Sunday, November 27, 2011

Follow-up from Thanksgiving

Dishes made: Vegetarian stuffing, Sugar free lemon ricotta cake, Cabbage apple salad with cranberry balsamic dressing

The Vegetarian Stuffing was amazing! In order to save a few bucks, I cheated. *slaps my own hand* We bought Pepperidge Farm Stuffing Mix, and I used veggie broth instead of chicken broth. Butter was used as normal, and I added just a bit of curry, sage, and thyme. My Hispanic pork eating family LOVED it. I didn't have the heart to tell all of them that it was vegetarian. Those that knew were shocked to hear it.

The (almost) Sugar-Free Lemon Ricotta Cake was.....deceptively delicious. Truthfully, it looked like cornbread gone wrong. The taste was remarkable though, and my mother who is a diabetic was thrilled. Honey drizzled on top was its only source of sugar. I topped my piece with cranberry sauce, and it was great!

The Cabbage Apple Salad was a HUGE disappointment though, and I mean HUGE. In the past I used a Spinach Salad dressing, but the problem is that I could not find a vegetarian version. All the Spinach Salad dressings that I found had bacon bits in it. I thought to use a cranberry balsamic dressing instead, and that turned out being a horrible idea. The cabbage wasn't cut thin enough, and the dressing was very tart. Maybe, just maybe, if I would have added sugar and spent more time cutting the cabbage to perfection, it would have been tasty. Oh well. Lesson learned.

All in all we had a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving. My family made a beautiful looking turkey and roasted pork (which I managed to painlessly avoid) along with all sorts of sides. The jewel was my brother's macaroni and cheese. WOW! Words don't do it justice.

And in case you were wondering, yes, I ate too much.
My vegetarian plate housed macaroni and cheese, vegetarian stuffing, roasted mushrooms, rice and peas, and green bean casserole. My belly was happy.

We made great memories this year though in my sister and brother-in-law's new home. I wouldn't have changed a thing...well, other than eating too much and destroying the cabbage apple salad. lol

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Just for today.

Indulge in memories. Indulge in family. Indulge in love.
Enjoy food.

Happy Thanksgiving
from my family to yours

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Making Thanksgiving Eating Easy

Lisa R. Young, Ph. D., R.D. wrote one of my favorite nutrition books, The Portion Teller. In it, Lisa explains just how super sized America has become. Common portions of chocolate bars, hamburgers, and potato chips have multiplied over the years and so have our waistlines. To mask the problem, our queen sized beds have become wider along with clothing sizes and stadium seats. 

I definitely don't want to be the Thanksgiving grinch, but I do want to share some portion sizing visuals developed by Lisa R. Young, Ph. D., R.D to help us enjoy all of the foods that we love without overdoing it. 

Meat or Poultry
3 oz = deck of cards

Salad Dressing
2 Tbl = shot glass

Butter or margarine
1 tsp = postal stamp

Rice or pasta, cooked
1/2c = 1/2 baseball

1 slice = CD case
Baked Potato or sweet potato
1 potato = computer mouse

Hope this helps!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Think anyone will notice?

I will be making gravy to with my bread and celery stuffing, but I am a vegetarian. Vegetable gravy it is. Interestingly enough, I found this recipe at It was submitted by guide, Jolinda Hackett.

Basic Vegetarian Gravy Recipe. Making a vegetarian gravy can be a bit more of an art than an exact science, as timing, stirring and heat are everything! So add more or less liquid as needed, but remember, your vegetarian gravy will thicken slightly as it cools.


  • 2 tbsp margarine
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)


Heat the margarine over medium heat in a large skillet and sautee the onion for 2 minutes. Add the flour and garlic salt and sautee for 5 more minutes.
Add the vegetable broth and cornstarch, stirring to mix the cornstarch well. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, stirring frequently to make sure no clumps are formed.
Add the nutritional yeast and soy sauce and reduce heat. Cook for one more minute, stirring. Enjoy your vegetarian gravy!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Stuffing kinda scares me.

I have always loved stuffing, and my spanish background knows none of the homemade variety. True story. This year will be different though. I'm inspired to try to make a homemade recipe. Exciting yet scary as this will be my first vegetarian Thanksgiving. This is as "Thanksgiving-y" as my dinner is going to get. The following is a recipe submitted Carlota Chmielewski on The link for the recipe is here. The ratings for this recipe are ridiculous, and whenever  that happens you know you have found a good one. 

This one is definitely topping my list for recipes to try this year. 

Bread and Celery Stuffing


  • 1 (1 pound) loaf sliced white bread
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chicken broth


  1. Let bread slices air dry for 1 to 2 hours, then cut into cubes.
  2. In a Dutch oven, melt butter or margarine over medium heat. Cook onion and celery until soft. Season with poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper. Stir in bread cubes until evenly coated. Moisten with chicken broth; mix well.
  3. Chill, and use as a stuffing for turkey, or bake in a buttered casserole dish at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 to 40 minutes.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Pie crust is yet another item that is often unnecessarily store bought, so let's fix that. The following is a no frills yet adequate recipe for a flaky pie crust submitted by Stephanie on Click here to visit the link, read the raving reviews, and comment. This recipe is tried and true in our home. Here is the pic to prove it. The Mr. literally ate just about half the pie that night. 

For your convenience, I've cut and pasted the recipe for you. Don't forget to click on the link though. Right here. She has included nutritional info as well. 

Basic Flaky Pie Crust
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening, chilled
  • 3 tablespoons ice water


  1. Whisk the flour and salt together in a medium size bowl. With a pastry blender, cut in the cold shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Drizzle 2 to 3 tablespoons ice water over flour. Toss mixture with a fork to moisten, adding more water a few drops at a time until the dough comes together.
  2. Gently gather dough particles together into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes before rolling.
  3. Roll out dough, and put in a pie plate. Fill with desired filling and bake.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Making Dough

Let's do our part to home make items this Thanksgiving that are too easily and too commonly store bought. 

Deal? Deal. 

Let's discover the art of making buttermilk biscuits from scratch. After doing some online research, I have decided that this is the one that I will follow. This recipe makes 10 biscuits and can be made ahead of time and frozen until Thanksgiving if need be. It was submitted by P4 on I cut and pasted it below for your convenience, but check out the link and make sure you let P4 know I sent ya. 

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits 


  1. 1
    Preheat your oven to 450°F.
  2. 2
    Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, or in the bowl of a food processor.
  3. 3
    Cut the butter into chunks and cut into the flour until it resembles course meal.
  4. 4
    If using a food processor, just pulse a few times until this consistency is achieved.
  5. 5
    Add the buttermilk and mix JUST until combined.
  6. 6
    If it appears on the dry side, add a bit more buttermilk. It should be very wet.
  7. 7
    Turn the dough out onto a floured board.
  8. 8
    Gently, gently PAT (do NOT roll with a rolling pin) the dough out until it's about 1/2" thick. Fold the dough about 5 times, gently press the dough down to a 1 inch thick.
  9. 9
    Use a round cutter to cut into rounds.
  10. 10
    You can gently knead the scraps together and make a few more, but they will not be anywhere near as good as the first ones.
  11. 11
    Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet- if you like soft sides, put them touching each other.
  12. 12
    If you like"crusty" sides, put them about 1 inch apart- these will not rise as high as the biscuits put close together.
  13. 13
    Bake for about 10-12 minutes- the biscuits will be a beautiful light golden brown on top and bottom.
  14. 14
    Do not overbake.
  15. 15
    Note: The key to real biscuits is not in the ingredients, but in the handling of the dough.
  16. 16
    The dough must be handled as little as possible or you will have tough biscuits.
  17. 17
    I have found that a food processor produces superior biscuits, because the ingredients stay colder and there's less chance of overmixing.
  18. 18
    You also must pat the dough out with your hands, lightly.
  19. 19
    Rolling with a rolling pin is a guaranteed way to overstimulate the gluten, resulting in a tougher biscuit.
  20. 20
    Note 2: You can make these biscuits, cut them, put them on cookie sheets and freeze them for up to a month.
  21. 21
    When you want fresh biscuits, simply place them frozen on the cookie sheet and bake at 450°F for about 20 minutes.

Read more:

Friday, November 18, 2011

No More Modern Thanksgiving

"Let's roll forward a generation or two. If we are to believe that the only way the modern family can manage to enjoy a traditional meal like a slow-roasted pot roast is by picking up a vacu-sealed model from the chill case, then we are going to have to deal with the fact that there will be no 'just like mom used to make' memories, no Granny's secret meatloaf recipe and eventually, what? Microwaved turkey loaf on white bread for Thanksgiving?"

*Excerpt from the glorious book, "The Real Food Revival" written by Sherri Brooks Vinton and Ann Clark Espuelas

I am pretty much like pasta cooking.

Another water? Yes. Another water.

Serving tables at Bob Evans Family Restaurant in Sun City Center meant serving a lot of elderly folks water. Exciting, right? lol When my sister mentioned to me that Ford Credit was hiring, I weighed the options and quickly called Aerotek. It was a no brainer. 

It was funny really because some of the candidates for the position were promised that upon getting hired they would be making "courtesy calls" to customers who were late on payment. Funny. 
However, my recruiter was painfully honest with me. This was collections. The woman who once was a girl who hated fundraisers was now going to be demanding payments. Laughable. 

Long story short. I was hired, and did pretty okay at work. Fast forward 4 years later, and I'm respectfully going toe to toe with operational managers and winning; sending repo men everywhere and anywhere to secure our collateral and well...winning (for the most part). I was not the best, but I did what I thought I could not do. I got the job done and met some amazing friends along the way.

Let's hit the fast forward button one more time past moving to Melbourne then to Palm Bay, getting married, and the couple of crazy jobs that I have found and left here. Let's forward to today. I'm painfully wonderfully unemployed. Things that used to make sense like 2 gym memberships, absurd car payments, and $100 cell phone bills seem pretty insane to me now. I'm learning how to become undone and unplugged. Humbling.

It dawned on me just a couple of days ago, that this is a God thing. It is indeed a God thing that I'm not getting call backs or interviews at this time. It is indeed a God thing that I am at home right now. There is a reason and there is a purpose. It does not mean that I need to stop job searching, but it does mean that I should embrace this season and trust God to do His job. He has never let me down, and He is not going to start now. He is bringing me through yet another process.

Process. That is a good word. It's a word that has been on mind for the last couple of weeks. Having the time that I have nowadays, I have started making homemade hand cut pasta on occasion. I used this recipe here except I substituted whole wheat flour and added a little bit more water. Amazing. The process is slow and tedious. My arms are literally sore at the end of this experience. It may take me 2-3 hours to make the pasta, but the end result is worthy. The end result is art. I find myself unable to eat a heaping bowl of the pasta because there is a sense of satisfaction and a sense of savoring every bite. I suppose that it's a sense of appreciation for all the work out into the meal.  

There is something beautiful about the process of cooking; something that is being threatened by society's my fast food mentality. It is about food, but it is also about life. As much as I would love to be able to push the fast forward button right now, I can't. It is the process that makes the end result art.

My life is being hand cut in a way to satisfy His purpose and His will. I do not always enjoy the process, but I am learning to embrace it. It is indeed a beautiful thing, a God thing. 

Ecclesiastes 3:11-13

Amplified Bible (AMP)
11He has made everything beautiful in its time. He also has planted eternity in men's hearts and minds [a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy], yet so that men cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
    12I know that there is nothing better for them than to be glad and to get and do good as long as they live;
    13And also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor--it is the gift of God.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Green Pea Soup

Apparently, I like peas. Thank you Green Pea Risotto for opening my eyes. You can read about that experience here.

Last night I made a green pea puree as part of our dinner and today that puree was transformed into a very tasty soup for lunch. 

I wish I would have written down the exact measurements of these recipes, but here it goes...from memory. 

Green Pea Puree

1 can of green peas (drained)
1 serving of miso soup (sans the tofu squares)
2 tbl olive oil
1tsp minced garlic

Blend all ingredients in the blender until desired consistency. It was surprisingly good, but I wouldn't recommend eating more than a couple tablespoons of it at a time. I served it alongside roasted potatoes and tilapia. The tilapia was cooked simply in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. 

Green Pea Soup

Remainder of Green Pea Puree (There was quite a bit leftover. I didn't measure it, but I am thinking it was about 1c of puree)

Fresh Rosemary
8 oz Chicken Stock 
Curry Powder
1 tbl broccoli slaw 

Heat chicken stock and add fresh rosemary, curry powder, and cumin to taste. I added just enough curry so that I could taste it, but not enough to completely overpower the stock. Use it how you like it though! I then added the green pea puree and allowed the soup to simmer as I cooked up some garlic toast. It was served in a mug. Straining the soup is a good idea, but I like getting the fiber from the peas so I let it be. It was served in a mug, and then topped with about 1tbl of broccoli slaw for added crunch and nutrition. 
This was also ridiculously easy, but so unbelievably delicious. I will DEFINITELY be making this again! 

Friday, October 28, 2011

I call this game..."What if I went vegan?"

Vegan is the new everything apparently. Everyone is talking about it or doing it. I have felt the difference that is not eating meat or dairy so I'm exploring whether or not I want to marry this way of life (along with going gluten free).
In making this decision, I decided to play a game. (Take that World Series! lol)

What if I went vegan? aka What would I eat? bean tacos (NO sour cream and cheese) with salsa, avocados, mushrooms, cucumbers and in a corn tortilla.

2. Broccoli salad with dressing, fresh broccoli stalks, broccoli slaw, and dried cranberries, (no bacon bits or cheese. BOO!)

3. Red cabbage and apple salad (YAY!! Maybe I can do this!)

4. Frozen Banana Faux-Ice cream

5. Coconut Milk Ice Cream

6. SLAW!! (I may be able to live off of slaw. I hate the mayonnaise style sauces, but I can eat slaw with a vinaigrette any day)

7. Plantains (fried or mashed. Can't lose here!)

8. Cucumbers and Hummus

9. Cinnamon Roasted Cashews

10. Roasted mushrooms (with....a baked potato! I can get with that!)

11. Roasted peppers (with....rice?)

12. Green beans topped with oriental carrot dressing

13. Collard greens (without the meat flavors...hmmm, that's a tough one!)

14. Avocados (with....onions, and ummm...)

15. Veggie sushi rolls (I'm so in my happy place right now.)

16. Candied Ginger (Don't knock it til you try it :)

17. Ginger Beer (not beer as you know it. Think an elevated ginger ale. Oh so good!)

18. French fries (Whoop! Whoop!!)

Okay, that's not bad for a first time list. This may be possible after all....

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Did somebody say DONUTS? BL12 ep2

Hello! It's that time of the week once again. T'was a somewhat action packed 2 hours of The Biggest Loser last night. The show opened with a brand spankin' new theme song by Train. You can check the song out right here. After some hype on the interwebs about the premiere of the new theme song, the moment was pretty "anti-climatic" (in the words of THE Biggest Loser blogger Jen Wielgus.) The song was only faintly heard in the background because they played scenes of the trainers yelling at their teams over the track. Oh well. Nothing was really gained or lost (no pun intended) with the new addition. 

Moving on. 

The opening scene is at the ranch. All of the "losers" are either seated or standing around the dining room table. Vinny, who sings in a band in the outside world, has his guitar out and is singing a ditty worthy of entertainment. The cast is giggling and chuckling, clearly amused by the song. His lyrics speak of higher inclines on the treadmill and etc. It was kinda cute. Then, with a "Good morning everybody!", Alison Sweeney  enters asking for three volunteers, one from each team of course. Vinny steps up for the Red team (under 30s), almost immediately. Mike from the Blue Team (50 and over) also volunteers along with Antone (former NFL linebacker) from the Black Team (in between). They are led into a room that Vinny describes as, "Homer Simpson's Hideaway". It's probably more so like Homer Simpson's Heaven. The walls are painted a strawberry cream like pink with chocolate brown literally dripping from from over head. Ridiculously large donuts are hung everywhere. The piece de resistance being a large glass case with every type of donut that you could possibly imagine. Man oh man. It ALMOST makes me want to pull out my fryer again. lol! I digress. Over the top of the glass case are three plates of DONUT HOLES (MMmmm) separated by some sort of make shift divider. It's clearly temptation challenge time. Here are the highlights of the challenge. The majority of losers choose not to eat the donuts at all. (Good job!! Woohoo!!) Game play begins as some losers decide to fake eat donuts to psyche out the other competitors. Joe decides to "make some noise and drink a lot of water", but the other team mates can see right through the act. Ramon (RED) literally smashes a few donut holes into the table (good thing since he finds out later that he is a diabetic). Johnny decides to try to fake out his competitors and begins making some noises not suitable for network television. Joe decides to do what he can to make sure that he has control of this challenge. YOWSERS! The challenge ends with Alison Sweeney saying, "Stop. Please stop." Here are the final results Blue Team: 11 donuts for 385 calories all consumed by Mike, who said that this would be his lunch. (Well played Mike. Well played.) Black Team: 37 donuts for 1,295 calories all consumed by John. (The red team was not mentioned.) John said he felt embarrassed and like a fool. Blah Blah Blah. He's playing to win and he knows it! 

Oh yea, I forgot to tell you what they are playing for. This week the teams are limited to working out only 2 hours a day. There are 3 time slots, and each team will have to stick to their time slot. 5-7am, noon-2pm, or 9-11pm. The winner of this challenge is the team that consumes the most donuts. They will get to choose the time slots for all of the teams. Alright. Since Team Black won, they chose the 5-7am time slot. They gave the blue team their desired slot of 12-2pm. When asked Why, John simply and unapologetic-ally  said, "I respect them." Ouch. The red team gets offended. 

The show moves on. 

What happens next is probably the best thing to ever happen to The Biggest Loser (besides Ms. Michaels herself). Bob Harper invades the ranch at 4:20am, with a megaphone. "Is there a black team up here?" he asks. Then he peruses the hallways screaming,"Wake up!". Then as he arrives into the ladies room, (bedroom that is) he breaks into song. Song. and dance. He sings (using that word very, very loosely) "Good morning!" while rocking side to side and bobbing his head. He then proceeds to grind dance in ways umm...not suitable for network tv. Hilarious. Sorry. It was. 
He brings them into the gym. A lot of regret is shown by the black team, but not at all by Bob. "Yep. I am so glad that you ate 37 donuts so you can work out at 5am in the morning." he says casually as he walks their tails into the gym. The workout is classic Bob Harper style but with a crazy twist. The twist is Bob. It was like Bob x1,000,000,000. He was singing, dancing, and full of evil laughs. Antone falls off the spinning bike with pure emotion. He is giving his all and it's obvious. Bob and Antone have a heart to heart. Bob says that he expects greatness out of him. He vows to push him to the max. Antone seems ready for change. Go Antone Go!!! The working out resumes. Then, a little bit more drama ensues. Sunny says that John (aka Donut Man) called her dumb. she was offended. Bob encourages her to talk it out with her team. Consequentially, a little tiff occurs outside, but nothing major. At the end of the day, they kiss and make up. Figuratively of course. 

Blue Team hits the gym. Bonnie keeps pushing though she only lost 4lbs last week. She has a bum knee, but keeps trucking to the best of her ability. Johnny claims to be having a heart attack a few times. He asks for breaks. a lot. Debbie from last week comes to mind. Anna Kournekova is pushing her team, but let's be honest. Anna has her work cut out for her with the oldie but goodies. On a brighter note, Becky is a freakin rockstar. She works, and looks clearly out of place among her the best way possible. 

Dolvett enters the ranch in this next segment. He wants to know where his red team is calorie wise to make sure they burn the "appropriate" number of calories (oh the mystery!). Then after a Yoplait product placement, it's time to hit the gym. Dolvett works the crap out of his team while the other teams are fast asleep. According to Patrick, Dolvett's "crazy switch" goes off in the gym. This is true, and I love the quotables that occur as a result. Dolvett's warmer side comes out when he has a heart to heart with Jessica. She was in a relationship for 6 yrs, engaged for 2 1/2. Apparently, the ex brought her closer and closer to food so that she would gain weight in order to appease his jealous streak. Deep. Jessica broke up with him last year after gaining 135lbs while in their relationship. It's a new start for her. 

Dr. H makes an appearance this episode. He not only gives the guests a reality check. He takes reality, opens their eyes to the facts, and shoves it up their butts (Sorry. That was an Office reference. lol LOVE that show.) He tells the beautiful (and injured) Jennifer that she is very likely to become a diabetic. He tells Ramon that he is the "sickest person on the ranch." After diagnosing Ramon with diabetes among other ailments, he also tells him that he is not going to sugar coat the truth. Ouch!! Ramon cries. I cried. It was a tough segment. 

Okay, challenge time. This challenge was a floating pinball maze in the pool. They were tasked with using their weight to guide the ball into the hole. The team with the fastest time gets a 2lb advantage. The team in second place gets a 1lb advantage. Surprise. Surprise. Black team wins first place with a time of 7min 42 sec. Red team gets second place with 7 min 45 sec. Blue team secures third place with 14 min 45 sec. 

I LOOOVE the Last Chance Workout.  Mainly because it reminds me that I too, can push myself. If they can do it. Why can't I? Also because the trainer quotables are at an all time high during the LCW. They come up with the most clever and motivational phrases. Here are my favorites.
"The Last Chance Workout doesn't go for 2 hrs. It goes for 22 hrs." - Bob 
"I want to see every member of my team give 1million percent." - Anna 
"The challenge for me right now is to think, 'Can I burn  as many calories in 2hrs like I burned in wk1 when I had 5 or 6. Can I? Can they?' You know what? I think we can!" - Dolvett
"I just always assume that everybody around me is running on all cylinders, and I've got to do exactly the same thing." - Bob 
However, the quote of the week goes to...Dolvett!! Here's the winning quote. 
"It hurts to look good. I'm in pain everyday!" Well, if The Biggest Loser doesn't work out for Dolvett I think a T-shirt line for his already successful fitness center in ATL, would be a solid plan B. I'm just saying! 

In other news, we find out during this Last Chance Workout that today is Mike and his wife's 38th wedding anniversary. Aww...

Last, but not least is the weigh in. Here are the results by team. 
Vinny  -5 (405 to 400)
Jessica -7 (239 to 232)
Courtney -7 (254 to 247)
Patrick  -6 (367 to 361)
Ramon  -9 (339 to 330)
Total 34 lbs +1lb advantage = -35lbs

Joe -2 (326 to 324)
Jennifer -6 (311 to 305)
Sunny -6 (261 to 255)
Antone -10 (415 to 405)
John -15 (408 to 393)
Total 39lbs +2lb advantage = -41lbs

Becky -5 (228 to 223)
Mike -7 (297 to 290)
Bonnie -3 (250 to 247) 
Johnny +2 (311 to 313)
Total -13lbs 

After little deliberation, Johnny from the blue team is sent home. He leaves with a silly little song that he himself wrote and sang about the next time we see him. His footage from home is impressive as he is walking pretty much everywhere and has lost a total of 59 lbs so far. Good job Johnny! This year all of the eliminated contestants return to participate with the remaining participants in a marathon. Whoever wins the marathon gets an automatic slot in the finals. So who knows, maybe Johnny will surprise us all! 

That's all for this week's episode. 

Geez. Blogging is hard work. I'm ready for a donut ;)  jk! lol 

P.s. Please check out my new blog BL Parables where I seek to tell The Truth in a way that The Biggest Loser could understand. Thanks a bunch!