Thursday, January 26, 2012

Spinach and Turkey Lasagna

I had sort of a bad day today.

I had to take a really difficult test today that I don't think I did well on.

Miscellaneous bungling by a uniquely annoying woman in another office caused me no small amount of frustration.

My computer crashed repeatedly all day, especially after I started to feel safe and did a lot of work that I failed to save.

A middle school aged kid threw a rock at my car on the way home.

I know these aren't really that big a deal, but all the little things add up, you know.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Maple Glazed Salmon

Have we discussed at length my obsession with real maple syrup?

It's spectacular.  Subtle and delicious.  It's pretty much why pancakes were invented.  Because when we're honest with ourselves, aren't pancakes really just doughy little syrup receptacles?

But this isn't about pancakes.  I know, you were excited, so was I, but no.  Another time.


Put syrup on your fish.  Do it.

I did!

Courtesy of a present from Jen...a gigantic jug of real New York maple syrup.  Oh man it's crazy good.  Excellent work, Jen.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you haven't heard about browned butter...look it up.

It's like unlocking the mystery of what up until this very moment mankind thought was impossible...improving the flavor of butter.

These are the third chocolate chip cookie I've blogged about, the millionth I've baked, but the first that has utilized the mystical technique of browning butter.

Don't tell, but basically it involves melting butter in a pot and stirring it until it turns brownish.  It adds a complexity to the flavor.  You may remember me using browned butter before in these pumpkin cookies...and boy were they a hit.  My list of favorite cookies is getting long.

But just plain chocolate chip (with pecans and the special butter of course) will always have a warm, gooey, crispy-on-the-edges yet soft-in-the-center place in my heart.

In case you didn't notice, I'm back on the cookies.

Now I've never been a believer in refrigerating chocolate chip cookie dough before baking it, which some bakers swear by.  I've never noticed much difference.  However, after you melt the butter and brown it, you DO have to put it back in the fridge to harden up at least to "soft".  It's worth it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Garlic Chicken Pasta with Grape Tomatoes

I like to be seasonal in my grocery shopping.  Especially when it comes to my fruits and veggies.  

I like to put "fruit" on my list and wait until I get there to see what looks good.  There are a few staples, however, that I buy almost every single week.

On that list, we have our all-stars.

Spinach.  I put it in smoothies, I make salads with it, and it oftentimes makes its way into my pastas.  When Jim and I started working opposite schedules I asked him what he had for lunch and busted him eating baby carrots every day for his only vegetable...for like 2 weeks straight.  I explained to him that in my book, "veggie" means "leafy green".  Now I (sort of) force him to eat spinach at almost every meal.  Not breakfast, come on, what kind of a jerk am I?  Although a spinach omelette sounds pretty good....

Bananas.  Once again, smoothies, crazy delicious cookies, breads, or just by themselves.  Cricket even likes them (weirdo).

Grape tomatoes.  The star of our show tonight.  They're so good.  Everything I love about tomatoes in tiny little bite-sized nuggets.  I mostly just eat them on salad usually, considering I eat an insane amount of salad as a rule...but why relegate them to salad when sauteing them with a little garlic and olive oil results in such a delicious little skin-slightly-wrinkled taste explosion?

So that's what I did.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

French Baguettes

Are you all enjoying your 3 day weekend?  Are you getting a 3 day weekend?  I hope so.  If not, sorry I just rubbed it in.

I'm enjoying mine.  It's so nice, how just a little dash of MLKJ Day turns the Sunday night feeling of the last meal before the execution into a lazy, relaxing afternoon that stretches into a long, satisfying evening.

My cheat day yesterday intentionally coincided with my friend Sara coming over to administer a crash course in French cookery.  It was awesome.  Sara is a constant source of cooking/green living inspiration, and when it comes to baguettes, she actually lived in France for awhile (as opposed to merely studying French in high school and somehow never just shutting up about it--me), so I trust her judgment.  We made French onion soup, French baguettes, and crepes, but for now let's start with the baguettes.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Chicken Sausage Orecchiette

I ate a piece of cake yesterday.  And two cookies.  In the interest of full disclosure.  

I'm a little disappointed, but more than was delicious.  Today is my cheat day anyway, so yesterday early start?

Which brings me to the real crux of New Year's resolutions.  Sometimes there are slip ups, bumps in the road, moments of weakness.  The trick is to get back up on that horse.  

Yeah I ate a piece of cake yesterday (and two cookies).  Does that mean that my diet is out the window?  No way.  Does that mean that I should still try to keep imposing a most-of-the-time embargo on sweets?  Of course.

In the meantime, let's eat some pasta, what do you say?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper and Lime Crab Cakes

I thought that, it being the new year and all, my coworkers would basically set me on fire if I brought cookies in to work this early in the year.  I mean...who wants someone tempting them to ruin their diet?  Not me.

Let's not even get into how irresistible the cookie dough would be and then how I "might as well eat a cookie" after consuming all that raw batter.  Is is just me or is raw cookie dough all the more delicious because of the slight danger of salmonella?  Yeah...I live my life on the edge.  Anyway.

Much to my surprise yesterday I was assaulted by disappointed exclamations of "where's the cookies?!"  I've created a monster, basically.

I've also created some delectable little crab cakes.  

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

The Christmas stuff has come's officially over.  It was sad, despite my best efforts to make it not sad.

I think you could make a truck ton of money if you started a business to go around and take down people's Christmas decorations for them while they're out of the house and pack them away so that when they come home it's like "oh wow, that was painless".  

...of course you'd really only have business once a year...and yeah okay there's maybe a few problems with this idea but please.  Someone.  At least volunteer to come take mine down for me.  For free.  Next year.  January fifth.  It's a date.

So the resolutions have been going strong.  There have been moments of weakness.  I have come thisclose to drinking a pop, eating sweets, and there has been a definite cheat day slipped in there.

But I'm making progress!  How are your resolutions doing?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Chicken Enchilada Soup

Okay time to be real for a second.

Yeah cookie month hurt us.  It hurt us bad.  I didn't gain back all the weight I lost for the wedding, but some of it.  And now it's time for it to go again.

I'm kicking off 2012 with some serious changes.

Back on the wedding (now honeymoon) diet.

No more pop.  (I call it pop, do you call it soda?  You're so much more refined than me.)

I hesitate to even put this one on here because I really really really want to break it, even as we speak.  But I'm trying to take a hiatus from sweets until the honeymoon.  Yeah it's rough.

I think what sort of maybe contributes to these ambitious New Year's resolutions is the fact that whenever I make a solid attempt to get one area of my life in order, I inevitably think of all the other things that I could and should be doing differently.  And then I want to fix them all at once.  That's the origin of some of my nuttier, all-encompassing resolutions that I've come up with in the past.

You know, the diet-exercise-be-a-nicer-person-keep-a-cleaner-house-read-a-book-a-month-plant-a-garden type of resolution.  Does that sound familiar?  Anyone out there as crazy as I am?

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