Thursday, March 31, 2011

Alfredo Sauce Fail

Cookbooks

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Are you an alfredo sauce or marinara sauce fan? Or even a red + white sauce fan? I typically use red sauce in most of my pasta dishes, but the other night I opted for something different. When I made the bf’s birthday dinner a month ago, I tried one of the gravy mixes made by Simply Organic. This turned out well! So I thought, I bet their alfredo sauce would be just as good! Sike. It never turned into a “sauce.” It was really liquidy, even after I added some flour to try and make it more sauce-like. Plus, the taste was weird. Obviously, I gave this two thumbs down. So what’s a girl to do?

Improvise

Instead of having sautéed squash, mushrooms, and onions over noodles with alfredo sauce….I topped the veggies and noodles with a mixture of butter (mmm), parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon pepper, and pepper. This may have been a better idea than the alfredo sauce in the first place!

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Using the leftover noodles, I made this peanut sauce to pour on top of the noodles and steamed broccoli for dinner tonight. Delish! The best part about using peanut flour in peanut sauces is that you don’t feel as full as when you use actual peanut butter. Probably because the peanut flour has less fat? I have no clue.

Textbooks

Not much is new on the textbooks front. I’m writing this post in an attempt to procrastinate writing my *new* introduction section of my thesis. It’s pretty much there, but I just have to revamp 2 sections. It’s so hard for me to do work on Thursday nights. I am usually done with work by now and catching up on TV shows I missed during the week while laying in my bed. But, today I was on campus late helping prepare stuff for a conference my university is hosting this weekend. But, I’m telling myself I can get a lot done in the next hour so that I can relax for the rest of the night!

I guess this has been enough procrastinating for tonight.Winking smile Thank goodness it’s almost Friday!!

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Do any of you have fun weekend plans?

Do you have any “healthy” alfredo sauces you either buy or make?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chocolate Craving

Just about every week, I get a big time craving for chocolate. Who am I kidding, I get that craving every day! After work today, I decided to give in to my sweet tooth and stop by the grocery store on my way home. In hopes of being “healthy,” I picked up some chocolate almond milk to make this little number:

Chocolate Chia Oats

Ingredients

  • 2 T chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • enough chocolate almond milk (~1cup+) so that it remains moist after chia seeds absorb a lot of it

Directions: Mix in a bowl and set in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to give the chia seeds enough time to gel up.

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So creamy! This will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth if it’s not “raving.” I just wanted chocolate, but didn’t care what form. If you want a hunk of chocolate cake, this probably won’t satisfy your sweet tooth.

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On the textbooks front, I am still waiting to hear from that grad program. But, in the meantime…I got another job interview!! It’s so exciting to know that I’m actually employable. Not that I thought I wasn’t, I guess I just still feel like a kid haha. I have this interview via phone next week because the job is in Texas! Even if I don’t get either job, this will be great “real job” interview experience.

I’m off to do some reading for class…have a great night! Smile

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Have you ever tried chocolate almond milk or chia seeds?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pizza Date Night

When my bf and I get bored during the week, we pass e-mails back and forth about date night ideas for the weekend. My idea was to cook dinner together…which turned into his brilliant idea: PIZZA! I was so excited to make homemade pizza because I’ve been wanting to try my hand at making pizza dough from scratch for quite some time.

I used this pizza dough recipe and doubled the recipe so that we could make a his and hers pizza Smile This was actually not the initial plan. Why? Because apparently you are supposed to mix yeast into the warm water before you add it to the flour. The recipe I used said to mix the yeast in with the flour before you add the wet ingredients. DO NOT DO THIS. While it turned out fine, it didn’t rise and made for a crispy pizza. So, if you’re after a non-doughy, crispy pizza…make it that way. If you want a pizza with crust, dissolve the yeast in the warm water first! Also, you’ll want to let the yeast dissolve in the water and sit for about 5 minutes. After about 5 minutes, look to see if bubbles have formed. That lets you know if the yeast is “active” and will make your dough rise. If no bubbles form, start over.

We made a great team in the kitchen: he prepped the veggies and ate the olives and I rolled out the dough (apparently I need a how-to lesson on rolling pizza dough).

His (non-rising yeast) & Hers (rising yeast)

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These were our topping options: black olives, kalamata olives, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, sweet onions, broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes, and sauce.

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I made stuffed crust pizza with a mixture of parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, oregano, basil, and olive oil! I brushed my crust with butter and sprinkled it with parmesan cheese.

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Pizza making in action!

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Finished product!

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We were in pizza heaven…

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Check out that stuffed crust!

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After eating pizza, we had a chocolate chip cookie challenge where we compared two pre-packaged chocolate chip cookies to see which we preferred.  Our tried and true favorite, refrigerated Toll House Ultimate Chocolate Chip Lovers, went up against Otis Spunkmeyer’s frozen chocolate chip cookie dough. I have to say it was a tough choice! I think they tied! We love our favorite, but we also liked how gooey and chocolaty the Otis Spunkmeyer cookies were. While both are really rich, the gooeyness of the Otis Spunkmeyer cookies made them seem richer!

Needless to say, we crashed on the couch for a few hours while watching Planet Earth because we couldn’t move from all the yummy food we ate!

I’m off to grocery shop and finish some homework. I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend!!

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Have you made pizza from scratch before?

Did you make any fun or new recipes this weekend?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Crazy Weather

Happy Saturday! I don’t know about you, but I’m so happy that it’s the weekend. SmileGuess what we have in store for us tomorrow???

SNOW!…….

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I mean, really? It was 70 degrees last week!!

While Thursday was a blah day, Friday sure turned the week right around! I got a call from a company in the DC area inviting me to interview for a job I applied for! Woo hoo! I was so shocked to hear back so soon! Smile Plan B is now in action!

I’ve been wanting to share a new product with you all! There is a bread company called Food For Life. The first, and only, product I’ve bought from this company so far is their English Muffins. The neat thing about this product is that it’s made from sprouted grains and doesn’t contain preservatives or weird additives!! These English muffins certainly aren’t wimpy. Each half is equally fluffy!

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There’s nothing like a little strawberry jam or apple butter on a toasted English muffin! Yum! Smile Try these ASAP. I found them in the organic freezer section of my grocery store.

I’m off to do a little school work (hopefully) and gather some ingredients for dinner tonight. Have a great Saturday everyone!

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What are your weekend plans?

Have you tried any sprouted grain bread products?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bummer

Well...my blog wouldn't be called TEXTBOOKS and cookbooks if there wasn't a little hiatus due to school work every now and then. I had a big midterm due this week and a draft of an introduction for a project I'm doing in the same class. Smile with tongue out


Today I woke up to this:

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Creepy dark clouds! It’s been really rainy/stormy here this week. For breakfast I had a great combo of 1/3 cup oats, 1 1/2 T chia seeds, 1 container chobani vanilla greek yogurt, blueberries, and almond milk:

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Textbooks

Here is a good textbooks topic for you all. For those of you that are Type-A with school, like myself, does it upset you when you get "bad" grades? It's the worst when you put a lot of time and effort into something and your grade doesn't reflect that. I got the lowest grade I've gotten in graduate school today and it sucked...big time. When I was making decisions about whether to apply to Quantitative Psyc PhD or Clinical Psyc PhD programs, much of the decision was based on what I thought, and others thought, my strengths were best suited for: Clinical. Although, I think I could do either well, my strengths are more in the clinical area. However, whenever I get grades that are less than what I hoped for in my quantitative courses, I hear the people who thought I wasn't good enough to "go quant" saying, "I told you so." But, what’s done is done and it’s better to put effort into doing better than being upset about something you can’t change! This is a great time to reflect on what my adviser tells me so often, "It's not so much the grade you receive in a course, but it's what you learn."

How do you deal with criticism or bounce back from getting grades that were lower than you hoped?
My remedy is typically Dumb and Dumber, ice cream, not talking about it, and going to office hours to clarify what I got wrong so I don't make the mistake again. I'm sure the last is the best option, but the others don't hurtWinking smile

Cookbooks

Due to my busy schedule this week, I've been slacking on innovative recipes. Monday dinner was eaten at Bible study (spaghetti), Tuesday was oatmeal (lazy), Wednesday and Thursday were the BEST DINNERS EVER! In an attempt to clear out the freezer (it was JAM-PACKED), I defrosted the rest of the soup I made a while back. I also baked a sweet potato to have on the side!!

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Isn’t the skin the best part of a sweet potato?! So yum Smile

I’m off to relax and catch up on TV shows I missed during the week. Have a great night!