Thursday, December 31, 2009

A New Year's Eve Tradition

This is the third New Year's Eve that Mr KT and I have spent in our current house. We moved in on 12/31/07. The first year I made an oriental beef dish, sugar snap peas, fried rice and cranberry sorbet. Last year we had an All-American meal with BBQ beef ribs, baked beans, cornbread, and lemon daiquiri sorbet. Both meals turned out great. I asked Mr KT if he had any thoughts on dinner for this year. He requested Jambalaya, cornbread, and apple cobbler. I added a salad. Everything turned out really good. Add a glass of wine and it was perfect. The other good news is that I cooked and we ate, all before 8:30 pm. That means that I can usher in the new year at 9:30 and then head to bed. Sweet.

All recipes are below. Mmmmmm.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, peeled
1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
3 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, minced
4 oz extra-lean smoked ham, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
5 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
1 large bay leaf
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
3/4 cup brown rice, uncooked

Add oil to a large nonstick saucepan. Over medium heat, sauté onion, garlic, bell pepper and celery until onion is translucent. Add parsley, ham, chicken, bay leaf, and cayenne pepper. Cook, stirring often, 5 to 6 minutes. Add tomatoes (with juice), tomato sauce, and 1 3/4 cups cold water. Gently simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Pour rice into the pan and stir well. Bring mixture to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered, 45 minutes or until rice is cooked and absorbs most of the liquid. Remove bay leaf. Season to taste with cayenne pepper and salt.

Golden Sweet Cornbread
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Spray or lightly grease a 9 inch round cake pan.
In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder. Stir in egg, milk and vegetable oil until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Strawberry Spinach Salad
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon minced onion
10 ounces fresh spinach - rinsed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
1 quart strawberries - cleaned, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup almonds, blanched and slivered

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and onion. Cover, and chill for one hour.
In a large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries and almonds. Pour dressing over salad, and toss. Refrigerate 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

French Apple Cobbler
Apple cobbler with cinnamon and vanilla, along with a cake-like batter topping.

Apple Filling:
5 cups tart apples, peeled, sliced
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1/2 cup flour, sifted
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 egg, slightly beaten

In a medium bowl, combine apples, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon salt, vanilla and water. Turn into a lightly buttered 9-inch square pan. Dot apples with 1 tablespoon butter.
Combine all topping ingredients. Beat with wooden spoon until batter is smooth. Drop batter in 9 portions, over the apples, spacing evenly. Batter will spread during baking. Bake 35 to 40 minutes at 375° or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown. Serve warm with cream or ice cream.
Serves 6 to 8.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


What a wonderful day. Sigh.

I got up early and went to Master's Swim practice from 5:30 am to 6:30 am. The hot water in the showers is not working and so I came home to shower. I did a bit of shoveling and then headed to work in the snow. It was forecast to snow 1-3 inches over night and pretty much all day Tuesday. Fairly accurate I would say. Now it is supposed to snow all night (yay) and taper off mid morning tomorrow. The bad news... 35 mph wind from the North dropping the temp to -15 degrees. Brrrr. Regardless of the frigid temps. I plan on being up dark and early to get in another xc ski. Anywho, I went to work and, as expected, patients were canceling left and right. This only makes sense. One day of rehab is not worth the danger driving in those conditions creates. I got my paperwork done and came home early. I tore around with the dogs in the backyard and then we took them for a walk. The snow was coming down then and is still coming down. So awesome. When we got home, I grabbed my skis and headed out for a little xc ski! I walked over towards the park as there was no chance of driving over there. As I was walking in my ski boots I noticed there was a guy trying to push a car around a corner so I offered to help. I didn't realize we were pushing her around the corner, up the hill and up her driveway. We made it. I was sweating when we were done and I had breathed in about 40 gallons of exhaust. I was pretty proud of myself, I just pushed a car up a hill... in ski boots. :)

Skied and skied. Took a few pictures on my phone. The snow was coming down pretty good but the iPhone didn't capture that well.

I took this picture after a little downhill. It was so deep and powdery that as I was going down, it was knee deep. That is where my skis should be.

My husband took pictures when I got home.
This is my ponytail coated in snow.

And this is Kona welcoming me home.

Kona and Brick and I had a wonderful snowy day. Hoping for quite a few more of these this winter.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


December 6th and we have had one little dusting of snow. In October. The forecast is for snow tonight and tomorrow night. I can't wait. I am like a little kid. I always run to the window to see if it snowed. I love to watch my dogs race around like crazies after it has fallen. I like that it is cold outside (for running) and warm inside (for cooking).

I had a 4 week hiatus from running during November trying to heal up my left knee. I ran last Tuesday (December 1st) and had little to no pain in my left knee but that right one sure was stiff. I had sore quads the next day after a short 2.5 miles. I have continued to keep up with my other workouts and am looking forward to hitting a spinning class or two here soon. I have been doing more weight training that I have in the past and am noticing a difference. I have another run planned for today at some point but I may hold off and do it tomorrow morning so I can run in the snow! Or maybe if there is enough, I could break out the XC skis!

Happy Winter!