When the Husband’s away

September 17, 2012

Ohhhhh man you guys.

B was away for the weekend having some “man-cation” time with his friends, so I was left to my own devices for 3 days.   I believe this is what Charlie Sheen was talking about when he used the phrase “winning”.

Other than a brief hiatus that involved ginormous apples, a few wrong turns and a ton of laughs with my friend, Lil (shout out, complete), I spent the majority of my weekend in the kitchen.  I literally went to 4 different grocery stores this weekend – I was in absolute heaven.  My freezer is now stocked with some home cooked goodies. I was also at an orchard, that has resulted in a bag of apples this big:


Needless to say, there will be massive amounts of apple consumption this week.  Massive.Amounts.  Anyone have any suggestions???

But I think the highlight of my weekend, was my lunch on Sunday.  Having spent my morning in the kitchen working on (Yup, you guessed it, apple recipes), I took a break to catch up on some episodes of The Pioneer Woman on the Food Network.  I found myself watching an episode of her making what looked like amazing Bruschetta (you can find the recipe she used, here. )  Appropriately, it was an episode about what she eats when her family is out of town for the weekend.  I think it was a sign.  A delicious, tomatey, basily sign.


I’m not usually a big fan of balsamic vinegar, I don’t mind it, but for regular cooking I tend to reach for vinegars like my Umeboshi, white wine, red wine,, malt or apple cider vinegars.  But for some reason, this just sounded so perfect.  I let my tomatoes and basil (from my porch garden!) marinate in some balsamic and garlic/olive oil mix for about an hour before moving on.

A pan, some earth balance and two  generous slices of Ciabatta bread later – well…I think we know where this is going.

get in mah bellay

Do you ever squeal when something you make looks like how its supposed to make?  Yeah.  I did.

I’ve never made homemade bruschetta before and I think part of that is because the store bought stuff or stuff at the restaurants has been overly tomatoey and very reminiscent of canned tomatoes.  With the nice big slices of bread pan seared in some earth balance, the sauted garlic (soooo good), fresh basil and MY control of the flavor ratios, I was in absolute heaven for lunch.

Perfect break for a Sunday lunch.

As for Monday, I woke up this morning and appear to be fighting off the starts of a cold. Achy and stuffy. In an attempt to give my body the upper hand, I opted to sleep in instead of pushing to go to bodypump. I’ve got a green smoothie with wheatgrass powder, mangos, bananas and flax milk with a new energy bite flavor to help me through the morning, an extra swig if coffee with some hemp milk and a lunch bag filled with healthy foods to boot. Good thing.I have all those apples…

How was your weekend??



Obsession confession.

July 24, 2012

Obsession Confession:  http://thepioneerwoman.com/

I started watching this on a whim when I was down in Richmond for the weekend a few months back.   I rarely watch TV (unless its sports or something particular) and its even rarer that I try to make sure I catch a show when it comes on.  For the past few Saturday mornings when I’ve been home, I’ve caught myself making sure I had control of the remote control for the reruns of the Pioneer Woman.

Also?  Her recipes have me wanting to drop everything, move out to a ranch and make hot wings for the hubs and I.  And then eat them.  It could also be stress talking, but still, GASP.   Double also?  Her kids are INSANELY polite.  I think I spend most of my time jaw dropped at this little fact.  A welcome change from what we normally encounter these days.

I did however manage to adapt one of her recipes this weekend.  One that a) resulted in my FIRST Successful attempt at cooking dry beans.  Win. b) The hubs eating 2 helpings of beans. (For those of you who are curious, and you should be, here’s  the original recipe).   After watching her show on cooking food for a camping trip (she served these with cornbread, both warmed up over an open fire – seriously? Can I have that life please?), I had a craving for these that just would.not.stop.  I also had a craving for the brats & BBQ sauce.  But, since I had already made the cornbread for Friday night’s dinner AND I had a jar of mixed dry beans around, it was beans and cornbread.



So. Good.

I gotta hand it to her – even I, lover of all random sources of protein, was skeptical at first at how I would like this.  Forgive me Pioneer Woman, I will never doubt you again.

The biggest change to the recipe I made was forgoing the ham hock.   But even a vegetarian knows that sometimes things just won’t work without a little bit of flavor.  I’m assuming the ham hock would add a nice smoky salty richness to the beans, so I opted for a healthy dose of sea salt and a splash of liquid smoke instead.  AND I was pretty generous with the spices, and added a sprinkling of a Turkish Seasoning blend that kept within the general spice profile (chili powder, pepper, etc). Oh.  And some Franks Hot Sauce.  Because what they say is true, I really do put that s**t on everything.  No peppers, so I added some baby bella mushrooms instead, but other than that – pretty true to the recipe.

It was the PERFECT pairing for a slightly sweet cornbread.  I only had one picture to take, because I ate it that quickly.

If you haven’t made a pot of spicy beans and then threw them on top of cornbread.  Do it. Now.  And then obsess over what recipe of her’s you can make next.