Saturday, August 13, 2022


 Sorry, no photo of the finished pasta.... but it was gorgeous I promise

The local grocer had a special on scallops, which I love. Quick to cook, succulent and sweet, feel fancy with minimal effort (and at least for now, a reasonable price)! The local grocer also purported to have a special on deveined and peeled local shrimp. This, my friends, did not materialize though I visited two different locations on three days. Eva was with me on the second day, and when I grumbled about the false advertising, she said "well I guess they just want to get you into the store to buy stuff." I kid you not. Does she appreciate the guile she is describing? I'm not sure. But astute nonetheless.

Also, even though I left shrimpless, I was happy with my scallops as I could eat garlicy seafood of any derivation all day every day. 

Both kids loved the dish, though one balked when she thought she could have frozen yogurt instead, so there are limits to their love. But... if the next best thing is frozen yogurt... still probably on the good side.

Not having yet fully committed to low carb, I served this with angel hair pasta, which suited the thin, silky olive oil sauce well. I imagine (and will try) zucchini noodles would be a good fit. 

FYI this served us for two generous meals (two adults, one five year old, one two year old).

Recipe adapted from a few sources. 


1 pound Angel Hair Pasta
1 pound bay scallops
1/4 cup olive oil
5 cloves (big ones!) garlic, minced or pressed
4 T butter
1/2 cup white wine (pinot grigio for me)
1 large lemon, zest and juice
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
salt, pepper, red pepper flakes to taste


1) Dry scallops with paper towel. Add water to pasta pot (we used our instant pot) and get it boiling.

2) Heat olive oil in saute pan on medium high heat. Add scallops, cook 1 minute, stir around and cook 1 minute more. Remove from skillet to a plate/bowl.

3) Add butter and garlic to oil and cook x 30 seconds to one minute. Add wine, lemon juice, lemon zest and cook 6ish minutes until slightly reduced and no longer smelling of alcohol. Add in parsley and stir through.

4) While sauce reduces, make pasta per directions, stopping at al dente. 

5) Add scallops to sauce and mix well.  Mix in pasta and a ladle of pasta water as needed, I moved pasta straight from instant pot to saute pan, which meant there was still a fair amount of water transferred.  Finish with parsley scraps if you have them.

And, you know, go frolic in transylvania as you are temporarily repugnant to vampires.

Friday, August 12, 2022

The past is not dead, it's not even the past

 After many years of not blogging, here I am. 

It has been an eventful few years! I went to medical school, had two kids, and have almost completed my residency. I moved across Texas, then across the country, now calling SC home (for now; Texas always calls back its own). I remain ever committed to good food. 

Like so many people during the pandemic (oh yes, that too happened since I last blogged), and like so many women of increasing years, and like so many of us who all other excuses/reasons/rationalizations aside tend to gain weight... I gained weight. The past is the present. Ooops.  I have made a few attempts at low carb eating in the past few years, but it's time to commit. In keeping with that, I will resume blogging, as the last time I did a good, consistent run of low carb with good weight results... I blogged. 

That said, I have two kids and a carb loving husband. What to do. 

The blog will, therefore, be a bit all over the place. That's fine by me as I expect many of us have similar lives. However, while food will be the theme, sometimes the important feature will be cost, or kid friendliness, or what quinoa salad my husband liked. I cook lunches for him (no restrictions, impeccably strong metabolism), meals and snacks for toddlers who alternately eat the universe and exist on air, and myself. 

No recipe today. I promised my kids frozen pizza, and I'll have some crudite (read: clean out the veggie drawer). More to come. Side note... the Great Value rising crust pizza (now approx $3.50 in SC) is tasty, easy, and feeds two toddlers and one man. That's my tip of the day.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Low carb "Bubble tea"

Bubble tea is the divisive issue of my food life. I have had friends who, on first taste, spit it out and look at me as if I were trying to poison them. Then there are people like my mom who cannot be trusted to leave my beverage alone if I run to the bathroom for two seconds, even if I'd brought her a cup of her own. True story.

In case you are unfamiliar, the base for bubble tea is tea+tapioca pearls+sugar+(optional cream)=HEAVEN. But, you know, tapioca is a starch, sugar is sugar. This is one of those indulgent foods even when you are not on a diet.  But I bring you hope!  Enter chia seeds.

First encountered by those of us 90s kids through the famous/infamous/laughable Chia pet (I cherished a Homer Simpson chia pet that I received at a white elephant exchange), chia seeds are here to save the day. When soaked, they expand to at least 5 times their size (one source says they taken on ten times their weight in water) and have a gelatinous coat that mimics bubble consistency nicely. As an added bonus, the seed provides some crunch/pop. On the nutrition side, they are very healthy, providing protein, omega-3, and lots of fiber plus a variety of other nutrients.  But really, it's the texture that I love, and it ends up being WAY cheaper than bubble tea even though chia is itself not that cheap--keep in mind that one tablespoon= a GIANT serving (pictured above). Winning.

To prepare, I just soak in water so I can make up my mind about what beverage to pair it with the moment I want to drink, but chia happily expands in coconut and almond milk, so I imagine it expands in coffee, tea, and fruit juices. The world is your chia oyster.

In the event you want to dabble in chia before committing to a pricey bag, many stores with bulk bins stock chia. Trader Joe's and Costco do provide reasonably priced chia, but my Sprouts puts it on sale often enough at a lower price than either of those two.

This is not even a recipe, either. Surely a bona fide recipe requires more effort.

1 T chia (one-half ounce)
1 packet stevia
1/2 c water

Mix together and put in fridge for 5 hours to overnight. Scoop amount desired into cold or hot beverage of choice. Will probably expand a little more. Stir. Sip. Smile. Caveat: needs the big straws due to occasional clumping.

Basic nutrition: 4.5 g fat, 2 g protein, 1 net carbs, 5 grams (!) of fiber and provides a fair amount of manganese and phosphorous.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Pork chops with sliced mushrooms and mustard cream sauce

This is why my pork chops are coming up to temperature behind closed doors:
He doesn't seem to care about mushrooms, but he did give them a good sniff. Such a great little carnivore.

It's been a while since I've blogged.  At a certain point, I was just exhausted from a number of factors, not the least of which was the medical school interview trail. This same trail also made staying on my diet really difficult, and I've gained back some of the weight.  But I have no more interviews planned, so I am happy to be back in the kitchen and back to the blog!

In terms of medical school, so far I have been accepted to one of my top three schools, and I'm still waiting to hear from the other two. I also have received a scholarship from another school that might outweigh my preferences. I am extraordinarily pleased and humbled by these opportunities. This does mean that my blogging might be limited after school starts, as this will be another rigorous endeavor. I do love me a challenge!

For today, though, I am prepping my lunches for the week.  Given that it's COLD here in North Texas, I want something warm and comforting.  As I walked the aisles of Costco, the pork chops beckoned to me. They were thick, pretty, and 3.50 off. The Dutch in me really does love a good deal. And what goes better with pork than mustard cream sauce.... and I saw a really nice selection of mushrooms.... and I had a GIANT head of cauliflower in the fridge.... So, as often happens in life, the little factors all came together to make one lovely dish.

Now, pork is a meat that I love. A good pork chop is a divine thing. But I'm always afraid of not cooking it enough and dying or of overcooking it and crying. I should just cough up the money and buy an instant read thermometer.... For me, for these 1" thick chops, a cast iron skillet well heated for 4 minutes to sear the side, flipped and baked for 30 minutes at 350 worked out just fine. And, you know, smothering them in a cream sauce never hurts.

Tips and thoughts: You can slice mushrooms and chop onions while chops bake. I also use pinot grigio for most of my wine needs in cooking if not shooting for a particular flavor profile. It's generally easy-going. And this could totally look gorgeous if well plated.... I'm just putting it straight into tupperware because there are lots of gorgeous food photos out there, but I pretty much just cook so I can eat.

Edit: I really ended up eating half a serving per day because the chops are HUGE. Nutrition and cost are accordingly edited. No pretty photos of finished meal, but it looked like a pork chop with mushrooms and cream.... Surprising, huh.

chops and sauce:
4 pork chops that have rested for a bit
2 T honey dijon or straight dijon
Salt and pepper
1/4 c white wine
1/2 c heavy cream
1 T mustard
1 package of mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp garlic salt

1) Preheat oven to 350. Season pork chops with salt and pepper and smear with mustard of your choice.
2) Heat up your cast iron skillet for a few minutes at high. Sear pork chop for 3-4 minutes, flip them, and put the skillet in the oven.
3) Put chops aside on a plate and cover with foil tent.
4) Deglaze the pan with white wine and stir that around a bit.
5) Add onions and cook until translucent. Add mushrooms and cook down. Add mustard and garlic salt, stir until well combined. Add cream and stir til it's luscious. Pour sauce over chops and serve with pureed cauliflower or other side of choice.

Cost (very rough cost wise)
4 giant chops at $1.45 apiece: 5.8
mustard: .5
white wine: .5
cream: 1
mushrooms: 2.5
onion: .5
salt: .1
Per serving: 1.36


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Microwave burritos

Soooooo I apparently erased all the photos from my blog.  


I was just trying to free up space in Google via my fancy schmancy new phone, and I figured that since they were posted to the blog, I didn't need them any more.  I did not realize that the sync settings on my phone would erase all photos EVERYWHERE. FOREVER.

Not that it is a huge loss to humanity, I suppose.

Thankfully, the recipes remain, but you'll have to use your imagination for visualizing the end product.

This recipe, however, is present in not only all its recipe glory but also in photo glory. Notice that at the center of this artistic composition there is a beer.  This is how burritos are meant to roll.

I hope you can see that this provides 15 Freebirds-sized burritos (there is another cookie sheet somewhere).  And each one clocked in at around $1.25.  It requires a little set up (all said and done takes an hour) but pays off nicely in Tom's lunches for half a month!


1/2 onion, chopped
1 T oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 C Rice
1 T chili powder
1 can Rotel
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic salt
2 C (scant) broth

1) Saute onion and garlic in oil until translucent. Add rice, brown (2-3 minutes). Add chili powder, cumin and stir a bit. Add rotel, garlic salt and broth. Bring to boil. Cover and set to low for 20 minutes.

1 rotisserie chicken, 1 c salsa.
1) Debone chicken, chop relatively finely and toss with salsa.

15 count large tortillas
1 can beans (more if you like lotsa beans)
2 C cheese (or, you know, more...)
1 onion, chopped and sauteed
1 bag roasted veggies (peppers and onions) (trader joe's)
1 bag roasted corn (trader joe's)

1) Heat beans on stove. Sautee up the veggies, and heat the corn in a saucepan.

Then, super simple, assemble! Smear some beans down middle of tortilla, add rice, cheese, meat, veggies, corn. Fold up.  Serve. For bonus points, serve covered in queso. You can also toast in the oven, but the burrito, er, rehydrates in the fridge, so if you want to do that, do so immediately before serving.

Reheats pretty well (not crispy but survivable burrito texture) in two minutes.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Chicken Gumbo

I have now been to the Tabasco factory twice. Once, as a teenager, my mom took us. I remember the immediate tingle in my nose as I stepped out of the car.  The oak trees dripping with Spanish moss and the dense St. Augustine grass were so familiar... and yet my nose told me something was very much amiss with the other vegetation!

The second time was last year with Tom on vacation.  Tom and I love spicy food, though he sometimes snubs Tabasco as being too vinegar-y.  I hoped that stepping foot on the lands that fostered that great American sauce would persuade him.

Upon arrival, we were SO RELIEVED to get out of the car that we were quite content to watch a fun (campy) film before seeing the very vats in which Tabasco is made through plated glass. We took the complete tour behind a French couple and their kid (and, uh, since the had consular plates, we might have tried (to no avail) to figure out who they were via a sloooooow Google).  We toured the gift shop. We sampled every sauce variation Tabasco makes. We bought gifts and souvenirs and might even have run back to the front of the museum for photos.

Despite all that and a small stare down with a gator (I won), Tom remains iffy on Tabasco.

And yet, when I make gumbo, it is the sauce that fits even in Tom's eyes.  Sriracha just does not. Pureed roasted jalapenos... nope.  Tabasco, in its vinegar-y glory, sings.  I like to think of it as tying us to the cajun heritage, a small victory that makes some maman somewhere smile just a bit sphinx-like.

And, you know, gumbo is just good eats, y'all. With or without tabasco.

For those of you who gasp at the use of flour on a "low carb" recipe, please rest at ease. It comes out to less than a teaspoon per serving but adds a very nice thickness and nuttiness to the overall dish.  My nutrition facts below account for the flour.  Clearly, if you are avoiding gluten gratis gluten, omit.  It doesn't "need" thickening and makes a fine stew without--the okra provides surprising body on its own.

I... don't like handling raw chicken. Ew. So I just toss the chicken into the pot, let it cook, and pull it out about 20 minutes into simmer time to chop.  You could also use rotisserie chicken, or you could be a less "blech!" person than me and just cut it into bite size pieces before cooking. As you do.

2 T butter (or, you know, more)
2 T flour
1 tsp thyme
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 bag mixed peppers and onions
1 bag cajun mirepoix
1 bay leaf
1 T Chacheres
14 oz andouille sausage, sliced (typically one package 'roun these parts)
2 bags sliced okra
1 can diced tomatoes
broth/water as needed to cover
2 lbs chicken breast (slice into bite-sized pieces before cooking or pull out and slice after)

1) Make a roux by melting the butter and stirring the flour around. THIS IS NOT HARD, it is not advanced cookery.  Don't be intimidated. It is "put on some music, sing about 5 songs karaoke-style while stirring flour in a pot" cookery.  At that point, it should be brownish. I like mine about the color of the skin on raw pecans. After that, I get super nervous that I'm going to ruin my whole dish, but that's probably silly.
2) Add pepper/onion bag, mirepoix bag, garlic, Chacheres, bay leaf, and thyme, cook through. Add water to cover.
3) Add sausage, okra, chicken, tomatoes. Add water and equivalent broth bouillon or what have you. Let cook 20ish minutes. Slice chicken (if necessary) and return to pot.
4) Eat. Serve with your favorite Louisiana hot sauce. Pour moi, le tabasco.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1/8th recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrates
Dietary Fiber
Vitamin A 17%Vitamin C 42%
Calcium 8%Iron 13%

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Team Meet the Heat Chili Cookoff Chili!

Look at that gorgeous shade of red!

I occasionally become a randomly freakishly competitive person.

Randomly in that I will be struck by some odd thing at which I MUST EXCEL AND NOT ONLY EXCEL BUT CONQUER WITH ABSOLUTE SUPREMACY.  I guess I just showed the level of freakishness. I can't predict when this will hit, and I can't tell you how amused I am with myself when it does.

When Tom emailed me from his office a few weeks ago with news of a chili cookoff, the old bug hit, and I knew it was going to be an epic battle.  Perhaps it's because I'm still sad that I didn't even place at the last church chili cookoff.  Apparently my chili was too hot.  That doesn't make sense to me at all.  1) We are in Texas.  2) It wasn't that hot. 3) It's a chili cookoff--isn't hot part of the goal?! 4) It's TEXAS.  I do need to say that there were some serious contenders in that cookoff, so I can't cry too hard.  But still.  I was dishonored. So now I sought glory not only for Tom (I mean what better bragging rights at a British company than the best ever chili?) but also foodie redemption for myself.

I, in spite of my fervor, did not win the chili cook off.  The chili that won was a chicken chili with beans and capers.  CAPERS?!?!  The judges were British, fwiw, and I suppose I didn't pander to my audience enough.  Sigh.

But redemption DID come when we took a dish of this to friends who returned from a mission trip abroad.  The next week at church, one of them exuded that it was the BEST. CHILI. EVER. with those big eyes that mean business.  Since these are well-traveled people with excellent food taste, I will consider this an unofficial chili cook off victory.

Official victory will be achieved one day soon!

Be prepared: this is a multi-hour adventure.  But cooking is therapy!  And I have made it as time-efficient as possible.

Ingredients, grouped by prep
10 jalapenos
4 poblanos
4 anaheim peppers
2 serrano peppers
1 onions, sliced into broad rounds
6 cloves garlic, separated but not peeled

1 lb dried chilis (I used .5 lb ancho, .3 lb guajillo, .2 lb pasilla)

1 small can chipotles
2 c beef broth

5 lbs beef
4 T bacon grease
4 T cocoa powder
2 T cumin
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 T oregano
2 dashes cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 T almond butter
4 T tomato paste
1 bottle beer (Shiner, of course)
1 c coffee
3 cans fire roasted tomatoes
2 cans rotel
1 jar roasted green peppers
1/4 c masa

Step 1: preheat oven to 400.  Wash peppers.  USE GLOVES for the next part.*  Cut jalapeños in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds, do same with serrano.  Put all as well as sliced onion and garlic cloves on oiled cookie sheet and put in oven.  Let cook 15 minutes.

In the meanwhile, snap stems off dried peppers and shake out seeds.  USE GLOVES NO REALLY USE GLOVES.*  I found it easiest to snap the top off, stick my index finger in and scrape the seeds out that way. Too many seeds=too hot chili later.  This took me just a minute over 15 minutes.  Put peppers on a cookie sheet in single layer.

At 15 minute point, take the cookie sheet with garlic and onion out of oven.  Flip onion, remove garlic, put back in oven.  If other (fresh) peppers are not sufficiently charred, put them back in oven. I had to roast another 20 minutes.  Put dried peppers in oven for 2 minutes--no more or they will burn! Take them out, put them in a giant pyrex bowl and cover with water as hot as it comes from your tap.  Put a plate on them to weigh them down.  Let them sit 15 minutes.  Drain and rinse (here's where the dust comes off)

At this point, you should have the dried peppers, garlic, and jalapeños ready (plus other peppers).  Put 3 jalapeños, 3 cloves garlic (which you can now just squish out of their wrappers), 1/2 can chipotles, 1/2 onion, 1 c broth into a food processor.  Put in half of the dried/reconstituted peppers.  Pulse until you can puree it.  I had to wrap it in a towel to keep it from splashing.  Pour into pyrex bowl, repeat with other half onion, peppers, 1 c broth, 1/2 can chipotle, 3 jalapeños and 3 cloves garlic.  Pour into bowl.

Start beef browning in pot with bacon grease.  (I did this in two parts; accordingly, put in half of each ingredient if you do so) While it's browning, peel and chop the anaheim and poblano chiles.  Put them in the bowl with the massive amount of chile puree.  After beef is mostly cooked through, add cocoa powder, cumin, cinnamon, salt and oregano.  Let mingle.  Add in almond butter.  Add in beer, tomatoes and rotel and let simmer for 30 minutes or until the beer no longer smells of alcohol.  Add in the coffee, giant vat of puree and chopped peppers and jar of roasted peppers.  Add in masa. Stir well to mix, and cook at least 30 minutes more.  Let sit on the stove to fill your house with delicious aroma.

All said and done, it takes about 2-3 hours, but some of that is wait and stir time.  Not too bad for a dish that will keep on giving!

*If you should get pepper juice/oil/magma on your hands, use alcohol to scrub them thoroughly.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 160 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrates
Dietary Fiber
Vitamin A 141%Vitamin C 19%
Calcium 3%Iron 105%
Nutrition Grade A-
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Corndogs-- low carb and grain free

There was one word for me at the State Fair this year: underwhelmed.  Yep, that's right.  It was a classic case of the philosophy principle (and bonus point for you if you know who said it and leave a comment!) that indicates that expectation is the purest/highest form of pleasure you can attain because the reality never measures up.

Alternately, the fair just legitimately had an off year.

For me, it came down to the food, though the fact it was POURING RAIN probably did not help. Thankfully, I am really into food and had mapped out what I wanted to eat and where it was, for the most part.  I was there with Tom and my friend Ben, and they are both SUCH good sports.  We were mostly content as we hid in the GMC insta-building with their sales people (no sir I do NOT WANT a 65k SUV I could never drive or park, kthnxbye) before ducking into the food court.  Besides, who are we kidding.  We came to see the butter sculpture, the award-winning knitted pieces a friend of mine had made, and the food.

Oh, glorious food court.  It held much promise... and many people.  The folks who would normally be getting their photos with Big Tex or riding the ferris wheel (both worthwhile ventures at the State Fair) were all huddled inside the steaming building.  We happily found two dishes I wanted-- the fried elotes and the fried shrimp and grits-- which for me proved to be the two good dishes of the day, though the shrimp and grits could have been shrimpier.  Props, mad props to the elotes vendors!  Tom and Ben both wanted to try the cuban roll, which was this year's winner.  I am a fussy pants, and I DON'T like rain, especially in my food (wet fried food? NO), so I was not keen on getting anything that was from outside the dry building.  Tom was more of a champ, and off he went to the Cuban Roll stand 20 yards outside the door.  He came back with 2 Cuban Rolls... which were each very small eggrolls.  The mojo sauce was decent, but the roll mostly tasted like pulled pork.  Pickles, ham, cheese, anything else... nope.  Just pork.  Later we had fried nutella, which was pretty much a teaspoon (A FREAKING TEASPOON) of nutella in puff pastry, and avocado fries, which came with a weird cumin sauce, an excessive amount of breading/lack of seasoning and none of the toppings promised in the menu.  These last three had been a huge impetus for fair food fantasizing, and they all fell short.

False advertising, people, will make me madder than anything.  I don't mind *reasonably* small portions at the fair-- I know there's a huge sunk cost just to be there.  But give me something tasty that is how you describe it, and while small is acceptable, insultingly so is not!  Keep in mind that each dish at the fair is 5-7 dollars, so it's not like I'm asking the moon for $2.


One of the fair staples is a corn dog, but I'd spent all my money on the fancy foods and was therefore out of luck.  Perhaps that's the deeper message I should learn from that day-- don't be seduced by flash-in-the-pan magic that is too good to be true.  Stick with the time-proven winners.  But then again, a few years ago I had the fried chicken and waffles, and THAT WAS DELICIOUS.

I digress.

Corndogs!  I serve mine with the classic French's yellow mustard, but you are welcome to fancy pants it up and use Dijon.  And, because I'm not only not a fancy pants with this but also a lazy pants, I baked instead of fried.

4 hot dogs
4 popsickle sticks
1 c almond flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 packet sweetener
1/2 tsp salt
2 egg
2 T cream

Skewer those hot dogs-- it's not a good idea to skewer as you go since your hands will be covered in goo.  Trust me.  Mix dry ingredients.  Mix in eggs and cream and use water to thin if necessary to achieve somewhat thicker than pancake batter consistency.  Dip hot dog in and slather it in nutty goodness.  Put hot dog on cookie sheet, bake at 350 15 minutes or until golden brown.  This batter was perfect for 4 costco hotdogs.

These... are not light.  But when you gotta scratch an itch....  Plus, these are costco hot dogs, which means big, and Tom and I wanted a second but were fine with one.

Per corndog: 400 calories, 5 carbs, 34 fat, 18 protein.  Not for the faint of heart.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Guatemalan Green Stew

In the winter (or at least when we hit temperatures under 80, which is practically winter in Texas), I love me a good stew.  They fill your home with a warm smell, act as humidifiers and provide lots of meals.

Tom and I just polished off the vast amount of chili (a 6 quart crockpot and a giant stewpot full....) I made while perfecting our recipe for his office chili cookoff, so you might think we would want something light and fluffy like a salad.

But it's cold, and in the cold, I don't eat salads.

So what's a girl who needs a break from heavier meals but is still in need of serious eats that are warm and cozy?

A chicken and veggie stew!  But really, this one is so much more exciting than the progresso taste-alikes you get when you toss tomatoes, zucchini, onion etc into a pot.  This one comes from Guatemala and uses pepitas and sesame seeds to give it heft and, obviously, nuttiness.  They thicken and provide an excellent texture, too!  The veggie component is cilantro, tomatillos, peppers, and onions, and it somehow still something very different from your classic tex mex stew.

Plus it's dead simple.  No fancy spices. Every ingredient is available in the standard grocery store.  You only need a blender or food processor. Pretty much 10 minutes prep time.  Provides 8 servings.  Boom.

The original recipe over at Panning the Globe was much better about doing things in a slow, methodical, proper way.  The first time I made this stew, I followed his directions and it was perfect.  This time, though, I... didn't do that.  I used jalapenos instead of bell peppers and roasted all the veggies instead of sauteeing them.  I also just blended everything together willy nilly instead of in nice little batches.  It was still delicious, but the roasting also made it a little more mellow, a little deeper.  If you want fresh brightness, go with the original or add some lime juice.  If you like your veggies charred, make it like so:

6 jalapenos
1.5 lbs tomatillos (or equivalent canned tomatillo, available in Hispanic foods aisle)
1 medium onion
4 cloves garlic still in their outer casing
1/2 c pepitas, roasted and salted
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
1/4 c roasted sesame seeds
2.5 lbs chicken thighs

Slice onion into 1/2 inch rounds.  Halve and seed jalapenos.  Wash up your tomatillos and if you have any HUGE ones, cut them in half.  Roast all of the above at 450 for about 25 minutes, taking the garlic out at the 15 minute mark. While that roasty goodness is going on, put your chicken in a large pot and blitz the pepitas and sesame seeds for 15ish seconds in a food processor.  Pour the seeds over the chicken.  Now attend to the garlic. (Nifty trick: your garlic should have split its casing and can be simply squeezed into your food processor!)  Put it in food processor.  When other ingredients are roasted, add them to food processor.  Everything is getting pulsed pretty well, so don't worry about putting all the tomatillos together or only the jalapenos or whatnot.  Just fill it up as much as you can, blend, dump into pot on top of chicken, add more stuff to processor and go again.  Once all of your veggies are on top of your chicken, add broth until chicken is covered and bring to a boil.  Lower to a simmer and cook 30 minutes til whenever.  I too the chicken out and shredded it after about 45 minutes, returned it to the pot, and served. Serve with lime, avocado, and cilantro if you'd like.

306 calories, 5 net carbs, 22g fat, 37 g protein.  Cost per serving: $1.15

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pumpkin "Loaf"

There was a time when I would buy a Starbucks pumpkin loaf piece every week and SAVOR. EVERY. BITE.

I even had a method.

First, I'd eat the corners and the edges along the sides and bottom.  These were good, but they were not the best parts.  They are sort of like the lights dimming before a good theater show.

Then, slowly, eat the tender center of the loaf, where it's almost gooey and magically fudgy.

The finale, of course, is eating the top crust, whose moisture was maintained by the crunchy pepitas.  Pepitas=fireworks in this finale.  Little pops of salty goodness to counter the spicy sweetness.

What?  I'm the only one who did that?  Well, y'all are missing out.

In keeping with the MASSIVE amount of pumpkin I had remaining from last year's pumpkin roasting (and in a desperate attempt to justify another roasting this year), I took a crack at this pumpkin bread recipe from sparkpeople.  Suffice to say, I should have read the comments first.  The batter was watery, the comments reflected the product was more custardy... so I doubled the protein powder, added in some almond meal, adjusted my sweetener/liquid components and made a wish on the pumpkin loaf fairies.  Thankfully, they were listening:-)

Notes: It is still REALLY RUNNY BATTER so I went with using it in a 9X13 pan as recommended (yet the photo is clearly of a loaf, liars liars....), making this look more like sheet cake than a loaf.  Whatevs.  That meant also that pepitas were less possible at the beginning of baking-- they would sink.  If you want to add them as an upper crust, do so about halfway through.

1 can pumpkin (or about 2 cups of your own puree)
1 c protein powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vinegar
2 c almond meal
1.5  c almond milk
5 eggs
12 packets purevia (I go light on sweetener; normal recipe calls for 3/4 c agave syrup, do what you want)
3 T pumpkin pie spice (or more to taste)
1/2 c pepitas (for topping)

325. Mix (except pepitas). Pour. Bake 60ish min or until passes the toothpick test. Cool.  Ice.  Eat.

If no pepitas, use a cream cheese icing if you'd like (and you'd like).  Heck, use it under the pepitas. Yes.  That.  Do that.

Cream cheese icing (SUPER EASY, not even a recipe, stupid good)

1 block cream cheese
1 stick butter
4-5 packets purevia

Soften cream cheese and butter.  Mix together, mix in sweetener to taste.

Nutrition stats:
12 pieces (generous servings!), including cream cheese icing, each:
370 calories, 29 grams fat, 17 grams protein, 5 grams carbs