Thursday, November 18, 2010

Best. Cookies. Of. All. Time.

OK, I found it!

The BEST COOKIES EVER!  (If you like peanut butter)

I love this recipe for a few reasons.
1. It's gluten free, which is great for some of my friends
2. It's ridiculously easy
3. It tastes amazing!
4. Freezes beautifully ;)

The cookies this recipe makes are golden brown on the bottom, uniform, crispy on the edge and soft in the middle.  So pretty much the greatest thing ever.

Here it is:

2 c peanut butter
1 1/2 c white sugar

Combine these until smooth (I stirred for about 5 minutes)

Beat in 2 eggs (one at a time)

Add 1 tsp of vanilla extract, 1 tsp of baking soda, a pinch of salt

Mix well

Form into 1 inch diameter balls.  Do that cute crisscross thing with the fork.

Bake 10 or so min in a 350 degree oven.

Seriously, try this one.  I froze the batter for Christmas baking, and I plan on doing plenty as gifts because they are definitely impressive!

Monday, November 15, 2010

More adventures with the slow cooker

Well, we had an excellent two meals in one from our faithful slow cooker last week.

First, "roast" chicken.   I love a good roast chicken, but unless it's the weekend, it's not possible to cook it up during the week.

I did a little research and found that some people will throw a roaster right into their CP and it cooks up deliciously.

Here was our variation:

1 5 lb roaster
3 white potatoes, cubed
1 yellow onion, chopped
a bit of rosemary
salt and pepper

We literally threw all this in the CP, put it on, and 12 hours later, the miracle happened again!  We pulled out the chicken, it fell off the bone, and we served it (the potatoes were yucky so we tossed them) with broccoli and brown rice.

Then, we had so much meat left that I pulled it aside and made 2 different soups- Tortilla soup (see earlier post) and good old fashioned chicken noodle.

Now my freezer is totally stocked with soups, and they are DELISH!

This week I'll be performing my CP roast chicken trick again...but I think I'll make up a chicken pot pie with the leftovers.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

How we avoided polygamy, or, our discovery of the Crock Pot!

Hi all!

I will have to push blogging higher up on the task list- sorry for the delay!

I have been busy getting ready for the holidays, and experimenting in the kitchen.

Eric and I have discovered that we need a wife.  Not in a 'Big Love' kind of a way.  We need someone to cook, clean, manage the household, make martinis, etc.

We came one step closer these past weeks in discovering an unused indentured servant.  The CROCK POT!

We have had a slow cooker since we bought our first apartment.  Other than a failed soup attempt on my part, it had never been used.  

I guess we both felt about the CP like we felt about the microwave- so seventies, lazy...the kind of thing we didn't want in OUR kitchen.   (We do have a microwave but we never use it.)


The first experiment was on a pork sirloin roast I bought at a local butcher (love Hilltop in Weymouth!)

Into the CP it went.  We looked doubtfully into the pot numerous times on that Saturday.  Could it really work?  Could it really taste that good?

Sunday morning I awoke to a smell.  It wasn't exactly the kind of smell Yankee Candle would emulate, but it smelled...good.   I checked on my little piggy, and there she was,  cooked to perfection, falling off the bone, and simmering in it's own juices.

I drained the pot, took the meat off the bones with 2 sets of tongs, and put it back in the CP with a bottle of hickory smoke BBQ sauce.

That was it!  It cooked for about 8 more hours on low, and Sunday night, we had pulled pork.  Real live pulled pork (Not actually live, that would be gross.)  I bought some Portuguese rolls, toasted them up, and we had pulled pork sandwiches.

AND, I brought some into work and got rave reviews, even from my friend Mark who is a BBQ aficionado!  Easiest thing ever.

So we were converted into Crockpot lovers.  We even upgraded to the larger model that has clips for travel.   What an awesome tool for those of us that work and want a wife at home to cook dinner!

Here's some cool info on the slow cooker:

More slow cooker recipes coming up: "roast" chicken, and pot roast.

Friday, October 15, 2010

You may all go to hell and I will go to Texas

OK that was the last cute Texas pun I had up my sleeve.  
Last and final review (at least for now.)
Our FAVORITE can't-miss best thing ever spot in San Antonio is....

The Friendly Spot Ice House

As we ate and drank our way through San Antonio, we heard about a brewery called Blue Star about 1.5 miles out of the tourist area we stayed in.  Being health-conscious (ha) young folk, we thought a pleasurable stroll would be the way to go.  We walked, through the late afternoon sun, down S. Alamo Blvd.  Suddenly, in the distance, something appeared.  (OK not really but I'm building dramatic tension here.)  It was a playground.  And a bar.  In fact, it was three open-air bars!  It looked like the family-friendly center of a neighborhood, and so it is.  
And then, Eric's heart skipped a beat.  The specials board listed Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA for $4 a bottle.  $4! (That's about what we pay at the packie  here in MA)
We fell. in. love.  
Cold beers (over 140!) many of them microbrews from around the world, a cool hip-but-not-pretentious vibe, little kids playing...this is exactly the kind of place I'd love to own.
We didn't eat there, but we did go back for a total of 3 visits, about 15 different beers (Eric promised me he'd write a guest post running down all the IPAs we tried.) 

Only downside? I lost my glasses there.  Or I think it was there.  

BTW, Blue Star Brewery was boss.  I had beef brisket, mac and cheese, and it was perfect.  Along with some excellent beers.  And an awesome bartender named Mary, who rocked.  

Thursday, October 14, 2010

There's no basement in the Alamo!

No, I'm not out of cute references to Texas, or Pee-Wee's Big Adventure.  Soon, I promise.

Second little review is of the queen of the Riverwalk- Casa Rio.  This was the first restaurant to open up to the Riverwalk and offer patio seating. They also offered the first river cruises. (Now run by an outside company, I definitely recommend the boat tour.)

Casa Rio (literally River House) is a Mexican restaurant that offers an unpretentious atmosphere and good Tex-Mex cuisine.  I got a tip from a local that it was the best chili in San Antonio.  With the history of this dish in San Antonio, that was a tall order! 

As you can see, it was served with onions, cheese, and the traditional Saltine. 

I can't say it was the ephemeral, blissed-out experience I was hoping for as I dreamed of chili in San Antonio.  But for $4.95, it was fantastic. 

Eric ordered a mixed plate that offered a small taste of numerous dishes: Chili con carne, tamales, tacos, refried beans, and I think an enchilada. I think it was about $12.  

Again, like at Achiote, we could have split that dish. But it was the cheapest, and loveliest meal we had.  We sat, drank sweet tea, and watched the river (and the cute ducks, and the not-so-cute pigeons.)  

Adorable-ness abounded.  

Casa Rio = best buy on the Riverwalk.  Huge props for great atmosphere, great service, live music (kind of cliche but whatever.) 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The stars at night are big and bright...

Deep in heart of Texas!

We spent the weekend in San Antonio, TX (and 1 day in Austin.)  What a wonderful place to visit! We saw the Alamo.  It was more moving than I thought it would be.  Pretty amazing to see the real place where 189 people fought and died for their independence.  

On a lighter note, we ate.  A lot.  And drank a lot of great beers.  I threw caution to the wind and ate whatever wonderful, down-home cooking I saw.  (Sorry WW, I'm back on plan today!)

Up first on the review train is Achiote River Cafe and Bar.  We stopped here on our first full morning in San Antonio.  We were looking for a relaxed breakfast, to linger over coffee, and start our mini-vaca off right.  Achiote provided a beautiful patio off the river where we could do just that.  

Here's the meal breakdown:

Eric, in typical Eric-like fashion, ordered smoked salmon on a bagel.  It wouldn't have been anything special, but the salmon was absolutely perfect. Also, it was huge.  

Not much to say- it was fresh, the bagel was very good, and it was exactly what it should be.  Good choice if you're a lox 'n' bagels kind of person. 

Here's what I ordered: chilaquiles (chee-lah-KEE-lehs). I wasn't hungover, but I was interested to learn that this dish is a traditional Mexican hangover cure!

It is also sometimes called a poor man's dish because it is a great way to use up leftovers.

This was probably my favorite meal of the weekend.  What's not to like?  It's a bed of tortilla chips, topped with a mixture of tomatoes, cilantro, onions, peppers, garlic, refried beans, chiles, and scrambled (or fried eggs.)  AND it's served with sour cream.  
I'm not sure how authentic the recipe is, but it was absolutely delicious.   I can't say enough about it.  This may be a poor man's breakfast food, but we'll be making it for diinner for sure! 

Here's a recipe from a fellow blogger: My Sister's Kitchen 

OK so Achiote was fabulous.  Here's what was less than fabulous- the price.

$4 EACH for coffee (the coffee was Starbucks, and it was unlimited, but still.)

$16 for the smoked salmon, $15 for the chilaquiles,

Obviously on the Riverwalk you are really paying for the view/atmosphere.  The food was really impressive, but the prices were a little out of whack, even compared to other restaurants on the walk.

That being said, the portions were out-of-control big.  So my recommend is, definitely GO!  But share a breakfast entree.  The other option they had was a buffet for $18 that looked awesome.  I never find buffets to be that great of a deal- I guess I just don't eat enough (surprising) to make it worth the $$. 

How about you? Do you like gourmet buffets? Any hidden hot spots in San Antonio?

More to come...See ya!  

Friday, October 8, 2010

Quick post! Yummy fall recipe

Hey y'all (I'm from Massachusetts so I can't pull y'all off in real life.  But on the blog, fair game.  It makes me feel all Paula Deen-eqsue.)

So anyway.

Hey y'all!

I'm short on time this week but I wanted to share an awesome recipe with you.

It's a hearty vegetable stew.  Inspired by my good friends El and Mark (they made me some for lunch today, albeit a different recipe.  I love free lunch! Thanks guys!)

I love soups and stews in the fall.  And this one satisfies that craving without being too high in fat or calories.

Sweet potatoes; peeled and diced (I use 2)
1 cup of white potato, peeled and diced
Turnips;peeled and diced
Carrots; sliced

Shallots; 4-6 halved (yum!)
Vidalia onion; 1, quartered, chunky
Roasted garlic 4 cloves
Kale; torn leaves
Olive oil; 2 tbs
Red wine; 1 cup
Whole wheat flour; enough to coat vegetables
Rosemary; fresh or a few pinches
Thyme; fresh or a few pinches
Bay leaf; 1
Cayenne pepper; few dashes
Fresh ground pepper

Vegetable stock (you can use beef stock for a richer taste if you aren't serving vegetarians.)  I always use the lower sodium stock or sometimes make my own.

So basically what you do is saute the shallots and onion in the bottom of the soup pot until caramelized. Add the garlic.

Meanwhile, mix all the veggies (except the kale!) in a large bowl and coat in flour.  Add the vegetables and the wine to the pot and cook through (about 10 min.) 

Add the stock, and seasonings.  Cook until consistency is similar to stew (about 20 min on low-med)Then stir in kale, and remove bay leaf. 

I'll post a photo when we make this.  It's even better as leftovers!

Have a fabulous and yummy weekend!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Freezer Chili- another recipe from the "Freezes Beautifully" category

Right now on my counter is a Crock Pot (seldom used device in this house) that is simmering some Chili Con Carne.

Chili is a dish that originated in Texas. Since Eric and I are planning a trip to San Antonio, I thought this chili would be a perfect meal. See here for the original San Antonio Chili recipe: along with a ton of other fun facts about chili.

But onto our chili. Eric took a little freezer inventory recently and found some pork and sirloin. Just odds and ends that we had frozen after a meal (lots of leftovers when you cook for two.) So he threw them into the Rachel Ray dutch oven, seared them, and cooked them for approximately eleventy-million hours (a technical term meaning a long time- but really about 20 minutes.)

Here's the chili recipe he uses:

3 pounds stew meat (beef, pork, and/or lamb)
2 teaspoons peanut oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 (12-ounce) bottle of beer, preferably a medium ale
1 (16-ounce) container salsa
30 tortilla chips (crushed)
2 chipotle peppers canned in adobo sauce, chopped
1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from the chipotle peppers in adobo)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
He cooked the meats in the oil for about 20 minutes, deglazed the pan with the beer, and basically threw it all into the crockpot. It's been cooking for about 12 hours on low.

Top with sour cream, some yummy cheese (we like Monterey Jack) and some fresh chives or cilantro.

Added bonus: The house smells lovely!

Every cook (I think) has an awesome, unique chili recipe. What's your secret??

Recipe: Sausage and Kale Lasagna

I love this recipe! Kale (or couve in Portuguese) is a great leafy green that holds up well despite the high heat and long baking time. You could probably experiment with spinach if you don't like kale, or can't find it.

The sausage adds some amazing flavor and texture. We used spicy Italian, but I think that chorizo or linguica might have been nice, too. (Eric and I disagree on this point. Since I write the blog though.... (evil laugh here))

We baked for 45 minutes at 400 degrees, then broiled it for 2-3 minutes.

The other thing I love about this recipe is that it "Freezes Beautifully" (Steel Magnolias reference....anyone? anyone?) so Eric whipped up two and froze one for later use.

We enjoyed this once with our friends Josh and Jess, and then Friday night with our friend Pat. Good reviews all around.

Here's the only bad thing. It serves 8, and 1 serving (not that big) is TEN Weight watcher points. Not exactly light fare. As Michael Pollan says, "Treat treats as treats." In other words, don't have Eric's lasagna every night. Or for lunch the next day. Because I definitely didn't do that. (OK I did but I didn't calculate the points until much, much later. And I repented.)

Martha Stewart recipe via (the only adaptation we made was more cheese- always a good call.)

12 ounce(s) spicy Italian sausage, removed from casings and crumbled
2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced (4 cups)
1 bunch(es) (1 1/2 pounds) kale, thick stems removed
4 clove(s) garlic, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
8 ounce(s) (about 9 noodles) lasagna noodles , each broken crosswise into 4 to 6 pieces
1 pint(s) cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
3 cup(s) part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup(s) finely grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a 5-quart pot, cook sausage over medium heat, stirring often, until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in onions; cover, and cook until softened, 5 minutes. Uncover; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
Add kale and 1/2 cup water to pot; season with salt and pepper. Cover; cook over medium-low heat, tossing occasionally, until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain; coarsely chop. Transfer to bowl with onions.
Meanwhile, cook noodles 2 minutes less than package instructions. Drain; rinse under cold water.
Add noodles, tomatoes, and ricotta to the bowl; season with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Toss well. Pour into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; smooth top with a spatula. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until golden brown, about 40 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.
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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lazy Man's Dinner!

We were both feeling lazy-city tonight, and it's my TV night (holla at Project Runway!)

So Eric whipped up this <--- bruschetta with a few ciabatta rolls sliced, brushed with olive oil. He threw on some yummy tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil from the waning herb garden, and some onions.**   We hung on the couch munched, drank some wine (Valley of the Moon Pinot Blanc) and were generally adorable. Another favorite lazy night meal of mine is omelets. I adore the incredible, edible egg. What's your favorite lazy day dinner?

Edit ** I forgot the best part! Shredded mozzarella and some peccarino romano melted on top.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rainy Tuesday: Great Movie Meals

Here I am, home sick on a rainy Tuesday afternoon, and watching Julie and Julia. Literally one of my favorite movies, even before the whole food-blog 'thing.' It's such a great story, and I just adore Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci. Can't beat 'em.

My favorite scene (in case you were wondering) is the scene where she makes bruschetta. I literally want to jump through the TV for some of those beautiful tomatoes.

So without much ado, my off-the-cuff list of great movie meals:

1. Julie and Julia- the bruschetta scene not withstanding, there are (obviously) a lot of great meals here. My second favorite is when Amy Adams eat her poached egg. "It tastes like cheese sauce. Yum."

2. Lady and the Tramp- Lamest girl ever? Yes. Still a great scene though, with the iconic red checked table cloth. Plus I love pasta, so this is a win for me.

3. Spanglish- (Ok this might just be a list of my favorite movies) Adam Sandler + Paz Vega = so romantic. But Adam Sandler + that egg sandwich = well...let's just say it looks pretty awesome.

4. Goodfellas- Prison meals with the mafia? Yes , please! This movie made my 13 year old self want to be a Mafia wife, if nothing else so I could eat that food. (Clearly, strong priorities.)

5. Eat, Pray, Love- I loved this scene before I saw it. I heard that Julia Roberts ate like, 5 bowls of pasta in the, well, eating pasta scene. Props for many other movie moments in this one, including the Italian thanksgiving.

But, what I really want to know- what scenes have I missed?

Restaurant Love 2: Rosinha's Pawtucket RI

Ok, ok. I don't live in Pawtucket. I don't even spend a lot of time there. But my second restaurant post is ANOTHER Pawtucket find. Seriously, if you live in SE Mass or Rhode Island, you are missing out if you don't check out some of the awesome eating in Pawtucket.

Portuguese food. Oh, wow. Lucky for me Eric is Portuguese (I'm Irish) so I get a lot of Portuguese fare from him and Grandma.

I won't digress too much about Portuguese-American food today (although my mouth is watering thinking about some kale soup.)

Rosinha's Restaurant is owned by Rosinha (imagine that.) She is a lovely Cape Verdean woman, and the restaurant serves both Portuguese and Cape Verdean food.

It's in a large building called the Hope Artist Village which is an old mill. It's in kind of a seedy area, so beware of that when you arrive. The building itself is pretty awesome.

Rosinha's itself has atmosphere for days. High ceiling, beautifully appointed furniture, candle light, and a wood floor to die for. It is truly beautiful, and the perfect setting for an intimate dinner.

Most importantly: the food!

(Photo from Rosinha's website)

I almost always order the paelha (same as paella, I believe) which runs you $22.95. This picture does not do it justice. I think it could literally feed 4 people (if I didn't stab them with
my fork for trying to get near it.)

It's the best paelha I've ever had, and that is saying something.

Another excellent, and less decadent choice, is Eric's favorite: Bitoque, or steak and eggs. No, it isn't breakfast. Portuguese-American restaurants will almost always offer this selection, and I'm told it's pretty popular in good ol' Portugal itself.
I didn't get a picture of the bitoque, so here's the idea:

It's a slice of fried beef (flank steak??) served in a wine sauce, with an abundance of what I call (to Eric's chagrin) vovo fries- grandma fries. They are a thick cut, not deep fried like a fast food restaurant but pan fried (I think) and they are the perfect accessory to sop up all that wine sauce.

In addition, there is a sunny side egg fried on top of the steak, which just adds to the yummy comfort factor of bitoque. AND it's only $10.95!

OH but that's not all. You also are served bread and marinated olives before your meal, which is just about enough of a meal on it's own.

Rosinha's has a solid wine selection. Usually we get Vinho Verde, but it really bothers me to pay $15 for a bottle I can buy at the store for $5. Just me? No? I'll typically have a glass and switch to water.

The only downside to Rosinha is the service can be a bit slow. I've been three times recently. Once was just Eric and I, the second was with another couple, and the third was for my birthday (about 20 people.) If you don't mind lingering over your meal, this is the perfect spot for a 2-6 person meal. The food is always delicious, freshly cooked, and authentic.

DIY Delish! And Frugal too! Creme Fraiche

Here is a great DIY that I have not tried yet, because I'm not sure what to have it with! (I'm not a berry gal and that's the best recommend I've gotten)

It's ripped out of my Good Housekeeping (Sept 2010)

Creme Fraiche

Cost: About $1

1 c heavy cream
2 tbsp low fat buttermilk (I like Kate's Homemade Butter)

1. Stir together in large clean glass jar or bowl
2. Cover tightly with lid or plastic wrap and let stand overnight, or until it's the consistency of sour cream
3. Refrigerate 5 hours

Keep in the fridge, will keep for a week.

You're saving yourself about $6.50 off the supermarket price!

What recipes/dishes do you use creme fraiche in?

Restaurant Love 1: Rasoi, Pawtucket RI.

Hey all,

I want to throw some love at a few local restaurants that we've tried and were worth shouting about. I think it's important to support local business, and I also think these restaurants are worth the trip!

Disclaimer: I am NOT a reviewer, nor am I any kind of authority. I just want to share the good experiences I have had.

Ok, here goes:
Rasoi, 727 East Ave, Pawtucket, RI. (Yes, it's the one in the Rite Aid parking lot.)

We ended up here for my good friend Julie's birthday recently. Eric makes Indian food at home, but we rarely get to go out for it. Funnily enough, I thought I had been to this place before but it was a totally different location. A happy accident, as they say.

We arrive, slightly intimidated, but excited to try some new dishes.

First off, it's pretty small. About the size of a large coffee shop. They've done a great job with separating the tables so you don't feel as though you are in a small restaurant once you are seated.

We started with drinks- I split the sangria with Kevin (a friend) and Eric and Julie ordered beers.

Appetizers: We got the Cauliflower, which was marinated and then fried. It was delicious. We also tried the Samosas, which were made with potato and homemade cheese. These were OK. The cheese was good, but the rest was a little bland. I would have like to have this during my entree (you'll see why!)


I ordered the Chana Masala, and Eric got the Lamb Vindaloo. (Side note, whenever I hear the word Vindaloo, all I can think of is the song "Punjab Paddy" by Gaelic Storm. It's a riot. You shoud download it. Now. :)

Being the adventurous eater that I am, I mentioned to the waiter that I liked spicy food. Oh what an error in judgement that was. The Chana Masala was ALREADY spicy, and they pumped up the volume for mine. It was extraordinary, but I did feel as though I would start to have blisters if I continued to eat the entire thing.

However the waiter was so incredibly gracious, he offered to replace my meal. I refused because, after all, it wasn't HIS fault that I so brazenly declared my love for spicy food in an INDIAN restaurant. And I did eat some of the leftovers with a lot of rice later that week.

So I recommend the Chana Masala, but not extra spicy. In my mind, for a first time Indian food eater, vegetarian is the way to go. Rasoi offers a very large list of vegetarian entrees, which I loved.

Eric's Lamb Vindaloo was awesome. Seriously. I couldn't recommend a dish more highly. It was tender, spicy, and sweet, and just lovely.

We finished off the meal with some homemade vanilla ice cream that had a touch of what I think was ginger. Perfect!

Rasoi is extremely accommodating, offering gluten free, dairy free, and vegan options.
They also have an all-you-can eat gluten free vegan buffet on Saturdays.

I can truly recommend this restaurant- it was a wonderful experience.

Adventures in Pasta Making

Eric and I both have a love for doing things from scratch. I'm not sure if this is something that will fade with age, or more responsibility, but for now, we both enjoy it. I think I read a little too much Little House on the Prairie as a kid.

So I wasn't too surprised when Eric wanted to make his own pasta.

I was pleasantly surprised when he bought the $30 hand-crank rather than the $179 Kitchenaid attachment. (Much love Kitchenaid, but let's be serious, here.)

His first pasta experiment was linguine. We've since upgraded to adding herbs and whole-wheat flour, but the first recipe was the basic Kitchenaid-approved one.

For those of you playing along, here's what he does:

4 large eggs (certified humane if you're cooking at my house! and if I have the $$ to shell out for them!)
1 tbsp water
3 1/2 c sifted flour (we use
all purpose but I've heard cake flour is more legit)

Mix for 30 seconds with the flat beater
Then attached the dough hook for 2 minutes

He pulls it out and hand kneads it for another minute or so, then wraps it in Stretch-Tite and lets it rest for 20 minutes, or until he's ready for it.

Here he is preparing to conquer the pasta-maker. It was a bit rocky
at first but he picked it up pretty quickly.

Homemade meatballs and sauce made by my awesome husband!

My DIY effort at making the patio look cute. At least I found a use for those wine bottles!

What are your DIY decor ideas for dinner parties?

Do you like making things homemade?

Recipe: Tortilla Soup

I'm really bad at photographing dishes- hopefully I'll be improving quickly!

Here is a great recipe for cool New England nights. I like tortilla soup because it has the spice of chili but it's not as heavy.

A nice addition to this soup was the pan fried tortilla strips Eric threw together. Decadent and delicious, they tasted like butter. I think he used vegetable oil in a skillet.

Anyway. Eric loves to improvise recipes, but I found a pretty close replica one at We didn't have any tomatoes, and we subbed in salsa. The result was great- I recommend this if you try it!

1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed chicken
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup whole corn kernels, cooked
1 cup white hominy
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 boneless chicken breast halves,
cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
crushed tortilla chips
sliced avocado
shredded Monterey Jack cheese
chopped green onions
1.In a medium stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic in oil until soft. Stir in chili powder, oregano, tomatoes, broth, and water. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
2.Stir in corn, hominy, chiles, beans, cilantro, and chicken. Simmer for 10 minutes.
3.Ladle soup into individual serving bowls, and top with crushed tortilla chips, avocado slices, cheese, and chopped green onion.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2010 Allrecipes.comPrinted from 9/28/201

Monday, September 27, 2010

Recipe- Oven Baked Eggplant Rounds

Here's a recipe I really like. WW recommends this as an app, but I served it recently for 6 (I cooked it, with my sister-in-law Kayla's help!) over homemade linguine that Eric made with some basil and parsley. It took about an hour to prep, but the kitchen was full of family getting the meal ready, and we all enjoyed it on the patio with some lovely cheap vinho verde (

Vinho Verde is a Portuguese wine that is so drinkable, it's a little dangerous on a hot day.

It's called "Green Wine" because it is a young wine, made to be drunk within a year (not an issue in my house.)

If you want to learn more:

Anyway- onto the recipe!

Oven Baked Eggplant Rounds (modified from a WW recipe)
1 point each

1 large eggplant, peeled
Non stick cooking spray (olive oil)
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
2 tomatoes, same diameter as the eggplant, sliced
egg whites, beaten
1/8c bread crumbs

Spray baking sheet with non stick spray

Slice eggplant into 1 inch rounds
Coat with egg white "wash"
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese
Place on baking sheet, bake at 475 for 15 minutes

Take out, place tomato slices on top of eggplants, sprinkle lightly with bread crumbs, spray with non-stick spray
Place back in oven for 3 minutes

Tonight's menu

Not exactly sure where this whole "blogging" thing should begin. But since I'm also a weight watcher, I figured a little daily food journal would at least get us started.


Breakfast: Fiber One bar (Oats and Chocolate= amazing) 2 points

Lunch: Campbells soup at hand and oyster crackers 3 points

Dinner: It's Taco night! We have tacoes a lot, because they are easy, delicious, and WW friendly. My dinner will be 11 points.

Here's my first food tip- Morningstar Farms Meal Starter Soy Crumbles. They are awesome in tacos, and only 1 point for a CUP! That's a lot of soy crumble.

I also rock FF sour cream and RF cheese, along with FF flour tortillas. Not exactly how mama made them, but I have to compromise at times.

This is one of the reasons I wanted to explore food in my life with this blog. I would prefer to eat all homemade, local, non-chemically enhanced food. But I also don't want to weigh 1 million pounds. Plus I have to go to work, and making my food from scratch is less than feasible most days! So I make it work, in my own way. But I can't help feeling a little...dirty about it.

Have a great Monday!

Delectable= Yummy

First things first. I really wanted to name this "Our Yummy Life" but it was taken. So instead, I googled/binged synonyms, and ended up with "delectable."

At first I said, "pretentious, much?" I mean really. I eat a lot of foodie-approved fare, but I also eat my fair share of Dunkin Donuts breakfast sandwiches.

But then I looked up the definition of delectable. Here it is:

1. Highly pleasing, delightful
2. Extremely pleasing to the sense of taste; same as luscious.


Not a bad name for what I want this blog to be about: the experiences we (my husband and I) have with food, life, and where they intertwine.

I'm not a food critic, or even really a "foodie" in the way I think of it. We don't eat in fancy restaurants (usually,) and we like traditional food that we can make ourselves, when possible. We both love nothing better than a few friends at our patio table, with some candles, wine, and some family style dishes full of yummy (delectable) food.

So by way of introduction, hi! My name is AM, and my husband is Eric. We both love food. We love to talk about food, learn about it, and sometimes, even eat it.

Hopefully we'll have some interesting things (interesting to anyone but us, that is) to post here- Eric's recipes (I'm the eater- he's the cook,) great food finds, and whatever else we feel like.


"I would say to housewives, be not daunted by one failure, nor by twenty. Resolve that you will have good bread, and never cease striving after this result till you have effected it. If persons without brains can accomplish this, why cannot you?"
'Housekeeping In Old Virginia' Marion Cabell Tyree ed. (1878)

Baking bread can be a frustrating task. It sometimes seems like the results have less to do with the effort you put in, and more to do with some magic in the air. I always tell Eric that I feel like an alchemist when it comes out correctly.

Here's a photo of my bread. I'm still an amateur, but I enjoy completely everything about baking it. I'll muse about that another day, maybe.

As you can see, my bread is prettty pale. I long for a browned crispy loaf, but no luck yet. Any tips?

For now, here's the recipe and the result:

5 cups flour
1 pkg (5 grams) instant yeast
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp melted butter
2 cups warm milk

Combine 3 cups of the flour along with the sugar, instant yeast and salt in a large bowl or in the bowl of a large electric mixer that uses a dough hook. Add the melted butter and warm milk. Using a wooden spoon or the regular paddle of your electric mixer beat for 4-5 minutes until the mixture is smooth with no lumps. If using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook at this point and begin to slowly incorporate the remaining 2 cups of flour.

Cover dough and leave to rest and rise for one hour.

At this point, I grease a baking sheet, shape the loaves haphazardly, and bake.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 30-40 minutes depending on the size of the pans that you are using.
When baked, turn loaves out onto a wire rack to cool. Brush the tops with melted butter if desired to soften the top crust.