December 29, 2010


Lately, I have been giving thought to going "flexitarian." To find out more about flexitarianism, I recommend this Newsweek article from September 28, 2008.

I don't want to be a vegetarian--I love eating meat. I eat from the full spectrum of what's available, from filet mignon to liverwurst. What I don't love is the way I feel when I consume too much and the ecological footprint I leave by, as an average American, eating an estimated 200 pounds of meat a year.

I'm going to try living 2011 as a flexitarian. For me, this means either a regular portion once a week or else tiny (1/4 sized) portions a few times a week. If there's a special occasion and I eat a few regular portions, then I'll eat totally vegetarian the following week. It's my flexitarianism, so I get to make the rules. By my rules, fish doesn't count, and I can eat salmon M/W/F and 4 oz. of chicken on Saturday and still be a flexitarian. It's not so much about the label, but about the reduced consumption.

Tell me: What are your food goals for 2011?

In lieu of a "no pigs" picture, I give you a pig with wings to symbolize freedom in choice:


December 27, 2010

What's been going on?

Christmas has come and gone, and lots of good food was eaten.  In the course of the usual holiday excitement we didn't take photos of all that was prepared.  Once Marie arrives safely back to NYC, the camera cord will be located and the pictures we do have will be uploaded.  Needless to say, her arrival time is somewhat tenuous,  and she'll need a few days to decompress from the trip.  Stay tuned!

Julie and Marie
Driven Cellars, Amador County
Sierra Nevada Foothills, CA

December 16, 2010

Comfort Food...

Whenever Jessica is gone I try to make something with ground beef (not her favorite food at all).  Sometimes It's sloppy joes, or in the summer it's hamburgers on the grill.  Yesterday I had mushrooms that had to be used, and what says mushrooms better than gravy?  Not much.

Yum...Salisbury steak with mushroom gravy.

 Combine 1 Lb of ground beef with 1/2 stack of crushed up Ritz crackers, 1 egg, ground black pepper, and 1 capful Worcestershire.  Add to the beef mixture 1/2 of a chopped onion sauteed with garlic (personal preference).  Shape into 4 oblong patties, and put them in the freezer if you'll be cooking them within a half hour, otherwise place them in the fridge.  Cook at 375 for 25 minutes.

For the gravy, saute sliced mushrooms.  Add one can of Cream of Mushroom soup, one package of French Onion soup mix, and 1/2 cup milk.  Bring to boil, then simmer for approx. 10 min.

We also had mashed potatoes and fresh green beans. 

I apologize if the photos are that great.  I couldn't find my camera so I used my iPhone.


December 12, 2010

Now that she's 18...

....does she still count as a 'kid' in the kitchen? 

Kids in the kitchen....again....

So, I let my kids experiment in the kitchen.  Jessica takes me up on this more than Andrew does, but they both enjoy cooking.  We call Jessica the 'Queen of Soup', it's her go-to food, especially in the winter.  Today's soup featured Udon noodles, chicken, and really the best broth she's ever done.

udon noodle soup

Melt 1Tbsp butter (or margarine) in saute pan, add chopped ginger and garlic (to personal taste).  Add cut raw chicken pieces, cook until browned, stirring often.  Meanwhile, heat two cans chicken broth and 1 1/3 cup water in saucepan, mixing in chicken flavor packet from udon package.  Add green onions, 1/2 tsp ginger, and 1/2 tsp hot chili sauce.  Once bubbling, add udon noodles and turn to low for approximately five minutes.  Add chicken when cooked and let flavors blend for a few minutes.  Enjoy!


I found the picture of her birthday cake.  It looks so good I wish we had some left!
Baskin Robbins Chocolate Decadence Cake

December 8, 2010

Birthday Dinner

Osaka Sushi is our very favorite sushi restaurant. Made even more so because it is literally right around the corner from our house.   A little on the "spendy" side, it's perfect for the occasional special dinner, and nothing is more special than Jessica's 18th birthday. Our family tradition lets the birthday person choose the restaurant (within reason; no Mickey D's or Mortons (at least not 'til the kids are gone), and many times we have ended up at Osaka. The tables are always packed and the food is always excellent!

This is my dinner. Sesame Chicken and Chicken Karage.  The dinner comes with miso soup, rice, pickled bean sprouts, and salad.

Jessica had the Danny roll. Panko fried scallops, crab, and avocado. 

Andrew had the Tony roll and Joe had the A-Town roll, which I do not have pictures of. Our meal was topped of with a Chocolate Decadence cake from Baskin Robbins.  Chocolate cake, with chocolate icing, all covered with a chocolate ganache and drizzled with caramel.  Yum.


December 4, 2010

Bacon Ravioli Bake

Everything is better with bacon!!

Bacon Ravioli Bake
One package frozen ravioli (can be any kind)
1/4 lb bacon
2 green onions
1/2 block low fat cream cheese
1 can chicken broth
1/2 cheddar cheese

Cut bacon into small pieces and cook on medium until crisp.  Take bacon pieces out of pan, leaving drippings.  Saute green onions approximately 1 minute.  Add cream cheese, and cook on medium heat until the cream cheese starts to melt, stirring frequently.  Slowly add chicken broth, whisking as it's poured in.  Cook mixture on medium-low until the cream cheese is thoroughly melted, stirring often. Meanwhile, arrange frozen ravioli in largest size corning ware (or other baking dish of approximate size).  When the cream cheese is all the way melted add bacon pieces, stir briefly, then pour over the ravioli. The sauce will be very thin.  Sprinkle grated cheddar cheese on top and bake in a 400 oven for 25 minutes.  Let set for at least 15 minutes when done, allowing time for the sauce to thicken.

Helpful Hints
The setting time after the ravioli is cooked is very important.  If after 15 minutes it still seems thin then let set additional time.  Although, the sauce in the pan is great for dipping garlic bread into.
Ravioli with chicken or italian sausage will probably work best.  I used cheese and the over-all dish was too cheesy (can't believe something ever has too much cheese, but it did).