Where’s the Beef?

For the past year or so, I’ve been slow growing more serious about weight lifting.  About three month ago, I upped my protein goal to 130g per day (or more).  As you can imagine, given my height and size, fairly large percentage of my caloric intake is meat.  Lots and lots of meat.  Meat for breakfast. Meat for lunch. Meat for dinner.  Meat for snacks.  Yep. Meat snacks.  Sounds a bit off-putting, huh? Well, it’s not. It’s delicious.  One reason? Mingua (pronounced Ming-gee) Beef Jerky.  This shit is additive.

Original image by RealFoodTraveler.com

Everyone I know that has tried Mingua Jerky is also addicted. In fact, Chris’s company is classified as a wholesaler so they can order it directly from the company in bulk.  Yep. It’s that good.  Locally, I’ve found it as Mapco, but it’s worth buying it in mass from the company.

Grab a bag.  It’s low in fat & carbs, high in protein.  (And sodium. Drink some water.) It’s also high in nomnomnom.

Apples to Apples

Categories: Cecilia , Foodie | No Comments

When Cecilia was about 18 months, I was giving myself a big pat on the back because she was an awesome eater and enjoying all sorts of foods, like asparagus and tofu.  I knew I was doing a great service to her by introducing her to different foods early on.

But then she turned two.

Suddenly, she hated everything except hot dogs and applesauce, and even then, those foods had certain rules.  Hot dogs need ketchup, and the applesauce had to be the squeezy packet kind.  Homemade, home canned organic applesauce wasn’t good enough.  It needed a cap.

Thankfully Cecilia’s starting to come out of that a little bit.  She’s starting to eat salad with dressing and applesauce in individual container.  Once again, tofu is a favorite.  However, some stuff is still a toss up.  She hates melon, loves grapes.  She’ll only eat carrots that have cooked all day with a roast.  It’s just trial and error.

Today, however, was a big win.  Last night I grabbed a bunch of apples from the bargain bin at the grocery store.  You know, the ones with a spot on them and need to be consumed immediately.  Normally I only buy squash or something that is easy to prepare and consume a lot of at one time.  It had been a while since I made dried fruit in my awesome food dehydrator, and I thought apple chips would make a good snack.

I have to admit that I was a little frustrated while cutting up 15 pieces of fruit, but it was totally worth it this morning when I discovered Cecilia LOVES dried apples.  Fresh apples are one of those toss up fruits for her - some days she’ll eat it, some days she just gives it to the dog - but she can’t get enough dried apples.  And it’s a big bonus that I know where the apples came from and that NOTHING was added to them. It’s just fruit - no sugars, no preservatives.  Looks like I’ll be shopping that bargain fruit bin a little more.

dried apple lover

That Was the Point

This morning I noticed that a couple of the broccoli plants in my garden were bolting.  I had completely neglected them while outside, focusing primarily on the peas and hoeing the garden.  Plus we got our first CSA box from Real Food Farms so our household veggies needs had been met.  When I went outside to cut the stalk, I felt overwhelmed.  How was I ever going to cook and serve all these vegetables? But then I remembered, the whole point to growing a garden and subscribing to a CSA was to put away organic, healthy foods for the fall and winter.  I spent the rest of my morning blanching broccoli and flash freezing it in the deep freezer.  After I got back from lunch with the girls, I tossed the frozen broccoli in freezer bags and put it in the deep freezer.  I have the feeling future Kelly will be rather grateful.  Hopefully she doesn’t mind the yellow parts that were a day or so away from blooming.

broccoli

Pantry Raid, Con’t

Categories: cooking , Foodie | 2 Comments

I went to the store tonight, but I only bought ice cream, bananas, pickles, and apricot jam.  The first two items were already considered essentials.  If you ask any member of my family, pickles are a necessity.  I ran out of apricot jam last week because sleepingKelly decided it would make a good midnight snack.  That didn’t bother me too much since it’s sugar-free and only 10 calories per tablespoon.  However, when she ate all of my homemade blackberry (made by my sister), I was rather irritated.

Anyway, here’s the run down of the food for the  past week.

Thursday (I was home alone because Chris was speaking at a conference):
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Leftover chicken in a flatout wrap with parmesan and hummus.  Served with leftover grilled vegetables and cucumber & tomato salad (from the garden).

Friday:
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Turkey burgers (leftover from Cecilia’s birthday party) on homemade buns.  Baked sweet potato fries (dusted with a little brown sugar), strawberries (purchased for a mom’s group brunch), and the last of the cucumber & tomato salad.

Saturday: We ordered pizza. Chris was at his conference all day and was sick.  I spent all day sewing and being the parent in charge. I was tired too.

Sunday:
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Fried rice (loosely based on this recipe) with sauteed zucchini strings and strawberries.

Monday: Sunday leftovers.

Tuesday:
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Bisquick pancakes topped with smashed organic blueberries.  (When you have delicious blueberries, who needs syrup?)  I also decided that Chris is the official pancake cooker.  I screwed up the first 6 or so.

Wednesday:
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Rubbed grilled chicken, grilled onions, garlicky peas topped with Parmesan cheese, and golden potatoes & carrots (here’s the recipe - don’t use my picture as a guideline because I cooked my potatoes too long).

So far, so good!  I did repeat grilled chicken, but tomorrow we’re have pork so that should add some variety.  We’re out of cereal so we’ll probably start eating eggs for breakfast.  We also have plenty of oatmeal and frozen zucchini bread muffins. The freezer still looks pretty full, and the garden has plenty of veggies growing!  It should continue to be a tasty month!

Pantry Raid

Categories: cooking , Foodie | 2 Comments

Did you notice that I stopped posting my monthly New Year’s Resolution updates? Oh. You didn’t? Good.

As you might recall, one of those resolutions was to spend less and save more.  Well, that all went to shit after we installed our new fence and had to go into credit card debt for the first time in two years to do so.  You’d think that would scare me straight when it comes to spending, but it didn’t.  With Chris working more, I’ve been finding comfort in shopping.  Things have gotten a bit out of hand.

My crazy shopping habit extends past clothes and household items.  It involves food.  Heck, it’s mostly food.  I really enjoy cooking and truly feel a stocked pantry is essential.  However, there’s a tipping point when you cross the threshhold from a foodie to a food hoarder, and I think I’ve crossed it.  I’ve got a full pantry, freezer/fridge, and deep freezer.

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In order to save money and not let food go to waste, I’m going to avoid going to the grocery store until September.  The only exceptions will be for milk, eggs, ice cream, beer, and bananas.  (The last three are Chris’s essentials.)  After deciding to do this, I made a list of all the meals that I could make with the food in my stash without running out of ingredients.

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I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I have multiple varieties fish, chicken, pork, beef, and tofu in my freezer and fridge.  Let’s all say it together: Hoarder.  I also have lots of fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables in addition to the ones growing in my garden.  If there’s a natural disaster and food is scarce, you know who to see.

So it’s going to be interesting to see where my culinary journey will take us throughout the month.  It might get slim towards August 31st, but I doubt it. More than likely, it might lead to the bottom of my deep freezer. (Might is the key word there.)

Here’s yesterday’s dinner: Tilapia covered with BBQ rub, roasted squash, and curried rice (brown rice, curry, raisins, and pine nuts).

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And tonight’s dinner: Grilled BBQ chicken, roasted vegetables (portobello mushrooms, garden grown carrots & squash, onions), grilled onions, and leftover curried rice.

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Lemon Cucumbers

I know things have been a bit quiet around here.  It’s been pretty uneventful since we returned from Florida. Truthfully, I’ve just been too tired to blog, but there will be more on that later. (And, no, I’m not pregnant.)  In the meantime, I thought I’d leave you with a picture of one of the lemon cucumbers from my rather overgrown garden.  Lemon cucumbers are considered an heirloom vegetable.  They aren’t necessarily lemony, but they do have a lighter, crisper taste compared to other cukes.  Every day last week, I ate a lemon cucumber, garden tomato, hummus, and Parmesan pita sandwich for lunch. It was delicious!  If you ever get the opportunity to buy lemon cukes, whether at your local Farmers Market or Whole Foods, I highly recommend it.

Lemon Cucumber

Favorite Recipe Search (FRS) - Dinner Doctor

Categories: FRS , Foodie | No Comments

When I started writing my “To Do” list, I knew that it would take a life time to complete.  However, I didn’t fully grasp the amount of time that it would take me to complete what appeared to be a simple task:

100. Find a favorite recipe in every cookbook I own

For a girl that is only 26 years old, I own quite a few cookbooks. Several that I’ve never used, and many that I’ve only used a handful of times. It’s going to take some time to scour over their pages to find recipes that I’d like to try, let alone my favorite.

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I decided to start with the Dinner Doctor by Anne Byrn. I chose this one because I’ve never used it and the whole premise is easy, fast cooking with basic ingredients that are usually in your pantry. My first trial recipe was “Warm Curried Carrot Soup.” We really like soup in this house. In fact, I whip up vegetable soup soup and chili pretty regularly. However, they always have meat so I was a little hesitant to make a meatless soup. But, like the book’s claim, it was easy and fast.

first book

Since it’s under copyright protection, I can’t share the recipes with you. However, here’s a picture of the ingredients. Probably stuff you have in your house already except the ginger. We always have ginger. It’s great to use in marinades, but I don’t use it enough to buy a fresh ginger root. In my experience, the jarred stuff is just as good. I’m sure food critics would disagree but they can shove it.

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Here’s a picture of most of the ingredients cooking. Doesn’t look too appetizing; sorta like the mess that bubbles out of the garbage disposal when the dishwasher is running when we haven’t run the disposal for fear of waking the baby.

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In several of the soup recipes, Anne’s instructions say to pour the cooked mixture into a food processor or blender and puree. However, there is a tool that will save you the frustration of pour hot liquid back and forth, an immersion blender. This fantastic red KitchenAid one was given to us as a wedding gift by Chris’s good friend and groomsman, Jim. I put it on our registry because I wanted to make some tasty soups, but so far, I’ve only used it to make milk shakes. Finally, I get to use it for soups!

immersion blender

So here’s the soup after the puree. Notice the circle imprint from the immersion blender.

final simmer

After pureed, I mixed in the final ingredient. It made the soup creamer. Then I served it up in a lovely white bowl.

Warm Curried Carrot Soup

The soup was pretty good. Though you could taste the spices, it was rather plain. I think it would be nice opening course for chicken satay or with a grilled cheese sandwich with fancy cheese. Coconut milk would probably make it better too, but that is an ingredient most people don’t keep around which would defeat the purpose.

Final Verdict: It’s not my favorite recipe. There are several tantalizing ones in the book so I’ve got high hopes.

Do You Want Chips with That?

Categories: Foodie , Picklings | 1 Comment


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With the exception of the occasional taste for chocolate, most of my pregnancy cravings have been salty/savory related. That was the case this morning as I arrived at work. After stopping by the bathroom for my bi-hourly potty break, I detoured to the vending closet before going to my office. I thought I’d check out their chip selection. Normally I avoid chips, but a salty crunch treat sounded really good. I scanned the selections, which included salt and vinegar chips - my go-to flavor. Then I stumbled upon this gem, Burger King Fries and Ketchup flavored potato snack. Ewww. That killed my craving.

As my sister pointed out to me, fries are potatoes so essentially it’s a ketchup flavored chip. I discovered that they are made by the Inventure Group, a company that prides themselves on unique varieties of food. I like strange things..but ketchup? really? I could just buy regular chips and slather the condiment on myself, but I guess that would be messy. I guess deep down I can understand a ketchup chip. My dad really loves the stuff and has been known to put it in chili (with sweet pickle juice). However, nothing can explain the Flame Broiled Burger flavored chip. Mmmm…taste the carcinogenic cow….


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Farm Fresh Franklin

At one point in time I thought that I would never move outside of Metro Nashville. I thought I was too hip and cool to be suburbanized. But once my partying-until-I-puke days were over, I realized that raising children within Davidson county left one with something to be desired, and we bought our house in Franklin.

Franklin is a fantastic town. I’m convinced that everyone should want to live here, and believe me, once you do, you’ll never want to leave. The downtown area is designed after European towns and is filled with lots of boutiques, antique shops, and local restaurants. Once a month there is a festival, and they shut down traffic and the streets fill up with vendors. (This usually includes the best kettle corn vendor of all time.)

Another great feature about Franklin is the weekly Farmer’s Market. Even though it’s not nearly as diverse and sprawling as the Nashville Farmer’s Market, it has plenty to choose from with a quaint, cozy atmosphere. You can find an assortment of fruits and vegetables along with an array of homemade goods like quilts, soaps, jewelry, cheeses, and fried pies. As you tour the booths and meet the friendly folks, a bluegrass band plays for the crowd. It feels like something straight out of Mayberry.

Today we stopped and got a couple different squashes and a cantaloupe. If you’ve only limited yourself to store-bought cantaloupe, you’re really missing out. I’m not sure what takes place from the farm to the grocery store, but it takes away from the flavor. There is nothing better than a melon fresh from the vine. It tastes like sweet suburbanization.

cantaloupe

Tasty Until the Cows Come Home

Categories: Foodie | No Comments

Yesterday, after we finished our work out at the Y, the indomitable and I went to Petsmart to enroll Lucy in puppy training classes and buy her a few new toys. Once we finished there, we ran next door to Publix because I was in need of basil and the indomitable was out of cereal. We left the grocery store with one package of basil, two boxes of cereal bars, and five boxes of cereal, and only one was selected by the indomitable. I think we are all familiar with what happens when a PMSing hungry woman goes to the store.

Normally I select plain cereals that are high in fiber, like FiberOne and plain bran flakes. These allow me to further pursue my hobby of pooping. However, last night I was captivated by a new cereal, Chocolate Chex. I thought it would make for a great dessert that was both delicious and, with the combination of milk, full of osteoporosis-preventing calcium.

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In fact, they are delicious. They may be too good since we I haven’t managed to stop eating them long enough to add milk. I seriously doubt they’ll be a staple in our indomitably-sleeping household since these things start to loose their healthy quality when consumed in mass quantities. However, I highly recommend them for people with will power. And luckily for you doubting Thomases out there, Walmart has free samples on their website.