Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bun in the Oven

Hi All! Sorry I have been MIA for over a week now...but I have good reason.  You see...

worst picture ever...I may or may not have been shaking.
Barry and I are having a BABY!!!  So brace yourself for the long post!
We found out on April 4th, my Mom and Becky & Michael were actually staying with us so its was super hard to keep the secret!  But we managed.  I woke up early and took the test, but didn't tell Barry I had done it.  I saw it was positive and totally froze.  I had big plans of some creative way to tell Barry after work!  My plan lasted about 15 minutes...I couldn't stand it anymore so I told Barry I had taken the test and I wanted him to look at it first, even though I had already seen it.  I clearly wasn't thinking straight.  So Barry went into the bathroom and said "It's a BOY!"  To which I replied, "No, Its' a GIRL!"  We'll see who wins...we don't really care either way though.

I called the doctor that day and made an appointment for the 19th.  I was super nervous that morning, because although I had taken multiple positive tests - just to make sure =) - the doctor confirming the pregnancy was going to make this much more real!  Which it did!  We did a sonogram before we saw the doctor and we got to see our little blueberry!  The heart was beating at 120 and we could actually see it moving...it was crazy!

Then we saw the doctor and the first thing he told us was that it was just one baby...thank goodness!  But everything else looked good and the baby was measuring exactly right...6 weeks and 5 days - due December 8th.  He told us there was a very small chance for miscarriage at this point since we actually saw the heart beating so it was safe to tell our family.  FINALLY!!  No more lying and being secretive...as much as I hated lying to our families, it was for a good cause! 

So we devised a plan to tell our families over Easter weekend.  We went to Yoakum on Friday to see Barry's family first.  We bought his mom an early Mother's Day present since we won't be able to see her that weekend - a new charm for her Pandora bracelet - the December birthstone.  We had Barry's dad come in there too, we told him the present was kind of for him too.  We let her open the charm first, she thought it was pretty but I don't think she was sure why we had given her a random navy blue ball!  So then we gave her the card...

There were tears and hugs and everyone was very excited for us!  Tammy and Tia were there too, but we had to wait to tell Cara until the next day.  Barry's Granny came over for dinner so we were able to tell her that evening and told his Grandma the next day while we were at her house.  Once we had delivered the news all over Yoakum, we headed to Austin Saturday afternoon.

After a quick detour at Cabela's, you can't drive by it and not stop!, we arrived at my parents house.  They had no idea what was coming!  We had this wonderful plan to tell Brie while my parents went to church in San Antonio and decorate the house with baby colors and signs for when they came back...but we got there earlier than we thought, and church started later than they thought.  And, we forgot our bag of decorations!  So, Plan B.

I had made an Easter basket for Brie from the baby.  Barry snuck in the house and hid it while I was talking to my mom and my dad was outside working.  Whenever Brie came home -which seemed like an eternity but was only like 10 minutes later, I told her that Barry and I had brought her an Easter basket...but she had to find it.  The Easter Bunny always hides baskets at our house.  Brie LOVES hates looking for baskets!  She promptly started to complain and try to get me to tell her where it was because she was NEVER going to find it.  It was in the first place she looked.

My mom was close by when she found it, more tears and hugs!  Then she took the basket outside to show my Dad...he was busy painting benches??  But quickly caught on and the celebrating began!  Brie and I ran up to the store to get decorations, my Aunt Cindy was on her way over and Becky and Michael & Cora would be there later that evening so we wanted to decorate for them.

Cindy was quite confused and was half way convinced they were Easter decorations - what?????  Becky and Michael didn't arrive till 3 AM...and my pregnant tired self was dead asleep...until the lights were flipped on and the covers ripped off!

Barry has been taking pictures of me every week...nothing to see yet, so I plan to put weekly updates about everything on here so that I can remember this special time in my life...cheese ball!!  But seriously, I have a really bad memory and this is the easiest was to keep in touch with everyone.  I'm all about easy these days!

So far I have been feeling pretty good, until a few days ago.  I have been trying to work out every day, no more running, but plenty of eliptical and walking because it makes me feel a lot better.  Eating is not really happening anymore.  I have not been nauseous or thrown up at all...thank goodness!!  But, I just don't have much of an appetite.  The things that I am able to eat are not so much on the healthy side, but I guess its better than nothing.  I feel kind of bad that I am eating such junk food all the time, but hopefully that will change soon!  Barry had to go to the grocery store last night because I just couldn't bear the thought of looking at all that food...YUCK!  Spaghettios and Peanut Butter and Jelly have quickly become a staple...I also was in need of some Cool Ranch Dorritos yesterday.  This is what Barry came home with...

Yes, the Dorritos are open, I couldn't wait.
So, I very much enjoyed my Princess Spaghettios and chips for dinner while Barry ate nachos.

He felt like I should share them since they were healthy nachos.  Fat free beans and low fat cheese...I'll go with it.

In all honesty, I haven't eaten anything I have posted on here in a while.  And I have a couple more recipes to post, but I can't stand to look at the pictures of the food, so it will have to wait!  The nachos are grossing me out as I write!

Our little one has quickly grown from a poppy seed, to an apple seed, to an orange seed, to a blueberry and now a raspberry...I can't wait to see what food comes next week!  I read the other day that the baby has grown more than 10,000 times since conception...blows my mind!

Friday is picture day...I will be 8 weeks 1 day...a baby in 7 months!!!!!!!!!!!!  So, look for a new post shortly after.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sunday Night Dinner with The Boening's

Happy Monday!  Hope your weekend was great!  Barry and I had a great time down in Kemah...

That's Barry in the blue shirt waaaay over there
we walked around the boardwalk,

Us at the marina
ate...a lot...
dinner at the aquarium...sadly dissapointed =(
went to the crawfish festival...best people watching EVER!...and just relaxed! 

My kind of town...
When we came home Sunday, we continued with the relaxing and cooked a great dinner at home!  We grilled some fish, sauteed some green beans and had homemade bread...yup...thats right HOMEMADE bread!  Of course, I was the one making it so it obviously didn't take too much effort!  We will start with the bread first...

My grandma, Mimi, sent me this recipe a month or so ago and this is my second time making it.  I LOVE the idea of homemade bread, but don't own a bread maching, nor am I interested in that.  And, I don't have the patience to make bread, to be quite honest! 

Me and Mim at my graduation...obviously
So here is what you need:

3 cups SELF RISING flour (very important)
3 tablespoons sugar
12 oz beer at room temperature (I liked it better with a darker beer, just my personal preference)

Mix all ingredients together in medium sized mixing bowl, using a spatula...it will be sticky!

Move "ball of dough" into greased loaf pan.

Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes.  The outside will be dark and crusty when its done.  I probably should have cooked this a couple minutes longer, it should have been a little darker...but again with the lack of patience thing...

We made the fish in foil packets and threw it on the grill for about 20 minutes.

4 tilapia filets (or whatever you like), half a sliced onion, drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with garlic salt, seasoned salt and paprika, topped with a couple slivers of butter and wrapped in foil.  Be sure to leave plenty of air space in the packet to allow for steaming.

Before grilling...

Ready for the fire...

Ready for me to eat!  It tasted much better than it looks...

And for the grean beans.  I melted about 3 tablespoons light butter in a skillet, sauteed about 3 cloves of garlic for a few minutes then added the grean beans.  I cooked them over medium heat for about 20-25 minutes.

Butter and garlic sizzling...

Final product...

This might be my new favorite way to make green beans!

Geeze that was a LONG one!  Off to take a hot shower...my legs feel like jelly after our work out tonight!


Friday, April 15, 2011

Tamale Casserole

Happy Friday!  This has been the week of no cooking in the Boening Household.  Monday we went to the gym and did our weekly grocery shopping, I did make Chicken Fettucini Alfredo, but that's nothing new.  Tuesday Barry and I were invited to go to the A&M vs Rice baseball game, which was really fun...would have been better if the Ags won, buuuuuuuuuut...they didn't.  Wednesday I was feeling a little under the weather and food just wasn't sounding good...poor Barry had to eat soup out of a can =(  Still wasn't feeling all that great last night, but at least managed to make dinner.  Sad to say I didn't eat this one though because I didn't think the spicy, cheesiness would sit well with my stomach.  But, Barry was the guinea pig, and he liked it!  I LOVED my peanut butter sandwich...lame. 

I feel like I need to explain my excessive amount of chicken based casseroles I have been making lately...I just noticed that.  I swear that's not all we eat.  I do like to make casseroles though because Barry and I both take our lunches to work every day, so they make great left overs.  And I make big ones so if we have something like chicken and veggies one night, which doesn't have left overs, we still have something to take to work for lunch.  Plus, there are minimal dishes, and we often get all the food groups in one!  I do so much chicken...for no reason, I just like it and it's easy - and a great lean protein!  Ok, I feel better...

I came across this tamale casserole recipe the other day while looking around on the internet.  I can't take any credit for it because I didn't change anything really, just thought I would share it.  I LOVE tamales, but after helping my mom and my dad's cousin Monica make them one time when we lived in California, they have never quite tasted the same!  I remember lard being involved, which grossed me out then...I was destined to be a dietitian...And it took FOREVER!  There are 5000000 ingredients and steps to follow to make them...something I am not interested in doing.  Plus each tamale will cost you over 200 calories and 17 grams of fat.  I don't know about you, but I could easily put down like 8!  1600 calories...no thanks!

This casserole promised a taste similar to tamales, Barry didn't agree, but he liked it none the less.  Beware: its kinda spicy!

1 cup low fat shredded Mexican Cheese, divided
1/3 cup skim milk
1 egg (the recipe called for 1/4 cup egg substitute, but I don't ever buy that)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 can cream style corn (YUM!)
1 box corn bread mix
1 4 oz can diced green chilies, drained
1 10 oz can red enchilada sauce
about 2 cups shredded cooked chicken (I cooked about a pound)

Preheat oven to 400.  Mix 1/4 c of the Mexican Cheese and next 7 ingredients (through chilies) together in medium mixing bowl.

Pour into greased 9x13 casserole dish.  This would probably make a really good Mexican corn bread if you stopped right here!  Bake for about 15-20 minutes...until set.

Once cooked, "pierce liberally" with a fork.

Pour enchilada sauce over the top.

Top with shredded chicken.  Look at the magic the mini food processor does with the chicken!  Add remaining cheese on top...I forgot to snap a pic with the cheese on before I put it in the oven.

Bake for another 15 minutes or so, until the cheese is melted.

I think next time I might try it with ground beef...maybe.  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  Barry and I have a trip down to The Kemah Boardwalk planned which we are really excited about!  I have a few recipes in store next week from Eva's cookbook that I didn't get to this week, but they are coming!


Monday, April 11, 2011

King Ranch Chicken

Hello again!  How was the weekend??  I had a great weekend...shopping, spring football game, wine on the patio, lunch with girlfriends...and I met Eva Longoria!  She came to Houston yesterday to sign copies of her new cookbook so I went to that with some friends.  She was so nice and we all got our pics taken with her...I'll post them later!  Can't seem to find my camera cord.........I am going to try a couple recipes out of her cookbook this week.  I'll report back!

But for now, my recipe - not nearly as exciting as Eva.  I have been meaning to attempt to redo this notoriously unhealthy recipe for a while...just hadn't gotten around to it.  Barry used to work down on part of the King Ranch, so somehow I felt like I was doing him a favor...bringing back good memories for him.  Maybe???  Probably not.

Barry on the ranch with his fav hunting dog...after Lori obviously

Becky found this recipe for me via a simple google search of "easy king ranch chicken."  This was definitely easy, I tweaked it a bit and voila!

2-3 cups cooked shredded chicken (I put mine in my mini food processor and it came out finely chopped in about 5 seconds...why didn't I think of this before?!?)
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilis (I use Ro-Tel)
1 can Healthy Request Cream of Chicken
1 can Healthy Request Cream of Mushroom
1/2 large or 1 small onion, chopped (again with the food processor)
8 corn tortillas
1.5 cups 2% Mexican Blend cheese, shredded
A couple handfuls of baked tortilla chips (optional)
1 handful of chopped cilantro (optional)

Once chicken is cooked and shredded, combine with tomatoes, both soups and onion in large mixing bowl.

Line the bottom of a greased 9x13 casserole dish with the 8 corn tortillas. 

Pour chicken mixture over tortillas.

Top with shredded cheese.

I had a bag of baked tortilla chips in the pantry with just a couple handfuls in it so I decided to crumble those and throw them on top...mostly so I wouldn't snack on them, but also to add in some crunch.  I also had some cilantro left over from something last week that I needed to use ASAP - this added in some really good flavor.  The casserole would have been good without both of these ingredients...but I highly recommend!

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until cheese is melted and sides are bubbly.

Yup, looks just like it did before it went in the oven
Off to enjoy my left overs for lunch!  Its really good reheated...


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Chicken Nuggets...for real this time...

Here is the recipe I was too lazy to write about yesterday...it was a long day and a long macaroni post!  I used Corn Chex as breading this time...which are gluten free, by the way...but next time I think I will just use plain bread crumbs or Panko.  The Corn Chex provided lots of crunch, which I love, but the flavor kinda took over.  I left the extra salt out of this one...it was only 1/2 teaspoon, but considering that you should only have about 1 tsp of salt per day, and we were eating these with mac & cheese (cheese is notoriously high in salt) I thought it best to skip out on that extra seasoning.  Plus, I didn't have garlic powder, so I used garlic salt...which obviously adds more salt.  Any little bit helps.....


3-4 Cups Corn Chex (crushed)
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
3 tablespoons light butter, melted (I personally use Land O Lakes Light Butter ... half the fat)
1 tablespoon skim milk
1 lb chicken breast cut into "nugget sizes"

Once the cereal is crushed into bread crumb consistency, combine with Parmesan cheese, seasoned salt, paprika & garlic salt in mixing bowl and mix well.

Combine melted butter and skim milk in separate mixing bowl.

Dip nuggets into butter mixture, then into dry mix.  Place on foil lined baking sheet.

Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.  Turning over half way through.

I baked the mac & cheese, nuggets and asparagus all together at 250 for 20 minutes so everything was done at the same time...so efficient...or coincidence, more likely!

Roasted Asparagus: drizzle with olive oil, season with salt & pepper.  Bake.

In totally unrelated news...check out the guest blog post I did on my friend Emily's website!


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Macaroni and Cheese and Chicken Nuggets

Yup.  That's right...you read that correctly!  Becky told me about this mac and cheese (she's a cheese-a-holic) recipe she made and thought it would be a good one to make over, so I took a whirl at it.  She also had a chicken nugget recipe that was pretty good too!  This is not a meal for you low-carb lovers out there...and it's not one of the quickest recipes to make either.  But, if you have some extra time on your hands and are in the mood for some super cheesy starchiness, you've come to the right place!!

The mac and cheese was already a recipe make-over, so it was pretty low fat to begin with.  I just added some extra nutrition by using whole wheat ingredients.  The reason mac & cheese is usually considered to be a pretty unhealthy food (I'm not talking out-of-the-box-powder-cheese kind) is the high fat content  from the cheesy, creamy ingredients.

One rule of thumb when buying dairy: always, always, always buy low fat (unless you're a toddler and need whole milk).  For example, if you compare whole milk vs 2% milk vs skim milk - all have the same protein/carb content, same calcium and other important nutrients - the only significant difference is the fat - and its not the healthiest kind of fat.  So save yourself the calories!  Same goes for cheese, yogurt, etc... I usually don't recommend totally fat free cheese...it kinda looks like plastic...just my opinion!

First, the mac & cheese...I doubled this (because that's what I do...I blame my dad for my constant need to make excess food) so it fit in a casserole dish.  If you cut this in half it will make enough for a square dish.

Dad and Barry...feeding the masses...doing what they do!
4 cups of uncooked whole wheat pasta (I used shells because macaroni in whole wheat form was no where to be found)
1 cup non-fat, plain Greek yogurt
4 cups of skim milk
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
6 Tablespoons whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons mustard (weird, right?!?)
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I thought it was spicy...go ahead and add more if your brave!)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 1/2 cups low fat shredded cheddar

1/4 cup plain bread crumbs (next time I will use Panko because I think it's crunchier...which I like)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil

Cook and drain pasta according to directions.  Add Greek yogurt to pot, cover to keep warm.

In a separate pot, combine next 7 ingredients (milk through black pepper).  Cook, constantly stirring over medium heat until mixture boils & thickens.

doesn't that look appetizing????
excuse the shadow...........
Once mixture is thickened, remove from heat and add cheese.  Stir until melted.

keep stirring...
Combine with noodle mixture (in whichever pot is bigger).  Stir until fully mixed together.  On a side note, you could probably stop here and have a delicious side dish...and save the calories from the topping mixture...but we'll keep going for now!  Pour mixture into greased baking dish.

To make the topping, combine all three ingredients until crumbly.  Pour on top of macaroni.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes - until cheese is bubbly.

WOW...I think that's long enough for now!  I will save the chicken nuggets for tomorrow, and the roasted asparagus we had with this meal...did you think I wouldn't include some sort of veggies?!?  Stay tuned!  And in case you were wondering...Cora still thinks my house is boring...


Monday, April 4, 2011

Cheesy Chicken & Spinach

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  Today's recipe has one of my favorite ingredients in it...SPINACH!  Spinach is one of those foods that is super low in calories and super high in nutrients - not that different from most vegetables.  It is high in Vitamins K & A - one cup will give you more than your daily requirement of both - and is also a good source of Calcium and Vitamin C.  I try to incorporate this as much as possible...much to my husband's demise! =)

Decreasing the amount of cheese and substituting Greek yogurt for sour cream makes this casserole a much healthier version of the original recipe.

Here are the ingredients for this quick and easy, low-carb casserole: (this is for a 8x8 casserole dish, may need to double if feeding more than 3 people...or 2 hungry ones)

2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
10 oz box of frozen spinach, thawed & drained
1/2 cup plain, fat free Greek Yogurt
1/2 cup olive oil based mayo
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup low fat Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients except chicken and spinach in small mixing bowl.

Layer the chicken, spinach and a couple spoonfuls of the cheese mixture in a greased square casserole dish.

Mix together to form the bottom layer.

Layer the rest of the cheese mixture on top.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.