Cooking meatballs in a muffin pan= MIND. BLOWN.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Cooking meatballs in a muffin pan= MIND. BLOWN.
Friday, October 18, 2013
1. Walk the dog. Multiple times a day for different periods of time. Taking a variety of routes is key here. Also, you haven't walked enough unless you say "walk" to your pooch and he or she gives you a look like, "Really, another walk?!?"
2. Walk yourself. One time a day, for at least 4 miles, with an iPod turned up loud.
3. Bake. Now you'll want to make sure to give these baked goods away because baking and then leaving the fresh bread in the house does not help someone prone to eating her emotions (me).
4. Watch Sex and the City reruns on the E! channel. I was able to relive Carrie's relationships from Aiden through Burger.
5. Do laundry. Even things that really don't need to be washed; throw them in!
6. Set the table for dinner at 11am each morning. You'll feel like you are really on top of things.
7. Go out for lunch. Even if you don't buy lunch, just go out. For instance, try reading for two hours in the sitting area at a Whole Foods.
8. Go to the mall. Again, don't buy anything (because you'll feel bad spending money since you're workless), but rather sit in those nice leather chairs in the middle of the mall that always seem to be occupied by bored men any other time of the day.
9. Reorganize closests and drawers. If you're up to it, throw things out too.
10. Run weekend errands. Complete tasks that are normally a pain because everyone else is doing them Saturday morning. For instance, the grocery store or the dogstore. Get them over with at 10am on Tuesday.
11. Watch old movies. Miracle for example. And cry when USA beats the USSR in the 1980 Lake Placid Olympic Games.
12. Fill out your 2014 calendar. Wow, you are really on top of things!
13. Build a pumpkin topiary. This task is seasonal, of course. If it's springtime, you might try planting flowers, for example.
14. Get up early, shower, and get dressed. You'll also want to blow dry your hair and put make up on. It'll help you feel "normal."
15. Have lunch with friends who are also workless because of the government shutdown. It's nice to commiserate with others.
And check out my pumpkin topiaries....so proud.
Friday, August 23, 2013
Thursday, July 18, 2013
Monday, July 15, 2013
And here's what I've been thinking about all morning:
Friday, July 12, 2013
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 lb pancetta
4 shallots, minced
1 pint cream
1/2 C freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 lb fresh snap peas, whole, chopped
1/2 C fresh mint, chopped
salt and fresh ground pepper
1 box orechiette pasta (I used bow tie pasta, and it was fine)
- In a heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and cook the garlic for 2-3 minutes until just beginning to color.
- Add the pancetta and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.
- Add the shallots and cook for 3-4 minutes to soften, and season with a pinch or two of salt and a turn or two of fresh black pepper.
- Meanwhile, bring your pasta water to a boil, salt it, and add your pasta. You will want to time the pasta to be finished just as the sauce is finishing so that the cream doesn't sit long.
- With about 3 minutes left on your pasta, add the peas and cook for 2 minutes. We want them to retain their crunch. With one minute remaining, add the cream and quickly bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the cheese, stir, and reduce the heat to low.
- Drain the pasta, and toss with the sauce to coat. Sprinkle liberally with fresh mint, and serve with black pepper and extra Parmesan cheese.
And now to a reflection. Last weekend I met up with two old friends. Old meaning I've known them since basically birth (but I guess we are getting oldER.....I turn 32 on Monday. I had nearly forgotten until my Mom reminded me today. Thank you Mom.). These old friends and I share a hometown, an elementary, middle, and high school, mutual friends, life experiences, and memories. We're all married now, and both of these old, but good, friends have children. It's really amazing that we've known each other and cared for each other through it all. Old friends really are the best. It had been a few months since we'd all seen each other, but it felt like it'd had been only a day. We so simply fell right back into our candor and conversation. It was wonderful and felt safe. I just love these women, and you know who you are!
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
And do you know what I did this morning, after viewing the wedding slideshow? I took a few of those wedding pictures, copied them to a Word document and circled the parts of my body I didn't like. I printed it, clipped it, folded the piece of paper up and stuck in my wallet. My thought being that if I'm debating between, let's say, baby carrots and cake, I'll reference the piece of paper with the fat pictures and chose the baby carrots. There's gotta be something wrong with this, but at this moment it's the best punishment I can come up with for how fat I am.
I'm about halfway through Big Brother by Lionel Shriver, and it's very appropriate right now because the two main characters are undertaking a radical diet. I'm so tired of diets and thinking about diets and considering diets. I just don't know what to do.
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Kevin is very provocative, and has since been turned into a motion picture with Tilda Swinton. It's one of those novels that sends chills down your spine and makes you think hard about things, having children, in particular, and the whole nature vs. nurture argument.
Big Brother focuses on obesity in the family and how we tend to focus on it, deal with it or not deal with it. I find her writing to be so fluid, but still engaging. I'm not yet half way through but so far so good.
We have a big family wedding to attend this weekend, so we're leaving tomorrow for Pennsylvania--today is my Friday. Yahoo. I had a panic attack earlier in the week over the dress I'd been planning to wear. WOULD IT STILL FIT?? I bought it a month or two ago. And thanks be to god it still fits....and has sleeves, so no one will be subjected to my fat, white arms. I should get an extra piece of wedding cake for being so considerate, don't you think?
Ok, more next week. Read these books.
Thursday, June 6, 2013
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Cut the pastry into 4 squares and roll it out to double size. Use a little flour so that the dough doesn’t stick to the surface.
- Place each pastry on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Place mozzarella and tomatoes on top, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with oil.
- Bake until golden, about 12-15 minutes.
- Remove from oven, serve hot or cold with fresh basil on top.
Delicious and easy, let me tell you. Now, since the puff pastry box comes with 2 sheets, I decided to throw caution to the wind and try different ingredients for the second tart. For this one, I used pre-baked chicken breast, cubed (I had that in the refrigerator to use on salads or just to gnaw on), red onion, chopped garlic, mozzarella, salt, pepper, and olive oil. I was trying to model California Pizza Kitchen's garlic-chicken pizza. And this option turned out just as good! Evidence:
So bottom line: make these for an afternoon snack or use as an appetizer for friends. I thought the tarte went perfectly well with a beer and a bad Lifetime movie!
Ok, onto the bad news. I had my annual physical yesterday. In addition to the appointment starting nearly an hour late, and then waiting another 15 minutes to have my blood and urine samples taken (so I was in a bad mood already), my doctor laid down the law, with this undertone: "Ellie, you're obese. It's time to do something about it." She gave me a piece of paper with food suggestions and menu ideas and told me I should restrict my calories to 1500 per day. Well sh*t, where has this piece of paper been all my life?! It's an easy plan; I shouldn't make fun. And I'm really going to try, but I'm an emotional eater. I know what I should and shouldn't eat. So for me it's, "Hmmm, I'm bored, let's have some cheese and crackers," instead of "Hmmm, I'm not hungry, I don't want dinner." I downloaded a calorie counting app to my phone, so maybe that will do me some good. We'll see, I guess. I'm just glad I found this tart recipe (and made it and ate it) BEFORE yesterday's appointment!
Thursday, May 30, 2013
- Bring broth and 1 ½ C water to a boil in a saucepan. Add lobster tails; cover and cook for 4 minutes. Remove lobster from pan; cool for 5 minutes.
- Remove meat from cooked lobster tails, reserving shells (I used a kitchen scissors to do this). Chop meat. Return the shells to the broth mixture. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.
- Strain shell mixture, reserving broth, discard solids and shells. Return broth mixture to saucepan; keep warm over low heat.
- Heat 1 Tbsp butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add rice to pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 C broth mixture, and cook for 5 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly.
- Reserve 2 Tbsp broth mixture. Add the remaining broth mixture, ½ C at a time, stirring constantly until each portion is absorbed before adding the next portion (about 22 minutes total).
- Remove from heat, and stir in lobster, the reserved 2 Tbsp broth mixture, 2 Tbsp butter, and green peas.
Risotto is not for the faint of heart. Stirring constantly for 22 minutes is a lot (let me tell you, my wrists felt it the next day. See how out of shape I am?!); and not something one could likely do after a day's work. This is not a set it and forget it meal, that's for sure. So make this one on a weekend or a holiday, and/or when lobster tails are on sale!
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Combine the chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, salsa and 1 Tbsp lime juice in a blender and blend until smooth (I used an immersion blender; worked like a charm.); brush the mixture over both sides of each tilapia fillet.
- Spread the crushed tortilla chips into the bottom of a deep dish; dredge the coated fillets in the chips to coat. Arrange the fillets on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake the fillets for 15 minutes; at 15 minutes, flip the fillets and bake for another 15 minutes.
- While the fish bakes, place the avocado, sour cream, and 1 Tbsp lime juice and blend until smooth (again, I worked that immersion blender....perfect tool for this). Stir in the milk 1 Tbsp at a time until the consistency is similar to ranch dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce over the baked fillets to serve.
Ok, this one was easy and tilapia fillets, unbeknownst to me, are cheap. My go-to meats are chicken and beef. Fish is uncharted territory. Tilapia is a nice, white fish, not fishy at all or even slimy. The lobster tails were much worse to work with. Gah.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
I did make it to the gym last Thursday (see my "Fat Friday" post from 5/24), and Saturday was a good day. That day, I dismantled an IKEA dresser--honest to God, it took less than 5 minutes to do that (I poked it and it basically just fell apart)--moved a new dresser into its place, repainted the trim in our guest bathroom, swam laps, did all the laundry, walked my dog a few times (more than he wanted or needed, I suppose, but I was on a roll, god damnit!). So Saturday was a GOOD day. Then came Sunday.....now I started off with excellent intentions: I'm going to swim, take pooch for a long walk, volunteer (I visit with someone for a few hours each week), cook, bake, clean up the house. Well, I managed to accomplish two of those six well-intentioned tasks. I told myself, "it's ok, it's a holiday weekend, you'll do better tomorrow. You have all of Monday to be busy." WELL, now it's Monday morning. Again, I had a very nice list of to-do's: get up early, walk dog, hit the tile shop, swim laps, cook risotto for dinner, clean up the house (notice that one carried over from Sunday)....and guess what? I did cook the risotto, because, well, it's food, and we all know where my heart lies. I didn't swim, I didn't clean up the house, I didn't make it to the tile shop, BUT I did walk the dog, oh and I did watch Les Miserables, which wasn't on the list in the first place (and I'm embarrassed to say, I fell asleep....good lord was that a long movie or what?!).
So here's the conundrum: I now have more time to do more things, but it's like this extra time is just letting me slack more. I know a lot of people struggle with this concept. I was thinking this morning, maybe instead of making a list of things to do, I'd make a list of challenges? For example, "Ellie, here's your mission, should you choose to accept: do a load of whites, swim 50 laps, walk the dog for 30 minutes." And maybe if I accept (and complete) my "missions" I get an ice cream cone or something?!
Oh check this pic out, it's the IKEA dresser I took apart! Look at all that duct tape....it was holding the drawers together. haha. The pieces are sitting in our yard. I'm sure the neighbors are loving that eye sore.
Friday, May 24, 2013
1. Because it's been so long, this was me:
Well cheers to the holiday weekend and PICNIC FOOD......
Thursday, May 23, 2013
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees (yes, really, 500 degrees).
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the gnocchi for 2 minutes. They cook extremely quickly and will finish off in the oven, so don’t overdo them.
- In the meantime, fry the pancetta in ½ Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Set aside.
- In the same pan, melt the butter over medium heat. When fully liquified, whisk in the flour to create a roué. Add the milk and nutmeg, and simmer until reduced by half. Add the pesto, peas, pancetta, and gnocchi. Stir to combine.
- Place mixture in a large casserole dish and cover with the grated fontina. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, until the cheese has become brown and crispy. Remove from oven, cover with bread crumbs and return to the oven for another 5 minutes.
Friday, May 17, 2013
It was after 10pm when I was partaking, and I was laughing out loud. I could have been super tired or wired or whatever, OR MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, THIS WILL BE MY NEW FAVORITE SHOW. I love shows like this because I can watch them, not think, laugh, and be entertained. It's perfect. So thank you, AMC and Small Town Security, and Joan (pictured above there).
In other small town news, tomorrow is McLean Day....and I'm in charge of my women's club booth space. I have a duck pond planned, signs to hang, water to hand out, oh and a 10'x10' canopy. Get this: the canopy's instructions say it takes "less than a minute" to set up. Ok, sure, we'll see about that. So hey, if you're reading this and you're a McLean, VA resident, stop by Lewinsville Park tomorrow between 11-5pm.......and check out booth #52!!
Oh and I cooked cod this week. I'm not a fish person (a fishy person, sometimes yes, but not a fish person. ha.), but the recipe turned out alright. I'll include it here just because a fish recipe will be few and far between on this blog, I'm afraid. I'd rather just 'trust the Gorton's fisherman.....'
Thursday, May 9, 2013
1) Adjust oven rack to low-center position; heat oven to 400 degrees. If using whole rotisserie chicken (uh, duh, yes please), separate meat from skin and bones, and tear into bite-size pieces. Discard skin and bones. Then remove pie dough from its box and follow directions for bringing to room temperature.
2) Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onions, and celery; sauté until just tender, about 5-6 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl along with the shredded chicken; set aside.
5) Option for extra potpie: Wrap second potpie in freezer wrap and freeze for a later meal. When you’re ready to bake, remove wrapping, place potpie on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees until golden and bubbly, about 1 hour.
For the last 10 minutes or so, I placed a piece of aluminum foil over the potpie so the crust wouldn't burn. That was a good decision, I think.
I have a piece of potpie for lunch today.......oh goodness, I can't wait. It might be one of those days where lunch is at 10am......and so what?! ha.
Really, try the recipe, it's a keeper.
Friday, April 26, 2013
Swimmer: "Miss Ellie, one of my school teachers looks just like you."
Me: "Really? What makes her look like me?"
Swimmer: "Well, she has the same eye color as you, she wears her hair in a bun like you, and her skin is really white, just like you."
Me: "Wow, maybe she's my twin sister?!"
I got a good chuckle out of that! Kids are honest, that's why they're great. Have a good weekend!
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
1) This article about the modeling industry.
2) Again, Real Simple, you boned me (see May's edition): slow cooker baked rigatoni with mushrooms recipe. Bleh.
4) A hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay.
5) This. Sorority. Girl. Is. Nuts.
6) Maybe I don't understand fashion, but, this.
|Source: Red Carpet Fashion Awards|
7) Oh Gwyneth.
8) It's awful, don't buy it. Not sure what I was thinking.
9) Catcher in the Rye is not available in e-book/Kindle form. Gee, maybe I'll have to use my local library, which is perfectly ok. But I ended up accidentally downloading an e-book ABOUT Catcher in the Rye and J.D. Salinger....so Amazon.com, you boned me this week too.
10) J. Crew's shoe prices (damn you, Jenna Lyons).
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Recipe from Real Simple (which makes the meal a tad less tacky, I suppose):
- Pound each piece of steak into a ½-inch thickness. (Really pound this steak down so it's nice and thin.) Season with ½ tsp each salt and pepper.
- Dip the steak first in the buttermilk, then the flour. Fry the steak in two batches in the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until golden, 2-3 minutes per side. (Make sure the oil is good and hot).
We served this little doozie with a side of home fries and scrambled eggs (at my husband's request). You can call it a breakfast-for-dinner night.
I'm now in the almost-successfully-cooked-but-didn't-eat-chicken-fried-steak club, will you join me? Please....I don't want to be fat and alone.
Oh and, P.S., I would not recommend this recipe.....out of 5 stars, I'm giving it 2. Sorry Real Simple, love your mag, but sometimes your recipes, hmmmm, how can I put this, they aren't 'real simple.' I'd take tacky over a badly constructed recipe any day.
Monday, April 15, 2013
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Monday, April 8, 2013
- In a big bowl, dissolve the yeast in ¼ C warm water. Let stand for 10 minutes, and then stir well.
- In a separate bowl, combine the milk, butter, eggs, sugar and salt.
- Add milk mixture and 2 C flour into the yeast mixture. Beat with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until smooth. Gradually stir in the remaining flour, adding more as needed.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead dough, adding flour, until dough is smooth, elastic, and no longer sticky (around 10-15 minutes).
- Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a towel and let rise for 1 hour or until dough is double in size.
- Again transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and divide into 24 even pieces. Shape each dough piece into a ball, roll in breadcrumbs and place on a baking pan lined with parchment paper.
- Bake in a 225 degree oven for 20 minutes and then increase the oven temperature to 325. Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Oh what a week this has been. I tell ya. I'm losing weekly diet battles and yes, my troops are retreating from the diet war. I just don't know what it's going to take. What will put me over the edge to where I finally say, "enough is enough, Ellie, stop eating." Here are a few things I'm dealing with, and any of these should be snapping me into terminator diet mode, but guess what? They're not.
Friday, March 29, 2013
So what's on your happy list?
I was sitting at home last night, watching the Millionaire Matchmaker and came up with a few of the "small" things that make me happy....here we go:
1) crisp, clean sheets on the bed
2) an empty dishwasher
3) a package at the front door (even if I know what it is because I ordered it!)
4) a new toothbrush
5) a hot shower after a cold swimming pool
6) reality television shows
Maybe the video is right and these ARE the best kinds of happy.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
1) http://whatshouldwecallme.tumblr.com/ (indulgence)
2) http://realitytvgifs.tumblr.com/ (indulgence/just fun to be around)
3) http://www.redcarpet-fashionawards.com/ (indulgence)
4) http://www.manrepeller.com/ (well written/just fun to be around)
5) http://whatkatewore.com/ (indulgence)
And a video of our dog because he's indulgent, well written, and just fun to be around!