Food Lover’s Cleanse Diary Day 4

salmon and beetsHow I feel: Like I’m getting tired of doing dishes. So many dishes.

Time in kitchen: 2 hours, mostly prep for tomorrow.

Most interesting thing eaten: Almond butter. I’ve never tried before but I really enjoyed. And the kids loved it on their sandwiches for lunch.

Total Weight Watchers Points: 23 cleanse points. But I cheated so I actually consumed 33 points.

Menu in review:

Breakfast: Multigrain Hot Cereal with Pomegranate Seeds and Spiced Pepita and Cashew Crunch. 5 Weight Watchers points. [Read more...]

Food Lover’s Cleanse Diary Day 3

0105 lea rachelHow I feel: A really interesting mix of sleepy and energetic at the same time. Dan says I’m already starting to look healthier and slimmer.

Time in kitchen: 45 min.

Most interesting thing eaten: Chicken tangerine cabbage salad. I love to order them from restaurants but have never tried making it at home. Plus it has that sesame miso dressing on it that I’m head over heels in love with.

Total Weight Watchers Points: 35 (that’s over my daily limit but I’m good with it because I want to EAT), plus wine

Menu in review:

Breakfast: Two-Egg Omelet with Red Pepper–Walnut Spread. 7 Weight Watchers points. [Read more...]

Make ahead and quick meals for a week: turkey squash enchiladas, white chili, bean soup, chimichurri

make ahead and quick meals for the weekIt got COLD this week! Seriously, it’s only early December in the mid-Atlantic. I’m all for wearing a jacket and all, but snow and ice and high’s of 20′s? No thank you, it’s too early!

But, the one good thing about the cold is that it’s officially soup season. Yes! I’m all about drinking my dinner. Soup, people! Get your mind out of the gutter.

At the farmers market, they’re about ready to close up shop for the winter so when I tried to purchase one bunch of cilantro they handed me a 5-lb bag of various herbs and scallions and spinach. Oh darn, whatever shall I do?

Plus, I cleaned out my freezer of Thanksgiving-y stuff so have room for all that’s to come.

On this week’s menu, we went crazy for stick-to-your ribs kind of stuff like soup and warming baked squashy things that used up leftovers and our bounty of herbs. Read on for recipes and plans. [Read more...]

Steak Kabobs

Kabob with kidsFeatured Recipe: Steak Kabobs, Grilled Asparagus

Me: N, what would you like to help me cook for dinner (expecting an answer of mac & cheese or pizza)

N: Steak. I want to help you cook steak. With vegetables. And a nice salad.

Me completely freaking out because he’s hilarious and awesome. And then trying to figure out how he can help me cook something that you literally just throw on the hottest surface you can find for 5 minutes and then slice with your sharpest cutting implement.

Kabob AssembledHe’s 4. He’s super good with assembling and mixing. Not so good with slicing and searing. That’s ok! Kabobs are all about marinating (essentially mixing) and assembly. I cut everything to size in advance and pre-mixed the spice blend (although older kids could easily do that part too). Then, just before dinner, N and I skewered the kabobs. I grilled them solo of course, but he still got to play a big role in helping mom in the kitchen.

Kabob N eatingSo kids can help prepare their steak and eat it too!

Gourmet Daddy: Steakhouse Birthday Dinner for Me!

Dan in the kitchen

Gourmet Daddy

My birthday came around recently and Dan gave me two wonderful presents: a night out for us in the future, and a great dinner on my actual birthday. We get that night out tomorrow night, so it got me thinking about the great dinner he made. A steak house feast made right at home after the kids went to bed. And wine. Amazing wine. Yummmmm.

Steak houses have an advantage over the home cook because they have special ovens that cook steaks at temperatures you and I could never replicate at home. That’s part of what makes their steaks so darn good. That and great cuts of meat that we also don’t have access to in the regular grocery store.

My secret weapon to get closer to that steakhouse experience is balsamic vinegar. Marinating the steaks in balsamic tenderizes the meat, making it ridiculously luscious. And the sugar in the vinegar caramelizes on the grill helping create that great crust that I used to think you could only get at a steak house.

MenuSteakhouse dinner

Balsamic Marinated Steaks
Grilled Asparagus
Baked Potato Bar 

For this meal, Zinfandel from Sonoma is a great choice. Bold and jammy, it stands up great to grilled foods. With all of the money you saved doing the cooking for yourself, I think you deserve to splurge on a really good one.

With Gourmet Daddy doing the cooking, mommy gets the full steakhouse experience right at home!