Sunday, March 29, 2015

Paleo Huevos Rancheros with Ground Taco Beef


I made a large pan of ground taco beef to use for lunches all week & then realized I didn't have breakfast yet and was starving. I had some eggs & an avocado in the house so why not make something along the lines of Huevos Rancheros?

The recipe below is for the ground beef, which comes out delicious & I love to use for different lunches. You can toss it in burrito bowls, eat it on its own with sliced avocado, or make tacos out of it if you're eating corn or flour. You can also make it in different ways & just keep it in the fridge. I like to make a Greek version with oregano, lemon juice, & diced olives. Then I eat it with cucumber salad and tzatziki sauce. So good.

Side note: the chipotle sauce in this recipe can be found in the Spanish foods aisle. They sell chipotles in adobo sauce but for this I just bought chipotle sauce (small red can). It should be right next to the chipotle peppers in adobo. If you can't find it then Goya Spanish tomato sauce would be fine also. The same goes for the Sazón Goya. It's a small orange box that you can easily leave out if you can't find it. I put it on everything. 

Ground Taco Beef
Makes 1 lb

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground sirloin
  • 2-3 TB chipotle sauce
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 packet Sazón Goya (omit if you cannot find it)
  • 1 TB taco seasoning 
  • 1 TB olive oil
Directions:

1) Heat the olive oil in a pan. Sprinkle the ground beef with salt & pepper and start cooking in pan. 

2) Add about 1/8th cup of water to the beef so that it has liquid to cook in. Season the beef with the garlic powder, sazón, taco seasoning, chipotle sauce, and red pepper flakes as it is cooking. The splash of water is the trick. You want the seasonings to stick to the beef & for the final product to be moist. Without water it gets a little dry. This is something my mom taught me a long time ago.

3) Serve whatever way you like! I topped mine with two fried eggs, avocado, & salsa. 


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Hi there.

Hi friends. It's been a long, long time and I'm sorry I have not been around. The last time I posted was over a year ago and SO MUCH has gone on since then. This blog was never about just weight loss. It was always about the things I love in life: food, being a feminist, and my every day life with my husband and dog (now two dogs!). The one not awesome thing that has happened since October 2013 (time of my last post) is that I've gained a full 40 lbs. I had a whole host of medical problems spring up on me right after I got married and weight gain was a side affect of all of that. More on those medial problems in a different post...

Here are some of the really awesome things that have happened in the last year or so since we last spoke:

My husband landed a new job last fall that let him go in house for a company instead of working at a firm, which means he works normal hours now and makes the same amount of money. It was the best thing to happen to us in all of our years together. After being with him through law school, the Bar Exam, and working 90 hour weeks at a law firm, it was amazing to finally have a normal life and schedule together. Yay!

With his new job we moved to NYC, something we've been wanting to do for a while. We only lived about 40 minutes outside of the city on Long Island but we are so happy to finally be in the city and enjoying all of the amazing things that come with it, like brunch. So much brunch. 

I got a promotion at my job as well which made me very happy. I commute back to LI for work every day but it isn't that bad.

My niece and goddaughter turned one in May and she is just so awesome. I can't get enough of her. She truly makes life better and I didn't know I could love someone as much as I love her. She truly has every piece of my heart.

We took in a second dog in December! Her name is Starla and we'll have her through April while her owner works out her living situation. We love her so much but having two big dogs in the city has not been easy! Starla is about 85 lbs and a total lap dog which is interesting. Her and Layla have their moments but they love each other. They spend Saturday afternoons cuddled on the couch together. I keep hinting that I'll keep her but I don't think we can.

We're moving to Brooklyn in April and I am so excited. 

For now, I'm taking a healthy approach to life in general. Living in the city has opened up a lot of food options which is both good and bad but I try to buy organic as much as possible, stopped buying pre-cut fruits and veggies and do that myself now to cut costs, and really listen to my body. Slowly but surely the weight is coming off. Hopefully you will all stick around to follow my journey back to myself 2 years ago.

Xo

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Grown Up Spaghetti-Os & Meatballs


I don't think I've had canned Spaghetti-Os since I was a kid but I had such a craving for them last week that I had to have them. I wasn't going to eat them out of a can because high fructose corn syrup & strange meat isn't my thing, so I took to the Internet to figure out how to make that sweet sweet sauce on my own. After reading through a bunch of recipes I realized that the trick is to add milk to the sauce. I took the tomato sauce recipe that I keep in my head & modified it to be sweet & creamy. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

Spaghetti-Os aren't complete without those tiny meatballs, which are so simple to make. They're so tiny that you don't even need much oil to fry them, which makes this recipe much healthier than the canned stuff. You'll never eat Spaghetti-Os out of a can again!

Grown Up Spaghetti-Os & Meatballs
Servings: 6

Ingredients:
  •  1 lb annalletti pasta (little Os).  If you cannot find this, ditalini works.
For the Sauce:
  • 16 oz tomato sauce
  • 8 oz water
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 small onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 TB dried Italian herbs
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt (more to taste)
  • 2 TB sugar
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper (more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 TB butter
  • 1 small can tomato paste (6 oz)
For the Meatballs:
  • 1 lb ground 90% lean sirloin
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2-3/4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs (gluten free works just as well)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 TB Italian herbs
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 TB olive oil
Instructions:

1) Pre-heat a sauce pot over medium high heat (it needs to be large enough to add the pasta & meatballs later). In a small food processor, puree the onion & garlic until almost smooth. Melt the butter in the sauce pan & add the onion & garlic mixture. Cook until softened & add the tomato paste. Let this mixture cook together for a few minutes.

2) Add the can of tomato sauce & water. Cook for a few minutes & add the milk, herbs, & cheese. Bring sauce to a bubble, reduce to medium-low & let simmer while you make the meatballs.

3) While the sauce is simmering, mix together all of the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl. Pre-heat a skillet over med-high heat. Start making very small (about 1") meatballs & setting them aside. You will make about 30-40 of these depending on their size.

4) Spray the skillet with nonstick spray & begin browning the meatballs in small batches about 10 at a time. As they brown, drop them in the sauce. When all of the meatballs are finished browning let them simmer in the sauce about 20 minutes to finish cooking.

5) Boil your pasta according to package instructions & drain. Immediately add to the sauce & meatballs & you're ready to serve up bowls of Grown Up Spaghetti-Os & Meatballs.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Let's Look Back: I do!


It was time. Time to walk down the aisle with my dad & time to become a wife. Frank & I had kissed each other & said "see you soon," & i was lined up behind the bridal party waiting to walk down the aisle. This whole moment was a whirlwind. When I saw 300 people waiting to watch me walk down the aisle, I nearly died. But in all of the craziness it truly felt like Frank & I were the only ones there. It was cold & we were outside, but I barely felt it. There were three hundred people watching, & I barely realized. We had the most incredible ceremony that we designed ourselves & it felt like magic. I would get married over & over the same exact way, to the same exact person.

Frank & I knew that we did not want a religious ceremony. It wasn't for us. We had my mother's childhood best friend bless us (she's a minister) but we wanted the rest of the ceremony to be non-religious. It was so beautiful because it was so us & people have told me over & over that it was such a special ceremony & you could tell that we really put thought into it. Having my dad's best friend officiate our ceremony was truly incredible. To have someone so close to us share the most important moment of our lives with us was something we will forever be grateful for.


My dad suggested the string quartet for the music & it was so beautiful. I felt like I was in a movie when my dad & I were getting ready to walk & the quartet was playing. Time was barely moving at this point.

I stood back & watched the bridal party head down the aisle, one by one, & squeezed my dad's hand the entire time.








 Frank & his best man
 Our officiant

 I wish I knew what they were laughing about!
 My grandmother, escorted by my uncle & godfather
 Frank's maternal grandparents
 Frank's paternal grandpa (check out that tie!), escorted by his girlfriend
 Frank's parents
My momma! 
My sister & maid of honor. My fluffy flower girls in the wagon.

 Two beautiful fluffy "flower fairies." I adore these girls so much.

My 2 1/2 year old flower girl was supposed to walk down the aisle instead of go in the wagon with the baby flower girl. She turned to me & said, "can I go in the wagon too?" with her sweet little voice & she was so excited when I said yes! I've never seen a child so happy over something so small.


My oldest ring-bearer (only 3) was holding the "here comes the bride" sign & was the last one to go down the aisle before me. He turned to me & said, "are you the bride?" I told him that I was & that's when he said, "I'm in charge of you! I have a special job & I you can't walk until I do!" My mom had given him his sign & told him how important his job was & he was so unbelievably proud. It made my heart melt & I promised him I wouldn't walk until he did. I can't wait to tell him this story at his own wedding someday.
 We didn't expect him to, but when this little guy saw his big brother walk down the aisle he ran after him. It was adorable!
I love this shot of my sister & flower girls.

Now it was time...

 Right before we walked down the aisle, my dad put his hand over mine, turned to me & said, "this is so crazy. I love you." It was amazing. My dad is so incredible & this moment is something I know he waited for.




 After readings by our uncle's & a speech by our officiant it was time for us to recite our vows, which we wrote ourselves. This was Frank's idea & I was panicked about it. I can't believe I got through reading these vows in front of everyone, but I did. I looked at my almost husband & said them & meant every single word. 

 
Frank's vows: "Jamie, for me today is the culmination of the best 3 1/2 years of my life & the beginning of a wonderful future together. I knew from our first date that we would wind up here, getting married. I mean, who else can sit in a bar for 5 hours, at 2am just shooting the breeze? I knew then that this was love, & that love has only grown stronger every day since. The best parts of my day, every day, are waking up next to you & coming home to you... & Layla. I look forward to continuing to share these moments with you for the rest of my life.

 My vows: Frank, from the moment I met you I was crazy about you. A few months later I left my first Bruce Springsteen concert knowing I was in love with you, and it wasn't long after that that I knew i could easily spend the rest of my life with you. You are so many amazing things. Your honesty, your sense of humor, and constant support are the things I love most about you. In our marriage, I promise to always love you, support you in whatever you need, to be faithful, & to stock the fridge full of ragu since you're never home for dinner. In the 29 years of my life I have never been able to make a decision for anything. I never know what I want for dinner or what I'm gonna wear anywhere. You are the only easy decision I have ever made. There has never been a doubt when it comes to you, when it comes to us. I've known that from day one & I love you.





 Yay! Time for rings!
 After rings were exchanged we were blessed by my mom's best childhood friend, who is also a minister.
 I do! This is one of my favorite pictures from the entire day.



We're married! After this Frank & I snuck off to a room by ourselves where our bridal attendants brought us some champagne & cocktail hour food. We took about 20 minutes to just be alone, enjoy each other, and be married! It was so special. 20 minutes of just us in the middle of all of this. It was much needed.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Simple Sesame Chicken



My husband does not eat Chinese food. He's weird. The only things he'll eat is chicken teriyaki & fried rice, if I make it. He won't touch the stuff from a Chinese restaurant. So, I was hesitant to make this recipe for dinner. His reaction? "This is awesome. Make this again." Then he had two bowls full. Success!

I love when he eats things I never expected. I won't ever get him to eat a lentil or an avocado, but at least he ate this.

This recipe was done in the time it took the rice to cook. Perfect after a long day. I roasted some broccoli to go with it & served the chicken over long grain white rice with scallions. This was definitely cozy comfort food.

Simple Sesame Chicken
Adapted from Recipebest.com
Servings: 4 Points Plus: 8 (chicken only)

Ingredients:

For the Chicken:
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces (about 1" pieces)
  • 2 TB canola oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 TB cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • Pinch of pepper
For the Sauce:
  • 4 TB soy sauce
  • 2 TB water
  • 1 TB sesame oil
  • 3 TB brown sugar
  • 3 TB rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2" fresh grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tb cornstarch
  • 2 TB sesame seeds
Other:
  • Sesame seeds
  • 3 scallions, sliced
Directions:

1) In a large bowl, mix together the beaten eggs, salt, pepper, & cornstarch. Add the chicken pieces & toss to coat in the egg mixture. Heat a large skillet over med-high heat & add the canola oil. When the oil is very hot, add the chicken. Let cook about 2-3 minutes before turning the pieces over so that the outside browns on each side.

2) While the chicken is cooking, toss all of the sauce ingredients together in a bow. Whisk until the cornstarch & brown sugar are incorporated.

3) When the chicken is finished cooking, lower the heat to med-low & add the sauce. The sauce will thicken the second it hits the heat so toss the chicken immediately. Within a minute your chicken will be coated with a thick sauce. Remove from heat immediately.

4) Serve over bowls of cooked rice. Top each serving with some more sesame seeds & scallions.

Big Mac Salad

Two all beef patties. Special Sauce. Lettuce. Cheese. Pickles. Onions....on a sesame seed bun.

The Big mac. 



I often read Can You Stay For Dinner & love the simplicity of her recipes. When I saw her Cheeseburger Salad I drooled at the photo of pickles in a salad with special sauce. I dislike Big Macs. I dislike any sandwich with 3 pieces of bread because that's weird & unnatural. I do love me some of that special sauce though. And onions. And cheese.

I took her recipe & made my own super skinny special sauce (kinda like Russian dressing) & caramelized the onions so they wouldn't be too overpowering in the salad. It was delicious & an awesome lunch on my day off. Salads can be so much fun.

Big Mac Salad
Adapted from: Can You Stay For Dinner?

Ingredients:

For the Salad:
  • 1 lb ground 90% lean sirloin
  • 1 head of romaine, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • handful of baby dill pickles, chopped
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced 
  • 1 TB butter
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt & pepper
For the Dressing:
  • 1 cup low sodium, fat free chicken broth
  • 2 TB low fat mayonnaise
  • 2 TB fat free sour cream
  • 2 TB ketchup
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 TB sweet pickle relish
  • Kosher salt
  • Splash of hot sauce (optional)
  • 2 tsp water
Directions:

1) Pre-heat a skillet over med-high heat. Melt the butter & add the sliced onions. Add a little salt to draw out the moisture from the onions. Cook over the med-high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the sugar to the onions, toss & cover. Lower the heat to medium-low & leave the onions alone for about 5-10 minutes.

2) Meanwhile, mix together all of the dressing ingredients, except for the chicken broth in bowl. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth until the dressing is thin enough to pour, but still has that creamy salad dressing consistency. You'll know! Cover & put in the fridge.


3) I like a lot of dressing on my salad & thinning a creamy dressing out with fat free broth makes a little go a long way. You get a lot more dressing for almost no extra calories! It's magic! I'm going to be doing this all the time now.

4) Uncover the onions & toss. Let them continue cooking down over low heat while you cook the beef.

5) Salt & pepper the beef & cook over med-high heat in a large skillet. Break it apart so that it's crumbly. Cook until the beef is no longer pink & set aside.

6) Once your beef & onions are cooked, assemble the salads in bowls. Layer each bowl with romaine, chopped tomatoes, 1/4 cup of shredded cheese, the caramelized onions, sliced pickles, & a 1/4 of the beef. Top with the Special Sauce Dressing & serve!
 



Monday, September 30, 2013

Let's Look Back: Just us, finally.

I wanted to finish these posts by our one year anniversary, which was yesterday, but a spontaneous trip to Atlantic City for the weekend prevented that. We had such an amazing weekend, but that's for another post. For now, let's look back on the first moments that Frank & I had to ourselves that day (sort of). It was time for our photographs alone. It was fun to be able to laugh with him through these photos, but we were both totally shot & ready to party by the time we took these photos. We still hadn't had our ceremony & it was already a long day. On we went with the photos.





I love how my dad is in the background watching this photo. He's so cute.

















A little story about the next two photos...

Frank & I are die-hard Yankee fans. I love them so much (as does my family) & he was the first Yankee fan I ever dated. So much of our relationship revolves around watching or going to games & it's one of my most favorite things about us. For our engagement party our best man plus 3 of our best friends had us made custom Yankee jerseys with our last name & wedding date on them. From the moment we opened them I wanted photos of them on our wedding day, to use as part of our thank yous.

When it came time to take these photos our photographer gave me a hard time about it. He kept saying,  "no, this shot first, blah blah blah." Finally I said, "I want this photo in front of The Woodlands. I want to do this NOW." He again said no. My incredible bridal attendant turned to him & said, "the bride has been asking for this shot all day. We're doing it now. I'm going to get the jerseys."

It still makes me angry to think about how much I had to argue to get the ONE PICTURE I really really wanted. Make sure you are on the same page as your photographer everyone! 


We went on to spend the first half of our honeymoon cancelling fancy dinner reservations to watch the Yankees chase a playoff spot. I told you we were big fans...