Date Night

My police officer is working day shift this week!  YAY!

That means that he is home when I get home from work and we do fun things like go out to dinner!

We started out with garlic cheddar biscuits.

I just want you all to know…this appetizer was NOT my idea…

However, my sangria…it was my BEST idea…

Lee’s beer looks pretty fancy-schmancy in that glass, but it’s just a Bud Light.  Notice the bottle is still in the background.

Lee had steak and shrimp and I went with Basil Pesto Tilapia. 

A waitress brought Lee’s dinner out and looked at me and said, “…and nothing for you?”  I thought she was kidding and laughed and joked, “No, we are just here for his dinner.”  Apparently, she wasn’t joking.  My dinner was never made. Our waiter came over and apologized and explained that my dinner was deleted by accident. 

And then…he totally made it better when he brought me my dinner and said as he set it down, “Hey!  Remember that time when your dinner took forever!?”  I laughed and it was all forgotten.   

And…this is my rice pilaf that I originally ordered (notice the mashed potatoes on my original plate)

It sounds like a nightmare dinner…dinners being deleted and sides being wrong.  However, our waiter was hilarious, the food was delicious, and…

…it was a date night.  😉

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Quinoa Pilaf

I mentioned that I come from a family that believes in whole grains. 

For example, our Christmas Eve dinner main course is a soup my grandma makes called borscht. 

Yes. Borscht.  Those letters don’t even look like they go together!  It’s Polish.  Or something like that.

Anyway, in this soup, you pretty much throw everything in except the kitchen sink.  Really.  And, in this mixture?  Barley, buckwheat, millet, brown rice,…you get the point. 

It’s no surprise that at Sunday’s dinner we had quinoa. 

With veggies.

Oh, how I love you, little fluffs…

Grains with vegetables.  It just sounds so healthy!  That’s why I was sure to pair it with candied sweet potatoes!

Quinoa Pilaf

adapted from the back of the quinoa box!

1/2 c. carrots, diced

1/2 c. green onion, diced

1/4 c. celery, diced

1/4 c. red pepper, diced (I used 1/2 cup)

1/4 c. green pepper, diced ( I used 1/2 cup)

6 c. Quinoa, cooked using basic recipe

1/4 c. butter or olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 c. almonds, sliced

1.4 t. oregano

salt to taste 

Saute veggies in olive oil until crisp; stir in oregano.  Add sauteed veggies to cooked quinoa, mix well.  Salt to taste.  Serves 6.

Basic Instructions

Place 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce to simmer, cover and cook until all water is absorbed (10-15 mins).  When done, the grain appears soft and translucent, and the germ ring will be visible along the outside edge of the grain. (I sometimes use chicken broth, or throw some boullion in the water to give the quinoa more of a flavor.)

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Sometimes…

…you just need a nacho supreme.

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Light Fettuccini Alfredo

One thing you must know about me.  I love fettuccini alfredo. 

I love it plain.  I love it with chicken.  I love it with seafood.  Maybe with chocolate?  No, no…that wouldn’t be good. 

I love it for dinner, lunch, a mid-morning snack, and maybe even for breakfast.

Fettuccini alfredo is lovingly referred to as “heart attack on a plate,” right?

Low-fat versions usually are not as good and leave something to be desired.  Like the creamy texture?  The cheesy garlic taste?  Everything good about real alfredo?

Not this recipe.  This light alfredo is heavenly.  It is thick, creamy, and every bit as good as the alfredo that makes your arteries clog.

Yeah, I just kinda globbed the cream cheese onto a measuring spoon.  I don’t think it’s completely wrong to not measure…and slip in some extra.

Light Fettuccini Alfredo

1 tablespoon butter

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1-1/3 cup 1% low-fat milk

1-1/4 cup grated fresh Parm-Reggiano cheese, divided

2 tablespoons low-fat cream cheese (I used Neufchatel)

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 cups hot cooked fettuccini (8 ounces uncooked)

2 teaspoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

cracked black pepper, to taste

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently.  Stir in flour.  Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk.  Cook 6 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly.  Add 1 cup Parm-Reggiano cheese (gradually), cream cheese, and salt, stirring with whisk until cheeses melt.  Toss sauce with hot pasta.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parm-Regg cheese and chopped parsley.  Garnish with black pepper, if desired.  Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings (1 cup each)

Seriously.  It’s amazing. 

We ate it all.  You know what that means.  There won’t be any left for me to have for breakfast tomorrow morning.  Sigh.

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Tonight…

I left work at 6.

I ran into this…

I met my friend, April, in a Walmart parking lot.  We were waiting for the highway leading to our house to open.  Those lights?  Those are the flares preventing us from going home.

We were actually debating on whether or not to get a hotel room.  There are 3 ways I can get to my house.  They were all shut down.  We discussed getting a room and buying new clothes for work at the Walmart.  We were making plans.

My police officer and his friend, Donny (April’s husband), were enjoying dinner and beer while we were stranded on the side of the road.  Our road opened, April and I finally got to head home.  I only had one request…

I spun up the driveway and barely made it in the garage.  My poor little Mazda.  It’s glad to finally be sleeping in the garage.  I am glad to finally be in my pjs, snuggled in bed.

It’s a blizzard out there.

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Comfort = Sundays at Grandma's

Yesterday, we spent the day with my grandparents. 

This was taken last November when my grandma turned 79.

My grandpap is 87.  Yes, 87.  If I look that good (and am still moving) when I am 87, I will consider myself very lucky. 

I swear that my grandparents have more of a social life than I do!  They are never home when we call or stop over to visit.  They are always running here and there and doing all kinds of cute “grandparent” stuff.  

We try to have dinner together on a Sunday at least once every couple of weeks.  It is time that I cherish and every time I am there, I thank my lucky stars that I still have them in life. 

Last night’s dinner was heaven.  It was pure comfort food.  We had baked chicken (with some amazing coating my grandma invented), quinoa pilaf, candied sweet potatoes, and regular mashed potatoes (because my pap is getting harder and harder to please). 

 

Queenie wanted to help with dinner. 

Gotta love the honeycomb linoleum in the kitchen!  It has been there for as long as I can remember.

Dinner was finished up with desserts, which is common practice at the grandparent’s.  My mom made some butterscotch concoction that was made with pudding and crushed up cookies.  It was the sweetest thing I have ever tasted…so I made sure to have seconds.  It was heaven!  As we were dialing our dentists after eating my mom’s dessert, my grandma brought out carrot cupcakes and black bean brownies.  Really, the whole family is head over heels in love with these black bean brownies.  It’s become quite an unhealthy obsession.  Although, I guess it’s healthier than being obsessed with regular fudge brownies.   Anyway, after dessert, we all sat at the table (or should I say slumped in our chairs) and complained about how full we were.

After dinner, we just sit around the table, have coffee, and talk.  Well, last night we had coffee andWhite Russians.  I’m not sure what prompted my grandma to make them…she just brought in a pitcher and poured us all a glass.  This was, mind you, after we polished off a few bottles of wine with dinner.  Anyway, we talked, my grandpap told jokes that we have all heard 100 times (but still laugh hysterically at), and sipped our drinks. 

I know there will come a time when I won’t be able to have dinner at my grandparent’s house on Sundays.  I don’t like to think about that.  So, for now, I enjoy every minute I have with them.  I know I am one of the lucky ones. 

And, when my grandparents hug and kiss me and say, “Thanks for visiting with us,” as I leave, I just smile.  They definitely don’t have to thank me.  There is no other place I would rather be on a Sunday.  🙂

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Hurried-Up Hummus

This morning I woke up to the craziest thing.   At first, I thought it was my alarm.  I quickly realized it was a more gentle sound…a faint, far-away voice. 

Jet didn’t hear anything…he was sound asleep on Dad’s pillow. 

Please excuse my chaotic bed!  It’s winter, so I have been layering up with my flannel sheets that I got for Christmas and my plaid down comforter.  When the bed is made, you can’t even tell that there is a fashion disaster going on!  I promise, though, when the weather breaks, there will be pretty solid color sheets on with a normal white embroidered comforter!  Anyway, back to the voice….

I came down to the kitchen and you wouldn’t believe what it was…my can of chickpeas was screaming to be made into hummus!!  It just had to be done!  Today!

Unfortunately, I didn’t have any tahini.  No problem, I guess.  I just made basic old hummus.  Trust me, the term basic just means it’s easy…not that it’s boring.

I was lazy this morning.  I didn’t mince my own garlic.  It’s okay.  It’s Sunday.

Lemons make me think of sunshine.  I like it.

Hurried-Up Hummus

1 can (16 oz.) chick peas; drained and rinsed

2 teaspoons minced garlic (I used a little more)

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon hot sauce (you may add more or less, depending on your preference)

Place all ingredients in a food processor, except the olive oil.  Mix ingredients together and stream in olive oil.  Continue to process until hummus is smooth and creamy.  Serve with pita chips, veggies, crackers…pretty much anything!

Now, my suggestion is to hurry over to How Sweet It Is and whip up a batch of Jessica’s Everything Flatbread Crackers.  They are amazing and perfect for scooping up huge globs of hummus!

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