Thursday, July 31, 2008

Let's take the first canyon out of here

Today was one of my longest days ever, and it shows no signs of ending within the next few hours. Days like this make me want to get in the car and just drive. But then the practical part of me says "Ah yes, and when you eventually run out of gas, how do you intend to pay for it? And who will pay your loans and bills while you're off trying to run out of road?" So I sigh and put my nose back to the grindstone. But I do get a temporary reprieve after making 2 hours of evidentiary photocopies, I get to go home just in time to kiss Thatboy goodnight, and then it's just dinner for one.

Dinner for one usually involves leftovers - like that leftover Spanish rice on the middle shelf, and that "about to go bad" zucchini, the almost wilted cilantro, and of course that defrosted chicken breast that I took out this morning assuming that I would be home human time. Hmmm sounds like another chicken on the stovetop recipe for me!

Cilantro Skillet Chicken
  • 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
  • 2 Tbsp lite sour cream
  • 1/2 zucchini, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Spanish rice, cooked
  1. Combine 1/2 Tbsp cilantro, 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, and garlic, and chicken in ziplock bag. Place in fridge while you prepare remaining ingredient.
  2. Combine sour cream and remaining cilantro.
  3. Heat remaining olive oil in saucepan over medium high heat and cook zucchini until tender. Add to cooked rice.
  4. Put chicken in skillet and cook until cooked through. Serve with rice and sour cream.
Serves 1.
Each serving has:
Calories 331.5
Total Fat 15.3 g
Saturated Fat 2.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 10.2 g
Cholesterol 34.2 mg
Sodium 441.3 mg
Potassium 389.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 33.1 g
Dietary Fiber 2.3 g
Sugars 2.5 g
Protein 17.3 g

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sun tanned, wind blown...

and also shaken! We've got it all here in California: traffic, fires, mudslides, floods, and of course, earthquakes. I'm fortunate enough not to have been in California for any of the "big ones" so I look at these just like amusement park rides. I raise my hands, scream "wheeeeee!" and when it's over I start chanting "again! again!"

Yesterday the earthquake definitely matched the tenor of my life right now, everything's all shook up and out of place for a change. I should probably just make my self right at home in chaos since I seem to continually end up there anyway. And besides, chaos is kinda a pretty place when you look around. I mean, it has basically everything you could possibly want, you just can't necessarily find it.

The highlight of my day yesterday wasn't the earthquake however. My enjoyment was rudely interrupted by someone who needed something done immediately, done perfectly, and done by me. The highlight of my day was a little message from Lina letting me know she was passing along the Yum Yum blog award.

Lina is someone I wish I had met back when I was living in Orange County because I think she's amazing. She makes amazing dishes and travels to amazing places. Thatboy has NO idea how many blogs I read, or that I read blogs of people I've never met, however he knows Lina because I'm constantly wishing she'd give me cooking lessons!

I'm giving this award to five other yummy bloggers.

Post-Collegiate Cooking

Stir it Up
Proceed with Caution
Sensible Suppers and Decadent Desserts
The Spiced Life

Now, does everyone remember Spanish Shrimp? Well I decided to make Spanish Chicken! That means the main ingredient after chicken is, wait for it, OLIVES! I did another skillet chicken, because it's easy, and if it ain't broke... I also served this over a bed of couscous because it's one of my all time favorite grains. If you haven't ever tried it I urge you to put aside whatever cracked up notion you have and make yourself some. I love the whole wheat version from Trader Joes - but I'll take it anyway I can.

Spanish Skillet Chicken
  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 chopped shallot
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/6 cup sherry vinegar
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp green olives, chopped
  • 1/2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
  1. Melt 1 Tbsp butter in nonstick skillet over medium high heat and cook chicken 6 minutes on each side. Remove from skillet and keep warm.
  2. Add shallot, garlic, and vinegar to skillet and bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes.
  3. Add broth and return to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until broth is reduced to 1/2 cup.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in remaining butter.
  5. Top cooked chicken with sauce, olives, and parsley.
Serves 2.
Including couscous, each serving has:
Calories 456.0
Total Fat 21.5 g
Saturated Fat 11.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 7.2 g
Cholesterol 82.0 mg
Sodium 1,153.1 mg
Potassium 375.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 38.7 g
Dietary Fiber 5.3 g
Sugars 5.0 g
Protein 25.1 g

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Strange Dear

You know something is good when even the dog can't resist it. I love Thatdog to bits, but he is a very unusual dog. First, he hardly ever barks. We love this. In fact, if it wasn't for a visit with his bark-happy Aunt, he'd probably never have picked it up. Second, he's not a chowhound...for the most part. You can leave you food at his head height and unless you give him the go ahead, he'll completely ignore it. Now, he does like to cuddle up REALLY close to you while you eat it, and check your mouth after for crumbs - but once I gave him a plate of pancakes and he looked at me like "what am I supposed to do with this?"

All this changed last week. I wanted to make Thatboy and I a breakfast on the run. Something we could easily take with us in the car on the way to work, surfing, or the beach. I wanted something high in protein, low in calories, and loaded with good stuff. So I took an oatmeal cookie recipe and manipulated it to create some breakfast bars - or some insanely oversized cookies.

So I left these out to cool on the counter. Normally things are safe on the counter - Thatdog has no interest in counter surfing. But this time things were different. DH and I went out and when we came back, the rack of bars was on the floor. Or rather, I should say the rack was on the floor. The bars were gone. Do you see the size of these bars???? 6 of them. He ate 6 of them!!!!! Luckily these are made of pretty healthy ingredients. Save the raisins, they could very well be dog treats. Which is what Thatdog tried to explain to Thatboy as Thatboy tried to eat one of the remaining bars. What? You've eaten 6 and you're still hungry? That must be the true complement.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars
  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 individual pkg apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Combine oats, flour, and baking soda.
  2. In separate bowl, beat together butter and peanut butter.
  3. Add sugar, egg, vanilla and applesauce. Beat until combined.
  4. Beat in flour, just until blended.
  5. Stir in raisins.
  6. Place parchment paper on cookie sheet. Place large scoops of dough on parchment paper. (I got 16 scoops)
  7. Bake 20 minutes. Remove to wire rack and cool completely. Try to keep them away from your dog.
Serves 16.
Each serving has:
Calories 241.1
Total Fat 12.8 g
Saturated Fat 5.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 4.9 g
Cholesterol 28.8 mg
Sodium 181.0 mg
Potassium 201.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 28.0 g
Dietary Fiber 2.0 g
Sugars 0.7 g
Protein 5.6 g

Monday, July 28, 2008


Normally I like to have more than one picture in a post for a number of reasons. First because I like to show off my food. Second, because when you're telling someone about food, reading ingredients hardly gives you a good mental image. Third, because I personally like to know I've done something right, I like to know that the recipe came out the way it was supposed to, I assume others are the same way so I include pictures to show the finished product, and sometimes the product along the way.

Now I readily admit I'm no Annie Leibowitz. Thatboy is the photographer in the family, and if there's one thing I picked up from my parents it's that if one half of the couple excels in something, the other half should support in whatever means possibly. For my parents, that means my mom's the baker and my dad does the cooking. In Thathouse, this means I make the food, Thatboy takes the pictures. And this is where it gets twisty, because I actually take the pictures of my food. Which explains why most of my pictures aren't going to be featured in magazines anytime soon.

That long and windy section up there is my way of apologizing for the singular picture in this entry. I seriously took a hundred and thirty pictures of this dish and none of them were coming out. Well, they were coming out, but badly lit and fuzzy, which is fine if you've been drugged or drinking, but gives you a terrible headache if you haven't.

So I passed the baton to Thatboy who managed to catch that above image before declaring "Enough of this monkey business. Let's eat." (Thatboy gets very hungry and impatient when the smell of ground beef wafts through the apartment.) The good news is, recipes don't get any easier than something you dump into a skillet and cook. So let's oblige our hungry photographer and onward with the recipe!!!!

Italian beef and rice
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 cup of marinara sauce
  • 1 green pepper, coarsly chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup rice
  1. In a nonstick skillet, brown ground beef.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook 20 minutes until rice is cooked through.
Serves 2.
Each serving has:
Calories 306.0
Total Fat 17.0 g
Saturated Fat 7.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 7.0 g
Cholesterol 58.0 mg
Sodium 247.0 mg
Potassium 282.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 14.0 g
Dietary Fiber 1.0 g
Sugars 4.0 g
Protein 16.0 g