Monday, July 28, 2008

Pork Chops, Green Beans, Crusty Bread

I love pork, I may like it more than beef, and do like it more than chicken. One of my favorite cuts to use is the boneless loin pieces. These were marinated in McCormick "Zesty Herb" marinade. I then used Spice House "Bavarian Style" dry rub. They were cooked on a hot grill.

Green Beans

The fresh green beans were cooked on the grill on a baking sheet. I drizzled with some olive oil, S&P, and some garlic.

Crusty Bread

The Bread was cooked on the top rack of the grill. Drizzled with some olive oil and some garlic.

Blueberry Pancakes

Costco had the huge packages of blueberries the other day. I couldn't resist. So Sunday morning breakfast had to be blueberry pancakes. I served with turkey bacon this time.

2 Cups Flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup of Sugar
2 Eggs (lightly beaten)
2 Cups Milk
1/4 Cup melted butter
2 tsp. Vanilla
2 tsp. Cinnamon

1. Mix dry ingredients.
2. Add the liquid ingredients and stir until blended, don't overmix.
3. Pour onto hot griddle.
4. When they start bubbling sprinkle with blueberries and press down with the spatula.
5. Flip.
6. Remove from the griddle.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Chicken Tenders, Biscuits and Roasted Summer Squash

I have to admit I have a problem with breading. For some reason I can never get it to fully adhere. So I avoid making breaded items because they turn out so ugly. Surely not because of the health factor of breaded foods, ;) .
1. Marinate the chicken in buttermilk
2. Mix 2 cups of flour with 3 tsp of Cinnamon Chipotle Seasoning.
3. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture.
4. Coat with panko bread crumbs and place on baking sheet.
5. Drizzle with olive oil before baking.
6. Bake on 450 for 15-20 minutes.

The taste of these was great, the breading stood up better than most tries, but not perfect. My husband thought it was very tasty though.

Roasted Summer Squash

My husband brought home two yellow squashes from a coworker. So I had to think of a way to use them up.

1. Slice the squash into spears.
2. Place on baking sheet.
3. Sprinkle with S&P and some parmesan cheese.
4. Drizzle with Olive Oil.
5. Roast in oven at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

These were very good. My husband who doesn't like veggies much ate them up and enjoyed them.


So I spend a lot of time "nesting" on While most of the time is probably not "productive" I do find a great deal of meal planning help. So yesterday I wondered what to do with chicken breasts. I was guided towards chicken and biscuits and given this fabulous recipe from Elly. I do have to say the first bite was an amazing experience. Such buttery goodness. WOW what a recipe.

Banana Peach Muffins

I came across a recipe for "lighter" muffins on All recipes. It didn't include any fat besides the eggs. I have been making muffins a lot of the past year or so. I found this basic fact on wikipedia about baking powder. I was wanting to make high protein muffins a while back when I was trying to follow a higher protein diet. So I made up a pumpkin muffin recipe with protein powder and followed this principle.
1 tsp of Baking Powder is used to make 1 cup of Flour, 1 cup of Liquid and 1 Egg rise. If you use something more acidic like buttermilk use 1/2 tsp of baking powder and 1/4 tsp of baking soda. I found you could do so much with this principle. I tried many different ways and calculated all the weight watchers points and everything.
So this recipe I came across had that basic principle, but didn't add any fat other than the eggs. The reviews said they came out dry and they would have added more moisture the next time.
I had 2 ripe bananas and two ripe peaches (one peach was ginormous). So this is the recipe I used.

2 Eggs
2 mashed bananas & 2 pureed peaches (this made about 2 cups)
2 Cups of Flour
3/4 Cup of White Sugar
1 tsp of Baking Soda ( I notice as I am typing this up that I should have used 2 tsp if following the principle, I bet 1 1/2 tsp would be perfect, I would have preferred a bit more rise)
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp cinnamon
Makes 12 muffins (or 6 jumbo muffins)

Shrimp Scampi

I was given a gift certificate for a place called "entrees made easy". It is a local place where you can prep the meals in their facility or just pick something from the fridge or freezer. We did the freezer route and this Shrimp Scampi was the last item we had left and had gotten lost in our freezer for a few months. This place does a good job with their recipe instructions and they prepare all the ingredients (like mincing the garlic) and place it all in ziplock bags. We have been pretty happy with the other selections. I would prefer to cook myself, but it was a nice treat on busy evenings.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My Exchange buddy strikes again!!

So today what do we have in the UPS? Two boxes were handed to me from "Cheryl & Co." I just couldn't open fast enough. I recieved a bunch of individually packaged cookies and some other treats.
I tried a butter cream sandwich cookie first. It was like brownie pieces with a slab of icing in the middle. Yummy. Thanks so much "Buddy".

Monday, July 21, 2008

Taco Salad

So the other night I made some chicken tenderloins on the grill with the intention of making nachos. But taco salad sounded way better tonight.
These are the ingredients. No real recipe.

Chopped Romaine Lettuce
Diced orange bell peppers
Black Beans
Diced Chicken pieces (this was marinated with fajitas seasoning and grilled)
Diced Tomato (tossed with a bit of southwest seasoning)
Mexican shredded cheese blend
Sour Cream
Tortilla Chips


1/4 Cup Ranch dressing
1 Tbs Southwest Seasoning
Dash of lemon juice
(this was just done to taste)


Blogging about Popcorn may seem odd. It is such a simple treat. But I have such vivid memories of having popcorn as a family. This was well before the simple microwave versions were invented. Homemade popcorn on the stove is a must.
1. In a very heavy pot heat some peanut oil

2. Add the popcorn kernals

3. Pop until the top comes off.

4. Toss into a big bowl

5. Add some butter back into the hot pan, melt, pour over the popcorn

6. Salt to your liking

7. Must have a glass of milk along side

So this is our family "recipe". No microwave version tastes quite the same.

Flank Steak and Portabellas on the Grill

Flank Steak has become one of my favorite items to grill. Costco sells a two pack for a resonable price. I use this for company often. Most recently I used if for fajitas for company. This meal was just a simple one for dinner with plenty of leftovers for the week. I marinated it in some fajita seasoning mixed with bbq sauce. Before putting on the grill I drizzled with some Olive Oil and some Montreal Seasoning.

The mushrooms were simply drizzled with Olive Oil and S&P.

I also cooked up some chicken tenderloins on the grill for meals later in the week. Those were marinated in fajita seasoning.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tonight's Dinner!

I am meeting a friend for dinner at one of my favorite places. Dale isn't much for stir-fry. So I like to go here for "girl's nights". I will likely do a beef or pork bowl and a seafood bowl. They serve with brown rice and tortillas. Can't wait!!

Mongolian BBQ

From their website

Centuries ago in the province of Mongolia, the Mighty Khan's hunting parties would camp on the banks of the great river Khan-Balik. After days devoted entirely to hunting, they would gather in droves to celebrate their successes. Communing in banquet style pavilions, the Mongols would prepare slivers of meat and vegetables by slicing them with their razor sharp swords. They would then cook their food by searing it on their overturned shields that were heated by a blazing fire. The Kublai Khan and his fiercest warriors would sit high above the hordes, and enjoy the same food prepared for him on a large, roaring hot griddle.
It is with these ancient traditions in mind that we bring you one of the world's most original eating experiences, bd's mongolian barbeque©.
bd's mongolian barbeque© is the world's number one Create Your Own Stir-Fry restaurant concept where the guests choose their own ingredients from a great variety of meats, seafood, vegetables, salads, sauces and spices. The food is then prepared by master grillers on a 600° 7-foot grill.
Since 1992, bd's mongolian barbeque© has been delivering a unique, interactive dining experience that sets us apart from the competition.
bd's mongolian barbeque© has created a growing band of loyal customers that believe passionately about their ability to take charge of their own dining event. We call this our "You Rule the Experience" philosophy. The guests don't just like bd's, they love it, as they feel they can take ownership of their own dining experience.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Chicken Thighs and Corn on the Cob

I decided to marinate the chicken thighs all day in OJ concentrate. I then pan "poached" them with some of the marinade until almost cooked. I dumped out the OJ and slatthered the thighs with some BBQ Sauce and cooked until done. The marinade made for a very moist chicken and the mild orange flavor was great with the BBQ Sauce. I love the flavor of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce. I use it all the time.

This is my first corn of the season. It was so very tasty. Michigan has some of the best corn. Trust Me!!

I served both with a side of the tomato salad I talked about below. :)

My First Basil of the Summer!!

So I picked my first batch of basil from my garden. What better than a simple tomato salad with basil and mozzarella?
My Dad and Step-Mom traveled to Europe a while back. They brought us a bottle of French Wine and Fancy Olive Oil from Italy. I was impressed with the wine but Dad quickly alerted me to the fact that "actually the olive oil was a lot more money than the wine". So this is probably some pretty fancy stuff. Why not celebrate the fresh basil? I took part of my huge tomato I got at the road side place and chunked it with some basil, mozzarella cheese (yes I cheated, it is actually some string cheese cut up), drizzled with olive oil and a dash of salt.


So I just love summer when in Michigan you can get fresh produce that is grown locally. It is always so tasty and the price is great.

This is what I got for less the $5.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Red Snapper Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries

I had a large red snapper filet that I pulled out of the freezer this morning. I wasn't sure what dinner was going to be. But since we had some leftover hamburger buns I thought making a sandwich would be good. I marinated the snapper in salt & pepper, a little olive oil and some cinnamon chipolte dry rub. Then I cooked it up on the grill. Added a slice of colby jack cheese, placed on a bun with honey spread. (I threw together cottage cheese, honey and dijon mustard in the mini food processor to get a mayo like consistancy.)

My favorite way to make veggies now is to cook them on the grill on a cookie sheet. My medium and small size both fit perfectly. So I basically roast them on the grill. I cut the sweet potatoe into small pieces, drizzled with a bit of olive oil and salt & pepper. They turn out crispy, but be careful to just drizzle with oil. Too much oil prevents the crisp.


I decided to write this post so it would be archived. I can't run now because I am pregnant. But I can't wait to get back to running and will do another 1/2 marathon at some point.
I have always had an itch to be a runner. I do much better running than walking. But I have always been a heavy person and didn't have the courage to run before. My husband is a bit of a runner. But he doesn't like mileage above 5Ks. He just does it for exercise and really doesn't enjoy it much. But since he participated in a 5K yearly I decided I would do it too.
So I ran my first 5K race in June 2005, Race for the Cure, Downtown Detroit
It was a great experience. I am a slow runner and will probably always be. But I finished and ran the whole time. So it was quite a milestone for me. I kept the running up but felt I needed some other motivation, like a race, to keep me going. We got married in August 2005. A few months after the wedding I was looking for something to occupy my time like the wedding planning did. I found a flyer for Team in Training at a coffee shop. And I sat and read it and realized I wanted to do a 1/2 marathon. A 1/2 marathon is quite a jump from a 5K. But I had plenty of time to get ready for it. So I took the plunge and went to the information session and signed up. So starting in November 2005 I was training for a 1/2 marathon. WOW. In December 2005 I signed up for my first 10K race, Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis, Birmingham, MI. This was quite the experience. This was a 5K and a 10K. Since it was quite chilly in December most of the runners opted for the 5K distance. I was the last finisher of the 10K. I ran the entire time and was followed by the ambulance back to the finish. It was a humbling experience. But I finished I ran 6.2 miles. Wow.
So the next few months were full of lots of running and preparing physically and mentally for the 1/2 marathon.
My husband and I planned a trip to Texas to visit my Brother and Sister In-Law. Since my Sister In-Law used to be a runner she decided to get into shape and do a 10K with us when we visited. So we all signed up for the Fiesta 10K in San Antonio Texas, April 2006. This was a huge test for me. I was not in shape for the previous 10K, but this one I was very prepared for. My time was good, in my eyes, and I felt so prepared for the race.
On May 7th 2006 I ran the Vancouver 1/2 Marathon with Team In Training. It was an amazing experience. I was slow, but I finished and I didn't finish last. I had met a goal. What a great thing! I also raised a ton of money for Team in Training in the process.
I slacked after this race, which I wish I hadn't done. I wish I would have signed up for another 1/2 marathon right away. I tried to get back into running officially in the spring of 2007. I was training for another 10K. Unfortunately I sustained an injury to my hip that got worse and worse as I trained more and more. I did the race Fireman's 5K/10K in Farmington Hills, MI in June 2007. But I could only run a little over 4 1/2 miles before realizing I was really hurt. So that led to a doctor's appointment and to months of phyical therapy. So this ended my running for the time. The process of getting pregnant was difficult for us, so running wasn't a priority in the Fall/Winter of 2007. But it will be again. I believe I have the running mentality and will get back there again. I just hope my injured hip doesn't stop me.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


I used to be one of the people that always used boxed mixes for pankcakes and waffles. But I have come to realize that the ingredients are some I always have on hand and much cheaper. So this recipe from The Joy of Baking website has become a go to. I love making a simple berry syrup for waffles and pancakes. The recipe is nothing special but I included it anyways. I went to a breakfast buffet with Dale and my Grandmother Evelyn a few months ago. I decided to get some waffles. It became a silly adventure. The waffles were served right next to the beef carving station. So I poured on what looked to be syrup, nope it was Au Jus. YUCK. Attempt two... They had whipped cream. I honestly couldn't remember ever having whipped cream on my waffles. Boy was it good. So I splurge sometimes and make some whipped cream to serve with the waffles. Today I noticed a frozen vanilla cool whip in the freezer that someone had brought over once, I figured that would work, but obviously to real thing is better.


1 cup (140 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup (240 ml) milk
2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter, melted

I added these in too
2 tsp of vanilla
1 tsp of cinnamon

Berry Syrup

2 cups of frozen mixed berries (cooked in the microwave for about 3 minutes, they cook down to a bit over a cup)
1/2 Cup of Pure Maple Syrup

Mix together

Friday, July 11, 2008

Our Baby Girl!!

I am very blessed to be 20 weeks pregnant. Our journey into parenthood has been long and difficult. We are so very thankful for scientific/medical advances. We needed assistance to get pregnant. So the last year, and 20 weeks especially, have been difficult and a journey that someone (up above) wanted us to take. So while this wasn't MY PLAN. I have accepted that this is something to cherish deeply, not take for granted, and appreciate every day. So I try my best to balance those emotions with the normal uncomforts of pregnancy and enjoy the days we are given. We found out Monday that our baby is a girl. So we are going to start getting into the pink state of mind, Although I prefer purple. Here is her most recent picture.

My new addiction DECORATING!!!

So my new love of HGTV has been inspiring me. :) I have been collecting some accessories for the house. And we just recently had some painting done. We bought a new home in August and were stuck with construction white walls. So I have been dying for some color. Here are some of my finds and some of my favorite wall colors. Sorry for the furniture mess. We need big strong men to come back and help us, since I can't move things.

I've Been Tagged (A long time ago)

So very sorry Kayte! I haven't been blogging much lately. But I am honored to be tagged by you.

So here are the Tagging Rules

The rules
Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

What was I doing ten years ago?
I had just graduated from High School. I think I was working my first summer at a church camp in the kitchen. Which ended up being great experience and started my passion for being in the kitchen.

What are five (non-work) things on my to-do list for today?
Since it is 7:30 PM there isn't much. :)

1. Update my blog
2. Clean up the kitchen
3. Put my feet up. Pregnancy swelling is getting to me.
4. Probably watch some TV.
5. Eat some ice cream :-)

Five snacks I enjoy:
1. Twizzlers
2. Chips & Guac
3. Dark Chocolate
4. Homemade Popcorn
5. Ice Cream

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
1. Become a huge philanthropist
2. Start a business helping others start their dreams
3. Become a woman of leisure
4. Make sure my family and friends were well taken care of
5. Travel all over the world

Places I’ve lived:
1. Southeast Michigan (Highland, Birmingham, Westland, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Wixom, Brighton, South Lyon)
2. Northern Michigan, Boyne Falls
3. Albion, MI (College)
I haven't ventured far from home!

Jobs I’ve had:
1. My Dad has a business so I started doing many things for him as a teenager (mow the grass, clean, data entry, package parts.... )
2. Church camp kitchen for 2 summers
3. Catering Company for a summer (Corporate lunches and graduation parties mostly)
4. Babysat a ton in high school
5. Overnight stock and backroom at Target
6. Athletic Trainer in College, High Schools and Physical Therapy Clinics (this is what my college degree is in)
7. Scheduling Manager/Operations Manager for a Defense Contracting Business (My Dad's company presently... far cry from cutting the grass)
8. Hungry Howies Pizza
9. Grocery Store Deli
10. Patient Transporter in a hospital physical therapy clinic

They are in no particular order. I think I got them all.

I will be tagging:


Friday Night Dinner

I was inspired today by the box of spices I received. I pulled out some burgers from the freezer a little late. I wasn't interested in microwaving them. So I thought a wet marinade may work well. So I pulled out my box of spices and chose the Mesquite Spice Packet Marinade. I wouldn't typically use a wet marinade on burgers because it could make it too messy. But since they were still frozen I thought it would be okay. The burgers were 1/2 Ground Beef an 1/2 Ground Turkey. I mixed up the marinade and poured it over the top.

Black Bean Salad

1 Can of Black Beans (rinsed and drained)
1 Can diced tomatoes (drained) Fresh would have been better here
1 Orange Pepper, diced
1 Small red onion, diced
1/2 TBS of Southwest Seasoning
Serve Cold

My Exchange Buddy!

I have had the privilege of becoming friend's with Joelen over the last year. We decided a while back we would start exchanging gifts to mail to each other monthly. I have been delighted with some of the great gifts I have received. Most recently I received a box of McCormick Spices and rubs and a beautiful glass bowl from Crate & Barrel. (Who doesn't love getting that black and white box?). Well I had to figure out what to display in the bowl. I ended up finding the perfect decorative balls to go inside.

Since I love the flavors so much...

Well I like to think I am creative. But it appears that my love of tomato, basil and mozzarella shows me as not being creative. But I will highlight this pasta anyways. :)

I prefer whole wheat pasta over the traditional. We don't eat a whole lot of pasta. But I prefer the nuttier taste. This pasta actually is "super powered" with some extra flax seed too.

The ingredients

Whole Wheat Pasta (pre-cooked)
Cut up chicken pieces (pre-cooked)
Chopped Fresh Mozzarella
Chopped Fresh Basil
Diced Yellow Tomatoes

The chicken I coated with this "Butcher's Rub" from the Spice House. (Sorry for the poor picture). I was given a batch of spices from an "exchange buddy" a while back. It has been a nice treat and I have enjoyed using all the spices.

No real recipe involved. Mix all ingredients and serve cold.
Very good!

My Sincere Apologies

I have been AWOL from blogging. I am 20 weeks pregnant. The kitchen has honestly not been a place I have spent much time. But I have more energy now and feel better. So back to work!! Since I was tagged over a month ago I must show some new work before responding. :)