Saturday, July 11, 2015

Cookbook Reviews Part Two

Part two of my cookbook reviews includes 6 more cookbooks. Like part one just click on the title and it will take you to Amazon to check out each book and more reviews.  I am giving away an extra copy of The New Southern Table by Brys Stephens.  All you have to do is leave a comment. One comment per person please. I will pick a winner on July 18th.  Feel free to share this giveaway with your friends.

The Modern Kosher Kitchen by Ronnie Fein

Years ago when I had my first real job I worked with a young woman my age. Her mother was in town and she asked me to come to dinner. I had my first experience with a Kosher meal and I enjoyed it very much. But for me it seemed a bit too complicated to fix again.  Then I received  Ronnie Fein's cookbook to review.

This is not what I had those many years ago.  This is hip kosher food that anyone can make. The BLTS with Arugula and Basil-Mayo are to die for and yes you heard me right BLTS made with beef bacon, yum.

I am looking forward to making the Blueberry Soup, Kale and Potato Gratin, Seared Cod with Pan Salsa, Roasted Salmon with Dukkah, Garlic, Orange and Mint, Grilled Cheese, Egg, and Avocado Panini with Sriracha Mayo, Cajun Fried Fish Sandwich with Lime-Pickle Mayo and Beef Bacon, Tomato and Mushroom Pasta just to name a few of the fantastic recipes in this book. Who am I kidding I want to make every recipe in Ronnie's book.

This is a beautifully written cookbook, filled with fantastic photos, recipes that anyone can whip together.

The New Southern Table by Brys Stephens

Wonderfully written with beautiful photographs. This is a new twist on Southern Dishes. I love southern cooking and Brys Stephens puts a wonderful spin on these recipes.  My favorites include Squash Tempura with Soy Dipping Sauce (my families favorite), Chicken, Collard and Country Ham Saltimbocca, Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Country Ham, Pecans and Avocado and Pecan and Herb-Crusted Pork Chops.  For Thanksgiving I'm looking forward to making the Sweet Potato Gratin instead of the same old candied yams.

It is rare that I find a cookbook that I want to make every recipe and The New Southern Table did not let me down.

Global Meatballs by Adeline Myers

Growing up I knew of two different meatballs Italian and Swedish. It wasn't until I received Adeline Myers Global Meatballs that I found out there were so many different ways to make meatballs. Of course other countries are going to have their version of meatballs, but I never thought about it. I am in Meatball Heaven!

I am going to be busy making meatballs....Chorizo and White Wine Tapas Meatballs from Spain, Lion's Head Meatballs from China, Lemongrass Pork Meatballs from Cambodia, Poached Meatballs in Caper Cream Sauce from Germany, Orange Duck Meatballs from Australia and to Quick Potato, Corn and Tuna Fish Balls from Australia. With over 100 meatball recipes it will be hard to decide which one you are going to make first. For me it will be the Crunchy Wild Shrimp Balls from China.

Whole Grain Baking Made Easy by Tabitha Alderman

Whole Grain Baking Made Easy takes baking to a whole new level. I mainly use white and wheat flour and occasionally the almond flour. I'm looking forward to trying other grains in my baking. I found this cookbook very helpful, loved the photographs and recipes.  Some of the recipes that caught my eye are Cornmeal pancakes with Cinnamon Honey Butter, Cheese, Chive and Black Pepper Scones, Spelt Sourdough, Almond Butter Cookies, Mediterranean Olive Oil Bundt Cake and Jupiter Cake.

This cookbook is full of useful information perfect for the beginner home baker.

Surprise Cakes by Marsha Phipps

Well written, a lot of tips and techniques along with beautiful photographs.  Eye popping cakes to wow your family and friends. Some of my favorites are Striped Swiss Roll, The Zebra Cake would delight any teen, The Neapolitan and Ombre Cakes are elegant and perfect for a bridal shower, and The Berry Explosion is simply stunning no wonder that was the cake used for the cover. I am in awe of Marsha's talent and look forward to trying my hand at Surprise Cakes.

Artisan Cake Company's Visual Guide to Cake Decorating by Elizabeth Marek

Great book for information and inspiration. Beautiful photographs of cakes that are a work of art.  Basic cake recipes to get you started on your own creation. Information on troubleshooting your cakes and variations of flavor. There is a section dedicated to frostings and fillings. This book has it all baking, stacking, texture, color, many step by step techniques.  I took a series of cake decorating classes over 25 years ago and I find this to be the perfect guide and reference book that I will go to time after time.

Note: I was given a copy of the above books by the publisher to review, all comments are my own.

Cookbook Reviews: Part One

Here are 7 Cookbook Reviews all on Healthy Eating/Recipes. There is something for everyone. If you click on the title it will take you to Amazon so you may check them out further and read other reviews.

The Easy Vegetarian Kitchen by: Erin Alderson

If you have been considering becoming a vegetarian this is an excellent cookbook to start your journey. The recipes are easy and ingredients  you will find in your local market.  I am no way a vegetarian, I am a runner and I have found eating vegetarian the day before I run (I run every other day) has been great for my running and my system.

I have already made the Herbed Omelet and it was delicious, a lot of flavor and filling. I appreciate when a cookbook gives recipes by the season. Besides giving you a basic recipe it also gives you four more by the season. Many of the recipes are done this way. I'm looking forward to making the Homemade Ravioli, the fall recipe is Pumpkin with Crispy Sage, one of my favorite combinations.

You will find everything from Breakfast to Desserts in this cookbook.

Green Foods For Men by Michael De Medeiros

If you are a Man....get this book.  If you are a Woman....Get this book.  It has taken my husband and I to be on the other side of 50 to figure out we needed to change the way we eat and this book is very helpful.

In alphabetical order it takes a "green" food and lays everything out for you....You Need to Eat This and the reason whether it's for stronger bones, fuller hair, better sex, bad breath just to name a few it's all there in black and white. Nutritional Information, simple and straight forward. Tips on storing and preparing. Recipes, not a lot but they are good recipes. (I'm buying some artichokes, Garlic Dijon Artichokes) Also there is a section of "Add Ins" adding these Green Foods into your recipes/prepared foods, ex. soups, breakfast, etc

If that isn't enough reason to go Green, a 7-day cleanse, 30-day green challenge. I found this book to be an excellent read and reference book to keep at your finger-tips.

Superfoods at Every Meal by Kelly Pfeiffer

This is the first cookbook that I have from Kelly Pfeiffer and I see it will not be my last. Thumbing through Superfoods at Every Meal are the stunning photos. Every recipe I would make, they are easy, accessible products at my local grocer and I'm even willing to re-try food I'm not crazy about (like Quinoa, not a fan) but that Quinoa Fiesta Wrap is changing my mind.

I have already made a grocery list to make the Smashed Berry & Balsamic Kale Grilled Cheese, Walnut Crusted Sea Scallops, Tuscan Kale Soup and Pad Thai Sandwich. From Appetizers to Desserts this cookbook covers everything I'm looking for.

This cookbook is perfect for my husband and myself and our active healthy lifestyle we are creating for ourselves with running, walking and hitting the gym.

Paleo Grilling by Tony Federico and Chef James Phelan

Honestly I am not familiar with the Paleo diet, my first thought, oh great another diet cookbook. I had to Google Paleo to see what I'm dealing with. In simple terms.....back to processed food.  I'm sure it's a lot more than that, but that is what I got out of it.

This book is much more than that.  It starts with the meat, which peaked my interest I've been seriously rethinking where I get my meat. I want to know where it's coming from and I don't mean the market but the farm/ranch, Paleo Grilling addresses this and resources. Next is a section on grills, tools, pantry and meat cuts.

On to the recipes, there is a very nice selection of sauces, rubs and marinades. As I go through the pages I am really loving the no processed food. One marinade that caught my eye is the Asian Pear BBQ Marinade. Flipping through this book, I'm placing flags on almost every recipe. Mojo Pork Shoulder, Pulled Chicken Stuffed Peppers, Grilled Swordfish with Jicama Mango Slaw, Grape Leaf - Wrapped Grilled Trout, Citrus Grilled Quail, Double Bacon Bambi Burgers (snickering as I'm typing this watching 3 deer walked across my backyard) and dessert is not left out of this cookbook Chunky Chocolate Banana Pops, Watermelon Mojito Freezer Sobet. Eating healthy just got exciting.

The Einkorn Cookbook by Shanna and Tim Mallon

Beautifully written cookbook with equally beautiful photographs. The recipes look simple enough with a clear understanding and a nice range of recipes.

Recipes that I would love to try are: Decadent Chocolate Chip Belgian Waffles, Ricotta Vegetable Quiche, Marble Rye Bread, Simple Homemade Tortillas, Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce, Spicy Salmon over Cilantro Lime Einkorn, Maple Ginger Shortcakes, Spicy Chocolate Sandwich Cookies and Waffles Bowls.

The only reason I gave it 3 stars is the accessibility of getting the ingredients. I live in a small town surrounded by small towns, my only options a 3 hour one way drive to the big city or mail order and shipping costs can add up.

Super Paleo Snacks by Landria Voigt

Well written, easy ingredients you will find in your local market, simple delicious recipes. 

I love having snacks in the house that do not come out of a bag or box. If you feel the same way this is a must cookbook. With recipes like Supersmart Bars, Chocolate Almond Squares, Silver Dollar Banana Pancakes and Chocolate Chia Workout Bars you can not go wrong. I also like that there are recipes for those days I want a light meal, Bacon Cauliflower Soup, Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Sliders, Butternut Squash Fritters and Chocolate Banana Smoothie. Happy Healthy Snacking.

Fermented Foods for Health by Deirdre Rawlings

A lot of good information in this book with regards to Medicinal Magic of Fermentation and Putting Fermented Foods to Work.  However, this book will not be for everyone, but those who need to change their diet for medical issues will benefit greatly. There is even a meal plan for repairing your metabolism. For me some of the ingredients are not available at my local market (I do live in a small town).

Recipes that I was interested in are: Anti-Inflammatory Apple and Juniper Berry Kraut, Prebiotic Vegetable Medley Kraut, Fermented Mango, Cinnamon and Peach Chutney and Strengthening Herbed Corn Beef.

This book is well written and nicely photographed.

Please note: I received this books from the Publisher to review, all comments are my own.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Memorial Day

Memorial Day

A Federal Holiday were Americans take time to remember those who died while serving in the Armed Forces.  Over one million men and women gave their lives in service of their country.

As time marches on we seem to have forgotten the meaning of this holiday and turned it into a kick-off to the summer season and retail businesses have turned it into a sales event.

I hope as you enjoy this long weekend with your family and friends you take time to think about the sacrifices these brave soldiers made in order to make this country safe for you to enjoy this weekend.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Two Cookbook Reviews

Growing up I spent fall, winter and spring in California with my mom and summers with my dad were spent in the Midwest. While spending my summers in the midwest I remember Sunday Suppers being the huge meal of the week where the whole family sat down together to eat and talk about the week.  Two meats were served one being a poultry dish and the other beef or pork. There was always a salad, two vegetables and one of them had to be a green vegetable and mashed potatoes and gravy, this was not considered a vegetable but a stable. Even if rolls were served there was always a plate of sliced white bread on the table and a simple dessert.

In California I remember going to many pot-luck picnics with friends and family that moved from the midwest to California, the families would get together to reminisce about the old neighborhoods and talk about what was presently going on in their lives.

During my teens in the 1970's I had my fair share of Avocado and Sprout sandwiches, fruit smoothies and granola, California Hippie Food. One thing that never changed was the food from the midwest and how we ate.

I have always been drawn to Southern Cooking and it's not just the fried food. During the time I was growing up in California you didn't find collard greens, black-eyed peas and fried chicken in Southern California was KFC or Mrs. Knott's Fried Chicken Dinner.  Even Southern Food is getting an facelift and I love what I'm seeing.

This brings me to Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook - Recipes and Stories to Celebrate the Bounty of the Moment - a 150 seasonal Southern Recipes by Nancy Vienneau.  You can find out more about Nancy on her blog Good Food Matters along with many other delicious recipes.

The introduction is written beautifully and you can sense the love of fresh produce, cooking and friends in Nancy's writing. What really caught my eye is the cookbook is broken down by seasons/months. I wish all cookbooks were written this way. It makes it so easy to find dishes geared to what's in season and that CSA box you just received.

While I was reading  through Nancy's cookbook I kept saying to my husband Bill, oh this recipe sounds fantastic, he would ask what's in it and I would list off the ingredients to him and he would say, bookmark that one. I ended up with a bunch of of post-it's marking all the recipes that need to be made first. Here are some of my favorites that I'm looking forward to preparing first, no joke I didn't find one recipe that I didn't want to make. I love the section for gifts you can make and not all of them are edible like Jessi's Lavender-Oat Bath Soak.

Plumgood Roast Chicken
Teresa's Cucumber Salad with a Caribbean Twist
Warm German-Style Potato Salad with Benton's Bacon (this one reminds me of those pot-lucks I went to growing up)
Gigi's Pavlova
Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart with Olive Oil Crust
Honeycrust Fried Chicken Tenders
Bourbon Pecan Bars (I got Bill's attention with this recipe)
I'm just going to say it - The whole section on Figs - we love figs
Deep-Dish Lemon Tomato and Lemon Basil Pie
Diane Stopford's Autumnal Cocktail
Not Your '70s Green Bean Casserole
Cathy's Euphoric Raspberry Mojitos
Watermelon Margarita Wedges (you can not believe how happy I am that watermelon season is just around the corner)

Keeping with the Southern theme is The Southern Pantry Cookbook 105 Recipes Already Hiding in your Kitchen by Jennifer Chandler you can find out more about Jennifer and her other cookbooks on her website Cook With Jennifer.

The first thing that grabs you with Jennifer's cookbook are the biscuits on the dust jacket. Jennifer's introduction Welcome to my Table is just that welcoming reading about her family and where her cooking roots comes from makes me feel like part of the family.

I love the section "A Well-Stocked Pantry" Southern Pantry Essentials. I found this thoughtfully written and a huge asset to the cookbook along with the section on Cooking Tools. This cookbook would be a perfect Shower or New Home gift.

Again there are so many recipes I'm itching to make out of The Southern Pantry, here are a few that caught my eye.

Cheddar-Pecan Shortbread (I have already made these, so much flavor)
Tex-Mex Corn Dip
Corn Salad (are you thinking corn season is just around the corner too)
Shrimp Remoulade Salad
Southern Chicken Salad
Creamy Vidalia Onion Soup
Braised Chicken With Mushrooms and Grits (OMG, I'm drooling over this dish)
Grilled Chicken with Peach Barbecue Sauce
Fried Pork Medallions with White Milk Gravy
Honey-Balsamic Flank Steak
Blackened Red Snapper
Snapper with Mustard-Pecan Crust (Bill can not make up his mind which Snapper recipe to make first)
Trout Amandine (I think the Trout is going to be first I have it in the freezer)
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars (I have made these, they were gone by the next day)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Healthier Me - Update

I have really dropped the ball on posting about my path to a healthier me, the last time I posted was January 5th.

Let me tell you what has been going on:

1.  I made the big leap by registering to run a 1/2 marathon

2.  I'm having a hard time finding the right combination of eating to lose weight and fuel my body for running.

3.  I joined a gym

4.  Learning as I go along about the do's and don'ts of running

5.  Subscribed to 2 running magazines - Women's Running and Runner's World

I've never been a runner - to be frank I hated to run. When I started my walking regiment last year I decided to run a 5k, it was hard, I pushed myself and I can say I completed that run without stopping or walking.

When I was looking at another 5k to run this year I came across a 1/2 marathon. As a joke I sent the info to my daughter and said I'm considering this. Her message back to me....Let's do it, I will run it with you. My message back to her, okay. My next thought what the hell did I just commit to and then to make sure I didn't back out I registered the two of us for the run. The big day is September 12th.

I searched running apps to help me train for the 1/2 marathon. The app I found that is working the best for me is Run Coach 13.1, 3 days a week for 18 weeks it is slowing preparing me for the run. After the 18 weeks I will run every other day until the 1/2 marathon. I have also added another app RunKeeper to track my running.

I then joined a gym, Anytime Fitness. I'm doing strengthen training the days I'm not running. My other plan with the gym if we have bad weather I can always run on the treadmill or use the elliptical. The jokes on me right now...We just had a huge snow storm come in a drop a ton of snow on us. I can't even get down to the gym. LOL

I'm doing my training right, slow, baby steps I do not want any injuries. This next part isn't something that you enjoy talking about but it is important if you are thinking about running. Find a store that really knows about running to get your shoes. I bought my first pair of running shoes in my normal size, just tried them on they felt good and the guy at Dick's Sporting Goods didn't know jack about running shoes. I got what is called a Runner's Black Toe, it's from not having properly fit running shoes and the black toe is a blood blister that forms under the toenail. I found a running store that measured me, checked my gate walking and properly fitted me with new running shoes. I went up a 1/2 size and found out that my foot rolls in, my new shoes correct this problem. Running shoes are expensive but the most important part of your running regiment and you will need a new pair after 500 miles. If you find a pair of shoes that work well for you consider buying a few pairs that way when race day comes you are using a pair of shoes that you are use to.

One of the most important things I have learned hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I found out the scary way to drink water before running and it's not what you think. I was so afraid of drinking water before running, because what if I'm out there running and I have to pee. Let me tell you you sweat that liquid out no need to worry about that. What happened to me from not drinking water before running I had blood in my urine. So now the night before running I drink a lot of water and before going running I have two to three glasses of water and since I have been doing this I have not had a problems with blood in my urine.

It's important to educate yourself when taking up serious running. A Facebook friend Christine Dutton suggested the book The Complete 26-week Training Program Marathon and Half Marathon The Beginner's Guide by Marnie Caron. It is a great book, I have pages tagged and highlighted. I also bought it for my daughter and sent it to her, she loves it too. Ask other runner's questions, check out running sites online, running magazines and running groups in your area.

I will work harder on updating my progress a couple times a month.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Mexican Hot Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know it's been a while since I have written a post. A lot has been going on, which is a post for another day.

We have been having a really dry winter until this past weekend. Close to 4 feet of snow has dropped on us and we are currently snowed in. The snow is too high to even get out of the garage. I can't see dropping a few hundred dollars to be dug out when we can just wait until it melts down a bit.

From My Deck

It's snowing right now hopefully the last of it and we will be back to blue skies. While waiting for the snow to pass and get to melting I thought I would bake some cookies. I decided to play with the original Nestle Toll House Cookie recipe, nothing new but what recipe is anymore. The warmth from the cinnamon and cayenne is perfect for this snowy day.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Nestle Toll House Cookie Recipe

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon prepared strong coffee, cooled
2 large eggs
1 12oz bag of Nestle Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

In a medium bowl add flour, baking sode, salt, cinnamon, espresso powder and cayenne powder; whisk together and set aside.

Beat butter, sugars, vanilla and coffee until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one.  Mix in flour a little at a time until completely incorporated into the sugar mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop a rounded tablespoon of cookie batter onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, bake for 9 to 11 minutes, allow to cool 2 to 3 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Fiesta Corn

When you think of corn what's the first thing that comes to mind. For me it's hot summer days, serving corn on the cob at a family BBQ.  Then I realize I don't use corn in recipes very often. I will add corn to my cornbread and I have put it in soup.

This past weekend I made this corn dish using bell peppers and jalapeños that I had on hand. The fresh lime brightens the dish.  It's a warm corn salad.

Fiesta Corn

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cajun seasonings
pinch of cayenne
1 16oz bag frozen corn, thawed
zest and juice from one lime
handful of cilantro, rough crop

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat, add red and green bell peppers, onions, jalapeño, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and cajun seasonings, sauté for 5 minutes. Add corn and heat through completely. Add lime zest, lime juice and cilantro; stir and serve.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Hello Sunday

Hello Sunday....

I thought today would be a good catch up day.

I think the whole world knows that today is an important sports day....Super Bowl Sunday. Normally I would be very excited about the big game, however, not one team I'm crazy about is in the Super Bowl. I'm not cheering on either team, I just love football and the commercials so I will be watching and eating some great football food. Chili Dogs, spicy corn, chips and dips, chocolate peanut butter dessert and some Ruby Red Moscow Mules.

Reading: Slowly I'm still reading Still Life with Bread Crumbs, I'm only on page 77, I just haven't felt like reading and I'm already getting behind on my goal. I need to kick it up a notch.

TV: I watched the first season of Walking Dead when it came out and that was it. New Years Day was having a Walking Dead Marathon, I taped it and have been watching it on and off for the last month. 6 more episodes and I am caught up. After the Walking Dead I'll be watching Breaking Bad I taped their marathon too. I also have this season of BlackList and a bunch of other shows I've taped that I have not had a chance to watch yet.

The Home: I don't know if I'm wishing spring would get here or because we are having a really mild winter, but I have already been spring cleaning. I've started with the kitchen and laundry room. Doing a lot of re-arranging, organizing and throwing out anything expired if I can't use it right away. Next I will tackle the living room, I have a few piles or books and magazines stacking up around me.

Creative: My husband and I are going to sign up for a beginning drawing class that is being offered at the new art store in town. I missed signing up for the watercolor class, while there I will check to see when the next class is going to start. I want to start a new x-stitch project this month. I have 9 patterns that I bought on Etsy I just need to see which one I want to start first.

Weekly Quote:

This Weeks Goal: To complete 5 - 200 word writing exercises.

What I want out of 2015: To unlock my creative side or at least to shake it up.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Cookbook Review: In Her Kitchen by Gabriele Galimberti

This has been one of the most enjoyable cookbooks I have read and I have not even made one dish from it yet. In Her Kitchen Stories and Recipes from Grandmas Around the World by Gabriele Galimberti, take 53 women from all walks of life, from cramped kitchens, to dirt floors what do they all have in for the families they love.

Gabriele Galimberti is a photographer who has traveled the world, his work has been featured in Newsweek, Le Monde and Vanity Fair just to name a few publications. In 2013 he completed a 18-month photography trip around the world.

For each women he gives her name, her age, where she is located, a photo and a small blurb about their lives that is thoughtfully written. I found it very interesting that some of the women work in restaurants or other establishments and are not able to cook for their families everyday.

I already have a post-it list attached to the inside cover of the dishes I'm interested in making.

Swiss Chard and Ricotta Ravioli with Meat Sauce from Marisa Batini - Italy (this is a dish from the authors grandmother)
Bat Bot (bread) from Fatma Bahkach - Morocco
Khinkali (Pork and Beef Dumplings) from Natalie Bakradze - Georgia
Feijoada Light from Anna Lucia Souza Pascoal - Brazil
Queso Humacha (Vegetables and Fresh Cheese Stew) from Julia Enaigua - Boliva
Inkoko Nama Spices (Roasted Spiced Chicken) from Joyce Muape - Zambia
Hui Guo Ron (Twice-Cooked Pork with Vegetables) from Pan Guang Mei - China
Bison Under the Midnight Sun from Kathy O'Donovan - Canada
Abolu Pirags  (Sweet Pizza with Apples and Chocolate) from Natalija Kaze - Latvia
Tart with Walnuts and Mountain Honey from Giovanna Stoll Simona - Switzerland
Tiramisu alla Toscanna from Paola Agnelli - Italy

As much as I can appreciate their cultures I will be passing on Finkubala (Caterpillars in Tomato Sauce) and Honduran Iguanan with Rice and Beans, just are not my cup of tea and I'm not that adventurous.

There are many other dishes I would like to try other than the ones I listed above, some might have to be tweaked to meats and fish that are to my liking. I think I could work around the caterpillars because the rest of the dish sounds delicious.

I would like to thank Blogging for Books for giving me this book to review.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bananas Foster Bread

I was watching Guy's Big Bite last week and he made a Bananas Foster Milkshake and it sure sounds good. Made a note that I must make the milkshake this summer. Days after I watched Guy's show that Bananas Foster was still on my mind. Since it is a cold raining day I decided to make the Bananas Foster into bread.

The aroma from the bread smells incredible. Bill was down in the basement and came up asking when the bread was going to be done that he came smell it down stairs.  If he doesn't devour the whole loaf in one sitting, I think I will make french toast with the remaining bread. 

Bananas Foster Bread

Bananas Foster:

5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ripe bananas, sliced
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup banana liqueur
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt


1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups flour

Prepare Bananas Foster first to allow it to cool down some. With a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat add butter and sliced bananas; cook until the bananas are caramelized on both sides; about 5 minutes or so. Stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon. Remove pan from flame add the banana liqueur; stir to combine. Place pan back on flame and slowly tip pan to allow the flame to ignite the bananas; remove from flame and allow flame to go out. Add vanilla and salt; stir. Place the banana mixture into a bowl to cool.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl beat together sugar, butter and eggs. Sift baking powder, baking soda and flour together. Mix together with the sugar mixture; just until combined (it will be a bit stiff). Using a mashed break up the bananas to smaller pieces and add the Bananas Foster to the bread mixture; stir until incorporated. Pour into a greased loaf pan; bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What I Had On Hand Chicken Cacciatore

I have been faithfully working out walking and I have now incorporated running into my regiment. Today I walked/ran 6 miles and I was ready for a hearty dinner.

I love when I can take things that I already have on hand and make a delicious dinner. This is my version of a Chicken Cacciatore from items I had in my refrigerator and pantry. This dish is enough for 4 people or meals for 2 nights for Bill and I.

What I Had On Hand Chicken Cacciatore

1 tablespoon plus extra virgin olive oil
3 links Hot Italian Sausages cut into bitesized pieces (I used Johnsonville)
4 chicken thighs with skin and bones
salt and pepper
1 onion chopped
3 large cloves garlic, sliced and chopped a couple of times
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 cup pitted whole kalamata olives
2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
1 cup red wine
1/2 of a 32oz box unsalted chicken stock
1 24oz jar of your favorite pasta sauce
1 pound thin spaghetti pasta cooked following boxed directions
parmesan cheese
Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large dutch oven heat olive oil over a medium heat. Add sausage cooking on all sides for 4 minutes total, remove from pot. Salt and pepper chicken on all sides. Place in stock pot skin side down for 5 minutes; turn over and cook for 5 minutes, remove from pot. If needed drizzle pot with a little more olive oil and add onions, red pepper flakes, rosemary, oregano and thyme, sauté for 4 minutes add garlic and mushrooms, sautéing for 3 minutes. Add wine; bring to a boil while deglazing the bottom of the pot. Add olives, chicken stock, chicken thighs and sausage back to the pot, top with pasta sauce, stir and adjust salt and pepper if needed; place lid on dutch oven. Place in oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Prepare pasta, spoon chicken dish over pasta, top with cheese and parsley.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Cookbook Review - Inside The Test Kitchen - Tyler Florence

My first cookbook review of 2015, I have had this cookbook since last year and I am late doing a review on it.

I'm sure there isn't a household that has not heard the name Tyler Florence, Food Network Star, numerous cookbooks under his belt, restaurant owner, wine maker and business owner.

Tyler's latest cookbook is Inside The Test Kitchen, 120 new recipes, perfected. Although it isn't my favorite Tyler Florence cookbook I did find some recipes that I want to make. My list includes Cheddar-Black Pepper Crackers, Extra-Light Cornbread, Pork Carnitas Tacos and Thai Chicken Salad. I also found the Five-In-One Mix for muffins, pancakes, waffles, cakes and cookies to be very helpful over buying the boxed stuff in the grocery store (nice to know what you are eating).

What I didn't care for was the text-book style of writing I found it distracting, the photos were blah and frankly some of the recipes are not new - take the No-Sweat Poached Eggs, I saw this on Pinterest over a year ago.

I do think this cookbook would be a nice gift for someone just stepping into the kitchen.

Monday, January 12, 2015

First Week - I need to make some changes

I started last week off with a bang. Monday I walked 14,812 steps,  Tuesday 16,870, Wednesday 16,463 and Thursday 18,789.  Friday was my rest day and I still walked 9,321 steps, Saturday and Sunday were not good days, both days I walked a little over 6,000 steps.  I have been so hungry, enough that I gained weight.

It wasn't like this, this past summer, what was different?  During the summer I was getting up early having breakfast and going walking before it got too hot. By the time I got home it was still early enough to have my coffee, enjoy my lunch and continue with my day.

Now I'm putting off walking until 10 or 11 until it warms up. I have a light breakfast, no coffee until I get back home which is around 2pm. (who wants to be out in the middle of nowhere and having to pee) I often skip lunch because dinner is getting close and I'm hungry and overeating.  Yes I am walking and that's a good thing but, I don't feel I am getting anything else done.

I think it will be trial and error until I find a schedule that works for me.  My first step is getting up earlier, planning my day out and sticking to it.

Current Weight: 196.8
Start Weight: 236.3
Goal Weight: 130

Monday, January 5, 2015

Back On The Path To A Healthier Me

Since I am closing my other blog "My Blog - My Journey" and incorporating into this blog I thought I would bring you up to date what has been going on. On June 10th I made the decision to start getting healthy, I had not been sleeping well and had the feeling of impending doom, that if I went to bed I wasn't going to wake up the next morning. This was a very overwhelming and scary feeling.

June 11th I weighed in at 236.3 pounds, I clipped my FitBit to my pants and started walking.  I walked my driveway half-way back and forth a few times a day. Now my driveway is not like most driveways. It is dirt, rocks, not flat and is a 1/4 mile one way.  Little by little I was taken more and more steps, my goal was 10,000 steps per day. I even figured out where on my driveway I needed to go to make one lap 1,000 steps so it was easier for me to figure out how many laps I needed to make 10,000.  I started going over the 10,000 steps and my best day I went over 30,000 steps.

I started walking down to the dirt road and back, which is around 5 miles round trip and the trip back is all up hill. When I go up the mountain it is about 18,000 steps round trip. I even started running and training to run a 5K. I signed up for a 5K in October, I ran slow and steady and completed the 5K and I wasn't in last place.  Another plus is I no longer have to take high blood pressure medication.

Along with all this walking I keep track of everything I eat on MyFitnessPal, there is a app for that for your phone. I keep my calories at 1,200 per day. I linked my FitBit and MyFitness Pal on the app when you hit 10,000 steps it starts adding activity calories onto MyFitnessPal, so if I went a little over my 1,200 calorie goal it was not big deal I have a cushion to fall back on.

In November I got a nasty cold, which then became a way too long break on FitBit and MyFitnessPal. Well it's time to get back on my Health and Fitness Path and today is that day. I have gained back some pounds, not a big deal, I lost weight once I can do it again.

Mondays will be my weigh in day and to reflect on the past week. I am putting everything out there, being honest, it is the way I keep myself accountable.

I  give myself goals and rewards. For every 10 pounds I lose I buy myself something.  I have bought myself blouses which is fantastic because I usually live in t-shirts and it's nice to have some real clothes. I haven't bought any pants yet since I have pants in smaller sizes I have had for years and have never worn, every time I can fit in a new pair it is a reward. I also splurged and bought myself a Kate Spade purse and matching wallet.

My goals have been to fit in the pants I have stashed away. I still have 10 pairs of pants I need to fit into before I need to buy pants again.  I did get a fantastic deal on a suit and I bought it in a size 12, my goal is to be able to fit in that suit before summer. I also bought a darling Boho top in a size medium and that's another goal.

I am currently using the FitBit Zip as soon as FitBit comes out with the Charge HR I will be purchasing it. The Charge HR has a heart rate monitor which I need. The zip only counts my steps and when I am walking up and down a mountain I want it to take my heart rate into account since I'm burning more calories.

I have my husband take a photo of me every month, I measure once a month, so I can see the changes month to month. If you are on MyFitnessPal and/or FitBit look me up, befriend me and lets take this journey together - Pam Capone.

Current Weight: 195.5
Start Weight: 236.3
Goal Weight: 130

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Reading Room

Happy New Year - I hope you had a beautiful first day of 2015. I had a great day of doing nothing. My day consisted of stalking the internet, watching HGTV, The Rose Parade, Living Big Sky or something like that, The HGTV Dream House, caught up on Hell on Wheels and picked up where I left off on The Walking Dead.

I stopped making New Years Resolutions, in my mind if you broke a resolution - you failed - end of story, stop trying. Instead I make Goals, if I slip up no big deal,  get right back on that horse and try again. You are going to see this a lot on my blog this year. I have different ideas on wording things to trick my brain.

One of my Goals for 2015 is to read at least 12 books. For a reader that is nothing but for someone like me it is a hard goal - I am dyslexic and ADHD.

WARNING - You will read some "R" rated words

I struggle with failing, I struggle with being labeled stupid. I had a grade school teacher tell me she didn't understand why I even bothered coming to school, I could not be taught, I was stupid. Let me tell you those words fucked me up my whole life. I was going to use the word messed up just to keep my blog G-Rated, but "messed up" doesn't measure up to how those words have effected with over the years. It wasn't until I was in my early fifties that I was tested and labeled with dyslexia and ADHD. It is a relief to know what is going on in my head and now I'm working very hard to try new things and trying not to be so hard on myself, when things take longer to learn or stick.  Enough on that....moving on.

The Reading Room

I started this book this summer (I won it on a blog) and I am ready to finish it.  Still Life With Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen.  Check it out at Amazon,  If you would like to join me in reading this book I am only on page 26. If you have already read it I would love to know what you thought about the book.

Do you have any reading Goals for 2015 and what are you currently reading.  You can also follow me on GoodReads - Pam Capone.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year - New Path

Happy 2015

I hope you all had a fantastic Holiday Season. Our Christmas was nice and quiet. We were snowed in and did not leave the house for 4 days. We missed another year of spending Christmas with our daughter, we did have a really nice long conversation on the telephone.

With the New Year comes many new changes. I have been doing a lot of thinking about my blog and I'm ready to take a new path.

Since June I have been trying to post on two blogs.....well that isn't working both have suffered. Here are some of the changes you will find at Living Rancho Delux.

* I will be cutting back on my food blogging - There are so many great food bloggers out there, that are  much better cooks than I am, have the time to staged their creations and get fantastic photos. I'm a home cook, I take a photo, we eat and that is not going to change. When I come across a recipe I am really happy with I will post it. I will continue to post cookbook reviews.

* I am closing my other blog which was my getting healthy blog.  In June I started walking, which  led to running and participating in my first 5K and watching my food intake. By November I had lost 50 pounds. I got sick in November and all hell fell broke loose and I have gained 10 pounds back. I will be posting my journey here as I get back into walking and once the snow is gone running again.

* I have two Etsy Shops that I want to get running in 2015 and my husband will be working with me to make my dream come to life. Both shops will have handmade gifts - I needed two shops for different styles. You will find them here - Rancho Delux and Hot Pink Lemonade. I will post updates to my stores on my blog.

* I love arts and crafts and I will be posting more on what I'm my working on. I am going to be trying my luck at watercolors and drawing. I'm hoping to see some progress in my work over 2015. I have some cross-stitch projects, up-cycle projects and home decorating that I will be working on this year.

* I will have a segment on my blog - The Reading Room - more on that later.

I've been sitting on my ass way too much and need to stop dreaming about the things I want to do and just do them, I figure my blog will help hold me accountable for my goals.

I hope you will stick with me through the changes and maybe inspire you to join me in my 2015 Journey.

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