Monday, April 19, 2010

Summer Reading

Ok, so I haven't had a whole lotta time for reading lately. Magazines are about all I can muster the time for, and usually while trying to fall asleep. But there are so many good books out and I have decided to start a wish list for myself. I have a girl's trip lined up for June and I am ready to READ! LOL! Can you believe that? No, not ready to party. Ready to lay on a beach, not have someone screaming for me, and READ a whole damn book. Or ten.

So, I love the Twilight Series. If you have not read these little gems, please do. They aren't just for teen girls. They are written by a woman, who is genius at creating words that help bring a book into vivid color.  The characters have depth, heart and there isn't a whole lot of what you'd expect out of a vampire novel series. Surprise yourself and read them-you will like them despite your judgments.  It focuses on love and relationships and tough choices we all have to make.

She has a short novella out now about one of the characters-it's on my summer reading list for sure.  But order the Twilight series, read it and thank me later for telling you to. LOL!

Another read for my wish list is "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett. I heard one gal say she didn't want the book to end. Enough said! 

I also want to read the Stieg Larsson trilogy which includes "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo".

I'm curious about what else is on everyone's list to read, or maybe what you are currently reading. Looking to have a giant stack of books, or a loaded Kindle, for my trip this summer!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Twists on the Boring Old Salad

So I am not a big salad eater. They bore me and do not fill me up at all. I've been known to order a fried chicken tenders salad or a salmon salad, but who the hell has the time to do those at home?

Well, salmon maybe, but you know what I mean.

So I like tossing things on romaine lettuce that you normally would not expect. But I keep it simple. I am not a fan of the "let's see how many things we can cram into a salad bowl" salad. I do not want to hunt for my next bite at the bottom of a damn bowl. Annoying.

1) Roast either red potatoes or fingerling or a yukon-just chop up into smaller cubes. Quarter and toss a yellow onion along with the potatoes-toss it all w olive oil, a few tbs of melted butter, salt and pepper. Roast at 425-check onions after 15 mins-they will need to come out first. Continue roasting potatoes for another 20 mins-you will know when they are done-gotta get them crispy!

When cooked, add to the crisp cold chopped romaine lettuce, along with your choice of dressing-I like a good ginger dressing-but balsamic is good as well. You could also add roasted chicken or salmon.

2) Take a roll of goat cheese and stick it in the freezer for 10 mins. Then take it out, slice into half inch or so wheels, dip in olive oil, then cover well with italian bread crumbs. Place onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Baked these in a 350 oven for a few mins-you must watch them closely as they will warm quickly. Add to salad greens with the dressing (and whatever extra veggies) of your choice.

3) I also recently baked some frozen onion rings while we were grilling burgers. I chopped up a few of the rings, added them to salad, with carrots and balsamic dressing. It tasted great with the burger (dressed w a yummy horseradish mustard). A little daring-but you know-it is always good to to mix things up a bit.

Best Turkey Tacos EVER

This is my recipe for turkey tacos. I came up with it because I was tired of buying those little packages filled with msg and other junk! Plus, it really is just a few simple ingredients.

Start with all white ground turkey meat-it tastes better than if it is mixed with dark. It will say all white on the package or ask the butcher.
Cook in a saute pan with a little olive oil, add salt and pepper while it is cooking.

After the meat is completely cooked add cumin, paprika, mexican chili powder, garlic salt and more salt and pepper. I like to add by the palmful-it is really a smell thing. It all has to balance. So add a tsp at a time until you get the "smell" you want. Odd but it really works. If you do not like spicy foods, use a mild chili powder.

Stir that very well, and then add one 14.5 oz can of Hunts fire roasted diced tomatoes. If you have a cup or so of roasted yellow onions, add those too. They add great flavor. If you don't know how to roast an onion-take one, cut in quarters, rub w some olive oil, 425 oven, roast until browned. easy. Add tons of flavor to this dish. My son loves roasted onions.

Cook this together until the liquid from the can of tomatoes starts to cook down.

Serve as you choose-on a salad, as nachos or as tacos with a little mexican cheese, iceberg lettuce, and sour cream. YUM!

Yummy and Easy Veggie Recipe!

Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Butternut Squash

I tried this today for the first time-super easy and really good!

Chop up fresh, cleaned brussel sprouts

Peel and chop a butternut squash into one inch sized cubes

Toss with a couple tbs of olive oil, add some salt and pepper

Roast at 425 degrees for about 10 to 15 mins-take out and toss, then roast about 10 more mins.

Make sure everything is spread out on the pan, don't crowd the veggies or they will steam more than roast.
Do two pans if need be.

My baby girl loved the butternut squash. My little boy took his "no thank you" bites without complaints! LOL
I just ate this as is, but I bet it'd be great tossed with peanuts and soy sauce (or a pad thai sauce) for an asian flair,
or you can add toasted walnuts and serve roasted chicken along side for a big dinner.