35 Days of Celebration: 16

35 Days of Celebration: Day 16Tonight’s dinner was food that was red or green (and white for good measure). I was thinking of making it a red and green food themed day, but that didn’t go according to plan. Why you may ask? Oh, that would d be because I decided to go the midnight showing of the hobbit. That somewhat upset my timeline for the day. Of course, I’d do it again in a second, disruption and all. Red & GreenAnyway I slept in late, not leaving me enough time to make the imagined red velvet pancakes for breakfast. Lunch was going to be salad, but then I ended up napping instead. This brings me to supper, which I ate way to much of. Spinach salad with raspberry vinaigrette dressing and parmesan cheese, veggie farfalle with pesto sauce, and green crystal-lite (martini & margarita mock-tales mixed). It was my first time making pesto and it was quite lovely.

Until next time
~ Q

35 Days of Celebration 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 & 08 | 09 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13

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35 Days of Celebration: 11

35 Days of Celebration: Day 11

HouseI knew it would happen, I would do some more decorating. Considered it was snowing all day, I was put in a ‘white Christmas mood’ and it was easy to feel jolly. As I decorated it started to see a theme. If there are materials I have in abundance they are 1) ornaments and 2) glasses. Decorations_2They are everywhere; on the dining room table, the bookshelf, the living room table…just all over the place. However, as I’ve come to realize, cluttered is a bit my style. Just yesterday I was discussing with my mother how my living room always looks messy, no matter how much I have everything cleaned up. My mother than informed me of a distinction: messy and cluttered are different. Instantly I felt better. Funny how easily that happens.

I was surprised by my parent’s offer to help me scoop my drive. They really are just too kind. The first time it snowed it took me 45ish minutes to scoop my driveway, maybe longer. I came to the obvious conclusion that I have the longest in town driveway in the world and that Guinness should promptly be notified. However with the three of us it took only about 15-20 minutes. Strength in numbers.

Dad‘What is that on your hat’
Me‘Jack Skellington. He’s a character from Nightmare Before Christmas…you know, because I’m an adult.’

DinnerOriginally I planned to have french toast and cocoa for my first themed supper. I feel like french toast isn’t the same unless you use texas toast. I was not stocked with such bread, so instead I had pancakes. Of course, I had to have them in the shape of snowflakes to match the snowy day, and with powdered sugar to make the scene complete. Similar to the ‘Sunday Snowflakes’ that my mom would make for us when we were younger. To this day if I have french toast with powdered sugar I call them Sunday Snowflakes. Embarrassing if you are having them on a Tuesday night. However it would have worked today. Even with the pancake exchange it was a fun dinner indeed.

Until next time

~ Q

35 Days of Celebration
01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 & 08 | 09 | 10

Thirty Day Challenge: Day Eight

Day Eight: What I Ate Today

After this past weekend I did not want to think about food really. So it was mainly a convenience food type of day. Seriously, after eating for four days straight food was not high on my agenda.

Breakfast

  • oatmeal (with brown sugar)
  • soynog (tis the season)

Dinner

  • cherry poptart pack

Supper

  • chicken dumpling soup
  • cauliflower
  • carrots
  • broccoli
  • ranch dressing (for dipping the veggies)

Dessert

  • caramel rice cakes

If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with them…the people who give you their food give you their heart.― Cesar Chavez

Until next time
~Q

Previous 30 Day Challenge Posts:
Five Ways To Win My Heart
| Something I Feel Strongly About | A Book I Love | Bullet Your Whole Day | Things You Want to Say to an Ex | Your Views on Mainstream Music | Pet Peeves

Quick Post: Throwing Together Supper

Rice and FruitOne of the nice things about living alone is that I don’t have to answer “What are we having for supper?” There are downsides that I have mentioned (most meals I make are for 4 or more people) but occasionally the unknown dinner is a blessing. Take the other day when I threw together rice, strawberries, blueberries and shredded carrots then called it quits. Not in my wildest dreams would I have planned for this to be a meal, but in the end it worked out. I didn’t really use amounts, just enough for one person. So a cup or so of rice and handful of diced strawberries (ditto the blueberries and carrots). When the rice was almost done I added the other ingredients so they all would get heated up. Fun fact warm blueberries practically burst with flavor, I’ll have to remember that for the future.

Fancy Fish

It’s that time of week where I have my family dinner. Since instigating this last month it has been rather successful in making sure I see my parents at least once a week. They live about ten miles away, there really is no reason for me to not see them weekly. Although they are hosting tonight figured I’d share the recipe from when I hosted last Wednesday.

I don’t cook a whole lot of meat. Browning burger or cooking chicken is about as complex as I get. In light of the Easter season I decided to make fish. This was a major deal for me, turns out I didn’t have much to fear. I bought some cod fillets; chopped up a tomato that I combined with diced pineapple and presto-chango done! The biggest issue was that I’m use to meat changing color has it cooks. Chicken goes from pink to white, beef from red to brown etc. Fish apparently goes from white to white.Lacking this foreknowledge I did over cook the fish a bit, but I usually prefer me meat overcooked rather than risk the alternative. I don’t want to hear the cow moo when I bit into a burger, sue me. Toss in some steamed vegetables and rice and it was ready to serve. A simple, yet effective, meal.

FishIngredients:

  • 4-6 oz fish fillets (I used cod)
  • 1 cup diced pineapple (I used a can)
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili paste

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Line 9×13 baking pan with aluminum foil and place fillets on foil (if yours were ever frozen be sure they are defrosted)
  • In a bowl mix pineapple, tomato and chili paste. Once combined divide and place topping on fillets.
  • Bake in oven for 20 minutes (obviously this is flexible ‘cook until the fish flakes apart’ were the directions I had)

As you can see from the slightly out-of-focus photo I also chose to serve my fish on a small bed of spinach. Presentation is everything.

My kitchen focus was severely lacking the other day

Pesto Pepper PizzaI have recently initiated meal planning into my life. I go a pinch overboard and plan a month in advance. Since I live alone, I really only have to pick out 8-10 recipes that I’ll spread out over the month. Any who, I was planning on making Chicken Pesto Pizza for lunch one week. I was at one grocery store and decided to wait on getting the chicken until later in the week when I’d hit up Fareway, however that stop never happened. It was 8:50 on Monday night when I was getting ready to bake the pizza that I would have for lunch the following day when I realized my mistake. By that time my local grocery store was closed (which is only 4 blocks away, so sad) as well as Fareway, by the time I would have driven over to the next town. What could I do? Not make it and have something else for lunch (a good solution) or make it without the title ingredient. As the picture shows I chose the latter, I made Pesto Pepper Pizza and it was delicious. It’s passed all my ‘rules’: it’s good hot, reheated and cold. The perfect single person food or at least I enjoy it all those ways. My taste buds diverge from the norm. For instance I’ve never gotten the extreme love for steak. Yeah it’s good and all but I’m just as happy with a well cooked chicken breast or even a burger. All-in-all, despite my short comings, I was (and am) quite pleased with the end result. Also I have a second pizza crust that I can try the correct recipe on. Win-win.

The altered recipe is below, until next time.
~ Q

PestoPizza_LargeIngredients:

  • 2 cups spinach (frozen + thawed)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil – set 1/2 tsp aside
  • 3 teaspoons basil
  • 3 teaspoons parsley
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
  • 1-12″ prebaked pizza shell
  • 1 orange pepper, cut into small strips
  • 1 water-packed canned artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained, patted dry and quartered (the recipe called for 1/2 cup which is about 3 but I thought they smelled funny so I only used one – turns out I like them though so all three next time.)
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese

Directions:

  • Preheat oven according to package (mine said 450 I believe)
  • Thaw the frozen spinach by placing it in a microwaveable bowl and microwaving it for 2 minutes.
  • Transfer the spinach into a blender or food processor, and add the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy. (If the pesto is too thick, a small amount of water may be necessary to thin it out.)
  • Spread 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil over crust before spreading pesto
  • Top with peppers, artichokes, and cheese
  • Cook for 10 minutes

Hummus Wraps Sans Hummus

HummusWrapIt may be weird to have a hummus wrap without the hummus but the hummus I purchased was distasteful so I pitched it. I need to remember which brand I enjoy so I can try these suckers again ‘properly’ but the rest of the ingredients blended well to create an enticing low-cal meal.

Not being one to normally eat tomatoes I thought I was going to have to shut my eyes and gobble down these little wraps, however I gobbled them down for other reasons. Why don’t I like tomatoes? When I was a kid we had tomato vines. Every summer we would produce a lot of tomatoes. Many meals comprised of corn on the cob (hello, I’m an Iowan), some kind of meat and then sliced tomatoes. I did my best not to take a slice but pops, insisting I try new things, would be sure I have at least one slice at each meal. I would like to say I took my ‘punishment’ gracefully but sadly, that was not the case. That is how I developed the eye shut eating technique though. Because, obviously, if you can’t see it happening, then it isn’t. Right?

Twenty years later I’m at the grocery store looking at my list and see that tomatoes are on it. Leery does not begin to cover what I felt. I somewhat shut my eyes, grabbed the cherry tomatoes, placed them in the cart and vacated the produce section before I could second guess myself. Dad, you were right, tomatoes are good. I’m putting it in writing so you can always prove I said it.

Hummus, Spinach and Tomato Wraps (serves 4)

Ingredients (for original recipe)

  • 4-12 inch tortillas
  • 8 tbs hummus
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, finely chopped (about 12-14)
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups spinach leaves
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)

Directions

  • Heat tortillas (I did it in the microwave for about 20 seconds)
  • Turn on broiler (optional – it’s just what I did)
  • Spread 2 tbs hummus on each tortilla
  • Mix together tomatoes, pepper and spinach (I had this several days running so the tomato juices were able to ‘marinate’ the other veggies)
  • Divide vegetables equally onto each tortilla
  • Wrap up and if you want to broil them to toast & heat everything up I strongly suggest it. I put them on the bottom shelf and cooked for about 5 minutes. (I burnt mine if I did it on the top shelf for 5 minutes)
  • Not into hummus? Try substituting 1/4 cup of cheese instead. That’s how I rolled since the hummus was gross.