Thursday, July 30, 2009

Super Delicious Easy Ice Cream Cake

My boss brought in this ice cream cake for our coworker's birthday on Monday and it was amazing. She told us how to make it, and this isn't so much a recipe as an instruction set:
  • 1 pkg Oreos - crushed
  • Reese's peanut butter cups (or toffee/heath bar; or Nestle crunch) - crushed
  • 1 container ice cream (normal sized), softened slightly so its easy to scoop
  • M&Ms
  • Take a pan you don't care about ruining the bottom of; or a cupcake pan with foil liners
  • Fill the bottom with crushed oreos, add crushed reese's peanut butter cups
  • Scoop in ice cream and smooth out (my coworker used cookie dough, but use whatever suits your fancy)
  • Top with M&Ms
I think I will try this, maybe with oreos and Nestle crunch bars and topped with mint chocolate chip. Or maybe with crushed gingersnaps and that great pumpkin pie ice cream they come out with in the fall (what else could I put in there? top with some kind of caramel?)
:) Yummy!

An open letter to my Grandpas

Dear Grandpa B and Grandpa D:
It's been three years since you both died, and I think about you a lot still. I think that you would be quite proud of me, not only because I've gotten really good at ice hockey (6+ points last season) and it turns out I'm pretty good at law school; because I'm nice to my big sister now, and just generally because of who I've turned out to be. But I think you also would be quite proud of me in other ways.
I eat brown rice now. Seriously. Yeah, I still love the white fluffy rice that comes in a bowl at a chinese food restaurant. But at home, I make brown rice. Because I hope you were right and I will live longer.
I try anything now. Seriously. The only thing I still won't eat are pickles, anything with mayonaise, and olives. But I'll try whatever somebody puts in front of me, and I won't make a face.
I eat vegetables. Lots of them. I just finished frying up some kind of weird squash thing.
I eat pepper. And spices. Seriously. Put 'em on everything. Can't live without 'em.
I eat the crusts off my sandwiches. My hair isn't really curly, like you always promised, so I have to conclude that you lied.
I eat mushrooms. Again, really. Marinated and sauted, raw in sandwiches, anything.
I clean my plate. I am almost always a member of the clean plate club. The key is to not put so much on your plate that it's hard to clean it.
I still love chocolate. And ginger snaps. And Opa cookies. Which taste better when you eat them sitting on a rock by a creek. Some things don't change.
I miss you both.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Beer + Cooking = Food

I am not a beer drinker.  I just don't like it.  Give me a hard cider, a margarita, a glass of Reisling, and I am a happy camper, but I don't like beer.  This is not for lack of trying, which Mr. Barefoot will attest to.  We have just returned from Beer Tour '09, a two day jaunt around Michigan's finer breweries.  Breweries in which I tried at least one sip of at least one beer.  I do not care for beer. 
What I do care for though, is brewpub food.  I find brewpub food to be comfort food done right; new takes on classic favorites; relatively cheap but nonetheless interesting meals, and more fun than any fancy dinner out.  I like brewpub atmospheres - casual tables, dimly lit corners, etc.  Some of the places we went had a limited vegetarian selection, but most were delicious.  I also quite like beer in food - a beer cheese soup, beer bread, beer glazes, beer batter, etc.  It has the taste of the beer, but none of the horrible aftertaste, which is my main problem.
So what did I eat this weekend?  I'm so glad you asked. 
-Soft pretzels and a beer-cheese fondue
-fancy potato chips with a bleu cheese dipping sauce (I actually don't like bleu cheese much, but this was good)
-3-cheese macaroni and cheese (at a barbeque joint, where I then mixed bbq sauce with the mac & cheese, which was amazing.  Keep an eye out for a bbq mac & cheese coming to a barefoot kitchen near you). 
-Beer-crust white pizza, with a four cheese sauce, tomato, artichokes? and gorgonzola (it was actually pretty good, even though I forgot to ask them to take out the gorgonzola)
-Spinach and Artichoke dip (which was mostly vegetables, and pretty delicious)
-Goat cheese and vegetable quesadilla - (this was amazing, and my friend's fiance was kind enough to let me keep her leftovers as well as mine.)
Others may have different opinions of their favorite breweries from this weekend, but if you are ever in Michigan, I highly encourage you to check out Blue Tractor BBQ and Brewery (home of amazing mac&cheese and really good barbeque sauce), New Holland Brewery (beer crust pizza), and Arcadia Brewery (goat cheese quesadilla) if you are looking for good beer and good food.  If you are just looking for good beer, hop on out to Bell's Brewery, as I heard the beer was good there.
And, while you're at New Holland, try their cider.  They had an amazing berry cider that I had a sample of, which was absolutely tasted like juice mixed with hard cider...and it had that fresh from the tap crispness of a good cider.  (I don't really care for bottled cider, but I love it on tap.)
We'll be doing a similar beer tour at home, I think, because this was just too much fun to only do once a year.  It's all a matter of finding somebody with a minivan though. 
I'll be trying out new recipes that I got ideas for this weekend sometime soon, so keep an eye out (and if it's September and you haven't seen bbq Mac & Cheese, feel free to hassle me!) 

Friday, July 17, 2009

Mushroom parmesean risotto

Last week I did something a little impulsive. And, I'm not gonna lie, I did it because Mark wasn't here to tell me that I couldn't. So I scoured Craigslist and I bought myself a brand new rice cooker. Because what girl living alone in Michigan doesn't need a 14-cup rice maker? I agree, I should have asked what size it was and gotten a more reasonable size.
However, on Monday night I cooked myself 2 cups (four servings) of rice to go with the delicious sweet and sour tofu and yellow curry I was planning to make this week. It worked out very nicely - it took a little longer than the internet said it would to cook, but I put 2 cups of brown rice in and washed it thoroughly, and then put in two cups of water. I hit the on switch, and 45 minutes later, I had rice. I would recommend not starting the rice cooker when you have a slow cooker of food all ready to go though, because my sweet and sour tofu got cold.
It makes perfect sticky, fluffy, Chinese food restaurant brown rice. Brown rice is just better when it's fluffier, it's true.
So here I had 4 servings of rice, which it turns out, is a lot. So I actually got most of my meals for the week out of it. Last night I made an amazing risotto with the last of it. Here's the recipe, although feel free to play around. Quantities are not exact. Just pour.
  • 2 cups cooked brown (or other type) rice
  • 6 small white mushrooms (because I only had six - go ahead, use more)
  • chopped garlic
  • olive oil
  • half and half
  • salt
  • pepper
  • veggies for a side
  • parmesean cheese (probably about a cup, shredded)
  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat, saute garlic until yummy.
  2. Add mushrooms
  3. Add half and half (I would say pour in at least a quarter cup)
  4. Add rice. Mix into half and half until half and half bubbles and is absorbed.
  5. Add cheese. Stir until melted.
  6. Add salt, pepper, and other spices if you are lucky enough to have them.
  7. Serve with veggies (I had brocolli and asparagus.)
Pretty darn good, and waaaaay quicker than a standard risotto.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Vegetarians at the Grill: The Food

I went to a barbeque yesterday and brought vegetable grillables. I like to grill red peppers, mushrooms, and onions in a foil packet. I marinate them in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and garlic. What I found out yesterday is that you can take an entire bulb of garlic, peel it, chop off the hard part on the bottom, and then stick it in your Cuisinart mini-prep mini food processor and in 3 seconds you have minced garlic. Then you pour in the balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and you have a marinade. I like to add more spices, but we didn't have any.
Yesterday was the first time I tried marinating the mushrooms for more than a few minutes, and they were amazing - they had a really sharp garlicky flavor to them, probably because of the entire bulb of garlic that was minced up really tiny. In the future, I will probably cook them longer to tone down the garlic. I might also try roasting the garlic first...mmmm.
Another thing I tried was potatoes in tin foil on the grill - these were amazing. Take potatoes (the white ones with the thin skin, or redskins) and chop them up into small pieces (about an inch) and wrap them in foil with some olive oil and salt and pepper (I also used Montreal steak seasoning.) It is actually best to roll up the foil like a tootsie roll so you can flip it. Toss them on the grill at the beginning, and then flip after about 10 minutes so both sides get crispy.
These were both big hits at the barbeque and makes me wish I had a grill here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Appetizing Fare

The google, it knows what I my gmail this morning, one of the ads was a link to this. I'm now putting it on my list of possible party fare, especially because at least the asparagus in blankets look pretty easy. (I haven't clicked on the recipe, but my guess is crescent dough, cheese, and asparagus.) I'm currently trying to organize a couple of parties in the fall, because I miss my friends, and these seem like some delicious ideas. I'll let you know how they go.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Vegetarians at the Grill

So I went to the beach with my cousins for a week last week, and I considered something about being a vegetarian at the grill. I had veggie burgers and kebabs to grill - but I hate being the pushy vegetarian shoving people around. So here are Ms. Barefoot's rules for grilling and special diets:
Rule 1: If you care about what your food touches, BYOG. My kosher cousin showed up with his portable kosher grill. He and his wife prepared their own food, kept their grill away from the others, and did not get in anyone's way. Do not demand the grill be scrubbed before your veggie burger touches it. I actually don't care where my food is cooked.
Rule 2: Wait your turn. Veggie burgers cook much faster than meat, so wait to go last. If you don't want to go after the meat, see Rule 1.
Rule 3: Don't tell other people what's in their food. Seriously. Nobody likes you. Shut up and go eat your boca burger. No lectures. Just stop. Nobody cares about methane, you are at a barbecue.
Rule 4: If you have preferences for veggie burgers, be specific or bring your own. I only like one brand of veggie hot dogs, the rest taste like dirt. (Morningstar Farms rocks; Smart Dogs are literally eating trash.)
Rule 5: Marinate your veggies before they go on the grill. Otherwise, they will taste dry.
Rule 6: Consider foil. If you don't want your food touching the grill, wrap your veggies or your burger in foil and toss it on. This also keeps them really moist and juicy.
Rule 7: Don't make other people eat your gross veggies, no matter how unhealthy you think they are.
Rule 8: Don't toss your meat or dairy products on somebody else's kosher or vegetarian or halel grille.
Rule 9: Don't burn anything down. Don't leave anything on the grill. Peppers burn.
Rule 10: Leave your shoes at the door.
Is there such a thing as too many fruits and vegetables? I'm beginning to think...maybe. Today I ate blueberries and yogurt for breakfast, beans with zuchinni and onions and broccoli for lunch, and then some grapes as a snack before my run, then a banana after my run, then for dinner I'm having two Boca Chik'n Patties and some green beans. (Snacks were Wasa crispbread with peanut butter.)
I don't feel good. I just feel kinda nauseous. This might be because my run went poorly.
Tomorrow, I'm easing up on the heavy fruits and veggies and returning to some carbs. I'm still trying to keep sodium, gluten, and animal fats to a minimum. I purchased some quinoa pasta and some rice cakes today, for some variety.
The advantage of detoxing has been that I have finally gotten the FDA recommended serving of fruits and vegetables. The disadvantage is that I'm bored eating just fruits and veggies - even though they are different, they all taste a little the same after too much.
I have found that I really like my vanilla yogurt spiked with blueberries - two things I don't like very much on their own. I have found that I miss things, even though I don't eat them daily, I just want them now that I can't have them. I have also found that I'm not totally lacking in willpower - today I engaged in a staring contest with some candy in the breakroom, and let it go.
Today was not a good recipe day, so I'll let you know tomorrow what kind of sauce I put on my pasta....its gotta be low sodium and low in animal fat...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Zuchinni and the Crockpot.

Don't do it. Don't. Zucchini is not so difficult to make that you have to use the crockpot. Seriously. It sautes in about five minutes.
Tonight I made a delicious bean and onion dish. Then I ruined it by putting zucchini on top. Zucchini does not slow cooker right. Just say no.
How is the detox going? Fine, except for the bag of tortilla chips sitting on my floor, staring at me. I'm debating whether popcorn is on the detox menu, as long as I lay off the salt.
I think I'm going to go have some grapes.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I'm back....

Okay, so I know I'm majorly behind here. Truth be told, I haven't been doing a ton of cooking out here, and what I have been cooking isn't new. Without Mr. Barefoot around, I don't really have a lot of incentive to mix it up and try stuff - because I'm usually happy to eat the same thing twice a week.
However, last week was Barefoot Beach Week - myself, Mr. Barefoot, and my sister, and four of our cousins and their families partied it up for a week at the beach. And I saw my weight and physical health make a dramatic shift. I cut down on my gym time and upped my salt and alcohol intake.
So what am I doing about it now? Detoxing. I read an article that talked about how stupid detox and cleanse diets are, so I decided to do one. I'm kidding. Sorta. I'm going to attempt to flush all the sodium and crummy food I put in myself last week with normal sized portions of healthy foods this week. I decided to focus on eating food, mostly whole foods, for the next week. I'm trying to cut my sodium down, eat only whole grains and less dairy and less fat. So what does that leave? I went to the grocery store today and bought:
-Red Onions
-Sweet Potatoes
-White Potatoes
-Yellow Squash
-Brown rice
-Romaine lettuce
-Green Beans
-Pomegranete Green Tea and Stevia in the Raw
I think that's pretty much it. I came home and made no-mayo potato salad, steamed broccoli, and a slow cooker meal for tomorrow night of beans, onions, garlic, and zucchini.
It is entirely possible that by the end of this week I will have fully turned green. I plan to use the carrots and celery to make vegetable broth for soup (although in all fairness I did forget that last time, it wasn't very good.) I'm considering doing some kind of sweet potato black bean chilli, some salmon with green beans, quinoa with zucchini and squash, possibly a whole grain pasta with mushrooms and green beans, and then some kind of soup with the carrots and celery. For snacks, I think I will stick with Wasa Crispbread and peanut butter, for some carbs and protien.
Anybody have any better ideas for detox meals? I will be pairing this with drinking an immense amount of water, taking vitamins, and drinking some kind of sports drink to make sure my electrolytes are in balance.