Saturday, March 29, 2008

Drive-by posting!

Okay! Short post here, but I still have barely eaten all week (and haven't lost any weight, either, what's up with that?) and The Mr. and I are on our way out to pick up his mom from KY.

So instead of anything really picture-riffic with awesome commentary... I'm going to take the easy way out and send you to Rachael Ray.

These enchiladas are seriously great. Like any enchiladas, they take a while to make -- but these are so worth it.

So have one for me, 'cause I'm going to spend the next 20 hours eating junk food. o.O;;;;;

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wasabi peanuts, at long last

Okay, so I haven't really cooked anything this week. For one, I'm dieting, and for two, I don't think I've gotten home before 9 p.m. all week. I know -- excuses, excuses.

That doesn't mean I'm not eating at all, though.

Last December, I had a nasty head cold and looked all over for wasabi covered peanuts, mistakenly thinking they would work as a decongestant.

Sure, it's not true. But they're still fun to eat, and I couldn't find them anywhere.

Until I came home one day to an apartment full of men, sushi, wine and beer. My consolation prize? A tin of wasabi peanuts from the greatest wine and beer store on the East Coast! (And, of course, a bottle of Flying Dog. Yum.)

These delicious green balls of masochism are more wasabi coating than peanut. The whole thing is about the size of a grape, but the nut inside is quite small -- about the size of my little fingernail.

If you like spicy food, these are well worth trying. It's a different kind of spice than what you'd get from a chile, though. While a chile will burn your tongue, wasabi burns your sinuses. You'll blow your nose. A lot. And if you eat too many, it'll burn your stomach too.

But it is so worth it.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Hot damn! Now THAT'S a sandwich!

Ah, the grilled cheese sandwich. It's a staple of American childhood.

If you grew up in the U.S., you probably ate a lot of grilled cheese sangwiches as a kid -- except it was a slice of Kraft American Cheese between two slices of white bread, and possibly with a can of Campbell's tomato soup.


C'mon, now, class it up a little!

  • 1/2 small white onion, sliced into rings
  • 1 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 Roma tomato, sliced lengthwise
  • 4 slices of bacon, cooked
  • 4 slices of sourdough bread
  • butter for the bread
  1. Butter the sides of the bread that you'll grill. You know how you keep the PB&J on the inside when you're making a PBJ sandwich? Yeah. Not like that at all. Do the exact opposite of that.
  2. Sprinkle half the cheese on one slice of bread. Add half the tomato slices, bacon, and onions. Put the other slice of bread on top. Make another sandwich!
  3. Put the sandwiches in a hot skillet and cook until the bottom browns and the cheese is melty, then cook the other side.
  4. Slice 'em in half and eat. Hot damn, now that's a sandwich!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Cheese enchiladas?

Making enchiladas takes a long time and leaves a ginormous mess.

Unless you make them in the microwave.

But I've found that you always sacrifice quality for convenience.

These cheese enchiladas from Trader Joe's were entirely too bland. In fact, I'm not even sure they qualify as cheese enchiladas at all.

  • There wasn't nearly enough cheese on top. I had to sprinkle a couple cups of Mexican blend cheese over them myself.
  • Did they use two tortillas to wrap? That's what it tasted like!
  • Where's the filling? Seriously! A good enchilada should ooze cheese when you cut into it. These just... didn't.
  • I know a lot of people don't like heat as much as I do, but these enchiladas didn't have any heat at all.

All in all, they were thoroughly boring and I probably won't eat them again.

Save your money, this sucks!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Pasta puttanesca

I made pasta puttanesca for dinner the night before last.

(I kind of got a kick out of the fact that the name means "Pasta the way a whore would make it." Hee hee.)

The best part is that it's quick and easy!

  • 1/2 lb penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped capers
  • about 12 kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1-14oz can Italian-style tomatoes
  • handful of chopped parsley
  • ground black pepper
  • shredded Parmesan
  1. Start the pasta cooking according to the package directions.
  2. Heat the olive oil and saute the garlic and chili pepper for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the capers and olives, cook for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes and parsley. Lower the heat, simmer for 5 minutes. Add ground black pepper to taste.
  5. Add some of the pasta cooking liquid to the sauce. Drain the pasta, add the sauce, and toss. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the individual servings of pasta.
  • Don't drain the tomatoes!
  • Next time I make this, I'm going to add the sliced zucchini and yellow squash that's in my freezer. Mm!
  • At step 3, you can add some fully-cooked chicken or tuna. I used an 8-oz package of Trader Joe's Chickenless Strips.
  • It makes enough for 2 hungry people, or 4 if you make it with soup and/or salad.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Don't Eat That!

I'm here alone at work, so I can't leave to get food.

Luckily for me, I left a container of yogurt here earlier in the week! Right?


Trader Joe's finally let me down with their "peach" yogurt.

Folks.... it looks like a yeast infection in a cup. (WARNING: LINK CONTAINS NASTY PICTURE!!) I could maybe get over the appearance if the texture weren't so gritty and dry, and if the taste weren't so... well, not there at all.

Ew, ew, ew, ew!!! And I'm stuck here for another hour. Just long enough to get irritably hungry, not long enough to justify calling out for a pizza.

Not cool.

Sunday, March 9, 2008


This soup is fantastic!

Black Bean Soup

(makes enough for 4)

  • 2-15 oz. cans of reduced sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup chunky salsa
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • sour cream
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. In a food processor, combine the beans, onion, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, broth, salsa and cumin until they're more or less smooth.
  2. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until bubbly and heated through. Taste it and see if you need to add pepper.
  3. Serve with a sprinkling of green onions and a tablespoon or so of sour cream on top. A large slice of baguette on the side is great for dipping.
  4. NOTE: I know a lot of people balk at low-sodium ingredients, but in this case reduced sodium ingredients are important. Many jarred salsas are loaded with sodium to begin with. When you combine full-sodium broth, beans and salsa the taste is far too salty (and bad for you).

I already posted the quesadilla recipe in January, and the wine is Espiral Vinho Verde from Trader Joe's.


(Side note: What is up with this camera time-stamping everything?! I made these last night, not three days before Christmas!)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Almond milk

Out of curiosity, I bought a carton of almond milk last night. It's lower in fat and calories than cow's milk, and I had been wondering what it tasted like.

Be warned: at $2.29 for a quart, it's not cheap. I've heard, but not confirmed, that my beloved Trader Joe's sells it for $1.99 per quart. [Edited to add: Confirmed!] So it's not a bargain by any stretch of the imagination. I thought it worth mentioning, though, in case anyone else had been interested in trying it but didn't want to spend so much on something that might be yucky.

I mixed it with some chocolate flavored powdered nutritional drink and sure enough, it tasted a little nutty! It was a little bit sweet and had a taste that I can best describe as dense.

The greatest benefit is that it has a life span of several months instead of several days.

You can also make your own almond milk, which sounds like it could be fun.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Cheap find: Hot chocolate!

Target has some great food finds if you can find one with a large Market department.

Most recently, I picked up some amaretto flavored hot chocolate. It was on clearance, so I think it may have been discontinued.

Not to worry, though! They had several other flavors, like regular and mint chocolate. There may have been a caramel, but don't hold me to it.

And the best part? $4.99 for a tin with about 9 cups' worth of powder.

Drink up!

Monday, March 3, 2008

That was fun, can I have a wedding now?

I usually don't like crab meat or mushrooms, but after yesterday, I suspect that what I don't like are bad crab meat and mushrooms.

The Mr. and I went to the wedding of two of his friends yesterday afternoon, and the food? Was fantastic.

(I mean, so was the ceremony, but this isn't a blog to talk about how weddings make me cry like a little girl, it's a blog to talk about how great the food was.)

At any rate, after the ceremony, we all trundled out into the foyer to nosh on hors d'oeuvres and get snockered on Pinot Grigio. Thankfully, I hold my white wine like a champ. As for hors d'oeuvres, I don't hold them at all, because they don't stay in my hand long enough for it to be considered "holding" so much as "moving from table to mouth."

I wish I had taken some photos of the table before it got utterly decimated. There were some cheeses I would really have liked to identify, particularly the one that made me gag. I know there was Brie and some cheese that was cheddar on top and bleu on the bottom.

But I started this post to talk about the mushrooms.

I'd picked one up from a tray that was offered to me and had it most of the way to my mouth when I realized it was a stuffed mushroom. Oh well, I thought, it won't kill me.

So. Tasty.

The mushroom was perfectly bite-sized and soft. It tasted sharp and earthy at the same time.
I didn't find out until after I'd had three more that the filling was made of crab meat and feta cheese. Just the picture is making me want more right now. I have got to find a recipe for this!