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Alisa. 37. New Hampshire. Married for almost three years to this wonderful, funny, smart guy. Previously married. Went through in-vitro fertilization to have my five year old magical son Keegan. Stepmother to the charming Isabelle (6). Gushingly in love with our baby boy Harper(1). Policy Wonk and dreaded bureaucrat. Lover of fine cuisine, honeybees, truly romantic moments and the underdog.
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Curried Beef Short Ribs

Note: I found this was more realistically four servings.

Finishing this dish with lime zest and juice brightens its rich flavors.

Yield 6 servings (serving size: about 3 ounces ribs, 2/3 cup rice, and about 2 1/2 tablespoons sauce)

2 teaspoons canola oil
2 pounds ...continue reading

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Mixed Weather

Friday we went to a restaurant that I hadn't been to before. I actually had a gift certificate from the title company when I closed on my house last June. There was an hour wait but we stuck it out and just talked up at the bar until our table was ready. The food was good, they had some unusual selections. I wasn't super hungry because my stomach had been queasy all day. I felt fine then but not really hungry. I did of course find room to share dessert with Jeff.
The next day we picked up Keegan around 11am. Tom had asked to switch Sat for Fri and needed to leave by 11:30. While there I helped him pick out a shirt and tie for the wedding he was attending. I told him he'd be beating the girls off with a stick. On the way back I felt queasy again. So I laid down when we got home and Jeff made lunch. I didn't eat but Keegan liked his wheat pita pizza. After nap we went grocery shopping for the rest of the meals. I felt sick again so Jeff fed Keegan his dinner and made our dinner. I didn't think I would eat but those Soft Black Bean Tostadas looked too good with that fresh avocado salsa on top. I actually felt okay after eating them. With Keegan fast asleep we watched Tivo and the movie Junebug. I had almost seen it in theaters because it actually played here but something came up. It was good, reminded me of my time living in the South and also a bit like my ex-in-laws (dad who does woodworking, mom who does crafts, yada yada).

This morning Keegan woke before 7 (painful) but was convinced to cuddle a while so even though we didn't get any more sleep at least we didn't have to get moving until 8. While I showered Jeff marinated everything for dinner later. We met my parents for breakfast and then took Keegan to the mall to ride the carousel for his first time. I wasn't sure how he'd do with the horse going up and down. He absolutely loved it. My mom and I rode with him once and then she took him again. He was holding on and then waving each time he passed us. Jeff took pics which I will upload on the gallery soon.
Since we were down there and they have a Body Shop I stopped to stock up. My friend who is the at-home consultant is out of commission due to the birth of her second child last week. I got out fairly reasonably. Two shower gels, deep moisturizing hair mask and massage oil. That is a store that I could do some damage in. Keegan was difficult to navigate back out of the mall due to being tired and playing with the punching balloon my mom bought him. He fell asleep in the car but not before the balloon popped when he bit it. I was sure he'd have a meltdown. But he just looked at us seemed sad and then accepted the reality and went to sleep. Dinner was the Tandoori Chicken that had been marinating all day accompanied by boxed pine nut couscous. Jeff left shortly after because the weather is crappy and he will probably have to drive through ice and snow before reaching home. I hate sending him out in that. He sends me text messages along the way so I know that he is safe.

PS Every week I add new books into our story time. Tonight I went for "One Fish, Two Fish." I had forgotten that book was so long. Even Keegan was looking around in the middle of it. So we decided to read it in chapters. We'll finish it over the next few nights but this way we still have time for the favorites.

Soft Black Bean Tostadas

Turn this dish into a quick vegetarian-friendly one by omitting the chicken. For a bit more spicy flavor, add minced seeded jalapeño to the salsa or purchase Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeños for the tostada. Making a quick black bean spread--instead of buying one--keeps sodium levels in check.

Salsa:
1/2 cup chopped peeled avocado
1/2 cup chopped seeded tomato
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Remaining ingredients:
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
4 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1 cup shredded roasted skinless, boneless chicken breast
3/4 cup (3 ounces) preshredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream

Preheat broiler.
To prepare salsa, combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl. Toss gently, and set aside.
Combine 2 tablespoons water, lime juice, cumin, salt, ground red pepper, and black beans in a blender; process until smooth.
Place tortillas on a baking sheet, and spread about 1/4 cup black bean mixture evenly over each tortilla. Top each evenly with 1/4 cup chicken and 3 tablespoons cheese. Broil 2 minutes or until cheese melts and tortilla edges are just beginning to brown.
Top each tortilla with 1/4 cup lettuce, 1/4 cup salsa, and 2 tablespoons sour cream. Cut each tortilla into 4 wedges.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 tostada)
NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 410(32% from fat); FAT 14.4g (sat 5.9g,mono 5.9g,poly 1.4g); PROTEIN 25.3g; CHOLESTEROL 49mg; CALCIUM 264mg; SODIUM 858mg; FIBER 7.2g; IRON 3.7mg; CARBOHYDRATE 47.7g
Nancy Hughes
Cooking Light, JANUARY 2006

Tandoori Chicken
Although it's not cooked in a tandoor oven, this vibrant entrée has all the flavors of the traditional Indian dish, thanks to a long marinade.

3/4 cup coarsely chopped onion
1 teaspoon coarsely chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Dash of ground nutmeg
4 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Cooking spray

Place first 3 ingredients in a food processor; process until finely chopped. Add yogurt and the next 8 ingredients (yogurt through nutmeg); pulse 4 times or until blended.
Make 3 diagonal cuts 1/4 inch deep across top of each chicken breast half. Combine chicken and yogurt mixture in a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 8 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.
Prepare grill or broiler.
Remove chicken breast from bag; discard marinade. Place chicken on grill rack or broiler pan coated with cooking spray; cook 6 minutes on each side or until chicken is done.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast half)
NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 146(12% from fat); FAT 1.9g (sat 0.6g,mono 0.4g,poly 0.4g); PROTEIN 27.4g; CHOLESTEROL 67mg; CALCIUM 50mg; SODIUM 234mg; FIBER 0.7g; IRON 1.1mg; CARBOHYDRATE 3.4g
Lisa Zwirm
Cooking Light, SEPTEMBER 2002

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