21 July 2016

Summer at Our House

Too much entertaining lately, but the off-shoot is that I'm deep into cooking again. 

There were leftovers to work through after our big vegan meal. With oven-roasted sweet potatoes on-hand, I was inspired to make a big late-morning breakfast for CA and me. 

Also, utilized the leftover steak from a very recent dinner at Outback. With a correctly-prepared "medium" steak, you can briefly reheat in the microwave without over-cooking. 

We still had great amounts of leftover vegetables and the clock was ticking toward our trip to Colorado. CA and I worked together and prepped the peppers and Vidalias for fajitas (JE's family were due to arrive soon.)

After the peppers and onions cooled a bit, we divided them into Ziplock bags and put them in the freezer. We had pork tenderloin fajitas on Saturday night, and having the veggies pre-made was huge. 

One of our favorite "pantry" meals is a marinara with tarragon, garlic, and finely-diced red onion. We enjoyed this batch with some Dececco linguine, crunchy bacon pieces, and great dollops of creamy goat cheese. 

On Sunday, 7/10, it was our turn to host Small Group, and I'd decided on a peanut butter-chocolate cheesecake with hot fudge and whipped cream. But, I wasn't sure that everyone coming liked peanut butter, so I also made a simple lemon tart. Used a prepared (Pillsbury) pie crust for convenience and 2 jars of Dickenson's Lemon Curd, because it's very tart and very good. 

The first photo is just after I removed the pie weights. The tart crust still needed a few more minutes in the oven to be fully browned. 

I wanted a deep cheesecake, so I used 4 packages of Philadelphia Cream Cheese and a cup of peanut butter for a 9"x3" outcome. Actually, I used 5 packages of cream cheese and 1-1/4 cups of PB as I planned to additionally make 4 small 4" cheesecakes to deliver to our elderly parents. 

The crusts were NutterButter cookies and a bit of melted butter. I learned the hard way that pre-baking the crust, as you sometimes do with a graham cracker crust, is not a good idea. Must be the high sugar-fat content of those NutterButters. 

I also added about 1 cup of Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips to the filling mix. 

At serving, I warmed some Mrs. Richardson's Hot Fudge Sauce to drizzle over. And then, topped both the cheesecake slices and the lemon tart slices with freshly-whipped cream. 

On Tuesday we drove to Central Illinois for a quick visit with our parents. Not sure my almost 95-year old dad realized I'd made him cheesecakes as both his sight and hearing have deteriorated greatly this year. But, CA's 88-year old mom was very pleased and happy to share with some of her caregivers. 

By Friday, 7/15 our daughter's family had arrived. LC was turning 5-years on 7/20 so we had fun celebrating his birthday a bit early on Saturday. 

Who doesn't love a donut cake?!

I'm now ready to buckle-down and begin eating "right" again. Love the My Fitness Pal app for calorie counting, excersize recording, and nutrition monitoring. 

Breakfast at Silver Grill in Fort Collins, CO. 

A simple lunch. 

Last night we adapted a favorite salad. The beauty of using the My Fitness Pal app is that I can plan my daily food intake to accommodate a more caloric dinner, or a restaurant meal. 

For example, CA and I had a late breakfast today at The Farmhouse at Jessup Farms. I didn't even miss the potatoes or bacon, as green chiles and fresh fruit were available substitutes. 

My leftover green chiles prompted us to make chicken quesadillas and guacamole for dinner. Turns out carrots taste wonderful with guac--The Two Hot Tamales recipe. 

I warmed the green chiles and, just at serving time, stirred-in some sour cream. 

So... While we are in Colorado, our daughter and family are staying at our very unofficial Airbnb with friends from Cincinnati. Only right, as CA and I stayed at JE's home on our way to CO.

Unfortunately for them, an Opposum somehow made it into one of our covered window wells, then died. Thanks MA for doing the clean-up.

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