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March 2013

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Party Pizza Friday!

Believe it or not, I was up by 7:00 a.m. yesterday – on a day off!  That hardly ever happens, so I took advantage and did some laundry and chores.  Next thing I knew it was 9:30 and I was starting to get hungry.

I made breakfast tostadas – two eggs scrambled with spinach and a bit of cheese, topped on two tostadas (each tostada is only 35 calories!) and topped it with my salsa and cilantro.  Oh, and maybe a touch of hot sauce. Open-mouthed smile

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Tony?  He rarely eats breakfast.  Really the only time he’ll eat it is when we go out for breakfast, but it’s usually after 10:30.  He boiled some eggs the day before and asked if I could make him an egg salad sandwich.  I don’t like mayo, so I never eat it.  I looked up a “classic egg salad.”  Easy enough, eggs, mayo, celery, mustard, etc.

Sadly, the eggs were hard to peel – maybe because they were still cold?

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I brought a taste to Tony to see if it needed more salt or pepper, and he said “what’s the crunchy shit?”  Um, celery.  Turns out when Tony makes his egg salad, there is no celery, but he still liked it.

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And he likes it on white bread with lettuce.  I think it would be better on toasted bread, but that’s just me. Open-mouthed smile

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Me?  I had a Nathan’s hot dog – best hot dog on the market!

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I went to pick up my contacts at the eye doctor, then went to Walmart to have my eye brows threaded – ouch!  I always forget how much that hurts, but it’s short lived – it’s over in a few minutes.   I picked up some spray paint to spray my board for my pictures – they sell the generic brand of paint for only .97 cents a can!

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It was dry in a matter of minutes too!  When I came back inside, Tony called me into the living room.  He said “I read the blog  . . . I am okay with having pizza for dinner!”  Woop! 

You can find the step by step instructions here – it’s not as complicated as it looks.  It’s just an America’s Test Kitchen recipe so it’s super detailed.

I do weigh my flour out – 16.25 ounces to be exact.

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I suggest you buy loose yeast.  This jar cost $3.83 at Walmart, and it lasts forever in your fridge – 2 1/4 teaspoons is the equivalent to a package of yeast.

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The stand mixer does all the work – you’ll know when it’s ready when your bowl is clean on the sides.

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After the first rise, you roll out the dough, butter the dough (I reduced the butter to 2 tablespoons this time) and then roll it into an envelope and let it sit in the fridge for an hour.

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Tony’s side was mushroom and green olive, my side was baby spinach:

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That was kind of a mistake, I normally put the ingredients on top of the sliced cheese, but I got ahead of myself – I scooped off as much of the sauce as I could, then added the sauce and grated Parmesan cheese.  Ready for the oven!  This bakes on the lower third of your oven, at 425 for 25-30 minutes.  You need to let it sit for at least five minutes before cutting.

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I put a mushroom and piece of spinach on top of each side so I would know how to cut it.

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Holy yum.  I always forget how good this pizza is.  The sauce, the melty cheese, the buttery crust.  You don’t even need to make a trip to Chicago to have authentic deep dish pizza at home! Open-mouthed smile  And Mara has made this using whole wheat flour in the dough and had equally good results.

Today I have to grocery shop and meal plan – I’ll be cooking for people again!  My SIL and bosses will be back from spring break, and my Mom and nephew are coming over for Easter tomorrow.  I know we are having ham, but other than that, not sure what else I’ll have on the menu!

What’s on your Easter menu – I am looking for some different side dishes this year.  Maybe I will jump on Pinterest – I am becoming a Pinterest whore these days!  I still won’t get into Twitter, in fact I tweeted to Mara yesterday and it’s my 4th tweet ever!  Ha!

Enjoy your Easter if you celebrate it – make it a great day and I’ll “see you on Monday.”  I finally made granola clusters and can’t wait to share the recipe with you on Monday!

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Pork/ Sauces

Apple Pork Sausage and Chimichurri

Hello Friday!  And hello to another day off!  I could really get used to these three day work weeks! Open-mouthed smile

Last weekend while I was waiting for my number to be called at the meat counter, I wandered around and saw that they had pork sausage – at only $2.99 a pound!  I bought some with the thought of making apple and pork breakfast sausages.  This one is almost too embarrassing to post as a recipe because it’s so easy!

Apple Pork Breakfast Sausages

  • makes 6 patties, 147 calories, 11 fat, 272 sodium, 4.2 carbs, 1.1 fiber and 6.6 protein

Ingredients:

  • 9 ounces fresh pork sausage
  • 6 ounces of apple (about half of a large), cored and then shredded with the skin on
  • 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
  • salt and pepper

After you shred the apple, put the shreds in a paper towel and squeeze out all of the moisture.  Mix with pork sausage and fennel seeds.  Each of my sausages were 2.1 ounces raw.  I generously coated with salt and pepper.

Put in a non-stick pan.  Add enough water to cover up to half of the side of the sausage over medium low heat – you want to cook the pork through before browning it up.  This batch took me about 15 minutes all together.

My breakfast – a 2 egg spinach omelet, 100 calorie English muffin (that I ended up putting the omelet in and eating like a breakfast sammie) and 2 sausages.

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That’s a really shitty picture above, but I wanted you to see all the shreds of apple.

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Holy yum, were those sausages good.  While this breakfast comes in at 526 calories, 32 fat, 31 carbs, 8.8 fiber and 31 protein, this packed a punch with staying power – this kept me full for hours.  So full that when it was time to have our office lunch of Chinese food, I wasn’t even sure I even wanted to eat anything!

I did end up getting two chicken sticks and wonton soup, of which I only ate half the soup, so lunch came in at 381 calories, 9 fat, 16 carbs, 1 fiber and 58 protein.  Nice!  I may have added a touch of sriracha to my wonton soup broth. Open-mouthed smile

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Before work yesterday, I blindly grabbed some sort of “meat” from the freezer and figured I would wing it when I got home.  When I unwrapped the package, I realized it was the other half of the beef I bought at Whole Foods a few weeks ago.  This portion was $4.20, or $2.10 per person.

I don’t know if you are like me, but when I see bunches of cilantro and parsley on sale for .25 cents a bunch, I routinely buy a dollars worth and then by the end of the week wonder what to do with it before it goes bad.  I’ve made a chimichurri sauce before and completely forgot how delicious it is.

I switched the recipe up a bit, based what I had on hand.  Best part? Tony loved it!

Chimichurri Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil (I used a 6 ounce package from the store)
  • 1 cup cilantro, stems cut off
  • 1 cup parsley, stems cut off
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • pinch of sugar

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth.  Holy smokes if you could smell this!  It smells like summer!

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The key to a great grilled piece of meat?  Always make sure your meat is at room temperature – never go from fridge to heat because you’ll end up with tough meat every time.  I just salt and peppered this beef.

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While the meat started to grill, I popped two of my last red potatoes in the microwave and hit the button for baked potato. Since they were small, it was only about 5 minutes.  Next went in my broccoli head, and I hit the button for fresh vegetable.

When I flipped my meat, I added the potatoes and broccoli to finish them off.  See the broccoli stem?  That’s Tony’s favorite part so he at that!

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Love that the sun was setting at 6:30!  And the snow is melted in our back yard – we only have one pile at each side of our driveway – come on spring!

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I ended up cutting up my meat, potato and broccoli and stirring it in all that delicious herb sauce – if I could have licked the plate I would have!  (well, maybe I did once I brought the dishes back in!).  This makes a lot – I have about a tablespoon and a half on my plate – I was thinking that it might be a great topping on a goat cheese omelet?

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So not a bad dinner considering I didn’t have a plan when I got home from work!

Raise your hand if you have today off!  Hope you enjoy your Friday.  I hope to convince Tony to have deep dish pizza for dinner – except his side can be black olive and cheese (last day of Lent!) and mine can be a spinach deep dish pizza. Doesn’t this look amazeballs?

Taste of Chicago

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Make it a great day!

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Lyle wanted to stay for dinner!

At our blogger brunch last weekend, Jacky gave me some of her sister Jody’s granola, so I decided to make a breakfast parfait.  I sauteed 1 apple with a pinch of brown sugar and Pam, then tossed in some blackberries.  Since I knew the fruit and granola were sweet, I made the right move and used plain Chobani – good to the last drop!

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The granola was so good – thanks Jody!

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Since I still had 21 miles to go in my 45 miles for March challenge, I knew I was going to do a bike ride and decided to do the bike ride that you follow the scene on the screen and have to stay ahead of the pace bike – It’s really challenging!

Sadly, when I got to the gym, I found this:

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So on to Plan B!  I did a random ride on the regular exercise bike, except this time I kept my RPMs between 90 and 100 no matter how steep the hill got – I actually got in an extra 1.5 miles in nearly the same amount of time as the day before!  Only 11.5 miles to go – no probs!

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Lunch was a cup of Tony’s steak fried rice, along with some steamed broccoli that I tossed in some sriracha.  Delish!

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Um, turns out I am not the biggest fan of broccoli stems!

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I thawed out some chicken breasts and decided to make chicken marsala, but I decided to rewrite the recipe for two servings. 

Chicken Marsala for Two

  • 394 caloires, 17 fat, 913 sodium, 21 carbs, 2 fiber and 26 protein

Ingredients:

  • 1/8 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2, 4 oz. chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon oli
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup Marsala wine
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • optional lemon juice squeezed over the dish

Put the flour, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning on a shallow plate and mix well.  Dip the chicken in the flour on both sides.

Heat butter and oil over medium heat.  Cook both sides of the chicken, just until browned, then remove to a plate.  Add the garlic and mushrooms, and cook for 2 minutes.  Pour in the wine and deglaze the pan for a couple minutes, then return the chicken to the pan.

Cover with a skillet and cook for about 6-8 minutes, flipping half way through, depending on how thick your chicken is.  Mine was skinny, so I only cooked mine 3 minutes a side.  Remove from heat and stir in cream.  Serve over pasta of your choice.  FYI, the calories above do not include the pasta.

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Okay, so here is what I hadn’t considered about my new “photography studio.”  I set my board down by the back door, I took about four pictures, when all of a sudden, who should show up by the back door?  Lyle the Squirrel!

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Except I was too freaked out to take a picture of him, because he was literally about to walk in our back door – you’ve never seen anyone move so fast, while saving their dinner, before in your life!

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Note to self – check for Lyle before taking photos!  He probably just wanted my delicious Marsala! Open-mouthed smile

Last day of the work week today!  Looking forward to a 3 day weekend.  Come back tomorrow for pork and apple sausage recipe that I made this morning for breakfast.

Make it a great day!