Wednesday, November 2, 2011
It's been a while, I know it. But so much has happened in these past 8-9 months and I just got caught up with life. I've started a new site over on Wordpress that will help you understand where we've been. I didn't have a baby or anything like that, but we bought a house and I'm trying to get a new blog to go along with it. New house, new life, new blog. I'll still be talking about the same stuff but in a new format. Come follow me at Next Stop: Our House (nextstopourhouse.com) and I'll try to pick up where I left off. I appreciate your patience and your support, and I look forward to having you guys meet me over there.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
I am a garlic whore. Yes, I’ll admit it. I put garlic in just about everything (savory that is,) so much so that Dennis feels like I’m overpowering the food. Overpowering? What? You can never have too much garlic!
I found this recipe on the Food Network while watching it at work during lunch. Yes, my job is that cool.
I knew I had to try it because I love garlic, I love pizza, and since the Mr. always complains about homemade pizza, (“it just doesn’t taste as good!!”) I thought this would be worth a shot.
And, it’s easy. I mean, really easy. Thanks Sandra Lee!!
Quick and Easy White Pizza adapted from Semi Home Cooking with Sandra Lee (click HERE for original recipe)
What I used:
- One package of Crescent Roll biscuits (in the can)
- 1/3 cup garlic Alfredo sauce
- 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
- 1/4 onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, diced
- 4 T shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
What I did:
Preheat oven to 400.
- Open the can (wait for the POP! It scares me every time)
- Roll out the dough on a cookie sheet. Press down to make even and stretch out as much as you can without breaking the dough
- Place in oven for about 7 minutes, or until crust starts to brown
Doesn’t this look awesome? I could just eat the dough plain!
- Remove from oven and put on your toppings. Start with the Alfredo sauce, then onions, then garlic, cheese, and seasonings. (that’s how I did it)
- Bake for another 8-10 minutes
It’s not traditional, but it’s quick, easy, and pretty darned tasty. And I love Crescent rolls, so that made everything even better. The buttery, flaky crust mixed with the garlic and cheese…sooo good.
This would be good to take to a party. You can cut it into squares, put some maranara on the side, stick with toothpicks and BAM! Instant appetizer.
And who can say no to pizza?
Monday, March 7, 2011
When I was a kid, my mom and I used to eat New England Clam Chowder out of a can. How shameful.
When we moved to Boston in ‘06, we tried so many different kinds of NE clam chowder. Some were more watery, some were thicker. Some had huge clam chunks, some had smaller ones. We watched specials on the making of the perfect clam chowder, clipped many magazine recipes, and searched high and low online. After all that research, perfection was made.
I like mine chunky; full of potatoes and large pieces of clam. And I also like it creamy. Dennis prefers it served in bread bowl, but we’re not that fancy.
And in case you couldn’t already figure it out, there is nothing healthy about this recipe. You’ve been warned.
New England Clam Chowder
- 4 (6 1/2 oz.) cans minced clams with juice
- 6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 4 medium baking potatoes, chopped in 1/2" cubes
- 1 large onion, minced
- 1-1/2 Tbsp. garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup water retained from steaming clams
- 1 cup clam juice
- 1/2 cup dry white cooking wine
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 2 T corn starch (or to desired consistency)
- 1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
- Oyster crackers
- In a large frying pan, cook bacon and potatoes over medium heat for 5-7 minutes
- Add onion and garlic and cook for an additional 3 minutes
- Transfer contents of frying pan to a large soup pot. Add chopped clams, clam juice and white wine and cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, approximately 15 minutes
- Stir in thyme, salt and pepper
- Reduce heat to low. Add corn starch gradually to milk and stir until thick and smooth.
- Add milk/cornstarch mixture slowly, then the heavy cream, stirring frequently until chowder begins to thicken slightly
- Serve with oyster crackers (or not. I don’t need them)
This was better than any canned recipe could ever be, and it wasn’t that difficult to make. I found a recipe for the CrockPot that I might try next, only because I love my CrockPot.
And you know what else made this chowder so good? I didn’t make it. Dennis did. With a little company.
Do you prefer New England style clam chowder or Manhattan?
I like the NE style for a special treat because it’s so rich and heavy, but since the Manhattan style is tomato based, it’s a lot better for your waistline.
Friday, March 4, 2011
Ok, ok, wipe the drool off your mouth. I know when I found this recipe on Tuesday afternoon that it took everything I had not to dive into the computer and attempt to eat one. Just seeing “Nutella” in a recipe title is enough to keep my attention, so I won’t waste any time.
Nutella Cookies, taken from here
- 1 cup Nutella
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup AP flour
- 1 egg
Preheat oven to 350F.
Beat sugar with egg first. Add flour. Then add Nutella.
WARNING: Your batter will be crumbly and you will think you made a mistake. I know I did. I added some water to the batter just to make it workable. This batter was much too dry to hold a shape.
Roll them into 1 inch balls and flatten them with the back of a glass. Bake for 9-10 minutes.
The cookies on the left had water added to the batter. The cookies to the right did not. They tasted the same but the drier batter made for more crumbly cookies.
I hate to say it, but I wasn’t ALL that impressed. However, Dennis and my co-workers really liked them. One of my co-workers said he thought it was be a good breakfast cookie because it’s not too sweet and would pair well with coffee.
Don’t be afraid to try these just because I didn’t care for them. I don’t like peanut butter cookies but I love peanut butter, so I’m not a good judge here. If you like Nutella, give these a try. It’s a simple recipe that takes no time at all, and you probably already have everything in your pantry. We always have Nutella on hand, but if you don’t, it’s pretty cheap and available everywhere.
I’m not done working with Nutella though. My mom’s coming into town this weekend…I might have something up my sleeve.
Have you tried baking with Nutella?
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
wasted spent the first 25 years being afraid of Indian food. I had never tried it and for some reason, was scared at the thought. Curry, for SURE, is a weird spice that would definitely give me a stomach ache. Cardamom? What is that? Tumeric? What are these strange spices that you want me to consume? (ha! these thoughts coming form a Puerto Rican who grew up eating things that others would find weird too.)
Luckily, one of Dennis’ best friends from college is from Mumbai. He turned him on to his native cooking from the start, and it’s now Dennis’ favorite cuisine. When we first started dating, he insisted on taking me to his favorite Indian restaurant from college up in Rochester NY. I wont lie; I was scurrrd. But 6 years later, it’s now one my favorite cuisines as well.
Tip: If you’re going to try a new cuisine for the first time, go to a lunch buffet. I usually hate buffets, but it’s the only way to try lots of different things, allowing you to figure out what you like.
Since I have half of my 5 pound bag of lentils still sitting in my pantry, I decided to give Daal a shot. I found this recipe from my favorite veggie slowcooker book and went to town.
Slow Cooked Daal with Quinoa
Adapted from Here
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 tsp minced fresh minced ginger (I used ground ginger)
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp tumeric
- 1/2 ground cardamom (I didn’t have any)
- 1/2 tsp dry mustard
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp ground curry
- 1 1/2 cups dried brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
- 1 15 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (I used pink beans)
- 3 cups water
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Pour the oil into a 4-quart slow cooker and set it on high
- In a food processor, puree the onion, garlic and ginger and add it to the cooker. Cover and cook to mellow the flavor and remove the raw taste while you assemble the other ingredients. Stir in the spices and cook, Stir for 30 seconds.
- Turn the setting to Low. Add the lentils, beans and water. Cover and cook for 8 hours. Before serving, season with salt and pepper and adjustthe others if necessary.
Most of the time, Indian dishes such as Daal are accompanied with basmati rice. I didn’t have any, so I decided to use Quinoa instead.
What I loved about this recipe is that it’s easy, it’s packed with protein, and my house smelled so good while it was cooking. I mixed it in with the quinoa but it can also be eaten plain and of course, the traditional way with basmati rice. The spices are not overpowering but they’re prevalent.
What’s your take on Indian food? Love it or hate it?
Monday, February 28, 2011
After Friday’s cry about Otto the cat, I started doing a lot of thinking about being a meat eater. Dennis made this awesome ribeye steak marinated in a sweet and spicy type sauce, and as I was eating it, I felt kind of guilty. He asked if I liked it and I said, “yeah, but it’s not as good as it was to me the last time I ate it.”
Wondering what was different, I said, “I think I need to give up meat again.”
I said “again” because when I was 15 I gave up meat. At the time it as mostly because I had very high cholesterol and I thought it would help. The thought of not eating animals did make me feel like I was doing something “good,” but it wasn’t a good enough excuse to get my mother to stop cooking with it. In fact, she was not very supportive about it (not in a mean way - it was more of a ‘You will eat what I make’ type attitude since we didn’t really have a lot of money and she couldn’t afford to cook separate meals.) So after a while, I decided to eat chicken but not beef, pork, or venison. This lasted about 3 years, and then I got lazy. I was in college, and at the time drinking soy milk was still considered weird (I always got picked on for choosing Soy Dream over milk in the cafeteria.) So being vegetarian was much more difficult than I had the desire to deal with.
Truth be told, I really don’t use a lot of meat when I cook anyway, and when Dennis travels for work, I go the entire week without one piece of meat without thinking twice. I don’t miss it. I don’t need it to feel like my meal is complete.
When he asked me why, I said, “Honestly, I get so upset when animals are hurt and abused. I got so upset over Otto last week, but here I am eating a slab of beef. It’s just .. not right.”
So instead of telling me I’m stupid or shrugging off my feelings he suggested making sure our meat is free range and grass fed, and said we’ll have to start paying more attention to the meats we buy. If we get them from local farmers, we’d be helping them stay in business while not supporting corporate slaughterhouses.
“But, you’re still killing the animal.”
I felt like I was a kid trying to understand how the world goes round. You know how kids can be so curious, innocently (and naively) questioning everything? Yeah, that was me yesterday. I almost felt like a hypocrite, and suddenly, it didn’t taste as good to me anymore.
So now what? Do I fall prey to the labeling thing and start going veg again? Or do I keep it open and only eat meat that I believe lived a happy life and was killed in a humane way?
Is there a humane way to kill an animal for our consumption?
I’ve battled with this on and off for years…this is definitely not the first time I’ve felt this way. I don’t, however, want to be labeled as something and the come Thanksgiving, fight with everyone about how I refuse to eat the turkey that was obviously killed anyway. Having it there defeats the purpose, no? What if it was a locally raised turkey and I could be helping a farmer put his kid through college?
Oh, the moral issues of eating meat. How do you feel about it?
Friday, February 25, 2011
View more videos at: http://www.nbcwashington.com.
This story broke my heart.
I didn’t even want to watch this news story because I knew it would hurt. But I wanted to give Otto’s owners a chance to prove me wrong. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t stereotyping the owners as being people who just didn’t know how to handle him, or who just have tried so hard with no avail and went to their vet for help.
Alas, I was absolutely right. The family was so frustrated after clearly over feeding and not properly caring for their animal, that they brought precious Otto (short for Ottoman if you didn’t watch it) to be euthanized.
In my eyes, this is a form of animal abuse. It’s avoidable and it shouldn’t be happening.
Everyone picks on us for having the largest cat they’ve ever seen.
Although he’s always been big (he was 10 pounds at 6 months) when he was 2 he hovered just under 20 pounds. Our vet said it was a normal weight for a cat his size, but advised that we be sure he doesn’t gain any more weight.
At his next checkup a year later, he was 24 pounds.
We didn’t know how it happened. Dennis had just started getting really sick with his Crohn’s, and I swear Marley felt sad for him. It was almost like he was suffering too.
We put him on a strict diet, but he hated it. The food was expensive and he refused to it it. He would cause such a racket at night knocking things over and jumping on our bed, meowing at us with such a hunger, that we decided to monitor his eating in a different way. We got him a healthy weight formula food he would actually eat, fed him small amounts throughout the day, and got him a buddy to play with.
We tried running him around the house, we tried luring him to his food…and even after all that, he still gained weight. By the time it was all said and done, he was 26.2 pounds, and our vet told us he was in great danger of disease.
We were devastated. But we were also determined to get him back on track.
I did a lot of reading up on overweight cats and I found out that feeding cats dry food is bad. They are carnivores, meant to eat proteins, so feeding them dry food can be detrimental to their health. They can’t process carbohydrates like people and dogs can, so they gain weight. And a lot of indoor cats don’t get the exercise they need to burn it off.
Both our cats were rescue cats that both came from feral backgrounds. Their instinct is to eat as much as they can at once because, in the wild, you never know when your next meal is coming. Couple that with dry carbs and not enough hunting, and you get a 26.2 pound cat that we love dearly and hate to see unhealthy.
So we did a complete change of their diets. We started giving them more and more wet food and less dry food. We started running Marley up and down the stairs more, and letting him go out on our patio to explore.
(until he starts eating grass….he likes to wait until he gets inside to throw up. so yeah, we have to monitor that too)
One time he actually starting chasing after a squirrel so fast that we thought we lost him. He took out a bird too. But we wanted to give him some of his natural instinct back without actually letting him be an outdoor cat because we thought it would help.
It takes time, it takes patience, and it takes a lot of dedication, but you can get your animals to lose weight and be healthy … as you SHOULD when you take on the responsibility of owning a pet. I feel like people get an animal for fun, but as soon as something goes wrong, they’re quick to abandon them. And as of Wednesday, Marley was down to 22.2 pounds.
The reason I bring this up is not to make you think I’m a crazy cat lady, or that I feel animals are better than humans. We need to wake up.
We are an obese country, not just our people, but our animals too. We need to stop and take a look around…take a minute to take better care of ourselves, our children, and our animals. They depend on us. And they deserve to be treated well too.
Happy Friday everyone, and if you have one, go hug your pet! And hopefully when Otto loses weight, he will be able to find a nice, loving and caring home to go to. Good luck buddy!