Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Canvas of possible

Me at about 3:30pm everyday: "What am I gonna fix for dinner?"
My response to me: "oh cwap, I didn't take anything out of the freezer!!"
Me: "um, um, um"
My response "I really don't want to feed my family boxed food or fast food, I want them to eat something healthy"
Me: "I'm such a slacker not to get anything out of the freezer and then forget to ask the hubster to take something out this morning"

I could go on and on but really, you get the point.

Here is what I came up with and realized that it really is a blank slat to create many different (maybe even a little healthy) dishes.  This was totally inspired by an article in Parent Magazine, just so ya know. 

So here is the breakdown.  Not calling it a recipe, more of a guide. 

Broccoli.  Grocery store had broccoli on sale this week.  I picked up 2 bunches and when I got home cut the heads off the stalk and put them into a container in the fridge for ease of prep at meal time.   In this dish I just cut the heads into smaller bits. 

Chicken.  Sunday I had cooked 8 or 9 leg quarters and then once cooled, shredded the meat.  For this dish I used about a handful and then put the rest in vacuum bags, sealed and froze.

Yellow squash.  Thanks to my friend Jessica I remembered a trick to up the health value of a meal by adding shredded/grated squash and/or zucchini.  This idea was gonna work perfectly in this meal.  I used about 1/2 of the squash.

Philadelphia cooking cream.  Not too proud of this ingredient, but in a pinch it was good.  Not good for us but good tasting.  The sauce is actually where I think the most experimentation can fit.  I was telling the Hubster at dinner that I would like to try and make this more of a stir-fry dish by using some Asian type ingredients for the sauce. 

Whole grain pasta.  I will admit that this is the first time I've used whole grain pasta.  I've used the garden pasta stuff that is all different colors but no whole grain.  I felt that maybe the family would need easing into this part so I used 1/2 whole grain and 1/2 traditional pasta.  The fam didn't seem to mind the whole grain, so that will be our pasta of choice next time. 

So here is what I did, and what I will change next time.  I first boiled the pasta.  Then I blanched the broccoli.  Next time I'll do it in the reverse order so that the pasta can absorb any nutrients left behind by the broccoli.  Then in a skillet I added some butter (yes, the kind I made), I then added some garlic infused olive oil.  The butter helps to raise the smoke point of the olive oil.  I then got the skillet hot and threw the drained broccoli in the skillet.  This steamed it some more and gave it a nice garlicky kick.  I then added the squash, chicken and cooking cream.  Then, the pasta (which BTW I made way too much).  I tossed to coat everything with the sauce.  YUM!

I admit that I had to get past the "it's not dripping with sauce" thoughts in my head.  I'm not used to fixing a pasta dish that doesn't have sauce dripping off every bit. 

Now for some variations that I'm considering.  How about grilled chicken over a bed of the pasta/veg mix with an Italian vinaigrette type sauce.  Or an Asian noodle inspired dish using soy sauce and other stuff that I haven't figured out yet. 

So, yeah, this was a revelation for me in my cooking.  Revelation one: I'm so glad I had the fresh veg in the fridge to use in my meals.  Revelation two: I've acquired enough skill and confidence in the kitchen to fake it when in a crunch, which then manifested into a meal that will go into regular rotation as long as there are wonderful veggies for us to use. 


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Like Butta'

I must admit that I'm a huge "I can't believe it's not butter" fan girl.  In the last few weeks or so I've really been wishing it would go on sale so that I could stock-up on.  Well, I recently found out that margarine is one molecule away from being plastic.  Plastic people.  Can you believe it.  I was fully shocked by this news. 

In light of this disappointing information I decided to make ridding my family of margarine one of my steps towards healthy living.  No more margarine in my family.  I must admit that I'm so not happy about this.  But, there is a morsel of yumminess in this decision.  We will be using more oils and butter.  Real Butter.  Like homemade Real Butter.  Say it with me with your best Julia Child impression "mmm, buttaaa". 

Homemade Butter - YUM!

Now don't bow down to my domestic godessness, it's not nearly as hard as it might seem.  Can you pour some cream into a food processor, mixer, or blender?  I'm really quiet positive that the answer to this is going to be yes.  Then you can make butter.  I don't want to bore you with the explanation here so I'll linky link some You Tube vids for your viewing pleasure at the end of this pot. 

Want to use your real butter that you've made.  How about an Egg-in-a-hole breakfast?  I was watching Pioneer Woman (her blog, and her Food Network page) this morning and she made them.  They are sooo easy and very yummy.  Honestly I wasn't expecting to like them so much.  I mean, it's only butter, bread, and egg.  But yes, it was really good.

Made in my grandmother's iron skillet using homemade butter just made it just that much yummier.

So here are some linky links for ya (in addition to the ones in the post):

Foodwishes butter in a Mason Jar - I warned you that I love Chef John's food vids.  And there is a rim shot in this one, fair warning.

Making butter in a food processor

Making butter in a stand mixer - this is how I do it but without all the mess.  I use a whisk and don't turn it up nearly this high.  I may take a little bit longer but not messy at all.  I don't however, but will in the future, clean my butter this well. 


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

This is the life

I don't know how I do this to myself.  I wonder how many other people do this to themselves.  Who needs someone else putting pressure on you when you can do it to yourself to perfection.  Yep, that's right I've stressed myself out again folks over something that is completely, for lack of a better word, dumb. 

Recipes.  What recipe will I make for a healthier meal?  What recipe will I want to get the ingredients for from Whole Foods?  Or what do I want to buy from Whole Foods since I can't always go and I have a limited budget to shop with?  Or what will Paul and James both like and not make for a wasted trip and wasted money, and wasted time making a yuk recipe?  And, what kinda new health recipe can I make that will not upset James' developing belly and digestive system? 

Yep, questions that run through my head over and over and over again until I make really rash decisions that end up being wrong because I was sooo busy trying to find the perfect answer to all the above questions.  People probably wonder sometimes how I can get lost mid sentence and just stare into space only to snap out of it not knowing what I was talking about before.  It's because I sometimes put so much pressure on myself that I'm constantly thinking about all these tiny little details.  This is also why I have a real hard time going to sleep at night.  just sayin'

So, back to the question at hand.  If I had only one healthy recipe to prepare, what should that be?  Now, keep in mind that this will not be the one and only new recipe, but it's one new recipe at a time. 

p.s. if I down a bottle of water right now to up my water drinking quota for the day, is that defeating the purpose?  I am drinking water for pity sake.

p.s.s.  I forgot that I wanted to hook you up with some linky links.

Food Wishes - Chef John is awesome at breaking down recipes and has a You Tube Channel with really awesome vids.  The rim shots are high with this one.  You'll have to watch to understand. 

Aarti Party - I lurv to read her blog.  I stole the idea of the p.s. from her.  I also love her recipes, especially her Chicken Tikka Masala (the one shown in her curry vids, you have to sit through the sauce ad before getting to the actual vid).  Here is her Food Network page

And lastly allrecipes - I've found soo many great recipes on this site.  I really like that it's just a big ol' community database of recipes.  You too could add your own family fav recipes to share with the entire world.  Hmm...maybe one day I'll do that.  I must say I have a really great chili recipe. 

p.s.s.s I don't think my spell check is working or at least it's not showing misspelled words and I can't believe that I made it through an entire post with not one misspelled word.  Let's give this a try.  Bumknukle.  It's just not working.  I'm pretty sure that "bumknukle" is not a word. 


Monday, September 12, 2011

one at a time

I had a lot of time to think lately.  I mean A Lot.  I've done a bunch of laying around resting and recovering.  This time to veg has lead to time to think.  People who know me best will know that this is not always a good thing and seem to think that I think too much.  you know who you are.  Anyway, what has all this thinking lead too?  Health.  Lots of thinking about health.  The health of my body and my families bodies.  Nutritional health.  Physical health.  Going for my, I don't know, what is this my 5th surgery in a lifetime got me thinking.  Look, the others were probably just the way life goes, I don't think cholesteatomas (link has really gross image of the thing) were going to be corrected by healthy eating or more exercise.  But a torn rotator cuff might have been.  It became a much bigger deal to me to go into surgery, even one as "normal" as this one, when I thought about my little guy being left behind.  Melodramatics aside, it was scary for me. 

check out 2 of the 6 stitches above the "eye" of the peacock feather.  I think the Dr. tried to cut in between the feather lines.
So after all the thinking and pondering and sitting on my arss I came to a conclusion.  Da Da Da Da...I need to heal myself and keep the family healthy in the process.   This might prove more difficult than I'm willing to admit to myself right now but I have to make the effort to make a change. 

I have a tendency to go against the grain in a lot of areas, why should health be any different.  See: cloth diapering and making baby food.  ahem

Here is where it gets tricky.  My main hurdles will be $$, time, and change.   As most of my friends know I'm totally into couponing and saving money at the grocery store.  As most of you may also know finding good deals on organic and healthy foods is a bit of a challenge.   Time is also to be considered.  It's called convince food for a reason.  Busy families need fast food.  By "fast" I mean quick.  And by "quick" I'm talking 30 mins at most.  That's about all the time I'm willing to spend in the kitchen.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE to cook, but I also LOVE to spend time with my family.  3rd hurdle is change.  Change is sooo hard.  Why did they have to make change so hard.  insert me whining here. 

So how have to figured I would clear these hurdles?  One at a time.  Seriously, I'm not gonna be able to change everything at once.  It's gonna have to be one at a time.  Changing one thing at a time.  For instance, adopting a new recipe.  Stocking up on organic foods when they are on sale.  Growing my own organic garden.  Learning that I don't have to change everyones' opinions about my changes.  That's a hard one. 

I love to give resources/links so here ya go.  If you're interested in some of the sites that I'm visiting lately, here they are. 

Christina Cooks - She is amazing.  Her story is amazing.  She is hardcore though so it's not for the faint of heart.  These are the recipes I hope to incorporate into my meals, One at a time.  It's gonna take some convincing to get Paul to accept eating tofu and he may never but I can certainly try making it tasty enough to assist in the convincing. 
The Krazy Coupon Lady - they list matchups for Whole Foods.  It does mean that I'll be making more trips to Tampa but that's workable.  We do have a local Chamberlin's Natural food store so I'll hopefully become more familiar with their products and be able to score some deals. 
I want to start practicing Yoga again.  I felt so good when I practiced.  So I think that Yoga Journal will be lots of help, it's like I'm newbie again.  My biggest concern now of course is not re-injuring the shoulder but helping it to heal properly. 

I think that's enough my rambling on tonight, besides I've got to choose a great tofu recipe for Paul.  ;-)