Weekend To Do’s

Just a quick list of what I want to accomplish this weekend:

  • Finish the powder room
  • Bake Strawberry Rhubarb pie
  • Makeover the master bedroom lamps
  • Homework (Boooooooo!)

This is a doable list (I’m notorious for making impossible To Do lists, getting overwhelmed, and purposefully ignoring said list).  Anywho, wish me luck!

~j~

Pudgy-Pie Pizzas

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Down Stream

Hubs and I went camping this Memorial Day weekend out in the boonies of Maryland.  It was wonderful to get away, just the two of us and the puppy dog.  He spent most of Saturday fishing while I read in the sun and took pictures of Molly, the stream, and Hubs casting.  Ahhhhhh, relaxation at its best!

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Hubs

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Miss Molly Mae

Now, cooking while camping presents some unique challenges, especially when you don’t have a grill, and the fire pit doesn’t have a grate.  Enter pudgy-pies.

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Pizza while camping? But of course!

These little beauties are a cinch to make and super nums.  They are totally customizable and can be stuffed with just about anything.  All you need is a Pudgy-Pie iron, some bread, stuffing, and a hot fire.

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Pudgy-Pie iron

As a kid, camping was life during the summer and pudgy-pies were a regular dessert after dinner.  However, it was a stroke of brilliance that Mom came up with pizza pudgy-pies during a spring break trip in Moab, UT.

So this weekend, we had pizza and apple-cheddar pie while we camped.

Nums

Nums

Oven Roasted Tomato Soup with Mozzarella & Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

To

I have a slight obsession with Tomato Soup.

As a child I hated the stuff.  You couldn’t get me within 10 miles of a bowl of the red soppy mess, much less try to make it the star of a meal.  Well, twenty-some years later and an evening filled with family, friends, a grandiose meal served by wenches, and men dressed in armor speeding towards each other on valiant steeds changed all that nonsense (I took my mom and Auntie to Medieval Times the first time they visited me).  The full course meal was served with a soup that the child in me screamed to get away from — that’s right, tomato.  The grown-up me (I don’t think adult would exactly apply here) was like “Get over yourself and try it…”  Actually, those may have been my mother’s words, not grown-up me…

Anywho, I did.  And it. Was. Amazing.

Why?!?  Why had this been missing from my life all these years?!?  How did I not know the wonderful concoction sitting in front of me in a bent and banged up metal bowl was… heaven. In. My. Mouth?!?

Needless to say, I have loved tomato soup since that day and judge a sandwich shop by how nums it’s tomato soup is.

However, with all this wonderfulness in a bowl, I have never tried to make a homemade version…

Until now.

Thanks to Pinterest (that forbidding black hole of a time suck!), I found a lovely recipe that I believed would suffice as a guide in my attempt to make the tomato-y goodness at home.  I have adapted this recipe and added a nummy sandwich.

So, here we go!  My first recipe!  YAY! [round of applause, please.]

Printable Recipe

First, I started out with eight vine ripe tomatoes cut into eight pieces each and placed them on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

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Vine Ripe Tomatoes

Then, because I had them and they were getting wilty, I cut 4 small celery whites (the part at the very heart of the stock) into 1 inch pieces and added them to the tomatoes.
Next I cut two small onions into quarters and scattered them around the baking sheet, and added four large garlic cloves, halved, to the sheet.
I drizzled olive oil over the top of my veggies and sprinkled them with salt and fresh cracked pepper.

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Tomatoes, celery, onions, garlic, olive oil, salt, and fresh cracked pepper. Yum!

I roasted my veggies in a pre-heated oven at 400° F (the original recipe calls for 200°… Celsius.  Thankfully I realized the oven was not hot enough when I initially opened it to commence roasting…) for about 40 minutes (the tomatoes almost looked dry, but they were sizzling and juicy!).

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Post-roast

After the roasting concluded, I poured the entire sheet of veggies into a soup pot with a few sprigs of thyme and a bay leaf.  I added about 2 cups of chicken stock, brought it up to a boil, and simmered the soup for 20-25 minutes.

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Simmery goodness.

While the soup was simmering I browsed Pinterest started on the sandwiches.  We had white bread left over from pudgy-pies this weekend, so I ended up using that.  I spread butter on the outside of each slice and (very lightly) Dijon mustard on the inside.  I piled a good salty deli ham on top, added a few slices of mozzarella and threw them in a warmed frying pan to get brown and melty.  I rested a smaller frying pan on top to mush the sandwiches down a bit, so they had that pressed deli shop feel.

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Ham and Mozzarella Pre-Grill

After the soup was done simmering I poured the contents of the soup pot into a food processor (don’t overfill the food processor — no liquid over the top of the blade handle, it makes a mess.  Trust me…) and processed until smooth.  Hubs finished the sandwiches for me and I served up the soup in small bowls, topped with two slices of mozzarella.

Roasted Tomato Soup

Roasted Tomato Soup with Mozzarella & Grilled Ham and Cheese

Heaven. In. My. Mouth.

The bright, fresh taste of vine ripened tomatoes and the salty goodness of the ham complimented each other perfectly.  And despite the disaster in the kitchen (remember what I said about the food processor…), it was totally worth it.

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Super Nums.

My Food Filosophy

We all love food.

We all love food.

I am passionate about food.  And I am passionate about how food affects our body.  One of the most influential quotes in my life is from about 2,500 years ago by the famed Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”  This really resonates with me as I believe that what we put into our body directly correlates to how we feel, how sharp our mind is, how well our body operates, and how easily we get sick or stay healthy through flu season.  This passion is exactly why I am studying to be a dietitian.  I believe what Hippocrates said two and a half millennia ago.  And I believe it is even more relevant today than it has ever been.

Every compound we ingest directly affects the processes our bodies go through to keep us alive, and depending on what types of compounds they are, directly affect the quality of our health (i.e., life).  Therefore, I believe it is the responsibility of each person to understand the choices they have available, not only at the grocery store, but at fast food joints, restaurants, and the local 7Eleven.

If you put junk into your body you’re going to feel like junk.  Simple as that.

So, how do I eat?  Well, not well during finals at school, that’s for sure.  But even during times of stress (or perhaps even more importantly during times of stress) I really TRY to eat well – lots of veggies, the best cuts of meat I can afford, good healthy fat (even *gasp* saturated fat) and I try to limit as many refined carbohydrates (donuts!) as possible.

I believe that eating whole food is really where it’s at; where you get the best bang for your buck.  Yes, admittedly whole, quality foods are more expensive than refined or sub-par foods (I mean, as of today, Wegmans grass-fed sirloin steak is $13.69/lb, while Wegmans brand who-knows-how-it-was-treated sirloin steak is $9.29/lb, and a bag of King Arthur 100% Whole Wheat flour is $3.99 compared to Pillsbury Best All Purpose bleached, enriched white flour at $2.99) the actual price tag can seem, well, pricey.  However, the way you feel, and the leaps and bounds your body will improve in its general operation are astronomical.

Now I’m sure you’re saying “Is the price tag really worth it?!?” Yes and no.  In an ideal world I would be buying grass-fed straight-from-the-farm beef, and eating 100% pesticide-free, non-GMO, un-fiddled with veggies… But this is not the ideal world, and I am a student living in a single[and a half]-income home with bills, budgets, and home improvement plans, not to mention family that lives far, far away from me whom I like to visit at least once a year, and a healthy appreciation for good craft beer.  So, sadly I don’t always get the ideal.

While that may be the case, there are a few things I do to ensure I fuel myself in the best possible way.  First of all, I cook.  That is the single most important way to a) understand food, and b) know what you’re eating.  Second, I buy the best when it’s on sale, and if it’s not on sale, I buy what is.  I cut the fat off of meat, and cook it with ghee, coconut oil, or olive oil to add back in good fats.  I eat fruits and veggies that are in season.  And I try NOT to eat donuts (which are a serious weakness of mine during finals).  If I eat a sandwich, I ask for whole wheat bread.  If I’m at a BBQ, I head for the veggie tray instead of the chip bowl.  I take lunch to school (usually consisting of left-overs from the night before).  And I carefully plan the weeks menu to include some interesting, more difficult meals, and some easy, I-don’t-feel-like-cooking-tonight meals.  I also try my best to adhere to a “Paleo/Primal” diet with varying levels of success (I strive for 80%. Therefore, I still eat pizza when Hub’s makes homemade dough – so yum!  I partake in homemade pie when I bake, and when I’m out I make the best possible choice, but don’t go out of my way to avoid bread/pasta/grains).

Selecting the best from the choices you have available to you in the price range you can afford is the most important way to improve your health.

My good friend Jess, over at A Real Appetite has a fantastic list of “Good, Better, Best” options to help cut out refined, processed foods.  Please check it out.  It’s full of great ideas on how to improve the quality of your diet (and she’s just fun to read!).

A Couple of Outfits to Start Us Off…

Here are a few outfits from the past (fallish 2012) to start us off.  I apologize for the awful quality; these photos were taken before Spider (story coming soon) and I really had no idea what I was doing (not that that’s really changed…).  I have tried to list where all of the items I’m wearing are from, although a good number of them I have had for quite some time.  Also, lucky for us, I just so happen to be a believer in shopping your closet and finding fun, new ways to wear items you already have, so you’ll notice there are a few repeat items.

Outfits

1. Grey Loft Suit Jacket — found at Goodwill for $4 🙂
Grey Sweater — Christmas present from forever ago
Delia Jeans from two years ago
White Ruffle Collar shirt — Kohl’s, several years ago
Black Belt — Target
Black boots — Kohl’s

2. Floral top — Kohl’s
Navy Shorts — Old Navy
Canvas shoes — DSW

3. Same Grey Loft jacket as #1
Purple Silk blouse — Loft, on sale
Skinny jeans — Dress Barn
Purple heals — Target
Necklace — NY&Co
Movado watch — gift from Hubs 🙂

4. Same skinnies and grey sweater mentioned above
Blue chambray shirt — Loft, on super sale!
Scarf — Target
Skinny Belt — Target
Necklace — NY&Co
Bracelet — NY&Co
Onyx and Sterling Ring — gift from my Auntie
Shoes — Payless or Target…

5. Same skinnies, belt, and shoes from #4, same necklace as #3
Silk Leopard blouse — Loft, on sale
Purple cardigan — Target

Maybe I’ll… Start a Blog

So, I have finally created a blog.  After months and months of saying “maybe I’ll start a blog,” I finally bit the bullet and did it.  I don’t really know why I didn’t just jump on it right away.  At first, I said it was because I didn’t know which service to use, then it was because I didn’t have a cool name picked out, then I had finals…  You see where this is going?  But this is not an unfamiliar theme in my life.  I say “maybe I’ll do such and such” a lot.

So, now I have decided to turn all of my “Maybe I’ll’s” into “I did’s” with the help of my blog.  The purpose of this blog is to help motivate me to actually DO all of the fun things I want to do that I keep putting off.

Hopefully you will join me in this crazy journey called life, and share with me in getting motivated to do all of the things on our “Maybe I’ll” lists.

 

Ciao,

Jess