Category Archives: Food

Newport Crawfish Boiling Fun


ImageThis past weekend I was invited to a crawfish boil.  I’ve never been to a crawfish boil before, nor have I ever eaten crawfish, but I like shrimp and lobster, so I assumed I’d also like crawfish because they seem to be the mid-ground between the two.  My friend’s husband (<– still getting used to saying that) was the boiler.  From what I understand, you get the crawfish while they are still alive and have to take out any that are already dead.  Then you put the live crawfish into a pot with corn, potatoes, and bunch of spices and let the magic happen.  Once they are done, you just dump the whole pot onto a big table and digs in.  Take a look at the pics below to get a better idea of what happens here:

The Crawfish in their final moments of life.  Also known as “crawdads” or “mudbugs”.

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What it looks like on the table – SO DELICIOUS!!

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Mike with Lupe

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Friends hanging out:

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How you eat crawfish:  1. pinch 2. pull off “butt” 3. suck out delicousness…or if you are me, you can (very messily) take the meat out with your fingers and eat.

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Our cook, Doug, and his attack dog:

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Our host, Bryan – the Birthday Boy

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Just a bunch of UConn Alum watching our team win!  GO HUSKIES!!

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The aftermath:

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Best Job Ever


So I’m already extremely spoiled where I work, as we get breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee, and snacks provided to us for free. Eat your heart out corporate America- my job is better than yours!! Wait, if you think u hate me already, every summer we get a steak and lobster dinner provided as a summer treat. This is the ultimate “summer eats” as we get steak, lobster, baked potatoes, salad, fruit, corn on the cob…you name it, we’ve got it!! It’s actually quite amazing.

Anyways I just wanted to take a moment to share this with all you “brown-naggers” out there that aren’t so lucky!

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Beef Stew on a Snowy Winter Night


So one of my best friends came over for dinner last night, which I was pretty pumped about, but was also stressing a little bit because (as usual) I had too many things to do and not enough time to do them in.  So I opted for a crock pot meal.  I had some steaks in my freezer so I figured I’d grab some veggies and and make beef stew…and of course what goes better with a homemade soup/stew than a bread bowl.  Come on,  you know you love bread bowls, everyone loves bread bowls!  (Some people just have enough constraint not to actually eat them.  Luckily for the purposes of this recipe, I am not “some people”).  I tried out a new recipe, so I wasn’t all the way sure it was going to work, but it’s always fun to try out something new.

Here’s what you need:

  • A bunch of beef.  I used strip steaks because that’s what I had in my freezer.  I used somewhere between 1.5 – 2lbs.
  • You also need beef bouillon cubes
  • A bag of frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • A can of diced tomatoes with onions in it
  • 2 cups of water.
  • about a teaspoon of salt, pepper, dried basil, and one bay leaf.

And that’s it!  Then there’s the best part of crock-pot-cooking:   you just literally throw everything in there and leave.  In my case, I went to work, then ran some errands, and was home right in time for dinner.  Walking up the stairwell to my apartment and smelling the delicious aroma of a homecooked dinner was amazing, especially when I realized that it was coming from MY apartment, for once!!

First add the beef to your crock pot.  Make sure you cut it into bite-sized chunks.

beef

Add in 2 cups of water.

Pour in Water

Add diced tomatoes.

Diced Tomatoes

Add the diced onions, potatoes, and seasonings (including the salt, pepper, basil, and bouillon cubes).

onions and potatoesThrow the whole bag of frozen veggies on top of everything.

frozen veggies

Let it sit on the low in the crock pot for 8 – 10 hours, or until you get your desired thickness

cooking

Enjoy it with your favorite red wine!  Liz brought over Root:1, a Cabernet Sauvignon, which I never had before, but is very tasty!

meal

This makes 6 hearty portions, which roll in at about 420 calories each containing approximately 25 grams of protein.  This nutrition information is obviously not including the wine or bread bowls, which would tack on about 1,000 calories…whoops!  This is a filling “meat & potatoes” meal!  We each had a helping and then I portioned off the rest and froze them for future dinners!  I live alone and cooking for one can be annoying, so any time I can make a meal that is easily freezable in single serving portions I’m all over!  The company, the wine, and the food made for a great night, and the best part about crock-pot-cooking is the easy clean up!  Only one cooking dish to clean and our plates!  Sweet!

Eggcellent Breakfast


As mentioned in a post last week, I’ve been trying to be more careful about what I’ve been eating.  Though Doug and Carrie will not believe this after all the food we ate in TX (posts to come on my Austin adventures), now that I’m back in CT I got back into it bright and early this morning.  I got up at regular time this morning (5AM), however I decided to start my day from home since we got a new layer of snow last night night, booooo!  Did I mention I’m the worst New Englander on the East Coast?  Hey, why should I muddle through unplowed roads and parking lots when I have the option to let all of that get taken care of before I hit the streets!

Anyways, back to business here!  The name of the game:  eat at 6AM, but stay full til at least noon…so I needed some protein!  I’m trying to find good ways to stay full without just loading myself with a delicious bagel with cream cheese (which ironically only really keeps me full for an hour or so anyways).  So I decided to go with what I like to call a “breakfast scrambler”.  I used eggs, onion, tomato, and sharp cheddar cheese and followed these steps:

  1. sauté onions in a small frying pan.onion
  2. While the onions are sautéing, I sliced up 2 plum tomatoes and 1 ounce of extra sharp cheese.  I try to stay away from cheese because it can get to be “too much” (in a calorie/fat sort of way) really quick.  But, if I keep it at just an ounce and use sharp cheddar, I can still get the full taste at just over 100 calories!tomatoes
  3. Scramble eggs!  I used 3 medium brown eggs.  I know a lot of people who are dieting prefer to use just egg whites, but not me.  Yes, there are less calories, but there’s also a lot less protein, which is really good for your body!  And actually, there are a ton of health benefits to eating full eggs, as opposed to egg whites (see HERE in this article in Women’s Health Magazine).  I will say that if I have egg whites on hand (egg beaters, or otherwise) I will add them to my eggs just to up the quantity.  But today, 3 full eggs will do the trick.eggs
  4. Once the eggs have finished scrambling, I put them into a bowl, added the tomato, cheese and onions on top and there ya go!  Another quick and easy breakfast and is great for your tummy and heart and keeps ya full!  Great to start the day off on the right foot!!final

Nutrition Info:  335 calories and 27 grams of protein…not too shabby!  MUCH more food, and MUCH more filling than a bagel with cream cheese (which is estimated at approximately 420-450 calories and only 17 grams of protein).  The choice is yours! 🙂

Every Good Day Starts With A Good Breakfast


Lately I’ve been trying to eat healthy (It’s January 10th, isn’t everyone??), but I’m having problems finding something that keeps me full until lunch.  I get up around 5AM and work out, then eat breakfast (usually something like oatmeal, protein shake, or eggs) and then don’t eat lunch until 12:00-12:30…by then I’m STARVING.  In reality I’m starving by 10, but I usually get a coffee around then so my body knows that I’m not actually dying!  Today I decided to try out a new breakfast that is a spin on the old classic:  pancakes!

I started out with 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, 1 egg, 1/2 cup bisquick, and 1/2 cup milk.  (I basically used the regular pancake recipe, but I cut the egg and milk in half, and only used 1/4 of the recommended bisquick – then added in my protein powder to make up the difference).  I also added in a cup of sliced strawberries.  You could add butter, syrup, chocolate chips, etc., but I kept it simple because I’m trying to stay health conscious.

ingredients

Then I mixed all these ingredients together.

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Once they were mixed together smooth I spooned them onto my griddle.  (while they were cooking I sliced up my strawberries!)

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And Voila!   Chocolate Protein Pancakes with strawberries on top!

after

No added sugar, no butter, no syrup, yet still DELICIOUS and very filling!  We’ll see how far this gets me in the day because these are so quick and easy they may have to become a staple!

I’ve listed the nutrition information below.  For someone like me that has already burned some calories in the morning and still needs to make it to lunch, this is the perfect amount of fuel! 🙂

Calories:  440

Fiber:  5.5 grams

Protein:  36.5 grams

Project Cookbook Cabinet Clear


It’s 2012 and these days the most common and easiest way to figure out what you’re going to eat for dinner is by “googling” it or checking out the ever-popular Pinterest to see what delicious eats your friends are pinning. This is what I have been doing for the past few years, but something happened recently that made me change my mind on this.  I was home one night watching TV when the movie Julie and Julia, where Julie cooks her way through Julia Child’s famous Mastering The Art of French Cooking cook book came on E!.  It made me remember that when I got my first apartment my mom got me my first cook book:  Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book.  I love cooking, so I decided to dust the cobwebs off my good ole fashion cookbook start looking up some recipes and make them…hey maybe I’d even make all of the recipes in there…some day.

Where to start though?  I didn’t have anything specific in mind that I reallllly wanted to cook, which brings me to “Project Cookbook Cabinet Clear”.  As part of my decision to try out lots of new recipes in conjunction with trying to save more money, I decided that I’d use all of the food I already had as starting points to all the meals  only buy food at the grocery store as needed.  To start, I took one item that I had in my home already and looked it up and see where that took me.  So I looked up Swordfish, which I had in my freezer.  I came across a recipe for blackened swordfish and hominy rice.  For those of you like me who don’t know what hominy is (I actually googled it before I went to the market so I wouldn’t look like a complete idiot) it’s a type of canned corn.   To my delight, this recipe came out delicious!  Both Ben and I really enjoyed it.  I have never actually had swordfish before, so I’m glad I didn’t taint my view of this fish with my novice cooking skills. The swordfish had a spicy rub on it, and was delicious, and the hominy rice, though maybe a little bit too spicy, was also great with sausage, lots of veggies, and brown rice.  Meal one was a success.

From there on out I’ve been trying to be creative in using the food I have already in my apartment…garlic bread hot dog rolls anyone?  Can I interest you in a chicken and veggie stir fry made from scratch?  My newest endeavor came this weekend when mom asked me to go apple picking with her.  I LOVE apple picking, and I LOVE fresh apples, so of course I went.  But to my dismay, when I got home I realized I already had a crisper full of apples…what’s a gal to do with 40 apples?  So again, I took out my handy dandy cook book and looked up apples.  I know what you’re thinking “Apple pie for everyone!”.  The thought crossed my mind, but with the amount of sugar and butter put into each pie, I thought I’d at least try to find something a little bit healthier.  So I landed on Apple Bread.

I didn’t just land on apple bread and make one loaf though…I made 4.  Go big or go home, right?  That’s my philosophy…and four loaves of apple bread later, I still have a crisper that is mostly full of fresh apples.  So, as much as I was trying to avoid it, I do foresee a hot apple pie in my near future.  Hey, you only live once!

 

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Starbucks: It’s a Love/Hate Relationship


I have a love hate relationship with Starbucks. I LOVE their regular coffee, but that’s it. On every other level I find it pretentious and annoying as all get out. Their specialty coffees and lattes that cost upwards of $6, and their stupid Italian sizes. What the hell is with that and why do people stand for it.

I only get a large bold coffee. That’s Right a LARGE. I refuse to say it any other way. And you know what? Everyone always knows what I’m asking for. And I always just get the regular blends…no frappaccino, macchiato, caramel, iced whatever…who can afford that??

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I will admit I splurge for an iced caramel latte a few times each summer though…so shoot me! And make sure you catch up with me on instagram: erinHasThoughts

Cheers!

Wine Is Love…It Always Begins With A Crush…


So Liz and I went to Dalice Elizabeth Winery yesterday.  Last year we vowed to complete the Connecticut Wine Trail, however, we were unable to complete it.   This year maybe we will.   We left for Dalice Elizabeth around 2PM and got there around three.  Blaze was our wine connoisseur and he was…interesting.  While he seemed more than interested in us when we arrived, despite his “Tips for a Ring” jar on the counter, he was nice…until 5 minutes later when the “bachelorette party arrived.  I put “bachelorette” in quotes because not one woman in this party was under the age of 50.  I assume it was a second wedding because of the attitude of the party, and personally, soul mate or not, believe that each girl is allotted ONE bachelorette party for a reason. Sorry friends, try to only get married once…or at least only have one bachelorette party for gods sake.

Mary-Lee
Wine is love...it always begins with a crush.

Anyways, we were a little taken aback by his disinterest in us and him rushing us through our wine tasting.  But whatever we were over it because we purchased a bottle of wine, had lots of food, and it was 75 degrees and sunny.  So, we were pumped to sit outside.  Then Mary-Lee, founder of the vineyard came outside and sat with us.  She told us lot of stories, among which included that Blaze was her deceased daughter’s son who “ran” the vineyard and lived with her and her husband (Blazes’ grandfather).  She disclosed to us that Blazes’ mother, who died suddenly at the age of 32, was the inspiration for the vineyard.  Her name was Dalice Elizabeth, so while she is has unfortunately passed Mary-Lee said she is happy to be able to say her daughter’s name every day. 

After talking to Mary-Lee we both felt our trip to this vineyard was valid.  Although it was not a big vineyard by any means, the fact that it was completely family owned and operated was awesome.  And Ms. May-Lee was a fun woman to talk to.  She mentioned that they were adding on a deck for sunday bunch and were having Friday Night Parties for people on the beach that included live bands on their beach…could be fun!!!

The one thing I would warn you about is their bottle pricing!!$24/bottle!  I’ll tell you one thing…that is the most I’ve even spend on a bottle of wine!  Half off or not!!

McDonald’s: Their Road From Stealing Health to Stealing Children’s Books


I’m not sure if anyone else’s parents read them Gregory the TerribleEater when they were a kid, but I know my mom did.  This book, pictured on the left, is about a billy-goat who initially eats very healthy.  He loves fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains.  His parents, who are scavengers and eat whatever they can find at the dump, including, but not limited to:  car tires, sweaters, tin cans, buttons, and bottle tops, strongly look down on this and encourage their son to eat like them…until he likes and eats EVERYTHING.  Then, they decide that his eating healthy eating habits weren’t such a bad idea.

Now, it may be a stretch to say that McDonald’s “stole” this idea, but if you’ve seen their new commercial, everything from the basic idea to how the goat looks reminds me EXACTLY of this book.  Yes, the last time I read this book was over 20 years ago, but I’ve got a memory like an elephant, so I don’t think I’m too far off…if i do say so myself…and I do. 

Take a look for yourself!  I have embedded both Gregory the Terrible Eater (if you’ve never read this book, you should probably listen to this audio copy…it is a classic after all) and the new McDonald’s commercial below:

Gregory, The Terrible Eater from George Zeis on Vimeo.

Some Things Just Shouldn’t Be Done…


Sandwich Cake

This is freaking disgusting.  I’m sorry, but that’s just o much.  Smoked salmon, hard-boiled eggs, shrimp, radishes, cold cuts, cheese and more all cemented together by some sort of white edible glue, which I’m assuming is mayonnaise or some other fattening spread.

Yuck.  Honestly, if you brought this to my home I would not let you in.

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