Monday Mixture

IMG_4234Okay I feel the need to write since Mr. Mixture keeps referencing things I can put on the blog.  Yes ,I am calling him out on this.  I have not written recently and there is no specific reason for my lack of writing, except I have not been in the mood to write, and wait I have been trying to work on some other random projects around the house and for the family.  Wonder if Mr. Mixture or Little Miss Mixture would notice if I forgot to do those other things?

Apparently Mr. Mixture is not the only one as some other family members seem to miss my post showing up in their inbox.  How great it is to feel missed and loved.  So here it is an update of things that have been going on in the life of “Let’s Have Mixture.”

1. What We Are Eating – yes here it is an account of all the food we have been enjoying.  Even though I have not been snapping photos and writing post, I have been busy in the kitchen this month with some old favorites as well as some new meals.

Week of 10/5

Sunday – Enchiladas

Monday – Spinach Ricotta Pizza

Tuesday – Ham & Cheese Homemade Hot Pockets, Fruit Salad

Wednesday – Leftover BBQ and Pizza from our weekend festivities

Thursday – Leftover Enchiladas and Salad

Friday – Tony’s De Napoli (NYC)

Saturday – Mercer Kitchen (NYC)

Week of 10/12

Sunday – Catch (NYC)

Monday – Pumpkin Ravioli with Sauteed Spinach in Brown Butter Sauce

Tuesday – Spinach Salad with Chicken, Avocado, and Bacon

Wednesday – Scrambled Eggs and Fruit Salad

Thursday – Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Sandwich on Challah Rolls, Cauliflower with cocktail sauce

Friday – Sandwiches on the go before Homecoming Football Night

Saturday – BBQ Chicken Pizza

Week of 10/19

Sunday -Pizza @ a Camp Open House

Monday – Collard Wrap with Tuna Salad, Veggies and Naan bread with Garlic Hummus

Tuesday – Srirachi Chicken over Couscous

Wednesday – Waffles and Sautéed Maple Syrup Apples

Thursday – Little M and a sitter had Macaroni & Cheese and Veggies with Ranch Dip

Friday – Dinner out before the Lower School Football Game

Saturday -Collard and Black Bean Soup with Cornbread

Week of 10/26

Sunday – Tacos

Monday – Raisin Challah French Toast

Tuesday – Grilled Chicken and Peach Salad

Wednesday – Leftover Collard & Black Bean Soup, Cornbread and Salad

Thursday – Chicken and Shrimp Fried Rice

Friday – Halloween Pizza Party in the neighborhood

Saturday – Braised Short Ribs over Polenta, Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Apple & Blue Cheese Salad, Turtle Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream

2. New York City Eats – Recently we went on a trip to the Big Apple.  Being the foodie family that we are, we are always searching for good eats when we travel.  We started and ended our time in the city at a favorite – Shack Shack.  Who can resist a good hormone free burger, chicken sausage, and caramel shake when it is a block and a half from your hotel.

For lunch one day we happened upon a great food court where we enjoyed sandwiches from Num Pang, based on a recommendation.  The sandwiches were more than just a sandwich and definitely hit the spot.  Little Miss Mixture and Mr.Mixture like cupcakes, so it was hard from them to pass up Sprinkles.  The infamous cupcake shop out of Los Angeles lived up to the hype for this family.  We each got a mini cupcake and they were so moist and full of flavor they left us wanting more.

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What I love about NYC is how easy it is to find good food and a variety of it.  Some of our meals were healthier than others, but all were very good.  We enjoyed different settings from a family style italian restaurant, to a kid friendly spot, to more eclectic choices that focused on sushi and seafood tapas.DSC_0929

 

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3. GOTR – I have done it, I have signed up for my first ever race.  Little Miss Mixture is participating in the Girls on the Run program and it culminates with a 5K.  I began training about five weeks ago to be her running buddy.  Unfortunately I have learned the cooler weather is not a big motivator for me, which does not fair well since our race is in early December.  Wish me luck as this is definitely a bucket list item.

4. Girls Rock – Little Miss Mixture got to celebrate her birthday with several different groups of people in her life.  She took cupcakes to school, we had a family gathering, and she had a sleepover.  The one cake she wanted was a cookie cake for the family celebration.  She was very specific on what she wanted, so we placed an order.  On the day of her birthday, we were less than thrilled with the purchased cake.IMG_4060

Luckily I had all the necessary things at home from making cupcakes to turn this not so great creation into one that did in fact rock.  Honestly though regardless of how it looked.  It is hard to go wrong with a chocolate chip cookie cake.

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5. Package sizes – I try not use use a lot of processed products, but there are a couple of recipes I find it necessary.  We have a favorite cake that calls for Devils food cake mix and caramels.  Last year I noticed the size of the cake mix box had decreased based on the recipe.  This year I decided to give my hand a try and make the cake from scratch, but I still needed the caramels.  I have always used Kraft and I like the bits that can be found seasonally, but I was unable to locate them.  I grabbed a bag of the individual wrapped squares as the recipe simple stated one 14oz package, but as I started at a bowl that looked low in volume, I realized the current bag size is 11oz.  I cannot recall what the cost of the bag used to be, but I am sure it is more now and you get less.  Be careful during this baking season as you will need to purchase more packages to make sure your recipes came out correctly.

On other note two stores in the same shopping center are selling this package at different prices.  One local based large chain grocery store seems to think it is worth $.75 more than another major retailer.  #thingsthatannoyme  The change has even confused one of the retailers in their marketing.  Look closely here they are selling a 13oz package, but the actual picture shows differently.

Caramels

6. Halloween candy while this sits in the pantry and probably gets untouched.

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I am scanning recipes on how to use the candy in a way it may get consumed or just not tossed in 6-8 months.  Here Are some great ideas I pinned this weekend.  I also love the idea of using the candy in non edible ways – science experiment, decorate gingerbread houses.

I hope you enjoyed catching up on what Let’s Have Mixture did throughout the month of October.  I will try and post more this month as we continue to enjoy fall and its flavors.

 

Meatless Monday: Cottage Peach Smoothie & What we Are Eating

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When it comes to making breakfast for the family, I really try and ensure it is balanced.  I know there are a lot of smoothie recipes and people who use their vitamix and juicers to make a nice beverage, but when I make a smoothie I want it to be of high nutritional content.  This is one reason you will never find a smoothie recipe I create that uses water.  As a dietitian in a nursing home you start to learn a lot about puree food.  One of the most important factors in serving puree is to ensure you give your customers the most bang for their buck.  Appetites vary so you want to make sure even the smallest appetite is getting an adequate amount of vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber.  Water is great at thinning food when you need to change the consistency but it also lessens the nutritional content.  I prefer to use juice, dairy, or dairy alternative beverage.  This was how I taught cooks and dietary aides to make puree, and I use the same concept when I feed my family a liquid meal.

In addition to a nutritional beverage I sometimes add some yogurt as well.  I love greek yogurt but I know it has a tanginess that is not always ideal in all smoothies.  The other day I found some of the peaches we picked this summer in the freezer and decided it had been a few weeks since we had that summer flavor.  When I think of peach smoothies, I tend to think sweet as they are a sweet fruit especially when perfectly ripe.  As I began to add ingredients to the Vitamix, I was torn between greek yogurt or just using fruit in addition to the almond milk.  Then it caught my eye – cottage cheese.  Recently we discussed that I have a new found love for ricotta cheese and you find it in a lot of recipes where it is made to be sweet, but cottage cheese, I was not sure.  Of course then I realized I have a great kugel recipe that calls for cottage cheese and one of Little Miss Mixtures favorite things is cottage cheese with applesauce and cinnamon, so I figured it could not be too bad.  It definitely was not bad in fact it was really good. The cottage cheese helped to thicken the smoothie slightly while of course increasing the protein and calcium content as well.

As I sit here writing about this I realize how nice these same flavors would be using apple or pumpkin instead of peaches.  A perfect Fall flavored smoothie.

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Cottage Peach Smoothie

1/4 cup Almond Milk, Vanilla

1/3 cup Cottage Cheese

1 fresh banana

1 cup Frozen Peach Slices

1/2 tsp. ground Cinnamon

 

Place all ingredients in a blender or Vitamix. Remember liquid on the bottom and frozen on top when using a Vitamix. Blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy.

 

What we are eating (September 14 – September 20) 

Sunday – Leftovers

Monday – Roasted Mushroom & White Bean Puree (Cooking Light)

Tuesday – Ground Chicken Tacos with homemade Taco Seasoning

Wednesday – A version of this Chopped Salad 

Thursday – Patty Melt with Waldorf Salad

Friday – Ham & Swiss Sandwiches, Organic Trader Joe Corn Chips, Fruit

Saturday – Night Out

Thanks for reading and have a great week.  Looking for some more Smoothies that are packed with protein.  Check these out.

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Protein Packed Smoothie

IMG_3192Protein Power Green Smoothie

 

Baked Apple Yogurt Parfait, What we are Eating

DSC_0608It is Monday again and once again I am pondering what to write, what to eat, and what needs to be done this week.  As I said in late August this is my busy season.  What does that mean exactly?  I am not sure, but I keep thinking it as it just seems that between all the back to school stuff, holidays, and family celebrations, I lose focus because I have so many things going on.  Whereas each year late winter, spring I find myself pining for things to do, such as this project: starting a blog.  Well my post may be more sporadic for the next few months, but I do not want to bore my readers so when I do post, I want it to be a recipe or something that I feel is worthwhile sharing.

Over the past few years, we have become parfait people.  I say we, but really it is Little Miss Mixture who can eat this daily.  There are recipes for beautiful yogurt parfaits all over the internet, but really a parfait does not need to be beautiful and you can make a single serving very easily.  A parfait by definition is a a dessert containing layers of ice cream, fruit, etc. served in a tall glass, so by definition maybe what we eat is not exactly a parfait, but yet a yogurt sundae.  A sundae is defined as a dish of ice cream with added ingredients.  Regardless of what you choose to call it a breakfast like this is simple, healthy, and balanced.  An excellent way to start your day.

IMG_33124th of July Breakfast Parfaits

With the burst of cool air and storms that were expected this weekend if finally started to feel like fall.  Fall to me is about apples.  In years past I have baked apples and I remembered Ihad a recipe for a simple microwaved apple dish.  Using the basis of this but making some changes so as to use honey rather than sugar, I came up with this healthy breakfast.

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Baked Apple Yogurt Parfait   ( Serves 4)

3 Apples, Chopped

1/4 cup Dried Cranberries

1/4 Cup Chopped Walnuts

2 Tbsp. Ground Cinnamon

1/4 Cup Honey

1/4 cup Water

Combine all ingredients in a glass or ceramic baking dish.  Microwave for about 6-8 minutes or until apples are soft and water has evaporated.

Serve with yogurt of choice ( Vanilla, Plain, or Greek yogurt works best)

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What We Are Eating ( September 7 – September 13)

Sunday – Grilled Chicken and Biscuits, Grilled Okra, and Corn

Monday – Calypso

Tuesday – Pasta and Sausage Bake

Wednesday – Mexican Casserole

Thursday – BBQ Chicken Pizza

Friday – Sandwiches on the Go

Saturday – Night Out / My night off, but not really as I prepared a plate of desserts for a get together we attended.

Homemade Pizza in Take Out Time

IMG_3822I love pizza. I am not sure where my love for this food comes from. As a teenager, I remember Friday night was generally pizza night but this was because we were a busy rushed family heading to football games. We were a family of two girls, but when you are on the dance team your Friday nights are just as busy. And what father would complain when the game he sat through to see his girls perform at halftime just happened to have the Barber twins playing for the same team.

Pizza night in high school was take out and it was around the time the “lovers line” became popular. Well in my mind pizza has come a long way since then.  I grew up in the south, so I know a lot of naysayers will claim I know nothing about pizza, but in my mind I do.

What you like when it comes to food is personal and when it comes to pizza, I like flavor. So whether it is traditional New York Style pizza, Deep Dish Chicago style, brick oven, or a flatbread if the flavor is there I enjoy it.

Today’s post is not a unique pizza but the type of pizza I make if we want a traditional flavor pizza.  So often you think homemade pizza takes forever, and yes it can.  If you make your own dough, you have to plan ahead.  If you make your own sauce, you have to plan and make it ahead, but this is your quick and easy homemade as in put the toppings on, make it what you want, and cook it at home.

This pizza takes a little bit of preparation as you cannot walk in from an afternoon of activities and have it on the table in 30 minutes, unless you plan ahead.  When I say plan ahead you need to have your dough room temperature for best results.  The Trader Joe dough recommends sitting out for 30 minutes.  I also find having a hot oven and pizza stone help ensure the crust cooks evenly.

Jamey’s Better than Take Out Traditional Pizza 

1 recipe pizza dough (I like Trader Joe’s pizza dough – you roll your own)

1 cup Marinara Sauce**

8 oz Mushrooms, washed, sliced

1/2 Red Pepper, chopped

1/2  Green Pepper, chopped

1/4 cup onion, chopped

2 cups Spinach

1/2 cup fresh pineapple, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 cups cheese, mozzarella (Occasionally I use a combination of any of the following: Mozzarella, fontina, parmesan, and cheddar)

20 slices pepperoni (optional)*

3 Tbsp. Olive OilIMG_3818

Preparing the Pizza Dough

Allow dough to sit out for at least 30 minutes to become room temperature.  This will make rolling the dough out easier.  I did not say it would roll into a perfect circle as that takes skill which I don’t focus on, I just roll and go.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees and allow to heat for 30 minutes with pizza stone.  Remove hot pizza stone from oven and pour 1 Tbsp olive oil over the stone.  Spread it around if you want or the quick and easy way just toss the dough on top.  I always try and roll a little more once the dough is on the stone to thin it out and reach the edges of my stone.

Place pizza stone with dough in oven for about 8-10 minutes to pre bake.

Preparing the Toppings

In a skillet over medium high heat, pour 2 Tbsp olive oil and minced garlic and heat for 2 minutes.  Add peppers, mushrooms, onions, and spinach and cook until lightly sautéed.IMG_3808IMG_3817

Assembling the Pizza

Remove the pre baked pizza dough from the oven and spread the marinara sauce over top.  Spread your sautéed vegetables, pineapple, and pepperoni evenly over the marinara.  Top with cheese.  Return to the 425 degree oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to bubble and brown.  Slice and enjoy.

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* perfect Meatless Monday recipe if the pepperoni is omitted

** I tend to use marinara sauce for my pizza base as I think it is lighter and more flavorful than pizza sauce.  This is just a preference as any sauce will work.IMG_3824

Monday’s Mixture

Image 1We are one week into our new school and it seems as if rather than having more time on my hands, I am in a complete whirlwind.  I am sure it will settle down, but it may take a few weeks as there is so much going on with parent meetings at school, new after school activity schedules to get accustom to, etc.  Big sigh of relief.  The first week went well and I am sure by February I will find extra time on my hands since I am sure to get accustom to the new routine and then realize I am on a time crunch for getting organized for family birthdays and holidays.  Thankfully I had a big container of mixture to help get us through the busy week.

 

1.  What We Are Eating ( August 17 – August 23)

Sunday – Tuna Salad Cold Plate, Vegetables a & dip, Fruit

Monday – Lemon Chicken, Sautéed Squash & Fennel, Cottage Cheese & Tomato Salad

Tuesday – Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas

Wednesday – Bacon Cheddar Burger Patties, Grilled Okra, Watermelon, & Pickles

Thursday – Ladies Night for me, Mr. Mixture & LIttle Miss Mixture had Tuna Melts on Naan Bread, Vegetables & Dip

Friday – Tomato Mozzarella Salad, Shrimp Scampi over Whole Wheat Angel Hair

Saturday – Cheese & Red Pepper Nachos

2.  Pickles – A couple of weeks ago I saw this post on Smitten Kitchen.  I grew up eating cucumbers marinated in a vinegar type solution, but I never thought of them as pickled.  Little Miss Mixture loves pickles but I am not a fan of most of the store bought ones anymore.  I gave this recipe a try, cutting it in half and using less salt.  The revised post on smitten kitchen now indicates less salt.  These are so easy and so good.

3. Back to School Party – Since Little Miss Mixture entered Kindergarten I have had a back to school party for her class.  It is a simple get together just before school starts.  This year I swapped out the juice boxes and muffins for smoothies to accompany the doughnuts and fruit.  The plastic BPA free bottles I found at shopsweetlulu.com  worked perfectly .   I had three smoothies Peachy Watermelon, Tinkerbell (my version with coconut milk and fresh pineapple), and a Berry Blast.

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4. Hummus – I have a couple tried and true hummus recipes that I have for years.  However a lot of times I just create them as I go based on herbs I have in the refrigerator or my garden barrels.  Little Miss Mixture asked for hummus and carrots for snack at school this week.  Yes I am smiling as I love some of the healthy items she has asked for and you better believe I will get some made before tomorrow.  This is a great chart for ideas and ratios to make different hummus flavors.

5. Projects – I am enjoying this whole blog thing, but like other things it is a hobby and a project to me.  As the new school year is beginning and the rush of the holiday season starts, I just realized I am really behind on my other projects.  How can it be almost a year since our big birthday trip for Little Miss Mixture?  Worse yet how is it I have not made the picture book yet.  Anyway as I will continue to blog and make my readers aware of What we are eating and recipes worth trying, but I am going to have to get back on track with other projects before another busy season passes me by.  I would love to hear from my readers as to what really interest you.  Breakfast food, Snacks, School Lunch ideas, Weeknight Dinners, Desserts.Image