Saturday, February 27, 2010

Today was a day of delicious, stick to your ribs, eat your face off food. To be honest, I could have been way worse, so I'm okay with my choices.

After a night out with the girls and just a few hours of sleep, I got up to snag a trip to Old Town, Alexandria with the parents where we hit up one of my favorite breakfast spots-- Bruegger's Bagels. It was a toss up between cream cheese and egg sandwich and I definitely picked correctly: ham, egg white and cheese on a toasted garlic bagel... SO good. But more importantly, have I raved about Bruegger's coffee before? I think so. French Toast (not to be confused with french roast) coffee... so hot, so flavorful, so perfect for a cold February morning. Also, after a stop to the farmer's market, we had fresh honey bells, so that was breakfast.

Lunch, on the other hand, was decadent. Georgetown Cupcake, my little heaven called my name for the monthly trip. This, obviously, not the healthiest choice. Easily the tastiest. I split with Amie and we picked the red velvet (had to) and the chocolate with cream cheese frosting. To. Die. For. Mmm... When I got home, I needed some vegetables so I roasted asparagus and bell peppers.

It was a nice fake out. I had some crackers and cheese before dinner because obviously, the cupcakes didn't do the trick totally. On a side note... the top of the cupcake is easily the best part. The frosting they have there is absolutely absurd. Creamy, sweet, but not too sweet that you don't want to just eat it straight out of a bowl. The one thing that I prefer about other cupcakes is that these look mass produced. I mean, they are, but I like a little rustic touch. So, I'm open to new options in the area. Or I could make my own...since joining FoodBuzz I've seen some amazingly beautiful recipes that are mouthwatering to look at, let alone smell, taste, and experience fully. Anyway, on to dinner. I wanted to make something I've never attempted before... Fettuccine alla Carbonara. So good! But, I would do some things differently... Here is the recipe.

Fettuccine alla Carbonara:
6 oz fettucine pasta
6 slices bacon
1/4 cup parsley
1 cup half and half (you could use heavy cream to enrich this dish, milk to thin it out)
1/2 cup Parmesan
1 egg beaten
2 tbsp butter

Cook bacon in a pan. Drain.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to box directions. Drain and keep warm.
In a medium sauce pot, combine half and half, butter, and beaten egg. Cook over medium heat until mixture sticks to spoon, about 6 minutes. Don't boil. Immediately after taken off heat, add to drained pasta. Add in the cooked bacon, parsley, Parmesan and salt to taste. Serve immediately.

I might add some more parsley, Parmesan, and bacon. So basically... make it worse for you! Tasty recipe though. I'll try it again, for sure. We had some freshly baked Ciabatta from the farmer's market and MORE asparagus. I whipped up a salad too... with toasted almonds, french onions, regular onions, cucumber, tomato, feta and salt and pepper. Deelish. Okay, who has homework on a Saturday? This girl. Adieu!

So today was a day dedicated completely to work for grad school. It’s 6:00 and I’ve not done a thing. Looks like my Saturday won’t be too fun. Breakfast was nothing special, nutritionally nor tastewise. After an hour at the gym however, and a very windy cold walk to my car, I knew exactly what would hit the spot: grilled cheese and tomato soup. Okay, I claim to be a foodie, right, but in this situation, I’m no food snob... Kraft singles can’t be beat here. Alright, I’m sure a gruyere and gouda combination with a pear or some sun dried tomato would have been the more mature choice, but let’s just put it this way: IF I had white wonder bread, I would have used it. Alas, I’m loyal to wheat, so wheat it was. I tried the V8 tomato and herb soup. Decent, but according to my sister, I need to try Trader Joe’s roasted red pepper soup. I promise it’s going to happen.

 As I walked through the grocery store, I decided dinner was for me tonight. I just felt like cooking for myself, said no to pizza and to free dinner with the parents. It’s taken me 22 years to get to this point, but I love fish (okay... not all… some) and the simplest recipe is my go-to for tilapia.

Simple Herb-y Tilapia
4 to 6 oz tilapia fillet
Olive oil (or basting oil)
Lime Juice
Lemon Juice

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put tilapia in a baking dish, top with olive oil (about a tsp), 2 tbsp of lime juice, a dash of lemon juice, touch of salt, a couple cranks of fresh cracked black pepper, and a ton of oregano. There is no measuring to this, just shakes, sprinkles and the use of the nose. Depending on the flavors you like, the nose knows. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

I also roasted cauliflower and asparagus… I think I’ve given this recipe before but I’m going to give it again. If you like cauliflower, you’ll love this. If you don’t like cauliflower, give this a try. It’s crispy, and garlicky and almost like potatoes. Yum. Plus, healthier!

Roasted Cauliflower:
1 head of cauliflower
2 tbsp basting oil
Garlic powder

Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Chop head of cauliflower into florets. Sprinkle basting oil, and remaining ingredients onto cauliflower. Arrange in single layer on baking sheet. Bake 25-30 minutes.

So simple. So good.

I’m hitting the town with a few of my girlfriends tonight. Probably sticking to 1 to 2 vodka sodas. That’s the plan, because lots, lots, lots to do tomorrow. Anyway, that’s all. Peace n love, and happy eating!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Red Velvet Disaster

There must be a kitchen gremlin in the house today... that's the only explanation for the luck I had tonight. At around 5:00, I had a huge craving to bake. What better, I thought, than some red velvet cake? So I set out downstairs to stake out the ingredients. Of course, we have the regulars, flour, eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla. It'll be fine. At around this time, I get the go ahead to make dinner, so I start that too. Spaghetti and meat sauce with broccoli, to be precise. Just FYI, burned the broccoli, spilled pasta water all over the kitchen. Success.

Naturally, I care more about the cake, so I'm looking at the recipe and sad to see we don't have any red food coloring. Well, I thought, who needs red velvet cake to be red? Not I. So, I continued on. Here is the recipe I used:
• 1 cup vegetable shortening
• 2 eggs
• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
• 2 ounces red food coloring
• 2 1/2 cups cake flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup buttermilk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon vinegar
• White frosting, recipe follows
White Frosting:
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 1 cup milk
• 1 cup unsalted butter
• 1 cup confectioners' sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of a mixer, cream together the shortening, eggs and sugar. In a separate small bowl, mix together the cocoa and food coloring. Add the paste to the shortening mixture. Sift the flour and salt together over parchment. Add to the batter alternately with the buttermilk in 3 additions. (Looks red velvet-y right? ha.)
 Add the vanilla extract. Fold in the baking soda and vinegar. Pour the batter into 2 greased 9-inch cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes or until an inserted cake tester comes out clean. Let cool on a cooling rack. Invert the cakes from the pans.

Frosting: Over medium heat, cook the flour and milk until thickened. Let cool. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in the flour mixture.

Frost the top of the first layer with frosting and set the second layer on top. Frost the entire cake with remaining frosting. 

Here are the ingredients we DIDN'T have: red food coloring, cake flour, buttermilk, vanilla extract. So... you can see where I'm going with this. I found substitutes for the cake flour and buttermilk... success! I didn't, however, find a substitute for the food coloring, nor the vanilla. For the food coloring, I just mixed the cocoa powder (we only had dark) with water. For vanilla extract, I used rum extract. So... you can imagine this disaster. I put my cake in the oven and 30 minutes later, the kitchen smells decent so I'm scott free! False. The middle was runny. Turns out, the kitchen gremlin pre heated the oven to 300, not 350... what a jerk. So, I turned it back up, cooked it 10 more minutes, and moved onto the frosting. At this point, I did the only thing I knew to make anything taste better... ditch their frosting and make my own dark chocolate frosting. Oh. My. Gosh. So tasty! I ended up just spooning frosting out of the bowl, yum. Tummy ache? Yes. So I tried the cake... ended up halfway okay. The frosting saved it.

I totally, totally butchered this recipe, and at the end of the day, the result was okay because I dipped some girl scout cookies in frosting and made a delicious option to the cake, with milk. Yummo. I'm so full now... I haven't had sweets all week and I over did it tonight because I had two of these little cookie creations and some cake :-/ OOPS. Oh well! I guess that's the beauty of working at a gym.. I can work it off tomorrow.

In less exciting news, here was breakfast and dinner. I didn't take a picture of lunch. Breakfast was just some tasty oatmeal, golden raisins, and slivered almonds. Dinner, as aforementioned, was spaghetti, broccoli and salad. I'm so so so full now! All my blunders today make sense. I also accidentally left the door cracked in a dressing room today and because I forgot a change of undergarments after my shower at work, I had nothing! You get the idea. I also forgot shorts to work out in, but borrowed Susies. Thank God tomorrow is Friday! Oye... time to roll upstairs and finish some work. Ta ta.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Okay, these are a bit better. For those of you who blog, there is nothing worse than posting food (or whatever) that you're not excited about (i.e., my last post, umm NOT exciting to see my pear/orange/yogurt). But, as a rebuttle, I have all dinners from this week and all three have been delicious. So, take that. And read on.

Dinner Monday night. I don't care what you say... you can't go wrong with tacos. Ground beef, avocado, onion, tomato, cheese, sour cream, corn tortillas, perfection. I had two... and a half... yum.

This was dinner Tuesday night... Garlicky Peppers & Shrimp Linguine. I love it because it's so easy to make but it tastes so good. It's absolutely necessary to use the spinach linguine here. Regular doesn't work because it just needs the extra flavor. Try it though. It's so easy!! I made some baby broccoli on the side. e

Breakfast. So simple. Cheerios, banana, almonds, 1% milk, 1/2 tsp of sugar. Took me back a few years... well... like 18 years, to when plain cheerios was a staple in my diet.

This was lunch today. We were out of avocado, bummer. I made a BLT minus the T, plus an LFM for low fat mayo. So I had a B,L,LFM. Decent. Actually, better than decent. Bacon is so good, there I said it. I also had this Boston Creme Pie yogurt. Mmm... so good. Still can't top cherry cobbler and key lime pie... or blueberry pie. Can you tell I love these? The apple I saved for an afternoon snack. My initial plan was apple with PB... but then my boss brought these PB filled pretzels he wanted me to try. If someone had messed with my eating patterns two years ago this time, I would have had a fit. It's sad to look back and think I would have turned down three M&Ms unless I had pre-planned them into my day. Today, I realized, I'm no longer anywhere like that place! It's great. So I had the pretzels.. and planned on maybe eating the apple sans PB later. Wrong-o. My body was hungry, and so I fed it. Such a novel idea, right?

This recipe was found in the Washington Post. I didn't make it... Susie did. I don't think I would look at this recipe surrounded by all the DELICIOUS looking food in the post and pick it, but she did. So, I ate it. Not bad at all. It's a Spicy Black Bean and Potato Stew. Healthy, filling, and comes with cornbread. We had a salad on the side...not too exciting and the dressing was so bland, I just ate it without. Still.. for a vegetarian meal, I'm feeling a bit stick-to-your-ribs, so that's a good sign!

To be honest, these are all fairly self explanatory and I don't feel like listing them. The one worth mentioning (or two) would be the bowls of oatmeal at the bottom. For the longest time, I've been using lower sugar oatmeal in the place of regular. I hated it. It's less caloric but way less tasty, so I gave in, and started eating just one packet of the regular. Surprisingly, I'm way more satisfied than when I ate two packets of the lower sugar. I added golden raisins one day and bananas the other. Both had almonds and kept me full for a decent amount of time. Winner in my book...and something to look forward to at 4:30 a.m. when I just want to go back to bed.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

So, usually a weekend on "vacation," aka, away from home, can totally derail any good intentioned eater. This was the first time in a long time where I returned home feeling just as good as I would have had I stayed here. I got a lot of help from a certain someone, but mostly just made good choices about what I ate, and where from.
This first picture is a recipe that's just come to be known as "My Chicken." It's so simple but it's a recipe I make over and over again because people love it:
My Chicken Recipe
4- 4 oz boneless chicken breast (you can use thigh here too...breast is just healthier)
1/2 cup dijon mustard (any kind you like)
1/4 cup bbq or teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken in a pan lightly sprayed with cooking oil. Pour dijon on both sides of chicken. Pour bbq/teriyaki on one side only of chicken (the top). Sprinkle parmesan on top of chicken. Bake for 20 minutes.

We made this recipe alongside Alex's favorite salad which is a Dole Mix of lettuce, craisins, pecans, and a really tasty cider viniagrette.
Frosted cheerios again. Luckily this time Alex snagged me some fruit from the dining hall... How sweet.
We went out one night, to a no-fail choice... Chili's! Obviously split the chips and salsa. I tried not to go overboard here. Something about chips and salsa always makes me gorge!
I'm not the only culprit here.
So, I ordered this Bbq Chicken salad. If I got it as it's supposed to be served, I'd be eating 1060 calories and 63 grams of fat. That's as much fat as I'm supposed to eat in a day. So, what I did was nix the cheese, most of the dressing, and leave some of the bacon and tortilla strips on my plate. VoilĂ ! Success.
The no fail fluffernutter sandwich and an orange... see.. I'm being good!
This pretty much made my lunch. They now sell RED VELVET yoplait! 100 calories of cake-y deliciousness all crammed into one portable container. Count me in. This was so tasty.
Alex said since I was being so good, I should reward myself, so we bought Sundae toppings. Here, it looks like a mess... but trust me, this was good.
No fiber or good source of protein here... but this strawberry cream cheese on an everything bagel hit the spot Sunday morning/
Alex took a chance in the kitchen to make me this fluffernutter sandwich. The major difference between us: while I'm loyal to Skippy Creamy, he loves JIF Extra crunchy. What a shame.
This was just a snack on my car ride back from PA.
This is my homemade pizza. It's so good and I like that I can control what goes in/on it. I just buy Pilsbury pizza dough, and follow their instructions. Couldn't get easier.. and tastes better than delivery!
My finished product alongside a salad.
This was the night my family went to get Indian food. Everything you get is served with three soups, some broth based, others curry, green beans, yogurt dipping sauce, and a "dessert." I might have posted this before now that I think of it... maybe?
Chicken Tikka. Yep... definitely posted this already.
BLT on a slider bun... pineapple yogurt and a pair. Tasty enough.
I've had these before...waffles with Greek Yogurt and bananas.
The pre-finished product.
This was a lunch I made from leftover chicken on a whole wheat wrap with some lettuce and avocado. It was a nice switch up from regular lunch.
This salad was even better. I made it with a few cups of butter leaf lettuce, bacon, bbq chicken, avocado, black beans, tomato, onion and cucumber. It was so full of stuff I didn't even need dressing. So tasty, and not bad at all for you... much UNLIKE similar salads you can order out!!!

It's love your body week this try to be thankful for what you've got!

Ta ta.

Monday, February 15, 2010

MIA again! I know.

We can blame all day training this weekend for a personal trainer certification course...not my fault! Honestly, you didn’t miss much of my eating. I’m only updating you so I can tell you about the delicious pie I just ate. Ha. Seriously, I’m in a food coma… for the second night in a row. I think I have been since Thanksgiving. I can't keep using holidays for excuses. Although, we have St. Patty's and State Patty's, Easter, Memorial Day... 4th of July. Yep, wow, seems like it will be at least five more months until I can get back on track.

My food is all over the place. I ate pretty healtfully this weekend until night time. As usual. I'm just about sick of blowing a days worth of good nutrition out the window for a midnight splurge. I guess I'm not sick enough of it to change my behavior though.

These first few pictures are examples of what I ate during my training. For breakfast two of the three days I had an omelet stuffed with black beans for filling protein and fiber and some shredded mexican cheese. I had clementines on the side. Nice start to the morning. That, on top of coffee, and I was set for the day.

Lunch every day was the same thing: peanutbutter and banana sandwich.

The recipe is simple and definitely easy to vary depending on taste... All you need is:
2 slices whole wheat bread
2 tbsp creamy peanut butter (spreads better)
1/2 medium banana
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp marshmallow fluff
Toast the bread, let the PB melt, add the bananas, BAM, Awesome sandwich!
The one pictured was toasted but usually I had them cold. This sandwich never fails me. No matter what I'm craving, this hits the spot. Nothing like a mouthful of peanut butter.For those of you who prefer peanut butter an apple... well, you're a yuppie.

This next picture is not a bag lunch. No, no. It's far worse: bagged dinner! Oh it was awful. I didn't know our schedule so I packed this soggy ham sandwich with an apple and yogurt and granola. I went home and drowned my sorrows with ice cream... and a bite of cake. The safeway brand is easy to resist. The next picture is JAMBALAYA. No, I haven't had enough from NoLa.My mom made this and it was better than any we had in the dirty south...don't tell. We had it with squash and brussel sprouts (which I hate)...
Now, here are the good food parts of the weekend.

Amie and I went to Chevy's for a date on Valentines day. Pretty sure the waitress thought we were an item. Nice. I got the three item combo-- should have gotten two item but go hard or go home right? Wrong! I was so full after this. You know it's bad when your borderline crazy person waitress tells you to "pound it and lock it up" because she was impressed at how much food I ate. Makes me sick to think about it... Not full enough not to try the delicious raspberry cheese cake/chocolate truffle at Amie's and the key lime pie at my house... ughhhh!!!! I've lost all control! Alex tells me I can eat what I want when I want it... coming from a guy who eats like a machine and still is ripped. Guys are lucky! Anyway, enough whining. I do this to myself. I have another stomach ache tonight... big surprise. I tried Indian for the first time...

I ordered Tikka chicken, which is basically what they cook in the clay oven. It's a lot like Tandoori chicken, and also much like the Kabob I get at this Afghan restaurant. It came with peppers, onions, and a whole tray full of accompaniments such as soups, curries, beans, nan bread, and a dessert. This "dessert" was fried flour with water and sugar. Such a delicacy, I'm not quite sure how I turned it down. Oh right, the delicious Key Lime masterpiece in the fridge. The piece I had tonight is actually the one from up above. By the time I came down for round two, the pie was gone. This is not a bad thing... not a bad thing at all.
This is just a random snack I had this weekend.
Finally, this made me happy. Every flavor yoplait light I could imagine... EXCEPT MY FaVORITE CHERRY COBBLER! That made me sad, but overall, I can't complain. Ten for five bucks! Good deal. Don't they just make you want yogurt? Probably not. But seriously, try these! Especially if you have a sweet tooth like mine. I'm putting it away for a week. No desserts for me. I've reached my limit and I'm about ready to burst..unless my jeans do first... justttttt kidding!