Monday, November 30, 2009

Quick Weekend Sandwich

This past weekend was full of hustle and bustle that only the Holiday Season can bring!  Sunday afternoon I knew that I needed to eat something before trekking to Walmart with Will.  (Especially if I didn't want a repeat of the low blood sugar episode from the day before...but I did get to have a glass of juice because of it)  Open the fridge.  Stick my tongue out at everything in there.  Open it again, hoping something new has materialized inside, just to be disappointed that nothing has.  That trick never works!! 

Time to get creative.  So I sliced up a Golden Delicious apple and some leftover onion from the beef stew cooking on the counter.  Sauteed them together on medium heat with a little cooking spray.  I added a sprinkle of cinnamon, dash of rosemary and a spoonful of minced garlic.  Lastly, I sliced up the remainder of the Thanksgiving white meat turkey and added it to the pan at the end, since it just needed to be warmed a little.  Threw the whole mix onto a flour tortilla and topped with Monterey Jack cheese.  Oh my God!!!!  Not only did it come together quickly, it was sooooooo good!  I was wishing that there was more when the sandwich was finished.  If only all spontaneous kitchen creations were this good.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Chilly Sundays call for Beef Stew

Late November=crockpot beef stew!! 

After all the Thanksgiving leftovers the past couple of days, I'm ready to cook again.  I only make this once or twice a year.  Although it is a slow cooker recipe, it involves a lot of prepwork.  Chopping vegetables, boiling and peeling pearl onions, sauteeing stew beef, sweating chopped onion and garlic in butter  (which is one of the best smells in the world, by the way.)  My sink is always filled with dirty dishes once the crockpot is full.  But the savory aroma of beef stew slowly simmering all day brings its own reward at dinnertime.  Add some biscuits, corn muffins or garlic toast and it's DONE!  Plus, beef stew is one of those things that are even better the next day, and the day after.  I'm hungry already, just thinking about it!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pie: A Family Affair!

After work today, Brian and I set out to bake three pies and a cheesecake.  Of course, Will was happy to offer some assistance!  After a frozen Newman's Own pizza for dinner (which isn't a bad idea since you have to start up the oven anyway) we moved on to the desserts.

First the coconut custard pie and the cheesecake.  This coconut custard pie is Brian's absolute favorite and a simple Bisquick recipe.  You've got to appreciate a pie recipe that starts in a blender!  (no-fuss cleanup)  We always put waaayyyy more coconut in it than it actually calls for, and the rest Brian eats right out of the bag.  If they had a coconut addiction program, I would recommend my husband for its Twelve Steps.  The cheesecake is a recipe out of Kraft Foods this month, but their version called for a 13x9 pan.  Since we're bringing three other pies to my parents, we altered another cheesecake recipe at the Philadelphia Cream Cheese site.  Later on we'll top it with caramel sauce and cocktail peanuts.  Mmmm.......

Will begged to help with the pumpkin pie, so I let him mix up the sugar and spices, and then help stir the milk into the pumpkin mix.  As you can see, he loved helping us out in the kitchen.  Now that he's three, he's VERY interested in kitchen stuff!

Happy Thanksgiving from our Family to yours!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Nesting, already?

I'm only 31 weeks in, and I already feel like filling my freezer.  I seem to remember LAST TIME when my nesting tendencies leaned towards restocking the linen closet so we wouldn't run out of a single thing while I was on maternity leave.  I was super-organized and obsessed over it, making lists of things that we each use, and making a special trip to Target to purchase enough soap, shampoo, toothpaste and deodorant to last til Doomsday.  If this is indeed "nesting tendencies" (which I still think is too early) then I'd say that filling the freezer with goodies is far more productive.  That's not to say that the first few week's of this child's life won't be filled with plenty of takeout!  :) 

I made Turkey Eggplant Casserole last week.  This casserole, by the way, is one of the few throwbacks from when I did Weight Watchers several years ago that I still like.  However, I'm the only person in the house that likes it, so when you bake a 13 x 9 pan of it, you have to freeze some.  I pulled a bag out for lunch this week, and cooked some rice to go with it.  I had also made Chocolate Zucchini Muffins for Will a couple of weeks ago and froze a few.  So now there's one defrosting for him in the fridge for tomorrow's breakfast.  I still love how he thinks he's getting this big treat, while Daddy and I know that he's also getting some green veggie! 

I'm thinking of finding some more casserole recipes, or stirfries.  Anybody got any suggestions for stuff that tastes good AND freezes well?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pie Time!

It's Friday night before Thanksgiving, folks.  And I'm making our grocery list and weekly menu.  Time to think about pie!!  Mmm....pie.  :)

Thanksgiving is traditionally at my parents house, and we bring pies.  We're a small family, but that doesn't stop us from bringing like four pies.  I absolutely, thoroughly hatehatehate the grocery store the day or so before Thanksgiving.  It is so much worse than right before a New England snowstorm, with people hoarding bread and milk, running around like this storm is going to be the end-all of humanity as we know it! 

As I've mentioned before, I am not a fan of rolling out piecrust.  I just don't have the patience for it.  Brian enjoys it, it's something he remembers doing with his Dad and brothers when he was a kid.  Brian comes from a large extended family, so making pies for the Thanksgiving dinner (which consists of 50+ people!)  was serious business.  However, in recent years we've agreed to switch to the Pillsbury roll-up stuff in the interest of saving time.  Typically we bring an apple pie, pumpkin pie and Brian's favorite, coconut custard.  Actually, two coconut custard pies are usually baked, and Brian cuts into the first one for breakfast.  :) 

Gestational diabetes aside....I have to have some pie.  It's just not Thanksgiving without pie, sorry.  I've dodged sweets for the last month and didn't eat any pie at the Thanksgiving event that my job put on this week.  I'm breathlessly, anxiously anticipating that sweet, spicy pumpkin as it hits my lips.  Mmmmmm........I'll savor it so much more this year!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A "Real" Hot Dog.

Yesterday, it was nap time after a trip to BJ's and Will was fighting me.  He cried and said he was hungry (though we had just had lunch at Moe's) and was begging for a hot dog.  I got him settled in bed with a lullaby and the boy who said he didn't need a nap ended up snoozing for three hours.  However, when he got up, he was still asking for a hot dog.

Will's been eating hot dogs for some time now.  I usually broil one in the toaster oven, cut it into pieces to make him less likely to choke on it, serve with a little mac and cheese and a dollop of ketchup.  He didn't want that.  He wanted a whole hot dog on an actual bun, and made it crystal clear that only THAT would suffice. 

So I caved, and made him a hot dog, complete with bun.  ("I want MUSTARD, Mommy!  NOT Ketchup!")  I nervously put it on the table and sat right next to him while he ate it.

Turns out I had nothing to worry about.  Apparently, in Will's world, a "real hot dog" is just the bun.  Every speck of roll was eaten, leaving a whole hot dog on the plate at the end!  I said "Don't you want some of the meat???"  "No, I like the bun!" 

Next time I'll be sure to just squirt some yellow mustard on a hot dog bun and let him have at it!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lazy Weekend Banana Cake

Since I find myself with a weekend with no set plans (unheard of!!) I decided I would do what I felt like doing.  I was flipping through my recipe notebook and found a recipe for Banana Chocolate Brunch Cake.  I believe it's a Cooking Light recipe, though I could not tell you from which issue.  (It was years ago, I'm sure.)  I discovered four bananas on their way out, so it seems like a good time to use them up, no?  (We never can get through a whole bunch of bananas!)  I did modify the recipe a little bit this time, instead of regular brown sugar I decided to give Brown Sugar Baking Blends from Splenda a whirl.  I also used semi-sweet chocolate chips in the recipe.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Banana Brunch Cake

2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 c. mashed banana (3 large bananas)
1/4 c. milk
1 lg egg
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped/divided OR 1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2.  Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.  Stir with wire whisk.
3.  Combine banana, milk and egg until well-blended.  Add banana mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.  Fold in chocolate.  Bake @ 350 for 35 minutes.  Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Diabetes Review

I love cookbooks, and I have an extensive collection.  Some of my favorites I've talked about before, like the Joy of Cooking.  (or "The Bible" as we refer to it.) 

Since being diagnosed with gestational diabetes again, I've done some homework.  I requested three diabetes cookbooks from the local library.  And well....I've pretty much been disappointed in most of what they had to offer.  One of them I've already returned and I don't remember its name. 

Anyway, that first one....totally filled with crap food.  I'm not a picky eater by any means, ask anyone who knows me!  But this stuff just didn't sound like things I would find myself making.  The second one I nicknamed "Diabetes for the Pretentious Palate."  Total junk!  One recipe was for "tomato water" which they said was a slimming soup.  They further added that "presentation is everything in this recipe."  Yeah....that's because presentation is all you have!  It was chopped tomato, basil chiffonate and evian water.  Yes, you read that correctly.  EVIAN WATER.  I stink at being pretentious. 

The third book was the most promising.  I've already made a Szechuan Pork Stirfry that was delicious.  I've never though of using pork tenderloin in a stirfry, but it's perfect.  I substituted a bag of frozen stirfry veggies instead of all that chopping on a weeknight.  This Saturday we're going to try another new breast with orange sauce.  Sounds enticing. 

One thing I've noted is that on a lower-carb diet, breakfast ideas are hard to come by.  And I'm getting kind of tired of eggs and egg sandwiches.  I'd love some suggestions if anyone has any!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sharing is Caring :)

I was cutting up an apple to have with some chunky peanut butter last night before I headed to an appointment, dinner would be quite late.  Will saw me and begged for some apple.  I am of course ALWAYS happy to oblige when he's asking for fruit!  We each took our respective bowls and headed into the family room. 

A few minutes later, I'm spreading peanut butter on my apple...Will comes up to me with his empty bowl and eyes my apple.  He spins his bowl onto the computer desk and looks longingly at my apple... "More apple, please?"  It's the same with milk, if I'm drinking a glass of milk, even if he has milk of his own, he wants mine! 

If I was looking to diet (not at this time) this might be a decent way to do it.  :)