Friday, February 25, 2011
I had a request in the comments section for the recipe for my Chocolate Raspberry Oat Bran so I figured I'd just make a new post about it instead of responding in the comments.
As I mentioned before, I love oat bran because it's smoother than rolled oats, but you could easily do this with rolled oats as well. The cooking time would just vary a bit.
I really don't know if this even qualifies as a "recipe" but here it is nonetheless!
"Decadent" Chocolate Raspberry Oat Bran
1/4 cup oat bran
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup almond milk (or regular milk)
1/2 a banana, thinly sliced
1/3 cup frozen or fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon Nutella or other chocolate nut butter
Combine first 5 ingredients in a small pot and turn heat to high. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-high. Stir vigorously every minute or so until it thickens to the consistency that you want (usually mine takes about 5 minutes). The raspberries and the banana will completely disintegrate into the mixture so that there won't be any chunks (though if you want chunks you could just add the raspberries or banana later).
Once the oat bran is cooked, serve and top with a dollop of Nutella.
1. Aside from no deployments, what is one thing you would want to make the MilSpouse life “perfect”?
I think being able to stay in one place for a longer period of time would be great. Less moving! Like maybe once every 5 years instead of once every 2-3 years. :)
2. Just how many peppers did Peter Piper pick?
No idea....but if I was able to pick as many peppers as I wanted I would definitely go with 10. :)
3. If you could have any career in the world with nothing holding you back, what would you do? Food critic! I would love to get paid to travel and eat. Or host a travel show!
4. Do you have a service oriented tattoo and if so what is it. If you don’t what would you get? Nope. I'm wouldn't get one.
5. Imagine a block of time has opened up in your busy day for you to take a class in anything you like. What subject would you choose?
Photography. I keep meaning to take a class but I just never get around to it!
So for all you non-military spouses out there...what is YOUR dream job? Leave your answer in the comments!
Thursday, February 24, 2011
The love for soup continues (despite the fact that it definitely feels more like Spring here in Southern Arizona)!
I saw this recipe for Italian Wedding Soup on the blog Food, Fitness, Fashion and I immediately bookmarked it. Well, that was back in SEPTEMBER and I'm just now getting around to making it. Sheesh!
This turned out great! It was really light and yet still filling, thanks to the pasta and meatballs. Alex wasn't a huge fan of it but he's not really a soup kinda guy....he'd rather have something manly like chili. :) He did admit that he really liked the meatballs though....surprise, surprise! (not!)
Anyway this was really good! Make it!
Gotta run now because I'm actually blogging from the Tucson airport as I wait on my flight to Houston. I think we're getting ready to board. Woohoo! Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!
Italian Wedding Soup
Source: adapted slightly from Food, Fitness Fashion
1 lb. ground chicken or turkey breast (I used chicken)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons egg whites
1/2 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
2 cups whole wheat elbow macaroni
4 cups baby spinach
10 cups low sodium chicken (or veggie) broth
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon marjoram
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix the first 5 ingredients together in a large bowl, using your hands to incorporate well. Scoop out a teaspoon of meat and roll the mixture into mini meatballs with your hands. Repeat until all the chicken has been rolled into mini meatballs.
Pour the broth into a large pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and add the meatballs. Let the meatballs cook in the broth for about 6 minutes.
Add pasta and let it cook for about 10 minutes (or however long it takes for your pasta to cook). Once pasta is tender, add the 4 cups of spinach and let it wilt (about 2 minutes). Serve and enjoy!
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
While I could never keep up with the stress and time it takes to document everything I eat, I figured I could handle doing it for just one day. So without further adieu, I present you with A Day in the Life of Ashley's Stomach:
Chocolate Raspberry Oat Bran (made with frozen raspberries and half a banana....and a spoonful of Nutella on top). And my always-necessary cup of coffee.
I love oat bran instead of oatmeal because it's smoother...more like the consistency of grits. And I love my Chocolate Raspberry version because it seems decadent, but it's really not!
Lefovers: a link of Italian chicken sausage, spaghetti squash & peas. I love leftovers for lunches!
A Ruby Red Grapefruit!
I am LOVING grapefruit these days. It is so sweet and juicy and amazing. I eat them just like an orange (only I remove all the membrane parts too because they're bitter). It's a time consuming and messy snack but it's so worth it!
Italian Wedding Soup (recipe coming soon)
And a whole wheat biscuit with honey & margarine on the side. Actually I had two of these.
Two Gingersnaps. I almost always have to have something sweet after dinner, but I try to keep it small. These two gingersnaps were only 60 calories total.
So that's it for that day in my stomach!
Now, keep in mind that I almost never eat the same thing two days in a row since I'm easily bored with food (except for grapefruits...I eat one of those every day lately). Also, I really try to base my eating off the concept of "intuitive eating"....which means really paying attention to what my body is telling me. If I'm hungry for two snacks in the afternoon then I let myself have two snacks. And vice versa as well, if I'm not hungry then I wait until I am before eating.
The point I'm trying to get across is just that seeing one day of my eats is not really an accurate representation of how I eat all the time. But it's still fun!! :)
What do you think about my eats? Weird? Good? How does this compare to a day or your eating?
While it's certainly flattering, I am far from an expert. But I do have a strong passion for food and I do love to cook and bake (and eat!). And because I'm passionate about these things, I have a food blog so I can share my experiences in the kitchen with all of you (whether you like it or not). :)
So when my friends email me or Facebook message me and say "I have a recipe you just HAVE to make!" I consider that to be their equivalent of a food blog. They made something amazing and they want to share it with someone....totally understandable! Plus, I get the benefit of trying something new and then blogging about it to share it with all of YOU. It's a win-win!
My friend, Lindsey, sent me one of those Facebook messages last week about a pizza. But this was not your average pizza, as she explained in the message. It is a sauce-less pizza topped with caramelized onions, fontina cheese and pancetta. She admitted that she was skeptical about the lack of sauce and the odd combination of toppings, but she assured me that it was a wonderful result.
She was right.
The recipe hails from the gods over at Cooking Light....seriously, CL recipe developers: I love you. You never fail me!
The most amazing part of the success of this pizza is that it has very minimal amounts of meat (pancetta) in it and The Hubs STILL LOVED IT! What?!? Who is that man?!
I will warn you that caramelizing onions is a task that must not be rushed, so allow yourself about 30 minutes to complete that part of the recipe. If you rush it, you'll end up with either burnt onions or non-caramelized onions. But once that part is done, it's really just slapping on the toppings and popping it in the oven. (You could even caramelize the onions in advance and have them prepped and ready for the night you're making the pizza!)
Also, if you have trouble finding pancetta in your grocery store (like I did), check your deli meat counter! They had it there at mine, though they had no idea what I was talking about until I pointed to the package of pancetta in their counter and said "That pancetta....that you have right there." ::::eye roll::::
For the crust, this time we decided to go the lazy route and bought a package of fresh wheat pizza dough from Trader Joe's.
It was so good!! We usually make our own dough, but honestly lately we've been less than impressed with our dough-making attempts, so this was a nice change!
And please, if you haven't tried Fontina cheese before, do yourself a favor and go get some NOW! It is so good!
Infinitely better than plain old mozzarella and well worth the slight increase in price!
Fontina, Caramelized Onion & Pancetta Pizza
Source: Cooking Light (my adjustments in red)
Yield: 2 (9-inch) pizzas--we just made one 12-inch pizza (serving size: 2 slices)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 ounces pancetta (Italian-style bacon) or Canadian bacon, chopped
8 cups sliced onion (about 3 large)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme --I used 1 tsp of dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded fontina cheese
Thyme sprigs (optional) --I used fresh basil
Cracked black pepper (optional)
Prepare the Pizza Dough according to directions and roll out.
While dough is rising the second time, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add pancetta, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add onions, thyme, salt, and white pepper; cook 25 minutes or until onions are browned, stirring frequently.
Preheat oven to 475°.
Brush each prepared pizza crust with 1 1/2 teaspoons oil; top each with half of onion mixture. Sprinkle cheese and fresh basil over each pizza. Bake at 475° for 9 minutes or until crusts are crisp. Cut each pizza into 8 wedges. Garnish with thyme sprigs and sprinkle with black pepper, if desired.
CALORIES 238 (28% from fat); FAT 7.3g (sat 2.7g,mono 3.4g,poly 0.7g); IRON 2mg; CHOLESTEROL 16mg; CALCIUM 87mg; CARBOHYDRATE 34.8g; SODIUM 300mg; PROTEIN 8.6g; FIBER 3.1g
Cooking Light, OCTOBER 1998
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
A. Age: 25
B. Bed size: King...I don't like being crowded or touched when I'm sleeping so a King bed is a necessity to keep our marriage happy. :)
C. Chore you dislike: Washing dishes!! I feel like it's a never-ending cycle (because I cook so much).
D. Dogs: Libby, our lovable mutt (5-ish years old)
E. Essential start to your day: Coffee.
F. Favorite color: Blue? Pink? Purple? Green? Yellow? It depends on my mood!
G. Gold or silver: Silver.
H. Height: 5' 5"
I. Instruments you play(ed): Nothing! I was more of an athlete (and I have no musical inclinations whatsoever!)
J. Job title: Well, when I had a job (before the move) I was a Marketing Specialist. Now I'm a Hobo (or a Stay At Home Wife). :)
K. Kids: None yet, but we hope to have some in the future!
L. Live: Currently (and briefly) living in Sierra Vista, AZ. But I will forever be a born and bred Texan!
M. Mom’s name: Shari (this is a random question)
N. Nicknames: Ash, Da-Da (my dad calls me that....like a nickname for "daughter"), Sha-Sha (my cousins called me that before they could say "Ashley" and it stuck), Smoochie Pants (LOL), Smashley (we won't go into that one). The list goes on but I can't remember them all right now.
O. Overnight hospital stays: I don't think I've ever stayed overnight at a hospital....? Well, except for when I was born obviously. I know one time I had a killer stomach bug and ended up staying for several hours but I don't think it would be considered "overnight".
P. Pet peeve: I have a lot of pet peeves. People who post insensitive things on Facebook (and also people who post too much info on Facebook), nose picking (I seriously throw up in my mouth whenever I spot people picking their nose), loud people in public who have no concern over the fact that they are disturbing me, unappreciative people, my husband leaving his shoes where I can trip over them, anyone who touches my things and/or moves them (I'm very possessive!), people who don't listen and/or make every conversation about themselves....I could go on and on!
Q. Quote from a movie: "There's no crying in baseball!" --A League of Their Own
R. Righty or Lefty: Righty! (even though both of my parents are lefties!)
S. Siblings: Younger brother, James, 22 years old.
T. Time you wake up: Ummm....well.....I'm unemployed, remember? So it depends....any time between 7:30am and 9:00am. This morning it was 7:30!
U. Underwear: Sorry to get TMI here, but I HATE wearing anything but thongs. It's not for the sexy-factor, I just think they're wayyyyy more comfortable and less annoying. Plus, I hate visible panty lines!
V. Vegetables you don’t like: Hmmmm....I don't think there is one! I love all veggies! Oh wait! Maybe fennel? I actually haven't ever tried fennel but I have a feeling I wouldn't like it since it supposedly tastes like licorice....yuck!
W. What makes you run late: My memory. I have the worst memory ever so I'm constantly trying to get out the door and going "Oh wait! I almost forgot my ____!"
X. X-Rays you’ve had: Once I had an X-ray on my wrist because I was having issues with it when I played softball....it turned out to be nothing. Oh and I had a CAT Scan of my head once to make sure it wasn't damaged after a pretty bad fall. (Can I blame my bad memory on that fall?)
Y. Yummy food you make: I think all my food is pretty darn yummy (usually)! :) See blog archives for proof.
Z. Zoo animal favorite: Hmmm....probably tigers or lions.
Friday, February 11, 2011
My answer to both of those questions was "no" up until recently. But now I'm enlightened about the deliciousness of quinoa and the proper pronunciation....yay for education! :)
Quinoa is not only tasty, but also very healthy. According to Livestrong.com:
Quinoa is a complete protein, which means that it contains all the amino acids necessary for our nutritional needs. Complete proteins are rare in the plant world, making quinoa an excellent food for vegetarians and vegans, or for anyone looking for healthy protein source. It's also high in iron and calcium, and is a good source of manganese, magnesium and copper, as well as fiber.
That's a pretty awesome grain!
The basic way that I cook quinoa is to combine 2 cups of water or chicken broth (I prefer broth for the extra flavor) and 1 cup of quinoa in a small pot. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Easy peasy!
Basic quinoa is great and can be used for many different things, such as this Parmesan Spinach Quinoa.
This is a great way to spruce up quinoa and add a healthy dose of veggies!
Parmesan & Spinach Quinoa
Source: Tasty Kitchen
• 1 cup Quinoa
• 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• 1 whole Small Sweet Onion, Diced
• 2 cloves Cloves Garlic, Minced
• ½ teaspoons Salt
• 1 cup Sliced Mushrooms (omitted)
• ¼ cups Dry White Wine
• 1 bunch Fresh Spinach (I used a few handfuls of bagged baby spinach)
• ¼ cups Grated Parmesan Cheese, Fresh Stuff PLEASE
Cook quinoa as directed on the box, but please use chicken broth or stock. It adds a lot more flavor than water.
In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and the salt, and sauté for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add mushrooms and sauté for an addtional 5 minutes. Add the white wine and turn the heat up to medium-high and let simmer until all the liquid has evaporated. Add spinach until wilted down. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Once the quinoa is cooked through and wine has simmered off the mushroom/onion mixture, add the quinoa to the skillet and toss with the mushroom mixture. Add the parmesan cheese on top.
Side note: This is a very hearty side dish, and could easily be made into a main dish by adding some grilled chicken or tofu!
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Unfortunately, I'm not sure they were completely worth all the effort. They were tasty, but I think they lacked a lot of flavor. If I were to do them again I think perhaps incorporating barbecue sauce (or some sort of sauce) into the stuffing would have made them a bit more special. Or maybe they just needed a more flavorful dipping sauce (I just served them with greek yogurt as a topping).
If you're interested, click the link for the recipe for Rachael Ray's "Hot Potatoes", aka Broccoli Stuffed Potato Bites.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
I'm starting a 2011 Book List, to share with you the books that I've read in 2011 and what I thought of them. I rate them on a scale of 1 to 5 stars and usually include a small review (no spoilers). I will update the list as more books are read throughout the year.
Monday, February 7, 2011
Saturday, February 5, 2011
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup caramel bits or chopped up caramel squares
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Set oven to 350°F.
Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar. Add eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well. Stir in caramel bits and chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or just until set. Cool on the pan for 10 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.