Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Baked Cod

Im really glad that I got over my little idea that anything that swims tastes gross because some of my favorite dishes are variations of fish now.  My favorite fish to make at home is a recipe from my friend Michelle, its a tilapia on a bed of cajun rice with mango salsa...dont worry, I'll post it as soon as mangoes are in season!  My favorite salmon is at Raccoon River brewery and has squash and zucchini as well as gnocchi and a lemon dill sauce....mmmmmmmm!  Anyway, besides fish being mighty tasty, its pretty flipping good for you too...which makes it top my list when we head out to eat too.  Read: sushi is my number one favorite going out to eat destination (Waterfront to be specific but I'll take down any sushi you want to throw at me).  Last night I decided to try a new recipe with a couple of lbs of cod that I had lying around.  Actually, I had bought it for a different recipe and then I couldnt find it for 2 weeks or I found a new cod recipe and used it for that.  Im sure since I made it last night the original recipe will show up today sometime, that's just the way I roll.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays when I have my boot camp class, I have a 20 minute gap at home to change clothes and get ready to hit the road to Des Moines.  I like to make dinners on those nights that I can throw together and leave out for Justin to put in the oven 15 minutes before I get home from class since I am usually famished after the feeling of passing out fades away.  Last night was a very simple meal but it was pretty tasty if you like cod.  If you've never had it, cod is a lot like tilapia, a whitefish with not much fishy taste to it.  The recipe I found quickly online was called (the main reason this was the one I chose was I had all these spices at home and didnt have to make a trip to the store):

Baked Spicy Cod

1 lb cod fillets (I had 2 so I just doubled everything)
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
1 T lemon juice
1 T melted margarine (optional...I used 1 T instead of doubling to 2 T)

Preheat oven to 350, place fish in greased (I use fat free pam nonstick stuff) baking pan.  Combine all the spices together, sprinkle lemon juice and margarine on top of fish, finish with sprinkling spice mixture evenly on top.  Bake until fish flakes evenly, which was about 25-30 minutes in our oven.  I covered with tin foil and left it for Justin to throw in about a half hour after I's what it looked like before it was cooked:

Fish alone isnt going to cut it so I had asparagus in the steamer with instructions for him to start it 10 minutes before the fish was done:

Now for my secret weapon.  These little Uncle Ben's rice packets are the shizz, seriously the best thing ever invented!  There are a million different variations, I used cajun style to give the fish some kick and you throw it in the microwave for 90 seconds to have a nice little bed of perfectly cooked and spiced rice for your cod.  I use these things all the time, the whole grain medley is one of my favorites for smothered pork chops or smothered chicken breasts (we'll get to those recipes soon, super easy).

Since I made so much fish we had our kid over for dinner as well.  My friend Curt moved to Granger and would eat gas station food 24/7 if I didnt give him some sustenance so the 2 lbs of cod, one bag of rice, and one bundle of asparagus was a perfect portion for 3 people (2 being big eating boys).  Best part about it, dinner was done and ready to be served when I walked in the door from the gym with little preparation (10 minutes tops), as well as a dude who can turn the oven and steamer on while you're away (get yourself one of those if you dont have one, mine's taken). Now you've got baked spicy cod on a bed of cajun rice with steamed asparagus for dinner....dig in!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Twork it out!

I am always mentioning boot camp in my posts, so if anyone is wondering about it, here's some info.  I signed up for this program because of a groupon a couple of months ago.  I am always looking for new ways to stay motivated and new workouts to keep me from getting bored.  In my opinion, the Twork it out fitness camp is the best thing Ive found in the Des Moines area in a long time. 

The instructor, Pin, gives each person in class one on one encouragement, tips on form, etc so you are held accountable and not just in the back of a 40 person class slacking because you're tired.  I give my all 100% of the time we are there.  Classes last 35-45 minutes, but you are moving constantly.  If you are interested in giving it a try, Pin's phone number is 1 515.423.7444 and his email is, tell him I sent you and you get a month for $65, I promise you wont want to quit, my friend Brandy and I just signed up for 3 months more.  Here is the website for the boot camp:

Rants.....and raves!

I have recently become very intrigued by the amount of good food and great restaurants that are available in the Des Moines area.  It seems that every time we go somewhere new, it gives us ideas of where else we want to try.  Lately, the reason we have been doing so well trying new establishments is due to my coupon clipping addiction, as mentioned in a previous post.  Its seriously becoming a problem.  You're not saving money if you are eating out for no other reason than to use a coupon.  This weekend was a great food weekend, I didnt cook once.  Granted, I wasnt feeling the best so it was a good weekend to take off from the kitchen but rarely do I go a full weekend without having to cook even the slightest thing.

First off with the rant...I went to Legends to meet some of the girlies after boot camp on Thursday night.  Legends is a large enough chain and has a detailed enough website that they should be able to make the effort to post their nutritional information online.  One of my biggest ways of tricking myself when going out to eat is perving on the menu a few hours before dinner when Im not hungry yet.  I know I just used the term "perving" in relation to food but thats the only real way I can describe it when Im walking as slow as humanly possible to my table when the hostess is seating us so I can get a mental picture and an internal slobber going by looking at what other people are eating on the way past their tables.  Justin has repeatedly scolded me for walking too slow and most likely creeping someone out from staring at their table too hard as I meander by.  In order to prevent this, I perv on the menu beforehand.  I will admit the staring at stranger's dinners doesnt embarrass me though so the main reason I perv on the menu beforehand is to be sure that I make a good decision health wise before I go out and am hungry enough to start chewing on my arm sitting at the table looking at the menu.  There are a few hard and fast rules that are pretty obvious to steer clear from if trying to keep calorie count down....a few of my rules are: nothing fried, no white/cream sauces, no full fat salad dressings or croutons on my salad, nothing stuffed with cheese, etc.  You would be surprised at how hard those are to follow sometimes, especially when french fries know my middle name and scream "Abby Lynn" at me the whole time Im looking at a menu usually!  Anyway, to bring this paragraph full circle, I perved on the Legends menu and found nothing on nutrition, I was so perturbed I thought about emailing them to ask for some.  The thing about restaurants is that if you dont know how the food is prepared, you can completely derail your day without even meaning to, which is a total pain in the arse.  If Im cheating on my diet, I would rather go with a chicken sandwich and french fries than thinking Im being good with a caesar salad that actually has more calories than what I wanted to eat.  So I went with a side salad with a grilled chicken breast on it at Legends, pretty blah (although it hit the spot after boot camp) but I didnt want to waste all the work I had just done sweating my tushy off in class.  One of the best chains to go to for nutrition information? Outback steakhouse.  They have an "under 500 calories" notation on their menu that tells you what to order.  I get steak, salad, shrimp, and veggies for under 500 calories because they leave the croutons off the salad, leave the butter off the veggies, shrimp, and steak...still tastes awesome, you leave stuffed, but you dont kill your diet.  Bueno.

I dont consider Legends a place to go unless its conveniant anyway, its pretty generic.  We went out to 2 great restaurants in Des Moines this weekend that were both new (to us) and both very, VERY good!  Friday night, Justin and I went to Sam & Gabe's on Hickman, its an Italian place that has an awesome ambiance and seemed pretty smug.  No hooded sweatshirts in there, boys.  They told us there would be a 45 minute wait but there was a pianist as well as a cellist playing live music in the bar area where we could relax and have some drinks while waiting for our table.  It didnt end up being 45 minutes, more like 20, and the staff was all overly friendly and accomodating.  In fact, before I go any farther, I want to rave a little about our server.  Her name was Rona and Im assuming she was in her late 30's (its not polite to ask something of that sort to post on your blog, haha).  She was very engaging, gave full eye contact, was knowledgeable on the menu as well as the specials and very helpful in guiding us through the dishes as newcomers to the establishment.  I had been told that veal was a specialty of theirs but had never had it.  I also looked it up before we went there and had read that veal is one of the leanest meats you could purchase.  Problem: they had 5 veal plates to choose from.  She helped me to choose which one I wanted and we placed our order. 

As I mentioned before, this place is sort of smug.  Justin wasn't all up on me taking pictures of our food in a fancy place like this so I am without photos to let you drool over.  To be honest, I would've been embarrassed to snap a shot in there too, so you lose this time, sorry peeps.  We ended up getting an appetizer that was the best part of the meal if you ask me; the italian sausage stuffed banana peppers.  In case you didnt know, the best way to Justin's heart consists of sausage and cheese....both of which were abundant in this dish.  I really need to learn how to make these skinnier because they were phenomenal, but were definitely not on the healthy list.  I got the veal saltimbocca which was described as "three sautéed scallopini of veal with prosciutto and provolone cheese and deglazed with madeira wine, and finished with our homemade veal demiglace".  Justin got one of the specials which was pepper crusted breast of duck with risotto.  I need to tell you that every time we order something, Justin jokes that he should order for the lady because I undoubtably like his better than mine.  I was pretty excited to try my veal though and really thought I was going to have the better dish this time.  I was not disappointed, Im glad I tried it, but it was not the best meal Ive ever had.  I pictured veal as more like steak, you know, since it is a cow.  It was more like pork, and bland pork at that.  Dont get me wrong I love a good pork chop, and it wasnt like I was gagging from this plate, it was just less tasty than I had anticipated.  Justin's duck on the other hand was great, and the risotto was amazing.  Duck is usually pretty greasy but this seemed like whiter meat than I had had from a duck before so Justin was gracious enough to share a couple pieces with me.  All in all, we enjoyed the experience there even though Sam got veal for dinner that night....our dog seriously eats better than most people. 

Saturday night I had plans to eat at Sborocco on Court Ave in the downtown area.  I had heard my friend Christina (who also a foodie) rave a million times about how good the duck is at this joint, so I finally got my chance to head there with her and Beatrice to give it a shot.  I will say that if comparing Sam and Gabe's to Sborocco, the latter beats the former hands down.  Its also more expensive so the old adage comes to mind, "you get what you pay for".  You would think it would be fancier than Sam and Gabe's but I think our Friday night pick wins on atmosphere.  Sborocco is a cute place but is very small, the 3 of us girls sat at the bar which was actually more comfortable than we would have been at one of the tables in my opinion. We've all been to places where they sit you so close to the next table that you feel as though you're eating with complete strangers, and its hard to have any sort of intimate conversation while in a situation like that.  The bar was perfect for us though, and despite my criticism of the seating, this was one of the best meals Ive had in Des Moines, ever. 

We all shared an appetizer, the pan seared New Bedford scallops/ cauliflower purée/ caramelized Maui onions/ watercress/ apple cider syrup.  There were 2 scallops for $11, so we split them 3 ways and I wouldve paid a very pretty penny to have that as my main course, they were worth it.  As I said earlier though, we came for the duck. We all ordered the exact same dish, which is usually against my better judgment, but I was told that it was so good that neither of them would give me a bite of theirs to try if I decided to order something else for variety.  So naturally I went with the duck which was described as "pan roasted Fox Hollow Farms duck breast/ duck confit/ shitake & tart cherry risotto/ duck demiglaze".  Whatever duck demiglaze is could be drizzled on anything I eat for the rest of my life and I would have no problem with it.  Someone actually contemplated licking their plate, but I wont name names, haha!  I have absolutely no estimations on calorie intake from this meal, and to be honest that was the last thing on my mind as I shoveled it into my mouth.  This is probably a cheat meal, with the creamy risotto and the dark meat duck, but I would consider this worth cheating for. My friends are less embarrassed than Justin of my food picture obsession so I did manage one photo of the duck before digging in (although the scallops were demolished before I even paid a thought to getting a snapshot).  I look forward to trying Sborocco again sometime soon, even if it is a special occasion priced place.

Friday, March 25, 2011

English muffin pizza

My english muffins that is! If you read my profile, you know that my favorite food (by far) is pizza. I realize with all the good flavors out there that pizza may sound a bit boring.  If you think about it though, its a very versatile food type...if I could eat only one thing for the rest of my life it would be pizza.  I dont discriminate either...I enjoy taco, all meat, cheese, veggie, thin crust, thick crust, chicago style, frozen, delivered, or homemade.  If calories were not an issue I would eat pizza 4-5 times a week guaranteed.  But they are an issue (sigh) I have to find ways to work around my craving.

The best way Ive found are english muffin mini pizzas.  I have discovered that its usually the sauce I am craving more than anything and I can get my fix with only a couple hundred calories.  I eat these a lot at work for lunch since we have a toaster oven that cooks them to perfection.  I have them cooking right now actually!  These light english muffins pictured are only 90 calories and I am usually full enough with just one full muffin (or two halves).  The squeaze bottle sauce works best for me since I dont use a whole jar for myself in one day, and Ive found this it the best tasting sauce compared to other brands Ive tried.  AND its only 30 calories for a quarter cup (which is about all you'll need even if slathering on your muffin).  I usually keep canadian bacon or turkey pepperoni and a jar of mushrooms on hand but today we're just going with cheese.  The 2% cheese has 90 calories for a quarter cup and its easy to keep under that amount for one muffin.  So we're looking at 210 calories and virtually no fat for a cheese mini pizza and 230-240 if you add turkey pepperoni or canadian bacon.  I usually add a little chalula (you will hear me mention this all the time, I love this hot sauce), crushed red pepper (this is by far my most used spice, right up there with cracked black pepper), and reduced fat parmesan cheese.  Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!  Much better than the Lean Cuisine, Smart Ones, or Healthy Choice prepackaged pizzas Ive tried to murder my cravings with. 

My girlfriends and I have talked about getting together and having a pizza night where we just have a bunch of ingrediants and make our own pies but we havent gotten around to it yet.  I have done these at home with jalopenos, sour kraut, chicken, tomatos, onions, mushrooms, and any other toppings I can find floating around in the fridge and everyone just loves them.  This would also be a fun activity for kids to do on a Friday pizza night instead of ingesting a million calories and buckets of grease shipped in from the local Pizza Hut.  Not that I dont indulge in a nice grease laden Caseys pizza from time to time...but these get me through the week so I don't feel so bad wolfing full fat 'za like a 300 lb man on my Sunday cheat day.  Enjoy!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I should tell you that when I get an idea or a project like this one, I immediately get so excited and gung ho about it that I have troubles sleeping when new things come to mind. This is usually followed by a burst in activity to make the idea come to life, and then not so long after followed by a lull in my interest and, for example, a blog with 2 weeks of a lot of work and nothing after Im really hoping to find ways to keep my interest in this project and not let it become another chore as my scrapbooks and some other hobbies have when I get behind on them. If it werent for the Nyquil last night, I wouldve laid awake and stewed (haha, get the cooking pun??) about ways to keep myself motivated. When I said on facebook that I tried a new restaurant a couple of weeks ago, I had a few people asking how it was and if it was worth giving a shot. It turned out that the place I mentioned then (Caffrey's Steak House) was not worth going back, and I said so. Which got me thinking that with so many good places to eat in Des Moines, I would really like to know if people didnt like certain ones so I could just skip over them without wasting my time and money on a bad dinner. So I thought I could review places we eat on here too. I even had a dream about it last night, but I digress....

Anyway, as you know I'm big on food...not just food Ive cooked though, I love getting recipes from friends and trying new things that they make (I am friends with some ladies and even a couple guys who are excellant in the kitchen and I have stolen many a recipe from them). Its funny because I used to be very picky and have seriously widened the qualifications for getting into my stomach in the last few years. I used to have a ban against anything that swam...if you lived in the ocean at any point in time, you were safe from my jaws. Now is a different story, we just got back from the Bahamas a month ago where I ate conch salad straight out of the ocean (we watched the local rip the conch out of the shell and beat it before he made the salad and served it to us...although brutal to watch, it was nummy to ingest! I also used to have a severe hatred for onions, and now (thanks to Justin) buy them by the bag and apply them to most recipes whether called for or not.

Conchs being pulled out of their lovely homes for us to snack on...

The point of this post is that I have learned to enjoy trying new things and new places so I have a big problem with the fact that there's so many good places in Des Moines that I have yet to dine in...the issue being it gets costly to eat out a lot. If Justin and I go out to dinner to a decent place it doesnt take much for us to hit $50 and if we add wine or drinks to the mix, its not a stretch to hit $100 for dinner and a tip. That's a little excessive to try and keep up with on a regular basis. Sooooo, I have this friend who is a severely addicted coupon clipper (for her anonymity, lets just call her Hynthia Cofer, haha). She has introduced me to world of savings and thanks to her, I can now add "coupon clipper" to my list of attractive attributes, right next to "cat lady".

Following in her footsteps, I ordered the 2011 Entertainment book for the Des Moines area. This has coupons for food, activities, salons, home improvement stores, mechanics, party planning stores, you name it. Before I go ANYWHERE, I consult with my entertainment book and see what it's got for me. The book cost $20 and I've already gotten over $100 worth of savings from it on things I would have bought at full cost anyway. Chalk one up for Hynthia, I may owe her lunch...but only if I can use a coupon. Here is the link for the books if any of you Des Moinites (Des Moinians? Des Moiners?) are interested....oh look, they are 50% off with free shipping too...lucky you!

After I got the bug, I couldnt quit there. I had heard of a couple of sites for coupons that are half off or more and subscribed to recieve daily emails from them as well. Im sure most of you have heard of Groupon but maybe have never given it a shot? I was leary at first but have purchased quite a few things off this site since subscribing, including massages, dinners, and pedicures for 50% or more off the normal price. They have a daily deal and you decide each day if its something that interests you or not. If not, just delete and carry on with your day...if so, purchase it, print it, and use it at your leisure. I love this site becuase there's no cost to join, you just choose what you like and decide each day if the deal is for you or not. I recommend anyone new to Des Moines or any other city, sign up for your local groupons to check out the area's eateries as well as fun activities you may never think to look at otherwise. Here is the link to sign up for this site:

Living Social is almost exactly like Groupon, they have daily deals and you are not required to purchase in order to see the deals available. Today's deal was actually emailed to me by one of my girlfriends as well (thanks Amanda!), just in case I didnt see it...because its a place that all of us LOVE after trying it a couple times. Irina's is a little Russian place that serves its own homemade booze (think horseradish infused vodka) as well as some amazing dishes. Ive been there twice, have been impressed both times, and bought today's deal since I cant wait to go back and try more menu items! To get a $40 gift certificate for Irina's for $20, sign up for Living Social here:

Another website I use for coupons is a little different. This one gives great deals (sometimes 80% off) but does carry stipulations. Where Groupon and Living Social have you purchase a coupon for say $25 but its worth $50 and works like a gift certificate, this website requires you to spend a minimum amount and charges an 18% gratuity for using the purchased coupon. The gratuity doesnt bother me as we usually tip 20% anyway, but the minimum order is sometimes a pain. I bought a $50 gift certificate for Christopher's for example (for a whopping $3 might I add), but we have to spend $100 in order to use it. This is one that will have to be used when we are with another couple or plan on drinking a decent amount to reach the purchase minimum. It does save money but is more of a pain than the other websites I mentioned.

That's about it for daily deals and piggy bank splitters that I check on a regular basis. We havent had a date night in a while so we are headed to Sam and Gabe's on Friday night, which is an Italian place in Des Moines that has recieved a lot of praise from people I know. We have a $50 certificate to spend there that I bought for $25 off of Groupon a while back, and I cant wait to try it! Dont worry, I will post a review this weekend for those of you looking for new places to try.

Under the weather...

Funny that the first day I start a blog, I walk into the house after work and Justin is whipping up dinner since he knew I wasn't feeling good that day. He's actually really great about that :) His best specialty is garbage spagetti, and I dont mean garbage because its horrible...the kid makes phenomenal spag.

For some reason, it is one meal that no matter what I do, I cannot replicate...Im sure that means he sneaks a stick of butter (or a stick of love in his words) in the sauce while Im not looking. The garbage spagetti premise is basically everything that he can find in the house that would work in pasta goes right into the saucepan. Last night (from what I saw) was a pound of ground hamburger AND a pound of ground Italian sausage, although we didnt have the large kielbasa looking Italian sausages he usually adds to the mix as well. No wonder his always tastes better, with 3 different kinds of full fat meat, its bound to beat out the 97/3 hamburger version that I make! From there I saw a flurry of spices as well as crushed tomatoes with green chiles, 2 cans of sauce (one was garlic and herb, one was 4 cheese), spinach, an onion, fresh cloves of garlic, and wouldve been some mushrooms in there had I not been slacking on the groceries. There couldve been more in there, but I was enjoying sitting down, coughing, and talking to him while he cooked so I wasnt paying full attention to the ingrediants. The finished product:

Anyway, I realize this is meant to be a skinny kid recipe blog, which is what is normally on our dinner table...but last night's meal was too good not to post, I promise next week will be up to par when Im feeling better. I know some people may think spagetti is spagetti but I beg to differ after meeting Justin...and no I dont even try to estimate the number of calories in this plate. There are a few ways you can skinny up your pasta though which he is surprisingly not opposed to, one being switching to whole wheat noodles. They taste a little different at first (my mom actually had to mix half wheat, half white noodles for a while to get my dad to eat them) but I dont think the different taste is bad, its just different. I used to use ground turkey in my spagetti instead of hamburger, but that doesnt fly with will learn there are some things you just cant substitute. You dont mess with Justin's spagetti meat! Although I wouldnt recommend eating his spagetti once a week, it is the perfect comfort food when feeling a little under the weather.

The result of my binge: laying on the couch pregnant with pasta but still wanting a little endcap to my night around 9 pm before I hit the nyquil and the sack simultaneously. I am going to provide you with the best product you will ever find for those of you who have a sweet tooth. I actually don't have much of one, maybe just a ghost of one of my baby teeth that fell out...I dont really like candy, dont crave chocolate, and can pass at dessert most of the time with no problem (usually because Im so full from dinner that I dont have a choice, there's just no where to put it). Ice cream would be the exception to that rule. I love me some Snickers ice cream. Ive probably had one Snickers bar in the past 10 years but if you throw some ice cream in it, Im rendered completely powerless.

A while back I discovered the Edy's triple churned french silk which is surprisingly not too bad for you (130 calories per serving). The problem with that number? A serving is a half a cup. Can you picture a half a cup of ice cream? Let me tell you from experience that its nothing short of a feat to look in your bowl at a half a cup of the sweetness while staring at a half gallon of it trying to put away the full container...I almost always had 3 servings or more. As I said, powerless. But it was the best I could find.....Until THIS! Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches are the bomb diggety (yes, I just said bomb diggety and these are the epitamy of that phrase)!!

I realize its tricking myself because this is not much larger than a half a cup of ice cream, but I dont have to measure out the serving size and for some reason eating 2 ice cream sandwiches just seems to be over the top, where as a large bowl of ice cream is very reasonable (my mind works in mysterious ways). If you havent tried these yet, get to it! My favorite is the cookies and cream version, and although they are a little expensive they are worth it for the portion controlled fat-tastic tasting dessert in my opinion. Im a little ashamed to admit if there is only one left, I sometimes hide the box underneath a bag of broccoli or something not so appealing in the freezer so I am not disappointed when I come for it....I really hope Justin is not reading today's post :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Welp, here goes....

I've thrown around the idea of doing a blog plenty of times in the past, but its just like everything else in life: thinking about it does not get it done.

I have plenty of rationalizations (that term sounds much better than excuses, doesnt it?) for not wanting to start an ongoing project like this one, the main one being time constraints. If I really think about it though, anything I want to do requires me to make the time, not find the time. There is no way to have extra hours in the day unless you make them, so Im going to attempt to make a few extra hours a month to post my ramblings.

Another rationalization I've had repeatedly is who really wants to read a post about what I had for dinner last night? Everyone I know is just as busy as I am and Ive questioned if its sort of narcisstic to think that they really want to hear about how I put the tuscan chicken spices into the mexican lasagna and vice versa as I was pre-making meals one night, or how good the new recipe I found was compared to how little calories it had in it...those are things that really only effect me and Justin, as he's the one who has to listen to me rant or rave about my latest discovery or debacle.

I always post pictures of our dinners on Facebook and have been told by multiple people to start something so Im hoping that narcissism thing isnt true. Also, Ive come to realize that I enjoy reading people's blogs about what they do with their kids (even though I dont have children), how grad school is going (even though Im not enrolled), and how to live with a chronic pain disease or depression (even though Im diagnosed with neither). So maybe people do want to hear about my daily battle with the calorie counter inside me and how to fight fat without losing taste?

As I mentioned before, I dont have any time for things I dont make time is one thing I make time for, but I do cut corners. How I wouldnt love to make my own homemade pasta and pasta sauce when we have spagetti? Wouldnt it be great to create my own rues and sauces for every dish I put on a plate? How about coming home to the wonderful smell of homemade bread in the bread maker? Not happening...but I like my food to taste like that's the norm. These recipes will all be good for during the week dinners where you dont spend all night in the kitchen. Hell, Im no Rachel Ray...I have to get up and go to my big kid job, get a workout in, clean the house, and keep up on my trashy tv shows like all the rest of you so I dont want to slave away in the kitchen till 10 pm every night either. One warning: if you dont know me...I love spicy, so if you or your digestive system are squeamish with hotness, I suggest toning down 80% of the recipes listed on here as they are posted.

Finally, even though cooking is one of my favorite hobbies, I do have quite a bit more I would like to post about if I get the gumption (in Abby language: we'll see if I get bored with this). Running season just started, Im starting to buy seeds to plant the garden in the coming weeks, summer is always full of fun long weekends and the always eventful RAGBRAI week, so this will not be strictly a food blog, but a blog of all things Abby. Hope you enjoy :)