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Archive for August, 2010

Oh my goodness! Seriously, people. Delicious!!

• Heated up ½ cup of Starbucks coffee left from this morning (perked/brewed at home).
• Added a little non-sugar sweetener, two heaping tablespoons of Ghirardelli cocoa mix, and 1/2 piece of hard peppermint candy.
• Stirred until all was dissolved.
• Added more coffee (room temp by this time of day), and a little half & half.
• Completed with skim milk (I like a lot of milk).

Ice. Straw. Stir again. Oh yum!!

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Sitting on my balcony this morning, drinking my Starbucks coffee and nibbling on a delicious oatmeal cookie I purchased at Whole Foods last night. Not too far from my apartment are several really wonderful grocery stores, and last night I chose Whole Foods. What a fantastic hot and cold bar! I bought a very little bit of cauliflower, broccoli, bean sprouts, and green peas. If I add mushrooms, carrots, and onions to the mix I will have enough for two generous servings of stir-fry veges this week. I think a few raw cashews topping those veges would be just perfect. Yep! A plan. Today I will go to the local Giant grocery to pick up some of Amy’s low-sodium soups. Can’t seem to find the low-sodium anywhere else.

Sigh….. I do miss a co-op, though. I loved my co-op in Carrboro, NC (Weaver Street Market) and the one I left in Manhattan, KS (Peoples Grocery). However, no city offers everything for me, and Annapolis still ranks pretty high in most areas! (especially seafood. yum!)

Gone is almost all of my delicious vegetable soup I made a couple of weeks ago, so I need to make more. Only one or two more servings in the refrig, and I really like to pack it for lunches. Add a few crackers and peanut butter or cheese – and oh my goodness I am smiling!

This past Sunday I made a scrumptious fish gumbo, made with tomatoes (from a can), lots of sliced okra, green pepper, onion, a few seasonings, and grouper. I use a little more hot red pepper than written in the recipe, but I like the heat. Now, my heat is not the kind that makes your eyes bulge out and your forehead sweat. But it is rather hot. Also, my soup does not include rice – I place a few tablespoons of rice (brown and wild mix) on top of the gumbo. That way the rice is more neutral and helps my tongue adjust to the heat. Or something like that!

I used one of Mama Dipp’s recipes (those of you from North Carolina probably know about Mama Dipp!), only she uses catfish. And I have adjusted it in a few other ways as well. But from her I learned the trick of placing the rice on top when being served. I truly like that idea! And if you like spicy hot soups, I suggest you try the same sometime. Here is a photo:

Another night I prepared sliced eggplant with melted cheese. I don’t like breading on my veges, so I simply performed the usual eggplant ritual of washing, slicing, salting, draining on a paper towel for 20 minutes, rinsing, and frying in just a tiny bit of canola oil. Sometimes I just throw it in a hot frying pan and “dry” cook it, but that little bit of oil adds some crispy. While that was frying I sliced a few thin slices of fontina cheese and Parmesan Reggiano. Then took the slightly crispy eggplant, placed a little cheese on top, and broiled for a bit in my toaster oven.

Before beginning on the eggplant, I cut in half the rest of my mixture of tiny tomatoes from last week’s trip to the farmers’ market, sliced an onion, and marinated those tasty morsels in balsamic vinegar, sea salt, black pepper, and basil.

THEN!! I took out of the freezer a serving of lump crab meat. Yes, I said lump crab. Oh oh oh one of my new favorite foods in this world. Seriously people. It is so sweet and rich that I cannot eat too much at one time, so I freeze in small servings.

Anyway, I sliced a few mushrooms and browned them in butter; once the butter had browned I added a touch of white wine. Threw in the crabmeat and tossed it a bit so it would just warm through and not cook too much. Then two tablespoons of whipping cream. Oh. My. Goodness. I stirred for about 5 seconds, then placed on my plate.

And there was more! For another fantabulous meal I prepared an avocado salad with thinly sliced onions, chunks of grapefruit, and a little French dressing. This dressing I made from a recipe out of an older cookbook that belonged to my grandmamma, and it consists of mostly oil and cider vinegar with a little paprika. I think I will start to cook more from that old cookbook, but I’ll write about that project another day. In the meantime, here is a picture:

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Smelling like a cupcake

A little off the path of tasty edibles, but not entirely.

Last night I went out with a friend for a little grocery shopping, beauty goods searching, and an exciting dinner built around a tuna sandwich. And yes, there was also a visit to a book store. Totally an electrifying Friday night for this librarian girl!

As we strolled through the aisles and aisles of beauty items to make us look different and even more exquisite than usual, we came upon lotions that smelled like limes and tangerines. I personally prefer the citrus smells, so I enjoyed seeing and smelling what other food aromas were available. I have said for years that men would much rather hover around a woman that smells like a key lime pie instead of a chick that smells like lilacs or roses. Simply my opinion.

What truly caught my eye……uh…..nose…..was a lotion that smelled like butter cream icing. Honestly, I figured that if I were wearing that lotion I would most likely gnaw off my hands quicker than a possum caught in a mountain holler trap! Truly smelled like a just-baked cupcake. (And that dilemma is the very reason I did not make a purchase.)

Anyone out there looking for attention from a special someone? I recommend a lotion that smells like a cupcake. Does it keep your skin soft? Dunno. But I doubt that characteristic would even be an issue. Just be ready to prepare a really large meal, because your chosen one will be tremendously hungry after hanging around you for only 15 minutes!

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I have moved away from the far-reaching skies of Kansas since my last long-ago post. Taken a new librarian position at the U.S. Naval Academy and devouring all the seafood that crosses my path. Oh my goodness people! Really, it is so delicious! I have fried catfish in my new little kitchen. Prepared shrimp in a cream sauce. Taken pasta primavera that was left over from one meal out and reheated it at home with added shrimp. Also took leftover restaurant raviolis stuffed with mushrooms (soaking up creamy Alfredo sauce with every bite) and added shrimp the next day. Ate the best haddock fish sandwich ever. (Um, actually my first haddock fish sandwich. What have I been waiting for??) Raw salmon at a small Japanese sushi bar. Good ol’ fish and chips several times. Maryland crab soup. Crab dip with toasted baguette slices. Side note: Crab dip was not the best – too much Old Bay. For crab dip, I think my brother and our son make the absolute best. True lump crab meat flavor coming through! And since they both live in Virginia, maybe I will uncover some in my near future.

I have to force myself to not order seafood at every meal. Friday night I enjoyed a Mexican restaurant with co-workers, and I stared and drooled at the seafood dishes on the menu but this time stuck to black beans and gooey cheese for my protein. It was difficult. But I’m trying to force myself for two reasons:

ONE: Too much of anything is not good for anyone. And part 2 of # ONE – I realize I am adding to the problem of over-fished waters.

TWO (and most importantly!): I do not want to tire of this seafood. Ever.

However, I have been here three weeks, and I will forgive myself for being such a glutton. For now. But discipline must take over!

There is a fantastic farmer’s market not too far from my apartment which I visited yesterday morning for the second time. Yesterday afternoon I made large pot of vegetable soup with a few navy beans thrown in. I was thinking of adding garbanzo beans, but being that I am now a civilian employee of the Navy, the other seemed much more to my liking!

I still have boxes to unpack, and as I finish that project and study my new surroundings, I am renewing my commitment to healthy cooking. My kitchen is smaller here, but I like to possess just what I need before donning my invisible chef’s hat.

Plus, I cannot continue to eat out so much. The first week here I had an excuse (sorta) because my unpacking was so in the early stages. And I wanted to treat my hubby to special meals, because he had taken a week off from work just to fly to Kansas and drive two days with me and the kitty. I didn’t even have to ask him – he just volunteered to give up a week of well-earned vacation days simply to help me. So, um, those are my excuses!

But now in my refrigerator I have fresh tomatoes, onions, beets, eggplant, okra, yellow squash, corn, and kale. Sitting on my counter is the perfect cantaloupe that will probably be ready to slice open later today. And there is a really tasty blue cheese that I will have to crumble somewhere. Oh my goodness where do I start?? For real.

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