Saturday, February 21, 2009

Eating out of the 'fridge...

Well, what I've found over the past week is that even while NOT taking pain pills, cooking from a wheelchair or on crutches is not the easiest endeavor. Thankfully, I have the world's BEST friends. They've come to feed, come to help, come to drive - the works. We've feasted on lasagnas, soups, fried rice, tacos, feta-stuffed chicken, name it! It's been delightful and helpful and wonderful. I suggest if you ever get injured, that you hire my friends.

I'm hoping that as I progress in time in the cast with the crutches that I will start to adapt and be able to cook a little bit at the very least. I'm already missing the time in the kitchen with the weeone as well her response to food she's cooked.

So for now I'll read my cookbooks and make fantasy menus and enjoy the fabulousness that is my circle of friends and allow my body to heal.

That's a happy feeling.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

It's Time for Class Participation!

I always dreaded class participation announcements from teachers, so it's ironic that I approach this post in this particular manner.

So class, in order to achieve an 'A' and keep up that high GPA you've been working so hard towards, I need your help. I am a competent cook. Some would even say I'm a pretty good cook. But no matter, I know that given the tools and ingredients I can follow just about any recipe and pull it off UNLESS it uses a crockpot. I don't know why, but I cannot cook successfully in a crockpot unless I'm just making marinara. I've tried different size crockpots, different recipes from different people, etc. But all to no avail. Therefore, your assignment is to share with me (via comments) your favorite no-fail crockpot dish. Keep in mind that I'm cooking healthy balanced meals (so no chili-con-queso, my friends!). I have a Rival 5 1/2 qt crockpot with low and high settings, nothing fancy. You get extra points if you have a cookbook recommendation that is healthy and crockpot driven.

Bring it on. Help me conquer the crockpot. If you share a recipe with me and it's successful enough for me to post on my blog, I'll also be sending you a copy of one of my very favorite help me use my crockpot ( and make sure there's an email I can contact you by if you are the winner)!

Comfort food = Healing food

My recovery from surgery is going fairly well. I'm being impeccably cared for by mother as well as a group of dedicated and fun friends who come take my mind off the pain and the boredom. I've not been watching tv which I thought I'd be glued to, but rather am enjoying the quiet of my house during the day. It's been peaceful and nice. Of course, pain pill help. =) Everything seems happy and rainbows and giggles when you're high as a kite!

Obviously, I'm not cooking on a daily basis since standing isn't a possibility for me right now. But my mom has made another version of the Pam Anderson Crustless Quiche recipe (crab bell pepper and corn - it was tasty) and I decided this morning that I would do a little something from my wheelchair.

My mom had graciously put all the ingredients and things I'd need out on the counter for me yesterday, so whipping up some sweet and hearty oatmeal this morning was a piece of cake - even for a gimp like me!

This is another recipe from Ellie Krieger's The Food You Crave. I'm really falling in love with the book more and more with each recipe. Anyway, The Cherry Vanilla Oatmeal had jumped off the page at me the very first time I read through the book so I knew I would make it eventually, but what better for when you're trying to heal that good comfort food like oatmeal? Add some dried fruit to oatmeal and I'm in!

The recipe itself is rather simple and if you're using quick-cooking oats takes less than 5 minutes to put together. So this is a recipe that a working mom can have on the table for the kids before school without disrupting her normal routine at all. This would also be a great addition to an array of foods on Christmas morning (although I might try dried cranberries in it for that time of year). This is obviously a versatile recipe and I feel certain it will become a regular in our house!

  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1 cup Old Fashioned Oats, or Quick Cooking Oats
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons cherry jam, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup 1 percent low-fat milk, plus more to taste
Put water, oats, salt and cherries into a medium sized saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes for Old Fashioned Oats, or 1 minute for Quick Cooking Oats. Remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla extract and cherry jam. Put into serving bowls and pour 2 tablespoons of milk over each bowl.

Nutritional Analysis per serving ( 1 1/4 cups)
Calories 265
Total Fat 3.5 grams
Saturated Fat 0.5 gram
Cholesterol 2 mg
Sodium 164 mg
Carbohydrates 54.5 grams
Protein 7 grams
Fiber 4 grams

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Recovering from surgery is no excuse...

I should still eat healthy and try new recipes! Well, okay, I cheated a little. Last week I put together a few freezer friendly meals so we'd have a couple of things handy for these lovely evenings full of pain and pain pills. =)

One of the things that I love but rarely cook is King Ranch Chicken. It's a Texas favorite and definitely falls into the category of comfort food. Perfect for someone recovering from surgery. I found a Southern Living recipe for Light King Ranch Chicken that was relatively healthy and pretty simple and even included directions for freezing.

It turned out yummy and perfect! My mom took it out of the freezer this morning to defrost and by dinnertime it was ready to hit a hot oven. Thirty minutes later dinner was served!

Light King Ranch Chicken
Southern Living Magazine
March 2004

Serves 8

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken breasts
  • 1 (10-ounce) can fat-free cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 1 (10-ounce) can fat-free cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 1 (10-ounce) can diced tomato and green chiles
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 1 (8-ounce) block reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, shredded

Sauté onion and bell pepper in a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until tender.

Stir in chicken and next 6 ingredients; remove from heat.

Tear tortillas into 1-inch pieces; layer one-third tortilla pieces in bottom of a 13- x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with one-third chicken mixture and one-third cheese. Repeat layers twice.

Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes or until bubbly.

Note: Freeze casserole up to 1 month, if desired. Thaw in refrigerator overnight, and bake as directed.

Calories: 282 (32% from fat)
Fat: 9.9g (sat 5g,mono 0.5g,poly 0.7g)
Protein: 21g
Carbohydrate: 26.4g
Fiber: 3.1g
Cholesterol: 54.4mg
Sodium: 947mg
Calcium: 248mg

Saturday, February 7, 2009

On my way to being healed!

So those of you who know me in real life know that I have been in a boot for a navicular stress fracture for almost 7 months. A few weeks ago a new MRI showed a bone cyst was not allowing my foot to heal on its own. As a result, very early yesterday morning my mom and the weeone toted me to St. Luke's to have surgery. It was done in their outpatient surgery center.

The whole thing started off with me being asked my name, birthdate and what procedure I was having done and on which foot about 30 times. That's fine by me though - I'd rather do that than have someone cut into the wrong foot! The anesthesiologist came in did a nerve block on my left leg behind my knee so that I would have no feeling along my sciatic nerve. The effects of that would go on to last 12-16 hours and really help with post-operative pain. The next thing I know...I'm awake in recovery!

During that gap the doc removed the bone cyst, took a piece of bone from my ankle and grafted it to the broken bone, securing it all with a screw. Sounds fun, huh? I know you're jealous!

The pain is substantial, but being somewhat managed by pain meds. I go in for a post op follow up on the 16th. Until then I cannot put any weight on my foot. Have you ever tried to balance on one foot while pulling up your pants? It's not easy!!!

So for the time being I'm hanging out in the guest room at my parent's house while the weeone is at her dad's. There's no cooking in my immediate future, but I'll try to post to update you on my progress. I'm hoping that the pain begins to subside soon. It's pretty bad at the moment, but will get better, I'm sure.

I'll gladly take any prayers you're willing to give!!! Thanks!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Heading out the door....

Well, this morning I leave for San Antonio. In my mind it's the beginning of the countdown to surgery, but really, it's just a meeting for work! We have a new Regional VP and she wants us all in the same room for a couple of days, so off I go to the beautiful Hyatt Regency Hill Country. I love that place! Of course, usually when I'm there it's to hang out, relax, have spa treatments. This trip will, obviously, have a different feel to it!

I'll be back on Thursday evening, but may not be able to post before my surgery Friday morning. I report "to duty" at St. Luke's at 6am Friday morning - ugh! That's early even for a morning person like me! =)

I'll be back as soon as I'm lucid- thanks for any prayers!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Flashback to 1978...Dinner is served!

I remember when I was the weeone's age that one of my favorite meals that mom would make for dinner was Sloppy Joe's. I think she would buy the canned sauce and mix it with ground beef. It was such deliciousness to me as a kid. I would really look forward to the night we'd have Sloppy Joes for dinner. So, you can imagine how excited I was when I found out that Ellie Krieger had a Sloppy Joe recipe in The Food You Crave. I was even more excited when the weeone thought it would make a good addition to this week's menu.

This was a pretty quick meal. I started by browning the ground meat along with diced onions. Next I got the kitchen smelling divine by adding a heavy dose of minced garlic, diced jalapeno, as well as diced red bell pepper. Once the veggies were slightly softened, in went pinto beans, tomato sauce, tomato paste, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, salt and pepper. The aroma coming from the pan was amazing....I was starting to think these would fill my craving perfectly! The addition of the pinto beans was such a simple thing, but such a great thing. These were a hit for me, but also for the weeone - who, by the way, found out about the "sloppy" part of the title! This will be a definite repeater for us. It makes enough to serve 8 sandwiches, so we froze a couple containers full to have at a later date!

Sloppy Joes
Ellie Krieger
The Food You Crave

Serves 8 sandwiches

  • 1 pound extra-lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 can small red beans or pinto beans, preferably low sodium drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 whole-wheat burger buns
Brown the meat and the onion in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, breaking up the meat into crumbles as it cooks. Pour the drippings out of the pan and discard. Add the garlic, jalapeno, and red pepper and cook 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes more. Place a half-cup scoop of the mixture onto each bun and serve.

Nutritional Information per Serving
Calories 248, Carbohydrates 37 grams,Total Fat4 grams, Saturated Fat 1.1 gram, Protein 18 grams, Fiber 7 grams, Sodium 535 milligrams

Sweets and Treats we love to eat!

Can I start with a CONGRATULATIONS to my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers!!! Or should I call them the Six-burgh Steelers? Last night's win over the hard fighting Arizona Cardinals was a thrilling nail biter. I love football and I love the Superbowl...and I love the fun food we all seem to trot out for Superbowl parties!

The weeone and I were lucky enough to spend the game with a great group of friends who share our love of all things Steelers. Sherri, the host, made tasty potato salad and a delicious brisket that we made sandwiches with and accompanied a broccoli salad my mom brought, queso and cheesecake ball brought by the other Sherri and the treats below that I contributed. So, there was a mix of the good for you, the okay for you and the completely indulgent!

Chocolate Peanut Bites
Rachel Ray

3 tablespoons butter
1 12oz bag chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cups roasted, unsalted peanuts, finely chopped

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the chocolate chips and peanut butter and whisk until smooth. Remove from the heat and pour into an 8-inch square baking dish. Refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes.

Place the chopped peanuts on a large plate. Drop teaspoons of the chilled chocolate mixture onto the plate and roll them in the peanuts until coated. Roll briefly between your palms to form balls (if the mixture becomes too soft, refrigerate between batches). Refrigerate the bites in an airtight container.

Gingerbread Straws
Pam Anderson
The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight and Eating Great

  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 12 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 cup light or dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  1. Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, salt and baking soda in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix molasses and water.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses mixture, then dry ingredients, to form stiff dough; if dough is sticky, add up to 1/4 cup more flour.
  3. Quarter the dough, form each portion into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. (Can be refrigerated up to 1 week or frozen up to 1 month.)
  4. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. On a heavily floured work surface, roll 1 portion of dough into a 9-by-7-inch rectangle. Sprinkle dough with 1 Tb. sugar; use rolling pin to press sugar into dough. Cut dough (preferably with a fluted-edge pastry cutter) into 9-by-1/2-inch sticks. Place sticks about 1/2-inch apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake on middle rack until done, 18 to 22 minutes; after 10 minutes, rotate sheet from back to front. Repeat with remaining dough in batches.
84 calories per cookie
makes approximately 54 cookies