Thursday, December 31, 2009

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry, For Tomorrow We Diet

Food confession: I don't really diet. Ever. My weight stabilized when I decided to take all foods off the "bad girl" list and to focus on healthy eating. Which means I eat pretty much whatever I want, just not as much or as often as I might like.

That said, I think I found the four pounds of butter I used over the holidays. I'm sitting on it. Between the baked goods and the candy dish at work that it has been my job to keep full since Halloween, my pants are feeling the strain.

It looks like I'll be drawing more healthy foods and fewer treats for a while. Which is actually a good thing, because a tofu stir-fry has got to be easier to draw than that bundt cake was. That was a pain in the Snickers holder.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What's On Your Plate?

There is a lot of talk in the media about how the oceans will be depleted of everything except jellyfish by 2025 - which we all know is complete bull because the media also tell us that according to the Mayan Long Count Calendar, the world is scheduled to end in 2012.

Keeping up with what we are supposed to be eating while we wait for the jellyfish to take over or the world to end (whichever comes first) gets very confusing. Websites devoted to sustainable seafood promote eating wild caught seafood in one species and farmed in another.

As it turns out, wild salmon is considered to be a better choice than farmed salmon. But for me, it's very simple. When I eat farmed salmon, I think "this is good." When I eat wild salmon, I ask the chef to marry me.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Christmas bundt cake. Isn't everybody making one?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Cookies (With Bonus Recipe)!

I woke up yesterday to dire predictions on television of the "snowstorm of the decade" and "like the Millenium Bug but, you know, actually something to worry about," and I decided to move cookie making day to Saturday instead of Sunday. I spent the morning literally running around my aparment and up and down stairs (and I don't use the word literally the way other people use it when they mean figuratively, I mean real, actual sprinting to and fro and breaking a sweat), but by the time my nieces and nephew arrived at 1 p.m. I was ready, the oven was fired up, and baking was already in progress.

We baked dozens of cookies, we had pizza, we ate cookie dough, we sampled the finished cookies, and we took breaks to dance to an "Ultimate 80s" CD. In short, a good time was had by all. I got in bed last night at 8:30, slept 11 hours, and woke up to 15 inches of snow.

The Peppermint Pinwheels are originally a Martha Stewart recipe that I've modified over the years because they never really turned out properly but they tasted good. I decided to try rolling them into pinwheels after I saw Paula Deen making something similar, and Starbucks' Peppermint Crunch Bar gave me the idea to top them with candy cane bits. Which is proof that I never let a good idea go unstolen.

The Red Velvet Cookies were really pretty, dead easy, and delicious, so I'm including the recipe. It's from Gooseberry Patch Christmas Cookies, and it was contributed by Kathy Barnes from Elizabethton, TN:

Red Velvet Christmas Cookies

18.5 oz. package red velvet cake mix
1/2 c. oil
2 Tbsp. water
2 eggs
12 oz. package white chocolate chips
Non-stick vegetable spray (for cookie sheets)

Combine all ingredients except the white chocolate chips; mix until everything is fully incorporated. Stir in the white chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets sprayed with non-stick vegetable spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Let cool slightly on baking sheets, then remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes 3 dozen.

May your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be white.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Good Goddess

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "Avocado and rice? Did she learn nothing from the Orange-Balsamic Glazed Chicken disaster? Wasn't that just like a week ago?" And on one hand, you're probably right. For a few days I did scurry back, tail between my legs, to my tried-and-true recipes.

But on the other hand, you can put rice in quesadillas, right? And guacamole is terrific with quesadillas. So when I saw Claire Robinson making Goddess Rice on Five Ingredient Fix, it didn't seem like that big a stretch. Plus no chicken would be harmed in the experiment.

Goddess Rice is delish: creamy, tangy - really very good. I served it as a bed for a stir-fry (which did not need a sauce), but it would be equally good alongside some grilled chicken and the dressing would make a tasty dip for fresh vegetables.

Try it. It's easy and yummy. And leftovers even reheat well.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Honor Of Your Presence Is Required

It's nothing personal about the people I work with, it's just that I get the maximum adult dose of shop talk AT THE SHOP.

The salmon was good, though.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I Always Wondered

When you're six years old, the world is full of mysteries. How can Santa get into the house if we don't have a chimney? How do they get the snap, crackle, and pop into Rice Krispies? Where do all these brothers and sisters keep coming from? And why does Grandma always say "NO!" when I ask for a second glass of prune juice?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Reason #4327 Why Courtney Love Is INSANE

Don't eat cheese? That's the only proof I need that she's crazy.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Should Have Known Better

The Orange-Balsamic Glazed Chicken Rachael Ray was cooking the other day on 30 Minute Meals looked like a good idea. Something new and different! Everything is already in my kitchen! Ready in half an hour! It's an unusual flavor combination, but that might be good! The sauce makes a glaze for the chicken!

Within moments I was printing the recipe from the Food TV website. I was undeterred by the fact that the only thing missing from the list of seemingly unrelated ingredients was dehydrated yak. I forged ahead. I followed the directions even though I could see the glaring error of making the sauce with the chicken still in the pan. I was tired and hungry, so I ignored the little voice inside my head saying "Mistakes are being made!" The sauce never became anything except sweet balsamic vinegar with the occasional piece of bitter orange rind in it, and the chicken did not patiently wait for me to figure this out. It ended up like the bits of chicken in Lipton Cup-A-Soup, only less appealing.

And the greens? I still don't know what they were. They were from a friend's garden and she had said to cook them like spinach. I didn't realize how much longer they would take to cook, though, and after the chicken cooking fiasco I just served them up and ate them. I felt like a bunnyrabbit working her way through a dandelion patch.

Thank God for Ben & Jerry.