The Not So Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Filed Under (Cooking, Lunch, Quick Meals) by Lisa on 20-01-2009

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When I was a kid my mom introduced me to what she called “grilled cheese sandwiches”. It was not until later in life that I learned that these sandwiches that she called “grilled” were not grilled at all. Instead they were baked.

I have had real “grilled” cheese sandwiches a few times in my life (in my 20’s), and from those experiences eating them I can say that they are nothing like the baked (grilled) cheese sandwiches that I grew up with. Both kinds are very good, but in different ways.

Here are the not so grilled cheese sandwiches that I grew up with.

I made them with whole wheat sliced Italian bread, and low fat marble cheese. I baked them in the oven for about 4 minutes on 375 degrees F. Then I placed some garlic style sliced baby dill pickles on top. That is it. There are no sauces and no margarine or butter. The fat in a low fat cheese is enough to make the bread (not dry).

I think the not so grilled cheese sandwich is a good alternative to “real” grilled cheese sandwiches because real ones seem to have butter or margarine in them (meaning more calories).

Eggo Buttermilk Waffles for Breakfast

Filed Under (Breakfast, Review) by Lisa on 16-01-2009

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Yesterday I decided to have some store bought waffles for breakfast. I had my favorite (other then home made ones) Eggo waffles. I toasted my waffles and had them with low fat peanut butter and a large banana. It is a quick and easy way to start the day. I feel full for hours after eating it (not like when I eat oatmeal and feel hungry within a couple of hours). The banana also adds some nutrition to the meal. The protein in the peanut butter keeps me sustained until lunch time.

Health wise, the Eggo (buttermilk) waffles have 95 calories in each waffle. Comparatively a piece of whole wheat Italian bread has 100 calories per slice.

I would recommend these waffles to anyone who is a waffle lover. I love home made waffles too, but they take a long time to make.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Filed Under (Breakfast, Muffins) by Lisa on 14-01-2009

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Yesterday I was in the mood for baking. So I searched for a recipe. Nothing in our recipe books really caught my eye, so I searched google. I found a recipe on this website http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Pumpkin-Cream-Cheese-Muffins/Detail.aspx  that sounded really good. I changed the recipe a little, as usual. The muffins turned out super yummy. The many textures and tastes blend together in a symphony of flavor.

If you make these don’t make the same mistake I did. I made them into 12 muffins that overflowed the pan! They still turned out really well but the pan was a mess after. It would probably be better to use 24 medium sized muffin tins. Or if you want huge muffins maybe try making 6 in a 6 muffin tin.

Here is the recipe.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Use 24 medium sized muffin tins

Filling

4-5 oz cream cheese

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 tsp brown sugar

Topping

3 tbsp all purpose flour

2 tbsp white sugar

¾ tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp margarine

Muffin Batter

1 ½ – 2 cups pumpkin pieces

2 cups all purpose flour

½ cup whole wheat flour

1 cup brown sugar (not packed)

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp ginger

2 tsp cinnamon

A couple shakes salt

2 tsp baking powder

2 eggs

1/3 cup olive oil

½ – 2/3 cup skim milk

1-2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp rum extract (or real rum)

¼- ½ cup pecan pieces

To Make the Filling

Combine all the ingredients listed under filling in a medium sized bowl. Beat with an electric mixture until a smooth mixture is formed. Set aside.

To Make the Topping

Combine all the topping ingredients in a bowl. Mix well. (It may be easier to cut in the margarine or use a pastry blender). Set aside.

To Make the Batter

In a large bowl combine the flours, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, mix well. Then add the pecan pieces and mix well. Set aside. In a blender add: the pumpkin, brown sugar, eggs, olive oil, milk, vanilla extract, and rum extract. Blend until smooth. Now combine the blender mixture with the flour mixture. Stir until smooth. Fill muffin tins ¼-½ full of muffin batter. Then spoon some filling into each muffin tin. Now add another layer of muffin batter. Add the topping. Bake until slightly browned and a tooth pick comes out clean. Enjoy.

Chocolate Beet Muffins

Filed Under (Breakfast, Muffins) by Lisa on 10-01-2009

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-The prettiest muffins I have ever seen-

-The most delicious muffins I have ever tasted-

Yesterday I was in the baking mood. I felt like making muffins, so I paged through a muffin cookbook. I found one that interested me. I was a little skeptical of it since it was a recipe for beet chocolate muffins.

I am not a fan of beets cooked or fresh. However I had never had them in muffin form. My dad loves beets and grows tons of them in his garden. Consequently we ended up with a large amount of beets in our freezer. My parents boil the beets, cut them into small pieces and put them into sandwich size zip lock bags and then place the bags in the freezer.

For this recipe I just used one sandwich sized zip lock bag of beets. I think it works out to about 1 ½ – 2 cups of beet cut into small pieces.

Here is the recipe. I morphed the original version which came from Company’s Coming; Mostly Muffins recipe book by Jean Pare (Page 52). Here is my version.

Chocolate Beet Muffins

2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ cup coco

½ tsp salt

¼ cup medium unsweetened coconut

½-¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

½ cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

¼ cup olive oil

1-2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp rum extract (or real rum)

¾-1 cup skim milk

Beets about 1 ½- 2 cups fresh or frozen cut up beets

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare muffin tins (12 muffin tin)

In a large bowl place the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and coco. Blend well. Now add the chocolate chips and coconut to the flour mixture. Mix well.

In a blender place the beets (if you are using frozen beets microwave them for 2 minutes first) eggs, brown sugar, milk, vanilla extract, rum extract, and olive oil. Blend until smooth. Now add the beet mixture to the flour mixture. Blend until a smooth batter is formed. If it the batter looks too dry add a little more milk. The dough should look like this.

Now spoon the batter into the muffin tins. Bake in your preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes (or until the muffins go from a fuchsia color to a deep red/brown color). Serve warm or cool (both temperature are super yummy). Enjoy.

Souffer’s Bistro Crustini Review

Filed Under (Quick Meals, Review, Snacks) by Lisa on 06-01-2009

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Awhile ago I bought a Souffer’s  Bistro Crustini package for my boyfriend. In the end it ended up in my freezer instead of his. It is not something I normally would have bought, but knowing he likes them that it what made me buy it.

Yesterday I decided to give it a try, so I had it for lunch. Here are my thoughts on it.

The Bistro Crustini type was Philly-Style Steak and Cheese. The box describes this Crustini as: layers of tender steak and mozzarella cheese in a flakey crust.

Before cooking the Crustini you place it in the crusting envelope/pouch provided.

The Crustini is a frozen food. The instructions say to microwave it for 2 minutes. I cooked it in the microwave for 1 min 55 seconds, and that seemed too long. It was way to hot to eat right away.

One thing that I liked about the Crustini, is that it did not get soggy in the microwave. The crusting pouch works really well.

Taste wise the Souffer’s Philly-Style Steak and cheese Crustini is very yummy. The meat and cheese melt in to a succulent melody of flavor. The flakey crust is also perfect.

As far as a meal goes, the Crustini probably won’t fill you up. However it is a good, quick snack to have.

In each Bistro Crustini box there are 2 individually wrapped Crustini. The average price for a box is about $3.90, so that works out to $1.95 per package. It is a decent price (not super cheap or super expensive) for a snack.

Nutrition wise the Bistro Crustini doesn’t score too well. In each Crustini there are 310 calories! This tasty snack is also high in sodium (670 mg 28% of your daily intake) and fat (14g 22% of your daily intake). The Crustini is a decent source of calcium (15% of your daily intake) and iron (15% of your daily intake).

The Bistro Crustini; Philly-Style Steak and Cheese is a tasty snack. It might not be the best option if your on a low fat diet or low calorie diet. It is decently priced, and a quick and easy snack idea.

I enjoyed eating the Crustini, but probably won’t buy it again (unless my boyfriend really wants it for himself) since it doesn’t score high on the health scale.

A Simple Green Salad

Filed Under (Salads) by Lisa on 05-01-2009

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This evening I made salad for my lunch (yes lunch since I’m on my night shift time). I have been staring at the lettuce in the fridge for about a week. I bought it intending to make salad about a week ago, but the urge never hit. I think in the winter when it’s cold and snowy the last thing I want to do is eat a cool salad when I could be eating a nice warm meal. Here is my salad recipe.

A Simple Green Salad

Lettuce

Radishes

Balsamic vinegar

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt

Ground black pepper

Parmesan cheese (fresh grated)

Prepare vegetables. Place in a bowl. Pour vinegar, and oil over vegetables. Then sprinkle on the spices. Toss and sprinkle on parmesan cheese. Serve.

This makes a tasty yet simple salad.

My Second Chocolate Review

Filed Under (Review) by Lisa on 03-01-2009

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Last night I decided to have one of my chocolates from my assorted box of 12 chocolates from the Chocolate Trading Company. I chose to have the cappuccino one. Here are my thoughts on it.

Before I started this tasting, I cleared my mouth with pure filtered water. It was cool, but not cold. I sampled this chocolate after dinner, which is not considered prime chocolate tasting time, but I was in the mood, so that is why I chose this time.

This chocolate is made of pure coco butter and real vanilla. Below are some images of the package.

 

This is how the little chocolate information booklet describes this cappuccino delight: cappuccino; a successful and delicate compliment of finely roasted coffee beans combined with the buttery sweetness of this fine milk chocolate, provide a wonderful creamy cappuccino experience for you to savor.

Here are my impressions. The aroma that this chocolate had was that of milk chocolate with a hint of coffee. Visually the chocolate appeared to be a medium brown color, and was also smooth and glossy on top. There were small imprecations noted on the back side of the chocolate. This likely means the chocolatier didn’t put as much care into the back side as the front.

Taste Impressions

Initial

When I first put the chocolate in my mouth I let it melt for a very short time. The chocolate tasted lavish with a hint of creamy cappuccino flavor. The cappuccino flavor was very low key, kind of like a background taste to the extraordinary creamy smooth milk chocolate flavor.

Middle

As I began to chew the chocolate I noted that the outside layer of chocolate was medium to thin in thickness. The inside cappuccino chocolate mixture was immensely creamy (which I loved). The chocolate tasted pure. It was a tiny bit sweeter then the 64% Single Origin Madagascar Superior Dark Chocolate that I sampled in my first review http://lisaopolis.wordpress.com/2008/12/31/my-first-chocolate-review/ .

 

Long

The chocolate left a bit of a sweet/coffee after taste. It was pretty mellow though, and not unpleasant.

 

Overall Impression

I loved this cappuccino chocolate from the Chocolate Trading Company. The experience of this chocolate was ecstasy. I highly recommend this chocolate for all people who love cappuccino chocolates. This one is a winner.

Rating

On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best chocolate imaginable) I would give this one a score of 8/10.

2009 Goals

Filed Under (Personal) by Lisa on 02-01-2009

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Since I missed doing New Years Resolutions, I thought I would make some 2009 goals instead. Here are my goals. Some ambitious, and some less then ambitious. Here they are in no particular order.

1. Increase my blog RSS to 20. I think this is an ambitious goal considering the most it has ever been was 7. However with perseverance it might be an achievable goal.

 2. To do 175 blog posts min this year. In 2008 I wrote a total of 58 blog posts. This should be a goal that is achievable without too much difficulty.

3. To loose 20 lbs. I was doing well with this until Christmas came. I had lost 6-7 lbs that I had kept off for over a month but then Christmas and all the yummy treats it brings with it came, and those 6 lbs went right back on. At least it was only 6. My 2009 goal weight is 140 lbs.

4. To work more hours at my nurse job. I’m causal, so I choose when, where and how often I work. I get calls to work every day, but I seem to like my days off a little too much. My goal is to work or attend 200 shifts or paid education days in 2009.

5. To save $20,000. In order to do this I will have to work more, so I may be able to achieve this goal easily if I also achieve my goal to work more shifts. I may have to curb my spending a little though.

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