Category Archives: Weekend Cooking

Weekend Cooking: My New Pal (76/99)

Weekend Cooking - New

I swore I would never become one of “those people” who obsessively track every carb and crumb consumed — but I confess, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing for the past four days.

As regular readers of the blog know from my previous posts, I’m trying to lower my cholesterol level and reduce my carbohydrate intake. This is all thanks to numbers that are considered “borderline high” but are more like probably two bowls of ice cream away from landing me into the “high” category. We won’t even discuss my triglycerides.

At lunch on Wednesday, I decided if I was going to be serious about this (and I am), I needed a simple way to monitor my food intake.

So, I turned to my Facebook hive-mind.

Need your recommendations for apps (Android based) to help track one’s consumption of carbs, cholesterol, sugar, etc. and progress toward goals. I don’t really want (nor can I afford) a FitBit or any new gizmo. I don’t necessarily want to join a group of carb-abstainers or people counting cholesterol grams. I need something where I can enter what I’m eating and have it magically track how crappy it is for me or not.  Annnndddd, go.

The overwhelming response was MyFitnessPal, which I downloaded before finishing my salad. (Also a confession: it was a green bean and potato salad with pesto, a very small portion leftover from the previous night’s dinner. And really, with only a few small potatoes.)

I really like MyFitnessPal. It’s definitely keeping me accountable, if only to myself. And it is eye-opening to see how much cholesterol and how many carbs are in certain foods.

It is easy to get overly obsessed about this. I need to remind myself that our bodies need cholesterol and carbs, that they’re found naturally in many good-for-us foods. And even though my kids understand I’m trying to eat healthier, I’m very conscientious of the messages I’m sending to them. I don’t want them to think they (or I) can never have a potato ever again, but at the same time, I want them to know (if they ask) why I’m only having salad for dinner when everyone else is having macaroni and cheese.

I also tend to be my biggest critic, and I have to remember that just because I went over my daily goals in one or two areas doesn’t mean that the day was a complete failure. After all, small steps lead to big changes, which is what this is all about.

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page.

99 Days of Summer BloggingThis is post #76 of 99 in my 99 Days of Summer Blogging project. This also isn’t sponsored or paid for by MyFitnessPal in any way. (I’m just a happy user.)

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Weekend Cooking: Waking Up to Overnight Oats

Blueberry Banana Overnight Oats

The Girl and I have a busy day today, as tends to be the norm on the first Saturday of the month. I knew I would need a powerful, healthy breakfast to hold me over until lunchtime, and I decided to make overnight oats.  If you’ve read any food blogs or perused Pinterest lately, you know that overnight oats have been trendy for awhile now.

I had been meaning to make these for awhile, but never have — until last night. I can’t find the exact Pinterest recipe I based this on, but it went something like this:

Blueberry Banana Overnight OatsBlueberry Banana Overnight Oats

3/4 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
3/4 cup almond milk
1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats (I like Trader Joe’s brand)
1 smashed banana, more on the brown side than ripe
handful or two (or three) of blueberries

Combine all ingredients In a mason jar or bowl. (Personally, as much as I love the aesthetics of this in a glass jar, I don’t feel its essential.)  Stir. Refrigerate until morning, stir a few times, then top with blueberries before enjoying.

This couldn’t be any easier and it turned out to be fantastic. Although I would have preferred a thicker consistency, that’s easily adjustable for next time. And I am planning to make overnight oats again, especially since my cholesterol and triglyceride levels are being stubborn as hell.

I’m now on the hunt for more overnight oats recipes, just to have a variety.  (Although I don’t want any with seeds — especially chia, which I find to be incredibly vile. And I’ve seen some versions with chocolate and additional sweeteners like honey but that’s probably not the best way to go either.)

Do you make overnight oats? Tell me about your favorite!  

Weekend Cooking - NewWeekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page.

99 Days of Summer BloggingThis is post #69 of 99 in my 99 Days of Summer Blogging project. 

 

 

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Weekend Cooking: Farmers Market Bounty (55/99)

Farmers Market 7-22-2016

This week’s bounty from the farmers market.

Weekend Cooking - NewWeekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page.

99 Days of Summer BloggingThis is post #55 of 99 in my 99 Days of Summer Blogging project.

 

 

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Weekend Cooking: Summer Smoothie (48/99)

Smoothie - Banana BlackberrySmoothies are one of those things that I probably should make more often, but I don’t. I’m not sure why; it’s not like they are overly difficult or I don’t usually have the ingredients on hand.  That’s a bit more challenging in the winter, true, but there’s no excuse in the summer with the abundance of fruits and berries.

And what’s worse is sometimes I even buy certain things when they’re on sale — like extra bananas, raspberries, and blackberries — with the INTENTION of making smoothies. I don’t have to tell you what usually happens.

A few mornings ago, I was making The Boy’s lunch for a camp field trip and I grabbed a bunch of bananas on the counter.  They were a little overripe, and the entire bunch broke off at the stem and became partially unpeeled. I threw the bananas in the freezer and decided to do something with them later.

That afternoon, the four of us happened to be home when the summer afternoon seemed to scream smoothies. I remembered the frozen bananas from that morning and turned to the pile of cookbooks I’d recently borrowed from the library.

Sure enough, the perfect recipe was found in Dinner Solved! by Katie Workman.

Berry Banana Smoothie (makes 2 servings)

1½ cups strawberries, blueberries or raspberries, fresh or frozen  (I used raspberries and blackberries)
1 banana, fresh or frozen, sliced into chunks
1 cup (8 ounces) plain Greek yogurt  (I used regular plain yogurt)
½ cup milk  (I used almond milk)
3 to 4 tablespoons honey, to taste
1 cup crushed ice

Smoothie - Banana Blackberry 21. Place the berries, banana, yogurt, milk, honey and ice in a blender. Pulse a few times, then puree to desired texture.

2. Pour into glasses and serve.

Definitely a very refreshing summer drink!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Cooking - NewWeekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page.

99 Days of Summer BloggingThis is post #48 of 99 in my 99 Days of Summer Blogging project. 

 

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Weekend Cooking: Gluten-Free Bread Salad with Goat Cheese (41/99)

High on my list of favorite summer foods is Tomato and Bread Salad, also known as Panzanella. I love everything about it. Bread salad makes a perfect lunch as well as an easy dinner (for me, that is). It’s cheap and simple with seasonal ingredients.  What could be better?

Oh, yeah. That little thing called bread.

I’ve missed this salad since going gluten-free.  I thought about trying to make it with GF bread, but the brand I usually buy (Aldi’s LiveGFree) seemed too thin for this dish.

A week ago, my boss and I were at my favorite Pittsburgh lunch spot (EatUnique, which I really need to do a review of soon). I’d ordered a tomato and mozzarella sandwich on a gluten free roll. It had a light pesto spread and it was AMAZING.  It tasted just like my beloved tomato and bread salad.

A few days later, I noticed that Aldi now has gluten-free hamburger rolls (which is FANTASTIC because, let’s face it, some things just taste better on a roll). Inspiration struck; when I had two extra, slightly stale rolls after the Fourth of July, I knew what I needed to do.

GF Bread Salad

This version is as simple as it gets:

Chop tomato and cucumber; combine in a medium sized bowl. I happened to have a few fresh basil leaves, so I added those. Then, tear the hamburger bun into cubes and add those to the mixture.  Combine all ingredients by stirring gently. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. (I didn’t measure this, but I used more oil than vinegar.) I added a little goat cheese to this.

You can adjust the portions, depending on how many people you’re serving. I’m the only one who likes this in our house so this made enough for my dinner.

And then I repeated the same for lunch today.

So delicious to have you back, Tomato and Bread Salad!

Weekend Cooking - NewWeekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page.

 

99 Days of Summer BloggingThis is post #41 in my 99 Days of Summer Blogging project. 

 

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Weekend Cooking: New Cookbooks, A Festive Fourth of July Salad, and Blueberries (34/99)

Cookbooks - 7-2016

I’m craving some new recipes (my eternal, elusive quest for meals the whole family can and will eat) and have been checking out a bunch of cookbooks and foodie magazines from the library. We’re lucky; our library has an abundant cookbook section and it’s not unusual for me to bring home a pile of them.  I may not always get around to preparing anything from them, but there’s something so indulgent about browsing through a stack of cookbooks for inspiration.

(Plus, magazines count as a book for our library’s Summer Reading Program, so that’s another reason to consume them.)

We don’t have anything going on this weekend for the 4th of July.  The Boy and I went to ALDI today and got a bunch of fruit, including a gigantic seedless watermelon. I chopped it into cubes — it filled a huge container that would have easily cost $20 if I’d purchased it pre-made — and made this very festive Watermelon, Blueberry, and Feta Salad for dinner (along with hot dogs).

(Literally, that’s all it is: watermelon, blueberries, and feta cheese.)

Watermelon-Blueberry-Feta Salad

The berries are from our own backyard. One of the more pleasant things we acquired with this house were four blueberry bushes.  Of those, one has stopped producing and one never started, but the other two usually give us a decent amount.

This was tonight’s harvest. I’d estimate this to be about slightly less than half a pint. Hopefully we’ll get a few more this season before the birds make them disappear.

Blueberry harvest 7-2-2016

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

Weekend Cooking - NewWeekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts.

 

 

 

99 Days of Summer BloggingThis is post #34 of 99 in my 99 Days of Summer Blogging project. 

 

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Weekend Cooking: So, The Refrigerator Broke … (20/99)

Weekend Cooking - New

After driving for nearly six hours and being away for five days,  we came home to a large puddle of water in our kitchen.

The mess was surrounding the refrigerator, so it didn’t take long to figure out the cause of this untimely domestic disaster.

Initially we thought there had been an extended power outage or that one of the doors had been left open by accident. In an attempt to plan ahead, I had cooked Easy Cheesy Ravioli Casserole for dinner earlier that week with the intention of freezing the leftovers for an already-prepared meal when we returned home. One of the last things I did before we left was to move the container of ravioli from the fridge to the freezer.

The temperature in the fridge climbed higher and higher. The Husband hauled bag after bag of rotten food to the trash, including what would have been dinner. For this very reason, I usually try not to have much in the fridge while we’re away, but still — we probably tossed several hundred dollars of food.

I took to the Google to find an appliance repair person.  When none called back or returned my emails (a week later, I’m still waiting for a response), I started pricing refrigerators and checking our credit card balances and measuring the weird space in the kitchen that housed the fridge. (The former owners of this house remodeled the kitchen at one point and the fridge is surrounded by a huge cabinet-like structure.)

A new fridge could be delivered as soon as Thursday.

This was Sunday night.

Needless to say, last week was very, very long.  No milk for our coffee or cereal, no cold drinks, no ice cream.

“We’re living like pioneers!” The Boy complained.

Obviously, not quite. Refrigerators in homes were only invented in 1913, so that’s hardly the pioneer era.  Still, it made me stop for a moment and consider how many everyday things like this we take for granted and how much easier we have it compared to … well, the pioneers.

The fridge arrived as scheduled on Thursday and life has returned to what passes for normal here.

Oh, and the best part?

It was our 23rd wedding anniversary.

Wondering what the traditional gift is for one’s 23rd wedding anniversary? *

It’s not a refrigerator, I can tell you that.

 

*It’s a silver plate. Because, you know, every middle-aged married couple needs a silver plate.

Weekend Cooking - NewWeekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts.

 

 

 

99 Days of Summer BloggingThis is post #20 of 99 in my 99 Days of Summer Blogging project. 

 

 

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