Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Tip for the Mamas-to-be*...

My midwife says I'm eating too much fruit and not enough vegetables. And that I should be eating the veggies raw. And that I need more Vitamin C in my diet. Unfortunately, I'd developed an aversion to raw veggies, and cutting out oranges meant LESS Vitamin C, so I had to get creative!

Bell Peppers (blech :P) have TONS of Vitamin C in them, apparently. And since we pregnant ladies also need TONS of protein, I've been snacking on "Hummus"-stuffed bell peppers!

For the "hummus" drain 1 fifteen ounce can garbanzo beans, reserving liquid. Add the beans with 1/3 c. olive oil to blender, with garlic to your taste (I used to be the Garlic Queen, but now I'm very sensitive to it!) and blend away until smooth, adding the reserved liquid as needed. Drizzle a little lemon, and salt to taste, over the top of the hummus and stir it in, and stuff it into your washed and halved peppers.

Vitamin C-Protein snackables!

*Well, and for anyone who needs more Vitamin C, less fruit, and more protein in their diet! :P

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Louisiana-Style Picadillo

It's been so long since I've posted-- partly because I didn't have a kitchen to cook in while I lived in Rome. We had an amazing cook, Anna, who fed us very well. But now I'm back to cooking for myself. And to honor my new Southern dwelling, I give you a dish that calls for okra. Hey, I have to fit in around here...

I'm not sure what makes this "Louisiana-Style." Picadillo usually comes from Spanish-speaking countries, and it's usually ground beef, tomatoes, and a variety of other ingredients. The mom of one of my friends, Marisa, makes an amazing picadillo, so when I was browsing through a cookbook and saw this, I decided to try it.

Prep-time: 30 minutes

2 c uncooked instant white rice
2 1/2 c water
1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 c chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 c sliced okra (or 1 10 oz pkg frozen cut okra, thawed)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t ground red pepper (cayenne)
1/4 t pepper
1 (15 or 15.5 oz) can kidney beans, drained, rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes seasoned with green peppers and onion, undrained

1. Cook rice in 2 cups of water as directed on packaged. Cover to keep warm.

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium-high heat until beef is thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. Drain.

3. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup of water and all remaining ingredients except rice. Cover; simmer 10 minutes or until okra is tender, stirring occasionally. Serve okra mixture over rice. If desired, sprinkle with sliced green onions.

**Of course, I didn't follow directions (what's new?). When I was at the grocery store, all I saw on my list was "red pepper." I didn't remember what recipe I needed it for, so I thought it was a red pepper... like the vegetable. Well, for some reason, the grocery store didn't have red peppers, so I bought an orange one. When I got home and realized my mistake, I just decided to dice to orange pepper and throw it in when I was cooking the meat, onions, and garlic. And you know what? It was really good!! This is one of those dishes you can throw anything in! And, I'm sure it's one of those dishes that will be great leftover, as the flavors mesh together... mmmm....

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

BBQ Anything!

I'm not sure if I've posted this recipe before on my blog or on this one, but here it is. This recipe comes from my neighbor Tara who is a goddess in the kitchen. I called her one day after searching and searching for a bbq sauce recipe that wasn't spicy and didn't call for alcohol as all the ones I was finding online and in my cookbooks did. I know I can always call Tara when I need a recipe for something that excludes the alcohol, because she's Mormon and doesn't ever use it!! She's got loads of alternative recipes. Anyway, here it is:

3/4 c Ketchup
1 c Water
2 T Vinegar (white)
1 pkg. Onion Soup (the dry kind, I use Lipton, and sometimes I use Beefy Onion)
1/4 c Honey(I think you can substitute sugar)
4 T Soy Sauce
2 T Worcestershire Sauce

You just mix it all up in a bowl and pour it over whatever you're making. It's not a thick sauce, but it does thicken slightly when you cook it. The first thing I made it for was barbecue chicken wings. I just put the wings and the sauce together in a cast iron skillet on the stove top. Today I'm making it with pulled pork in the crock pot. But I imagine you could use it for whatever dish you want!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Birthday Waffles...

...for my sweetie
Dan loves the Cubs so I thought he would enjoy this. The waffles aren't homemade. I wanted to make the kind that sit over night but his parents had us out last night and we got home too late for my tired body to do any cooking. He loved his surprise all the same!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Catching Up

At my sister's request, I finally have added back our cooking links. Please let me know if they are any good ones that I'm missing and you'd like to have up there. I'm sure I missed some. I'd be happy to add more.

My rotating the same meals about every two weeks did not work out for us. Maybe this was because I tried to start right before our move. I don't know. But it was helpful in that I am finally figuring out what our family eats weekly and in what amounts. Which means that even though my meals may vary, the ingredients and the shopping list stay pretty standard.

I've also learned to stick to Aldi's for most of our stuff. I can't swing the prices at the other stores around here. At least so far. There are lots of little side markets that I'd like to try: Billy's Fruit Market and Pan's Foods to name a few. They intrigue me. But I'm too much of a wimp to venture in on my own.

Maybe when my mom comes back to visit...

Farmer's Market Pizza

Hello, again!

It's been awhile since I've posted either here OR on my own cooking space, mostly since I've been in a food-rut: protein, protein, protein!! There's only so much I can do with the, any veggies or fruit I've been eating have been pretty much straight from my shopping bag to my tummy, since fresh, organic produce from the Farmer's Market just really doesn't need to be improved on, in my book! :)

HOWEVER. We had a visitor this week, and I wanted her to meet some of my local friends, AND see some of the local color, so we downtown to meet some folks at the Thursday Farmer's Market, where we picked out some fresh veggies, and took them home to put on homemade pizza!

Here are the toppings we came up with:

Zebra-striped eggplant
, summer squash, pepperoni and (sauteed) garlic.

Zebra-striped eggplant, mushroom and bell pepper.

Summer squash, banana pepper and pepperoni. (In the words of our houseguest: "It wasn't too hot...more 'tingly' than spicy!")

It was fun to try different combinations of these delicious (and beautiful!) veggies! It's a great way to get everyone involved in the cooking process, and I imagine it would make kids more enthusiastic about eating their vegetables! ;)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I Forgot to Post Here...

...that I haven't been posting because I've joined the ranks of Anne, Erin, and Jill in being pregnant! I'm still in the first trimester and there seems to be a new change everyday and from what I hear I might as well get used to that.

Happy Pregnancy!