Showing newest 13 of 18 posts from November 2009. Show older posts
Showing newest 13 of 18 posts from November 2009. Show older posts

Monday, November 30, 2009

A quarter century birthday and stuffing!

Good Morning! Happy Monday to everyone! Can you believe today is that last day in November?? I love the last day of November because it is MY BIRTHDAY (and today is CYBER Monday)! Today I am the big 2-5!
I've had a great week of celebrating my birthday, starting with Wednesday with the balloons, Danny and dinner.
AND THEN...I got this...and my birthday was even better!
We had Chinese food and a TCBY cake with my family.
And then I got my haircut to go out to my girlfriends Saturday night.
And we had cookies and Susie made an ah-mazing cake (sorry no pic) that she is going to guest blog about..right Sus??
I still have a couple of other birthday things to I am sure my students have something planned for me today. It's really cute, they plan everything on their own and then walk around giggling and laughing for days before.
So as for a recipe today, I still have a couple from Thanksgiving that I want to share. This is an incredible stuffing, made from scratch. I got the idea from Jessica from How Sweet Eats. (I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this blog. She is an incredible baker and cook.) Also Angelia from Southern Grace Gourmet emailed me some stuffing ideas too...and she is also an unbelievable cook with fabulous recipes!
Celery, onion, apple put through the food processor. (Next time I probably would make the pieces bigger than this...but it was my first time using a food processor so this happened...) I made the bread from scratch with my bread machine. It was very easy. I made one loaf Tuesday and one loaf Wednesday. Then we cut the break into chunks.

Easy Whole Wheat Stuffing from

Serves 2-4 people

4-6 slices whole grain Tuscany bread

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 one celery stalk, chopped

1/4 sweet onion, chopped

1/2 honeycrisp apple, chopped

1/4 teaspoon rosemary

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon parsley

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

salt & pepper to taste

1/2 cup chicken stock (or veggie stock)

Preheat oven to 350.

Cut bread into chunks – whatever size you desire. Lay on a baking sheet on toss with rosemary, thyme, and parsley, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Toast for about 10-15 minutes, un just until golden brown.

While the bread is toasting, sprinkle nutmeg, and a bit of salt and pepper on chopped celery, onion, and apple. Add one tablespoon of olive oil to a pan on medium heat. Once hot, add apple and veggies to pan. Saute, stirring occasionally, for about 5-10 minutes.

Combine bread and celery mixture in a small baking dish. Add chicken stock, tossing a few times to coat. Bread should be moist, but not soggy.

Bake covered at 350 for 20-30 minutes.

This was the BEST stuffing I have ever had. Thanks for the recipe ideas!

So Susie let me know when you will guest blog..I know you're reading this. (Do it for your wife-friend! :) )

Have a great Cyber Monday and last day of November!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Balloons and Stuffed Mushrooms!

You always know that the balloons from the parade are huge, but you don't realize how huge until you see them in person. They are gigantic! They are held down my nets and bags of sand. It was really fun, but probably something that we won't do again for a couple of years.
Anyway, my job for Thanksgiving dinner was to bring stuffed mushrooms, stuffed peppers and stuffing. My family kind of goes overboard for every holiday (it is the Italian in us.) so while most people sit down for an hour, our dinner takes much longer because we eat, pause, rest, stop, eat, pause, rest, stop and do that about four or five time...literally.
For my recipes, I wanted to make everything from scratch so I made 3 loaves of bread in my bread machine 2 days before. The 3 loaves ended from being too much but Danny and I will use the extra 1.5 loaves leftover. I sliced the bread into about 1/2 inch thick slices and then put it into the food processor to make them into breadcrumbs. (I used about 4 slices for both the mushrooms and stuffed peppers.) I rinsed and de-stemed the mushrooms. This is the breadcrumb mixture in the bowl. I put about a teaspoon of the mixture in each one.
  • 1/2 cup Italian-style dried bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 28 large (2 1/2-inch-diameter) white mushrooms, stemmed


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Stir the bread crumbs, Pecorino Romano, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper, to taste, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium bowl to blend.

Drizzle a heavy large baking sheet with about 1 tablespoon olive oil, to coat. Spoon the filling into the mushroom cavities and arrange on the baking sheet, cavity side up. Drizzle remaining oil over the filling in each mushroom. Bake until the mushrooms are tender and the filling is heated through and golden on top, about 25 minutes. Serve.

Everyone enjoyed these healthy mushrooms with their turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. Hope you enjoy your Friday, whether you are working, home, or doing some shopping on this Black Friday. As one of my students said on Wednesday, Black Friday is a holiday too! :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! I took a couple days off from the BLOG world so this quick post is for my cousin, Jess. She was complaining at Thanksgiving dinner I hadn't updated in a couple of days and she was convinced her internet wasn't working. (Don't I have great, supportive family??)
I have had a busy couple of days. Yesterday we went to see the balloons being blown up for the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade and out to dinner for my birthday (it's Monday). We thought it would be quick but apparently a couple hundred people had the same idea as us. We spent this morning preparing some food to bring to my mom's (fresh stuffing, stuffed peppers and stuffed mushrooms). I have lots of pictures to upload, but that has to wait until tomorrow! Hope everyone ate whatever they wanted today and enjoyed every single second of it!
I am thankful for SO many things, but just to name a few:
1. My family, including my wonderful, amazing, husband, in laws, extended, etc.
2. Friends
3. My health
4. Good Food and the ability to cook and bake
5. Being able to write down and share different recipes on this blog.
6. Everything else in my life including, job, apartment, park near my house, my new birthday present, the list goes on and on and on.
Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for all my wonderful readers! :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I adore avocados!

Today the week is half over! I just love this time of year, Thanksgiving, then my birthday, then Christmas and New Year's. I feel like this season always rushes by, so I am really trying to embrace it this year. I have already started to listen to Christmas music and we are getting our tree on Saturday. I've already put out the holiday towels that I received for my birthday from Danny's brother and wife!! (Danny's favorite part of any season is when the seasonal towels come out and they fall every time he opens the oven.)
Anyway today I have to get the rest of the things I need to make stuffed mushrooms, peppers and stuffing for Thanksgiving at my mom's Thursday. I have to make 2 loaves of bread so I can use that to make the stuffing. Now I just have to remember to do all of that.
As I was making my salad last night I was thinking to myself how much I love avocados. I use 1/4 of one in my salad and it really adds to the taste of the salad (not to mention keeps me full!)
I love them in wraps, salads, and how can you forget guacamole? And did you know that it is nutritionally beneficial to have a half a cup of avocado? Has anyone ever told you that avocados are high in fat, so you shouldn’t eat them? Well, you better tell them they are wrong! Avocado, yes, has 11 grams of fat (per half cup) but it is heart healthy fat. It is full of potassium, heart healthy fats, antioxidants AND FIBER! The good fats in avocados will help your body absorb vital vitamins A,E,D and K. It also keeps you hair, skin, and nails beautiful! Not to mention the fiber helps keep you fuller for longer and may help you avoid those chips you otherwise might be tempted to indulge in!

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Couple Meat-a-balls!

This weekend we had a lot going on, all good things, but we were very busy. On Saturday I went bridesmaid dress shopping for a friend's wedding that I am in. We had great success and found a beautiful Vera Wang navy blue dress. I would put a picture up but it's part of the Spring 2010 collection and it's not online anywhere yet.
After shopping on Saturday I had to get my cooking pants on because Danny's brother, wife and 3 kids were coming from Maryland on Sunday. The kids wanted to go to the top of the Empire State Building and Danny and I wanted to take them to M&M world. I knew we'd be exhausted when we got home so I wanted to do most of the cooking before hand.
I made a typical Sunday dinner (for my family) and made cavatellis and meatballs. I made a huge pot of sauce and whole wheat Italian bread also (with my trusty bread maker.) (2 cloves chopped garlic and onion, browned at the bottom with olive oil. 2 big cans crushed tomatoes, 1 can sauce, 1 small can paste. Let simmer for thirty minutes. Add oregano, basil, parsley, salt and pepper to taste.) Then it was onto the meatballs. Meatballs in my family is done by "eye-ing" it. We never have written down the recipe so I am going to try to put it down as best as I can. These came out nothing short of amazing.
1.5 pounds lean chop meat (makes about 35 small meatballs)
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup pecorino romano grated cheese
2 eggs
1 tbs each oregano, basil, parsley
sprinkle sea salt and pepper
Mix together and roll into small balls.
It helps if you have a great meat ball roller.Heat up the oil (vegetable oil works best, about 1/4 inch at bottom of pan) slowly. When it seems hot then put them in. Roll them around until they are completely cooked (5-8 minutes)... Done and Done. Yummy. Usually 3/4 go in the sauce and 1/4 stay on the counter for people to pick on. Since it was just Danny and I Saturday I kept about 5 out on the counter for Danny...and this kept happening... I put the big pot in the refrigerator overnight. I took it out before we went into the city. We spent about 3 hours there and came back and it was ready to be heated up. I put up the cavatelli's and in about 20 minutes we were ready to eat. Even though the Culver's don't eat as much as my family (haha) it was a great meal.
We have lots of leftovers, which we will be eating tonight. Obviously meatballs aren't healthy, but they are a great treat every once in awhile. And when you are Italian, how can you not enjoy them??? Happy THREE day week!

Friday, November 20, 2009

JOY Tea and Dinner

Ahh HAPPY FRIDAY! This week seemed forever long..maybe it's because I haven't taught kids for a full 5 day week so far in November (with Election Day,Veteran's Day and Parent Teacher Conferences.) It's been a spoiled November and not to mention 2 days off next week and then my birthday..SCORE.
Yesterday was a long day because I live all of about 7 miles from work and it took me 45 minutes to get home because of a road closure. Danny brightened up my day TOTALLY by telling me about a small surprise. I know it's one of my favorite times a year when a certain tea comes to Starbucks. It's only seasonal so I try to buy as many boxes as I can when it comes out. He called me yesterday and asked if I wanted to know about a birthday surprise..of course I said yes. He got me two boxes of JOY TEA! I was especially psyched because I had used my last one the day before (yes I bought enough to last me the entire year....) Hey, it's the small things in life right?? Anyways, he earned major husband points...thanks Dan.
Last night's dinner was a little random. We try and empty the fridge by the end of the week so we had some leftovers to use up. (Thursday is usually leftovers night.) We had some leftover sausage and peppers from dinner this week so I just cut the sausage up in small pieces and made a 3 egg omelette with mozzarella cheese for dinner. That omelette was for Danny. He made a wrap with 2 whole wheat tortillas. For me I used up some of my leftover veges (eggplant, bok choy, mushrooms, peppers) and made a 3 egg white omelette. I had an ezekial english muffin with it. It was kind of random, (and not that pretty looking) but filling and DE-lish.
This weekend Danny's brother and family are coming up to stay with us Sunday to Monday. It will be their kids first time walking around NYC and seeing the Christmas Spectacular. Very exciting!
Have a spectacular weekend!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Be Smart with Sushi!

While I was walking around Whole Foods yesterday I wandered to the sushi section. They have a pretty big selection and they even have brown rice. I love sushi for lunch, dinner, anytime but for awhile I was unaware of the pitfalls that you can encounter when eating sushi.

If you are looking for a healthy dinner, you may be thinking that sushi is a great choice. You may be right (depending on what you’re ordering) but you also could be very, very wrong. I thought I would give you some quick and easy tips to make sure you make some good choices next time you pick up those chop sticks.

- Avoid tempura, fried dumplings or spider rolls. They just translate to heavily fried in oil and grease = high in calories and fat.

- Choose anything steamed, broiled or grilled.

- Choose soups with clear broths, like miso. They are low in calories.

- Avoid eel. It is high in calories and fat.

- Use low sodium soy sauce.

- Limit the extras: mayo (spicy anything), cream cheese, dressing on top of crazy rolls.

Some calories counts of different rolls:

  • A spicy tuna roll has about 450 calories!
  • Shrimp tempura roll about 510 calories.
  • California roll about 300 calories.
  • Tuna roll about 185 calories.
  • Avocado roll about 140 calories.
  • Salmon avocado about 300 calories.

To lower calorie count of your rolls even more you can ask for less rice. (Even better, ask for brown rice!)

So now you are ready to make some good choices when you go out for sushi. What is your favorite roll to order?

Tips brought to you by

Is anyone as glad as I am that it is Thursday, which means almost Friday? This week seems like it just dragged on and on.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

100 Posts and Salmon!

Happy 100 Posts!
Yesterday I reached 100 posts (and I just realized it now!) I have been doing this for a couple of months now to actually write down recipes, tips, workout ideas that I have learned or read from many different places. I really have enjoyed putting everything down in one place and looking back on different recipes. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them.
Last night for dinner we had salmon with balsamic vinegar and tomatoes. I basically just threw it together and I have to say it came out perfect.
I used:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 can (of the large cans) diced tomatoes
1 clove chopped up garlic
sprinkle of sea salt and pepper
sprinkle of parsley
1 lb. of salmon
Put salmon on a pyrex (or whatever you had) put garlic on salmon first and then above ingredients on top of salmon. Place in a preheated oven (425) for 12-15 minutes.
We had it with long grain brown rice and these veges. I just cut up whatever I had (kale, mushrooms, carrots, eggplant, zucchini) and threw it in with the same thing I cooked the salmon in. (Balsamic and the rest of the can of tomatoes.)
Okay I actually have to get ready for work now! Have a great day and happy 100 posts!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Olive Tapenade

Sunday night we came back from Boston around 2 and we didn't feel like doing anything besides laying on the couch. We had our 2nd Peapod delivery (uh-huh) waiting for us in our lobby and there was some organic chicken in the bags. I decided to make some quick balsamic chicken with long grain brown rice and olive tapenade. Olive tapenade is one of Danny's absolute favorite things. It started a couple of years ago when my Aunt Louise made it for us with a huge steak and every once in a while I recreate it. It looks like this. Doesn't look like much..but trust is. Rice, chicken, olive tapenade..what a meal. Don't worry I did get in my veges with this salad. (Spring mix lettuce, chick peas, early peas, (leftover from wild mushroom risotto), feta, and alfalfa sprouts.)
Here is the recipe:
Olive Tapenade
1 can black olives
3 tbs red wine vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 tbs olive oil
3 tbs vegetable oil
2 tbs parsley
Put everything in a food processor (or blender if you don't have one) and mix well. Goes perfect with rice, bread, chicken, ANYTHING!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dark Chocolate Fudge

This weekend was one of my favorite weekends out of the entire year. Danny and I, along with many of our friends participated in the Support The Troops Pub Crawl in Quincy Market, Boston, MA. It was the 4th annual fundraiser to raise money for the troops and more specifically in honor of a LT. that died in Iraq. Danny's friends organize the day and make up T-shirts to raise money. It goes through five different bars in Quincy Market including Ned Devine's, Kitty O'Sheas, Henneseys, Patty O's and Jose Macs. The weather wasn't great, but the crowd was.
Danny and I drove up Friday night after work. We stayed with two of my girlfriends from college, (most of Danny and my college friends live in Boston). Whenever I am staying at someone's house I try and bring something up because they are being so gracious having us. I couldn't decide what to bring (last time I brought pumpkin dark chocolate chip cookies) so finally I settled on a dozen NY bagels and Hungry Girl's chocolate peanut butter fudge. I had never made these before but one of my friends (thanks Doe) highly recommended them.
Here is the recipe (I modified it a little bit and didn't use the peanut butter in the original recipe):
Dark Chocolate Fudge


2 cups canned pure pumpkin

1 box Dark Chocolate Brownies Mix (the 18.3-oz. Family Size box)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine pumpkin with the brownie mix in a large bowl; stir until smooth (do not add anything else). Spray a small baking pan (8" X 8" work best - no larger!) with nonstick cooking spray and pour in the mixture. Cook for approximately 35 minutes. The batter will remain very thick and fudgy, and it should look undercooked. Remove from oven. Cover with aluminum foil and let cool in fridge for a couple of hours. Cut into 25 squares and serve.

They are about 65 calories each and AH-mazing! Everyone really enjoyed them and had one (or three) over the course of the weekend. Give these a try, they are only 1 point (on Weight Watchers!)
Dark Chocolate Fudge
Dark Chocolate Fudge 1/2 gone...
Providence College girls at their finest...(at 2:30 p.m.)
Have a great Monday!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Strawberry Shortcake

Dinner was a success! We had a great time, cracked open a bottle of wine and enjoyed each others company. I didn't take any pictures of the food because we were so hungry I forgot. The subway took forever and it took Danny awhile to get basically we just ate the entire loaf of kalamata bread we made..oops. Things were going great until Tony told me who got kicked off on Biggest Loser. I almost cried (I did). Love my plate and pot washer. Finished piece! Happy Birthday Mom! I'm sure she loves that this pictures is on the WWW.
The dessert wasn't the prettiest thing, but it tasted great!
Strawberry Shortcakes - (The (mostly)Healthy Kind)
4 cups whole wheat flour
2 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp sugar
1 stick(12 tbsp) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups cold 1 percent milk
3 cups fresh sliced strawberries
2 tsp sugar
Cool Whip
Preheat the oven 425 degrees F and place one of the racks in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add the butter to the flour mixture. Using your fingertips or a pastry blender, rub or cut the butter into the flour mixture until there are pea-sized pieces. Be sure to work quickly so that the heat of your hands does not begin to melt the butter.
Add the milk to the flour mixture. Using a fork, gently toss the ingredients until the dough begins to hold together. If there is some flour left in the bottom of the bowl, use your hands to gently knead it into the dough. Do not overmix.
Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, scoop out the dough and place it in loose mounds on the lined baking sheet. Place the six mounds so that they are about 3 inches apart. Press down the dough so that the mounds are between 3/4 inch and 1 inch high.
Place in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, turning the baking sheet around halfway through baking. When the shortcakes are puffed and give a little when you push on them slightly, remove them from the oven. Remove the shortcakes from the baking sheet and place on a cooling rack. If you have leftover dough, bake on a cool sheet.
Place approximately 3 cups of sliced strawberries into a medium bowl and mix in about 2 tsp sugar. Let the strawberries sit in the sugar for 10-15 minutes.I used frozen strawberries so they were already soft, if you are using fresh they will soften in the sugar.
Cut the shortcakes in half horizontally. Place the bottom halves on dessert plates, top with about 1/2 cup strawberries, and spoon on some whipped cream.
We are off to Boston to do the annual Support Your Troops Pub Crawl on Saturday. Two things I am sure about: 1. It will be a great time. 2. I am going to be complaining on Monday that I'm exhausted. It will be worth it!
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Kale Chips!

So my mom is coming over for dinner tonight and I am excited. I always get a little anxious before I have people over because I like everything to be (near) perfect. We are having the salmon I posted yesterday, olive bread that was a request, the wild mushroom rice and strawberry short cakes (individual size) for dessert. I probably will also make a salad or some asparagus. I made the bread last night and I'm baking it now, probably while being late for work (oops). I also made the short breads last night. So I will have lots of pictures for tomorrow.
Anyway, on to other things. Have you ever tried kale chips? I have seen them talked about on the blog world by Gina at Fitnessistia and some other blogs as well. I have had kale before and throw it in my salads or a stir fry, but I had never tried them as chips. The other day I had an abundance from our Peapod order (yes, we ordered from Peapod when we were away in Boston for the weekend and it was waiting for us when we got back...AH-mazing!) I couldn't use it fast enough (because Danny will NOT touch it) so I decided to give the chips a try.
They were super easy. I laid them out on a big cookie sheet and sprinkled them with sea salt. I threw them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. (Watch them because I overcooked one of the trays.) They should become a darker green color. They have a nice crunch and flavor. There they are! They are a great snack! Also Gina from Fitnessista adds nutritional yeast and it adds a "cheesy" flavor. I haven't gotten any of that yet, but when I do I'll be sure to give it a try!
Have a fab Thursday! Wish me luck with getting dinner on the table on time!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Salmon with Lemon Sauce

Today is my mom's birthday, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mom!! We normally go out to lunch every year, but she is SUPER, SUPER busy since she became the main agent at her Allstate Insurance business (anyone need insurance in NY, she's REALLY good!). She can't do lunch, but she is coming over for dinner tomorrow night instead. I was debating what I should make, but I think I finally decided on salmon and rice. I made this for Danny and I a couple weeks ago and it came out delicious.
I am going to make the mushroom risotto I made the other day with it.
The salmon I am making is adapted from lululu at home. Thanks for the recipe!
Salmon with Lemon Butter Sauce
  • 1 large piece salmon fillet
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 sprigs of rosemary
  • 4 lemon slices
  • 1 tbsp salted butter
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
1. Preheat oven to 450F. 2. Place salmon on the baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. 3. Place rosemary sprigs then lemon slices on top of the salmon. 4. Bake for 15 mins. Remove and tent with aluminum foil for another 10 mins. Fish will flake easily when done. 5. To prepare the sauce. Melt butter over medium heat in a sauce pan. Add garlic, lemon zest and juice. Cook for 2 mins. Season with salt and pepper. 6. Remove salmon from oven. Discard rosemary and lemon. Gently slide a spatula between the skin and the flesh of the fish to remove the skin. 7. Cut salmon into individual serving pieces. Transfer to a plate and spoon butter sauce over the top. 8. Serve and enjoy with family!
* You can use more butter if you want to make more butter sauce, but I just wanted to make a small amount for Danny to taste. You really don't need it because the salmon is SO flavorful.
I will also make bread to go with it with my trusty bread machine and I have to figure out what I am going to make for dessert. Any suggestions????
* Sorry for no pictures of the food, but I didn't take any the last time I made this. I will repost with pictures tomorrow! Since no food pics, I figured I'd throw in some of my mom! :)


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