Wednesday, October 26, 2011

NN's Turkey Chili (Tutorial)

I think I have documented well my lack of enthusiasm for anything healthy.  I LOVE dessert, especially chocolate.  So I guess it is the perfect marriage - I love to bake and well he is the Nutrition Nazi, most days.  Every now and then I can sneak a corn dog or two as a meal, but it is definitely rare.  

Try as I may I cannot argue that healthy eating habits promote a healthier me.  Now I am not one to accept sub-standard anything, and you can ask my husband about the half-poodle he swore he would never own, but that he is probably wrestling with right now for proof.  So that being said I like healthy food that tastes good.  To most people this seems impossible, but to those of us well-versed in getting our ways, come hell or high water, let me show you the way to NNs Turkey Chili and you too may just believe.

NN's Key Players

The first step is to chop onions and jalapenos.  Size does not matter, in this case, so cut them however big or small you like.

Then add chopped onions and jalapenos to a pan pre-heated to medium heat with a light coating of non-stick cooking spray.  It already smells so good!

Next add the turkey meat and combine with onions and jalapenos. Yes I know it looks plain, but just wait for it.

Now sprinkle half of the seasoning mixture of cumin, coriander, and chili powder over the meat.  Now we are starting to get somewhere!

Once the meat is about half way done sprinkle the remaining seasoning mixture over the meat.

Once the meat is done cooking create a well in the center and spoon the tomato paste into the pan.  The heat will help soften the paste to combine with the meat.

See...nicely combined with the meat.  Yes it took me a while to figure this out, so pay attention and don't be like me.

Now it is time to add the 2 cans of diced tomatoes.  Since we are trying to be healthy, look for the cans that do not have added salt.  Your body will thank you later by not bloating up something fierce.

Last necessary step I promise.  Add the black beans and garbanzo beans.  At this point I usually just put a lid on it and turn the heat to simmer and let it sit for an hour or whatever I have on my hands.

However since I love my darling husband so much I decided to break out the crock pot and let the chili simmer for about 6 hours or so.

And this is what healthy eating looks like!  (Note: Cornbread is not NN approved, but it is not his blog so I photographed it.)  We usually only have cornbread one in every six times we eat this. I actually got my mother-in-law to eat this while we were living with her and NN's stepdad.  I would like to state for the record that this is the same place I would come home to and the Team Leader would smell like she had been deep-fried.  I'm just sayin!


3/4C  Onion, Chopped
1/4C  Sliced Jalapenos, Chopped
1.5t    Cumin
1.5t    Coriander
1.5t    Chili Powder
20oz   Extra Lean Ground Turkey
1 can  Tomato Paste (6 oz)
1can   Black Beans (15 oz)
1 can  Garbanzo Beans (16 oz)
2 cans Diced Tomatoes (14.5 oz each)

Preheat pan over medium heat.  Chop onions and jalapenos to desired consistency, and set aside.  Combine cumin, coriander, and chili powder into a small bowl.  Spray pan with non-stick cooking spray, and then add onions and jalapenos.  Next add the ground turkey meat to the pan and combine with onions and jalapenos.  Add about half of the seasoning mixture and stir to coat meat.  Once the meat is halfway through the cooking process add the rest of the seasoning mixture.

Once the meat is cooked add the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and beans to the meat, making sure to stir very well after each addition.  Transfer the chili to a crock pot or let simmer on the stove for at least an hour.  Serve with cornbread.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Is that a Labradoodle?

I think this is the most common phrase I hear when I am out and about with the Team Leader.  I recently posted about our trip to First Monday and how the dog was super popular.  Many people wanted to pet her, and then came the inevitable question.  Dear God people if you have heard of a Labradoodle why have you never heard of a Goldendoodle.  So what is a Goldendoodle, you ask?  Let me show you.

Golden Retriever + Poodle = Goldendoodle

Now beyond just the doodle label, there are actually different levels of doodles.  Crazy, I know.  So here they are:

F1 = Poodle (Mini, Medium, or Full-Size) x Golden Retriever

F1b = F1 Goldendoodle x Poodle

F2b = F1 Goldendoodle x F1b Goldendoodle

The Team Leader is an F1 for those of you wondering.

Why should I care, you ask?  Well if you don't want to, then fine, but I am trying to help you look good when using these skills out and about to meet people.  My husband wishes he would have been smarter and got a doodle when he was single.  I guess he thinks he would have been able to snag someone who did not call him the Nutrition Nazi or who is not a little OCD every now and then.  I told him that it still would not be enough to help his cause. Some days I think there should have been some type of upfront, cash-only payout to me for dealing with him, but what's done is done.

So where do you get one of these little gems? I am talking about the dog, not my husband, though I did try to give him away at First Monday in a deal with the dog because he was starting to get mouthy.   We got our little daredevil from Stroodles Doodles in Oklahoma.  Let me warn you, though, as puppies they have some kind of force field to suck you in, like the pic below.

We had basically just picked her up from the breeder and already NN is promising her all kinds of things and countless hours of his time, but then scoffed when I tried to buy her a Coach collar.  Guess he did not get the memo that a girl's gotta have nice things.

Even when they are toddler puppies they are super cute and fluffy!  See again with the magnetism.  I think one of us carried her around for the first several months.

They even grow up to have the cutest feet.  I love the muppet-feet look. 

However, they are little deviants that are too smart for their own good.  They do things like climb on the dishwasher door to try and lick the dishes.  Thank God for high heat sanitize cycles.

They teach themselves how to get water and ice from the refrigerator.  Thankfully the fridge has controls to lock the dispensers.

They are super proud when they find the most annoying squeaky ball ever, even though you hid it really well, or so you thought!

Though, she is a ton of work some days, we love having her in our lives. You can read more about the Team Leader and how she came to be part of our lives here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes

Ok so Martha Stewart I am not.  Many of you will disagree that I am so OCD that I am worse...I think I hear the Nutrition Nazi seconding that motion.  Anyway we had a little get-together at the new house last weekend and I decided to make Homemade Hostess Cupcakes.  All I can say is YUM!

I found the idea over at the Bake @ 350 blog.  Bridget has some amazing recipes, not to mention that she rocks at cookie decorating.  One of these days I am going to get around to trying it out, but probably not anytime soon with the holidays on the horizon.

So here they are all hanging out waiting for some one to test one.  Luckily NN's inner fat kid was running around Friday night.

This is actually the second time I have made these so I thought I would try to pipe words on the cupcakes this time.

It looks delicious, don't kid yourself.  And I can tell you that it tastes a million times better than it looks.

The original squiggly versus my new piping words.

For someone special's birthday.  I hear that he did not share these.  I guess he figured it was his birthday so he would do as he pleased.  At least he did not hide them like NN's mom does to his step-dad.

So before I post the recipe I will say that these are definitely not a quick dessert to make.  I actually made the cupcakes on Thursday and then finished the other 3 steps on Friday.  For the original recipe you can visit Bridget's blog by clicking here.  I added a few shortcuts to my recipe because I did not have time to make everything from scratch.  I also felt like the box mix version of the cupcakes was pretty close the homemade versions.  Also for the icings and fillings the measurements are simply starting points.  Many times I will add more of something to get the taste the way I like it.  Good Luck and Enjoy!!

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes

For the Cupcakes
1 Box of Triple Chocolate Cake Mix

For the Filling
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 jar marshmallow creme

For the Ganache
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Icing
1 stick unsalted butter
1 & 1/2 - 2 tablespoons milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla

Cupcakes: Mix and bake cupcakes as directed on the package. I used a little less than 1/4 cup per cupcake.

Filling: Using a mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar. Add the vanilla and 1 tablespoon heavy cream; beat until smooth. Beat in the remaining 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons heavy cream. Beat in the marshmallow creme.  Spoon the filling into a pastry bag with a medium star tip.  A trick to filling the bag is to put the bag into a large cup with the top of the bag falling over the sides, and then fill it.  It also gives you a place to set it in between cupcakes.

For the ganache: Place the chocolate in a stainless-steel or glass bowl. Heat the cream and 1 tablespoon butter until just boiling, then pour over the chocolate; let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Add 2 teaspoons vanilla; let stand until cool but still glossy and liquid.

Insert the tip of the filling bag into the center of each cupcake top; fill until you can see the white starting to poke out, but don't overfill because the cupcake will start to fall apart. Don't worry, though, the excess filling will be covered by the ganache.

Spoon a little ganache on each cupcake and lightly spread with an offset spatula or a knife. Chill for at least 15 minutes in the fridge.

White top icing:  Using a mixer, beat the remaining 1 stick butter, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, the milk and confectioners’ sugar until smooth, adding more milk if needed. Spoon into a pastry bag with a small tip to pipe onto the cupcakes to decorate.

Store in the refrigerator. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

House Update

It has been about a month since I last posted pics of the house, and sadly I am still having commitment issues with putting things up on the walls, so many of the paintings and photos are still leaning against the wall.  Maybe by Christmas I will have a plan.  The level of sheer chaos has definitely improved, and this time I have the pictures to prove it!  If you could have seen the chaos that was our house due to our crazy schedules, then you would believe that miracles do happen  I know I do.

The bed being completely made is definitely a miracle, let alone the blinds are open and there is something hanging over the bed.  Still debating the piece over the bed, though, and forever trying to keep muddy paw prints off my duvet....probably a losing battle.

I am still debating this piece over the fire place, but it is definitely growing on me.  Hopefully by next weekend the cabinet for the niche will be complete so that we can ship NN's TV stand from his college days back to the Riverhouse.  Slowly but surely we are getting there!

I am loving how clean it all looks, now if it would only stay that way!  Loving the dish towel too!

This room definitely needs a new rug for starters, but at least we aren't tripping over decorative items anymore and you can also eat at the table!

Again I can't believe how clean things are, and that the paintings along the wall may actually be hung there at some point, and not just dust-collectors.

The gameroom looks more put together now that we put some of NN's awards on the wall.  Maybe we should refer to it as the Nutrition Nazi room.

Where NN earns $1500 for the damn dog's collar.  ( Name that song)

NN gets all the credit for this one from start to finish.  He did a really good job!  As someone from work once said 'You don't look like you garden very much.'  They were right.  And I will not be for a LONG time because as I was working on this post NN called to tell me that the Team Leader found a garter snake in the back yard.  YUCK!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

First Monday Princess

The picture below is another reason why my posting has slacked lately.  We left 4 days after returning from Paris to go to First Monday in Canton.  Ordinarily I would not ever want to take the Team Leader to market, but as fate would have it she ended up with nasty ear infections in both ears from swimming at boarding while we were gone.  You would think they could at least dry her ears out for what we pay - UGH!  So she got to go with us.

So let me narrate the picture below.  It was Saturday morning and everyone was a little worn out from shopping the previous day, and also answering the forty bajillion questions about the dog.  People kept asking if she was a Labradoodle.  For the record she is a goldendoodle, which is another post in itself.
I digress.  Anyway the dog was exhausted as any spoiled sick child would be, so her Grandma (on the left) decided she needed to ride in the wagon.  Grandpa (my dad) is in the maroon shirt pulling the wagon, and NN is to the right giving her treats.  The only thing missing was her tiara.  And where was I you ask?  Well I was walking about 10 feet behind them listening to the comments from the other shoppers, and thinking maybe I should put a little more distance between us. 

I showed this pic to a few people, and one of them told me that she looked like a princess riding in her carriage.  And truly that is dead on for how the dog lives life everyday - spoiled absolutely rotten to the point of no return!  I'm so screwed!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Where We Were and What We Ate

One of our favorite things about traveling is the food.  We definitely love to eat amazing food.  We started our journey in London and had an amazing dinner at a place called Polpo that was recommended to us by our waiter at lunch.  We had no idea we were going to one of the 'it' restaurants in SoHo.  However we did not plan well, so all I have is the blurry pic below taken by NN with his phone.  You will just have to take my word for it.

Hanging at the bar at Polpo.  We love Prosecco and they had their very own that they make, which makes them Awesome!

Another camera phone pic in Amsterdam.  These were really good pancakes with bacon and cheese in them. I don't think the picture shows exactly how gigantic these were.

NN, flashing his beautiful blue eyes, with gelato from Amorino.  I debated putting the close-up of what is supposed to be a flower made of ice cream on top of a cone, but decided the adult jokes that may come from the pic could be a little much.

Decisions, decisions!  All the macarons were so pretty!  Un Dimanche a Paris is similar to the Chocolate Bar.  I did buy some chocolate candy here, but ate it all before I could take a picture.  Again, you will just have to trust me.

Here we are at La Duree, a Parisian Tea Room.  This was our best meal in Paris!

I believe this was diced tomatoes with extremely fresh buffalo mozzarella, and all kinds of absolute deliciousness.  Thank goodness NN knows how to share!

I have pics of our entrees, but why waste time?  Let's just skip to the good part, dessert!  This is a mille-feuille, which I had been wanting to try the whole trip.  It is similar to a Napoleon, but a million times better.

NN had a cappuccino while he watched me eat dessert.  Just kidding! I shared...a few bites.

I think I should have sent it back since it was simply inedible.

So after we ate, we then went through the bakery part, and bought all kinds of macrons and desserts.  Their macarons were so good that we went back to buy more to bring home.  And the answer is 'No' there are none left and I only shared 3 or so with NN because no one wants a fat trainer.

Here is one of the larger macarons!  YUM!

Here we are at Maison Berthilon, which is the oldest ice cream shop in Paris.  From where we were sitting we had an amazing view of Notre Dame and the sunset.  Simply amazing!

Here is what we, yes I shared this time, ordered to eat.  I am not sure of the name, but it was well worth the 18 miles I had to walk the next day to work it off.

NN ordered some type of coffee drink that almost made me want to take up drinking coffee, almost.  Clearly he approved of it.

Our last afternoon in Paris we decided to have a picnic with bread, cheese, champagne and dessert, Parisian style, on the Seine River looking back toward Notre Dame.  A very nice French lady offered to take our picture because she said we must be celebrating something special and we should have a picture.  And indeed she was right, we celebrated the first anniversary of our legal ceremony while we were there, along with a truly amazing trip!

One thing I did learn about Paris and Parisians is that life is much more simpler.  They wear flat shoes and don't worry about vanity too much. I joked with the Nutrition Nazi that I was going to take up the Parisian diet when I got home because all the women were so damn thin.  On this diet pain du chocolate or croque monsier are perfectly acceptable for breakfast every day.  You then eat some form of simple lunch followed by an espresso in the afternoon. For dinner you have a glass or two of wine, smoke heavily, and pick at a few peanuts and olives.  I think I would take up smoking before I take up drinking espresso!