Insomnia is the perfect time to create holiday menus

Its been a while since I’ve posted anything. Graduate school really took over my life my last semester. What I thought would be my easiest became my hardest thanks to statistics, and a few other basic course. But I graduated in May, and am studying for one of my big tests.

After I graduated, I ended up doing a lot of things -the cure concert, throwing Mumika a 60th bday party, going to Puerto Rico, the diabetes trying to kill me, and now studying for the board exam.

And my insomnia has come back in rare form. Before, I could claim it was due to writing papers, studying, exams, projects. But now I have no reason. And its there rearing its ingly little head laughing at me. Originally, I would watch food network, then I became obsessed with the great british bake off, then I started watching the great irish bake off.

But a few nights ago, I realized the best way to use my time is to come up with my holiday menus and put together the shopping list. This way all I have to do is grocery shop. This year is less extravagant but still quite grandiose. I think I’m trying to find the main staples Bryan and I have to have that as the years comes closer to an end, we have something to look foward to. Last year Bryan threw a fit about no one making ambrosia, so I made sure that has made it to the menu.

Thanksgiving Menu

Deep fried turkey

Chris Ruth’s sweet potato casserole

Green bean casserole

Carrot roses

Stuffing

Ambrosia 

cheesecake baked in apples

Christmas Eve Menu

Pernil

Arroz con gandulez

Arroz con dulce

Christmas Menu

Bbq pork stuffed with jalepenos and garlic

Garlic parmesan faux mashed potatoes

Asperagus with onions and bacon

Stuffing

Creamed corn casserole

Chocolate roulade with buttercream

Passion fruit creme brulee

If there is any potlucks I will make crustless pumpkin pie in november.

New Years Eve Menu

I’ve been stewing on this for weeks now. And then I get invited to New Years Eve Parties that I have to kindly decline stating I’m having a party of my own. The next question is always the same, “What are you doing?” after the decline.

And then they look at me crazy or in one case, “Are you Italian?”

Just so happens that I am. Oh wait, I was also raised European and my husband and I do love to dazzle at our parties. What I do not like is people trying to get invited to my party using the whole, “Aren’t I invited?” pity party shit on me. Seriously. Just because you know me, just because we work together or I’m doing my practicum at the place you are doing your internship does not mean you get an invite. I was kind enough to give you a Christmas present this year (coquito).

We are having a nice cozy party this year with company we enjoy because let’s be honest good company is rare nowadays. And if I am going to start a new year, I’m going to have people over whose company I enjoy and who are also amazing houseguests.

Although, once you read the menu, you might understand the self invite. Just when I think I can’t outdo myself, I usually do. I think the hubby takes pride in this ability of mine.

New Years Eve Menu

Drink
Raspberry Moscato Punch
Apple Cider

Appet
Tomato, Pepperoni, and Mozzarella drizzled with Pesto
Bacon wrapped little smokies

Entrée
Beef roast stuffed with sausage and cranberries stuffing wrapped in bacon
Sautéed mushroom and asparagus in a garlic butter

Dessert
Mascarpone stuffed strawberries
Peach and Blueberry Crumble

At Midnight there will by champagne soaked raspberry jello shots to ring in the new year.

 

Ok, yeah. The way I tend to view New Years Eve is that it is literally the last night of the year so no matter how horrible and shitty this year has been, there is at least one good meal on the very last that help prepare you for the next. Add some good company and fireworks, and there’s no way the new year can start off wrong.

So maybe I’ll the self invite come after all. No….no I won’t. Sometimes that instinct is there for a reason.

Thanksgiving Menu

I’m not sure what we are going to do for thanksgiving. Last year was a family Thanksgiving the Saturday before. But in case it’s just me and the hubbie, I created a menu.

Tentative Thanksgiving Menu

STARTER
Gorgonzola apple salad

DINNER
Turkey breast stuffed with gluten free stuffing
Slow cooker sweet potato casserole with a pecan topping
Green Beans and mushrooms sautéed in garlic
Gluten free Texas roadhouse rolls

DESSERT
Pecan pie
Pumpkin pie cake

It sounds like a lot, but it’s enough for two days without feeling overwhelmed by the left overs. It’s just hard to determine the amount for holiday dinner for two.

Visiting Mumika thanks to a conference menu

Look a blog post! I know I’m overdue for one and sooner or later I’ll start making my way through posts that should have been posted from March to the present.

But until then.

In September, I will be home due to an awesome conference about couples therapy. This means the creation of Dinner menus!!!! A lot has happened. Mumika’s health has changed rapidly causing an over haul in her daily intake of nutrition. I thought my restrictions were bad, her’s are way worse.

So here’s what I came up with.

DINNER MENU

Wednesday – Slow cooked pot roast with mushrooms and onions on a bed of sauteed                             spinach.
Thursday – Brazillian Pork Ribs with a caprese stuffed avocado
Friday – Oven baked chicken with a nice quinoa salad
Saturday – Chicken Gorgonzola salad with a tangy citrus vinaigrette.

Because the conference is providing breakfast, I won’t have to worry about that Weds – Fri. Yay!

Mumika’s Birthday Full of Yumminess Spectacular

Try saying that 5 times fast.

Recently Mumika went to the doctor and found out she had plaque build up in her veins similar to a person 20 years older than her.

It’s all those cheetos Mumika, they are killing you.

Despite trying her damnedest to eat healthy, the heart disease her family is known for is taking over.

So the doctor put her on a strict no carbohydrate, no sugar diet. This restrictive diet is more restrictive than my latest let’s claim gluten is the devil restrictive diet. She can’t eat fruit, potatoes, breads, pastas, rice,  and starchy vegetable. They took corn away. You all know how I feel about corn.

Basically lean meats and vegetables.

I would die. I would so die. I would cry and starve for a year. Mumika, you are stronger with food than me. I would have been like, if I eat rice and pasta and corn once a month, could I get away with that and not add to the slow death my body is striving unknowingly towards?

Seriously.

I’m going home for her birthday as usual and had this one meal planned that was a grilled chicken with red quinoa, rice, pecans, green apples, dried cherries and feta cheese, but now it’s totally out the window.

The OMG this is only what I can eat restrictive menu that would kill any diabetic menu

Dinner
Pinchos with vegetable kabob
Grilled steak with oven roasted. 
    tomatoes and sautéed garlic brussel
    sprouts
Grilled chicken with sautéed spinach
     and roasted cauliflower

Breakfast
Breakfast cupcakes
Egg stuffed bell pepper
Baked bacon wrapped avocado slices
     with a poached egg

Birthday Dessert
Vanilla Greek yogurt souffle

Lunch
Salads of somekind.

And there you have it. Clean eating at its finest. Not as creative but not too bad considering the restrictions. And it is all gluten free.

Mumika and Diabetic Michelle approved.

That and honestly, any reason is a good reason to use the grill. Man we could do grilled ribs with a side salad for tow of the lunches……. Hmmmmm…….

Happy Easter!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Jesus has risen day. Bryan and I ended up having dinner at his sister’s house where Timmy made amazing ribs and pork fajitas. The deviled eggs Lesley made were yummy. The whole spread was quite nice with the cheese and corn tortillas for the fajitas and the tomatoes with rice which I never got to because I was full and Bryan was blocking my ability to get to the rice.

This time I did stay away from the lemonade. Learned my lesson.

The funny thing Bryan and I noticed were how protein heavy the meal was. Ribs, pork fajitas, deviled eggs, cheese. Which was fine by me, the more protein the better.

I brought over the strawberry and creme pie which was delicious. One pie crusts down, a million to go.

On the bright side,  I found a fairly simple pie crust recipe using rice flour so I’m going to try it out in the next few days. That way there will be a gluten free post instead of looking what awesomeness I made that I and you can’t eat.

Nothing pisses me more off that being unable to eat.

All and all, not a bad easter. Hopefully we can do this next year.

Bacon Cheese and Avocado Brisket Burger

I love brisket. Love love love brisket.

When HEB started packaging ground brisket, I was all about it. I made a cowboy casserole and brisket nachos out of it.

So I figured what better way to celebrate America’s birthday than with brisket burgers.

They can be grilled or cooked in a skillet.

Add bacon, cheese, and avocado and you have a pretty awesome burger.

Bacon, Cheese, and Avocado Brisket Burger

1 pound ground brisket
6 slices of cheese
6 slices of bacon
Avocado, deseeded and sliced
2 tomatoes, sliced
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup chopped lettuce
1/4 of an onion, chopped

Directions

In a small container mix brisket, bread crumbs, and onions.

Its easier to use your hands so get down and dirty with it.

Divided meat into 6 piece. Roll into a ball and press the ball between your hands to make a patty.

Put it on a grill or in a skillet to cook.

When you flip the burger over, lay a slice of cheese.

While the burger is cooking fry the bacon.

To assemble: bottom of bun, then burger, bacon, avocado, tomato, lettuce and then top of the bun.

Makes 6.

This is a filler. One burger and you are done.

So yummy.

Happy July 4th

I wish I could write that I have this amazing recipe that’s perfect to celebrate America’s birthday, but I’ll be honest – I partied a little too hard last night and when we got home at like 3:30AM, the puppies greeted us at the driveway. Meaning, our husky is a Houdini. We should call him Shadini.

Shadow, our husky who happens to be an escape artist.

Shadow, our husky who happens to be an escape artist.

I have no clue what I’m looking more forward to – the brisket burger, the cherry tarts, or the potato salad.

So Happy 4th everyone! I’ll be posting yummy recipes from today over the next few days. I hope everyone has a great day enjoying yummy food and watching amazing fireworks.

Also please be safe and if you have puppies, make sure they are not too close to the fireworks. More dogs run away during this holidays than any other day due to their fear of fireworks.

Lebanese Beef with Green Beans

Sometimes ground beef gets boring. You can only eat so much Italian food or cowboy casseroles or nachos or burgers or what have you. You have to start thinking outside of the food box. Look up different styles. Different cuisine. Different flavor palates.

I like Lebanese food. There was this Lebanese place in Boston off of Huntington Avenue called Boston Shwarma. I loved that place. Loved it. Ate there at least once a month. The beef Shwarma is amazing. When I came across this recipe, I couldn’t resist it. There was just something about it. And it uses fresh green beans!

So I made it. With the red wine. Well, I already had red wine breathing in the fridge. Ok, more like I lost the cork and left it in the fridge without the cork. I know I know, extremely faux pas, I shouldn’t have used it, how dare I?!?! But here’s the thing, I tried this wine fully ready for it to be rancid and it wasn’t. It’s been corkless for about a month and it tastes great. Extremely weird. So I used it. And it didn’t ruin the taste.
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Lebanese Beef with green beans

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb ground beef
1 lb green beans, ends trimmed and cut into bite size pieces
28 oz Marinara sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons red wine
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter with the oil.

Add the onions and cook slowly until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and saute until fragrant.

Add the ground beef and crumble as it cooks.

Stir in marinara, Worcestershire, red wine, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a low simmer.

Cover with lid and simmer for 30 minutes.

About ten minutes before serving, add the green beans, stir and cover with lid once more.

Makes 8. Calories: 252, Carbohydrates: 14 grams, Sugar: 2 grams, Fiber: 3 grams, Protein: 12 grams.

There’s something deja vu-y about this dish. Like I’ve actually had it somewhere before.

Bryan says it reminds him of his mom’s Spanish rice but I’m not too sure about that.

Maybe I had a dream where I made it? Maybe from looking at the ingredients, I knew exactly how it should taste? I don’t know, but it was weird.

It truly is an amazing dish. I don’t feel like it’s overly Lebanese. It doesn’t really feel Lebanese because it’s not screaming Mediterranean at me. I don’t see the Lebanese using tomato sauce in their dishes.

But, it’s different. Definitely not the normal. And it goes well with rice. I love the green beans in it, gives it and extra dose of color and flavor. Great way to entice those picky eaters. Besides, you can only sauté and steam green beans so many time.

If you’re looking to break out of the norm and don’t feel like ordering out, make this. You won’t regret it. Besides, it’s a good reason to break out a bottle of red wine and drink it as you cook and as you eat.

“Oh sweetie, I had to drink this whole bottle of wine because this recipes only calls for two stupid tablespoons and I just can’t let it go to waste. So I drank it. We can’t be wasteful can we? Just think how being wasteful would effect the kids. So, really it’s for the children.”

Best excuse ever.

Happy Mumika’s day! and Strawberry Lemonade

Happy Mother’s day!

What better way to show your mom you love her than by cooking for her. If I was near my Mumika I would have made her something amazing and surprised her with tulips.

But I’m 5 hours away.

I also would have made her Strawberry Lemonade.

Why? Because it’s yummy. And it’s May. And the color is vibrant reminding you that we are still in spring. And well, we live in Texas and it’s hot. Got switch things up.

Sure lemonade is amazing. I could drink it everyday. But there are special days like Mother’s Day, so you have to shake things up and make something special.

Strawberry lemonade.

There are various ways to make it. We are going to make it through the act of muddling. Maybe I’ll do another post in the future where we puree the strawberries. Actually the only reason why we are muddling is because I can’t find my blender.
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Strawberry Lemonade

1 lemon, juiced
5 strawberries
5 teaspoons sugar
28 oz water

Directions

Cut the tops of the strawberries off and throw the top away.

In a small bowl using a wooden spoon, mash the strawberries. Mash and mash and ash and mash until it’s nothing but a bloody mess of fruit and juice.

Dump mashed to death strawberries into a carafe or pitcher.

Add lemon juice and sugar. Swirl these ingredients around in the carafe until sugar looks to be dissolved

Add water. Stir until well combined.

Makes 4 cups. Per Cup. Calories: 27, Carbohydrates: 7 grams, Sugar: 4 grams.

I’ll be honest. This is insanely yummy.

I like how there are actual bits of strawberries that you can see with your own two eyes in it. I like that flecked look. It tells you what is in it. Unlike most restaurants that use strawberry syrup or something in it claiming it’s strawberries or raspberries.

It’s vibrant.

You can literally taste everything. Take a swig. First you taste the lemon, the strawberry, then the sugar burst through and it ends with you sucking on a piece of strawberry. Perfect.