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The Battle of the Bulge

feed me, things that will make you less fat January 23, 2014
Read Time2 Minute, 5 Second

Nope, I’m not talking about the WW2 battle, I’m talking about my own personal battle with the ever expanding width of my hips and butt.

On Christmas Eve, after gorging at a delicious lunch at a French Souffle restaurant, I loudly announced “My pants are suffocating my waist.”

Yes, I said that.

It was time to make some changes.

About 6 years ago, I made some dramatic lifestyle changes and lost the equivalent of a second grader by working out, and embracing a low carb lifestyle. It wasn’t easy, but it made me feel good. Somewhere along the way, the good habits that I worked so hard to build slowly started to slip away and instead of eating good proteins and delicious green veggies, I found myself diving deep into the land of chips, dips and anything with flour. Sadly, I had undone all the work I had done, slowly and without much awareness.

Until Christmas Eve.

Much like a large percentage of humans, on New Years Day, I resolved to eat better, move more and vowed to try to make myself healthier. I don’t have a particular size goal, or fitness plan, but I know I want to DO more and be a little less.

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve managed to eliminate 15lbs. I’ve got a long way to go. It’s not easy. Not surprising, it’s so much more fun packing on the lbs than it is to shed them.

My way of eating- less carbs and white shit.

My fitness plan- get off my butt and move more. Some days I go for a really long walk with the dogs. Some days I play for 45 minutes on my Wii Fit. Some days, I just throw down my yoga mat and do some basic positions that make me feel bendy and good.

In the meantime, I’ve started enjoying cooking with health in mind. I’m not doing Paleo, or even full on Atkins. I’ve just removed all of the things that can be dipped in shit, or slathered with stuff. For now, I’m done with the large bowl of cereal, replacing it instead with an egg muffin stuffed with spinach and protein.

Last night, I was craving Mac & Cheese. Happily, there are a done of food blogs. I made  THIS recipe. It’s really good, tangy and totally satisfied my cravings for Mac & Cheese.

So, there you have it. The goal to have a little less of me to go around.

 

eat-less-move-more1

 

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You’ll shoot your eye out

feed me, things that will make you fat December 13, 2013
Read Time1 Minute, 36 Second

Greetings & Salutations.

Every year, I throw a Cookie Exchange. The first year, I was a bit stringent about the rules- I required recipes, cookie vetting, and well, was a general cookie nazi about the whole thing. Over the years, I’ve mellowed out a bit, and this the 9th year, I’ve basically just shrugged my shoulders and said “if it’s going to happen, it will.” I’ve made some incredible cookies over the years, and some epic Pinterest fails. Let us never forget the tragic failure of the “melted snowman cookies” of 2011.

This year, I was inspired. I had a theme. I had a plan. I had a cookie recipe and a cookie cutter. I was going to be unstoppable.

The goal: Create amazing Leg Lamp Cookies with a simple butter cookie recipe.

The result: Not so amazing Leg Lamp Cookies with a damn delicious butter cookie recipe.

The issue: Said Leg Lamp Cookie Cutter is plastic. It’s a pain in the ass. I got a LOT of broken stumps of cookies, because the oh-so-delicious butter cookie recipe repeatedly got stuck in the Leg Lamp Cookie Cutter.

The dogs ate a lot of the broken cookies.

That being said, here is the recipe and the end results…

 

GRAMMY’S BUTTER COOKIE RECIPE

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2 cups flour
2 sticks butter (softened)
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
Combine all ingredients by hand; and then chill dough for 30 minutes.
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Roll out dough and cut with cookie cutters or cookie press.
Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake until JUST lightly browned on edges.
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Here is the problem: the cookie cutter is plastic. Pain in the butt plastic. If you have a plastic cookie cutter, I STRONGLY recommend dipping it into flour before each cut.
The result:
Quite a few broken legs. As the classic movie would suggest, these were FRA-GILE… Yes, the Italian girl made them.
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A Time Of Turkey

things that will make you less fat November 3, 2013
Read Time2 Minute, 42 Second

My Cousin inspired this post. She declared that much like artists have certain periods- flowers, women, dogs sitting around a poker table, I am currently going through my culinary Turkey Period.

Candidly, I’m doing it because of my economy, but I do love me some Turkey. I really truly believe that Adam Sandler was in my head when he wrote the Turkey song. Google it if you have been living under a rock and you don’t know what I’m talking about.

Here’s the thing. I don’t understand why people stress out so much about making Thanksgiving dinner. Roasting a turkey, in my opinion is easier than making spaghetti sauce.  All you need are a few items, an oven and patience. Heck, my recipe, doesn’t even require basting.

So, my recipe for roast turkey. This is all very, very approximate. There are a ton of resources for the specifics, but I’ll give you the gist here.  I don’t stuff my bird with traditional “stuffing” or “dressing.” By the by, what do you call that stuff? I’ve learned over the years it’s very regional- dressing, stuffing, potatooo, potatoh.

 

Roast Turkey ala Me.

Ingredients:

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  •  Big ass bird- thawed.  If your bird is frozen, read here about the SAFEST way to thaw your bird.
  • Onion- yellow or white. Peeled and quartered
  • 2 or 3 carrots rough chopped
  • 1-2 celery stalks. Rough chopped. Feel free to leave the tops on.
  • 1 small lemon
  • 1 apple chopped. Don’t bother peeling it. You won’t be eating it.
  • Few cloves of garlic
  • Kosher Salt
  • Olive Oil
  • Black Pepper
  • Sprig of fresh rosemary (if you have it)
  • Few pinches of dried thyme (if you have it)

 

Hardware:

 

Roasting Pan w/rack inside

Knife

Oven (Obviously)

 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 Degrees

Chop all veggies

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Make sure that the turkey has all of the inside stuff removed and quickly rinsed off. Pat dry with paper towel and set aside.

Take a healthy pinch of kosher salt and toss inside of bird.

Gently shove all of the veggies INSIDE the bird. Pack ’em in.

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Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on the bird- massage it in. Sprinkle with more kosher salt and pepper. Place bird BREAST side down.

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Repeat with the olive oil/salt/pepper treatment on the side of the bird facing up.

Toss in the oven- on the BOTTOM RACK- and let cook for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

After the first 30, turn down oven to 35o and cook for 2-2.5 hours (depending on the weight of the bird) until the internal temp is at LEAST 160, max 180. Juices should be clear, not red.

The following is the hardest part. Seriously.

Take cooked turkey out of the oven.

Turn your broiler on to 500 F

FLIP YOUR BIRD. Yep, you might need an extra set of hands here, but you want to crisp up the bottom that has been facing downwards the entire time.

Once you flip your bird, put back in the oven for 7-10 minutes. Keep an eye on this, because it will get crispy quickly.

Pull back out.

Turn oven off.

Let rest for at least 20 minutes prior to carving.

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Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

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My Obsession : Pumpkin Puree (or Pumpkin Brownies)

feed me, things that will make you fat October 28, 2013
Read Time2 Minute, 4 Second

You should know that I tend to go overboard when I fall in love with something. A man, a project, an ingredients. All these things tend to consume me for a while. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with finding a tasty Pumpkin Brownie recipe that didn’t suck. There are a ton of lazy three ingredient pumpkin brownie recipes out there, but frankly, they creep me out. I don’t try to make vegan food. I think gluten has it’s place in a lot of recipes. Pumpkin Brownies AHOY!

This obsession really started when I found 10 cans of Pumpkin Puree on sale at Kroger for less than $10.00. My economy being what it is, I took this as a sign from above that I needed to dabble in the Pumpkin Arts. (Wow, the caffiene is kicking in this morning). Dabble in the pumpkin arts? Who says that?

Pumpkin Puree for Recipes

Pumpkin Puree

My goal was simple: Make a pumpkin infused brownie that didn’t suck.

I present to you what I’ve managed to concoct.

Pumpkin Brownies

Serves 18 (or more if you are healthy, or less if you are a fatty)

Pre-Heat oven to 350

Ingredients:

Ingredients for Pumpkin Brownies

 

For the Brownies:

1 Box Brownie Mix (why go through the trouble of making scratch?)

All of the required stuff for brownies

For the Swirl:

3 Oz of softened cream cheese. (Seriously, make sure it’s softened)

Half can of Pumpkin Puree (15 oz can) . Do NOT use Pumpkin Pie filling.

1 egg

1/4 tsb nutmeg

1.5 tsb of cinnamon

3 TBL sugar

 

Ok- grab a 9* 13 brownie pan. Spray with your non-stick spray of choice. Set aside.

In one bowl, do up the brownies as per recipe.

Brownie Mix

 

In another bowl (or stand mixer bowl) add all of the filling ingredients:

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With a wisk attachment, blend filling ingredients together until smooth.

Pour brownie batter in prepared pan

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Take a tablespoon and drop the filling mix over the top

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Take a knife and pull through filling mix, to create a marbled effect.

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Toss in the oven for about 30-38 minutes. You will need to test to make sure the brownies and mix are completely cooked through.

 

Voila…. marbly, pumpkiny brownies. Let cool completely before cutting. I would strongly recommend keeping these puppies refridgerated if you don’t eat them all right away.

 

Craptastical Pumpkin Brownies

Craptastical Pumpkin Brownies

 

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Chicken Pot Pie (and roast chicken)

things that will make you fat October 24, 2013
Read Time4 Minute, 32 Second

On Tuesday, I decided to roast a chicken. You know, a basic roasted chicken.

Being me, I decided that I needed to play with it a little bit. I took the bird (bought at the Mexican Meat market for $3.00), loaded the inner cavity with lemons and garlic, gave it a healthy coat of salt, pepper and olive oil, and threw in a roaster that had been lined with sliced onions. Easy peasy. Cook at 425 for about an hour (or the juices run clear.) House smelled delicious, and it was gorgeous.

chicky

Ok, now that I have the chicken, what was I going to do with it?

 

Chicken Pot Pie was the only answer. Seriously. I’ve been craving it for weeks. Not just a frozen pot pie (although I do have a few in the freezer now, but a real home-made pot pie.

 

It starts with the crust. I like my crusts flakey (as one would say I like my men). I used a basic Pate Brisee recipe that I learned in school. Lots of cold, cold butter. Ice water. Flour. Salt. Sugar. Instructions to follow.

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The key to a good pie crust- work fast, use cold, cold ingredients and don’t putz around with it too much. The more you work the dough, the tougher it will be.

 

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes. I keep the butter chilled to the moment it goes in the processor.
  • 1 teaspoon salt (kosher, of course)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 to 8 Tbsp ice water (literally ice water, with cubes. keep it cold)

 

Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter. Add ice water 1 Tbsp at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it’s ready. Do not over water.

Take the dough and knead it into a quick roundish mound. Split in half, form into two equal sized disks, wrap in plastic wrap and toss into the fridge for at least an hour. The dough needs to be chilled.

When ready, make sure you bring out to room temp for about 5 minutes before you start working the dough again.

Roll it out, throw in oven for 20-25 minutes, or once the top gets golden brown. You can use an egg wash, but you don’t have to. This recipe will make on total pie (top & bottom) , 2 tops or 6 mini pie tops. If you are using this recipe for a full sized pie- cover the edges in foil for the first 10-15 minutes. This will prohibit them from burning.

 

Ok- whew. That was a long diatribe on the crust without even getting to the darn pot pie.

Ingredients for pot pie (Or so I fashioned)

Chicken (cooked, cut up)- about 1.5 cups (or more)

Frozen Mixed Veggies- 1 bag

1.5 c of cut, cooked potatoes

can of peas

stick of butter (use to your health comfort)

1/2 c of flour

fresh thyme

onion

celery

2.5 C of Chicken Broth. I used boullion, but you can use the box stuff if you want.

1 C of milk

salt, pepper and garlic

 

Ok- so here we go:

 

1.) Chop onion and celery and garlic into small bite sized pieces

2.) In a dutch oven melt 2 tbl of butter and 1 quick splash of olive oil. Heat up.

3.) Toss onion/celery in oven and let cook for about 5 minutes, or until onions are soften. Pepper your mix at this point.

4.) Add in bag of frozen veggies to mix, and stir until all thawed

5.) Toss in potatoes and mix (don’t stir too hard, or your ‘taters will break.

6.) Add 3-4 more tbl of butter and let melt all the way.

7.) Add 1/2 cup of flour and stir until all mixed in.

8.) Pour in broth, then mix and let thicken (about 10 minutes)

9.) Add in chicken and peas

10.) Let simmer. Add herbs and spices to taste

11.) Turn off heat and let thicken a bit more-5-10 minutes. This will also let it cool down a bit before putting in pie tins.

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Let this cool another few minutes before putting the pie cover on. However, this is the time, for you to set the filled pie plates aside and start rolling out your tops. Reserve one mini pie plate to use as template.

Preheat the oven to 375.

Pull dough out of fridge and set on counter for five minutes. Sprinkle flour on countertop and quickly roll out. DO NOT WORK DOUGH TOO MUCH. Use the pie plate as your guide to cut. Leave an extra 1.5 inches around for the “fold over”

Fill your pies.

Cover them with dough

Take an egg and a tbl of water and create a quick egg wash. Cover tops of pies.

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Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until pie tops are golden.

Truthfully, I forgot to take a picture of the final pie. But I assure you, it was delicious.

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Enjoy.

 

 

 

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PUPkin Dog Treats

feed me, things that will make you less fat October 21, 2013
Read Time1 Minute, 29 Second

It has been said that my dogs are rather spoiled.

I can’t disagree.

 

Last night, I made them Halloween Themed Dog Treats. First reason primairly because I was bored, and my butt didn’t need the triple chocolate brownies that I really wanted to make. Second reason, I’m less than flush with cash right now and I needed bribes.

With all of that being said, I present to you:

 

PUP-kin Pup Treats

-for the dog that needs more treats

 

Dog Treats for Halloween

PupKins

 

Ingredients:

1/2 can of Pumpkin Puree. Don’t use the Pumpkin Pie stuff. No need. Seriously, don’t waste your money.

1/4 tsp of salt (Incredibly optional- truthfully, I forgot it.)

2 eggs

2 TBL of Peanut Butter (any kind will do- my labs got Crunchy)

2.5 C of Flour

1/4 of water- hold off to the side.

 

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. With a mixer, or kitchen aid with paddle attachment, mix together the flour, eggs, pumpkin, peanut butter, salt, and cinnamon. THEN, start adding in water a little at a time. You do NOT want this to be too wet. It will be a pain to roll out.

3. Take the dough, throw it on the counter and get rolling. I did a mixture of thick cookies for the big dog and smaller ones for the less fat dog.  You will get about 30-35 cookies from this. Don’t waste the dough-you can re-roll it MANY MANY TIMES.

3. Bake in preheated oven until hard, about 40 minutes. I had two cookie sheets filled with treats so I rotated the sheets at the 20 minute mark.

 

Bark Appetite!

 

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