Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Perfect Junk Food For Women

I realize that some of my regular readers are men. And for that, I'm flattered. However, today's post will resonate deeply with women. That doesn't mean that savvy men can't read and learn. *wink* (Trust me... you may very well become a hero to a woman in your life's orbit.)

I am a firm believer in home cooked foods prepared with quality ingredients. But occasionally (read: hormonally) nothing will satisfy cravings other than junk food. The problem I have is this: First, you eat sweet...then must have salty...then sweet...

You know the routine. It may take two to three cycles to satiate the "hormonal craving beast" that lives inside.

Well, NO MORE! Again, I don't advocate a regular intake of junk foods. However, I have discovered the pure perfected essence that is craving cure Nirvana. Behold:

I chanced across these delicious, crunchy pieces of heaven in our campus bookstore while on a coffee run. Good googly moogly!!! I am too ashamed to tell you how quickly they disappeared. That are just that good. Better than chips, better than caramel candy... they are caramel corn to the nth degree good! Salty and sweet. The perfect storm to decimate hormonal cravings.

They are so good... they should be used only in dire hormonal situations.

Just sayin'.

You've been warned.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

WIL: Eat Your Veggies!

I believe in the power of sister-friends. The older I become the more certain I am that sister-friends are life support, entertainment, wisdom founts and cheerleaders all rolled into one loving package.

I belong to a fabulous group of ladies called Women in the Light. Our fearless leader Jennifer V. established the group to encourage women of all ages, circumstances and abilities to build close and trustworthy relationships. We are a patchwork quilt of life seasons, careers, marital statuses and backgrounds. We all claim to follow Christ, but belong to different Christian denominations. None of us are hung up on the non-essentials of our faith.

The food theme for our get together this past Thursday was "Eat Your Veggies". While Jennifer V. is our fearless leader, veggies have not been high on her list of "delicious eats". She has made great strides in the three years I've known her and now will try (and sometimes enjoy) vegetables. So, I was floored when she suggested this theme. I have to hand it to her: she IS fearless.

The photo at the top of this post is a delicious salad that Kelly brought: Spinach, carrots, ripe pears, feta and dried cranberries. It was served with a raspberry vinaigrette.

Jennifer M. brought Balsamic Peppers. They were an awesome balance of sweet and tart. Yum!

Dawn V. made a potato casserole that was to die for. Unfortunately, I missed taking a photo of that dish. I forgot that it was in the oven finishing up. But can I just tell you this? Potatoes, sour cream and cheese = comfort. I also missed Michelle's Black Bean and Corn Salad. I did not realize it was on the menu until forks had been hoisted. And by then... well, it was too late. Okay, it wasn't too late. I just wasn't going to stop eating to take more photos. *blush*

Jennifer V. made a Broccoli Casserole and I made Asian Noodle Salad.

I ate entirely too much food. I had a nice bowl of salad and a plate of all of the goodness.

In keeping with the vegetable theme, there was Carrot Cake for dessert. I just couldn't manage any. I'd already filled up on my veggies.

After our veggie feast, we sat down to continue building our scrapbook cookbooks. Yes, we share all of our recipes between us. Didn't I say that sister-friends are invaluable???

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Foodie Field Trip

Every weekend, I am blessed to share Sister Saturday with my older sister. The fact that our homes are built next door to each other is by no means a guarantee that we will see each other throughout the week. However, Sister Saturday is sacrosanct. Our Saturdays are spent together accomplishing a variety of enjoyable outings and necessary errands for the family.

Today, one of our diversions involved a bit of a "Foodie Field Trip" to Petty's Meat Market. Their fresh meats are really the very tastiest that I've ever had. Truly. No. Lie. Yet today we shopped the condiments, seasonings and cold cases. Wow. Forgive the photo quality. All were taken with my phone camera. (smile)

Different types of salt:

We browsed the vinegars. I love to switch up vinegars in home made salad dressings.

We noodled over to sauces, jams and seasonings:

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know about my love affair with cheese. Oh, be still my heart! How about some fresh Feta?

Petty's also has an extensive wine selection, but we also skipped that today. Sometimes they have in-store wine tasting with an expert on hand to answer questions.

They always have complimentary beer on tap near the take away deli counters. We did not indulge today... but sometimes do!

Did I mention that they have bulk candy jars? Who says foodies don't like their childhood favorites anymore?

I promise, I didn't buy any candy today. I left with a package of gluten free Lemon Pepper Noodles.... and a smile.

Disclaimer: I was in no manner compensated for this blog entry. I received no monies, discounts or special treatment. Petty's treats all of their customers to excellent customer service, warranting this praise.

Friday, January 15, 2010

It Warms My Heart

I spent the winter holidays year visiting my family and friends back home in San Antonio and my sister-friend and family in Virginia. As always, one of my expressions of love is food. I love to putter around and cook up love for my loved ones.

My first night in Virginia was a c-c-c-cold one. It was getting late by the time everyone made in in for the evening. Everyone was hungry. For me, that meant one thing: soup time!

I made my "semi-homemade" version of Pasta e Fagioli. Easy, comforting and delicious. I served it up with some hot garlic bread and everyone was happy. Soup feeds the body and soul.

Yesterday, my sister-friend called to ask how to make the soup. I emailed her the instructions talking girlfriend to girlfriend. I decided to post it as I sent it:

Pasta e Fagioli (Italian Pasta and Bean Soup) E-mail Recipe


Here are the easy steps:

1. The "Dump": In large pot dump all of the following:

* Beef Stock (2 Cartons)
* Diced tomatoes with juice (Medium can... 14 oz?)
* Both cans of beans with juice
* corn, with juice (small can...5 oz?)
* Spaghetti Sauce (Full Jar)
* Put on back burner of the stove to boil, turn down to simmer once boiling
* Add 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
* Add 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper

2. The Browning:

* Brown in cast iron skillet ground beef
* Season with Onion powder, Garlic powder, salt and black pepper (use the kosher salt)
* Brown, drain and then brown until caramelized. (Makes better taste in soup)
* Put browned crumbled meat into soup pot with other "Dump" ingredients
* In the same skillet, add two tablespoons olive oil. Do not wash skillet.
* Brown one onion, small diced. Two cloves of garlic pressed, and three ribs of celery small dice (important to caramelize!)
* Put browned veggies into soup pot with other cooking ingredients.

3. Simmer

* Simmer to meld the flavors about 15 minutes
* Add pasta (about 1 cup dry)
* Cook until pasta tender

4. Remove from heat

* Stir in on large handful of chopped parsley
* Check for salt/pepper
* Cover and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.


It warms my heart that she sent the picture above showing the results. She served it up with a generous sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese (just like I did!)

I love her.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Old School Friday: The Dramatics

I remember watching Soul Train as a little girl with my sisters on Saturdays. No one would move in the den while the show's featured guests were on stage.

I remember this one fondly.