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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Cooking Light: Shrimp Fried Rice

I'm keeping moving on my Cooking Light blogger network and found so many great recipes that I had to try from the May issue and one of them was Shrimp Fried Rice! 

First I had to buy some rice and, as a couponer - I'm always looking for a deal. I found this big package on the clearance rack and snagged it. Larry loves rice and I've always been happy with this brand. 

First up - I stir fried my veggies and then set them aside...I tend to modify recipes a bit to what I have and what we like. Larry isn't big on peppers so I used one yellow pepper, broccoli and snap peas. I would have added mushrooms but we were out.

Then I was frying my rice! I cooked the rice first (recipe recommends day old - but I didn't plan ahead enough), then added a bit of oil to the skillet and put the rice in. I was really shocked at how much flavor this added to the rice - I will likely do this from now on - it's so much better!!!! And since Cooking Light taught me this trick - I feel good about it health-wise as well.

Then after removing the rice, I put the shrimp in the pan. I've never used the "fresh" shrimp with the shell on - I'm a bit nervous about all that peeling and worrying about veins and such. So I just use the bagged pre-cooked kind and we're always happy with them. I also ALWAYS pull off the tails before cooking - it's so much easier to eat and they pop right off when they're cold!

After all the cooking and setting aside - once the shrimp is done - throw it all back together in one pan and  stir! I added soy sauce right in since Larry and I both like that a lot. 

I have to say this was EASY and DELICIOUS! Seriously - I will make this from now on - probably every week. 

As usual - I tweaked a bit: no edamame, sesame oil, rice vinegar or Sriracha (although I did buy some of that - it's really cheap)...but it was still incredibly delicious! 

I did use the ginger and while I'm not really a fan of ginger - it was not overpowering - although I probably did not use a whole tablespoon. We just don't like it much...



Shrimp Fried Rice

This dish is best if you use day-old rice. Cook it and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet to cool completely. Then refrigerate overnight to allow it to lose any excess moisture.
Cooking Light MAY 2012
  • Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: about 2 cups)
  • Hands-on:31 Minutes
  • Total:31 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 7 teaspoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed and halved crosswise
  • 1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 cup cooked long-grain white rice, chilled
  • 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
  • 12 ounces peeled and deveined medium shrimp
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen edamame, thawed
  • 1/4 cup lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha (hot chile sauce, such as Huy Fong)
  • 1/4 cup thinly diagonally sliced green onions

Preparation

1. Steam broccoli 4 minutes or until crisp-tender; set aside. Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon canola oil to pan. Add bell peppers and sugar snap peas to pan, and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Place vegetable mixture in a large bowl. Add remaining 2 tablespoons canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add ginger, and stir-fry for 10 seconds. Add rice, and stir-fry for 5 minutes or until rice is lightly browned. Remove rice mixture from pan, and add rice to bowl with the vegetable mixture.
2. Wipe the pan with paper towels. Return pan to medium-high heat. Add sesame oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shrimp; stir-fry 1 minute. Add edamame; stir-fry 1 minute. Stir in soy sauce, vinegar, and Sriracha; bring to a boil. Cook for 3 minutes or until liquid thickens slightly. Add vegetable mixture and green onions; stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently. Serve immediately.

From Cooking Light




Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Life Changing Moments

So today's blog post isn't about food or travel or cooking or anything like that. It's about waking up and realizing there are some amazing freaking people in this world and thanking God when you're lucky enough to meet one of them. 

If you're not a "God-person" - I hope that you won't just delete this post. I'm not trying to be preachy or anything here - just want to share the story of a pretty amazing person and give you something to think about. 
Over the weekend, we drove a van-load of 13 Chinese people to Niagara Falls (insert punch line here). It was a volunteer opportunity with International Friendship. It's a group that promotes friendship with international students and faculty. 

While on the trip (which was AMAZING), I met Rasheed Akhtar and wow - life changing. 

Rasheed is from Pakistan and grew up a Christian - his parents and grandparents were Christian. Rasheed was working as a missionary in Pakistan and teaching people about God. 

Well - as you can imagine - there were a lot of people that didn't love that so much. He was attacked by Muslim extremists with a hand grenade and lost the sight in his right eye. 

After coming to the US for surgery, he returned to Pakistan. There, he was beaten and threatened by more extremists. Rasheed then left his family and fled to the US for safety - that was 7 years ago. (there's so much more to the story - but trying to keep it short for the blog)

After moving around and trying to find "his place", he met the folks from International Students and told them his story. As it turns out, they had been praying for someone to work with South Asian students for three years - and here was Rasheed! 

Now Rasheed is working with ISI and has finally gotten his wife and three children here in the United States and is back doing the missionary work he loves. 

But that's not all - when I was talking to Rasheed - I asked him how he got through it. He said that rather than asking "Why me?" - he asked God to show him his purpose. He now realizes he's been able to help far more students with this role here in the US than he could in Pakistan. He feels privileged that God put this challenge in front of him because God knew he could handle it. 

How many of us can say the same? When I'm challenged with something difficult, do I say "Thanks God!" - um no. 

I also think - what do I believe in that I'd be willing to die for? I really don't know. I'm sure there's something - but I can't concretely tell you what it is while I type away on my laptop. 

With that, take a moment and thank God for the freedom you have from being a US citizen and think about what your purpose is and what can you do to work toward that. 



Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Summerfair Ticket Giveaway!

I've been all about the giveaways recently and today - another fantastic one! One of my favorite activities in Cincinnati is just around the corner...


Summerfair is back!!! It's next weekend and you can get a free pair of tickets and join me there! 

I'm a huge fan of Summerfair - it's a huge arts and crafts fair at Coney Island every summer. There are sculptures, jewelry and crafts and so much more. Summerfair has been going on for 45 years and is still going strong! 

WHEN:          
Friday, June 1:          
2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 2:      
10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, June 3:         
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

WHERE:       
Coney Island/ 13 miles from downtown Cincinnati
Interstate 275 at Kellogg Avenue ( Eastern Cincinnati )
COST:             
Adults: $10.00
Children (12 & under): FREE
Parking: FREE, courtesy of Summerfair
Advance one day, or multi-day tickets are available online at www.summerfair.org.

And after Summerfair I'll be sure and come back with a great blog making you very jealous if you weren't able to go! But - fear not - lots of the retailers have websites! 

See you at Summerfair! 

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

GIVEAWAY - SmartTalk with Andie MacDowell


The SmartTalk series is wrapping up for the season next week with Andie MacDowell. She's been in countless movies and a bunch of commercials...so she's probably familiar. 


Her talk is entitled, "Acting as a Way of Life." She's most famous for Four Weddings and a Funeral and Groundhog Day...neither of which I've seen. How can I have not seen Groundhog Day???? 

Tickets are as low as $25 or you can enter here to win a pair of tickets! 

I'm definitely looking forward to the show so I can hang out with my good friend Kelly and have a nice night out. Seeing these SmartTalk speakers has been such a great experience - especially Arianna Huffington and Tim Gunn! I hope Andie lives up to those experiences...

I'll be giving away the tickets on Wednesday of next week - so check your email that day! 

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Packaged Lunch Review: Barilla Mezze Penne with Tomato & Basil Sauce

As you guys know - I've tried a number of frozen lunches and even a couple of shelf-stable products. Most of the shelf-stable aren't anywhere NEAR the top of my favorites - but I was willing to give one more another try...

I spotted these Barilla shelf-stable microwaveable meals at Meijer and had a coupon - so thought - what the heck?! I like pasta - and Barilla is a trusted name. They have five varieties and they all sounded pretty tasty. I went for the Tomato & Basil Penne.

I have to say - as a marketing person - the packaging might be my favorite part! It definitely stands out! The plastic bowl it's in is nearly one you'd save and reuse, the plastic on top is very sturdy and just feels "expensive" at least in the under $4 lunch arena. Also - what I liked is that the instructions were printed right on the package.

The sauce and pasta are separate - so you open the one partition to a dotted line - then microwave.

They also tell you to hold FIRMLY when you peel back the sauce and there's a reason for that! The seal is very sticky and I had to yank a little and spilled a bit of sauce (as you can see).

I was very skeptical - there was one shelf-stable that I had tried before that was DISGUSTING! It's part of why I started reviewing these...so what would the verdict be?

IT WAS AWESOME!!!!

I mean - as awesome as pasta and sauce can be...but really - it was great! I'd say it was BETTER than any frozen version that I've had and tasted pretty much like I had just cooked this at home.

I will definitely be purchasing this again!


Here are my notes:
  • Flavor - This tasted just like Barilla pasta sauce out of the jar. It's extremely fresh and full of tomato flavor!  
  • Meat - there's no meat here!
  • Time - IT COOKS IN 60 SECONDS!!! 
  • Cooking - Excellent - no issues! 
  • Cost - I don't remember but it was probably around $3 and I had a coupon
  • Nutrition - 320 calories, 4.5 grams fat, 690 mg sodium
  • Allergens - unsure...I don't have the package anymore
  • Fullness Factor - fantastic - I was shocked at how full I was. I had brought a salad to have with it but it wasn't even necessary. 

So don't hesitate to head out and purchase this one - it's a keeper! 

(I wasn't compensated for this - I paid for this product and nobody asked me to review it.)

And don't forget to enter my Heluva Good dip giveaway

Monday, May 14, 2012

Helluva Good Dip & Goodie Giveaway!!!

As I've mentioned - it's going to be giveaway central for a while - I have so many goodies for y'all! 

It's really fun coming home to big mystery boxes at least once a week- and knowing that I get to pass some of that fun onto all of you!

I saw the cow sticker and thought I knew what it was...

And I was right! Six containers of HeluvaGood! dip!!! They sent me their new Black Bean Queso flavor...which I hadn't yet tried.

My favorite of theirs is the Buffalo Wing dip - I'm quite addicted! It's such a strong flavor and spicy but not too much so. It's good stuff - but I was excited to try this new flavor since I love mexican anything!

Let me tell you - I took 4 containers to work - and the first time one was opened - it was gone in less than five minutes! One girl even said, "If I'd known it was black bean - I probably wouldn't have tried it - but that stuff is awesome!!!!" EVERYBODY loved this stuff!!

So if you at all like dip - you should definitely try this one. And hey, if you're having a party - buy the dip - put it in a fancy bowl and I GUARANTEE you'll have a ton of people asking YOU for the recipe!!!!


Because of their awesomeness, Heluva Good! is giving away a blender, margarita glasses and product to one of you! 



I'm using a new giveaway commenting tool - so hopefully it works pretty well - I see it on a lot of blog sites. The fun thing is there are a ton of ways for you to enter now and they're super-easy! 






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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Cooking Light: Tandoori Chicken Thighs

Cooking Light has recently started a partnership with 20 bloggers around the country and I'm one of them! How fun is that?! I get their magazine and some e-zines and will be sharing something from Cooking Light with you twice a month. I've been wanting to eat more healthy and I think this is a great start for me. 

The current issue has a lot of ethnic flair to it and I was very excited about that. I dug right in and grabbed a half-dozen recipes that I plan to try. 

Along the ethnic route - I decided to try Chicken Tandoori using chicken thighs. I'm a HUGE fan of chicken thighs - they are so cheap and you can get a bag full of the boneless/skinless at any grocery store. The dark meat always stays juicier but you're escaping the fat because they're skinless. Love love love! Cooking Light even has a whole section for Cooking with Chicken Thighs. I've made this one before and it's EXCELLENT!


You start by marinating the chicken thighs in a mixture of greek yogurt and a bunch of spices. It's not really a "sauce" more like a paste. I was lacking in ziploc bags so just put it in a glass mixing bowl and covered with plastic wrap.

And I didn't feel like grilling out - so I just used our grill pan. While I mentioned loving the boneless/skinless thighs - I had actually picked up some bone-in on sale at Meijer so I pulled off the skin and used those this time around - worked just as well. 

Now this is the time when I would show you the finished product. But I deleted the photos accidentally from my phone. :-( Luckily CL has pretty styled pictures of the final product - much more beautiful than mine. 
Tandoori Chicken ThighsPhoto: Randy Mayor; Styling: Lindsey Lower
These were really good - the turmeric is what really gets that Indian flavor in there and I'm a HUGE fan of cumin. I did have to make a couple of changes because of what I had on hand - I used minced onion and garlic powder (how can I ever be out of garlic???). Other than that - I was all good - it was my first time using Greek yogurt as well - I even let the fat cat lick the empty container - she thought it was Christmas! I did also cut the recipe in half since there was just two of us and I had 4 thighs...turned out fine - plenty of the marinade paste for the 4 thighs. 
I really liked this recipe a lot and surprisingly - Larry did too! He's not too big on "ethnic" food but he ate one and then took the other for work the next day. That's a sign of a successful recipe in our house! There are often times when I say, "Do you want the leftovers? - Um. Nah..." So good job on this one! 
This is also a low cost recipe - I think the page said something like $2/serving. I hope you like it too!


Tandoori Chicken Thighs

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt $
  • 1/4 cup grated onion $
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

Preparation

  1. 1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a bowl, stirring well. Scrape the yogurt mixture into a large zip-top plastic bag. Add the chicken to yogurt mixture in bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours. Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade. Sprinkle both sides of chicken evenly with salt.
  2. 2. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  3. 3. Brush grill rack with oil. Arrange chicken on grill rack. Grill 6 minutes on each side or until done.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Oransi Ionic Fridge Air Purifier Giveaway!!!


The nice folks at Oransi stopped by the Food Hussy and provided me and one of you with an Ionic Fridge Air Purifier!


Oransi is based in Austin, TX and makes green cleaning products to clean the air. To be honest - I wasn't so sure about this little gadget - but heck - I'll try anything once - so I said sure thing!

It's really small - it fits on the top shelf of my fridge (it's next to the egg holder). It takes 2 AA batteries and that's it! 

It's supposed to remove bacteria and odors from your fridge so your butter doesn't smell like fish, etc... I've had this in the fridge for about a month now and so far so good! It's a little hard to tell with something like this how truly effective it is...but I haven't noticed any funkified smells as of late. 

So now - I get to give one of you the same Ionic Fridge Air Purifier! It's a $29 value and all you have to do to enter is leave a comment below and let me know which of the products at Oransi.com that you'd like me to give away next! They have air purifiers (I have 2 room air purifiers and they are a big help!), laundry balls (holy cow - I think this is my next purchase) and the fridge units.

I like their site because it has lots of useful info about how great air purifiers are - I have a niece with allergies and it just reminded me I need to put one of ours in her room since we have pets!

So let me know which product you'd like me to give away next and provide your contact info and YOU'RE ENTERED! Oransi will ship the purifier straight to the winner...

I'll keep the giveaway open for a week - so enter today! 

Thanks again to Oransi for providing the purifier to me for free! 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Schillin on a Friday

I had the chance to try a couple of new products this week - they were products I bought and paid for - so I thought I'd share my thoughts with you guys! 
First up - Mounds ice cream bars - I saw these in a Kroger ad and decided to check them out. Luckily Meijer had them. Well - by Tuesday I decided to have one and Larry had eaten three of them! So I found out two things at this point: these are egg free and tasty! 

It was nice to be able to try them and they were....DELICIOUS! 

The dark chocolate is really creamy and chocolatey and the ice cream is very creamy as well with real pieces of coconut inside. I really liked this ice cream bar and would definitely buy them again and they do taste quite a bit like a Mounds bar! 



On the other end of the spectrum I also tried Mio Liquid Water Enhancer. I bought two varieties and got a free case of water at Meijer. I bought Sweet Tea and Green Thunder. I tried the Sweet Tea today and let me say - it was NASTY. Gross, disgusting, funky, bitter, chemical tasting - you name it - it was it. Yuck!

I don't even want to try the Green Thunder because this was soooooo bad. Anybody else had better luck with them?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I was hoping there would be Firemen serving me...

So - we're up in the Colerain area now and I'm a Meijer shopper - those two things combined mean that I've seen Firehouse Subs more than a few times...but haven't taken the time to stop in - until now!

We did wonder if it was started by firefighters or if it was just capitalizing on the "Yeah America" theme. It didn't really say on their site - but they do have a foundation - so I'll give them an A for effort. 

Firehouse Subs also had the new Coca Cola Freestyle machine - I've seen this around a few places in Cincinnati. It's pretty cool - you pick your soda and then can add flavor to it and mix it all together and such. I went for a Cherry Sprite!

The firefighter theme is everywhere - but I have to admit - it's all pretty sterile and "new" - nothing authentic - just a lot of signs you can probably either buy or get made for $2.99.

They did take the theme one step further to have their own "fiery" hot sauce! 

And they offer a wide variety of other's hot sauces too!

I went for the Smokehouse Beef & Cheddar Brisket on wheat. I thought it was pretty good - I still prefer Quiznos but all in all - it's a nice break from fast food and I'll stop again!

Why Should You Go? Well if you like toasted subs and you're in the Colerain area - it's a good stop. I liked it - it's nothing amazing or ground breaking - but if you have a kid in the family that loves firefighters - they would likely get a kick out of it!


Firehouse Subs (Colerain/I-275) on Urbanspoon