Monday, January 31, 2011

Ice Storm?

Here's a little tip for you.  Never go food shopping right before a supposed ice storm.  This may sound like common sense... but I really needed to go to the store!  First off, there were giant mounds of snow all over the parking lot.  That certainly doesn't make anyone feel any more at ease about an impending storm.  Second, there was a lot of parking space stalking happening.  You know, where you slowly creep up on a car that looks like it may be pulling out of a space and then turn on your blinker so everyone else knows to back off.  Yep.  Definitely got my space at the food store by stalking an SUV. 

Hey, whatever works, right?

We'll see what happens with the ice storm.  It was snowing when I came home tonight.  <3  I say bring on the snow... but ice?  Eh, ice makes me nervous.  Especially when I'm supposed to be starting two grad classes this week.  Colleges don't close down like schools do.  Just a little known fact. 

I guess on that note I'll tell you that I'm going to do my best to keep blogging through the semester!  I've never taken two grad classes at the same time and I'm a little worried about the workload, you know, plus my full-time job.  Yikes!  When will I cook?! 

At least I have plenty of food in the house... just in case I have some free time... or something.  ;-)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Chop, Chop, Chop!

Don't worry, I'm not super crazy cooking girl today.  Just moderately crazy cooking girl.  Just kidding!  I only made one new thing today (mainly because my fridge is already too full of leftovers) and I didn't even have to cook it.  I'd say that makes me crazy chopping girl today.  :-)

Here it is:

Tuna and White Bean Salad (WW recipe)

Please note that I'm using my red mixing bowl and it's almost too small!  It's times like this that green mixing bowl would have done the job nicely.  *tear*

Did you notice that there's actually a form of meat in this dish?  Yep, meat returns!  Don't worry, meat never really left my kitchen... just the blog for a few entries.  For those vegetarians out there, just ditch the tuna and you're good to go.  This recipe was pretty easy and another one of those from the WW magazine that is apparently not online.  That means no link.  I halved this recipe and only ate a half of that, so, here's what you put in whatever giant mixing bowl you have (I'm sure it's best if it's a green one) to make 4 servings total:

-2 6 oz. cans of albacore tuna, in water
-1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, or other white beans, rinsed and drained
-2 c. grape tomatoes
-1 cucumber, peeled and chopped (I didn't add this because I didn't have it on hand.)
-1/4 c. red onion, sliced
-4 c. fresh spinach
-2 T. white balsamic vinegar (I used regular because I didn't have white.)
-1 T. fresh lemon juice
-1/2 t. pepper
-1/4 t. salt (I used garlic salt... because I <3 garlic.)

Chop, chop chop!  Toss, toss, toss!  Eat, eat, eat!  Yum, yum yum... happy tummy.  :-)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Oh Garbanzo!

I just realized that this is my 51st blog entry!  That means that I've actually blogged 50 times?!  That's a little insane.  Insane maybe, but it sure has been scrumptious. 

I was lucky enough to have another snow day today... I wasn't nearly as lazy as yesterday.  Played some wordfeud with my brother, got some work done that's due tomorrow, watched some Ellen, and even Jazzercised tonight!  I heart Jazzercise.  <3

Anyway, in the midst of all that I made some more hummus.  Here it is in the food processor:

Alissa's Green Olive Hummus (1st attempt!)

Now, I've decided that I'm not going to give you the recipe until I perfect it.  I basically added a bunch of stuff in there today just to see how it would turn out.  Pretty good, but it could be better.  Wouldn't you rather have a recipe that's perfected?  Yep, I thought so. 

I also made Turkey Tetrazzini tonight for dinner.  Mmmm... and I may have made this, too:

Garbanzo and Avocado Salad (WW recipe)

Wow.  Just wow.  Oh glorious garbanzo beans!  This was soooooooooo fabulous.  Jimmy and I ate the whole bowl of it between us and barely touched the tetrazzini!  Can you believe that?!  Awesome.  I will definitely make this again.  The bright side?  We have leftover tetrazzini... which I personally think is even better than fresh tetrazzini.  Yum!

*Side note: For some reason, all of the recipes that I get out of this one WW magazine that I have I cannot find links for the recipes.  I'll give you the gist of what's included in the salad... I eyeballed the amounts based on what I had available and the fact that I wasn't making this for a small army. 

You need: 
-1/2 c. grape tomatoes, halved
-2 cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
-1 avocado, pitted and chopped
-1 small can of diced green chiles
-1/4 c. feta cheese
-1 clove garlic, chopped
-salt and pepper to taste
-2 T. fresh lemon juice

Throw it all in a bowl, stir, and eat!  Easy!  If you plan to save some of it for a later date, add the avocado separately so it doesn't brown.  You'll have to add new avocado when next you eat... that is, if there's any left!

Here's hoping for 50 more blogs of delicious food!  Thanks for reading, readers... if you're out there... :-)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fluffy White Stuff :-)

Snow day!

It was a surprise snow day, too!  That made it even better than a normal snow day.  As far as we knew, it was supposed to snow anywhere from not-at-all to holy-cow-that's-a-lot-of-snow.  That's just how specific the meteorologists were being.  Waking up to a few inches of that fluffy white stuff was pretty sweet.  Below is a picture of where my husband threw a snowball at me from outside as he was leaving for work.  Good aim, honey... but I still got to crawl back into bed.  :-)

I wasn't completely lazy today...

I tried two new recipes (surprisingly, both were fluffy and white!):

White Bean Hummus

We've been on a crazy hummus kick lately.  I say "lately", but I really mean since we've discovered the awesomeness that is hummus.  We love hummus.  My favorite lately has been greek olive hummus... Jim's has been supremely spicy hummus.  Today, I made white bean hummus.  Please keep in mind that there are bunches of recipes for white bean hummus.  All I put in mine was cannellini beans, tahini, and lemon juice (fresh citrus!).  You could add any number of seasonings to the hummus and make it your own.  Cumin, oregano, green onions, rosemary, garlic, etc. 

I think the next time I make hummus I'm going to put green olives in it.  Mmm.  I'll keep you posted!  :-)

I also made this today:

Creamy Cauliflower and Bacon Soup

You could easily make this vegetarian by not putting any bacon in it.  I do have to tell you that Jimmy came home from work and asked why the house smelled so awful.  (He hates broccoli... and cauliflower isn't far off.)  This might be the worst smelling soup ever, but it tasted really good!  Jimmy even said so!  Does that even make sense?!  Cauliflower just doesn't smell good.  Sorry cauliflower.  I still love you.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Black Bean Burgers

Gotta love alliteration... and burgers!

Alright, so I must be on a vegetarian kick.  Not sure why... I think all the veggies just seem fresh and flavorful and light.  Quite honestly, I never knew there was so much that you could do with different kinds of vegetables.  There are still a lot of veggies I've never tried, so I'm hoping to keep expanding my knowledge and repetoire.  I see leeks in my future...

Tonight I made black bean burgers.  I don't know if you've ever eating a black bean burger... but there are some really horrible tasting black bean burgers at various restaurants (I'll keep names out of it!).  I think a lot of places try to offer healthy options and really just do a terrible job at it.  I'm sure there are probably some places that figure out how to make things healthier and still keep them delicious, but it's actually led us to not go to certain restaurants because all the healthy options suck.  I love a good burger too much.

On that note, these burgers were not suck.  They were yum:

Black Bean Burgers (WW recipe)

There they are cooking... 

Unfortunately, I cannot find a link for the exact WW recipe... so I'm going to tell you what I put into mine.  I'm estimating the amounts, so please keep that in mind.  Seriously, you know what you and your family like... feel free to change things up! 

Black Bean Burgers
-1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
-1/2 c. dry bread crumbs
-2 T. cilantro, chopped
-1 egg
-a clove of garlic, chopped
-1/4 c. green onions, chopped
-1/2 t. cumin
-1/2 t. chili powder
-salt (to taste)

Okay, so I rinsed, drained, and put the beans into a bowl.  Then I used my fancy potato masher to slightly mash up the beans.  Add the rest of the above ingredients to the bean mixture and create four patties.  Cook them in EVOO on med-high heat for about 3 minutes on each side.  Serve the burger on a whole wheat bun (if that's what you like!) on top of a lettuce leaf.  We added a little shredded cheese, salsa, and of course our household staple, guacamole, to our burgers.  Mmmm... success!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Not easy being green...

Hi again!  Hope your day is going well... mine hasn't been too shabby.  I made something new for lunch... check it out:

Creamy Asparagus Soup with Roasted Pepper Puree

It was... very green.  :-)  I almost scared Jimmy off just based on that fact... but we all know that it's not easy being green.  You just have to give it a try.  You might like it! 

We thought this was an okay soup.  It's definitely not my favorite, but then again you really can't compare much to Spicy Cheeseburger Soup.  This is light and healthy and has an overall different kind of flavor.  We added a dash of garlic salt and some shredded mozzarella cheese (just because we felt like it needed something a little more).  Here are some more pictures!

I know, you're probably wondering what I'm going to make for dinner.  The answer is NOTHING!  We have so many leftovers in our fridge it's getting a little ridiculous.  Hello lunch this week!  :-)  We're also going to what should be quite the interesting concert tonight: Avenged Sevenfold, Stone Sour, and Hollywood Undead.  Wish me luck!  :-)


Catastrophe!!!  My awesome green mixing bowl broke this morning.  Well, actually I'm not sure when exactly it broke... but when I took it out of its home in my cabinet it was all cracked.  Like, seriously cracked.  :-(  Sad.

Don't worry... I have other mixing bowls.  It's just that the green one was the perfect size!  I'll miss you green mixing bowl.  RIP.

In my giant yellow mixing bowl, I made the batter for Oat Pancakes.  However, I went crazy and turned them into Oat Waffles this morning.  It's pretty amazing that I've gone this long with the best recipe for batter ever and only this morning tried turning them into waffles. 

Let me put this in perspective for you.  For any of you who know my previous cooking experience (like, before this past summer), you know that waffles were the one staple that I could make with confidence.  I make magnificent waffles.  It's probably the only food that I could make when I was younger... other than like mac & cheese (and that was a stretch because *gasp* I had to use the stove!).  Waffles were my go to food.  That being said, this morning I made waffles with the best pancake batter ever. 

...and unfortunately I may have to conclude that this batter is the best pancake batter ever.  They are pretty, aren't they?  However, I think my original waffles are better than these were.  Don't get me wrong... still delicious.  Just not the same.  Who wants to be a taste tester?!  :-)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Mmm... Mushrooms!

Happy Friday!  :-)  Are you as happy as I am that it's Friday again?  Don't get me wrong... the other days have their plusses... it's just that Friday is lucky enough to have the weekend attached to it.  Poor, poor Monday got the raw end of the deal.

Anyway, I hope that you have a fabulous weekend and you make these:

Wild Mushrooms on Polenta Rounds (WW recipe)

Aren't they pretty?  :-)  Soooooooooo good.  This is the first time I've ever used polenta.  I found it to be a little strange!  Mainly because when I opened the package, polenta juices squirted out all over me.  There should have been some sort of warning. 

Jimmy liked these and he doesn't even really like mushrooms.  I loved them because I love mushrooms.  Which leads me to the question:  Why don't I cook more recipes that involve mushrooms!?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Soup vs. Stew

Hello again!  :-)

I made a yummy, yet odd, soup tonight and thought you should know about it.  It was kind of a full meal in a bowl and pretty filling... and it quite possibly had the most soup-like consistency of all the soups I've made thus far!  You know, versus being stew-like.  I wonder what actually makes a soup a "soup" instead of a "stew".  Is it all based on consistency?  Hmm... curious.  Anyway, you should also know that this soup did not contain any form of cheese or garlic.  Very weird for us!  We love cheese and garlic.  Well, who doesn't?  Check it out:

Hearty Corn Chowder

Jimmy and I ate it and pondered how strange it was to have so many flavors in one bowl.  Celery, onion, potato, bacon, corn, sausage... all in one place. 

Ultimately, I think we prefer the stew-like soups... what do you prefer? 

Chickpea Fail.

Okay, so I have to ask all of you a question... should roasted chickpeas taste the same as roasted pumpkin seeds? 

If you said yes, then great!  I have the recipe for you:  Roasted Chickpeas 

If you're normal like the rest of us (just kidding!), then you think they should taste a little different from each other.  Honest to goodness they tasted the SAME.  They even look similar in their pictures!  If I ever make these again, I will certainly not follow the cooking times given on the chickpea recipe.  It was waaaaay too long for my oven.  About halfway through cooking, I tasted them and they were much better then than they were when finished.  Ah well...

Can't win them all!  I still love chickpeas!!!  <3

Monday, January 17, 2011

White Bean Bisque

Ready for more soup?  Of course you are, don't be silly.  White Bean Bisque, baby!

Okay, so the sausage looks like a little much on top of this little bowl of soup.  However, I was following the recipe and this is what happened.  I made a slight adjustment on the cheese, though.  You're supposed to make these parmesan crisps and I only had the powdered kind.  Maybe next time I'll make the crisps, just to see what they're like. 

Pretty tasty!  The texture was a little strange because it's basically blended beans... but Jim and I both liked it.  He compared it to sausage gravy.  It would probably be fantastic poured over some nice buttermilk biscuits!  :-)


Happy Monday!  Happy MLK Day!  Happy Day Off (if you're lucky enough to have today off...)!  Good day already and it's not even noon.

Guess what I did this morning!? 

I made a FRITTATA!  ...and I used my scary, scary broiler for the first time.  Here are some pictures of my ultimate frittata experience:

Smoked Salmon and Sour Cream Frittata (WW recipe)

Success and frittata was had by all!  :-)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I heart soup.

Hey everybody!  (In my head I imagine that you are waiting patiently, with bated breath, until my return with a new blog.)  Yes, I did link "bated breath" because as I was typing that I wasn't sure how to spell it and found a site with that very debate!  It's amazing what's out there on the internet.  A little scary. 

Anyway, don't worry.  I know your breath isn't bated and I'm just glad you're here for a visit!  :-)  I feel like I'm sort of in a food rut because I've found some recipes that Jimmy and I really like and haven't tried a ton of new ones.  It can be expensive to try lots of food recipes all at once, like I want to do!  There's a carton of half-and-half in my refrigerator and I have NO idea why it's there.  My only guess is that I bookmarked a recipe somewhere that I wanted to attempt, got the ingredients, and forgot all about it.  No more of that, thank you very much. 

I have a better system now.  I make a list.  Lists are good.  So, I'll try that and see how it works.  I'm feeling optimistic! 

Here are some things that I made this week:

Spaghetti and Meatballs

I actually made real spagetti with meatballs this time.  I didn't really follow a recipe either... kind of made it up as I went along.  I used a jar of Ragu sauce, spiced it up with garlic, basil, and pepper, threw in some mushrooms and added it all to the cooked noodles.  I prefer whole wheat noodles, but I used regular this time because it's what I had in the pantry.  Then I made beef meatballs with a touch of parmesan cheese and stuffing mix, with a cheesy mozzarella surprise in the center.  It was some serious comfort food and now I can say that I've made spaghetti and meatballs. 

On Friday, my friend Danyelle came over for a little "Girls Night" and we ate yummy Spicy Cheeseburger Soup.  I forgot how much chopping is involved with it!  It was delicious nontheless.  Maybe even more so because of all the chopping.  I apparently added twice the amount of cheese that the recipe called for... which was amazing and a complete accident.  However, I could not add the bacon because it was frozen.  Fail. 

Danyelle did not fail.  She brought this for dessert:

Reese's PB Cake (mmm...)

So, I made the soup again the next day the right way to see if it made any difference!  Bacon is fascinating to watch when it's cooking.  The amount of grease that comes out of it is a little gross, though. 

REAL bacon!

Spicy Cheeseburger Soup

After all the yummy soup on Friday and Saturday, I thought I'd try to make a different soup today.  Much easier to make and very good!  

Spinach Cheese Soup

I heart soup.
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