Monday, August 29, 2011

Curry Chicken Salad

In an attempt to change up the routine of packing my kids sandwiches for lunch, I decided to make curry chicken salad this morning. I serve it with Triscuits and fresh fruit (grapes this morning).

2 large cans of chicken breasts
1 cup chopped green onions
1 cup chopped nuts
1 1/2 cup light mayo
1 1/2 teaspoons of curry powder

Mix together and chill in the fridge. Delicious!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Ultimate California Pizza- Myrtle Beach, SC

We just returned from our vacation at Garden City Beach, SC (a southern suburb of Myrtle Beach). We ate at several new places but there was one that my family really enjoyed. Ultimate California Pizza has many locations in the greater Myrtle Beach area. We ate at the Market Commons location. In fact, I ate there twice. The first time was before catching a matinee of Cars 2. Ethan, Alex and I ate while Gary sipped on water. Gary was not feeling well so he decided to not chance it with pizza. Ethan and Alex enjoyed items off of their kids menu.

The kids menu is for kids 12 and under which was a relief for us because Ethan is 11 and in some restaurants the kids menu stops at age 10. For $5.49,  kids choose a personal pizza, chicken bits, wings or ziti. This also includes a beverage.

Ethan chose a meatball pizza.

It was on a traditional crust and Ethan found it to be delicious. We swapped bites of our pizzas, and it was very good.
Ethan enjoying his pizza.

Alex opted for the PB&J pizza. This pizza is made with smooth peanut butter and grape jelly on a pita bread crust. Alex is a pb&j fiend, so this was an easy choice for him.
We also swapped bites, and it tasted like a pb&j sandwich (which is the point I suppose). Alex loved it.
Alex loving his pizza.

I chose a vegetarian pizza. They offer several different vegetarian pizzas and it was pretty hard for me to choose. I decided upon the Santa Cruz. It's also known as the Mediterranean twist pizza. It comes with garlic herb extra virgin olive oil, chopped garlic, mozzarella, spinach, black olives, roma tomatoes, red onions, artichoke hearts, feta cheese and is finished with a lemon twist. I ordered it with the rosemary whole wheat crust.

Oh man, it was delicious. The crust was perfect. I have had whole wheat crusts at other pizza joints and it is usually rubbery. Not here- it was crispy with hints of rosemary. I actually preferred it to their traditional crust. The toppings were really fresh tasting and worked great together. I prefer pizza without a tomato based sauce so this was perfect.

The next time we went was just Gary and I . Gary felt bad that he missed out the first time due to being ill, so we went back on our way out of town.

Gary is a meat eater. He would not even think about a vegetarian pizza or a unique pizza so we opted for personal pizzas again. He went for the Hollywood pizza. It's also known as the all meat extravaganza. It comes with mozzarella, pepperoni, smoked ham, ground beef, italian sausage, pork sausage and gouda cheese. He went with the rosemary whole wheat crust.

He was pretty excited as you can see. He really liked his pizza. We swapped bites and I thought it was good but it was hard to pick out the nuances due to the overpowering nature of the meat. I did not taste the gouda at all.

I ordered the Black and Bleu pizza because while I loved the Santa Cruz, I needed to try something new. When our server brought out our pizzas, she apologized because the chef had mistakenly made me the Cuban pizza. She said he was making my correct pizza right away and brought us the Cuban pizza anyway so we could try it.
The Cuban pizza has yellow mustard, pulled pork, red onions, smoked ham, swiss cheese and diced pickles. I would not have ordered this at all. After tasting it, I was converted. This sounded awful but it was addicting. I think I am going to have to go for this one next time. It was tasty. I sampled it but I fought hard not to finish it because I had my correct pizza on the way.

She brought out my correct order, the Black & Bleu pizza and it looked amazing.

I was so impatient that I ate a slice before remembering to take a picture! This pizza is made with garlic extra virgin olive oil, blackened tenderloin filet, marinated portabella mushrooms, roma tomatoes, red onions, crumbled bleu cheese and topped with monterey jack cheese. It was very good. I had, as always, the rosemary whole wheat crust. The beef was perfectly tender and the mushrooms were al dente. The bleu cheese was the star. They were not stingy with this stuff. Man oh man, it was good.

I actually wish there was a location of this pizza joint in Ohio. I would take it any day over La Rosa's or Marion's.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Twice Baked Potatoes

The other day I decided that I was going to make twice baked potatoes for the first time. I rushed home after picking up the boys from the Y and put several washed potatoes in the microwave. After they were "baked", I sliced them open and scooped out the middle. Note: Be careful if you do this like I did and scoop them straight after microwaving. They are blazing hot and you need asbestos hands!
I added 8 oz of reduced fat sour cream, 4 oz Velveeta light cheese and chopped green onions to the potato middles and mashed until smooth. While I was mashing, I baked the potato shells in the oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. After I pulled out the shells, I filled them. I did not have time to get a pastry bag like the professionals do so I just scooped the fillings into the potato shells. I had a lot of filling, so I just kept over stuffing the potatoes. I topped the potatoes with reduced fat cheddar cheese and topped some of them with more green onions. (The kids would have had a fit if they had green onion on the top of theirs.)

Back into the oven they went for 10 more minutes.
They tasted good but didn't look so pretty. I think I added too much cheese. Gary told me that there was no such thing as too much cheese. I served these with chicken and steamed california blend veggies (carrots, broccoli and cauliflower).

Ethan and Alex's lunch

Ethan and Alex go to the YMCA for day camp while Gary and I work. Each day they need to bring a lunch. Inspired by Jamie Oliver, I have been trying to pack the most nutritious lunches for them that they will actually eat and not trade. Here is what I packed them yesterday for lunch:
Alex has a pb&j sandwich while Ethan has a ham and deli mustard sandwich. Both sandwiches were made with wheat deli flat bread. That bread has a good bit of fiber and very few calories. They each also have a string cheese, watermelon in a bag, carrots, and an organic granola bar. They carry a water bottle with them at all times at camp so that is their drink.

Sorry about the glare on the picture. I am not a good photographer. So that's a look at what a typical packed lunch looks like for my kids. I try to pack a fresh fruit and vegetable or two fruits with each meal. This helps them get closer to eating 5 fruits or vegetables each day. String cheese is my calcium food since I did not pack milk.

I actually pack their lunches 4 out of 5 days a week during the school year as well. I am pretty disgusted at what Kettering City Schools serve their kids for lunch. The kids want to buy their lunch so they can be like their friends, so we compromised and I let them choose 1 day each week to buy. The typical lunch served by their school is pizza or french toast or chicken nuggets. It is rare when the school actually serves something fresh. No wonder our nation is having a childhood obesity crisis. Combine the high calorie lunches with less and less recess and you have kids that are having high blood pressure and type II diabetes.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

That Crepe Place

While the boys were at karate today, Gary and I decided to check out a new place at The Greene for lunch. That Crepe Place specializes in savory and sweet crepes. The place is pretty tiny with just four tables inside and more seating outside on the patio. The savory crepes are $6.99 and the sweet crepes start at $4.99. Kids meals are available for $3.99 which include a sandwich and a squeezable yogurt.

After scanning their savory crepe options, I decided on the Florentine (chicken breast, swiss cheese, fresh baby spinach, mushrooms, green onions and herb aoli) while Gary chose the Pizza ( sausage, provolone & mozzarella cheese, shredded parmesan cheese, tomato sauce and italian seasoning).After a short wait while we watched them make our crepes, they called our name.
As you can see, Gary was excited to dig in. The pizza crepe is on the left and the florentine crepe is on the right. As you can tell, the florentine crepe was stuffed with more ingredients than the pizza. After our first bites, we opened them up so you can get a better idea of what was inside.
This is the florentine. They were very generous with the chicken breast in this one. The only problem was that the chicken breast was bland. It needed something to give it more flavor. The rest of the ingredients were fantastic. The aoli was delicious and the veggies tasted fresh. I actually went to their condiment station and looked for Mrs. Dash or hot sauce or anything I could sprinkle on it to liven up the chicken. Alas I was disappointed and only found salt and pepper.

This is the pizza crepe. Gary said they were very generous with the cheese and the tomato sauce was delicious. The sausage was just average however, and he compared it to sausage that you find on cheap frozen pizza. He said his crepe was not very filling.
Overall, both of us agreed that our crepes were good and we would come back again. The actual crepe part was very good. Neither of us had ever tried a crepe before so we didn't know what to expect. The crepe functioned as a sort of flat bread. It was tasty. I think I will try a sweet crepe next time.

Here are some other observations we had:
- They only serve bottled drinks or coffee or hot tea. I really wish they serve fountain drinks or homemade lemonade or something. At $1.99 for a bottle, this adds up fast.
-No recycling bin. They have all the bottles from their drinks, but no place to recycle them. That's a big turn off.
-They are pretty expensive. We agreed that probably $1 was added to the crepes just to pay for having it at a high rent place at The Greene.
-The kids meals do not include a crepe. How about a mini crepe or something? My kids can get a sandwich anywhere and I don't feel like shelling out $6.99 for their lunch.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pasta Salad!

I work full time including every other weekend. Today I'm off work so I decided to make a big batch of pasta salad for everyone to have for lunch this week. My kids go to the Y's day camp so I pack them a lunch every day. Trying to pack a healthy lunch is harder than you think. My kids long for the sugary taste of little debbies and crunch of chips.

So anyway, back to the pasta salad. I used a high fiber rotini (Dreamfield's) and chopped up some broccoli, orange cauliflower and ham. Yes, that's right, orange cauliflower. It was right there in the grocery store next to the white cauliflower. I decided that I would pay a hommage to the Clemson Tigers and use the orange one. I also added grated carrots, shredded mozzarella cheese and italian dressing. (I chose Girard's italain dressing.) Voila!
Pictured next to the bowl of pasta salad is fresh cantaloupe. I plan to pack pasta salad, cantaloupe, string cheese and water for our lunches tomorrow. We'll see what the kids think of that.

This week my kids are going to VBS so I'm really not cooking many dinners this week. Our church is serving dinner to the kids during VBS so Gary and I are going to take advantage and go out to dinner this week.

Here I go!

You are probably wondering why I decided to start a blog. Well, it all started with Facebook. I'm pretty passionate about food and my family so I'm always posting on facebook what I cook for my family. I think that some people are getting pretty tired of me constantly talking about what I eat so I decided to create a blog dedicated to what I cook for my family! It's not only going to be about what I cook. It's also going to be about our exercise efforts, places where we eat out, and just about raising a family while working in general. Enjoy!