Tag Archives: food

Going to the park, California syle.

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This is not something you are likely to see in the Toledo-Lucas County Metropark System.

Now, we have a great metro-park system where we live, and I am no stranger to them.  They all have nice woods with paths for walking and biking. You will also find the occasional bench with a vaguely scenic view, and a few boardwalks which meander next to a creek.  But nothing in my park going experience could prepare me for Balboa Park in San Diego.  I can only  presume this is what Shangri-La is like.

The day we were there was the last day of the LGBT festival, so I am not sure if the other park-goers are always so flamboyantly festooned in costume and fancy dress, but I choose to believe that they are. Given that we indirectly attended both the LGBT festival and Comic Con in the same week, I am inclined to believe that in San Diego cosplay is an everyday thing. This may not be true, but it makes my vacation more memorable and therefore, I elect to perpetuate this legend.

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Having never been to Shangri-La, I can’t be sure, but expect it looks similar to this.

Balboa Park is more that just a park, there are museums, botanical gardens,  fountains and trails. There is a huge Botanical Building, full of plants and fish ponds and all manner of flora. There are gardens galore; cactus, Australian, Japanese and a seriously impressive rose garden that makes you re-think why you are trying to grow them in Ohio.

My favorite place was the Prado restaurant, I think it may have been my favorite meal of the whole week. This could be because we had just come from the airport and it had been almost 8 hours since I had eaten and I was ready to chew off my own arm, but in truth the food was really good and the setting was beautiful. In Ohio, if something is served, “California style,” it is code for “with avocado”, well I can confirm that it is true, almost everything in California is served with avocadoes, but they just call it food.

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Mr. Mayhem and Lil’ Mayhem at the Prado restaurant in Balboa Park, food and fountains, both California Style.

Cheers.

Dazey

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Meat Muffins (a working title)

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pretty, no but very very tasty!

pretty, no but very very tasty!

Meatloaf, beatloaf, double bubble beatloaf, unlike Randy in A Christmas Story, we love meatloaf. In my effort to cut down on calories and meat in my diet, meatloaf has gone by the wayside, which is sad because there is little else that satisfies like it during an Ohio winter.

I have researched my light recipe resources and come up with this amalgam of several diet meatloaf recipes. This one makes individual “loafs” in a jumbo cupcake/muffin pan. If you don’t have one, and don’t want to commit the dinero in purchasing one, I bought the disposable version in the tin foil aisle at the grocery store. You know, the place you visit once a year for the disposable turkey roaster. It’s amazing what they have done with disposable bake wear, it’s not just for Thanksgiving anymore.

Anyways, I call them meat muffins, which I am told “just sounds wrong.”  Whatever you want to call them they go great with Crashed Potatoes which is more a technique rather than a recipe.  I have seen them in a lot of books, but I tend to follow the version in the Pioneer Woman’s second cookbook.  I love her recipes they are delicious an easy to follow, but I spend my day working clients instead of cattle, so they don’t really match my life’s daily caloric expenditure.

The nutrition information is an estimate, averaged from the ingredients used.  It should be pretty close, but when in doubt add 20 calories just to be safe.

Meat Muffins

Makes 6- takes about 50 minutes start to finish

1 pkg. ground turkey (19 oz) 93% lean

½ medium onion (chopped fine)

½ red bell pepper (chopped fine)

1 cup old fashion oats

3/4 cup shredded carrots (chopped)

2 eggs (beaten)

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

½ tsp chili powder

½ tsp cumin

2 tbsp chili sauce (or substitute 1 ½  tbsp of ketchup & ½ tbsp hot sauce)

2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tbsps ketchup

6 slices turkey bacon

Preheat oven to 350.        Mix all ingredients except ketchup and bacon in large bowl until combined. Spray jumbo cupcake/muffin tin with cooking spray, line 6 muffin holes with bacon slices.  Spoon 3/4 cup of meat mixture in holes, press lightly.  Brush ketchup sparingly over meat mixture.  Bake for 40 minutes.

Nutrition information: 235 calories each, 9 grams fat, 17 carbohydrates and 20 grams protein.

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Crashed Potatoes

1 1/2 pound small red or fingerling potatoes

olive oil

4 cloves garlic chopped fine

3 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped fine

Preheat oven to 450. Place potatoes in large saucepan covered in 3 inches of salted water bring to a boil and continue to cook 20 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Drain potatoes and place on baking sheet. Gently smash potatoes (I use a tiny saucepan) until the skins break and the potatoes flatten slightly.  Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle garlic and rosemary, salt and pepper to taste, then bake for 20 minutes until crispy.

Nutrition information: 94 calories, 4 grams fat, 14 carbohydrates and 2 grams protein

Applebees, you’re killing me here

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Applebees, may I ask you what’s up? What is it that I have done to you to make you hate me so. Let me fill you in, I am meeting my M.O.M. (which of course stands for Mother of all Mayhem) tonight for dinner to hand off about a pallet of Girl Scout cookies which she sold on my daughter’s behalf. Since she lives over two hours away, we generally meet at a midway point for dinner and Applebees fits the bill.

Now I have always been of the opinion that Applebees is a fine establishment, serving tasty American fare at fairly reasonable prices. All of that may still be true but, has anyone taken the time to read the nutritional information on their food?

I fancy myself a bit of an amateur chef so I am hip to fact that restaurants make their food taste great by adding copious amounts of salt, butter or both. That does not shock me, but the effect it has on the caloric output of the food has given me a case of the vapors.

As chronicled here, I am alloted 1300ish calories in a day. That total day allotment is eclipsed by one serving of Pecan-Crusted Chicken Salad (1320), Hand-Battered Fish & Chips (1570) or Three Cheese Penne (1300). Even the Oriental Chicken Salad, an Applebees best seller weighs in at 1390, if you get it will grilled chicken it only brings it down to 1290. Outrageous.

I see that they have a Weight Watchers section that has 7 options.  Since I don’t eat shrimp or mushrooms (it’s a texture thing) that takes it down to 3 for me and even those are in the 500 range.  Of those 3 options the sodium count averages 1926. Yikes, can’t use the butter, so I guess you double up on the salt it’s low cal!

No wonder we all need to lose weight in this country, we don’t have a chance. Unless you win the genetic lottery or are an in-training, professional athlete, there is no way you can eat out and not blimp up.

What’s a girl to do? I know I am being a total Debbie Downer here, but this is depressing.  Applebees, I like you but c’mon man you gotta work with me here this is simply not cool.

Cheers,

Dazey

Ummm…. Chili & Cornbread what’s not to love

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In my ongoing weight loss quest I have scoured books, magazines and websites for recipes that are healthy and the family will eat without that wilting look of disappointment on their faces. Here is one I ran across from the fine folks at Taste of Home, I have adjusted it slightly but nothing that would upset the nutritional facts substantially. The recipe calls for an 11×7 pan but a 13×9 works fine, just know the topping will not go to the edges.

Coming in at 340 calories per serving, you can afford to add toppings likes shredded cheese, chopped scallions and greek yogurt (or reduced fat sour cream) for an extra flourish just remember to be cool and don’t overdo it.

Chili Cornbread Casserole
Serves 6 takes approximately 40-45 minutes start to finish
Ingredients:

Chili
I pound lean (90/10) ground round or sirloin
1 medium onion (chopped)
1 small red or green pepper (chopped)
1 15 oz Chili Beans in sauce (like Ranch Style or Bush’s) (undrained)
1 14.5 oz Diced Tomatoes w/ peppers & onions (like Del Monte) (undrained)
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon cumin

Topping
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg (beaten)
1/2 cup skim or fat-free milk
1 tablespoon canola oil

Preheat oven to 425. Coat 11 x 7 pan with cooking spray.

In large skillet, cook beef until just pink and drain off any extra fat, add onions and peppers and cook a few minutes until softened and beef is no longer pink. Add beans, tomatoes, chili powder, Worcestershire and cumin and simmer uncovered for about 5 mins.

While chili is simmering, mix together all the other ingredients (flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, egg, milk and oil) until just moist.

Transfer chili to 11×7 pan and spread to level. Spoon cornmeal mixture over chili and gently level (do not spread too thin).

Bake (uncovered) for 15-18 minutes or until filling is set and toothpick comes out clean. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts: I serving= 340 calories, 10g fat (3 saturated), 38g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 22 g protein.