Love in the Kitchen - making fast, healthy, homegrown meals you'll enjoy

Friday, August 29, 2008


To win this gorgeous bag, or one like it, go to China, Baby! and enter Rebecca's newest giveaway to celebrate the opening of her new design site: Uptown Design Studio!


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Learning Lessons is Hard

The Girl started middle school last week. 6th grade. She turns 11 this weekend. Oh. Dear. I am not sure either of us is ready.

Some events in the first week:
  • "Susan - can all email talk to each other?" - apparently she had given her email address to a boy at camp. She is sure he has already emailed her, but she hasn't seen it, so it must be a problem with email.
  • A couple of 8th grade boys were looking at one of The Girl's friends. The Girl and her friend turned the boys in to the principal.
  • The Girl is beginning 6th grade band, playing clarinet. The clarinets (and their players...) were off by themselves figuring out their instruments (with 80 students, the first few weeks are dedicated to getting everyone on the same page and not much music is played). One of the boys started "squeaking" his clarinet, which, The Girl is careful to point out, is not what one is supposed to do with the clarinet. The Girl makes several (escalating) requests to stop squeaking - no avail. The Girl tells the teacher. The teacher has them stop squeaking, but after the teacher leaves, one of her classmates tells her she is untrustworthy and a tattletale.

Hard days ahead for The Girl. And the rest of us.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ab workout today. Ugh.

I am totally fortunate to work for a complany that is interested in "work-life balance". Flexibility in hours, decent vacation policy, etc. We even have a very nice gym on site. The gym has a lot of equipment and offers a number of different fitness classes.

Today I tried one of the new "AB Blast!" classes.

I thought 20 minutes - no problem.



Not looking forward to tomorrow's class. And Friday. I think I'll block that out of my mind entirely.

Zentmrs Pin It

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fall is coming...

But not today. We are enjoying some really incredible summer weather. I'll think about fall next week.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

So this is my first attempt at MPM. Turns out I probably did not pick the best week to start as we have a number of already planned events. But one has to start somewhere.

We're working on heathier eating in my family and I have this idea that if I plan better meals we will actually eat them. Hmmm.

Monday: Make Your Own Pita Pizzas
Tuesday: Dinner at the in-laws
Wednesday: Mango Glazed Indian Salmon
Thursday: Karate Testing AND Back to School Night - dinner out
Friday: Pressure Cooker BBQ Pork
Saturday: Happy Birthday Lego Man Dinner (more about theme dinners later...)
Sunday: Annual Family Reunion - Salami Sandwiches and potluck sides

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Great dinner recipe (so good, I couldn't wait long enough to take a picture before eating)

We eat a lot of chicken at our house. Cooks quickly and is reasonably healthy. Yesterday, I had a bowl of cherries that were getting past the "pretty" stage, but not yet spoiled. I decided to incorporate them into dinner. What came out was wonderful!

Chicken with Peaches and Cherries
  • 1 1/4 pound chicken tenders (boneless, skinless breasts work just as well, but the tenders cook faster)
  • 1 large peach, chopped
  • 1 cup cherries, pitted and chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  1. Spray frying pan with cooking spray and heat until pan is hot. Over medium heat, brown the chicken and 1/2 of the chopped onions.
  2. In another pan (two pans make this go faster - if you only want to use one, cook the chicken first, set aside and cook the sauce, then add the chicken back into the sauce to finish), saute the remaining onions until soft. Add the cherries, peaches, vinegar and pepper. Simmer over medium heat unil the fruit is soft.
  3. Add chicken and chicken broth to fruit mixture. Continue to simmer until the liquid is reduced by half.

Serve with pasta, rice or couscous. Mmm.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Jars full of summertime...

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Olympic Fever Hits Dessert

Not only were these Olympic themed for our Olympics dinner, but they were darned tasty and not so bad for us. A friend served a cake a few weeks ago that was made from a cake mix and a diet soda (no eggs or oil) and it was great! She had made chocolate with black raspberry - I made "funfetti" (to match the olympic ring colors) and diet 7-up. One cake mix, 10 ounces of soda. Bake as usual (I thought it didn't take quite as long, but I was baking at my in-laws so am not so familiar with the oven). Super moist and tasty. Lots of flavor combinations possible too.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

My Daily Walk

First off I would like to say I am obsessed with taking my daily walk. I generally walk for my lunch, but today I took my lunchtime walk early. Walking the same route at a different time can really change the character of the scenery. I thought you might like to join me this morning.

I work in downtown San Diego, across the street from the Bay. And yes, I do realize how lucky I am - I grew up in Minnesota and appreciate every day the beautiful location I live in now.

Today we are lucky to have a "mega yacht" moored in the Bay. The Princess Mariana (and you owe yourself a look at this...) is over 250 feet long, three stories and has its own helicopter as well as two smaller boats that go along with it. It's a charter boat - I'll save you from googling the exchange rate. It's a 2 week minimum charter, and costs about $1.4 million per week to start. Not including gratuities for the 26 person crew.

On the different part of the cruising perspective ... just down the boardwalk we have Carnival's Elation. Summertime is quiet for cruising out of San Diego. We get two ships a week, one Carnival, one Royal Caribbean. I believe they both go to Mexico. Starting at the end of September, the traffic picks up quite a bit. Today, the Elation was finishing their debarkation process (lots of folks milling around with their luggage... some of whom seemed like the last time they were standing without a cocktail in their hand was when they left this same pier last week, but that's another story).

A little further along the boardwalk, I saw a group of Japanese students, probably between 8 and 12 years old. Incredibly well-behaved. We see a lot of students on field trips in this area. Usually not very well behaved. I had a conversation yesterday with a couple of folks from Britain. One of them now lives in San Diego and told a story about his last visit to Britain. He said that he was with friends and family and they sort of stared at him oddly. Finally someone told him he was talking loud. Really loud. He laughed and said he knew he really belonged in America. It was a funny story, but kind of sad too. That's what people outside of America think of Americans. And after seeing these Japanese students, I wonder if those people are right.

I also got to pass by one of my favorite seafood restaurants, The Fish Market. If you are ever in San Diego and in the mood for seafood, this is the place to go. Great views and great food. I like passing by early in the morning, before it is open. Today the produce delivery truck was there, and the head chef was outside reviewing the produce before approving delivery. I like to see the chef so involved in the details of the food. Good ingredients make good food!

Time to turn around and walk back - good thing too. It is starting to get warm and humid and I get to walk into the breeze on the way back. The boardwalk is getting busier. Lots of pedicabs looking for fares. I see the crew of the Carnival Elation conducting their lifeboat drill. In my vast (okay, 2 cruise) experience, cruise ship crews work incredibly hard!

Now back to work. Glad you could join me!

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

WWWAT: A Different View

It's Wordless Wednesday With a Twist once again. This time the theme is: A Different View.

With the Olympics in mind, I saw these kayaks... (truthfully, I was really drawn to the colors and the reflection, but the subject seemed appropriate for the theme). Hope you enjoy my first WWWAT!

For more WWWAT visit Rachel at The Adventures of an American Alien.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Wedding Weekend

We spent the weekend in Paso Robles, CA for my niece's wedding. Don't they look happy?

And seriously, aren't my great-nephews totally adorable? (never mind that "great-nephew" makes me sound old....)

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Friday, August 08, 2008

Days Off

So we embarked on a sort of mini vacation last night. We drove from San Diego, after a frantic search for a replacement pet-sitter, to have dinner at Don Jose's - one of our favorite restaurants in Huntington Beach.

Very yummy "special burrito" - big enough for 2!

Now we are in Simi Valley, getting ready to go to the Reagan Library. The Mr. and I are both big fans of the great communicator. We debated about coming up here for Reagan's public memorial service, ended up not going and have been looking forward to visiting since then.

After that we'll be heading to Santa Barbara to visit my aunt, uncle and niece! Yea! Pin It

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Saturday Night Dinner

Chicago-style Deep Dish Pizza

1 (1 pound) loaf frozen bread dough, thawed
1 pound bulk Italian turkey sausage
2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
8 ounces chopped fresh mushrooms
1 small onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fennel seed
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of a greased 9x13 inch baking dish.

Crumble the sausage into a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir until evenly browned. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon, and sprinkle over the dough crust. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese evenly over the sausage.

Add mushrooms. bell pepper and onion to the skillet; cook and stir until the onions and peppers are tender. Stir in the tomatoes, oregano, salt, fennel seed and garlic powder. Spoon over the mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top.

Bake for 25 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until crust is golden brown.

Watermelon Sorbet

3 cups water
1 cup Splenda
4 cups seeded, chopped watermelon
1/4 cup lemon juice

Bring 3 cups water and Splenda just to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Cool.

Process sugar syrup and watermelon, in batches, in a blender until smooth. Stir in lemon juice. Cover and chill 2 hours.

Pour mixture into the freezer container of a 1-gallon ice-cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.

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