Friday, June 28, 2013

Kitchen Adventures: Beef Kofta Curry

Full Title: Beef Kofta Curry with Fluffy Rice, Beans and Peas. Curry in a hurry! 

Ingredients: Puy Lentils, Garam Masala, Hamburger, Olive Oil, Tomatoes, Ginger Root, Green Onions, Red Chili, Cilantro, Turmeric, Honey, Patak's Rogan Josh Curry Paste, Light Coconut Milk, Fat Free Yogurt, Lemon, Basmati Rice, Cardamom Pods, Green Beans, Frozen Peas, Pappadums
I never thought that I would like Indian but I am quickly becoming a fan. Beef Kofta is made with hamburger and lentils plus garam masala. The rice was good but I would really suggest NEVER biting into a cardamom pod. The flavor is really intense and not good. It was a nice touch to the rice though. The pappadums are not fried; they are microwaved until they are puffy and crisp. You crumble them up and put them in the curry. Great dish. Great leftovers. 4 out of 5. 706 calories for 2 pieces of kofta, sauce and rice. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

My First Trade! (Mug #57)

I completed my first mug trade. A co-worker had gotten me an extra Puerto Rico mug. I traded a guy in Sacramento for a Manila mug. Random but pretty cool. :)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Kitchen Adventures: Prawn Linguine

Full Title: Prawn Linguine with Sicilian Shaved Fennel Salad. Fennel. Hrmph.

Ingredients: Rustic Bread, Garlic, Olive Oil, Dried Linguine, Red Chili, Anchovy Fillets, Cinnamon, Saffron, Prawns (shrimp!), Garlic, Passata, Lemon, Parmesan Cheese, Basil, Fennel, Celery HEART, Mint
I didn't retake the picture... but NO, we did not accidentally use celery root instead of celery heart! Thankfully Ian realized our mistake and we corrected it just in time. This meal made me come to the conclusion that I really don't like fennel. It's too much of a licorice flavor for me... and then put it as the base of a salad - meh. Ian loved it though. The linguine was fantastic. It has cinnamon in the sauce which made for a really interesting flavor. The bread crumbs stole the show. They are meant to add a little crunch to the pasta and they are so yummy. Super garlicky. So simple. 562 calories for a big of serving of the pasta and salad. 4 out of 5 high fives!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

State of the Upgrade

I am 2-3 sizes down in clothes. I've had people, who didn't know I was trying to lose weight, tell me I am looking really good. Last week I had a regular massage and a 15 minute massage. Both people asked me if I had lost a lot of weight. (Who knew your neck could look so different to someone...) It's made me feel really good about my slow progress. It hasn't been all that difficult... which helps reaffirm that my plan of slow weight loss is something that I can maintain. It has also had a great, unexpected side affect - my husband has lost some weight! Of course we are having a ton of Kitchen Adventures, but we are both working on our portion sizes and it's working. 

So what is the current state of the upgrade? I am working off the little bit I gained from our trip to California. I've started focusing on strength training and I'm going to get back to dancing regularly. Instead of dancing, Ian and I have been taking some walks around the neighborhood. But it's getting super hot out so I'm sure that will slow down. I'm looking forward to the next 6 months. At the very least, I feel so much better. :)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Kitchen Adventures: Golden Scallops with Sun Blush Mash and Greens

Scallops. Ian and I were a little scared of cooking scallops mainly because of Gordon Ramsey. If you have ever watched an episode of Hell's Kitchen, you would know that they only cook two things: Beef Wellington and Scallops. He likes to scream at the contestants that the scallops are burnt, rubbery, uncooked, tough, etc. This made us worried that the scallops wouldn't turn out well. But we were mistaken! :)

Ingredients: Potatoes, Cheddar Cheese, Sun Dried Tomatoes in Oil, Broccolini, Asparagus, Frozen Peas, Olive Oil, Lemon, Smoked Bacon, Scallops, Fresh Sage Leaves
We cooked the scallops really well... lightly golden and cooked through. The potatoes on the other hand... Hrmph. The recipe specifically says do not over-blend the potatoes or they will become gluey. Guess what happened? It was like eating a thick glue paste. Delicious... but sticky. We have started to give our dishes a high five rating. Some dishes, after one bite, have made us high five. A few dishes have made us repeatedly high five. This dish was 3 out of 5. It might be a 4 but our execution brought it down. We will definitely have it again. 441 calories gets you 3 scallops and hopefully non-gluey potatoes with some greens.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Kitchen Adventures: Seared Asian Tuna

Full Title: Seared Asian Tuna with Coconut Rice and Jiggy Jiggy Greens. There are a few dishes that make us high five after eating. This meal was one of them!

Ingredients: Light Coconut Milk, Basmati Rice, Lime, Yellowfin Tuna Steak, Green Tea Bags, Sesame Seeds, Olive Oil, Pickled Ginger, Green Onions, Red Chili, Grapefruit, Soy Sauce, Cilantro, Bok Choy, Asparagus, Broccolini, Sesame Oil, Garlic, Teriyaki Sauce
Full disclosure... this was not a cheap meal. Yellowfin Tuna Steak = Expensive. But Seared Asian Tuna = Worth Every Penny. I am not a good enough writer to do this dish justice. I'll try but will probably fail miserably. The coconut rice is something we've done before and this time it was still delicious. The Jiggy Jiggy Greens are made from finely slicing the greens, quickly cooking them and dressed with a little teriyaki sauce. And the star of the dish... the Yellowfin Tuna steak is coated in green tea, sesame seeds, salt and pepper, then seared for a minute each side. The shocking part was the dressing on the plate. You lay down some of the pickled ginger, green onions and chili, and squeeze the grapefruit over it. Then arrange small pieces of the tuna and top with a few drops of soy sauce. Again, I'm not a good enough writer to properly describe how delicious this meal was. We high fived quite a few times. :) 648 calories gets you a lot of coconut rice and jiggy jiggy greens, plus 3 pieces of tuna. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Kitchen Adventures: Ricotta Fritters

Full Title: Ricotta Fritters with Tomato Sauce and Courgette Salad. British people are weird... they call zucchinis "courgettes". Silly!

Ingredients: Porcini Mushrooms, Anchovy Fillets, Dried Red Chili, Garlic, Passata, Basil, Egg, Ricotta Cheese, Nutmeg, Lemon, Parmesan Cheese, Flour, Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Zucchini, Red Chili, Mint
Kitchen Adventures has gotten us a few vegetarian dishes to add to our rotation. This one is a keeper! I can't believe Ian was up for this since he hates cheese... or hates cheese in large amounts. But the fritters only had a faint taste of it. The sauce was delicious... the "courgette" salad... not so much. Ian liked it... but I couldn't get over the fact that we were eating raw zucchini. :| The serving size was a little small but it matched the calories - 408 for 2 small fritters, sauce and big portion of salad. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Monday, June 17, 2013

Kitchen Adventures: Pork Steaks

Full Title: Pork Steaks with Hungarian Pepper Sauce and Rice. Stick to your ribs food for middle of the winter... but still good in Spring! 

Ingredients: Red & Green Bell Pepper, Red Onion, Carrot, Fennel, Apple, Olive Oil, Smoked Paprika, Bay Leaves, Garlic, Balsamic Vinegar, Passata, Pork Fillet, Ground Coriander, Basmati Rice, Arugula, Lemon, Fat Free Yogurt
I'm not a huge fan of pork. We are starting to eat more of it and I think my tastes are changing (kitchen adventures does that to you!). This dish is definitely one to make in the cold months. It's a heavy meal even though it isn't high in calories. The rice was forgettable but the sauce and pork were tasty. 685 calories per serving. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Kitchen Adventures: Black Bean Burgers

Full title: Black Bean Burgers with Noodles and Pickles Salad. Jamie Oliver calls this "street food". I call this YUMMY. 

Ingredients: Lean Ground Beef, Black Bean Sauce, Olive Oil, Honey, Sesame Seeds, Lime, Chicken Stock Cube, Ginger Root, Egg Noodles, Red and Yellow Bell Pepper, Sugar Snap Peas, Bok Choy, Mixed Mushrooms, Water Chestnuts, Green Onions, Red Chili, Cilantro, Soy Sauce
The burgers are bun-less as you can see... but they end up with a sticky/crispy coating of honey and sesame seeds. The salad was a stretch for me as it was mainly made of water chestnuts. It turned out to be really surprising. Crunchy, fresh and mildly salty from the soy sauce. It crossed that line we have with Kitchen Adventures - we have no idea if we will like it or not. I liked it! I had a little problem with the serving size though. 558 calories gets you 1 burger, some of the water chestnut salad and a ton of the noodles. I would rather have more meat than a lot of noodles. Still an excellent dish that will go into our rotation.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Kitchen Adventures: Moroccan Mussels

Full Title: Moroccan Mussels with Tapenade Toasties and Cucumber Salad. Another trip to Morocco! 

Ingredients: Olive Oil, Garlic, Harissa, Chopped Tomatoes, Cilantro, Preserved Lemons, Saffron, Mussels, Ciabatta Loaf, Round Lettuce, Cucumber, Mint, Lemon, Fat Free Yogurt, Sun Dried Tomato Tapenade
I should warn anyone who would try to make a mussel dish. Make sure you cook the night before your trash goes out. The mussels shells and any meat you didn't eat will smell like DEATH the next day. We lived with it for a couple days... and it still haunts us. *shudder* Aside from this minor hiccup, this was definitely something we would make again. It was interesting and different. The flavor of the sauce that the mussels cook in was unique. A tiny hint of spice. Delicious. The toasties were useful in soaking up the sauce. 549 calories gets you a big piece of bread, a ton of mussels and a small little salad.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Full Bloom

Our vacation was so great... but we were really excited to come back and see what our plants were doing. The pictures do not capture how much everything grew while we were away. Unfortunately, the dead part of the tree didn't miraculously come back to life. The Boston Ivy is really starting to grow and has begun gripping to the fence. The boxwoods looked COMPLETELY different. Bushy. Shaggy. It was so weird. 

We carted back with us some expensive but really high quality patio furniture covers. The chairs are so wide that we couldn't find any single chair covers that would fit. Instead, we bought two sofa covers and slightly pushed the chairs together when they are covered. I think they look pretty nice! 

One of the Boston Ivy plants. They have little red grippers starting to go for the fence. Yay!

View of the yard. Like I said.. most people wouldn't notice... but it has exploded in green! 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Kitchen Adventures: Rosemary Chicken

Full Title: Rosemary Chicken with Grilled Polenta and Porcini Tomato Sauce

Ingredients: Porcini Mushrooms, Tomatoes, Tomato Puree, Red Chili, Basil, Garlic, Ready-Made Polenta, Olive Oil, Asparagus, Chicken Breasts, Rosemary, Fennel Seeds, Smoked Pancetta, Oyster Mushrooms, Baby Spinach, Balsamic Vinegar
We've had polenta before but never in the fully cooked form. This dish was very good but the direction for how to plate the meal was very bad. It ended up being this unwieldy tower of vegetables and chicken. The grilled polenta was good but a little lost in the mix. The part that stole the show was the porcini mushroom tomato sauce. It would be so easy to do this any day... with any meat and vegetable. It was so tasty. I think we will redo this dish and plate it very differently. Still good at 455 calories a serving. :)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Kitchen Adventures: Ian's B-Day BBQ Pork

Full Title: Glazed Pork Fillet with Cajun Style Pepper Rice and BBQ Sauce. It was Ian's birthday and, even though I quizzed him repeatedly, he did not want to go out for dinner. He really wanted to stay home and have another Kitchen Adventure. So that is exactly what we did! 

Ingredients: Pork Fillet, Allspice, Olive Oil, Red Onion, Celery, Okra, Red and Yellow Bell Pepper, Sweet Paprika, Cumin Seeds, Fennel Seeds, Cooked Brown Rice, Lemon, Basil, Garlic, Worcestershire Sauce, Ketchup, HP Sauce, Honey, Soy Sauce, Tabasco, Apple Juice
Kitchen Adventures is obviously about being adventurous. Nothing could be more of a test of this than trying okra for the first time. It was... really good! Weird.. but very good. It soaked up the cajun flavor really well. The BBQ sauce was unique and fit with the seasoning in the vegetables and rice. It was raining (or snowing depending on the time) and we weren't able to do this on the barbecue but it turned out great using the grill pan and broiler. 611 calories per serving. Happy Birthday Ian. :) 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Spring California Trip: On Our Way Home

Waiting at the airport (in front of Starbucks so we can get it right before we board). Hate to leave both California and Virginia but I'm expected back at work tomorrow. :P

Spring California Trip: Batter Up!

We are just relaxing until our flight time. Here's Kamber fixing Maxie's stance. 

Ian was the preferred pitcher...

You had to be careful.. If one of them connected someone was losing an eye. :P

Spring California Trip: PEZ TIME!

GMa hooked up the boys with Cars PEZ Dispensers.

Yeah, Me Too

Spring California Trip: Park Fun!

Uncle Ian found out that some of the slides hurt to go down. :P

Spring California Trip: SPIDERS

Ugh. Boys. They found spiders. 

Spring California Trip: Dissed

We went to Friendly's for breakfast. While walking back to the car I was seriously dissed by Max. He took my hand but then ripped it away to grab Uncle Ian's hand. Whatevs. :P

Spring California Trip: Getting Our Checkups