Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

DSC_0084-1 Blue Flag Iris or Iris Versicolor

DSC_0092-1 Carolina Wren fledgling

DSC_0106-1Thistle 

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P.S.  Loving my new Nikon…

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Homemade Caesar Salad

I am a huge fan of Caesar Salads.  When hubby had a restaurant I think that I lived on the Caesar salad that was topped with blackened shrimp.  Since the restaurant has gone I have desperately been in search of a Caesar Salad fix.  This has been going on for about 8 years…:(

Then the other night we were watching TV and there seemed to be nothing on.  Turned on the Food Network and started watching “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” and Alex was talking about her favorite Caesar Salad from a Steakhouse somewhere.  Can’t really remember all the details because I was totally and one hundred percent lost once I saw the tableside Caesar being made.  At that moment I just knew it had been way too long since I had had a perfect Caesar.

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Homemade Caesar Salad

Ingredients:

1/2 head of chopped romaine lettuce
1 egg yolk (the egg is raw, I like to use cage free, hormone free and antibiotic free eggs when I am eating them raw)
ground pepper to taste
1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
2 tsp chopped anchovy
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1-1/2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Clean lettuce thoroughly and dry in a salad spinner or in towels. Refrigerate until crisp, at least 1 hour or more.
  2. In a jar combine egg yolk, pepper, mustard, anchovy, garlic, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and 2 Tbsp of the Parmesan cheese. Whisk until well blended.
  3. To assemble, place torn lettuce leaves in a large bowl. Pour dressing over the top and toss until well coated. Add the remaining Parmesan cheese.  Serve immediately!

This Caesar Salad was perfect.  Lots of garlic and lemon.  Just the way I like it!  Hubby loves his with some bacon added in.  Tailor this to your taste but definitely try it!

And here is the real kicker…this is only 5 WW Points!!!!

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Homemade (quick) Refried Beans

The other day I was making tacos for dinner when I realized that I had used up the last can of refried beans.  See, I really, really like beans and on my tacos they are one of my favorite things!  I was crushed…

I didn't have time to go to the grocery store so I jumped online to see how easy they would be to make them myself.  Guess what?  If you plan ahead you can make them real easy…only problem was I had not planned ahead and had about 10 minutes to figure this out!  I had no time to soak beans (even a quick soak would take too long).  So !reached for a can of pinto beans and went to work.  DSC_0051
This is one of my favorite ways to eat refried beans: Whole Wheat tortilla, refried beans, jalapenos, tomatoes and fresh cilantro!

Refried Beans

Ingredients:

1 can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained (I try to find the canned beans that have the fewest ingredients in them.  A lot of beans have added sugar???)
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 small can of chopped green chilies

Directions:

  • Drain and rinse pinto beans.
  • Place in small saucepan over medium heat and add water.
  • As the beans heat mash them with a potato masher or fork. 
  • Add all spices and stir well
  • Add green chilies and cook on low heat stirring frequently until they reach your desired consistency.

I really need to try this with pinto beans that have been soaked overnight but I just never seem to be able to plan that far ahead…hehehe!

****Did you know that a 1/4 cup serving of fat free refried beans only have 1/2 a WW Point????  That whole lunch above is only 1-1/2 WW Points!

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday…

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Chocolate Banana Brownies

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Sorry for the quick hit here but I was tweeting about these brownies and how delicious they are so I needed to get it up quickly in my very limited time!

I took my favorite brownie recipe and replaced all of the fat from the butter with 1/2 cup of mashed ripe bananas and then placed slices on the top.  These turned out moist and cakey on the bottom and deliciously gooey on top…

I made these from the following recipe but when thinking about it I really want to try it with a boxed brownie mix.  It should work the same!  Replace the full 1/3 cup of oil with 1/3 cup mashed up banana and follow the rest of the instructions…

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Chocolate Banana Brownies  adapted from Cooks.com

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup mashed bananas
2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup flour
2 eggs
Sliced bananas for topping

Preheat oven to 350°F degrees.

Mix banana with 3/4 cup of cocoa powder. Then add 2 cup of sugar, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 2/3 cup flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix to combine.

Grease a 9X9 baking pan and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Remove from oven.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes and gently remove from pan to cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before cutting and serving.

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Breakfast Sandwich that’s better than that other place…

My girls are pretty self sufficient in the morning when it comes to making their own breakfast but usually it is just a bowl of cereal with some fruit, toast or some oatmeal.  This works out great for me because I work every morning and when it’s busy I just don’t always want to stop to make them something to eat! 

On special days or days when I know they have worked their little bodies pretty hard the night before (BMX or Ice Skating) I will get up early and make them their favorite breakfast…

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It’s really nice and simple and they truly love it…

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Breakfast Sandwich (makes 2)

     Ingredients:

4 slices of bacon, cut in half so they fit on the Sandwich Thin
2 eggs
2 slices of American cheese
2 Arnold’s Select Multigrain Sandwich Thins

 

Directions:

Place the bacon slices in your cast iron skillet (works best but you can use any skillet), cook until nice and crispy.

Toast your sandwich thins once the bacon has cooked.

Cook your eggs in the same skillet with the hot bacon grease.  Salt and pepper the egg and gently break the yolk.  Turn the egg to make it over easy and have the yolk mostly hard.  Top with the slice of cheese and allow to melt slightly.

Top one half of one of the toasted Sandwich Thins with 4 slices of the bacon (cut in half so they fit right?), then top with the cooked egg and melted cheese and the other Sandwich thin half.

Repeat for second one.

**They really like this with a cut up banana and some OJ.

***We have been known to have this for dinner as well…We love “Breakfast for Dinner Nights”!

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Kyra determined Okeeheelee State Qualifier Race

Monday, March 1, 2010

Cooking at the track…

Kyra

Most of you know by now that my oldest daughter, Kyra races BMX.  She has only been doing this since last May but is really loving it and doing really well.  It’s a tough sport but she seems to just be thriving in the environment.  She is a strong, smart and very tough little girl and we are incredibly proud!

Anyway this past weekend we were at a Qualifier for the State races over at Okeeheelee BMX in West Palm, just over on the other coast.  It was a 2 day race with some festivities starting on Friday.  Seeing as I would really rather spend the night in my own bed then any other bed anywhere we decided that we would stay at home on Friday and get a real early start on Sat.  Early start we did and we made it to the track with plenty of time for Kyra to get some practice laps in and then onto the races. 

The races on Sat. were great but the mains were delayed by over 2 hours by the coldest, ickiest, nastiest rain ever.  We used the delay time to get checked into our hotel.  Made it back and continued on racing into the night.  On the first day Kyra placed 3rd, 2nd and 3rd in the semis.  In her main she placed 7th.  Not the finish she was hoping for but a great finish nonetheless…

Sunday we woke up bright and early to do it all over again.  Sunday though the weather was beautiful.  Cool and sunny.  Kyra placed 3rd in all her motos and 7th in her main.  Perfect racing weather!!!

Instead of buying food at the track for all the days there we had decided with our racing buddies to get together and pack up a meal, burgers, hot dogs, and salad.

So now onto the food…

Tomato Basil Salad (adapted from The Church Cook)

This is the perfect salad for a picnic, pot luck or any time you need to make something ahead of time.  The dressing can be made ahead and the salad all prepped just add the dressing and the parmesan about 5 minutes before serving and toss well…

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2 chopped seeded plum tomatoes
1 cup (packed) coarsely chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup olive oil, extra-virgin

Romaine lettuce, chopped
Grape Tomatoes
Red Peppers, sliced 
Red Onions, sliced thin
Grated Parmesan
or any other garnishes

Blend first 7 ingredients and 1/2 cup oil in processor or blender. With machine running, add remaining 1/2 cup oil; process until well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using.

Toss the salad 5-10 minutes before serving.

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Had to improvise with the cheese for the burgers (used cheese sticks), but check it out…we even had bacon!!!  Cindy was a pro with her marine grill!!!

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Great time had by all.  Thanks Chris, Amy, Cindy and Scott for the great company!!!  And the kids totally rocked…

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