Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Dinner and Protein Day? What to do...

Well, I am still trying to hit that goal weight, and I keep bouncing up a few lbs, down a few lbs.  So, back at it again.  Today is protein day.  I would really like to have some creamy potatoes, and a creamy side dish to go with my meat, but obviously if it is protein day, that cannot happen.

So, in honor of Easter, I'll be hard boiling some eggs and trying a new recipe for bacon jalapeno eggs.  I found it searching for some different kind of deviled eggs.  I'll be replacing the mayo with greek yogurt (got to keep it healthy right).  It sounds quite tasty, and I might throw a little cheddar cheese in as well. (YUM!)

It has been a long time since I hard boiled eggs to dye them and have an egg hunt.  I guess this is the next best thing.  Happy Easter.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Has it really been THREE YEARS?

Yes, it has been a LONG WHILE since I posted on this blog. That is what happens when you work a very full time job, right? It made me realize this my 3rd year in this job, and it has been 3 years since I had time to blog. Hmmm - interesting!  Well, I took today off (to work on taxes), and decided to start posting here again! I added a few photos from some of our sunny events. We are still searching for sunshine (and warmth).  Some things just do not change!

Today I want to post a link to a recipe that I love! Thanks to Janice from Dukanitout. You will note the recipes I post are a little healthier than the recipes I posted in the past. Since my last post, I've been on a healthy eating kick and working to keep weight where it should be. This website has been so valuable, and helped immensely as I have worked to maintain a healthy weight and healthy lifestyle. I hope it helps some of you who are working to do the same. (Remember those New Year's Resolutions?) This is one of my favorite websites and favorite dinners... Thanks Dukan It Out!  (For those of you who are on Dukan, this is a Protein Day meal!)

Turkey, Ham and Cheese Bake
1/2 small onion, diced
2 green onions, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1.25 lb ground turkey
1 T smoked Spanish paprika
4 oz lowfat ham, diced
1/4 cup low fat (or fat free) Swiss Cheese, shredded
3/4 cup egg whites
2 Laughing Cow wedges, low fat, French Onion or Garlic/Herb OR 3 Tbsp of fat free cream cheese
2 Tsp fat free greek yogurt
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup low fat or fat free sour cream

Brown onions and jalapeno in skillet sprayed with Pam olive oil spray for 5 minutes. Add the ground turkey and paprika. Cook until done, about 10 minutes. Drain meat mixture, stir in the ham and cheese and pour into a Pam sprayed casserole dish. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk eggs, Laughing Cow, and yogurt until smooth. Pour over meat mixture. Bake for 20 minutes, 350 degrees. Garnish with green onions and sour cream.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pressure Cooker Experiment - #2

Today, (after working for a bit), I stopped at the store picking up the necessary items to make 3 pressure cooker dishes. Dish number one: Spaghetti Sauce. It turned out quite yummy and made enough for two nights. We had spaghetti for dinner tonight, and put the rest of the sauce in the freezer for another night. Love being able to do that.

I also made another dish - this one an Alton Brown Pressure Cooker Chili. Larry and I had to sample, a tad on the spicy side. I'll need some sour cream to cool the spice a bit. It is going in the freezer as well.

I purchased the ingredients to make an enchilada dish (yes - in the pressure cooker too), but that will have to wait for another day.

Spring break over... work tomorrow with a busy week ahead; laundry done and put away; bathrooms cleaned; dusting done; and taxes done too. The only thing I didn't do that I had planned on? Exercise! I really wanted to start exercising again. Oh well, there is always tomorrow!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A New Kitchen Gadget - The Pressure Cooker

Well, darn that QVC kitchen show! It made me start thinking I needed a new kitchen toy. So, started shopping around for an electric pressure cooker. There was not one single model in town, so off to internet shopping. Macy's did the trick - they had a Cuisnart Electric Pressure Cooker on sale. Yipee! It was delivered yesterday, Friday. At the same time, came 3 new cookbooks all about pressure cooking.

Have we tried it out yet - you bet! Last night I tried the Risotto. Hmmm - tasty, but not as good as the kind you stand at the stove for 35 minutes nonstop stirring... that is true risotto. But this modified version (ok the easy way) is still quite tasty.

Todays experiment is Boston Baked Beans and BBQ Ribs. The beans are done, and staying warm in the oven. The ribs are in the cooker right now. They say - 40 minutes and you will have fall off the bone ribs as if they have been slow cooking/smoking all day. We shall see!

Don't ya love new toys that are supposed to make your life easier?

Here is the recipe.

Saucy Ribs Pressure Cooker Style

3 lbs ribs
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup beer
12 oz barbecue sauce

Cut ribs into serving pieces. Mix spices and create a dry rub. Rub onto ribs. Heat oil in pressure cooker. Brown the ribs, all sides. Put in the cooking rack. Pour the beer into the cooking pot. Add the ribs. Lock lid in place, and cook on high pressure 40 minutes. Let cooker depressurize naturally (about 15 minutes). Remove lid. Drain some of the liquid. Add barbecue sauce and ribs back in. Simmer 10-15 minutes. The beer is supposed to be the secret to the unique flavor, so the recipe says to make certain you do not leave it out.

I'll let you know how it goes! So far, so good...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Break CHILI NIGHT!

This year we are not going away for Spring Break. It feels good to be home, get things done that I need to get done (ok, like taxes), and have some time for being lazy as well. I've also been doing working a little too... webinar yesterday, meeting today, meeting tomorrow, and need to work on some paperwork too. But, having time is so nice!

I actually had time to cook yesterday - which I love to do, but doesn't happen often. I browsed recipes on the Food Network and found an interesting chili recipe by Rachael Ray. I added a dollop of sour cream to calm the chili down (I may have used too much chipotle chili powder. Pretty spicy..) I also made a cornbread recipe by Paula Deen - boy, was it YUMMY!

So, if you are in the market for a great chili night, give these recipes a try! DELICIOUS...

Paula Deen, Food Network

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 large Vidalia or other sweet onion, chopped
1 (8-ounce) package cornbread/muffin mix
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup whole milk
1 cup sour cream
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with vegetable oil cooking spray.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and saute the onion until tender, but not browned, for about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the muffin mix, egg, milk, sour cream, 1/2 cup of the cheese, the salt, and dill weed. Stir to combine. Pour into the prepared pan and top with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, until set and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly before cutting into squares.

Rachael Ray, Food Network

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 pounds ground sirloin
2 tablespoons grill seasoning(recommended: McCormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning) a palm full
1/2 pound baby Portobello mushrooms, chopped
1/4 pound shiitake mushroom caps, sliced
1 medium yellow skinned onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped, with their juices or 1 generous palm full ground chipotle chili powder, about 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon ground cumin, half a palm full
1 bottle imported beer (recommended: Stella Artois (...imported just 'cause we're Uptown and that's all they drink here.)
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup beef stock (8-ounce box)
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
8-ounce piece smoked Gouda, shredded
1 small white onion, finely chopped
Heat a deep, large skillet or a pot over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and the meat. Season it with grill seasoning and sear it up, browning and crumbling it, for 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer meat to a plate and return pot to stove. Reduce heat to medium- high and add another tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Add the mushrooms and begin to brown them before adding the other veggies. After 2 or 3 minutes the mushrooms will begin to shirk and soften. Push the mushrooms off to one side of the pot and add all the remaining veggies to the opposite side of the pot surface. Once the onions, celery, peppers and garlic have been working for a few minutes as well, mix the veggies with the mushrooms. Add the meat back, season with Worcestershire sauce, chipotle in adobo or chipotle powder and cumin. Add in beer to deglaze the pot, scraping up all the pan drippings. Reduce the beer by half, about 2 minutes. Add the black beans, tomatoes, stock and thyme to chili and simmer 10 minutes for flavors to combine. Taste to adjust seasonings. Top bowls of the chili with shredded smoked Gouda and finely chopped raw onions.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

New Recipe Night! Chicken Mole Enchiladas

Well, tonight was a new recipe attempt. I modified the original recipe some (trying to make it a bit healthier). In retrospect, not sure I accomplished my goal. But, it was very tasty!

The original recipe is listed here:

Here is my attempt to recreate Marcela Valladolid's recipe from MEXICAN MADE EASY.


2 chicken breasts, salt/pepper and bake 15 minutes. Shred chicken into bite size pieces.

4 dried pasilla chiles, stemmed and seeded
1 1/2 cup HOT water
2 handfuls of tortilla chips
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 medium onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 3/4 cups chicken stock
3 Tbsp peanut butter
1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp oregano
5 oz Mexican chocolate (Ibarra)

12 corn tortillas
Olive Oil Nonstick spray
Feta cheese

Queso Fresco cheese
Chopped cilantro
Light sour cream

Soak the dried pasilla chiles by soaking in 1 1/2 cups HOT water for at least 15 minutes. Drain, set aside.

In large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add chopped onion and saute until translucent. (3 minutes or so) Add garlic. Cook another 2 -3 minutes. Do not burn garlic.

Transfer the following to blender:
Onion/garlic mixture
Tortilla chips
1 3/4 cup chicken stock (save rest for later)
Peanut Butter
Blend until very smooth and creamy.

Transfer sauce to the large saucepan. Bring to boil - be careful! It will splatter. (I know from experience.) Reduce heat to simmer. Cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the chocolate. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the rest of the chicken broth as needed - mixture can become too thick. I added one additional cup of chicken broth.

Cover bottom of 9x13 baking pan with thin layer of mole sauce. Heat up large flat nonstick griddle. Spray both sides of tortillas with olive oil nonstick spray. Put the tortillas on the hot griddle and saute both sides to soften the tortillas. I did all the tortillas as Larry filled and rolled. Put a spoonful of chicken in the center of tortilla with a tad bit of feta cheese. Roll and place seam side down in the 9x13 dish. Repeat procedure with all tortillas. Ladle mole sauce over top of enchiladas. Top with Queso Fresco (crumbled) cheese and cilantro. Bake at 375 degrees about 15 minutes until warm.

Serve with light sour cream.

We had refried beans w/cheese and warmed tortillas with our enchiladas. Delicious!

**HINDSIGHT: When I repeat this recipe, I will add a bit more salt than I did, a little less feta cheese. The flavors were very interesting together, but I think we might have overdone the feta. I'm wondering if gorgonzola would be milder than the feta??? Still have some playing around to do with perfecting this recipe, but it is pretty darn good!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Weekends are for...

Weekends are multi-faceted. They are for resting, relaxation, getting everything done at home (such as laundry, cleaning, bills, shopping, the list goes on...). Well, this time of year it is time to add another "to do" to the list! Taxes... So, today was my organizing day. I did pretty well, not done - more to do, but have a good start! I bet by next weekend, I'll be ready to drop everything off. Even though I started the year of 2009 very organized for taxes, I need to follow through all year and stay up to date and organized.

Why is it so hard to stay organized all the time? It seems I used to be very organized... (my nickname is Planner Patty after all), but now I can't keep up. (Sadly enough!)

Well, Abby had a great weekend of resting. I would like to be a dog owned by me! Good comfie life to be sure. The picture signifies Abby's favorite things... the couch; the blanket (have to be warm after all); and her favorite toy - the squirrel. A DOG'S LIFE as they say...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

New Recipe Night!

Tonight was Caribbean night in the house! We had a very tasty dinner, another easy one at that. (The best kind after all...) One little mishap with the propane on the BBQ - ran out, so had to drag out the George Foreman grill for the shrimp.

Asparagus pieces
Quartered mushrooms
Sliced Zuchini
Spike Seasoning
Olive Oil
Freshly Ground Pepper
Jerk Seasoning

Mix all together. Put in casserole dish (13x9). Sprinkle with just a tad of parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 until veggies are done.

1 # raw shrimp (deveined & cleaned)
Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
Freshly ground pepper
tiny bit of sugar
Ground nutmeg
Olive Oil

Mix together all ingredients (except the shrimp) in a bowl. Toss the shrimp in the seasoning/olive oil mixture. Put on skewer and bbq until done.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Chipotle Beef & Black Bean Dinner

By popular request, here is the recipe for a very easy dinner! (and delicious too...) Get a large glass of water and enjoy!

2-3 lb chuck roast
15 oz beef broth
7 oz chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (can be spicy! if you don't like spice, use less...)

In a nonstick skillet, spray with Pam. Salt and pepper the chuck roast. Saute the chuck roast in the skillet for about 3-5 minutes per side. It will NOT be done. When both sides are browned, put meat into crockpot. Pour over the beef broth, and empty the can of chipotle peppers (and sauce) into the crockpot. Cook on low all day.

2 cans of black beans
chopped garlic to taste
1/2 cup of salsa

Stir together. Put in casserole dish, cover with foil, bake on low heat (225 degrees) for an hour to an hour and a half.

Serve with a salad - wah laa - you have a complete dinner. Low cal, tasty and healthy.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Is Alaska in the United States?

There are many times that living in Alaska makes you think you are on some far away island - totally isolated from the lower 48; almost as if it is another country. Today is one of those days...

I found the cutest blouse to go with a new skirt that I ordered (e-bay designer clothing), and placed a bid on the blouse. Well, today I looked at the blouse again and noticed at the bottom of the page (in the fine print) that the seller only ships to the contiguous US. I, unfortunately, did not notice that fact before placing my bid. This brought back a frustration that we who live in this far off land often feel... We are part of the United States. The United States Post Office delivers our mail (just like in the contiguous U.S.). The shipping rates and the process to mail a package is the same as in the contiguous U.S. Why do companies and e-bay sellers have these odd rules?

Well, I wrote to the seller and asked if I were to win the auction, if she would ship to me here in the wilderness of Alaska. The good news is that she will. She said that she usually just ships to the lower 48 however, but will make an exception this time and ship to me at the same shipping rate. (I had pointed out in my e-mail that the shipping process and shipping rates using USPS are the same for us here in Alaska as they are for any other state.) Strange huh!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mexican Food - Rick Bayless style!

Well, I've been hooked on the reality t.v. show TOP CHEF MASTERS... Rick Bayless was one of the fantastic chefs on the show. His recipes always looked interesting during the show, so I googled looking for some of his recipes. I ran across his restaurant - FRONTERA GRILL in Chicago. He has many, many recipes posted on this site. Here is one that I will be making tomorrow... I have changed his recipe slightly, as I know I won't be able to find some of the ingredients here in our little town before ever going to the store. I couldn't even find cilantro this weekend! Crazy huh?

BLACK BEAN BATHED ENCHILADAS (with Chorizo & Fresh Cheese)
aka: Enfrijoladas

Serves 4 as main course

1 cup dry black beans, rinsed
2 chipotle chiles (in adobo sauce), minced
1 1/4 cups (10 oz) chorizo sausage, casing removed (bacon, ham, or other sausage can replace chorizo)
1 medium white onion, sliced
Salt, 1/2 tsp
12 corn tortillas
Serrano-Tomatillo Salsa; or Chipotle Salsa (3/4 cup)
3/4 cup crumbled queso fresco or dry goat cheese
3 T. roughly chopped flat leaf parsley

Place beans in medium size saucepan, cover with 3 cups water, remove any beans that float. Heat to simmer.

Using saucepan, add 1/4 cup of chorizo and 1/2 of the onion. Saute. Put into beans. Simmer over medium to medium-low heat, stir occasionally, until the beans are fully tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hrs. If you see the beans peaking up through the liquid, add water to cover them by 1/2 inch.

Coarsely puree the beans in batches in a food processor. Return to the pot and add enough water to thin the consistency of a medium cream soup. Taste and season with salt.

Set up steamer (veggie steamer in saucepan filled with 1/2 inch of water); heat to boil. Wrap tortillas in a heavy kitchen towel, lay in steamer & cover with tight lid. Boil 1 minute, turn off heat and let stand without opening for 15 minutes.

In saucepan, cook the remaining 1 cup chorizo until done (10 min), breaking up any clumps. Drain off fat. Add the minced chipotle peppers. Keep warm over low heat.

Turn oven to the lowest possible setting and warm a serving platter in it. Onto a deep plate or tray pour out 1 1/2 cups of the warm bean sauce onto the deep plate. One by one, dip both sides of the tortillas into the sauce, fold into quarters and transfer to the warm serving platter. Lay the tortillas in 2 rows, slightly overlap. Keep warm in oven.

Scrape any leftover bean sauce from the deep plate back into the pot. If the sauce has thickened, add a bit of water to get back to the original consistency. Quickly bring to simmer, spoon over the folded tortillas (should be lots of sauce), top with warm chorizo, splash on the optional salsa, sprinkle on the cheese, parsley and remaining sliced onion. Serve right away - they don't like to sit!

Variations: with bean sauce and tortillas as a base, you can vary toppings or fillings as you like.

Serve with a nice salad, and margaritas of course!


Patty's Margaritas! Ole...

Well, I seem to be transitioning from Italian cooking to Mexican Food! Shrimp Tacos was my last post; and now I'm moving on to a nice refreshing drink to accompany your tacos...

Patty's Margaritas

3/4 blender of ice
1/2 can frozen limeaid
4 oz tequilla
2 oz triple sec
4 oz water

BLEND. Serve in salt rimmed glasses.

Simple and tasty!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Tacos With Spicy Shrimp!

Who wants a yummy taco? This is a wonderfully easy and tasty recipe for Shrimp Tacos. When living in California, I used to love going to a casual restaurant called Rubios. My favorite on the menu? Shrimp Tacos! Well, I found this recipe for shrimp tacos. Not the same as Rubios - but excellent and SO EASY!

Serves 6

12 oz bacon (cut into pieces)
1/2 onion, chopped
2 lbs. large cooked shrimp (peeled, deveined & cut into bite size pieces
3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
12 corn tortillas
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 lime, juiced
salt to taste, optional
Mexican cheese
Sour Cream

In large, deep skillet fry bacon until evenly brown. Drain bacon fat. Add onions to the pan with the bacon. Saute five minutes (till onions are translucent). Stir in the shrimp and chipotle chiles; cook 4 minutes until heated.

Heat tortillas on ungreased skillet over medium-high heat for 10-15 seconds. Turn over and heat another 5-10 seconds. Fill heated tortillas with the shrimp/bacon/onion mixture.

Top with preferred toppings. I use sliced avocado; a sprinkle of cheese, and sour cream.

(16 Servings)

This sauce could be an option to serve as a sauce for these shrimp tacos! Works great for either chicken or fish tacos. Makes a dip as well.

1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped coarsely
3 chile peppers (seeded & chopped)
3 cloves garlic
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup heavy cream
salt/pepper to taste

Place all in food processor. Puree till smooth.

Both recipes courtesy of

Monday, July 27, 2009

SKYAUCTION... How to travel in luxury on a budget!

I am in love with a travel website called Skyauction. I've probably used it successfully a dozen or so times - all for hotels. We have stayed at amazing places we could never have stayed had it not been for this site. An example of that is our trip next June - Guana Island in the British Virgin Islands.

Recently, I have had several people ask about the website I use, and how to use it. So, I've written a step by step guide that will help walk you through it. You too can find some awesome deals!


Happy traveling!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Italian Cooking Kick Continues! Chicken Mushroom Risotto

OK, this will be my second time making this so let's see if I can time it just right. Do NOT let it sit while you finish up something else... it will turn to glue! Be warned! (mine really wasn't glue - but I can tell a big difference from when it was done till the time I took it off the stove)

1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 quart chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 small sweet onion (chopped)
2 cloves minced garlic
1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
Olive Oil (and a little butter)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan reggiano cheese
1 Tbsp chopped Italian parsley

1. Heat the chicken stock to a simmer. Keep it hot! (this is key)
2. Melt 1 tbsp of butter and a swirl of olive oil in saute pan, and saute the sliced mushcrooms till they are soft. Remove from heat and set aside for later.
3. In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, heat olive oil and 1 Tbsp of butter over medium heat. Add chopped onion. Saute about 2 minutes, add 2 cloves minced garlic (or more if you love garlic like I do). Saute another minute or two until onion is slightly translucent. Do not let garlic burn!
4. Add the rice to the pot and stir briskly with wooden spoon so that the grains are coated with oil and butter. Saute for a minute or so, until there is a slightly nutty aroma. Do NOT let rice brown. Stir in the wine, continue stirring until liquid is fully absorbed.
5. Add one ladle of hot chicken stock to the rice and stir until the liquid is fully absorbed. When the rice appears almost dry, add another ladle of stock and repeat the process. IT IS IMPORTANT TO STIR CONSTANTLY, AND ADD THE NEXT LADLE AS SOON AS THE RICE IS ALMOST DRY. THIS WILL BE YOUR UPPER BODY WORKOUT FOR THE DAY. As you see the rice absorbing the stock, it is important to season the rice with salt and freshly ground pepper. It is at this point that the flavor will be absorbed into the rice.
6. Continue adding ladles of hot stock and stirring the rice while liquid is absorbed. As it cooks, you will see rice take on a creamy consistency as it begins to release the natural starches.
7. Continue this ladle at a time process and stirring for 20-30 minutes, or until the grains are tender but still firm to the bite (not crunchy). If you run out of broth, and your risotto is not completely cooked, you can use hot water or more hot chicken broth. (I had to the second time I made this.) When you are down to the last few ladles of stock, add the cooked mushrooms.
8. Stir in 2 Tbsp butter, the parmesan cheese and the parsley. Finish seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
9. Risotto turns glutinous if held for too long - serve it right away! It should be soft, creamy mound on a dinner plate (not run across the plate). I put chicken on the top of mine.

Yummy!!! Serve with a salad.

Adapted from and a YouTube video...