Sunday, March 11, 2012

Chili time

I had one last package of seitan sausage to use until next month and it was the hot Cajun variety.  What better to make with it than chili? I had forgotten how easy chili really was to make and if you think about it, you can make extra and freeze it for later.  A huge time saver meal.  Then there's the part where it's packed full of fiber and protein.

I would consider this a "three bean chili" as there are three varieties of beans, but since I added other items I'll just call it chili.  Just another rendition of a limitless recipe.  There is no perfect chili recipe.  Everyone makes it their own way, and for people like me, each time it's made it is different than before.

This recipe included:
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 links Field Roast Cajun seitan sausage, chopped
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can black olives drained and chopped
  • 1 small can corn, drained
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 3 cups veg broth or water
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • salt / pepper
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
In a large stock pot cook the onion, pepper and garlic until translucent then added the sausage.  Toss about a few minutes then add the tomatoes, sauce and broth.  Then add the rest of the ingredients and combine, simmer about an hour.  Serve over brown rice.

This chili would have been rockin without the sausage, but I have to admit the Cajun seitan brings some nice heat and flavors into it.  It also needs to sit in the frig a day or so.  It will taste even better the second and third time!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sweet tooth

Seemed the theme for dinner was sweetness.  Maybe I was subconsciously craving chocolate ice cream or a slice of pecan pie.  Whatever it was, it made me want to treat dinner like dessert.  But with a healthy twist.
I picked up some beautiful little Brussels sprouts at the market along with a massive head of cauliflower.  I decided to roast those (only used half of the cauliflower, it was so massive) and then as a special treat tossed them with a craisin, balsamic reduction.  Oh yeah..... 
The reduction was simple. I put about a quarter cup of craisins in a bowl and added some hot water until they plumped up. I drained them and added them to some good balsamic vinegar (not grocery store stuff...use the good stuff) in a small pot and simmered until reduced.
Moroccan couscous salad made with quinoa instead of couscous.  This was so yummy and I'm glad there are leftovers to snack on later.  I cooked the quinoa in water, cayenne, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, ground ginger and salt.  I let the cooked quinoa cool and then added, chopped green bell pepper, cilantro, onion, chickpeas, raisins, craisins, walnuts, dates and mandarin oranges.  For the dressing I combined the juice of one navel orange, some brown sugar, grape seed oil and salt.
It was a great little Saturday dinner.  Sweet as pie.  See?  You can take care of that sweet tooth and eat a healthy meal.  No meat, no dairy, no problem!

Beautiful days

We love those cool, dry and crisp spring days.  Spring being used loosely as our climate goes from one extreme to the other this time of year within hours, lasting only hours.  The heat of summer being the most reliable constant.
It was breezy, sunny and cool.  Time to head outside.
 Kris looking every bit like mini daddy.

 I know a girl who loves her little Max.

It's the shortest weekend of the year.  Let's soak it in and make it last.  Maybe tomorrow will be another sunny day.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The baking bug

Ever since I ordered a couple of warm pretzels while out roaming at the mall recently, Chris has been itching to make some.  It all came about one day when we were enjoying the afternoon at the mall and I was getting hungry.  My diet at the time mainly consisted of broth as I was dealing with my latest little pancreatitis issue so I had to be careful what to snack on.  I thought a warm and simple pretzel would possibly be ok.  I was getting a bit light headed and needed something in the belly.

I went to the little kiosk and just ordered two pretzels with salt.  What I saw was them take those baked pretzels, lathered them up with a melted butter or oil substance and then sprinkled on the salt. 

At that moment, I knew I couldn't have any and I was too bewildered to spend any more money to order a plain - no salt pretzel.  Bella devoured hers and Chris forced down the other. Little Kris wasn't interested and just stuck to his cereal bar I had brought along for him.

Chris knows I enjoy a good warm pretzel (no one makes them like Disney) and Bella kills them.  He decided it would a good project to conquer the pretzel and be able to have them at home and without the melted butter / oil substance.

His first attempt went great!  Only issue was the salt really.  We didn't have the large coarse salt and he accidentally sprinkled a bit more than usual.  Once you scrape some of the overage off, they were really good. 

Aren't they cute? 
I made what seems to be a our weekly staple of forbidden rice again for dinner and every time I make it, I change the vegetables around.  This batch had asparagus and black beans.  Notice I had a yummy pretzel for dipping.

Thanks Chris for the yummy pretzels!    ;o)


Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Magical World of Bellaland

Things got quiet at home for a few minutes while I was prepping dinner.  When things get quiet, I do a small spot check.  Kristjan was actually in his room playing with his toys and Bella was at her desk playing with her toys.  I had to for a moment pinch myself.  After I realized I wasn't in a Hallmark commercial and in fact everyone was really happily playing, I took a closer look at Bella's little arrangement.
She had all of her fairytale and Medieval figures out and they were having a little standoff of sorts. 
 In the middle of negotiations.
Hopefully peace has been restored to Bellaland.


Just me and my Dee Dee

It was a wonderful Saturday as I was able to spend it alone with Bella.  After breakfast we left for her hair appointment.  On the way there we enjoyed some of Bella's fav songs.  A little Bieber, some Selena Gomez and Lady Gaga.

She tried to grow her hair but decided to get back to her bob.  I love her hair like this and she feels more herself again.  It's also much easier to get a brush through.

After her appointment we went by the mall near us as I had a couple of coupons to use at Victoria Secret.  While we were in there one of the sales ladies gave Bella a pretty ribbon to wear on her wrist.  She totally loved it. Since it was the first Saturday of the month it was also market day.  The mall near us is an outdoor mall and twice a month they close the streets for the market where many local vendors have their products.  Local honey, farmers with their produce, arts, crafts, fresh breads, preserves, pet services etc.  We walked a bit while Bella enjoyed a warm pretzel.  I found my favorite little tent where this cute older lady sells the best jellies and purchased another jar of her peach preserves. 

Bella told me she was having the best day and loved being able spend time with me.  Just the two of us. I'm so happy she had a good time.
It was a breezy spring like day we and spent the afternoon playing the back yard.  Kristjan helped me plant the arugula seeds in our pots. 
I had some pizza dough from last week that I froze and also purchased a new ball.  I should make my own, but sometimes I get lazy and just grab a ready to roll pizza dough ball from the grocery store.  I usually buy the dough to just throw together a quick pizza for the kids but I've been craving pizza like crazy and decided to make a couple of pies for dinner. 

One pie was for the kids.  Their favorite - cheese pizza.  Chris and I had the works.  Red sauce, mushrooms, garlic, onions, red peppers, asparagus, spinach, carrots and green olives.  No cheese needed and none missed.  It was a great pie.

To complete a great day.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Not Davy!

I can still recall getting off the school bus, getting inside and promptly sitting down on the couch with a handful of oreos just in time to watch my daily Monkees episode.  I remember gushing over Davy as a kid. 
Bye bye little cutie.  See you on the other side.  RIP Davy Jones.