Wednesday, July 21, 2010

St. Louis Cardinals Game Pics

We had the opportunity to go to a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game last night. We even got treated to Cardinals Club tickets. Score!

Front of Busch Stadium from our VIP parking. You absolutely cannot get any closer than this and be parked.

The field from our seats. Pretty dang close!

The Gateway Arch from our seats. For some reason I really like this picture.

Can't take too many pictures without playing around a little with the aperture and shutter speed. I kinda like this ol' gate with the sea of red in the background. I guess the gate isn't too old. This Busch Stadium was just opened in 2006. But, it kinda looks old, so I'm sticking with that.

Phillies warming up. Wonder what this fellas job title is? How much do you think he gets paid? Just sayin'.

Yadier Molina on deck. I was actually able to focus despite the backdrop between homeplate and us. Pretty cool, huh?

Carpenter on the mound. He's like 6'6" or something. Funny how depth perception plays tricks isn't it?

And, finally, Big Mac and Pujols in the dugout. Classic. Cards won 7-1 which made the whole night even better.

Cardinals Club Night Out

This was so yummy! I didn't cook it though. As if you couldn't tell. We had a night out with a fancy dancy dinner at the St. Louis Cardinals baseball game. We were given tickets to the Cardinals Club which includes VIP parking, a five star dinner, to die for seats and waited on hand and foot. Nice. Very nice.

Doesn't that look incredibly yummy? It was. Trust me. It was also great to have an incredible night out with Bossman. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Grilled Chicken & Pineapple Quesadillas

Rave reviews on this one and very filling! Yay me! Sorry. Just glad everybody liked them.

Start with some skinless boneless chicken breasts. I used a package of 3 to make 4 good size quesadillas. Put a chicken breast inside a gallon ziplock bag. No sense in getting chicken "stuff" all over your cutting board.

Take your big meat tenderizer mallet thing and beat the pulp out of your chicken breast. You want it flat and spread out.

Since beating with a mallet isn't quite enough, I like to take a heavy can from the cabinet and beat it some more. Remember - thin, thin, thin. It takes less time to grill and you don't want a fat ol' piece of chicken to have to bite through.

This is what you want your chicken to look like when you're through beating it to death. Ready for grillin'...

While the grill is preheating, take two fresh avocados and peel and slice them. Keep in mind there's a seed inside, so slice at an angle to curve around it.

Here's the avocado peeled and sliced. I actually ended up cutting my avocado up in smaller pieces and strips as I prepped the tortilla shells.

Put some salt and pepper on your chicken and throw it on the grill. Don't mess with it right away so the flavor gets seared in.

Brush your favorite barbecue sauce on the chicken while it's grilling. You can also add some spice if you like it. I just did the barbecue sauce since I was feeing four people and wasn't sure who liked spicy and who didn't.

Now it's time to break out the griddle and the tortilla shells. I use whole wheat tortilla shells. Large burrito size works well.

Lightly coat your griddle with butter. I use Smart Balance Lite with Olive Oil. If you're gonna use some butter, might as well make it as healthy as butter can get. I have a large griddle so I can put two tortillas on at once. Lightly brown both sides. If you don't have a griddle a skillet will work as well. I'm kind of partial to my griddle and use it often. I'm not sure why. Does that make me a weirdo? 

When the chicken gets done (doesn't that look good?!) put it off to the side and throw your pineapple on the grill. It's always better to use fresh pineapple, but I used canned rings because they are a lot less work and well, they're kinda cute. Dontcha think?

When your pineapple is done (doesn't take very long) you want to take it and your chicken off the grill. Take a sharp knife and slice the chicken in thin strips.

We're getting close! Time to build your quesadilla. Take a tortilla shell and put it on your griddle. Put a handful of monterey jack cheese as a base. Throw on some chicken strips, followed by some grilled pineapples, jalapenos and avocado. Put another handful of monterey jack cheese on top and cover with another tortilla shell. You need cheese on the top and bottom so it melts and holds it all together.

Leave your quesadilla on the griddle long enough to melt the bottom cheese. Then flip it and let the top cheese melt. You'll have to hold it when you flip it since the top cheese and ingredients will be "loose".

That's it! These were so yummy! Bossman loved them - he said that there was a different flavor in every bite. This is true, sometimes you get a taste of pineapple, sometimes avocado, sometimes jalapeno - and sometimes a combination of any of them.

Alyssa said they were "wonderful" and "awesome" and "I guess I'm going to have to start eating healthy - this is really good!"

Not sure what Dillon said. He just

About the only "unhealthy" thing on these is the amount of cheese. However, eating cheese occasionally isn't at all bad for you. The avocados and pineapples kind of offset the cheese. Dontcha think?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Asparagus Cashew Rice Pilaf

This is a great meal that's easy to prepare and it sure beats a greasy cheeseburger any day of the week. Hold on! You're about to learn how to make your own Rice A Roni - the "basics" of this recipe can be used when you don't have a box handy.

First things first though. All your slicing and dicing needs to be done and out of the way.

Trim and cut about 1/2 pound fresh asparagus into 2" pieces. Dice about 1/4 cup onion. Slicing and dicing is done. That wasn't too bad was it?

Melt about 2 Tbsp butter in a large skillet I use Smart Balance Lite with Olive Oil. Then take some spaghetti noodles and break them into small pieces. Think Rice A Roni here when you're wondering how small to break the spaghetti. 

It's hard to explain how much spaghetti - I generally use what appears to be 1 1/2" across when I hold the noodles all together. Give or take. Just guesstimate. 

Stir the spaghetti around to get it coated with butter. Brown as you would Rice A Roni. But keep in mind that spaghetti noodles do brown quicker than Rice A Roni so keep an eye on it.

Add your onion and about 1 tsp of minced garlic and cook for about 2 minutes. Just long enough for the onion to get tender. 

Can you see my "ooopsss!" moment? Lesson: don't measure over what you're cooking. As you can see, this is waaaaay more than 1 tsp of minced garlic. Ooopss! Like I didn't already learn that lesson when I was about 13 or so. Silly me. I went ahead with my recipe anyway and it wasn't noticeable at all. So, keep in mind, a little too much minced garlic is okay. At least in this recipe. I don't recommend making this ooopss in in all recipes.

Add about 1 1/4 cups uncooked rice and cook another 5 minutes or so. Not sure why I don't have a picture of the rice? 

As a side note, I use brown rice for it's health benefits over white rice. However, just so you know, brown rice takes longer to cook, so in this recipe it will give it a crunchy texture. We are okay with that, but you may want to use white rice.

Add about 2 1/2 cups veggie broth. I use Swanson's organic - as you can see on the box it's all natural, 100% fat free, no msg and lower sodium. 

Bring the whole mixture to a boil. Turn it down to a simmer, cover and cook for about 20 minutes.

Place cut asparagus in a saucepan of water and bring to a boil. Turn down and simmer until tender but still firm.

At this point, your spaghetti, rice, onion, minced garlic and veggie broth mixture can be used as a homemade Rice A Roni dish (minus all the pastuerized, processed, excessively added to stuff that you buy on the shelf) just add whatever you want or have on hand. Or just add chicken or beef broth instead of veggie broth to make an alternative to store bought boxed dinners. Heck throw some left over chicken in there if you want to.

But right now we're making asparagus cashew rice pilaf. So, on with the show! When your rice mixture has been simmering for about 10 minutes and there are 10 minutes left, add about 1 cup of cashew halves. Recover and continue to simmer.

Cashews (or any kind of nut) is a great source of protein if you don't eat a lot of meat. Even though they are high in fat, it's the "good fat", so no worries.

When the rice mixture has been simmering about 15 minutes and has about 5 minutes left, drain and add your asparagus. Continue simmering the remaining 5 minutes.

That's it - you're done! Now just serve and eat. This is very good and very filling and Bossman approved.

There can be so many variations on this recipe. I want to try it with zucchini instead of asparagus to see how that would be. I would be interested in knowing what others would do with this recipe. Any ideas???

We followed our meal up with some fresh cherries and blueberries. Yummy!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ahhhh, Thursday

Wow, what a crazy week it's been. I think mass chaos is an appropriate term. Sheesh.

My daughter, Alyssa, her husband, Dillon, and their son, Kylar made it in from Colorado last Wednesday night. Dillon is in the military and is here for chemical school so they are staying with us. So, great to see them! So, crazy around here though!

Kylar is teething and giving his mommy fits of not sleeping at night and being a clingy little chunky monkey during the day. Even when his little face is all red from crying and he's belting out a tantrum he's still the cutest little guy on the planet.  Just ask me.

Dillon has to go out to the barracks at night to sleep so he's only here for a few hours each evening and on the weekends. Just long enough to eat and fill us in on his day. Not long enough to relieve mommy from a teething baby.

Needless to say, I've been slacking in the cooking department and healthy recipes and blogging. I know, I suck. It's just much easier and quicker to throw some burgers and dogs on the grill or some tuna helper on the stove. It's much easier to feed a few more mouths when all you have to do is buy an extra box of tuna helper. So, that's what I've been doing, even though I know I suck.

Today was the day though. The kids got paid and they were going to go grocery shopping and cook their own meals in their own little downstairs apartment. I was going to get back to my healthy recipes and blogging. Yay me!

Not so fast though....

The kids' car was acting up. Just a little swaying and shimmying in the steering wheel. We took it to get the tires rotated and a front end aligned. $70.00. Not bad and they could fix it and still afford groceries.

I was really excited just to get back to my recipes and blogging. And to give my little sister some new recipes (since she actually reads my blog - hey sis!). Then, the call came and the kids' car needed two inner tie rod ends. Now, we're up to $318.00. Yes, they had enough money to fix it, but Alyssa started crossing items off her grocery list. But, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. We told them to go ahead and fix the car. I offered to help out with groceries. I know, I'm so nice.

Then, another call. Now, the car needs a whole "rack" - like rack and pinion, tie rod ends, etc. $508.00. Whoa! And, they can't do it until next week. Peachy.

They're a young couple with a young family. They don't have $508.00 to fix their car AND buy groceries, diapers, wipes, formula, toilet paper. You get the idea. So, I did what any other mother would do for the time being. I took Alyssa to Walmart and bought them some groceries. I was really excited about getting back to my healthy cooking and blogging. They were really NOT so excited about stuffed eggplant and asparagus and cashew rice pilaf. I'm not sure why. I'll win them over though. I'm sure of it.

We came home. We unloaded groceries. I started a load of sheets in the washer. I took out the trash. Alyssa put away her groceries. I looked through my recipes for something that didn't require an oven. The heat index was 106 today. 'Nuff said?

However, dealing with the car took the better part of the day. Funny how exhausting that can be. Plus working and grocery shopping. I wanted something on the easy side.

Bossman came home and wasn't really hungry due to the heat. So, I did what every other red blooded American woman would do. We had sandwiches, leftover potato salad and peanut butter oreo cookies (courtesy of Alyssa). And life is good.

Tomorrow I'll tell you how I owned my dream truck for all of two weeks....

Friday, July 9, 2010

Just a Harley....

I decided to play with my camera today and snap some shots of my husband's 2007 Harley Davidson Ultra Classic Screamin' Eagle. Here lately, it seems I'm drawn to black and white, antique and sepia photos so that's what I did with these. And I'm just loving that aperture and shutter speed setting when I use my camera on manual. Whoda thunkit???

I don't know why I like these settings so well. But, I just love, love, love this picture.

This is what happens when you apply "antique" to your photos. This gives an overall black & white/sepia look while allowing bright colors to show up.

Just blurred a few edges because I kinda like that effect also. More to come....

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Black Bean and Artichoke Burritos

Here's a healthy (and easy, quick, get the picture) meal. I work six days a week and don't get off until 5:30 - 6:00 in the evening and don't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen when I get home. Bossman and I work together so it's not like he's home pacing the floor and gnawing on cardboard waiting for me to cook supper. We call it supper here in the Ozarks. But, he is hungry and doesn't want to wait for a gourmet meal.

These burritos have no meat. Yay vegans! They have no refried beans full of lard and other creamy (un) goodness either. And did I mention that they're easy.

You'll need the following:
1 15 oz can black beans
1 13 "ish" oz can artichoke hearts
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
Shredded cheddar cheese
1 tomato
Burrito size tortilla shells

Open your black beans and pour 'em in a skillet. Bring them to a boil. Turn heat down so they are at a "hard simmer" - kind of simmering with a slight boil. You want them to thicken to resemble refried beans. Minus the lard.

Slice the onion. Crush the garlic cloves. Open the artichoke hearts. If they are whole, slice them. Put the onion, garlic and artichoke in some butter to saute. You want the onions and artichoke hearts to brown a little.

While your beans and onion/artichoke hearts/garlic are cooking you want to slice up that 'mater. I didn't take a picture of the 'mater slicing. I figured you've sliced enough of those in your life.

This is what you want your beans to look like when they're getting close to done.

This is what you want your onions, artichoke hearts and garlic to look like when they're about done.

At this point throw a couple burrito tortilla shells in the microwave to heat them. If you're feeling saucy, you can brown them in a skillet with some butter. If you just want to eat, toss them in the microwave.

Put a burrito tortilla shell on a plate and place some beans in the center. The amount I'm using in these pictures will make a really overstuffed "manly" burrito.

Throw some of your onion, garlic, artichoke heart mixture on there. Doesn't that look good?

Throw some cheese on there, too. This is Bossman's burrito so there's plenty of cheese. Me, being lactose intolerant and dairy allergic, I try to do without cheese. Tonight, I did have a smidgen of cheese on my burrito just because it looked so good. If I don't eat a lot of dairy, the lactose intolerance is tolerable. The allergy is another story. I sneezed for a solid 30 minutes and my sinuses were congested. Knowing this would happen, I ate some anyway. I'm kind of silly like that sometimes.

Throw some of your sliced 'maters on there and roll it up burrito style. Yummy. Yummy.

This recipe made 3 very generously, overstuffed "manly" burritos. I had to put a toothpick on top to keep them together. It would be easy to stretch it to 5 or 6 burritos if you made them normal sized. If you need more than that just double the recipe.

Bossman comments: After taking a few bites he asked, "do these have meat on them?" Nuh-uh. "Wow, I really like the texture. I thought you had meat in these. You can quote me on your blog on that." 


"Thanks Babydoll. Those were really good. Thank you for letting me participate in your blog experiments."

Guess they were a hit!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Just some random photos on this fine July afternoon...

I went out and took some random photos just wandering around the yard this afternoon.

Expect lots of pictures of my little area of the Ozarks.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Vegetable Sandwiches

I wanted to post a healthy recipe on my blog today and had planned on making black bean burritos. Bossman decided that he was in the mood for a cheeseburger which turned into a Baconator from Wendy's. He looked at our son, Daniel, and said "if you'll fly, I'll buy". That's how we ended up eating Wendy's tonight. I told you this would be a daunting task right? Slow and easy. However, last week I made these vegetable sandwiches and posted a blog on my Christi's Collections blog. I'm borrowing it to post over here so I have something here to start with. We'll do black bean burritos later this week. So, stay tuned!

Egg Plant
Bread of choice
Pesto Sauce
Olive Oil

You can use any vegetable that you want as long as you can grill them. I didn't have zucchini this time so I just left it out - but I have used squash instead of zucchini also and that was really good, too.

Peel and slice the eggplant and zucchini or squash. Slice the tomato and onion.

Preheat your grill while slicing veggies. Place veggies on grill and heat thoroughly. I like to brown them slightly so that they get soft.

While veggies are grilling, slice choice of bread in half lengthwise and brush olive oil on the insides. Place finished veggies on top shelf of grill to keep warm while you grill the bread. The bread will only take a few minutes.

Spread pesto sauce on bread and then put veggies of choice to make a sandwich. Add a side of pasta or cottage cheese or fruit to keep it healthy. Here's a picture of the finished product ~

By the way, these pictures were taken with my iPhone :)