Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Mamacita!

Today is my Mom's birthday so I thought it would be appropriate to post a photo of this set of notecards she recently made for me. She's so talented at illustrating and printing, I keep trying to convince her to set up her own Etsy shop. Happy Birthday Mom, I love you!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons minced peanuts
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the p.b., sugar, baking soda, and egg. Stir in the peanuts and chocolate chips. Roll tablespoons of the dough into 24 balls on baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Crush

Is it possible to have a crush on a quilt? Because I think I may have one on the one that was delivered by the UPS man last night. My husband and I recently decided to take a huge step into full-fledged adulthood and (gasp) buy a king size bed! Yep, that's right. We traded in our run-down 8 year-old double sized mattress and box spring for an uber-deluxe KING size Stearns and Foster. Its like sleeping in a hotel every night! After the new bed arrived I obsessed over bedding...and finally decided on this quilt. It was love at first sight.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Chickpea and Spinach Stew

Yesterday I pulled out my folder full of recipe clippings from old magazines. I came across this recipe that I saved from Food and Wine's "Best Fast Recipes Ever", September 2008 issue. I made it for dinner tonight....a perfect meal to eat while watching Monday Night Football!

1 cup water
10 ounces baby spinach
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
kosher salt
pinch of saffron threads
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of freshly ground pepper
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, with their liquid
olive oil
1 chopped onion
1 peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped tomato
1/4 cup golden raisins

In a large skillet bring the water to a boil and saute spinach until wilted. Drain the spinach and chop it. Mix the crushed garlic cloves, salt, saffron, paprika, cumin, cloves, pepper, and 1/4 cup of chickpea liquid in a small bowl to create a paste. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet and saute the onion and tomato for about 3 minutes. Add the spiced garlic sauce and cook for another minute. Add the chickpeas & their liquid, as well as the raisins and bring to a boil. Add the spinach and simmer over moderate heat for about 10 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil and serve!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Butternut Squash Soup

Nothing says Fall like a bowl of butternut squash soup. Tonight we are eating this for supper alongside rosemary ciabatta bread and cheese.

8 cups butternut squash, chopped into 1 inch cubes
1 onion, chopped into 1 inch cubes
8 cups 2% milk
14 ounces chicken broth
olive oil
salt & pepper
fresh sage

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the squash, onion, and a few fresh sage leaves (stems removed) in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Spread the veggies out on the baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes, or until the squash is soft. In batches, blend the squash mixture with milk and chicken broth. Move to a large pot and heat gently until all the flavors have combined. Garnish with toasted almonds. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pumpkin Patch

Last weekend we passed this pumpkin patch on our way to Rhode Island. I started screaming frantically to my husband to pull off the side of the road. Lucky for me he has quick reflexes...

This cart was at the entrance of the patch. So breathtaking!

I loved how these pumpkins were merchandised in monochromatic rows.

They had some of the most unique squash and gourds I have ever seen.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Even the Rain Couldn't Stop Me!

I did it! On Sunday I completed my first Half Marathon in Newport, Rhode Island. Despite awful weather conditions I accomplished my goal of running the entire 13.1 miles. I cant begin to describe the adrenaline rush I got as I saw the 13 mile marker and then my husband came into view, jumping up and down and cheering for me. Part of the fun of running this race was training all summer. Here are some photos I took on some of my particularly long runs.

Beverly Hills, California

Williamsburg Bridge
New York, NY

Centennial Park
Ellicott City, Maryland

A country road in upstate New York.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Friday: Hearts for Hearts of Palm and Tilapia Tacos

Salad: Tomatoes, hearts of palm, and avocadoes.

Seared Tilapia, topped with salsa and sour cream....I heart Fridays!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thursday: Asparagus and Mushroom Rigatoni

olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
4 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced and stemmed
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 inch spears
4 ounces rigatoni
fresh basil, chopped
lemon zest
salt and pepper

Cook pasta for 10 minutes in boiling water.

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan and saute garlic until it turns golden colored. Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes then add asparagus and continue sauteing for a few more minutes. Turn heat to high and add one cup of the pasta water. Reduce water by half and add pasta to the saucepan with a slotted spoon. Toss for about one minute, then remove from heat and season with fresh basil leaves and lemon zest.

Serves two.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesday: Pork Chops, Applesauce, and Sweet Potatoes

Tonight's menu was surprisingly simple, healthy, and left my apartment smelling of cinnamon. I rubbed these boneless pork chops with my favorite Stonewall Kitchen blend, then grilled them.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes (serves 2)
2 sweet potatoes
1/4 cup skim milk
salt and pepper

Peel and chop potatoes, then cover them with water in a pot. Simmer until soft (about 10 minutes), then drain and return back to pot. Heat milk in a small saucepan then pour over potatoes and mash. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5 small apples
1 pear
1/2 cup water
1/4 sugar
lemon juice

Peel and core fruit, then simmer for about 20 minutes. While the fruit is simmering, mix in sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice.

Tuesday: Birthday Fun

Here is a photo of my one and only blowing out his birthday candle. We had a fun evening....dinner with friends, live music, and of course cupcakes!

Monday: Spinach Lasagna

This recipe is adapted from Cooking Light. I actually made it Sunday night, and it was even better Monday as leftovers.

olive oil
1 chopped onion
1 minced garlic clove
1 16 ounce package of frozen spinach (thawed)
1/6 cup flour
1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
salt & pepper
1 jar marinara sauce
cooking spray
6 cooked lasagna noodles
1 cup fresh shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 375. Saute onion in olive oil until brown. Add spinach and garlic and saute for a few more minutes.
Whisk flour, milk, salt and pepper in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Add half of the milk mixture to the spinach mixture. Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce in a baking dish coated with cooking spray. Layer the following: 2 noodles / spinach mixture / marinara / 2 noodles / spinach / mozzarella / 2 noodles / marinara. Top with remaining milk mixture and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake at 375 for 50 minutes.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Week of Healthy Dinners

And the countdown begins....this weekend I am running my first half-marathon. I've been training for the past 10 weeks and I can hardly believe October 18 is almost here! So that I am feeling my best on Sunday, I've decided to prepare high carb/low fat meals all week.

This Week's Dinner Menu:

Monday: Spinach Lasagna
Tuesday: eat dinner out, celebrate J's birthday!
Wednesday: Pork Chops and Sweet Potatoes
Thursday: Asparagus and Mushroom Rigatoni
Friday: Tilapia Tacos and Hearts of Palm Salad