Monday, April 27, 2009

2009 Garden Update: 10 Days In the Ground

So it has been ten days since I put seeds and seedlings in the ground and so far so good! Everything has either grown a bit or started to come up. We had a rough few days of very cold temps, lots of wind and then finally quarter sized hail one day but it looks like the little plants have battled through and are going to do just fine.

Here's some snaps of the seedlings at ten days in:

Tomato plant

Lettuce seedlings





Yesterday I added some plant food and raked into the top inch or so of the soil. I also have some cabbage, broccoli, brussels and onions in there. The cabbage, broccoli and brussels are real iffy right about now-they just aren't looking so great-but we will see if they hold on or not. I transplanted them as seedlings from a jiffy tray I had started inside the house. So maybe something didn't go over so well in the transplant? Not sure.

The onion sprouts are simply too little to photograph.

I'd really like to dig up another plot beside this one and get some zucchini, squash and potatoes going in that plot.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Protein Packed Salad and Planning Ahead

I've been sticking to my guns lately-working out, eating healthy, staying off the sauce (coffee for and it has really been working. I mean I'm not pulling Biggest Loser numbers but I'm losing and I'm feeling better.

I've been focusing on the amount of carbs, protein and fat I get each day by keeping a food journal of sorts. I'm doing it all online with the Sparkpeople nutrition tracker. I've used it in the past and it's really easy to use. You just plug in the food you eat or will be eating and the amount you ate and spark will automatically calculate calories and nutrients for you if its in their database.

I prepared a whole bunch of different meats on Sunday-chicken breasts, turkey burgers, ground turkey, thin sliced boneless chops and then individually packaged them and put them in the freezer. This has made things so much easier on me for weekly dinners. Now all I have to do is pull out the meat I'm going to use and maybe steam some veggies or cut some up for a salad and throw it all together.

This sort of planning ahead is working for me. I know when I forget my lunch or get lazy and don't have anything prepared for dinner is when the bad choices and binging starts. I really want to keep up having things prepared in advance.

Another great thing I've been picking up is the frozen veggies in the steamer bags. Nothing to do but pop them in the microwave-so easy. Kroger had a good sale on edamame in the steamer bags awhile back and I stocked up. So I steamed some edamame on Tuesday night when I got home and I've been using it since-taking a handful for a snack...throwing some in a salad or with some rice.

I threw this salad together last night on a whim and it took me all of ten minutes tops to get into the bowl and start eating. Its just edamame, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, romaine, and some grilled sliced chicken breast. This goes really well with balsamic dressing or try mixing a bit of hot sauce in with Kraft's Light Done Right Three Cheese Ranch...yum. I had mine with my new favorite dressing-Honey Dijon Vinaigrette.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Long Time No Garden...

It just came to me that I haven't mentioned the little veggie garden in quite some time and really that's simply because there has not been much progress. With the crazy weather we've had here I haven't been able to actually get the seedlings into the ground until yesterday. They still seem pretty fragile to me and there just hasn't been an abundance of sun for them either so they are really growing pretty slowly.

Yesterday I got outside and finally was able to put seedlings for both red and yellow tomatoes, bell peppers, cabbage, broccoli, and brussel sprouts in the ground. I put lettuce, radish, cucumber, spinach and onion seed in the ground too. We'll see what happens.

It got really cold again last night-grrrr....but hopefully not cold enough to stunt the growth of these plants. I swear I might cry or throw a tantrum if I don't get some veggies out of this lot this year.

I haven't started the herb wheel yet-everything I've read says to wait until it gets a bit warmer.

Monday, April 6, 2009

When Life Gives You Lemons...Make THESE Cookies

I apologize for the corny title...but really you might as well get use to it. I am BIG on corniness. Really though, who cares about the stupid title of this blog-you are wasting too much time worrying about that when you should be making these cookies. Its spring! These cookies are spring! Light, spongy, lemony, fresh cookies.

I say this as I listen to the freezing rain hit my window panes on April 6th in Georgia...yeah its more like winter outside today but these cookies are spring. On the other hand they would probably go nicely with a nice hot cup of mint tea.

They are a Giada recipe...I like Giada, lots of people don't care for Miss Oddly Over sized Noggin, but I like her and usually find her recipes to be fresh and light tasting and not too much fuss goes into making them. Sure its hard to watch her on TV and not focus on whether or not her head might suddenly start bobbling and wobbling on her skinny little neck like a bobble head doll-but the girl makes some good food.

These cookies did not disappoint. They are more cakey and spongy like than they are cookie texture like-but they are so good. You can really taste the creaminess of the ricotta in with the lemon. The glaze is delicious and adds a more intense layer of sweet tart to the cookie. Don't skip the glaze. Don't.

Look you don't have to believe me-here's a few links to a couple of other bloggers who loved these cookies:

Giada's Lemon Ricotta Cookies


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 lemon, zested
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 lemon, zested

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the large bowl combine the butter and the sugar. Using an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough (about 2 tablespoons for each cookie) onto the baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.

Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2-teaspoon onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Junk Food Collision! Chili Dog Nachos

What do you get when you combine cheesy nachos and chili dogs? You get fast junk food awesomeness, that's what you get! This is a Rachel Ray recipe from a Food Network All
Stars cookbook I have on the shelf at home. Its not labor intensive-easy to put together and you can adjust to your taste pretty easily.

Rachel calls for ground sirloin-but we don't eat a ton of red meat in our house and its pretty much not budget friendly, so instead I used some ground chicken I had in the freezer that I had picked up on sale one day. I also added about a cup of black beans and a cup of chili beans to mine for more substance.

Chili Dog Nachos

1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1 turn of the pan
1 pound ground sirloin
Salt and pepper
2 hog dogs, sliced into 1/2- inch pieces
1 small onion, chopped
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 sack yellow corn tortilla chips
1 sack, 10 ounces, shredded yellow Cheddar
Sour cream, garnish
Salsa, garnish
2 scallions, chopped


Heat a medium skillet over high heat. Add oil then beef, and begin to brown and crumble with a wooden spoon, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add chopped hot dogs and continue browning, another 3 minutes. Add onions and seasonings, Worcestershire, chili powder, and cumin. Cook another 3 to 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and simmer 5 minutes more.
Preheat broiler.
Arrange corn chips on a platter or in a casserole dish. Top the chips with the cooked chili dog topping. Cover the chili dog sauce with cheese. Melt cheese under hot broiler, 2 minutes, until melted and bubbly. Garnish with sour cream, salsa and chopped scallions.
**Tip-I like to place my tortilla chips on a baking sheet and pop them in the oven for 4-5 minutes before I top them. It adds a little more flavor to them and brings out the saltiness of the chips a bit-plus it makes them all toasty and warm.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Chorizo corn chowder

I'm not feeling very wordy today-my sinus are killing me-its that lovely death by pollen time of year once again here in the G to the A so I'm in a constant state of blah...dis zoup recipe was good though...try it.
*****I FOUND THIS RECIPE HERE:*******************
Chorizo Corn Chowder
What you need:
2 teaspoons EVOO
5 Chorizo links, skin removed
1 whole medium onion, chopped
1 whole sweet red pepper, seeded & chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 canned Chipotle Pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
1 cup peeled and cubed red potato
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 can creamed corn
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup half and half
What you do:
Add 2 teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil to a large dutch oven. Add chorizo and brown approximately 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon.
Leave remaining oil in pot and add onion and pepper and saute until tender for approximately 10 minutes.
Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes.Add chipotle, potato and 1/2 cup corn and saute for one minute.
Add back approximately 1/2 cup of crumbled chorizo, cumin, broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer covered for 10 minutes or until potato is fork tender.
Add half and half and using a stick blender, blend soup until smooth. Add rest of sausage and corn back to soup and simmer until corn is cooked. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, shredded cheese and/or chopped cilantro.

Changes you might want to make:
I think I would like this a little bit spicier, so next time I might add some jalapeno to mine and maybe a squeeze of lime and some cilantro.