Archives for posts with tag: cooking

I get bored with proteins.  You know, chicken, fish, and beef.  For whatever reason I usually stay away from pork.  Getting bored with the usuals, I bought a pork tenderloin.

I made one when I was first married and we did not care for it all that much.  I think I used salt and pepper and threw it in the oven.  I don’t exactly remember why we did not like it, but it never made it back to our table again.

A while back, I bought my Michigan Tart Cherry wine, on the back of the bottle it said it was good as a marinade with pork or chicken.  I put it to the test.  They were right!  We loved the pork tenderloin!  It came out fantastic and will make some more appearances.  My husband could not believe how tender it was and said “That is something you serve to company!”.  It was simple to do and is good for about 2 lbs of meat:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Michigan Tart Cherry Wine (plus a bit more to your liking)
  • 1 TBS chopped fresh thyme and sage
  • Kosher salt and black pepper

Mix it all up and pour it in a glass dish.  Drop in the loin cover and refrigerate.  Flip after about 1.5 hours and let it go for another 1.5 hours.  Put him in a 350 degree oven (or if the weather is right the grill) until he reaches 160 degrees and you are done!

It was so simple but made a huge difference.  The marinade itself is so pretty, and the finished product has bits of herbs and looks fantastic too!  I have since used it on turkey tenderloin with great results.

Maybe this will take some of the boredom out of your meal tonight.

Have a good one,

Talk soon!

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I have had this Betty Crocker cookie book since 1998.  I got if from my boss at the time.  I used to work seasonally at a tree farm/garden center.  I did it all the way through college (8 years to be exact, yes it took me that long, I changed my major a few times. :)).

It the winter we would be off of work for the season, and I would meet my boss for lunch often.  We went to a book store after lunch one day, and he told me to pick out a book.  I chose that one, and he laughed and called me a “little shit” or something like that since the book I picked was not on sale.  It sounds awful, but he was an older man and was like a grandpa to me more than anything.  I think that is why I chose to stay and work so long (he also paid for my school!).  I really enjoyed it there (It also was the biggest reason I first changed my major from nursing, to horticulture, and then I ended up in biology).  It was so beautiful there. We still talk and see each other to this day.  Anyway, in the book there was a date bar recipe.  I love dates!

If you remember last summer almost every day had some dates stuffed with walnuts in it.  I am somewhat over that phase, but dates have not left completely.  Sometimes they show themselves still stuffed with walnuts, but lately they have transformed into a bar of yummy deliciousness!

I changed up the recipe a bit and here is what I came up with:

Crusty Stuff

  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 3/4 cup of oats (old-fashioned)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Mix it all together and put half of it in a 8″x8″ dish.  Press it out evenly.

Date Filling

  •  2 cups of pitted dates (then roughly chop them, I love Medjool!)
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 3/4 cup of water

Boil the three ingredients above until it is thick.  Spread it out over the crust in the pan and put the rest of the crusty mixture on top.

I sure wish I had not waited since 1998 to make these bars.  My husband thinks they should now be a staple in the house!  I agree!

Have a good one!

One morning my husband and I made scrambled eggs.  It was more like I was cooking them after he scrambled them.  He is an excellent scrambler.  When he is finished scrambling the eggs they always look almost artificial to me.  They are shockingly uniform in color.  Whenever I scramble them there are usually bits of white here and there which does not bother me much.

After I cooked them and plated them we noticed that there were small black bits in the eggs.  Neither one of us had put pepper in the eggs.  It made me go back to the pan that we used.  Sure enough, the Teflon (Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)) coating on the pan was beginning to come off and went into our eggs!  I know that the coating is supposed to be non-toxic (unless you are Avian!).  I am not a bird, but even so I decided to go back to my cast iron pans.

My mom gave me all of her cast iron pans probably 10 years ago.  She has arthritis pretty bad and they can be heavy especially armed with food.  I used my cast iron pans quite a bit, but I still would use my Teflon coated ones the majority of the time.

They come in all shapes and sizes! Here is a sampling of the pans I have.

My favorite one is this little guy.

My mom would always make my breakfast in it before I went to school, whether it was eggs, little pancakes, or French toast!

Some of the pans I have were even used by my grandma!  She made my mother food in them!  I hope they last long enough for my daughter to cook for her family in them.  I find them easy to use and care for.  If you can get your hands on some of your relatives pans, I highly reccomend that you do! Here is what works for me:

If they are brand new you will need to season them.  This may sound complicated but basically you are just going to bake the pan in the oven with a coating of some type of oil on it.  I like vegetable shortening the best (I tried olive oil with bad results.  I’ll have to try it again because I like the idea of it better.)

Once seasoned I maintain it by doing the following:

  • Avoid using soap-clean with water only when possible.  Sometimes kosher salt on a damp cloth is enough.
  • Clean the pan immediately after cooking.  Remove the food and wash the pan!  It makes cleaning easier.
  • When clean, I like to heat it up on the stove top and wipe it out with shortening.  Once it all melts on the pan you can shut off the heat and wipe out the excess.

That’s pretty much it!  One bonus to the pans is that they can add small amounts of iron to your food.  Many people could benefit from that.  I’ll take a bit of that instead of Teflon any day!

In the background of the small cast iron pan you could see my cupboards.  We have been in our house for 12 years (in August) and things now need to be updated and replaced.  The cupboards are oak and they look(ed) a bit worn.  Not warped or anything, it’s just the finish that has worn off.  Another thing that bothered me was that they were trimmed with fake wood.  My husband was willing to purchase new ones, but I just felt bad for the oak.  It bothered me when I thought of ripping them out and just throwing them away.  So, I decided to tackle re-finishing them.

I have been working on it for about a month here and there.  I choose one area, remove the doors and hardware, and begin the task of stripping the old varnish off, sanding, and painting on new polyurethane.

Here is what they look like with the old finish (like the gold hinges with bronze knobs!  I tried painting the knobs a few years ago and it did not work out too great.  They peeled and I never got around to the hinges. :))

This is what they look like post stripping:

I complete one area and then move on to the next.  This is nice because my kitchen does not feel completely torn apart, and I get to see the effort that I am putting in is worth it.

Here is the finished product!

I have found new oak veneer that I can trim them out with, which gives me the solid oak look I always wanted and now I am getting the new finish I needed!

You can see the sides of the cabinets are in fake wood which is what I did not like.

I did buy new hardware which is slightly annoying because the new hinges look identical to the old (but are stainless steel not shiny gold of the old ones) but are just a bit off so that I need to fill the old holes with glue and toothpicks and drill new ones!

It’s a process but it is going good!  I am about ¾ of the way finished.  Next up will be new counter tops, hood fan, a sink, and painting too!  We replaced our refrigerator with a new stainless steel one (the old one was on it last legs and we wanted to replace it on our time not when it decided to die!) and now the white stove and dishwasher are staring at me.  In time they will get replaced too.  🙂

Here are some cookies my daughter and I made (decorations don’t stick too well to chocolate chip cookies.  :)).

We made them with dark chocolate chips.  I wanted to make cookies or a cake or something for Valentines Day, and thought I should wait to make them but the chocolate chips kept calling to me so I gave in.  It was a super cold and snowy day today so baking was almost a requirement anyway!   We will just have to make something else for Valentines Day too!  We used the good old Toll House recipe (shh don’t tell, we used Ghirardelli chips!).  I was inspired to make the cookies by a blogger named Alexandra.

She made them using the new Toll House dark chocolate recipe which I checked out and it’s the same as the old original one, it just uses ¼ cup less chocolate chips!  Go figure!  So I did leave out the extra ¼ cup.  My husband did not care for the dark chocolate in them, but he is not exactly a dark chocolate fan.  My daughter thought they were fantastic!  She is a dark chocolate lover like me.

This was sort of a test of my intuitive eating skills.  I said it was a good day for baking, and it was, but I also wanted to put my newly found skills to work.  Normally when making cookies, I would eat half the dough, eat 5 cookies after they came out, say what the heck and move on to ice cream!  The act of baking always felt like a trigger to me.  Today I made them after I had dinner and was full.    So, I knew I was not vulnerable (ravenous) and did not think it would set me off.  I still have not had any cookies or dough yet.  I am just not feeling like it.  I am still full from dinner and it’s not appealing.  I know they will be there when I want them and they will be great!  I think most of my binge eating problem was never having enough good food in me to feel satisfied, and then I would taste something like cookie dough and my body would make up for it.  I really feel like I am on a roll with intuitive eating!

That’s enough of my intuitive eating talk for a while.  It may get old to you but it’s pretty amazing to me that it is working!

Have a great night!  I will talk to you soon!

I did end up taking a 20 minute walk with the dogs (both of them wanted to go!)and my daughter today.  I like when I get bonus exercise in.  We did not make it to the park, because my daughter fell asleep.

So we came back home and I snacked on these while I figured out what to make for dinner.

Edamame!  I like to gnaw my way through the pods and get to the edibles when they are frozen.  It’s a cool and refreshing treat, and it’s fun to gnaw!

I took a look around in the fridge and found a piece of salmon left over from last night! Great!  That will save me some time.  I have been thinking about pasta too.  I found this box in my pantry and decided to give it a try.  I have never had GF pasta before.

I also had some sun-dried tomatoes that I needed to use up too!

So into the wok went:

  • 1/2 cup or so of the sun-dried tomatoes (when melted was maybe 1/4 c of oil with tomatoes)
  • 3-4 anchovy fillet

While the pasta was boiling, I heated up the above until the anchovies melted.  Then I shut the heat off and added the drained pasta.  I mixed it around added fresh baby spinach and some salmon chunks from last nights dinner.

With a little parmesan, and chopping up the salmon,  I had a quick, awesome meal that even a three-year old ate!  My husband enjoyed it too!  He didn’t even mind that the noodles were gluten-free!  It really hit the spot and it is a dish that I would make again!

That’s all for tonight.  I don’t plan on eating anything else.  I think I got my snacking in throughout most of the day.  🙂

Have a great night, and I will talk to you soon!

This morning I was so busy trying to get my run in and eat and blog that I barely made it to my hair appointment.  I still don’t know if I hit “post” this morning or not.  When I got home it was under edit?  Anyway, I am enjoying posting my daily food intake, but it is time-consuming!  I do like the accountability though.  It is much more visual than my written journal and I am a visual kind of person so I plan to keep it up.

After my cut, I went shopping for more birthday stuff for my little girl.  We are all set now!  I found myself very, very hungry again without food…or was I?  I found a half of a box of raisins in the car!  Yay! (no picture, I brought the camera, but no SD card.  It’s probably an old box that my daughter discarded and I am not going to think about that.)   This helped me get home so I could make a proper lunch.

I had another sprouted bread sandwich with spinach, sliced chicken, Munster, and sliced tomatoes!   It was so good.  Along with that I had some humus, carrots and cauliflower, three walnut-stuffed dates, and a hand full of these quinoa GF crackers or chips or whatever they are.  They are good I know that!

I also tried this coconut water.  I don’t think I like this brand too well.  It’s the first one that I have tried, so I don’t want to say that I don’t like coconut water yet.  It was slightly sweet, slightly coconutty, and I was disappointed when I read the label that said it was pure coconut water and other natural flavors.  Natural flavors irritate me.  What are they?

For dinner I am making roasted squash with walnuts (usually maple glazed walnuts but I am running out of time), and Hoisin glazed salmon (super easy and tastes great).  Later tonight I might eat a garden salad to round it out.

Hoisin Glaze (originally found from the book: Fish Without A Doubt)

  • 2 TBLSP Hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 lime juiced
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1-2 small cloves of garlic
  • salt to taste
  • 1 TBLSP fresh cillantro (I omit)

Combine it all and brush it on as soon as fish is cooked.  It is so fantastic.  My husband will actually eat salmon if I put this on it!  He does not like fish too well.

It’s our last day of dance for the summer.  I will miss my daughters instructor.  She was actually one of my 10th grade science students back when I did my student teaching…wow, eight years ago!  It was so good to see her again!

Later tonight I will probably have another protein smoothie as well.  I think I keep forgetting to tell you that I put this in it too!

I’ll admit it tastes a bit, well allot “swampy” but it has so much “good” stuff in it that I can handle it in small doses.  🙂

Have a great night!

Talk soon!

Today after my oatmeal, I ended up having a protein shake!  I did not feel quite full, so I filled the blender with:

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup water (or enough to get it to blend)
  • 1 scoop strawberry Jay Robb whey powder

It was thick and smooth and nearly delicious!  I find Jay Robb to be very sweet, but it has the best ingredients that I can find in a powder so I put up with it.  It is good, don’t get me wrong, just sweet.  I like to try to cut it with spinach but I was out!

I needed to get a few things from the store (spinach being one of them) and decided to load up the little one in the bike trailer and head to our closest grocery store.  It’s about 6 miles away round trip, so a bonus workout for me!

Before we left, I snacked on this!

I have been craving a green GT!  I need to get more now!  I really should just start making my own Kombucha again.  It just takes up space when I do.

For lunch it was a chicken burrito bowl.  I need to put it into a clear bowl for a photo one day.  The bowl I make it in is my oatmeal bowl and you can’t properly see the layers!

Later, I had some humus, carrots, peppers, and some quinoa (GF) crackers/chips.  It was a good snack!

For dinner I made chicken fajitas!  The recipe called for beef but it’s not my thing. As you can read it was definetly not a meatless day, but yummy just the same.  It was a recipe from a BHG book.  I liked the fajita seasoning.  I guess you could sub out the chicken for tofu?  I don’t use tofu all that much but I recently purchased some (extra firm) so I need to figure out what to do with it besides a stir-fry which is the only other way I have tried it before.

It was not the most colorful meal (I had to use up two red peppers instead of using a mix of colors) but it sure hit the spot!  Here was the seasoning recipe:

  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • .5 tsp dried oregano
  • .25 tsp kosher salt
  • .25 tsp cayenne
  • .25 tsp garlic powder
  • .25 tsp onion powder

Do you have any tofu recipes that you like?  Let me know, I need to use my tofu!

I am not a vegetarian, but I do like to eat meatless on occasion.  I have added meat to my diet because I feel like it helps me feel full for a longer period of time, that and I love fish!  After my lunch today I might just have to reconsider!

I did my morning circuit workout and really struggled with it.  Maybe my oatmeal was not quite enough to get me through it.  After my workout I had a small snack (Dried blueberries and unsalted dry roast peanuts, yum!)  and worked on creating my lunch.

I had some chickpeas, spinach, and some red onions that I needed to use up.  I flipped through my latest edition of Better Homes and Gardens and made a recipe inspired by their Baby Spinach, Couscous, and Bulgur Platter.  I left out the couscous because I did not have it but the rest was very similar.

I used the following:

  • Chickpeas
  • Cooked bulgur (with a little salt, I love red Hawaiian!, and cumin)
  • Baby spinach
  • Diced red onion
  • Small diced red apple (tossed with juice of half a lemon, we want it pretty!)
  • Yogurt-mint salad dressing (some red wine vinaigrette I made mixed with greek yogurt, dried mint, and a little water to get it to the right consistency)

I mixed the chickpeas with the bulgur and put it in the fridge to cool until I was ready.

You can see in the picture above (you can also see my homade Kombucha Tea in the background!), in order I layered on the following: Spinach, dressing, bulgur/chickpea mix, apple, and onion.

It was so simple, but very delicious!  And filling!  I some left over for tomorrow and I think I may add some feta on top.

So as I said before, I may have to re-think my ideas on going meatless!

Do you go meatless often?