Sunday, October 26, 2008

A new blog find!

I was browsing the net this morning (as I made my shopping list for this week) and found a blog that is GREAT! It is called A Veggie Venture, and filled with wonderful sounding recipes (more than just veggies!). I will be a frequent visitor here to be sure. She even has a section for weight watchers and low-carb cooking. If you are in the market for some new recipes, check it out!


Saturday, October 25, 2008

First Snow!

Well, I knew it would come eventually, but was surprised it came so soon... Yes, yesterday we had our first snow of the season. Some hail started mid-day, the kids thought it was snow. During our staff development time, hail again began - but before long, the bouncy hail turned to soft light snowflakes. It was short lived, and was gone quite quickly. By the end of our Fall Festival, about 9pm, it was snow and it was sticking. I got half way home, it turned to heavy snow, several inches already on the ground, slowing traffic down to about 25mph! It is beautiful though, I just want it to melt fast as I'm not wanting to shovel snow... Isn't this a pretty picture? This is the gorgeous view today after our night of snow...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Bunco Tonight... Not Sagna for dinner

Well, school has formed a bunco group - our first get together is tonight at my house. I'm serving a favorite recipe - quick, easy and yummy too! This is a recipe I've adapted from Rachael Ray, and is an easy version of lasagna (without all the work). I use Dreamfields pasta brand, as this brand has a low glycemic index; but if you were being true to South Beach, you would use whole wheat pasta.

"Not" - Sagna
based on Rachael Ray's recipe
I've tried to make it South Beach friendly

1 # pasta (I use Dreamfields penne - or whole wheat short pasta)
Sea Salt
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 # lean ground beef
6 cloves garlic (smooshed)
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. allspice
2 tsp. Worscesteshire
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup beef stock
28 oz can Organic Crushed Tomatoes
12 oz low fat ricotta
1 cup fresh basil (about 20 leaves) - cut up into small pieces
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Shredded Parmesan to top

Boil water for pasta, add sea salt, add pasta and cook. You will want to save a ladle full of the pasta water for the sauce!

Heat your evoo in a large nonstick skillet. Add your meat and break it up as you brown. Add garlic, onions and red pepper flakes. Add salt, pepper, allspice & Worcestershire. You will want to cook about 5 minutes. Then, add your wine - cook a minute or two, then add your beef stock. Add the tomatoes last, bring to a the boiling point, then reduce heat to medium and simmer about 5 minutes.

Get your pasta bowl ready. Put ricotta in the bottom of the bowl. Add a ladleful of your boiling starchy water from the pasta pot. Stir to combine your ricotta and water. Add your 1/2 cup of parmigiano-reggiano cheese and mix.

Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with the cheeses. Add half of the meat sauce to the pasta/cheese mixture. Toss. Add the torn basil. Toss. Salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, put pasta on plate, top with a spoonful of meat sauce, and top with parmesan cheese. Yum!

Friday, October 17, 2008


I guess we all have to have birthdays... beats the alternative as they say. But, it is so funny comparing how we feel about birthdays now vs. how children think of birthdays. Remember as a child how exciting birthdays were? Well, this week was my birthday. My students at have been so excited - it is quite funny. I've had a variety of birthday songs being sung by different groups of students; my door is plastered with cheerful birthday cards, class books and greetings; for days they cheerfully wish me a happy birthday (even though my birthday was Tuesday), I still continue to have birthday wishes. I wonder if we adults should take on the attitude of children when it comes to celebrating birthdays! It is quite fun I must say...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sailing Trip, June 2009

After playing in the land of the rich and famous, Mustique, it will be time to set sail for a favorite area - the Tobago Cays. One of the cays, Petit Tabac, is also called Jack Sparrow's Island. Remember the scene where Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth Swann were marooned on a tiny deserted island? They spent their time sitting on a perfect beach drinking rum! Sounds like the perfect Caribbean vacation, doesn't it? That is where we will be in eight months! Time flies, it will be here before we know it!

The whole island group is now a protected marine national park. The last time I was there it was not protected. I understand the snorkeling in the area is now much improved. I'm hoping to see lots of turtles here. Also, with this being a deserted area, there will be no light pollution, meaning we might have a great night of stargazing!

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Well, it is Saturday morning and time to build a menu for the week, as well as a shopping list. So, I've been on the prowl for a new recipe or two. Requirements: South Beach Friendly!

(adapted from - trying to make it a bit more South Beach friendly)

1 lb. scallops (about 12)
1 large leek (white and pale green parts only)
1 cup dry white wine
1 chicken boullion cube
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup fat free cream
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp fresh tarragon, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
whole wheat pastry flour for dredging
salt, hot sauce, lemon juice (all to taste)

Check out the website listed above for the directions, and a picture of this creamy dish. I am substituting olive oil for butter; whole wheat flour for flour; fat free cream for whole cream and added a little more garlic - as we LOVE garlic! I have not made this yet - but it sounds wonderful and will be on our menu this week! I will let you know how it is.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pumpkin Bread Recipe - healthy of course

I took some of my pumpkin bread to school today for a series of meetings. One person suggested I post this recipe on my blog... so here you go! (Well - not exactly South Beach, but it is pretty healthy anyway...)

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2/3 cup water
1 cup Splenda/Sugar blend
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla
3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Nuts and mini chocolate chips, optional

Preheat oven to 350. Grease (I used Pam) and flour 3 loaf pans. Using the mixer, mix together pumpkin puree, oil, eggs, vanilla, water and sugars until well blended. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, pumpkin pie spice. Spoon the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl/pumpkin mixture until blended. Stir in the nuts and chocolate chips (or whatever else you decide to add) if you are adding them at the very end. Pour into the prepared pans.

Bake about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. I had to bake them about 7 more minutes for the loaves to be done.

Delicious! Makes wonderful gifts as well... You can even poke holes in the top of the loaves, melt butter, mix with sugar & cinnamon and pour over the top. Very tasty - but of course doing this would take the semi-healthy label away completely...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

It is smoked PRIME RIB day!

Well, hubby bought a beautiful prime rib at the store yesterday. We are going to smoke it in our little smoker for dinner tonight. We will have enough leftover to make our tostadas for dinner later in the week, and me to have some yummy lunches at school!

Here is our recipe:
1 bottle of kitchen bouquet
2 cups of kosher salt
2 Tbsp vinegar
Lots of granulated garlic

Mix together the above ingredients, and coat the outside of the roast. We are going to get the smoker to 225, and smoke the meat (apple, cherry or oak is best) until the temperature comes to 128 (rare in the center). We bought a thermometer that is great - a probe with a wire running to a main unit, which beeps at us from a remote unit we keep by us in the house! We can "watch" the roast from the comfort of inside the house... We will take it off at that point, wrap the roast in foil, then wrap in a large towel and put in a small ice chest for about 30 minutes. The whole process should take about 2.5 hours from start to being ready to eat.

It will then be time to knock off the salt crust, slice and eat! Yum...

We are having my favorite side dish - twice baked cauliflower, a little horseradish and a salad. Can't wait for my leftover lunches this week!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

First day on the sailboat...

Once we leave the peaceful island of Bequia, we will most likely sail to the island of Mustique (home of the rich and famous). Mustique is a 1400 acre private island owned by shareholders of the Mustique Company. The island has 100 private residences, and 72 villas which are available for rental. We have been there before, but never have taken an island tour. This trip, we will absolutely tour the island! We can do a little shopping, walk up the hill to the Firefly for drinks and perhaps lunch, have a swim at Macaroni Beach, and finish our island exploration with happy hour at Basil's Bar. We will then head back out to our catamaran for a wonderful dinner...

How many days?

Spaghetti with Italian Sausage & Arugula

Comes from my favorite website: Kalyn's Kitchen (Thanks Kalyn!)
Makes 2-3 servings

2 links Hot Italian Sausage (can use chicken or turkey)
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 box Dreamfields Spaghetti
3 oz arugula
1/2 cup pasta cooking water
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Parmesan Cheese (for tossing with the pasta and to top at table)

In nonstick frying pan, heat olive oil, and cook the sausage (squeeze out of casing). Brown well, breaking into pieces. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook spaghetti 8-9 minutes, or until barely done (al dente).

Pur arugula into large bowl. When sausage is browned, drain well. Pour sausage over arugula. Put pan back on stove, turn heat to low, add garlic and saute about 30 seconds. Add 1/4 cup pasta cooking water and lemon juice. Heat two minutes.

When spaghetti seems done, scoop out 1/4 cup of pasta water (in case you need it. Drain pasta, put in bowl with arugula and sausage. Let sit 2 minute to wilt arugula. Then, add water/lemon juice/garlic mixture from pan. Throw in some parmesan cheese and toss.

Serve hot, with parmesan sprinkled on top if desired.