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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