Sunday, May 17, 2009

I'm Back and Making Mexican!

Ok so the detox didn't work, but I am not discouraged. I think the stress of work has leaked into my everyday life and has messed up my eating (and exercising) habits. But I am ready to get back and on track. I am back in the kitchen working on yummy food that will heal me and not kill me. Today it started with migas...I know migas doesn't sound healthy but I altered the dish a little:
  1. I sprayed a little olive oil on the corn tortillas and toasted them in oven
  2. I used two whole eggs and two egg whites
  3. I served it with thinly sliced sweet potatoes and black beans
  4. Instead of sour cream I used low fat Greek yogurt

For lunch, I made Green Chile and Chicken Enchiladas. I got the recipe from Cook Yourself Thin on Lifetime. If you can get past the "Totally"and "Oh My God" girly talk, it's actually a really good show. It offers lots of tips and great recipes. This dish was delicious. The sauce was light and fresh; the prefect summer enchilada sauce. It offered the right amount of spice, especially for my Buster who doesn't really enjoy spicy food. He loved this dish so much he had a second serving.

I higly recommend this dish. It was easy to make. The hardest part was roasting and peeling the poblanos, which you don't have to do. I saw the canned roasted peppers but I chose to roast my own. It took me back to summers at my tia's house, who always seemed to be roasting some sort of pepper.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Last Supper: Jenni's Noodle House In My "Noodlehood"

For my last supper before the detox, B and I went to Jenni's Noodle House new location off of Post Oak. Instead of having to drive ALL THE WAY down to Shepard and Alabama from the Galleria for delicious coconut curry and fired dumplings, we now just travel a few blocks. Today instead of getting my usual, Infernal Chicken Curry, I decided for my last meal to try something new. I got an item off the picture menu (Jenni's has a little book full of pictures of menu and off-menu items), Pineapple Chicken Ramen Soup. Buster ordered the Buddha Soba, but during our conversation with the cute counter girl his order was mixed up and he was served the Stir Me Crazy.

I added chili oil to the ramen and it was the perfect balance of savory, sweet, and spicy. The dish inspired a conversation about the various ways you can cook ramen.

Buster's Stir Me Crazy was a pleasant mistake. The stir fry consisted crispy tofu, rice noodles, and vegetables.

Of course we started with the fired Disco Dumplings and wet the pallet with Jenni's limeade. The Galleria area has been blessed...thank you food gods.

Martha's Vineyard Detox Diet

I am getting ready to start the Martha's Vineyard Detox Diet tomorrow and here is my schedule for 21 days:
5:30 a.m.
8 ounce tea
Herbal Cleansing
7:30 a.m.
Berry Drink
8 ounces of water
9:30 a.m.
8 ounce green drink
8 ounce tea
11:30 a.m.
1 cup of soup and broth
8 ounce water
1:30 p.m.
8 ounce water
8 ounce green drink
8 ounce tea
3:30 p.m.
Berry Drink
5:30 p.m.
I cup of vegetable juice
8 ounce tea
Herbal Cleansing
8 ounce water
7:30 p.m.
Aloe Vera

I am really excited about starting this detox. I just turned 28 and I have decided that I would like to enter my 30's healthy. I have two years to change my eating habits and let go of whatever it is that keeps from reaching this goal.

To get ready for this I started juicing for breakfast and I created a really good morning juice. So good I replaced it for my morning coffee WILLINGLY!

Juice 3 carrots, 1 green apple, and half of a beet.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Detox...Are you crazy?!

So it has been about a month since I have posted anything. I am not cooking or loving food the way I used too. I think I need to reboot my system. Buster went on this 21 day detox plan, which consisted of no chewing and lots of vegetable puree. It was hard but his results speak for themselves. He has energy and has a new appreciation for food.

I have always had a deep passion for food, but my energy was directed toward food that harmed me. That is my default. We all have stress and we all deal with it in different ways. I am aware of how I handle mine and that is with food. Before I would joke about how I needed that piece of chocolate cake or that burger and fries, now it scares me. I have seen what harmful food can do and the price you pay for ignorance and I don't want to go down that road.

I have worked at redirecting my passion for food toward food that heals, but there is still the old part of me that falls back into historic patterns. I think that this detox might be a good thing for me. If you (assuming that people actually read this) don't mind the Grub Junkie is going into food rehab.

My plans are to start at the end of the month and to use the time before then to mentally prepare myself. For someone with a food addiction this wont be easy I know but it will be worth it. I will keep posts of my progress and the routine. I teach 6th graders so I hope I don't get so hungry and seeing my students as giant turkey legs.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Martha's Paul Bunyan Cookie

I don't bake, well not until a few hours ago. I was watching a Martha Stewart podcast and she made Paul Bunyan Cookies (click the link for the recipe). These cookies stuck in my mind and I decided I would make them this weekend. I was a little intimidated because I don't have a Robin's Egg Blue mixer and the only thing I have ever really baked was chicken.
I followed the recipe exactly, except instead of vegetable shortening I used butter. I read a comment on Martha's website where someone suggested this and I usually don't have any use for shortening; it just sits in my cabinet. I had never used molasses before but I remember hearing many times to spray your measuring cup with Pam so that the molasses pours smoothly and it did.

I have to admit I am happy with the outcome. I didn't burn them and they are edible. To quote my Buster "It is a nice balance of chewing and crispy." The oats, chocolate, raisins, and walnuts create a nice texture. I chopped the walnuts a little too fine so they are sublet. I think next time I am going to chop the walnuts coarsely.

Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes!

My new favorite breakfast. I got the recipe off of Slash Food. I have made these almost every weekend for the past month. I am trying to perfect the recipe and make it my own. I add some fresh grated nutmeg and cinnamon to the dry mix. I also use soy milk instead of regular milk and I mush up a couple of old bananas add mix them up with the batter. All of these little additions work. The nutmeg and cinnamon makes the flavor a little more complex and interesting. The soy milk is because that is all we use and I never have regular milk. I got tired of running to the store. The old bananas give the pancakes an extra banana sweetness. When the pancakes are ready top with some peanut butter, syrup and ENJOY!

If you make these and make them your own please let me know. I would like to hear your ideas.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

One's A Meal is the meal!

This is probably the least talked about best Greek restaurant in Houston. Sure everyone recommends Niko Niko's, which is good, but just down the street and around the corner is my new favorite Greek restaurant, One's A Meal.

Buster and I had been apartment hunting and we were starving. As Buster and I walked in, we were greeted by two very friendly men. One who seated us and the other who took our order. We sat in silence as we glanced through the menu, everything sounded so good. We decided on the following:
Well before I give you the order, the meal started with a basket of baked pita bread and a dip of tomato sauce. The bread was crispy and sprinkled with sesame seeds, which was a perfect compliment for the fresh tomato sauce, nicely seasoned. I would go back for that sauce alone.

Spanakopita (spinach and feta in philo pockets)

It is hard to go wrong with these little hot pockets of warm spinach and feta. The philo was crispy and flaky and the filling was a nice balance of spinach and feta.

Souzoukakia (meatballs with tomato sauce over rice)

I had never had this dish before but I have now found a new favorite. The meatballs were a little over cooked but they were packed with flavor. The tomato sauce was the same tomato sauce for the pita bread. The dish was served with an extremely healthy serving for mixed herb vegetables (yellow squash, broccoli, celery...), green beans in the same tomato sauce, and two lemon herb potatoes.

Pastichio (tube pasta and beef topped with bechamel sauce)

This was Buster's pick and one of his favorite Greek dishes. Usually the pasta is a little dry, but at One's A Meal it was moist. It also had a nice herb flavor and topped off with the delicious tomato sauce. His meal also had the same vegetables as the Souzoukakia (he wasn't as excited about the squash and green beans as I was).

To sum it up, One's A Meal is the place I recommend for Greek food in Houston.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sugarbaby's and Crave: Houston Cupcakes Are Taking Over

Sugarbaby's is an experience. When you walk into the store you feel like you have entered into a little girl's or little boy's (because I was that kind of boy too) big, pink, and extravagant idea of a tea party. It is cute and there is no other way to describe it. The assortment of cupcakes is overwhelming. There are so many choices and so far all of my choices have been delicious ones.

My visit to Crave was an accident. Buster and I were headed to Uptown Sushi (very good sushi) and saw this place in the same plaza. After dinner we stopped and it was like Jesus wanted us to get these cupcakes. When we walked in the girl behind the counter informed us that they had 5 strawberry cupcakes left. We ordered our two and they other three were gone with an a minute, after which many people left Crave very disappointed and empty handed.

I now know why they run out of all of their cupcakes. These little cakes are wonderful. The icing was nice and sweet and the cake was moist. If this is what the cupcake tastes like at the end of the day I can't wait to try one when they have been freshly baked.

Chinese Burger Joints!

Is it just me or is there a trend in Chinese burger places. Buster took me to Lucky Burger here in Houston. The menu consisted of your typical greasy-burger joint favorites: Burgers, Tater Tots, Fries...and FRIED RICE!

We just got burgers and I am sure the pics let you know what I thought of the food. I am tempted to try the fried rice next time. C&H Burger is another greasy-burger spot in Houston that serves some pretty good Chinese food and some really good and unique burgers. I don't know who came up with this combo but I have to say I love it! Two of my favorite food groups, saucy, fried Chinese food and a greasy burger.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

What kind of Mexican am I?

It came to my attention the other day that I don't know how to make much Mexican food. I can make quesadillas, chorizo and eggs, and super-quick tortilla soup, but that's about it. I figured it was time to step up and represent my culture.
My mom had bought 6 dozen corn tortillas and sent me home with half so I needed to get rid of them. I found a from scratch enchilada sauce recipe on-line and after watching Martha's Cooking School segment on making rice, I decided to make Spanish rice.
The rice was a disaster. I went to the store to buy all the ingredients thinking that I had rice, which I did but it was brown rice. I decided to use it any way. I consulted my sister and some online recipes. It looked promising but after the 20 minutes of cooking the rice didn't absorb the liquid.
The enchiladas were good. I got the recipe for the sauce from Recipezaar. It was easy to make and tasted good. My aunt makes some really good enchiladas at her restaurant, El Matador in Dumas, Texas. This sauce doesn't compare to that one, but I am happy with it and now I feel like a Mexican.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Mama Ninfa's Vs. Teotihuacan

Many have urged the Busters to try the original Mama Ninfa's (located on Navigation in Houston, Texas), including that redheaded spitfire Kathy Griffin.
Getting seated...
So we made our way through the traffic at 6 p.m. on a Friday. When we got there the parking lot was packed. After we parked we strolled around the building and saw the line. I went to put our name down with the hostess and she told me just to wait in line, there was no need to leave my name. I was a little concerned. The entrance was packed. It turns out Mama Ninfa prefers a casual seating procedure that makes one appreciate the traditional and comfortable "leave your name, the wait will be 15 to 20 minutes for your name to be called" procedure. We did not stand in line long as another lady made her way down the line offering a seat on the patio. We opted for a seat on the heated patio, since it was freezing Texas-style (I think it was about 50 degrees that night).
Of course we had to get the queso flameado. It was fantastic. The waitress brought it with home-made flour tortillas. She used two spoons, cut the cheese (insert middle school humor here ) and made four beautiful taquitos. Never once did she touch anything with her hands. The queso was "delicioso." The mix of chorizo and that amazing cheese was perfect. So I was optimistic about the food. I ordered three empanadas, which had three different fillings (it is hard to remember which had what because nothing tasted as it should...I know one had chorizo, another had mole, and the last I can't remember) rice and beans. Buster ordered a combination plate that included an enchilada, taco, rice and beans.
The empandas were decent. The crust was extremely flaky and the filling was edible. When I order something that has the word "mole" in it. I am expecting the sweet, savory sauce that hugs my tummy. I never got that. The rice and beans were good.

Buster felt the same about his plate. Everything was alright. It made me long for Teotihuacan....

Oh MY GOD! I love this place. Not has fancy as Mama Ninfa's. It is very hole in the wall, but it blows Mama Ninfa's out the water. So Saturday morning Buster and I made our way to Teo's (for short) to redeem last nights mediocre meal.

This was our first time eating breakfast there. I got huevos rancheros con fajitas and Buster got chorizo. Both plates came with beans, potatoes, and a tamal. Both dishes were amazing. The tamal was all masa with a sliver of bell pepper. We were worried but it served as a nice bread to help clean the plate.We have been there for dinner a few times...everything we have ordered is good (expect for the shrimp quesdillas). Mama Ninfa's does have a better queso flameado, but Teo's serves them with HOME-MADE CORN TORTILLAS! I am in love.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Delicious Disaster! Edamame "Hummus"

I have been wanting to try this recipe for Edamame "Hummus" for a long time and thanks to my mom I was able to. My mom got me a food processor for Christmas this year (actually when it comes to the kitchen I made out this year). This recipe comes from Ellie Krieger on the Food Network. She has such great, simple recipes and offers tons of healthy alternatives.

It is my guess that hummus is quotation marks because this isn't really hummus, but it tastes a lot like hummus and it was so easy to make. I have yet to make traditional hummus so I don't have anything to compare it to.

There is some sadness attached to this delightful green mush. Buster has been so sweet in encouraging me to take pictures and update my blog. Last night while I was making this "Hummus" he grabbed his amazing Panasonic Lumix camera and began taking pics. Being the amazing photographer he set up the bowl and pita chips for the pic below...I picked up the camera slipped out of my hands and the lens bent. Now it wont take pictures. B I am so sorry! If anyone knows of an excellent camera repair shop in the Houston area please let me know.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Forgot the Pic of the Bread

Banana Nut Bread...thanks Martha!

I like to make Banana Nut Bread when we have let a bunch of bananas go bad. I found this Banana Nut Bread recipe on-line and made it a few times but it never came out right. This time fate stepped in and I changed my recipe. Buster and I went to HEB to get some missing ingredients and I left my recipe at home. We came back home and I decided to look for a recipe in the Martha Stewart Living Cookbook.

It is a healthy take on the recipe because it calls for whole-wheat flower and ground flax seeds. It was a little dry and needed a little extra kick. I am thinking some cinnamon and nutmeg. If you have any suggestions PLEASE let me know.

I prefer this recipe to my old one and I like the healthy twist. Now I don't feel so guilty for making it.

It's almost the Junk: Sunrise Taquitos 5601 Memorial Drive Houston, Texas

I was sold when I saw the "comadres" in the kitchen: one was working the tortilla dough, the other was cooking in a cast iron skillet, and the other was taking orders.

I ordered a chorizo and potato taco. Buster got a choirzo, egg, and bacon and a migas taco. (Can you tell we love ourselves some chorizo?). The tacos ran about 2 bucks a piece. The salsa was nice and spicy. All and all I recommend it. I wouldn't say it's the junk but it was pretty damn close.