Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Most PERFECT Eggs Benedict!

So I've made Eggs Benedict more than a few times and I swear it gets BETTER everytime! I still remember the first time I tried to impress Greg and was literally making egg soup instead of poached eggs! Now just LOOK at my PERFECTLY poached eggs! There's really not much to it! Just let the water come in a boil, add some vinegar, drop your eggs in and let them boil for about 3 minutes, then remove them with a sloated spoon.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Semi-Homemade Ravioli

I can't believe I've never made Ravioli before! They're so easy (thanks to the good old freezer aisle!) and SO yummy! Of course if I wanted to be really gourmet, I could totally make my own with Wonton skins but this was quick and great on a weeknight! (The left-overs are awesome, by the way!)
Ingredients: (4 servings)

1 lb lean ground beef
3 c Marinara sauce
1 c mushrooms, sliced
1 pkg (9 oz each) refrigerated cheese-filled ravioli
2 Tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp chopped Italian seasoning


1. Cook beef in large skillet over medium-high heat 7 minutes, or until browned and crumbled, stirring frequently; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce and mushrooms; blend well. Bring to boil.
2. Meanwhile, cook ravioli in a pot of boiling water according to directions.

3. Add the cooked ravioli to skillet; spoon meat sauce over ravioli until well coated. Reduce heat; cover and simmer on medium for about 2 minutes.
4. Sprinkle with cheese and seasoning.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

6 Nutrients Women Need Most

1. Folic Acid
-Crucial for creating new cells & maintaining DNA.
-Lowers levels of amino acid in blood linked to dementia, cognitive impairment, stroke and heart disease.
-Dark leafy greens (spinach & kale), nuts, legumes

2. Calcium
-Promotes bone growth & prevents osteoporosis
-Prevents breast cancer
-Dairy, greens (kale & broccoli), almonds

3. Vitamin D
-Prevents breast, colon and ovarian cancers
-Helps body absorb calcium
-Oily fish (salmon), milk

4. Iron
-Maintains energy levels
-Red meat, fish, poultry, beans, spinach

5. Fiber
-Traps bad cholesterol before it's absorbed by intestines
-Sustains energy levels
-Whole grain breads & pasta, fruits, veggies, beans

6. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
-Reduce risk of stroke
-Boosts good cholesterol
-Decreases blook pressure
-Fish, fish-oil capsules,13803,1674052,00.html

Top 10 tips for a Healthy Liver

I'm turning 26 soon and the best gift I can give myself is a healthy body. I know I haven't been taking care of myself as much as I should and I'm sure my liver has probably endured the most damage. So that's where I'll start!

Top food choices: artichokes, spinach, mustard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, black beans, swiss chard, romaine lettuce, salmon, halibut, shrimp, cabbage, asparagus, collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, tuna, brussels sprouts, cinnamon, kale, onions, garlic, eggs, lentils, kale

1. Avoid any foods of which you suspect you may be intolerant:
They will produce toxins in the gut that can cause stress to the detoxification mechanisms

2. Consume plenty of foods containing:
Folate, flavonoids, magnesium, iron, sulphate, selenium and B-vitamins (2,3,6 & 12).

3. Cut down on stimulants:such as tea and coffee, and depressants such as smoking & alcohol. Aim at drinking at least 2.5 litres of water a day.

4. Eat foods rich in antioxidants:
Which aid the natural detox mechanisms.

5. Take a daily does of Echinacea , Milk Thistle or Dandelion Root:
(as tablets, tincture or teas) They are blood cleansers and skin tonics. (The usual recommended dose for milk thistle is 350mg three times a day for a couple of weeks.)

6. Don’t use antibiotics or antacids unless absolutely necessary:
Antibiotics can destroy the useful bacteria in the gut that eliminate toxins; antacids decrease the natural acidity that is necessary for complete digestion.

7. Take a dose of activated charcoal twice a week:
This is a medical form of charcoal with the capacity to absorb whatever molecules it encounters, including toxins. (Don’t take it with food or medicines though, or it will absorb them.)

8. Do some gentle exercise:
It increases lymph acitivity within the body, causing you to sweat and generate more urine, encouraging liver activity and stimulating the gut to get rid of waste products, all of which can help to detoxify your body.

9. Avoid excess of salt & sugar:
Instead, use fresh herbs, pepper, chillies and lemon juice to enhance the flavour of food.

10. Laugh, Rest and feel good!
A depressed mind can cause a depressed body. Laughter actually increases production of an antibody that is responsible for our first line of defense against bacterial infections.

Laughter, lovemaking and exercise are the best medicine of all!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Being Creative with What You've Got!

After almost a year of cooking, I can finally make a meal without looking at a recipe! AND with only what I have in the fridge! Of course, it helps to keep staples on hand like onions, canned tomatoes and PASTA RONI! So here's some bacon pasta I whipped up in Less than 30 minutes. (Rachael Ray would be proud!)
Ingredients: (4 servings)

1 pkg PASTA RONI Rigatoni pasta (I used Butter and Herb)

4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 medium onion, chopped (1/2 c)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped (1 Tbsp)
1 c chopped tomatoes (canned)
½ c Italian cheese, shredded
2 Tbsp butter

1 c milk
1 c water
½ c chicken stock


1. Cook bacon in a large saucepan over low heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until crisp. Remove bacon from saucepan with slotted spoon.

2. Cook onion and garlic in bacon fat over medium heat about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until onion is tender. Stir in pasta, butter, milk, water and chicken stock. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is done, about 8 minutes.

3. Stir in bacon and cheese.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Pork Overload!

I keep seeing recipes on the Food Network about bacon and Brussels sprouts so I thought I'd give it a shot. Then I thought...what would I do for the main event? More pork! And to round out the meal, I also tossed in some potatoes. I almost set off the smoke alarm but the result was awesome! Am I creative or what?


4 slices lean bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips
8 Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved, if desired
8 red-skinned potatoes, quartered with skin (about 1 1/2-inch pieces)
2 Tbsp butter
1 (4 oz) Porkchop
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. In a large, deep skillet, cook the bacon over moderately-high heat until browned, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain.
2. Add the 2 Tbsp of butter to the remaining bacon fat. Increase the heat to medium. Add the potatoes, positioning them in the pan so the cut sides get nice and brown. Add the Brussels sprouts and porkchop and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they are golden brown on the outside, about 15 minutes. Turn porkchop over after about 10 minutes.
3. Add the reserved bacon to the Brussels sprouts in the pan along with salt and pepper, to taste.

Monday, May 19, 2008

2007 Women's Health Magazine Best Foods

Ones I'd like to try:

1. Kashi Heart to Heart Cereal (w/Antioxidant)
1 cup = Cal: 133 Fiber: 6 Protein: 5

2. Sargento Light String Cheese Snacks
1 snack = Cal: 50 Protein: 6

3. Kraft Light n' Lively Lowfat Cottage Cheese (w/Calcium)
1/2 c = Cal: 80 Protein: 12

4. Birds Eye Steamfresh Brussels Sprouts
1 bag = Cal: 50 Fiber: 3 Protein: 3

5. Eat Smart Tomato, Romano & Olive Oil Soy Crisps
20 chips = Cal: 150 Fiber: 5 Protein: 7

6. Swiss Miss Diet Milk Chocolate Cocoa (w/Calcium)
1 pkt = Cal: 25 Fiber: 1 Protein: 2

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Biscuits and Gravy Y'all!

It's rare that Greg actually REQUESTS something new so when he asked if I could make him Biscuits and Gravy for breakfast, I was like "HELL YEA!" Making gravy from scratch might sound like a lotta work but it's actually pretty easy. Flour, Butter, Milk and BACON and that's it! I made Greg open the biscuit tube cuz the popping sound used to scare me as a kid. But you know what? It wasn't even bad at all! I guess everything's scarier when you're a kid huh? The biscuits came out flakey and buttery and SO good! I used 2 and froze the rest for another day. They will be AWESOME for Eggs Benedict too! :)


2 Pillsbury® Golden Layers® Refrigerated Buttermilk Biscuits
2 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 slices bacon, chopped
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp coarse ground black pepper
1 c chicken broth
1 c milk


1. Heat oven to 350°F. Bake biscuits as directed on can.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, fry the bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 4 minutes. Break up the bacon with a spoon.
3. Stir in the butter until melted, then whisk in the flour until incorporated. Whisk in the chicken broth, milk, ½ tsp salt and pepper and simmer over medium-low heat until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes.
4. Pour the gravy over the biscuits.

5. Scramble 2 eggs in the same skillet as the gravy.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Cuban Sandwich Meets Mac and Cheese!

I was watching The Rachael Ray Show the other day and she made something really interesting: Cubano Mac and Cheese! (Of course her enthusiasm made it even more exciting!) Anyway, so I asked Greg if he liked Cuban Sandwiches since that's what it was supposed to taste like and he said "Oh YEA!" We ALWAYS have ham and pickles in the fridge so Cubano Mac and Cheese was made and even the left-overs were eaten up the next day!

Ingredients: (4 servings)

1 lb elbow pasta
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
1 c chicken stock
2 c milk
¼ c Dijon mustard
3 c Mozzarella cheese, shredded
½ c pickles, chopped
4 sliced ham, chopped


1. Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring it up to a boil to cook the pasta. Once at a boil, add some salt and the pasta and cook it just shy of al dente.
2. While the pasta is cooking, heat a medium-size skillet over medium heat and add the butter. When the butter melts, add the flour and cook about a minute. Whisk in stock, milk, and mustard, and bring up to a bubble.
3. Stir in the cheese until it's all melted.
4. Fold in the pickles and ham, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. When the pasta is done, drain it well and combine with sauce.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Veggie Madness - The Most Nutritious of Them ALL!

1. Folate:
Lowers compounds that trigger artery inflammation
Lowers risk of heart attack and breast cancer
- Brussels Sprouts = 54 mcg
- Broccoli = 55 mcg
- Cauliflower = 57 mcg

2. Magnesium
Helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function
Supports immune system
- Tomato = 20mg
- Brussels Sprouts = 20mg
- Butternut Squash = 48mg

3. Iron
Provide oxygen to brain and muscles
- Brussels Sprouts = 1.23mg
- Butternut Squash = 0.98mg

4. Selenium
Helps protect against heart disease, Type2 diabetes and cancer
Generates proteins for immune system to stay up and running
- Brussels Sprouts = 1.4mcg

WINNER! Brussels Sprouts!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there! My mom and I had the most awesome time on our Champagne Brunch Cruise! Here we are just before boarding the California Sunday morning.

Good food and a great view! What more can you ask for? To the left is a shot of the Bay Bridge as our boat was passing through underneath. To the right is our YUMMY plate of desserts! Which one was my favorite? Um...ALL of them! hehe
Here we are at the table. Smiling happily with our huge plates of food! After that we went to Macy's and bought my mom her AK watch. She was a happy woman! :)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

More Pasta Roni

I was so pleased with my Pasta Roni the other night that I wanted to cook some more! I picked up a package of Tyson's Roasted Diced Chicken and dinner was on the table in 15 minutes!

Ingredients: (4 servings)

1 pkg (5.1 oz) PASTA RONI® Fettuccini Alfredo
1 1/3 c water
2/3 c milk
3 Tbsp margarine
½ c chopped mushrooms
¼ c chopped onion

1 pkg (6 oz) Tyson's Roasted Diced Chicken
¼ c sour cream


1. In a medium saucepan, saute onions and mushrooms in 1 Tbsp of butter until soft, about 5 minutes.
2. Add 1 1/3 c water, 2/3 c milk and 2 Tbsp margarine and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium.
3. Slowly stir in pasta and Special Seasonings. Return to a boil. Boil uncovered 5 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring frequently.
3. Sauce will be thin. Stir in chicken and sour cream. Let stand 5 minutes to thicken.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Healthy Cookies???

Per Greg's request, I decided to make Oatmeal Raisin cookies this week. They might not be "health" food but definitely "healthier" than my usual with the raisins (fruit!) and oatmeal (whole grains!). They turned out fantastic!

Ingredients: (4 dozen cookies)

2 sticks margarine or butter, softened
1 c firmly packed brown sugar
½ c granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt (optional)
3 c Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
1 c raisins


1. Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat margarine and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats and raisins; mix well.

2. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Pasta Roni! (My new best friend)

Last Friday, while Nicole was over for lunch, we watched Giada make this really yummy Carbonara. It looked pretty complicated though and Thursday nights are cookie-baking nights so I didn't have a whole lotta time to spare. BUT while searching online, I came across the most amazing idea...Pasta Roni! I've never used Pasta Roni or Rice A Roni before so I thought I'd give it a shot. It was SO easy and came together SO fast! AND I got to use a lotta of the ingredients I already had in my fridge like ham, green onions, mushrooms...

Angel Hair Carbonara w/Ham

Ingredients: (4 servings)

1 pkg (5.1 oz) PASTA RONI® Angel Hair Pasta with Parmesan Cheese
1 1/3 c water
2/3 c milk
3 Tbsp butter
½ c chopped onion
¼ c chopped green onion slices
1 c chopped mushrooms
2 c diced cooked ham
¼ c sour cream


1. In a medium saucepan, saute onions and mushrooms in 1 Tbsp of butter until soft, about 5 minutes.

2. Add 1 1/3 c water, 2/3 c milk and 2 Tbsp margarine and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium.

3. Slowly stir in pasta and Special Seasonings. Return to a boil. Boil uncovered 5 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring frequently.

3. Sauce will be thin. Stir in ham and sour cream. Let stand 5 minutes to thicken.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Brussels Sprouts Please!

Greg has been requesting Brussels sprouts for quite some time now. (I know it sounds crazy!) His old roommate's girlfriend made some really yummy ones back in the days and he was even thinking of calling him for the recipe! Not needed because Giada's got one already! I changed the recipe a little and only used potatoes, carrots and the Brussel sprouts since Greg only likes those 3. Now my man can't have just veggies for dinner now can he? What's better roasted in the oven than chicken thighs? Thank goodness for extra meat in the freezer. Dinner was on the table in an hour!


4 chicken thighs, with skin and bones

8 baby carrots, halved
8 Brussels sprouts, halved
3 red potatoes, cut into bit-sized pieces

½ c extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
¼ c garlic salk

2 Tbsp black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Heat skillet on medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and brown on both sides (about 5 minutes on each side).

3. In a pan toss the carrots, Brussels sprouts and potatoes with olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper.

4. Add the chicken to the pan. Cover with foil and place on medium rack in oven. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

Mac & Cheese CRACKERS!

I just discovered the most AWESOME new snack today! Kraft just out-done themselves again with Mac & Cheese CRACKERS!

They come in 3 flavors: Cheddar, Mild Cheddar and (my personal favorite) White Cheddar. They're shaped just like the real thing AND they taste wonderfully CHEESY! The best part though? They have only 150 calories for 56 pieces! YES...that's a LOT of crackers! I found these on sale at Safeway but I'm sure you can get them at just about any grocery chain. Enjoy!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Muscle and Fitness Hers Grocery List

1. Romaine Lettuce
-Vitamin K to boost bone health
-Folate to prevent anemia

2. Sweet Potatoes
-Slow-digesting carb to stabilize blood-sugar & insulin levels
-Carotenoids to ward off cell damage

3. Chicken
-Amino acid leucine to help facilitate protein synthesis
-Low-fat source of high-quality protein

4. Yogurt
-Calcium to help stay slim
-Active cultures to enhance digestive health & immunity

5. Eggs
-Egg protein provdes all of the amino acids body needs

6. Oatmeal
-Fiber to fill you up
-Manganese for strong bones & carb metabolism

Saturday, May 3, 2008

More Mexican Food!

It's breakfast time...Mexican style! Traditional Huervo Rachero! I knew Greg would like this...ham, eggs, tomatoes and CHEESE on a FRIED tortilla, what's NOT to like??? A little messy to eat but who cares? We're at home! (Tabasco sauce is also a good idea if you like it HOT!)


¼ chopped onion
1c of chopped tomatoes
2 slices smoked ham, thinly sliced
1 tortilla (buritto size)
2 eggs

1 tsp Taco seasoning
Cooking oil
1c shredded Mexican cheese


1. Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a small skillet. Add the smoked ham and onions and cook over moderately high heat until browned on the bottom, about 2 min. Transfer ham to a plate.

2. Add another Tbsp of oil to the skillet along with the tomatoes, and Taco seasoning. Once the sauce is boiling, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 min.

3. On a second, larger frying pan, fry the tortilla in 1 Tbsp of cooking oil (about 30 seconds on each side). Put the tortilla on a plate.

4. Now fry the eggs sunny-side up over moderate heat in another Tbsp of oil until the egg whites are set and the egg yolks are still slightly runny, about 3 min.

5. Place 1 egg on top of each tortilla and fully cover the eggs with the sauce. Serve with shredded cheese on top.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Beefy Dumplings...Mexican?

In honor of Cinco de Mayo next week, I decided to make Mexican food! This didn't turn out very Mexican even with the salsa and Mexican cheese! Greg like it though and said it reminded him of Sloppy Joe's. He even ate the left-overs the next day!

Ingredients: (6 servings)

1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
2 c chunky salsa
½ c corn kernels
1 c tomato sauce
2 tsp Taco seasoning powder
1½ cups Original Bisquick® mix
½ c water
½ c shredded Mexican cheese


1. In 12-inch skillet, cook beef over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until brown; drain. Stir in salsa, beans, corn, tomato sauce and the Taco seasoning. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low.

2. n medium bowl, stir Bisquick mix and the water until soft dough forms. Drop dough by 6 spoonfuls onto simmering beef mixture.

3. Cook uncovered 10 min. Cover; cook 8 minutes longer. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover; cook about 2 min or until cheese is melted.
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