Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

An old family favorite made-over!

I’m sure almost everyone who grew up in the 70’s had a version of this meal: ground beef with cream of mushroom soup served over pasta or rice.
My family called it “Casserole”. After I married, it was one of my “go to” meals because it was very simple to make, and my daughter loved it (and she was a picky eater so meals that she liked were made often).
This is still ground meat (although I am using the leaner, less fatty, ground turkey) and cream of mushroom soup. BUT, I added some uncooked sliced cremini mushrooms and served it over raw zucchini and raw yellow (or summer) squash, sliced thin to be like noodles. It is high veggie and very delicious.
I added sliced olives and a can of white corn to the sauce, just to add another element to it.
I originally was going to cook the mushrooms in the sauce, thinking it would enhance the flavor of the cream of mushroom soup. But, I forgot about them until right before I served it. The sauce had already simmered and everything else was ready. So, I thought, “Well, mushrooms can be eaten raw. They don’t have to be cooked. I’ll just add them to the sauce now raw, and then the next time I make it, I’ll simmer the mushrooms as it warms up.” After having the raw mushrooms, cooking them was nixed! The mushrooms – even raw – enhanced the flavor of the sauce. It was so extra delicious that I fell in love with mushrooms again.
If you are trying to limit your carb intake, or are cutting out pasta, I highly recommend this dish. It is so satisfying and yummy, you won’t miss the pasta noodles or rice.
Love yourself and be fulfilled!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Food for Mind = Open by Andre Agassi

Open by Andre Agassi

4 out of 5

This was a fast read. Agassi writes like he is having a conversation with you. I found myself intrigued and flipping pages to find out what happens next. As a tennis fan, I loved the behind-the-scense glimpses at the major tournaments. I loved when Agassi describes what was going through his mind and how he was feeling at certain times in certain matches. Some of those matches I remember watching and being on the edge of my seat because of the great drama that was produced. The romances in his life were also extremely interesting. The life of a tennis pro has never seemed easy to me, with all the traveling and constant training and odd schedules from day matches to night matches, losing first round or making it far in the tournament. Maintaining a relationship has seemed difficult unless the other person was also a tennis pro. Agassi's insight into that side of life was enlightening. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It was entertaining and insightful. And, you don't have to be a tennis fan to enjoy it.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Super Bowl burgers

That right there is a burger I could not fit into my mouth. And, it also is entirely homemade. Yep, even the bun. Well, okay, I didn't grow the tomatoes or lettuce, but you know what I mean.

We decided to go simple with our Super Bowl burgers, and that really just applied to the toppings. It is simply topped with mustard, red leaf lettuce and a few slices of Roma tomatoes.

The burger patty was made with ground sirloin, so we went a little fancy there. Seasoned with Montreal Steak seasoning, and topped with a good helping of cheddar cheese, the patties were delicious, very flavorful.

We would have grilled them up, but, if I remember right, the barbeque was out of gas.

The homemade buns were my brilliant idea. (Can you sense the sarcasm?)

I have been doing pretty well at baking bread, using the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day recipes. So, I thought to try my hand at baking buns. I had the right idea on the size. But, what makes a hamburger bun super is not only the subtle flavor, so as not to take away from the burger ingredients, but the softness which allows a good bite without having all the ingredients slide right out the back of the burger.

Um, yeah, that's what happened with these buns. They were really good as artisan loaves that you would rip apart and dip into olive oil and seasoning, or just slather with butter. They were *not* good for burger buns. They just weren't soft enough. On the outside! The inside was wonderfully soft. But, the crust was too hard for us to actually bite through with any ease. So, all my ingredients squeezed right out the back when I bit down into my delicious and yummy looking burger.

That top bun is huge! If I would have just cut off the top crust, it probably would have worked just fine.

So, I still need to find a good recipe for burger buns. But, I'm not too worried about it. We enjoyed the food, felt good about it since it was all homemade, no preservatives, and we enjoyed the game. We had no real interest in the outcome. We just wanted to see a good game. And, if I remember right, it was a pretty good game.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The hiatus is done, I think, well, for now.

Life. My life presents challenges to me everyday. Some days I feel up to the challenge and face it head on. Other days, well, I just want to roll over in bed and pull the covers over my head. But, I can't. I'm a grown up now. So, I press on. I may not do it with the most enthusiasm on those rough days, but I do it. And, that in itself is something about which I can feel really positive.

I had lost enthusiasm for writing about food. And, my husband and I were not sticking with the raw food diet much anymore. So, I stayed away from this blog. I wasn't sure which direction I wanted to take it. Plus, like most everyone else, I started looking for another job, which is like a full-time job. I do already have a job, but it's in real estate, which is exceedingly difficult. But, it's a job, and, in addition to spending time applying for jobs, I needed to spend time focused on my current job in order to keep paying the bills. Sound familiar? Probably, if you are like me and the thousands of people trying to make ends meet or trying to build back the savings they have used up. (If not, well, good for you.)

That focus, plus the turn in the Chinese New Year (you may laugh, but I'm a believer), has made things a little better. We have a little breathing room. And, a little less stress. And, therefore, I can think about doing fun things again. Like this blog. I don't know if it will stay food focused. But, it will continue to be about things that fulfill me. But, that's the fun of it, right? Life's a journey, not a destination. Ahh, Life.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Blood Orange Fruit Salad

Spring has arrived - well, for the rest of the country. It has been here in Phoenix for a while, and we're just about ready to welcome - dare I say it - Summer.

I can hope that the triple digit temperatures will stay away for a few months more. We always have hope, right? At any rate, warmer temps are coming and that makes me less inclined to cook, to turn on the stove or, even worse, to turn on the oven. Just as cold days bring cravings of warm soups and stews, hot days bring cravings of  - well, let's be honest, popsicles and ice cream.

Since living on popsicles and ice cream is not nutritionally ideal (although could be extraordinarily yummy), fruit salad often fills the bill for us during Phoenix's outrageous summer months. Fruit salad is light and delicious, easy to make, and best of all, requires no heating.

Another thing I love about fruit salad is its versatility. Any fruit combination will do - as long as you like the fruit, various combinations can come together to create a yummy, satisfying dish. And, it can be a side salad or a meal on its own.

For our most recent incarnation of fruit salad (shown above), we picked blood oranges from our neighbor's tree, paired it with apples, raisins and green bell pepper. The sauce is simply plain yogurt. (I absolutely love plain yogurt for its versatility, too. Add sweetener or spices like salt and pepper and it becomes something completely different.) The fruit in our fruit salad was plenty sweet, so we didn't add any sweetener to the yogurt, but feel free to experiment, and sweeten to your tastes. And enjoy! Enjoy the warmer temps, make an easy, light, carefree dinner and go outside and play! Be Fulfilled!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday Food

What are you eating today?

We are going with burgers! It'll be homemade all the way, too: homemade buns from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, homemade all-beef burger patties, homemade guacamole and homemade bean dip.

The burgers will be simply topped with red leaf lettuce leaves and sliced Roma tomatoes and mustard and ketchup. And, of course, the guacamole and bean dip will be enjoyed with corn tortilla chips, which we are not making homemade, but which seem fresh-made from our grocery store. They are like the chips you get in a really good Mexican restaurant. Seriously yum.

A lot of people are cooking good food today. It's almost like Thanksgiving - cooking that special food you eat just once a year. And, a lot of people are going with traditional football fare in pizza and wings. Personally, I don't think you can go wrong with good pizza and wings. It is one of my all-time favorites, but I always pay for it later. Maybe that's why it's only once in a while that we go wild with junk food?

So, in honor of Super Bowl Sunday, may your preparations for the game go smoothly and stress-free and may the game be a nail-biter. Let's all hope for a good game! Enjoy!


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