Kitchen Teamwork

Hey, guess what!  IT’S THE WEEKEND!!!!

This week has been quite busy, but…we’re one week closer to the end of the semester.  This is a bitter sweet thing.  Sweet because, uh, hello?  Who DOESN’T have some a TON of joy over being done with classes?  But it’s bitter because I’ve been blessed with the greatest roomies a girl could ask for.  Why is that?  Because in my time of need – in the time when my eating disorder returned with a vengeance – they jumped on board and buckled their seat belts. They could easily have wished me well and hoping that everything turns out…somehow.  But they didn’t do that at all.  Not only are they supportive and kind, they’re joining the fight in the heat of my Eating Disorder battle, doing what they can to help me snuff out Ed.  They’re holding me accountable to eating enough, and seeking out information to better help me.  They’re cooking and eating meals with me.  They model what normal, everyday eating looks like.  They model finding joy in food.  And it’s a beautiful and delightful blessing.

A few days ago, I told you about how I would be cooking and eating dinner with a roommate as often as possible.  Well, after two weeks of working with this system, I am pleased to say that it’s going well, I’m eating better, and we’re enjoying cooking together!  Mostly, I cook with Elizabeth, which is a blessing in many many ways, but one that’s particularly wonderful?  We have very similar tastes!  No conflict over leaving the peppers out of the casserole…no worries about offending the other because “I don’t like super spicy!”  It just works, and it’s delightful!

Last week, I didn’t document our nummy eats, but here is what we made:

Source

Spicy Tomato and Turkey Soup with Ditalini, from Iowa Girl Eats, was our first kitchen project.  Except we skipped the “spicy” part, and we didn’t use ditalini, but the idea was the same!  Super easy and bursting with flavor, this soup is filling without weighing you down.  The base is simply chicken broth and tomato sauce – carrots, onion, beans and turkey, along with pasta give it some staying power.  And of course, a salad rounds it out nicely.

Source

Next up, Chicken Paprika from Eat Live Run!  The recipe also includes directions for homemade dumplings but…we weren’t quite that motivated 😉  But I promise, whole wheat penne certainly does the trick!  Otherwise, we stuck pretty close to the recipe, the only exception being the substitution of Greek yogurt for sour cream.  It mostly worked, but the texture was a bit different.  But that smokey, rich paprika flavor still came through, and the creamy sauce infused the chicken with great flavor.

  This week, I remembered to wrangle my camera to the kitchen and document a bit of our dinner-time delectables.

Our first item of business?

Guys, this recipe is easy, tasty, cheap, filling…what more could a college kid ask for?  And it supplied leftovers for one night, plus one more serving for the freezer!

And a cracker and butter topping?  Can’t be beat.  Even if it’s a little soggy, it tastes good!  Would you like to know how to make it?

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

The Goods

~ 3 cups cooked chicken breasts (We used 3 from a bag)

1 can cream of chicken soup

8 oz plain yogurt (not Greek)

1 tbsp poppy seeds

1/2 onion, chopped

~15 ritz crackers, crushed

a dollop of butter

The Method

1. Cook chicken breasts with onion in some olive oil, then dice the chicken

2. Mix soup, yogurt, and poppy seeds

3. Combine soup mixture and chicken; pour into a lightly greased baking pan

4. Melt butter, crush crackers, then combine; sprinkle over chicken mixture

5. Bake in 350* oven uncovered, for 30 minutes or until bubbly and crackers are crunchy

6. Serve with rice and a green veggie

Salad was my side of choice – topped with ranch, tomato and avocado.  Delish!

Now, I do have one more recipe from this week, but I think I’ll hold off until the next post – I don’t want to overwhelm!

I know this post sounds quite upbeat, and while I do feel VERY good about this new, more aggressive approach, there are certainly challenging times.  Like when that Ed voice tells me there’s too much on my plate.  Or when I see my dear cooking partner (Elizabeth) pour more olive oil in the pan than I would have.  Or when Elizabeth unexpectedly butters my bread, and puts more butter on it than I would have.  But guess what.  The “too much” food on my plate gives me more energy.  The oil and butter taste good.  I’m getting better nutrition than I did on my own.  And cooking with someone else is WAY less stressful and WAY more fun!!  I’m a blessed gal.

And I will enjoy the food set before me!

One more recipe, coming your way soon!

Blessings,

Beth

One Legit Quesadilla

Who likes simple yet tasty eats?  (I do!)  And who views it as a bonus if these simple and tasty eats are inexpensive? (Ooooh pick me!)  If you answered yes to either of these questions, then this post is for you! 🙂  If you remember, I have criteria for recipes (being a poor college kid and all).  Also, I’m a fan of simple comfort food.  One evening, in search of a dinner that would meet these high demands, I felt stuck.  I had tortillas, cheese, and chicken…the makings of a perfect quesadilla.  Except, I didn’t have any salsa.  Neither did the roomies And I didn’t want to go to the store.  So a hemmed and hawed, opened and closed the fridge and freezer too many times…and then it hit me.  I remembered reading a post on one of my favorite blogs, Iowa Girl Eats about BBQ chicken quesadillas, with caramelized onions.  But alas, I didn’t have onions either.  But I did have corn.  Hmm.  Corn, chicken and BBQ sauce filling, sprinkled with cheese, encased in a tortilla.  It might just work!

And work, it certainly did!  The cheese melts and mixes with the BBQ sauce, which lightly coats the sweet, crisp corn, and the chicken just practically melts in with the rest of the filling.  Oooooh, and don’t forget that crispy-on-the-edges but soft-in-the-middle tortilla!  SO TASTY!

And so easy!  Just cook up some chicken (frozen chicken tenders work great for a single serving), shred it, then mix it in with defrosted corn and BBQ sauce.  Here is my sauce of choice (I’ll just pretend it doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup…..).  Any sauce will do!

After mixing the filling, simply place a tortilla in a preheated pan (a little non stick spray might not hurt).  Layer cheese, filling, then more cheese, and fold this doomed deliciousness in half.  Let it cook for a few minutes, then carefully flip it over.  Give it a few minutes, and then dig in!!

Oh, by the way,  I like to keep the burner on low to prevent the tortilla from browning too much.  This can make cooking seem to take AGES, though, so I pop a lid on it for a bit.  Gotta have melty cheese, yo! 🙂

I like to round out this meal with a small salad and a few chips.  Sour cream and more BBQ are great for dipping!

Give it a try – it’s super simple, and CRAZY tasty!  Let me know what ya think!

Enjoy the weekend, folks.

Blessings,

Beth

Ohhhhh Fall baking!

There’s something just so cozy about Fall baking…apples, cinnamon, pumpkin…sigh.  It’s this Fall baking that makes a house (or in my case, an apartment), smell like a home!  (Cue, cheeeeez)!  Anyways, living in a small apartment with limited space and limited funds doesn’t stop me from enjoying some delightful seasonal treats, especially when my mom hooks me up with some home-grown apples!

And the search for an appropriate and doable recipe began.  If you recall, I have some pretty strict criteria for recipes I choose to prepare.  Now of course, this recipe isn’t required to involve corn and potatoes.  That would be weird.  So hows abouts we sub the corn and potatoes for apples and cinnamon?  Mmmmmkay?  Mmmmkay.

Betty Crocker came to my rescue yet again with her delightful (and doable and inexpensive) sounding Apple-Cinnamon cake.  Thinking back to my criteria, the recipe DEFINITELY sounded good, it involved apples and cinnamon, and with only 5 (FIVE!!) ingredients (4 of which I had in my cupboard), it would be quite affordable.  Score!  So I picked up the one and only ingredient I needed and set to work.

Now, I stuck pretty close to the recipe this time, with one major exception.  The recipe calls for canned apple pie filling, but I can SO do better than that.  So I made my own!  I followed the Mini Apple Crumble recipe for the filling.

Here are my lovely, home-grown apples, courtesy of my mom and dad!

I cooked up the apple pie filling, then let it cool for a bit before moving on with the rest of the recipe.  Good thing the filling had a disguise in it’s future, ’cause boiling it too hot makes it look a little bit funny and bubbly…so don’t boil it too hot!!  🙂

If we call apples ingredient #1, then here are ingredients #2-#5!  We have cinnamon, eggs, brown sugar and a spice cake mix.  Easy as pie!  …or cake…

Gooey, cinammon-y apple pie filling and eggs are mixed with the oh-so-simple spice cake mix.  Just a warning: it smells REALLY good.  And I think it’s okay to sample the batter…but don’t tell my mom I ate raw eggs! 😉

After the batter is all mixed up (and the beaters are safely put in the sink to remove temptation), simply pour half the mixture into a cake pan.

The reason you’re pouring only half of the batter into the pan right now is because you’ve got some cinnamon-sugar mixture to layer in there!  Just sprinkle about half of it on, then evenly pour in the rest of the batter.

And here’s the lovely cake all ready to go in the oven!  Go ahead and top the cake with the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture.

If all goes well, you ought to have something resembling this!  Doesn’t it just look tasty?  And let me tell you about the smell…heavenly!  Seriously, it smelled like the quintessential grandma’s kitchen!

And look at those little clumps of sugary goodness…I had to restrain myself from just picking them off……

How cute!  The spice was perfect, and the amount of apples was just right.  Warm apple-cinnamon cake just can’t be beat!  Serve it up with some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, or if you want to be like me, a glass of vanilla soy milk pairs quite nicely 🙂

Apple Cinnamon Cake

Adapted from Betty Crocker

The Goods

1 box spice cake mix

1 recipe apple pie filling (click for the link!), about 21 oz

3 eggs

3 tbsp brown sugar

desired amount of cinnamon (about 1 tsp)

The Plan

1. Heat oven to 350*; grease the bottom only of a 13×9 pan.

2. In a large bowl, beat cake mix, pie filling and eggs with a mixer on low for 2 minutes.  The batter will be thick.

3. Spread half of the batter in the pan; mix the sugar and cinnamon, then sprinkle half of the mix over the batter in the pan.

4. Evenly spread the remaining batter in the pan, then sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon-sugar mix.

4. Bake 32-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool a bit, serve with whipped topping, ice cream or milk.

Well folks, I’m off to enjoy  the rest of my Sunday by watching Chopped and reading while sipping hot coco doing homework.  Hooray for college! 🙂  When I feel bogged down in homework and school shtuff, I read the verses taped to my wall and often linger on this one:

I am still confident of this:

I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Wait for the Lord;

Be strong, take heart and wait for the Lord.

Psalm 27:13-14

Take it for what you will 🙂

Have a blessed week!

Beth



It’s Not a Party Until You Add the Pasta

Guys, I really like Fall.  That feeling of slowly transitioning from warm, carefree summery days to cool and crisp, autumnal evenings, all cozy-ed up with homework a book and a cup of hot coco…seriously.  And then you add to all of that loveliness the pumpkin and apple themed goodies, the GORGEOUS leaves, not to mention the anticipation of CHRISTMAS (!!!).  This time of year is truly special.

A few weeks ago, my roommate, Marisa, posted this note on our apartment bulletin board:

Holy smokes…we’re having a pasta party!!  And I don’t just mean a box-of-spaghetti-plus-sauce kind of pasta party.  I mean a from-scratch, flour-up-to-your-elbows, homemade-sauce kind of party.  Count me in!

Finally, after much anticipation…the blessed afternoon arrived!  What a perfect day – sunny, mild, a few clouds…that, combined with the amazing fall colors and fabulous company made for a most enjoyable drive to Marisa’s home.

Are you ready for an onslaught of photos?  Good!  ‘Cause that’s what your gonna get 🙂  More pictures, less words shall be the nature of this post.

The kitchen stood ready…

…and the table…BEAUTIFUL!

And here stands 5 roommates, ready, and completely unaware of how much work, and how much FUN is involved in making fresh, homemade pasta.

Let the fun begin!!

Gotta wash up!

Nikki set to work on the ravioli filling.

The dough is quite tough to mix…and this is why Mandi held the bowl down whilst Marisa mixed…and mixed and mixed!

When mixing utensils are no longer suitable…

Before anything, and I mean ANYTHING touches the dough, it must be floured.  Hands, surfaces, tools…ANYTHING!  Elizabeth did a rockin’ job making sure the flour reached every inch of that board!  And Mandi did excellent work kneading the dough after Marisa had her share of the fun 😀

Here’s a sneak peak of dessert….MMMMMM!

Our lovely hostess and executive chef!

Here’s the key step in the process…watch and be amazed!  (Click to enlarge the pictures)

The final(ish) product – ready for ravioli or noodle-making!

Ravioli, ready for a hot bath 🙂

Elizabeth and I made quite the dough-rolling team.

And here, we have our PRO ravioli making team!

Now it should come as no surprise to you that I forgot to take some photos that would have been quite nice to have…such as the final product!  But alas, in our great hunger and excitement to dive fork-first into the fruits of our labor, I completely forgot to take pictures of the actual meal until after….sooooo uh yeah.  You’ll get an idea 🙂


This kinda sorta gives you an idea of what the ravioli looked like…and if nothing else, you’ll know that they were thoroughly enjoyed!

Remember the sneak-peak of dessert?  Well…here it is in all it’s glory!  Let me tell you about this dessert.

Jocelyn, Marisa’s mom, makes the BEST chocolate pudding cake I’ve ever had (okay, maybe it’s the only chocolate pudding cake I’ve ever had, but there’s a VERY high standard set!)  Dense, gooey, with melty chocolate chips…and ‘lots of love 🙂  Top it with fresh whipped cream and raspberries and you’ve got it made (if you’re sitting at our table, that is).  Man-oh-man, this cake is amazing!

And there you have our pasta party in a nutshell!  After dinner, we were tired but satisfied and happy.  How can you not be happy after spending a lovely afternoon with dear friends creating delicious food?  I cannot give an answer.

What a blessed afternoon, celebrating the creation of food – good food – culminating with the joyful consumption of said food.  Thank you, Lord!

Have a great week!

Beth

Fall is for Soup

Dropping temperatures….

Wind and rain…


 

Falling leaves…(ignore the vibrant green grass…)

I think this all means that Fall has officially arrived!  And this means that soup season is in full force…woooooot! 🙂  So naturally, I poured, and I mean POURED over cook book after cook book, magazines, blogs, random recipe websites and whatever other resources I stumbled upon in search of a soup recipe.  “Why on earth would this be so hard?” you might ask.  “Why might you need to consult so many resources, you crazy foo’??!!”  Well…I have some very strict criteria.

  1. It must sound good (duh!)
  2. It must involve corn and potatoes (it’s a phase, okay?)
  3. It musn’t cost too much (and it would be preferable if I had a majority of the ingredients on hand)

Number 3 is probably the most limiting.  But never fear!  I found a delicious-sounding recipe, that with a few alterations, should work just great.  I showed the recipe to my roomie, Marisa, to see if she’d be interested in sharing (she agreed) and I set to work on gathering the ingredients!  Which delectable soup passed my nearly impossible criteria?  I made a variation of Parmesan-Corn Chowder, from the cook book More Healthy Homestyle Cooking by Evelyn Tribole.  She’s a Registered Dietician, and the co-author of the first book I read in an effort to learn about recovering from Anorexia.  The book is called Intuitive Eating, and I highly recommend it to anyone, weight struggles or not.

And before I get started…although the soup has parmesan in the name, I actually didn’t put any in the soup.  Refer to criteria number 3 🙂

Now, on to the food!

I began by cooking up a few chicken tenders on the stovetop, with definite plans to shred them upon their satisfactory doneness.

Next up…VEGGIES!  I really like veggies.  A lot.

There was quite a bit of choppin’ going on.  And a decent amount of crying, but don’t worry…I didn’t cut myself!!  I just have this thing with onions….

We don’t get along so well.  Not that I’m bitter or anything…

Anyways, after I dried my tears and wiped all the runny make-up off my face, I got back to work!  The time had arrived to get this baby cookin’…so bring out the chicken broth, I say!

I brought this to a boil and let it simmer for a while, until all the veggies had softened.  

While the veggies and broth simmered away, I shredded the chicken and prepared the other ingredients (frozen corn, cream corn, and cornstarch).  Missing from the photo on the right is the milk.  I didn’t want to detract from the corny-ness of the moment!  *ba-dum-CHA*!  Anyways……this is also a great time to do a little mid-cookin’ clean up!

Here we are with two kinds of corn and the chicken…just waiting on the creaminess!  (AKA…milk and cornstarch)

And here we go!  I just let it heat for a bit to warm up the milk and thicken and then……

DINNER TIME!!!!!!!!  This soup…creamy, salty, warm, filling, and the corn…the CORN!  I seriously adore corn.  Weird?  Maybe.  Do I care?  Not so much 😉  Basically, this soup = perfect fall meal.  I topped it with cheese and bacon bits, and rounded out the meal with a little salad and bread, but naturally, forgot to take a picture.  Someday I’ll learn 🙂

Parmesan-Corn Chowder

Adapted from More Healthy Homestyle Cooking

The Goods

2-3 chicken tenders, defrosted

2 cups fat-free chicken broth

2 potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 carrot (or 4-5 baby carrots) chopped

1 celery rib, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

A few twists of black pepper from the pepper grinder

3/4 cup frozen corn (or one ear, shucked)

1 can cream corn

2 cups 1% milk

2+ tablespoons cornstarch

shredded cheese and bacon bits for topping

The Plan

1. Place  chicken tenders in a frying pan sprayed with nonstick spray; cook, shred, then set aside (while the rest of the soup is cooking)

2. In a large pot, combine broth, potatoes, carrot(s), celery, onion, and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the veggies are soft.

3. Add the frozen corn, cream corn and shredded chicken to the soup.  Pour all but 2 tablespoons of the milk into the soup and corn mixture.  Allow to heat up.

4. In a cup, dissolve the cornstarch into the remaining milk, then add to the soup.  Cook and stir for another minute, or until thickened and bubbly.  Cook one more minute, adding more cornstarch dissolved in milk or water if you desire a thicker soup.

5. Serve it up and top with cheese, bacon bits, or whatever other toppings you might desire!

I definitely enjoyed this soup, and the cheese and bacon on top just, well…put it over the top!  Be prepared, though – it’s quite filling!  But I suppose that’s the point of eating…to be filled up?  Yes.

Have an excellent weekend!

Beth


 

Mmmmmmmmmmuffins!

Howdy, everyone!

Just as a note, I think this blog will expand from just recipes to restaurants, activities, and whatever random things are on my mind.  But before I do that, here’s another recipe!! 🙂

I adapted this recipe from Eat Better AmericaBLUEBERRY MUFFINS!!!!  I was sliiiightly nervous just because it was a new recipe, and oh yeah…I planned to take them to work for the “outside guys” to devour…which they did, I might add 😉  So with no further ado, I present to you zeeeeee muffins:

Before you do anything, please preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and either grease some muffin tins or put paper-liners in muffin tins…’cause no one likes to forget those!

First, throw about 2 tbsp of packed brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon in a bowl…and mix like crazy!  This is the topping…and the photos I took didn’t come close to turning out, so use your imaginations 🙂

Next up, beat skim milk, apple sauce, honey and one egg with spoon until well blended.

Okay, now stir in whole wheat flour, white flour, baking powder and salt just until moistened…the batter should be kinda lumpy!

And now, gggeeeeennnntttllllyyyy stir in those lovely blueberries.

Now, spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.  Then, dot each muffin-to-be with a bit of butter, and sprinkle some of the brown sugar-cinnamon topping on each.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden, until the delicious aroma is slowly pulling you towards the oven or…a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean.  It’s up to you 😉  And heeeere is the final product!

And just to make you drool…..


Whole-Wheat Blueberry Muffins

Topping:

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Muffins:

3/4 cup skim milk

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup honey

1 egg

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup frozen (or fresh) blueberries

The Process:

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees, grease muffin tins or place paper liners in muffin tins.

2. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.

3. In a large bowl, mix milk, applesauce, honey and egg with a spoon until well blended.

4. To the wet ingredients, add both flours, baking powder and salt.  Mix until just combined – the batter will be lumpy.

5. Carefully stir in the blueberries.

6. Spoon batter into muffin tins, dot with butter and sprinkle topping.

7. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean.

I hope you enjoy these tasty and healthy muffins!  For the record, my coworkers and boss inhaled thought these were a tasty addition to their morning.

I’d love to hear your comments and would definitely love to hear what recipes you’d like me to feature!  Just drop me a note in the comment section 🙂

Until next time,

Beth

Zephaniah 3:17

A blog (and a stirfry) is born ~

Hello!  Thank you for taking a moment to read my blog!  I hope you’ll take a few more moments and read the other pages while you’re at it 🙂

Blogging seems to be the new “it” thing to do.  From food blogs, to journal blogs, to rant-and-rave blogs – they’re all out there.  If you’ve read my About page, you know the purpose of this blog – primarily to share recipes and in so doing, promote Body Peace for myself and others.  But also, I’m blogging because I adore writing and cooking and sharing what’s on my mind – what better way to do all of those things? 🙂  With that said, here’s the first recipe up to bat!!!  WOOOOOOOO!!!!

Chicken-Sausage-Veggie-Stir-fry…Thing

I’m a fan of heading to the kitchen with a few ingredients in mind and a basic direction, but no recipe.  It’s kinda fun to just see what I can create!  This is a prime example.

I started out with one smallish green zucchini and one smallish yellow squash, along with a few spears of asparagus.  After slicing/chopping/breaking said vegetables into more manageable pieces, I spritzed with olive oil, and sprinkled a little salt and pepper and dehydrated onion (but fresh would work great too).  Sauté until veggies begin to feel soft and have those nifty little brown marks from the pan 🙂

Meanwhile, slice up a couple of precooked chicken sausages and toss them in a pan to brown up a bit (PLEASE follow the package cooking instructions!!)  I used a mild sweet Italian variety, but I would imagine almost any flavor would work!  Oh, and now would probably be a great time to get some rice or pasta cooking…whoops!

Once the vegetables have reached a desirable state of doneness (is that even a word?!), dump in a can of diced tomatoes.  I also added unmeasured dashes of…wait for it…oh yeah!  Garlic powder, onion powder, garlic salt and a bit of an Italian herb blend.  Bring the tomatoes to a simmer, and after about 5 or so minutes, add the sausage.  Give this a few more minutes to simmer (or wait until the rice is done…ha!)  and then you’re ready to go!

            

I made up a little salad to round out this meal, which, for the record, fed three of us, not just me! 😉

The Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 green zucchini, chopped
  • 1 yellow squash, chopped
  • 5-6 spears of asparagus, tough ends removed, broken into bite-size pieces
  • Olive oil (for spritzing)
  • 2 chicken sausages
  • Rice or pasta
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (use the liquid)
  • Various herbs and spices

Directions

  • Sauté first three ingredients in a spritzing of olive oil until soft
  • Slice, then brown chicken sausage according to package instructions
  • Prepare rice or pasta according to package instructions
  • Add tomatoes and various herbs and spices to veggies, simmer 5ish minutes
  • Add chicken sausage to veggie-tomato mixture, simmer until ready to serve

By the way, this recipe is COMPLETELY customizable.  You can use almost any veggies you desire, any kind of sausage (or other meat) and whatever herbs and spices make sense.  Wooohooo for easy, please-anyone recipes! 🙂

One thing that makes eating that much more challenging for someone recovering from an Eating Disorder is not knowing what and how much of what is in a meal or dish.  Some people call this controlling.  I call it healthy knowledge.  If knowing what I’m eating makes me feel better about it, I think that’s worth something!  And cooking meals like this is perfect for that.  My goal, though, is to loosen up over time.  One bite at a time. 🙂

Do you prefer cooking from a recipe or making it up as you go?

Take care,

Beth