Archive for February, 2009

This is my first time participating in an event, called “In The Bag” hosted by “Real Epicurean“.    As I understand it, the host offers ingredients and the participants come up with a meal (or a dish?) using at least one, if not all, of the ingredients offered. 

February’s “bag” contents are…

  • Passion Fruit 

    A Passion Fruit

    A Passion Fruit

  • White Chocolate
  • Pomegranate

I could not initially find the passion fruit, however was successful during this morning’s grocery shopping experience.  Since I had purchased the Nectar already, I only bought one fruit for the finishing touches of my feature dessert.  I decided I would use 100% Passion Fruit Nectar, POM – pomegranate juice, and I always have Callebaut chocolate on hand, that includes White Chocolate. 

passion fruit nectar and POM juice

passion fruit nectar and POM juice

The three ingredients came together for our dessert in a very special Saturday night dinner I knew the hubster would love.  The “feature” dessert, using “In The Bag” ingredients:

Pomegranate Torte with Passion Fruit Buttercream filling under a delicate blanket of White Chocolate Ganache gently laced with Passion Fruit Nectar.

It was delicious! 

I have never used nor eaten a passion fruit before. I had no idea how to cut it which is why there is a little slit where there shouldn’t be in my fruit half.



  • Make a White Cake but use Pomegranate Juice as the liquid.  When cooled, slice into 1/2 so you have a 4 layer torte.
  • Make a Passion Fruit cake wash using 1/2 cup granulated sugar + 3/4 cup Passion Fruit Juice/Nectar. Boil 3 minutes, let cool and brush each torte layer with wash prior to filling.
  • Make a basic Buttercream filling, using the Passion Fruit juice/nectar in place of milk/cream/water for creating consistency.  *Add “Dreamwhip” to stabilize.  The filling may look a little curdled, but once chilled in the cake – it’s perfect!
  • Assemble the torte (one layer – wash – filling- 2nd layer- wash- filling – 3rd layer- wash-filling – 4th layer – wash.
  • Put assembled torte in fridge to let the filling firm up.
  • Making the White Chocolate Ganache:  Heat 1 cup heavy cream over low to about 165 F and hold, stirring constantly for 2 minutes.  Meanwhile, gently heat 15 oz good quality white chocolate. When cream is ready, pour over white chocolate, using a whip while blending.  Add 2 TBS Passion Fruit Nectar.  Let cool until it is desired consistency to cover your torte.


Pomegranate Torte with Passion Fruit Buttercream and White Chocolate Ganache

Pomegranate Torte with Passion Fruit Buttercream and White Chocolate Ganache


As it turned out… Sue and Sam came over for dinner! Hurrah!!!

Sue, Sam & Ted had “Beer Braised BBQ Pork Butt” from a recipe of  Dave Lieberman, The Foodnetwork.   Click the link for the recipe.  My only alterations were adding 2 TBS brown sugar to the dry rub and substituting dry mustard for the mustard seed.  No picture – it was just too “porky” for this Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian’s site.

Fresh rolls were needed to go along with the Pulled Pork.  I made whole wheat, quinoa flour rolls. They were not a sweet roll what so ever.  They went along quite well with the beans which were sweet and, I was told, they also paired well with the pork.


I went back to the Foodnetwork and Dave Lieberman for a side of  Baked Beans.  Again, please click the link for the recipe.  I didn’t use bacon.  I used soy bacon substitute and 4 oz “Soyrizo, Meatless Soy Chorizo“.  The beans and rolls were to be my main entree for this Saturday Night Special.   The beans were beyond fabulous!



As our appetizer, I made “Gratinated Cherry Tomatoes with Hot and Herby Mozzarella Filling“.  This was a super tasty little tid bit found at Lucillian blogspot.  Make sure you check that one out.  The exact measurements weren’t offered so I “winged” it. 



Was my Saturday spent in the kitchen? 

For the most part, but that’s the way I like it ….Dancing beetle:9311Heartbeat:10125uh huh, uh huh….

I hope I participated in a way acceptable to the seasonal food blogging event hosted by Real Epicurean and run monthly by Real Epicurean and A Slice of Cherry Pie.  Of course I had fun – I was in my kitchen!

Have a great night!


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It’s Saturday. This must be the most popular day of the week.

Last night Ted and I went to dinner, just down the road, at Chesterfields.  It was great except for one piece of fish that didn’t really do anything for either of us. 

I began with a Toasted Head Chardonnay. It was creamy, thick and buttery.

Toasted Head Chard

Toasted Head Chard

We couldn’t resist the glorious bread absolutely dripping with garlic butter.


Because we were both pretty hungry, we had an appetizer of  “Greens-Cherry Peppers Escarole Oreganato Mix Romano Cheese”.  I asked for a few more hot peppers to give it a bit more zip-a-roo. Yummy!


Utica's Finest: Meatless Italian Greens

Utica's Finest: Meatless Italian Greens

The last entree listed looked really interesting to both of us so we both ordered it. “Mix Grill-Halibut, Salmon, Swordfish grilled to perfection served on Champagne and Asparagus Risotto”. 

I asked for mine with just asparagus – no risotto. Ted had the full kit-n-kaboodle.

Both of us loved the dish except for the piece of Halibut. It just lacked flavor. Not sure why because Halibut is usually a really tasty fish. The salmon and swordfish made up for the lacky of  a Halibut.

Mixed Grill with Asparagus

Mixed Grill with Asparagus




Mixed Grill, as described, with Risotto

Mixed Grill, as described, with Risotto

Moving on to Saturday.
Let’s back up. We decided that Shane could be trusted now to be outside his crate at night if he wanted.  We put him to bed last night – he went in his crate. I didn’t shut the crate door. 
Within about 10 minutes he comes upstairs to our room. He got in trouble a little bit with Ted but eventually laid down. Shane seems to have a “thing” for Ted’s smelly socks.  The night went well. He scratched just a couple of times that I heard. Got up when Ted got up. Barked at about 5 AM when the paper was delivered.  Not bad for his first time (other than in the motels) outside his crate at night.
So this morning, we went for a 6.25 mile run. We went UP Sherman Drive. That’s a great big hill. We walked and jogged a bit up that hill (just under 2 miles).  It was a breeze from there.
I grabbed a nice, crisp apple upon arriving home, took a bath, made breakfast.  My Saturday omelet with left over Italian Greens. I couldn’t wait to eat!
Make sure to check in with me tonight (maybe tomorrow) because I’m doing a really special dinner for Ted and a REALLY special cake that I intend to write about and link to “In the bag”, a food event hosted by A Slice of Cherry Pie and Real Epicurean.
Have a great day!

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GREAT ARTICLE! Make sure you give it a read!

www.shape.com >> Articles – 10 Reasons Your Workouts Aren’t Working

Posted using ShareThis

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Another healthy tip came my way this morning. This one was from RealAge and was focused on the benefits of Vitamin B12 and the brain.  This vitamin, among other things, helps prevent brain atrophy. Brain shrinkage can lead to Alzheimer’s.  We all think we’re way too young to be concerned about that, but not if you don’t live a healthy life style and eat right. At least we can do our best to try to prevent it.  Good sources of this vitamin are found in tuna, salmon, eggs, yogurt, cottages cheese, and nutritional yeast.  Check out the site reference above for the complete story.

It is GLORIOUS Friday!  What a nice day here in Upstate. It is calm, pretty warm for our neck of the woods (35 F and expected to reach 50 by noon), there is no wind and the roads are clear.  That will change according to the forecast, but we will enjoy it while we can.  In fact, … pause…I’m just opening my blinds at my desk.  Yes, I have 5 minutes before I have to write out some checks. Bummer. I think I just put a dark cloud over me with that thought.  Moving on…

I did work out today. Yes I did.  It was a 20 minute run on the treadmill (that is getting REAL boring – Get Me OUTSIDE ALREADY!).  35 minutes of shoulders. 42 minute jog with Shane.

Today I’m offering all the vital stats that go along with my food consumptions up until noon. After 12 PM, I cheat like mad and wouldn’t dare tell you about my Friday afternoon intake. You’d pass out. I’m allowed one afternoon… Come On?!!! 

Pre workout Shake: Smooth Banana. Cals=112. Prot=20g.Fat.=1g.Carb=1g

Breakfast:  Protein Shake. Bob’s Red Mill 5 Grain Hot Cereal, 1 (scant) TBS Naturally More PB, 1/2 a large grapefruit, 1 strawberry, a few raisins.

Calories = 470 Protein=35g Carbs = 62 Fat =12

5 Grain Hot Cereal

5 Grain Hot Cereal


Mid Morning Snack:  That will be just under 1 cup FAGE 0% Greek Yogurt, a medium apple with a few raisins and 3 almonds.

Calories: 213. Prot=20g Carbs=33 Fat = .3

Lunch: Broccoli Slaw, Baby Spinach, 3 grape tomatoes, 1 large radish, 1/4 green, 1/4 red – bell peppers.  1 TBS Annies F/F Rasp. Dressing and 1 TBS Balsamic Vinegar. 1/2 Multi Grain Tortilla. 3 oz pkt. Starkist chunk lite tuna.

Calories: 275. Protein=24. 34 carbs. 5.4 fat.

According to CalorieKing, I have 1243 calories to consume after lunch. 20 grams of Protein.  32g carbohydrates to go.  36 g Fat and 1 g of Fiber. 

I will not meet my calorie limit (that’s for sure!). I will probably meet the carbs. Definitely get the protein in. I usually don’t meet my fat requirement so I take EFA’s to catch that up. As for my fiber – I ALWAYS exceed my fiber because I love vegetables. Not a bad thing.

There you have it. The vitals.  Do you monitor your food intake?  Apparently it’s a great way to prevent over eating.  However, if you are really strict with your diet, you need to designate a day when you treat your self because one day per week will curb the bad cravings and, well…..you deserve it.

Have a super Friday!

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I received this GREAT “Ideal Bite” tid bit on lip balm and it deserves taking note:

 Lips feel like worn leather?

The Bite
Use eco lip balm on your next prairie rustle. While conventional balms are made with petroleum (yep, that petroleum), plant-based options are now widely available and will rescue your parched pucker lickety-split. Now ride.

The Benefits

  • Being healthy as a horse. Researchers have linked impurities in petrolatum (a common ingredient in many lip balms) to breast cancer; hence, the EU’s restrictions on its use.
  • Spur-ning oil. Once the world’s petroleum reserves are gone, they’re gone

Personally Speaking
A few of us claim that we’re addicted to lip balm, but we looked into it and it’s just psychological – your lips won’t build up a physical dependence (well, as long as you avoid those heroin-flavored versions).


Wanna Try?

  • Miessence Jaffa Lip Balm – organic shea butter and safflower and avocado oils moisturize in a big way ($6/0.12 ounce). 
  • Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer – sparkly colors (11 of ’em, to be exact) and a minty taste make this longstanding beeswax-based staple even better ($5/0.0975 ounce).
  • Eco Lips SPF 30 Sport Lip Balm – if you wanna avoid the white lips that natural titanium dioxide balms give you, here’s the best option we’ve found for the outdoors – does contain not-so-natural sunscreens ($3/0.15 ounce).


The dinner menu for tonight was comprised of a Boboli pizza and sliced cabbage mix.

I used 1/2 a head of green cabbage and sliced it. Boiled it for 10 minutes to soften. Meanwhile, I sauteed 4 green onions, chopped.  2 tsp of minced garlic.  I removed 1/2 the onion mix to use on the pizza. Added the drained cabbage to the pan with onions and garlic, then also tossed in 1/2 a sliced green pepper, 1 sliced plum tomato, and 1/2 a can of rinsed, drained black beans. Deglazed the pan with white wine, seasoned with salt, pepper, and a little pasta sauce.  Allowed the mixture to simmer until the pizza was cooked.

dscn02491I didn’t use any oil to cook this vegetable and if you should try it, I recommend you add oil and leave out the pasta sauce. It doesn’t need it.

As for the pizza, I obviously used a Boboli Whole Wheat Pizza crust.  This thrilled Ted because he doesn’t like the wheat free crust I usually make. 

We topped the Boboli with pasta sauce, the sauteed green onions and garlic, some diced green pepper, sliced baby bella mushrooms, Morning Star breakfast patties, sausage links and bacon.  All meat free.  Basically the only meat free items that Ted will eat.

The cheese was fresh mozzarella balls, packed in water. I sliced them and top that with just a small bit of parmesan cheese. Cooked 15 minutes at 450F.

dscn0248To be honest, I would have been happy if the only things on the pizza were the sauce and the sliced mozzarella cheese. Oh what we do for our sweeties!



That funky pink piece on the side is the "meatless bacon". Ewww!

 TGIF tomorrow!  That means happy hour Friday!Yippee!  The only draw back to this Friday is that Sue won’t be in work. Sad man:11722  I’ll have to talk to myself all day… or I can take a lot of breaks and leave comments all over blogdom.  So watch out! Thief:9608

Have a great night!

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I couldn’t go wrong.  Both Emeril and Ellie were in my kitchen


When I asked the girl serving at the fish counter in our local market about  1 1/2 lb of medium, raw shrimp, she steered me away from the ones in the display and, pointing to the “Emeril” bag of frozen shrimp, said “these are your best choice”.  Who am I to question that fishy chick?

I was excited about this CEimB night and cooking up a shrimpy dish because I really enjoy shrimp. A true seafood lover which is why I could never declare myself a true-blue Vegetarian.  When I saw what Cookies With Boys chose as tonight’s main feature, I was beside myself!  And FETA cheese as well?! Oh Heaven!

I surfed a little and found a couple of suggested alterations for this recipe which were right up my alley. 1. Add a little crushed red pepper. 2. Add wine. 

Adding the wine was a no brainer since there was so much to use from our Wine and Food Pairing Party last Saturday.  I like a little spice in my life so the red pepper worked for me.  However… I forgot to add it. What have I done:9813

I used fresh tomatoes instead of canned. Not sure why because this time of year in New York (maybe even where you are), the tomatoes look really nice, all red and plump, but they lack flavor. Still… something about “fresh” makes me think “better”.  They sure did smell good when being chopped and smashed!  A green bell pepper was also a spur of the moment addition.




Here are the ingredients used with another change:  I tossed that old McCormick Dill Seed and used  Spice Hunter dill.





My procedure: 

I cooked the onion with 3/4 green bell pepper (chopped) for about 6 minutes. 

Ted smashed the chopped fresh tomatoes and, after adding the garlic, we added the tomatoes along with 1/4 cup very light, somewhat sweet red wine (the Abby Rose).  Brought our mixture to a boil, however instead of thickening, it got juicier. Probably – well, definitely, the fresh tomatoes fault. 

After simmering for 10 minutes, I transferred the mix to a baking dish with a slotted spoon to get rid of some of the juice. Added my cilantro instead of parsley, dill, shrimp, salt and pepper, put in the oven for 20 minutes.

We served our Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta with broccoli and snap peas cooked in Glenora Riesling (another left over wine).

dscn0242What did we think of this dish?  Well, Ted enjoyed it and I was not thrilled. I really wish I hadn’t forgotten about that crushed red pepper. In my opinion, it needed a bit more flavor. 

  • Was it the tomatoes? 
  • Was it the wine?
  • Was it the Emeril shrimp?
  • Was it the cilantro instead of parsley?
  • Should I have used fresh dill?

I really don’t know.  It was easy to make and with some adjustment, we just might embark on this adventure one more time.

Good pick  Pamela of Cookies With Boys!

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It’s Ash Wednesday and time to stop the over indulgence.  That’s what FAT Tuesday is all about isn’t it? The last Hurrah?

My back was extremely stiff this morning. I had a hot stone massage on Sunday which was glorious but it didn’t loosen anything up or maybe it did, but my leg workout yesterday just made things worse.  As a result, there was no workout this morning except a nice walk with Shane to loosen the “clamp” a bit. 

I was really craving something just a little different this morning so I went with a weekend omelet combination less the toast. It consisted of…

  • 6 small asparagus spears
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup Egg Beaters
  • 1 oz Reduced Fat Feta Cheese
  • 2 TBS salsa
  • 1 plum (yum!)
  • 1/4 cup fresh pineapple (double yum!!)
  • 1 cup of Coconut Mango Oolong Tea w/ a splash of soymilk.
A hardy egg substitute breakfast with fruit

A hardy egg substitute breakfast with fruit

The tea is very orange smelling, but when brewed, the flavor mellows.

A cuppa

A cuppa

This breakfast added up as follows:

Total Calories = 287.  Protein = 36.5 g. Carbohydrates = 25.7 g. Fat = 4.9g. Fiber = 6.1 g.

My walk with the Shane-er, averaged about 255 calories burned, so out of my daily allowance of about 1639 or so calories, I am left with approx.  1607 for the rest of the day.  Those are the figures that “CalorieKing” came up with.  I won’t argue.

We had a meeting this morning, so I’m a bit behind and better get a move on.

Have a great day!

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