Sunday, November 27, 2011

Weekend Fun, An Award, & Weekly Menu

We had a nice long weekend. We decorated a gingerbread house.

We also were lucky as the weather cooperated much better than expected based on the forecasts earlier in the week, and we were able to go to a park and on walks treasure hunts.

Now on to the award. Last week, Melinda from Nutrition, Food, Travel and More awarded me the Versatile Blogger award.

Versitle Blog Award

Melinda is an R.D. and a military wife. I started following her blog when she lived on the Azores, and I loved following along her island adventures. And I always was a bit jealous of the amazing cheese and olive appetizers that accompanied many of the meals she ate there… Winking smile Melinda also did some exploring in Europe and took her readers along on her trips. About three months ago, Melinda moved to Japan and has been documenting her adventures there.

I’m supposed to share seven things about myself with my readers. I have shared quite a few “unknown” facts about myself in previous posts, so I thought I’d share my seven favorite foods with you today (you may know some or even most of them, but I’m sure some are new):
  1. Tomatoes. If I could only eat one food for the rest of my life it would definitely be tomatoes. I would never get tired of them…
  2. Beets. This one is funny to me as I seriously disliked beets until I was about 35. Now I love them, especially roasted or with a vinegar dressing/marinade.
  3. Avocados. Avocadoes and tomatoes go so well together…
  4. Sweet potatoes: Another food I truly disliked for many years but has become a favorite in recent years.
  5. Hot chocolate. Growing up, I DID NOT like chocolate AT ALL. In fact, I got mad whenever I received chocolate as a gift. But recently, I have grown very fond of chocolate, and even more recently, of hot chocolate.
  6. Cheese. I love pretty much any cheese (and always have!) and have to seriously control myself around it…
  7. Radishes. I have always loved radishes, and recently hubby has started to love them as well.
Thank you for the award, Melinda!

And now on to this week’s menu:

Meal 1: Pizza with sautéed mushrooms and onions. I’ll recreate the pizza using TJ’s whole wheat refrigerated pizza dough that was such a hit in our house a few weeks ago. We’ll have a salad with it.
Meal 2: Quesadillas with black beans, avocado, salsa, and Greek yogurt.
Meal 3: Salmon and roasted veggies
Meal 4: Pasta & veggies.
Meal 5: Leftovers.

Questions: What are some of your favorite foods? What’s on your menu this week? What was the highlight of your weekend?
Be well,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What To Do With Thanksgiving Leftovers: Mini Turkey Pot Pies

One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving are the leftovers, and I am already thinking about what I'll do with them. We quickly get tired of eating leftovers as is and enjoy them a lot more if they are turned into something new. Turkey soup is very popular in our house, but our favorite way to eat Thanksgiving leftovers is this:

Mini Turkey Pot Pies with a Mashed Potato Crust

  • Leftover turkey, cut into small pieces
  • Mushrooms, sliced
  • Peas (frozen and thawed peas work very well)
  • A little half and half (or stock to make it lower calorie)
  • Leftover mashed potatoes (this year I’ll be experimenting with smashed sweet potatoes)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
What To Do
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Sauté mushrooms in a little oil for a few minutes.
  3. Add frozen peas and turkey meat.
  4. Add a few tablespoons half and half (or stock).
  5. Season mixture with a little salt and pepper
  6. Fill small ramekins 3/4 with the turkey/mushroom/pea mixture.
  7. Top with mashed potatoes.
  8. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes have a nice golden color.

It’s a really quick and simple way to turn “boring” leftovers into something new and “exciting.”

If you are celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday, I wish you a happy and stress-free holiday. I hope you’ll enjoy some good food and some good company and that your house will be filled with fun and laughter.

Questions: Do you like Thanksgiving leftovers? What’s your favorite way to eat them? Feel free to link to your favorite recipes.

Be well,

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Smashed Sweet Potatoes: A Simple, Quick, and Very Tasty Thanksgiving Side

I mentioned before that I have a tiny kitchen, so preparing big meals with many courses can be a challenge. Over the weekend, we had friends over for dinner, and I decided to test a new side dish on them to see if it would be a good addition to our Thanksgiving meal. They really liked it, so it’s a go. And best of all, it’s a really quick dish that doesn’t require the use of the stove as the sweet potatoes are cooked in the microwave.

Smashed Sweet Potatoes
  • 5 – 6 sweet potatoes
  • Butter, about 1 – 2 tablespoons
  • Cheddar cheese (or any cheese you like), about 2 tablespoons (more if you feel particularly “cheesy”)
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  1. Wash the sweet potatoes and poke them with a fork several times.
  2. Put the potatoes in the microwave and cook them until they are soft. (Three medium sized potatoes cook in the microwave in about 6 minutes.)
  3. Once the potatoes are cooled a bit, peel the skin and cut the potatoes into small pieces.
  4. Smash the warm potatoes with a potato smasher.
  5. Add the butter and the cheese and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Reheat the dish in the microwave before serving.
Servings: About 6 – 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes

A super easy and quick dish that’s also very tasty.

In other news, I recently decided to moderate comments. So if you leave a comment and you don’t see it right away, that’s why.

Question: Which part of the Thanksgiving meal are you looking forward to most? I’m really looking forward to the smashed sweet potatoes. I’m also looking forward to pumpkin pie.

Be well,

Monday, November 14, 2011

Weekend Fun and Weekly Meals

The highlight of last week’s meals was the pizza that I made with the whole wheat pizza dough I bought at Trader Joe’s. It was such a quick, (almost) no cook meal, and it’s actually quite funny how popular it was! Smile

I topped the pizza with a little tomato sauce, one large sautéed, sliced red onion, eight ounces of sliced, sautéed mushrooms, and brie and cheddar cheese. The kid isn’t a fan of raw onions, but he loved the sautéed onions and mushrooms on the pizza.

Since I don’t like a lot of crust on my pizza, I cut some dough off to make some rolls later (the package said it was enough for a 12 inch pizza, and I have a 12 inch pan. But it would have been way too much crust for me. Even with making five small rolls, there was still a lot of crust in my opinion.)

To make the rolls, I simply formed the dough into “rolls” and then sprinkled them with oregano and baked them for about 8 minutes. Super quick and easy dinner rolls. I look forward to experimenting a bit with different flavors to add to the dough and on top of the rolls.

Now on to this week’s meals. It’s another busy week; really every week until the end of the year is; that’s just life right now, so I better get used to it and stop thinking and talking about it… Winking smile

Meal 1: Fish tacos.
Meal 2: Stir fry with bok choy (got a lot of it in our CSA box), tofu and brown rice.
Meal 3: Grilled sandwiches (made with my cheap sandwich maker, which I love) and a salad.
Meal 4: Leftover chili (from the freezer)
Meal 5: Not sure yet.

On Friday, the kid participated in a lantern parade. Unfortunately, it rained a lot, but we still had fun.

I posted my planned workouts on my Facebook page. If you like, share yours there, too.

Questions: What’s on your menu this week? What was the highlight of your weekend? 

Be well,

Friday, November 11, 2011

Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ever since we got a pumpkin in our CSA box, pumpkin soup has been on our menu. I had a plan to roast the pumpkin and the seeds and then to make a simple, pureed soup, flavored with curry powder and Greek yogurt. I wanted to add the roasted pumpkin seeds for some crunch. I followed my simple plan, and it worked quite well.

Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

  • 1 sugar pie pumpkin
  • Vegetable stock
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Curry powder to taste
  • Greek yogurt
What to Do
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Cut pumpkin in half, take out the seeds, wash and dry them.
  • Cut each pumpkin half into small pieces and coat them with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Coat pumpkin seeds with olive oil, salt, pepper, & curry powder and set aside.
  • Put pumpkin pieces onto a cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Turn pumpkin pieces over and add seeds to the cookie sheet.
  • Bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until pumpkin pieces are soft and seeds are browned.
  • Puree pumpkin with several cups of vegetable stock in a food processor. Add liquid until the soup is just a bit “soupier” than desired, as the yogurt will thicken it.
  • Season the soup with salt, pepper, and curry powder (a little curry powder goes a long way).
  • Stir in a few tablespoons of Greek yogurt.

Questions: Do you like pumpkin? Or are you “over” it already this season? If not, what’s your favorite way to eat it?
Be well,

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Weekly Meals & a Bit More Foodbuzz Festival Fun

The highlight of last week’s menu was definitely Juliana’s Panko Crusted Chicken Cutlets. It’s a super quick and easy but very tasty meal (dip chicken in flour, then egg, then panko crumbs. I seasoned the panko crumbs with salt, pepper, and dried oregano as I didn’t have parsley. Then cook the chicken pieces in a little oil for a few minutes per side). I used to make this dish years ago with breadcrumbs, but panko crumbs make it so much better. I ended up making roasted veggies with the chicken, and we had lots of leftovers.

Since we had so many leftovers, I never made the pumpkin soup I had planned last week. It’s being moved to this week’s menu.

Meal 1: Pumpkin soup – I think I’ll cut the pumpkin in half, roast it, and then sauté some veggies, add the pumpkin, veggie stock and spices, and then blend it. Once the soup is done, I’ll stir in some Greek yogurt. I’ll also roast the seeds to add some crunch to the soup.
Meal 2: Kimchi fried rice. I am cooking a lot of brown rice these days as I love to eat it for breakfast. I'll use some of the rice to make kimchi fried rice. I have some leftover pork in the freezer that I’ll defrost and add to the dish.
Meal 3: Super easy pizza – I bought refrigerated whole wheat pizza dough from Trader Joe’s. I’ll make a cheese/mushroom pizza and a salad.
Meal 4: Chicken quesadillas with salsa, Greek yogurt, and avocados.
Meal 5: Leftovers and some fish. Not sure about this one yet…

And here are some more Foodbuzz Festival pics. (In case you are interested, here is Friday’s recap and hubby’s more comprehensive recap.)

A tasty and fun weekend! It was great to see some old friends and meet some new ones. It was also really nice to get to spend some uninterrupted, quality time with hubby.

Because of my foot pain, I have been working out a lot less over the last few weeks, and my body and mind have certainly taken notice (not in a good way). Luckily, my foot is finally feeling better, and I was able to do 50 minutes on the elliptical without too much foot pain. I planned my workouts for this week on my Facebook page if you are interested.

Questions: What’s on your menu this week? What was the highlight of your weekend? 

Be well,