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.
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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In Which I Write A Novel

Keegan has this lego little girl from a set that Erin gave him for his birthday. A few weeks ago he started calling her Isabelle. This weekend he put her in the pocket of his overalls or made her drive his truck or put her down for a nap. And Jeff obliged him by giving her a kiss. Tonight he told me that she poops on the potty. There is no end to the positive influence she has on him (both the miniature one and the real one).
Friday night we cooked because we planned on going out to eat Saturday. We had Pork and Pineapple Tacos with refried black beans as a side with Havarti on top. Keegan is fighting a cold so he has been waking up coughing after the medicine wears off. I was able to get him back sleep for another hour after he woke up at 5:30. Breakfast was the most incredible dish. So good we looked at each other and said, "We have to make this for someone." Orange-Pecan French Toast Casserole, like someone found a way to put sex in a pan. It is made more awesome by the fact that you prepare it the night before.
Saturday after dropping Keegan off at Tom's we set out to answer Jeff's question, "What is west of Manchester?" I knew, but I rarely go there since I stopped doing at-home family counseling. (Pictures in the Gallery under March 2006). We drove around skimming the border of Mass and then decided to pick a destination. Along the way we stopped at the Cathedral of the Pines to eat our picnic lunch. We adapted the Open-Faced Turkey Sandwich with Apple and Havarti for travel by not broiling it and making it closed face. That is one goooood sandwich. We coupled them with these new baked chips which taste fried and girl scout cookies for dessert.

Our final destination was Keene which I have driven past but never through. We walked through main street and stopped at Margarita's for a beer and then continued shopping. They have a great store which only sells products made locally. I got a sampler pack of goat milk soap made near where I live and something for Erika (secret until I give it to her). We were going to eat there but I was still stuffed so we headed back home. Later we decided to take advantage of having no children for the night and we went back out. Apparently we didn't get our fix of Margarita's because we went to the one near me. We shared a giant nacho plate (this girl likes to splurge too) and I caught a cheap date buzz off of one raspberry margarita. And we talked. We always talk like I have only previously talked with girlfriends or guys I wasn't romantically interested in. Jeff asks my opinion. Not only that he appreciates what I am saying and takes it in. I know that being able to bounce things off of each other has greatly helped these last eleven months.
This morning he let me sleep in and at nine he appeared with the leftover french toast that we ate in bed. I love that he likes to do things like that for me. When he told me the things he loves about me the one that made me teary-eyed is when he said that I am an awesome mother. He went on to say that when I give advice I'm not preachy or pushy but I help people see what they should be able to see for themselves. I am so lucky to be in love with a true friend. I packed him another yummy sandwich, chips and girl scout cookies and sent him on his way. Keegan came back all wired but was able to nap for a couple of hours and then we took a walk. The weather is still cool but we're getting there. Spring always holds potential and I have so much to look foward to this week, this month, this year.

Pork and Pineapple Tacos

3/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper powder (such as McCormick)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 (15 1/4-ounce) can pineapple tidbits in juice, undrained
6 (6-inch) flour tortillas
3/4 cup salsa verde (such as Herdez)

Combine onion and cilantro.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Combine chipotle powder, chili powder, salt, and pork in a medium bowl. Add pork mixture to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until browned. Remove from pan.
Add pineapple to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in pork mixture; cook 1 minute or until pork is done.
Warm tortillas according to package directions. Spoon about 2/3 cup pork mixture down center of each tortilla. Top each serving with 2 tablespoons onion mixture and 2 tablespoons salsa; roll up.
Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 taco)

CALORIES 310(21% from fat); FAT 7.3g (sat 1.9g,mono 3.2g,poly 1.3g); PROTEIN 20.9g; CHOLESTEROL 49mg; CALCIUM 37mg; SODIUM 677mg; FIBER 3.2g; IRON 3.1mg; CARBOHYDRATE 40.7g
Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2002

Orange-Pecan French Toast Casserole

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons light-colored corn syrup
Cooking spray
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup fat-free milk
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large egg whites
2 large eggs
12 (1-inch-thick) slices French bread (about 1 pound)

Combine brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup; pour into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle chopped pecans evenly over sugar mixture.
Combine rind and next 7 ingredients (rind through eggs); stir with a whisk. Arrange bread slices over pecans in dish; pour egg mixture over bread. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or up to overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Carefully turn bread slices over to absorb excess egg mixture. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until lightly browned.
Yield: 12 servings

CALORIES 293(29% from fat); FAT 9.5g (sat 3.9g,mono 3.6g,poly 1.3g); PROTEIN 6.1g; CHOLESTEROL 49mg; CALCIUM 69mg; SODIUM 323mg; FIBER 1.6g; IRON 1.6mg; CARBOHYDRATE 43.6g
Holly Clegg
Cooking Light, JUNE 2004

Open-Faced Turkey Sandwich with Apple and Havarti

4 (2-ounce) slices country or peasant bread
4 teaspoons low-fat mayonnaise
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 cup trimmed arugula
4 (1/8-inch-thick) slices red onion
12 ounces thinly sliced deli turkey
2 Pink Lady or Cameo apples, each cored and cut crosswise into 8 (1/4-inch-thick)slices
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Havarti cheese
Coarsely ground black pepper (optional)

Preheat broiler with oven rack in middle position.
Spread each bread slice with 1 teaspoon mayonnaise and 1 teaspoon mustard. Layer each slice with 1/4 cup arugula, 1 onion slice, 3 ounces turkey, 4 apple slices, and 2 tablespoons cheese.
Place sandwiches on a baking sheet; broil 4 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Remove from heat; sprinkle with pepper, if desired. Serve immediately.
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 sandwich)

CALORIES 427(30% from fat); FAT 14.1g (sat 6.2g,mono 4.5g,poly 1.6g); PROTEIN 29.9g; CHOLESTEROL 69mg; CALCIUM 141mg; SODIUM 634mg; FIBER 5.7g; IRON 4.8mg; CARBOHYDRATE 44.2g
Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2002

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