Thursday, July 31, 2014

Getting Healthy...a New Journey in the Kitchen

Getting Healthy
Recently I went to my doctor, where to my chagrin, I was informed that I was both overweight and had high cholesterol. Yikes! A little excess weight I can live with, I try to teach Quirky that beauty comes from inside and has no relation to the shape, size, or color of the outside package, and I rather not be a hypocrit in her eyes. The cholesterol though has me a little worried. Ok, a lot worried. I've got a lot of years left to go, hopefully, and it don't want to spend them in horrible health. So I took my doctor seriously and started analyzing our diet.

Truthfully, I thought that we typical have a fairly healthy diet. Yes, Quirky and I like to get in the kitchen and bake. Yes, I make homemade comfort foods on occasion. Both of those things are true, and maybe those are part of the cause, but we also eat lots of vegetables and rarely fry anything. Yet, here I am...counting carbs and watching my cholesterol. I've even bumped up my exercise, doing my best to get at least 45 minutes of cardio everyday. I'm determined. 

So where does that leave Quirky and I in the kitchen? Are we going to give up baking...that's a large resounding no. Can't do it. I love baking with Quirky way to much, but maybe we find ways to make our treats a little more healthy. Maybe you'll find us trying out a few healthier versions of our all time favorite meals. Maybe Quirky will grow up knowing that yes, true beauty comes from inside, but loving yourself enough to take care of the package is just as important. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Mixing it up...

In the kitchen, that is. I know the other day when I posted about the "coffee" cake for one, I had also mentioned that we made one for Quirky. Not sure what to call this one...a little bit chocolate cake or Chocolate Syrup Mug Cake. I don't know, but either way Quirky enjoyed it and we had fun in the kitchen. This is what we did.

Quirky's Chocolate Syrup Mug Cake

3 tbs. Self-rising flour
1 tsp. vanilla flavoring
1 tbs. Sugar
1/4 tsp of oil
Squirt of chocolate milk syrup

Makes for a short post but, really all you need to do is mix all the ingredients together and microwave for one minute. Next drizzle with chocolate syrup. Finally hand to kid and try not to get your hand bit as she devours it. I think she liked it.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Coffee Cake for One

After dinner Quirky and I had a taste for something sweet, so we decided to whip together two quick microwave cakes. Once we got in the kitchen, Quirky and I realized that we wanted two different things, and well that led two completely different little cakes. For myself, we decided to make a "coffee" cake. This little cake turned out delicious and was just what I needed to satisfy both my sweet tooth and my coffee cravings. Here is what we did:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cranberry Vinaigrette

A friend of mine who read my post yesterday, was asking about the dressing that I served the salad with. It was a cranberry vinaigrette that I quickly made up for myself, since Quirky is not very big on sauces of just about any kind. It was both sweet and tangy at the same time, and paired well with romaine and almonds.The dressing Itself was super simple to make. This is what I did.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Chicken and Veggie Stuffed Peppers

Dork will not be home for dinner tonight, so it was just dinner for two at our house. I decided to use up some leftover grilled chicken and some fresh bell peppers I had on hand to make some stuffed bell peppers. I made one for each of us, and served it with a romaine lettuce and almond salad. I thought it turned out to be a delicious dinner, and since Quirky practically inhaled hers, I'm pretty sure she enjoyed it to. Here is what I did:

Monday, July 21, 2014

Pineapple Oatmeal Muffins with Almond Glaze

Recently Quirky and I were experimenting in the kitchen with our basic oatmeal muffin recipe, and came up with this sweet creation that is reminiscent of pineapple upside down cake, just with less sugar and heart healthy oatmeal. They made for a delicious breakfast served with hot coffee for me and milk for Quirky. This is what we did:

Monday, July 14, 2014

Egg Muffins

Egg Muffin Ingredients

While Quirky slept the morning away, I spent a relaxing morning in the kitchen, making breakfast for Quirky and myself for the whole week. I love cooking with Quirky, but sometimes it's just peaceful to be in the kitchen by myself. In the silence I contemplated what to make, and considered making mini blueberry pancakes to freeze, but ultimately decided on egg muffins. This is something I've been making for Quirky since she has been a toddler, the only difference being then they were mini muffins with only cheese but now I can make them a little more hearty. I love making them because anything goes, your ingredients can be just about what ever you want or what you have on hand. This is what I did.

Friday, July 11, 2014


I have a theory. Those babies that we so lovingly bring into the world, and hold and cherish with the upmost care, are so adoringly cute for a reason. Why you ask? So we can think back on those wonderful times when they turn into those tall, walking and talking creatures full of hormones and attitude, and in the case of girls tears. The loss of sleep and the dirty bottoms of babyhood seems nothing to me anymore, a vacation before the real stuff began. The scrapes, bruises, and messes of childhood seemed to be a warm up period before the action. Oh the trials and tribulations of parenting a teenage girl...

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Delicious Boston Brown Bread

Recently, browsing through my local library, I ran across a cookbook called, Pillsbury, Best Muffins and Quick Breads. I quickly decided to check it out. It turned out to be a great book with more than one recipe I want to try. I decided first to try their recipe for  quick Boston Brown Bread. The bread turned out moist, sweet, and delicious. Because neither Quirky nor Dork are fans of raisins, I omitted those from my bread. Using their recipe, I made two loaves.

With a slight nod to the way traditional Boston Brown Bread is served with Boston Baked Beans, I served it with Beanie Weanies. read me right. I said Beanie Weanies, probably not healthy but make a great quick meal. They went perfectly together. Quirky and Dorked sopped up the juices and wanted more bread.

The next day I still had a half a loaf left, so I decided to use it to make Quirky and I some grilled ham and cheese sandwiches. Now the bread tasted great with the beans, but grilled turned it into perfection. The sugars in the bread caramelized and gave a nice crusty crunch to the sandwich. It was quite frankly...delicious. I could have eaten two more. 

This is definitely a recipe that I will be trying again. I highly suggest you find the book and try it yourself. Quick, easy, and delicious...right up my alley.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Freezing Yellow Squash

As I mentioned in my last post Dork and I were recently given some fresh vegetables. Along with the cucumbers, we were also given a bunch of yellow squash. Squash is something that neither Dork nor Quirky are even remotely going to eat, so lucky me, I get to keep it all for myself. I knew that I would have to eat squash for meal in order to eat it before it spoiled, so I decided to freeze it instead. Doing this will allow me to take a handful out to sauté for myself whenever I would like. The process itself was fairly simple and would work well for most fresh vegetables. This is what I did.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Refrigerator Pickles

Refrigerator Pickles
A colleague of Dork was nice enough to share the abundance of his summer garden, so today I find myself with a handful of cucumbers. Dork likes to eat plain cucumbers, but I find them a little bland for my taste, and well, Quirky won't touch them at all. That being said, there is just no way Dork will eat all of these cucumbers before they go bad. So instead of letting all these beautiful cucumbers go to waste I decided to make a quick batch of refrigerator pickles. That way both Dork and I can enjoy them. They are super simple to make. Here is what I did.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Homemade Deep Dish Chicken Pot Pie

Dork is still working long summer hours, but today Quirky is with him. So after a late morning appointment, I found myself in the unusual position of being home alone. Should I go sew for awhile and begin some of those ideas I've been throwing around my head? Or maybe I should work on homeschool planning for 8th grade before the beginning of school sneaks up on me? I could even pull out the paints and start on that blank canvas that has been staring at me for weeks. There were so many possibilities of what I might do, but ultimately I decided I would make a special dinner for them. One of their favorites, homemade chicken pot pie. I know it is a hot time of year for this kind of meal, but Quirky and Dork never seem to care. They inhale the stuff like I'll never make it again. It's one of those meals that I could make with my eyes closed, in other words super simple. Here is what I did:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Peace...Piece by Piece

After an aggravating morning with a mouthy, moody and grumpy autistic teenager, I needed a little space before Quirky's attitude made me want to throw a fit myself. So I sent Quirky to her room and I barricaded myself in my sewing room. I turned up the music and lost myself in my work. I cleaned up my fabric stash folding and reorganizing and ultimately not getting rid of a single scrap. I cleaned and dusted my sewing desk and sewing machine. I even organized my elastic stash. With each little task, I felt a little bit of stress lift off my shoulders.