Food and weight-maintenence blog for the POST diet girl

Archive for the ‘Pesto’ Category

Non-fucked-up Meatless Monday! YAY!

I feel like its been a couple weeks since I did this right. Things have been throwing me off. I think the point is that I make a conscious effort to go at least 1 day a week without eating meat, but the truth is, I only actually eat meat maybe 2 or 3 days a week and everything else is vegetarian. So I think I’m doing just fine on that part, but I will always try to keep my Monday’s specifically meatless!

Breakfast:

Carrot Cake Breakfast Cookies

Taken from: http://www.cookiemadness.net/2008/03/carrot-cake-breakfast-cookies/

1 cup white whole wheat or all purpose flour (4 ½ oz)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 cup oats, old fashioned or quick (not instant)
2/3 cup shredded or grated carrots
1/3 to 1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup toasted, chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, thoroughly mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; set aside

In a large bowl, mix together the oil, granulated sugar, dark brown sugar and vanilla. When well mixed, add the egg and orange zest and beat for another 20-30 seconds. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and stir until flour is absorbed. Stir in oats, carrots, raisins and nuts.

Using a ¼ cup measure, scoop up big mounds of dough – they should be a bit larger than golf balls, but quite smaller than tennis balls.

Place on ungreased or Silpat or parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake for 20 minutes.

Makes 8 big cookies

*These were….AMAZING. I mean it! They were so fantastic, you will never believe! I LOVED them! I will be making them again super soon, I made 4 and I ate them all! And SO PRETTY!

Lunch:

One more feta, pesto and tomato sammich! Had just a little more pesto to use up!

Dinner:

This was just carrots, peas and corn on vermicelli noodles with a white wine lemon sauce that I actually think I’d like to attempt again tomorrow as this dish didn’t quite work out as I’d hoped. I will post a recipe for the sauce in the next post if it works out better!

 

I just really worked all day today. Had a nice giggly conversation with G at some point during the day. He astounds me. My co-worker is coming over tomorrow morning before I go to work to try and fix my car. I’m RALLY excited about the prospect of having my car back as I can go dancing again and I could visit G in his town instead of him traveling an hour to get me, an hour back to his town, an hour to drop me off and an hour to drive back home again. Sheesh…poor guy. He must really like me a lot. ^_^

Friends walking in on you naked

Well, I sort of invite that sort of thing. Being that I leave my doors unlocked and all.

It started off normally enough with breakfast:

Pineapple and Yogurt on Cardamom Oatmeal

I made oatmeal with milk and pineapple juice instead of water, then I added brown sugar, a pinch of salt and a large pinch of cardamom. I topped it with some pineapple chunks and a big dollop of greek yogurt. Indulgent!!!

Lunch:

Boring PB&J. But always yummy!

Dinner:

While it doesn’t look like it, this is one of my go-to easy recipes with BBQ sauce and honey mustard!

BBQ and Honey Mustard Stir Fry

Adapted from: http://www.frenchs.com/recipe/honey-mustard-bbq-chicken-stir-fry-RE0476

Ingredients:

1 box (10 ounces) couscous pasta

1 pound boneless skinless chicken, cut into strips (No chicken, so I used mushrooms and peas!)

1 medium red bell pepper, cut into thin strips

1 medium onion, sliced

1/3 cup FRENCH’S® Honey Dijon Mustard or FRENCH’S® Honey Mustard

1/3 cup CATTLEMEN’S® Award Winning Classic Barbecue Sauce

Directions:

Prepare couscous according to package directions. Keep warm.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Stir-fry chicken in batches 5 to 10 minutes until or until browned. Transfer to bowl. Drain fat.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet until hot. Stir-fry vegetables 3 minutes until crisp-tender. Return chicken to skillet. Stir in 2/3 cup water, mustard and barbecue sauce. Heat to boiling, stirring often. Serve over couscous.

*This is a good comfort food for me for some reason. I just love BBQ sauce! I also wanted to be sure to EAT something just in case G came over after work and we’d end up going out “just for coffee” but would end up ordering food as well…if I go when I’m not hungry hopefully I’ll hold off on the food ordering!

I took a shower after dinner (once again, just in case) and had music up somewhat loud. While I was in my room trying to find something to wear, a close friend of mine walks into my apartment. I don’t hear her at all as my music is too loud, so she has to yell at me to get my attention! I decide I might as well thrown on a towel (even though with this friend it TOTALLY doesn’t even matter) and we sit at my kitchen table and talk for a few minutes. She decides she wants to go crash my work and steal G since he’ll be getting out of there in about an hour. We go and he is absolutely delighted to see us! It always makes me so happy to be around him! He tells me how much he’s missed me and how he was hoping I would visit or put a note on his car. I like very much that we can share these things with each other now! We ask him if he’d like to get coffee with us after he gets out of work. He accepts and meets us later at the restaurant. He and my friend get along wonderfully! We have a fabulous time and chat late into the night.

My friend eventually has to leave and asks G if it is ok for him to take me home. (Of course it is.) So he and I hang out for a while longer talking and talking and talking. You can’t get us to shut the hell up. The only 2 things that have consistently worked to get us to stop talking is good food or making out. And even that second part is a bit inconsistent on the conversational part…sometimes we talk while we’re doing that too…

He leaves around 5. He of course won’t stay. I of course don’t understand why.

Money woes

I keep spending my money on things I shouldn’t be spending my money on.

I have rent due in a week. I simply do not have enough for it. So I am freaking out slightly.

I shouldn’t, because whenever I desperately need money, that seems to be the time I start selling the most stuff. And then everything is okay. But until then, I freak out entirely.

I’ll be okay. I just need to work harder. And eat better to keep my energy up!

Breakfast:

Perfectly Crispy Waffles with Mango Syrup and fresh Diced Mango

Waffles:

Taken from: http://buffaloeats.org/2010/02/08/cookin-with-walt-amazing-restaurant-quality-crispy-waffles/

INGREDIENTS:

  • ½ cup AP FLOUR
  • ¼ cup Traditional WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR
  • ¼ cup CORN STARCH
  • 1 TBSP GROUND FLAX MEAL (optional but good for you)
  • ¼ tsp BAKING SODA
  • ½ tsp BAKING POWDER
  • ½ tsp SALT
  • 2 tsp CANE SUGAR  (use refined sugar if you don’t have cane sugar)
  • 1 cup BUTTERMILK (or buttermilk substitute)
  • 1/3 cup SMART BALANCE OIL (you have to use oil and this is probably the healthiest)
  • 1 EGG (lightly beaten)
  • 1 tsp VANILLA EXTRACT (You can use two if you like)

PREPARATION:

Thoroughly mix all of the dry ingredients.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix thoroughly but don’t over mix.  Let it sit for 15 minutes and give it a couple of stirs.   Let it sit for 15 more minutes

Here is a punch list of techniques to guarantee success:

  • Preheat the iron
  • Do not spray the iron with non stick spray.  Plenty of oil in the recipe
  • Fill the bottom of the iron with the correct amount of batter which will differ based on the model.
  • Close the cover and leave it alone.  Some irons have a light that says it is done.  It is not done.  The waffle will steam a lot.  When the steam slows down to barely steaming the waffle is done.  You can now open it and check.  It should be medium dark golden brown.  It steam turns to smoke you waited too long.
  • Close the iron for a minute between waffles and let it recover.
  • You can heat an oven to 200 and keep your waffles in there for a bit if you are making a lot ahead of time.  Don’t stack them on top of each other and don’t cover them or they will get soft.

DO NOT SKIP ANY PART OF THIS RECIPE! If you need to make buttermilk, the substitution stated in the directions works incredibly well. I used full fat milk instead of skim and was VERY pleasantly surprised with the results! So any milk will work great! LET THE BATTER SIT for the allotted amount of time! If you can, also let your buttermilk substitution sit in the fridge for half an hour to an hour before using to allow it to thicken.

Mango Syrup:

Pureed mango + pineapple juice
Equal part sugar
Water to adjust thickness of syrup

Heat this mixture in a saucepan until sugar is dissolved and syrup is of desired consistency, adding water when necessary.

INCREDIBLE! FANTASTIC! FINALLY a crispy waffle!!! It only took like 10 attempts and different recipes to get it, BUT I GOT IT! I will be saving this and recommend it to absolutely everyone!!!

Lunch:

Pesto, Tomato and Feta Cheese Sandwich

Since I had such an eccentric breakfast, I went for a much more simple lunch! I used some of the leftover pesto from the night before, spread a thick layer onto bread, sliced up some tomato and laid that on the other slice, topped it with a drizzle of olive oil and a little crumbled feta, and PRESTO! One of the best sammiches I’ve ever made!!!

Dinner:

Alton Brown’s Baked Mac & Cheese

Taken from: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/baked-macaroni-and-cheese-recipe/index.html

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 large egg
  • 12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper

Topping:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it’s free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.

Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.

Remember to save leftovers for fried Macaroni and Cheese.

*I of course modified this slightly. I used Monterrey Jack cheese instead of Cheddar and I used cream cheese in the place of some of the milk to make it even cheesier and creamier. CRAZY!!! Luckily I could only eat half of this! I’m getting better with my portions, but I also find myself sort of wanting to automatically eat make 2 servings of meals now since I feel I will have to start getting used to it? If that makes sense. I’m so so so glad to have a man who loves my cooking!!!!!

I walked a lot today. I got a lot of work done as well, 2 projects finished and sent! Long day, but look at all the great food that came out of it! This is what my blog is supposed to be! I’m so happy!

Exercise: 5 mile walk

More food and love notes

I’m incredibly happy to have pictures of all of my food again. And to be cooking again. I really hope I can stay on this streak this time.

Last night I explained everything to G. Everything. Why I have this blog. What I post here. The entire story behind it. The extent of my eating disorder. And the end of it. He has vowed to help. He will make sure I remember to take pictures of our food when we go out to eat from here on out. He understands how important this is to me. How much it has helped me. How very dire it is for me to continue. He’s still not been here, I am still hoping he never sees it. I would rather divulge the information and problems that I have had directly to him anyway. It’s actually easier to share with him that way.

No breakfast, sorry! I woke up a little bit late (8:00 is late for me) and that startled me. So I started working sort of right away since I had a LOT to get done!

Lunch:

Have to go on a walk, so just eating something quick so I can have my work done in time! PB&J!

I went on a long walk to the library, then post office, then supplies shopping, then I stopped at work to refill my water bottle. I ran into the cute girl that I work with that I sort of have a crush on. We got to talking and she offered me a ride home. Well…no use in getting water anymore if I’ve got a ride…and I DID do a lot of walking already today…so I accepted. BUT FIRST I had to leave a note on someone’s car. ^_^ She knew who it was for. I didn’t show her the note itself, but it read:

“You should come over and kiss me before going home. <3”

I put it right on the driver’s side window so he couldn’t possibly miss it.

I got dropped off at home and hoped and hoped that he would come over. I understood totally if he didn’t. I knew he had to go to his parent’s house and whatnot for dinner. Probably not enough time to stop here.

And he came.

I was so fucking happy.

He brought me some items from the coworker who is going to fix my car. He left me with the belt, instructions on how to install the belt, and a bat. Because I don’t lock my doors and it worries him.

So as soon as he gets here, I give him lots of kisses and, while incredibly happy about them,  is confused as to why. It turns out he didn’t even see my note. He just wanted to surprise me and so offered to drop off all the items from our coworker. We looked at his car and the note was still there on his window. Oh my god. He is THE flakiest person on the planet. Too. Cute.

He leaves about an hour later (yes yes yes, we talk too much…WAY too much…) and I start making dinner:

Basil Pesto on Angel Hair with Sauteed Mushrooms and Pine Nuts

People, when it comes to pesto just follow your heart. Don’t follow a recipe, it doesn’t need it. All you need is:

A ton of fresh Basil
Olive Oil
Parmesan Cheese (or there’s LOTS of great substitutes…use cream cheese for a creamy pesto, or feta cheese, or goat’s cheese all work well! I actually used feta cheese in this one!)
Pine Nuts (once again, very versatile!)
A little Lemon Juice
A little Water till it’s at your desired consistency

—and whiz all of that together in a food processor! I also added some fresh Mint leaves from my garden. Gives it such a beautiful scent and extra kick of flavour! I sauteed the mushrooms in olive oil and butter and salt, as usual. I made SO much pesto! Oops! I saved the rest and will use it somehow tomorrow…not sure how yet.  I had some greek yogurt and granola for dessert as I was out of ice cream.

I loved my kisses. My day was fantastic! My food was fantastic! YES!

 

I get a date next Saturday!!!

Yep, I am finally the official date to Potential Future Husband #1 at a party that he is hosting next week.

Ex-girlfriend is not invited.

It’s going to be a troupe of us who were all friends back in the day.

I am the only one invited to the after-party. ~_^

I had to switch some shifts around at my retail job to make this work. Totally worth it. I even took an extra day for someone else who really needed it next week just because I was so happy about my date, I wanted to spread the joy.

AW! He just wrote me to tell me how excited he is that I’m going to be there. He’s so sweet!

I could easily spend the rest of my life with someone like him.

Especially compared to who I was GOING to spend my life with.

I am sorry that my camera battery died and I could find the charger. I have no pictures for you today.

BRIGHT SIDE: I went to my brother’s for nail painting and game playing with mutual friends and WE FOUND MY CHARGER! It was hiding behind a curtain plugged into an outlet I do not remember plugging it into. This happened AFTER I had already eaten all of my meals for the day though.

So still no pictures.

For breakfast I had a bowl of cereal.

For lunch I had half  of a turkey wrap sandwich and black bean soup at work.

For dinner I made an AMAZING pesto that I actually do want to reference again even though I once agian have no form of measurements whatsoever. I wanted pesto. But did not have fresh basil, pine nuts or parmesan cheese. Hm. Puts a damper on things. Well what DO I have? I have dried basil, fresh mint, goat’s cheese and pistachios. Sure why the hell not? Threw those into a food processor along with some olive oil, a little water, salt and pepper and blended all that together. I put it on top of some rigatoni, mixed it in and garnished with a few extra pistachios on top. It was FANTASTIC. DO NOT FORGET THIS RECIPE, SELF!!!

Had a great night with my brother, sister-in-law and a couple mutual friends. We played games and chatted, ate cheese and crackers and drank home-brewed beer. It was awesome to have a night “off” with people I love.

Once I catch up on work, I’ll get more of those soon.

Exercise: 4 mile walk, + walk to my brothers and back

What day is it?

The days are just flying by. I want nothing more than more time right now. I just need some time. I wish I was 10 different people so I could get things done faster. I’m going to be spending the day today getting more stock into my online store. I wish I didn’t take on projects that I know are going to be more difficult and yet charge the same price for them. I shouldn’t only make $36 for an entire day’s work. And even then, I don’t make that. I have to buy supplies. I feel a little stuck right now. It will be ok. I will get this project into my store and sell it relatively quickly. I always do. I tend to sell what I make within 1-3 days.

And the cat keeps using me for a springboard. Glad to know I’m useful.

Breakfast:

Peach Bread Pudding with a Strawberry Compote

Adapted from: http://fishfoodblog.com/2009/06/bread-pudding/#comments

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound of challah or french bread
1 cup of buttermilk
1 cup of half and half
5 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of cloves (if using ground cloves, use half the amount)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 29oz can of peach halves, chopped

Strawberry compote:

4 pints of fresh strawberries
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
2 tablespoons of lime juice

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Spray each ramekin with cooking spray, set aside.
3. Cut the bread into 1/2 inch cubes
4. Mix together eggs, milk, half and half, sugars, spices, and vanilla.
5. Add the bread to the egg mixture and combine until the bread is
soaked thoroughly.
6. Add the chopped peaches, and stir until combined.
7. Fill each ramekin with the bread and peaches until it reaches the top.
8. Set all the ramekins in a roasting pot, and fill with water so it
reaches half way up each ramekin.
9. Bake for 30 – 40 min, or until top is golden brown.

For the Strawberry compote:
1. Combine strawberries, lime juice, and sugar in a blender. Blend
until smooth and serve over top the bread pudding.

*The original called for a raspberry compote, I only had strawberries so that’s what I used. Worked just as well! I used up a lot of stray ingredients in my fridge with this. It was wonderful, although I insist on eating things when they are far too hot. I would have enjoyed this a lot more had I waited an appropriate time for it to cool. Otherwise it was top notch! LOVED the strawberry compote (although its not a real compote, we won’t judge the author too harshly ^_^) and did in fact eat all of it. I used a bit less bread than I should have, so I didn’t feel too bad about eating it all.

Lunch:

Tomato, Almond and Tarragon Soup with Corn and Celery

Once again, a lot of the amounts I put into this elude me, I cannot remember. But I can try!

1.5 cups canned crushed Tomatoes
1/3 cup Coconut Milk
1/2 T Honey
1/4 cup sliced Almonds
1 Roma Tomato, chopped
1/3 cup Corn
1 stalk Celery, sliced
Fresh chopped Tarragon
1 T Tomato Paste
1 t ground Ginger
Crushed Red Pepper to taste
S&P to taste
Uhh…probably other things I am forgetting…

I simmered the crushed tomato, chopped tomato, tomato paste, corn, celery and seasonings for about 15-20 minutes. I blended the coconut milk, almonds and honey with a little olive oil in a food processor until the almonds were well chopped. I added that mixture into the soup and allowed it to warm up and cook through another 5 minutes or so. This was really good! I’m sometimes impressed at what my head can come up with given what I have left in the fridge. I have to get used to using up everything and allowing nothing to go to waste since I will soon be living on my own and probably somewhat poor.

Dinner:

Pistachio Asparagus Pesto Pasta

Taken from: http://www.closetcooking.com/2009/07/pistachio-asparagus-pesto-on-penne.html

(makes 4 servings) Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 pound pasta
1 cup pistachio asparagus pesto (see below)
parmigiano reggiano to taste (grated, optional garnish)
asparagus tips (optional garnish)
pistachios (chopped, optional garnish)
Added:
1/2 Zucchini, sliced
1 cup Mushrooms, sliced in half

 

Directions:
1. Cook the pasta in well salted water as directed on the package.
2. When the pasta is cooked to al dente drain the pasta water reserving some of it.
3. Pour the pasta back into the still hot pan, add the pesto and enough of the pasta water to make a smooth sauce that coats the pasta.
4. Serve garnished with parmigiano reggiano, the asparagus tips and some chopped pistachios.

Pistachio Asparagus Pesto

(makes 1 cup pesto)

Ingredients:
1 cup asparagus (cleaned, trimmed, blanched and chopped)
1/4 cup spinach (optional, helps keep the pesto nice and green)
1 clove garlic (chopped)
2 tablespoons pistachios (toasted)
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (grated)
3 tablespoons olive oil
lemon juice to taste (optional)
salt to taste

Directions:
1. Place everything into a food processor and blend.

*I put this all on whole wheat penne. I tossed all of the veggies with some olive oil, lemon juice and salt and roasted them in the oven for around 20 minutes at 400…a bit long…15 minutes would have sufficed. I made the pesto exactly as directed (perfect way to use up just the little bit of spinach I had left!) and topped it all with a little extra grated cheese. HOLY SHIT! Yup, this was one of those REALLY impressive recipes! Incredibly fresh and tasty! I finally re-stocked my fridge if you couldn’t tell. I don’t know how, but I managed to eat all of this! It was a TON of food, but it was SO good!

For some reason, my husband bought me chocolate. So I had  a few pieces of that for dessert in lieu of my usual small bowl of ice cream. I don’t ask questions when given free chocolate.

Tomorrow is yet another day of working my butt off…another day where it’s gorgeous outside and I don’t get to go on a walk because I have so much work to do. Another day where I don’t get much farther in the money department…sorry. I don’t mean to be so down. I just want to get out of here so badly and its such a slow process. Maybe I can get some pics taken of my Harley today so I can get it up on Craigslist and whatnot.

P.S. I had a HUGE bag of that chocolate too and didn’t binge on it. I will take my small victories where I can get them!

Exercise: 1/2 hour of yoga, 1 hour at the gym (running went really well today!!)

When does hard work pay off?

I feel I’ve been doing nothing but working my ass off. My bills are due tomorrow and I’ve nothing to show for it. I went through and raised my prices a little on a couple of time-consuming pieces. (Basically, I’m not even making minimum wage on some of the pieces I make because they take up so much time.) I’m hoping this will help, but I feel as though I’m swimming in place. Moving, working hard, staying afloat, but going nowhere.

I need to sell my bike.

Breakfast:

Breakfast Apple Granola Crisp

Taken from: http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/10/breakfast-apple-granola-crisp/

3 pounds* of whatever apples, or mix of apples, you like to bake with, peeled, cored and cut into medium chunks
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces) unsalted butter
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup flour
2 cups oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened, as you wish; I used unsweetened)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix apple chunks with lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and pinch of salt in a 9×13-inch baking dish until apples are evenly coated. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter with the honey. Stir in the flour, oats, almonds, coconut and another pinch of salt until clumps form. Sprinkle evenly over the apple mixture and bake in the oven for about 45 to 55 minutes, or until the apples are softened and bubbly. Should the granola brown before you wish it to, cover the baking dish carefully with foil for all but the last few minutes of baking time, when removing the foil will help the granola recrisp. Cool to room temperature and then stash in the fridge to eat with your morning yogurt.

*400° was ridiculously too hot for this. I had to take mine out after 25 minutes because I could smell it burning. I picked out the burned pieces and did try to cover it and let it bake a little longer, but this didn’t really help much. 350° for 40 minutes would probably be perfect. Granted, I used only one little tiny apple that I had gotten from Panera on my lunch with Nicole and Gwendylon and it wasn’t nearly enough fruit, so I added raisins and dried cranberries. But I still feel the granola crumble does not need to be baked that hot. The apples will still bake just fine at a lower temperature for the same amount of time. While it tasted ok, this ended up being sub-par due to the burning (even though I picked out most of the burned parts) and I think I could do a lot better next time.

Lunch:

African Quinoa Peanut Soup

Adapted from: http://forkfingerschopsticks.com/quinoa-african-peanut-quinoa-soup/

Serves 6

3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped small

1 red bell pepper, diced small

2 celery stalks, diced small

2 medium sweet potatoes, diced 1 inch pieces (about 3 cups) (I used just regular russet potatoes)

1 large jalapeno, deseeded and deveined, diced small (Didn’t have any, so I left this out)

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 small zucchini, diced 1 ½ inches

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

8 cups water

1 cup chunky peanut butter (fresh ground or jarred – natural without sweeteners/oil)

2 cups frozen or fresh okra, optional* (I actually added chickpeas instead)

Method

In a small bowl, rinse quinoa until water runs clear. Do not skip this step. Prepare and measure out all remaining ingredients in advance.
Heat a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot on medium-high heat, add oil and onion, red bell pepper, celery, sweet potatoes, jalapeno and red pepper flakes. Sauté for 15 minutes or until sweet potatoes are slightly soft. Next add zucchini, minced garlic, cumin, oregano, pepper and salt; sauté 2 to 3 minutes, careful not to burn garlic. Add 8 cups water, deglaze pot with a wooden spoon. Add quinoa (rinsed and drained). Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat, simmer 15 minutes or until quinoa is cooked.
Remove about 1 1/2 cups of hot liquid from the soup, pour into a small bowl. Add peanut butter to small bowl, use a wooden spoon or a whisk to blend and make a thin paste. (This step prevents clumping.) Pour peanut paste into the soup, and mix well. Simmer 5 – 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot, topped with a few rough chopped peanuts.

Note: If using okra, add at the end of cooking and cook until it is just heated throughout – otherwise, if overcooked, it could get slimy. Frozen okra works best and do not thaw before cooking.

*This was good! VERY different and interesting! I do wish I had jalapenos because they would have gone really well with the peanut flavour. I pureed half of this because once again, I like thick soups. You don’t have to do that of course. ^_^ I also smashed most of the potato inside the soup. Really good, really unique!

Dinner:

I winged a lot of this. I did use a crust recipe (which of course I altered with whole wheat)

Quick and Easy Pizza Crust

Adapted from: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Quick-and-Easy-Pizza-Crust/Detail.aspx?prop31=2

Ingredients

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour (I used half bread flour half whole wheat)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in flour, salt and oil. Beat until smooth. Let rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat or roll into a round. Transfer crust to a lightly greased pizza pan or baker’s peel dusted with cornmeal. Spread with desired toppings and bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let baked pizza cool for 5 minutes before serving.

I made an alfredo pesto sauce out of milk, cream cheese, fresh grated Parmesan, garlic, fresh basil, olive oil and S&P. Just whatever amounts looked good and taasted good, I couldn’t tell you what quantities I used of each, I’ve no idea. I also topped this pizza with crumbled goat’s cheese, sliced mushrooms, diced tomato, baby spinach, vadallia onion, grated mozzarella and pine nuts. What an AMAZING Meatless Monday treat!!! Just INCREDIBLY fresh-tasting an delicious!

ALSO: I didn’t eat the entire pizza. I still have 3 pieces in the fridge. I’m feeling great!

Tomorrow is another “work my ass off” day. I’d love to actually go to the gym, maybe do some treadmill running, that would make me incredibly happy. I’d like to leave the house for a while and not be running errands/spending money I don’t have. I’m out of fruits and veggies though for the most part. I really have no veggies. I may HAVE to stop at the fresh market for some. Luckily, I can get out of there for less than $10 most of the time. This will have to be one of those times.

Exercise: 4 mile walk

Still calm, still positive on this Meatless Monday!

It’s been a nice morning actually.

Jack Donaghy the cat woke me up at about 7:20 by stepping over my head to peer out the window.

Everything is covered in white. It had been snowing all night and well into the morning. Big, gorgeous, fluffy flakes.

I wake up alone and wander out into my house alone. But I am happy to be alone today. I have much to think about and like to speak out loud to myself when I am thinking heavily about something. I have no one here to judge me.

I spend the morning checking up on my online store and sending out invoices to people who want items from me. Some of which, an hour or 2 later, have already been paid for. I am no longer freaking out about bills this month as I have enough to pay them now.

I put on some relaxing music (Radiohead’s “In Rainbows”) and chatted with some close friends online about my predicament. My friends are so very loving and supportive and are good listeners. I tend to surround myself with people like this for a reason. They are very supportive and will stay supportive through whatever choice I make. They give good advice and love me unconditionally.

Actually, the only downside of this morning is that my ankle hurts. I worked out on it too hard yesterday and it is unhappy with me. I can still walk on it just fine, but I absolutely must rest it today. No working out at all. (Though I still really want to do my yoga, I don’t think that will hurt it.)

I never really got hungry. Once again. I don’t know if it’s because I just ended my period and have started my pills up again this week or what, but hunger isn’t my friend right now. It has abandoned me. At about 10:30 I decided to had to eat something, skipping breakfast is just a terrible option and I am very much against doing it.

Breakfast:

Raspberry Oatmeal with Almonds and Greek Yogurt

It is what it is! Just some plain, instant oatmeal with raspberries, a pinch of salt and a little honey mixed in, a dollop of honey greek yogurt on top, some slivered almonds and a few more raspberries for presentation! I did make the oatmeal with milk instead of water for more nutrients. I’ve not really been craving sweets much lately, so I only very mildly sweetened this. I feel good about me today and wanted to put good things into my body! I want to continue to put good things into me all day!

Lunch:

Sauerkraut, Pickle and Pineapple Wrap

OK this COULD have actually been really good! I really wanted some Thousand Island Dressing for it but didn’t have any, so I tried to make it myself. I failed to see the part in the recipe were it said to use SEASONED salt and instead I just used a bit of regular salt. Well it was way underseasoned and so was much more bland than it could have been had I made the recipe correctly. I also should have grilled the sauerkraut and pineapple with a bit of oil and some seasoning as well and didn’t do that either. Instead, I tried to grill the whole thing on my Foreman. Disappointing, but I made up for it with a nice Honeycrisp apple afterwards! Those are always delicious and filling!

They’ve called me into work at my retail job today! It will be the first time I’ve worked there in 3.5 weeks, so even though I can’t go to the gym, I’ll still get a little exercise from running around work! YESSSS! Because of this I have to go with something quick and easy for dinner, maybe with some carbs to keep my energy up tonight since I’ll have to be there till nearly midnight.

Dinner:

Creamy Pesto and Angel Hair with Pine Nuts

Considering I’d spent a lot of the day just trying to relax and stay calm, I didn’t want to burden myself with a huge, complicated dinner right before leaving for work. It would have just stressed me out. I went to an old favorite, Knorr’s Creamy Pesto mix and whipped that up in about 10 minutes. Really easy, though nowhere NEAR as good as the fresh stuff I make now, still very satisfying. I only used about half the sauce (not even that) and just threw out the rest. I knew I wouldn’t end up eating all of it, so I don’t mind. I prefer making it from scratch now. But it was still an awesome option to quickly get some food in me before heading off to my retail job!

 

Still working on my current marriage problem. I haven’t yet had the opportunity to speak with my husband about it. I am actively looking for apartments though. As much as I keep saying things will be okay between me and him, it’s hard to tell until I speak with him. Until then, I need a backup plan. It’s ok! Don’t worry, I’m going to be fine. I’m an incredibly independent woman and really don’t need someone like him when it comes down to it. I’m happy being alone. I also have enough confidence in myself to know I won’t be alone for long. I already have 2 dates lined up for when I am single again. BAM! ^_^

Exercise: 1/2 hour of yoga, 4 hours at retail job

Yet ANOTHER night out! SHEESH!

So tonight I have an old high school friend in town. We are all quite close and it would be a huge shame for me to miss seeing him simply because I feel I’ve been “going out to eat” too much recently. Its going to be at yet ANOTHER “gourmet burger bar” type place, I’m hoping that once again there is a veggie burger choice!! I know they have turkey burgers, so if nothing else that will be perfect. I’m looking forward to seeing my friend and I really hope that everyone can see that I look a lot healthier and am not having a veggie burger because I’m worried about fator calories and whatnot, I’m just trying to eat healthier due to all the cake and birthdays and junk I’ve been eating lately. I just want to feel good about myself. If nothing else, I know my brother and sister-in-law won’t judge me. They know me.

Is it bad that I’m still worried about what other people think? Does that ever really go away?

Breakfast:

Baked Blueberry Oatmeal Pudding

• 1 cup Coach’s Oats®
• 3 cups water
• 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
• ½ cup Neufchatel cheese
• 1 egg
• 3 Tbsp. Splenda brown sugar
• 3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup (I used sugar-free maple syrup)
• 1 tsp. nutmeg
• 1 tsp. cinnamon
• 1 cup blueberries (I used blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries)

Preheat oven to 400° F

In medium pot bring water to boil and add oats; cook as directed on package. Once oatmeal is cooked remove from heat and let cool five minutes.

In large bowl combine oatmeal and cheeses until cheese is evenly spread throughout. Add brown sugar, syrup, nutmeg, cinnamon and egg; mix well. Once ingredients are combined fold in blueberries.
In a well greased 8×11” casserole dish pour in oatmeal mixture and bake for 40 minutes. Let the oatmeal mixture cool and set up for at least 20 minutes before serving.

*This was super healthy and yummy! I should have used 4 T of  Neufchatel cheese (doing a half recipe) but only used about 3.5 T. I didn’t bake ALL of the oat mixture because there was too much to fit into my little pan and then I only ate about 3/4 of it. It was nice and healthy as I used low-fat cottage cheese and sugar-free maple syrup. It was yummy! A great way to get lots of good things into my tummy without adding a whole ton of flour and sugar. ^_^

Pea and Pesto Soup

Taken from: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/nigella-lawson/pea-and-pesto-soup-recipe/index.html

Serves:
enough for 2 hearty bowls (so clearly I did a half-recipe)
Ingredients

3 cups water
3 cups frozen peas
2 scallions (I used chopped sweet onion)
1 teaspoon Maldon salt or kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) fresh pesto (recipe below)

Directions

The quickest way to proceed is to fill a kettle first and put it on to boil. When it’s boiled, measure the amount you need into a pan and put on the stove to come back to a boil.

Add the frozen peas, scallions, salt and lime juice and let everything bubble together for 7 minutes.

Discard the scallions (I left the onions in) and blitz the peas and their liquid with the pesto in a blender.*

Pour into a thermos flask that you’ve left filled with hot water and then emptied and make sure you screw the top on securely.

When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.

Basil Mint Pesto:

Adapted from: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/basil-pesto-recipe/index.html

Ingredients

1/3 cups loosely packed basil leaves, washed and dried thoroughly
1/4 cups loosely packed mint leaves
1 T pine nuts
1 T freshly grated Parmesan
1 clove Garlic, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 T olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

In a food processor, combine the basil, mint, pine nuts, Parmesan, garlic, and salt and puree. While the motor is running, drizzle in the oil until incorporated. Season with pepper, to taste. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator with a piece of plastic wrap placed right on the surface of the pesto to prevent discoloration, for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 1 month.

*This was ridiculously delicious! I was SHOCKED at how creamy it was without using milk. (I ACTUALLY used the water like it called for.) I’m trying so hard to eat healthier and little things like that are helping! AND it was totally good as fuck!

Dinner:

I was so mad because my OTHER friends remember to take pictures of THEIR burgers. And I’m the only one of out them with a damn food blog and I STILL forgot! BAH! Anyway, I had this great black bean veggie burger with goat’s cheese, red onion, and spicy bourbon mustard. I also had a side salad with low-fat ranch dressing (that as usual I only drizzled a little on to taste). I have to say, I liked the actual veggie burger patty more at the other burger bar I went to with my dad…but I enjoyed the toppings on this one better. I did not drink any beer all night, neither at the restaurant nor at my brother’s house later.

I’m feeling so much better about myself. I looked in the mirror yesterday and felt pretty. I’m NOT calorie-restricting or counting. I’m simply just trying to eat healthier most of the time. Sure I’ll have a piece of cake every once in a while or a dinner laden with cheese sometimes….just not every single day. The whole “I can eat whatever I want thing” still applies because I’ve found I genuinely WANT to eat better and healthier most of the time!

You kids are all amazing for following this crazy journey with me.

I know I need to catch up on all of your blogs as well. I will I will. I promise. We’re all in this together.

Exercise: 1/2 hour of yoga, 1.5 hours at the gym

Making $$$ like a boss

I’ve sold about $245 worth of stuffs from my online store in the past week. It’s definitely January! My sales always IMMEDIATELY pick up again after the holidays. I never sell anything all December, its just usual for me. So now I’m all proud that I’m making money again! I’ll have a lot of work to do, but I will be using some of it to see Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy this weekend as a treat. Yes yes I will!

Breakfast:

Per my Food Network boyfriend, Alton Brown:

Parsnip Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1-ounce sliced almonds
  • Nonstick spray
  • 8 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 3/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 8 ounces sugar
  • 10 ounces grated parsnips

Directions

Place the almonds in a single layer in a pie pan and place in oven. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake the nuts until lightly toasted, approximately 20 minutes while the oven heats. Meanwhile, spray a standard 12-cup muffin tin with the nonstick spray and set aside.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt in the bowl of a food processor, and process for 5 seconds.

Whisk the eggs, yogurt, vegetable oil, and sugar in a large mixing bowl until combined. Add the flour mixture and parsnips, and fold with a spatula until all of the flour is moistened, there will be some lumps. Divide the mixture evenly among the muffin cups using a level 2 1/2-ounce disher or 1/3 cup measure. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with the toasted almonds. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the muffins reach an internal temperature of 210 degrees F and are golden brown, rotating halfway through baking. If needed, use a small knife or offset spatula to loosen the muffins and immediately remove them from the tin to a cooling rack, and cool for 15 minutes. Serve warm. Store completely cooled muffins in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

*I did not have any almonds, so I used about 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts and just threw those in for texture and a few more on top of each for presentation. I also used half cake flour and half whole wheat flour just out of curiosity. Just to see how it would turn out. ^_^ These are DELICIOUS! I’m a HUGE parsnip fan and so I was blown away by how great these tasted! Mine were a bit overcooked, I PERSONALLY would suggest if you have an unusually hot oven (which it seems I do) to bake these at 350 (instead of 375) for 25 minutes. But the fact that these were friggin amazing despite being overcooked is just a testament to how great they are!  OH P.S. Check out the awesome freaking new cooling rack I got on a clearance at Cabela’s! Cost me next to nothing and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

Lunch:

There was a lunch emergency with a close friend of mine today. She was depressed and needed someone to chat with, so I dropped everything to go pick her up and go out to lunch with her. I got the thai sweet and sour tofu, which was totally something I could have made at home, but thats ok. I don’t like spending extra money on stuff that I could (probably) make just as good if not better myself, but I was rushed into picking something as I was busy listening to my friend talk rather than looking over the menu. It was good though!

Dinner:

Tomato, Mushroom and Havarti sandwich

Pretty self-explanitory. I put slices of tomato, havarti cheese and mushrooms on sourdough bread and topped it with a mixture of tomato pesto sauce and light mayo. Grilled on the foreman. I had to make a quick lunch as I had to be at work at 7:30 at night. Yeah, weird I know. So after my lunch out with my friend, and then working out, I had about an hour to take a shower and make some food, which for me is VERY little time. So I whipped up a super quick and super tasty sandwich!

I had all super nice customers at work! There’s this girl that I have a major crush on that I work with who was also working, so that always makes for a good day as well. (Yes yes, I’m married to a guy, I have a crush on a girl, he knows full well. Whats wrong with that? ~_^) All is right with the world!

Exercise: 1.5 hours at gym + retail job for 4.5 hours