Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Moroccan Lemon Chicken

In our battle of the bulge, we've been re-sampling old favorites and trying new recipes in our collection of South Beach Diet books

We enjoy cooking at home and always include veggies and fruits in our meals, but are learning that the problem was too much of these good things.

We've tried this recipe twice in recent weeks and while the ingredient list may seem long,it largely includes pantry spices we had available. When combined, these spices make up a version of tas al-hanut, a spice blend that's widely used on Moroccan-style meats and fish. Mixing the spices with extra virgin olive oil for a wet rub the chicken a rich, exotic taste.

This recipe serves 2.

Moroccan Lemon Chicken, Summer Squash & Green Olives
  • 4 (6 oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 lb summer squash, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1/2 C pitted green olives
  • 2 TBSP water
  • 2 TBSP chopped parsley or cilantro
  1. Pound chicken breasts between sheets of waxed pepper to 1/4-inch thick
  2. Mix spices (cumin, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, cayenne, salt) together in a small bowl. Finely grate lemon zest from lemon into spice mixture. Squeeze 1 TBSP lemon juice from lemon and add to spice mix.
  3. Add 3 tsp of oil to spice mix and stir to combine. Spread mixture on both sides of chicken breasts.
  4. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat and ad chicken. Cook, turning until blackened on the outside and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes each side. Transfer to a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
  5. Add remaining 1 tsp olive oil to the skillet and return to medium high heat. Add onion slices and cook, stirring constantly with wooden spoon, scraping up any browned bits, about 3 minutes.
  6. Add squash, olives and 2 TBSP water, season with additional salt and pepper. Cover and cook 4-5 minutes until squash is tender.
  7. Remove pan from heat, squeeze a little more lemon juice over chicken and vegetables, sprinkle with parsley and serve warm.
Not only was this an easy recipe, but it was delicious too —just ask Grenville!

Anyone else also trying to shed very unwanted pounds. If so, what works for you, besides not eating, of course.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Funnies

What do you think — does this photo show a key person or someone who's keyed up ?
Yes, this is an actual shot of someone's many key ring(s). The photo is a bit fuzzy as it was taken at a recent public meeting using a cell phone. 

Can you think of any other wording to fit the photo?

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Smoked Salmon Scramble

Smoked salmon and cream cheese are a classic combo that's usually served on a bagel. This recipe has the combo warmed up with the addition of scrambled eggs for a delicious and healthful breakfast treat!

We are both salmon fans so this South Beach recipe was a great "find." The only "problem" is that smoked salmon can be costly, so it won't be a regular breakfast meal — but it's a wonderful and (did I mention) delicious weekend treat. This recipe makes 2 servings.

Smoked Salmon Scramble
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1 oz smoked salmon cut into thin strips
  • 1 oz reduced fat cream cheese, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 TBSP finely chopped chives
  • Freshly ground peppercorns (optional)
  1. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add eggs and allow to set (10 seconds).
  3. Sprinkle salmon, cream cheese and chives over eggs.
  4. Scramble until just cooked, about 1 minute. Season to taste with pepper.

Photo courtesy of South Beach Quick and Easy Cookbook (because we ate ours too quickly).

Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday Funnies

Wonder if this driver was Movin' In or Movin' Out ?

Either way, this pick-up was fully loaded. Just hoping those mattress stayed upright for the entire trip.

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Hanging Around

No, it's not Spider Man, but a window washer outside our 5th floor apartment which is located in a former textile manufacturing mill in NH.
The window washing is an annual maintenance service provided by the management. This was the first time we were able to watch this professional at work. He was suspended from lines on the building roof.

And, clean windows mean we can get to view scenes like this just outside our oversize windows. 

Same scene as seen on a different day and this time in color.
This view shows the Nashua River looking towards downtown (Main St) Nashua. To paraphrase Richard Gere in Pretty Woman — we like the high floor as  "It's the best."

Monday, September 14, 2015

Sucking It Out

FYI — The post title refers to getting the air out of freezer bags.

A vacuum sealer is in the “Don't want or need” category in our very downsized apt kitchen. Many folks use these sealers, but buying one would mean storing it and buying special bags, more costly than using store-bought freezer bags.

So, how to get all most of the air out of a freezer bag before freezing?

CAUTION — This procedure does not apply to packages holding any sort of meat, poultry or fish. These can harbor pathogens and parasites, such as salmonella. Sucking the air out of bags with these items inside could result in inhaling some of these microbes and infecting yourself. Don’t take the chance.

OK, so it's clear that this procedure applies to things like baked good, veggies, fruit and it's not new. I heard about it can't recall when and have been using it the past couple of years (or more). And, you also also need to save freezer space by using a freezer bag vs. container. 

Let's get started: all you need is
a plastic straw. 

First, press out as much air as you can by hand, then insert the straw in a corner of the bag and seal the bag around it. Suck the air out through the straw until you see the bag collapse around the contents. While maintaining suction, pull slowly pull out the straw and quickly seal the bag, then freeze. It's as simple as that.

Here’s another procedure (which I haven’t tested): Submerge the freezer bag in a bowl of water and then seal it. The pressure of the water supposedly pushes out the air and molds the bag around the food. This method requires less huffing and puffing. Be sure to dry the bag thoroughly before putting in the freezer.

Either one of these methods can reduce the amount of air in freezer bags, which keeps frozen foods better and help reduce freezer burn. And who doesn't like those benefits?

Do you have a method for "vacuum-sealing" freezer bags that works for you? 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Never Forget

Friday Funnies

Got a (very) LARGE swatter?
This oversize insect is on I-95 in Providence, RI. We pass by it on the way to visit family.

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone — have some lots of fun!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Something's a little Fishy

Coming from North Jersey, I like a breakfast off a fresh baked Bagel with Nova Lox, cream cheese, onions, tomatoes, and capers for breakfast. But dieting on South Beach puts this morning delicacy out somewhere in Phase 27. Here is my quasi substitute. The missing bagel and capers hold the carbs and sodium down. Using Neufchâtel cheese (usually found next to the Cream Cheese) lowers calories and adds a tangy flavor.

Eggs Patrick
4 eggs           4 oz. Smoked Salmon
1 Tbls chopped chives         2 tomatoes slices
2 Tbls Neufchâtel cheese    Onion slices to taste

  1. In a non stick pan, spray with cooking spray. Heat on medium heat. 
  2. Cook all 4 eggs over easy, leaving the yolks runny.
  3. On plates place a tomato slice, two of the over easy eggs, half of the Neufchâtel cheese, half of the smoked salmon, and sprinkle on chives.
  4. Serve warm.

Nutritional information:
Cal: 324 Carbs: 5g Fat: 22g Sat Fat: 7.5g Protein: 26g

Sodium: 1417g Fiber: .5g Sugar: 1.83g Cholesterol: 453g

Chef Grenville

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

School Days

School Days are here again for the oldest grands after summer fun. According to his mom, our grandson was looking forward to entering 3rd grade.

She sent us a list of school supplies a couple of weeks ago. We had a great time shopping for everything on the list: notebooks, pencils, erasers, stapler, highlighters, crayons, scissors, folders. Hint: it's a lot easier and way less costly buying supplies for a 3rd grader than a high school or college student! (We're saving now for that time.)

On our return home from our Cape Cod anniversary weekend, we made a quick stop in RI and rendezvoused at a Dunkin Donuts near the grandkid's home. Of course, his sister had to check everything out, but she doesn't enter pre-school until next fall, so no supplies for her yet.

A happy pair posing together, grandson and grandpa.

This serious moment for both grandkids is a definite rarity. 
Vote Today if there's a primary election in your town. We have one in Nashua, NH, to narrow down the mayoral field from 6 to 2 candidates. This is a sharp contrast to the small VA Eastern Shore town we formerly lived in where sometimes only 1 (or no one) ran for town mayor and a write-in candidate could and did win on election day.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Labor Day 2015

Today is Labor Day, a U.S. public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that its workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their country.

Labor Day was promoted by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, who organized the first parade in NYC to celebrate union membership. After the May 1886 Haymarket Square Riot in Chicago, U.S. President Grover Cleveland feared that commemorating Labor Day in May could become an opportunity to commemorate the affair. Inn 1887, the U.S. holiday was established in September to support the Labor Day that the Knights favored. 
The first Labor Day was celebrated Sept 5, 1882 in NYC when over 10,000 workers assembled to participate in the first Labor Day Parade marching from City Hall to Union Square. Afterwards, workers and families met in Reservoir Park for a picnic, concert, and speeches. 

Oregon was the first state to grant legal status to the holiday in 1887 followed by Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Colorado. By the time it became a federal holiday in 1894, 30 states officially celebrated Labor Day. In 1956, the U.S. postal system issued a 3-cent postage stamp commemorating Labor Day. 

Today, Labor Day is associated with the end of the summer season, although summer officially ends Sept 21. The holiday weekend has become a major shopping time; many schools resume classes before or immediately after the 3-day holiday weekend.

Our northern neighbor, Canada, celebrates Labour Day the first Monday of September. More than 80 other countries celebrate International Workers' Day on May 1 as their holiday dedicated to labor.

(The poster image is is in the public domain from the U.S. National Archives with no known copyright restrictions. It's from a series based on a World War II poster created by the Office for Emergency Management. Office of War Information, Domestic Operations Branch. Bureau of Special Services (1943-19450. The original poster title was "Free Labor Will Win, 1942-1945")

However you spend the day, take time to remember its significance.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Eclectic Taste?

As Seen In Job Lot
Catering to the truly eclectic tastes. 
This creates a number of questions; 
Catsup or Mustard, 
Heinz or Grey Poupon?
Has the cost of Spam gone up, 
or Caviar gone down?
Is this the sign of a recession,
or early a correction?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Cape Cod Treats

We visited several interesting places and dined at a couple of interesting eateries on our Cape Code anniversary road trip. Please don't tell us that pancakes and ice cream are not in any food groups, as this was a celebration trip! (And, we completed this outing before we started back to the South Beach plan.)

While most of our anniversary road trip was described and shown in an earlier post, these other sites were also on our itinerary. The Gorey House in Yarmouth, MA is where Edward Gorey, a well-known American author, illustrator, puppeteer, and playwright lived and worked from 1986 until his death in 2000. The house currently serves as a museum celebrating Gorey's life and work and includes many examples of his work and unusual collections.

The rambling 1820 house commemorates the artist, celebrating and preserving his life and works. Through personal belongings, family photos and original works, the house showcases Gorey’s diverse talents. Gorey collected all sorts of objects; some of them discarded objects found at the side of the road. He arranged and displayed such items on his porch and in the rooms of the house. He also had a large collection of books and an overflowing library.

Gorey was a not only a prolific writer, but also a set and costume designer, He spent his last years living in one of the oldest houses on the Yarmouth Common. His illustrations were showcased on the introducts to the PBS Mystery series over several seasons.

The Pancake Man is a full-service family restaurant located on Route 28 in South Yarmouth, MA. The restaurant operates daily and offers breakfast and lunch. It was founded in the summer of 1961 by three local men, who on a ski trip in the winter of 1960 decided to open a pancake house. They drew up plans, completed construction and opened the next summer. The following year, two more Pancake Man restaurants were built in Hyannis and Falmouth, and later in Dennisport and Sandwich, MA. The South Yarmouth location is the only surviving restaurant of a MA chain which had as its logo: “The only Man in five places at the same time on Cape Cod.”

Sundae School ice cream opened in May 1976 in Dennisport, MA. Its founders looked for a way that a school teacher, his wife, and their young son could spend summers on the Cape. They found it was by making and selling homemade ice cream on Cape Cod.

It was a fun and delicious trip!