Thursday, December 30, 2010

latest project

just thought i should share my latest project...

oh and i made the quilt too. i think they both turned out pretty great!

Monday, November 15, 2010

burnt sugar almonds

i think i may become my father's favorite daughter...after i make him a batch of these that is!

burnt sugar almonds

eric and i whipped up a batch of these tonight, and not only do they taste house smells a-maz-ing. seriously.

i can safely say that this is not the last batch of these we'll be making this holiday season.

just thought you should know.

Friday, October 8, 2010

still meal planning

the planner in me is loving the meal plans. it makes cooking so so so much more enjoyable.

here are the plans from the past few weeks:

sun - flank steak, garden potatoes, green beans
mon - steak sandwiches
tues - quesadillas
wed - steak sandwiches
thurs - sloppy joes
fri - chicken enchiladas, homemade salsa
sat - out

sun - bruschetta chicken, corn on the cob
mon - breakfast casserole, fruit
tues - hamburgers, corn on the cob
wed - pulled pork sandwiches, corn on the cob
thurs - grilled pizza
fri - out (girl's weekend)
sat - out (girl's weekend)

sun - pulled pork sandwiches
mon- french toast
tues - black bean quesadillas, chips and salsa
wed - pizza strombolli
thurs - (i honestly can't remember)
fri - at kristyn's
sat - grilled pizza

sun - cereal (just home from st. g)
mon - breakfast burritos
tues - pasta and garlic knots
wed - out
thurs - pulled pork sandwiches
fri - indoor picnic date (turkey sandwiches)
sat - pulled pork sandwiches

sun - lemon oregano chicken, corn on the cob
mon - waffles, fruit
tues - broc/ham pinwheels, corn on the cob
wed - cashew chicken, brown rice, broccoli
thurs - cashew chicken, brown rice, broccoli
fri - ham and potato soup, bread bowls
sat - out

phew...i didn't realize i was so behind.

now here's my plan: keep things recorded, note what works/doesn't work, and then reuse my plans...hopefully improving functionality, variety, and nutritional value. this past week (last listed) was prob the most successful in the variety/functionality category (note common ingredients broc, green onions, ham), but not so much in the nutritional value area (note the syrup, cream cheese, and half&half).'s a work in progress...and prob always will be.

i'm also working on a loose 'day of the week' theme: mondays = breakfast, tues = crockpot/sandwich, wed = beans/rice, thurs = pasta, fri = soup/sandwich. we'll see how that goes.'s going well, and making my cooking life much more enjoyable.

Friday, September 24, 2010

pillow obsession...the outcome

i finally started working on my pillows...

check it out.

also, these little babies will be hung on the wall. i quite like how they turned out.

that's all.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

basil, oh how i love thee...

in case you haven't heard, i have a thing for basil. i love it.

so when it came time to plant our garden this spring, i planted quite a bit. 5 square feet or about 16-20 plants. and just as i had hoped, it flourished.

we've been enjoying it all summer long, and now as the summer comes to a close, it's about time i started preserving it for the winter (since that was the whole reason for the ridiculous amount of basil i planted).

so after a brainstorming session with my mom and a bit of internet researching, i came up with 3 possible preservation methods. now there are quite a few more than that, but 3 that seem to fit my purposes.

1. chop and freeze in water
2. chop and freeze in boiling water (to blanch while freezing)
3. chop and freeze in olive oil

so, i plan to try all three methods this year, and then in the future, i can use the one that works best for me.

and just in case you were curious about the process, let me share...



roll and slice...
enjoy the yummy basil smell...

pack into ice cube trays and fill with water (or oil)...

and freeze...

let's hope my hard work will pay off mid-winter when i'm craving fresh basil!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

this meal brought to you by...

my sister turned me onto a fabulous the majority of her recipes are things we'd actually eat, with normal ingredients, and decent nutrition. [side note: i also really like 'the best recipe' section.]

and since our meal this evening was primarily from this website, i thought i'd share. so without further adieu...this meal is brought to you by Mels' Kitchen Cafe.

The Best BBQ Sauce

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Perfect Corn on the Cob

i made the buns on tuesday (for sloppy joes, more on that later) and the bbq sauce yesterday. so today was relatively easy, especially since the pork has been in the crockpot since this morning.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

more meal planning

so last week didn't quite pan out in the meal planning department. it wasn't a complete failure, but it wasn't entirely successful either. mostly just frustrating with things not quite turning out as planned. and i guess when you're pregnant, things like that can drive you to least that's what i hear.

anyways, here's a quick update on this coming week's plan. (just a side note, this isn't turning into a meal planning blog, but i need the practice an accountability that posting about it creates.)

sun - rosemary chicken and potatoes (side note: this was not good. note to self: i don't really care for rosemary)
mon - french toast and fruit
tues - sloppy joes w/homemade rolls
wed - hot dogs at the baseball game (make bbq sauce for next day)
thurs - bbq pork sandwiches/rolls/corn on the cob
fri - fajitas/homemade salsa
sat - hamburgers
sun - flank steak/onion red potatoes/grilled zucchini

i do realize that i went from sunday to sunday just now, but that's because i need the planning. for some reason, all the sudden, late yesterday (saturday) afternoon i realized i hadn't planned anything for sunday. thus the quick (and not so tasty), experimental meal this afternoon.

here's to another shot at meal planning; hopefully with less frustration.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

pillow obsession

you'd think that i'd be focused on baby planning. however, i've recently become zoned in on decorating my living room. not sure where that came from, but i'll go with it.

my current decor is focused around green. green pillows. green chair. green storage containers. you get the idea. i think a bit of additional color is needed to spice things up.

so after some internet browsing and inspiration seeking, i found some pillows and fell in love with the pillows, not the price. and since i have some mediocre sewing skills, and pillows are basically straight lines, i decided to make my own.

i was going for some specific colors with some geometric patterns. here's what i found. (the lighting is kinda stinky, but the blue on the far right and left are actually the same blue. also...notice the green chair and pillow.)

and i love them. next, onto deciding shapes and sizes.

meal planning

for someone who loves to plan, i loathe meal planning.

maybe it stems from all of those dietetics assignments that required us to plan meals for elderly dialysis patients with wound healing concerns. maybe its a pregnancy thing. i'm so sick of eating and though i'm starving all of the time, nothing sounds good. maybe it's just a wife thing. who likes meal planning anyways?!

the alternative...the non-planning approach is NOT working. it's frustrating. it's unhealthy. it's mentally exhausting. so, it must be done.

as i've been working on my plans this afternoon, i've remembered why i have failed at planning meals in the past. a) something comes up and the plan flies out the window, b) it doesn't sound good when it comes time to make the meal, and c) i end up planning too many meals and we drown in leftovers.

so this time i'm approaching it in a new way.
1) i plan to be flexible (planning 2-3 weeks ahead, but only printing out one week at a time, after i've reevaluated),
2) i'm strategically using some meals that will make good leftovers and others that we'll only eat once...and then planning lunches accordingly, and
3) i added an events section (this way i can correspond actual life with meals). hopefully by taking some of our evening plans into the meal plan i can make things fit a bit better together.

alrighty then.

here's a quick look at this week:

so that's that.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

my current attempt

so...for those of you who haven't heard the current attempt is surviving pregnancy. now that i've completed the first trimester, life can begin again somewhat. not to say that i wanted to die during the first trimester, but there were days that i started to consider it. feeling constant nausea is just no fun, but definitely worth it.

it was also an interesting experience from the food/dietitian point of view. because of my nutrition background, i know (almost too much) how incredibly important nutrition is to development, especially early development.

however, sometimes, reality gets in the way. at first, i couldn't get enough protein...cottage cheese, protein bars, and string cheese were foods i couldn't get enough of. then, suddenly and unexpectedly, those foods were completely disgusting. seriously, gagging.

and then it was all about the carbs...gatorade, crackers, toast...but no sweets. yes, the girl who LOVES has absolutely desire for them. (most of you are thinking that would be great, yet it's really so sad for me.) though carbs were most appealing, food in general was just plain annoying. the phrase, "i am SO sick of eating" was heard often, very often.

and now that i'm moving into the second trimester, the appetite is slowly coming back (though some foods are still very off-limits, mostly texture related...string cheese, shredded chicken, etc). hopefully, food will once again be a friend and the fruits and veggies and home-cooked meals can again start flowing in the z household.

so that's the current attempt...surviving the next few months of pregnancy...and then onto another adventure...motherhood! i can't wait!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

much better {bread}

i tried again. i'm bound and determined to make good, homemade bread. the kind my kids will remember and try to replicate. [note i haven't had the courage to replicate my mom's recipe...i just couldn't bear to ruin that recipe, so i will wait until i have developed my bread making skills just a bit more.]

so today i tried this recipe: honey whole wheat bread. and wah-la. i think it actually turned out. now the true test is the days following. even my last attempt was okay on it's baking day. however, the next few days...dry, course...bleh. so here's to hoping that this recipe will weather just a bit better. i'll keep you posted.

Friday, April 30, 2010


i tried my hand at making bread for the very first time today. after all of those years watching my mother make perfect loaves, i gave it a shot. and let me tell you, they're not beautiful. but add a little bit of butter...and it's pretty darn tasty (although i do have a violent case of the hiccups now...related? i think so.)

now before you critique the dietitian for making white bread, just know that i didn't have any whole wheat flour. okay, okay, so a dietitian should have whole wheat flour, i'll repent and go get some for the next batch.

okay, on to the recipe. being absent minded, i forgot that i actually have a copy of my mom's fabulous bread recipe and went in search of this one: Easiest White Bread Recipe You Ever Tried. it is easy, however i still managed to botch the directions and did things in slightly the wrong order. oh well, my mom has assured me it didn't matter. (guess my mediocre results are due to inexperience.)

here are a few pics. lumpy, yes. nonuniform, yes. flat, a bit. tasty, pretty much.

verdict: next time try mom's french bread recipe. for now, we'll be eating lots of french toast.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

and it begins...

we started planting our garden today. peas. potatoes. carrots. swiss chard. spinach. that's all for today.

on that note, i put together a plan for our garden with the 40'sq in mind. however, when we went back to our plot today, it's a whopping 80'sq. yikes. now what?!

okay, so i've quickly filled in most of my new space, but not too sure about my plan since i've not been a square food gardener before. any advice about trellises in the square food garden? do i need to leave space between them? should i orient them north-south (two to four 10' long rows) or east-west (six 4' long rows)? can i really grow tomatoes on a trellis? ah...questions!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

2 new

2 new what? 2 new to me anyways. both of these have been sitting in my mental 'what to make for dinner' file for a while now, so i finally got around to them this week. first mexican chicken (i don't know where i picked this up, so if it's yours, thanks...take credit in the comments!). second stromboli.

mexican chicken
4-5 boneless/skinless chicken breast (I semi thaw and chunk them in approx 2 inch cubes, but you can leave whole frozen, I just found that if I leave them whole, we only get 2 meals out of this, if I chunk them, we get 4 meals)
1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans (I do not drain or rinse)
1 can ro-tel tomatoes (don’t drain)
cumin to taste (I love cumin so use approx 1 teaspoon)
garlic powder to taste (same note as above)
Option: If you have a lime hanging around, you can squeeze the lime juice in the pot too… or add a bit of the zest.

All in the pot.

Cook on low 7-8 hours or on high 4-6 hours in crockpot.
Serve over white rice with some shredded cheese, sour cream and diced avocados.
*notes in () are from the original author.

my notes: we quite liked this. i only used 1 chicken breast because that's all i had on hand, but it was still good. i did cut them into chunks, which i would do again, but i would also shred it about an hour before serving. i used frozen corn, just in case you were wondering. also, i served it over brown rice, just because that's what we prefer. i'll definitely make this again, mostly because it was super fast to throw together.

*This recipe is courtesy of kristyn...thanks!

1 loaf Rhodes frozen bread dough, thawed but still cold
2-3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/3 pound thinly sliced ham
1/3 pound thinly sliced cheese of choice
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
garlic salt or garlic bread sprinkle, optional

On a lightly oiled surface, roll bread dough out into a 10x15 inch rectangle. Leaving 1-inch boarder on each side of bread dough, spread with mustard. Arrange slices of meat and cheese on dough, leaving 1-inch space along edges. Starting along one long side, roll Stromboli up "jelly roll" fashion. Pinch edges together to seal; fold ends under; brush top and sides with beaten egg; using a sharp knife, cut 1/2-inch deep vents along top; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and optional garlic salt. Place Stromboli on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray, seam side down. Cover with plastic wrap which has also been sprayed with non-stick spray; raise 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove plastic wrap and bake 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Cool 10-15 minutes, cut into 6 pieces and serve warm.

my notes: so technically this is not a new recipe. pretty sure mom made it in some form or another when i was growing up. also, i've made it several times into a pizza roll (also very good). but it was the first time i made the ham/cheese version. we also liked this was a good week at the z's.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

not dead

so...i'm alive. not dead. (you were glad to hear that i'm sure.) just uber busy with the thesis and the rest of life. so i guess that i could title this post 'attempt at surviving', but i won't. between our trip to orlando, cub scouts, thesis, thesis, thesis, thesis, thesis, thesis, and keeping our life running, not too much time is left for any projects. (although, i am currently giving up diet coke, so maybe that's a project.)

just wanted to say hi and for the record...i'm not dead.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

shredded beef tacos


2.3# beef round roast
2 cloves pressed garlic
2 small cans green chilies
1/2 white onion, chopped*
2-3 t cumin
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 can beef broth**
5 hours***

add black beans.colby jack cheese.guacamole.salsa.lime.cilantro.

among the many things i love, i love shredded beef tacos. pure goodness.

and since this was just one of those "attempts" here are a few notes for next time:
*that's all i had, otherwise it would have been a whole onion
**i would use additional fluid [water or beef broth], it was slightly dry, but still tasty
***though it was tender enough, if i had added more fluid, it could have cooked for another 45 minutes and been even more tender without being overdone

this recipe brought to you by bec and james...their recipe, slightly modified by me (only for time and temperature). thanks guys!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

bit the dust

the basil bit the dust today. i had a glimmer of hope that it would make a miraculous recovery (especially since there was no real reason that i can think of that it was dying). but that was not the case. sad. maybe i will try again...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

in pursuit of...basil

i love love love fresh basil.

i love it on pizza.

i love it in soup.

i love it in just about anything.

i also love growing it.

and sometimes i am successful.

and sometimes i am not.

after having such a fabulous growing experience this summer with my basil (see green gorgeousness above), i just couldn't resist the following. while searching out some of the fresh herb last week for a few recipes, i ran across a live basil plant. it was green. and growing. and i am a sucker for live plants. i need those living things. they are cheery. they bring outside in. they make me happy. and generally, i'm a successful indoor plant grower.

however...this little dude is not doing so well.

i have a feeling it was doomed from the beginning. it's only been under my supervision for 10 days now...and it started this limp behavior from day 2. i kept the soil nice and damp. i put it in the sunniest place in my house. i did everything really, i'm not crediting the demise of this sad little guy to a failure of my green thumb. i'm chalking this one up to...well not me.

any tips out there for growing herbs indoors? i'd love to hear them!

Monday, January 25, 2010

branching out

one of my goals this year is to branch out a bit as far as recipes go. it's been an interesting process during the last year of cooking for 2. combining tastes and preferences isn't all that easy when you've both created habits during your long single existence.'s been (and continues to be) a process of trial and error to find things we both like.

here are a few of the recent recipes i've tried.

lion house rolls -- so this was the first time i have ever attempted rolls...and i must say, they turned out quite tasty.

pw mashed potatoes -- the last time i made mashed potatoes...not good. so i took the challenge and mastered the mashed potatoes. they were good, but i have a feeling it had more to do with the cream cheese and half and half than me. good, but neither of us have a real love for mashed potatoes, so...these won't be repeated very often.

crock pot pork chops -- these were fine. not fabulous. but fine. i don't think i'll make them again though.

lemon rosemary salmon -- so good. and very pretty. in honor of our engagement anniversary, salmon was on the menu (but no snails this year). we were both quite impressed with this recipe. easy and tasty.

my goal is to try something new each far so good. i'll keep you posted.

Monday, January 18, 2010


i've quilted before. i've pieced a quilt before (see the lovely little number above). i've had my fair share of figuring out many a different patterns. and quite successfully i might add.

but today, today is not a successful day. just now, i spent the better part of an hour marking a quilt top. it's a simple little thing. cute. easy. but for some reason, i'm just not using my quilting brain today. i marked the two ends of the quilt completely wrong. and i'm frustrated. frustrated that i didn't figure it out until i was almost finish marking it. frustrated that now there are pencil marks all over my quilt top that are completely incorrect. frustrated that i didn't take one simple step (comparing the two edges before marking lines across the entire top, which didn't quite line up, but i thought it was just because the fabric was slightly stretched and that I had missed a marking here or there) to avoid all of this. okay, so now that i've vented...i guess i'll figure out how to fix my brainlessness.

that's all. just wanted the rest of you to know that you're not alone in your fumbles. (at least i hope someone else out there least that's what i'm telling myself right now.)

Friday, January 15, 2010


i’ve been throwing this idea around for a while and trying to figure out how to put this all into words, so bear with me as i fumble through the following.

as a dietitian, i’ve had many opportunities to think about my ‘health philosophy’. i’ve always believed that ‘all foods fit’. i’ve always believed that each individual is unique in their food preferences, nutrition needs, and fitness goals. i’ve always believed that we have been given a sacred stewardship over our physical bodies. and i’ve always believed that there is direct connection between our physical bodies and our spirituality.

more recently, my belief in the connection between the physical body and the spirit has evolved. the need for constant physical nourishment is directly related to our need for constant spiritual nourishment. it takes time, effort, and energy to take care of our physical bodies. it takes time, effort, and energy to take care of our spirits. our Heavenly Father could have created our bodies without the need for physical nourishment. He could have made them non-discriminatory to the types of food our bodies require [meaning a cookie will provide equal nourishment as a bowl of blueberries]. but He didn’t. and i believe He did this for a reason. which leads me to believe very strongly that we were given these physical bodies to teach us something more than ‘all foods fit’.

now, don’t get me wrong, i am no where near perfect in my food choices. just like i am no where near perfect in the rest of my choices. but, every day, i make an effort, to make better choices. and isn’t that what it’s all about, being better? doing our best?

so this leads me to my current attempt, my attempt at being intuitive. i’ve actually been working on this for a while. it first started when i gave myself permission to really allow all foods to fit. i stopped restricting those ‘not so good’ foods and started figuring out how they make my body feel. how do i feel after i eat a burger and fries? let me tell you…awful. but i still do it…because i forget how awful i feel afterwards. how do i feel after a chicken fajita full of fabulous toppings like salsa, cilantro, avocado, cheese, sour cream? wonderful. fabulous. so my new attempt it so really pay attention to how my body feels.

but this doesn’t end with food. it spills over into fitness. now, i first will confess. since i started grad school, running, etc, has been hard to fit into a routine. i ran a bit here and there. hubby and i even started training for a relay race. but it just never really fit into my life. thus it never stuck. back to being intuitive. as i started really paying attention to how my body felt. i realized how horrible i felt. my muscles felt tight and weak at the same time. i felt like my entire body was full of toxins and staleness. so, with an early delivery from santa, our bike trainer arrived.

it didn’t get much use in december due to the craziness of grad school. however, since coming back from christmas, it’s been busy. the first week, my body felt good. i could almost feel the nastiness that had been building up in my muscles seeping out. however, the current sinus infection that has invaded my nasal cavity has strongly discouraged the use of the bike trainer or any extra physical effort for that matter. but, that’s part of listening to my body. not pushing when it needs to rest. pushing harder when it feels good. listening. being intuitive.

this philosophy also doesn’t end with fitness. sleep. for the last…well i don’t know how long, i’ve been one to pride myself in how early i could get up in the mornings and still function. while dating hubby, i was averaging 5, maybe 6 hours a night on a regular basis. not good. i don’t know what it is about grad school, but my once 7 hour requirement has spiked to 9 or 10. so, in the spirit of listening to my body, i actually let myself stay in bed after hubby leaves in the morning. i anticipate that as i continue to be more intuitive, this number will probably change. i’ll just have to keep listening.

so, what does this all boil down to? honoring the gift of the body. being positive with my choices. being positive with my thoughts and perceptions of my body. being grateful for a healthy body.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

lion house rolls

today was the day for yet another first attempt at rolls. so after discussing the topic thoroughly with my mom (thanks mom!), she led me to a great recipe for lion house rolls, which you can find by clicking here.

overall, it went fairly well. this is a learning process, i will say that i let them rise too long (due to the roast that was in the oven, taking up space, at the wrong temperature...oh well). it turned out to be a mostly cosmetic problem, resulting in an uneven texture on the top of the rolls. but the texture and taste was fabulous.


and yes, if you've done the math, this means that hubby and i will be eating 2 dozen rolls...all by ourselves. mmmmm...time to get back on the bike! (more to come on the bike...just in case you're curious.)