Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hill Country Breakfast

Last weekend Josh and I went to San Marcos, Texas to see his brother and sister-in-law, as well as to meet up with Josh's parents. We had a great time enjoying the beautiful Hill Country. We ate at some good restaurants, and one I have pictures of. The Root Cellar Cafe is in downtown San Marcos and has an excellent breakfast. If you are ever in the area, give it a try!

Josh ordered the Brazilian French toast, which was soaked in a vanilla rum sauce.

I ordered Migas, which is a favorite of mine, and their version was excellent! Very fresh and delicious!

Before our trip, I made this breakfast dish one day, which is similar to one I have made before. I did not have the green bell pepper, jalapeno, or green onion, so I just topped the tortilla and fried egg with black beans, roasted green chiles, salsa, cheese, and chili powder. It was very good, healthy, and cheap!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Taco Time!

Today I made tacos. I decided to make them at lunch time so that I could use some of the meat for lunch, and then Josh and I could have it for dinner. It worked out well, so that I didn't have to spend too much time worrying with dinner once Josh got home from work.

When I used the meat for lunch, I topped some tortilla chips with taco meat, black beans, my homemade salsa, and shredded Mexican cheese. It was very good!

We ate the taco meat in corn tortillas with black beans, salsa, cheese, and fresh cilantro. I got the tortillas at Amigos Grocery Store, which is United's Latin Foods Store. It has all the regular items you would find at a grocery store, as well as specific Latin items. They make fresh tortillas there everyday, and that is what I got for us. I also bought these tortilla chips there. They make them at all United chain stores. They are so good! They have some great seasoning on them.

Bacon is Back

I am back from my bacon hiatus. I know, it was short-lived. I bought this delicious peppered bacon from Red Raider Meats the other day. If you live in Lubbock, you can buy it at the Meat Sciences building at Tech, or at any United or Market Street grocery stores. It is really good. I think I have mentioned Red Raider Meats before. They are great!

So, for breakfast Sunday morning, I made bacon and scrambled eggs. I had a little Rotel left over, so I put that and some shredded Mexican cheese on the eggs. It was really good!

For dinner we did not have much around the house, so I made us grilled cheese and bacon sandwiches. I used havarti dill on mine...yum.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Eating & Burning Carbs

Last night I used the leftover (uncooked) ground beef from Wednesday night to make a meat sauce for pasta. I put about 1/3 lb. of lean ground beef in a pan, and cooked it most of the way, breaking it into small pieces as it browned, then added a jar of pasta sauce. This time I used Newman's Own Sockarooni (pictured below). I like this sauce because it is fairly inexpensive (I think the jar was about $1.30 at Target), it's all natural, and this particular flavor is filled with peppers and spices, giving it a little more flavor than plain marinara. I did add a little garlic salt and crushed red pepper to it for an extra kick.

After I added the jar, I waited for it to get bubbly, then turned the heat down to low and covered it. Meanwhile, I cooked the pasta, which was Full Circle organic bow tie pasta. Full Circle is a generic organic brand that is usually cheaper than other organic options. When the pasta was cooked, I put some in each bowl, added sauce, and topped it with fresh basil and fresh grated parmesan.

I am a teacher, so right now I am not working (hallelujah!), which is giving me much more free time to work out, eat breakfast, and live a more balanced life. Sometimes I wish I could just be a housewife all the time! I sure am enjoying it. Each morning after I take Josh to work I go to the Texas Tech rec center and work out, then come home and eat a good breakfast. This has been a great way to start each morning. I am planning on continuing this routine for the next two weeks, then we are off to Washington, D.C. for about six weeks. Josh will be doing an internship there, and while he is at work during the day, I will be exploring around the city. I will be posting lots of pictures with travel tips and local restaurants while I am there. I am really excited!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bacon Day

Yesterday was unofficially National Bacon Day (well, at my house at least). I did not plan it this way on purpose, but I ended up eating bacon at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Ridiculous, I know. I am now on a self-imposed bacon hiatus (at least for a day or two).

For breakfast I had bacon with scrambled eggs, and topped my eggs with shredded havarti dill cheese. One little hint I have for making some great scrambled eggs is to cook the bacon in a pan first. Then remove the bacon, drain the grease, but do not wipe the pan completely clean. Cook the scrambled eggs in the same pan, and it gives the eggs great flavor.

For lunch I had some leftover pasta from Sunday night with half of a grilled turkey sandwich. For the sandwich I put turkey, guacamole, dijon mustard, some chipotle cranberry cheddar, and of course, bacon on a slice of whole wheat cut in half. I grilled it in a pan in olive oil. This sandwich was fantastic! It was full of great flavors, and just half of a sandwich was very satisfying!

I made the guacamole before lunch. Here is my recipe for easy guacamole. Mix together 2 large avocados, 1/2 can rotel (drained), 1 clove of minced garlic, juice of one lime, Julio's seasoning, and pepper. It is very easy to make, and has lots of flavor.

If you have made guacamole before, you probably have figured out that it has a tendency to turn brown after awhile. Some people say squirting lime juice on top will keep it from turning brown, but that does not work. One time I was watching Tyler's Ultimate on the Food Network, and he gave a great tip for keeping guacamole fresh. When you need to store it in the fridge, cover it with plastic wrap, and press tightly on the guacamole so that none of it is exposed to air. Then you can put the regular lid on your container. He said the reason guacamole will turn brown is exposure to air, so covering it tightly really helps. This was my first time to try this, and when I took it out of the fridge at dinner time (about six hours later), I took the picture above. It looked perfectly fresh and green!

For dinner we made burgers. For the patties, I combined about 2/3 pound of lean ground beef, a dash of Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper. Josh grilled the burgers, and I made some homemade fries. I cut baking potatoes into wedges then drizzled them with olive oil and sprinkled them with chili powder and Julio's seasoning. I baked them at 425 degrees until they were brown (I didn't pay attention to the time because I was a little distracted). We topped our burgers with colby jack cheese, diced roasted green chiles, guacamole, and for the grand finale, bacon. Let me tell you, this was one delicious burger!

I bought a pound of ground beef for the burgers, and since I would not need to use it all, I took out about 1/3 pound before making the patties, and put it in the fridge for dinner tonight, which was pasta with meat sauce (more on that in my next post). When buying meat or other ingredients that will expire within about a week, it is helpful to plan out multiple meals you can make with those ingredients so that they don't go to waste hanging out in the fridge too long.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I Love Breakfast Food!

This post is dedicated to all the wonderful breakfast foods out there. I love most everything that is available for breakfast, which I think I got from my dad. My dad eats a big breakfast almost every morning, and loves cooking breakfast foods too. The funny thing is, when I was a teenager, I went through a stage where I refused to eat breakfast foods, which I guess was my odd way of rebelling as a teenager...teenage girls are strange.

I found a great Buttermilk Pancake and Waffle Mix from Arrowhead Mills that I tried for the first time on Monday night. It is all natural, and a little healthier than most other ready mixes. I followed the instructions on the package for waffles, and used my waffle maker. We got our waffle maker as a wedding gift three years ago, and although it is the very expensive one we registered for, we had yet to master the art of making the perfect waffle with it...until now. Our waffles on Monday night were very good and really easy to make. I topped them with fresh fruit and real maple syrup...yum.

For breakfast the other day, I made whole wheat toast topped with two slices of bacon, scrambled eggs, fresh grated parmesan, and fresh basil. I also had some great fresh fruit!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Light Dinner

Last night we were ready for a light and healthy dinner after our week of not eating so well. I made this pasta salad that is a favorite of mine. It is very simple, and if you make the amount the recipe calls for, you will have plenty left over for lunch for a few more days. The recipe is on a previous post.

For the pasta salad I used this pasta I bought at World Market. It was very good!

We also made margaritas last night. Josh enjoys playing bartender, so he tried a recipe from his Ultimate Bar Book that I gave him for Christmas a couple of years ago. The recipe was for a Classic Margarita.

It was a pretty good margarita. We both thought it was a little sour with all the lime, and I remembered we had just bought blueberries, so I decided to mix those in. I just put a handful in the glass and mashed a few of them at the bottom. It was pretty good, but I think next time I might try it with some sugar added, or make a simple syrup with the blueberries.

Back to a Normal Schedule

Well, Josh and I finished our week as parents of six children on Saturday afternoon, and it has been very nice to be back to our regular routine for the next few weeks. We spent the week not eating super healthy, and when we got back home Saturday, we continued the theme. We had nothing to eat around the house, so we went to Five Guys and picked up some cheeseburgers and french fries. We love Five Guys, and it is dangerously close to our new apartment (we might be going there quite a bit this year)!

I made this breakfast of eggs and bacon with coffee and apple juice (Simply Apple brand, it's delicious!) the week before we watched the kids. I was making breakfast and exercising everyday, so I am doing that again, and hope to get back into a good routine.

When I cook eggs and bacon, I like to sprinkle fresh cracked pepper on the bacon before I cook it. After it is done cooking, I remove it from the pan, drain the grease from the pan (but do not wipe clean), then scramble the eggs in the pan. It gives the eggs great flavor.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Mom For a Week

Last week I went to Mississippi to visit my brother, his wife, and their 2 year old son. It was really fun, and I enjoyed spending time with them since I don't get to see them too often. My sister-in-law is pregnant and on bed rest, so their wonderful church family at First Presbyterian in Jackson has been providing them with meals, which I was able to enjoy while I was there. We had a different meal every night, and they were all great. It is always nice to have meals brought to you, but sometimes it feels like you get too many lasagnas, roasts, and chicken casseroles, so it is nice to have a little variety. They used a website our church uses as well called takethemameal.com. It is great for any time you need to organize bringing meals to friends. You set it up for whoever is needing meals, and send out an email with a link, then everyone can look online and sign up. The person who has set it up can let everyone know of any dietary preferences. In my sister-in-law's case, she needed meals suitable for someone with gestational diabetes, so everyone was able to bring meals with that in mind. Each person that signs up to bring meals types in what they will be bringing on which day, so meals are never repeated. I highly recommend this sight. It is so much more simple for everyone involved!

This week Josh and I are keeping our friends' kids for them while they are on a cruise. They have 6 kids ranging from 20 months old to 12 years old. We know the kids really well, so it is a lot of fun, but it is definitely busy. So taking pictures of meals has not happened yet! We have made some pretty good meals so far: turkey tacos, eggs and bacon, and spaghetti. We also have had sandwiches galore, of all varieties. Today I made a grilled cheese and bacon sandwich (with turkey bacon). I put mayo, country dijon mustard, cheddar cheese, and cooked turkey bacon on wheat bread and grilled it in a pan with a little butter. It was really good, and was a nice alternative to the typical turkey and cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

I do have one picture I took of my secret stash of goodies for the week (Josh and I decided we would each need our own stash of sweets). He chose Nilla Wafers for himself, and I chose Newman's Own Hint 'O Mint Newman-O's. They are basically like Oreos, but organic, and with mint flavored creme. I discovered these back in college, but don't buy them too often since they are a little pricey and not all that healthy. But every once and a while I will buy them, and they are so good!

I will try to take pictures and post recipes of meals later this week...but we will see. Being a mother of 6 is a lot of work (even if it is only for a week)!