Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Captain has retired.

Captain Quackers has headed to that big duckie pond in the sky.

There are a few suspects.

Skinny Girl Carbonara

I love you, Bethenny Frankel. The first time I tried pasta carbonara, it was at a roadside cafe outside of Florence on a high school trip. I've loved it ever since.  The real thing isn't exactly low-fat, so I was excited to try my BFF Bethenny's version from her Naturally Thin cookbook.

 Skinny Girl Carbonara
1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
 3/4 cup soy milk
 2 whole eggs
 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
 1 teaspoon garlic salt, divided
 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
 2 tablespoons butter (regular or vegan/soy)
 8 slices center cut bacon, cooked until crispy, crumbled
 1-1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

    Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the soy milk, eggs and yolks, parmesan cheese, half the garlic salt, and half the pepper. When the pasta is done, drain it and quickly put it directly into the bowl with the egg mixture.  Toss to coat.  The hot pasta will cook the eggs. When the pasta is coated with the egg mixture, mix in the butter, bacon, red pepper flakes, and the remaining garlic salt and pepper.  Serve immediately. Adapted from Naturally Thin Cookbook
    This was amazing and delicious when it was fresh made, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out how well it froze and reheated.  I added some leftover roasted asparagus for a nice, balanced lunch.  The original recipe called for turkey bacon, but I always use center cut (Oscar Meyer brand) because the points are just as low and the flavor/texture is so much better.  The seasoning is all to taste, but I added way more garlic and red pepper as well.


    Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Let's Fall in Love: The Photobooth is Open

    It was a very last minute choice to get a photobooth for our reception, and it was possibly the best decision we made.  It was a perfect addition to the party, and completely set the tone for our fun, goofy, silly friends and family.  I think every guest was in the booth at one point or other, and several people kept going back over and over.

    It was so. much. fun.  Every wedding reception, nay every party ever, should have a photobooth.  And props.

    If you can't tell, we also had an open bar.  Highly necessary for optimum photobooth antics. 

    In case you missed it ...
    I bought a dress and completely changed it.  We had a marathon final week of engagement.  I giggled my way through our rehearsal.  Kenny got grilled at our rehearsal dinner.  The groomsmen ran amok in downtown Springfield. The girls got gorgeous.  We exchanged mushy wedding-day gifts.  The guys got fancy and then got dancy.  I became a Bride.  There was a first First Look. I shared my Somethings.  The boys made the most of trolley-time. And did their thing on the Capital grounds. The girls took photos at the hotel. Everyone arrived at the church. We walked down the aisle. We declared our intentions and my cousin preached. We exchanged our vows. Our hands were blessed. Kenny put a ring on it and kissed his bride. We were pronounced Mr and Mrs! We left the church in a blizzard of confetti, and took a "just-married" trolley ride. We made it legal. We took pictures with our families, followed by wedding party portraits. I hit a low point and poured over reception details. We received our guests. The wedding party was introduced. My Dad checked his toast off of his to-do list. Our Best Man and Maid of Honor shared toasts as well. The we cut our cake and had our First Dance. We shared a dance with our parents. And had an Anniversary Dance to celebrate all the marrieds.

    Friday, November 25, 2011

    Five for Friday, vol 24

    1.  You make me thankful every day.

    2.  You are not afraid to give a low tip for bad service, and a great tip for great service.

    3.  You really want to see the Muppets movie.

    4.  You're going to ride the roller coaster at Mall of America next week at least three times.

    5.  You make fun of all of the shows I have in the DVR.

    I love you.

    Monday, November 21, 2011

    Welcome back, Recipe Page!

    I finally updated my recipe archive post-blog changeover.  Get excited!

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    Stove Top Mac and Cheese with Roasted Tomatoes

    Being that I was bragging about how delish my lunch was yesterday, it seemed like the honorable thing to actually share how I made it.

    Stove-Top Macaroni and Cheese with Roasted Tomatoes
    ·  3 cups halved cherry tomatoes
    ·  1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    ·  1 tablespoon butter, melted
    ·  1 pound large elbow macaroni
    ·  2 cups (8 ounces) shredded white cheddar cheese
    ·  1 egg
    ·  1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
    ·  1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    ·  1 (12-ounce) can evaporated low-fat milk

    Preheat oven to 375°. Place tomatoes in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with black pepper. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Cook macaroni in boiling water 7 minutes; drain. Return macaroni to pan; place over medium-low heat. Keep pasta hot enough to cook egg when added.  Add cheese and remaining ingredients; cook 4 minutes or until cheese melts, stirring constantly. Stir in tomatoes.Adapted from Cooking Light

    I even got all fancy and shredded my own cheese for this.  So gourmet it hurts.  Like any mark of a successful pasta dish, the mac and cheese was excellent fresh, but equally delicious after freezing.  As shown yesterday, I like to bring leftovers for lunch and doctor them up with things like baby spinach.  I avoid packaged frozen meals at all costs, but the convenience of being able to just grab something and run out the door in the morning is irresistible.  Not to mention the fact that this tasted a hundred times better than whatever version Lean/Smart/Healthy is peddling.  I win!

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011


    Everyone at the office makes fun of my mason jars, but joke's on them when I pour out what's inside.

    Macaroni and cheese with roasted tomatoes and fresh spinach.

    Friday, November 11, 2011

    Five for Friday, vol 23

    1.  You are so good at haggling and complicated legal/financial things.

    2.  You look fiiiiiiine in dress shirt and tie.

    3.  You have boundless enthusiasm for things that make my eyes glaze over ... like compliance ... and landscaping.

    4.  You're just a little bit new agey.

    5.  You're really good at giving the dogs haircuts.

    I love you.

    Monday, November 7, 2011

    Sunday supper.

    I've always kind of had it in my head that Sunday dinner should be something kind of special.  Sundays are usually when I break out my crockpot (since I have a counter-productive fear of leaving it unattended) or when I try something new that feels on the fancy side, the not-your-run-of-the-mill-weeknight dinner.  Sundays were made for pot roast.

    I've actually never made a pot roast, and I am not sure this one counts.  We bought the pre-seasoned-and-marinated kind from Trader Joe's.  Pot roast for Dummies, in other words.  No complaints here.

    Since the main course was so simple (Really?  All I have to do is brown the sides for like one minute and then the whole pan just goes in the oven?  For realsies?), I put some effort into the sides. Kenny's favorite honey roasted asparagus and whipped root vegetables.

    I have always thought mashed potatoes are the perfect side for roast beef, and these were a great variation on it.  I was generous with the sour cream, but I think next time I would add less to make them a little thicker - mine were a bit on the soupy side.  Sweet potatoes or carrots would make a good addition to the mix as well. 

    It was a perfect fall dinner!
    Whipped Root Vegetables
    2 medium parsnips, peeled and diced
    2 medium turnips, peeled and diced
    2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
    1/2 stick butter
    1/4 cup sour cream (reduced fat)
    pinch nutmeg
    dash garlic
    salt and pepper to taste

    Dice vegetables to an even size and cover with salted water.  Bring to a boil and cook until very soft, 20-30 minutes depending on size of vegetable pieces.  When cooked, drain very well and keep hot.  Transfer vegetables to standing mixer with whip attachment or food processor.  Whip at medium-high speed until evenly mashed.  Maintaining mixer speed, add butter and sour cream, whipping until well-combined.  Season to taste and serve.

    Friday, November 4, 2011

    Escape artist.

    Penny discovers a weakness in the perimeter.  The gates have been compromised.

    A moment of quiet.

    We'll see how long it lasts.

    Five for Friday, vol 22

    1.  You cheer me up when I am glum.

    2.  You apologize after a fight, and you don't hold grudges.

    3.  You want to be a better man than your father.

    4.  You brag to everyone about your cousin's artistic talents and the wedding anniversary gift he made for us.

    5.  You tolerate my cooking experiements, even when they go badly.