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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New Bedroom Furniture

We recently decided it was about time to upgrade to a king size bed. The queen was getting a little bit crowded with two humans and three dogs. I wanted to get a platform bed so we would just have a mattress, no box springs. However, we didn't want one that was too low to the ground, and we wanted to have a little room underneath to use as storage. So, we decided on the Tall Wood Bed Frame with the Window Headboard from West Elm.

I am loving the new bed. I love the platform, it makes our old mattress feel somewhat better (we are still waiting for the new one to come in), and I really like being lower to the ground. The dogs can actually get up on the bed without the unsightly plastic doggie stairs.

I can still slide my two under-the-bed storage containers (from Target) under the bed and they are completely hidden. This is where I store my off-season clothes.
We also got this Narrow Leg End Table from West Elm. I originally wanted one on each side, but there just isn't enough room in our bedroom so we ended up with just one. Casey's side of the bed has a box window so he has plenty of room to put a drink or book there in lieu of a nightstand.

The current lighting situation in our bedroom is terrible so I am going to put a table lamp on the nightstand and possibly a floor lamp or another table lamp in the other corner of the bedroom. I'll see how that works and add more, if needed.

I am really liking this table lamp from West Elm for the nightstand.

The next bedroom furniture that I want to replace is my dresser and TV stand (all the old furniture is being moved to the guest bedroom). I am hoping to replace both with a longer dresser like the one below from West Elm. I am thinking we can put our TV on top of it, instead of having a separate TV stand.

Right now, this is the only TV in the house since the basement is still unfinished. Not sure what to do with the tivo box and DVD player in the interim but once the basement is done we will only need the tivo box upstairs. I am hoping I can think of a way to hide it so that I don't have to add additional furniture to the bedroom.
On one side of the bedroom, we have an outcropping with three windows. I would love to make it a little reading nook with a slipper chair and side table. I am in love with this side table from West Elm but wondering if it would be possible to make something like this ourselves?

I love the slipper chairs from Target, but would have to find something that doesn't clash with the print on our rug. None of the colors they currently have are exactly right.

Finally, I would like to add a stand alone mirror on the other side of the bedroom, like this one at West Elm.

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Guacamole is one thing that I have been making for years, I just love it! I have played around with different ingredients but I always gravitate back to the classics. No measurements, just throw them in, taste, and adjust as needed.

Tomatoes (Roma works well), chopped
Onions (red if you want a stronger onion, white for more mild), chopped
Jalepenos, finely choppped
Cilantro, chopped
Freshly squeezed lime juice
Chips for dipping

Mash the avocados. Gently stir in the rest of the ingredients, adjusting to your taste level. Serve immediately. To keep the avocados from turning brown too quickly, place the avocado seed in the bottom of the bowl. Squeeze more lime juice over the top of the guacamole.


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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cilantro Lime Rice

Just like the rice at Chipotle. Yum! Another fabulous recipe from Gina.

1 cup basmati rice
Juice of 1/2 lime
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
4 tsp vegetable oil, divided

In a small heavy pot, add rice, water, 1 tsp oil and salt. Boil on high until most of the water evaporates. When the water just skims the top of the rice, reduce to low and cover about 15 minutes. Shut off flame and keep covered an additional 5 minute.
In a medium bowl, combine chopped cilantro, lime juice, rice and remaining oil and toss until completely mixed.
Servings: 4
Points Plus: 5 per serving

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Mexican Slow Cooked Pork Carnitas

Another great meal from Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes. This pork was delicious served burrito-bol style with Cilantro Lime Rice, Guacamole, shredded cheese, and salsa. Tasted just like the burrito bol I get from Chipotle.

2.5 lb pork shoulder blade roast, lean, all fat removed (I couldn't find a small enough shoulder at my grocery store so I used pork loin instead)
6 cloves garlic, cut into slivers
Garlic powder
3/4 cup fat free chicken broth
2-4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 bay leaves

Trim pork and season with salt and pepper. In a medium sauté pan on medium-high heat, brown pork on all sides for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Using a sharp knife, cutting small holes in pork and insert garlic slivers. Season all sides of the pork generously with cumin, adobo and garlic powder.

Pour chicken broth in the crockpot, add bay leaves and chipotle peppers. Place pork in crock pot and cover. At this point, if you are making this the night before, you can put the crockpot bowl in the fridge overnight until ready to cook.

Cook low for 8 hours. After 8 hours, shred pork using two forks and combine well with the juices that accumalated at the bottom. Remove bay leaves and adjust salt and cumin (you will probably need to add more). Let it cook another 15-30 minutes.

Servings: 8
Points: 4 pts
Calories: 176

Linked to Home Sweet Farm Delectable Tuesdays.

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Project 365: Week 12

Over the weekend we went to Charlottesville, VA to see my brother in the Jeff Cup race. Here he is in the green and white jersey (is that what they call them?).

And here are a couple of the front runners racing in the last few seconds before crossing the finish line.

That wasn't the only race we watched, the National marathon recently ran right through our neighborhood.


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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Jalepeno-Baked Fish with Roasted Tomatoes and Potatoes

This recipe is definitely a keeper! Not only was it delicious, but super easy to make and a quick cleanup with only one dish dirtied. I stumbled across it on the food blog The Way the Cookie Crumbles, but the original recipe is from Rick Bayless' Mexican Everyday.

4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced ¼-inch thick
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 large garlic clove, peeled and cut in half
⅓ cup (loosely packed) coarsely chopped cilantro, plus extra for garnish
¼ cup sliced canned pickled jalapenos
1 tbsp jalapeno pickling juice
Four 4-5 oz (1 to 1¼ pounds total) skinless fish fillets, preferably ¾ to 1 inch thick (I used tilapia)
Avocado, sliced (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the sliced potatoes in a microwaveable 8×8-inch baking dish. Drizzle on the oil and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt. Toss to coat, then spread the potatoes in an even layer. Cover with plastic wrap and poke a couple of holes in the top. Microwave on high until the potatoes are nearly tender, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, combine the tomatoes with their juice, garlic, cilantro, jalapenos, and pickling juice. Process to a puree, leaving just a little texture.

Lay the fish fillets in a single layer over the potatoes. Pour the tomato mixture evenly over the fish and potatoes.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the fish flakes when pressed firmly. Scoop a portion of the fish-potato-sauce onto each dinner plate, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve right away. Top with avocado slices, if desired.

Servings: 4

I halved the amounts of the fish and potatoes but made the same amount of sauce that was called for in the recipe. We had just the perfect amount of sauce for our two fillets and potatoes. If I was to make this for four people, I would probably double the amount of sauce. But, then again, I am a big sauce fan and like to have a lot.

The sauce had a medium amount of heat. Next time I might add a little extra jalepeno for even more spice.


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Monday, March 22, 2010

Leftovers: Reuben Sandwiches

These sandwiches were fabulous. The perfect dish for leftover Corned Beef. We served the leftover veggies on the side. Sandwich recipe is from another one of my favorite food blogs, Closet Cooking.

(for 2 sandwiches)
4 slices rye bread
Swiss cheese, sliced
Sauerkraut (drained)
Russian dressing, recipe follows

Butter one side of each slice of bread. Spread the opposite sides with Russian dressing. Place swiss cheese on top of the dressing then top with corned beef (pre-heated in the microwave) and sauerkraut. Grill the sandwich in a pan until the bread is golden brown and the cheese has melted. This would be a great time to use your pannini press if you are lucky enough to have one.
Russian dressing
Mix together:
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons ketchup
1 teaspoon horseradish
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste 

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage with Horseradish Cream

For Saint Patrick's Day I knew I had to make corned beef and cabbage - yum. What better way to make it than in the crockpot? It turned out delicious and the leftovers make for great reuben sandwiches.

Corned Beef

4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
10 baby red potatoes, quartered
1 onion, peeled and cut into chunks
4 cups beef broth 
4 lb corned beef brisket
6 ounces dark beer (I used Smithwicks)
1 small head cabbage, coarsely chopped

Place the carrots, potatoes, and onion into the bottom of a slow cooker, pour in the broth, and place the brisket on top of the vegetables. Pour the beer over the brisket. Cover and set slow cooker on low.
Cook the brisket for about 8 hours. An hour before serving, stir in the cabbage and cook for 1 more hour. Serve with horseradish cream.

Low-Cal Horseradish Cream

Mix together:
1 tbsp prepared grated horseradish
1/4 cup fat free sour cream
1/4 tsp dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste

1 tbsp = 12 calories

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Project 365: Week 11

Spring is on its way!



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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon Horseradish Cream

This recipe is from It was good, but I still like my original Brussel sprouts recipe better. I would still definitely recommend this recipe if you are in the mood for something different, though. Note: does not reheat well in the microwave.

1 1/2 lbs Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
4 strips crisp-cooked bacon, finely chopped
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Place a steamer basket in a large saucepan, add 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Put Brussels sprouts in the basket and steam until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. (Note: I chose to saute mine in a pan in a tiny bit of the bacon grease instead).

Mix bacon, sour cream, horseradish, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the Brussels sprouts and toss to coat.

Servings: 6, 1 cup each
Calories per serving: 80


Project 365: Week 10

Late again! I am hoping now that it is warm and staying light later, I will get my ass back in gear on the picture taking front.


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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Turkey Stuffed Peppers

I found this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes. It turned out to make a great meal, the peppers cooked beautifully and all the flavors blended well together. I made a few small adjustments by upping the amount of tomato sauce and decreasing the amount of rice from the original recipe. I had enough of the filling that I could have used to fill another half a red pepper. If you are using peppers that are on the smaller side, you may want to get 4 instead of 3.
1 lb lean ground turkey
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 onion, minced
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin powder
Salt, to taste
3 large sweet red bell peppers, washed and dried
1 cup fat free chicken broth, divided
1/2 cup canned tomato sauce
1 cup cooked brown rice
Olive oil spray
1/4 cup reduced fat shredded cheese
Heat oven to 400°. Spray olive oil spray in a medium size saute pan and heat on a medium flame. Add onion, garlic and cilantro to the pan and saute for about 2 minutes. Add ground turkey, salt, garlic powder, and cumin and brown meat for several minutes until meat is completely cooked through. Add 1/2 cup of tomato sauce and 1/2 cup of chicken broth, mix well and simmer on low for about 5 minutes. Combine cooked rice and meat together.
Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise, and remove all seeds and membranes. Place in a baking dish. Spoon the meat mixture into each pepper half and fill it with as much as you can. Pour the remaining 1/2 cup of chicken broth on the bottom of the baking dish. Cover tight with aluminum foil and bake for about 35 minutes. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and enjoy.
Servings: 6 (1/2 pepper)
Calories per serving: 218
Time: 55 minutes
WW points: 4.5


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C + C Marriage Factory: March 2010

C + C Marriage Factory