Tuesday, November 29, 2011

That's it, no more turkey.

Literally, every piece of tupperware we own is currently in our fridge, and somehow there's still nothing I want to eat. Probably because I need green things at this point, not meat. Or pie. Seriously, I sauteed up brussel sprouts and baby tomatoes and called that dinner last night. (Actually, it was delicious. A little light butter with microwave steamed brussels, halved cherry tomatoes, then topped with a bit of parm, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), salt and pepper. 10 minutes total.)

With two turkeys, two racks of ribs and 10 people, I'm actually surprised we didn't have more meat left over. I'm totally sick of turkey at this point, but I feel bad just trashing it, so I'm trying my best to use it up. But I'm also trying not to cook too much, seeing that my fridge is FULL and cooking is starting to make me tired...I'm apparently a bit of a frenetic cook—I work fast and multi-task, and I just don't have the energy I had 28 weeks ago.

Speaking of 28 weeks, I finally feel like I look pregnant. Or else I just ate way too much pie this weekend. (Shaking fist at my mother for bringing—and leaving—a ginormous, delicious Costco apple pie.) Which makes me scared to see how enormous I am by the time Christmas rolls around. If I don't post any photos, it's because my face has caught up with my ass and I'm refusing to have it documented. Just a heads up.

Anyway, we had some broccoli in the fridge, so I decided to do something easy with it. It's similar to chicken divan, but easier, quicker, and heavier on the broc. Not much prepping here, and even though it looks and seems a little down-homey and rich (just enough to spread out Thanksgiving a little more?) it's really not. I based it off a vegetarian Cooking Light recipe, but got rid of the mayo and threw in some turkey for some extra protein. And because it has to be used somehow.

Broccoli Casserole

12 oz bag of steam-able broccoli (or 3/4 lb loose broccoli florets)
1 cup 1% milk
1 tbsp flour
good pinch each salt and pepper
1/3 cup sharp cheddar
2 tbsp reduced fat cream cheese
2 shallots, chopped
1 can sliced water chestnuts
about a cup shredded cooked turkey or chicken
bread crumbs

Cook broccoli. In saute pan, combine milk, flour, salt and pepper, and whisk over medium heat until thickened. Add cheese and cream cheese, whisking til smooth. Stir in shallot.

In medium casserole dish, layer broccoli, shredded turkey, and water chestnuts. Pour cheese sauce evenly across the top. Sprinkle top evenly with breadcrumbs. Cook at 400 for 20 minutes.

Roughly 850 calories total. (213 for 1/4 casserole)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Are you still full?

So, did everyone have a fantastic turkey day? Hopefully, you're like me, and got to spend it with friends and family, gorging yourself on a completely inappropriate amount of food and sugar over the course of four days. And are now dying for something different, like Vietnamese food and chocolate popsicles. Or...you're not pregnant, and are just fine reheating comfort food for another week. Either way, cheers.

We hosted again this year, but my father-in-law was incredible and did the bulk of the cooking at his house before hauling it over. Which meant all I was responsible for was cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and I threw in a quinoa salad for something different. (Plus I based it off a recipe from a kosher recipe collection, so I figured it was a shout-out to the hubby's mom and step-dad, who we don't get to see until Hanukkah this year.)

I did a little twist on the mashed potatoes, which was using roughly peeled yukon gold potatoes (6 lbs), and once cooked til soft in salted water, I drained them, added 1 cup 1% milk, salt, pepper, and a container of chive flavored cream cheese. And they were fantastic—I didn't miss the butter at all.

But I really loved the quinoa dish. Ill definitely be making it again, and I won't be waiting for a special occasion—it has a great mix of sweet and citrus and grain with some great textures all thrown in together. It was also good the next day over some mixed greens and leftover turkey breast.

Oh, and by the way...remember the episode of Friends where Joey borrows Phoebe's maternity pants to wear for Thanksgiving? Brilliance. These waistband-less dreams are a fat kid's best friend. And I promise I won't bust them out again next year. But I'm definitely going to be wishing I did.

Cranberry Pistachio Quinoa Salad
1 3/4 c uncooked quinoa
olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
2 cups water
1/3 cup white wine
1/2 tsp salt
Juice from one lemon
1/4 tsp fresh pepper
1/2 c dried cranberries
1/2 cup pistachios, chopped
1/4 cup chopped italian parsley
1/4 cup chopped mint

Rinse and drain quinoa. In large sauce pan, heat a bit of olive oil over medium high heat, and add shalllots. Cook about 3 minutes, then stir in water, wine and salt. Bring to a boil.

Add quinoa, and simmer 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let cool.

In small bowl, combine 1 tbsp olive oil, lemon juice and pepper. When quinoa is cool, add olive oil mixture and toss well. Gently stir in cranberries, pistachios, parsley and mint. Chill until ready to eat. Good room temperature or cold.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mexican rice, chipotle style

Oh, good god, there is still so. much. chipotle. in my fridge. I have been searching for ideas, making up my own recipes, and doing everything I can to not just chuck the leftovers, and still. It's like I haven't even made a dent.

This was an easy one—I figured I'd just try substituting chipotle for chili powder in Mexican rice, and...I have no idea what I was just talking about. I'm flipping channels as I write, and the Duggar family makes me lose my appetite. And now they're invading other countries, which is sure to do wonders for our reputation. These people are so...weird. I mean, the whole treating the vagina like a clown car aside, they're just weird people. And seriously, Michelle. If you would just agree get your hair done by a professional, I'd pay for it. And Jim Bob, just...shhhh. Just shhhh. Stop telling everyone they "drive on the wrong side of the road." It's England. They drive on that side. It's their right side. Just. Shut. Up.

Anyway, rice. This got really spicy really quickly, but a squeeze of lime and a dollop of greek yogurt evened it out and gave it an interesting creamy texture.

Served with sauteed chicken breasts seasoned with salt, garlic powder, lots of fresh white pepper and oregano.

Chipotle Rice
Olive oil
1 small brown onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 chipotle pepper, minced
About 1 tsp cumin
good pinch each salt and pepper
1 cup rice
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup water
1 can diced tomatoes, mostly drained
lime juice (opt.)
Greek yogurt (opt.)

In large saute pan or soup pan, heat a bit of olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and saute about 3 minutes. Stir in chipotle, cumin, salt and pepper and then add rice, continuing to saute another few minutes.

Add broth, water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Let cook 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit 5 minutes before serving.

Seriously Literate-Fall '11

Ok, I've been reading like crazy, and it got a little away from me. And so here's my latest list...the annotated reviews. As always, taking all suggestions! Whatcha got for me this month?

Belly Laughs, Jenny McCarthy
Thank you for being pregnant, Jenny. And thanks for being you-not afraid to talk about poop, gas, and all the other grossness that comes along with pregnancy that no one else wants to talk about. (Note: I, however, don't do anything disgusting. My pregnancy is magical. Also, I am a liar.) Frank and hilarious.

The Liars Club, Mary Carr
Um, I already read this. And reviewed it. And then read it again accidentally, apparently. Moving on.

Runaway, Alice Munro
Not a fan. If a book or story can give off a "color", these short stories were beige. Maybe a dusty rose. Just really...muted. I don't know how else to explain them—they were sad and melancholy and not exciting at all. I'm sure that was purposeful, but they didn't do anything for me.

Saving Fish from Drowning, Amy Tan
Loved, loved. Such an interesting premise. A woman dies just before a trip abroad (one she has planned to lead), and her ghost tells the story of the strange happenings that occur to her tour group—a group of people who, to the rest of the world, simply vanish into thin air.

Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann
Kitchy fun. Loved it til the end, then I was just pissed off-I felt like a disappointed parent or something. Fictional or not, these people make some damn bad choices. Tsk, tsk.

The Poet, Michael Connelly
Fantastic crime drama about a serial killer and one of the victims' brothers, a crime journalist who does some massive investigating of his own, eventually entangling him with the FBI investigation. Very interesting, super creepy, good twists, fast paced. Good stuff.

The Forgotten Garden, Kate Morton
Such a pretty little package of a story. It's long, and it jumps from generation to generation with each chapter—which can get a little confusing at first—but by the end, everything makes sense. Every base is covered, every storyline is tied up, every question answered. And for that, I was grateful. It was beautiful.

Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan
My coworker B laughed at me when I told her I like to read about Asian families. Granted, it was an unexpected response. But it's true. And this was no different. It's a classic, as you probably already know, about a young woman learning about her mother posthumously. Really good. If you haven't already read it, you should.

House of Sand and Fog, Andre Dubus, III
Oh, my god, this book is so good. I don't know what I thought it was going to be about, but this was not it. It's quite literally about a house...a house and a huge misunderstanding/mistake, which intertwines three people as they try and fix it in their own ways. It's heartbreaking. Caution: hormonal people will cry.

The Paris Wife, Paula McClain
Focuses on Ernest Hemingway's first wife Hadley, the "older woman" (she's in her late 20s) he marries in his very early 20s. It follows the course of their whirlwind courtship, their marriage, most of which takes place in Europe-including, yes, Paris—and its inevitable demise. Very good.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chipotle Peach Salsa

Fresh & Easy is still awesome, by the way. It's been awhile since it's been said, so I figured it was owed. Especially since they have expanded their gluten free section and their annoying protesters are generally gone by 4:45pm.

That out of the way, one of my favorite things there is their Smoky Peach Salsa. Seriously awesome. I like it with their lime flavored chips, but someone finds them "too limey" and so I don't buy them. And that is totally irrelevant information. Even though he's wrong. They're perfect.

Aaaand the point: here's a damn good homemade substitute. Even without lime chips. (pouts)

Chipotle Peach Salsa
1 can sliced peaches, drained and rinsed then chopped
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
Small handful chopped cilantro (about 3 tbsp)
1 chipotle pepper, minced
About 1/2 tsp adobo sauce
Juice from one lime
About 1/2 tsp ginger
dash of salt

Combine ingredients, let chill half hour or so to meld flavors. Serve with chips or even over chicken or pork chops.

-posted out of laziness from my iPhone.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

And I don't even like chipotle that much...

To clarify, I'm talking smoked jalapenos. Not the restaurant. The restaurant is always a good idea. Just throwing that out there.

I know I've griped before about the stupidity of oversized chipotle/adobo sauce packaging, but it's happening again. Seriously, who made the inane decision to put a dozen chipotle peppers and sauce in a can when you need, like, a TEASPOON per dish? Bobby Flay's kitchen aside, who uses more than that? (I have a similar beef with tomato paste, but that's a bitch for another day.)

Anyway, hubby wanted to invent a Southwestern burger, which means we're stuck with the vast majority of a large can (it was all we had, and I'm pretty sure all they sell) after this meal. I'm planning a chipotle-centric menu for the next few days—If you have any great suggestions, let me know.

Chipotle Turkey Burgers
Ground turkey
1 tsp garlic powder
1 egg
1/4 onion, grated
Fresh pepper
Chipotle Mayo:
About 1/2 tsp adobo sauce
2 tbsp light mayo
big pinch garlic powder
Chipotle Ketchup:
About 1/2 tsp adobo sauce
3 tbsp ketchup
pinch garlic powder
big pinch cumin powder
Burger Toppings:
whole canned green chiles, split open flat
sliced pepper jack cheese
sliced onion

In large bowl, combine burger ingredients well (use your hands). Mold into four patties and refrigerate while you prep the sauces.

So, yeah, prep the sauces. Mix them in small bowls. Cover. Chill.

Heat skillet over medium high heat. Coat with cooking spray. Cook patties about 5 minutes. Flip, and add chiles to skillet to heat. When the second side is almost done, add slice of cheese and cover. Now's the time to toast the buns, if you want.

When cheese is melted, smear one side of bun with mayo and one with ketchup, and place cheesy patty on bun. Top with chile, arugula and onion.

Serve with sweet potato fries and more chipotle ketchup.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Musings of the Fat and Sober, Vol. 3

Cross posted at Salt & Nectar today.

I would like to open this edition of preggo bitching with an apology. To every pregnant woman to whom I have ever used the phrase, "Honey, you're not fat, you're pregnant!" I offer my sincere apologies. While I completely meant it when it was said, I now see your point. Because while, yes, I am pregnant, I am also fat(ter). Abdomen gain? Mostly baby. Boob gain? Toss up. But thigh gain? Ass? Arms? Fat. Fat. Faaaat.

And please don't start in with me here about how they are all interconnected. Blah, blah, blah. I'm pregnant and I'm fat. Yes, there is no escaping it, but that doesn't make it untrue. I'm still not big enough to be obvious, so I know people often assume I'm just getting pudgy. You're welcome to ignore me when I bitch that I'm fat. And you are even more welcome to tell me I look great. But only if you mean it.

This is my trick. I wear stripes because it actually makes me look pregnant, even though we all know they do nothing flattering for the figure. Hence why it's best to ignore me when I say I look fat. This is preggo logic, people.

I am so over old wives tales and half-facts. Oh, you've heard I shouldn't get massages? Can't have my hair done? Should get rid of my cats? I have one thing to say: I am the research queen, damnit, so if you've heard this "fact," I guarantee I have also heard it. If I'm doing it anyway, it means I have considered it, debunked it (or determined what about it is unsafe/should be avoided), and moved on. Also, it is none of your effing business, especially when we don't know each other. But thanks for looking out. Really. XO.

Oh, and old wives tales go the other way, too, btw. Cocoa butter, shea, etc. etc. don't help stretch marks. You get them or you don't. It's a medical, genetic-based fact. That's not to say I'm not rubbing it on every morning anyway (I'm dry, ok?), but it's still just a story. Just like me having acne doesn't make it a girl. Even though everyone other than my grocery store checker has decided that it does.

Speaking of, no, we are not finding out the sex. No, I don't care what it is. I really, honestly don't. I promise. And I find it a little disturbing that you think I should be hoping for one over the other. Talk about your kid entering the world with a 50% chance of already disappointing you. They have their whole lives to do that.

I am crazy jealous of my cats. Not only do they just get to lounge around all day, they get to be comfortable while doing it. (Especially Ramona. She's got this on lock.)

See, I am a back sleeper. When that fails, I'm a stomach sleeper. Seeing that I can't do either anymore basically means sleeping is no longer fun. Well, I can lay on my stomach, but if you've ever tried to lie on a soccer ball, you know why this isn't happening. Back sleeping is out per doc's orders. Something about the weight of my engorged uterus and cutting off circulation to myself and the baby...I wasn't really listening; I was busy catching up on sleep with my eyes open. I have more and more in common with my Greta everyday.

Seriously, she sat like this without moving for like 5 minutes. She is amazing. And now I am done with my cats for this edition.

So I'm stuck on my sides. Which I hate. My shoulders fall asleep more easily than I do, and pregnancy hip pain has commenced in full effect, so my body pillow and I (see below) spend a lot of time flipping during the night. And when I'm not super gracefully using my entire body weight to attempt to turn over in one swift action, (side note: SO glad we sprung for the King bed last year. And that he can sleep through anything.) I'm getting up to pee. Every. Two. Hours. My under-eye circles have never looked so good, let me tell you.

In awesome news, however, my knees no longer hurt. I can sit on the toilet without whimpering again! (Yay!) I can do lunges again! (Yay? And also, "again?")

What is with the blood coming out of my nose? I'm not 8, and I don't play soccer. That's who gets nosebleeds, right? I feel like every nosebleed depicted on tv is an 8 year old in cleats. And I never played, which I'm certain is why I never have had one. Anyway, blood streaming out of nose at 6:30am is strange enough. Explaining to my husband that it's perfectly normal is even stranger.

And now, a few words of advice:

Rethink the Brazilian wax. The first few preg-waxes (ew, that's a terrible word) weren't bad—no worse than usual, which I normally handle like a champ. I'd been warned that it would be more painful "during this special time," so I'd left the salon all high and mighty. Hurt?? Ha! Not me! Best pregnancy ever! And then 19 weeks hit, and oh. my. god. I was squealing wincing so much my waxer (of two years) actually giggled at me. And then told me I was crazy, confessing that she never had the guts to do it while she was pregnant. NOW she tells me...

You know that show you love that makes you cry? Stop watching it. Mine happens to be Grey's Anatomy-I'm currently trying to catch up on last season, so I've been watching several at a time on Netflix. Hubby doesn't understand why "that stupid show is even still on," which meant he was more than happy to oblige when I told him to put me on Grey's restriction. (Of course, he came home the next night to find me crying into the couch pillow again.) Seriously, though. The baby needs fluids. Sobbing inconsolably about how Mandy Moore diiiiiiiieeed just means you're tempting dehydration.

Buy the body pillow. And get a cute cover for it, while you're at it. It's going to be your best (and most intimate, it works best all tucked in between your legs) friend for months, so you may as well treat it as such. I haven't caved and sprung for an expensive one yet—I'm thinking the Snoogle—but I feel the time is fast approaching. These hips are seriously hurting.

No joke—it's enormous, and a little like having a threesome every night. (I guess?) I feel like I should name it, or at least buy it breakfast in the morning.

What about you all? Any nighttime pregnancy remedies/pillow brands, etc. you want to throw my way? My sanity thanks you in advance.

Friday, November 4, 2011

More pumpkin. Yay!

I'm going over to my girlfriend's house this evening for a pajama and movie night...normally this group likes to drink, but at least three of us are currently knocked up, so we're going to do the next best thing-snacks.

I volunteered to bring caramel corn, which didn't turn out exactly as planned...but I am now bringing my new specialty, Creme Brûlée Corn.

There is a reason I hate my oven. And this is why. Luckily, I love burnt sugar.

In case the other ladies don't, however, I decided to bring a back up...and all I had in the house on hand was stuff for pumpkin muffins. Made in the toaster oven, thankyouverymuch. And quite delicious. Look at me baking. This is sooo the kid's fault.

Pumpkin Muffins
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup water
2 eggs
1 14oz can organic pumpkin
2 cups flour (I mixed white and wheat)
1 tsp baking powder
A little more than 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
Hershey chocolate rectangles (opt.)

In large bowl, mix sugar, oil, water and pumpkin. In small bowl, mix flour and other dry ingredients and spices.

Add dry ingredients into pumpkin mix, and mix gently until just combined.

Fill lined muffin cups 3/4 full. Insert one chocolate piece in the middle of each muffin, if using. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.

Makes 18 muffins.

-posted out of laziness from my iPhone.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

African Potato Peanut Stew

It's been under 80 degrees for like 4 days in a row, so I'm going to go ahead and assume it's finally fall around here. (Please? I have a growing stomach to cover, and sweaters help a ton.) We'll see how it goes, but in the meantime, I'm still going to make cool-weather food and try and coax it along.

This stew is fairly simple, really, with a medium amount of prep, so it was good on a week night. The original recipe calls for it to cook for over an hour, but I checked it after 40 minutes and the potatoes were perfectly cooked...I think I may have chopped them smaller than intended, but the bite size pieces make more sense. So just check it along the way...when they're done, you're done. Easy as that.

Hubby commented that lamb would be a good addition, so if you want to meatify this, go ahead and throw some bite sized chunks of lamb or beef in after the garlic and brown for a couple of minutes before continuing. I did use chicken broth instead of veggie broth, but other than that, I thought it was great as a vegetarian dish. Oh, and you can use all peanuts for this (use up to a cup), I just ran out and liked the addition of the almonds.

I love how colorful it is once you get over it and just stir in the topping. Which you should do, by the way.

African Peanut Stew
1 cup 0% greek yogurt
1/4 cup minced chives
splash of olive oil
half a yellow onion, halved and sliced
1 shallot, sliced (optional)
half a large bell pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts, halved
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 tsp salt
1 minced red chile or 1 tsp crushed red pepper
2 lbs peeled, cubed sweet potatoes (I sliced about 1/2 in thick widthwise, then quartered those)
3/4 lb baby red potatoes, halved or quartered, depending on the size
2.5 cups fat-free broth
28oz can diced tomatoes

Combine yogurt and chives, chill.

Heat oil in dutch oven or stock pot over medium high. Add onion, shallot and bell pepper, saute 2-3 minutes. Add garlic, saute until fragrant, less than a minute. Add peanuts, salt and chile. After a couple of minutes (stirring often), add potatoes, broth and tomato.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover. After about 35 minutes, test every 10 minutes or so to see if the potatoes are soft. When they are, turn off heat and let sit 5-10 minutes.

Top with a dollop of yogurt mix to serve. (Serves 6, roughly 350 cals per serving)