Sunday, March 13, 2011

Pork, Apple and Yam Packets

Its been way too long since I've posted anything. The last time was on my son's second birthday back in July. Now its almost time for my other son's birthday! I think my goal of posting every day was too lofty. I'm going to be more realistic and just post whenever I get the urge to. There have been some major changes in my life since I last posted. We have moved to Vancouver (yay!), Jeraby and I are back together (yay!), and I went back to school (yay!). Our relationship this time is different. We are now in an open relationship and are loving it! It has definitely brought us closer together, if you can wrap your head around that idea. I went back to Clark College in January to get my degrees in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education. Anyone who has known me for a long time would never have guessed that I would be working to become a teacher. I didn't even think I would become a teacher! I should be done with my Associate of Arts transfer degree in the fall, and I will be starting at WSU Vancouver in the Spring. The transition back into school after 7 years has been much easier than I thought it would be. I also have started Weight Watchers in the last couple of months. I started on January 11th at a weight of 236.6 lbs and as of March 12th, I am now at 216.2 for a total loss of 20.4 lbs in just 7 weeks. My ultimate goal is 145, but if I can get to 165 by my birthday of August 12th, I will be extremely happy!

Now onto the focus of my blogs: food. I created this recipe myself a few years ago the first time I did Weight Watchers after having my oldest son, Aydan. You could change it up a bit and try different veggies, seasonings, etc to make it your own. Enjoy!

Pork, Apple and Yam packets
serves 4

1 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat and sliced into thin rounds
2 large yams, peeled and sliced
3 apples (I use braeburns or similar) cored and sliced
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place pork into bowl and combine with vinegar, brown sugar, ginger and garlic and marinade at least 20 minutes. Cut 4 large pieces of aluminum foil. Divide apples, yams and pork evenly among foil. Drizzle with any remaining juices in bowl. Fold and seal packets tightly. Place on baking sheet and bake for 45 until pork is no longer pink. Enjoy!

Please note: 45 minutes will yield yams that are still a bit crisp. If you like them a bit softer, increase cooking time

Friday, July 2, 2010

Day 6 1/2...

I totally spaced blogging yesterday and didn't get home until really late tonight, so I will blog tomorrow and get caught up for my food posts. I am going to postpone my letter writing posts until the first of next month. I will catch you all tomorrow!!!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day 4: Chicken Enchiladas

This is one of my favorites that I make. I have made this in each of the last 3 months and we always finish off the dish. Here is the recipe:

1 can (10 oz) cream of chicken soup
1 cup milk
1 cup low fat sour cream
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies
1/2 onion, chopped
12 corn tortillas
3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided

Combine soup, milk and sour cream in a large bowl; stir until well mixed. Stir in chicken, green chilies and onion. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spoon 1/3 chicken mixture over bottom of a 13x9 baking dish. Sprinkle 1 cup of cheese over top. Spread out 6 tortillas over cheese. Repeat layers and top with remaining chicken mixture. Bake for 25 minutes until bubbly. Top with remaining cheese and bake 5 minutes more, until cheese is melted.

Love this!!!

Tomorrow I will also be posting something else along with my recipe for the day. My friend Amy told me about this thing where you write a letter to 30 different people/things over the course of a month. She posted the list on her blog, and I will be starting that tomorrow, on the first. I'll see you back here tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day 3: Steak Fingers

I'm seriously late posting tonight so I'll just stick to the essentials. The recipe and my family's reaction to the meal.

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs
12 oz round steak, trimmed of visible fat and sliced 3/4 inch wide
1/2 cup oil (I use canola)

Combine flour, Parmesan, basil, salt and pepper in a small bowl; mix well. Lightly beat eggs in a medium bowl. Dip steak into eggs, allowing excess to drain back into bowl. Coat steak with flour mixture, patting gently so coating adheres. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry steak fingers in batches, turning pieces once, until coating is golden, about 5 minutes.

As you can see in the picture, I also made some homemade gravy to serve with it. My dad, brother and I loved it. My kids had one bite of the steak and ate all of their salad...

On a weird side note, I almost had a catastrophe. I opened up the canister of flour and there were weevils in it. Disgusting to the point of almost making me vomit. So dad made an emergency trip to the store to buy me some more then I was right back on track.

Oh, on another side note, my baby will be 2 on Friday!!! I cannot believe how fast the time has flown by. His party is going to be at JJ Jump in Vancouver, and anyone that has ever spent time with him can easily see why I chose that as the place to have it. He jumps everywhere, even on the hard floor. I don't know how his knees and feet can take all of it, but he doesn't stop.

Don't know what's on the menu for tomorrow yet, so you will have to be surprised!!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 2: Sweet-and-Spicy Chicken

I realized after I published my post yesterday that I didn't say anything about what I eat. So here I go:

For breakfast, I tend to have the same thing. Two or three scrambled eggs, depending on my level of hunger, pico de gallo, and a little bit of shredded cheddar cheese on top. Yummy. Of course, I do waver occasionally and have some of the kids' cereal and on the same occasions as my children, cinnamon buns.

Lunch is different almost everyday. Most of the time I have leftovers from the previous nights' delicious meal. Other times I heat up some soup. Or make a sandwich. Or cook a Lean Cuisine. Like I said, it's always different.

For dinner, I eat whatever I cook for the whole family.

Snacks tend to be the same things. Either a piece of fruit or a granola bar. My favorite kinds of granola bars are the Oats and Honey by Nature Valley. Soy Joy bars are a close second, but they are spendy, so usually I only buy them if I have a BOGO free coupon.

So on to dinner from tonight. As per a request from one of my two faithful followers (thanks Amy!!!), I will now include a recipe and a picture each dinner that I cook. Pictures are a pain in the ass to get onto my netbook, so I will only get on once a week and then edit my previous postings to include the pictures. Anywho, for dinner tonight I made Sweet-and-Spicy Chicken, baked yams and rice. The recipe for the chicken is:

serves 6

1/2 bottle (8 oz) Italian salad dressing
1 can (12 oz) frozen pineapple juice concentrate, thawed
1/2 large jalapeno pepper, minced
12 chicken thighs (4 oz each)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Blend salad dressing and pineapple juice concentrate in a large bowl. Add jalapenos; stir. Spray a 13x9 baking dish with non stick cooking spray. Arrange chicken thighs in bottom of dish. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of marinade over each thigh and turn to coat. Bake chicken for about 35 minutes, flipping once. Serve with remaining marinade.

It turned out so yummy!!! The only thing that I would change is that I would use the whole pepper next time. My dad and I love things pretty spicy and my kids aren't like their dad and a bunch of weenies when it comes to spicy stuff. (Did I just use "weenie" in a blog?) I could hardly taste the pepper. When I served it, I spooned a little of the marinade over my rice too. I definitely will make this again!!

On the menu for tomorrow night: Steak Fingers. Basically it's chicken fried steak, but cut into strips.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day 1: Life and Baked Macaroni and Cheese

If anyone knows me, they know that I don't like to write. Or type. Or do anything with words. I am a numbers person. This is so out of my comfort zone that I thought I would do my blog about something that I am completely comfortable with: food and cooking. Of course, there will be little bits and morsels about my life interspersed with my ponderings of food, but they won't be the main portion of my musings...for now...

My kids are very picky about their breakfasts. Cereal. Always cereal. With creative negotiating on my part, I can sometimes convince them to partake in pancake sausages, eggs, bacon or, on occasion, cinnamon buns.

For lunch, its almost always something with bread or crackers and cheese. Lunchables go over well, and if I let them, they'd eat them for every meal. But they have resigned themselves to the fact that they can only have them twice a week. They love bread and cheese sandwiches. Cold or grilled. Always whole wheat bread. Always American cheese. Always. They do eat fruit with it, usually grapes. I think we single-handedly keep an orchard in business with the amount of grapes we eat. I prefer mine frozen. For some reason, it kind of makes them taste like white chocolate. I'm still puzzled over that one.

Dinner. I LOVE dinner. We all sit down together and I get to show off my culinary talents. I never repeat a meal within a month, and I only repeat a handful of them the next month. The large variety of meals makes my kids very adventurous in their eating, at least during dinnertime and whenever we venture out for a meal.

I plan my meals for the month and create my monthly shopping list off that plan. Shopping once a month can be overwhelming, but I think I have it down to a science. When I first started, from the moment I sat down with my pen and paper or laptop, whichever tools I chose to use, until the time I put my completed shopping list in my purse, the entire process took me 4-6 hours. Now I have it down to about an hour. I also create weekly lists of produce and other perishables to buy at our local grocery store. I believe that buying for a month is achievable for anyone, given that you can create a system that works for you, and you stick with it. It's also a very good money saving tool. Before I started shopping monthly, our grocery bill was about $800 a month. Now it's down to about $500. Five hundred dollars may seen like a lot to some people, but consider this: Every week we have 2 days of chicken meals, 2 days of beef, 1 day of pork, 1 day of seafood, and 1 vegetarian meal. If you wanted to cut down on the grocery expense, you could cut out the seafood and add another vegetarian meal. Or get rid of one beef and add another chicken. I just use that combination because it offers my family the most variety and keeps everyone happy.

Back to dinner. Tonight was Baked Macaroni and Cheese. Delicious. Elbow macaroni, cheddar, milk, egg, and breadcrumbs. So easy. So good. My kids ate 2 helpings and also had an enormous amount of salad. That's one of my rules for their dinnertime eating. Eat at least some of the vegetables, and at least some of the meat. Tonight we didn't eat meat, so they had to eat at least some of the grains, but normally I don't make them eat the starch. If they try it, great, but if not I don't force the carbs. Rice isn't usually a problem for them to eat, but the pastas and potatoes aren't some of their favorites. If they don't follow the rules, they don't get snacks or dessert later. It's as easy as that. You'd be amazed at how well your kids eat when you set rules and stick to them.

Well it's time for me to sign off for now. Up tomorrow: Sweet and Spicy Chicken!!