The Excellent Adventures of Kim and Kev

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mother's Day

Celebrating Moms is ALWAYS a great way to spend an afternoon.

And fortunately that is what we did this past Sunday.

Our Mother's Day celebration was held at the usual place.... my sister's house.  The place where family members can come from miles around and have plenty of room to hang out and socialize and eat.

And even if you are not a family member - you are still welcome.  Because that is just how hospitable my sister and her husband are.

They always have plenty of love (and food!) to go around.

I ended up having to go in to work at 7am ( grrrrr) but was still able to make it to the party by lunchtime.

Nana ( my Mom) and Abigail...
The hostess with the mostest... my sister, Shannon...
I've probably mentioned this before... but Shannon came up with the best idea to make holidays less crazy and more enjoyable.  She just invites every one.  We have been doing this for a couple of years now and it gives us the opportunity to spend time with both of our families in one place.
It also makes sense because Kev's parents have pretty much adopted Shannon's children as their grandchildren - so, they really look forward to this time together.

Kev and his mother, Mary....

Nana and five of her many grandchildren...
Shannon and Randy prepared an unreal amount of BBQ chicken.  All different sauces and sides and fixin's.  They really know how to do it right!

And I spent an unreal amount of time just taking photos of this little angel....

In fact, for some reason when babies are around... I forget to take pictures of anything else.
Can you blame me?
At least until the adults start acting out to get the attention of the camera back...

Our day ended with a torrential downpour.

Which ended up being the highlight to Abby's day.

This Mother's Day was especially awesome because there are two NEW mothers in my family - Happy first Mother's Day to Holly and Laura!  And Happy Mother's Day to all of you other mothers out there!!  I am in awe of you!   I hope your day was amazing!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Recipe Roundup

Last week's highlights....

Tuesday night was set aside for Kev's special request.  As you know, Kev is VERY easygoing when it comes to his meals - so, the fact that he mentioned something he would like to try made me make it a priority.

He got the idea/recipe from The Today Show.  And even though I ended up not finding the exact one he saw, this was pretty darn close.

Now I have made bruschetta before, but this recipe used a little different technique - not to mention fresh tomatoes instead of the canned/jarred that I have used in the past.

It was easy, very tasty, and light.  In fact, Kev said that he would be happy to eat it as the main part of his meal with just a salad on the side... which would be perfect for summer.

I ended up serving it with roasted eggplant, soba noodles, and spicy marinara from Trader Joes.
And then I was reminded why I do NOT serve bread often!  It is my downfall times 1000.

I love me some bread.  And I will never eat it in moderation.  In fact, I believe that the more I eat, the less that will be sitting around for me to snack on.

See, I'm doing myself a favor by eating an entire loaf in one sitting.

At least that is what I would like to believe.

On Thursday, we tried out a new restaurant.... Cafe Caturra.
It opened in my center recently and I have heard nothing but rave reviews!

The place was packed for a Thursday night.  Luckily, I was just getting takeout.  I was able to sit and study the menu for a little while and was impressed with all of the different options.

They even let you create your own fruit and cheese plate to go along with your selection of wines.  I love that idea!

For our first taste testing, I went with what I had been told was good.  It seemed like a good starting point.

Pimiento cheese appetizer....
I am a huge lover of pimento cheese - and this cheese did not disappoint.  It was creamy and rich and had a little kick.  I wasn't crazy about the bread, though ( even though I just said that I am bread fiend).  It would have been better toasted.  I just ended up eating the cheese on pita chips that I had at home.

Tuna +white bean + Basil salad.....
Interesting combination but one that I will be making again at home.  Loved how light it tasted, the health benefits, and the fact that it is packed with protein.

Blackened shrimp tacos....
These were good - but probably would have been better had we eaten them as soon as they were made.  That's the problem with takeout... once I get it home and we eat it, it is not always at it's best.

And then there was the margherita pizza... that I accidentally deleted the picture of.  It was, hands down, the very best part of the meal.  It was wood-fire grilled, thin crust, fresh mozzarella, perfection. 

The margherita is my favorite pizza so it is imperative for me to try it whenever it is available.

Overall, I was impressed.  The atmosphere is great.  The food options are great.  And I can walk to it from work.  We will be back.
Our last meal highlight was on Friday... The Pioneer Woman's quiche.
The recipe that I used is out of her latest cookbook.  Unfortunately, I could not find it online but linked to another one of Pioneer Woman's quiches.  It is basically the same thing except that I used proscuitto instead of bacon.

The recipe says it makes ONE 10inch quiche - but as you can see, the mixture was enough to make two.  And I followed the recipe perfectly.

No worries, though.  More for Kev to eat.

He said it was amazing and could quite possibly take the place of the breakfast casserole that I make him from time to time.

It took him four days to finish it.... with a little help from me!

This week's meal plan includes chicken gumbo, Asian noodle salad, and fish sandwiches.

That is if Kev finishes all of the Mother's Day leftovers.  ;)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Recipe Roundup

My busy season at work is almost over.  It pretty much ends with Mother's Day and doesn't pick back up until the Fall.

I'm looking forward to it.

I'm also looking forward to using some of these Groupons that have been stacking up lately.... yoga, Crossfit, kettle bells, mud run training, spin, and boot camp.

Somebody, please make Groupons harder to purchase!  Good grief.

I actually got up extra early and went to the gym this morning.  You know.. the place that I'm a member of until September ( which is when I will probably renew).  Sometimes, I get so focused on all of these other fitness places that I ignore the place that helped me get in to shape in the first place.

My mission was boot camp.  A new ( to me) class that is only taught once a week.  I wanted to check it out and see how it was compared to the other boot camp that I attended back in March. 

Um.  It was harder.  WAY HARDER!

At one point, my arms were shaking so bad from SPRINTING with 20 lbs of weights in my hands that I could barely do the 100 crunches I was forced to do.  Believe me, it is difficult to stay focused on form and working your abs when you have the "jimmy" arms.

I'm sure I will be feeling it by tomorrow.

If not tonight.

It was a GREAT class!

Anyway, since this post is titled "Recipe Roundup", I suppose that I should give you some recipes.

These were our winners from last week ( in addition to the quesadillas that I posted about yesterday)...

I got the recipe from Real Simple magazine.  It was very easy to make if you have a food processor.

The pesto is basically cooked kale + walnuts + garlic + olive oil. ( I skipped the cheese in the mixture but added parmesan to Kev's before I served it.)

I also added in some shredded chicken for more protein.

It was very "green" tasting ( if that makes sense).  Fortunately, "green" is something we like.  However, I will probably add in tomatoes and peppers when I make this again.... just to give it some other flavors.

And on Sunday night we had....

Salmon with horseradish hummus.

A couple of weeks ago, I went a little crazy at Trader Joe's buying hummus.  It is something that we eat just about every day and they have so many unique flavors.  The problem is that their hummus has no preservatives - which is awesome - but it means that we don't have much time to eat it. 

Really the problem is that I went too crazy buying it!  And also the fact that we don't have a Trader Joe's close by so I can buy the delicious hummus at my leisure!

I had seen a recipe for lemon-pepper salmon that called for a horseradish-sour cream "sauce" on the side and decided to try the horseradish hummus instead.

It.was.incredible!  In fact, I ended up mixing the salmon, brown rice, and hummus all together causing a taste explosion!

It added a ton of flavor without being too spicy for the meal.

Kev declared his love for it so much that I suggested that he marry it.

I even caught him giving me the "stink eye" multiple times when I would reach for another spoonful.

It was nerve wracking, to say the least.

To start this meal - I seasoned the salmon with a lemon-pepper spice rub and then Kev threw it on the grill.
Kev also grilled squash, zucchini, onions, and many little sweet peppers.

Now imagine every thing in that picture all mixed together.  Yum!
On a side note, the sweet peppers were incredible!  I have been buying bags of them for us to eat raw as snacks.  But just a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and some time on the grill and it took them to a whole new level.  Plus, they are so easy!  No chopping or cutting involved.

It was a great meal to end our weekend!

This week on the menu, we have a special request by Kev, a taste testing of a new restaurant, and a quiche... in addition to our same (sometimes boring) healthy foods that we eat on a weekly basis.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Another Saturday Night

That just so happened to be the 5th of May.

Perfect timing for a Mexican food celebration if I do say so myself.

I hadn't really put that much thought in to it this year.  I mean, I thought about it.  And I planned a meal.  But I didn't go all out with sombreros and pinatas and margaritas and overflowing bowls of chips like I used to do.

Our celebration was to consist of guacamole and vegan enchiladas.

And a lot more guacamole.

But Kev had a better idea.  He surprised me on Friday night with this....

 And my simple dinner turned in to a fiesta!

It is no secret that we love a quesadilla around here.  They are easy and filling and delicious and can be made all different ways.  The problem is that I always struggle with flipping them over in the pan - which causes them to either burn or fall apart. 

And  yes, I realize that my problems are mainly due to overfilling the tortillas.  But I can't help it.

So, Kev bought this little gem in hopes that my quesadillas would be perfected and I would have less time over the stove and more time to stuff guac in my mouth.

My only stove time consisted of veggie sauteing... peppers, onions, and mushrooms....
And then it was time to put my quesadilla maker to work.

Not surprisingly, one of the main rules of "the maker" was to NOT overfill the tortillas.

It is easier said than done.
The positives were that they ended up much healthier because I didn't need to cook them in oil.  Just a little non-stick spray did the trick.  ( I used Ezekiel tortillas)

And they also tasted great!
The negative was that they took a little longer than expected.  So, while I was stuffing my face, Kev was  waiting on his to finish. 

I get impatient when I'm hungry.

Therefore, we decided that next time we will share the first one while the second one is cooking.

I'm sure that you are completely blown away by our problem solving skills.  :)

I had also forgotten to buy jalapenos ( I know - it blows my mind, too!) and had nothing to spice up the guacamole.  That is until I noticed a jar of banana peppers in the pantry.  We had forgotten how much we love banana peppers and they made the guacamole incredible!

It was a little sweet without being too spicy ( I've been told my guac is a little too spicy from time to time) and was the perfect addition to the veggie quesadillas.

So, while it wasn't the wildest Cinco that we have ever had, it was a good one!  Especially because I was able to wake up feeling good the next day!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Making the Most of May

Well, April ended up being an embarrassment.  I only managed to post three times even though I had a month full of family, fitness, and fun activities.
And really great food.
So, I figured I would start this new month off right with a post and a vow to keep up with our May adventures.
And that post just happens to be about last weekend.... how we wrapped up April and got ready for May.

With food, of course.

Saturday night involved "burgers".  Meatless ones.  Portobello mushrooms for me and Boca burgers for Kev.

I had put these on our meal plan almost a month ago with no rhyme or reason... but they ended up being the perfect meal to welcome in summer.  Or at least welcome in our summer-like weather.
The mushrooms were the perfect size for the Ezekiel bread buns and made a pretty good sandwich.  On the side I served Trader Joe's organic/vegetarian baked beans, potato wedges, and deviled eggs.

I have always made my deviled eggs plain and simple.  Mayo, mustard, salt and pepper.  But during a spin class, I was daydreaming about how much I love eggs and how much I love spicy mustard ( I eat it on just about everything these days) and this recipe was created.

I realize that I am probably the last person on Earth to make deviled eggs this way... but I'm so glad that I finally figured it out.  We will never be able to go back to basic eggs again. 

They were fantastic! 

And yes, I spend spin class daydreaming about food.  It's my motivation.

On Sunday, I held a taste testing of dark chocolate coconut water. 
( You can read about how awesome coconut water is here. )

I love the flavor of coconut and I love the benefits of coconut water but I wasn't necessarily sold on the chocolate flavoring ( especially after a workout) until I read that it was similar to a Yoo-hoo.

Kev was raised on Yoo-hoos.  And he can't talk about them without grinning from ear to ear.

It is quite a sight to see.

So, I knew we had to try it - even if I do have to ration it out because the drinks are so expensive.

It was pretty darn good.  But as for tasting like a Yoohoo... Kev says it tastes like a healthy version of one.

I guess that is a pretty good review.

My snack for the day was eaten pool side. 

That's right, folks.  Our pool was (forcefully) opened for business. 

Let's just say that it got pretty hot working in the yard in the direct sun.

And despite Kev's warnings that the pool may be a little cold, I bravely (and slowly) climbed in to the 78 degree water.

It was too chilly for swimming but good for floating on a raft and cooling off.

My snack was more coconut water... but in the form of a La Croix sparkling water with coconut flavoring.  Plus an apple with raisins and sesame cashews.  Such a great snack mix!
And then came the best part of the weekend.  Dinner.  At least it was for Kev.

My dinner consisted of soup....

It was actually very good - especially for a boxed soup.  I ate it cold mainly because it was so hot outside and I wanted something refreshing - but also because I don't really care for hot soup.

I don't have the patience for it.

I have the same issue with coffee.  I only drink it iced.

And don't even get me started on hot chocolate.  Ick. 

Anyway, as I was saying... Kev's dinner was pretty much the highlight of the weekend.  It was chicken and waffles.

The first time that he had eaten them and the first time that I had made them.

We now know what the big deal is!  Incredible!

We had been unsure about the flavor combination...  but once I researched some recipes and Kev recorded a cooking show where the host was making them, I knew we had to give it a try.

I kept it super easy:  I purchased breaded chicken fingers and frozen waffles.

I realize that doesn't make them authentic but I don't know how/don't want to fry chicken and the first (and only) time that I tried to make waffles they ended up being a huge disaster.

Basically, the only thing that I did was cut and saute the peppers and onion.  And then piled every thing on a plate and drizzled it with syrup.

I figured if Kev didn't like it then I didn't spend a lot of time on it and it wouldn't be a big deal.

But then I tried a bite - one big bite with all of the flavors - and I knew that it was a winner!

What on Earth took us so long to try this?

I didn't even see Kev's face for 20 minutes straight because it was in the plate.  He sounded like a pack of hungry wolves scarfing down a crate of fresh meat.

It was ridiculous.

And then he put some hot sauce on it and proclaimed it amazing!

It will definitely be making an appearance in our kitchen again.  Maybe as soon as next week.

I can't even imagine what he will do when he gets a chance to eat the real thing.

It might be best if he is alone.

And that pretty much wraps up our weekend.  A great way to end the month of April.

As for May, it is going to be another busy one.  Plenty of celebrations and family fun times.

I can't wait!