Comfort zones

There is ONE (1) bad thing about my husband all of the sudden liking all of the shows I watch. It is NO LONGER EXCITING when I get my cozy night alone when I can light candles and watch all of the TV I want without judgement or complaints because OH WAIT, all of the crap I have been salivating over on my DVR is now a list of shows he wont’ let me watch without him!  I am now resentfully marathoning house hunters and oh I guess I will watch the debate and transition to hating on picky house buyers to everyone in my social media feed.

I also had a really weird Friday night for the same above reason and it ended with me eating pickles on toast for dinner because steak and shake and mcdonalds don’t deliver.  If you never understood the blog name before, now you do.

At least I FINALLY had my first week back to running thanks to these full priced, brand new running shoes on my credit card (& I tell you I NEVER buy anything in retail full price):

I love them more than anything right now, and after taking almost 2 months off I’m back to my painfully average pace of 10:30 miles.  Here’s to hoping there’s nothing but speedier runs from here on out.  I did 8 miles this week and icing my knee for 20 minutes after every run.  My goal is a 10k by Christmas and a half marathon next year.  I know this is more modest than it should be but the excuse is that I have to worry about my pathetic knee.

Since variety is the spice of life and I really like being spicy, I am now stepping out of my comfort zone at work (which I hate because this is the first job I AM happy with, I’m usually itching for a change after a year) and in the kitchen.  I invited my little brother over for dinner who goes to school 45 minutes east of us and since *GOD FORBID* I spend over my weekly grocery budget, I had to think a little bit.  He is in college so I knew he was going to eat a lot, and since Bry and I go to the gym every afternoon into dinner time I LOVE having leftovers on a Monday, therefore, much meat was needed.

Chicken thighs!

Dark meat chicken is something I have literally never cooked before; my health nut mother always talked me out of liking it.  It’s tender, juicy and so hard to dry out unlike chicken breast (I HATE COOKING CHICKEN BREAST!)  I liked it a lot, plus it is obviously more economical.  I think I got 4 pounds of meat for under $10.00.  Here in Florida, chicken breast usually goes for $3-5 per pound.

Anyway, here is what I made.  I took a recipe from Webicurian and added some other spices I happened to have on hand since I am in constant fear of flavorless chicken.  Here is what I came up with, but first, some questions.

How different are your TV habits from your spouse/significant other?  

Dark meat or white meat?

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I’m working on some new things but for now; here’s a recipe you will like.

One of the top tips I have discovered on my road to frugality with my groceries is that making vegetarian dishes at least once a week and making casserole style foods that will last 2-3 nights keeps you rich and skinny.  This is one of my new favorites!  It was very easy to make, versatile (you know I love my versatile dishes), and it lasted us for 3 nights of the week (weeknight laziness prevails!).

I slightly adapted this from Leite’s Culinaria because I don’t  like zucchini, am only using the black bean part, and I used specific ingredients that I want to share. If you notice on the link above, there is also a chicken recipe on the same page that I will surely be trying in the upcoming weeks.  Or you can try it first and tell me about it.  Another note to consider that I am including brand name ingredients in the recipe because I feel that the difference in tortillas and type of cheese used will affect the nutrition contents quite a bit.

The sauce that is in this recipe… OH, THE SAUCE.  It is creamy and cheesy yet (comparably) healthy.  The filling is spicy and flavorful and HEALTHY!  I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THESE ENCHILADAS IT’S KIND OF WEIRD.

Do you like mushy foods?  Enchiladas are my favorite Mexican delight because they are mushy rather than crunchy.

Do you have a designated vegetarian day, or just do it randomly or when you need to save money?

As you can see… I’m too cheap to buy ingredients to garnish

 

Black Bean Verde Enchiladas Recipe

From Leite’s Culinaria                                           This version serves 6

Ingredients

Black bean enchilada filling

  • Olive oil
  • 1 red onion,  chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • One 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Green chile sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapeños, minced (keep some seeds in if you like heat)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • One 15-ounce can vegetable or chicken stock or 2 cups homemade
  • 16 ounces (2 cups) light Daisy sour cream
  • One 8-ounce can fire-roasted mild green chiles
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste

For rolling and saucing the enchiladas

  • 6 Tam-X-Ico’s 100% Whole Wheat Tortillas
  • 8 oz  Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (absolutely use low fat if you can find it, my store didn’t have it available that day.  Please note that this will affect the fat content in a positive manner.)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
  • Thinly sliced scallions
  • 2 limes, cut into 6 wedges

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F
  • Spray olive oil on a large  skillet to coat the surface and place it over medium heat. Sauté the onion until softened, 5 to 8 minutes.  Add the garlic, beans, chili powder, cumin, and salt, and cook until the beans are tender and the garlic is fragrant, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  • For the sauce, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and jalapeños and cook until they are softened but not yet beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Still stirring, slowly add the stock in a steady stream. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid has reduced and the sauce has become opaque, about 5 minutes. Let it cool slightly.
  • After sauce is cooled enough, transfer the sauce to a blender or food processor, add the sour cream, chiles, cumin, chili powder, salt, and cayenne, and puree until smooth.
  • To assemble the enchiladas coat the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with some of the sauce. Fill the tortillas with black bean spooning the mixture along the center of each tortilla. Top the filling with a spoonful of shredded cheese and a sprinkling of cilantro. Roll the sides of the tortillas over the filling and place them, seam side down, in the baking dishes.
  • Pour the remaining verde sauce evenly over the enchiladas and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake the enchiladas in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is beginning to brown. Garnish with the extra cilantro leaves and scallions and serve with the lime wedges.

Damage (1Enchilada): 411 Calories/37g carbs/17g fat/16g protein/7g fiber

In defense of Pumpkin…

I am so glad to finally be baking again AND I know you might be rolling your eyes at me, but here I present to you, my cliche post about Pumpkin guts and their incorporation into baked goods.

I’m not going to omit some of my favorite things just because they happen to be terribly antiquated in blog trends.  Also, I have been so into seasonal ingredients since spring (mostly for cost saving reasons!) and I have really enjoyed deciding what I make based on what is cheap and fresh at the time (lol at fresh though I always buy my pumpkin CANNED).  I do generally have such a terrible time deciding what I want to eat (probably because I can always eat anything but seafood and fresh fruit) so seasonal ingredients have provided a great guidance for weekly menus and what to bake and pawn off on my little brother at college who needs refined sugar and butter more than I do.

I implemented my first pumpkin recipe last week; a “healthier” version of the pumpkin quick bread I have LOVED AND ADORED for many an autumn season until I found that one slice equaled 27 grams of fat.  I won’t tempt you with that recipe.  Instead, I will show you a toned down version that even has a streusel addition!  But first, a list of everything I hope to make before Pumpkin goes out of style for the year.

First up, Pumpkin Struesel Squares from Tracey’s Culinary Adventure who adapted this recipe from Williams-Sonoma.  I decided to cut them into squares rather than keep them in cake slice shapes so that you can eat more in one sitting.

Pumpkin Streusel Cake Squares

Makes appx 20 squares

Ingredients

Struesel:

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and spray & flour a 9-inch springform pan (I used parchment paper as well)
  2. Make the streusel: Stir the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the butter, and use a pastry cutter (or fork in my case) to work it into dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs
  3. Make the batter: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt together in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.   Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then add the pumpkin puree and sour cream and beat until fully incorporated. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients, beating just until combined – the batter will be very thick, and VERY tasty.
  4. Spread half of the batter in an even layer in the bottom of the prepared pan. Sprinkle half of the streusel mixture over the batter. Dollop the remaining batter over the streusel and use an offset spatula to spread it as best you can (it doesn’t have to be perfect). Top with the remaining streusel.
  5. Bake the cake for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean

Damage (1 square, sans glaze): 205 calories/27g carbs/10g fat/2g protein/1g fiber/16g sugar

I did not make glaze with this, simply because I am lazy even though it’s very easy and would make this cake/squares much prettier to look at. =-D

Are you annoyed with blogger’s obsessions about Pumpkin?  Any other seasonal pet peeves?

(I agree the obsession is kind of annoying, but I also agree that I like pumpkin.  I promise I won’t make another post dedicated to the subject until/unless it is recipe related)

Which recipe should I try first from the above choices?