After Christmas Soup

After looking through some past posts, I feel like I should rename this blog things from Trader Joes that I cook in my Creuset dutch oven. Seriously, that yellow blessing gets a lot of use. Thankfully she is photogenic.

Tonight I cooked Italian Turkey and Orzo Soup, which I’ve since renamed Christmas soup. This recipe from Cooking Light created a vibrantly red and green soup that was just filling enough.

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Ground turkey, olive oil, garlic, sliced mushrooms, and Penzys Italian seasoning. Cooked for a bit and then joined by chicken broth, water, diced tomatoes, salt, some more random seasonings from the pantry. Boil. Add orzo and spinach.

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Yum. Slippery orzo, lots of protein-rich ground turkey, flavorful broth. I added extra olive oil in the beginning which definitely created a satisfying broth, the only thing Mister and I agreed is that it needed more salt.

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I topped mine with some shredded parmesan, and more salt. Good thing I don’t wear any rings because with the amount of salt I would prefer (and the wine instead of water I’m drinking with dinner) my fingers will probably be little puff nuggets. Oh well….the Christmas soup was pretty worth it. I ate two bowls. A third is packed for lunch tomorrow.

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Dinner for Breakfast

I love breakfast. I even eat breakfast for dinner more often than I should admit. It’s without a doubt my favorite meal.

Yesterday, however, I had dinner for breakfast. And I don’t regret it.

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The night before I made chicken Parmesan with spaghetti, and some grilled, marinated eggplant and zucchini (the veggies came frozen from Trader Joes).
In the morning, that dinner still sounded good.

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I poured leftover marinara sauce into a sauté pan, and cracked two eggs directly into the bubbling liquid. Covered to steam for a few minutes.

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Once the whites were set, and the yolks still semi-soft, the whole pan was poured over spaghetti. And then all smushed together in a very un photogenic way. Seriously good breakfast.

Bedtime Story

Some people read novels, magazines. E-readers.

I read cookbooks. And the Penzeys Spices catalogue.

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Cover to cover. With a pen to make notes.
I imagine what I could cook with each spice so perfectly described.

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My mouth waters at the taste of each written word. I swear even the catalog smells good.

When the store opened in Crossgates Mall, I felt like I was inhaling possibility. Potential casseroles, platters, creations.

With the recent packing in anticipation of moving, I tossed most spices from my pantry. I’m starting to appreciate the value of keeping fresher spices on hand. But Mister doesn’t necessarily think there is validity to this theory.

Am I imagining that spices have a shelf life, or is there really more flavor in the fresh jar of Apple Pie Spice?

Baked For Me

I had a perfect experience with local bakery, Bake For You.
Between Mister and I, we had two family holidays, a move, a lot of driving, and work on the schedule.

I feel weird arriving at anyone’s house empty handed, so I considered my local options. Due to the move, cooking or baking wasn’t going to happen. My pans are in boxes and my poor Kitchenaid stand mixer is lovingly nested in a tote bag.

After a quick email to Linda at Bake For You, I had an order placed, scheduled for two different pick up times for three different recipients. Seriously, she is great. She kept the Christmas wrapping off my Chanukkah cookie box and promised plenty of red and green on the second pick up.

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For $27.50, I walked away from the bakery with a hefty box of cookies, macaroons, and brownies.

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There was an assorted 2 dozen pieces of sweet, gooey goodness. Just enough chocolate, sugar, crunch, yum.

The ordering process was so easy and convenient, the resulting product was exactly what I wanted. A varied assortment of fresh, classically creative dessert. Linda went out of her way to accommodate my two holiday requests, and an extra order off the menu. The box was ready exactly when I requested and I was able to walk in on my way out of town.

I’m drooling in anticipation of picking up my next order, and will definitely grab something to eat in the car next time.

Buzzwords

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Someone posted this on Facebook and it caught my eye.
How many people are swept up in gluten free? Isn’t it entirely possible that when you first cut out gluten, you are avoiding processed carbohydrates and simple sugars? These are foods that make you feel lethargic, sugar highs and crashes.

I think avoiding white breads, simple starches, beer, cake, etc. would make anyone feel a little better. But is that relevant to the gluten? Will we ever really know?

Meals for 12.12.14

What do you actually eat everyday? I know we don’t have grandiose Pinterest worth meals every three hours 365 days a year. That’s not real life.

I watch what I eat, most of the time. I track my food in the App, MyFitnessPal; keeping tabs on carbs/fat/protein per day. Some weeks I’m great about planning ahead, others I just barely manage to fill my lunch bag with a haphazard collection of things in an attempt to meet my goals.

Today is one of those days. Sort of.
For breakfast all week we had those baked eggs. But Mister got the last portion packed for his breakfast. So I mixed some strawberry flavored protein powder with Greek yogurt and a splash of almond milk.

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I do some form of exercise daily. Sometimes it’s yoga and running, other days it’s weights at the gym. (Sadly, lately it’s been a lot of at home quick routines to avoid the snow and darkness. )The point is, I like to keep my protein high for building new muscle as part of my weight-loss and health goals. Everyone has different goals. I don’t recommend chugging protein if you’re hanging out on the couch all week.

About 2-3 hours after that mini meal, I’ll have a clementine with my morning coffee.

And just about 3 hours after that I’ll have lunch. Sometimes this is leftovers from dinner. Today is is a multigrain tortilla from Trader Joes filled with one slice of Swiss cheese, 3oz of low sodium turkey, and a handful of baby spinach. (I have a food scale)

My fourth mini meal of the day is half a cup of cottage cheese mixed with cinnamon, vanilla, and raisins.

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Yes I eat seriously unphotogenic meals. I know. But this mixture is so great in this weather, it’s texturally similar to rice pudding and the flavor profile is a nice break from plain dairy.

I brought a banana in case I feel hungry, or decide to run an errand right after work. And yes, I pack a ton of food for work most days. I like feeling prepared and I love being in the habit of five to six mini meals a day.

Dinner is undecided yet. It’s Friday so it might be a splurge in terms of calories and content, but not necessarily.

What do you eat every day, honestly?

Back in the Kitchen

Well that sounds like it should be offensively sexist. But I like cooking. And the kitchen exists on the same plane at running outdoors, and the gym; these place calm me. For that time I’m finding my way through a meal, I can forget whatever anxieties or stressful moments happened before. It’s just me, a pot, and a spoon. And a knife. And a cutting board. Well you get the idea.

Last night I made Beef Stroganoff. I’ve been making variations of this for a while now. I rarely remember to follow a recipe…throwing in what feels right at the time.

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Brown some flour coated beef in a hot pan. Stir occasionally while adding baby portabella mushrooms to the mix. Once brown add some liquid. I happened to remember a can of French Onion soup that was spot on. I can’t even remember why I bought it. I don’t even like French Onion soup.

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Since I was using canned soup to help things along, I went all out with it came to seasonings. And by all out, I mean I used a McCormicks seasoning packet. (Im bracing myself for the foodie backlash, sorry not sorry)

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I know these packets are a scam. I know I have most of the ingredients. But I swear a fairy godmother lives in that Stroganoff packet and makes it taste exactly the same every time. I kind of like that level of certainty.

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Brought the whole thing to a boil then popped the pot into a hot oven. Mister was working late, so I let it cook for about 45 mins – 1 hour before we ate.

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Once pulled from the oven I plopped that whole block of cream cheese in there. It was “light”, and from Trader Joes. So yea it’s pretty healthy, trust me on this one. Stir stir stir until the whole pot is an oddly unappealing color and you wonder why you ruined it with the cream cheese, but trust me. Jews know about the goodness of cream cheese.

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Typically I would serve it over egg noodles, but Trader Joes didn’t have any. And we’re pretending to be a wee bit healthier. So I used these noodles:

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I’m a huge fan of these. And finally Mister confirmed they taste just like regular pasta. Their slight density/bite made them the perfect counterpart the hearty beef. And I snuck some green beans at the bottom of the bowl. One bowl, two pot meal.

It was snowy and my belly was beyond full. So happy to be back in the kitchen.