Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pork and Beans

It has been forever since we've had a decent burger and Brent was really craving one so we went to the store and bought some natural, grass-fed beef and came home and put it on the Foreman.

He spiced the meat with crushed red pepper, seasoning salt, black pepper, and paprika. Instead of sprinkling it on while cooking, he mixed it all in with the raw beef before forming the patties.

His was served on a whole wheat bun with provolone, spinach, mustard, and ketchup; with a side of natural vegetable chips made from potatoes, tomatoes, and spinach. He also had his first taste EVER of pork and beans. Unfortunately, he was not a fan.

I was unfortunately not feeling a burger, so I crushed up my patty and added it to some mac&cheese, which turned out to be pretty good. :)

And since Brent is now at work until 9:15, I have to decide what I want to make today. All of this blogging about food has made me huuuuungry!

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

While none of us in this house are Italian, pasta is definitely a favorite. In fact, I think Brent lived on pasta before we met. Unfortunately, his version was a box of noodles mixed with plain tomato sauce. ew.

Since then, we have spiced it up creating our own fun pasta dishes and recreating some of his favorites from childhood. It wasn't until last night that I decided to get real creative.

I was going through my cookbook, a main hobby of mine these days, and found a recipe for homemade pasta. Interesting. A quick glance at the ingredient list showed that I had everything I needed so I set out to make him a delicious dinner.

The noodles were actually a LOT easier than I had anticipated, I just wish I had a better set of kitchen knives or a pastry cutter because cutting the dough into noodles was the hardest part. However, after two hours they were done and ready to be eaten.

For the alfredo sauce I simply mixed butter, heavy whipping cream, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. I cooked a few chicken breasts on the skillet in EVOO and mixed it all together.

Brent claims that it was better than The Olive Garden, I'm not sure how much I believed this but I do have to agree that it was very good for my first attempt at a homemade pasta dish.

He also proved once more that he is the greatest boyfriend ever by buying me this the other day:

I had been complaining (probably more than necessary) that it was hard to use homemade dough with no rolling pin.. I had used various other items such as an applesauce jar, an old tea bottle, etc. in my baking prior to this, so while we were at the store one day he ventured into the kitchen gadgets and came back with this! I was so happy! It's the little things in life... :)

Note: I got the recipe for the pasta and the sauce in a general cookbook, but if you would like me to post them just leave a comment and let me know :)

Chai Tea Cupcakes

This has, by far, been my greatest "new recipe" success since I started experimenting in the kitchen. These cupcakes turned out sooooo delicious, and moist, and perfect that the entire batch was devoured in less than 12 hours (seriously!) :)

Brent and I are both chai tea fanatics. Anytime we go to a coffee shop, this is exactly what we order. Obviously this can get expensive so it is a rare treat, until recently. I started experimenting with spices and combinations and have found a way to make it at home! I daresay it is even better than the $4 version we normally buy. However, this also left a few chai tea bags laying around begging to be used, so I decided to experiment again.

1/2 cup sugar
2 oz. butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
pinch of salt
1-2 chai tea bags, depending on how strong you want the chai flavor.

1. Heat oven to 350*. Place liners in cupcake pan or spray with oil.
2. Heat up milk on stove, remove. Place tea bags into milk at steep for 5-10 minutes.
3. Cream butter and sugar together. Mix in egg and vanilla. Mix in tea mixture.
4. Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, gloves, ginger, cardamom, and salt together. Mix dry and wet ingredients.
5. Divide batter into cupcake tray.
6. Bake 15-18 minutes.
6. Allow to cool. Frost with buttercream frosting and sprinkle with cinnamon.

They were seriously A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. If you love chai tea, they are definitely worth your time to make.

Kenji says hello from his favorite perch in the kitchen. He loves watching me cook and bake, secretly hoping I drop some delicious noms on the floor for him :)

Banana Bread

I did it! My first venture into making my own bread was a HUGE success!

I have always wanted to make my own bread, so when I saw this recipe on Megan's Blog, I decided to give it a shot.

The recipe was very simple, easy to follow, and the result was absolutely delicious!

-1/2 cup oatmeal
-1 cup whole wheat flour
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1/2 cup white sugar
-1 1/4 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1 egg
-3 really ripe bananas
-1/3 cup apple sauce

Mix all these ingredients in a large bowl, pour into a greased 8 X 4 inch loaf pan, then pop into a 350 oven for about 50 minutes! I like to toast slices and top them with butter.

I had a few plain slices, a few with butter, and my personal favorite: heated with honey and chocolate chips. mouth watering! :)

My next quest is to find a good recipe for cinnamon bread... yum!

Betty Crocker

Being pregnant means that everything is not always about yourself. Well, this has certainly proven true throughout my pregnancy this far. Beannette has intensified my sweet tooth by a ton, but has made it almost impossible for me to drink any beverage that has been sweetened (chocolate milk, juice, etc.)... which I find strange, but I roll with it.

I've also been hit hard with the nesting symptom. While most of this has been directed toward the kitchen as I spend countless hours baking, digging through cookbooks and online recipes, and cooking new and delicious meals; I have noticed that all I want to do is organize and get things ready for when she gets here. This is difficult since we plan on moving so soon after her birth, but I think in my haste to get everything perfect I have found our perfect apartment for when we do move in March!

However, this blog is not for that and I will focus on my ridiculous baking splurges.

I have decided, through my college education, common knowledge, and food movies/books/blogs, that I will never again buy boxed mixes for baked goods. Homemade tastes better and has better nutritional value.

That being said I have been experimenting hard core in the baking department. My adventures have included:
Cinnamon Rolls


Vast amounts of cookies

Everything was so good and went over extremely well with Brent and his co-workers... obviously I didn't want the baked goods to pile up too much around the house so I sent some to work with him.

I have also discovered how much I really love to bake! I used to think it was fun, opening the packages and stirring in an egg... but actually making everything yourself is much, much more satisfying.

Note: all of these recipes are from a general cookbook, but if you would like me to post it just leave a comment and let me know :)

Pork Tenderloin with a Blueberry Rub

I know what you're thinking... blueberries on pork?! But I promise you, it was delicious!

I started with about a 1 1/2 lb. pork tenderloin. I coated it with whole grain country dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. I put it on a broiler pan and placed it under the broiler for about 18 minutes, flipping the meat every 3-4 minutes.

For the sauce I used 1 cup blueberry preserves, chipotle powder, orange juice, country dijon mustard, salt and pepper. I don't have an exact recipe for this because I just kind of added as I needed to make it thicker and seasoned to my taste.

For a side I made some long grain wild rice.

I cannot say that I am entirely new to cooking, but I am new to experimenting. I grew up in a household that didn't even use salt to season (because of health issues), so spices and herbs are completely foreign to me so I am having a great time testing them and exploring new recipes!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

It's grey outside

It went from being a hot, humid, sunny 92* yesterday to a completely dark grey, rainy 69* today. While it doesn't make for good weather, the cooler temps and the sounds of the rain seem to be more motivating to me than the extreme heat.

As promised, yesterday's lunch consisted of 1/2 a chicken spinach pita (picture in the previous post). Unfortunately, this time it tasted terrible and I only managed a few bites. Pregnancy can be lame at times.

Dinner, as mentioned, was steak! It was SO good. Definitely exactly what my body needed because my headache went away and I have had more energy today than I've had in about a week. Guess red meat is good for the body.

Served with mashed potatoes and a side salad (spinach, romaine, cuc, catalina). We will definitely be getting more steaks on our next trip to the store.

Late night snacks included ice cream, chicken nuggets, and some grapes. :)

Today is shaping up to be wonderful, aside from the weather and the fact that Brent works all day (9-5)... but I am getting a LOT accomplished. I have the house almost completely cleaned back up (and it was looking like quite the disaster area), dinner in the crock pot (CHICKEN & DUMPLINGS!!!! omg, yay!), and I am about to embark on some cookies. I do plan on making the bread I mentioned earlier, but I realized that I need a loaf pan before starting such a wonderful adventure.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Lucky for me, there were leftovers of the delicious foods I mentioned in the previous post!

The fruit plate:

The salad:

aaaand a grilled chicken pita with some of the chicken (chicken + spinach + provolone + ranch = YUM!) I will definitely be making another one of these today.

I am now 21 weeks pregnant! Over halfway there!! Unfortunately, I think that my transition to a more healthy lifestyle and my extreme aversion to beef recently (part pregnancy, part food documentaries that scare me away from food) I have been experiencing extreme headaches which I can only assume are caused by low iron. I cannot really diagnose this myself, but it explains the sluggishness and the headaches that I've been having recently, add in that I haven't eaten red meat in almost a month AND I have not been eating a ton of fortified cereals or leafy greens, I would say that's probably what it is. It was so bad last night Brent ran out and got me a cheeseburger from Burger King (gross, but it lessened the headache) and I decided that tonight we are having STEAK for dinner! SO excited. Normally I am a medium rare kind of girl, so I will have to survive with it being a little more brown, but I'm sure it will be delicious. :)

I also plan on experimenting with some recipes today... including a delicious looking banana bread!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Hello Blog

I may not have many followers on here, but I feel as if I have abandoned you.

Things have been very stressful on the home front, on top of being 5 months pregnant you can get a very lazy girl. Unfortunately I have not been lazy at all. The pregnancy nesting has kicked in almost full force and I have been on an organizing, cleaning, cooking, baking frenzy!

Sadly, we have not been adventurous in our foods and they have been frozen or boxed or premade, OR we just repeat the same three or four meals every week which gets quite boring to photograph, write about, and I am sure quite boring to read about as well.

Yesterday I did break out of the norm... I made a delicious three egg omelet for lunch with shredded turkey and provolone cheese! It really hit the spot, too bad my camera battery was dead and celly pictures just don't do as well. For dinner we made quite the spread with grilled chicken salads - romaine, whole grain rotini noodles, grilled chicken breast strips, shredded colby jack cheese, cucs, tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, and craisins! YUM. Meal complete with a giant fruit tray. It really did the job of making my tummy feel better after a week or so of nasty, fried, high fat foods.

Starting this week Brent and I decided we were going to venture out and try new recipes and work out everyday, so look forward to new and exciting recipes and workout posts to chronicle our fantabulous adventure together. :)

I hope everyone else enjoyed America's birthday yesterday!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Strange Creations

My eating habits have been less than stellar recently, but I'm managing to fit my weird cravings into somewhat healthy creations.

I threw this together, getting the idea from Megan who eats peanut butter/honey sandwiches. Only, I added the combo to a banana. It ended up being really good, so I am excited to buy more bananas and have it again!

I've also been going crazy over hard boiled eggs, and I've really been craving a big, juicy turkey sandwich (since I make Brent one almost everyday), but cannot stand the thought of a hot sandwich... I decided to steam some meat and make a chef salad combining all my favorites: romaine, spinach, egg, turkey, roast beef, cherry tomatoes, and cucumber all topped with catalina dressing! It was delicious, but the heated meat still kind of threw me off.

And I have also been feeling a lot like Betty Crocker recently. In the past few days I have made: broccoli cheese soup, cheeseburger macaroni, tacos with beans and rice, spaghetti, chocolate chip cookies, countless salads, fruit plates, and chocolate chip muffins!

I was quite pleased with how the muffins came out. I am also glad that I am channeling my chocolate cravings into delicious creations!

Brent and I also went to the doctor yesterday and we are officially having a little girl!!!! She is quite the wiggle worm, already being silly just like her daddy and just as stubborn as her mommy - it took over an hour to get all the necessary pictures and measurements because she kept rolling around. We are SO excited! :)

Thursday, July 1, 2010


YAY! The pink hair came through and it is definitely a little girl! :) Here are a few pictures from the ultrasound (if you click the picture, you can see a bigger version!):

She is definitely a little wiggle worm. It took over an hour to get all the pictures and measurements, but it was fun to watch! She was also very stubborn and had her legs crossed for the first half, but she finally gave us a peak at in between the legs (YAY)! We are so excited! :)

Halfway There!!!!

Not only am I totally feeling like Betty Crocker, I am halfway done with my pregnancy! :)

Yesterday was my appointment and it went very well. I am up to 180.6 lbs. (I am blaming most of this on my recent cooking/baking binge), and my blood pressure is still perfect!! However, he checked the size of my uterus and commented that it was measuring larger than the date, so there is a possibility that I may be farther along than we though or the baby is just going to be big... I'm hoping for the first option :) This would also explain some of the feelings I've been having that we will be having an October baby.. mother's instinct :)

Still no ultrasound with a definite confirmation on the gender and all the other anatomical things they check for - heart chambers, limbs, brain, etc. but we should be finding out today!! So EXCITED. :)