Vegetarian Challenge. Day 1

We’re kicking off the week long vegetarian challenge day in our little (ice cold) corner of the world! Thankfully, I procrastinated waited for inspiration to strike and didn’t menu plan until the threat of a Texas size winter storm warning rolled across my newsfeed Monday morning. With first dibs given to hot and snuggly food…here is today’s menu.

Breakfast:

Pumpkin Scones (I really ate 2.5)

 Lunch:

A variation on the Rosemary-Apple tart from the Splendid Table. Substituted Thyme for Rosemary, Maple Syrup for Brown Sugar, + 1/4c. Gorgonzola Cheese.

Rustic Apple Tart

 Dinner:

Notes – Mozzarella is perfectly fine (and reasonable) alternative for fontina. No need to let the casserole sit 2 hours before baking (extraneous step for sure in the original recipe).

Polenta and Mozzarella Casserole

Looking for my 30 for 30 post? It’s on my other blog Modern Day Librarian.

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Where Have I Been?

Glad you asked. With the start of the semester and some unrelated busyness, I took an accidental blogging hiatus. No worries..I am back!

A few notes:
1. This week kicks off our one week vegetarian challenge.

That’s right, myself, B. and baby S. are eating 7 days vegetarian style starting the 1st.

2. I’m this close to joining a 6 month CSA. I’m so excited to support a local farmer this Spring and Summer.

3. On a related note, I’ve found a raw milk dairy that delivers to my town. Next Saturday I’ll be picking up my first order.

5. I have a camera full of food pics. Stay tuned for a photo filled post looking back at the last 2 weeks.

6. I’m participating in Kendi’s 30 for 30 remix challenge. I’ll be posting daily outfits at Modern Day Librarian.

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Rapturous Ribs

Stop the presses! I have found my rib recipe to end all rib recipes. Truely. And do you know where I found it? That’s right. In my head.

After Tuesday’s not terrible (but not amazing) brisket, I took a break from my recent reliance on the cookbook that shall not be named and decided to revist cooking based on what I like. Good choice. Brace yourself. These ribs easily take 2 hours from start to finish but they are worth it!

THE Ribs:

3-4 lbs pork shoulder ribs (We had a 5lb package in the freezer)

1/2 c ketchup

1/2 – 3/4c BBQ sauce <— make your own or buy something tasty from the store (we had some Jack Daniels blacklabel sauce hanging out at our house)

1/2 c water

2 TB apple cider vinegar

2 TB Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp Lawry’s seasoning salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Put ribs in a shallow roasting pan / high sided cookie sheet and lightly sprinkle with some salt and pepper on all sides. Do your best to arrange ribs bone side down and cover with foil (or an extra cookie sheet if your other half always forgets to buy foil at the grocery store). Cook for 1 hour.

Take some time off to do whatever you want because you really need to leave the oven door closed the whole time. Before you leave the kitchen, stir everything else together in a small sauce pan and turn the burner as low as it will go. Every once in a while when you’re tempted to go look at the ribs because they smell so yummy, stir the sauce on the stove.

After an hour, take the ribs out of the oven and drain off the fat and juices that have collected on the bottom of the pan. Keep the ribs in the pan and slather the tops with the sauce. If you don’t want to come back in 10 minutes then flip ’em over and slather the bottom side while you’re at it. Leaving the ribs uncovered, put them back in the oven for a total of another 20 minutes.

This is when you want to start any quick sides. You have time because the ribs can rest after their out the oven while you finish the sides. Be warned, other people in your house may “insist” on tastetesting the ribs while their resting in plain sight on the counter.

I was in a hurry, so our side was another round of red potatoes with garlic butter. B. specifically requested garlic butter.

THE Ribs

P.S. – If you’re wondering what I ate on Wednesday and Thursday it went like this: oatmeal, fruit, fajitas, oatmeal, leftover fajitas, leftover fajitas, peanutbutter sandwich with milk. Now you know why I haven’t posted in two days (and did I mention it’s the first week of the semester and I worked like a dog?)

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Proclivity for Protein

I had a personal food epiphany today. I prefer protein and veggies to almost all other food. This all came as a result of a nagging desire for eggs. Eggs? Admittedly, I am not an egg fan. I eat my eggs one way – scrambled with ketchup. I wouldn’t even include eggs as a must eat food, but somehow today I had egg on the brain.

It started innocently enough with another quick breakfast of oatmeal and espresso, but within an hour I started thinking about eggs and bacon. I opened the fridge to confirm the presence of these items. From there, it was on. Bacon & eggs in no time flat.

L's Eggs with Bacon and Espresso

Lunch & Dinner:

Brisket is a minor obsession of mine. It’s a holy grail food for me. I’m on the constant look out for THAT recipe. The recipe that elicits yummy sounds instead of words. The recipe that makes you go buy all of the ingredients and make the food again – immediately. No luck today. Today’s recipe doesn’t even make it into top five contention in the brisket category although it tasted very much like brisket and we ate all of it.

The search continues…

Didn't Make It to the Top 5 Brisket

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Salmon: It Really is That Easy

Have you heard? Eating fish makes you smarter and healthier. Salmon has been on our weekly menu for a month or so, but I initially struggled with how to cook this healthy powerhouse. Let’s tell the truth – good salmon isn’t cheap. To my surprise there was very little trial and no error as I continued to cook salmon week after week.

Here’s my “It Really is that Easy” salmon recipe that gets a nutritious and tasty meal on the table in 30 minutes.

4-5 oz of salmon per person skin on  <– this adds extra flavor and is easily removed before eating

salt

pepper

dill

1 TB or so of butter

a little minced garlic

lemon – sliced into wedges

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pat salmon dry with paper towels. Sprinkle flesh with salt, pepper and dill <— how much depends on you. Put on a cook sheet with skin side up. Place salmon in the oven 2-3″ from the top heating element. Half way through cooking you will flip the salmon and bless it with garlic butter, so set your timer accordingly.

In a small pan melt butter and add minced garlic. Stir together 1 – 2 minutes until the raw garlic taste is gone.

Half way through total cooking time (10 minutes per inch of thickness) flip the salmon over so the flesh side is facing up. Brush on your homemade garlic butter. Return to oven and cook until done.

In the meantime I boiled some baby new potatoes and swished them around in the leftover garlic butter before serving.

It Really is That Easy Salmon with New Potatoes

Itsy Bitsy New Potatoes in Garlic Butter

The other meals of the day were ordinary in comparison. Oatmeal for breakfast. Sunday’s chili for dinner.

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Chili – Just What the Weather Ordered

Chilly. That’s the sum it. On the rarest of days when it’s both a weekend and snowing I declare chili to be the must make food of the day. Of course this amounts to once, maybe twice, a year tops (and that’s if you count ice as snow) since I live in Texas. I think B. was a little surprised when I announced I would be making chili before I even turned on the espresso maker. The conversation went something like this – (me) “I MUST have chili today. Chili AND cornbread!” (B.) “Um. I just wanted oatmeal.” Clearly, we were not on the same page.

Double-O Breakfast:

Oatmeal and Oranges

Chilly with Chili and Cornbread:

L.’s Must-Make Chili:

1 Green Bell Pepper – diced

1/2 Medium Red Onion – diced

4  smallish Tomatoes (not cherry tomatoes)

1 packet Taco Seasoning

1 lb. of Ground Beef

1 (15oz) can Kidney Beans

1 (15oz) can of Crushed Tomatoes

1/2 c. or so of chicken stock if you want you chili a little soupy

Cheddar Cheese & Sour Cream for garnish

Saute bell pepper and onion together for 5 minutes until they begin to soften. Add in ground beef and taco seasoning. Cook through. Add fresh chopped tomatoes. Rinse and drain kidney beans. Add beans and crushed tomatoes to pot.  Also, pour in the chicken stock at this point if you want a little thinner consistency.

Stir and let all the deliciousness simmer as long as is reasonable to the other people in your house. We overlapped the simmering with the baking of the cornbread and it was less than 25 minutes.

Ladle this I-can’t-believe-it’s-snowing treat into a bowl and top with sour cream and cheddar cheese while you pat yourself on the back for declaring it Chili and Cornbread day at 9am.

Cornbread from Box Mix

Dinner:

We’re sticking with success and having chili for dinner!

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Simple Saturday

Good news. I’ve (temporarily) put aside my bagel-for-breakfast habit. With that out of the way, I admit today’s breakfast was purely convenience and in no way a go-to item. Wait for it. Yes. I had waffles with peanut butter smooshed together like a little sandwich.

I even added a side of non-creativity with some apple slices but somehow B. ate most of them before I had finished pouring my coffee. Alas, no breakfast photo today.

Lunch:

Since heating up yesterday’s balsamic chicken breasts for lunch would render them unappealingly dry, I sliced up the little gems and stirred in basic chicken salad ingredients (mayo and sweet relish). I sliced round 2 of the apples for a crunchy side. Simple and tasty.

Chicken Salad Sandwich with Apple Slices

 Dinner:

With snow predicted for Sunday, B. dashed out the house to gather some essentials from the grocery store. Trust me. Texas + Snow = Stay Home. When he popped the freezer pizza in the oven while I wrapped up bedtime with baby S. I did not complain. Chicken Alfredo Garlic Pizza. It will do.

Stay tuned for a new week of real meals, real photos, daily (almost).

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