Sunday, March 31, 2013

Week Four Meal Plan

Sorry for the late meal plan post, we just got back from Easter Dinner at a friend's house and I can't believe how late it got!

How does the weekend always go by so fast?

This weekend we had a lot of fun. I ran my first 5k post-surgery (more about that later), cooked a ton and celebrated Easter.

The 5k was Saturday morning so we did our grocery shopping later in the day. Here's what I have planned for the week:

Herb marinated pork loin with roasted zucchini
Grilling and Chilling (That's what my dad always says)
Chicken Pot Pie and salad

Beef enchilada casserole


Shrimp and Pea rice bowls

Date night!

On Friday night we used a groupon for dinner at Joseph's Fine Dining. The food was very good, I would definitely go back there again. I started my meal with goat cheese bruschetta with a side salad, which I liked but there was a little too much goat cheese per toasted bread. Then I had roasted salmon with risotto which was amazing. It was topped with an apple and horseradish dressing that I really enjoyed. I ended the meal with chocolate mousse that was so rich I couldn't even finish it. It's pretty rare that a dessert will beat me but I just couldn't do it!

I would recommend this restaurant for anyone in the Colorado Springs area that would like some great food without needing to get dressed up.

Well, I guess I should start getting ready for tomorrow. I hope everyone's Monday goes well!

Italian Easter bread (pina bread)

When I married Brian, I  became part of a huge family with tons of family recipes and traditions.  One that we have adopted is the tradition of making Easter bread each year for Easter morning.  Growing up, each person in the family gets their own loaf of this delicious, sweet Easter bread.  Now that we have moved away from home we have started our own tradition and we usually give out a loaf to our friends in the local area.  The recipe has been passed down over generations from Brian's great grandmother (and probably before that too).  I think it is really cool to be able to cook something the same way they did so long ago.  

Keep in mind that this recipe is written for making A LOT of bread (about 15 loaves) so halving it is recommended.  That is what we did this year.  Below are the full list of ingredients and the original instructions.

- 7 lbs all purpose flour
- 5 cups sugar
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 6 large eggs (room temp)
- 2 yeast cakes (equivalent to 2 packets of yeast)
- 1 1/2 pints milk (3 cups)
- 1 1/2 pints water (3 cups)
- 6 tablepsoons shortening (crisco)

First sift flour (leave out one cup of flour to add to the dough when kneading), sugar, and salt into a large container. 

With spoon make a nest in the center.  Break eggs and beat them lightly with a fork then put them into the nest.

Then combine milk and water and scald (to scald bring slowly to a high temperature but keep it below the boiling point).  Add the shortening to the hot liquid and set aside to cool to lukewarm.  Test on wrist for temperature (yeast will not activate if too cool and too hot might kill it).  Add crumbled yeast cakes into milk mixture and sprinkle with 2 tsp sugar to dissolve. Let the yeast sit for about 5-10 minutes until activated. Add yeast and liquid into nest.

Stir with spoon in gradually widening circles until all of the flour is combined with the liquid.  Kneading may be started in the container and when well combined may be divided for help in kneading.  Dough cannot be over kneaded but when kneaded sufficiently it should not stick to board or hands.

Roll the ball of dough around in a greased bowl or container in which it is to rise in, to cover the entire surface lightly with grease.  Cover with heavy towel and place in a warm spot.  Keep away from drafts, leave there until dough doubles in bulk (3-4 hours) or may be left to rise over night.

Cover bowl with a warm jacket or blanket to keep in warmth.  When done rising punch dough down by plunging fist into center to let gas escape.

To shape loaves:
Cut off several portions with a knife (will make about 15 loaves), round each portion into a ball to seal pores left after dough is cut.  Set them on baking sheet to rest while you shape the first loaves.  Shape the loaves into anything you like on a lightly greased cookie sheet (or lined with silpat/parchment paper).  If eggs are used to decorate loaves they should be room temperature and held in place by thinner than pencil strips of dough which are rolled out with fingertips.  Brush top of loaves lightly with and egg-wash of milk and egg yolk.

Let the loaves rise in a warm spot for 1 hour. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees until lightly brown (about 30 minutes depending on size). If both oven racks are used, switch sheets after the first 15 minutes. Cool on cooling racks before slicing. May be frozen.

This recipe takes some time and has a lot of steps but I think it is really important to keep family traditions. A few years ago for Christmas Brian's mom gave me a book of family recipes, including this recipe.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring Pasta

Is it Friday yet?

Even though I had yesterday off from work today felt very long and now I'm counting down the minutes until the weekend. This weekend is going to be a weekend of eating. We are cashing in 2 groupons for nice restaurants in Colorado Springs that we've never been to before and it's Easter Sunday! 

I'm cooking Easter Dinner and haven't finalized my menu yet. I have a bunch of ideas and a nice pork loin roast in the freezer that I think would be perfect. Spiral ham is typically the choice for Easter but I'm just not a fan of that type of pork. I think it has to do with the texture. I would rather a more natural piece of pork any day.

Tonight for dinner I made Spring Pasta in a creamy sauce with peas and asparagus. I'm normally not a creamy pasta girl but this sauce is amazing. I highly recommend making the toasted bread crumbs too, they add a great crunchy element to an otherwise creamy dish.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Honey Roasted Peanut Butter

Today was Brian's Change of Command Ceremony so I took the day off. During this ceremony he officially took over leading one of the companies at his base. I'm so proud of him and can't wait to see what he can accomplish.

I started my day with a work out that consisted of 6-400 meter repeats with a 150 meter rest in between. The run went pretty well. I think it helped that Boy Meets World and the Fresh Prince were on TV. I can't remember the last time I saw either of those shows.

After my run I got ready to go to his ceremony and drove down to his base. The ceremony was really nice and the weather held up which was great considering it was outside.

I spent the rest of the day with a fellow blogging friend who showed me some new tricks. What do you think of the blog redesign?

Over the weekend I made a variation on the peanut butter I had made the week before. Roasted peanuts were on sale so I decided to make some Honey Roasted Peanut butter. The result is amazing. The peanut butter is just slightly sweet and salty, making it the perfect compliment for a sandwich or even just on a spoon.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Roasted Cauliflower and Cheddar Soup

Today I had a great run on the treadmill. I really feel like I'm getting back to where I was before surgery. I don't feel nearly as tired and I'm enjoying running again. One of the things I love about running the most is the great "me" time. I always have the best thinking time when I'm on a run. Or even better, when your mind just goes empty and you can just relax.

I'm running my first 5k post surgery this weekend and I couldn't be more excited. Even though I'm not the fastest (and probably wont ever be) I love road races so much. There's the excitement of racing mixed with being surrounded by people who love running as much as you do. I can't wait until Saturday!

One of the tricks I have learned to help get a great, home cooked dinner on the table almost every night is to use the weekend to make things in advanced. Things like soup really keep well and just need to be heated up when you get home for the day. Throw together a salad and all of a sudden you have dinner done with minimal effort.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Greek Style Meatloaf

Meatloaf brings up so many bad memories for people. Dry, dense slices of unflavored meat. Doesn't that sound appetizing?

I do not have bad memories of meatloaf. In fact, my mom makes great meatloaf. Her's is a traditional ground beef meatloaf with chopped onions, parsley, breadcrumbs and ketchup on top.

This meatloaf is a little different.

For starters, it's made out of turkey. Now before you run away thinking this will be dry let me assure you that it is anything but dry. I used half white meat ground turkey and half dark meat turkey making this the perfect blend of healthy and delicious.

This meatloaf can also serve double duty in two meals. One as sliced meatloaf, and the other dressed up in crunchy phyllo dough. Both are delicious and quick to make.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Homemade Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese has always been a favorite of mine. Growing up I loved Annie's mac and cheese, in fact it was the only boxed kind I would eat! Now I have started making my own varieties and there are so many options!

This week I found a great recipe for a tomato based mac and cheese with wilted spinach. This is the more creamy style of macaroni and is not baked. However, you could easily bake this too if you love those crispy edges!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Week Four Meal Plan

 This weekend we are going up to Boulder for a concert (Great Big Sea) and to stay at a Bed and Breakfast (The Bradley Boulder Inn). When I was making the meal plan, I was looking for some recipes that could play double duty and keep the week low stress. 

I found recipes in older Cooking Light and Everyday Food Magazines

Greek Style Turkey Meatloaf
Spinach and Turkey Hand pie with salad
Cauliflower and Cheddar soup with salad
 Creamy Spring Pasta
Date Night!

Jennifer from Milk and Honey tagged me for the Liebster Award
Here are the rules:

1.) Post 11 random facts about yourself.
2.) Answer the questions the tagger has set for you, then create 11 new questions for the bloggers you pass the award to.
3.) Choose 11 bloggers (with less than 200 followers) to pass the award to and link to them in your post.
4.) Tell them about the award.
5.) No tag-backs.
11 Random Facts about Me
1.) I was a ballerina growing up and would love to get back into dance

 2.) I've always been a little bit afraid of puppies ever since I was a little kid

 3.) Growing up I was a super picky eater and never tried new things. Whoever would have though I would eventually start a food blog?
 4.) Brian and I met at a dorm room party our freshman year of college
 5.) My favorite 90s TV show is Rescue 911, does anyone else remember that show?
 6.) My favorite current TV show is Grey's Anatomy and dare I say, Dance Moms...
 7.) I ran my first marathon in 2011 in St Louis with 4 of my favorite running buddies
8.) Our honeymoon was an Aruba and we drove a Hyundai Getz
9.) Vermont is one of the hardest plates to find when driving cross country
10.) I once ran a 10k with the Force
11.) In Jamaica I held my first and last sea cucumber

Jennifer's 11 questions
1.) Why did you decide to start blogging?
I decided to start blogging because I have been a long time blog reader and avid home cook. It was time to add my food ideas to the blog world!

2.) Favourite comfort food?
I do have a soft spot for pizza
3.) What do you always bring with you when you travel?
I always have a least a couple of chapsticks at all times
4.) Where would you like to travel to?
This may be corny but for my next trip I would really like to go to Disney World, I think it's so much fun! 
5.) Sweet or Savoury?
Most of the time I will go for sweet, especially after dinner to finish off the night
6.) City or Country?
Country, the city is too stressful sometimes
7.) Favourite ice cream flavour?
Cookies and Cream
8.) Luxury resort or the great outdoors?
Luxury, I like camping too but if I had to choose...
9.) What are you reading at the moment?
Unfortunately, I'm not reading anything at the moment. Work has been keeping me too busy.
10.) Favourite place to eat?
Amarin, it's a small Thai place in Needham, MA (near my hometown)
11.) Favourite movie?
Elf, my sister and I always watch it on Christmas Day. This year I wasn't able to go home for the holidays so Santa (aka Brian) put it in my stocking so I wouldn't be too homesick.

My 11 Questions:
1.) Where do you find inspiration to cook?
2.) Do you have any pets?
3.) What is your favorite way to spend the weekend?
4.) What is your favorite meal?
5.) Bed and Breakfast or Hotel?
6.) Car trip or Fly?
7.) Chocolate or Vanilla?
8.) What is your least favorite food?
9.) If you could quit your day job what would you do?
10.) If you had to move where would you live?
11.) What's the last movie you watched?

Tagged Blogs

1.) Kitchen Lane
2.) Cooking ala mel
3.) Art and the Kitchen
4.) Please your man in the kitchen
5.) Collecting Memoriess
6.) Gwens Kitchen Creations
7.) Caietcuretete
8.) Alexandra-Bucatariamea
9.) Grandbaby Cakes
10.) Ms Kitchen Bites
11.) mr mrs and man


Friday, March 22, 2013

Cannoli Cream Ice Cream

Two of my favorite foods are cannolis and ice cream. Growing up in the Boston area there were lots of places to get a great cannoli. The most famous being Mike's Pastry in Downtown Boston. I came up with this idea because I had some leftover ricotta in the refrigerator after making eggplant involtini and I didn't want it to go bad. Cannolis are sweetened ricotta and ice cream is sweetened milk so I figured hey this should work!

This recipe only makes a small batch of ice cream, probably 2-4 servings depending on your idea of a serving of ice cream so feel free to double the ingredients.

The only special equipment you need for this recipe is an ice cream maker. I have the Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream and Sorbet Maker. It's really easy to use, you just need to remember to put the freezer bowl in the freezer the day before.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Bistro Steak

I have never been a big beef eater. In fact, I had my first hamburger after my freshman year of college when I came home for summer vacation. As I've grown to like different types of food though, my taste for steak has increased. Steak still probably won't be something I crave but this meal was so delicious.

The steak was seared to perfection and drizzled with an awesome tangy red wine sauce. On the side I had roasted red potatoes and asparagus. This was the type of meal that you would order at a restaurant on a special occasion. At least that's what it felt like to me.

Here are some tips for cooking a great steak:
- Room temperature beef will cook more evenly than cold beef. I usually take meat out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before I plan to cook.

- Dry meat will sear better and develop a golden brown crust. I pat the meat dry on all sides with a paper towel before I salt and pepper the meat.

- Once you put the meat in the pan don't mess with it! The more you move the meat around the less of a crust that will develop. Try to only turn the meat once.

- Let the meat rest for at least 5 minutes (or more if the cut of meal is large) before you slice it. Letting the meat rest lets the juice redistribute back into the meat so every bite is juicy. If you slice the meat right after cooking the juice will run out and the meat will be dry.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

How to: Make Peanut Butter

Growing up I had the same lunch every day, a peanut butter sandwich, a yogurt a carton of milk. There was never any jelly on my sandwich, just smooth and creamy Skippy peanut butter.

Now that I'm older I still love peanut butter sandwiches (my breakfast usually consists of toast with peanut butter) I use natural peanut butter instead.

After my success with almond butter I decided to try my hand at homemade peanut butter. The results were amazing. I used unsalted boiled peanuts in this recipe but I'm sure you could try roasted as well. Avoid using salted peanuts though, its easier to add salt at the end.

Once again the only special equipment you need is a food processor.

- 3 cups unsalted peanuts
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt

1.) Add the peanuts to a food processor and turn on until a creamy butter develops
2.) Add salt to taste and enjoy!

The peanut butter came together much quicker than the almond butter, which makes sense as peanuts are a much softer nut.

My run yesterday went pretty well, my pace is even starting to increase! Today I have planned my first tempo run.

Any advice on tempo runs?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Thai Shrimp Cakes

Shrimp hasn't always been a food I've liked. I think I got a bad impression of shrimp as a kid when I was super picky. These days though, I'm growing to like shrimp.

Shrimp are a great source of lean protein and also cook really quickly, making them great for weeknight meals.

This recipe is a little more involved than my typical weeknight meals so I will probably save this for the weekends in the future. The results though are delicious.

Ingredients, adapted from April 2013 Cooking Light
- 1 1/3 cup panko, divided
- 1/4 minced, dried coconut
- 4 tablespoons minced scallion
- 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 4 teaspoons fish sauce
- 4 teaspoons Sriracha
-1 1/2 teaspoons grated ginger
- 2 limes
- 2 medium eggs
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 16 ounces chopped, deveined, shelled shrimp
- 2 tablespoons oil

1.) Combine 2/3 cup panko, coconut, scallion, cilantro, fish sauce, Sriracha, ginger, 1 juiced lime, garlic cloves, eggs and shrimp in a bowl
2.) Form into 8 balls and gently press into a disk, covering with panko
3.) Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet
4.) Add the patties, cook for about 4 minutes per side until golden brown and cooked through
5.) Serve with lime wedges and enjoy!

I have a 3 mile run planned after work today. Hopefully the weather is nice and the sun will be shining!

Is anyone else running today?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Chicken Tikki Pizzas

For those of you who have been reading my blog I bet it's beginning to be clear that I love pizza. Especially pizza with lots of toppings and new flavors.

When I got the new Cooking Light and saw there was a whole pizza section I knew it was meant to be. This pizza is different from the others I have made lately because it begins with Whole Wheat Pita Bread instead of the traditional pizza crust.

Using pita bread instead of pizza crust makes this a super fast meal, you just top and bake.

I've found these pizzas reheat really well too. Just heat your oven to 450 F with the baking stone on the middle rack. Place the cooled pizzas on the hot stone for about 5 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and the bottom crisp.

Ingredients, adapted from the April 2013 issue of Cooking Light
- 2 boneless chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup plain low fat yogurt
- 2 teaspoons gram masala, divided
- cooking spray
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- four 6 inch pitas
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced shallot
- 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
- salt and pepper to taste

1.) Preheat the broiler
2.) Cut the chicken in half horizontally and place on a sheet pan lined with foil and sprayed with nonstick spray
3.) Combine the yogurt with 1/2 teaspoon gram masala and salt to taste
4.) Cover the chicken with the yogurt and broil about 5 minutes until cooked through then chop
5.) Heat the oil in a medium sauce pan and add the ginger, red pepper flakes, and remaining gram masala. Heat for about 1 minute
6.) Add the tomato sauce to the herbs and simmer about 4 minutes, season with salt and add the chopped chicken
7.)  Heat the pitas under the broil for about 1 minute on each side then top with the sauce/chicken mixture, cheese and shallots
8.) Broil about 2 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and top with cilantro


These pizzas were delicious! They had a slightly spicy kick that we loved. Using the pita bread of the base worked out really well too. This recipe will definitally be added to my recipe rotations.

What are your go-to recipes?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Whole Wheat Pita Bread

On the weekends I'm almost always starting a couple of types of bread to eat throughout the week. Today, I made some whole wheat pitas.

Pita bread is great for so many different meals. Use it as a sandwich for lunch, a base for pizza, for eating dip or crisp it up and make pita chips!

This recipe made seven 5-6 inch pitas

Ingredients, recipe adapted from The Galley Gourmet 
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 cup lukewarm water, divided
- 1 package dry yeast
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 cup olive oil

1.) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook add the brown sugar, 1/2 cup warm water and the yeast. Let stand for about 5 minutes until foamy
2.) Add the flours, remaining 1/2 water, salt and oil and mix on medium speed until the dough forms a ball and cleans the sides of the bowl
3.) Spray the bowl and dough ball with cooking spray, cover with a towel and let rise for about 1 hour
4.) Punch down the dough and let rise for 20 more minutes
6.) Divide the dough into balls weighing about 3.3 ounces then roll into 5-6 inch circles
7.) Place the circles on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silpats, cover with a dish towel and let rise for 1 hour
8.) While the pitas are rising, heat the oven to 500 F
9.) Once the oven is preheated, cook the pitas for 5-7 minutes until golden brown and puffed up
10.) Let the pitas cool on a cooling rack and enjoy

Brian and I went out while the pitas were in the second rise. When we came back there were suspicious "kitty prints" on one of the pitas. Hmmmmm good thing there was a towel on top!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Week Three Meal Plan

Sorry for the lack of post yesterday, we ended up going to a late dinner at Mobo Sushi last night and I was just too tired to blog.

When Brian got home from work we went on a 3 mile run around our neighborhood. It was a really nice way to wrap up a long week of work. I love that we can do things like run together, it's a great way to spend time together and get our fitness on.

At Mobo we shared a spicy tuna roll, a salmon roll and assorted sushi (tuna, white tuna, yellow tail, salmon) oh and some steamed gyoza. The gyoza were pretty good but not the best I've had (or made) and the sushi was fresh. This was the first time we've been to sushi since moving to Colorado and I would go back there.

This morning I went on a 4.3 mile run with my friend and her Australian Shepherd Moab. We were planning on doing a 5 mile run but by mile 4 Moab was very tired. It was also a little chilly outside so I didn't mind that much calling it a day earlier than planned.

After going home and showering, Brian and I headed out to Petco and Sprouts (our grocery store) to get our errands out of the way.

I got the new Cooking Light magazine in the mail yesterday so I used that to pick out our meals for the week.

Thai Shrimp Cakes and salad

Chicken Tikki Pizza

Bistro Steaks and Roasted Asparagus

Blush Mac and Cheese

Mid week leftovers

Hail and Farewell- This is when Brian's work gets together and says Hello (Hail) to any new members and Goodbye (Farewell) to anyone who is leaving
Fox and Hound Bar 

Date Night!!

I've also have some Homemade White Sandwich bread and Wheat Pitas coming up!

What is everyone else doing this weekend?


Thursday, March 14, 2013

How to: Make Homemade Pudding

I always feel a sense of satisfaction when the refrigerator is almost empty by the end of the week. It's nice to know that I planned well enough to have enough great food for homemade meals throughout the week and did not need to throw away food because I didn't use it and it went bad. One of the ingredients I'm always looking for extra uses for is milk. Every week we buy a half gallon of skim milk and seem to end up with extra at the end of the week.

A great use for skim milk is homemade pudding. I know what you're thinking, you can't make great pudding with skim milk, heavy cream or at least whole milk is a must. This is not the case.

This is a great base recipe for chocolate pudding that isn't loaded with sugar and fat. This recipe could easily be adapted to be chocolate mint, chocolate raspberry, chocolate almond...the list goes on and on.

Ingredients, recipe adapted from Leanne Bakes
- 5 tablespoons corn starch
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 3 cups skim milk
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.) Bring 2 cups of milk to a boil, watch carefully so you do not burn the milk
2.) Whisk together the corn starch, cocoa powder, sugar and remaining milk
3.) Once the milk is boiling, slowly whisk in the cocoa mixture
4.) Reduce the heat to medium low and stir the pudding until it becomes thick
5.) Add the chocolate chips and stir to combine
6.) Once the pudding is thick remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and butter
7.) Pour the pudding into a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap so that the plastic touches the surface of the pudding (this prevents a skin from forming)
8.) Refrigerate until the pudding is cold and thick

 Today after work Brian and I are going to a work function so no running. Boo. We call things like this mandatory fun.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

Pumpkin is one of my favorite flavors in savory and sweet dishes. Unfortunately, I think it gets labeled as for Fall only, which I do not agree with. Sure pumpkins are one of the signature Fall flavors but it can easily be transformed for any season.

This soup is a great one pot meal that comes together quickly and doesn't make a big mess. It's also great because most of the ingredients are pantry staples so it could be a stand in for a last minute dinner.

We ate our soup topped with cilantro and chopped tomatoes and toasted bread on the side. Other great toppings would be sour cream or shredded cheese! Doesn't cheese just make everything better?

Ground beef or grilled steak/chicken would also be great add ins if you are not looking for a vegetarian meal.

Ingredients, recipe adapted from Dishing the Divine
- 1 onion chopped
- 4 minced cloves of garlic
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 can crushed tomatoes w/their juices
- 3 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 3-4 cups low sodium chicken or beef stock
- 1 can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1.) Heat the oil in a stock pot or dutch oven over medium high heat
2.) Add the onions and garlic and saute until transulcent
3.) Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer for 20-25 minutes
4.) If desired, puree about half the soup with an immersion blender or in a blender
5.) Add additional stock if the soup is too thick
6.) Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!

I went on my run today! The sun was shining and it was a lovely 60 F out. I could get used to more afternoons like that. My run consisted of 5-400 meter runs at a 5k speed with short walking/jogging breaks in between. Overall, I felt pretty good and can't wait to run tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Fajita Burgers

Burgers are typically not my favorite food, especially if it is just a plain beef burger. I guess I'm just not the biggest fan of beef. However, if there are a bunch of things mixed in the burger I'm all about it.

 Fajitas are one of my husbands favorite meals. Whenever we go out to a Mexican restaurant he always orders the steak fajitas. These burgers have the same flavors but in a handheld package! The spice level can be increased or decreased depending on if you take out the seeds and ribs out of the jalapenos or leave them in. I removed them from 1 and left the 2nd whole and the burgers had the perfect level of spice.

 - 1 bell pepper chopped
- 1 onion thinly sliced
- 2 jalapenos diced
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1-1/2 lbs ground beef (mine was 93/7)
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- salt and pepper to taste

1.) Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat
2.) Add the peppers, onions and jalapenos and saute until caramelized
3.) Let the onion mixture cool slightly before mixing with the beef, cilantro, salt and pepper
4.) Form 6-8 patties, depending on how big you like your burgers
5.) Grill the burgers about 4 minutes on each side until cooked to perfection

We ate these with Homemade Light Wheat Buns, cilantro mayo and salad on the side.

Today I was supposed to go on a 3 mile run but ran out of steam by the end of the day. I've been having to get to work really early in the morning so running before work isn't really an option. I even had my running clothes in my bag ready to go but I just couldn't bring myself to change and then run in the gross weather. The weather forcast originally called for a high of 45 F and sunny but ended up being 28 F, gray and slightly snowing.

Oh well, I can't let one bad day derail my efforts. I will be doing my speed workout tomorrow, no more backing out!

How do you come back from a bad day?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Homemade Light Wheat Burger Buns

Making bread is easier than most people think. All it really is is yeast, water, salt, sugar, fat and flour. That's the basic principle just 6 ingredients to make something that will not only make your house smell amazing but will also impress just about everyone you know. Not to mention you get great bread without any preservatives.

Now that the weather is getting warming I'm dying to do some grilling. I really wanted burgers for dinner so I figured homemade burger buns, why not?

This recipe makes 8 burger buns, the perfect number for dinner and some leftovers! I started my dough on Saturday and used it on Monday but the dough could stay in the refrigerator for as long as 7 days.

Ingredients, recipe adapted from Just Putzing Around the Kitchen

- 1 package yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 medium eggs
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon salt

1.) Add the warm water, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and let sit about 10 minutes until the yeast is foamy
2.) Add the remaining ingredients and turn the mixer to medium
3.) Let the mixer run until the dough has collected into a ball and cleaned the sides of the bowl (about 5-10 minutes)
4.) Oil the bowl and let the dough rise for about 1-1/2 hours covered with a towel
5.) At this point you could use the dough right away or store in the refrigerator
6.) When you are ready to bake, divide the dough into 8 equal balls
7.) Place the balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat
8.) Slightly flatten the dough balls and then let rise about 30 minutes + oven preheating time
9.) After 30 minutes, preheat your oven to 400 F
10.) Brush the tops of the buns with an egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon of water and top with sesame seeds
11.) When the oven is preheated bake the buns for 15 minutes until golden brown
12.) Let cool before slicing

I'm running 3 miles after work today...I can't wait to enjoy this nice weather!