Sunday, April 22, 2012

Weekend Recap and Good Eats

After a week of gorgeously sunny weather, it's been a rainy and chilly Sunday. Not a big deal though as I've rather missed my multiple cups of tea and got to catch up on that little habit today. We've had another fabulous weekend, though one that's been a bit more low-key than last week's outdoor activity-filled weekend.

Friday night I tucked myself in early with Rurally Screwed, written by fellow blogger Jessie Knadler. Prior to this book, I hadn't read Jessie's blog, so as stated in a previous entry, I figured this to be another Pioneer Woman knock-off. But after night after night of sobbing my way through Bloom earlier in the week, I was ready for something a bit lighter. I loved this book. It was the perfect light read and surprisingly well written. (Though I don't know why I was surprised as the author is a former magazine editor.)

Saturday morning I joined my running partners for an early nine-miler. Can I just take a minute to say how much I love my running group? I am in the best running shape of my life, and it would never have happened without them. The mornings that we get together are most certainly better than the mornings that we don't. Upon deciding to be a stay-at-home mom, I figured that other moms in our play groups, etc. would be the ones whose company I enjoy the most. But no - it's my running partners. (Though I get the best of both worlds as two of the three are moms.)

The rest of Saturday was spent watching Sammy's Water Babies class, enjoying lunch with a good friend, running another 90 minutes - though this time up and down a soccer field as the season began for my outdoor women's league (we won!), and then catching up with some good friends over pizza and multiple drinks. It was a long, but great day.

It was James' birthday this past week, and for his big gift, I arranged for him to have a private horseback riding lesson today at some nearby stables. James has always said that every American man should know how to ride a horse, so this year, he got his wish.

(It was a bit difficult to catch any good shots while attempting to entertain a nine-month-old who was desperately in need of a nap.)

Good Eats

I was on a bit of a cooking hiatus the week after Easter, due to a fridge packed with leftovers, and my desire to avoid two grocery trips in one week. But after that week, I was excited to get back in the groove.

Monday, even though the weather was anything but slow-cooker temps, I made Jamaican bean stew and brown coconut rice from my new favorite running blog. This was delicious. It was healthy, chock full of protein, and even better the next day. The one change I'll make next time is to ditch the coconut milk in the rice. The flavor wasn't really there, and thus no need for the extra calories.

It was a bit late when I finally remembered to take a photo.
To make up for my inappropriate choice of cooking style on Monday, Tuesday I opted for grilled turkey burgers, a quinoa salad with red bell pepper and cilantro (both recipes from the America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook), and grilled broccolini. I approached the turkey burger recipe a bit nervously as our standby turkey burger recipe (ground turkey, feta cheese, an egg, breadcrumbs, whatever herbs are in the fridge) is fantastic and never fails. But this particular recipe called for mixing the ground turkey with ricotta cheese, which made them light, moist (ew...) and fluffy. From now on, I'll alternate between the two versions.

Oh, but how could I forget? We started off the meal with a bit of an appetizer - nutty cauliflower wings with buffalo barbecue sauce. As weird as this concoction may sound, I beg you to try this recipe out. It was insanely delicious, and I pretty much ate an entire head of cauliflower all by myself. (Only because I was being selfish and not allowing others to access the bowl of "wings".) The "nuttiness" came from sunflower butter and sunflower seeds -- both pricey, but all the more reason to make this recipe over and over. I also ask that you try out the suggested bbq sauce recipe instead of using jarred sauce. I promise it's worth it.

After what I pretended were two healthy eating days in a row, Wednesday I made bubble up enchiladas.  (I link to The Culinary Couple's recipe, but this has been all over Pinterest, and you can find it a zillion other places as well.)

So here's my issue with the food recipes that plague Pinterest - for the most part, they all seem to be a variation of one bubbly cheesy casserole-type thing or another. Now I'd be lying if I said I didn't love anything that's dripping in melted cheese - but I don't need to eat it each and every night. And this recipe is a double offender in that not only does it appear to be melty cheesy goodness, but it includes biscuits - and those refrigerator roll pre-made biscuits at that! This recipe pretty much goes against everything I believe in, and yet I made it anyway. And?

Eh. (Yes, another "eh" recipe.) If I was to make it again, I would probably eliminate the tomato sauce (which seems like a super weird enchilada-type ingredient anyway), and I'd add chopped jalapeƱo and cilantro. As it stood, it lacked a lot of flavor. I guiltily enjoyed the opportunity to eat those biscuits, but that was about all I got out of this dish. In all fairness, this was originally a Weight Watchers recipe, but I can't imagine a little cilantro would add too many calories! I'm still kicking myself for not having the foresight to add it.

As Friday I made more of my favorite black bean burgers, I'll end this post with a fantastic dessert recipe. Again, Thursday was James' birthday, and though I knew we'd have dessert at the restaurant we were having dinner at that night, I still wanting to do something a little extra. And yet, I stupidly had not planned ahead, and Sammy's schedule on Thursday was just not working out with a trip to the grocery store. So what was a girl to do? I turned to the bible, and found a recipe that called for all ingredients that I already had on hand - hot fudge pudding cake.

Now you know I've said time and time again that I'm not a dessert person. Nor am I chocolate person. As a matter of fact, I didn't even try this until last night! But boy, was it fabulous. (As the birthday boy can attest.) I won't go into more detail, but I will share the recipe with you. Go dig through your pantry right now and test this out for yourself.

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake
From America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
Makes one 8-inch cake

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups coffee, at room temperature

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly coat an 8-inch glass baking dish thoroughly with vegetable oil spray.

2. Melt the butter, 1/3 cup of the cocoa, and the chocolate together in a medium bowl in the microwave, whisking often, until smooth, 1-3 minutes. In a separate bowl, stir the brown sugar, 1/3 cup of the granulated sugar, and remaining 1/3 cup cocoa together until there are no clumps. Whisk the flour and baking powder together in a third bowl.

3. Whisk the remaining 2/3 cup granulated sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk in the yolk, then the chocolate mixture until combined. Whisk in the flour mixture until combined.

4. Spread the batter in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture evenly over the batter. Pour the coffee gently over the brown sugar mixture. Bake until the cake is puffed and bubbling and just beginning to pull away from the sides of the baking dish, about 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. (Do not over bake.)

5. Let the cake cool in the dish on a wire rack for about 25 minutes before spooning into bowls.

1 comment:

  1. just downloaded both books-- thanks for the recommendations! oh, and i LOVE that james got horseback riding lessons for his birthday!!!