Thursday, September 29, 2005

Weekend Dog Blogging. #3...

Chelsea on Harley Posted by Picasa

Harley Posted by Picasa

Time for weekend dog blogging #3 hosted by sweetnicks.This is my second baby boy, Harley. Harley came to me when I went looking for a long hair or smooth dachshund. I wanted a girl, but I ended up with Harley. I basically saved him from some backyard breeder who called herself a show breeder. She told me that if I didnt take him, she'd have to put him down cause she had too many dogs. I went to her house and it was so gross, total horder. Harley had only one decended testicle so she couldnt show him. A simple neuter turned into a very expensive surgery because the incision became infected. He is the sweetest boy though, he loves kids( especially Chelsea), but he cant stand other dogs. Big, small, it doesnt matter. He just hates them.


butternut squash soup with apple, sage and bacon Posted by Picasa

Today was the first day it actually felt like Fall. Even after living here for almost 3 years, I still have a hard time with the seasons changing. I love the pretty colors and making all the comfort foods, but I know that winter is just around the corner and that i dont like. I dont enjoy the snow and ice and either does my baby Oliver.

So, being that my indoor atomic clock/thermometer said it was 51f outside( I keep my temp at F, I still dont get the whole Celcius thing), I made soup. The soup was for a new client. Mrs. T saw my menu at the place I get my pedicures, she called me yesterday and said she was going to her cabin and could i make her some soup. I suggested a salad to go with it. I remembered seeing this new recie in the new issue of Fine Cooking. I went to the store this morning, and bought the ingredients. The prices of groceries are going up. Even from last week. Something I used to pay .99 cents for is now 1.29. Butter used to be 3.59, its now 3.79. I think I'm going to have to charge a bit more than I am. Oh well, maybe she will become a steady client. Her husband owns a business in town and often needs lunches/parties catered.

My thoughts on the soup: It needed more apple and more flavor. It was good, but I think the squash isnt ready yet. I think it needs more time to ripen. I tasted a cube before I pureed it and it wasnt that sweet. I will also add a shallot or two next time and maybe some currry powder.

Here is the recipe if interested
1 butternut squash peeled and cubed( about 6 cups)
4 cups chicken broth
1 tart apple, peeled and cubed( I used granny smith)
1 1/2 tbls fresh sage
8 slices bacon
salt, pepper

chop up bacon, remove from pot. Cook squash until browned. Add apple, sage, salt, pepper and cook 5 more min. Add broth, scrape up browned bits on bottom. Simmer for about 10 min, or until cooked thru. Add back half of bacon and puree soup. check seasonings and garnish top with crumbled bacon.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

I feel ripped off......

Funky Money Parfait Posted by Picasa

Ok, I know that the serving size of Cooking Light recipes is pretty small, but this one really is small. I wanted to make us a nice portion control dessert for tonight. Robin loves Peanut butter and one of her most favorite desserts that I make is Peanut Butter Pie. I'm sure I could reduce the calories and fat, but I didnt want the whole pie sitting in our fridge, calling out Robin's name.

This recipe calls for Nutter Butters and since we cant get those in Ontario, I used some Our Compliments Peanut butter sandwich cookies. I made a pudding with low-fat milk, cocoa, sugar and splenda( I used some splenda instead of all sugar) and cornstarch. Layer that with bananas, the crushed cookies and there you have it. This recipe was supposed to make 8 parfaits, but I barley sqeeked out 5. I topped each parfait with some light coolwhip.

In other news, I just got another client. She wants a creamy soup for 8ppl and a salad. Im making butternut squash soup with apple, bacon and sage and my famous chinese chicken salad. She called today for tomorrow delivery, so I better get cracking.

Monday, September 26, 2005

IMBB #19 "I can't believe I ate Vegan"

African potato stew Posted by Picasa

This is my first IMBB event and what a fitting first entry. This event is hosted by Sam over at becksnposh. If you dont know, we're following the Weight Watchers Flex points plan. The plan calls for many, many vegetables and those are for the most part free. I've taken a real liking to sweet potatoes lately and I think, its because for the most part, I've cut out sweets. Sweet potatoes fill the void( well kinda). So, I purused some old cooking lights and came up with this gem.

I made a few changes. Chick peas for the red beans and chuncky PB for the smooth. It was very tasty and filling and so what if I served them with fish taco's?????

African Sweet Potato Stew with Red Beans

Vivid colors and fragrant spices are the hallmarks of this thick stew, which is garnished with crunchy peanuts. A squeeze of lime juice at the table brightens the rich, earthy flavors.

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled sweet potato (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 1/2 cups cooked small red beans
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons chopped dry-roasted peanuts
6 lime wedges

Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cover and cook 5 minutes or until tender.Place onion mixture in a 5-quart electric slow cooker. Add sweet potato and next 10 ingredients (through chiles). Cover and cook on low 8 hours or until vegetables are tender.

Spoon 1 cup cooking liquid into a small bowl. Add peanut butter; stir well with a whisk. Stir peanut butter mixture into stew. Top with peanuts; serve with lime wedges.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 1/3 cups stew, 1 1/2 teaspoons peanuts, and 1 lime wedge)

CALORIES 308(26% from fat); FAT 8.8g (sat 1.5g,mono 4.2g,poly 2.3g); PROTEIN 11.1g; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 64mg; SODIUM 574mg; FIBER 10.2g; IRON 2.7mg; CARBOHYDRATE 49.9g

Tagged with: +

Sunday, September 25, 2005

A taste of California

Fish Tacos Posted by Picasa

I really really really love fish. I was thrilled when I met Robin and she told me she loved it as much as I did. My ex hated fish and since we were together for 15yrs, I never cooked it much. I try to make us a fish meal at least once a week, of course I'm really limited to lake fish. A few months ago, I was in MI and saw some nice frozen swordfish( my favorite) at Kroger. I picked up a couple packages and thought about what I was going to make. I love fish taco's and I especially love the ones from Rubio's Baja Grill. Since the nearest Rubio's is about 3,000 miles away and beer battered fried fish isnt on our food plan I came up with some pan seared swordfish taco's with pickeled cabbage. Yummy. I added a dollop of light sour cream and a fringe of cheddar cheese( not traditional, I know) I heated the corn tortillas( also bought in MI because they dont sell them here) in the dry pan till crispy. The fish was rubbed with Penzeys southwest blend. They were yummy. 6 points for 3 fish taco's.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

small batch baking...

dulce de leche small batch cheesecake Posted by Picasa

small batch pb oatmeal cookies Posted by Picasa

I decided to make a mini cheesecake on Thursday. I checked the small batch baking book, but decided to make up my own, using that as a guideline. I have some really wonderful dulce de leche I got at Zingerman's. I used 2tbls of that, some splenda and grahm crumbs plus 5 oz of cream cheese, 1 egg, 1tbl of flour. I used NO sugar in the actual cheesecake. For those doing WW, it was 11 points each. We ate half as a serving.

This morning I made the cookies. These are a variation on the oatmeal cookies. I got 9 cookies out of the batch, the recipe says 6-8. They smell fabulous, I hope they test as good as they smell. I was careful this time and I spooned out the flour, instead of the dip and sweep method.

Friday, September 23, 2005

The Fair

1st, 2nd, 2nd Posted by Picasa

peach jam Posted by Picasa

big zuke Posted by Picasa
So as you can see I had a successful night. I was too busy last week and then I went away for those days, that all my best laid plans never came to fruition. I wanted to make banana bread and choc. cake and rolls and whole wheat bread and applesauce cake, etc, etc. I just didnt do it. I wish I did, cause I probably would have won. Oh well, there is always next year.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Weekend Dog Blogging

Oliver Posted by Picasa

Oliver again Posted by Picasa

Time for WDB #2( I missed number 1) hosted by sweetnicks. Here is my baby boy Oliver. He's not really a baby as he just turned 7, but he's a baby in the fact that he is so in love with me. He follows me from room to room, and his eyes never leave me unless he is sleeping of course. He's a bit high needs( like his mama) and a bit misunderstood( also like his mama). We have a lot in common. I love him to bits. Tomorrow we will take him to the fair in town and enter him in the costume contest. We will be dressing him up as a cross-dresser. Complete with dress, pearls, earrings and nailpolish. Last year he won first placed. My MIL made a costume for him. He was a HOTDOG. It was adorable. I will have to dig out those pics. Next weekend I'll post some pics of my other dachsund Harley( a gorgeous wire-hair)

Update on Oliver!! My boy won first place. He was such a good boy.

Oliva aka Oliver Posted by Picasa

Oliver won first place Posted by Picasa

Sun-dried tomato meatloaf and fingerling potato salad

sun-dried tomato turkey meat loaf and a fingerling potato salad Posted by Picasa

Up again for tonight, 2 cooking light recipes. I dont think I should post them because I didnt follow them for the most part. Mrs. Client requested my turkey meatloaf again. I made it last Friday and she called me that morning asking me to make her one. I told her that I was cooking one for our dinner and the recipe made two loaves so Id give her one. I still cant get used to these damn metric measurements here, so I miscalculated the amount of ground turkey I bought. So, I ended up just giving her two small free form loaves and she loved them. ( I didnt charge her for them either). Yesterday, she asked me to make her more of this, plus the curried couscous salad and a quinoa salad( no pics of those as they are total repeaters.). The turkey meatloaf is really good. I used 3lbs( I think)of ground turkey. 2 lbs of dark, and 1lb of breast. 2 eggs, 2 slices of whole wheat bread, salt, pepper, red onion, carrot, basil, sun dried tomatoes and porcini mushrooms( dried). Plus a few dashes of a spice blend from Penzeys. Client cant have garlic so luckily I bought an herb mix that didnt have garlic. I put all the ingredients except turkey and eggs in cuisinart I free formed the loaves and baked for about 35 min at 350. I put a fig and balsamic glaze( for those in canada, its PC memories of Tuscany) on and back into the oven for about 5min.

Mrs. Client is a real foodie. She has an amazing garden and over the summer, she has gifted me with lots of goodies. Today, she had leeks, cucumbers, carrots, and chard and fingerling potatoes waiting for me. I decided to make a warm salad with them. I loosly followed a recipe from CL for german potato salad. That recipe used reds instead. I cut the recipe down to only serve myself and Robin. Robin loved them and she even said she liked them better than mashed. I used bacon, green onions, green pepper,pepper, a touch of salt, cider vinegar and splenda( subbed for sugar). Oh, I also added some grainy mustard. We had an ACE bakery Artisan roll( bun for those in canada) with the dinner. Yummy.

Tomorrow is a seafood curry and I'm going to attempt to modify a cheesecake from small batch baking. I bought two cute heart shaped mini spring form pans at TJ Maxx.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Back to cooking light...

Mango chutney chicken curry  Posted by Picasa

Every day I ask myself the same question, what to make for dinner? Lately, I've been good about preplanning a week at a time, but because I was out of town for a couple days, that wasnt the case today. When I asked my love this morning, what she wanted tonight she said " Pasta". So, off to I went. I typed in chicken and pasta and up came this dish. I was utterly shocked to find I had everything I needed except fresh mango. No problem because I had a brand spanking new jar of mango chutney waiting to be used. I thought Id just skip the step of making my own. I did make a few more changes too. I didnt want to have 6 servings so I measured out the pasta so I would have 3 cups cooked and figured out the points for that. I did the same with the chicken and the other ingredients. I added 2 kafir lime leaves, used splenda instead of the sugar and threw in a few wayward shrimp I had in the freezer. I also topped with a few cashews. While it looks like we had a lot of food, it was mostly veggies. I've been buying those bagged frozen chicken breasts and after using them for a few months, I'm not impressed( no wonder they are so cheap). I recently got two big bags for 12.98( buy one get one free). When I defrost them, so much liquid comes off of them. I think they are probably about 3 oz uncooked. Anyway, Robin wasnt that impressed with the recipe and either was I. It needed something else. More curry maybe? Maybe the fresh chutney would have been better. If you try it, please let me know.

Curried Chicken Penne with Fresh Mango Chutney

2 cups diced peeled ripe mango (about 2 mangoes)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chopped peeled fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup light coconut milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons red curry paste
1 to 2 teaspoons Thai fish sauce
2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups cauliflower florets
4 cups hot cooked penne rigate (about 2 cups uncooked tube-shaped pasta)
2 tablespoons chopped green onions (optional)

To prepare chutney, combine first 9 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until most of liquid evaporates and mixture is thick, stirring occasionally.

To prepare chicken, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and chicken; sauté 5 minutes. Combine coconut milk and next 4 ingredients (coconut milk through fish sauce), stirring with a whisk. Add coconut mixture to pan; bring to a simmer. Add broccoli and cauliflower; cover and cook 7 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in chutney and pasta; toss well to combine. Sprinkle with green onions, if desired.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: about 1 1/3 cups)

CALORIES 216(18% from fat); FAT 4.3g (sat 1.8g,mono 0.9g,poly 0.4g); PROTEIN 20g; CHOLESTEROL 44mg; CALCIUM 52mg; SODIUM 724mg; FIBER 3.6g; IRON 1.9mg; CARBOHYDRATE 25.9g

Cooking Light, JUNE 2004

The Motherload........

Trader Joes Posted by Picasa

Penzy's and Target Posted by Picasa

I'm back!! Did you miss me? I was in Ann Arbor for 2 days visiting friends, eating out and shopping. These are some of the things I got. I left out all the great asian ingredients I bought at the new asian store in Ypsilanti.

I know it seems like I went crazy, but you must understand I never shop here. We have no Trader Joes, no Target, no Bed Bath and Beyond, no Penzey's and no whole foods( well, yes in Toronto, but thats 2hrs away). So, I tend to stock up every couple months. I bought cereal and uncrystalized ginger and nuts and dried fruit. I also got a can of pasturized crab that I want to make either risotto or pasta with. The red bag is indivdually wrapped madalains. ( they werent that great). I need to make some of my own. Hmmm, I also stocked up penzey's and today, I spent the morning getting rid of my old outdated spices. The bread box, well, that was an impulse purchase, but hey, it was on clearance.

Stay tuned for tonights dinner. A slightly modified mango chutney chicken from Cooking Light. I actually have everything in the house. I dont have to go out, yeah!!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Special weekend breakfast

oven puffed pancake Posted by Picasa

Mmmmm, doesnt this look good? It sure does, especially if you've been existing on oatmeal and cottage cheese all week. Since our neice is here this weekend, I wanted to make a special weekend breakfast. Our previous weekend breakfasts of eggs, bacon, hashbrowns and waffles just wouldnt do. After all, we both feel great and have dropped some weight. So, I turned to my old friend, Cooking Light for some help. I typed in breakfast and eggs and this came up. Rated 5 stars even. As I often do, I changed the recipe. I didnt want to change it too much because I wanted to stay within the 3 points per serving. I cut up one peeled apple and added some cinnamon. I wiped the pan with a little oil, before I added the 1tbls of butter. Now, bare in mind that this is not the dutch baby pancake you'd find at The Original Pancake House. This is a lot thinner, but still, it was very tasty( served with sugar free maple syrup), even if my stomach is still growling.

What's for lunch?

Oven-Puffed Pancake

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup fat-free milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon butter
Powdered sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 425°.
Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (flour through egg white); stir until moist.

Melt butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Pour batter into pan; cook 1 minute (do not stir). Bake at 425° for 18 minutes or until golden. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired. Cut into quarters; serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings

CALORIES 141(28% from fat); FAT 4.4g (sat 2.3g,mono 1.4g,poly 0.4g); PROTEIN 5.2g; CHOLESTEROL 64mg; CALCIUM 48mg; SODIUM 222mg; FIBER 0.4g; IRON 0.9mg; CARBOHYDRATE 19.9g

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Sugar High Friday #12 Custard/banana maple icecream

making the custard Posted by Picasa

banana maple ice cream Posted by Picasa

I really wanted to participate in my second SHF so a few days ago, I looked up the theme. Since we just started WW, I wondered what I could possibly make so I went to the CL website and typed "custard" in the recipe finder. This was the first recipe that came up. Amazingly, I had everything to make it. I cheated slightly in that I added 2 tbls of toasted pecans. I also added a dash of maple extract. The recipe was simple, you make a custard with 1 cup 2% milk and 2 egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar. I watched mine carefully, but it still curdled slightly. No matter, I pressed on.

Next, you cool the custard over an ice bath, as you can see, I improvised. You then stir in 1/4 cup powdered milk( which I bought at the bulk store because Im always seeing recipes that call for this and a large container is over 6 bucks), another 1/2 cup 2% and 1/2 cup maple syrup and 2 mashed bananas. Chill this for a few hours and then proccess in your ice cream maker. I have the cuisinart ice cream maker that I bought at Bed Bath and Beyond using a 20% off coupon. I also added the toasted chopped pecans because they just seemed to go so well with maple.

Thoughts on the finished product. Well, the serving size is 1/2 cup and that was enough. It was very sweet. Next time, I think I'll cut down the syrup a tad and add a drop more extract. All in all, a nice portion control ending to a healthy light meal. Don't forget to check out the roundup of SHF #12, hosted by Elise. You can find it here.

Here fishy fishy......

Simple baked fish Posted by Picasa

With our new way of eating( weight watchers), comes the need for menu planning. I have to plan our dinners in advance so I know how many points we can eat thru the day. Yesterday, when I was at the store getting a few things for our dinner, I saw some really nice fish that was on sale. I decided to use a simple preparation that was served to us at the Egullet Heartland Gathering that was held in Ann Arbor in July. I took a nice filet of fish( lake trout for Robin, white fish for me) and added some sliced mushroom, 1/2 tbls of butter each, white wine and fresh herbs. Lemon juice and sliced topped it off. I seasoned with salt and lots of freshly ground pepper. I wrapped each piece in heavy duty foil and baked at 400 for about 20 min. I also made Cooking Light's squash rice casserole. We still have a lot of zucchini growing, so I took advantage of that. I've made this casserole many times before, always subbing brown rice for the white. This time I used a little cottage cheese( in place of all the sour cream) Yummy, the perfect light end of summer meal.

Plated fish and squash rice casserole Posted by Picasa

Stay tuned for dessert. Its a sugar high friday special.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Your host Posted by Picasa

Since I cant figure out how to put my picture in the profile, here I am.