I did a 180 this morning, on the advice of a dear friend. The day started with some bad pants. (Note that I am blaming the pants.) I should have done something about these pants months ago. They were passed down to me and I like the idea of the pants but they aren’t flattering and they do NOTHING good for my self-esteem. Anyways I gave them another try this morning and nearly spiraled out of control. I got by with a little help from my friend. As I was driving to work two things happened (three if you count driving…). One: I got some therapy from Foster the People. Torches is my current cure-all for bad moods or ambivalence. Two: I decided it’s far too easy for things to screw with my day. Last night it was eggs giving it their all. Today those pants. Changes at work over the past few weeks. I’M SO OVER IT!!! I’m sick of letting things like pants and eggs throw a kink in my day. I’m better than that. I know I’m not alone here so if you have that issue too – you are better than that too!
I was working on my meal plan for the week and decided spinach salads with bacon and hardboiled eggs sounded like a nice easy lunch we could both enjoy. One small problem. I’ve never made hard-boiled eggs before. For many years I wouldn’t eat them so why would I make them?! Well I was really nervous about these eggs. Because if I screwed that up, I didn’t have a back up plan (sometimes I work best that way). I did some research and I decided to go with Chocolate and Zucchini on this. And they were a success! I even got requests to have them more often. This morning I was nervously peeling the shell while Carver was laughing at me, “You make souffles and you’re afraid of a hard-boiled egg?” Yah, so.. Maybe I was. Anywho that’s all fixed now. Now that I have delicious, creamy hard-boiled eggs in my arsenal. They were delicious on our salad. Give them a try – they may help you fight the mojo-killer in your life.
I felt the eggs were a perfect example of letting something silly affect my day. This time I won. I showed those eggs who was boss. And when I get home I will either decide to give up on the pants or add them to my pile for the tailor. BUT until the issue is resolved they will not mess with my day.
What will you vow to stand up to today?
chocolate, check. sugar, check. eggs, check. This recipe came from one of my favorite sources: Orangette Molly has yet to lead me astray whether it’s the oatmeal sandwich bread or the Italian vegetable soup. Today’s treat is the Winning Hearts and Minds Cake. In case you’re not connecting the dots, I’m talking about a rich decadent cake with a killer name. I think you need to make it just to brag you made something so amazing. I decided to make this as a morale boost but Molly from Orangette made it for her wedding cake. Granted this would even be perfect for any old Tuesday as it is simple and gives a big bang for the effort. The only downside to this is that it would be cruel to change this recipe – as tempting as it is to find a way to decrease the points value per serving.
Carver described this as souffle meets brownie meets cake and I have to agree with his findings. What I like is the depth of flavor, the contrast in textures and the subtle sweetness. Yes, I’m raving but the cake has earned it. Full disclosure, I edited the recipe a bit – increased flour from 1 tablespoon to 3, added vanilla extract and coffee.
Winning Hearts and Minds Cake
- 7 oz good dark chocolate (I used Ghiradelli 70%), cut into 1/2″ chunks
- 7oz unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 1/3 cup sugar
- 5 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons brewed coffee
- 3 tablespoons flour
So first things first – preheat the oven to 375 and prepare muffin tins with liners and a quick spray of Pam; set aside.
In a medium glass bowl combine butter and chocolate, microwave for 1:30 pausing to stir every 15 seconds. You may not need the whole 90 seconds, but you need almost all the chocolate to be melted. Small chunks will melt with enough stirring. Whisk in sugar and set aside and let cool for about 5 minutes.
Whisk in eggs to chocolate/butter 1 at a time. Next add in remaining ingredients and whisk well to combine. Pour batter into prepared tin – for me it took 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon per cup. Now it’s time for the magic… Bake this in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes. I baked for 18 minutes, rotated sheet halfway through and then baked for another 5 minutes. Then remove them from the oven and cool in pan on a rack for 15 minutes and finish cooling out of pan. Yields 12 cakes at 13 points plus per cake.
I’m told they are delicious with a cup of milk and well worth burning your tongue on… 3 guesses who shared that bit of information.
We had a wonderful weekend and finished it off with a nice dinner. Carver and I had some exciting news to share with M&M so we had them over for dinner. I made a roast chicken (with vegetables), a mixed green salad, and chocolate souffles for dessert. I wanted to make a meal that screamed 50s housewife, I believe I achieved it. I used this dinner as a celebration-engagement dinner, but it could easily be used for a special date or birthday or any old Friday night. This was a very easy meal to make and completely worth the effort.
Roast Chicken Dinner
Start by chopping 5 carrots, 1 fennel bulb, 1 medium onion, and 2 medium baking potatoes into bite-sized pieces (about 1-inch cubes). Place vegetables in a roasting pan and season with salt, pepper, 2 garlic cloves (smashed) and 2t olive oil. Preheat oven to 450. Rinse and pat dry a 4-5lb roasting chicken. Remove the giblets and trim excess fat. Season chicken cavity with salt and pepper; stuff with 1 quartered lemon, 2 garlic cloves and 2 sprigs rosemary. Rub 2t olive oil onto chicken skin (breast side) and season with salt and pepper. Nestle chicken breast side up in the diced vegetables. Bake for 20 minutes. Lower temperature to 350 and continue cooking for 90 minutes until juices run clear. Remove pan from oven and cover with aluminum foil; let rest for 20 minutes before carving. The meat will be tender and fresh and juicy– so juicy your fiancé may pick the bird for additional morsels. Points plus value will vary based on the cut of meat. The vegetables are 1 point per cup. This recipe serves 4.
Along side the chicken and vegetables, I served a basic mixed green salad. In a large salad bowl I combined the juice of one lemon, 1/2t salt, 1/4t pepper, 1t Dijon mustard and 3T olive oil; whisked until well combined. I topped the dressing with 1/2 container of spring mix greens. I set it on the table and as we sat down we tossed the dressing with the greens so it was fresh and not soggy. The salad was an additional 1 point and the recipe served 4.
Preheat oven to 425. Melt 7oz bittersweet chocolate with 1/3c room temperature coffee (I do this in a microwave-safe bowl, nuking in 20 second intervals and stirring between each interval). Whisk 1/3c flour and 1c milk in a saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil and boil slowly, whisking for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and add 1c milk, 1T butter, 1T vanilla extract, 1/4t salt, 4 egg yolks, and the chocolate-coffee mixture; whisk until well combined. In a large bowl whisk 6 egg whites to soft peaks, add 1/2c sugar and whip to shiny peaks. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg whites rapidly (but gently). Pour into 4 2c souffle dishes which have been sprayed generously with cooking spray. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes, or until they puff up. Dust with powdered sugar. Serves 8.
We went all out for our Valentines meal this year. Very French and totally on plan. We had boeuf bourguignon, mixed green salad, a slice of bread and chocolate souffles with raspberries for dessert. It was all very simple and very rewarding.
I got Carver a cookbook, well I got us a cookbook. It’s the newest WW book and it is devoted to 3-5 ingredient recipes. They are clean, satisfying tastes. My plan is to cook our way through the whole book- 125 recipes in say 3 months? Considering how much we cook I don’t foresee a problem. We have made 2 items from the book so far- a seafood dish and a side salad, both delicious.
I was drawn to this cookbook for a few reasons.
1. Easy recipes – more likely that Carver will join the cooking party
2. Classic flavors: these are not what you would describe as ‘healthy food’ but the recipes are undoubtedly good for you
3. Can you imagine how easy grocery shopping will be when each recipe calls for a max of 5 ingredients?! Yah I’m excited too 🙂
One of the commercials for Valentine’s day this year, was all about ‘I love us’ vs ‘I love you’ … I like that, it really struck a chord with me. Granted it’s still trying to get you to buy things like all the other ads, but I like the sentiment.
And I think the idea of I love us works for more than just couples.
Also exciting out in bean town: spring training has begun (thank goodness) and the forecast this week has ZERO below freezing temperatures!
All good things!
Look for recipes later today and remember- I love us 🙂
Valentine’s Day Dinner: Boeuf Bourguignon, Baby Greens with Gorgonzola and Almonds
Boeuf Bourguignon: Toss 2lb bottom round roast (trimmed and cut into 3/4″ pieces) and 1/4c flour in a medium bowl until evenly coated. Heat 1T olive oil in large pan over medium-high heat. Add beef, in batches and cook turning occasionally, until browned, about 6 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker. Add 15oz low-sodium beef broth, 1c Merlot, 16oz boiling onions (halved), 10oz mushrooms (quartered), 1/4lb fingerling potatoes (chopped), 2T tomato paste, 4 garlic cloves (chopped), 1T chopped fresh thyme, 1 bay leaf, 1/2t salt, 1/4t black pepper and 1lb carrots (thickly sliced); bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Transfer to slow cooker; book on high for 2 hours. Beef and vegetables should be fork tender. Serve sprinkled with 2T fresh parsley (chopped). Serves 8. Points Plus: 9
Baby Greens with Gorgonzola and Almonds: Combine 2T fat-free raspberry vinaigrette, 1/2 shallot (thinly sliced) in a medium bowl. Add 4c mixed greens and toss to coat. Add 2T gorgonzola cheese (crumbled) and 1T slivered almonds. Serves 2. Points Plus: 2
And for the finale…. Chocolate Souffles
Preheat the oven to 350. Coat 2 60z ramekins with cooking spray. In a small saucepan, whisk together 1T unsweetened cocoa, 1T flour and 2T granulated sugar; set over medium heat. Add 3T low-fat chocolate milk and 1t cinnamon; cook until smooth, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk 1 egg white until soft peaks form. Slowly add 1T granulated sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Fold cooled chocolate mixture into egg whites, a little at a time, until no white streaks appear. Pour batter into prepared ramekins. Bake until set and tops look slightly dry, about 16 minutes. Do NOT open the oven during this time. Dust with powdered sugar and fresh raspberries; serve warm. Points Plus: 3