Tuesday, February 22, 2011

35 weeks!

Here we are at 35 weeks. Could be 3 more weeks, could be 6 more weeks. AHH, science. I'm very impatient this time around. I just want to get on with it. I thought spring was around for about 3 days, but now we have some snow on the ground again and I am back to feeling as if the sun will never come out again and this baby will never come. On top of that, Travis is getting so excited about his little sister he asks me multiple times a day when she is coming out. I just want to say "Your guess is as good as mine kid!" But, it has given me plenty of time to stick to my resolution and keep on cooking.

This past week I made Chicken Enchiladas and Meatball Soup. Both got good reviews from my judges, but the Chicken Enchiladas were by far the more popular and Don has requested that I make them often.

Recipe is as follows: 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cubed, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/2 cup sweet potato puree, 1/4 cup fat free sour cream, 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or mozzarella) divided, 6 whole grain tortillas, 1/2 cup spinach puree, 1/2 cup mild tomato salsa.

Preheat the oven 350*. Coat a baking dish with cooking spray. Warm oil in a large skillet. Sprinkle the chicken with garlic and pepper. Cook the chicken until it is cooked through. Off the heat mix the sweet potato puree, sour cream, and half the cheese in the skillet. Fill each tortilla with the chicken mixture and roll up. Place seam side down in the baking dish. Dot the tops of the enchiladas with the spinach puree. Spoon salsa over the top and sprinkle the remaining cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes.

I pretty much stuck to the recipe here except I put a bit of salsa in the chicken mixture and I didn't use the spinach puree. We all loved it. I will probably make it again this week, maybe with some rice.

The Meatball Soup had a long list of ingredients that really intimidated me. I of course used Deer Meat for the meatballs this time. They held together much better than when I tried to make meatball subs. The recipe said to put them in the soup to cook, but I was afraid they would fall apart, so I cooked them in the skillet first and then dropped them in the soup.

Ingredients: 3 ounces of pasta (we used wagon wheels), 1 small onion (I used half), 2 cloves garlic, 28 ounces of whole peeled tomatoes, 1/4 cup carrot puree, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 3 cups reduced fat beef broth, 3 slices whole wheat bread cubed, 1 large egg beaten, 1/4 cup sweet potato puree, 1/4 cup non fat milk, 2 Tsp Parmesan cheese, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp paprika, 1/2 lb lean ground turkey (I used deer meat).

I pureed everything including the tomatoes. Cook the onion and garlic in oil in the soup pot you will be using. 3 to 4 minutes until onion is softened. Add the tomatoes and carrot puree along with the salt and the broth. reduce heat to low and let simmer while you are making the meatballs.

Put the bread in a large bowl. Add the egg, sweet potato puree, milk, Parmesan, salt, pepper, and paprika and let the bread soak it all up.  Stir to break up the bread and then add the meat.  Form into mini meatballs and add to the soup. Cook 12-15 minutes. Add already cooked pasta.

I have to say that I prefer the Chicken Enchiladas over the soup as well. But both are good February meals. I'm going to make Bea's meatloaf this week. I haven't decided what meals I will make out of the Seinfeld books. We'll have to see. 

If you would like more information on Jessica Seinfeld's cook books here is her website.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Keeping your New Year's Resolution!

Well, so far so good as far as my New Year's resolution goes! I almost let it slide last week, after all, it's a lot easier to pop some pasta in a pot than follow a new recipe with a long list of ingredients. I do find myself a bit intimidated at times just looking through the cookbooks trying to find something to make. I'm hoping it's just my pregnancy brain psyching me out.

Pregnancy brain! Myth or not, I have been misplacing things more lately (thankfully never Travis) or walking into a room and forgetting why I am there. It is very frustrating for me. I feel as if I am slowly going crazy. I think maybe it's because I am just a bit more tired than before and I now have to remember things for Travis and I, and sometimes Don, who by the way has what I affectionately refer to as "sometimers".

Last week I made Lasagna. Her recipe calls for ground turkey or sirloin, but I decided to go with the meatless version which is an option in the cookbook. It's all the same as your usual Lasagna, except she called for low fat sour cream and low fat cottage cheese. I had some low fat ricotta cheese in the fridge already. I bought it thinking I needed it for a recipe, but I couldn't remember which recipe. Really, it's driving me crazy. So, I used it in the lasagna instead of the sour cream and cottage cheese. It sounded better anyway.

Since I wasn't using meat I mixed the sweet potato puree, cauliflower puree, egg white, ricotta cheese and Parmesan cheese all together for my filling. She tells you how to make your own tomato sauce, but I just used regular old Ragu, which is also an option she offers to save time. I used noodles I had from another Lasagna venture a while back. We all loved it, but of course Don said next time I should use meat. I thought we needed a break from meat!

My second recipe of the week was Honey Mustard Chicken. This is the one where I was dragging my feet. I finally decided to make it on Tuesday for lunch and have the leftovers waiting for Don when he got home since Travis and I would be at Track club.

The recipe is as follows: 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs, 1/2 cup crushed pretzels, 1 Tsp Parmesan, 1/2 tsp Paprika, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, all stirred together in a bowl and set aside. Then 1 cup sweet potato puree, 3 Tablespoons honey, 1 large egg, 1 tsp Dijon Mustard all mixed together in another bowl and set aside.

Take the 1 1/2 lbs of skinless chicken breasts and cut them into cubes. Dip the chicken in the sweet potato mixture and then coat them with the dry mixture and drop into a pan on medium heat. Brown the chicken on both sides 4 to 5 minutes on each side until the chicken is cooked through.

Really, after having to crush the pretzels and mix everything together, this is a pretty simple recipe. I was on my way to track club when I got a phone call from Don who said I need a big food processor instead of my little tiny puree blender because the chicken was awesome and he is loving my recipes. Travis and I ate the chicken for lunch along with sweet potato fries and Travis seemed to like it too.

This week I am trying Chicken Enchiladas and Meatball soup. I am going to try and use Deer meat again, we'll see if it works!

PS. I am now 34 weeks and baby is running out of room. I've had many people tell me that I will probably go early. GOOD LORD I HOPE SO!! 3 more weeks at least. I have been enjoying the nicer weather and even got outside with Travis today and walked/jogged 2 miles on the rail trail while he was in the jogger. Maybe I can walk/jog this kid right out of me!!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Deer Meat!!!!

When an 86 year old woman gives you her meat loaf recipe, you cherish it! You think "there can be no better meat loaf recipe than this meat loaf recipe!". This is a recipe that needs to be passed from generation to generation and must always be your go to recipe. This is how I feel about our neighbor Bea's recipe. She passed away a year ago, and I learned little secrets from her not only about her meat loaf, but also about apple pies and kettle corn. So it's understandable that I would have my reservations about making meat loaf with another recipe, but I did.

This week I tried the Turkey Meatloaf recipe from "Double Delicious". Of course I changed the recipe a bit. The recipe calls for 2 lbs. of lean ground Turkey, but I used ground Deer Meat, because that's what we eat in our house. I mixed in some sausage per Don's request simply because Deer Meat has very little fat. I think next time I might just be able to use the Deer Meat. The recipe also calls for 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/3 cup breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 3 large egg whites, 1/2 cup carrot puree ( I used sweet potato because I had some made already), 1/2 cup cauliflower puree.  Mix everything together and put in a 9x5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray and bake 50-55 minutes.

I have to say, it turned out pretty well. I enjoyed it, Travis enjoyed it, and to my surprise, Don even said he thought it was better than Bea's. All I could think about was that she, much like my own 86 year old grandmother, would love the fact that it was "healthy" and had veggies hidden in it. After all, she made her pie crusts with Canola Oil so they would be healthier!

A couple days later we had some meat left to use, so I decided to make the Burgers 1 recipe from "Deceptively Delicious" (there are 2 hamburger recipes in this book).

Again the recipe called for 1/2 lb. lean ground turkey and I used the Deer Meat and sausage combo. 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup cauliflower puree, 1/4 cup skim milk,  2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 cloves garlic, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, 1 tablespoon olive oil,  whole grain dinner rolls. Stir together all the ingredients (except the olive oil, that's for the pan) and mold into hamburger patties.

We were going to try and cook these on the grill, but the weather turned wicked and Don didn't want to be outside on the front porch, and I don't blame him. We wound up using my pampered chef stone pan to broil them in the oven, which turned out great. So even healthier probably than frying them in the pan. We paired it with potatoes and peppers which were also roasted in the oven. We ate the burgers on Thomas' whole wheat english muffins, and it was great!

I don't yet know what I will make for this weeks recipes. I'll have to think about that tonight. Now at 33 weeks pregnant I am beyond the point where I stopped running with Travis. I ran a mile on Saturday and Sunday at the track along with some drills and hope to get another mile in today.  But I must say, my belly has gotten to that point where I am amazed that it can stretch this far and I am convinced it will never go back again! It's quite a sight!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Are we there yet?

I'll admit I am getting a bit antsy. I am feeling good and I can still run a bit, walk for a while, and do some running drills, but it's just not the same. I sit here in the house on a 40 degree day, the first in a while, and I am trapped because of ice.

As any marathoner does, I like to plan out my training schedules. I print out a big calendar and write down what I will do each week for a long run, when I will start double days, how much mileage I'd like to get in, etc. I haven't done this in about a year. When this baby is born, it will be just about a whole year since I've done any serious training. I took the summer "off" only running 30 minutes a day for a while knowing we would want to get pregnant and that I would be working 50 hours a week. I was happy at the time to take a break.

After a couple months I got tired of my flabby self and started upping my mileage. I felt like crap! I thought, wow, I'm really in horrible shape. Then I told myself, maybe it's the hot weather on top of not running that much, I'll bounce back in a couple of weeks, I just have to struggle through this crappy time.

In the back of my mind I was thinking I might be pregnant, but I kept taking the tests and they kept coming back negative. I was very frustrated....until one day, BAM! a positive test result.  Now, I never drink really, but I had just gotten done being race director for our Big Bear 12 hour run and one of the racers had a Smithwick's (a lovely Irish Beer!) so I had to have one.  Then after that I had a Yuengling Black and Tan. Two beers and I was good and drunk. (weak, I know!) It wasn't a week later that I had the positive test. Oh the damage I must have done. LOL!

So here I am. I had my 32 week check up and everything was great. Not only am I preparing for the baby, trying to get organized, I've started planning out my training.  I understand that there are many variables that are beyond my control, but I am still planning my comeback like I would do a marathon training plan. It actually is a marathon training plan, except that I am starting completely from scratch and it goes well beyond the normal 24 week training plan.

The other night I counted out the weeks from my due date (I know she'll come late though) to my goal marathon. On paper it seems like a long time, I know in real life not so much. Don saw all of my calculations and asked what they were. I briefly explained, but I don't think he really understands or cares, and that's okay. It will keep me sane to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and then goals to keep me on track!  Now I've just got to figure out the logistics of lugging two kids around everywhere instead of just one.