this is me now

February 3, 2009

Hotdogs don’t keep

Filed under: cooking,decisions,food — by heatherdc @ 11:15 pm

I have been making this false claim for at least two weeks now:

I’m going to COOK this week!

I’d like to think that sticking a potato in the microwave and “grilling” chicken on a skillet qualifies as cooking. Or that home-made Rice-krispie treats sprinkled with chocolate chips could count for a made-from-scratch dinner. I’d also like to think that the two boxes of pasta that I’ve accumulated (thanksss coupons) will just cook themselves, along with a tasty sauce and a seasoned meat to make a well-balanced tasty meal.

Ehhhh.

On Sunday (our “grocery” day), I refrained from buying frozen meals. I did buy ground beef, and chicken, and the usual fresh veggies. All with very good intentions to make real meals, and loooots of them so that I’d have leftovers and I do not have to cook again. Yes, I was totally on a roll.

Then, we went to a Super-bowl party. The host sent us home with leftovers, and we were like THANK YOUU! In our fridge we currently have two containers of chicken wings and hot-dogs. Yes, hot dogs. I like them, and I (sort of) know whats in them, I eat them every now and then, and I am a Nutritionist. Don’t judge me.

Obviously this threw the cooking plans right out the window…..for at least a few nights. Sunday – super-bowl food. Monday – chicken, salad, potato (see above. does not count.). Tuesday……left-over Super-bowl food? Ummm, yup.

Guess what? Hot dogs don’t keep. They don’t taste so “good” after being grilled, chilled, and reheated. Gah. Who knew.

It’s a blessing in disguise! Tomorrow night I will return to Plan A, and I WILL COOK. My logic is that declaring it online will be effective (and encouraging).

So. Here, you have my word!

Please hold me to it. My pantry and stomach will greatly appreciate it.

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September 12, 2008

We all need a nuggets & fries night

Filed under: "ehhh" days,food — by heatherdc @ 7:41 am

Yes, I have a degree in Nutritional Sciences. No, I don’t eat perfectly every day. And yes, sometimes, I still have chicken nuggets & fries for dinner.

Not from McDonald’s, or any other fast food venue. From your local grocery store with 0 g Trans fat and blah blah blah. You don’t care. Neither do I.

After a slooow afternoon at work and an hour long commute home, full of bumper-to-bumper traffic, I was a little on the ‘grumpy’ side. Since I wasn’t driving, I had basically spent the hour being frustrated that we weren’t moving and slowly getting more and more sleepy. If I had closed my eyes for two seconds, I would’ve been ouuut.

Rather than jumping into bed at 6 p.m., I decided to have a cup of the iced coffee in the fridge–hellooo, wake up!–and head out for a little run. Whew. That’s easily the best way to end a long day. A jolt of legal stimulant and 5 miles of ‘letting it out’. Yesssss.

When I got back I had absolutely zero desire to cook. None. At allll. And since our fridge is bordering on empty anyway, I made the only thing that sounded soooo good. Nuggets & fries. Not ‘healthy’, not fresh, not any of the things we tell you to eat. But, yet, delicious. Then we made a batch of Peanut butter-cup Brownies. From a box. Granted, those are actually for the co-workers tomorrow (it’s our last day as interns as this current “location”). But don’t you think we didn’t lick the bowl. Yummmmm.

July 16, 2008

Summer flavors

Filed under: food,things I Looove — by heatherdc @ 1:18 am

Have you ever tried Strawberry flavored Cool-whip?
If you answer no, I’m gonna have to say you are seriously depriving yourself.

It seems that it’s only sold in certain stores, and I usually only see it in the spring/summer months….but oooooh my, it is wonderful.

I love Love LOVE summer fruit, and right now our fridge is jam-packed with some of the best. Canteloupe, grapes, blueberries, strawberries, grapefuit, etc. It’s like a mini-market open just for me. I snack on it all day. Mmmmm.

And just to sweeten things up….I added the Strawberry Cool-whip to the mix. Dip your strawberries in that, and see if you can walk away. Impossible. Or add a little ‘dollop’ to some chocolate pudding. Deeelicious. Or crumble up some oreos and make a little snack. Ummm, you know how I feel about Oreos. You could even use it as a light ‘icing’ on a cupcake. Yah, it’s that good.

Just thought I’d let you in on this little secret. It’s out there, and it’s SO good.

March 11, 2008

This is me Cooking, part 3

Filed under: cooking,food,home — by heatherdc @ 1:21 am

It was my first day home, and I was put to work.

With dinner plans in mind and options open for desert, I headed to the grocery store. The menu tonight:
Baked Penne Pasta w/ Italian (turkey) Sausage & Peanut butter cup Brownies

This pasta dish has become a family (and roommate) favorite. It’s easy, healthy, and oh-SO-delicious. On top of all that, it’s “training worthy”, meaning lots of protein and good carbs. Necessary at this point!

Here’s what you need:
6 cups Penne Pasta (I usually buy the “Plus” pasta. It has lots of protein and is made with whole-wheat)
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups Marinara sauce (Amount: add more as you like. Type: your choice. We went with the “Garden veggie” kind tonight for some extra flavor)
1/2 onion, yellow, diced
1 tbsp Garlic, minced (canned or fresh, do what you do)
1 lb Italian Turkey Sausage (sweet or spicy, either works!)
1/2 cup Mozerella (Low-fat, part-skim)
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated

Preheat the oven to 350º. Cook the pasta as directed. Sauté onions and garlic in a large non-stick skillet, throw in some salt & pepper to your taste.  Add the turkey-sausage and cook until brown.  Combine the pasta and sausage-mix into a large casserole dish.  Mix in the diced tomatoes and marinara sauce.
Top with the mozerella and parmesan cheeses. Bake for 25 minutes, or until you like the way the cheese looks on top!

Eat & enjoy!! Throw in a side salad for some vegetables and leafy greens. You’ve got yourself a healthy & satisfying meal! This recipe makes about 4 servings.

I wish I could take credit for the amazing peanut-butter cup brownies, but all I did was add eggs, water & oil. Sometimes you take the easy route (boxed brownie mix), and mmmm is it delicious!

January 5, 2008

This Is Me Cooking, Part 2

Filed under: cooking,food — by heatherdc @ 8:56 pm

On the menu tonight:

Jalapeño Beer Bread & Mexico Tortilla Soup

My mom told me she wanted to make Beer Bread tonight (I thought of you LB 🙂 ) so then we decided to make a soup to go with it.  I searched Kraft’s website, as I often do, to find something to go with our bread and decided on their Mexican Tortilla Soup.

As usual, we are adding our own “twist” to the recipe. Simple stuff, nothing fancy.   When browning the ground beef, add Taco Seasoning to the meat.  Usually this comes in packets that can be a cheap as $0.50. All you do is add it to the meat when it’s almost done cooking and you’ll typically add it with some water (depends on the brand, each has it’s own directions).  These packets are usually found with the salsa, taco shells, etc.  I also use this seasoning when I make chili to add some extra flavor.

I’m also adding a can of diced tomatoes (undrained) with green chilies to the mix.  I think tomatoes are good in tortilla soup and my mom found the kind that comes canned with the chilies for some extra “spice”. Good stuff!

When we were grocery shopping I stumbled upon a dry mix for the Jalapeño Beer Bread. I was planning on just doing my regular bread, but this sounded too good! The company Desert Gardens makes great dry mixes for soups, breads, and a variety of dips. I only see them when I’m home (in the Southwest), so I stock up and bring some of the soup and dip mixes back with me. I had never seen bread mixes before, and this one was standing solo on the shelf. Perfect twist on beer bread for our Mexican meal! I can smell it baking right now…mmmmmm.

Beer bread has got to be the easiest kind of bread to make.  All you need is the beer of your choice, self-rising flour and sugar.  I’ve used Red Stripe, Yuengling Lager, and Miller Lite.  I normally wouldn’t use a “lite” beer, and don’t recommend it, because it won’t add as much flavor.  But we thought it would actually work better with the Jalapeño bread because we didn’t want something too sweet.

Beer Bread

3 cups Self-Rising Flour
1/4 cup Sugar
1 12 oz. Beer (your choice!), at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 375°. Mix flour and sugar in a large bowl.  Add the beer and stir until mixed. Do Not Overmix!
Place the dough into a greased 9×5 inch pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes. Remove from pan and let it cool about 5 minutes before cutting.

Yup! That’s it!

I love that recipe because you only need 3 things and there’s basically one step: add it all together! 🙂 Simple and quick. And mmmmm it’s gooood!

Eat & Enjoy!

December 23, 2007

Sunday Afternoon Activities

Filed under: cooking,family,food — by heatherdc @ 5:25 pm

We are in charge of bringing desserts to the Christmas dinner, so guess what we’re doing today?? Baking of course! Today’s lineup includes preparations for a Cranberry Lime Tart, Mississippi Mud Pie, and the classic Pumpkin Pie.

My favorite is the “mud pie”. It was my idea to include this one, only because I feel like there should always be a chocolate option. It’s nothing too fancy, but it’s so good! Chocolate cake topped with marshmellow cream, chocolate frosting, and coconuts. Yummyyyy.

The Cranberry Lime Tart is a little bit more complicated. I’m not participating as much in this production. I’m just sitting here writing about it and snacking on the dough of the crust: flour, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, salt and almonds. Delicious! The tart is cooling in the fridge overnight and tomorrow we will put it all together. This recipe came from the cover of a December 2003 Bon Apetit. More on this later, when I can actually taste it.

Tonight I have a date with the family, Dinner and a Movie. The movie of choice tonight is “National Treasure 2”. I’m not big on the “sequel” movies, so we’ll see how this goes. Then we’re going to our favorite local Mexican restaurant, Si Senor. It’s one of those places you just have to go to when you’re home. The chips & salsa come with their special dip, we called it the “white stuff”. We have yet to decide what’s actually in it, but it’s some sort of sour cream/ranch/green chile mixture. I think? Who knows, but it’s spicy and it’s gooood. They make their own tortillas, so if you order fajitas they come fresh from the kitchen. Still warm, soft, and amazing. I can’t wait to get my New-Mexican-food fix!

December 21, 2007

Mi Casa para Los….Holidays

Filed under: cooking,family,food,holidays,Lauren — by heatherdc @ 11:04 pm

(Anyone who knows how to say “holidays” en Espanol??)

Finals are over, and the semester is done.
I’ve traveled afar, to a place that sees sun.
Back in the Southwest with my family and friends,
to celebrate the holidays and bring the New year in.

It feels wonderful to finally be back in New Mexico for a nice loooong break from school! With no homework or tests to think about I can actually relax. Since arriving last night I have unpacked, finished Christmas shopping, and baked S’mores brownies. My sister is always baking something, so these were the first of many delicious desserts that I’m sure will be made over the next three weeks. She is a freshman in college this year, but already plans on getting a degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management, and then going on to Culinary School to specialize in Pastry Arts. Basically, we always have good desserts on hand. We love to go through magazines like Cooking Light (be weary of the cookies, but everything else is usually So good!), Kraft (of course!), and Bon Apetit. The recipes in Bon Apetit are usually a little more complex, but she’s learning and every time I’m home she is making something more and more complicated. Yummyyyy.

Today we went with something simple, the S’mores Brownies. This recipe can be found on the side of the box of Brownie Mix. As usual, we added a little “twist”. Obviously if you love s’mores, it doesn’t get any better than this! Except for the fireside golden-brown marshmellow melting the chocolate on the graham cracker. BUT, since most of us are spending out time inside during the winter, these make a perfect match!

S’mores Brownies

1 box Brownie Mix
3 cups Mini-Marshmellows
5 Honey Graham Crackers (crushed)
1 cup Peanut Butter Chips

Prepare the brownies as directed on the box. Bake for the time designated in the recipe (Or, if you prefer your brownies a little “soft” like we do…bake for about 3 minutes less). After they have baked and are still warm from the oven, add the marshmellows and peanut butter chips on the top. Place the browneis back in the oven for 2 minutes. Top with the crushed graham crackers.

Eat & Enjoy!!! 🙂

December 2, 2007

This is me, Cooking. Part 1

Filed under: cooking,food,nutrition — by heatherdc @ 2:32 am

This post will be the first of many, reviewing recipes from my beloved Cooking Light and Kraft magazines. Today’s will feature a delicious dinner and a decadent desert. Enjoy!

Creamy Basil & Red Pepper Pasta

Straight from my Recipe Box, on KraftFoods.com, this recipe is so simple and requires basically no preparation. Perfect for a night where you are a little crunched for time, but craving a tasty homecooked meal.  The total cooking time is only 25 minutes!

Incase I haven’t convinced you yet, this is also a Healthy Living Recipe. It’s a great source of Protein, Calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C,  and Iron!

Makes 4 servings (1 1/2 cup each)

Ingredients:
2 cups Penne  pasta, uncooked (feel free to substitute the pasta of your choice)
4 oz Fat-free Cream Cheese, softened (1/2 of an 8 oz package)
1/4 cup Fat-free Milk
1 jar (7 oz) Roasted Red Peppers, Drained!
1/2 cup FRESH Basil leaves
2 tbsp grated Parmesan Cheese
1 lb Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

Cook pasta as directed. Meanwhile, place peppers, cream cheese, milk, basil and Parmesan cheese in blender; cover. Blend until smooth; set aside.

Spray a large skillet with cooking spray. Add chicken; cook on medium-high heat 3 min., stirring frequently. Stir in pepper mixture. Reduce heat to medium; cook 5 min. or until heated through, stirring frequently.

Drain the pasta. Add it to your chicken mixture; stir until well blended.

Done! Eat and enjoy!

Time for dessert??

Butterscotch Blondies

These delicious treats can be found in December 2007 edition of Cooking Light magazine.  This recipe only consists of 6 ingredients, and yields 24 servings.  The end result is a moist, sweet and “light” butterscotch brownie!

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose Flour
2 1/2 cups firmly packed Light brown sugar
2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Salt
10 tbsp Unsalted butter
3/4 Egg substitute (i.e. Egg Beaters)

 ((I decided to throw in a little “personal touch” to my blondies; add 1 cup butterscotch chips to the final mixture.))

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lighly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.  Combine flour, firmly pakced light brown sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. 
Place butter in small skillet over medium (4-5) heat.  Cook 6 minutes, or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.* Pour into a small bowl and let cool for 10 minutes.
Combine butter and egg substitute, stirring with a whisk.   Pour the butter mixture over flour mixture; stir just until moistened.  Spoon batter into a 13 x 9 inch pan coated with cooking spray; smooth the top with a spatula.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack.
Cut into 24 squares. (Yield=24 servings, 1 square each)

*Butter will begin to “bubble” and may brown sooner. Mine only took about 4-5 minutes.

At a mere 170 calories per square, this dessert packs less than 5 grams of fat per serving! Perfect for a light after-dinner treat!

While I was home for Thanksgiving my sister decided to bake these, and I was amazed at how great they turned out.  Healthier desserts can be tricky and sometimes turn out dry and tasteless, but these little blondies defy the odds!  I baked a batch today for me and my roommates.

So get cookin’ and bakin’ and let me know what you think!

November 13, 2007

Chili…my Style

Filed under: cooking,food,nutrition — by heatherdc @ 3:48 pm

This weekend I made chili, from scratch. No recipe or list, just a big pot of whatever I wanted to include. I realized that this is honestly the first thing I can “cook” without any sort of reference or guideline. Being from the Southwest, I found this appropriate and have decided to share the list of ingredients so that you can cook chili too…My way!

1 can Kidney Beans (can substitute and/or add Black beans too)
2 cans Diced Tomatoes (undrained)
1 cup Celery, diced
1 cup Onions, diced
1 cup Green Peppers, diced (feel free to add/substitute Red and Yellow Peppers as well!)
1 lb Ground Beef (if you’re going for a slightly healthier version, use Lean Ground Beef)
1 packet Taco Seasoning
1 1/2 cup Chunky Salsa
Salt and Pepper
1 tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Chili Powder

Spray a non-stick pan with cooking spray, heat & brown the ground beef. Once it’s browned, add the Taco seasoning (use directions on packet, they vary according to which brand you use).
In a large pot, combine the following: beans, tomatoes, celery, onions, peppers, salsa, sugar and the meat (when it’s finished). Stir this all together and bring to a boil. Add the salt, pepper and chili powder. Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 20 minutes (or until the diced vegetables are tender).

Done! Easy, right?! And it’s sooo good! The salsa is definitely optional, and feel free to use more/less depending on how spicy you like things. I like to use a little more, it adds a lot of flavor and I love the spice! I got this idea from my mom, good stuff.

You can also top it off with some shredded cheddar, crunched up tortilla chips, a dollop of sour cream, or the new onion-flavored Premium crackers. Mmmmmm. This is also a healthy meal when using lean ground beef, and a great source of protein (from beans and meat), fiber (beans), and lots of vegetables!

I’d say this recipe makes about 5 servings (approx. 1 1/2 cups each), and takes about 30 minutes all together. Pretty quick and super easy. Plus it’s the perfect way to warm-up after a cold rainy/snowy day. Along with a nice cuppa’ tea of course 😉

November 5, 2007

Weekend Reviews

Filed under: cooking,food,football,weekends — by heatherdc @ 12:27 am

We had a busy weekend around these parts! It involved football (of course), comedy, eating out, movies, bars, a lot of walking, and an “extra” hour of sleep.

Let’s start with Friday night:

First stop: dinner at Texas Roadhouse with those roommates of mine.

Things were looking questionable when the bar-tender asked LB and Sally if they wanted their Bud Selects “frozen” or “on-the-rocks”. Umm…what?!

Simple misunderstanding though, because obviously “BudSelect” sounds the same as “Margarita”….right??

Moving on. Aside from a slightly unenthusiastic waitress, the meal was a success. Any restaurant that provides complementary warm, fresh rolls with a sweet cinnamon butter is on my good side!

The food came out fast and fresh. The food was delicious. Entertainment was provided in the form of country music and some pretty impressive line-dancing from the waiters. All under $20 per person, including drinks!

Next up: Sarah Silverman performance.

The show opened up with the comedian Tod Barry. His delivery was reminiscent of the late Mitch Hedberg and he definitely got things started.

Sarah herself was every bit as obscene and offensive as we had hoped. Funny in an awkward and completely inappropriate way, she held the stage for over an hour. It may not have been a sold-out arena, but it was definitely a responsive one. The only flaw in her act was encouraging random outbursts and questions from the crowd, which continued (obnoxiously) throughout the entire performance. It provoked some jokes and completely interrupted others.

Overall: she sang, proudly sported a PennState jersey, delivered plenty of Jewish jokes, made every person in the audience uncomfortable at least once, and got a lot of laughs.

Saturday:

It was our last home game of the Football season. Despite the fact that Purdue scored within the first 15 seconds of the game (ahhhh!), we came out on top.

Penn State: 26     Purdue: 19

It was the perfect day for football: 60 degrees and Sunny. As seniors, it was our last home game in the student section. I’d rather not think about that.

 

The night consisted of a few drinks, some dancin’, and an extra hour of sleep thanks to Daylight “savings” time.  A concept I’m not sure I understand entirely, seeing as how it started getting dark around 6 p.m. tonight…but let’s not go there.

 

Sunday:

 

Waking up refreshed, it was time to run the THON 5k.  My personal goal was to run it in 25 minutes. Mission accomplished! There were over 1,000 runners, meaning the event raised $12,000 + for THON. Amazing!

 

This was followed by a nice, relaxing afternoon in the apartment. Mostly spent doing a little homework, watching Emily bake and loving the oatmeal raisin cookies she made, TV, and a movie date!

 

Movie of the night: Dan in Real Life

I’ll give it 3 stars.

It has a lot of the corny family scenes, but overall I enjoyed it! I love Steve Carrell and really feel that he can make you like any character that he portrays. In LB’s words, he always seems somewhat “vulnerable”, which brings sincerity to the character. The plot wasn’t anything spectacular, but entertaining nonetheless. It was a good balance between family comedy/drama.

 

It was a great end to a very busy week and a great break before starting another one.

Countdown to Thanksgiving break = 2 Weeks!!

 

 

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