Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fun Time Friday

As I noted on Friday's post, it was a warm day - the unofficial first day of spring. With the changing weather, I had a sinus headache for much of the day. Fortunately, it waned off as the evening approached. This was a very good thing, b/c I actually had plans, for once. 

First, my friend, Molly, organized a happy hour at Vertigo, which was a great way to kick off the weekend. It was nice to grab a drink with the girls. Luke showed up later with his friend, Kyle, and we hung around for a little before heading over to Madison Square Garden for the Knicks game. Luke and Kyle's former co-worker picked us up at Vertigo and drove us over to MSG...in his Bentley. 2 door. It was awe.some. 

The game was fun, and we had sweet seats - face value, $250 a pop. Luke got them for free at work, so the only thing we had to pay for was the $10 beers. 

View from our seats

Knicks City Dancers
After that we ventured to New Jersey for the opening of the new W Hotel in Hoboken. I had to pee like a race horse on the way over, so I couldn't enjoy the ride as much as I would have liked. But from what I saw of Hoboken, it looked awesome! 

After a couple drinks, Luke and I made our way back into the city. The NJ cabbie totally ripped us off, but we figured that would happen. We met up with my friend Kim, whose friend, Anne, was in from out of town for her birthday. I had been told for a while that I looked like Anne, and I've never really been told that I remind a friend of someone else, so I was excited to meet her! And of course we had a fabulous night! 

Needless to say, I was exhausted yesterday, but it was all worth it. And I can't wait for this weekend at home in Wisconsin - I'm hoping for some nice spring weather!  

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Another tasty - yet healthy - treat...and a salad to boot.

Below is one of my favvvvvorite salads, which I made last night. This is a large portion for an entree. You could split it up into two portions for a side salad to pair with dinner. 

Heat pan on medium heat and add a little oil. Add red pepper flakes and minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. 

Drain a can of albacore (or tuna) and add half of the can to the pan. Saute for three minutes.

Add broccoli, small pieces of asparagus, and tomato. Saute for four to five minutes. In the last two minutes, add some walnuts to toast.  Set aside. 

In a bowl, make a large bed of leafy greens. I used an organic blend of baby lettuce. 
 
Drizzle a *tiny* bit of olive oil on the lettuce. Add some fresh lemon juice - you only need a little! 

Sprinkle salt and pepper over the top.

Add raisins and chopped apples.

Add the veggies and tuna and toss.

The combination of these flavors is delicious! 

Enjoy!


On to dessert...my favorite part!

I got a yummy recipe from Bethenny Frankel's book, Naturally Thin, for banana chocolate chip cookies. The banana taste is not extremely noticeable - it's similar to banana bread - subtle yet flavorful. They have real sugar, for those who do not like Splenda. And the chocolate chips add a little decadence. Enjoy! 

I used this recipe to make 2 dozen small cookies. You can also make 1 dozen medium-large cookies.

1 1/2 cups oat flour (made by pulverizing rolled oats into a powder in a blender or food processor)
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/3 cup chocolate chips (can substitute vegan chocolate chips to make this a vegan recipe)
1 teaspoon canola oil
1/3 cup soymilk
1/2 cup banana puree (1 medium-sized banana)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375*F. Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Combine all the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Mix the dry and wet ingredients together, until well combined. (It may appear that there isn't enough wet ingredients, but if you mix thoroughly, it is fine.)

Scoop batter onto a cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Bake for 12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking, or bake until the edges of the cookies are light brown. 

Mmmmmm :) 

p.s. Don't bother counting the cookies. There may or may not be one missing. What can I say - I can't resist them when they're fresh out of the oven!  

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Good recipes

Dear friends,

Below you'll find two of my favorite recipes from recent weeks. I've made the cookies three times in the last three weeks, and I whipped up the batch of granola last night. The cookie recipe comes from hungry-girl.com, so it's really healthy (no eggs, no pure sugar, etc) and the taste is AMAZING. 

Ingredients:
3/4 cup regular oats
1/3 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup raisins (not packed), chopped
1/4 cup brown sugar (not packed)
2 tbsp. Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
2 tbsp. light whipped butter or light buttery spread (like 
Brummel & Brown), room temperature
2 tbsp. no-sugar-added applesauce
2 tbsp. fat-free liquid egg substitute (like
Egg Beaters Original)
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
dash salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, Splenda, butter, applesauce, egg substitute, and vanilla extract, and mix thoroughly with a wire whisk or fork.

Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, and stir until completely mixed and smooth.

Add oats and raisins, and mix until both are thoroughly coated with the batter.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon batter onto the sheet in 6 evenly spaced mounds. Using the back of a spoon, spread and flatten batter into circles about 3 1/2 inches wide.

Place in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean.

Remove baking sheet from the oven, and allow cookies to cool for 1 minute on the sheet. Then slide parchment paper onto a cool surface, and let cool completely. Enjoy!

MAKES 6 SERVINGS


Serving Size: 1 medium-large cookie
Calories: 125
Fat: 2.5g
Sodium: 120mg
Carbs: 23.5g
Fiber: 2g
Sugars: 10g
Protein: 3g





The granola is from Giada de Laurentis's new show, Giada At Home, and it's delicious, of course. I had to modify the recipe a little b/c I didn't have sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds, so I toasted walnuts and pecans instead. I also used regular cranberry cocktail instead of unsweetened since that is what I had in my fridge. Very tasty nevertheless. 



Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cranberry juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted and salted almonds
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread the pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds on a baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, combine the maple syrup, brown sugar, cranberry juice, and cinnamon over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved.
In a medium bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and salt.
Pour the maple mixture over the oat mixture and stir until combined. Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Stir in the cranberries and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes until the mixture begins to brown. Cool completely. Store airtight in a plastic container for up to 1 week.


enjoy! 

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Real Housewives of New York...in my 'hood

The Real Housewives of NYC escaped the Upper East Side and made an appearance at my local B&N downtown in Tribeca. I stopped by Bethenny's book signing, since it's about ten mins from my apt.

She was hilarious as usual. And when she started, the other housewives had yet to arrive..of course. Jill and LuAnn arrived together, and Ramona showed up about ten minutes later. Naturally, Bethenny cracked a joke about Ramona being the last one to arrive. 

For the record...Jill, LuAnn, and Ramona looked great - surprisingly they looked better in person than they do on TV. 


Bethenny was the woman of the hour, and she looked amazing! 


When she signed my book, I talked with her a little bit about her book tour. She was very chatty and gracious. The other housewives stuck around as well - it was nice to see them supporting her...although I'm sure they didn't mind the attention ;) 

Monday, March 9, 2009

Rainnnny day

Two scenarios would make this gloomy day much more tolerable:

1. Sweatpants, my comfy couch, and a nap

OR

2. This:

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Good thing the sprinklers didn't go off!

Last week, I made my first pan of lasagna. It was quite successful! I took it out of the oven and set it aside for a couple minutes.



In the mean time, I was going to toast some garlic bread, so I turned on the broiler and put the yummy Italian bread on the top shelf. (To my defense, that is what we did when we were little and made cheese bread.) After a few minutes, the smoke detector started going off like crazy and we couldn't get it to turn off. I looked over at the stove and saw smoke coming out by the burners. Then I looked into the oven and the bread was on fire! Orange flames! Needless to say, I was a little freaked out, but Luke was cool as a cucumber (as usual) and threw some water on them. Here are the charred reminents.


I later found out that we should not have thrown water in the oven. Oops.