Monday, April 30, 2012

135.6…Frozen Success

After I made one of my favorite recipes, Indian Butter Chicken, for a recent Holiday Recipe Club post, I had half of it leftover. Not wanting to waste it, I did what I usually do: freeze it. I froze the chicken and the basmati rice (separately). I wasn’t sure how it would reheat so I tried it for dinner last night.

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Success! It may not look as nice as it does when freshly cooked but it tasted just as fabulous! It was perfect for a lazy Sunday!

I could not fall asleep last night. Ugh….don’t you hate it when that happens!?! Along with a ton of coffee, I had a toasted English muffin with egg beaters, a slice of cheese and avocado. I also had a sliced apple.

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After taking the kids to school, I went to a meeting at the school and then to Cardio Muscle class where I got my butt kicked as usual. 

Lunch was turkey sandwich on toasted bread with lettuce, mustard and cheese. I had some veggies with my favorite Jalapeno Yogurt Dip as well.

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I’m excited for tonight. My 7 year old son will be singing in the school’s talent show tonight. He won’t show me his performance so it will be complete surprise to me. I’m going to pick him up from school in a bit and take him to dinner and then to the performance. My video camera is ready!

Did you ever perform in your school’s talent show? Nope. I could never come up with a talent. Eating wasn’t one of the options. :)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

135.8…Cheddar-Scallion English Muffin Bread and OXO Giveaway Winner

It’s no secret that I love English muffins.

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I love all the “nooks and crannies” that gather whatever you spread on them.

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English Muffin Bread has all those fabulous nooks and crannies. I’ve been making it for a few years now but just recently figured out that you can add things to it! Sweet or savory….whatever you like. This one is a savory recipe that tastes beyond amazing with the Bacon Jam I recently made. Try it. I dare you.

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Cheddar-Scallion English Muffin Bread

Recipe courtesy: Woman’s Day, November 2004

  • 3 Tbsp cornmeal
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup  finely chopped scallions
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground red pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups)
  • Nonstick spray

Directions:

  1. Lightly coat two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/4-in. loaf pans with nonstick spray. Dust each with 1 1/2 Tbsp cornmeal.
  2. Mix 3 cups flour, the scallions, yeast, salt, sugar, red pepper and baking soda in a large bowl.
  3. Heat milk and water until warm (105°F to 115°F). Stir into flour mixture, then stir in remaining 3 cups flour and 1 1/4 cups cheese.
  4. Divide dough evenly between pans (dough is very sticky). Lightly coat dough with nonstick spray then spray 2 sheets wax paper and invert over pans. Let rise in a warm draft-free place 45 minutes or until doubled.
  5. Heat oven to 400°F. Bake loaves 20 to 25 minutes until golden. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and bake 5 minutes longer. Cool in pans on a wire rack 5 minutes before removing from pans to cool completely. Wrap tightly.

Printable Recipe

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Yesterday afternoon my parents came in to town. We hung out and ordered Leucadia Pizza for dinner.

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I had a piece of veggie pizza and some Caesar salad.

This morning the kiddos wanted pancakes for breakfast. It sounded perfect for a lazy Sunday morning!

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Lazy is right. I’m still in my pajamas and it’s almost dinner time. I can’t remember the last time I stayed in pjs all day!

Lunch was leftover pizza and some more salad.

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Recently I announced the winner for the OXO Good Grips LockTop Container giveaway. It’s Erin Y! I haven’t heard from you yet….please email me with your mailing address by Tuesday at 5:00 PM PST or I will pick a new winner. Thanks!

 When was the last time you stayed in your pajamas all day?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

136.0…A Rewarding Workout

Thursday night we went over to my sister in law’s house for dinner. She had a bunch of different appetizers  and some wine out when we arrived.

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I helped myself to some wine of course! She picked up El Pollo Loco for dinner. I also helped myself to some of that. :)

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Chicken, tortilla, Cole slaw and macaroni & cheese. So good! I went back for another piece of chicken and another tortilla.

My mother in law also came and she brought Funfetti cupcakes.

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I cannot resist Funfetti anything so I had to have one. At least they were mini size. :)

Friday morning I had Chobani pineapple yogurt with Nutella Granola and berries for breakfast.

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I took the kids to school and then went back to Pure Barre. That class is seriously HARD. The instructor kept saying “Tuck, tuck, tuck, tuck!” over and over again but I was thinking about another word that rhymes with tuck.

I went to my nail appointment and then picked up a Greek salad with a chicken kabob at Luna Grill for lunch.

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I picked up my daughter from school, got my car washed and then went to my son’s class for a school event.  Then it was off to a birthday party for a friend of my son’s. While I was there I ate a small piece of veggie pizza and ate the last few bites of the cake he didn’t finish.

When we finally got home, I made myself dinner number two.

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Leftover pasta and leftover meatballs from my swap party.

This morning I made an egg beaters sandwich on a toasted English muffin with avocado and cheese. I had some strawberries on the side.

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This morning’s spin class was quite rewarding. A few weeks ago, my spin instructor, Vince, told me that if I could reach 600 calories on my heart rate monitor, he would bring in mimosas for the class. I almost died doing it but I did it.

Today was my reward.

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Mimosas after class. 

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A happy, sweaty lady.

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Thank you Vince!!!!! And no…we did not plan the rainbow of shirts.

Are you competitive?  I am for sure…sometimes I don’t like getting involved in stuff because it becomes too competitive for me. :) Example: the games Words with Friends & Scramble with Friends. I am obsessed. Do you guys play these games??

Indian Butter Chicken (Chicken Makhani)-Holiday Recipe Club

I am so excited to share this recipe with you. It ranks in the top five of my all-time favorite recipes ever. Recently our Holiday Recipe Club decided to expand to include international holidays. Our first international holiday is Buddha’s Birthday. I had to do a bit of investigating to find out more about this holiday.

I learned that the birthday of  Buddha is celebrated on different dates by various schools of Buddhism. In most of Asia it is observed on the first full moon date of the fourth month in the Chinese lunar calendar (typically May). But in other parts of Asia the day falls a month or more either earlier or later. Whatever the date, Buddha's Birthday is a time for hanging lanterns and enjoying communal meals. Joyous parades of musicians, dancers, floats, and dragons are common throughout Asia.

That brings me back to our Holiday Recipe Club. Our ingredient choices this time were garam masala, tofu and sesame. As soon as I saw the garam masala ingredient, I knew exactly what I wanted to make.

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Garam masala is a blend of ground spices common in North Indian and other South Asian cuisines. It normally contains a blend of dried red chili peppers, dried garlic, ginger powder, sesame, mustard seed, turmeric, coriander, malibar leaves, star anise and fennel.

Every time I open the jar, I love to smell its intoxicating fragrance.

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The garam masala is what makes this dish. Don’t try and substitute anything else. If you don’t have it, go out and buy a jar and make this dish. You won’t be sorry.

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Indian Butter Chicken (Chicken Makhani)
(Serves 4)

Ingredients:
1 tbsp peanut oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
¼ white onion, chopped
2 tbsp butter
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 ½ tsp garam masala
1 ½ tsp chili powder
1 ½ tsp cumin
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup tomato sauce
Salt & Pepper to taste

1 tbsp peanut oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces
1 tsp garam masala
1 pinch cayenne pepper
¼ cup ground cashews (just grind in food processor until paste forms)
Cilantro for garnish

Directions:
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Sauté shallot and onion until soft and translucent. Stir in butter, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, 1 ½ tsp garam masala, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and bay leaf. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomato sauce and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in heavy cream. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat, and season with 1 tsp garam masala and cayenne. Stir in a few spoonfuls of sauce and simmer until liquid has reduced, and chicken is no longer pink. Stir cooked chicken into sauce and return to a low heat.

Mix the finely ground cashews into the sauce. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until thickened. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Printable Recipe

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Thank you again to Erin and our new international co-host Keely for all their hard work on our Holiday Recipe Club.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

136.6…Twinkie Tiramisu

I wasn’t trying to tease you the other day when I showed you this dessert.

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I promised I would come through, didn’t I?

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This one might be the most evil dessert I’ve made yet. But who says evil has to be bad???

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Twinkie Tiramisu (Serves 8)

Original Recipe: All You, September 2009

  • 3 tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 8 ounces whipped cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 10  Twinkies, halved lengthwise
  • 4 ounces finely chopped semisweet chocolate
  1. Place espresso powder and 1/2 cup sugar in a heatproof bowl. Pour 1 cup boiling water into bowl and whisk to dissolve. Let cool to room temperature.
  2. Combine cream cheese, vanilla and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. In another large bowl, beat heavy cream until it holds stiff peaks. Gently fold cream cheese mixture into whipped cream.
  3. One at a time, dip 10 Twinkie halves into coffee mixture just to moisten. Place them alongside each other in bottom of a shallow 11-by-7-inch baking dish. Spread half of cream cheese mixture over Twinkies, then sprinkle with 2 oz. chopped chocolate. Repeat with remaining Twinkies, cream cheese mixture and chocolate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.

Printable Recipe

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Yes, it’s as wonderfully decadent as it looks. :)

Last night’s dinner was some leftover meatballs that my friend Tammy brought to my swap party that I added to some egg noodles. I made a salad to get some greens in.

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Since I was so good about adding vegetables to my dinner, I felt it would be ok to have some Twinkie Tiramisu.

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It was more than just ok. :)

Breakfast today was the return of the egg beater sandwich. This time I added some avocado to it.

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I took the kids to school and went to Zumba.

For lunch I met some friends at Love Boat Sushi. I haven’t had sushi in way too long!

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Normally you see pictures of me with wine. I thought I’d change things up and show you a picture of me with iced tea.

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We all shared some edamame to start.

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Then the miso soup arrived…..

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….followed by copious amounts of sushi!

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This roll is my personal favorite: the Wasabi Roll. It spicy and wonderful. I heart the plate they put it on. :)

We are off to my sister in law’s house for dinner tonight. Enjoy your evening!

When was the last time you ate a Twinkie?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

137.0…Bacon Jam

Recently I had something at cooking class that was so good, it blew my mind. I knew I needed to make it for my swap party last night.

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I introduce you to Bacon Jam.

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Bacon Jam (Makes about 2 1/2 cups)

Recipe: Phillis Carey

1 pound thin very-smoky bacon

1 medium onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 cup freshly brewed coffee

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

2-5 drops of Tabasco (more or less to taste)

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1. Cut bacon into 1/2 inch pieces and put into large cold Dutch oven or large pot. Over medium heat, cook bacon until a lot of the fat has rendered and the bacon is starting to brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon to drain on paper towels and pour off all but 1/4 cup of the bacon fat.

2. Add the onions and garlic to the remaining bacon fat and sauté until it is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add bacon back to the Dutch oven and all other ingredients. Bring to a simmer and then lower heat and continue to simmer uncovered for an hour or until thick and jam-like, stirring occasionally.

3. Allow the jam to cool for 5 minutes and then transfer to a food processor. Pulse the mixture 8-10 times or until it reaches your desired texture. Put into a jar and allow to cool, then cover and refrigerate. Keeps about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

*Carefully warm up mixture before serving.

Printable Recipe

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I served the bacon jam with toasted baguette slices. To make the baguette slices, simply slice the baguette, brush one side with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

You need to try this. Someone last night said it reminded them of eating pancakes. I think by that she meant the taste of bacon in pancake syrup. :)

I also served Crab Salad Toast Cups as well. Recipe to come….

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The swap party is always a pot luck and it’s fun to see what everyone brings!

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There were so many delicious things to eat…it was hard to choose…so I tried everything! :)

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Then it was time to get down to business: Shopping!

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Everyone (including me) left with so many nice new things! Our closets are cleaned out and ready for all our newly “swapped” items! Another swap party success!

Before I forget…I made a special recipe for dessert.

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I will be sharing this one soon as well. :)

This morning I had pineapple Chobani yogurt with Nutella Granola and a chopped apple.

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I was out of berries so I thought I’d try an apple with my yogurt. Never done it before…it was actually pretty good!

I took the kids to school and then went to Zumba. Afterwards I ran a few errands including Target (stocked up on Chobani pineapple yogurt).

Lunch was a turkey sandwich with more Herb Dip and the last of the Black Bean, Chickpea and Corn Salad.

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I picked up the kids from school and came home. Tonight I will be choosing from the many leftovers from last night’s party for dinner. I also look forward to going to be early….last night was too late for this old lady.

The winner of the OXO Good Grips LockTop Containers Giveaway  (using Random.org) is:

Erin Y. said... Best Blogger TipsFreeze buttermilk into 1/2c. portions & freeze-- usually works!

Erin Y…please send me your contact information so I can get the containers out to you! :)

Bacon lover or do you not get all the hype?