Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Whey, no way, yes whey!

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 So yeah, the title reminds me of Wayne's World...only one of the BEST movies ever. But did I ever thing that the string of repetitive dialogue would take on a greater meaning for me? Nope. But it kinda has. You see...I'm a sheep. I go for the fads-not fashion fads mind you, but weight loss fads. Ha, but um not EXERCISE weight loss fads b/c that might actually work. Hrmm..I've looked into about EVERY diet out there at some point. I've never battled with a diagnosed eating disorder (I'm not a fan of not eating OR puking)-but I do think I have an eating disorder..and that being..I'm obsessed with food and since marriage have developed a TERRIBLE sweet tooth. Just being honest. So I've tried EVERY diet out there...for about a week. Weight Watchers, Slim 4 Life, South Beach, Atkins, Hcg, fiber pills...no really. There have been at least 2 attempts at each one..that have lasted about a week. I'm really good at diets...for a week. You see, I just don't get why after a week of faithful attempt that the scale can't reflect that. A week to me should equal at LEAST 20lbs. But the scale doesn't think so.
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The latest checkout magazine touted "Lose 43lbs by Memorial Day"..and I was hooked. I grabbed it up and paid my $2.02 happily, rushed out the car and found that Whey protein powder (along with walking and soul searching) was the answer. So what did I do? I went out and bought the powder. Fad follower...right here.
Do I think it will solve my weight problem? Probably not...but do I hope it will help...YES, otherwise I wouldn't be trying it.
I can see the logic...protein keeps you fuller and if you drink a couple protein shakes daily at less calories, you'll be less likely to eat MORE calories and in the end they say it's all about cutting calories (and exercise..boo). So eat less calories that make you feel more full. Simple enough. I've been drinking the 'shakes' since Saturday and I can tell you that I am fuller. Have I lost any weight...meh..a measly .4 from last week. BUT again...if I pay attention to it..I do feel more full. I'm also not eating alot of carbs...and I'm gonna start walking....
I'll keep you all posted on if the whey DOES make a difference...stay tuned!

Pizza on the grill

I can't really tell you how much I LOVE pizza. No really. It's a favorite of mine. The versatility is just endless....and homemade pizza really does appreciate my creative genius.
You get the sorta soft (and get a beautiful crunch from the grill) of the crust that just begs to be covered with layers and layers of flavor...and that's the thing...YOU control the layers. You can put WHATEVER you want on a pizza!
So this one...
It's grilled honey-lime-chipotle chicken, diced jalepenos, black beans, salsa, mexi blend cheese, and carmelized onions. So the recipe? Um..."Throw whatever you want on it and call it a pizza". I mean really, isn't that just the beauty of pizza anyway?
It kinda rests on the crust. I took a perfect pizza crust recipe and tweaked it a little to fit my imagination and it tastes exactly how we like it! The below is my go-to recipe that I make on a weekly basis now!
Honey Wheat Pizza crust (adapted from the above link)
1/2 cup hot water
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 cups AP flour
2 cups Whole Wheat flour
2 Tablespoons oil*
2 Tablespoons honey*
1 teaspoon salt

In a measuring cup, put your 1/2 cup hot water and add the yeast..then leave it alone about 10 minutes. When you come back to it, it should be foamy and acting all yeasty.
In the bowl of your stand mixer put your flours and salt.
Add extra water to yeast and water mix-
add yeast water to flour and mix slowly to combine.
Once flour is almost incorporated put in the oil and the honey.
Let it knead on the dough hook for about 5 minutes (go for soft and slightly tacky)-remove and place dough ball in oiled bowl and let rise for about an hour**
After it's risen-separate into two balls (because there is enough dough for two pizzas)
If you are making two pizzas? Swell..b/c now you have the dough you need. If not? Wrap one of the balls in plastic wrap, then put it in a freezer safe bag and toss it in the freezer for later use.
Now..for the grilled pizzas...I took ONE dough ball and turned it into 5 little dough balls...then just hand patted them to roundish shapes, tossed them on the grill and let them go for about 2-3 minutes per side, then removed them, added toppings and returned them to the grill for another 2-3.
Generally..the time it takes you to stash your extra dough ball is enough rest time for the current one, at which time you can roll it, stretch it, toss it, etc to shape-top it and bake it off until done in a 450 degree oven.

*-Oil and honey. It varies..if I have extra virgin, I'll use it..if I don't I'll just use veg oil. Same with honey..if I have it..swell...this time for the grill I ended up using Honey flavored Agave nectar. You just want (well..we just enjoy I should say) that hint of sweet in with the nutty whole wheat taste of the dough
**-BEST trick ever to dough rising? Take a cup of water (you can use the measuring cup you used earlier in the recipe) fill it about a 1/3 of the way with water and put it in the microwave for about 5 minutes (coincidence that it's the SAME time it takes to knead? hrmm)-then carefully remove the water(if you are worried about boilage-put a wooden spoon in there) from the micro and place your bowl-o-dough in to rise. Warm and draft free. Perfect proofing box!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Chicken Fried Chicken

So nice I had to say it twice. Chicken. Glorious, juicy, succulent, flavorful...it really WAS all those things. And I owe it all to buttermilk. Healthy...well..no. But delicious!
Brining. Honestly..I kinda thought it was all hype. It's not. I'll tell you that.
So....3 chicken breasts, butterflied and then you have 6 pieces, and pound those out with a can of tomato soup (or whatever soup you have handy, or you know..a real meat tenderizer if you have one).
Then put those in a big ol' container and add:
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 T cajun seasoning
couple splashes of hot sauce
turn to coat, cover and put away in the fridge for awhile(30mintes to a few hours).

Once your chicken is ready get a deep pan (I'm sure cast iron would be great here too) and put about an inch of oil in it. You aren't gonna deep fry this..just shallow fry...and then finish in the oven..so go ahead and turn the oven on to 375.
In a dish put in 2 cups of all purpose flour, and another tablespoon or so of your cajun seasoning, and a couple spoonfuls of the buttermilk and mix it with your fingers. This is important. Why? Well...good fried chicken..like REALLY good fried chicken has those big, nubby, crunchy pieces...this is how you get them.
Oil hot? Ok...
Take the chicken out of the buttermilk and shake off excess, place right into the flour and press to coat, then right into the oil. Turn after a couple minutes (check for golden color)-once nice, golden, and crispy..place into a baking dish. Get all your pieces partially cooked in the oil and put the baking dish into the oven for about 20-30 to finish off cooking the inside of the chicken.
You can serve it with whatever sides you'd like...as you can see I served mine with biscuits, mashed potatoes and gravy, and braised cabbage (I'm gonna have to work on THAT recipe though).
The chicken is amazing...seriously.

Recipe adapted from here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

2 potatoes and a dozen eggs

2 turn tables and a microphone..I don't know that song, but the blog title reminds me of it...more on that from last night's dinner in a minute.

 Me...this morning..technically my 3rd cup of coffee, but only the 2nd one I got to drink since Miss Priss decided she HAD to have a cup, and I was too lazy to get up and make her her own decaf. So yes...she had a cup of coffee...no she didn't drink it all. If it wouldn't completely kill my stomach I'd drink another 3 cups. Instead I'm gonna have some water. And pretend it's got caffeine in it. 2 kids that sleep with you, 1 phone call at 4am, 350 little reasons why it would be a great day to just go back to bed...but there are 2 beautiful children, 1 gorgeous spring day, and we're gonna find 350 little reasons that today is a GREAT day...even if it means counting single blades of grass.
Onto the food!!
I rocked last night's dinner. Just sayin'. I did not 1, but 2 different quiches, a side, and a loaf of bread. Rocked it.
The quiche...potato crust. Seriously. I don't think (unless I have a store bought one in the freezer) that I'll ever do one the 'normal' way again.
I used my mandolin to cut two potatoes really thin...like potato chip thin...then you line a greased pie plate with them, overlapping a bit, and bake it off for 10 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Meanwhile, I carmelized some onions, browned some mushrooms, whisked some eggs (6 per quiche), wilted some spinach, and cut up some roasted red peppers.
Quiche 1 (on the left)
layer this way-
on top of potatoes go 1/2 the onions, then the spinach, then the eggs (6, whisked with a 1/2 cup of half and half), then 1/2 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Into the oven for about 45 or until the center is set.
Quiche 2 (on the right)
layer this way-
on top of ol smokey...
wait no...whew..maybe another cup of coffee IS Needed!
on top of the potatoes goes the other 1/2 of the onions, the cut up roasted reds, and the mushrooms, along with half and half (same amount as before) whisk in 1/4 cup of grated parm, then top it all with 1/2 cup of shredded mozz. Into the oven blardy blar blar.
Oh...the side? More like OH! The side!
Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Edamame (might just be my new favorite thing)
2 pints of cherry tomatoes tossed with a little bit of seasoning salt (from Tastefully Simple) and some veg oil and put on a foil lined cookie pan in the bottom of that SAME oven that you are baking your quiches in..multi-tasking Baby! Let those go for about an hour or so..they'll let you know when they are done b/c they start to get shrively. Not sure if that's a word. Anyway....while you are doing all the OTHER stuff...you might as well steam off a couple bags of edamame and shell them out, so that when your tomatoes are done you can toss it all together, take a bite, then let your eyes roll back in your head.

Tonight..we're having chili..even though it's gonna be almost 70 today. We need ONE more chili day before I retire the recipe until the fall!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Becoming SAHM...

In late July of last year I quit my job to stay home full time with my kids. I quit. The husband and I talked about it, weighed our options, prayed, and the decision was made...I quit.
I'd love to sit here and tell you that staying at home is EVERYTHING I ever dreamed about. That everday is sunshine, kisses, and joyful merriment. But I'd be lying to you. And you deserve better than that.
I've had some sort of job since I was about 13 or 14. I was called upon early by friends of the family to babysit. We had friends that owned a carnival and I did that for money under the table in the summertime (yes, I was a carnie, no I didn't smell like cabbage). Then to save money for a class ring I started working at the local burger place in town. When they closed for the season I got a job at a big blue store that starts with a W and I worked there through high school, I graduated early and jumped into community college (which I REALLY wish people wouldn't make fun of b/c I thought it was great)-and into ANOTHER job at a Dr's office, did the office (40 hours a week) AND a waitressing gig (20 hours a week) for awhile towards the end of college. This among dating and 'trying' to be a normal 20 something. Reconnected with a Boy and the day after I graduated college he proposed. Marriage, and a job change to working at a University, then another job change to working for a Judge at the local Courthouse. Work.Work.Work.Work. But what else was there for me to do?
So here we are....9 months into my new job of staying at home full time with my two kids. I love my children. I love being with them and seeing them grow...daily, and right before my eyes. But I miss my old 'job'. I miss the daily buzz of coworkers/friends...speaking with adults. I miss being verbally appreciated. Here at home-Husband does a pretty good job of "great dinner" or "the house looks good"-but I used to be the go-to. Have a question about my job...you asked me..b/c I KNEW the answer. And no matter how long you've been a Mom..you'll never know all the answers...so now..now what?
I don't get thanked for changing Little Man's diapers...but he has yet to piss on me..so I guess that is thanks enough.
I don't get thanked for making sure Miss Priss has clean clothes to wear to dance class...but she loves to dance..so I guess that is thanks enough.

But is 'thanks enough'..enough?
Sometimes...but not always.
Something that helps? Knowing there are other Moms out there..just.like.me...like.you..having the same SAHM worries/struggles...here is an awesome post along the same lines. and ps..I love this blogger..I think she is amazing!

This might very well be just a part of a Becoming SAHM series. Thoughts?