Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year


Since the holidays are almost over, I am ready to start my healthy(ier) eating & exercise.  Lord knows that the last two weeks have been fabulous.  Between my mother & my mother-in-law, there has been a plethora of amazing food & leftovers, but I am feeling a bit glutinous.  Not to mention that at work, we have had a never-ending supply of chocolate, popcorn & nuts to munch on.  Although I tried to stay away from all the goodies, once the Cheryl & Co cookies (
http://cherylandco.com/) were delivered, it was all downhill after that.  These things are amazing....

Cheryl & Co's mission statement: Our mission is to be the best gourmet food and gift company, ever.  They aren't kidding!  These individually wrapped cookies are soft & you won't taste any artificial ingredients.  They bake from scratch.  They usually offer free shipping on a lot of selections and their prices are really great!  You get a lot of stuff in each gift.  Their frosted buttercream are so delicious, but they also have decadent flavors like Chocolate Peppermint, Cinnamon Pumpkin, Chocolate Buttercream Chip, Frosted Chocolate Peanut Butter (yum!), and then more traditional: Chocolate Chip, Macadamia White Chip, Snickerdoodle, & Oatmeal Raisin.  And they are not all cookies- they also have stuff like: Oatmeal Scotchie Brownie's, Chocolate Pretzels, Lemon Cake, Cheryl's Oh's (cookie sandwiches!), etc.

Oh yeah, but this blog was supposed to be about being healthy...guess I got a little carried away with those darn Cheryl's cookies.

Maybe later.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Williams Sonoma Hot Chocolate on Sale


Williams Sonoma has their hot chocolate on sale! 














This is my favorite, and this is a very good price!

You'll find many other items on sale online & also in stores tomorrow.

Cookie Time!















Sabl├ęs au Citron
(from Paris Sweets by Dorie Greenspan)
(makes 50 cookies) - These buttery, lemon cookies melt in your mouth!

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temp.
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar (measured then sifted)
2 large egg yolks (divided use: 1 for dough, 1 for coating)
pinch of salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2-4 tsp finely grated lemon zest (to taste)
2 cups all purpose flour
approximately 1/2 cup granulated sugar (for coating)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter on medium speed until smooth, add the confectioners' sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in 1 egg yolk, followed by salt, vanilla and lemon zest. 

On low speed, add the flour and mix just until flour is incorporated. 

Turn dough out onto a counter, gather dough into a ball, divide in half, and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Chill dough for 30 minutes in refrigerator.

Form each piece of dough into a log that is about 1 to 1 1/4 inches in diameter. (If the diameter is right, the length you end up with is fine. Mine are usually about 6 inches long.) Wrap logs in plastic wrap and chill dough for 2 hours in refrigerator. (Dough logs can be wrapped airtight and kept refrigerated for up to 3 days or stored in freezer for up to 1 month.)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.

If you are coating your cookies with sugar, whisk the remaining egg yolk until it's smooth and liquid enough to use as a glaze. Spread granulated sugar out on a piece of waxed paper. One log at a time, unwrap your chilled dough log and brush lightly with the egg yolk. Roll the log in sugar, pressing gently to help the sugar stick. 

Slice each log into rounds about 1/4 inch thick. Place on baking sheets, leaving about 1/2 inch between the cookies. 

Bake at 350F for 12-14 minutes until they are set but not browned. (It's okay if the yolk-sugar edges brown slightly.) Transfer cookies to cooling rack. 

Notes: 
You can use a different citrus zest in this recipe. 
Definitely give the dough logs the 2 hour rest in the refrigerator. 
It's optional to coat the edges in sugar

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mushroom Panini

We made tasty Mushroom Panini sandwiches tonight.  We used sliced Portobello mushrooms and rather than provolone or swiss cheese, we used a Mexican Queso melting cheese for something a little different.  I found a crusty sourdough bread & spread melted butter with a little salt & pepper on the outside of the bread.

I made an olive tapenade (see below), layered the cheese & roasted portobello mushrooms (see below), and made our panini's.  Yum!  The cheese & olives together with the mushrooms were nice & salty, and roasted portobello's have such a nice meaty flavor.

Roasted Portobello's:

Ingredients:

  • 2 large portobello mushrooms (or a package of sliced portobello's)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  
Brush portobello mushrooms with a brush or paper towel removing any dirt.
Drizzle or brush olive oil over both sides of the mushrooms.
Sprinkle salt & pepper on both sides.
Roast for 7-10 minutes (flipping once) until al dente (sides will begin to curl).

Olive Tapenade (you can add or subtract any of your favorite ingredients):

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 20 pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped (you can always use black, green or a mixed variety)
  • 1 Tbsp rinsed, drained, and chopped capers
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp anchovy paste (optional)
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • Fresh cracked black pepper

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients- chop or throw into a food processor to combine. Mix well. Refrigerate and use within two weeks. Use as a spread for sandwiches, paninis, muffaletta or as a condiment.  

Yield: about 1 cup

Friday, November 14, 2008

Follow me!

On the right hand side of the page, you'll see a section called "Followers."  Click "Follow this blog" link.  Then we can stay in touch & we'll know when we post updates!

Also, feel free to leave comments- stuff you liked, didn't like or if you have general comments or links you want me to check out, I'd love to see it!

Walmart Wine


We saw Walmart's cheap-o wine for $2.97 called Oak Leaf wine.  We debated on whether we would end up pouring it down the drain, but apparently people like it.  And it is winning contests....and people are choosing it over the $50 bottles.  And it is getting gold stars.
The chardonnay won a gold medal at the 2008 S.F. Chronicle Wine Competition.  The merlot & the cabernet savignon earned bronze medals.  Who woulda thought?  We have a bottle sitting in our fridge, but have yet to open it up.

Top 10 Slogans for Wal-Mart Wine
By DAVID LETTERMAN
10. "When Kmart Wine Just Won't Do"
9. "I Can't Believe It's Not Wine"
8. "Show Your Friends How Little You Care"
7. "Kills Germs on Contact"
6. "Recommended by 4 Out of 5 Drifters!"
5. "Crack Open a Can Today!"
4. "Fresh From the Vineyards of Aisle 6"
3. "Here's to Making Bail!"
2. "Feeling Down After Being Thrown Out by Britney?"
1. "Goes Great With a 20-Dollar Hooker"

Thursday, October 30, 2008

They ran out of dessert!

My mom & I attended KRLD's 82nd anniversary party last night at the Dallas arboretum.  We really enjoyed ourselves- great catered food, full open bar, notable speakers, pretty flowers & a great place to people watch!  One of the highlights for me was the avocado bar: They served up a half of a Haas Avocado still in the rine sprinkled with salt and drizzled with olive oil.  Then you choose from a variety of toppings to "stuff" your avocado like black bean & corn salsa, shrimp and cucumber ceviche, pineapple pico, bacon!, sour cream or habanero cream.  While the concept was amazing, the habanero cream was freaking HOT!  I can stomach hot food (thai food, super hot salsa, etc), but for your average eater, I know they had to be turned off.  This stuff had a serious kick & definitely should have come with a warning.  But, I really liked the idea.
After all the salty and spicy food, we were craving some dessert.  We went to the dessert station & they had run out- no plan B, just plain out!  My mom & I were joking that we would throw some butter & cinnamon sugar on some tortillas & come up with something!  They were still serving dinner, so people were not happy that they ran out that early.
Bummer...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cool weather, warm food

As we had our first "cold-front" and the temperature here in Texas dropped into the 40s, everyone quickly pulled out their scarves, heavy coats and even some people pulled out their gloves.  As we left for work for our lunch break, we all decided since it was "so cold," that we needed something warm- soup!  We drove over to Panera which apparently everyone in Dallas thought the exact same thought.  The parking lot was jammed & there was not a free table.  Every tray that I saw go by had soup on it.  I got the creamy Tomato soup with chunks of Sourdough bread in it:

Tomato, Cheese and Bread Soup


8ounces crusty Sourdough croutons
2tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
9garlic cloves, minced
3large onions, finely chopped
8cups chicken stock or low-salt chicken broth
228oz cans peeled plum tomatoes, drained and crushed
1/4cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Parmesan Reggiano rind (optional)
1/4cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves (for garnish)
1/4cup Parmesan cheese shavings
1/4cup freshly grated Asiago cheese

HEAT OLIVE OIL
 in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute until very tender, about 25 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook 1 minute. Add chicken stock, crushed tomatoes, cheeses and cheese rind. Simmer soup uncovered 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper. For smoother texture, puree in blender or food processor before serving.

Ladle soup into Panera Bread Sourdough bread bowls. Add croutons, torn basil, and Parmesan cheese shavings just before serving.

MAKES 6 SERVINGS

So as the season starts to change into fall & colder temperatures, there are just certain foods that sound so great that I always look forward to.  
  1. Hot Chocolate- My favorite: Williams Sonoma Hot Chocolate (worth every penny & the extra time on the stove)
  2. Soups & Chili- I was always intimidated to make soups, but it is quite easy.  You can start almost any soup with a little olive oil in the bottom of a pan & then throw in some diced onion, celery & carrot (the french call it a mirepoix, but who really cares).  A lot of soup recipes called for diced or crushed tomatoes.  I like to throw these in for a little kick: Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes (can find these at Central Market & Tom Thumb).  Then just follow your favorite recipe or combine a few together that sound good.
  3. Baked Goods- I guess because the holidays are getting close, I figure "Hey, maybe this year, I'll bake cookies for everyone I know!"  Yea right...  But I do tend to bake a bit more around the house at least.
Hope you are enjoying some of fall's foods!