Monday, January 31, 2011

A Winter Place of Fun


I got to go to West Virginia this past weekend and go snow tubing!


That's me going down the slope!


It was beautiful weather, too. 
There's an escalator you ride to get to the top so you don't have to keep walking all the way back up the hill.








You know how I always say I love the warm weather and give me the beach because I'm such a Florida girl? Well, I think I could really live farther north where snow stayed on the ground all winter long! Where I'm at in NC, we only get snow a few days out of the whole winter. So we don't have any sort of winter sports like skiing or anything you can do here. Which leaves you with just freezing cold weather and no outdoorsy stuff  to do.  I seriously liked playing in the snow this weekend as much as I love the beach! That is crazy talk coming from me! Something about the snow that makes me feel exhilarated, I love being outdoors and with things to do in the snow like, sledding, tubing, skiing, snowboarding, etc. I wouldn't have to deal with the cabin fever like I get here. Next I would love to learn to ski, next time we go, we may try the skiing instead.  I watched the skiers and they looked like they were having a ball.

The place we went is Winter Place Ski Resort. They have something for everyone here. It's only an hour and 50 minutes from where I live.  The video below shows more of the ski resort from their website if you'd like to watch.

Winter Place Ski Resort

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mexican - Chicken Posole Soup



Ingredients
1  tablespoon  olive oil
1  teaspoon  dried oregano
3/4  teaspoon  ground cumin
1/2  teaspoon  chili powder
2  garlic cloves, minced
1  (8-ounce) package prechopped onion and celery mix ( or 2 stalks celery, chopped, 1 large onion, chopped )
4  canned tomatillos, drained and coarsely chopped
2  (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium organic / natural chicken broth
1  (15-ounce) can white hominy, rinsed and drained
2  cups  chopped skinless, boneless cooked chicken breast
1  tablespoon  fresh lime juice
1/4  teaspoon  salt
1/4  teaspoon  black pepper
1/2  ripe peeled avocado, diced
4  radishes, thinly sliced
Cilantro leaves (optional)

Preparation
1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oregano and next 4 ingredients (through onion and celery mix); sauté 2 minutes. Stir in tomatillos; cook 1 minute. Add broth and hominy; cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and cook 8 minutes. Stir in chicken; cook 1 minute or until heated. Remove from heat; stir in lime juice, salt, and pepper. Divide evenly among 4 bowls. Top with avocado and radish. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

(This is a clean eating recipe from evewaspartiallyright.blogspot.com)

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This soup was really easy to make, all you do is chop a few things up and throw them in a pot and cook them! Here are the ingredients I used. The recipe called for canned tomatillos, but none of the grocery stores I went to had them, so I bought the fresh ones instead.




Throw in the first 6 ingredients and cook 2 minutes.  Then throw in the tomatillos and cook for a minute.




[Skip this step if  you buy the canned tomatillos]


I simply blanched them. 
Put them in boiling water for up to 5 minutes.


Then put them in ice cold water quickly to stop the cooking process.


If the skins are easy to remove you can take those off, if not, don't worry about it. 
Just cut the middle hard top part out like you would a regular tomato.

After blanching the tomatillos, then...

...add the broth and hominy and cook 8 minutes. Put in the chicken and cook another min.
Add lime, salt and pepper.
Top with the garnishes and you're done!

Muy delicioso!

You can make this as a side dish or as the main course. 

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I was making a recipe every Tuesday night last year with my friend Lou that lives down in Florida. When I lived in FL near her, we always use to make dinner on Tuesday nights together, but now since I moved to NC, we have decided to continue doing it. We're starting it up again now that the holidays season's over and I can't wait to see all the yummy recipes we end up with this year.  You can go to the recipe section of my blog to see some of the ones from last year.



Here's how Lous soup turned out, she said it was really delicious, too.  She couldn't find tomatillos, so she just substituted canned tomatoes instead (I sent her a can of my canned tomatoes I canned myself last year).  Go see Lou's post here.









Little Foot goes hiking







I found a wonderful place to take Little Foot out on the outskirts of Mt. Airy so he can run leash free as much as his little heart desires.  There are trails to go romping through and creeks to jump in and swim and splash, his little piece of heaven.



Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pancakes with Fresh Raspberry Sauce



1 cup raspberries
1/4 cup sugar + 2 Tbs  (I substitued with Agave)
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I substituted w/ half whole wheat pastry flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 (8oz) container plain fat-free yogurt
1/2 cup milk (I substituted with coconut milk)
1 large egg
1 tablespoon canola oil


Step One:  to make the raspberry sauce, combine the raspberries, 1/4 cup sugar and lemon juice in small saucepan and set over med. heat. Cook. stirring occasionally, until a chunky sauce forms about 6 min.

Step Two: to make the pancakes, combine the flour, 2 Tbs sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together the yogurt, milk, egg and oil in  a small bowl. Add the yogurt mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until combined.


Step Three: spray a nonstick griddle with nonstick spray and set over med heat. Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto the griddle. Cook until bubbles appear and edges look dry.  Turn and cook until golden brown. Transfer the pancakes to a plate and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining batter to make a total of 12 pancakes. Serve with the sauce.


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The fresh raspberry sauce was the star of the show!  It was so delish!! I was so proud of myself for making  my own raspberry syrup for my pancakes.  This was the first time I've made pancakes from scratch, so I didn't know what I was doing and wasn't sure if my substitutions would ruin it or not. Next time I make it, I may look for a recipe that actually calls for whole wheat pancakes, so I can get the mixture of the right amount of baking powder and such.  One mistake I made was I made the pancakes too big, I should have made them a little smaller because they were still a little dough-ey inside the middle part.  Just make sure you get them cooked really good all the way to the inside! They should be fairly thin for that.

They look real yummy in the photo I took of them, I wish I had made even more of the raspberry sauce though.  I did the raspberry sauce MUCH different than how the recipe says to do it.  I can't stand to eat anything with seeds in them, that's one of the reasons I hardly ever eat blackberries, raspberries, etc.
In a pot I took just a couple of Tbs of water and put the raspberries in with it. I cooked it on medium, just a slight boil and mashed them with a mashed potato masher as they cooked. Then after it got more liquified, I poured the mixture into a different pot using a strainer to strain all those seeds out.  I added 2 Tbsp of the Agave and the lemon juice and then cooked on medium (slight boil) until it turned thicker, like a syrup.  That was it, I threw a few whole raspberries back in it just to warm them up with the sauce then quickly poured the raspberry sauce all over the pancakes.  Delish!

This was one of the Tuesday night dinners I was suppose to do with my friend Lou. I'm just now making it for breakfast this morning! We're going to start our Tuesday night dinner recipes back up starting this coming Tuesday, now that the holiday season is over.

To see how Lous pancakes turned out, you can go to her blog, Lou Girl Plus Tea.  She followed the original recipe correctly with no substitutions and made her pancakes much smaller than mine.  She said they turned out really great.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Blue Like Jazz - Book Review

Blue Like Jazz is a really great read. The author is very creative with his writing. I think he has a very unique style, a very artsy and poetic way to his writing. This book is Christian based. (Nonreligious Thoughts On Christian Spirituality) After reading the book I couldn't believe how much we think alike, especially concerning God.

This book seems to be geared toward a younger crowd, mostly for people under 30. That's not to say that people over 30 won't enjoy it. I really enjoyed reading this and God did speak to me in many ways as I read it. I'd also like to say that this book seems geared more toward someone who has never found God before, not for someone who already has found that close relationship with him.

I thought the book was going to be about someone who found God, then fell away from God, then came back to him again, which was what I was wanting to read about.  It was more about the author giving the testimonies of his friends and his friends experiences with God. He does talk about his own journey, too.

His message in this book is more about a down to earth relationship with God,  not all the fancy church talk and Christianese that you would expect from a spiritual book. It focuses on how real God is in our day to day lives in the least little details of what we do. It goes in a different direction from the feel good books that try to teach you a bunch of ways to be holy in order to get a move or experience from God.

He gets to the raw and simple truth which sometimes people can lose sight of that and try too hard. Even turn others away from Christianity because standards can sometimes seem set too high for others to live up to.

All in all, I liked his message. I would recommend this book for someone who is searching for God, but is turned off by the hypocrisy that can be in the church today.

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