6/30/11

Hawaiian Barbecue Pulled Chicken Sandwich

I had some pretty high hopes for this dish.  And for the most part, it met them.  I think my only problem was that I let it cook for too long and it was a bit over done.  

I leave for work so friggin' early that it's only option was to cook on low for 10 hours.  I'd do it for less time if I were you.  I think this recipe, she's got good potential.  

And sidebar...I'm not sure what I would do without green beans in my life. 


Hawaiian Barbecue Pulled Chicken Sandwich
from Framed

3 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
1 onion, peeled and cut into chunks
1 20 oz can pineapples, drained
20 oz bbq sauce

Place all ingredients in the crock pot.  Cook on low until chicken is done, about 8 hours.  About an hour before eating, remove the chicken breast and shred them. 

Serving size 1/2 cup (makes about 13 servings)
Points plus 4

6/29/11

A Weekend Egg Bake

Breakfast is maybe my favorite meal.  Maybe.  I mean it's a tough call. 

For the sake of this blog post, let's say that breakfast is my favorite meal. 

I especially love breakfast on the weekends.  I am a perpetual early riser so it's fun to get in the kitchen a fix up something fancy.  

This past weekend, I experimented with an egg bake.  I even got to use those long, shallow dishes that make me think of a fancy brunch.  'Twas fun. 


Egg Bake 
adapted from Kayotic Kitchen

cooking spray
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped tomato
2 slices of deli turkey (chopped)
1 tbl shredded weight watcher cheese
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350.

Spray a small pan with cooking spray.  Add the onions and tomatoes and cook until soft.  Add the turkey and cook until hot. 

Spray a ramekin or other small baking dish thing with cooking spray.  Place the onions, tomatoes, and turkey in the dish.  Sprinkle the cheese on top.  Crack the eggs atop it all.  Take something sharp and stab the yellow part of the egg.  This will make it kind of spread out. 

Bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until the eggs are set. 

Serving size entire dish
Points Plus 6  

6/28/11

Rainy Tuesday

It's cold. 

I know yesterday I said it was hot, and in general I do a large amount of whining about the weather, but so it is.  I'm cold today. 

It's rainy.  Not a bad rainy, just a rainy. 

A rainy that goes well with Iron and Wine...


While I take a break from note writing to listen to Iron and Wine and eat some tomato jam and cold pasta (see below), I'm also scrolling through this collection of blog posts...


Find the collection of posts here.  The first lesson?  Take the picture....

That's kind of deep. 

Happy rainy Tuesday!

Tomato Jam

There's alot about this recipe that is going to sound strange. It's a sauce, it's a jam, it's got a lot going on. I keep telling my mom about it, she keeps responding with "hmmmmmmm."

Don't ya just love summer food?  Still working on my light...
 I would have probably reacted the same way if I had read the recipe before giving it a taste.  It was one of the dishes featured at that book signing that I went to a few weeks ago.  Since I'm not one to shy away from the dip table, I grabbed up a wheat thin and dug in. 

Ya'll. This cookbook.  This tomato jam.  It's GOOD.  And fresh tasting.  

But it is labor intensive.  I had to peel and seed tomatoes and grate ginger.  Those are two things that I can without a doubt add to my list of things that I don't enjoy.  You know what else I could add?  Making a wedding list.  That jazz is for the freaking birds.  

But I digress.  Try this jam.  Eat it with cold pasta, veggies, crackers, a spoon, whatever.  


Tomato Jam

2 tbl olive oil 
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup grated and peeled ginger
3 cloves of garlic, chopped up
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
4 cups peeled seeded and chopped tomatoes (this was about 4 BIG tomatoes)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup of honey
juice from two lemons (about 2 tablespoons)

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Add the onions and a pinch of salt, cook until the onions are soft.  Give it a stir occasionally.  Add the ginger and garlic, stir and cook for about a minute.  Stir in the spices; add the vinegar brown sugar, and tomatoes.  

Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about an hour and a half.  You want the tomatoes to break down and most of the liquid to evaporate.  

Stir in the honey, salt, and pepper.  Increase the heat and boil the jam until it is shiny and thick, about two minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.  Let the jam cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Serving size 1/4 cup
Points plus 3   

6/27/11

A Summer Sandwich (Goat Cheese, Avacado, Tomato, Turkey Sandwich)

I've almost quit drinking hot coffee in the morning. 

The thought of soup makes me ill. 

The hair dryer, she rarely gets turned on. 

I'm hot.  It's affecting my appetite.  

Enter the solution:  a simple summer sandwich.  Hello, love.  


Goat Cheese, Avocado, Tomato, Turkey Sandwich
adapted from Grilled Cheese Social

2 slices of light wheat bread
1 oz of goat cheese, broken into crumbles
1/4 of an avocado, sliced
1 thick slice of fresh tomato
2 slices of deli turkey

Heat a large pan over medium heat.  Spray the pan with cooking spray. 

Take the bread, spread the goat cheese crumbles out evenly over each of the pieces of bread.  Place the avacado on one slice, the turkey on the other. 

Place the two slices side by side on the pan.  Let it hang out and get toasty.  The cheese wont really melt, we're just toasting the bread here and getting things warm.  Remove from the heat, add the tomato.  Close the sandwich. 

Cut it in half, diagonally.  Because that's cute. 

Serving size 1 sandwich
Points plus 9

6/25/11

I Should....

....be mowing the grass right now.

But instead I'm kind of being a rack monster (I don't know what that is, but that's what my mom calls us sometimes when we are being lazy) and creating a wish list / wedding registry at Anthropologie.  I know, dream big.  

While dreaming big and being a rack monster, I'm also listening to this on YouTube.  It's TV on the Radio's new album...Nine Types of Light.  I didn't think much about the old TV on the Radio until I was visiting Lindsey in Nashville last weekend; she played the album (hip) while we were getting dressed and I've been enjoying it ever since.  


This is the whole album with videos to go along with each song.  Enjoy!  And thanks, Lindsey, for cluing me in on these guys. 

Oh you want to see my Anthro Wish List?  Find it here... 

6/24/11

A Few on Friday

I'm having a large time with my camera.  I have no idea what I'm doing but I'm having a large time with it.  Wednesday night I figured out that trick where you do a blurry background with a sharp object in the foreground.  Foreground?  Is that right?  Regardless....it's been fun.  So fun that the smallest things, like beer and watermelon, speak to me. 


In addition to my constant quest for organization in my life, I'm also on a constant quest to decorate my home in a manner that is tranquil.  I would like this bed, please.  I love it.  I feel like I could make the pillows, MAYBE even make the duvet cover.  Keep your eyes out, people, for anything resembling this look...

find it here


And while you are hunting for my bedding...would you also like to pick out my china pattern?  My plan for Saturday is to spend some time bumming around downtown Greenwood looking at china and silver and crystal (oh my!).  

The silver is already figured out...I'll be using my Nanny's pattern, which is Gorham.  And yes, I just had to call my sister to get the name.  

  find it here

Isn't that lovely?  It makes me feel very southern to get the same silver pattern as my grandmother.  I will totally bury it to hide it from enemy troops if need be...

My sister Jennifer is really good at this kind of stuff.  She's the one that told me that I need to take a piece of silver with me when picking out my china.  Just to make sure it all goes.  And stick the crystal up next to it.  This is all pretty obvious but just not stuff that I think about. 

So what to do?  I guess just drool over Herend for a little while...

 find it here


Happy weekend! Hope it's a great one!


6/23/11

Squash and Onions

For my birthday last week, Brandon gave me cookbook entitled The New Southern Garden.  It was the same one featured in a book signing I went to a few weeks ago.  After sampling some of the recipes at the signing, I knew it was one I wanted to add to my collection.  The first meal cooked using one of the recipes went down Monday night.  It was a simple recipe, one you've probably had a million times.  My favorite part?  The butter.  All three tablespoons of it.  


Bless my beat up pan.  

In addition to butter, there was also a few squash (squashes?) and a chopped up onion. 


These ingredients came together to create that old, comforting favorite...squash and onions.  Give it a try.  It will make the butter deprived people in  your life very very happy...


Squash and Onions 
adapted from The Southern Garden Cookbook 

3 tbl butter, divided
1 lb squash, sliced thin
1 large onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pan over medium high heat, melt one tablespoon of butter.  Add the onion and cook for about 10 minutes or until soft and golden.  

Add another tablespoon of butter, the squash, and some salt.  Reduce the heat to medium low and cover.  Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  

Uncover and turn the heat to high.  Continue to cook, stirring constantly until the squash is soft and broken up.  Remove from heat and stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter. Season well with salt and pepper.  

Serving size 1/2 cup (makes five servings)
Points plus 2   

6/22/11

Harvest Grain Salad

I've said it before, I'll said it again.  Grocery shopping can be tough around these parts.

Luckily I have friends that live in cool places with cool grocery stores.  Like Lindsey living in Nashville with a Trader Joe's.  While there over the weekend, we were able to run in for a bit, between wedding dress trying on and boutique perusing. 

Trader Joes was kind of intense.  There was a lot going on and I couldn't quite figure out which way the check out lines went.  Country comes to town, huh?  Regardless, I was able to snag two bags of what I'd been hunting. 

I spotted Trader Joe's Harvest Grain Blends first on one of my favorite new sites, Danica's Daily. Ever since seeing her recipe for the harvest grain salad, I knew I wanted to try it. 

If I were a bettin' woman, I would say that this is going to become my summer staple.....

 

Harvest Grain Salad
adapted from Danica's Daily
1 1/4 cup of harvest grain blend from Trader Joe's, cooked according to package directions
1/2 jar of marinated artichokes
1/2 jar of sun dried tomatoes (drained, rinsed)
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
a few big dashes of Tony's
fresh pepper
chives (I didn't have chives but I know they would be great)

Combine all ingredients and serve hot or cold. 

Serving size 1/2 cup
Points plus 4

Something strange has happened with the spacing of this post and it's on my nerves.....

6/21/11

Just Pretend (Faux Cheese Sticks)

If I am ever in a crisis that can only be helped with greasy food, run to the nearest Sonic and fetch me up an order to mozzarella sticks (ranch AND marinara please) and an order of cheddar peppers.

There are certain foods that I will always want, cheese sticks are on that list.  Even the tiny frozen ones from Sysco.  I mean seriously, love 'em. 

While cruising around the world wide web a few weeks ago, i stumbled upon this page from, um, Seventeen magazine.  Hush.  Good information is good information regardless of where it's from. 

Seventeen Magazine

Apparently, this page holds the key to being clensed and healthy and in overall tip top shape.  And part of being in tip top shape?  Eating faux cheese sticks.   

So...cheese sticks.  If you close your eyes and think happy thoughts, the "toasty cheese sticks" featured on this page ALMOST taste like a deep fried dream.  ALMOST. 

 
Faux Cheese Sticks
2 slices whole wheat bread
spray butter
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup light marinara sauce
Heat a small skillet over medium heat.  Spray the bread with some butter.  Top one slice with the cheese, cover with bread.  Toast in the skillet until done and cheese is melted. 
Heat 1/4 cup of marinara sauce. 
Cut the sandwich into four equal slices.  Dip it in the marinara sauce. 
Serving size the whole recipe + the sauce
Points plus 6
  

6/20/11

Funny Words and Bang Bang Shrimp

If you've known me for any length of time, you probably know that I absolutely crack myself up. 

For example...the whole time I was making this meal this conversation kept happening:

Me (rather loudly): HEY BRANDON!

Brandon (just trying to watch one of those Jason Borne movies): Yes, Laura Merrill?

Me (still loud):  CORNSNARCH!!!

Brandon (almost annoyed): What?

Me (dying out laughing): CORNSNARCH!  Isn't that a funny word? 

That's where the conversation ended. 

But I'm still laughing about it.  Say it out loud... CORNSNARCH!  Now make someone else say it. Isn't that funny? 

It absolutely slays me to replace the "starch" in cornstarch with "snarch."

Again, I crack myself up.

Moving on.  

Have you ever been to Bonefish Grill?  Me neither.  But apparently, they have this thing called Bang Bang Shrimp.  And apparently it's quite the popular dish.  Several places in the delta are now offering it up, including Websters in Greenwood and Vince's in Leland.  I've never ordered it, just heard people rave about it.  I was pretty pumped to find that
Gina had revamped it into a WW friendly version.  It was pretty darn good!  Even the Brandon enjoyed it; enough so that he appeared to forgive me for my earlier annoying behavior. 
 

Bang Bang Shrimp
adapted from Ginas Skinny Recipes

5 tbl light mayonnaise
3 tbl Thai sweet chili sauce
1 tsp sriracha (rooster sauce)
1 lb shrimp, peeled and devained
2 tsp cornstarch (snarch)
1 tsp canola oil
Lettuce, cut into strips
green onions (I left these off because mine had turnt')

Combine the mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce, sriracha and set aside. 

Toss the cornstarch with the shrimp, toss it with you hands to ensure it all gets mixed up in there. 

Heat a large skillet over high heat until hot.  Add the canola oil, allow the oil to get hot.  Add the shrimp to the hot pan and cook until done. 

Remove from heat.  Toss the shrimp with the sauce.  Serve over a bed of lettuce. 

Serving size 1/2 cup (makes five servings)
Points plus 4

6/19/11

Learning, My Weekend, My Mess

So my sisters, brother in law, and nieces gave me a Nikon D3000 for my birthday.  I'm pretty sure it was Mary Kenway's idea, but I can't say for certain.  

Anyways...the big girl camera traveled to Nashville and I had a large time playing.  And realizing I didn't have a clue what I was doing with it.  I have a feeling that I'm going to have fun learning.  Here's a little of what I did.    

I turned a picture into a "sketch."  Neat.


Took a picture of this Juanita Burrita.  Funny story about this Juanita Burrita:  Lindsey and I were all dressed and ready to go to a Pure Barre class.  Upon pulling into the parking lot, Lindsey exclaimed that she had, in fact, forgotten socks for us.  So instead of going to exercise we picked up a couple of Janita Burritas from a great little coffee shop called Bongo Java.  You should try them.  It might not have been the place to eat before trying on wedding dresses but oh, well.  LIfe is short.  


I got all touristy and pulled the old girl out at Firefly at lunch.  It was a dark room, and a cold one, so this one is kind of awkward. 

But this was our app.  Hummus / pita / zucchini / magic plate.  Nice....



This was my lunch.  Grilled chicken, avocado, mango...I see a WW recipe in my future...



Here's me and Leah in Robert's

And me and Lindsey, still in Robert's.



And here we are at The Stage.  I'm not sure who that man in the background is but he looks a little peeved. This was taken by one of our new friends.  I'm not sure what her name was but she was seated with a group of ladies celebrating "Kathy's" birthday.  They loved Miranda Lambert.  This new friend was almost an enemy after I told her that she could not take Lindsey's chair when she got up from it.  She kind of bowed up at me but all was well when another chair was retrieved.  Whew.  As Lindsey said, I think she would have won the fight....

 

After making the long trip home (there was a hail storm involved) I was happy to see the fiance.  I was also happy to make him stand there while I snapped pictures of him in the front yard. 


Then I recruited Willard to get in on the fun.  That's Brandon's dad, FYI. 


After all of this front yard fun, I realized that I should probably stop lolly gagging around and do my dishes. 

This picture is for my friend Win who says that she loves pictures of my kitchen in absolute chaos.  She was at my house the time I accidentally got Pesto on the ceiling.   


That was my weekend. It was a great one.  How was yours?  Hopefully it was good.  And any of you photo taking peeps out there...shoot me your suggestions!  Websites, books, all that jazz. 

6/17/11

A Few On Friday

Hey there!  Happy Friday!  Hope it's a good one so far. 

Any big plans this weekend?  I'm hoping in the 'ole Honda and heading to Memphis, scooping up my pregnant friend Leah, and then making her drive me to Nashville to see Lindsey.  Well there probably wont be to much "making her drive" as she can't handle my driving, much less my driving on I 40.  It all works out...

This weekend, we plan to be here and here (God willing and we get off the waiting list) and here and here.  To say I'm excited is an understatement.  

Brandon and I watched Toy Story 3 last night.  I laughed, I cried, I recommend it to everyone.  

 find it here

My favorite part of the movie was every part with the fat, squatty dog.  I want a fat, squatty dog. 

For those of you who have missed my recipes...don't you worry!  I've got two posts already typed up and ready to go for next week.  This week was a little wild and cray-cray so there was not a ton of cooking happening.  There was a ton of eating, just not a ton of cooking. 

Happy and safe weekend to everyone!


6/16/11

Spoiled Rotten (Not the Children's Clothing Store)

You may remember a few weeks ago where in this post, I shamelessly begged someone to make me cupcakes filled with cookie dough topped with marshmallow frosting.  Well......


Yes.  Ask and ye shall receive.  Turns out it works with asking for this enough times on your blog, too. Thanks again, Chick and Jen and BJ and Alex and Mary Kenway!  

But all joking aside, my better-than-I-deserve family and friends and fiance spoiled me absolutely rotten this year.  And I'm not talking about gifts (even though they were pretty freaking cool).  I'm talking more about the love that I felt that day. And not just by the people that I was with, but by the people that sent love from afar. 

It's days like yesterday that I will carry with me forever, to times when the sun maybe doesn't shine so bright, and I need reminding how lucky and blessed that I am.  To remind me that no matter what happens, people are in my corner and will be there for me...in good times and bad. That's why birthdays are cool...people squeal for you.

I believe I'm getting more tender in my 29th year.  I promise to be back soon with sarcasm.  It's been kind of a sappy week. 

But back to the cupcakes.  Chickey made them for me and brought them to dinner last night.  She's quite right brained, loves the science and the chemistry and the pharmacy and usually doesn't do a whole lot of baking.  I believe I heard her say "nervous breakdown" a few times and I bet if we all ask her nicely in the comment section of this post, she would share her baking adventure in a guest post....

Thank you to everyone that helped me celebrate my birthday!  You rock.       

6/15/11

Birthday Highlights

It's my birthday! And it's going quite well. Here are some highlights...


1. My breakfast sandwich. It's my favorite...for only 6 points!


2.  Brandon's surprise for me. He knows my life is a constant battle for organization...


3.  This email card from my friend Thomas.  Hilarious. 


4.  My birthday lunch that I treated myself to.  I also spent my 21st birthday at a McDonalds in Prague; this one was in Charleston, MS which is kind of different.  But still...21st and 29th bot spent at McDonalds is kind of like coming full circle. 

5.  This card from my grandmother, Memaw.  Tears and sweetness...

6.  Rediscovering this song this morning on my iPod...

Sister girl, you too can take a dip into the water...

7.  The calls, texts, emails, facebook messages from friends and family.  I'm a blessed girl.  A very very very blessed girl.  Like for real.  Very thankful today....  

6/14/11

Creamed Spiniach

Guess what? 

Sometimes I don't count points. 

Shocking, I know. 

One of my favorite treats when I'm not counting points is to go to Gardenias and get their Ricotta Spinach.  I know, dream big.  It's just so good.  And pair it with an app of friend shrimp?  Shut your mouth.  Heaven, I tell you.  

I tried my best to recreate this heavenly goodness on Sunday when I cooked supper for Brandon's dad's birthday.  In return for doing this, Brandon cleaned my trashcan.  And washed all the dishes.  

Also on the plate that night was a pot roast, sweet cornbread, sliced tomatoes, and English peas.  Not a crazy hard menu so I have no excuse to not have taken a picture of the meal.  

Forgive me as I know that each one of you look so forward to my riveting food photography....

Creamed Spinach

2 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup of minced red onion
10 fresh spinach
1 tbl butter
1 tbl flour
1/2 cup low fat milk
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 tbl Parmesan cheese

Heat olive in a large skillet.  Add the onion and cook (stirring frequently) for about 30 seconds.  Add spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted (about 2 minutes).

Heat butter in a small sauce pan over medium high heat.  Add flour and cook, stirring until smooth and bubbling (about 30 seconds).  Add milk, nutmeg, salt, pepper and whisk constantly until thick (about one minute) Stir spinach into the sauce.  Sprinkle with grated cheese.  Divide into three equal portions.

Serving size 1/3 of recipe
Points plus 3     

6/13/11

You're Probably Alright Right Now

I am a worrier.  Quite the fretful thing, in fact.  Here's a good example of my fretfulness.  It was a conversation held between myself, and two of my co workers, Kizzy and Ginny.  And this is paraphrased, mind you.

Kizzy:  I'm going to Grenada Lake this weekend.  I haven't been there since my uncle drowned there.  He must've caught a cramp or something while he was swimming. 

Me:  Oh my gosh, really?  That's something else for me to worry about. (And notice my lack of empathy as I completely focus on myself...rude.)

Ginny: (popping her head around the corner) What did you just say?

Me:  I said that catching a cramp while swimming and then drowning is something else for me to worry about.

Ginny.  OK.  That's what I thought you said, just making sure (shakes her head and walks away.)

Let's think about this realistically.  I don't often catch cramps (aside from that charlie horse last week) and I really don't spend a lot of time swimming in large bodies of water.  If I'm swimming chances are I'm in a swimming pool and someone would be able to rescue me if I did, in fact, catch a cramp.  

Enter this article from Psychology Today.  It's a great article with some great points.  Here's an excerpt:

"But take a close look at this moment, right now. You are probably alright: No one is attacking you, you are not drowning, no bombs are falling, there is no crisis. It's not perfect, but you're OK."

Makes sense, huh?  I'm fine, right now.  Life's not perfect, it never is, but in this moment...I'm good.  Click here to go to the article in it's entirety.

And stay tuned for creamed spinach!

6/10/11

A Few on Friday

I am trying to start a roller blade gang in Greenwood.  My friends are less enthused than I am, but I think if I can just keep working it into conversations it can happen.  I'm absolutely going to require that to be in my roller blade gang you have to wear long jean shorts and a Guatemalan belt.  The sliders and sports bra will be optional, but encouraged.  Who's with me?  And who's buying me roller blades?


When I fall while roller blading, and that will happen, it's going to hurt.

Hurt kind of like when I was attacked by a charlie horse Tuesday night / Wednesday morning.
It was bad.  

It led me to want to learn more about Charlie Horses'.  So I did.  Turns out, they can be caused by overusing the muscles, standing up for long periods of time, or dehydration.  My money is on my Charlie Horse occurring because I didn't drink quite enough water the day before.

But I'm not sure.  I am sure that I still love this picture.  No matter how many times I've posted it. 
It's a horse, get it?  And we shall call them Charlie Horses'. 

I love a movie in which the world is saved.  More specifically, I love a movie in which the world is saved by Will Smith.  Unfortunately, Will Smith has not been saving the world lately so I'm having to make do.  

My plan is to smile sweetly at my fiance this Sunday and ask him to take me to go see Super 8.  Even though I'm pretty sure it's going to scare the daylights out of me, I still want to give it a shot.  


I'll probably be so scared that I will be forced to bake and eat these cookies...


find it here

And now...three wishes.  More specifically...three frivolous, slightly bratty wishes.

1.  This hair:

find it here

2.  To be by a pool reading this....

    from amazon

That Scarlet, she's a trip...

3.  For a cute dress to wear on my trip next weekend.  Nashville, baby!  


Happy weekend, par-tay people!  Hope it's a good one! 
 

6/9/11

Save Your Points (Ham and Cheese in Puff Pastry)

This is one of those meals that you're going to need to save your points for.  I didn't intend for the points to be so high, but, such is life. 

In addition to saving your points, you're also going to need to thaw out your puff pastry.  Turns out, this process takes about forty minutes.  Forty minutes feels like an eternity when you are hungry for puff pastry, ham, and cheese. 


I have recently discovered a new found love for hot ham and cheese sandwiches.  My recent fave has been the one from the Crystal Grill.  It is, in fact, my favorite Sunday night meal.  You know...get all ready for the week, eat a hot ham and cheese, maybe wash some clothes.  

Excited I was when I found this lovely recipe on The Freeman Club.  It was quick to put together (aside from the thawing) and didn't require a whole lot of skill.  I, for one, was kind of intimidated by puff pastry sheets.  

A few things I learned during this process....

1.  Watch the timer.  I caught it at 18 minutes in and it was almost burned.  That would have been awful.  

2.  Non stick spray would've been a good idea.  Or some type of non stick something or other.  I put it on wax paper and that was not the best idea.  There was a layer of puff pastry left behind.    

3.  This sandwich kind of tasted like the ham and cheese calzone from Pasquale's.  Be still my heart.  I bet with a little ranch and an additional cheese it would have been spot on.  

Try not to be to jealous of my blue kool aid.  Ok I'll stop talking now...

  

Ham and Cheese in Puff Pastry
adapted from Food Network

2 sheets of frozen puff pastry, thawed
2 tbl dijon mustard
1/4 lb deli ham
7 oz part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 egg
1 tbl water

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Unfold one sheet of puff pasty, spread out the mustard leaving about a 1 inch border.  Add the cheese, then the mustard. 

Combine the egg and the water to make an egg wash.  Brush egg wash around the edge of the pastry. 

Place the second layer of puff pastry on top, lining up the edges.  Smush the edges together.  Brush the egg wash on the top sheet of pastry.  Make a few slits in the top so that the steam can escape.

Bake for about 20 minutes....but mine was almost burned at 18 so watch out!  I have a funky oven though...so all of my cook times might be a little skewed.  

Divide the sandwich into six equal slices.  

Serving size 1 slice
Points plus 12

Serve this with a good 0 point vegetable, like some broccoli or some green beans, to help fill up.   

6/8/11

Something For Your Thursday Evening

It's hot outside.  It's only going to get hotter.

Thank goodness, the fine people at Vince's in Cleveland are scheduled to fix the air conditioner in my car tomorrow. 

God willin' and the creek don't rise. 

I'd had enough.  It was starting to get painful.  I was having to change bras when I got home for work.

Too much information?  Sorry, mom.

In celebration of me not dying of a heat stroke (yet), I think everyone in and around Leflore County should go to Turnrow Books tomorrow night for a "bloomer droppin' good time" as they showcase Carolyn Norris' new book, Spirit of the Delta. Click here to learn more about this. There will be food and toe tapping and general merriment.   

Maybe then everyone will wander next door to the Alluvian Courtyard and enjoy one or two of these....


Come on y'all.  It's hot outside.  Let's all get together and fan ourselves.   

Hipster Salad (Black Bean, Quinoa and Citrus Salad)

Quinoa. It's really trendy. It's kind of like brown rice's trendy cousin. The trendy cousin that lives in a big city, has all of the latest clothes, and listens to the hippest music.  The cousin that makes you feel bad about yourself at family functions.  But I don't have cousin's like that so I can't even really use that as an example. 

I can't even say it. 

Ken-wah

Key-noah

Poe-tay-toe

Poe-tah-toe

Quinoa's presence in this salad is what makes this salad a hipster  salad. If it could talk, there would be witty banter.  And it would listen to LCD Soundsytem...


It's so hip, in fact, that I couldn't even get a clear picture of it.  
 

This recipe is from a great blog that I found through Paige's blog...go check it out if you are in to eating, living, and / or running.

Black Bean, Quinoa and Citrus

2 cans of black beans
1/2 of a red onion, chopped
2 large grapefruits, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, diced
3 ears of fresh corn, sliced from the kernels
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 large (ripe, but firm) avocado diced
1 small bunch of cilantro
juice of three limes
2 tsp cumin
3 tbl extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

Bring quinoa to a boil with three cups of water and some salt.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed and quinoa is all fluffy.  Remove and set aside while you prepare the rest of the salad. 

Put the black beans, red onion, grapefruit, cilantro, bell pepper, avocado and corn in a large bowl and toss.

In a small bowl combine the lime juice, cumin, olive oil and salad.  

Add quinoa to the salad and then the dressing.  Toss to combine.  It makes a ton, just put it in huge zip lock.  

Serving size 1 cup (makes about 13 cups)
Points plus 5

I learned from this dish that I'm not a huge fan of grapefruits.  Avocados though?  Still love them.  Quinoa...I'll see you again sometime soon.  Hopefully in an apple cereal dish.   


6/7/11

Not Fade Away...Florence + the Machine

I'm supposed to be working right now. 

But I have Pandora going on the old phone and this song just came on.  I wanted to remember it.  And share it.  If I just wanted to remember it, then I would have simply written it down. 

Happy Tuesday.  I feel like it should be further along in the week than that.  It's not, thought, so I'm just going with it.

 

No Need For Takeout (Lettuce Wraps)

We've got this great little hidden jewel in the 'Wood.  It's nestled in a strip mall, near the Big Lots and the Payless.

I know this all sounds a little small town and country.   

However, their food is really out of this world.  It's a little Chinese place called Mai Little China.  Guess what else?  It's brown bag.  So, if you choose to dine in, you can take a bottle of vino...if you so fancy.  

We usually do take out.  Said takeout usually involves an appitizer that is more often than not lettuce wraps.  Yum.  Not points friendly, but yum.  Turns out just because something is wrapped in lettuce doesn't automatically mean they're healthy. 

Until now. 

And let's discuss how much I love the fact that it gets dark later? Among other things...it makes my food look less creepy.


Lettuce Wraps (PF Chang's Style)
adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

1 lb ground chicken breast
1/2 red onion, diced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp minced garlic
1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 tbl dark sesame oil
2 1/2 tbl soy sauce
1/2 tbl water
1 tbl reduced fat peanut butter (creamy)
1/2 tbl honey
1 tbl + 1 tsp rice vinegar
2 tsp chili garlic sauce (more if you like it hot)
3 green onions, chopped
4 oz of sliced water chesnuts, chopped
large lettuce leaves, washed and dried

In a large pan, cook the chicken, garlic, and onions  until meat is cooked through.  Add the rest of the ingredients (through lettuce, obvi) and allow to cook for a little while and thicken up.

To serve, spoon into lettuce leaves and wrap it up. 

Serving size 1/2 cup (makes about 7 servings)
Points plus 3

Eating this gets slightly chaoctic (as did cooking it, but that's kind of normal for me).  What I did was spoon 1/2 cups onto my plate and then just go from there with the lettuce leaves.  If you can fit an entire 1/2 cup in one lettuce leaf and then successfully eat it, then you are more talented than I am.