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August 13, 2008

more soon!

oooooh yeah

helllllllllo!

it’s been a hectic few weeks…which explains the absence of posting here.

I was graced with the presence of my BFF for my co-ed baby shower this weekend. It was awesome! Soo much fun! Soo many cute things! Soo tiring! Soo many people that I didn’t even take pictures! Ack!

Now, Momma is running on empty and the little boy in her tum could be doing downward facing dog in her womb right now! Yikes!

Thank you for visiting, woot! I love you!

I leave you with the promise of more soon. This week is full of baby appts/classes & baby shower to attend….and a birthday for yours truly early next week!

I am soooooo aching to get in the kitchen right now and cook something up!

Oh yeah…I have to show you some of my kitchen too!

here’s a sneak peek:

I suppose this is what baby brain is all about!

***NOTE TO SELF***

Tracy—-Try to take things slower, and relax. Enjoy the simple things in life- like this wonderful scene outside your window the other morning. That was cool wasn’t it??? It made waking up super early because of back pain SOOO worth it.

hello 7am!

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July 31, 2008

i miss you, dear zucchini bread

breakfast of champions

today is the first morning this week that I didn’t have a slice of zucchini bread. I would do anything for a slice today. I gave a whole loaf to my neighbors and I’m contemplating knocking on their door to ask for a piece! I doubt they have any left though….

You should try the recipe by Deb over at Smitten Kitchen. It’s totally crushworthy. I added walnuts & raisins to my batch
Thanks Deb! You made this week so much better šŸ˜‰

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July 27, 2008

Zucchini Pancakes

I woke up Saturday morning at 7am!!!!!!!!

Preparation for the bebe? Hmmm….perhaps. It could be the fact that I woke up with heartburn and a nagging pain in my back. I think I had a dream about bacon….which is what inspired me to get my butt out of bed and make us some breakfast.

I also really wanted mushrooms as you could see….

momma is craving mushrooms today

Waking up that early is as annoying as it is nice. I started grocery shopping at 8am and felt like there was soo much potential food wise this weekend.

While Casey was still sleeping, I was able to put the final touches on our new guest room. The old guest room is going to be converted into the new baby room. I love this new color blue. The really nice part is that you can lay in bed and look at the trees outside. A perfect place to read a book/magazine in the afternoon.

the new guest bedroom

I also made those deceptively delicious brownies (seen in the previous post).

For lunch, I used leftover bacon and made us some BLATS (Bacon Lettuce Avocado Tomato Sandwiches)

blAt

dinner

We went to see a matinee showing of The Dark Knight today (really good btw).

I decided to treat us to a nice afternoon early dinner on the back deck.

Zucchini pancakes with a dill/cucumber yogurt dip, a mixed green salad (with tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions & feta) Hot Genoa salami, Sopressata & some slices of a sour batard.

early dinner

I also made a yummy *mocktail*

cucumber & pineapple juice, gingerale, seltzer, ice & a pink straw.

Cucumber & Pineapple Juice with Ginger ale and Seltzer water. MMMMMMMM Refreshing.

Nothing like putting some zucchini to good use!

three little pancakes in a row

Zucchini Pancakes


(made about 8)

-3 large zucchini, shredded (drain in a bowl lined with paper towels for an hour before making)
-1/4 cup flour
-1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
-2 large eggs
-3 tablespoons chopped Italian Parsley
-2 teaspoons garlic powder
-1 dash of cayenne pepper
-salt & pepper
-cooking spray

1. Preheat oven 200 degrees. Put a cookie sheet in the oven- line with a few pieces of paper towel.
1. Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add the egg & zucchini. Mix well.
2. Heat up a non-stick skillet on medium heat with cooking spray. (It’s much healthier than frying). Spoon zucchini batter on the skillet and flatten each pancake.
4. Cook each pancake for about 3 minutes per side before flipping. Put cooked pancakes in the oven while you are making the rest!
5. DEVOUR. Immediately.

Top it with a yogurt/dill/cucumber dip and you have yourself a little slice of heaven.

Now I leave you…off to start the laundry and relax. There’s a nice breeze here today and I’m thoroughly enjoying the calm before the storm.

Happy Sunday Everyone.

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July 27, 2008

Deceptively Delicious Brownies

from the recipe...

I watched a re-run of Oprah the other day while I was working out. Jessica Seinfeld (yes, wife of Jerry) was on her show to promote her cookbook- Deceptively Delicious. Because I have a baby on the way and a husband who doesn’t necessarily CHOOSE to eat veggies, I thought I would give her recipe for brownies a try. I thought that if Oprah could go ape-shit on eating a brownie, than there’s prolly a good chance that it tastes good.

This afternoon while watching a Red Sox game, I gave one to the sweet-toothed husband.

Casey took a bite (begrudgingly) and was said–“Why do these have spinach & carrots in them?”

I had to explain that it’s hard for someone like to me to get good stuff in people like him- and it might be hard for our future spawn.

He ate the first square.

“So this is good for me? Can’t I just eat spinach and carrots on there own?” (like he would) He needed a little more explanation why I was making something *deceptively delicious*

And then he asked for another one! I think it wouldn’t be something he would necessarily BEG me to make. But if it’s there, he no-doubt will eat as many as he could before I got mad. I’d like to eat some too!

The brownies are really moist & chewy. I might add a little more sugar next time….or top it with powdered sugar instead of cocoa powder. They definitely taste healthy, but they do satisfy if you NEED something sweet!

1+1=

the lab

health FOOD

mixing the flour in

Deceptively Delicious Brownies


Ingredients:

– Nonstick cooking spray
– 3 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
– 2 cup carrot puree (After peeling and trimming the ends, steam carrots for 10-12 minutes and then puree in a food processor for 2 minutes)
– 2 cup spinach puree (Steam for 30 seconds, then puree in a food processor for 2 minutes)
– 2 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
– 4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
– 2 tablespoons trans-fat-free soft tub margarine spread
– 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
– 2 large egg whites
– 4 cup oat flour, or all-purpose flour
– 2 teaspoon baking powder
– 2 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8×8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
2. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or over a very low flame. (i used a microwave- melted in 10 second increments till fully melted)
3. In a large bowl, combine the melted chocolate, vegetable purees, sugar, cocoa powder, margarine, and vanilla, and whisk until smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes.
4. Whisk in egg whites. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt with a wooden spoon.
5. Pour the batter into the pan and bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in the pan before cutting into 12 bars.

i love edges- who doesn't?

Btw- they taste good in the morning with coffee.

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July 19, 2008

Eggplant Ricotta Bake

friday night dinner

eggplant slices

to be baked

Been cooking in the kitchen again (feels great!)
I thought that I would share last night’s meal that I adapted from an old Everyday Food recipe.
It was very delish. I am sure my low-carb dad would love it too!

Think Eggplant Parmesan meets Lasagna.

making the ricotta layer

assembly

outta the oven

Eggplant Ricotta Bake

(recipe from Everyday Food Magazine)

-2 large eggplants (about 1- 1 1/2lbs each)
-1 16oz jar of your favorite marinara sauce (I love Classico Tomato & Basil)
-1 15oz container ricotta cheese
-1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
-1/2 cup chopped italian parsley
-1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
-1 teaspoon garlic powder
-2 heaping teaspoons of oregano
-3 eggs
-salt & pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut eggplant into rounds about 3/4 inch thick. Coat front and back with olive oil. Put eggplant on two baking sheets. Add salt & pepper. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes–flipping them half way. Eggplant should be nice and golden brown.

2. While eggplant bakes, mix the ricotta, eggs, spices & 1/2 cup of Parmesan together in a small bowl. Add some salt & pepper.

3. In an oven safe casserole dish, layer the bottom with a bit of the marinara sauce. Add 1 layer of your eggplant on top. Then add more sauce, and a layer of ricotta. Repeat until you run out of eggplant. Make sure the top layer is all ricotta filling. Add Parmesan and then put in the oven for 20 minutes. The top should be brown & the marinara should be bubbly. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. There’s nothing worse than burning your mouth on marinara sauce.

Pair it with some crusty garlic bread and a nice salad….and you’ve got yourself a wonderful meal!


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July 17, 2008

Rustic Nectarine Tart

So I had ever intention to follow this recipe…but I got sidetracked…was making dinner and then I just winged it. I figured that I read the recipe enough times to know what the heck was going on. So here’s what I ended up with:

fresh outta the oven...glazed with jelly

Turned out wonderful! Tasted great! Looked pretty!

mixing the sugar

working with the pastry dough

Here is my half-assed attempt at giving you the recipe.

Rustic Nectarine Tart

Ingredients:

-1 sheet of Trader Joes puff pastry (package comes with two sheet- i think they are 8oz. each)
-4 nectarines (I had some leftover…so it might be 3)
-1/3 cup of sugar-plus a few teaspoons full
-2 tablespoons of seedless raspberry jam
-1 egg (beaten)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Take puff pastry out of freezer. Put it on your counter for about 15 minutes to warm to room temperature. Once it’s warm enough, peel off one of the two sheets of pastry. Place sheet on a lightly floured surface and roll out into a rectangular shape. Trim off the edges so you have a clean straight line. With a small knife, lightly score a 1 inch border around the entire rectangle. Make sure not to go all the way through to the bottom. Poke holes in the middle of the pastry with a fork. Brush egg wash over the entire puff pastry. Pop in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.

3. While pastry is baking, cut up nectarines into small slices. Toss with 1/3 cup of sugar. Use less if the nectarines are super sweet. Put nectarines in a microwave and zap for 1 minute. Toss. Then zap again for another minute. They should be less firm..slightly cooked….a bit soft. But not TOO soft and mushy. I put them in the fridge until the puff pastry was done.

4. Layer the nectarines on the partially baked pastry. If the middle has risen, push down to flatten with a fork before you put the fruit on top. Add a little sprinkle of sugar on top of the nectarines. Bake in the oven for 10 more minutes.

5. When the tart is done, heat up your raspberry jelly in the microwave (I zapped it for 30 seconds-until it was thin & runny). Lightly brush jelly over the nectarines with a pastry brush. It will give it that shiny smooth glaze!

6. Cut tart into pieces (I made this into 4 generous portions). Add a dollop of whipped cream…or top with ice cream. MMM.

hello my little slice of heaven!

creeeeeeammmmy

Here’s the rest of the meal I made for this weeks Project Runway (IT’S ON!!!) dinner:

girls night this week

closeup of my plate-healthy!

Grilled Chicken with Lemon, Rice Pilaf, Salad with almonds & feta, and a spicy pepper & corn hash!

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July 14, 2008

Lemon Cheesecake Squares

So I’ve never made cheesecake before. It’s one of those baking things that terrifies me. What if I do all the work and then I pull it outta the oven and the top is all cracked??? That would suck. I get really discouraged when things don’t work out. That doesn’t mean I don’t keep trying…there’s just a long period of time before I put my fork back in the socket again.

A few baby steps later, I tried this simple recipe from EVERYDAY FOOD.

Three words:

-Creamy!
-Dreamy!
-Easy!

It will make those of you (like me) get over your hang-ups about making cheesecake. I think I might be ready to be a big girl and try an authentic NY cheesecake. Perhaps I will do when I lose the 5lbs I gained after eating it!

I think my unborn fetus looooved it.

lemon cheesecake squares

Lemon Cheesecake Squares

Ingredients:

Makes 16

FOR THE CRUST:
– 8 graham crackers (each 2 1/2 by 5 inches)
– 2 tablespoons sugar
– 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

FOR THE FILLING:
– 2 bars (8 ounces each) cream cheese, room temperature
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 2 large eggs
– Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon (2 to 3 teaspoons zest and about 3 tablespoons juice)

1. Make the crust: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. Crimp overhang under rim of pan.

2. In a food processor, blend graham crackers with sugar until finely ground; add butter and pulse until moistened.

3. Transfer crumb mixture to prepared pan, and pat in gently (wipe processor bowl clean, and reserve for making filling). Bake until beginning to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. While crust is baking, make filling.

4. Make the filling: Place cream cheese in food processor; blend until smooth. Add sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice; blend until smooth.

5. Pour mixture onto hot crust in pan; smooth top. Return to oven, and bake until set (filling should jiggle only slightly when pan is gently shaken), 30 to 35 minutes.

6. Cool completely in pan. Cover very loosely with plastic wrap; chill until firm, at least 2 hours (and up to 2 days). Use foil overhang to lift cheesecake out of pan. With metal spatula, lift cheesecake from foil; cut into 16 squares. (I think I ended up with less. The bigger the better!)

***If the top was all crumbly and cracked I would have put a layer of glazey blueberry spread on top….or some powdered sugar? Looks like I lucked out—and didn’t have to use an alternative. Hope you enjoy it too! ***