Thursday, October 28, 2010

A corny story....

Tonight Norah had her weekly dance class and I was left alone with "the boy." I enjoy him immensely, but he is very busy and it's hard to get anything accomplished. I was in charge of preparing dinner while the girls were gone, so Cole and I headed to the market. Cole LOVES the market and the trip was uneventful. Picked up some salad greens, ginger, firm tofu and baby wipes....the wipes were not for dinner.

Headed home and unpacked while Cole drew with chalk on the deck and brought leaves into the house. Unfortunately, dinner preparations were derailed by one moment. The following is a reenactment:

Cole @ my spice drawer: "SHAKE!" (wanting one of my spice containers)

Dadda: "Ok, bubby. Here's the fennel seed."

Cole: "MOE SHAKE!" translation - "I would like another container to shake, please"

Dadda: "Really!? Fine, I need to get something done, so here are the peppercorns."

Cole: "Dank goo." translation - "thank you"

Now I'm back to prepping greens in the big a$$ bowl and start grating the ginger for the salad dressing......

Cole: "OPEN!"

Dadda: "Bubby, I am not opening the peppercorns."

Cole: "OPEN!"

Dadda: "It's going to make a mess."



Dadda: "Where's the vacuum?"

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hey there, cupcake!

My kids love a project. Whether it's Norah donning her apron and stirring my dressings or like right now, it's Cole ravaging my spice cabinet....."COLE, GET OUT OF MY SPICES!" Today, Amy and the kids ran behind the house and grabbed some cupcake mix.

Anyone here not like cupcakes? No one? I didn't think so. Really, cupcakes may be the perfect dessert. Moist, frosted cake in handheld form. But, I may be biased. I LOVE cake......but.

The "but" of this joke are the nutritional facts on the classic cupcake. Did you know that a Betty Crocker mix yields 12 delicious cupcakes that weigh in at 250 calories each? Oh, and those are unfrosted. Yikes!! Now, I'm not one of those ccrraazzzyy, no sugar, no way, no how sort of people. but the reason that we've been so successful with our weight loss is that we're always looking for alternatives. These are really flippin good. really. really. good.

Enter Hungry Girl's Pina Colada Cupcakes.

Pina Colada Cupcakes (modified)
For cupcakes:
2 cups moist-style yellow cake mix (1/2 of an 18.25 oz box)
1 1/2 eight oz cans crushe dpineaspple in juice (not drained)

For frosting:
4 oz canned crushed pineapple in juice (drained)
1 Jello sugar Free Vanilla Pudding snack
1 1/2 tablespoons fat-free cream cheese, room temp
1 no-calorie sweetener packet

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine all frosting ingredients and mix until blended. Refrigerate until cupcakes are ready to be frosted.

In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix with undrained pineapple. Mix until thoroughly blended.

Line a 12 cup muffin pan with baking cups and/or spray with nonstick spray. Evenly distribute the cake mixture among the cups.

Bake in over for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick interted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool completely, then evenly distribute frosting over the tops. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Nutrition info: (per one FROSTED cupcake): 115 calories, 1.75g fat, 171 mg sodium, 23g carbs, <0.5g>

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Dora inspired cuisine pt 2

As promised, I'm back with highlights and the taco recipe!

Overall, I was very happy with the results, although I need more practice with making the tortillas. I couldn't seem to get them thin enough for my taste, but they were still very delicious. Also, my grill decided not to work, so I had to use the broiler. Besides that, it went well. It helped that Norah sang the "map" song during most of the prep. I was certainly in the spirit!
Here's the recipe and a couple of pictures to whet your appetite. I'll be back later with yet another Dora inspired meal. This time, something souper.

Pork and Pineapple Tacos
adapted from Steven Reichlen's Healthy Latin Cooking

1 small pineapple, cleaned and diced (you can use canned tidbits in a pinch)
1 lb pork loin, cut into 1/2 in cubes
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbs chili powder
1/2 tbs salt
1/2 tbs pepper
1/2 tbs cumin
1 large onion
1 cup pineapple juice
2 tbls red-wine vinegar
1 cup finely shredded cabbage
1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
salsa of your choice
8 corn tortillas*
*note- one 6 in. corn tortilla = 45 calories
one 6 in. flour tortilla = 110 calories

In a bowl, mix the pork, garlic, chili powder, salt, pepper, and cumin. Slice the onion thinly and add half to the bowl with the pork along with the pineapple juice and vinegar. Cover and marinate in the fridge for an hour.

While your grill is preheating, put the other half of chopped onion, chopped cilantro, chopped cabbage, and salsa into individual serving bowls.

Strain pork and onions from marinade and discard (the marinade not the meat....) In a grill basket or on foil, grill your meat, pineapple and onions until pork reaches desired doneness, approx 2 minutes a side. Transfer to platter or large bowl. Place tortillas on still warm grill for 10 seconds a side or until soft and pliable.

For service, take tortilla and place pieces of grilled pork, onions, and pineapple in tortilla and top with some onion, cabbage, cilantro, and salsa. Enjoy!

(1 taco = 197 calories)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

What's in your glass?

Last night I had the pleasure of consuming one of my all time favorite beers, Shipyard Brewing Co's Blue Fin Stout. First brewed by the company in 1993, I still remember my first taste during my tour of the brewery. Since then, it has been the stout that I judge all others by and am thrilled to have access to it again now that we're back east.
This jet black classic Irish stout is incredibly smooth and is not overly filling. It also has a very low ABV% (alcohol by volume) at 4.7, which means I can sip a couple and not feel badly about it.

What's in your glass tonight?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dora inspired cuisine

I'm sure we're not the only ones, but our house has been invaded by Dora. Dora dominates the conversation, pretend play, and pretty much everything else. So, I've decided to embrace it.

Latin cuisine has always been a passion of mine and I tend to steer toward those flavors when I'm just throwing something together. I love the way cumin seeds and chilies smell when they're toasting. I love the way a simple pork dish tastes after it has simmered in tomatillos and cilantro. I love the taste of fresh made corn tortillas. Ummm.....starting to get hungry.

This morning, Dora, Boots (Norah and Cole) and I headed to Whole Foods to procure a bag of Masa Harina which is a type of corn flour used to make tortillas. Tacos are a major favorite of mine and it's so nice to have warm homemade tortillas to fill. They're (tortillas) very easy to make, but living in New England limits my access to Masa Harina. It seems that it is sold seasonally here, which makes no sense to me. Back to the taco topic.

Tonight's taco of choice: Tacos al pastor, a pork taco made on a vertical rotisserie (think gyro meat style) with a giant ring of pineapple placed on top while it cooks. Since I have no such gadget, I will be marinading my pork loin cubes (1/2 inch sized) in pineapple juice.

I'll be back later today with pictures and the recipe.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bright like the son

A couple of posts ago I introduced you to my daughter Norah and so, felt it was time to introduced the other member of McBee party of 4. Cole Michael. Born at a robust 10.5 lbs (God bless my wife) he has remained large in more ways than just his size.

Someone asked me one time whether my daughter was a happy baby. I answered "I guess. Aren't all babies happy?" Well, Cole changed that for me. He was/is happy....almost always. We were very worried about how he was going to change the dynamic of our little family when he was born, but he has added pure joy.

That said, we think he is brilliant. I know, I know, everyone thinks their kids are brilliant, but I really think he might be. He's very verbal with somewhere around 60 words and he also has about 50 signs that he uses as well. And, last night, he counted to 8.....really. Not just once. He glances over the 5, but the kid can count to 8. Now I'm sure there is some logical explanation for it, but this is my blog, so I get to brag and think he's amazing. By the way, he's only 16 months.

So, that's Cole. More from him later.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cool Running

I am a runner.

Wow, that doesn't seem possible. See, I have never had any interest in running. Pretty much zero. When I was in 8th grade track, I switched to the field sports after two weeks....I was maybe 100 lbs.

But, after dealing with the ups and downs (mostly ups) of my weight over the last ten years and ballooning to nearly 220lbs after the birth of Cole, I decided enough was enough!

We (Amy and I) started running in December of last year. At first, I could barely make it 10-15 minutes without stopping, but we slowly progressed. In Jan, we took the kids to Disney World and fell in love with the idea of running the Disney Half Marathon the next year. I even talked my sisters and brothers in laws into running it with us.

And so, we have been training. It's been a lot of fun and we've had a lot of hurdles, like finding time to run 4 times a week with 2 young kids and one of us having a VERY full time job. But, we've figured it out and we have just completed our second really long run: 7 miles. I've amazed myself, really, considering where I'd been 9 months earlier.

Why am I just talking about this now? Well, if you've seen me in the last year, you would know that this is all I talk about..... If you haven't, I figured that we still had 3 months to go, it will be one of the bigger parts of my life during that time, and assumed it would make the blog a couple thousand times.

Stayed tuned!