Monday, May 28, 2012

The Death of a Camera

Well, not really a camera, thank God, but a flash.  Our camera's flash died a slow and painful death at LegoLand, of all places.  I didn't think a flash would be all that important for taking food photos, but yeah... turns out it is.

The flash is back though, and a giveaway is coming up this week... stay tuned!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bunco Pozole

On the second Thursday of each month, I join a group of eleven other women and play the game Bunco.  I love Bunco nights.  The game is easy and fun, the company is amazing, the kids are at home with their dad... but my very favorite part is the food.  Each month a different person hosts at their house and is also responsible for providing dinner, dessert and drinks.

I have been playing Bunco with this group since October of 2011, and let me tell you... these women can cook.  I look so forward to not only not having to prepare a meal for me and my family that night, but to chowing down on someones amazing creations!

Last month, the lovely Marianne hosted and made amazing pozole!  I have had pozole before, and always thought it was just so-so.  Never enough flavor and too much broth.  When I tasted this recipe though, my mouth started to do the cha-cha-cha.  I waited for a couple of days to pass, then hounded Marianne over email for the recipe.  To my delight, she quickly obliged and I made it that weekend.  It was a complete hit, times four!  I hope it is a hit at your house too.

I do have a question though... can anyone clarify this for me?  Is it "posole", or "pozole", or both?  Either way, it's delicious, healthy and easy!

Bunco Pozole
(serves 4-6)

1 T. olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
2 (15 oz.) cans white hominy, drained and rinsed
1 jalapeno chili, seeded and diced
3 c. organic chicken broth
One (14.5 oz.) can fire roasted, diced tomatoes, with juice
Half of a cooked rotisserie chickenSalt and pepper
Nonfat Greek yogurt
Lime wedges
Sliced avocados, sliced green onions, and chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)

Heat olive oil in a soup pot, add onions and saute until tender.
Add garlic, chili powder, cumin and oregano and saute for about a minute to toast spices.
Add hominy and jalapeno and stir to blend with spices.
Add chicken broth, tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste.
Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer, uncovered, for 15-30 minutes, or until soup is the consistency you prefer.
Ladle into bowl, top with a dollop of yogurt and squeeze lime juice on top.  Stir, and if desired, add optional garnishes.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Perfectly Boiled Eggs

I love eggs. Scrambled, boiled, fried, and in salads.

My kids do too.  Yes, you read that correctly, my kids and I actually both like a pretty healthy food!  Not too long ago, people used to shun eggs because of their high cholesterol content.  Luckily though, it has recently been discovered that eggs do not in fact raise your cholesterol and are still a great source of protein.  I scramble them up regularly for a quick breakfast before getting on the road for school.

One of my absolute favorite way to eat eggs is deviled.  I have always liked them better when someone else makes them though, because I despise spending the time trying to boil them perfectly, then cool the eggs off, and attempting to peel the suckers without peeling off most of the egg whites in the process.

I am pleased to announce however that just in time for Easter and eggs galore, my problems are solved!  If you follow the directions below, I guarantee you a perfectly boiled egg.  Quick to boil, perfectly yellow and white with no gray tinge to the yolk, and best of all, a breeze to peel.  It's an Easter miracle!

Perfectly Boiled Eggs

Tap water (enough to cover the eggs)
1/4 c. white distilled vinegar (You won't be able to taste the vinegar, and don't skip it!  This is what makes the eggs easy to peel.)
1 T. Salt

Combine water, salt and vinegar in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat.
Add the eggs, one at a time, being careful not to crack them.  I can usually fit 8-12 eggs in, depending on the pot I use.
Reduce the heat to a gentle boil, and cook for 14 minutes.

Once the eggs have cooked, remove them from the hot water, and place into a container of ice water or cold, running water. Cool completely, about 15 minutes. Store in the refrigerator up to 1 week. 

Or, you can wait for them to cool slightly, peel them under cold running water, and enjoy them right away like this!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Thai Turkey Wraps

I am always looking for something new and exciting to make with ground turkey.  For me, ground turkey (we don't eat ground beef anymore unless it is a hamburger, which isn't often) gets really boring, really fast.

This dish though is something that fits my desire for the out of the ordinary, as well as the taste buds of the rest of the family.  It is quick and easy to make for a weeknight meal, and reheats well for leftovers.  You can also make this into a vegetarian dish!

Thai Turkey Tacos
(serves 4-6)

1 lb. ground turkey
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1/2-1 tsp. minced ginger
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 c. coleslaw mix with carrots
1 T. chopped fresh mint
1/4 c. chopped cashews
Whole wheat tortillas, sandwich wraps, or large leaves of lettuce

1 tsp. sesame oil
3 T. soy sauce
2 T. lime juice
1-2 T. honey
1/4-1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add turkey and cook until no longer pink.  Add garlic, ginger, red pepper, onion and coleslaw mix and stir with turkey until vegetables are slightly softened.

Add sauce, stirring constantly to combine, for about a minute.  Place about two large spoonfuls onto wrap and garnish with mint and cashews.

Notes:  Go vegetarian and use tofu instead of the ground turkey!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sunday Cakes

This recipe is definitely not on the "healthy" spectrum of things, but oh so yummy and perfect to fill your belly on a Sunday morning when you have church ahead of you.  They are actually great any morning, or any evening for that matter!

I have tried many a recipe and technique and was never able to get my pancakes just right... until now!  It took a little experimenting combining and deleting, but I promise this will become your go-to for pancakes.  They are light and fluffy, and taste just like diner pancakes but better!

And here's the best part...  for those with little ones to feed, or just with hectic mornings, you can freeze them!  Once you cook the cakes, let them cool and place on a large baking sheet.  Don't stack them... they all need to lay flat and not touch.  Put them in your freezer to flash freeze them for a couple of hours.  Then, take them out, stack them up, and place them in a freezer bag.  When you are ready to eat, just pop one or two or four in your toaster!

Sunday Cakes

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. malted milk powder (Optional.  If you leave it out, use 2 c. of flour)
1/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 c. buttermilk
4 T. butter
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. milk

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Melt the butter.  In a medium bowl, mix the butter, eggs, and vanilla.  Mix in the buttermilk.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined.  Add milk as needed until batter reaches right consistency (for me, this means a little thinner than cake batter).  

Pour batter into skillet using 1/4 c. batter for each pancake.  Flip when bubbles begin to form on top and edges start to lose their sheen and look a bit dry (for my stove top, this is about 3-4 minutes per each side).

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Healthier Tuna Salad

I love me some tuna salad, and my mom used to make the best.  Lots of sweet pickles and very heavy on the mayo.  It was so creamy that it made the bread mushy sometimes.  Over the years, my taste buds and my waistline have changed, and I have been looking for a cleaner, fresher salad without sacrificing my beloved tuna.  I think I've found it...

This tuna salad is great because it is so easily adaptable to your personal taste.  It has a great base, and you can create the rest to your liking!

Tuna and Bean Salad
(serves 2-3)

1 can of white beans, rinsed and drained well (you can use cannellini, garbanzo, black eyed peas, etc.)
1 can tuna (Use the Trader Joe's tuna packed in olive oil if you can.  If you can't, add in 2-3 T. olive oil)
1 c. chopped flat leaf (Italian) parsley
1/4 c. finely diced red onion
2 T. lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all of the above together.  Add extra olive oil if needed.
Here's where it gets fun. Add in one, or all of the following:

A dash or two of Tabasco or Sriracha
2 tsp. chopped capers
1/4 c. chopped kalamata olives
1/4 c. chopped or sliced roasted red peppers

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Something Happened on the Way to the Finny Farm

Hello old and new readers!  For those of you who followed me on Cookbook Confessions... thank you, and it's still me!  But, I am in the process of turning into a new and improved me.  I still have the insane collection of cookbooks to the dismay of my husband, and I still have the two turkeys who love nothing more than to eat sweets and junk food.  And, I am still going to make and post plenty of delectable, sinful, stick to your ribs and fill your belly with sunshine and rainbows dishes here.


Something happened between creating Cookbook Confessions and I Burn Rice.

My husband and I realized that we are skinny fat, or as I call it, "Finny".  We have both always been thin, and have eaten whatever we wanted, when we wanted it.  There have even been times in both of our lives when we have tried to put on weight.  For example, eating a Snickers Bar a day under doctor's orders.  Where did those days go?  The two of us also managed to pass our way of eating onto our children.

So, why is this changing?  One of is turning 40 this year (hint... it's not me!) and the other got a wake up call during her last doctor visit.  Do we need to worry about our weight?  No.  Do we need to worry about our health?  Absolutely.  Cholesterol numbers have been sneaking up, and one of us has been on cholesterol medication for the past few years now. 

And to put the nail in the coffin, my mother, tall and thin, picture of health, exercises every day... got diagnosed with type II diabetes last year to the utter shock of everyone who knows her.  My father-in-law is in fantastic health, but has type II diabetes as well.

Bottom line in our lives right now is this... my children now have type II diabetes on both sides of the family.  They have two parents who should take better care of themselves.  And, they live in a country in which most of it's inhabitants eat like crap.  Sugar in everything, processed this and that, farm-factory meats, pesticides... the list goes on and on.  And, it scares me.

Is that to say I will never have bacon or a chocolate chip cookie or maybe even a bacon chocolate chip cookie again?  Heck no... I am human, and as of right now I love food too much to give certain things up.  There will be a balance though, and I hope you all stick with me as I learn to incorporate that balance into my kitchen and our daily lives.  Please feel free to share your favorite healthy living tips, or even your favorite sinful recipe in the comments.  Today, I am happy to receive both!  Repeat after me... balance.