Saturday, March 3, 2012

Spring has (maybe) sprung

Even though it's only 39 degrees out right now, it is sunny and beautiful, and next week brings high in the 60's on Monday and Tuesday. And guess what I saw in our yard when I opened the front blinds yesterday?

TWO of these guys! Of course they didn't hang around long enough for me to get my camera, but they were there. (Side note: for years, Erin and I have had a "contest" to see who sees the first robins of the spring. She has won more times than I can count, but I know I got this year!)

I haven't written for awhile because I figured you were getting tired of looking at the same breakfasts (PB bagel thin and fruit) and lunches (salad). I did try a few new recipes, though, that I'll share.

The first is Oats in a Jar, that darn near every food blogger has written about. The idea is to use your peanut butter jar when you have scraped out almost every little bit but still have the parts clinging to the sides and the bottom.

By making your oats this way and then eating them out of the jar, you get all the goodness. I used the recipe from Tina at Carrots'n'Cake. I took a sliced banana, 1 cup vanilla light soy milk, 3/4 cup Eggbeaters, and 1/4 cup rolled oats. (I like Bob's Red Mill.) Just heat everything in a medium skillet until everything starts to thicken, due to the heat denaturing the protein in the eggs. Warning! Chemistry nerd alert! This should only take a few minutes.

looks kinda gross, doesn't it?

When thickened, just dump it all into your PB jar and enjoy! The warmth from the egg/0at mixture does melt the PB a bit so it is supremely easy to scrape the jar - which you can bet I did.

But to be honest, it was a bit too MUCH food. I know! That never happens. It was even more filling than MaryLu's protein pancakes. I guess this is not something I can make every day, though, since the peanut butter jar isn't empty ALL that often. I'll wait until I'm good and hungry before making it again. The next empty jar might have to sit in my pantry for a few days.

The next recipe is pasta puttanesca from The Pioneer Woman. I mentioned that I was making it to Emily, and she said that she doesn't think her recipes are all that healthy. I have to agree with Em for the most part, but since Ree lives on a ranch and works hard, I bet she has no trouble keeping her weight in check. And her photo of the dish was way better than the finished product you will see here.

The cast of characters, minus the olives that I forgot to get out until I was almost done chopping:

Now don't go turning your nose up at the anchovies. They are chopped into tiny bits with the garlic and olives, and when sauteéd, they pretty much melt into the sauce just giving some wonderful saltiness. Promise. While the recipe calls for bucatini or spaghetti, I went with the bucatini since I've never made it before. It's basically just hollow spaghetti, but it was different and yummy.

If you're interested, you can follow the link and get the exact recipe, but what I basically did was heat olive oil in a skillet and sauté red onions for a few minutes until they start to carmelize. Then I added the grape tomatoes and let them soften a bit, then added the wine. Don't judge me on the white wine - we're red wine drinkers. When our white-wine-drinking friends come over, we have the good stuff (usually La Crema or Sonoma-Cutrer), but for cooking I get the cheap stuff with a screw top, since it's likely to stay in the fridge for a while.

Let the wine bubble a bit, then add the olive/garlic/anchovy mixture, stir around, and let if reduce some more. Then add the cooked bucatini, toss it all, and add the parmesan and basil on top. And serve right out of the skillet! My kitchen-cleaner-upper really appreciated this step!

While the picture by the REAL photographer and REAL food blogger looks divine, this tasted wonderful. And if you're interested, I figured out the nutrition data: 387 calories, 17.5 g fat, 40 g carbs, and 10.3 g protein.

Last night we stopped at the club for a quick dinner before the hockey game:

I am so sick of the menu right now; I can't wait for the seasonal change. I usually have a house salad with grilled chicken, but I was salad-ed out and wanted something different. I have to admit, the quesadilla was pretty wonderful. I ate 2 1/2 pieces, with just a dab of the guac and the sour cream. The salsa tasted funny so I skipped it altogether.

At the hockey game, to top off a good day (although UNO lost in a poorly-played game to Denver), one of my friends said, "Girl, you need to get smaller pants!" Who cared if we're losing home ice for the playoffs? My ass looks good!

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