Another Birthday Dinner


What recipes did you grow up with? Maybe it’s restaurant dishes or a certain treat that stands out. There are several for me and often those foods are associated with a specific time of year or a person. For example, apple cake or muffins are a must have in January – or any time I need something special for my dad. As Carver tells it he and his sister were virtually raised on recipes from this book. My mother-in-law sent it to us one year and I have gradually added recipes from it to our repertoire. I must admit I was fairly hesitant about the tuna recipe below – Carver has asked for it for months and I have shied away. The original recipe calls for canned tuna which is an absolute NO in my book, and I was unsure of the cream and tuna. It just seemed unappealing to me. Carver finally convinced me to make it for his mom’s birthday this year and it was perfect. It says, “You’re special,” but it isn’t showy or over-the-top. Another quirk about Carver and I is we have a different definition of Strawberry Shortcake. I am of the classic school while Carver associates the dish with angel food cake in place of the shortcake. For this dinner I decided we should stick with what Carver remembered and it turned out very well.

Ahi Tuna with Creamy Pasta

  • 2/3 pound ahi tuna steak
  • 5 ounces whole wheat pasta
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • 1 lemon – zested and juiced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Before straining reserve 1/4 cup cooking liquid.
  2. Season tuna steak with salt and pepper. Preheat grill pan over high heat. Sear tuna for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove to a plate to rest.
  3. In a food processor, combine heavy cream, lemon and garlic. Pulse until cream thickens – it will look like sour cream and takes less than 2 minutes so be ready! Fold in capers and parsley.
  4. Add sauce to pasta and mix so pasta is coated with sauce. The cream sauce should be fairly liquid and easily incorporate with the pasta, if it doesn’t gradually add a bit of the reserved pasta water to the mix and stir until you get the desired consistency.
  5. Slice tuna and serve on top of pasta.

Carver’s Strawberry ‘Shortcake’

  • 1 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 slices angel food cake, cubed
  1. Add half the sugar to strawberries, stir and set aside for at least 30 minutes. *macerate those strawberries*
  2. Before serving whip cream on high with a mixer until soft peaks form.
  3. Once you have soft peaks, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and beat again on high until stiff peaks form.
  4. Assemble the dessert: a spoonful of berries and sauce, a dollop of whipped cream, a handful of cake cubes, a spoonful of berries and sauce, and a dollop of whipped cream

I missed yoga


For the past few weeks I have been in a fog. I have no idea what I was doing or what I already did. I just can’t seem to remember. I’m late all the time and distracted and few things are making me feel better. I tried to make it to yoga everyday this past week and failed. Partly because I made excuses and partly because work was overtaking things. Oh and we had a rental dog this week. Who wants to do ANYTHING when there is a dog at home to play with?

I was so excited this morning. I had a wedding call with my dad, I started a load of laundry. The house was relatively clean. I was going to yoga. I got my spirits up while driving thinking class would be empty as it is a holiday. I’m not sure if class was empty but the parking lot seemed empty. As I walked up to the door with my mat and bag I noticed the class was finishing the standing postures. Hmm that’s awesome. That means class started at 8AM, not 830AM like I thought. That’s what I mean. ALL week it’s been like that. By the by, it’s written in my agenda that class starts at 8…

After I drove all the way to the studio I decided I should just go home and have some breakfast. Carver was at work so I snuggled up on the couch with my bowl of cereal and consoled myself with some television.

 I am a fan of mixing cereals. It seems more exciting that way. Today I mixed 1/4 cup Post Great Grains, 1/4 cup Quaker Corn Bran Crunch, and 1/4 cup Whole Grain Total. Perfectly crunchy with 1/3 cup of milk and a big glass of water.

Since we spoke last I have had tomatoes grow in on my plant and some beautiful flowers have begun to adorn the front of the house.

     

Also we had a lot of yummy food over the past couple weeks.

                 


Must-Haves for a Blissful Kitchen: Lunch Edition


Next up, all your helpful ingredients for delicious lunches every time. Whether you eat it at home or brown-bag it these items will hold up and keep your lunches healthy and will provide lots of variety.

 

Artichoke Hearts Dijon Mustard Vegetables: baby carrots, grape tomatoes, celery sticks Microwave Popcorn
Broccoli Florets FF/LF Cheese Canned Tomatoes Mixed Nuts
Chopped Onion FF/LF Yogurt Couscous Low fat & low calorie treats
Grilled chicken or steak Lettuce, variety Dried Fruit – variety Rice
Lean Cuisine or Smart One Meals LF Mayonnaise Dry Whole Wheat Pasta Roasted Red Peppers
Veggie Burgers Low-fat deli meats Garlic Salsa
Pickles Olives Vinegar – variety Spaghetti Sauce
Seltzer Pesto Canned Beans Stock/Broth

 


a recipe for Kiley


I am sorry to report it is still hot here… Though the bubbly meteorologist assured me that the slight breeze would make the 106 temperature feel like 100. I think she lied. When I took Merlin for his walk at 7 this morning it was over 80 degrees – 95 by the time Carver got home from his bike ride. He had quite the workout this morning and not enough food to support his exercise so when he came home I whipped up a batch of the Buttermilk Berry Pancakes. We followed our normal AM routine: news then last night’s Jimmy Fallon. Then he took a well-deserved nap and when he woke up it was time for lunch… Funny how that works. Since I wasn’t feeling very creative I went with my old standby – good volume of food and intense flavor. And ONE PAN. This recipe easily doubles and triples. Also, 3 medium tomatoes seems like a lot but it will give you a larger serving without eating too much pasta.

The Simplest Pasta Recipe I Know… Serves 2

  • 4 ounces uncooked linguine or other long pasta
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped basil (about a palm-full of leaves)
  • 3 tablespoons parmesan, freshly grated
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Chili pepper flakes, to taste

Cook linguine according to package directions. While pasta cooks dice tomatoes, chop basil and grate parmesan; set aside. Drain pasta and reserve 1/2 cup of cooking liquid.  Return pan to stove and spray with non-stick spray, add butter and oil until combined. Cook garlic in butter-oil for about one minute until garlic turns golden brown, then add it 3/4 of basil and 3/4 of tomatoes. Stir to combine and cook for about 3 minutes. Return linguine to pan and toss to combine adding in 1 1/2 tablespoons of parmesan and salt, pepper and chilies. Stir well and add cooking liquid if sauce is too dry. Split portions between two bowls and top each with 1/2 of remaining parmesan, tomatoes and basil. 8 Points Plus per serving.

More fun wedding things going on around here. I will share some of my favorite inspiration photos 🙂

Love this spread!

Yes, that is a cookie buffet

Love the burlap napkins!


poached eggs for starters


As you all know by now I am a big fan of breakfasts. I had another delicious breakfast this morning, I planned it earlier this week and have been looking forward to it for as long.
I made a hodgepodge fruit salad to serve alongside toast with poached eggs. Poached eggs, when cooked to perfection, are possibly my favorite breakfast food. I remember getting strange looks from my friends growing up because I ate my eggs poached and not scrambled, but I’ve always been a fan. My ideal poached egg ‘layout’ is rye/pumpernickel toast with butter and raspberry jam topped with the egg which is still runny then topped with a bit of salt and pepper. YUM….
Pretty mellow rest of the day – some cleaning, a quick Target run, made a loaf of whole wheat bread, studying, wedding work, and some move brainstorming. By the end of the afternoon I found myself very stressed and anxious so I laid down for a quick nap and when I woke up we opened up a bottle of wine and cooked dinner together: an interesting mix of rigatoni, lentils, sausage, mushrooms and arugula. Carver just plopped down next to me on the couch with dessert (vanilla bean ice cream topped with a dab of Justin’s almond butter) and popped on Ratatouille.
Poached Eggs and Fruit Salad

Poached eggs are a perfect reason for using mise en place. The process goes quickly so it will serve you well to be organized and focused. I use Julia Child’s method of bringing a pot of water to a gentle boil with a splash of distilled vinegar. When the water reaches that gentle boil, I put the egg (shell and all) in the water for about 30-45 seconds and roll it around, then remove it. Next I make sure all my utensils and plates/dishes are set up. I have these great little fruit cups which perfectly hold 1-2 poached eggs. I crack the eggs, one at a time into the water and watch them like a hawk. For the runny consistency I like, cook time is about 2 1/2 minutes. I start toasting the bread when the water begins boiling. I made the fruit salad before I got my eggs/pan set up. I cut up 1 large banana, 1 mango, 1 grapefruit and 1 kiwi. I mixed the fruit up with the juice from the grapefruit to keep the banana from browning. I used a basic whole grain bread today with some smart balance light and peach jam. Points plus: 5 for 1/2 of the fruit salad, 1 slice of toast and 1 poached egg.

Sausage with Rigatoni

Saute 1/4c lentils in 1/2t olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet, cook for 7 minutes. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, meanwhile slice up 1c mushrooms. Cook 1/2 lb whole wheat rigatoni for 6-7 minutes over medium high heat. When lentils have finished cooking, remove from pan and place in a small bowl. Add a package of spicy turkey sausage to the skillet with 1t olive oil. Cook for 6-7 minutes, add in the mushrooms and lentils, stir to combine. Add in 1/4c vegetable stock and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve 1/4 of the pasta with 1/4 of the sausage mixture. I mixed in a handful of arugula with the sausage/pasta, for extra color and nutrients. Points Plus: 8 Serves 4.


what’s next?


Today I found myself in need of something, a few different things throughout the day really. The beginning of the day I was in need of medicine and food, by the end of the afternoon early evening I was in need of a confidence booster and an outlet for my disappointment. Still not much pain from Monday’s surgery, but the pressure was a little more than I could ignore. The food need was a no-brainer, thankfully I was able to eat a full day’s worth of points.

I found out this afternoon my school plans have to change. I am not certain what we will do now and it is very frightening and upsetting, but I am one dish closer to acceptance of the news. Who knows maybe good things will happen with the next year of school-free time? Maybe a book, or another project, or planning a wedding? Who knows… I am certain it will all work out even. So stay tuned for what comes next.

Colorful Pasta with Sausage

In a large pot bring 5c water to a boil, add in 1t salt. Add 1/2 lb short cut vegetable pasta and cook over medium-high heat for 6-7 minutes until al dente. Meanwhile slice up 4 chicken andouille sausage links into 1/2″ thick pieces. Sauté the sausage in a large skillet with non-stick spray and 1t olive oil. Cook for 5 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Halve 1c grape tomatoes, quarter 1 can of artichoke hearts and add to the skillet. Continue cooking for 3-4 more minutes, stirring frequently. Drain the pasta and add to the skillet –stir to combine. Serves 4. Top with 1t grated Parmesan cheese. Points Plus: 7.