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February 2010

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BSI – Parmesan Cheese!

Knowing I was going to a French bistro for lunch, breakfast was easy – 1/2 a bagel with 5 calorie butter!

It made sense to meet my Mom at the restaurant – we got there right at 11:30.  At first glance it didn’t seem like the restaurant was even opened, but by the time we left almost every table was full!

We started out with a cheese platter – not sure exactly what cheeses we ate, the server (who was wonderful by the way!) explained that two were cows milk and one was goat cheese.  I loved all three!

Served with toasted bread – so fricken good!

This was my favorite bite – goat cheese on apple!

I was kind of worried what Hannah would order – she is my chicken finger ordering girl, but she finally decided to get a ham crepe.  Yep – no swiss cheese for her!

I got the quiche lorraine.  I was kind of surprised about the tomato sauce on the bottom, but it was really good!

And all of our meals came with a small salad with a delicious Dijon mustard dressing:

Then it was on to my favorite store!  Sur la table.  We were greeted with tiny baked donuts!  I didn’t have one, but Mom and Hannah said they were really good!

And then I drooled over the tiny Le Creuset pans – aren’t they so cute?!

I ended up getting a new spout for my olive oil and a covered butter dish.  We normally leave butter on a plate at room temperature all the time, but Hannah doesn’t like the fact that it isn’t covered.  So for $8, I made Hannah’s day!

Then this sign stopped us in our tracks!

We were offered to pick a chocolate off of a tray – I picked a hazelnut ganache – not exactly sure what it was but I ate half of it – it was insulin worthy!

Then on to Hannah’s favorite store – DSW!  My daughter is a glutton for hand bags and shoes!  This store was really big!

She was one happy camper because she bought these.  Her intention is to buy a black dress for prom, so she wanted bright shoes – pretty sure these fit the bill!  She was grinning from ear to ear!

Hannah had to go to work, so Mom and I went to a thrift store and then she dropped me back off at home.  She saw I had a box of grapefruit from my parent-in-laws, and I gave her a couple.  They were off to the side so I forgot they were there!  I decided I needed to use them up, so I made grapefruit granita!

Grapefruit Granita

  • 2 1/2 cups fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/3 cup sugar

5 grapefruit was just enough to get 2 1/2 cups of juice

You add the sugar to the juice then pour in hot water until the sugar dissolves.  Simply put in a container with a lid and put in the freezer.  This morning I took it out, used a fork to scrape the granita and it is SO GOOD!  So refreshing, it’s like biting into a fresh grapefruit!

I can definitely see this as a summer dessert - slightly sweet and so refreshing!

I had defrosted pork chops for dinner.  I knew I was going to make twice baked potatoes on the side, but I needed a vegetable.  I haven’t gone to the grocery store yet, but realized I had fresh broccoli that was still good.  A look into my cheese drawer I remembered I had Parmesan cheese, and since BSI is Parmesan cheese I decided to make this my BSI recipe.

  • 1 head broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 4 cloves of fresh garlic, sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • lemon zest
  • juice from 1/2 lemon

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes

Remove from oven and toss with lemon zest and lemon juice.  I loved this!  The garlic got nice and crispy and the lemon zest and juice really made this dish.  Only problem is that it didn’t stay hot for very long!

I used really good Parmesan cheese

My plate – don’t freak out about the size of my pork chop – I only ate 1/2 of it!

It was a great day!  Thanks for coming out to lunch Mom!

Plans for today:

  • meal plan
  • grocery shop
  • read Sunday paper
  • bake bread!

Tony was flipping channels yesterday and stopped at America’s Test Kitchen show.   He said they made an Almost  No Knead bread that looked amazing.  You make the dough in about 2 minutes, then let it rest on the counter from 8 to 18 hours.  Then you bake it in a dutch oven!  I have 20 minutes before I put it in the oven – he said the sound of the crunchy crust was amazing!

Hope everyone enjoys their Sunday!  See you tomorrow! 😀

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Boston Style Coffee

Growing up my Dad had his art studio in the basement.  The coffee pot was the first thing going every morning, and would be on all day long.  My Dad would shout out from the basement “can someone throw me a pack of cigarettes and bring me a cup of coffee?”

I’d open the drawer that had the carton of cigarettes – Virginia Slim Menthol – and would toss them down – he’d catch them every time!  Then it was time to make the coffee.  My Dad was diabetic so he used Sweet-10 in a squeeze bottle.  That stuff tasted awful!  It had such a sickeningly sweet taste on the tongue.  Next was milk, because my Dad liked his coffee Boston Style – which meant lots of milk!

Invariable on the way down it would start to spill, as I put too much coffee into it, and I’d have to take a few sips so there wouldn’t be coffee spilled on the basement steps.  I believe it was then my love of coffee began.  And I still like it the way my Dad liked it – although my artificial sweetener choices are way better!

As luck would have it, last week when I went to the Economy Shop with my Mom and sister, I found an almost identical coffee cup my Dad used to drink out of!  .50 cents later – it was mine 😀

I made another breakfast burrito, except instead of canned diced potatoes, I used hominy!  This burrito:  1 egg, 1/2 ounce cheese, 4 ounces diced zucchini, 1/4 cup hominy, 1 ounce diced canadian bacon in a low carb wrap.

But I thought it was missing something!

hot picante sauce!! that's better!

I had dreams of doing all three levels of 30-day shred at lunch, but didn’t think I would have time to do all three, still take a shower and get back to my desk.  Turns out I was right!  Doing the warm up of Level 1, Level 1, skipping the warm up of Level 2, Level 2 and the cool down to Level 2 took me 50 minutes!

thanks for kicking my butt Jillian - even though I like Bob better! 😀

Lunch was very orange!  I had my Red Pepper Soup:

And then I had an Arnold Thin sammie on the side – 1 ounce of deli ham and a slice of pepper jack cheese and LOTS of yellow mustard!

No Party Pizza Friday.  I know, it pains me to even write that because I have a buffalo chicken pizza I want to make ever since I saw it on Em’s blog!   But I had the second best thing – tacos!  Except it’s lent.  No meat.  I don’t really like fish.  So I made fish tacos for people who don’t like fish!

the fixins - diced red pepper, guacamole, refried beans, sour cream and CHEESE!

Then I deep fried these babies – while they did not have instructions to deep fry, I did it anyway – and they were done in about 3 minutes!  And not greasy at all.

of course I added hot sauce at the table!

I had two tacos and about an ounce and a half of chips.  Hannah didn’t go out last night so we watched a movie we rented called Deadline with Brittany Murphy.  It may be one of her last movies to come out, but if you ever come across this movie – throw it out, walk away and you’ll get an hour and fifteen minutes back of your life!

Loot! I got two packages this week – I love getting packages in the mail!  First up – my win from Lisa’s giveaway – a Progresso Soup bowl, two cans of soup and an electronic jumping rope!

And then I got a package from Megan for my BSI win – coconut milk!

Trader Joe's loot - I am especially excited about the instant oatmeal and the Indian dish - I've seen it before but never have had the courage to put it in my basket!

Don’t forget, two days left to submit BSI – Parmesan cheese!  I am actually thinking of making a Parmesan cheese cookie, but I have a couple other ideas too.  You’ll have to come back tomorrow to see what I ended up with!

One of the best thing about reading food blogs is getting great recipes to try!  I have a couple that I am going to fix this weekend.  Check out:

Angel in the Kitchen’s Marinated Chicken – this will be a perfect week night dish because it marinates overnight with rosemary, olive oil, and lemon.   Tony and I were just talking about how we both liked Greek chicken and I think this will be amazing!

Weekly Bites Authentic Mexican Enchiladas – she says the secret is in the sauce!

My lunch soup this week?  Buffalo Chicken Soup!  I seriously can’t wait to make this.   I just found this blog – it’s called “My Fiance Likes It, So It Must Be Good!

And I plan on redeeming my mac and cheese and cheese.  I bought 75% reduced fat Cabot cheddar cheese and evaporated skim milk.   Fingers crossed it comes out as good as it does in my head!

Plans for today:

  • Lunch with my Mom and Hannah at L’Eiffel Bistrot and Creperie.  While they have snails and frog legs, I’ll probably get quiche or savory crepe – who knows?
  • Tony did the laundry this week so no laundry – thanks Tony!
  • Clean out my refrigerator (I think Hannah swore at me under her breath when things started falling out!)
  • Put tax stuff together for accountant.

FYI, if you have all your prescriptions at one pharmacy, they can do a print out of all your expenses for the year!  I go to Walgreen’s – turns out in 2009 I spent $1,984 – just in prescriptions and test strips!

Hope everyone has a wonderful Saturday – see you tomorrow! 😀

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Fail to Plan . . . Plan to Fail

Yesterday morning I had plenty of time.  I’d made the Cooking Light Mac n Cheese the night before, I was drinking coffee, finishing posting my blog, reading some of yours.  I took a shower, got dressed get everything in the car and as I am driving to work, I realize: I never packed my breakfast!

I only had time for McDonald’s.  I ordered the breakfast burrito and the yogurt parfait.  The burritos came with a potato patty, which I took one bite out of 😀 and then threw out.  So then before I eat the burritos, I decided to see how many calories they were.  One was 300 calories! Thank God I looked because I probably would have eaten both of them – and they weren’t even that big!

The best part about this burrito?

this was surprisingly really good - really flavorful heat!

The parfait was good – I am glad that the fruit wasn’t frozen, which usually happens when I order it.

I was on my own for working out, and did the Biggest Loser DVD again – this time I did 5 minute warm up, 20 minutes high intensity cardio and then 20 minutes of the Boot Camp – Holy Shit that last part was hard!   But I just love Bob’s gentle pushes “I know it’s hard, you are strong, you can do this!”

So about half way through two guys come in to use the treadmills.  I ask if they mind if I continue, that I’ve only got 20 minutes to go, and they were fine with it.  It was just kind of awkward with them in the room.  Then one of them says to the other “I think that guy on the left was on the Biggest Loser show!”  I then say “this is a Biggest Loser DVD.”  A few minutes later, the guys says “I remember that blond girl – she was on the show too!”  Duh!

So I had high hopes for the Cooking Light Bacon Ranch Mac N Cheese.  I am not posting the recipe until I tweak it some more, but if you are curious, the recipe is here.   The only substitution I made was I used cream of celery soup in the milk mixture instead of cream of mushroom, simply because I don’t like mushrooms.  The seasonings were garlic powder, onion powder and fresh dill.  It was about the blandest macaroni and cheese I’ve ever eaten – I couldn’t even taste the dill.

Luckily my Tabasco sauce came to the rescue!  I also think the three cheese blend was another problem – since there are only 5 ounces of cheese in the whole recipe, I think if I had used 75% reduced fat Cabot sharp cheddar the cheezy flavor would have been more pronounced.  You know I love my cheese! 😀  And even though I am going to tweak the recipe, I am going to submit this Friday First to Christina’s blog today – it is the first time I made it!

2 cups comes in at 497 calories

I was going to get a side salad at the cafe in the building next to us, when one of my co-workers let me go through her “food drawer” in the office fridge.  I had a spinach salad with a tablespoon of blue cheese dressing with fat free raspberry vinaigrette – perfect!

As I was leaving work I couldn’t help but thank my lucky stars that I didn’t live in New York with all the snow they are expecting: 10 to 20 inches!  And look how light it was at 5:00!

Tony made dinner last night!  I had defrosted a pork roast with the intention of Tony making a type of pork caccitore (sp?!), but he was feeling just good ole plain roasted pork with rosemary and garlic.  It was delicious!  On the side he had baked potatoes, which had been rubbed with a bit of olive oil and then seasoned with coarse salt and cracked pepper.  The skin is the best part of his baked potatoes!

since these were huge, I ate half of the smaller one

And since I couldn’t decide which picture to use of the pork – you will be getting all three! 😀

the roasted rosemary has a wonderful flavor

My plate: 4 ounces of pork, sauerkraut (which Tony and Hannah can’t stand, but I could eat it out of the can cold!) and 1/2 potato with fat free margarine and salt and pepper.

don't let the pink scare you on the pork - it was perfectly done and juicy!

Stats for the Day:  45 minute BL DVD and

even with the burrito, I got a B for the day - I'll take it!

I got some loot in the mail from some wonderful bloggers, but my camera battery died, so I’ll show the loot tomorrow!

Off to make my breakfast – I won’t make that mistake again! 😀  Happy Friday!

Oh – and any Chicagoland readers out there – I am helping a co-worker of my sister with meal planning using a sale flyer.  It just so happens she shops at Caputo’s.  I put together a meal plan and grocery list for her – so if anyone who shops at Caputo’s would like the shopping list with recipes, just leave a comment and I’ll email it to you.