Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Happy birthday! :-D

And then there was dinner!  Yummy, yummy, dinner. 

Neal came over tonight for a pre-birthday dinner and Glee-ness since I didn't have class tonight and he got off work a little bit early.  It's been a while!  Here's what I made:

Chili-Corn Casserole

It was amazing.  I actually used my own leftover chili from over the weekend and it was pretty fabulous in this casserole.  Here are a few pre-cooking pics so you can see what's underneath all that pretty cheese:

I heart casserole!

THEN... I made these for dessert:

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Yeah, they were pretty much as good as they look.  Happy birthday to the best brother in the whole wide world.  <3  (I have to say it early because I'll be asleep pretty much as soon as I'm done blogging!)  Night blogosphere!

Lick the bowl...

I'm about to blog like a fool because I cooked so much today... I thought you should know about some hummus I made today:

Lick-the-Bowl-Clean Hummus

Yes, that's really what it's called!  ...and Jimmy really did lick the bowl clean!  Well, he didn't lick the bowl... and I may have put it in two small containers because I misjudged how much hummus was in the food processor... but he ate all of the hummus in the smaller container (I'm assuming because it was delicious!).  :-)  I remain amazed at the amount of onion that goes into this recipe.  The hummus even retains that onion burn as you eat it.  Or maybe it's the garlic.

I ran out of chickpeas *gasp*, so I substituted black beans instead.  I think chickpeas are still my favorite.  I didn't realize you could use various beans interchangeably.  You can! 

Potato Battle!

Potato vs. Sweet Potato... who will win?

I got some advice about the sweet potatoes yesterday and thought I'd do a little experiment today.  You know, since we were blessed with another glorious snow day!  :-)  Anyway... I figured since I had some time and some potatoes, it was the perfect opportunity.

Peeling ease... Potato: 1, Sweet Potato: 0

 Slicing ease... Potato: 2, Sweet Potato: 0 (too curvy!)

Then, I started cooking the regular potato on my little grill.  They cooked.  And cooked.  And cooked some more.  And cooked.  ...and they weren't actually cooking.  Seriously, these were on for about 20 minutes and didn't actually get soft.  What's wrong with this picture?

Grill vs. Oven... who will win?

I started the regular potato fries on my grill before I put the sweet potato fries in the oven, but I ended up taking them out around the same time. 

Grill: 0, Oven: Yum!  +1
(I think the sweet potato fries should even get an extra point because they are orange.)

Oven-Baked Cumin-Scented Sweet Potato Fries

These were sooooooo much better than they were on my grill!  They were soft on the inside and crispy on the outside and yummy all over.  Grill fail.  However, now I am very full of all kinds of potato.  I'm not saying it's a bad thing... just the truth.  :-)  I think I'll have to make these again sometime!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sweet Potato Fries

I have a new quest.  Find a way to make sweet potatoes taste good.  In general, I do not enjoy them.  I'd like to... but I don't.  I'm wondering if it's just because I don't like the dishes they are in with marshmallows (also not a fan), which typically is the way people prepare them, or if they just suck.  I'm hoping it's not the latter. 

Anyway, I made these today:

Cumin-Scented Sweet Potato Wedges (WW recipe)

 1.  Get some sweet potatoes.  Peel them.

 2.  Cut them each into 8 wedges.

 3.  Spray them with EVOO and add some cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper.

 4.  Grill them.

5.  Eat them.

I dipped them in light ranch, which is not good, but all we had in our fridge.  Never get light ranch.  If you're going to go for ranch, get the good stuff.  Just sayin'.  I'd say these were pretty good, but nowhere near the best fries ever (in my opinion).  Keep in mind that I'm not sure I even really like sweet potatoes.  I might try this recipe with regular potatoes and see how they are.  :-)  Maybe I'm on another quest, too.  Create the best fries ever.  Hmmm... maybe my quests will even coincide someday. 

Anybody have a good sweet potato recipe? 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I've missed you, blogosphere! 

Just so you know, I'm still here.  Crazy busy, but here.  We've been living off of leftovers lately and happy to do so.  I made giant pots of Spinach Lasagna and Spicy Cheeseburger Soup over the weekend and they've been slowly picked at for lunches and dinners this week.  I don't know how people can, on a regular basis, take more than one grad class and work full-time.  Well, let's rephrase that.  I don't know how people can do all of that and teach kindergarten well full-time. 

On the same note, how do people work and have children?  No children yet... but seriously.  They've got to keep you more busy than grad school, right?  Whoa...

I'm going to change the subject so as not to continue my freak out. 

How are you? 

I'm good. 

Did you have a nice Valentine's Day?  I did.  Jimmy brought me flowers, took me out for sushi (yum!), and gave me a sparkly necklace (with a colorful peacock on it!).  It's pretty.  :-) 

My master plan is to do some cooking this weekend because I miss it.  I need to roll some meat or chop some veggies or mash some avocadoes soon!  It's good for me and tends to relieve some pent up frustration from having too much to do.  I hate that I've been too busy to cook anything fun to put up here.  Hopefully this weekend.  I want to try a recipe for Sweet Potato Fries and another one for Cauliflower Cheese Pie that I've been meaning to make for a while.  We'll see what happens!  In the meantime, thanks for stopping by!  Do YOU have any good recipes I should try?  :-) 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Eggplant Parmigiana :-)

I'm tired of thinking.  Stop thinking.  Start cooking.  Go.  Make.  This.  Now!

Eggplant Parmigiana (WW recipe)

I made that last night in between grading about 500 things, writing a paper, planning out the next two weeks for work, doing laundry, and watching the Superbowl.  It was fabulous.  It's baked, not fried, so that cuts down on some of the calories.  Just yum! 

 Aren't eggplants supposed to be purple?  This is the first time I've ever really paid close attention to a real live eggplant... but I could have sworn they were supposed to be purple.  These were more black than anything else.  Am I wrong?

Lovely husband took a picture of me dipping the spongy eggplant slices into the egg and bread crumb mixture.  I must have looked like I was having fun or something.  ;-)

Before Sauce and Cheese

After Sauce and Cheese

You could eat it just like this, but I made a pot of whole wheat spaghetti noodles and put the eggplant on top.  I feel like if you're going to cook some saucy cheesy goodness, there needs to be a little pasta underneath.  Maybe that's just my Italian side coming out.  Mmmm...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Leeks make you cry?

Okay, so I know that onions make you cry.  That means that shallots make you cry.  Scallions make you cry.  Leeks, too?  I wasn't expecting that... though I guess I should have been.  I'm not sure why it's called "crying" either because I have yet to actually shed tears.  Instead, it just feels like burning.  Darn those sulfoxides!  Here's a list of others that may make YOU cry.  Interesting.

I seriously wasn't sure how to chop a leek, so I youtubed it and here are some pictures of my pretty, pretty leeks: 

                                                                    Leeks smell good!


I used my leeks in some soup.  Yay soup!  This could easily be vegetarian if you use veggie broth instead of chicken.  It was interesting to make because I had to puree it halfway through and I was wishing I had a nice immersion blender.  Maybe someday...

Creamy Mushroom Soup (WW recipe)

I have to say that I think there may be almost as many leeks in this soup as mushrooms... it smells amazing and tastes pretty good!  Not too shabby.  :-)

Okay, just found out about onion goggles.  Fabulous invention.  I need some!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Fancy Schmancy

Hello again, blogging world!  What a busy week...  Things are winding down at least for now, so I'm extremely happy that tomorrow is Friday.  I've been running around like a chicken with my head cut off between a billion things to do at work and school.  Anybody know what that's like?


Anyway, I made a fancy schmancy dinner tonight.  At least it seems pretty fancy schmancy because I can't even really pronounce it.  Isn't that what makes dinners fancy?  These pictures are kind of fail, but my camera was being particularly difficult this evening.  Sorry!

Dilled Salmon Cakes with Tzatziki Sauce

Cucumber and Cherry Tomato Salad
with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Okay, so I can pronounce everything except for "tzatziki"... and I might have that down.  I'll never really know until I meet someone who actually knows how to say that.  ;-)  Or I look it up.  Eh.  I'm feeling kinda lazy.  I should also tell you that the above link for the salmon cakes is NOT the recipe that I used.  Mine were both out of that darn WW magazine that doesn't have anything online.  The salmon cake recipe is very similar though... just use one less egg OR keep the extra egg and maybe yours won't fall apart like this:

Still pretty tasty.  :-)  I might actually add that extra egg next time and see what happens. 

The salad, however... I do not recommend unless you love onions.  I do love tomatoes.

...but not onions.  It's basically a salad made up of tomatoes, cucumber, and onions with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette on top.  Here's Jimmy eating a forkful of onions (cause he'll do stuff like that):

What a good guy.  He even posed for me!  Hopefully the onions didn't burn away his tastebuds!  :-) 
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