Good stuff, homemade bread. I cannot WAIT to make homemade cinnamon rolls!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Pretty Frappuccinos
Last night, the hubby and I were craving something sweet, and full of fattening goodness. There was some leftover coffee in the pot, and these are what I created. Mmmm...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Portabella yuck burgers, and the quest for the "perfect" veggie food...

So I purchased portabella garlic burgers in hopes that they would be fabulous, and I would have a meat-free lunch alternative to salad. I tried the veggiepatch spinach nuggets, and really enjoyed I had high hopes. Welp, I decided to throw the burgers in the pan, and make a breakfast sandwich of sorts with the burger, egg whites and some cheese. Brilliant idea. They smelled terrible when I opened the package, but I held out hope that they wouldn't smell so rank post-cooking. No dice. I thought maybe they would "taste" good regardless. Not a chance. They were so bad, I actually had to spit out the small bite I had taken. I mean, ew. Do the manufacturers not "KNOW" these things taste like manure? Needless to say, I will not be buying anything that says "burger" that does not contain some type of meat product ever again.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Omelette Heaven!

There is nothing I like better than some sort of "eggs" for breakfast. I LOVE eggs...scrambled, dippy or benedict style, they are probably one of my favorite foods. That being said, I ventured into the world of egg whites recently, and I have to say I'm quite satisfied. The first time I made them, it was a small disaster. They stuck to the pan, and just looked yucky on the plate. But this morning, oh sweet love of eggs, they were fabulous. I fried a bit of onion and a fresh mushrooom, added some fresh spinach and the eggs. After they were post-runny, I added some tomato and cheese to the middle. And VOILA! The perfect egg white omelette. What a lovely way to start the morning! :)

Monday, August 07, 2006

Turkey Florentine Pasta (with a kick)

So I sort of made this up as I went along, and it turned out REALLY well. Though it features 3 kinds of turkey (turkey sausage, turkey bacon and turkey breast) this could easily be made into a delish vegan recipe. I would replace the meats with veggies like mushrooms, peppers and green beans.

The secret punch to this recipe is the small amount of hot sauce and worcestershire sauce, so if you're planning to try this recipe, do not omit them. I also used spinach artichoke pasta for the first time, which was a delightful alternative to using wheat pasta. (which I cannot acquire the taste for) Overall, major success. This dish is really pretty and rather inexpensive, which makes it great for company. If you make it vegan style, let me know what you think... :)

Turkey Florentine Pasta

1 lb ground turkey

1/2 lb turkey bacon (chopped)

1 lb spinach artichoke fettuccini

1 medium onion (chopped)

1 Tbsp. hot sauce

1 Tbsp. worcestershire sauce

1 14 oz can tomatoes (with italian herbs)

half (regular size) jar of spaghetti sauce

shredded cheese (for garnish)

salt and pepper (to taste)

2 Tbsp. minced garlic

Bring large pot of water to a boil, add pasta and cook until al dente. (approx. 7-8 minutes) Heat skillet on medium heat, add olive oil to cover bottom. Add chopped bacon, fry until crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towel to drain excess oil. Add ground turkey to pan, and crumble as it browns. When no longer pink, add worcestershire sauce and hot sauce to meat. Sprinkle with cracked pepper and salt, to taste. Add the garlic and onions to meat, fry until onions are tender. (stirring constantly) Return bacon to pan, add tomatoes and spaghetti sauce to pan. Drain pasta, and add to pan. Reduce heat, and combine pasta with other ingredients. Serve with shredded cheese for garnish.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Ack! Can I explain how happy I am about the dreamy blog that my friend Jess (over at created for me? I am so much like the little robot, it's scary. Although my words may not convey it, I am SO excited to be blogging on such a cool little corner of the world. Thank you, thank you, thank you Jess!!

Other big news...I have decided to start my own errand-running business, and am meeting with an accountant next week to find out what needs to take place. This is a great step for me, as I am able to contribute to the family, but still keep my son. I had finally given in to the idea of daycare, but the truth is that I can't do it. I don't want some stranger watching my son. And so, this idea how put a little spring in my step, and it's looking like I already have a potential client that will be filling 20 hours a week. Yippee!! In the spirit of the munchkin, I thought I'd also post a more recent photo, as his cuteness never seems to amaze me. *laughing* Proud mommy? Nah, not me... ;)