Wednesday, September 30, 2009

are you ...?

I had a really great day yesterday. I accomplished everything on the to-do list and felt so good I even got to bed at a decent time. Got up this morning for work, well. Mornings are never pretty, but today was ever so slightly better than normal. (How about that, being productive actually makes you feel better than lazy? How can this be?)

Then today I was brought down by a single question. The question that plagues every famous actress the minute she eats a cheeseburger. Maybe you know where I'm headed. Yes - the dreaded - Are you P~~~ Gosh I can't even type it, if you're not P~~ it is the single most horrible question you could be asked. Why would anyone ask unless it was very clearly evident I wonder?

I was asked this several years ago, and immediately after lost about 40 pounds and was skinnier than I had been since high school. I maintained for quite a while. Then I moved and got a desk job and it was over! I had planned on baking when I got home today, but now, I am vowing to spend an hour on the treadmill. Last night I did a dvd, Billy Blanks Tae Bo something I forget. Not your normal Tae Bo but one where they dance in it too. I'm sure I looked quite the fool. So much so that my dog thought I was going crazyyy and was either trying to imitate me, jump on me, or when it got really bad, he'd just look at me with clear amusement on his puppy face, head tilted to one side.

It's just one of those days, you want to crawl back into bed wearing comfy sweats, pull the fleece blanket up to your chin and watch movies. Not just any movies. Chick flicks.

Only that would defeat everything, since the point is to get out of that mode and into the gym.

But I do have this cute pumpkin pan I've been anxious to try out. Maybe if I get a kick @$$ workout in, I will reward myself with being able to bake, and will try just one! and give the rest away. Haha! See, bipolar - why can't I have the best of both worlds. Grumble.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I know this is so five minutes ago, but I thought it was funny. Check it out here:

Hidden Treasure

That impulsive side of me keeps gobbling up other people's food blogs ravenously. I want to make everything! Then the sensible side takes over, and all I'd have left is an imitation blog, not really my own. Besides, I have soo many recipes I've been wanting to make, before discovering "OPB" --> Other People's Blogs. I went back and checked out my cookbook collection, and in it found this forgotten gem:

At first I was thinking, 1973! What could be in there, really? Those recipes aren't new and exciting! I was wrong. They're not new, but they are exciting! Please consider:

Love Light Cake from Estelle Bojanowski

Wacky Man's Cake from Gertrude Stall

Pocket Full O Coconut Cake from Theresa Novak

Harvey Wallbanger Cake from Nina Burzynski

Deep Dark Secret Cake

tons I mean TONS of recipes for Kolacky -- I never heard of it?? Anyone?

Looks like I've got my baking cut out for me!

Being that it's fall, in other parts of the country, not so much here, I have really been wanting to break out the pumpkin recipes! Pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin rolls, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin soup, pumpkin spice latte!

So eagerly I ran out to the grocery store and wouldn't you know it - pumpkin shortage?? Not a single can to be sold. I spoke to the manager who told me there was a shortage of pumpkin this year and he thinks Libby's is trying to stall to start delivering pumpkin until closer to Thanksgiving. Noooooooo! He said to let him know if I found it anywhere else because that means Libby's was lying to him and (shadow crossing over his face) that would make him very angry.

Let's not make him angry.

Yesterday I joined Blog to Lose! And I started thinking again about my title, Siestas and Cupcakes. For a while I thought about changing it, I didn't know people would be reading my blog! The Unfit Baker? Kaloula Cooks? I had a whole list, most of which I've forgotten. Then I just decided, you know what, I don't need a direction. This is my little real estate in the blog world, the internet world if you will, I don't need to follow any "rules" Siestas and Cupcakes works, because they are still 2 of my favorite things, and this is a little bit of a stretch, but the "Cupcake" portion is cooking and baking, and "Siestas" could be my break from cooking or baking just to write, or talk about the weight loss journey.

I'm still on my first cup of coffee so if that made no sense to you check back with me later.

Happy Sunday!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A lil PD

Back to the recipes! Here's another I made while staying in the mountains last weekend. It's from Paula Deen ~ I've had her cookbook for a few years and never made anything and finally broke it out.

I've been to Savannah twice, both times trying to get into her restaurant but they were all booked up. Somehow. They don't take reservations so I'm not quite sure how that happened! Anyhow, there is a gift shop attached which is very crowded with all the other once hopeful rejects who were turned away from her deliciously fattening fare. A consolation prize, a cookbook autographed by Ms. Deen herself, in a stack of hundreds of other pre-autographed cookbooks for all us saps unlucky to have not made it into the restaurant. I know, I know - wah! Break out the violins for me, LOL. Here it is, Ms. Paula Deen's Baked Spaghetti. It takes a while to make but it is well worth it!

Baked Spaghetti

2 cups canned diced tomatoes
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup water
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced green bell peppers
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 1/2 tsp The Lady's House Seasoning (I don't know what this is, I used an all purpose seasoning)
1 1/2 tsp Seasoned salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar
2 small bay leaves
1.5 pounds ground beef
8 oz angelhair pasta
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese

To make sauce, in a stockpot, combine the tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, onions, peppers, garlic, parsley, seasoning mixtures, sugar, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered for 1 hour. Crumble the beef in a saucepan. Cook until no pink remains, then drain off the fat. Add the ground beef to the stockpot. Simmer for another 20 minutes. While the sauce simmers, cook the pasta according to package directions. Cover the bottom of a 13x9x2 inch pan with sauce. Add a layer of pasta, then half the cheese; repeat the layers, ending with the sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Top with the remaining cheese and return to oven; continue to cook until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Cut into squares before serving.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Amazingly delicious cake, the more you eat, the more weight you lose! Want the recipe?

George Costanza met alien lifeform. As they sucked his brain out his ear through a little straw, What was he wearing?! stick around!

Actress wearing six inch heels steps in elephant poo. What was her reaction? You may be surprised to find out!

I can totally be a news person. Oh my gosh I hate leading cliffhanger questions, to get you to stick around and keep watching!!!! Tell me what's coming up, without the cliffhanger.

"Coming up after the break, a funny story about elephant poo" would be a much better way to get me to keep watching. No questions necessary!

"That's ridiculous! A funny story about elepant poo! I need to know more. What's funny about elephant poo? I'm going to keep watching!"


Just a lil rant on cliffhanger questions.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A fantastic mess!

How do you separate your eggs? I used to yo-yo the yolk back and forth between the two halved shells - back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Oops a little white is still in there. Back and forth. One day I said to myself (Self) - Bah! Just crack the whole damn egg into the bowl, reach in and pull out the yolk. Haha! Saved 2 minutes of yo-yoing! So you get a little egg on your hands, don't be a sissy, just clean it off. And so, that's how it's done now! Maybe everyone already does this, I don't know, I'm pretty much self taught learning every day, I could be behind the times.

I just got back from spending the weekend in the mountains with my hubby for our 1st anniversary. We ate the top of our wedding cake and it was fabulous! Believe it or not, after surviving 6 moves, that's 6 times of being frozen and defrosted and frozen again, it was almost nearly as good as it was last year.

In my semi-newfound culinary adventures, one thing I never tried was making a pie shell from scratch. Boy was I missing out! Who knew it was so easy and fun. If you love a good mess like I do, and I like to think you do, you have to try it out! Check out this fantastic mess:

That is the beginning of a Tomato and Corn Pie, I made to bring to the mountains. This recipe was recently posted by Smitten Kitchen, and it was quite the delicious number let me tell you. Here is her recipe:

Tomato and Corn Pie
Adapted from Gourmet, August 2009
Adapted, barely, from Gourmet’s adaptation of Laurie Colwin’s and Jame’s Beard’s versions

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 3/4 teaspoons salt, divided
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons or 3 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus 2 teaspoons melted
3/4 cup whole milk
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 3/4 pounds beefsteak tomatoes
1 1/2 cups corn (from about 3 ears), coarsely chopped by hand (my preference) or lightly puréed in a food processor, divided
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil, divided
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
7ounces coarsely grated sharp Cheddar (1 3/4 cups), divided

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 3/4 tsp salt in a bowl, then blend in cold butter (3/4 stick) with your fingertips or a pastry blender until it resembles coarse meal. Add milk, stirring until mixture just forms a dough, then gather into a ball.

Divide dough in half and roll out one piece on a well-floured counter into a 12-inch round (1/8 inch thick). Either fold the round gently in quarters, lift it into a 9-inch pie plate and gently unfold and center it. Pat the dough in with your fingers trim any overhang.

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Whisk together mayonnaise and lemon juice.

Cut an X in bottom of each tomato and blanch in a large pot of boiling water 10 seconds. Immediately transfer with a slotted spoon to an ice bath to cool. Peel tomatoes, then slice crosswise 1/4 inch thick and, if desired, gently remove seeds and extra juices. Arrange half of tomatoes in crust, overlapping, and sprinkle with half of corn, one tablespoon basil, 1/2 tablespoon chives, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and one cup of grated cheese. Repeat layering with remaining tomatoes, corn, basil, chives, salt, and pepper.
Pour lemon mayonnaise over filling and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Roll out remaining piece of dough into a 12-inch round in same manner, then fit over filling, folding overhang under edge of bottom crust and pinching edge to seal. Cut 4 steam vents in top crust and brush crust with melted butter (2 teaspoons). Bake pie until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes, then cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Do ahead: Pie can be baked 1 day ahead and chilled. Reheat in a 350°F oven until warm, about 30 minutes.

Sigh...Delicious memories of the pie that once was, and was devoured quite quickly at that. I have a link on the right to Smitten Kitchen's blog, I eliminated a few of her personal notes to the recipe as I didn't want to be a total thief. Please check it out!

Ooh and another thing! I was going through a few of my favorite blogs and came across something so amazingly good looking I can't wait to try it out. I mean, I want to run out to the store NOW to buy the ingredients, but am holding back on account of that I just ate the aforementioned wedding cake. Ready for this???

Have you ever heard of Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses!!!! That is another Smack my ass and call me Judy moment!! Fibberty gibberish I can't even come up with words for my excitement over this! So, also in my favorite sites at right, check out Picky-Palate's Black Bottomed Mini Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites. (I haven't learned yet how to highlight words in my blog to take you right there yet.) Anyway, check THOSE bad boys out and try, TRY, not to lick your computer screen! Those are coming to my blog quite soon.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Confessions and Turkey Meatball Soup

A bit of a confession: I try to update my quote of the day from Invisionaria every day, but I couldn't bring myself to do it today. My last facebook status was: "The early bird gets the worm. The late bird gets 3 extra hours of sleep in a nice comfy bed with 1000 thread count sheets and a big fluffy pillow." And I have to admit, I really prefer to be the late bird. What is so good about mornings? When tortured to get up that early, I spend the whole time in a bit of a daze, probably still in stage 1 sleep which you can be while awake, drinking coffee to try to rid myself from the groggies. Finally afternoon comes and I feel normal. Dare I say, peppy even at times. The only only thing I do like to do in the mornings is shop, because then it's not so crowded. But then I can come home and nap. :o) Aren't naps glorious! So back to the quote of the day, this is it. I'm sorry for not updating it today. "If you want your dreams to come true, you must not oversleep." — Unknown

Clearly written by a morning person. If that's true, oh dear, I'm in trouble.

I pushed back my GRE date so now I have no excuses, it's time to get fit. I signed myself up for a 5K which is going to be January 16th. Some people may be wondering to themselves aloud why there are no cupcake recipes in my blog with cupcakes in the title. Well my new friend that's because I'm trying to get fit, which means cupcakes have to sit in waiting to be made for the moment. Tonight I made soup, here's the recipe! Courtesy of Taste of Home Healthy Cooking magazine.

Turkey Meatball Soup

2 egg whites, beaten
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
4 tsp Italian seasoning, divided
1 lb lean ground turkey
3 medium carrots, sliced
3 celery ribs, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 cans reduced sodium chicken broth
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup small pasta

1. In a small bowl, combine the egg whites, bread crumbs, cheese, and 2 tsp Italian seasoning. Add turkey and mix well. Shape into 3/4 in. balls. Place on a baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 15 minutes or until no longer pink.

2. Meanwhile, saute the carrots, celery, and garlic in oil until tender. Add the broth, pepper, and remaining Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in pasta and cook 10-12 minutes longer, or until vegetables and pasta are tender. Stir in meatballs and heat through.

1 cup is 258 calories

Here I was carrying a bowl over to the window to take a picture. One recommendation I have for you, don't sneeze while carrying a bowl of soup. It was quite acrobatic as I first tried to hold it in and then realized nope, it's coming! And attempted to cover my mouth while trying not to jerk the bowl and send soup sailing across the kitchen. Luckily, mouth got covered and no soup lost to my hopeful dog. Then wouldn't you know it! I went to sample, while soup was half way to my waiting mouth, my dog barked. He doesn't do that often so of course I was startled and my hand jerked. Soup didn't make it to said waiting mouth but once again, by some miracle, no soup lost! Amazing indeed! Next time I'm going to make something that is going to be plated because I noticed everything I've made so far has been in a bowl.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lick the bowl good!!

I do very much want to eat healthy, and may I say, I've avoided the doughnuts and donuts 2 days in a row thank you very much! Tonight after work, I wanted something fresh and delicious. After spending all day looking at other people's food blogs, I realized I had most of the ingredients for a pasta salad that is on Smitten Kitchen's blog. Holy guacamole this is so freaking good! I adapted it to what I had in the fridge. This one is definitely a keeper!

Veggie and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Salad
1 pound of small pasta
3/4 cup chopped bell pepper - yellow and red
3/4 cup chopped asparagus
3/4 to 1 cup Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette (the bestest part of the whole salad!)

Cook the pasta according to package directions. When the pasta was nearly cooked, I threw in the veggies for about 2 minutes, and drained it all together. Let cool, then toss in a large bowl with the vinaigrette and season to taste. (Let cool is in the original directions. Hungry lady here did not wait)

Roasted Red Peppper Vinaigrette - (Heavenly!!)
1 red bell pepper, roasted, skinned, and seeded or the equivalent from a jar, drained
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp shallot
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp salt
several grinds of black pepper

Puree the red bell pepper in a food processor or blender as much as possible, then add the remaining ingredients and run the machine until the dressing is silky smooth.
(Whenever I hear silky smooth I think of Adam Sandler in Billy Madison - Shampoo is better! I go on first and clean the hair! Conditioner is better! I make the hair silky and smooooth!)

Enjoy these original photographs of this divine semi-mostly stolen recipe:

I think I'll go watch Billy Madison now...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pot of Yumminess

I'm getting mentally ready to start Body for Life in 2 weeks. 2 weeks and not now because I have the GRE coming up and don't need to focus on both! But that doesn't mean I can't start a light version. That's the iphone user in me -- there's Body for Life and Body for Life Light version. If you've ever downloaded an app you know what I mean, if not get with it! Geez. I love my iphone!

Tonight's dinner was adapted from a recipe Aunt o' Mine (AoM) sent me a few years ago. I've made this different every time and every single time it turns out soo yummy and is incredibly easy to make.

Start out cutting up and sauteeing your favorite veggies. I used broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, yellow and green squash, and a red onion.

Saute for about 8 minutes or until it's to your liking. Season it up with your favorite seasonings. I used McCormick All Purpose Salt Free Seasoning, garlic powder, and a little sea salt. Then throw in a cup of cooked brown rice, a can of pinto beans, and about a half cup of salsa. I had some premade turkey breast in the fridge so I threw that in too.

Simplest dinner you'll ever make and believe me, sooo good!

And good for you makes it even better! Hope you try it out and love it as much as we do!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Well smack my ass and call me Judy

...It's an old Friends line that had me cracking up, no other reason. I mentioned, I'm a thief, title is totally stolen both from Friends and the Well Read Hostess, link at right..

Last week was the ol' birthday and I wanted to share some presents! First, the cutest fluffiest cat photo ever, don't you want to hug her?

I also got a gift certificate to Barnes and Noble and couldn't wait to get a big beautiful cookbook filled with gorgeous food photos. (I don't so much love cookbooks that don't have photos!)

First, a big decision. What kind of cookbook do I want? The bipolarness in me wanted both a book of healthy recipes and another dessert cookbook. Decision Smamision. I got both!! Here's what I got and I'm super excited about both.

<--- My Body is a Temple as Nigella says.

Gimme somma dat! --->

I was thinking I should stop buying cookbooks now, my shelves are overflowing. But then, just this afternoon, the day after proclaiming I was taking hiatus from buying cookbooks, I get an email from good old Barnes and Noble, there are 3 cookbooks coming out at the end of October, and I really really long for all 3! I stopped short of preordering The Pioneer Woman's cookbook, take a look at these beauties: (I am talking about the cookbooks, not that the chefs aren't also beauties)

2 Healthy recipe books, 1 just plain good food book. Ask me in November and I bet I have at least 2 of them. Can I use these pictures? Free advertising? If you see no pictures here I've been made to take them down. :)

Can you say Chunk?

And now I am in need of a serious intervention, which I am giving to myself, just before I break out into a Truffle Shuffle. I've got to get in shape, and I've been contemplating between doing Body for Life or P90X. Both are very similar, I may just do a hybrid. I've been looking over the Body for Life diet, and it is eating healthy and exercising 6 days a week, and on the 7th!! Day 7 you eat what you want so you don't feel deprived. I could still use both cookbooks, just one waaaay more than the other. Stay tuned...

Friday, September 4, 2009

Feeble Beginnings

Tonight I made my first feeble attempt at a layer cake! And will also make my first feeble attempt at food blogging, complete with photos and all. Whoop Whoop Whoop (Arsenio arm pump) Go me!

I was kind of making it up on the fly, here's what I did! Start out making a yellow super moist boxed cake. (Yes, I used a boxed cake mix!) After it was baked and cooled, cut it in half across the middle of the cake.

Then add some bananas:

And why not, some chocolate pudding too!

Then put the top back on, but upside down to have a nice, smooth Will Smith flat top.

Now the frosting! I whipped up some heavy whipping cream with a bit of confectioners sugar. I also added a little coconut around the sides to hide my messiness.

Finally~ A flower to make it a little Carrie Bradshaw-esque.

And there she is, all wrapped up and ready for eatin'! But not tonight my good cake, it's late and mama's full. :)

Food Blogging

Wow. I didn't start this blog to talk about food but it just happened. Maybe because my life is centered around the next meal! When my family from Chicago came to visit Charleston for the first time, while they were planning the next fun thing to do, I was planning the next place to eat! Why is it all about the food? And how do I stop this madness?

I am now immersed in all the food blogs out there. There are some amazing food blogs out there! I would love to have something similar, not that I want to be a copycat, but, man! Why didn't I think of it first?

It seems the best ones have two things in common - they come up with their own recipes and take amazing photos of the food both in stages and in it's finished form. I do neither come up with my own recipes or take amazing photos. Crap. Let's face it and call it what it is, I'm a thief. I steal blog ideas (like my new layout?), I steal recipes!, I don't take my own photos, I steal them! Guilty as charged, for lack of originality!

As I continue onward with the blogging, I can't deny the prevalence of food on my mind. As a recipe/food photo thief, it's probably best to keep to doing my own reviews on other people's food and recipes. I tried last night to take photos of what I was making, a thai bow tie pasta salad, and the beginnings of an atomic cake, but the photos just didn't look like the ones I admire on the other sites. I plan on learning how to use my camera one of these days.

I'm dipping my big toe into the 30's today, it's my 31st birthday. Yay birthdays! I was making the atomic cake for myself when I was asked to stop because it was ruining other plans. I do have the recipe and it is a fabulous cake, so one day I will post the (stolen) recipe here along with (original) photos!

In the meantime, since I'm not baking, I will need to work on being fit. The holidays are coming up people, get in shape now so you can EAT later!!