Thursday, August 18, 2011

Beating the burnout

I’m still not used to the new Blogger dashboard layout – which is why I switched to Google Reader.  How have I missed out on GR?!  It’s incredibly easier to read through your favorite and new blogs – I absolutely LOVE IT!

You know those days when you’re thoroughly exhausted from the day’s stresses and all you want to do is take a big bite of this chocolaty goodness?

The following two photos are courtesy of


Fudgy double chocolate brownies dipped in rich chocolate ganache

Forget about the rich chocolate ganache – just give me the brownie!

…and wish this was served at dinner, along with you’re favorite salad? My favorite salad would include spinach leaves, green & red apple slices, blue cheese, cranberries, candied walnuts and a light vinaigrette.


Rich layered zucchini parmesan w/homemade tomato sauce & fresh mozzarella

Oy vey!  I’ve got to get this cooking burnout out of my system.   I don’t know how many of you readers have the cooking blahs.  Mine seemed to have lasted for a couple of months now.  I don’t know if it’s because it’s summertime and it’s just way too hot to be cooking warm food.  It it just me or does anyone else have this feeling during Summer?

Here are some things I’d like to work on this week:

  1. Get myself out of this barely cooking funk.
  2. Find new dishes that will inspire me to get back into cooking and share them all with YOU!
  3. Look for a dish washer (only half kidding!)
  4. Actually put the recipes to (real) use in the dozens of cookbooks sitting in my bookshelf instead of using them as dust collectors.
  5. Finish cleaning my house.
  6. Go out for a bike ride, burn that rubber and enjoy the sunshine!


What’re some ways you beat your burnouts?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Watch Out for the Newbie Cycler!

I nearly did this in front of a bike shop this week, except I had a close call with the wall


With a little more practice, I’ll get the hang of being on the road!  By the way today was an absolutely beautiful day to test-ride bikes.  Did you know you can do it for free??

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Semi-Homemade Pizza on the Cheap

Pizza on the cheap – who isn’t looking for a good deal?  I’ve found that I can make a semi-homemade large pizza for less than $5.  How great is THAT deal?!

Nothing says Saturday night like some great pizza and a movie.

The breakdown:

1 large pizza dough from your local pizza shop + tax = $3.26
Mozzarella cheese = approx. $1.00
Pizza sauce & herbs = pennies
Easy Saturday night dinner & cleanup= priceless


Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Prepare to eat until your heart’s content Smile

317 2

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Failure Makes You Stronger – Say What?

As my first official return to WW, I was hit with shock when I entered my points for a Roasted Turkey sandwich from Subway. On the old plan, a veggie sandwich was 4 and now it's 6; a turkey was 5 and now 7.  Part of me forgot that I was on the new plan and had the "what the heck?" come out.  "It's supposed to be 4 for the veggie, not 6!  How can a turkey be 7?"  Points shocker has gotten to me more than I thought.

Up until I'd reached goal February 2010, life was pretty great.  I was regularly going to the gym after work (despite that the commute from work to the gym is 1 hour); both my husband and I were working.  We had a little extra money for fun.  Once I hit goal, life seemed to spiral downward and I struggled a bit to deal with my weight.  My husband got laid off and we really had to stick to budget and begin being frugal.  Frugal meant that I had to monitor how much gas I was using.  Those extra 20 miles round trip to the gym were cutting way too much into the gas bill; and eating out came to a complete halt.

After much stress and worry, along with some extra unwanted pounds, I'm back on WW, even if just for a little bit.  I want to get back in control before my weight really begins to spiral in a direction I don't ever want to go back to.

Failure has taught me more about myself - who I am and want to be.  It's taught me patience, motivation, prioritization, faith, flexibility and coupon clipping.  I've learned how I want to feel; to be motivated by my successes; and more importantly, to be honest with myself.  I've learned to treasure the little things in life and get back to my basics.

I got a happy unexpected surprise tonight as I walked from my car to my house – I found a $1 bill on the ground with no one around to claim it.  How about that? Smile

Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. 
– Joshua J. Marine

What's failure taught you?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Sizzlin’ Fajita Friday!

Where did February go?

Every time MigL and I happen to watch Paula Deen on Food Network (let me clarify we don’t intentionally watch PD), it seems like we should ask, “would you like some buttah with that?”   We always get a kick when PD says, “ya’ll we’re gonna start this recipe by ______”.  And more often than not, it’s a stick of butter. If I got a quarter every time she said butter in a show, boy I’d be rich!  I know we’re in a recession, but pennies don’t buy much so I’ve resorted to quarters. 

1 stick, 2 sticks, even melted butter.  Isn’t that what Julia Child cooked with too and is part of what made her famous in a fanciful way?  I have a feeling that butter alone makes a name for itself; but if you’re one to sell it with everything you make, you’d practically be a legend.  I have to say butter does make omelets SO much better, but that’s another post.  I know a little butter makes the world go round, but I seriously think PD just piles that buttah on.

For the past few weeks I’ve been trying to find something stable, amidst the craziness in my life.  I was tired of trying to find something to cook every day to what feels like the last minute; and with a tight budget, it can be a bit daunting.  I wanted something no-brainer.  So, I came up with Fajita Friday.  Dinner every Friday is now the official Fajita Friday; except that the last few Friday’s I’ve had some flop Fajita Fridays.  The recipes weren’t as good as I’d hoped – and then on a whim I decided to invent what a fajita should taste like.  The results were disappointing.  Oh well, there’s no learning like the present, right?

So I decided to do a little homework and found a recipe that will now become a part of my Fajita Friday.  Much to my surprise and relief, PD doesn’t cook everything with buttah.  In my search, I was looking for something quick and tasty – WITH pictures included.  It’s a crime if I can’t see what I’ll potentially be making and I’ll bypass a recipe if it doesn’t have any pictures – after all, shouldn’t the food you’re eating not only taste good but, look good too?

On a Friday evening, after a long week, who really wants to wait 3 hours or more for something to marinate - unless you’ve got the whole day off, or even an afternoon; then I’d consider you, my friend, a lucky duck and I completely wish I were you.   Otherwise, I need something quick and tasty and more often than not, I need it right away; although at times, it does take a good 1 1/2 to 2 hours to get dinner finished.  (On a side note, I should start eating a snack in between the time I get off work and dinner so that I’m not as hungry).

Perhaps every now and again I’ll try to find new fajita recipes to prevent from being bored; but for now this is our new favorite.  I was even very surprised when MigL got seconds!

Paula deen's fajitas

Gold Medal Sizzling Fajitas

(adapted from Food Network)

Serves 8

1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon fajita seasoning
2 teaspoons yellow mustard 
Dash green Tabasco sauce (or any hot sauce) 
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 large onion, halved and sliced lengthwise 
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
8 (8-inch) corn tortillas

In a heavy duty resalable plastic bag, combine 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, garlic, cumin, garlic powder, fajita seasoning, mustard, hot sauce, salt, pepper and chicken. Seal and toss the bag around to coat.  Marinate in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Preheat a cast iron skillet in a preheated 400 degree F oven for at least 20 minutes, to get a good sizzle when you plate the fajitas.

Heat the outside grill or a large indoor grill pan to medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place it on the hot grill, discard the marinade. Cook chicken until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Slice the chicken into strips.

In a large skillet heat up the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and fry the onions and bell peppers until crisp-tender with some salt and pepper.

Wrap the tortillas in a paper towel and warm in the microwave for 1 minute. 

When you are ready to serve, remove the cast iron servers from the oven and quickly arrange the meat and peppers and onions on it (wait for the ooh’s and ahh’s!). It will immediately start to sizzle from their fat and moisture. Serve sizzling immediately with the warm tortillas and other accompaniments.

Latin Cook’s Notes
Oh man, dinner was fajita-licious!  While I was preparing the marinade for the chicken it smelled so good; but you have to wait until it’s ready to cook (when all of the flavors have marinated) to have something incredibly great.  I think the kicker was the mustard – since I didn’t have any lemons, I wondered if this might do the trick – and believe me, it does.  You’ve GOT to try this out.  There was a pretty good party in my mouth!

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