July 10, 2009

Chicken -Yummy and low fat

okay, this dinner was so simple and low key that I did not even think about taking pictures of it until I was finished making it and then I realized... these are exactly the type of dinners that need to be on this site.

This dinner was literally just some butterfly cut chicken breast with salt, pepper and Pappy's fried in a little bit of oil.

I put down some large lettuce leaves, chopped tomatoes and little onion. Once the chicken was on top I added a little herbal salad dressing. It was great.

At the same time I made chicken breast sandwiches for the kids. It was a really good dinner and I HATE salad. But I need to eat it more.

June 28, 2009

Bomb Oatmeal cookies

As much as I would like to be I am not much of a baker. I do keep trying and some things work and some do not. The other day I decided to make oatmeal cookies. the recipie was really easy. I got it from the Joy of Baking. I love this website. They have so many things that look so yummy and they have lots of info and pictures.

I started by letting my 3/4 cup butter sit and warm to room temperature which did not take long and added my cup of brown sugar. I got to use my "new to me" electric hand mixer. This is actually my late grandma's and I love the idea of baking treats with the same equipment that she did. Any way....
I whipped the butter and sugar and added 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of vanilla and mixed gain.

In a 2nd bowl I put 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda, salt and cinnamon. and mixed them together. I then added that to my wet ingredients. I would have added nuts, raisins or dried fruits but I did not have any and they were still great.

after mixing the dry ingredients with the wet I added 3 cups of oats. I did not have any parchment paper or even spray for the cookie sheet so I just tried my luck. They did not stick to bad.

I used a 1/4 cup scoop and made little balls and then pressed them slightly. They turned out great. They were really tasty. I cannot wait to make them again.

June 16, 2009

At home composting

After living in Oregon, a very eco friendly state, I am having a hard time adjusting to Tulum, Mexico. For one the town itself JUST became a city so the basic services that one would expect to find are just now coming in. One of the services that I cannot wait for is recycling in Tulum. I have heard that there is or was a recycling center but no one to run it. And you have to bring your items there. So with no pick up, no people at the center and very few people with cars you can imagine how much trash (and much of it recyclable) gets thrown on the floor. And this drives me especially crazy because Tulum is supposed to be this whole super eco place. It is part of its whole shtick.

Anyway. Since I am not currently recycling I needed to do something to offset my guilt. So I started composting, much to the dismay of my husband. Now, we live in very close proximity to a lot of people and have very limited space. The last thing I wanted was a stinky mess. I saw some various designs for garbage bin composers on many websites. The one I liked the most was this one.

I did not want to purchase and materials so I used what I had. In my case it is our old kitchen garbage can that has no lid be cause it broke and so I used the bottom half of my cats carrying case with a brick on top. When I make my next one, I will use a can that is round on the bottom so that it is easier to roll.

I took my husbands drill and drilled a bunch of little holes in it. If I had to do it over again, I would have cut out larger fist sized whole but lined the inside of the bin with fine screen and mesh wiring. I think that would let the air through better. But it is so hot here that it is doing just fine.

I have a little bowl on the counter and I throw it in every night or so. I also throw in all of the leaves that my husband gets when he rakes. We have to be careful though because there are a lot of weeds and i do not want those in the bin. I do throw in our tp rolls, cereal boxes, and egg cartons. That helps a lot for the dry part of the compost.

Even after a few months, I still have not filled up the bin and it is a small little container that comes up to my about my knees. I am trying to turn or mix it but it is really hard. I think that if I did a larger and round one it would be easier.

I went over to my friends house the other day and he had just started composting recently as well. He has already put the first layer on his garden. I hope that mine is ready soon. I might ask him to come and take a look at mine and see if I am doing it okay.

My garden has definatly not been going well. There seem to be more weeds then anything growing. Something about living on the beach has been hard. Oh well. It is a learning curve. I am not much of a gardener at all and learning to do it in the sub tropical climate of the Caribbean is proving to be challenging. I really took the environment in Oregon for granted. Things grow like mad there.

June 8, 2009

Oven roasted Chicken w/ home veggies & low fat gravy

Okay, so this recipie was inspired by one of my favorite places in Paris. It sits on a perfect corner on Rue Cler. It was called Cafe du Marche. My ex-husband and I would go here all of the time and I always had the same dish (and then ate half of his while he ate the other half of my favorite.) That way, if we hated the other dish- we knew we would be leaving happy with mine. It was so simple, roasted chicken, potatoes with a simple gravy/dressing and a small salad. But many of the best recipies are always the ones that use the simplest of fresh ingredients and prepare them well. No wonder I loved Paris, and all of France for that matter.

Anyway, this was a simple roasted chicken. I let Ruben wash it up inside and out while I got the veggies ready. Just a few cut baby potatoes, sliced carrot, white onion and garlic. I threw in a little water so I had pleanty of gravy. A little salt, pepper and Pappy's and we were on our way.

We let it cook up for and hour and a half and it was perfect. I could have taken out all the chicken and veggies and then thickened the gravy... but no thanks. That is just another dish and I was set. I did not even really make a full salad, just a little lettuce and it added a great crispness to the meal. It was great. We ate a little for lunch and a little more for dinner and then we are making tacos tomarrow.

The kids loved it, I loved it, it used very few dishes and it is a usefull leftover. That is one of my favorite meals ever.

May 24, 2009

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May 22, 2009

Banana Bread

okay, I made this banana bread the other day and it was great but I did not get many pictures. Well, with how easy this banana bread was to make I decided to make it again.

However, this time I had some leftover tropical pancakes that had been soaking in syrup. I really did not want to throw these away for a few reasons. For one we are totally broke. We really do not throw away much. But also, these were whole wheat pancakes, with kiwi, papaya and mango!!! I thought that sounded perfect for banana bread.

The basic recipe was really easy. I got it from the Joy of Baking site. I am in love with this site. But 1 problem I knew I was going to have was that I do not have any baking soda. We only have baking powder. After doing some research online I was able to determine that I could sub baking powder pretty easily for the same measurement. So that is what I did.

The recipe as called for by Joy of Baking is below.

After I got all my wet butter, banana, eggs and villa all together I threw in the rest of the kids pancakes. after mixing in the dry ingredients it seemed a little wet so i threw in a little more whole wheat flour.

I put it into a heart shaped baking dish (still the only 1 that I have!) The bread was great. It was finished off for breakfast the next day. The pancake did add to the flavor not only in the tropical fruit and syrup but also in making the bread a little heavier. It did more to fill you up.


1 cup (115 grams) walnuts or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)

1 3/4 cups (245 grams) all-purpose flour

3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar

1 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

3 ripe large bananas (approximately 1 pound or 454 grams), mashed well (about 1-1/2 cups)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Garnish: (Optional)

1 large banana, sliced or dried banana chips

May 20, 2009

Tropical pancakes

I have been really trying to think of new ways to use a lot of the fruits that either are starting to get too ripe or the ones that get smashed to bits on our way home. Well this morning I thought of a great idea... tropical pancakes.

I took some basic whole wheat pancake mix. I am not sure how much of a difference the whole wheat really makes but I am sure it is at least better for you. And I added 1 large but smashed kiwi and some chopped up bits of mango into the batter. i was a little worried that it would be too wet so I threw in a little bit of wheat flour.

They cooked up very nicely in the pan and I topped them with some mango and some papaya with a little syrup and a touch of powdered sugar. It was really tasty.

The really funny thing is... I have sort of a weird idea for the left overs. I made some banana bread the other night- it was my first batch and it turned out great. I did not get too many pics but anyway... I have decided to make it again but this time I am going to add my kids left over pancakes already moist with syrup.

I am not sure if this is going to turn out but we will see. That is the fun part.

wheat pasta with fresh and light garlic tomato sauce

Now if you read this blog you know that I make a number of variations of tomato/ marinara and bolognese sauces. I almost always use either a small box (here it is a box- in the USA it would have been a jar) of ready made sauce and or a box of tomato puree. This just extends the sauce to be able to cover more meals.

Alas- last night i did not any ready made items. I had to make it all and it went really well. it was the same thing that I always do but with out the bow of tomato puree.

It was simply... 1/2 chopped white onion, 6-8 cloves chopped garlic, 4 chopped tomatoes, a little salt and pepper and at the very end I added chopped basil from my garden.

Once the noodles were ready I just added them to the sauce pan with all of the yummy oil and sauteed onion, garlic and tomatoes. It was a very fresh tasting dinner. Especially for how simple it was.

It also reheated today beautifully when tossed into a non stick pan with just a little oil- it was perfect. When topped with fresh parmesan cheese--- ahhh... wish I could get that here. Oh well.

This dinner was simple and wonderful. This would be perfect for a party or crowd. i thin I will serve this at our next picnic.

May 17, 2009

Mango, pineapple sorbet with tequila and orange liquor

May I just say first of all, that I really want an ice cream maker. Ever since keeping strict track of the money we spend on things and at each store I have noticed a few things. One is that the ice cream at the store (which is the cheapest place to buy ice cream) has gone up from 35 pesos for about a liter to 40 pesos and I am sure that it will keep going up as the town continues to grow and populate. The 2nd thing I have noticed is that ice cream is our number one treat because it is so hot here. This is the one that I want... I think it will be so much fun to make a bunch of fruit sorbets. I mean... we have no shortage of cheap fruits here and the need for cool treats.


This palate cleanser was an idea that I had based on a restaurant that I went to twice in Paris, La Truffiere. It was one of those magical restaurants that you sit and eat at for hours. I went there once during the summer of 2000 and then again for Christmas Eve 2001. Both times were a truly unforgettable dining experience. Well, in between the fish and meat course they serve a palate cleanser. This was on both occasions an icy sorbet that contained liquor to help prepare you for the next dish.

Yesterday I was cutting some pineapple for some sweet and sour chicken I was making and the pine apple was to the point of almost done. Still a good pineapple but not the kind you want to eat plain. I had some mangos that were the same way. I decided to give a sorbet a try.

So yesterday I scooped out my over ripe mango and blended it in my trusty mini chopper and then did the same to the remaining half of the pine apple. I mixed the chopped fruit with a few splashes of orange liquor and a splash of tequila as well a cup or so of water.

I put it all in a tupperware dish and put it in freezer. After many hours I went and took it out and stirred the more frozen parts into the middle. Even at this point it was looking and tasting really good. I put it back in the freezer to harden over night. I figured that it would be a perfect snack for the next day which has already proven as I sit here at 10:30 am... that it is going to be a VERY HOT day.

But... alas... my husband came home from work last night and ate it all. can you believe that?!?!?! He assures my that it was very good. What a punk ass. Oh well. I am not really mad, although I would have loved to at least try it. I made it to be enjoyed... and it sounds like it was. But it did make so excited to try another one. What a great way to use all those fruits that are past the point of good raw.

This time I will hide it in the back of the freezer so the hubby cannot find it! :)

May 16, 2009

Spaghetti with Bolognese Sauce- loaded with vegetables

Now, ever since I have found wheat pasta at the supers here in town- we make noodles with marinara or bolognese at least once if not twice a week. We love it especially because of how many vegetables we have in the sauce but for how easy it is to reheat the next day or use in a new way. We love making french bread pizzas the next day!

Anyway. Another reason I love this recipe is because I hardly have to chop anything at all. With my hands in as bad of shape as they are I have come to LOVE and rely on my mini-chopper. First thing in is 1/2 to a whole clove of garlic- Once chopped I put a little a container with some butter to melt, the rest goes onto a little plate, next, the onion followed bell pepper.

I heat up a little oil in my skillet and and throw those all in with some salt, pepper and Pappy's. While those are getting soft and mixing together I blend up a head broccoli florets and then 3 carrots, I usually do not peel my carrots, just wash them up really well. and put those on the little plate.

After the onions, garlic and pepper are soft add the ground beef, you could ground turkey or chicken but I have not tried that yet. Once the meat is pretty cooked, add the broccoli and carrots and mix together. If I had celery or squash I would have added it here.

Then mini chop some tomatoes and throw those in with some tomato paste. At this point I usually add some cinnamon, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes and 1/2 a chopped jalapeno.

For the bread, we just mix the garlic into the butter and let it stand at room temp for a few minutes (here it melts within minutes) Cut the bread length wise, butter and grill until golden.

We usually serve it with a simple salad and save any leftover salad for salad or sandwiches the next day.

I love this meal. And the kids love it and there is almost no limit to what you can do with it. I love having extra sauce to make french bread or bagel pizzas or lazagna. And now with the whole wheat pasta I do not feel nearly so bad.

May 13, 2009

Grapefruit Grouper

Well, I had some grapefruits to use so I started poking around online looking for recipies that would work for a grapefruit sauce on grouper fillets. I found some recipes for bbq grouper with sweet and sour grapefruit sauce so I figured it must work flavor wise. So then I started looking at some grapefruit sauce recipes in various areas. I took some ideas from a bunch of them and made this lunch. It was grouper in a grapefruit and ginger sauce, brown rice and steamed broccoli.

For the rice and broccoli is never occurs to me to us my double pot steamer. This time I remembered. I put my water for my rice on the bottom and the broccoli on the top and added the rice half way through. Though next time I will not add the pot with broccoli until my rice is already in. I just like my broccoli a little crispy.

*** One good idea to get your kids to eat veggies it to steam the veggies for the whole time that the rice is boiling and cooking and then mash the veggies into the rice. Sometimes I will add a little butter and garlic at the end. But my kids do not pick out the veggies then***

For the sauce I threw some red onion, a little garlic butter I had left, grated ginger (a little goes a long way) and some grapefruit segments and the juice and some water. I let those flavors simmer together while I got the other stuff ready. It did not take long for the sauce to start smelling really good. If I had a chili I would have thrown it in too but I did not.

The sauce turned this nice muted orange color and was smelling fantastic. I added the grouper which I seasoned with salt and pepper and left them alone for several minutes on each side, flipping once.

We plated them up and used up all of the sauce. Ours had a little too much ginger in it but it was still good. It was a very healthy and tasty lunch. And if this is not the ultimate test... my 4 year old ate every bite of broccoli florets, brown rice and grouper with grapefruit sauce. That is quite a victory for me.

Lena thought the fish was a little funny tasting. I think it was the ginger. This is one of the first times I have ever really used ginger. They had it at the store and Ruben loves it so... Hey, you try you learn.

May 8, 2009

Mexican Grilled Grouper in a Tequila Marinade, with brown rice and veggies and sliced mango

So armed with left over brown rice and veggies that I made last night, I set out to make a grouper recipe that was adapted from this web site I had all the fixings for it so I thought that I would give it a shot.

I marinaded the grouper fillets in some tequila, orange liquor, lime juice, garlic and salt. I set the in the fridge for about a half hour or so. I took a picture - it is a pretty boring fridge. And our "pantry" is not that much more exciting.

I then made the salsa. This was just tomatoes, white onion, red onion a little garlic, salt, pepper, a little sugar, _ I would have put in jalapenos but I did not have any. So I added a little red pepper flakes in the kids salsa and then added red pepper flakes and a little habanero salsa to our pico de gallo

I lightly oiled my grill pan and set the fish on there to cook for about 5-6 min. each side. Meanwhile I put the marinade in a little pan and simmered while the rice and veggies that we had leftover reheated.

When served it was a fillet of the marinade liberally dressing the top (this would have been a great topping for fresh steamed veggies. We then piled the pico de gallo on the fish and served with the leftover rice and veggies and sliced mango.

It was a great lunch. It tasted very fresh and light.

I just found this great web site that looks like it has some great recipies for fish.

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