New Recipes
cooking_mom
 Dear All,
I know, it's been a while.  Here's the story.  Don't know if I mentioned this before, but I'm an Environmental Scientist.  By education I'm an Aquatic Biologist, that means I know freshwater critters; fish, bugs, mollusks, and such.  As an Environmental Scientist I do things like, Wetlands and stream Assessments, Endangered Species Habitat Assessments, and other field work.  About a month ago I went and delineated a creek.  Usually we use a survey grade GPS Unit, this time we didn't.  The client said he had surveyors on staff, all we had to do was stake the creek and they would get the lats and longs.  Some 40 stakes later we were done.  To make this long story short, a couple of weeks later my elbow was really hurting and I went to the doctor who told me I had Tennis Elbow, probably from the creek delineation and the 40 stakes, it seemed the timeline was correct.  Then began the real problems.....the doctor put me on steroids!  The string of side effects was unbelievable...nausea, sunsickness, constipation, sleeplessness, nausea, nausea, constant nausea, dry brittle hair, dry brittle fingernails, nausea, water retention.......did I mention the nausea.  So, for the last two weeks, I have not done much cooking.  
Fast forward, I've finished the meds, but my body is not completely over the trauma, but I will start cooking anyway.
Yesterday, Al and I went shopping at the soon to be closed Borders. There isn't much of a discount yet, but I wanted my choice.  I bought a lot, LOT of cookbooks and cooking magazines.  Mostly Weightwatchers, so I will continue on my path of tasty healthy food! WOOT!!!
I was running out of main dishes, so now I can keep going and we will all kinds of fun together!
See ya'll later.

Feeling better, long way to go
cooking_mom
 Hi All,
Sorry it's been so long.  Last Friday I was diagnosed with Tennis Elbow....OK, my apologies to all those people I thought were wusses.  This thing hurt so bad I was nauseous.  To make matters worse I'm on Neproxen, which also makes me nauseous, and Steroids.....dang this stuff is trying to kill me.  Twenty minutes in the sun and I was sick all last weekend.  Feeling better now, starting the lower doses, hope this stuff wears off quick.  Enough of my whining.  Back to the food.

Tonight James made the roasted tomato-bell pepper soup on page 113 of the book.  It was very tasty, I believe this will become a wintertime favorite in this house....that is for about 2 weeks a year.

We give this tasty-healthy goodness a score of 4-5-5.  Although, Piggy and Steve don't seem very interested!


Independence day fun
cooking_mom
 Hi All,
My son Daniel and his best girl came over today for some fun and food.  We BBQ'd and played Settler's of Catan!  Glorious day!!  
Most of you know that I have a new propane BBQ.  I'm learning to use the BBQ while I'm learning to cook more healthy.  Turns out they work together very nicely.  So, today we made the Grilled Chicken Cutlets on pate 39 of the magazine...I know, I've made this before, but this time I didn't just make the Zucchini that goes along with the chicken.  I took what I've learned in the other 50 or so recipes I've made and added a few things.  I cut up zucchini, onion, bell peppers, those little yellow squash, and threw in some whole cherry tomatoes.  coated them with some Italian dressing, put them on an aluminium foil covered cookie sheet and threw them on the grill.  I bought a fresh pineapple and cut thick slices, threw that strait on the top rack, and then threw on the Italian dressing marinated chicken.  In just a few minutes dinner was ready and everyone loved it!!  I asked everyone to give me some rating numbers for the blog.  for the dinner on a whole the numbers went like this 4/5-5-5.  I was wonderful and we can't wait to do this again.  
 
 
 Piggy and Steve literally (that should screw Danny's head on backwards) begged for some, but we had to day, they have a special diet.  That's reminds me....I'm gonna need more Piggy kibble.

love the new bbq
cooking_mom
To All,
 
OK, the last time I blogged I gave the whole story again....I won't do that to you today!  Today I will just talk about my new BBQ.  I watched King of the Hill for many years, but I always thought that Propane and propane accessories were not the Texas way.  I may have been right, but I tried it anyway.  I love the convenience and the heat control.  I love the ease of cleaning and the number of meals I get out of one canister.  I love not having to wait for the coals to fire up!!!!  

So tonight we had the Grilled T-Bone Steak on page 135 of the WeightWatchers New Complete Cook Book. this recipes calls for fresh rosemary, sage, olive oil, salt and pepper mixed together as a rub for the steak.  I thought it was alright maybe a 3 on the tasty scale.  I like my meat bare naked and a little pink.  Al on the other hand really liked it and gave it a 4 on the tasty scale.  I will be making this for him again.  Overall the steak gets a 3/4-5-5.  Easy ingredients and easy prep.  

With that we had the oven roasted beats on page 266 of the book.  This recipe called for beats, garlic, thyme, olive oil, and orange juice.  I really enjoyed this recipe, so did Al, we both gave them a 4, but admittedly, I did not cook them all the way through and microwaved them a bit to finish the job.....not the best idea I've ever had.  The beats became rubbery, but still very tasty.  I suspect that if I ever cook them properly, they may move up to a 5 in the taste category.  The beats get a 4-4-5 score.  

Al had a salad on the site with his steak and beats, James and I had Garlic-Herb Steak Fries on page 77 of the Four Ingredient 10 Minute Recipes magazine.  You've seen this before, but sooooo tasty.  This is one of my most repeated sides.  The potatoes get a score or 5-5-5.



Now, I gotta tell you that Piggy and Steve actually tried to dive into the potatoes, but I pulled the plate at the last second and they fell careening into the counter top.  The carnage was horrible, but I bandaged them up and stood them in the corner.  They may be allowed in future pictures....but I'm watching them closer.
 

Day...umm, don't care anymore, but today was Daaaaang!!!
cooking_mom
 To All,
So, today I decided to retell the story from the beginning.  It may not be exactly the same, that just means I'm not cutting and pasting.  So, here we go.  My name is Mom (some people call me Lené).  My husband, Al is diabetic and he's done a lot to change his life to better manage his diabetes.  Now, between that and admitting I could afford to lose a few pounds myself, I spent some time trying to figure out how to help both of us.  I did a little research and found that the WeightWatchers diet closely resembles (with a few modifications) the diabetic diet.  I also found that the WeightWatchers cookbook has easy to follow recipes and big beautiful pictures.  For those of us who are somewhat cooking challenged, that's a good thing.  So, here's the point, I am cooking my way through the WeightWatchers New Complete Cookbook (book) and the WeightWatchers Four Ingredient 10 Minute Recipes magazine (Mag).  Yes, I know, it's been done, I saw the movie....it inspired me, and while I am not in an imaginary friendship with the author of this cookbook, I am enjoying every minute of it!

This is really all you need to know to understand what I'm doing here, but I want to throw in a few more details.  We have four beautiful children, none of which are children anymore.  Daniel is the oldest, then comes Robert, James and Elizabeth.  They are two soldiers, one sailor, and the princess.  Daniel is active duty National Guard and a college graduate.  Robert was active duty Army, and is now in the National Guard, and a full time college student. James was active duty Navy and now he's attending culinary school.  Elizabeth is still the princess, and after a short break, is attending college in the fall.  We are proud and love each and every one of them with all our hearts.  We have one dog, Deedee, but she thinks she princess 2.0.  When James came home after 4 years away we invited to live at home while he goes to college.  With that said, I mention James a lot here in the blog.  He's a culinary specialist and he's helping me get through these books.  So on with the story.

After writing for a few days, I quickly realized that I needed a way to rate the recipes.  I chose to discuss the recipes in terms that were important to me, not what I saw food critics doing.  So here's my rating scale:

Taste:

6.  DAAAAAAAANG!!!
5.  Mad Tasty, doesn't get any better
4.  Keeper, they can't all be favorites, but I would eat this over and over
3.  Not too bad, this can stay on the list because it's good for me
2.  Try again, I may have just messed up the recipe
1.  Last time I am ever making this, not for me

Ease of Preparation:
5.  Read the recipe once came out perfect
4.  Referred to the book at each step
3.  Read each step twice
2.  Had to turn off the TV and read the directions again
1.  More reading of directions than cooking

Ingredient Availability:
5.  Had everything in the cupboard or fridge
4.  Usually have in my cupboard of fridge
3.  This recipe took an extra trip to the store
2.  This recipe took a trip to a specialty store

 
 
It started with just 5 in each section, but then I came across a recipe that was off the chart!!!  So, I added the Daaaaaaang, to the number 6 in the taste category.
 
Tonight we had the Grilled Lamb Chops with Tomato-Bell Pepper Sauce on page 158 of the book with broiled zuchini (not a weightwatchers recipe, but close).  This was the BIGGEST surprise yet.  It has been years since I've had lamb, let alone grilled!!!!  Never, ever, did I think I would be grilling lamb, never occurred to me.....how foolish I was!  The Grilled Lamb with Tomato-Bell Pepper Sauce gets a score of 6-4-3.  I do not want to give this a total score, that would be misleading.  This was worth the extra work and trip to the store for the lamb.  I have never tasted such wonderful, flavorful.....there are tears in my eyes just thinking about this meal.  If I hadn't just eaten this I would want it again right now!!!  To put it mildly, it was very good.  DAAAAAAAAAAANG good!!!  OK, see below if you don't believe me!  Piggy and Steve seem to think it was a good idea!
 

Day 54, a few days behind, but tasty good.
cooking_mom
 It's been a while, but we've made two dishes from the WeightWatchers New Complete Cookbook.  We had the Orange-Crumbed Baked Chicken on page 173.  I thought it was very good and will have it again, I give it a 4-5-5.  Sorry no pictures, but it was very pretty, you will have to take my word for it.

We also had the Chili Roasted Chicken and Potatoes on page 165.  It wasn't bad, but it was little strong for me.  I will have this one again but I'll back off the chili.  I give this recipe a score of 3-5-5.  


Day 50, Day behind, so much to cook!!
cooking_mom
 Hi All,
Alright, I was a little busy with my loving husband this weekend....we had fun.  Now back to cooking.  I did cook on Saturday, so let's start there.  We, Al, James, and I, had the Food Processor Gazpacho on page 115.  I really liked it, I plan on for a refreshing summer soup....and well, we have a ton of tomatoes.  Very tasty!!!!  I give it a 4-5-6...6 because of the abundance of tomatoes.  With that we had the Teriyaki-Flavored Grilled Sirloin.  It was a little strong, and I only marinated it 20 minutes, so I may make it again, with less marinade.  I give this a score of 3-5-4, I had to make a trip to the store, don't generally keep ginger in the house.  Then tonight James and I had the Avgolemono Chicken Soup on page 116.  I really liked it, James looked like he was just glad that he didn't have to cook tonight....I see a bowl of cereal in his future.  I give this soup a 4-5-5.  It only gets the 5 for ingredient availability because Daniel (first born son) left me several packages of frozen spinach.....as I was not home at the time, I have no idea why!!!  This was very good and look forward to having it for lunch tomorrow.  Below is the Teriyaki Steak and Gazpacho (with couscous).  The bottom photo is the Avgolemono Chicken Soup....Steve is in the shower.  
 
OK, so the photos are reversed, deal with it!
 


Day 46, Sauuuuusage......mmmmmmmm
cooking_mom
 Hi All,
Al came home today so we wanted something really quick and tasty!  James and I (mostly James) made the Sausage and Summer Vegetable Skillet on page 46 of the WeightWatchers Four Ingredient 10 Minute Recipe Magazine.  Al really, REALLY Loved this dish.  Savory and smokey, yummmmmy!  We give this a score of 5-5-5.  If you're new and need a little info., here's the short story.  My loving husband, Al, is diabetic and I am looking for new and tasty ways to change our diets and not dreading food.  Did I mention I could stand to lose a few pounds myself.  So, I heard that the WeightWatchers diet is really good for diabetics.  I bought the WeightWatchers New Complete Cookbook and the WeightWatchers Four Ingredient 10 Minute Recipe Magazine.  I tell you this so you can get them yourselves and try the recipes should you find my review compelling.  However, I am a scientist, so I have to quantify (qualify) whatever I'm cooking.  I put together a rating scheme to make it a little easier.  You'll have to look at a previous post, the site won't let me cut and paste the rating scheme right now.  See the photo below for a Picture of today tasty goodness.

To continue the story, Al is now living in Houston, where he could find a job and I stay here cooking (I also work, but the cooking is more interesting).  So, there you have it. Al came home this weekend and we had this very quick and tasty meal.  Oh, and my two friends there, meet Piggy and Steve.   Have a great weekend.


Day 47, Garden Fresh and Tasty Good!
cooking_mom
 Hi All,
Today James decided to make the Roasted Tomato-Basil Sauce on page 13 of the WeightWatchers New Complete Cook Book.  The recipe called for 3 pounds of Roma Tomatoes, but sometimes fate hands you another option....maybe fate is not the right idea here.....we planted tomatoes plants, we watered tomatoes plants, and the good Lord saw fit to grace us with TOMATOES.....a lot of them.  So, 3 lbs of tomatoes, and some mighty fine roasting, later we had very tasty sauce that we poured generously over spaghetti!!!  It was very good and amazingly fresh.  We used the tomatoes and fresh basil from the garden, and the remaining ingredients were fresh as the store had to offer.  So, with all that said, here's my score 4-5-5.  Piggy and Steve look very interested in my dinner.


Day 46, I like Steve, I won't be afraid of Steve. OMGosh!!! yummy goodness today!!
cooking_mom
Hi All,
We (James and I had the bestest dinner ever....well, except for the Steak and Tomato Tartine (that was excellent too).  We have another 16 here...didn't think I'd ever see another 16...but here it is.


I know, it doesn't look like much, but Oh My Gosh...the chicken was juicy and smokey and oooooo so good.  The zucchini was cooked right along with the chicken and the same Italian Dressing marinade was added after the cooking.  We took the zucchini and the chicken bites on the same fork and the combination of flavors was awesome!!! This recipe was on page 39 of the WeightWatchers Four Ingredient 10 Minute Recipe magazine.  Highly recommend it!!!  Now I just have to decide which of the two recipes my DAAMN friends are going to get.  On the rating scale, this one gets 6-5-5.

Looks like the little pig's new name is Steve....all together now...Hi Steve.

So see below for what the numbers mean.

Recipe Rating Scale
Taste:
6. Daaaang!!!
5.  Mad Tasty, doesn't get any better
4.  Keeper, they can't all be favorites, but I would eat this over and over
3.  Not too bad, this can stay on the list because it's good for me
2.  Try again, I may have just messed up the recipe
1.  Last time I am ever making this, not for me

Ease of Preparation:
5.  Read the recipe once came out perfect
4.  Referred to the book at each step
3.  Read each step twice
2.  Had to turn off the TV and read the directions again
1.  More reading of directions than cooking

Ingredient Availability:
5.  Had everything in the cupboard or fridge
4.  Usually have in my cupboard of fridge
3.  This recipe took an extra trip to the store
2.  This recipe took a trip to a specialty store
 
 
1.  Not found in this area had to look on line or substitute

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