a cruel April Fool’s Day


What do you do when all of your dreams come true? You sit back, appreciate it and think of what comes next. I think you do the same when your dreams don’t come true, when you are at a loss for words. You give thanks for what good things you still have and you reassess. And then, if you’re me, you bake cookies. I made muffins this morning in anticipation of the impending decision, and managed to screw up my own recipe. The muffins are hideous and a little moist but they are still a muffin thank goodness. Though I do have 24 ‘not quite’ muffins and more batter in the fridge to deal with now. The cookies however, I started yesterday before my nerves got unruly. I knew I would need something in the oven when I learned of my fate – good or bad. And something idiot proof… think scoop & bake. Easy.

My future husband  is a cynic while I am superstitious, he’s not so sure about religion and all while I’m pretty spiritual. Our difference here comes into play during situations like this.  He says try again, just keep pushing whilst I try to figure out the bigger picture and the message within it all. Who’s right? Not a clue. I can’t tell if it’s some higher power telling me that maybe I should reassess my goals or if it’s my hurt pride that doesn’t want to be rejected again. Maybe a bit of both? Only time will tell.

Here’s what I know I am: a wife (close enough), a daughter, a sister, a friend, a two-time internship/grad school reject…. ouch.

What do you make for your first meal after such a heartbreak? Scallops. With brown rice, a touch of bacon, and some green beans. You stay on plan because now isn’t the time to completely jump ship. Now is the time to zero in on priorities. Now is the time to really take care of yourself and what says taking care of yourself better than a healthy dinner with a dose of bacon with a chocolate chip cookie chaser? Not much.

Heart-Break Scallops

  • 10 ounces scallops
  • 1 cup green beans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 4 slices center-cut bacon, quartered
  • Chicken stock
  • Salt, Pepper
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  1. In a large skillet, cook bacon according to package instructions. Once browned remove to plate with paper towel to drain.
  2. Season scallops with salt and pepper and add to skillet. Cook until tender and opaque, about 3 minutes on each side.
  3. Meanwhile, steam green beans until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes in the microwave.
  4. Remove scallops from pan and let rest with bacon.
  5. Deglaze pan with a splash (about 3 tablespoons) of chicken stock and bring to a boil. Be sure to scrape the browned bits up and let the sauce thicken.
  6. Add scallops, green beans, bacon and tomatoes to the pan and cook 1-2 minutes ensuring all ingredients are coated by the sauce.
  7. Serve over brown rice.

Lumpy Path Cookies

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 ounces unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup bread flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut
  1. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients – salt, baking powder, flours, chocolate, oats and coconut; set aside.
  2. Cream butter, applesauce and sugars together on medium speed of electric mixer. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract until light, fluffy and well-combined.
  3. Add dry ingredients to the wet in thirds until just combined.
  4. Let the ingredients marry – allow the mix to chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
  5. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper and spraying with non-stick spray.
  6. Bake 16-18 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through cook-time.

Lemons to spare


A few days ago our friends brought us gigantic lemons from their trees. Softball-sized lemons. So many lemons I couldn’t decide how to use them all. Tonight I managed to use three of them between dinner and dessert and we loved every bit of them.
For dinner I made chicken with capers and green beans. It was delicious and I have leftovers for one dinner maybe when Carver is out bowling. The perfect chicken cutlet, a dash of sauce and about a cup of green beans. Easy.
For dessert I decided a simple lemon cookie would be nice. I had never made lemon cookies before but I knew what I wanted. I wanted a sugar cookie that was not super buttery or sweet. I worked it by adding lemon zest, lemon juice, ricotta cheese, applesauce and whole wheat flour. Tomorrow I will share the what and the how of these little treats.
Carver urged me to bake up a few for QA. He is so thoughtful; didn’t want me to waste my time writing about them if they were no good. Nice try honey- I know you just wanted warm cookies before bed.
Anyways tomorrow we are trying out a newish lunch concept for the blog. It’s going to last the next four days. Then who knows maybe I will win him over with the ploughman’s lunch. A healthy take on it anyways.
Have a good night all. See you in the morning

20120319-213155.jpg


how about a pork chop?


I have tried to write this post two three four times now – thanks WordPress. I think I have finally forced them to let me share an update with you all.

It has been busy around here. I know I say this often but it’s true. Busy is my baseline and I have yet to master my schedule given my current state of busy. I’m getting there though.

Since the last time we chatted a few things have changed. I finished and submitted my applications for internship spots. Only 30 odd days until I find out where I got placed. Carver and I mailed all of our wedding invitations (we have even received a good number of RSVPs) with minimal loss of sanity. We had our wedding tasting. And we also are licensed to wed (!!), possibly the most surreal and obscure moment of the past weekend…

Now that those major milestones are behind us, I have decided there are no more excuses for my lack of exercise. It’s time. No more hiking here, cardio at the gym another day. Solid exercise. My muscles need it. My mind needs it. So hold me accountable. I’ll share with you my progress and the torture.

Recently there my kitchen has been very dirty. A result of lots of cooking and baking. What have I been making you ask? Oh well a variety of things really. Bread, brownies, Cranberry Muffins, Chocolate chip cookies with bacon, a frittata, soup, pizza, peanut butter and the list goes on…

    

I looked in my freezer this morning for our dinner protein and shockingly found no chicken! Pork chops it is then. I also happened to have one nice lemon left and a giant box of spinach and the heel of a loaf of bread. Dinner was impromptu and improvised but delicious. Think Manhattan Chicken with pork.

I seasoned both sides of the pork with salt, pepper and Mrs. Dash; preheated the skillet with a touch of olive oil and some nonstick spray. I seared the chop for 3 minutes on either side over medium-high heat. Then I removed the chops from the pan and set them on a plate to rest. I added to the pan a bit more oil (about 2 teaspoons) and more spray then 2 cloves of minced garlic and 1 teaspoon of butter; I stirred this together with a wooden spoon and added in 2 cups of baby spinach. I seasoned the spinach with the juice of half a lemon and the zest of half a lemon, salt and pepper; being careful to keep the spinach moving in the pan. Next I replaced the pork chops in the pan – now that they had a beautiful green bed to rest on. I grated fresh parmesan over the chops and put a lid on the skillet. The two pork chops were about 1-1.5 inches in thickness so they needed about 5 minutes of steam time to be cooked through. Just before serving I removed the lid and hit the pork/spinach with the zest and juice from the remaining half of the lemon and a little more salt and pepper. We enjoyed our dinner with a couple thin slices of whole grain bread which was left in the fridge.

    


recipes for the day


The lovely illness which has taken hold of my body is putting up an admirable fight… But I’ve had enough thanks. Didn’t do much today in the way of homework/studying. I did however, get a handful of normal Saturday activities done today so I don’t feel as guilty taking a day from school work. For the mussels, I made a half batch and it was AMAZING… Truly delicious. The cookies are also really yummy- the sandwich cookies smell like a warm bowl of cinnamon oatmeal; the chocolate cookies taste like a glazed chocolate donut. Needless to say I will be going to bed full and happy. I will freeze half (or a little more than) of both the cookie batches and defrost a few as we need them for lunches or desserts. I find freezing them ASAP helps keep me out of trouble, though I have been known to eat frozen cookies and cookie dough…. Tomorrow I will be making a loaf of bread, a batch of Greek lemon-rice-chicken soup and doing lots of homework oh and… definitely going for a run because the temperature will be over 30, FINALLY.

Sandwich Cookies

Preheat oven to 350. Toast 1/2c rolled oats on cookie sheet for 10 minutes, rotating and stirring halfway through cooking. Transfer to a medium bowl with 1 1/3c whole wheat flour and 1/2t salt. In a large bowl, beat 6T butter, 6T applesauce and 1/2c light brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add 1/2t vanilla extract, beat to combine. Add oat mixture to butter and mix thoroughly. Form the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 325. On a lightly floured surface roll dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut out cookies with a 1-2″ cookie cutter. Place 1/2 inch apart on baking sheet. Bake until golden, 12-15 minutes, rotate sheets halfway through cooking time. Let cool 5 minutes. Once completely cool make a sandwich with 2 cookies and 1/2t filling (either Nutella or jam). Makes 30 sandwich cookies, 1 sandwich/serving.

Cakey Chocolate Cookies

Sift together 2c + 2T whole wheat flour, 3/4c cocoa powder, 1t baking soda and 1/2t salt. In a large bowl cream 10T butter, 10T applesauce and 2c sugar until light and fluffy. Add 1/2c egg beaters and 2t vanilla extract. Gradually add dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Form into a disc and wrap in plastic, refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350. Shape dough into 1″ balls, roll in sugar. Place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake 10-12 minutes, rotating halfway through. Makes about 40 cookies.

Mussels in Spicy Garlic Broth

Spray a large skillet with non-stick spray and set over medium heat. Add 1 red onion, chopped and 4 garlic cloves, minced. Cook, stirring occasionally about 3 minutes. Add15oz can diced tomatoes1/2t red pepper flakes1/4t salt and 1/4c water, bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer about 5 minutes. Add 4lb mussels, scrubbed and debearded to skillet and stir gently. Cover and cook until mussels open, about 5 minutes– stirring gently a couple of times during cooking. Discard any mussels that don’t open. Serve with 1/2c whole wheat linguine per person (Points Plus: 2). Serves 4. Points Plus: 3


what’s a girl to do… with an empty kitchen?


My kitchen is in a pretty sad state right now… On the 86 list currently: beer, diet coke and cookies. I know these aren’t the healthiest things but they are my little treats throughout the day. I’m getting into dangerous waters because on our endangered list are: lean protein, fruit, and granola bars. And beyond that the last package of chicken we have would not defrost in a timely manner so we opted for Thai food tonight, chicken tomorrow. The take out put me over my normal point allotment for today but so long as I don’t make a trend of this or overeat like crazy for the next few days this will not make much of a difference. I put a lot of focus on snacks today so be sure to check out the Snack Attack page.

Today’s Food Journal

Breakfast: 1/2c oatmeal, 1/2c coffee

Lunch: 1c turkey chili, 2t sour cream, 1 chocolate chip cookie, 1/2 large orange, 2c black tea

Dinner: 2 chicken satay, 1t peanut sauce, 1c drunken noodles, 1 chocolate chip cookie, 1 miller lite

Snacks: 1 tall skim latte, 1 large banana, 4 chocolates

Lemon Chicken with Broccoli (adapted from Weight Watchers)

  • 2 tablespoon flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 12 oz chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ cup vegetable broth, low sodium and fat free
  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 ½ cups broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

On a plate, combine 1 ½ T of flour, ¼ t of salt and pepper; add 12 oz chicken and turn to coat. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, turning as needed, until lightly browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes; remove to a plate. Put 1 cup of broth and garlic in same skillet; bring to a boil over high heat, scrapping up browned bits from bottom of pan with a wooden spoon. Add broccoli; cover and cook 1 minute. In a small cup, stir together remaining 1/2 c of broth, ½ T of flour, and ¼ t of salt; add to skillet and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cover and cook until broccoli is crisp-tender and sauce is slightly thickened, about 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in chicken and lemon zest; heat through. Remove skillet from heat and stir in parsley and lemon juice; toss to coat.

Yields about 1 cup per serving. Points Plus: 4