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Soups On! Guinness Onion Soup

Soups On! Guinness Onion Soup by Jenny MacBeth

Pittsburgh fall weather today = 80 degrees and blue skies. I opened the windows and started cooking for soup season. I’m stuffing my freezer full of different soups so I can pull-out a bowl when I need some comfort from the cold.

As many know, I like beer, and I cook with beer quite often. When I saw this recipe on FoodNetwork.com, I had to try it. But of course, I changed it a bit. It did call for 1/4 cup of sherry, but the next time, I think I’m going to leave it out. In my opinion, I think it took away from the other flavors.

Ingredients
•    Olive oil
•    5 cloves minced garlic
•    8 cups thinly sliced onions (I used 4 large Spanish onions)
•    Sea Salt
•    3 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
•    1 can of dark beer (recommended: Guinness)
•    6 cups beef stock
•    6 slices country bread cut 1/2-inch thick, toasted (I baked my own french bread)
•    1/2 pound Irish Cheddar, sliced thin (I used Provolone)

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over high heat. Add garlic and cook briefly to release aroma. Add onions, season with salt and cook for about 5 minutes stirring often. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are golden brown.

Add the thyme and beer. Reduce beer by half and add the beef stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 more minutes.

Preheat the broiler. Transfer soup to an ovenproof serving dish or individual ovenproof soup bowls. Top with toasted bread slices and sliced cheese. Broil until cheese melts and starts to brown slightly. Serve piping hot.

This recipe is my version – inspired by FoodNetwork.Com

What’s for dinner? Lamb Roast

What's for dinner? Photo by Glen Green

It’s been a busy summer. I’ve had no time to post. For that matter, I haven’t cooked all summer. However, the Boy’s mom, dad and sis came to visit Saturday and I was able to cook a big dinner. I was in my foodie heaven.

First up…

Lamb Roast. I purchased an already marinated roast from Trader Joe’s. That made it easy. I just added a little water, sea salt and olive oil to the bottom of the roaster. I made a garlic lamb sauce to pour over it. – It’s thick and creamy and full of flavor. The recipe was given to me years ago. It is mainly used on lamb dishes at Cedar’s restaurant in New Castle. However, it can be used on all kinds of dishes. – Garlic makes anything taste better.

Lamb Roast photo by Glen Green

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garlic Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups of olive oil (or veg oil)
  • 1/3 cups of lemon juice
  • 6 garlic gloves
  • Large sweet onion (diced)

Blend (in mixer) all ingredients above the day before – the longer it sits, the better. Mix in two heaping tablespoons of sour cream or cream cheese right before serving. I use sour cream because it’s not as thick as it would be with cream cheese.

 

Next…
Tomato, Mozzarella and Fresh Basil Salad

Tomato, mozzarella, basil salad photo by Glen Green

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I went to a party Friday night and they served this. I thought this is more fun than a plan old salad. It was easy and delicious. Not to mention the WOW factor.

  • Sliced (thick) homegrown tomato
  • Sliced (thick) fresh mozzarella
  • Add fresh basil to the top
  • Drizzle with olive oil and Gia Russa’s balsamic glaze

 

Red Skin Baked Potato

Baked Potatoes photo by Glen Green

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I like to eat the skin, so I add a little flavor to it while baking. Simply…

  • rub olive oil and sea salt on the potato
  • wrap in aluminum foil
  • Bake for about an hour (depending on how big are the potatoes).

Tip: I use small potatoes because they are filling, and if you are like me, you have lots of other side dishes to consume.

Of course, since it is summertime, Sis brought corn-on-the-cob. I bought fresh baguette for dipping in the juices. I also made Bloody Mary’s with Citron Vodka from my freezer. Just like Sangria with all its fruits, I like adding cherry tomatoes and chopped celery to the glass for some extra alcohol absorbed vegetables at the end.

Mom made us dessert. – Heath bar toffee cake. It was oh so good. Even though I’m not good at baking desserts, I’ll have to get that recipe.

Enjoy!

 

All photos were taken by Glen Green.

What’s for dinner? Finglerling Potato Salad with Ale Dressing

Fingerling Salad photo by Jenny MacBethTonight I grilled steaks. I just used salt and pepper. I like marinades but sometimes I just like it simple, especially, when I’m making something different that I want to stand out from the main meat.

I didn’t want the standard baked potato, and I didn’t want rice and a green vegetable. So, I tried Fingerling potatoes tossed in a bed of greens with a light beer dressing. I absolutely loved it. I was humming through my entire meal.

Dressing Ingredients
1 package of Good Seasons Italian dressing mix
1/2 cup Ale style beer
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil

Mix together
Boiled Fingerling potatoes (cut)
cherry tomatoes
crumbled bacon
feta cheese
baby arugula
diced green onions
diced chives
(or whatever you want to put in a salad)

Toss salad with ‘some’ of the dressing – depending on the size of your salad. I like it light and just enough to taste; not over saturated. Refrigerate leftover dressing.

Tip: I bake large amounts of bacon, crumble it and freeze it to use for future salad use. It’s cheaper and less sodium than already made bacon bits.

If you try it, let me know what you think.

This recipe is my version – inspired by Foodnetwork.Com

A healthier new me

It’s been four months since my initial start to a better me. One week from today, I will be running my first 5k. Over the past four months, I’ve not only increased my running speed and distance, I’ve increased in my strength training, and yoga performance. I’ve lost over 40 pounds and I’m now in a size 10. I feel great.

In order for me to stick with it, I plan out the week. I keep track of my goals, calories and workout. Some people say, “I don’t have time for that.” I can say the same thing. These past four months, I’ve been studying for my MBA. It’s hard, REAL hard, but once you set your routine and stick with it for a month or more, it becomes easier – like second nature.

I try to do something active and push myself everyday. Maybe for 20 minutes, or 30 minutes or 2 hours depending on my time. My schedule changes daily, but as long as I plan it out and write it down on my calendar, I’ll stick with it. I’ve found that pushing yourself to make time is a lot harder than pushing yourself to finish a workout.

Now that my goal of running a 5k is here, I’ve created new goals. I’ve joined a summer league to learn rowing with Three Rivers Rowing Association. Very excited about this – something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve also started looking into Triathlons and 10ks. I can’t say that I’m in the best shape of my life, but I can say, I’m healthier than I’ve been in a long, long time, and I’m happy for it.

Sunday is going to be here and though I’ve run seven miles, I’m really nervous. This is my first race. I never thought I would ever run, yet here I am. Wish me luck.

It’s never too late to support the research against breast cancer. Please donate to Susan G. Komen. Thank you.

My First Bib

It’s official. We just discovered a package on our front porch, and inside it was my first runners bib and t-shirt. I’m so excited that I started to cry. Thanks for all your support. Please donate.

Race for the Cure photo by Glen Green

What’s for dinner? Barbecue Pulled Chicken

A Slow Cooker Meal

BBQ Pulled Chicken Photo by Jenny MacBeth

I made this Thursday night after work. I tossed it into the slow cooker around 7 PM, and it was done at 10:30 – just in time for bed. Then all I had to do today was toss the buns into the toaster and heat the chicken in the microwave for two minutes. It was served faster than we could eat it.

INGREDIENTS
1 8oz. can (no salt) tomato sauce
1 4oz. can chopped green chiles, drained
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoon (no salt) tomato paste
2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons ground mustard
1 teaspoon ground chile powder
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 small onion, finely chopped (I use lots of onions; so you may want to cut back to 1)
5 clove garlic, minced (I use lots of garlic; so you may want to cut back to 1 or 2)

PREPARATION

  1. Stir tomato sauce, chiles, vinegar, honey, paprika, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and chile powder in a slow cooker until smooth. Add chicken, onion and garlic; stir to combine.
  2. Put the lid on and cook on low until the chicken can be pulled apart, about 5 hours. My slow cooker has a high function and can be done in 3.5 hours; just as long as the chicken pulls apart.
  3. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and shred with a fork. Return the chicken to the sauce, stir well and serve on wheat buns.

NUTRITION
184 calories per serving. Serves 8 (1/2 cup per sandwich).

Tip: I use Giant Eagle’s fresh baked wheat buns at 150 calories per bun. I also add a piece of Sargento Reduced Fat Provolone at 50 calories per slice.

This recipe is my version – inspired by EatingWell.Com

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from the Irish Rabbits

st patrick day buns photo by glen green

Photo by Glen Green

Couch to 5k Last Week

WOO HOO! DONE. I DID IT.

This week was my last week of the NHS Couch to 5k training podcast. I’m running at 2.9 miles this week. Not quite 3.1, but close. So I don’t give up all my training over the past 2.5 months, I’m making a plan to continue to run three days a week. I want to build towards a 10k. Yep, I’m addicted.

Music is important. I noticed that if I didn’t like the song, I felt like giving up. However, if I like a song, I put a little extra effort into my step. I really need to choose carefully the songs I want to put on my iPod. Any suggestions? Please recommend some tunes in the comment section.

I haven’t run outside yet. I think it will be easier, and at the same time, I think it will be harder. It’s suppose to be 48 this weekend, so I shall give it a try.

I want to thank those who inspired me to get motivated.

Laura M. – an amazing, beautiful young woman who will probably be the First Lady someday. She introduced me to yoga and running. Thanks for helping me get healthy Miss Laura.

Lisa S. – a high school friend who motivated me through Facebook – seeing her running expedition posts make me strive to be healthier.

Jeannie G. – a long time friend who completed her 5k in the fall. Her finish line pics made me smile with excitement.

NHS Couch to 5K – British Laura was a great coach and inspired me to push through the pain. I highly recommend this podcast series.

I’ve met my goals, but Cancer Research still needs all the support it can get. Please donate to the Susan G. Komen Race For the Cure. Thanks for all your support to me and the boobies.

Sunday Dinner

Sunday Dinner Stuffed Flank Steak photo by Glen Green

I made this wonderful dinner for the Boy’s brother and the bro’s wife. We had a nice visit while breaking bread – only I didn’t serve bread – not while dieting. I might not try this on a weekday (after work) type of dinner, but it was easy to prepare and doesn’t take long to cook. Especially, if you blanche the potatoes.

They asked what they could bring. We said nothing since we are on diets, so they brought us fat-free flowers. Thanks!

Stuffed Flank Steak

INGREDIENTS
1 (1 lb) flank steak
1 (6oz) packages of  spinach, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup fat-free feta cheese
2 tablespoons balsamic glaze
2 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper ground
Coarse sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil

 

 

PREPARATION

  1. Heat broiler with rack set 4″ from heat.
  2. Combine spinach, parsley, cheese, glaze, garlic, and red-pepper. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cut and open steak with the grain of the steak. Cut the meat almost in half horizontally.  Roll steak with mixture spread in center. Tie with kitchen string twine.
  4. Cut roll in half. Place halves, seam side down, on baking sheet, rub with oil, and season with salt and pepper.  (I serve one half, and freeze the second half for a weekday meal another time).
  5. Broil until browned, 8-10 minutes for medium-rare.
  6. Let rest (very important), loosely covered with foil, 10 minutes. Remove string, and slice steak into 1/2″rounds.

NUTRITION
240 calories per serving. Serves 4.

This recipe is my version – inspired by Food.Com

Rosemary Potatoes

I blanched the potatoes in rosemary and sea salt water. Then, add to skillet with more rosemary and garlic. While tossing, spray with cooking spray. I use no oil (when dieting) which gives it about 150 calories per 3/4 cup.

Tip: Use Parkay spray butter on your potatoes and steamed broccoli to cut calories.

 

stuffed flank steak prep1 photo by Glen Green stuffed flank steak prep3 photo by Glen Green stuffed flank steak prep3 photo by Jenny MacBeth stuff flank steak finished photo by Glen Green

Photos by Glen Green

Couch to 5k Week 8

Day 1. Running at 5.0 for 2.68 miles. I didn’t use the incline this time. I actually think the runs are easier around 4PM than 6AM. Unfortunately, I’m not always home at 4. I really wasn’t in the mood to run today, but of course it got easier as I did it. I kept thinking, “Only two more weeks.” My Birthday is coming up soon and I’ve already told the Boy he is taking me to North Park Lounge for a big juicy burger with bacon and egg, cheese fries and some wings. Oh, and I will have a Pepsi and a few beers. Can’t wait to celebrate.

Day 2. Even though it’s the same run as Day 1, I’m not feeling it. I got up, dressed, and seem to have energy but once on the treadmill, I pooped out fast. I still pushed myself but I didn’t increase the speed until the last five minutes. I also don’t like the music as much this week. Not to mention, I have a lot of priorities on my mind today; so that’s probably not helping either. Nonetheless, here I am. I still feel great that I finished.

Day 3. My initial plan was to run Friday,  but I wasn’t feeling too good in the morning. So, I pushed it until today. I also planned to run outside for the first time this season, but I’m not ready to run in the rain. So, I ran on the treadmill, and I’ve officially completely eight weeks of the Couch to 5k. I have only one more week, and better still, I will have finished right before my 44 Birthday. I’m pretty excited.

Side note: Time to start loading up my iPod for my first 5k. What would be good running music?

As always, thanks for your support to the boobies. Donate to Susan G. Komen, Race for the Cure.