Subliminal Messages About Comfort Food and Why I’m Going Back to the Gym Tomorrow

Thanks to the wonderful people at Skinny Scoop for taking a chance with an unknown kid. By sponsoring this post about comfort food, they’ve helped support my Midnight Moon addiction.

I’ve been consuming a LOT of comfort food lately. Maybe it’s the cold. Maybe it’s the stress of working and blogging and dealing with Chicago winter. Either way, I’ve definitely been eating a lot of my favorites. So much that I am probably going to start one of them there fancy diets pretty soon here…I even signed up for a personal trainer at the gym. If that doesn’t make me show up, I don’t know what will.

My theory on the gym? If I go, and genuinely work out on the regular, I can still consume some of my favorites (in moderation). Because giving up on queso seems wrong. And if anyone remembers that one time I gave cheese up for Lent? And HOW well that worked out for the practice of Lent (sorry, Mom)?

The other night, I had a decadent and ridiculous grilled cheese sandwich that I’m going to have to make again and destroy your diet with a recipe and pictures because holy crap was it that GOOD. It was like breakfast on crack. For dinner.

Last night? A charcuterie platter before dinner. Mac and cheese. Some of Brian’s beef Wellington. I didn’t even bother with dessert. I was stuffed.

Twice in the last two months, I’ve been caught playing chocolate roulette…like a a gambling addict only with chocolate instead of money.

What are some of your favorite comfort foods?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Holy Wicked Good Seafood, Batman!

You guys!

When Gorton’s Seafood asked me to review their product (which they provided me with coupons to purchase whatever sea fare my little heart desired), I was all, heck yes! I love seafood. Unfortunately, BRIAN does not love seafood. So what’s a little culinary genius like myself supposed to do? Cook a delightful meal just for me? That just didn’t seem fair. So I enlisted the help of my parents. And by help, I mean, I sent my mom an e-mail saying, “Don’t eat tomorrow. I’m coming over after work and cooking you dinner.”

Apparently, my mom had made quasi plans with her best friend for dinner that same evening, so when I arrived at their house the other night, I was pleasantly surprised that we’d have an extra guest for dinner.

Dinner for 4 in 40 minutes or less

I had originally planned to get all creative, since Gorton’s provided me with a variety of recipe ideas and such, but I thought it would be an excellent test of the product to see how quickly (and more importantly, EASILY) I could prepare a meal on a weeknight.

I purchased 2 different Gorton’s seafood products for this particular meal, Garlic Butter Shrimp Scampi (since Dad loooooves garlic) and Simply Bake Tilapia. I also brought a mixed greens salad, and poached the rest of the meal from my mom’s garden/freezer.

Gorton's Wicked Good Seafood

When I was en route, I had asked my mom to prep the oven to 350 degrees, so everything would be ready to go. I arrived, did a quick prep of cutting potatoes, tomatoes and red pepper strips, mixed the potatoes with a smidge of olive oil and some salt and was ready to go.

Now for the tilapia. I pulled those babies out of the box, placed the oven safe bags on two baking sheets (after realizing that one baking sheet PROBABLY wasn’t enough…) and popped them in the oven…

Gorton's Simply Bake TilapiaThat’s it.

No really.

That’s. All. I Did.

Then I poured myself a glass of wine and joined the parentals out on the veranda (the backyard patio) for an appetizer of Mom’s homemade salsa with chips.

I took a quick break from chatting to start the scampi, which I set out in single layer across the frying pan.

Gorton's Shrimp ScampiAt the same time I poured frozen green beans into another pan with sliced peppers, a little olive oil and some season salt. I returned to the wine shortly thereafter.

A few minutes later, I went and checked on the scampi, and oh-man! They were lookin’ and smellin’ WICKED GOOD. So I flipped them and let ’em simmer some more. I did add some water so the sauce didn’t boil out.

Gorton's Garlic Shrimp Scampi10 minutes later, I was ready to plate up the meal. A grand total of 40 minutes went by from prep to completion. I call that a definite dinner win for something amazing.

How do I know it was amazing?

Check out the pictures. If you’re not hungry after this…well…you get the picture.

Simple Salad

A simple salad with grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, parmesan cheese and Mom’s homemade Italian dressing (OK, I took the picture before adding cheese and dressing. I was hungry!!

Wicked Good Seafood from Gorton's

Yes,the sauce came out of the bag with the fish. Yes, the two seafood dishes combined well together. Yes, they all partnered up nicely with the potatoes and veggies.

A few extra things to note: You know how I have a tendency to hurt myself in the kitchen? It’s almost impossible with this stuff. The bag opens easily enough that I didn’t need to use a knife and I let the fish sit for 5 minutes before I served it (And it stayed warm in the bag, but was safe to touch on the outside!) The flavor? Phenom. I preferred the tilapia to the shrimp, but both were AWESOME.

Weight Watchers friendly meal

As I’m back on the Weight Watchers wagon (after a whole lot of on and off), I wanted to make sure that I got something that was healthy and delicious. The tilapia? 3 points plus. The shrimp scampi? 2 points plus for the serving size we made. A standard serving is 3 points plus, but we divided the box between 4 of us instead of 3.

Everyone was thoroughly impressed with the meal, and both of my parents made separate calls to me the next day to thank me for the wonderful dinner. None of them would have purchase Gorton’s before our dinner, but all 3 said they would eat it again in a heartbeat.

Tell me Blog Friends, have you tried Gorton’s? What are your favorite seafood dishes?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

The Eleventh Commandment

Dear Chrissy’s Readers,

This is Katie from Words for Worms. Chrissy isn’t here writing today. She and Brian have suffered a terrible blow. Brian’s mom, who had been battling cancer for the past 7 months, passed away early Saturday morning.

My first instinct when someone loses a loved one is to find out if there’s anything I can do to help. The impotence of the situation is maddening. My friends are hurting and there’s not a damn thing I can do to fix it. So, when Chrissy asked for a guest post, I jumped at the chance. She said that she and Brian want to laugh, and I freaking love these guys, so I’m going to give it a shot. So. Here goes nothing…

I’m pretty sure the 11th commandment is “Feed The Grieving.” This is a universal cultural phenomenon. Seriously y’all. I think cavemen dropped off a nice Wooly Mammoth hot dish to the neighboring cave in times of mourning. People empathize, but they also realize (if they’re smart) that all their words of comfort won’t make the loss any easier. Thus? They feed. When local friends lose someone, I bust out my tried and true chocolate chip cake. Sometimes a pot of chili. I don’t even like cooking, but THAT’S WHAT YOU DO. You feed people! You know what sucks? I’m currently too far away to feed Chrissy and Brian! (Although, they’re probably thankful for that, because they’re foodies and I’m a doctored up cake mix kind of girl…)

After sitting through the tri-fecta of sad funeral songs, sometimes you just NEED chocolate cake. In my experience, the songs that are indelibly linked with funerals are “How Great Thou Art,” “On Eagle’s Wings,” and “Amazing Grace.” In fact, my husband’s aunt once told me that she wanted “How Great Thou Art” played at her funeral because (and this is a direct quote) “It’ll make people cry even if they didn’t like me.” (She’s one feisty broad.) The thing is, even if I swear off these songs for my own funeral (which I fully intend to plan because I don’t want anyone else to have to deal with that) I couldn’t use songs I love- it would ruin those songs for people! I’ve decided that I’m going to have songs I hate at my funeral, so that everyone else will hate them too. Celine Dion’s greatest hits shall play. Everyone’s hearts will go on, and nobody’s favorite songs will be sullied by sad funerary memories…

I’m terrible at funerals. Even if the deceased aren’t my loved ones, I see a single grieving family member and melt into a puddle. It’s hard enough when you lose someone in their 80s, but losing someone far too young to cancer? That’s just CRAP. Cancer sucks. Hard. If Cancer were a dude, I would kick it in the nads really hard. Stupid little mutant cells. You’re not even COOL mutants like the X-Men! You’re just mean and dumb and grow out of control and RUIN LIVES. Nobody is impressed by your rampant proliferation, Cancer. You think you’re all high and mighty, but you’re no super virus. Step back, loser disease, before I kick you again.

I hope you all will join me in sending loving, healing vibes to Chrissy and Brian. I hope you will also join me in sending angry, poisonous vibes to Cancer. Brian’s mom was Irish, so while googling some comforting words of wisdom, I found this gem on a website of Irish proverbs, “If God sends you down a stony path, may he give you strong shoes.” Praying that your shoes are sturdy. I love you both.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Tasty Tuesday: Homemade Turkey Chili

If you remember the story of Death Bug, you’ll remember how I almost died…and how Death Bug tried to poison my homemade chili. I take a lot of pride in my homemade chili, so I thought that I would share with you my secret recipe to greatness.

Brian loves it when I make “comfort foods.” He prefers roasts and stews and chilies to anything fancy and delicious that I can make. Sometimes, when I’m feeling super nice, I will make them for him. This week, I made my chili again. Thankfully, there were no Death Bugs hanging around post-frost to try and poison us.

My mom taught me how to make chili, and if I didn’t tell you this, she might get upset. My culinary talents come from both of my parents, and the amazing chefs that I’ve had the opportunities to work with. This one’s a Mom creation that I’ve made my own.

As you may remember, I am doing the Weight Watchers thing, chili is an excellent way to get in your daily dose of fiber (both soluble and insoluble) crazy amounts of veggies, based on preferences, and oodles of protein. This recipe is just 5 points per 1 cup. Although I usually add 1-3 points worth of cheese…and then another 3-5 points worth of tortilla chips to use in place of a spoon…but I digress.

Weight Watchers 5 Points Plus Turkey Chili

Simmering joyful goodness

Weight Watchers 5 Points Plus Turkey Chili

(I use Trader Joe’s for almost everything, but it’s super easy to sub these out for your own favorite or generic brand…it also usually depends on what is in my cabinets at the time)
 

The Ingredients

  • 1 can of Trader Joe’s Turkey Chili with Beans
  • 1 can of Trader Joe’s Black Beans
  • 1 can Bush’s Best Mild Chili Beans
  • 1 can of Sweet Corn (low sodium)
  • 1 can of Hunt’s Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 lb Empire Kosher Lean Ground Turkey
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup sliced jalapenos
  • 1 cup sliced or diced zucchini
  • 1 red onion
  • Smoked Paprika to taste
  • Ground Cumin to taste
  • Onion Powder to taste
  • Garlic Powder to taste
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste (I use a 3-pepper grinder and white pepper powder)
  • Texas Pete’s Hot Sauce to taste

The Steps

  1. Brown turkey with the spices, salt, and pepper. I use the same pot that I’m going to cook the chili in to save dishes.
  2. Once the turkey is cooked, add the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Cover and simmer on LOW heat for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Remove cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until carrots are soft.
  5. Serve with chopped raw onions, shredded cheese (I’ve used smoked gouda and Kerry Gold Dubliner-both are delicious), and Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt tortilla chips.

1 serving = 1 cup = 5 Weight Watchers Points Plus

Make it Vegetarian Chili for Lower Points Plus

  • Substitute an extra can of mild chili beans for the turkey chili with beans
  • Substitute 2 cups of sliced baby bella mushrooms for the ground turkey

Enjoy!

What are some of your favorite comfort food recipes, friends?

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!