Beautiful Saturday except for . . .

the cottonwood tree across the street from our house.  Every year about this time it starts to “shed” and it looks like its snowing, but its all the cottom from the trees – it sticks to our lawn, our dog if he’s laying outside, even tried to get into the grill while I was making salsa!

it usually passes in about a week - just kind of a pain to sit outside 😦

I decided to make pancakes for breakfast.  I used my pumpkin pancake recipe, the only change was I made them plain.  Two secrets:  I use this:

And I let my pancake batter sit for a minimum of 15 minutes – fluffy pancakes every time!

My plate:  3 pancakes, 1 sausage patty and 1/3 cup sugar free pancake syrup:

499 caloires, 60 carbs, 14.8 protein, 23 fat and 1 fiber

Then Tony and I ran some errands – I forgot my camera and he kept pointing out to me “oh, that would make a great picture!”  We ended up at a place called the Texan.  Hands down awesome ribs, but I had a burger on my mind.  My blood sugar was super low – as we were paying I could start to see my eyesight starts getting black so I ate a mini Peppermint Pattie while we waited for our food.

I ate exactly half of what you see, so I weighed it when I got home – 4 oz. of burger and 3 oz. of french fries:

374 calories, 40 carbs, 15.1 protein, 18.1 fat and 2 fiberI got to put my new 13 quart bowl to good use yesterday!  Our local grocery store had roma tomatoes for .49 cents a pound and I was out of salsa!  I hope everyone gives this a try.  The smokiness you get from the charred bits of tomato and jalapeno and the mellow grilled garlic is downright addicting!

This recipe was actually one of the first I did on the blog – way back in September 2008!  So simple, but so good!

Baja Fresh Salsa (printer friendly version here)

  • 7 firm tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teasoon salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime (about 1 tablespoon)

Toss the tomatoes, jalapeno and garlic (left in paper – thanks Tony for that idea!) in a bit of olive oil.  When grill is at temperature, grill until they are charred – turning every 10 minutes or so.

When they are done, your bowl will look like this:

this was enough for three batches

my mouth is waterning just looking at this picture!

Tony and I relaxed outside for a while – I was reading cookbooks per usual!  I got some new ones from the library – and while I like this one, I’ve never read a cookbook that has not one picture of any recipe!

But then we had to do some chores – one of the bushes on the side of our driveway was DED – dead!

that part was about 1/10 of the whole bush!

Since we ate such a late lunch, we had a late dinner.  Tony had seen a recipe on America’s Test Kitchen for a weeknight pasta sauce – he described it as a bolognese, and at the library I was actually able to find the DVD with that recipe on it!  Only problem?  It wasn’t the one Tony watched!  So I had ingredients for the one I made, so next time we’ll do Tony’s version.

I did make some adaptations though, I did not use reconstituted dried porcini mushrooms, and I, or course, left out the onions!

Quick Bolognese Recipe (printer friendly version here)

Makes 6 servings (360 caloires, 16.6 fat, 10.6 carbs, 2.0 fiber and 40.9 protein)

Typically a sauce that needs to cook low and slow, here is a weeknight version ready in about 40 minutes.


1 ounce mushroom
1/2 small carrot , peeled and chopped into rough 1/2-inch pieces (about 1/4 cup)
3 ounces pancetta , cut into 1-inch pieces
28 ounce tomatoes, with juice
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
3/4 pound ground pork
3/4 pound ground beef
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pinch table salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Pulse carrot and mushroom in food processor until broken down into rough 1/4-inch pieces, about 10 one-second pulses. Transfer vegetables to small bowl.
  2. Process pancetta until pieces are no larger than 1/4 inch, 30 to 35 seconds, scraping down bowl if necessary; transfer to small bowl.
  3. Pulse tomatoes with juice until chopped fine, 6 to 8 one-second pulses.
  4. Heat butter in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat; when foaming subsides, add pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, until well browned, about 2 minutes. Add carrot and porcini; cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened but not browned, about 4 minutes.
  5. Add garlic and sugar; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add ground meats, breaking meat into 1-inch pieces with wooden spoon, about 1 minute.
  6. Add milk and stir to break meat into 1/2-inch bits; bring to simmer, reduce heat to medium, and continue to simmer, stirring to break up meat into small pieces, until most liquid has evaporated and meat begins to sizzle, 18 to 20 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook until combined, about 1 minute.
  7. Add tomatoes, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper; bring to simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until liquid is reduced and sauce is thickened but still moist, 12 to 15 minutes.
  8. Serve over pasta of choice.

the base of the sauce - using meatloaf mix (combo of pork and beef), chopped pancetta for a meaty depth to the sauce, and carrots and mushrooms pureed in food processorAfter the pancetta and carrot/mushroom mixture cooks, you add the meat and the milk:

After 20 minutes, it looks like this:

Then after adding the tomato paste and tomato sauce, it simmered for 15 more minutes:

Tony chose mosticolli, which I love!

My plate: 1 1/2 cups pasta, 1 serving of sauce, fresh basil from our potted plant and I sprinkled with crushed red pepper on mine! 😀

624 calories, 69 carbs, 46 protein, 18.1 fat and 12.1 fiber

Stats for Saturday

  • 1,497 calories, 169 carbs, 76 protein, 59 fat and 15.1 fiber
  • only exercise was yard work

It’s another beautiful day in Chicagoland!  I am hitting up Fresh Market for goat milk to make goat cheese.  I also am hosting May birthday’s at my office tomorrow and plan on making zucchini/walnut muffins. 😀  Enjoy our day!


49 thoughts on “Beautiful Saturday except for . . .

  1. That salsa looks so good!

  2. Wow, all that food looks so good! I’d love to try the homemade salsa, but I better stay away from the chips that I could dip in it!

    • When are you going to do a review for Four Daughters Restaurant? Gabe & Jeremy give rave reewvis for the Chocolate Chip pancakes! Have you been to The Beach Hut in Hermosa Beach or Manhattan Beach? That was always one of my favorites yummy Hawaiian breakfast!

    • Thanks for spending time on the computer (writing) so others don’t have to.

  3. Yum, I have to make the pasta dish! When (if) the weather gets better I’m going to make your salsa, but with out cilantro. Hope it turns out ok, I try to like cilantro, but I just don’t! Can’t wait to start cooking outside, here is Washington state it might be a while!

  4. Ha it’s “snowing” in May…I know it must be annoying but it looks beautiful…

  5. I want those pancakes 😯 If I was your neighbor, I’d be like the thief that steals pies off your windowsill, LOL. 😀

    Fresh jalapenos, WIN WIN WIN! That salsa looks awesome.


  6. bolognese is the best! i had some that was rather disappointing the other night – i wish i had some more meat eaters around to cook for!

  7. We live near dogwoods too and it snows on us for 2 weeks every year in the spring. Gross and annoying, but what are you gonna do… 🙂

  8. The food as always looks amazing, I will definitely have to make that salsa the next time I grill.
    Our walk yesterday felt like snow with all the cottonwood, crazy!

  9. Love the pasta sauce and all in all it isn’t that bad calorie-wise to have once in a while!

    I still have to get my grill out this year!

  10. Love the new blog look, Biz! ALMOST as much as I love the look of that Baja Fresh salsa 😉

  11. As always your food looks awesome, and I love the snow picture from the cottonwood tree!

  12. mm those pancakes have their own syrupy wading pool hehe. DELISHH<3

    oh i know what ur saying aobut those morning when i woke up i thought it was a freak summer snow storm lol..

    • You would have to include the tkitecs into which ever week you bought them in and not into the week you used them.For example if I bought a bottle of Champagne today, and kept it unopened until next year, I would include it into today,s spends. What am I saying !!!!!!! Champagne would,nt last till next year in my house LoLHope you had a wonderful Christmas

    • That’s not just logic. That’s really sensible.

    • lol That’s a good point I agree with you completely!! Ya I am going to do it that way. So when I buy them I will inlduce it in that day’s spending. As for the Champagne . ya I don’t know I don’t drink the stuff.

  13. Ugh, cottonwood. That stuff kills me – when it’s flying here, I’m permanently stuffed up.

  14. The “snow” pic looks really cool; but I can imagine what a pain it must be…

    Awesome food! I could eat the salsa by the gallon… 🙂

    Have a great week!

    • I do agree with all the ideas you have presented to your post. They are rlleay convincing and will definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are very quick for starters. May you please lengthen them a little from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

  15. Mmmmm SALSA! Oh my it looks delish!

    And oh the darn cotton wood! As I was mowing today, it kept landing in my mouth nice right? Ick!

    • OMG OMG OMG, i have been so busy of late i have only been reading peoleps last fews posts!!!! I cant believe it your pg, congrats, i cant believe i have misses it!!! Had to read back, i am sorry i have not congratulated you before now! WOW!!!!

  16. I’ve got the urge to have pancakes now! Haven’t had them in 2-3 years 😦

  17. […] We also snacked on some chips and my baja salsa: […]

  18. […] up tomatoes – lots of them because they were only .39 cents a pound!  Of course, I made more baja fresh salsa!  My salsa is now famous – Ally made it and is selling it at her local farmers market […]

  19. […] base of my pizza – the sauce is 1/4 cup refried beans mixed with 1/4 cup of my baja fresh salsa. Then I tossed 2 ounces of chicken breast from our herbed chicken last night with 1 tablespoon of […]

  20. […] We were disappointed with the .39 cent tomatoes at the store yesterday.  Most of them were yellow, or bright orange.  I picked the darkest ones to make more baja fresh salsa! […]

  21. […] you tried my sister’s salsa she makes on the grill? This is her […]

  22. […] First of all, I am pretty sure I would not even be let into our neighbors front door without my baja fresh salsa.  I am sure you are sick of seeing it, but it is a summer […]

  23. […] wait . . . there is more!  Who wants four jars of my baja fresh salsa??!!  I know dozens of you have made it, but if you haven’t yet, now is your chance to get […]

  24. […] to host a Mexican fiesta at work tomorrow for my 5 year anniversary – on the menu:   baja fresh salsa and chips, zucchini enchiladas, ground beef taco bar with all the fixins, a black bean, cucumber […]

  25. […] My sister brought her green salsa (that had onions in it, but luckily it was pureed!) and I brought my baja fresh salsa. […]

    • I never craved spifecic foods when I was pregnant, I just got hungry and didn’t really care what I ate. My only craving was ice. I constantly chewed ice for probably 4 or 5 months straight. Your sandwich sounds interesting, but I’m glad you liked it!

  26. I really want to try your salsa recipe! I looks amazing!

  27. […] Go to my twin sister’s grilled baja salsa recipe here […]

  28. […] leave you with another quick recipe.  I’ve made a 30 minute bolognese before, but didn’t have all the ingredients so I modified it with what I had on […]

  29. Will there be any type of upgrade from the iPhone 4 to iPhone five any time it will come out? I am lokniog into if an apple iphone 4 owner will be able to upgrade to the actual i phone 5 when it comes out. I’ve got my iphone4 since september of last year and i wouldn’t like to pay $600 for the new iphone five when it comes out this summer time.

  30. […] had forgotten I bought all the stuff to make my baja fresh salsa last week and never made it.  So I grilled up my tomatoes and jalapeno – I got them extra […]

  31. […] brought out some chips and baja fresh salsa – Amee – here is the link for the salsa – so simple, I think you’ll really love […]

  32. […] for a few minutes.  Then topped it with lettuce, tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro and some of my baja fresh salsa.   So much better than […]

  33. […] 59 carbs, 11 fiber and a whopping 45 grams of protein.  So fricken good – and topped with my baja fresh salsa that I made over the weekend, first batch of the […]

  34. […] filling, but you could always pre-cook the peppers if you wanted to.  I grilled up some of my baja fresh salsa (first of the season!) and had that for […]

  35. […] My sister brought her green salsa (that had onions in it, but luckily it was pureed!) and I brought my baja fresh salsa. […]

  36. […] for a few minutes.  Then topped it with lettuce, tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro and some of my baja fresh salsa.   So much better than […]

  37. […] brought out some chips and baja fresh salsa – Amee – here is the link for the salsa – so simple, I think you’ll really love […]

  38. […] had forgotten I bought all the stuff to make my baja fresh salsa last week and never made it.  So I grilled up my tomatoes and jalapeno – I got them extra […]

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