Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Another Milestone!!

Okay, so yesturday I ordered a new pair of running shoes! Yeah, that's right-RUNNING shoes. Cause I am gonna start running again. I haven't "gone for a run" in like, oh I don't know, probably 8 years-at least 6! I hit my 60 pound mark! I have lost 60 pounds, so now I am going to start running. I have a 50 mile challenge. Not sure how long it is going to take me to accomplish-especially when the snow starts falling (cause this mama has no time for a gym), but that is my goal. I am going to log in my mileage and see how long it takes to get to 50 miles. I am already at 11 since Thursday. Wish me luck!
And if I get the courage to do it, when I hit my goal weight I will post before and after pictures. HAHA! Oh dear!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Roasted Butternut Squash and Onions

This is a great fall recipe with a great flavor!Roasted Butternut Squash with Onions-serves 2
  • 10 oz. butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 onion, sliced in rings-doesn't matter what type of onion-use your fav
  • 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • dash of thyme, or italian seasoning
  • 2-3 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Preheat oven to 375. Lay butternut squash, and onion on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and seasoning and toss lightly to coat. Roast in oven 20 minutes, checking and tossing occassionally. When onions and squash begin to brown take them out and toss with chopped cilantro. Eat up!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I Double Dog Dare Ya!

Ok, I am really not sure why brussel sprouts get such a bad rap, but veggie mama likes 'em! I have challenged myself to try a new vegetable every so often, and the other day at the store I saw these little guys:They looked innocent enough sitting in their little bucket all small and cute, so I did it. I bought about 5 of them and brought them home to cook them. I was scared. I will admit that. All I have ever heard is they are the armpit of vegetables and you are nuts and lying if you like them. Well, I am nuts, but I am not liar! I like 'em! The first time I had them I cut the end off and sliced them, then browned them in a fry pan then added a little veggie broth to it to get them nice and soft. Cause that is one thing I will say. If you don't cook them long enough they can definately put up a fight in your mouth and be a little hard to swallow.
After that the next time I went to the store and I bought 8. This time I just cut the little end off, which gets all of the outer leaves off, then quartered them and steamed them about 10 minutes and just salt and peppered them. They turn a really bright beautiful green and are quite tasty.
So, go forth my friends and pop them into your cart next time you are at the store. I double dog dare ya!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Chick Pea Soup

This is a new cold weather staple for me. I plan to make a double batch and freeze half next time! This is so good and so worth the (small) effort. It has a fabulous base flavor and the chickpeas are packed with nutty yummy goodness. And this is a healthy addition to your week. Sorry for the picture. This was after I added the feta on top, which really adds even that much more flavor to it.Chickpea Soup
  • 2 Cups dried chickpeas (do not used canned!)
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks with leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 12 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 8-10 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • broth (vegetable or chicken)

Soak Chickpeas overnight. Pick through them discarding any funky ones, rocks, etc and put in a large bowl. Cover with water by at least 2 inches and cover overnight. Rinse and drain chickpeas. Place them in a large pot and cover by 2 inches with water and bring to a boil. Skim the white froth that rises until clear. With the lid tilted cook on med/low at least 1 1/2-2 hours or until chickpeas are soft.

Drain, reserving the liquid (if you don't have much don't worry-that is what the broth is for). Take 3 cupfuls of chickpeas and puree them with 2 cups of reserved liquid (or broth). Set pureed and non pureed aside.

I pureed the celery and herbs together in my cuisinart. Helps bunches. Heat oil in same pot and add celery and herbs. A minute later add the garlic. As soon as the garlic becomes aromatic add the chopped tomatoes and saute together for a few minutes. Add the remianing whole chickpeas and stir to coat them in the sauce for 3-4 minutes. Add at least 1 1/4 cups reserved liquid (or broth). Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Stir in the pureed chickpeas with their liquid, cover, and simmer for 15 more minutes, stirring often. Add the lemon juice and if you need, dilute the soup with more broth until you reach your desired consistency. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fall Vegetable Pasta

Well, I don't know that these are all fall vegetables, but they were all in my fridge...and it's fall! How's that for faking it?!? So here we go!Fall Vegetable Pasta
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 3/4-1 portobello mushroom
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 1/2-1 red onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 oz. whole wheat pasta, cooked
  • parmesan cheese

In a skillet over medium high heat add 2 Tbs. olive oil, garlic, and onion. Just before "browned" add in mushrooms. Cook about 1-2 minutes then add in yellow squash. I pretty much will gag if my squash is over cooked, so I don't add it in right away. Cook 2 minutes then add in stewed tomatoes, seasonings and cook 3-5 minutes bringing just back to a boil. Serve over cooked pastaand top with parmesean cheese. Serves about 2. Yum-ola!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The big 4-0!!

Um, no-I am not 40! And if you thought I was then shame on you! I have officially lost 40 pounds! I am loving the way I feel, the way I look, the energy I have and the work that I am putting into it. I have done lots of exercise and along with changing my diet I am closer and closer to my ultimate goal! Thanks to everyone for all of your support in keeping me motivated to reach my goal!

Flat Bread Sammie

While we were in Colorado I tried the new Sara Lee Sandwich thins and fell in love! They are yummy and soft, but not chewy and really healthy. Well, here in Montana they do not carry them. They have their own line of local breads, which is cool, but that means they do not carry any national brands. So I am pretty much bummed. I should have stocked up on them before we came home, but time flies when you are having fun and it slipped right past me on our way home. Well, while we were at the store today I did find some little flatbreads that looked pretty yummy, so I bought those and made a yummy veggie wrap sammie with them.

You could put whatever you want on these, but I just layered a little low fat vegetable cream cheese spread, cucumbers, red onion, avocado, tomato, salt and pepper, and balsamic vinegar.

roll it up and eat it up! Delicious!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Soba and Cabbage

Okay, so the other night the girls and I hit up the local farmer's market to see what the locals had to offer. Well, I am impressed. I picked up some great produce and even a few things I have never used/heard of before, so this should be interesting! One of the things I got was carrots. Well, I was just warming up so I just sauted them for a bit with some garlic and then baked them for about 45 minutes until they were tender. Yummy, but not worthy of a photo. Too boring. I can do better than that, right!!??

So, I cut the cabbage I got right in half and felt inspired to whip it up with some yakisoba noodles I had gotten from the grocery the day before. Now, don't get your hopes up. It isn't totally interesting, but not something I would normally do, so hang in.

Soba Noodles and Cabbage
  • Soba Noodles (the ones I picked up had a little spice pack with them)
  • 1/2 head of cabbage
  • 1-2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 T sesame seed oil
  • 1/4-1/2 cup veggie broth (my lids are not air tight, so I need a little extra)
  • 2 T soy sauce

So, chop up your cabbage roughly. I just did rows one way then the other. Heat pan on med high and add sesame oil and garlic (I find my garlic does better heating WITH the pan rather than throwing in to the dogs). When garlic becomes fragrant add in cabbage and toss around about 1 minute. Add soy sauce and veggie broth and cover for about 12 minutes. While that is cooking away in a seperate pan cook the soba noodles. I just followed the instructions right there on the package. Throw the cabbage over the noodles and let 'r rip!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Zucchini Parmesan

I have really had a lot of fun these last few weeks. Don't get me wrong-I love my husband and I miss him so, however, it is much much easier to cook things such as this without him around. All he would do is cry about it. All he would do is protest it. And all I could do is make him something else. So, this is one of the positives that goes with being a coaches wife. FALL BABY!!Zucchini Parmesan
  • 3 zucchinis from the store or 1-2 from your garden
  • 1-2 Tablespoons italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil spray
  • 2 cups spaghetti sauce
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/2 C breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese (or soy or rice cheese)
  • sprinkle of shredded parmesan cheese

Slice your zucchini long ways so they resemble long lasagna noodles. Lay on a cookie sheet that has been lightly sprayed with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and italian seasonings. Roast in the oven at 425 for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through. While that is roasting mix together ricotta, egg and basil. When zucchini is finished layer in an 8 x 8 nonstick pan as follows: couple spoonfuls of spaghetti sauce on the bottom, 1 layer zucchini, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, ricotta, spaghetti sauce, cheese, zucchini, sprinkle of breadcrumbs, ricotta, spaghetti sauce, cheese and top with parmesan. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes, until cheese is melted and starting to get all brown and bubbly. Enjoy!

You can also serve this with salad and whole wheat pasta to make it a complete meal. Then maybe your husbands will eat it. Good luck!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Portobello Mushroom Sammie

Oh, this one came down from heaven to greet me at the lunch table this afternoon. It is so delicious! This is a 1 serving recipe. Just adjust if you are making for more than just you. It's football season round these parts, so it's cooking for one.

Portobello Mushroom Sammie

  • 1 roll (yeah, I used a yummy cheesy roll. You can go whole grain), toasted
  • 1 large portobello mushroom cap
  • 1-2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 Tbs. light mayo
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 roma tomato, sliced
  • 3-4 Tbs. fresh cilantro
  • garlic powder or Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb blend
  • 1-2 leaves iceberg lettuce

So, in a small grill pan lightly spray with cooking oil, then place muchroom in cap down and grill 4-6 minutes. Turn over and drizzle with balsamic vinegar inside the cap and grill another 4 minutes. While you are grilling spread mayo on the roll. Add tomatos, salt and pepper, Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb blend, lettuce and cilantro. When the mushroom cap is done place on the lettuce and top with the roll. Oh, man it's a good one!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Orange Avocado Salad

It's a doozie of a salad. It actually had cubed chicken in it the first time I enjoyed it, but for the purposes of winning 500 big ones I omitted. And it had to get a new name 'cause it's really called chicken avocado salad. Oh, how I love thee, let me count the ways...

Orange Avocado Salad

  • Bibb lettuce and spinach-use your judgement. You have made salad before
  • 4-6 oz. sliced almonds
  • 1 can mandarin oranges
  • 3-5 green onions
  • 1 avocado-not too ripe, not too not ripe :)
  • Honey mustard dressing
  • balsamic vinegarette

I like to make this bad boy on a platter and layer it in nice sections for affect and then mix it all up after everyone has ooh-ed and ahh-ed over it. I forgot to snap a picture of it before I did that, so, for that I am sorry. I could say it will never happen again, but I would probably be lying.

Okay, so lay the lettuce and the spinach across the platter. Then put the green onions right down the middle the short way, then the avocado on one side and the mandarin oranges on the other and the almonds sprinkled across the top. Set the two dressings to the side for people to choose their pleasure. I actually like a little of the two dressings together on the salad-I know, I am wierd. Whatever.

Strawberry Romaine Salad

I got this recipe from my great friend Michele. It is worth its weight in gold, I say.

Strawberry Romaine Salad

  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 pint strawberries, quartered
  • 1-2 cups monterrey jack cheese
  • 1 package candied walnuts (these are sometimes hard to find. Emerald Nuts makes them.)
  • Balsamic vinegarette

Layer in a glass bowl for affect and set dressing on the side. You don't want it to get soggy. Ciao.

Greek Pasta Salad

I made this yummy, super easy dish while Bryan's mom and grandmother were here last week. I don't know if they liked it, but I did! I got slightly carried away with the feta there at the end, but hey, what can I say-I love cheese!

Greek Pasta Salad

  • 16 ounces whole wheat spaghetti (or if they only come in 13 or 14 oz. packs that's cool too)-what's up with that anyway? Pay more, get less, stay healthy. There is definately something wrong with that!
  • 1 can black olives, drained (you can use kalamata if you want, but eww. I don't like 'em.)
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmessean cheese
  • feta-as much as your little heart desires
  • caesar dressing-again, as much as your little heart desires

Cook the pasta according to package, drain and rinse with cold water. Add next 4 ingredients, mix. Add in caesar dressing and mix. Sprinkle feta on top just before serving. Eat and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Volleyball Pasta Salad

This has been around for 10+ years. One of my teammate's moms made this at a volleyball tournament when I was in high school and we all just ate it all up! This one is a must for pot lucks and any other get together. It is so yummy and so easy-do you see a trend with my recipes?

Volleyball Pasta Salad

  • 1 lb. penne pasta
  • 1/2-3/4 cup mayo
  • 1/2-3/4 cup poppyseed dressing
  • 1 can black olives, drained and halved
  • 4 string cheese, sliced into 1/2" pieces
  • 1 can mandarin organes, drained
  • 1 can quarted artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 can baby corn, drained and chopped

Cook penne according to package, drain. Rinse in cold water, set aside. Mix in a small bowl the mayo and poppyseed dressing. Pour over top of pasta and mix together. Add in everything BESIDES mandarin oranges and give it a good stir. Then add in oranges and toss lightly. Chill and serve.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Well it has been exactly two months to the day of "no meat" and I have lost 20 POUNDS! Can you believe that!? I haven't even tried!! Just by not eating meat. I never intended this to happen-although I am surely not complaining-it is just so awsome that I really haven't had to sacrifice much-besides meat, which was never my "can't live without staple." Now if only I could figure out how to get the laundry done without trying...or cleaning bathrooms...or mopping floors. Why can't those be as easy? I'm gonna not think about them and maybe they will follow suite.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Simple Slaw

This is the easiest thing you will make for the next backyard BBQ. But you better get to it, cause the season is going to be over before we know it. This is a slaw of few words (and ingredients), but often times actions speak louder than words. I love lots of spice and lots of this and that, but with this I love it just how it is.

Simple Cole Slaw
  • 1 1/2 pounds shredded cabbage (with carrots if you're feeling brave)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup whipping cream (not whipped)
Place cabbage in large dish and add ingredients in order given. Cover and shake. Chill a couple hours shaking when you remember.

We interrupt this program

This is what I am up against! Can you believe this!?! My man has never shown so much passion towards food before, but now that it's up to him to make such things he is putting in the man hours. I should have gotten a few pics but I missed the opportunity! He was outside ALL afternoon Saturday sitting next to his grill and this is what came back! He read up online on how to smoke a mean rack of ribs and he went out Friday and bought everything he needed. Let me just tell you all bets were just about off. These ribs smelled good, they were award winning color and they were juicy-well, according to Bryan. I wouldn't know. I had salmon. And it was good, don't get me wrong. But this is rediculously tempting. S.O.S. Help me!
He said he soaked the mesquite wood chips in water in a pan on the grill and then the other half of the grill was off so the ribs were not under direct heat. Then he filled a squirt bottle with 1/3 cup BBQ sauce and the rest water and he just kept spraying them every 5-10 minutes of so. He cooked them about 3 hours. I have never seen him last that long doing anything! He belongs in Texas! He is officially my grill master.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mongolian BBQ

Well, I pretty much love Mongolian BBQ joints so I had to try and recreate a yummy sauce with all my favorite fixin's so I threw a few things together and I think I may have come pretty close. Of course I didn't get to hand my bowl to someone that threw it onto the giant flat cooking thing and walk around and around stirring it and tossing it. Is that not the coolest part? Although for them it probably really sucks cause it's swealteringly hot in there! But that's why you tip them.

I digress-So last night I made Mongolian BBQ with rice and it was tasty! I sort of followed pioneer woman a bit, but made some tweeks to it.

I used onions, peppers, mushrooms, garlic, baby corn, and sugar peas (they really added some color to the otherwise bland picture). Oh, and I used shrimp. That was yummy!

So I started out by cutting all the veggies up. It makes it way easier to just throw it all in. Here we go:

Monglian BBQ

  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 carton mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • sprinkle of ginger (I used jar, but I am sure fresh is better)
  • 1 regualr can baby corn, chopped
  • couple handfuls of sugar snap peas, whole
  • 1/2-1 pound shrimp-marinade in soy sauce and sesame oil drizzled over the top no more than 20 minutes ahead. It gets mushy if you marinade too long. And I had precooked shrimp so really they were just thrown in at the end to be warmed up
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth (any broth will do but I'm on a mission!)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons peanut oil
  • Splash of rice vinegar
  • 3/4 cup cilantro, chopped (you can use more or less, but this adds a taste that you cannot leave out!)
  • chopped peanuts

Heat up your skillet on high heat with 2 Tablespoons peanut oil. Throw in your onion and garlic and when almost brown add bell pepper. Stir around a bit then add mushrooms, baby corn and sugar snap peas. Give it a few good stirs. Now you are thinking it is really dry so let's sauce it up a bit. Add in the soy sauce and sugar and give it a good stir coating all the veggies. Then add the broth and rice vinegar. Reduce the heat and let it boil on low for about 10 minutes. This was when I added in my already cooked shrimp. Remove from heat and right before serving stir in the cilantro. You can even add chopped peanuts to the top and you will be in heaven!

I served it over cooked brown rice, but you could use whatever tickles your fancy!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Homemade Beans

Oh man do I love some home cooked refried beans!! And if you've ever had them (not mine in particular, just someones) then you always wonder what the heck is in the canned stuff!! The color just isn't right, the texture is really wierd and the flavor isn't even close. So I made a batch of my very own the other day and they were so delicious!

Homemade Pinto Beans

  • 1 pound dry pinto bean
  • baking soda (1/2 Tablespoon)
  • water (lots and lots)-I'll explain
  • spices of your choice (I used garlic, onion and cilantro)

So you can either soak them overnight (which is best, but I can't ever remember so I go with the quick soak method). Put all the beans in a 5 quart pot (make sure you look through them and take out all the wierd ones and rocks and stuff) and cover with water and inch over the beans. Bring to a boil and do so for 4 minutes. Add a little baking soda to them (takes the "gas" out-if you know what I mean-beans beans, the magical fruit, the more you eat the more you...oh you get the idea). Turn heat off and let sit covered for about 2 hours (oh don't you roll your eyes. Like you have to do anything while they are just sitting there!). Then about 2 hours before you want to eat them drain them, rinse them and then fill the pot again about an inch or two above the beans. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium/medium low and leave the cover tilted to vent. Mash with a masher thingy (see photo) or use a blender. Add the spices you ever so desire and devour!

We also had these yummiest homemade tortillas. I didn't make them but they are packaged uncooked so you just throw it on a skillet for a 1/2 minute and voila! They are so yummy and thin, so you aren't filling up on flour paste-you can eat more beans! They are really light and they are super delicious. I found these at Wal-mart (evil store) in the refrigerated section (like by the refrig bagels and rolls and stuff) but I also just saw them at Costco too. Sorry all my Wyoming pals. You loose out there.

Check out your local super market and see if they carry them. They are worth the hunt to find.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

Last night I made Tilapia. And it was so yummy! I just mixed together some seasoned bread crumbs, grated parmesan, garlic powder and italian seasonings. I sprayed a tiny bit of EVOO on it and coated it. Baked it and it was GOOOOD! Topped it off with some sweet potatos and salad.

Here is a recipe...sort of

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

  • 1/3 cup season bread crumbs
  • 1-2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • sprinkle of garlic powder
  • sprinkle of italian seasoning
  • pinch of rosemary (man that smelled good comin' from the oven!)
  • 1-2 Tilapia fillets

Preheat oven to 450. Mix all dry ingredients together in a wide bottomed bowl. Lightly spray tilapia with EVOO on both sides and coat with the bread crumb mixture. Place in an 8x8 non-stick pan and bake about 12 minutes (10 minutes per inch of thickness-not per side!).

This stuff is the best find I've had in a long time!! I got it from Oliviers & Co. (you can order online) and it is seriously delicious! The olive oil is pressed with basil (not infused) so it is really flavorful! and the Balsamic Vinegar is mouth-watering good! It is thick and almost like a syrup so a little goes a long way. I used these on my salad and it was to die for!

I just thought this salad looked so pretty with the spices dusting the top of it. I visited a spice store in Arvada (Penzeys Spices) while we were in Colorado and they had some of the yummiest stuff! This spice was one of the ones I picked up and it is great on a salad! There are shallots, chives, garlic, onion and green peppercorns in this one (Fox point). It was a great addition to the salad.
The sweet potatoes I just diced and topped with a little Mrs. Dash Onion & Herb seasoning and heated in the microwave.
I will try to do better with the recipes. Promise!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Scallops con Pesto

So, the picture didn't do it justice, so I'm just gonna tell you about it. I had a whole heep o' pesto 'cause we just went to Costco-and oh how I missed thee, let me count the ways. So I wasn't sure now that I had the whole heep what I was going to do with it, so I just topped my scallops. They were sooooo good! I just heated up some Basil pressed EVOO and 2 cloves of garlic and sauteed the scallops (about 3-4 minutes per side) and then topped them off with the pesto sauce on my plate. Oh my heavens! They melted in my mouth! So yummy! I am going to make my own pesto one of these days-I promise you and me that, but I am intimidated. My mom's is so good I don't want to screw it up! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Let me Explain!

Well, please, let me explain! If you know me you know that I LOVE meat! But I recently read this book called Skinny Bitch and my eyes were opened to how fowl meat can actually be! I had no idea that the entire process from raising to slaughtering to processing was so inhumane! Plech! So I have made the decision to try this whole vegetarian thing out for a year and see how it goes. Now the authors of the book are vegan (they don't eat meat, seafood, or any dairy) but I am just taking baby steps here, so I have decided that I will not eat any meat except seafood and see where I end up after that. Plus, my husband Bryan doesn't think I can do it, so you have to help me out! I thought I could make this more fun by sharing with you my recipes, stories and photos of what I'm up to in the kitchen and otherwise on my quest for meatless living. So I have until June 1st of 2010! Wish me luck...