Oct 26, 2009

Christina's Jerk Shrimp, Light & Fluffy Banana Bread

There is a major difference between Brandon and me in the way we find and decide on recipes. I use multiple sites, pour over a ridiculous amount of recipes, obsess over the different ingredients, and maybe decide on one by the end of the day. I'm out of control.

Brandon has a general idea of what he wants for dinner, goes to Food Network online, and finds a recipe in a matter of minutes.


Last night he wanted stir-fry, and like I said, he went online and instantly found a recipe: Christina's Jerk Chicken...That's really the name!

Earlier this morning, I was looking for a better banana bread recipe. It only took me a few minutes (woah) to find this Cooking Light recipe. I kept all of the ingredients the same, except I omitted the chocolate. As much as I love chocolate, I thought it would take away from the banana flavor. I thought this recipe was interesting because it didn't call for vanilla or cinnamon: two ingredients I want to add to eveeerrryyything.

The bread had a perfectly browned crust. At first I thought it appeared too dark, but it was perfect.

It was very light and fluffy, with just the perfect amount of crumble.

The addition of the yogurt really helped create a moist bread. Typical banana breads use a lot of oil - ick - which, in my opinion, weighs it down. I also used very ripe bananas that hadn't been frozen - I think this made a huge difference in the flavor. If you're looking for a light, fluffy, and delicious banana bread, I definitely suggest this one! :)

Oct 25, 2009

Chicken Parmesan

Tonight was a quick and easy chicken parmesan dinner. I took a little bit of aggression out on a chicken breast and pounded it thin before putting it in an egg white wash. I took some bread  crumbs and added crushed red pepper. 


I then coated the chicken breast in the bread crumbs and sauteed it in a bit of olive oil so the outside was crispy. Next, I put the breast in the oven with some four cheese pasta sauce and grated reduced-fat mozzarella on top. While that baked for just a few minutes, I was boiling my faaaavorite angel hair pasta. 

After the cheese melted, I put the chicken on top of the pasta and it was time to eat!  

As a side, Brandon threw together a little salad with homemade dressing. 

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Oct 18, 2009

Homemade Amond Butter and Pumpkin Carving

Yesterday afternoon we decided to finally make our own almond butter. It's super easy to make and definitely cheaper than buying the Marantha almond butter. Brandon put 1 cup of raw almonds in this food processer from um, the 1930s.

He let them grind for about 12-15 minutes total, stopping it every now and then to wipe down the sides with a spatula. Halfway through, he added 1 1/2 tablespoons of honey.

Here it is about halfway done:

It was the perfect amount to store in this leftover jelly jar from the farmer's market:

But of course I had to re-label it!

This evening we decided to be fatties and make nachos! Ahhhh yummy. We used multi-grain chips, reduced fat Mexican blend cheese, black beans, salsa, and shredded chicken cooked in cumin and cayenne pepper.

Then, it was pumpkin carving time! We got these freeeeeee pumpkins from Whole Foods yesterday.

We scraped out tonsssss of flesh. It was kinda fun to play with. 

And I became a little obsessed with getting all the seeds out so I could roast them.

Brandon used a pattern that came with our carving tools...

...but I decided to make an Xtina pumpkin!


Here is B's finished pumpkin:

And both of them together...We forgot to buy candles!

Oct 17, 2009

Braised Pork Loin with Sage, Parsnips & Sweet Potatoes, and Spinach & Mushrooms

Tonight we decided to make the pork recipe that I had at my aunt's a couple weeks ago. I loved it so much, and knew Brandon would too. It's a really simple Williams-Sonoma recipe. You can find it online here.

First, you have to sear the pork loin on all sides to seal in the juices in before braising.

Then you braise it in a mixture of white wine, balsamic vinegar, garlic, sage, and a bay leaf. For 1lb, it took around 40 minutes.

While Brandon was slicing it with his big man knife, I made a rue with the leftover wine sauce.

Holy moly it was sooooo tasty...Here it is in a super fancy gravy boat. Haha.

As a side, I roasted these monsters with olive oil, rosemary, balsamic vinegar, and brown sugar:

Finished product:

Brandon also sauteed spinach & mushrooms in olive oil:

The sides were perfect with the pork loin. Here it all is on B's plate:

And then my camera died! Grrrrr...

Around the World Party!

Last night B and I went to an "Around the World" party at four houses downtown. The houses were decorated as four different countries: Mexico, Germany, Jamaica, and the USA. There were also drinks and food from at each country and some of us dressed up. We stayed at each "country" for an hour, and a little longer in the USA, the final stop on our adventure.

B and I decided to be ghetto Mexicans! Here are a few pics...

Yep...that's a chihuahua

Margaret also dressed like a Mexi. Please notice her zig-zag part and "bang."

In Germany, la chihuahua hung out with some other dogs.

By the time we got to Jamaica, the tequila from Mexico had kicked in and I started spilling...typical.

Sweet Mexican love:

The parties were really fun...and just a little painful in the morning.

Oct 8, 2009

National Fluffernutter Day!

October 8th, is National Fluffernutter Day!


Marshamallow Fluff History:
The Marshmallow Fluff concoction was created by a GENIUS named
Archibald Query in 1917. He sold it door-to-door until World War I when there was a sugar shortage. He later sold the recipe for $500 to two war vets, H. Allen Durkee and Fred L. Mower, who had experience making candies. The two men sold door-to-door and eventually had their own factory in Lynn, MA.

Growing up in Masschusetts, the fluffernutter sandwich was a staple in my diet. We also used fluff as a hot cocoa topping. It is different than marshmallows -- it is much sweeter and has a whipped consistency.
Fluff contains Corn Syrup, Sugar Syrup, Dried Egg Whites and Vanillin...so bad but oh so good.

To make a fluffernutter, you only need three ingredients: bread, peanut butter, and fluff.

In honor of National Fluffernutter Day, I decided to relive my childhood and make one! Auntie Kelly, who also lived in Massachusetts, had one too! She had the classic fluffernutter, and I made mine a little differently.

One side of bread with peanut butter, the other with fluff:

A delicious sweet & salty combo:

Hungry Meets Healthy version:
Multi-Grain wrap, TJ's almond butter, Fluff, banana slices...amazing.....! 


I justify eating fluff because there is less sugar and fewer calories than a lot of jellies out there! hehehe.

I was planning on eating this for dinner with Brandon, but noooooooo he doesn't want to be a Yankee. Pff. This weekend I'm going to make fluffernutter oat bran and trick him. HA HA HA...Stay tuned and pray he doesn't read this before Saturday morning!

Oct 7, 2009

Free Breakfast, Paid Lunch, Free Dinner

This morning I woke up and reallly did not want oat bran. I was confused. I thought a cold breakfast sounded much nicer. Maybe because it's still summer weather here! A couple of weeks ago I received a sample of General Mills Total Blueberry Pomegranate so I decided to try it out.

With skim milk and sliced banana:


I was not impressed. I tasted a hiiiiiiiiint of blueberry and pomegranate, but nothing spectacular. I prefer the blueberry Special K. That stuff is delicious, especially with vanilla soy milk! Sure, you do get way more of your daily vitamins in Total, but I'd rather get them elsewhere...Blah.

Nutritional Info from General Mills:

With only 4 grams of fiber, I was hungry much sooner than I if I had eaten oat bran. I ate the rest of my banana an hour later...then by 1, I was definitely ready for lunch!

I made a delicious wrap!

-flat out multi-grain wrap
-boar's head parmesan pesto ham
-cabot reduced fat cheddar
-a ton of baby spinach
- honey mustard
- carrots on the side

Thennnn, lucky me, auntie Kelly invited me over for dinner again. She made a Williams-Sonoma recipe: Braised Pork Loin with Sage. Holy s-word it was good. A copy of the recipe can be found here.

On the side we had herbed potatoes:

and green beans:

Eeeek,  I need to paint my nails!