Posted in Food, Menu Planning, New Food, Recipe

Pumpkin Soup with Chili and Ginger

wpid-wp-1445302189805.jpeg

While I’m staying home with BabyGirl, there is a lot of opportunity to watch daytime television.  There’s an unbelievable amount of talk shows on that follow a similar format.  The Talk, The View, The Chew, The Real

I was watching Clinton Kelly (of What Not To Wear fame) on The Chew when he demonstrated a Roasted Curried Pumpkin Soup that I thought sounded scrumptious.  I happened to have everything that it was calling for and happily headed into the kitchen to cobble it together. 
Continue reading “Pumpkin Soup with Chili and Ginger”

Posted in Crafty, Food, Menu Planning, Recipe

Pumpkin Pancakes

My in-laws are in town for Easter. They drive all the way down from Winnipeg, and I like to think it’s just for my pumpkin pancakes.

I’m allowing myself to call them “mine” because I make a couple tweaks to the original recipe. It’s actually a recipe from Diane Sanfilippo, from the book entitled Practical Paleo.

Since everyone was still sleeping, I had the entire first floor to myself. Step one: turn on some tunes.

image

Now that you’re bopping around to some good tunes, you should realize that you’re starving.  Eat a can of pears while getting your ingredients together!

image

As you’re getting your ingredients together, question the freshness of your eggs since you can’t remember when you bought them.  The Float Test works really well!  If you’re questioning your eggs, give it a try.

image

Ruh roh… One of them is bad. Two are alright, and one is fresh.  Toss the baddie and swap in another fresh egg!

image

All set? You should have 4 eggs, 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, 2* TBLS vanilla extract, 2 TBLS maple syrup, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp baking soda, and 2 TBLS coconut floor*.

*quantities or ingredients vary from original recipe.

All set?? K, let’s mix the wet ingredients first.

image

Whip that up–I use an electric beater, but a whisk would work too.  Next, get together the dry ingredients. Make sure to get your cook book all messy… This is required. 😛

image

K, mix the dry ingredients together so that we can sift them into the wet ingredients next.

image

Mix these together, then set it aside for a moment. Now is going to be a great time to clean up your dishes and get the skillet or griddle pre-heated.

image

That’s one of the things that I learned from my grandma.  If you clean as you go, the end clean up won’t be so bad.

Now, if you’re using a nonstick skillet, you shouldn’t need the coconut oil that’s called for in the original recipe. I normally prefer to leave it out, but I used a little this time just to stick a little closer to the original recipe.

image

These cook up a little differently than normal pancakes. Depending on how hot your griddle is, these might cook up in a couple minutes, but it could take longer.  Our griddle is starting to lose heat in some areas, so I had a couple false starts.  You can watch for the bubbles to burst, but it could be a little while before you see that.

image

Flip! These are a bit wet, even with the added coconut flour, so I like to press them after they’re flipped to get them to cook through. I also flip them again to make sure both sides of the batter that ooozes out (yummy!) is cooked.

image

Slice up some fruit to have with your meal, and you’re all set. These pancakes are so flavorful that you won’t need butter or syrup to go with them.  By all means, feel free to dress them up!

image

Enjoy!

Posted in Gaming, Life + Living

Step by step guide to building a standing station

Last year, I posted a very high level overview about building an Ikea standing station conversion. This year, I’m showing you:

1: Read this guide
2: go to Ikea

image

3: Daydream about making some of the rooms yours:

image

4: Find and purchase the following:
~Lack side table (21×21″)
~Antonius shelf (31×11″)
~brackets of your choice

image

5. Gather your materials.  You will need

– side table
– shelf
– brackets
– power drill with 1/16″ bit and Phillips had screw driver bit
– screws of appropriate dimensions.( I raided our junk drawer to find some. You want at least two that are just under 1/2″, and about four more that are about 1″)
– a pencil
– a buddy

image

6. Assemble the table according to the included instructions (recruiting a buddy helps save fatigue in your forearms)

image

7. Figure out where you want your keyboard to be by putting the table on your existing desk. Bend your elbows to mimic typing comfortably at a keyboard (usually around 90°) and mark off this height discretely with a pencil on the inside of the table leg.

image

image

8. Measure and mark the holes for the brackets on the bottom of the shelf

image

I couldn’t find my measuring tape, so I just eyeballed it.
9. Drill a shallow pilot hole for each of the screws using a 1/16″ bit. Only go deep enough to get through the veneer

image

10. Line the brackets up as planned, then screw them down. Your screw should just fit:

image

image

11. Referencing your pencil marks from step 7, mark where you’ll be attaching the other side of the bracket to the table

image

image

12. Drill pilot holes *just* through the veneer, and use the smallest bit (1/16″ is what I used).  Get your buddy to brace the table so it doesn’t fall over on you. He or she can hang out and lend some leverage through the next steps.

13. Mount the shelf to the table using 1″ screws.

14. Place standing station conversion on your existing desk, move your monitor, keyboard, and mouse as needed and Ta da: standing station

image

* if you use too big of a bit, drill too far, or use screws that are too short, you might experience the painful conclusion of your shelf falling off when you place your table upright

image

image

Don’t worry, if plan “A” fails, there are 25 more letters in the alphabet. Plan “B” for me was to spin the table around and correct for my mistakes. The damaged part faces the wall anyway, so no one will see.

My trip to Ikea included the parts shown above, crafting beads, and lint roller refills. My bill came to $33.  The table itself should be around $7-9, the shelf around $6-7, and the brackets around $6-7.  Not a bad deal for $20!

I talked to someone there who had already made his version and he was helping a friend build one. This was #2 for me. Are you going to tackle it? Comment below with your thoughts.

Posted in Uncategorized

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

For the crust:
2 cups flour (not packed)
1/2 cup oil (canola or vegetable oil)
1/4 cup milk

Mix flour and oil together with a fork, then add milk and mix. Dough should hold its shape.  Roll half out between two sheets of wax paper, this forms the bottom crust. Carefully remove the top sheet of wax paper (can use a butter knife to coax it). Put your pie tin on top of the crust then slip your hand under the bottom sheet of wax paper and turn the whole thing over. Now you can coax the wax paper off the top and the crust should be in the tin.

For the filling:
2 cups strawberries cut into bite sized pieces
2 cups rhubarb cut into bite sized pieces
2 cups sugar

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss/mix together, then pour into the prepared crust.  Add 3-4 rounded tablespoons sprinkled on top, to absorb some of the juice as it bakes.

Follow the directions above to roll out the second crust. This time, though, take of the top later of wax paper, then carefully flip/place the crust over the pie. Remove the last bit of wax paper, then press the edges of the crusts together.

Cut slits for vents, then bake at 350°F for about an hour.

DSCN0067
Soup-y pie is still pie…

DSCN0055 DSCN0056 DSCN0057 DSCN0058 DSCN0059 DSCN0060 DSCN0061 DSCN0065 DSCN0066

Posted in Food, New Food, Recipe, Weight Watchers

Super-easy short-cut for WW Grilled Fish with Mango Salsa

Ha!

So, WW is super diligent about watching out for copyright infringement, so I can’t post the whole recipe or directions here, but in the book I bought there’s a recipe for Grilled Fish with Mango Salsa.  There are 6 ingredients and the prep time is probably around 15-20 minutes.  I wasn’t in the mood to de-vein jalapeños or deal with slimy mangoes (especially in winter?) so I cheated a little bit.  Here’s the condensed version of WW Grilled Fish with Mango Salsa:

Ingredients:

1- bowl of fruit salsa from your local deli
2- fillets of cod (skin removed)
little bit of lemon juice, plus salt and pepper to taste.

Directions:
Unwrap fish from the paper it comes in, place in a skillet over medium heat.  Drizzle with a little bit of lemon, salt, and pepper.  Depending on the thickness of your fillet, it’ll be ready to flip around 3-5 minutes.  Apply the same techniques to this side – lemon, salt, pepper as desired.  This will be done in about 3-5 minutes as well.  The fish will be done when it can be flaked with a fork and is no longer translucent.  Don’t over-cook the fish or it’ll get rubbery.

Top with spoonfuls of the prepared salsa and enjoy 🙂

Total time – 10 minutes.

Fish with Mango Salsa

Posted in College, Fitness, Food, Gaming, Life + Living, Recipe

Colorado n stuff

[Life in general]

image

I’ve been meaning to write, but there always seems to be something that comes up *cough*GW2*cough*.

Well, now I’m at my friend’s house, four states away from home. Everyone is sleeping, so I’m going to write.

Continue reading “Colorado n stuff”

Posted in Fitness, Food, Life + Living, Recipe, Strength Training

I-i-i-i Work Out

 

So, now that vacation is over and I’m climbing out of my funk, I’ve got a new routine that I’m establishing.  This is going to be another one of those short posts because I’m writing it as I’m sippin on a smoothie when I should really be heading out the door instead.  I’ve got, oh, 10 minutes maximum.  Here goes:

Monday/Wednesday/Friday: Wake 5:45, make breakfast/lunch, leave by 6:30. Strength routine at the gym until about 8:15.  Work until 5:30, then it’s home to cook dinner by 7.  After dinner, go for a 30 minute walk/play racquetball.  Then, from 7:30 on, lollygag–er, I mean, study, work on my blog, and generally have free time until bed at 9. I give myself leeway to read until 9:30pm, at which point I’m generally nodding off anyway.

Tuesday: Wake 5:45, make breakfast/lunch, leave by 6:30. Physical therapy (for my back. Finally. After almost 3 months) until 7:30am. Go for a morning walk/jog/bike for 30 minutes. Work on blog/browse the internet until 9am. Then the rest of my schedule is the same as M/W/F.

Thursday: Wake 5:45 just to stay in the routine.  Make breakfast/lunch and watch My Little Pony until it’s time to go to work.  Work. Then evening is the same as M/W/F.

Saturdays and Sundays are not nearly as structured except to say that there will be at least 8 hours of studying and at least 3 hours devoted to menu planning and grocery shopping, an hour to working out (on Saturday) and 30 minutes cardio on Sunday.

My workouts have gotten pretty darn good, too.  My personal trainer really listens to me and I think we’re going along at a good pace.  My strength training routine has an “A” day and a “B” day that alternate.  My “A” Day looks like this:

Warm Up: Bird Dog, Adductor Mobility, Hip Flexor Mobility, Wall Slides, Ankle Mobility
Abs: Plank 1 minute; rest 30 seconds; Plank 1 minute [When I asked for more ab work, she said that if I’m doing the movements right, everything involves abs]
Strength: Squats (30lb DB); Chest Press (20lb DB); Static Lunges (10lb DB); Cable Cross-over Pull-Downs (25.7); Glute Bridges with a Bench (18lb Bar); TRX Rows; X-Band Walk

And that’s what I’m up for this morning. So there we go.  There’s the old me that would struggle with cuddles vs. muscles  and then there’s me: ready and rarin’ to go.

Blueberry Shake: 

2 Tbls (Plain, non-fat) Yogurt

1/4 Cup Blueberries

1 (medium) Banana

2 Rounded scoops protein complete (meal replacement) powder

splash of milk

(smoothie button until blended)

Ice cubes

(Icy drink button until blended)

Eat right away and rinse of all components before protein turns to glue.  🙂

Posted in Food, Recipe

BLT+C=Happy Me

Tonight’s menu called for “Grilled Chicken Sandwiches.”  It was going to be ho-hum until I got it in my mind that bacon goes awesome with chicken and so does tomato.  While Jeff and I were at the grocery store on Monday, I bought a pound of center-cut bacon (tried to get some with minimal fat, but, c’mon, it’s bacon…)  I also picked up 1 beef-steak tomato so that we could have it on our sandwiches.

It was after assembly that I realized that we basically had BLT’s + Chicken.  It doesn’t matter, though, what you call it–I call it delicious dinner.

BLT+C

This recipe can be scaled based on the number of people it is intended to serve.  Basically just cook chicken, cook bacon, assemble on a sandwich with your favorite fixings.  More direction given below:

  • Mrs. Dash Italian Seasoning (to taste)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • Center-cut Bacon
  • Beef Steak Tomato
  • Lettuce
  • Sargento Colby Pepper Jack Cheese
  • Miracle Whip
  • Silver Spring Beer n’ Brat Horseradish Mustard
  • Pepperidge Farm Dark German Wheat Bread

If the chicken breasts that you bought are anything like the ones that I bought, you can easily cut them in half and still have a good-sized portion (4-5oz).  I bought a pack of 5 chicken breasts on sale for $5 and got 10 servings out of it.  We have definitely got more than enough to last us for a while.

After adjusting the portions of your chicken, go ahead and start cooking it.  I used a covered skillet on the stove-top over medium heat, but if you like to grill–tis the season!

Go for it.  Speaking of seasonings–season the top of the chicken before you cover it and then let it cook for about 5-8 minutes per side. I cook mine until the juices run clear and the center is no longer pink, but if you’re the “just so!” kind of chef, cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.  The length of time needed will vary depending on the size of your chicken breasts.

While your chicken is getting started, fry up the bacon.  Be careful to watch for grease splatter–that stuff hurts!  If you prefer, there are methods of cooking bacon in the oven or in the microwave, but I didn’t go that route.

While you are waiting for the bacon and chicken to cook, slice the beef steak tomato and ready leaves of lettuce!  We used this dark wheat bread that is hearty and soft at the same time.  Check it out: Pepperidge Farm Dark German Wheat Bread

Spread with a little bit of miracle whip, some spicy mustard, lettuce, tomato, cheese…. then bacon and chicken!  Serve with summer fruit on the side.

——————————————————————————————-

Here’s the daily summary from http://www.myfitnesspal.com:

Posted in Food, New Food, Recipe, Wedding Planning

I dream’t of a s’more…

When I was growing up, one of my very favorite things to do was to go camping and to roast marshmallows. And of course, to squash those marshmallows between chocolate and graham crackers. And, once finished in marveling at my masterpiece, my next favorite thing to do would be to bite into the s’more so that chips of graham cracker fell by the wayside, marshmallow stuck to my cheeks and chocolate melted onto my tongue. Oh to be a kid again.

When I got my first apartment, I figured out that if you microwave a marshmallow for about 10 seconds, it gets gooey and you can make make-shift s’mores.
In my 3rd apartment, my roomies knew how to grill and I figured out that s’mores made over charcoal are distinctly different than s’mores made over a campfire.
Propane is not an option.
Neither, really, is making them over a gas range.

I love s’mores so much that I was trying to think of a way to incorporate them into our WEDDING for goodness sake!

This weekend, I was having a few people over and I wanted to serve s’mores for dessert. I didn’t want to take the time to microwave marshmallows in front of my guests, because something about that just felt unrefined. As I went to sleep thinking on it, there came to me a glorious idea–S’mores in a muffin tin!

ha!

In my dream, I just crumbled graham crackers into the bottom of the cups and then put a marshmallow and chocolate on top.

In the cruel light of day, that did not work, but I had a dream! It must be pursued!

I found a recipe for a graham cracker crust online and that did the trick for me… I topped THAT with a marshmallow and a milk-chocolate saddle, then gave it a graham cracker crust hat. I baked at 350 for 25 minutes. Somewhere between the idea and the end result, the marshmallow disappeared, but the final product was still a scrumptious offering. The next time I try these, I may have to tweak the recipe a bit. When I find one that works better, I will definitely share it with you:

S’mores in a Muffin Tin

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1-2 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

1 tsp baking powder

marshmallows

chocolate bars

Instructions:

1) Set the Marshmallow and the Chocolate aside for now, we’ll come back to that.

2) Cream together butter and both kinds of sugar

3) beat in egg & vanilla (NOTE: you can do this with a fork, but a mixer would probably be easier)

4) In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

5) Mix the dry and the wet ingredients until you have a well-combined crumbly crust.

6) Prepare the muffin pan with cooking spray so that the cups don’t stick.  Don’t use muffin paper.

7) Take some dough and roll a ball about 1″ or so in diameter and then press into the bottom of each muffin cup

8) Put 1 marshmallow (regular sized) and 1/4 Chocolate Bar (if you’re using Hershey’s, it’s about 3 small rectangles worth) in each muffin cup.

9) Top each one with a graham cracker “hat” (play patty-cake with the dough-ball to flatten it out just like the bottom crust

10) Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until the crust firms up.  The cups remove easily once they are cooled.

Posted in Food, Menu Planning, New Food, Recipe, Weight Watchers

Orange Chicken

Yeeeaaaahhh… My version of orange chicken turned out almost nothing like the picture that I pinned on my pinterest foodies board.  When I was at the grocery store, a friend in need called and I missed out on a couple of ingredients such as the  sesame seeds, red pepper flakes and scallions.  We made due with what we had, though, and it turned out pretty wicked (in a good way).

After going through this process, I would say that there are some things to be desired in the recipe, as far as instructions go.  Here is how the recipe was published on laaloosh:

Orange Chicken Recipe

Ingredients:
1 pound uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 2-inch strips
2 cup cooked white rice, kept hot
Rind of a small orange sliced into thin strips
1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
3/4 cup canned chicken broth, reduced-sodium
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp peanut oil
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 medium scallions, chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or 1 dried chili pepper, minced
1 tbsp sesame seeds

**For added nutritional value, substitute the white rice with brown rice

Directions:
In a bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, broth, sugar, cornstarch, ginger, and vinegar, then set aside.
In a large skillet, heat peanut oil on medium-high heat. Add orange rinds, scallions, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for about 2 minutes. Add in the chicken and cook for approximately 6 minutes, or until chicken is golden brown.
Now mix in the sauce and let simmer until the chicken is cooked all the way through and the sauce starts to get thick, this should take approximately 3-4 minutes. On a plate, serve chicken and sauce over rice and garnish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds

Serving size = 1 cup of chicken and 1/2 cup of rice

Here is what I learned by doing:

– Cook the rice according to package directions.  Then strain the rice because there’s still too much liquid when it’s done.

– Use an itty bit more oil.  It was pretty well gone before the chicken even got there.

– Dice the orange rind if you intend to eat it.

– On that note, add a little bit more sugar to the sauce recipe so that it caramelizes a little more.

– Dried chives are not the same as fresh scallions.

– Rice vinegar, though, is a good substitute for white wine vinegar.

– Use the pulp from the orange that you chopped up in a fresh house salad to serve alongside your chicken:

All in all, this recipe has got lots of potential, but we just need to refine the way that we cooked it a little and actually use all of the ingredients called for 🙂 We will probably make this again.  1 serving has 6 points on a popular weight loss program.