Tuesday, September 2, 2014

143.4…American Macaroni Salad

I can't believe that summer is almost over. We've been trying to enjoy the last few summer days by swimming in the pool, being outdoors and doing a lot of grilling. We grilled a few times this weekend so I decided to whip up a macaroni salad to go with everything. I'm a huge macaroni salad fan and this one was perfect for all your end of summer meals!

IMG 8080

American Macaroni Salad (Serves 6)

Recipe slightly adapted from Food Network

Ingredients:

2 cups dry elbow macaroni, cooked, rinsed and drained

1/3 cup diced celery

1/4 cup minced red onion, soaked in cold water and a splash of white vinegar for 10 minutes, drained

1 Tbsp. minced flat-leaf parsley

1/2 cup diced roma tomatoes, seeded

1/2 cup mayonnaise

3/4 tsp. dry mustard

1 1/2 tsp. sugar

1 1/2 Tbsp. cider vinegar

3 Tbsp. sour cream

1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, combine the macaroni, celery, onion, parsley and tomato. 

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, sugar, vinegar, sour cream and salt. 

3. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Printable Recipe

IMG 8082

Sunday night we had some family over for some pool time and dinner. I served the American Macaroni Salad with grilled chicken kabobs, corn on the cob and baked beans 

IMG 8083

Aka the perfect summer meal.

Breakfast  yesterday morning was scrambled egg beaters with salsa, onions and cheddar cheese. 

IMG 8084

Lunch was tuna salad and veggies…my usual.

IMG 8085

I spent the afternoon reorganizing my closet. Every time I do this, I think I won't let things get disorganized again but somehow it always happens. 

Dinner was another grilling opportunity: grilled chipotle chicken sausages, American Macaroni Salad, corn on the cob and baked beans. 

IMG 8090

Breakfast this morning was toast with peanut butter and half a grapefruit.

IMG 8094

I took the kids to school, went to a PTO meeting and a couple of appointments. Lunch was a turkey sandwich, veggies and ranch.

IMG 8095

Getting  up early this morning was rough after a three day weekend! Fortunately it's only a four day school week!

When was the last time you cleaned out/reorganized your closet?

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Sunday, August 31, 2014

145.0…Labor Day Weekend Eats….So Far...

Thursday night, my mom and I decided to grab some ice cream at Baskin Robbins. I really wanted vanilla but they were out (they forgot to order ice cream) ?? so I settled on chocolate chip ice cream with lots of hot fudge. 

IMG 8035

Breakfast on Friday was toast with peanut butter. 

IMG 8037

I packed up, said goodbye to my mom and drove back to San Diego. Before picking up the kids from school, I had a Greek Salad with a chicken kabob at Luna Grill. 

IMG 8038

We took the kids Friday night to the Padres vs. Dodgers baseball game. We had a buffet dinner then watched the exciting game!

IMG 8046

Padres won in extra innings…it was a late night but we all had a great time!

IMG 8061

Breakfast yesterday morning was Honey Nut Cheerios with almond milk. 

IMG 8071

I can't say I was very productive Saturday morning. I got the laundry done…that was about it. Lunch was tuna salad, veggies and ranch dressing. 

IMG 8072

We all went over to visit some friends who were staying at La Costa Resort. The kids swam for awhile and then we headed to the lobby for some snacks. We shared some nachos before heading to Firenze for dinner. 

IMG 8073

At Firenze, my husband and I split the Chopped Caesar Salad:

IMG 8074

I ordered the Chicken Piccata. So delicious!!!

IMG 8075

Breakfast today was scrambled egg beaters with LOTS of hot sauce, onions, salsa and cheese.

IMG 8076

I did some grocery shopping…we are having people over for a barbecue tonight. Lunch was the same as yesterday:

IMG 8077

I hope everyone is having a relaxing Labor Day weekend! My dog Arnold is for sure!

IMG 8078

Any Labor Day Weekend Plans?

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, August 28, 2014

142.2…Small Lunch, Big Dinner

My husband and I had a date night of sorts last night. We went to Back to School Night for a few hours and decided to grab some dinner afterwards at The Pony Room at Rancho Valencia.  I ordered The Chop Chop Salad with Grilled Chicken (iceberg, spinach, mushrooms, hard boiled egg, tomato, blue cheese crumbles, croutons, lemon herb dressing):

IMG 8024

This morning's breakfast was pineapple Chobani yogurt, Almond Coconut Granola, strawberries and blackberries. 

IMG 8026

After I took the kids to school, I drove to Palm Desert to visit my mom. We went to a newer restaurant there, Il Corso, for lunch. We both ordered the Salmon salad. It was small.

IMG 8027

Very small. It's hard to tell in the picture but there was basically no food on the plate. A tiny bit of salad and these very small strips of salmon. They funny thing was that my mom had that same salad there earlier in the week with a friend and it was at least twice the size. Basically we were still hungry when we left. 

We ran errands and stopped for a very early dinner at my favorite Mexican restaurant, El Agave. 

IMG 8028

I cannot express my love for this place. Their margaritas are as strong as heck.

IMG 8029

The table-side guacamole is the best:

IMG 8030

I ordered their carne asada plate for dinner:

IMG 8031

It was a giant plate of food but after my lack of food at lunch, I was able to polish most of it off. Happily. 

When was the last time you left a restaurant hungry?

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

142.8…Almond Coconut Granola

There is no mistake: I love granola. But it is amazing how much fat, calories and extra junk some granolas have. This is why I like to make my own. You control your own junk. :) My friend Melanie sent me this recipe and I love it!

IMG 7922

Almond Coconut Granola 

Ingredients:

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup slivered almonds

1 cup sweetened or unsweetened coconut (I prefer unsweetened)

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. (or 6 Tbsp.) dark brown sugar

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. maple syrup

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3/4 tsp. salt

1 cup dried cranberries or fruit of choice, optional

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut and brown sugar.

3. In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, oil and salt. Combine both mixtures and pour onto a baking sheet.

4. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color.

5. Remove from oven and transfer to a large bowl. Add dried fruit, if using. 

Printable Recipe

IMG 7921

For dinner last night, I defrosted and reheated Chicken Ragu sauce leftovers and made some fresh pasta to go with it.

IMG 8018

I also made a Caesar salad to go with it. Easy.

IMG 8019

Breakfast this morning was pineapple Chobani yogurt, Almond Coconut Granola and mixed berries. 

IMG 8021

After I took the kids to school, I went to the gym for some cardio and weights. Afterwards, I met a couple of friends at the mall and we ran errands, stopping for lunch at True Foods Kitchen. I had never been was excited to try it.  I ordered the Mediterranean Chopped Salad with Grilled Chicken (cucumbers, olives, cherry tomatoes, quinoa, feta, sprouted almond and lemon oregano vinaigrette):

IMG 8022

Healthy and delicious. Winner. There were SO many things on the menu that I wanted to try. Looks like I will have to go back!

I just got out of a meeting and am waiting to pick up the kids from school. Tonight we are going to our school's "Back to School Night" and will grab some dinner afterwards. It's one of those "run run run!" days!

What do you like in your granola? Do you make your own?

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

144.0…Burger Sauce Burgers

For the last two weekends in a row, I've grilled some delicious burgers. The burgers themselves are good but what makes them even better is the sauce that goes on it. It reminds me of In N Out Burger sauce and I feel that In N Out Burger makes the best burgers ever. Hands down.

IMG 7978

Burger Sauce Burgers (Serves 6)

Ingredients:

4 hamburger buns, toasted

4 slices cheddar cheese

Burger toppings: lettuce, onion, tomato, pickles

Burgers:

2 pounds ground beef

1/3 cup chopped scallions 

1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

Burger Sauce:

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 Tbsp. ketchup

3 Tbsp. sweet pickle relish

1 1/2 Tbsp. minced onion

1 tsp. white vinegar

1 tsp. sugar

Salt to taste

Directions:

1. Combine all burger ingredients and form into six even burger patties.

2. Mix all sauce ingredients, then refrigerate until time to use.

3. Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill over medium-high heat. Brush with oil. Cook the burgers 4-5 minutes per side.

4. When 1 minute of cooking time remains, add a slice of cheese on top of each burger. 

5. Serve burgers on toasted buns. Add toppings and generous amounts of sauce.

Printable Recipe

IMG 7976

Awhile back I purchased Coconut Curry Indian Simmer Sauce from Costco. I only used half of it at the time so I froze the other half. Last night I defrosted it, along with defrosting some basmati rice and some frozen peas for dinner. I also enjoyed some Trader Joe's naan bread with it. 

IMG 8014

The sauce froze and reheated like a dream! Love when things work out like that!

Breakfast this morning was scrambled egg beaters with green onions, salsa and cheddar cheese. 

IMG 8015

I dropped the kids off at school, then met my friends at Rancho Valencia to celebrate all our kids being back in school. We sat by the pool and enjoyed a few hours of catching up. For lunch, I had the Cobb salad. 

IMG 8016

Cobb salads are one of my favorite types of salads. I know they aren't the healthiest but I love salads with lots of stuff in it….just not the Wahoo's salad apparently….

Who do you think makes the best burger?

Technorati Tags: , ,

Monday, August 25, 2014

145.4…Butterscotch Pudding with Cream and Toffee

Here is the last Bunco recipe and I may have saved the best for last: Butterscotch Pudding with Cream and Toffee. It is fabulous beyond words.

IMG 0882

Butterscotch Pudding with Cream and Toffee (Serves 6)

Recipe from Phillis Carey

Ingredients:

1/2 cup brown sugar

3 Tbsp. water

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

3 Tbsp. sugar

3 large egg yolks

1/4 cup whole milk

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 tsp. salt

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 Tbsp Myers Rum or single malt scotch whiskey, optional

Sweetened whipped cream for topping

Heath Bar bits for topping

Directions:

1. Put the brown sugar and water in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan; put the pan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Stirring constantly and lowering the heat if necessary, boil for 2 minutes. Add milk and cream and bring to a boil - don't worry if the mixture curdles. 

2. While the milk is heating, put the sugar and egg yolks into the food processor and blend for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the remaining 1/4 cup milk and pulse just to mix, then add the cornstarch and salt and pulse a few times to blend.

3. With the machine running, very slowly, pour in the hot liquid. Process for a few seconds, then pour everything back into the saucepan. Cook pudding, whisking constantly until pudding thickens and a couple of bubbles come to the surface and pop, about 2 minutes. You don't want the pudding to boil, but you do want it to thicken, so lower the heat, if necessary.

4. Add the butter, vanilla and optional rum or scotch and whisk until everything is evenly blended.

5. Pour the pudding into six ramekins. If you don't want a skin to form, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of each pudding to create an airtight seal. Refrigerate the puddings for at least 4 hours. Serve topped with sweetened whipped cream and toffee bits.

Printable Recipe

IMG 0884

Last night we went to our club for Burger Night. I ordered a turkey burger with arugula, tomato, red onion, pesto aioli and sweet potato fries. Basically a plate of heaven.

IMG 8009

Breakfast this morning was pineapple Chobani yogurt, Almond Coconut Granola (recipe coming) and mixed berries. 

IMG 8010

My husband dropped the kids off at school and I went to Cardio Muscle class. Afterwards I ran errands stopping at Wahoo's for lunch. It has been a long time since I had been there! I decided to try a new salad: Power Chopped Salad with fish.

IMG 8013

It was a pretty crappy salad. I had it with the cilantro dressing I like but it still was dry and bland. It tasted like something I threw together from a bunch of random leftovers from my fridge. Won't be ordering it again.

Well, the kids have started homework again so my evenings will be less pleasant. When's the next vacation??

Are you a pudding fan? I'm not normally but this pudding recipe makes me one!

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Sunday, August 24, 2014

145.4…Double Lemon Curd Cheesecake Pie with Sugared Blueberries

Finally, I bring you the first of the two dessert recipes I made for Bunco. The Double Lemon Curd Cheesecake Pie with Sugared Blueberries is the perfect summer dessert. 

IMG 0890

Double Lemon Curd Cheesecake Pie with Sugared Blueberries (Serves 8)

Recipe from Phillis Carey 

Ingredients:

Crust:

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

2 Tbsp. sugar

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Filling: 

12 oz. package cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. lemon zest

1 tsp. vanilla

Topping:

1 cup sour cream

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla 

1/2 cup prepared or homemade (recipe below) lemon curd

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries tossed with 3 Tbsp. sugar

Directions: 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. For crust, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Press into bottom and up sides of a 9 inch pie plate. Refrigerate until ready to use.

2. For filling, blend cream cheese, sugar, eggs, lemon juice, zest and vanilla in food processor until smooth. Pour mixture into crust. Bake until cake is just set, about 30 minutes. Cool 5 minutes.

3. For topping, whisk together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla in a small bowl. Spread mixture over warm cheesecake. Bake 10 minutes to set topping. Cool completely on a rack. Spread top with lemon curd, cover and refrigerate for several hours and up to 2 days.

4. Cut cheesecake into wedges to serve with sugared blueberries on top or to the side. 

Lemon Curd 

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1 egg yolk

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces

6 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp. lemon zest

Pinch of salt

Directions:

1. Whisk sugar, eggs, yolk, butter, lemon juice, zest and salt in a medium sauce pan over medium low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. 

2. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens to the consistency of lightly whipped cream, about 5 minutes. Mixture should reach 160 degrees on an instant thermometer at this point. 

3. Strain. Pour into a bowl; cover with plastic wrap set right on the surface of the curd and chill for several hours until cold. 

Printable Recipe 

IMG 0890

We decided to barbecue burgers and corn Friday night. Epic. I made up a batch of Creamy Cole Slaw to go along with the burgers. 

IMG 7978

Saturday's breakfast was pancakes! It's been awhile since I've had a pancake breakfast!

IMG 7982

We went over to a friends house with the kids for the day. We picked up Islands for lunch and I had the Mahi Mahi Tacos. They were fabulous fish tacos!

IMG 7987

Last night we met some friends for dinner at Maurizio Trattoria in Encinitas.  We all shared a few appetizers.

Caprese Salad:

IMG 8001

Carpaccio:

IMG 8002

Calamari:

IMG 8003

For my entree, I ordered the Veal Piccata. 

IMG 8004

It was delicious. 

Dessert was pretty fabulous too:

IMG 8005

Warm chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream..one of my favorite desserts ever!  I really like Maurizio Trattoria. The service was great…the restaurant is a small family owned place that was packed last night. We had a great time!

Breakfast this morning was Honey Nut Cheerios with almond milk. 

IMG 8006

I've spent most of the day cleaning out the garage. It feels good to get stuff organized.

Lunch was a turkey sandwich, Creamy Coleslaw and watermelon. 

IMG 8008

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

What was the best thing you ate all weekend?

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,