Friday, December 31, 2010

Food Journaling

I know it's cliche, it being the first of the year, but I'm ready to start a new journal - let me clarify, a "food journal." A food journal?!? I know, it seems a little obsessive, right? It's actually more the awareness about what I'm eating that's the name of the game. Not your average "Dear Diary," more along the lines of tracking what I eat.
I found the solution to my not-so-mainstream journaling with a print-it-yourself fitness journal. I hesitated rather than running right out to buy it. I'm a designer and could make my own, but my husband suggested I buy it rather than adding another project to my list. So I downloaded the Move More Eat Less (MMEL) Fitness Journal for $14.99. The journal tracks before and after photos, measurements, goals, food, exercise, and journaling (feelings). Read more here.
I did start moving more this week by hitting the lap lane at the swimming pool near my house with my daughter, and I invested in a water bottle. I've printed and assembled the aforementioned journal and am ready to start.

Are you setting any goals or resolutions this year? I hope you'll comment and share. Here's to your success as you dig into your goals!

Happy New Year!


Monday, December 20, 2010

Norwegian Butter Cookies

"Twas the week before Christmas, I sat down to my Mac,
Looking for Christmas recipes with no time to slack, 
Stopping my online search--I knew my mistake...
--My-- recipe box already had family favorites to make!"
My recipe box is a keepsake, a wooden box from my husband's grandmother. The box holds her recipes and now mine too. I found a recipe for Norwegian Butter Cookies. Danish stories suggest leaving out porridge with butter for the nisseWould a nisse like butter cookies? After reading the stories, would anybody chance it? We'll be saving a couple of these little beauties for Santa Claus.

Cookbook Bites: Norwegian Butter Cookies
Fresh baked Norwegian Butter Cookies
Norwegian (& Danish tooButter Cookies
2 C butter
1 C powdered sugar
1/2 t kosher salt
1 t almond extract
4 C unbleached flour (sifted)
2/3 C slivered almonds (chopped)

Let the butter come to room temperature then mix together. Add in powdered sugar and salt and mix well, then add in almond extract and mix again. Next add the flour gradually mixing as you go and then mix in the almonds and chill over night. Let the dough warm up enough to shape into balls. Press down with a cookie press or with a fork and bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until the cookie edges just start to brown.
This is the recipe I found, I altered it by adding 1t almond extract.*
Slivered almonds, chopped.
The dough, chilling overnight. (BTW the milk in the background is "low fat" not "fat" milk... ewww!)

*Got the idea to add almond extract from

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to all!

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Taco Soup

"Sleeping  Beauty's Winter Castle" at Disneyland in Anaheim, California

There's one very good reason to go to Anaheim, California and you've probably already guessed what it is: to visit Disneyland! Another reason? El Torito's Tortilla Soup!

Last week we escaped a over-hyped blizzard and headed to Disneyland for Thanksgiving. While we were there we took a "Holiday Tour."
We visited some interesting places in Disneyland--there was a Menorah in an upper window on Main Street U.S.A., we tasted peppermint fudge at the Candy Palace, and visited a Thanksgiving turkey (pardoned by the president) near Reindeer Roundup. During our trip I spotted two people wearing turkey hats (yes, fake roasted turkey, oye.) It was like a strange "Where's Waldo" moment.
 Peppermint and chocolate fudge samples.
A pardoned turkey.

On a chilly rainy night we went to El Torito's restaurant. Their Tortilla Soup is serious comfort food! The following recipe seems to be as close as I can come. I've been trying to make it at home--trying recipes both packaged and from scratch.

Taco Soup
1-2 T Olive oil
5-6 Chicken tenders
Black pepper
1 can diced tomatoes (juice from tomatoes and all)
1 can beans (your choice: Northern, Black, Pinto, Kidney--rinsed well)
1 box chicken broth
1 onion (red, white or yellow)
Taco seasoning (1 pkg - Or make your own)
Splash (1/8-1/4 C) Milk

Sour cream
Crushed corn chips
Grated cheese
Note: El Torito serves their soup with avocado slices

Start by cooking the chicken tenders in olive oil with a couple of grinds of black pepper. When the tenders are cooked put them on a plate and cut them into bite sizes and pull out the tendon bit. Put the chicken back in the pan. Chop up the onion (about 1 small onion or 1/2 C chopped onion) and toss it in the pan to caramelize and cook with the chicken.

In a medium-large soup pan, add the chicken broth and heat on medium. When the chicken starts to caramelize (i.e. turn golden brown, and the onions are somewhat translucent) add the taco seasoning and about 1/2-1 C water to the frying pan. This deglazes the pan and ensures the taco seasoning gets mixed in. Add the chicken mixture in the frying pan to the chicken broth in the soup pan. Add the rinsed beans and the splash of milk. Heat approximately 10-15 minutes and serve with your favorite toppings.

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P.S. - My favorite Disneyland rides decked out for the holidays? "Haunted Mansion" and "It's a Small World." What are your favorite rides at Disneyland?
Haunted Mansion
It's a Small World


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