Fannie Farmer

Looking back on my eats this week, I think I did pretty good eating out of our fridge and freezer this week – I like not spending money on groceries every once in a while, even though I love grocery shopping! 😀

I love Hormel turkey chili.  When it goes on sale, I usually buy some and keep it in my desk just in case.  I had a taste for it . . . for breakfast!  I used a low carb wrap, one scrambled egg, 1/2 cup hormel chili, taco cheese and chopped fresh spinach on top.  Of course, I sprinkled it liberally with Tabasco 😀  This was so fricken good!

this may be my new favorite breakfast!

Tony and Hannah took our dog Ed to the vet yesterday morning.  He quite literally freaked out – enough so that he got out of his collar!   We have no idea how old our dog is because we rescued him, but our guess is about 10 or 11.  He now has arthritis, which we kind of had an idea because he no longer wants to walk up our front stairs on our deck, but will walk around to the back door so he only has to walk up five. 😦

Hannah didn’t have to work until later in the afternoon so she picked me up and we went to a sidewalk sale near my office and lunch.

It’s the first time I’ve eaten here.  We each got the teriyaki chicken platter, which came with the chicken, white rice, three small gyoza (I only ate one because there was mushroom in it) and a salad – all for $7.

this was good, but I asked for hot sauce which made it great!

Thanks for being my lunch date Hannah! 😀

So at this sidewalk sale, among tents that are selling $99 t-shirts is a mini garage sale.  All the proceeds went to the Daughters of the Revolution.  I totally scored!  Three more snowman mugs to my collection – each were $1!

And I also got another bread pan and a tart pan – each were $1 also.  But the major score was this:

A 1914 edition of Fannie Farmer’s cookbook.  It is totally fascinating to read.  The preface states:

“With the progress of knowledge the needs of the human body have not been forgotten.  During the last decade much time has been given by scientists to the study of foods and their dietetic value, and it is a subject which rightfully should demand much consideration from all.  I certainly feel that the time is not far distant when a knowledge of the principles of diet will be an essential part of one’s eduction.  Then mankind will eat to live, will be able to do better mental and physical work, and disease will be less frequent.”

I really can’t wait to make some of the recipes in this book.  However, it will be somewhat of a learning curve because she sometimes states “bake in a hot oven.”  Um, not sure what temperature is a hot oven!

she even has a recipe for emergency biscuits when someone stops by unexpectedly!

I also love the ads in the back of the book:

I remember trying to use karo syrup on pancakes when I was little when we were out of pancake syrup - it was so gross!

And whoever owned the book before me wrote “good” next to a recipe she liked.  And I also found some handwritten notes:

We decided to order pizza for dinner – I went with my new favorite:  Italian sausage, Italian beef and hot giardiniera.   Tony had sausage and green and black olives.  Sadly, when I saw the olive I handed him his pizza – but I forgot that olives are also in hot giardiniera!  On the third bite his mouth was on fire – sorry Tony!

I plan on making my MIL’s pumpkin bread today.   I am also going to make milk and water bread out of the Fannie Farmer cookbook – it calls for a yeast cake – I have no idea how much yeast that actually is, so it will be interesting!

Have a great Saturday!

Kelly picked my recipe!

Kelly and her husband were looking for new/healthy recipes to try out.  Kelly got a pick, her husband got a pick and then they agreed on one together.  Well Kelly picked my Thai Basil Chicken in wonton cups!  She’ll be making the three recipes in the next couple weeks and if I win I get a copy of her cookbook. 😀

Breakfast was more pumpkin pancakes – except only two, so I felt I could have the two pieces of bacon!

Lunch was “lets see what I have in the fridge to put on a pita!”  I had leftover pork loin, so I cut that up, tossed it in Buffalo Wild Wings spicy garlic sauce and then added lettuce, baby spinach, cucumber and yellow and orange pepper.  This was so delicious, but messy, I ended up eating it with a knife and fork.

Want to see my photo studio at work?

just colored stock paper! 😀

And I defrosted bone in chicken breasts for dinner.  Now Hannah normally doesn’t eat meat that much, and she definitely doesn’t eat meat off the bone.  But guess what?  She liked it!  I used the same marinade for our pork chops earlier in the week: rosemary, sage, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil and a splash of white wine.

Stats for Thursday:

  • 35 minute swim
  • 40 minute bike ride – 7 miles and 1 mile cool down

What kind of photography tricks do you have?  If you have a point and shoot camera (like me) do you dream of a DSLR?

Happy Friday!

Best Banana Bread . . . EVER!

When my parents-in-law were in town last week, my MIL Bonnie brought up her famous banana bread and pumpkin bread.  My step-son goes apeshit over this bread.  Of course, since he wasn’t here, we had to text him to tell him how amazing and delicious the bread is!

Whenever I make banana bread, it never puffs up and hers is so tall.  I asked her to send me both recipes when she got back home.  Upon first glance, I quickly realized why her breads are stellar – the banana bread calls for three sticks of butter and the pumpkin bread has 1 cup of oil and 3 cups of sugar! 😀

So Bonnie, I did adapt your banana bread just a touch, by using real sugar instead of Splenda, and reducing the butter to two sticks.  And while she used pecans, I used almonds because that’s what I had on hand.  This is still the best banana bread I’ve ever made in my life!

Bonnie’s Banana Bread with Pecans

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large overripe bananas (almost rotten)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, melted and cooled (I used 1 cup) stics butter 😀
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 generous tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cups pecans, chopped (I used 3/4 cup slivered almonds)

Preheat the oven to 350 and spray Pam in a large bread pan (or 2 smaller pans).

Melt the butter, and let cool.  In a large bowl put the bananas in a bowl and mix until creamy.  Add the sugar and beat a good 3 minutes until you get a light and fluffy banana cream.  Add the melted butter, eggs and vanilla.  Beat well.  Mix in the dry ingredients until all incorporated being careful not to over blend.

Pour batter into pan.  Rap on the counter to get any air bubbles out.  Bake for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, until golden brown and a knife in the center comes out clean.  Cool the bread for 10 minutes, remove and let cool on wire rack.

Okay, so first off, whenever I made banana bread I was a wooden spoon girl – by whipping up the banana mixture, I think this is what helps the bread come out so tall.  My MIL also used bananas from her back yard – Tony bought similar bananas at our local grocery store.  I used about 16 of these for this recipe:

I was nervous because the batter came almost to the top, but it worked out fine

I also don’t think I’ve baked mine long enough – this one reached a rich deep brown:

I will never make another banana bread recipe again – thanks Bonnie!  And if you don’t want to take my word for it, this morning I woke up to this note by the coffee maker:

Since I was able to find canned pumpkin, I decided to make my pumpkin pancakes – I know its the season of blueberry pancakes, but I just had a jones for them!  Each pancake is 116 calories, and with the extra schmear of peanut butter between each one – breakfast was probably right around 500 calories.

seriously, my mouth is watering just looking at that picture!

the perfect bite 😀

So since I didn’t swim yesterday morning, Tony kinda looked at me like “really, you are going to use the excuse of sore muscles?!”  So I had to have a kick ass bike ride – and kick my ass it did!  I did the 10 mile Outlaw course – the first five miles were uphill! But I did it, it took me 49 minutes.

Lunch was spaghetti squash using leftover Italian sausage from the other night.  I tossed in some spinach and feta cheese – no matter how I try, spaghetti squash will always kinda look like dog food on a plate, but trust me, this was delicious!

And dinner was fish stick tacos – still using up what I have in the fridge and freezer!

the fixins

my taco x 2 + 2 ounces of chips and salsa

And I did make it to the pool this morning!  The first lap is chilly, but after that it is wonderful – nothing but blue skies!

Do you have a favorite dish of your MIL?

I am off to get ready for work – have a great Thursday! 😀

I wanted it so bad.

A perm that is.  It was probably around 1984 and perms were all the rage.  My hair was straight as an arrow and I wanted curls!  So I got a perm, and it lasted all of about 3 days!  My hair can just never hold a curl!

I was reminded of this when I got a phone call from Hannah yesterday afternoon:

  • Hannah:  “So how do you feel about me dying my hair.”
  • Me: “What color?”
  • Hannah: “Just a shade darker, with a red tint.”
  • Me: “Well, it is just hair and if it looks like ass it will wash out!”

The night before my high school senior picture, I wore the smallest sponge rollers in my hair.  I had visions of big hair (it was the 80’s!) for my senior picture.  Guess how my hair turned out?

yep - that's all the curl that stayed in my hair!

the before - look atall those natural high lights! 😀

the hair dye still smells so bad!

okay, it may be hard to tell because it was getting dark, but there are hints of auburn - she likes it!

With her nose pierced, several ear piercings and her belly button pierced, lets just say I am glad she decided not to die her hair black! 😀

Breakfast was a repeat of yesterday, except with strawberries as my fruit.

I was surprised how sore my thigh muscles were from swimming yesterday morning, so at lunch I just did the elliptical for 35 minutes.  Lunch was a spinach and cheddar jack quesadilla – I used low carb tortillas – each one is only 81 calories and 6 grams of fiber.  With my chili, lunch has 18 grams of fiber!

I love the cheese oozing out!

I defrosted a couple pork chops.  I wasn’t sure what exactly I was going to do with them.  I thought of stuffing them with spinach and cheese, but didn’t think Tony would like that.  I ended up coming up with a quick paste, for lack of a better word.

  • 5 sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • cracked pepper
  • salt
  • lime zest
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

firts I just chopped this together, then added it to the wine and oil

The chops marinated maybe 20 minutes, but still came out so flavorful!

I let the chops rest in a bowl so that any juices can be poured over the top of the chops right before serving.

Hannah decided to make her own meat – breaded skinny chicken.  She was so funny – she took one bite of her chicken and smiled and then cut off two pieces for me and Tony to try – she will definitely make that for herself again!
Our side dish was my spring risotto, only subbing in zucchini for the asparagus.

next time I'll add the zucchini later in the cooking process - it kind of got lost after adding the broth

it was so creamy! I love the addition of apple (instead of onions!)

My plate:

Stats for Tuesday:

  • 30 minute swim
  • 35 minute elliptical

My arms and shoulders are sore this morning – my guess is from swimming?  So I am taking the morning off of working out.  Off to make my pumpkin pancakes!  I actually found canned pumpkin at Walgreen’s of all places!

Another gorgeous day for a swim . . .

This morning was a bit warmer – today the radio said it was 68 degrees without a cloud in the sky.

yep, picture taken, while driving - good thing there is hardly any traffic this early in the morning

I have no idea how far I swim. I just keep going back and forth for 30 minutes

Breakfast yesterday morning is becoming one of my favorites – egg beaters and spinach and Polish rye toast and kiwi on the side.

My work morning flew by, and before you know it, it was time to hit the gym!  I did a challenging route on the bike machine – 9.5 miles (2 miles of hill climb!) and finished in 42:19.  The pace bike beat me by five minutes – that’s my next goal – to beat the pacer bike on this route!

I think I sweat just a teeny bit 😀

So I have the Homesick Texan to thank for lunch yesterday.  Since I knew Tony and Hannah wouldn’t try the zucchini enchiladas, I made them for me and my co-worker.  She and her husband have a rating system for dishes she makes – they pretend they own a restaurant, and if a meal is good, they say “this should be on the menu.”  Well after my co-worker at these enchiladas, she emailed me and said: “Not only should this be on the menu, but in bold letters with arrows pointing to it!”

I did change her recipe up just a bit – by using a can of Rotel tomatoes and tomato sauce, and leaving out the onions.

Zucchini Enchiladas (printer friendly version here)

Makes 6 servings (316 calories, 13.3 fat, 31.3 carbs, 5.8 fiber and 18.2 protein)


10 dried cascabel chiles
2 teaspoons oil, divided
6 cloves garlic, chopped, divided
10 ounce can diced tomatoes
8 ounce can tomato sauce
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin, divided
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 pinch salt
1 pinch pepper
1 tablespoon jalapeno, diced
2 large zucchini
1/4 cup cilantro
12 corn tortillas
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup queso fresco


  1. To make the sauce:
  2. In a dry skillet heated on high, take the chiles and roast them for about 10 seconds. Leave the heat on and cover the chiles with water. Bring to a boil, then turn off heat, put a top on and soak until soft, about 30 minutes. Remove stems and add chiles to the blender.
  3. Add the canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, cumin, oregano and blend until smooth.
  4. In a pot, heat 1 teaspoon of oil on low, pour in the sauce and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. To make the filling, in a largeskillet heat 1 teaspoon of oil. Add jalapeno, garlic diced zucchini, cilantro and cumin and saute for 10 minutes. Add salt, cayenne and black pepper to taste.
  6. Preheat oven to 350. Wrap tortillas in foil and place in the oven for 5 minutes while oven is preheating.
  7. Take the warmed tortillas and using tongs, dip into the sauce. Shake off most of the suace, but make sure that it’s pliable. Lay the tortillas down, add a spoonful of the filling down the center with some of the queso fresco cheese. Roll and then place in a baking dish and repeat with remaining tortillas.
  8. Pour sauce over the enchiladas and top with shredded cheddar cheese. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned and bubbling.

I found these at our ethnic grocery store - about 20 dried chiles cost $2.38

I had never even heard of these chiles before, so I wasn’t sure of their heat content.  I decided to stick with the original 10 chiles in the original recipe.  This is at the upper level of still being flavorful heat.  I just want to throw that out there – if you are worried about the heat, I would suggest cutting the amount to just five.

they are round and you can hear the seeds inside when you shake them

bring them to a boil, then cover off the heat for 30 minutes - I removed the stems before putting in the blender

I had never seen the lime and cilantro Rotel before - love it!

throw everything into the blender

put in a pot and simmer for 30 minutes - this sauce is so complex and delicious!

I first get a kind of smokey flavor from the chiles, and then you feel the heat – but its scrumptious!  (I can’t even remember the last time I used that word!)

I also put some of the queso fresco into the enchilada with the zucchini mixture

Then finished the top off with the remaining queso fresco and cheddar cheese.

My plate, with additional pickled jalapenos on top for good measure, and an ounce of tortilla chips.

So this weeks menu is operation clean freezer!  I had Italian sausages that needed to be cooked up, so penne pasta made it on the menu.

With grilled garlic bread:

my plate with on a bed of baby spinach

And in anticipation of tonight’s edamame risotto, before I cooked the penne pasta, I cooked the frozen edamame for 3 minutes, removed, then brought the water back to a boil for the pasta.

I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before, but I showered, washed and dried my hair at the pool.  Now all I have to do is get dressed and I am out the door.

Stats for Monday:

  • 30 minute swim
  • 42 minute 9.5 mile bike ride

Did you exercise yesterday?

First lets pick a winner!

True Random Number Generator 89 63

MB says:

WOW! 300,000 is a lot! Congrats on the big blog milestone. I’ve been doing my part to get you to 400,000 in no time ;)

I love Cabot cheese and love looking down on the Cabot farms when I’m out on my snowmobile in the winter. I’ve never made your salsa but would love to try it.

Congrats to MB!  Please email me at with your mailing address! 😀

I started out my Monday morning. . .

On my way to the pool in 61 degrees 😀

I knew it was chilly when my friend and I walked in and the life guard was wearing a hoodie with sweat pants!  But once we got going, it was fine.  We swam for 30 minutes 😀

Since I had baked potatoes left over from Saturday’s bbq, they made an appearance at breakfast.  I ended up making an egg beater hash with a fruit salad on the side.

I am sure everyone has stopped by Homesick Texan before.  Last week (or maybe the week before) I saw her recipe for zucchini enchiladas.  I never got around to making it last week so I did and wow, is this enchilada sauce good!  I did make a few adaptations (like leaving the damn onions out), but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for that recipe since its my lunch for today.

I’ll whet your appetite with this picture:

best part is that a serving is only 316 calories! (2 enchiladas)

It was such a gorgeous day in Chicagoland – especially after all the heat, humidity, storms and rain.   I decided to get my bike out – Errign are you happy I rode outside?! 😀

We live just a mile from a preserve that will never be developed – something like 200 acres of trails and marsh land.

I always think these look like corn dogs!

I am not sure how far I went, but there is this one hill on the way back.  Even when I was 140 pounds, I could not ride this hill without stopping and having to get off my bike and walking the last part.

Well guess what?  I have to think its because of the 100+ miles I’ve done in the last 7 weeks on the bike machine at the gym, but I beat the hill! I was huffing and puffing at the top, but I did the whole hill without stopping 😀

I know it doesn't seem like much, but its hard!When I got back and our dog saw I was wearing gym shoes, he wanted to go for a walk.  So I took him to the river and back, only 15 minutes but that’s about his limit now.

the river is really high because of all the rain, I think its no wake because there weren't any fast boats on it yesterday

Since we ate such a late breakfast, and it was pretty close to dinner, we snacked on some cheese and crackers while watching some of the Sox game.  I will ignore their loss yesterday and will still brag that we are still leading the division by 1 game 😀

And since I still had more baked potatoes, I did rosemary potatoes on the grill.  I believe Tony is done with the potatoes!

Tony’s uncle actually bought a 1/4 of a cow for meat for their family reunion last week.  We were lucky enough to score two strip steaks.  I did a Mexican rub with cumin, paprika and a touch of chipotle pepper and then finished it off with a pat of lime garlic butter.  I mixed 2 tablespoons butter with the zest of one lime, added 1 teaspoon of garlic and the juice of half a lime.

These steaks were huge!  We each only ate about 1/3 of our steaks.  I sliced the leftovers up thin for lunches for Tony this week.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!  Let’s make it a good week! 😀

Broccoli Cauliflower Gratin

Tony’s family was over yesterday.  They came over a bit earlier than expected so it was a mad dash to the store for Tony to pick up some stuff for apps, and me doing a quick 15 minute house clean.  Luckily the house wasn’t too bad to begin with – just wish I had had Hannah’s help, but she was at work. 😦

My camera was charging most of the day yesterday, so I don’t have a whole lot of pics, but I have a great recipe.  The second baked bean recipe is a work in progress.  It was out of Bon Appetit’s magazine:

Tony brought me home the root beer:

These were good, but something was missing.  I ended up having to add about 1 cup of bbq sauce to bring it around.  I’ll have to go back to the drawing board on this one, or just stick with the one I know is delicious – my crock pot baked beans with Italians sausage.

I did have snacks:  cheese and crackers, sesame sticks (i.e. crack sticks) and a fruit tray with pudding dip.

I never even fixed breakfast, so my brunch ended up being 4 cheese and crackers – I loves the pepperjack cheese! 😀

For my side dish I decided to use what I had on hand.  I ended up with a giant cauliflower and a small head of broccoli.  This recipe is based on one by Ina Gartin, but I reduced the amount of cheese and butter.

Broccoli Cauliflower Gratin (printer friendly version here)
Makes 8 servings  (198 calories, 10.2 fat, 17.2 carbs, 4.6 fiber and 11.7 protein)


2 pounds cauliflower
1 pound broccoli
3 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups skim milk
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3/4 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs


  1. Cut broccoli and cauliflower into florets. Boil water and blanch until fork tender, about 6 minutes.
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add flour and make a paste. Slowly add the milk to make a roux. This will take about 8 – 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat. Add pepper, nutmeg, and both cheeses.
  4. Melt remaining 1 tablespon of butter in sauce pan. Add panko bread crumbs and cook over medium heat until browned.
  5. Put broccoli mixture in casserole dish sprayed with Pam. Top with browned bread crumbs and bake at 375 for 25 minutes.

This was delicious – almost like a veggie mac n cheese 😀

I also had a baked potato bar – all the fixins were on the dining room table – sour cream, cheddar cheese, bacon bits, and yes, there were chives in my house!  I think Hannah had at least two heaping tablespoons on her baked potato!

We did a boneless pork roast on the grill.  I seared it on all sides, then cooked it on top of a cast iron skillet.  Once it reached 160 degrees I pulled it and let it rest for 15 minutes.

My plate:

And I made giant smores for half of the group – turns out not everyone likes marshmallows!

By 6:30 everyone was gone and Tony and I just snuggled – we could not find a movie to watch, but we did manage to get through all our shows on the DVR.  Did you hear about Gordon Ramsey’s new cooking show?  I told Tony “another food show to DVR!”  Pretty soon all the shows on our DVR will be food related!  The new show airs after Hell’s Kitchen on Tuesday night.

Later in the evening though, since we ate dinner around 3:00 – I made us potato and bacon pita pizzas using 1/2 a leftover baked potato, the rest of the bacon bits on my homemade pitas.   I baked them for 15 minutes at 400 degrees on my baking stone.

As I am typing this, I totally want to go to caloriecount and see exactly how much I ate, but I am not.  I think I did pretty good – probably could have used a lot more fruit and vegetables though!

I am off to update the 101 Days of Summer challenge – week 8 already!  Enjoy your Sunday!

Oh, and I found a way to do the BSI – Onions this week – Hannah is going to make one of her favorite dishes and will be posting the BSI for me this week- thanks Hannah!

And last day to enter my cheezy giveaway!  I’ll pick a winner and post it tomorrow morning 😀