Day #24: A special guest & a cookie fail

Sweaters – GAP, Cami – Old Navy, Pants – Express,
Shoes & Earrings – Banana Republic, Headband – J. Crew

Today my little puppy girl made her 30 for 30 debut!  She’s not possessed, I promise.  Her name is Lola and she’s the best cuddle bug in the world.  This morning she snuggled under the covers with me while hubby was in the shower and I slept for an extra half hour.  It’s part of our morning routine almost daily.

A little sidenote about today’s outfit – the cami doesn’t count as one of my 30 for 30 items since I’m wearing it more as an undergarmet.  Trust me.  I read the rules.  Again, I was going for comfort with this outfit.  And warmth.  Because we got a nice dumping of snow today.  Ick.  I’m so over winter!

It’s a Friday night and I’m feeling pretty miserable.  I wasted 3 hours of my night trying to turn this cookie recipe into a success story.  I wish I had looked it up online (I had it bookmarked in a recent copy of ‘All You’ magazine) before going to work in the kitchen.  As a few other reviewers commented, there must be some missing ingredients because my dough was a crumbly mess, the filling was a disaster, and I couldn’t get the dang nonpereils to stick.  (Yes, I am the a-hole that gave this a 1 star rating.  Created an account just so I could post my review.)  I finally just gave up and let hubby try to salvage something from the mess.  Turns out he’s got the magic in him because he was able to fix enough cookies to almost fill a ziplock sandwich bag.  Not worth having to toss the rest of the mix but I have to admit the cookies tasted pretty good once assembled.  Still, I will not be attempting this recipe again.

Baked Macaroni & Cheese


I prefer to do most of my cooking and baking on the weekends when I’m not feeling rushed but after working until 7pm for the first few days of the week, all I wanted to do when I left work at my normal time today was cook a meal for hubby and I.  After bookmarking this recipe last week, I decided that tonight was the perfect night to give it a try.  It has been incredibly cold out lately and we’ve both been so busy this week.  Sometimes comfort food can make all the difference.

As usual, I pretty much followed the recipe exactly with just a couple of minor tweaks.  I used 1/2 cup of panko breadcrumbs, a mix of mild and extra-sharp cheddar, and accidentally put in double the pepper but it tasted just fine!  This is a pretty heavy mac and cheese and although the recipe states that it serves 4, I used four 7 oz ramekins as well as one 16 oz ramekin for the remaining mixture so in my opinion it’s more like 6 servings.  After eating one of the small ramekins, a small slice of Pepperidge Farm garlic bread, and enjoying a cold beer (Long Trail Ale – based in VT) alongside my meal I was absolutely stuffed.  It was delicious!

Apple Custard Pie with Oatmeal Crust


Happy Superbowl Sunday, everyone!  Hubby and I are getting ready to go watch the game at our friend’s place and it’s our job to bring the dessert.  I subscribe to the Vegetarian Times recipe of the week emails and the most recent one to arrive in my inbox was for this delicious pie.  Ok, I haven’t actually tried it yet but I’m assuming it’s delicious.  It certainly looks good and the apartment smells AMAZING right now!

Once again, I happened to have all of these ingredients on hand so I didn’t have to run to the store ahead of time.  (I’ll definitely be stopping quick when we leave to watch the game later to grab some vanilla ice cream to go with the pie, yum!)  I substituted regular butter for vegan margarine, used soymilk in place of oat milk, and sliced up 5 small apples instead of 3.  Can’t wait to give it a try later!

Simple Saturdays


The thing I love about weekends is having the time to do things that I generally don’t have during the week (or maybe I’d just prefer to be lazy when I get home from work).  I recently photocopied several recipes out of an issue of Weight Watchers magazine that a friend of mine had bought during the holidays.  Today was the perfect day to try this Tuna & White Bean Salad (sorry guys, no recipe link for this one).  I’ve already fallen off the wagon with my resolution to record what I eat so that I can become a bit more aware of my habits (see post here) but I’m determined to start over and keep trying.  Luckily, this also ties in with my resolution to experiment with new recipes and eat at home more often (see post here).  So, tonight I will be testing out yet another new recipe (well, more of a recreation of a local restaurant favorite) and enjoying some wine with a couple of the girls.  Hope you are all having a wonderful Saturday!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Brownies


In light of the fact that it’s going to be a very long and hectic day at work tomorrow, I decided to whip up a quick batch of these brownies for all of the lovelies that I am so grateful to share an office with.  I used this recipe and it is definitely a keeper!

An extra trip to the grocery store was not required this time around.  I happened to have some version of all of these ingredients already stocked in my kitchen (a rare occurrence) and only had to make a couple of very minor substitutions.  In place of the unsalted butter I used regular salted butter and just omitted the salt that the recipe called for and I used semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of chunks.  Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly and the brownies turned out great.  Quick and simple.

Resolution #3: Food Awareness


One of the things I really want to do this year is become a bit more mindful of the foods that I eat.  This is not the same as dieting and I will not be going on a diet in 2011.  For me, diets last about 2-3 weeks and then I’m right back to my old habits again.  A total waste of time.

This sort of ties into my 2nd resolution to dine at home most often so that I will feel like I have more control over what I’m eating.  At the start of the new year, I began keeping track of my food intake by writing everything down at the end of each day in a little notebook.  I have been including a rough calorie estimate as well but my goal is not to eat a particular amount of calories per day.  My goals are to become more aware of my eating patterns and to be able to hold myself accountable when my food intake gets a little out of control.   And by out of control, I mean eating everything in sight for several consecutive days.  It happens sometimes.  It happened alot in 2010.  I bought myself a couple pairs of ‘fat’ pants in the early part of the fall season and in the months since I’ve managed to fill them out quite nicely.  Wedding stress, family stress, work stress, 7 weeks of dining out due to business travel..I can think of alot of excuses for not taking care of myself as well as I should have been but after much arguing with the little voices in my head I have finally accepted full responsibility for my actions.

So, in 2011 I am going to pay a little more attention to my love/hate relationship with food.  I’m going to focus on my positive habits rather than my negative ones.  I’m going to eat what makes me feel good not just what tastes good.  I’m not going to convince myself not to eat something that’s not so good for me when I’m sure that my craving is legit (versus feeling like I want to eat something I shouldn’t out of sheer boredom or the simple fact that it’s available and therefore I must have it) and I’m not going to let the guilt get to me if I do eat something I know I probably shouldn’t.

Take that, ‘fat’ pants.  : )

Resolution #2: Cooking & Baking


I hate our kitchen.  Like, really hate it.  It’s about the size of a hole in the wall and we have about a square foot of counter space, literally.  There are so many things about our kitchen that makes cooking/baking a huge inconvenience.  Even so, I still love cooking, baking, trying new recipes, etc. but at the end of a long work day the thought of having to whip up something to eat for dinner in our hole-in-the-wall kitchen usually leaves me begging hubby to go out to eat instead.

We dined out wayyy too much in 2010.  It wasn’t good for our bank account or our waistlines.  As much as I hate our kitchen, cooking at home as often as possible has recently moved to the top of our priorities list.  I’m hoping it will help us save a little money as well as allowing us to have more control over what we’re eating so that we can be much healthier this year.  When I’m home regularly, this generally isn’t an issue for us but I travel quite a bit for my job and when I do my habit of dining out sometimes carries over to when I am back home.  Hubby doesn’t bother with cooking when I’m away and sometimes I’m only home for a couple of days before leaving again.  I’ve never thought it made much sense to shop for groceries in between trips when I’m traveling regularly (and by regularly I mean 4-5 days per week for 8 consecutive weeks).

This year, I’d like to limit our dining out to 2-3 meals per month.  I want to try at least a couple of new recipes each month.  I did quite a bit of cooking and baking when I was off from work during the holidays and experimented with several new recipes including this one for whole wheat banana bread (see photo above).  We also need to start planning our meals in advance so we’re not always stuck wondering what we should eat for dinner as we’re getting ready to leave work.  For the past few months I’ve gotten the daily what to do for dinner phone call from hubby during my last half hour at work.  Planning ahead will also make grocery shopping MUCH easier (and, hopefully, less frequent).

What are some of your favorite (healthy) recipes?